From the Wilderness

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

From the Wilderness

Written by Spartan Franco | Tags:

Perhaps more than any other major military, the army of the Federated States of America has few qualms about hiring paramilitary freelancers to provide additional skills that might not be present in the formal structure of the military. It is an American tradition to innovate outside of central control, and this policy has produced a number of unique aspects to American military forces which have proven extremely useful in supplementing conventional troops and weaponry.

Some of the most common of these employees are the Buffalo Hunters, officially known in FSA military parlance as ‘Wilderness Survival Teams’. Composed of tough ‘mountain men’ and superlative scouts hailing from the tribes of the Great Plains, these teams bring a curious rough-and-ready aspect to the otherwise highly mechanised armies of the Federated States.

However, those familiar with the nature of the F.S.A find this unsurprising. Despite its powerful economic and military assets and substantial population, huge areas of the nation, especially west of the Mississippi up to Washington and Oregon Territory of the Pacific North West are still very much frontier land, where the reach of central government stretches only a little beyond the great railroads connecting the more settled east to thriving California and the former Mexican states.

Consequently, these veteran hunters are widespread, ranging over vast areas and hiring out their services to anyone from individual homesteaders to town or territory governments. However, large numbers of scouts and hunters eventually find their way into the service of the Federated State army, which offers generous contract as well as the chance to go overseas on campaign. This last fact is often attractive in itself, as many hunters have a sense of wanderlust that even the vast hinterlands of North America cannot satisfy.

Wilderness Section

Wilderness Section

These hired guns can be a motley-looking bunch compared to even the relaxed uniformity of the American military. They do not themselves wear formal uniforms, save perhaps an approved symbol of the regiment they are serving alongside, to denote that they are under contract. However, their skill in battle cannot be doubted, and their abilities are frequently underestimated by enemy leaders who often dismiss them as mere militia.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The veteran hunters are expert marksmen with their well cared-for rifles. Honed by use on such fast, elusive or formidable prey as elk and bear as well as buffalo, the hunter’s deadly skills are easily transferable to human targets. Furthermore, a customised hunting rifle built to the individual hunter’s specification frequently forms part of their contractual payment, another reason that military service is a popular option.

Alongside the hunters, native scouts range ahead of larger American forces, providing valuable reconnoitring and information on enemy force strength and dispositions. They are faultless trackers, and adept at setting deadly traps capable of hamstringing a grizzly bear. The effects of these contraptions on unsuspecting humans are best not contemplated!

Many hunting teams also include other members, not human but animal, and fiercely loyal to their masters. Many hunters and scouts count hunting hounds and tame wolves as some of their most valued companions. As well as greatly enhancing the team’s tracking ability with their superlative senses, these companions and pets also help their masters in a more direct sense, by taking chunks out of prospective attackers with a ferocious bite at close quarters!

Hunting teams have served alongside American forces wherever the Federated armies have had reason to be deployed. They particularly showed their worth during the protracted battles on Cuba and Puerto Rico, where hunting teams fought a long and protracted ‘shadow war’ with the Shinobi warriors accompanying the Blazing Sun forces.

Many a Blazing Sun officer who took an ill-advised inspection walk of a bunker or trench-line never returned to their headquarters, struck down by the bullet of an unerringly accurate sniper as they made their rounds.

Since the stabilisation of the front line on Puerto Rico, many hunter teams have found themselves employed in ensuring that the super-heavy ‘Korea Gun’ artillery pieces installed there by the Blazing Sun with the intention of bombarding the F.S.A mainland remain crippled. The guns themselves were bombed into inaction by American aeroplanes, but proved hard to access on the ground by conventional modern means, and strongly defended against air attack.

American General St Clair therefore turned to his Buffalo Hunters to make sure the guns, too valuable to abandon, became a running sore of casualties and loss for the enemy. The hunter teams have done their best to frustrate all efforts to repair them, booby-trapping supply routes and causing considerable casualties among the Prussian soldiers tasked with defending them. These actions are only enhancing the Buffalo Hunters’ well-earned reputation as excellent saboteurs and infiltrators.

HMG Section

The American military have been proponents of automatic firepower for many years, driven by the well-earned reputation of companies like Orlington and MacGruder Mechanisms for highly efficient engineering. Even the heaviest of their weapons, the huge naval rifles mounted on their battleships and heaviest tanks, have a multiple shot capacity, and their lighter weapons are no different.

Alongside this, much American technology also remains straightforward to use and maintain. The wealth of new knowledge and materials sciences derived from Antarctican discoveries have mostly been used by the Americans to make tried and tested science and engineering methods more efficient, with any improvements carried out a meticulous fashion.

This is especially evident in the design of American small arms and light support weapons. As far as most FSA engineers and soldiers are concerned “if it won’t work out in the boondocks two hundred miles from a workshop, it just plain won’t work for us period.”

With this attitude in mind, the design of the Americans’ primary heavy machine-gun becomes clear. It is a refined version of the deadly Gatling guns used by both sides during the nation’s Civil War. Initially deployed by Union forces, captured examples were back-engineered by Southern forces, and many were later built by machine-shops in Britannian Canada to supplement the old Confederacy’s domestic supplies.

Federated States of America  HMG Section

Federated States of America HMG Section

With the design already tried and tested in protracted war, it was a simple matter for the newly formed Federated States military to adopt a Gatling-style gun as their main infantry support machine gun. The number of barrels was dropped from six to four, but weight of fire was maintained by the use of the much heavier .50 calibre round.

Long favoured by hunters for bringing down large and dangerous quarry such as bears or mountain lions, the .50 cal bullet can punch through light steel plate and makes short work of most conventional targets, especially when delivered at the rate of fire of the Gatling gun. Although generally hand-cranked for simplicity, all modern .50 cal Gatlings incorporate the same strong clockwork supplemental drive for their trigger system, allowing the guns to deliver an even heavier barrage for a short time when needed.

The .50 calibre Gatling is now a veteran weapon, having been in service with the new American military since its formation. However, its strength, reliability and firepower remain unmatched, and its use has become routine throughout the FSA’s armed forces, from light anti-aircraft mounts on tanks and warships, to the stripped down infantry support versions mounted on field carriages. Batteries of Gatlings are used extensively by the Special Weapons platoons of Federal and state infantry regiments, providing the vital supporting firepower so crucial to the American foot troops’ ‘run and gun’ style of warfare.