Monday, August 8, 2016

Marines and Vehicles

I explained here why I think Marines can get Ship Tactics skill, and that led me to thinking about something else.  They have a skill slot for Vehicle skill, as well as for ATV. Let's assume that ATV skill means Marine Force tanks, so what other types of craft could the Marines use? According to Starter Traveller (the version I have access to during the day) Ship's Boat is not included; but what if it was?

Let's see:
Pick your launch platform.

The Pinnace (at 40 tons) has enough interior space for it to carry a 10-ton AFV from orbit to the surface, or two G-Carriers, or five air/rafts. Marine armored cavalry delivered to the front lines. The Slow Pinnace has even more space, so it could load up 7-8 air/rafts, five speeders, or (tight fit) three G-Carriers.

Modular Cutters, with their very flexible 30-ton modules could transport mobile headquarters, medical or other buildings, supplies, fuel or artillery to the surface. Medical craft could provide care on the ground, or evacuate wounded in low berths back to the orbiting ships.

The Shuttle (3G accel) could be loaded up with anti-vehicle and anti-personnel weapons and become the Assault Shuttle, ready to bring heavy air support while transporting Marines. If each marine needs 1/2 ton of room for himself and his weapons, a company of 140 Marines could be aboard.

Single or dual place Fighters can be employed as air support for ground operations or to counter opposing air forces. Fighters would also fill the role of tank destroyer. Starship-grade weaponry should finish any ground vehicle with one good hit. I believe Striker says so in its section on aircraft.

Fighters or Ships' Boats (both 6G accel) could be manned by Marine pilots as screening elements, interceptors or attack squadrons. It would save a bit of crew space aboard if the ship's craft had Marine operators instead of Navy.

What else could Marine pilots do if we let Vehicle include the Ships' Boat skill? 


  1. Somehow, it just makes sense for Marines to control their own landing and retrieval craft. I think of it, by analogy, like Marine helicopters/VTOLs supporting the modern US Marine Expeditionary Units or the Commando Helicopter Force of the Royal Navy. By being part of the same group, it means the Marine Small Craft pilot will be more likely to stick around and pick up his people.

    Of course, then you might end up with the flight crew really ending up fighting to defend their LZ.

    As for fighters for Close Air Support see the USAF and how it thinks of CAS. The grunt on the ground wants lots of craft available to support his efforts, while every air force wants to fly against Big Strategic Targets to Win the War with out needing grubby infantry and traditionalist Navy types.

    Remember, to me, one of the overriding things about Traveller is human drives do not change, unlike a certain other Science Fiction setting. People will still behave in a recognizable fashion.

    1. And what other Science Fiction setting would that be, Michael? Could it be Star Trek?

    2. Exactly. Hearing speeches about how humanity has grown beyond certain things I don't really care for. The best episode from those series was "In the Pale Moonlight". The Heroic Leader does something completely immoral, and in the end, accepts it as better for everyone.