Copyright Peter Grining
GDW released the Twilight:2000 (T2k) RPG in 1984, Traveller:2300 in 1986 and 2300 AD in 1988. A second edition T2k (v2.1) was released in 1990 with a revised timeline to make the game more marketable (This book was known as the 'Big Yellow Book' or BYB). T2K v2.2 came out in 1993 with GDW's house rules system. I don't use either of the 2nd edition history revisions as 2300 has East and West Germany as seperate nations, at the start of the Twilight War. It doesn't really matter to the 2300 history, it's my choice to stay with the 1980 style of 2300AD.
Although some countries had advanced rifles under early testing during this period, the mobilisation before the nuclear exchanges of November 1997 required mass production of proven models. (The rifles used during the Twilight War were rifles in existance in our real world today of 1990s. The only exception was that West Germany had the caseless round G11 in service). After the widespread devastion of industry, small village shops concentrated on providing spare parts for existing weapons.
Although 2300AD is 300 years away, technology is only 100 years ahead (Deathwatch Program, page 62). Here's my suggested equivalents as a rough guide:
|2300AD year||Technology equiv.|
Rifles require replacing every 20-30 years after parts wear out. Sometimes totally new weapons are developed, others are improved models (1960s M16, 1980s M16A2 and 1990s M16A3, M16A4). Basic weapon designs were used for longer during the 2050-2150 period, due to lack of resources.
Eventually the last of the 1990s rifles wore out and primitive replacement versions were made. These were virtual copies and featured wooden and metal parts only. Plastics and composites would have to wait for industry to rebuild. Most countries spent up till the 2040s and 2080s in civil wars and reunification campaigns. As the industry required for mechanised warfare was destroyed, most of the fighting was infantry engagements. Smaller bore rounds like the 5.56mm fell out of favour for larger rounds with longer range. At first this meant 7.62mm types, but by the late 21st century bigger 'intermediate' rounds were being used. By the late 21st and early 22nd centuries most countries had rebuilt their industries to pre-Twilight War levels.
Generic AK clone
Type: Assault rifle Country: Various Weight: 3.6 kg Length: 86 cm (Bulk=3) Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 7.62x39mm Muzzle Velocity: 717 mps Magazine: 30-round box Magazine Weight: ? ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 250 m Area Fire Burst: 10 rounds (AFV=1) Area Fire Range: 15 m DP Value: 0.7
FAMAS G2 (1995)
Type: Bullpup assault rifle Country: France Weight: 3.7 kg Length: 76 cm (Bulk=2) Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 5.56x45mm NATO Muzzle Velocity: 925 mps Magazine: 30-round box Magazine Weight: 0.3 kg ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 150 m Area Fire Burst: 10 rounds (AFV=1) Area Fire Range: 20 m DP Value: 0.6
Type: Assault rifle Country: France Weight: 3.9 kg Length: 90 cm (Bulk=2) Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 6.5x50 mm Muzzle Velocity: 900 mps Magazine: 25-round box Magazine Weight: 0.5 kg ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 250 metres Area Fire Burst: 5 rounds (AFV=0.5) Area Fire Range: 17 metres DP Value: 0.8
Type: Assault rifle Country: Russia Weight: 3.5 kg Length: 84 cm (Bulk=3), 60 cm (Bulk=2) stock folded Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 6x45mm Muzzle Velocity: 960 mps Magazine: 30-round box Magazine Weight: 0.6 kg ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 230 metres Area Fire Burst: 10 rounds (AFV=1) Area Fire Range: 25 metres DP Value: 0.7
Some of the reunification/pacification campaigns were very bloody with large numbers of infantry casualties. The standard rifle at the start of this period was an automatic 6mm 25 round non-bullpup with a x3.5 sight. During the Mexican-American War, American forces made use of OICW style technologies. The M35A3 rifle with 40mm single shot grenade launcher, laser rangefinder, ballistic computer and thermal imager was issued to two riflemen per 7 man squad (squad leader and two 3 man fireteams, 1 with M35A3, 1 with 6mm 150 round MG, 1 with M35A2 6/40mm). The M35A3 had the first grenades with pre-set burst settings. The laser rangefinder measured the distance, the computer programmed the distance into the grenade using magnetic induction. The munition would explode after a set number of grenade turns ('Spin count'). Mexican troops were successfully engaged in previously safe positions like trenchs and their morale suffered. Other countries followed and ballistic computers/rangefinders were widespread by the middle of this time period, roughly doubling rifle effective ranges. During the same period, conventional cartridge rounds were replaced by caseless types. Caseless rounds offered the same performance bullet for halve the weight and length.
M35A2 (2078): A single shot 40mm grenade
launcher can be added underneath the barrel, this adds 1.5 kg. A
variety of sights can be fitted to the multi-purpose rail.
Type: Assault rifle Country: USA Weight: 3.3 kg Length: 90 cm (Bulk=3) Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 6x45 mm Muzzle Velocity: 960 mps Magazine: 25-round box Magazine Weight: 0.5 kg ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 230 metres Area Fire Burst: 5 rounds (AFV=0.5) Area Fire Range: 25 metres DP Value: 0.7
M35A3 (2099): The M35A3 Modular Weapon System includes a 40mm one shot grenade launcher, laser rangefinder, ballistic computer and thermal imager. Laser IFF could also be added.
Type: Assault rifle Country: USA Weight: 5.5 kg Length: 92 cm (Bulk=3) Action: SS or Auto Ammunition: 6x45 mm Muzzle Velocity: 960 mps Magazine: 25-round box Magazine Weight: 0.5 kg ROF: 5 Aimed Fire Range: 450 metres Area Fire Burst: 5 rounds (AFV=0.5) Area Fire Range: 25 metres DP Value: 0.7
Improved caseless designs dominated up till the middle of this time period where binary propellant weapons were introduced. Although binary was never as popular as cartridge or caseless designs. The American M2 introduced the APHE round (the Geneva convention banning explosive rounds didn't apply after the Twilight War, along with a lot of other treaties) around 2260. The French FAA-73 used an extra long caseless round for very long range. In the aftermath of the Central Asian War, the technology for reliable electomagnetic or 'gauss' small arms was possible. Russian troops had experienced unplanned for long range small arms fights, and suffered accordingly. Early test models of the AS-89 (called AS-85, no grenade launcher fitted) were used, and to the surprise of many, very few maintenance problems were encountered. France required a long range rifle for service in Africa and off world. (similar to the UK Army situation before the 1970s with the L1A1 SLR). The existing FAM-90 design was given the go ahead after French troops saw the AS-85 in action. The closer ranges in Europe and other city fighting called for rifles such as the German Sk-19, first used during 2292.
Rifle sized laser weapons became feasible in the technology race after the Alpha Centauri War. The first lightweight low maintenance laser rifles entered service in 2198 (Brazilian Luce-1), starting the laser rifle race with Argentina. Argentina responded with the inefficent F-3 in 2204. The two countries then settled down into producing large numbers of competing designs for exports. Neither country allowed license producing of their priced laser rifles, but both produced large numbers of advanced, cheap and reliable weapons. South American designs dominated the laser rifle market during the early half of the 23th century. Argentina modified the F-3 design in 2215, calling it the F-5 and then replaced this with the more successful F-7 in 2254. Depending on the tactical situation Argentinean troops deployed mixed F-7/caseless rifles in squads. The F-7 was replaced in 2278 by the F-19, which remains the current laser rifle of Argentina. Brazil set up a large production base for the Luce-3 and flooded the world market from 2220. Brazil dominated the world market till the F-7 was introduced. The Luce-4 of 2250 was never a popular weapon, but the Luce-7 (2260) used by Indonesia in combat, recaptured part of the market share. The addition of a 30mm grenade launcher on the Luce-7B helped sales considerably.
Although Argentina and Brazil are working on new design laser rifles as of 2303, they will probably never produce or sell as many rifles as the peak period 2205-2270. Other countries either copied the South American designs or started their own research. The Russian SVB was developed after 20 years of low funding, entered limited service in 2280 in time for the Central Asian War. The SVB was considered one of the few high points of Russian technology during that war. Bavaria also had the problem of limited resources, but still managed to have the LK-1 in service in time for the War of German Reunification. The LK-1 became the standard German laser rifle after that conflict.
Plasma Guns, Man-Portable (PGMP) are a recent innovation and are slowly increasing in popularity. Japan has accursed Manchuria of stealing the early designs for the Kurita Type-21F and producing the Type 1 High Energy Assault Gun. Manchuria has responded by saying that Japan stole the Type 1 plans. Whomever is telling the truth the weapons have some almost identical parts. Very few German A-9 plasma guns were available in 2293, but the weapon made a favourable impression.
The FAA-73 is from page 94, Aurore Sourcebook, the Sk-19 was in Traveller:2300 but dropped from 2300AD. It is up somewhere on the web.
Gonzalves-Brazilia "Luce-1" (2198)
Type: 20-03 laser rifle Country: Brazil Weight: 6 kg Length: 100 cm (Bulk=4) Action: Single shot Pulse Energy: 0.65 megajoules Muzzle Velocity: C Magazine: 3 mj LMS cell (5 pulses) Magazine Weight: 2 kg ROF: 2 Aimed Fire Range: 900 metres DP Value: 0.6
Mueller-Riveria F-3 (2204)
Type: 20-04 laser rifle Country: Argentina Weight: 6 kg Length: 100 cm (Bulk=4) Action: Single shot Pulse Energy: 0.8 megajoules Muzzle Velocity: C Magazine: 2.5 mj LMS (3 pulses) Magazine Weight: 2 kg ROF: 1 Aimed Fire Range: 800 metres DP Value: 0.8
Mueller-Riveria F-5 (2215)
Type: 40-02 laser rifle Country: Argentina Weight: 4 kg Length: 85 cm (Bulk=3) Action: Single shot Pulse Energy: 0.8 megajoules Muzzle Velocity: C Magazine: 5 mj LMS (6 pulses) Magazine Weight: 4 kg ROF: 3 Aimed Fire Range: 900 metres DP Value: 0.9
Gonzalves-Brazilia "Luce-4" (2250)
Type: 50-02 laser rifle Country: Brazil Weight: 3.5 kg Length: 80 cm (Bulk=3) Action: Single shot Pulse Energy: 1.0 megajoule Muzzle Velocity: C Magazine: 5mj LMS cell (5 pulses) Magazine Weight: 1 kg ROF: 4 Aimed Fire Range: 1100 metres DP Value: 1.2
The following list is an attempt to rate the bulks of weapons in 2300AD. The lengths of GDW's weapons are not consitantly rated, however. I have not bothered changing the correct bulks as weapon balance and weight should be taken into account. I've assumed the inconsistant lengths are a result of this. I've seen someone else's bulk table somewhere on the web.
Add 1 to bulk for each 40 cm after 120 cm.
DP Value = [ Square Root ( ME x 0.735)]/50
Muzzle Energy (ME)=0.5 x weight round (kg) x (metres per second)^2. Where ^2 means mps squared or to the power of two.
Thanks to Bryn Monnery for his DP formulae, and ideas on when rifles entered service. David W Malesevich for the GDW publishing dates. Thanks to all members of the etranger mailing list for ideas.