A Kafer Arsenal Part 2:
Armored Fighting Vehicles
Kafer armored fighting vehicles present a number of puzzles to human observers, both in their technology and tactical employment. The former is often behind the human cutting edge, but then interspersed with isolated features superior to human designs. The latter are, likewise, simultaneously rudimentary and highly refined to human understanding. There are significant gaps in the Kafer AFV fleet for effective employment according to most human doctrines, but the aliens seem to use what they have skillfully and Kafer mechanized operations often display what one Azanian officer described as an “idiot savant sort of elegance and simplicity.”
Deathsled HBT (revised)
Bugbus APC (revised)
Cockroach Car APC (revised)
Roach Rambler Light Armored Vehicle
Crawler II (revised)
Convoy Killer Automortar Carrier
Ripper Air Defense Vehicle
Sturmbehemoth Seige Gun
The CCC-2 Crusher main battle tank was developed by Abraham Gubler, used here with permission.
The Tanstaafl militia commando was strung out along a low ridge line, personnel hugging the ground and returning a steady, measured volume of fire as the Kafer rounds slapped into rocks and scrubby mushroom trees all around them. In the valley below, nothing was visible except for the couple of dead Bugs. The rest had gone to ground with the usual uncanny skill.
Joachim Höpner scanned the valley floor with his FAA-73’s four-power telescopic sight, wishing for one of the thermal sights like the Legionnaires or off-world soldiers carried. He thought he saw a flash of movement and squeezed off a shot, the heavy 7.5mm round kicking into his shoulder. He was unsure if he had hit anything, but kept scanning, occasionally firing a round at likely locations just to discourage the Bugs.
His eyes and attention were focused down the tube of his telescope, and so he initially failed to notice the first Kafer tracked vehicle coming up the valley. His first warning of trouble was a plasma bolt exploding a boulder down the slope, splinters of rock going in all direction. More followed in quick succession. Höpner saw three more wending their way up the valley, another Bugbus and two of the tracked runabouts everyone called Ramblers, all of them bristling with weapons. Tracers and plasma beams stitched up towards the ridgeline.
Old Farmer Henderson, a shoe-leather tough Texan somewhere between 40 and 60 standard years old, rolled out from behind his own boulder and let fly a Blindicide-3 anti-tank missile. “Höpner!” he shoulted, “More missiles. Now, boy.”
He grabbed his rucksack, with its load of additional rounds for the Blindicide, and turned to run back towards Henderson. A Kafer mortar bomb preceded him, and Henderson and his precious missile launcher both vanished in an explosion that set Höpner’s ears ringing.
In the valley below, he could see furtive movement, as the Kafer troops faded down the valley towards their vehicles, pursued by rifle and machinegun fire. The fire from the AFVs slackened, apparently they had no intent except to extract their brethren. The American Special Forces soldier was talking on his tight-beam set, calling for TEXBAT and the Legion to move quickly to their location, from the sound of it. Höpner shouldered his rifle again and resumed firing down towards the fleeting shapes of the aliens.
ESA Standardized Armored Fighting Vehicle Nomenclature
During the opening stages of the Invasion, Kafer AFVs were designated either semi-formally with terms adapted from soldier-slang, or within the framework of various nation-specific nomenclature systems. In both cases, the lack of a common reference system occasionally caused confusion and misunderstanding during multi-national operations.
Early in 2302 a set nomenclature system was proposed by the French military and generally adopted by nations involved in fighting in the French Arm, to one degree or another. The current system replaced a number of other nomenclature systems (including an earlier French system which linked designation to the first planet on which the vehicle had been encountered), and variant designations could still be encountered as late as the end of 2302. This system was kept to a minimum of elaboration, and was based on basic chassis, rather than function, such that, for instance, a Bugbus (CVB-1) adapted into an MRL carrier (the “Donnerwagen”) becomes the CVB-1A, rather than a designation relating to its fire support role.
CAC-1 (Capauchin Aero-Char 1): “Deathsled” Hover Tank
CAV-1 (Capauchin Aero-Vehicle 1): “Floater” Hover AFV
CCC-1 (Capauchin Char de Combat 1): “Behemoth” Tracked Heavy Tank
CCC-2 "Crusher" Main Battle Tank
CVB-1 (Capauchin Vehicle Blindé 1): “Bug Bus” Tracked APC
CVB-1A “Donnerwagen” Tracked MRL
CVB-1B “Ripper” Tracked ADA Vehicle
CVB-2 “Crawler” Tracked IFV
CVB-3 “Crawler 2” Tracked IFV
CVB-4 “Cockroach Car” Tracked APC
CVB-5 “Roach Rambler” Tracked LAV
A Note on Variants
Deathsled Heavy Hover Tank (CAC-1)
To summarize our experience to date with the Deathsled, allow me to say this: Killing a Deathsled is extremely simple. But, as Clausewitz noted, in war even the simplest things are very difficult, and killing a Deathsled is no exception.
Lt. Col. Michael Jacobi, Commander,
2nd Tank Battalion, USMC,
Addressing Armor Officer Basic Course 01-03,
US Army Armor Center, Fort Lewis, Washington, 17 April 2303.
The Deathsled appears to represent the bulk of the Kafer tank force, and, has proven a difficult opponent for human forces. The vehicle is notable for its size, dwarfing the majority of human designs and the unusual layout of its armament (even if the weapons systems themselves are not particularly unusual compared to human designs).
The Deathsled is well armored in its frontal aspect, though with inadequate roof armor and point defenses compared to modern human designs. The vehicle’s unusual appearance, and distinctive radar signature, stem from the extensive use of non-explosive reactive armor (NERA) panels as part of the vehicle’s integral armor package. These NERA panels consist of successive layers of steel sandwiched into rubber-like synthetic filler and provide good levels of protection against both chemical and kinetic energy weapons. The panels almost invariably seem to be produced in a grey-khaki color, giving most Deathsleds a consistent coloration as well, despite various paint schemes used on the hull underneath. The panels appear to be designed for easy replacement after battle damage, and replacement panels are sometimes seen welded to other Kafer vehicles to increase armor.
The vehicle is further protected from anti-tank guided weapons by the use of 72 “Fly Swatter” anti-missile grenade dispensers distributed around the hull and turret in a 360 degree arc. Though not nearly as effective as the point defense machineguns and lasers used on current generation human designs, the Fly Swatter system does provide the vehicle an increased measure of survivability against ATGW. The Fly Swatter can apparently also be manually controlled by the vehicle commander to use as anti-infantry weapons in close contact situations.
A number of Deathsleds have been observed during the Invasion with additional NERA panels fitted to their upper decks and turret roof, increasing armor protection to some extent. This appears to be a deliberate and well-constructed modification, rather than an improvised field solution. The increased armor level is still inadequate to prevent armor penetration by all but the lightest human anti-armor systems, but does render the vehicle more survivable and partially neutralizes guided LAW type weapons.
Armament package is unusual and has been described as a “golf bag” approach, with the primary 101.3mm mass driver cannon (used exclusively for anti-vehicle work, apparently) being augmented by an ATGM, plasma gun, light autocannon and light machinegun. Some vehicles further add “outrigger” platforms allowing the vehicle to carry a pair of Snapfire SAMs for air defense. Various other variants have been observed in small numbers, some of which may represent deliberate designs as well as crew improvisations.
Tactical employment of the Deathsled seems to vary substantially from human thinking on combined arms operations. Though certainly qualifying as a “main battle” type hovertank by human standards, the Deathsled seems in some ways to be utilized more like a reconnaissance and raiding vehicle, typically ranging out from slower moving, track- and wheel-mobile Kafer columns to provide forward and flank security. If contact with enemy forces is made, the Deathsleds will typically engage enemy armor and other vehicles, but will bypass infantry formations unless they are in terrain that makes them highly vulnerable to attack. Contact information relayed back to the main column typically results in Kafer infantry and indirect fire assets being deployed to mop up these formations. Examination of Kafer movement techniques suggests that a deliberate interval is maintained between Deathsleds and main body elements to allow targets to return to “dumb” mode after being attacked by the hovertanks, but this theory is not universally accepted.
When used as an infantry support vehicle, the Deathsled appears much clumsier, in terms of tactics and doctrine, and crews have a tendency to draw away from dismounted infantry and pursue their own objectives.
Also Known As: Aerotanque
Zofado (Tejano Spanish, “Crazy
Hovertank”), Hobakarafuto no Bakemono (Japanese,
"Kafer Hovercraft"), Tsyklonu (Ukrainian, “Cyclone”),
Ubhejane (Zulu, "The
2 Multi-band encrypted radios, approximately 200km range
(Often fitted with SATCOM radio in command vehicle role)
101.3mm Mass Driver Cannon
The primary armament of the Deathsled, the 101.3mm MDC is heavier than comparable human designs, though not up to the technological standards of the latest human mass drivers, such as the AC-12's 65mm ordnance. The only round thus far encountered is a rocket assisted depleted uranium armor piercing round (properly termed "Armor Piercing, Rocket Assisted" or APRA ammunition in Anglophone circles); rather than employing sabot designs to boost muzzle velocity, the Kafer design relies on a small rocket motor to boost velocity after the round leaves the barrel. Though this system is rather inelegant and bulky by human standards, it is effective, and the Kafer design seems to have adequately addressed the potential inaccuracy of the ammunition.
Aimed Fire Range: 2000m, Rate of Fire: 3, Damage Points: (APRA Ammunition) 110
"Thunderbolt" and "Thunderbolt 2" ATGMs
The Thunderbolt (and the derivative Thunderbolt 2) is the standard anti-vehicle missile arming the Deathsled, the Behemoth, and the occasional tracked APC tank destroyer conversion encountered (but not, for some reason, the Floater), and is similar to comparable human designs except that it sacrifices a portion of shaped-charge warhead size to incorporate a small secondary fragmentation warhead, giving the missile very good anti-personnel performance as well.
When first encountered on Aurore, the performance of the Thunderbolt was fairly poor by human standards. During 2302, however, human ground forces began reporting that the missile's accuracy had improved radically, as well as the fact that the Thunderbolt 2 (as these improved missiles were dubbed) incorporated a limited ability to engage aerial targets. Analysis of captured missiles indicates that this increased performance apparently stems from software modifications to optimize the missile for use against human vehicles, which require somewhat more advanced attack parameters.
Type: Kafer Heavy Anti-Vehicle Missile, Launcher Weight: n/a, Missile Weight: 29 kg, Range: 8000 meters (on Deathsled), Guidance: Automatic, Homing Value: 13 (16), Attack Angle: Selectable, DP: As tamped explosive (EP = 35, Burst Radius = 25 m)
Notes: (1) The Thunderbolt actually has a range of 11 kilometers, but the Deathsled's sensor range of 8km limits its engagement range; (2) Parenthetical homing value is for the Thunderbolt 2, which appears to have begun entering service (or first been deployed against human forces) in spring of 2302; (3) The Thunderbolt 2 may attack aerial targets, provided their evasion value is less than the missile's homing value. Resolve such attacks normally.
Kafer 22.2mm Autocannon
Standard armament on the Deathsled for use against personnel and light vehicles, the Kafer 22.2mm autocannon can also be found mounted on other Kafer AFVs and quadpod mounts. The weapon is a very conventional recoil operated weapon firing ballistically-capped hign explosive incendiary rounds (generally referred to as HEI) from disintegrating belts. The standard HEI round has sufficient armor penetration to punch through the thin armor of the vehicles it appears designed to kill, as well as possessing a substantial anti-personnel capability.
Overall performance of the 22.2mm is sub par compared to human designs, owing to a lower muzzle velocity and smaller round. Against human armored vehicles, which are generally armored to a higher standard than their Kafer counterparts, the 22.2mm has not performed well, though it is adequte for engaging soft-skin vehicles and personnel.
Type: 22.2mm conventional autocannon, Weight: ~ 78 kg (quadpod mount weighs 21 kg), Length: 207 cm, Action: Single shot or burst, Ammunition: 22.2 x 134mm fixed cartridge HEI, Muzzle Velocity: 1000 mps, Magazine Weight: ~ 20 kg per case of 33, ROF: 5, Aimed Fire Range: 1000 meters, Area Fire Burst: 10 rounds (AFV =1), Area Fire Range: 1000 meters, DP Value: 4 (+ 5m burst radius)
Crusher Main Battle Tank (CCC-2)
The Capauchin Char
de Combat 2, or Crusher as it has been labeled, is one of the
rarest Kafer combat vehicles yet to be encountered by Humanity.
Intelligence reports indicate that it may be known to the Kafers as Shuch*
(vehicle or object) number 279 however this could be a unit identifier
given to the vehicle. The Crusher would appear to be a tracked Deathsled
but isn’t deployed in the independent “skirmisher” type role. The
CCC-2 is usually deployed as a support vehicle to a few groups of
Crawler-2s found on BCV-4, kind of a Kafer infantry tank or Sturmgeschutz.
The most distinctive
feature of the Crusher is its four track elements mounted in pairs.
While these tracks considerably increase the vehicle’s height it has
excellent tractability and a very low ground pressure. Crushers
have been known to traverse swampy ground and snow cover with ease.
Like the Deathsled
the Crusher is covered in a layer of Kafer grey-khaki NERA armour.
However unlike the Deathsled it has a large number of external
handles and stowable ladders used to assist Kafer “tank-riders”. The Crusher
even has a fold-out cage on the rear deck, known as the “Kafer
Play-Pen” that is used to keep up to 12 fully equipped Kafers onboard
while traversing the roughest terrain.
Armament is similar to the Deathsled but is more focused on the infantry support role. The primary weapon is the 101.3-mm mass driver cannon with a dual feed ammunition system including a HE-FRAG warhead as well as anti-armour. Mounted co-axially to the main gun is a highly lethal Tri-Beamer plasma gun. Rough mounted weapons include the commanders cupola mounted Tri-Zipper machinegun and an array or Snapfire and Fly-Swatter self defence weapons.
Kafer main battle tank
4 (driver, gunner, commander, mechanic
mass driver cannon
Tri-Beamer plasma gun coaxial
Tri-Zipper machinegun in remote mount
Rangefinder Bonus: +1
× Snapfire anti-aircraft missile launchers
Fly-Swatter anti-missile grenade dispensers
× 101.3-mm APRA
× 101.3-mm HE-FRAG (DPV: as explosion EP = 7)
× 28-MW plasma cells (+ 360 spare cells in 4 round stripper clips)
× 12.1-mm (+ 3,600 spare rounds in 120 round cases)
× Snapfire missiles
× Fly-Swatter grenades (+ 72 spare grenades stowed externally)
1-MW MHD Turbine
1,020 kg H2
30-kg per hour
Endurance: 34 hours
Kafer forces seem to rely on lightly armored, tracked carriers to fulfill a variety of roles, both the familiar “battle taxi” mission, as well a cargo hauling activities which most human military organizations rely on wheeled or hover trucks to perform. This practice seems to give Kafer forces a very robust ability to generate and regenerate mounted infantry formations from units deployed onto a planet, even after significant attrition in combat elements.
Bugbus General Purpose Armored Personnel Carrier (CVB-1) [Revised Statistics]
The "Bugbus," first encountered on Aurore, is a general purpose, open-topped armored vehicle used by Kafer forces to transport personnel and cargo. The vehicle has a crew of one, and can carry up to seventeen passengers or five tons of cargo. Typical of Kafer AFV designs, the vehicle also includes specialized cargo accommodations for large stores of food (up to 680 kg) and water (680 liters), in addition to its standard cargo capacity.
The vehicle is equipped with a weapons mount on a hatch to the left of the driver's station capable of mounting a "Beamer" or "Tri-Beamer" plasma gun (or a lighter weapon like a machinegun or a 22.2mm autocannon, though these seem to be more uncommon and possibly are local modifications), plus six light weapons mounts in the passenger compartment, each of which can mount a "Zip Gun" 12.1mm light machinegun. The plasma gun and machinegun mounts are often protected by AV 1 gun shields. The heavy weapons station includes a pair of Kafer "Thermal Image Goggles" powered by the vehicle and attached to it by a rather indestructible length of cabling (drivers are, apparently, issued their own goggles, which they carry).
Also Known As: Kaferschlepper, Troca de Cucaracha (Tejano Spanish “Cockroach Truck”), Ibhasikhulu (Zulu, "the Big Bus")
"Kafer ACAV" Weapons Carrier: Encountered primarily on Kimanjano and Beta Canum Venaticorum, the Kafer ACAV is simply a baseline Bugbus modified with ammunition storage and power cabling to mount two 22.2mm autocannons and two "Triple-Zipper" 12.1mm miniguns (one of each on the right and left side of the vehicle) in place of the six lighter weapons mounts provided for the troop compartment; the main plasma gun armament is unaffected (and appears to usually be a Tri-Beamer). Each Triple-Zipper feeds from a 3600 round hopper, while the 22.2mm autocannons each have a 198 round hopper. All hoppers are fitted with an integral electric motor to assist ammunition feed. Each weapon station (including the plasma gun) is also equipped with an AV 1 gun shield to protect the firer. The vehicle can, apparently, still carry roughly nine passengers in addition to five dedicated gunners, at the expense of carrying additional ammunition as cargo. The design has been encountered on a number of invaded colony worlds operating in counter-insurgency sweeps and securing Kafer lines of communications. Precise basis of issue and status in Kafer doctrine is unclear.
“Lancer” Anti-Tank Missile Carrier: Encountered in limited numbers on a number of worlds invaded by Kafer forces, the Lancer appears to be a dedicated anti-tank vehicle. The standard open-weapons station is replaced with a small turret mounting a Beamer plasma gun for self-defense, and a longer range sensor suite apparently derived from the Deathsled sensor rig (Range 8km, no sensor bonus). The rear of the vehicle has been modified to carry open launch racks for eighteen Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt II ATGMs. The vehicle appears to have sufficient fire control to fire up to two missiles at seperate targets simultaneously.
“Rocket Car” Artillery Vehicle: This vehicle is fairly commonly encountered among most Kafer forces. It consists of a standard Bugbus, with the cargo bed being equipped with folding racks accommodate up to twenty four Bug Bomb rockets and a pair of powered lifts to assist Kafers in unloading the rockets from the vehicles. Basic crew seems to consist of a driver, an officer commanding the vehicle, and a work crew of five to six Kafers who set up the rockets. Defensive armament is standard, and the officer usually mans the weapons station when the vehicle is moving. When not carrying rockets, the racks can be folded aside to allow the vehicle to be used to haul personnel or other cargo.
Cockroach Car General Purpose APC (CVB-4) [Revised Stats]
The Cockroach Car is a vehicle similar to the "Bugbus," though slightly lighter, which was not deployed during the initial attack on Aurore. It was first encountered during the Invasion, being widely deployed by Kafer forces, including use on Beta Canum Venaticorum, Crater, and Kimanjano, and most especially on Joi, where it was extensively used.
The Cockroach Car, like the Bugbus, is open-topped and includes a heavy weapons mount next to the driver, which is typically fitted with either a 40MW "Beamer" or 35MW "Blaster" plasma gun, and four mounts for light machineguns in the troop/cargo area. Unlike the Bugbus, both the driver and the heavy weapons gunner are provided with vehicle-mounted and powered thermal image goggles (though the goggles used on the driver's station are configured to be removable, while the gunners' are not). Gun shields are common on the weapons stations, similar to those used on the Bugbus.
Type: Kafer Open-Topped, Tracked Armor
Variants: Multiple-rocket launcher and air defense vehicle variants of the Cockroach Car, identical in most aspects to the Bugbus-based Donnerwagen and Ripper have been commonly encountered. Armament appears to be identical, and human forces usually use the same terms to refer to them informally. Formally, they are the CVB-4A and CVB-4B, respectively.
Roach Rambler Light Armored Vehicle (CVB-5)
The Roach Rambler is a tracked, light armored vehicle notably smaller than most Kafer AFVs. Like the Cockroach Car and Bugbus, it appears to be used for a variety of roles ranging from a light troop transport to reconnaissance, liaison, and cargo hauling. Though possessing about half the cargo or personnel capacity of a Cockroach Car, the Roach Rambler is about a third the size of the larger vehicle. Some of this savings in space is because of smaller dedicated logistical support loads of food and water.
The vehicle consists of an enclosed crew compartment at the front of the vehicle with a central seat for the driver, and two seats to his rear. An elevated seat to the driver’s left rear is provided for the Kafer manning the vehicle’s weapons mount, while a seat to his right rear, facing to the rear, is provided for a third crew member or passenger. Some human analysts believe this seat is for a dedicated communications specialist (the vehicle’s long range radios are located to the left of this seat), though others think this association is coincidental. Behind this covered space is an open cargo bay with four folding seats for passengers, if any are carried. There is no door or other divider between the roofed front compartment and the cargo bay.
Armament on the Roach Rambler appears to typically be a “Beamer” plasma gun, though vehicles armed with lighter machineguns have been seen frequently as well. The Roach Rambler is fully amphibious, an unusual feature on Kafer AFVs, prompting some to speculate it originates on some Kafer colony world or other separate location where water is more common than is posited for the main Kafer world(s).
Variants of the vehicle have been encountered with anti-vehicle missiles and automatic mortars mounted. In both cases these vehicles seem to be commonly used in ambushes, deployed forward of main Kafer troop concentrations to rapidly fire off a number of missiles or mortar rounds and then displace to another ambush position. This tactic is sometimes effective, though the relative superiority of human sensor systems mitigates it in many cases.
Type: Kafer Open-Topped, Tracked Armor
1 Multi-band encrypted
radio, approximately 200km range
Command Post Vehicle: Roach Ramblers have been encountered with the rear cargo bed roofed in with a light armored superstructure (AV 1.1, identical to the armored crew cab) and additional radios fitted, usually a mix of long range HF sets and SATCOM systems. Up to six additional radios have been observed on captured Roach Ramblers in this configuration.
“Assault Breaker:” Another dedicated anti-armor system, the Assault Breaker is a standard Roach Rambler with racks welded to the sides capable of holding up to fourteen backpack launchers for Quickfire, Quickfire II, or Blue Hornet missiles (seven per side). It appears that the vehicle’s four or five passengers are all equipped with targeting equipment for these missiles (and correspond to “officer” or “sniper” intelligence levels), which are believed to have a remote range of approximately 100-150 meters. In practice, the vehicle will deploy in a defiladed position while the passengers take up observation posts of a likely engagement area. When targets are detected, the observers fire as many missiles as are appropriate, then return to the vehicle to move to another firing position or to re-arm with additional missiles. A team of five Kafers with missile targeting equipment can, it is believed, fire all fourteen to twenty-eight missiles carried in less than 15 seconds, if there is sufficient density of targets for this tactic.
“Convoy Killer:” This system is described in the Artillery and Air Defense Vehicles section. It consists of three semi-automatic 77mm mortars on a common mount.
INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES
Crawler Infantry Fighting Vehicle (CVB-2) [Revised Stats]
Though thin-skinned by human infantry fighting vehicle standards, the "Crawler" appears to be a Kafer analog to such vehicles. First encountered on Aurore, it is a large (over eight meters long) tracked vehicle, armed with a turret mounted plasma gun and coaxial machinegun, carrying a squad-sized infantry element. Unlike the Kafer open-topped APCs, the Crawler has not been observed being used as a cargo hauler. It is unclear from interrogation of Kafer prisoners if Crawlers have habitually associated infantry complements, or if Crawlers are organized into seperate "Kangaroo" armored carrier units, though it currently seems likely that different Kafer forces use both doctrines.
The frontal arc of the Crawler incorporates composite armor (corresponding to roughly 2250s human materials technology) and NERA panels similar to those used on the Deathsled, and is armored to withstand Kafer plasma gun strikes. The remainder of the vehicle is more lightly armored, and relies on aligned crystal steel armor (which also gives it a very large sensor signature compared to human vehicles).
The Crawler includes a small, one man turret armed with a plasma gun (both "Beamer" and "Tri-Beamer" models have been encountered, though the former seems to predominate) and a coaxial 12.1mm machinegun, coupled with a thermal imager and rudimentary (by human standards) stabilized fire control system, allowing limited shoot on the move capability. In addition, each passenger in the troop compartment is provided with a firing port from which Kafer small arms may be fired (three on the left side, four on the right, and two firing to the rear). Access to the vehicle is primarily via a large, powered ramp at the rear of the vehicle, though the driver is equipped with his own hatch on the front deck. Crew accommodations are rudimentary, and non-existent in the troop compartment. The latter features tie down points and Kafer troops apparently ride into action sitting on rations, water cans, ammunition cases and other supplies lashed to the floor of the troop compartment.
Type: Kafer Tracked Armor Personnel
Command Post Variant: A number of captured or destroyed Crawlers have been found to be equipped with expanded communications rigs, usually one or two dishes for satellite communications plus one or two HF radio rigs. Though rather limited as a command and control platform by human standards, these radios provide a much greater communications range than the basic 20km VHF radios used by the basic Crawler.
Crawler 2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (CVB-3) [Revised Stats]
The Crawler 2 appears to be a similar, but slightly smaller, design to the Crawler, first encountered during the Invasion on Dunkelheim. Like the Crawler, the Crawler 2 incorporates composite armor in the frontal arc to withstand light plasma gun strikes, but is otherwise thin-skinned by human standards. Fire control is superior to the Crawler, and nearly on par with human systems. The design is, currently, poorly understood in a number of ways (see Ground Vehicle Guide), but appears to incorporate thicker belly armor and very sophisticated track/suspension components, rendering it less liable to mobility kills than other Kafer tracked AFVs. This has prompted some to speculate that it may be a Kafer analog for combat engineering vehicles, or engineering squad carriers, though there is little evidence in its employment to support this hypothesis.
Type: Kafer Tracked Armor Personnel
Kafer artillery and air defense vehicles seem to be less refined and elaborated than human designs, owing, perhaps, to the use of remote systems like the Quickfire and Bug Bomb in both these roles. Those systems that have been encountered tend to be unsophisticated by human standards, and lacking in effectiveness against human forces equipped with modern countermeasures and the like. Against less well equipped colonial forces, however, they have proven highly effective and have exacted a high toll.
Convoy Killer Armored Mortar Carrier (CVB-X)
A modified version of the “Roach Rambler” light armored vehicle, the “Convoy Killer” is a dedicated mortar carrier mounting three semi-automatic 77mm mortars on a common carriage. The mortars are arranged with a variable dispersion and a ballistic computer that is best suited to firing linear sheaf missions. These features suggest that, as the common name implies, that the vehicle is specially intended to hit linear columns of troops and vehicles. This capability, and the vehicle’s observed tendency to attack from ambush, would generally match well with observed Kafer movement techniques, where large “dumb” columns typically advance with poor dispersal and security measures until they make contact and enter into “smart” mode. A weapons system like the “Convoy Killer” that is able to dump large amounts of firepower on a “dumb” column would (apparently) be highly valued in Kafer warfare.
The Convoy Killer has proved effective against human forces as well, though probably not as much so as in internal Kafer warfare, owing to the higher level of armor seen on human AFVs and better discipline on the march. Standard tactics appear to be finding a concealed firing position, and when targets are detected (either by direct observation or via forward observer or remote sensor), firing a salvo, typically all 18 loaded rounds of mortar ammunition. The vehicle then displaces to another firing position, where the crew reloads the mortars and prepares for another engagement.
The Convoy Killer resembles the basic Roach Rambler, except that the cargo bed has been replaced by the powered mount for the three 77mm mortars. The ballistic computer (very large and bulky by human standards) is to the rear-seated passenger’s left, along with the radio gear. Additional ammunition is stowed around the mortar mount, making the vehicle extremely vulnerable to top-attack munitions.
The Convoy Killer retains the standard weapons mount, and usually is fitted with a “Beamer” plasma gun.
Type: Kafer Open-Topped, Tracked Armor
semi-automatic mortars in a powered mount
18 loaded, plus 54 additional mortar rounds, in magazines of 6
1 Multi-band encrypted
radio, approximately 200km range
“Howler” 77mm Automortar
A magazine-fed version of the common Kafer Mortero Tumbito, the “Howler” fires from a six-round clip. To date it has only been seen on the Roach Coach “Convoy Killer” variant, though weapons scavenged from damaged or destroyed Convoy Killers have been seen mounted at Safe Places or on other vehicles in some circumstances.
Type: 77mm Medium Mortar, Weight (empty): 78 kg, Length: 143 cm, Action: Single Shot, Ammunition: 77.43mm Mortar Bomb, Muzzle Velocity: 456mps, Magazine: Six round clip, Magazine Weight: 33.7kg, ROF: 6, Indirect Fire Range: 5700m, DP Value: Varies by ammunition type
Guided High Explosive: DPV: as explosive (EP = 17), Homing Value 7
Guided High Explosive Anti-Tank: DPV: as tamped explosive (EP = 9), Homing Value 9
Guided White Phosphorus: Burst Radius = 20m, Smoke 20 x 100m, Incendiary effect, Homing Value 7
Donnerwagen Multiple Rocket Launcher
This is a fairly simple conversion of the usual Bugbus or Cockroach Car APC into a multiple rocket launcher by fitting it with launch racks for twelve Bug Bomb 18.5cm artillery rockets. The front crew cab accommodates three Kafers (driver, gunner, and commander) in an enclosed space that protects them from the rockets during firing. A pair of hatches on the roof of the crew compartment provide entry and egress for them, and both are fitted with weapons mounts, with the vehicle usually mounting a pair of Zip-Gun light machineguns or a Beamer plasma gun and single Zip-Gun (ammunition for either is carried as cargo). The launcher system can be traversed 360 degrees, though the vehicle can not fire straight to the rear, being fitted with some sort of interrupter mechanism (presumably this is to protect the crew). No reloads are carried on the vehicle itself.
In service, this vehicle seems to be used as a mobile fire support asset supporting Deathsleds, primarily, moving ahead of the main body of Kafer columns (sometimes with a security element mounted in other APCs) and firing on infantry and other hard targets identified by the hover battle tanks. It has also been seen in service as a direct fire support asset for infantry assaults, though this is less common and may be a tactical innovation rather than a doctrinal practice.
"Ripper" Air Defense Vehicle
An air defense variant of the Bugbus APC, the Ripper resembles a basic Bugbus with an enclosed one-man turret mounted on a platform in the middle of the vehicle while the rear third of the vehicle remains open-topped (though Kafer often cover this portion with tarps to protect the crew and cargo from the elements). Primary armament consists of a Tri-Beamer 28MW plasma gun in a fast traverse mount, directed by a short-range search radar (targeting is via a thermal imager paired with a laser rangefinder); in addition the vehicle retains its heavy weapons mount next to the driver, usually fitted with a 22.2mm autocannon in an open mount (this arrangement prevents depression the turreted armament below zero mils when the turret is facing forward). Finally, the vehicle carries a large number of Snapfire missiles (standard load appears to be fifteen to eighteen missiles) which the crew emplaces. Standard crew on the Ripper appears to be two Kafers (a driver and gunner/vehicle commander) plus three to six technicians trained to emplace Snapfires (one of whom mans the forward weapons mount). By human standards, the Ripper is a mediocre, at best, air defense vehicle (target acquisition and engagement ability is actually equivalent or inferior to that of most standard human infantry fighting vehicles and tanks) though it appears to often also be employed in an anti-personnel role.
The Ripper differs from the standard Bugbus in the following statistics:
Type: Kafer Air Defense Vehicle
99 rounds 22.2mm
(Ground): 6 km
Sturmbehemoth Tracked Heavy Assault Gun
This vehicle has only been encountered, to date, on Beta Canum, and all human information concerning the vehicle stems from two examples burned and largely destroyed during close assault by human partisans on the British Continent. It is believed they were part of a three-vehicle battery landed on the planet.
The vehicle appears to be a standard Behemoth heavy tracked tank with the turret removed and replaced with a scaled-up version of the Deathsled’s linear accelerator. The Sturmbehemoth’s ordnance consists of a 202.6mm, 31 caliber, gauss cannon firing a range of shells. The weapon is believed to have substantial indirect fire capability, but Kafer usage in this role is uncertain, and elevation (30 degrees maximum) on the turret seems likely to limit performance in the indirect role. The vehicle takes its name from the fact that Kafer forces seem to have used the vehicles on Beta Canum as infantry support vehicles during deliberate assaults. Ammunition available for the shell appears to include HE, HEAT, WASP, and APHE, though the precise performance of any of these rounds is debatable and largely conjecture at this time. A understanding of the size of the vehicle can be gained from the fact that it carries no fewer than 59 of its massive 202.6mm rounds in the hull.
The vehicle retains the Behemoth’s coaxial and four anti-personnel “Beamer” plasma guns. Both examples were fitted with 144 launchers for “Fly Swatter” anti-missile and anti-personnel grenades, providing protection from repeated ATGW attacks in any direction.
Armor package on the vehicle appears to be identical to the basic Behemoth, except that both vehicles examined by human forces had additional NERA panels bolted to the upper decks and roof, sufficient to provide effective protection against most human ATGMs and other top attack weapons. Both vehicles were ultimately destroyed by close-range use of incendiary and explosive charges (at no small loss to the human partisans attacking them), but should these vehicles have entered combat with human AFVs, it appears likely that the only way to effectively kill them would have been flank shots.
The Sturmbehemoth appears to lack the infantry carrying capacity of the standard Behemoth. Examination of the captured vehicles also seems to indicate an alternate sensor package, of similar though slightly inferior capabilities, and a somewhat different radar signature, possibly owing to some variation in NERA panel composition.
Type: Kafer Assault Gun
40MW Plasma Gun (coaxial)
4 x 40MW Plasma Guns (antipersonnel mounts, one per facing on hull)
Rangefinder Bonus: +3
495 40MW Plasma Cells (99 per weapon)
288 “Fly Swatter”
anti-missile grenades (144 loaded, plus 144 stowed internally)
2 Multi-band encrypted radios, approximately 200km range
Kafer 202.6mm Mass Driver Cannon
Type: 202.6mm Heavy Mass Driver, Aimed Fire Range: 3500m, Rate of Fire: 1, DPV: Varies by ammunition type: High Explosive, damage as explosive, EP = 200, HEAT damage as tamped explosive, EP = 70, WASP: Burst Radius 500 meters, DPV 6, APHE: DPV 100, then as explosive (EP = 20) .
9 August 2004
9 August 2004
Copyright, 2004 James Boschma
Copyright, 2004 James Boschma