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Immediately after the end of WW2, as the age of fast-moving jets dawned, most militaries around the world concluded that traditional anti-aircraft weaponry was rendered completely useless. Bombers flew higher and ground attack aircraft faster than traditional hand-powered AA guns could contend with, so most anti-aircraft weapons were withdrawn from service and destroyed for scrap while efforts were made to develop the first Surface-to-Air missiles to counter the threat of nuclear bombers.
By the end of the 50s however, the widescale introduction of helicopters onto the battlefield forced militaries to re-think their abandonment of battlefield anti-aircraft weaponry. The anti-bomber SAMs they'd been developing were not suited for active battlefields to shoot down helicopters, so some nations developed new weapons while others re-introduced some old favorites.
M45 (M55) Quadmount
The infamous "Maxson" from AS2 makes a return. The M45 Quadmount anti-aircraft turret (mounted on an M20 trailer to create the M55 Anti-Aircraft Weapon System), unlike most WW2-era anti-aircraft weapons, was never truly withdrawn from service in the US military. It saw action in Korea and later Vietnam primarily as a fire support platform against ground targets with its four powerful M2HB heavy machineguns. In Europe it was one of the only anti-aircraft weapons ready to clear the skies of Soviet helicopters.
The ZPU-2 was developed immediately after WW2 by modifying the KPVT 14.5mm heavy MG into a light anti-aircraft weapon that could be easily carried by troops or mounted onto light vehicles when needed. Despite its larger caliber than the M45, the fact that it has only two barrels makes it roughly balanced with the American system. The ZU-2 as seen in-game was a lightweight modification for airborne troops that also saw widespread service.
I use the term infantry heavy weapons to describe weapons that require a crew to operate but are light enough to be carried around by infantry without needing special towing or transport vehicles. Heavy machineguns, mortars and smaller recoilless rifles. As light crew-served weapons they will be located alongside other two-man infantry teams and be relatively freely available.
The M2HB .50 cal and 12.7mm Dshk are heavy machineguns mounted on tall tripods that serve dual purpose as light anti-aircraft and infantry support weapons. They are great at providing supporting fire but their crew is left rather exposed manning the machinegun.
The 82-BM-37 and M29 are 82mm and 81mm medium or 'infantry' mortars light enough to be carried by two men and provide long-range fire support out of line-of-sight, making them useful in built up and hilly areas. In HOTmod their range is actually on par with vanilla artillery, to give you an idea. Their relatively small shells are slightly more deadly than a grenade explosion, but without the warning.
Light Recoilless Rifles
The 73mm SPG-9 and 75mm M20 are light recoilless rifles deployed on small mounts and serve similar functions to WW2-era light anti-tank guns, but far more portable. Despite this, shoulder-launched weapons like the RPG-7 and M67 are almost on par with their armor penetrating abilities, but being mounted on sturdy tripods give these light weapons greater range and accuracy than the standard anti-tank soldier.
Light Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM)
In the late 50s and early 60s many nations developed a wave of small, man-portable ATGMs like the 9M14 Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger), French ENTAC and British Vigilant - except the United States, which primarily used the ENTAC (and SS.10/11) mounted on the M151 jeep (or helicopters). The Soviet Malyutka is the same missile mounted on the BMP, launched from a small suitcase launcher and crewed by two operators like the other heavy infantry weapons. Standard Soviet doctrine was for the ATGM assistant to be armed with an RPG to cover the 500m minimum range deadzone.
That's all for this blog. Next up, some light AA guns!
I am currently developing a mod project on the AS2: Cold War game. Here's the link to the Steam Workshop version.
Yes, I know. Cold War?! That game is terrible! Why not make it on regular AS2!
Mainly because, while the game Cold War is itself an awful example of minimalist development, it does have quite a decent foundation. Cold War mods that exist for AS2 currently, while very well developed, are still making the best of an engine not designed for things like helicopters, ATGMs, pretty explosions and 64-bit processing.
Anyway, I've been wanting to make some kind of project based on the Cold War in the 1960s for years. Fate has delivered this to me. Am I going to pass it up because it's a bad game? No, because I know I can make it better.
Anyway, here I'll post articles about new units I'm adding with HOTmod as they release. Because I like blathering on about stuff like that.
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