Universal Night Watch Ground Operations

Copyright Glen E Terry © 2009

Edited by Aaron Smalley for The Guild Companion

"Ground forces measure their success by how many survivors are rescued from infested worlds."

UNW Ground Assault Forces Motto: "Bring 'em back alive!"

Primary Objectives: Rescue Survivors from Brood held planets, Protect UNW Intelligence Assets, brood warren busting and Planet Cleansing.

General Information: First, the single biggest misconception is that planetary cleansing is the ground forces primary mission, actually it's a distant fourth. Ground forces measure their success by how many survivors are rescued from infested worlds. In practical terms, it requires a tremendous amount of resources to cleanse a Grub-infested world; the UNW simply does not have the resources to cleanse large numbers of infested planets. Therefore, UNW planetary assaults fall into four categories; Small rescue operations, recon and intelligence gathering operations, rapid assault and warren destruction and the planetary liberation assaults. The UNW has discovered that the survivors can provide valuable insights into Grub activity; insights that can eventually contribute to the liberation of the planet.

The first step in a rescue operation is to determine the presence of survivors on a planet. Those who survived on the grub infested worlds quickly learned that not only aggression, but the use of high tech can be detected by the Grubs. The Grubs seem particularly adept at detecting radio communication, making radioing for help a very bad idea, since it alerts the Grubs to your presence. This radio silence explains why many worlds that appear dead in reality have survivors. The UNW uses its Grub-monitoring platforms to search for human activity on Grub-infested worlds. UNW intelligence then works feverishly to gain as much information about the target world as possible before the rescue operation begins. On worlds with moderate infestations, survivors are contacted by the UNW commando teams and then stealthily lifted off the planets on shuttles. These operations can take many months to avoid arousing the Grubs. On more lightly infested worlds, the UNW uses larger ground units and emphasizes speed over stealth.

Only planets with light to moderate Grub infestations are targeted for planetary liberation. The UNW intelligence branch is responsible for determining the infestation level of a target planet. Such a survey can often take months. Then, once the council has selected a target, military preparations begin. These too can take months of planning. A major deciding tactical factor is the speed. For the operation to succeed, the planet must be liberated quickly. Every day that the assault continues increases the chances that nearby Grub swarms will awaken and come to the aid of their brethren. Since its foundation, the UNW has been able to liberate approximately one planet a year. Even now with the last decades massive influx of equipment and personnel from the Anvil races, the UNW is only beginning to move things towards a goal of two planets a year. Quite frankly, at this point, UNW Research & Development and UNW Intelligence are woefully understaffed. All the new personnel seem to be military. While this has helped the UNW step up its patrols of 'hot' Brood areas, it also has meant that the ground forces primary activity at this point has been training the newly joined members on the finer details of Grub-busting and recently sending in groups of ground soldiers to perform Cadre Duty, teaching locals how to prepare for and repel a grub attack. While this particular duty is not nearly as 'sexy' as many of the other operations, it is essential work.

Another facet of the ground operations personnel, though not very common, is the live capture of Builders, Bloodworms and other Grubs for examination. This also fits in with the organizations motto. This is never a mission objective, it is considered a fortuitous event and would never even be attempted on a rescue operation, only on a warren busting or planetary liberation. However, the 'grunts' take great pride in bringing back "Souvenirs" from a mission.

UNW ground troops are considered the most dedicated and feared of the UNW military forces, since they have no qualms about confronting the Grubs on their home turf. There is a fierce rivalry between the 'grunts' and the Grub-Busting starcraft pilots, since the grunts are convinced that they do all the real work. The UNW ground forces also have a special forces group, the UNW Commandos, who are elite members specialized in infiltrating infested planets. It is a common rumor inside the UNW ground forces that another, more covert, special operations group exists. This group is commonly referred to as the LCN, an abbreviation of La Cosa Nostra, old earth Italian which means, literally "This thing of ours"; It was also a term that referred to an old earth criminal organization, commonly referred to as the Mafia. The average soldier believes that the LCN is a very real organization despite all of CentCom's comments to the contrary. Supposedly, the LCN membership is hand-picked from the best of the best of the UNW Commandos. As anyone in CentCom will tell you, these sorts of rumors are bound to show up whenever you have an organization that deals with something as mysterious and perplexing as the Night Brood. The UNW Intelligence and Scientific branches have rumors about a similar group in those branches, in this case going by the code name of "The Blackwood Project". These rumors are not taken very seriously, though more believe in the LCN, probably because the idea of a rogue group of 'Squints' is so laughable.

UNW Politics: UNW politics have been rocky since its inception. The greatest source of conflict is the question of which planets should be cleansed of the Grubs. The UNW has designed a thorough and careful decision making process, which has begun to reduce political friction. The choice of which planets will be liberated is painstaking. Although this has made refugees impatient, it keeps the UNW from being accused of playing favorites. Another recurring problem for the UNW has been the political machinations of House Colos, the Luches Utopia and the Draconians. All three powers have repeatedly tried to have puppet states admitted to the UNW in an attempt to gain control of the organization. Although they have had occasional successes, members of the UNW have been generally successful in thwarting their political power plays. The three powers are also hindered by their tremendous unpopularity. UNW Intelligence, supported by the Hibernian Intelligence Agency, also has a knack for uncovering bribes and other unsavory activities. The Draconians have also been forced to tread carefully, since irritating single members of the UNW could arouse the wrath of several powers. Open intervention might also cost them existing allies.

UNW Command: the UNW has, in effect, two command groups: The Council and Central Command (CentCom). The Council handles the more sweeping issues while CentCom makes all the military decisions and has direct strategic and tactical command. For Example, CentCom will present the council with a list of potential planets to cleanse and once the council makes the decision which planet to target, CentCom will plan and execute the operation, briefing the council as progress is made. The council generally does not intervene in CentCom military operations once they have been approved. CentCom also is free to authorize rapid, emergency military operations without the consent of the council. This flexibility allows for quick response to Grub incursions. CentCom has 3 branches, Scientific, Intelligence and Military, with Military being the most dominant branch.

UNW Ground unit standard composition:

There are three (3) Squads per Platoon plus one (1) Weapons Squad.

Squad Leader: Environmentally sealed armor, Choice of longarm, Choice of sidearm, A combat worthy knife or bayonet. Other melee weapons are allowable as well, but do not count towards the Knife/bayonet requirement.

1st Fire team and 2nd Fire team:
Team Leader, Same layout as the Squad Leader, but often carries an under barrel grenade launcher for firepower multiplication purposes.
Grenadier, A longarm of choice with under barrel grenade Launcher (minimum 4 grenade capacity) or a multi-weapon with Grenade Launcher component (4 grenade minimum applies). Environmentally sealed armor, choice of sidearm, a combat worthy knife.
Rifleman, A longarm of choice, Environmentally sealed armor, choice of sidearm, a combat worthy knife
Automatic Rifleman, Burst capable heavy longarm, environmentally sealed armor, choice of sidearm, a combat worthy knife.

Notes on standard squad layout: A Combat Medic is assigned to a Platoon, who would be assigned to a squad if needed for a mission. Since there is only one assigned field medic per platoon, many squads will elect one of their members (usually a rifleman) to cross train in some basic combat medicine. Of course you would have the Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant, with their RTO's being assigned from one of the squads within the Platoon.

Combat Medic, sidearm of choice(though most choose to carry an SMG or carbine), medical equipment, Environmentally sealed armor (usually T-12 "Cyclops" Field Medic, MedicGear Armor or to a much lesser extent, Minbari Firewings Armor), combat worthy knife.

Platoon Leader / Platoon Sergeant, Environmentally sealed armor, Choice of longarm, Choice of sidearm, A combat worthy knife or bayonet. Other melee weapons are allowable as well, but do not count towards the Knife/bayonet requirement.

RTO (Communications), Environmentally sealed armor, Portable Laser Rig, longarm of choice, combat worthy knife.

The Weapons Squad:
Squad Leader, Environmentally sealed armor, Choice of longarm, Choice of sidearm, A combat worthy knife or bayonet. Other melee weapons are allowable as well, but do not count towards the Knife/bayonet requirement.

1st Fire team and 2nd Fire team:
Team Leader, Same layout as the Squad Leader, but often carries an under barrel grenade launcher for firepower multiplication purposes.

Gunner, (x2) Burst capable heavy longarm, environmentally sealed armor, choice of sidearm, a combat worthy knife.
Ammo Bearer, A longarm of choice, Environmentally sealed armor, choice of sidearm, a combat worthy knife, as much extra ammo for the gunners as is feasible.

Other assets:

Remember the smallest size of a planetary assault (even rescues are considered an assault, technically.) is typically a platoon though that can be pumped up (The CO might add a man portable heavy weapon team, snipers or scouts to your organization) and if it is a larger air assault you have to worry about company assets (mortars, CO, 1SGT, RTOs etc.).

Useful skills for a UNW ground operations personnel:

Climbing
Rappelling (fast roping from a transport)
Fly/Glide (jump packing from a transport)
Tactics (Discretionary Warfare)
Night Brood Lore
Caving (remember, this skill would determine the % of OB you have in caves and tunnels!)
Heraldry
Weapon Technics (repairing , cleaning)
Stalking
Hiding
Sensor Analysis
Operating Equipment
Instruction (For teaching during Cadre missions)
Various Survival skills
Navigation
Targeting and/or Sniping
Mapping
First Aid
AFV crewmember
Tech Trade Gunnery skills
Tech Trade professional cat write-ins
--Microfrequency comms
--Laser Rig Comms
--Forward Observation
Airborne Assault (Combat maneuvers)

These are in addition to your armor skills, weapon skills, stunned maneuvers, etc. This is not to say you need ALL these skills, but your team should have people who can perform most of these skills.