My thanks to Roger Sanger, the copyright holder, for granting me
permission to host this article on my web site. To quote him, "I was looking
for a new home for DGP's 2300 AD articles, and naturally I picked the best fan
sites on the Web for that purpose. Kudos to Pentapod's World! Enjoy!"
- Kevin Clark
- January 24th, 2000.
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The Orbitoe Piekhoti, the Orbital Marines, are elite soldiers under General of Marines Ivan F. Khmelinitsky and the General Staff of the Russian Space Navy, the Voisk Cosmo. Since Russia is not a colonial power, their duties are essentially limited to security, boarding in cases where customs violations are suspected and the police customs teams or the Orbitoy Dozor ( Orbital Patrol) want special support, and as a special rapid response unit. They do not, for example, even have any specialized landing craft for a "jump" in contested airspace.
No conscripts serve in this much-feted unit and the 400 or so OP are often seen in honor guards, leading parades, and starring in the crudely nationalistic tri-vid films put out by the Bureau of Public Information. Standards are high, entrance requirements stringent and the training grueling, but the results are troops, well above the Russian standard, which have won the grudging respect of French, American, and German soldiers alike.
The illustration shows two OP from the 4th Glorious November Far Stars Squadron's 12th Polk. Ensign Novorov is in everyday dress, a standard white shipsuit with the red collar tabs and "Sam Browne" rig of a marine. On the pocket of his left sleeve is the squadron's red bear's-head insignia while a service-wear alloy replica of his prized Cross of Patriotic Gallantry is on his breast cargo-pocket. Directing an OQC boarding, he is armed with the standard sidearm, 5.9mm Pistolet Bakunin autopistol and wears a communications headpiece/mike. He is holding his officer's computer unit.
Behind him is one of his men, ready far boarding in a GPVV vacuum suit which provides an armor value of 0.9 all over and 1.1 on head and torso. Communications gear and polarised vision enhancement are built in, and the armored blister on his right shoulder plate houses a biomonitor under a hinged cover on boarding duties, his left plate will be emblazoned with the flag of the Russian OQC contingent rather than squadron colors.
Instead of the usual VL-16 laser rifle ( license-built F-7s) he carries a GR-14 recoilless grenade launcher. For boarding it is loaded with "splash shells", canister rounds which blast a spray of volatile chemicals at a very high pressure. Within three to four meters such a round can rip through flesh and even light armor ( DPV=0.3); beyond that range it evaporates harmlessly. Its virtue is that even point-blank hits should not penetrate a hull or damage machinery, nor will it clutter up a zero-G battlezone with floating debris. Another five-round drum of RGZ splash shell and two of RPG-6 flechette rounds are stored in his belt pouch.
A platoon is made of 12 men - Ensign, Platoon Sergeant, and two squads of four men and a First Soldier -- armed with three VL-16s, an SVB sniper's rifle and a GR-14. Gauss rifles are not usually issued since their high rates of fire produce a recoil unacceptable for troops who often operate in zero-G conditions.
Four platoons plus a small four-man command section make up a Polk ( "company"). Each VC squadron has a single Polk, OP, except the 5th Red Banner Guards Assault Squadron which consists of a full "battalion", the 1st Guards Boyevaya, OP.
Along with three Polk of OP this includes two special units, the 3rd Support and 7th Armored Polk. The former provides mobility and light support for other units when deployed dirtside. It has two transport platoons each with three NV-68 hoverbuses ( each able to carry 24 men) and one of four NV-86s, light armored GEVs with computer-controlled trinary autocannon for point air defense and direct fire support.
The 7th Armored Polk consists of only the 20 men who man and maintain five NT-79 hovertanks. They have never seen active service but always have a prominent role in the annual military parade through Red Square, hence their nickname the "toy soldiers". Nevertheless it is an aggressively trained and recruited force and is generally seen as a useful avenue to command position within the Orbital Marines.
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