Pre-Release-Edition - w/o proofreading
This edition is for internal use in the "Modern Warfare - level 1" lecture only - making unauthorized copies or giving access to unauthorized externals will be punished. The current edition does not yet consider naval and space devices but concentrates on Land(-Air)-Warfare.
1. The different kinds
The following chapters cover the main types of vehicles, crafts and devices as seen on the modern battlefield. Students may learn some of those "hands-on" in the accompanying simulator training lessons.
While the original blimbs became outdated because they were to dangerous (running on hydrogen) these new kinds of blimbs are of a new kind. Also sometimes heavily armored they may lift their weight through mixed use of technologies like gravity-resistors, thrusters, turbo-jets, and gas lighter than air (read: environment's specific mass).
Most often they serve as aerial observation and communication stations - sometimes coordinating an attack or surveying a target or defense area. Besides there are large ones for delivering cargo. Space ships within atmosphere are often referred to as blimps, too.
On the battlefield of the future nearly all airborne vehicles are capable of vertical takeoff and landing while able to reach a high tactical speed and using ground obstackles for ambush. They are used for quick insertion and extraction, for surveillance and attack. They come in different flavors some are more plane like and some are more like ancient helicopters or gyrocopters. But we won't focus on them now, so lets move on to a more interesting topics...
Gunpods provide firepower where it is needed - at least for defense purposes. They are usually used to defend important structures like communication installations, factories or depots. Sometimes they are encountered near civilian structures like outposts and arcologies. Gunpods may be deployed temporarily during attacks to backup and strengthen previously taken lines. They may be equipped with close-range or ballistic long-range weapons.
They may come in different kinds using hover-technology or caterpillars. After the appearance of walking-battle-devices one may ask "why tanks?" but the answer is simple: "Cheap mobile expendable firepower!". Like in the past humans accompanied tanks as support - now tanks accompany Wanzers (see below) in odds up to 10-to-1.
The dictionary says "Wanzer ~ short for the english-german mashup 'walking panzer', ie. walking tank" *, but the uses of Wanzers are not quite similar to those of 19th and early 20th century tanks. Especially noted should be the use of Wanzers in urban, forest and heavily cluttered areas where a tank would be subject to ambushes and maneuvering difficulties.
On the other hand the open-field usages of Wanzers are to be considered weak strategy as Wanzers usually show a remarkably larger silhouette while suffering from pedestrian locomotion compared to other kinds of locomotion (hover/wheel/caterpillar/aerial). However this drawback can be overcome by integrating other kinds of locomotion, such as jump-jets into a Wanzer as often seen. Anyway the way of approach to a target may for several reasons lead over open terrain.
*Footnote: In literature there is no fixed nomenclature for Wanzers; "Mech", "Striders", "Gear", "Device", "Walkers", beside some country specific - all are being used equally. However the author believes that Wanzer is the only unambigous name refering only to walking mechanical armored devices for warfare - although unarmored agricultural walkers are refered to as wanzers in civilian tounge, too.
The types of devices on the battlefield are manyfold and likewise their uses. Future commanders shall keep them and their strength and weaknesses in mind when planning a campain. We will elaborate their combined use for campains in the "Modern Warfare - level 2" lectures.