JERRY-RIGGED WEAPONS AND CAPTURED SKYNET TECHNOLOGY
One of the primary suppliers of high energy weapons to the Resistance was SKYNET (a well known fact that disturbed and angered the Artifint), through combat attrition, battlefield salvage, hijacking, outright theft, and sometimes by other clever means including invention and innovation. A large portion of SKYNET's advanced weapons were often captured by Resistance fighters, repaired, modified, and returned to combat service in use against the Machines. The advanced technology employed by SKYNET was more often than not far ahead of what the Resistance could produce, and sometimes beyond even their best scientists and technicians ability to understand (but not necessarily beyond their ability to use).
The most effective
weapons against Terminator and Infiltrator units were the heavy high energy
plasma guns found mounted on SKYNET's heavier HK
units. Often, the techniques for taking out heavy tracked HKs, walkers, and even Aerials left the weapon systems and
power plants mostly intact and easily salvageable. If not, then it
certainly left pieces for cannibalizing and repair of existing weapons. Scavenger teams rapidly
appeared out of the ruins once a sapper team had demolished a HK, their job was
to dismantle anything that was useable. Operating under fire team and
even sometimes artillery support, scavenger teams went about their job quickly
and methodically, picking any machine clean in a short time of any useable
technology and transferring the bounty back to the nearest firebase or
bunker. The materials were then transferred via underground tunnels,
paths, and old mass transit systems to waiting technicians who repaired,
jerry-rigged, and got the technology operating again.
Rails were often used with push carts or electric / gas
powered mules to ferry the spoils of war deep into the boroughs and bunkers
where Humanity resided.
Rails were often used with push carts or electric / gas powered mules to ferry the spoils of war deep into the boroughs and bunkers where Humanity resided.
New technology was always a bonus and was eagerly sought after by scavenger teams and sci-tech / tech-com members. The Resistance even began to trade with other humans, and the non-aligned factions, offering food, ammunition, medicine, information and other much needed supplies for any SKYNET technology that could be brought to them. The Resistance cataloged and gave trade numbers to various groups of free scavengers, authorizing trade with certain groups and refusing trade with others due to attitude, past experiences, or a combination.
Not every human was behind John Connor and his Resistance, human nature being what it was, the survivors of the holocaust were anything but organized. Greed, rivalry, egotism, and a host of other banal emotions all played humans against humans, even at the twilight of racial extinction. Local warlords sometimes saw their place in Connor's shoes, or thought that perhaps Connor was not doing as much as he could, or striking hard enough. Often, cells of fighters were present to protect survivors who wanted nothing more than to be left alone ... falsely believing that if they didn't bother SKYNET that SKYNET would leave them alone, forget about them, and look elsewhere. The Resistance had to be careful in dealing with freelancers and amateurs, even those bearing gifts or wanting to trade freely. Early in the War, several attacks against Connor's forces were carried out by desperate warlords who wanted their share of Connor's advanced equipment, his large supply of medicine and food, and his large cache of advanced weapons.
Sometimes, there were worse things prowling the ruins than the Machines. Even in a world ruled by Machines and with the threat of species specific racial extermination growing with every new machine design introduced, man was still his own worst enemy.
Pictured above is a human operating a jerry-rigged Westinghouse Model 25D3 phased plasma gun salvaged from a downed aerial HK A4 unit. When mounted in a lethal funnel such as at the end of a tunnel or at the entrance to a defended area, such heavy weapons were easily able to destroy the various models of Terminators and Infiltrators which managed to attempt deep penetration raids into the command and sanctuary strong points. The obvious disadvantage was that such weapons had tremendous amounts of collateral damage capacity and when employed in such lethal funnel type environments, these weapons had the particularly unwanted side-effect of widening the lethal tunnel due to their capacity to literally chew through building material to get to their targets. The explosive decoupling of water vapor trapped in the porous building material often made for spectacular steam explosions when the vapor was superheated and stray fire could collapse entire sections of the underground passages. Sometimes, two or more of these salvaged weapons would be emplaced at critical focal points, able to coordinate through overlapping fields of fire and achieve high ratios of coverage. These weapons were tricky to use, temperamental and not very energy efficient but they packed a tremendous punch and, if they didn't short out, overheat or explode, they usually made the critical difference in an attack or counterattack.
Some of these weapons were mounted on wheeled carriages that could be quickly moved into place on rubber tires. A variety of salvaged wheels and tires were available from many models of recreational ATVs, small cars and small trucks. Gun carriages were sometimes hand constructed out of old pickup truck beds with a pintel or slew mount installed for a gunner and weapon technician. These impromptu and hand fabricated gun carriages were often towed behind other Resistance modified vehicles using standard trailer hitches, a weak point in the design if there ever was one when it came to firing on the move. The gun carriages were not stabilized in any way thus their accuracy dropped considerably if they had to fire on the move, especially over rough terrain or when being fired on in turn. Jackknifes of the trailer were often points of casualties in the war, especially when the towing vehicle was hit or ran into an obstacle while dodging.
The heavy high energy weapons salvaged from the various SKYNET HK units were often crudely mounted on makeshift pedestals, surrounded by sand bags, large pieces of dense debris, and even brick and cinderblock walls to offer limited protection for the weapon crews. Controls were makeshift at best, and often were little more than crude toggle switches to supply power to the firing mechanisms. Unwieldy in the best circumstances, and sometimes less than reliable, these salvaged weapons were still the best countermeasure to the later generations of Terminator and Infiltrator units which could mount effective search and destroy missions against underground bunkers and operations centers. The weapons were mounted in vital chokepoints, usually at entrances where their limited traverse could be used to create very specific killing zones and lethal bottlenecks.
While their high power
demands, heavy high gain phased power generators and
bulky mounts made them impractical for rapid deployment by fire teams or quick field use, these weapons were often
mounted in crucial defense points in bunkers and command centers as well as
affixed in crude mounts in vehicles.
When an old pre-war vehicle was
salvaged and put into use as a mobile weapons platform, it was often referred to
as a "technical," a "FAV" which stood for "Fast Attack Vehicle" or a "tactical."
When an old pre-war vehicle was salvaged and put into use as a mobile weapons platform, it was often referred to as a "technical," a "FAV" which stood for "Fast Attack Vehicle" or a "tactical."
Shown above is a mid 1970's four door General Motors passenger car of questionable make and model (Buick Regal?) which serves as a rapid support vehicle and as a self propelled mount for a support grade General Dynamics RSB-80 phased plasma gun. The choice of a heavy frame and solid construction was obvious in its intended role and its ability to soak up punishment from busting through debris fields, speeding over broken terrain and as a ram against the occasional endoskeleton or runner pod. The addition of high intensity spot lights on a hand fabricated roll bar on top is evidence that the vehicle is used for a fair amount of physical ramming of obstacles (hostile or otherwise) as the original mounting point for the headlights would never take the abuse this vehicle sees. The old car has been fitted with the RSB-80 plasma gun in a pedestal type mount welded directly to the frame of the car, offering limited traverse with the gunner swinging the weapon around while the gunner is in turn held in by a simple nylon restraint belt and harness, again fabricated from existing seat belt designs and supplies. The RSB-80 is fed by a compact dedicated homopolar phased energy cell but like all salvaged weapons, was prone to being somewhat temperamental and most designs like this suffered from overheating, coolant problems and short circuits through substandard electrical leads made from make-shift supplies.
A reinforced roll bar, nylon web restraints, simple seating arrangements with extra foam and cloth padding, a winch (for clearing debris and getting the vehicle unstuck should it become trapped in the ruins), a safety oriented ten gallon fuel cell (salvaged from a parts house) and forward fixed high intensity spotlights have been added to the basic design while some crude armor plating around the gunner and the driver offer limited protection from shrapnel and small arms fire (but no protection at all from even man portable high energy weapons). Gauges were often limited to those still working in the factory dash clusters or in some instances, aftermarket fuel, tachometer and speedometer units salvaged from the ruins of performance parts stores. A fuel gauge and a tachometer, often salvaged from other makes and models, crudely taped or bolted into place, usually gave the driver all the information they needed. Temperature and oil pressure gauges were also common. Most vehicles like this were powered by small block V8 or large displacement V6 engines, electronics were often ripped out and carburetors were added for fuel metering. Automatic transmissions were more prevalent and the wheel wells were often hammered out so that off road "truck" tires could be fitted in place of the much less effective passenger car radials. Limited slip differentials and four wheel drive systems were often retrofitted into existing vehicles, salvaged from other makes and models.
The pintel mount for the rear mounted General Dynamics RSB-80 plasma gun (pictured) has full traverse but much better elevation and deflection, able to point almost straight up and straight down. Elevation and deflection suffer the most when the weapon is pointed forwards and less so when it is pointed to the side. A flexible power / fuel cable can be seen, connecting the weapon both to a jerry-rigged homopolar fast build-out generator as well as to a supply of weapon grade fuel for reaction mass. Without this power cable, the weapon has only what power and fuel are stored in its integral charge stacks, not more than two hundred pulses. When connected to the larger reaction mass fuel source and the fast build-out generator, firing time for the RSB-80 became, for all tactical intents and purposes, unlimited. This model of AFV often saw use as a baiter for ground HK units, drawing them towards waiting and often camouflaged sapper teams, as well as close air defense against Aerials operating in the area working to protect the ground HK units. Several of these hand built AFVs could perform ambush attacks on Aerial units, setting up in groups of two to four AFVs and then using overlapping streams of fire to bring down the flying HK units.. This tactic worked well against the heavy, slower ground units which could often be hammered to pieces under the collective fire of four or five AFVs which were able to move among the ruins and cat-and-mouse the slower HK to death. Even for the Resistance, combined arms doctrine ruled their tactics and methods of operation.
Energy weapons collected by salvage teams were the first choice for the armament of these types of vehicles but other weapons were mounted as needed or as supplies allowed. Some notable examples in Connor's army included several vehicles that had been reinforced to handle single and dual .50 Browning heavy machine guns, 7.62mm M-60 general purpose machine guns, GE electric 5.56mm and 7.62mm miniguns, 40mm Mark 19 automatic grenade launchers, and in two instances, a 105mm recoilless rifle (mounted in the back of a pickup bed on a heavy duty tripod that had been welded to the frame of the truck for support). The projectile weapons were effective against the first few generations of Machines but as the armor grew thicker on the ground units and SKYNET improved its materials composition (especially the later hyperalloy armored units), energy weapons or very heavy projectile weapons (half inch Browning SLAP Sabot Light Armor Piercing ammunition, 20mm heavy anti-tank rifle, etc.) became the normal loadout. The open air variant shown above was the most widely used since it afforded the crew the greatest chance of bailing out. In the event of major damage, another suitable vehicle could easily be found in the ruins, if SKYNET left anything to the humans, it left them with a near endless supply of junk parts from which to craft their weapons and carry the fight back to the hypercomputer.
Engineering teams often welded metal boxes inside the vehicles for use by the driver and gunner, to store their grenades, spare ammunition and additional weapons. Clamps for additional long arms were mounted to the roll bar and the inside of the interior, on the floor and on the ceiling. The most common carried small arms included spare grenades (high explosive and in rare cases, plasma grenades), canister charges (rare), sawed off shotguns loaded either with double ought buck or solid slug (to dislodge any Endos trying to climb on board), spare ammunition and power cells and often a shotgun or two with the place for the driver or gunner to store their own personal weapons securely while bouncing around over the ruins.
Motorcycles were also
popular forms of transport due to their ease of maintenance and their light
weight to power ratio. Dirt bikes
and dual sports were often looked for first but heavier domestic motorcycles
(for their ease of maintenance and large supply of parts) and some import
sport bikes (for their speed and power) were even employed in this role. When the original frames were too far gone to be
of service, the engines and transmissions were either swapped into other less
damaged frames or used as small generators. Garish original factory colors were
often sanded down and painted with a neutral dark gray or flat black to blend
in with the urban sprawl. Most
plastic panels on import bikes were quickly removed to aid in maintenance and
to shed some weight. Other civilian
ATVs were also used by the Resistance with a wide number of custom built dune
buggy type ATVs based loosely on the
In classic dirt track fashion, the doors of the vehicles were often welded shut and all glass removed, allowing the driver and gunner to enter and exit the vehicle only by sliding in through the openings previously covered by safety glass (side windows, front window, back window). On some models, the center side posts and the entire roof was cut off giving quick access to the interior of the vehicle but little in the way of protection other than perhaps a rollover bar and maybe some crash harnesses. Some models of trucks and larger six, eight and ten wheeled heavy civilian and light military transports were equipped with plates of steel welded over the windows and narrow slits cut in them to allow the crew to see out of the vehicle. The exterior surfaces were scuffed up to mar any shiny surfaces, all reflectors and reflective materials were ripped off and if paint was available, a dark gray or solid flat black coat was applied though battle damage and near misses from explosions often did a better job at camouflaging the exterior than anything the Resistance could do. Sometimes the vehicles would be parked near combat zones then disguised by covering them with rocks, masonry and debris, effectively rendering them invisible to most of the machine search parameters. The location of these "cached" vehicles was often told to officers and given out on a need to know basis to the rank and file.
The most common design for a battlefield mobile mount for these heavy weapons incorporated old internal combustion powered automobiles and trucks. Heavier cargo trucks were sometimes used to mount multiple weapon systems. The original fuel element for these vehicles, gasoline, was extremely rare. As such, humans often converted their vehicles to run either on various alcohol-based alternative fuels (which could be distilled rather easily with simple equipment and materials) or in some cases, to electric power (very rare) that could be tapped from salvaged SKYNET technology based power cells and stand alone compact reactors. The humans often called their vehicles "AFVs" or armored fighting vehicles, a nomenclature that could be rather confusing when a real (military) AFV appeared in battle, as it did from time to time. Scrap vehicles which were found for the taking in the ruins were often salvaged, repaired, modified, and put into service merely to function as mobile carriages used to transport the heavy support weapons and the various salvaged high energy weapons around the battlefield quickly. All vehicles used in such manner are often salvaged from the ruins, using the most common makes and models to insure a plentiful supply of spare parts as well as interchangeability of parts and equipment.
Armor was light, if it was present at all, and generally took the form of reinforced plates of sheet steel and heavy padding to protect the crew from impact, kinetic energy based attacks, and crashes. Crude webs were installed along with roll bars and jerry-rigged crash webbing to restrain the gunner and driver during the kidney bruising driving required to survive in the devastated urban theater. Fire extinguishers were sometimes installed, but these were crudely fabricated or took the form of hand held extinguisher units salvaged from the ruins. In the event of an onboard fire, the most common practice was to bail out of the vehicle, whether it was at speed or stopped (though particularly brave soldiers could manage to aim their doomed vehicle at a large machine (like a tracked HK) or a group of ground units and hope that the mass and speed, let alone the possible explosion might just be worth the sacrifice of the vehicle.
Fire extinguishers were rare commodities, often saved for installation and command point use where valuable and irreplaceable electronics were set up and utilized in the war against the Machines. Some drivers and gunners carried heavy fireproof cloths or water soaked towels to beat any flames out and still others carried buckets of sand, dirt or ash. While this was better than abandoning the vehicle and gave the crew some small hope of putting out the fire (which was a tell-tale on even passive HRIR sensors) before it could spread to any fuel or ammunition on board, this option was still less than an ideal situation to find your self in, especially if hostile units are still roaming the sector freely in search mode. Slapping a heavy towel up and down on a bright heat source shows up quite well on the motion tracking and infra-red sensors of any nearby machine, inviting it openly to investigate the cause of the motion / thermal anomaly.
Pictured above is an ancient human driven four wheel drive pickup truck with make-shift welded-on armor and a bed-mounted 5.56mm M214 six barrel electric minigun in a sling traversed pintel mount. The minigun is fed by a 2500 round cassette bolted to the floor of the truck (the ammo feed chute is obvious on the side of the weapon). Power for the weapon was provided by a dedicated battery that was kept topped off by the 12 volt system of the vehicle itself. In the event of battery failure or damage, the weapon was often hooked direct to the electrical system of the vehicle itself and could become ready to use again with a flip of a breaker / toggle switch, drawing power directly from the vehicle's charging system. The minigun's effectiveness, using the light 5.56mm NATO rounds, against the hyperalloy armored heavy ground HK units or the fast moving Aerial HK units is certainly questionable, as is the life expectancy of the minigunner in the exposed position there in the rear cargo area.
Old wrecked vehicles were used to move light artillery and other rapid fire support weapons quickly around the battlefield. Sometimes, severe or fatal injuries came from the rough ride itself rather than from any damage delivered from a nearby SKYNET unit. Here, the "gun truck" and its unlucky crew have drawn the attention of a patrolling Aerial HK. The only hope of the driver is to outmaneuver the Aerial long enough that the minigunner might be able to put a stream of rounds across some of the more sensitive electronics and target acquisition systems housed in the nose of the air mobile unit. Accuracy is pointless in a vehicle doing high speed evasive maneuvers across broken terrain though the very high rate of fire presented by the design of the weapon helps to make up for this, somewhat.
The minigun equipped truck was an interesting but short lived piece of tactical hardware employed early in the War, a piece of hardware that enjoyed less and less success as the years rolled on and SKYNET's creations rolled off the automated assembly lines with thicker and thicker skin. The effectiveness of the 5.56mm NATO firing M214 electric driven six barrel minigun lay in its singular ability to put a large number of high velocity rounds into a small area in a very short amount of time. Armor that could easily shrug off one or two hits of 5.56mm NATO would chip, fracture and break under the sympathetic synergy from the impact of several hundred 5.56mm rounds. Humans literally used the miniguns like water hoses, laying and playing constant streams of 5.56mm rounds into lines of advancing SKYNET units, searching by fire, probing with each stream of rounds for delicate electronics, sensors, vitals exposed by damage from heavier attacks, etc. Sometimes it worked, other times it just drew return fire from the target that was more often than not fatal in reply. The electric minigun equipped four wheel drives were used by various units but the models used in the final conflict were genuine antiques, outdated and outclassed by SKYNET's latest weapons. These mobile weapon systems offered some minimal impact against the bipedal ground units and tended to draw fire from the Aerial units more than the operators would like. All but one were lost at the last battle action at Cheyenne Mountain with the surviving vehicle was so damaged that it could not continue in the campaign and was scrapped after the battle.
A more innovative approach to heavy, mobile firepower came in the form of mounting the Browning M2HB .50 caliber heavy machine gun in a pintel mount. The .50 Browning heavy machinegun is one of the most powerful automatic weapons in the world being almost a light machine-cannon in caliber and power (only the 14.7mm Soviet KPV was more powerful and very few of those, along with their rare ammunition, were ever smuggled into America). The half inch Browning round was very effective against any bipedal configured SKYNET unit as well as against larger units such as the heavy tracked HKs and the Aerials. The SLAP Saboted Light Armor Piercing round was the most sought after ammunition and usually the least available. After 2009 A.D., the Resistance had access to M4 ammunition which included a high explosive dual purpose charge that was effective against soft as well as hard targes. Several half ton and three quarter ton pickup trucks were modified with pintel mounts strong enough to handle the massive recoil of the half inch Browning. Some "gun-trucks" mounted twin M2HB in a dual mounts and at least six trucks were modified with a special powered mount that allowed four M2HB's to be fired in any order, any combination, or all at once. Each M2HB was fed, typically, by a 200 round belt of linked cartridges. Belts could be linked together before or during a mission and some fed from fabricated hoppers holding four or more belts pre-linked (over 1000 rounds available). Most M2HB's also carried a spare barrel or two that could be changed quickly in the field.
A human soldier mans a post mounted M2HB .50 caliber Browning heavy machinegun at a forward rally and supply point. No ammunition box is seen indicating that this weapon may have run dry and is waiting a fresh supply of ammunition, a commodity which was, most of the time, in short supply. Also, the typical "butterfly" handles at the rear are missing and it is possible that this weapon was parted out to repair another M2HB somewhere else.
The M2HB, in comparison to the M214 electric minigun, had a much slower rate of fire but a far longer range and its rounds were very heavy with impressive terminal results against the lighter SKYNET units. In fact, most human command and rally points that weren't guarded by captured plasma weaponry were in turn guarded by crew served .50 caliber heavy machineguns in gun pits or makeshift bunkers.
Other weapons used by the Resistance included man portable indirect fire artillery such as grenade launchers (the 40mm automatic Mk 19 and underslung 40mm M203 being the most prevalent but the venerable "blooper" also seeing some use among less better equipped troops) and mortars. The mortar, especially with the rarer laser designated anti-armor rounds, could be mounted on a mobile carriage and towed into rapid emplacement by a small four wheeler ATV (another commodity used quite often by the Resistance). A variety of carriages were employed by the Resistance, towed behind ATVs ranging in size from 400cc up to 1200cc. Jacks on the four corners could be deployed to provide a more stable firing position and when the weapon was fired, it could be reattached to the ATV and moved quickly around the battlefield. Larger carriages could handle more powerful weapons and the various custom built weapon carriages produced during the war saw everything bolted to them, from light and heavy mortars to automatic grenade launchers, TOW II anti-tank missile launchers, HELLFIRE anti-tank missile launchers, heavy machine guns (mounted singly or in groups), recoilless rifles (up to 120mm), multiple rocket launchers and even a variety of captured high energy weapons with their attendant power supplies mounted to the carriage itself.
The Resistance, without the benefit of automated production facilities like SKYNET utilized, often had to make due with what it could scavenge among the ruins. Some of the designs for Resistance support weapons were desperate indeed, though no less than effective in their own right.