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Long Gunner Infantry

Long Gunners take aim

The skilled reputation of the Cygnaran Long Gunners precedes them wherever their orders take them. Two tier firing lines of these staple troops can unleash a hail of slugs that might as well be a wall of high-speed lead. Only troops in the thickest armor can stand in this onslaught for long, and even then they will not come out unscathed. Riflemen from across Cygnar come to recruiting centers in every major city every day to try to enlist into the Long Gunners. It is a well-known fact that the Long Gunners are given the best equipment, the finest shot, and some of the best opportunities for advancement. Since the Khadoran invasion of Llael and subsequent attacks on Cygnaran territory, recruitment has increased two-fold as patriots from across the kingdom rush to enlist. Long Gunners receive training at a number of military bases and forts throughout Cygnar. Since the onset of war, these facilities are operating at peak capacity, turning out fresh troops as fast as possible, while struggling to maintain the quality of instruction.[1]

Since the advent of the long gun, Cygnar has assembled skilled riflemen to support its vast armies. Originally the guns were muzzleloaders, and gunners had to line up in pairs with one gunner shooting while the other reloaded each ball down the barrel by hand. Replacing the muzzleloaders of King Malagant’s time, the Long Gunners have continually adapted to the latest and best rifles Cygnar can devise. Superior weapons and training have shaped them into the ultimate backup for the trench platoons filling the battlefields. The introduction of the breechloader eliminated the need for firing in pairs and vastly improved the rate of fire. Current long guns employ the ammo wheel, which allows a single gunner to fire up to six shots by cranking a lever atop the gun. Preloaded replacement wheels are easy to substitute even in the heat of combat, allowing ranks of long gunners to deliver a constant hailstorm of crippling fire.[1][2]

The ammo wheel greatly reduces not only the time between shots but also the speed of reloading. The concept of the ammo wheel is simple. Multiple shots are loaded into a cylindrical wheel holding four to six shots. Using a long-handled crank attached to the wheel’s cradle, the Long Gunner can easily line up the next slot in the wheel to be fired with a simple pre-calculated crank of the handle. Cranking the wheel into firing position in a combat situation was once a very difficult task, so pairs of Long Gunners would aid each other in a fire-cover-reload -fire pattern that allowed one gunner to step back while his partner shot and vice versa. This continued until the invention and addition of the shoulder hoist, a padded leather cup strapped under the Long Gunner’s supporting shoulder. It would hold up the stock of the long gun with his own body weight, freeing a hand to turn the loading crank. It was a simple and ingenious invention, and the freedom it grants the Long Gunners has made it priceless.Each Long Gunner carries an ammo bandolier with six to ten extra shots to be loaded into the rifle. This can be done by hand, but veterans prefer to have at least one fully loaded ammo wheel in reserve. Reloading an ammo wheel takes a few minutes to do properly, and cleaning a spent wheel out to Cygnaran military standard could take twice that depending on the gun’s general upkeep and the wetness of weather. Most Long Gunners do not clean their wheels when they do not have to, preferring instead to drop them off to the requisitions officers in exchange for new ones.[1]

Long gunners reflect Cygnar’s relatively modern focus on outfitting its army with the best weapons for war. Rifle soldiers were once seen only in small squads providing support fire to the main line, but now Cygnar relies on them to man its garrisons and defend its borders alongside squads of hardened trenchers. Long gunners are well trained in concentrating their fire, releasing barrages of withering shots that tear through even thickly armored enemies and warjacks. Fresh recruits who have just learned to handle their weapons fight alongside seasoned veterans who have earned widespread fame and notoriety for their skill.[2]

Long Gunners must be ready to stand iron-heeled while their countrymen are embroiled in combat before their very eyes, waiting for the command to take aim against their brothers’ killers. Dicipline and skill separate these riflemen from common garrison militias, and while it might seem more productive to fire at will like some units do—the Long gunner is trained to let fly only when instructed. While it might be good enough for trench platoons to fire to hit anywhere on an incoming target, Long Gunners have to be good and fast—hitting exact locations in rapid succession. It might seem inefficient or wasteful to demand only the best shots from them, but anyone on the receiving end of the torrential rain of fire will say otherwise.[1]

New units are commonly grouped around individual cities or recruiting centers. It is a good way to keep the units close to their own homes and families while on garrison and maintain unit morale while giving the lads something near and dear to them to bolster their courage. Often earls of the Cygnaran provinces will personally pay to outfit Long gunners from their territories, especially if the troops are expected to garrison their lands. Though outfitted in the same fashion as other Long Gunners, the uniforms of these troops may vary slightly. It is only in times of war these units get railroaded away to the front lines where they will be asked to stand fearless and resolute in defense of their kingdom. [1]

Long Gunners serve in a variety of roles. In times of peace, they are most often utilized to garrison railyards, cities, and border crossings. In times of war they both take to the field, providing withering volleys of fire whenever and wherever they are ordered. Trained to follow rigorous and exacting direction that would bring a tear to a Khadoran’s eye, Long Gunners are known for combined fire that can drop an enemy ‘jack at great range.[1]

Before the start of the war, many Long Gunner units were rarely stationed far from home. Reflecting their role on the battlefield, these troops are lightly armored for maximum efficiency in battle. Commonly found only in armored coats and banded vests, they prize mobility and flexibility over sheer protection—not to mention the cost to the crown to outfit their numbers with anything heavier. Long Gunners on the move seldom stray too far from the requisitions officers, for they still tend to be more resource needy than many other units. Between rapid firing expensive shot and the constant replacement of their guns’ intricate and hard-used parts, Long Gunners are given large allowances for upkeep and maintenance. They have recently become so numerous and widespread that their upkeep represents a sizable portion of Cygnar’s military budget.[1]

The armored long coat and banded breeches of the Long Gunner uniform are light and only reinforced as the engagement requires. Armored plates are inserted in buttoned slots along the long sections of fabric—the thighs, shins, stomach and chest—to the desired thickness. A Long Gunner placed in an urban garrison will no doubt wear less in the way of reinforcing plating than a gunner sent into the Thornwood on Khadoran border patrol. Most Long Gunners hope to outshoot the enemy at range and pray to Morrow their comrades at arms will keep them from close combat.[1]

Defending a good field position in melee is still a possibility, and every Long Gunner must pass the same close combat training as any other army trooper—wielding stout swords kept oiled and sharpened. Some Long Gunners pride themselves on close combat prowess not only to defend their lives but also the expensive gear of their unit. Some go so far as to notch their sword sheathes or hilts with the number of close-quarter kills they have earned. This number is only ever bragged about among other Long Gunners; other units would likely not be impressed.[1]

Long Gunner units are known for their relentless ability to pour eroding amounts of fire into a target or targets—enough to find soft spots in any armor or create new ones. Like surgeons they pick and place their efforts, shouting out range and aiming requests to each other in a brisk cadence of military commands.[1]

Such is the trained coordination of Long Gunner units that they have actually been known to create their own gunnerspeak to be used on the battlefield. Such phrases bellowed out by the sergeant as "I want a sour mash down the big bear's gullet 'til she chokes" or "by the bollocks at a yardsman's arm" will offer volumes of targeting information to his unit. For instance, calling out a "gobber's bootknife" onto an enemy is the equivalent of ordering a unit to shoot the target in the lower rear—like where a bandit might backstab someone. It is a confusing code learned throughout the rigorous training their unit commanders put them through, and many speculate it is only through these seemingly random and sanity-defying phrases that Long Gunners can make such precise combined efforts over the roar of Immoren’s present day battles.[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 No Quarter #2
  2. 2.0 2.1 Forces of Warmachine: Cygnar Command MK3