In most militaries, light tanks are at best used as a screening force for much larger mechanized formation and at worst – they are sent to plug in the gaps in somebody's lines. Customary in the Taz'aran Imperial Army, for example, is the formation of "assault" tank brigades. Those are formed exquisitely from forcefully recruited and poorly trained soldiers, whose job is to die. The light tanks they are given often have paper thin armor plating, defective or sub-par systems and, their particle beam cannons lack proper targeting optics. Taz'aran Lord Generals are very peculiar when machines for said assault tank brigades are purchased; those must be able to at least move quickly, their cannons fire a couple of shots before short-circuiting.
In stark contrast, however, the forces of CM use fewer in strength but highly specialized, force reconnaissance units, equipped with light tanks. The machines they use are never looted alien vehicles, but always well-crafted Terran models. There are three types of chassis that engineers build standard light tanks around. First and perhaps the least used one depends on a grav-drive; due to the nature of Fringe space, many planets are wrought with all sorts of anomalies, of those the abnormal magnetic zones being the most common one. If the alien forces face a CM unit equipped with light grav tanks, they can expect one highly-maneuverable, energy shielded and armed with long-range railguns force. The second type of chassis is a wheeled one; this design is intended for maximum maneuverability, its multi-wheeled, all-terrain suspension is not only able to move the tank forwards and back, but also left or right. That the tank can move quickly and with the same speed in all directions, provides its crew and commanders with new, and unique tactical opportunities. Last but not least is the tried and tested tracked chassis; designed to carry more weight over a wide array of terrains, this is often the type of tank that most CM force reconnaissance units use. While the multi-wheeled chassis offers unsurpassed by anything else but perhaps a grav-drive, maneuverability, the tracked machine is designed not only for speed but also carries a tad bit more armor plating. Since the job of force reconnaissance units in the CM is to rapidly advance, retreat and engage the enemy scout units in open combat, these machines are also fitted with the best light laser cannons available.
During a small scale engagement, the CM force reconnaissance unit will first employ its highly maneuverable wheeled tanks, whose main armaments are anti-material missile launchers and gyro-jet cannons. Their job is to locate, paint targets for long-range mortar or arty fire, and then hit the enemy from ambush. They use their missiles first; most are wire-guided “dumb” munitions, which their alien adversaries are unable to hack or jam the warheads of. Then the “Stalkers”, begin their rapid retreat, while showering targets of opportunity with gyro-jet shells, traversing the terrain with ease thanks to their multi-wheeled chassis. Seconds after the arty hits whatever targets Stalkers had painted, the light tanks attack. Ideally the enemy has already sustained moderate to heavy damage; first targets are always command vehicles, mobile anti-air and other specialized vehicles. More about the mobile artillery units of the CM and CA in the following blogs! The tracked tanks then engage in a manner most vicious; they attack and finish those enemy machines who are the most damaged first. Standard armament for Terran CM tracked tanks is one light, high-powered and fast firing laser cannon, coupled with automatic grenade launcher. The “Wolverine” advances while showering what is left of the enemy scout unit with a hail of anti-personnel, high-explosive grenades and pinpoint, accurate laser fire. The Terrans always attack in little waves, biting the enemy where he is the weakest, retreat and then attack again. Operational CM manual states that force reconnaissance units are to devote no more than a minute for such an attack and then retreat altogether. The APCs and AFVs of their unit back the light tanks up and provide additional fire support. Ideally, after the end of the engagement, the enemy scout unit is either completely wiped out or sustained heavy losses, therefore severely hampering its ability to provide accurate field intelligence to the invading alien force.
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