Longbow Gunship

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“Well lookie here boys and gals; this is what I'd call a target rich environment.”

-Longbow pilot in Indochina upon sighting Raj tanks

Tactical Analysis

  • A blast from the past: Speedy and capable of striking from almost any angle, the Longbow is a devastating anti tank helicopter, armed with a loadout of powerful anti-tank missiles and rockets or a devastating chain gun; making it deadly to nearly all ground targets. Uniquely, the Longbow is the only aircraft capable of hiding under a PAWI field.
  • You never hear the one coming for you: Capable of activating a PAWI field, Vanguard Lonbows are infamous for their ability to set up deadly ambushes as they strike invisibly, devastating tank columns without leaving any room for retaliation for enemies who can't detect stealth.
  • Little rough around the edges: The Longbow's weapons cannot track air targets besides helicopters and flying infantry, leaving it extremely vulnerable against enemy aircraft.
  • Shit let's be Santa: Experienced Longbow pilots get priority for better munitions, usually in the form of incendiary bullets and missiles equipped with miniature seismic generators that make tank armour easier to penetrate and are especially effective against structures; allowing Longbows to devastate structures.

Background

During the Second World War, the Westwind Worker's Cooperative AH-53 Longbow was the linchpin of the Comintern's defenses against the armoured fist of Alliance Aggression. Fast, sleek, powerfully armed and long ranged, the Longbow was specifically designed to counter Alliance tank divisions and put an end to the specter of Alliance Schwerpunkt and Panzerkiel tactics, a job it excelled at. Swooping low out of cover to deliver its payload of “Bowman” HEAT rockets and "Little Bighorn" anti-tank missiles from beyond retaliatory range, hundreds, and later thousands of Longbows were deployed from forward airbases, and its descendants continue to arm the Comintern military to this day; though in a more modern format. Such capabilities were made possible by the development of turbine engines that allowed helicopters to have the muscle needed to carry heavy weapons payload and sufficient armour to withstand small arms fire while still being fast enough to quickly respond to situations as they developed.

The Longbow was almost impossible for early Alliance tank divisions to counter. Though infantry with rocket launchers, anti air "Flak Tracks", SAM sites, and the rocket pods on the Ubkpzfw 2 Mammut Tank could fight them off, most tanks were helpless against these machines, which scored the highest kill ratios against the Alliance war machine of any vehicle in the war; only truly rivaled by the legendary Stuka which also gained a terrifying reputation among Alliance tankers. Simply the sound of a Longbow's rotor blades could inspire fear and dread in the minds of Alliance tankers, and all manner of elaborate means of dealing with them were developed hastily. It is perhaps the Longbow's presence on the battlefield that inspired the craze for pintle mounted heavy machine guns on virtually every platform the Alliance fielded

The greatest to the Longbow was Alliance aircraft, particularly the Dascal Mistral, so the Longbow was initially constrained in its abilities due to the constant risk of interception by enemy air patrols. The large scale appearance of the Yakonovna Jumpjet and the Stormchief and the subsequent disintegration of Alliance Air Superiority allowed the Longbow to operate with far more freedom, and in the last year of the war Longbows managed to devastate Alliance panzer divisions, forcing the Alliance into repeated defensive actions throughout 1954 and contributing to the pushbacks throughout 1955 and 1956. Twisted wrecks of metal can be found all through Eurasia and the Americas; wrecks caused by the lethal efficiency of the Comintern's deadly longbows.

One of the biggest advantages of the Longbow is its ability to hover extremely low to the ground; it could hide in a GAP field, pop up over the cloud to fire its rockets and missiles at enemy vehicles, and then sink back into the protective cloud. These rockets and missiles retain their lethal effectiveness against even more modern tanks, though as the rockets are unguided, to use the entirety of the Longbow's firepower it needs to get very close. The Longbow is one of the most modern assets in the Vanguard's arsenal; it has been upgraded with components made for the later models of the Longbow, such as more modern avionics and advanced PAWI stealth sytems. The unparalleled armour penetration the Longbow provides makes it invaluable for keeping Alliance and Anti-Communist armour at bay, and it is a staple of Vanguard strike forces.

Wherever the Vanguard deploys; the Longbow can be expected to be found. Alliance aligned forces in Indochina have been devastated time and time again by the appearance of "archer block" formations of Longbows ripping armoured formations to shreds. The Green Chinese and supporters of the Blue Chinese have found reason to curse the Longbow as the Vanguard goes from Red Chinese fiefdom to fiefdom trying to patch the Socialist Federation of China together again. The Technocracy in South America has found many of its operations against MIR stalled by the appearance of Longbows gutting their ground formations, and Longbows have helped MIR seize numerous positions and routes. In Africa and the middle east, the Longbow can be seen deploying freely against the Syndicate and the Coalition as well as the WLA; and in the mess that is Indonesia both the WLA and the Majapahits look to the skies in terror of the very idea that there might be Longbows waiting for them.