|Unit Type||Basic Infantry|
|Production Time||5 seconds|
|Heroic Upgrade||Tesla Repeater Arc Gun (fires tesla bolts that chain between multiple targets)|
|Dev. Status||BA3 Original Unit|
- A wall of lead: The Sentry Gunner is a powerful and versatile form of suppression infantry whose powerful but comfortable to carry heavy machine guns can tear apart infantry and stop them in their tracks, threaten lighter vehicles, and menace low flying aircraft such as helicopters. With resilient body armour and instant cover plates, they are hard to dislodge from a position once rooted in and will be able to easily counter large numbers of enemy infantry.
- Stop here: The Sentry Gunner team needs to deploy in order to start using their weapon, though they can do so rather remarkably quickly due to the gun being lugged around by a special drone and deploy some instant cover to give them a defensive boost no matter where they are against any enemy from nearly any direction. When not deployed, they use significantly less potent submachine guns for some measure of self defence.
- Stop there, please!: Sentry Gunners are highly vulnerable if caught in melee due to their low numbers and their weak melee armament, and are slower than most infantry as a rule due to the equipment they carry; making it highly recommended for them to ride transports. They are also very vulnerable to heavy vehicles that can just absorb their shots and higher flying aircraft that can reliably evade them, and anti-cover weapons such as mortars or flamethrowers are also dangerous. Finally, due to their low model count; snipers are a grave threat to them.
- Grounded Lightning: Towards the end of the third world war, the new XHMG-1 Tesla arc suppressor began to be rolled out to the most notable sentry-gunner teams in the RIVA. The weapon not only is much more dangerous to vehicles, even being able to briefly EMP them on impact; but will arc between extra targets, making swarm attacks even more ineffectual against them.
"Blue Bastards Begone!"
- -- Anonymous Sentry Gunner
The machine gun is universally regarded as one of the great game changers in warfare. To move in massed, tightly packed infantry formations with the intent of maximising firepower was now to be part of a suicide pact as a machine gun team could simply sweep their weapon and mow down the entire advance. The great increase in the available rate of fire made the concept of suppressible fire with the intent of slowing down an enemy or preventing them from firing back accurately as opposed to shooting strictly to kill more realisable. And quite importantly, it gave small teams the firepower of whole companies of rifle carrying infantry. Though earlier conflicts did give a taste of the power of the machine gun, it was the first world war that really made commanders realise just how important it was to the development and evolution of warfare. For years, the machine gun and the indirect artillery cannon terrorized the humble infantry man in every front of the war. But without the ability to push through these walls of fire before, what came in its place were costly frontal assaults or tricky and difficult to pull trench raids and storm trooper attacks and heavy bombardment in the hopes of catching at least some of the enemy in the rain of shells. It took the development of the tank and the refinement of mechanized warfare to truly break the walls of death that the machine gun could offer.
This experience was not lost on the countries that would form the communist international. Vivid memories of the devastation that properly used machine guns could inflict lead to the development and evolution of their own machine gun tactics. There was some conflict in doctrine however, some called for machine guns to be integrated down to the squad level and thus focus on the development of GPMGs that could be easily carried around and would serve as the real teeth of an infantry squad. Others called for platoon or company level integration with a stronger push for heavier machine guns able to destroy materiel. While machine guns of every standard caliber would be developed, the experiences of the second world war would push the Comintern's focus towards heavier machine guns to deal with alliance light vehicles and support dedicated anti-tank troopers. While the 7.62mm caliber machine guns could be shrugged off by alliance half tracks and armoured trucks and cars, the devastating 12.7mm BMG rounds from the world famous M2 Browning would more often than not tear through vehicles less durable than a tank and shred many forms of cover.
Even more encouraging was that they were of rather substantial effectiveness against the first Bright Troopers of the Alliance, able to punch through their exosuits and reduce the man inside to pulp. By the time the second world war ended, the country of Poland; remembering well the devastation of the alliance war machine, decided to further emphasize the machine gun as a way to deal with the enemy across the Danzig corridor. The result of this program was the sentry gunner team; a team of three, a spotter, a gunner, and a loader who would carry around an M3 Browning II Heavy Machine gun; lighter, more heat resistant, and more portable than its older counterpart; as well as a number of instant cover plates and bags to set up a durable fire position in any location in seconds. Soon enough, the RIVA Stavka took interest in this development and after a number of impressive field tests and experiences in still smouldering conflict areas such as China and Africa gave its approval to make it the standard suppression infantry unit in the armed forces. With reports coming out of the development of more battlesuits and light vehicles, the Stavka felt it had made the correct decision.
Soon enough, the opportunity to truly test their new kit would come with Thornley's renewed invasion of the Communist International. Even the heavily armoured peacemaker and spectrum troopers were forced to respect the power of the M3 and their walls of fire helped to slow down numerous attempted attacks and are credited with forcing the Alliance to take nearly two years to reach Moscow. By the time of the dramatic entrance of the Sphere and the Dominion into the war millions of sentry gunner teams had been trained and would inflict fierce; savage casualties on their enemies new and old. However to the horror of many it was found that the sphere in particular had trained and equipped itself to counter suppression tactics. An imperial warrior on a banzai charge was virtually fearless and once their wave katanas were in range death was likely swift and imminent. Pan-African forces would obliterate Sentry-Gunner positions from afar with heavy weaponry and indirect fire mortars and the Guardians of Monarchy would smother attempts to suppress them with choking black smoke.