Battlefield Mortars for Rifts:


Index:


Introduction:


Mortars are smoothbore, muzzle-loading artillery piece that fires indirect shells at relatively low velocities, at short ranges, and with a high-arcing ballistic trajectory. They normally have a minimum range based on their ballistic arc. While they fill a similar role to rifled howitzers and field guns, the larger weapons fire at higher velocities, longer ranges, and flatter trajectories. Most modern mortars consists of a tube into which is dropped a mortar shell onto the firing pin which results in the detonation of the propellant and the firing of the shell. Many have the ability to be fired using a trigger instead of just being drop fired. Most modern mortars are relatively small. Even with larger sized mortars, mortars are usually cheaper than artillery.


In modern combat, mortars are an important component of the battlefield. Likewise, they are still very important in the war torn world of the Rifts. In some cases, light missile launchers have replaced mortars but mortars still have several important advantages. One of these is the fact that mortars are less expensive to purchase and operate. Another is that the mortar fires at a high ballistic angle and does not need a direct line of sight. There are several different common sizes of mortars, some which can be carried and used by personnel while others are mounted in vehicles. While rare, there are special automatic mortars although some consider them too be grenade launchers than true mortars.


Like with hand loaded artillery, the rate of fire of mortars is determined by the endurance of the person operation the mortar. This means that the rate of fire will generally slow down as the operator tires. A robot firing the mortar would not have a reduced rate of fire as a result. Rate of fire is in the range of fifteen to thirty rounds for the first minute and then a sustained rate of fire and then four to twenty rounds sustained after a few minutes of rapid fire. Mortar range can be increased by the use of additional charges although minimum range increases and rate of fire decreases as charges are increased.


Listed below are the most common types of mortars and ammunition types operated by the United States Military. While other government may operate different calibers of mortars, most are similar to United States mortar systems. Most mortars fire unguided shells to reduce ammunition cost but some special guided shells are also available. Several companies on Rifts Earth produce mortar systems and ammunition including Northern Gun, Wellington Industries, Metalworks Industries, and Triax. As well, these weapons are often recovered from Pre-Rifts military arsenals.


Types of Mortars:


60 mm Mortars:
These weapons are relatively small and are portable by troops in the field and break down into components of less than 20 lbs (9.1 kg). They are often called "Light Mortars"


Weight, Fully Assembled: 46.5 lbs (21.1 kg)
Weight, Projectile: 3.7 lbs (1.68 kg)
Black Market Cost: 6,000 Credits.


Propelling
Charge Zone
Muzzle
Velocity
Minimum
Range
Maximum
Range
Maximum
Rate of Fire
Sustained
Rate of Fire
0213 ft/s (65 m/s)230 ft (70 m)1,310 feet (400 m)30 rnd / min 20 rnd / min
1413 ft/s (126 m/s)660 ft (200 m)4,270 ft (1,300 m)30 rnd / min 20 rnd / min
2558 ft/s (170 m/s)1,150 ft (350 m)6,900 ft (2,100 m)25 rnd / min 15 rnd / min
3682 ft/s (208 m/s)1,640 ft (500 m)9,200 ft (2,800 m)25 rnd / min 15 rnd / min
4791 ft/s (241 m/s)2,125 ft (650 m)11,550 ft (3,500 m)20 rnd / min10 rnd / min


Maximum rate of fire can be sustained for four minutes


81 mm Mortars:


These mortars are often classified as medium sized mortars. They have better range than light mortars but are quite a bit heavier with the heaviest component (Mortar Assembly) weighing around 35 pounds (15.9 kg) although the other components are quite a bit lighter.


Weight, Fully Assembled: 89 lbs (40.4 kilograms)
Weight, Projectile: 9.1 lb (4.14 kg)
Black Market Cost: 25,000 Credits.


Propelling
Charge Zone
Muzzle
Velocity
Minimum
Range
Maximum
Range
Maximum
Rate of Fire
Sustained
Rate of Fire
0217 ft/s (66 m/s)230 ft (70 m)1,390 ft (425 m)30 rnd / min 20 rnd / min
1489 ft/s (149 m/s)980 ft (300 m)6,230 ft (1,900 m)30 rnd / min 20 rnd / min
2682 ft/s (208 m/s)1,800 ft (550 m)10,830 ft (3,300 m)25 rnd / min15 rnd / min
3850 ft/s (259 m/s)2,460 ft (750 m)15,090 ft (4,600 m)25 rnd / min15 rnd / min
41,001 ft/s (305 m/s)3,120 ft (950 m)19,360 ft (5,900 m)20 rnd / min10 rnd / min


Maximum rate of fire can be sustained for two minutes


120 mm Mortars:


These are considered heavy motors although there are special mortars operated by other nations which are up to 240 mm in width. They have better range than light or medium sized mortars although rate of fire is less for these mortars than the smaller weapons. Generally these weapons are mounted in vehicles or are in towed mountings. Still, they are much lighter than true artillery.


Weight, Fully Assembled: 319 lb (144.7 kg)
Weight, Projectile: 30 lbs (13.65 kg)
Black Market Cost: 80,000 Credits


Propelling
Charge Zone
Muzzle
Velocity
Minimum
Range
Maximum
Range
Maximum
Rate of Fire
Sustained
Rate of Fire
0331 ft/s (101 m/s)660 ft (200 m)3,280 ft (1,000 m)16 rnd / min 4 rnd / min
1541 ft/s (165 m/s)1,640 ft (500 m)8,200 ft (2,500 m)16 rnd / min 4 rnd / min
2722 ft/s (220 m/s)2,790 ft (850 m)13,450 ft (4,100 m)12 rnd / min4 rnd / min
3886 ft/s (270 m/s)3,940 ft (1,200 m)19,030 ft (5,800 m)12 rnd / min4 rnd / min
41,024 ft/s (318 m/s)5,250 ft (1,600 m)23,620 ft (7,200 m)8 rnd / min4 rnd / min


Maximum rate of fire can be sustained for one minute


Mortar Rounds:


Fragmentation Rounds:

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm Mortar1D4x1020 feet (6.1 meters)300 Credits
81 mm Mortar1D6x1025 feet (7.6 meters)500 Credits
120 mm Mortar2D6x1050 feet (15.2 meters)1000 Credits


High Explosive Rounds:

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm Mortar1D4x105 feet (1.5 meters)250 Credits
81 mm Mortar2D4x1015 feet (4.6 meters)500 Credits
120 mm Mortar3D6x1030 feet (9.1 meters)1000 Credits


Armor Piercing Rounds:

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm Mortar1D6x103 feet (0.9 meters)300 Credits
81 mm Mortar2D6x105 feet (1.5 meters)500 Credits
120 mm Mortar3D6x1020 feet (6.1 meters)800 Credits


[1] Due to the weapons high penetration, warheads inflict critical strikes (double damage) on natural 18, 19, and 20


Plasma Rounds:

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm Mortar2D4x1015 feet (4.6 meters)400 Credits
81 mm Mortar2D6x1025 feet (7.6 meters)650 Credits
120 mm Mortar4D6x1050 feet (15.2 meters)1,200 Credits


Smoke:
Use the blast radius of smoke for knockout gas, tear gas, and fire regardant as well.

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm MortarNone20 feet (6.1 meters)200 Credits
81 mm MortarNone30 feet (9.1 meters)400 Credits
120 mm MortarNone40 feet (12.2 meters)600 Credits


Illumination:
Illumination warheads deliver parachute-suspended flare type lights or "candles". These provide illumination over a battlefield for at least a limited amount of time.

Mortar Round:Mega Damage:Blast Radius:Cost:
60 mm MortarNone [1]200 feet (61 meters)400 Credits
81 mm MortarNone [1]300 feet (91 meters)600 Credits
120 mm MortarNone [1]400 feet (122 meters)1,000 Credits


[1] Multiple candles are released from the warheads. The illumination will last for 10 melees (2.5 minutes).


General Rules:


Flight Time:
Without trying to make the system incredibly complex, Mortar rounds take 1 melee for every mile they travel.


Shooting down Mortar Rounds:
Mortar rounds can be shot down in a similar fashion to missiles. Most 60 mm mortar rounds have 4 M.D.C., 81 mm mortar rounds have 8 M.D.C., and 120 mm mortar rounds have 15 M.D.C. In most cases, a guided missile or an advanced fire control computer is required to shoot down projectiles.


Guided Projectiles:
Guided projectiles have the advantage of being able to seek out their target. There are multiple forms of Guided projectiles and their use similar seeker systems to guided missiles. Due to costs involved, mortar shells rarely have a smart guidance system. Strike roles for guided projectiles are as per normal strike rules.


Active Radar Homing: This shell guidance is a tiny radar system that allows it to guide itself to target. This guidance is Autonomous. This guidance system can be detected by any system that detects radar signals. These missiles are vulnerable to being tricked by chaff systems, can be jammed by active jamming systems, and have minuses to targets that are radar stealth vehicles. The projectile guidance has +3 to strike. Costs an additional 500 credits with the ability to Home on Jam costing an additional 250 Credits.


Anti-Radiation Projectile: This shell guidance has a special system that tracks on Electromagnetic signals. This is normally used to track on radar transmitters but an be used to home in on radio, microwave, and other similar signals as well. This guidance is Autonomous. These guidance systems are a special purpose system and will only target active transmitters and as such the best defense is to shut the transmitter off. Almost all shells remember the target and will target that location. The projectile guidance has +4 to strike a target that has active emissions but cannot hit targets that are not active (Shells that remember target will have no bonuses to strike.) Costs an additional 800 credits with the ability to Remembers Locations costing an additional 200 Credits


Optical Guidance: This guidance system uses a picture of the target and locks on to that target. This guidance is Autonomous. These projectiles can be tricked by changing the targets profile, by target changing position, and by very thick smoke although projectiles with thermal imaging can see through the smoke. The projectile guidance has +3 to strike. Costs an additional 500 credits with Thermal Imaging costing an addition 250 credits.


Semi Active Laser Homing: This guidance system follows a laser beam from a director to the target. This systems is very hard to fool and is very accurate. The only weaknesses is that the target must be in a direct line with the director (no over the horizon targeting) and some high tech sensors can pick up laser beams on the target. Only the target or sensors within about 6 inches of the beam can pick up the laser beam. The guidance use the bonuses of the director of the missile (In the case of a gunner, their bonuses) to strike. Costs an additional 200 credits.


Semi Active Radar Homing: This guidance system follows a radar beam from a director to a target. Systems is similar to Laser Homing but uses a Radar beam in place of a Laser beam. The weaknesses of this system is that it can be fooled by Chaff, can be Jammed by Radar Jamming, has minuses to targets that have radar stealth, most sensors will pick up the radar beam, and target must be in a direct line with the director (no over the horizon targeting). The guidance use the bonuses of the director of the missile (In the case of a gunner, their bonuses) to strike. Costs an additional 200 credits.


Unguided Projectiles - Rolling to strike:
The author has kept these rules simple for ease of use. If anyone can come up with a better systems that is still relatively simple, I would be willing to modify these rules. Unless mortar is being used for direct fire, first roll to strike as an unmodified roll except weapon systems gives a +1 to strike if roll is made. Having a spotter or automated observation equipment will increase bonuses to strike as well and reduce penalties. Penalties are only used with unguided projectiles.

Penalties to Strike:
Choose only one Wind condition and one Precipitation / Fog condition base on the conditions on the battlefield. Fog may also include heavy smoke or dust. The conditions are then combined together for any penalties (if any) to be applied to gunnery rolls. The rules on target detection should also be used to determine if the target is spotted to be fired at in the first place Walking Onto Target:
Normally, the first strike of mortar will miss and the person firing must correct for this using data from an observer or via direct observation. If the person only has one set of target coordinates and no ability to refine the targets location, the gunner will get no bonuses to strike a target and will have a -4 penalty to strike moving targets with no bonuses as well including for weapon systems skill roll. The ability to strike moving target is limited, assume that targets that are traveling over 50 mph (80.5 kph) have no bonuses and targets that are traveling over 100 mph (161 kph) are unable to be hit by mortar except by guided projectiles.


Direct Observation:
This is if the gunnery crew has visual on the target. This does not include spotting using reconnaissance equipment. The big item to remember is that if you can see them, they can see you.
The gunners must have the skills of Navigation (cannot be Land Navigation), Read Sensory Equipment, and Weapon Systems. For each shot after the first, the gunner has a +1 to strike for every three rounds to hit an unmoving target and the gunner has a +1 to strike for every six rounds to hit a moving target


Using Spotter or Reconnaissance Equipment:
This is if the gunnery crew has a spotter in the field or reconnaissance equipment such as a min-aircraft doing spotting. In these cases, the gunner has no direct observation of the target. These bonuses with a -2 penalty can also be used for return fire. This is using the other mortar being fired at you to target that mortar. In that case, ignore the skills needed for the spotter.
The gunners must have the skills of Navigation (cannot be Land Navigation), Read Sensory Instruments, Radio: Basic, and Weapon Systems. If using a spotter, the spotter must have the skills of Navigation (cannot be Land Navigation) and Radio: Basic. For each shot after the first, the gunner has a +1 to strike for every four rounds to hit an unmoving target and the gunner has a +1 to strike for every eight rounds to hit a moving target.


Using Both:
This means that the gunnery crew has the ability to see the target but has an observing or observation equipment as well. These give you the best bonuses. Like just direct observation, the big item to remember is that if you can see them, they can see you.
The gunners must have the skills of Navigation (cannot be Land Navigation), Read Sensory Instruments, Radio: Basic, and Weapon Systems. If using a spotter, the spotter must have the skills of Navigation (cannot be Land Navigation) and Radio: Basic. For each shot after the first, the gunner has a +1 to strike for every two rounds to hit an unmoving target and the gunner has a +1 to strike for every four rounds to hit a moving target.


Misses:
Mortars often misses but the effects of the miss can still be effective.
How to determine where shell strikes:


Roll on eight sided die.

RollDirection
1North
2North East
3East
4South East
5South
6South West
7West
8North West


For every point that the strike roll was under the target number, the round will miss the intended target by 25 feet (7.6 m).


Note: If the target is within the blast or strike radius of the round, then the target still takes damage as appropriate.




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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune)


Copyright © 2005 Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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