|Barracuda-series Light Patrol Boat|
|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Secondary Ability||Anti-Ship Missile|
Launches an unguided missile
|Veterancy Upgrade(s)||• Gatling cannon (Higher ROF, stackable target painter) (vet)|
• Immune to freezing, slowing and harpooning (elt)
• Reverse black hole generator (her)
"This beaten dog still has teeth!"
- - Barracuda gunner
Tactical Analysis Edit
- The Mosquito Boats: Barracudas are swift, inexpensive craft (calling them warships would be an overstatement) armed with dual 20mm autocannons for harassment of light enemy vessels, swimming infantry, and other targets of opportunity.
- Beware the Sting: Barracudas also have a single anti-ship missile launcher for engagement of larger targets. Without the sophisticated fire-control system meant to go with the launcher the missile is simply fired straight ahead and will explode when it hits anything in its path. The launcher must be slowly reloaded between shots, but allows the Barracuda to do real damage against anything short of a battleship.
- Thin Skinned: With a fiberglass hull and no ship-grade armour to speak of, Barracudas are resistant to small-arms fire but cannot withstand any serious firepower.
- Hiding in Plain Sight: When not moving or attacking, the Barracuda's autocannon turret can be folded down, the missile launcher disguised as a tank for live fish, and the flag of some suitably neutral, harmless nation raised. Enemy forces will ignore the harmless-looking, apparently civilian speedboat stuck in the war zone, but beware. Paranoid enemy commanders unafraid of potentially murdering a civilian crew may still order their forces to open fire.
The history of the Philippines during the past two or three centuries is not pleasant reading for those concerned with the native population. Conquered first by the Spanish, and later by the newly named Empire of the Rising Sun, the Filipinos cannot recall a time they have ever known independence or freedom, and indeed the Empire of the Rising Sun has done its very best to prevent the Filipinos from learning that such things are possible, much less attainable. Indeed, even the armed resistance of the Philippines against its Imperial overlords has been co-opted by another power for its own inscrutable purposes, using the Catholic faith that lingers despite concerted Imperial efforts to stamp that religion out to bring significant numbers of highly motivated - and highly expendable - Filipino resistance fighters and their weapons into service to a goal that has nothing to do with Philippine independence.
Most in the Philippine resistance don't realize that they've been infiltrated by another power at all. Most would not care if they did know. An impartial observer might say that there is a good reason for this: the Imperial occupation of the Philippines has been one of the greatest, and least-known, examples of colonialism in history. More than ninety percent of the Philippine land mass is owned by Imperial noble families that never set foot on the islands, using AI overseers to manage their estates, and more importantly their farms. Japan, chronically short of arable land, has turned the Philippines into the breadbasket of the Empire with unparalleled efficiency. That this efficiency is achieved in part by minimizing expenditures on such things as worker salaries, housing, and maintenance of any infrastructure not part of the Imperial agricultural system is not generally mentioned. It is telling that the Imperial Philippines have been mentioned by the Mediterranean Syndicate's Board of Classics as a model example of large-scale agricultural production with minimal operating costs.
The Philippine resistance has been accordingly violent and protracted, with private Imperial estimates of their losses reaching into the hundreds. While highly effective at exterminating known resistance positions, the Imperial military and its equipment were never intended for sustained attrition actions against an entrenched and fiercely determined enemy. Making matters worse is Soviet Premier Davidova's open support for the Philippine resistance, which included the smuggling of hundreds of modern Soviet weapons into the resistance's hands. Philippine guerrillas have put them to immediate use, most notoriously the P-16 "Piledriver" anti-ship missile. A cut-down version of the huge P-15 cruise missile known to the Allies as the "Termit" or "Styx", the P-16 is still very capable of taking a bite out of Imperial hovercraft, mecha, and smaller warships.
Deploying in squadrons of half a dozen or more, Philippine Liberation Front Barracuda-series patrol boats will frequently ambush and swarm Imperial crafts that stray from their escorts, or even entire patrols. The 20mm autocannons are irritating enough to Imperial commanders, but the loss of the Naginata-class cruiser IJN Kuroshio to Philippine raiders in late March of 1969 has raised the possibility of full-scale Imperial military intervention.
Even so, many of these daring Filipino resistance fighters and their watercraft have been found far afield from their home country in service to the Catholic Church. Completely ignorant of both the true nature of their masters and of the real Catholic Church, which obviously does not have a military wing and would not condone attacks against major world powers if it did, these brave men and women have fought and died in waters around the world for their secretive lords in the Order of the Talon. Sadly, the promises made to the Filipinos that these battles are all part of a carefully calculated plan to bring the Empire of the Rising Sun to its knees and freedom to the Philippines are empty ones, and were never otherwise. The fact of the matter is that these Philippine guerillas are regarded by Talon commanders as entirely expendable, to be spent in place of actual Order lives and sent on high-risk attacks that would never otherwise be authorized.