Breakthrough Heavy Infantry Walker
In the long runup to the Crucible War, the Regency Army and Marine units stationed in former Zhodani territory fought an enemy that preferred unconventional tactics and guerrilla units. Much of this fighting occurred at close range in urban environments and took the form of hit-and-run attacks against Regency infantry patrols with large caliber munitions, booby traps and sniper fire. Irritation at the steady loss of battle dressed troops to high explosives prompted the Army to resurrect a system first used by the Terrans during the Interstellar Wars, but had largely fallen into obscurity: the light battle walker. The first model, the Breakthrough suit, debuted during the defensive battles for Cronor subsector, and were deployed in large numbers during the Great Race Campaign. Currently about fifteen percent of the Commonwealth's infantry units are Heavy Infantry.
Unlike Battle Dress, which consisted of an armored exoskeleton that attached directly to the limbs of the soldier to enhance their strength, the "Heavy Infantry" suit was entirely mechanical. This trooper rode in a small, armored crew station in the equivalent of a torso, though biometric controls allowed them to control the extremities of the suit as if they were their own. No integral weaponry or fire control is fitted beyond whatever is carried on external mounts or in the arms. This basic suit is the most common of the various "rigs" subsequently introduced afterword. In Commonwealth military doctrine, these suits have replaced most AFVs for urban combat, allowing for the concentration of heavy armor in high speed Cavalry units. They are deployed in squads of eight, often in support of lighter Battledress units or operating on their own. While more agile and providing a smaller target than an AFV, they are limited in traditional infantry mobility by the inability of stairways and most floors to bear their immense weight, and they must wear portable CG packs when a mission calls for them to storm or defend fixed installations.
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