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Tacticool

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 Enormous advances have been made in the art and science of looking cool while shooting things in recent years.

 
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This gentleman, incidentally, is Chris Costa, who as a result of starring in some training DVDs has apparently become a memetic badass to rival Chuck Norris. It seems people think he has a really, really awesome beard.
 
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Note especially the odd shooting stance where the off hand is extended further towards the muzzle than you might expect.
 
 
 
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And examine these videos of people running and shooting and reloading and whatnot:-
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So what? 
 
Firstly, I just think it looks cool. I'd love to see Marines moving in that hunched over stance shooting or reloading and manipulating their weapons like they do in those videos. And Marines have much faster hands and have drilled far longer and harder than Mr. Costa ever will.
 
Secondly, Bolters need to have a stock and be a bit longer to allow for correct/most awesome shooting technique.
 
And, as ever, it would be cool to show space magazines and equipment on the Marines. Chest rigs and warbelts look really good.
 
Finally, of course, we can see quests to recover ancient ancient training holograms shot by the Primarchs themselves! (the quest for the lost episode of Make Ready with Rogal Dorn: Adaptive Boltgun Level IX and the secret techniques it contains!)
 
Naturally, Marines spend a lot of time working on their transitions between primary/secondary ranged weapons and primary/secondary melee stances. And to move quickly and cleanly between combat and praying postures for those moments when you must quickly give praise to the Emperor between engaging targets.

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I'm almost in agreeance with you. Ther sheer size, power and battlefield presence of a fully armoured astartes to me always works best with an almost contemptuous hipshooting stance, backs never bending and pace never slowing.

Astartes in scout armour, however… especially if they're using sniper rifles that a normal human would require to be bipod mounted (at least)? That's awesome. (Imagine a 7.5 foot toall ubermench running arround with a Barret anti-materiel rifle like this, jsut running and shooting)

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I get the feeling that Marines and their armor are designed the way they are because of their shooting stance. If they stood the way those people do they would end up looking really awkward. Not to mention the design of the shoulders on power armor pretty much makes a stock on most weapons look really strange.

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+++++The sheer size, power and battlefield presence of a fully armoured astartes to me always works best with an almost contemptuous hipshooting stance, backs never bending and pace never slowing.+++++

A perfectly justifiable position! I certainly don't want Marines to start wearing camouflage (camouflage being the colour of cowardice and all that).

But I think all this tactical whatnot looks totally sweet.

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+++++If they stood the way those people do they would end up looking really awkward. Not to mention the design of the shoulders on power armor pretty much makes a stock on most weapons look really strange.+++++

I should mention I would be quite happy to redesign Marines armour (particularly the shoulder pads) to allow the use of a stock. Battle Dress (the powered armour in Marc Miller's Traveller RPG) had a sorta socket thing on the shoulder you plugged the butt of your PGMP in to, so possibly a Marine could do something similar with his bolter.

--

I have this book, 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medieval-Swordsmanship-Illustrated-Methods-Techniques/dp/1581600046/

 

that includes a lot of How To illustrations like:-

 

longsword01.jpg

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I think those poses look way more badass than the typical Marine vaguely waving a sword stance we normally get.

And Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell: Conviction uses an unusual but nifty looking Center Axis Relock shooting technique:-

 

http://www.sabretactical.com/html/center_axis_relock__car_.html

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For me, it isn't a search for Realism. It is more looking for ways to look cool.

 

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professor_kylan said:

 

Astartes in scout armour, however… especially if they're using sniper rifles that a normal human would require to be bipod mounted (at least)? That's awesome. (Imagine a 7.5 foot toall ubermench running arround with a Barret anti-materiel rifle like this, jsut running and shooting)

 

Well… the guns are modelled as big, but they fire a solidified sliver of poison along an invisible laser beam… not exactly the most fearsome weapon in terms of recoil (if you look at the model it becomes clear it is a slightly oversize lasgun with extras, and a port for the ammunition). You almost certainly wouldn't fire them on the move (they are Heavy weapons in the tabletop game), but that's because they are precision weapons, not because they have significant recoil.

 

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 I'm pretty sure the Astartes hunch, only a fool presents a bigger target than he has to and the black carapace makes them able to control the ablative and modular plate so they don't. 

 

PS. Running and shooting is fun.

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Whenever Astartes are portrayed in motion, they always move with astonishing fluidity, speed and grace. The latest Space Marine videogame for Xbox 360 illustrates this nicely. There is a real contrast between the stolid looking, immobile Astartes who graces the various Chapter Approved heraldic guides and how they move in real life. Despite being the size of small cars when armoured, they move like Olympic athletes in lycra…in fact, even faster, in practice.

As for tacticool, I'm down with that. The Rule of Cool covers all aspects of 40k: if it's cool, use it. And I agree, this stuff is cool! happy.gif

Of course, what's tactical for one army/chapter is folly for another. Modern tactical techniques for weapons usage have of course evolved through a number of stages, including the  Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate method which included a lot of freer, "shooting from the hip" style movements.

Given the diversity within the Astartes community, one imagines that for every chapter that uses the well drilled, sensible early 21st century tactical techniques outlined above, there are as many chapters who use pistols like Sykes and Fairburn… or, to use more extreme examples, 16th century Highwaymen, Dirty Harry or John Woo. 

As for stocks, perhaps the massive Astartes physique and power armour means that they're just not required?

And as has been suggested, one imagines that given their speed and power, astartes would be terrifyingly effective in weapon drills, room clearance and the like. They could reload their bolters faster than it takes for a shell casing to hit the floor (see Phil Sibberling's astartes ammo storage concepts) fire effectively from the hip or at distance and move seamlessly in support of each other when working in teams. The term "posthuman shock" has been used in Dan Abnett's novels to describe how normal humans feel after seeing Astartes in action - a bit like Tank Shock.   

From a personal perspective, for some reason I always imagined the Death Guard as being particularly excellent exponents of the modern, tactical style of shooting. I don't know why I formed this impression! Perhaps it's based on their preponderence of tactical units, and their tendency to get the crappy, infantry based jobs during the Great Crusade. I think their may even have been a reference within a HH novel to their excellent and terrifyingly effective weapons drills. 

 

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 To be honest, I like all of this and think it should definitely be imported into 40k… by the Imperial Guard. It's cool, yeah, but it's really not for power armored Space Marines. We're talking about warrior-monks that seem to almost disdain cover in favor of getting in close to wreck stuff. This all looks like it would fit better in a squad of Elysians or Stormtroopers or Grenadiers than a Tactical Marine Squad.

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Lightbringer said:

Whenever Astartes are portrayed in motion, they always move with astonishing fluidity, speed and grace. The latest Space Marine videogame for Xbox 360 illustrates this nicely. There is a real contrast between the stolid looking, immobile Astartes who graces the various Chapter Approved heraldic guides and how they move in real life. Despite being the size of small cars when armoured, they move like Olympic athletes in lycra…in fact, even faster, in practice. 

Fully agreed in this regard. As I see it, the combat acumen and developed combat instincts of the average Space Marine are such that they make the finest contemporary soldiers seem like incompetent rookies, while their physical prowess makes the very best athletes in the world look like clumsy children. Bracing a firearm or even holding the weapon in both hands are entirely optional - their strength, and the rigidity of their armour make it so that firing their hand-made, armour-plated thirty-kilo Bolters one-handed still allows for amazing stability, while the presence of auto-sense targeting in the weapon (allowing the firer to see from his gun's iron sights if he so desires) means that aiming takes a somewhat different form in the case of the Astartes.

I've long liked the idea that individual Space Marines don't actually think about fighting when they're in combat - their instincts are so keenly-honed that they can fight with terrifying efficiency without thinking about it, leaving their minds clear to regard the broader tactical and strategic concerns. This in turn makes them more effective soldiers because they don't have to divide attention between the immediate matter of killing the enemy and the longer-term goal of winning the battle.

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I have to say the reloading picture just looks plain awkward to me.

Though I will accept that Costa guy does have a handsome beard…

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Those sword poses are pretty wicked and could be applied to the Astartes very easily, though maybe not those stances in particular. Most melee weapons tend to be one handed and not two.

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Great article!  Just a few points to add on to the general concensus:

1) Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.  I can get why marines can look slow doing mag changes in the video game but reload with efficent actions.  Plus it's a video game.  Captain Titus does not have to retain his mags ever and transitions to a one sided chain saw.  I'm jealous. 

2) If you're in power armour you've got protection wrapped around your entire body.  The rest of us are stuck with front/back and side sapi plates so tactical movements intended for close quarter shooting like the ones you see above try to maximize the effectiveness of your sapi plates by presenting them forward.  Look at the law enforcement dude turned to the side to minimize his profile since he's probably not wearing more than kevlar inserts. 

3)Space marines don't need beards to get an invulnerable save. 

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 Full disclosure, this is a personal opinion. I think that the assault rifle firing position with the supporting arm holding the weapon further up the barrel than typical looks awkward, not cool. That's just me, though.

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+++++As for stocks, perhaps the massive Astartes physique and power armour means that they're just not required?+++++

Oh aye, you can totally justify them not needing stocks. My desire for stocks just comes because I think it looks way cooler if guns have stocks:-

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I think it looks far more… professional to have the gun tucked in tightly against the shoulder like that.

+++++Full disclosure, this is a personal opinion. I think that the assault rifle firing position with the supporting arm holding the weapon further up the barrel than typical looks awkward, not cool.+++++

It looked a bit weird to me when I first saw it, but it has kind of grown on me. And I can see how holding the gun as close to the muzzle as possible MIGHT give you more control over where you are pointing it.

I think there is a debate on the validity of the technique though, so it seems like an excuse to have Marines argue constantly about the best way to hold their guns!

+++++To be honest, I like all of this and think it should definitely be imported into 40k… by the Imperial Guard.+++++

I kinda go back and forth. 40k was written in 1987 with the Vietnam war and particularly movies like Platoon and Apocalypse Now defining what people thought of Soldiers. Since then, things have changed and it is Iraq/Afghanistan and games like Call of Duty that are in peoples minds.

So on the one hand, the modern first world soldier is dead cool. And we surely need to be telling soldier stories that are relevant to what people are seeing on the news.

On the other hand, I still kinda see Guard training as looking more like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pjYxhzPJgE#t=13m09s

(a documentary about the Battle of the Somme - soldiers train by bayoneting sandbags suspended from a frame without much enthusiasm while someone shouts at them)

rather than, say, The Art of the Tactical Carbine.

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And an environment like that, Marines doing Xtreme High Speed Low Drag Tactical hyperprofessional whatnot makes them stand out.

 

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The best thing about the Guard is that they run the gamut from 18th century gun lines to 21st century black ops Delta Force helicopter insertion teams. Everything fits.

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Gaire said:

 Full disclosure, this is a personal opinion. I think that the assault rifle firing position with the supporting arm holding the weapon further up the barrel than typical looks awkward, not cool. That's just me, though.

I agree. I can't stand to hold a rifle like that, it feels like my wrist is twisted all wrong. I can understand why it is a good position though. My instinct is to hold a rifle [such as an M4] by it's pistol grip and the vertical area in front of the clip. It's a short grip though, your hands would be really close together which may make it harder to control your weapon when you fire it. The long grip in those pictures is probably a lot more stable for firing since the gun has less leverage on your hand.

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While it looks cool, I think it's more suited to IG and Stormtroopers and such. Personally I tend to picture Astartes just wading across the battlefield with stuff chipping their armor and glancing/bouncing off.

A guy gets stepped on by a Titan in the 2E Wolves codex and lives ffs… Granted he's in Termie armor, but still. Who needs cover?

Trust in your wargear.

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I think it is cooler if Marines are Fast and Skillful.

Marines are far quicker and much more agile and flexible than mortal men, and far from slowing them down their Battle Plate actually enhances their mobility.

And between hypno-instruction and training from the greatest warriors in the Imperium and centuries of constant practice, Marines are know a lot about fighting and are fully capable of stuff like:-

(Morpheus vs. Neo - 'I know Kung Fu' -

+++++When it begins, right after they enter the sparring program, Neo starts off using Karate. Morpheus kicks his ass with that, and they pause to get into another fighting stance. Neo assumes one of Jeet Kune Do, (I know there isn't a SET stance for JKD but it was the stance that is the most common) with two fingers extended and his hands slightly moving. Morpheus kicks his ass again, so Neo switches styles. Next, he assumes a Tae Kwon Do stance, and does a little better but still gets pummeled. The next pause they go into, Neo doesn't use any stance, and starts punching sloppily. I can only assume that this was the drunken boxing. He gets creamed really fast with that, and goes into what looks like a Kenpo stance. Neo is again beaten with that. The next one, Neo assumes a Kung Fu stance, I think, and then after that he uses sort of a mix of styles like Morpheus does, but he still leans toward Kung Fu. He is using a full mix when he defeats Morpheus, and it is then that Neo has learned to 'free his mind' from using one style of fighting.+++++)

(The Princess Bride - Inigo Montoya vs. Westley -

 

Inigo Montoya: You are using Bonetti’s Defense against me, ah?
Man in Black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo: Naturally, you must suspect me to attack with Capa Ferro?
Man in Black: Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don’t you?
Inigo: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa… which I have.
 
(Followed by the exchange - 

 

 

Inigo: You are wonderful!
Man in Black: Thank you -- I've worked hard to become so.
Inigo: I admit it -- you are better than I am.
Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
Inigo: Because I know something you don't know.
Man in Black: And what is that?
Inigo: I am not left-handed.
 
which I think is awesome, and attempt to duplicate at every opportunity))
 
 
 
(The Bourne Identity and its Krav Maga that everyone has been ripping off since)
 
 
 
(Some 'Western Martial Art' longsword fighting - and Marines are much faster and stronger than these guys, and since it is a fantasy they can chain together a good ten minutes of attacks and counters)
 
--
 
I'd sorta like to see people do something similar for Ranged Combat (Obviously the opponents share a vox channel so they can talk to each other while exchanging fire) - 
 
'You are using Costa's Dynamic Offence against me?'
'It seemed fitting considering the icy terrain'
'Naturally, you must suspect me to respond with John Woo?'
'Naturally, but I find that Gun Kata cancels out Woo. Don't you?'
'Unless the enemy has studied his Modern Technique… which I have'
 
With the combatants visibly shifting techniques/movie style as the fight progresses.
 
(Possibly it would be better if it was, like, ARMA vs. Call of Duty vs. Gears of War vs. Max Payne vs. Splinter Cell vs. Metal Gear Online)
 

 

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AluminiumWolf said:

I think it is cooler if Marines are Fast and Skillful.

Well they ARE. No one's arguing about skill, but they sometimes forget the fast part. Strength and control of one's body actually go hand in hand, in fact. I wager Sean Jonson, little as she is, could obliterate any of us in an arm-wrestling contest. Maybe she couldn't pull a Semi with her teeth, but her strength would be so much more versatile and useful in combat. Combine that sort of innate, full-body strength WITH the sheer power to pull a Semi with your teeth, and you've got someone truly dangerous, i.e. a Space Marine. THEN put him in Power Armor.

A Space Marine's double-enhanced strength and frame would allow him to do reversals, feints, and ripostes whose speed and velocity could straight-up dislocate the arms of a mortal, and probably look improbable in motion to the untrained eye. Watchin' Dante, etc. do their thing would be legitimately awe-inspiring. Paired with what No One Here said in another thread about Space Marines having battle reflexes, such things being so ingrained in their minds, that banter with an opponent worthy of such, or at least the intimidating calling out of litanies and such mid-battle makes plenty of sense.

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To be fair, looking at the artwork, what Marines mostly do is stand there with feet planted wide apart firing a bolter one handed. And the minis tend to be in pretty static poses as well. So it isn't like you couldn't justify Marines having the same fighting style as Robocop if you wanted:-

I just… I dunno. I think we can do better than that. We can have Marines who shoot and move like Chris Costa, swordfight like John Clements:-

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmoSedeqrHo

and perform hand to hand like this guy:-

delivering repeated kicks to the groin and punches to the head of a grappled opponent. And the flips and thows and whatnot - I particularly liked the bit where he climbs up the guy at about 0:59 to get more leverage (although moves like that would only be useful against Orks or similarly large and tough opponents). 

Is that not… Nifty?

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All the reasons real shooters adopt these silly poses are made moot by the Astartes physique, training and gear. If this Costa guy could fire a miniaturized semi-automatic rocket launcher from the hip with perfect accuracy while clad in armor that makes him impervious to small arms fire, you can bet he wouldn't do all this posing.

Astartes are so skillful they literally cannot give any **** about stuff that normal soldiers have to bother with. Such is their brand of coolness.

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AluminiumWolf said:

I just… I dunno. I think we can do better than that.

Personally, I attribute the speed, power and sheer unstoppableness of an astartes a fighting style that cannot be emulated by any human ever. Hence the concept of transhumanism. To me, being attacked by an astartes is like being hit by a locomotive that can dodge.

My Dark Heresy players once were attacked by a Khornate berzerker. They first knew of its presence when I described their attacker as , "Something red, something moving too fast to follow, something impossibly large.".

To me, astartes fight by turning everything up to 11. They don't perform fancy martial arts, because they can punch through plate steel. They don't go into a combat crouch, because they can move out of the way of any weapon heavy enough to not be ignored. They might shoot like robocop, but they move like a well aimed, malevolent car accident and you are the innocent bystander.

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I agree. Astartes would be virtually unstoppable in close combat with "normal" humans. As we're sharing videos that give a flavour of how effective they'd be, check this bonecrunching, totally unsuitable for work  video out. (the actual video is embedded on the linked page.) it's Thomas Jane's self-funded attempt to reboot the Punisher franchise. Skip to 6 minutes in for the action.  

Watch that, then imagine someone as skilled and vicious as this, but far larger and equipped with body armour that enhances their strength. It would be a terrifying prospect.    

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 I completely disagree with Astartes not optimizing shooting positions, they are consummate, efficient killers. Better trained, better equipped and stronger & faster than anyone else, but that doesn't make them stupid. If shooting right increases your chance to hit then you do that regardless of how badass marine you are and firing from the hip is rarely very optimal, just take the fact that the black carapace allows them to move in such a way that their war plate don't' make them hulking… I'm just saying.

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UncleArkie said:

 I completely disagree with Astartes not optimizing shooting positions, they are consummate, efficient killers. Better trained, better equipped and stronger & faster than anyone else, but that doesn't make them stupid. If shooting right increases your chance to hit then you do that regardless of how badass marine you are and firing from the hip is rarely very optimal, just take the fact that the black carapace allows them to move in such a way that their war plate don't' make them hulking… I'm just saying.

Thing is, if the reasons for a particular position are no longer relevant, then the position itself is redundant. Bringing a weapon up to your shoulder and holding it with both hands for stability is made irrelevant by the strength of a space marine and the stability his armour imparts. Aiming down the sights is made irrelevant by the autosense links in the weapons that allow the firer to see from the weapon's perspective.

In essence, what's been said by myself and a few others in this thread is that many of the reasons that humans have for employing particular techniques and styles of fighting are pointless frivolity to a Space Marine, whose innate strength, speed, reflexes, coordination and durability are such that human-derived martial styles and tactical positioning are superfluous. The specific techniques and styles that the Astartes do possess will focus on dealing with foes with inhuman capabilities - creatures with strength, resilience and/or speed that approaches or exceeds that of the Astartes themselves.

Alien species function in the same way - an Ork won't fight in a way that a human can easily replicate, because the Ork's combat prowess is an instinct rather than a learned skill, and because the Ork's natural ferocity and resilience are inhuman capabilities that a human does not possess. The Eldar will not practice martial arts that resemble those of humans, because the Eldar possess inhumanly quick reflexes, astounding coordination and exceptional awareness of their surroundings.

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