"A good Heavy can provide support to his squad-mates, deny an area, or put single shots on target all day and never run out of ammo. A great Heavy can drop a mortar shell into a renegade’s shirt pocket at a thousand yards."
- — Trooper Blaise, Kasar 18th Heavy Infantry Anti–Armour squad
Heavy Gunners are those troops of the Imperial Guard who, during their basic training, show a great affinity for and competence with the various heavy support weapons fielded by the Imperium of Man's armed forces. Adapted for a number of special roles such as fire support and anti-armour assault, heavy weapons tend to be highly advanced and require not only a strong arm and a stout heart to operate, but a cool head and a better than average amount of technical acumen to keep them running. Heavy Gunners themselves tend to be bold and courageous, very reliable, and not easily rattled under fire, fine qualities for men and women who so often find themselves the targets of enemy heavy weapons and marksmen. They are typically deployed in fire teams of two to six depending on the crew requirements of the weapon in their care, and are, necessarily, slower than average infantrymen when on the march, due to their heavy loads.
Thanks to their specialised training and ability to bring the heaviest man-portable guns to bear on a problem, Heavy Gunners are valuable in nearly every squad in the Imperial Guard. They grant an incredible amount of tactical flexibility to an advancing squad, and depending on their loadout, can tackle nearly any situation on the battlefield.
Roughly speaking, there are three general types of Heavy Gunner fire teams: Direct Fire Support Squads, Anti-Armour Squads, and Indirect Fire Support Squads. Direct Fire Support Squads are typically armed with Heavy Bolters, Autocannons, and Heavy Flamers, and are tasked with area denial missions, laying down suppressive fire, guarding strategic points, and even identifying and neutralising light enemy reconnaissance vehicles. Carrying Lascannons, Missile Launchers, and Multi-Meltas, Anti-Armour squads transform tank-busting into a fine art. Light and relatively mobile, these squads are trained to set up and break down their weapons quickly and silently to keep pace with enemy armour and mechanised infantry. Finally, Indirect Fire Support Squads operate the various indirect fire weapons in the Imperial Guard's arsenal, such as Mortars and Grenade Launchers. Operating as light artillery, especially when armed with highly portable mortars, these teams are typically stationed well behind the front lines where, using targeting information supplied by their squad-mates, they can suppress enemy troops and vehicles, pinning them in place and allowing friendly forces to advance and neutralise them.
Notable Heavy Gunners
- Jene Rodriguez - Born on the harsh jungle world of Catachan, Jene was a survivor from birth, learning how to shoot an autopistol before she could even walk. As she grew up amongst the vicious flora and fauna of her home, she quickly mastered the use of various ranged weapons, gaining a fearful reputation for her skill with the Bolter and Flamer. When Jene was tithed to the Imperial Guard, her superiors quickly recognised her talent, putting her in charge of some of the most formidable weapons at their disposal. Jene is first and foremost a fighter. Her sole purpose to be the most potent and vicious warrior in her company, if not her entire regiment. She has very little patience for idle conversation, and is easily distracted from mundane tasks. She can often be found cleaning and maintaining her weapons in any downtime.
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 76-77
- Only War: Eleventh Hour (RPG), pg. 4