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Launch Rail
File:IconShootingStar.png
350px
A force of Shooting Stars going after a bombing run of Vindicators
Faction ConfederateLogoThumb Confederate Revolutionaries
Building Type Defensive Structure
Function Anti-Air
Cost 600
Construction Time
Power 10
Constructs Shooting Stars
Dev. Status In-Game
Country of Origin  USAthumb United States
Recovered from  Hubbard Do-It-Yourself Co., Oklahoma City
Key Features  » Launch rails (x2)
 » "Shooting Star" aircraft kit
 » Nose gun (not included with kit)
 » Hastily assembled supports
 » Eager pilots (safely inside underground bunker)

Tactical AnalysisEdit

  • DIY Anti Air: Cheap and available early on, the Shooting Star is extremely useful for scouting purposes. Armed with a machine gun, it also serves as a weak but expendable fighter.
  • Now for only $600!: The Launch Rail is a relatively cheap anti aircraft defence. While its Shooting Stars are not very impressive, they have a short launch delay and can be used to draw fire away from more important aircraft.
  • Little more than a toy: However, the Shooting Star is neither powerful nor durable. With not-so-impressive power and little to say in terms of armour, the Shooting Star is only good at diverting attention or finishing off damaged aircraft.
  • Limited ammo: Unlike other aircraft, the Shooting Star has no means of reloading. As such, one should make sure to activate the self destruct once a Shooting Star has run out of ammo, so as to allow the Launch Rail to deploy replacement Shooting Stars.

Operational History Edit

Perhaps one of the strangest weapons employed during the Second World War (on the Allied side at least) were the QF-8 Shooting Star parasite fighters. Tiny, cramped airplanes barely capable of carrying a single man, a machine gun, some ammunition, and enough fuel to last a few minutes, the idea was for the Shooting Stars to be used as bomber escorts; they would latch onto Allied bombers until reaching hostile airspace, at which point they would detach from their host aircraft and begin engaging hostile fighters that tried to menace their bomber.

The idea was strange to say the least, and it never really caught on, the project being abandoned after several bombing missions where the Shooting Stars failed to protect their bomber escorts. In the end, the project was shut down, the Allies having decided that the Shooting Stars were simply too weak to be of any real use (though the concept would be revived with the Mesofortress). Even then, the strangeness of the concept prevented it from fading into complete obscurity.

Many years later, the Confederates would construct their own "Shooting Stars", to use in the conflict against the Allies. There are quite a number of differences between the two, of course; while the Confederate version does greatly resemble the original in design and appearance (the person responsible having been attempting to build a replica of the original Shooting Star), it is not nearly as large, and is in fact too small to have a human pilot (and still carry ample ammunition for the machine gun). Instead, the Confederates control these aircraft with remote controllers from the safety of the ground, with the cockpit packed full of explosives to be detonated once their fuel or ammunition is expended. Another important difference is in the roles; the original Shooting Stars were meant as escort fighters, whereas Confederate Shooting Stars are used as last ditch interceptors, operating from special Launch Rails.

With their nose mounted guns, the Confederates' Shooting Stars are used to draw fire away from more valuable aircraft and to annoy Allied pilots, though their effectiveness is somewhat debatable. Many Allied analysts point out that the resources wasted on these aircraft could be better used elsewhere (for example, more AA guns), so why the Confederates continue to employ them in significant numbers baffles many. In truth, it's probably because of the entertainment value and positive effect on morale they provide that the Confederates keep them around. That, and most Confederate commanders consider it quite funny to see an Apollo being brought down by one (or a dozen) of these aircraft.

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