The Resource Wars
The Resource Wars saw a change in the way war was fought. Fast moving predominantly air wars with space superiority were becoming unfeasible with constricting fuel supplies, economic downturns, and anti-war sentiments at home. With fewer jets and tanks, more of the fighting was being given to the army and marines. War was regressing to lines of artillery and infantry battles pitched across no-man's land. To better face this problem several first world nations engaged in a standard template construction system that would allow them to quickly and efficiently fortify and supply their lines of battle.
The uniform construction patterns made the new structures quick and easy to manufacture, and then move into place. These structures replaced trenches and barb wire as the main method of stopping infantry assaults. After a while, the uniform nature of the forts built proved a weakness. After breaching one, the enemy would learn the basic lay out and weaknesses of all of the rest in a similar design family. Stuck in uniform construction, the first world nations lost many STC forts, at high cost to the enemy, but lost none the less. These forts would be rebuilt and remodeled by the intruders, and attempts to retake them would prove costly as attackers were not prepared for internal changes, or adaptions made by the intruders.
The solution presented was for the first world nations to build MORE STCs, and of greater variety. The designs had worked fine until they were compromised. The new designs would need to be more modular and more adaptable. This was approved and more were built, half as an effort to keep in the fight for the dwindling resources in Africa, central America, and other places, and half as an attempt to bolster flagging economies. The solution was terrible, as this allowed the insurgents and terrorist factions to gain access to the new designs, which they were better able to exploit. Despite the technological and firepower advantages of the first world nations, they were simply slow to respond and slower to adapt.
The Problem Worsens
As the Resource Wars drug on, larger problem began to emerge. Desertion and low morale became rampant on all sides. After decades of war, many just wanted to hide from it all. Even the most fervent of militaristic nations were tiring of war. Grandchildren were fighting in their grandfather's war, and it was just an endless procession of flag draped coffins coming back. Eventually the war dead stopped being brought home and were buried in soldier's cemeteries where they fought. After some horrific battles, electric dozers would just cover the trenches over, burying the soldiers with their guns in their dead hands.
War equipment became problematic as well. Food and ammunition were scarce, and so was fuel. There were many installations where soldiers were outnumbered by tanks, but the tanks didnt have any fuel or ammo. They were just decoration. The same applied to helicopters, fighter jets, and any other equipment that hadn't been modified or designed to run on batteries or solar panels. Some very large STCs would be abandoned just a few years after being completed, others would be completed, but the military would have left with, or even before the contractors finished.
There isn't an assigned date to the period of Judgement Day, and it is likely that it actually covered a span of 3-5 years. During this time, terror and insurgencies flared in the wake of retreating first world militaries. Like the battle of Dunkirk, they left almost all of their gear behind in a mad rush to get to the ships that would take them home, to expected safety. The terrorist and insurgent factions would take up these weapons, with what supplies they had, and would unleash generations of pent up social hostility. Nukes were launched, dirty bombs were set off, chemical agents were dumped in water supplies, cities were hit with chemical and biological attacks. These were largely facilitated by the gear left behind by the first world nations.
The STCs left in their wake were occupied and became the strongholds of regional bandits and would be warlords who use them like castles to rule the wastelands and badlands of the Second Dark Age, complete down to using stolen uniforms and archaic weapons.
The Cube - a geofront STC, Cubes were engineered from sections of ship hull. Most navy ships were built in pieces and then welded together at the dock. The cube took the modular design philosophy and used it. An entire base could be engineered in days, manufactured in weeks, and put in place over a long weekend. Drilling and ANFO explosives would create the hole, heavy lift helicopters would drop each section in place, and then they would be welded together while dozers and heavy construction equipment buried everything but the access bunkers and observation towers. The cubes themselves were uniform, with barracks/personal quarters units, medical units, rec and galley units, arsenal and training units, and even underground weapons units, usually concealing short range ballistic missiles or other artillery weapons. Cube bases were quickly built, stocked, buried, and an alarming number were forgotten.
The Standard Fort - again built from preconstructed warship pieces, the standard fort was the superstructure of a navy cruiser with a curtain wall around it. The STC did not have naval cannon turrets, but did have a number of 3 to 5 inch cannons for defensive purposes. These were scavenged from damaged warships that were not going to be repaired, or from ships that were not going to be finished. The forts were typically named after the ship they were scavenged from, and almost all have since been destroyed, or damaged to the point that they are no longer useful for anything other than drifters and wasteland outcastes.
The Standard Watchtower - salvaged from the superstructure of a destroyer or frigate, watchtowers were mini-forts, with anti-infantry barricades and anti-tank ditches and obstacles. They retained the single gun turret of the destroyer, and this was the main watchtower defense. From a high perch, the tower was used for local surveillance and population control.
The STC Today
STCs are still used on occasion, as they are still a cost efficient design, but nowhere near the scope of their use during the Resource Wars. The Atlantic Federation and other new first world powers eschews the use of large terrestrial bases in favor of their fleet of ships and support from pre-con tactical bases that are easily moved with said ships. The de-emphasis of large scale war in favor of elite infantry versus elite infantry, and almost gladiator style mecha combat has rendered the main use of many STCs obsolete. The Cosmic Era simply no longer fights with massive armies of infantry and scores of tanks and a great multitude of artillery and waves of aircraft.
Additional Ideas (5)
STC SRBM COB
The Standard Template Construction Short Range Ballistic Missile Concealed Operations Base is far less complicated than it's name sounds. The installation is built into an abandoned building, the side of a mountain, the rusting hulk of a ship, or anywhere that the 800 square foot structure can be put. It houses a single short range ballistic missile, and has an operating staff of 6: a commander, two communications officers, and three enlisted who cover everything from basic duty to security. The COB also has communications functions, and has access to secure line of communication. Most of the time it is a listening post with heavy strike capability.
These small COBs were built in many places around the world. They also experimented with different weapons, changing the SRBM for interceptor missile batteries, anti-aircraft missiles, and cruise missiles. These proved effective generally once, and then their location was revealed. With their missile expended and cover blown, most COBs would be deliberately destroyed by their staff who would then try to escape into native territory rather than attempt to 'Alamo' the COB.
During the end of the Resource Wars, a fair number of these COBs were abandoned by their staff, who feared being left behind in a foreign hostile country more than they feared their weapons falling into enemy hands. A few were destroyed by the deserters, but far too many were left intact. During the nameless disjointed holocaust that ended the Resource Wars, captured COBs and their weapons were used to horrifying effect. Short range nukes were used to settle local disputes, and cities were blasted down to the bedrock. Others were doused in nerve gas. Millions died, and the damage and suffering caused gave birth to the wastelands, and the Wastelanders.
Amerikka Command still makes use of this type of COB as a one shot deterrent to Federation aerospace assets. While the DMZ treaty with the Pacific Rim Coalition limits the tonnage of war material either side can deploy, the Command's pop-up pocket nuke anti-ship missiles provide a much more stringent limit. To the Command, the lose of a COB is inconsequential to the spectacle of either destroying a Federation warship, or blowing a massive hole in one.
Whiskey Tango Fort
Originally called a Mobile Infantry Pre-Fab Fort, the structure became so infamous by it's colloquial name that no one outside of jargon aficionados uses the real name. Whiskey Tango is a slang term for 'wasting time', a general response for being posted to a mobile STC like the infantry fort.
A STC WTF has an armor wall with a raised walkway, an interior courtyard with pop-up barracks, supply depot, and a large amount of open space. At each wall intersection, there is a barbette with a heavy weapon system. As the WTFort lacks a large power core, these weapons tend to be conventional firearms like rifled cannons, rather than lasers or energy weapons.
Infantry support - if the boots need to be on the ground, the WTF functions as an infantry base, allowing everything from a squad to an entire division to bivouac in place. The modular design allows for a WTF to be made to almost any size, as it is largely walls and barbettes that are linked together. Some large WTFs had walls within the walls, creating more complicated fort designs. These tended to be used more for training purposes but also ended up being used as garrison positions for suppressing local rebellions and uprisings. Given the volatile nature of the world when the first WTFs were deployed, their wrecks can be found almost anywhere.
Fire Support - a garrison of infantry and an armored wall around grouped artillery pieces or missile batteries
VTOL Support - infantry garrison protecting a helicopter depot.
MASH - infantry garrison protecting a mobile hospital.
Fortressing - an advanced form of castling, a pre-con tactical base is placed in the center of a WTF facility. As the pre-con has an integral power core, the WTF can replace conventional guns in favor of beam weaponry.
While WTFs weren't used for deploying weapons of mass destruction, the majority that were not destroyed came to host regional and ethnic forces, and became focal points of bandit kings and wasteland warlords through the Second Dark Age. Junker cities would spring up, and blow away around these forts as the occasion called for, and many of the 'caravansary' stops on the Silk Road. In many of these places the WT is long since rubble, but the spirit they engendered remains.
STC Defender Outpost
The Defender STC consisted of a habitation 'tube' that was buried in the ground, and a small outpost/bunker sat on top of it. A squad of soldiers would hold the bunker, and could rotate down into the tube where there were bunks, supplies, and a small rec area. This, along with adequate supplies would allow a small force to hold a larger area for some time. If the bunker itself were breached, the survivors could retreat into the tube, under concealed doors, and later re-occupy the bunker.
The Defender had an armored 'hat' type shell. Most would utilize remote surveillance system, allowing them to see above, around, and even well beyond the space of the bunker. The soldiers were typically armed with heavy infantry weapons, a number of anti-armor weapons, and side-arms for close quarters.
The Stubber - the normal bunker shell is replaced with a large bore low velocity gun, like a 400mm rocket propelled mortar. This large blast kind of weapon would allow for a Stubber turret to knock out squads of infantry, power armor, and whatever else the primitive weapon was pointed at.
The Stinger - like the Stubber, the Stinger is armed with a large weapon system, typically a linear gun or other armor defeating weapon. Stingers lie in wait for mecha and other large war machines to approach before it engages at close range, taking out legs, tracks, and other vulnerable points.
The Stalker - a drone command outpost, the Stalker has a cadre of warfighter autons and other combat drones that it uses to fight. Each man in the bunker squad commands their own squad of lethal machines. These bunkers are very low profile, and even if all of their drones are lost, it is a small thing to airdrop in supplies and replacement drones. Terror factions make use of Stalker bunkers and mobile mines with disturbing frequency.
The Snooper - unarmed and very low profile, Snooper bunkers are spy vaults full of listening and cyberwarfare gear. Many are even buried under existing structures, and even more have simply been lost because their crews abandoned them decades or centuries ago.
The Battledrome is the precursor of the pre-con tactical base, and was the source of many of it's features. The Battledrome lacks the power core and modular construction, and is in many ways, a glorified whiskey tango fortress with an integral ballistic missile launcher and tank turrets. The were placed in contested areas where the thick armor walls and readily available cannons could keep a hostile population in check. The missiles allowed the various battledromes to support each other as the case arose.
Built in concert with the Arcology projects, the Battledromes served as lines of defense for the growing meagstructures. These allowed for the continuous flow of supplies to the cities where they were being built, as well as keeping the local populace under guard. Most of these urban battledromes have long since been decommissioned, and their structures turned into prisons, museums, or storage vaults. The Battledromes away from the major urban areas have been damaged in battles, their munitions expended, and like the Whiskey Tango forts, they have become the lairs of miscreants and rabble.
There are always rumors about an off the record battledrome somewhere being found still stocked with thermonuclear weapons.
STC Elevated Superiority Platform
Also known as an Iron-Top or 'Rig, STC ESP bases provided military forces the ability to garrison an area without being immersed in it. Built in a manner similar to an offshore drilling rig, the ESP is a fortification that sits well above the surrounding terrain. The legs are armored, and protected by walls and fences. There is also a bit of arrogance, as the presence of an ESP means that the military planners do not believe that any local forces have the ability to buckle even a single leg. The rest of the ESP is very similar to a terrestrial version of an Estuary Tower and the main differences are all based around the structure not being in the water.
Class 1 - Capitol class ESP
Has a staff of several hundred, a multi-tier system, naval grade defensive weaponry, and can house thousands of infantry. These are regional hubs for military activity and can service warships, house command and control facilities, and host a mechadrome at their base. The existing Capitol ESPs are all long established and regionally famous Forts, well away from actual combat. There are decommissioned Capitols, but they are mostly destroyed, in very poor condition, or are in the hands of regional warlords and would be bandit kings.
The most infamous Capitol ESP is located somewhere in the North American DMZ. Fort Cobra served as a central command during the dissolution of the United States, and was badly damaged and then written off as lost after a terrorist dirty bomb attack irradiated it and most of it's host city. It is now the ceremonial home of Amerikka Command. The fortress has been completely repaired and hidden under a dome of ECM protection. Should it's location be discovered, a joint strike force of Federation and Coalition ships will launch from the JOSH-Annex 1 andwill engage and destroy the facility.
Class 2 - Estate class ESP
Half the size of the Capitol class, the Estate lacks naval grade firepower, and fleet tending abilities. It's staff and infantry complement are also much smaller. Estate ESPs were relatively uncommon, as anything important enough to warrant an Estate technically warranted a Capitol, so more of those were raised. The Estate served a lesser role in being a relay for military forces and communications. This was done to such an extent that the majority of the Estates built were technically armed and armored communications towers.
There are quite a few surviving Estates across the wastelands and many plains and steppe parts of the world. These structures avoided military attacks and terror strikes, and were just abandoned by their crews. As with almost anything left behind in the wastelands, these forts became the homes of badlands nobility, and raider flags and corpses hanging from an Estate is almost the universal symbol for wastelander territory.
Class 3 - Manor class ESP
Non-military in nature, the Manor ESP was built to please industrial investors and the wealthy. These structures rose while the arcologies did, but where one was a communal structure, the Manor was a familial structure, no intended for the masses. While similar in size to the Estate, it had much more available interior space, and could house more people, but most were built for low occupancy. In the second dark age almost all of the Manor ESPs were destroyed, and those who did not flee them in time were strung up and murdered because of their wealth and the collapse of the governments and economies.
The ideal behind the Manor ESP is still in use, with the ultra-wealthy having their personal residences moved to remote places. Thus, the Manors of the Cosmic Era are not on armored stilts, they are aerostats and podvadoms on the bottom of the sea, or habitats in space.