- "Surprise is no replacement for firepower."
- ―Heavy Weapons Specialists response to Infiltrator maxim
Heavy Weapons Specialists were a branch of the Alliance to Restore the Republic's Special Forces. A combat heavy role, Heavy Weapons Specialists were trained to operate and maintain a wide variety of heavy weapons, including repeating blasters, missile weapons, and artillery. Brash, loud, and direct, Heavy Weapons Specialists never abandoned their position or abandoned their weapon.
Heavy Weapons Specialists were a military speciality within the Alliance to Restore the Republic's Special Forces. The 6th Regiment of every SpecForce division was comprised of Heavy Weapons Specialists. Simply put, Heavy Weapons Specialists operated SpecForce's arsenal of heavy weapons, provided other troops with cover from enemy forces including air and ground vehicles, and gave Alliance forces extra offensive punch during assault on enemy positions and facilities. Heavy Weapons Specialists suffered from a higher casualty rate than any other branch of SpecForce; their training emphasised the need to hold their positions at all costs. Once a Heavy Weapons Specialists position was identified, they became the target of enemy fire. Heavy Weapons Specialists would rather die at their posts than abandon their weapon. This mindset led to two types of Heavy Weapons Specialists; veterans and targets. There were no average Heavy Weapons Specialists. In addition to their groundside combat duties, Heavy Weapons Specialists stationed with the Alliance Fleet were expected to replace gunners incapacitated in battle.
Heavy Weapons Specialists fire teams were close knit, a result of the reliance each gunner placed on the other members of their unit. They could be employed in a wide variety of terrains, and a wide range of mission profiles, effortlessly reinforcing Marines, Wilderness Fighters, and Urban Guerrillas as needed. A Heavy Weapons Specialists unit were never deployed as a single combat unit. The high casualty rate among Heavy Weapons Specialists keep the regiments numbers lower than other regiments. Veteran Heavy Weapons Specialists were held in high regard by their peers.
- "Primed and ready to fire! Get ready to duck, troops!"
- ―Heavy Weapons Specialist
Heavy Weapons Specialists were generally athletic youths, competing in sports and developing their physique and fitness. They were not stupid, however, and saw the Galactic Empire for what it was, joining the Alliance as soon as they were able to. Their years of athletic training and upper body strength led them to a posting in SpecForces Heavy Weapons Specialists; the weapons needed strength to lift. Trained on all types of heavy weapons, from infantry support weapons, to repeating blasters, to capital ship guns. Following drop camp, Heavy Weapons Specialists trained on safe worlds with missile weapons, heavy blasters, and artillery. Maintenance and repair of weapons were taught, and they were rotated to a line ship for further space weapon training, usually in concert with Marines.
Heavy Weapons Specialists were bold, brash, and lacked subtlety in all forms. Their overriding belief was that superior firepower was the solution to all military problems, and they strove to kill the enemy before they were killed themselves. Other Specs referred to them as "gunners," or, simply, "HWSs."
Sergeant Whumparrin was a Wookiee Heavy Weapons Specialist, who led a squad assigned to Team 19. A rescued slave, Whumparrin was assigned as a Heavy Weapons Specialists as an act of pragmatism; he could easily carry the weapon. He acquired a fearsome reputation, both among his Alliance brethren and the Empire. A howling Wookiee armed with a medium repeating blaster was a sight that many did not forget.
Training for Heavy Weapons Specialists focused almost exclusively on combat and related skills. They were trained to handle blasters, and operate a wide variety of heavy weapons, including repeating blasters, blaster artillery, vehicle-mounted weapons, and missile weapons. Maintenance and repair of these weapons was also taught. Operation of ship-mounted weapons was a secondary speciality, as Heavy Weapons Specialists were expect to act as reserve Fleet gunners if the need arose. They were also skill in the operation of repulsorcraft. They were physically fit and strong, and were capable brawlers in a fight. Heavy Weapons Specialists were also skilled in basic survival, demolitions training, and first aid techniques.
Each Heavy Weapons Specialist was armed with a heavy weapon, and these weapons usually varied according to the mission profile. A blaster pistol and vibroknife were carried for closer-in defense, and a comlink for communication. Repeating blasters, infantry support weapons, missile weapons, and other similar weapons could be used by Heavy Weapons Specialists. Flame rifles were also part of the Heavy Weapons Specialists' arsenal, and vehicle flamers were reserved exclusively for their use. All SpecForce artillery units were also operated by Heavy Weapons Specialists.
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
- Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – The Nightsister's Revenge (Card: Heavy Weapon Specialist)