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The fire base was a USA base defense structure developed midway through the conflict with the GLA, in order to cover shortcomings that had become apparent in the Patriot Missile System. The Fire Base was armed with a 155mm howitzer that could fire a considerable distance. Up to four infantry could be garrisoned in its fighting positions, allowing for a flexible defense.


While the howitzer itself was not powerful enough to sufficiently destroy incoming armored vehicles by itself, garrisoned infantrymen, usually composed of Missile Defenders - would often be more than able to finish the job. Fire Bases worked best in tandem with Patriot Missile System. If garrisoned by a Pathfinder or Rangers, Firebases could provide US bases with an effective anti-infantry defense. Its artillery shell cannot be intercepted or diverted by jamming.

In addition, this was the only USA defense that did not require a power supply, however it was still vulnerable to EMP weapons or a Microwave tank.


The most common way to utilize the Fire Base was to build them behind a patriot missile battery (or several), with missile defenders in the Fire Bases to add extra anti armor/air to the defense and one pathfinder to deal with infantry. Doing so will allow the Patriot to absorb attacks that could otherwise kill the Firebase's garrisoned soldiers.

A typical force composition was one Ranger or Pathfinder and three Missile Defenders. Alternatively, if fully loaded with four missile-armed soldiers, the base is more effective against tanks than the Patriot.

Since the Firebase did not consume any external electricity, Generals could build them in great numbers without worrying about burdening the base power supply. They could be built nearby key buildings such as oil rigs in the early game, although they will need to be reinforced with other defenses eventually.


Up close against a squad of tanks a Fire Base was of little use, at least without Missile Defenders. Physically, the Fire Base itself was surprisingly fragile. Artillery units also had sufficient range to attack a Fire Base with impunity, and without garrisoned soldiers it was vulnerable to attacks from the air. Jarmen Kell's remarkable rifle had a surprising effect on Fire Bases, as he could destroy the Fire Base with two to three shots depending on his rank, This is because the Fire Base has only three operators (gunner, loader, and spotter), once they are killed by Jarmen Kell, the Fire Base becomes nonoperational, Thus, it is destroyed because defensive structures cannot be captured. Some fast moving units like the Combat Cycle could simply avoid the shells, also. Toxin and flame weapons like the Toxin Tractor could also kill the infantry garrisoned within it. China's MiGs could burn infantry out of the base's firing positions with napalm.


  • Zero Hour patch 1.01: fixed a bug which caused infantry to become invisible but still selectable if a garrisoned Firebase was sold
  • Zero Hour patch 1.03:
    • armour adjusted to be vulnerable to snipers and immune to melee and laser damage
    • fixed related unfinished building exploit


  • A fire base in real life is a large complex and consists of an operations center, engineering and medical crews, communications and infantry support, alongside multiple (not just one) artillery pieces. The game structure is more akin to a single artillery emplacement.
  • Fitting in with the overall laser theme, the Fire Base of Laser General was supposed to get a laser guided attack just like the Missile Defender, dubbed "Laser Guided Howitzer". It was never implemented into the final game, However, in the Zero Hour mod Rise of The Reds, the Laser Guided Howitzer was reimplemented, though with different name.
  • If a Fire Base is destroyed, all infantry inside are killed as well, bursting into flames, Because of this, the Fire base is the only United States of America building which does not leave Rangers upon destruction.
Gen USA Logo United States of America War against the GLA Arsenal Gen USA Logo