We wrapped up a successful operation on Vestallas, split out the salvage, did some repairs and headed out to Texlos, a strategic planet housing aerospace manufacturing facilities. As such, we were committing our entire forces to take the planet. Unsurprisingly, our Mules were going to make easy targets for the aerospace assets defending Texlos. Additionally, until the end of the Vestallas operation, the only aerospace assets our combined forces had was my Defiance Triple and the Warlock Fusilier’s Transgressor Triple. So the AFFS forces were expecting some pretty weak aerospace support. But since we were assigned to Texlos without any Capellan aerospace support, the remaining commanders decided to make some serious investments in their aerospace assets.
It just so happened that the GM, MadCapellan, had finished evaluating the EP (economic point) values of a majority of the standard (non-pocket warship) dropships. It just so happened that two of our commanders had over 400 EPs saved up and could afford some pretty nice dropships. Here’s what everyone bought:
Bethlans’ Irregulars invested in two stock Centurions, and then made some customizations, dropping fuel to add a TarComp, upgrading the medium lasers to ERs, replacing the standard armor with Ferro Aluminum, and upgrading to double heat sinks.
Taku No’s commander decided to acquire an Union (upgrade), which is perfectly sized to carry his company. The side benefit for him is that his troops were not in a weaker Mule and that he no longer had to pay transport costs for third party transport, saving him money over the long haul.
The Shengli Armed Asset Protection commander continued with his AC/20 obsession by purchasing three Lightnings, two of the LTN-16Ls and one LTN-16O.
The Lords of the Night decided to add an Avenger for overall dropship protection. This thing is a serious beast. Sad thing is, she’s got enough EP to add another dropship to carry all her forces still.
3 Defiances (5 Light Air to Airs)
3 Lightnings (5 Light Air to Airs)
2 Centurions (3 Light Air to Airs)
3 Transgressors (5 Light Air to Airs)
1 Avenger Dropship
1 Union (Upgrade) Dropship
5 Mule Dropships
The mission is simple, kill them before they kill us. Or well, more pointedly, kill them before they can pop one or more of the Mules. If one of the Mules gets popped, pretty much each of the Merc units would end up losing a random assortment of stuff from their force list. To be honest, none of us wanted to find out how it would work out. Fortunately, we had invested some significant resources in our aerospace assets between Vestallas and Texlos. We packed on the Light Air to Air to the gills, since they have range of medium ranged capital weapons. So we could just unload massive flights of missiles to pop a few enemy fighters before they could get too close.
If you’ve never played AeroTech…I’m not going to be able to help you with the rules, but I will tell you that it was an awesome change up to the standard ground battle brawl. Also, there were some scary risks to failure. ‘Mech and pilot loss would be crippling. We placed the Union and the Avenger on the flanks, with the Mules and fighters between the two heavier Dropships. Our main strategy was to criss-cross our Mules, exposing their sides, which have more armor there. Other than that, my Defiances and SLAAP’s Lightnings were going to hunt together, the UAC/20s to can open, and the pulse-y goodness of my Defiance setups to finish them off.
Turn 1 – Movement is pretty interesting, since you can have thrust in multiple vectors. We started the criss cross of the Mules as the Corsairs set up a firing line, all 6 abreast. Three of the Sparrowhawks moved out to our right flank, while the final 3 Sparrowhawks lined up behind the Avenger which had moved in position to broadside the Corsairs.
Me and the SLAAP Lightnings launched all of our Light Air to Airs at one Corsair, knocking it out. We also combined our fire on the 3 Sparrowhawks which were in the aft of the Avenger, crippling 3 of the Sparrowhawks. We only killed one, but put enough engine hits on the others that based on their current velocities, they wouldn’t make it back into the battle before it was dead. The rest of our forces spread out some damage.
The Davions returned in kind, launching massive missile barriages at two of our Mules, fortunately no thresholds. The Avenger took some heavy damage in the aft, but nothing it couldn’t handle.
Turn 2 – Each side continued their thrusts, just changing facing for the most part, just like a drive-by shooting. The two Sparrowhawks that we crippled last turn are still on the extreme edge of map, barely slowing down. One of the Mules gets swarmed by the other three Sparrowhawks, which bite heavily into the side armor, leaving only 11 points remaining. We chewed them up, knocking out one and forcing the other two into control rolls resulting in random movement. The Lightning and Defiance swarm claimed another Corsair and the Transgressors unloaded their missile salvos and weapons fire to take out another Corsair.
Turn 3 – The battle is decided at this point, but they still have 5 Sparrowhawks and 3 Corsairs and they could potentially still take out one of the Mules…even though 4 of the Sparrowhawks were so heavily damaged or out of control they were nearly out of the fight. There were basically one Sparrowhawk and one Corsair in our primary firing arcs. We wiped out both fighers that were otherwised undamaged. At this point, we’ve taken the field and their remaining forces decided discretion was the better part of valor and fled the field.
Conclusion & Analysis:
The mission was made significantly easier because we significantly improved our aerospace assets between missions. The Davion intel was just not current with our latest assets. However, the Davion fighters got two of our Mules down pretty low, leaving one with 11 armor on its right side and another with 14 armor on its aft. Our aerospace fighters did not take much damage, but we weren’t expecting to. The Davions’ sole purpose was to kill a Mule or two, so it was well worth their risk.
Our criss cross strategy with the Mules worked out, because the Mule’s aft weaponry is actually fairly solid. The Mules effectiveliy covered one another’s afts. We had the Lightning/Defiance hunting pack cover the aft of the Avenger, who was covering the aft of the Union. It’s very interesting, trying to position and then maintain position in AeroTech. But we did a good job. Fortunately, we were able to hold our positions for the first 2 turns, as by the 3rd turn, we were starting to lose positioning. Luckily, by then, the Davions were wildly out of position so it didn’t matter.
All in all it was a very fun scenario, and I think that we will be playing more of these AeroTech games as we now have some serious aerospace assets. Definitely nice to just hand-wave the landings, since you don’t have anything at risk, but it’s a nice change of pace.
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