Having fought our way through the initial fighter screens en route to our invasion of Texlos, the Hexare Grenadiers were tapped to spearhead an assault on an underground aerospace facility. The first phase of the operation is to knock out the defensive perimeter around the mountain entrance. The second phase will be to enter the the caves leading to the facility and root out the remaining defenders.
Having done some reconnaissance of the perimeter defenses, the Hexare Grenadiers noted that there was some heavy woods leading up to the mountain pass’s entrance to the facility. Therefore, jumpers and fire support would be critical. Once these initial forces cleared the way, a second line of units would come to invade the base while the initial wave would stand guard.
Fire Lance 1 – Marauder II 5A, Rifleman 3Cr, Marauder 5D, Valkyrie QD1
Fire Lance 2 – JagerMech JM7-G, Nightstar 9FC, Longbow 13NAIS, Dervish 8D
Brawler Lance 1 – Victor 9Da, Goliath 5D, Penetrator 6T, Caesar 4R
Brawler Lance 2 – Rakashasa 1Ar, Argus 4D, Axman 1N, Hatchetman 5S
Skirmish Lance 1 – Enforcer III 6Ma, Shadow Hawk 9D, Enforcer III 6M, Watchman 4M
Skirmish Lance 2 – Hellspawn 9F, Phoenix Hawk 6D, Osiris 3D, Garm O1C
VTOL Support – 2 Yellow Jackets w/ RAC 5s and 2 Cavalry
Warlock Fusiliers – 2 Wraith TR1, Clint (Custom w/ Stealth Armor and Plasma), Phoenix Hawk 3PL
Lords of the Night – Ti Ts’ang 9H, Thunder 1L, Lao Hu 2B, Nightsky 4S, 2 Demolisher Arrow IV variants
SLAAP – Thunderbolt 10SE, Lynx 9Q, Yu Huang 10G, Ti Ts’ang 9H (missing left arm), 2 Danais
Taku No – Enforcer III, Wraith TR1, Hatchman 5S, Lynx 9Q
Bethlans’ Irregulars -(C3 lance) Cerberus C3 Master, Griffin 6S, Caesar 4R, Marauder 5T, 2 Warrior VTOLs
Pat’s Force – Dragonfire 4F, Thunderbolt 7SE, Marauder 9M2, Rifleman 6X
We added a new player to our campaign. Reaper_Wolf is another one of the Chicagoland CBT gamers. His addition brings our total player count to 7, which is pretty remarkable. Moving forward, we’re going to start having 2 OpFor players vs 5 Merc players to help speed our game play up and bring the total number of units on our 4 map sheet gaming tables down to a more manageable level.
For this mission, I’m solo OpFor’ing the Davion lists above. As mentioned in the first post on this blog, I’ve only been playing BattleTech for a short time, probably about a year and a half now. Running two plus companies was pretty tough. I ended up just doing the movement, writing down the to-hit numbers and probably let 50% of my forces get shot and shot at by the other players to speed things along. Anyway, now for the meat of the battle report.
Since I OpFor’ed, this will be from my perspective. The southern two maps, were high cliff maps, mostly level 6 terrain and higher. The path down the middle is effectively the entrance to the underground base. The northern two maps were heavily forested, with some low hills in there as well. As the defender, I deployed first…attempting to set up a formation Davions would use. I placed my two fire support lances in heavy and light woods on the cliff top. Giving them good field of views to focus fire. I had my two brawler lances down, set between the cliffs and the woods since they lacked both speed and jumping (for the most part) and would have gotten bogged down in the woods. My two skirmishing lances were deployed in the forest. Their goal was to jump around, try and distract some of the Merc’s ‘Mechs, and help to spread their forces out. Initially, they had thought to spread their forces out, but they ended up lumping all of their ‘Mechs into the north-eastern corner. This would allow them to come en mass and attempt to overwhelm my flank.
Turn 1 – I won imitative, but it hardly mattered. For the most part, they moved or jumped forward. Bethlan’s C3 Gauss line, established a firing line on a wooded hill. My skirmish lance 2 (which was deployed in the NE forest) jumped backwards into heavy woods to block LOS. My skirmish lance 1 and VTOLS seeked to harass their right flank, which was primarily made up of the Lords of the Night and Pat’s Force’s ‘Mechs which lacked dedicated jumping ability. I was able to focus fired down on Pat’s Rifleman, doing some decent damage. In return, they took out one of my Yellow Jackets.
Turn 2 – We continue to dance. They jump forward and I jump back. However this time, they have some of their ‘Mechs on Overwatch, a special rule that allows you to shoot during the movement phase. They hope this will help them take out my jumping skirmishers. As a result, they knocked my Hatchetman out of the sky forcing it to fall. I continue to swarm Pat’s forces, as his ‘Mechs have been waylaid by my skirmishers and the woods. I continue to plink away at the Rifleman and he focuses on my Watchman, which ends up falling.
Turn 3 – Here’s were the battle starts to turn in their favor, and not for a lack of a quality game plan on my behalf, but a combination of crap rolls, Arrow IV, and lack of quality ranged weaponry. I continue to fall back, luring them closer to my gun line, attempting to isolate targets to pick on. Arrow IV lock on, and they send 3 into the Rakashasa, maiming it and 1 into the Hatchetman, which takes it on a torso.
I continue to harass their right (western) flank, but fail to do significant damage, as I’m now splitting fire between Pat’s Rifleman and Marauder, knocking down the Mad. However, in return, I lose another VTOL, the Hellspawn to a headshot, and the Osiris loses a leg and is forced to punch out as he’s literally surrounded by enemy ‘Mechs.
Turn 4 – I continue to back up, trying to draw them closer and closer to my gun line. My skirmishers, most of which who had taken mild damage every turn, begin to wear down. My gun line focuses on some of the heavier ‘Mechs coming down the middle while I continue to harass their flank. My Enforcer III falls, and it stomped to death. My remaining VTOLs got knocked out of the sky.
Turn 5 – The continued erosion leads to a massive breakdown in turn 5. To kick off the turn, my Dervish falls trying to stand up, critting LRM ammo and blowing itself up. Arrow IV fire knocks the head off my Nightstar. The Victor, which never landed a precision AC/20 shell the whole game, takes an engine and gyro hit and falls to the ground. The Goliath gets finished off by two medium lasers to the head and SRM missile. The Garm got cored out and the Hatchetman’s left torso gets blown through. The Longbow eats concentrated fire, suffers and ammo crit, forcing the pilot to eject. Finally, the Rakashasa falls, hitting its head and the pilot passes out. In return, the only significant damage I finally was able to do was knock the leg off Pat’s Marauder and knock the pilot unconscious.
At this point, the defenders had only the Rifleman, Marauder II, Phoenix, Enforcer, Valkyrie, Penetrator, Shadow Hawk, and Axman remaining. The Merc’s only had 1 ‘Mech down, with about 5-6 other heavies with pretty signifiant damage, but not enough to stick around to try and take them out. They had no choice but to either surrender or flee, depending on their location on the board.
Conclusion and Analysis:
This was an interesting scenario, but very challenging to organize two full companies of ‘Mechs. I thought my overall strategy was a sound one, but I just didn’t have the right ‘Mechs for the job. What hurt the most, was the lack of dedicated long range fire support. I didn’t have much in the way of LRMs, Gausses, or even that many ER PPCs. The lack of certain quantity of those weapons, really limited the effectiveness and range of my gunline units.
Through the first two turns, it looked like my strategy was succeeding. I was whittling away at their western flank units and harassing them. I was able to shoot up some of their heavies that weren’t in great cover as well. But things fell apart for two major reasons. First, Arrow IV wiped out my brawler support on eastern side. Second, the Bethlan’s C3 Gauss team could basically pepper my gunline with impunity as I didn’t have the range to match nor enough ECM to counter the C3 network.
Their strategy of clustering up and mass rushing my eastern flank was well founded. Since I lacked any real area of effect weaponry, they was no downside to clustering up like that. Since they were bringing such massive tonnage, I couldn’t mix it up with my lights and mediums in a jump, shoot, jump battle. And since I was playing a defensive scenario, I couldn’t dedicate the resources to trying to take out the Cerberus C3 Master to stop the Gauss onslaught. In the end, they weathered my early storm without suffering too much damage, slowing doing enough damage to a variety of ‘Mechs that by the 5th turn, once they could bring their collective firepower to bear, they just tore me up…supported by a lot of head hits, which speeded things up.
A few thinks that I think would make OpFor’ing more fun would be to know the scenario and a rough idea of the unit composition a few days ahead of time, to start game planning a little bit. And to have a little say in the units, maybe even just one lance or so, would be pretty cool. Interestingly, when playing with canon force composition, it’s really enlightening to see how effective/ineffective different factions are different things. Since the Davion’s favor cavalry ‘Mechs, they are good at many types of scenarios, but definitely not defensive ones, that call for a more Marik or Lyran approach to combat.
Anyway, stay tuned for our next mission as we continue our invasion of an underground base. As always, feel free to comment or join the discussion at https://ourbattletech.com/forum/mission-reports-analysis-and-discussion/