Texlos: Clear the Tunnels After Action Report

Our BattleTechHexare GrenadiersTexlos: Clear the Tunnels After Action Report

In our last installment, we had just cleared the defenders off the mountain pass leading to the Davion underground command center.  The second wave of our forces came through to clear the tunnel passages that were going to be heavily defended to lead to the base proper.  The tunnels were to be only two levels high, limiting the ability of jumpers.  And since we were using the Ishyama Solaris maps, the narrow confines and minimal straight-aways meant that we’d need heavy hitters to help force our way through.

Davions:
Right Flank: Penetrator 7S, Rifleman 3Cr, Axman 4D, Black Knight BL-KN-2, Caesar 3R, Raven 5R
Left Flank: Atlas 7S, Wasp 3S, Marauder 5T, JagerMech 7F, Osiris 3D, Hatchman 6D
Hidden: 4 squads of Cavaliers w/ Small Lasers & 2 Mining ‘Mechs

Hexare Grenadiers:
Piotroski’s Predators: Flashman 8K, Grasshopper 6K, Thunderbolt 5Sb, Catapult C6 & 2 Fa Shih w/ Flamers
Lords of the Night: Pillager PLG-5Z, Nightstar NSR-9J, Axman-1N, Yu Huang Y-H9G
SLAAP: Argus-SLAAP (Heavy PPC, TarComp, LRM 15, MLs), Men Shen (RAC5 + TarComp), Thunder THR-2L, Ostsol OTL-8M, 1 squad Grenadiers & 1 squad of Trinity w/ Plasma Rifles
Warlock Fusiliers: No Dachi NOD-2KO, Cudgel CDG-2A, Koschei KSC-41, Tempest TMP-3M & 2 squads of Fa Shih w/ Recoiless Rifles

Special Rules:
We were playing on the Ishiyama maps (a Solaris arena).  If you have the maps, you’ll notice that there are dragons on some of the squares.  We played these as Magma Crust hexes, which could possibly collapse and our ‘Mechs could fall into Magma.  Since the top of the caves were 2 levels high, no ‘Mechs could jump and battle armor could only jump 2 hexes.  Additionally, in the hall ways (4 of 6 hexes were stone walls) when friendly ‘Mechs moved though the same hex, both ‘Mechs had to make PSRs or fall in the hex, taking 1.5 times damage as the rebounded off the walls.  Finally, due to the climate, all ‘Mechs generate an additional 2 heat per turn.

The Setup:
So my forces and the Lords of the Night set up on the right flank, intending to break through there.  However, we were confronted by some narrow passages and some heavy ass ‘Mechs, so it was going to be rough.  SLAAP and Warlock’s Fusiliers set up on the slightly more spacous left flank, hoping that they could break through there.  In this game, we had 2 people running the OpFor, which led to a speedier and more fun game in my opinion.  However as you will see, it did leave one of the OpFor with only a few forces towards the end of the game, which was probably a little boring.

The primary objective was to make it to the end of the map, which would lead to the underground facilities.  The secondary objective to was destroy all enemy forces and clear the tunnel.

The Action:

Turn 1 – On the right flank, the Lord’s moved both the Axman and Yu Huang to confront the Penetrator and Black Knight.  The Davions had the passages bottlenecks, that only 2 ‘Mechs could show themselves at a time.  The Axman took the combined fire and suffered some heavy damage to both front and back, but nothing internal.  In return, both Davion ‘Mechs took AC20 slugs and assorted other fire.  The Axman was able to push the Black Knight back a hex, creating an additional hex for our forces to move into.  However, the Axman falls after being kicked by the Black Knight.

On the left flank, with considerably more space, a bulk of the Hexare Grenadier forces made their way into a fairly open cavern to square off against the JagerMech, Marauder, and Hatchman.  The Wasp, Osiris, and Atlas were further up the cavern fortunately.  the battle here is a bit more intense.  The Marauder takes heavy fire, including 14 additional heat from infernos in the Grenadiers and falls.  The Hatchman is destroyed by the Thunder which combines an AC 20 and some lasers to take out the RT (but the ammo does not explode, so it’s salvagable).  The JagerMech takes combined fire from the Ostol, Argus, and Men Shen, but takes damage in all locations, spreading it out.  In return, it dishes out 9 RAC rounds and some MPLs to the Men Shen, knocking it off its feet.

Turn 2 – On the left flank, the Yu Huang moves past the Axman, taking the space previously occupied by the Black Knight.  I move my Flashman forward to take the place of the Yu Huang.  My Fa Shih join the Flashman to go toe to toe with the Penetrator.  The right flank’s Raven and Axman begin to move towards the left flank, to help out, seeing that the defenses are falling over there.  The Penetrator takes 14 extra heat from my Fa Shih, who lose one member to MPL fire.  The Penetrator then falls after missing a kick.  The Yu Huang and Black Knight trade blows and the Flashman fails to do much damage.

The right flank has the Merc’s fairing much better.  Some Cavalier jump out to surprise the Grenadiers, who laugh off the small laser fire.  The Maruader, with movement reduced by heat, fails to stand, and gets destroyed.  The Cavalier squad is decimated by inferno missiles (which one shot kill them) from the Grenadiers.  The Thunder, which had positioned itself behind the Raven, one shot kills it with a AC20 shell, but not before the Raven opens up the back of the Ostsol, scoring some heavy damage internally.  The JagerMech continues its valiant stand, taking the combined fire of the same three ‘Mechs and dishing out 2 MPLs and 8 RAC rounds into the Men Shen, which falls from a hip crit.

Turn 3 – Back to the right flank, the Black Knight backs up, hoping to create some space to fall back to another tunnel as the left flank is starting to collapse and he doesn’t want to get cut off.  The Axman, Grasshopper, and Yu Huang give pursuit.  The Davion Penetrator and Axman fall back as well, looking  avoid getting cutoff.  The Flashman pursues the Penetrator, along with 1 unit of Fa Shih, as the other is pretty banged up, and thus retreated from direct contact.  The Black Knight falls under the combined fire of the three heavy and assault ‘Mechs and my Flashman gets the lesser of the exchange with the Flashman, and falls.

The left flank continues to fold as the Men Shen, Argus, and Ostsol finish off the JagerMech via RAC 5 ammo explosion.  The Atlas and No Dachi square off, leaving both ‘Mechs in pain.  However, the Atlas takes a couple shots to the head.  During the physical phase, the Atlas takes a TSM kick, critting the a leg actuator, and falls, failing its pilot check, and the pilot passes out.  A Mining Mech popped out of the wall, but was largely ineffectual.

Turn 4 – At this point, the right flank is opening up, and the left flank is wide open.  However, further up the left flank is a -6 level hole, covering about 5 hexes.  Meaning it would be very hard to pass over it, since jumping is limited.  Climbing is a possibility, but ultimately pretty risky.  So our forces are starting to converge on a narrow passage on the right flank, which is some what of a straight away, defended by the Caesar, Rifleman, Osiris, and Wasp.  However, due to the PSRs of passing other ‘Mechs, we take our time to traverse this passage.

The Axman, which was trying to help the left flank, arrives a pinch too late, and gets hit by a handful of ‘Mechs over on that side.  The Cudgel finishes off the mining ‘Mech with a club to the torso.  Another mining ‘Mech popped out, and took a TSM kick to the leg, that ended up chewing all the way through the center torso.

Turn 5 – With my Flashman ailing, the Pillager and Nightstar pursue to hunt down that Penetrator.  Some hidden Cavaliers deal a leg attack and crit on the Nightstar and the Penetrator avoids LOS for the turn.  Over on the right flank, the Axman takes more punishment, but ultimately goes down from some parting shots from the Grenadiers.  However, the Axman pilot decides do take someone with him, and head crits and rolls a 12, popping the head off the No Dachi.

Turn 6 – The Pillager finally chases down that Penetrator, which eats some gauss slugs and falls down, to a TSM kick in the shin.  The Fa Shih, Flashman, and Nightstar finish off the Cavaliers on the right flank, and we’ve finally secured it.

Ahead, the Argus, Ostsol, and Thunder get in line to try and bust through the upper right flank, but staying out of LOS until more forces can move up the left flank to cut across to the area were the Davions are making their final stand.

Turn 7 – The Pillager finishes off the Penetrator by taking out both arms, a leg, and a gyro hit, mission killing it.  The the Koschei kicks the arm of the Wasp, making it fall, and critting itself with 2 engine hits.  The Rifleman pops out, to say high to the Ostsol, Argus, and Thunder who are waiting of the Koschei and Cudgel to flank the Davions.  The Rifleman pops the Argus with two AC10 AP rounds, critting some hotloaded LRMs, blowing a big hole in the Argus, taking relatively light damage in return.

Turn 8 – Probably the bloodiest turn of the game starts with a death during the movement phase.  The Argus, with it’s LRM 15 launcher gone, decides to dump ammo and round the corner for some vengence.  Unfortunately, some hiding Cavaliers have other ideas, rear shotting the Argus as it rounded the corner knocking it out of action.  The Ostol rushes the Rifleman to exact revenge.  In their brief exchange of fire, the Ostsol falls down, and is subsequently kicked by the Rifleman, hurting it badly.

Not all is bad, as the Warlock Fusiliers push the flank, as the Koschei finishes off the Osiris with shooting and kicks the Wasp to death, making the Koschei pilot an early candidate for the extra experience point for team MVP.

Turn 9 – The Caesar and Rifleman match up against the Ostsol and Yu Huang.  Unfortunately the Koschei can’t make it into the final fray yet.  The Rifleman takes out the Ostsol via side torso destruction.  In return, the Yu Huang makes it pay, breaching the Rifleman in a few locations, including a leg, in which the Rifleman suffers a hip crit and falls to the ground.

Turn 10 – The Cavaliers catch up to the Yu Huang and successfully leg attack it forcing two crits.  Luckily, the two jump jets residing in the leg soak the damage.  The Yu Huang leaves the Rifleman for the Koschei to finish as it beings to grind away on the Ceasar.  The Koschei, combined with the Tempest, finish off the Rifleman via two gyro crits, leaving it as a decent peice of salvage.

Turn 11 – This is ultimately a the final turn.  The Ceasar attempts to hold off the mercenaries, trading blows with the Koschei.  The Koschei gets the better of this final exchange, blowing the leg off the Ceasar and forcing it to suffer a gyro hit on the fall.  At this point, the only surviving Davion units is a surrounded squad of Cavaliers, which had a Thunder, Catapult, and Cudgel bearing down on them and the legless and gyro hit Ceasar.  The Davions call for surrender and their request is accepted.

The Body Count:
Both mining ‘Mechs were destroyed via CT destruction.
3 Squads of Cavaliers were obliterated, one survived with minor damage.
The Davions lost all their ‘Mechs, primarily to side torso destruction, and thus are mostly salvageable.  The only completely destroyed ‘Mechs would be the Black Knight, if I’m not mistaken.

The Hexare Grenadiers faired much better, but still suffered some fair amount of casualties.

My Predators lost 2 Fa Shih troopers, one from each squad.  The Flashman was pretty beat up, probably took over 100 points of damage in total, but thankfully it was spread out.  The Lords of the Night had the Nightstar stuff a leg crit and the Axman lost its AC20 and much of it’s armor.  The Yu Huang had some moderate damage, but lost 2 jump jets to the leg attack.  The Warlock Fusiliers lost their No Dachi to head loss (pilot still alive due to roll of 12 on critical).  The Koschei took some moderate damage as well.  SLAAP got it the worst of all.  The Men Shen lost a leg and much of its armor.  The Argus and Ostsol both fell from side torso destruction.  All other merc units suffered minimal damage.

Analysis:
Overall the mission was extremely fun.  Not only was it a significantly longer, in the form of turns (11 to our usual 5-6), but it played much faster.  I think my hypothesis that 2 OpFor players vs 4-5 Merc players lead to a more interesting and tactical game as oppose to a clog the lanes brawl that usual occurs.  For that, I was extremely happy.  Movement went extremely fast, especially for the type of mission we were playing, which could have been drawn out.  Unfortunately, the left flank folded so quickly that the OpFor controlling that side was managing only a few units at the end of the game.  But, I think I fired shots in only 4 of the 11 turns of the game, so I don’t feel too bad for him.

The special rules in the game, specifically the magma and magma crust didn’t come into play nearly as much as we would have expected.  I think only 2 or three crusts broke through, causing minimal damage overall.  The heat was annoying, but ultimately helped us due to the infernos and flamers that we brought along.

My forces in particular, were relatively useless in the close confines of the setting.  It was probably my best choice, but were out-shined by the AC20s and TSM ‘Mechs my teammates brought along.  The Grasshopper was fairly effective in the close quarters, as was the Flashman, but definitely not awesome.

Youngblood, the commanders of SLAAP, stayed with his in-your-face, all out attack style, which typically yields more successes than failures, cost him heavily in this mission.  Two downed ‘Mechs and a third with a missing leg is going to be expensive to repair.  You’ll notice that my style is a more hang back, less other takes the hits, and then rush forward to steal the glory approach.  Didn’t work too well in here, but fortunately, besides a few BA troopers and some armor, I didn’t lose too much, making this a fairly profitable mission (for me).

I was suprised by the effectiveness of the Fa Shih with flamers.  The flamers were great at heating up enemy ‘Mechs, when grouped as a pair of squads…not as effective when running as solo squads.  Obviously the TSM and AC20 ‘Mechs dominated with their hole opening capabilities.  The RAC5’s the Davions were wielding were scary, but since the tend to spread their love all over, the high damage amount isn’t as bad as it might seem (until they roll a bunch of 7s in a row).

Next Up:
So this was part 2 of a 3 part mission.  Now that we cleared the mountain pass and then the tunnels, our third combat team is going to sweep in and take on the command center while our first team hold the pass and second keeps the tunnels secure.  I get to pick between my recon striker lance or my C3 lance.  I’m guessing the C3 lance is going to be the lucky lance.  I just can’t justify hovers and light ‘Mechs in confined quarters.

Well I hope you enjoyed the read, see you next time as we finally attack the underground base.  As always, feel free to comment or join the discussion at http://ourbattletech.com/forum/mission-reports-analysis-and-discussion/

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