Vestallas: Save the Home Guard After Action Report

Our BattleTechHexare GrenadiersVestallas: Save the Home Guard After Action Report

The second mission on Vestallas is to rescue a unit of Home Guard that got cut off from the main force.  We arrive just as the AFFS forces are decending upon their defensive position to batter the AFFS back and extract them.

Force Lists

Davions: Wasp 3S, Hornet 171, Fireball ALM-7D, Stealth STH-1D, Javelin JVN-11D, Shadow Hawk SHD-9D, Enforcer III 6Ma, Blackjack BJ-4, Argus AGS-4D, Victor VTR-9B, Nightstar NSR-9FC, Penetrator PTR-4D, 2 Rommel (Gauss Variants), 2 Challenger X MBTs, 2 Hawk Moths (LGR Variant), 2 Corsair ASFs CSR-V18

Hexare Grenadier Forces:
Shengli Armed Asset ProtectionTi Ts’ang 9J, Ostsol 8M, Lancelot Custom, Men Shen Custom
Bethlens’ Irregulars C3 Custom LanceCaesar 4R, Cerberus Custom, Marauder 5T (one arm missing), Griffin 6S, 2 Warrior VTOLs H-7 & H-7c
Warlock Fusiliers2 Wraiths TR1, Phoenix Hawk 3PL, Clint Custom (Plasma rifle + stealth armor), Musketeer Hovertank, Minion Hovertank
Piotrowski’s Predators – 3 Defiance ASFs (LB-10X, LPL, 3 MPLs) payload 1 Air to Air Arrow and 1 Arrow IV homing per fighter.

Vestallas Home Guard:
4 Manticores, 4 Vedettes (UAC5 variants), 9 Platoons of Motorized MG Infantry

Background:
The second mission of a series of four was a rescue the Home Guard mission.  Our pay was to be determined by the portion of forces we saved from destruction.  The contingent of Home Guard had been fleeing from a pursuit force, and had drawn up to make a last stand.  We arrived just as the Davions began their advance on the Home Guard forces.

The Setup:
The map was primarily some hilly plains with some sparce forest. We deployed against the south end of the map, 4 hexes in.  We deployed centrally and to the east.  The Home Guard was deployed in the center of the map.  The combat vehicles were either in light cover or hidden from LOS behind some hills. All of the infantry was dug-in.  The Davions set up in the northwest corner of the map.  They had two main paths to head to the Home Guard, since there was a large hill (lvl 1 to lvl 3 terrain plus some woods).  So they had to head either east then south or south then east to get around the hill.

Since I was running my aerospace fighters, I was given the Home Guard to play during the ground movement phases.  Our basic strategy was to sprint our ‘Mech forces up first turn to make up some extra ground.  I would peal off half of the Home Guard forces, but keep 4 platoons, 2 Manticores, and one Vedette to establish a battleline until the ‘Mechs could take over.  My planes would attempt to clear they skies or strike ‘Mechs that have exposed rear arcs or need just a little more damaged to finish off.

The Action:

Turn 1 – According to plan, our ‘Mech forces rush forward, sprinting to quicken the advance.  Ken drops some well placed T-Aug in front of the tanks, hoping to divert or cripple them.  I keep 2 Manticores and Vedettes in place to delay the enemy.  We trade fire, but with all the running, range and cover, there wasn’t much damage dealt by either side.

Turn 2 – We start our turn off with a Musketeer slip-sliding into some trees, nearly completely out of the main battleline, which sucks.  Most of the Home Guard falls back, with the two Manticores stay put to place shots on the enemy forces.  One of them immobilizes a Challenger, which is then later engine critted and commander killed by the Warrior VTOLs.  The Wasp takes damage, falling from lower leg crits.  The Caesar places a Gauss into the Fireball, which is subsequently finished off by some Home Guard infantry.  The Ostsol and Men Shen tag team the Hornet, putting it out of it’s misery.  I halt the retreat of my 2 other Manticores, looking to use the LRM 10s as indirect support.

In the skys above, I dictate range to with 2 of my fighters on one of the Corsairs and get dictated by the other.  I pour fire into the one Corsair, but fail to knock it down.  In turn, I take some damage, but luckily make my save.  His plane gets pretty messed up from about 5 threshold hits though.  With my other fighter, I decide to fire my Air to Air Arrow looking for a lucky hit.  It misses, and I take 2 ERLLs, suffering minor damage.  Realizing afterwards, I should have striked with my 3rd fighter.

Turn 3 – I get 3 of the Vedettes of the board.  I push one of the Manticores behind the Victor for some rear shot love.  Shengli’s forces move out to mix it up, but walk giving themselves low mods for better shots and to force the OpFor to take easy shots against low priority targets.  The tanks, threatened by T-Aug backpetals and The forces are now mixing it up quite nicely.  We spread a lot of fire around, but fail to finish anything off.  The LOS blocking hill in the middle of the engagement zone is hampering focus fire.  In turn though, we get massacred, or well Shengli does.  Underestimating the amount of damage those tanks can do, The Men Shen takes 2 leg crits and over 60 damage, forcing it to fall.  The Ostsol takes over 70 damage, losing a leg and falling.  Only thing we do is hit the head of the Shadow Hawk 4 times in one turn, knocking the pilot out, from a combo of a Wraith, indirect LRM fire and infantry fire.  In the physical phase, the Ti Ts’ang gets some revenge for his fallen comrades, cutting the leg off the Blackjack.

Turn 4 – We finally get our TAGs in good position, so I intend on unleashing my Arrow IV homing missiles this turn.  This turn we win initiative and get some good positioning.  We lock two 2 TAGs, one on the Enforcer and one on the Nightstar, and elect to hit the Enforcer with 1 missile and the Nightstar with 2.  We open up the left torso of the Nightstar and knock the Enforcer down.

The Caesar unleashes fury this turn, killing the Victory with a rear shot SN PPC knocking out the RT and XL engine.  Next, it fires its gauss rifle as a secondary target on the immobile Challenger, killing it as well.  The Victor, with its dying breath, unload an AC 20 shot into the Ti Ts’ang, knocking out its RT and XL engine inside.  We kill the pilot in the Shadow Hawk and knock down the Enforcer.  The Ostsol, Lancelot and Men Shen take some more punishment, but luckily survive.

In the skies this turn, I get two fighters into the rear of the undamaged Corsair, chewing it apart.  It fails it’s piloting roll and crashes into the ground.  The other Corsair dictates range on my final fighter, who elects to strike the Argus who has an exposed rear.  I take a ERLL shot, but open up the Argus’s back, critting the TarComp, the engine, and the BAP.

Turn 5 – The Davion tanks hold their ground slightly outside of the main melee, as the ‘Mech’s have gone to close quarters, moving around for backshots and cover.  The Lancelot takes a covering action, to protect the Ostsol, which was punished in the prior turn.  The Ostsol and Lancelot over-charge their PPCs to deal extra damage, with the Lancelot killing off the remaining Challenger with a capacitor charged and over charged PPC dealing 22 damage.  In return though, the Lancelot eats heavy fire from the tanks, suffering damage to multiple internal locations before finally falling to a Gauss Rifle shot the LT.  We put fire into the Enforcer, Argus, Enforcer, Penetrator (which lost its entire left side) and Nightstar, going internal on all of them but failing to land a fatal blow.  To conclude the turn, many ‘Mechs fall, included the Enforcer, Penetrator, Nightstar and our Client and Wraith.  This was to set the stage for the final turn.

Turn 6 – At this point, the Davions can’t keep decent move mods and we mop them up.  I strafe the 2 Rommels, killing one and heavily crippling the other.  It is finished off by the Clint’s plasma rifle.  The Blackjack becomes a mission kill after losing a leg and 2 arms to infantry.  The Minion pulses the torso off the Enforcer.  The Phoenix Hawk finishes off the Argus via rear torso destruction.  The Men Shen, with no leg armor on either leg, sandblasts the Penetrator’s CT off with it’s RAC5.  A Wraith finished off the Nightstar, which was hanging on by 1 point of internal structure on a side torso from the prior turn.  The only revenge the Davions get is from the Javelin, which kills off the stricken Ostsol on the final turn.

Results & Analysis:

The mission was a success, but not a resounding victory due to the losses we suffered.  We managed to save all of the units, losing about 20 infantry soldiers amongst a few units and some damage to the tanks I had used to help stabilize our line.  We managed to knock off a majority of the Davion units, with only the Stealth, Javelin, and one Hawk Moth able to retreat from the field.  However, we lost an Ostsol, Lancelot, and Ti Ts’ang all from the SLAAP merc unit, which was some heavy loses for one unit to suffer.

I tried to play the part of the Home Guard accurately, leaving only a small portion of the forces to stay engaged with the Davions.  I could have used all of them to help overwhelm the Davion force, but I didn’t feel like that would have been accurate to the story of the scenario or for the game’s balance.

I made a mistake with the ASF combat in the 2nd turn of the game.  When I was placed at long range in one combat, I should have elected to strike or strafe as opposed to try a high risk shot.  The firepower I could have brought early on, could have helped knock out one of the lighter ‘Mechs.  But I learned my less in turn 4, when I did strike after losing the range dictation with 1 of my fighters.  The blend of air to air and homing Arrow IV was nice, and very helpful.

Shengli’s commander definitely underestimated the firepower of the Davion tanks when he tried to go for the bait and switch tactic of dictating opponent’s fire.  The OpFor played slightly recklessly, and without a coherent game plan.  And as such, was not concerned with his attempts to play mind games.  Simply deciding to move things and shoot things on a whim.  As such, regular pilot crews in assault tanks with big guns hurts a lot.  Good rolls combined with clustered hit locations, really ruined his unit’s day.

Ken’s use of T-Aug was very helpful, keeping the tanks stationary and limiting their movement.  We should have had an answer for them earlier, but it’s really hard to justify shooting at 60 point slabs of armor sometimes.  Since our force list was primarily lighter in nature, we didn’t have big guns to counter those big guns, leaving us to plink away with our lasers, which put you in harms way against tanks.

The scenario was pretty interesting.  The OpFor probably should have kept the pressure up on our fleeing forces, but really settled for shots on the mercenary units.  Because we flooded her position and she had a variety of fast and slower units, she probably didn’t want to stretch herself too thin, trying to chase down the different tanks.

Coming Up Next:
We have two more scenarios to play out on Vestallas.  The first is a flanking scenario and the second is a defend the supply depot scenario.  Both are sounding pretty fun and pretty interesting.  We should be finishing off our contract on Vestallas by the end of 2010… I mean 3068…

As always, feel free to comment or join the discussion at http://ourbattletech.com/forum/mission-reports-analysis-and-discussion/

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