Warlock: Solomon’s Gambit After Action Report

The Third Mission on Warlock gets messy

The third mission on Warlock pitted the Hexare Grenadiers against the 2nd Janissaries in a battle over a remote, yet strategic supply depot held by the Home Guard.  The Hexare Grenadiers and 2nd Janissaries would square off, hoping to win an alliance with the Home Guard.  This begins the mission, a Solomon’s Gambit.

2nd Janissaries:

2 Minions (TC), 2 Pilums (snow refit), 2 Typhoons (snow refits), Stealth 1D, Rakashasa 1A, Thunder 1L, Garm 01A, Victor 10L, Blackjack OE, Emperor 6A, Clint 2-3A, Assassin ASN-30, Longbow 12C, Ostroc 4L, Phoenix Hawk 4L, 3 Heavy Striker Conventional Fighters and 3 Guardian Conventional Fighters (all 6 with bombs).

Hexare Grenadiers:

Bethlens’ Irregulars: Cerberus, Cronus, Marauder, Caesar, Partisan LBX Refit

Piotrowski’s Predators: Shadow Hawk C3M, Wraith TR1-C3, Falconer 8D-C3

Shengli Armed Asset Protection: Men Shen (6 JJs, 4 MPLs, TC), Lancelot (3 Plasma Rifles), Ostsol 8M, Ti Ts’ang TSG-9J, Ajax (Long Tom Cannon, Plasma, C3M), Hawkmoth VTOL (Arrow IV homing)

Warlock Fusiliers: Minion (C3), Saladin (Ultra), Koschei KSL-4L, Gunslinger GUN-2ERD, Cerberus MR-V3, Pillager PLG-3Z

Lord of the Night: Wraith TR-1, Phoenix Hawk PXH-4L, Sha Yu SYB-2B, Nightsky NGS-4S

Home Guard:

2 LRM Carriers, 2 SRM Carriers, 4 Zhukovs, 4 Vedettes, 6 XCT Motorized SRM Infantry Platoons, and 4 Gauss Rifle Turrets (in hardened buildings).

Special Rules: Heavy snow & Home Guard Alliance (see below)

The Setup:

This mission had each side set up on opposite sides of the map, with the CityTech map layered over the center of our standard four map sheets.  The Home Guard was set up within the confines of the base and professed neutrality, but it was evident they were worn out and ready to join whichever side appeared stronger.  In order to win their allegiance we had a small game within the game to score point, the side getting to 30 first, would gain their help.

The rules for the game were pretty simple.  Every turn, each side would roll a d8 adding the points to their total.  Each side could give a speech to win their favor, to be graded on fervor, referencing to canon events, and other such things to be graded by the GM out of 5 points.  Then at the conclusion of each turn, points were added for destroying enemy ‘Mechs, deploying defensive equipment between the enemy and the Home Guard base (mines), and a few other things.  Points were deducted for being within 5 hexes of the base, killing enemy pilots, and a couple other things that didn’t come up.  If you went into the base, you would be fired upon until you left.  And if you fired on the Home Guard, they would join the opposite side.

This will mark the first mission that the Hexare Grenadiers have been able to C3 Company network.  Using the SLAAP Ajax as the 4th C3 Master, the Bethlens’ Irregulars, Piotrowski’s Predators and Warlock Fusiliers were all able to company network.  This was particularly scary because we have it backed up by 9 GRs, 2 ERPPCs, LRM 20, and assorted other weapons all networked.  Given the enemy formations, I felt we’d be in pretty good shape to pick them apart at long range and then close in for the kill.

The Action:

Turn 1 – They deploy centrally in the northern edge of the map, sending the Minions, Clint, Assassin, Stealth, P. Hawk, Blackjack and Garm down the western flank.  The rest of their slower forces started veering towards the eastern flank.

We deployed southeastern corner of the map, figuring we use the base to split their forces.  Our C3 networked big guns moved to the forested areas and our spotters and others non-C3 ‘Mechs moved forward.

We take some long range shots, with an ERLL hitting the Emperor and Light Gauss hitting one of the Typhoons.  Unfortunately, we forgot their striking Heavy Fighters, which lined up on the decided to dive bomb and strike the Men Shen, beating it up pretty good, but spreading the damage around enough that only the right arm was critically damage, with an upper arm actuator destroyed.    We return fire, hitting all three fighters, but none of them fail their control rolls.  I land some T-Aug on the northern side of the map, winning us a point for the game.  The Hexare Grenadiers are up 12-5 at the end of the turn.

Turn 2 – They continue to skirt the western flank, but divert the Assassin and Clint back to the eastern flank.  In response, Bethlens’ sends the Marauder and Cronus to contest and spot on the western flank, by taking cover in some woods.  We remember the rule for “Hurried Movement” would allow us to avoid the MP penalties of the heavy snow, and begin using it, especially my Wraith (4 pilot) and SLAAP’s Ostsol (3 pilot).  I get within 7 of the Thunder, Victor, and Rakashasa.  We target down on the Thunder and Rakashasa, with the Thunder taking 3 GR slugs to the CT courtesy of Hanz and Franz (the Gunslinger and Cerberus) making it fall.  Additionally, I place some T-Aug in front of the tanks and heavy ‘Mechs to both divert the slower units, deny them some light woods cover, and get us a point..

The Guardians come in for their bombing run on the Koschei, but fail to do significant damage.  In return, our C3 networked fire support tears into the conventional fighters, blowing two out of the sky, and ravaging the third.  Not surprisingly, the Partisan with the LBX is great at the anti-air.  However, the Ajax with the Long Tom Command and Plasma was pretty nasty as well.  The Long Tom Cannon fires as a burst weapon, meaning it’s a flak weapon, giving it a -3 to hit the fighters.  And since these were conventional the plasma deals the extra 2d6 damage instead of heat. Additionally, the Hawk Moth launched its Arrow IV homing to improve its mobility and allow us to land it the next turn.  The Hexare Grenadiers are up 23 -11 at the end of the turn.

Turn 3 – The Ostroc is the unlucky recipient of a TAG and Arrow IV but passed the piloting check to open the slaughter.  The Heavy Strike Fighters try to bring the pain the Cerberus (Franz) landing 5 of 8 bombs, and opening up the assault ‘Mech’s leg but dealing no critical damage.  In return, the Cerberus, Partisan, and Ajax all account for a kill as we clear the skies for the turn.

The Victor is within 7 of the Predator’s Wraith and is the unlucky target for the turn.  The Victor eats 5 GRs, 2 ERPPCs, an ERLL, and LRM20, tearing into the ‘Mech, exposing it’s left leg.  Our non-C3 friends ganged up on the Ostroc, knocking it down.  It is subsequently kicked in the gut, suffering an engine and gyro crit.

In return, the 2nd Janissaries focus on the Sha Yu, opening up a leg and dealing it a upper leg actuator critical hit and it falls in the face of the onslaught.  At the end of the turn we’ve scored 28-15.

Turn 4 – The skirmish turns into a full battle as both sides are now fully committed.  On the eastern flank, using the C3 company network, the Predators’ 2 Falconers and Shadow Hawk fire across the map to the west flank, and destroy the Stealth in one volley to side torso destruction.  The ravaged Thunder is finished off by the Bethlens’ Caesar.  The embattled Ostroc absorbs a decent amount of fire before meeting its’ demise at the hands of the Men Shen.  The Lancelot, with the help the Minion and Saladin, cripples the Assassin, knocking out the left torso.  Hanz and Franz play catch with the Rakshasa, sending some solid nickel balls at it for it to catch, which it does, in the CT suffering two engine crits.

We do not escape unscathed.  The Lords of the Night P. Hawk eats some fit, suffering moderate damage and falls.  The Ostsol takes a double tap from the Thunder’s AC 20 in the rear arc, eating it in an arm and leg.  The Ti Ts’ang, running hot for TSM gets mauled by the Typhoons and friends, ripping it apart, dealing two engine crits and a gyro crit.  The overheating ‘Mech shuts down, falls, and crits the gyro again.  Over on the western flank, the Bethlens’ Marauder eats massive fire from the skirmishing ‘Mech on that side and the LRM fire from the Pilums.  The turn ends with us getting the help of the Home Guard with a score of 36-23.

Turn 5 – The Home Guard begin repositioning to form a defensive front against the 2nd Janissaries, who have realized the tide has turned against them.  The Grenadiers continue to press along the eastern flank to the north, while the Janissaries back up, but send the Emperor forward in a delaying tactic.

On the western flank, the Bethlens’ Marauder melts the face off the Phoenix Hawk and the Cronus kills off Minion.  Down the middle, the Longbow gets shredded by the combined fire of the Home Guard, ravaging the armor, but forcing no criticals.  However, in return, the Longbow decimates the stricken Ti Ts’ang, dealing a 3rd engine crit to it.

The Typhoons blast the Lord of the Night’s Phoenix Hawk, exposing the RT and forcing it to fall, stripping out the rear RT.  In return, the combined fire of the Predator’s 2 Falconers and Shadow Hawk destroys one of the Typhoons.  The Emperor that jumped forward took a beating, but stayed standing.

The Sha Yu finished off the final Guardian conventional fighter and the Ostsol, which had used hurried movement to get into the Janissaries’ backfield, punched the Clint right in the gut, criting the engine and gyro, sending it crashing into the ground.

Turn 6 – The tipping point was past, the Janissaries were routed, but were implementing a fighting withdrawal.  The Emperor ate about 7 gauss rifle slugs, getting a leg ripped off and it’s engine critted through.  The Falconers combine to finish off the last Typhoon, while the Marauder on the western flank finishes off the last Minion.  The Victor, which looked nearly to make it away safely gets it’s right leg shot off, sending it tumbling to the ground.  The Predator’s Wraith and the Lord’s Nightsky team up to harass the Longbow, critting up weapons and one of the leg actuators.

Thought the Janissaries were taken out, they did not die without a fight.  The Typhoon and Victor combined on the Koshcei, dealing three hits to the head and knocked the pilot out cold.  The Longbow fired upon the Lord’s Wraith, cutting up the left torso and left leg, forcing it to fall and crit its own foot actuator.  The Emperor, jumping again, this time for backshots on the Caesar, TAC’s the gauss rifle, blow the poor Caesar up on the last main turn of the game.

Conclusions & Analysis:

The battle was a route, but one that was expected when you C3 Network an entire company of ‘Mechs, mostly with big guns like gauss rifles and ER PPCs.   By the time the Home Guard sided with us, it was just as we had broken the Janissaries’ main lines and the battle was decided.  Even with ECM, when your weapons are ranged 7, you can have your spotters handing just outside the ECM bubble with the C3 network still functioning properly.

As usual, we decided to deploy to a corner, hoping to use a rules of the game against the OpFor, who would deploy spread out.  This would force them to split their forces to encircle the base or lose points cutting across the base.  Other than that, we just let the C3 networked big guns take care of all the dirty work.

We managed to route them, completely destroy their main forces, with only the Garm, Blackjack and the two Pilums being able to retreat.  In return, the Ti Ts’ang was destroyed and the Caesar was gutted, but still repairable.  Other than that, a handful of other ‘Mechs took some damage, but nothing catastrophic.

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

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