The Combine Front

I got in another lance-on-lance solo game of BattleTech over the weekend. This time I played a battle between the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns during the Fourth Succession War.

The Forces

Federated Suns – Davion Brigade of Guards

  • Captain Avelina Martel (4/4), BattleMaster BLR-1D
  • Tex (3/5), JagerMech JM6-S
  • Andri (4/5), Dervish DV-6M
  • Juliana (4/5), Enforcer ENF-4R

Captain Martel’s company command lance is built to have a mix of long-range fire support and short-range brawlers. Her BattleMaster and Juliana’s Enforcer have decent ranges but are best suited to closing with the enemy. Tex’s JagerMech provides direct fire support while Andri’s Dervish serves a dual role as a long-range missile platform and a bodyguard for the JagerMech in case enemy units try to get in close to them.

Captain Martel’s lance has a battle value of 4,933.

Draconis Combine – Sword of Light

  • Chu-i Katashi Lindholm (3/4), Grand Dragon DRG-1G
  • Takisha (3/4), Whitworth WTH-1
  • Kei (3/4), Panther PNT-9R
  • Kenna (4/4), Jenner JR7-D

Chu-i Lindholm’s cavalry lance is designed to strike quickly with heavy firepower. Kenna’s Jenner can use its speed to break through enemy lines and harass support units. Katashi’s Grand Dragon and Kei’s Panther can close with the enemy as a pair to use their particle cannons and missiles to take out heavy targets. Takisha’s Whitworth serves as a mobile long-range missile platform. This lance has the same mechs as Chu-i Nakano’s lance from my last battle report, but its mech warriors are a little more skilled.

Chu-i Lindholm’s lance has a battle value of 4,990.

The Battle

Captain Avelina Martel’s command lance from the Davion Brigade of Guards decided to hold the line in a river valley when they heard that a cavalry lance from the Sword of Light was approaching. As their sensors picked up the approaching force, Avelina and Juliana moved forward to meet them while Tex and Andri took up firing positions. On the other side of the battle, Chu-i Katashi Lindholm’s Grand Dragon led the main charge with Takisha and Kei close behind. Kenna’s Jenner took a different route in an attempt to avoid the Davion front line on her way to harass their fire support mechs.

When the forces reached weapons range, Tex peppered Kei’s Panther with his autocannons while Captain Martel and Juliana scored hits against the Grand Dragon’s leg. The Sword of Light focused their firepower on the BattleMaster and hit it with two particle cannons and a flight of long-range missiles. Avelina’s mech twisted awkwardly under the barrage and fell hard on its chest as she lost control.

As Captain Martel pushed her BattleMaster back to its feet, the Davion Guards continued to take a beating. She took two more particle cannon hits along with another salvo of long-range missiles, but managed to slow down Katashi’s Grand Dragon by damaging one of its leg actuators.

Behind the main battle, Kenna ran her Jenner over a hill and opened fire at short range against Andri’s Dervish hitting with all four lasers and a few of the short-range missiles. Andri snapped off some shots as he failed to keep his mech upright, but the missiles that hit just chipped away a little bit of armor.

Unfortunately for Andri, he had damaged both his Dervish’s right hip and upper leg actuator when he landed hard. He tried to stand up, stumbled, tried again, and then his mech’s whole leg crumpled. It looked like he was stuck on the ground.

Chu-i Lindholm pushed forward in his Grand Dragon trying to get on the opposite side of the BattleMaster than Takisha and Kei, but Avelina picked up on what he was attempting and backed her mech up towards Tex’s position. As the two commanders got closer, they each scored hits with their medium lasers to burn away more armor. Tex opened up on the approaching Grand Dragon as it got closer, but the hits continued to just chip away armor rather than cause any internal damage.

Knowing the limitation’s of the Panther’s particle cannon, Juliana moved into the woods where Kei was taking cover and blasted away at close range. The assault blew away all of the Panther’s remaining torso armor and damaged one of its left arm actuators. Kei fired a salvo of short-range missiles back at the Enforcer, but turned his attention back to the BattleMaster to score another hit on it with her particle cannon.

With the Dervish looking like it was down for good, Kenna started to move towards the JagerMech, snapping off a couple of her medium lasers at the prone target as she passed. Not willing to stay out of the fight, Andri propped up his mech on one arm and took a desperate shot at the Jenner with a laser and a short-range missile launcher. The laser went wide, but the missiles struck home. One warhead blasted away some of the Jenner’s torso armor. The other found a weak spot in the Jenner’s right torso, getting a through-armor critical hit against a bin of missile ammo. The Jenner exploded in a catastrophic blast as Kenna auto-ejected.

As he saw the plume from the Jenner’s sudden demise, Katashi continued to attempt to circle the BattleMaster forcing Avelina all the way back to Tex’s position. Unfortunately, that meant his Grand Dragon was taking heavy fire from both the BattleMaster and JagerMech and starting to suffer internal damage.

Across the river, Kei and Takisha both fired their weapons at Juliana’s Enforcer. It took hits from multiple missile salvos and the Panther’s particle cannon, but Juliana managed to keep her mech upright and score a hit back on the Panther with her autocannon. One of her jump jets was taken out by the barrage though.

At this point, heat levels in Katashi’s Grand Dragon had reached the point where they were interfering with his targeting system. He decided to move evasively and let up on the weapons to give the machine a chance to cool back down. He scored a hit with the one laser he fired, and Kei jumped his Panther to once again join the fight against the BattleMaster. While Captain Martel focused her firepower on the Grand Dragon, she ordered Tex to turn his JagerMech’s guns on the Panther. He obliged and manged to destroy the light mech’s left torso.

Kei’s move to support Katashi left Juliana free to press the attack on Takisha’s Whitworth. She closed in on the forest where it was taking cover and scored hits with both her large laser and autocannon. Takisha fired back at the Enforcer with all of her Whitworth’s weapons and scored hits with two lasers and both salvos of long-range missiles. Then she stumbled and fell to the ground after she was surprised by a salvo of long-range missiles from Andri’s prone Dervish.

With one side of his Panther’s torso blown away, Kei jumped backwards into a stand of trees on the banks of the river. Tex unleashed another barrage at the jumping Panther, but only managed to hit with one of his smaller autocannons.

Katashi continued to try to use his Grand Dragon’s speed defensively despite its damaged leg actuator and moved as fast as it could around a small hill. As he moved, he tried to give some support to Takisha by firing at the Enforcer that had closed on her position. The particle cannon shot went wide, but several of the long-range missiles blew away armor on the Davion mech.

Captain Avelina wasn’t willing to let the Grand Dragon escape though, and her BattleMaster could match it’s reduced speed. She opened fire with everything. Her particle cannon destroyed one of her target’s legs and then one of her lasers ignited its missile ammo as it fell. Chu-i Lindholm auto-ejected to safety as the resulting explosions ripped apart the Grand Dragon from the inside out.

Juliana continued to battle with Takisha at short range. She scored hits with both her Enforcer’s main weapons, but then stumbled into the dirt when Takisha destroyed one of the Enforcer’s leg actuators with her Whitworth’s lasers.

Kei continued to jump his mech away from the battle, but this time Tex was ready for the maneuver. All four of the JagerMech’s autocannons ripped into the Panther as it withdrew and tore away the Panther’s right arm. Kei’s mech was now weaponless.

Now facing down both an Enforcer and a BattleMaster, Takisha was starting to get desperate. She ignored her Whitworth’s heat warnings and fired everything again. Three lasers struck the Enforcer and caused internal damage in its torso, but her two missile flights missed the BattleMaster. In return, her mech was hit by a particle cannon and multiple lasers. Both of the Whitworth’s arms suffered internal damage and one of her medium lasers was rendered useless.

As Kei managed to put more distance between himself and the Davion Guards, Tex raced his JagerMech up the hill that he had been using as cover to make sure he still had a clean line of sight on his target. As the Panther jumped again, Tex opened fire and destroyed the Panther’s center torso.

Takisha jumped backwards to put a low hill between herself and her pursuers, but she knew her situation was dire. She then decided to make a final desperate maneuver. She fired the Whitworth’s jump jets and arced towards the BattleMaster in hopes of delivering death from above. As she hurled towards the Captain Martel’s mech, medium laser fire tore into her Whitworth and ignited one of her missile bins. As her ejection seat shot her upwards, her Whitworth fell to the ground as burning wreckage.

Chu-i Lindholm’s lance had now been completely destroyed by Captain Martel’s command lance.

The Outcome

With the entire Sword of Light lance destroyed, the Federated Suns controlled the battlefield. With only the Dervish not in fighting shape, I consider it a major victory.

Federated Suns Damage Report

  • Andri was injured when his Dervish fell.
  • The BattleMaster has lost a lot of its armor, but is otherwise in good shape.
  • The Dervish needed to be towed off the battlefield for repairs due to its missing leg.
  • The Enforcer took internal damage to its center torso and needs a lower leg actuator and jump jet replaced.

Draconis Combine Damage Report

  • Katashi, Takisha, and Kenna all took injuries when their mechs suffered ammo explosions.
  • Kei was injured when his Panther fell.
  • All four mechs were completely destroyed by either ammo explosions or the destruction of their center torso.

Thoughts on the Battle

Initially, it felt like the Draconis Combine had the upper hand in this battle. They put out a lot more damage initially and the Dervish losing its leg felt like a big loss for the Federated Suns. Then the game completely changed when the Dervish’s lucky shot triggered an ammo explosion taking out the Jenner before it could move on to the JagerMech. From that point on, it felt like luck was on the side of the Federated Suns.

In retrospect, I think I made a tactical error with the Draconis Combine focusing their fire on the BattleMaster. It had enough armor to weather the fire and left the Enforcer and JagerMech able to stay operational. I wonder if things would have played out better if I had instead tried to pick off the Enforcer before targeting the assault mech.

Mech Reviews

BattleMaster BLR-1D: The BattleMaster is a classic assault mech design. Its 4/6 movement profile makes it faster than most other assault mechs of the late Succession Wars but at the expense of lighter firepower and armor. For this game, I used the Federated Suns BLR-1D variant. It trades away the SRM-6 and rear-facing medium lasers of the most common BLR-1G variant in order to increase its armor by a ton and carry more heat sinks. This is the first time I’ve used the -1D, but I was really happy with how it performed. The extra heat sinks meant it could fire its PPC and all four medium lasers without building up any heat.

JagerMech JM6-S: The JagerMech is an iconic mech for the Federated Suns that serves as direct fire support with its four autocannons. I’m not really a fan of the design, but it performed well in this game by taking up a position with partial cover and pretty good line of sight. The mech does have light armor for a heavy mech though and I think it would have been in a lot of trouble if the Jenner had been able to get close. The design does handle its weapon heat well and carries enough ammo that in most games you can feel free to take long-range shots in hopes of scoring unlikely hits.

Dervish DV-6M: The Dervish is a medium fire support mech that is also able to serve as a short-range brawler. It matches the Whitworth’s long-range firepower and then at short range it can use its medium laser and SRM 2 in each arm. It is also faster than a lot of other fire support mechs with a 5/8/5 movement profile that lets it react to enemy movements. Unfortunately, in this game it ended up falling prey to the Jenner, but it did manage to take revenge.

Enforcer ENF-4R: The Enforcer is a pretty decent design as a medium brawler. It has two relatively big weapons in the AC/10 and large laser, and its cooling capacity lets it only build up one point of heat per turn when firing both weapons and running. The autocannon does have a limited ammo supply with only 10 shots though, so I end up not firing it much at long range to preserve the ammo for shots that are more likely to hit.

Grand Dragon DRG-1G: The Grand Dragon mixes a good speed for a heavy mech with a decent amount of firepower. This game I tried to make use of its speed to make it harder to hit and get behind the Federated Suns line, but losing initiative prevented me from being able to get fully behind the BattleMaster. Like last game, I feel that the DRG-1G doesn’t really have enough heat sinks to make use of its weapons. I especially felt that once it was in close enough that it wanted to fire its PPC and medium lasers, but then ended up building up enough heat that it reduced its speed and started taking targeting penalties. The next time I do a Succession Wars game with the Draconis Combine, I think I’ll switch to the Dragon DRG-1N instead. It trades away some firepower, but actually has the heat sinks to use all of its weapons.

Whitworth WTH-1: I was pretty happy with the Whitworth again this game. I think it is pretty solid as a medium fire support mech. Even when facing down the Enforcer alone, it was able to fight back with its medium lasers so that it didn’t feel like the Enforcer was safe.

Panther PNT-9R: I think the Panther served well as extra firepower against the BattleMaster early in the game. The design’s weak point is its speed though and once the Enforcer closed in, it was out-matched against its heavier opponent.

Jenner JR7-D: Until it took an unlucky through armor critical hit, I think the Jenner performed well again. It was able to use its high speed to get into the Davion backfield and then crippled the Dervish with a single salvo of fire. I am tempted to try out the JR7-F variant next time though. It trades away the short-range missiles for more armor. It’s a bit less firepower, but it should be more durable.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

2 replies on “The Combine Front”

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