A Better Trebuchet

In a recent game, I used the Clan Invasion version of the Trebuchet and was a bit disappointed with the design. It is a solid improvement over the Succession Wars variants that I’ve used more often, but the tonnage devoted to the Narc beacon and its ammo felt like a waste in the game. As a result, I decided to tinker with the design a bit to come up with some refit ideas. I ended up with two refits that I’d consider using in the future.

TBT-7M Refit Kits

The Trebuchet TBT-7M was introduced in 3048 as an upgrade to the TBT-5N and TBT-5J designs that had served the Free Worlds League well throughout the Succession Wars. The TBT-7M made use of recovered Star League technology that allowed for weight savings in the engine and internal structure. The engineers used the freed up tonnage to combine the firepower of the TBT-5N with the improved mobility of the TBT-5J.

While the new design was well received by units throughout the FWLM, some MechWarriors and commanders began to see some areas for improvement when it was put to the test of real combat operations. Two refits have become increasingly common amongst FWLM units fielding the Trebuchet since the introduction of the TBT-7M.

The first issue encountered during combat is the TBT-7M’s limited ammunition supply. It carries only 8 shots worth of missiles for each of its launchers, so MechWarriors had to be conservative with their ammo supply or be left with only three medium lasers during longer engagements.

The second complaint was that the Narc beacon was a challenge for Trebuchets to use successfully. MechWarriors used to the older TBT-5N design had widely adopted a combat doctrine of using their long-range missiles to soften up targets before closing in to finish off opponents with their lasers. When they followed the same tactics in the newer TBT-7M, they often didn’t get into range to fire their Narc beacons until the enemy was already in poor condition. This meant that in many engagements, Trebuchets would return after a battle with a full load of Narc pods.

Trebuchet TBT-7Mr

The TBT-7Mr is a common field refit that was first introduced in 3054. It is a simple replacement of one ton of Narc ammunition with an additional ton of ammo for the LRM 15s. This refit increases the Trebuchet’s offensive longevity by 50% and the reduced supply of Narc pods has rarely been a problem for MechWarriors.

Trebuchet TBT-7Mr2

The TBT-7Mr2 is a more extensive refit that was introduced in 3056. It is an attempt to adjust the BattleMech’s armament to make it a more effective close-range striker. While it is less capable in a fire support role than the standard TBT-7M, it is well suited to closing with the enemy to attach Narc beacons early in an engagement in support of other LRM carrying fire support BattleMechs.

This refit keeps the Zeus LRM-15 in the torso, but replaces the arm-mounted launcher with a pair of Hovertec SRM-4 missile racks for added short range hitting power. The left arm’s Magna Mark II laser is also replaced by an Intek Medium Pulse Laser for improved accuracy when the Trebuchet is relying on its jump jets for close quarters maneuverability.

The TBT-7Mr2 refit has proven popular when the Trebuchet is in a dedicated fire support lance and paired with other BattleMechs such as Crusaders, Archers, and Longbows. When deployed in that manner, the TBT-7Mr2 can rush close to the enemy, plant Narc beacons on chosen targets while making use of its lasers and SRMs, and then withdraw to continue the battle using its LRM launcher.

Record Sheets

Record sheets for both variants are available here:

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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