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BattleTech

Charlie Zone, Port Arthur

Panther, I need Charlie Zone status. Report!

Commander Harrison

In 3059, the newly reformed Star League launched Operation BULLDOG to push Clan Smoke Jaguar out of the Inner Sphere. The First Davion Guards targeted the occupied planet of Port Arthur in the first phase. Before the main force’s dropships could land, a small force of Federated Commonwealth ’Mechs on the planet were tasked with securing the landing zones.

The Forces

Federated Commonwealth, First Davion Guards

  • Lieutenant Sam “Panther” Dumont (4/5), Raven RVN-2X
  • Madeline “Viper” Shepherd (4/5), Centurion CN10-B
  • Rowen “Hardcase” Duval (4/5), Hunchback HBK-5S
  • Jess “Venture” Shain (4/5), Commando COM-5S

Lieutenant Dumont’s force is a well-rounded battle lance. It is anchored by the devastating short-range firepower of Rowen’s Hunchback and the longer-range weapons of Madeline’s Centurion. Jess’s Commando is a striker that can move quickly to exploit weak points in enemy forces, and then Sam’s Raven is able to step in to help wherever is needed.

One note is that the Hunchback HBK-5S was not actually available in time for Operation BULLDOG. The Master Unit List has its introduction year as 3061. I like the variant though, so I decided to play with it anyways and just write it off as an early prototype rushed into service for testing against Clan Smoke Jaguar.

The Federated Commonwealth lance has a battle value of 4,037.

Clan Smoke Jaguar, Delta Galaxy

  • Nekesa (3/3), Timber Wolf Prime

Nekesa is patrolling the area around the port in her Timber Wolf with the Prime configuration. That configuration gives her a mix of weapons that can deal with anything from heavy armor to guerilla infantry.

Nekesa has a battle value of 3,941.

The Battle

At the beginning of the battle, the Federated Commonwealth lance moved on to the battlefield from the spaceport edge, and the Timber Wolf entered from the opposite side. With sensors picking up hostile ’Mechs, both forces advanced on the streets through the warehouse district slowly with the buildings blocking any visual confirmation.

Lieutenant Dumont ordered his lance to spread out to try to flank their enemy. Dumont and Duval started to flank around to the south of the sensor contact while Shepherd and Shain would take a direct approach. On the other side of the battlefield, MechWarrior Nekesa settled her Timber Wolf into a small park where she could take cover behind some trees and wait for her enemies to expose themselves.

As Dumont ran to flank, he lost control of his Raven while taking a turn on the pavement, fell, and skidded past the intersection. The Raven’s right side armor was beat up by the fall, but other than his ego getting bruised, Lieutenant Dumont was fine.

The rest of Dumont’s lance moved into position while still staying out of sight. Following behind Dumont’s Raven, Duval made sure to keep a steady hand on his Hunchback’s controls. Meanwhile, Nekesa continued to wait as she watched the sensor blips close in on her position.

Once Lieutenant Dumont’s Panther was back on its feet, he gave the go ahead signal to begin the attack. Shepherd walked into view and confirmed they were up against a Jaguar Mad Cat while Shain rushed their Commando down the street towards their waiting enemy. With her enemies revealed, Nekesa unleashed her attack. The beams of four extended-range lasers converged on the center torso of Shepherd’s Centurion melting away the armor, damaging its internals, and destroying her rear-facing pulse laser. The Timber Wolf’s pulse laser melted away some more of the Centurion’s armor, and then Nekesa turned her machine guns on Shain’s running Commando to chip away some of its armor.

With her armor quickly turning to slag, Shepherd’s return fire wasn’t nearly as accurate. Her autocannon burst and LRMs only damaged the street and buildings, but she refocused and managed to melt some of the Timber Wolf’s torso armor with her medium laser.

Running down the street to point-blank range, Shain didn’t have much luck either. Their streak system failed to get a lock and their standard SRMs splashed into the harbor behind the Timber Wolf. The Commando’s medium laser did hit though and so their salvo wasn’t entirely wasted.

Shain ran their Commando around and to the far side of Nekesa’s Timber Wolf while Shepherd walked her Centurion down the street to stay mobile enough to be a slightly more difficult target. Seeing that Shain was trying to get behind her, Nekesa pivoted her Timber Wolf in the park to avoid exposing her thinner rear armor.

Once on the far side of their target, Shain fired everything, but managed to miss with all three weapon systems. Shepherd had much better luck. She landed an autocannon shot on the Timber Wolf’s left leg, hit its left torso with several missiles, and then melted more torso armor with her laser.

Nekesa remained focused on Shepherd’s Centurion. She scored hits with all four lasers that she fired, but she couldn’t repeat the tight damage grouping of her first salvo. Instead, the lasers melted away armor from the Centurion’s right leg, left arm, and right torso. It was still more than enough damage to throw the Centurion off balance, but Shepherd managed to keep it upright.

With even more of her armor gone, Shepherd stared to back down the street away from Nekesa’s position in the park. Shain took cover in the stand of trees across the street from the Timber Wolf. Then Duval’s Hunchback rocketed over a warehouse to land between the Smoke Jaguar warrior and Shepherd’s Centurion.

As Duval landed, he scored a devastating hit with his autocannon that blasted away all of the armor on the Timber Wolf’s left torso. One of his pulse lasers then melted away armor from its center torso. Then his other two lasers missed.

Shepherd and Shain then added their firepower to Nekessa’s woes. The Centurion’s autocannon burst found the hole left by Duval’s shot and did even more internal damage to its left torso. Shain made up for their last two attempts and managed to hit with all three of the Commando’s weapons. Eight missiles chipped away at armor across the Timber Wolf’s body while the laser melted away some of its center torso armor.

Nekesa then retaliated against Duval. Two large lasers, two flights of missiles, and two machine gun bursts blasted away armor across the Hunchback. Duval lost control, and the Hunchback twisted around and fell hard on its back.

Duval pushed his Hunchback up to its feet. He fired his big gun as soon as he was up, but he wasn’t stable enough yet and the burst of fire went wide. Both of his pulse lasers found their target though, and the Timber Wolf lost more armor from its right torso.

Knowing that she couldn’t survive more hits from its large autocannon, Nekesa focused her fire on the Hunchback again. Her lasers and missiles blasted away at the medium ’Mech. One laser melted away most of the armor on its head. Sensing that his Hunchback wasn’t going to make it, Duval reached for his ejection trigger, but a cluster of missiles impacted and obliterated the Hunchback’s head before he could escape.

As the headless Hunchback crashed to the ground, Shain retaliated against their enemy. Between a laser hit and a half dozen missile impacts, the Timber Wolf took more damage and lost its left torso.

Firing over the fallen Hunchback, Shepherd tried to exploit the holes in the Timber Wolf’s armor. Her missiles and laser blasted away the rest of its torso armor, and then a cluster munition from her autocannon chipped away more, but her attempt to damage critical systems failed.

Having finally reached a good firing position, Lieutenant Duval joined the fight in his Raven. He scored hits with two lasers melting away most of the Timber Wolf’s rear torso armor, but his SRM flight went wide and exploded on the side of a warehouse.

With her Timber Wolf crippled, Nekesa decided to push forward towards the spaceport. As she passed the broken Hunchback, Shepherd backed her Centurion around a corner and out-of-sight. Shain pursued the Timber Wolf in their Commando while Duval lost sight of the fight and needed to reposition.

Nekesa twisted her torso around to fire her arm-mounted lasers at the Commando behind her. The medium laser went wide, but the large laser melted into the innards of her target’s right torso and ignited one of its ammunition bins.

As explosions ripped through their ’Mech, Shain missed with their laser and standard SRMs, but their streak system locked and fired. One of the two missiles blasted through the last of the Timber Wolf’s rear torso armor and then managed to do enough damage to its fusion reactor to knock it offline. As her machine shut down, Nekesa struggled with her controls to stay upright and then cursed her luck at having been defeated by dishonorable warriors from the failing successor states.

The Outcome

With the Clan Smoke Jaguar Timber Wolf destroyed before it could comprise the security of the landing zone, the Federated Commonwealth lance was victorious. The invasion of Port Arthur would go on to be successful with Clan Smoke Jaguar pushed off of the planet and eventually destroyed as a result of BULLDOG and Task Force SERPENT.

Federated Commonwealth Damage Report

  • Sam’s Raven suffered damage to its armor from his falls and skid.
  • Madeline’s Centurion suffered damage to its armor and internal structure. Its rear-facing pulse laser was destroyed.
  • Rowen’s Hunchback suffered damage to its armor and internal structure. He was killed when its head was destroyed.
  • Jess’s Commando lost its right torso to an ammunition explosion, but its CASE system saved the ’Mech from destruction. Jess was injured by the feedback from the internal explosion.

Clan Smoke Jaguar Damage Report

  • Nekesa’s Timber Wolf was destroyed by damage to its fusion engine. Its left torso was completely destroyed, and it had taken internal damage to its center torso. Nekesa herself was uninjured and even managed to keep her OmniMech on its feet as it lost power, but she was captured by forces of the Federated Commonwealth.

Thoughts on the Battle

I had a lot of fun tapping into my nostalgia for MechCommander and playing out this battle. The dense urban battlefield ended up feeling like a big disadvantage for the Timber Wolf. The buildings prevented it from making use of its range advantage and the narrow streets meant that it didn’t have many options for bypassing the defenders to reach the landing zone.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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