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BattleTech

’Mech Manual: Catapult CPLT-C1

The Catapult CPLT-C1 was introduced as a fire support ’Mech for the Terran Hegemony in 2561. After only a couple of years of production, the Hegemony did not renew their contracts with the manufacturer and the design started to become less common as the Star League focused on other designs for fire support.

After the fall of the Star League, Catapults were found throughout the Inner Sphere and Periphery, but were most common with the Capellan Confederation and Draconis Combine. The CPLT-C1 continued to see widespread use through the Jihad, but during the Republic Era and the Dark Ages, it has been supplanted by newer variants everywhere other than the Periphery.

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  • Use your jump jets to get to a position with good line of sight and some cover
  • Try to engage with your LRMs at around 12-14 hexes
  • Don’t waste missiles on shots that aren’t likely to hit

Catapult CPLT-C1

  • Role: Missile Boat
  • Tech Base: Inner Sphere (2561)
  • Chassis: 65 tons
  • Movement: 4 / 6
    • Jumping: 4
  • Armor: 160
  • Heat Sinks: 15 (15)
  • Weapons:
    • LRM 15 × 2 (ammo: 16)
    • Medium Laser × 4
  • Design Quirks:
    • No/Minimal Arms
    • Weak Head Armor (1)
  • Cost: 5,790,125 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 1,399

Mobility

The Catapult has an average ground speed for a heavy ’Mech, but it retains that mobility in rough terrain thanks to its 4 jump jets. As a fire support ’Mech, those jump jets are useful for getting to the top of hills or into cover to give the CPLT-C1 a good position to use for unleashing its missiles. Once its mission is complete or if enemy units start to close in, the jump jets can then be used to withdraw out of the rough terrain quickly. For evasion, the Catapult can achieve a +2 target movement modifier either running or jumping.

With the No/Minimal Arms quirk, the Catapult can struggle to stand up if it falls. It is generally worth using the jump jets to bypass terrain like water and rubble that would require a Piloting Skill Roll.

Durability

In line with its role, the Catapult CPLT-C1 is relatively lightly armored. Its 160 points of standard armor are only 76% of what its chassis could carry, and it is well below average durability for a heavy ’Mech. The Weak Head Armor quirk means that the head location effectively loses 1 point of armor, but that still leaves that location just 1 shy of its maximum, so it is not a major drawback. Both side torsos of the CPLT-C1 carry LRM ammo with each having 25% of critical slots being explosive.

Weaponry

The main armament on the CPLT-C1 is a pair of LRM 15 launchers. These give the design the ability to deal up to 30 damage at a range of 21 hexes. Unfortunately, cluster hit rolls mean that the expected damage output is much lower. Four medium lasers give the CPLT-C1 a strong backup to the missiles at shorter ranges. The minimum range on the missiles combined with the range of the lasers means that the Catapult’s peak expected damage is at a range of 6 hexes.

Maximum and Expected Damage

For its fire support role, a CPLT-C1 should try to be approximately 12-14 hexes from its targets and then remain stationary to make those medium range shots as likely to hit as possible. If a firing position that offers cover and a good vantage point isn’t available, then it can fire its missiles indirectly from out-of-sight, but those shots will be less likely to hit. In later eras, Narc-capable or semi-guided LRMs can make those indirect fire shots easier to manage.

The Catapult CPLT-C1’s weapon layout gives it the ability to engage targets in any direction. The missile launchers are both arm mounted and the simple arms can be flipped to allow it to fire both launchers into its rear arc. The four lasers are more restricted due to their torso mounts though, so a flanker at short range can still be a big problem for the Catapult.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

A big shortcoming of the CPLT-C1 is that it has a limited supply or ammunition. Its two tons of LRM ammunition give it only 8 full salvos with its launchers. That means there is a good chance that it can run out of ammo in a battle, so a MechWarrior should consider holding fire on initial long-range attacks that are less likely to hit in order to ensure that they can get the most out of the shots they have.

Heat Management

The Catapult carries enough heat sinks to fulfill its fire support role, but can easily overheat if a MechWarrior pushes it too hard. It carries 15 single heat sinks. The LRM launchers generate 10 heat, the lasers can generate 12 more, and the jump jets can add 4. In practice, that means a MechWarrior can add one or two medium lasers to the missiles once they come in range, but should only fire all four when not also firing the missiles.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage

Brawling

The Catapult CPLT-C1 does not do well in close-quarters brawling. The No/Minimal Arms quirk means that it cannot punch. It can deal 13 damage with a kick, but that means it risks falling over on a miss. It is better to use its mobility to stay out of reach and then fight back with its lasers.

Cost & Upkeep

The CPLT-C1 is built using introductory tech, so it is low cost. It will go through two tons of ammo in pretty much any engagement though, so the replacement costs for that can add up over a campaign, especially if it is making use of alternate munitions.

When using the Warchest Point system, these are the expected costs for the Catapult CPLT-C1:

ActionCost
Purchase650 SP
Armor Repair65 SP
Structure Repair130 SP
Reload10 SP

Miniature

The new plastic miniature for the Catapult is included in the A Game of Armored Combat box. A metal version of the same sculpt is available from Iron Wind Metals in a kit that can also be built as a CPLT-K2.

Sources

More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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