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Author Topic: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?  (Read 469 times)

Lanceman

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Now to start off, I understand that the Kyushu-class is a bit different in role, even it's based on the Robinson, but I'm specifically talking about the `Mech transport capabilities here.

Assuming you have the resources for a well supported WarShip fleet, what advantages do the likes of the two mentioned classes actually provide over a fleet of transport DropShips with attached WarShip escorts? Is it simply a matter of protection: your enemy also has WarShips so put your invasion forces in something a bit tougher so you don't lose a battalion to an errant NAC round or is it more about protecting from assault DropShips? Organic ortillery support? Something else?

I understand the appeal for hot drops, both in an out of universe. It's very dramatic to picture the WarShip dropping BattleMechs from its belly while providing supporting fires. The usefulness seems to really break down outside of that scenario though. We're told that both classes have cargo shuttles that can ferry `Mechs to the surface and back, but that's extremely slow compared to a dedicated `Mech carrying DropShip. Especially if you need to evacuate in a hurry, you'll need to keep empty DropShips on hand for the occasion, so again, why not just use the DropShips to begin with? Or to give yourself easier sub-orbital unit relocation ability.

So what's the deal with transport WarShips? Are they a solution looking for a problem or am I overlooking something?
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pokefan548

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #1 on: 15 August 2022, 09:05:02 »
More often, those bays are mostly holding areas before the 'Mechs are transferred to DropShips wave-by-wave, allowing a constant stream of reinforcements from space with a pretty ludicrous transport capacity. Actual orbital insertions from transport WarShips was pretty rare.

You also have to remember your maintenance and repair checks. Being able to make those inside the correct unit transport bay is a fair sight more forgiving than if you were to do them in a cargo bay. Nobody wants to arrive to a planetary invasion with their 'Mech already beat to hell.

And lastly, on the topic of cargo bays, many transport WarShips have massive cargo bays. That's part of why so many have small craft bays. Most likely, they're not just transporting 'Mechs; thanks to their copious storage capacities, as well as their ability to dock cargo droppers for even more capacity, transport WarShips often form the logistical center of an invasion fleet.
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Lanceman

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #3 on: 15 August 2022, 09:47:15 »
More often, those bays are mostly holding areas before the 'Mechs are transferred to DropShips wave-by-wave, allowing a constant stream of reinforcements from space with a pretty ludicrous transport capacity. Actual orbital insertions from transport WarShips was pretty rare.

You also have to remember your maintenance and repair checks. Being able to make those inside the correct unit transport bay is a fair sight more forgiving than if you were to do them in a cargo bay. Nobody wants to arrive to a planetary invasion with their 'Mech already beat to hell.

So looking at intro dates, I think for the Robinson this actually makes a lot of sense. There's a brief period of time where Robinsons were active, but the only `Mech transport DropShip was the Manatee, and even longer before you had something that could transport more than a lance in the hands of the Great Houses. I think it's a harder argument to make for the Kyushu.

The cargo capacity is a very good point though.

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pokefan548

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #4 on: 15 August 2022, 10:18:06 »
So looking at intro dates, I think for the Robinson this actually makes a lot of sense. There's a brief period of time where Robinsons were active, but the only `Mech transport DropShip was the Manatee, and even longer before you had something that could transport more than a lance in the hands of the Great Houses. I think it's a harder argument to make for the Kyushu.
Again, though, remember that with a transport WarShip, it can still carry military droppers with their own bays full of 'Mechs. Don't just think of them as the transport component for the fleet's 'Mechs, they exist to give one or two full reloads to the droppers they carry after the first wave touches down. Outside of dire circumstances, the 'Mechs on board the transport WarShips won't be the first wave, they'll be the constant stream of reinforcements that allows the force to capitalize on the momentum gained by the initial drop force.

To put it another way, yes, everyone in a platoon could carry a rifle with one mag and each have a squad member that carries a bunch of spare rifles... or they could each just have one rifle and enough mags to use and to share that they don't arrive tired and overburdened, and don't have so many problems keeping up their momentum. Is fiddling with a mag slower than just dropping one gun and picking up another? Generally yeah, but one is definitely more efficient than the other.
« Last Edit: 15 August 2022, 10:22:14 by pokefan548 »
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Daryk

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #5 on: 15 August 2022, 10:20:04 »
Massive doesn't even begin to describe the capacity of the first published designs.  Even ludicrous only starts to get after it...

Lanceman

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #6 on: 15 August 2022, 10:24:01 »
Again, though, remember that with a transport WarShip, it can still carry military droppers with their own bays full of 'Mechs. Don't just think of them as the transport component for the fleet's 'Mechs, they exist to give one or two full reloads to the droppers they carry after the first wave touches down. Outside of dire circumstances, the 'Mechs on board the transport WarShips won't be the first wave, they'll be the constant stream of reinforcements that allows the force to capitalize on the momentum gained by the initial drop force.

Ah yeah, now I get it. I still think that leaves you a bit vulnerable in the case of a strategic retreat. You might have more units waiting for lift than you have transport capacity for, but that can be mitigated.
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pokefan548

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #7 on: 15 August 2022, 10:26:42 »
Ah yeah, now I get it. I still think that leaves you a bit vulnerable in the case of a strategic retreat. You might have more units waiting for lift than you have transport capacity for, but that can be mitigated.
If your "strategic retreat" involves lifting more units off the planet than you have the drop capacity to remove, even cramming spare equipment and personnel into cargo space, your planetary invasion is pretty much done anyways. At that point, you just have to accept that you'll be writing off some very unfortunate losses, and have most likely already been pretty grievously damaged.
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Daryk

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #8 on: 15 August 2022, 10:38:31 »
Or you're leaving some behind as guerilla forces, or hidden supply caches for when you come back in a decade or two...  ^-^

pokefan548

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #9 on: 15 August 2022, 10:52:48 »
Or you're leaving some behind as guerilla forces, or hidden supply caches for when you come back in a decade or two...  ^-^
Or that cocky O2 was making moves on your daughter and coincidentally finds his lance at the bottom of the evac list.
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Daryk

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #10 on: 15 August 2022, 10:53:26 »
Heh... yet another excellent adventure seed!  :D

Tyler Jorgensson

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #11 on: 15 August 2022, 11:29:27 »
Load up a Robinson with LAM’s, maneuver close to an enemy carrier or battleship and then have the LAM’s land on the enemy hull and ‘walk’ inside.

Not gonna lie: that was one of the coolest ideas from First Succession Wars.

idea weenie

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #12 on: 15 August 2022, 21:09:36 »
Ah yeah, now I get it. I still think that leaves you a bit vulnerable in the case of a strategic retreat. You might have more units waiting for lift than you have transport capacity for, but that can be mitigated.

Option 1) leave behind units to serve as a guerrilla force
Option 2) since you can't carry that Mech anyway, go out shooting.  Make the opponent waste their ammo/effort/armor on destroying a Mech that you would have to abandon/destroy anyway


But this makes me wonder why there is insufficient lift.  Are you needing to crash-evacuate all your forces ASAP due to something horrible (bioweapon release?), or did the defender manage to intercept a lot of your surface-orbit transport and trash it?

Daryk

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #13 on: 15 August 2022, 21:24:01 »
Or a more important world is being hit, and you're directed to grab as much as you can and GO.

Hellraiser

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #14 on: 31 August 2022, 14:43:33 »
I pictured the Robinson as being a ship that dropped a mech battalion from orbit to secure an LZ for 4 DS of Vees/Infantry to land & unload.

For leaving they can go out on a cargo dropper.

"Fast" Leaving isn't really an option in that era for mechs.

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Dragon Cat

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #15 on: 31 August 2022, 15:37:56 »
Load up a Robinson with LAM’s, maneuver close to an enemy carrier or battleship and then have the LAM’s land on the enemy hull and ‘walk’ inside.

Not gonna lie: that was one of the coolest ideas from First Succession Wars.

I remember that scene was great fun
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Daryk

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Re: How are transports like the Robinson or the Kyushu actually used?
« Reply #16 on: 31 August 2022, 18:00:07 »
Yes, I'm crossing threads here: yet another argument for LAMs!  :D