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Author Topic: Mercenary DS Squadron  (Read 4899 times)

Colt Ward

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Mercenary DS Squadron
« on: 29 June 2021, 10:08:56 »
If you wanted to operate a mercenary assault DS squadron that existed from the First Succession War until 3060- with varying numbers in the squadron over the centuries due to losses & replacement availability- what dropships would you be operating?

If you learned of the creation/commissioning of a new ship class, is there a 'new' assault DS that you would want to get a shot at buying through part of a contract?

Do you think having more assault DS than can be carried by say a Star Lord would be a problem?

What battles in BT history would a House have tried hiring merc assault DS to participate?  Off the top of my head I can see the Great Lee Turkey Shoot, the invasion of Tikonov in 4SW . . . but what else?
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #1 on: 29 June 2021, 10:25:26 »
I think having more than a Star Lord can carry would be a problem. Transport costs add up quickly. I would go more along the lines of a Tramp and limit my assets there if I wanted to survive.

For composition I think a Mule (preferably modified) or better yet an Elephant to serve as a support asset and boarding craft. Yes you can land to repair but it is better to have something that can recover a stray in space and get it operational again.

From there you have to think about what your likely missions would be. A Titan would of course be a massive boon for such an organization as it can provide aerospace fighters and guns. They are rare though so a Union CV might be more popular and easily maintained. Aerospace fighters should be your main strikers with the assault dropships in support.

For the other two I'd say 2 Avengers. Preferably to be replaced by Claymores, Merlins, or Lung Wang in later periods. The Achilles might be to big for a merc unit to reasonably maintain a number of but it is a hard hitting dropship worthy of its infamy.

I'd say a formation like this would be used to interdict enemy jumpships in the First and Second War, and dropships in the Third and Fourth. They be on the defensive later on until the Helm Memory Core as their dropships would become increasingly difficult to maintain during the Mad Max era.

Alan Grant

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #2 on: 29 June 2021, 10:41:07 »
You really should use the Medusans mercenary unit as a template for this. What you are describing is almost exactly what they are and what they did.

They relied heavily on assault dropships from TRO 3057 with long service histories. So Fortresses, Avengers, Intruders, Achilles. That makes a lot of sense because those are the 4 "assault" original dropships designated assault.

If you somehow got your hands on an old Model 96 Elephant that would make an impression.

I suppose the Gaajian System Patrol Boat might make for an interesting addition as well. Not as a direct combat vessel but as a carrier for marines and small craft with a specialization in boarding targets.

I tend to agree that I wouldn't go beyond 6 dropships. The jumpship collar requirements go up. It's not impossible though.

For new dropships in the 3050s I'd probably first start with just acquiring upgraded versions of the Avengers, Intruders and Achilles. All three got a firepower boost and the Intruder also got a very nice and respectable armor boost. From there I'd look at the Lung Wang and Merlin as interesting additions. The Kuan Ti could work but it doesn't have a lot of fuel, so its more defensive typically. The Claymore might be ok but it doesn't have a lot of firepower. It's not bad, it's just not great either.

The Medusans also seemed to work with a squadron being 6 dropships as the most common setup, divided into 3 divisions of 2 ships each. One squadron has 7 but that 3 ship division is described as being large or expanded, so it differs from their own norms according to the fluff.

As for battles, lots, big and small, including plenty of raids as well as invasions. Historical: War of '39 by itself and the book by the same name describes so many battles at jump points and in orbit. I think at one point in the War of '39 Laurel's Legion has an Achilles fighting with them where its unclear who that Achilles belongs to.

There is a vaguely described "only recognized naval battle" of the Andurien War of Succession at Conquista in I believe 3038. With almost no details to it besides the ground action. Plus the assault on Andurien itself was huge in scale and involved fighting in space. See Historical: Brush Wars.

In the 3rd Succession War, any large scale raid could have easily had this dropship squadron attached.

It's also important to remember that all the books tend to focus on the planetary invasions and what the big 'mech regiments or RCT's are doing. Pure space actions get very little to no time or attention. So there's room to be creative. For example, during the 3rd Succession War this dropship squadron could have been escorting jumpship/dropship convoys flying certain routes between worlds, and protecting space stations such as the big recharge stations, and as part of that they fought off naval raids, aerospace fighters and assault dropships trying to come at them. Whether they be Great House forces, hired privateers or even pirates.

There could be "naval raids" on the offense too. Jumping across the border, causing havoc, capturing some military or merchant jumpships and dropships at the jump zone, and then jumping back. To some degree these raids might be decoy operations as well, meant to attract attention and keep the enemy on the backfoot and reactionary.

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #3 on: 29 June 2021, 11:04:14 »
I think having more than a Star Lord can carry would be a problem. Transport costs add up quickly. I would go more along the lines of a Tramp and limit my assets there if I wanted to survive.

For composition I think a Mule (preferably modified) or better yet an Elephant to serve as a support asset and boarding craft. Yes you can land to repair but it is better to have something that can recover a stray in space and get it operational again.

From there you have to think about what your likely missions would be. A Titan would of course be a massive boon for such an organization as it can provide aerospace fighters and guns. They are rare though so a Union CV might be more popular and easily maintained. Aerospace fighters should be your main strikers with the assault dropships in support.

For the other two I'd say 2 Avengers. Preferably to be replaced by Claymores, Merlins, or Lung Wang in later periods. The Achilles might be to big for a merc unit to reasonably maintain a number of but it is a hard hitting dropship worthy of its infamy.

I'd say a formation like this would be used to interdict enemy jumpships in the First and Second War, and dropships in the Third and Fourth. They be on the defensive later on until the Helm Memory Core as their dropships would become increasingly difficult to maintain during the Mad Max era.

Well, my inspiration comes from somewhere (may link to the fan section when done) but they will not have a JS to their name, nor a real carrier DS either- looking for mostly gunboats . . . a pair of ASF on a single DS is not a no but it is going to be held to a minimum.  I will fix it to remove JS in the structure of the unit, it was more a consideration of the whole unit being easily moved either for assaults or to take up garrison positions.  A supply DS or even a Aqueduct as a refueler might also be appropriate but outside the scope of what I am really asking.  Small Craft allowing boarding operations is a totally different story and something I would be looking for as part of their core capabilities.

Alan-  While I recognize those are the 'original' BTU assault dropships we now have more going back to the 1SW period . . . FREX, I really want to say towards the end of the 2SW the unit would have picked up a DroST IIA Gunship as a replacement.  Mostly b/c I like it . . . but IIRC we would also have the Danais as a option?  I could easily see a House lord giving a tricked up Q-ship to some mercs as a 'replacement' for a lost assault dropship.
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dgorsman

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #4 on: 29 June 2021, 11:15:57 »
I would be tempted to have a subsidiary group that specializes in DropShip/JumpShip recovery.  They operate off their own JumpShip and rather than assault ships use cargo and recovery ships like the Elephant and Octopus.  Not only can they be tapped for extra craft and personnel for boarding operations when needed, they can be used for recovering large craft post-combat.  When they're not needed there's plenty of commercial work in repair, recovery, and whatever the BattleTech version of the Suez incident was.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #5 on: 29 June 2021, 11:25:29 »
I am not asking for ideas for mercenary DS squadrons- I have a source . . . just what DS they could have had over time, the suggested 6 DS squadron over say 8 or 10 has merit, and what noteworthy battles they may have participated in.
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Alan Grant

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #6 on: 29 June 2021, 11:33:33 »
A Drost or Danais is entirely reasonable for the time period, sure. For that matter so would be a Pentagon or Colossus.

With a creative enough story you can justify almost anything short of a warship in that time period. If we're really talking 1st Succession War then there's all kind of later-extinct dropship classes that come into play because a whole lot of SLDF hardware proliferated to everyone else with the Exodus, as the SLDF soldiers and units that stayed behind went merc or joined a Great House.

In that era in terms of assault dropships an Achilles really is the king of the jungle once the warships are gone along with the Pentagons, Model 96 Elephants and so on becoming extinct. Having one would give you some marine/capture capability and a lot of speed and firepower. Since it's not a class that goes extinct it could also be a ship this unit manages to keep flying through the generations.

As time goes on they become much more rare, but that would make employing your unit highly desirable.
« Last Edit: 29 June 2021, 11:35:21 by Alan Grant »

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #7 on: 29 June 2021, 12:10:28 »
Which was basically the origin . . . a SLDF dropship squadron surviving the Aramis war and slowly having to replace combat losses over the centuries.  Sure they started out with 8 or 10 of whatever as a Star League squadron using all the same ship.  But if you lost one during the opening stages of 1SW, what are you going to be able to replace it with?  How about the 2SW?  Which is where I was considering a DroST II gunship picked up from the periphery as a replacement.  During the start of the 3SW, some high ranking noble who hired the merc squadron, now down to 6 ships, loses another ship though some crew survived . . . but claiming it meets the terms of the contract, the noble replaces their assault dropship with a worn out Danais (It is a combat dropship, designed to engage other dropships . . . it meets the terms of the contract.  Good day sir.) as another step down the steady slope of decline.

I think we could very easily say we are missing 'emergency' dropships of the late 1SW & 2SW where House Lords armed dropships to fill in gaps caused by their naval losses.  Would have been great to see something like a up-armored Buccaneer given guns . . . but no improved engines, so it is a turtle, in Boondoggles.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #8 on: 29 June 2021, 13:07:58 »
If you wanted to operate a mercenary assault DS squadron that existed from the First Succession War until 3060- with varying numbers in the squadron over the centuries due to losses & replacement availability- what dropships would you be operating?

If you learned of the creation/commissioning of a new ship class, is there a 'new' assault DS that you would want to get a shot at buying through part of a contract?

Do you think having more assault DS than can be carried by say a Star Lord would be a problem?

What battles in BT history would a House have tried hiring merc assault DS to participate?  Off the top of my head I can see the Great Lee Turkey Shoot, the invasion of Tikonov in 4SW . . . but what else?

1.  This will depend on unit history really.  Most Assault DS are only produced by a couple houses.
That said,  the Avenger, Achilles, Intruder, & Vengeance would be at the top of my list for a Merc DS Squadron   (Yeah, I know you don't want carriers but its a must for me)

2.  The refit in 3049 of the Avenger line was pretty simple & early & might be a good bet to get ahold of.   Otherwise, the Overlord-A3 jumps out to me.

3.  A problem?  Maybe, I mean, how often is more than 6 needed for a contract?  There are only so many Full Scale massive invasions that would warrant a unit larger than 6

4.  1st & 2nd SW could be almost anything, they had LOTS of full on invasions in those days.  Its the 3rd SW where things would be slim pickings with mostly "raiding".  Then the 4th & Later you get plenty to choose from again.

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Alan Grant

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #9 on: 29 June 2021, 16:13:47 »
Which was basically the origin . . . a SLDF dropship squadron surviving the Aramis war and slowly having to replace combat losses over the centuries.  Sure they started out with 8 or 10 of whatever as a Star League squadron using all the same ship.  But if you lost one during the opening stages of 1SW, what are you going to be able to replace it with?  How about the 2SW?  Which is where I was considering a DroST II gunship picked up from the periphery as a replacement.  During the start of the 3SW, some high ranking noble who hired the merc squadron, now down to 6 ships, loses another ship though some crew survived . . . but claiming it meets the terms of the contract, the noble replaces their assault dropship with a worn out Danais (It is a combat dropship, designed to engage other dropships . . . it meets the terms of the contract.  Good day sir.) as another step down the steady slope of decline.

I think we could very easily say we are missing 'emergency' dropships of the late 1SW & 2SW where House Lords armed dropships to fill in gaps caused by their naval losses.  Would have been great to see something like a up-armored Buccaneer given guns . . . but no improved engines, so it is a turtle, in Boondoggles.

Yeah that's all fair. You'd be forced to take on whatever you can find. Sometimes it might be buying a ship, sometimes it might be finding an independent ship owned by its crew and convincing them to join your squadron. You could also find the shattered remnants of some other merc unit and absorb them. Or a dropship and crew that belonged to a particular planetary defense force/militia that was overrun and destroyed when their world was taken, and they sign on with you because they don't know what else to do.

Again, it's just such a chaotic time from 1st to 3rd SW you can justify a lot through creative storytelling.

Aside from replacing dropships destroyed in combat, the surviving ones would definitely age and suffer the wear and tear of centuries. You'd probably have a couple ship casualties through just hulls and propulsion systems that can't take it anymore, and it's easier to replace those dropships than to try and repair them if one of the scenarios I presented above makes itself available.

I think you have the right idea and I like that gritty, sometimes really struggling aspect of it.

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #10 on: 29 June 2021, 16:22:50 »
Aside from replacing dropships destroyed in combat, the surviving ones would definitely age and suffer the wear and tear of centuries. You'd probably have a couple ship casualties through just hulls and propulsion systems that can't take it anymore, and it's easier to replace those dropships than to try and repair them if one of the scenarios I presented above makes itself available.

I think you have the right idea and I like that gritty, sometimes really struggling aspect of it.

Or . . . some aspect of the ship just gives out at the worst possible moment- in the midst of combat.  Too long putting the engines back together from spare parts, hoping they hold out through constant radical thrusting and cold starts . . . and they just stop working so that the dropship goes ballistic on the previous course instead of turning to avoid being in an enemies guns . . .

 . . . the ship just sails along the previous path while PPCs and Autocannons hammer into the hull from nose to tail.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #11 on: 29 June 2021, 16:30:47 »
Mammoth Dropship, with a number of assault dropships carried as cargo.  You take a garrison contract, and land the Mammoth dropship at the selected planet.  You transfer the combat Dropships to the new base using the cargo handling rules, and also offload the necessary repair/maintenance shops on-site as well.  From there, you use the Mammoth Dropship as a regular cargo carrier and earn money with it to offset its maintenance.

If someone unfriendly shows up, the assault Dropships take off from the planetary base and engage the intruder in orbit.


By carrying the Assault Dropships as cargo on the Mammoth, you only need one Docking Collar for all your transportation needs.  You will have to be careful with assault Dropship designs used as even though the Mammoth can carry over 40 kilotons of cargo, each of the five main cargo decks can only handle 8 ktons.  This means if you want to carry a set of 5 kton assault Dropships, you can only carry a max of 5 of them.

It will likely need additional weaponry/armor/defenses, which can be handled by hiring a merc unit for temporary protection while en-route, or even partnering with an ASF unit to provide additional protection both en-route and at the selected planet.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #12 on: 29 June 2021, 16:32:52 »
If you're looking for all one ship I'd be tempted to start with the Pentagon they were mostly on Congress-class but you could fluff it their JumpShip broke so:

Foundation:  Former SLDF 6 Pentagon, 1x Cargo ship, 1x tanker
End 1st War: merc unit of some regard 5x Penragon (weapons downgraded on two), 1x Cargo/tanker
End 2nd War: 4x Pentagon (all guns downgraded), 1x Achilles/Drost II, 1, cargo/tanker (converted Fortress)
End 3rd War: 3x Pentagon, 2x Achilles/1x Drost II, 1x Danis, 1x converted Fortress)
End 4th War: 2x Pentagon, 2x Achilles/1x Drost II 1x Claymore, 1x Danis, 1x Mule

From 2nd onwards edit one with a Drost II I would as I too like it probably one of the Achilles

EDIT interesting I didn't notice before now there was an upgraded Pentagon debuted by WoB during Jihad... you see where I'd take this unit?

« Last Edit: 29 June 2021, 17:06:42 by Dragon Cat »
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #13 on: 30 June 2021, 09:47:48 »
By carrying the Assault Dropships as cargo on the Mammoth, you only need one Docking Collar for all your transportation needs.  You will have to be careful with assault Dropship designs used as even though the Mammoth can carry over 40 kilotons of cargo, each of the five main cargo decks can only handle 8 ktons.  This means if you want to carry a set of 5 kton assault Dropships, you can only carry a max of 5 of them.

Pretty sure that is illegal to Jump with a DS inside as Cargo.  Something about the KF Boom or something like that.  Every Dropship needs a Docking Collar.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #14 on: 30 June 2021, 10:44:37 »
Pretty sure that is illegal to Jump with a DS inside as Cargo.  Something about the KF Boom or something like that.  Every Dropship needs a Docking Collar.

thought that was JS being unable to be carried as cargo due to their KF core?  For DS they only use the KF extension, and by carrying them as cargo they are inside the main Dropship's KF field and not connected to it.

If the DS has a KF setup that would interfere, I would see that setup being removed from the cargo-carried Dropships so they could be carried as cargo.  They wouldn't be able to be carried in a Docking collar, but if it is a choice between needing to find and rent 5 Docking collars (for carrying each of the Dropships), or a single collar for a Mammoth refitted to carry five 5-kton Dropships as cargo, the technicians will be told to carefully remove the KF linkage equipment.

This only works as a defensive garrison though, as any offensive action requires multiple DS ready to go, meaning each will need their own collar.

Let alone the time it would take to move the combat Dropships out of a cargo bay.  Dropshuttles take almost an hour for a 5-kton Dropshuttle, and that is in space with direct access to the doors.  O the ground it will be a little more interesting.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #15 on: 30 June 2021, 13:26:09 »
Let alone the time it would take to move the combat Dropships out of a cargo bay.  Dropshuttles take almost an hour for a 5-kton Dropshuttle, and that is in space with direct access to the doors.  O the ground it will be a little more interesting.

I think Dropships have something extra added that AoW era Dropshuttles didn't have that no longer allows them to be inside something & must use a Docking Collar.

That said, a Warship has the HUGE bay doors to hold a Dropshuttle in it.


I'm not so sure the cargo bay doors on a Mammoth are even large enough for a Union to enter.

Mammoth dimensions
Mass   52,000 tons
Length   277 meters
Width   277 meters
Height   170.6 meters


Union Dimensions
Mass   3,600 tons
Length   81.5 meters
Width   81.5 meters
Height   78 meters


The door on the Mammoth in the picture from the TRO is pretty big but its no where close to 80m tall compared to the height of the ship.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #16 on: 01 July 2021, 08:37:42 »
I think Dropships have something extra added that AoW era Dropshuttles didn't have that no longer allows them to be inside something & must use a Docking Collar.

That said, a Warship has the HUGE bay doors to hold a Dropshuttle in it.

In the Tech Manual, we do have the Tech Level C item "Docking Collar" in the "AEROSPACE UNIT STRUCTURAL COSTS AND AVAILABILITY" table, costing 10,000 C-B.  That could be the reason. 

Other reasons could be mass and cost-related:
A Dropshuttle bay masses 11,000 tons, and can carry up to 2 Dropshuttles (each massing no more than 5 ktons), which would be ~5500 tons per Dropshuttle.  A Docking Collar only needs 1000 tons per Dropship, and can handle Dropships over 5 ktons in mass.  So just on a tonnage basis, you have an advantage to using Dropships.

For KF costs, I used the Strategic Operations Corr 2nd printing (wish the credits page had a date on it to reflect the last time errata was added to it) to compare a 500 kton vessel's compact core with zero Dropship capacity vs a 500 kton Jumpship core with 10 Dropship capacity.  This did not include any other features, just the KF core itself.
500 kton Compact core:
Code: [Select]
500 kton Compact core: DS Capacity = 0, Integrity = 12, Sail Mass = 55 tons
Drive Coil                 60,000,000
Initiator                  25,000,000
Controller                 50,000,000
Tankage                       600,000
Sail                        2,750,000
Charging System               500,000
Compact Core increase     555,400,000 (the above costs are multiplied by 4, and added to the prior total to get a final multiplier of 5: 4N+N = 5N)
KF Support Systems      2,000,000,000
-------------------------------------
Base cost:              2,694,250,000
Warship cost multiplier:            2
Final Warship cost:     5,388,500,000
vs

500 kton Jumpship core w/10 Dropship capacity:
Code: [Select]
500 kton Jumpship core: DS Capacity = 10, Integrity = 10, Sail Mass = 97 tons
Drive Coil                810,000,000
Initiator                  75,000,000
Controller                 50,000,000
Tankage                       500,000
Sail                        4,850,000
Charging System             2,500,000
Compact Core increase               0 (no need to multiply the above costs)
KF Support Systems        500,000,000
-------------------------------------
Base cost:              1,442,850,000
Jumpship cost multiplier:           1.25
Final Jumpship cost:    1,803,562,500

So in addition to being able to use Drop vessels over 5 ktons, you also have a KF core that is ~1/3 the cost for the same capability.


I am not considering scheduling in the matter, as even though it takes a KF vessel ~1 week to recharge while a Dropship or Dropshuttle could take 3 weeks to make a round trip to a planet, this is true for both compact-core Dropshuttle carriers and Jumpship core Dropship carriers.  The Dropshuttle carrier would just release the Dropshuttles at the Jump point, and while the Dropshuttles headed in-system the Dropshuttle carrier would recharge and pop back to pick up another batch.  Jumpships would perform the same maneuver.

I'm not so sure the cargo bay doors on a Mammoth are even large enough for a Union to enter.

Mammoth dimensions
Mass   52,000 tons
Length   277 meters
Width   277 meters
Height   170.6 meters

Union Dimensions
Mass   3,600 tons
Length   81.5 meters
Width   81.5 meters
Height   78 meters

The door on the Mammoth in the picture from the TRO is pretty big but its no where close to 80m tall compared to the height of the ship.

For a Union, using that door is not likely.  But for the combat Dropships (i.e. Achilles) you have LWH of 125m x 38m x 23m, which would be barely enough to stack 5 vertically.  Of course it helps that the Achilles has about ten times the density of the Mammoth.

As to putting Dropships through the door, the Mammoth would have to be re-engineered to handle the large 'single' cargoes, instead of its normal containerized cargo.  Since containerized cargo can be transferred 5* as fast as non-containerized, no regular Mammoth would want to deal with this.  Hence the custom Dropship belonging to a unique mercenary unit.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #17 on: 01 July 2021, 09:02:01 »
I would base them on 2 invaders and a tramp. The advantage here is that those 8 collars can be used for trade purposes when the unit is not active, o when they are deployed for long periods to interdict (or protect) a system. The 3 dropships also allows you to rotate one to maintenance and still have a viable force.

For dropships, use 7 of the collars at most. You want one extra in case you recover something. Salvage is also a thing in space.

I would say 2 support dropships and 5-6 combat ones would work well. you can even create 2 combat groups with these, with a support vessel and a pair of 3 combat vessels in each grouping.

2 vengeances are an easy pick. Avengers are too dangerous for a merc unit since they are used for frontal damage and suffer high attrition, so a more common design would work well. Pocket warships or some kind of DS in that style would be a boon.

I am not that knowledgeable in aerospace stuff, so I leave it to you all to pick the DS.

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #18 on: 01 July 2021, 09:08:28 »
I am not that knowledgeable in aerospace stuff, so I leave it to you all to pick the DS.

Which was the whole point of the OP, no JS or carrier (Vengence) DS . . .
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Onion2112

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #19 on: 03 July 2021, 06:49:54 »
I reckon if I was to do this idea especially if it was set in the dark mad max type days of 3025 with a Merc squadron with 6 proper assaults would be unlikely. And those they had would be veterans.
I could see the lead ship being an old original Achilles with maybe a couple of Avengers (or Intrepids) then you’d think they would fill out the squadron with some heavily modified combat transports maybe a Leopard or even Gazelle or Fury - heavily armoured and upgunned removing the mech/vehicle bays - as what’s the point of having a “combat” Dropship with huge empty cargo bays.

You’d think a Merc command would find it hard to replace a lost ship with another assault ship given their scarcity in the regular navies

As far as SW battles go there’s the numerous Hesperus or Tikonov battles - the battles of Robinson too. Maybe Galtor - or any mentioned major battle in the old house sourcebooks during the 3SW

I had a thought such a squadron could be the “abandoned” survivors of a warship’s Dropship attendants after the mothership was destroyed ie after a massive battle such as Coloma
« Last Edit: 03 July 2021, 06:52:59 by Onion2112 »

Dragon Cat

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #20 on: 03 July 2021, 07:25:09 »
That's what I thought with the formation of the unit idea

6 Pentagons and a transport DropShip stranded missing the exodus due to their JumpShip breaking down.  A unit would be get bonded pretty quick if they went from being a huge SLDF unit to just them
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #21 on: 03 July 2021, 08:04:51 »
When I've contemplated dropship/space combat centric merc units in the past I found that a specialization in marine boarding operations and the sometimes necessary use of non-combat dropships can easily go hand-in-hand.

You take any troop transport, fill it full of marines and its useful for taking recharge stations, or any kind of space station or jumpship. On defense, those same troops are shipped in to help defend such installations and the dropship is the vehicle that carries them there. Not as useful for trying to board a maneuvering dropship unless you disable it first or it surrenders but that can be a viable tactic too.

I could easily see this specialization occurring as a kind of accidental necessity. A unit ends up with a dropship that has no utility for space combat other than this and so the unit hires or trains some marines and puts those two elements together. Something that was once a liability becomes an asset to the unit. They market it like "we meant to do that!" to potential employers.

That makes a lot of sense to me. Boarding operations are an interesting X factor in space combat. For a cash-strapped merc unit it can be easier to replace expensive combat equipment like assault dropships with a few dozen marines with laser pistols/rifles and some specialized equipment. In turn they can have an outsized impact when you invoke creative tactics.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #22 on: 03 July 2021, 08:15:22 »
I'm not sure Pentagons would survive the 1st Succession War, much less the 2nd.  By 3025, I think the Achilles and Avenger mix is more likely.

And there's very definitely a distinction between the "Assault" role of those two ships and things like the Fortress and Intruder.  Colt seems to want the former, not the latter.  On that basis, I would go with two Achilles and four Avengers.  And I would NOT want to be on the receiving end of THAT if I'm carting invasion forces.

I would also expect the engineering crews to be top notch.  Probably top notch enough to swap any AC/10s or AC/5s for PPCs (and heat sinks) to save on ammo costs (AC/20s and AC/2s have their uses in Aerospace combat too).

Also, if you haven't seen Cannonshop's latest fan rules for faction aerospace forces, I strongly recommend the FWL one for this unit.  It would make SO much sense with a unit history stretching back to the Star League Navy.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #23 on: 03 July 2021, 09:45:31 »
Oh I wouldn't expect them all to survive the first but having one Pentagon survive or one Pentagon one Drost II would be a nice call back to its heritage.

Where's Cannonshop's ideas?  I wouldn't mind a look
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #24 on: 03 July 2021, 10:12:33 »

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #25 on: 05 August 2021, 10:03:34 »
Too bad the Leviathan Class Jumpships are rare, you could use that. it has 8 Dropship collars.
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DevianID

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #26 on: 07 August 2021, 04:54:34 »
I think cargo dropships converted for battle would be good 3rd succession war dropships.  Show the unit at its lowest, where they are using trojan/danais as replacements for some of the better ships mothballed for parts.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #27 on: 10 August 2021, 18:05:20 »
I think cargo dropships converted for battle would be good 3rd succession war dropships.  Show the unit at its lowest, where they are using trojan/danais as replacements for some of the better ships mothballed for parts.

You know, this just gave me an interesting idea.

That SLDF Pentagon who's engine is now down to 1/2 thrust & can no longer be repaired....... It stays permanently docked w/ the Starlord, ARC-SHIP style.
Point Defense-Protection duty for the old broke down Standard Tech designs with their non-functional ERPPCs & Artemis Launchers w/o the right ammo.
Meanwhile a 2nd JS of Introtech Avengers is the "new-current-active" fleet for the unit.
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Dragon Cat

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #28 on: 11 August 2021, 12:18:32 »
Not sure if an artemis launcher can launch normal missiles you may be better just ripping them off and replacing with standard launchers
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #29 on: 11 August 2021, 12:21:25 »
I'm pretty sure they can... just without the Artemis bonus, of course.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #30 on: 11 August 2021, 13:16:34 »
Not sure if an artemis launcher can launch normal missiles you may be better just ripping them off and replacing with standard launchers
Unless there has been some change to the rules, they have always been able to use normal ammo in a pinch w/ the 1-ton wasted.

I'm pretty sure they can... just without the Artemis bonus, of course.
Correct
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Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #31 on: 11 August 2021, 13:49:53 »
I'm pretty sure they can... just without the Artemis bonus, of course.

This . . . it is also why it is clearly stated things like NARC, Semi-G, or any other missiles fired through the tubes do not gain that Artemis bonus.

Had someone trying to combine Semi-G and Artemis on a table once.
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Kasaga

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #32 on: 15 August 2021, 20:09:43 »
[EXAMPLE]

694th Assault Escort Squadron:

TO&E 2750:
1x Lee CV (I love the Lee and would say it replaced a Titan)
3x Model 96 Elephants
1x Mule
1x Aqueduct
4x Achilles
8x Pentagon
3x Star Lord JS

TO&E 2790:
1x Model 96 Elephant
2x Achilles
3x Pentagon
1x Star Lord JS

You can kind of go from there.  Remember SLDF naval squadrons were 18 ships on average.  The first is from pre coup.  Second is survivors and those that didn't leave.  Just my take.  I can work up the different war era survivors over the next couple of days if you want.

Wrangler

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #33 on: 16 August 2021, 09:19:08 »
Lee CV has no stats as of this post unfortunately.

That monster is likely to darken the skies with potential carry capacity it could shoulder.
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CVB

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #34 on: 16 August 2021, 10:03:43 »
Lee CV has no stats as of this post unfortunately.

That monster is likely to darken the skies with potential carry capacity it could shoulder.

Fluff seems to indicate 40 ASF and 6 Small craft, IIRC
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Hellraiser

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #35 on: 17 August 2021, 13:30:20 »
Fluff seems to indicate 40 ASF and 6 Small craft, IIRC
That is what Sarna is showing.
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Kasaga

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #36 on: 18 August 2021, 15:59:55 »
Lee CV has no stats as of this post unfortunately.

That monster is likely to darken the skies with potential carry capacity it could shoulder.

I stat'd it once.  Its just pulling the Mech bay and swapping it for the ASF bays and adding the 4 extra SC bays.  I think I lost some cargo but can't remember.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #37 on: 18 August 2021, 17:36:59 »
ASF bays are one-for-one swaps for 'mech bays, so you must have lost cargo to install 800 tons of Small Craft bays.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #38 on: 18 August 2021, 18:54:31 »
ASF bays are one-for-one swaps for 'mech bays, so you must have lost cargo to install 800 tons of Small Craft bays.

That sounds about right.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #39 on: 07 September 2021, 14:28:57 »
You probably wouldn't do a 1-1 swap.

Doesn't it already have 6 fighters?

Its a 40 for 30/34 swap giving you extra tonnage for the 4 SCC.

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Wrangler

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #40 on: 07 September 2021, 20:38:28 »
The stuff from Sarna is straight from the Liberation of Terra books, which is only source info on the Lee.

Given that Vengeance Class Dropships have same 40 fighter compliment, I'm not sure advantage except for cargo/re-arming.

Then again, Vengeance was not retro conned yet (i think.) thus there was no bigger carriers than Titan.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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Hellraiser

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #41 on: 07 September 2021, 22:48:35 »
So, as I'm reading Sarna...................

OG = 40 Mechs, 6 Fighters, 2 Shuttles

Carrier = 40 Fighters,  6 Shuttles.

So as I mentioned above, you would do a 40 for 34 Swap.

6 Mech Bays remaining = 4 Shuttles

Gives you a 100 Ton BOOST to the Cargo total.
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Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #42 on: 08 September 2021, 05:58:55 »

Then again, Vengeance was not retro conned yet (i think.) thus there was no bigger carriers than Titan.

The Vengeance has been dated to 2682 , according to MUL. Probably because of a snippet in the SLSB, where some future First Lord's future wife served on one.
"Wars result when one side either misjudges its chances or wishes to commit suicide; and not even Masada began as a suicide attempt. In general, both warring parties expect to win. In the event, they are wrong more than half the time."
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Wrangler

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #43 on: 08 September 2021, 06:03:57 »
The Vengeance has been dated to 2682 , according to MUL. Probably because of a snippet in the SLSB, where some future First Lord's future wife served on one.
Yeah, the old canon had the ships introduced after Star League Civil War was over
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Hellraiser

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #44 on: 09 September 2021, 00:46:00 »
IIRC, the Vengeance was always mentioned as a SL era ship except the one place that gave it a date, Battlespace.

You had quotes of it in, IIRC, DS&JS, TRO2750, & the SLSB as all being used in the SL Era.

Then along comes Battlespace that gives dates & amazingly like half the ships from DS&JS were all given the same year at the end of the SL.

As if every DS was suddenly developed right as Terra fell.

I never bought into those dates myself, seemed really lame, and in the case of some ships was clearly in error based on conflicting fluff.

Eventually they corrected the date from, like 2782 or whatever late date BS had to something earlier to match other fluff from previous sources.

I'm glad they backdated it to match previous fluff, it seemed lame that every other ship in BS had the same intro date.
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maxcarrion

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #45 on: 09 September 2021, 04:02:39 »
For almost any age you can probably get a lot of work by keeping things relatively small.  The Leopard CV is more than enough to overpower any jumpship, the squadron can easily deal with most common droppers, even an overlord with all 6 ASF would not stand a chance.

Sure you can participate in larger naval engagements but you can also easily get hired on for patrols, customs work, garrisons, and losing a single dropper is something that can, potentially, be replaced without the sort of wealth reserved for planetary governments.  Cosy up to some of the larger merc groups and they'll hire you on to run orbital/air support while they run ground operations.  Your dropships are small, fast and well armed enough that they can act as superheavy fighters running the superior dropship EWAR package to cover the smaller fighters and small craft.  Additional fighter and small craft frames can be carried in the cargo carrier allowing mission specific fits.  The droppers run from fairly common to ubiquotous with nothing too high tech meaning spares and supplies should always be easy to source.

DS1 - Leopard CV - Blackwater superiority squadron
DS2 - Leopard CV - Multirole squadron (external ordinance carriers)
DS3 - Leopard CV - converted to 4 small craft bays - boarding actions, resupply etc
DS4 - Avenger - Tip of the Spear/high altitude bomber
DS5 - Buccaneer - keep out of trouble, carries spares/supplies etc.  Can be refit for superior survivability, e.g. Fed Suns refit.

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #46 on: 09 September 2021, 06:17:36 »
IIRC, the Vengeance was always mentioned as a SL era ship except the one place that gave it a date, Battlespace.

You had quotes of it in, IIRC, DS&JS, TRO2750, & the SLSB as all being used in the SL Era.

Then along comes Battlespace that gives dates & amazingly like half the ships from DS&JS were all given the same year at the end of the SL.

As if every DS was suddenly developed right as Terra fell.

I never bought into those dates myself, seemed really lame, and in the case of some ships was clearly in error based on conflicting fluff.

Eventually they corrected the date from, like 2782 or whatever late date BS had to something earlier to match other fluff from previous sources.

I'm glad they backdated it to match previous fluff, it seemed lame that every other ship in BS had the same intro date.

Actually DS&JS was the culprit:
Monolith: 2776
Seeker: 2815
Condor: 2801
Excalibur: 2786
Overlord: 2762 (ok by itself, but very crowded timeline with the Lee which had debuted only six years before)
Avenger: 2816
Vengeance: 2782
Mammoth: 2808
Behemoth: 2782

I can believe some designs at the end of the Amaris War: Member state yards counting on the replacements needed for the SLDF and taking advantage of the destruction of the TH yards.
But those new designs right in the 1st SW, while yards were nuked left and right?
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Wrangler

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #47 on: 09 September 2021, 11:58:53 »
Actually DS&JS was the culprit:
Monolith: 2776
Seeker: 2815
Condor: 2801
Excalibur: 2786
Overlord: 2762 (ok by itself, but very crowded timeline with the Lee which had debuted only six years before)
Avenger: 2816
Vengeance: 2782
Mammoth: 2808
Behemoth: 2782

I can believe some designs at the end of the Amaris War: Member state yards counting on the replacements needed for the SLDF and taking advantage of the destruction of the TH yards.
But those new designs right in the 1st SW, while yards were nuked left and right?

That does beg question what was being used in Mammoth/Behemoth Cargo Dropship roles prior to it. I know we have the "generic" cargoship in the form of the Jumbo, but there aren't many cargo ships the large capacity.  Then you also have  passenger liners, which screams needing something before it.  The Princess was in service 2657, but that still need need non-luxary dropships out there. I seriously doubt Mantee would be used as passenger / cargo ship, but who to say since there no fluff on it. It was cargo ship before it's Mech carrier variant was made. Jumbo could only carry like 18 people in passenger wise.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #48 on: 09 September 2021, 13:00:37 »
BT has been missing large cargo & passenger carriers for a long time.

*snip*
DS1 - Leopard CV - Blackwater superiority squadron
DS2 - Leopard CV - Multirole squadron (external ordinance carriers)
DS3 - Leopard CV - converted to 4 small craft bays - boarding actions, resupply etc
DS4 - Avenger - Tip of the Spear/high altitude bomber
DS5 - Buccaneer - keep out of trouble, carries spares/supplies etc.  Can be refit for superior survivability, e.g. Fed Suns refit.

But none of that fits the original post- it is not a fighter carrier group, but a torpedo boat squadron style group.  The dropships are gunships with maybe a fighter/small craft or two, but assault/gunship dropships designed to break or create blockades.  With a SL heritage as a gunship squadron, I do not think they would have been equipped with Leopards . . . now they might have a Leopard when you get to the 3000s, being forced to have it as a replacement but it would definitely be the red-headed stepchild.
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CVB

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #49 on: 09 September 2021, 14:02:19 »
That does beg question what was being used in Mammoth/Behemoth Cargo Dropship roles prior to it.

SLSB had them both introduced in 2658. MUL solved the problem by listing both, two 2658 and two later "standard" variants.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #50 on: 09 September 2021, 15:06:47 »
SLSB had them both introduced in 2658. MUL solved the problem by listing both, two 2658 and two later "standard" variants.
I see, another intro date change. I guess they were using Jumbo DropShips for everything.  Maybe variant for passengers. (shrugs)

Though running a Mercenary DS Squadron in Star League era must been complicated. Hell, I'd properly working in the Periphery since League is everywhere.
« Last Edit: 09 September 2021, 15:15:26 by Wrangler »
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #51 on: 09 September 2021, 16:02:26 »
Actually DS&JS was the culprit:
And that's what happens to Memory.
For some reason I thought it was BS that gave the dates all clustered together.




SLSB had them both introduced in 2658. MUL solved the problem by listing both, two 2658 and two later "standard" variants.
IIRC wasn't part of that issue being that they were Prototyped by the SLDF but then the plans were stolen & they only showed up later from another faction, or something like that?
I feel like there was a bit of a fluff story around their production.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #52 on: 09 September 2021, 16:03:39 »
BT has been missing large cargo & passenger carriers for a long time.

But none of that fits the original post- it is not a fighter carrier group, but a torpedo boat squadron style group.  The dropships are gunships with maybe a fighter/small craft or two, but assault/gunship dropships designed to break or create blockades.  With a SL heritage as a gunship squadron, I do not think they would have been equipped with Leopards . . . now they might have a Leopard when you get to the 3000s, being forced to have it as a replacement but it would definitely be the red-headed stepchild.

If you're looking at potential blockade busters, here's a crazy thought for early on in your unit's history: SLDF Mule Pocket WarShips[/i].  Bit over twice the armor of the standard Mule, plus a trio of Barracuda launchers and White Shark launchers in each fore-quarter, a squadron of aerospace fighters to support it, and 413.5 tons of cargo in reserve.

Also, have you considered a Pueblo?  They're meant to duplicate cargo droppers, and can carry nearly 1600 tons of cargo, but are also well-armed and well-armored, with an extensive array of sensors, and even had an HPG early on, which should be fun with nascent ComStar.

Lastly, in addition to the Model 96 Elephant, which got mentioned, the Intruder makes for a handy and versatile raider and assault ship that'd be around early on, too.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #53 on: 10 September 2021, 06:18:05 »
IIRC wasn't part of that issue being that they were Prototyped by the SLDF but then the plans were stolen & they only showed up later from another faction, or something like that?
I feel like there was a bit of a fluff story around their production.

True, SLSB p. 165. They were developed privately by Krester. The TH reneged on the original permission to sell the ships sphere-wide. The prototypes were promptly stolen by an unmarked JS and sold to an unknown party. The TH then allowed Krester to sell the classes w/o restriction, assuming that the buyer would reverse enegineer them anyway.


Also, have you considered a Pueblo?  They're meant to duplicate cargo droppers, and can carry nearly 1600 tons of cargo, but are also well-armed and well-armored, with an extensive array of sensors, and even had an HPG early on, which should be fun with nascent ComStar.

Nice ship, but with a price tag higher than a McKenna, there probably weren't all that many built.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #54 on: 10 September 2021, 06:38:35 »
I wish inflation could be adjusted.  What costs alot while they were new and tech was new doesn't mean its same by time you get down the years when tech more common.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #55 on: 10 September 2021, 09:18:27 »
Yeah, in the OP the background story was they would be a regular SLN assault DS squadron that did not go on the Exodus.  They are not going to have spec ops ships or other things like that . . . they will start off with 6 of the exact same ship.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #56 on: 10 September 2021, 17:14:41 »
Plus a support ship or two, and probably a JumpShip...

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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #57 on: 10 September 2021, 17:29:20 »
If you go with an all identical fleet to start with & you want to be able to still play it in the SW era then its hard to argue with the Achilles for what you are wanting.

Fastest & most Armored with a small detachment of Shuttles/Fighters/Marines.

Its honestly the best of the "Assault" droppers & my only complaint about it is jealousy that it isn't produced in the FedCom, lol.
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Re: Mercenary DS Squadron
« Reply #58 on: 10 September 2021, 17:50:47 »
Well, a lot could depend on what you use for a "support" ship.  Creative enough accounting could put a CV variant into that role.

 

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