Register Register

Author Topic: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships  (Read 5097 times)

nerd

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2118
  • Nunc Partus-Ready Now
    • Traveller Adventures
Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« on: 09 June 2021, 15:27:59 »
Question for the big brains of the Aerospace side of the house: What role do Assault Dropships that are not equipped with Subcapital Weapons or Capital missiles play in combat?

I can see a role for the ones equipped with extensive fighter bays fairly easily, as well as space for marines. But the small ones, like the Avenger and Claymore, how would those operate?
M. T. Thompson
Don of the Starslayer Mafia
Member of the AFFS High Command

AlphaMirage

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2131
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #1 on: 09 June 2021, 15:37:15 »
Smaller assault dropships are orbital fighter killers and long range dropship interceptors mostly. I wrote some stuff about them in my Guide to Warships. They can also be used to attack lesser warships such as corvette class ones with high acceleration but not a lot of firepower

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5615
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #2 on: 09 June 2021, 15:51:10 »
Large DropShips are hugely inefficient. Ships like the Noruff remain the most effective anti-ship platforms per ton in the game.

Honestly it is hard to justify anything over 5k tons. Nagasawa is a good example of a small ship designed to operate in front of capital weapons. The armor requirement is the only reason it is that big.

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #3 on: 09 June 2021, 18:10:26 »
Another role the original "assault" dropships were supposed to fill was landing closer to actual targets (the Fortress with its installed artillery was probably the best example of that).

Alan Grant

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1704
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #4 on: 14 June 2021, 15:45:43 »
ASFs give you the best ton for ton strike firepower. But they go out and come back and then they need to rearm, refuel and so on, pilots get exhausted too. Assault Dropships give you less firepower but better long range sensors, better ECM coverage, longer flight endurance and can just stay on the task or mission longer.

Regardless of the actual firepower the assault dropship carries, they make amazing sensor craft and ECM platforms. If you dig into the rules you'll find they create a big ECM umbrella around themselves and anything flying with them.

In space a really effective mission package is to pair up an assault dropship with a number of ASFs. The dropship provides ECM coverage for the whole group, and long range sensors for the whole group. Once the ASF pilots are exhausted and out of fuel and need to land, that dropship continues to be available and useful.
« Last Edit: 14 June 2021, 15:53:27 by Alan Grant »

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #5 on: 14 June 2021, 15:49:10 »
That sounds like "Assault Carrier" would be a good role...  ^-^

Alan Grant

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1704
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #6 on: 14 June 2021, 15:57:46 »
The nice thing about applying something like an Avenger, Claymore, Merlin, etc. to this role is that its expendable.

It's supporting the ASFs or protecting the transports, you can afford and are willing to pay the price of losing the assault dropship if it means the other asset survives.

For that reason it's helpful to have some dropships like this around for space battles. Where no one is depending on them to be a significant carrier or transport in any way.

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10826
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #7 on: 14 June 2021, 16:01:44 »
The nice thing about applying something like an Avenger, Claymore, Merlin, etc. to this role is that its expendable.

It's supporting the ASFs or protecting the transports, you can afford and are willing to pay the price of losing the assault dropship if it means the other asset survives.

For that reason it's helpful to have some dropships like this around for space battles. Where no one is depending on them to be a significant carrier or transport in any way.

I am sort of in this camp.

The other thing to consider is if the speeds match up, doesn't the DS provide better ECM coverage for a fighter group in the same hex?   (I think this is the way the rules work?)

The 5/8 Titan would match well with a Heavy Fighter Group  (or Slower Mediums)
While the 7/11-8/12 Avenger/Achilles work well with "Fast Medium" fighters

Don't want your vengeance to get pasted by Warship fire?

Send in the fighter wings w/ an Avenger Escort.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #8 on: 14 June 2021, 16:03:41 »
The cheaper the better for the pure AWACS (with teeth) role...

idea weenie

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3553
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #9 on: 14 June 2021, 16:57:01 »
The nice thing about applying something like an Avenger, Claymore, Merlin, etc. to this role is that its expendable.

It's supporting the ASFs or protecting the transports, you can afford and are willing to pay the price of losing the assault dropship if it means the other asset survives.

For that reason it's helpful to have some dropships like this around for space battles. Where no one is depending on them to be a significant carrier or transport in any way.

For me the problem with using a Dropship for an offensive platform is that each PWS takes up a docking collar, so they would be the lead of the offensive force rather than the primary striking force.  You will need more Jumpships to carry these extra Dropships, but since they are being used for min invasions that should be part of the planning.  They do have very impressive firepower for their size (the Avenger is almost the same firepower as an Overlord, a ~10k transport Dropship), so might be used initially as test-beds, since they range in mass from 1400-2500 tons.

The ideal use for these small Dropships would be compact core vessels carrying them in Dropshuttle bays.  They are small enough that the 5 kton limit is not an issue, and allow larger Dropships to be carried on Docking collars.


Now as a defensive unit, these would be used exactly as you describe.  A planet can receive the PWS as freight and a (large) Machine Shop would be used to assemble/prep them.  There is no DS collar limit for a planet, so even though they would take up room, planetary hangars are likely cheaper than Docking Collars.


Sarna references:
Avenger
Claymore
Merlin

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10353
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #10 on: 15 June 2021, 22:17:56 »
the smaller assault dropships, that aren't carriers? those are PWS hunters.

assault dropships during the succession wars were for killing other dropships. this hasn't really changed. while PWS's are better for fighting warships, assault dropships still have their old role in taking down transport dropships, and a new one in harrassing and killing PWS's.

the smallest ones also have a role as fire support for fighter units against other fighter units.


Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 25407
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #11 on: 29 June 2021, 09:24:17 »
ASFs give you the best ton for ton strike firepower. But they go out and come back and then they need to rearm, refuel and so on, pilots get exhausted too. Assault Dropships give you less firepower but better long range sensors, better ECM coverage, longer flight endurance and can just stay on the task or mission longer.

Regardless of the actual firepower the assault dropship carries, they make amazing sensor craft and ECM platforms. If you dig into the rules you'll find they create a big ECM umbrella around themselves and anything flying with them.

In space a really effective mission package is to pair up an assault dropship with a number of ASFs. The dropship provides ECM coverage for the whole group, and long range sensors for the whole group. Once the ASF pilots are exhausted and out of fuel and need to land, that dropship continues to be available and useful.

Best analogy I can think of is ASF are fighters and Assault DS are PT boats . . . which makes some sense since the space combat is based on WWII fighter combat with a few exceptions.  So while your fighters are the combatants, Assault DS are the gunships that take up normal patrolling duties like PT boats did in the island chains- and just like fighters, they are expendable.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

Alan Grant

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1704
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #12 on: 29 June 2021, 09:47:49 »
I can kinda see that. It's a decent analogy. You could also replace PT boat with navy destroyer and land in about the same place. WW2 destroyers were very expendable (and a lot were expended) and served a lot of the workhorse functions like convoy and taskforce escort and patrol. But they struggled against attacking aircraft.

I saw this on another thread and it clicked for me. ASFs are short range interceptors, assault dropships are long range interceptors.

« Last Edit: 29 June 2021, 09:54:35 by Alan Grant »

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10826
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #13 on: 29 June 2021, 11:42:49 »
assault dropships are long range interceptors.

I can see that.  They are also your system patrol ships really.
Something like an Achilles or Leopard-CV are solid ships to patrol a large solar system area & act as interdictors v/s just being local area patrol like fighters attached to a space station.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 25407
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #14 on: 29 June 2021, 12:48:40 »
I can see that.  They are also your system patrol ships really.
Something like an Achilles or Leopard-CV are solid ships to patrol a large solar system area & act as interdictors v/s just being local area patrol like fighters attached to a space station.

Which is why I said patrol ships . . . the long range interceptors would IMO be Lyonis, Aquarius and Condottiere . .

Or maybe they are the PT boat equivalent since they can patrol for a couple of weeks at most, while you could send a assault DS out to patrol a system's moons & asteroids for a couple of months, like a sub/corvette/frigate/destroyer/destroyer escort.  The analogy breaks down there b/c of the vessel's range, though even the PT boats with proper refueling could hop island chains.

Honestly, why would you not have a assault dropship patrolling other worlds' orbits in the Hesperus system?  Especially orbital bodies (say like gas giants w/planetoid moons)  that could frequently generate pirate points?

I think it comes down to PWS are substitute line combatants and are built around that purpose.  Assault dropships would be built for more general purpose use- customs, sensor platform, boarding operations, and combat support.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #15 on: 29 June 2021, 17:10:27 »
Don't forget where the name "Destroyer' came from: "PT Boat Destroyer"...  ^-^

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22259
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #16 on: 16 August 2021, 09:28:31 »
I have to agree with her one above that essentially as far as in system ships the avenger the Achilles among others are effective platforms as far as non-capital weapon ships go.

3085 updates Old is the new new had some of best updates for dropships.  Interdictor and better yet Dragau are potential hammers. The Republic Border fleet was well armed force in the beginning, is largely disappeared after  3134. The designs were great. Dragau II stands out begin interceptor like dropships that wants to be a fighter without PWS subcaps. If u can manage find one.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

Cannonshop

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7600
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #17 on: 16 August 2021, 09:58:42 »
Manned missiles, because ramming is the new black.

Standard assault droppers combine fighter weapons with dropship performance at fighter levels of armor but near-warship levels of vulnerability.  This mainly makes them effective against unescorted jumpships, or as a means of ramming other dropships.

because Ramming is KEWL (never mind that it's not survivable).

all the kewl kidz (except Wolf, because they're perfect) use it as their 'go-to'.

On a more practical note, they're basically good for pulling over unaccompanied jumpships, or civilian dropships.  Against anything with actual weapons, you need either a decent fighter complement (Titan, Vengeance, etc.) or you need subcaps/capital guns, because dropships are big, and fragile when they aren't rocking capital-scale armor.  (Speed doesn't help you in aerospace combat under TW or AT2 rules, and most AD's are really pretty slow, only a few of them have any turn of speed at all).

Best applied as a means to either give you the ability to move Aerofighters (Carriers) or as a means to dispose of that annoying cousin's sister's stepbrother who can't hold a job so you enlist him in the Navy and put him on one in hopes he'll ram something and die.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5615
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #18 on: 16 August 2021, 20:52:06 »
Wait what?

For starters the Wolves had an entire class of DropShips based around suicidally ramming stuff, and they still fudged it up at a game rule and physics level.

"DropShip" performance? The slowest assault ship mentioned has been a Merlin and that is 6/9. I guess you can point to a Fortress or an Intruder which have been know to pull assault duty.

Finally "speed" is hugely important. High thrust let's you close into conventional weapon range in a turn or two, then slow yourself down to stay there, dancing around an opponent. Heck, a truly quick ship like an Achillies can dance with heavy fighters, using burn, turn, and evade to even overcome a DropShip's initiative limitations. High thrust and evasion allows DropShips to perform in a close ECM role for fighter squadrons.

I generally agree about the weapon and armor limitations. There are roles assault DropShips are better at and worse at than others. But I am not sure where you are getting your physical descriptions from.

Cannonshop

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7600
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #19 on: 16 August 2021, 22:33:44 »
Wait what?

For starters the Wolves had an entire class of DropShips based around suicidally ramming stuff, and they still fudged it up at a game rule and physics level.

"DropShip" performance? The slowest assault ship mentioned has been a Merlin and that is 6/9. I guess you can point to a Fortress or an Intruder which have been know to pull assault duty.

Finally "speed" is hugely important. High thrust let's you close into conventional weapon range in a turn or two, then slow yourself down to stay there, dancing around an opponent. Heck, a truly quick ship like an Achillies can dance with heavy fighters, using burn, turn, and evade to even overcome a DropShip's initiative limitations. High thrust and evasion allows DropShips to perform in a close ECM role for fighter squadrons.

I generally agree about the weapon and armor limitations. There are roles assault DropShips are better at and worse at than others. But I am not sure where you are getting your physical descriptions from.
'

I was trotting out the usual stereotypes.  (I wasn't being serious), though I wasn't kidding about the way we usually see them used whenever they're on screen in the canon (as manned missiles and vulnerable targets instead of effective combatants).

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

DevianID

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 950
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #20 on: 17 August 2021, 00:30:46 »
As an aside, since PT boats were mentioned--we do have PT boats equals in small craft.  Small craft with internal bomb bays can carry 6 anti-ship missiles and fire them all at once, for 36 tons of cargo.  The Mowang has a 10 ton internal bomb bay, good for 1 Alamo, for example.  As small craft, they vastly outpace fighter endurance, and with a 6 'torpedoes' they threaten ships of vastly larger size.  Ships like the avenger would fit a destroyer role well, as they can defeat small craft without risking a heavier ship.  Also, dropshuttles aren't compatible with dropships with docking collars--and dropshuttle bays are VERY expensive in their own right, so there is no good transport option for swarms of dropships.  Small Craft fill that role however, as you can load an absurd number of small craft into 1 docking collar.

The Rocinante is a good example of what a combat small craft kitted to be a torpedo boat could look like, since it roughly matches up with a 200 ton spheroid small craft, and has a length and crew requirement in keeping with other btech small craft dimensions.  A btech version would mount 8 antimissile systems and an internal bay for torpedoes--a selection of Alamo, Antiship missiles, or Air Defense Arrow missiles to fill the cargo bay would give mission diversity depending on what level of attack is needed.

HobbesHurlbut

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2966
  • Live Free or Die Hard
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #21 on: 27 August 2021, 10:35:25 »
Don't forget where the name "Destroyer' came from: "PT Boat Destroyer"...  ^-^
Correction Torpedo Boat Destroyer. not Patrol Torpedo Boat Destroyer. Before "destoyers" there were torpedo boats and the destroyer evolved from beefed up torpedo boats that had "more" guns.
Clan Blood Spirit - So Bad Ass as to require Orbital Bombardments to wipe us out....it is the only way to be sure!

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10826
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #22 on: 27 August 2021, 13:19:35 »
As an aside, since PT boats were mentioned--we do have PT boats equals in small craft.  Small craft with internal bomb bays can carry 6 anti-ship missiles and fire them all at once, for 36 tons of cargo.  The Mowang has a 10 ton internal bomb bay, good for 1 Alamo, for example.  As small craft, they vastly outpace fighter endurance, and with a 6 'torpedoes' they threaten ships of vastly larger size.  Ships like the avenger would fit a destroyer role well, as they can defeat small craft without risking a heavier ship.  Also, dropshuttles aren't compatible with dropships with docking collars--and dropshuttle bays are VERY expensive in their own right, so there is no good transport option for swarms of dropships.  Small Craft fill that role however, as you can load an absurd number of small craft into 1 docking collar.

The Rocinante is a good example of what a combat small craft kitted to be a torpedo boat could look like, since it roughly matches up with a 200 ton spheroid small craft, and has a length and crew requirement in keeping with other btech small craft dimensions.  A btech version would mount 8 antimissile systems and an internal bay for torpedoes--a selection of Alamo, Antiship missiles, or Air Defense Arrow missiles to fill the cargo bay would give mission diversity depending on what level of attack is needed.

I don't recognize these names, Are these canon smallcraft?

Either way, I'm not imagining a Vengeance the size of a Colossus packing nothing but Small Craft bays designed to clear a path through a Warship.

Which is funny since I was working on something almost like that but it had like 50/50 ASF to SC ratio.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 25407
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #23 on: 27 August 2021, 15:09:38 »
Rocinante is Expanse, but the other I do not know either.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

Weirdo

  • Painter of Borth the Magic Puma
  • Global Moderator
  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 38244
  • Carpe Arcanum Cibum
    • Christina Dickinson Writes
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #24 on: 27 August 2021, 19:15:48 »
Mowang is a canon small craft, from Handbook Liao.

There is no indication whatsoever that its cargo bay is bomb-capable.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #25 on: 27 August 2021, 19:32:42 »
All it takes is an agreement to apply the Internal Bomb Bay quirk,

DevianID

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 950
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #26 on: 29 August 2021, 19:26:59 »
The Mowang Clandestine in TRO Most Wanted has the 10 ton internal bomb bay quirk, good for 1 Alamo missile or 10 rocket pods or a few large fuel air bombs.
« Last Edit: 29 August 2021, 19:32:12 by DevianID »

Giovanni Blasini

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5866
  • And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #27 on: 30 August 2021, 03:37:31 »
Wouldn’t a 10-ton bomb bay be good for 2 Alamos?  The Alamo is 5 tons.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7033
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #28 on: 30 August 2021, 05:39:32 »
The bomb bay quirk requires one ton for every bomb slot the munition would normally occupy.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24513
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Role for Non-PWS Assault Dropships
« Reply #29 on: 30 August 2021, 05:55:11 »
IO, page 175 does state Alamos require 10 bomb slots.  But it goes on to say:

Quote
Construction Rules: Type II/Alamo nuclear ordnance is treated as
a 5-ton bomb that can be carried either in internalized bomb bays
of equal or greater size, or on external hardpoints such as those
that conventional and aerospace fighters automatically possess.
Beyond this, Type II nuclear munitions have no further impact on
unit construction.

So, praise the lord and pass the Alamos!  :D