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Author Topic: Questions about how to set up your mech forces  (Read 863 times)

Wasperine

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Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« on: 10 September 2021, 14:05:26 »
My apologies if this is posted in the wrong place.


I'd like to get into Alpha Strike, and maybe the main game later, but have some questions about regiment/company/lance composition.

Not really a big fan of the clan stuff, but seeing as how the clan invasion box is the newest product out it would seem prudent to design a regiment with that in mind, keeping open the ability to drop some omnimechs to play at the late succession war time frame if wanted.

I've decided to go with the 2nd Sword of Light; I have the DC Field Manual book.  So, reading the entry for this regiment I see that it has 4 battalions, which means 12 companies and 36 lances.


Some questions:

1.  Other than the 4 battalion command lances, how does one know what the roles of the other 32 lances are (scout, assault, etc)?
2.  Does each company have a dedicated command lance, and if so, do they have any other role other than command?
3.  Does the 2nd SoL use Kurita mech variants whenever available?
4.  The 1st battalion's command lance is made up of 3 clan omnimechs and 1 Kurita omnimech; are all the other omnimechs in the regiment Kurita designs?


Thanks in advance for your help.

worktroll

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #1 on: 10 September 2021, 15:03:53 »
General observations: BattleTech isn't quite as proscriptive as some other mini wargames, there's a lot of "if it works for your table, it's cool" in here. So you won't find that level of rigid determination.

Second thought - a regiment is a great thing to aim for, but even with Alpha Strike you're likely to be playing with companies, mebbe a battalion, per side most of the time. I play on a roughly 6'x6' table, and that's roomy for a company, allows for maneuver - it'd be busy with battalions, and bumper-to-bumper with regiments. I've seen Team Yankee play with almost Napoleonic-style shoulder-to-shoulder formations of tanks; we tend not to do it like that. But again, your table.

Re composition - the Sword of Light regiments are the prestige "iron fists" of House Kurita. It's likely that they're far more heavy & assault weight than your traditional regiments, and can farm off recon and flank security to associated armour & conventional regiments. In Alpha Strike terms, you'll be seeing more Battle, Assault, and Fire Support (& variants) lances, with Strikers providing cavalry capability, more than recon or probe lances. Doesn't mean no lights, just not lots of lights, and those would be concentrated in a few Lances, not spread out.

And for units? It depends on the time period you want to build it for, but yes, Kuritan designs will be featured, but not exclusively. Are you aware of the Master Unit List website? It can list what you'd expect to be available to a given faction in a given timeperiod, but with BattleTech's history, there are many really good designs in what's called the Inner Sphere General lists - classics like the Warhammer, Marauder, Archer, Thunderbolt, Phoenix Hawk, etc etc Note though that many of these have many variants, some of which are faction-linked - so while in the Succession Wars period your normal Phoenix Hawk PHX-1 is fast and jumpy with a large laser, there's a Kuritan variant PHX-1K that drops the jump jets to upgrade to a PPC (www.sarna.net is the rabbit hole for this sort of detail.) Either would work in a Sword of Light unit.

The game's like this mainly so you don't have to buy specific units, and don't need to be WYSIWIG, unless you really want to.

Hopefully that gives you something to chew on. Ask more questions!
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Kerfuffin(925)

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #2 on: 10 September 2021, 15:12:09 »
A long time ago they used to publish every single mech, or at least give a much more detailed break down of what units look like. Anymore it’s just an average weight and the skill and dedication to the faction levels. Which is good as it gives us more freedom to make a ‘canon force’ rather than something that’s just painted the same. 

The Field Manual: DC book is the newest talking about the DC and it’s units, it also covers the Clan Invasion era. They are really good series, sadly it stopped at Mercs and DC for various reasons. But anyway...


1. The Sword of Light has for most of history been a heavy regiment. So on average it’s mechs weight between 60-75t. Because you are only at batallion level you can modify up or down, and say the rest of the regiment averages it back out to heavy levels. The regiment is also the only SoL formation to have its own conventional and aerospace support, so I imagine they would leave much of the scouting to them.  That being said every unit needs a lance or two of scouts (IMO). In general the SoL is a group of elite shock troops, so if I had to try and follow closely I’d say they would tend toward heavier, line combat style formations.
But you can make it up, no one who is worth playing against will complain.

2. Each company would have a lance that  has the lance commander, and is nominally in command of each company. But they wouldn’t necessarily be the AS formation of a command lance.

3. No.  The SoL is one of the premier units. They will use whatever they feel they need. Kurita mechs are probably the most popular due to their pride and fanaticism but they are a top or the line unit. Salvage is huge in BT so feel free to steal mechs from the FedSuns and Lyrans, who are their main enemies (and anyone else).

4. They probably would be first gen IS omnis, but as per 3, they are premier and can get away with a few more clan omnis than everyone else in the era. Plus the DC had the most ‘success’ against the clans


Do what you want, it’ll probably be more fun.

MyndkryM

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #3 on: 10 September 2021, 15:58:24 »
I'm just going to quickly add if you are looking to play at the regimental or higher org levels, Strategic Operations/Battle Force may be the rule set you want to use.

I'm thin on the details, but it sounds like Catalyst is releasing an updated version of the rule set with their coming releases.
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Alzer

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #4 on: 13 September 2021, 23:14:28 »
If memory serves the "Standard" Company composition is: Battle, Fire, Recon. So sticking to a similar format may be helpful. Flexing a bit is totally fine though as you build. I.E. my Heavy/Assault company swapped the Recon lance for an Assaulr lance, and the Battle lance for a proper Command lance. My flank company swapped the Battle lance for a Cavalry lance, and Recon is more of a Cav/striker lance. Use it as a guideline but don't feel restricted too much.

As far as individual lance compositions I like to have a general mix of: 1 heavy, 2 mediums, 1 light as a FedSuns player. Kurita would probably adjust this to 2 heavy 2 lights in many cases since they don't use as many mediums. Each lance I try to have 1 "Trooper" mech,  Dragon, Panther, Wolverine, Shadowhawk fit this roll for Kurita. At least one Unseen per lance. Otherwise just kinda put together what seems to work out.
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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #5 on: 13 September 2021, 23:29:23 »
There is no such thing as a "Standard" company composition, though there's something reasonable to be said for Battle being the most common Lance type.  At the battalion level I actually prefer to organize into companies by operational profile, so seeing an entire company of Recon/Striker/Pursuit Lances supporting two companies of assorted Battle/Fire/Assault Lances is not unusual and is entirely up to personal preference.

The closest thing to official literature on the subject for a generic force (which I would say the Sword of Light probably isn't but is within throwing distance) is on Alpha Strike: Commander's Edition pg. 126, which describes a company as:

0-1 Command Lance
0-2 Support Lance*
1-4 Battle/Assault/Striker/Recon/Fire/Pursuit

Which is a fancy way of saying that there is no standard because you can make anything out of that.
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Alzer

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #6 on: 14 September 2021, 13:14:16 »
Isn't there? Maybe I'm just thinking of the example Lance's in ASCE? 
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Heavyguard

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #7 on: 16 September 2021, 12:24:27 »
  The Field Manual: DC book is the newest talking about the DC and it’s units, it also covers the Clan Invasion era. They are really good series, sadly it stopped at Mercs and DC for various reasons. But anyway...

You're thinking of the Combat Manual Series. The Field manuals exist for each house.

And there is the 'Combat Manual Lite' series here on the official forums minus House Davion that are from notes from the author for the rest in the series and they have had parts used in newer releases too such as the Battle of Tukayyid Sourcebook.

Wasperine

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #8 on: 26 September 2021, 21:28:22 »
Thanks for all the replies so far.


I'm trying to build the 2nd Sword of Light, at least on paper, and intend to get some of the new plastic figs to build a company, and later maybe expand out to a battalion.

Anyway, here is something I hope that someone can clarify for me:

FM:DC states on page 15 that a reinforced regiment is 4 battalions, for a total of 144 mechs.
CM:Kurita states on page 76 that a reinforced regiment is 4 battalions + 1 command lance, for a total of 164 mechs.


Ok, so I understand that CM:Kurita is including a command lance for each battalion, and another command lance for the regiment as a whole, which accounts for the 20 mech difference from the FM:DC.

So, does one of these books take precedence over the other, or am I comparing apples and oranges as one book is for the more detailed Battletech game and the other is for Alpha Strike?

Wasperine

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #9 on: 27 September 2021, 23:12:13 »
From Combat Manual: Kurita, page 28

"The [heavy] reinforced 'Mech regiment contains one battalion of light 'Mechs, two of heavy 'Mechs, and one of assault 'Mechs."


Does this indicate that there is a battalion of nothing but light mechs, or that there is a "battalion's worth" of light mechs spread out throughout the regiment?

I think it is most likely the latter, but I thought I would ask to be sure.

CJC070

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #10 on: 27 September 2021, 23:21:36 »
From Combat Manual: Kurita, page 28

"The [heavy] reinforced 'Mech regiment contains one battalion of light 'Mechs, two of heavy 'Mechs, and one of assault 'Mechs."


Does this indicate that there is a battalion of nothing but light mechs, or that there is a "battalion's worth" of light mechs spread out throughout the regiment?

I think it is most likely the latter, but I thought I would ask to be sure.

Light mech battalion are composed of mostly lights with some mediums and heavies. 
Although this is based off of Comstar level II the force composition would be roughly the same.

https://www.sarna.net/wiki/ComStar_military_structure#Level_II

Alzer

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #11 on: 27 September 2021, 23:23:41 »
For how you worded it, I read pure Light/Heavy/Assault Batallions. That stated, an Assault Battalion is pretty nuts.

Personally I would take that as more of Batallion Compositions than weight class Purity. Though Kurita may be stringent enough to do it. A light lance can have a medium in it, a Heavy lance basically just needs two heavies and allows max one Assault, an Assault lance is Two Assaults plus two whatever else. I personally like to have more varied Lances,  so my Assault Lance would normally be 2 assaults, 1 heavy, 1 medium (Beefy heavy and medium but still not just Assaults).  If you want to be more granular I'd say that's up to you. The exact composition of a unit will ebb and flow as different mechs are destroyed/brought in, pilots bring their own mechs when integrated into the unit, and so forth. It's one of the reasons why they don't give cut and dried rosters. Especially for the sucession wars era.
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jasonf

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #12 on: 28 September 2021, 08:11:04 »
Light mech battalion are composed of mostly lights with some mediums and heavies. 

It's this. If you have access to the Total Warfare rulebook, there is some more guidance on how to average out lances and companies to Light, Medium, etc., on pp. 264-273. You can just scale up the company composition table in that section to a battalion (both have three subunits).

The short answer, though, is that the description of any formation's size is an average size of the units in that formation.

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #13 on: 28 September 2021, 08:49:38 »
Does this indicate that there is a battalion of nothing but light mechs, or that there is a "battalion's worth" of light mechs spread out throughout the regiment

It means that battalion averages out to light weight. As an example, my personal collection of Northwind Highlanders mechs averages out to a medium battalion, despite the presence of 5 assault mechs and several heavies. There's plenty of room for larger mechs in a light battalion, especially if you've got a fair number of the very small light mechs. You'd be amazed at what a lance or two of 20 tonners can do for keeping your math down. :thumbsup:
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Wasperine

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #14 on: 06 October 2021, 18:08:40 »
OK, based on the feedback here, I've made an attempt to assign weight classes to the lances/companies/battalions for the second sword of light.

I've included a link below to a google doc if anyone would like to take a look; as always, feedback is appreciated.


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tfkE5pQP6KQRT308dOPWPyJUetJsfZIVPXJiiIGU0DI/edit?usp=sharing

Dissolv

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Re: Questions about how to set up your mech forces
« Reply #15 on: 06 October 2021, 20:44:32 »
That......seems reasonable for what it is.  But I'm going to go a step further.  We just (mostly) got done with a three year campaign, in which we ran a mercenary Battalion consisting of 3 companies, aerospace assets, and various lances/elements in support as well.

Lessons learned along the way:

1) Organize by movement speed, not weight.   Quite a few times the lances we could scrape together (being humble mercenaries, and thus at the mercy of the market and our salvage claims) just wouldn't work.  Normally it was because some elements of the lance would outpace the others, and then if the fighting got very serious, the slower one's could fight it out, but the lighter ones couldn't contribute enough.  A classic use case would be the Dragon, or the Quickdraw.   These are "heavy" mechs, but they play like and should be organized with the mediums. 

2) Every company needs a combat focus.  It might be long range firepower, speed and aggression, recon work, whatever.  I ran a Cavalry company, known for aggressive, concentrated attacks, and lighting quick withdrawals. Heavy tanks and assault lances were a major problem, but in any mission that involved running the length of the table, including retreating, it worked great.  Another company had an entire lance of Assault mechs, a hunchback, and a variety of other slow moving hard hitters.  We used that Company for city fights and stand up engagements, whenever possible.  Our third battle company was......the leftovers.  I am sure the second sword of light will have more options than we did for optimization.

3) We found that 2 Battle lances and 1 other lance worked best.  Pursuit, Fire, Cavalry, Recon, Command, we tried them all and liked them all.   The typical combat heavies (Warhammer, Orion) worked best as a plain old Battle Lance, and the third lance would give flavor to the Company.    A typical arrangement would be Heavy Battle, Medium Battle, (Recon|Pursuit)/long range fire based lance.  Or just a third battle lance -- especially when the pilots were green.  Then you can have a purpose for each company while still allowing each one of them to be line Companies as well.

3) Slower lights mix well with heavies and assault.  You only need your recon unit to be so far forward when you are shuffling forward at 6" per turn, and you can't always get 12 heavy/assaults scraped together.  Obviously you would rather have an additional Atlas, but if you have something like a Valkyrie, it is more than capable of pulling recon for your big boys.  We found it extremely helpful to have one designated recon mech/pilot per company.  My cavalry company maintained two, and was probably the biggest consumer of Cicadas anywhere we went.   :-\ 

4) Good Mediums can do anything.  Playing at the larger scale of Alpha Strike, over greatly varied terrain, and with a wide range of mission types really helps you appreciate the utility of mediums.  There is no company type that can't make use a good medium mech.  Again, you can replace it with something heavier for direct assaults, or lighter for flanking work, but you might actually never need to.    The upshot of this is that some mediums, especially the 55 ton trio (Shadow hawk, Griffin, Wolverine) can reasonably be found in ANY type of unit.  They might be "temporary" fill-ins, but they still work.  So medium mechs should be found in light, medium, and heavy lances.  We even sometimes use them with Assault lances (Hunchback for instance), when we don't have four true assault mechs. 

5) Combat heavies (as opposed to the fast heavies) do the bulk of the hard combat work.  Assaults, especially those lacking a solid long range punch AND skills to connect at long range consistently, can get easily out maneuvered.  It may just be me, but I think of most slow assaults as a specialized unit.  Slow meaning 6" movement in this case.

6) Final random point -- sort by skill too.  A veteran lance will run rings around a green heavy lance.  Where you put your better pilots really determines the character and expected use of your Company. 

So your 1st Company Lance A might be "light", but also "elite".  They could be an order lance with 4x Jenners, or long range snipers with 4x Panthers.  Or they could have 3 light mechs and a medium leading them.  They might be recon, or they might be pursuit.   

It is more important the speed of the mechs, and the skill of the pilots, than the weight of the mechs for how they get used.  For instance the 1st Co. Lance A might be the low quality pilots, relative to the two Heavy lances.  Their job would likely be recon, but possibly also flanking.  The heavies would be there to kill things, and that is the purpose of the company.  OR, the light lance might be elite rating (2 average skill), and be considered the cream of the Company.  The Heavies may be Veterans in that case, and would be expected to follow their lead, and break open any crack in the enemy line that they spearheaded. 

So really, weight of the mechs isn't the dominant feature, and your list needs a lot more details to really flesh it out, in my experience.

 

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