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Author Topic: Random Thought - Star League Royal Battlemech Division vs Clan Galaxy?  (Read 3000 times)

Colt Ward

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I don't quite get why it should be so hard to get a galaxy/division concentrated for the battle. The numbers are similar to the 1940 battle of Sedan (800 to 300 tanks, ~150 arty pieces per side on a battlefield roughly 20 by 20km), with weapon ranges  comparable.

Because it is more than that . . . the 800 (Royals) vs 300 (Clan)?  Just the mech component for both sides.  Look at the numbers 2ndAcr gives- another 400 odd (mostly slow) tanks, some with wheels- and all but the hovers will have trouble with water crossings.  Another 100ish SP artillery- which discounts the extra artillery he adds- it being counter to a assault regiment 'occasionally' having a artillery BN attached, and unable to answer if it is organic or placed from outside the division.  Then you have his stacking the infantry transports at 75- likely more since his equipment is cherry picked rather than average Royal stuff.  Finally, the logistical tail, which needs to use those same roads/trails to get up to re-arm & repair the mechs.  Have you ever tried to drive cross-country (3-4 hours) in a group of 4 or 5 vehicles?

Very few of the Royal's force are going to be able to keep up with the speed of the Clan Galaxy, so again, they cannot get a 3/5 assault tank traveling cross country to catch up with most of the Omnis fielded in the 3050s.  Throw in a few hills and bands of forest?  They cannot keep up, and nothing ever says the Clan's DS must remain in the same place, which is why I said they would have to keep their support & supply elements safe while remaining mobile.


Now to the revised scenario . . . a lot still depends on the Clan- btw, Streak LRMs are not available at this point- but 3060 is post Great Refusal and Protos have spread to the other Clans.  Prior to the Exodus leaves the Royals in pretty sad shape too

Supply caches will still be in play with only the ones in the Castle being secure, the rest will be vulnerable.  The Castle also does not matter, I would leave my faster cluster in the galaxy (something like the 279th during Invasion) to keep whatever tries to get out penned up or at least bleed when they break out.  Which leaves the other four clusters, minus pickets on the other objective to cut my way through the other objective.  Four clusters vs 40% of the Royal Division?  Ok, it does set it up for the Clan to win.

Out of curiousity to the OP, are you familiar with the Fulda Gap scenario?
Colt Ward

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2ndAcr

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pg 13 of SLDF clearly states that Each battalion in a Heavy Assault BM Regiment has a 4th Company of artillery for organic fire support. Not occasionally but says includes. So since it clearly says assigned, we will say it is in addition to the normal artillery regiment

 Nope, not stacked. Each platoon in a Mech Infantry Regiment has a IFV assigned in support, usually the Goblin, but I chose the Turhan (Standard). In addition, each Battalion has an additional Tank Company assigned, usually a Hover but could be a Demon section, which I take as Company. There is no true "Royal" IFV, so that is why I chose the Turhan, a single Turhan per platoon, just as written.

 But that scenario has set up a Clan win.

 pg 15 SLDF like heavy battlemech formations (assault Regiments IMO) many assault armor regiments carry an extra battalion of artillery. I take this to mean in addition to the DivArty
« Last Edit: 27 January 2022, 21:09:51 by 2ndAcr »

CVB

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To further use my example of Sedan: that battle included an assault across a river, and a complete corps (roughly similiar to a SLDF division) went across under fire over a single pontoon bridge. But to use something bigger, let's take Kursk. Ten thousand tanks and more than three million soldiers could be arrayed with 20th century transportation systems.

But why should the SLDF even chase after the Clan forces? If we assume the Clan to be the invader, the SLDF division has the opportunity to array its forces in a prepared position (use the engineer battalion) of its own choosing ("In the defense of Planet X I bid the xyzth Royal Battlemech Division. We will await your forces on the island of 20kmDiameterIsland.") Or select a plain with rolling hills and dispersed woods that keep average max weapons range low and blunt the first attacks in a prepared hedgehog position, well mined, keeping enough reserves to make use of interior lines.

As the attacker it's up to the Clan force to eliminate the defenders of the trial, not just put forces down somewhere on-planet and declare victory.
« Last Edit: 27 January 2022, 21:25:30 by CVB »
"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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DragonKhan55

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Because it is more than that . . . the 800 (Royals) vs 300 (Clan)?  Just the mech component for both sides.  Look at the numbers 2ndAcr gives- another 400 odd (mostly slow) tanks, some with wheels- and all but the hovers will have trouble with water crossings.  Another 100ish SP artillery- which discounts the extra artillery he adds- it being counter to a assault regiment 'occasionally' having a artillery BN attached, and unable to answer if it is organic or placed from outside the division.  Then you have his stacking the infantry transports at 75- likely more since his equipment is cherry picked rather than average Royal stuff.  Finally, the logistical tail, which needs to use those same roads/trails to get up to re-arm & repair the mechs.  Have you ever tried to drive cross-country (3-4 hours) in a group of 4 or 5 vehicles?

Very few of the Royal's force are going to be able to keep up with the speed of the Clan Galaxy, so again, they cannot get a 3/5 assault tank traveling cross country to catch up with most of the Omnis fielded in the 3050s.  Throw in a few hills and bands of forest?  They cannot keep up, and nothing ever says the Clan's DS must remain in the same place, which is why I said they would have to keep their support & supply elements safe while remaining mobile.


Now to the revised scenario . . . a lot still depends on the Clan- btw, Streak LRMs are not available at this point- but 3060 is post Great Refusal and Protos have spread to the other Clans.  Prior to the Exodus leaves the Royals in pretty sad shape too

Supply caches will still be in play with only the ones in the Castle being secure, the rest will be vulnerable.  The Castle also does not matter, I would leave my faster cluster in the galaxy (something like the 279th during Invasion) to keep whatever tries to get out penned up or at least bleed when they break out.  Which leaves the other four clusters, minus pickets on the other objective to cut my way through the other objective.  Four clusters vs 40% of the Royal Division?  Ok, it does set it up for the Clan to win.

Out of curiousity to the OP, are you familiar with the Fulda Gap scenario?

West Germany, Cold War, quiaff? A friend's father was a Captain in the 11th ACR back in the day.

Also, what if the SLDF forces decided to use all of their dropships for ground attack missions as well? Given the sheer numbers, I'd imagine a SLDF Division will have several magnitudes more in terms of flyable dropships than a Clan Galaxy.

2ndAcr

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 Piloting rolls are a killer. Better to just do the Bid that CVB suggested and force the Clanners to duke it out.

Colt Ward

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Most of the Royal forces would be coming down as cargo, not in Overlords.

Yeah, you chose a optimized APC, just like the masses of tanks were optimized as Burkes instead of being Pumas, Rhinos, Furies or some of the other questionable tanks the SLDF & Royals fielded.  Alacorn was not listed in it's TRO as a Royal vehicle.  I would especially expect to find a mech inf battalion with Prowlers and Maxims to give them a greater capability.

As far as the artillery, Sarna is apparently quoting both the page you are citing but also p133 with the occasional portion.  Since I do not have the book I would have to pass on that determination- though Pollux were poached from planetary defenses.  More likely to end up with Ballistas, Chaparrals, Vali, and Marksmen filling more of that role.

To further use my example of Sedan: that battle included an assault across a river, and a complete corps (roughly similiar to a SLDF division) went across under fire over a single pontoon bridge. But to use something bigger, let's take Kursk. Ten thousand tanks and more than three million soldiers could be arrayed with 20th century transportation systems.

Because fighting in Europe is fighting in territory that has built up road & rail networks.  Look at what happened with Kursk as you cited . . . a 1200 mile front, and what was the troop density?  You are talking about 10 tanks total from both sides, for every 1.2 miles.  The Germans advanced along 3 axis of advance, all tied into road/rail lines and had to cross rivers.  IIRC BOTH sides advances suffered from supply interdiction, and while mechs would not require the fuel that WWII armored & mechanized forces required, the Royals would be more ammo dependent- Clans could switch pods as needed- which both sides would have to move forward/backward as required.  The Royals- put them on either side of Kursk's map, I do not care- would be choking that road network trying to support their mech's forward progress while bringing up supplies/support along the same roads.  Meanwhile most of a Clan's combat power does not have to go down those same roads the Royals need for their armor & support, and can in fact go much faster cross country than the Royal mechs.

As far as chasing/catching the Clan force . . . they outrange the Royals, they are faster than the Royals, and by keeping on the move they can prevent the Royals from massing their forces or bringing the artillery to bear- especially if Trinary Rogues or their equivalents are screening, killing off the scouts that are trying to find the main body of troops.

Fulda Gap is, logistically, a easier scenario b/c the road net is more developed though IIRC you have more rivers to cross.  I have been a part of practiced battalion movements, it is not a spur of the moment undertaking.  A division would be much worse, and as I said before the staff work for planning it out would be long.  And while the Royals are doing that, the Clan force is already moving making the information used for the Royal's decisions out of date and steadily less effective/useful- this is called getting inside their decision loop.


Like I said, I do not think you can decision cycle someone- basically overload them to the point of indecision so they keep starting the loop over . . . but you CAN outpace them in the decision loop where they are reacting to moves you made several loops ago.  This is called the initiative, you seize it and make them constantly react to you.

Cannonshop was not kidding when he agreed, this would be a BT version of the Fulda Gap scenario.  Besides NATO dealing the Soviets defeats as they advanced, trading space for time, they also planned to kick the support out from under the Soviet advance by cutting off their flow of supplies forward.  Bridges and road/rail intersections were plotted out for artillery when it could be reached, and tactical airstrikes when it could not.
Colt Ward

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CVB

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Alacorn was not listed in it's TRO as a Royal vehicle.

Star League General, includes Royals according to MUL.

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Because fighting in Europe is fighting in territory that has built up road & rail networks. 

What's the road & rail network on Planet X? It must be an important one when a Galaxy and a RBMD duke it out over it.
/Edit: And actually the road network in the Ardennes (between Germany and Sedan) was so bad that many French officers famously regarded them as impenetrable.
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Look at what happened with Kursk as you cited . . . a 1200 mile front, and what was the troop density?  You are talking about 10 tanks total from both sides, for every 1.2 miles.  The Germans advanced along 3 axis of advance, all tied into road/rail lines and had to cross rivers.  IIRC BOTH sides advances suffered from supply interdiction, and while mechs would not require the fuel that WWII armored & mechanized forces required, the Royals would be more ammo dependent- Clans could switch pods as needed- which both sides would have to move forward/backward as required.  The Royals- put them on either side of Kursk's map, I do not care- would be choking that road network trying to support their mech's forward progress while bringing up supplies/support along the same roads.  Meanwhile most of a Clan's combat power does not have to go down those same roads the Royals need for their armor & support, and can in fact go much faster cross country than the Royal mechs.
And yet it was possible for both sides to conduct a battle across the abysmal Russian road network. Shouldn't it then be possible to wage a battle 10% the size over potentially better roads, with better vehicles and dropships?

Re: decision cycle.
I'm not sure if a professional divisional staff isn't actually superior to commanders from a warrior culture.

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As far as chasing/catching the Clan force . . . they outrange the Royals, they are faster than the Royals, and by keeping on the move they can prevent the Royals from massing their forces or bringing the artillery to bear- especially if Trinary Rogues or their equivalents are screening, killing off the scouts that are trying to find the main body of troops.
[...]
Cannonshop was not kidding when he agreed, this would be a BT version of the Fulda Gap scenario.  Besides NATO dealing the Soviets defeats as they advanced, trading space for time, they also planned to kick the support out from under the Soviet advance by cutting off their flow of supplies forward.  Bridges and road/rail intersections were plotted out for artillery when it could be reached, and tactical airstrikes when it could not.

Actually, we have here a reversal of the Fulda Gap scenario: A technologically superior, numerically inferior attacker against a technologically inferior, numerically superior defender. Furthermore, the Fulda Gap would have become a battleground because of strategic considerations, to allow the attacker to break through a frontline to reach strategic goals like the disembarkation ports for NATO reinforcements. The trial for Planet X OTHO is more or less a tactical slugfest for "last man standing". The Royals don't have to find the Clanners, the Clanners need to come to them. The Royals can turtle up around their depots and road hubs and shift forces along interior lines, the Clanners have to probe for and exploit weak spots while shifting their forces laterally over exterior lines. At 3-1 numbers in mechs alone, plus conventional forces, the defender can risk to send out raiding parties to go after maintenance points and stores. Centrally placed tube artillery can support most of the frontline.

I don't claim that it is a predetermined outcome, the Clanners can always find a breach in the frontline, or win with a high risk maneuver like orbital dropping inside the defensive perimeter, or the Royals may simply break under the unequal losses that are to be expected, but at the balance of forces and with the Clanners having the burden of attacking, I would bet on the Royals.
If OTOH the Clan Galaxy has to defend the planet AND their mindset can accept to wage a long hit-and-run campaign, I would expect the Clan forces to win more often than not.
« Last Edit: 28 January 2022, 01:14:34 by CVB »
"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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Colt Ward

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Reverse order-

My Fulda comparison was for a meeting engagement where the most valuable resource for the Galaxy was to keep their supply column protected by their movements.  A meeting engagement is neutral, where neither side has a advantage b/c of objectives or terrain in play thus a balanced scenario.  Later refinements did shift the calculus.

Decision Cycle-  It is not just the division staff . . . and the larger the group the longer it takes, it is just the nature of organizations- consider you have 4 BN staffs from the attached Supply, Combat Engineer, Signal, & Recon forces, but the benefit is they report directly to the Division staff.  Next up you have the Artillery Regiment, which has a staff and is reported to by the 3 artillery BNs along with the HQ BN that forms the staff.  So . . . 5 direct reports so far, and 3 sub-units reporting.  But that is the simple part, next we get into the brigades . . . each brigade has their own staff, the regiments that report to them have THEIR staff, the battalions that report to them have THEIR staff, and I was keeping it simple but each of those battalion staffs are getting reports/tracking their companies- both combat and support.

So now you have 8 direct reports for ground forces (really throw on the reinforced BN that is the divisional staff as another), 13 next sub-units reporting (mech/armor regiments, MechInf BM BN, & artillery BN), and 36 sub-units (mech & armor BNs) at that next level reporting while getting updates from the companies that make the battalions.  Besides reports going up the 5 levels of staff, you also have orders flowing down those 5 levels, and trying to coordinate between different sets of those levels.  Oh yeah, and this is BEFORE we deal with the dropships or aero wing.

Like I said, I have been part of battalion movement orders . . . over areas everyone knew, and with the same sub-units that have been practiced repeatedly.  It STILL takes a lot of time to prepare- plan, brief, give orders, then the sub-unit does the same exact things . . . everyone gets ready, something goes wrong somewhere and it is all delayed.  A Royal division as a whole would be several orders of magnitude larger.

My understanding is the current standard has timed expiration on all recon data, based on type, activity, and terrain . . . and sometimes it will expire before action can be taken.  IE, that company of tanks seen by a spotter plane going through a intersection could be timed out- IE decision criteria decides they have cleared the intersection- before a airstrike or artillery can be called in on that probably target.  For the Royals, that example means your recon element sends that data up to company, company sends it to their BN staff, that BN (luckily) reports directly to Royal Division Staff . . . staff decides it meets the criteria for using artillery . . . DivArty Staff sents orders to the artillery regiment to fire up the target.  Arty Regiment staff determines which BN is best suited to this fire mission, sends Fire Order . . . BN gets the Fire Order, selects the Battery they want to fire (position, readiness, ammo state, available launchers, etc are the criteria) . . . Battery FDC gets the Fire Order, selects launcher(s) to fire . . . and d'oh!  by the time the Fire Order got down to the Battery it has timed out!  Fire Mission is canceled b/c your automation decides it is a waste of ammunition b/c the targets would no longer be in that area.

Decision Cycle

Galaxy?  Galaxy Commander w/ his Keshik as a staff, give orders to the clusters.  Cluster gives order to trinary.  The Galaxy Commander also does not have to coordinate the movement of anything BUT at most 6 sub-commands- 5 clusters and support.  Support is the only part of his unit that has to use a road network.

Battlefield Density-
You can always wage battle, the question is can you do so efficiently and thus successfully.  At Kursk, both sides had forces and support strung out on just those 3 axis of advance.  Both sides had roughly the same strategic mobility because they were reliant on those limited road networks for supply/support and were on rough technological parity- IE motor/engine advances allowed the trucks and tanks to travel at roughly the same speed down a road.  It is not the case for Galaxy vs Royals.  Clan mechs are on average faster than their Royal opposition.  The Royal vehicles, while able to go faster down roads than cross country would still be traveling at 4/5/6 hexes in road convoy as well as needing stops for refueling . . . where the fuel would also be going down the same road.

Unless you can force the Clan Galaxy to remain in position, the 3/5 assault mechs and 3/5, 4/6, and 5/8 vehicles are going to have a hard time catching up to the Clan clusters and getting involved in the battle.  The 5/8, 6/9, and faster Clan mechs will be able to keep ahead of the Royals- preventing them from joining the battle- as long as they can keep their support/supply ahead of the pursuit and you trap them against a mountain/river/bay/ocean/terrain feature that is difficult to pass/cross over.

It is possible to bog down a Clan force in fighting, but they have shown experience in hit & fade fighting so it is not a given that once you begin shooting at each other a Clan force will stand/stay and fight.  The Royals WANT the Clans to stand and fight, it allows them to flood the battlefield with their numbers letting attrition if nothing else take place.  The Clan force is going to want a running battle where they keep ahead of the advance and damaged mechs meet up with the ever moving supply/support echelon to reload/re-armor/repair/rest before rotating back to face the Royals FLOT.
Colt Ward

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CVB

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Again, why would the Royals need to catch the Clan forces? It's an elimination contest, and the invader has to eliminate the defender to win the planet. So the numerically inferior force has to attack. Once they attack they can decide to maintain the offence, leading to a slugfest were both sides add more and more reserves, and at 3-1 the Royals have more reserves to throw into the fray, while the superior Royal artillery finds ample targets. And as long as the Royals don't retreat, the Clan support can't move up to repair/reload/change pods.
Or they hit and fade, but have to lose any immobilized units on the field, and still have to do it all over again until they have eliminated the last defenders.

We urgently need a strategic level for Megamek to test our theories ;-)
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mikecj

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Colt Ward

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Because the Clan force does not need to maintain contact, has superior range, and superior speed.  They get the strategic initiative unless the Royals try to maintain contact- which means chasing, in the hope of bogging them down or being able to capitalize on a snafu in movement.  No matter the Clan force will get to decide where to initiate, which means where those mass of tanks are not . . . or where the tanks are but no support.  So ERLL, LB-5X, LRMs, and Infernos on Vipers & Ice Ferrets to wreck the armor/kill crew.

To fight a decisive battle and bring the numbers to bear you need to chase . . . if you leave the Clan force alone, if nothing else they could starve a Royal division out by interdicting food, let alone more armor & ammo.

But yeah, I will be looking for a strategic map this weekend to convert.

mikecj- yeah, that works.  It is one of those things absorbed by reading a lot of Clancy (Red Storm Rising in this case), Coyle and other Cold War detailed techno-thrillers.
Colt Ward

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CVB

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Looks we are talking past each other by never having established the nature of the combat...
"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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I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

Colt Ward

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Eh, it is partly b/c the original description was 'these two forces fight' and later we got 'Royals are defending 3 objectives, Clan force attacking' which offer different menus.  Like I said, if I was the Royals defending, a lot of my infantry, slower or individually weaker force is going to be in the Castle, but very little of my main combatant force- the castle should be able to protect itself, they are big force combat power multipliers.

But a meeting engagement, is going to be different . . . and the size of a Royal division does not leave them a option of sitting around, their logistics are just too demanding.
Colt Ward

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Cannonshop

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Eh, it is partly b/c the original description was 'these two forces fight' and later we got 'Royals are defending 3 objectives, Clan force attacking' which offer different menus.  Like I said, if I was the Royals defending, a lot of my infantry, slower or individually weaker force is going to be in the Castle, but very little of my main combatant force- the castle should be able to protect itself, they are big force combat power multipliers.

But a meeting engagement, is going to be different . . . and the size of a Royal division does not leave them a option of sitting around, their logistics are just too demanding.

Heh, Toss this one into your mix then:  The Clan Galaxy is defending, the Division is the one attacking.
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Colt Ward

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If they have to defend a static position rather than being the defender by remaining a 'force in being' they get wrecked.  Defending a static position, they can get pounded by artillery, then the long range IDF from armor with LRMs firing from blind zones, and then the assault armor can roll forward backed by the heavy and assault mechs.  The faster mechs and armor maintain the investure/envelopment.

No contest if they are tied to a fixed position, it negates their only advantages which are speed and range.  I mean, a Galaxy could make the Royals pay in blood & time, but the outcome would never be in doubt.  Even the payment is going to be in supplies rather than actual destroyed units because with the Clan force having a foot nailed to the floor, damaged mechs and armor could rotate back instead of pressing their attacks.  Royal assault has a side torso open up?  Turn around and head back to the techs in the rear, no reason to keep pressing the attack and the Clan force would not be in a position to finish that mech b/c there are more still coming.

It would be like firing a machine gun at a tsunami and hoping it will keep that wave back.
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five_corparty

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If they have to defend a static position rather than being the defender by remaining a 'force in being' they get wrecked.  Defending a static position, they can get pounded by artillery, then the long range IDF from armor with LRMs firing from blind zones, and then the assault armor can roll forward backed by the heavy and assault mechs.  The faster mechs and armor maintain the investure/envelopment.

No contest if they are tied to a fixed position, it negates their only advantages which are speed and range.  I mean, a Galaxy could make the Royals pay in blood & time, but the outcome would never be in doubt.  Even the payment is going to be in supplies rather than actual destroyed units because with the Clan force having a foot nailed to the floor, damaged mechs and armor could rotate back instead of pressing their attacks.  Royal assault has a side torso open up?  Turn around and head back to the techs in the rear, no reason to keep pressing the attack and the Clan force would not be in a position to finish that mech b/c there are more still coming.

It would be like firing a machine gun at a tsunami and hoping it will keep that wave back.

All of this.  plus a couple of points:
The Clans will NEVER have strategic or operational surprise, period.  They can break contact with the division main BODY, sure: but the Light mechs and VTOLs and fast hovers will ALWAYS be able to keep up, to hover juuust out of range, to watch where they go.  And the -moment- the Clans stop moving, deciding to defend in a location, or to turn and attack, the fires brigade starts hitting them.

The division commander always knows where his opponent is, knows which of their units will likely bear the brunt of the attack, and can choose his territory to defend on.  if the Div is chasing the galaxy, then the plans shop will always be able to give the commander a running estimate on where they're heading too: "sir, about fifty klicks in that direction is a really defendable spot of land." "Roger, thanks plans: fires six, I want that area mined before they arrive, check or hold?"

The division can always have regiments out to the sides, trying to pick away at the Clan support units: God help those poor dumb Clan technicians when they finally have a chance to stop jumping and actually try to fix things, because that's when the waves of 155mm HE starts screaming in.

A division is more than the actual numbers of units -though that helps- it's how they all fit together.  in this case, the Division would have eyes everywhere, and a robust planning section supporting the commander, anticipating actions while the -3 shop ran the actual fighting.  Will individual cluster commanders be able to get the jump on their regimental counterparts? Absolutely.  But the Galaxy could never truly seize the initiative from the division because, if the division started losing a couple of fights, it falls back, holds some nice territory, and restarts the whole process.

The fighting would be BAD.  We all agree, the Clans have a throw weight greater than anyone in canon.  But the only thing that can stop a full-on SLDF division is another division- or a nuke.

As this thread has gone on, I've come more and more to the conclusion that the SLDF would stomp them, and it wouldn't even be close.

(PS- the road situation isn't nearly as bad as everyone thinks: even allowing they don't HAVE to use roads, ATP 4-16, appendix B, shows how to build a highway movement plan.  the basic concept is over 80 years old, and every army has a variant of same.  And, again, this is a division advantage: there's a -4 shop with a dedicated transportation cell that does nothing BUT plan the movements and handle them, while this is an additional duty for someone in the Galaxy.  it's little tasks like this that add up to the power of the division as a whole to shape the fight before it even begins, before the bloody hundreds upon hundreds of SLDF BattleMechs that actually will do the fighting take to the field)

(for the record, I was on a division staff, one of EIGHTY MAJORS.  JUST MAJORS, not including my NCOs and my BRILLIANT Warrant and all the others filling all the other teams.  A division LITERALLY has more O4s drinking coffee and annoying their NCOS than an entire cluster of OmniMechs.  It's a lot of grey matter to throw at problems, an advantage the Galaxy simply can't match.  the Clans are GOOD, but at this level, the problem is more planning and thinking, and there's just too many problems being handled in too few minds for the Galaxy to keep up.)
just my take, of course. :-)
« Last Edit: 28 January 2022, 18:44:05 by five_corparty »

CVB

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That's what I meant by a professional staff organization being better at the decision loop than a handfull of warriors doing staff work under their second hat, switching between HQ and mech cockpit.

You expressed it better than I could.
"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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I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

five_corparty

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That's what I meant by a professional staff organization being better at the decision loop than a handfull of warriors doing staff work under their second hat, switching between HQ and mech cockpit.

You expressed it better than I could.

I think a lot of people were trying to articulate it, but it's hard to put into words.  "Just, trust me? I know it SOUNDS like the opposite, but a bunch of officers sitting around talking really IS a force multiplier sometimes!"  ;D ;) ;D


mikecj

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Focht at Tukayid had a whole staff in the Bunker with him; it's mentioned in a few of the short stories we got when we revisited it in the new products.

But what we were shown in the fiction was usually Focht tele-presence at the Battles like when Garth Radick was killed.  But when Natasha & Phelan were fighting, that was all down to the troops in contact.  No commander could have made sense out of that mess of a meeting engagement.
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

five_corparty

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Focht at Tukayid had a whole staff in the Bunker with him; it's mentioned in a few of the short stories we got when we revisited it in the new products.

But what we were shown in the fiction was usually Focht tele-presence at the Battles like when Garth Radick was killed.  But when Natasha & Phelan were fighting, that was all down to the troops in contact.  No commander could have made sense out of that mess of a meeting engagement.

TOTALLY agree.  Focht and the Khans had to set up their troops for success the best way they could, and from there, let them do their thing.  the Clans would 100% win most of those -battles- between them and the SLDF: but (like Tukayyid) they'd still lose in the end.

Colt Ward

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That's what I meant by a professional staff organization being better at the decision loop than a handfull of warriors doing staff work under their second hat, switching between HQ and mech cockpit.

You expressed it better than I could.

Nothing says they are better, the whole point of discussing the decision making process is that some people/structures can make good decisions faster- a good decision now is better than a perfect decision later is on a lot of Army walls.  My whole point about artillery target information times out is about how all the information needed to wield the Royals has to go through a LOT of staffs- which takes time, one of the most precious commodities on the battlefield.  It is also why for planned tasks you will get assets- artillery, engineers, air support, sensors/detection, and whatever else the originating staff thinks might be needed (or the CO when they are handed that task)- assigned directly to the executing command.  Because the staff knows too many layers slows down the decision making process.

A Royal Division's bulk is both it's advantage and a handicap.  A Galaxy has- as listed- 200-300 mechs, 50-150 ASF, and 300 odd Elementals.  Someone was saying the Royals had around 800 mechs, over 400 combat vehicles, and a LOT of infantry . . . then we get into the support elements- battalion, regiment, brigade and finally the Division's Support BN which is the only one clearly listed.

five . . . the Royals will have limited recon qualified assets.  They can be attrite just like any other resource, hovers can have to give up the chase because woods, wheeled/tracked units because of water, VTOLs can be shot down by AA or ASF sweeps (quick count reveals it is the only area Clan has force parity w/ Royals), and the light mechs (most of which are slower than Clan light/meds) can be hunted down.  The Royals recon would be in contact with the Clan skirmishers made up of Trinary Rogue and Rogue Stars, which would prevent them from raining artillery on the main body or dropping it on the support element.  Unlike modern warfare, BT does not have the signals triangulation or other methods of trying to find units that are behind visual masking terrain.  For the sensors they do have, the Clans also have ECM to counter- which is why I said the Royals will have limited specialist equipment in a previous post.  Look at 2ndAcr's post, how much BAP is in the force?  Not much.  To expound of Focht, he had some of the best battlefield communications and the staff- and yet some of his troop movements were still taken by surprise by Clan forces also on the move.  The Flaming Wolfhound incident comes to mind- which is the original art for the cover of the last BoK book.

BT artillery is also much shorter ranged than IRL- about 300 hexes, or 9 klicks . . . sure, your few A4 launchers are going to toss FASCAMs . . . but they have a shorter range than tube, about  9 'maps' =150 hexes, or 4.5 klicks.  Sorry, that is Clan A4, IS A4 is 8 'maps' =132 hexes or under 4 klicks.  Unless you want to put it in striking range of Clan skirmishers, it is going to be behind your FLOT and probably not mixed in with your forward mech regiments.  So . . . out of 8 maps, let's be generous at 1 map or 16.5 hexes between your FLOT and mine, which would be recon/skirmisher elements.  Say your main body is keeping up with them- full of 3/5s & 4/6s, and vehicles to boot but again being generous- and it is 1 map back from Recon's FLOT to your regiment's battle line.  Ok, what depth?  Assume they are spread enough you can comfortably have a depth of another 1 map.  So at this point we are at 3 of 8 maps between my skirmisher FLOT and the last rank of your battle line.  Is your artillery regiment really going to be placed in a thin line right behind your mech regiments?  Or will you have a line of MechInf behind the mech regiments?  Div HQ?  How far left or right of the center will your A4 battery be and how far to either flank will that terrain you want to mine be?

I also would fully expect the Royals to be swinging the classic 2 up, 1 back- even in echelon.  Both BM Brigades up, Mech Inf Brigade behind ready to move to contact . . . in the BM Brigade, 2 mech regiments up & 1 back.  What then is protecting the flanks?  Probably more of that mech infantry brigade with the support & specialist elements sheltered inside.  A Galaxy formation that is keeping their distance is going to be much the same IMO- a pentagon shape with the Keshik in the center w/supports near the point, two clusters to the rear skirmishing and taking bites when they can, and a cluster on each side between the point and the 2 on the base.

One other thing concerning detachments . . . would the Royals keep their ASF, or what remains after the initial aerial clash, with the body of the Division or would they set up a temp airfield to ease the maintenance cycles to increase sorties?  Having never read about Star League ASF field operations, I do wonder.  We DO actually see Clan forces set up temp/rough airfields with their support elements, so it would be a difference in operations.

I look at it this way-
Meeting Engagement

Clan Galaxy Keys to Victory-
Never get trapped against terrain
Remain mobile with the ability to shift directions- force in being
Keep support/supply protected from raids & well ahead of trailing clusters
Draw out the battle, time is your friend

Royal Division Keys to Victory-
Keep combat commands spread across a wide front to attempt envelopment
Maintain contact/pressure to cut down on re-arm/repair
Cycle damaged equipment to the rear to prevent destruction/loss
Colt Ward

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

Cannonshop

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Nothing says they are better, the whole point of discussing the decision making process is that some people/structures can make good decisions faster- a good decision now is better than a perfect decision later is on a lot of Army walls.  My whole point about artillery target information times out is about how all the information needed to wield the Royals has to go through a LOT of staffs- which takes time, one of the most precious commodities on the battlefield.  It is also why for planned tasks you will get assets- artillery, engineers, air support, sensors/detection, and whatever else the originating staff thinks might be needed (or the CO when they are handed that task)- assigned directly to the executing command.  Because the staff knows too many layers slows down the decision making process.

A Royal Division's bulk is both it's advantage and a handicap.  A Galaxy has- as listed- 200-300 mechs, 50-150 ASF, and 300 odd Elementals.  Someone was saying the Royals had around 800 mechs, over 400 combat vehicles, and a LOT of infantry . . . then we get into the support elements- battalion, regiment, brigade and finally the Division's Support BN which is the only one clearly listed.

five . . . the Royals will have limited recon qualified assets.  They can be attrite just like any other resource, hovers can have to give up the chase because woods, wheeled/tracked units because of water, VTOLs can be shot down by AA or ASF sweeps (quick count reveals it is the only area Clan has force parity w/ Royals), and the light mechs (most of which are slower than Clan light/meds) can be hunted down.  The Royals recon would be in contact with the Clan skirmishers made up of Trinary Rogue and Rogue Stars, which would prevent them from raining artillery on the main body or dropping it on the support element.  Unlike modern warfare, BT does not have the signals triangulation or other methods of trying to find units that are behind visual masking terrain.  For the sensors they do have, the Clans also have ECM to counter- which is why I said the Royals will have limited specialist equipment in a previous post.  Look at 2ndAcr's post, how much BAP is in the force?  Not much.  To expound of Focht, he had some of the best battlefield communications and the staff- and yet some of his troop movements were still taken by surprise by Clan forces also on the move.  The Flaming Wolfhound incident comes to mind- which is the original art for the cover of the last BoK book.

BT artillery is also much shorter ranged than IRL- about 300 hexes, or 9 klicks . . . sure, your few A4 launchers are going to toss FASCAMs . . . but they have a shorter range than tube, about  9 'maps' =150 hexes, or 4.5 klicks.  Sorry, that is Clan A4, IS A4 is 8 'maps' =132 hexes or under 4 klicks.  Unless you want to put it in striking range of Clan skirmishers, it is going to be behind your FLOT and probably not mixed in with your forward mech regiments.  So . . . out of 8 maps, let's be generous at 1 map or 16.5 hexes between your FLOT and mine, which would be recon/skirmisher elements.  Say your main body is keeping up with them- full of 3/5s & 4/6s, and vehicles to boot but again being generous- and it is 1 map back from Recon's FLOT to your regiment's battle line.  Ok, what depth?  Assume they are spread enough you can comfortably have a depth of another 1 map.  So at this point we are at 3 of 8 maps between my skirmisher FLOT and the last rank of your battle line.  Is your artillery regiment really going to be placed in a thin line right behind your mech regiments?  Or will you have a line of MechInf behind the mech regiments?  Div HQ?  How far left or right of the center will your A4 battery be and how far to either flank will that terrain you want to mine be?

I also would fully expect the Royals to be swinging the classic 2 up, 1 back- even in echelon.  Both BM Brigades up, Mech Inf Brigade behind ready to move to contact . . . in the BM Brigade, 2 mech regiments up & 1 back.  What then is protecting the flanks?  Probably more of that mech infantry brigade with the support & specialist elements sheltered inside.  A Galaxy formation that is keeping their distance is going to be much the same IMO- a pentagon shape with the Keshik in the center w/supports near the point, two clusters to the rear skirmishing and taking bites when they can, and a cluster on each side between the point and the 2 on the base.

One other thing concerning detachments . . . would the Royals keep their ASF, or what remains after the initial aerial clash, with the body of the Division or would they set up a temp airfield to ease the maintenance cycles to increase sorties?  Having never read about Star League ASF field operations, I do wonder.  We DO actually see Clan forces set up temp/rough airfields with their support elements, so it would be a difference in operations.

I look at it this way-
Meeting Engagement

Clan Galaxy Keys to Victory-
Never get trapped against terrain
Remain mobile with the ability to shift directions- force in being
Keep support/supply protected from raids & well ahead of trailing clusters
Draw out the battle, time is your friend

Royal Division Keys to Victory-
Keep combat commands spread across a wide front to attempt envelopment
Maintain contact/pressure to cut down on re-arm/repair
Cycle damaged equipment to the rear to prevent destruction/loss

Your question on detachments feels...hmm..

Okay, bear with me here for a moment.

The Clans are derived from the SLDF.  This isn't just a neat historical fact from the setting, it's literally what they began existence as.  The Clans also went through 200-something years of hothouse mutation from beginning with a modified SLDF doctrine, to what they have currently.

During that 200 years of hothouse life, they trimmed off certain functions that were integral in the SLDF.

Transport was calved off to the Merchant Caste and made a civilian role
Intelligence tasks were reduced and partially eliminated through the structure of the Trials system.
Medical was calved off and given to two civilian castes.
Maintenance and upkeep became a civilian role separated from the decision loop of the military leadership.

and so on.

This arrangement worked out in their hothouse environment (the Kerensky Cluster) because man-hours learning the details of logistics, medical, maintenance, etc. could be devoted to movement and gunnery.  Intel work was reduced to a vestigal organ in most of the Clans (Per the canon.)

this allowed Anastasius Focht to take an army of well-trained but green troops and beat the snot out of the invaders at Tukayyid, using a lot of the same doctrinal aspects the Clans themselves offloaded to lower castes or lost a use for during their cultural evolution.

I would argue one point you list as a Clanner advantage-time is NOT on the side of the Clanners-far from it.  Mental and Psychological factors (Morale) are significant influences on not only tactical disposition, but also endurance.  Clan training doctrines, upbringing, general cultural drives and over all psychological factors suggests that most Clans would have great difficulty maintaining an asymmetrical warfare style like the one you suggest.

This DOES vary by Clan.   a  Galaxy of Blood Spirits is not going to have the same mentality as, say, a Hell's Horses galaxy or a Star Adder unit, and none of those will fight like a Smoke Jaguar unit of the same size-except in terms of equipment style and the direct influences of Nicholas Kerensky's writings.

Clanner doctrine emphasizes piloting and gunnery, and de-emphasizes the sort of staff-work that tightens your decision loop and enables high-intensity operations over a longer period.  Their structure is optimized for short engagements-as someone pointed out, those warriors are doing their 'staff number' jobs as secondary to their shooter jobs, not as a primary task, and that will tend over LONGER engagements to be a detriment.

They will also miss 'the details'.   Details of the sort that a dedicated staff organization won't miss, such as evaluating where the best points to hit an enemy transport network are, or where vulnerabilities need to be covered, or even what objectives need to be taken or sacrificed to gain a decisive edge in a sustained operation.

Soft factors have a huge impact on hard performance.  You can win an engagement, and by doing so, lose the battle, you can win the battle, and lose the war.  Pyrrhus famously said "One more victory like this one and we are undone" for a reason.

"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

Colt Ward

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Yeah, I am thinking of this as if you had Ulric Kerensky, Angela Bekker, Conner Rood, James Cobb or the better officers of the 60s or later because otherwise- Lincoln Osis?  Raina Montrose?  most of the Invasion Khans?  Over in hours.

The only interesting look at is if the Clan commander is one of those exceptional officers.
Colt Ward

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

mikecj

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I wonder how many times Galaxy Commander's actually got to lead their Galaxy as a force...

Luthien, Tukayyid, but not very often.  If the Galaxy Commander gets engaged as a Keshik Commander, overall coordination is going to be a problem unless one has a Kael Pershaw flying overhead.
There are no fish in my pond.
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"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

CVB

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They will also miss 'the details'.   Details of the sort that a dedicated staff organization won't miss, such as evaluating where the best points to hit an enemy transport network are, or where vulnerabilities need to be covered, or even what objectives need to be taken or sacrificed to gain a decisive edge in a sustained operation.

That, and large dedicated staffs normally don't sit idle and wait for a situation to be addressed, but alse develop contingency plans for possible future situations that in the best case only have to be pulled from a folder and adapted slightly, further tightening the decision cycle.

As a staff officer once told me: "I can almost garantee that there are several staffs maintaining plans for the occupation of Bouvet Island." (often cited as the most remote, uninhabited island on Earth)
"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."
- David Drake

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

Cannonshop

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That, and large dedicated staffs normally don't sit idle and wait for a situation to be addressed, but alse develop contingency plans for possible future situations that in the best case only have to be pulled from a folder and adapted slightly, further tightening the decision cycle.

As a staff officer once told me: "I can almost garantee that there are several staffs maintaining plans for the occupation of Bouvet Island." (often cited as the most remote, uninhabited island on Earth)

In my own fanfics, I try to make a lot of use of 'Staff level planning' instead of reactions, but then, my stuff would NEVER be canonized (I would hope not, it's dreadful) and my depictions of staff-work are almost universally badly done-I know it's important, but I suck at actually showing it.  I suspect a lot of our authors have the same (or similar) problems.
"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

AlphaMirage

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True that Cannonshop. Quite frankly that is better left to side characters (like Adam Steiner in my own K-Verse and canonically I believe) who can them present the basics to the face characters. Someone needs to come up with the plan for the VSDs and KSDs to then mess it up much to the facepalming of 'respectable' officers. It adds drama.

mikecj

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True that Cannonshop. Quite frankly that is better left to side characters (like Adam Steiner in my own K-Verse and canonically I believe) who can them present the basics to the face characters. Someone needs to come up with the plan for the VSDs and KSDs to then mess it up much to the facepalming of 'respectable' officers. It adds drama.

But who's going to write the poor alcoholic staff colonel sitting in the corner despairingly mumbling about force ratios, days of supply, and spare parts going down with the ship when VSD is standing up front dramatically announcing he's shifting his flag to the McKenna's Pride!

Though there was a sidebar in Operation Klondike on p28

Apparently they have begun choosing battlefield leaders based on
how many kills they can make. I think we both can remember some
lance and company commanders that were good shots but couldn’t
lead themselves out of a well-lit parking lot.... <excerpt continues>
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

CVB

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This has annoyed me from the very beginning (1989 BoK trilogy) of the Clans. How many highly successful military leaders would have been eliminated during Sibko training or the initial or later ToPosition?
Frex Caesar, Narses, Tamerlane, Eugene of Savoy, Frederick the Great, Nelson, Napoleon, Sheridan, Moltke?

The Clans abhor waste rang rather hollow...
"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."
- David Drake

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

Jellico

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five . . . the Royals will have limited recon qualified assets.  They can be attrite just like any other resource, hovers can have to give up the chase because woods, wheeled/tracked units because of water, VTOLs can be shot down by AA or ASF sweeps (quick count reveals it is the only area Clan has force parity w/ Royals), and the light mechs (most of which are slower than Clan light/meds) can be hunted down.  The Royals recon would be in contact with the Clan skirmishers made up of Trinary Rogue and Rogue Stars, which would prevent them from raining artillery on the main body or dropping it on the support element. 

I have played this game. The Clan skirmishers get chewed up just as fast as the Royals, and because there are fewer of them you can't afford to lose them. The classic example is using BAP. BAP needs to be in 6 hexes. That means the hidden thing you find is perfectly placed to put an AC20 or 30 SRMs up your tail pipe on the turn they are revealed. Your Vipers and Ice Ferrets can't keep doing that. That is before you start talking about screening elements clashing.
Worse, the Royal skirmishers don't have to engage. The numbers overlap means your center buys time and falls back while the flanks go around the Clan skirmishers. I can't stress how often Clan skirmishers are faced with the challenge of maintaining mass to fight recon screens yet having to spread out to stop leakers. All those light tanks of varying types. One leaker gets through, and the Long Toms start to arrive on your supply train. Deeply frustrating.

Honestly, as the SLDF that would be the first thing I do. Take out the Galaxy's eyes. I would be happy to burn all my armor on the task. There are only 75ish 'Mechs to kill.