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Author Topic: The Clans and artillery.  (Read 2547 times)

marauder648

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The Clans and artillery.
« on: 26 June 2022, 03:56:03 »
Someone on one of the FB battletech groups was asking what artillery the Falcons would use.

I replied with this

The arty question has always been an odd one. Whilst its been mentioned in various books that Galaxies have artillery forces attached to them, they are very rarely employed because they're seen as dishonourable.
At least thats what they say.

BUT, we're then not told what these are. The common one is the Huitziloopl..hi...this thing - https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Huitzilopochtli but that's an 85 ton vehicle, and the Clans for the most part don't have DropShips with vehicle bays in them. And the Huey is also hugely slow and is strategically and tactically immobile.

Lots of Clan 'Mechs have TAG, but we don't actually see any variant with arrow equipped until WAY later and there's no OmniMech with an Arrow equipped in TRO 3050/55 or 58 and the first time we see a 'Mech with it is the Naga, which is almost exclusively used by the Wolves and is rightly lauded as a massive waste of resources because its a god aweful design. We also later see the Bowman but this is also rarely deployed.

So why did they have TAG on the 3050 Omni's when there was nothing to fire Arrow IV's.

I think the answer is airpower. The Clans would instead use fighters carrying arrow ATGM's that would be guided to a target by a spotter on the ground.

Otherwise we have to assume that there would be some config with an Arrow, or a 'Mech like the Bowman - https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Bowman is actually more common, driven by a Solhama warrior who have the 'honour' of sitting 20 km back and pressing a button when they get a beep on their targetting computer.

Artillery exists in the Clans, during REVIVAL its bidded away at first, but does see use later on, but we've no idea what it is, as its never been told. So the real answer to your question is 'Whatever you want it to be, but it would be something with an Arrow on it'.

But if you're looking for something with a name - https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Chaparral or https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Vali all of which would be bloody old and most definately given to Solhama. And yes the MUL Says the Vali is extinct, its a very simple vehicle to make and could easily be reproduced.

I am aware that things like the Kit Fox V exist, but these are not mentioned in any TRO and are added a lot later, so going purely off the books at launch, the Clans had no artillery assets apart from being told that they did, but we had no idea what it was. And I would also think that 99% of the Clanners would view using an Omni as an Arrow carrier in the REVIVAL era as a waste of a 'Mech, as its 'clearly' in their minds only suited for Solhama to do such dishonourable 'fighting' and that any config with an Arrow on it would be verrrrrrrrrry rare, IE a singleton deployed by a Warrior who probably had to fight several Trials of Refusal/Grievance over it.

If you wanted to expand upon this and factor in modern weapon advances the SLDF probably had a kind of loitering Arrow missile. A small and disposable drone aircraft that's launched and carries an Arrow IV under the body. These fly high overhead, are hard to spot and stealthy, and are all networked together so when a TAG is 'fired' and marked a target, the network designates ones of the drones to release its missile. This then fires up its motor and goes for the marked target.

And if they're not used, they either return to base or crash and are utterly disposable, and its possible, albeit highly unlikely that the Clans could have such a system.

What do folks think?
« Last Edit: 26 June 2022, 04:34:23 by marauder648 »
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Alan Grant

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #1 on: 26 June 2022, 05:47:30 »
Basically agree with what you wrote. The writeup on the Huitzilopchtli in TRO: 3060 explains a lot. It even gives an excellent case-in-point explaining that the Jade Falcons (a Clan that really stuck to the line that the Clans don't use vehicles) uses them, one of the few vehicles it employs, labeling them support assets rather than combatants. So they don't appear in a line unit, they appear with the techs and their engineering vehicles, refueling vehicles, ammo carriers, cargo haulers and the like.

So with regard to the original FB question specifically being aimed at the Jade Falcons, there's your answer.

And yes, at that point, if the combat conditions (level of honor rules being used) are such that you are willing to let the Huitzilopchtli let'er rip, then it makes sense that the ASFs would load up on Arrow IV missiles as well. So for Clusters that didn't bring any Huitzilopchtli that's where you look to next for how/when TAG would be utilized.

At the end of the day, the Clans don't like the idea of being outgunned even more than they dislike the idea of dishonorable conduct. They want to observe Zell, they want that kind of fight. But we've always seen that they don't hold onto that if their opponent won't play by the same rules. So the Clans don't want to get splashed by enemy artillery, or the big turrets of something like a Castle Brian, only to be able to yell "no fair" in return with artillery raining down. They want to be able to respond with firepower of their own if the need arises.

As for transportation. The Clans still need support vehicles and support personnel. They are probably using vehicle hauling dropships for that, or stuffing them into cargo bays on cargo hauler dropships for a slower offload. The Huitzilopchtli could be moved around that way.

We've also seen that some Clans (or some units in some Clans) are a lot more loose with Zell. Looking at the Diamond Sharks in particular. They had no problem with softening up an enemy with airstrikes and the like, same with the Cloud Cobras and other aero-heavy Clans or aero-heavy Clan units. I can definitely see that being extended to ASF carried Arrow-IVs.

We've also seen some Clan units, like the Hell's Horses Eta Galaxy, who really just don't conform to Clan traditions like Zell/dueling at all.

The last big thing to reference is the Wolves with their Naga 'mechs. If you are the Jade Falcons and fighting Clan Wolf, who is employing TAG to guide in Naga-fired Arrow IV missiles, do you really just not respond? Or do you cut loose with your own Arrow-IVs? I think the answer to that is "it depends" but the fact that some Jade Falcon Star Colonel is even presented with the dilemma (sometimes) means you have to be prepared to go down that road.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2022, 05:49:48 by Alan Grant »

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #2 on: 26 June 2022, 07:09:32 »
Operate under the assumption that the Clans consider Arty Solhama work. They do have a Star of them in every galaxy so they have something to bid away if needed and use the Omni capability of there mechs to add as needed in the field.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #3 on: 26 June 2022, 07:37:20 »
Operate under the assumption that the Clans consider Arty Solhama work. They do have a Star of them in every galaxy so they have something to bid away if needed and use the Omni capability of there mechs to add as needed in the field.
This even works with the Kit Fox V, as the Kit Fox has over the generation been relegated to second-line/training forces.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #4 on: 26 June 2022, 07:45:30 »
This even works with the Kit Fox V, as the Kit Fox has over the generation been relegated to second-line/training forces.

As time goes by most early Omni's would suffer that fate. By the Dark Age most Invasion era mechs would be second line mechs as newer Omnis would have taken there place. Then you have the Naga because of course there is a dedicated Arty Mech no one liked until they did.
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Alan Grant

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #5 on: 26 June 2022, 09:14:23 »
Oh I almost forgot about the Star Adders. According to FM: CC page 119 each Galaxy has a command trinary and can call upon two to three trinaries "of support elements, mostly conventional artillery."

Also in FM: CC: Fire Mandrill Kindraa Kline has an infantry-heavy Cluster that includes artillery.

I'd regard Kindraa Kline as an odd case because of their limited equipment. They are forced to make-do with almost everything and are often the underdog.

The Star Adders are an oddity, because despite their pragmatism they are emphasized as following Zell as much as possible. So I'm guessing that artillery doesn't get a lot of use. But once Zell is broken or not appropriate, it sounds like Star Adder artillery shells raining down is a very distinct possibility.


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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #6 on: 26 June 2022, 09:58:38 »
Oh I almost forgot about the Star Adders. According to FM: CC page 119 each Galaxy has a command trinary and can call upon two to three trinaries "of support elements, mostly conventional artillery."

Also in FM: CC: Fire Mandrill Kindraa Kline has an infantry-heavy Cluster that includes artillery.

I'd regard Kindraa Kline as an odd case because of their limited equipment. They are forced to make-do with almost everything and are often the underdog.

The Star Adders are an oddity, because despite their pragmatism they are emphasized as following Zell as much as possible. So I'm guessing that artillery doesn't get a lot of use. But once Zell is broken or not appropriate, it sounds like Star Adder artillery shells raining down is a very distinct possibility.

A possibility is the Star Adders got there Artillery assets from the Burrocks. They strike me as a Clan that made use of artillery.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #7 on: 26 June 2022, 10:21:47 »
I am aware that things like the Kit Fox V exist, but these are not mentioned in any TRO and are added a lot later, so going purely off the books at launch, the Clans had no artillery assets apart from being told that they did, but we had no idea what it was. And I would also think that 99% of the Clanners would view using an Omni as an Arrow carrier in the REVIVAL era as a waste of a 'Mech, as its 'clearly' in their minds only suited for Solhama to do such dishonourable 'fighting' and that any config with an Arrow on it would be verrrrrrrrrry rare, IE a singleton deployed by a Warrior who probably had to fight several Trials of Refusal/Grievance over it.

We do have a few examples of Clan Omni artillery usage in early Clan lore, but you're right in that they weren't codified in the form of RS or visibly in common usage.

On Apollo, for example, Falcon OmniMechs were ordered to be reconfigured with Arrow IV launchers to destroy a strongly fortified position. These used homing missiles to reduce civilian casualties. The Falcons were further said to use Arrow IV bombardments or strikes multiple times during Tukayyid, which didn't have any Falcon vehicles present---so clearly the ground-launched assaults must have come from Omnis.

The Wolves, of course, would have simply relied on their dedicated Naga formations, which saw use during the initial invasion and on Tukayyid.

Finally, the Vipers, Bears, and Cats all had dedicated OmniMech artillery formations, though it's unclear whether these were built from Nagas or simply other Omnis that were more or less permanently assigned Arrow IV configurations.

Put all of these minor references together and you end up with enough justification for Arrow IV configurations like the Kit Fox V to be present during the Clan Invasion. Of course, Omnis being what they are, it's also reasonable to assume that other common Falcon 'Mechs like the Summoner or Hellbringer had ad hoc Arrow IV configurations put together as well.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #8 on: 26 June 2022, 10:40:12 »
You also don't need a vehicle to launch Arrow IVs.

Mechanized infantry units of Solahma or Second-Line soldiers can be equipped with all manner of artillery and are at least as mobile as a huey. This would be my preferred use for them as the counter-battery fire that would threaten them would be mostly absent in many Clan Trials. They are also very lightweight and can provide security to Technicians on salvage detail.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #9 on: 26 June 2022, 10:43:48 »
I'm amused that the fluff of the Vali basically calls them Arrow Technicals.   ^-^

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #10 on: 26 June 2022, 11:24:27 »
The idea of artillery being in the support units and a Solhama one is quite appealing and would make sense as to why we didn't see them in Operation Revival.

For me the OmniFighters are a possibility but they are around 20 in a Cluster as opposed to 18 in an Inner Sphere Regiment and I doubt they would shift them to this role before achieving air superiority.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #11 on: 26 June 2022, 11:41:12 »
Don't forget that there's more than just Arrows. The Falcons use no less than seven artillery units(not counting ASFs) that debut before 3050, including tube options.

http://masterunitlist.info/Unit/Filter?Name=&HasBV=false&MinTons=&MaxTons=&MinBV=&MaxBV=&MinIntro=&MaxIntro=&MinCost=&MaxCost=&HasBFAbility=ART&MinPV=&MaxPV=&BookAuto=&FactionAuto=&Factions=15&Factions=97&Factions=102&Factions=56
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Stormlion1

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #12 on: 26 June 2022, 11:57:34 »
Don't forget that there's more than just Arrows. The Falcons use no less than seven artillery units(not counting ASFs) that debut before 3050, including tube options.

http://masterunitlist.info/Unit/Filter?Name=&HasBV=false&MinTons=&MaxTons=&MinBV=&MaxBV=&MinIntro=&MaxIntro=&MinCost=&MaxCost=&HasBFAbility=ART&MinPV=&MaxPV=&BookAuto=&FactionAuto=&Factions=15&Factions=97&Factions=102&Factions=56

Let's not forget the Falcons use of Artillery in 3058 against Ulric Kerensky.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #13 on: 26 June 2022, 13:22:51 »
Let's not forget the Falcons use of Artillery in 3058 against Ulric Kerensky.

Or was it LRMs fired indirectly?  Do the Clans view LRM indirect fire the same way as artillery?
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #14 on: 26 June 2022, 14:10:35 »
Or was it LRMs fired indirectly?  Do the Clans view LRM indirect fire the same way as artillery?

I am going to say yes since it requires a team effort (the spotter and the firer)

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #15 on: 26 June 2022, 14:14:55 »
The idea of artillery being in the support units and a Solhama one is quite appealing and would make sense as to why we didn't see them in Operation Revival.

For me the OmniFighters are a possibility but they are around 20 in a Cluster as opposed to 18 in an Inner Sphere Regiment and I doubt they would shift them to this role before achieving air superiority.

20-30 ASF in a Cluster. On average a Cluster has more ASF available than a regiment and there are examples of its use against artillery.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #16 on: 26 June 2022, 15:03:15 »
It is worth noting that TAG can also spot for Copperhead rounds fired from conventional gun artillery systems. Which is a star league technology the clans never lost.

I would assume that conventional artillery, especially towed types, would be common, since they have utility beyond the zell limits on who can inflict damage. Like being able to fire illumination shells to illuminate the battlefield, or drop smoke to cover an advance or withdrawl.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #17 on: 26 June 2022, 20:44:23 »
I would assume that conventional artillery, especially towed types, would be common, since they have utility beyond the zell limits on who can inflict damage. Like being able to fire illumination shells to illuminate the battlefield, or drop smoke to cover an advance or withdrawl.

It would also introduce a sense of randomness into a trial.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #18 on: 27 June 2022, 03:02:32 »
Funny how no one seems to have mentioned the Bowman Mech. The Hells Horsers introduced this Mech after the fall of Tokasha to the Bears as a defensive Mech. The 1st version was equiopped with two Arrov IV batteries. Not very popular it was modified by swapping one battery with a LRM 20 and some lasers for self defense. I would count this Mech as artillery. Also a small flugff from the Naga,: one of the known Naga pilots was captured by the Horses and made artillery instructor. And I would assume that the Horses who are more or less the combined arms Clans would use artillery the most

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #19 on: 27 June 2022, 04:37:38 »
Oh the Bowman's a thing but its pretty much exclusive to the Horses, just like the Naga is pretty much a Wolves only 'Mech, yes the MUL says other Clans have them, but I would assume you could probably count the number of them in other Clans tourman with the fingers on both hands at the most.

As folks said, we can assume that if needs be then Arrows can be fitted on an OmniMech for an engagement, you could also have an Arrow carrying variant of the https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Hachiman_(Combat_Vehicle) by ripping out the missiles and other weapons and putting a single Arrow IV in instead.

Depending on the era, I think that during the 3050's that you'd probably not see Omni's carrying an Arrow outside of specialist engagements if needed, but that the attached Artillery Star of a Clan could well be vehicles they classify as 'support vehicles' and would probably not be the Huey, its too big and too slow, but rather something like the Vali, or a Hachiman with an Arrow on it instead. Towed tube artillery would probably be seen as unsuitable by the Clans due to its low tactical and strategic speed.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #20 on: 27 June 2022, 06:48:53 »
Or was it LRMs fired indirectly?  Do the Clans view LRM indirect fire the same way as artillery?

LRM's fired indirectly I think. I remember someone saying once there was also arty involved but that was a bit ago.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #21 on: 27 June 2022, 08:48:25 »
The Clans Zell system has a problem with area-effect weapons. So think anything with a blast radius. Artilley shell, Arrow-IV, bomb of any kind.

LRMs don't have a blast radius. You either hit or miss. So they don't have a problem with it.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #22 on: 27 June 2022, 09:47:33 »
On Apollo, for example, Falcon OmniMechs were ordered to be reconfigured with Arrow IV launchers to destroy a strongly fortified position. These used homing missiles to reduce civilian casualties. The Falcons were further said to use Arrow IV bombardments or strikes multiple times during Tukayyid, which didn't have any Falcon vehicles present---so clearly the ground-launched assaults must have come from Omnis.

Except we are told that at times the Clans do not include vehicles in their TO&E because they are considered 'spare' . . . be it artillery or the Svantovits moving a 'pure' Elemental bianry/trinary.

But the OP also forgets the Clans had access to other SLDF artillery vehicles, like the Marksmen, Padilla, etc that fired tube as well.  Or that what fought in the invasion were Omnis, all it would take is a word to the techs . . . and while the Kit Fox V might have been published much later after the invasion was written, it makes a excellent candidate for that sort of direction if no tech on it comes from after that period- I do not know it off the top of my head.
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Metallgewitter

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #23 on: 27 June 2022, 11:57:56 »
The Clans Zell system has a problem with area-effect weapons. So think anything with a blast radius. Artilley shell, Arrow-IV, bomb of any kind.

LRMs don't have a blast radius. You either hit or miss. So they don't have a problem with it.

Unless someone makes a practical joke and loads the LRM's with swarm muniton

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #24 on: 27 June 2022, 14:17:10 »
Unless someone makes a practical joke and loads the LRM's with swarm muniton

They're guided AoE.  If they can't lock onto a target they might harmlessly explode somewhere.
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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #25 on: 27 June 2022, 15:09:56 »
Forever Faithful's Great Refusal scene, where Trent and the Nova Cats face off against the Ice Hellions we see a Naga piloted by Benjamin Rood being used in a duel that keeps to the forms of zellbrigen. He notes specifically when he identifies the 'Mech that it is their "artillery support" and almost certainly won from Clan Wolf, but there is no indication in the text that the 'Mech is actually used for that role, instead it faces off in a duel against Trent's Supernova.

I'm not certain if the Ice Hellions are the best candidates to put forward as rational, strategically minded Clanners though. They read as an excitable lot and I can imagine that a Naga initially set to artillery/support duties might break formation to engage Trent. There is an air engagement in that particular Trial where the Naga might have been useful but it seems to be more air-to-air than ground-to-air.
« Last Edit: 27 June 2022, 15:12:19 by Shivetya »

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #26 on: 28 June 2022, 11:39:06 »
The Clan's dont LIKE artillery. They do recognize its tactical and strategic uses so they never get rid of it. They keep it around in case they need it but it will usually be bid away.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #27 on: 28 June 2022, 12:08:14 »
The TRO-3060 fluff on the Asshur is also good. It spells out a battle in which a Steel Vipers Phalanx cluster fought off some Inner Sphere mercenaries. The Vipers presented a mixed Star of vehicles and 'mechs. When the mercs concentrated fire on the 'mechs, that freed the Clanners from Zell. The Asshur ran circles around the mercenary 'mechs calling in Arrow-IV strikes from vehicles located kilometers away.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #28 on: 28 June 2022, 13:31:42 »
The Wars of Reaving has an interesting story: the Steel Vipers formed new Clusters aropund Protomechs and other elements. One of them fought against the Falcons and they were on the edge of winning when the Falcons broke their bid and unleashed artillery fire on the Viper cluster savaging them. The Vipers called for the censure of the Falcons citing the use of said artillery as "un-Clanlike" while the Falcons defended it even stating that there are Mechs like the Naga. Other Clans agreed with the Falcons' reasoning saying that adapting to the changing battlefield strategies was important while the Vipers kept their standpoint that artillery has no use in fights between Clans. An interesting point as it shows that the Clans started to adapt the fighting style of the IS where combined arms are pretty much common place.

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Re: The Clans and artillery.
« Reply #29 on: 28 June 2022, 14:03:18 »
Mechanized infantry units of Solahma or Second-Line soldiers can be equipped with all manner of artillery and are at least as mobile as a huey.

I'm not sure I'd call 1 MP "MORE" mobile than 2/3 MP.
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