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Author Topic: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech  (Read 5021 times)

AldanFerrox

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #30 on: 03 August 2022, 13:23:15 »
Huh, Pg 129 per Sarna . . . now we just have to bug TPTB for a RS, lol.  Probably some discussion of that 15 years ago is what led me to have my Chaos March mercs refit the trashed LRM Carriers.

And you don't need to change anything on the chassis. You can just put in two Arrow IV and four tons of ammo. A bit meagre, but its still 10 double salvos. You could also fit two Thumpers, of course.
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Daryk

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #31 on: 03 August 2022, 17:38:58 »
I did a Thumper Goblin, and even commissioned Plog to draw it for me (along with a host of other Goblin variants... linked in my sig block).  ^-^

Seriously awesome collection of pics, Colt!  :thumbsup:

CVB

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #32 on: 03 August 2022, 18:11:07 »
And you don't need to change anything on the chassis. You can just put in two Arrow IV and four tons of ammo. A bit meagre, but its still 10 double salvos. You could also fit two Thumpers, of course.
And of course a single LongTom, or twin Thunderbolt 20/twin Sniper cannon/triple MM10/triple Thumper cannon as different options of poor man's artillery. And if you need more ammo, just attach a self deploying ammo carrier with a trailer hitch, like the M109/M992 combo.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #33 on: 03 August 2022, 18:23:04 »
I did a Thumper Goblin, and even commissioned Plog to draw it for me (along with a host of other Goblin variants... linked in my sig block).  ^-^

Seriously awesome collection of pics, Colt!  :thumbsup:

Lol, pics are easy now days, just have to know what you are looking for in the searches.  Even though I saw training shells and all the other stuff around base I realized others may not have an idea the size nor weight of shells.  When discussing the refinement of 'gunpowder' and the improvement of metallurgy I did forget to mention that one of the differences between mortars and artillery- besides ballistic profiles- is that a mortar actually carries a larger bursting charge for it's size/weight than a artillery shell.  One of the things discovered early on with shells as opposed to cannonballs (which were originally stone!) or grape/cannister is that the same bore pressures that push out against the tube also push in against the shell.  A artillery shell has to stand up to the charge that fires it while mortars with their method of firing do not so they can be thinner skinned to carry more BOOM.
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Daryk

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #34 on: 03 August 2022, 18:26:35 »
Good gouge, thanks!   :thumbsup:

I'm beginning to think the mortar carriers the Swedes made might count in this conversation...  ^-^

SteelRaven

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #35 on: 03 August 2022, 18:50:21 »
I do like Arrow system only because it's so easy to carry but I admittedly never seen it used in game.

Plan as using it for objective play, protect the Long Tom, take out the Long Tom, tag the target for Arty strike.

Tend to play smaller games though with allot of knife fighting. Arty can kill that type of game in more ways than one but that's the difference between games and actual fighting doctrine; you don't play fair in the later. 
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CVB

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #36 on: 03 August 2022, 19:45:19 »
When discussing the refinement of 'gunpowder' and the improvement of metallurgy I did forget to mention that one of the differences between mortars and artillery- besides ballistic profiles- is that a mortar actually carries a larger bursting charge for it's size/weight than a artillery shell.  One of the things discovered early on with shells as opposed to cannonballs (which were originally stone!) or grape/cannister is that the same bore pressures that push out against the tube also push in against the shell.  A artillery shell has to stand up to the charge that fires it while mortars with their method of firing do not so they can be thinner skinned to carry more BOOM.

Very true, historically even between howitzer and cannon. Howitzers, too, could use thinner walled shells for more payload by imparting less pressure on the projectile, and at the same time be noticably lighter than cannon of the same caliber (thinner barrel walls, weaker recoil system and carriage). On the other hand, cannon were superior against armored targets, because they needed thick walled shells anyway for not shattering on hardened steel or concrete, and high muzzle velocity to pierce that armor. The bursting charge of an APHE shell for the behind armor effect was surprisingly small.
All past tense, because modern howitzers surpass barrel length and muzzle velocities of many historical cannon, they are more high angle cannon than classic howitzers (and have therefore largely displaced cannon in the field artillery role).
« Last Edit: 03 August 2022, 19:46:57 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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BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #37 on: 03 August 2022, 19:50:48 »
In general, and I know some of you have strong arguments against it, I have found my best practices with Arty, requires 4 tubes minimum.

what for?

terrain denial.long as I watch my OWN movement with my forward units, four tubes creates a 'beaten zone' that is dangerous for lighter opponent units (infantry, light tanks, light 'mechs) to cross.  (this has actually proven useful, because even if they don't get hit immediately, you can make half a mapsheet of area most players will consciously avoid because they're risk-averse.)

preregistering the best positions for an opponent to site his snipers also works, and with deep (and I mean DEEP) ammo fractions, you can make it cost him to say  'oh it's only a thumper.'

Now, as I said, this isn't a universally held view. MOST prominent forumites who use Arty at all, tend to think 2 is fine, and of course, most of the scenario designers are under the impression that 1 is fine.

but I stick with four tubes, and try to lay down fires that influence my opponent's decision making rather than counting on it to simply win by annihilation.

I agree with you.  I never deploy less than four tubes in my games.  More arty = more fun IMO.  From a game perspective the other side should also have arty.  It gets interesting when you have to decide between counter-battery fire and hitting targets on the map  ^-^
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Daryk

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #38 on: 03 August 2022, 19:52:21 »
For my non-canon units, I use six tubes...  :)

Nebfer

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #39 on: 14 September 2022, 22:08:23 »
From a mass stand point, a Long Tom is closer to a 9.4inch gun (~240mm) both in terms of weapon weight and shell weight (around 30 tons with a 200kg cartridge mass). Snipers are closer to 6.7 inch guns (170mm) again in both terms of unit mass and shell weight. Thumpers brake the mold though, with a throw weight closer to 5.5ish inch gun but being twice the mass of typical examples (though when one accounts for things like APUs then it's a bit closer -Towed guns with a engine so it can drive it self for short distances).

As for Artillery units, I go with the organization found in the old NAIS 1st Succession war Atlas. Which gave all regiments an artillery battery with non battlemech units only have a single firing platoon (and two infantry for unknown reasons), where as a battlemech regiment had a full company of three firing platoons (on average their where variations).

In Effect I run with a slightly modified variant, giving Tank and Infantry units a six unit battery, where as battlemech units run a 12 unit one, and often allocating two to be issued to each battalion (Arrow IV units), while leaving a six unit back at regimental for it's use.

And units like RCTs will have their Artillery battalion or in some cases more than one, so with the typical composition of a RCT that's 96 firing units (60 from the regiments and 36 from the battalion)

Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #40 on: 15 September 2022, 09:31:08 »
From a mass stand point, a Long Tom is closer to a 9.4inch gun (~240mm) both in terms of weapon weight and shell weight (around 30 tons with a 200kg cartridge mass). Snipers are closer to 6.7 inch guns (170mm) again in both terms of unit mass and shell weight. Thumpers brake the mold though, with a throw weight closer to 5.5ish inch gun but being twice the mass of typical examples (though when one accounts for things like APUs then it's a bit closer -Towed guns with a engine so it can drive it self for short distances).

Problem is that is not just tube weight, it is the autoloaders and other things that ensure the TW rate of fire.  Which makes them something between current towed and SP artillery.

As to your last sentence, you might also want to throw in artillery in the next organizational level as well- so battalion assets, regimental assets, and then brigade assets following BT's unit structure.  As an example, this means say that the Davion Brigade of Guards has a brigade level organization battalion they an assign as needed.  The regiment on New Avalon in garrison?  No need . . . the RCT deploying to the Capellan border and might go on big raids?  Yeah, assign them that floating artillery battalion to give the RCT CO more options.

This is comparable to brigade, division, corp, and 'army' artillery formations.
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Nebfer

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #41 on: 24 September 2022, 21:28:48 »
Problem is that is not just tube weight, it is the autoloaders and other things that ensure the TW rate of fire.  Which makes them something between current towed and SP artillery.
Well how do we know that 30ish tons of a Long Tom dose not include an auto loader? In any case the guns that fit the weight mass for a Long tom date to WW2 or earlier, Given that for equivalent caliber the more Modern Guns are generally (AFAIK) lighter than their WW2 counter parts so adding in these features would bring up the weight (also adding in like engines for limited motive ability).
In any case when you get to the Thumper that 15 tons is heavier than any 155mm or 130mm based gun (a more comfortable cartridge weight) system of today, the closest 155mm guns of today largely having auxiliary engiens for limited self propelled mobility.

As I said I based the sizes not just the weight of the gun but also by their throw weight, assuming they fire a single shell per shot, 200kg per shot for a B-tech long tom puts it in the range of a 240mm based weapon, though one could get some what close with a 8 inch gun
The M1 240mm Howitzer has a firing weight of some 29 tons, the cartridge weight is 199.5kg (360lb shell and 79lb propelling charge)
The M1 203mm Gun has a firing weight of some 31 tons but the cartridge is only 144 to 157 kg (240lb shell and 76 or 106lb propelling charge)
Though I suppose that a autoloading gun would likely want to use a cartridge case, or at the lest a charge not in a "bag", which could drop the size a bit to account for that (or reduce shell weight -German ww1 warships with 240mm guns used 309lb shells (140kg), and a cartridge case -in this case it seems total cartridge weight was around 210kg).

Basically I see no reason why B-tech could not make a 240mm system weighing 30 tons have a auto loader and possibly a engine for movement.
After all we went from 155mm guns being in the 12 ton range (155mm Gun M1) to 7 tons and even 5 tons (M777)...

Quote
As to your last sentence, you might also want to throw in artillery in the next organizational level as well- so battalion assets, regimental assets, and then brigade assets following BT's unit structure.  As an example, this means say that the Davion Brigade of Guards has a brigade level organization battalion they an assign as needed.  The regiment on New Avalon in garrison?  No need . . . the RCT deploying to the Capellan border and might go on big raids?  Yeah, assign them that floating artillery battalion to give the RCT CO more options.

This is comparable to brigade, division, corp, and 'army' artillery formations.
Heh As I unpack what your saying here yeah, If I where to do some "retcons" of the B-tech military system I would be adding in a lot more "Non Regimental" units (that being units that are not part of a regiment), such as a fair number of Non Regimental battlemech battalions (and companies) for specialized usages (as well as an easy way in for player units). Though fleshing out the Division and Corps level units could be another way to flesh out the factions a bit more. like wise going with the 1SWA books orgs can also flesh out each factions regiments a bit more as well, as thoughs books seem to have rough differences in how they do the supporting regimental assets depending on the faction.

CVB

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #42 on: 24 September 2022, 22:56:33 »
Regarding auto loading artillery, it was actually already possible in the sixties with the Swedish Bandkanon 1 155mm gun, firing a 14 shell magazine in 45 seconds. (Frontline service, not just a prototype).
"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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2ndAcr

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #43 on: 25 September 2022, 21:11:19 »
 When I use artillery, or design a unit, I use a 3 gun plus FDC in a platoon, 2 firing platoons and the third platoon being an ammo platoon. Three firing batteries per battalion, and 4th company being a ammo/support.

 If SLDF or equal, as in 1st SW, I stick closer to a 4 gun platoon in two firing platoons with the 3rd platoon being ammo/support. Three batteries per battalion with a 4th company of ammo/support. Three firing battalions to the regiment, 4th battalion for support.

 As for sizes, I see the Long Tom as a 8 inch.
 Sniper is 155mm
 Thumper is 105mm

 But as ex US Army, that makes sense in my mind. I long ago gave up trying to make sense of most things, like the uber short ranges of the weapon systems in BT.

CVB

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #44 on: 25 September 2022, 23:36:39 »
Does this FDC perform an actual role in  TW play, or is it more for role playing reasons?
"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

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2ndAcr

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #45 on: 26 September 2022, 04:41:53 »
 More role play. I cannot remember seeing any rule for FDC.

Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #46 on: 26 September 2022, 09:59:50 »
Does this FDC perform an actual role in  TW play, or is it more for role playing reasons?

It would be a HQ vehicle with commo gear, and I wish it would allow a fire pattern.

Well how do we know that 30ish tons of a Long Tom dose not include an auto loader? In any case the guns that fit the weight mass for a Long tom date to WW2 or earlier, Given that for equivalent caliber the more Modern Guns are generally (AFAIK) lighter than their WW2 counter parts so adding in these features would bring up the weight (also adding in like engines for limited motive ability).
In any case when you get to the Thumper that 15 tons is heavier than any 155mm or 130mm based gun (a more comfortable cartridge weight) system of today, the closest 155mm guns of today largely having auxiliary engiens for limited self propelled mobility.

My point is the weapon system is no different between a Thumper/etc mounted on a vehicle and the same system towed for a field gun.  So the weight includes the autoloaders (but not ammo storage), aiming, and recoil apparatus.
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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #47 on: 26 September 2022, 12:10:36 »
It would be a HQ vehicle with commo gear, and I wish it would allow a fire pattern.

My point is the weapon system is no different between a Thumper/etc mounted on a vehicle and the same system towed for a field gun.  So the weight includes the autoloaders (but not ammo storage), aiming, and recoil apparatus.

You know, for the towed version, a lot of that weight is the stabilizers, including...actual WEIGHT.  (so your hyperadvanced artillery piece doesn't flip itself over slewing and firing.)

There have been proposals sent to various eras of Devs on setting up FDC rules for artillery, notably none of them really got anywhere, I think in part because so MANY proposals for rules changes pour in, and in part because it's a niche thing, and partly because when TacOps picked up artillery, they were trying to integrate a huge number of previously published in 'official' sources ideas, along with the ideas of the dev staff themselves, none of whom were Redlegs in real life.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #48 on: 26 September 2022, 12:40:26 »
AFAIK, they do not really use weight any more to keep pieces from flying- part of why the 'carriage' portion of towed guns keep getting lighter.  Rather they use braces and sink some of the stabilization into the ground.  FREX, the HIMARS is only supposed to slew one direction IIRC and has 4 jacks to help brace it against the ground to fire.

As for artillery rules, that is why I said pattern- it would simplify firing a number of pieces based on the assumption the pieces in the firing pattern would all be set at the same elevation, traverse, and charge.  Roll once for where the center of the fire plan/pattern would land, then calculate the impacts.

 . . . but that would mean artillerymen did not forget how to do math, thus making it very powerful if you massed guns.
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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #49 on: 26 September 2022, 13:40:02 »
Don't you synchronize massed fire so that shells don't hit each other in mid-air so that you're not making adjustments to fire based on what you see (a missed shot as opposed to misfortune at 500-2000 feet)?
 

Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #50 on: 26 September 2022, 14:26:18 »
No . . . the majority of synchronization is Time on Target (ToT) so that all the shells hit a single target or target area at the same time . . . this means some have higher azimuth for fire and differences in charge.  And since the guns/launchers are usually not in the same place for a Time on Target, they usually fire at different times.

I cannot stress this enough- artillery REALLY is just a lot of math applied to killing people.  You literally kill people with math.

Which is why BT artillery being wildly inaccurate is . . . problematic for a spacefaring culture.
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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #51 on: 26 September 2022, 14:48:11 »
No . . . the majority of synchronization is Time on Target (ToT) so that all the shells hit a single target or target area at the same time . . . this means some have higher azimuth for fire and differences in charge.  And since the guns/launchers are usually not in the same place for a Time on Target, they usually fire at different times.

I cannot stress this enough- artillery REALLY is just a lot of math applied to killing people.  You literally kill people with math.

Which is why BT artillery being wildly inaccurate is . . . problematic for a spacefaring culture.
It almost feels like it was designed specifically to create a ~300m scatter radius by default, ignoring the fact that most militaries don't call 300m danger close because of the shells scattering but moreso because of all the debris and shrapnel that artillery shells like to kick up. Realistically, if a shell unintentionally drifts even remotely close to 200m away from the intended point of impact (and especially if it drifts towards friendly forces), there's a fairly likely chance that said artillery unit is about to be involved in a not-very-fun investigation (assuming of course that said unit wasn't forced to fire under exceptionally poor circumstances with no safe alternative).
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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #52 on: 27 September 2022, 03:37:18 »
Question regarding mercs.

I know mercs in the real world work differently  but I am interested in the comment that says that merc commands do not seem to use arty and they should. (Because it resonates well with me).

Do mercs in the real world tend to have integral arty? Not the ragtag 20 man band that did coups in africa in the 70s, but current highly organized units like Wagner or Blackwater (to mention an example on either side). I was under the impression that they have manpads and the like, as well as personnel carriers, but that heavier equipment (tanks, artillery, aircraft...) are not theirs, but belong to their employer if they are being used.
« Last Edit: 27 September 2022, 06:06:11 by Elmoth »

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #53 on: 27 September 2022, 03:57:11 »
Western Merce don't, they are mostly base, VIP, and convoy security with some active operations included, but on the downlow. They mostly use armored vehicles probably topping out at Buffalos. Some Eastern European and Russian groups like Wagner might. Additionally there are many Merc aerial firms that operate helicopters and airplanes for places in Africa.

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #54 on: 27 September 2022, 06:03:09 »
 Eridani Light Horse use quite a bit of artillery, for a merc unit. Like a full Battalion.

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #55 on: 27 September 2022, 06:35:37 »
I've been digging into mercs with artillery and concluded it's a lot more common than I originally thought, especially in larger units and more noted/referenced in later books. For example references to artillery in the original FM: Mercs are sparce. But in FM: Mercs Revised, which updates/covers a lot of the same units, more mentions of artillery appear all over the place.

First are the obvious ones, units that do reference artillery if you flip through it. 21 Centauri Lancers, Crater Cobras literally named after their arty use. Tooth of Ymir. Barrett's Fusiliers. Blackhearts. Blue Star Irregulars 21st Rim Worlds. Clean Kill. The Dioscuri. Dismal Disinherited. Olson's Rangers. Screaming Eagles. Stalwart Support. All have some artillery forces referenced somehow.

Then there are the units that reference artillery but don't list artillery as part of their combat forces.

A good example in FM: Mercs Revised, Bannockburn's Bandits, at a glance of their 'mech, ASF and infantry units, possess no artillery that is specifically mentioned. But under the Tactics section reference artillery as a part of their preferred fighting style.

Crimson Crusaders in FM: Mercs too, references using artillery and long range fire support from support vehicles under the Tactics section. While the unit breakdown itself looks to be purely 'mechs and infantry according to the composition listed.

So in those cases it's either referencing employer/allied forces and working with their artillery, or units with artillery that attach it to the unit HQ (rather than being a separate subordinate force) which just aren't included in the unit's composition breakdown. In much the same way that those units probably don't list every single security trooper, engineer, ammo carrier, support truck or spotter plane that they have.

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #56 on: 27 September 2022, 07:40:12 »
I believe the MUL actually lists one of the canon field artillery platoons as debuting in CM: Mercenaries.

Most sub-regiment size merc companies not having artillery is, in my opinion, part of a larger problem with smaller and/or more protagonist-y mercs having a general neglect towards support assets (except as the plot demands). Same for FM: Mercs' statement that most merc companies don't own any aerospace assets. God forbid our heroic merc stories about their super-duper-awesome-MechWarrior exploits gives credit to other assets, and all that jazz.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #57 on: 27 September 2022, 09:12:00 »
For mercs, not having support assets like aero or arty is about keeping them in check relative to the national/federal forces.

To be blunt, there is a reason that for the longest times kings tried to keep cannon out of the hands of lesser nobles.
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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #58 on: 27 September 2022, 09:20:52 »
For mercs, not having support assets like aero or arty is about keeping them in check relative to the national/federal forces.

To be blunt, there is a reason that for the longest times kings tried to keep cannon out of the hands of lesser nobles.
I mean, they're fairly easy to buy based on the sources I've seen. The FM:Mercs reference I cited states that most smaller merc companies neglect aerospace due to the increased cost of maintenance and the risky all-or-nothing nature of aerospace salvage/repair. As for artillery, not sure, but they have equal or better availabilities than any given autocannon in any era, so I highly doubt that any merc company with a fair bit of cash and their papers in order with the local government wouldn't be able to get hands on some Thumper or Sniper tubes at least. Again, likely just a symptom of merc-oriented fiction's tendency to hyperfixate on 'Mechs and MechWarriors.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Here come the guns! Artillery in Battletech
« Reply #59 on: 27 September 2022, 09:39:26 »
Well, I was saying the OOC narrative coincides with IC reasoning . . .

Cannons used to have 'the Ultimate Argument of Kings' engraved on them for a reason- a noble could try what their ancestors did before cannon became widespread, and retreat to their castles and try to wait out their overlord's siege when they had a disagreement.  Kings having cannon and their nobles not, negated that strategic b/c the king could bring his big doorknocker to arrange a discussion.  They were a stand off weapon that assured national rulers/armies a superiority over their subordinate political entities.

The same would apply in BT . . . mercs lacking support forces keeps them subservient to the national forces they are to support.  Not having transport, aero support, artillery, or even tech/logisitic support for a merc command of trigger pullers creates a dependency on employers- and aside from the tech/logisitic support, not all contracts will require those assets.  I would argue it is short sighted on the merc commander/decision group's part, but being short sighted but that is not uncommon with a eye to history.  Growing by a lance of mechs or armor gets you paid more and attracts more contracts than adding a battery of guns- especially with the misunderstanding of what artillery or air strikes do in combat.

For OOC reasons this suits too . . . after all, if some merc groups got too powerful they might have to consider them overthrowing some of the feudal lords (which should actually happen more) or at least effectively overthrowing them (Look 'boss' I think your daughter is pretty . . . you want to keep your seat, you should marry her to me . . . it would be a shame if those nasty rebels managed to blow up you and your heir.) by integrating with the nobles.

In both cases, mercs not having artillery or aero to soften up targets means the mercs will have to wade in, taking losses and keeping their power in check.
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