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Title: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 04 November 2016, 18:33:43
(http://masterunitlist.info/Image/RenderImage?width=300&height=400&file=https%3A%2F%2Fs3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com%2Fmul-images%2FBattleMechs%2FChaffee.jpg)
Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech

This week’s ‘Mech of the Week article is about the BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech and, I warn you, it’s going to be a weird one.  I suspect that’s because a big part of this article isn’t about the IndustrialMech, but about Doug Chaffee, the artist for which it’s named.
 
When I think about Battletech artwork, there have always been two artists that, for me, really set the visual tone for the universe. One of them is Duane Loose, for his work on Tech Readout 3025, one of the first Battletech books (along with the Tech Manual) I got for Battletech back in 1989 or so.  This is also a time when I was taking drafting class in high school, and Loose’s work reminded me strongly of the kind of technical sketches we learned about in class in addition to drafting.
 
Doug Chaffee is the other artist who, for me, defined Battletech. In the early '90s, my mother worked for GD Space Systems, and I still remember some of their internal artwork and publications, like one depicting a Mars mission.  Chaffee's work always reminded me of that style of art, probably because that was also a large part of the work he did outside the world of gaming art.
 
Doug Chaffee's work didn't just depict a BattleMech, or a spacecraft, but helped give it context in-universe: his drawings and paintings, whether cover art like Aerotech 2 or internal technical readout entries like in Vehicle Annex or 3057 Revised, depict snippets of life within the Battletech universe, whether it's the fall of the last Luxor class battlecruiser during the Liberation of Terra, or backwater farmers working their fields using an AgroMech.
 
Perhaps that's what I love so much about Technical Readout Vehicle Annex and its revised edition.  The art in Vehicle Annex, perhaps more than that of any other book, gives us an idea of what civilian life in the Battletech universe is like. It helps flesh out the universe, making it more than giant stomp robots, Byzantine political intrigue, and warfare ranging from small, desperate skirmishes to massive, worlds-shattering battles.
 
Sadly, Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex (Revised Edition) is the last of Doug Chaffee’s work for the Battletech universe, as he passed away in 2011 at the age of 75.  In the book’s dedication, it’s described as his magnum opus, and I’m not inclined to disagree.
 
In addition to dedicating the book to him, Doug Chaffee was also immortalized by having an IndustrialMech named after him, the BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech.  The Douglas Chaffee of the Battletech Universe was a member of the board for Wakizashi Enterprises civilian industries on Schuler, whose conscience drove him to vehemently push for an IndustrialMech to be built that could be distributed as widely as possible, one that could serve its community not through force of arms, but by being affordable, available and adept at missions like search and rescue, salvage operations, emergency response, or even such mundanities as directing traffic.  Even more than your typical IndustrialMech, the BT1 Chaffee was meant to be a ‘Mech for the masses, serving, then “as a tool of humans for humans.”
Jymset, meanwhile, gives us some insight into how the Chaffee ServiceMech came to be:
 
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So how did the Chaffee end up in the revised edition of TRO Vehicle Annex? In 2010, two things happened: after a few years as proofer and game stats person, I got my first writing gig in TRO 3085, and Chinless and I started revising TRO VA. One of my first writing pieces was TRO 3085’s Diomede and going off rough parameters, I submitted what is now in the book. The TRO was actually also Chaffee’s last major work for the BT line and by the time my writing was done, he’d already created an illustration that unfortunately didn’t match my submission. Thanks to the art Lewis created for the Diomede, that monstrosity lives on, but I was in the unique position (for a non-dev) to be aware of a now unused piece of art.
 
While working away on VAr, I was dreaming of a VA2 and had even approached Randall about it. Blissfully unaware of his advanced age, I had visions of Chaffee creating some unique art. At that stage, I also designed the stats of the Chaffee—with a heavy dose of reality checks by Chinless, as always—to fold into the project. I share Giovanni Blasini’s opinion of the artist’s visual mark on BT 100% and when I received news of Doug Chaffee’s passing, I was genuinely wracked by grief. This grief immediately transferred into words, shaping the entry we now have in TRO VAr. I presented it when there was discussion of a special tribute, but ultimately we realized we already had the perfect vessel. The Chaffee ServiceMech is a tribute to Doug Chaffee, and my personal eulogy for him.
------------------------
 
With that said, let’s talk about what the BT1 Chaffee can do.
 
First off, the Chaffee is not a big IndustrialMech. At 15 tons, the Chaffee is smaller than even light BattleMechs like the Wasp and Stinger, but that small size keeps the price down, and the low mass helps keep ground pressure down.  To help offset that low mass, the Chaffee has industrial triple-strength myomer, giving it the strength of a ‘Mech twice its size, able to lift objects of up to three tons with ease.
 
Because it was expected to go into nasty, toxic environments to undo the damage wreaked by the Jihad, the Chaffee needed environmental sealing.  That meant having an engine that could run under those conditions, which meant one of the three Fs: fusion, fission, or fuel cell.  Fusion, of course, was nowhere near politically acceptable after the Jihad, and besides being too heavy, fission would be its own potential environmental disaster.  So, that left fuel cell, which has the advantage of only needing hydrogen to run on, something industry in the Battletech Universe has the infrastructure to support, and producing water in return.  Ground speed is good, moving 5/8, so the Chaffee should be able to not block traffic.
 
The Chaffee doesn't just have its hands and artificial muscles, though, to do work. Like most IndustrialMechs, it also packs equipment to assist it in doing its jobs. First up is its torso-mounted searchlight, handy for any time you need to shed a little light on the subject. From there, though, it gets a little weird, with paramedic gear mounted in each arm for first-responders on the ground to make use of.  Yep, it's basically a paramedic response ‘Mech, which is another place its environmental sealing and good ground speed come in handy.
 
Of course, going to help out in an emergency situation doesn't help much if you become an emergency yourself.  To help keep the Chaffee intact, Wakizashi fitted three tons of heavy industrial armor to the 'Mech, giving it equivalent armor protection to the venerable Wasp and Stinger, with a point knocked off each side torso to reinforce the head. This is actually pretty impressive for any 15-ton 'Mech, and only a half-ton shy of maximum protection.
 
So, all in all, the Chaffee makes for a low-cost IndustrialMech, strong for its size, versatile thanks to its environmental sealing and humanoid form with handy hand actuators, and a bit of extra gear making it helpful as an emergency first responder.  The Chaffee's low cost combined with its licensing and production across the entire Inner Sphere aims it towards being one of the most easily procured IndustrialMechs out there.
 
That got me thinking: we know the Republic cracked down heavily on private BattleMech ownership, and it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of Houses did the same, pushing towards professional non-feudal militaries using equipment owned by the state. After all, that's a trend we already saw start during the Clan Invasion and Fed Com Civil War, with the Jihad reducing their numbers more.
 
With that in mind, could IndustrialMechs like the Chaffee been aimed at those with privately-owned BattleMechs, as a way at getting them to turn their old 'Mechs over in favor of Republic citizenship, perhaps with the added bonus of ownership of a Chaffee thrown in?  Sure, you wouldn't be MechWarriors anymore, but you'd still be piloting your privately-owned 'Mech, putting your hard-earned skill set to some peacetime use to earn a living.
 
Besides, how much trouble can you really get into in a Chaffee?
 
Well, if you're looking at it from perspective of someone who wants to use it to cause trouble, at 5/8, you're probably a hair faster than most garrison equipment, but in the post-Jihad era, there are now an abundance of heavy 'Mechs that can match your speed or better, let alone mediums or lights, and you're a 15-ton 'Mech that can clumsily punch and kick like a 30-tonner.  That physical strength  is useful, because the only ranged weaponry you could possibly carry would be what you could fit in a 3-ton handheld weapon, which  limits any potential offensive punch you could have.
 
Of course, if you're looking to stop a Chaffee pilot that is causing trouble, that's not a bug, that's a feature. If you can run it down, odds are you'll be able to outgun it, even if you're, say, a police ESWAT unit equipped with something like a Wasp or Stinger for dealing with out of control IndustrialMechs: either will decisively beat the tar out of a Chaffee, since Chaffees take comparable amounts of firepower to take down (ie. not much), are a bit slower, lack jump jets and offensive ranged weapons, and even if they're a tad stronger, their IndustrialMech internal structure makes them prone to taking critical hits in melee combat. Kind of like my knees.
 
The Chaffee is perhaps the closest we've seen, then, to a "Sports-Utility 'Mech" in the Battletech universe - a low-cost "VolksMech", meant to be an IndustrialMech as affordable as possible while still as capable as possible.  And much like the VW Beetle, in its stock form, the Chaffee is docile enough that it isn't going to get you into hot water.  Even if you do modify it, at the end of the day, it's still a 15-ton IndustrialMech specifically designed to help people, not blow them up, and that's kind of a nice change of pace.

Masterunitlist entry on the BT1 Chaffee (http://masterunitlist.info/Unit/Details/7151/chaffee-bt1-servicemech)
Sarna wiki entry (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Chaffee_(Industrial_Mech))
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 04 November 2016, 19:25:11
given how widespread this is supposed to be, you'd think we'd get an armed version appearing in the post-blackout era, when the various uprisings were throwing guns on any industrial they could get on the premise that even a lousy combat mech is better than no mech.

i know it has very little in the way of mass available for the purposes of guns, but i could see the Paramedic gear and searchlight being pulled for 1 ton of whatever they could fit. or more, if they were willing to strip some armor off it.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: SteelRaven on 04 November 2016, 21:00:06
Considering the BTU is a War game, we often overlook the Civie mechs until they show up in a story. Considering how popular cheap ICE mechs have become in the Republic era, I can defiantly see the Chaffee mech being a very common sight in the civilian market.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Decoy on 04 November 2016, 22:06:35
I figure the easiest way for a Chaffee to be militarized is to give it a hand held. Couple machine guns of any stripe, some ammo, and let it police things. After it's done with that, you can resume the first aid roles as needed.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: SCC on 04 November 2016, 23:48:27
That meant having an engine that could run under those conditions, which meant one of the three Fs: fusion, fission, or fuel cell.  Fusion, of course, was nowhere near politically acceptable after the Jihad, and besides being too heavy, fission would be its own potential environmental disaster.  So, that left fuel cell, which has the advantage of only needing hydrogen to run on, something industry in the Battletech Universe has the infrastructure to support, and producing water in return.  Ground speed is good, moving 5/8, so the Chaffee should be able to not block traffic.
This doesn't make much sense, why would fusion power be out of favor after the Jihad?

Beyond that, you haven't said what the 'Mech is capable of.

From what I can gather from the article this 'Mech is designed to clean up Jihad battlefields and so does two things that, to my knowledge, no other industrial design does: Take advantage of the fact that 'Mechs can traverse terrain easier then vehicles and are tougher then vehicles. Some designs do the first, but none do the second.

However there is a flaw, it can only pick up a total of three tons.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 05 November 2016, 01:10:11
I figure the easiest way for a Chaffee to be militarized is to give it a hand held. Couple machine guns of any stripe, some ammo, and let it police things. After it's done with that, you can resume the first aid roles as needed.

handhelds might be a bit tricky for most 'pirate factions' to build though.

i can think of a couple of MOD ideas though.. all of them would pull the paramedic gear and the searchlight.

the first would be an anti-infantry focus, mounting a pair of light machineguns (one per arm) and with half a ton of ammo (in the center torso). this one would probably use it's TSM boosted melee ability for antimech and antivehicle.

another would be to stick a pair of RL-10 packs on. probably in the side torsos. would still be melee focused, but could do some useful damage as it closes.

the last would be to rig up a hatchet. :)
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 05 November 2016, 01:18:56
This doesn't make much sense, why would fusion power be out of favor after the Jihad?

A lot of the Dark Age fluff stated that fusion-powered 'Mechs were disfavored in the Republic due to the greater ease, presumably, in adding ad hoc weaponry, thanks to lighter mass and integral heat sinks.

Quote
Beyond that, you haven't said what the 'Mech is capable of.

I've discussed its speed, lift capacity, physical and environmental protection, and utility gear, specifically hands, searchlight and paramedic equipment, and how it can put that gear to use. I've also discussed the price point it costs to gain its general capabilities.  What specifically did you feel was not addressed?

Quote
From what I can gather from the article this 'Mech is designed to clean up Jihad battlefields and so does two things that, to my knowledge, no other industrial design does: Take advantage of the fact that 'Mechs can traverse terrain easier then vehicles and are tougher then vehicles. Some designs do the first, but none do the second.

However there is a flaw, it can only pick up a total of three tons.

That's certainly one of its uses, yes. And the limitations imposed by its 15-ton mass is less a flaw and more, like I mentioned, a design feature.  It has the basic ability to lift and carry things a 'Mech its size with TSM provides, while also being small, cheap and nonthreatening, such that a even a STG-3R Stinger in the hands of a militia or police SWAT unit could easily put a rogue one down without issues.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 05 November 2016, 01:27:54
handhelds might be a bit tricky for most 'pirate factions' to build though.

i can think of a couple of MOD ideas though.. all of them would pull the paramedic gear and the searchlight.

the first would be an anti-infantry focus, mounting a pair of light machineguns (one per arm) and with half a ton of ammo (in the center torso). this one would probably use it's TSM boosted melee ability for antimech and antivehicle.

another would be to stick a pair of RL-10 packs on. probably in the side torsos. would still be melee focused, but could do some useful damage as it closes.

the last would be to rig up a hatchet. :)

Those pretty much strike me as your best bets for integrated weapons, at 5/8 with a hatchet, you'll manage to do 6 points a chop once you get close enough to use it, making it likely your most damaging option. Of course, industrial TSM adds 1 to your piloting target numbers, and since you're an IndustrialMech, any physical attack that lands on you in return earns a free critical check. So there's that.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: SteelRaven on 05 November 2016, 02:08:36
This doesn't make much sense, why would fusion power be out of favor after the Jihad?
A lot of the Dark Age fluff stated that fusion-powered 'Mechs were disfavored in the Republic due to the greater ease, presumably, in adding ad hoc weaponry, thanks to lighter mass and integral heat sinks.

This!
Remember the Raider? Fan have done the math: if Bannson had the resources to equip it with a Fusion Engine, it would have been a actual capable Battlemech but because of the Republics pre-blackout restrictsions, that never happened. The Republic was paranoid enough after seeing Wobbies doing damage in primitives that the wanted to make sure it was hard for someone to even make a Quasit.

After that, the Chaffee was never made to be a combat mech so any attempt to do so will be like strapping a 50 cal to a Volvo (and yes, I'm sure a few people here will attempt that) There are heavier mech you can use for weapon platforms. The best thing you can use the Chaffee for is non-lethal roles it was attended for. Maybe a buddy for a MASH unit or even security in a friendly area you wouldn't need a SRM launcher, just someone with a flash light search light to make sure no one is breaking into the drop port.

But hey, if you want to go full crazy: it can lift Three tons of ammo, BAAAANZZZZIIIIIIII!!!!       
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: AmBeth on 05 November 2016, 13:04:16
Not having any books with me (standing on the platform at Cardiff station) could you refit one with a fluid gun? That would keep with the S&R etc theme but give you a different utility.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 05 November 2016, 14:14:54
Not having any books with me (standing on the platform at Cardiff station) could you refit one with a fluid gun? That would keep with the S&R etc theme but give you a different utility.

it has 1 ton of payload mass for gear/weapons. a fluid gun is 2 tons, plus at least 1 ton of ammo. so you'd have to have a variant that changes armor tonnage, engine size, or structure type to fit one.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: AmBeth on 05 November 2016, 14:28:37
it has 1 ton of payload mass for gear/weapons. a fluid gun is 2 tons, plus at least 1 ton of ammo. so you'd have to have a variant that changes armor tonnage, engine size, or structure type to fit one.

Ahh well, not as simple as I'd hoped *shrug*
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 05 November 2016, 16:31:29
Could do a sprayer and half-ton. Or, can s fluid gun be a handheld weapon? That may more sense.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: blitzy on 05 November 2016, 18:06:05
In the jihad I'd just go with an MML-3 a ton of ammo and a half ton of armor, that way whatever the local militia has for vehicles can feed the mech.  On a side note, I find the concept and execution of the mech very refreshing.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 05 November 2016, 21:15:32
This lacks advanced fire control systems, right?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 05 November 2016, 21:37:10
Correct: no advanced fire control because, presumably, they didn't want it shooting things.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 05 November 2016, 21:40:27
So that's another strike against it in the weaponizing department.  To be honest, I'd consider just using a vehicle flamer or an MML 3 loaded with Infernos and use it strictly for starting fires if I was going to give it any combat role at all.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: SCC on 06 November 2016, 02:54:19
Or go for a weapon system that doesn't need attack rolls, like mine for something
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: marauder648 on 06 November 2016, 06:05:06
Thank you for this, its a Mech i've never heard of and I loved the personal details about the artist as well.  A great article for an unusual but useful machine.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 07 November 2016, 10:07:28
Still a better combat unit than a Raider.
But that's a really interesting backstory!
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 07 November 2016, 10:46:47
given how widespread this is supposed to be, you'd think we'd get an armed version appearing in the post-blackout era, when the various uprisings were throwing guns on any industrial they could get on the premise that even a lousy combat mech is better than no mech.

i know it has very little in the way of mass available for the purposes of guns, but i could see the Paramedic gear and searchlight being pulled for 1 ton of whatever they could fit. or more, if they were willing to strip some armor off it.

There may be a reason found by looking to the past.

During both World Wars, it was common for freighters and such to be retrofitted with at least a token weapon or two in an attempt to hold off attacks by enemy submarines (prior to the beginning of unrestricted submarine warfare) or raiding ships. But hospital ships were exempt- if a hospital ship is going to be treated as a noncombatant and illegal to fire on, it shouldn't be shooting at anything itself. This was USUALLY followed, with a few sad exceptions.

The Chaffee may fall under the same policy. While slapping a couple of MGs or an SRM rack on a Miningmech is reasonable to do, a medical-equipped unit like a Chaffee might be looked at as being illegal to arm, and thus might also have the same restriction about shooting at one as a hospital ship or an ambulance. Equipping one with an SRM rack or something would violate that agreement.

That's just my own assessment and shouldn't be treated as anything more, but it makes sense to me anyway.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 November 2016, 11:38:55
That's pretty solid reasoning, actually, and could easily be one of the reasons even the Patron, at the same mass, has multiple armed militia variants, while the Chaffee doesn't.  There's a lot about the Chaffee that seems to emphasize that a great deal of effort as made to make sure it wouldn't become a weapon.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 07 November 2016, 13:12:24
Isn't there a variant of the MASH truck with a machine gun?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 07 November 2016, 13:22:26
Isn't there a variant of the MASH truck with a machine gun?

Not everyone is so great at following the 'no shooting medics' rule, especially during the Succession Wars. ;)

Nah, I've always hated that and believed that if there's any unit that needs a retcon applied, it's medical units with weapons. Mobile HQs, ammo haulers, coolant trucks, whatever, but armed ambulances are absolutely a no-no in any era, and trying to skirt around that is a violation of every code of civilized warfare ever devised.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 07 November 2016, 14:25:24
Civilized warfare?

What era have you been playing in?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: wantec on 07 November 2016, 14:49:04
Isn't there a variant of the MASH truck with a machine gun?
Those are for the wild animals  ;)
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Weirdo on 07 November 2016, 15:01:36
I'm with Hellbie. Make the unarmed ambulances the default.

Maybe keep the armed ones, though. Those are the "medical" units where the patients don't enter willingly, seeing the inside of one means you'll never have a good night's sleep for the rest of your life, and not shooting one on sight constitutes a war crime.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Dragon Cat on 07 November 2016, 15:27:41
A Mech I've never heard of but I love the reason behind its creation and its role it's here to help the universe move along just like the artist it was named for
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 07 November 2016, 15:43:09
I'm with Hellbie. Make the unarmed ambulances the default.

Maybe keep the armed ones, though. Those are the "medical" units where the patients don't enter willingly, seeing the inside of one means you'll never have a good night's sleep for the rest of your life, and not shooting one on sight constitutes a war crime.

"Re-education buses"!
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 07 November 2016, 16:20:13
More like parts wagons.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 07 November 2016, 16:58:39
I'm with Hellbie. Make the unarmed ambulances the default.

Maybe keep the armed ones, though. Those are the "medical" units where the patients don't enter willingly, seeing the inside of one means you'll never have a good night's sleep for the rest of your life, and not shooting one on sight constitutes a war crime.
or in the case of what the Israeli's do with Merkava 'tankbulances', the ambulances you use when your opponents aren't playing by the niceties of the rules of war in the first place, and are likely to see a thin-skin ambulance's red cross as an "aim here" sign..
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 November 2016, 17:16:11
So, post-Jihad and into the Dark Age, against which factions are you most likely to see that kind of behavior?  I'm not sure if the Combine has gone sufficiently old-school for that, though I suppose it's a possibility, but I'm guessing your Mongol-style Falcons would, though they'd pretty much annhilate a Chaffee rather quickly.

My personal guess is the only group a Chaffee might theoretically defend against and have an chance of not dying immediately against would be downscrabble pirates?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 07 November 2016, 17:44:45
To be honest, I'd be nervous about taking a Chaffee against a crowd of soccer hooligans.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Weirdo on 07 November 2016, 18:18:01
I'd be nervous about taking a Chaffee against a troop of boy scouts.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 November 2016, 21:35:29
To be honest, I'd be nervous about taking a Chaffee against a crowd of soccer hooligans.

I'd be nervous about taking a Chaffee against a troop of boy scouts.

Out of curiosity, is it the lack of integral weapons, the small size, or the singular heat sink?

You're still a 5/8 'Mech with protection in the ballpark of a bug 'Mech like a Wasp or Stinger, and the physical strength of a Javelin or Spider.  Your biggest dangers are physical attacks against you, which, IIRC, would also count infantry anti-'Mech attacks, and fire, since anything that heats you up takes forever to cool you down.

Note, I'm not saying it's an awesome idea. I'm just saying it's not completely hopelessly vulnerable. I'd honestly be more afraid riding in a Patron, even an armed one, due to its slower speed and lower resilience.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 07 November 2016, 21:37:21
You've never seen a crowd of rioting soccer fans, have you?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Scotty on 08 November 2016, 01:45:47
or in the case of what the Israeli's do with Merkava 'tankbulances', the ambulances you use when your opponents aren't playing by the niceties of the rules of war in the first place, and are likely to see a thin-skin ambulance's red cross as an "aim here" sign..

I'd be willing to wager this is more the norm in BattleTech than the reverse, especially in the Jihad and Dark Age.  Insurgents are already not playing by the rules (or if they are, they're doing the whole insurgency thing wrong) and serving up your medical crews on a silver platter is not a great way to keep them happy with you or your troops supplied with them.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 08 November 2016, 09:58:21
or in the case of what the Israeli's do with Merkava 'tankbulances', the ambulances you use when your opponents aren't playing by the niceties of the rules of war in the first place, and are likely to see a thin-skin ambulance's red cross as an "aim here" sign..

Different situation though. I'm all for armoring an ambulance- real world or Battletech. As you said, sometimes that cross on the side doesn't get acknowledged, and being able to withstand a couple of medium laser hits from a belligerent Spider can be very handy. My issue is with the ambulance SHOOTING BACK, which is just an absolute no-no. Bear in mind that also means that it has the ability to attack FIRST, which is even worse.

So. Armor? Awesome, do it. I'm even fine with an AMS. But actual offensive weaponry? Hell no.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: mbear on 08 November 2016, 10:20:00
handhelds might be a bit tricky for most 'pirate factions' to build though.

Not really. A box of armor with a RL10 and a battery to fire it off would be pretty quick to put together.

Though given its role you could use an unarmored LRM5 with Mine Clearance Munitions to clean up a battlefield. That would seem to fit in better with the desire of the designer (IMHO).
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: wantec on 08 November 2016, 12:47:42
Different situation though. I'm all for armoring an ambulance- real world or Battletech. As you said, sometimes that cross on the side doesn't get acknowledged, and being able to withstand a couple of medium laser hits from a belligerent Spider can be very handy. My issue is with the ambulance SHOOTING BACK, which is just an absolute no-no. Bear in mind that also means that it has the ability to attack FIRST, which is even worse.

So. Armor? Awesome, do it. I'm even fine with an AMS. But actual offensive weaponry? Hell no.
What about a fluid gun? Or missile racks where the fluff says they're always loaded with smoke or tear gas rounds?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 08 November 2016, 12:52:38
What about a fluid gun? Or missile racks where the fluff says they're always loaded with smoke or tear gas rounds?

Still too easy to replace benign ammo with the real deal. It's a WWI Q-ship pointing out that they're just carrying practice ammo for the 4-inch guns... yes, you might be TODAY, but you have the ability to change out for the real deal quite easily.

Nah, AMS is really the only one I'd accept as a legit option (or LAMS, I suppose, though that requires a lot of heat sinks that you probably didn't really need to install). That's just  my personal assessment though and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 08 November 2016, 13:14:48
Different situation though. I'm all for armoring an ambulance- real world or Battletech. As you said, sometimes that cross on the side doesn't get acknowledged, and being able to withstand a couple of medium laser hits from a belligerent Spider can be very handy. My issue is with the ambulance SHOOTING BACK, which is just an absolute no-no. Bear in mind that also means that it has the ability to attack FIRST, which is even worse.

So. Armor? Awesome, do it. I'm even fine with an AMS. But actual offensive weaponry? Hell no.

Well, there are a few places where the fauna is more of a concern than others. The lizards of Caph aren't signatories of the Ares Conventions.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: BrokenMnemonic on 08 November 2016, 17:07:39
Still too easy to replace benign ammo with the real deal. It's a WWI Q-ship pointing out that they're just carrying practice ammo for the 4-inch guns... yes, you might be TODAY, but you have the ability to change out for the real deal quite easily.

Nah, AMS is really the only one I'd accept as a legit option (or LAMS, I suppose, though that requires a lot of heat sinks that you probably didn't really need to install). That's just  my personal assessment though and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that.
Technically, it's acceptable under international law - or at least, not forbidden - to include a weapon on an ambulance for the protection of the crew. However, the legal advice given the last time this came up where I work boiled down to "We know that nasty people are shooting at your protected ambulances and deliberately laying ambushes for them, and you could legally mount a self-defence weapon on them, but this would also be perceived as making the ambulance a legitimate target for offensive action, as well as allowing those attacking them to legitimise the attacks and use them as propoganda." So the easier option was to make sure that the ambulance had at least one escort vehicle, and that that escort vehicle had the usual panoply of things decided to ruin the day of people who feel like shooting at ambulances.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 08 November 2016, 21:37:16
I think, if you're going to arm it, you might as well go hog wild and build a new MilitiaMech on its chassis.

For the Chaffee as-is, throw a couple sprayers into a handheld weapon, with maybe a ton of coolant and ton of water or fire ******, and stick with the emergency services 'Mech role.
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: SCC on 09 November 2016, 04:14:09
You know, given that the primary customer for this 'Mech seems to be the Republic's EPA or whoever's responsible for cleaning all those battlefields I can actually see this being armed, because those sites have to be very tempting targets to someone who wants to get their hands on Blakist hardware
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: jymset on 09 November 2016, 13:22:16
Thank you for the wonderful article, GB! The 'Mech is really very much not about the 'Mech ;) and you more than did it justice.

As for a MOD, there won't be one as long as I have any say in the matter. If you want to deploy it in hazardous zones, break out the Security- and MilitiaMechs to protect it. O0
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: VhenRa on 30 November 2016, 13:36:34
Technically, it's acceptable under international law - or at least, not forbidden - to include a weapon on an ambulance for the protection of the crew. However, the legal advice given the last time this came up where I work boiled down to "We know that nasty people are shooting at your protected ambulances and deliberately laying ambushes for them, and you could legally mount a self-defence weapon on them, but this would also be perceived as making the ambulance a legitimate target for offensive action, as well as allowing those attacking them to legitimise the attacks and use them as propoganda." So the easier option was to make sure that the ambulance had at least one escort vehicle, and that that escort vehicle had the usual panoply of things decided to ruin the day of people who feel like shooting at ambulances.

That come under the same part where IIRC medics are allowed to carry stuff like sidearms to protect themselves and their patients?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: BrokenMnemonic on 30 November 2016, 13:58:31
That come under the same part where IIRC medics are allowed to carry stuff like sidearms to protect themselves and their patients?
From what I remember, yes - there was a lot of debate about what counted as a "self defence weapon", as the standard SDWs on vehicles like Mastiff and Ridgback were either .50 Cal Brownings or GMGs, with lighter vehicles also sometimes mounting 7.62mm GPMGs, and with common weapon mounts across multiple platforms, the implications of the strategic decision to put a protected weapon station on a vehicle allowing the mounting of a GPMG leading to a tactical decision to replace the GPMG with a .50 or GMG, and so on. I think there was also some debate about to what extent the international law had been tested on the subject, and what weapons could be mounted on an ambulance whilst still calling the vehicle an ambulance, and when an ambulance would be likely to be in a situation where it would need to defend itself, rather than being defended by other platforms nearby.

Of course there were also some pretty significant design issues - if you look at the protected vehicles that are out there, like Cougar (6x6 or 4x4), RG-31 et al, and imagine them with in an ambulance configuration in the back, which means at least one stretcher berth if not two, plus oxygen bottles, medical equipment and so on... and then try and work out where you can mount a weapon station - that needs to be operated by a gunner - and where that station could possibly go that doesn't involve the gunner standing on either the patient or the medics. There are remote weapon stations out there like the Selex Enforcer or the Kongsberg Protector, but that still means you need space for the electronic gubbins and an associated crew station, and space in ambulances is always, always at a premium. It's really something that would need to be designed into the vehicle to begin with, rather than added to an existing production model. Using a bigger vehicle doesn't make it any easier - if you scale up from a theoretical Cougar-based protected ambulance to something like a Buffalo-based ambulance, then you've got the problem of the medics - a lot of whom seem to be 5th percentile females - having to raise stretchers above head height to get patients into the back of the wagon, which isn't something you can really do... so you then have to look at some kind of winching/lifting mechanism that can be operated under stressful circumstances, and which is also going to need to fit in the back of the wagon along with the weapon station, med equipment, etc, etc.

Someone may go out and design a vehicle that can solve all of these problems, but I suspect it's a problem that's likely to continue to be solved by simply sending escort vehicles out with the ambulances. After all, how often to you have vehicles working in multiples smaller than 2 vehicles?
Title: Re: 'Mech of the Week: BT1 Chaffee ServiceMech
Post by: I am Belch II on 03 December 2016, 20:46:55
Nice write up.