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Author Topic: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics  (Read 853 times)

Crow

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Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« on: 25 August 2020, 12:40:33 »
I was thinking of combining a force of fast medium and heavy Mechs with beefy 3/5 and 4/6 MBT bricks.

Does anyone else use these types of tactics? What's your record of success?
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Challenger

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #1 on: 25 August 2020, 17:11:18 »
I’ve seen this in use and as long as you can contrive to force your enemy to engage the hammer it is quite effective, particularly against an enemy who isn’t used to seeing vehicle as a primary combat force.

Just be aware that a canny enemy might try and immobilise some of your vehicles then fall back, effectively mission killing them on the cheap. Also if they can tempt your hammer into difficult terrain, you might find yourself embroiled in a fight your vehicles can’t join.

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #2 on: 25 August 2020, 18:14:47 »
I think the sort of tactic you're talking about can work, but with the 'Mechs and tanks swapped -- beefy heavy and assault 'Mechs as the anvil with swifter vehicles as the anvil. The problem with your formulation, as Challenger pointed out, is that any player worth their salt will just immobilize your MBTs, pull back and then defeat your fast units in detail. The other way around, though, that's not usually as much of a problem.
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #3 on: 25 August 2020, 18:26:44 »
  I've used variations of it a couple of times, usually a dug in defending force and a flanking mobile unit. The first time was fending off an assault on a city, where the 'mechs were sent out and waited until the attackers committed, then my 'mechs would sweep in while the attackers were busy trying to force their way through the first defensive layer. I've used the same tactic with woods and defenders in hardened positions.

   I don't differentiate between 'mechs and vehicles. You want your defenders to be well dug in and able to last under fire, while your "hammer" has to be swift enough to get into position and flank the opponent's units. You want to hold him by the nose and kick him in the posterior (I don't need another warning from the Admins...but that part of Patton's speech was far more graphic)...

  I alway plan to turn every defensive operation into a counter-offensive, as per Zhukov. Just winning a battle is not enough. Sending an attacker away may satisfy the GM but not me as a player. Always destroy an enemy when given the chance.

  A hammer & anvil tactic might not work on a cautious opponent, and many of the players in my club learned to use extreme caution when I was on the opposing side, often employing Soviet-style "artillery prep" of pounding the edges of any defenses long before committing to attack. What that usually did was allowed my flanking force to maneuver behind them and even send fast units to destroy their artillery. The key to an offense is speed and concentrated firepower. A delay only allows defenders to dig in more or shift units to positions to counter the attacker.

  Terrain makes all the difference. Open terrain makes H&A far more difficult as it is essentially a semi-mobile ambush. The anvil is usually a place where the attacker has to take or traverse, such as a city or wooded area. Given time, a defender knowing the travel path of the attacker could dig in and camouflage the anvil but that's where quality recon units will save a force. Once an anvil out in the open is discovered, an attacker can opt to avoid it or take the time to pound it with artillery from a safe distance and inflict casualties at low risk.

  There are units that specialize in H&A tactics. You might look for a unit able to use off board movement coupled with those who get bonuses as defenders or urban combat.

  Being a defender in the BTU is fairly easy, as most wargames give attackers a 3 to 1 number/strength advantage to make things even. It takes patience and a lot of pre-scenario planning and coordination.
  H&A tactics work well against non-wargamers, as BT usually is a straightforward game that entails little deception, whereas, H&A is an ambush. In my club, I would go as far as to have my commanders swap seats around the table to trick the opponents into believing that they would be seated nearest to their units...and ALL fights were under double-blind conditions with unit positions on the map recorded. I then would place several dummy units about the board to further distract and confuse my opponents.
  You can take advantage of an opponent when they have no clue of an ambush or, once you gain sufficient reputation, they may assume that every game includes an ambush and plays accordingly...

 
« Last Edit: 25 August 2020, 18:29:42 by Mohammed As`Zaman Bey »

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #4 on: 26 August 2020, 00:46:50 »

Generally speaking, using vehicles as an anvil against a mech force is a bad idea because of how much more vulnerable vehicles are than mechs in BT play.  Vehicles suffer much easier movement-reducing hits, vehicles have substantially worse critical hit tables, and any destroyed section completely disables a vehicle while mechs can fight on with missing limbs and torso sections.  Then there’s other disparities like physical attacks and access to freezers, endo-steel, etc.  An anvil is supposed to fix, i.e., stop,  the enemy force.  Vehicles have a very hard time doing that against mechs.

There are ways to even the playing field through careful force selection and optional rules, like a bunch of Schildkrotes in hull-down positions.  But the inherent mech bias in the basic game rules makes vehicle weaknesses compared to mechs practically impossible to fully overcome.

Using faster vehicles as the hammer with mechs as the anvil is marginally better.  But it still presents the enemy with a weaker force to go after first.  And they will if they have half-a-brain and can generate some decent to-hit numbers via good gunners, LB-X, pulse weapons, etc.

IMO, vehicles should never be involved in direct, line combat with mechs, as hammers, anvils, or otherwise.  Vehicles should be used where their combat weaknesses matter little or not at all:  artillery, indirect fire support, distant or well-screened fire support, spotting, recon (active probe sweeps), etc.  Or doing things that mechs cannot do, like APCs/IFVs or brown/blue water units.

If vehicles are going to engage in direct, line combat with mechs, it should be done with the understanding that the vehicles are expendable, like Hetzers and SRM Carriers firing from hidden positions in buildings during an urban battle.

Of course, some factions don’t get to choose mechs over vehicles — Hell’s Horses, Society, planetary militia, Periphery scum — so you make the best of what’s available.

But as a general rule of thumb, I would avoid picking and using combat vehicles in direct, line combat against mechs.
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #5 on: 26 August 2020, 02:33:50 »
But as a general rule of thumb, I would avoid picking and using combat vehicles in direct, line combat against mechs.
  The thought that vehicles are too fragile to face 'mechs has long been outmoded. The most recent rules have made both vehicles and infantry far greater challenge to 'Mechs than they have ever been, to the point that in some discussions, some players question why Light 'Mechs are used at all.
  Give me a company of engineers and I'll have an enemy 'Mech commander calling for artillery and aero to cover their retreat from a similar weight force of vehicles and infantry...and no attacking 'mech would get close enough to attempt a physical attack without paying for it, if they survive. H&A isn't some set meeting engagement scenario, it is a planned ambush set to trap, cripple and destroy a unit, not merely trade shots until one side loses interest, as most BT scenarios. The attacker is being flanked, which means no matter which direction they may turn, one force may have back shots, which more than makes up for the imaginary weakness of vehicles. Most players panic at being surrounded, especially when they have to think how to escape the trap.

   Facing a combined armed force of 'mechs and vehicles, targeting the vehicles first only means you are ignoring the 'mechs, which are slightly harder to kill but will enjoy being ignored.
  Facing Clans, combined arms H&A is particularly deadly, as most Clan forces will ignore vehicles and prioritize more "honorable" targets. I have taken advantage of this flaw many times, with great success.
Playing as Clan Ghost Bear, even I fell for a similar trap, and lost an Assault Cluster without inflicting a single loss on the enemy, due to massed fire from every direction destroying my units so quickly. Sure, the enemy was Genyosha but I would not have believed it had I not experienced it. I congratulated the defenders and made a point to never use textbook Clan tactics, as they only work in the fiction, under obsolete rules, and against normal BT players.

  Pre-WW2 tactics seem to work best for 'mechs, the kind applied to fighting formations and cavalry, where numbers make a difference.

Colt Ward

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #6 on: 26 August 2020, 16:49:11 »
Responding later- tag
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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #7 on: 29 August 2020, 23:44:41 »
If you can position the tanks, dig them in or put them inside some buildings, or otherwise use terrain to their advantage, tanks can be a very tough nut to crack regardless of their vulnerabilities.
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #8 on: 30 August 2020, 21:30:02 »
If you can position the tanks, dig them in or put them inside some buildings, or otherwise use terrain to their advantage, tanks can be a very tough nut to crack regardless of their vulnerabilities.
  Exactly. If you are setting up an ambush, they could be in prepared revetments that block side shots, with nothing but turrets showing. I've designed trailers as portable bunkers dropped into holes in the ground, only turrets visible, with armor maxed -I'll trade shots with 'mechs any day.

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #9 on: 30 August 2020, 21:46:05 »
I’ve been playing a lot of very late Jihad scenarios lately - basically Blakist hold outs, mostly Protectorate Militia conducting last ditch or hold off actions.
And because of this, I’ve had some successes doing just this.

I recently took a mixed battalion of Blakist PM against about the same from invading ComGuards and Lyran troops.
The scenario was a holding action while nearby command and rear area elements retreated across a bridge. Objective was to hosp for XX turns and not take too many casualties.
My PM only really had light and Mediums Mechs (heaviest Mech was a pair of Flashmans), supporting a heavy tank company, artillery and a mixed bag of infantry - one mechanised, heavy infantry platoon with field guns, a full company of leg infantry fluffed as cadets rounded up from the adjacent military academy and a platoon of light motorised scouts. Finally, a full platoon of Nighthawk BA.

I used the Mechs as flankers, supported by some VTOLs To harasses the coalition forces, spotting for arty and generally leading them forward.
I stuffed up by flying my Nighthawks up to the enemy, thinking I could drop them on a flank and call in artillery. All I did was get them shot down...

Meanwhile, the armour, field guns and infantry were dug in along a broad hill, anchored by some light and medium buildings (I fluffed as said academy).
We had a very shallow mine field, broadly thrown out and concentrated on the gentle rise of the hill on the left flank.

Anyway - Protectorate Militia performed damn well. The bot basically fought its way through my light screening Mechs and three itself on the heavy armour and infantry.
Both sides soaked up serious casualties but I left a lot of Coalition Mechs smoking at the foot of the hill.

Then I used my light elements to roll up one flank, killing (I think!) a whole Coalition Lance between the armour and Mechs in one round.

We were seriously bloodied by the end but held for enough time to win the scenario


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Crow

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #10 on: 31 August 2020, 05:29:18 »
So I want to implement this idea for the Society Cell that I am making. I was thinking of using a Trey of mostly heavy vees (LB-X Carrier, Royal Fury, Royal Von Luckner, Rhino, Alacorn etc) as "Anvil" and a Sept of Pariahs or other fast Mechs/Protos as the "Hammer." I think that this would work in an ambush scenario, but obviously not in the open field. I would have to park the vees in an area of the battlefield and try to channel the OpFor into the killzone with artillery and the aforesaid "Anvil." But you know "No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force..."

The other thought was to use entirely light vees, like hovercraft and Flatbed LRM (IDF with NARC ammo) to harass from behind cover while the Mechs and well armored Protos take the damage.
« Last Edit: 31 August 2020, 05:36:48 by Crow »
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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #11 on: 31 August 2020, 11:19:44 »
Using vehicles as an "anvil" works on the defensive if they're supported by a couple of 'Mechs, or if you have a LOT of them.  The ability of 'Mechs to enter the hex of an enemy vehicle, essentially standing on the vehicle, makes it impossible for the vehicle to defend itself, as neither can shoot at 0 range, but the 'Mech can "stomp" the vehicle in the physical combat phase.  You NEED several closely positioned vehicles with turrets to cover for each other, which unfortunately makes them more vulnerable to artillery fire, or else a few 'Mechs to support them directly against enemy 'Mechs that close to physical range.  On the offensive, they're vulnerable to being immobilized, and a pillbox sitting 20+ hexes behind your lines doesn't do you much good.

A "hammer" can consist of either 'Mechs, FAST vehicles, or a mix, but if you employ slower units for this role, the enemy is likely to chase them down first, leaving your anvil somewhere else with no shots while your hammer gets hammered.  If your anvil is strong enough to survive for a while against the enemy on its own, then a hammer force striking from behind after the enemy is already engaged can be effective, but that's mainly a good way of compounding an advantage that you already have, not for an even match.  A couple of fast harassment units in this role can either draw off enemy units before they engage your anvil, deliver back-shots with relative impunity if the enemy chooses to ignore them, or draw away enemy fire at bad odds instead of taking GOOD shots at your main line.  In several cases, backshooting enemy units that had already been savaged from the front turned out to be less than optimal, since by that time their back armor was in considerably better shape than their front.

Since most lance-level or smaller BT combat essentially devolves into a punching and kicking match at 1 hex range, vehicles are generally at a disadvantage.  In larger games with company-plus sized forces, units can take concentrated fire and be put down at range in a turn or two, physical combat is less relevant, and vehicles become viable alternatives.

Having a couple of vehicles providing supporting fire from a few hexes behind your front lines can be a more BV or C-Bill affordable alternative to paying for a support 'Mech, although the vehicle is likely to die or become immobile a lot faster than a 'Mech if it does take concentrated fire.  I've generally had excellent results with such an arrangement, but it's failed on occasion when the opponent used expendable fast units to hit my support vehicles, and my die rolls weren't sufficient to take out the Kamikaze tank-hunters in time.  They're generally not my first choice for a front line unit, due to their vulnerability to SRM and LBX spam.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #12 on: 31 August 2020, 13:44:08 »
  The ability of 'Mechs to enter the hex of an enemy vehicle, essentially standing on the vehicle, makes it impossible for the vehicle to defend itself, as neither can shoot at 0 range, but the 'Mech can "stomp" the vehicle in the physical combat phase. 
  Never forget that vehicles work very well with infantry support, and can demolish a 'Mech able to jump over or cross the mines, traps and impediments that surround the vehicles. H&A is almost never applied in a meeting engagement, although I have done variations of the "L" ambush, with a hardened defense in the travel path of my opponent as the anvil and a line of attackers that swept in from one flank.
I've used H&A on a column on road march, when my opponent was trying to make the best time for his vehicles. Of course, the vehicles and truck-mounted infantry were assigned to the least experienced player, the opposite what I do, because any idiot can point and shoot with the heavy 'mech but it takes faster thinking to keep those more fragile assets alive. Once the trap was sprung, the vehicles were ordered to rush the anvil and hit the minefield...the commander then ordered the subordinate to avoid the "obvious trapped" intersection, so the subcommander backed over the minefield, to make sure he didn't miss any. Watching your opponent pound his head on the desk: Priceless.

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #13 on: 31 August 2020, 17:36:52 »
So I want to implement this idea for the Society Cell that I am making. I was thinking of using a Trey of mostly heavy vees (LB-X Carrier, Royal Fury, Royal Von Luckner, Rhino, Alacorn etc) as "Anvil" and a Sept of Pariahs or other fast Mechs/Protos as the "Hammer." I think that this would work in an ambush scenario, but obviously not in the open field.

Again, if at all possible, I’d avoid vehicles in direct fire/combat roles.  Vees have at least six substantial liabilities baked into their hit location and critical hit tables vice mechs:

1) Any hit on a vee has a 36% chance (roll of 3, 4, 5, or 9) of motive system damage.  Mechs do not suffer this vulnerability.

2) From the front or rear, vehicles have double the probability of an automatic critical hit (on 2 or 12 or 5.6% total) vice mechs (2 only or 2.8%).  From the side, the probability of a critical hit on a vehicle rises 7-fold (on 2, 8, or 12 or 19.5% total) vice mechs (still 2 only 2.8%)

3) Critical hits on vees are truly automatic.  Unlike mechs, there is no 2d6 threshold below which the critical hit can be avoided.

4) The critical hit table for vees is riddled with results that automatically disable/destroy the vee like crew stunned, crew killed, ammunition, fuel tank, turret blown off, etc.  Short of head cockpit hits or designs with ammo in the center torso or head, mechs don’t have these vulnerabilities.

5) Vees have only five hit locations, vice 11 hit location on mechs.  This usually means that damage gets spread around on mechs before penetrating, while vees get penetrated, even with relatively thicker armor, more quickly.

6) Destroying the internal structure on a section of a vee kills the vee while mechs can survive with destroyed limbs and side torsos.

Vees just get shafted left, right, up, and down in terms of survivability.  And then vees have all their other disadvantages vice mechs: aforementioned physical attacks from the same hex, construction (no endo, no freezers, etc.), etc.

Smart designs (like vees with armored motive systems) or optional rules (hull down) or certain terrain/scenarios (urban ambush) can mitigate some of these disadvantages.  But’s difficult to impossible to overcome them completely in a well-balanced game. 

Outside of special designs/rules/conditions, vees really need overwhelming numbers or a serious BV/tonnage imbalance to have a fair shot at defeating a mech force in direct combat.

For all these reasons, I’d stick to some of your earlier Society formations where vees were restricted to support units like the Pollux ADA and Mobile HQ.  Just much smarter, especially from the Society perspective of upsetting Clan norms of warfare. 

But if you really have to do it, then your vees really need to be screened and guarded, regardless of rules/conditions.  Given that this is the Society, some shorter-ranged protos are the way to go.  (Would be Elementals if this was the Clans).

You need enough protos to fix slower approaching mechs so they just don’t roll up/over those slow, long-ranged vees.  And your protos need to be mobile enough to deter faster mechs so they just don’t zoom straight at/around/through/behind those slow, long-ranged vees.

Of course, with all this proto escort/fixing/guarding, it again begs the question of why use vees in direct combat, which leads to...

Quote
The other thought was to use entirely light vees, like hovercraft and Flatbed LRM (IDF with NARC ammo) to harass from behind cover while the Mechs and well armored Protos take the damage.

This is a much smarter and more Society-like use of vees.  Cheap fast spotters that are hard to target and cheap mobile indirect fire support that can stay out of harm’s way.  Maybe add some vee artillery and vee support like a Mobile HQ and call it a Sept.
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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #14 on: 14 September 2020, 00:03:41 »
I think the sort of tactic you're talking about can work, but with the 'Mechs and tanks swapped -- beefy heavy and assault 'Mechs as the anvil with swifter vehicles as the anvil. The problem with your formulation, as Challenger pointed out, is that any player worth their salt will just immobilize your MBTs, pull back and then defeat your fast units in detail. The other way around, though, that's not usually as much of a problem.

Bingo, against heavily armed opponents even the heaviest tanks just melt, and their efficiency is completely lost as their mobility is robbed. I think Kojak is right here, Natasha Kerensky highlighted some really good reasons as to why vehicles are just not ideally suited for the "Anvil" role. Really, the vehicles are going to work best if they are not being directly engaged as primary threats.

Any player responding to your initial proposed tactic worth their salt will either 1) cripple the vehicles first and flee, leaving the hammer without a support element, or 2) close to melee range and as others have pointed out, literally stomp your anvil while engaging the hammer conventionally. Using heavy vehicles the anvil just has no opportunity to maneuver and dictate where the fights going to be. The only way this works is if you are in a defensive scenario and goad the opponent into attacking your anvil.

For combined forces vehicles work best when supported with infantry and I have found that light fast hover vehicles acting as a "Hammer" while your mechs work as the Anvil is probably the better tactic. Players will tend to ignore lighter vehicles like Saracens, Saladins, Harrassers, etc if they are entangled in mech on mech fights, but the fast hovers can use their firepower to backshoot and shred mech elements. Heavy vehicles are best used as support elements where they can lob indirect fire (or at least unanswered fire) in support of a unit that is going to be tanking damage for them. 

So if you have a company or so sized mech unit (Anvil) that ideally engages first and starts entangling your opponent then you can use a few lances of fast hovers to slide in and play wrecking ball, hopefully while being supplemented with indirect fire from LRM boat vehicles.
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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #15 on: 14 September 2020, 01:46:12 »
X
« Last Edit: 17 September 2020, 05:05:41 by Major Headcase »

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #16 on: 14 September 2020, 03:45:26 »
I've used this a few times.
Mixed force of 2 vehicle Lance's (heavy) and 2 mech Lance's (mixed. Medium average).
Opponent used 3 mech Lance's (mixed. Medium average) and 1vehicle lance (Medium).
I usually win, but the tanks suffer. I dont care much about motive hits since I plant the tanks in cover and don't move much at all. A lot of success/failure can depend on the maps used and the mission type.
The tanks put out enough firepower they cant be ignored, and I tend to take fast mechs for their weight classes, so the tanks look like easier targets that need killing anyway. Then I focus my fire on one enemy at a time.
Again, my tanks take it in the chin, but a win is a win! Unless its campaign play... but even then, tanks are cheaper to replace than mechs, so...  :thumbsup:

  Exactly. It the anvil has to move at all, the player screwed up. Motive crits have no meaning, as the vehicles won't be part of any pursuit. The same with being overrun, the mechs aren't allowed to do that by properly placed impediments to movement. The mechs shouldn't even survive to close with the anvil and dug-in infantry would make sure anything stupid enough to close doesn't escape.

  If the enemy runs, it is still a victory.

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #17 on: 17 September 2020, 05:33:26 »
So - there's all sorts of meta questions here - what balancing factors and environments are we talking about?

For Hammer and Anvil tactics of any kind to work the enemy MUST commit to engaging the Anvil before the hammer is swung.  For example if an enemy force is assaulting a defensive line to try and breach through. 

 - If the enemy force can easily disengage from the Anvil and pivot and isolate the hammer then you are done.
 - If the enemy can inflict crippling damage on the Anvil before the hammer lands then you are done.
 - If the enemy can render significant portions of the Anvil tactically irrelevant then you are done. (e.g. outranging static defences, artillary bombardments, dropping smoke and punching a hole, moving around a static line etc.)
 

 - If you can sandwich a force in between 2 of your forces and have them in effective range of a good amount of the armament of both forces simultaneously then you have found an advantage.  This will make it easy for you to select vulnerable targets, fire at lightly armoured locations, force unfavourable ranges and make it difficult for them to find effective cover.

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #18 on: 17 September 2020, 12:27:06 »
So - there's all sorts of meta questions here - what balancing factors and environments are we talking about?
  In campaign. If the battle isn't won before it's begun, the player screwed up.
  Balance is a set scenario artificiality, and turns an ambush into a meeting engagement.
  Imagine playing Operation Market Garden and one player stating: "I'm not going to bother dropping anything even close to Nijmegen and Arnhem because I know it's a death trap and 30th Corps can't reach it in time." Which is the same as looking at the mission and saying "I don't care what Strategic Command orders -I know better and won't go there."
 
  Imagine how much better wars would be if commanders knew enough to refuse orders from their superiors and avoided fighting at all.

  Scenarios exist for a reason, usually to recreate a previous to see how a players using similar forces could change the outcome, or to confirm that an historical outcome could not be significantly changed, such as Market Garden, Stalingrad or the Alamo. Opting to play another game, such as Monopoly, is always a viable choice...but kind of defeats the purpose.

  A BTU campaign is pretty much an open world sandbox, which allows the player to stack the deck, depending on their ability, as well as die like General Custer. for similar reasons and I've done my share of both over 50 years of war gaming.

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Re: Hammer (Mech) Anvil (Heavy Vees) tactics
« Reply #19 on: 21 September 2020, 08:28:25 »
  In campaign. If the battle isn't won before it's begun, the player screwed up.
  Balance is a set scenario artificiality, and turns an ambush into a meeting engagement.
  Imagine playing Operation Market Garden and one player stating: "I'm not going to bother dropping anything even close to Nijmegen and Arnhem because I know it's a death trap and 30th Corps can't reach it in time." Which is the same as looking at the mission and saying "I don't care what Strategic Command orders -I know better and won't go there."
 
  Imagine how much better wars would be if commanders knew enough to refuse orders from their superiors and avoided fighting at all.

  Scenarios exist for a reason, usually to recreate a previous to see how a players using similar forces could change the outcome, or to confirm that an historical outcome could not be significantly changed, such as Market Garden, Stalingrad or the Alamo. Opting to play another game, such as Monopoly, is always a viable choice...but kind of defeats the purpose.

  A BTU campaign is pretty much an open world sandbox, which allows the player to stack the deck, depending on their ability, as well as die like General Custer. for similar reasons and I've done my share of both over 50 years of war gaming.

I have literally no idea what point you are trying to make here.

EVERY battle has balancing factors/environments and they have a huge impact on what tactics are effective or even viable.  Perhaps you are running a 3x3 mapsheet where the opposition force move onto the centre North mapsheet and move 30% by BV off the south edge of the centre south mapsheet to win while you as the defender may deploy on any of the 8 remaining mapsheets (but not off map), balanced by BV and .  This might be a good example of a Tank Anvil + Mech Hammer scenario as the Anvil will prevent the attacker from punching but cannot be easily not engaged while the Hammer can surround and force difficult choices for the Attacked like which way to point that front armour.  Especially if they are using tanks too and you can track them preventing them from escaping - winning by mission kill.  Heavy Tanks for an Anvil are an excellent choice here as the prepared defenses and static position reduces issues around hit locations, speed and motive crits and makes them very BV efficient.

On the other hand a rolling map skirmish like you might play on Megamek balanced by Tonnage would render the vehicle choice sub optimal (as big slow tanks are sub optimal by tonnage) and could easily lead to defeat in detail if your hammer strays too far from your anvil, and if they have artillery and you don't heavy tanks can become quickly immobilised and then zero'd in without having to engage them directly.

So absolutely - Hammer and Anvil, heavy tank/fast mech tactics can work and can even be efficient but it massively depends on the situation.

 

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