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Author Topic: How Much Does Having A Dedicated Gunner Increase a 'mechs combat efficiency?  (Read 2050 times)

Dayton3

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I know in various novels it has been said that some 'mechs with a second seat in the cockpit have used them to seat a gunner who fires the weapons (much like the backseater in larger tactical fighters today) while the front seater simply moves or pilots the 'mech.

And IIRC the Superheavy (over 100 ton) triple legged 'mechs have a dedicated gunner position aboard though I'm rather unfamiliar with those.

How much does having a second person control the 'mechs weapons increase its combat efficiency?    Or are there other good reasons to have a second crewman aboard?

Firesprocket

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For the majority of battlemechs you have to have a Cockpit command console to get benefits with the regular rule set.  The second pilot allows you to spot for any type of indirect fire without incurring he standard modified or shoot indirectly and ignore that modifier as well.  If you force commander is not piloting and is the observer you can also get a +2 init bonus while he remains in that position and doesn't have to take over piloting duties.

There are additional rules in older supplements for additional benefits, but they were not rolled into the most recent rules set that I am aware of.

For Tripods:

Dedicated Pilot: A dedicated pilot applies a –1 target modifier to
all Piloting Skill checks (including those made for Physical Attacks)
when operating a tripod ’Mech. This modifier is cumulative with the
normal modifiers for superheavy ’Mechs, as well as the normal –1
tripod ’Mech Piloting Skill modifier.

Dedicated Equipment/Gunnery Officer: As long as the tripod
has a dedicated gunner, it may select up to 3 primary targets per turn
before incurring the secondary target modifier

For Super Heavies you also have a tac officer that gets you an int bonus.

Hellraiser

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I know in various novels it has been said that some 'mechs with a second seat in the cockpit have used them to seat a gunner who fires the weapons (much like the backseater in larger tactical fighters today) while the front seater simply moves or pilots the 'mech.

And IIRC the Superheavy (over 100 ton) triple legged 'mechs have a dedicated gunner position aboard though I'm rather unfamiliar with those.

How much does having a second person control the 'mechs weapons increase its combat efficiency?    Or are there other good reasons to have a second crewman aboard?

The Novels are talking about the Command Console as Firesprocket noted.

Basically the Backseater is a Tactical Officer that is in the mech but is doing Leadership functions & can grant initiative bonuses.



The Dedicated Gunner concept has to do w/ a technology that is no longer canon IIRC.
I want to say it was from MW2 Companion or Tactical Handbook or Solaris, but it was essentially the Dual-Cockpit system.
In that system it was a true 2 person cockpit where you split functions into Pilot & Gunner.
The benefits were bonuses (+1) to the Gunnery/Piloting rolls IIRC.
This is sort of how the Tripods do it now.
This system was lighter, only 1 ton extra, because it didn't duplicate all functions & if 1 of the 2 positions was critted then the remaining mechwarrior was at Negatives to both abilities IIRC since he/she could neither focus on the primary function & didn't have a full set of controls for the secondary function.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

Dayton3

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Ah thanks.

Now do you get the modifier advantage simply by having the command console or does your Tactical Officer manning it require a certain level of skill set to take full advantage.

Firesprocket

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To get the benefits out of the command console you need to be in at least a heavy or assault unit or bigger.  You also need to be the force commander and some other small conditions which in friendly play are inconsequential.  As far as having a Tac officer, the benefits are continuous as long as your other crew members are not disabled and having to take over other duties for the other two members.

idea weenie

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Can't you use a second cockpit (or the 2-seater cockpit) to have two Mechwarriors?  One spends all their XP on being a better pilot (but putting a few points into Gunnery), and the other spends all their points in Gunnery and puts a few points in piloting.  Similar to modern attack helicopters.

So one might be a 2/4 P/G that handles driving the Mech, and the other is a 4/2 that handles the shooting.  At the start the Mech operates as if a 2/2 pilot is piloting it.  If one of the pilots passes out (due to heat?) the other can control everything, but using their skill level instead of the specialist's.  A generalist Mechwarrior might only be 3/3 (or 2/3) in comparison.

You also have to deal with 2 Mechwarrior paychecks instead of 1, while only fielding one Mech.  So higher costs for the unit while having a slightly better unit.  As always, trade-offs.

Hellraiser

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Can't you use a second cockpit (or the 2-seater cockpit) to have two Mechwarriors?  One spends all their XP on being a better pilot (but putting a few points into Gunnery), and the other spends all their points in Gunnery and puts a few points in piloting.  Similar to modern attack helicopters.

So one might be a 2/4 P/G that handles driving the Mech, and the other is a 4/2 that handles the shooting.  At the start the Mech operates as if a 2/2 pilot is piloting it.  If one of the pilots passes out (due to heat?) the other can control everything, but using their skill level instead of the specialist's.  A generalist Mechwarrior might only be 3/3 (or 2/3) in comparison.

You also have to deal with 2 Mechwarrior paychecks instead of 1, while only fielding one Mech.  So higher costs for the unit while having a slightly better unit.  As always, trade-offs.

That would be roughly how the "Dual-Cockpit" system worked.  1 Pilot,  1 Gunner.
So a 1/5 + 5/1 would act as a 0/0  (1/1 skills w/ +1 bonuses to roles)



The Command Console doesn't give bonuses to skills & either warrior can control it, but, its not a combo of the best, its just 1 or the other.   Basically its 1 Mechwarrior + 1 Leader/Tactical Officer.


There are a couple cannon examples of Command Consoles in use in the Novels.

1.  Wo39 = Teddy Kurita riding backseat commanding the unit while Fujito Tetsuhura was piloting a Battlemaster w/ Command Console.

2.  Task Force Serpent = Ariana Winston being both MW & Commander in a Cyclops while her "Tactical Officer" was relaying data to & from her.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

Don Lunardi

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There are a couple cannon examples of Command Consoles in use in the Novels.

1.  Wo39 = Teddy Kurita riding backseat commanding the unit while Fujito Tetsuhura was piloting a Battlemaster w/ Command Console.

2.  Task Force Serpent = Ariana Winston being both MW & Commander in a Cyclops while her "Tactical Officer" was relaying data to & from her.

I was just re-reading Team Yankee about a Mixed US Armor/Inf company in an imagined WWIII of the mid-80s, and it gave me more of an appreciation for just how abstracted command duties often are in BattleTech.  The main protagonist is the Captain of said company, and some detail is given to the challenges of trying to run his Tank in combat while managing the formation as a whole.  Indeed, there are times when he delegates the task of finding and destroying targets to his Gunner while he focuses on the bigger battle.

But in BTech we don't really get much of a feel for this, certainly not at the company level.  At the battalion level you might have a separate command lance, but at Company and Lance levels the formation leader has little support in trying to run His/Her 'Mech AND manage the units under His/Her command.  Too often we see Unit Leaders as some kind of Mini Boss or Big Boss figure, both in terms of Combat Skills and 'Mech piloted (The Clans of course take this too an extreme, but its prevalent in many IS formations too).  This has more in common with game systems like WH40K than it does with the reality of such situations

Operation Klondike book said it best with the quote from a former SLDF Vet along the lines of knowing a lot of soldiers who were a crack shot in a 'Mech but couldn't lead a unit worth a damn.
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Hellraiser

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I was just re-reading Team Yankee about a Mixed US Armor/Inf company in an imagined WWIII of the mid-80s, and it gave me more of an appreciation for just how abstracted command duties often are in BattleTech.  The main protagonist is the Captain of said company, and some detail is given to the challenges of trying to run his Tank in combat while managing the formation as a whole.  Indeed, there are times when he delegates the task of finding and destroying targets to his Gunner while he focuses on the bigger battle.

As a former tank gunner, I can say that the Commander has a much better 360 view than the gunner & overview of the battlefield, gunners have tunnel vision forced on them, but once your have the gunner in the right area, yeah, you "could" go semi hands off & let the gunner shoot anything sticking out as an obvious target.
I've done more than a few simulation battles as well w/o either a Command or a Gunner & running on a 3 man crew so its quite possible if not optimal.

I don't know how Mechwarrior Company Commanders do it really.
I think the best CO mechs are those that are focused on long range firepower, preferably LRMs so they can focus on coordinating the other units w/o having to be in heavy shoot/move combat themselves.

I've never read that series, but a friend has recommended it several times so I keep meaning to look into it.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

mbear

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I finally figured out the perfect metaphor for me to understand the Command Console. It's like a naval flagship's flag bridge. It has the screens and communication gear to see the entire battlefield. The front seat guy is like the flagship's captain: His job is to deal with the ship and immediate threats.

Now if the FSG gets killed or knocked out the BSG can take over fighting the 'Mech, but that means his attention isn't on the battlefield as a whole.
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Battletech transport rules take a very feline approach to moving troops in a combat zone: If they fits, they ships.

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