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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #009 (repost) - Transgressor  (Read 3676 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #009 (repost) - Transgressor
« on: 07 February 2011, 20:33:56 »
TR-13 Transgressor - 75t, TRO3025 and beyond
Originally posted 12 Jan. 2005.

  All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread.


  I am told one should never give in to rage (or, in this case, Rage ;)), but in this case, we have a welcome exception: the TR-13 Transgressor.  Some people complain about the 'fiat-ridden' way the Capellan Confederation got curb-stomped by Hanse Davion; others complain that they shouldn't even exist after that same mauling.  Those in the latter camp would do well to look at designs like the VND-1R Vindicator and the TR-13 Transgressor and realise that, as much as the CapCon might have been written as Generic Dumb Baddies in the Warrior Trilogy, they actually had some damned good hardware at their disposal and it could have caused the Fox's forces a great deal of grief if half Max Liao's senior officers hadn't been Davion plants (or if the man himself hadn't been nuttier than a muesli bar).  Those in the former camp can point to these same designs and say "You see?  These are what kept you from finishing the job back in '28!"  (They usually go on to gloat about how those same designs did the job right in '57, which rarely endears them to the other gamers in their group.  ;D)


SUCCESSION WARS:

  Like a thin man trapped within the body of a fat one, the base TR-13 Transgressor is a medium fighter in a heavy's tonnage; seventy-five tons is the lower limit of the 'heavy' category, but intriguingly, it remains just light enough to use the largest L1 engine going, the 300SFE.  Seventy-five-tons of aerofighter moving at 6/9 is the sort of weapons platform that always makes the other guy a little nervous, and the standard five tons of fuel means it has legs as long as most other fighters, too.  }:)  No less than fourteen tons of the all-up weight is devoted to standard armour, making for an 82/51/40 profile - this means that the nose is immune to TACs from almost anything short of a PPC and that the ubiquitous medium lasers can threshold only the stern.  And the weapons fit?  [whimper!]  The nose and wings each mount a large and a medium laser, with a fourth ML in the tailplane to discourage the little guys, and the thing mounts twenty-five heat sinks.  Twenty-five heat-sinks, people - the Transgressor can fire all three of its larges and still remain under its maximum capacity, or hammer the other guy with two larges and three mediums at close range while remaining totally heat-neutral!  }:)  An alpha-strike puts you eight points in the hole, making it a tactic of last resort, but with that exception, the Transgressor's medium- and short-range arsenal is like a woman's Little Black Dress: it's suitable for virtually all occasions.  ;D
  Another point of interest is the Transgressor's formidable attack capability.  While Transits' AC/20s make them hole-punching monsters, the Transgressor makes a fearsome strafer (remember that flashbulb arsenal with the great heat capability to cool off between passes?  }:)) and carries a maximum external load of fifteen tons while retaining a 3/5 curve, which makes for all kinds of "Owch!"  And while an individual Transgressor's lasers are not grouped together in a fashion that makes them ideal for anti-ship duties, a six-plane squadron is a valid threat: three 5-point and three 3-point Capital bays are enough to trash a DropShip or JumpShip but good, and even smaller WarShips of the SLDF era like the Vincent, Essex or Lola-III classes should view a Transgressor squadron with a certain degree of unease.  :D)

  Given all this, the Transgressor must necessarily be the CCAF's workhorse - the Thrush is far too speedy and delicate to be anything but a first-layer interceptor, and the Transit is manifestly a specialist attack bird.  Being that it matches Free Worlder Stingrays and FedSuns Corsairs for performance and has better armour and a weapons-to-heat ratio slightly superior to either of those normal adversaries, the TR-13 can ruin their days quite easily in the right hands.

  As utility fighters with a strong accent on dogfighting prowess, Trangressors can be used to mix it up with almost any other medium or heavy fighter at will - they have the guns, the armour, and the attitude to hang-and-bang with almost anything else flying - but they need to be careful that they don't get arrogant.  Lighter aircraft can still out-manoeuvre them, so teamwork and mutual support are essential; never leave your wingmate, never let the enemy isolate a wing-pair and concentrate their attention on it, and always, always keep escorts close by to complicate the other guy's plans.
  (Momentary aside: this above point leads to an interesting tactical gambit I personally refer to as the 'skeet shoot' method of tail-clearance.  A friendly wing-pair finding itself pursued by hostiles can simply fly across the noses of a Transgressor wing-pair and watch in relief as their assailants blow away on the solar wind.  Alternately, one can use Thrushes (which are of little other use and need to earn their pay somehow) to lead, herd or otherwise lure/force enemy wing-pairs in front of such a Transgressor formation... then the TR-7s come up short to stay clear of the fire zone, shout "PULL!", and enjoy the ensuing fireworks.  ;D)
  Also, you must remember to respect heavier firepower.  A Stuka's LRMs or a Stingray's PPC can threshold you from all angles at extended range, so either avoid them like the plague, or make them your primary target, in which case you should get in close and knife 'em before they can make best use of the rapier those weapons systems represent.  Similarly, the primary threat from FWL Rievers is that godawful AC/20, so once again you should either stay out of its reach, or use your agility to get in behind him fast and rip him to pieces before he can shake you off.

  Unfortunately for the opposition, the TR-13 takes a lot of handling, so if you expect Transgressors, you'd better bring three things:
  1) a plan, an alternate plan, a contingency plan, and the readiness to improvise if/when all those plans don't work,
  2) your 'A' game,
  3) a goodly supply of "The Defence Department regrets to inform you..." letters.  }:)
  AFFS players have the better options list: they can bring Stukas to soften up TR-13s with LRMs before the merge, and Corsairs to mix it up with them after; Sparrowhawks should be reserved to keep the Thrushes from making pests of themselves.  FWLM players have only one real response to the Transgressor, the F-90 Stingray, but it's a good one, possessed of both decent enough heat-management and weapons that can generate TACs from most angles and at ranges matching the Transgressors' own.  Once again, Cheetahs should be used to fend off the Thrushes and the Rievers should stick to their attack runs.

  In this time-period, there is only one variant on the Transgressor, the TR-14 model, which trades away all the large lasers and a ton of armour for an AC/20 and ten bursts' worth of ammunition.  This variant is described as 'popular', but I'm not quite sure why: the heat problems are gone (firing everything you have leaves you eight under your maximum dissipation capacity), but you've lost the Medium range bracket that made the TR-13 more than a sitting target, you now have to worry about running out of ammunition, and large lasers can now threshold your nose and knock out your primary weapon from outside its own range.  This one's an overgrown Transit and if used at all, should be used as such (mix a couple into a squadron of TR-10s and watch its heat efficiency soar!)

  [VARIANT PROPOSALS REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants, including my own, belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1340.0 .


3049 AND BEYOND:

  Foundtech brought the Capellans the TR-13A Transgressor, and there was much rejoicing on Sian, for what was once good now became sublime.  ;D  Reflecting the Capellan lack of infrastructure and the attendant inability to make gross structural alterations, the changes were strictly plug-and-play - DHS for the old singles, ER large lasers for the old Selitex Radonic standard larges - but the results undoubtedly lit up the eyes of every Transgressor driver in sight.  Simple maths tells us that the -13A has a heat-dissipation capacity of 50; however, it can generate only 48 heat, and that only by shooting both ways at once, so a formidable flashbulb now became an outright alpha-baby - an alpha-baby whose ERLLs now let it reach into Long range, offsetting range advantage of the enemy's counter-weapon of choice against Transgressors, the LRM rack.

  What was once a heavy-hitting brawler can now be used as a sniper as well, standing off to knock piece after piece off of a heavy target or an enemy formation with no worries about overheating; return fire is a concern, especially as more fighters begin mounting systems like the Gauss rifle and the ERPPC, but other than that, both your tactics and theirs remain about the same.  One key exception to this, however, is the need to beware of newer mid-size fighters like the FedSuns DARO-1 Dagger and the FWL LX-2 Lancer, both of which combine heavy firepower with superior mobility (and in the Dagger's case jaw-dropping toughness): do not, repeat do not try to turn with these aircraft.  If you must engage these new types, boom-and-zoom the bastards - shock 'em with your firepower, then get the hell out of Dodge before they get the number of the hovertruck that just ran 'em down.  ;)

  [VARIANT PROPOSALS REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants, including my own, belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1340.0 .

  Be advised: the attached .txt transcripts of previous runs of this thread contain numerous reader-proposals for variants.  I'll try to change those out for 'sanitised' versions of those threads when I can, but I can't promise it'll be soon - that's a lot of ground to cover.  ;)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #009 (repost) - Transgressor ('39 Update)
« Reply #1 on: 07 February 2011, 20:37:07 »
TR-** Transgressor – TRO3039 Update
Originally posted 14 May 2008.

  For all the overhauls that the fluff got in TRO3039, we actually find ourselves presented with a hint to the genesis of the TR-13 in the teasers for TRO3075, namely the origins of the EGL-R6 Eagle (in the FWL, no less.  Yeah, when you look at the name, that one kind'a becomes a no-brainer).  Pending the actual release of TRO'75, and given that the Liao/Marik border has been scarcely less contested than the FedSuns/CapCon DMZ over the centuries (the difference didn't get truly pronounced up until Serious Whoopsie IV), I would speculate that the TR-13's 'development process' was inspired by a situation seen in the middle of last century:
  [dissolve to WWII Germany]
  Panzer crews: Aw, man!  These new T-34 tanks are kicking our asses!  Hey, geniuses: we captured one of these things - make us a direct copy, so we can meet them on even terms!
  Geniuses: Okay - we can do that in six months or so.  But, y'know, anybody can do a direct copy: while we're working, we'll give it thicker armour... and a bigger gun... oh, and it'll need a more powerful engine to haul all that... and all those 'improvements' will make it too heavy for a lot of roads and bridges, give it serious reliability issues, and delay its deployment-date by a year or past our original estimate...
  Panzer crews: What part of 'direct copy' did you not understand, 'genius'?  Err, boss, some help here?
  Fuhrer: [looks at geniuses' schematics] I love this proposed heavy tank!  I'll call it the Tiger, and I want it - screw the delays!
  [The delays help Germany lose its current war, badly.]
  Panzer crews: Nice going, schmuck.

  [dissolve to CapCon, several centuries later]
  Aero-Jocks: Aw, man!  These new Eagle starfighters are kicking our asses!  Hey, geniuses: we captured one of these things - make us a direct copy, so we can meet them on even terms!
  Geniuses: Okay - we can do that in six months or so.  But, y'know, anybody can do a direct copy: while we're working, we'll give it thicker armour... and bigger guns... oh, and it'll need a more powerful engine to haul all that...
  Aero-Jocks: What part of 'direct copy' did you not understand, 'genius'?  Err, boss, some help here?
  Chancellor: [looks at map] 'Perfect' next week will be too late to matter - we need 'good enough' right now.  Make a direct copy!
  Geniuses: But -
  Chancellor: I have firing squads.
  Geniuses: Direct copy it is!
  [The TR-13's speedy deployment means the CapCon survives its current war - and several more that follow.]
  Geniuses: Okay, maybe the 'direct copy' thing wasn't such a dumb idea after all.
  Aero-Jocks:  Nah.  Really?

  But that's enough of my stand-up routine.  Back to TRO3039.  ;D
  It's in the 'deployment' section that we start to see the bigger changes to the TR-13's fluff.  Naturally and logically, with only two Transit and one Transgressor factory left after the fallout from Hanse Davion's wedding speech, the CCAF fighter corps got top-heavy very quickly.  Personally, I would have considered this a good thing: despite the shortage of interceptors, this combination of 6/9 starfighters, one with an AC/20 for massive punch and the other with three laser cannons and impressive amounts of armour and heat-sinks, makes for a hell of a dissuader.  Unfortunately, being 'tailed' by Sparrowhawks all the time undermined the fighter-corps' already shaky morale, and it took the Big MAC (once again!) to show them how it should be done: when they hit Addicks in November of '39, accepting heavy losses to achieve their mission and then retreating off-world under pursuit by the Second Davion Guards and local militia, it was a squadron of MAC Transgressors, using a 'Lufberry' variation on the famous Thach Weave, that pulled it off once more.  When other forces broke and fled after the loss of a Union, the McCarron pilots held their nerve - and the line - downing more than twice their number before they were felled themselves, in the process buying enough time for their comrades to escape.
  (Personally, that sort of grit makes me wonder why they weren't made a House unit long before they actually were.)
  As another aside, the recent revelation of the Lightning's origin casts the Succession Wars-vintage TR-14 variant in a slightly different light.  Between the TR-10, the TR-14 and the LTN-G15, I almost have to wonder if the CCAF fighter corps is secretly a hotbed of Bruce Campbell fanatics.  ;D

  After the introduction of the superb TR-13A standard - which, as it turns out, was indeed a field-refit kit, and a classic example of how to do those the right way - the next variant to emerge from the machinery of foundtech/newtech was the TR-16, which debuted in 3058.  An overhaul-and-replacement package for the TR-14, which was never especially liked (including by yer'umble scribe), the TR-16 yanks out all of the -14's 'unnecessary' gear, including the AC/20, and replaces it with a pair of long-range boomsticks Gauss Rifles.
  I always maintained that the CCAF fighter wings needed to find a source of Long-range firepower to supplement the TR-13A (since the Troika and Defiance didn't come along until the 3060s); now, it would seems that they actually had it all along - and I just didn't know about it.  :-[  The CCAF was markedly top-heavy in the post-3030 era, so fighter-wings composed of nothing but Transgressors were far from out of the question; now, they're almost to be encouraged.  Okay, now such a 'pure' wing needs a source of Gauss ammunition instead of being all-flashbulbs, but let's face it, a couple of squadrons of TR-13As picking at you all the way to the merge, then enthusiastically mixing it up with you in a knife-fight, while TR-16s pound away at you with Gauss rifles from stand-off positions as direct-fire support... well, not only is it a thing of beauty (or terror, if you're on the receiving end), but it's also close to epitomising one of the mantras of the Dicta Coburn.  ;D
  (All that said, Rage observed - quite rightly - that it just doesn't feel quite... right to field a Transgressor that needs ammo.  If you share this hunger, tuck in a napkin; those of you who care to read the linked Fan Design thread will see that Trace's Combat Kitchen has just served up a steamin' servin' of whoop-ass.  }:))

  The first all-new roll-off-the-assembly-line standard, as opposed to the TR-13A and TR-16 depot-level refit-kits, the TR-15 appeared in 3071 - which makes its position in the sequence of numbers a little odd.  (That said, it was probably in the works since before the fielding of the TR-16, but simply couldn't be deployed because of problems with its development and the delays inherent in retooling for the new equipment - an HPPC in each wing.)
  The first six of these craft ever produced were given(!) to Hell's Black Aces, as replacements for their losses (and sincere thanks for their steadfast courage) over Liao during the Jihad.
  The lucky bastards.
  Compared to the other two newtech Transgressors, the TR-15's Long-range punch is a little disappointing - making teamwork essential - but when it gets into Medium range, whoah-boy is it a different story!  Twin head-cappers - and energy-based head-cappers, at that, meaning no ammo concerns and complete freedom to Strafe if the whim takes you! - make this a simply BRUTAL machine in a brawl, and what it can do as an air-to-mud or anti-'Shipping platform is listed in the text of the Ares Conventions.  (Look under the heading of "Class 3 atrocities".  ;D)

  [VARIANT PROPOSALS REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants, including my own, belong in the corresponding "FotW Workshop" thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1340.0 .

chanman

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #009 (repost) - Transgressor ('39 Update)
« Reply #2 on: 15 November 2011, 01:42:44 »
Dormant thread, I bid thee... Arise!

  Panzer crews: Aw, man!  These new T-34 tanks are kicking our asses!  Hey, geniuses: we captured one of these things - make us a direct copy, so we can meet them on even terms!
  Geniuses: Okay - we can do that in six months or so.  But, y'know, anybody can do a direct copy: while we're working, we'll give it thicker armour... and a bigger gun... oh, and it'll need a more powerful engine to haul all that... and all those 'improvements' will make it too heavy for a lot of roads and bridges, give it serious reliability issues, and delay its deployment-date by a year or past our original estimate...
  Panzer crews: What part of 'direct copy' did you not understand, 'genius'?  Err, boss, some help here?
  Fuhrer: [looks at geniuses' schematics] I love this proposed heavy tank!  I'll call it the Tiger, and I want it - screw the delays!

The Tiger's design actually dates back to pre-war studies - note its nearly vertical armour. While the T-34 added impetus to its development, it was the Panther that was picked over the T-34 clone and had the protracted teething issues. Oh, and it was by far the heaviest 'medium' tank of WW2. The Panther is closest to post-war MBTs. It may have been as fast as the T-34, but it weighed nearly 45 tons - 50% more than most M4 Shermans or T-34s, 4 tonnes heavier than the M26 'heavy' tank and just over a tonne lighter than the JS-2 heavy tank. Yes, the Panther vs. T-34 vs. Sherman thing is a pet peeve of mine. The Panther is 50% heavier. It should be T-34 vs. Panzer IV vs. Sherman, which is a much more even comparison all around.

Another common misconception - Tiger mobility was limited in the strategic sense - bridges weren't able to handle its weight, it was wider than standard transporter rail cars, the engine and transmissions were too small and frequently broke. In the tactical sense? It was only about 4 km/h slower than a Panzer IV or Sherman on the road/about the same as an M26 Pershing and had nice fat tracks for off-road.