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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes  (Read 8220 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« on: 15 February 2011, 19:54:12 »
Hydaspes - 95t, TRO3067
'Hydaspes' - Clanspeak for "eat shit and die"?
Originally posted 2 Mar. 2005.

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

"MY NAME IS OZYMANDIUS, KING OF KINGS.  LOOK UPON MY WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR!"

  However, unlike Shelley's poem, there is a great deal to see about the Hydaspes... like the fact that it's a perfect example of a near-optimised canon design - and of why such near-optimal designs are so rare in canon.  :-X  Brought to us by the Cloud Cobras, the Hydaspes' brick-in-the-teeth firepower and almost ridiculously tough spaceframe are elegant proof that however much outsiders may be mystified about their long-term Cause, they know how to lay first-class groundwork to get to their goal(s).  :o

  Let's say this up front: the Hydaspes ain't no Ferrari, and it gets shitty mileage.  Its ninety-five-ton bulk is driven by a 285XL engine, giving it a 5/8 thrust curve that can be outperformed by almost anything else in the sky, and its four-ton fuel fraction means that it has shorter legs than most other fighters.  On the other hand, that lightweight powerplant means that one has an almost ridiculous amount of free internal mass to devote to other structural elements - such as twenty-two-point-five (yes, 22.5!) tons of ferro-aluminium armour, laid out 138/106/82.  You need a Clan ERPPC or a Gauss rifle to threshold the nose, and C/ERLLs are effective only against the stern; you're not entirely invulnerable to enemy weaponry, but you're damned close to it.  }:)  The armament is similarly impressive: the nose houses a Clan ER Large Laser and twin C/MPLs; the wings duplicate this energy armament and throw in an Artemis'd LRM-15 with sixteen rounds per launcher for good measure; the stern is protected by twin Streak-6 racks sharing a ton of ammunition; and thirteen additional double-heat-sinks cover enough of your heat to make life very unfun on the other end.  }:)

  The fluff says that the Cobras deliberately designed the Hydaspes for range-bracket engagements, and I don't doubt a bit of it.  Pilots cannot alpha-strike their forward weapons without eating a +24 heat deficit, but with this sort of arsenal an alpha-strike would be like using a nuke to knock over an ant-hill anyway.  :P  At Extreme range, you can take hopeful shots with all three ERLLs, comfortably remaining at ten under maximum safe heat capacity while knowing a lucky hit would start the process of attriting the enemy early; at Long, you add in both LRM racks, accumulating no heat while adding a great deal of throw-weight; at Medium range and closer, one trades out two of the ERLLs for all three pulse bays, still remaining heat-neutral (or dropping the third ERLL as well to cool off); if someone gets on your back, you with-hold one MPL bay and give him a faceful of SSRMs instead.

  Going by the TRO fluff alone, Star Adder-piloted Hydaspes have smoked at least four Blood Spirit DropShips and crippled the destroyer CBS Blood Fury to the point where her captain scuttled her rather than see her taken.  Admittedly, Blood Fury was 'only' a Lola-III, with minimal anti-fighter armament (the Blood Spirits being unable to foresee Strategic Operations and the (re-)introduction of capital-laser AAA targeting), but the York campaign is a strong indicator of the Hydapses' design role: it's a lumbering beast, too slow to be a dogfighter or a bomber - it can carry only ten tons of externals at 3/5 - and thus, while it can work well in internal-ordnance ground-attack and providing massive fire-support to other fighters, its design-role is to slaughter enemy capital assets.  And it's a monster at it, too: I count no fewer than eight bays on an individual Hydaspes that reach the breakpoint of Capital scale, so over a full ten-bird Star, we have....
    - ERLL bays: three @ 10 Capital damage each
    - MPL bays: three @ 14 Capital each
    - LRM bays: two @ 12 Capital each
  And if you're in the mood to leave a "PS: Screw you!" as you overshoot the target and disengage:
    - SSRM bay: one @ 24 Capital

  Overall, the Hyadaspes makes a poor aerial-combat system but a hell of an attack bird.  I highly recommend the deployment of a strong escort force to guard their flanks and backs (anything getting in front of them won't live long enough to realise what went wrong), and try not to go out of your way to attract attention on your way to and from the target - the other guy's already going to honour the threat you represent in full, so don't ask for more grief (unless you're playing distraction/misdirection games).  For those of you who may have joined us late, I'll reiterate the key tactical concepts for any ASF, the Hydaspes included: Point-mates must stick together, Points must watch each others' backs, you must concentrate your firepower (CLG isn't only for 'Mechs), and as always, "Get in, hit hard, and get out while the getting's good!".  A Point of Hydaspes should be able to dispatch a single victim enemy fighter in a single volley, so don't frell around with turning fights; if you're forced into an aerial battle, hang back on the edge of the furball and snipe at the highest-priority threats.

  Defending against Hydaspes is a pain in the ass... but it is doable.  Thankfully, they're rare in the Invading Clans, so they're mostly found in Clan-on-Clan action, and Clan technology allows certain counters.  Chaeroneas, Avar-As, Batu-As... these are the preferred 'low' element of the high-low mix; all of them mount an ERPPC and are highly agile, so they present an all-aspect threshold threat and can engage the Hydaspes from behind at Long range, where its Streak racks cannot protect it.  In the medium category, Visigoth-As are about the only rational choice: they have three weapons capable of nose-TACing the Hydaspes at Long range and sufficient agility to use the same tactics as the interceptors mentioned above; however, in a pinch Turk Primes can serve in the same capacity.

  One interesting countermeasure to the Hydaspes available to some Clans is the Xerxes, which I gave a mixed review to in my inaugural column.  Admittedly, Xerxes lack the armour to go toe-to-toe with Hydaspes, but the Xerxes has the mobility to out-turn the Hydaspes, twin ERLLs in the nose, twice the fuel endurance, and a BV barely half that of the Hydaspes, which sets up situations where Hydaspes can be outnumbered two-to-one by Xerxes (Or even more, if you buy your units by C-bills instead).  Ideally, the Xerxes formations would hang back until the Hydaspes units had depleted their fuel and turned for home, then bounce them; at this point, depending on pilot temperament and concern for safety, they'd either hang back and snipe at the Hydaspes all the way back to base with those threshold-seeking twin-ERLL bays, or accept the threat from the Streak racks and close to smash the bastards with those godawful UAC/20s.  Any escorts should be left to the defenders' own interceptor/dogfighter Stars.

  The sole canon variant of the Hydaspes is a study in "Shiny Kit Syndrome": the Hydaspes 2 mounts twin heavy medium lasers in the nose, with a heavy large laser and two ATM-9s in each wing, backed by a targeting computer, six tons of ATM ammo, and twenty-five DHS; oddly enough, this variant also has double the original's fuel capacity.  ???  I despise any weapon with an inherent to-hit penalty, which meant that this loadout turned me right off at first, but in this case the TarComp which offsets that penalty is a mere two tons, so I can't really scream too loudly about 'wasted tonnage'.  After proper reflection, in considering the armament, the expanded fuel fraction, and the heat profile - with the same +24 overheat on an alpha-strike, but an all-energy attack being a net '0' - I'm pretty sure that this one's intended for rather more extended sorties than its brother, using the ATMs only to soften up the target while closing (ER rounds for Extreme and Long range, standards at Medium) then transitioning to lasers-only when the knife-fight begins and sticking with Short-range attacks until the fight's over... and lemme tell ya, pal, heavy lasers may be bulky, inaccurate, temperamental, and as hot as hell, but when they connect they hit like the fist of an enraged god.  I'd rather have the baseline model myself, but this one can get the job done too - individual force commanders should make the choice based on what sort of fight they anticipate.  (But remember, the -2 model has no tail-guns, so watching each others' backs is imperative.)

  [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,1774.0.html

  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.  ;)

  Repost closing note, 16-02-2011: yet another article that doesn't seem to have gotten much attention on the second run.  ::)

Hellraiser

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #1 on: 16 February 2011, 01:17:29 »
Hmm, I never noticed the double fuel on the Hyd-2 before.
Gives it some ability to outlast a lot of things that might otherwise outlast the primary.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #2 on: 16 February 2011, 09:02:40 »
Some few targets need interceptors or dogfighters to deal with them efficiently.  For everything else, there's the Hydaspes.  This is, without a doubt, the single nastiest attack bird in the game.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #3 on: 16 February 2011, 11:19:17 »
Is there any tribunal out there who would condemn a man for breaking out the tacnukes at the sight of a star of Hydapses?
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #4 on: 16 February 2011, 11:55:12 »
Considering how touchy the subject of nukes is, plenty of them.

There are some good non-nuclear solutions to the problem.  Visigoths, for example, have the maneuverability to outfox the Hydaspes to a significant degree and the sinks to bring a significant number of heavy energy weapons to bear on the problem.  Batus can at least try to do the same thing.  Neither one wants to get caught in that front arc, though.  An Eisensturm or Striga has the armor to survive some rough handling and the primary configuration of either one can threshold the Hydaspes pretty cleanly.  For interceptors, the only one that really suggests itself is the Chaeronea.  Yeah, it's going to die horribly if it gets in front of the Hydaspes, but so are a lot of other things, and the ER PPC is going to start knocking chunks off from long range.

You can also reach straight for assault DropShips.  Noruffs, Dragaus, and Isegrims all have the armor to withstand at least some attention from them, the firepower to return the favor, and the acceleration to outmaneuver them handily, so operating in packs, they can probably trim the Hydasepes problem back down to size.  On the other hand, when the solution to a fighter problem is "scary fast assault DropShips", it kind of points out how dangerous the fighters in question are.

Minemech

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #5 on: 16 February 2011, 13:38:25 »
 Ah the Hydaspes, proof the clans will even upgrade an A-10 just to show how awesome they are technologically.
EDIT: removed a statement I should not have bothered to have added in the first place.
« Last Edit: 16 February 2011, 14:05:37 by Minemech »

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #6 on: 16 February 2011, 14:02:23 »
Ah the Hydaspes, proof the clans will even upgrade then omnify an A-10 just to show how awesome they are technologically.

The Hydaspes is not an OmniFighter. [legal]

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #7 on: 16 February 2011, 14:04:50 »
The Hydaspes is not an OmniFighter. [legal]
old habits of typing before I double check die hard, I added that part right before I posted, bad idea.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #8 on: 16 February 2011, 18:54:56 »
The Hydaspes reminds me a lot as the Clan version of the Stuka, filling the heavy attack role with the LRM/LL armament.

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Railan Sradac

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #9 on: 16 February 2011, 20:58:09 »
It's birds like this that make me seriously question the Clan's 2 ASF : 1 Mech equivalency. I can't see any mech taking on two of these.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #10 on: 16 February 2011, 22:20:20 »
It's birds like this that make me seriously question the Clan's 2 ASF : 1 Mech equivalency. I can't see any mech taking on two of these.

That's not equivalent - aerospace fighters tend to be 1:1 'Mech equivalents in terms of capabilities if not outweighing them - but it makes sense when you consider that where 'Mechs are the biggest kids on the block, fighters exist in a very different context, being forced to deal with assault DropShips and WarShips.  Granted, many Star League WarShips aren't necessarily well equipped to deal with fighters, but their very presence means there's a different environment.  It also preserves the wingman system, a centuries-old proven element of aerospace operations, so it's possible there was some influence from that direction.

Some of the others aren't exactly equivalent, either, depending on circumstances.  A lot of if not most 'Mechs can, with some careful maneuvering, pick a point of battle armor apart quite safely and there are vehicles you very much don't want to run into in pairs.  It's more of a rough approximation than a hard and fast equivalency, I think.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #11 on: 16 February 2011, 23:26:32 »
I was more talking about the Point system, where you would theoretically have a Star of 5 'Mechs against 10 of these beasts. That isn't fair no matter what those 'Mechs are. One reason why I tend to not use ASF in my mixed Stars, even though I play Horses and should probably be entitled to it.

Don't remember who, but someone on the old boards had a quote in their sig (paraphrased): "You can do things to your opponent with an ASF that are illegal in 37 states."

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #12 on: 16 February 2011, 23:30:34 »
I was more talking about the Point system, where you would theoretically have a Star of 5 'Mechs against 10 of these beasts. That isn't fair no matter what those 'Mechs are. One reason why I tend to not use ASF in my mixed Stars, even though I play Horses and should probably be entitled to it.

So was I.  I was exploring why they might not have gone that way.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #13 on: 17 February 2011, 00:32:45 »
I was more talking about the Point system, where you would theoretically have a Star of 5 'Mechs against 10 of these beasts. That isn't fair no matter what those 'Mechs are. One reason why I tend to not use ASF in my mixed Stars, even though I play Horses and should probably be entitled to it.

Don't remember who, but someone on the old boards had a quote in their sig (paraphrased): "You can do things to your opponent with an ASF that are illegal in 37 states."

"The real question is, just how badly do you want to pound your opponent?  You can do things to your opponent with an ASF that are illegal in 39 states and 14 countries, and that's without even trying hard." - Paladin1, I should know   ;) ;D

Then again with the new rules, those lawn dart rolls might balance out back towards the mechs. After all even the Hydaspes will not survive a run in with the ground...
« Last Edit: 17 February 2011, 00:36:44 by Ghostbear_Gurdel »
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #14 on: 17 February 2011, 08:48:47 »
Then again with the new rules, those lawn dart rolls might balance out back towards the mechs. After all even the Hydaspes will not survive a run in with the ground...

The PSR for taking damage in atmosphere (the lawn dart roll) has been in the system since at least AT2R.  The various modifiers and causes are exactly the same in TW and AT2R.  Also, the Hydaspes is actually capable of surviving low speed crashes if the armor is basically intact at the time.  A velocity 3 impact is only 210 points of damage on average.  (Yeah, yeah, "only" 210 points, I know.)  Statistically, only 128 points of damage will be applied to the nose and the wings take 41 damage each.  While you're easily capable of taking it out on an impact depending on velocity and damage rolled, it's also quite capable of surviving fairly intact due to lower than average damage or a greater than normal distribution to the wings even on a fairly energetic crash.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #15 on: 17 February 2011, 10:11:52 »
The PSR for taking damage in atmosphere (the lawn dart roll) has been in the system since at least AT2R.  The various modifiers and causes are exactly the same in TW and AT2R.
Really!? I never noticed that... well that shows how much I actually got to use my beloved aerospace fighters  :(

Quote
Also, the Hydaspes is actually capable of surviving low speed crashes if the armor is basically intact at the time.  A velocity 3 impact is only 210 points of damage on average.  (Yeah, yeah, "only" 210 points, I know.)  Statistically, only 128 points of damage will be applied to the nose and the wings take 41 damage each.  While you're easily capable of taking it out on an impact depending on velocity and damage rolled, it's also quite capable of surviving fairly intact due to lower than average damage or a greater than normal distribution to the wings even on a fairly energetic crash.
well then, I guess that shows me to look at the numbers before I speak. Although, with the amount of firepower that will be thrown at one of these things in order to knock it down, I see that max armor crash situation being so unlikely as to be tending toward impossible.
« Last Edit: 17 March 2017, 01:44:29 by Ghostbear_Gurdel »
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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #16 on: 17 February 2011, 11:00:44 »
well then, I guess that shows me to look at the numbers before I speak. Although, with the amount of firepower that will be thrown at one of these things in order to knock it down, I see that max armor crash situation being so unlikely as to be tending toward impossible.

It depends on when the PSR lands but you're correct that it's relatively uncommon.  What's really going to mitigate against it is that no one in their right mind puts green pilots in these things to avoid cheap lawn dart occurences, so unless the dice just decide to rat screw you on the PSR, it's going to take a while to force one down.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #17 on: 17 February 2011, 20:08:59 »
I had forgotten how scary these things truly are.
May no one ever know less then me......

Sjhernan3060

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #18 on: 16 March 2017, 21:30:23 »
Great write up and I love that the blood spirits have access to this beast! I will be psinting some up soon

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #19 on: 26 May 2017, 23:16:16 »
It's birds like this that make me seriously question the Clan's 2 ASF : 1 Mech equivalency. I can't see any mech taking on two of these.

"Points" aren't about being equal.
Its about the smallest formation/maneuver element that is tactically useful.

Fighters operate in pairs to cover each other against a more maneuverable opponent.
Vehicles are weaker than mechs & so operate in pairs to also cover each other.
Battlearmor operates in quintets (squads) since squads of infantry are needed to do just about anything big on the battlefield.

Mechs get to operate solo, because MW are arrogant gladiators, & because compared to the rest they are the most durable.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #20 on: 27 May 2017, 08:10:20 »
Ahh yes, the Hydaspes, for when you absolutely must kick your opponent very firmly in the teeth.  Whilst not overly well armed, this thing is beyond stupid tough.  The Hydaspes 3 though is a real heavy hitter.  ER Peeper, 2 x Improved heavy larges, 4 x MPLS and two arty V LRM-20's. 
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #21 on: 27 May 2017, 08:52:04 »
One of my favorite fighters.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #22 on: 27 May 2017, 12:44:45 »

Any chance for an update about the Hydaspes 3 (TRO Prototypes) and Hydaspes Algar (Unique)?
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #23 on: 20 July 2017, 12:59:57 »
Any experiance using it against warships?

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #24 on: 17 August 2017, 07:11:14 »
I'm pretty sure Warship commanders make it a point that those things never get near their vessel.

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #25 on: 03 September 2017, 11:52:07 »
Would these have been against pocket warships or are the PW too fast?

marauder648

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #26 on: 03 September 2017, 12:20:25 »
A Star of these will rip pretty much any PWS apart in a heartbeat.
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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #27 on: 04 September 2017, 21:13:14 »
Color me confused then why were more of these not made?

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #28 on: 04 September 2017, 21:43:42 »
probably a combination of "they use a lot of resources", "they are strike craft, in a culture that does not put high value in support and strike roles.", and "mechwarriors and elemental dominate clan society, and anything that could stop the ground forces from reaching a planet is not popular"

they are slow enough you can't really dogfight with them, and against other fighters you'd have to escort them with dogfighters.. which kind goes against the clan emphasis on individual combat. and since their main mission would be "kill dropships and warships"...
« Last Edit: 04 September 2017, 21:46:42 by glitterboy2098 »

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #016 (repost) - Hydaspes
« Reply #29 on: 04 September 2017, 22:07:23 »
probably a combination of "they use a lot of resources", "they are strike craft, in a culture that does not put high value in support and strike roles.", and "mechwarriors and elemental dominate clan society, and anything that could stop the ground forces from reaching a planet is not popular"

they are slow enough you can't really dogfight with them, and against other fighters you'd have to escort them with dogfighters.. which kind goes against the clan emphasis on individual combat. and since their main mission would be "kill dropships and warships"...

Right... God forbid the word had ever got ahold of these andmade a drone version

 

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