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Author Topic: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere  (Read 5975 times)

Jellico

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‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« on: 28 April 2013, 18:19:13 »
And here we go again.

The Condottiere seems to reveal all of the reasons why aerospace fighters superseded small craft. At 150 tons the Condottiere shows how the aerodyne form forces uncomfortable compromises between heat sinks, firepower and thrust in smaller small craft. In the case of the Condottiere it is thrust that loses out. 3/5 is slow slow slow. In space at least the Condottiere can go all Space Invaders and rotate out of trouble. Atmospheric performance is at best sluggish. 

The sad part is that for all of that sacrifice, the Condottiere doesn’t gain that much. A modern heavy aerospace fighter has similar protection and firepower without compromising thrust. What the Condottiere does offer is endurance. Five steerage quarters are better than any fighter cockpit while nine tons of fuel will keep a Condottiere flying for days. It doesn’t mean much for a crew fighting for its life, but for people paying the bills a Condottiere is a much more affordable patrol vessel than a DropShip. 

And bills are what the Condottiere is all about. Built for the mercenary market the Condottiere is depressingly simple. No electronics. Just simple auto cannons and missile launchers. The Easy to Pilot and Cramped Cockpit quirks seem to cancel each other out, but give the impression of a craft that flies normally despite tight conditions for the crew. Forgiving and offering nothing special for that pilot with a bit extra skill. A player can expect to see a Condottiere just about anywhere with Nimakachi selling them to everybody. Just watch out for dodgy dealers and fine print. 

Using a Condottiere is fairly simple. In space, it is about equal to a heavy fighter with the native ECM cancelling out the initiative bonuses. Vectored thrust is your friend and should be used. In atmosphere avoid air to air combat. You can’t dog fight so don’t bother. Given the lack of bomb bays and the firepower being nothing special it might be better to avoid atmosphere altogether. On interesting thing to remember is the Condottiere has nine tons of fuel. Simply outlasting an enemy may be a viable option. 

Defeating a Condottiere is as simple as getting it to fight you. With its large fuel supply it could simply choose to try and outrun you. If it rotates around to fight it won’t get away. Once in battle the Condottiere will usually lose initiative so will have to try and guess where you will be. Exploit the open arcs. Remember it is about equal to a heavy fighter. Ending up in front of a Condottiere is bad no matter what you are.


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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #1 on: 28 April 2013, 22:17:54 »
Not having used small craft, how does it stack up against others like the Tigress, Lyonesse and Aquarius- which I think are the only other armed ones.

Hrm . . . the Landing Craft Mk VII 'Liao' . . . but I am not sure that can be built, HMA seems to have problems putting it together.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #2 on: 28 April 2013, 23:16:10 »
what weapons does it carry? you mention AC's and missiles, but don't provide details.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #3 on: 29 April 2013, 00:20:01 »
what weapons does it carry? you mention AC's and missiles, but don't provide details.

There are stats (but no record sheet) for the Condottiere in the PDF preview for TRO:3145M.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 00:21:46 by Nerroth »

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #4 on: 29 April 2013, 00:32:22 »
There are stats (but no record sheet) for the Condottiere in the PDF preview for TRO:3145M.

when writing a *otW you need to to assume there will be people in the audience who haven't seen the TRO entries, or don't remember the TRO entries, and strive to provide the important details in the article. if they want to go read the TRO entry afterwards that is great, but a *otW should allow a person to understand the unit in question without having to resort to reading the TRO first. including information like weapons load and placement is an important element in understanding a unit.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #5 on: 29 April 2013, 00:32:34 »
The question is since this thing is so bad in atmo why bother making it an aerodyne?  Surely a spheroid hull would have been better?

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #6 on: 29 April 2013, 00:37:51 »
Looking at it, the best thing it's for is long duration escort/customs boat against recalcitrant merchantmen.

It'll die once someone gets into position, but it will make them hurt. In some ways, it's the attrition unit space warfare needs, providing a very low end to a high-low mix of units so there can be hulls in space over as many worlds as possible.
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Colt Ward

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #7 on: 29 April 2013, 00:46:49 »
I would imagine part of the 'Easy to Pilot' would have to do with it being aerodyne- training for one of those would be easier than a torch.

Are RAC/5s and LRM15 w/ArtiIV the best weapons choice available for this sort of craft?  It talks about close air support role, but Jellico says no 'bomb bay' . . . so does that mean it cannot mount RL pods under that massive wing?
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Trace Coburn

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #8 on: 29 April 2013, 00:54:34 »
what weapons does it carry? you mention AC's and missiles, but don't provide details.
There are stats (but no record sheet) for the Condottiere in the PDF preview for TRO:3145M.
  For those who can’t see the linked file, the Condottiere packs twin RAC/5s in the nose, an Artemis-IV’d LRM-15 in each wing, and triple ERMLs in the tail-mount.  Y’know, I’ve seen a loadout almost exactly like that before... oh, wait, that’s right: it was on a -D7 Stuka, a ship that managed that arsenal on a spaceframe that was a third lighter, two-thirds faster, and required only 20% of the flight-crew.  #P

  Frankly, the Condotierre doesn’t really impress me.  As Jellico quite rightly points out, it’s too slow and ungainly to hang-and-bang with even pre-Helm heavy fighters, the weapons lack concentrated punch (though all those five-point clusters mean that any interceptor which blunders into their reach is going to regret it for the remaining few seconds of its life), and the best thing I can say about the armour is that you can’t TAC any aspect of the thing with a C/ERML.  It doesn’t have the NL-45’s AMS bays, which mean it’s not suited to the escort role in a nuclear environment like the Clan craft; without the NL-45’s marine complement, it can patrol a patch of aerospace, but it can’t carry out customs-boardings; and the primary armament consisting of missile-racks and rapid-fire autocannon means while it can carry out some nasty anti-’Shipping strikes while its ammunition lasts, once it goes Winchester it’s next to useless.  Basically, it’s good for escort or strike operations beyond the reach of fighters, and possibly acting as a long-endurance picket, but as soon as it gets near enough to something important that fighters become a factor, its utility becomes decidedly marginal.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #9 on: 29 April 2013, 01:15:19 »
Eh . . . five crew with a variant out there holding a BA slot . . . you can dock with a dropship or jumpship, send across two folks and the BA.  And like modern customs ships, keep them under the threat of the guns.  You do not have to send over a lot of folks to inspect containers, search data bases or look for smuggling compartments.

Does another weapons load make better sense?

Does their abilities improve in flights rather than single ships, more than by simple math?
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #10 on: 29 April 2013, 03:58:44 »
Eh . . . five crew with a variant out there holding a BA slot . . . you can dock with a dropship or jumpship, send across two folks and the BA.  And like modern customs ships, keep them under the threat of the guns.  You do not have to send over a lot of folks to inspect containers, search data bases or look for smuggling compartments.
  Might I ask where you saw such a beast?  Because there’s no sign of such a variant in TRO3145: Mercs:-X

Does another weapons load make better sense?
  Within TW rules, the Condottiere is pretty good at grinding the armour from DropShips and heavier craft, and makes a decent 'no-go' zone for interceptors, but it needs a big gun if it wants to deal with anything in-between.  Replacing one or both RACs with a Gauss Rifle or maybe an iHGR would be my preference, if only to preserve the 'ballistics for main(s), missiles for range' feel... but even with such a weapon, they’d still come up short compared to the warload of a REVIVAL-era Stuka:(

Does their abilities improve in flights rather than single ships, more than by simple math?
  If you mean using the StratOps squadron rules, I don’t think they can be used for small-craft like the Condottiere.  They refer to 'fighters' throughout, but don’t ever mention small-craft that I can see.  :-\

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #11 on: 29 April 2013, 04:05:53 »
Not saying the squadron rules, merely operating as part of a team- each pair using wingman covering sort of thing.

"He currently employs four Condottieres, one of them heavily modified to carry one soldier in battle armor for extravehicular activities."

Under the Muana Kea Escort Command entry.
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Jellico

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #12 on: 29 April 2013, 06:28:15 »
  Within TW rules, the Condottiere is pretty good at grinding the armour from DropShips and heavier craft, and makes a decent 'no-go' zone for interceptors, but it needs a big gun if it wants to deal with anything in-between.  Replacing one or both RACs with a Gauss Rifle or maybe an iHGR would be my preference, if only to preserve the 'ballistics for main(s), missiles for range' feel... but even with such a weapon, they’d still come up short compared to the warload of a REVIVAL-era Stuka:(

Short of medium laser spam there is not much that can be done. The mass isn't there and as you start stripping armor or fuel you lose those things that make Small Craft special. Heck, medium laser spam doesn't even work that well because of the lack of internal heat sinks.

Light weight, aerodynes have major problems as combat units.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #13 on: 29 April 2013, 06:30:01 »
Not saying the squadron rules, merely operating as part of a team- each pair using wingman covering sort of thing.

"He currently employs four Condottieres, one of them heavily modified to carry one soldier in battle armor for extravehicular activities."

Under the Muana Kea Escort Command entry.
  Ah.  Didn’t spot that - silly me, I thought all mention of modified variants might actually be in a specific 'variants' section.  :D  Still, a single battle-armoured trooper isn’t much, especially with military hardware like BA being so available that any 'suspect' vessel might actually be carrying a few ’Suits of its own.  IMO, a customs-cutter needs a full squad/Star to properly establish control of a vessel during an inspection; anything less, and a crew big enough, or well-equipped enough, might start getting 'ideas'.

  Regarding 'squadron' use, mutual support and concentration of fire do help to a certain extent... but again, against anything with thresholds above 'Magic Five', even massed fire will have to scour all the armour off a given location on a target before it hits anything vital.  (Remember: armour-damage doesn’t win battles, critical-hits do.)  There are fighters out there that laugh at five-point groups, even in such quantity, and anything big enough to do that laughing has a better-than-fair chance of having guns big enough to threshold the Condottiere’s armour and cause meaningful internal damage to it before the Condottiere can manage the same thing.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #14 on: 29 April 2013, 07:48:01 »
So, I've been enjoying TRO: 3145 mercs a lot.
But... what exactly do you use this thing for? Deep space interception? Escort duty to the jump point? Taking out fighters coming in as part of an invasion force?


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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #15 on: 29 April 2013, 09:53:32 »
Deep space picket. While it doesn't have the sensor range of a large craft, it still has the endurance to fly out to the limit of your carrier's sensor range(or a bit beyond). Using its own sensors, it extends the detection radius of your fleet by a fair margin, giving you more warning time regarding inbound threats.

I'd also use this in a similar role to the stated reasons for the Aquarius and Lyonesse shuttles, that of an escort. You've got a VIP riding in a DropShip or transferring aboard a shuttle, you park a pair of Condos(I'm calling them that now) off the wingtips as an inner line of defense, while you use real ASFs as an outer CAP. Similarly, I'd use them as an escort for large ships like WarShips or big and slow DropShips. Not everyone has access to an NL-45, and again, this can make a decent inner ring defense, as well as shooting down inbound capital missiles(which don't care about thresholds, but those RACs will handily take out any space-fish up to Killer Whale in size).
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #16 on: 29 April 2013, 15:24:53 »
It's a pity small craft do not have "external" bomb racks... Though even this guy would be a pore bomber, being able to carry only 10 or so bombs with out cutting out the thrust entirely.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #17 on: 30 April 2013, 04:35:40 »
Small craft run into a problem since you don't have a lot ot good settings that maximize their main advantage-- endurance. Note that one trick you can pull is keep your small craft away from teh enemy fighters-- because suddenly a small craft that might not be too much of a threat gets a lot more dangerous if you have to worry about it coming back once you're engaged with the dropships-- or ambushing your fighters as they with draw when they're damaged.

Another thing to consider is the era-- these craft were introduced after the massed battles of the Jihad, and so, at least until the whups with the dark age, they're facing a somewhat lower threat environment. 

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #18 on: 30 April 2013, 04:44:25 »
Not having used small craft, how does it stack up against others like the Tigress, Lyonesse and Aquarius- which I think are the only other armed ones.

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« Last Edit: 30 April 2013, 04:46:15 by RyuWanderfalke »

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #19 on: 30 April 2013, 05:13:24 »
It's a pity small craft do not have "external" bomb racks... Though even this guy would be a pore bomber, being able to carry only 10 or so bombs with out cutting out the thrust entirely.
Actually I think they can, there's some sort of external bomb mount SOMEWHERE in the rules and I remember reading (Herb post?) that it can't be used by ASF's (And presumably VTOLs)

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #20 on: 30 April 2013, 09:22:17 »
The external hardpoint? That's just for support aircraft.

Right now, the only way for a small craft to drop bombs is to get your group to allow StratOps quirks in your games, use the Internal Bomb Bay quirk, and hope your craft has a decent-sized cargo bay.
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #21 on: 30 April 2013, 14:23:43 »
But... what exactly do you use this thing for? Deep space interception? Escort duty to the jump point? Taking out fighters coming in as part of an invasion force?

Despite having 9t of fuel, that only provides the Condottiere with about 4.9 1G burn-days of fuel, which isn't really enough for escorting to/from the standard jump points for many/most systems, at least not without a lot of coasting. As an example, the Sol-Terra route is 9.1 1G burn-days.

That'd also cause problems with deep space interceptions, unless the target is moving slowly and/or not maneuvering. An interception requires not only getting out to the target, but then matching its vector (unless you're just doing a one-off flyby), which can often require the interceptor to overshoot and than play catch up. Obviously, the Condottiere's low thrust doesn't help with this, because many targets can match or exceed its thrust.

Those factors combined make the fluff description of the Condottiere chasing a Seeker (which goes 5/8) from a jump point to a planet and preventing it from landing something of a curiousty in my eyes. Unless Benedict is one of those systems where the planet is close to the star, the Condottiere shouldn't have been able to maintain thrust the entire flight, and in any case the Seeker should have easily outpaced it.

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #22 on: 30 April 2013, 16:06:31 »
Do Small Craft have a transit drive on them? If so, you've got the legs to out run any fighter ever made with enough space. Fast sprinting doesn't do much good in a marathon afterall.  O0

As for what to do with these, I'd use them for escorting Dropships on in-system runs. Any system that has asteroid mining is going to need a way to protect the goods from pirates, and fighter patrols would run up the costs quickly. On the other hand these overgrown heavy fighters have the endurance to run out a day before the launch, top off fuel at the site, and fly escort on your transports back to base.
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #23 on: 30 April 2013, 19:47:18 »
The external hardpoint? That's just for support aircraft.

Right now, the only way for a small craft to drop bombs is to get your group to allow StratOps quirks in your games, use the Internal Bomb Bay quirk, and hope your craft has a decent-sized cargo bay.
Weirdo, even the heaviest "Bombs", Anti-Ship Missiles, only weighs two tons so you don't need that much cargo space to carry a nasty quantity of them. According to Sarna the NL-42 has 50 tons of cargo space (I'm not buying that either, but work with me here) that enough room for 25 missiles, a more conservitive guess of 5 tons still leaves room for 2. A thousand ton cargo bay on a WS can carry 500 (What's the launch rate of bomb bay's?) or it can carry 1,000 Air-to-Air Arrow Missile or 2,000 Light Air-to-Air Arrow Missiles

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #24 on: 30 April 2013, 21:41:33 »
I interpret the Bomb Bay quirk as requiring a ton of cargo space for each 'slot' of bombs carried, but that's neither here nor there. Either way, with an absolute max of 6 bombs 'dropped' per turn, there's a limit as to how much firepower you're deploying per turn.

As a side note, we know the quirks for all three spacecraft in 3145M, and none of them have this quirk, so the whole thing's moot, yes?
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #25 on: 30 April 2013, 21:48:45 »
Nothing says love like close air support.
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #26 on: 30 April 2013, 21:59:42 »
If you're assured of air superiority(or have other planes dealing with that), the Condo might actually make a decent air-to-ground gunship. It certainly has the firepower, and if you're loitering over a ground battle, you don't need much airspeed. That mass of armor would be handy for absorbing flak, and doubly so if using the StratOps lawn-darting rules. Heck, if your velocity isn't too high, a brick like a Condo could very well survive a lawn-dart crash more or less intact*! Nothing frustrates AA gunners more than downing a plane, only to see it get right back up again. >:D

*I've done it before, in a Corsair. If that fighter can do it, a Condotierre certainly can.
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #27 on: 01 May 2013, 09:45:39 »
Your mileage may vary depending on the rules you're using.  If they're the aerospace fighters on ground maps rules, for instance, your Condo is going to spend a lot of time waddling around in slow banking turns given its miserable thrust, rather than attacking.  I have enough problems getting a Stuka from one attack pass to the next on a sufficiently large map...

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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #28 on: 01 May 2013, 09:56:15 »
Your mileage may vary depending on the rules you're using.  If they're the aerospace fighters on ground maps rules, for instance, your Condo is going to spend a lot of time waddling around in slow banking turns given its miserable thrust, rather than attacking.  I have enough problems getting a Stuka from one attack pass to the next on a sufficiently large map...

Do you use powered turns? I've had no problems making a Shiva dance around a battlefield in a way that puts Spiders piloted by ballerinas to shame, and have no problem keeping ASFs viable on even a 2-mapsheet battlefield.
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Re: ‘Fighter’ of the Week, Issue #100 - Condottiere
« Reply #29 on: 02 May 2013, 00:17:32 »
Do you use powered turns? I've had no problems making a Shiva dance around a battlefield in a way that puts Spiders piloted by ballerinas to shame, and have no problem keeping ASFs viable on even a 2-mapsheet battlefield.

My perspective may be somewhat skewed, as my current campaign battle, now in its tenth month, involves a regimental-scale conflict on an 80x40 mapsheet.  The Stukas have occasionally found it hard to get from one area they're needed to another, at least in a single turn.

That said, if you're making striking passes with the Condo (not much point strafing without energy weapons), 2 thrust to climb back up the altitude you lost from striking and one forward thrust just to stay aloft puts you at your safe thrust right there.  You're probably not going to be striking every turn, and probably not every other turn, either...