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Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o  (Read 3113 times)

Jellico

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DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« on: 17 February 2014, 20:16:31 »
Nekohono'o, TRO3067, TRO3085, XTRO:DC


Ahhh. TRO3067. It seems such a long time ago now. We were all so innocent. Pocket WarShips were shiny and new, and frankly no one knew how to build or fly one. A good example of this is the Nekohono’o. At 16,000 tons the Neko was huge. Into that big hull it packed a mix of Aerospace Fighters, Small Craft, Marines, and most impressively, three big Kraken missile launchers in the bow. She was big, fast, and apparently deadly. It turns out we might have been misled a bit.

Let’s start with the ship itself. The heart of the Nekohono’o is its Krakens. There are two ways to use a Kraken, the long and boring way and the short and exciting way. The long and boring way consists of firing the Kraken at very long range then guiding it into a target. This normally takes three or four turns and the missile can easily end up far away from its intended target, though Pre-programmed Waypoints help. And it depends a lot on the target either being too busy or too stupid to either shoot down the missile or get out of the way.
The short and exciting way consists of getting close to an enemy’s flight path and literally dropping the Kraken missiles like a mine in front of the enemy. This is much easier, likely to get a result, and far, far more dangerous. Like most people I assumed that the Nekohono’o was intended to operate at range. We lived in a world with lots of WarShips and taking a DropShip in that close is basically suicidal. On reflection I was wrong.

Two things support the concept of close combat, the relatively high thrust and the secondary weapon systems. At 5/8 a Neko is able to get in and dog fight to a degree. More importantly it has the weapons to do damage once it is there. Notice all the 50 point bays in the Neko’s forward arcs? That’s huge for a DropShip. Clearly this ship is intended to take chunks out of someone, probably under 10 hexes. Once that is accepted the rest of the ship’s armament makes a lot more sense. Some token long range bow mounted weapons for the approach, a lot of forward bite once in position, and some token medium range weapons in the rear to scare off any lighter craft that hope to tailgate the Neko.

The role of the token ASF squadron is clearly to protect the Nekohono’o’s rear, while the Small Craft are more typically Kuritan. As the fluff says, no enemy can ignore nine Battletaxis of battle armour so they act as a neat distraction from the Nekohono’s’s main fault. The Neko has no armour. Okay, it has adequate protection for its generation. But it was criminally underarmed for a craft expected to take on a WarShip, even as part of a pack. It could only hope that the marines would draw enough fire to allow it to stay alive long enough to get a few solid hits.

XTRO:Draconis Combine shows us the 3077 Nekohono’o HQ built on Samarkand during Luthien’s occupation. Intended to be a command ship I find it confused in the extreme. While the aft armament remains the same the forward arcs get tweaked. The fore quarters lose their missiles with what is left getting doubled and the PPCs becoming heavies. Forward LB 10-Xs are added as AA, though I don’t consider such short ranged defences great on a command unit. More important is what happens to the Krakens. Reduced to a single launcher in the nose, the forequarters gain 3 Cruise Missile70s, a Cruise Missile 120, and two Arrow IVs each. Internally the HQ gains a Large NCSS, a Naval C3 suite, and 12 tons of communications gear. Finally the cargo bays gain bays for accompany of ‘Mechs.


Why don’t I like it? It feels like someone just scanned Tac Ops for experimental get to put on a DropShip and added it all. For starters Large Craft are considered to have 7 tons of Communications Equipment naturally so the extra is virtually fluff. The NCSS and NC3 are only really useful in space, but the HQ is not a good combat platform in space. The single Kraken is basically useless in space combat, and you really don’t want a command platform in combat, but the Kraken is equally useless as an artillery weapon.
The array of artillery is just painful. Three different range brackets when the well-known scattering effect of artillery means you want clusters of weapons arriving at the same time. Those CM120s are going to be arriving all on their lonesome. At least the Arrows have the excuse of perhaps being intended to be AA with Anti-Fighter missiles. Compounding the problem is that they are mounted in the forequarters. Had they been mounted in the nose, all twelve weapons could be fired at the same target. As it is, each is restricted to an arc covering half of the DropShip.
Then we have the mixed ASF/BattleMech cargo bay. To function as a command or artillery platform you want this ship on the ground, restricting the ASF. To use the Kraken, NCSS or C3 you need to be in orbit. For that matter, do you want your command assets stationed underneath your artillery, perfect for counterbattery?
So yes, the Nekohono’o HQ is schizophrenic to say the least. Honestly, it is probably best serving as a NCSS platform and never touching the ground. Shame about all the heavy metal it carries.

With TRO3085 we get a new take on the Nekohono’o. Gone are the Krakens and instead we get Sub Capital Naval Lasers. It has to be said that this ship is under gunned. Despite carrying 15 SCLs the firepower is pathetic compared to the SCC ships in service with other navies. The answer comes in the Naval C3 system. Unlike SCCs, SCLs don’t suffer from an accuracy lag. Combined with some serious bracketing ability the forward batteries of the Neko will very accurate at ranges out to 40 hexes. Much like the original Nekohono’o, the rear batteries are more tokenistic and intended to scare tailgaters. With AAA mode engaged the SCLs are a dangerous threat to small craft, while the hellish damage from the computer assisted MRMs has to be respected. Everything else is pretty much the same, loads of marines and no armour. However, now an enemy has a far more dangerous threat than a swarm of marines to worry about. A browse of TRO3085 tells us what the likely spotter craft of the C3 system will be, making direct attacks against the Nekohono’o unlikely.

So, how do you use a Neko? With the base variant, launch a swarm of Small Craft, and close on the target using evasion. Try and use other DropShips and ASF as distractions. Once at close range try and stick close and cut the enemy up.
With the SCL version, try and hold the range. Use the targeting data from spotting craft for better shots and use your Small Craft to draw fire. You aren’t going to get quick kills, but you are going to get a hit, every single turn.

Killing a Neko is easy. Close in and slice up the thin armour, especially in the rear. The Small Craft are operating on a shot gun principle, hoping that one will get close and roll the right to-hit to board. Use movement to prevent boarding and always remember the DropShip is really the primary target. Try to avoid the Neko getting into close range on its terms.

In summary, the Nekohono’o is a difficult ship. Even in it’s hey day it required co ordination and skill to use. Ironically it has probably become stronger as the WarShips that were once so deadly for it have been swept from the sky. The SCL Nekohono’o offers a revised mission and is even more reliant on its squadron. However as a command and support unit it offers useful capabilities and a better chance of survival than the original platform. In general terms, both models are failed ships; unable to compete with modern platforms like the Arondight (SCC) and Taihou, but it is the Neko’s very difference from these ships that makes it useful on the modern battlefield.
 

Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #1 on: 17 February 2014, 22:39:42 »
There are two ways to use a Kraken...

You forgot the third way, which is to use bearings-only launches to fire-and-forget the things, allowing you to stay at range, fire with reasonable accuracy, AND keep it rainin'. 8)

I'd use the Neko in this manner, providing heavy fire support from a distance without exposing yourself to close-range firepower.
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #2 on: 18 February 2014, 00:53:59 »
I know these articles are generally all geared at looking at units in a vacuum, and not the outer-space kind.  But, in the case of the SCL variant, I don't think that's a fair way to look at the vessel... it'll (always?) be deployed in one of the DCA's PWS squadrons, making use of NC3 equipped teammates in the Taihou and Achilles classes.

I think the SCLs and Taihous are like chocolate and peanut butter... both pretty good on their own but together so much better than the sum of the two.

Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #3 on: 18 February 2014, 18:25:48 »
Were these variants of the Nekohono’o intended to be not fantastic ship, but not be sucky vessel? 
I'm by far not expert on thing naval, but i did find HQ was odd ball intended be a ground support vessel lobbying artillery.  But the boardside mounted artillery didn't quite makesense ... but what do i know?

Can this ship least serve as a flagship, despite its flaws in firepower and armor? 

I do have a question regarding spotting.  What rule in Stratops allows for small craft to spot for long range ships using non-artillery/missiles type weapons?  This first time i've heard of SubCap Laser weapons being able benefit from a spotting vessel.
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Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #4 on: 18 February 2014, 18:28:10 »
Can this ship least serve as a flagship, despite its flaws in firepower and armor?

Posessing an NCSS means that the Neko-HQ would indeed serve well as a fleet flagship.

I do have a question regarding spotting.  What rule in Stratops allows for small craft to spot for long range ships using non-artillery/missiles type weapons?  This first time i've heard of SubCap Laser weapons being able benefit from a spotting vessel.

Naval C3.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer

Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #5 on: 18 February 2014, 19:03:21 »
Posessing an NCSS means that the Neko-HQ would indeed serve well as a fleet flagship.

Naval C3.

What small craft have Naval C3? I don't think i've seen listing for them for small craft.
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Scotty

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #6 on: 18 February 2014, 19:07:05 »
Why would you link it to small craft?  That's what warships are for.
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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #7 on: 18 February 2014, 19:35:08 »
Why would you link it to small craft?  That's what warships are for.
WarShips are as rare as Unicorns by 3145, your better off with stuff you can get your hands on a normal basis.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

Scotty

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #8 on: 18 February 2014, 19:45:33 »
Then make it another dropship.  Point is you don't need Small Craft to carry C3 for this thing.
Catalyst Demo Agent #679

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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #9 on: 18 February 2014, 19:50:13 »
What small craft have Naval C3? I don't think i've seen listing for them for small craft.

I believe the only NC3 units thus far in all of canon BattleTechdom are the Neko classes, Taihou, and the NTNU Achilles.  Are there any more?  Can't be that many, if there are any.

sillybrit

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #10 on: 18 February 2014, 20:12:50 »
Not just the NTNU Achilles, but the other three NTNU DropShips as well: Dragau II, Interdictor & Tiamat II.

SCC

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #11 on: 21 February 2014, 04:37:07 »
Are we likely to see a CANNON WS RS with NC3?

Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #12 on: 21 February 2014, 08:56:40 »
Well, the surviving Kurita ships do tend to be NAC-heavy, though I don't remember if their weapons are in all caps.

If you're talking about canon ships vs CANNON ones, it would be nice to see NC3 plugged into the remaining hulls. Maybe when 3057rU comes out.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
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Wrangler

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #13 on: 21 February 2014, 09:52:19 »
Well, the surviving Kurita ships do tend to be NAC-heavy, though I don't remember if their weapons are in all caps.

If you're talking about canon ships vs CANNON ones, it would be nice to see NC3 plugged into the remaining hulls. Maybe when 3057rU comes out.
I would be mighty happy person if the Record Sheet: 3057 Revised Unabridge would become a reality, maybe we'll get additional hidden gems...hehe.  O:-)
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Weirdo

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #14 on: 21 February 2014, 10:34:58 »
CGL's delivered on all sorts of other awesomeness, I've no doubt that we'll see such a product if we're patient enough. O0
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer

SCC

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #15 on: 21 February 2014, 17:35:39 »
Sorry, the reason I asked was that the NC3 write up specifically mentions "suppose that a Sovetskii Soyuz and an allied Vincent are both using Naval C3" and I was wondering when we'll see these ships

Rage

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Re: DropShip of the Week: Nekohono'o
« Reply #16 on: 21 February 2014, 17:56:11 »
Probably never. Besides, that example was a hypothetical if anything. Except for ComStar/WoB, only the Clans actually have those two ship classes in their navies. Granted, there's nothing stopping you from modifying them yourself ;)