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Author Topic: WarShip of the Week: League  (Read 2929 times)

Jellico

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WarShip of the Week: League
« on: 29 June 2014, 16:26:06 »

League: FR2765:FWLM


League-class Destroyer

I like Leagues. There are a lot of reasons to hate them, but I like them. Perhaps it because the League is one of the few ships out there that doesn’t go out of its way to grind the image of the SLDF ships in TRO2750 into the dirt. The League is literally a stubby little destroyer that fits in amongst its contemporaries with nary a problem. It is not going to win a battle like a Narukami or Davion II, but like the SLDF ships it would win the peace, and for that it deserves some respect.

The League dates back to 2368, the decade the Houses finally developed real WarShips. Of course at that point the Terran Hegemony had multiple classes of all types in service. Where the Federated Suns and Capellan Confederation leapt into huge battleships and suffered accordingly, the Free Worlds’ League was much more modest. A mere 560,000 tons modest. Roughly comparable to the earlier Essex I-class destroyers. Field Report 2765: FWLM suggests the League had the potential to be a boondoggle, but the political need to placate so many regions forced the engineers to keep the design simple.
The Field Report states the League would go on to be the mainstay of the FWLN but this understates the position. Historical: Reunification War tells us that the League had 75 ships in service in 2575. The FWLN only gained its Atreus-class battleships and ex-Hegemony Aegis in the lead up to the Reunification war. At the same time Essex I and Lola Is were still the mainstay of the Hegemony fleet leaving few to palm off to the Houses. There were twenty Atreus in 2765, and it is hard to imaging too many being lost. Likewise it is hard to imagine the FWLN have many more than six Aegis. Just how many of those 75 ships in 2575 had to be Leagues is impressive. That the fleet was reduced to 50 by the Reunification War is sobering.
Historical Liberation of Terra tells us by 2750 the FWLN was down to 30 ships before rising to 47 by 2765. The most shocking part of this is the near lack of Leagues. It looks like they were scrapped rather than mothballed. When the regrowth began it mostly consisted of reactivating mothballed Atreus and buying new ships like the Soyal. It wouldn’t be till the yards cleared of old ships that the League was looked at again. This time in a new form making use modern technologies. A much more capable ship, the League Block II would be punched out in large numbers until the end of the Star League. Please note the first League II did not launch until 2768 so we know very little about it. But be assured that there were a lot of them. Naturally the Succession Wars made them all go away.

So what do we know about the Leagues? Well the League Block I is exactly what it says on the box; a solid little destroyer that can fight most things. It has a huge cargo capacity and a pair of DropShuttle Bays. Impressively for its age it has fighter bays and a docking collar. By being willing to hedge their bets with exotic new technologies the FWL got a far more useful destroyer. Probably this is the main thing to say about the League. Like the SLDF destroyers it had no guns or no armour worth talking about, but Leagues had the reliability and features to go on and on during peacetime duties.
As noted its immediate contemporaries were the Essex I and Lola I. Okay, the League is no match for a fleet destroyer like a Lola, but it performs better than an Essex I. For that matter it compares well to the later Baron and Carson, even the much bigger Winchester and Wagon Wheel. 
Armour is nearly non-existent, and worse, the League doesn’t have the Structural Integrity to make up for it. So Leagues will pop fairly quickly. The guns are nothing special, though they are enough to take on other destroyers. Pack hunting is the name of the game here. AA is typical for a House ship and weak. Fortunately the FWL was mainly facing the Capellan Confederation’s badly arranged Du Shi Wang and Lyran Commonwealth’s Commonwealths, the latter would have their hands full with the Combine’s Narukamis on the other border. Everything else was ex-Hegemony keeping everyone on an even playing field.
The League Block II is somewhat weak compared to its contemporaries, if only because it is so late to the field. Really it is comparable to a Lola III, Essex II or Davion I. Admittedly it is not in the range of a Riga II or Davion II. Firepower comes almost purely from naval gauss rifles. I don’t think we have seen this many in use before. Firepower is a little light and it lacks the big hole punching bay that can turn a destroyer battle. AA hasn’t really improved. Heat/power isn’t really an issue despite what the fluff says. You can fire everything you need to fire when you want to. The big win is the armour which is much heavier meaning the League II can survive some hits. If anything the cargo facilities are a little inferior with the DropShuttle bays given up for a second docking collar. The costs of using naval gauss rifles I guess.

So how do you use a League Block I? Swarming seems to be the best option. Your big killer weapons are the NACs in the bow and broadside. The single NAC10s and Naval Lasers are gap finders. You can’t take many hits so hope like heck you never have to face a cruiser on your own. Rotate the strike and keep rolling till the armour runs out.
Using a Block II you have the ability to stand off. Unfortunately no bracketing means you won’t hit much. None the less it is your one advantage so try and exploit it against the other Houses. A SLDF destroyer will just laugh at you and shoot your hat off at 50 hexes. Pack tactics seem to be the way to go again.
Don’t forget in both cases the Leagues are part of a fleet. Where the Davion IIs and Narukamis have to carry the rest of the fleet, the real power of the FWLN is the Atreus-class battleships, initially with Aegis and later Soyals. The FWLN has a much heavier top end than the other Houses and their light assets should be deployed accordingly. So don’t panic.

If you can find them on their own Leagues are really easy to kill. A wing of ASF will do it. Their ability to carry supporting units makes them a little tougher than SLDF ships but they don’t have access to the extended fleet either. Even with their friends, Leagues don’t do support fire as well as the SLDF. They have to get closer than a super accurate Lola III or Essex II. As brawlers the Atreus will be in even closer, but it means it is easier to isolate FWLN units than SLDF units even in battle. Just apply firepower and watch the Leagues dissolve.
« Last Edit: 11 September 2014, 18:25:14 by Jellico »

Alan Grant

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #1 on: 30 June 2014, 16:00:32 »
Good article.

I feel like the League Block II somewhat covers its other deficiencies with range. It may lack armor and speed, but those gauss rifles give it some decent range, allowing it to quickdraw, fire first, hit first, and maybe score some real damage or even a kill against an opposing lightly-skinned warship.

But honestly the best place to put these things is riding shotgun alongside an Atreus, so close that the Atreus will be the primary target of the opposing force and the job of the League will be to supplement the Atreus by adding to its firepower.

In another thread somewhere I commented that the League reminded me of the more contemporary Eagle-class Frigate with the Gauss Rifles. Ditto for its escort role.

I don't like the League Block I as much but it gives us another warship of this era to play with and so I'm happy with that.

Honestly my biggest complaint with the League is the name. I kinda wish they had thought of something more original.

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Weirdo

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #2 on: 30 June 2014, 16:36:58 »
Perhaps it because the League is one of the few ships out there that doesn’t go out of its way to grind the image of the SLDF ships in TRO2750 into the dirt.

I take that as a compliment, as that was my primary goal when designing this vessel - build a ship that was useful in battle, but didn't outshine the stuff we already knew dominated the era. Give them a run for their money maybe, but dominating them was unacceptable.
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Wrangler

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #3 on: 01 July 2014, 23:02:22 »
Nice article, Jellico and thanks for making this thing, Weirdo!

Its nice little unit to compliment the Atreus Battleships into battle. Its battery of conventional weapons compliments well help fend off Aerospace Fighters.  Its cargo space is rather impressive.

I think my favorite part of the fluff for the League was the passing mention of some of them ending up in Pirate's hands.  Now thats a Pirate ship!  No wimpy dropship for me!  Most pirates would be out of their League if they ran into crew with this thing.
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Weirdo

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #4 on: 02 July 2014, 09:44:31 »
Actually, that's mostly a reference to the Third Hidden War, when all the Houses would 'lose'(;)) ships or have them 'go rogue' (;)) so they could escort 'pirates'(;)) that would raid their neighbors. While I'm sure that actual pirates did get their hands on a WarShip every once in a while, most of the time, they were House ships that were just being extra deniable.
"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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Jellico

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #5 on: 02 July 2014, 16:41:51 »
Its nice little unit to compliment the Atreus Battleships into battle. Its battery of conventional weapons compliments well help fend off Aerospace Fighters.  Its cargo space is rather impressive.

Great thing about the League is you get a totally expendable WarShip for the FWL in totally uncountable numbers before 2765. As long as you keep an eye on the maximums in Reunification War and Liberation of Terra you can go crazy.
As I mentioned. A 75 ship fleet gets reduced to 50 in the Reunification War. You said you wanted WarShip battles?

Weirdo

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Re: WarShip of the Week: League
« Reply #6 on: 02 July 2014, 16:47:06 »
And considering what the Canopians probably had, I seriously doubt many of those losses were Atreii.
"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