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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II  (Read 4017 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« on: 03 December 2015, 11:51:11 »
Grenadier Mk II Battle Armor - Experimental Technical Readout The Republic III page 16



     The Grenadier Mk II is one of the best heavy suits to grace the battlefields of the Inner Sphere. Its appearance and name make very clear just who produces the Grenadier II, and Davion fans can rejoice that the AFFS finally has a heavy battlesuit that can not only compete with designs like the Taranis and Cuchulainn, but can even outperform them in many regards.

     After his cold and cruel decision to force the Fusilier into the assault weight class, Field Marshal Jim Sett has finally redeemed himself with the introduction of the Grenadier II. Together with the assistance of his long suffering batman, Sergeant S.B. Renfield, the Field Marshal developed a battlesuit that has greater protection and firepower than its larger namesake. Packed with Clan technology to enable it to achieve this level of performance, the Grenadier II is the new flagship suit for the AFFS, and can, perhaps surprisingly, also be found in the ranks of the RAF.

     Introduced in Experimental Technical Readout Republic III, it might seem obvious that the Grenadier II would thus also be found in the RAF, but step back a moment and look at it from an in-universe point of view. The Grenadier II is without question the most advanced battlesuit in the Suns' arsenal, and sharing such a precious diamond should not come easy to any faction. From an out-of-universe perspective it's fair to say that the Grenadier II only got published at this time because its RAF service earned it a place in the Republic's new Readout, but in-universe some might view the situation as something of a head-scratcher. At least the Suns and Republic had a period of friendship - which included a military aid treaty with AFFS troops fighting to protect the Republic - that made the sharing of the Grenadier II feasible, with varying grains of salt depending upon how comfortable you are with the idea.

     The Grenadier II owes its performance to a combination of Inner Sphere chassis with Clan weaponry and armor. For those who don't design their own battlesuits, it should be mentioned that a Clan chassis is heavier than one from the Inner Sphere, primarily due to the inclusion of a Harjel system. The Clans - even those who migrated to the Inner Sphere - don't build frontline battlesuits without Harjel, which can give Inner Sphere designers an advantage when they get to use weight-saving Clan technology with their homegrown chassis.

     As I've stated in previous articles, I'm not completely comfortable with canon suits like the Grenadier II. Getting to combine both Clan weapons and Clan armor with an Inner Sphere chassis makes mixed tech suits the top performing designs when it comes to raw stats. This makes battle armor unusual compared to other unit types such as ASFs or ’Mechs, where the purely Clan designs are typically still superior to mixed tech and Inner Sphere designs. True, there are certain technologies that can swing the pendulum back a little in the Inner Sphere's favor, but Clan tech is still dominant overall among non-battlesuit units. The component at the heart of the battle armor issue is required in every design and has remained unchanged since we had a construction system. This isn't a case of the Inner Sphere having developed second- or later generation hardware to overtake the Clan technology, this is day-zero development. Nor is it something optional that would require a sacrifice elsewhere to install, this is mandatory equipment for all designs.

     Some might ask just what's the problem with such mixed tech designs; that any questions of balance between units can be adequately handled by BV. That is a point, but BV isn't everything, particularly when you apply an in-universe point of view, where artificial constructs such as BV don't exist. Within the universe, the Clans view Harjel as more useful than the small amount of extra payload provided a Spheroid chassis, but for many players, typically focused on simple last-man-standing scenarios run on 2x2 map sheets, Clan battlesuits can be viewed as distinctly, and uniquely, second place. In the specific case of the Grenadier II, when it's compared to a purely Clan heavy with the same base stats, it gets 100kg more configuration mass, which is a significant amount for battle armor.

     I will say here that the suit could have been nastier. One of the key goals was to make the Grenadier II as identical as possible to the original Grenadier artwork, including the mounting of a laser on the right arm. On the principle that if we're going to go munchkin then we might as well go Munchkin!!!, I suggested that we use a Micro Pulse Laser, but jymset remained strong on his insistence that we instead mount a standard Small Laser. Of course, he mostly did so because he said he wanted to "annoy" me LOL. Avoiding the mounting of an armored glove for the free AP capability that would provide was another case of flavor over function, and space considerations for the Readout also cut some of the suggested configurations.

     But enough waffling about the background, just what does the AFFS get for all the Pounds it spent on the Grenadier II?

     The primary goal for the Grenadier II design was to produce a heavy battlesuit that matched the performance of the Grenadier assault suit as closely as possible, so the level of mobility was a given. Being able to generate two Movement Points sadly isn't enough to earn a Target Movement Modifier, but at least it allows the Grenadier II to outrun foot infantry. This can be very useful in city fighting, which is a common and comfortable environment for battle armor. Although the suit's inherent mobility is no different to that of its forebear, thanks to its lighter weight class and basic manipulator the Grenadier II gets the added bonus of being able to conduct Mechanized Battle Armor operations. I can't overstate how much of a benefit this is for units that possess OmniMechs and OmniVehicles.

     Unfortunately, being capable of hitching a ride on an Omni isn't quite as much of an advantage as it could have been for the AFFS. In addition to avoiding heavy battlesuits after the Sloth - hmm, perhaps the Suns has good cause after all - the AFFS has also been strangely reluctant to develop OmniMechs, instead mostly being content to use those originally designed by the Combine. Thankfully, they were willing to procure OmniVehicles, so the Grenadier II will be able to find rides into battle, even if OmniVehicles can't always match the mobility of OmniMechs. For me, the finest of the AFFS' OmniVehicles is the relatively new Zibler Fast Strike Tank. While not quite so fast as the RAF's Scapha, the Zibler can perform much of the same role, with the added benefit of a greater variety of C3-equipped configurations. Add in some of the C3 Master-equipped Maxim variants and you have a useful combination that can move fast and strike hard.

     Getting to a battle quickly is a good trait to have, but being able to survive once you get there is even better. Thanks to the use of Clan materials, the Standard Stealth armor on the Grenadier Mk II masses just over three-quarters of that of the Grenadier, but provides a third more protection. This allows the Grenadier II to survive a strike by an Inner Sphere PPC with room to spare. Only the Fusilier is tougher within the AFFS' ranks, and that suit lacks the level of stealth of the Grenadier II, so the latter can be more survivable in some situations.

     So overall, the Grenadier II is tougher than an old Grenadier, just as nimble on its own two feet and is easier to move around, but what about the dakka? The heavy suit doesn't quite match the weapon mass available on the assault, but thanks to Clan technology it doesn't need to. Even without Clantech, a pair of Modular Weapon Mounts and a 680kg payload still gives the Grenadier II a lot of configuration options. Sadly, the arm mount only has a single slot space available, but that's enough to allow a variety of useful weapons and systems. Most importantly, the body mount can accommodate equipment up to five slots in size, making it a natural for bulky missile launchers.

     Matching the four-tube launcher of the original, the Grenadier II's Clantech SRM system leaves plenty of mass for ammo and secondary weaponry. With 200kg reserved for the *sigh* Small Laser, the primary configuration comes with no less than 8 salvos for its missiles, exceeding the standard that was set by the original Grenadier. We had considered an Advanced SRM system at one point, but I view the ability to load Infernos as too useful to give up, despite the allure of the extra range and cluster roll bonus of the Advanced missiles, and so, with limited configuration options allowed, the standard SRM loadout got the nod.

     Although the Grenadier II lacks the AP mount of the Grenadier, and cannot mount the superb Magshot, the newer suit is still a worthy successor in its primary SRM configuration. A full squad will be able to hit a target with an average of twenty points of damage across ten hits, meaning that a ’Mech target will be facing a Piloting check, while a vehicle target could easily find itself critted into immobility. If the A configuration has a flaw, it is the Small Laser. The laser is only really effective against armored targets and its range is horrible by modern standards. While the laser does match the flavor of the original Grenadier loadout, with Clantech off the table I would personally prefer a Flamer or MG instead; their damage isn't really that much weaker than a Small Laser and the anti-infantry performance of either is massively superior.

     The LRM configuration is one that gives me the warm fuzzies. Not so much for the Clan LRM launcher - which also has four tubes and an eight shot magazine like its shorter ranged cousin - but for the LRMs in combination with the C3 module mounted on the right arm. With friendly units providing targeting data, the performance of the LRM launcher is greatly enhanced, making the Grenadier II a competitive alternative to the Hauberk, despite its smaller missile array. Most earlier C3-equipped battle armor were effectively intended as spotters, but I frequently found those suits to be somewhat lacking in that role except in some limited circumstances. The LRMs' range allows the Grenadier II to instead take the role of shooter in a C3 network, which I feel is a much better implementation of the system across a wider variety of battlefields. The damage output of the Grenadier II B is less than that of the SRM configuration, amounting to just two five-point hits on average. That's still a decent amount of damage from a unit as small as a battle armor squad, so it shouldn't be discounted. Unfortunately, the C3 module does prevent the addition of secondary armament, but you can't have everything.

     The C configuration was the last added and exists only because of its Flamer, and not because of its Medium Laser. To be precise I should say "re-added" as it was one of the options originally considered but was temporarily dropped while we tried to reduce the number of canon configurations. After the Micro Pulse Laser option on the A configuration was finally discarded, what became the C configuration was re-instated to give the Grenadier II a frontline setup with an anti-infantry weapon. That the Grenadier Mk II C also comes with a Medium Laser alongside its Flamer was just extra sugar. If both weapons can be brought to bear, then a full squad can still exceed the all-important twenty points of damage with an average salvo, but generally it's only going to get to use its Medium Laser, thus will typically fall short of that goal. Still, an average of three Medium Laser strikes per Turn shouldn't be ignored, while the backup Flamer guarantees that any conventional infantry who find themselves up close will quickly regret their situation. As a final note, this configuration very nearly had a Small ER Pulse Laser instead of its Medium Laser, which would have been a terrible "upgrade" using Clantech just for the sake of using Clantech. Luckily for the AFFS, I sort of forgot that idea along the way and didn't remember the idea until too late to change.

     It's fair to say that the D configuration is the spark for the whole Grenadier II design. The design was born towards the end of a discussion involving the Battle Armor of the Week articles for the suits from Technical Readout 3145 Republic Of The Sphere, which naturally brought the Centaur and its armament to mind. It was noted that the Grenadier could mount BA Artillery as a configuration with a little modification and it all sprung from there. Although I wish the AFFS could also have access to Battle Armor Artillery, thereby filling that niche in the ranks of their battle armor, sadly the D configuration is available only to the RAF. With the Republic also fielding the Centaur, the need for an artillery-armed Grenadier II is arguable, but it does offer abilities the Centaur lacks, in particular being able to reconfigure. Like the Centaur, the Grenadier II D also comes with eight shots for its cannon, thereby neatly matching the ammo endurance for the two missile configurations, and yes, that was intentional. The Firedrake on the right arm is one of the few weapons that could be mounted in the remaining mass, and with infantry-killing firepower to match a Flamer it's not a bad choice.

     As a final note regarding the armament, all the guns mounted by the Grenadier II come with extra ammo. While this doesn't have any effect in the BattleTech tactical game, during RPG play or within the BattleTech universe, this extra endurance can be a useful advantage over other battle armor.

     Using the Grenadier II's A and B configurations is simple for experienced Suns players. For the A, you just operate it like the original Grenadier, using the massed SRM firepower to devastate armored targets. With Inferno salvos, you can also slaughter conventional infantry and non-fire resistant battle armor, as well as the usual anti-armor and anti-Mech incendiary capability. The Small Laser allows you to toast marshmallows and carve graffiti on mountainsides, and on rare occasions can also be used to add an average of nine extra points of damage to enemy tanks and ’Mechs. Joking aside, the laser does provide a useful boost to firepower against an unwary foe unwary who wanders into short range of your SRMs, but in many battles you can find it to be dead weight as the enemy makes sure you don't get that opportunity.

     Similarly, the B configuration is just a Hauberk in effect, albeit with the possibility of C3 targeting data making it more accurate. The lack of minimum range thanks to the Clantech LRMs, reduces the need for bodyguards, but the B setup does lack anti-infantry weaponry, so you can't completely avoid the need for an escort if the foe is fielding PBIs.

     The C configuration doesn't really have a canon counterpart in the AFFS, although the old Grenadier could mount a Medium Laser as a custom setup in its original Combat Equipment appearance and again when its torso Modular Weapon Mount was returned in Technical Readout 3075 errata. The C's laser does lack the ability of the A's SRMs to force a piloting check with an average cluster roll, but overall you can use the C like the missile-armed configuration. If you're up against the DCMS, with the possibility of encountering the Kishi and Zou with their reflective armor, you probably want to avoid using the Grenadier II's laser-armed configuration, but for units stationed on the Capellan front, the C becomes a viable choice. Overall, use it like the A configuration, with the ability to fire freely at low odds targets, while losing some firepower and flexibility.

     The artillery-armed D configuration is effectively just a Centaur with greater speed and overall better protection, while lacking the ability to ride on non-Omnis. In situations when the two designs are forced to defend themselves at close range, the Grenadier II's Firedrake is superior against conventional infantry and inferior against armored targets when compared to the Centaur's Small Laser. Just like the Centaur, you use the D configuration as a longer ranged version of LRM-armed fire support, plus it can also be used to provide a battle armor force with integral air defense capability. There's really not much more than can be said that hasn't already been covered in the Centaur article.

     Within the universe, all this capability comes with a cost in the form of greater complexity. This is represented by the Difficult to Maintain quirk, but that is an optional rule and doesn't have any effect in battle, so I don't really see that as much of a negative. With the limited slot space in the right arm being the closest the Grenadier II has to a real flaw, and then when combined with its near optimum blend of mixed technology, the suit is a rather overpowered design in my opinion.

     If it wasn't for the design hook of being a technology upgrade of the original Grenadier, I'd find myself struggling to accept the suit. Given the spread of Clantech and its mixing with Inner Sphere hardware, the Grenadier II can be viewed as a logical development, but that alone isn't enough for me. Just as flavor can save sub-optimal designs in my eyes, the Grenadier II is one of those rare beasts where flavor saves an overpowered design. It might be a dirty, dirty munchkin, but I still greatly admire the Grenadier II, plus it finally fills that heavy slot in the AFFS' battle armor line-up, so I can't complain too much.


UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #1 on: 03 December 2015, 17:35:29 »
Hey, it could be worse. Coulda' been a quad.  ;D
When I first saw the pic in the article, I thought "Well now they've gotten thoroughly uncreative", but there seems to be a lot of thought and work behind making it "just so", even if that means "just like the old one".
One notable comparison to the Centaur' survivability would be the type of armour;
As far as I know the Centaur can actually survive limited counterbattery fire, making it the better artillery suit when that is all that counts.
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Dragon Cat

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #2 on: 03 December 2015, 18:07:29 »
I agree the rules allowing mix tech suits have tipped the balance away from pure bread Clan units

I've always thought Harjel should A) give the pilot 2 HP showing the increased durability or B) assuming the shot didn't outright kill the unit the Harjel gives the suit back a damage point representing self repair but that's just me

As for this particular suit I haven't used it but it looks fun I like the idea of paring it with the original Grenadier or Hauberk depending on situation so you can just volley missiles at enemies and allow them to assist each other with targets

I was surprised there wasn't a Magshot or AP Gauss variant using the torso slots but I guess it would probably end with a bit of space which the missiles use neatly

LastChanceCav

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #3 on: 03 December 2015, 19:24:52 »
Well, that'll teach me to skim a little more thoroughly. On first pass, looking at the stats, I thought how nice it was that they had been able to use clan armor and weapons to toughen up the Grenadier, but  I totally missed they moved it down a weight class  :-[

A mechanized Grenadier is a old dream come true!

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Scotty

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #4 on: 03 December 2015, 19:40:15 »
I didn't realize that the D was Republic only.  Can't say I'm particularly happy with that, but I do love BA Tube Artillery something fierce.  More of that is always better, far as I'm concerned.
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mbear

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #5 on: 04 December 2015, 11:19:33 »
When I first saw the pic in the article, I thought "Well now they've gotten thoroughly uncreative", but there seems to be a lot of thought and work behind making it "just so", even if that means "just like the old one".
In universe, maybe that was deliberate by the designers so the Combine/Capellans wouldn't be able to tell which version they were facing?

IRL it was probably to save art costs. ;)

Hussar2

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #6 on: 04 December 2015, 11:37:39 »
Great article as ever
I am not sure the D configuration shouldn't be available to the FS.
It was used against the Capellans on Marlette persumably by Davion forces (as per TRO 3150)

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #7 on: 04 December 2015, 12:13:53 »
IRL it was probably to save art costs. ;)

This is normal. There are exceptions, but by and large, only mechs tend to get new art in XTROs. Like you said, it's to save on art costs, and is one of the reasons XTROs are so cheap.
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #8 on: 04 December 2015, 12:33:19 »
It was used against the Capellans on Marlette persumably by Davion forces (as per TRO 3150)
I assume that BA Field artillery is Republic Tech. That's not saying it isn't available outside, but it's probably not terribly prevalent, either.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #9 on: 05 December 2015, 03:33:26 »
Could've been units of Task Force Navarre that picked up the tech in the ROTS, maybe?
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Hussar2

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #10 on: 05 December 2015, 04:30:23 »
Could've been units of Task Force Navarre that picked up the tech in the ROTS, maybe?

Could be since we don't have a full account of the battle yet. The only named unit is the 5th Crucis Lancers a unit not from TF:Navarre.
The way I see it the D configuration had been republic specific but was later brought back to the Federation  with TF:Navarre.
I have posted the question on the MUL errata thread. 

marauder648

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #11 on: 05 December 2015, 08:15:15 »
Great as always, i'm not really a user of BA (or Proto's) but these do look very bitey!
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #12 on: 06 December 2015, 23:10:47 »
Alright, so to look at it in a bit of different way . . . does the suit come across as overpowered in the RPG because it has IS internal vs the Clan internal's survivability?  Does it make a difference either way in AS?

I really wish we got Advanced SRMs in other places than BA, I have wanted it for mechs and vehicles for a while.  Just like the old TRO3050 had Clan spec standard lasers or other weapons, I think its some gap filler needed.
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mbear

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Grenadier II
« Reply #13 on: 07 December 2015, 08:26:04 »
This is normal. There are exceptions, but by and large, only mechs tend to get new art in XTROs. Like you said, it's to save on art costs, and is one of the reasons XTROs are so cheap.
Indeed. I'm not complaining. I'd rather have new units and if the lower art cost lets me get 'em, so much the better.