Register Register

Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus  (Read 6754 times)

sillybrit

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3923
Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« on: 16 November 2011, 03:47:29 »
Longinus Battle Armor - Field Manual: Free Worlds League back cover
Technical Readout 3058U page 29



     The Longinus Battle Armor is the most technologically advanced trooper design built by the Inner Sphere as a direct response to the Clans' Elemental. A member of what could be loosely viewed as the Inner Sphere Standard family - although not by any means a direct descendant of that suit - the Longinus didn't even begin development until two years after the IS Standard had seen combat and that delay, combined with technical assistance from the Word of Blake, allowed the Free Worlds League to make improvements that have unfortunately proven to be double edged.

     First published in Field Manual: Free Worlds League, the Longinus was the result of a joint development project by the League and Word of Blake to duplicate the Elemental, using examples of the Clan suit that had been obtained by the Word. Unlike the other trooper designs that preceded the Longinus into service in the Inner Sphere, the League's suit mounted both a SRM2 launcher and a secondary mount for light anti-personnel weapons, in addition to the usual main weapon mount on the right arm. Development of the Longinus began in October 3054, after the initial Clan threat had already been halted on the fields of Tukayyid, and then suffered delays at the prototype stage due to sabotage by a ComStar sympathizer, until finally entering production in December 3057, which meant it also missed Operation Guerrero. The Longinus proved to be more expensive than other Inner Sphere trooper Battle Armor designs, with the LCCC - the FWLM's central military bureaucracy - deterred by the higher cost, but the Captain-General overrode their concerns and assigned additional funding.

     Having already had their first taste of Battle Armor with the Achileus, the FWLM welcomed the Longinus with open arms and such was the enthusiasm that initial supplies of the new suit couldn't keep up with demand. For the first year of service, the line infantry regiments and special forces troops which had obtained the Longinus found themselves with no more than a platoon of twenty suits apiece, but plans were already in place to increase this to company or even battalion strength over the next ten years. From the beginning, the FWLM ensured that their Battle Armor units were well supported, with all units provided with dedicated APC transports, while those operating alongside BattleMech units could even be carried by OmniMechs, which made up just over an eighth of the FWLM's BattleMech Corps by 3067. Initially, the Longinus formed the majority of the FWLM's Battle Armor forces, but it's unknown whether this changed once the Free Worlds League began building the Inner Sphere Standard suit for themselves, and it's possible that the Standard was only intended for export. The Word of Blake also fielded the Longinus, with Record Sheets 3058Uu Clan & Star League giving us record sheets specifically for Word forces, which operate Battle Armor in units of six instead of the more common four-suit squads.

     Rather worryingly, given the loss of the main production centers on Gibson, Irian, Kalidasa and Stewart either due to destruction or loss to the Republic, most of the former Free Worlds League member states are going to have trouble in the short term obtaining supplies of the Longinus post-Jihad, with only the Duchy of Oriente currently known to possess a working factory, and even that has suffered from Blakist sabotage. Given that the design is the main Battle Armor of the ex-FWLM, it's unlikely that this situation will last for long, whether new factories are built or shipments are supplied by the Republic, and the PDF version of the Master Unit List indicates that the suit serves both the Free Worlds and the RAF during the Dark Age.

     On paper, the development of the Longinus was an impressive achievement. The key to the design's extra features compared to the IS Standard and similar suits is its Advanced composition armor, a not completely successful Inner Sphere attempt to match the lightweight armor of the Clans. Analogous to Ferro-Fibrous armor, it trades increased bulk for reduced mass, saving a design 20% of the mass that would be required using standard materials. By using Advanced armor, the Longinus saved 90kg, which might not sound much when compared to the 1000kg of the entire suit, but that amount of mass can allow a significant increase in overall performance if spent wisely; sadly, in my opinion, the Longinus team didn't use this windfall wisely. The project engineers decided to use the available mass to make what at first glance appeared to be the closest copy of the Elemental that had been produced by an Inner Sphere faction to date, but appearances are somewhat deceiving, with the very component that gave the Longinus more mass for weaponry and other equipment also imposing some unfortunate side effects.

    The bulkiness of the Advanced plating costs Medium Battle Armor designs half of their available equipment slots, and with a Modular Weapon Mount taking up a fifth of the remaining space and another fifth required by the Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount on the left forearm, the Longinus was rapidly running out of room to actually add weapons, in particular the larger types that generally have the best combined range and firepower. The decision to add a backpack SRM launcher aggravates the space issue even further, leaving the Longinus's primary Modular Weapon Mount with a one-slot capacity, a limitation shared with the smaller Achileus. Like its lighter stable mate, this means that the Longinus has fewer potential configurations compared to the other designs in the IS Standard family, and most importantly it lacks the ability to mount Light Recoilless Rifles or arm-mounted SRM launchers, despite having the payload capacity. The loss of the potential Recoilless Rifle configuration is a particularly bitter blow in my opinion, although some players see it as a minor restriction.

     Although it adds additional long-range firepower, the one-shot SRM launcher also introduced the Longinus' greatest tactical weakness. Inner Sphere designers had already discovered that mounting missiles on the torso prevented Battle Armor from maneuvering to their fullest extent, not only preventing them from jumping if equipped with jump jets, but also stopping them from being able to make Anti-'Mech attacks. This major flaw is unfortunate considering that the torso has the greatest volume to accommodate the bulky launch and feed mechanisms and accompanying magazine space. The League and Blakist engineers attempted to overcome this issue, aware that a solution must exist given the capabilities of the Elemental, but their efforts were somewhat in vain, resulting in only being able to duplicate the Clan design's ability to jettison its launcher. Once the unwieldy missile tubes are detached, whether fired or still loaded, the suit regains its balance and can move more easily, being able to jump and conduct Anti-'Mech assaults. Both these abilities are so important that, in my experience, it’s not uncommon for players to field some or all of their Longinus units with the launcher already detached, which is obviously a waste of payload, although totally understandable. Notably, apart from a recent variant of the Canopian's Theseus design, only the Word of Blake have been willing to accept the limitations inflicted by torso-mounted missile launchers.

     As shown in its introduction in Field Manual: Free Worlds League through to its appearance in Technical Readout 3058U, the Longinus is capable of mounting the standard Small Laser, Flamer and Machine Gun options seen on just about every trooper Battle Armor design with a modular mount, both Clan and Inner Sphere. The Readout also provided us with the only official configuration that has been added over the years with the development of the Light David Gauss Rifle in 3063, and although some electronics configurations should be available, including the use of Light TAGs, these have not been adopted in an official (read: canon) capacity. Although it lacks punch, the availability of the David Light Gauss Rifle as a standard configuration does give Free Worlds League Battle Armor formations a potential advantage over those from other Inner Sphere factions that field equivalent trooper designs such as the IS Standard. The David's extended reach at least allows some damage to be inflicted at distances where other weapons are completely ineffective, although this advantage has been greatly reduced by the spread of the Light Recoilless Rifle after its introduction by the Capellan Confederation as a Battle Armor weapon during the invasion of the St Ives Compact. Longinus squads equipped with David rifles do make for useful anti-armor units, where the potential of critical hits can be more important than the actual damage inflicted.

     In general, and particularly once free of the encumbering missile launcher, the Longinus operates identically to the IS Standard. However, using the design with its SRMs still attached can be something of an art, having to balance the potential benefit from the extra damage against the restrictions in mobility and melee attacks. One environment that suits the Longinus' peculiarities, despite its lack of stealth, is during ambushes using the Hidden Units rules. Striking from cover, units can offload their missiles and then jettison the launchers in time for the subsequent fight now that their location has been revealed. If taking part in more mobile battles, Longinus squads with unfired missiles have to be careful to avoid enemy fire, since they lack the ability to generate Target Movement Modifiers, making them more vulnerable to destruction or severe damage. Clever opponents can exploit the mobility dragging fights away from encumbered Longinus units and perhaps forcing them to discard their SRMs in an attempt to keep up.

     With limited capacity to add new configurations, we had to wait until Technical Readout 3085 to add new capabilities to the Longinus. The Readout's Old Is The New New section introduced us to the Longinus (Magnetic) variant, with the associated Record Sheets providing us with the exact stats. Introduced during the Jihad, the Longinus (Magnetic) removes the SRMs and Modular Weapon Mount in favor of Magnetic Clamps and a pair of fixed Machine Guns, one Heavy and other a standard model. The Clamps allows the variant to mount non-Omni vehicles and 'Mechs for Mechanized Battle Armor tactics, which together with lack of the missile launcher greatly improves its overall mobility. In addition to being a vicious anti-infantry unit, the Longinus (Magnetic) excels as close quarters combat and has a powerful Swarm attack, with a full squad able to inflict 20 points of damage per Turn, as well as the usual critical hit check.

    The Jihad also brought another variant, a field refit produced by the Principality of Regulus. Published in Experimental Technical Readout Marik, the Longinus "Hacked" is an interesting Battle Armor concept, reducing its jump capability, protection and weapon payload to add a Battle Armor C3i module. Each squad is capable of operating as one of the six nodes in a C3i network, providing and accepting targeting data from other units within the same network. Unlike the similar Kage C, the Longinus "Hacked" retains some armament, but lacks stealthy capabilities, which can make it less capable of surviving enemy attention, even though it has heavier armor. In my experience, opponents can generally easily counter the Longinus "Hacked", although it can be a pain in the posterior in urban combat. Regulan forces have decided to shelve the design, partly due to shortages of the C3 hardware, but also because of the high loss of performance due to the heavy electronics. From the write-up, it's possible that another, heavier chassis may be similarly adapted, with the Phalanx being an ideal and obvious choice.

    Overall, despite its sometimes troublesome nature, the Longinus is a good Battle Armor design, rewarding those commanders (and players) who persevere and learn how to exploit its abilities. At worst, jettison the missile launcher and just use it like an Inner Sphere Standard that has gained an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount, which can be worth a lot if you mount weapons like a M42B assault rifle. I would agree with the assessment that it was the best Inner Sphere Battle Armor design during its early years, although I know that I'm biased in favor of trooper suits, plus in later years its inability to mount the Light Recoilless Rifle has left it on-par with its rival designs in the IS Standard family in my opinion. The Longinus continues to provide the fragmented Free Worlds states with solid frontline service, and will even spread beyond their borders as part of the Republic Armed Forces, and while some may dislike its eccentric performance it remains capable of outfighting many Battle Armor designs, both new and old.

Next up:
  • Cavalier
  • Salamander
  • Sylph
  • Undine

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17367
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #1 on: 16 November 2011, 12:37:05 »
The Longinus is not bad, I think its definately a ambush/mechanized oriented suit.  Its also fun in urban settings.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

Weirdo

  • Painter of Borth the Magic Puma
  • Global Moderator
  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 33421
  • Divided States of SMASH
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #2 on: 16 November 2011, 12:55:42 »
Is the FWLM really 1/8th Omni? That's awesome, and gives me more incentive to build my Marik-style 'Supernova'... :) As for the Longinus, it's easy to use; deploy like a heavy suit, fire ze missiles, and then fight like a medium suit. The LongiMag is a true beast. Absolutely brutal at clearing rooms, and that potential damage makes me want to actually try a swarm attack sometime soon.
"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

sillybrit

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3923
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #3 on: 16 November 2011, 13:28:45 »
Going by Field Manual: Updates, which I appreciate some will not want to do, about 13.5% of the FWLM's 'Mechs were Omni. That put them about half that of the DCMS (no surprise), just under the AFFS (odd), about equal with the CCAF and about double the LAAF (umm, what?).

I'm guessing you've been a regular user of the Longinus, Wierdo, so what may be easy for you, seems to cause some players major issues. Some just get too cautious and deploy them too far back, while others want to save the missiles for that one good shot, ignoring that it leaves the squad vulnerable. My view is similar to yours, with the option of dropping the missiles before battle and using it like a pure Medium, making it a precursor to suits equipped with both Detachable Weapon Packs and regular weapons.

As a matter of interest, since it was often a discussion point after a game with Longinus, I started a design thread to see what players would have done if they were running the project for the FWLM.

Ghost0402

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1221
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #4 on: 16 November 2011, 14:41:28 »
The Longinus is not bad, I think its definately a ambush/mechanized oriented suit.  Its also fun in urban settings.
And right there that fits the majority of the FWLM.  The suit works well with most of the FWLM, and it even plays nicely with it's other FWL brethren BA.   A solid suit that you can't go wrong with.
"Kiss my hairy ass Falcon,"  Star Colonel Onyx,  17th Wolf Regulars Cluster, Clan Wolf  Wars of Reaving.

Blacksheep

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 513
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #5 on: 17 November 2011, 08:57:46 »
Good read O0

Maelwys

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4516
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #6 on: 17 November 2011, 09:41:30 »
The only time I've really had a problem with the Longinus is when I forget about the mounted missile launcher, and forget to assign it transport. Since it can still mount Omnis even with the SRM2 (OS), depending on your force selection, it isn't that crippling of a flaw.

The lack of space in the right arm for some of the "larger" weapons that have become popular (such as LRRs) might prove problematic in the future, though it can atleast respond at range with the David LGR.

Still, its a nice solid suit that can provide a great foundation for a force.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7626
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #7 on: 14 November 2014, 19:57:28 »
I think the generous provision of APC's to Armored Infantry units is why the FWL uses 5-man squads. When BA was first introduced the IS didn't have APC's with 4 ton infantry bays, but they did have the Heavy series of APC's with 6 ton ones

worktroll

  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 20864
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #8 on: 14 November 2014, 20:00:25 »
??? FWL uses 4-man sqauds. It does use 5-squad platoons.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7626
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #9 on: 14 November 2014, 21:37:33 »
??? FWL uses 4-man sqauds. It does use 5-squad platoons.
[face palm]
That said I wouldn't be surprised if early on the IS used 6-man squad for that reason, no Omni's and the only transport big enough to carry BA squads being the Heavy series with 6 tons of space. That or they paired suits with sort conventional platoons of infantry

Weirdo

  • Painter of Borth the Magic Puma
  • Global Moderator
  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 33421
  • Divided States of SMASH
Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Longinus
« Reply #10 on: 14 November 2014, 22:26:38 »
That said I wouldn't be surprised if early on the IS used 6-man squad for that reason...

 [face palm]

...except they didn't. We know they varied, but only went up to five before standardizing on the four-man squad. Even the factions that like the number six didn't until suits and Omnis were readily available.
"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