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Author Topic: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx  (Read 5807 times)

Moonsword

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Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« on: 30 May 2011, 12:05:54 »
Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx

Billed by Earthwerks on Calloway VI "the Free Worlds League's answer to the Myrmidon", the Phalanx is more of a study in design creep than anything else.  Earthwerks makes some wonderful products.  The Phalanx won't be joining the Archer and the Thunderbolt on that list.  I agree with the industry observers cited in XTRO: Marik who knock it for trying to do too much at one time and as a result they wound up with a pricy tank that uses uncommon parts.  The price winds up being comparable to a a classic Manticore's, which is not really a ringing endorsement for something that is rightfully called mediocre.  Because of the expense, Earthwerks was unable to market it to, well, anyone and ultimately shelved the design, donating four to the FWLM that likely wound up in Oriente hands and retaining the other eight built for use as testbeds in other programs.

At 40 tons with a tracked motive system, it certainly seems like the Phalanx is going in the right direction for a Myrmidon competitor but then it starts swerving around.  The power plant is a 160-rated extra-light fusion engine.  The good: free heat sinks and lots of free tonnage.  The bad: pricy as hell for what it's supposed to be competing against and the 4/6 speed is the same as a Scorpion or Bulldog, either of which are much cheaper and one of them tougher and better armed to boot.  Points for trying for a limited amphibious design but considering everything else going on here, those two tons would have been useful just about anywhere else.  The armor is passable but not great at 6 tons arranged 21/20/15/20.  I don't gripe at, say, the Hetzer for an armor tonnage like that, but the Hetzer doesn't have a turret to deal with, either.  Some bright boy stuck on a Sniper cannon to reduce the need for trained gunners at the expense of anything resembling standard parts or ammunition and a weapon the size of a Gauss rifle which goes to explain where all the tonnage went.  A machine gun was also mounted in the turret.  Perhaps the only thing the armament gets right is supplying the weapons with 20 and 100 shots respectively.  The weapon is fairly short ranged for the one serious anti-armor weapon (we're looking at an artillery cannon here) and has a minimum range as well as being likely to take a significant chunk of the tank's own armor off if someone decides to charge into it.  Just to top this off, they decided to play Goblin and stick on a 1 ton infantry compartment.  Like the XTRO said, trying to do too much with too little.

TRO: Prototypes's release in time for Fourth of July fireworks brought us a slightly modified version.  Contrary to the TRO commentary, it does several things well, and the additional armor is a helpful if undramatic improvement.  Additional armor?  Oh, yes, a whole 1.5 tons of it arranged 30/24/22/20.  I would have preferred to get some additional plating on the turret, personally, but considering that this is supposed to be a siegebreaker, the heavy forward bias makes some sense.  They got that tonnage by getting rid of the infantry capacity and moving the machine gun off the turret.  Overall, this is a far superior model that retains its predecessor's utility and is better at using it.

Using it isn't too complicated.  Drive with all the speed the tracks can deliver to get into roughly medium range and lay fire at the hex containing the enemy.  If they bunch up, discourage the practice with a well-timed Sniper smack and hope your mighty 10 point gun doesn't just encourage them to put you out of their misery.  BA and infantry will loathe you, though, as will Harassers.  Since the FWL has plenty of BA and Harassers to be found, the Phalanx does have some uses.  The Raptor II that some heathen blackguard posted an article about Friday will also not be fond of seeing one prowling around, although it's not the same lethal threat and the probability of them encountering each other approaches nil.  The limited amphibious capabilities mean they're painfully slow but capable of entering or exiting the battlefield from odd directions.  What you want to put in the back is up to you but you're only going to get a squad of them.  I suggest looking at using them in pairs - it'll keep the fast-movers out of your hair.  Having just had the amusing experience of trying to corner a Fireball to get it to stop dashing around, I think there's something to that idea.

Stopping a Phalanx is even simpler, although there's some things not to do.  Either crit-seek or just squash it flat.  It's not hard to hit, so crippling isn't necessary.  BA and infantry need to stay out of its way if they can.  That Sniper cannon is fairly myopic for a main gun these days, oversized, and not particularly dangerous to 'Mechs, but against either of those two, it's very, very dangerous.  Most IS medium suits, anything lighter from either tech base, and probably more than one of the heavy suits, are going to come up dead if that thing lands a round dead center.  Just get a Sharpie out and mark the records off.  Platoons of conventional aren't in such a bad position but they're going to get ripped into heavily, even if they have armor.  A pack of them are capable of making fast, lightly armored units nervous, too.

Image Reference: The Phalanx is listed at the MUL in all its miniscule glory.  No miniature exists.
« Last Edit: 13 August 2011, 11:20:26 by Moonsword »

Weirdo

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #1 on: 30 May 2011, 12:37:40 »
I'll agree with anyone that the Phalanx as-is sucks, but there's a lot of potential. While the amphib ability is indeed very limited and I won't try using it to cross large lakes or rivers except under dire circumstances(to say nothing of oceans, brr), it's more than enough to cross the small streams that are found on most published CBT maps. It lets you cross streams effectively as fast as your typical 'mech, which is already a vast improvement over any other non-hover or non-amphib tank. The snub-Sniper also has lots of potential. As was already mentioned, this will be brutal on any battle armor or infantry encountered, and can also deal with fast hovers or light 'mechs pretty well. Can snubtillery fire as flak the same way full artillery can? If so, we've got a middling-to-decent AA unit here too.

I would NOT use this as an MBT. Instead, I think I'll use it as an old-fashioned assault gun, supporting friendly infantry formations. Eliminate the fast infantry-hunters that come around like Locusts or Piranhas, then wipe out enemy troops, suited or otherwise. If snub cannons treat buildings the same way atry does, then the Phalanx  would also make a good bunker-buster, blowing out enemy fortifications(or buildings that happen to have lots of enemies inside).

My only real gripe with this tank is the name. As it is, I really want to field a couple Phalanx alongside some Phalanx squads, all supporting a large phalanx of infantry. ;D
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #2 on: 30 May 2011, 12:44:23 »
It is usable and fills a niche that AFAIK it is alone in, but like you said trying to do too much.

Get rid of infantry compartment, turret, amphibious capability and downgrade the engine to a SFE, for an infantry support assault gun.
or
Get rid of infantry and switch main weapon to a PPC, and downgrade engine to a SFE, for a competitor with Myrmidon.


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Moonsword

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #3 on: 30 May 2011, 13:05:34 »
I'll agree with anyone that the Phalanx as-is sucks, but there's a lot of potential. While the amphib ability is indeed very limited and I won't try using it to cross large lakes or rivers except under dire circumstances(to say nothing of oceans, brr), it's more than enough to cross the small streams that are found on most published CBT maps. It lets you cross streams effectively as fast as your typical 'mech, which is already a vast improvement over any other non-hover or non-amphib tank. The snub-Sniper also has lots of potential. As was already mentioned, this will be brutal on any battle armor or infantry encountered, and can also deal with fast hovers or light 'mechs pretty well. Can snubtillery fire as flak the same way full artillery can? If so, we've got a middling-to-decent AA unit here too.

I would NOT use this as an MBT. Instead, I think I'll use it as an old-fashioned assault gun, supporting friendly infantry formations. Eliminate the fast infantry-hunters that come around like Locusts or Piranhas, then wipe out enemy troops, suited or otherwise. If snub cannons treat buildings the same way atry does, then the Phalanx  would also make a good bunker-buster, blowing out enemy fortifications(or buildings that happen to have lots of enemies inside).

My only real gripe with this tank is the name. As it is, I really want to field a couple Phalanx alongside some Phalanx squads, all supporting a large phalanx of infantry. ;D

Snub-cannons use the same damage type but they're not as powerful as normal artillery.  A regular Sniper round is twice as powerful as one out of a Sniper cannon.  They'll certainly make a dent in a building but the sheer blasting power artillery can bring to the affair is missing on the smaller cannons.  (Long Tom cannons are a heck of a lot closer to the modern artillery damage values.)

What really annoys me about the Phalanx is the ridiculous cost for the capabilities you get in return.  Again, the XTRO nailed it - Earthwerks got too ambitious.  It's got a surprising range of uses, mainly due to the Sniper cannon, but the C-Bill price I'm paying sticks in my craw sideways when what I'd prefer to do is just slap the cannons on some Hetzers and then buy actual Myrmidons.  On the other hand, it's hard to argue with the BV under a lot of circumstances, so there is an upside to all of this.

Ratwedge

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #4 on: 01 June 2011, 00:16:44 »
Okay I tried it out after reading this.

I had a actual good time at it using the Phalanx as an Assault Gun, sneaking up and putting sniper rounds into things. I should point out the games I did use it in, I was playing as a Clan Wolf in Exile so on the table I had Timber Wolves, Timber Wolves and more Timber Wolves so there were a lot more bigger threats. I had great success suppressing his Battle Armor and keep them moving  while my Salamanders moved in to douse stuff with Inferno's. 

That said I dont think the tactic will work more than a few times before my enemies will decide to put a couple Gauss rounds into them or as I noticed when the Grenadiers started their SRM's shower on it became a game of luck. Still, for 700ish Bv I found it something nice to support my Omnimechs for a couple games here and there. 
« Last Edit: 01 June 2011, 00:18:39 by Ratwedge »

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #5 on: 01 June 2011, 00:29:33 »
To answer Weirdo, no, snubtillery don't function as flak.

Based on this description, this vehicle offends me on a deep, spiritual level. It's a collection of dohickeys with no consideration of how they should work together. A horrible disservice to snubtillery, mostly by being so damn expensive.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #6 on: 01 June 2011, 01:08:40 »
Okay I tried it out after reading this.

I had a actual good time at it using the Phalanx as an Assault Gun, sneaking up and putting sniper rounds into things. I should point out the games I did use it in, I was playing as a Clan Wolf in Exile so on the table I had Timber Wolves, Timber Wolves and more Timber Wolves so there were a lot more bigger threats. I had great success suppressing his Battle Armor and keep them moving  while my Salamanders moved in to douse stuff with Inferno's. 

That said I dont think the tactic will work more than a few times before my enemies will decide to put a couple Gauss rounds into them or as I noticed when the Grenadiers started their SRM's shower on it became a game of luck. Still, for 700ish Bv I found it something nice to support my Omnimechs for a couple games here and there.

A little weird seeing Phalanx in support of an otherwise Clan force, but I imagine it wouldn't be completely out of place in Stone's Coaltiion. Aside from that, it sounds like you used the Phalanx exactly how it was meant to be used, suppressing enemy small units while using your big guys to do most of the fighting and distract fire away from the fragile tanks. O0
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #7 on: 06 June 2011, 10:05:00 »
I would NOT use this as an MBT. Instead, I think I'll use it as an old-fashioned assault gun, supporting friendly infantry formations. Eliminate the fast infantry-hunters that come around like Locusts or Piranhas, then wipe out enemy troops, suited or otherwise. If snub cannons treat buildings the same way atry does, then the Phalanx  would also make a good bunker-buster, blowing out enemy fortifications(or buildings that happen to have lots of enemies inside).
i thought this Vee seemed familiar. now i know why. it's basicaly a warhammer 40K "basilisk" artillery vehicle with a turret.  #P

it seems to me that since it's already so expensive, the company should have swapped out the weapon. a Guass rifle would have made it a great MBT, a LB10X or UAC would make it a decent one, heck there are tons of options..

Moonsword

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #8 on: 06 June 2011, 10:57:33 »
i thought this Vee seemed familiar. now i know why. it's basicaly a warhammer 40K "basilisk" artillery vehicle with a turret.  #P

No, a Basilisk wouldn't be outranged by common mid-range to light weapons (most autocannons, every PPC ever made, most LLs, Clan ERMLs, etc.).  It's just that the damage type shares certain properties.  The closest thing to a Basilisk is probably some of the artillery units.

it seems to me that since it's already so expensive, the company should have swapped out the weapon. a Guass rifle would have made it a great MBT, a LB10X or UAC would make it a decent one, heck there are tons of options..

A Gauss rifle still wouldn't make it an MBT.  You don't use Bulldogs in that role because of the armor and they're actually tougher than a Phalanx is.  A straight Gauss swap on a Phalanx winds up in the exact same position only it's got a gun that's going to get it killed a lot faster.  Sure, it's going to do some damage in the process, but you're losing a reasonably useful supporting asset to create a less useful version of the Hollander.  Switches to class 10 autocannons of one type or another would be more viable but at that point you've basically got a smaller, more expensive Po.  There may be a market for that.  There's certainly some advantages to the fusion engine.

The Phalanx is what it is because of the fact that the Sniper cannon is there.  Without it it's just one more overly expensive medium tank.  While I wouldn't mind getting a more efficient Sniper platform out there, I'd prefer to leave the Phalanx as what it is.  It's interesting.

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #9 on: 08 June 2011, 00:54:24 »
We've found that the Phalanx works well in a few niche jobs. It's primary role is support of heavy assault formations, alongside "militarized" Bombards, conducting operations against Team Bad Guy's static defense networks, protecting key (read: strategically important) objectives. There have been times, though, where it's light armor and piss poor secondary weaponry have been a headache. Particularly when engaged by mobile defense elements, such as fast interdiction units (the eternal bane of any fire support formation on our table top: the Hovertank.). And in that vein, one must be mindful of enemy artillery even when changing positions frequently. And the hardened gun emplacements and dug in FSVs have long range weaponry in their collection of ways to make you miserable. Simply put, the Phalanx does a good job and shows promise as a "niche" unit, but it could be a little bit durable.

We've tweaked it a bit for more protection and anti-armor weaponry, while maintaining it's more usable features (CASE and amphibious capability). Our tinkering has also improved it's survivability a bit in other it's other roles, where facing more serious opposition is more likely.

So, the Phalanx isn't a complete failure, even in it's base configuration. It's just not the answer to the Myrmidon as it's hyped up to be.

Just my two cents worth.

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #10 on: 14 August 2011, 10:58:57 »
Updated with the production variant from TRO: Prototypes.

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #11 on: 20 October 2019, 17:50:00 »
Yeah, this thread is old, but I've been playing with the Phalanx a lot recently and I've gotten a lot of mileage out of it.

Against a combined arms force, I've been using a pair of Phalanxes and a well-positioned spotter to rain down some indirect AoE firepower on top of quick-moving transports or important vehicles while they're moving into position or unloading. Just spot and shoot at the hex for a 9 to-hit at long range, 7 to-hit at medium.

If indirect fire is no longer an option or the infantry is holed up on a building floor you can't target from afar, move the Phalanx up and shoot the building at point-blank range - if the infantry hasn't moved by then, the 40 CF damage and 10 points of AoE damage is enough to savage most units and bring down light or medium buildings.

So yeah, the Phalanx isn't perfect and it won't do great against 'Mechs (although it can be pretty handy against lighter 'Mechs for the same reasons as above), but it's dirt cheap in terms of BV for what it can accomplish.
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Moonsword

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #12 on: 20 October 2019, 23:12:23 »
It has its uses as a support platform, sure.  I think part of why I'm pretty underwhelmed is I've generally preferred the sheer power of the Long Tom Cannon or flexibility and range of the Thumper artillery piece (which is also 15 tons).

On the other hand, Sniper Cannons don't damage outside the hex, whereas an LTC can make an awful mess of the surroundings very quickly even with excellent gunners.  In general, if I'm at the point I'm throwing AE rounds down range, I usually welcome collateral damage under the heading of "two birds, one stone" but there are times you really, really want to minimize that, which a Phalanx with good gunners can do in ways something toting an LTC can't.  And Phalanxes are fairly cheap in BV terms, which can be a factor.

Colt Ward

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #13 on: 21 October 2019, 10:38:18 »
I did not think the cannons could be used for indirect fire w/o LOS?
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #14 on: 21 October 2019, 11:29:20 »
Sure they can. Uses the exact same rules as LRM IDF, except they can drift a bit on a miss.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #15 on: 21 October 2019, 11:40:28 »
For some reason I thought it was on the list of gripes . . .

Well, this gives them a whole new purpose- park behind a hill or some woods to drop rounds.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #16 on: 21 October 2019, 13:56:16 »
A little weird seeing Phalanx in support of an otherwise Clan force, but I imagine it wouldn't be completely out of place in Stone's Coaltiion.

With the Wolf Empire bordering the FWL, the Wolves could probably get one or more as isorla.

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #17 on: 21 October 2019, 14:23:46 »
Ratwedge was playing the Warden Wolves . . . considering IIRC it ended up on the market where they tried to sell it to anyone, it could have happened.

Its a way to challange the Warden Wolf speedsters like the Wulfen.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #18 on: 04 November 2019, 23:24:32 »
Sure they can. Uses the exact same rules as LRM IDF, except they can drift a bit on a miss.
I was on vacation when this was posted so I'm just getting around to a follow up now.    An Artillery Cannon is a Direct Ballistic weapon with an area of effect.  The explanation given is that you follow the rules for IDF for firing.  It doesn't appear to give any actual ability to preform an indirect attack where is that clearly indicated for personal reference?

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #19 on: 05 November 2019, 00:34:06 »
I genuinely have no clue what you're saying here.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #20 on: 05 November 2019, 01:49:29 »
I did not think the cannons could be used for indirect fire w/o LOS?
Sure they can. Uses the exact same rules as LRM IDF, except they can drift a bit on a miss.
I genuinely have no clue what you're saying here.
Drift always happens because it is an AE weapon, just at half the range of a similar artillery weapon.  I'm asking how you IDF with a Arty Cannon which is a DB type weapon?

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Phalanx
« Reply #21 on: 05 November 2019, 07:55:22 »
TacOps, page 285. You can't make indirect artillery attacks, but you can make indirect attacks using the exact same procedure as LRMs.
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