Register Register

Author Topic: AU: Der Tag (The Day)  (Read 35235 times)

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #360 on: 13 August 2019, 23:16:26 »
The second-hand market yielded few airframes and the scrap and boneyards little that was immediately useful. Most Militia trade-ins actually came 3rd or 4th-hand at least, but taken in aggregate; this was still the source of the majority of the VTOL Haul from MAPLE KEY and indeed; these contacts would prove useful to other SOG purchase agents and the growing intelligence apparatus developed by Condorcet going forward.

   These were the types eventually procured in this manner through the end of FY 3065/66:

   A total of 15 Lifesaver medivac VTOLS were eventually secured from various sources. These were an older type found in production only infrequently from various manufactures. The Lifesaver had some capabilities comparable to a flying MASH unit, but they were most valued for their speed and safe handling. Employment of a fusion engine had doomed them to their current fate back during the succession wars, but they could be found in every major realm in some small numbers. The ones SOG picked up were all retired examples found in storage and had to be gathered from all over the inner sphere as sources as diverse as Great House boneyards and high-class ski resorts. All needed some work to return to flight status; namely the replacement of certain critical fusion engine components, but would be a welcome addition to the entire unit; not just the Air Cavalry.

   Three Cobra Transports were pulled out of a Museum and Flying Club come to hard times on Atreus. Non-functional at the time; one was later returned to service and the other two delivered to ICOM for reverse-engineering. While not ideal; the type was generally well-regarded and in later 3061, nothing better was yet on the horizon. ICOM would go in to produce the type; first on Bell, beginning in late 3066; before moving the factory to the Canton Worlds in 3078. The New Model Army would eventually use the standard version alongside a few reproductions of the so-called MASH model and the Command Variant, until replaced by Slicks in the late 70s.

   32 Ferret Light Scouts were purchased from diverse sources, in small lots and an additional 16 of the armour-variant were procured from various sources between September 3061 and February 3066; with the first deliveries arriving on Keid in January 3062. SOG used the Ferret extensively in the scout-role early on, but the type was not preferred on a modern battlefield and they were first relegated to the role of insertion/extraction for scouts and special forces and later to light infantry transports before the entire inventory was transferred to the training role in 3074, following a gradual fade in numbers of operational airframes and rising need for training assets. In this role the Ferrets excelled and the last of these original MAPLE KEY Ferrets, still marked prominently with the Broad-Arrow-C of Maple Key Import/Exports’ acceptance brand are still in use in 3099 as part of the training establishment. Other Ferrets also fill this role alongside a number still used in other roles by lower-Category units of the SLDFiE.

   Additional Karnovs were a high-priority need for the organization and MAPLE KEY succeeded in assembling a total of 47 through various means over the years. SOG would eventually use the Karnov in eight different variants and continued to procure the type until fully replaced and phased into the reserves and Militia in the late 3080s. At one time or another; SOG or the New Model Army employed Every Karnov variant save copies of the Heavy Stealth one-off type, but mainly used them in a fire-support or transport role. After the acquisition of additional King Karnovs; the smaller Karnov was increasingly used to support Air Cav mass-assaults where the capability to put more troops into smaller LZs was highly prized.

   Seventeen Marten Light Scout VTOLs were purchased from various Militias, across the old Federated Commonwealth. SOG and later the SLDFiE, used the Marten as a light transport. It was the preferred type to insert reconnaissance units, snipers and Special Operations troops, until better types became available in the 3080s. Today; the Marten is found in all three variants in the 3rd League’s Territorial Army.

   A single delivery of six Rippers were eventually cobbled together from the remains of 16 airframes pulled out of various scrapyards. They proved unreliable in service and were quickly scrapped after two were lost in accidents, having only been in service a year.

   VTOL Personnel carriers; a type made up of various models built to a common specification were procured from the second-hand market and various militias and these came to total 22 by the end of FY 3065. They proved fast and agile aircraft, but could only carry a maximum of ten passengers in addition to the 4-man crew and the reliability of disparate models, as well as parts compatibility was inconsistent. These were all eventually scrapped or lost to enemy fire, having been used as light transports.

   The Sky Eye. SOG and later; the SLDFiE would eventually posses three Sky Eyes at various times. The first; through MAPLE KEY came with a bulk lot of VTOLs and other equipment held by a second-hand dealer on Outreach. She was looking to get out of the business and willing to cut a deal, if the MAPLE KEY team was willing to make an offer on her entire inventory; some 1300 tons, approximately; of mixed military equipment and supplies and Civilian industrial and Business equipment and vehicles. These were trialed in observation roles, but after the first one was lost in an incident, which would have been avoidable in any other platform; the remaining Sky Eye and one later found on Dieron were passed to the New Model Army Training Establishment and used to proctor exercises and serve in an augmentee Search-and-Rescue role on Ardennes. They were sold on the surplus market to a local news concern in 3095.

   The Goshawk Gunship would prove to be an important type in service with SOG and later the SLDFiE. The Goshawk was in many ways a “Von Luckner” of the air as the type was uncommon by 3050 having been out of production for 150 years and widely cannibalized for their fusion engines. Despite, these factors; MAPLE KEY scoured Militias, scrapyards and the second-hand market and had managed to procure 17 Goshawks by the end of FY 65/66. This type was known by the BLUE BELL committee and well-thought of, though only a few of SOG’s VTOL crews had experience with the type. In service they proved highly effective and easy to keep up in an atmosphere of modern technology. The capabilities of the Goshawk greatly influenced later 3rd League VTOL designs and the type has enjoyed a long follow-on service in various non-frontline formations in the modern SLDFiE and with 3rd League Member States like the Rim Collection.

   The SOAR had proven popular with SOG’s medevac pilots and crews and any fast Medevac service was popular with the front-line mercenaries which might find themselves or their comrades seriously injured at any time, due to the nature of many of their contracts. The eight MAPLE KEY managed to acquire new and used from within the Draconis Combine added enough capacity to finally phase out the remaining Swiftrans in mid 3063. These were in turn later replaced by other models and eventually relegated to civilian service in the 3rd League, following a short service with second-line formations.

   Wyvern Gunships were early competitors to the Warrior series, but their reliance on a fusion engine inevitably led to their replacement by their much later, cheaper competitor. The last Wyverns had rolled off the production lines in 3018 as a GM product, one built on Kathil. With the last line closed; the expensive Wyverns, with their highly desirable engines quickly dwindled and the model was rarely found except in the service of Militias in the Confederation, Chaos March and Capellan March. Some of these were willing to part with the last of their Wyverns in exchange for Warrior H-8s and MHI products shunted through several falsified end-user certificates. MAPLE KEY eventually provided twelve Wyverns in flyable condition and another 15 non-flyers as spare parts farms. Over the course of the Jihad; the later SLDFiE acquired several more Wyverns, but their production status militated against a long service life and despite their comparatively heavy armour protection, none survived to be passed to service with the Territorial Army. However, extensive study and experience with the Wyvern led to its revival as an export product in the early 90s from an ICOM subsidiary. Experience with the Wyvern and other models like the Goshawk, Iroquois and Ki-Rin proved invaluable when the workforce was expanded to cover increased production of other types, beginning in 3095.

   Eight Peacekeeper VTOLs were acquired from Yan Manufacturing’s NOS inventory due to an order cancellation from an unrevealed customer. While not strictly military aircraft, they nonetheless possessed several features which were deemed attractive to their end-users. In particular the multiple machineguns and SRM system were greatly valued. As SOG moved more towards their trademark double-sized infantry platoons (driven partly from experiences in AirMobile operations), the Peacekeeper proved receptive to modifications to permit it to carry up to 60 fully equipped soldiers, in admittedly cramped and haphazard conditions. While influential on later models developed in-house; the Peacekeeper had many drawbacks which hampered them in service. Notably; they were slow and very large aircraft and this more than anything contributed to the loss of one after another in combat operations. While they enjoyed a certain cachet; they were not replaced by like models, in practice.

   The Ki-Rin Gunship is best understood as a tactical precursor to the Yellow Jacket. While technically unrelated to the later aircraft; the Ki-Rin shared many features in common with the “Flying Cannon”. The Ki-Rin is a well-protected, heavily armed machine which in turn lacks sufficient mobility for truly responsive gunship operations or tangling with anything more mobile than a mountainside. Nonetheless; the Ki-Rin, long out of production by 3062 was very popular with its crews. While many had been lost, scrapped or cannibalized; their small and odd-sized fusion engines made the Ki-Rin a low-return proposition for scavenging during the Succession Wars. Most users would rather have the well-protected, flexible rotary wing aircraft, which were noted as being particularly easy to fly and maintain. Also popular was the advanced targeting system which easily co-ordinated the operation of the multivariate weapons at the command of the crew. Most popular among these weapons, of course; was the Donal Type II PPC and many Ki-Rins were cannibalized for this item, rather than their engines. Fourteen examples obtained during the height of MAPLE KEY and prior to the 5th Succession war (AKA; the Word of Blake Jihad) represented the height of the Ki-Rin inventory. These proved durable enough, but they suffered from the same terrible drawback in mobility as the Yellow jacket. Following an unsuccessful attempt to refit the last seven Ki-Rin’s with new, more powerful extra-lite fusion engines; the last of the Ki-Rins were retired in 3086. Too worn and war-wear for further service; two were sacrificed for study and the remainder were mounted as display pieces and gate guards, where their impressive profiles remain to awe observers today. But just a few years later; the type returned to production with Belfast Consolidated in 3090 for export and service with category 3 and mobilization-only formations. In 3096, three of Belfast’s five Ki-Rin lines were converted to produce the Python; a design based in part on the Ki-Rin. The Ki-Rin has been successful as an export item. Despite its many drawbacks; the small fusion engine makes it comparatively affordable and ICOM is careful to point out that the added cost of fusion power pays for itself in fuel savings over just a few years.

   An anonymous tip led MAPLE KEY Program Factors to a deep space black transfer station located in the Chaos March and a rendezvous with a shadowy smuggler with a load of hot merchandise to sell quickly. This wound up including Seven Pinto Attack VTOLs along with other 1st League and ComStar signature equipment. It proved to be quite an adventure getting the equipment off the station and the operation ended up being concluded under fire and featured a hot extraction by SOG’s nascent Galactic Marines. The Pintos were later put into service with the Air Cav; making welcome replacements and supplements for their own lost Pintos and other types. Their configuration made them a poor fit for the tactics and operations preferred under DRAGOON/BLUE BELL, but they proved crucial in later developing the tactics and requirement for Assault Helicopters; a role specified by the SLDFiE as a hybrid gunship/troop transport. However; this served to highly the growing dichotomy between the unit’s avowed Air Mobile doctrine and the equipment it had in service; the two frankly did not fit and this, in turn led to increased support for a home-grown VTOL.

   A comparatively large number of Pintos in both configurations were acquired through the fortunes of war, prior to the larger number that came over with the bulk of the ComGuards after the falling out of the Coalition in the Sol system at the end of the Jihad. These were retained in service only briefly before being passed to Category 3 and mobilization-only units of the Territorial Army. Recently, a few refurbished examples have appeared among 3rd League Member States and on the surplus market.

   The Eight Nightshades acquired from various sources were scattered amongst the scout and gunship squadrons. There they proved abysmal at either job, but popular with their teammates when flying exclusively in an electronic support role. In over 20 years of combat; only two of the MAPLE KEY examples were lost and of the remaining six; three became museum pieces and monuments and the final three were passed to the Militia.
   
   The Iroquois would turn out to be the most influential model acquired for SOG and later used by the New Model Army, from the MAPLE KEY Program. Initially; Lady Dwight’s teams managed to collect an assortment of twenty-two of this model from various sources; mainly assembled from salvaged parts and purchased from Militias. A later collection of twenty-one more Iroquois would eventually be secured after scouring the second-hand market. In both cases; these examples were shipped first to Lockheed-CBM for refit and refurbishment, before being collected on Keid. This thorough-going treatment and the large number acquired from the outset almost certainly contributed greatly to the type’s warm reception from SOG’s Air Cav crews and ground-support teams. The nascent Aero-Dragoon Platoons looked favourably upon the type as well for it’s comfortable accommodations, capacity to move an entire platoon at full bayonet-strength of 60 men and women in one “ship” and the rapid debarkation offered by the Iroquois’ double cantilevered, vertically opening, fast-action troop doors. From these; two entire standard platoons could rapidly de-bus from a grounded or hovering Iroquois and get online in seconds. Naturally; these proved the most troublesome system on the aged, but polished machines, but the widespread familiarity with the type among techs and crews ensured that keeping the arms and bearings of the troop-compartment doors lubricated and free of fouling was a well-known and frequently practiced task.

   The Iroquois had a simple pod-and-stick configuration, with a modified main and tail-rotor setup; using instead a NOTAR (NO-Tail-Rotor) turbine assembly at the end of the tail boom. It was mounted on simple and sturdy landing skids, where most modern VTOLs have retractable landing gear. But on the Iroquois; these were more easily fitted with snowshoes and swamp-pads. The downside was that moving a grounded Iroquois required a tractor to wheel it around on it’s simple fixed taxiing wheels; which were a modestly extending pair of four-wheeled mounts attached to the rear strut of each skid. In practice; they provided enough floatation to allow the 15-ton bulk of the Iroquois to be tilted back and wheeled about like a warehouse trolley on almost any kind of soft ground or hard-packed surface. Failing that; you had to spin up the rotors and *fly* it where you wanted it parked. While a bother for most casual users; others found that once you got used to the procedure, it required only a modest investment in additional materiel and most operators tended to find other uses for the tractors outside of shunting their VTOLs around.

   The ancient type had been used by the Terran Hegemony Armed Forces and produced by a number of different defence conglomerates at various times, but had left production for good in the mid 30th century and been dwindling in service, supported only by a few spare parts concerns ever since. The Iroquois was lightly armed and armoured with only a machinegun in a waist position on either side and barely enough armour to sustain a medium laser hit to any point. It was of only middling mobility for a VTOL of any era. The Iroquois’ most interesting feature however; and what had doomed it to obscurity, inevitable obsolescence and extinction was its perplexing internal arrangement.

   The type was intended as a limited multirole aircraft; able to loft a standard infantry platoon and unusually; a number of other classes of platoon as well. This required only a few minutes re-arrangement of the internal fitting by the waist gunners. The Iroquois was also meant to pinch-hit in a cargo role; in the same timeframe; the infantry bay could be converted to haul six tons of cargo or it could sling-lift the same amount using a simple ventral winch (which should in no way be mistaken for a full-feature lift-hoist). In practice; few users felt the need to re-deploy light mechanized and motorized forces by helicopter and fewer still found six tons of cargo came out the double doors as easy as did an infantry platoon. While it had been retained as a useful platoon-lifter during the Star League-Era; more modern versions of the Cobra spelled the end for the Iroquois in the 1st SLDF. So, the design was passed off to the Houses and was built by them and various Periphery states until the Karnov UR began to become generally available beginning in 2920. Prior to that, however; the Iroquois gave yeoman service for all it’s users for many years. Any operator willing to risk the lives of an entire platoon or more of troops to the Iroquois’ thin armour found the ships reliable and easy to fly and maintain.

   In early 3064, however; SOG crews and techs, alongside ICOM Engineers were looking at the Iroquois and seeing the answer to their prayers. This was the beginning of Project: PAVE THUNDER.

   But the MAPLE KEY Program did not occur in a vacuum; the beginning of the FedCom civil war on November 16, 3062 disrupted some of Lady Dwight’s arrangements; albeit temporarily. She was quickly able to use her family’s neutral status to facilitate and encourage the deals she had already cut. Militias on both sides of the Civil War were glad for Maple Key Holdings acting as a loophole through arms embargos; facilitating transfers and end-user certificates that would otherwise have been impossible. The FedCom Civil War would have consequences which were to prove far-reaching and these affected SOG; the Lady Dwight and MAPLE KEY. But in late 3062; this was still in the future.

   By late December; Operation: MUNIN was very much in the here and now.


   MUNIN

   While Lady Dwight had been consumed with procuring specialized war materiel for the unit; SOG had been proposed as a candidate for the Cadre for the new SLDF. But this was a position which called for a tryout and The Studies and Observations Group was assigned a mighty labour indeed.

   Conceived as a vital follow-up to Task Force: SERPENT, Op: MUNIN was a reconnaissance-in-force into the Clan homeworlds to ascertain their state of readiness, capabilities and intent, if any, to continue the invasion in the aftermath of the great refusal on Strana Mechty.

   McKenna would assemble a task force; take it back along the exodus road and answer vital intelligence requirements in regards to the overall political-military-cultural stance predominating in the homeworlds. Key to MUNIN was that it must be powerful enough to do its job, survive and report back, but modest enough so as not to obviously pose anything like a real threat to the Clan way of life. Munin would be for naught if it provoked the very actions SERPENT had been founded to put an end to.

   In addition; they were to make contact with the SLDF forces on Strana Mechty and Huntress. To maintain links, if nothing else. And also procure samples of the latest Clan technology, if possible.

   Falling back on his own time with the Hell’s Horses; McKenna developed a plan and unique rules of engagement designed to adhere to and work within Clan Cultural norms; this would serve to reinforce the message and intent of Task Force: SERPENT, overall and the Great Refusal; in particular.

   Operation: MUNIN would eventually accomplish its mission and return, but it would be a long and hard campaign. To make it work; SOG had to forage off the enemy for everything. McKenna made sure to hit targets that served several of his objectives (impressed from higher and self-assigned) at once. This meant waging battles that afforded a good opportunity for Isorla from various sources.

   At 0340 Hours on October 20th, 3064; Task Force: MUNIN was supposed to jump into the Corregidor system; one of those now home to SOG’s disparate forces. Things did not go as planned.

   Less than two hours later, Task Force: MUNIN transitions into the nearby Ardennes system; another of the unit’s periphery holdings. They’ve been somewhere…else and they have quite the story to tell. But of chief concern to our subject; MUNIN returned with a great deal of salvage from the Homeworlds and this brought new equipment and experience into the Air Cavalry.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #361 on: 13 August 2019, 23:16:55 »
Finally; SOG VTOL crews had access to a fresh supply, however limited of new (to them) Anhurs and spare parts and they took to the dozen or so operational airframes with great relish in the Transport Squadrons and just in time; as many more powered suit squads were now making their way into all of SOG’s infantry formations. The Anhur would continue to serve SOG and the New Model Army until the formation of the 3rd League when the surviving examples were passed to the Blood Spirits and Diamond Sharks. There; they faced a sad fate as most were scrapped as beyond economical maintainability due to their massive accumulation of flight hours.

   But while they lasted; the Anhurs were joined by eminently more maintainable Cobras; some raided or won from Caches and dating back to the original SLDF and some from the last production runs before the type was replaced by the Anhur in Clan service. In addition to their standard configurations SOG was already familiar with; MUNIN added a handful of MASH and Command Variants. Thanks to low-rate and expanding ICOM production; SOG and soon; the New Model Army had no trouble keeping these up and first the MASH and then the Command versions would be added to ICOM’s modest export offerings and remain in SLDFiE use until replaced by locally-produced models in the mid 3090s.

   Task Force: MUNIN had also salvaged, won and stolen a number of the original Clan-Model of the Kestrel; which had been designed and built as a cheaper alternative to the Cobra. While not ideal in any setting and actively reviled by the Air Cavalry; these were eminently serviceable airframes, readily supportable from the open market by the mid-60s, at least for the time being. It had to be said, however that they made the Iroquois’ level of protection look normal. MUNIN had pressed the Kestrel into service in any role they needed filled, so desperate were they for equipment as the operation progressed. At this time, the vast majority of SOG’s personnel were still mercenaries recruited from the life; into the life and may of their VTOL pilots had experience on Blackwell-built Kestrels from past lives with other units; so, conversion wasn’t as hard as it was for other airframes pressed into service. With the return of the Task Force, however; the Kestrels were quickly relegated to training and support roles and officially attached to base establishments. Here; they served until the Category-2, ‘3 and Mobilization-Only units began to be stood up. Desperate once again for equipment; the Kestrels were still able to serve their new masters. Some are still found there in various roles today, having been replaced by other types in the training and support roles, but many have now been resold on the surplus market to various military and civilian customers. In the Canton Worlds; the Kestrel has something of a following among Civilian pilots and crews due to its speed and agility and many have been brought in from foreign sources in recent years, despite the various and sundry embargos; such that the original Clan-Models are far in the minority today.

   A “Double-Handful” of Rippers, upgraded to Royal Standard were found scattered among various Clan Garrisons and caches; the exact number held is something of a mystery as these were Frankensteined airframes before SOG ground crews started to cannibalize them for parts and raw materials. So, the truth is that at any given time a number between six and fourteen were in service with the Task Force, but it is known that there were ten on the rolls when they returned. They had been used as medevac birds and for inserting and dropping off sniper and reconnaissance teams. The “Royal-Ripper” continued in this role for some time, but only until other models came on line in the early 70s and replaced them. By that point, they were widely regarded as death traps due to the extent of the wear on the airframes and engines. An experiment to turn the last five into target drones for AA Crews failed when the condition of the flight controls and surfaces proved too balky for the primitive drone systems to compensate for and the first three crashed on takeoff. The final two were installed as monuments.

   The Vector proved a true prize of the mission and would go on to influence later SLDFiE VTOL types such as the Python and Krokodil. A total of 32 were brought back by the Task Force, as the type was still held in service in many Clan Garrison and Dezgra units, as well as being found in many Caches. Prior to this an additional eleven had been lost in action or cannibalised after being declared beyond economical repairability. All four versions were known of and held in service by Task Force: MUNIN on their return, of which the majority (19) were the standard platoon-carrier version. These would prove invaluable in service until other types came on line and the Militia and Member State forces which later received the survivors as hand-me-downs after 3083 were quite pleased to get them. The remaining 13 airframes were a mix of the Scout, Attack and EW versions. All were held in high-regard by their crews and any salvaged later from WOBM units and Protectorate Militia were quite prized in service, despite their vintage.

   In addition to the Vector and Cobra; other SLDF types still to be found in Clan Service in the mid-60s included the Cyrano and Nightshade. SOG came into possession of a comparatively large number of these, but cannibalized most for parts and raw materials to keep other equipment functional. Only the advanced versions of each were retained in use as the well-founded prejudices of the AirCav contingent of the Task Force militated heavily against their dwindling crews being saddled with them. In contrast to the Royal Refits of the Ripper; which seemed to have replaced all other variants in Clan service; the Royal upgrades to the Nightshade and Cyrano and the latter’s vanishingly rare “Fury” version were much less common. In all; the Task Force returned with a further five Royal Nightshades, eight of the same grade of Cyrano and a further three of the Special-Operations Fury version; these last having been the former property of a Star Adder Watch unit based out of their Pentagon holdings.

   Task Forces: SERPENT, BULLDOG and BIRDDOG had found the Clan’s Donar Assault Helicopter a common foe during their campaign; as Smoke Jaguar Dezgra units sortied against them with almost suicidal tenacity. By contrast; Op: MUNIN was SOG’s first experience with the Donar; their contributions to BIRDDOG and BULLDOG not having encountered the type. The AirCav contingent was quite affected by the experience of a ClanTech attack VTOL, as were other SOG forces to a lesser extent; but comparatively few in the standard Recon and Assault configurations were captured intact or intact enough to salvage or cannibalize. As it was; many more Donar parts ended up in SOG use than did complete airframes and only nine; six Assault and three Recon were left when the Task Force finally transitions into Ardennes. This was a far cry from the hundreds claimed as salvage across the three previous task forces. While many of those can still be found in service today with units ranging from DCMS militia units to elite mercenaries, SOG’s experience with the Donar was relatively brief. Unable to support the type industrially; they were forced to rely on the Diamond Sharks for spare parts and this arrangement failed to keep up with friction in practice. The last of the Donars (a Recon version), by this time in New Model Army service; was grounded in 3073 from its pink team and the crew given a Retrofitted Royal Nightshade, before being scrapped for it’s remaining functional ClanTech equipment and raw materials. However; this was not the last Donar in SLDFiE possession. This was Serial number 45x-CC4008, a former Cloud Cobra-built Assault VTOL. This example was studied extensively at the New Model Army Technical College and examined by ICOM engineers. Eventually it was totally disassembled and re-built from the ground up. Had they wished, the 3rd League could eventually have put the type into production, as it had by then been totally reverse-engineered. Instead; the data was used to progress their own advanced VTOL and materials research; eventually leading to the Cheyenne. However; a historical link was uncovered in the configuration of the airframe, which has led 3rd League Techno-archeologists to theorize that the Donar’s similarity to the much earlier Wyvern Gunship is much more than superficial and it is now believed in many circles that the Donar is in fact a progressive development of the Wyvern using Clan Technology; in a manner similar to the way in which the Clan’s Conjurer-series BattleMechs are a development of the earlier Wolverine.

   
PAVE THUNDER

By early 3065; SOG’s Cadre duties were well underway, with all that entailed. PAVE THUNDER was one of their earliest technical projects undertaken.

At this stage; the SOG Cadre had a vast array of experience in both AirMobile Operations and with the working characteristics of most of the VTOL types in service. With this in mind, SOG undertook to lay down specifications for a new VTOL to be produced in-house by ICOM.

By now, much of ICOM’s assets were being moved, bit by bit to what would become known as the Canton Worlds, leaving more generally innocuous industries under the ICOM banner in their wake. However, this meant that much of the development work would have to be carried out under primitive conditions.

The specifications were laid out and delivered to ICOM for what was dubbed a “Utility VTOL”; defined as a platform capable of fulfilling multiple roles, but centering on troop-lift, with cargo as a secondary mission and fire support as tertiary. The end-product could be any configuration of VTOL in any weight class. Theoretically, any equipment of any cost was authorized which could be produced in the near-future by ICOM or reliably imported. In practice, this turned out to be a great deal of bespoke, custom-made components which nonetheless provided a foundation to proceed on, which later proved sound. Lastly; speed was to be in excess of 130kph at full military power.

Looking over their massive inventory of different VTOL types; the ICOM engineers settled on the basic configuration of the Iroquois as the easiest to build, maintain and modify and thus this became the conceptual and eventually and by extension; visual basis for the craft. While there would be no remaining technical linkage to the venerable infantry carrier, PAVE THUNDER would eventually produce a prototype and finally; an end-product which would resemble the Iroquois in many superficial ways. As the project progressed; this early decision would have far-reaching consequences and was repeatedly validated as the Iroquois’ simplistic configuration made construction and modification of the prototypes and later preproduction and production models simple and easy. As had been stated several years earlier: beginning such a project on the basis of an extant type made things much faster than they otherwise might have been with an all-original design. While the two types had nothing in common, structurally; developing and scaling-up the Iroquois’ airframe for PAVE THUNDER made things much smoother.

The initial prototypes were delivered for evaluation in September of 3067.

These were designated XU-1A and proved unacceptable following what were called “Blue Bell” trials to validate the design as fitting the requirements of what was now the New Model Army. This the prototypes failed to do, as they successively fell short of the approval of almost all involved parties.

The XU-1A was heavy for a VTOL at 30 tons; weighing as much as a Karnov, it was also slower at 124kph maximum speed than the specifications dictated and very expensive thanks to its XL engine and modular capabilities. Only the armament and cargo/infantry bay met the standards set out by the Air Cav evaluators.

The ICOM team was faced with the prospect of going back to the drawing board and starting fresh when the Word of Blake began the 5th Succession war with their declared Jihad on the rest of mankind.

Some parties on the BLUE BELL committee lobbied hard for immediate acceptance of the XU-1A as it was, just to have any locally-built VTOL to fill the roles envisioned. Now-General McKenna vetoed this course of action for the simple reason that being forced to make do with equipment that didn’t meet their requirements was what had driven SOG to embark upon this and other programs in the first place.

He recalled instead that last year, ICOM had flown their flight-test model for the General Staff as proof of the aeronautical capabilities of the prototypes then being completed and modified. With his typically keen eye for detail and memory for technical data; he recalled that model had been smaller and faster than the prototypes and also flew better, even with the ballast weights added-in. McKenna asked if it would be practicable for ICOM to go back to that proof-of-concept model and develop something closer to what they wanted from that.

This effort would eventually produce what became known as the “Dusty” Military Utility Helicopter series; MUH-1. However, many details of the prototypes would be remembered; the larger frames would be reused to produce the slightly heavier “Slicks”, while their proprietary ICOM Twin-Thrust engines and Omni-technology would be incorporated in the later Anaconda Gunship in modified form.

In the end; the first pre-production YUH-1s were delivered to Air Cavalry units in December of 3069 for field trials. There they would prove their worth and receive their baptism of fire in the Jihad’s atomic flames. The type would go on as the MUH-1 to serve almost every role the SLDFiE required of a VTOL; gradually replacing all other extant models as the war went on. These variants would themselves be supplemented in time by specialist airframes, as the sophistication and capability of the SLDFiE’s de-facto technical arm grew over time. But the inherent knack of the basic model to be modified is what led to many of these variants being first pioneered in the field and then later refined and produced as factory-models. The semi-modular nature of the Dusty also made it easier to repair and service and this factor kept the type in the air and permitted easy cannibalization of hanger queens and salvaged examples. As such, despite extensive battle damage recorded in their log book files; many of the original production run remain in service today and this is a feat many other models cannot match.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #362 on: 13 August 2019, 23:22:13 »
Gods of men; what has he done now?

Okay; so it looks like my whole "I'm going to post weapons and TROs now and not essays" is basically out the window.

What I found looking at the TROs I wanted to do was that they required context.

I needed imaginary reasons for the imaginary weapons in my imaginary world, based on other people's imaginary world to exist.

I wanted to post the TROs for the Anaconda Gunship and I realize; hey, it's based on the Dusty; I need to do that one too. Okay do that first. But how to I explain the Dusty, where it comes from and why it exists? Oh. Ooooooh.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6217
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #363 on: 14 August 2019, 09:27:48 »
Absolutely superb stuff as always, wonderfully detailed without being dry and academic, intersting and with lots of juicy goings on that are hinted or teased at :D
Ghost Bears: Cute and cuddly. Until you remember its a BLOODY BEAR!

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #364 on: 14 August 2019, 09:50:52 »
Thank you, Marauder. I can't express how great it is to get feedback like this.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

DOC_Agren

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1395
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #365 on: 15 August 2019, 21:18:07 »
Lady Seleena Dwight seems to be an interesting person, and I love the history of airmobile operation
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #366 on: 15 August 2019, 22:01:10 »
Lady Seleena Dwight seems to be an interesting person, and I love the history of airmobile operation

I think so too! Thanks for the interest!

We don't really look at a lot of the knock-on effects of fuedalism in the BTU. One thing i touched on WAY earlier was the natural disadvantages that democratically-elected and responsible leaders will have in a universe of what ammounts to hereditary autocrats.

Another example is people like Lady Dwight; high-class people with all the training and education their society demands of them, but who end up one of the extra daughters or sons. Many will just lie back and live the life as surplus snobs; but there will be some who want more, don't want to end up marrying a 2nd or 3rd cousin in order to avoid distrubuting family assets too much, but are stymied by the strictures of their class in what they can do in the real world.

Lady, later; Madam Dwight is one such person. She's bored and capable and a life of noble ennui doesn't appeal to her. Someone else might found a mercenary unit and go get into trouble, but again; she is unlucky in being one of the vast multitudes in the BTU who can't get a shot at a command couch. She couldn't even keep up appearances in the Militia.

So rather than be a debutante-approaching the spinsterhood of her unmarried late-20s, early-30s, she is basically out looking for something *else* and it sort-of finds her.

Eventually; I'll profile her, but as hinted-at; she becomes *very* important to the 3rd League in the years after the 5SW/Jihad.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

truetanker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6231
  • Clan Hells Horses 666th Mech. Assualt Cluster
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #367 on: 15 August 2019, 22:23:03 »
Lady Dwight sounds a lot like real life late Princess Diana. She also sounds like this quote:

Quote
I don't go by the rule book... I lead from the heart, not the head. ~Diana

TT
Khan,Clan Iron Dolphin
Azeroth Pocketverse

That is, if true tanker doesn't beat me to it. He makes truly evil units.Col.Hengist on 31 May 2013
TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
If I'm attacking you, conventional wisom says to bring 3x your force.  I want extra insurance, so I'll bring 4 for every 1 of what you have :D ~ Tai Dai Cultist on 21 April 2016
Me: Would you rather fight my Epithymía Thanátou from the Whispers of Blake?
Nav_Alpha: That THING... that is horrid
~ Nav_Alpha on 10 October 2016

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #368 on: 15 August 2019, 22:40:28 »
Lady Dwight sounds a lot like real life late Princess Diana. She also sounds like this quote:

TT

Except Lady Dwight is good at getting factories for landmines (or anything else) built, securing imports of same and getting the product shipped to the troops and export customers on time. Not the opposite.

Di had a great many virtues and a deep well of compassion. Lady Dwight is highly capable at finessing shipping schedules, making production timetables work and coordinating the efforts of disparate teams and departments; she is when we meet her and often remains intelligent, charismatic and *bored*.

In her later life; she needs to work hard to keep herself occupied with projects that tax her abilities or she gets bored and thence; depressed. When she is depressed; she is no good to anyone, let alone herself. She can delegate well, but prefers to handle the most daunting challenges herself for this reason.

How she is going to live the rest of her life from the paradigm of one by-then gifted with late-1st League medical enhancements is something no-one has worked out satisfactorily. The Interested parties are hoping that the recovery and advancement of technology will make mega-engineering projects for achievable and hopefully this will keep her occupied. A happy retirement is a contradiction in terms for her and her work-life balance is difficult for her loved ones to cope with.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

truetanker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6231
  • Clan Hells Horses 666th Mech. Assualt Cluster
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #369 on: 15 August 2019, 22:48:52 »
I meant both women moved people to the point of doing something that most people would balk at because it was too hard, for a cause.

Di for peace, Lady Dwight for war.

Both put their hearts into their work with passion unlike a hammer to a molten steel rod would do to fashion it. Overcoming strengths not of the mind but of fierce commitments, driving forwardly.

TT
Khan,Clan Iron Dolphin
Azeroth Pocketverse

That is, if true tanker doesn't beat me to it. He makes truly evil units.Col.Hengist on 31 May 2013
TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
If I'm attacking you, conventional wisom says to bring 3x your force.  I want extra insurance, so I'll bring 4 for every 1 of what you have :D ~ Tai Dai Cultist on 21 April 2016
Me: Would you rather fight my Epithymía Thanátou from the Whispers of Blake?
Nav_Alpha: That THING... that is horrid
~ Nav_Alpha on 10 October 2016

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #370 on: 15 August 2019, 23:22:47 »
I meant both women moved people to the point of doing something that most people would balk at because it was too hard, for a cause.

Di for peace, Lady Dwight for war.

Both put their hearts into their work with passion unlike a hammer to a molten steel rod would do to fashion it. Overcoming strengths not of the mind but of fierce commitments, driving forwardly.

TT

Oh. OH! Oh no.

Lady Dwight isn't super-excited about the *cause*. She's hired by a mercenary unit, some of whose members she sees as friends and aquaintances. The *cause* is her own internal validation. Not even proving herself to her family, but just; *being useful* and testing her abilities.

At some points, she comes to deeply value the approval and pride that comes from her family in her accomplishments. But her need for it goes away when the approval does. The "Attagirl" from McKenna probably meant as much as every gushing missive she ever got from her family between when she starts MAPLE KEY and when they disown and disinherit her. Probably more because McKenna is so devoid of the of the very skills she so depends on for the interpersonal side of what she does and who she is. So she knows that his approval isn't influenced by a blood tie or the accolades she brings to the line; he can't be effectively swayed by her charm, her conversational tricks, vocal inflection or body language. She *knows* that when McKenna says she "Done Good"; the sole thing he cares about is the product she brings to the table. He doesn't care about her family. He isn't attracted to her, sexually; although he does find her mind interesting. He just likes her for who she *is* what *she can do*.

Seleena isn't even terribly excited by war; *any war*, except insofar as the challenges it poses to her, the way it establishes to her above all else what she, as a person is capable of.

She comes to identify with the later 3rd League soley because it is so much her creation in some ways. The 3rd League can be said to have many fathers; but Seleena is it's mother.

When we meet her later, however; her personality has developed such that she has come to identify so much with her *works* that she has lost touch with herself as a human being; she has gone from appreciating the gratitude and respect of others for *her* to where she can only see how they love what she *does for them*. No matter what McKenna or anyone else does or says in gratitude; she only hears it as praise for her *product*; she has become *the product*.

In a universe of BattleMechs; Madam Dwight pilots *herself*; she looks out from deep behind her own eyes and does the dance of battle in her arena. She does it well. Better than anyone. But nothing gets through that armour anymore.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3267
  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
    • Kilroy's Wall
Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #371 on: 16 August 2019, 01:25:20 »
I want to be clear here; BattleTech has often been written as very youth-friendly Space Opera. Some of the books and stories are a *little* more adult, but not much. Having gotten halfway through another YA series from Austrailia called "The Tomorrow Series", most BT books and stories are tame by comparison. I think the YA stuff is such a great idea because we're basically there now and I've always enjoyed it, for the most part. So a little polishing should produce very good, generally palatable stuff.

Some of our stories are more Military SF. But most are not.

The violence is sterile. The personal lives of the characters are normally kept at arm's length.

Der Tag isn't that kind of story.

David Drake said he wrote Hammer's Slammers as Vietnam stories with Hover Tanks, or something to that effect.

My goal for Der Tag is something like a hyper-condensed sampling of 20th Century Warfare that happens to include BattleMechs and more gyrojets than in the real 20th Century.

I won't say there are no happy endings. But this is not a nice story. People get hurt here and not just with wounds you can see through a Dalban HiRez. Der Tag is about building a new human empire and waging total war and doing it in a way we're unfamiliar with.

Early on; I alluded to WWI and the days before it as the inspiration for the title. Well to-date; The First World War has been *the last* war we've ever fought that wasn't driven by a political or cultural ideology. That fascinates me. Der Tag is like that. There are no grand ideals of peace and freedom. Der Tag is a war of national survival being fought now; when it can be won vice later; when it can't.

It's the first day on the Somme with 'mechs. It's 10th Army covering the retreat back across the Rhine with Battle Armour. It's "Welcome to Free Derry" and a Molotov cocktail from a 10 year-old down the hatch of your Kinnol MBT on Caph. It's Rolling Thunder with Aerofighters and it's Malaya with Blazers. It's the Battle of The Atlantic with Jumpships.

And ultimately? To really mix my metaphors; it's a little bit of Twilight-2000: The Cold-War turned hot with everything the BTU has to offer slugging it out. Sometimes in ways and places you wouldn't expect.

I am very touched that TrueTanker would take a real-life historical character like Princess Di and relate her to a character that i created under any conditions. But if Lady Dwight is based on any historical character; it's Albert Speer. With personality issues. More of them anyways. This is not to say that the 3rd League is anything like Nazi Germany, which is *also* not to say that my Orders of Battle don't take inspiration from the WWII German Army here and there. But if I have a Princess Di; it's actually David Lear. That's more how I think of him as this great, beloved figure. Except that instead of being snatched away by circumstance in an instant (rule 4: this is as close as I come), The people that love him have had to watch him slowly degrade, somewhat publically, over the last 8-10 years. But he is your great, passionate inspiration to the people.

And by 3099; he's a shadow of the man he was only a few years ago; and that's a truely terrible thing. It's a personal tragey that's meant to be that touchstone to the big players, in a way that an infantry company being assaulted by a mech lance, just isn't. The difference in Der Tag is that the pain of David Lear is background; slamming a shell into the breach of a recoilless rifle to take another shot at that Vulcan before it gets into flamer range? That's the foreground. I show you these big players because that is how the BTU has often been defined and you always show the customer what he or she expects to see first; but their stories lead you down into the stuff that has to get hosed out of the cockpit when it's breached by a (un)lucky SRM.

*Lady* Dwight is part of that. I use her to help tell the story of an important subset of the SLDFiE. You'll see what I mean when I post the TROs; that is my next project. Just so; "Madam" Dwight has her part to play in the story of building the 3rd League and the Army it uses to fight *the next war*. And in 3099 she is in her late 60s, early 70s; true. But she has the body and mental faculties of someone in their 20s. Assuming nothing happens to her; her story is far from over. No Natasha Kerensky of the production quotas here. You can see what I've done with McKenna; I'm not a sadist.

Torturer? Maybe. But you can't be good at that and *like* seeing people hurt.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

 

Register