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Author Topic: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)  (Read 34118 times)

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #180 on: 18 January 2020, 17:08:31 »
The Chatham Conundrum, Op-Ed by Colonel Alexander Szurmay (ret.) published in the Tamarind Times Gazette, 23rd of August 3021

The people of Chatham must have been mad. What lies or propaganda from the outside could have convinced a technically savvy population on one of the Combine’s premier industrial planets to not only rebel but to make a bid for independence. Surely the rebels could read a star map and realise the precariousness of their position and how utterly alone they would be in this foolhardy quest. Just as baffling was their appeal to the other houses as well as ComStar for recognition as an independent planet, “The Grand Duchy of Chatham”.

It is not that the population did not have a number of legitimate grievances, primarily centred around working conditions in the armament industries. It appears these grievances were seized upon by propagandists and foreign provocateurs, inflaming issues to the point where initial protests exploded into violence. The authorities reacted as could be expected and protest turned to rebellion and finally the move towards independence. To call this bid naïve would be an understatement as there was simply no hope of the movement ever being recognised to say nothing of any outside help making a journey of more than 200 light years from the nearest frontier.

At the same time the Draconis Combine could not, as was initially rumoured, simply assault the planet and crush the rebellion with all the potential to damage the very industries the Combine so badly needs for the current war with the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonewealth. For not only is Chatham an industrial centre, it is arguably the most important centre in all of the Combine. The production facilities there have escaped the worst of the ravages of the Succession Wars and today produce a number of large jumpship classes as well as the Draconis Combine’s only source for the Vengeance Class aerospace carrier dropship and replacement engines. Added to this the planet produces the Shilone medium aerospace fighter and its components amongst various other craft and parts. A full out assault also ran the risk of killing or maiming the personnel required to run the machines and maintain the production facilities. A conundrum indeed.

The initial reaction of the Combine Coordinator, Takashi Kurita, to crush the rebels was apparently checked almost as the assault forces were boarding their dropships this past April. It is clear that cooler heads prevailed, including the obvious guidance of ISF Director Subash Indrahar, and the attack was called off. In place of the assault the Night Stalkers launched a reconnaissance raid in April that, while managing to fight its way to the surface, received such a hot reception that it became clear the planned assault forces would have likely been repulsed with heavy losses and even heavier damage to the reputation of the Kurita brand. Had such a defeat occurred how many other planets might have been tempted to break away from the Combine?

One result of the raid, other than the near destruction of the raiders, was it showed the local troops were willing to fight. Perhaps more importantly, Luthien learned that the factories were running at full capacity making weapons and selling them on the arms market. The rebels clearly meant business and it would take more than brute force to return Chatham and its industries back into the Combine fold. This point was driven home in May when the Chatham forces raided the Avon system and made off with significant hall of supplies and spare parts.

In May the temperature surrounding Chatham was increased as both the DCMS and IDF redirected significant resources to undermine the rebel position. The carrier group Haruna made a sweep through the system and the planet’s aerospace fighters, now numbering six aerospace wings, came out to challenge the Combine fleet. After a brief skirmish the Chatham rebels withdrew into the atmosphere while Haruna and her escorts flew past the planet in a close orbit before withdrawing. At the same time a newly formed DEST Team made an attempt to sabotage the aerospace facilities of Wakazashi Enterprises only to be thwarted by the planet’s own counter-intelligence operatives, the team barely making good its escape. Espionage and propaganda operations were also clearly in play as the DCMS completed drawing a picture of the defences and planned their assault.

In July the 9th Pesht Regulars, brought up to strength after years in their backwater garrison posts, along with the 2nd Night Stalkers struck at Chatham. DEST teams paralysed any movement by the rebels out of the system while agents continued to undermine the new government. It became clear that the population did not entirely support the rebellion and that a low-level resistance movement had been ongoing since the declaration of independence was made in March. The attackers took their time, probing the defences and dismantling one position after the next in a series of carefully planned set piece assaults against determined, if somewhat inexperienced, resistance.

We can surmise that resistance has been heavier than expected as the fighting on Chatham continues, despite Luthien’s claim the rebellion has been supressed. Nothing short of a miracle can save ‘The Grand Duchy of Chatham’ from extinction now, leaving everyone to wonder – why?
« Last Edit: 09 February 2020, 10:02:13 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #181 on: 18 January 2020, 18:00:01 »
Wow... somebody got lucky!  :thumbsup:

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #182 on: 19 January 2020, 00:44:33 »
The Espionage, Spec-Ops and Counter-Intel rules that came out in 2nd Succession War definitely throw some googlies at the players. The Chatham rebellion is an example of what can happen when a decently trained Spec-Ops team, backed by sufficient resources, can infiltrate into the interior of any House territory and cause mischief if prime targets don't have at least some counter-intel support.

The Chatham rebellion was made worse by the fact that no major combat command was anywhere near the area when the rebellion hit. I know somebody who wishes he had used a Command Circuit (for about 40 RP) right away. The short term cost would have been less than having lost 40 RP for the better part of 9 months.

I don't think the lesson has been lost on anyone.   8)
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #183 on: 19 January 2020, 04:57:01 »
+1 for the devs that wrote those rules!  :thumbsup:

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #184 on: 19 January 2020, 16:25:20 »
<<Game Note: The Third SW Campaign Game: Apr - Jun, 3021>>

LC-DC Front: Raids exploded up and down the Lyran-Combine border from Cebalrai to Verthandi as the LCAF unleashed its mercenary commands to do as much damage as possible without involving regular forces. Mercenary commands such as Wolf’s Dragoons, Hansen’s Roughriders, Dragon’s Breath and Barret’s Fusiliers struck Shionaoha, Cebalrai, Aubisson, Satalice, Basiliano and Verthandi. These raids were often opposed, sometimes quite effectively, by planetary garrisons and the Combine responded with counterstrikes at Bessarabia by the Lone Star Regiment and at Ridderkerk by the 1st Night Stalkers.

Behind both frontlines the two combatants did their best to keep track of the movements of their opponents and it is reported that Waco’s Rangers have arrived from the Benjamin District to continue their feud with Wolf’s Dragoons. A noticeable shift of heavy commands has taken place and media pundits have been posing the possibility of future actions between Phalan and Buckminster.

FS-DC Front: Expecting the lull in fighting to last a few months more before the AFFS could resume their offensive the DCMS command in the Galedon Military District were taken by surprise by a sudden AFFS lunge at Kaznejov. Apparently taking advantage of the ComStar interdiction along the Capellan border near Bell freeing up unexpected supplies, Duke Aaron Sundoval launched four commands supported by carrier forces at the planet and caught the Combine troops in the middle of a transfer. Despite being caught off guard the two Pesht commands and their mercenary cohorts fought with zeal and the battle lasted throughout May and into early June before it became apparent the defenders could not go on. When reinforcements failed to appear the defending 6th and 7th Pesht Regulars along with McGee’s Cutthroats, their lines of retreat cut by sabotage, were compelled to surrender.

Elsewhere along the front both sides launched a number of raids that struck at Gandy’s Luck, Lima, Donenac and Bergman’s Planet. In almost all cases the raiders were successful but took significant losses from the defending garrisons. It is suggested that the repetitive nature of the raids has been slowly battle hardening the defending planetary garrisons even if the garrisons are now showing signs of serious wear and tear.

These same conditions seem to apply to many of the frontline commands of both sides that have been taking part in the heavy fighting in the Kaznejov Prefecture. More and more commands are seen to be preparing for battle with existing damage unrepaired and manpower levels below official establishment.

FS-CC Front: The ComStar interdiction of the Federated Suns-Capellan Confederation border between Jonathan and Tsingtao remained in place with no sign that Maximillian Liao has taken any steps to placate Terra. With communications cut it took a full month for ‘Pony Express' orders to arrive from outside the interdicted zone ordering the battered remnants of the surviving Capellan commands to move to the rear. In the meantime, with supplies cut some of the commands suffered further equipment damage and loss before regaining a secure supply base. Otherwise, the front remained quiet with not even so much as raid being launched by either side. Had the AFFS been so inclined, and much to the annoyance of Duke Michael Hasek-Davion, it could have wrought serious havoc in the spinward reaches of the Sarna Commonality. 

CC-FWL Front: The border between the Capellan Confederation and the Free Worlds League could not have been more quiet. There were no raids launched by either side and intelligence operations were either not attempted or went unnoticed. Observers believe the Capellan military is laying low to rebuild after the heavy defeat suffered against the Federated Suns and using the time to regroup. The FWLM is quite happy to focus on their main combat front with the Lyran Commonwealth but publicly announced that the frontier remains well defended and any hostile acts will be met with a heavy counterblow.

FWL-LC Front: The pace of operations in the Isle of Skye dropped further between April and June as it became evident that both combatants have nearly reached the point of exhaustion. Nevertheless, the LCAF launched a major attack to reduce the salient formed Carsphairn and Vindemiatrix. The attacking force numbered five commands including both the 1st and 2nd Royal Guards commands and the Isle of Skye carrier group. The attack was preceded by a series of very successful espionage and sabotage operations that paralyzed the movement of FWL reserves as well as informing the attackers, with one notable exception, of the exact composition of the defending forces they would be facing in space and on the ground. Despite these advantages the assaults on the two systems could not have gone much worse for the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces.

The attack on Carsphairn was to be led by the 5th Donegal Guards supported by the Hsien Hotheads and escorted by the Isle of Skye carrier group. When the Guards and carrier group arrived at the star’s nadir point the mercenary command was nowhere to be found. An error in decoding a set of unclear orders had the navy send the Hsien Hotheads to Vindemiatrix instead. Not wanting to delay the attack Admiral Ludwig Ritter von Fautz began the burn towards the planet. Unbeknownst to the Lyrans the new FWL carrier group led by FWLS Oriente had been trapped in the system by sabotage to the transport network that prevented its planned departure.

Gathering up the ground-based aerospace fighter wings from the Silver Hawks, Oriente moved to intercept the incoming Lyrans just outside the orbit of the moon Ammon. The numbers were roughly evenly matched and the League fleet fought a delaying action back to the planet where the garrisons fighter wing joined the battle. The less experienced League fighters managed to outfight their more experienced Commonwealth opponents, inflicting a loss ratio that exceeded 2.5 to1. It was soon clear that the attackers would not penetrate the aerospace defences and the attackers broke off the attack and retreated.

At Vindemiatrix it also appeared the attackers had all the advantages of numbers and morale over the defender, especially with the unexpected addition of the Hsien Hotheads in the attack force. The assault force consisted of the 1st and 2nd Royal Guards, the 11th Arcturan Guards and Hsien Hotheads but unfortunately, the regular commanders of the Guards commands, the Archon herself and General Edward Regis respectively, were not present and the command of the force fell to the next senior officer, Colonel Herbert Timmons of the Arcturan Guards. The invasion force burned towards the planet and launched seven aerospace wings to punch a hole in defences raised by five wings provided by the Atrean Hussaars, 1st Atrean Dragoons supported by an already weakened garrison wing.

The aerospace fight dragged on in a series of engagements that lasted throughout the month with neither side gaining an advantage and losses roughly equal. With the defending fighters neutralised the Lyran dropships grounded, Colonel Timmons unloaded his troops and prepared to advance. Once his reconnaissance forces confirmed that he was facing just two smaller commands and the depleted garrison, he ordered an attack that resembled little more than a frontal assault. The League troops met the assault with the two Atrean commands up front and the garrison deployed to plug any holes punched in the line.

There appeared to be little effort on the part of the Lyrans to manoeuvre as both side’s artillery struck home time and again. By weight of numbers alone the defenders were driven back but they extracted a heavy toll on the attackers, whose morale first flagged and then broke. Falling back to reorganise, the attackers came on again in late May, this time with more caution as they probed the defences looking for a weakness. The Atrean commands, while battered, continued to hold a cordon and turned back each attack despite a growing casualty list. By the end of May the attack had exhausted itself and attempts to reinforce by both sides only led to a stalemate in June. Defeated, the battered attackers withdrew by the of the month.

Anti-Spinward from the Isle of Skye both sides raided frontier planets from Gienah to Timbiqui with varying degrees of success . It has been reported that a raiding force from the 2nd Alarion Landwehr jumped away from Penebscot but have not been heard from since.

The Periphery: For the first time in many years there has been significant developments in the periphery states of the Outworld Alliance and the Magistracy of Canopus. News coming out of Alpheratz has reported a number of successful sabotage and espionage events badly disrupting production facilities as well as work in research centres. A number of these attacks have been reliably traced back to the Draconis Combine but the source of others has not been confirmed. President Neil Avelar, clearly frustrated and under pressure in parliament, has made it known that the Alliance will respond to all such attacks in like manner.

In the Magistracy of Canopus similar attacks have struck production facilities on Dunianshire and other research facilities on Canopus IV. In this case the attacks have almost certainly come from the Capellan Confederation since a number of teams have been caught and killed in the act. Only in one occasion was the identification of Capellan operatives considered suspect, equipment and methods not having been seen before in the Magistracy. Not bothering to issue any comment the Canopians struck back at the Capellans in June with a major strike at Capella itself, badly damaging production facilities and other government installations on the regional capital. Only after the attacks were made known by the Confederation did the Magistracy government press office issue the evidence pointing to Capellan attacks on the state. A communique from the Capellan Ministry of the Military warned that Canopus was playing a dangerous game and that the Magistracy “will pay a stiff price for these acts of terror.”

Piracy: May and June saw a serious increase in piracy activities all around the periphery of the Inner Sphere states. Normal pirate activity would be reported at two, three or perhaps four raids in a month. In May no less than seven major attacks hit the major Houses with the Federated Suns receiving two, the Free Worlds League one, the Lyran Commonwealth three and the Draconis Combine one. June saw the number increase to thirteen raids following a similar pattern. The Draconis Combine was struck by four raids, the Federated Suns by three, the Capellan Confederation by two, the Free Worlds League by two and the Lyran Commonwealth by two. While some raids were intercepted by newly deployed ‘Patrol’ commands these formations remain too few and expensive to maintain at a constant level of readiness and cannot, as yet, cover both the major Houses periphery frontiers as well as their borders with neighbouring states. Pirates and other raiders, it seems, may still slip through defences and create mayhem behind the lines.
« Last Edit: 01 March 2020, 21:48:08 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #185 on: 19 January 2020, 17:08:44 »
It sounds so typical of the 3SW... +1 for the developers getting the rules exactly right!  :thumbsup:

Redshirt

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #186 on: 22 January 2020, 02:13:12 »
Sooooo I have a question for you - you keep mentioning Carrier Groups. What is the makeup of a Carrier Group in your Canon?

(Also, I'm enjoying your writeups!)
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The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #187 on: 23 January 2020, 21:05:13 »
Well,... way back in 2017 we had a chat here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=57833.0

Since then all that has really changed is we have set the cost for the carrier wing at 30RP and imposed a command limit for naval 'commands' equal to the leadership rating of the best command in the attack force.

That said,... so far we haven't seen a naval battle with more than four naval commands on either side plus extra planet/cc based wings. The largest naval command built has one CV wing, three aslt a/s wings and four l/m/h a/s ftr wings. This command cost 786 RP (reliable; regular; w/ jumpships for the cv and aslt wings (mandatory)) so you can see why most are smaller. Killing one can be very expensive as pressing in for the kill can ruin the attacking a/s wings as well as the target. To date only one cv group has been 'sunk' (CV wing, two aslt wing, three a/s wings).

One doesn't need a cv wing to make a naval command but they are bit of fun.

And,... we just saw the first Aslt wing built as part of a regular combat command.

So,... things are getting interesting.  :)
« Last Edit: 09 February 2020, 10:32:38 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #188 on: 27 January 2020, 00:36:40 »
Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Sellan Spaceport, Huan, Kaznejov Prefecture, Draconis Combine – Week 2b, Jul, 3021

Reading from the briefing package, Richard Bedford had noted that Huan had fallen to the Federated Suns more than a year ago. After some stiff, if ineffectual resistance put up by the garrison the planet soon surrendered. Since then the business interests on the planet had helped settle the population down and day-to-day life slowly returned to normal thereafter. By the summer of 3021 the planet’s garrison was well on its way to being rebuilt and if unit loyalty was not entirely guaranteed, the troops did a very good job in supporting the local police forces against what remained of the local underground  resistance. That resistance, now largely without support from the population, was as likely to be turned in by their families as to be rooted out by the local authorities. Leaving the locals to manage their own affairs as long as it did not interfere with the AFFS operations the Federated Suns governor was happy to leave well enough alone.

All the same, brigade standing orders stated troops were to move in groups of four when out amongst the population and officers and NCOs wore side arms on and off base. The brigade’s bivouacs, spread around the capital region of Stellan, were all battalion size wired encampments with layered defences containing one of five combat task forces that made up the brigade’s two regiments. Their placement was far enough apart to allow for training and maintenance without stepping on each other but close enough that the regiments could concentrate on short notice if needed.

The Brigade Combat Group, 1st Service Battalion, and 1st Horse Artillery were deployed near the starport itself although the troop quarters were farther away to avoid the obvious noise created by the coming and going of dropships and aerospace fighter patrols. The Brigade’s aerospace fighter force, ‘Number 1 Group’ as well as the mercenary’s ‘Space Command’ were deployed right on the starport itself. With three understrength wings consisting of a mix of light, medium and heavy fighters the Group maintained at least one of its six squadrons on patrol in orbit at all times. At irregular intervals a Leopard aerospace fighter carrier carried a squadron deeper in the space around the planet to keep an eye on any potential pirate jump points. The planet’s garrison wing alternated patrol duty with mercenary wing, sharing the load and maintence duties. The rest of the Brigade’s dropships were grounded at one end of the starport and guarded by a mix of local and the Brigade’s own security troops. While the chances of sabotage was low there was no point in taking any chances.

For all its peaceful appearance the mercenaries had been cautioned against complacency. Huan was the left ‘shoulder’ of the Federated Suns drive into the Galedon District of the Draconis Combine and was by no means behind the lines. While the current fighting was now centred on An Ting, Beta Mensae V and Senorbi, Huan had seen raiders more than once since being occupied. Should the Combine counterattack, a drive against the anti-spinward flank of the AFFS penetration would be an expected move and that meant Huan would the logical target. Besides the garrison of two motor and one mechanised infantry regiment, grossly understrength, the planet currently had only two tank battalions in addition to its mixed fighter wing to augment the 1st Mechanised Brigade. The Bremmond Draconis  March Militia RCT was reportedly en route but Richard Bedford would have preferred that the three combat commands belonging to the Fighting Uruk’hai had remained until the Draconis March Militia had arrived. The ‘Uruks’ departure meant a three-week period where the left anchor of the AFFS line was being held by just seven battalions of the 1st Mechanised Brigade and two local tank battalions supported by few platoons of infantry.

Looking out of the window of the headquarters building Colonel Bedford’s musing were interrupted by the soft buzz of the intercom built into his desk. Reaching out he tapped the ‘accept’ icon on the flat monitor that made up his desk top.

“Yes, sergeant?”

“A Miz Judy Li is here to see you, sir?” came the reply from his administrative aide, Sergeant Nicole Burns. Her voice had a soft Caledonia accent from old Earth’s Scotland that, despite her business like tone, could not but be noticed.

Sergeant Burns was a combat veteran and had served with the Brigade since its founding. Badly wounded in the fighting on Epsilon Eridani the previous March it was not sure she would live. With a stubbornness well known to her platoon mates Sergeant Burns pulled through, though the wounds would prevent her from returning to frontline service. The Brigade was not in the habit of disposing of talented personnel and since she showed an aptitude for organisation she was moved to the command staff and her skills soon caught the attention of the brigade commander. Since August of 3020 she was the immovable object that prevented anyone from getting to the Colonel who had no business being there.

“Send her in, please.”

The door to his office opened and Sergeant Burns slid quickly through and to the side, holding the door as a small woman of Asian decent walked through.

“Miz Li, sir.”

Just as quickly, and before he could thank her, his aide slipped through the door, closing it with a soft click.

“My dear Colonel Bedford. How good it is to see you whole and hale.” Judy Li exclaimed with a broad smile as she swept into his office and approached his desk. It wasn't brazenness but an air of self-confidence she emitted and her smile was sincere.

“Director Burns, it is good to see you as well. It has been a long time since New Delos.” Bedford replied, somewhat embarrassed by the obvious affection coming from Judy Li.

Her face showing mock surprise given away by a smile she chided,

“Oh, my, yes. That was before Anton Marik took an overdose of Stupidity and almost ruined the League. And stop with the formalities, Richard. Have you forgotten I have known your family for decades and you since you were a boy?”

Smiling himself, Richard Bedford sat back in his chair and visibly relaxed. Despite her easy informality and soft smile the mercenary commander knew that Judy Li was superior intellect with a talent for negotiation and  the ability to read people. She had built her small empire based on wheeling and dealing in the “import and export” of all manner of trade goods. While it was generally known that these business dealings were legal the nature of business inevitably led to contacts with other than legal sources. Judy Li had a network of ‘business’ agents across four of the five great houses and all three main periphery states. Only in the Capellan Confederation were her contacts limited but the same could be said of any free enterprise business trying to plumb the depths of that enigmatic closed state.

“My apologies, Judy. I have a lot on my mind and,” Gesturing with a broad sweep of his right arm and a coy smile, “my responsibilities have increased somewhat since we last chatted.”

“Indeed, when last I saw you, you were a militia Commander running around New Delos with a company of tanks, if I recall correctly. Now look at you, a full colonel and with your own army.”

The broad smile that crossed Judy Li’s face could have been that of a proud mother and not just an old and dear family friend.

“Well, a small army but I am responsible for the lives of everyone who signs the contract to serve with the Brigade. You clearly received my note that I sent before leaving Bell. Thank you for coming in person, I know Huan is not exactly on the main thoroughfares of mercantile traffic.”

Her face becoming more serious, Judy Li leaned forward in her chair.

“I did indeed, Richard. I see you have a small flotilla of dropships of your own now. How can I help?”

Leaning forward and placing his forearms on his desk Richard Bedford looked directly at diminutive middle-aged woman.

“I can lift a good portion of combat strength now but that applies mainly to my infantry and some supporting combat vehicles. I have limited lift capacity for my Mechs, at least half my aerospace fighters and the mass of combat vehicles, supplies and spare parts. Most of the brigade must be packed up as cargo for any move and if there ever was an emergency, I can’t bring my biggest guns to the opening rounds of combat.”

Pausing, Bedford added.

“I need large dropships and jumpships.”

Sitting back in her chair Judy Li looked questioningly at the young man behind the desk

“Colonel, I could no more find a Star Lord or Overlord on the open market than I could bring back the Star League. Even if I could find a wreck that could barely hold itself together in space, the chances are the House militaries would sweep in and confiscate such a rare beast regardless of the money offered.”

Smiling again, she continued,
 
“But you know this already. You would have a better chance of obtaining the larger military vessels by raiding Luthien, Tharkad or New Avalon and stealing one.”

Noting the look of defiance on Richard Bedford’s face she added,

“I do, however, have a lead on an Invader, not too far away, that could be had for the right price. She’s a mess, shot so full of holes the Federated Suns navy is not sure she is worth repairing. The drive works as do most of the major systems but she’ll need plenty of work.

As Richard’s face brightened, she went on.

“There is also a Union, badly damaged, over on Capra. It’s been stripped of a lot of weapons and equipment but I am reliably told she’ll fly and if you can afford the asking price, it could be directed to a repair facility where she can be pieced back together. All for the usual commissions, of course.”

Smiling broadly again.  “Properly discounted for a family friend.”

“This sounds like it will be outrageously expensive, Miz Li.”

“Well, dear boy, you aren’t asking for civilian cargo haulers, are you. If you want military grade shipping it will cost a lot of cash. Do you want to give me a shopping list?” she added with a smile.

“It would be a short one, Judy.  Mech and aerospace carriers are highest on the list, I want to be able to put a full Mech battalion on the ground along with tanks and infantry in the first wave.”

Pausing Bedford added a final thought.

“The planned expansion to the brigade will mean our two Mules will no longer be enough within the next year. Since we will still need to carry equipment and supplies as cargo we would probably be in the market for another pair by next summer.”

With a dismissive wave and sensing the meeting was drawing to a close Li rose to her feet.

“Mules are no problem. They come up on the market all the time as companies go bust. Send over your list when you are ready and I’ll have our agents keep an eye open for opportunities. Don’t forget to add anything else you may have trouble finding.”

Coming around from behind his desk Richard Bedford moved to shake Judy’s hand. Seeing his approach she scoffed and enfolded him a bear hug of surprising strength. Releasing him she looked up and proposed dinner the following evening. Since she was on Huan she thought she would explore a few commercial opportunities before making her way back to the Free Worlds League.

“We’ll set aside all business. You can tell me about Maggie and the children. A bird has told me they are making their way to DeWitt.”

Surprised, Bedford started to say, “How did you – “

“Oh, tosh, Richard, don’t be alarmed. I checked in with her before I set out from Atreus.”

“I think you may know more about Karen and the kids than I do, Judy.”

Winking as she turned towards the door, she stated simply, “You’re right, I probably do. I’ll fill you in tomorrow night, dear. I’ll send the details of the restaurant by noon tomorrow. Don’t be late.”

“No ma’am. Wouldn’t dream of it.”

With another smile thrown over her shoulder as she slipped through the door, Judy Li left a suddenly nostalgic Colonel Richard Bedford standing his office.

Sergeant Burns rose from her desk in the outer office and gave the Colonel a questioning look.

“It’s fine, Nicole. If there is nothing else this afternoon, I think I’m done for the day.”

“Well, sir. You do have a meeting with Commander Howe and Lieutenant-Colonel Ligny in twenty minutes regarding the dropship wing.”

Sighing, Bedford looked out the window again, “So I do, Sergeant. Thank you.”

Sergeant Burns walked quietly over to the office door and closed it without a sound.
« Last Edit: 18 February 2020, 16:34:57 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #189 on: 27 January 2020, 05:38:06 »
Good aides are hard to find...  ^-^

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #190 on: 07 February 2020, 22:47:25 »
Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade, Sellan Spaceport, Huan, Kaznejov Prefecture, Draconis Combine – Week 3b, Aug, 3021

The headquarters enlisted men and women were quickly folding away a large monitor and the computers that controlled it. At the same time orderlies quickly removed coffee and tea cups and the small plates that once held small sandwiches and pastries. In their place came large glass decanters filled with ice water and glass tumblers placed before every pair of officers. The review of the financial status of the 1st Mechanised Brigade was wrapped up and everyone on the command staffs seemed pleased that the mercenary command they all worked for was solidly in the black. No one could honestly claim to be surprised as the brigade had been paid out handsomely from their Davion contract on the Capellan border the previous March and the new contract for operations in the Galedon Military District of the Draconis Combine was paid in full up front. Together with the sale of large stocks of captured equipment and the usual looting of the enemy, the brigade was as solvent as it had ever been in its six year history.

With the accounts flush with C-Bills the brigade’s commander looked at expanding the unit in a different direction than originally planned just a few months before. The abandonment by the Davion dropships on Bell, though reportedly an oversight, had made Richard Bedford extremely wary about exposing his brigade to such risks in the future. The Bell incident, under different circumstances, could have left all but a tiny portion of his command abandoned and at the mercy of the enemy should his employer “pull pole” and withdraw without warning. Mercenary commands had been sacrificed before and Bedford was bound and determined to put as many of his people on brigade transports as was possible. Equipment could be replaced, experienced troops, on the other hand, were harder to come by and the trust of the soldiers under his command was an irreplaceable asset.

 Reaching down and turning the switch below his microphone to the right, Richard Bedford cleared his throat as a small green light came alive.

“Alright, ladies and Gentlemen, as you just saw we have a healthy bank account. You all know my view of the events on Bell and we are going to take steps to reduce our exposure on all future missions.”

Pausing as he took in the room Bedford continued. “You all are probably aware of my recent meeting with Madam Judy Li of the “Interstellar Trade Consortium” but I will put the rumours to rest here and now.” Pausing once more he leaned in towards the microphone adjusting it as he did so.

“We have entered into an agreement to purchase an ‘Invader’ class jumpship and a ‘Union’ class dropship.” A few officers stirred in their seats and there were some subdued murmurs but the room soon settled again.

“It is said that they are both about one foot from boneyard but I am reliably informed that with some repairs they will both be able to make it to the nearest shipyards for the required overhauls. As this is far from my area of expertise, I will turn the briefing over to Commander Howe.”

Motioning to the brigade’s “naval” commander, formerly of the Lyran navy, Bedford flipped the switch on his microphone and watched as the small light changed from green to red.

Turning on his own microphone Richard Howe began smoothly, “The Colonel is quite correct, the ‘Invader’ is a mess but the KF drive is stable and will be fully overhauled just to make sure it is safe. If you’ll look at your desktop monitors, you’ll see the schematics of her damage and what will need repair. The docking rings and much of the hull are in need of heavy repairs or replacement but she should be able to make the required jumps to the shipyard at Delavan. Repairs will be conducted as much as possible after each jump but she’ll need a month in the shipyard to become truly spaceworthy again.”

Warming to his task the naval commander pressed on.

“The “Union is in similar shape but most of her repairs to be able to make it into space will have to be carried on Capra. For the conversion and overhaul she should be moved to Bryceland now that the Fed Suns have beefed up the manufacturing and base facilities to support their offensive in this area.”

Noticing the look of confusion on a number of faces around the table the naval officer paused, looking towards Colonel Bedford. Seeing his smile and quick nod, Howe continued.

“I can see that not all of you are up to date on the plans for our Union.” 

Standing up with his tablet in hand he motioned to a technician to turn on the larger wall monitor. As it powered up he linked his tablet to the monitor and called up the current TO&E for the brigade’s dropship wing. Numbers and icons appeared next to each dropship showing their cargo capacity and whether they carried infantry, vehicles, Mechs or aerospace fighters.

“As you can see, we now have the ability to carry almost the entire combat strength of the 1st Rifles and their vehicles and almost an entire battalion of armour - our notorious 11th Hussars - shy but a few vehicles from the battalion headquarters. That said, we can carry only 20 of our 46 aerospace fighters and just 24 out of 124 Mechs in the combat task forces. We are looking to correct that.”

Fingers moving quickly over the tablet's screen and the main monitor changed to a cutaway of a standard Leopard Mech transport. Zooming into the two fighter bays Howe started the playback on a short video showing the conversion of the fighter bays to Mech bays.

“Our two Leopards will give up their fighter bays so they can carry two more Mechs each. Colonel Ligny has told me they will not have drop capability but otherwise the modification should not be very complex. This will add four more mechs to our lift capacity. The procurement department will look to acquire two more standard Leopard class ships which will also be modified as above. This will bring our lift capacity to 40 Mechs of which 32 can be dropped if so desired.”

Switching back to the TO&E chart he started a new video that showed the two Leopard class aerospace fighter carriers being removed from the dropship wing, their place being taken by the two new Leopard Mech transports.

“The two new Leopard class vessels keep the ground troops all together in a twelve-vessel wing with only four aerospace fighters loaded on the standard Union and the Intruder.”

The screen now changed again to show a dropship squadron of four ships. The second and fourth slots were occupied by the existing two Leopard aerospace fighter carriers removed from the troop transport wing, the first slot was occupied by a Union aerospace carrier. The third slot remained empty with only the faint blinking outline of another Union class vessel.

“Our current Union will be converted to a carrier as it is repaired and we will seek to acquire a second Union  that can be converted as needed. This would allow an ad hoc carrier squadron to lift all 40 of the brigade’s aerospace fighters under the new formation proposal of two standard wings. This will provide full fighter protection from the system Periphery to a planet in brigade dropships.”

“In total the brigade will need to obtain two more Leopard Mech transports and one more Union carrier in order to be able to place a full mixed regiment on the ground in the first wave supported by the fighter group.”

Looking towards the brigade commander and then to the room, Commander Howe concluded, “If there are any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas de Scales, Commanding officer of the brigade’s third battalion, the 17th Lancers, raised his hand as the light by his microphone turned to yellow.

Commander Howe recognised the Mech commander with a nod. “Colonel de Scales?”

“How soon before we complete the change over?”

“The repairs and conversion of the Union will likely take at least 3-4 months, including travel time,” replied Howe. “The conversion of our existing Leopards has already started and unless they run into problems, they should be ready by the end of September. The Invader won't join the fleet before the new year and the additional Union carrier and Leopard Mech transports will be procured as they can be afforded with an emphasis on the Leopards first.”

Breaking into the discussion Major Thomas Bedford, a broad smile on his face, added, “It means our Mech carriers have priority, Tom. By January next year we can hit the ground with most of your 17th Lancers in the opening attack. Maybe you could let me stow away in one of the pods.”

As the room chuckled, Richard Bedford chimed in with his own smile creasing his face.

“You won’t get the chance big brother. You’ll have your own command to worry about by then.”

Turning to the other officers. “If there are no more questions for Commander Howe?”

“None? Alright then. Thank you Commander.”

As Commander Howe returned to his chair at the conference table, Lieutenant-Colonel John Ligny rose with his own tablet and called up a similar TO&E chart similar to the one used by Richard Howe but this one showed the organisation of the entire 1st Mechanised Brigade.

“All of these space craft and modifications will take time and money”, he began. “This means our plans to stand up Beta Regiments in stages will have to be pushed back. In the meantime, we will round out Alpha and Gamma and complete the expansion of brigade’s command company to a Command Battalion.”

Stopping at this point the brigade’s chief Tech turned to the gathered officers and looking over the old style spectacles he affected went on.

“Oh, yes, you’re are all aware of the Command battalions used by the Eridani Light Horse, Lexington Combat Group, the Illician Lancers and so on, correct?”

Not waiting for an answer, he turned back to the main monitor. “The current command company will be expanded to include a Mech company, mixed vehicle company and Number 13 Commando, the last finally expanded to four platoons.”

Looking directly at Major Bedford with a crooked smile, “I am told Major, that you will be promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and given command. Congratulations.”

For a couple of heartbeats, the entire room went silent and then erupted into cheers and laughter clearly aimed at the unfortunate Major, who had steadfastly refused promotion or accepted a battalion command for the past four years.

As the room settled Richard Bedford looked to his older brother and quipped, “Revenge for all those years of torture when we were boys, Tom. And don’t forget you are now on the hook for a round of drinks in the officer’s mess. And don’t forget the obligatory “gifts” to the sergeants and enlisted messes. You are going to be a poor man for along time, brother.”

Rubbing his hands together with obvious glee, he saw on his brother’s face the clear pain as the financial implications of this promotion struct home, “You sir, are a scoundrel. It is my opinion that it was not modesty or duty to protect your brother that has kept you from higher command these past years but a purse sealed by a laser welder.”

Standing from his seat the brigade commander added, “Not today, brother. Today that purse of yours will be ripped open even if we have to use a PPC to do it.”

More laughter and backslapping at Thomas Bedford’s expense was allowed to carry on for a few more moments before the Colonel broke in by tapping his microphone with two fingers.

“Alright, folks, the good Colonel has more news before we go and pick poor ‘ol Tom’s pockets. Please, John, continue.

“Yes, sir.” John Ligny added with a short bow.

“As we will be holding off on Beta Regiment we will add a third battalion to Gamma. The 13th Light Dragoons will be modelled after the 8th Hussars with the exception that every Mech in the battalion will be jump capable. In this case there will be a fair number of lighter medium Mechs but more than in the Hussars or 4th Dragoons. The infantry will be mounted in a mix of wheeled APCs, Packrats and the few remaining Goblin SRM medium tanks we have left in the inventory. The tanks will come from our spare hovercraft, effectively leaving us without any as replacements.”   

The last statement was uttered with a shrug and glance towards the room.

“Command of the 13th Dragoons has yet to be confirmed but there is a short list of officer candidates. The battalion will stand up next month but all the required Mechs we have had to purchase will not arrived until near the end of the year.”

Turning his gaze towards the brigade commander John Ligny continued, “And that is about it for now, sir.”

To the gathered officers, “Any questions.”

There were none as it became clear the officers’ minds had clearly become fixated on the mugs of cold beer and spirits they new were theirs, free of charge by brigade and military tradition going back centuries into the past.

As the gathering filed out of the room more than one wit noted that it was Friday, with a reduced weekend duty roster beginning in just a few hours. The partying was bound to go on late into Saturday morning.
« Last Edit: 19 February 2020, 01:41:01 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #191 on: 08 February 2020, 05:44:23 »
Nice update!  :thumbsup:

snakespinner

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #192 on: 08 February 2020, 17:51:26 »
It would be good to salvage some dropships. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
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pete879

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #193 on: 09 February 2020, 05:34:21 »
It would be good to salvage some dropships. :thumbsup:

Totally agree on that.

And I have a feeling the "reduced weekend duty roster" is about to provide an opportunity for that...

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #194 on: 19 February 2020, 12:56:15 »
Sellan Spaceport, Huan, Kaznejov Prefecture, Draconis Combine – Week 3a Sep, 3021

Captain Edward Kent stood with his arms folded, looking up at the starboard side of the two Leopard class dropships and slowly turned his gaze to Captain Talbart Talbardon. He did not like what he saw.

The 1st Mechanised Brigade’s senior engineer let out a slow sigh, “This is not good and the timing could not be worse.”

“I’ll say”, replied Talbardon. “We expected to have weeks, if not more, to make the conversions to these two ships. Now you tell me we have just two days to patch them up, one more to load them and be ready for launch by next week. ‘Bad timing’ is an understatement.”

Looking up at the two dropships the bay doors that would have led to the aerospace fighter bays had been cut open and extended upward to better match the other bays that held the BattleMechs. The conversion work had begun just the week before and both ships were swathed in heavy scaffolding, framing and screening to allow the Tech teams to carry out the work. At the moment the openings to the bays looked more like someone had cut two wholes in the sides of each vessel with a giant can opener.

“Well, in their current state these bays won’t hold either a Mech or an aerospace fighter, sir.”

The statement came from Warrant Officer Yolande de Aragon, one of the ‘Brigade’s’ most senior Techs, as she came up to the right of the two officers.

Turning towards the two dropships she added, “I would suggest we rig ‘em both to hold cargo and then weld armour plate over the openings. Nothing too fancy, just enough for the transit and re-entry at the destination. Once on the ground we can cut them open again.”

Reaching up with one hand she scratched under her chin with a hand blackened by recent work.

“We could haul seventy or eighty tons per bay that way. A definite bonus considering the Mules with the rest of the brigade won’t be arriving for at least a week after Commander Howe jumps away with the combat ships.”

Talbardon turned toward de Aragon with a wry smile on his lips, “Unity! Valois and Woodville will be spitting nails at the loss of four spaces for their fighters. They’ll only have room for sixteen craft instead of a full wing.”

“I’ll break the news to them, Tal.” Nodding as he turned away he added to de Aragon, “Get the teams on the patches Yolande. And make sure the conversion gear is packed with the cargo. If we can stay out of trouble we may be able to continue the work when we reach our destination.”

“And where is that?”, shot back Talbarton.

“Damned if I know, Tal”, came Kent’s reply. “I suppose we’ll all know once we boost for the jump point.”

*****


Headquarters Alpha Regiment, 1st Mechanised Brigade, 25 km north of Sellan Spaceport, Huan, Draconis Combine – Week 3a, Sep 3021


The bivouacs for Alpha Regiments three combat task forces were beehives of activities as the troops earmarked for the abrupt move to the spaceport began to strike their camps. Alpha Regiment officially consisted of three reinforced battalions, one each of ‘Mech, tanks and mechanised infantry. The Brigade’s dropships, depending on their class, were configured to carry passengers based on conventional battalions so the Task Forces would have to redeploy from combined arms battalions to more traditional configurations.

Colonel Richard Bedford had arrived via ground car  at the headquarters of Lieutenant-Colonel John Talbot, the commander of the newly formed ‘Alpha Regiment, 1st Mechanised Brigade’. They moved swiftly to large temporary building that was surrounded by a fully armed infantry platoon and jamming equipment for the briefing on the sudden change in orders for the Brigade.

Standing before the group at the head of a camp table Richard Bedford began his briefing.

“Ok, people, we are pressed for time but I will tell you what I can about our new deployment. First off, we are not rushing out to block a Combine breakthrough. You can kill that rumour immediately. According to the governor and General Tallman of the Bremond Militia, it’s actually the opposite. The Feds have apparently broken through the Draconis front at An Ting and Beta Mensae and are poised to strike towards Matsuida and points beyond.”

Seeing the skeptical looks on a number of faces at the table he continued, “You can take that for what it’s worth but the Fed command admitted to stiff fighting in both systems and still seemed quite pleased with the results.”

A large star chart was deployed on the wall that showed the sector of space within sixty light years of Huan. Using a laser pointer the mercenary commander gave a run down on the current situation and what was known to be going on in each nearby system.

“What we will be doing is jumping forward to replace at least part of the assault force on An Ting while the worst hit Fed commands move back to Huan for refitting. I expect one or two regimental teams from the Uruk’hai to remain with us and the Bremond Militia will move forward as quickly as possible. We may even be asked to join the next jump forward but as that is outside the current parameters of our contract we would need a quick negotiation to cover the costs associated with the extra risk.”

Turning towards John Talbot, Bedford concluded, “This is your mission, John, you fill in the rest.”

Lieutenant-Colonel John Talbot, moved to the front of the spartan briefing room and began his briefing.

“We will be taking the entire combat strength of the ‘The Rifles’, now under Lieutenant-Colonel York, along with two companies each from the 11th Hussars and 17th Lancers. I would take more tanks but I want a drone carrier platoon from the Brigade HQ and space for the regiment’s headquarters vehicles and combat escort. Majors Woodstock and Hardyng from the Hussars and Lancers will command their sub units under the regimental headquarters.”

Motioning to the far end of the table Colonel Talbot recognised Major Catherine Woodville.

“Along for the ride will be two reinforced squadrons from Number One Group under Major Woodville. For those of you ground pounders who do not know how to count that means sixteen light and medium aerospace fighters.”

As an aide set up a portable monitor screen John Talbot continued, “Number 13 Commando will also come along for the ride in their Intruder. Finally, we will cram every available space with ammunition and spares, food and water, in that order. The rest of the brigade will be a week to ten days behind us but we won’t have the Mules, the supply echelons from the other battalions or First Service Battalion on this hop.

As the screen came alive it displayed a detailed map of the space port near the city of Tule Mod on An Ting.

“When we land, we will set up infantry positions in a loose cordon of strong points around the space port, dug in, wired and mined. This does not mean we will be static. The regimental and battalion headquarters along with one rifle company and its vehicles will man the perimeter to protect the fighter base and our supplies. The other two companies will join Woodstock’s and Hardyng’s companies to form two task forces of infantry, tanks and mechs as per the Brigade’s standard operational deployment. An Ting has just fallen to the Feds so the population will not likely be very friendly. If we run into trouble we can’t handle from any regular forces, we’ll fight a delaying action back to the port and dig in until help arrives.”

Left unsaid was that the ‘help’ in this case would be the rest of the brigade arriving with the Bremond Draconis March Militia.

“That’s about it, Ladies and Gentlemen. You’ll have some more details in you packages once we boost for the jumpships but for now we’ll keep things simple. If the Combine troops do show up, any plans we may have made will have to be modified in any case.”

Sitting in his chair at the head of the table Richard Bedford watched as John Talbot took control of the room. The Alpha Regiment commander crossed his arms below his chest and planted his feet shoulder width apart and asked if there were any questions. Alpha Regiment had much to do in just a few days before deploying ahead of the rest of the command and many of the questions some may have had would have to wait until there was more time. After fielding a few questions concerning march order and logistics the briefing was concluded and the gathered staffs broke up and headed back to the respective commands.

Pleased that the senior battalions of the Brigade were in good hands Bedford allowed his mind to turn to the deployment of the newest battalion in the Brigade, the 13th Light Dragoons. The battalion was incomplete and would remain so for some months. He had decided that it would be placed in reserve for the next deployment, sorting itself out and becoming accustomed to the new operating 'culture' in which the troops now found themselves. So engrossed in his own thoughts had he become that he did not immediately notice the meeting was breaking up or that a trooper was trying get his attention.

"Sir? Excuse me, Colonel, should I call for your car and escort?"

Blinking twice Bedford smiled up at the young corporal, "Thank you, son, yes, go ahead."

Rising from his chair he walked over to John Talbot, interrupting a conversation with his company commanders. Offering his hand he stated simply,

"Well, John, you have enough to do without my hanging around cluttering up the place. If you have nothing more, I'll get back to Sellan and the rest of the Brigade."

John Talbot smiled and took the hand of his commanding officer. "Thank you, Colonel, I think we'll be fine. And don't worry about the regiment. We'll be waiting on the ground with a red carpet when you arrive with the rest of the brigade."

"I'm sure you will, John." Nodding to the other officers Bedford offered, "Good luck, gentlemen. We'll see you soon".

Stepping passed the group Richard Bedford could not help but feel a sense of emptiness stemming from his desire to lead his command as he had always done. He had to remind himself that the brigade was now much too large to command in the old way and that he would have to rely on and trust his subordinate commanders more than ever before.

« Last Edit: 29 March 2020, 15:49:50 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #195 on: 19 February 2020, 18:55:10 »
That's probably the hardest transition for a commander... from full tactical control to anything beyond that.

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #196 on: 06 March 2020, 19:09:44 »
<<Game Note: The Third SW Campaign Game: Jul - Sep, 3021>>

LC-DC Front: Once again the border between the Lyran Commonwealth and  Draconis Combine was the scene of intense raiding conducted by mercenary commands. From New Wessex and Alnasi in the Combine and Accrington and Phalan in the Commonwealth, coreward to Verthandi and Romulus, targets were struck repeatedly over the three months. Standing patrols are making the raider’s job more difficult but most raids are still making it to the surface. In one particularly embarrassing incident a raid by Waco’s Rangers jumped into the Phalan system without aerospace support and almost on top of two patrolling squadrons from the garrison, including elements from Wolf’s Dragoons Alpha command. The three dropships and their passengers were captured almost immediately and escorted to the surface. The dropships, Mechs and tanks of the raiding force were confiscated but the humiliated troops were allowed to return to the Rangers

Despite increased losses the patrols do not seem to have lessened the appetite for the raids. The economics of using mercenary commands has seen more of these commands moved up to the border while regular commands conserve their strength for sudden lunges over the border.

Only one large scale operation was undertaken by the LCAF along this frontier and this came in a drive to take Aubisson and Port Moseby in August. Two Lyran commands, 20th Arcturan Guards and 22 Skye Rangers, supported by Wolf’s Dragoon’s Alpha and Gamma regimental commands, pushed the defenders out of both systems, albeit at some cost. It is unclear at the moment whether the two systems can be retained as counterattacks have badly depleted the invaders, who themselves have certainly called for assistance.

FS-DC Front: With the fall of Kaznejov it came as no surprise that the AFFS followed up with attacks against Senorbi and Goubellat in July, drawing DCMS reserves into the fight on the approaches to the Galedon system. However, just as Combine reserves arrived in August even heavier attacks hit Beta Mensae and An Ting. Proof that the attacks towards Galedon were feints was reinforced in September when AFFS ground forces fought delaying actions or withdrew entirely behind heavy screens of naval forces.

For their part the Combine troops put up strong resistance but took significant losses in holding their ground when their own naval forces were absent. At Senorbi, for example, the 1st Sword of Light, 3rd Proserpina Hussars and 12th Galedon Regulars counterattack took only moderate casualties to their ground forces but their aerospace regiments were savaged by Davion carrier groups Robinson and Admiral Kenneth Jones that covered the retreat of Harlock’s Warriors and the Bryceland DMM RCTs.

At An Ting the 17th Avalon Hussars and all three commands of the Fighting Uruk’hai supported by the FSS Kentares IV fought a two month struggle against 7th Sword of Light and 4th An Ting Legion before the defenders gave way, covered by the carrier group led by the Kagoshima. The defenders of Beta Mensae V never found their stride and were pushed off the planet by 2nd Ceti Hussars and the 21st Striker Regiment of the Eridani Light Horse supported by the Alexander Davion. The Davion forces did not have things their own way by any stretch of the imagination and numerous commands had to be rotated to the rear after just one or two months of steady combat. If losses are anywhere close to what has been reported both sides may not have the strength to maintain operations at the current pace for much longer without major reinforcements.

Throughout the three-month period both sides made extensive use of espionage and counter-espionage operations to help direct operations while the few special operations attempted by either side generally came to grief with significant losses to the assets involved. The newest challenge for the Combine high command is what to do about the apparent Davion breakthrough in front of Matsuida. Davion espionage is apparently aware there is little to nothing between their forward troops at An Ting and the Prefecture capital. The dilemma facing the DCMS is whether to shift forces anti-spinward from Galedon to plug the gap or shift forces spinward from the Benjamin district.

FS-CC Front:September passed with the partial interdiction of Capellan space still in effect although it is said Sian is now negotiating a resolution with ComStar. At the same time the CCAF launched nearly a half dozen raids each month against Davion targets from Horsham to Quentin and back again. These raids were apparently carried out with the intent of distracting Davion attention from the Draconis Combine but the AFFS did not appear to take the bait or launch any retaliatory raids at all over the three month period. Whether this was because of the heavy commitment of resources against the Draconis Combine or simply because the forces available on the Capellan March are considered able to hold their own is unclear. Even so, both the target worlds and raiders appear to have suffered heavily in the exchanges with losses seldom less than 25 percent of the forces committed.

The greatest Capellan success came at Quentin where reinforced elements of Laurel’s Legion did significant damage to the industrial targets found on the planet, bringing nearly all production to a halt for a number of months. The raiders narrowly escaped before a relief column from The Black Cobras arrived to support the garrison troops who had fought hard and exacted a toll from the attackers. Rumour has it that Maximillian Liao himself authorised the expansion of the Legion as a reward for the successful operation.

 CC-FWL Front: For reasons known only to himself Maximilian Liao cannot seem to resist the urge to tweak Janos Marik’s beard whenever the opportunity presents itself. July saw a successful but costly raid against Fletcher, on the doorstep of Oriente, one of Marik’s strongest supporters in parliament. The raiders were from one of the new smaller commands known as “People’s Militias”, each militia mustering just under 2/3 the strength of a regular command centred around a medium Mech regiment supported by reduced armoured and infantry regiments but lacking artillery entirely. The 3rd People’s Militia made off with a significant haul of spare parts and other equipment but at the cost of nearly 80% of their attacking force.

In September McLeod’s Highlanders struck Hall, defended by three commands of the Oriente Hussars. While the Northwind Highlander raid met with only moderate success they battered elements of the 5th Oriente Hussars who intervened to deflect the attack. Whether the two attacks were deliberately aimed at Oriente targets in order to cause dissention or were just a coincidence, the result was that the Oriente Assembly passed a resolution of support in favour of the provincial forces striking back at House Liao. Both Janos and Duncan Marik have urged calm, noting the main effort remains the Lyran front. No counter-raids were undertaken but Atreus did promise additional forces to support the Liao border defences and hopefully deter further raids.

 FWL-LC Front: Learning their lessons from previous disruptions caused by Lyran espionage and special operations the Free Worlds League clearly poured significant resources into their own intelligence, security and sabotage efforts between July and September. These efforts were met by similar exertions on the part of the Lyrans resulting in a state of confusion and near chaos as attack and counterattack were derailed by broken transportation networks, communications and supply lines. A renewed attempt by the Lyrans in July to strike at Denebola and Milton came undone when more than half the attacking force could not leave Summer. Pressing forward with the attack at Denebola the LCS Indefatigable and Victorious along with aerospace wings from the 4th and 5th Lyran Regulars ran headlong into the FWLS Captain-General supported by the aerospace forces of not less than five ground commands, including the Marik and 1st Free Worlds Guards. In a heavy battle that saw very serious casualties on both sides, the Lyrans soon realised they did not have the ground forces to take the planet and abandoned any attempt at landing and withdrew.

A similar thrust to retake Gacrux and Cor Caroli also came up short as did a Free Worlds League attack to retake Alcor in an attempt to rest the initiative away from the Lyrans. Neither side seemed to be able to protect their rear areas well enough to ensure orders could be executed while both sides noted their enemies had an uncomfortably thorough picture of what forces were deployed on various systems. The climax came in September when a massive sabotage effort by SAFE overcame LIC defences and stranded no less than fourteen Lyran ground and naval commands in Summer, Menkent and Haddings, effectively ending the Lyran offensive.

The end result after three months of false starts and fumbled assaults was that the two combatants were completely unbalanced and both sides knew it. The Lyran command found they had their heaviest concentrations in and around Summer with another grouping near the Hesperus system. Unfortunately there was little strength in the centre of their line. The Free Worlds League forces ended up concentrated at Rahne and New Kyoto with secondary forces at Denebola and Cor Caroli. While losses to forces that did engage were often heavy, sometimes even crippling, other commands did not fire a shot for three months and not a single system changed hands. Analysts are speculating that should either side get their security house in order the targets for renewed offensives are many and varied.

The Periphery: Activity within the Periphery States subsided significantly over the past three month with little news coming from either the Outworlds Alliance or the Taurian Concordate other than the usual pirate activity. However, the inexplicable shadow war being waged by House Liao against The Magistracy of Canopus continues to confound strategists as to what Sian hopes to achieve. Some have suggested that Maximillian Liao is continuing his policy of lashing out at neighbours when least expected in order to keep them off balance and to prevent them from concentrating against his realm. Others surmise that House Liao is looking for any weak spot to exploit to improve its strategic position after its series of defeats over the past half-decade.

Whatever the goal, the Magistracy has taken a new defensive tack with it own special forces and counter-intelligence efforts while shifting its forces carefully to better protect its frontiers from a growing number of pirate raids, many suspected to be sponsored by Sian. Rumours have begun to circulate of increased communications between Canopus and Andurien, leading some to suspect some defensive coordination of efforts against the Capellan’s activities.

Piracy: If the spring of 3021 had seen a marked increase in pirate activity around the periphery then the summer saw that activity increase to levels not seen in living memory. Over the three month period no less than 41 raids were recorded striking targets in every major House and well as the Magistracy of Canopus and the Taurian Concordate. At one point it was asked whether there were any pirates left in periphery at all or if they had all moved into the Inner sphere. The Draconis Combine suffered the most from raiders followed by the Lyran Commonwealth and Free Worlds League. For all the activity, however, it was noted that losses to the raiders were not insignificant and this was chalked up to the increased deployment of small patrol commands. By the end of September it is said that pirates will be increasing their fees for future operations to cover the increased risks.

One notable pirate success took place on Kimball VI in August when Wilson’s Hussars, a little known or respected mercenary company in the employ of pirate Redjack Ryan, struck the planet and were engaged by a mercenary force mounted in attack helicopters. Led into an ambush in the Serval Canyon the Hussars recovered surprisingly well and slowly picked apart the VTOLs and their supporting infantry by a judicious use of fire and manoeuvre. Though the Hussars lost a good portion of their serviceable Mechs they were able to drag away the wreckage as well as significant other salvage and captured raw material from the nearby mines and escape. The mercenary networks were alive with chatter regarding this sudden turnaround by an otherwise low status mercenary band.

 Politics of the Inner Sphere: Setting aside all the manoeuvres, battles and raids a significant political event occurred in July when New Avalon released a public communique stating that the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth had been engaged for some months in discussions aimed at normalising relations between the two Houses. These talks were inspired by Archon Katrina Steiner’s peace proposal of 3020 and they had proceeded well enough for the two realms to make them public. In addition to the general discussions surrounding potential cultural exchange agreements and a formal exchange of regular diplomatic embassies, it was announced that the talks would continue and hopefully encompass scientific and trade treaties. The communique ended by stating that for all intents and purposes the Third Succession War between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth had ended. The New Avalon communique was followed shortly thereafter by a similar release from Tharkad confirming the new state of relations between the two Houses. There has yet to be any response from Luthien, Atreus or Sian.
« Last Edit: 29 March 2020, 15:48:23 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #197 on: 06 March 2020, 19:32:59 »
Excellent update, thanks!  :thumbsup:

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #198 on: 29 March 2020, 17:58:40 »
Tule Mod Spaceport, An Ting, Matsuida Prefecture, Draconis Combine – Week 2a, Oct 3021

The roar of the shuttle’s engines and thrusters slowly faded with the vibrations coming up from the floor of the shuttle. The green ‘all secure’ light flickered on at the head of the compartment and the passengers began to unstrap themselves from their seats. The hull pinged and popped as the vessel cooled from its re-entry to the atmosphere and quick descent to the surface. Releasing his safety straps Richard Bedford rose from his seat and adjusted the straps of his body armour before slinging his auto-rifle across his back and checking that his laser pistol was secure in its holster.

Heading to the short companion way he stood in line behind the small section of troopers from Number 13 Commando who now accompanied him everywhere he went. The commandos were in full battle kit and would precede the commander of the 1st Mechanised Brigade down the access ramp and ensure the area was secure before he would be permitted on the ground.

No one doubted the spaceport at Tule Mod wasn’t secure, the planet had fallen to the Federated Suns offensive into the Draconis Combine’s Galedon District some weeks before but there was small if persistent insurgency still on going
 on the planet. There was no point in taking undue risks at the moment, so the Brigade’s commanding officer waited for the all clear and proceeded down the ramp.

As his foot hit the ferrocrete runway four vehicles rolled to stop in an arch near the shuttle. The lead vehicle was Packrat armed with a medium laser, The second and fourth vehicles were standard Packrat T5 scout vehicles from which heavily armed infantry poured out onto the runway and formed a skirmish line facing away from the grounded space craft. The third vehicle was 15 ton tracked Mobile Command Vehicle used by the brigade at the battalion and regimental headquarters level. Dismounting from the vehicles rear door was Lieutenant-Colonel John Talbot, commanding officer of the brigade’s Alpha Regiment.

Smiling broadly as he approached the brigade commander, John Talbot offered his hand to his superior officer, knowing not to salute in a zone where the enemy might still be lurking.

“Good morning, Colonel. I trust the flight in was comfortable enough.”

Motioning towards the MCV Talbot continued, “We just completed an update briefing with the Suns commander and there is a lot to bring you up to date on in this sector.”

The conversation paused as the two men climbed into the MCV and secured themselves into their padded chairs with four-point harnesses. No sooner had the armoured door closed than the vehicle lurched into motion.

As the two senior officers placed headsets with microphones on their heads Talbot powered up a computer monitor that already held a star chart of the border region between the Matsuida and Kaznejov prefectures of the Galedon Miltary District.

“As you may have heard, sir, the Fed Suns apparently did breakthrough the Combine front when they captured An Ting and Beta Mensae last month. It looks like they knew what they had as they didn’t follow the usual procedure of attack-reinforce-relieve-attack.”

Adjusting the view to zoom in on Matsuida, Talbot continued.

The 2nd Ceti Hussars along with two of the regimental teams of the Uruks struck Matsuida, surprising the 7th Sword of Light, 4th An Ting Legion and 15th Benjamin Regulars. The Combine troops clearly were not expecting the lunge forward and the 4th Legion looks to have been sacrificed along with the garrison in a rear guard action. The 7th Sword and 15th Benjamin got away but lost additional troops. The Suns believe both commands will be out of action for some time.”

Turning back to the console the map was adjusted spinward to include the area between Matsuida and the Galedon systems. The briefing continued.

“At the same time additional troops, including some fresh commands from Kaznejov, struck at Kirei na Niwa, Nadrin and Delitzsch. The Eridani Light Horse took Kirei with their 21st Striker and 151st Light Horse regiments supported by their command battalion. The 1st Crucis Lancers and 3rd NAIS Cadre landed on Nadrin while the 17th and 42nd Avalon Hussars struck Delitzsch. According to the reports the garrisons have all been swiftly swept aside in just over a week.”

Talbot adjusted the monitor once more, this time towards the An Ting and Beta Mensae region. The vehicle jolted suddenly as if it hit a large hole or piece of debris. Despite being strapped into their seats both officers needed to recover their balance before Talbot could continue.

“Here on An Ting we have been screening the 5th Uruks while they rest and repair their kit. By the end of the month they should be back in good shape. The 10th Deneb Light Cavalry landed last week along with their large aerospace force. Unfortunately, like all Deneb commands they exchange ground troops for that large aerospace force and so have fewer ground regiments than a normal Federated Suns formation. That said, with the 10th Deneb’s six wings, our three and the Uruk’s one, we have a potent aerospace force even if we don’t have any carriers in nearby.”

With this last John turned to his commander and added,

“So far as we know at least. No one would give us any information on the Fed Suns naval moves but my money is on their being forward, facing Galedon V.”

Lost momentarily in thought as he viewed the icons on the screen John Talbot was pulled back from his musing by Bedford’s voice.

“So, Colonel Talbot, what are your conclusions regarding the present situation?”

“Well, sir, the breakthrough seems real enough but there are two things that concern me.”

“One,… this breakthrough is in the wrong direction. There are no real strategic targets within 60 light years out that way. Short of going all the way to Luthien, it’s a lot of empty space. I think the Feds broke through because the Combine had concentrated their strength on more strategic targets. Towards Galedon and Irurzun.”

“My second concern is that the Suns have no real back up to push out in that direction. And if they pivot to the right now and try for Galedon, their backs will be towards whatever is coming from the Benjamin District. From what we know, the Fed Suns army is fully committed in this sector with it available troops. All we can see as a reserve, are the Eridani’s 71st Light Horse, maybe the 3rd Dismal Disinherited and Harlock’s Warriors. And the Warriors just recently retreated from Senorbi so they are likely resting and refitting. Behind us at Huan are the Bremmond and Dahar March Militia’s but little else. Everyone else is committed to the attack or holding the frontline systems. The only other command of note nearby are the 1st Ceti Hussars at Elidere IV.”

“As for the Combine forces, where are they? They have to be repositioning both from the Galedon direction and from the Benjamin District. Neither Warlord Samsonov nor the Coordinator himself can accept the loss of face the current situation is posing. They have to be planning a counterattack and now can mass from both sides of a growing salient. I would bet a month’s pay on it. The Combine is going to attack.”

“I hope the rest of the brigade is not far behind you, Richard.”

Smiling, Richard Bedford looked down from the screen at his friend and colleague.

“I won’t take that bet John. I’d just be handing over my pay to you.”

“And yes,… the brigade will be on the ground, complete, by the end of the week. Our employers gave us dropships for all the combat elements so we can deploy right away. Only the service battalions and supplies are arriving crated up.”

“Our Federated Suns comrades seem to have a sense of urgency at the moment.”

Looking back at the screen Bedford squinted as he thought.

“I think you’re right, though. The Combine will counterattack it makes sense to strike from both sides. The questions is when and what specific targets will be first? Do they blunt the tip of the spear at Matsuida or, as I would do, strike the shoulders and try to cut off the entire penetration?”

“Send your report over as soon as possible along with all your analysis. Alert your battalion staffs to get ready for a full command meeting. I am sure that if we can see the trouble coming so can Duke Sandoval and his Marshalls. At least, let’s hope they do.”

The MCV jolted again as it passed over more rough ground but then began to slow. The vehicles commander stuck his head down into the command centre and gave Colonel Talbot a thumbs up.

They had arrived at the complex that would serve as the Brigade’s headquarters on An Ting.
« Last Edit: 29 March 2020, 18:23:06 by The Purist »
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #199 on: 29 March 2020, 18:22:12 »
That's a pretty broad front to be characterized as a "salient"...  All the same, I think Davion is going to hard pressed to hold on to those gains...

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #200 on: 29 March 2020, 18:37:33 »
The salient is really formed by Matsuida, An Ting/Beta Men, Kirei/Nadrin/Delit.

The map is a bit out of date as I had to hold off posting while the battles in November (and now Dec) have been playing themselves out. I usually try to keep posts about three months in the past but a major clash is ongoing at Hesperus II which is taking time to resolve. I need to ensure I don't give too much away with posts while it could effect upcoming orders.
Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought upon the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

"...Remember also the two "prime directives" in playing BattleTech:
1. HAVE FUN
2. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE RULES THAT YOU STOP HAVING FUN"
Page 168 - Reunification War

Daryk

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #201 on: 29 March 2020, 18:41:35 »
Ah, makes sense...  I'm just glad to see you posting again!  :thumbsup: