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Author Topic: Escort Unit  (Read 4527 times)

Tangoforone

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Escort Unit
« on: 18 December 2018, 18:46:37 »
What are your strategies for escorting assault assets that are slower?

Situation:
So the last game I played my slow moving assets were harassed by fast vehicles and mechs.  It held up my forces for two or three rounds, which led to a delayed victory and some of my other assets suffering unnecessary damage or complete loss.  So now I am in the market for low BV mechs or vehicles that can escort my slower units to make them a less desirable target. 

My thoughts:
-needs to be able to take hits.  This is because the escorts are going to be going the same speed as the slower units, until they need to chase something away which leads to the next point.  If the escorts can just get blown away by an AC20 mounted on a fast mover because it relies on the movement mods as protection then it isn't doing its job.
-needs to be fast enough to chase a light out of range of the heavies, then return to the assaults just as fast.  This should discourage the opponent from sticking around too long, and I won't have to completely stop the assault mechs so they can try to counteract the movement mods made by the harassers.
-Low BV:  this unit or group of units only job is to provide escort for slow assets.  That means whatever BV/cbills is sunk into this is going to be doing minimal work until the heavies are engaged in the primary opponents.  Once the heavies are in the fray, then the escorts can engage in combat a bit more, though they should still try to prevent harassers from targeting the back of my assault units

What to use:
Tracked/Hover:  this was my first thought as they are generally lower cost in BV than mechs.  However with the motive hits they can change from escorts to pillboxes in one or two die rolls.
VTOL:  I have not played these much, but this could be a good option as they could spread out a bit from the assaults and chase stuff down.  Not restricted by terrain as much as a mech or vehicle. My concerns would be fragility and armament.   
Mechs:  Kind of the obvious choice, but then it gets into what to choose. Do you go with a heavier mech that is armed to the teeth and deliberately stands still when the harassers are coming, or do you go with something lighter that can give chase easier?  In general these will be expensive in the bv cost, especially with what they are tasked to do.
Battlearmor/Infantry:  Not many players will be too fearful a single squad of infantry, but perhaps if there are several squads of infantry or battlearmor that are specifically armed for antimech combat perhaps the opposing player would think twice. 

What are your thoughts, and how do you protect your slow, heavy assets while they are entering the battle?  Or do you just keep your whole force together and wait until the heavies are in position before you start sending your fast movers out?

Daryk

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #1 on: 18 December 2018, 19:14:14 »
This is literally one of the things medium 'mechs are built to do.  The classic 55-ton trio and the Phoenix Hawk are your primary 3025 choices.

truetanker

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #2 on: 18 December 2018, 20:43:39 »
Could I interest you into see this?

http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Peacemaker_(IndustrialMech)#variants

426 BV2.... Battlemech Taser, MG w/ 100 ammo and a SRM-2 w/ 50 shots. Moves 4/6 is fusion powered...

Now support these with Light Thunderbolt Carriers, 714 BV2 each...

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Tangoforone

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #3 on: 19 December 2018, 11:13:51 »
Daryk, I assumed the medium mechs would be the way to go.  I guess the deeper question would be what kind of strategy do people go with once they have their units figured out.  Do you go with the AC20 Hunchback (or something conceptually similar) or do you try to go with something faster that can give chase to the harassers for a round or two. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and I am trying to see what others do.  I am a bit of a novice when it comes to lingo, so I don't know what you mean by the 55 ton trio.

I should have also given a time period, we are playing in early 3070's I believe, but thank you for the idea Truetanker!

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #4 on: 19 December 2018, 12:00:08 »
For me, escorts are doing their job if on any given turn the backstabbers I'm worried about are outside of their medium range, or at least outside short. My ideal escort is not so much faster than its charges that I can be duped into sending it off by itself, but fast enough that it can maneuver to intercept attackers before they get too close, and at other times can maneuver around their charges to keep their own TMM up. This last bit is secondary, though. After all, every shot directed at an escort(wether it hits or not) is a mission success because it was not directed at the unit being escorted. Ideal weapons are close-in stuff of sufficient accuracy or firepower that the attacker does not want to be near it in normal circumstances. Pulse lasers are obviously ideal, but anything with enough punch to make light units nervous works just fine. If he doesn't want to be near my escort, and said escort is between him and his target in a way that prevents easy shots at said target, the escort is winning.

For close escort of big and slow units, I find mechanized infantry(not mech. BA, the conventional stuff) to be very useful, and dirt cheap. They're faster than they look on paper(3 mp infantry usually has no trouble keeping up with 3/5 units, or 4/6 stuff in confining terrain), and often have enough firepower that a backstabber has to worry about their damage combined with that of torso-twisting heavies.
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Kovax

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #5 on: 19 December 2018, 12:03:59 »
Anything that's dangerous enough (and slow enough) to require the attention of a Hunchback is just begging to be noticed by the Assaults that are being escorted.  If it's a lower-value harassment unit plaguing the advance, then the ideal counter is a fast escort that can keep it at a distance, hopefully kill or immobilize it, and return to its guard position quickly.  If something too big to deal with shows up, the fast escorts can fall back on the assaults for fire support.

Intruder cases in point:

Saladin - thicker armor to face it is nice, but something fast enough to go out and kill it before it gets into gun range is better, particularly if that fast something can easily get into a side arc where the AC/20 is nothing more than a heavy and expensive ornament hanging out of the nose.  I'd rather take a Locust against a Saladin than fight it with a Hunchback, where you're going to be WAY down on the to-hit numbers compared to the attacker, plus the attacker has enough ammo to risk poorer shots and the speed to put that big gun into a position where it will hurt the most.

LRM Carrier - making the long, deadly dash from long range to under minimum LRM range ASAP is helpful to survival.  A Hunchie will likely suffer a LOT of needless pounding before it can even shoot at the intruder.  The HBK doesn't bring anything to the table that the Assaults don't already do.  Something fast enough to go out and immobilize an opposing unit BEFORE it threatens your convoy would be better, and something with that kind of speed AND the firepower to actually kill the intruder would be better yet.

Phoenix Hawk - a light scout will probably have to run from this, but it's still not worth diverting the whole Assault group for.  A well-armed vehicle is a viable but risky counter, as immobilization is a real possibility.  This practically calls for a Medium 'Mech to counter a Medium 'Mech.


Ultimately, my preference would be a MIX of vehicles (hover and/or tracked, depending on terrain along the way), a pair of fast, light scout-hunters (Firestarter, Jenner, Wolfhound, Hermes I, Mongoose, Javelin, etc.), plus a pair of Medium 'Mechs with at least 5/8 speed.  One such party (3025) might consist of 2xPegasus or Saracen, 2xGoblin or Vedette, 2xFS, plus a PXH and Wolverine or Griffin.  Scale that up or down, according to the value of what it's escorting.  That will pose a serious threat to any lance-sized contingent that tries to interfere, and anything more dangerous than that probably deserves a bit of serious firepower from the Assaults anyway.  The whole scout group can fall back on the Assaults for protection in a pinch.


My choice:  Locust, Firestarter, 2xSaracen, 2xVedette, PXH, GRF.  It's got the combination of ranged firepower and speed for engaging and destroying vehicles or small parties of light/medium 'Mechs BEFORE they become a problem, or to go out and skirmish without getting left behind by the main force.  Your Assault force should arrive in good condition for the main event, or else the enemy will be hurting as a result of throwing a whole lot of stuff at them and losing it.

Colt Ward

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #6 on: 19 December 2018, 13:34:45 »
For escorts IMO . . . you want a medium that can walk 5 or 6.  This allows them to be more accurate while maintaining the same advance, 6 gets you a single facing change.  When the fire starts coming in you need to be moving laterally to keep those TMMs up (jumping helps here) and hold to the flanks.  If you know where your assaults are going, I would suggest positioning one of those escorts where its going to deny the shortest path to its best firing position- for instance if its a 9/14 hover you are worried about, then moving your Wolverine to a position that blocks the direct path which will force that hover to flank and turn which forces PSRs to get the position.

I also think your previous escorts did they job . . . they are damage soaks to allow you to deliver your heavy hitters to the point of decision with minimal damage, helping to penetrate defensive lines depth.  So if you lost say a Centurion 9-D to concentrated fire against escorts but your Jagermech 7-F, Atlas 7-D, Saggitaire, and Templar C get into mid range with a few nicks in their armor because the enemy fire support was trying to push back your escorts so their strikers could swarm your assault team . . . then they did their job.  In a frontal attack, you will likely take losses- accept that and decide where they will occur.

Armor of course works better if you use veh survival rules and you can definitely select some tracks that will help cover the flanks of your assaults.  Being vehicles and considered 'weaker' they are going to draw more fire.  Turrets of course help them protect your mech's flanks.

For BA . . . consider the Fenrir.  I HATE facing them escorting the Lyran Wall of (Guass firing) Steel.  They can keep my Phantom H and Piranha out from behind that lumbering Thunderhawk which lets it keep sending Guass Rifle slugs at my Timberwolf E.  While most of them sport shorter ranged weapons, its what works for covering the flanks of a Lyran Wall of Steel.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #7 on: 19 December 2018, 14:41:01 »
Definitely agree with the above regarding Fenrirs, front, back, or on the flanks they are the natural partners of an Assault Company.

I also think units with autocannons that can fire precision rounds are a good fit.  A lance of heavy or medium weight tanks with precision ammo will make strike hovercraft or light mech pilot really nervous.

Firesprocket

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #8 on: 19 December 2018, 15:16:56 »
What era is it specifically that you are playing in and need the advise for?

Sabelkatten

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #9 on: 19 December 2018, 16:04:12 »
I like the (generally rather crappy) Battle Hawk as a bodyguard. Sure it's not the sturdiest unit around, but it can take still a few lumps, and those tripple MPLs can be rather painful to a lot of fast units. It's also pretty cheap (in BV) and fast enough to maneuver around 3/5 or 4/6 heavy/assault mechs.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #10 on: 19 December 2018, 17:33:49 »
One of my go-tos is a Komodo (3053).  It is only 45t, moves 5/8/5, but with 10 medium lasers, 2 AMS, an guardian ECM it can a) Protect itself, b) protect the assaults from C3 or other EW, and c) Punch the lights out of something that comes close.  Yes it has an XL engine, but honestly it is meant to draw fire and kill things.
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #11 on: 19 December 2018, 17:50:31 »
the Uziel 8S is a great little terror weapon

but if you want to stunt on the enemy as hard as you can, just park a flamberge 3 back there

Sharkapult

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #12 on: 19 December 2018, 17:56:08 »
Generally I look for units with relatively long short range brackets and no minimum range.
Large lasers, or (ERLL), AC10s (LBX10s) rule. If you are getting into more modern sets use precision rounds. Don't discount arty direct fired or homing either. Smacks the hex with AoE damage and you don't need to be precise to hit a hex.
Other than that if you are using smoke rules try to have your heavy hitters walking through smoke cover. Use a spotter unit and your heavy hitters can indirect LRM fire.
Mines, deployed via thunder LRM deter or slow down some units.

Daryk

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #13 on: 19 December 2018, 18:43:37 »
For the OP: When I say "55 ton trio" in a 3025 context, I'm talking about the Wolverine, Griffin and Shadow Hawk.  They're all 5/8 and jump (the Shadow Hawk only jumps 3, but the others are 5).  I'm less familiar with the 3070 era, and will bow to the others who know better.

Weirdo

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #14 on: 19 December 2018, 21:50:05 »
Another thing you might look for are missiles and deep ammo bins. Dropping smoke in the right place means blocking LoS between your charges and their attackers. No LoS, no shots, no problem. Same with mines. Deny easy approaches, and you're denying easy attacks.
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maxcarrion

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #15 on: 20 December 2018, 12:59:12 »
I would start by suggesting that you're making a mistake if you buy an escort and all they are doing is escorting.  If you're running your 4 assault mechs to target then you shouldn't be buying 1 medium mech to protect them and then discarding it when you contact the main force - you should be buying 4 medium mechs which run interference against the enemy harassers punishing anything daring enough to try and close on the rear of the assaults and then when you reach the primary objective you hit it with the entire force - i.e. the medium mechs aren't a bv sink that's wasted when they arrive, they are a manoeuvre element that uses superior manoeuvrability to position against harassers and still arrive on objective at the same time as the hammer force to make a combined strike or possibly swing round at contact to strike a flank.

How about an example I hear you ask?

Let's say that you have a 3025 lance of mechs, let's say you're going through a somewhat urban area and you know then enemy has a couple of bug mechs, a Jenner and at least 1 Hetzer in the area, maybe some other forces too - you're trying to get your main assault force to an enemy compound as quick as you can but you know the bugs and jenner are going to try and backstab and harass you and every time you turn around and stop your force it buys some time for the enemy to evacuate.

Your force
Atlas - This is your biggest, slowest assault mech, ideally this will go flat out by a reasonably straight route to the compound laying down fire only in passing

Battlemaster - A slightly faster assault element I would run the Battlemaster a short distance (maybe 90m) behind the atlas, anything that tries to hit the Atlas is a prime target for the Battlemaster and the Battlemaster can slow down to engage and then catch up again as long as it only does so briefly

Wolverine - This is what I think you're referring to as the escort unit, trailing at the back the Wolverine will continually position itself to present a hard target and a decent amount of firepower to whatever is trying to sneak up behind you but when you reach the enemy compound it will still be a significant striking element - anything that gets between the Battlemaster and Wolverine is asking for a beating, anything that stays behind the Wolverine isn't threatening your assault element and the Wolverine can easily stop and engage and then quickly catch up with the Assaults

Javelin - Running point is the nippy little Javelin - this unit is doing its best to ensure the Atlas isn't strolling into a trap - Hetzers gonna Hetz after all and urban areas are often rife with Infantry units that can be bypassed rather than fought through.  Occassionally this unit will engage, a volley of SRMs can easily immobilise a vehicle with motive crits, but mostly this little fella is scouting up front so that the Atlas doesn't walk into anything he won't walk out of.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #16 on: 20 December 2018, 17:29:34 »
Helios is fluffed as a St. Ives Compact answer to, "Who escorts the Emperors, Pillagers, and Victors?"

Never used it myself.  If I had to escort something 3/5, I'd use tanks.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #17 on: 21 December 2018, 00:45:48 »
Given the era & mission.

I might give serious thought to something that packs standard ACs & be able to use precision ammo v/s those Saladins before they get into reach of the Assaults.
Stuff like a Warrior that can snipe outside range of most harrassers is a solid option too if your just looking for some mobility hits.


Or just use something with decent range but is cheaper than an Atlas.

Say Manticore tank,  LRM & PPC to keep things away & ML+SRM to crit/immobilize if they do get close.   

Something like the Jagermech is also solid for lots of Precision AC love & its super cheap.
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Kovax

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #18 on: 21 December 2018, 13:13:04 »
While a lance of 55 ton mediums (or their later era functional equivalents) might be the most "effective" escort, it's not a cheap one.  A lance of fairly hard-hitting vehicles with moderate or high speed (5/8 or faster) come in at a tenth the cost, and a pair of decent Light 'Mechs at half the price.  The lights can scout ahead or race out to deal with fast hovers or other lights, and the vehicles can guard the flanks and threaten anything that tries to close before it reaches weapon range to the main advance.  A medium 'Mech would be a nice but more expensive addition, or a sub for one of the lights, but that boosts the cost considerably.

If I'm given an assignment to slow the advance of some group of Assault 'Mechs, but not enough firepower to actually engage them and force them to halt the advance, then I'm probably going to either race in, take a shot or two to force them to turn and deal with me, and then get out before they can concentrate fire on me, or else set up some kind of ambush.  With scout 'Mechs or a light vehicle leading the advance, and a couple of vehicles on each flank taking shots as I close AND as I try to escape, it's likely to get REAL expensive for me in a hurry.  If I try taking out the escort first, I'm not slowing the main group until that's done, and the escort I'm picking on will likely call in some of the other members of its lance to make my task more difficult.  Meanwhile, the Assaults just keep plodding forward, taking a few shots to assist if anything gets too close.

As a defender trying to halt the assault group, if I'm given enough firepower to actually deal with all of the escorts, then it's probably worth the attacker's time to crush my force with their Assaults while I'm engaging the escorts.  Yes, I've slowed the assault group, but at an unaffordable price.  I would probably have been more effective if I had joined the defenders at the destination, rather than being taken out piecemeal while buying only a few seconds or minutes of extra time.

A Manticore or couple of Hetzers running parallel to the advance won't stop an LRM Carrier from lobbing LRMs over the nearby hill, but a Locust or Pegasus can race around the hill and threaten the LRM Carrier, OR chase down the spotter.  On the other hand, the Locust won't stop a Firestarter from racing in to backstab the trailing Assault, but the Hetzer following behind might ultimately make it a losing proposition.  Depending on whether the scenario is being tailored around money, BV, or in-universe forces, the actual "right answer" will vary.

The escort vehicles can still provide meaningful fire support for the eventual attack when the group reaches its destination, while the scout 'Mechs will still be able to shield the main attack from anything trying to interfere from behind or to the flanks, as well as to either block or assist escape if needed.  It's not like the escorts get "disposed of" when the assault group arrives.  More likely, once the assault is complete, they get reassigned back to wherever they were pulled from.

Basically, the escort group needs at least a few fast maneuver units, and at least one or two units with longer-ranged weapons to hold opposing snipers at a safe distance.  Vehicles are far cheaper in that role, and easier to obtain in most cases, and should be adequate for at least PART of the task.  In most cases, a combined arms approach can beat an "all"-anything.

Tangoforone

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #19 on: 26 December 2018, 21:39:53 »
Thank you everyone for the feedback!  A bunch of interesting ideas floating around that I will have to look into utilizing within future games to see what works best for me. 

I was thinking about this topic while showering, and had a potentially crazy, potentially brilliant idea (as one does while showering).  What mech is low enough in BV, carries a decent amount of firepower that it can scare away most light units, and doesn't have to slow down it's forward moving momentum if something comes from behind?  The Urbanmech of course :D Running two or three of these at 500 BV each gives you vehicle BV cost, a few AC10s, and 360 degree torso rotation which means, if I understand the rules for torso twisting correctly, that you may never show your rear armor to the lighter assets that are shooting you in the rear.  Also, since it is a mech, you are no longer running the risk that vehicles inherently carry with them (motive hits, movement restrictions on the map, etc.).

Obviously having fast units to try and head off the opponent flankers is important, but my thought would be to put the venerable Urbies behind the assault lance as everyone moves forward; this way no matter where the flankers end up, if they are in range the Urbies would fire at them.  Two to four AC10s coming at you, even if they miss, would be enough to make me reconsider my strategy.

Am I insane, or is there potential for the Urbanmech to go from laughable trashcan to competent and inexpensive escort unit for your assault lance?  Let me know!

Daryk

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #20 on: 26 December 2018, 22:36:42 »
That's not how torso twisting works, actually.  It only rotates your firing arcs, not the what side takes damage.

Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #21 on: 26 December 2018, 22:40:03 »
iirc it has a 360 degree twist in MWO. if you play with canon optional quirks, the urbie gets extended twist, which means it can twist two hexsides instead of one. you then have 360 coverage with arm weapons.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #22 on: 27 December 2018, 00:27:44 »
Yeah, it will has rear armor facing issues same as every other mech in existence...but aside from that, it's not a horrible idea. Do this with LB-X Urbies, and your assault lance also has AA cover.

If there's a canon Urbanmech out there with the Ack-ten and two tons of ammo, you could also run one with a decent combat load of precision ammo.
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Tangoforone

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #23 on: 27 December 2018, 00:55:00 »
Well bugger.  Both of those clarifications put a wrench in my plans.  But thank you for the explanations, always good to know the correct rules. 

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #24 on: 27 December 2018, 01:18:00 »
Even without extended torso twist, it lacks lower arm and hand actuators and is therefore capable of arm-flipping to shoot anything that gets behind it, so long as you're not using the Arrow IV variant (but we all know that that variant doesn't do anything but waddle around and nuke people).
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #25 on: 27 December 2018, 12:52:13 »
The bigger issue with an UrbanMech is that it's only 2/3/2 movement.  That will slow the advance down from a slow 3/5 plod to a 2/3 crawl.  Don't do it.

As said, combined arms gets you the best of both worlds at a fraction of the cost.  A couple of "heavier Light" scout 'Mechs (6/9/6 or faster) gives you the mobility and resilience of a 'Mech to chase down anything threatening around the edges, and the heavier firepower riding closer to the convoy is more cheaply served by turreted vehicles at 4/6.  The enemy ends up facing a "soft" extended perimeter that requires at least a moderate amount of durability and/or firepower to bypass the scouts, and if they do push, they end up in a firefight against the heavier vehicles.  If they're bringing enough firepower for that, then they're well worth the attention of the Assaults anyway.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #26 on: 27 December 2018, 14:22:00 »
The bigger issue with an UrbanMech is that it's only 2/3/2 movement.  That will slow the advance down from a slow 3/5 plod to a 2/3 crawl.  Don't do it.

That's the beauty of the Urbanmech. It gets steadily left behind, but the good range of the main gun means the area behind your assaults is consistently covered by high-damage guns with short to medium range modifiers. Makes me really wish the Marik Urbie had a Light Gauss.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #27 on: 27 December 2018, 17:07:59 »
What about paired Behemoth Tanks, a Heavy LRM Carrier and a Urbie-UR60L, the Liao AC/20 toter!

Whole unit is slower than crap, but who wants to run into it?

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #28 on: 27 December 2018, 18:16:35 »
I like to run Marian units like that every so often. Watching them in action is akin to watching a steamroller on a gentle slope with the gear in neutral. Ain't going anywhere fast, but if you steer it right...good luck stopping it. >:D

With forces like that, my ideal escort is the foot infantry platoon. :)
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #29 on: 28 December 2018, 02:36:14 »
Know what's fun about facing squads like that?

They're so slow that when you set the area on fire they can't outrun it. >:D
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #30 on: 02 January 2019, 13:27:13 »
Part of the intention of using a swarm of Urbies was to deliberately let them fall behind the assault lance.  They would use their full torso twisting to be able to always face the enemies while still being able to move forward.  That way if the enemies got in front of them, but behind the assault lance, they would get shot with the autocannons.  If the enemy get behind the urbies, they still get shot with autocannons.  Obviously the torso twisting can't be a thing for the reasons aforementioned, but I completely forgot about the arms being able to face the rear.  I think my plan may still have merit, sure the urbies can still get shot in the back but if the enemy is willing to spend the extra time to go behind the urbies to shoot them in the back then that is one less round that they are bothering the assaults.  Maybe it is time to start perusing ebay for some urbanmechs.  The only concern with using pure urbies as escorts is that the enemy is allowed to close range with my assault lance, to an extent.  Then the question becomes, should I be concerned?  As long as my units keep advancing, they can torso twist to shoot light units, so long as there are not better targets to shoot at, and the urbies can support them from the rear.

So what am I looking at for force composition?  A forward lance to begin engagements and provide targeting for indirect fire (a mix of cavalry VTOLs, hovercraft, and fast mechs), an assault lance to bring the pain around midgame (specifically units with LRM-20 and -15 for indirect fire so they are always doing something), and a group of urbies to provide covering fire for the assault lance as they move forward.  I like the sound of it personally.  And it is more than feasible to run in the games I play point-wise, since we usually play 20,000 BV minimum.  Maybe throw in a few firetrucks (literally) to put out fires for devious people like you MoneyLovingOgre4Hire.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #31 on: 02 January 2019, 16:26:48 »
If you're throwing in firetrucks, just go with coolant trucks with sprayers. Fire fighting and cooling hot 'Mechs, double duty.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #32 on: 02 January 2019, 20:53:55 »
Bringing firefighting units to a fight against me is risky.

You see, I love killing things in ironic ways.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #33 on: 07 January 2019, 12:42:50 »
Part of the intention of using a swarm of Urbies was to deliberately let them fall behind the assault lance.

If you're sending the convoy a couple of miles, the Urbies could at least remain in sight of the formation as it plods slowly forward and leaves them creeping along behind.  Over tens or hundreds of kilometers, their presence will become meaningless, as the fight will be over before they can join....unless the Assault force is composed of equally slow Annihilators.

When the escorts are slower than what they're escorting, there's a problem.  Not only do they slow the whole formation (or get left miles behind), but they can't react and respond well to situations that aren't near where they happen to be at the moment.  If they do respond and drop out of formation, they don't have the speed to get back in place, leaving holes in coverage.

Yes, I know it's a severe blow to one's view of the universe, but the Urbanmech is not the perfect answer for EVERY situation, just most of them.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #34 on: 07 January 2019, 15:17:57 »
Then grab a Lance of Hyena's to transport them into combat...

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #35 on: 07 January 2019, 15:30:32 »
Bear in mind, some folks do play pick-up games instead of long campaigns...such situations are where I think escort Urbies are most useful.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #36 on: 08 January 2019, 15:36:22 »
You could also say the same for any units at that point.  Your faster units are always going to be slowed down by your slower units.  In essence, your entire army's/convoy's long distance travel speed is defined by your slowest units.  If that is the case, and you are escorting not only assault forces, but also ammunition trucks, food supplies, etc. an urbanmech again sounds like a fairly inexpensive option that has the generic mobility of the battlemech over tracked/wheeled/hover units. 

With that said, I don't have the experience of a long campaign where I have had to consider escorting convoys over long distances.  I could see that they would have to be left behind if I needed to rush part of my army to the next city or something along those lines.  But then you would probably not have access to your heavy assets either, or would have some assault units already stationed in the city so as to not have to worry about moving them long distances in a short time.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #37 on: 08 January 2019, 15:45:11 »
Aren't trucks faster than assaults? They certainly are in alpha strike

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #38 on: 08 January 2019, 15:55:22 »
Depends on the truck and how much they're hauling.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #39 on: 08 January 2019, 16:26:13 »
Unless you've got a convenient highway to travel along, most mechs(even assaults) are going to move faster than your typical support truck overland. If your trucks are still faster, then load them up with external cargo until they aren't, because you always need ALL the supplies.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #40 on: 08 January 2019, 18:02:37 »
Unless you've got a convenient highway to travel along, most mechs(even assaults) are going to move faster than your typical support truck overland. If your trucks are still faster, then load them up with external cargo until they aren't, because you always need ALL the supplies.

You don't rely on trucks if you expect to attack over ground they can't cross.  You send the trucks as far as you can and use cargo VTOLs or airships.  Or you convert some tanks into cargo crawlers.  Or you use your flipping dropships.  Both support vehicles and dropships are kept away from the front lines by the exact same restriction: the enemy's ability to project force against them.  Dropships in some situations can be brought forward farther than support vehicles because some of the military eggs can't be attacked effectively with light scouting/screening forces. 

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #41 on: 08 January 2019, 19:08:58 »
A truck only has to be 5/8 to exceed an Urbanmech's speed under full load (tonnage on top of cargo).  And since 4/6 trucks can get that on a road, it's really not hard to get there.

And VTOLs universally exceed Urbanmechs, even under full load.  That includes the Yellowjacket with a sling load (which is only 6/9 to start).

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #42 on: 09 January 2019, 19:22:12 »
VTOLs, especially with SRMs or LRMs, are a good choice.

Since they can increase their height, they can see over obstacles, which makes it hard to hide from a VTOL.

The Warrior H7C (LRM) version is quite good for going after things at longer ranges.

In 3055 or later the Cavalry (CAV) is great with a bunch of SRMs.
The Karnov AC is a great one too. Going 8/12 with an AC20. It puts things down hard, and at only 556BV2.
Cyrano has a large laser. The Cyrano ML has 2 mediums an 5 RL-10s, which gives it a really heavy punch.

For hovers, the Maxim isn't a bad idea. especially if you stuff it full of anti-mech jump infantry.
No-Dachi has a counter-argument. Nothing further? Ok.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #43 on: 10 January 2019, 15:40:38 »
Drillson's with BA MagClamped BA...

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #44 on: 13 January 2019, 07:32:35 »
unless the Assault force is composed of equally slow Annihilators.
In fairness, a lance of Urbies and a lance of Annihilators is going to make your logistics and maintenance train very, very boring outside of "you need how many AC/10 rounds?"

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #45 on: 14 January 2019, 23:52:23 »
This far in and noone has mentioned the obvious?
Scimitars. Cheap enough to be grabbed in numbers, fast enough to chase down and swarm harassing lights, well armed enough to be nightmare to heavier units and agile enough to be sent ahead to probe for enemy units which they can then swarm quickly thanks to having great speed. And they carry enough armour to withstand a small ambush too.

Honestly, people are too quick to jump to Mechs as the solution to everything. Vehicles are really useful you know, but everyone seems to forget about them.
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truetanker

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #46 on: 15 January 2019, 00:54:33 »
Harassers...

There's so many lovely variants... some even better than the originals, BV2 : 433

BV2:
LRM - 1x 10-Launcher : 412
Mini-Peggy - 2x SRM4, Remote Sensor : 351
ML - 2x : 341
Flamer - 8x Vehical : 233

> insert Roadrunner sound effects here <

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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #47 on: 15 January 2019, 01:05:56 »
Hovercraft require wide, open plains to work.  There are a lot of terrain types that you could potentially be operating in where hovers just aren't a good match.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #48 on: 15 January 2019, 01:07:40 »
Then use the Tracked APC's, their 6/9... some carry enough firepower to lend a hand in groups...

TT
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #49 on: 15 January 2019, 05:22:12 »
Myrmidons for example. PPC and SRM6 in a 40tn chasis.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #50 on: 15 January 2019, 07:04:28 »
Hovercraft require wide, open plains to work.  There are a lot of terrain types that you could potentially be operating in where hovers just aren't a good match.
Okay, then use Scorpion Light Tanks if your in hover-hostile terrain. Its still a cheap and relatively fast tank with decent levels of firepower and enough armour to take a hit. Either way vehicles are the best choice for escorting a lance of mechs.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #51 on: 15 January 2019, 12:20:03 »
Okay, then use Scorpion Light Tanks if your in hover-hostile terrain. Its still a cheap and relatively fast tank with decent levels of firepower and enough armour to take a hit. Either way vehicles are the best choice for escorting a lance of mechs.

I'd much prefer a combined arms approach.  Vehicles are ideal for cheap firepower, and reasonably mobile in appropriate terrain, which is perfect for the main body of your escort team.  What 'Mechs bring to the table is flexibility, the ability to operate in conditions where the vehicles CAN'T.  If you've got a couple of fast 'Mechs to assist the mainly-vehicle escort in running down elusive threats and taking out spotters in terrain where your fast hovers can't go and your tracked vehicles are too slow, you've got the best of both worlds.  The 'Mechs can drop back to the vehicles if they encounter something too tough for them, and the combined firepower of the vehicles plus 'Mechs should be sufficient to deal with anything that doesn't demand the full attention of the main Assault force.

The cost of a light 'Mech, plus a hovertank (Pegasus, Saladin, Saracen, Scimitar, or even a Harasser) and a tracked tank (Scorpion) or heavy APC (SRM or LRM), is still quite a bit less than that of a decent Medium 'Mech, gives you something useful in virtually any terrain situation, and should put up a good fight against an attacking Medium 'Mech.  Multiply that by however many you need for an appropriate escort under the circumstances.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #52 on: 15 January 2019, 12:38:48 »
Yeah . . . I think 4 Myrmidons and a pair of lights that are 7/11/7 or better with some electronics (depends on how you play) might be the best escort force for assault mech lance to punch a breach in a defensive line.  Four 10 point hits are going to be enough to discourage most lights and mediums . . .

The Manticore (Upg) would also work though could not re-position as well or quickly but that LPL would also discourage speedsters.
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #53 on: 15 January 2019, 15:13:51 »
If you're going to run a Manticore, why not use the LB-X variant for added defense against VTOLs and BA?
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #54 on: 15 January 2019, 15:51:11 »
Simply the -2 vs the -1 for speedsters getting into the rear.

Ideally it would be . . .
Myrmidon
Myrmidon (PR)
Manticore (Upg)
Po Heavy (LBX)
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BloodRose

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #55 on: 15 January 2019, 17:56:56 »
But Mechs are expensive. A Scimitar, Scorpion and a VTOL are cheaper and provide mobile firepower and recce ability for far less than that bug plus hover plus tracked is going to cost you, and allows you to have a far reaching spread of 'feelers' to poke around and find likely ambush sites and routes through.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #56 on: 15 January 2019, 18:25:54 »
Your escorts for a assault lance should not be pulling recon . . . in fact your recon should have already found that defensive line that you launched your juggernaut towards.  You want mobile skirmishers with pulse lasers to hunt down what your vehicles sent running since it could be crippled

Scorpion, Scimitar and VTOL are individually cheaper but will cost more to operate due to crew, fuel and transport.  Really the Po should be replaced with a fusion engine version, but I had to finish the post and was trying to think of something that was not a Manticore with a LBX.


Realistically you are never going to send a single assault lance against a fortified line.  It would be part of a mech battalion-sized to punch through the perimeter with follow on armor & infantry.  The armor will hold open the breach while cavalry (mech & armor) wheel to either side to flank the defensive line and roll up defenders.  Or the schwerpunkt keeps driving for the objective- road junction, bridge, pass, isthmus, river ford, or whatever it might be the defenders were protecting.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #57 on: 15 January 2019, 18:28:31 »
It's also cheaper in the long run if you don't have to constantly find replacement vehicles and crew because you skimped on springing for something more durable than Scorpions so they die every time they get engaged.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #58 on: 15 January 2019, 20:54:33 »
Yeah, a "budget" unit only counts as budget if it isn't being destroyed and costing you a replacement unit and crew in every battle. While their are times and places for extremely cheap units like the Scorpion or Vedette, escorting a high priority target like an assault lance is not one of them. I would use something like a Phoenix Hawk, fadt enough to intercept backstabbers and enough firepower to make them nervous.
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #59 on: 15 January 2019, 20:57:59 »
Ah, so its for breakthrough duties? Sorry, my bad, I was thinking it was something for escorting a main fighting force through hostile territory to a FOB, with lots of ambushers, light units and cheap/nasty vehicles hiding out along the way.
If its for breakthrough stuff then Pattons and (if your in a city fight) Demolishers.
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Kovax

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #60 on: 18 January 2019, 10:27:12 »
The OP did not specify "breakthrough duties", although there was no indication whether or not the escorts would participate in the actual assault.  That obviously has an effect on the "best" units for the task.  The OP also did not state the size of the Assault group, nor how much money, BV, tonnage, personnel, or whatever the limiting factor might be, was available for the escort party.  That doesn't exactly narrow down the choices.

Participating in the assault?  The escort force might well consist of MORE Assault 'Mechs, or heavy vehicles.  Not participating?  Then it's probably Light or Medium 'Mechs and/or vehicles.  The exact mix probably depends on terrain and the expected opposition.

In MOST situations, a Phoenix Hawk is my "go to" solution.  In this case, I still find it to be a good "all around" choice, although having a faster bug 'Mech and several assorted vehicles to supplement it (possibly with a VTOL tossed into the mix) would probably be an improvement for not much extra cost.
« Last Edit: 18 January 2019, 10:30:01 by Kovax »

BloodRose

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #61 on: 22 January 2019, 06:35:43 »
Breakthrough: 8 Pattons, 4 Scimitars, 2 VTOL gunships, 4 Demolishers, 4 platoons of Infantry either motorised or in APC's, 2 light mechs.
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #62 on: 22 January 2019, 12:56:35 »
That's not an escort force.  That's big enough that you use an escort force for it.
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #63 on: 22 January 2019, 12:59:04 »
i play games at a scale that an escort of two units is starting to get out of hand.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #64 on: 22 January 2019, 15:44:46 »
Your Demos are way to slow for this formation...

Either swap out for Rommels or downsize your force.

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #65 on: 22 January 2019, 16:22:36 »
Kinda surprised that APDS hasn't come up yet...  Unlike the rest of the RISC stuff APDS doesn't blow you up, doesn't blow itself up, and it offers a new and useful capability.

Idle question... if a VIP unit is surrounded by 3 adjacent units with APDS and there's an incoming LRM-20 salvo, what happens?
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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #66 on: 22 January 2019, 17:12:36 »
Like most experimental gear, APDS is a tricky one because it is currently mounted on one canon unit so unless people are going ham with RISC customs, it probably hasn’t seen a ton of action

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #67 on: 22 January 2019, 19:52:25 »
It's also Era specific and Faction specific.  APDS really isn't an answer if you're playing, say, the Battle of Coventry in 3057.
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grimlock1

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #68 on: 23 January 2019, 16:42:46 »
It's also Era specific and Faction specific.  APDS really isn't an answer if you're playing, say, the Battle of Coventry in 3057.

True.  Other than ECM, it's about the only thing you can do to "protect" a vip that doesn't boil down to "distract the other guy."  And to paraphrase Jayne Cobb, "Death is distractin'."
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BloodRose

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #69 on: 26 January 2019, 10:09:24 »
That's not an escort force.  That's big enough that you use an escort force for it.
Go big or go home  ;) If you put it with an all-assault lance then you have yourself the undeniable spearhead of a line breaking force, provided you remember to add in artillery too.

Your Demos are way to slow for this formation...

Either swap out for Rommels or downsize your force.

TT
Good point. I love demos, but you are right about the speed issue, so swapping them out for Rommels would work well.

Like most experimental gear, APDS is a tricky one because it is currently mounted on one canon unit so unless people are going ham with RISC customs, it probably hasn’t seen a ton of action
Noob question, what is APDS? Im assuming its not Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot based on how you lot are talking about it.
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Or at least it would be if someone would stick more heatsinks in!

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #70 on: 26 January 2019, 12:22:24 »
Advanced Point Defense System.

It's an AMS that can protect nearby friendlies in addition to yourself. Bleeding edge tech in IntOps, three canon units mount it,  most notable of which is a variant of the Angerona BA which exists solely to deploy the APDS for cheap.
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BloodRose

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #71 on: 26 January 2019, 16:13:28 »
Ah so its basically MWO AMS? Nice, I was looking for something like it to add onto my Aegis Corvette
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Or at least it would be if someone would stick more heatsinks in!

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #72 on: 26 January 2019, 16:16:24 »
Doesn't work in space. Not a big problem, since when you're in space regular AMS already does that.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
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BloodRose

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #73 on: 28 January 2019, 00:42:21 »
Not a space ship, a blue water corvette.
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Or at least it would be if someone would stick more heatsinks in!

kaliban

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #74 on: 08 February 2019, 22:32:39 »
if you are facing fast vehicles and mechs, they are different threats in nature. You don't have a single answer.

Best way against vehicles is to hit many times. Missiles do very well the job.

Against light/medium mechs, you need high dmg weapons (PPCs, Gauss Rifles, AC10 or 20).

The only weapon that combine both capabilities is the LB cannon - you just need to carry the proper ammo.

If you are playing heavy/assault mechs, your pilots are good enough to take fast moving targets. Pulse lasers are great help. If your mechs have the proper weapons they can defend themselves.

You can add some vehicles as escorts, but looking for the missing weapons. If your mechs are more laser bots, you can add a few tanks with big cannons (Pattons, Rommels, etc). If your mechs have big weapons, includes vehicles with missile weapons (LRM carrier).

A wheeled light tank armed with one LB-10X with 2 tons of ammo (I know no design like this) maybe is the final answer for you.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #75 on: 09 February 2019, 00:46:46 »
I think the lightest wheeled vehicle that mounts an LB10-X is the Tokugawa.  And that's a rare and exclusive design.  So I think the Typhoon LB-X variant is the most widely available option.

And that thing isn't light.
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #76 on: 11 February 2019, 13:47:49 »
The R-10B at 45 tons (also not light). the lightest ground vehicle to mount an LB-10 is the Scapha C (40 tons). The Gossamer VTOL (XL) carries one at 25 tons.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #77 on: 11 February 2019, 17:21:03 »
How many of those are wheeled vehicles?
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #78 on: 11 February 2019, 17:53:32 »
just the R10. the scapha is a hover and the gossamer vtol is well, a vtol

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #79 on: 11 February 2019, 18:23:27 »
Kaliban had specified wheeled vehicles.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #80 on: 12 February 2019, 14:18:25 »
We do have the Hetzer LB-20X . . . wish they had also modified the AC/10 carrier to be a LB-10X carrier.
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kaliban

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #81 on: 20 February 2019, 12:54:52 »
We do have the Hetzer LB-20X . . . wish they had also modified the AC/10 carrier to be a LB-10X carrier.

There is a AC/10 version of the Hetzer, so a LB-10X upgrade is possible, but a turret design works better. I believe that a single LB-10X fits in a 35ton wheeled tank with moderate armor protection. It should work well as escort vehicle, against light/medium mechs (using normal ammo) and vehicles/infantry (using flak ammo)

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #82 on: 20 February 2019, 13:15:03 »
Cluster ammo.

Flak ammo can only be used by standard, light, and Protomech ACs.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #83 on: 20 February 2019, 13:42:21 »
There is a AC/10 version of the Hetzer, so a LB-10X upgrade is possible, but a turret design works better. I believe that a single LB-10X fits in a 35ton wheeled tank with moderate armor protection. It should work well as escort vehicle, against light/medium mechs (using normal ammo) and vehicles/infantry (using flak ammo)

I know there is a AC/10 version, but they never made a UAC/10 or LB-10X Hetzer version.  We did get both IIRC to the AC/20 version.  Turret vs no Turret has been gone over . . . and afaik we do not get a turreted LB-10X until the Po at 60t.
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #84 on: 20 February 2019, 13:51:50 »
lighter there's the R10 IFV B and the Vedette (Cell). at 60 tons there's also the Tokugawa and Manticore 3058 upgrade

kaliban

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #85 on: 21 February 2019, 14:08:45 »
Cluster ammo.

Flak ammo can only be used by standard, light, and Protomech ACs.

Sorry, my mistake

kaliban

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #86 on: 21 February 2019, 14:22:57 »
I know there is a AC/10 version, but they never made a UAC/10 or LB-10X Hetzer version.  We did get both IIRC to the AC/20 version.  Turret vs no Turret has been gone over . . . and afaik we do not get a turreted LB-10X until the Po at 60t.

I have not paid attention to this aspect but I you are looking for a existing design you get very limited in options for this role. Maybe a bunch of cheap Scorpion tanks (or LRM carriers) and standard Hetzers can make the job.

Colt Ward

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #87 on: 21 February 2019, 14:40:17 »
For AA roles the Vedette (LB-5X) works, the -10X is just a bit better since it forces more roles and can do more damage to mechs/vehicles.  I wish we had gotten a T-12 Tiger update in the Jihad . . . or maybe produced by Filtvelt!  One nice thing for the Jihad is we got a LOT more armor selection though I think there are a few missing updates post-3050 for the old standards.
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Sartris

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #88 on: 21 February 2019, 14:48:24 »
Yeah I love the tiger the marsden and Merkeva got upgrades it’s a shame the tiger didn’t as well.  It’s my goto opfor mbt in age of war / star league campaigns

Colt Ward

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #89 on: 21 February 2019, 15:17:38 »
Yeah, LBX, FF and MMLs . . . bam!
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truetanker

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Re: Escort Unit
« Reply #90 on: 21 February 2019, 18:36:49 »
LB-X Carrier...

TT
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TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
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