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Author Topic: How many soldiers are enough?  (Read 847 times)

Ulquiorra9000

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How many soldiers are enough?
« on: 20 June 2019, 19:41:19 »
I've really gotten into using battle armor and conventional infantry in my games, with BV per team ranging from 6,000 to 11,000. But I'm not entirely how sure how much enough troopers are enough. I'm trying out using three or four platoons of conventional infantry per side in a ~6,500 BV game, but they mostly just end up shooting the infantry on the other side. The same is true of battle armor; if they get focused down, they die fast, or else they only get a chance to nibble at enemy BattleMechs and battle tanks.

Suppose each team, on a two-map game, has four mechs. How much battle armor or infantry support might be adequate, assuming 5,000-,7000 BV per side? I don't want to overdo or under-do it. But I feel like I need a heck-ton of troopers per side just so they can have a significant effect on the battle.

Maingunnery

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #1 on: 20 June 2019, 19:45:55 »

The maximum amount you should field is equal to what you can actively transport.
I had opponents that used massive swarms of BA but these can be easily out-maneuvered and crippled.
So each Infantry platoon or BA squad should be supported by another combat unit for tactical transportation.
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Ulquiorra9000

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #2 on: 20 June 2019, 19:48:14 »
Oh yeah, I often use transport tanks like the Prowler, Saxon, Blizzarad, Maxim, and Bolla. Sometimes it works ok, but often, the tanks end up overshadowing the troops that they brought there! Perhaps I should use vehicles like the Giggins and others that can carry more than one platoon or BA squad at a time, and deploy those little guys ASAP at the front lines? Maybe two BA squads for each mech on a team? (not counting their transport tanks)

worktroll

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #3 on: 20 June 2019, 19:52:36 »
The question is, what are the BA/infantry adding to the battle?

Infantry are better defensively than offensively. Get them into buildings, or at least trees, so they're less fragile. But expecting infantry to hold off 'Mechs in relatively open terrain is not going to go well. Infantry also make great observers for indirect or artillery fire, especially if hidden units are allowed.

BA - if you can't deploy them under fire, then they become more like mobile minefields. If you can restrict line of sight to them, the opponent has to close, and BA can be surprisingly effective if the dice gods are with you. The Clan ability to carry BA on their omnis, with widespread omnis, is really good. But you'll wince as that Heavy APC carrying your squad of Grenadiers becomes a funeral pyre from spare PPC hits.

I confess I usually use infantry as scenario bait - "get two platoons into the factory", "remove infantry from the factory", "get infantry across the map". Or, as mentioned earlier, in a defensive position, they're good value for little BV.

But it's like tabasco sauce - some like a little, some like more, but usually it's not the main course.

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dgorsman

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #4 on: 20 June 2019, 20:02:19 »
Depends on the map.  Open or very gentle hills means they won't get much done, transports or no.  In more varied terrain, a relatively few units can occupy strategic points and make life difficult e.g. is that hopping gnat going to risk a leg attack to jump into heavy woods for the extra +2 modifier?  Do they want to ignore the conventional infantry now, only to have damaged units get dropped as they retreat?  Plus, spotting for indirect LRM fire,  physically blocking movement, and if playing strategically picking up ejected pilots.
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Weirdo

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #5 on: 20 June 2019, 20:09:19 »
In my experience, you really need to deploy 3-4 bases of infantry or BA(platoons and squads respectively) to really get any use out of them. Less than that and enemies can usually either wipe them out quickly, or just ignore them, bull their way through the infantry-held position, and just accept the damage they'll take paying through.
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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #6 on: 20 June 2019, 21:21:18 »
In my experience, you really need to deploy 3-4 bases of infantry or BA(platoons and squads respectively) to really get any use out of them. Less than that and enemies can usually either wipe them out quickly, or just ignore them, bull their way through the infantry-held position, and just accept the damage they'll take paying through.

Same. I generally only deploy conventional infantry in company groups unless they have some special job in the scenario or are long range field guns like gauss rifles

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #7 on: 21 June 2019, 10:30:17 »
The amount depends on the battlefield and opposition.  If there are a couple of specific choke points, or strategically located clusters of woods, then just a platoon or two in each location can significantly affect the outcome of the battle.  If there are no significant points which need to be held, and not enough cover to allow infiltration from one area to another without being shot to pieces in the open spaces between, then it takes a ridiculous amount of infantry to amount to anything more than a nuisance.  I've seen a single platoon of infantry profoundly change the course of a battle, and other cases where several companies were totally ineffective.  Then there are games where the other player shows up with a Firestarter.....

Colt Ward

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #8 on: 21 June 2019, 11:53:55 »
I learned to use Battle Armor as a Clan player, and its been discussed several times on threads- but tactics can always be refined and the more you play the more your experience with them can be refined.  Couple of simple rules and then I will get into how I deploy them.

Battle Armor Tactics comes down to Mass, Mix, Mobility and Integration

Mass-  You want more than a single BA point/squad.  Nothing is more annoying than reading someone trashing BA b/c they took a single squad or point, and especially with IS suits like the Longinus complain they are a waste- got wiped out for nothing, etc  A single squad is not going to do much for you, especially since as the rules stand losing a single suit on a IS squad losses some of the BA's functionality.  Last I messed with them, losing a suit messes up Squad Weapons (like TAG on Kage) and really decreases your chances in leg attacks.  So you want to bring a significant enough number of suits- IMO at least a platoon, and I prefer at least 5 suits in the squad/point.  So for me, Clan, Marian & ComGuard/WOB organization works better on my mobile suits.

Mix-  IMO you want your BA contingent to have a mix of weapons.  Clan suits have a advantage in this with the Elemental leading the way having a AP wep, mech scale gun, and SRM2 w/reloads.  Some later suits get away from this paradigm, but they are specialists and can bring some specific to your general mix.  It also means as we get more towards 3145 your suits are going to be able to counter some of the specialized armor.  BA suits like the Elemental (er micro) or CBA Volk are able to use lasers against Ballistic or Reactive armor while their SRMs can work on Reflective armors.  BA are also now taking advantage of different armors as well to counter some of the most dangerous counters- Fire Resistant, Reactive & Reflective armor is now showing up on suits through out Human space as we get into the 3130s.  Mixing up weapons and armors across platoons/companies means that you will be able to deal with anything you run into on the battlefield.

Mobility-  I love the 4 jumping medium BA, they have the mobility to leap across the battlefield and barriers that would stop their slower or ground bound brothers.  Getting across 3 water hexes that would stop Elementals or Gnomes, and definitely stop suits like the GDL Standard or Trinity suits.  But being able to jump is not everything.  Riding on Omnis or in troop carriers is usually going to be required to keep up with the core of your ground forces- for as capable as the basic Elemental suit is, it still had to ride Omnis into the battle zone.  Which IMO is another way jumpers are superior . . . you have your battle armor and some VTOL transports, playing the obligatory Ride of the Valkyries on your smart phone as the VTOL zooms across the battlefield to close with enemy forces . . . and your BA steps out the door of the VTOL.  They hit the jump jets before landing behind a hill or in woods.  Yes, jumping infantry & BA can exit a VTOL without it having to set down- allowing you to deploy that infantry/BA to better positions without making a VTOL vulnerable.

Integration-  You bring mechs, armor and BA . . . you need to have a plan that is synergistic to bring out the strengths while covering the weaknessess.  Assault BA are good guards for your fire support, be it LRM Carriers behind the hill or a old 3025 Jager sitting out plinking at vehicles w/prec AC/2 fire.  You BA can screen a rush force, creating a sort of barrier to short range brawlers trying to get close- one reason I hate Fenrir MPL, seen way too many of them cover Lyran Wall of Steel & Gauss.  BA, even if not involved in fighting (or if they are) make superior spotters for IDF.  Then, like BA can guard your fire support, BA are great ways to get your enemy to move out of protected firing positions with their fire support.  I LOVE getting Thunderhawks or Longbows moving or out in the open b/c my APCs dropped off Elementals close enough they are leaping into the attack- take a few legs and people start getting worried.  Just bringing BA is not enough, you need to know how you are going to use them with other things you have on the battlefield.
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Colt Ward

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #9 on: 21 June 2019, 13:47:19 »
Two ways of the ways I use BA, and this comes down to Integration

One of the ones I remember most was a MegaMek battle years ago (and I use this example a lot) had a Clan med nova going up against a IS Company that had a lot of assaults and heavies.  The largest Clan mech I had was a Timber Wolf E, and I think I also had a Mad Dog (not the Prime or C) or Huntsman, a Ice Ferret A, and some other fast mechs.  I know I was facing 3 assaults- one a Steiner Banshee IIRC- that were waddling along behind the skirmish line.  Now we used double blind for that server so I ran my mechs closer to the IS force while firing arm weapons since they were carrying Elementals, Rabids and I think a single Salamander point.  I had gotten a few cERLL hits while avoiding damage when I stopped my mechs behind a hill.  It provided partial from most of the IS mechs but more importantly it dropped my BA into a sheltered position, since dismounting is when they are the most vulnerable to opposing fire.  The place I dropped the BA was ideal since it was in the open but had elevation changes.  I could jump the BA forward in a skirmish line and keep them out of sight/fire until the IS mechs got closer.  And to make them get closer the Clan mechs started walking backwards, now being able to fire all appropriate weapons.  Since I out-ranged the Inner Sphere company, as planned when taking cERLL and ATMs, it forced the IS with its more plentiful armor to run forward.  Most of them had 4/6 speeds, which slowed them with the elevation changes and made conditions better for my BA.

The Steiner Banshee ran forward to position itself in a depression to fire on the mechs, which gave it partial cover.  Unknown to the IS player, I had a Elemental point that had jumped forward into that depression- either it was going to be occupied or it would put them in a good position to respond to the Spheriod mechs.  Even though I had not fired any SRMs previously, I still did not fire them- the Elementals were protected from the other mechs in the company b/c of terrain and the mech could not fire into its own hex.  Leg Attack!  Got the crit . . . rolled a 12 . . . pristine Banshee has a leg blown off from BA it never knew were positioned in that depression.  Best result from that turn, but the other BA did pretty well too . . . one other leg attack happened with damage, and it failed the PSR.  Other points fired off their weapons, peppering mechs with lasers and SRMs.  The BA threw the IS advance into chaos b/c after that leg blown off, he moved mechs forward or backwards to avoid the BA in his midst.  Next turn I did not get any more leg attacks but the Banshee stayed down (I think it knocked its noggin, so KO'd) and the Clan mechs walked forward to isolate the mechs that had went towards them to avoid BA.  The BA spent the last of their SRMs, getting more crits that turn.  The IS player felt his force was in danger and so started retreating to his edge- battle over, time for the mop up!

So, when Clan I tend to use BA to hold a skirmish line, with mechs & armor able to move through hexes occupied by BA/Inf it does not work as well as it did under TW, but it still forces that avalanche of armor to move more cautiously.  BV balanced IS-Clan fights requires that Clan player to chew through the more plentiful armor of the IS to start knocking them down.

Second example, last year we had a tournament set during the Jihad (use MUL, pick a faction, pick a unit, see what was available) . . . first round, with a 5k force only 2 of the 7 had BA.  The two won nearly all their matches, which had the interesting effect of folks adding BA for the second round.  This year's tournament (13 players?) I have seen a few BA out.  Anyway, I was a FS Avalon Hussar's regiment and they started packing on the BA during the Jihad b/c they were sitting on/near a factory.  So, IS Std and Grenadiers for me!  If you read above, the 2 hex moving Grenadiers do not really fit with my praise of the 3 or 4 jumping medium suits.  But this is good, makes me use something I have not before and consider how to get use out of it.  First round I had no transport, so my 2 IS Std and 1 or 2 Grenadier were on their own.  They generally pushed forward like a SRM Carrier or HBK4G- a 9 hex bubble of pain.  Only a few mechs willingly came into their range . . . and ran away when they could afterwards since running into a SRM20 & SRM4 (used HK- SRM5 & MagShot) was unpleasant for damaged mechs.

After I got the second 5k (we now fought for 3 hours with 10k each, had to use previous force) I included a transport VTOL- I want to say a Sprint.  I also added a Grenadier HK(NARC) to support my mechs & Harrasser.  Deployment changed a bit.  Starting Turn 1, the VTOL was aimed at a hill or woods while starting at a elevation high enough to avoid terrain and loaded with one of the IS Std (LRR).  Turn 1 move was simple- straight ahead to where I wanted the BA to drop, jump capable BA go out the doors and land in a wooded hex (+1 for Inf Tactics, +1 for jumping and +1 for light woods) which made them harder to kill.  Turn 2, the VTOL reversed course to land and pick up Grenadiers . . . one game was the regular HK, another time I used the Grenadier HK (NARC) which ended up in the middle of the map.  The Grenadiers sitting in woods or on the side of the hills in the center of the map cut down on the movement of my opponents but they were pushed forward to pin enemy forces in place so the advancing mechs and armor were able to get better shots.  My Grenadiers racked up some mech & armor kills over the tournament.

So with slower BA armed with SRMs, MLs, MagShots or best yet the LRMs of Hauberks, they can very effectively do area denial for cheaper than you can do with a SRM Carrier.
« Last Edit: 21 June 2019, 13:48:58 by Colt Ward »
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grimlock1

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #10 on: 21 June 2019, 14:36:35 »
Oh yeah, I often use transport tanks like the Prowler, Saxon, Blizzarad, Maxim, and Bolla. Sometimes it works ok, but often, the tanks end up overshadowing the troops that they brought there! Perhaps I should use vehicles like the Giggins and others that can carry more than one platoon or BA squad at a time, and deploy those little guys ASAP at the front lines? Maybe two BA squads for each mech on a team? (not counting their transport tanks)
Or Catalyst needs to stat out those little stripped down hover craft that were described in Wolf Pack.
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worktroll

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #11 on: 21 June 2019, 18:22:45 »
If you're a Leaguer or Capellan, it's easy to imagine a platoon of Longinus or Fa Shih stuck, screaming, to a lance of Savannah Masters ...

* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
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* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

grimlock1

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #12 on: 21 June 2019, 20:07:12 »
If you're a Leaguer or Capellan, it's easy to imagine a platoon of Longinus or Fa Shih stuck, screaming, to a lance of Savannah Masters ...


It might be screaming in frustration.  4 BA troops hanging on the sides will drag a Savannah Master down to a measly 6/9.

On the other hand, a 8 tons of Mag Clamp equipped, assault class BA won't slow it down any further.  Yay for rules!
I'm rarely right... Except when I am.  ---  Idle question.  What is the BV2 of dread?
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Sure it isn't the most practical 'mech ever designed, but it's a hundred ton axe-murderer. If loving that is wrong I don't wanna be right.

Daryk

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #13 on: 21 June 2019, 20:13:18 »
6/9?  I thought it would be 7/11...  ???

grimlock1

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #14 on: 21 June 2019, 21:05:27 »
6/9?  I thought it would be 7/11...  ???
TW pg 261.
If the carried load is more than 1/4 the mass of the carrier, cut cruise in half and round down.  Base speed is 13/20.
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Apollo's Law- if it needs Clan tech to make it useable, It doesn't deserve those resources in the first place.
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Thunder

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #15 on: 21 June 2019, 23:48:15 »
On the other hand, a 8 tons of Mag Clamp equipped, assault class BA won't slow it down any further.  Yay for rules!

Does mag clamps give assault BA the ability to be mechanized?  Thought the cut off was heavy suits.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #16 on: 22 June 2019, 02:30:44 »
  It depends on the terrain. My group has fielded infantry regiments on tabletop battles without any mechs or vehicles, at all.

glitterboy2098

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #17 on: 22 June 2019, 03:12:01 »
It might be screaming in frustration.  4 BA troops hanging on the sides will drag a Savannah Master down to a measly 6/9.

On the other hand, a 8 tons of Mag Clamp equipped, assault class BA won't slow it down any further.  Yay for rules!
Thats probably why the capcons native designed savannah master analog, the tamerlane strike sled, is 20 tons. It lost a bit of speed but the increased armor, weapons, and magclamp BA capacity make up for it.

Daryk

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #18 on: 22 June 2019, 07:15:35 »
TW pg 261.
If the carried load is more than 1/4 the mass of the carrier, cut cruise in half and round down.  Base speed is 13/20.
Ah, that's what I get for not double checking... I mis-remembered the Savannah Master's speed.

deathfrombeyond

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #19 on: 26 June 2019, 02:29:38 »
If you're a Leaguer or Capellan, it's easy to imagine a platoon of Longinus or Fa Shih stuck, screaming, to a lance of Savannah Masters ...



Is it still legal to use hiscout drones as fa shih taxis?
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Col Toda

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #20 on: 26 June 2019, 03:00:39 »
The biggest use of infantry is rear area police action . Jump infantry using tear gas and sniping with rubber bullets near guarantees breaking up a mob unit . Battle armor dug in used in good terrain is ok in short term area denial but it"s primary purpose in most fights is to live and be present through a fight and if you take the field it permits immediate salvage opportunity without giving the opposition force time to counterattack for the salvage . The game tends to marginalize infantry and battle armor like this . Having a platoon of battle armor stationed at likey raid targets is ok by all factions .

StoneRhino

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #21 on: 26 June 2019, 07:32:24 »
What is considered enough? It depends upon who you ask. Some people hate them, some just don't want to learn how to use them. Some like to complain that someone else is using them.

The idea of only using mechs is obscene based upon their cost and resources. Infantry is the easiest to field as not every platoon needs to be extremely skilled nor is their equipment the most complicated and resource heavy to produce. For defenders there really is no reason not to have a single platoon per defending mech. They don't need to be the fastest units on the field, just able to help defend certain areas of the map so that the mechs are not easily hit from behind by fast units.

In a 10,000 BV game I have kept the infantry/BA count to about 3 platoons/squads. People whined about that, but its anything but illogical and far from excessive. The game adjusts for lopsided unit counts. Anyone that is putting all of their points into a handful of units is always going to be struggling when it comes to moving, if they rely upon initiative to win the game for them. Its rare to see someone do something surprising if you start thinking ahead. Yes, sometimes it helps to minimize things, but that goes towards not thinking ahead.

In one of the post-Jihad books it is suggested that forces contain about 30% non-mech units. That is the most logical thing I think I have seen in a long time regarding forces. How you split that between infantry and vehicles is up to the player, but certainly there is plenty of room to include several units of infantry.

Col Toda

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Re: How many soldiers are enough?
« Reply #22 on: 26 June 2019, 11:45:52 »
People eat life support .  Enough is the dead minimum you can get away with and are certain you can get the job done . Sometimes I get it wrong and pay through the nose for it . Still getting it wrong one or twice over 10 game years vs paying to carry too many people on your payroll over the same period hurts . The bottom line in keeping companies solvent is hard . Infantry and battle armor can easily be your loss leader because they are so fragile .

 

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