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Author Topic: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)  (Read 42390 times)

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #210 on: 27 October 2020, 22:05:44 »
First Mechanised Brigade Adminstrative HQ Tule Mod Spaceport, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine – Week 4a, Nov 3021


Lieutenant Muyuki Watanabe and her Panther ‘Mech had been on patrol for more than two hours when her comm channel awoke with word from the outer perimeter that a vehicle convoy was inbound. The news was not unexpected as the briefing she received along with her lance mate spoke of expected visitors. Along with Sergeant Nan Sing, also driving an identical Panther from the Brigade headquarters Support Lance, the patrol section had been on station two hundred meters from the main gate since her shift began.

Together the two light ‘Mechs turned in the direction of the road and drew within fifty meters of the blacktopped ferrorcrete roadway. Soon the column of vehicles, two Davion and two Urukai, came into view and began to slow as they approached the two ‘Mechs guarding the access to the gate. The comm channel spoke again confirming the peaceful intent of the visitors so both machines took a step back and returned to their normal patrol routine.

“What do you suppose is up, Leftenant?”, Sing asked over the private channel. “Those looked like command vehicles and an escort.”

“Yes, indeed, Sing. I think the ladies and gentlemen with all that gold braid on their shoulders are making plans.”, replied Watanabe. “You know the Colonel. He won’t be satisfied until he has accounted for every possible contingency.”

“I can feel it in the air, Ma’am.”, Sing said more subdued. “Something is up and we're in its path.”

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised, Nan. Not to worry, we’ll be ready.” Unspoken was the thought that whatever ‘it’ maybe, there wasn’t much the troops of the Brigade do about it in any case.

“Let’s get through this patrol for now. Thirty minutes and our day is done.”

The conversation died as both ‘Mechs resumed their patrol circuit.

*****


The small convoy of vehicles came to a halt at the front doors to the Brigade headquarters building. Waiting for the occupants was Captain Edward Bar, aide-de-camp to Colonel Bedford. As the guards opened the doors to the ground car flying the Davion pennant from the front fender Captain Kambanda and an aide emerged. From a second ground car, flying the banner of the Uruk’hai’s 5th Heavy regiment, stepped Colonel Simeon Candell, the Commander of the depleted mercenary command. Edward Bar was momentarily struck by the tall, attractive brunette who also emerged from the car. The large laser pistol and no nonsense look of the woman told Bar that the woman was more than aide and might also be a bodyguard.

“Good morning, Lady and Gentlemen.” Bar raised his voice to be heard over the noise of the vehicle engines as he nodded to the visitors. “Colonel Bedford and the Brigade’s senior command staff are waiting for you in the conference room. Please follow me.”

The Davion and Uruk’hai parties followed Bar through the main doors of the building teeming with busy clerks and other administrative personnel. Their path led down a corridor to a stair case leading up to the main command offices and meeting rooms. The building was spartan and mostly undecorated, showing a clear intent that the current occupants did not intend for the facility to be used on a permanent basis.

As they entered the conference room Captain Kambanda came to attention with a click of his heals and gave a professional salute to Colonel Bedford, standing at the head of the table.

“Thank you for taking this meeting, Colonel Bedford,” he began. “There have been some new developments that you and Colonel Candell should be made aware of.”

Simeon Candell gave a brief nod to Bedford but it was clear he did not stand much on military formalities.

“Not at all, Captain.” Replied Bedford. “The more information you can give us the more we can improve our plans.”

Stepping forward from the table Richard Bedford extended his hand to the Uruk commander and introduced himself.

“Richard Bedford, Colonel,” his grip was firm and the handshake was returned with equal strength.

“Simeon Candell,” as he broke the handshake he gestured to the tall woman at his right. “And this is Captain Janice Martowski, my aide.”

Martowski took Richard Bedford’s offered hand and he noticed the grip was strong. This woman was a combat veteran and the role of aide was clearly not her first calling.

Motioning to the table Richard continued,” You’ve met Captain Bar. This is my administrative aide Sergeant Nicole Burns. And those two gentlemen are Lieutenant-Colonels Talbot and Beaufort. Alpha and Gamma  Regiments.”

“Please take a seat.”

Once everyone was seated, Captain Kambanda got straight to the point.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the attack on Galedon has run into some,” Kambanda paused as he searched for the right words. “Well, to put it bluntly, some serious problems.”

“The fleet that jumped into the Galedon system earlier this month was led by three of the Federated Suns’ carrier task force containing the New Avalon, Robinson and Admiral Kenneth Jones carrying over one hundred of their own aerospace fighters as well another one hundred odd aerospace fighters belonging to the four regular ground commands.

“They were met at the star’s zenith point by four carrier groups of Draconis Combine fleet and nearly one hundred and fifty aerospace fighters. This was a bit of a surprise as we expected the Combine fleet to wait over Galedon V so it could make use of the garrison fighter wings as well as those of the regular ground forces.

Kambanda paused as he opened a file on his computer pad.

“Admiral Augustine Archambeau, commanding our fleet, deployed for action and bore down on the Draconis dropships. Not surprisingly the Combine fleet did the same but they did not appear to have any additional aerospace fighters from the planet’s defenders aboard, meaning Admiral Archambeau had a significant but not pronounced numerical advantage.”

“What follows is not entirely clear yet but it appears both fleets have lost significantly and the attack on the planet was badly delayed.”

Richard Bedford looked at Kambanda with furrowed brows. “So, are you saying the attacked on Galedon was turned back?”

“No.” Kambanda replied. “Once Admiral Archambeau’s fleet had reorganised, it pressed on toward the Galedon V with the troopships, expecting a very heavy reception from the ground commands and planetary garrison fighters. Thankfully, the only aerospace fighters to intercept the troopships were the three wings belonging to the planet’s garrison.”

“We still had more than enough fighters and assault ships to deal with these, and quickly destroyed most of them, but at further cost to the fleet.”

“As it stands now, Admiral Archambeau will have to withdraw the fleet as it is useless in its current state, perhaps even a liability. Unfortunately, the ground forces wings are reported to be too weak to offer much support. The only good news is that the defending ground troops appear to be as short of air support as we are.”

“The landings took place more than a week late but they were then set upon almost immediately by the defenders. At last report, the 151st Light Horse from the Eridani Light Horse and the 2nd Dismal Disinherited are fully engaged with the 5th Galedon Regulars while the 1st and 8th Sword of Light are throwing themselves at the Light Guards and 17th Avalon Hussars.”

“In summary, it looks like a stalemate but this won’t be acceptable to the high command. We can be assured that Duke Sandoval will send in every ‘Mech, tank and rifleman he can lay his hands on to try and take Galedon V and break the Combine defences. With that in mind, I would not expect any hope of reinforcements along our front facing Igualada to Matsuida. In fact, we may lose some commands to the Galedon fight as troops are rotated.”

“Whatever spares you have. Whatever extras you have coming through your supply chains, you had best get them combat ready. We will be going into the next fight with only the kit we have on the ground and in the system. We hold An Ting with what we have and that’s it.”

Simeon Candell offerred, “Well, the Uruk’s have more tanks and supplies inbound right now. With the transfers from Colonel Bedford we will be able to field a mixed regiment of a medium and heavy tank battalion and one of heavy ‘Mech. By the end of December we’ll have most of a medium’ Mech battalion, if we shuffle lances and companies a bit. Our existing infantry battalion can remain in Cerant for now but it may be able to join the line regiments by the end of the year.”

Richard Bedford nodded. “The last of the medium and light ‘Mechs for the 13th Light Dragoons are inbound to us as we speak. That gives us six battalions plus the artillery. We may be able to squeeze a few more companies from our spares. Admin and payroll clerks, drivers, mess staff are all trained riflemen, these men and women can defend the Brigade Admin Area here at Tule Mod.”

“Colonel Candell?” The Uruk commander looked towards Bedford. “Can we meet again at the end of the week? I want my team to go over the numbers in detail and then we can coordinate with you about the best plan for the combined defence of our assigned areas.”

Looking at Kambanda Bedford added, “Can you ask the Marshal if we can have a combined planning session this coming weekend? We can reexamine our position to make sure we are ready for any contingency.”

Kambanda replied, “Certainly, he is meeting with his staff as we speak.

“What about your raid? Should we recall the strike force?”

“I don’t see why, Captain,” replied Bedford. “Has your estimate of an imminent attack changed?”

Kambanda shook his head.

“Good, then we’ll proceed. We still have most of a week before they jump so there is time to change plans if needs be.

"If there is nothing else we will adjourn for now. There is a lot to do and I doubt we have as much time as we think we do.”

“Colonel Candell, you and Captain Martowski are welcome to join us for lunch if you like. Captain Kambanda already has a standing invitation. The food is not bad and the local wine is pretty good.”

“Thanks, Colonel, I believe we will. We can start outlining a revised plan for holding this rock.”

“Good, then. Sergeant Burns? Please let the mess know we will have four guests for lunch.”

*****
« Last Edit: 18 December 2020, 14:55:37 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 #211 on: 27 October 2020, 22:15:18 »
5 Kilometers Southeast of Tule Mod Spaceport, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine – Week 4a, Nov 3021


Corporal January Summer was crouched under the turret traverse override box that was mounted 
Just forward of the crew commander’s hatch on the Vedette medium tank. The unit had been partially dismantled by an AsTech for her and she was now carefully checking all the leads and connections to the circuit board. This wasn’t a task a crew member would normally do but with so many of the units technical staff assigned to work on two dropships the crews were pulling double duty in assisting those AsTechs that were available.

“Hey, Jan!?” came the distant voice of Trooper ‘Micky’ Matheson, the vehicle’s driver.

Only giving the call minimal attention, Corporal Summer replied, “Ya, Mick, what is it?”

“What do you suppose all that Ruckus was with the fighters and dropships the other day? We expecting company?”
Setting the circuit board back in its slot, January rested her hands on the crew commander's seat in front of her as she focused on answering the question.

“I dunno, Micky. The sergeant-major figures the new aerospace fighter carrier arrived, so the black-belly navy guys are taking it out for a cruise and to train up the pilots. Why so interested?”

“Oh, I dunno, there just seems to be a lot going on these days, is all. A lot of our Techs are off doing something hush-hush, we’re pulling double duty with those that remained behind. Then there’s all the coming and going of officers, supply trucks, extra ammunition being delivered to the squadron echelon. Know what I mean?”

Climbing up onto the seat and sticking her head through the hatch Corporal Summer could see Matheson, oily rag and an oil filter in hand, idly looking off in the direction of the spaceport.

“Trooper Matheson.” She said. “Have you been promoted to Brigade commander?”

Turning towards her Matheson smiled, “Who? Me!? Gu-woannn, Corp. Who would make me a officer?”, came Matheson’s reply, his lower valley farm accent breaking through.

Winking at the young man, Summer added, “Exactly, Mick. How about you focus on the filter change and leave command decisions to the brass.” With that Summer dropped back down into the turret to close up the override housing.

“Will do, Corp. But speaking of brass, you’re our new crew commander, yea? When you getting your next stripe, Sergeant?

Smiling to herself at the question January Summer finished dogging down the locks on the turret override before she responded. With Sergeant Bernstein being promoted Squadron Sergeant-Major, the squadron’s crew rosters were in something of a flux. Three Troop had lost its SRM Carrier back on Bell and it had been replaced by another monster of a tank – a Brutus. Right now she had the role of crew commander but her call-sign, Two-Three-Bravo had no gunner. That was her biggest concern.

Tipping her head back so her voice was directed through the open hatch she replied, “That is also a decision for the brass. Right now, I’m more interested in getting our new gunner on board and up to speed.

“Now, how about that filter?”

*****
« Last Edit: 08 November 2020, 19:24:30 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 #212 on: 11 November 2020, 00:24:52 »
Igualada Zenith Jump Point, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 1a, Dec 3021

Commerce raiding in open space is not as easy as some people expect. If fact, it requires quite a large amount of forethought if any hope of surprise is to be maintained. A raiding force might seek a measure of safety by using a non-standard jump point near the star in order to better hide its arrival, but it would likely be days away from a likely target. Such an approach would give the raider’s jumpships time to start recharging their drives for the escape but this time is bought at a price.

As the dropships burned for the jump point it would be difficult to explain to any challenger why such a squadron is suddenly appearing out of empty space headed for the commercial jump point. While a dropship force may approach with some stealth by coasting, attention would be drawn to the incoming craft as they turned over and used their fusion drivers to decelerate as they approached. Such activity would be hard to hide and perhaps harder to explain.

The other option is jump directly into the target zone, close enough to look ‘routine’ but plot the point of emergence far enough away to give the attacking force some time to set up and perhaps blend in with other traffic. The dropships could then move slowly towards other vessels at lower speeds within the traffic lanes with the intent of grouping together and convoying to the planet with less suspicion. At the appropriate point the raiders could drop their ruse and launch the attack.

The major draw back to the close approach is that the accompanying jumpships would have very little time to begin recharging their drives, forcing them to risk a Quick Charge or spend the better part of week for a standard recharge. The attackers have not only to hit their targets but also then defend the area against a counterattack from any nearby naval units or a high-speed rescue from the planet itself.

Having weighed the risks, the raiders from the 1st Mechanised Brigade chose the direct approach. Two Merchant class jumpships carried the four dropships containing the raiding force while a third Merchant, its docking rings empty, was added in case it was possible to capture two cargo vessels as prizes in addition to the hoped for jumpship. With information provided by Davion intelligence the plotted emergence point was towards the edge of the zone normally used by commercial traffic. Care was taken to ensure the emergence point was far enough away to be prudent in a heavy traffic area but not so far away as to raise any suspicions. Davion intelligence reports mentioned no enemy naval forces in the system.

The jumpship squadron emerged as planned just over six hours from the nearest other vessels in what turned out to be a very heavily trafficked zone. Deploying their solar collector sails quickly the dropships were released and began a low G burn towards the nearest formation of jumpships. Sensors soon picked up the presence of more than fifteen jumpships and forty dropships moving between the vessels or inbound from the third planet. While their exact types were not known at the current range it was clear to Richard Howe on the bridge of the bridge of the Black Prince that there were rich pickings to be had.

With Black Prince leading a deliberately loose and unmilitary formation of four dropships, the raiders began making their way in the direction the nearest formation of jumpships, being careful not to steer directly towards them. The first queries from the Draconis patrol came within ten minutes of the dropship release. Using call signs and codes from a recently captured Combine trading company’s vessels, the initial challenge from a bored or over taxed traffic control officer was apparently responded to satisfactorily.

Following one hour behind the dropships were three ST-46 shuttles carrying prize crews loaned from the Federated Suns Navy. Each crew was understrength but had the necessary manpower to man the main stations of a jumpship or dropship. Their numbers could be augmented by a few specialists found within Number 13 Commando trained to help out with basic operations.

Just over fours from their release point and still moving slowly through the jump point the Black Prince received a second, more demanding challenge. It soon became apparent that someone on the Kurita side had become suspicious and the questions became more strident and demanding. While the comm tech and intelligence officer tried to convince their challenger of their innocent intensions Commander Howe signaled his squadron to begin a slow but steady acceleration towards their targets.

A minute later the Davion naval officer removed his headset and turned towards Howe.

“They're on to us, Commander. It sounds like they're sounding the alarm.”

“Thank you, Leftenant. Signal the squadron, form up on Black Prince, Edward III to port, Henry II to starboard with Framlingham Castle to take station astern. Accelerate to one point five Gs and prepare to launch fighters when we end-over.”

Turning towards the tactical display, Howe concluded, “Squadrons to stand by for targeting information”, a final pause. “Execute”.

*****

Pilot-Sergeant Wilhemina Kurtzbach settled herself in the cockpit of her Sabre-27 aerospace fighter as the Tech tightened down the shoulder straps that held her in the craft’s seat. While normally considered a planetary defence fighter the Sabre was seeing more and more use within the 1st Mechanised Brigade’s fighter group due to price, availability and ease of maintenance. The three Tronel II medium lasers packed a good punch for a light fighter without having to worry about munitions, another plus for the bean counters who worried about costs.

The Sabre was amongst the fastest light fighters, giving it a small edge over the Group’s dwindling number of Sholagar and Centurion light fighters. That edge in manoeuverability grew markedly when facing larger medium and heavy craft, allowing the Sabre to chose when and if to engage as well as to control the range of any engagement. If necessary, a Sabre could tie up the heavier fighters in dogfights to prevent them from attacking friendly targets in space, in an atmosphere or targets on the ground.

Today was different. Today the pilots of 257 Squadron aboard Edward III were joining a commerce raid against the Draconis Combine’s commercial shipping lanes. Their task was to clear any defending fighters from the path of the marine commando’s Intruder dropship so it could close on an enemy jumpship with the intent of grappling, boarding and capturing the target vessel.

Kurtzbach’s thoughts were interrupted by a disembodied voice in her helmet headset, “Three minutes.”

Waving off the fussing Tech she made a slight adjustment to the straps as her eyes roamed over the multitude of green lights on her control panel telling her all systems were active and functional. The launch was coming earlier than expected which meant something had gone wrong. Receiving a thumbs up from the Tech to her right she pushed the button that closed the canopy and began bringing up the power of the Nissan 225 fusion engine for the impending launch.

Looking forward towards the launch bay door a large red light suddenly changed to a bright amber. Her headphones spoke again, “All pilots, final checks. All personnel clear the launch bays.”

“Here we go, Willie”, she thought to herself. “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.”

“Five,…four,…three,…two,… one”, the amber light to her front flickered to green as the bay door retracted into the Leopard carrier’s hull. “Launch!”

Wilhemina Kurtzbach jammed the throttle forward and the aerospace fighter leaped into the void.

As her Sabre hurtled into space Kurtzbach pulled back on the controls and rolled the aerospace fighter to the right as it climbed ‘above’ the carrier, her eyes locked on the engine flare of another craft to her front. Flight controls used in a planet’s atmosphere were of no use in the vacuum of space. In their place attitude thrusters and the vectored thrust of the fighter’s engine were used to change the direction of flight. The graceful curving climbs and turns in an atmosphere were replaced in outer space by wild skidding and side slipping of a fighter as it and the pilot endured immense G-forces to counter forward momentum and apply thrust to change the direction of flight by as much as one hundred and eighty degrees in impossibly short spaces of time and distance.

Following the lead craft she took up a position on the left wing of Flight Lieutenant Pey Burland. Checking her short-range sensor display she soon saw the other green, blue and yellow pips noting the attack force’s fighter squadrons and followed Burland to form up with the other green pips that made up her wing. As they closed up on the other craft they slowly became visible to naked eye.

“Burma, this Burma Lead. All Tigers check in”.

The voice in Kurtzbach’s ears was that of Captain Margaret Joinville, normally commander of 257 “Burma” Squadron in 239 Wing of Number 1 Group. Today, however, 257 and 247 squadrons were combined into a reinforced squadron of twelve light aerospace fighters formed into three flights of four aircraft. Waiting her turn as the eighth member of the expanded squadron she confirmed her fighter was ready for action.

With the checks complete Joinville described the plan of attack.

“Alright, Tigers, the bad guys know we’re in system so here’s the plan. The heavy flight, dropships and commandos are going in to grab the nearest jumpship. The mediums are covering the assault in case any serious opposition shows up. That leaves us.

“Check your long range scans. There is a gaggle of fleeing dropships bearing three-zero-eight by minus zero-one-one that we are going to chase down. Our job is to separate one or two of those sheep from the flock and heard them back towards the dropships. We’ll go in one flight at a time in rotation, the other two flights giving top cover.

“Once the commandos have secured a jumpship they’ll be free to board and take over any cargo vessels we bring to them. Then we go defensive until the jumpships are ready to take us home.

“Questions?”

There were none.

“Alright then, Burma, on my count. Accelerate to max thrust in three, two, one.”

The final count was lost as fusion engines flared with power and Kurtzbach heard and felt the vibration surge through her Sabre as it accelerated.

*****

Major Thomas Burgh was in the command center of the Intruder class assault dropship Framlingham Castle. The Castle had executed its end over manoeuvre effortlessly and had decelerated at two Gs as the dropship manoeuvered towards an Invader class jumpship. Now closing in on the jumpship from behind and below, the enemy vessel had yet responded to demands to surrender. Its solar collector sail was fully deployed and was not being retracted so there was no expectation the vessel would try to jump away rather than risk capture.

As the Castle closed on the jumpship the other three raider dropships took up positions enveloping the target at more than one thousand meters while four heavy aerospace fighters demonstrated menacingly in front of its bow at long range, keeping the two particle projection cannons busy without risking much damage in return. No one was going to risk damage to the jumpship, meaning much of the display made by the target vessel was for show.

Fighting the boarders might be a different story. With a crew of twenty-four, if properly motivated, the boarding action could run into difficulties. To reduce the risk the assault parties would consist of the first and second platoons of Number 13 Commando. The headquarters and third platoon would be held in reserve but were not expected to be needed.

Over the ship’s intercom came the slow count down to firing the grappling lines. As the count reduced to zero there was slight vibration in the hull as the lines were fired followed by confirmation that the grapple was successful.

Keying his microphone Burgh gave the order, “First platoon, go.” Looking to the officer monitoring the grapple he received a thumbs up. “Second platoon, go.”

*****
« Last Edit: 14 November 2020, 23:42:50 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

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #213 on: 15 November 2020, 23:12:32 »
Orhon Hills, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 1b, Dec 3021


As if on cue the leaden sky opened up and released a hard, cold rain the moment Captain John Fortescue opened the commander’s hatch on the massive Brutus assault tank. Rising through the hatch Fortescue raised a pair of electronic binoculars to his eyes and scanned the ridge line some two hundred meters to his front. With the Brutus in a turret down position behind the crest of the ridge it was invisible to any observer on the other side of the small valley to his front. With only his head and upper torso showing above the ridge crest it would have been extremely unlikely an observer would have seen him as he swept the opposite ridge for potential targets.

Fortescue, normally the Battle Captain in B Squadron of the 11th Hussars, had been assigned this monster tank to lead training manoeuvres for a newly mobilised company of tanks drawn from the Brigade’s pool of spares. The recent sale of a number of spare tanks to help the Fighting Uruk’hai rebuild some strength had inspired the Brigade commander with a new idea to increase the Brigade's own firepower. He had all but emptied the pool of spare tanks and Mechs in order to field more combat units for the battle everyone knew was coming soon. With a few exceptions the large number of tanks in the Brigade spare's pool had been captured from the Capellans the previous year and pieced back into fighting condition since then. Models such as the Brutus, Bulldog and the SRM Carrier were not normally used by the tank troops and squadrons within the Brigade but considering the situation, they were issued along with the large number of Vedette medium tanks to form the 2nd Dragoons.

The pool of trained tank crews was also below what was needed to man each of the squadrons and a number of battalion echelons were raided for the trained drivers and gunners that served as truck, ambulance and munition carrier crews until slots became available in the combat units. In their place within the supply units, clerks, cooks and a few administrative personnel were temporarily reassigned. The Uruks had also helped out by sending over some of their spare personnel to fill in the gaps.

So here they all were, in the pouring rain on the slopes of the Orhon Hills that lay before the expansive forests leading west to the Hinggnan Mountain range and beyond that, the sea. As Fortescue swept the ridge once more, he detected a slight motion that did not fit with the wind direction or the natural movement of the trees. Pressing the zoom button by his left index figure the magnification spooled up as his field of vision narrowed on the suspect spot. Squinting into the binoculars as he held his breath, he noticed more motion through the branches of a pine tree. There was no mistaking this for natural motion, nature doesn't use straight lines.

“Tango-Two, this is Nine. Contact, wait.”

Dropping into the turret he called up a map on a small monitor in the crew commander’s station.

“Tango-Two, enemy armour grid seven-four-four, nine-two-seven. Estimate one tank platoon plus supporting infantry.  Tango Two, fire base. Tango-One, Two and Three, hasty assault, left flanking. Report when in position, over.”

Raising his head outside the tank Fortescue saw the low ground to his right erupt into motion as B Squadron, 2nd Dragoons broke cover and began to move to their assigned positions. Over his headset he could hear the various troop commander’s confirming the order to take up their attack positions.

The headquarters troop, consisting of an LRM carrier and three Bulldog LRM variants began climbing the slope behind the Brutus. Behind these the other three troops, mainly Vedettes with a mixed bag of Manticore, Goblin and even a Scorpion light tank SRM model, wheeled around the fire base to take positions some two hundred meters to the south. The movement was controlled and the spacing mostly adequate but there was still too much bunching up. It was clear that the basic and trade training the crews had undergone had not degraded too much over time but the refresher training would be well worthwhile.

As the LRM Carrier came up behind Fortescue’s tank and halted, its commander, Brevet Captain Jasmine Patel, dismounted and trotted over to the Brutus. Climbing up the back deck she came up to Woodstock’s position in the turret.

“What’ve we got, Captain?”, Patel asked as she raised her own binoculars to her eyes.

“Two hundred meters at one o’clock, behind the three large pine trees. Enemy tank or large APC. Blanket the ridge with missile fire and support the assault on the objective. Rally one hundred meters to the north of the trees. Understood?”

Scanning the opposite ridge Patel replied, “Yes, sirrrr”. Scanning for the target she stopped suddenly.

“I see it, Captain.”

“Good, carry on.”

With a smile Patel moved back to edge of the tank’s rear deck, jumped nimbly down and trotted back to her missile carrier. As she went Fortescue mentally brought up Patel’s service record. She had joined the brigade as a replacement officer after the fighting on Bell and had rotated duty through the echelons and maintenance units since then. She had good marks from her schooling before joining the Brigade and had readily taken on all supplementary training and duties over the past nine months. Today was her day in the hot seat, testing her knowledge and ability to lead a squadron of tanks in combat. In just a few weeks she would likely be assigned as a troop officer. Even so, she would still need to know how to command a squadron of tanks in case casualties left her in the position as senior officer for the unit.

As he listened to Patel issue her orders over the comm channel, he had the Brutus move fifty meters to the north where he could better observe and evaluate the simulated assault. Today the enemy was made of wooden mock ups and flags on poles.

Tomorrow it might be different.

*****


Igualada Zenith Jump Point, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 1b, Dec 3021


The dropship Framlingham Castle hung motionless in space some fifty kilometers from the captured Invader class jumpship Kashi Maru. The fight for control of the vessel took a bit longer than expected as the crew was not willing to give her up easily. Major Burgh’s commandos had gone in with weapons set to stun and armed with flash grenades and crowd control gas. The objective was to capture the ship intact and spirit her away as a prize. The crew of the Kashi Maru observed no such niceties and resisted the boarding action with slug throwers or beam weapons on full power.

Nevertheless, it was widely recognised by almost all but the most hardcore pirates that jumpships were special non-combatant assets that were neither targeted for destruction nor deliberately destroyed via sabotage. Temporary crippling was, however, fair game. The boarding action targeted the bridge and control centre, the electrical and power sections and squad detached to the stern to ensure no sabotage of the engines took place. Most of the crew were overwhelmed before they could do much damage but the captain and his bridge crew sealed themselves on the bridge and prepared to defend it until help came or death took them.

It became necessary to breach the bridge access with a small explosive charge and the remaining crew dispatched by a pair of troopers with old fashioned shot guns. The captain took his own life as the commandos swarmed onto the bridge.

Damage was slight but some of the bridge controls were either damaged in the firefight or deliberately sabotaged. The prize crews were able to bypass or jury rig the damaged systems and it was found the ship already had more than three days of charging built up in her drive. That was three days ago. Soon the Kashi Maru would jump for Federated Suns space under the flag of the 1st Mechanised Brigade.

The attempt to capture a pair of Mule cargo carriers went somewhat differently. The fighters of 257 Squadron chased down one formation of dropships and were successful in separating the first craft and convincing the crew that discretion was the batter part of valour. A few blasts from lasers coaxed the dropship onto the desired course back to the small raiding squadron. When the remaining fighters attempted to separate a second dropship from the formation, they appeared to be equally successful as their fire slowly drove the target craft away from its consorts. As a pair of Centurion fighter dove on the dropship in order to ‘direct’ its course back to the jumpships the craft suddenly exploded.

Whether this was done by the crew,or the captain is unknown but both Centurion fighters were damaged by the blast with one of the pilots injured. After this it was decided to let the rest of the dropships to depart unmolested. Now, just 1000 meters off Castle’s starboard beam, stood the Mule class dropship SS Mallina and its cargo of various spare parts for ground vehicles, military uniforms, small arms, ammunition for the small arms, water filtration kits and boxed rations. Tons of boxed rations. Hardly the sort of bounty one could retire on but most of it could be sold to the AFFS and the C-Bills would go some way to offsetting the growing list of expenses incurred on the current contract.

Floating freely in the zero-G environment of the bridge of Framlingham Castle Major Thomas Burgh had just submitted the detailed report on the two boarding actions and the casualties suffered. The payment for the two prize vessels amounted to two dead, three seriously wounded and seven more walking wounded. To his left, strapped comfortably in his bridge chair was the squadron’s flag officer, Commander Richard Howe.

“Are you sure you don’t want us to try for another jumpship, Commander? I still see there are still seven out there for the taking.”

Looking at the front view screen for a moment Howe replied, “That’s true, Major but you’ll notice that the four vessels furthest out have almost completed furling their collector sails. This may be a ruse to keep us away or they may be actually be getting ready jump. If so, we don’t want to be anywhere near them if they do.

“As for the other three, we need to exercise some discretion. Snatching one jumpship on occasion, while annoying, perhaps even upsetting to the opposition, can be dismissed as part of the cost of war. Grabbing entire squadrons at a time may expose our employers to retaliatory measures that could, if escalated enough, lead jumpships to lose their ‘non-combatant’ status.

“I think you’d agree that such a situation could be disastrous for all concerned, especially since relatively few jumpships can be produced with the remaining shipyards available to the various Houses. If they become fair game again, loses would exceed replacements at an insurmountable ratio.”

As the Commander returned to the report Burgh noticed two red blips near the edge of the tactical display.

“Are those inbound dropships?”

Howe didn’t look up at the screen this time, nor was there concern in his voice.

“Yes, they are. Those two dropships have been burning towards us at the better part of two Gs or more for the past two days. They’ve recently completed their end-over and are now decelerating even harder so they can pick a fight with us. I suspect they were the convoy escort.”

“You seem rather blasé about this,” quipped Burgh, one corner of his mouth curling into a half grin.

Richard Howe looked up at the commando officer and smiled. He turned towards a Tech at the sensor station and asked, “Crewman? How long before the Kashi Maru is ready to jump?”
 
The crewman swung his chair to face Howe.

“She’ll be away in sixteen hours, forty-seven minutes, sir.”

“And how long before our two taxis are ready for our jump back to An Ting?”

“They’ll complete their Quick-Charge in about twenty-two hours, thirty minutes.”

“And our Draconis friends racing out from the planet to meet us?”

“At present deceleration they should reach maneuvering speed about one hundred thousand kilometers from us in thirty-three hours, eleven minutes, sir.”

“Thank you, crewman. Let the watch officer know if anything changes. Major Burgh and I will be in the mess.”

Burgh looked from the Tech to the screen and then to Howe with an amused grin on his face, something unusual for the normally taciturn commando.

“I’m impressed, Commander.”

“Not at all, Major,” Howe unstrapped from his chair and pointed towards the bridge exit. “It’s all just mathematics and physics. Those two dropships could adjust their course, retain the necessary speed to arrive sooner but they would then be limited to a high speed pass. If they don’t cripple the jumpships with that attack that’s the end of it. They wouldn’t have time to come around again so the battle would be over.

Looking at the screen Howe’s smile faded. “Their only hope is that the Quick-Charge on one or both of our jumpships fails. Then again, unless those are both assault craft, we likely have more than enough firepower to deal with two dropships.

“How about I buy you a rum?”, the smile returned. "The foil pouch and straw shouldn’t spoil the taste of victory.”

“So, that’s it then? We call it a day, take the money and run,” concluded Burgh.

“This time, Major. This time.”

*****
« Last Edit: 24 February 2021, 13:23:57 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

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #214 on: 22 November 2020, 14:09:35 »
First Mechanised Brigade Administrative Headquarters, Tule Mode Spaceport, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2b, Dec 3021


Large drops of cold rain and small flakes of snow pelted the office windows in a steady staccato that, under different circumstances, Richard Bedford would have found calming on weekend afternoon. Here on An Ting, however, the cold, wet weather, driven by a stiff wind out of the northwest, announced the beginning of the winter rain and snow. The rain turned the fields and pastures throughout the region into a sea of mud and large shallow pools of water. Off road movement for everything but hovercraft had become a trial of endurance and frustration as any  ground pressure exerted on the surface immediately sunk into the morass. While Mechs could negotiate the mud, they were slowed and found quick manoeuvring difficult, their weight often causing them to sink a metre or more in the oozing muck.

For two weeks the skies had poured rain down on the plateau north of the Argun River Valley that held Cerant and Tule Mod spaceport. The Argun River flowed down from the coastal mountains to the northwest, through the forested foothills, then gaining breadth and depth as it drained into the plains that covered the southern half of the continent of Hotei. The closest point to the river was some forty kilometers to the south where the plateau dropped suddenly into the river basin with its tributaries, marshes and wetlands. The main road and rail line to the south crossed the river on a multi-span bridge that was more than 200 meters long at that point. Other major crossings existed further downstream another sixty kilometers to the east or more than two hundred kilometers to the northwest in the Mintaka Pass that led to the coast another one hundred and thirty kilometers west.

A soft knock on the office door interrupted Richard Bedford’s mental review of Hotei’s geography.

“Come,” he raised his voice just enough to be heard over the sound of the rain.

The door opened and sergeant Nicole Burns entered the office. Her normally impeccable work dress uniform had been replaced by combat fatigues and she wore and automatic pistol holstered under her right arm.

“Leftenant-Colonel Ligny and Major Bedford have arrived, sir.”

“Send them in, Sergeant, please.”

Rising from his desk the Brigade commander moved to meet his senior Tech commander and his elder brother, who also commanded the Brigade’s headquarters battlegroup.

“John, Tom, you both look frozen. Come in and take a seat,” he motioned each man a chair as they entered the room.

Both officers returned Reichard Bedford’s greeting and took the offered seats.

“Thanks, Richard. The cold I can take it’s the dampness that gets to me,” said John Ligny.

“Congratulation on the success of the raid at Igulada. I’ve heard Tom Burgh and his commandos are inbound and will land in a few days.”

“Yes, thanks, John, they’ll ground day after tomorrow. The raid came off quite well although Legal advised us not to make a habit of such ‘inclinations’.

“I wanted to have a quick word with you both before the main meeting this afternoon.”

 Looking at his brother who commanded the brigade headquarters combat elements Richard Bedford asked, “How is your battlegroup, Tom? Do you have everything you need?”

“The battlegroup is fine, Rich. After Gamma’s HQ drew eight of our spare Mechs for its RHQ we had twelve left. They’re a bit of a mismatch, five Blackjacks, five Hunchbacks, a Wolverine and a Rifleman but they’ll work out. Not that we have much choice.”

Leaning back in his chair with a computer stylus in his hand, Richard probed further.

“And the five pilots that came over from the Uruk’hai? How are they settling in?”

“We placed all five of the Dispossessed Mech jocks we have on loan from Candella’s outfight in the same company.” Replied Tomas. “They all have good experience and have worked together in the past. They’re more than happy to be sitting in a cockpit instead of toting rifles with the Uruks. I placed their senior officer, a Captain Charles O’Hara, in charge of the company as a show of confidence and the group responded well to the gesture. They’re not quite as formal as we are where military protocols are concerned but they’re minding their P’s and Q’s.”

“Fine, Tom. Let’s keep putting the compamy through its paces as much as we can, weather permitting.”

Turning to John Ligny, Richard Bedford asked, “How is the little project we have for Major Burgh and his commandos coming along, John?”

“Quite well, Colonel. We’ve located a suitable base in the abandoned town of Tiburon, about one hundred and twenty kilometers east of Cerant. It was bombed out back in 2839 and never resettled but it had a small landing field and domestic factory complex so there are suitable structures for concealing some conventional aircraft and creating a suitable depot of spares, ammunitions and other supplies.

“The Karnovs have been moving supplies and the base team there for the past week and the four Planetlifters will begin moving the light tanks tomorrow morning. We held back six Hunters, a Goblin and a Scorpion SRM variant. Exactly two hundred and eighty tons of armour to back up the commandos. We would have preferred light Mechs but we seem to be fresh out of those.”

Looking at the map of the northern part of Hotei on the wall to his left, “Will the base be ready in time?”

“Should be ready within a week or so, sir. We’ll move the equipment in small lifts, with aircraft departing singly and in pairs, at odd intervals and in different directions. The intent is to throw off any curious eyes who are watching Tule Mod. Sometimes the aircraft will return the same way they went out, some will return later but eventually they’ll not return at all and will have relocated to Tiburon before the new year.”

Turning his chair to face the window Bedford regarded the rain and snow falling outside.

“This weather is not helping much. If we don’t get a freeze up soon, a good part of the Brigade will be road bound.”

“Forecast is for colder arctic air to move south late next week so the ground should firm up,” offered John Ligny. “Besides, if the Dracos do come, they’ll be as hampered by the mud as we are.”

“I’ve noted the Davion engineer regiment is making good progress on the fortification here at the spaceport. The rain hasn’t slowed them much and it looks like they’ll have the turret towers and main defences completed in less than a week. They’ve already marked off the minefields, real and dummy, with barbed wire pyramids and the revetments for main trench lines are well advanced with ferrocrete and armour. We’ll have a solid base area if we need to fall back.”

Shaking his head slowly Richard Bedford regarded the two men sitting across from him. “Alright, gentlemen, we have about fifteen minutes before we meet with the regimental commanders so get something hot in you beforehand.

*****


Within the space of a few seconds after the digital clock on the wall of the headquarters main meeting room rolled over to 1400 the door opened and in strode Colonel Richard Bedford followed closely by Lieutenant-Colonel John Ligny, Major Thomas Bedford and Sergeant Nicole Burns. As the party entered the room the Brigade’s senior regimental and aerospace officers came to their feet.

“At ease, ladies and gentlemen,” Bedford said as he waved the group back to their seats. “Apologies for calling you together in such foul weather but I wanted to run through the Brigade’s status one more time before the holiday standdown. “We have a fairly short agenda so let’s get to it.”

Looking over at Sergeant Burns Bedford saw she gave a nod that she was plugged into the computer network and ready to provide the meeting administrative support.

The main screen in the room came alive with the meeting agenda. “Alright. Let’s get a couple of housekeeping items out of the way.

“One. Any final additions to the new year’s list of promotions needs to be submitted before the standdown. Make sure it is complete and accurate.

“Two. Each battalion will have one combat team at stage three alert each day throughout the three-day holiday period. Those combat teams will also be responsible for patrols and sentry duty in their respective bivouac areas. Full combat kit to be at hand in case of any trouble.

“Anyone have anything to add on administration?” Looking at the assembled officers there were no responses. “Good, on with business.

“Logistics,” Bedford looked at Lieutenant-Colonel John Ligny. “Everything in order, John? Winter kit issued to everyone?”

“Yes, sir,” came the quick reply. “Fuel additives, winter lubricants for weapons and ammunition, insulation sleeves for capacitors and batteries, micro stoves for tents. We have about fifteen percent spares above normal consumption levels.”

Bedford nodded at the response.

“Number One Group? Tell me, Monsieur Valois, that your pilots are ready?”

“That they are, Colonel,” Valois’ mild French accent could not be hidden. “Jean Ligny also advises that we will receive additional light and medium fighter by the new year. We can hold them as spares or reinforce a few flights. As you like.”

“Thank you, Philippe,” Bedford replied. “We have reinforced companies in the ground forces, why not reinforced aerospace fighter squadrons? I’ll leave that decision to you and Major Woodville to work out.

Oui, mon Colonel, d’accord.”

“Master Gunner Montagu?” It was the turn of John Montagu of the 1st Horse Artillery. “How goes things with your ‘God’s of War’?

“All three companies are complete and ready for action, sir. We’ve dispersed the batteries around the spaceport for now but we can move as soon as you give the word.”

Richard Bedford grew more serious as he regarded the artilleryman. “I’m sorry about the anti-aircraft tanks, John. I had hoped to have at least a lance here by the new year but it looks like it will be February before the first Partisans arrive.”

“We’ll make out fine, Colonel. Philippe’s fighters can protect my guns better than any ground battery.”

Valois was quick to agree, “You can count on the Group, Jean. We will keep the Combine fighters away from your guns.”

“Alpha Regiment?” All eyes now looked to John Talbot. “Your house in order, Leftenent-Colonel Talbot?”

“Aye, Colonel,” John Talbot’s eyes flashed as his face broke into one of his mischievous smiles. “My girls and boys are complaining about the weather and just about everything else so I know they’re ready. The RHQ battlegroup is a bit under strength but we’ll manage.”

A nod from Bedford. “Gamma? Is your RHQ ready? How about the Thirteenth Dragoons? You and your speed demons are the eyes and ears for the entire Brigade. Are they ready for the hunt?”

John Beaufort, not being quite as easy going as his colleague in Alpha regiment, still smiled as he replied, “The Thirteenth Light Dragoons are complete. Leftenant-Colonel Colonel Stafford his pulled the battalion together extremely well and they’re eager for action. Like Alpha, my RHQ battlegroup is short a couple of lances but we can field a short company of Mechs augmented by a tank troop. We’re ready.”

“Good to hear, John,” Richard Bedford furrowed his brows as he considered his next words. “If the Kuritas do attack, I’m going to move the Light Dragoons over to Alpha for the coming fight. This no reflection on you, Gamma or the Thirteenth but this will be their first fight and I want a strong combat formation to meet any attack. You’ll take the Fourth Dragoons and Eighth Hussars out as the screen. You’ll be supported by a similar force of light tanks and Mechs from the 10th Deneb.

“Once you locate the Kurita formations, I’ll want you to strike hard at their soft targets, harassing them all the way as you fall back on the main forces. Once we know where their main punch will fall, we’ll concentrate your regiment and make use of their speed and manoeuverability.”

Addressing the entire group Bedford explained the outline of his plan.

“I’ll keep Brigade battlegroup and the Second Dragoons as a reserve. If the Combine tries to flank us, we’ll step in until Gamma can come and assist, then pull back into reserve again. If they press Alpha hard, we can reinforce the main line. John Montagu’s guns will stay concentrated and hit assigned targets with everything he has on a priority basis. We won’t dilute the power of the artillery by spreading out the fire missions. I want Alpha’s and Gamma’s battalions to be ready to deploy into demi-battalions if needed. Your units are over strength and we made need the tactical flexibility.

“The Uruks here on An Ting will be able to field two Mech, two tank, an infantry battalion and their artillery by January. Their remaining units will defend Cerant and the spaceport with a composite battalion alongside two Davion jump infantry battalions and our admin troops. The 10th Deneb Light Cavalry, in addition to their two reconnaissance battalions, will be deploying two medium Mech battalions, two light and three medium tank battalions supported by two more jump infantry battalions in two combat formations backed by their own artillery. Two more jump infantry battalions will be in reserve.

“That’s everything. The Davion troops will field just sixteen battalions, we’ll deploy seven plus John Montagu’s guns and the Brigade HQ. The Uruks will have six more. I suppose we’ll have the fortification’s guns as well if it comes to that. I don’t need to remind anyone that this is just a few battalions more than a standard DCMS combat command. If the Dracos come in strength we’ll need the combined force of fighters and assault dropships to thin out the enemy forces to even the odds a bit.

“The Combine has struck at Matsuida in strength, I suspect we are next. Marshal Sanders has orders to hold An Ting until relieved or ordered to pull out so that is what we will do. Regardless, we’ll likely be in for the toughest fight the Brigade has ever faced.”

In a deliberate attempt to lighten the mood Bedford added, “This is all in the future. For now, we have the holiday festival and a new year to celebrate. I for one expect it to be our best year yet. If they come, I am certain we’ll ‘hit them for six’, right off the planet”

The smile on his face was genuine but did not hide the concern in his eyes.

“Any questions?” Richard Bedford met the eyes of each of his senior officers in turn as they shook their heads in the negative.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. You may return to your commands. Dismissed.”

*****
« Last Edit: 18 December 2020, 14:49:28 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 #215 on: 05 December 2020, 17:43:52 »
Duggan Marik Residence, Atreus, Free Worlds League, Week 3b, Dec 3021

The sound of the party drifted down the hall leading to Duggan Marik’s home office. The mansion owned by the Free Worlds Minister of Trade was overly large with extensive grounds that contained a small woods, three gardens and and a number of pools adorned with fountains. This gathering was strictly a family affair with spouses in attendance and children roaming around the main house and grounds.

Duggan Marik sat behind his opulent, ancient oak desk with a glass of brandy set before him. Across the room, seated on a large leather couch was Duncan Marik, commander of the federal and provincial forces fighting on the Lyran Commonwealth front in the Isle of Skye. Their conversation had focused on the current offensive on Hesperus II and the problems the attacking forces were experiencing with the ground forces emplaced in and near the extensive fortifications found on the planet. They was interrupted when Therese Marik entered the room through the open door.

“Good evening, brother,” Therese began. “And to you as well, cousin,” she added, looking towards Duncan.

“Thank you for hosting us during our stay, Duggan, but if our father is not willing to meet with me then it is time Corbin and I took the children home to Tamarind.”

Both men rose from their seats, “I am sorry, Therese, both Duncan and I tried to arrange the meeting but he is a very stubborn man.” He did not add that Janos made it perfectly clear that he was decidedly against the visit, unofficial or otherwise.

Folding her arms across here chest Therese slowly shook her head. “And he does not forgive easily.”

Pausing to take in a deep breath she continued, “So be it. After so many years it doesn’t really matter anymore. Thank you again for your hospitality, Duggan, it was good to see some of the family again. I appreciate the gesture.”

As she turned to leave Duncan Marik spoke, “Therese, forgive me for pressing but can we count on your support in the new year. The fighting is at a critical stage on Hesperus and the new offensive could be critical to our success. The attack in the Bolan region could change the strategic balance along the entire Lyran frontier.”

Turning as Duncan spoke Therese Marik regarded him coolly, not bothering to hide the mild annoyance in her response, “Duncan,” she began, pausing to force the growing anger within her to subside.  “Despite my father’s attitude towards me, I am still a Marik and I have never failed to support the family and our House.”

Drawing in a deep breath, she went on more calmly, “At the appropriate time I will use whatever influence I have to increase support in parliament for your offensive. Just let me know the timing.”

With a final nod to Duggan, Therese turned on her heals and left the office.

*****

First Mechanised Brigade Administrative Headquarters, Tule Mode Spaceport, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 4a, Dec 3021


Richard Bedford let out a slow sigh as he completed reviewing the manpower report on the computer screen in front of him. Looking up from his desk he saw Captain Edward Bar, the brigade headquarters adjutant, just outside his office door. Ed Bar was good at his job and his capacity for remembering details never failed to impress the Brigade commander.

“Ed, are the promotion lists ready for posting in each mess?” Bedford asked. I want them all issued by the thirty-first before the new year mess dinners so the troops have something extra to celebrate.

Stepping just over the threshold into the office Ed Bar responded, “Yes, sir. The lists have been delivered to each regimental headquarters for posting as ordered, Colonel.”

“Thanks, Ed. How about the latest intelligence updates from Sanders headquarters?”

“Already sent to both Alpha and Gamma headquarters, sir. The latest update from Colonel Candell over at the Uruk’ Hai headquarters has also been sent to Colonel’s Talbot and Beaufort. Duty rosters for the thirty-first and the first of January have also been distributed.”

Pausing as he regarded his commanding officer, Ed Bar asked, “Is there anything in particular you are concerned about, sir?”

Shaking his head slowly Richard looked out through the office windows at the bright sunshine, mentally noting the frigid cold that had accompanied clear skies.

“No, nothing in particular. Just wondering if we missed anything.”

“I don’t think we have, sir,” came Bar’s response. “The headquarters duty watch is set. If anything out of the ordinary occurs, we’ll let you know immediately.”

“Thanks, Ed, I think I’ll call it a day. I’ll be visiting all of the battalions over the next couple of days prior to the dinner party with Marshal Sanders on the thirty-first.”

Shutting down the computer Richard Bedford collected a few articles, his parka and gloves and headed for his quarters.

*****


Federated Suns Naval Picket, Nadir Jump Point, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 4b, Dec 3021


The digital chronometer over the main viewscreen on the FSS Horthense was slowly counting up to midnight. The patrol of four dropships were dispersed across the nadir jump point monitoring any incoming traffic. Traffic was minimal since it had been decided that, with few exceptions, all shipping would enter or exit the system via the zenith jump point. Looking around the bridge, Lieutenant-Commander Dumont noted more than a few of the bridge crew were distracted by the countdown.

“As you were ladies and gentlemen. The time will pass without our watching the seconds go by.” The admonishment was good natured and the crew smiled amongst themselves as they returned to their duties.

“Comms, at the stroke of midnight patch me in to the rest of the squadron, please. We’ll send our new year greetings to the other ships.”

The Comms Tech acknowledged the order as Dumont added his signature the watch report, his eyes flicking up to the chronometer as he did so. There were just fourteen seconds before the start of the year 3022. Quietly a few bridge crew began the count.

“Ten, nine, eight…”

Dumont smiled and let the lapse in discipline pass without comment.

"Three, two, one…” As the digital readout changed to read ‘0000’ the bridge crew let out a few quiet cheers and 'Happy New Year' greetings. As Dumont turned towards the Comm Tech a red blip appeared on the main view screen. Then another. Then three more. The bridge went silent as more and more red dots appeared on the screen.

“Sir!”, exclaimed the sensor technician. “Multiple incoming jump signatures. Twelve so far and counting.”

“Steady on crewman, magnify on the nearest signatures.”

The number of red blips continued to increase with each second as the sensor technician focused on a contact just one hundred and twenty thousand kilometers away. The view changed and the screen was filled with a group of four massive jumpships hanging suspended in space.

“Sensors, identify those jump ships”, ordered Dumont.

Turning back to the screen he looked at a small ‘screen within a screen’ in the bottom right of the main view. There were easily more than forty red blips crowding the display.

“Comms, attach sensor report and send to An Ting Command –“

“They’re here.”

*****
« Last Edit: 06 December 2020, 02:50:16 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

snakespinner

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #216 on: 05 December 2020, 18:57:42 »
Nice christmas present. >:D
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #217 on: 12 December 2020, 13:09:17 »
The Third Succession War Campaign,  Oct - Dec, 3021

LC-DC Front: Raiding activity along the Commonwealth-Combine border flared up again in October then suddenly fell away to just a few minor raids opposite the Rasalhague Military District by December. It is believed the extreme demand on resources for combat supplies as well as espionage/counter-espionage operations on other fronts are having an impact along the border. The Lyran military even went so far as to abandon Aubisson without a fight in November while troops stood down to refit.

A number of mercenary commands on both sides of the boarder are known to have relocated but sources are vague as to which systems these troops may have redeployed to.

FS-DC Front: October saw the AFFS break through the DCMS defensive line an capture Matsuida, quickly followed by the fall of Delitzsch, Kirei na Niwa and Nadrin. This in turn triggered a major redeployment of forces in both the Galedon and Benjamin districts along the Federated Suns border as the DCMS scrambled to throw troops in front of the AFFS advance aimed at Oshika. What happened next surprised observers across the Inner Sphere.

To the discomfiture of the Kuritan high command the AFFS did not follow up the breakthrough with a further thrust coreward or anti-spinward from Matsuida. Instead the AFFS pivoted ninety degrees spinward and struck the Galedon, Consenza and Senorbi systems in November, triggering one of the largest naval battles since Kessel back in 3019. The Federated Suns invasion of Galedon was spearheaded by the carrier task forces led by the FSS New Avalon, Robinson and Admiral Kenneth Jones. Waiting for them at the systems zenith point was a fleet of four carrier groups of the Draconis Combine Admiralty consisting of the DCS Kagoshima, Mikasa, Mutsu, and Nagara. By time the remnants of the Combine fleet broke off it was thought that all four of its carriers had been lost in exchange for the loss of the Robinson and Admiral Kenneth Jones and the crippling of the New Avalon. Aerospace losses were so severe that neither side would have viable fighter support for the opening weeks of the ground battle.

The invasion proceeded after some significant delay with the AFFS ground forces led by the Davion Light Guards and 17th Avalon Hussars, supported by the 2nd Dismal Disinherited and 151st Light Horse Regiment of the Eridani Light Horse mercenary brigade and the 1st Bombardment Command. The landings were met with fanatical resistance the 1st and 8th Swords of Light, the 5th Galedon Regulars and the large planetary garrison, reportedly led by Warlord Greig Samsonov himself. The attack was eventually brought to a standstill short of the capital city of Galedon City and its fortified factory complex.

In December, both sides rotated out battered commands and reinforced the troops on Galedon V but the fighting remained sporadic. The defenders chose to remain close to their heavy fortifications while the Federated Suns regrouped. The navies of both combatants raced additional assets from far flung bases to the system but it was the Federated Suns fleet that won the race, placing the planet under a close blockade. A DCMS naval task force arrived near the end of the month but could not lift the blocade with its available force.

Elsewhere Senorbi and Consenza fell to the AFFS after brief rearguard actions but the DCMS also struck back with a major attack at Matsuida, intent on blunting the thrust towards Oshika. The attacking force consisted of the 8th, 16th and 21st Galedon Regulars supported by the 2nd Night Stalkers and they were met by the 2nd Ceti Hussars, backed by the light and medium commands of the Fighting Uruk’Hai and supported by the FSS Kentares IV carrier group. The aerospace fighters fought a major battle above the planet with neither side gaining the advantage and the Combine dropships were able to land with few losses. The fighting throughout December was inconclusive as the more experienced Hussars and the Uruk’Hai fought a defensive battle and could not be pinned down by the numerically superior Combine force. While both sides suffered losses the fighting will clearly continue into the new year.

Fighting along the remainder of the frontier was almost non-existent, almost as if both sides were holding their breath awaiting the results of the fighting in the Galedon District. Military activity, other than a few shifts by commands came to a halt. There were no raids of any sort and even offensive espionage operations seemed to decrease as both sides sought to protect critical infrastructure in the combat zone.

FS-CC Front: Capellan raids into the Sidmar PDZ stepped up over the three month period as all five commands of MacCarron’s Armored Cavalry and Ambermarle’s Higlanders launched a series of raids along the frontier. To save on resources the AFFS left the fighting to the local garrisons who put up credible defences across many of the target worlds. While losses were heavy the planetary garrisons continue to gain valuable combat experience against the raiders thus requiring less and less intervention from the outside.

The Capellan military launched additional raids against the Addicks PDZ but with little success. As was the case in the Sidar PDZ the fighting was left mainly to the planetary garrisons who managed to inflict damage against raiders such as the 1st Kearney Highlanders and the 1st People’s Militia.


 CC-FWL Front: The campaign of minor raids across the Capellan-Free Worlds League border continued although they showed decidedly mixed results. Most Capellan efforts seemed to be focused on espionage efforts focused on the region from Hall to Ventabren. The Free Worlds League retaliated with their own raids against Outreach and New Canton where the newly raised 1st Regulan Auxiliary command tested their mettle against Capellan garrisons along the border while SAFE focused on deterring Capellan espionage operations.

The deployment of the Marik Federal and Provincial auxiliary commands mimics those of other houses who are deploying smaller, purpose-built commands for anti-piracy patrols, to support larger commands and to conduct cross border raids much in the same manner as mercenary commands. This frees up both larger commands and the mercenary units for frontline service. In the case of the Regulan government, they agreed to the raising of an auxiliary command rather than releasing a full command from home garrison duties.

 FWL-LC Front: The chaos caused by sabotage to both the LCAF and FWLM in the Isle of Skye had a more consequential effect on the Lyran defenders than it did to the Free Worlds League in the past quarter. Behind a solid wall of counter-espionage efforts to secure the lines of communication, Duncan Marik took advantage of the inadvertent concentration of forces near Hesperus to launch a full out assault on the major industrial centre as well as the near by systems of Calendonia and Lamon. A total of eleven commands with four carrier groups struck three systems in October and immediately ran into heavier than expected resistance.

Without updated intelligence on the defending forces the attackers were going in almost blind. At Caledonia three attacking League commands with the carrier FWLS Oriente in support ran into a defence of near equal strength but supported by the Lyran fleet including the carrier groups led by LCS Argus and Defiant. Despite being outnumbered in aerospace forces the League forces were more experienced, which permitted the attackers to fight through the defending naval forces and land on the planet. In the process both LCS Argus and FWLS Oriente were crippled while LCS Defiant suffered major damage. On the ground the garrison was supported by the fully rested commands of the 5th Donegal Guards and 17th Skye Rangers managed to hold the capital and space port for two months against the attacking 3rd Free Worlds Guard, 12th Atrean Dragoons and 1st Marik Auxiliary. The attackers finally withdrew their badly depleted forces when additional Lyran troops and naval force arrived in December.

The attack on Lamon would prove an uphill battle from the start for the 2nd Free Worlds Guard, 1st Marik Reserve and 3rd Hussars of Oriente supported by the FWLS Peter Marik. The defence was led by the 6th and 15th Lyran Guards, the 2nd Bolan Landwehr and a surprising strong garrison, the defenders pinned the attackers down throughout October and most of November. The 3rd Hussars were separated from the main body of the attackers and lacking support were destroyed in detail in November. Although both sides reinforced in December and with more Lyran troops massing in nearby systems, the League troops withdrew to focus their efforts on Hesperus II. Losses on both sides were extremely heavy, particularly amongst conventional the infantry and armoured regiments. Commands that should have had seven or eight infantry regiments were often reduced to just three or four. Armoured regiments fared no better as battalions and regiments had to be amalgamated in order maintain some semblance of regimental integrity.

For all the fighting on Lamon and Caledonia all eyes were fixed on Hesperus II in October. The League assault was led by the FWLS Atreus and Marik II carrier groups escorting four Federal, one Provincial and Head Hunters mercenary command. Opposing them on and above the heavily fortified world were the LCS Isle of Skye and Indomitable along with four ground commands and the large Hesperus garrison force that included both aerospace and conventional atmospheric aircraft. The naval battle that followed saw both sides hammer away at each other, reducing aerospace strength on both sides by nearly fifty percent in over a week of combat centered above the planet itself.

The first attempts at landing troops in the second week of October had to be aborted as the fighter defences could not be bypassed and the landings only began mid-month. The garrison left most of its infantry to defend the fortified factories while the 1st Bolan Landwehr joined the garrison's mechanised infantry, armoured and Mech battalions to form three combat formations to defend the capital and the factories not enclosed by fortifications. The 2nd Donegal Guards, 1st and 2nd Royal Guards formed into an army of seven more mixed formations deployed to cover the fortified factories behind a screen of light Mechs and armour sent out as a reconnaissance screen.

The attacking forces were led by the 1st and 23rd Marik Militias, Atrean Hussars and 1st Atrean Dragoons, which moved en masse against the three Lyran Guards concentrations. The attack ran into a hurricane of fire as they drove the defenders back on Capital and lighter fortifications. Both sides used light ‘Mech and tank formations to conduct hit and run strikes on larger enemy formations in order to slow them down. As the Lyrans retreated within range of the fortress guns the weight of the defender’s firepower grew to be too much for the attackers and they broke off the assault near the end of the month. Further attacks by the Silver Hawks Falcon command supported by the Head Hunters badly tore up a number of garrison ‘Mech, tank and mechanised infantry battalions as they advanced but the remaining garrison troops and the Bolan Landwehr managed to hold the attackers away from the capital and its factories.

With neither side gaining air superiority both sides now began to rotate troops to the rear or off planet entirely. The 23rd Marik Militia, Silver Hawk Falcons and Head Hunters were savaged in the initial fighting and were withdrawn. The Lyran’s 2nd Donegal Guards, Bolan Landwehr and much of the garrison’s mobile forces were likewise crippled but with reinforcements on the way the regular formations remained on planet to absorb replacements. Both sides poured reinforcements into the system in November to feed the fighting while other troops moved to the rear to rest and recover. By late December the FWLM had rotated in the 2nd 4th, 6th, 9th and 10th Marik Militias as well as the Steel Guards and the Stewart Juggernaut commands. The Lyran command, fully recognising the danger to Hesperus, rushed 5th, 11th and 13th Donegal Guards, the 11th Arcturan Guards, 8th Lyran Regulars as well as the Hsien Hotheads and Cranston Snord’s Irregulars to Hesperus II.

With near parity on the ground and only a slight advantage in aerospace favouring the Free Worlds League, the end of December saw the League invasion apparently stalled in front of the fortifications and the battered capital. A slight lull developed in late December as the year drew to a close. No one has any doubts that the fighting will resume with a new intensity in the new year.


The Periphery: Activity within the major Periphery states calmed considerably with the exception a number of pirate attacks striking the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus. As with the major inner sphere Houses more and more resources are being diverted to counter-espionage and defence against sabotage to meet the growing number of attacks against facilities and research centres. Considering the reduced budgets available to the periphery states this diversion of resources come at a high price to over all defence preparation.

These attacks seem mainly focused against the Magistracy of Canopus, whose government has made it clear they have further evidence of involvement in these attacks by the Capellan Confederation. Canopian counterstrikes were once again carried out against nearby Capellan targets with the government on Canopus making it publicly known that they will continue to respond in kind against any future attacks whatever the source.

Piracy: Piracy along the periphery dropped significantly in the last quarter of 3021 as suddenly as it increased in the second and third quarters. There were only a handful of attacks striking the Draconis Combine, Lyran Commonwealth and Free Worlds League while none at all hit the Capellan Confederation or Federated Suns. Some sources claim that the pirate bands themselves welcomed the respite to rebuild and absorb the booty gained over the past six months. Other sources state the pirates are stilling willing to hire their services or take on their own operations in order to cover their own expenses. Either way, border patrols and garrisons were making good use of the time to repair damage to their often-inadequate formations.

 Espionage, Counter-Espionage and Sabotage: The year 3021 saw the expansion intelligence and special operations by the inner sphere houses to levels not seen since the closing years of the Second Succession War. This in turn has forced each nation to invest in expensive counter-intelligence and defensive measures against sabotage to protect logistics and transportation routes, industrial complexes, research facilities and even blocking enemy efforts to obtain deployment and operational information and plans. The major periphery states were not exempt from this new trend as both the Magistracy of Canopus and Outworld Alliance were targets of a number of operations aimed at research and production facilities.

All of this activity has come at a cost to the military budgets as these operations expanded far beyond expectations. It soon became necessary to commit more and more resources to constructing a web of defensive operations aimed at foiling attacks or preventing penetration of state secrets. Transportations routes and communication infrastructure required some of the strongest defensive operations, especially near active fronts, to ensure combat units could successfully move and maintain effective communications once on station. Factories anywhere within one hundred and twenty light years of the border required inclusion in the web of defensive counter-intelligence and security operations. Each nation has also tried to establish a network of moles or otherwise buy the services of disaffected citizens of enemy states which meant more resources to finding and eliminating these ‘threats from within’.

The costs of both offensive and defensive intelligence operations along side of black ops and the required supporting networks has cut deeply into other programs such as research and development, production of new commands or replacing destroyed combat commands. In a few cases even being able to move troops from one station to the next has proved difficult without major security deployments along planned routes. This in turn has impacted major operations and is feeding another growing trend towards raiding enemy frontier positions with smaller custom designed or mercenary commands or the use of pirate bands to harass the periphery defenses. Regardless of the cost it has become clear that no state can ignore this Shadow War without being badly compromised at almost every level. This will mean budgets will continue to be adjusted to deal with the threat.
« Last Edit: 24 February 2021, 13:51:14 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 #218 on: 15 January 2021, 13:05:14 »
Government House, Cerant, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 1a, Jan 3022

The three-dimensional graphics displayed on the large viewing screen on the conference room wall were impressive, if not as good as a fully functioning holotank. Major Ostlund, head of the Davion command’s  Intelligence team had just begun to update the assembled officers on the latest information regarding the arrival of Draconis Combine force in the An Ting system.

“As of last reports there are over sixty dropships and their jumpships at the Nadir point. Combine fighters have forced our pickets to withdraw from their assembly point but as yet this fleet has not begun to close on the planet.”

“What are they waiting for, Major? Reinforcements?” The question came from Colonel Candell of the Uruk’Hai regiment that formed part of the defending force on the planet.

“That is a safe bet, Colonel,” came Ostlund’s reply. “The dropship count tells us the Dracos have brought two commands to An Ting. Two commands would mean they have more than one hundred aerospace fighters in six wings as part of their standard command organisation.”

The map of the solar system map on screen moved into the background and was replaced by Table of Organisation and Equipment “Tree” showing the regimental and battalion composition of a DCMS Combat Command.

“Current configuration of a Combine command has a ‘Mech regiment backed by three armoured regiments, one regiment of mechanised infantry, four more of motorised infantry, an artillery battalion and three aerospace fighter wings. This is one more wing than we currently see in a standard Federated Suns command but only half of what the Deneb Light Cavalry deploy.”

Turning to face the room fully, Ostlund continued.

“This tells us they know who we are and what our strength is likely to be. That being the case they will not risk a slaughter by attacking when we have nearly twice their number of aerospace assets. They clearly have help coming so it is only a matter of time before they complete their concentration. At that point I have no doubt they won’t be at all shy about attacking.”

Marshal Carl Saunders, commander of the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry and overall commander of the Davion defences, cleared his throated.

“When we received our first firm count on the attacking numbers, I considered sending our combined aerospace forces out to hit them while we have the numerical advantage. However, it would take the best part of a week to get out to nadir point and there was no guaranteed the reinforcements would not arrive by then, or worse, jump in behind us.

“If they are sending one or two more commands, we’ll have rough parity in aerospace numbers and the benefit of a fortified planetary base. If they send naval units then we can reduce their advantage by remaining in the atmosphere or meeting them in orbit along with our full force supported our own light carrier assets of Leopard and Union carrier dropships.”

As Sanders nodded to Ostlund the Davion major continued.

“We can make use of the extra time by receiving the latest supply runs inbound from the zenith point as we speak. I believe all three commands have additional forces or supplies on those dropships.”

Colonel Candell of the Uruk’Hai nodded and added, “That’s true. With the arrival of the latest convoy, we’ll have enough ‘Mechs that I can just about complete my third battalion and field a full regiment. My infantry will also be able to complete its second battalion. This will mean the Uruks will be missing one infantry battalion and about a third of our light tank battalion.”

Commander Howe of the 1st Mechanised Brigade turned to Major Ostlund and said, “The Dauntless arrived two days ago, fresh from the shipyards. More importantly, this extra time has allowed us to move the crippled Union carrier to the zenith point and in a few days the Buccaneer should be able to boost for orbit and head for the rendezvous as well. Dauntless can then jump away with our cripples and get to a repair facility for a proper refit.”

Colonel Philippe Valois joined the conversation.

“The inbound supply ships will only bring in two spare aerospace fighters for Number One Group plus a lance of heavy ‘Mechs. Other than that, we have lift capacity for same twenty-eight fighters we had last month. The Group will have to fight with what we have now.”

As Valois concluded, Richard Bedford broke in, directing his question to the Davion Marshal.

“Marshal, is it still your expectation that the Combine will land south of the Argun River? If we are facing two to three commands, they may drop in more than one area.”

“That is true Colonel,” came the Marshal’s reply. “The best infrastructure and space to deploy is on the plains south of the Argun. The terrain will also make for good land bases for their aerospace forces. We still expect the main drop about sixty kilometers south of the river, or one hundred kilometers from Cerant, with perhaps a secondary drop about one hundred and twenty kilometers east, near the major highway crossing south of the town of Essling. That said, we won’t really know until the assault forces begin their final approach.”

Nodding towards Colonel Candell, Sanders continued.

“Your brigade and the Uruk’Hai are heavier than the Light Cav so the plan remains to use your heavier units and our medium battalions to meet the main attacks while our lighter forces hit and harass the Combine flanks and supply lines. To that end I would like your light regiment to deploy about midway between Cerant and Essling. It’s mobile enough to move to Essling to delay an advance from that direction or, if the Dracons stay concentrated, rejoin the main force.”

Bedford pursed his lips and then slowly nodded. Looking towards Colonel John Beaufort he said, “We have a spot in mind, Marshal. I’ll send you our plan before the close of business today.”

Marshal Sanders rose to address the assembly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we will move forward as far as prudent to engage the enemy and then execute a fighting withdrawal. The intent is to wear down the attack to the point they are no longer strong enough to try and tackle the port and its heavy guns. We will withdraw in stages until we are under the guns and missiles of the fortification and break the attack there.”

The Marshal paused while he silently looked at the assembled officers in the room. He nodded slowly before he continued.

“I do not believe two commands can defeat our combined forces even though we will be outnumbered on the ground. I suspect this is a pinning attack, meant to prevent us from either reinforcing Matsuida or the moving to support the Galedon attack. Time will tell but whatever happens we will hold our positions until reinforced or ordered to retreat.”

Turning to Major Ostlund Sanders asked, “Is there anything else this morning, Major?”

“No, sir. Just the housekeeping issues.”

“That’s fine, Major.” Turning once more to the assembled officers Marshal Sanders concluded. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have complete briefing packets for all of you. The Major will ensure any and all reasonable requests will be met. The Governor will be declaring marshal law at midnight local time and the local militia is mobilizing to support the defence of the capital.

“With that, I’ll leave you to finish up with Major Ostlund and his team. Good day.”

The room stood as the Marshal made his way to the exit. As the door closed behind him everyone took their seats again. Major Ostlund then continued the briefing.

“All units down to battalion level are to report their supply status by 1600h this afternoon along with dispersal points for combat resupply depots…”

*****
« Last Edit: 10 April 2021, 11:59:24 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 #219 on: 15 January 2021, 19:16:43 »
I have a feeling they're really going to need reinforcements...

DOC_Agren

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #220 on: 24 January 2021, 15:13:50 »
reinforcements from where though?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #221 on: 07 February 2021, 21:18:49 »
DCS Haruna, Nadir Jump Point, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2a, Jan 3022


Tai-sho Kazunori Samejima blinked twice as the space around him returned to normal. Despite more than fifty years in the Draconis Combine Admiralty, the admiral still found the emergence from a hyper-space jump annoying. The affects on his vision was something new and doctors had simply told him it was due to his age. As long as the affects dissipated quickly they were no cause for concern. Samejima slowly looked around the flag bridge of the Draconis Combine’s newest Vengeance class aerospace carrier dropship, the Haruna, and was pleased to see the bridge crew bending to their tasks. The Haruna was launched at Chatham in 3020 and had just linked up with its its escorts for their shake down cruise and formation manoeuvres when word came of the rebellion. Lacking any aerospace fighters and with a newly trained crew, the carrier group was directed to Luthien to form the core of the naval strike force to retake what was arguably the most strategically important system outside the capital itself.

With the Draconis Combine being pressed hard in the Galedon District as well as heavily engaged by continuous raids along the Lyran border it was soon discovered that nearby reserves were simply not available to launch a quick strike to retake Chatham. While the DCMS rushed the 9th Pesht Regulars to the capital and brought its depleted regiments up to strength, Haruna and her consorts used the weeks and months to receive a full regiment of newly raised aerospace fighters and began putting the green pilots through their paces. By the time the expeditionary force was ready to depart from Luthien the carrier group had learned its trade and was ready for the coming challenge.

The fight to crush the rebellion on Chatham was far more difficult than first expected as the rules of engagement stressed that, under no circumstances, could damage be inflicted on either the surface or orbiting production facilities. The outcome of the battle was to be determined by the aerospace battles in the near space around the planet. The rebels died hard and the ground troops showed no mercy to any rebels found in uniform. Only the technicians that worked in the production plants were spared and it was made clear to them that the fate of their families would be determined by their full cooperation in returning the facilities to full operating capacity. The purge was as bloody as it was complete and the pleas of the rebels who claimed they rebelled in support of the Coordinator and against the corrupt business interests fell of deaf ears as assuredly as katanas fell on the necks of the guilty.

No sooner had the rebellion been crushed when orders had arrived for Samejima to immediately reembark the entire force and head for the New Samarkand Prefecture of the Galedon Military District. With neither time nor resources to complete more than rudimentary repairs on damaged fighters, much less replace loses, Haruna set course for Sakoranoki. On arrival the carrier group was given a short respite to rest and conduct more thorough repairs but even these left the fighter wings significantly understrength when orders came in late December to be ready to make two jumps to support the campaign to retake An Ting.

As his thoughts returned to the present he felt the massive dropship lurch as it was released from the docking ring on the jumpship that had brought Haruna to An Ting. Looking towards the main tactical display Samejima could see the carrier group slowly dispersing as its various elements were released and began to deploy into a combat formation.

Daisa Tedeki.” Samejima’s use of the archaic rank for a naval captain in old Japanese was deliberate and intended to show a clear distinction between a captain in the DCMS and the higher rank in the admiralty.

“Hai, Tai-sho,” came the immediate response from the Haruna’s commanding officer.

“Once the carrier group completes its deployment and has moved away from the jump point have the remainder of the fleet take station behind us. Ensure all the aerospace wings assigned to the ground forces are transferred to us. Our squadrons are understrength so we should be able to accommodate all the fighters in our assault wings.

“Also ensure the transports send over all the Techs that can be supported along with munitions and spares. I want to be ready to burn for the planet within twenty-four hours. We have nine fighter wings plus the three wings of the group. We must make short work of these “Light Cavalrymen” and their aerospace fighters and then ground our invasion force.”

“Hai, immediately, Tai-sho”, came Tedeki’s reply. “I would point out, sir, that our intelligence reports state the Federated Suns forces do have additional aerospace assets with the mercenary commands. The defenders may have as many as ten wings.”

“True, Daisa,” Samejima paused as he considered the information. “But these mercenaries fight for money first above all else. If we strike them hard enough they will run for cover like merchants who fear for their wares in a saikuron. Once we command the skies and space around An Ting, we will blockade the planet and strangle it.”

Anata ga nozomu yo ni, Kaigun-Taisho. It will be done.”

*****

Government House, Cerant, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2a, Jan 3022

The Davion naval pickets screening the nadir point of Ant Ting’s star spotted the arrival of the Draconis Combine carrier group almost immediately and quickly sent word back to the planet. The news came as a relief to the senior staffs as they now knew what they would have to contend with as the Combine attack force shook itself out and began to burn towards the planet. Davion pickets withdrew before the nearly one hundred dropships. The next morning Marshal Sanders called for a conference of senior commanders and their aerospace staffs to discuss a proposal put forward by Commodore George Martin, commanding the aerospace and naval forces belonging to the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry.

Richard Bedford took along his own naval commander, Richard Howe as well as Colonel Philippe Valois, commanding officer of Number One Group, and Lieutenant-Colonel Catherine Woodville, second-in-command of the Group and commander of the Group’s 124 Wing. Arriving at the headquarters for the Deneb light cavalry Bedford was pleased to see the Uruk-Hai’s commanding officer and his aerospace commander already in the conference room.

“Candell, what’s new with your Uruks?”

“Hello, Bedford, “ Candell replied as he looked up from his computer pad. “Making use of every second the Dracons give me to sort out my command. I’ve already started the lead elements south towards the highway bridge over the Argun. By tomorrow everyone but the composite battalion and some light armour will be on their way to their deployment area. How about you?”

“About the same. Gamma is already in its zone halfway to Essling. Alpha begins moving to the east of the city tonight. I’ll keep my brigade command and the 2nd Dragoons here at the spaceport until we know where the Dracon’s will land.”

Before Candell could respond Marshall Sanders and his staff entered the room and quickly took their places near the head of the table.

“Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,” began Sanders. “I know we all have a lot to do but George here has come up with an idea I want to run by you all. It’s risky but it can only work if we throw everything at the incoming fleet.”

Turning to the Davion Commodore the Marshal nodded, “Go ahead, Commodore. Explain to our guest what you have come up with.”

Standing and moving towards a large wall screen the Davion officer nodded to a technician to turn on the display. It came to life and solidified into a schematic of the An Ting solar system.

“Monitoring the comms traffic we believe the carrier group that is leading the assault to be led by the Haruna. She’s new and apparently was the carrier group that led the assault that retook Chatham from the rebels last summer. Intel that was following those events has the group consisting of three fighter wings plus the usual carrier wing and two assault wings. Combine this with the six wings from the ground forces and the combine is coming at us with twelve wings. That could be thirteen wings if they commit their Union and Leopard aerospace carriers from the ground forces.

“As we all know we have ten wings with our own forces and two squadrons from the recently activated planetary militia. That gives us just under eleven wings. To this we can add the Tenth’s 12 Union and Leopard carriers for twelve wings.”

Pausing, Martin looked directly at Richard Bedford.

“Colonel Bedford. We know you also have your own ad hoc carrier squadron that include two Leopard and a Union carrier as well as an Intruder. You are under independent command so I can’t order you to commit either your dropships or your aerospace fighters to this operation.

“I also realise that just a week ago we were talking about remaining in the atmosphere if a carrier group showed up in order to deny the Combine the advantage of using their carrier wing in open battle. If they commit their assault dropships to the atmosphere they are at a pronounced disadvantage in aerial combat. This might even tip the scales in our favour if things go our way.

“However, even if we come out ahead against their fighters, we’ll take serious damage and we leave a carrier group in orbit above us which they can use to slap a close blockade on the planet and choke off our supply line. We also give the Dracons a safe harbour for rearming, refueling and repairing damaged aerospace fighters that would be effectively out of reach.

“With your support we may be able to cripple the Dracons aerospace force, perhaps at the cost of our own but we would then have a chance to keep the line of supply open. If neither side has an effective aerospace force dropships can come and go at much reduced risk. The fortified spaceport would also give use the opportunity to conduct some repairs and perhaps keep a few squadrons operational for reconnaissance and dropship escorts.”

Richard Bedford felt all eyes in the room focus on him while he considered the proposal. After nodding to himself a few times Bedford looked at Richard Howe.

“Commander, your opinion please.”

Howe exhaled slowly and was clearly considering the numbers and combat potential of the opposing forces.

“There is merit to the strategy but it comes with some pretty serious risks, sir. A carrier group has thirty-six assault ships plus the fighters. If the Combine fighter wings are full strength, we would be facing just over two hundred craft.

“Our combined forces could put up sixteen light dropship carriers and an assault dropship plus just over one hundred and ninety fighters. We would need to keep all our dropships in a single reinforced wing. That gives us a rough parity in numbers but the firepower advantage would lay with the enemy.”

Commodore Martin interjected, “We would have the advantage in manoeuvrability. Dropships are not as agile as fighters.”

“That’s true Commodore, but fighters are far more fragile.” replied Howe. “What do you think Philippe?”

Leaning forward Philippe Valois placed both elbows on the table and rested his chin on his left fist as he pondered the plan.

“It is possible but we would need to focus on the enemy fighters first. Strip away the escorts for the dropships with light and medium fighters and open a path for the heavy fighters and our own dropships. If we are successful, the heavy craft and dropships can lead the attack followed by any remaining mediums. The light fighters could be used tie down the remaining Dracon fighters to prevent their supporting their carrier group.”

“Catherine?” Valois turned to his second in command. “You have commanded medium and heavy fighters your entire career. What do you think?”

“It won’t be easy but it can be done,” offered Catherine Woodville. “Besides, if we are under a blockade, it means nothing gets through without a Davion naval force coming to the rescue and from we have been told, there is nothing available at the moment.”

“It’s a big ask, Colonel,” Marshal Sanders added. “Hell, Colonel Candell, I won’t even order your wing to commit to this. We could be just fine with sticking to the original plan but if we can drive off the carrier group or cripple their aerospace forces, we go a long way to balancing things on the ground.”

Candell looked around the room and then nodded.

“The Uruks have never shied away from a fight, Marshal. Besides, if we win the chances for some rich aerospace salvage will be improved without all those fighters impacting the ground.”

Richard Bedford looked at Commodore Martin once again and paused before he began.

“Alright Commodore, you have our dropships and fighters.”

Looking at his officers he went on. “I’ll leave Colonel Valois and Commander Howe with you to work out the details of the intercept.”

Sanders face broke into a broad smile as he clapped his hands together.

“That is excellent. Thank you, gentlemen and lady.”

Turning to Martin he added, “George, it’s up to you and our combined space jockeys now. Just keep in mind I don’t want anything reckless. If you can’t work out a viable plan before the enemy fleet reaches the moon’s orbits we stay in the atmosphere. Clear?”

“Absolutely, sir.”

“Good then,” Sanders rose from his seat and collected his computer pad. “Let’s make it happen."

*****

« Last Edit: 10 April 2021, 12:10:02 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 #222 on: 07 February 2021, 21:32:48 »
Good luck to the defenders!  They're going to need it...

snakespinner

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #223 on: 07 February 2021, 22:29:20 »
The odds are not too great, with a bit of luck anything is possible. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

DOC_Agren

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #224 on: 17 February 2021, 16:28:36 »
That going to be 1 big turkey shoot
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #225 on: 24 February 2021, 19:19:11 »
Forward Operational HQ of Duncan Marik, Starboro, Zaniah, Free World Occupation Zone, Week 2b, Jan 3022


Duncan Marik listened intently as the liaison officer from the 1st Marik Militia began to summarise his report on the ongoing campaign to conquer the critical Hesperus II industrial world. The capital, Maria’s Elegy, had been reduced to rubble in the heavy fighting but still the defenders had not given up the city or its damaged factory complex. More importantly, the fortified factories in the Myoo Mountains had not been conquered and the defending Lyran troops were keeping close to the fortress guns, defying the attacking Marik troops to close.

“In summary, General, the attacking commands are effectively exhausted. The space above the planet is no man’s land, our own naval forces are too battered to maintain a permanent presence in orbit despite being able to deny that same space to the Lyrans. Of the ten commands on planet four are crippled and need to be withdrawn for major refitting, two more are barely sixty percent and are bogged down in the ruined capital. The remaining four that are deployed in the mountains are all below seventy-percent and cannot close on the fortifications without incurring unacceptable losses."

Closing the file on the podium as the screen display faded to black, Lieutenant-Colonel Eduard Plank looked up at Duncan Marik and concluded.

“Sir, we are stalemated. Unless we can shift major forces to reinforce the assault, we cannot take the planet.”

Duncan Marik, theatre commander and main architect of the successful of the Free World League’s offensive into the Isle of Skye returned the gaze of the Marik Militia officer. Standing, he turned his eyes to encompass the other officers in the room.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears the Lyrans have finally amassed enough troops to bring our offensive to a halt. We will need to – ”

The door to the briefing room burst open followed by a staff officer who came to immediate attention with a sharp click of his boot heels.

“Excuse me, General, but we have just received a priority communication from the Tamarind sector.”

Suppressing his annoyance at the sudden interruption Marik replied, “Alright Force Commander, bring it here.”

The officer hurried around the table and handed the folder holding a single sheet of white paper to the front commander. Removing the page from the folder Duncan Marik began to read. Looking up at the officer with a raised eyebrow he asked,

“Is this confirmed, Force Commander?”

“Yes, sir. The confirmation codes are valid.”

Nodding his dismissal to the officer he looked around the room at the expectant faces as he raised the paper.

“I know our troops in the Isle of Skye are battered and tired. We will do what we can to reinforce their efforts and rotate out the worst affected commands. However, now is not the time to let up on the pressure.”

Pausing briefly as he organised his thoughts he continued, “I want continued probing attacks along the front from Alkaid to New Earth to see if we can find a week spot to exploit.”

Returning his gaze to the liaison officer from the 1st Marik Militia Marik added, “Leutnant-Colonel Plank. I am releasing the carrier group Peter Marik along with the 2nd Free Worlds Guards and 1st Marik Reserve from the front reserves for use against Hesperus. They are freshly refitted and rested. I want them in action by February.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to keep the Lyrans pinned in the Isle of Skye for a few more weeks, perhaps another month if we can. I want to see plans for the operations within three days. Dismissed.”

As the puzzled staff and command liaison officers rose and began to disperse Duncan Marik could not suppress the smile that lit his face as he looked again at the message in his hand.

Ultra Top Secret

From: General Franz Daniel, Headquarters Tamarind Operational District

To: General Duncan Marik, Headquarters Isle of Skye Strategic Direction

Re: Operation Glacier

General Marik,

First wave forces have landed successfully on all objectives and the enemy is in retreat. Current situation is as follows:

Poulsbo – 6th and 9th Orloff Grenadiers landed successfully, enemy forces engaged and retreating off world.
Penobscot – 1st Orloff Grenadiers, Ceasar’s Cohort landed successfully, enemy forces engaged and retreating off world.
Cavanaugh II – 25th Marik Militia, Clifton’s Rangers and Martian Cohort landed successfully, enemy engaged.
Loric – 1st and 2nd Brigades, Fusiliers of Oriente landed successfully, enemy engaged and retreating
Pressby – 3rd Brigade, Fusiliers of Oriente landed successfully, garrison defeated, planet surrendered
Gaiusar – 5th Brigade, Fusiliers of Oriente landed successfully, garrison engaged

Second wave forces moving into position

Signed,

Franz Daniel
General Officer Commanding, Tamarind Operational District

 
*****


Headquarters Military District 1, Craiova, Alarion, Alarion Province, Lyran Commonwealth, Week 2b, Jan 3022


Hauptmann-General Mark Kostic was worried, very worried. His Military District 1 included both the Ford and Cavanaugh Theaters but since the Free World League invasion into the Isle of Skye he had seen one command after another stripped away from his district. As the new year dawned a stretch of border more than two hundred light years across suddenly erupted into combat as a new invasion from the Free Worlds League swamped his weakened defences. Without reference to any data or deployment records Kostic already new he had no real hope of opposing the new offensive.

The flat screen display in front of him showed the extent of the front that was engaged. Red dots highlighted the systems currently under attack with text block icons noting the most current information on the defenders and the identity of the attacker, if known. Aware of the dangers in denuding certain sectors, the High Command on Tharkad had issued standing orders in case of an attack. With the exception of industrial worlds planetary garrisons and the forward commands were to fight as long as possible to delay the attacker but otherwise the mobile forces were ‘roll with the punches’.

Looking at the list of commands available in his district Kostic wasn’t sure rolling with the punches would accomplish much. His attention was drawn first to the Ford Theatre, his weakest sector of the front. At Gienah stood the 7th Donegal Guards and the mercenary Stealthy Tigers. Gienah held a major factory complex and stout fortifications that could not be abandoned so the troops there could not retreat. Inbound from Galatea was a second, newly formed, mercenary command, Gregg’s Long Striders, bound for Ford. However, it was along way from its post and could not possibly reach that system before late February. So far no attack had been reported on Gienah, Ford or the nearby spinward systems but General Neil, the Ford Theatre commander had been ordered to hold at all costs.

Pressby and Giausar, two systems a little more than thirty light years anti-spinward from Gienah, flashed a deep red and the display noted no mobile commands presence. What garrisons they had were ordered to fight as long as they had the strength but both systems were under attack by full Free Worlds combat commands. It was just a matter of time.

Another thirty light years anti-spinward lay Loric, flashing an angry amber, a system all but isolated by open patches of empty space or systems that had been killed in the preceding succession wars. Here the 10th Skye Rangers were backed by the planet’s militia but he knew the Rangers were anxious for transfer to the main front in the Isle of Skye. He had promised the unit he would do his best to promote their transfer but with so few troops at his disposal he had not been able to follow through on their request. Understanding the precarious nature of the political state within the Isle of Skye, Kostic had ordered the 10th Skye Rangers to retreat on Zwenkau as soon as word arrived of the attack.

Between Loric and Cavanaugh II there was Dixie, it shone a pleasant green noting no present attack but like Loric was surrounded by  empty space. A small grace that meant little as there were no LCAF mobile formation in the area to bolster the front. Across the void Cavanaugh II was held by the 36th Lyran Guards and the 1st Alarion Landwehr. The Cavanaugh system was also the location of the Cavanaugh Theatre headquarters commanded by General Iris Steiner, who’s last report had advised she had at least two enemy commands approaching the planet. Since then, all attempts to reach the the headquarters had failed.

The last two defended systems were Penobscot, held by just the planetary militia supported by the 2nd Alarion Landwehr, and Poulsbo, defended by both commands of the mercenary Narhal’s Raiders. Communications had remained intact and it was known that the Landwehr were retreating to Zdice, hopefully to link up with General Steiner’s forces from Cavanaugh, while the Narhal Raiders were retreating to Khon Kaen.

“Pretty thin gruel.”

Kostic had not realised he had spoken aloud until the young Hauptmann to his left spoke.

“I beg your pardon, Hauptmann-General. I did not catch that.”

Drawing in a deep breath the Steiner General looked over at the young woman and smiled as he repeated his thought.

“Pretty thin gruel, Hauptmann Stoltz,” he said. “We have just three army commands, two of Landwehr and four mercenary commands to hold a front nearly two hundred and fifty light years across. There’s little immediate reserve in the rear either.”

Kostic exhaled loudly, squared his shoulders and rolled his head around to stretch tense neck muscles.

“Alright then,” he continued. “Send to 7th and 9th Lyran Regulars on Loburg. They are to hold their positions and await the arrival of both commands of the Knights of Saint Cameron. The 7th and 8th Patrol Commands are to maintain their positions behind the Bolan Wastes.”

Pausing briefly Kostic pointed at the junction of the Lyran border with the Circinus Confederation.

“Since both Narhal’s Raider commands are retreating on Khon Kaen have the Filthy Lucre join them. Also have the Always Faithful move to Althastan and continue to cover the periphery border.

“Finally, send a request to Tharkad to scrape the bottom of the manpower barrel and get us more troops. Also request the High Command to expedite the transfer of the 10th Donegal and the 15th Arcturan Guards from Hauptmann-General Fleury’s District 2.”

“Those two commands are months away on the periphery, sir,” Stolz interrupted. “Even if they began moving immediately it would April or May before they could get even as far as Acrux.”

“True, Hauptmann, so the sooner they get moving the better.”

Looking over the vast empty spaces on the display the Hauptmann-General let out a soft grunt. He couldn’t wish new commands into existence and realised there was nothing else he could do at the moment. He wrapped the knuckles of his right hand on the edge of display table twice, turned on his heels and stalked away towards his office.

*****
« Last Edit: 28 February 2021, 16:10:16 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 #226 on: 24 February 2021, 19:31:38 »
Sounds like a perfect opportunity for mercenaries looking for work...  ^-^

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #227 on: 26 February 2021, 22:16:53 »
FSS Valmy, System Sector India Four, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2b, Jan 3022
 
The tactical display on the main screen began to firm up the details of the dropship formations burning in from the system’s nadir point as they passed the orbital path of An Ting’s three moons. Two formations were clearly delineated with the smaller formation just under an hour ahead of the larger. The incoming fleet had executed their end over a few days before as they began countering the thrust that had carried them in system from the star. Soon their speed would drop low enough that fighters and dropships could manoeuvre for combat.

“Sensors, confirm the count, please.” 

Commodore George Martin was seated in his command chair on the bridge of the Valmy, four-point safety harnesses secured him in place while he quietly watching the crew execute their duties as his small fleet deployed for battle.

“Thirty-six dropships in the lead formation, sir. Over ninety-five percent certainty that’s the carrier group. There is definitely a carrier in the core of the formation and the signatures of the rest are mainly assault vessels of one type or another. There doesn’t appear to be any additional light carriers in the mix.”

The report came from Lieutenant-Commander Debra Delnais, and experienced naval officer who had served with Martin since he was assigned to the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry four years before. Delnais continued.

“There are more than seventy in the larger formation to the rear in standard troopship convoy deployments. There are undoubtedly supply vessels pulling up the rear.”

“Thank you,” responded Martin.

His gaze fixed on the screen Martin thought to himself.

“So, this Kurita admiral has stuffed his carrier group with his entire fighters force to use them to in a concentrated thrust to batter his way to the planet. He'll open a hole so his troopships can land without interference. Very wise. The aerospace carrier dropships assigned to the ground forces would give him a tidy reserve of about six to nine vessels should his main group take serious damage.”

“Alright then,” Martin said. “Comms, send to all group leaders. Deploy the diamond. Gold at the point, Red to port, Blue to starboard. Have the Uruks’ wing and Lieutenant-Colonel Onishi glue their squadrons to our flanks. Have the five spare carriers on the surface prep to boost for orbit. I want them ready to replace losses as quickly as possible. Then get me Gold leader.”

A chorus of of “Aye, sir’ followed the command as Commodore Martin sat back in his seat, his eyes fixed on the main screen.

*****


DCS Haruna, System Sector Mike Four, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2b, Jan 3022

Tai-sho Samejima smiled slowly as he saw the tactical display confirm what he had hoped would happen. The Davion fleet was moving out to meet him in space after all. It was not a bluff. While the admiral was concerned that his carrier groups’ fighter wings were understrength, counting just thirty-five serviceable fighter instead of the usual fifty-four, he was confident in the firepower his fleet could mass. With the one hundred and eight fighters from the 6th and 7th Pesht’s aerospace regiments his fleet would constitute nearly one hundred and eighty craft. It should more than suffice.

Taking in the read outs displayed on the screen before him Samejima frowned briefly as it became apparent the enemy was numerically stronger. Running down the side of the screen the sensors and computer analysis noted just sixteen dropships, apparently all were light carriers. The aerospace fighter estimates counted sixty-eight light fighters, fifty-six medium fighters and seventy-two heavy fighters. With a count of some two hundred and twelve craft the Draconis Combine admiral pondered the enemy composition for a moment and then nodded once.

“They have an advantage in fighters but more than a third are light models,” thought Samejima. “Our advantage lays in the superior firepower of this carrier group’s vessels.”

Turning to the Haruna’s captain he gave the anticipated order.

“Daisa, you may launch all fighters.”

“Hai, Tai-sho.” Tedeki executed a perfectly precise bow to his fleet commander before he pivoted on his heels and began to bark orders to the bridge crew.

Within minutes the Draconis Combine fleet leading the assault to retake An Ting from the Federated Suns had deployed into a concave crescent or bow. To port were the three wings of the 6th Pesht Regulars aerospace regiment, its three wings reinforced by the medium fighters of the depleted 7th Strike Wing from Haruna. To starboard was the 7th Pesht Regulars regiment buttressed by the remaining eleven fighters from the 1st Interceptor Wing. In the center of the bow, set back in its curve stood the carrier Haruna, ithirty-five additional dropships and thirteen heavy fighters from the 9th Attack Wing.

The dropships held their orientation with their bows pointed out into space towards the sun as they increased their burn to decelerate more quickly. When only minutes separated the two fleets the dropships executed a second ‘end over’ manoeuvre and brought their bows to face the approaching Davion fleet.

*****


Gold Group, System Sector India Four, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Draconis Combine, Week 2b, Jan 3022

A green light on his Sholagar fighter’s communications panel blinked into life. Colonel Philippe Valois flipped a small switch and heard the speakers in his helmet come alive with the crackle of static and low warble of heavy encryption.

“Gold Lead, this is Rainbow Nine, over,” came a heavily filtered voice.

“Rainbow Nine this is Gold Leader, send over.”

“Colonel Valois, this is Martin. You’re the point. As planned you are to engage and pin down the strongest of the enemy fighter formations and prevent them from interfering with our attack. Red Group will engage the other flank. This will give our heavies and carriers their best shot at the carrier group. I’ll leave the timing to you, over.”

“Rainbow Nine, understood. We’ll buy you the time to get in close and take out their heavies, over.”

“Gold Lead, understood. God’s speed, Colonel. Rainbow Nine, out.”

As soon as the communication ceased Valois switched frequencies so that the three wing commanders of his group and their squadron leaders could hear his command. His own reinforced wing of twenty-six light fighters had been combined with the two light wings from the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry into a group of sixty-two light fighters. Compared to the mixed wings deployed by the Draconis Combine his group had a decided advantage in manoeuverability. This advantage came at the cost of firepower, armour and a total lack of any long range firepower. His opponents, though less agile, had more armour, more firepower and could reach out at longer ranges and still inflict damage.

Gold Group was the rapier to the Draconis mace. His pilots would have to dance and pirouette around the slower enemy fighters, jabbing where possible to score hits while avoiding as much damage as possible. They would also use their agility to prevent the enemy from disengaging and moving to support the rest of their fleet. All the same, it was a tall order.

“Gold Group this is Nine. It looks like our target will be the enemy formation to port of the carrier group.”

Pausing a moment, he found himself smiling before he continued.

“For those of you who do not know your port form starboard, that would be the enemy group on the right. Confirm, over.”

One by one the group leaders replied with a short clipped confirmation. As Valois watched, the range between his leading group and the enemy spun down. When he judged the moment right, he keyed his mike on a frequency each fighter could hear.

“On my mark… three,… two,… one. Punch it.”

Almost as one the fusion engines of sixty-two light fighters flared a brilliant white as the formation shot ahead of the remainder of the Davion fleet. As it did the pilots vectored their flight path and they dove head on into the oncoming fighters of the 6th Pesht Regulars.


*****

(to be continued)
« Last Edit: 10 April 2021, 12:13:02 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 #228 on: 27 February 2021, 05:38:34 »
The port/starboard thing isn't a matter of not knowing what they mean... it's a matter of WHOSE port/starboard, and which way they're pointing at the moment.

That said, SOOO looking forward to this!  :thumbsup:

snakespinner

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #229 on: 27 February 2021, 17:32:52 »
This looks like a massive space battle.
Love it, but it must be a nightmare to write. :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #230 on: 02 March 2021, 02:28:05 »
Battle of the Three Sisters, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Week 2b, Jan 3022

The Battle of the Three Sisters took its name from the clash of black navy and aerospace forces that clashed above An Ting within the orbit of the planet’s three moons. The Draconis Combine had committed two newly rebuilt combat commands and an aerospace carrier group to recapture the An Ting system as part of strategic counterattack aimed against the Federated Suns invasion that bitten deep into the Galedon Military District and threatened to breakthrough into the depths of the Combine itself.

The Davion and mercenary forces defending An Ting were led into battle by a ‘Group’ of light fighter wings that drove headlong into battle with the 6th Pesht Regulars aerospace fighter regiment reinforced by additional medium fighters from carrier group based around the Vengeance class aerospace carrier DCS Haruna. Intending to use their speed and agility to tie down the Draconis Combine’s fighters the light fighters were not aiming to destroy the larger enemy craft but simply to prevent them from intervening in larger battle as whole. The light fighters streaked through the formation of slower but more heavily armed and armoured aerospace fighters. Denying them any clear shots at their own fragile craft but also being aggressive enough to prevent the Combine squadrons from breaking free to aid their hard pressed comrades.

As agile as the light fighters were their heavier opponents mounted much larger and more numerous weapons and the light squadrons took a number of hits despite the twisting, corkscrewing manoeuvres and sudden vector changes that imposed massive G forces on both craft and pilots. While damage to either side had been slight, by the end of the opening round the light fighters had accomplished their task.

Thousand of kilometers away from the wheeling dogfight with the 6th Pesht the fighter regiment of the 7th Pesht Regulars had engaged with the enemy heavy fighter group from the the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry and the mercenary 1st Mechanised Brigade. Here the mixed aero fighter regiment of the Combine formation, nearly half of which were light craft, held a significant numerical advantage over the Davion forces but, like their Davion adversaries, the light craft lacked heavy weapons. Despite the Combine’s advantage in numbers, damage inflicted by both sides was roughly equal. However, this second engagement meant tied down the last of the supporting fighters available to the carrier group and the assault dropships were now alone to face the combined firepower of the rest of the Davion fleet.

With both tips of the Combine’s bow engaged, Commodore Martin of the ad hoc Davion carrier wing, escorted by the heavy aerospace wing belong to the Fighting Uruk’hai’s heavy cavalry command and the under strength wing of newly raised An Ting garrison, aimed his squadrons directly at the Haruna’s formation. Knowing that the Haruna was all important, Martin ordered his dropships and the heavy fighters to concentrate fire on the carrier and its immediate consorts, while the An Ting wing of light and heavy fighters did what they could to kill the escorting enemy fighters.

For his part Tai-sho Samejima, aboard the Haruna, had similar ideas. Haruna’s wing alongside the Buckminster assault wing poured their fire into the Davion dropships as they passed while the Benjamin assault wing and the few escorting heavy fighters shot large gaps into the fighter squadrons escorting the Davion vessels. Both fleets staggered under the fire of large autocannon and PPCs followed by the impact of hundreds of missiles. Badly damaged, the Haruna’s formation broke free of the initial exchange of fire and began to come about to renew the battle. As sensors cleared Samejima realised the final Davion group of medium fighters was bearing down on his formation and they would be on top of him before his gunners could do much about it.

Once Major Henriettta Oulet saw that the Combine fleet’s flanking formations had been engaged she rolled her group of three medium fighter wings around to support the Davion ad hoc carrier wing. Though not being close enough to distract or prevent Haruna’s formation from reaching the Valmy, nearly sixty fighters pounced on the Combine carrier formation within seconds of it emerging from the cloud of explosions and spinning debris.

Concentrating on the nearest dropships the 3/10th Deneb and 124 Wing from the 1st Mechanised Brigade concentrated their fire on the Buckminster Wing. The 124th included a number Hellcat anti-dropship versions of the Hellcat and they closed to almost point-blank range before firing. A pair of dropships exploded under the pounding as they passed while others began to fall out of formation or showed serious sign of damage. The 4/10th Deneb hammered away at the Benjamin Wing, scoring multiple hits, crippling at least two more vessels and damaging others.

As the two sides drew apart both fleet commanders detached their cripples behind a screen of fighters. Samejima ordered Haruna and his other cripples away, escorted by the last of her heavy fighters. Haruna was the Coordinator’s newest carrier and he would not risk her destruction unless absolutely necessary. Gathering his wounded vessels and fighters he directed the crippled carrier out past the orbit of the moons.

Aboard Valmy Martin also detached his crippled vessels and fighters, directing those too damaged to risk atmospheric re-entry to head for the star’s nadir point. Three Leopards and a Union carrier had been lost, three more Leopards were too badly damaged to remain with the fleet. As his fleet reformed, Martin sent a message to the surface advising that the enemy troopships were closing on the planet and would be entering the atmosphere in a few short hours. He then ordered the remaining five aerospace carrier dropships on the surface to boost for orbit to replace losses in his small fleet.

Over on the Framlingham Castle Commander Howe of the 1st Mechanised Brigade’s Aerospace Command sent his damage reports to Commodore Martin’s flagship noting that the Leopard carrier Henry II was joining the group of cripples and headed for the jump point. He welcomed the offer of one of the spare Leopards to complete his squadron and advised that both the Black Prince and Edward III had taken hits but were still combat ready. He noted with satisfaction that the ’Castle, pulling up the rear of the squadron, had barely been touched.

Attaching his signature to the status report Howe had the results of the battle sent to Brigade headquarters on the surface. Watching the main screen’s tactical display, he watched the icons representing the fleet coming around and the familiar diamond shape reforming. This time, however, the Davion dropships were absent as the wing moved away from the battle area screening the retreat of the cripples. Howe’s squadron conformed with the manoeuvre and he watched the fighters and dropships slowly move apart on the display. Soon the order came and the two opposing fleets began to accelerate towards each other once again. For the aerospace forces of the 1st Mechanised Brigade the battle now lay with Colonel Valois.


*****

Combat Results – Battle of the Three Sisters Week 2b – 3b, Jan 2022

Draconis Combine Task Force Haruna


Senta Force [r]
Haruna Aerospace CV Wing [r] – r15; aslt; Mov: 4; Arm – 14:39; S:11; M:13; L:9; Tac: 7; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5  critical hit: movement
Buckminster Aslt Wing [r] – r15; aslt; Mov:4; Arm – 2:36; S:9; M:12; L:9; Tac:4; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5   critical hit: movementbroken
Benjamin Aslt Wing [r] – r15; aslt; Mov: 4; Arm - 17:36; S:9; M:12; L:9; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5 
9th Attack Wing [r] – r15; hvy; Mov: 4; Arm - 12:23; S:8; M:8; L:2; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5 – Spec – BOMB5   critical hit: movement (2)

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 3; Tac: 7; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Kita Force [r]
1/6th Pesht Reg Aero Wing [r] – r13; lt; Mov: 6; Arm: 18:20; S:4; M:4; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB3
2/6th Pesht Reg Aero Wing [r] – r13; med; Mov: 6; Arm: 9:21; S:6; M:6; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB4   critical hit: weapons damage
3/6th Pesht Reg Aero wing [r] – r13; hvy; Mov: 6; Arm: 3:23; S:8; M:8; L:2; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB5  unsteady
7th Strike Wing [r] – r15; med; Mov: 6; Arm: 8:21; S:6; M:6; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5 critical hit: targeting damage

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 4; Tac: 6; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Minami Force [r]

1/7th Pesht Reg Aero Wing [r] – r13; lt; Mov: 6; Arm: 7:20; S:4; M:4; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB3   critical hit: weapons damage
2/7th Pesht Reg Aero Wing [r] – r13; med; Mov: 6; Arm: 2:21; S:6; M:6; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB4   critical hit: weapons damage
3/7th Pesht Reg Aero wing [r] – r13; hvy; Mov: 6; Arm: 14:23; S:8; M:8; L:2; Tac: 6; Skill:4; Mor: 7; Fat 3.5 – Spec – BOMB5 critical hit: targeting damage
1st Interceptor Wing [r] – r15; lt; Mov: 6; Arm: 6:18; S:4; M:4; L:1; Tac: 6; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 3.5 critical hit: weapons damage; broken

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 4; Tac: 6; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Versus


Davion Task Force 10


Alpha Group
239th Aero Wing (+) [r] – r15; lt; Mov: 10; Arm – 9:25; S:5; M:5; L:0; Tac: 0; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB3   critical hit: targeting damage; unsteady
1/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; lt; Mov: 11; Arm - 9:18; S:3; M:3; L:0; Tac: 0; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB3
2/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; lt; Mov: 11; Arm - 7:18; S:3; M:3; L:0; Tac: 0; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB3   critical hit: weapons damage

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 10; Tac: 0; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Beta Group
124th Aero Wing [r] – r18; med; Mov: 6; Arm – 23; S:8; M:9; L:3; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4
3/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; med; Mov: 6; Arm - 9:21; S:6; M:6; L:0; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB3  critical hit: targeting damage; shaken
4/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; med; Mov: 6; Arm - 21; S:6; M:6; L:0; Tac: 4; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB3

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 6; Tac: 4; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Gamma Group
248th Aero Wing (-) [r] – v21; hvy; Mov: 5; Arm – 1:19; S:6; M:6; L:4; Tac: 5; Skill: 3; Mor: 6; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4   critical hit: weapons damage (2); broken
5/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; hvy; Mov: 5; Arm - 11:27; S:9; M:9; L:3; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4 critical hit: movement
6/10th Deneb Aero Wing [r] – r16; hvy; Mov: 5; Arm - 13:27; S:9; M:9; L:3; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4 critical hit: weapons damage

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 5; Tac: 5; Mor 7; Skill: 4

Delta Group
Ad Hoc Carrier Wing (+) [r] – r14; DS; Mov:3; Arm - 19:44; S:12; M:16: L:12: Tac: 7; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 critical hit: targeting damage
5th Uruk’hai Aero Wing [r] – r20; hvy; Mov: 5; Arm - 17:27; S:9; M:9; L:3; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4
An Ting Aero Wing (-) [r] – r15; med; Mov: 5; Arm - 8:20; S:5; M:5; L:1; Tac: 5; Skill: 4; Mor: 7; Fat: 1.5 – SPEC – BOMB4

ACS Formation Stats – Mov: 3; Tac: 7; Mor 7; Skill: 4

*****

The orbital battle went on for another week before the Tais-sho Samejima finally yielded to the inevitable and retreated most of his fighters and remaining dropships from Haruna's group to the surface to shelter under the guns of the of troopship parks. Haruna's carrier wing and her depleted 9th Attack Wing skulked out in the space beyond the orbit of the moons. On the surface only the Benjamin Assault Wing along with one wing each of light, medium and heavy fighters could be deemed operational and the fighter's strength did little more than permit them to fly combat air patrols over the two main landing zones south of the Argun River. As January came to a close and the fighting on the surface began to intensify, Samejima sent a message to Warlord Chi that the invasion force needed reinforcements.

While Davion losses were not as severe they were bad enough. Commodore Martin could be satisfied that his forces retained a degree of aerospace superiority but with the exception of two medium wings his own forces had been badly damaged. Of the remaining aerospace forces only the heavy fighters of the Uruk'Hai were above sixty percent operational strength with most of the remaining wings at fifty percent strength or less. With this depleted force he now had to provide a force in orbit to keep an eye open for the Haruna, wounded but still dangerous. His forces also needed to provide aerospace support for the ground forces, despite the risks from ground fire, as well as keep the remaining Kurita aerospace assets confined to the air space over their own bases. He had already advised Marshal Sanders that he could not guarantee ground support missions for long without reinforcement or replacements.

For Richard Bedford and his Number 1 Group the orbital battle had been a crippling blow to the Brigade's aerospace forces. One of only two Leopard carriers available to the aerospace forces was limping away to the star's jump point to be evacuated for major repairs. Of the twelve heavy fighters of the 248th Wing only three made it back to the surface of which none were capable of flight without major repairs. The 239th Wing could count just nine serviceable light fighters of the twenty-six that were available at the start of the battle, with another six grounded with major damage. The silver lining came with the news that the 124th Wing came through the battle with all twenty of its medium fighters intact and now formed one of only two complete wings available to the defenders. In just ten days of fighting the Brigade's carefully nurtured aerospace fighter force had been cut in half and ground battle for An Ting was just getting started.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2021, 16:37:03 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 #231 on: 02 March 2021, 19:17:22 »
Ouch... but that's aerospace combat for you!  8)

DOC_Agren

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #232 on: 04 March 2021, 23:47:34 »
Ouchie
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #233 on: 10 April 2021, 21:40:51 »
Argun River Valley, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Week 3a, Jan 3022


A cold wind tugged at the parkas of the two officers standing on top of the Mobile HQ vehicle parked near the edge of the escarpment overlooking the Argun River. With the temperature dipping past the minus twenty degree Celsius mark the sky was a dark clear blue, any clouds long banished by the arctic high pressure system that had dominated the northwestern region of Hotei since late December. The once sodden ground was frozen solid and the river had frozen over for most of its length. The Brigade’s engineers had cautioned that the ice was not yet thick enough to support heavy vehicles. The current limit was set at thirty-five tons for tracked vehicles as they had the lowest ground pressure, the limit for wheeled vehicles was set even less at just thirty tons. For BattleMechs, with their much higher ground pressure per square inch, they would be confined to the highway bridge rather than risk falling through the ice and suffering unnecessary damage. In an emergency, SRMs, lasers, autocannon shell or artillery could be used to break up the ice and the Mechs could then wade across the eight metre deep river.

For the moment the thickness of the ice on the river was not what concerned Richard Bedford. As he raised his electronic binoculars to his eyes he took in the long column of the small army operating under the command of the Federated Suns on An Ting. With the landing of the Draconis Combine dropship armada eighty kilometers south of the river near the town of Bailen, Federated Suns Marshal Sanders had altered his battle plan. Instead of a light screen deploying twenty kilometers south of the river to delay the enemy while the rest of the army stood along the river, he had ordered that screen to push south as far as possible onto Plains of Bailen. The main elements of the army would cross the river and deploy in a broad bridgehead, and then fight a slow delaying action back to the Argun River.

Had the Draconis regiments landed together in one group the revised plan would not have worried the mercenary commander as much. The concern came from the enemy landings being split into two main areas and a third small landing more than three hundred kilometers to the west. The largest landing zone was almost due south of Cerant and from the number of dropships involved it looked as if it consisted of more than a combat command of Combine troops, perhaps as many as thirty-four ground battalions. The second landing zone to the southeast near the Essling crossing of the river appeared to consist of another twenty to twenty-two battalions while the third zone near the coast possessed perhaps three or four more battalions.

By advancing south of the river towards the largest landing zone the defending Federated Suns forces was marching away from the capital, the spaceport and its main supply base while, exposing its eastern flank to the second landing zone one hundred and forty kilometers east. The 1st Mechansied Brigade had assigned only two of its oversized battalions from Gamma Regiment to cover this area in a broad screen half way between Essling and the capital. Realising the threat, Richard Bedford had already released the 13th Light Dragoons from the Brigade’s reserve to strengthen Gamma Regiment. Thankfully, each battalion in both regiments had been packed with every spare Mech, tank, and riflemen available. The battalions were so overstrength that command and control would become unwieldly in combat so each battalion was split into two smaller demi-battalions, each smaller than a standard battalion but only by a lance or two. While this doubled the tactical manoeuvre units in each regiment it still did not balance the numerical scales.

Keying his headset Bedford continued his conversation with his senior commanders.

“Colonel Beaufort, the 13th Dragoons should be with you in a few hours but I need you to get some troops to the Essling crossing as fast as possible. I need Gamma to push forward and make contact with the Combine’s Beta force and tell me which way they are going. Hold the crossing if you can, maybe that will deflect them in this direction and away from the capital. If they try to push over the river blow the crossing and fight a delaying action to the northwest. Understood?”

“Understood, sir,” came a quick reply over the secure channel. “I’m send a task force of my fastest light Mechs and hovercraft to secure the bridge. The rest of the regiment will follow at their best speed. But, sir,” Beaufort paused before continuing.

“The Dracons landed closer to the bridge than any of my forward units. They could be there before we do. I’d like to request freedom of action if I have to get creative.”

Bedford was nodding as he listened to Gamma Regiment’s commander.

“Absolutely, John. Manoeuvre as you see fit but if they cross, you need to by us all as much time as possible. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how.”

“Thank you, Colonel,” Beaufort replied. “If there is nothing else, I’ll get to it.”

“Nothing else from here, John. Good luck.” Clearing his throat Richard Bedford continued. “Colonel Talbot?”

“Here, sir.”

“Talbot, I’m sending the Bill Oldhall’s 2nd Dragoons over the river to join you along with Captain O’Hara’s Mech company from the Brigade HQ. Leftenant-Colonel Bedford and his command lance will be sent over as well. You’ll have to split the Second into demi-battalions like the rest of the regiment but the extra Mechs will help stiffen the tanks. Have Tom assist Bill with the Scots Greys.”

“Thank you, Colonel,” came John Talbot’s reply. “Every extra trooper helps. I’ll use the Second on my right to tie in with the Uruks but I’m not terribly thrilled with my left hanging in the air the way it is as we move south.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do anything about that at the moment, Tom,” Bedford replied. I’ll try to keep the gap between you and Gamma covered by our UAV’s, that should give us some warning if anything slips past Beaufort’s screen.”

“It is what it is, Colonel,” Richard Bedford could here the forced levity in John talbot’s voice despite the distortions created by the scrambling of the message. “We’ll be fine, sir. Walk in the park.”

“Glad to hear it, Tom. Report back when you have concentrated south of the river.” Raising his binoculars again Bedford noted the traffic was moving far slower over the single bridge than had been hoped. While the Deneb Light Cavalry had crossed over the ice upstream with their hovercraft and light vehicles the last vehicles of Uruk’Hai were only now concentrating south of the river and west of the highway. Alpha Regiment’s lead combat elements were only now crossing the river and climbing up out of the valley and to the east. The rest of the regiment, its supply echelon and the 2nd Dragoons were strung out along the road for more than five kilometers leading north out of the valley.

“I’ve seen enough, Ed,” Bedford said as he turned to his aide standing next to him. “Let’s get inside and see what other horrors our friends in the Deneb Cavalry have come up with.”

*****

Plains of Bailen, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Week 3b, Jan 3022

The Saracen hover tank slewed to the right as string of long range missiles marched across the path of it advance. While none of the missiles hit at least three landed close enough to spray fragments, stones and dirt over the fast moving hovercraft.

“Back us off, Danny,” the order can from Captain Euan Donaldson, Commander of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Armoured Regiment of the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry.

 “Those Snakes are getting the range and we’re here to gather information on their composition and strength, not try and drop heavy Mechs with our guns.”

As the tank slipped right it reversed course it sped away from the approaching heavy Mech battalion. Donaldson used the turret override to swing the vehicle sensors in line with the approaching enemy and continued to pass the data along to the regimental commander. With more Draconis Mechs and light tanks to the northeast, the 2nd Battalion had been trying without success to slip between the two enemy march columns since first contact had been made with the invasion force two days ago. It was becoming clear that the scouting portion of the mission was coming to a close and he expected a recall order at any moment as the Davion screen slowly retreated on their own forces marching south from the Argun River.

As the data feed continued to come in, Donaldson’s thoughts returned to the orders received to move south after the enemy landing zones had been calculated. Like many others he had been surprised by change of plan and the orders to move south as far as possible to locate the enemy, report back on their strength and then delay them as long as possible. To execute these orders the Deneb Light Cavalry had initially deploy its light Mech battalion and three battalions of hover tanks into a four battalion screen that raced more than fifty kilometers south of the river. The tank battalions had enough Maxim Hover transports to bring along two companies of jump infantry, which had proved useful as the two screening forces met amongst the mixed wooded pastureland and farms north of the town of Bailen.

Upon contacting the Combine’s own reconnaissance regiment of two light Mech battalions and third of light hover tanks, the 1st Armoured Regiment’s two light tank battalions dropped off the infantry they had on board and split off from the main screening force. Forming a second formation, it slipped around the enemy’s left flank and continued south looking for the main enemy force. They found what was believed to be the main body moving north in two march columns, one along the main the highway and a second to the west making use of secondary roads. What Euan Donaldson saw of the main column made his mouth run dry. Heavy tanks, in battalion strength had led the enemy column but it soon became apparent the tanks were not alone.

Moving up behind the lead tanks were at least two battalions of Mechs, now identified as a mix of heavy and assault models. As the 2nd Battalion continued to probe it soon discovered more armour including assault tanks along with infantry carriers. Tagged as the vanguard, this column was finally reported at two Mech and four tank battalions plus perhaps one motorised infantry battalion. When added to the reports from the 1st Battalion to the west of two medium Mech battalions supported by four more tank battalions and two additional battalions of infantry, it soon became apparent the Combine formations vastly exceeded the weight of the Deneb Light Cavalry, and perhaps the supporting mercenary commands as well.

What additional forces might be moving north to the east of the main highway was unknown and Donaldson was frustrated at not being able to press further east. The Combine screen had transformed itself into a skirmish line aligned northeast to southwest and constantly cut off any attempt to move east while the two large enemy columns marched north and began to deploy into combat formations. This realignment had at the very least stopped the forward movement of the Combine reconnaissance force, allowing more space for the Deneb cavalry and supporting mercenary forces to deploy further south. In Donaldson’s view it was high time they withdrew to their own main body and prepared for the coming fight.

What he knew for certain was that the enemy was going to be hard to kill. The Deneb cavalry were certainly light and quick on their feet, with speed being a defence of sorts. If the fighting became a close ranged melee, that speed might not be enough to avoid taking serious damage and everyone knew the enemy had the advantage of numbers.

Soon enough the order came to withdraw back on the 10th Deneb’s main body ten kilometers north and a few kilometers west of the road. Switching his radio to the company net he had deciding on letting his gunners have their Parthian shot before they pulled back.

“Romeo Two One, Romeo Two Two, all call signs, this Romeo Two. Form on me in standard combat formation and let’s give our guests a salvo or two before we leave. Targets or opportunity. Move now, out.”

Donaldson looked through the Saracen’s cupola periscopes and tactical screen and nodded to himself as his ten remaining vehicles conformed to his orders. As the company moved into formation it wheeled south and he watched as his own gunner chose a BattleMaster 1G Mech that was charging forward through the supporting tanks. Without waiting for the order to shoot Corporal William Dupuis caressed the firing trigger for the LRM 10 rack on the hover tank and the vehicle shuttered slightly as the missiles arced away towards their target.

“Driver, swing us around and get us out of here,” Donaldson ordered.

The company commander watched his tactical display as the volleys of missiles from the ten tanks sped towards their targets. He was gratified when he saw three missiles strike the huge Mech even though it did not seem to slow its charge forward in the least. As the tanks wheeled around the turrets swung around to retain their target locks and each tank launched another volley of missiles. Not waiting to see the results the drivers accelerated to top speed as enemy missiles, light autocannon and PPC fire chased after tanks as they jinked left and right at random intervals. A few tanks took some additional damage but none fell out of formation as the hover tanks moved beyond effective range of their adversaries.

*****
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 #234 on: 11 April 2021, 04:31:23 »
I thought they had sufficient air superiority not to need to probe on the ground?  ???

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #235 on: 11 April 2021, 09:35:26 »
Ah, yes, but it took from week 2b to 3b (three ACS turns) to win the aerospace battle. The dropships hit the atmosphere at the end of 2b and ground troops started moving in 3a. The recce formations met that same turn with the main ground forces engaging on 3b, before any aerospace became freed up for recon missions.

What follows now are the ground battles between 3b and 4b,...which have developed in a very unexpected direction (for all three players).
« Last Edit: 11 April 2021, 09:58:16 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 #236 on: 11 April 2021, 09:45:17 »
Ah, interesting... at least the Brigade should be able to call down some air support, then.  :thumbsup:

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #237 on: 20 April 2021, 18:17:03 »
Battle of the Plains of Bailen, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Weeks 3b - 4b, Jan 3022

The last minute change of the battle plan for meeting the Draconis Combine offensive aimed at recapturing An Ting upset many of the deployment plans intended to support the defence. Marshal Sanders’ now planned to use the extra depth created by deploying in a deep bridgehead to fight a cavalry style, mobile delaying action against a heavier but less agile attacker. The defenders would use mobility to avoid being heavily engaged and slowly withdraw back to the Argun River, where the defenders would have the advantage of defending a natural defile with a high escarpment on the northern side of the broad valley. Unfortunately for the defenders not all the formations were as well suited to rapid manoeuvre as were the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry, and this included leaving their numerically superior deployed some kilometres north of the river. 

Combine Tai-sho Iwao Oyama had his own plans for the campaign. He had ordered that the 6th Pesht to be heavily reinforced by stripping the 7th Pesht of its ‘Mech regiment, three tank battalions, a regiment of infantry as well as its artillery. One tank battalion and the infantry regiment were dropped near the coast to secure the ports and were to push through the mountains, to approach Cerant from the west. The main assault would advance with thirty-four battalions in three main columns centered on the main highway, screened by light reconnaissance forces out front and supported by an infantry reserve. The combined artillery group pulled up the rear with orders to keep up as best they could. Oyama had planned a steady advance pressing north with his flanks protected, bringing the Davion defenders to battle and destroying them in the field before advancing on the capital. While he pinned and destroyed the defenders main force, the remaining elements of the 7th Pesht, with just six tank battalions, three of mechanised infantry and four regiments of motorised infantry, would execute a deep flanking move and either strike for Cerant or come down on the defenders from behind.

Neither commander would see their battle plans unroll as expected.

*****

On the Right - The 10th Deneb Light Cavalry

The 10th Deneb was assigned the right wing of the defense line that took shape just over forty kilometers south of the Argun River crossing. Tying in their left wing with the right of the Uruk’Hai were the two medium ‘Mech battalions of the Light Cavalry. To their right and set slightly behind them were the Command’s three medium tanks battalion and the third battalion of 2/10th Jump Infantry Regiment. Wheeling into position on the right of the ‘Mechs was the 2nd Recce Regiment consisting of two light tank battalions of the 10th’s first armoured regiment. To their right, completing the line was the 1st Recce Regiment with the 1st Battalion 10th Deneb Light Cavalry Mech Regiment and the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Armoured Regiment deployed in a shallow bow to the south. Deployed to the west in support of these two light formations were the remaining two battalions of 2nd Jump Infantry Regiment. The 10th Deneb’s sole reserve was formed by the 1st Jump Infantry Regiment with a few ‘Mechs from command battalion for stiffening. This placed twelve of the Deneb Light Cavalry’s fifteen battalions in the line to face the approaching Combine attack.

Tai-sa Ajin ben Aryen was initially thrilled to find that his command would be reinforced by the main combat strength of the 7th Pesht but his hopes of commanding the main assault were quickly dashed when Tai-sho Oyama assigned him to command the Sayoku Hashira, or left wing of the army. Even so, ben Aryen’s force was by no means weak as he had the two medium ‘Mech battalions drawn from both the 6th and 7th Pesht, the 6th’s four medium tank battalions and two infantry battalions.  He was also told that he could expect the support of the two motorised infantry regiments in reserve following the main assault column should the need arise. With fourteen battalions available to him ben Aryan’s mission was to protect the flank of the centre column as it advanced against the enemy.

The battle on the right flank unfolded slowly as two forces came to grips. The lighter formations of the Deneb cavalry managed to keep control of most of the engagements and keeping the range open by fighting defensively. Nevertheless, it was soon necessary to commit the nearby medium armour and light tanks in the centre to support the ‘Mechs on the left of the Deneb line. The light ‘Mechs, hover tanks and jump infantry on the right kept the Combine infantry engaged and unable to flank the western end of the line. As the battle progressed the light forces requested the support of the reserve jump infantry to help turn the enemy’s flank but were denied the reinforcement as events in the Uruk’Hai’s sector began to deteriorate.

As the main Davion front drifted north the Light Cavalry had to conform to the movement in the centre and their line slowly bowed northward on their left. With a few aerospace fighters becoming available as the battle in orbit resolved itself, a few airstrikes came into support the defenders. However, already depleted squadrons and wings took further damage and it soon became apparent that further use of the aerospace forces for attacks aginst large formations would threaten the hard won aerospace superiority. Further missions were largely limited to reconnaissance, combat air patrol and a few carefully planned missions to harass the Combine artillery.

With orders to maintain contact with centre of the line only the extreme right wing of the Davion line was free to manoeuvre and they began to punish the infantry screening the western end of the Combine line. Just as the opportunity to get around the enemy’s flank began to present itself the four battalions involved received the recall order. The centre of the Davion line had collapsed.

Combat Results – Battle of the Plains of Bailen Week 3b – 4b, Jan 2022

10th Deneb Light Cavalry

1st Recce Reg’t (-), 10th Deneb Light Cavalry
1/10th Deneb Lt Cav [r]: r15; BM; Mv:6; TM; 4; Arm - 18:26; S:9; M:9; L:1 – Spec RCN
1/2/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d [r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 16:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec IT9

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 6; Tactics: 4; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – IT9

2nd Recce Reg’t (-), 10th Deneb Light Cavalry
1/1/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d Regiment[r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 16:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT9
2/1/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d Regiment[r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 18;21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT9

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 7; Tactics: 3; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – IT18

10th Deneb Light Cavalry Mech Reg’t (-)
2/10th Deneb Lt Cav Regiment[r]: r:15; BM; Mv:5; TM:4; Arm - 23:30; S:9; M:9; L:3
3/10th Deneb Lt Cav Regiment[r]: r:15; BM; Mv:5; TM:4; Arm - 25:30; S:9; M:9; L:3

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 5; Tactics: 5; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – none

10th Deneb Light Cavalry Reserve Arm’d Regiment
3/1/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d Regiment[r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 14:24; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
2/2/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 18:24; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
3/2/10th Deneb Lt Arm’d Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm – 15:24; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
3/2/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 6:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 7; Tactics: 3; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR48, IT63

1/10th Deneb Light Cavalry Jump Infantry Regiment (Reserve)
1/1/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 5:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48
2/1/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 5:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48
3/1/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 6:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 3; Tactics: 7; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR144

2/10th Deneb Light Cavalry Jump Infantry Reg’t (-)
1/2/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 6:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48
2/2/10th Deneb Jump Inf Regiment [r]: r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:3; Arm – 6:9; S:6; M:3; L;0; Spec – CAR48

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 3; Tactics: 7; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR96

Versus

Sayoku Hashira – Elements of 6th and 7th Pesht Regulars

3/7th Pesht Regulars ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r13; BM; Mv:5; TM:4; Arm – 27:36; S:9; M:9; L:3
1/6th Pesht Regulars ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r13; BM; Mv:5; TM:4; Arm – 28:36; S:9; M:9; L:3
2/1/6th Pesht Arm’d Regiment [r]; r13; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm - 13:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
1/2/6th Pesht Arm’d Regiment [r]; r13; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm - 17:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
2/2/6th Pesht Arm’d Regiment [r]; r13; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm - 16:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
3/2/6th Pesht Arm’d Regiment [r]; r13; CV; Mv:7; TM:3; Arm - 16:21; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
2/1/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 7:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
3/1/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 5:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 5; Tactics: 5; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR72, IT156

Infantry Reserve, 6th Pesht Regulars

1/2/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 4:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
2/2/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 5:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
3/2/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 5:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
1/3/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 3:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
2/3/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 3:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
3/3/6th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]; r13; CI; Trans Mv:6; Mv:1; TM:2; Arm - 6:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 6; Tactics: 4/9; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR216, IT216

*****

To be continued…
« Last Edit: 20 April 2021, 23:33:25 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 #238 on: 20 April 2021, 18:35:54 »
Ouch... not looking good for the defenders...

The Purist

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Re: The First Mechanised Brigade (The Rams Head)
« Reply #239 on: 21 April 2021, 11:49:45 »
Battle of the Plains of Bailen, An Ting, Galedon Military District, Weeks 3b - 4b, Jan 3022

]  The Centre – The 5th Heavy Cavalry (Fighting Uruk’Hai)

Following the Deneb Light Cavalry over the Argun River the Uruk’Hai’s 5th Heavy Cavalry deployed directly on the highway leading south. Rotated back to An Ting the previous autumn, Colonel Candell’s units had been depleted and seriously fatigued. Despite nearly three months rest and replacements the mercenary command had not quite recovered its full strength, its infantry regiment remaining considerably understrength. Marshal Sanders assigned the Uruks the center of the line directly in the path of the main Combine assault as the unit possessed some of the heaviest ‘Mechs available to the defenders. Directly behind the ‘Mech regiment Candell placed the tanks of the of the armoured regiment with infantry support. The understrength light battalion was reinforced by infantry to form a composite battalion to complete the regiment. To this formation was added the one full strength infantry battalion available to the command to form a reinforced regiment to support the ‘Mechs. What was left of the Uruk infantry were to left behind at Cerant to back up the local garrison troops. Once formed on the south side of the river the Uruk’Hai columns received the order to begin marching south. As Colonel Candell gave the order to advance he was conscience that, like the other commands, his forces were marching beyond the supporting range of his artillery deployed north of the river. Perhaps more importantly he noted the mercenary troops of the 1st Mechanised Brigade were still forming up on his left with a good portion of their troops still to cross the river.

Marching north to meet the Uruk’hai were the forces under Tai-sho Oyama, already annoyed at the delays his army had experienced in forming up and marching north from the large landing zones. Oyama was further frustrated by the delays imposed by the Davion light forces that had compelled his own reconnaissance screen to turn and fight. Not waiting for the light ‘Mechs and armour to drive off the Davion scouts he simply ordered his heavy and assault ‘Mechs to continue up the highway. As expected, the Davion hover tanks and light ‘Mechs melted away, grossly outmatched by the weight of armour and firepower moving north. Oyama had taken command of the Shukou Gekiryoku, the main attack formation, consisting of a battalion each of heavy and assault ‘Mechs, two heavy tank battalions and an infantry battalion from the 6th Pesht Regulars. Attached to the main force were an additional heavy and assault tank battalion from the 7th Pesht, bringing his strength to six heavy and one infantry battalion mounted in combat vehicles. The Tai-sho had also made it clear to the commanders of the two artillery battalions following the army that once they had deployed, that he had priority for any fire missions to be called. He told his subordinates that by the time they reached Cerant, he wanted the enemy forces shattered and ready to withdraw from the planet.

As the main body of the Combine assault advanced through their own reconnaissance screen the light ‘Mechs and hover tanks fell back and moved to the east to reinforce the weaker right hand column. Within a few kilometers the scanners on the ‘Mechs of both sides soon detected each other and the two forces began to deploy into battle formations and advance. The weight of the Combine attack soon began to tell and the Uruk’Hai began to give ground rather than become decisively engaged. Both sides scored but the mercenaries knew they did not need to stop the advance, instead they were to delay and wear it down as they slowly retreated north. The Uruk light and medium tanks dashing forward to launch salvoes at the closest enemy before pulling back out to long range but they could not avoid damage entirely. Just as the Combine artillery was beginning to engage, the Uruks broke contact and retreated a half dozen kilometers where they would reform to meet the next advance.

With the Combine artillery now coming into play the Uruk’hai adopted more defensive tactics to avoid damage even though it meant they inflicted less damage themselves. Despite their best efforts the pressure applied by the heavy and assault ‘Mechs and tanks was relentless and only slackened as the Davion front withdrew within range of their own artillery. With the agreement of all three commanders the full weight of three battalions fired in answer to Combine advance, forcing the attackers to break off to reform. After a few days rest to rearm and carry out basic repairs the Combine assault was renewed with a new assault aimed at the seam between the Uruk’hai and the 10th Deneb Light Cavalry.

With pressure mounting on his right and left Tai-sho Oyama decided to strike a concentrated blow from his main force and ben Aryen’s strongest elements on his left. Preceded by a massed barrage by both Pesht artillery battalions the attack struck the Davion and mercenary forces hard and began to pry the two commands apart. Despite suffering some significant tank losses in the lead battalion, the Combine attack continued to press into the breach until it became clear the line would soon irrevocably split apart. With no heavy reserves available Colonel Candell order his wheeled and tracked elements to begin to retreat over the bridge now just a few kilometers away while his ‘Mechs formed a rearguard. The 10th Deneb could do little to help as Kurita ‘Mechs and tanks began to push through the gap, separating the light cavalry from the centre of the line.

As the first Uruk’Hai vehicles began to cross the bridge the ‘Mechs began their own retreat north. At this point Marshal Sanders order the 10th Deneb to break contact as it soon became clear that access to the bridge from the west was cut off. As the Combine left wing swung west, they began to press the cavalrymen further from the crossing point. The jump infantry were ordered to cross the river upstream at the first opportunity screened by the retreating medium ‘Mechs. The ‘Mechs would then cross the river behind them, destroying the ice as they went. The medium tanks would have no choice but to retreat upstream along the south bank covered by the light ‘Mechs and hover tanks. The Combine assault had split the 10th Deneb in two.

As the 10th Deneb broke contact, the ‘Mechs of the Uruk’Hai fell back behind a curtain of massed artillery fire, buying precious time for the ‘Mechs to open the range with their pursuers and for tanks and infantry to cross to the north of the river. Despite their best efforts the left hand company of heavy ‘Mechs could not maintain contact with the 1st Mechanised Brigade to the east and contact with the left wing was broken. With the ‘Mech battalions now under threat of being enveloped from the west and their eastern flank exposed, Candell ordered a general retreat over the river. As the ‘Mechs turned to the north disaster struck.

*****

Combat Results – Battle of the Plains of Bailen, Centre Sector, Week 3b – 4b, Jan 2022

5th Heavy Cavalry (Fighting Uruk’Hai)

5th Heavy Cavalry ‘Mech Regiment
1/5th Heavy Cavalry ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r17; BM; Mv:5; TM:4; Arm – 22:30; S:9; M:9; L:3
2/5th Heavy Cavalry ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r17; BM; Mv:4; TM:2; Arm – 29:38; S:12; M:12; L:8
3/5th Heavy Cavalry ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r17; BM; Mv:4; TM:2; Arm – 31:38; S:12; M:12; L:8

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 4; Tactics: 6; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – none

5th Heavy Cavalry Armoured Regiment (+)
1/5th Armoured Regiment (Comp) [r]: r17; CV; Mv: 6; TM:3; Arm – 10:16; S:7; M:6; L:1; Spec – CAR6, IT6
2/5th Armoured Regiment [r]: r17; CV; Mv: 7; TM:3; Arm – 16:24; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT21
3/5th Armoured Regiment [r]: r17; CV; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 21:30; S:9; M:12; L:3; Spec – IT15
3/5th Uruk’Hai Dragoons (attached) [r]; r17; CI; Mv:6; TM:3; Arm – 6:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 6; Tactics: 4; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR42, IT78

An Ting Artillery Command
10th Deneb Artillery Battalion [r]; r15; CV; Mv:3; TM:1 Arm – 30; S:3; M:0; L:0; Spec – ART-S12
5th Heavy Cavalry Artillery Battalion [r]; r17; CV; Mv:3; TM:1 Arm – 30; S:3; M:0; L:0; Spec – ART-S12
1st Horse Artillery (1st Mech Bde) [r]; v21; CV; Mv:3; TM:1 Arm – 31; S:4; M:1; L:0; Spec – ART-LT/S16

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 3; Tactics: 7; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – ART-LT/S40

Versus

Shukou Gekiryoku – Elements of 6th and 7th Pesht Regulars
2/6th Pesht Regulars ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r13; BM; Mv:4; TM:2; Arm – 25:42; S:9; M:9; L:9
3/6th Pesht Regulars ‘Mech Regiment[r]: r13; BM; Mv:4; TM:2; Arm – 34:50; S:11; M:13; L:11
2/1/6th Pesht Regulars Arm’d Regiment [r]: r13; CV; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 14:27; S:9; M:12; L:6; Spec – IT15
3/1/6th Pesht Regulars Arm’d Regiment [r]: r13; CV; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 19:27; S:9; M:12; L:6; Spec – IT15
2/3/7th Pesht Regulars Arm’d Regiment [r]: r13; CV; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 20:27; S:6; M:9; L:3; Spec – IT15
3/3/7th Pesht Regulars Arm’d Regiment [r]: r13; CV; Mv:5; TM:2; Arm - 21:29; S:11; M:13; L:7; Spec – IT11
1/1/16th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]: r13; CI; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 7:9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 5; Tactics: 5; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – CAR36, IT92

67th Artillery Regiment
6th Pesht Regulars Artillery Battalion [r]; r13; CV; Mv:3; TM:1 Arm – 30; S:3; M:0; L:0; Spec – ART-S12
7th Pesht Regulars Artillery Battalion [r]; r13; CV; Mv:3; TM:1 Arm – 30; S:3; M:0; L:0; Spec – ART-S12
1/4/16th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]: r13; CI; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
2/4/16th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]: r13; CI; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36
3/4/16th Pesht Motor Inf Regiment [r]: r13; CI; Mv:6; TM:2; Arm - 9; S:6; M:3; L:0; Spec – CAR36, IT36

ACS Formations Stats: Mov: 3; Tactics: 7; Mor: 7; Skill: 4; Spec – ART-S24, CAR108, IT108

*****

To be continued…
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