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Author Topic: How to Load a Dropship  (Read 6348 times)

Wereferret

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How to Load a Dropship
« on: 01 December 2013, 21:37:09 »
Hello Everyone,

I am beginning a campaign that will blend AToW with elements from TW and SO, centering around the Fox's Teeth raiding into Kurita space to uncover a Lostech mystery right before the start of the Clan invasion.  I would like to incorporate the maintenance, salvage, and Repair rules from SO to simulate the logistic choices needed for unsupported forays deep behind enemy lines.  I would like the players to have to make decisions about what they will and won't take on their dropships as they leave friendly space; being forced to scavenge and raid as resources run low.

I'm trying to understand some of the rules for MS&R as it applies to loading dropships.  Where in the various books are the rules covering the loading of dropships? 

For example, if we take a Union or two, I see a basic union (from TRO 3057) holds 12 mechs (the whole company), two fighters, and 72 tons of cargo space.  How much weight does a SO tech or medical team occupy?  Page 168 of SO generally says that a tech team should be treated as a 7-man rifle (ballistic) team; Page 213 of TW shows the Generic Conventional Infantry Units Table weighs in a 28-man Infantry platoon at 3 tons; dividing by three, do I have the tech and med teams take up 1 ton of space apiece?  Do I also have to consume that cargo space with the food and consumables for the dropship crew + the tech teams?  Is there a formula to guide how to smartly apportion the consumables?  I'm guessing with all that 72 tons of cargo space is going to be eaten up pretty quickly, so we'll be bringing another union or leopard along for the ride just to haul the spare parts and food needed for extended ops.

Anyway, in closing I was just looking at the basic process those who have tried this have used for loading a dropship for an adventure using the full MS&R rules.  Thanks for your time!

idea weenie

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #1 on: 01 December 2013, 22:22:09 »
One thing for the players to exploit is that each Mech Bay has capacity for up to 100 tons of Mech.  So if you only carry a 45-ton Mech in that bay, you have 55 tons of cargo capacity available.  Think of a Union as having 1472 tons of cargo capacity, but Mechs count against that tonnage.

You are right, the tonnage in a Union will be eaten up quickly.  They might want to look at a heavily modified Mule or stripped Overlord for their transportation purposes.  The Mule will lots of extra armor, plus retrofitted Mech and ASF bays, but has a large cargo bay to carry supplies.  An Overlord will have plenty of armor, decent thrust, but is an obviously military model and will arouse suspicion wherever it goes.

Essentially, if you fill up a military Dropship with a full load of Mechs/ASF, you are talking about a Snap Raid.  If you make it one level smaller, you will have a much larger operational radius.  A Leopard would be completely unsuited for long-term operations.  A Union would be good for a Lance, while an Overlord would work for a company.

Your plan for a pair of Unions is a good idea.  Split your forces where possible between the Unions, so if one of them has a problem, you don't lose everything.  One idea might be to leave 4 of the Mech Bays behind from each Union.  This makes each Union only able to hold 2 Lances instead of 4, but it frees up 200 tons of cargo on each Dropship.

Wereferret

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #2 on: 02 December 2013, 00:12:52 »
Thanks for the response, that clears up a lot, and I didn't know about the 100-ton per bay capacity.  I think I would go with a couple of Unions, but I might make that decision a diplomacy encounter all it's own between the PC's and the Dropship scheduler on Winter in the midst of the chaotic scramble of the early clan invasion.  If things go well, maybe they get an Overlord and a Union; if they go bad...a pair of Leopards?  :OP

I'm still curious about the weight of a tech and medical team; are they 1 ton each?  And does food/etc., take up space in the cargo bays?

idea weenie

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #3 on: 02 December 2013, 04:20:58 »
Thanks for the response, that clears up a lot, and I didn't know about the 100-ton per bay capacity.  I think I would go with a couple of Unions, but I might make that decision a diplomacy encounter all it's own between the PC's and the Dropship scheduler on Winter in the midst of the chaotic scramble of the early clan invasion.  If things go well, maybe they get an Overlord and a Union; if they go bad...a pair of Leopards?  :OP

I'm still curious about the weight of a tech and medical team; are they 1 ton each?  And does food/etc., take up space in the cargo bays?

Each 150-ton Mech and ASF bay has to be able to hold a 100 ton Mech, so it needs the cargo capacity to do so (the remaining 50 tons is eaten up with general repair and maintenance equipment).  If you carry a lighter Mech, that tonnage is freed up.

Medical teams can be simulated by using the gear from Tech manual, for the surgical theater plus beds.  Actual medical personnel will need to be either in Bays, or in Quarters, and will need food and paychecks.  Not sure about technical team mass.

Food for people in Quarters is 1 ton per 200 days.  I don't know the tonnage of food/life-support per man-day for people in Bays though.


Your best bet might be a customized Mule Dropship with 12 Mech Bays, but a note saying only 4 can drop Mechs due to needing to make it look identical to a regular Mule.  Similarly, it would have 6 ASF Bays, but only 2 of them can be launched at a time.  Say it takes 5 minutes (AT2 turns) to move another ASF into position.  Again, this is to hide the ASF launch bays from the outside.  Maybe it is a case where ASF airlock 1 services ASF bays A-C, and ASFA 2 services bays D-F.  You can't store a fighter in the airlock bay, so whichever ASF is in Bays B and E are the first out.  When the ASF in A wants to launch, it has to be moved to the empty bay B, then launched (or spend half an hour physically swapping them if you want to launch the ASF Bay A fighter but not the ASF Bay B fighter).

Give the Mule an acceleration and armor upgrade (Thrust increase by 1 takes up 728 tons), but don't increase the Threshold (so antishipping ASF or enemy Dropships are still a threat).  With the acceleration upgrade, 12 Mech Bays, and 6 ASF Bays, that takes up 3428 tons of the Mule's 8500 tons, leaving 5072 tons available.  Not sure about the rules for adding armor, sarna.net has it with 300 tons of standard armor, but my copy of Techmanual says the max for the  SI 20 Mule would be 72 tons (and the armor listed would only take up 21 tons).  You might be better off just taking the Techmanual and making your own, then giving it quirks/notes about why it isn't as good as your custom vessel.  Don't change the number of weapons, but upgrading them to LB-5X, Streak SRM-6, plus similar upgrades for the lasers, with extra ammo for the AC and SRM would be nice.  You should have around 5000 tons of cargo remaining (plus the tonnage set aside for the occupants of the Mech and ASF bays).  Use that cargo for spare parts, food, life support, cargo (to simulate being a roving trader), and ammunition.  Even then, the players should be trying to use OmniMechs and a lot of energy weapons.


For the mission itself, they are going for an Objective raid (the Macuffin), but getting out will be tricky.  If the players are smart, they will frame one empire, while taking an indirect route to get back home (head towards Terra, then change directions).  So if they are working for Marik, taking something from Lyran space, they need to behave like Draconis, and head towards Terra on the way out.  Near Terra, they change directions and go directly back home, talking to as few people as possible so Lyran forces blame the Draconis Combine for the raid.

glitterboy2098

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #4 on: 03 December 2013, 12:32:50 »
mech, protomech, vehicle, and fighter bays come with steerage type quarters for a single tech. (note: odds are these are not actually located in the bay itself) though these are not always used in practice.

Infantry and Battle Armor bays do not come with quarters, those have to be purchased seperately.


it's also worth noting that there have been some examples in the fluff of fitting multiple mechs in one bay.. the Black Thornes pulled it off with a Dasher and a Mercury, and the MWDA fluff for the jackalope mech includes it being designed to compact itself when stored so you can fit twice as many in a mechbay. such things would definately be GM's call though, and likely would make orbital drops tougher.

idea weenie

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #5 on: 03 December 2013, 16:15:28 »
it's also worth noting that there have been some examples in the fluff of fitting multiple mechs in one bay.. the Black Thornes pulled it off with a Dasher and a Mercury, and the MWDA fluff for the jackalope mech includes it being designed to compact itself when stored so you can fit twice as many in a mechbay. such things would definitely be GM's call though, and likely would make orbital drops tougher.

I'd argue that it would make orbital drops impossible for that Mech Bay if you have multiple Mechs in it.  The one advantage Dropships have is their massive volume (~1.3% that of water), so extra cargo can be shoved in any cargo bay.  So if you are carrying 12 Mechs, and only have Bays for 8, you take your 4 least and worst damaged, and put them in the Bays for repairs.  The remaining 4 are put in as cargo.  The 4 least damaged get restored to full capability the fastest, so you have Mechs good to go.  The worst mechs will take a long time to repair, but are started.  The really fun part is moving the 8 Mechs around (the 4 repaired, and the 4 needing to be repaired) while the Dropship is in transit.  Hope the pilot has a steady hand while you have several hundred tons of Mech walking around (maybe only swap 2 at a time to avoid too many screwups?).

glitterboy2098

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #6 on: 03 December 2013, 20:49:21 »
I'd argue that it would make orbital drops impossible for that Mech Bay if you have multiple Mechs in it.
Black Thorns managed to pull it off though, so it seems to be possible.. likely just way harder to do.

Shin Ji

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #7 on: 05 December 2013, 14:25:13 »
The really fun part is moving the 8 Mechs around (the 4 repaired, and the 4 needing to be repaired) while the Dropship is in transit.  Hope the pilot has a steady hand while you have several hundred tons of Mech walking around (maybe only swap 2 at a time to avoid too many screwups?).

Why would this matter?  Worst case scenario, you do slight reorientation after the movement to get back on course.  You're in space.   

ColonelCody

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #8 on: 05 December 2013, 15:20:02 »
We use a modified Mule and an Overlord to transport the unit and it's supplies. Recently they added a Leopard CV to raise the number of Aerospace fighters to the immediate group.

Colt Ward

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #9 on: 06 December 2013, 01:30:35 »
To be clear using the extra tonnage in the mech bay (45t mech leaves 55t of supply space) is a house rule and nothing says it is possible . . . but a lot of logistical planners use it.  The suggestion for one of your dropships being a converted Mule is a good one (I use one in 3063), if you do not wish for the ship to be a major refit then you can give it a quirk of no orbital drops.  Basically meaning you put the bay in, fit to the structure and powered it but did not cut a hole in the hull or arrange for the DS to kick the mech out without landing.  Not a bad thing as orbital and assault drops DO have risks . . . and you likely do not want your whole force falling through atmo as targets.

Glitterboy, I think the bays for infantry and battle armor do include the quarters- they take up mass & volume but the ship has plenty of volume to spare for swinging arms.  They are not however long term quarters, such as the officer/crew/gunner quarters.

One of the other things you must think about while doing this deep raiding is what else might be useful?  I would suggest a Ferret VTOL or two for command or even SAR purposes, but it would be packed as cargo unless you have a light vehicle bay.  You may not need to bring trucks since the raid areas will probably have them in place or nearby but you will need infantry to drive them back.  When eating through or burning off your supplies (food & ammo) then it would not hurt to hold on to any of those trucks or other requisitioned vehicles.  Think of the reorganization after each mission in MW3 when you discarded off the MFBs things you did not need as much as something you wanted to pick up.

Besides whatever purely military target you want to strike on each world, it would not be bad to also seize Aero fuel, fresh food, water and TP.  The last three are all morale raisers to keep the troops happy.  Which means, IMO besides the mechs you will need infantry and some sort of transportation for them (APCs, VTOLs, or Small Craft) so they can travel with the mechs to clear targets.  I use a modification of the boarding rules for close combat in buildings to clear enemy troops out of objectives.

Also, if you are trying to be the next Xenophon or Sherman it would be best to plan the route with supplies vs response force.  You do not want the opposing intel types to figure out your force is running low on food and blockade or destroy supplies you need to survive.
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FedComGirl

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #10 on: 09 December 2013, 05:49:14 »
You could go with a dropship like the Trojan. It's a lot like a Union.

You might want to consider some Industrial Mechs/vehicles and engineering infantry/exoskeletons/Power Armor if you have to be digging. An aircraft with, probes, cameras and/or satellite imagers or a satellite or two might also be helpful in finding what you're looking for.

The latest TechManual errata lists how many people can stay in bays so your techs, pilots, and vehicle crews have a place to sleep. Medical Personnel will still need quarters of some kind but if you're worried about weight put them in an infantry bay. You can get 28 people into one 5 ton foot infantry bay. Their stay wouldn't be as nice as private quarters but if the bay isn't full you could fluff things so there's more room and privacy than a standard infantry bay.

One thing you do want to bring with you is plenty of cargo space in case you find what you're looking for. You can factor in consumed supplies into that but you don't want to have to decide what you'll have to leave behind later. So be sure to bring some empty tonnage with you unless you know you're going to be there a long time.

Kret69

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #11 on: 09 December 2013, 06:01:55 »
The med team, what will be their purpose? First aid on the ground and preparing for evacuation to orbit/warship or setting up a more permanent structure on site?

Colt Ward

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #12 on: 09 December 2013, 06:16:42 »
To maintain a force you need medical staff . . . like you need techs to keep the equipment operational, in this case it is the biological equipment.  Sure, they take care of battlefield injuries (BA penetrated, crew 'kills' on vehicles and pilot damage) but medicos are needed to keep the people in good shape during long transit or planetary operations.  The DS crew has someone tasked to meeting their weekly/monthly medical requirements . . . not a bad idea for the troops too when you have a lot.  Obviously infantry and vehicle heavy forces will have larger requirements for medical personnel- just like food & water.  It is part of the reason mechs are better on the offense than armor & infantry, because it cuts down on the consumables when you load a dropship for the offensive.
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Kret69

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #13 on: 09 December 2013, 06:34:39 »
I think You misunderstood my question. I do not negate the need of medical team. I ask about the logistics model:

- if this is to be a small droppable, operational team of 7 that is supposed to prepare the landing zone for MEDEVAC to orbit and take care of most urgent issues for limited period of time on site, than 1 ton would probably be enough. For a platoon size, this would probably even include aforementioned by You general, everyday treatment and hygiene issues.

- if it is to establish anything more permanent, like forward surgical hospital or field hospital, than 1 ton is definitely too small amount. You can do a medical vault, or an infirmary, with 7 people, even more likely in 31st century, but the amount of things and materiel needed will still be larger than one ton. The main issue would be beds or litters, medicines, water, chemicals (disinfectants and the like), usable materials (gowns, caps, gloves, syringes, needles etc). There should be doubled energy source for such premise. Body scanning (whatever there is in 31st century) would require a tool probably 1-ton heavy alone. Etc, etc.

I read the idea of medical team in one of the TRO's I believe, what they show is generally an ambulance crew reinforced with soldiers. Not sure if this is the most effective composition of medical team serving such advanced weapon systems' pilots. If a Mechwarrior or ASF pilot is to be recovered, I'd team up a 3-4 doctors and 3-4 EMTs or nurses, at best both with ParaJumpers' capabilities. Doctors number could be reduced to 2 (1 per shift, but top notch specialist) and supported with 2 Medical Technicians on site (not EMTs but techs operating the sophisticated medical equipment). EMT's would be only ones to go outside the relatively safe zone of hostpital and pick up wounded pilots, then evacuate them to safe area. You might want to consider backing them up with some kind of transport component, otherwise they will have to run for a long time. ;)


FedComGirl

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #14 on: 09 December 2013, 07:16:09 »
I think You misunderstood my question. I do not negate the need of medical team. I ask about the logistics model:

- if this is to be a small droppable, operational team of 7 that is supposed to prepare the landing zone for MEDEVAC to orbit and take care of most urgent issues for limited period of time on site, than 1 ton would probably be enough. For a platoon size, this would probably even include aforementioned by You general, everyday treatment and hygiene issues.

- if it is to establish anything more permanent, like forward surgical hospital or field hospital, than 1 ton is definitely too small amount. You can do a medical vault, or an infirmary, with 7 people, even more likely in 31st century, but the amount of things and materiel needed will still be larger than one ton. The main issue would be beds or litters, medicines, water, chemicals (disinfectants and the like), usable materials (gowns, caps, gloves, syringes, needles etc). There should be doubled energy source for such premise. Body scanning (whatever there is in 31st century) would require a tool probably 1-ton heavy alone. Etc, etc.

I read the idea of medical team in one of the TRO's I believe, what they show is generally an ambulance crew reinforced with soldiers. Not sure if this is the most effective composition of medical team serving such advanced weapon systems' pilots. If a Mechwarrior or ASF pilot is to be recovered, I'd team up a 3-4 doctors and 3-4 EMTs or nurses, at best both with ParaJumpers' capabilities. Doctors number could be reduced to 2 (1 per shift, but top notch specialist) and supported with 2 Medical Technicians on site (not EMTs but techs operating the sophisticated medical equipment). EMT's would be only ones to go outside the relatively safe zone of hostpital and pick up wounded pilots, then evacuate them to safe area. You might want to consider backing them up with some kind of transport component, otherwise they will have to run for a long time. ;)

Do you mean like adding a MASH Unit to the Dropship? That would add 3.5 tons plus quarters for the 5 person crew. And you could stick them in an Infantry Bay for 5 tons if you wanted. Or you could bring a MASH Vehicle along. That'd be 50-100 tons for the bay but that includes quarters.
Or you could just have Paramedics in among the platoons so the medical personal wouldn't need any extra quarters at all. They stay with the rest of the platoon.

Kret69

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #15 on: 09 December 2013, 08:28:33 »
No, I meant a unit able to deploy and sustain an element similar to MASH in function.
What You describe is a vehicle, probably capable of supporting such element. Not sure if rules describe this truck's crew.

Quote
Or you could just have Paramedics in among the platoons so the medical personal wouldn't need any extra quarters at all. They stay with the rest of the platoon.

That's a completely different thing. CLSs, EMTs or corpsmen should be anyway included in platoon's composition. They should alone be able to organize the first logistics model I mentioned about (preparation for medevac). Medical team should be specialized above it.
« Last Edit: 09 December 2013, 08:36:19 by Kret69 »

FedComGirl

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #16 on: 09 December 2013, 08:40:51 »
No, I meant a unit able to deploy and sustain an element similar to MASH in function.
What You describe is a vehicle, probably capable of supporting such element. Not sure if rules describe this truck's crew.

We're probably talking past each other.  If you mean setting up a bunch of buildings, you're looking at a lot of construction workers, equipment, and supplies, for prefab buildings. A lot more if you have get the materials on site. If you just want a MASH then any vehicle capable of carrying a MASH Unit, including the dropship, will do.

MASH Units add 5 crew members per operating theatre to whatever vehicle they're mounted in.

Kret69

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #17 on: 09 December 2013, 09:01:45 »
Tents can be lighter these days. I liked DRASH design very much, then there are inflatable tents.

You can also plan to deploy such team in an urban zone where basic infrastructure already exists. Or even support local medical personnel with such team. May sound impractical for conquest or colony pacification, but not necessarily when supporting local resistance against invasion.

Of course, logistics and rules-wise, this MASH truck would probably make more sense, as it is an instant medpack to the force composition, "just add water" :-)

FedComGirl

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #18 on: 09 December 2013, 21:44:54 »
Some how I missed this part. :(


That's a completely different thing. CLSs, EMTs or corpsmen should be anyway included in platoon's composition. They should alone be able to organize the first logistics model I mentioned about (preparation for medevac). Medical team should be specialized above it.

Paramedics are not normally included with infantry in Battletech. They're a specialized infantry who's rules are found in Tactical Operations. If you want mobile medical units you need to decide how capable they're going to be. Are they going to be ambulances taking the wounded back or full surgical theater? Do you even want a surgical theater at all? If you do you need to decide what vehicle it's going to be in and accommodate the extra crew. If you're wanting a physical building then you're probably looking at something prefab and the weight of the entire building needs to be included among the cargo. Either way you'd still have to provide quarters for the medical personnel on the dropship. If they're in a vehicle or mixed in with the infantry then they're accommodated. Otherwise its a minimum of 5 additional tons to quarter them.

truetanker

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #19 on: 28 December 2013, 22:38:59 »
Place the MASH truck into a vee-bay and call it a day. Bay has housing quarters for the unit built-in.

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fanneyjack

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #20 on: 15 May 2014, 08:35:16 »
Select the units, hold shift and right click on all of your dropships. They'll automatically load into the next when the first one fills.

drax

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Re: How to Load a Dropship
« Reply #21 on: 27 May 2014, 09:28:09 »
Don't forget to check out the likes of the Elephant (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Elephant) and/or Seeker (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Seeker) to easily combine unit types in the one Dropship.

The elephant can carry an impressive amount of cargo (2178.5tn), 12 mechs, 4 small craft (up to 200tn ea) or fighters and 8 heavy vehicles along with four platoons of jump infantry. It's armed and armored as an assault dropship and could conceivably be used to tow a damaged enemy/friendly dropship back to the jumpship for later resale/repair.

Use the jump infantry bays to house other personnel including the astechs required to fully man bays for repair work aka tech teams (5 Astech + 1 bay housed tech).

The later model Octopus is also worth a look and possible re-modelling with mech/fighter bays.