Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Battletech Campaign #6: Breaking the Ice

After our warm up on the desert planet of Vantaa, my son's mercenary force accepted their next contract - a secret mission to the ice world of Parakoila. After making planetfall they'd need to reach a Kurita contact in the mountains before waging a guerilla campaign agains the Lyran planetary defense force. Their first obstacle? Breaking through the Lyran lines attempting to halt their exit from the drop zone.

Playing a full company battle in Battletech is a bit much (we haven't tried Alpha Strike yet which should alleviate the slowness of such a large game) so my son's mercs sent two lances of fast mechs to break through the Lyran lines while his heavy lance snuck around their flanks off table.

The Lyrans only had a token force (rolled randomly) that was maneuvered into position. They'd have to hold the field long enough for heavier reinforcements to arrive.

My son's mercs simply had to get four mechs across the far table edge. Each would inflict morale losses to the Lyran's as if they had lost one of their own mechs of equivalent size. I positioned my paltry forces near a choke point. My two infantry units took commanding positions on the hills above the mountain pass I expected the mercs to force their way through.

The mercs opened their assault by using the jump jets on their light mechs to leap the hills before them, hoping the defensive bonus from jumping would deflect enemy fire.

The mercenary Locust attempted to rely on its speed for safety, but the twisting mountain pass made jinking difficult. Suffering harassing fire it ducked behind some cliffs halfway across the field. The Lyran infantry seized their moment, scaling the rise and pouring small arms fire into the lightly armored Locust.

Nearly crippled by the infantry (!), the Locust spent the next several rounds dashing from one bit of cover to another. The Lyran scouts, a pair of Locusts, dashed forward to threaten the merc's rear.

Despite their bravery, the planetary defenders in their light Scorpion tanks were no match for large lasers, autocannons and steel rending kicks by 50 ton battle machines. Soon the battlefield was littered with burning wrecks.

In the chaotic melee the defenders managed to get off a few lucky shots. A mercenary Stinger caught in the open suffered withering fire, losing an arm and shredding its remaining armor. In one round it suffered so much damage that it was effectively out of the battle.

Despite their small victories in pummeling a mercenary Locust and Stinger, the planetary defenses were nearly smashed when the Lyran cavalry arrived. Perhaps the mercs wouldn't get away so easily.

A medium Lyran lance of arrived from the flank. 50+ tons of Wolverine and Hunchback dashed towards the merc's escape zone, while two light mechs - a Commando and Jenner - made for the stragglers being left behind.

In a cinematic highlight, the lance leader in his Centurion stayed behind as a rear guard, smashing an LRM carrying Striker, fending off rear attacks by two light mechs and then coring the enemy Commando in one salvo. It was epic.

The mercenary's position was growing tenuous. Their wounded Locust managed to escape to safety, but the remaining lights, badly wounded, were forced to shelter behind their larger brethren in hopes of limping to safety. A miscalculation on my son's part (just one hex short of escape!) forced the mercs to survive an entire additional round.

Dodging AC20 rounds, the merc Wasp and a Griffin managed to get across the border to safety. The other crippled Griffin couldn't escape, but my son had snuck a Javelin into position on my far flank. With three mechs already escaped, my Lyrans had one round to stop the Javelin or they'd lose the battle. I sent everything I could after it.

My Locusts raced into position behind the Javelin, while two Savannah Masters swept in with medium lasers. Before they could strike though, my son jumped his crippled Stinger into the rear arc of my Locusts. Knowing it was nearly destroyed, I had written the Stinger off, assuming my son would be racing it off the map as quick as possible. Still, how much could a crippled Stinger do?

Apparently a lot! A medium laser and machine gun cut through the Locust's thin light armor before it had a chance at landing a deadly kick to the Javelin's head. Having survived the ineffective attacks of the other Lyran enemies the Javelin easily leapt to freedom the next round forcing the Lyrans to call off their pursuit and cede the field.

My son's merc reached the contact in the mountains. Secure in their small hidden base, they had their first toehold on a hostile world.

1 comment:

  1. Finally got a chance to read this. A hearty well done out to your son. Great read, very exciting.