Friday, June 19, 2020

Battletech Campaign #17: A Communications Disruption Can Mean Only One Thing...

Having recovered the Stinger LAM as well as a trio of new mechs, Razor's Raiders were poised to launch their final assault on the Lyran stronghold. As their Kurita employers began packing the parts and technical parts for evac from their hidden mountain base, Captain Razor dispatched the Raider's Battle lance under command of Lt. Slick to knock out the last communications array to mask their impending assault.

As this was a disrupt mission, the Battle lance would need to locate the communications array among the buildings on the battlefield and destroy it. Alternatively, they could simply raze every building without completing a scan of them.

With his Wasp crippled during the last mission, mechwarrior Cobra was assigned the recently stolen Rifleman mech, bolstering the Battle lance with its additional long range firepower.

The Battle lance was rounded out by Lt. Slick's Centurion, Tag's long range missile carrying Trebuchet and the grizzled Sgt. Bone's Wolverine.

This last comms array lay along an elevated highway running across the ice plains to the factory complex that would be the target of the Raiders' final assault.

As they approached the target area, their sensors detected the approach of enemy mechs. Squinting through the flurries that swirled on cold eddies across the plains, Lt. Slick could just make out familiar markings on the enemy mechs. The lieutenant's comm crackled as an enemy mech broadcast over an open frequency.

"Attention pirates! This is Colonel Bain, of Bain's Hussars. You've raided this world for far too long, and despite my mercenary company repeatedly rebuffing your attacks you still persist. But we have you now! I'm going to end your campaign, personally."

"Lieutenant, don't get distracted by this mouthy SOB," Tag advised, "Let's concentrate on taking down that comms array."

"Agreed. But taking out the Colonel's Archer couldn't hurt."

The enemy mercs began deploying along the elevated highway to clear their firing lanes beyond the buildings they were protecting.

The enemy Commando swung wide to the south, angling for the Raiders' back lines. The Raiders' long range mechs climbed on to the hills to gain clear shots at the nearest buildings, while Bone's Wolverine swept north and began scanning them for the comms equipment.

The closest building didn't emit the telltale frequencies of the communications array, but its location would make an excellent sniper perch. Concentrated fire destroyed it, clearing the way for Cobra's Rifleman.

Razor's Raiders continued to advance firing on Lyran structures, taking only sporadic fire from the approaching Hussar mechs.

Approaching the midpoint of the battlefield Sgt. Bone scanned the third building, detecting the comms array.

"It's 'ere, lieutenant." he radioed, "Pour some fire onnit, I've got me hands full wit' this Hussar mech." Bone armed his weapons and targeted the Hussar mech that jumped into the geyser field just to his left.

Climbing atop a far rise, the enemy Warhammer drew a clear line of sight to Razor's Raiders. A PPC bolt sparked from one of its arm mounted cannons striking Slick's Centurion in the chest.

In response Cobra targeted the Warhammer, but unfamiliar with the new mech's controls found only his light autocannons were in range. Like gun fighters facing off at high noon, the two mechs traded long range fire down the length of the elevated highway.

Outranging their opponents, the Hussar heavy mechs worked their way into a position that afforded them clear shots on Slick's Centurion. PPCs and LRMs rained down on him, blasting chunks of armor from the front torso of his mech.

"Taking heavy fire here," he shouted over the warning alarms ringing in his cockpit, "Cobra, knock that comms array out, the rest of you concentrate fire on that Archer."

The comms array building exploded into cloud of concrete dust as the Rifleman shredded it with large laser and autocannon fire. Though they'd completed their mission, their victory was not yet secure. To the south the Hussar Commando raced past the Raider's front line as its heavier comrades kept up their suppressing fire.

His mech's armor in a disastrous condition, Lt. Slick began pulling back. Hurtling into view atop a pillar of jet exhaust the enemy Wolverine alighted next to Tag's Trebuchet, raking the lieutenant's Centurion with lasers and short range missiles before barely missing a swift kick at the Trebuchet.

"Lieutenant, we're aint goin' t'be able to withstand the volume o' fire those heavies are laying down." Sgt. Bone advised.

"Agreed. Lance, sight exit lines to retreat from the field. Continue concentrating fire on that Archer. Maybe we can slow it down to cover our escape."

In answer, the Hussars' commander climbed atop a ridge and pelted the withdrawing Centurion with long range missiles.

Locking all weapons on the Archer, the Raiders' autocannons and missiles struck home, savaging the heavy mech and blowing one of its arms off. Reeling from the attack the 70 ton mech spun and crashed to the ground.

"Now's our chance! Move, move!"

The Raiders turned and throttled up. Continued harassing fire from the Hussar's did not let up though, and piercing the shredded armor of the Centurion inflicted critical hits on its engine. A blistering attack by the Commando's short range missiles pierced the Rifleman's back as it fled, striking its gyro. The heavy mech wobbled, but managed to right itself and run to safety.

The Hussars' commander managed to regain his Archer's feet. Shaking its one remaining fist in the air he cursed the Raiders who had escaped the Hussars' grasp again.


We had a number of twists that conspired to make this a game my son and I were eager to get to. He was excited to put the Rifleman on the field, one of the few heavy mechs that's been added to his mercenary company. And after weeks of begging to "build some bridges" with our 3D terrain I relented and created this raised highway layout that provided some sneaky passages that were tall enough for mechs to move under. On my side of the table, I was able to roll up a pretty killer lance of mercenary mechs including two of my favorites - the Archer and Warhammer. I was a bit nervous about throwing them against my son, but based on battle value points and tonnage our two forces were pretty close in power. I thought this would be a decent match up, but I haven't run an Archer in 20 years so I wasn't quite sure how deadly it would turn out to be.

Quite deadly in fact. The combination of PPCs from the Warhammer and twin LRMs from the Archer are a deadly combo. Each round they fire at his Centurion shredded armor off the poor thing. My son was also rudely surprised at the low maneuverability of his mechs. Having run so many light and mediums complete with jump jets for the bulk of our games, he was distraught to find his mechs unable to extricate themselves from fire once the battle began to turn.

He did complete his mission and realized he needed to evac well before it was clear he wouldn't be able to hold up against the enemy mercs. I'm hoping this battle gave him enough experience to run his heavier mechs during the upcoming factory assault next week.

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