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Friday, January 26, 2018

Smoke Jaguars on the Prowl

The battle for Dueros continues.... The Red Hand mercenary company has fallen back to a defensive position as they prepare to retreat off planet in the face of the Clan Invasion. A battery of Long Range Missile mechs awaits Clan Smoke Jaguar as they give chase.

As the Clan Mechs advance, the mercenaries begin their long range fire. Two Archers and two Longbow provide a tremendous number of missiles, with an Awesome and an entire company of LRM Jump Infantry in support.

The Vulture dares to crest the hill, taking significant fire and trying to draw some of the mechs away from the center mass.

This is somewhat successful, as the Awesome and Archers move to intercept. Yet the price is signifcant - several LRM 20 packs connect, shredding the mech's torso armor and making it very vulnerable to ammo explosions.

The Bruin moves up to support the Vulture.

Between both clan mechs, the Awesome gets pummeled, but the assault mech's heavy armor can take the damage, despite engine hits.

As the Bruin and Vulture tie up the Archers and Awesome, the MadCat completes its flanking arch, destroying one infantry platoon as it comes around behind the Longbows.  They turn to engage, but mostly fail to hit the fast moving mech, a difficult target even when it lacks forests and hills to hide behind.

The Vulture pulls back, having lost it's entire left side to an ammo explosion, and the Bruin moves to intercept the Awesome.

Its left side destroyed, it's right side mangled and exposed, and with no armor left on the center torso, the clan mechwarrior snipes from a distance. Unwilling to lose his mech, and equally unwilling to retreat in the face of an inferior enemy, the warrior hangs on, trying to continue to carefully contribute to the battle.

Finally, after a desperate effort to take out the Bruin, the awesome hits 30 heat and shuts down, leaving the LRM mechs unescorted. They move to finish off the Vulture, but the Bruin stands in their way.

Meanwhile, the Madcat clears the forest, forcing the Longbows to deal with it alone.

They don't last long against the far superior Clan mech. An ammo explosion does it for the first one.

The Vulture, half its weapons gone, continues to snipe at the Archers. The mercenary jump infantry get close enough to fire at the heavily damaged mech.

The Madcat doesn't slow, killing a Longbow each turn, rushing in under the LRM's minimum range.

The Archers firing at point blank range, score two gyro hits on the Bruin.  Unwilling to eject and face dishonor, the pilot props himself up on one arm and continues to fire.

The Archers move into to try to kick the downed mech to death - the height of dishonor!

Facing such a dishonorable adversary, the Madcat, which until now has carefully kept to his clan's honor rules, opens fire into the rear of the Archers.  How dare they kick a downed mech!

The Vulture moves back in to support the downed Bruin as well.  Perhaps a tactical mistake...

Finally, the Archers manage to score the final engine hit on the Bruin, shutting it down. The mechwarrior survives to fight another day however.

At the same time, the Vulture suffers a gyro hit, downing it as well.  The infantry, smelling blood, move towards it to swarm.

But the Madcat is still practically undamaged and rushes in to save the day. 

"We cannot allow these freeborn scum a chance to salvage an Omnimech! Kill them all!  For Clan Smoke Jaguar!"

The vulture manages to stand to lend support.  The Awesome, restarted, retreats off the board as the Madcat finishes off the Archers easily.

But as their mechs are destroyed, a lucky hit from the lowest of the low - freeborn conventional infantry - finishes off the Vulture's center torso.  While no Trueborn mechwarriors died today, it was an expensive battle for Smoke Jaguar.

Only the heavily damaged Awesome managed to escape, and the mercenaries were denied any salvage. The Madcat, enraged over the dishonorable tactics of the enemy, surely did not let any of the infantry escape its machine guns. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Enter the Clans

Periphery planet of Dueros, on the border of Combine Space, 3049:

The Red Hand Mercenary Company, on contract with House Kurita, lands to investigate the apparent destruction of a listening post by unknown forces.

A sizable force drops and takes the military facility without incident. While the buildings have taken extensive damage, the inhabitants have vanished.

"Commander," came a panicked voice from their VTOL scouts, "we have five unknown silhouettes moving on our position!"

An unfamiliar sight in the inner sphere - new mechs? A voice comes across the radio.

"This is Star Commander Owens of Alpha Star.  This world is now the territory of Clan Smoke Jaguar. Withdraw or be destroyed."

Clan Smoke whatnow? Who are these guys?

Clan Smoke Jaguar advances...

The mercenaries form a defensive line while their armor moves up to test the capabilities of these new mechs.

Goblins unload their squads while two heavy Demolisher Tanks move up to meet the threat.

The Clan's long range weaponry quickly destroy the treads on one of the Demolishers, reducing it to a pillbox, and surprise the enemy by giving ground to keep their range. The tanks give chance, leaving their infantry behind. Meanwhile, a Karnov Transport VTOL circles behind.

Risking perhaps too much, the MadCat moves up to finish the Demolisher at close range. It takes two AC-20 hits which mess it up bad.

The mercenaries hold back in cover, a critical mistake allowing their support vehicles to be wiped out.

The Karnov makes its move, dropping two platoons of infantry on zip lines. One of the platoons lands wide, but the other manages to get purchase on the Madcat, ready to set explosive charges.

Already waiting too long, the mech commander (in the Stalker) orders the advance, bringing their LRMs into range.

As they come into range, their radio belches to life "This is Mechwarrior Clive in the Bruin. I challenge the mechwarrior piloting the Stalker to combat under the sacred rules of Zellbriggen. In this solemn matter let none interfere!"

The inner sphere mercenaries have no idea what he's talking about. Several mechs open fire on the challenging mech, met with return fire and cries of "Dezgren scum!" from the Clan warrior.

The Madcat, looking to shake the infantry, drops prone, taking light damage.  The infantry are dislodged before they can set charges on the mech's cockpit. The Madcat's machine guns finish off both platoons as the other mechs eliminate both Goblins. With the armor and most of the infantry out of the picture, they are ready to focus on the mechs. Unfortunately, the Madcat took extensive damage from the conventional forces.  It cannot be expected to last much longer. Yet unlike the Inners they oppose, Clan Smoke Jaguar cannot withdraw in the face of such an inferior enemy.

The main enemy force begins its advance, firing their LRMS.

The Clan rallies forward, with the exception of the Madcat, which hangs back looking for an advantageous opportunity to reengage.

Hoping their sheer numbers would be enough to stop the invaders, the mercenaries surge forward.

After several ineffective shots, the Longbow gets hit with the Bruin's impressive long range armaments, shredding it's torso armor. Knowing another hit will ignite the ammo, it becomes the first Inner Sphere mech to withdraw. Keeping to their code even when their enemies ignore it, the Smoke Jaguars allow any retreating mech free passage.

Long range weapon fire finally downs the MadCat which attempted to reengage to help his clanmates. I believe it was an LRM carrier that took it out at the same time as the Madcat destroyed it.

Things get ugly as the opposing forces close to near point-blank range.  The Inners keep pushing forward hoping to use their fists, but the Clan mechs continue to slowly walk backwards, forcing the inners to give chase.

The Bruin, heavily damaged at this point, offers support fire to the rapidly overheating MadDog/Vulture withdrawing into the forest. The enemy Grasshopper rushes up to do what it does best.

The Bruin doesn't let it get close enough to use its fists.

With the Bruin's torso armor shredded, the mercenaries once again concentrate their fire on it. Slower than the other Clan mechs, the Bruin's jump jets save it here, allowing it to jump into the forest for cover.

The Mercenary's commander in his Stalker gives chase, walking into fire from both the Bruin and the Vulture. After a round of half-fire to cool down the mech, the Vulture discharges everything on the enemy commander. 

Two missile volleys clip the cockpit, and the mechwarrior inside takes a neurohelmet surge that renders him unconscious inside his still functional mech. The massive Stalkers stops moving in the middle of the firefight.

The Smoke Jaguar warriors honorably turn away from the incapacitated mech towards what few mechs remain of their opponents. The Red Hand's 2nd in command in the Battlemaster gives the retreat order, and Clan Smoke Jaguar honors it, allowing them to withdraw so long as they cease fire. They will have a terrifying tale to tell when they report to their Kurita masters... Soon the entire Inner Sphere will come to fear Clan Smoke Jaguar!