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Friday, February 23, 2018

Holding the Line against the Jade Falcons

They're here:   The Clans, those fascist vat-born pubescent fantasies of power and honor - they've come for your basic human rights and genetic legacies!  But fear not, gentle reader, the 1st Argyle Rangers are here to defend you and the Four Freedoms that make the Federated Suns the light of civilization in the Inner Sphere!

Let's have a look at our heroic defenders in action against the dreaded Jade Falcon Clan.

Wow, 12k BV sure does buy a lot of toys!
Here we see the 1st Argyle Rangers, an elite battalion loyal to le Comte de Laval, commanded by his son, Colonel Julien Laval.   Colonel Laval has commanded the unit for over 20 years, and despite being near 50 years old, he has taken the field for a battle of importance.  Riding his rare mech, a Marauder II, he is an intimidating presence on the battlefield.

The Jade Falcon force looks small in comparison, but they should not be underestimated.  Reports of what a single 5-mech "Star" was able to do to well armed Kurita mercenaries show what only a handful of these powerful mechs are capable of. 

The Rangers hunker down behind their defenses and await the coming storm.

The Jade Falcons make a cautious approach, threatening the Rangers' right flank, using a large hill as cover.

Meanwhile the Rangers' VTOL element makes a wide flanking motion of their own, getting around the rear of the enemy quickly.

Col. Laval redeploys his forces to blunt the expected attack.

"Visual Contact!"  A Summoner takes a cautious step around the hill and is met by 8 volleys of LRM 20 packs, sending it scurrying back behind cover once more.  Some of the younger members of the Davion force openly mock the Clans on their radios, but Laval quickly tamps that down.  This was not the time for overconfidence.

He orders his light mechs to flank the enemy on the left, hoping to draw them out of formation.

Meanwhile the VTOLs are in position directly behind the enemy, staying carefully out of sight and awaiting their moment.  In one of the transports waits two platoons of highly trained anti-mech infantry.  The other... well, let's just say some modifications have been made to the underbelly to offer the Clans a bit of a surprise.

Indecision on the part of the Clan commander sees the Star continually redeploying behind the hill, trying to find a way to threaten the Rangers' tight defensive formation. They seem to consider cresting the hill or rounding it on the right and left simultaneously... but only a few shots have been fired thus far.

Finally, they make their decision and divide into three groups. One mech alone against the heavily defended right, two mechs (including the Star Commander in his Warhawk) at center, and the two Summoners trying to chase the lights around the mountain to the left. 

Outrunning the chasing mechs, the lights make their move, followed up by VTOL support and some jump infantry that took advance positions on the hill. The VTOLs, infantry and light mechs rush the rear of the two lead mechs.

Before they connect the Star Commander challenges Col. Laval  to personal combat according to the Clan's absurd honor rules. Laval, despite a reputation for disdaining duels, gleefully accepts.  If he can personally tie up the Star's commander the rest of the company can focus on the other mechs.  The Colonel holds strictly to the dueling rules, forcing the commander to keep them as well, while his Light mechs and vehicles utterly disregard the rules and seek for rear armor shots.

Ignoring the Star Commander's Warhawk, the lights fire everything into the rear armor of the leading NovaCat.  The infantry however fire on the Star Commander.  Lucky shot to the head sees him black out for a full turn.  Yet Col. Laval orders no one to fire on the unconscious pilot.  He's playing the long game - even if the Rangers win here, he wants them to do it with a reputation for accepting Clan honor.  Not for reasons of respect (who can respect a fascist?), but for future exploitation.

Meanwhile the Blackhawk moves up rapidly into range, facing an incredible amount of incoming fire.

...and the two Summoners finally round the mountain to see their light mech targets tearing apart their friends.  Wait, did that Karnov VTOL just fire an AC-20 into the back of that NovaCat?  You bet your ass it did.  #DuctTapeSolutions.

With his dueling target briefly unconscious, Col. Laval takes a look around for a quick mid-battle assessment.  The two Summoners on the left are playing catch up, the Blackhawk on the right is getting torn apart by heavy armor, a Hunchback and a Stalker, and the center... the center is a glorious mess of back-shotting lights and VTOLs and front shotting LRM-20s.  Things are looking pretty good for the Rangers!

An infantry platoon takes advantage of the unconscious commander and climbs on board.

The NovaCat... oh poor Cat.  He's charging the LRMs of the Bombadier, while three lights pluck away at its rear armor.  Engine hits soon accumulate... from the front isn't any better.

The modified Karnov VTOL drops more AC-20 cannon shots into the Summoners as they finally arrive at the party.

Infantry swarm the commander as he tries to continue his duel with the Colonel, and jump infantry harass him at his heels, tearing up his rear torso armor.

The Blackhawk is down, landing a Gyro hit on the Hunchback as he drops. The Hunchback's pilot soon rights his mech and starts to pull back for repairs (Inners are fighting under Forced Withdrawal rules).

As the enemy nears the walls, it's a constant barrage of missiles from the carriers and infantry both.  The NovaCat goes down to engine hits.  That means at least one captured Clanner.

Summoners are dropping fast, as the Warhawk takes engine hits from the infantry. The mech shuts down where it stands.  The pilot, helpless against two platoons of infantry, still takes a several gunshots before surrendering.  A captured Star Commander is going to play very well at court for Col. Laval.

A single Summoner remains, and charges Laval. His PPCs connect with the Clan mech, shaking but not stopping it...

It is at last put down by a rear armor shot from that VTOL with the AC-20 duct taped to the hull.

And with that, the day belongs to the Rangers and Colonel Laval's victory is complete.  Unbelievably, not a single FedSuns soldier died in the fighting.  Three mechs saw significant damage (both Jenners and the Hunchback), and one of the VTOLs will need repair on its rotors, but otherwise this battle was about as one-sided as any force commander could have hoped for.  With no deaths, few repairs, and a pile of incredibly valuable Clan salvage, Colonel Laval may make his final dreamed of promotion to the AFFS General Staff.  Especially with several captured Clanners to bring before the First Prince.

Hurrah!  Victory for the Federated Suns and Freedom!