Samstag, 18. Mai 2019

An incredibly beautiful gesture

"Matsumura Hatake-san loses his rank of Tai-sa and will be appointed to another position."
Message from Dieron Military District to 36th Dieron Regulars, March 30th, 3053


With these words my unit stripped me of my rank on May 4th this year. It was the conclusion of my former resignation as the CO of the 36th Dieron Regulars. Leading the unit for about 6.5 years, I felt this would be the right step. Even though my comrades had to let me go ... at least in a way, they came up with a trick to keep me in service: They promoted me.

As a result of the Combines and FRR strategic victory during the Operation Thor II, which I commanded, they gave me the rank of Tai-sho. Which means General in the Draconis Combine Military Soldiery (DCMS).

Domo arigatou gozaimasu! *bowsdeeply*

Sonntag, 17. Februar 2019

Battle Report: Operation Thor II - The Ronin War













Feb 1st, 3035
Planet Radlje, Free Rasalhague Republic
(former Military District Rasalhague, Draconis Combine)


As the Kurita fleet went down on the icy world of Radlje, the flames of the engines evaporated the frost on the ships’ hulls within milliseconds. The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, an overlord class dropship completely covered in dark red and painted with a large black dragon, took the lead position. Flanked by a flight of Shilone heavy aerospace fighters, it must have been a beautiful sight – at least for the loyalists on the planets surface, waiting for the relieve force. For the Ronin instead, it must have felt like a guillotine coming down on them.

The Ronin were renegades. As warriors of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery they had refused to follow the command of the Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita to leave the planet and head for the Kurita core regions. In 3034 Theodore had decided to release Rasalhague to independence. But some of the DCMS forces didn’t want to give up the territories their fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for centuries. Others remained only to protect the Kurita civilians from the wrath of the Swedenese mob. 
 
For Tai-sa Hatake Matsumura all of this was of little concern. As a man of absolute loyalty to Theodore Kurita, he was determined to follow his orders: break all resistance and punish the perpetrators. The only thing he didn’t like about his assignment was his task force. Or better: its individual elements. Next to some loyal Kurita units like the Swords of Light and some Regulars, he was forced to work with members of the Kungs Armé as well as Mercenaries and even some military “advisors” of the hated Lyran Commonwealth!

From his point of view, he would have left all but his loyal DCMS forces behind. Surely those Ronin were no match for him and the Swords of Light. But there were political layers he couldn’t ignore. And after all, he had his orders from the Kanrei personally! And a soldier has to carry out one’s duty…

8 strategic targets are
connected by a rail network.
So much for the “fluff” of the Ronin Campaign. The Hamburg division of MechForce Germany ran an event from 1st to 3rd of February. 36 players and a staff of 10 people took part in this large 3 days’ battle. 6 tactical rounds were played and incredible 42 engagements were fought. Not to forget all the good laughs, the anger (about missed dice roles) and of course: the booze! :-D

When I arrived on Friday to my surprise I was appointed as the CO of the loyalist faction. While an old buddy of mine, Thori, took the lead of the Ronin. So after all this became a true brotherly battle. To even the odds, the game master decided all units on both sides had to combat drop randomly. The battlefield was represented by a huge map of Alaska with a layer of hex fields on it. 


The first day: Dropping on enemy territory

By luck most of the Ronin went down around the city of Anchorage, which was also the capital in our Ronin scenario. The Loyalists instead landed for the most part in the north and west of the map. Only a few units came down behind enemy lines. But those who did, played a major role soon after…

Green: Loyalist, Red: Ronin
As a good Kurita soldier, I decided to engage as soon and as hard as possible. Six fights were on in the first tactical round. In the beginning I wanted to know what we were up against, because both sides had a variety of light, medium, heavy, assault and artillery assets at their disposal. Based on their weight class their movement speed corresponded on the strategic map:
  • 1 hex for assault units
  • 2 hexes for artillery units
  • 2 hexes for heavy units
  • 3 hexes for medium units
  • 4 hexes for light units
All units were BattleMechs (no tanks, no infantry etc.), both sides had one Raven with ECM in their ranks.

To win the campaign, one side had to occupy more strategic targets on the map than the other. There were eight targets like the spaceport, a sea harbour, loading stations etc. Holding some of them granted the occupying side perks like performing a combat drop every three tactical rounds if you owned the spaceport.

At this point my units, which dropped behind enemy lines, came into play: While the main forces engaged the enemies where they stood, the ones in the rear of the Ronin headed straight for the strategic targets. Meanwhile my combat units managed to bind some of the lighter and though faster Ronin. As a result, the Loyalists made the race to 6 of the 8 strategic targets before the Ronin could get there. I’d like to single out the unluckiest person I treaded this way: Outlaw. I managed to attack him and his light/medium unit three rounds in a row with an assault unit. Outlaw had no chance to win, even though he managed to slip away three times. It needed lucky shots in the third engagement to kill at least Outlaws Spider – with two hits to the head!

In the night from Friday to Saturday, when the fighting came to an end, the progress of the Loyalists was satisfactory: We already held 4 out of 8 strategic targets, while the opponents only managed to take 2. The rest was still unoccupied. In return the Ronin scored slightly better on the kill board. 


Loyalists on the attack.
The second day: Main Stage Spaceport

On Saturday morning the fighting continued, but this time the Ronin took a much more active stance. Thori, my opposing commander, tried to disengage from my main force, while he pushed south towards the spaceport. Only a light/medium unit of the Phoenix Guard held the place and would not stand a chance on the long run. So I took the risk and intercepted the incoming forces on route to the port. Performing a wonderful delaying action, while the Loyalist main force raced south-east to the rescue!

The plan succeeded and the Phoenix Guard not only managed to hold the port, they did some kills. To strengthen the defence, in the sixth round I dropped in an assault unit and the perimeter held. 

Side Stages

Meanwhile there were some smaller units fighting in the west, east and north for secondary targets. In the north the factory changed hands three times, while decimated loyalist defenders clinged on the radio station until the very end. The western skirmishes were kinda special for me. First of all, my unit was involved directly and my opponent was Detlef Howe, one of the founders of the first MechForce Germany in 1993. Detlef alias “The Major” rolled my first MechForce BattleMech in 1994, a Hunchback-4G. I payed the BattleTech Central in Essen a visit to sign in and that was that. So I was really excited to fight a match with him 25 years later.

Unfortunately, the mission I had to fulfill was to act as a binding force and to slow the Major down, while he approached the western railway loading station. His unit consisted of a few very agile light and medium machines plus some artillery Battlemechs … and a Raven with ECM. So I couldn’t do much more than distracting him and buy some time. In the fifth tactical round more powerful loyalist units were entrenched enough in the railway station, so I let the Major of the hook and he tried to take the station – but didn’t succeed. 

Final push to Anchorage.
The last night: Advancing Anchorage

You want to know what happened to the capital? Anchorage was a pretty safe place for the Ronin for the most time. But in the end of the campaign I ordered a sizeable push towards the large city along the western railroad. The fighting in the suburbs and in the downtown area were grim. When the dust settled in the night from Saturday and Friday, it became apparent that it was a draw. Half of the capital was still held by the Ronin, while the other half was freed by the Loyalists. 

Results & Aftermath

At the end the Loyalists held 6 out of 8 strategic targets. The capital, Anchorage, was still contested while the Ronin controlled only a subterranean railway station in the north-east. Therefore, the Loyalist faction achieved a major strategical victory!

But the Ronin did not despair. In the sixth and last tactical round the still had the chance to turn the tables and they put up some great fights. Almost everyone was happy with the end of the campaign. Personally it’s been absolutely fun for me. I met some old buddies I hadn’t seen for decades and I made some new friends.

My thanks go out for the Northern German BT Division, you guys did an awesome job! Already looking forward to Operation Thor III in 2021

@Fotos: Danke an Thorsten Elfers für die tollen Bilder!

It's Thoris (center) turn to set one of his units on the strategic map.
Blue flags are loyalist units, white ones for the Ronin.
Delaying action: Storyteller (black pullover) and Peer (blue) are fighting Detlef "The Major" Howe (left).
A lot of fighting during Saturday.
Thori (2nd from the left) and Storyteller (me sitting front/right)
during a movement phase at the strategic map.

42 battles were fought from Friday evening to Saturday night!
Aaaaaand ... the result:
The loyalist achieved a major victory!
But we all had a great time.
A rare view: A Steiner banner next to Kurita flag.

The 2019 combined banner of
MechForce Germany and Team Trueborn.
Some of you may notice the artwork on top:
36th Dieron Regulars by Spooky777!

Samstag, 8. September 2018

The two Princes: Ian & Hanse Davion

I know, some people criticized my paint style of Ian Davions Atlas'. I tried to make him more dirty and battle wary than most of my former mechs and I am not 100% happy with the result either. A bit too much on all sides. Anyhow, I think it is not as bad as some people said it is.

Anyhow, I gave it another try: I had a Battlemaster for about three years in reserve, only primed in black. Hanse Davion piloted a B-master in the BattleTech lore, so the choice became obvious. I tried to use less paint than before and payed more attention to the details. I think I did better, but it's still far from what I had in mind originally.

What do you think?

Donnerstag, 6. September 2018

Midsummer Fight 2018 - Aftermath


As the dust settled and the thick black smoke, boiling from the remains of the massive torso, were gone with the wind, a mauled figure leaned next to a giant canyon wall. Just as if it was sitting there to rest a while. Where the Crusader has left some red paint, it seemed as if the BattleMech was glowing. But it was just the last light of the setting sun reflecting from the hull. As the 100 tons Davion Atlas exploded a few moments before, the Crusader was taken off his feet and thrown against the walls - like a kids doll.

A huge shadow fell over the Crusader: a Warhammer in the same paint scheme, but almost brand new. "Chu-i Brelow..." a voice cracked through the com. Not sure if interfered by static or if the speaker had just a lump in his throat. "You ... you killed the First Prince." With his last words, the voice seemed to regain strength. "You killed the one, I was supposed to kill. You took the honor from me!" Now Brelow clearly recognized who was talking to him: Chu-sa Yorinaga Kurita, XO of the 2nd Sword of Light. And a member of the royal family - even if he was not closely related to the coordinator. 

"Sumimasen deshita, Kurita Yorinaga-sama!" Below suddenly broke out. "I did not mean to ... I ... I was prepared to die. But then ... it all went so fast." The young Chu-i tried to wipe away the sweat, dropping into his eyes. But the clunky helmet and his gloves prevented him from succeeding. "If ... if you want satisfaction, I ... will do what is necessary, Kurita Yorinaga-sama." Below said with a sudden drop of spirit in his voice. For a brief moment nothing happened, but it felt like an eternity to the Crusader's pilot. Suddenly the Warhammer began moving again, setting the sun free, forcing Below to blink. While Yorinaga Kuritas Warhammer slowly walked away from the scene, his last words were: "Shikata ga nai."

From Friday 31st of August to the 1st of September, it was BT time again in Oberasbach, close to Nuremberg in Germany. Alex had organized the Midsummer Fight again, this time with a few guests from Cologne and Koblenz. Some of the participants joined me in my mini campaign "Mallory's World", which consisted of three of the early fights in the scenario pack: Princely Rescue, The Nobility of Defeat and The Defeat of Nobility. 


I made some adjustments to the setups, so chances for both sides would be more even for all of the three fights. In the first one, the 4th Davion Guards RCT clearly had some advantages over the defending 24th Dieron Regulars plus supporting tanks. The combat in the outskirts of Colterville was intense and thrilling. In the end the Kurita were overwhelmed, when the Davions used there numbers. All three Kurita Mechs, although severely damaged, managed to escape, while most of the tanks were destroyed.

The next day the 4th Davion Guards RCT were forced to break through enemy lines. The Kurita elite regiment 2nd Sword of Light was pressing hard on the Davions. Ian Davion, First Prince and commander of the Davion Guards, gave the order to head for the landing zones to lift off planet. But losses were high. The Kuritas set up a perimeter in some desert hills, gunning down most of the hover tanks and even incapacitating one of the light Davion mechs.

On Saturday at high noon, Ian Davion made his last stand at the Desolate Pass - the only path to the Davion dropzones. Ian intended to buy some time for his retreating troops, holding the Kurita onslaught as long as he could. And he did heroic! First the CO of the 2nd Sword of Light himself, Tai-sa Aritomo Goto, in his Battlemaster engaged. But due to a instinctive move, Ian managed to destroy the Battlemaster's right leg. After this, Ian kicked and shot at the almost helpless Kurita mech, until the Tai-sa ejected ... and crashed into the canyon walls with his seat.

Seeing this, the rest of the command lance rushed enraged up the pass. But Ian was now in his element, something the Kurita Samurai would describe as "mushin no shin". Like a zen master of the old he cut down a Thunderbolt and shortly after a Kurita Marauder - with just a single shot of the AC20 into the head! His Atlas was already in a bad shape and when the fourth and last member of the lance, a Crusader, fired all his rockets, Ian's time had come: Almost all of them hit him, even the long range missiles! Striking deep into the center torso of the Atlas, letting him go up like an exploding star. A fitting end for the First Prince of the Federated Suns...

Parallel to this a couple of other attendees fought out some chapter fights. As far as I know it has been Marik vs. Steiner and Liao vs. Steiner. On Saturday afternoon we all joined in a big stomp with 3025 IS tech which Oliver from house Steiner had one, after a close finally with Mehmet. The weekend has been a blast! Great matches, delicious meals, good drinks and interesting talks. Hope to see you all again.

P.S.: My special thanks go out to Christian, Mehmet, Roland and Alex who joined me in this short, but awesome campaign!

 

 
 





 

Samstag, 25. August 2018

The Battle of Mallory's World - Last Preparations


Only a few days and the BattleTech Convention Midsummer Fight 2018 close to Nuremberg, Germany will start. Last preparations on my side are being made for the classic scenario Battle of Mallory's World during its early stages in 3013. We will play out a series of three engagements with the last one being the duel between First Prince Ian Davion and Yorinaga Kurita.

I am really looking forward to this one, because the fights between Kurita and Davion have been my favorite ones in the BattleTech lore! I will give a report after next weekend.

With no further ado, here are the troops:

Roughly three companies of BattleMechs and vehicles
will take part in the mini campaign.
Our heroes! The 2nd Sword of Light of House Kurita.
Yorinaga Kuritas Warhammer-6K is to be seen in the rear.

And here are the baddies: Elements of the 4th Davion Guards RCT.
Ian Davions Atlas in parade colors is in their midst.

Freitag, 17. August 2018

Show me your Marauders

The Marauder was the design, which got me into BattleTech. Back in 1994 I was sitting in a friends room, playing Star Wars: TIE Fighter on his PC. I had only an Amiga back then and the game wasn't released on my aging computer.

So we played a hotseat session, everyone could do one mission or until the AI had blown you out of space. When he was playing, I had a look on this strange book, lying next to his PC: the Technical Readout 3025 of BattleTech. I fell at once in love with the Marauder on its cover.

Now after 34 years I own a few of them. Next to the ones on the picture, I have some unfinished Marauders: a RoboTech Tactical Pod Gauge, a MWO Marauder and in the near future one of the first BattleTech Marauders (with those thin AC5 barels). And a half Marauder II, missing his legs.

Until they are finished, those are my battle ready 75 tons favorite fighting machines (from right to left):

  • Grey Marauder II (Gray Death Legion, merc unit)
  • Blue Marauder (Tjorvens Fire, Ronin/merc unit)
  • White-Gold Marauder (36th Dieron Regulars, Kurita)
  • Red Marauder (5th Sword of Light, Kurita)
  • Green Marauder (some merc)
About the Marauders in the making, the MWO design will become MacLarens machine of the command lance of the Black Widow Company. Concerning the other three, it is still undecided what they will be.

Samstag, 21. Juli 2018

Storyteller's MechForce - Out for Parade!

Though my MechForce has grown from a mere battalion six years ago to more than a full regiment of BattleMechs now, I was wondering how many they were exactly. Together with my two daughters I was lining them all up for a parade and ... those are the numbers:
  • 185 BattleMechs
  • 23 Tanks
  • 10 Infantry Platoons
  • 6 Points of Elementals
  • 3 AeroSpace Fighters
  • 1 VTOL
  • 8 RPG Characters
Plus a number of Mech models from Dougram, some from Robotech / Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

I would like to thank two fellow MechWarrior's who gave me their collections for free, when they quit playing. They didn't want the Mechs to be sold and spread out all over the world. So they gave their mechs, tanks and more to me and I am trying my best to restore and paint them as good as I can.

And I would like to remind of my old friend Tim H., who died in the mid 1990s during a car accident. Many of the BattleMechs and especially the models you see here belonged to him. His parents gave them to our chapter after his passing, because they knew we would hold them dear. We did our best as we could.
Some non-faction lances and some Kurita fighters
My home unit: 36th Dieron Regulars, Draconis Combine, House Kurita
The Gray Death Legion, Mercenaries

5th Sword of Light, Draconis Combine, House Kurita + Theodore Kurita in front
Falcon Guard, Clan Jade Falcon + some BT RPG figures in front

Some Jade Falcon and unrelated or non-colored Clan BattleMechs
Free World Guards, Free Worlds League, House Marik
Tjorven's Fire, Mercenaries / Ronin, former DCMS
Eridani Light Horse, Mercenaries +some non-faction lances

Non-faction lance and Mechs
Mini-diorama with a Quickdraw
Non-faction lance and Mechs

Steiner assault lance plus some other non-faction Mechs