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

Sonntag, 15. Juli 2018

Gettysburg Day 2 – Hood's flanking gamble (Battle Report)

„What do you think the Davion's are up to?“ The young merc pilot of McCarron's Armored Cavalry seemed anxious, having missed the intense fighting of the day before. The elder man standing next to him, a Sergeant, was taking a sip of his coffee. After he swallowed the hot brew, he looked into the distance over the rolling hills, fruit groves and the wheatfield, which dominated the center of his view. An almost picturesque scenery, if not a war was going on. „Nuthin' fancy, my boy. The Davion's are as exhausted as we are. It'll take 'em a while until they have recovered. I think they will strike in the mor...“ A thunderus explosion drowned the Sergeants last word. Both men looked into the direction the explosion came from and only seconds later, they saw it: long lines of grey BattleMechs, wearing the sun and sword emblem of the hated house Davion. „Guess you were wrong!“ the young pilot called out, while running to his waiting Wasp. „Damnation!“ The Sergeant spilled the last of his cup of coffee and got into gear himself...

After the first days success of the attacking house Davion and their 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT on Sarna, the second day was a completely different thing. Alerted, the defending Liao mercs, the famous McCarron's Armored Cavalry, were there in full force! Having secured the strategic important hills and ridges south and east of the small industrial hub of Gettysburg, they blocked the landing field of the spaceport due to long range artillery and LRM fire. But the Davion's were in desperate need of reinforcements and supplies.

So General Gordon Hartstone, CO of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT, ordered flanking attacks on the left and right of the enemy lines. Hood's and McLaw's companies moved under the cover of the Seminary Ridge south, to attack the Liao right flank near some wooded hills, called Little and Big Round Top. Expecting them and the area on the way to be unoccupied. What Hartstone did not know was, one company commander of McCarron's Armored Cavalry disobeyed orders and he had moved his troops into the forefield of the Round Tops...

As you can see, the Davion's were taking again the role of the Confederated troops of General Lee, while the Liao mercs are played the part of the Union army of the Potomac. I wanted the BT scenario to be at an epic scale, but still to have it playable on a single day. Therefore I used again my BattleStrike rules, which are a mix of Classic Battletech and Alpha Strike.

Originally I had planned to represent every brigade, which was involved in the historical battle, by a complete lance of BattleMechs. Even though I limited the time to move a complete lance to max 7 minutes, this would have caused a playtime of about +18 hours … which would not have been acceptable. So I reduced both forces in the correct ratio to 6 lances (24 mechs) for the attackers and 7 lances (28 mechs) for the defenders. As a result of my research, in the historical battle of 2nd July 1863, both forces were similar in size, but the Confederate brigades were viewer, but more powerful. While the Union brigades were more numerous, with less soldiers in it. This was represented by a higher average tonnage of the attacking Davion lances compared to the defending Liao lances.

Enough of this preliminary talking, let's get into fighting!


Battle Report!

The defending Liaos had to set up their first four lances in the forefield, putting one lance in each of the target areas and the fourth one as a picket line in front:
  • Peach Orchard (5 Victory Points)
  • Wheatfield (5 Victory Points)
  • Devil's Den (5 Victory Points)
You noticed the thing about the victory points in the brackets. Instead of having one big goal as in our day 1 scenario, I decided to go for more target areas on day 2. At the end we had five, adding these two on the list:
  • Ceminary Ridge (10 Victory Points)
  • Little Round Top (10 Victory Points)
The side which took and held more of these points at the end of turn 14, would have won the battle.

Hood's company made the first move in the south-west corner of the battlefield, heading east on a straight line, south of Devil's Den. The plan was, to rapid outflank the Liaos most southern position at Devil's Den, swing around and take Little Round Top and force the Liaos to counter-attack to the terms of the Davions. This kinda worked, but not 100% as intended. The defending Liaos were very cautious in the beginning, almost not opposing the Davion advance. The Liaos were instead regrouping, moving reinforcements from the Wheatfield AND even Peach Orchard to the south.

Right in this moment McLaw's company came up west of Peach Orchard, falling into the flank of the Liao lance, moving south on the Emmitsburg Road. The thrust of McLaw's company was swift and decisive, killing the full lance without own dead losses, but some of their mechs were severely damaged.

Meanwhile Liao reinforcements had arrived on the field from the north-east corner of the map. But instead of going south, two of their three lances headed straight west toward Peach Orchard, engaging McLaw's company. One of McLaw's lances had already been detached to move south to Devil's Den to relieve Hood's company, which got under rising pressure from the concentrated Liao forces, moving into their flank and rear.

Hood had already secured Little Round Top, but his slowest and most powerful lance was already crippled. Due to accurate long range weapons fire, the leading Marauder-3D was already destroyed, one of Hood's Archer fell during the crossing of the river and it wasn't able to catch up. Getting under constant pressure from a powerful Liao reinforcement lance from the north and three of the four original defending lances, Hood's company began to falter.

But the lance of McClaw's, rushing in from the rear of the main Liao force, seemed to turn the tide. As Hood's defense of Little Round Top seemed to hold, the Liaos itself found themselves caught in the middle. But just as the Davions were ready to engange, the commander of the Liao reinforcements took heart and pushed the Little Round Top and the surrounding area. The Davion commander needed to split his forces, originally planned to hammer the main group of the Liaos and though the thrust became not as powerful as originally intended. Kills and losses were at even terms at this critical moment and so neither the fights for Devil's Den, nor Little Round Top were decided until the end of the day.

Only on the opposite side of the battlefield things were settled. The two lance's of McLaw's company had wiped out completely one of the reinforcement lances and reduced the other one, while taking some losses themself. Most of the remaining Liao mechs fled back to Ceminary Ridge, but the Davions were too exhausted to follow. Additionally time ran out...

The Results

House Davions 5th Syrtis Fusiliers managed to destroy 14 Liao mechs with a total of 740 tons! The Davion losses at the end of round 14 were only 7 mechs with a total of 470 tons. Both sides had 1,430 tons of BattleMechs available. This would mean the defending Liaos lost about 52% of their force, while the attacking Davions lost only 33%.


...the attacking Davion's only managed to take and secure the Peach Orchard, claiming 5 Victory Points. Devil's Den was mostly secured by the Davion's, while the Wheatfield was in no possession of either side. Little Round Top was still contested until the end of the battle, while the Ceminary Ridge was still well secured behind the lines of the defending Liaos. This means:

Davion: 5 Victory Points
Liao: 10 Victory Points


The Davion's could claim a tactical victory, while it was a strategical loss. The defending Liaos did not only held or at least contested the critical terrain until the end of the 14th round, but also managed to damage the attacking force severely. Even if the Liaos had withdrawn from the fight, the Davion forces would have been in no shape to press the attack to the north and drive the Liaos from the critical positions on and around Cemetary Hill.

So congratulations to the Liao troops and their commanding officer, Icke Carter.
It has been a hell of a fight!

List of Casualties:

Davion 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT

1st Battailon, 3rd Company: Hood “For Whom the Bell talls”

1st Lance: Law (280 tons)
Marauder-3D (DESTROYED)
Crusader-3R (DAMAGED)

2nd Lance: Robertson (225 tons)
Wolverine-6R (DAMAGED)
Griffin-1N (DAMAGED)
Shadow-Hawk-2H (DAMAGED)

3rd Lance: Anderson (175 tons)
Shadow-Hawk-2H (DAMAGED)
Phoenix Hawk-1 (DAMAGED)

1st Battalion, 1st Company: McLaw's Rule

1st Lance: Kershaw (255 tons)
Archer-2R (DAMAGED)
Thunderbolt-5S (DESTROYED)
Enforcer-4R (DAMAGED)

2nd Lance: Barksdale (250 tons)
Thunderbolt-5S (DESTROYED)

3rd Lance: Semmes (245 tons)
Thunderbolt-5S (DESTROYED)
Phoenix-Hawk-1 (DAMAGED)

Liao McCarron's Armored Cavalry

2rd Battalion, 3rd Company - Sickles
1st Lance: Graham (255 tons)

2nd Lance: Ward (245 tons)
Marauder-3L (DESTROYED)
Hunchback-4G (DESTROYED)

3rd Lance: Trobriand (255 tons)
Cataphract-1X (DESTROYED)
Warhammer-6L (DESTROYED)
Catapult-C1 (DESTROYED)
Trebuchet-5N (DESTROYED)

McCarron's Armored Skirmishers (140 tons)
Phoenix-Hawk 1 (DESTROYED)

2nd Battalion, 5th Company – Sykes
1st Lance: Tilton (220 tons)

2nd Lance: Sweitzer (195 tons)
Hunchback-4G (DESTROYED)
Centurion-A (DESTROYED)
Enforcer-4R (DESTROYED)
Hatchetman-3F (DESTROYED)

3rd Lance: Vincent (120 tons)
Javelin-10N (DESTROYED)

Initial positions of the Liao defenders in Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield and Devil's Den.

Trobriands Lance prepares for the attack in Peach Orchard.

Hood's company attack's in columns in the south-west of the battlefield.
All Liao forces rushes south to intercept Hood's attacking company.

The Liaos are setting up a stiff defense around Devil's Den with reinforcements from the Wheatfield.

Surprise! McLaw's company shows up in the flank of Trobriands lance while moving south.

Hood's company rushes west toward Little Round Top, leaving Law's lance more and more behind. An Archer already fell while crossing the river.

McLaw's company clears the Peach Orchard from Liao troops.

Suddenly Liao reinforcements flank McLaw's left.

The Liaos in Devil's Den get heckled by Davion troops.

Intense fighting south of Devil's Den.

Coming from Peach Orchard, Kershaw's lance manages to push most Liao troops out of Devil's Den.

Final round: Little Round Top is still contested, Devil's Den is mostly secured.
Close up: Little Round Top is still contested.

Close up: The engagement south of Devil's Denn rages on.
Final round: Most Liao forces flee from Peach Orchard to Ceminary Ridge, while the Davion's mop up the rest.

Close up: The final situation in the Peach Orchard.