„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!
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...
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!
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)
Warhammer-6R (SEVERELY DAMAGED)
2nd Lance: Robertson (225 tons)
3rd Lance: Anderson (175 tons)
Phoenix Hawk-1 (DAMAGED)
1st Battalion, 1st Company: McLaw's Rule
1st Lance: Kershaw (255 tons)
Warhammer-6D (SEVERELY DAMAGED)
2nd Lance: Barksdale (250 tons)
Centurion-A (SEVERELY DAMAGED)
3rd Lance: Semmes (245 tons)
Liao McCarron's Armored Cavalry
2rd Battalion, 3rd Company - Sickles
1st Lance: Graham (255 tons)
2nd Lance: Ward (245 tons)
3rd Lance: Trobriand (255 tons)
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)
3rd Lance: Vincent (120 tons)
Wolfhound-1 (SEVERELY DAMAGED)
Wasp-1A (SEVERELY DAMAGED)
|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.|