Phase One: Tornado Pass
First strike by SOO from the South, attacking main entry point to the Guanti Spaceport. The BDA force has to hold this position.
Phase Two: Hard Rock Hill
SOO attempts to wipe out the enemy artillery position on the West edge of the base, and fold that flank. The BDA try to hold the line, and preserve their artillery.
Phase Three: Grand Central
The SOO third attack seeks to take out the central hub of the Guanti Spaceport. The BDA has strong forces there, but will it be enough?
The conflict between the Sons Of Odin (SOO) Mercenary Group and their beleaguered Alesian Defense Force Allie’s, versus the Communist forces of the Blood Dragon Alliance (BDA), has been waged across the frozen ice planet of Krios for many months. The culmination of many victories by SOO has resulted in this potentially campaign defining battle for Guanti Spaceport. Control of the spaceport is vital to any factions trying to maintain control of the planet, and so the BDA turned this into a heavily reinforced “hedgehog” position where it’s best forces and senior leadership elements on Krios reside. To capture the port, SOO augmented the Hels Lancers division with mech lances from the Thor’s Hammer division, in an attempt to help them take this position.
The Battle for Guanti Spaceport was a multiphase battle consisting of three distinct engagements, which combined to result in a larger overall outcome for control of the spaceport. As in warfare throughout history, what happens in one nearby portion of a battlefield can dictate the success or failure elsewhere. The three phases of this battle contained some intense fighting and had all of those elements where one result impacted the other.
To make this truly work, I took a page out of Fred’s book and created a complete unit list for both sides, focusing on main battle units only. I then had two commanders (Rhys and Steve) lead the SOO and BDA factions, respectively. For each phase of the battle the two commanders had a pool of reserve forces they could route to any sector of the greater battlefield, but doing so would mean those forces would likely not be available to other sectors. In this way, the commanders could augment their forces however they saw fit based on whatever intelligence they had. Both, by both luck and skill, did an admirable job.
The two forces were evenly matched from the Battle Value perspective but each had advantages and disadvantages. For example, the SOO force (as the protagonists in this story) were very much aligned and unified in their mindset and goals, however as mercenaries were reluctant to lose mechs in battle, being careful to preserve their force. The BDA force (as the antagonists) were very disjointed with some characters being emotionally driven fanatics devoted to the cause and fighting to the death. Others diligently did their duty with honor, while most of their leadership was mostly concerned about themselves. These aspects manifested in behaviors with SOO units taking more care to preserve their mech force, while the BDA would at times sacrifice their own men and mechs without a second thought, and would be more erratic and unpredictable in their conduct.
Additionally the BDA forces almost always had an advantage of terrain and location, while the SOO forces usually had the advantage of initiative and flexibility of operation. This is a common dynamic of defense/offense situations where the defender is more constrained and reactionary in their approach. These dynamics certainly played a part in the various battlefield outcomes, both large and small.
Phase one: Tornado Pass
Synopsis: The first SOO attack on the spaceport was from the South looking to assault the main entry point to the port from the ground. This location is called Tornado Pass because the Southern side of the port consists of a pair of long sets of tall, rocky hills which shield the port from Southern winds. It is through the gap between those hills that ground traffic between the port and key locations on Krios, Briggs Station, Shionshang City, etc, travel back and forth. The pass is aptly names because the hills funnel much of the winds between them, creating a space where winds are suddenly much stronger, unpredictable, and at times, perilous. Thus the name, Tornado Pass.
The pass is also the most naturally defensible point at the port because the pass itself creates a natural bottleneck for ground vehicles and mechs that cannot jump. The BDA has Point Defense Turrets all along the tops of the ridge, and a combination of heavy mechs and infantry guarding the location.
SOO decided to use the “Hey Diddle, Diddle, right up the middle” approach, primarily because the terrain dictated that they had no other choice. Rhys was in strategic command of the SOO force, and hoped to break through at this location, but he also was hoping he could force the BDA side to commit a lot of their reserves to stop him. His force consisted of the heavy “Night Sky” attack lance of the Thors Hammer division. These mechs were augmented by a company of Mantis support vehicles from Dukes Devildogs marines. Each of the wheeled tanks was armed with twin AC2s giving them excellent range where they could safely pepper away without risk of return fire, even from LRMs.
Both sides had many reserve units to choose from, but Rhys elected only to bring in a single scout mech from his reserves. This decision would come at a cost in this battle, but paid great dividends elsewhere. He chose a single Ostscout mech, the fastest but lightest armed at his disposal. It screamed with an 8-12-8 speed but only had a pair of medium lasers for weapons. This choice was logical given the lack of speed for his units, and the need for flank support. However it would provide very little in the way of offensive advantage beyond protecting the flank.
Night Sky Lance
Mantis Support Vehicles (40) x3
The BDA on the other hand was well positioned with a lance of heavy mechs and five Point Defense Turrets (PDTs). Three were positioned at high points in the hills, as well as a couple just inside the pass. All had good fields of fire, each armed with twin linked LRM5s, TAG systems and advanced sensors, presenting a danger in their own right.
Additionally the BDA base commander, unaware of two additional impending attacks, ordered two groups of his reserve forces to reinforce the position. These consisted of two Predator Hover tanks, as well as a pair of Scorpion strike mechs. These would be invaluable in taking the fight to the heavier SOO force.
BDA Crimson Daio Regiment
Frost Dragon Lance
Death Strike Lance
Blood Blades Armor Regiment
Tank Company 132
Predator HT (50)
Predator HT (50)
27th Peoples Guard
Point Defense Turrets x5
Infantry Squads x6
The SOO mech formation approached Tornado Pass in a tight formation trailed by a tight formation of Mantis tanks, and the Ostscout way out on the flank, rushing in from the West. Almost immediately silence of the field was broken by the sharp chatter of their long range AC2s of the Mantis tanks. They carefully stayed outside of range of the enemy PDCs, and began peppering enemy targets. The PDTs began returning fire at the mechs with their annoyingly effective twin LRM5s.
Image of Tornado Pass Battle
The enemy mechs were spread out across the hill, the Blackjack and Victor on the East ridge, with the Crusader and Orion to the West. The Victor was hidden behind a hill in ambush position. This was a good defensive alignment but the BDA commander faced a dilemma. Two of the PDTs were positioned outside of the base interior, effectively functioning as an early warning defense point, while the other three PDTs were just inside of the base. This formation allowed the three interior PDTs to support the exterior pair with indirect fire. However the SOO attack lance, if unopposed, would make short work of the two exterior PDTs. The BDA commander, augmented by his inbound reserve units, figured he could repel the attackers without necessarily losing the exterior PDTs, but doing so would put his units at greater risk because the three interior PDTs would be further away and thus, less effective. However with two speedy pairs of supporting units coming in, both boasting good firepower, he could better leverage their firepower and speed in the open field. He chose to bring the fight to the SOO lance versus letting them come through the pass and engaging him in the natural kill zone just inside the port entrance. This choice would prevent the SOO attacking force from being able to destroy the exterior PDTs without a heavy fight.
The BDA Blackjack (also armed with AC2s) began firing on the SOO mechs as soon as they were in range. The Victor remained hidden behind his hill, waiting to pounce with his AC20 once a victim was in close enough range. The BDA mechs (Orion and Crusader) in the West began to move forward, and as they did so, the SOO force split with two mechs (Marauder and Grasshopper) breaking East toward the Blackjack (and the hidden Victor) while the Catapult and Crusader broke toward a depression just ahead and slightly to the West. The SOO commander was wary of the lone Blackjack alone on the hill, and expected something hidden awaited. So he didn’t let his split force stray too far apart. The AC2 fire was joined by volumes of LRM fire between both sides.
The Marauder began focusing PPC fire on the Blackjack, flagrantly ignoring the annoying nearby PDT LRMs on the hill. He and Blackjack exchanged heavy fire with the LRMs of the Crusader and PDTs added to the mix. The Blackjack was in a great spot, firing from an elevated position behind cover. The Marauder and Crusader were firing back, but the chances of hitting were poor because the range was long and the Blackjack was dug in. But as in life, the battle was not without a bit of luck, bad and good. The Blackjack was laying down outstanding fire on the Marauder, chewing up the Marauder’s heavy armor. During this exchange he took a glancing blow from one of the Crusader’s LRMs to the head. The pilot was rattled but kept right on pounding away. Then the unthinkable happened. The Marauder scored a PPC hit to the same spot, the PPC punching through the damaged head armor easily. Although the PPC shot didn’t crack the cockpit, the damage gutted the head of the mech dropping it cold to the frozen hill top. This incredible (and lucky!) shooting by the Marauder was a game changer as it took the Blackjack out of the picture very early and left the Victor on an island mostly alone against the firepower of both the Marauder and the Crusader.
It was at this moment that the Victor pilot was forced into a tough situation. With the Blackjack abruptly out of the fight, he had to attack now or risk the Marauder and Crusader moving away and taking him out of the battle, or worse picking him off at range where his entirely short range weapons would be entirely useless. This was not ideal for the Victor as he was hoping to wait for Marauder to get closer where his AC20 and other short range weapons could be best put to use. But with the Blackjack gone, he had to attack immediately. This was a fantastic development for the Marauder. As the Victor powered up and came out from behind this hill, the fury of heavy firepower from the Victor’s massive AC20 and other weapons missed on the opening salvo while firing at long range. The Marauder with much better range, was able to light up the Victor with its PPCs and the Crusader also scored hits with its LRMs, which would prove crucial as the Victor charged forward. The Victor and Marauder squared off, while the Turrets along with the Crusader, added LRM support to the fight. This began what can only be described as a symphony of destruction as these two iconic mechs, the Victor and Marauder squared off and began blasting the hell out of each other.
While this was happening the BDA reserve forces both rolled onto the field, coming in from the interior of the base to the North. The first force was a pair of Scorpion battlemechs, fast four-legged mechs each armed with a PPC and an SRM6. Just behind them a pair of Predator hover tanks arrived, each armed with a pair of AC5s and a pair of small lasers. Each tank was well armored and very fast. These units swooped down through the pass, and brought the fight to the Crusader in middle. The Crusader stood his ground, laying down heavy fire on the lead Scorpion mech. The four enemy units were closing quickly.
To the West the Catapult and Grasshopper were laying down steady fire on the enemy Orion who was returning fire with his long range weapons, while the BDA Crusader in the middle provided supporting fire with his LRMs. The SOO units focused fire on the Orion, while the BDA mechs focused fire on the SOO Crusader. However on this wing of the battlefield both sides hunkered down and seemed content to exchange fire at range, while using cover to minimize hits. This was a smart play by the BDA commander as the more time that went by, the more his numbers advantage would take effect. Plus his Crusdae and Orion on this side had the advantage in long range firepower, boasting 3 LRM15s and two LRM5 Turrets, where the SOO mechs only had 2 LRM15s and an LRM5.
The Marauder and Victor doggedly continued blasting each other. The SOO Crusaders supporting fire was sorely missed by the Marauder, but the Crusader has his hands full with the full onslaught of the Predators and Scorpions bearing down on him. The Victor scored a devastating AC20 hit and seemed poised for a kill on the mangled Marauder, when the Victor suffered a pair of PPC hits to the right torso, hitting ammo and exploding in a powerful fireball of mech parts as the AC20 rounds cooked off. The Kill couldn’t have come at a better moment, but the SOO team had no time to celebrate as they still had their hands full.
In the center the SOO Crusader was getting overwhelmed by the enemy LRM Turrets, Predators and Scorpions, the Scorpion PPCs taking an immediate toll. The Marauder, already badly damaged would be of little help so the SOO Grasshopper moved over to help the Crusader who posted up in heavy woods nearby. The Grasshoppers move would prove vital as his incredible short range firepower forced the fast BDA units to back off, giving the Crusader some much needed breathing room. The SOO Catapult continued to exchange barrages with the BDA Orion and Crusader. Meanwhile the SOO Marauder became irritated with the persistent pecking by the LRM fire from the remaining LRM Turret on the East flank. He charges up the hill and blasted the turret to pieces with his PPC.
At this point the BDA forces in the middle encircled the SOO force in the middle, forcing the Crusader to give ground and go back to back with the Catapult. The remaining BDA mechs were all damaged but none near destruction. The SOO Crusader and Marauder were both badly damaged and would not last much longer if not able to withdraw. This prompted the SOO commander to ask for honors. The BDA commander, all too aware of his units own vulnerabilities, granted honors and allowed the SOO units to withdraw.
This battle went as well as it could have for the SOO force given their disadvantage in unit numbers and overall battle value. They killed two enemy mechs, wiped out multiple Turrets, and suffered no casualties. While their Crusader and Marauder mechs were both badly damaged, their Grasshopper and Catapult are both only lightly damaged. The supporting Mantis FSVs are completely undamaged. The BDA repelled the attack and held the field, winning the day. This victory could turn out critical, allowing an escape route should the base eventually fall. However the BDA commander used a lot of reserves, lost two major units, and didn’t get the decisive victory he was hoping for.
MVP Jason P
Headshot Jason P
Untouchable – JuanM