Thursday, August 30, 2018

A little something to spice up your 4th War Games....

Special Loyalty Tasks Battalions of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces
(a.k.a “Upright Capellan Citizens Battalions”)

A 4th War Era recruiting poster for the CCAF captured by the AFFS on Old Kentucky, the significance of which is the featured Urbanmech is the ride of Subcommander Lan Chou, a survivor of MacGregor's Armored Scouts, and a member of the 9th Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion, currently based on Victoria at the time of this photo. (AFFS Archives) (Taken from Mechwarrior Online forums)

Unit History and Origins:

3028 was a dark time for the Confederation. The AFFS had seemingly smashed the CCAF’s best with sickening ease. Even the vaunted Warrior Houses had been ground under like so much fertilizer under the feet of Davion ‘Mechs. Lesser regiments were breaking and running rather than face the AFFS and what seemed like certain death. Something had to be done to stiffen the spine of the CCAF. One Capellan Colonel had an idea. It was born of another war, and another nation’s trial, and what she did to “stiffen the spine” of her armed forces in the face of near calamity.

During the 2nd Global War, or the “Great Patriotic War” the initial stages of the Eastern Front had not gone well for the Soviet Union, and she had faced a situation that was not too unlike what the Capellan Confederation now found herself in, thus on December 15th, 3028, the Strategios, with the approval of Chancellor Maximilian Liao himself, issued infamous “War Order No 97”, which held that any member of the CCAF who was found to be “showing reluctance to fight, defeatism, or suspicion of treason” was to be arrested, stripped of rank and immediately to be assigned to one of the new “Corrective Infantry Regiments” being formed (see the associated document on “Capellan Corrective Infantry Regiments).

Furthermore, any actual withdrawal in the face of the enemy, or surrender would meet with immediate execution by the nearest member of the Capellan State, civilian or military, regardless of their rank. Simply put, if a Senior Colonel advocated surrender, and a nearby Recruit had the means to kill him, he was to do so. Three months later, “War Order 211” expanded this authority to any Capellan national of any rank, thus civilians became fair game for this treatment as well.

The other provision that was made was the organization of “Special Loyalty Tasks Battalions” made from excess personnel from the Maskirovka’s Special Security Bureau and the Department of Officer Observation and Cultural Monitoring, as well as decorated combat veterans who had a history of dedication to the Capellan state, from units that had been destroyed in the fighting thus far.

Members of the 6th Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion's "Corrective Infantry Company" in action on Hamal, early 3029. (Taken from Capellan State Media)

The units were organized as a combined arms battalion, with a company of medium to heavy ‘Mechs, a company of heavy to assault vehicles, and a company of mechanized SRM troops. Attached to the company was also a foot “Rifle” [1]company of “Corrective Infantry” whom were usually made up of recent detainees who were given a chance to “expiate their crimes in blood” on the spot, rather than be sent back to the rear to face a drumhead court martial where often the verdict was predetermined, and where official notice would be taken of their “actions” (with the usual repercussions to be suffered by the family of the soldier or officer in question).

Ten such battalions were formed by war’s end, with five of surviving to see action during the Canopean-Andurien War. Three of them survived to be disbanded by Sun-Tsu Liao upon his ascension to the throne in 3052.

To give an idea of the nature of these battalions in “action”, the 1st Battalion consisted of the following elements listed below during its initial participation in the defense of Wei, where it “assisted” the defenders in the utilization of chemical weapons against the 12th Vegan Rangers. (They seized the stocks themselves over the objections of the planetary commander and his staff, whom they arrested, and assigned to them to their attached corrective company, none of them survived the fighting on Wei.).

Image result for Capellan Confederation armed forces images
Knocked out Capellan Vedette from 1st Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion as depicted by Davion war artist from AFFS Military History Detachment attached to the 12th Vegan Rangers, Wei, 3029 (Taken from AFFS archives)

1st Special Loyalty Tasks Battalion, ca. Defense of Wei 3029

Dunworthy’s Command Lance
Major Thomas Dunworthy (Gunnery 2, Piloting 2) RFL-3N Rifleman
Captain Sarah Sho-Wei (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4) CRD-3L Crusader
Commander Alex Rostov (Gunnery 4, Piloting 4) VND-1R Vindicator
SubCommander Dennis Chou (Gunnery 4, Piloting 5) SHD-2H Shadow Hawk

Tseng’s Fire Lance
SubCommander Lisa Tseng (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) CRD-3L Crusader
Force Leader Mikhail Ruslov (Gunnery 2, Piloting 4) CPLT-A1 Catapult
Lance Sergeant Jimmy “Too Tall” Soon (Gunnery 4, Piloting 5) VND-1R Vindicator
Lance Corporal Jenny Buttonworth (Gunnery 3, Piloting 2) PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk

Tsarnov’s Skirmish Lance
SubCommander Alexei Tsarnov (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) DV-6M Dervish
Force Leader Anton Wei (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4) GRF-1N Griffin
Lance Sergeant Brittany Holmes (Gunnery 4, Piloting 4) HER-1B Hermes
Lance Corporal Max Holgman (Gunnery 3, Piloting 3) WSP-1A Wasp

1st Armor Platoon:
SRM Carrier (4/5)
Manticore (3/4)
Rhino (SL) (4/4)
Ontos (4/4)

2nd Armor Platoon:
Demolisher (3/4)
Demolisher (3/4)
Laser Carrier (4/4)
LRM Carrier (3/3)

3rd Armor Platoon:
Hetzer (4/4)
Vedette (4/5)
J.Edgar (3/3)
Scorpion (4/4)

1st Guardian Company:
3 Motorized SRM Platoons (3)

Corrective Infantry Company:
3 Foot Rifle Platoons (5)

Alpha Strike Stats can be found here

The battalion went on to see action on Sarna and Kaifeng (where they perpetrated a massacre of disloyal elements in the Kaifeng militia, and may have also “encouraged” the local Home Guard commander’s fanatical behavior by threatening his family.) The 1st never made it off Kaifeng, as it was caught and destroyed by the Davion Light Guards while they were attempting to run for their dropships.

Colors of the battalions were bright Liao Green with Black highlights, with the decorations of the pilots and crews prominently displayed on either the left front torso of a ‘Mech or the front glacis of a vehicle. Standards of grooming and dress were high, with members of the battalions facing much derision for their “parade ground manners.” The exception to this was the attached “Corrective Infantry Companies” who were often in their last uniforms, stripped of all insignia, save the Capellan Dao and Fist sigil.

Some battalions often found themselves turned on by Capellan units who were all too eager to surrender, one of the more well-known incidents being the incident known as the “Battle of Traitor’s Grove” where elements of the 3rd Battalion, supported by loyal elements of the 2nd Battalion of Hurloc’s Hussars attempted to stop the rest of the Hussars from surrendering. The battalion was unsuccessful and was hunted down by both the Davions and the Capellans alike.

As expected, this organization varied widely, as replacements came and went as casualties mounted for the CCAF during the war. Often, “promising” talent was “poached” from a planetary Home Guard, or neighboring regiments ( this practice sparked a little-known incident between the surviving elements of the Nightrider’s Regiment, then recovering from Sarna, and 5th Battalion, which ended in the destruction of 5th Battalion, and a rare rebuke by Archibald McCarron himself.)

[1] The rifle designation is in quotes because often, there were hardly enough rifles to go around to the detainees, and ammunition was often low as well. One such “corrective detachment” observed on Tsinghai had 1 rifle for every 5 men, and the rest were armed with sharpened bamboo staves.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Minnesota Project Part 3 - The Mechs are prepared and primed for painting!!!

The painting has begun in earnest, and I have made some decisions regarding paint schemes and units. So far, things went pretty smooth, and my substitutions at times worked out better than I had thought they would.

Let's discuss each unit in detail, shall we?

Rasalhague Regulars: As I said in previous posts, the 20th was an odd unit, and was even odder due to the effects of the 1st Succession War. Casualties had been heavy and the unit itself was never probably high on the list of the Bureau of Substitution's list of priorities so there was probably a lot of "mend and make do" but probably not as bad as, oh, say, the Legion of Vega would be in later years, as the ISF kept a pretty close eye on the Regulars as a whole all during their existence. 

As for their baseworld, Trondheim, the terrain in my mind resembles something like Iceland, volcanic, lots of rocks, crags, mountains, and scrub grass where there is grass. I don't know what the weather is like, but I expect it's probably a lot like Iceland's as well. 

It probably looks a lot like this:

Note the red and green moss, as well as the geothermal venting...nice bit of natural palette for someone to choose their camouflage against!

So, I decided to go with one of the MERDC patterns, specifically the Snow with Trees Pattern as exhibited by this M548 here, as shown on Cybermodler:

Taken from Cybermodler

The scheme looks to me as if it is about 50% White, 50% Green-Grey, and about 10% Tan and Black respectively. I am going to therefore, use the following colors and see how they work out?

  • For the White, any old White will work, and I have a few craft paint bottles that will fill the need nicely.
  • As for the Green/Grey, this was the hardest, but I think I am going to go with Battlefront's Team Yankee Warthog Green. I think it works the best, and I will lighten it by about 20% with some white to do the highlights.
  • As for the Tan, Vallejo Model Color German Camo Beige seems to be the order of the day, with again, 20% White added for highlights.
  • As for the Black, again, pretty simple, I'll use Vallejo Model Color's Black Grey to do some highlights, probably very lightly drybrush those.
As for the primer color, I went with some plain old Rustolium Light Grey, using some Vallejo Grey Primer to touch up what needed it. So far, I rather like the results of the Primer and I think this will work out to gradually build up the white. I also plan to try some hairspray method with the white, as well as some chipping and other weathering. These machines should have been used hard and put up wet, IMHO.

The Rasalhague Light/Medium Lance before being primed, three of the 'Mechs are from the Alpha Strike box sets and the Panther is a IWM miniature, based on a hex base.

The Dragon and a Warhammer which wound up with the Minnesota Tribe, the Dragon is from the Alpha Strike box sets and the Warhammer is a Tomahawk from a Robotech Tactics expansion box. (incidentally, I did not find it that hard to put together). 

The Combine Heavy/Assault Lance, this consists of a Banshee and Orion from the Alpha Strike Box Sets, a Stalker from Warhansa, and a IK Marauder (That 'Mech wound up in the Minnesota Tribe force and was replaced by a repro Marauder).
The Rasalhague Mechs are primed and ready for the next step! You can see a unseen Thunderbolt, and a Warhammer in the mix, as well as an Archer, most are Alpha Strike box sets, as well as a repro Marauder (I didn't know what I was buying) and a WarHansa Stalker.

Here is another view from the front
Minnesota Tribe: The Minnesota Tribe has a bit of a easy paint job in comparison. Good old Star League standard issue Olive Drab. I decided I'd go with MiG -0081, the Vietnam Era US Olive Drab color that MiG puts out as the base coat, then use MiG-0929, their Olive Drab Shine to do highlights, and generally prime them all Black. To me, dirt simple and easy to do. I don't expect much trouble and I think I am going to make these 'mechs look as crisp and clean as I can.

In short, probably a simpler task than the Rasalhague 'Mechs, but I am sure I can find ways to make this fun!

The Minnesota Tribe Strike Lance, I have a Unseen Phoenix Hawk and Stinger, an IWM Sentinel (Which I have been dying to use somewhere) and a Alpha Strike box set Firestarter.

The Skirmish Lance, it's made up of a IWM Exterminator, a IWM Kintaro, a IWM Wolverine II, and a Alpha Strike Box Set Dervish.

And here are the 'Mechs, all primed with Black Gesso. I find this stuff works when you cannot prime outside (We had a bit of rain on Sunday, and it made priming difficult). 

And here is another shot, you can see the Intro Box Set Grasshopper in the back, it wasn't too bad a sculpt, all things considered.

So, that said, I think I will be painting the Rasalhague 'Mechs first, they'll be just a lot more fun, IMHO, but we shall see. I do hope I can measure up with all the quality painting I see on FB, as I tend to be more of a speed painter of armies (The historicals guy in me), but I think this ought to be a ton of fun all around.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Part 2 of the Minnesota Project

Well, let's get to the stars of the show. The Minnesota Tribe. We don't know a ton about them, the best resources being Operation Klondike, Betrayal of Ideals, and the 1st and 2nd Succession War Books, as well as But, as they are a raiding force, they gotta move fast and hit hard, relatively, as they are up against a pretty heavy Kurita force. I also didn't want to bring any of the Slings/Pulverizers/Stags to the party as well, it would be all too obvious to ANYONE that they were "definitely not from around here."

So, what did I come up with? Let's start with the Recon Lance, I decided on a 2 Light and 2 Medium mix, and weighted the tech heavily towards Royal tech, as I wanted to get that Star League flavor, but not totally outmatch the Kuritan defenders (aka, this isn't the Clan invasion a few centuries early). 
So, I ended up choosing a Stinger-3Gb, a Firestarter-9H, a Sentinel-3Lb and a Phoenix Hawk-1b "Special", all of them are reasonably fast, the Stinger exceptionally so, and three of them are jumpers. This is a lance that is going to give the Kuritan player fits, and it should, if played right.

The Skirmish Lance is also a reasonably mobile force, mostly jumpers, and has a good base of fire. I chose a Dervish-6M, a Kintaro-19b, a Wolverine II (Like any Clan Wolverine force would be without one?), and an Exterminator 4Db. I do like this force, as I said, good base of fire, good mobility, and a solid punch.

The Brawler Lance has got some depth to it, and while it is a bit slower than the other two lances, it again, has a good base of fire, and some jumping mobility. Three of the 'Mechs have respectable long range fire capability, and while there aren't any assaults, they should have enough firepower to put the hurt on one at range. I chose a Thunderbolt-5Sb, a Warhammer-7A, a Grasshopper-5H, and a Marauder-2R (who has a nasty ability to really reach out at touch people at long range along with the Thunderbolt). 

Skills in this Company are pretty nasty, with nothing higher than a 3, and with the level of firepower present, it's going to be a case of firepower and mobility, versus Combine staying power in this scenario. We also might see the tanks of the militia get into the act, and at 533 points, it's a nasty brew for the Combine to face off against. Here's the AS Cards for the whole shebang.

Now to figure out victory conditions, and a map for this puppy. But that is next time. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

It's Over...

The mess with Harmony Gold is over...thank heavens. We do not know what the terms of any settlement are, and we may never know, as these things are not often revealed to the public, but in any event, it appears that both sides fought each other to a bloody draw, which as far as I am concerned, is a win for Battletech.

Why is this?

1. The matter has been dismissed "with prejudice" which basically means in legalese that Harmony Gold cannot bring it up again, this alone is a victory, and with HG losing the rights to Robotech in 2021, it seems that this will probably be the last of this we will ever hear.

2. Again, while I do not know what the terms of the settlement were, I suspect HG was mollified with a set amount of money, and both sides paid their own lawyers. If HG and their partisans are calling this a win, I suspect it was a phyrric one, I don't think that if it went to trial, they would have gotten what they did from a settlement, and I suspect PGI didn't want to spend the money quashing this legal challenge. I suspect both sides found the settlement cheaper overall.

3. So what does this mean for the Unseen? I really don't know. The terms of the settlement, as I said, will probably never see the light of day, but I suspect we will know soon if the Unseen/Reseen will be back or dead as a doornail. Like many Battletech fans, I do want them back, but it's really up to the parties involved to negotiate what they did, we just have to live with the results.

4. The good news overall? A legal bugbear that has dogged the franchise since the 1990s is now well and truly put to bed. That alone is cause for celebration.

For all those interested in reading the decision for themselves, you can find the decision in it's entirety here.


More information on the fate of the Unseens/Reseens has come out. This from Russ Bullock of PGI:

If this is correct, this is guardedly good news. I say guardedly because well, this applies to PGI, I don't know what the stipulations for IMR/CGL might be?


This story is moving fast, it appears that the settlement also applies to IMR/CGL as well. So yes, the Unseen/Reseen are safe to come out and play again.

Welcome home to the 'Mechs we all knew and loved!  I hereby declare this :VU (Victory for the Unseen) Day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Part 1 of the Minnesota Project

Research, the basis of any good scenario in my mind is research. Now while you think this may not apply to Classic BattleTech, you would be wrong. With a game like BattleTech, the lore is to put it mildly, extensive, and here, the fluff is your friend, and things like do a good job of putting all the fluff into one place for you to access.

So, let's begin our deep dive into the Kurita defenders, namely, the 20th Rasalhague Regulars. According to's article on the 20th Rasalhague Regulars:

At the outbreak of the First Succession War, the Twentieth remained stationed on Nykvarn. By the time the "Great Succession War" had ended in 2821 the unit had suffered losses of over sixty percent. [2]

By the start of the Second Succession War the Twentieth had almost returned to full strength and was redeployed the prefecture capital of Trondheim. [3]

As for the fateful engagement with the Minnesota Tribe? has this to say:

On 17 December 2825 the Twentieth Rasalhague Regulars were attacked by an unknown unit on Trondheim; this unknown enemy would later be labeled the "Minnesota Tribe". The second Combine world attacked by these mysterious troops, the focus of the Tribe's interest on Trondheim appeared to be for information rather than capturing supplies as with the first strike against Svelvik, beating back the Twentieth to raid the town of Misby Flats, leveling the town's mayoral complex before withdrawing. While the Twentieth Rasalhague Regulars succeeded in defeating some Tribesmen, they were not able to conclusively prove they were returning elements of the Star League Defense Force as the Tribe destroyed their crippled 'Mechs and stranded Tribe member committed suicide rather than be captured.[4] [5] 

Furthermore, by 2830, when the Second Succession War kicks off, the 20th is listed as a Veteran regiment trending towards a heavy weight class. So, the answer to all of this is that the unit is 2825 is probably midway through rebuilding. It probably rebuilt to 90-95% strength when the 2nd War kicked off, and I suspect, pilot experience was something of a mixed bag, and considering that the old Combine House Book stated that the ISF kept a close leash on the Rasalhague Regulars as a whole, even if the 20th was considered reliable, I may treat the 20th as a Regular regiment at this time, and weight the 'Mech selection towards older models...with maybe a couple of newer designs to give the Combine some unexpected punch.

I am also weighting things, at least on the Combine side, towards models I already have. It makes things easier, and to be honest, a bit more challenging.

As for paint schemes, Trondheim, according to Sarna's description, was settled by the usual collection of Scandinavian transplants that makes up Rasalhague, and that Misby Flats is the capital (and Trondheim was the prefecture capital), in short, this is the beating heart of a lot of political power. So, why the raid? Remember, the raid appeared to be for "information". What information is unclear, but what remains clear is that it was the defenders were probably a mix of 20th RR and local militia.

So, what scheme to use for the 20th? I am thinking something of a mix of whites and greys. The terrain resembles Iceland, to be honest, volcanic and probably cold overall. Methinks they'd look pretty fetching on a 'Mech, and I have an idea for a scheme that could be used.

So, let's build a company for Alpha Strike?

First things first, let's open the MUL website, and search the Draconis Combine and Early Succession War period?

The Search Results for the aforementioned criteria in the Master Unit List (photo taken from Master Unit List)

So, we are going to begin to select 'Mechs. I think I am going to go with 1 Light/Medium Lance, a Heavy Lance, and a Heavy/Assault Lance. So, a grand total of 2 Light Mechs, 2 Medium Mechs, 6 Heavies, and 2 Assault Mechs. To me, it's a viable force for the Combine, and if we throw in a platoon of vehicles from the Militia, then we have enough points via the AS Builder to give the Minnesota Tribe a decent fight.

So, let's start picking, eh?

So, for the Light/Medium Lance, I chose the Panther and the Jenner, both pretty bog standard Combine light designs, and probably prevalent in every Combine 'Mech unit there is. The Mediums I chose are the Clint (Hard to fix castoff, perfect for a unit like the Regulars) and a HBK-4G Hunchback, she may be slow, but she hits hard and can be the anvil for the rest of the lance.

Now, the all heavy lance?

I lead off with a Warhammer-6R and a Thunderbolt-5S, both probably captured from the Lyrans. I added in a Dragon-1N (It's a Combine unit, you gotta have at least one!), and a and an Archer-2R. All of them are a solid Fire Lance that can be the bedrock of the Company.

Now, the final lance?

I added a Orion-K and a Marauder-3R, not a bad pair. As for the Assaults? A Stalker and a Banshee (Both probably again, captured from the Lyrans). Not a bad lance here, and yet, it isn't the best available.

So, now, let's find a lance of vehicles for the militia.

I ended up choosing a pair of Von Luckners, and a pair of Demolishers. Something tells me these guys would do well to stick close to Misby Flats.

So, I now have a force, which according to the MUL, translates out to 554 PV, so we need to keep this in mind for the Minnesota Tribe when we work on them in the next post. They're going to be a lighter force, but with a much higher Skill rating, to put it mildly.

So, here is the roster for the Dracs. Next time, the Minnesota Tribe!