Bolstered by a heavy lance of House troops (Elk Lance), the mercenary company The Red-Head's Own (RHO), decided that an ambush of forces of the 1/23rd Mecha Battalion was in order. Intel indicated that elements of the 1/23rd's 2nd Company was on scouting patrol near the small industrial center of Carbomer. This was a standard patrol the 1/23rd had maintained since seizing control of the area and the RHO/Elk forces suspected the patrol would be complacent after the RHO lost all of their heavies and assault mecha last week.
The Elk Lance assault mecha and two heavies were hidden in the largest cluster of buildings at Carbomer with the remaining RHO forces (1 medium and 5 lights) plus the Elk medium mecha placed in two clusters of buildings opposite the kill zone. The path of the patrol always took it between these building clusters and the nearest safe location for the 1/23rd was past the large cluster containing the Elk heaviest mecha.
The 1/23rd forces were the 1st and 2nd lances of the 2nd Company, led by Captain Petra Leonidas in her Bodyguard mecha "Yojimbo". The rest of her lance consisted of a Clint variant and two Sentinel variants. The 2nd lance was four Fireballs, led by Lieutenant Hong Pashal. They were not expecting any activity and were bunched closer than proper for a "scouting patrol". THEIR intel indicated that the RHO was down to light mecha only and the current force would be plenty strong to inflict heavy losses on the RHO, if not wipe them out. This attitude lasted up until Pilot Ronni Irigoyen in the far left Fireball spotted one of the Elk heavies hiding in the buildings to the west. Then they spotted the Elk assault mecha ahead and to the left of them and the 2 medium and 5 light mecha all on their right.
Quickly realizing the danger her forces were in, Captain Leonidas ordered the 2nd lance to jump into the large cluster of buildings for cover and then get out of the area. Petra knew the Fireballs could not take more than a hit or two before exploding like their namesakes. The 1st Lance was ordered to hook left and escape the killzone by keeping the large cluster of buildings between themselves and the assault mecha. To some extent this worked, but the Captain's Bodyguard was a natural target for the majority of weapons fire from the RHO/Elk forces and she died before getting to cover. The Elk heavy took some return fire and had its feet knocked out from under it, but it was not out of the fight at all.
In the mad scramble that followed, the Fireballs got some shots into the Elk mecha before getting clear of the fight, thier fast mecha able to jump 240 m at a time, with Lieutenant Pashal the last to leave. The jump-capable RHO mecha were too far away to close before the Fireballs escaped. The 1st Lance was not so lucky.
Pilot Wendy Ha attempted to hide by jumping in a corner between two hardened buildings. This protected her until the fallen Elk heavy got back up and moved right behind her and fired. The heavies weapons blew Ha's cockpit off the Sentinel, killing her instantly. Sergeant Jacinta Irizatti was able to use a copse of trees to hide from the majority of the RHO forces. This would have placed the Sergeant's Clint in good position to escape...until the second Elk heavy cleared the trees. A brief exchange of fire later and the Sergeant was forced to surrender or be destroyed. The only mecha from the 1st lance to escape the ambush was Pilot Dee Chrestman and her Sentinel. She was ablt to jump from cover to cover, making an impossible target to hit of her mecha.
The 1/23rd lost a Bodyguard (heavy), a Clint (medium), and a Sentinel (medium).
The RHO/Elk forces lost no mecha and were able to salvage a Clint and a Sentinel, bring the RHO back up to 2 full lances.
The Assault on Dextrose IV continues.
The next mission happens in 3 days after this one and will be a Pitched Battle. The 1/23rd wants revenge!
Thoughts on the Game
We had a friend sitting in for a battle and it seemed likely that his forces (he rolled a Lieutenant - a lance of mecha) would supplement the RHO forces which were decimated in Mission 1. Making them a House unit (instead of a mercenary unit) meant they could be pulled elsewhere when he was not available.
In the post-game post-mortem, we all agreed that the RHO forces were too heavily bplaced in the back of the ambush, meaning once the 1/23rd started bolting, they were too far away to stop them or shoot them down. We set up to BattleTech city maps with the long sides together as the play area. We probably should have placed a third map on the side the 1/23rd had to escape from to give the RHO/Elk forces more time to shoot at them, but this kept the game short (three turns and it was over). Next time we'll use a third map.
This is something missing from the War of the Mecha campaign rules - suggestions on set-up. I can see why due to space constraints, but if JB does this as a small product, I'd recommend at least a sentence or two about setup.
Rules-wise, we had a short discussion about splitting fire from a mecha. In BattleTech, this is allowed and inflicts a -2 to each shot. We decided that the underlying principle of "Simplicity First" suggested that splitting fire not be allowed and so we went with that. It should probably be included in the Weapon Fire rules. We also lowered the movement cost to move into buildings by two for all classes, but added that mecha can only enter buildings while walking. This seems to keep it in line with the War of the Mecha rules for elevation changes.
We took pictures of the game, but they are on a friend's phone at the moment, so they'll be delayed for a bit. I'm out of time this weekend to post the pictures for last game, but that should happen this week, probably when I get the seond set of pictures so I can do it all at once. I will also post several of the Mecha designs I'm using this week, again as I have time and husband points to do so.