Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Catapult

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

CPLT-L5 Catapult
While Capellan engagements outside of the Confederation have been limited in the last twenty years, there’s no indication they have started fielding any new battlemech designs during that time. Instead, a number of reliable, natively-produced ‘Mechs and vehicles have been upgraded and refined to fill roles as needed.
The Catapult is one such ‘Mech. The CPLT-C3 variant with paired artillery pieces is still produced, but so is the new -L5 is based on the Star League-era -C1 model. Added stealth armor and pulse lasers have made it operate closer to the front lines while retaining its fire support abilities. 
The reasons for the change aren’t known, but it’s suspected that it was made to ensure that there are fewer privileged combat roles where a MechWarrior no longer has to risk engaging the enemy directly.

The Catapult retains its ancestor’s ability to deliver indirect fire support from paired 15-pack long range missile launchers. Often, it’s teamed with the Capellan’s new Raven and delivers fire wherever its spotter directs. 
In service to that mission, it carries stealth armor. The armor interferes with its abilities to work with the Raven’s NARC signals, but a wise pilot can juggle the systems to balance the defenses provided by the armor and the additional information offered by the NARC beacon.
The inclusion of an extralight engine indicates it wasn’t intended for front-line fighting. None-the-less, a quartet of pulse lasers and forty one-shot rockets indicate that some thought was given to its close-range combat abilities, possibly after running its ammunition bins dry. Another theory is that the back-up weapons are based on fighting smaller, harassing units assigned to tie it down until larger forces can close. Capellan pilots have made remarkable shows in both contingencies.
A last-minute addition was the anti-missile system, probably as a counter to the advanced missile systems used by The Federated Hellfire Territories. Analysis of battlefield wreckage indicates that most of the systems are plagued with interface problems. A variety of jury-rigged fixes haven’t indicated a permanent solution.

Battle History
The Capellan assault on Quittacas in 3086 was part of the Confederation’s probing of The Federated Hellfire Territories after the latter’s armistice with The Federated Suns. On Quittacas, raids testing the planet’s defenses put the local militia on high alert. The militia created Black Fire Base between Quittacas’ capital city and a munitions plant in the village of Tomarii. For two months, shipments from the capitol and plant were harassed by a paired Catapult and Raven, raining fire on convoys before fading into the nearby wilderness.
The speed of the attacks over such a broad area and the inability of air forces to locate the Capellans lead local leaders to panic.  Arrests of suspected seditionists within the militia began and a new spaceport was created at Black Fire Base to better protect shipments of materials. 
When the real invasion began, it was revealed that there was a second Catapult and Raven with identical markings, IFFs, and, battle-damage painting. The Raven’s electronics spoofed additional stealthed ‘Mechs and tied up the militia while McCarron’s Armored Cavalry slipped into the capital virtually unopposed.

The Catapult is still manufactured in the Draconis Combine, but due to difficulty in maintaining supplies it lacks the Arrow IV System which made it so valuable. Current variants carry paired MRM 30’s and are designed to act as part of a C3 system.
The -L5R swaps the long range missiles for an equal number of rockets and carries short range missiles in place of the original rockets. The difficulty in telling the two models and their exceptional payloads apart has vexed--and doomed--many MechWarriors from the Federated Hellfire Territories. The added power demands have required that the pulse lasers are reduced to lighter versions which work just as well for the -L5R’s role as a city fighter.
In the Combine, and allegedly the Confederation, some attempts have been made to convert the Catapult into a carrier for particle projection cannons or other large energy weapons. Most were abandoned after persistent troubles integrating the expanded cooling systems with the ‘Mech’s jump jets. The Word of Blake has fielded at least one Catapult with paired PPCs and no jump jets.

CPLT-L5 Catapult
Type/Model:    Catapult CPLT-L5
Tech:          Mixed / 3072
Config:        Biped BattleMech
Manufactured:  Capellan Confederation
 Capellan Confederation (Common)

Mass:          65 tons
Equipment:              Crits     Mass
Int. Struct.:               0     6.50
                  104 points
Engine:150    Fusion XL     6     7.00
  Walking MP:   4
  Running MP:   6
  Jumping MP:   4
Jump Jets: (2CT, 1LT, 1RT)  4     4.00
Heat Sinks: 10 Double       0     0.00
 (Loc: 2 LT, 2 RT)
Gyro:                       4     2.00
Cockpit:                    5     3.00
Actuators:                 12     0.00
 L: Sh+UA       R: Sh+UA
Armor Factor:     Stealth  10    10.00
  (Loc: 2 LT, 2 RT, 2 LA, 
        2 RA, 2 LL, 2 RL) 160 pts

       Internal Structure  Armor Value
 Head:                  3      9      
 Center Torso:         21     24     
 Center Torso (Rear):         11
 L/R Side Torso:       15    19/19
 L/R Side Torso (Rear):       8/8
 L/R Arm:              10    13/13
 L/R Leg:              15    18/18

Weapons and Equipment Loc  Crits  Tons
CASE                   LT    1     0.50
CASE                   RT    1     0.50
ECM Suite (C)          RT    1     1.00
2 Medium Pulse Lasers  RT    2     4.00
2 Medium Pulse Lasers  LT    2     4.00
Anti-Missile System    LT    1     0.50
@ AMS (12)             LT    1     1.00
LRM-15                 RA    3     7.00
2 Rocket Launcher 10s  RA(R) 2     1.00
LRM-15                 LA    3     7.00
2 Rocket Launcher 10s  LA(R) 2     1.00
@LRM-15 (Narc) (16)    RA    2     2.00
@LRM-15 (Narc) (16)    LA    2     2.00
 Crits & Tons Left:          6     0.0

Rear-Mounted Arm Weapons: The Catapult features twin banks of rear-mounted Rocket Launchers on each arm. These weapons fire into the same rear arcs as any rear-facing weapons on a torso location. When a ‘Mech flips its arms, rear-mounted arm weapons fire into standard arm arcs and forward-mounted arm weapons fire into the rear arc.


SkilTao said...

I was expecting the battles to center on the stealth armor; that they didn't was a pleasant surprise, and the the masquerade tactic was a good bit in its own right.

This weapons list isn't bad, but seeing the ECM(c) and those RLs reminds me of Dark Age statblocks, and man, my eyes just glaze over when there's five types of medium lasers, alternating Inner Sphere and Clan items, why are there five types of missiles to do two jobs, etc. (I am a fan of the alleged future simplified tech base.)

VanVelding said...

And I have pre-booked tickets on the "simpler techs" train. I am eagerly anticipating that. One of the universe constraints for 3087 was finite tech for each faction in an effort to collect complimentary technologies and winnow down the sprawling list of weapons and equipment. The Capellans are one of the more laid back examples, with only the Clan ECM being a significant technological development beyond Star League technologies.

The "two identical guys with cloaking devices pretending to be one omnipresent guy" is blatantly stolen from a Star Trek novel, sadly.

SkilTao said...

I'd forgotten you'd organized techs by faction, that's cool.

And, hah - stealing from Beta Canon? I guess the best sources really are the obscure ones.