Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Troops are Loose

"We are the boys who go to a particular place, at H-hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die. We're the bloody infantry, the doughboy, the duckfoot, the foot soldier who goes where the enemy is and takes him on in person.” - Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1959)

Infantry are a vital part of any war. If you don’t believe me, ask any tanker who did a tour in the Middle East. In today’s (and, I suspect, the future’s) asymmetrical warfare, even the might of a fully-armored main battle tank can be brought low by the timely intervention of an RPG, satchel charge, or improvised explosive device. In the tight quarters of an urban environment, it’s the infantry who win wars. In Battletech: Combined Arms, it is much the same. While no single soldier on foot (nor vehicle or aerospace fighter) can challenge the might of a 30 foot tall Battlemech; squads of specially trained ‘mech hunter infantry, lances or stars of Battle Armor all pose a significant threat to an unwary mechwarrior who thinks his mighty metal steed makes him a god on the battlefield. 

In Battletech: Combined Arms, knowing how to use your infantry is essential. Arming infantrymen with Magshot Gauss Rifles, Man-Pack PPCs, towed field artillery, or heavy machine guns can make all the difference in a game of 30th century combat. Infantry are best used in a decidedly clandestine fashion, popping up from hidden positions, deploying anti-mech mines or bola snares, and jamming the enemy’s communications with ECM equipment to gain the advantage over even an Assault-class ‘mech. 
My own NightHawk PA(L) Suit in Winter/Urban Camouflage

Battle Armor, on the other hand, is a much more brutal asset, capable of head-on assaults aided by their jump jets and battle claws. A single point of Elemental suits can tear a light or medium ‘mech apart in a single attack! If you’ve got the c-bills for it, heavier battle armors like the Ravager Assault Battle Armor, Fenrir II, Ironhold, or Kanazuchi can go toe-to-toe with nearly anything your opponent can throw at them, shrugging off even direct hits from a PPC or Gauss Rifle and still maintaining the mobility and armament to fight back. If the heavier suits are out of your budget range, or you prefer a stealthier element, try the Nighthawk PA(L)- Power Armor Light suit or Kage Battle Armor, offering a range of different abilities and weapons.

How you kit out your infantry is up to you, and Ironwind Metals currently produces a range of Kurita and Steiner infantry models in 25(ish)mm scale. They also produce a 28mm Elemental suit, as well as two different Hauberk Commando Battle Armors. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, any sort of generic-looking 28mm soldiers can be used for your infantry. Defiance Games manufactures plastic UAMC Marines that work perfectly for Battletech games, as well as Chinese Militia (of the future!) that  feature backward-swept helmets nearly identical to those worn by Kurita infantry. For Battle Armor, Mongoose Publishing has two “Holocaust Judges” in their Judge Dredd line, one of which looks very close to Kage battle armor, while the other, bulkier design looks similar to Gnome or perhaps Longinus Battle Armor. 

No comments:

Post a Comment