We do actually have plenty of salvaged mechs. Zarathud gets to climb into a Charger (the very same one that LordMortis disabled a couple of weeks ago). No, not the crappy one with five small lasers. This one has an LRM/20 rack, four medium lasers and jump jets. Ok, so it's still not that impressive, and it has way too many heat sinks. But it's ready right this second, which is important if we're going to get there before they fix up their engines enough to attempt to take off again.
Madmarcus "pulls rank", arguing that Delta-One is better used on the offense than on defense, so they go instead of Gamma-Two. We load the mech company (Beta-One, Beta-Three and Delta-One) onto the Union for fast delivery to the crash site area. Cpt. Allred arranges for an artillery battery and air support. The artillery winds up consisting of three Sniper tubes and a Thumper tube (20 and 15 damage at impact site respectively). They're a little short on ammo, but may still be useful. The aircraft are two heavies, an Eagle and a Hellcat. Here's hoping they don't get shot down.
When they get there, the Excalibur is damaged, but obviously saw us coming. It wasn't *fully* laden, but has deployed a good two lances of mechs plus two tank companies to defend itself. Also, it's raining cats and dogs, so the enemy tanks won't be too mobile.
Our mechs file out of the Union, and the party begins. There's not much manuevering to be done here - the dropship landed in a nice big caldera, almost on top of an abandoned mining town. The whole area is covered with mud and completely devoid of any cover, so we're just going to sweep forward like a slow-moving broom, blasting anything that comes into maximum weapons range.
The allied air support does a quick little strafing run, getting a little shot up and inflicting some damage. The allied artillery tubes begin thumping away, although the rounds won't land for another ten or so seconds.
Now this is a mech you don't see very often: a Thug. 80 tons, one PPC in each arm. Plus, dual SRM/6 launchers in the torso. Moves as fast as a Marauder or a Warhammer, but no jump jets. Solid armor.
Delta-One (Archinerd II, Freyland, Paingod and Madmarcus) opens up on the Excalibur from long range, hitting with a solid LRM salvo.
One of the allied aircraft knocks over a Cyclops with a strafing run, although they continue taking anti-aircraft fire.
Then the second round of artillery comes down, cracking open a pair of light tanks.
Moley and two of Beta-Three's mechs join Delta-One in peppering the Excalibur with LRMs. The dropship returns fire, damaging the armor on the Ostsol's right arm with a return LRM salvo.
The artillery has mixed success, but one shell nearly takes the arm off a Locust. The remaining Davion aircraft strafes a Manticore, disabling it. Then gets shot down, splashing down into the mud. The aero jock reports that it's still intact. They'll probably appreciate it if we didn't leave them here with two companies of angry Kurita guys.
A Catapult jumps up the hill, taking two PPCs from Zenn7 to breach the right torso armor. LordMortis also scores a few hits, but the AC/20 misses. Freyland disables a Pegasus that tries to zip up the hill, frying several air intakes with a laser blast.
Moley breaches the Excalibur's substantially weakened armor, blasting away a laser turret. Then, the Wyvern and Ostsol focus LRM and laser fire on the weakened aft section, along with the rest of Delta-One. A weakened landing strut cracks, then something in the bottom of the dropship explodes, and it keels over, rolling onto its side. A little too much polish on that one, fellas.
With no dropship to back them up and us having a major range advantage, this is more a matter of time than anything else. The Kurita Catapult's got himself in trouble and takes a lot of fire, eating three more PPCs from Zenn7 and an SRM salvo from LordMortis. Otherwise, it's mostly just LRMs and PPC shots zapping through the rain.
Moley takes a nasty PPC shot to the head, with equipment shorting out left and right. The rest of weapons fire isn't very impressive.
Zarathud takes a lot of fire though and gets knocked over, while our Centurion takes a hit to the right shoulder, and the arm pretty much goes limp, including the AC/10.
Although, that infantry that scampered out of the Packrat probably feels differently when a Sniper artillery shell lands right on top of them and scatters them to the four winds.
LordMortis jumps over to help cover Zarathud, blasting the nearby Stalker with the AC/20. 85-ton mech or not, the right torso armor comes right off, leaving the arm hanging by a thread. Unfortunately, that doesn't help much, the Charger takes an AC/5 round to the center torso, cracking the gyro. As the mech stumbles, it eats multiple SRMs from the right side, which just knocks it over entirely.
Moley also pulls back, as sensor damage makes it almost impossible to shoot straight. Zenn7's got the Thunderbolt covered, blowing away a harassing Scimitar. LordMortis continues working on the Stalker, nailing it in the right torso again with the AC/20, which convinces the enemy mechwarrior that he's had enough, as about half of the mech is now missing or on the ground.
To the east, the rest of Delta-One have finished flanking the enemy force from the east and begin their attack. Freyland disables a Tokugawa heavy tank by application of laser, through the armor, directly to the engine. Our Centurion and Ostsol work together to take large chunks off another attacking Wasp, putting the bug mech into retreat.
The remainder of the Kurita force cedes the field, walking off. It'll be a long walk for them, that's for sure. We did ok, with only the Charger and Centurion needing substantial repairs.
Our salvage crews quickly determine that the Excalibur is no longer space or flight worthy. Between the high-speed initial crash and the damage inflicted by our mechs, the internal structure is "non-viable". Which is a shame, it would have been good to add it to our fleet. We'll still claim it, though. The Davion guys have expressed an interest in the spare parts, which is still a cool 7M C-bills, in addition to the 4-5M C-Bills in salvage we'll get from the Catapult and three Manticores. Plus, this means the Kurita guys won't be fixing it back up and using it to mess with us going forward - they'll just have to use all their other dropships, and it'll be up to FedCom to deal with that. Or us, from the ground.
The liaison is pretty happy about it, not only did both of the fighters survive, but they also recovered the Thunderbird we shot down earlier.
Zarathud gives an emphatic "thumbs down" to keeping the Charger. For an 80-ton mech, it really doesn't pack enough punch or armor. Sure it's got four medium lasers, but so does a Quickdraw, which moves much faster. And the armor level is pretty disappointing, two PPC shots expose the internals on all but the center torso (kind of like the standard Banshee design, a lot of the tonnage is devoted to an oversized engine).