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Tau lander?

 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:05 am 
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Hi!

I have been thinking about how the Grenadiers get their Mechanised Infantry and Russ companies, Valks+Vultures and super-heavies from the fleet to the surface, since a Chimera, Russ or Valkyrie may not fit into a Manta (plus I want to kee pthe Manta out of the Gue'senshi list), let alone a Baneblade!

This seems a point for the T'au list too, as the Narwhal and Dragonet (my thought for a name for the Dragonfish - it's another way of saying the fish's name anyway) aren't planetfallers, and it's questionable whether Mantas are used to ferry AVs (and Tetras and Piranhas, for that matter) 4 at a time to the surface - although perhaps that's intentional, that the Tau would use the current planetfalling setup to establish a beach-head, then gradually ferry down the rest of the force using Mantas (this still doesn't explain the WEs, though)

The way I see it, there are a few options. For Hunter Cadres:

*Assume that the Tau land Courier transports, or some other larger starship(like the cargo lander which was modified into the Kass'l escort from the metal fleet), to offload those T+Ps, AVs and WEs onto the surface.

*Assume that the Narwhal and Dragonet are dropped from orbit, but only after a beach-head has been established, not into active combat situations (hence the lack of Planetfall in the Epic rules) and the AVs need to be landed 4 at a time per Manta.

*Assume that there is some sort of starship-to-surface lander that the Tau use to land heavy units onto the surface - a modified Manta or Moray, perhaps with a giant grav clamp or two underneath to carry the WEs, or space ordinarily taken up by things like infantry, those big Railcannon (and maybe the Ion Phalanxes too) given over for vehicles.

In the third one, I'd say the Moray would only really suit carrying Tetras and Piranhas (You could perhaps fit 6 Tetras and 4 Piranhas into each ship if you drop the Railcannon/Ion Phalanx) and the Manta could take 2 superheavies in its main bay, or grav clamped below the main hangar bay, and if we gut the heavy weapons we could make room for 10 or 12 AVs on board, enough for a HH Cadre + extra, or maybe - not to mention 10 Leman Russes, or 4 Stingrays with 4 Valkyries and 4 Vultures!

We can assume that the infantry would be sitting in the Devilfish/Chimerae/Valkyries during the drop.


So, we could include a third option for the Moray which would turn it into a drop craft for a Tetra Contingent with 4 added Piranhas in place of the heavy weapon options.

Also, for the Manta we can drop the Heavy Railcannon - and probably the two Ion Phalanxes to boot - and add room for two Orca-size (or three Baneblade size) superheavies and 12 AVs.


Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:32 am 
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I'd definately say that there would be situations requiring a much larger dropship than the Manta for planetfall. Sure the Tau don't operate on quite the same scale as the Imperium, or have such heavy equipment, but as you say, the Manta just doesn't suffice for armoured cadres.

So although it seems a little large, I think the Courier transport would be a good bet for non-combat landings, especially for Gue'senshi forces. Or perhaps a Merchant outfitted to carry Imperial landers?


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:52 am 
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Hmm, my plan was to keep the Gue'senshi attached to the larger Qath'fannor capital ships (Protector and Custodian, possibly Hero too), there are still relatively few regiments from Kleist, Phaeb and Garrus in service beyond the home system, and putting them on a Courier seems like too much of a risk - Tau wouldn't put Hunter Cadres in Couriers for that reason!

Perhaps converted Mantas and Morays could be used in situations where that gap needs to be filled on the surface in the face of heavy opposition (for Tau and Gue'senshi forces) and if space superiority if secured, a Courier could be docked to the larger cap ship and used to ferry large numbers of heavy units up and down.

So, the first planetfall would be carried out by Orcas, Tetra-Morays, normal Mantas and armour-dropping Mantas (supported by rail- and ion-Morays, Barracudas, Tigersharks and orbital pinpoints and missile salvoes) from Custodians, Protectors and Heroes.

While the campaign unfolds, the Orcas, AD-Mantas and T-Morays make shuttle runs to bring more formations to the surface, while the regular Manta can either do the same or stay planetside to offer heavy fire support where needed.

If space superiority is assured, and a safe LZ established, then the Couriers can be used to land munitions and supplies (as well as additional Hunter Cadres/Regiments transferred from the larger vessels, if necessary).

How does this sound?


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:45 pm 
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I think we can safely assume that a Manta can be configured to carry wider combinations of units that we use in Epic, and perhaps its the ability to offload quickly and under fire that is the limiting factor on how its used in game.

IE:  A Manta could probablly hold 8-10 vehicles (Devilfish/HH, ect) and assorted troops, but can only load/offload 4 + suits and drones in a reasonable time (under fire), more and they expose the Manta and the troops inside to excess risk.

Under safer conditions, a Manta can probablly carry more (Diverting power from Deflector to anti-grav units to compensate) and I wouldent put it past the Tau to just land thier transports and offload a whole lot of HCs at once.

The Forge World BFG Tau Courier Transport looks like it could handle planetfall, given the Taus level of technology.


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:49 pm 
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Looks like all of the Kor'or'vesh ships can probably handle an atmosphere, given far as the Tau are concerned the Manta is probably part of it.
Seeing as all of the capital ships have launchbays I don't see why though wouldn't enter low orbit/high atmosphere and let the various grav craft leave through the Manta bays.
However its not a particularly safe thing to do on a battlefield, hence the superheavies not being orbital landers.

The other older option would be to use the Merchant's cargo containers, detach them in orbit and let them make their own way down. Pretty sure they mention that the cargo containers come off and are exchanged between ships/stations etc. Lander varient doesn't seem out of the question, like a fat mega-Orca


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:33 pm 
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IE:  A Manta could probablly hold 8-10 vehicles (Devilfish/HH, ect) and assorted troops, but can only load/offload 4 + suits and drones in a reasonable time (under fire), more and they expose the Manta and the troops inside to excess risk.

Hmm, admitedly I don't have the model in front of me, but from Forgeworld's pics of the Epic Manta, it does look pretty hard-pressed to carry the 4 tanks, let along 8-10.

Seeing as all of the capital ships have launchbays I don't see why though wouldn't enter low orbit/high atmosphere and let the various grav craft leave through the Manta bays.
However its not a particularly safe thing to do on a battlefield, hence the superheavies not being orbital landers.

Don't anti-grav generators only support the vehicles upto a certain height? At the altitude you're talking about, wouldn't the vehicles just plummet to the ground? Sure they'd be slowed momentarily as they reached their anti-grav generator's effective height, but I don't think that would be enough to prevent them from impacting the ground.





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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:35 pm 
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Presumably it uses its grav generators in space like the rest of the Tau fleet, I don't see it having a problem at high altitude


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:33 pm 
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By 'grav craft' I thought you meant Hammerheads etc? I guess I misinterpretted. The dropships etc being deployed from low orbit of course makes perfect sense.


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:25 am 
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I think the older Kor'vattra used cargo landers - they were the same hull type as the BFG Orca escorts, which were created by sticking some weapons on the things!

Does it seem reasonable to assume that the Dragonet and Narwhal are drop-capable, but not dropped into combat - hence the lack of Planetfall?

And how does the T+P Moray idea sound? Or the Armour dropping Manta, for that matter? (For those who have the model, is Shin right in saying that it isn't big enough for the loadout I envisaged above, even losing the heavy weapon loadout?)


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:46 am 
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Quote (Shinnentai @ 28 Nov. 2005 (22:33))
By 'grav craft' I thought you meant Hammerheads etc? I guess I misinterpretted.

Actually I did, though I was referring to BFG 'low orbit' which is really high altitude.
But I don't think hammerheads and the like would have much of a problem - if a sentinels Grav chute can bring it down safetly and yet is unable to bear the full weight or let it move around, I don't see the problem for a Hammerhead or Devilfish doing this. Firewarrior has modified Devilfish being used in space as makeshift boarding craft and baracudas are both space and atomsphere capable.

As for non planetfalling Orca 'varients'. This is one of the reasons I personally don't like them, not to mention the whole 'aircraft becoming a tank' thing, especially seeing as its not as if Tau are using STCs - though I suppose that the heat shielding of the Orca is removed and replaced with battlefield level armour on the superheavy versions.
Probably get brought down in bigger landing craft if you don't see the grav tanks being able to leave on their own, its not as if the Manta and Orcas would be the only dropships avalible for all purposes in the Tau empire, they are just the only ones that opperate near the front lines.

I see a problem with having something in a sling under a grav plate though, so I don't think thats an option for these if cargo space is limited inside the ship.






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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:47 am 
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Quote (Tastyfish @ 29 Nov. 2005 (01:46))
But I don't think hammerheads and the like would have much of a problem - if a sentinels Grav chute can bring it down safetly and yet is unable to bear the full weight or let it move around, I don't see the problem for a Hammerhead or Devilfish doing this. Firewarrior has modified Devilfish being used in space as makeshift boarding craft and baracudas are both space and atomsphere capable.[/quote]

Firewarrior is an absolute abberation, both in terms of gameplay and background material. There may well be modified Devilfish chassis that are capable of moving about in space ( and hence may be able to land in atmosphere ), but I don't think that these would be the same ones as are used in Epic.

Still, you make a good point about the drop-Sentinel. Presumably the grav-chute works on a similar principle to the Tau anit-grav, so perhaps the Tau vehicles would gain enough lift from their anti-grav to touch down safely. Just seems a bit strange to have all of these tanks floating down from low-orbit on their own!


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:04 pm 
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True, but we do have Emissaries and Orca drop ships from it, so it can be considered slightly canon. ;) However I agree with you, even the fire warrior ones weren't dumb enough to have 'space jets' and instead had a massive rocket pack on the back.

It would be unusual for the tanks to go out in their own - Mantas are simply a lot faster, we aren't talking jets or Eldar tanks here. but if you want something the size of an Orca to leave the hangers, its going to probably have to go out the same door as the Orcas


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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 8:44 pm 
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On the point of the Emissary, as I proposed, I don't see why the Tau wouldn't even attempt a large scale atmosphere drop. Not quite an 'orbital' drop as such, but from 'off board' essentially(above board perhaps).

So Pirahanas, Tetras, Battlesuits(with Jetpacks), Vespids(?), Devilfish and Hammerheads can be dropped from mid-high altitude(perhaps, work with me here) from Starships that are configured to release them in those kinds of situations.

The Emissary is a small ship, and for all intents and purposes should be quite good at a bit of 'rapid insertion' of troops, doing this via lander doesn't seem quite right to me, I'd imagine they'd go in 'combat ready' rather than strictly from Orcas(they're described as 'behind your own lines safe LZ Dropships' IIRC.

I just don't see why the Tau wouldn't do this. It seems an obvious thing, Marines Drop Pod, Tau drop.

It also allows for a 'specially configured' Drop Cadre or Contingent that is only for this use.

I'd be wary of allowing Protectors or Custodians to allow that though, they have Mantas for proper 'heavy' combat drops, but secialised drop cadres make sense from a certain PoV.

Xisor

(It also allows variation based on the two Emissaries we're working on at SG, one used for Drop Cadres and diplomacy, the other for starship ship to ship 'interdiction' and things).

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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:07 pm 
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Drop Sentinels don't drop from orbit - they drop from the back of Valkyries in the atmosphere (and Valkyries themselves don't enter the atmosphere directly either, as far as I can tell).

And the tanks and suits likely don't have the heat shielding required to survive entering the atmosphere - which would come as standard on the Orca and Manta. (I'm not even sure if the Hammerheads and Devilfish can be dropped from such a height - I gathered that they were released from Mantas hovering 20-30 metres over the ground, only the Jet Pack troops would be properly configured to perform HALO drops)

Xisor, when you mean Drop Cadre, are you assuming the Cadre springs out of the ship in low to mid atmosphere, at the same level the Elysians and jetpack Battlesuits would jump from?

And there is still scope for an Emissary's lb to carry a Manta - since the Emissary itself would not be able to approach the surface and sustain a presence on the battlefield in a manner that the Manta can (plus the Manta is an idea extraction vehicle for a Hunter Cadre)


Gary

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 Post subject: Tau lander?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm 
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Please bear with me here as I'm not a BFG player but I have given some thought to how Tau mount a land attack on planet from orbit.

Firstly they would need to obtain space superiority, I'll leave that up to the fleet admirals to get me that far :).

Once an invasion fleet can safely operate in LEO the next task is to establish ourselves a beach-head.  Ideally we would try and land in an uncontested area of the planet but we have to assume our illustrious opponent is going to oppose us and we will have to fight for our foothold.

Worst case scenario we will have to have to fight to place any of our assets dirtside but we should be able to get stealth teams in using planet falling Orcas.  Next would come Pathfinder teams inserted by Mantas with Baracuda air cover.  Depending on expected resistance, timescale, terrain, climate and the like it might be best to use them as advance scouts in Tetras and Piranahs or mounted in Devilfish with armoured support.  I imagine re-supply would come from Orcas or Tigersharks.

With the advanced teams now having now established a site for the landing we can now move on to taking our beach-head.  How this is done will obviously depend on the exact tactical situation but, again assuming it was contested, I imagine that it would begin by co-ordinated attacks from Stealth teams and Pathfinders already on the ground supported by air assault and pin-point orbital bombardment.  The actual assault would be from planetfalling Mantas and Orcas, again with Baracuda support.

Once the beach-head is secure more forces will need to be inserted, again by planetfalling Mantas and Orcas, in order to build up a big enough force to achieve a rapid breakout.

Once a sufficently safe and suitable landing zone has been secured, either at the original landing site or taken as part of the breakout phase, then the emphasis is on getting assets and supplies planetside as soon as possible and, from what little I know, the Courier looks like the best for this type of high capacity - heavy lift taxi job from an improvised space port.

From this point on the campaign takes on a more tradional nature and we are beyond the scope of this discussion.

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