Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
* "The Dead Man's Hand"
Mosaic of the Past - Independent Combined-Arms Battalion
Dead Man’s Hand – Combined-Arms Battalion / Regular / Reliable
The purposes of this unit have changed over the past couple years. Originally employed as a “holding unit” for assets and pilots captured during operations, the Dead Man’s Hand was also an auxiliary company of Mechs, used primarily as a defensive force, but also available as a reinforcing unit for select Iron Dingoes operations. At present, the unit has developed into a full mixed-arms battalion, capable of independent operations, with its own armor, infantry, artillery and even its own DropShip. The unit is given some degree of free-reign to follow separate contracts and act outside of normal Dingoes activities, but is also used as a support force for the unit’s Line forces.
It uses the standard olive drab paint pattern common to the Iron Dingoes, but highlights them with red to identify the unit’s status as a reserve striker force for its parent organization. Their unit logo is the traditional snarling iron-colored dingo of its parent unit, but also has developed a unit patch worn on their service caps and left arm, of Death, displaying a handful of macabre “Aces and Eights” cards, including a stylized “Joker” Dingo as the fifth card.
Officers : Major “Veruca” Louise Salt leads the Dead Man’s Hand in most matters, though she leans heavily on the advice of her fellow officers for decision-making in regards to the combat situation. Her lance has trained together well over the last few years, and she is expanding that philosophy across the unit. Personally driven to live up to her sister’s legacy, and to make a name for herself, Senior Captain Salt sees this opportunity for what it is, a chance to make a name fr herself outside of her sister’s shadow.
Captain Katie Starling operates as Salt’s XO, and the two have served together for years, dating back to their stint in the original “Vercua’s Visigoths”. A hard life-loving mercenary, Starling enjoys the benefits her lifestyle allows, but sees combat as her job. It’s what she’s paid to do, so she can get back to the task at hand; living and loving. Her thirst for young troopers is only defeated for her thirst for hard Dingoes Spit.
The infantry is led by Captain Jerri Holden, who has taken her platoon of experienced security and line troopers along with a pair of “militia” platoons as the infantry arm of The Dead Man’s Hand. She has proven quite adept at combined-arms tactics and has equipped each platoon as a mechanized force, with a hover APC as a command vehicle, and a Maultier Hover APC to haul the rest f the platoon. The troops under her command have a great deal of respect for her command. Her young officers are often recruited to lead other platoons across the unit.
Lieutenant SG Vikki Marcotte leads the Militia Armor Group. A skilled armor leader, she spends most of her time trying to train her troopers in defensive armor operations.
The artillery arm is led by Senior Trooper Edward “Pot-Shot” Farsaker, formerly of the 13th Provisional Company, and freed from the Orion Prison Complex, who is also a talented artillery soldier.
There are few exceptional Support officers, though one or two are worth noting. Doctor Evram Mintz has been assigned the position as lead medical tech for the unit, heading a small squad of experienced medical staff. Lord (LtSG) Henry “Fitzy” Fitzroy has taken the lead in C&C, and operates the small support staff in the unit’s “Shadow Eaters” operations. He was the main advocate for acquisition of a Command Van for the unit to be truly independent.
Tactics : The Dead Man’s Hand have changed their appearance and purpose from times past. Once a reserve company of BattleMechs, it now acts as a combined-arms battalion, capable of independent activities either in support of Dingoes actions, or following its own agenda or contract. The unit’s addition of a Command Van has drastically improved its ability to communicate in the field, and its tactical strength.
Traditionally, the unit acts as a holding force, to secure extraction points, or to provide a flanking or reserve punch in assaults. As a combined-arms battalion, however, they are no longer solely a reserve, but a capable, seasoned force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. The unit often uses its second and third Mech lances as “probing” forces, and then slams home the hammer of its command lance, once the enemy has been discovered. Furthermore, the armor and infantry forces are used as flanking and follow-up forces to secure objectives, with the artillery used to level defensive forces and bunkers before an assault.
Perhaps most interestingly, the unit’s three infantry platoons have developed specialties in their deployment. The 1st (Command) Platoon are very capable as security troops and potential MPs; 2nd Platoon has many snipers and are all skilled marksmen; and 3rd Platoon has a large number of technically capable soldiers. All platoons have been equipped with SPM-18A3 “Backblast” Recoilless Rifles as long-range support, hauled by their command Hover APCs. Each squad also possesses a collection of riot gear and plastic riot shields for use during garrison deployments, or when riot duty is expected.
The unit has one important weaknesses, however. Although capable with artillery and good anti-air defenses, the unit has no integral AeroSpace force, as the Fortress-Class does not allow their deployment. As such, the entire unit depends heavily on the gunners and armor of their primary DropShip, something of an all or nothing attitude that pervades down into its troopers. This independent attitude also weighs heavily in command and supply negotiations for contracts. They have been assigned “Guinevere” to make up for this lack.
Members of the unit’s Mech lances occasionally rotate through the Line Mechs on a case-by-case basis, providing the troopers valuable combat experience, and allowing for the Command Lance to tailor their mission needs for special scenarios. Select pilots (who have proven skill and loyalty to the unit) are assigned reserve Mechs to improve unit defenses. Traditionally, they have begun to employ heavier, slower machines as they become available, as the unit is more “traditional” in its deployments, than the unit’s Line Mechs, trading maneuverability for brute force.
The Combat Air Group is small, but plans to expand are on-going. Consisting of a pair of air lances of Warrior H-7 Attack Helicopters and a Karnov UR Transport all piloted by experienced mercenary officers, the craft are intended to provide supplies and transport for its infantry forces. Eventually, additional Karnovs are planned to be acquired for each infantry platoon in the unit. For now, training the troops in combined-arms operations as an air-borne troop is important.
The Combat Armor Group, “The Glory Hounds”, includes a mixed pair of armor lances, each boasting a Manticore Heavy Tank, a T-12 Tiger Medium Tank and a pair of Vedette Medium Tanks. These lances traditionally also each attach a squad of civilian mechanics, that help maintain the unit’s vehicles. A Light Utility Transport is assigned to each tech team, assisting in hauling the personnel and supplies for the armor assets.
The Combat Artillery Group, “The Thunderwave” contains traditional Sniper Field Artillery Pieces, one recovered from operations on System – Heroditus, and three captured from a militia convoy on System – Dunkelheim. A pair of Type 74 “Buffalo” Hover Trucks are assigned as fire control vehicles to the unit, and a lance of Light Utility Transports have been assigned to haul the field cannons and provide transport for their crews and munitions. Senior Trooper Edward “Pot-Shot” Farsaker acts as the unit leader.
Additionally, a pair of Rifleman Mechs under young, under-seasoned pilots have been attached to the artillery, to provide more protection against air attacks, as well as giving the unit more reserve defensive firepower.
The unit has also acquired a Skulker Wheeled Scout Tank, that is assigned to units on a case-by-case basis. Piloted by Scout Kohana “Ranger” Roberts and her Shadow, it traditionally accompanies the artillery units during field operations, but it is still considered a C&C “The Shadow Eaters” element.
Support : Acquisition of technicians captured during operations on Dunkelheim and on Dumassas have allowed the unit to have individually assigned maintenance personnel. Although the skills of this technical support are not excellent, it remains a vast improvement over their original situation. As a reserve unit, it can be skimped in resupply, but this is expected, as the unit is rarely deployed on the front line. Although this treatment might result in failures of key systems during deployment, the odds of this have since been drastically reduced.
Once the unit was designated to full battalion status, and to ensure independent operations, it was assigned a portion of the unit’s support assets, granting it full autonomy in maintenance and supply. This is a very necessary quality for the unit, especially since the Fortress-Class DropShip “Victory’s Blood” they are assigned, has a notorious lack of cargo space for spare parts, supplies and other equipment. To assist in this matter, the “Brush Wolf” was assigned to the unit, granting them a great deal of extra cargo handling capability, the ability to deploy their Mechs from orbit, and independent of other operations, and field a lance of AeroFighters, should they become available.
Unofficial “Dead Man’s Hand” Combat Patch
- Combat JumpShip Units -
- Combat AeroSpace Units -
- Support & Technical Group -
Support Technical Group
1 Administrative Squad (Vet)
1 Mess Squad (Vet)
1 Housekeeping Squad (Reg)
Ground Technical Group
30 Technical Squads (3 Elite, 14 Vet, 11 Reg, 2 Green)
Four (4) MT-1B Light Troop Carriers
Four (4) Heavy Industrial Exoskeletons
One (1) Mobile Repair Platform – “Mule”
One (1) “Malbrock” Mobile Machineshop
One (1) Cobra Transport VTOL “Iron Wing” (Reg)
Field Salvage Technical Group
2 Technical Squads (2 Vet)
Two (2) Heavy Industrial Exoskeletons
One (1) Meadowlands Grain Carrier w/ Portable Repair Gantry
One (1) Oshkosh A1 “Interstellar” Tank Transporter
One (1) Heavy Tactical Utility Truck (Wrecker)
Two (2) Skycrane JetVTOLs “Olga” & “Andrew’s Pride” (Vet, Reg)
BattleMech Combat Group “Dead Man’s Hand”
3rd Combat Lance “The Yes Men”
CRB-27 Crab “Skull Crusher” – MechWarrior Hendricks MacKracken – “The Iron Duke” (Vet)
OSR-2C Ostroc “XXX” – Trooper Talo Momoe (Reg)
- Combat Rifle Infantry Units - “The Castle Guards”
Command Rifle Infantry Platoon (Mechanized) “The Last Bastion”
One (1) Hover APC – (Vet)
One (1) Maultier Hover APC – (Reg)
One (1) SPM-18A3 “Backblast” Recoilless Rifle
4 SRM Infantry Squads (3 Vet, Reg)
2nd Rifle Infantry Platoon (Mechanized) “Star’s Reach Militia”
One (1) Hover APC – (Reg)
One (1) Maultier Hover APC – (Vet)
One (1) SPM-18A3 “Backblast” Recoilless Rifle
4 Rifle Infantry Squads (3 Vet, Reg)
3rd Rifle Infantry Platoon (Mechanized) “Black Tower Militia”
One (1) Hover APC – (Vet)
One (1) Maultier Hover APC – (Green)
One (1) SPM-18A3 “Backblast” Recoilless Rifle
4 Rifle Infantry Squads (Vet, 3 Reg)
- Combat Air Group - “XXX”
1st Air Transport Lance “XXX”
One (1) Karnov UR Transport “Serendipity” (Reg)
2nd Air Scout Lance “XXX”
One (1) Ferret Light Scout VTOL (Reg)
3rd Air Combat Lance “XXX”
Two (2) Warrior H-7 Attack Helicopters (Vet, Reg)
4th Air Combat Lance “XXX”
Two (2) Warrior H-7 Attack Helicopters (2 Vet)
- Combat Armor Group - “The Glory Hounds”
Combat Artillery Group “Thunderwave”
1st Artillery Lance “Pot-Shot’s Snipers”
One (1) Type 74 “Buffalo” Hover Truck
RFL-3N Rifleman “Jigsaw” – XXX (Green)
Sniper Field Artillery Piece “Stargun Survivor” w/ Light Utility Transport (Vet)
Sniper Field Artillery Piece “Hebron’s Loss” w/ Light Utility Transport (Vet)
2nd Artillery Lance “Shatter Storm”
One (1) Type 74 “Buffalo” Hover Truck
RFL-3N Rifleman “Echo” – XXX (Reg)
Sniper Field Artillery Piece “Vulgar Brawler” w/ Light Utility Transport (Vet)
Sniper Field Artillery Piece “Honor’s Sword” w/ Light Utility Transport (Vet)
Originally a mixed collection of Mech pilots, the members of the “Dead Man’s Hand” have found unity despite their diverse origins. Counting former bandits, hardened mercenaries and exiled nobility among its numbers, the present membership has proven to be loyal to their parent organization, the Iron Dingoes.
Constant battle drills and actual combat time in their Mechs had improved things from where they were, considerably. Given time to work together, they have become united in purpose and are developing their own style and tactics as their members improve their own skills, with time. Perhaps most importantly, the addition of dedicated Techs to assist in unit maintenance, has improved morale to all new levels. Older pilots are often promoted to “Line” status, and as such most members of this unit recognize the potential of their service in The Dead Man’s Hand.
While on System – Dumassas, however, several members of the unit betrayed the Iron Dingoes in an attempt to seize the Stone Dog, during the May 3019 opening salvos of First Fire’s attempts to claim the district. Though unsuccessful, the unit took a morale hit from the defection, and though its numbers and strength have been replaced, and its roster filled through conscription of captured pilots and Mechs, its future was under scrutiny.
The Iron Dingoes acquisition of the “Victory’s Blood”, gave the unit new life. Envisioning the DropShip as the core of an independent combined-arms battalion, capable of taking contracts and working as a companion unit to the Iron Dingoes, the DropShip became the heart of the new Dead Man’s Hand. Although little more than a paper tiger until the end of 3020, when * The Sangrian (Air-Mobile) Training Cadre finished its sub-contract on Dumassas, it represents a powerful tool in the Iron Dingoes arsenal. As a combined-arms force, it has a great deal of potential for the unit’s future activities.
The entire unit first engaged in a ten-month contract on System – Dumassas to the Sangrian government, called Contract – Operation : “Lasting Influence”. They completed the contract well, and then began searching for a new contract to engage in, while their crews and troops enjoy a little downtime.
At the beginning of 3022, the unit was engaged in the Brightwater Base “Incident”, fighting a rogue force of mercenaries and befriending the local tribes living in the Corazón Jungle. After a month of down-time for repairs to their Mechs, and consolidation of their salvage, the unit accepted a potential contract with their old employer, Baron Kenton Sarne.
In mid-3022, the unit began its new contract, travelling to the System – Serenity to engage in an 18-month “Retainer” contract. Completing the first portion of that contract, despite having been forced into Riot Duty towards the end of their 18-month portion, the unit was relieved by * “The Fold Fiends”, who renewed the contract for an additional two years. The DMH then returned to Dumassas for some much needed R&R, where they had several of their more senior troops transferred out to the newest portion of the Iron Dingoes, * The Blood Raiders, who took over command positions in that new unit. The DMH then spent the next couple years in Garrison slowly rebuilding their strength and upgrading some of their equipment.
After a couple of years of slowly replacing their MechWarriors, rebuilding their support structure, and watching many of the unit’s finest officers recruited to other positions and commands, the unit was mostly ready; when the Small War hit Dumassas, and threatened to send the unit into combat. Major Salt scrambled to fill her missing officer and pilot seats for her Mechs, and trained her people hard. Her infantry and armor crews were particularly vulnerable, especially with the growing prospect of throwing them against massed thousands of infantry in the San Marcos and Von Doom armies. The unit rose to her call to arms, and many of them excelled, though some of the newer recruits chose to leave the organization. As late-3024 drew to a close, and Contract – Operation : “Mercury Rising” kicked in, war with the newly formed League of Free Nations became reality, and the Dead Man’s Hand was forced into action.
The unit turned-out to be relatively out of the conflict, as well as its resulting riots and difficulties, simply sitting in their garrison assignment for almost the entire year, until the return of * “The Fold Fiends”, when they took the Contract – Operation : “Perilous” with House Davion. They are presently deployed under this contract in the Federated Suns.