* "The Dead Man's Hand"

Mosaic of the Past - Independent Combined-Arms Battalion

Description:

Dead Man’s Hand – Combined-Arms Battalion / Regular / Questionable

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 : Senior-Captain “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.

MechWarrior Dominic Haugustus “Pockets” leads “The Dead Man’s Hand” Mech force, having retired from the Line Mechs to a semi-bucolic life of marriage. He is a quiet, unassuming man, whose leadership style has ensured the transition has been smooth. He seems accepted by the unit, but is best known for his favorite Ostscout “Kintaro Eater” and as the originator of unconventional melee tactics while piloting Mechs.

The unit Mechwarriors and troopers look up to Master Trooper Dale Taylor “Solitaire” for technical matters, ever since the era when they had to maintain their own machines; they now have technical squads assigned to their maintenance, though these tend to be less skilled members of the Ground Technical Group in the * “The Dingo Pack”. Dale Taylor is a quiet, technically-minded pilot, who keeps to herself and spends every spare moment working on her beloved personal Commando, “Hank”. She has been assigned the leadership of the 2nd Mech lance in “The Dead Man’s Hand”, but is fairly ambivalent about the task, and leads by command under Salt’s direction. She has, however, appreciated her assigned Mech, the Ostsol for its advanced T&T systems.

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 raided the unit’s Scrapyard to equip her force as motorized infantry, and each platoon is provided with a hover APC as a command vehicle. The troops under her command have a great deal of growing respect for her command. She is assisted by two young troopers, LtJG Paula Perez and LtJG Abelinda Rivera, who have shown increasing unit loyalty.

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 Fitzroy has taken the lead in C&C, and operates the small support staff in the unit’s “Shadow Eaters” operations. He is 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 lacks a command van, but is seeking to acquire one as soon as possible, to improve its ability to communicate in the field.

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, if still training, 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 when 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.

The unit has two important weaknesses, however. Although capable with artillery and 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 single DropShip, something of an all or nothing attitude that pervades down into its troopers. Second, its lack of cargo has forced the unit to depend on outside sources for supply over the long term. This implies the importance of supply in contract negotiations.

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 Militia Air Grup is small, but plans to expand are on-going. Consisting of a pair 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, one Karnov is planned to be acquired for each infan try platoon in the unit. For now, training the troops in combined-arms operations as an air-borne troop is important.

The Militia 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 Truck is assigned to each tech team, assisting in hauling the personnel and supplies for the armor assets.

The Militia 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 Trucks 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 anti-aircraft quad-cannons (each essentially a simple trailer-rig mounting four AC/2s with rudimentary targeting equipment) and a pair of light utility transports to haul them, have been assigned to defensive operations with this unit. These weapons provide a very nice and simple fire-support to anti-air defenses.

The unit has also acquired a Swift Wind Scout Car, that is assigned to units on a case-by-case basis. Traditionally, it accompanies the artillery units during field operations, but it is still considered a C&C “The Shadow Eaters” element. It is assigned a skilled scout as personnel.

Support : Acquisition of technicians captured during operations on Dunkelheim have allowed the unit to have individually assigned maintenance personnel. Although still under the watchful eye of Solitaire, the skills of this technical support are not excellent, but still a vast improvement over the previous 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 a full battalion, 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 they are assigned, has a notorious lack of cargo space for spare parts, supplies and other equipment. To assist in this matter, the “Silverlight” was assigned to the unit, granting them extra cargo handling capability, and an experienced back-up crew to pilot it.

Units are equipped as their contemporaries in both * “The Cerberus Command” and * “The Dingo Pack”.

- Militia JumpShip Units -

Merchant-Class JumpShip “The Bloody Paw”Space Master Terrance Chantilas (Regular)

- Militia AeroSpace Units -

Fortress-Class DropShip “Victory’s Blood”Commander Aoife McIntyre (Green)
Gazelle-Class DropShip “Silverlight”Commander Thomas Dallas (Regular)

- Support & Technical Group -

Militia Operational Command and Communications (C&C) Group “Shadow Eaters”
1 “Desert Iris” Jeep (MG)
1 Tech Squad (Regular)
1 Scout Squad w/ Swift Wind Scout Car (Regular)

Marine Security Group “StarGuards”
1 “Desert Iris” Jeeps (MG)
1 Squad Laser Marine Infantry (Veteran)

Support Technical Group
1 Administrative Squad (Veteran)
1 Mess Squad (Regular)
1 Housekeeping Squad (Regular)

Field Medical Group
1 Medical Squad (Regular)
1 MASH Unit
1 MT-1B Light Troop Carrier

Support Medical Group
3 Paramedic Squads (3 Regular)

Ground Technical Group
24 Technical Squads (3 Veteran, 21 Regular)
4 MT-1B Light Troop Carriers
3 Loadmaster Exoskeletons
1 “Mule” 10-ton Mobile Repair Platform
1 “Malbrock” Mobile Machineshop
1 Cobra VTOL Transport “Iron Wing” (Regular)

Field Salvage Technical Group
2 Technical Squads (Veteran, Regular)
2 Loadmaster Exoskeletons
1 Meadowlands Hover Carriers w/ Portable Repair Gantry
1 M981 Prime Mover w/ 80-ton Trailer
1 M984 Wheeled Wrecker
2 Skycrane JetVTOLs “Olga” & “Andrew’s Pride” (Regular, Green)

Militia BattleMech Group “Dead Man’s Hand”

1st (Command) Militia Lance “Veruca’s Visigoths”
ASN-21 Assassin “Remnant” or STK-3F Stalker “Overwhelming Force”Senior-Captain “Veruca” Louise Salt (Veteran)
RFL-3N Rifleman “Jigsaw”MechWarrior Katie Starling (Veteran)

ARC-2R Archer “Jaeger”MechWarrior Patrick Clooney “Shredder” (Regular)
RFL-3N Rifleman “Rose”Trooper Ela Rose (Regular)

2nd Militia Lance “The Wild Bunch”
COM-2D Commando “Hank” or OTL-4D Ostsol XXXMaster Trooper Dale Taylor “Solitaire” (Regular)
WVR-6R Wolverine “Iron Rabbit”MechWarrior Jena Malone “Rocket” (Regular)

PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk XXXTrooper Farah Dulac – “Blade” (Regular)
FLC-4N Falcon XXXTrooper Cooper Hawkes (Regular)

3rd Militia Lance “The Yes Men”
OTT-7J Ostscout “Kintaro Eater”MechWarrior Dominic Haugustus “Pockets” (Regular)
CRB-27a Crab “Skull Crusher”Trooper Hendricks MacKracken – “The Iron Duke” (Regular)

Phoenix Hawk PXH-1 “Bad Touch”MechWarrior Nick Clooney “Gunman” (Regular)
FLC-4N Falcon XXXTrooper Paul Wang (Green)

- Militia Infantry Units - “The Castle Guards”

Command Infantry Platoon (Motorized) “The Last Bastion”
1 Hover APC (MG) – (Regular)
2 Light Utility Transports
1 Squad Support MG (Veteran)
3 Squads Rifle Infantry (Veteran, Regular, Green)

2nd Militia Platoon (Motorized) “Star’s Reach Militia”
1 Hover APC (MG) – (Regular)
2 Light Utility Transports
4 Squads Rifle Infantry Militia (Regular, 3 Green)

3rd Militia Platoon (Motorized) “Black Tower Militia”
1 Hover APC (MG) – (Regular)
2 Light Utility Transports
4 Squads Rifle Infantry Militia (2 Regular, 2 Green)

- Militia Air Group - XXX

1st Air Militia Lance XXX
1 Karnov UR Transport (Regular) “Serendipity”
2 Warrior H-7 Attack Helicopters (2 Regular)

- Militia Armor Group - “The Glory Hounds”

1st Militia Armor Lance “Rabbit Punchers”
1 Technical Squad w/ Light Transport (Green)
Manticore Heavy Tank (Regular)
T-12 Tiger Medium Tank (Regular)
Vedette Medium Tank (Elite)
Vedette Medium Tank (Regular)

2nd Militia Armor Lance “Salvage Squad”
1 Technical Squad w/ Light Transport (Green)
Manticore Heavy Tank (Regular)
T-12 Tiger Medium Tank (Regular)
Vedette Medium Tank (Veteran)
Vedette Medium Tank (Regular)

Militia Artillery Group “Thunderwave”

1st Artillery Lance “Pot-Shot’s Snipers”
Type-74 Hover Transport
Anti-Aircraft Quad Cannon (4xAC/2s) w/ Light Transport (Green)
Sniper Artillery Field Gun “Stargun Survivor” w/ Light Transport (Veteran)
Sniper Artillery Field Gun “Hebron’s Loss” w/ Light Transport (Green)

2nd Artillery Lance “Shatter Storm”
Type-74 Hover Transport
Anti-Aircraft Quad Cannon (4xAC/2s) w/ Light Transport (Green)
Sniper Artillery Field Gun “Vulgar Brawler” w/ Light Transport (Regular)
Sniper Artillery Field Gun “Honor’s Sword” w/ Light Transport (Green)

Bio:

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 Training Company 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…

At present, the entire unit is engaged in a ten-month contract on System – Dumassas to the Sangrian government, called Contract – Operation “Lasting Influence”.

* "The Dead Man's Hand"

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign Robling