Why mechs?

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02/09/19 09:12 PM

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so i was just getting into the battletech universe alongside a friend and we both have the same question, why are mechs superior? myomers could certainly be adapted for wheeled and tracked use with clever engineering right? or is there an in universe explanation for why?

i understand and wont have any complaints if its just because mechs are the settings icon but a in universe reasoning would be cool.

thank you for any assistance.
02/09/19 09:40 PM

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It basically comes down to, "'Mechs are cool." The game started c1984 as a wargame about giant, stompy war-robots in the 31st Century. Tanks, infantry, and aircraft weren't even supported until an expansion written several years later.

Because, as the old boxed sets used to say, "BattleMechs are kings of the battle field," the rules favor them.

The in-universe explanation is that BattleMechs are the 25th Century equivalent of tanks: a breakthrough in military technology that completely changed the face of warfare. They had the latest, greatest technology and could do things no tank could do.

The explanation's imperfect, of course. The construction and combat rules need to be biased in favor of 'Mechs. It'd be entirely reasonable for differing rules to make tanks less vulnerable to critical hits, or to use double heat sinks, or otherwise match and outperform 'Mechs. But that'd be a different setting.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.
02/09/19 11:16 PM

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I think a good part of the reasoning can be found in the rules:

Part One: The Neuro-Helmet and the Gyro.

- "Hey guys! I've invented a new kind of tank! This one can fall over!", some Random BT Science Dude mere moments before unveiling the Mackie. The Neuro-Helmet is an Star League technology which marries the SINGLE pilot to his / her / xir machine. This means they can load, aim, spot, fire receive AND respond to orders at the same time; all while having the reaction time of an infantryman and damn near the combat awareness to boot. The Gyro ties into the pilot's sense of equilibrium, meaning that while this tank can fall down, it can also perform ballet... while vomiting missiles, plasma bolts, 120mm shells and more...

Part Two: The Fusion Engine.

- It powers a Particle Projection Cannon, military grade lasers and runs on freaking tap water. Nuff' said.

Part Three: Magic Armor.

- One ton of standard-grade BattleMech Armor can take a single 120mm tank shell to the face and keep on fighting. two tons of it can take THREE. Both of these with armor to spare. Yeah... that's alotta damage there mate.

Part Four: Mobility.

- The Awesome can walk faster than Usain Bolt can run. The Mad Dog can run faster than a Hellcat Tank Destroyer. The Panther can leap over a two story building. Have fun in that tank...

Part Five: Cost.

- FASAnomics make all things possible.


- WE LOVE GIANT ROBOTS! YOU LOVE GIANT ROBOTS! But nobody loves Hoboken... because that's Hoboken.
"Woad Raider, kill things today."
02/10/19 01:30 AM

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Mechs can do things vehicles can not.
Drop from orbit for one.
If you know anything about the history of Battle Tech, and Robotech, alot of the original mechs used the same pictures as the Robotech copyright, as they came out first. Someone thought fighting mechs were a good thing.
I know Battletech came from the game Droids, and I believe they had power armor there, but didn't seem to run with them. Guess that would have made the giant robots obsolete.
So the developers went with the giant robots.
As Cray said, the original box game didn't have any stats for vehicles. There were only 12 mechs as well.

But otherwise, it was more fun to play a single soldier with the firepower to level city blocks quickly. Running a tank crew wasn't as exciting, as you couldn't stomp on things, or beat them with trees when you ran out of ammo, and had no energy weapons.
Jump jets were limited to mechs only, when the original box set came out. Aerofighters weren't anything other then background noise as well.
I also would throw in the fact that mechs can climb somewhat, and can traverse terrain most other units couldn't. Heavy woods stops most ground units, with infantry and power armor being the exception. Aircraft can fly over it, but non Aerofighters tend to be fragile, and landing can be an issue.

So it looks like it was the fun factor on why they went with mechs.
02/10/19 05:23 AM

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Don’t forget walking along the sea bed or on the surface of a moon.

And let us not forget “Death from Above” – Jumping your ‘Mech onto the head of your enemies ‘Mech

…………. FUN!!!!!!
02/10/19 05:20 PM

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thank you for all the responses, it really sheds some light for me onto the subject, once again thank you
02/10/19 06:21 PM

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Mecha, Mechs, power armor, exosketons, etc are considered the next step in military technology over tanks. The advantages (aside from the sci-fi factor) are increased fire power, mobility, and terrain advantage over the common soldier and armored vehicle. A single pilot is able to do the job of several while having a much higher tactical value.

As to why mechs have more of an advantage over tanks, (aside from the the game theme), it would be how the units are built. When a tank takes damage, it affects the main body of vehicle - an externally mounted weapon might be easily replaceable damage, but a round that enters the main cabin killing the crew, destroying the main equipment, and exiting the opposite side with ventilation holes would be a mission kill on a modern main battle tank. Said tank probably would not be able to be rebuilt. Mechs are different because the internal skeleton is more like a frame where equipment is mounted to. On a mech, equipment is self-contained in a segment of the unit. An arm or leg blown off (barring torso damage to the reactor) wouldn't necessarily affect other systems and the mech could still function and be repaired easier then the tank with hole in it's armored chassis.

myomers could certainly be adapted for wheeled and tracked use with clever engineering right

I doubt that myomers would have any tactical use on a vehicle over standard motors, gears, hydraulics, and pneumatic actuators. Myomers were more fluff to explain how the mech is able to stay upright while moving fluidly at high speeds in a bipedal fashion like a human. This is the modern equivalent of a mech and I bet it's top speed is like 2 mp/h. If you tried to make the machine move faster, it would seriously jolt the driver up and down. A machine any bigger then that would just look like a scene out of one of our favorite classic movies.

Edited by Maurer (02/10/19 06:47 PM)
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