I have never been much of a fan of vehicles in BattleTech. I grew up in an era when a combat vehicle was considered way too fragile for serious battle. Maybe they had valuable tactical usages, keeping battles in certain places or whatnot, but they were not really something that made the cut anywhere.
That began to change for me back in 2008 when I started playing in MegaMekNet and played games against others online in a universe similar to the 3025 one. Here, mixed armies and such were common because of how tight money, budgeting, supplies, and more were. I had to use units I wasn’t that comfortable with. And I began to embrace certain vehicles. My favorite “vee” early on was the Hunter Light Support Tank. It had great range, armor, and speed for a light-anything, and was a better long range combatant than any of the various light BattleMechs I was accustomed to. Okay, so some tanks, like the Hunter or the Brutus aren’t that bad. Fine.
But a lot of these tanks still seemed like really poor designs. I mean the Puma seriously has an LRM20 in the right and left arcs, even though it already has a turret for the PCC. That’s just a waste. Meanwhile the Von Luckner has a rear facing LRM10. These things just staggered my mind as bad design choices. So sure, we had the occasional Hunter that worked, but it was the exception, surely, right?
And I held to that until about 18 months ago. I began to run into more and more vehicles that I had always relegated to the mental scrap heap. But suddenly, I ran them the way they were supposed to run, and they just worked.
The best example was the LRM Variant of the Scimitar. This light vehicle has a 8/12 move, an LRM15 and 2 SRM2s on a turret. What value could a lightly armored little thing like that do on the battlefield? Then I was assigned one in my armies for the latest cycle of MegaMekNet. And I used it the way it’s meant to be used. I used it to keep a perimeter around my foes, always getting +3 or +4 to hit me while I fired from downtown. It’s a long-range unit that my foes are never meant to catch. It doesn’t need an UrbanMech bodyguard and some infantry. It just scoots about. And when you walk 7 or 8 hexes to fire, you get +3 to be hit and just +1 to hit, and it’s an easy unit to get the right range on as well. Ever since, I have picked up two more, and I’ve never lost any. They have leveled up and proven themselves in battle after battle. They work. So I would like to apologize to the Scimitar.
Another one that I’ve gotten great use from is the Scorpion Light Tank, with the SRM variant. Yes, that Scorpion. Just a few days ago I was playing in a city, and I ran a Hetzer Assault Tank through a building surprising my opponent and followed with that Scorpion. The Hetzer blew a hole in an undamaged Jenner, and the SRM missiles followed and killed the ‘Mech in one barrage. I’ve also found that people tend to ignore stuff like the Scorpion while focusing on bigger units, and I can then force them to either change it up, or close and do some serious damage.
There are a lot of units out there that I have grown very accustomed to over the last year, from the Bandit Hovercraft and Drillson Heavy Hover Tank, or an SRM2 carrier like the Pike Support Vehicle, I have gotten surprisingly consistent results from a corner of the BattleTech universe that I never expected possible. So for all of the little tanks out there that are punching above their weight class, this is my penance.