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Hell's Black Aces

Hell's Black Aces.jpg
Hell's Black Aces
Unit Profile (as of 3071)
CO
Disbanded 3076[1]
JumpShips Yes (see Composition)
DropShips Yes
Aerospace Yes
Armor No
Infantry No

Hell's Black Aces are an all-AeroSpace Fighter mercenary force which came into existence in the early thirty-first century.

Command[edit]

Attaining Rank[edit]

The Aces push candidates for command through a gruelling array of trials to test the skill, intelligence and adaptability of these individuals. These trials include the number of kills each pilot has accrued as well as their performance on tactical and strategic problems and scenarios. These tests are often considered to be the toughest used by any forces in the Inner Sphere.[2]

Contractual Command[edit]

The Aces have been noted for surrendering strategic command in a given situation. They almost never give up tactical command and control given that there are few force commanders that would know how to effectively utilize the Aces' capabilities. [3]

History[edit]

Formation in the Late Succession Wars[edit]

The Aces were originally a Liao Aerospace Wing. In 3011 the unit which would become the Hell's Black Aces had been long neglected by the Capellan military command and, fearing being caught in one of Chancellor Maximillian Liao's periodic purges, they stole a rare Vengeance Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip and defected from the Confederation. These ex-Liao forces, in order to survive, became a mercenary unit noted for accepting high-risk contracts. As a result of the contracts they took the Aces' numbers suffered. This condition was exacerbated by the Aces' practice of only recruiting veteran pilots, preferably from Capellan worlds.

Near the end of the Third Succession War, the Aces were hired by The Filthy Lucre to provide air cover for the mercenary regiment while under Lyran contract. They were contracted to provide aerospace cover during the fighting in the Dromini VI system in the Draconis Combine. While making transit to the contested Dromini world a Combine aerospace company attacked from within an asteroid field in an area of space above an asteroid named Hell's Black Acre. An intense dog fight ensued between the ex-Liao wing and the Combine aerospace company, causing Filthy Lucre to abandon their hirelings to their own devices. The Lucre fled and took all the DropShips back to their JumpShip, including the wing's own Vengeance. With their contract holders fled and no hope of retreat for the embattled Aces, the Commander of the Combine forces demanded the mercenaries surrender. A young Aces' pilot disputed that request, causing the Combine commander to challenge him to a duel with the fate of the mercenary unit in the balance.

Should the mercenary pilot succeed, the Aces would be allowed to leave the field under escort to the planet Galatea and allowed to leave Combine space. If they lost they would surrender to the Kurita forces with no further issue. The ensuing duel lasted a grueling fifteen minutes before the young Aces' pilot crippled the Combine commander's fighter. Though the commander wished to commit seppuku due to his loss of face for losing to a mercenary, the winning pilot convinced him he could regain his lost honor by joining the Aces and hunting the honorless Lucre mercenary company. The Kurita commander agreed and was followed by his fellow pilots in joining the mercenary Aerospace company. The now much larger unit rechristened themselves Hell's Black Aces in honor of the duel fought to bring them together.

The Aces tracked down Filthy Lucre over Bolan in 3031 while not under contract. Warning off the Filthy's Lyran contract holders, the Aces took their revenge on them by destroying all their 'Mech-carrying DropShips. In the course of the fight, they recovered their Vengeance DropShip and redressed the insult they had been dealt by the fickle mercenary company.[4]

Clan Invasion Era[edit]

In 3053, the Blue Star Irregulars hired the Aces to assist them in their raid against the Clan-held world of Quarell. The Blues wanted the Aces to make sure that their JumpShips and the skies stayed safe during the raid. Clan Jade Falcons had a number of aerospace assets, including a Fredasa Class Corvette/WarShip to counter the raid. The Falcons were surprised by the Aces' sudden attack against them, losing two whole Stars of OmniFighters to them. The Falcons' forces recovered from the attack and regrouped. The Aces fell back and headed for their JumpShips, with Clan OmniFighters in pursuit. As the Clanners arrived, they were greeted by a surprise attack from a wing of the Blue Star Irregulars' fighters hiding behind their JumpShips. The Clans caught by surprise were devastated between the Blues and the Aces. Afterwards, the Aces conducted a series of attacks that left the Fredasa crippled, allowing for the Falcon WarShip to be captured. The Aces were able to capture a Clan Titan Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip for themselves.[5][6] The Clan ship was renamed the Lucifer's Deck, added to its growing fleet of carrier DropShips, which include a Leopard CV and their original Vengeance Carrier.[7]

In 3057 the Aces faced off against the 1st Kestrel Grenadiers over Zurich. The mercenaries were able to quickly rout the Federated Suns command, destroying half of the AFFS fighters they faced.[8]

Returning to the Service of the Confederation[edit]

By 3063 the unit reputation has grown since its obscurity as a defector Liao Aerospace Wing. A number of the command staff of the Aces were descendants of the original Kurita pilots that joined the Aces at the end of the Third Succession War. A staff member to Capellan Confederation Chancellor Sun Tzu Liao, while in midst of its Xin Sheng movement, offered the Aces a very generous contract. Giving them preferred-buyer status for Aerospace Fighters being produced on Victoria, full salvage rights, excellent pay, and also allowing for one of their wings to be used by other factions as long they were not used against the Confederation. The Aces accepted the contract, however months later the Chancellor offered them a chance to return to the fold. The Aces' Commanding Colonel declined the offer for the unit to become a house regiment. His Executive Officer, Major Wynn Sung, who was of Capellan descent, created a movement among the troops to reintegration of the unit. Her fellows began to spread word of a possible mass desertion. Colonel Tanaga, to appease his people agrees continue talks leadership.[9]

The wings of the Aces, serve to as trainers at such school as Liao Conservatory of Military Arts on Liao. While in some case, serving other factions, such as the Draconis Combine as of 3067. [10] The Black Aces had also been able to purchase and refurbish an ancient Invader Class JumpShip, which was given the name Charon, with the assistance of the Confederation.[9]

Jihad[edit]

Operation Sovereign Justice[edit]

During the opening years of the Jihad elements of the Aces fought off a number of raids by Duke George Hasek's Operation: Sovereign Justice forces. For the first time in years all the Aces were re-united on Ningpo, when they, with the aid of the 1st Taurian Lancers, drove the Arcadians mercenary company from the system. The joint Aces/Taurian forces were able to destroy much of the Arcadians' support infrastructure, reducing by forty percent the merc unit's fighting capability.[11]

With the successful completion of this defensive action the Hell's Black Aces were transferred to the planet Liao where they teamed up with the Dynasty Guards regiment. Shortly after their arrival in system, Duke Hasek's 8th Syrtis Fusiliers attacked, battering the Aces' Dynasty Guard partners. However, the Aces claimed air superiority and helped the Guards to drive the Fusiliers off the planet. The regiment lost several of its squadrons in this and previous actions and so put in a request for time to refit and rest. As a result the unit had recovered and were ready when the Blakists arrived in 3069.

Blakists' Attack on Liao[edit]

The entire regiment teamed with the Dynasty Guards and faced off against the Word of Blake's 21st Division. The attacking 21st's Aerospace forces included a dozen Pocket WarShips which help to punch a hole through the emplaced Liao space defenses. Despite this the Aces' first wave of fighters arrived in the form of a high-speed strike against the seemingly victorious Blakist force. The surprise attack inflicted stunning damage as the Aces concentrated on what they believe to be the invading fleet's command ship. After this stunning strike the Aces returned to their base for a quick re-arm before returning for more. The Aces' attack stunned the Blakist fleet, causing them to delay while they regrouped.

After regrouping the Blakist forces resumed their attack and the 21st Division's 'Mechs dropped from orbit. The Aces desperately attacked, shooting down a number of the incoming Blakist forces. It was not enough. The invading force landed in considerable numbers and proceeded to invest their targets. During the ensuing battle the Aces were noted for their heroic efforts in their attempts to keep pressure on Blakist forces, costing the unit dearly in both personnel and equipment. Determined to not go out with a whimper, the fifty fighters of the mercenary unit took the fight to the Blakists' orbiting fleet. Many of the Aces' fighters exhausted their fuel during the fight against the Blakist fleet. Many of the mercenaries, determined take down as many Blakists as possible, rammed their fighter into 'Mech and DropShip formations as their fuel tanks rank dry. Of the fifty Aces that entered this last ditch effort to drive the Word of Blake forces away only ten pilots came back alive. Among these heroic dead was the Aces' commanding officer, Colonel Tanaga.[12]

Through the Aces' efforts, it became possible for the Dynasty Guards to repel the weakened Blakist forces. Their efforts to successfully inflict heavy damage to the invading forces resulted in the withdrawal of the invaders from Liao space.[13] Later, during the battle for Liao, unconfirmed reports of the squadrons of fighters bearing Hell's Black Ace's colors were spotted fighting the Blakist forces.

In 3070 the Aces confirmed that a number of the unit's newest recruits had gone missing during the Word of Blake's initial invasion of Liao space. During the Recovery period, the Aces were able bring in the brightest and best students from Confederation's schools, resulting in the reestablishment of the unit at full regimental strength.

With only a few non-Capellans left in the unit, the rumor that the Aces were seriously considering ending their careers as mercenaries to become an independent air regiment for CCAF when this contract ends in 3075.[14]

Destruction[edit]

The Black Aces were destroyed as a regiment fighting against the Word of Blake on Liao in 3076. Despite the regiment effectively ceasing to exist, enough pilots to make up several squadrons survived the Black Aces' final battle; the bulk of these pilots joined the CCAF and were subsequently assigned to the Liao Conservatory as training instructors, becoming responsible for passing their superior skills on to future classes of Capellan pilots.[1]

Unit Colors & Insignias[edit]

All Ace fighter craft are painted bone white with the unit's emblem, a black spade surrounded by flame, painted on the left wing. Aircraft kills are noted by an Ace-of-Spades painted on the right side of the fuselage. At this time it should be noted that a 52 kills or "full deck", has yet to be achieved.

As a unit's kill tally increases the corona of flame surrounding the black spade also grows larger to indicate a seasoned and accomplished pilot. On truly accomplished pilots the twisted reds, oranges and yellows of the expanded corona form intricate patterns which can wind across the entire fighter craft. The result of this is that no two Aces' Aerospace fighters are painted exactly alike.

Officers[edit]

As of 3059, the Commanding Officer was Colonel Colonel Hohiru "Great Wyrm" Tanaga

Dragoon Ratings[edit]

3059[edit]

Rating A+

3067[edit]

Rating A+

3071[edit]

Rating A

Tactics[edit]

The Aces are known to fight organized in a per Wing grouping and each Wing may be assigned to different missions and contracts. Both First and Second Wings are experts in null gravity combat. In addition, First Wing regularly trains for unusual terrains, such as Asteroid fields and in range of orbital bodies. Third Wing is specialized in atmospheric operations and mission support, including nape-of-the-Earth flying and strafing stationary and mobile targets.[15]

Since returning to service with the Confederation in 3067 the Second Wing has taken advantage of House Liao's growing WarShip fleet, becoming experts in both assaulting and defending WarShips. Third Wing during this period has continued to develop their expertise in both atmospheric and ground support tactics.

Composition History[edit]

3011[edit]

3031[edit]

  • 1 Reinforced Aerospace Wing
    • 1 Vengeance Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip

3059[edit]

  • 1 - Aerospace Regiment
    • Command Squadron - CO: Colonel Tanaga
    • 1st Wing - CO: Major Wynn "Lady Doom" Sung
    • 2nd Wing - CO: Major Jason "Daemon" Windgate
    • 3rd Wing - CO: Major Kerrin "Tsumani" Osikana
      • 1 Vengeance Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip
      • 1 Titan Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip
      • 1 Leopard CV Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip

3067[edit]

  • 1 - Aerospace Regiment
    • Command Squadron - CO: Colonel Tanaga
    • 1st Wing - CO: Major Wynn "Lady Doom" Sung
    • 2nd Wing - CO: Major Jason "Daemon" Windgate
    • 3rd Wing - CO: Major Kerrin "Tsumani" Osikana
      • 1 Vengeance Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip
      • 1 Titan Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip
      • 1 Leopard CV Class Fighter-Carrier DropShip
      • 1 Invader JumpShip, Charon

Notes[edit]

As of 3059, First Wing has a squadron of captured Jade Falcon OmniFighters. While each squadron in the First usually favors heavy fighters the addition of Clan technology is welcomed and many fighters in this wing boast salvaged Clan technology. Both the Second and Third Wings favor mixed weights of fighters and utilize them to effectively fulfill their contracted mission.[16]

Game Notes[edit]

Force Specific Command Bonus[edit]

The Hell's Black Aces have a number of game special Command rules when they are deployed in certain ways.

If the unit is deployed with two or more wings of fighters, or a single wing backed by its Titan carrier, it automatically wins initiative for three turns. In addition, when the Aces outnumber the enemy and destroy two or more opposing units in same turn the Aces get to intimidate the opposition. When both of these conditions are meet the opposing force suffers a +1 to its to-hit modifiers in the following turn.[17]

Wing Specific Command Abilities[edit]

The First and Second Wings gain a +1 to their initiative when being used in vacuum.

First Wing gains a +1 additional bonus to initiative when operating in a debris field and/or asteroids are on the map.

Second Wing gains an additional +1 to its initiative if a WarShip is present on the map.

Third Wing receives a +1 to its initiative when operating in Atmosphere. In addition, when the Third is attacking ground targets they receive a -1 to their to-attack rolls. However, if elements of the Third Wing are mixed with either of the other two Wings, they lose the initiative bonus.[18]

Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised Abilities[edit]

When the Aces are defending against an opposing force consisting of Word of Blake Militia or WOB allies they gain +1 initiative, with these modifiers cumulative with other applicable modifiers, such as the Wing or Force specific bonuses outlined above.[19]

Mercenaries Supplemental Update[edit]

The Aces have had changes in their abilities due to the battles on Ningpo.

After this conflict the Aces only receive a +1 to their to-attack rolls due to significant loses. If the Aces are facing WOB forces or allies the regain a +1 to their initiative when applicable. In addition when defending a Capellan world the Aces get an additional +1 to initiative. As before these bonus are cumulative.[20]

Uniforms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Field Report: CCAF, p. 20, "Mercenaries"
  2. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 60 - "Hell's Black Aces" - COMMAND section.
  3. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 60 - "Hell's Black Aces" - COMMAND section - Aces almost don't give up Tactical Command.
  4. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 60 - "Unit History".
  5. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 40 - "Blue Star Irregulars" - Return of Kerensky - Escorting DropShip captured by Aces while serving the Blue Stars.
  6. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 61 - "Quarrell assault".
  7. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 60 - "Technical & Transportation Support. Titan added from Falcon raid".
  8. Technical Readout: 3067, p. 140
  9. 9.0 9.1 Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised, p. 74 - "Hell's Black Aces" - In service the Confederation, Ace's offered becoming house unit.
  10. Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised, p. 74 - "TACTICS" - One of the Wings freelancing in the Combine.
  11. Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 71 - "Aces reunite and crush the Arcadians trying hit Ningpo".
  12. Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 71 - "Battle For Liao in 3069"
  13. Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 96 - "21st Division unit profile" - Hell's Black Aces help to repel the 21st Division attempt to take Liao with Dynasty Guards.
  14. Mercenaries Supplement Update, p. 71 - "3071 the unit considers becoming a CCAF air regiment".
  15. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 61 - "Tactics".
  16. Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 61 - "Hell's Black Aces regimental notes".
  17. Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised, p. 132 - "Mercenary Commands" - Hell's Black Ace's Mercenary Command Rules.
  18. Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised, p. 132 - "Mercenary Commands" - Hell's Black Ace's Mercenary Command Rules - Wing specific bonuses listed.
  19. Field Manual: Mercenaries Revised, p. 125 - "Mercenary Commands" - Special Rules - Hell's Black Aces - +1 Additional when facing Blakist related forces in addition to their existing bonuses.
  20. Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 125 - "Force-Specific Rules" - Changes and additions to Bonus for the Aces.

Bibliography[edit]