Mercer Ravannion

Mercer Ravannion
Personal
Died3023[1]
AffiliationDraconis Combine
Career
RankTai-i
ProfessionMechWarrior

Mercer Ravannion was a MechWarrior from the Draconis Combine, holding the rank of Tai-i (Captain) in the DCMS from 3019 (at the latest) until his death in 3023.

History[edit]

Ravannion was a three-time DCMS Ballroom Dancing Champion, a collector of porcelain cat statues, and a loving family man.[2]

However, he's most known for his "Charge of the Horde" tactic which postulated that large numbers of small, individually weak BattleMechs could overwhelm more powerful 'Mechs through sheer numbers. To this end he suggested forming "hordes" of six to ten light 'Mechs, preferrably Stingers and Wasps, instead of the traditional lances. He reasoned that these could be built relatively cheap and easy, and deploying them in large numbers would also make it easier to repair and maintain them. Furthermore, most damage was expected to be relatively light and thus most casualties would be damaged 'Mechs that could be repaired.

Driven by fanaticism, Tai-i Ravannion led three such swarming attacks without regard for men or matériel, invariably suffering disastrous defeats. Despite these military setbacks, he insisted that his tactics were sound.

  • Defending Fallon II against elements of the Seventh Crucis Lancers in 3019, he led four Stingers and two Wasps (including his own) against the scout lance of McKinnon's Raiders at the Battle of Markerson, losing all six 'Mechs and escaping only after ejecting from his disabled 'Mech.[3] The Twelfth Star Guards mercenary unit had been ordered to contribute a Stinger to the attack, and had sent a Shadow Hawk along as an impartial observer (and for safety), the only unit to survive the attempt.[1] It was noted that no House was subsequently prepared to risk 'Mechs on his theories.
  • In 3022 he attacked Xhosa VII, where he unleashed a full battalion of Wasps and some Stingers against the understrength planetary garrison which consisted of two companies of the Draconis March Militia equipped mostly with Locusts and Blackjacks. The attack was repulsed by the inexperienced, freshly graduated Cadet Captain Michael Ubodo who earned himself a decoration and demonstrated on the sidelines that even ill-reputed 'Mechs like the Blackjack can shine when used properly. Ravannion's troops retreated to their DropShips in disorder.[4][5]
  • In 3023, Ravannion was killed in another encounter with McKinnon's Raiders on Fallon II.[4]

Stinger pilot Marge Sippers served under Ravannion when she was 16 years old. Rumored to have a schoolgirl crush on her mentor, she rose to the rank of Tai-i herself after his death and redeemed the "Charge of the Horde" tactic by including somewhat heavier units, especially Jenners. She would later found a museum in his honor.[6][2]

Fifty-seven years after Mercer Ravannion's death, one pirate king Ravannion of Tortuga Prime would reportedly claim to be his descendant according to a dubious tale; the validity of this claim — and even of the tale as such — remains unconfirmed.[7]

In 3140 the mercenary unit Ravannion's Redemption appeared in the St. Ives Commonality employing several Koshi BattleMechs, suggesting a philosophical connection to Tai-i Mercer if not a direct relation.[8][9]

BattleMech[edit]

Ravannion piloted a Wasp.[2]

Notes[edit]

  • Mercer Ravannion's obsession with an apparently hopeless tactical theory and his frequent defeats border on comic relief and have made the character popular among BattleTech fans.
  • Technical Readout: 3025 mentions Tai-i Ravannion in two separate entries (for the Stinger and Blackjack, respectively) and gives the distinct impression that Ravannion's "Charge of the Horde" is an unsound tactic; similarly, the book's entry for the Atlas claims that a single Atlas could defeat an entire battalion of Stingers as credible. However, despite the descriptions ridiculing Ravannion's theory, it should be noted that game mechanics appear to prove him right: "Charge of the Horde" tactics (also known as "swarming") do in fact have merit under regular boardgame rules, where they are quite effective.
  • Field Manual: Mercenaries, Revised mentions that the mercenary group Markson's Marauders are "one of the only commands" to use the "once debunked tactics of Captain Mercer Ravannion", suggesting that these tactics could be successful with some modification and appropriate use - Markson's Marauders are noted to be proficient pirate hunters, for example, but also use heavier fast 'Mechs. Their swarm tactics also require risking expensive DropShips for proper deployment.
  • Technical Readout: 3039 repeats most of the text from TRO: 3025 and calls Ravannion's theories "discredited". It also mentions Tai-i Sippers and how she achieved surprising victories using the Charge of the Horde with Jenners. However, it should be noted that this considerably dilutes the original concept: at 35 tons, Jenners are almost twice as heavy as Ravannion's preferred 20-ton 'Mechs and significantly more powerful (being noted as a particularly heavily armed design) but also considerably more expensive, defeating the original premise of the "Charge of the Horde" as a way to make use of individually weak but cheap units.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Fox's Teeth, pp. 14-15, "The Swarm's Sting"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 4, p. 6
  3. Technical Readout: 3025, p. 8 (Stinger entry)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Technical Readout: 3025, p. 48 (Blackjack entry)
  5. Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 4, p. 4
  6. Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 112, 282
  7. Ravager (short story)
  8. Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries, p. 26: "Koshi (Standard)"
  9. Technical Readout: Dark Age, p. 14: "Koshi (Standard)"

Bibliography[edit]