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How Are Battlemechs Justified In-Universe?

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#1 StompingOnTanks


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Posted 03 January 2018 - 05:37 PM

This something that I can't wrap my head around, and that the lore and Battlemech Technology Thread (great thread btw) doesn't ever bother to explain.

I know it's just a game but I'm one of those sci-fi nerds where I see mecha, I need to have some reasonable justification for them to exist. Every other mecha-centric universe seems to have one, even if they're thin:

Gundam - "Fusion reactors jam long range conventional weapons and the limbs are useful for maneuvering in zero-G. Tanks can't mount one-hit-kill beam weapons without being as absurdly huge."

WH40k - "What else are you going to put a gatling gun the size of an aircraft carrier on?"

Pacific Rim - "Because firing nukes at an alien in a populated area is bad and conventional weapons don't do much, so we tried massive blunt trauma and it worked."

Armored Core - "Hyper-efficient myomer muscles make them more efficient that standard vehicles. Extensive modular design allows personal customization and adaptability to any needed role."

Titanfall - "They're partially autonomous, one-man tanks that double as heavy infantry."

Battletech - "Lol idk fam, wanna watch Solaris?"

I love me some giant stompy robots but I hunger for more info.

Edited by StompingOnTanks, 03 January 2018 - 05:38 PM.

#2 Tarl Cabot


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Posted 03 January 2018 - 07:08 PM

I believe the reason there is no catchall phrase is due to the timeline BT presented, where for many mechwarriors it was a Mad Max theme, 500 year old machines. And it was 1984...:)

Life is cheap. BattleMechs are expensive



In 2439, Kincaid's Mackie squared off against - and promptly destroyed - a number of remote controlled Merkava Mk. VI heavy tanks, ushering in the age of the BattleMech with its demonstration.[2][3]

As the Kincaid family had vested interests in a number of weapon firms and Charles Kincaid himself enjoyed good relations with the ruling Cameron family invariably faced charges of favouritism, but nevertheless Kincaid proved himself a capable pilot at the controls of the Mackie. As a result, Kincaid - then a Colonel - went on to command a company of BattleMechs within the 801st Heavy Armored Regiment.[1] In 2443 the 801st would in turn be involved in the first ever battle in the Inner Sphere to involve BattleMechs, when a lance from the 801st went on to destroy a company of armor with infantry support from a raiding party from the Draconis Combine outside the city of Barbados on the planet Styx, although whether Kincaid was involved directly in this battle is unknown

Edited by Tarl Cabot, 03 January 2018 - 07:15 PM.

#3 Anjian


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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:41 AM

From the very beginning of the space age, giant robots are created to just whoop *ss.

Edited by Anjian, 04 January 2018 - 12:41 AM.

#4 MechaBattler


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Posted 04 January 2018 - 01:07 PM

These are just my thoughts.

Battletech armor reached a level that made ballistic missiles and the like no longer cost effective. It's possible that our current ballistic weapons are also not as effective. Combine that with a mech's ability to disperse damage across several sections.

A lot of the worlds in the BT universe don't have as much infrastructure as Earth. So a lot of broken terrain. Not just road versus off road. But untamed wilderness and places not commonly trod upon. Possibly even places no man has set foot in. Depending on the planet's colonization progress.

Battlemechs are agile enough to cross broken terrain without losing a lot of speed. Especially with JJs. Surprised we don't see Battlemech with rocket propelled winch units. Assuming you had human like movement and control. I could see battemechs as being very versatile. Heck even use them to clear a way for vehicles provided they have hand actuators.

#5 The Basilisk


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Posted 04 January 2018 - 02:33 PM

The reasons for using Battlemechs are actualy quite variegated in the Battletech Universe.

Conventional vehicles like hovercrafts, tanks and wheeled vehicles have a narrow bandwith of missions they are specificaly designed for and will fullfill at maximum efficiency.
Think of how varied battlefields on a single planet like earth can be....now imagine taking an army into space.

A tank can be a combat tank to fight other tanks, an arty piece or an infantery carrier or even a mobile anti aircraft weapon.
Their prefared terrain is specified through their manner of locomotion.

A tracked vehicle preferes dense sand/earth or grassland and can be quite heavy but also gets problems in swampy, broken or asphalt territorry.
A wheeled vehicle preferes streets or comprimated earth and tends to be faster than a tracked while not beeing able to carry as much load and being more vulnerable to weaponsfire regarding its locomotion system.
A hovercraft is quite fast and will be able to scim earth, sand, swamp or see but is vulnerable to weaponsfire and rocky or broken terrain.

The first Battlemechs where actually designed to singlehandedly fullfill the role of a whole tank cavalcade.
Beeing able to use their hands to clear debris or carry loot while also beeing able to cross terrain a tank would get stuck in like dense woods, broken mountain ranges or the ruins of a city.

The main reason for this uncertainty of mission profiles was simply the size and variety of possible battlefields in the early sparsely settled inner sphere.
A Battlemech also does not require a lot of tech crew or operating crew compared to a squad of tanks.
Less Humans mean a lot less tonnage and space that has to be transported through space.

You now may ask ... "why not just use drones or KI?"
Simple... drones need a com line that would be much to slow over interplanetary distances...not to speak of interstellar distances or the opening for highjacking or sabotage.
And KIs are notoriously bad in unknown situations because of their inherent lack of creativity.

So what to do?
Use something that is as mobile as a human while beeing able to absorb more damage as any tank could and beeing able to operate in all environments from the vacuum of space to underwater.

You now may also ask..."what is with all that oldschool equimpment like cannons and unguided rockets on fusion driven spacebots?"

Again a pretty simple reason.
They work. No matter what.
Try to use a radarguided missile on a planet with electromagnetic storms, on asteroids orbiting a pulsar star or in the sandstorms of a desert planet.
Try using heat seeking missiles on Vitric forge.
Try using laser guided missiles in the snowstorm of Frozen colony....OLOLOLOLOOOL.

Non of Battletechs standard missiles are target seeking or even target following they are all primarily source guided by their firing unit.
There are actually are high a number of strategic weapons in the BT Universe that are guided or even robotic in nature.
It is just that their size is on a an other scale.
It begins with nuclear armed cruise missiles (just the space kind) and ends with interstellar drone warships.
It's just that all the Houselords in the inner sphere used those weapons freely in the 300years after the fall of the Starleague....resulting in a crucial loss of infrastructural and technological capabilitys of all war participators leaving just the most rugged and versatile weapons behind letting those break down that require a lot of supplys or complex asortments of spareparts and maintenance material.

Most nowadays people are to cought up in the asymetric battles faought by US military to realize that all that fancy toys are actually pretty useless as soon as somebody comes along with either the same or a better tech level...or just an military doctrine that seems alien to them.

A F25 is nice but what if their enemy simply does not use radar to detect it but rather orbital infrared scans that lock on to their exhaust fumes....
What if its enemy does not even need to be made of vulnerable radar absorbing materials but is made out of foamed molecular crosslinked titan-steel-carbid and is shielded by an 300MW Fusion powerplant driven ECM?
All its fancy detection electronics, its stealth and all its guided weapons would be absolutely useless against such an adversary.

Remember that most weapons only work properly when they are used against the foe they are designed to be used against.

A heavy twohanded longsword is a good weapon when you are a Knight fighting against a slow heavy armored Knight....but the Longbowmen may just run and shoot right through your armor from afar.

Edited by The Basilisk, 04 January 2018 - 03:28 PM.

#6 IllCaesar


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Posted 04 January 2018 - 11:11 PM

View PostStompingOnTanks, on 03 January 2018 - 05:37 PM, said:

Pacific Rim - "Because firing nukes at an alien in a populated area is bad and conventional weapons don't do much, so we tried massive blunt trauma and it worked."

Just wanted to add that kaiju blood was highly toxic so using blunt force trauma to kill them, alongside a big plasma cannon that cauterized the blood, meant vastly reducing the incredible amount of poison being poured into the ocean and the air.

#7 tailgunner


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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:07 AM

View PostThe Basilisk, on 04 January 2018 - 02:33 PM, said:

A heavy twohanded longsword is a good weapon when you are a Knight fighting against a slow heavy armored Knight....but the Longbowmen may just run and shoot right through your armor from afar.

And that`s exactly what`s wrong with the common spin of the story of David and Goliath.

Think about it, a big slow cumbersome man (probably mentally retarted (see "Gigantism")) in brass armor and a sword versus an agile fighter with a deadly distance weapon. The outcome was determined before the fight even started.

Hero, my ***.

Edited by tailgunner, 13 January 2018 - 06:08 AM.

#8 Strength Damage Cliff Racer


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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:21 PM

In this game, we don't have full range of areas where mechs operate/can operate.
Mechs can operate under water, in high gravity/ low gravity/zero gravity areas and so on.
Then you shall consider amount of extra quirks.
Their actuators actually allow usage of quick mount/discard extra armaments.
Their braking and acceleration stats are unmatched.
Their ability to move through uneven terrain with nonexistent to negligible speed loss is also a thing to reckon.
I see you take weapon systems in mind. Now consider this fact: One of the lighter weapon we use
(Light Machine Gun) uses 400g rounds.
This bad boy slings the ones with comparable weight https://en.wikipedia...i/GAU-8_Avenger
And it takes this beast to not snap under recoil of bad boy above: https://en.wikipedia..._Thunderbolt_II

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