Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

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Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Srelex » 2010-07-24 01:09pm

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the Empire has the objective of a seizing a world of the Tau Empire without resorting to death from orbit. Let's say that they have equal numbers of their various analogues--e.g. infantrymen/stormtroopers-Fire Warriors, AT-STs-Devilfish, AT-ATs-Hammerheads, or whatever numbers are necessary to make this a fair fight (I'm not too sure in this area, so any help would be appreciated). In a ground campaign, which side would have the ultimate advantage in firepower, mobility, etc? How do specialized units, such as storm commandos and stealthsuits, compare? Let's discuss.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2010-07-24 02:05pm

I think they'd be fairly even, actually. If the Empire relies on mechs though, I think the Tau's vastly more mobile hovertanks might have the advantage in blowing up shitty lumbersome AT-ATs. Hell, all those Tau hovertanks need is a piece of rope, and viola, those stupid mechas fall on their fat ugly faces. I mean, geeze, those FAT-FATs are even worse than gundam, at least gundams can do frickin' space jujitsu. What can the AT-ATs do? Look so "intimidating" for "psychological warfare" reasons and then fall on their fat faces and make everyone laugh. "Psychological warfare" = excuses for shit design? Lol.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2010-07-24 02:49pm

Wow, Shroomy, don't hold anything back. :D

The Tau do have some bigger ships, such as the Manta, that have no direct analogue in the Imperial army (so far as I know). They also tend to use combined arms and artillery more effectively than we've seen the Empire use it, so it all comes down to whether the Tau are fighting the Empire from the movies or if they are fighting the wanked-out hyper-competent bullshit Empire the fanboys replace them with in every debate.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Tasoth » 2010-07-24 03:35pm

Question:

I've seen the quotes of what Tau railguns can do to Leman Russes, but are they capable of handling AT-AT armor? Also, I know the man portable ones the Tau field are considerable less powerful than the Broadside and tank versions, but are the Broadside and Tank railguns of the same strength or are do they have a difference in firepower? If they have the same damage potential, that would mean the Tau have two units that can target AT-ATs, the broadsides and the tanks.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by thegreatpl » 2010-07-24 04:10pm

Even if the Tau weapons cant pierce AT-AT armor, all they need to do is pair up the tanks and strap a strong cable between them. We saw the fighters do that in the battle of Hoth, so it is cannon that that is how to take down a AT-AT.

As for wether the Tau can pierce the AT-AT armor, the Alliance fighters couldn't at the battle of Hoth, and had to resort to cable to knock them down.

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Rochey » 2010-07-24 04:34pm

I'm not sure how well a tank-mounted railgun would perform against an AT-AT, but Imperial Armour 3 states that the Tau do have two aircrat capable of downing shielded Titans - the Manta and a new variant of the Tiger Shark (shown in the text to be capable of dowing a Warhound Titan in a single strafing run). I've no idea whether said Titans are comparable in durability to AT-AT's, though.

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Cykeisme » 2010-07-24 04:48pm

The best rationalization for AT-AT design that we've ever come up with is that they're siege weapons that have legs because.. it has something to do with the ability to move through Star Wars theatre-wide shields.
Seriously though, even if we accept the overall design, a goddamned turreted weapon would make it so much more useful.

I don't think any opponent.. Rebel Alliance or Tau.. can expect tow cables to work continously. After the first kill or two, the walker crews would note when it happens any simply stop walking foward.
Unfortunately, even at that point, due to a walker's lack of weapon coverage arcs, the crew would need a supporting unit to remove or destroy the cable.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if there's anywhere we can get reliable information on how durable AT-AT armor is versus high velocity kinetic penetrators.
Bob the Gunslinger wrote:The Tau do have some bigger ships, such as the Manta, that have no direct analogue in the Imperial army (so far as I know). They also tend to use combined arms and artillery more effectively than we've seen the Empire use it, so it all comes down to whether the Tau are fighting the Empire from the movies or if they are fighting the wanked-out hyper-competent bullshit Empire the fanboys replace them with in every debate.
The out-of-universe reason for the inclusion of Mantas in the various tabletop scale games was due to the simple fact that the Tau did not have titans of their own designed for them. The faction needed something to serve as an to Imperial, Chaos and Eldar Titans, Ork Gargants, and even the Tyranid "bio-titans".
In universe, the Manta is actually an escort vessel, like the Imperium's Sword- or Cobra-class destroyers. The rationalization is that only the Tau have fine enough propulsion control to effectively maneuver their escort spaceships in atmosphere, and that they are also the only race that is really forced to do so.
It's best we do not include Mantas in the discussion, as by extension we would have to allow any of the Empire's vessels that can enter the atmosphere, up to and including Imperator Star Destroyers.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Rochey » 2010-07-24 05:11pm

Cykeisme wrote:In universe, the Manta is actually an escort vessel, like the Imperium's Sword- or Cobra-class destroyers. The rationalization is that only the Tau have fine enough propulsion control to effectively maneuver their escort spaceships in atmosphere, and that they are also the only race that is really forced to do so.
It's best we do not include Mantas in the discussion, as by extension we would have to allow any of the Empire's vessels that can enter the atmosphere, up to and including Imperator Star Destroyers.
During the Taros Campaign the Tau commonly used Mantas to deploy troops and armour to face the Imperium's ground forces, despite the Imperium having blockaded the planet and the Tau fleet wandering around the fringes of the system. This would seem to suggest that they were operating out of ground-based airfields. Given that none of the Imperial commanders were at all surprised by their presence despite the blockade, it could be concluded that Mantas operating with ground forces is the norm. Though I must admit that it's hardly solid evidence in favour of such a viewpoint.

With regards to the tow-ropes idea, I'm not sure it would even occur to the Tau to try it. For one, they've no tow-cables conveniently placed in a turret on their craft. :)

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Peptuck » 2010-07-24 05:54pm

The tow-rope thing was also an emergency gambit that the Rebels improvised. It sure as hell is not going to be a normal tactic, and it resulted in a lot of the Rebel snowspeeders being shot down. IIRC, afterward the Empire wised up enough to have AA positioned around the AT-ATs to keep that from happening again.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Norade » 2010-07-24 06:42pm

Rochey wrote:
Cykeisme wrote:In universe, the Manta is actually an escort vessel, like the Imperium's Sword- or Cobra-class destroyers. The rationalization is that only the Tau have fine enough propulsion control to effectively maneuver their escort spaceships in atmosphere, and that they are also the only race that is really forced to do so.
It's best we do not include Mantas in the discussion, as by extension we would have to allow any of the Empire's vessels that can enter the atmosphere, up to and including Imperator Star Destroyers.
During the Taros Campaign the Tau commonly used Mantas to deploy troops and armour to face the Imperium's ground forces, despite the Imperium having blockaded the planet and the Tau fleet wandering around the fringes of the system. This would seem to suggest that they were operating out of ground-based airfields. Given that none of the Imperial commanders were at all surprised by their presence despite the blockade, it could be concluded that Mantas operating with ground forces is the norm. Though I must admit that it's hardly solid evidence in favour of such a viewpoint.

With regards to the tow-ropes idea, I'm not sure it would even occur to the Tau to try it. For one, they've no tow-cables conveniently placed in a turret on their craft. :)
Couldn't one argue that a CR-90 Corvette could operate out of a ground base as well then? Or, if we're going for troop transports Acclamators. Also have we ever seen a Tau fighter that could handle TIE's as well as the various atmosphere only craft the Empire would have?

Then we get to the issue of the Imperial forces having shielded prefabricated garrisons armed with turbolasers to fight from. Those would likely make any efforts of the Tau on the ground worthless.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Rochey » 2010-07-24 06:53pm

Norade wrote:Couldn't one argue that a CR-90 Corvette could operate out of a ground base as well then? Or, if we're going for troop transports Acclamators.
My comment was intended to point out that Mantas seem to be a somewhat standard part of Tau ground campaigns, not that it could operate out of ground bases. I'm not aware of the CR-90 being used in a similar role. Whether there are Imperial vessels used in that role (are Acclamators still used by the Empire?) is something I'll leave to others to determine.

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2010-07-24 06:53pm

Cykeisme wrote:The best rationalization for AT-AT design that we've ever come up with is that they're siege weapons that have legs because.. it has something to do with the ability to move through Star Wars theatre-wide shields.
Seriously though, even if we accept the overall design, a goddamned turreted weapon would make it so much more useful.
It would. One possibility is that the AT-AT was originally designed to mount a very large, powerful spinal weapon, one that couldn't easily be fit into a turret without making the vehicle wider and/or longer: you'd end up with a turreted gun the approximate size of the AT-AT body on a much larger platform. But that doesn't square well with the flexible "neck" connecting the emitter head for the energy weapons with the main body.

So even looking at it in the role it would be best at (long-range ground based turbolaser platform that's designed to optimize line of sight), the AT-AT is far from optimal. A good design for that purpose would look like an S-tank chassis and gun mounted on a set of long legs.

And that's why I still think the AT-AT we see is the result of Palpatine taking a look at a rational long-range ground based turbolaser platform and saying "I like it. Make it a troop transport..." and electrocuting designers until he found one sycophantic and dumb enough to do so.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Norade » 2010-07-24 07:19pm

Rochey wrote:
Norade wrote:Couldn't one argue that a CR-90 Corvette could operate out of a ground base as well then? Or, if we're going for troop transports Acclamators.
My comment was intended to point out that Mantas seem to be a somewhat standard part of Tau ground campaigns, not that it could operate out of ground bases. I'm not aware of the CR-90 being used in a similar role. Whether there are Imperial vessels used in that role (are Acclamators still used by the Empire?) is something I'll leave to others to determine.
According to wookiepedia the Acclamator I-class and Acclamator II-class are still in use during the civil war, they also have the 500m Gladiator-class and the Imperial escort carrier as known examples. As these play a large role in any ground invasion I would argue that if the Tau get Mantas the Imperials get their large transports. The issue being that the GE's transports will mop the floor with a Manta and result in an easy win for the Imperial forces.

Then again when we have to handicap one side the answer is pretty clear anyway.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Aaron » 2010-07-24 07:34pm

Comparing the Manta with Imperial ships like the Acclamator class is fairly ridiculous though. The Manta (by IA III) can only carry up to 140 troops on the lower deck and 48 on the upper, or various combinations of troops and AFV's. It's a dropship not a full blown troop transport. Its only 32m long.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Rochey » 2010-07-24 07:45pm

Aye. A more appropriate Imperial equivalent would be the Sentinel landing craft, or another similar vehicle.

Additionaly, the main purpose of this thread was to see how the ground forces of each side could stack up to each other. That question becomes a bit moot when you have 700 metre long warships cruising over the battlefield. :wink:

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Norade » 2010-07-24 08:03pm

Aaron wrote:Comparing the Manta with Imperial ships like the Acclamator class is fairly ridiculous though. The Manta (by IA III) can only carry up to 140 troops on the lower deck and 48 on the upper, or various combinations of troops and AFV's. It's a dropship not a full blown troop transport. Its only 32m long.
I couldn't find any stats for length with a quick search, but I suppose that it gets to compete mainly with other smaller Imperial transports then. Given that the Manta isn't IIRC shielded it's going to be an easy target to bring down anyway.
Rochey wrote:Aye. A more appropriate Imperial equivalent would be the Sentinel landing craft, or another similar vehicle.

Additionaly, the main purpose of this thread was to see how the ground forces of each side could stack up to each other. That question becomes a bit moot when you have 700 metre long warships cruising over the battlefield. :wink:
The issue is that Imperial campaigns are always run with orbital support and that any major campaign will have Acclamators used to deliver troops and provide support. Either way that Tau can't deal with a simple prefab garrison and thus can't really forcefully remove Imperial forces anyway. Your scenario also doesn't include forces such as the SD series of droids, and XR-85 tank droids.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Aaron » 2010-07-24 08:16pm

Norade wrote:
I couldn't find any stats for length with a quick search, but I suppose that it gets to compete mainly with other smaller Imperial transports then. Given that the Manta isn't IIRC shielded it's going to be an easy target to bring down anyway.
Yeah it is, according to my copy of IA III anyways. It's supposed to be the Tau's equivalent of a Titan after all.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Darksider » 2010-07-24 08:36pm

Do Tau Warships even have shields? I thought they just used really good armor.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Norade » 2010-07-24 08:41pm

Aaron wrote:
Norade wrote:
I couldn't find any stats for length with a quick search, but I suppose that it gets to compete mainly with other smaller Imperial transports then. Given that the Manta isn't IIRC shielded it's going to be an easy target to bring down anyway.
Yeah it is, according to my copy of IA III anyways. It's supposed to be the Tau's equivalent of a Titan after all.
Okay, I do know that there are titans that have heavier hulls and no shields though. Even so the shields are such that a shot from a man portable missile can take one out so they shouldn't be a large concern.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Aaron » 2010-07-24 08:44pm

Darksider wrote:Do Tau Warships even have shields? I thought they just used really good armor.
Yes. IA III has a shield rating for all the naval vessels as well as the Manta.
Okay, I do know that there are titans that have heavier hulls and no shields though. Even so the shields are such that a shot from a man portable missile can take one out so they shouldn't be a large concern.
*shrug* If your just going by the stats in IA III, thats not a very good metric. In the fluff the vehicles are generally a lot tougher then they appear in game. But thats more Conner's department then mine.

Edit: spelling
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Norade » 2010-07-24 08:50pm

Aaron wrote:*shrug* If your just going by the stats in IA III, thats not a very good metric. In the fluff the vehicles are generally a lot tougher then they appear in game. But thats more Conner's department then mine.

Edit: spelling
True enough, I suppose I'll leave at we really don't know then.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Darksider » 2010-07-24 08:56pm

Aaron wrote:
Yes. IA III has a shield rating for all the naval vessels as well as the Manta.

Since you yourself just said something about going on more than just stats from Imperial Armor, is there any instance of fluff that depicts them as having shields? In Firewarrior they don't, 'cause a Space Marine boarding team just teleports right on to their bridge.

Also, in the game version's cutscenes, you can clearly see imperial weapon fire striking the Tau ships' hull, while their return fire generates shield impacts.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Aaron » 2010-07-24 09:06pm

Hmm, good question. I'm not all that sure the Manta has appeared in the fluff that much. I think it was in Scourge The Heretic and its in the Tau Codex (which I lack).

In For The Emperor Cain alludes to some of their ground kit having shields IIRC, I'll have to double check though.

Wait, you mean for the Fleet? The only book I've read with Tau naval assets was Kill Team and it had no combat. Pretty sure the Rogue Star series has more Tau Navy stuff (don't have them).

I'll PM Conner and ask him to pop in.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Aaron » 2010-07-24 09:28pm

Ran across this PDF on the Games Workshop site. It's rules and fluff expansion for the Tau in Battlefleet Gothic. Now technically fluff is anything that doesn't directly deal with game mechanics but thats kind of a douchy way to get someone to accept your views so I don't mind if you discard it.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by RecklessPrudence » 2010-07-24 09:46pm

Actually, the Manta is not an escort ship in naval battles, it's used as a superheavy Bomber (as in, there's only 1-3 of them in a squadron, but they do comparable damage to a full squadron of Imperial bombers). A Star Wars example would not be a Acclamator or C-90 corvette, but more likely be a combat dropship for roughly a company of Stormtroopers + support (or equivalent, I can't actually remember if those exist at the moment :oops: )

The confusion arises since there's two Tau craft designated Orcas, one is a lighter, barely armed dropship, and the other is an escort in naval battles. People mistake them for the same ship, and think that since the barely-armed dropship-Orca is an escort with decent weaponry, that the Manta must be so much more. The dropship-Orca is the one seen in Fire Warrior, and has a standard load of 24 Fire Warriors, 8 Drones, 6 Battlesuits, sometimes an Ethereal or high-ranking Fire-caste, and 3 crew. The escort Orca cannot travel in the Warp independently, is carried by the ships it is intended to escort, and is roughly 750m long.

The Manta, however, is a heavy bomber for naval purposes and a heavy dropship/close air support for ground forces (presumably with different loadouts). In it's ground role, it typically carries forty-eight Fire Warriors, six Gun Drones, eight Battlesuits, and four tank chassis, whether those be Tau tanks, anti-air tanks, or troop transports. It also has a place for an Ethereal.

Tau do have shields on their ships, in fact they even have shields that they use to make their ships' (relatively poor) armour stronger, as well as the traditional void shields. Rarely, they even issue shield drones to footsoldiers, and more commonly their battlesuits are shielded, either with modular shield generators, or by shield drones.

I don't know about in the fluff, but according to game-stats, the Railguns Broadside-class battlesuits mount are functionally identical to those mounted on their Hammerhead tanks, except the tanks can utilise the anti-infantry submunition rounds. The railguns that their unpowered infantry carry's primary target is enemy heavy infantry, rather than enemy tanks.
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