Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by SAMAS » 2010-07-27 01:39am

Connor MacLeod wrote: BFG has the MAnta serving as a sort of escort ship with limited FTL, although what I (vuagely) recall is that its straddling the fence between escort and attack craft. Imperial armour has it as some really big attack craft/bomber/titan analogue/transport thingy. If anyone can definitively fix those two sources within an authorized canon hierarchy that makes sense of it, be my guest.

Other than that: best guess is that there are two kinds of "Manta" one being the BFG one the other the IA one. We may not know which one is the "correct" Manta, but one is the "true" Manta and the other is either a variant of some kind or got mistaken for a Manta somewherea nd was misidentified. Its not as if data on Tau ships is "best guess" or "based on observation" anyhow.
No, I remember the BFG Tau fleet lists to a point. Mantas are said to have limited FTL in IA3, but in the BFG list they're the Bombers. Tau Escort ships are Orcas or (IIRC)Wardens (FW fleet). Then you have the 40K Orca from Fire Warrior, which is a smaller dropship and a different ship than the BFG Escort.
As far as shields go.. Tau have shields on their ships. They have specialized drones dedicated to shielding which act as mobiel shielding, and their battlesuits can carry shields (or shield drones). They don't appear to have the ability to equip individual troops with shields (or shield drones, else they would: tau are very casualtiy sensitive) and aren't mentioned giving shields to their vehicles, but I presume that if they can do so for drones and battlesuits, the capability exists.
Aun'Shi and, IIRC Aun'Va both have Hardwired Shield Generators. So I'm thinking it's just something they can't or don't spread around easily.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Simon_Jester » 2010-07-27 02:06am

Most likely "can't." In Codex: Tau, a lot of the higher-end hardware (including shield generators and advanced targeting systems) is described as limited availability so far.

Remember that unlike the Imperium (or Star Wars), the Tau are still in the process of inventing a lot of their technology. Their science is not mature, so there's still a lot of limited-availability equipment that they can produce on a small scale but can't yet mass produce for an army of many millions (billions?)
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2010-07-27 03:39pm

SAMAS wrote: No, I remember the BFG Tau fleet lists to a point. Mantas are said to have limited FTL in IA3, but in the BFG list they're the Bombers. Tau Escort ships are Orcas or (IIRC)Wardens (FW fleet). Then you have the 40K Orca from Fire Warrior, which is a smaller dropship and a different ship than the BFG Escort.
I'm referring to this:
BFG armada, page 97 wrote: Firstly a better method of linking space and ground forces was needed. The result was the Manta, a machine capable of fighting in space as a very heavy bomber (it is almost large enough to be considered an Escort) and within an atmosphere as a drop ship and heavy fire support.
[/quote]

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2010-07-27 03:56pm

Falkenhayn wrote:
Black Admiral wrote:
At least, maintaining it where their armoured units didn't run into Father Time. :twisted:
Oh indeed.

As artillerists, they do have a fetish for the instant destruction of point targets and "artillery sniping", depending on what tasks are assigned to the Markerlight drones. But they recognize the importance of misdirection operationally, and have the expendable troop types (Vespid and mass Gun Drone drops) to pull it off without decreasing their maneuver forces (all the blue skinned skimmer goodness).

I don't know what the GE has in the way of artillery, but Tau counter-battery fire is fucking awful, and when their initial offensives fail, they jump to extreme solutions (massed crisis suit drops, for instance) to break the deadlock. Doctrinally, as long as there is some sort of progress, they will maintain the offensive. Given the length of the campaign, these things may become apparent.

In terms of infantry tactics, the Shas'ui are linked fully into the drone network (Read: Markerlight drones for recon and to access the Smart Missile network). After making contact, they go to ground and pummel a dug in defender with missile strikes. It's a pretty standard move forward by fire-and-movement from that point, in order to reach a position where the enemy can be eliminated with personal weapons at range. All those smart-missile systems fill the role of everything from mortar to LAW to light artillery. That leaves the Tau squad free to bomb forward with Pulse Rifles/Carbines/Grenade Launchers, and covers their movements on the battlefield in both attack and defense, without risking lives, resources and time on Forward Observers, fire direction centers, etc.

It's a Blitzkrieg, with no infantry divisions.
Sort of. The Tau have a definite fixation on direct fire weaponry - this makes them good in certain ways but they seem to dismiss the benefit of actual howitzers and the like or "beyond the horizon" attacking. Which is odd given their sensitivity to casualties and their penchant for long range. I mean, you can't get MUCH longer range than howitzers. I mean they could be using something akin to the Naval railgun (which has insane range) and a guided muntion with Markerlights and drone sats providing telemetry aid... *shrug*

We know the Empire has direct and indirect fire artillery of repulsor and non repulsor variety. THE SPHA-T can be configured in a variety of ways (using line of sight beam weapons of variable power for air threats, or indirect fire projectiles or missile launchers for other threats.) We know from the Force commander games (and possibly the Galactic Battlegrounds stuff) that they have other artillery platforms as well (tracked and repulsor. I vaguely remember repulsor.)

As far as Manta analogues the best would be the stormtrooper transports from the Xwing/TIe fighter games, or the assualt transport. Or the spacetrooper assault shuttle. They're heavily armed (starfighter scale) with weapons and armor but can also deliver troops. SPHA-Ts equipped with heavy anti-ship guns (turbolasers) probably can handle any Manta (including the Escort sized one) as could missile equipped fighters and gunships. Although doing so would probably be as messy as a large titan battle (we're talking nuclear level ordanance on the battlefield unless its restricted in some way, so everything else would become irrelevant very fast.)

AT-ATs and perhaps Juggernauts could be cheap Titan analogues (at least the lesser Titans) and possibly engage the smaller Mantas, but again thats kinda iffy and probably going to be very messy on the battlefield. Since the Tau have no At-AT analgoue, I'd suggest ignoring that, and going with SPHA-Ts and juggernauts, but if we keep the AT-AT.. meh.

The Empire also fields different kinds of repulsortanks than the ones from the video games (that saber tank or whatever it is with the fixed axis guns and missiles and shields. That thing is more like a Bradley than an actual tank) THey actually have turreted repulsor tanks, from the light to heavy varieties (firehawk, Imperial-class tank, etc.) Repulsortanks seem to be fairly common in their armored forces in all types (Hell's Hammers elite armor unit is Army).

As far as air attack craft go.. go with blastboats and gunboats. Better aerodynamics than TIEs and shielded. Or use actual combat airspeeders. TIE fighters are possible but will be scragged quickly since they're not meant for atmosphere use (unless we're using exotic TIEs.) They're un-aerodynamic as fuck and while they have repulsors to keep them aloft, air resistance is going to be a huge handicap (so no hypersonic travel, unless they go VERY high up in the air, which they might haveto anyhow.)

As far as infantry goes... Stormtroopers/clonetroopers are going to be your best fire warrior analgoeus . Not a perfect match, but the Imperial Army forces just aren't as well equipped. IA troops are going to be more numerous but lower quality - they'd be second line forces (analogous to tau auxiliaries. The IA forces can also subdivide into specializations like CQB/assault, sharpshooter, and the like, so you probably could posit analgoues to Kroot and such.)

Battlesuits can be handled by AP-PTs or Spacetrooper armor of some kind or another (a number of kinds exist). Stealth suits? Storm commandos perhaps, or some of the more sophitsticated scouts and light infantry. Drones cover droids.

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Falkenhayn » 2010-07-27 10:13pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:
Sort of. The Tau have a definite fixation on direct fire weaponry - this makes them good in certain ways but they seem to dismiss the benefit of actual howitzers and the like or "beyond the horizon" attacking. Which is odd given their sensitivity to casualties and their penchant for long range. I mean, you can't get MUCH longer range than howitzers. I mean they could be using something akin to the Naval railgun (which has insane range) and a guided muntion with Markerlights and drone sats providing telemetry aid... *shrug*
Yeah. It's the Tau. Doesn't matter what the problem may be, the solution is firepower, movement, maneuver and shock (which isn't a terrible idea, except in the way the Tau do it; Stuart/Sea Skimmer can probably shed some light on this). The fetish for direct weapons and the profusion through all arms and levels of organization is to put that application of instant, accurate firepower within everybody's reach.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Teleros » 2010-07-28 08:00am

Cykeisme wrote: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.
Given how top-heavy AT-ATs are, penetrating their armour may not be necessary :) . Knocking the damn things over would render them useless. Connor probably has some useful info, but I suspect that Tiger Sharks would pose a serious threat to AT-ATs and the like.

As for Tau railguns and such, XV-88 Broadside & Hammerhead tank railguns are identical in terms of firepower, strength etc in the tabletop rules, although the Hammerhead's looks considerably larger and can also fire high explosive submunitions instead of regular railgun slugs.
Connor MacLeod wrote:Sort of. The Tau have a definite fixation on direct fire weaponry - this makes them good in certain ways but they seem to dismiss the benefit of actual howitzers and the like or "beyond the horizon" attacking. Which is odd given their sensitivity to casualties and their penchant for long range. I mean, you can't get MUCH longer range than howitzers. I mean they could be using something akin to the Naval railgun (which has insane range) and a guided muntion with Markerlights and drone sats providing telemetry aid... *shrug*
If they can deploy Pathfinders or those sensor towers beforehand then they could certainly try seeker missile spam (I believed they used this in the Taros campaign to harass & slow Imperial forces), but... yeah. Hammerhead submunition rounds may allow indirect fire in the tabletop rules, but by and large the Tau need line of sight to shoot.

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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Srelex » 2010-07-29 02:31pm

I think the Courage and Honor novel had some useful descriptions regarding Hammerhead firepower (although on the topic of that novel, I was annoyed by the Tau not even considering to exploit their orbital supremecy--a precision shot on the Baneblade would have done wonders...but I digress...)
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Black Admiral » 2010-07-29 03:19pm

Let's see, Tau railgun firepower;
Uriel's visor darkened as a blazing rod of molten light stabbed overhead and struck one of the Predators on its armoured front glacis. The hyper-velocity slug tore through the tank's hull as though it was as insubstantial as mist. Uriel watched as a plasma trail of kinetic energy ignited the weapon charges inside the Predator, and its turret blew off with a thunderclap of electrical discharge and fire. The top half of the tank spun ten metres into the air before slamming down to earth with a dreadfully final clang.
- Courage and Honour, pg. 235
The Predator in question is a standard model, meaning turret-mounted autocannon and sponson-mounted lascannon.

Blinding streaks of impossibly bright light speared from the roof of a nearby ore barn, and Star of Lavrentia exploded. The tank rocked up onto its right track with the force of the impact before toppling over.
- Courage and Honour, pg. 249
Star of Lavrentia is a Leman Russ-pattern of unspecified make (although most likely one of the three types which the 44th Lavrentian Hussars are known to have on their order of battle - Vanquisher, Conqueror and Executioner). The railgun shots that took it out were from a trio of Broadside battlesuits, but they're essentially identical to Hammerhead ones anyway.

Blood ran down Winterbourne's cheek from where his head had struck the inner face of the turret after a particularly fearsome barrage of fire from a formation of Hammerheads. A trio of hypervelocity slugs had slammed into the side armour of Father Time, tearing off the side gunner's compartment and throwing the rest of the crew around the interior.

Winterbourne had blacked out for a moment, and when he'd come to all three tau tanks were dead.
- Courage and Honour, pg. 251
Father Time, on the other hand, being a 316-ton Baneblade superheavy tank, is made of considerably sterner stuff.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Annatar Giftbringer » 2010-08-01 06:41am

As for area artillery, as mentioned earlier the railguns on Tau Hammerheads can launch sub-munition rounds, there's the Smart Missile System (fire-and-forget missile swarm with indirect fire-abilities) and both the Manta and the Tigershark AX-1-0 carry larger railguns in pairs, that can also fire submunitions. Some of the need for indirect artillery is removed when you can have bombers deploy the blasts. This, of course, works less good if the Tau don't have air superiority...

Also, I find it weird the Tau aircraft can't fly faster than ~Mach 2. I thouht they were able to reach orbit on their own? Perhaps it's jsut their atmospheric speeds, with separate engines kicking in when in upper atmosphere or something?
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by adam_grif » 2010-08-01 08:43am

Also, I find it weird the Tau aircraft can't fly faster than ~Mach 2. I thouht they were able to reach orbit on their own? Perhaps it's jsut their atmospheric speeds, with separate engines kicking in when in upper atmosphere or something?
You could reach orbit going at 1 meter per second as long as you can keep it up against gravity long enough.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by NecronLord » 2010-08-01 10:24am

I seem to recall something about the Imperium's fighters having a specialised motor for boosting up to orbit, that they didn't normally use in combat (for fuel related reasons); but I'm not sure where that was.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Srelex » 2010-08-01 12:33pm

Annatar Giftbringer wrote: Also, I find it weird the Tau aircraft can't fly faster than ~Mach 2. I thouht they were able to reach orbit on their own? Perhaps it's jsut their atmospheric speeds, with separate engines kicking in when in upper atmosphere or something?
Where was that said?
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2010-08-01 01:29pm

NecronLord wrote:I seem to recall something about the Imperium's fighters having a specialised motor for boosting up to orbit, that they didn't normally use in combat (for fuel related reasons); but I'm not sure where that was.
I think that's in Double Eagle.

The short story Raptor Down also demonstrates Imperial fighters entering and exiting the atmosphere regularly during their sorties.
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by lordofchange13 » 2010-08-03 08:10pm

the tau pulse rifles will melt tank and stormtrooper alike
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Annatar Giftbringer » 2010-08-04 04:37am

Srelex wrote:
Annatar Giftbringer wrote: Also, I find it weird the Tau aircraft can't fly faster than ~Mach 2. I thouht they were able to reach orbit on their own? Perhaps it's jsut their atmospheric speeds, with separate engines kicking in when in upper atmosphere or something?
Where was that said?
In Imperial Armour 3, the Barracuda fact sheet says Max recorded speed 2,100 kph. On the other hand, the fact sheet is Imperial, and it does say recorded, so...
Necronlord wrote: I seem to recall something about the Imperium's fighters having a specialised motor for boosting up to orbit, that they didn't normally use in combat (for fuel related reasons); but I'm not sure where that was.
That does sound both interresting and likely, and perhaps this is true for the Tau too. Come to think of it, I believe it says something like that in the Orca entry.... No. Either I misremembered, or it was somewhere else....

On the other hand, given that most likely all Tau ships are atmospheric capable, perhaps they don't even bother having fighters able to reach orbit on their own? It sounds silly and stupid, but....
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Re: Tau vs Empire (on the ground)

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2010-08-04 12:49pm

IA1 had the Thunderbolt and Lightnings needing a special rocket booster thingy to achieve orbit. Thunderhawks have a dual-purpose thruster system.

It is worth noting that the Gav Thorpe fighter squadron short stories in Let the Galaxy Burn feature fighters and bombers that are both larger than IA values and have plasma engines that allow them to fly in space and on the ground. And of course a number of authors have used Lightning/Thunderbolts in deep space which also suggests that capability (I believe the Armageddon novels also mention plasma engines on a Lightning)

As far as top airspeed goes, we have cases of fighters going faster than listed supposedly (Thunderhawks can go hypersonic/near hypersonic in several novels, or exceeded top listed speeds like in Warrior Coven) so its probable Tau can. Generally if they can reach orbit, they presumably can move faster than the IA listed speeds. Regulations or such may simply prevent such in many situations (velocity can be limited by air density after all, but even then once you hit certain atmospheric speeds friction becomes a nasty issue.. creating fireballs in one's wake is not a good thing to cause if you're around unprotected troops.)

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