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Introduction:

The BattleTech Mercenaries community realizes that the current understanding of how military hardware is transported via our DropShip's to and from planets is a little on the blurry side. In an effort to solve this mystery, and place everyone on one page, the Department of Mercenary Management staff have struggled to come up with the following rules which shall govern all transport of materials and hardware on MRBC sponsored mercenary ships.

The Capability Column below specifies what a slot can be converted to carry.' If a type of vehicle is not listed, that slot cannot carry it.

SLOT TYPE WEIGHT CAPABILITY
Mech 150 1 'Mech OR 3 Light Vehicles OR 1 Heavy, 1 Light Vehicle OR 2 BattleArmor / Infantry
Heavy Vehicle 100 1 Heavy Vehicle OR 2 Light Vehicles OR 2 BattleArmor / Infantry OR 2 VTOLs
Light Vehicle* 50 1 Light Vehicle (Combine 2 to Form a Heavy Slot) OR 1 BattleArmor / Infantry OR 1 VTOL
Aerospace Fighter 150 1 Fighter OR 2 VTOLs
Small Craft 200 1 Small Craft OR 1 Fighter OR 3 VTOLs
BattleArmor 10 1 BattleArmor Squad/Point OR 1 Infantry Platoon of ANY Type
Infantry 5 1 Infantry Platoon of ANY Type

* The Light Vehicle type slot has a special case.' Two of them may be combined to form ONE heavy vehicle slot.' EXTRA light vehicles (less than 20 tons) could also be put into Heavy or Light vehicle slots by double the capacity (2 per light vehicle slot, or 4 per heavy vehicle slot.)

Cargo:' If a dropship has a cargo bay weighing more than fifty (50) tons, then it's cargo bay can hold any item except for BattleArmor or Infantry.' HOWEVER, at least fifty (50) tons must remain free in order to account for repair equipment, spare parts, extra food or water, ammunition and any other miscellaneous items categorized as cargo below.' Any 'mechs, vehicles, fighters, or VTOLs will occupy TWICE their weight in the cargo hold (ex. A 50 ton 'mech will occupy 100 tons of cargo space).' Any military hardware in a cargo hold will suffer the following additional limitations because of what a CARGO HOLD was designed for:

  • Inability to perform any kind of combat drop or take-off, or be repaired or reconfigured (Omnis)
  • Must take extra time to load into the dropship AND to be unloaded
  • Essentially, nothing can be done with the item until the SHIP HAS LANDED and the item HAS BEEN UNLOADED

Part #1) Military Hardware vs. Cargo:

So just what separates military hardware from cargo? As we have found out their is a fine line here, realistically military hardware can consist of everything from BattleMech's to ammunition for your Streak launchers, from aerospace fighters to forklifts, and from vehicles to the very DropShip itself! Yet cargo can be considered, but not limited too, food, water, ammunition, spare parts, small vehicles, laundry, crates of vibromines, and even passengers! Notice the overlap?

So in the interest of clarity we would like to state here what sort of materials are to be considered Military Hardware, cargo, or both:

Military Hardware:
All BattleMechs & OmniMechs, all vehicles and Omnivehicles except those under 20 tons, all aerospace fighters and Omnifighters, all VTOL's 25 tons and over, all Battle Armor, and infantry foot, jump, motorized, field artillery, and field engineering platoons.

Cargo:
Food (ex: Nibo Star fruit, rations, etc.), water (including liquor), ammunition, spare parts, Omni-kits, portable equipment (ex: sensors, battery recharge packs, etc.), personal firearms, underwing fighter mounts (bombs, external TAG, etc.), support weapons (ex: manpack PPC's, etc.), conventional and vibromines, reserve fuel, barbed wire, riot gear, simulators, computers, hazardous environment gear, medical supplies, and one additional passenger per 150 tons of total cargo space available on the DropShip.

Both Cargo & Military Hardware:
Vehicles and Omnivehicles under 20 tons, VTOL's 21 tons and under.'

If something does not fall into one of these categories please imply the rule of 21. All anomalous materials weighing 21tons or over must be considered Military Hardware and be stored in a bay with most combat units, whereas all anomalous materials under 21tons shall be stored in a cargo bay.

As a final note all materials considered cargo require approximately thirty to one hour and thirty minutes of time to have passed before they are able to be removed from a grounded DropShip. Similarly all military units stored as cargo are not available for use till the DropShip has successfully grounded and removed them from storage in a designated cargo bay, after the same 30-90 minute waiting period.

Part #2) The ABC's - Allotment, Bays, & Cubicles:

In BattleTech all aerospace bays and all 'Mech cubicles are rated at weighing 150 tons and Small Craft bays weigh 200 tons each.' Whereas vehicle cubicles are classed into heavy, and light, and have ratings of 100, and 50 tons respectively. Battle Armor slots weight 10 tons and Infantry 5.

Thus for aerospace bays the rules will state that any single aerospace fighter, omnifighter, or conventional fighter unit will fill a single bay. However in the case of VTOL's two units are needed before a bay will be considered filled to capacity. This reflects the need for the sophisticated launching mechanism of fighter craft versus the rudimentary take-off procedures of VTOL's.

For 'Mechs, like fighter craft, only a single unit may occupy a bay no matter the tonnage. This reflects the towering presence and room needed to store, repair and access the kings of the 31st century battlefield.

However vehicles have a special case. Not only can two light vehicles (1-50 tons) fit in one heavy cubicle, but three extra light vehicles (1-19 tons) can fit within one heavy vehicle (51-100 tons) cubicle. Also any 'Mech cubicle can be converted into one or more vehicle cubicles with a cumulative weight of 150 tons, with any left over tonnage being converted to cargo. Thus say we take a 'Mech cubicle onboard an Overlord, our commander wishes to convert this one cubicle into a heavy vehicle cubicle, plus a light vehicle cubicle, thus in doing so these two cubicles match the weight of the former 'Mech cubicle (100 tons : Heavy Vehicle Cubicle + 50 ton : Light Vehicle Cubicle = 150 tons : The weight of a 'Mech cubicle.).' VTOLs may also be transported in vehicle cubicles by the limits specified in the chart above.

In the case of Battle Armor Squads and Infantry Platoons, they may be held in 'mech or vehicle slots by 50 tons per squad or platoon.' This is to account for additional living space, food and water, and other items necessary to support human life.' Mech slots will be limited to 2 Squads or Platoons however, despite it's 150 ton rating because of the vertical layout of a 'mech slot.' No more than twenty-five total units of platoons of infantry and Battle Armor squads, in combination or of only one type, can be transported in a single DropShip at a time due to avoiding cramped living conditions and cargo availability for necessary foodstuffs and other supplies.

- Military Hardware Broker: Kristan Dagley