Monday, August 29, 2016

Chargers and Banshees and Loss Rates

tl;dr?
  • The Charger and Banshee show the same rate of loss per year, which lets us estimate that there are about 1155 Firestarters (or one per battalion), 100 Clints, 150-450 Assassins and 350 Victors walking around in 3025.  
  • Stingers use a different and simpler ratio, which lets us estimate that there are 2500 Archers, 1100 Jenners, and probably 100 (but maybe 700) Atlases in 3025. 
  • The Wasp's figures are only possible if it were abandoned early on and then revived after the Star League fell.

Chargers and Banshees

Per TR:3025, "Wells technologies built the Charger in 2665," "over a thousand Chargers, about 500 of which survive to this day" and "In the late 2400s, the Terran Hegemony undertook construction of what would be known as the Banshee," "manufactured more than 5000 Banshees in the next ten years. About a third of these still exist."

There's 360 years between the Charger's debut in 2665 and modern day 3025. Taking the 360th root of the 'Mech's 360-year survival rate (500/1000) yields a yearly survival rate of 0.99808, or 99.8%.

Supposing construction on the Banshee began in 2490, it has a yearly survival rate of .99795, or 99.8% again. Interesting.

Firestarters

"Constructed by Argile Technologies of Skye from 2550 to the beginning of the Civil War in early 2776...Nearly 3,000 Firestarters saw active service. Most 'Mech regiments contained a number of FS9s...was rarely attached to a lance, but rather was assigned to a company or regiment...more and more Firestarters are being assigned to lances to replace light and medium 'Mechs lost in action."

Another 'Mech that was sidelined. 475 years of 99.8% survival/yr would reduce 3000 'Mechs to 1159. That's suspiciously close to 1155, the number of 'Mech battalions claimed by the Successor States in 3025. (110+80+75+60+60 regiments, 3 battalions per regiment.) I doubt it's a coincidence.

Clints

"Andoran Industries began construction of the CLNT-2-3T under the Star League Armaments Act of 2507, which law provided border areas with the latest in battlefield technology. The Andoran Industries project resulted in the construction of over 200 of this class. ...Both sides shipped the captured Clints to remote locations...though some units of House Liao still maintain several Clints in front-line units."

A "Star League Armaments Act of 2507" makes no sense, but an "Act of 2570" is perfect for the Star League's founding documents which began the sharing of technology with the Houses.

There's 455 years from the birth of the Star League to 3025, during which 200 sidelined Clints would be reduced to just 80. (If we suppose there are 100 Clints in 3025, then 455 years of 99.8% survival would mean there were 249 Clints to start.)

Assassins

"Star League...new medium 'Mech not required in great numbers...Only several hundred Assassins were created. Due to their modular design and access systems, most of these are still functional."

Quite a bit vaguer than the Clint's writeup, but probably still using the 99.8% survival rate because of their modular design. I'd guess "several hundred" to mean more than two hundreds, and "only several" to mean less than nine hundreds; since more than half are still functional, production probably started after the Charger in 2665; and since new medium 'Mechs weren't required "in great numbers," the arms race of 2751-2761 probably hadn't started yet. So depending on the initial year and number of 'Mechs, there should be 150 to 450 Assassins in 3025.

Victors

"The VTR-9B Victor was originally built under a defense contract with the Star League in 2510. ...Most of the firm's records fell into the hands of House Kurita...the total number of Victors produced has been determined to be nearly 1000. Many were lost during Kerensky's Exodus from the Star League, and still more were lost during the First Succession War. ...During the chaos of the First Succession War, the Victor was considered one of the greatest prizes that could be looted from the wrecks of the battlefield."

Nothing about the Victor makes sense. The Star League didn't exist in 2510, the writeup doesn't mention any actions prior to the Exodus, and a mere thousand 'Mechs wouldn't have survived heavy action in noticeable numbers.

But suppose the 2510 date was derived from how many Victors survive to 3025? Using the 99.8% survival/yr, that would mean the Kuritans count about 357 Victors in 3025.

Stingers, Archers, Atlases and Jenners

"In 2479, the first Stingers came off the assembly line. In the next four centuries, nearly 200,000 more units would be constructed. Estimates place the number of operational Stingers currently used by the Successor States at 5,000 or more. Indeed, the 'Mech is still being produced in a number of facilities both in and out of the Inner Sphere."

Stingers apparently have a 99.33% survival rate. It might not seem much different from 99.8%, but when you're being constructed at a rate of nearly 500/yr for a few centuries, it's the difference between 5k and 67k surviving into 3025. (The fact that construction continues into the present muddies the exact survival rate a bit.)

Archers: "First produced in 2474," "nearly 100,000 Archers were constructed before the beginning of the Succession Wars," and "some production of the many Archer variants continues to this day in most of the Successor States." The dates and construction rate (about 320/yr) are comparable to the Stinger's. At the Stinger's rate of survival, about 2500 Archers would survive to 3025.

Atlases: "Kerensky wanted all Atlases to accompany him into his self-imposed exile. Oddly, more than two-thirds of the pilots who refused to join him were Atlas pilots." The Star League Sourcebook ("Those Who Stayed Behind," page 97) counts about 50 'Mech regiments who refused to go, and the listings further on show enough Dragoon and Heavy Assault regiments to make TR:3025's comment true. At 108 'Mechs per regiment (no command elements) and at the Stinger's rate of survival, "more than" 718 Atlases should be around in 3025. (If we arbitrarily apply the Stinger's 5k/200k now/then ratio instead, there'd be only 90.)

Jenners: "first constructed in 2784...continued at Diplan until 2815...However, Diplan continued to produce its 'Mech chassis. In 2823, production of Jenners resumed on Ozawa, and some 3,000 chassis were shipped to a Diplan subsidiary on Luthien for final fittings and assembly. ... By 2830, Diplan of Ozawa and Diplan of Luthien had a combined annual output of 1350 Jenners. ... In 2847, elements of the Davion Heavy Guards...strike against Ozawa, gutting the Diplan Mechyards. One year later, an unexplained explosion destroyed the remaining assembly plant on Luthien."

That's an incredible 44k Jenners built between 2784 and 2848. At the Stinger's rate of survival, 8800 would survive to 3025--Jenners would be half of all light 'Mechs, and almost one-sixth of all 'Mechs total! If we apply the 5k/200k ratio instead, we get 1100 Jenners, which fits the other 3025 data much better.

Wasps

"The WSP-1A was the first recon 'Mech to be mass-produced for the Terran military. Since its initial production in 2471, the 'Mech has spread to all parts of Human-occupied space. Old Star League records show that thousands of Wasps were constructed in the four centuries preceding the Succession Wars. Though many of these have worn out or been destroyed, estimates show that more than half this total is still in operation."

The Terran Hegemony can't have built too many Wasps if half that number are operating in 3025. Messing around with the numbers I know that the Wasp and Locust can't total much more than 5k together; so if the Wasp were in production the whole 400 years, it must have been built slower than 12/yr.

It sure seems like this part of the Wasp's writeup was copied from the Stinger and changed without any attention to the math of it. It *can* work as written, though, if we assume the Wasp was abandoned quickly by the Hegemony (and slowly by the other Houses), and then put back into production during the Second Succession War.

2 comments :

  1. It's so strange so much attention went into the math, but then the unseen were made common, backbone 'Mechs integral to the setting despite belonging to someone else. Maybe that's just hindsight though. Was it foolish at the time?

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    1. I don't think so. They didn't expect BattleTech to last many years, and the Macross imagery seems to have been a big part of how BT got popular enough to survive to 1990 and beyond.

      It would have been easy at the time to retire the unseen and replace them with a new generation of 'Mechs--TR:3055 already started that. I think the real problem is that FASA got into any lawsuits at all, which drained their coffers and forced them to rush products (thus forever ruining their ability to retire the unseen gracefully).

      So it's not even a question of getting the rights to the unseen straightened out; but rather, when they confronted Playmates over the Mad Cat knock-off toy (which triggered the unseen suit), whether or not Playmates' financial allies (e.g., Harmony Gold) could find *any* chinks in FASA's armor.

      ...It was possibly foolish to show their demo Mad Cat toy to the people making RoboTech toys, but I don't know what the toy manufacturing market's like or what choice they'd've had.

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