The Hades project
Military planners have long been vexed by the fact that while DropShips often carry an impressive amount of weaponry, the ships are too valuable to risk leaving on the ground for very long. While aerospace support can ward the great ships from air attacks, airpower often comes up short when trying to stop a determined ground attack. If the troops brought to the landing zone spend their efforts defending the DropShip, then they are not accomplishing the mission that brought them to the LZ in the first place. And if the DropShip leaves after dropping off it’s troops, the medical and technical support facilities within it leave as well.
The Hades project began as an attempt to give military planners more options when dealing with the issue of landing zone control. Taking the lead designer’s maxim that “there is no such thing as ‘too big’ when it comes to war machines”, an armored behemoth that taxes the maximum weight technology can put on treads was developed. Pleased with these efforts, the team went on to build a second version designed as a “mobile fire base” for protection of other vital areas. At one point in history inspired designers mounted a long tom cannon on the Fortress DropShip design on the assumption that built in artillery support was a natural to match up with one’s transport equipment. Although the Fortress class ships proved pivotal in a few battles, the result over the long run is that most of them got destroyed on the ground. Few still fly today. The Hades Mk. 1 was designed to provide a stubborn fire platform to support an advance from and to defend a landing zone so that the DropShip can stay on the ground unmolested.
Although the 200 ton monster isn’t going to win any speed contests, it is mobile. This allows it to move outside of weapon’s range from a DropShip and fight from there as well as the ability to reposition itself to deal with an attack from an unexpected direction. It’s weapon mix was designed around the premise that most vehicles or BattleMechs that attack a grounded DropShip do so from maximum weapon range. The DropShip is a huge, non-mobile target while the attackers can shoot on the move to make themselves more difficult to hit. Thus the Mark One Hades mounts one standard and two light gauss rifles allowing it to engage enemies at extreme range. The Long Tom cannon provides artillery fire support for other units engaged in defending the LZ as well as counter battery fire against any mobile artillery unit that plans to park a couple of ridge lines away and shell the LZ unmolested. If anything approaches the Hades too closely, a pair of 40 tube Medium Range Missiles racks are on call to blast the offender into wee pieces of scrap. While the Mk. 1 has nothing in the way of point defense weapons, few infantry companies or battle armor squads are going to continue an advance after 80 MRMs crash into their formation.
The Hades tank has an astounding crew of eight on board. A systems engineer oversees the fusion plant and other power and mechanical systems. A Fire Control Officer trained in artillery and counter barrage commands the ‘gundeck’ from where a gunner directly controls the turreted weapons while a tactical tech tracks sensor contacts and tactical information. In the main command compartment, which is often referred to as the ‘flying bridge’ for it’s position up high on the vehicle, a comm tech handles communications and tracks several subsystems while two drivers operate the vehicle with the vehicle commander sitting behind them. As the Hades is not very maneuverable, there is a complete set of piloting controls in a small cabin that faces to the rear. It is common practice for one of the drivers to use that set of controls to back a Hades into a DropShip bay or prepared firing pit.
Hades’ producers have been tight lipped about who, if anyone, has placed orders for the first run of machines that is expected to be completed soon. But fifty of these great beasts are soon to be completed and if history tells us anything it’s that no weapon system goes unused in the Inner Sphere for long.
|Weapons and Ammo||Location||Heat||Mass|
|Light Gauss Rifle||Turret||0||12.0|
|Light Gauss Rifle||Turret||0||12.0|
|@Long Tom (15)||Body||0||3.0|
|@Light Gauss (16)||Body||0||1.0|