The Black Horse had been advised that some strange signals had been picked up in the foothills. It had been days following the invasion of Orkney and the Night Owls had appeared to melt into the ether. The recon lance consisted of four mechs, lance commander in the 45 ton Hatchetman, a Panther (to offer a little long range support), a Hunchback (to offer inner city punch) and the scout in a 20 ton Locust.The Black Horse had been advised that some strange signals had been picked up in the foothills. It had been days following the invasion of Orkney and the Night Owls had appeared to melt into the ether. The recon lance consisted of four mechs, lance commander in the 45 ton Hatchetman, a Panther (to offer a little long range support), a Hunchback (to offer inner city punch) and the scout in a 20 ton Locust.

The lance advanced along the valley towards the start of the foothills, the locust racing away in the distance. Suddenly the air ahead seemed to shimmer as three large shapes headed into the sky. A Phoenix Hawk took up a central position on the top of the hill with a Dervish on its left and a Panther on the right. A Centurion advanced at the run towards the head of the valley and the “little” locust. All Night Ow l mechs on the hill opened up on the locust, chewing the ground around it but not scratching the scout, he immediately replied with his LRM’s but to no avail. Survival became the better part of valour and the locust followed the valley around in the loop towards the valley entrance ensuring that its speed was likely to offer more protection than its armour.

The other Black Horse mechs advanced towards the lone Centurion offering a challenge to them. The Hunchback opened fire at extreme range and couldn’t believe his luck as the AC20 tore all of the armour of the right torso opening the internals to the sunlight and rendering a heat sink useless. The Centurion returned fire and equally scored a superb hit but just flaked paint and armour from the Hunchback. The Dervish jumped after the disappearing Locust leaving the other mechs to hold the head of the valley. The Centurion reeling from the heat build up and the hits held his ground whilst the Panther advanced directly to its front, the Hunchback to the right and the Hatchetman ran in to strike the Centurion from the rear.

The resulting melee left the Centurion pilot sailing through the air as hits from all three mechs resulted in its hatchet lying on the ground, a smoking engine casing and no central structure. The Black Horse did not have all its own way ! The Panther fell to the floor with two critical engine hits, the mech pilot knew there was no future in this combat but wanted to return to his own lines whilst it could still move. The Hatchetman and Hunchback covered the retirement of its crippled colleague whilst the Locust skirted around to the left flank.

The sudden loss of the Night Owl leader was too much. They others jumped down from the hills to engage the retreating enemy at long range with PPC and lasers. The locust was hit by a medium laser from the Dervish that resulted in the pilot racing back towards his own lines. To cover the scout the Hatchetman and Hunchback raced into effective range with the Panther and Phoenix Hawk. The Hunchback let lose another round of AC20 fire and to the Panther Pilots amazement found that he too was floating down on a chute. The AC20 and the Medium lasers from the Hatchetman had reduced his centre Torso to mush. With great satisfaction he also noticed that his parting shot with PPC had proceeded to remove the right leg of the Hunchback watching the mech fall gracelessly to the mud.

The Phoenix Hawk let loose a barrage of lasers to loosen the arm and Hatchet from the Hatchetman. The Dervish proceeded to fire LRM’s at the retreating Locust leaving the insect sprawled in the dust! At this point the Black Horse Panther just about made it out of the area of engagement and the Hatchetman followed it. The Night Owls rallied around the area awaiting the techs to scavenge anything from the wreckage although they did not expect much from the Centurion!

This game was a continuation of the campaign games played at the club. Neil’s Black Horse were outgunned (tonnage wise) but had slightly better pilots. For the first 6 (or so) turns he won the Initiative placing the Night Owls at a disadvantage. The highlights of the evening were the opening long range AC20 shots, resulting in crippling damage for the Centurion and a scratch for the Hunchback. Neil’s aggressive counterassault was just like the charge of the light brigade, resulting in the Panther being taken out in one swift turn ! He was mightily unlucky as the only way I could really take him out was the removal of his leg as it sure has enough armour to give it its brawling reputation. Another success to the Night Owls but where are the Black Horse Heavy Lances ?