Besides the two heavy knights that attracted most of the attention of the defenders, the other Imodris mechs looked well-built as well. Ves forcefully shook off his fear and began to focus on what he could do to help.
"As a mech designer, I can still be of use."
Out of all the defenders, he knew more about mechs than everyone else put together.
In battles like these, mech designers sometimes assisted frontline units by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy mechs. They also kept their eye out for weak points generated by battle damage.
Ves kept his eyes trained on the projections that showed the approaching Vesian formation. The enemy finished their preparations and began to set out towards the broken gap in the wall.
Now that the enemy came into range of the Mech Nursery, their jamming failed to block its powerful sensors. Detailed telemetry poured into the command center in rapid tempo, swamping the support personnel. They tried their best to help the processors identify the mech models.
"Report!" Ves barked.
"Sir! The enemy regiments have been identified. One company comes from the 5th Vavulan Chausseurs and the other company is detached from the 1st Meandering Monkeys!"
Additional projections popped up that provided a brief overview of the two regiments of the 3rd Imodris Legion.
The mechs 1st Meandering Monkeys all took on a mottled brown-green coating, and predominantly consisted of light and medium mechs. Much like the Oodis Mudriders, the Monkeys excelled in long-range wilderness operations, and would usually be deployed in wild, untamed planets.
The 5th Vavulan Chausseurs on the other hand consisted largely of frontline mechs coated in grey and pale blue to better blend in to an urban environment. They eschewed light mechs entirely and based their full force around medium melee mechs and a fair amount of medium frontline mechs, the latter of which replaced their humanoid arms with ballistic cannons or laser cannons.
Ves understood the enemy composition. The Meandering Monkeys only made up the numbers and didn't form that much of a threat. The true threat lay in the Vavulan Chausseurs, whose formidable mechs had been designed to break through enemy defenses. Their allocation of two heavy knights to this minor raid further underscored their power.
Right now, they couldn't withstand two heavy knights at once. It was not that the heavy knights possessed the means to run down every mech and kill them in a single blow. Their true threat lay in their ability to act as immovable obstacles that absorbed everything the defenders dished out.
Having just come off a Mastery experience where the attacking force cleverly used disposable heavy shields as a means of approach, Ves knew the value of an impenetrable defense. So long as those heavy knights remained operational, a large portion of the mechs from Sanyal-Ablin and Mudriders would have to divert their firepower to hold back their inexorable march.
At this time, the Vesian mechs entered into range of the defending mech's rifles.
Almost every rifleman mech among the defenders proceeded to open fire behind the walls. The initial volley of fire largely hit their marks, only to be stopped by two enormous tower shields.
"The Vesians have sustained minimal damage!"
The Vesians cleverly arranged their assault formation into a column of two ranks. With the two heavy knights in front, the more vulnerable mechs at the rear had little to worry about.
Occasionally, some of the fire slipped around or above the shields, but the rest of the Vesian mechs only sustained glancing damage.
Despite enduring a rain of fire, the Vesian mechs remained in formation and continued to march forward. The only downside to their formation was that they moved at a snail's pace in terms of mech speeds.
Heavy knights carried an immense amount of high-quality armor, and their shields weighed as much as an entire light mech or more, so it was a given that they moved as fast as an elderly person.
Their relatively slow pace meant that the defenders slowly managed to chew up the shields. Nevertheless, these shields did their job as they forced the defenders to expend a large amount of munitions that might have otherwise been targeted at the lighter mechs.
As the formation of Chausseurs neared the walls, the mechs of the Meandering Monkeys started to branch out and pressure the sides of the Mech Nursery. Their diversion forced Melkor to request the Mudriders to split some mechs away from the center and deter the flanking mechs from breaching an undefended part of the wall.
"Fire on the mechs behind the knights!" Melkor ordered in the central command channel.
Once the enemy mechs entered a certain range, it became possible for some of the defending mechs stationed in the far left or right of the walls to target the sides of the incoming column. This time, they achieved some solid hits, although the frontline mechs quickly turned their cannon and retaliated in kind.
Most of their fire splashed against the walls that the defending mechs hid behind, but the intense barrage succeeded in suppressing them. At this moment, the inevitable collision became imminent. The Chausseurs showed movement that indicated that they were about to bypass their heavy knights and breach the defensive line.
"Open fire! Ignore the knights! Focus on the frontline mechs!"
The melee mechs of the Chausseurs carried a substantial amount of armor. The frontline mechs on the other hand had been built to scale, so their individual quality left much to be desired. Their deadliness came not from their superior equipment, but from the training and coordination of their mech pilots.
Even though their basic-level pilots would never be able to advance to advanced pilots, as long as they gathered in a sufficient amount of numbers, they would be able to suppress any enemy formation, which was what they did right now.
Their twin cannon barrels outputted as least twice as much firepower as a rifleman mech. What they lacked in flexibility and close-combat effectiveness, they more than made it up in the sheer amount of firepower they could unleash in a short amount of time.
Of course, they also overheated very quickly and expended their energy or munitions rather fast, but in a short raid like this, endurance didn't matter too much.
The only reason why the defenders maintained their ground was because the cheap construction of the frontline mechs also made it easy to take them out. Plenty of mechs turned inoperable after sustained concentrated fire, but the Chausseurs continued unabated. They had already steeled themselves for some losses.
To the Mech Legion, losing a couple of frontline mechs was nothing, as each of them came with a unit price of around ten million credits or less. Their mech pilots mostly managed to eject well in time, so the Vesians actually hadn't lost any lives at this point in time.
"Watch your fire! Don't aim too high! We can't afford to hit their cockpits when they eject!"
The Mudriders and the Sanyal-Ablin mechs purposefully avoided targeting the cockpits of the Vesian mechs. Neither groups wanted to incur any more enmity than necessary. If news came out that they excessively slaughtered too many enemy pilots, then they would certainly be hunted down by the 3rd Imodris Legion.
The Mech Legion on the other hand held no such scruples. If they saw an opportunity to eliminate an enemy pilot, they would gladly do so in order to damage the Bright Republic's vitality.
At this time, imposing manner of the Vesians reached an oppressive level. Many of the mech pilots stationed on the walls started to vacillate. Why did they even need to resist the Vesians in the first place? Neither the quality nor the quantity of their mechs could match the combined force of the Chausseurs and the Monkeys.
Melkor tried his best to firm up their side's resolve, but everyone knew that the battle might take a turn for the worst once the enemy melee mechs came into play. To the Chausseurs, their frontline mechs only played a side role. The regiment invested most of its resources in cultivating their melee mechs.
Ves quietly stood in front of the central projector of the command center and balled his fingers into fists. "Come on, buddy. Make your move before it's too late."
Just as the Vesians were about to make their final sprint, one of their heavy knights suddenly halted. Even though the mech's shield had almost been chewed apart from withstanding all of the enemy fire, the frame itself only suffered a couple of scuffs. The mech still possessed a lot of fight, and shouldn't have halted to suddenly.
The momentary halt of that mech caused the entire column of Chausseurs to come to an uneven halt. Many of their pilots turned their attention to their halted comrade, unsure why the mech turned into a statue.
Moments later, fumes started to leak from the frame. Small explosions erupted deep within the frame that destroyed vital components. The heavy knight abruptly powered down and fell over facedown like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Everyone was taken aback, including the defenders. What had happened to that seemingly invincible mech?
Moments later, a tiny blur escaped from the chest of the fallen heavy mech. It darted towards the next heavy knight, only to be met with a barrage of fire from a couple of quick-thinking mech. The fire went straight through the tiny blur, forcing it away from its original course. In order to escape the fury of the Chausseurs, the blur instead changed course and dove deep underground.
"I knew you could do it, Lucky!"
His pet managed to succeed in taking out a heavy knight! Even though his sneak attack only worked once, the consequences for the Vesians were dire. With the takedown of one heavy mech, the remaining one now became the focus of the defending mechs. They all diverted their firepower to that heavy, blasting apart its shield in short succession and started working away at the mech's heavy armor plating.
While the Vavulan Chausseurs fell into a brief bout of confusion, to their credit they regained their senses extraordinarily quickly. They all became enraged at the strange attack and switched tack almost immediately. Their mechs all charged forward at their full speed, leaving the defending melee mechs scrambling to meet the charge.
"Hold the line! Set off the traps!"
The ground before the Vesian mechs briefly exploded as mines hidden just below their feet became armed.
Although the explosions all hit multiple mechs, their power left much to be desired. In order to hide them from the Vesian scanners, they only came in relatively small packages.
Still, even if the mines mostly failed to breach the armor of the stricken mechs, they ddi succeed in slowing their charge. Ultimately, this caused the Chausseurs to clash against the defensive line with less than perfect force.
Still, the line almost buckled then and there as the handful of knights failed to withstand the impact of the chargning mechs.
For a moment, both sides recovered from the charge, but then the true melee began.
"Hold them back! Don't let them through the gap!"
The previous artillery bombardment opened up a wide gap in the defensive walls that the defending mechs struggled to stopper up. However, the intensity in which the Chausseurs pressed down upon them indicated that they wouldn't be able to hold for long.
Ves frantically studied the mechs of the Chausseurs, but found to his disappointed that they'd been too well-designed to expose any obvious weak points. Only upon sustaining damage would vulnerabilities begin to show, but that was easier said than done as the Vesians constantly rotated the mechs that faced the front.
As soon as a mech sustained a heavy blow, it pulled back and another mech of the Chausseurs filled its place. This spread out the damage and prevented the Chausseurs from suffering a loss in combat effectiveness.
This way, they managed to maintain a constant level of pressure to the defenders, who all lacked the numbers to pull off the same tricks.
The mechs of the Oodis Mudriders suffered the most out of this exchange. They possessed relatively few medium mechs, and most of them hadn't been designed for a stand-up battle. Several of their mechs succumbed in quick succession, prompting Melkor to make his move ahead of time.