[RPG] How effective would a mech be in a city environment?


By mech, I mean any bipedal war machine of around 22ft height.

Space Wolves Dreadnought
Zion APU

We all know tanks are notoriously bad fighting in a city. They lost Hitler Stalingrad, and by extension, the War. Why is this? Is this because their treads get stuck on rubble? Because they can't shoot upwards at attackers dropping explosives from buildings? Were tanks not able to turn effectively? Would mechs be effected by any of these hinderances?

The objective would be to pound the city into the ground, but the military wouldn't consist solely of mechs. There'd be infantry and artillery and air support.

The game is Warhammer 40k, but I'm talking about realism. I like it when a game is backed up with a touch of verisimilitude.

Imagine the attackers consisting of 100,000 men, 2,000 artillery pieces, and 500 mechs, taking on a city 140.3 km^2. Defenders would consist of similar numbers and units. The objective is to pound the city into the dust from whence it came!

Would an enemy defending the city be utterly terrified when they saw a mech lumbering down the street, or would they laugh and employ guerrilla tactics?

Best Answer

My thoughts:

  • The biggest challenge of urban combat is avoiding levelling the city. Attackers that have the luxury of blowing up every building as they walk by don't need to worry about guerillas. Cities are challenging not only because of the close quarters, but because they are filled with noncombatants. Modern warfare is about pinpointing enemy combatants, and taking them out while minimizing collateral damage. If the attacking force is going to slaughter the populace wholesale (not realistic under any normal circumstances!) then it just becomes a question of whether they have big enough guns, and enough ammo.

Traditional armored units have a number of characteristics that make them function ineffectively in an urban environment:

  • Limited articulation of weapons
  • Limited pilot visibility, especially in the immediate proximity of the unit
  • Large, highly visible target; limited cover
  • Limited, predictable paths of movement; vulnerable to roadblocks

In addition, the APU you showed offers the pilot no protection whatsoever against small arms fire, which is silly.

I think armor could be effective in a city when working in conjunction with infantry. The infantry can serve the role of protecting the armor unit's blind spots, and flushing out and supressing hidden foes (for example, by clearing the surrounding buildings).

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