I’ve finally managed to get past one of the toughest story missions yet.
Liberate Smithon sees me drop against 2 lances of mechs, supported by turrents, with the intent to capture the supply dump from the Directorate. We also tasked with protecting as much ammunition as we can and intercepting two escaping supply trucks.
You drop in the southern end of a map, on a small rise. There are small passes to the left and right as well as the option to rush straight at the base forward. There are several light mechs in the front with several heavier fire support mechs to the rear. It is also a hot environment, playing havoc with your rate of effort.
Normally people suggest three things. Drop heavy, as heavy as you can. I agree with this. Take LRMs, and again I agree there too. Also ignore the supply trucks, they’re just a distraction, most definitely agree. The trucks give you almost no time to be in position and they take a beating. They also put you out of position to take on the mechs.
There’s two more suggestions. An ammo crate in the front right is situated under a turret. Blow this one when there are a couple of mech in the blast zone, but fairly early on as well. You can usually catch at least one mech in the explosion, and some have caught up to three. They end up heavily damaged, and the explosion will destroy light ones. Do this! The turret is a threat as well and needs to be removed.
The last suggestion is to go left.
I go right. The same reason, there is a hill on both the left and right, to use as cover from the back of the map fire support. But I like the right a little more (I have been more successful that way).
I move right immediately, baiting the light fast mechs up to the small pass behind it. Focus fire each as they come around into sight.
You will need to soak up some LRM fire, but judicious use of Bracing at the end of turns will help a lot. And also help with heat management.
With the extra kill or two from the ammo crate, I don’t need to leave this area until the last two heavies are left. This is usually a Dragon and a Griffon. Focus fire these down. Done, 2 bonus objectives. Lots of cash.
I think the move left is similar. However it’s more difficult to hit the particular ammo crate from there and I think is a little harder to actually move to while remaining in cover.
In the end I used a Trebuchet, Hunchback, Centurion and a Vindicator. All except the Hunchback ran some LRMs. All suffered some damage. But they had much more luck than previous drops involving Jenner or Shadow Hawks for example.
Hope these tips help. I went off and worked some missions up before returning to this one. Story missions don’t disappear so you can take your time. This was probably the biggest difference, I was running a heavier lance.