Part 62: Red Rock
Red Rock can either be a very short, simple and easy mission or a very long, annoying and costly mission. We'll be doing the short version.
We start with a Caspian 20mm scout and a whole lot of desert. Making matters worse, there's no ore field near our start location.
We finally have access to the first of the two ED heavy aircraft/bombers. The Thor is the more versatile of the two as it's fast enough to use as an assault helicopter or a light bomber.
Our scout runs into some Panther hP units. It spells doom for this plucky little Caspian.
But the Panthers have no anti-air escort, so once the Groznys from HQ find them it spells doom for them too.
I use the UFO to finish them off while the Groznys are reloading.
However, there are more Panther hPs heading for our landing site. Red Rock requires you to get carry-over troops here very, very quickly as the Panther hPs will automatically come towards your LZ once the mission begins.
With the UCS attack thwarted, I send the Groznys and UFO to this mineral patch outside the UCS base to do some Harvester harassment.
I find even more Panther hPs in the tunnels but they're no match for the UFO.
Noting my pestering of their Harvesters, the UCS sends over a Mammoth to try and build a Fortress. No way we can let that happen, so I have the UFO take care of them.
The UCS may be pushed back into their base, but they have the high ground and the one entry point is very well-guarded. Looks like we'll need a true base after all.
It won't be focused on building much, but this base right on the UCS doorstep should be enough to allow us a quick turnaround between assaults.
Just like the UCS, the ED also has a flying resource collection unit. Unlike the UCS though, there is almost never a reason to use the Thor Transporter. It's 600 credits more than a ZK Taiga Transport and you typically will want to build your mines right next to the Refinery/Transport Base, blunting the usefulness of a flying transport.
Still, it's there if you ever decide you need it.
The Thor can't mount the standard helicopter rocket launcher, so we'll need to research the heavy version.
Our first strike at the UCS base is a success. Using the UFO's speed and exploiting the undefended hole in the middle of the UCS base allows the UFO to shut down the power to the majority of the base's defenses. It's not quite over yet, but it's practically impossible for the UCS to come back from this.
If you notice, I've moved very, very quickly in this mission. That's because any dawdling will allow the UCS to build a Plasma Control Center and ruin your week. Additionally, if you let the UCS build the Fortress to protect its Harvesters you will be unable to take the eastern mineral patch, further complicating matters. The long version of this mission involves feints and counters to eliminate the UCS Plasma Control Center. If you act quickly enough and can establish a foothold where I have though, you'll be able to put enough pressure on the base that they can't get their superweapon working.
Thus why I chose the quick version of this mission over the slow version. Trust me, you'll see plenty of the Plasma Control Center. The UCS will have a superweapon advantage for at least the next two to four missions.
With the power down, the only thing the air force need fear are the few scattered small towers.
The base is fully built, but it looks like we won't be needing it for more than the occasional repair and resupply. Oh well. We can still mine some more credits for Operation: Steal from Exodus.
The UFO can take out the remaining small towers rather quickly.
With the destruction of the final UCS power plant the ability of the UCS to defend itself is finished. Now we'll just have to do the typical cleanup.
The combat version of the Thor is complete. It hits much harder than a Grozny and still has an impressive speed of 25. Think of it like the UCS Bat, although I think the Thor is a more solid light bomber.
I'll work on the lone chassis upgrade for the Thor now. Once that's done I also worked on the heavy rocket upgrade, but I didn't bother screenshotting it as you guys know how that research works by now and it happened between this mission and the next one.
All that's left is the destruction of these few buildings.
And with that we've reclaimed Australia! It won't bring back the men who died getting the Ion Cannon prototype out of Australia a few missions ago, but we have avenged their deaths. And more importantly, we've further secured our supply lines heading into Africa.
251,400 credits If I combined this with the credits sitting in HQ right now I could complete the campaign.
But I won't since I promised to show these rarely seen ED missions.
I lost the initial scout and a single Grozny. Had I not been quick I would've taken far greater losses. I like the quick way much better.
While Australia may now be secure, the UCS still has one outpost left in the Pacific that could pose a problem to us: their naval base in New Zealand. With the Australian command node destroyed due to our actions at Red Rock, this base is unlikely to be able to coordinate a major challenge to our supply lines. Still, even the occasional raid is unacceptable and since we're still assigned to our army in the South Pacific, it makes sense to eliminate this final threat now. Once this base is neutralized we can transfer back to Africa and help the Ashanti in their offensive against the UCS.