|Mollusk-class Troop Carrier|
RRG Mk.2 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace
400 Invid Scout
The Mollusk-class Troop Carrier, sometimes referred to as the Clam Carrier or Shell-Door. was the standard air-mecha transport primarily used by the Invid, and was heavily using throughout the Third Robotech War.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
he Mollusk-class Troop Carrier was a vaguely saucer-shaped craft with two blocky protuberances on the top and bottom, and three large thrusters bolted on at the back. There were also four highly visible maneuvering jets spaced at equal distances around the rim of the vessel. Twelve smaller jets are distributed around the vessel.
The two mecha bays take up the entire forward 40% of the vessel. Each mecha bay was subdivided into four smaller bays, two to starboard and two to port. One mecha bay was located on the dorsal side of the vessel and could be used under all circumstances, the ventral bay could only be used in space or at high altitudes - or the vessel may invert its attitude. This was because the mecha would have to be launched upside-down out of this bay in a gravity well, and would not be able to assume flight attitude before crashing into the ground.
Both bays open in a very distinctive maneuver, universally known to the Invid adversaries as 'gaping' or 'opening the maw'. In this maneuver, the covering hull of the mecha bay(s) rotates up- or downwards (with the assistance of two dedicated thrusters) around the forward edge of the engineering spaces. The resulting sight is similar to that of an opening oyster.
Inside each bay could be seen the hundreds of mecha, each sitting in a dedicated launch slot in the deck of the mecha bay. The slots were designed to accommodate the Claw Carrier's engine section. In cases where planetary assault was anticipated, the Invid Scout complement could be doubled if all mecha were not equipped with their boosters. A Scout sits in the bay where the booster was normally located, grasping onto the legs of the mecha above it. However, it was generally the case that the extra mecha could not land on the carrier. Since this configuration was only used for planetary assaults, and because of the intentionally high attrition rate of the Scout, this was rarely an issue. All of the mecha could be launched within seconds, greatly assisting the Invid 'superior numbers' tactic, in a mecha delivery time/numbers ratio that is unmatched in the Galaxy. So successful was this method, that the REF adapted most of their hangar bays into similar, fast-reaction Alpha launch bays.
By far the most capable in combat was the Mollusk-class. Because it was equipped with fast aerial mecha, this ship was the Invid's supercarrier. In pitched battle this ship would appear either alone, or escorted by Trilobite-class Frigates, and while the armed warships engaged the larger Zentraedi vessels, the Mollusks would deploy their huge mecha complements and retreat to a safe distance.
This tactic did of course leave the Invid vulnerable to the heavy firepower of their enemies' starships, but usually the far superior numbers of Invid in a particular battle could easily overwhelm the numerically inferior fleets and their mecha. One factor that made this possible was the high maneuverability and cargo capacity of the Mollusk Carrier. The Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF), found out that the best way to deal with Invid space-attacks was to destroy the Mollusk ships before they released their cargo into the battle. But as the battles over Earth showed, the Invid could usually fly in more ships than could be destroyed, and when the Invid mecha destroyed their adversaries ability to fight effectively, more and more of the Mollusk ships managed to release their mecha. Eventually, the battle hinged on whether there were more Invid than could be destroyed by the fleet before they were destroyed themselves.