QimRas wrote:I noticed that Broadsides can not be loaded into either Orcas or Manta. That said, how do they normally deploy to the battlefield?
Generally speaking the traditional method is, well, an Orca or a Manta. It pays to remember that the cargo compartment layout of an Orca or Manta is not fixed, and the transport capacity listed in the rules is only reflective of the standard layout (which is most common and thus makes the most sense to represent). The modular nature of Tau aerospace transports and use of molecular bonding for attachments allows an Orca or Manta cargo hold to be easily reconfigured for non-standard cargo - adapting either for transporting Broadsides is as easy as simply removing the infantry seats and other unneeded features. Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign
further supports this claim:
Imperial Armour Volume III: The Taros Campaign (First Edition), pg. 175, 'Broadside Battlesuits' wrote:Carried in Orcas or Mantas, once deployed Broadsides, lacking jetpacks, are slow, so they must be deployed with care and only when an engagement was imminent. For accurate deployment Broadsides relied on good information from forward Pathfinder teams.
On Taros, Broadsides were widely deployed in support of Hunter Cadres on the defensive. They could not be deployed as part of the fast-moving Pathfinder raiding forces, or armoured counter-attack forces which might be required to operate in the deserts for many days, fighting and then quickly withdrawing, then moving to attack again. Instead, when an engagement was imminent, the Orcas or a Manta would quickly move the Broadsides into position, usually holding a ridgeline or an area of higher ground with good fields of fire.
Emphasis mine. It is also mentioned in Imperial Armour Volume III
that Orcas are used for inserting Drone Sentry Turrets (and presumably Drone Sensor Towers as well). Previous rules for the Orca and Manta did allow them to transport Broadsides (a maximum of 3 and 25 respectively) to reflect this.
It's also notable that, if one accepts the Dawn of War
games as accurate, Orcas are able to carry other oversize cargo such as a single large vehicle (presumably broken down into modular components and reassembled on site).
Finally, it also bears mentioning that Broadsides, along with all other Tau equipment, can be fitted with single-use disposable jetpacks to facilitate high-altitude airdrop insertions (which is the standard method of deployment from a Manta), but this rarely comes up in the rules outside of special scenario conditions.