Welcome back to ITSZ, I am so sorry for the delay – Real Life decided to throw a couple curve balls at me which reduced gaming time but I think I’m now through the majority of it! Today, I’ve got another battle report for you; my first game with the Terrans and my first game against August Doumerc. We were about to head off to LARP (yes, I am that nerdy and I love it) and had an evening free so headed down to Dark Sphere for a game. Unfortunately Alex of Fleet Signal wasn’t able to join, it would have been good to meet the man behind the blog – next time I’ll try and give some more notice mate! So onto the battle, our fleets were:
Terrans (I still need to work out the fluff for these guys, the idea is that they are a newly built fleet hence the beam upgrades and being led by a Tyrant rather than an Apollo)
NTSC Triumphant – Tyrant Class Battleship: Captained by Commodore Marcus Rickard
- +3 Wings
- -1 Turn Limit
- Shield Projector (Self)
- Interceptor Token of 2 wings
Hammer Squadron (NTSC Horatio, Hardrada and Hannibal) – Hauberk Class Heavy Cruisers: Captained by Captains Edward Parker, Louis Rudet and Hans Reinke
- +1″ Move (which I forgot about for the entire game)
- Beam Primaries
Anvil Squadron (NTSC Africanus, Alexander and Aruga) – Teuton Class Cruisers: Captained by Captain William Powell and Commodores Anna Campbell and Minoru Hirose
- +1 Hull Point
- Beam Primaries
Sword Squadron – Armsmen Class Frigates: Captained by Commander Leo Kiefer and Lt. Commanders Pietro Micca, Charles Paine and Alfred Faraday
Dindrenzi: The Corsican IXth Storm Zone Fleet
DNS The Boar – Legion Class Assault Carrier: Captained by Commodore Henryk Losier (Admiral)
- Deck Crews
- Second Assault
- 6x Bombers
- 1x Interceptors
Vandamme Squadron (DNS Vandamme, Delmas and Barbier) – Mixed Squadron of Murmillo (Vandamme) and two Secutors
Ameil Squadron (DNS Ameil, Strolz and Perignon) – Secutor Class Cruiser Squadron
Ney Squadron – Thraex Class Frigate Squadron
Haxo Squadron – Thraex Class Frigate Squadron
A note on the terrain in the photos – despite how it might look this was 25%! The black sections are gas cloud, the textured sides are debris fields and those with additional terrain on top of them are asteroid fields.
Commodore Rickard sat in the command chair of the Triumphant. Around him his bridge crew moved with the calm, controlled urgency of a well drilled professional unit. Had he felt the need he would have been able to consult his control screens to see his fleet were arrayed as ordered but he knew they would be so left them to their pre-battle rituals. His fleet was newly formed, the paint on the ships’ hulls barely dry before they are dispatched to deal with yet another Dindrenzi incursion. This time the threat was formed of one of the most aggressive commanders known to the Terrans, one Commodore Henryk Losier of the IXth Corsican Storm Zone Fleet. Last seen captaining an upgraded and formidable variant of the Legion Class Assault Carrier, retrofitted for space borne action rather than planetary invasion. By all accounts his favoured tactic was to close rapidly with an enemy commander and board their ship, taking all remaining living combatants captive.
Even as that rather morbid thought crossed his mind the enemy dropped into the combat zone. Had he had more time he would have wished to pick a more preferable location for this battle with greater cover between his fleet and his enemy’s but he would have to make it work. The first ships to ping his sensors were a pair of Thraex squadrons, one to each flank before the core of the enemy fleet dropped out of Fold Space in a tight cluster to the right of the combat zone in a grouping that would have made the greatest of the Terran admirals proud. The intership comms pinged softly at him as an incoming message from the enemy arrived. Rickard accepted the transmission, the vidscreen mounted to the command chair lit up with a calm, blue light. The screen filled with the visage of his opponent. Marcus nodded sagely at him.
“Commodore Marcus Rickard of the Triumphant, my name is Commodore Henryk Losier of The Boar.” the enemy’s voice was heavily accented with the smooth tones of the Corsican system. “This is your one and only chance to surrender willingly to the might of the Dindrenzi Federation. power down your weapons, drop your shields and allow us to board and you shall not be harmed. On my honour, and the honour of the Corsican IXth, I swear it. Turn down this offer, however, and we shall not show mercy. We shall not show restraint. Your ships will burn in the void and your men and women will be taken from you forcefully. The choice, Commodore, is yours.”
Commodore Marcus starred unflinchingly into the eyes of Losier through the vidscreen. Drinking in all of the man’s resolve, strength and commitment to violence. Marcus had no doubt that he believed the words he spoke but that would not stop him from being proved wrong.
“Commodore Losier of The Boar. Your message is received and understood. It is also rejected. We shall take to the field and you shall pay for this incursion into space that is not yours. Rickard out.” Marcus killed the communication. From behind him he heard the half metallic gait of First Officer Iain Hobbs, the bionic he earned in a brutal fight against the Ba’Kash repelling them from the Apollo NTSC Aquila ringing from the decking.
“First Officer Hobbs, all crew to battle stations, fleet to full alert and prep the assault teams – something tells me they might be needed. Time to go to war.”
The Dindrenzi fleet primarily formed up on the right flank of the Terrans; the Boar, both Secutor squadrons and Ney squadron closely knit while Haxo squadron took the left flank. Commodore Rickard himself along with Anvil squadron formed up on the left flank while Sword hid behind the debris field for cover. Hammer squadron awaited their perfect moment in reserve, ready to shunt.
The Armsmen frigates opened the hostilities, creeping forwards on half power, trying to keep the debris field between themselves and the enemy, unleashing their considerable torpedo arrays at the Thraex squadron near the Legion as a paired volley. The munitions spread across the void, dealing moderate damage to a pair of the Thraex but not doing enough to blast them to the void. No sooner had the impacts registered on the enemy than those same ships rounded the asteroid field they hid behind, assuming it useless given the torpedo assault and attacking their aggressors directly with a fully linked kinetic shot with a further linked torpedo spread. The effects of these shots were far more successful than the Terran initiations as two of Sword squadron were annihilated in as many moments. The well drilled crews of the frigates reacted calmly to the immense firepower however, remaining in formation.
The Triumphant engaged full drives, Marcus wanting to close the distance to allow the Tyrant’s full weapon systems to get into optimum range, the CAG led by Wing Commander Xavier Dorhan, sped from the hanger bay into a patrol pattern to the aft of the warship. The beams and torpedoes split the void to target Haxo squadron of Thraex behind the gas cloud but alas, dealing no damage at the immense ranges of the opening phase of an interstellar conflict. Haxo capitalised on the terrain ahead of them, moving into the depths of the gas cloud for cover from further bombardment. Railguns at full power, the ships leads targeted the Teuton squadron behind the Tyrant but the ships’ shields were able to stop the massive slugs speeding across the void towards them. The Dindrenzi torpedoes fired towards the already suffering Armsmen squadrons but thankfully the PD of the small ships proved more than capable of defending themselves.
Anvil squadron sped forwards, trying to keep the asteroid field to their starboard for protection. The advanced beams of the Terran cruisers spat crimson, piercing the gas cloud but sadly not the hulls of the Thraex within. However, the cruisers had exposed themselves more than they thought, a mistake that Ameil squadron planned to make them pay for. Moving into the gas cloud to their starboard they targeted the newly presented Teuton Cruisers. All three ships combined firing solutions on the Alexander and fired in synchronisation. The three shots flew straight and true, piercing shield and hull with contemptuous ease to deal catastrophic damage to the ship, knocking out her main drives and causing a decompression that saw fully half the non-essential crew lost to the void as the cruiser was laid open from stem to stern.
With Hammer squadron still in the fold the Dindrenzi had a numerical advantage that they were keen to exploit. Sensing the blood in the water The Boar engaged her engines, moving smoothly into the void from cover and drew a bead on the Aruga, the second ship in the line of the Teutons. The twin railguns charged and loosed, the combined power of the slugs overwhelming the Terran defences and knocking the ships point defence systems offline. Even as the Terrans reeled under the potent long range bombardment of the Dindrenzi the mixed squadron of Dindrenzi heavy and standard cruisers moved up to support the lead ship, also firing on Anvil squadron though thankfully the kinetic weapons were obscured allowing the shields to rob the shots of their power.
In the short lull between the exchange of fire the engineering teams of the cruisers got to work, repairing the damage to the defensive net of the Aruga but unfortunately too many of the crew were lost on the Alexander to effect repairs to the drive systems in time.
Not wishing to lose the momentum they had built up in the opening stage of the conflict the Dindrenzi leapt into the fray once more as if the eye of Rense himself were upon them. The Terran decided to take a more defensive approach putting additional power to the shields. The Dindrenzi mixed squadron reignited the hostilities firing on the limping Alexander Teuton, the deadly kinetic rounds screaming towards the damaged ship. In a flare of disruption the rounds struck the reinforced shields of the Terran ship, the protective field robbing the rounds of their potency to leave them to bounce harmlessly back into the void while her close range guns laid down a withering hail of fire to shoot down the torpedoes that followed in the wake of the first attack.
With the Aruga limping with a damaged drive system Anvil squadron refused to abandon her. Crawling forwards at half speed and trying to maintain as much cover as humanly possible. The captains of the ships began plotting firing solutions as a squadron wide communique came through from the Triumphant.
“Anvil squadron. You have done all that I can reasonably expect of you considering the way this fight is unfolding. I fear that Commodore Losier may have taken this round but we shall be back. I order you to charge your FSDs and return to port for repairs and refits with immediate effect. That is all.”
Begrudgingly the ships commanders shut down all weapons, powering up their FSDs and moving a small amount of power to boost the shields and shifting them to the starboard flank to give themselves a fighting chance at surviving the tense charging time of the drives.
Even as they did so The Boar continued her assault on the already crippled squadron, the fore fixed kinetics targeting the Aruga in order to finish her off. Thankfully the defensive measures in place to protect the vulnerable ships paid off, the slugs causing no damage.
Sword squadron finally had the chance to take revenge on the Thraex that damaged them so readily in the opening phase of the conflict; the two remaining ships of the squadron combining their firepower to target the lead element of the Thraex with deadly results destroying her. Even as one of them was ripped asunder by the ordnance barrage the remaining pair returned fire, kinetics at the lead ship and the torpedo salvo at the rear element. The kinetics broke open the leader, killing her outright though thankfully for the Terran ships the torpedoes were shot down in time.
The Triumphant pushed ahead of the crippled Anvil squadron to provide them with a greater degree of cover, Commodore Rickard squeezing all the power out of the next generation battleship. Acquiring a long range lock on the Legion Class the Tyrant’s turrets lifted from their housings and pivoted to reinforce the broadside fusillade to ripple across the reinforced hull of the assault carrier knocking armour plating from her superstructure. The ordnance teams decided to pick a more feasible target, knowing the impressive point defence the Legion boasted, and knocked yet another Thraex from Ney squadron on the right flank of the combat zone.
The Triumphant‘s move was designed to draw attention from Anvil and in that she succeeded admirably. No sooner had she fired than the squadron of Dindrenzi cruisers thrust from the gas cloud hiding them like three onyz darts, weapons systems charged and locked on the Tyrant, dealing minor damage to the prow despite the Terran ship’s potent shielding systems. Commodore Rickard saw the spread of torpedoes on the sensors and primed the PD systems only to have them pass fully under his ship just out of range instead aimed at the Alexander. Thankfully the squadron of Teutons were still coherent despite the damage taken and the attack was thwarted.
These ships represented only one of two prongs of attack at this junction, however. No sooner had the smoke from the destroyed ordnance cleared than the trio of Thraex frigates that had been hiding in the gas cloud on the left flank engaged drives and dove back into the fight. In an identical move to the cruisers who had initiated the two strike approach the frigate squadron’s kinetics rocked the Tyrant, causing yet further superficial damage while the torpedo salvo speared towards the Alexander. The newly minted warship had proved near impossible to put down thus far, fighting off kinetic assaults and torpedo salvoes alike; but eventually any ship will be worn down and a lucky strike or failed PD barrage will snuff out a ship. The Alexander rocked under the impacts as the full spread of torpedoes hammered into the prow of the ship, penetrating the defensive fire net and shield systems with equal ease. She fell, broken and burning, out of the formation to drift as a charred wreck into the nearby asteroid field.
Even as things looked desperate for the Terrans Commodore Rickard received the news he had been hoping for. Hammer squadron were inbound and ready to shunt in to the optimal position. Stealing the initiative from the Dindrenzi was key; Marcus knew this and threw everything he had at robbing the enemy of their momentum. And succeeded. The sudden arrival of the Hauberk Class Heavy Cruisers clearly throwing off the Dindrenzi commanders. The squadron shunted in already moving at speed behind the central planetoid and ready to cause harm.
The forward nukes belched fire at the Thraex that had just destroyed the Alexander, hitting the central ship with practised gunnery and overloading the small ships defences. The cloud of nuclear fire spread across the void to run like molten gold over the hulls of her sister ships, one all but evaporated under the onslaught while the other was dealt serious damage but not enough to put her out of the fight. That is, until the follow up shot from the Horatio pierced her and left her an irradiated ruin in the cold black. Even as the frigates died the ships potent batteries of beam weapons struck the Legion a heavy blow, piercing deep into her hull and starting a fire in the depths.
Not content to sit idly by while the Terrans ambush their fleet the mixed squadron of cruisers continued the assault on the Tyrant, stripping yet more plating from the hull but doing little else. The lone Armsmen Class had no greater luck. Facing off against a lone Thraex Lt. Commander Paine unleashed everything at the enemy ship but dealing no damage.
The Secutor squadron had a far greater level of success against the Triumphant. The state of the art warship suffered at the hands of the Dindrenzi; a linked barrage of kinetic shots pierced the void and her shields before punching deep into the hull, breaching it and venting a sizeable quarter of the ship before the bulkheads could slam down. Even as the klaxons sounded a spread of torpedoes hit the damaged quarter and detonated in the exposed structure knocking out all of the ship’s defences. As if to add insult to the injuries inflicted on the flagship the cruisers launched their marine complements at the Hardrada. The fight was intense, brutal and bloody; in the end the boarders were repelled or slain but at cost to the ship. The enemy boarders caused superficial damage to the ship as well as knocking out a number of the targeting computers on the starboard side; not enough to take the beams offline but enough to hamper their effectiveness.
The Tyrant responded in kind. Moving up in support of the Hauberks behind the central planetoid to get some cover from the Legion and cruisers. Despite the fortitude of the Terran ship the damage was starting to tell and with the close proximity of both the enemy and Hammer squadron the Tyrant’s shots were mostly ineffective; the one exception being the deadly broadside, hammering the Dindrenzi Heavy Cruiser with a raft of beams and knocking out the ship’s forward kinetics.
The Legion slammed into the middle of the pack even as the Tyrant moved to avoid her, Henryk Losier demonstrating his aggressive tactics first hand. Unleashing a point blank shot with both railguns at the nearest Hauberk the Legion succeed in opening her hull to the void but thankfully in a relatively unmanned location, with only a contingent of crew lost. The remaining commanders of Anvil squadron chaffed at being left out of the fight. They knew it was the right decision, they had already lost a number of ships for nothing but Dindrenzi frigates in return but still the idea of running sat ill with them. They were professional naval commanders though and kept to their orders, continuing to charge their FSDs.
To close out the latest round of violence the last remaining Thraex drew a bead on the final Armsmen Class frigate. With calm and practised ease the lone frigate sighted up like a sniper on a range and fired off both weapon systems. The kinetic ran wide but even as it did so the torpedoes struck the small frigate amidships and tore her apart; Sword squadron ended in fire and smoke.
As the smoke of the destroyed ships cleared the engineering teams on the Dindrenzi heavy cruiser got to work, bringing her powerful forward gun back online in short order though the fires on The Boar continued to rage, taking yet more crew with it. Almost as an after thought to the raging battle the remains of Anvil squadron slipped silently into fold space, leaving the combat zone behind.
The Dindrenzi were clearly in the lead at this point, the Terrans having taken considerable damage across all squadrons. The battle was almost a foregone conclusion at this point but it was one that Henryk Losier would make the Terrans pay for. No sooner had Anvil dropped from the zone than a bombing wing from the Legion swung around the planetoid and straight at the Triumphant. Her interceptor wings scrambled forward as quickly as they could only to be shot down by some surprisingly accurate shots from the heavy attack craft. Continuing unimpeded, the bombers dropped their payload over the fore of the ship. The constant rain of ordnance hammered the front of the flagship but thankfully dealing only superficial damage to the potent vessel. The Boar herself continued to assault the heavy cruiser squadron, the linked railguns suffering somewhat for the damage suffered dealing no damage. Losier even threw a boarding assault against the Hauberks that threatened his flank but to no avail, the combined defences of the squadron driving back the invading boarders with no damage caused.
The Triumphant responded in kind. Putting some distance between herself and the enemy she split her fire, the fore guns dealing damage to the final Thraex but failing to destroy her while the beams targeted the lead element of the mixed cruiser squadron, the heavy cruiser Vandamme, stripping areas of ablative armour from her hull.
The Secutors were ordered forwards to bring the fight to an end as soon as possible. The squadron combined all firing solutions possible on the Tyrant while the aft gun racks took pot shots at the Hauberks. Through either chance or fate the Dindrenzi were unable to harm either target, much to Marcus’s relief. He had already lost enough ships and men today without more joining the tally. Unfortunately he was not about to get his wish; the Hauberks continued their assault, attempting to get behind The Boar where their beams could do greater damage. In their haste the commanders had failed to spot the mine field laid earlier in the conflict. The Hardrada went dark, the explosions knocking out her key systems and leaving her dead in the void. The Hannibal was left burning but alive while the Horatio escaped the blast. The experience had clearly disturbed the less than experienced crew; the shots ringing from armour plating of the Terran ships to no effect.
Even as the Heavy Cruisers attempted their attacks they were flanked by the mixed squadron of Dindrenzi cruisers. The kinetic shots penetrated deep into one of the squadron, knocking out her point defence net before the torpedo spread took advantage of the hole in her defences to crack open her hull, causing a significant decompression. Almost in an offhand manner the gun racks pivoted in their racks to target the Tyrant, punching minor holes in the hull but dealing no significant damage.
The lone Thraex attempted to cause further harm to the Hauberks; the kinetics aimed at the less damaged Horatio while the torpedoes attempted to knock out the crippled ship. The kinetic shots dealt some minor damage while the torpedoes were knocked out by the remaining point defence nests and shields.
Engineering crews were scrambled to all of the necessary damage points on the ships on both sides of the conflict, last ditch attempts to keep ships operating as well as possible while leaking oxygen and plasma.
Commodore Losier consulted his data charts and smiled at the favourable disposition of his forces as the end closed in. The Hauberks were to his aft, that would sting shortly, but the rest of the fight was all but a foregone conclusion. As if the thought triggered action Hammer squadron continued their assault. A full broadside and turret support of close range beams split the void in crimson incandescence – but to no avail. The Boar lay unharmed as a result of the fusillade. Now it was truly over.
Losier took this as a sign to cause as much pain as he possibly could, deciding to end the budding legend of this fleet here and now. At a gesture he sent his bomber wing against the Hauberks with instruction to do better than they had against Triumphant or to fly home under their own power. They did not disappoint. A pinpoint bombardment assaulted the Horatio with murderous effect despite her desperate gun crews knocking a wing of bombers from the black. The ship died in a series of explosions that would have crippled a ship twice her tonnage, her wreck left burning in the void.
The bombers returned to their hangars as The Boar continued in her path of destruction swinging her armaments around to the rear of the Terran battleship while the gun racks began to track the last remaining heavy cruiser, the crippled Hannibal. Only around half the gun racks were still functional but this proved sufficient, unable to take any further hurt the last Hauberk fell. Henryk considered blowing the Triumphant from the black, his hand hovering over the order button to the gun crews. He changed his mind. “Marines, prepare to board. We’ll take her as a prize. For Dramos!” He could almost feel the rumble of cheering from the decks below, or at least he imagined he could. The assault pods tore from the launch tubes to cross the void and slam into the heavily damaged Terran battleship. Marcus was ready. Anti-boarding teams were standing by armed with the best counter-boarding weapons available to the Terrans, cutting down the vicious Dindrenzi boarders even as they leapt from their breach points, killing the opportunity before it even materialised.
The Dindrenzi could see the Tyrant surviving and it kindled a rage in them. How dare this Terran commander fly in the face of pure Dindrenzi aggression with such arrogance?! He had entered the lions den and he would be made to pay. But not before the Triumphant would put a final point of payment onto the invaders; assuming she was dead anyway Marcus vowed to make The Boar, and Losier, pay. Ordering an immediate hard to starboard all the remaining turrets on the ship pivoted to draw a bead to the Legion. Firing in synchronised bursts the beam weapons stripped further plating from the advanced Assault Carrier causing her to begin listing and smoking from a dozen small cuts.
The Dindrenzi did everything they could to end the Triumphant. Both squadrons of cruisers threw all they had at her but the overpowered shields of the battleships stopped the shots dead before they could do more than scratch the paint. Marcus surveyed his sensors; the Triumphant was alone in the void facing the best part of an entire Dindrenzi fleet. He knew he had lost as much as it grated on him. He ordered the immediate emergency fold space escape of the battleship. It would take weeks to repair the damage as it was and he didn’t much like the idea of falling into Losier’s hands after all that.
Final Score: 6/-2 to the Dindrenzi