Wednesday, 26 February 2014

AAR - Black Wolf Mercenaries versus Federated States of America

"No less than three weeks after the attack on Holsteinsborg, the Argo was reported to have joined a flotilla escorting a convoy of merchant and troop ships travelling perilously close to the island of Ammassalik; den of the piratical Black Company. 

Prussian fleet commander Karl-Ehrhart Grunner had not been idle since the Argo's first attack. With the promise of raw materials and exclusive hunting rights, he had drawn the Sea Snake into his service. Commander of the Red Viper and lieutenant to the Black Wolf himself, the Sea Snake was a reaver of infamous repute with an entire fleet of Black Company ships at his disposal. Practically salivating at the thought of the riches to be reaped from this convoy, he prepared his ambush..."
 - The Blockade of Greenland
Naval Battles of 1872

The Red Viper
Welcome to the second Battle Report for Full Spectrum Dominance, a showcase not just of our questionable gaming skills but also my newly painted Black Wolf Company, painted at speed for this very occasion!

Myself and Good Friend Ben have decided to continue the narrative started in the last AAR and show the Prussian retaliation for the raid on Holsteinsborg. In this 1000pt game, the FSA Dreadnought Argo has joined a small flotilla protecting a convoy. As they pass a large ice floe, the Black Wolf Mercenaries spring their trap! They have been hired with a specific mission in mind - the destruction or capture of the Argo

For this game, Ben's mission was the destruction of both the Death Bringer-class Submarines. In return, the Dreadnought was the target of the Black Company. Onward to the game!

The FSA Fleet 
Ben's Fleet
Enterprise-class Dreadnought with one shield generator
Saratoga-class Fleet Carrier with five Torpedo Bomber TFTs and one Recon Plane (not pictured)
Three Lee-class Scoutships
Reinforced Cruiser Squadron - one Princeton-class Gunship and two Lexington-class Cruisers with shield generators
One Squadron of Augusta-class Frigates
One Squadron of Guilford-class Destroyers
Two Wings of Torpedo Bomber TFTs


The Black Company - straight out of the box plus one extra Deathbringer-class Submarine - 1000pts
My Fleet
Two Deathbringer-class Submarines
Two Nemesis-class Battle Cruisers with Camouflage Generators
Two Manticore-class Support Skimmers with Main Turrets, each accompanied by six Reaper Attack Submarines
Two Squadrons of Fury-class Corvettes
Two Wings of Dive Bomber TFTs

Also present on the board was a small convoy - we did not use the rules but treated them as terrain

The FSA Deployment

The Black Company Deployment
TURN ONE

The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser moves forward and shields the fleet with its Camouflage Generator

Unsure of the Black Company's effectiveness, the FSA send their flyers forward past the convoy

Reaper Attack Submarines and their parent ship move forward behind an iceberg

The Scoutships move forward, confounded by the second Camouflage field appearing on the left flank

Sighting a squadron of enemy Corvettes near the convoy, the Frigates present their broadsides and open fire

The Argo plants its anchor, waiting for the enemy to show themselves

The Destroyers catch sight of a Manticore Support Skimmer and open fire

They succeed in cracking the Ablative Armour

Turn One ends with both fleets virtually untouched - only the Corvette squadron and the right-hand Manticore have suffered any damage
A turn of moving forward and hiding, the Black Wolf Mercenaries rely on their sneaky strengths and prepare to make their grand entrance in the coming turn. 

TURN TWO 
Their ships revealed, the Black Company must strike hard and fast

Unfortunately the FSA strike first, and roll a dreaded Magazine Explosion

The damaged Manticore explodes, taking with it three of the Reaper Attack Submarines and stripping the nearby Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser of its Ablative Armour

Outraged, the Battle Cruiser retaliates against the Reinforced Cruiser Squadron, destroying a Lexington and causing a double critical on the Princeton, sending it backwards 9" in a flare of Sturginium. AA fire also badly damage one of the Scoutships - incredible firepower!

The Frigates surround the Nemesis and cause critical damage

The second Nemesis on the left flank moves forward, damaging a Scoutship and removing two Destroyers before activating the Camouflage Generator once more
Realising the insane strength of the Battle Cruisers, the Lee-class Scoutships move to intercept
A wide shot shows the melee emerging around the central iceberg. The Manticore is also shown damaging the Dreadnought with its powerful Main Turret, smashing its paddles and preventing it from turning
The Lee-class Scoutships finish off the crippled Battle Cruiser
Though the Corvette firepower achieves little, the elite Black Company Marines sabotage one of the Destroyers
Reaper Attack Submarines try to earn their keep and damage the last Destroyer
The Red Viper is revealed, but the Torpedo Bombers are ineffectual
Although facing the entire FSA Fleet, the Death Bringer-class Submarine still inflicts heavy damage on the Dreadnought 
The second Death Bringer moved forward
Turn Two opened with the Black Company losing their powerful medium ships on the right flank, but as the turn went on the ships of the left flank made their presence felt and smashed through into the centre of the board. Though their counter-attack was not complete, everything was in position and this turn would potentially see the end of the FSA Dreadnought and their objective achieved. In return, the FSA fleet was badly mauled and had little chance of stopping them.

TURN THREE 
Alongside the surviving Manticore and a squadron of Dive Bombers, the second Death Bringer rains fire on the Dreadnought
Riddled with Sturginium Rounds and devastating Torpedo salvoes, the Dreadnought is finished, taking with it any chance of FSA victory
With the Argo sinking, the Black Company's objective has been achieved
ENDGAME
With the loss of his Dreadnought and Commodore, Ben conceded the field. A brutal end to a game that started slow but went mad in turn two, with Devastating Ordnance destroying everything it touched and every FSA counter-attack foiled. The outrageous number of special rules and statistics of the Black Wolf Mercenaries made their fleet compact but elite in the extreme, more than a match for anything the Americans could throw at them.

CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
By the end of Turn Two, Ben was not enjoying himself too much - the Black Company was simply too difficult to handle. Every activation saw a major FSA squadron go up in flames, while in return the Camouflage Generators, Panic Dives and Ablative Armour prevented anything from being achieved. Only the fluke Magazine Explosion at the start of the second turn caused issues for the mercenaries, taking out one of the Manticore-class Support Skimmers and stripping the Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser of its Ablative Armour.

Unit of the match? For the Black Company the Nemesis-class Battle Cruisers were worth every single point, and more. Just two of their turrets were enough to caused a double critical on the FSA Dreadnought in the final act of the turn, while the early moves of the game saw the Camouflage fields deny line of sight across the board. They bring with them a kitchen sink of special rules and unbelievable firepower, as well as impressive auxiliary statistics.

The Federated States had a more reserved game, with only the Frigates causing damage to more than one squadron. The destruction of the Manticore by the Reinforced Cruiser Squadron was a good achievement, but it could not be capitalised upon.

The Black Company generally outdid the FSA in all aspects of the game, which was a hell of a shock for Ben and, indeed, myself. Overall I fear this game shows the power of the newer fleets compared to the older, original Core Fleets. I doubt they would fare quite so well against the Australians or Ottomans, but that is hardly an excuse. I hope in the future and with the promise of a consolidated Second Edition, the FSA will be given a boost to help them compete.

Certainly Ben's inexperience against this new fleet played a role. I look forward to giving him a second chance in the future, though I am not sure he will bring the same units, let alone the same fleet! Maybe the Chinese will have their chance to come out of storage to face this new threat...

THE NARRATIVE
With the Argo smashed and another convoy lost, the situation around Greenland seemed to be firmly out of control for the Federated States and the entire Grand Coalition. Grunner had played his hand, and though it may have cost him dearly in resources, the alliance with the Sea Snake and his fleet could be incredibly profitable in the long term should it be allowed to last. 

The emergence of the Black Company as a major power in the Atlantic was a serious shock for the Coalition forces, but not a definitive defeat - after all, they were mercenaries, and would work for the highest bidder...

Thanks for reading,

George

No comments:

Post a comment