Tuesday, 29 April 2014

AAR - Prussian Empire versus Black Wolf Mercenaries

"The capture of the great Dreadnought Sachsen by the treacherous Black Wolf Mercenaries was a loss the Prussian forces could ill afford, and fleet commander Karl-Ehrhart Grunner took the matter to heart. He planned a surprise attack on the Black Company just as they dragged their prize into port. 

Leading the raid was Grunner's best hunter, veteran submarine commander Jürgen Grönemeyer, with an array of vessels and airships filled with Luftlancers and Marines ready for a major boarding assault. Against him stood the infamous Sea Snake; already a veteran of hunting Prussian ships in his Death Bringer-class Submarine, the Red Viper

The attack was audacious, timed as the Sachsen was being dragged into the entrance of Clavius Point, and the Black Company knew they were coming. It is difficult to imagine what Grönemeyer thought his chances were of surviving the coming engagement, let alone escaping with his prize... "
 - The Blockade of Greenland
Naval Battles of 1872
The Sachsen is slowly drawn to Ammasalik - the "Rogues Anchorage" and home of the Black Company and their allies

Welcome to Game Six of the Greenland Campaign, and a final reckoning between the Prussian Empire and their former allies, the Black Wolf Mercenaries. With their grand Dreadnought Sachsen captured at the Surprise Attack at Kap Farvel, the Prussian fleet has chased the Black Company back to their pirate base at Clavius Point where they can recover the hulk before it is recommissioned by their enemies.

Setting up a special table with a huge amount of terrain representing one of the hidden ports of Ammasalik and the Sachsen in the centre as the objective, I (George) took the role of the Prussian Commodore, while Good Friend Ben was press-ganged into running the Black Company, a first for him and a chance for him to take revenge for the beating they gave him in a previous Battle Report

The scenario was simple - whoever had the most AP points on the Dreadnought at the end of five turns would be the winner. Defending, the Black Company would have a slightly smaller force than the Prussians, but would also start with the Objective in their deployment zone. With the right deployment and opening moves, the Prussians could well charge into a wall of firepower and get nowhere near the Sachsen.

So there we are - would the Black Company be outwitted and lose their prize? Or would their Devastating Ordnance and Sturginium Rounds destroy yet another fleet?

Onwards to the game...

A bird's eye view of the board, showing the built up port of Clavius Point and the Black Company sallying forth to drive away the Prussian attackers. The Sachsen sits in the centre, being dragged by five tugboats
Ben's Fleet
Two Deathbringer-class Submarines - the Red Viper and the Grave Warden
One Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Camouflage Generator - the Deathshroud
One Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Rocket Battery - the Contemptor
Two Manticore-class Support Skimmers with Main Turrets, each accompanied by six Reaper Attack Submarines
Two Squadrons of four Fury-class Corvettes
Two Wings of five Fighter TFTs

My Fleet
One Sturmbringer-class Submarine
One Imperium-class Sky Fortress with one wing of five Dive Bomber TFTs and a Recon Plane TFT
Three Pflicht-class Scoutships
Three Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers
Two Hussar-class Gunships with an attached Konigsberg-class Battlecruiser
One Squadron of four Stolz-class Destroyers
One Squadron of five Saxony-class Corvettes
One Squadron of four Arminius-class Frigates
Two Wings of five Dive Bomber TFTs

The majority of the Black Wolf Mercenaries sit in the centre, as close as they can to the Prussian fleet
The Black Company port flank is held by a Manticore-class Support Skimmer, a squadron of Reaper-class Attack Submarines, and four Fury-class Corvettes around a ramshackle wooden construction
The starboard flank of the Prussian fleet is dominated by the Pflicht-class Scoutships and the Sturmbringer-class Submarine, which lurks beneath the waves
The centre of the Prussian fleet is held by the Gunship squadron, flanked by Destroyers and Corvettes
The port flank is held by the Imperium-class Sky Fortress and three squadrons of Dive Bombers, with the Donnerfaust squadron in close support
Convoy ships are towed into port, ready to be looted and repurposed
Repair ships work on the latest prize of the Black Wolf
Detail on the central anchorage, with a Titan-class Troop Transport in dock
The remains of the Sachsen are escorted back to the anchorage, as the Black Company rush to defend their base
The Red Viper leads the way, but in which direction?
Multiple Targets! The Death Bringer Submarines slink ahead of the fleet
The Deathshroud ignites the Camoflague Generator, protecting the fleet
Reconnaissance Planes lead the way 
Fury-class Corvettes lead the counter-attack
Sporadic fire from the Scoutships fails to damage the elusive Corvettes
Reaper-class Attack Submarines rush alongside the Corvette squadron
Squadrons of Dive Bombers move forward at full speed
On the Black Company's portside flank, the Manticore-class Support Skimmer moves forward to join the Reaper Attack Submarines and Fury-class Corvettes
The mighty turret of the Manticore causes incredible damage to a Pflicht-class Scoutship, destroying it in one round!
The Prussian commander reveals himself and his vessel
Electricity arcs across the Manticore as the Speerschleuders crack the Ablative Armour
Satisfied, the submarine slinks back underwater
The Imperium-class Sky Fortress lumbers forward
A lucky shot from its Tesla weaponry destroys a Fury-class Corvette
The Corvettes move forward into the shadow of the derricks
Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers enter the fray
Their powerful Speerschleuders destroy two Corvettes
Long range fire from the Destroyers takes out the last Corvette from that squadron
The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser Contemptor moves forward, supported by Fighter Planes
The Donnerfaust squadron comes under fire, suffering damage
The Gunship squadron smashes through the Ablative Armour of the Contemptor and causes serious damage
The second Manticore and the squadron of Reaper Attack Submarines move forward
The Saxony-class Corvettes rush forward in support
Long range fire destroys a Corvette
A slow and difficult turn, both fleets had suffered losses - the destruction of a Pflicht-class Scoutship was a shock, but in turn an entire squadron of Black Company Corvettes had been lost, and two of the Mediums were damaged. Without their Ablative Armour, they would make tempting targets for the Prussian fleet. The Black Company were being surprisingly aggressive considering the strength of their defensive position, and now both fleets would be in close range next turn...


The Death Bringer-class Submarine Grave Warden surfaces
Powerful torpedoes and Fore Guns cripple the Konigsberg
The Grave Warden disappears below the waves
Close Gunnery brings down the Ablative Armour on the Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser Deathshroud, but does not damage the Manticore in the centre or the already crippled Nemesis to their starboard
The Deathshroud opens fire on the Gunships, crippling the starboard Hussar
The Sturmbringer emerges from the ocean, destroying the Manticore on the port flank with its powerful Tesla-weaponry
The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser Contemptor causes a critical hit on one of the Hussars, but is too close to be truly effective
The Donnerfaust Support Cruiser suffers from Black Company turret fire, only held together by its Rugged Construction
The turrets of the Saxony-class Corvettes destroy a Black Company Corvette...
...while Prussian boarding parties scuttle another
The Red Viper emerges from below the waves, crucially too close for its weapon systems to be fully effective. The Konigsberg is still badly damaged, and the boarding parties from the submarine render the portside Hussar Derelict
The Imperium-class Sky Fortress looms overhead
Sturginium Rounds from the Manticore finish off the remaining Hussar-class Gunship, but the Fore Guns fail to damage the crippled Konigsberg
The Stolz-class Destroyers open fire on the Red Viper, causing major damage to the Fore Guns
Torpedoes from the Reaper squadron damage the mighty Sturmbringer
Dive Bombers crack the Ablative Armour of the Manticore-class Support Skimmer
The Pflicht-class Scoutships drop their bombs on the Reaper-class Attack Submarines, destroying one
Black Company Fighter Planes attack the Scoutship squadron, causing critical damage
Dive Bombers launch their attack run on the exposed Red Viper, causing another critical hit with their bombs
The Red Viper is enveloped by flame as the second squadron of Dive Bombers sweep down on it, and the mighty submarine disappears beneath the waves
As an act of defiance, the Marines of the last Fury try to take the Pflicht, but are shot down
The game at the end of Turn Two - both fleets have taken massive damage, but crucially the Prussian flanks are both in good shape
A poor turn for the Black Company, who have smashed the centre of the Prussian fleet but suffered a great deal from the ships on the flanks. The loss of the Manticore on the portside flank was telegraphed in the first turn, but now all three surviving Mediums had lost their Ablative Armour and would suffer in the coming shooting phases. Perhaps most important, the loss of the Red Viper to wave after wave of Prussian squadrons might yet prove the killing blow for the Black Company. 


The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser Contemptor sails forward, finishing the Konigsberg with a brutal Magazine Explosion
The violent death of the Konigsberg destroys two of the Reaper-class Attack Submarines and a Stolz-class Destroyer
The Sturmbringer smashes into a Reaper-class Attack Submarine and opens fire on both of the Nemesis-class Battle Cruisers, destroying the one closest to it, the Contemptor!
In a flare of Sturginium the Deathshroud teleports across the ocean, popping back into existence next to the Sturmbringer!
Reacting quickly, the crew of the surviving Nemesis open fire on the Sturmbringer and cause a critical hit, spreading a Raging Fire through the decks
The Stolz-class Destroyers pursue the Manticore, causing severe damage with their Close Gunnery 
The Grave Warden destroys a Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser with its Fore Guns, while the torpedoes sail on into the second ship and cause critical damage. The submarine then disappears below the waves once more
The Arminius-class Frigate squadron finishes the crippled Deathshroud with their close-range turrets
A wide shot shows the carnage as the second Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser is destroyed
Reaper-class Attack Submarines try to cause some damage to the mighty Sturmbringer, but are ineffective
The Fore Tesla of the Imperium-class Sky Fortress finishes off the last Manticore, and the Black Company concede
Saxony-class Corvettes catch up to the Sachsen and Luftlancers flood the decks
The Grave Warden escapes while it can, leaving the Prussian fleet to claim their prize
A brutal end to a brutal game! It all went wrong for the Black Company in the third turn, as their early losses and the constant pressure across the board from the Prussian fleet proved too much. In the end, Ben reasoned that he had been too aggressive with his fleet, wanting to get close and test out that Devastating Ordnance perhaps too quickly.

In a number of places, this meant his ships were too close to fire effectively, and could also be targeted by a number of different squadrons at once - leading to their demise in rapid succession once the Ablative Armour was lost. At the very end, he realised that by concentrating on getting close and destroying the centre of the Prussian fleet, he had allowed himself to become encircled and trapped, as well as abandoning the objective - the Dreadnought back in the centre of the board.

In turn, I was far more experienced with the Black Wolf Mercenaries and knew what to target first and what I could afford to ignore. This gave me a strong advantage over Ben, who had only seen them in action once before and was convinced they were powerful enough to take on the entire fleet without worrying about the Objective.

Regardless, the Black Wolf Mercenaries still caused a significant amount of damage to the Prussian fleet, earning themselves 550 Victory Points. Even outgunned, surrounded, and in the hands of an inexperienced commander (with this fleet, anyway), they still have teeth!

Make sure lighting conditions are good when recording a Battle Report! Most of the shots toward the Prussian deployment zone were unfortunately very dark, which is a shame.

When setting up a board with so much terrain, try and incorporate it into the game! Virtually none of the dockyard was used during this match.

Black Wolf Mercenaries are dangerous, but if they get too close they lose a great deal of their potential for destruction - especially the Death Bringer Submarines. More than once Ben found himself too close for them to use their torpedoes on the preferred targets. The Prussians suffer none of these weaknesses as their Tesla-weaponry is Secondary, and crucially for this game, the Commodore special ability Close Gunnery helps any Primary turrets.

When choosing my list, I specifically went for lots of vessels with 5HP as they would be able to survive a round of shooting against a Black Wolf vessel (where you inevitably suffer a double critical result) and still operate. This worked a treat, and I would recommend this for any player having trouble with them - lots of Medium-size vessels, preferably with five or more hit points!

The Sturmbringer is just awesome in RB2. Almost every time I have used the Submarine it has been my MVP.

Both of us found the scenario a refreshing experience, and Ben enjoyed using a different fleet. I think he will have a better idea how to use them next time, but for now I think the Black Wolf have made their mark on the Greenland Campaign, and will be taking some time off.

"Grönemeyer recovered the Sachsen and defeated the Black Company at Clavius Point, returning the Dreadnought to the docks at Holsteinsborg where it could be repaired and refitted. The Black Company would play little role in the coming war around Greenland, at least in the year 1872, and spent much of the coming months licking their wounds at Clavius Point. When informed of his lieutenant's failure, Vladimir Nikonov, the Black Wolf himself, merely laughed and mocked the Sea Snake for getting too greedy. 

Of the infamous Sea Snake, nothing was known - the Red Viper was last seen sinking beneath the waves having suffered terrible damage... but this was not the first time the Sea Snake had gone down with his ship...

Thanks for reading,



  1. Throughly enjoyed reading the battle report with my son who also has the PE. He wants to order the Sturmbringer set now. I have told him to wait.

  2. Thanks for the comment! No doubt it'll be worth the wait.