Saturday, 30 August 2014

AAR - The League of Italian States and Free Australians versus The Federated States of America

"In the wake of the attack at Pulau Tioman and the loss of the 47th Reserve Fleet, the Federated States of America took a far greater interest in the general disorganisation and rampant piracy crippling the war effort in the South China Sea,. The American command in the area authorised the activation of the 56th Reserve Fleet, resting and refitting in nearby waters, to engage the Chinese Federation and the Imperial Bond directly.

Bolstered by the addition of several newly commissioned cutting-edge ship designs and even one of the mighty Boston-class submersibles, the Reserve Fleet became a formidable force under the command of Rear-Admiral John T. Whiston, and made full speed for the Strait of Malacca where they could pass into the South China Sea past Singapore.

Before they could reach the Strait, they encountered several pirate vessels apparently operating under their own volition. Suspecting ties to the Imperial Bond, especially with the presence of an Italian Hunter Fleet, Whiston ordered the reconnaissance elements of his fleet to track them, and eventually found a small base amid a series of small islands off Banda Aceh. Seeing it as a personal duty to rid the area of such rogues, the order was given to attack..."
- The Cauldron: War in the South China Sea
Naval Battles of 1872
Welcome to yet another Battle Report for Full Spectrum Dominance, and another pair of new fleets playing Second Edition - the Commonwealth of Free Australia and the League of Italian States. Since the release of the new edition, I have attempted to use as many different Nations as possible, and with this AAR (number fourteen for those counting, and fifth since the new edition was released), I have used almost  all of my painted forces at least once. Only the Honourable Eclipse Company to go! In the future I will hopefully get a chance to show off the Russians, French, Ottoman Empire and Indian Raj, plus whatever else I may have decided to add to the collection... depending on how fast I can get them painted!

This week, Good Friend Ben returns to the arena with his powerful Federated States of America, featuring some freshly painted reinforcements - the heavily armed Annapolis-class Battle Cruiser and the seriously impressive San Francisco-class Assault Carrier. Against him, I have chosen to use my Italian fleet for the first time in many, many months, as I am very impressed with their new statistics. Continuing the piratical theme, I have allied them with a selection of Free Australians, tying in with the Pacific-themed campaign Ben and I have been playing, and also allowing me to tick off another fleet to run in Second from my collection. 


Running 1500pts on a 6"x4" table, we can see below the terrain is formed of scattered desert islands, with two small platforms to add a human element, and a small dock or smugglers station in the centre, with three large Merchant tankers moored. Featuring a wide open deployment zone on one side and three points of access on the other, it should be wide open game that will use almost the entire board.

Picking secret Field Objectives, Ben drew Break Their Backs! and would have to Destroy or Capture all of my Medium vessels, quite a difficult achievement given my fleet structure. In turn, I would have to destroy all of his Small vessels. Not difficult given he only chose two squadrons, but if he worked out my Order too early he could quite easily hide his ships and deny me any chance of winning.

With this in mind, we went onto the game!  

Mercenaries of the Commonwealth of Free Australia
My Fleet
Commonwealth of Free Australia

One Bounty-class Battleship

Two Victoria-class Monitors
Two Victoria-class Monitors
Two Sirius-class Submarine Tenders with eight Crocodile-class Attack Submarines

One Squadron of four Protector-class Frigates

Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers
League of Italian States Hunter Fleet
Allied Fleet
League of Italian States

One Affondatore-class Battle Carrier accompanied by six Uccisore-class Assault Craft, one squadron of five Fighter Planes and one Recon Plane

Three Gladius-class Cruisers accompanied by six Uccisore-class Assault Craft

One Squadron of four Cinquedea-class Frigates
One Squadron of four Scutum-class Corvettes
The 56th Reserve Fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral John  T. Whiston
Ben's Fleet
The Federated States of America

One Liberty-class Heavy Battleship with a rocket battery, accompanied by one Springfield-class Escort and upgraded with Elite Crew
One San Francisco-class Assault Carrier with Shield Generator, with one Recon Plane and one squadron of five Dive Bombers, led by an Ace Pilot
One Boston-class Attack Submarine accompanied by six Turtle-class Assault Submarines

One Annapolis-class Battle Cruiser with rocket battery and Shield Generator
Three Georgetown-class Cruisers with rocket batteries
Three Lexington-class Light Cruisers with rocket batteries
Three Lexington-class Light Cruisers with kinetic generators

One Squadron of four Guilford-class Destroyers
One Squadron of four Augusta-class Frigates

Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers

The American Deployment
An imposing formation anchors the centre of the fleet
Light Cruisers and their big brother the Battle Cruiser hold the flank
The Australian and Italian fleets
The two fleets are largely separate, but the Scutum-class Corvettes still squeeze between the Battleship and the Monitors
The Italians hold the port flank, ready to present their broadsides or sweep behind the cover of the islands should the need arise
Set up almost behind an island, the Italians can use their impressive speed to quickly change the direction of their attack

The Sirius-class Submarine Tenders are the first vessels to engage
The Annapolis-class Battle Cruiser is the first to suffer from the power of the Australian energy weapons
Lexington-class Light Cruisers enter the fray
Turret and rocket fire rip through the nearest Sirius, leaving the engines and weaponry in a terrible state
The first squadron of Victoria-class Monitors find their target
In a flare of Sturginium, the portside Lexington disappears. The crumpled remains of the hull reappear to the starboard, before falling into the waves
The damaged Battle Cruiser commits to the fight
The lead Victoria-class Monitor takes massive damage to the main Battle Cannon and the crew are scattered across the deck
Fearful of their extreme firepower, the second squadron of Monitors comes under fire, taking minor damage from the second Lexington squadron
Cinquedea-class Frigates scout through an alternate route
Protector-class Frigates curve around 
Turtle-class Assault Submarines coast ahead
Scutum-class Corvettes wind between the other ships and fire upon the American Light Cruiser squadron, smashing one of the vessels with surprisingly powerful ordnance
Augusta-class Frigates present their broadsides and bring down one of the Corvettes
The Cruiser squadron opens fire upon the FSA Light Cruisers, causing minor damage
The Torpedo Boats move in support of their parent vessels
The Submarine and the Heavy Battleship steam forward, the Liberty opening fire upon the Italian Cruisers
Shields flare and they suffer only minor damage
Torpedo Boats move forward
The Georgetown-class Cruisers follow their flagship
Their fire is far more effective, destroying one of the vessels in its entirety
The Affondatore-class Battle Carrier engages the Light Cruisers and the Cruiser squadron
The Light Cruiser emerge unscathed from the volley, but the Georgetown is not so fortunate
The Assault Carrier enters the fray
The strong Shields of the Battle Carrier hold against the Devastating Ordnance
Victoria-class Monitors pick their target
Catastrophe! Smashing straight through into the magazine of the central Georgetown-class Cruiser, the American formation is wreathed in massive explosion. Despite the ferocity, only a few of the surrounding ships suffer damage
FSA Dive Bombers fly overhead
The Crocodile-class Assault Submarines lurk in the shallows, waiting for their prey
Guilford-class Destroyers move into formation in support of the Light Cruisers
Italian tri-planes move to intercept the American Bomber squadron 
Bomber squadrons from both sides advance into sight of one another
The Bounty-class Battleship prepares to fire
Energy weaponry carves through the hull of the Heavy Battleship
Opening moves - a wide shot shows the two fleets splitting up or converging in different areas
Both sides are bloodied but unbroken, though the Americans have probably suffered more at this point
The American view of the attack
The Italian Frigates continue their flanking manoeuvre 

The Boston-class Submarine appears from beneath the waves
The Disruption Node lands behind the advancing fleet and immediately causes chaos, knocking out all the Generators within range
The powerful Fore Gun then causes critical damage to one of the Victoria-class Monitors
Dive! Dive! Dive!
Attempting to spring a surprise assault, the Corvettes launch their attack on the FSA Frigate squadron. The fail to account for the strong AA firepower of the Frigates and none of the boarding parties are successful
Boosted by their Kinetic Generators, the Lexington squadron opens fire upon the Gladius-class Cruisers and utterly destroys the undamaged vessel
On the other side of the island, the Victoria-class Monitors add further damage to the Battle Cruiser, causing a major fusion leak
In return, the Annapolis causes minor damage to the lead Monitor
Reeling from the Submarine attack, the second squadron of Victoria-class Monitors powers forward and opens fire
The devastating Battle Cannon rip through the hull of the Heavy Battleship
The Guilford-class Destroyers come together and rain fire upon the lead Victoria
The Bounty sights two targets and opens fire, two beams of energy playing out across the ocean and causing major damage to the Georgetown-class Cruisers
The centre of the formation is starting to fray under such heavy fire
A wide shot shows the carnage across the islands
From another angle, we see the extreme range of the Free Australian Battleship
Augusta-class Frigates finish a Scutum-class Corvette while also firing into the Monitors
The mighty Battle Carrier reduces one of the Light Cruisers to floating debris with close-range gunnery
The prow turret also fires upon the Georgetown-class Cruisers, but is unsuccessful at the long range
The ruined Victoria is wounded
Protector-class Frigates come to the aid of their allies, destroying one of the Augusta-class Frigates
The Lexington shows it still has teeth, destroying a Victoria-class Monitor and taking down a Corvette with aft-mounted guns. A violent Boarding action fails to take the second Victoria, but does take down a large number of her crew
The Gladius is unable to avoid colliding with the Affondatore, but manages to still cause damage to the Lexington squadron
The Italian and Australian formation comes under fire once more, but suffers only minor damage
Uccisore-class Assault Craft launch a torpedo attack on the Destroyers, taking out one
Turtle-class Assault Submarines head towards their target
Reckless Australian Boarding crews overwhelm the two Augusta-class Frigates
The San Francisco-class Assault Carrier adds the weight of its Fore Guns into bringing down the Victoria-class Monitor
The damaged Submarine-Tenders coast forward, but cannot draw a target
Georgetown-class Cruisers get into optimum range and finish the Victoria
The Italian Frigate squadron springs their surprise attack, destroying one of the Guilford-class Destroyers with powerful turret fire
A wide shot as the noose tightens around the American fleet
Dive Bombers cause a massive fusion leak in the Victoria's engine room
Italian Fighter Planes intercept a squadron of American Dive Bombers
Australian Dive Bombers swoop down onto the the Lexington-class Light Cruiser
On the other side of the island, another squadron of Dive Bombers finish a damaged Lexington
With the Lexington sinking, the Uccisore-class Assault Craft have room to pass through and target another Destroyer, bringing it down with volleys of torpedoes
A wide shot of the chaos swirling amid the desert islands
A powerful thrust from the central formation of the American fleet has caused major damage to the pirate fleets, but the Australians are coming around their flank while the Italians still hold the centre
The massive damage sustained finally overwhelms the Annapolis 
The fusion leak within the Victoria is not contained and the ship disappears beneath the waves
The Australian and Italian fleets move to surround the American flotilla
The central formation is battered but still holding, while the rest of the American fleet lies in tatters. Turn Two saw major losses for both sides, and now the squadrons of Assault Craft and Attack Submarines are entering the fray

The Battle Carrier opens fire on multiple targets, destroying the last Lexington-class Light Cruiser on this side and the last Guilford-class Destroyer, but failing to damage the crippled Georgetown-class Cruiser. A powerful opening salvo
The American Assault Carrier replies in turn, Devastating Ordnance ripping through the Battle Carrier and causing damage
Italian Frigates open fire at point blank range upon the Heavy Battleship, causing incredible amounts of damage and nearly sinking the vessel
The Gladius-class Cruiser fires upon the Boston-class Submarine and manages to damage it, but the crew are then overwhelmed by Marines from the Turtle-class Assault Submarines
They Sabotage the vessel, and leave it resting on the ocean floor
Protector-class Frigates finish the last Light Cruiser with their turrets
Uccisore-class Torpedo Boats swarm between the huge American vessels, but their torpedoes are ineffective
The beleaguered Heavy Battleship attempts to dissuade the Frigates from their attack, but is unable to damage them
The Bounty-class Battleship sails behind the Italian Battle Cruiser and opens fire with the two energy turrets, destroying the Georgetown-class Cruiser and breaking the keel of the Heavy Battleship. Another killing blow for the American fleet
The American formation is broken with the loss of the flagship 
With this massive loss, the American fleet is almost surrounded. They fight on, however, with the last squadrons of Dive Bombers causing major damage to the Battle Carrier
The American survivors attempt to disengage, their attack on the pirate base a disaster
The American fleet may be shattered, but the Australians and Italians have suffered major losses
With the loss of so many Capital ships, we see the small squadrons of Torpedo Boats and Attack Submarines dominate the field
Parting shot, the last survivors face difficult odds
In the end, the piratical alliance had scored 1210 Victory Points and destroyed all of the Small vessels, which was their stated Field Objective. The Federated States of America only (!) scored 945 Victory Points, and failed in their mission to smash my Medium squadrons - something Ben would have achieved had he hunted down the Submarine-Tenders! A hard-fought game, one made difficult for Ben because of the mission.

Ben enjoyed using his new ships a great deal, especially the Devastating Ordnance on the Fore Guns of the Boston and the San Francisco. The Disruption Generator with the Node Projector was another cool trick that he used to crippled the defences of the Italian ships. Thoroughly impressed with the Submarine, his next game involves taking two of these beasts!

In turn, I found the Italian fleet to be incredibly potent, and this was without even using their Hit & Run abilities to their full potential. In a future game I would love to use a full 1500pts worth of League vessels, though this will involve painting a few more ships. On a table with lots of small islands, the shenanigans could be very annoying for my opponent!

The Free Australians, as I have always found, suit my playstyle well and being able to sit back allowed them to distract the American fleet with Monitors while the Bounty and the other supporting elements of the fleet did their stuff.

The mission was a difficult one for the American fleet, though I do not know if the result would have been any different if we had simply played till one of us lost 70% of our respective fleet. The Australians and the Italians complement each other well, and have some incredibly potent long and short range firepower, on reasonably well-built hulls.

Ben says he was not impressed with the Liberty, and feels a Shield Generator may be the best option to give it some staying power while trundling forward and getting stuck in. The Rocket Battery is just not powerful enough to justify the ship sitting at the back, and the loss of the protection offered by a Shield Generator (3) is difficult to ignore.

He was, however, impressed with the Lexingtons, especially the incredible speed put out by the squadron equipped with Kinetic Generators. They will no doubt be making another appearance!

So there we are, another valiant loss for Ben but a fun game and a lot learned, for myself with the new fleets in the new Edition, and for Ben with his new favourite ships - the Boston and the San Francisco.

" the Chinese Federation committed further resources into the South China Sea and attacked the island chains to the south, the Federated States of America were unable to assist their allies. The damage suffered by the 56th Reserve Fleet and the loss of the 47th were blows they had not planned to suffer and could not endure, especially given the need for ships and weaponry in the south Pacific. The rogue Italian Hunter Fleet and the Australian Mercenaries still roamed the Andaman Sea, and their movements began to attract suspicion - were they operating autonomously, or were mysterious benefactors, as yet unseen in the South China Sea, involved? Coalition spies found no connection to the Chinese Federation, and the possibility of something beyond Chinese aggression lurking in the waters was not something the Grand Coalition could afford to ignore..."

Thanks for reading,


1 comment:

  1. nice AAR as always and I thoroughly enjoy looking at all those incredible beautiful fleets!
    Good to see some Italians and AUstralians and I agree with Ben about the Liberty which aI found a but underwhelming so far. Forget the rockets and either run it with the shields or a kinetic generator...also glad to see the Lexingtons which seem to be shunned or deemed to weak. I like them, especially as flanking force with an kinetic generator! :)