En-route, the Russian fleet was joined by more ships from the Kingdom of Britannia, a small flotilla of older vessels that would assist them in navigating the southern reaches of the Norwegian Sea. Their numbers bolstered, the Russian fleet commander plotted a course for the island of Utsira and its small port - there they would wrest control of the dockyards and arrange for refits and repairs, ready to move on Stavanger.
Their course was spotted and reported to the Prussian Naval Command, who immediately ordered one of their Wolf Packs to travel north to defend the port. There, they were joined by two mighty Metzgers from the knightly households of Prussian-Scandinavia, ready to defend their sovereign territory from the Russian invaders.
Battle would be met in the port itself..."
- The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1873
For this game, my small collection of Russian ships was supplemented with 450pts worth of Royal Australians, allies from the Kingdom of Britannia to aid them in their pursuit of the rogue Dreadnought.
Drawing Secret Objectives, Mike would have to destroy all of the Medium vessels in the Russian fleet, while I would just have to take out 70% of the Prussian fleet - probably the easier of the two Objectives.
|Built onto two rocky outcrops, the dockyards sit within the channel between them|
|Several derricks and weapons platforms surround the port|
|The "Wolf Pack" of the Prussian Empire and two Battle Robots of the Teutonic Order of Prussian-Scandinavia|
The Prussian Empire
One Sturmbringer-class Submarine with one Reconnaissance Plane
One Rhine-class Assault Carrier with five Dive Bombers and one Reconnaissance Plane, carrying Elite Crew
One Metzger AUSF-B Battle Robot - The Kampfschwimmer
One Metzger AUSF-B Battle Robot - The Blitzangriff
Three Uhlan-class Cruisers
Two Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers
Two Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers
One Squadron of five Saxony-class Corvettes
Two Squadrons of four Arminius-class Frigates
Two Squadrons of five Fighter Planes
The Russian Coalition
One Borodino-class Battleship
One Dudinka-class Assault Carrier carrying five Fighter Planes and one Reconnaissance Plane
One Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular crew
One Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular crew
Three Suvorov-class Cruisers
One Squadron of five Kazimov-class Corvettes
One Squadron of four Rostov-class Destroyers
Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers
The Royal Australian Navy
Two Victoria-class Monitors
Two Tasmania-class Submarine-Tenders each accompanied by four Crocodile-class Assault Submarines
Four Protector-class Escort-Frigates
|The Prussian deployment is spread to cover the centre and the channels either side of the port, with the two Metzgers and the Rhine-class Assault Carrier dominating the middle|
|The Russian fleet and their Britannian allies are equally spread out, divided into three small groups to tackle a three-pronged attack on the port|
|The Suvorov-class Cruisers hold the port-side flank|
|A wide-shot before the carnage begins|
|On the port-side flank of the island, elements the Wolf Pack begin their attack|
|The Metzgers begin wading into the port, taking fire as they advance|
|On the starboard flank, the Uhlan-class Cruisers and the second squadron of Arminius-class Frigates close on the Russian Assault Carrier|
|The Dudinkaclass Assault Carrier with escorting Battle Cruiser and Corvettes use the cover of the ice to mask their approach|
|Multiple squadrons head for the channel, preparing their Order of Battle to avoid to collisions in the coming minutes|
|The Saxony-class Corvettes pounce upon the Australian Escort-Frigates, destroying them all with accurate turret fire|
|Shot have been exchanged and both fleets are closing quickly. The port braces for the oncoming storm as both fleets deploy their heavy-hitters into the channel|
|The Dudinka takes the initiative and rains fire upon the Cruiser squadron before forming a wall of ice before them. Two of the vessels are severely damaged by the fusillade|
|The Metzger Kampfschwimmer enters the channel|
|Lightning from the powerful Tesla array rips into the Azov-class Battle Cruiser|
|The Royal Australian Monitors deploy the Battle Cannons against the Kampfschwimmer, causing a great deal of damage but far less than expected|
|The Metzgers continue their attack, but poor shooting from the Blitzangriff causes no further damage|
|The Suvorov-class Cruisers rain fire upon the Saxony-class Corvettes, destroying four of them in a brutal attack|
|The Uhlan squadron is blockaded by the ice, but one manages to slip past and drops a Mine in front of the Assault Carrier. The squadron opens fire upon the massive carrier, causing minor damage|
|The Azov-class Battle Cruiser quickly defends the Assault Carrier and destroys the lead Uhlan-class Cruiser|
|The Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers land hits with their Speerschleuders|
|The damaged Battle Cruiser moves to open fire upon the metal behemoths, causing damage to the Blitzangriff|
|The lone Corvette strikes a crucial blow to one of the Russian ships|
|The Russian flagship pours fire into the Metzgers, causing yet more damage|
|The Sturmbringer moves to engage|
|Electricity arcs across their hulls as two of the Cruisers are crippled by Tesla fire|
|The Sturmbringer slinks back beneath the waves|
|Rostov-class Destroyers meet the Metzgers at close range, crippling the Kampfschwimmer to the point of collapse|
|The Prussian Frigates move into close range and open fire upon one of the damaged Suvorov-class Cruisers, hitting the magazine and causing a massive explosion! The vessel is utterly destroyed|
|The explosion rips into every ship in the vicinity, breaking the keel of the damaged Suvorov and nearly destroy the third. The Saxony-class Corvette is destroyed, as well as two of the Arminius-class Frigates|
|The two surviving Frigates are not phased by the violent destruction of so many ships, and launch their Boarding parties against the lone Cruiser, scuttling it after dealing with the defenders|
|Russian fighters try to engage the Prussian interceptors before they can stop the bomber waves|
|Russian Dive Bombers descend upon one of the Uhlan Cruisers, smashing the engines and rudder|
|Prussian fighter planes try to intercept, but are largely ineffective|
|A second squadron of Dive Bombers attack the other Prussian Cruiser, this time scoring a number of critical hits and destroying their target|
|Royal Australian Submarine-Tenders quickly deal with the surviving Arminius-class Frigates|
|The Rhine swings about, preparing to fire the immense Tesla Bombard|
|Kazimov-class Corvettes move to support the Carrier|
|The Arminius-class Frigates enter close range and fire over the ice shelf into the massive Dudinka-class Assault Carrier, damaging the Glacier Generator with their turrets|
|The two fleets have closed the distance and caused some serious damage to one another, though the battle in the centre of the port has barely begun|
|On the starboard flank, the Russian fleet is relentless, stymieing the Prussian squadrons with ice|
|In the port, things are spiralling out of control as the Russian fleet pours more ships into the grinder. The Prussian Empire commits less, content to let the Metzgers take the damage|
|On the far port-side flank, the Australian Submarine-Tenders negotiate the rocky outcrops, ready to try and catch the Submarine|
|The Russian fleet has weathered most of the punishment so far, and the Prussian defenders are on the backfoot. Can they hold the line?|
|The Borodino-class Battleship steams through the port, unloading all three turrets into the Metzgers. Both are finally destroyed, and collapse beneath the waves|
|The Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers run through some tight manoeuvring to present their broadsides|
|Their massed Tesla weaponry severely damages both of the Submarine-Tenders|
|The Dudinka-class Assault Carrier cannot avoid the Mine in its way, but weathers the explosion|
|Fore Guns and broadsides rake the Prussian ships, demolishing the Cruiser and also sinking one of the smaller Frigates|
|The crew of the Assault Carrier launch onto one of the Frigates, scuttling it after dealing with the crew|
|The Sturmbringer surfaces, destroying one of the Submarine-Tenders with brutal arcs of electricity. It also succeeds in holing one of the Crocodiles with depth charges|
|The Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers run some deft manoeuvres within the port, presenting their broadsides and landing a critical hit into the Mimic Generator of the Russian Battleship. Their broadsides also manage to wreck two of the Destroyers|
|As the Prussian Luftlancers destroy the remaining Rostov-class Destroyers, the Australian Victoria-class Monitors cause damage to one of the Support Cruisers with their Battle Cannons|
|As the immense ships batter one another, tiny flyers overhead dogfight - the superior Prussian pilots seem to be winning|
|On the starboard flank, the Azov-class Battle Cruiser obliterates the two remaining Frigates with its immense turrets|
|Prussian Dive Bombers fall upon the damaged Azov-class Battle Cruiser, and destroy it with pinpoint delivery of their payloads|
|The Russian flanking force begins the slow turn around the island|
|Crocodile-class Attack Submarines harry the Prussian flagship|
|Following a brutal Boarding action, the last surviving Australian Marines succeed in Capturing the Sturmbringer|
|The Prussian defence is shattered with the loss of the flagship, and the Russian fleet begins closing upon the last few ships|
|On the starboard flank, the Russian Carrier has destroyed the opposing Cruisers and Frigate squadron, and now prepares to swing about towards the port|
|On the far side of the island, the Sturmbringer is lost to Australian Marines, but the two Support Cruisers prepare to liberate it and deal with the last Submarine-Tender|
|A wide shot of the swirling chaos around the islands|
|The Prussian Assault Carrier prepares a last-ditch defence|
Editors note - at this point the game should have ended as I (George) had achieved my Objective, but we decided to keep playing and finish one more turn
|Kazimov-class Corvettes swarm the Rhine-class Assault Carrier, taking it as their Prize|
|The Support Cruisers continue to fire into the Submarine-Tender, causing another critical blow|
|Their Luftlancers then recapture the Sturmbringer, delivering it back into Prussian hands safely|
|Completing their conquest of the port, the Borodino-class Battleship smashes one Support Cruiser with all three turrets at minimum range, before flooding the decks of the surviving Support Cruiser and Prizing it|
|The crippled Submarine-Tender makes an ill-fated attempt to stop the Sturmbringer escaping, but is too slow|
|The Prussian fleet is broken, and the Russian encircle the island-port|
|The Russians have lost control of the Sturmbringer, but still hold a Support Cruiser and Assault Carrier - fine Prizes|
|The Prussian-Scandinavian port of Utsira is lost to the Russian Coalition, who will plunder it in their search for the lost flagship Markgraf|
The game ended there, with the Russian Coalition scoring an impressive 1,548 Victory Points and achieving their Objective. Mike scored 733 Victory Points but did not achieve Objective, resulting in a RUSSIAN VICTORY.
CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
As usual, a brutal game! Once again, the Russian Coalition has scored a solid victory - obviously they are still immensely powerful in Second Edition.
The Dudinka-class Assault Carrier is an absolute beast, especially in combination with a Battle Cruiser and supporting Corvettes or Destroyers. I cannot imagine swapping it for the larger but less heavily armed Fleet Carrier in the future, despite the relatively weak Carrier capacity.
In turn, the Borodino-class Battleship has not had the chance to impress unless targeting a single enemy vessel. This feels like a bit of a waste of such a powerful ship.
The rest of the fleet performed admirably, and I am loathe to swap anything out when thinking about expanding the fleet. Gunships instead of Cruisers is an obvious choice, but beyond that I do not know - probably a second Battleship for larger games.
Ablative Armour saved me on at least four occasions during this game - Mike was one point off scoring a hit or a critical hit so many times he was cursing it loudly.
The Prussian fleet felt somewhat outmatched, perhaps due to the terrain and placement of certain squadrons. The Metzgers blocked the channel where their support could not shoot properly, and perhaps more gunnery-based ships like the Sturmbringer or a squadron of Hussar-class Gunships would have worked better. As it was, the Robots were simply too slow to get into optimum range and were both destroyed before they could close and get their metallic hands on the Russian ships.
The Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers were great, even in only a squadron of two. The Prussian Navy has a really impressive selection of Medium vessels at the moment!
Overall a good game for the Russian Coalition, and a disappointing performance for the Prussian Empire. Their massed Tesla weaponry just did not have enough punch to damage the Russian fleet, and layout of the terrain split the fleet so they were forced to work in smaller numbers than needed - maybe next time the Prussians will have more open waters to work in, and be able to support each other properly.
"The Russian fleet smashed through the defences of Utsira and scattered the defending Prussian fleet, their Wolf Pack more suited to attacking convoys in open water than holding an island-port from a well-armed and armoured enemy battle fleet. Nonetheless, they had suffered even more damage taking the port, and would need longer refitting and repairing than initially expected.
This was doubly dangerous - their prey had time to escape... or could attack them at anchor, with all the support they could muster in the Norwegian Sea..."
Thanks for reading,