Saturday, 24 January 2015

AAR - The Russian Coalition and Royal Australians versus The Prussian Empire

"The month of January saw the Russian Navy continue their attacks down the Norwegian coastline, searching for the lost Dreadnought Dzerzhinsky, now known as the Markgraf. Following their victory at the Lofoten Listening Station and the capture of several important Prussian scientists who had been involved in the Markgraf project, the hunters moved down past Bergen towards Stavanger. last known port of the great Dreadnought. 

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

Welcome to another Battle Report for Full Spectrum Dominance, and the second official game of the Hunt for the Markgraf. In the last game, the Russian Navy had began working down the Norwegian Sea in their hunt for the Dreadnought, and smashed the Prussian fleet that had sailed out to intercept them. This week, something slightly different as the board would be set with a massive port in the centre. This dense terrain would force a different style of play, very close and personal - playing to strengths of both our fleets.

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
Mike's Fleet
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 White Banner Northern Fleet of the Russian Coalition
My Fleet
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

Royalist Australians of the Kingdom of Britannia, acting to assist the Russian Coalition
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 Rostov-class Destroyers move into close range of the Support Cruiser, but their Fore Guns achieve nothing! Waves of conscripts also try to flood the Assault Carrier, but do not manage to cross the gap between the ships. Hubris may cost them dearly
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
In the port channel, the Prussian fleet has been forced to sacrifice both of their Metzgers to slow the Russian encroachment, and though they have destroyed the Battle Cruiser and Destroyer squadron, their surviving ships are weak and positioned badly
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.

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,


1 comment:

  1. Great battle report, George! And may I say, your table and models look absolutely beautiful. I like the use of the Litko markers; it's good to know someone else out there other than me likes them!

    The Russians always struck me as a tough match-up for the PE; the Prussians don't have the best shooting (it's OK, but not great), and the massive numbers of Conscripts crammed onto Russian vessels seem like they tend to nullify the Prussian's ability to board somewhat. I like your Russian list; do you have any other comments about how did the Australians perform? I haven't gotten mine to the table yet.

    By and by, I took the liberty of posting a link to your blog over on my forums. I'm running a small contest right not for battle reports, and would be thrilled if you considered submitting this one as an entry. Keep up the good work!