Thursday, 26 February 2015

AAR - The Black Wolf Mercenaries and Chinese Federation versus The Honourable Eclipse Company

"In the wake of the disastrous ambush at the Natuna Archipelago at the hands of the Honourable Eclipse Company, the Chinese Federation redeployed several Battle Groups to scour the islands and rid the South China Sea of these tenacious mercenaries. 

To assist them, the naval commanders of the Federation hired mercenaries from the southern oceans - ships of the Black Company whose loyalty was expensive and motivations unknown. Though unused to using mercenaries and privateers, the advanced technologies of the Black Company would aid them in tracking the hidden bases of the Eclipse Company and bombarding them out of existence.

The Grand Coalition were buoyed by the response of the Chinese Federation - violence would guarantee the service of the Eclipse Company where a more prudent, financial bidding war may have resulted being outbid and losing their contract, but worried at the sight of even more mercenaries being drawn into the chaos of the South China Sea theatre.

At Pulau Salor, Battle Group Hsien would encounter an Eclipse Company Brigade Headquarters, and battle would be joined amid the rocks of the small island, the Black Company leading the initial attack..." 
- The Cauldron: War in the South China Sea
Naval Battles of 1873

Welcome to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and a welcome return for my old opponent Good Friend Ben. This week, Ben has decided to use the same fleet I ran in the last Battle Report (they do belong to him after all), comprised of the Honourable Eclipse Company and the Federated States of America. To face them I have put together a collaboration of Black Wolf Mercenaries and the Chinese Federation - perhaps not the best anti-air ships available, but I had not used the Black Company for a long time and wanted to roll out the Devastating Ordnance!

Featuring 1,500pts per side, the board was set up with lots of small rocky outcrops - nothing too big to give an impression of more open water than usual. A small convoy of merchant ships was positioned on one side of the board, acting purely as terrain, while three platforms were placed on the other side.

Drawing Secret Objectives, Ben would have to score at least 750 Victory Points and destroy all of my Small squadrons, while in turn I would have to destroy or Capture at least 1,050 Victory Points.


The Tennyson-Stanley Brigade of the Honourable Eclipse Company, based off the Middle Natuna Archipelago
Ben's Fleet
The Honourable Eclipse Company

One Elysium-class Sky Fortress with one wing of five Dive Bombers and one Reconnaissance Plane

Three Phoenician-class Scout Flyers
Four Oceanus-class Bombers

Five Hades-class Interceptors

Tartarus-class Assault Hangar with eight Stingray-class Assault Submarines
Two Gadeiros-class Attack Craft Hangar with eight Atlas-class Attack Craft and Guardian Generators

Two Wings of five Dive Bombers

The 7th Destroyer Group out of Singapore, deployed in support of the Kingdom of Britannia
The Federated States of America

One Boston-class Attack Submarine accompanied by six Turtle-class Assault Submersibles
One San Francisco-class Assault Carrier with Rocket Battery, with one Reconnaisance Plane and one wing of five Dive Bombers

One Squadron of four Guilford-class Destroyers

Battle Group Hsien, Third Element of the Nanyang Fleet out of Shanghai
My Fleet
The Chinese Federation

One Jian-class Battleship with Rocket Batteries

Two Wodao-class Cruisers
Three Chui-class Support Carriers each with one wing of four Fighter Planes

One Squadron of four Yue-class Destroyers
One Squadron of three Nu-class Frigates

One Tian Long-class Armoured Dragon Robot

One Wing of Fighter Planes

Mercenaries of the Black Wolf
The Black Wolf Mercenaries

One Death Bringer-class Submarine

One Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Guardian Generator 
One Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Dilation Field Generator 
One Manticore-class Support Vessel with Main Turret, accompanied by six Reaper-class Attack Submarines

One Squadron of four Fury-class Frigates

One Wing of five Fighter Planes


The two fleets engage amid the rocks of Pulau Salor
The Black Wolf Mercenaries form the Vanguard, eager to open fire as soon as possible
The Chinese fleet is more reserved, formed around the Battleship

The Eclipse Company descend from the skies and emerge from the sea
The fleet is spread out thinly

The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Dilation Field Generator launches forward, opening fire upon the Elysium-class Sky Fortress and causing minor damage
Guilford-class Destroyers unleash a hail of rockets, damaging the turrets of the Battle Cruiser
Exposed, the Battle Cruiser is surrounded by Stingray-class Attack Submarines. Though their Boarding parties are beaten back, they Sabotage the gunnery decks
The second Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with Guardian Generator comes under fire from the Devastating Ordnance of the San Francisco-class Assault Carrier, taking massive damage to the crew compartments
Retaliation from the Black Company causes severe damage to the Assault Carrier
Atlas Assault Craft launch a hit-and-run attack upon the Fury-class Frigates, destroying two
The Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser pours fire into the San Francisco-class Assault Carrier, causing even more damage to the stricken vessel
The Sky Fortress swings about
The massive Earthshaker Cannon braces the Frigates, causing damage to one
The Boston-class Submarine rises from the deep and smashes into the Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser, though the Disruption Node is unable to bring down the Guardian Generator
The Deathbringer-class Submarine turns upon the Boston-class Submarine and smashes the rudder with a volley of torpedoes
The Hades-class Interceptors strafe one of the Fury-class Frigates
The Phoenician-class Scout Flyers smash the damaged Battle Cruiser, leaving it a burning ruin
Oceanus-class Bombers finish the Nemesis-class Battle Cruiser with their Fore Guns
Yue-class Destroyers set the Gadeiros Attack Craft Hangar alight, as Fighter squadrons swoop forward
The fires rage out of control and consume the second Battle Cruiser
The two fleets have closed, with the Black Wolf Mercenaries taking the majority of the punishment. Their eager deployment ahead of the main fleet has cost them dearly
The Honourable Eclipse Company prepare their bomb bays
The Chinese fleet prepares to attack in the wake of their mercenaries

The Elysium-class Sky Fortress unleashes the power of the Earthshaker Cannon into the concentration of Destroyers, smashing two vessels
The Deathbringer closes upon the Federacy Submarine, powerful Fore Guns ripping through it
The Phoenician-class Scout Flyers unload their bomb bays upon the Submarine, wounding it as their ordnance damages one of the Destroyers
On the far side, Oceanus-class Bombers descend upon the Nu-class Frigates, wrecking two of the vessels
The Yue-class Destroyers advance down the throat of the Eclipse Company, Boarding parties bringing down two of the Hades-class Interceptors while their flamethrowers ruin one of the Gadeiros platforms
Dive Bombers finish the last Chinese Frigate
Atlas Attack Craft bring down two of the Destroyers with their massed firepower, as the Manticore-class Support Skimmer brings down another of the Hades-class Interceptors
The crippled San Francisco-class Assault Carrier boards the last Destroyer and scuttles it, while its ordnance tries to bring down the Support Skimmer
Chinese Gunships advance
Raking the Sky Fortress with fire, the huge vessel disappears in a flash of Sturginium and reappears far to the rear, facing in the wrong direction! The crew struggle to maintain control of their crazed airship
The Tartarus Assault Hangar damages one of the Gunships
Reaper Attack Submarines destroy the beleaguered Assault Carrier with waves of torpedoes
In return, American Turtle-class Assault Submersibles storm the Deathbringer and take it as their Prize
The Chinese flagship enters the fray, calling upon the Wrath of the Red Dragon and recapturing the Deathbringer from the American Marines. Broadsides damage a Phoenician-class Scout Flyer and bring down an Oceanus-class Bomber, while the massive flamethrowers destroy the Boston-class Submarine
Federacy Destroyers swoop around to re-join the battle
Their rocketry damages one Gunship, and a squadron of Dive Bombers finish it
Chinese Fighter Planes bring down one of the Interceptors
Stingray Assault Submarines swarm the remaining Gunship, but are beaten back
As swarms of Fighter Planes try to bring down the Phoenician-class Scout Flyers, the flames consume the Gadeiros Attack Craft Hangar
The Chinese attack is building momentum, but their mercenary allies are lost and their Destroyer and Frigate squadrons broken
The Chinese Federation cannot capitalise on their meagre successes and order a withdrawal. Once again they have been defeated by the Honourable Eclipse Company
The Armoured Dragon Robot has not yet begun to fight!
Squadrons of Submersibles, Attack Craft and flyers defend against the aggression of the Chinese fleet, while Bombers and airships move overhead
At the end of the second turn, Ben had scored a total of 815 Victory Points and succeeded in his Secret Objective. The Chinese Federation and their mercenary allies had only scored 780 Victory Points and not completed their Objective, leaving the result was a Victory for the Honourable Eclipse Company! A brief but bloody affair. 

The Eclipse Company prove their worth once more! I should have learned Mike's lesson from last week and brought some flyers. As it was, Ben's excellent Swift Manoeuvre rolls left his fleet out of sight and difficult to hit, and when my Chinese fleet entered the fray properly, it was too late and Ben had already scored his Objective.

Advanced Deployment with the Black Company was a mistake! I thought it would be good to get some early shots in, but then I remembered Ben would deploy everything in the clouds or under water, and the two Battle Cruisers suffered for it. The Manticore and the Deathbringer were fine, though the torpedoes were wasted. Losing the mercenaries so quickly lost me the game, as they were worth a LOT of points, and though the Chinese Federation were largely unscathed, they had not yet managed to impact the game in any real manner. 

Small tokens everywhere! The Assault Submarines and Attack Craft caused a lot of damage in this game, and should not be underestimated! They make the decidedly lacklustre fortifications totally worth it for the Eclipse Company. 

The Chinese ships that had managed to get into good positions did well - the Gunships and the Battleship in particular. The Destroyers did well when they had the opportunity to fire, and lit up Ben's fortifications. I was particularly impressed with the Battleship, even if I had to use my Commodore ability early in order to save the Deathbringer from being Prized. Had the game gone on another turn and I not used that ability, the mass Boarding actions across the board would have spelled doom for a large number of the Eclipse Company airships! 

I ignored the signs that Ben was targeting my Small squadrons, and marched them to their doom - losing the game in the process. Whoops!

Well done once more to Ben. The Honourable Eclipse Company are a force to be reckoned with when used correctly, and with some gun-toting allies like the FSA or Indian Raj we think they become even better. In the future I will need to playtest them against a rival Aerial fleet - perhaps the new Aerial Support Group for the Black Wolf Mercenaries when it is released!

"Their fleet smashed in the encounter at Pulau Salor, the Black Company ended their contract the Chinese Federation and disappeared into the South China Sea, deeply angered by the losses they had been forced to suffer at the hands of the callous Chinese fleet commanders. A rogue element let loose into the broiling maelstrom, the future actions of these fell mercenaries would no doubt impact the future of the campaign. But who would draw the advantage?"

Thanks for reading, 


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