Friday, 1 May 2015

AAR - The Kingdom of Denmark and Prussian Empire versus The Russian Coalition

"Anticipating strong resistance, the White Banner Northern Fleet moved against Stavanger in the early hours of the 29th April, 1873. Leading the attack were squadrons armed for naval engagement - Bombardment Group Slava would move into range once the defenders had been smashed aside. The Russian vanguard negotiated the dense minefields of the Byfjorden and quickly came within sight of the walls of the port - but also into range of the defending fleet. 

The limited naval assets of the Kingdom of Denmark had been kept in reserve while the 46th Interdiction Group tried and failed to stop the Russian advance, and now they would be forced to prove their mettle in the shallow waters of the port itself. Their powerful short-range gunnery and skill at maneuvering the dense channels of the port would give them an advantage against the immense, ungainly vessels of the Russian Coalition, but they were few in number. 

In support of the Danish flotilla, the surviving Prussian vessels of the 46th Interdiction Group had rallied once more at Stavanger, their numbers almost inconsequential against the coming storm. Nonetheless, their expertise and still-formidable firepower would prove helpful, especially alongside the Sturmbringer-class Submarine U-113, an unexpected ally under the command of infamous reaver Jürgen Grönemeyer that had snuck past the Russian fleet to aid the besieged port. 

The defenders of Stavanger would have one chance to stop the Russian attack - if they failed, the Bombardment Group waiting in deeper waters would have free reign to move into range and level the city..." 
- The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1873

Welcome to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and another installment in the Hunt for the Markgraf - this time involving the Kingdom of Denmark as the Russian attacks work their way down the coastline. Mike would be borrowing my Russian Coalition this week, while I would bringing my Prussian Empire and Kingdom of Denmark fleets out of retirement. Following the updates to the fleet rosters last week (with the release of the Bombardment Groups) we would have an opportunity to see how the changes affected things. Look to future reports for the first appearances of the new ships, such as the Chany-class Submarines!


Building up a special board to represent the walls of the port of Stavanger, I decided we would play a slightly modified mission. The board was dense with platforms and oil derricks, and the starboard side of the table was dominated by the great wall. Six Objectives were scattered across the table, and would be worth additional points at the end of the game in the case of a Draw. In addition, the Russian Coalition would be able to score extra Victory Points for every point of Primary AD they sent over the walls of the port. The Danish and Prussian defenders would be able to deploy a handful of Minefields in front of the Russian fleet to slow them down. 

Ultimately, few of these special rules would have an impact on the game, but perhaps if Mike had concentrated on bombarding the port instead of shooting the enemy ships, he would have scored more Victory Points? The biggest difference was the modified deployment zones - we ended up deploying on a slant, roughly 32" apart from one another.

We played with fleets worth roughly 1,600pts each. 

Battle Group Sehested, moored at Stavanger and charged with defence of the port
My Fleet
The Kingdom of Denmark

One Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship with Shield Generator

Three Skagerrak-class Gunships - one with Calcification Generator and two armed with Raised Turrets
Three Sigurd-class Cruisers

Two Squadrons of five Korsor-class Minelayer Corvettes

Two Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses with Tesla Generators, each accompanied by one wing of four Fighter Planes

Three Wings of four Fighter Planes

Sturmbringer-class Submarine U-113, under Kapitänleutnant Jürgen Grönemeyer, accompanied by the remnants of the 46th Interdiction Group (officially disbanded and declared lost following the Breakthrough at Byfjorden)
The Prussian Empire

One Sturmbringer-class Submarine

Three Hussar-class Gunships

One Squadron of four Stolz-class Destroyers

The White Banner Northern Fleet
Mike's Fleet
The Russian Coalition

One Borodino-class Battleship
One Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier accompanied by one wing of five Dive Bombers and one wing of three Fighter Planes and one Reconnaissance Plane
One Dudinka-class Assault Carrier equipped with a Glacier Generator, accompanied by one wing of five Dive Bombers and one Reconnaissance Plane

One Azov-class Battle Cruiser 
One Azov-class Battle Cruiser 
Three Tambov-class Gunships
Three Suvorov-class Cruisers
Two Pesets-class Submarines with Target Painters (Primary Gunnery)

One Squadron of four Rostov-class Destroyers
One Squadron of five Kazimov-class Corvettes

Two Wings of five Fighter Planes

In the shallow, crowded waters before the walls of Stavanger, the two fleets clash
Several platforms and derricks sit beyond the walls of the port, as well as a small minefield and several Objectives
The Russian fleet is split by a collection of platforms, with the majority in formation close to the walls
Behind the walls of the port, civilian ships lurk fearfully
The Prussian fleet attacks from the port-side, hidden behind an iceberg and an old weapons platform
The Danish fleet is arrayed before the Russian fleet, with the Gunship squadron held back behind the platforms. The Battleship, Cruisers and Minelayers hold the centre
The thin line of Danish ships looks weak in the face of the immense Russian fleet
The two fleets prepare to engage
The Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses open proceedings
Even at this long range, their turrets damage the engines of the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier - a bold opening shot for the defenders!
The Rostov-class Destroyers arrange their formation and open fire
It is ineffective at this range
The Sigurd-class Cruisers engage the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier, causing critical damage and spreading chaos through the decks. The gunner crews remain calm, however, and open fire in return. Two of the Cruisers are damaged by the powerful guns and mortars as a wall of ice forms to protect the Destroyer squadron
The Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship also opens fire upon the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier, adding to the damage. The Suvorov-class Cruisers pour fire into the Sigurd-class Cruisers, destroying one utterly with a concentrated volley
Korsor-class Minelayers launch forward ahead of the Danish formation, their turrets crippling the Russian Assault Carrier
The first Azov-class Battle Cruisers advances, turrets damaging one of the Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses and broadside cannons sending plumes of water over the decks of the Korsor-class Minelayers
The Skagerrak-class Gunships maintain a wary distance, not prepared to expose themselves too early in the battle. Nonetheless, their immense firepower causes more misery for the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier
The second Azov-class Battle Cruiser enters the fray, bringing down one of the Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses with turret fire
Korsor-class Minelayers speed forward, their turrets damaging the Azov-class Battle Cruiser and crippling the engines
Sluggish with damaged engines, the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier still turns to present the huge weapon decks
Powerful broadsides bring down the second Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortress, robbing the Danish fleet of their aerial support
Russian and Danish fighter planes engage in bloody aerial war overhead
One the other side of the derricks, the Borodino-class Battleship ploughs through the minefield, undisturbed by the explosions in its wake
A broadside from the Battleship damages one of the Korsor-class Minelayers
The Sturmbringer-class Submarine springs the trap and emerges from the deep
Tesla weaponry rips through the Russian flagship
The Stolz-class Destroyer see their chance and close on the wounded beast, but their cannons only cause minor damage
The Gunships are less forgiving, smashing the gun decks of the enemy Battleship and cracking the Ablative Armour
The Russian response is muted, as the Tambov-class Gunships struggle to maneover past the Battleship and draw clear lines of sight. Their turrets only damage one of the Hussar-class Gunships
The fleets begin to engage - the Russians have suffered huge amounts of damage to their Assault Carrier and Battleship, but have scored first blood and destroyed one of the Danish Cruisers
The coming moments will see the battle decided as both fleets enter optimum range 
The Suvorov-class Cruisers take the initiative and sweep into the middle of the Danish vanguard, their broadsides, turrets and boarding parties causing chaos. Six of the Corvettes are destroyed and another is damaged, crippling the Danish plan to block the Russian advance with Mines
Three of the Minelayers pass the Suvorov-class Cruiser squadron and enact their original plan, laying a small minefield before the crippled Assault Carrier and Destroyer squadron. This will no doubt disrupt their advance
More disruption on the port-side as the ruined Borodino-class Battleship closes on the Prussian element, blocking the Hussar-class Gunships and causing damage to the Stolz-class Destroyers. Drunken conscripts launch onto one of the Hussar-class Gunships and overwhelm the defenders, abandoning a ruined Derelict hulk in their wake
The Stolz-class Destroyers sail past the Battleship, though one of their number cannot avoid a collision and is destroyed. The remaining ships fire upon the Tambov-class Gunship squadron, crippling one as their Luftlancers launch upon another - the lead vessel. After a bloody skirmish, the Prussian soldiers rampage through the ship and leave it a Derelict hulk
Russian Dive Bombers descend upon the second Hussar-class Gunships, causing critical damage and starting a fire that ravages the ship
The Kazimov-class Corvettes launch their attack as the Sturmbringer-class Submarine opens fire upon the Tambov-class Gunship squadron. One of the Gunships are badly damaged by Tesla-fire, but the Submarine is nearly overwhelmed by waves of conscripts. They Sabotage the vessel and cripple the engines. Further to port, boarding parties scuttle one of the Stolz-class Destroyers, while one of the Gunships is badly damaged by a collision with a Corvette - friendly fire!
The damage to the Gunships in detail, showing the impact of the Corvette as well as the power of the Prussian electrical weaponry
The Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship fires in all directions, causing damage to the port-side Borodino-class Battleship, the Suvorov-class Cruiser to starboard, and finally destroying the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier 
The Assault Carrier is finished by close-range Danish gunnery
A wide shot of the carnage as the two fleets begin to mingle
Boarding parties from the Danish flagship Sabotage the Suvorov-class Cruiser
The Tambov-class Gunships struggle through the chaos 
Their turrets cripple the Sturminger-class Submarine and smash the crew compartments, while their boarding parties sink one of the Stolz-class Destroyers
The Danish Cruisers make their presence known, swinging to starboard and opening fire upon the damaged Suvorov-class Cruiser. It is destroyed, as boarding parties attack the remaining two Cruisers, kills their crew and leave both drifting, Derelict hulks. A powerful manoeuvre! 
The Danish Cruisers have left themselves exposed to achieve such glory, however, and the Azov-class Battle Cruiser destroys one with turret fire while wrecking the other with waves of conscripts
A wide shot shows the impact of the Skagerrak-class Gunships - their massed turret fire finishes the crippled Borodino-class Battleship and almost destroys the Azov-class Battle Cruiser
The Russian flagship is finally destroyed, having been riddled with turret fire from every direction
Close-range fire from the Danish Gunships ruins the proud Russian Battle Cruiser
Another wide shot of the maelstrom swirling before the walls of Stavanger
Has the Russian attack been robbed of it's momentum?
The Rostov-class Destroyers are engulfed by the explosion of the Mine laid before them. It also consumes the offending Danish Minelayer
The sole surviving Rostov-class Destroyer attacks the Submarine, but the conscripts are killed by the electrical defences of the vessel before they can break through the hull
As the wreck of the Borodino-class Battleship sinks, the Hussar-class Gunships swing to port and open fire upon the Tambov-class Gunships. Concentrated turret fire destroys both vessels, as their Luftlancers scuttle a Kazimov-class Corvette
Russian Dive Bombers attack the Gunships, hitting their target in a crucial area - it disappears in a flash of blinding light!
The Hussar-class Gunship appears above the platforms, crashing into their struts and superstructure with a mighty explosion. The ship is destroyed and the derricks engulfed in flame!
The lone Korsor-class Minelayer of the second squadron lays a Mine before the Russian Battle Cruiser as it zips past
The Pesets-class Submarines finally emerge, their Target Painters locking onto the Danish flagship
Their boarding parties destroy one of the Korsor-class Minelayers as their gunnery struggles to damage a Gunship
The mighty Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier causes critical damage to the Skagerrak-class Gunship with its massive broadsides, as waves of conscripts launch down onto the Korsor-class Minelayer. Far too many of their number are lost, but they destroy the tiny vessel
Aided by the Target Lock from the Submarines, the Azov-class Battle Cruiser fires upon the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship and causes massive damage
The two fleets are battered and bloody
The Danish hold the advantage on the starboard flank, their Gunships and Pocket Battleship causing immense damage to the Russian ships. Nonetheless, the two Russian Battle Cruisers and the Fleet Carrier still have teeth
The Russian attack down the port-side has been costly for the Prussian Navy, but is all but over. Only small number of scattered Corvettes remain - though they do pose a threat to the almost defenceless Submarine
The next few moments of the Russian attack will decide the fate of Stavanger
The Sturmbringer collides with one of the Kazimov-class Corvettes, smashing it asunder as the Tesla-weaponry destroys another two of the vessels. The only Russian vessels left on this flank have no boarding parties left, and are no longer a threat to the mighty Submarine
The Azov-class Battle Cruiser attacks the Danish flagship but is repulsed by flaring Shields. The Skagerrak-class Gunships then prove their worth once more, opening fire at close range upon the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier and utterly annihilating it! The massive explosion rips apart the vessel, debris destroying both a Gunship that has loitered too close and a nearby Danish Minelayer
The incredible destruction of the Russian Fleet Carrier signals the defeat of their attack
The Danish ships suffer in the explosion of the Fleet Carrier, but two of the vessels remain undamaged
They board the damaged Azov-class Battle Cruiser, killing the defenders and taking it as their Prize
A wide shot as the ships of the Imperial Bond begin to mop up
Only the Russian Submarines remain a potent threat
They launch a close-range attack upon the Danish flagship, but again the flaring Shield Generator protects it
In turn, the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship closes on the Submarine squadron, mauling one with turret fire and overwhelming the second with boarding parties - they succeed in Capturing the vessel
Boarding parties from the Stolz-class Destroyer takeover and scuttle the last Kazimov-class Corvette
The last Hussar-class Gunship swings about the rocks and opens fire on the crippled Submarine, destroying it mercilessly
The scattered survivors circle one another at close range
The Russian fleet has been reduced to one damaged Battle Cruiser and a single Destroyer
The ships of the Kingdom of Denmark and Prussian Empire prepare to finish the last Russian survivors
The Azov-class Battle Cruiser closes on the Danish flagship and causes substantial damage, even as it obliterates the Rostov-class Destroyer
Danish Gunships quickly swing about the Prized Battle Cruiser and finish the second with their powerful turrets
The port of Stavanger has been cleared of the foe - only Derelict hulks and Prized vessels still drift in the shallow waters
The Danish fleet has been all but shattered by the battle amid the platforms
The Prussian fleet is equally crippled, but remains defiant
Their success has seen the entire Russian fleet destroyed or captured - a powerful victory for the Imperial Bond
Removing the Prized and Derelict vessels, we see how few ships have survived the battle still operational
The Danish and Prussian fleets must recover quickly to organise their counter-attack and rid their territorial waters of the enemy
Mike scores 1,173 Victory Points and secures two of the Objectives
George scores 1,950 Victory Points and secures four of the Objectives.
Victory for the Kingdom of Denmark and the Prussian Empire! 

Key points that decided the battle -

  • The early targeting and damage done to all of the Russian Large vessels - but without destroying them, so their ruined hulls would block line of sight for the remaining Russian ships.
  • The loss of the Borodino-class Battleship, and crucially using it to keep the Hussar-class Gunships protected from enemy fire until almost the end of the turn - this led to the destruction of the Russian Gunships, one of the most powerful squadrons on the table. 
  • Close Gunnery - where the Russian ships were hitting on 5's at close range, the Prussian and Danish vessels had a comparable amount of firepower, but hitting on 4's. This made a real difference and it was unusual to see the Russians getting out-shot in RB1. 
  • Key boarding actions - the Russians were successful in rendering a large number of Danish and Prussian ships Derelict, but in turn the Imperial Bond were just as effective - and later in the game, when both sides were running out of troops, they had the advantage in activation order and claimed some expensive Prizes.
  • The Danish Gunships annihilating the Russian Fleet Carrier and then Prizing the Battle Cruiser before it could activate, denying Mike two of his most powerful vessels in the final turn. 
  • The failure of several Russian ships to get through the electrical defences of the Sturmbringer, despite it having no crew to defend it - denying Mike a LOT of Victory Points. 

The Kingdom of Denmark - wow. They might be made of paper, but their guns caused an incredible amount of damage, and their good levels of AP were also great in boarding and Capturing several vessels. In particular, the Skagerrak-class Gunship squadron was worth every point - they obliterated the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier in one round of shooting, took down both of the Azov-class Battle Cruisers, destroyed the Borodino-class Battleship and caused no end of misery for the Russian fleet.

The Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship was a worthy addition, able to use the three turrets to engage multiple targets and also soak up firepower with the Shield Generator. The Sigurd-class Cruisers did well to wipe out the entire Suvorov-class Cruiser squadron, though they did get mauled in return rather quickly. The Korsor-class Minelayers were fun, and though most of them were destroyed before they could cause too many Mine-related shenanigans, the survivors caused big headaches for the Rostov-class Destroyer squadron.

I threw away the Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses, which was a shame, but they attracted a lot of fire and allowed the rest of the fleet to close. I would rather lose them than the Gunships, or the Pocket Battleship.

Sharp Turn is an amazing rule in the right situation - and this game had more than a few of those! The tight terrain and the proximity of the enemy ships meant the manoeuvrability of the Danish vessels was really important. The Sharp Turn allowed them to sweep around and get into good positions for their powerful turrets.

The Danish performed a lot better than I thought they would, but I wonder if this was firstly because the Russians are a good match - no long-range shooting allows them to get close with their powerful turrets, and secondly because this table had a lot of scenery for them to hide behind. In the future, against a long-range fleet like the FSA, they might suffer.

The Prussian Empire performed well, especially the Hussar-class Gunships (as usual!). The changes to the Sturmbringer-class Submarine in recent weeks have been unwelcome, but it still provides an impressive amount of Tesla-based firepower. The buffed Stolz-class Destroyers were unpleasant - those guns are really, really powerful at close range now! The Submarine may not be the auto-include it once was, but the Destroyers and Gunships will always have their place on the Prussian roster.

The Russian Coalition were not quite the steamroller they normally are - I would put some of this on Mike being inexperienced with them (and his dice rolls were appalling at points!), but also the terrain split the fleet, trapping powerful squadrons like the Tambov-class Gunships out of the battle for several turns. This game was decided by a number of activations done in particular order, and it came down to a few key rolls going in favour of the Kingdom of Denmark, robbing the Russian Coalition of their impetus and denying them the chance to really start smashing things.

The Pesets-class Submarines were poorly placed and did not achieve much - alongside the Rostov-class Destroyers, they should have been moved to the flanks while the Azov-class Battle Cruisers were placed in the middle. This would have formed a strong centre that would have held the Russian fleet together and allowed them to stop the Danish breaking through the middle and then sweeping around behind the surviving Russian ships.

Overall, a brutal game! A bloody brawl in the centre of the board where, for once, the Russian Coalition did not emerge the victor. I had been thinking it was time I started using my Prussian and Danish fleets more, and this game proved their effectiveness.

"The Battle of Stavanger was hailed as a decisive victory for the Prussian Empire and their allies; the White Banner Northern Fleet had been dealt a blow that would cripple their operations in the Skagerrak for months and, crucially, the location of the Markgraf remained secret. 

Smashed before the walls of Stavanger, the wreckage of the Russian fleet would interrupt shipping from Stavanger and leave the Prussian fleets slow to resupply. Nonetheless, Grönemeyer took what ships he could muster and began the pursuit up the Byfjorden, seeking to reclaim Kvitsøy from the Grand Coalition. Bombardment Group Slava was still unaccounted for - especially the powerful Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship, and in their weakened state the Prussian Empire could ill-afford such a vessel roaming along their coastline. 

For a time, indeed the first time since the declaration of the Hunt for the Markgraf, it looked as if the Prussian Navy held the upperhand. How long that would last was entirely up to their newly-returned and reinstated commander - Baron Karl-Ehrhart Grunner..."

Thanks for reading,



  1. Good to see the Russians get some comeuppance! Nice report, as always. As a Blazing Sun player, I'm with you on Sharp Turn, although you get spoiled by it and it is tough to adjust when using a "normal" fleet.

  2. I love your blog and always direct people here for Dystopian Wars AARs.

    Could you tell me where you got your templates/markers from? The smoke, fire, and blue shot ones?

  3. Thank you very much! The tokens are from Litko