Friday, 31 July 2015

AAR - The Grand Coalition versus The Prussian Empire

"The grand Dreadnought Markgraf had been revealed, and was now loose in the North Sea. Escorted by Baron Grunner's Stavanger fleet and joined by reinforcements out of Toenning, the Hunter Fleet set out to cause havoc along the northern coast of the Kingdom of Britannia, starting with the oil fields beyond the Shetland Islands. 

At the Magnus oil field (once under Danish control but lost in the early months of the War), Prussian reconnaissance spotted a small convoy fleet moving amid the derricks, no doubt carrying supplies and manpower to maintain the production of oil. Concealed by covert technologies, they would attack and claim their first prey! 

Unable to respond in time and aghast at the prospect of losing their oil fields, the Kingdom of Britannia appealed to their allies in the north, the Russian Coalition. Enraged at the mere existence of the Markgraf, they consented to give aid immediately, and despatched a small Battle Group to intercept the Prussians at Magnus. 

The Kingdom of Britannia were assured their convoy would be defended, but the Russians had another objective in mind..."
- 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! After making its début appearance in the last report to smash aside the Russian blockade, the Prussians are free to reave a bloody path across the North Sea, led by the immense Dreadnought Markgraf. Today, we see them attack a convoy of Grand Coalition merchant vessels. 


In this battle, the Prussian Empire move to attack a Grand Coalition convoy, barely defended by the Kingdom of Britannia. The Russian Coalition have sent a force to help defend the fleet, but is this their true intention? Will they be distracted by the chance to destroy the hated Markgraf? Will the Prussians take advantage of this bait? 

For this game, the Prussian Empire was given the Markgraf and 1,500pts to play with, against a 1,500pt alliance of the Russian Coalition and Kingdom of Britannia (represented here by their colonial fleet, the Royal Australians). The Grand Coalition would be given a convoy to defend, which would move at the end of each turn and be able to assist them where they could, but would equally be worth Victory Points if they were destroyed or captured. They would however be worth Victory Points for the Grand Coalition if they managed to escape off the far board edge. 

Deployment gave the Prussians the advantage, as they were the attacking fleet, with the Russian Coalition approaching from the flank to represent their slightly late arrival. 

Onto the game! 

Bombardment Group Slava, in pursuit of the Markgraf
The Grand Coalition - Russian Coalition

One Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship equipped with a Mimic Generator
One Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier equipped with a Glacier Generator and carrying two wings of four Fighter Planes and one Reconnaissance Plane

One Squadron of three Suvorov-class Cruisers
One Squadron of three Chany-class Strike Submarines

One Squadron of four Nikel-class Heavy Frigates

One Wing of five Dive Bombers
Convoy GM-334B, with heavy escort from the Kingdom of Britannia
The Grand Coalition - Royalist Australians

One Cerberus-class Battleship escorted by two Protector-class Frigates

One Squadron of two Victoria-class Monitors
One Squadron of two Tasmania-class Submarine Tenders, each accompanied by four Crocodile-class Assault Submarines

One Squadron of four Protector-class Frigates

One Wing of five Fighter Planes

Operational Assets and the Convoy

Two Apollo-class Support Carriers, each carrying one wing of four Dive Bombers
Five Gigantes-class Heavy Merchantmen - various bulk carriers, container ships and supertankers
One Vulkan-class Repair Ship
Five Hermes-class Light Merchantmen
Six Hercules-class Armed Trawlers
Three Patroclus-class Fleet Tenders
Prussian Hunter Fleet, led by the Heavy Battleship Hetzer II and accompanied by the Dreadnought Markgraf

The Imperial Bond - Prussian Empire

Captured Moskva-class Dreadnought Markgraf
One Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship Hetzer II with Elite Crew

Two Squadrons of three Hussar-class Gunships
One Squadron of three Uhlan-class Cruisers
One Squadron of three Reiver-class Light Cruisers

One Squadron of four Stolz-class Destroyers
One Squadron of four Arminius-class Frigates
One Squadron of four Saxony-class Corvettes

Two Wings of Fighter Planes

The Russian fleet attacks from the flank
The Prussian Empire moves as together, with the Dreadnought holding the flank against the Russian Coalition
The Prussians face war on two fronts 
The convoy is stretched out and vulnerable - will the Russians come to their aid?
A thin line of Australian ships escort the convoy
Battle is joined amid the Magnus oil field
The Cerberus-class Battleship leads the defence, opening fire on two of the Hussar-class Gunships and damaging them both

Return fire cripples the vessel, causing a fusion leak that threatens to consume it if left unchecked
Prussian ships move to intercept the defenders of the convoy, exchanging fire and causing more damage to the Cerberus-class Battleship
Across the sea, the Russian Coalition makes their move against the Prussian fleet. The Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship bombards the Stolz-class Destroyers, obliterating two
The Prussian Destroyers open fire upon the Russian flagship, causing damage to the engines as the Heavy Frigate squadron smashes them with mortar fire
The Markgraf enters the fray, sinking a Frigate with broadsides before opening fire with all five turrets on the Russian Heavy Battleship. It takes massive damage, losing power to the generators and leaving the gun decks ruined
A closer shot of the damage wreaked on the Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship
The Victoria-class Monitors turn to fire on the Dreadnought, causing minor damage, despite all their ordnance
The Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship sails amid the derricks, destroying one Protector-class Frigate with long-range turret fire
The Suvorov-class Cruisers fail to cause any damage to the grand Dreadnought, and in turn take significant fire from the Hussar-class Gunships. All three Cruisers suffer crippling damage
The massive broadsides of the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier shred one of the Hussar-class Gunships in a brutal volley
Chany-class Strike Submarines emerge from the depths, crippling the rudder of a Hussar-class Gunship
The damage proves too great for the Cerberus-class Battleship, and it sinks beneath the waves
The two fleets have engaged, with the Grand Coalition striking in different directions against the Prussian foe
The Prussian attack on the convoy is building steam
The Russian fleet is fixated upon the enemy Dreadnought
The Kingdom of Britannia are feeling outgunned without their allies
The damaged Suvorov-class Cruisers try to stop the Dreadnought, but their turrets cannot damage the immense vessel. Boarding parties ravage one of the Hussar-class Gunships, but it is too late
OPEN FIRE! The Markgraf unleashes hell, destroying the Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship, Nikel-class Heavy Frigate, and Suvorov-class Cruiser, rendering another Cruiser derelict and damaging a second Heavy Frigate. Carnage! 
The slow Monitors are unable to draw a good shot against the Prussian Gunships, and cause no damage
The Hussar-class Gunships move in support of the Markgraf, destroying the last Suvorov-class Cruiser and causing damage to both of the Victoria-class Monitors
Hussar-class Gunships move against the Tasmania-class Submarine Tenders
Hitting the magazine, the Submarine-Tender explodes with force! Many of the closest ships are caught in the blast, destroyed or at least badly damaged
Long range fire from the Chany-class Strike Submarines cripples the gun decks of the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship, leaving it without teeth to enter the fight
The last Submarine-Tender is destroyed
Russian Dive Bombers shred the defences of the Prussian Gunship
Saxony-class Corvettes begin their attack
Without their armed escorts, the merchantmen suffer the Prussian turrets
Nikel-class Heavy Frigates cannot take the Markgraf, and their boarding parties are slaughtered
Firing in all directions, the Prussian flagship still damages a Chany-class Strike Submarine
Dive Bombers finish one of the Hussar-class Gunships closing on the convoy
The boarding parties of the Crocodile-class Assault Submarines launch aboard the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship, but cannot break through the wall of AA fire
The two fleets have engaged at close range
The defenders are lost, and the convoy is now easy prey for the Prussian fleet
The maelstrom rages about the Markgraf
The Chany-class Strike Submarines cause more damage to the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship, and finish another Hussar-class Gunship with their boarding parties
The Markgraf smashes aside two of the Russian Heavy Frigates, but cannot cause any damage to the enemy Fleet Carrier, despite it's immense firepower
The last Protector-class Frigate finishes one of the Hussar-class Gunships in a last ditch attempt to save the convoy
Reiver-class Cruisers destroy two of the Armed Trawlers before they can escape
The Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier launches everything it has onto the Markgraf, capturing it! A mighty blow from the Russian Coalition!
The Prussian flagship swings about to try and retake the Markgraf
Saxony-class Corvettes seek to overwhelm the Apollo-class Support Carriers, capturing one and damaging the other
Brace for Impact! The leading Victoria-class Monitor is dashed upon the hull of the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship
The Prussian Frigates smash one of the Armed Trawlers and try to board the damaged Support Carrier, but are repelled
Easy pickings for the Wolf Pack as they delve into the convoy
Fire from the Prussian ships continues to damage the merchant ships
Sturginium Flare! The Uhlan-class Cruisers' Luftlancers sabotage a vital region of the merchantman, causing an incredible flash of light as the entire ship disappears. It reappears suddenly above the lead Cruiser, smashing into it and breaking apart on impact. The Prussian ship takes significant damage from the sudden collision
A wide shot of the carnage
The battle rages on
The convoy cannot escape the Prussian squadrons in their midst
The Russian fleet circles their prize, as the Prussian flagship struggles to break through
The convoy is surrounded and under grave threat, abandoned to their fate by the Russian Coalition
At the end of Turn Three, the Prussian Empire had scored a total of 1,462 Victory Points, while the Grand Coalition had only scored 1,248 Victory Points. We decided to keep playing and see how things turned out

The Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship launches waves of Luftlancers onto the Markgraf, recapturing it for the Prussian Empire. A key manoeuvre!

Fire from the Speerschleuder damages the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier
Return fire from the Russian Fleet Carrier is ineffective
The lone Uhlan-class Cruiser, having broken off from his squadron, finishes the last Victoria-class Monitor
The other two Uhlan-class Cruisers destroy one of the merchantmen and captures a supertanker
The Chany-class Submarines try to recapture the Markgraf, but their crews cannot break the Prussian defenders
The last Hussar-class Gunship rips apart the closest merchant ship with turret fire
The Saxony-class Corvettes catch the fast movers as they try to flee, destroying a Tender and capturing one of the Armed Trawlers
Arminius-class Frigates damage a container ship as their Luftlancers struggle to takeover the bulk carrier 
Reiver-class Light Cruisers destroy an armed trawler and one of the merchantmen
The Prussian warships wreak havoc amidst the undefended convoy
On the far side of the oil field, the Russian Coalition struggle to contain the Prussian flagship
The battle draws to a close, the convoy is lost and the Markgraf remains in Prussian hands
The surviving squadrons of the Prussian Hunter Fleet
The Prussian prizes, including the recaptured Dreadnought Markgraf
The lost vessels of Convoy GM-334B, sunk by the Prussian fleet at Magnus
The surviving ships of the Russian Coalition and the defenders of the Convoy, battered and unsuccessful in their mission
At the end of four turns, the Grand Coalition had managed to score a total of 845 Victory Points, having lost their Prize the Markgraf and failing to save any more of the Convoy. In turn, the Prussian Empire had ransacked the Convoy, taking many of the ships as Prizes, and also recaptured the Markgraf. This gave them a final score of 1,977 Victory Points. Victory for the Prussian Empire! 


Ouch! The Grand Coalition has been smashed aside by the awesome power of the Prussian Empire and the Markgraf, leaving their convoy unprotected and fleet broken. This was a brutal game for the Russians and their Britannian allies, as the Prussian Empire batted them aside without slowing down.

Distracted by the Dreadnought, the Russian Coalition were unable to assist the Royal Australians in defending in the convoy, and undone by some excellent deployment and fleet choices by Mike, the Prussian Empire proved unstoppable. Despite their powerful turrets and boarding potential, the Australians were no match for five squadrons of Prussian ships, especially with the Monitors out of position. 

On the starboard flank, the Russians were barely able to endure the firepower of the Dreadnought and the Gunships, losing the Heavy Battleship and the Cruiser squadron to bring down the Destroyers, Gunships and, eventually, the Dreadnought. Nonetheless, some bad rolls saw the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship steam through and recover the Dreadnought, denying the Russians an incredible 650 Victory Points. 

The Moskva-class Dreadnought was the sledgehammer I always expected it to be this game, while the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship played second fiddle, suffering an early critical hit that stopped it from contributing much. Nonetheless, it was a tough ship, surviving to the end and re-capturing the precious Dreadnought.

Lacking experience, I did not use the Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship properly, and it was destroyed very quickly. Nonetheless, the broadside on the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier was great - probably the best weapon in the Grand Coalition arsenal this game!

The Australians proved disappointing once again - they were slow, with poor armour, and only their guns and boarding potential (from the Crocodiles, at least) make them attractive. They are an expensive fleet that work best in a supporting role, and obviously cannot be trusted to defend a convoy against an entire Prussian Hunter Fleet! 

This scenario was skewed in the Prussian favour from the outset, but I was surprised how quickly the Grand Coalition were neutered. Some poor rolling in the early stages left the Prussians virtually undamaged as they closed range, enabling them to rip apart the Australian fleet and destroy most of the heavy hitters from the Russian force. 

Once again, the Chany-class Strike Submarines prove their worth. These models are delightfully powerful, and will be a constant feature in future games. 

Merchantmen are surprisingly fast! If the convoy had been defended better, their was a chance more of them could have escaped...


"...failing to work together, the Russian Coalition and the Kingdom of Britannia had been isolated and destroyed at Magnus. Their fleets smashed and the convoy ransacked, the power of the rogue Dreadnought Markgraf had been made abundantly clear. The Britannian Admiralty was livid - rather than hunting down and destroying their lost vessel, the Russians had enraged it, drawn it out into open water, and opened a new front for the Britannian Navy - one they could ill afford as the War escalated in the Atlantic, the Channel and territories beyond. 

For Baron Karl-Ehrhart Grunner, now was the chance to truly make an impact on the World War. His roving bands of Hunter Fleets and Battle Groups would rally behind the symbolic captured Dreadnought, and alongside other grand warships of the Prussian Empire, utterly smash the Grand Coalition in the North Sea..."

Thanks for reading, 


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