Saturday, 26 March 2016

AAR - The Kingdom of Denmark versus The Russian Coalition

"For many months the Markgraf had been held at the Prussian port of Bremerhaven, safe from the vengeance of the Russian Coalition and their allies. A fortified city zealously defended by the Prussian Empire, Bremerhaven was considered unassailable by most military tacticians. For many, the only option was patience - to lure the Markgraf out into open water once more where they could have their chance to retake the vessel. 

The Russian Coalition were not famed for their patience, however, and the Tsar demanded that this costly pursuit come to an end and Russian pride restored. He ordered massive reinforcement for the White Banner Northern Fleet, diverting flotillas, squadrons and entire Battle Groups into the North Sea. Plotting their attack upon Bremerhaven, they were bolstered by the immense siege-engine, the Petrushka. The power of the Sturginium-powered Bombard on its shoulder would shatter the harbour walls of Bremerhaven and force the Markgraf out into the water, or be destroyed in anchor. 

Attempting to avoid the attentions of the Teutonic Order patrolling the shores of Norway, the Petrushka travelled down through the storms and swells of the North Sea. Accompanied by Battle Group Kreml, it built up a strong pace that would carry it south and straight into the walls of the Prussian port. 

First however, it would have to break through the minefields of the Kingdom of Denmark..."
- The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1874
Welcome to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and a return to the North Sea as the Hunt for the Markgraf heats up! With the Markgraf hiding in the Prussian port of Bremerhaven, the Russian Coalition have lost their patience and deployed an immense Dreadnought-Robot to attack the city... but first it needs to get to the walls, and the Kingdom of Denmark are standing in the way! 

This game will see the first appearance of the mighty Petrushka, and the first time Mike will be running the Kingdom of Denmark. Quite a challenge for him! This game was set at just over 1,500pts, and the scenario chosen from the Ironclad Scenario Pack, as discussed below...


THE SCENARIO
We returned to the excellent Ironclad Scenario Pack by Drachenfutter for the scenario, as I wanted something a little special for the introduction of the Petrushka. Nothing too crazy (like the Fusion Leak some weeks past), but suited to the close-range brawling nature of the fleets. 

We settled on "Royal Couple," a fairly simple scenario (but one we had not tried before), where the centre of the board was dominated by two zones. These zones would require squadrons present in both zones at the same time to gain Scenario Points, with more points awarded for larger "pairs." The key here is that you cannot deny your opponent gaining the points without destroying his vessels, but must commit everything to the middle of the board to score - this should be a bloody match! 

The presence of the Petrushka was not a surprise for Mike, and he was given some warning before choosing his list. Whether he took this into account is something worth thinking about...

THE FLEETS
The Russian Coalition
Petrushka - Svarog-class Dreadnought-Robot with Istomin Bombard Cannons

Kreml - Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier with Glacier Generator, carrying one wing of four Fighter Planes and one wing of five Fighter Planes

Rogatina Squadron - one Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular crew accompanied by three Veliky-class Escorts
Pevek Cruiser Squadron - one Tambov-class Gunship and two Suvorov-class Cruisers
Shashka Squadron - one Tiksi-class Support Cruiser and three Novgorod-class Frigates

One Squadron of five Kazimov-class Corvettes
One Squadron of four Rostov-class Destroyers
One Squadron of three Chany-class Strike Submarines

Two Wings of five Fighter Planes

This fleet was not chosen without the scenario in mind - I wanted to focus on bringing a good mix of squadron types and sizes, and try out all of the Specialist Squadrons. As well as the Petrushka, I also wanted to run the newly-painted Rogatina for the first time. Three Medium, three Small and two Massive squadron should help in this scenario, luckily! I went for Fighter Planes (initially) as the Kingdom of Denmark have a reputation for fielding a LOT of tiny flyers. 
The Petrushka follows in the wake of Battle Group Kreml as they move south against the Kingdom of Denmark and their Prussian allies
The Kingdom of Denmark
One Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier with Shield Generator, carrying one wing of five Fighter Planes, one Reconnaissance Plane, and accompanied by six Tyr-class Assault Craft
One Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship with Shield Generator and Aggressive Crew

Tung Squadron - one Skagerrak-class Gunship with Calcification Generator and two Sigurd-class Cruisers
One Squadron of three Skagerrak-class Gunships with Raised Turrets

Two Squadrons of five Korsor-class Minelayer Corvettes
One Squadron of four Korsor-class Minelayer Corvettes

One Squadron of two Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses with Tesla Generators, each carrying one wing of four Dive Bombers
One Squadron of four Magni-class Assault Airships

Two Wings of five Fighter Planes

Mike's fleet was compact, restricted by my collection of Danish vessels and choosing not to take any Lend-Lease models from the Prussian roster. The Magni-class Assault Airships were a new addition, while the Tung Squadron would see battle for the first time. This was the first outing for the Danish since their updates some weeks ago. 
Battle Group Adglek of the Søværnet, out of Frederickshavn
DEPLOYMENT
Caught out by the swift reactions of the Danish fleet, the Russian Coalition is forced to meet them amid the rocks
Two oil derricks mark the contested territory - both must be controlled for victory
The Danish fleet moves around the rocks, a tight formation of Corvettes and capital vessels ready to spread out to intercept the Russian attack
The Russian fleet has split into two - the Petrushka leads the majority of the fleet while the Kreml is escorted by Shashka Squadron and the Destroyers
Tentative opening moves - the two close-range fleets are initially too far away to cause much damage, but the Chany-class Strike Submarines surface to destroy one of the Korsor-class Minelayers
Swarms of Fighter Planes lead the Danish attack
The Russian fleet moves at full speed
Rostov-class Destroyers position themselves to fire
Another Korsor-class Minelayer is destroyed by long-range ordnance
As the Kazimov-class Corvettes curl around the rocks, the Petrushka enters the fray
Incredible violence from the immense Bombard destroys an entire squadron of Korsor-class Minelayers!
The stunned Danish fleet struggles to retaliate, long-range turret fire glancing the Rogatina Squadron
Bracing for impact without fear, the rest of the Danish fleet advances 
Turret fire is weak at this range, but does land a good hit on one of the Kazimov-class Corvettes
SCENARIO POINTS - TURN ONE
RUSSIAN COALITION - 0
KINGDOM OF DENMARK - 0

With no squadrons within range of both zones of control, neither fleet scored Scenario Points for Turn One

TURN TWO

Korsor-class Corvettes boldly launch themselves forward, destroying one of the Veliky-class Escorts from Rogatina Squadron and placing a collection of mines around the oil platform
Rostov-class Destroyers attack the Tung Squadron, badly damaging the Skagerrak-class Gunship
Rogatina Squadron takes more fire from the Danish Gunships, the Azov-class Battle Cruiser suffering heavy damage from their turret batteries
The Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier presents her broadside, but has misjudged the distance and is out of range
The Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses pour more misery into Rogatina Squadron
Aerial war! Squadrons of Fighter Planes engage bloodily
Tung Squadron is ineffective, only managing to sink a single Rostov-class Destroyer
Shashka Squadron makes their move, and pours fire into Tung Squadron. They score a number of significant hits on the crew decks of two vessels
Kazimov-class Corvettes, supported by a wing of Fighter Planes, secure an oil platform
The sinister Chany-class Strike Submarines spring their attack on the Gunships, damaging one badly
Rogatina Squadron advances at full speed, opening fire upon the Skagerrak-class Gunships and causing further damage, and then destroying all three of the Korsor-class Minelayers with a combination of gunnery and boarding parties
The Pevek Cruiser Squadron moves in support, their firepower smashing into one of the damaged Skagerrak-class Gunships
The Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship cripples the lead vessel of Rogatina Squadron
The Petrushka wades forward, Bombard causing critical damage to the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship as the wrist-mounted cannons destroy one of the Skagerrak-class Gunships
Korsor-class Minelayers plant their charges before the Kazimov-class Corvettes, while their turret fire scores a number of critical hits on the Tambov-class Gunship - almost destroying it!
The Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier joins the battle, a Magnetic Pulse pushing the mines out and into the Russian squadrons! Carnage as the explosions rip through the Russian ships!
Three Kazimov-class Corvettes and an unlucky Korsor-class Minelayer are consumed in the blast at the southern platform
Rogatina Squadron is obliterated in similar fashion - the power of Danish mines is staggering!
Despite their early successes, the Russian advance has been crippled by the power of the Danish mines
The Danish fleet is badly damaged, but still has a lot of fight left in them!
SCENARIO POINTS - TURN TWO
RUSSIAN COALITION - 0 (0)
KINGDOM OF DENMARK - 1 (1)

The losses suffered by the Russian Coalition have prevented them from scoring this turn - a potentially crucial blow!

TURN THREE
The Petrushka takes the initiative and unleashes hell into the Skagerrak-class Gunships and the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship once more. The vessels all take serious damage, but are not destroyed
Skagerrak-class Gunships move against the Petrushka, their close-range turret fire penetrating the armour and damaging the drives on its mighty rending claws. The Beast is wounded!
Chany-class Strike Submarines smash the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship, hitting the Sturginium-powered Shield Generator and causing the vessel to flare out of reality! It crashes back some distance astern, quickly sinking beneath the waves
Tung Squadron makes a bold attack, their turret fire crippling the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier with brutal efficiency, as their boarding parties scuttle one of the Rostov-class Destroyers. They plant a cluster of mines in their wake
The Pevek Cruiser Squadron attacks, but unable to link fire with the Gunship they cannot damage the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier. Nonetheless, they destroy a Korsor-class Minelayer and render the Skagerrak-class Gunship behind them a drifting hulk with their boarding parties
The Korsor-class Minelayers move against Shashka Squadron, destroying one of the Novgorod-class Frigates as their boarding parties sink the last Kazimov-class Corvette
Shashka Squadron opens fire in all directions, finishing the Skagerrak-class Gunship, crippling one of the Sigurd-class Cruisers and destroying two of the Korsor-class Minelayers with boarding parties and aggressive broadside batteries
Magni-class Assault Airships descend from on high, dropping a cluster of mines before Shashka Squadron and boarding the Rostov-class Destroyers. They scuttle one of the vessels
The Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier swings about, broadsides chewing apart the Korsor-class Corvette and Sigurd-class Cruiser while their boarding parties bring down one of the Magni-class Assault Airships
The last Rostov-class Destroyer hits the mine to port and is obliterated
Fire from the Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses breaks through the armour of the Petrushka once more!
The Danish Commodore once again sends out a Magnetic Pulse that sends a cluster of mines into Shashka Squadron. The explosion hits the magazine of the Tiksi-class Support Cruiser, and it explodes! Shashka Squadron is destroyed, bringing down one of the Magni-class Assault Airships with it. The Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier is damaged in the massive detonation
The other mine does not damage the mighty Petrushka, but finishes the drifting hulk before it
As the mines wreak havoc on the Russian fleet, the turrets of the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier destroy the Tambov-class Gunship
Tyr-class Assault Craft overwhelm one of the Suvorov-class Cruisers, rendering it derelict
The horror of the Danish attack continues - the Russian advance has been stalled and their squadrons smashed
The cost for the Danish has been great, however - at the southern platform, only a small number of vessels remain
The northern platform is not much better, but can the power of the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier and the two Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses overpower the monstrous Petrushka?
SCENARIO POINTS - TURN THREE
RUSSIAN COALITION - 3 (3)
KINGDOM OF DENMARK - 1 (2)

The Russian fleet has been badly damaged, but both of their Massive units are scoring, giving them a big boost!

TURN FOUR

The Petrushka launches another attack, this time damaging one of the Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses and causing minor damage to the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier. Not enough!
The damaged Skagerrak-class Gunship moves behind the Petrushka, but cannot break the massive armoured shell alone, even at this range. It lays a mine in the path of the Chany-class Strike Submarines
The lone Suvorov-class Cruiser launches a bold boarding assault on the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier, drunken conscripts rampaging through the decks and sabotaging the Shield Generator! Turret fire also cripples the damaged Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortress
The last Sigurd-class Cruiser moves into close-range of the Kreml, point-blank turret fire crippling the mighty vessel
The battered Russian flagship fails to damage the Danish Battle Carrier, but Ack-Ack brings down one of the Magni-class Assault Airships and boarding parties smash the last Sigurd-class Cruiser
The Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses pour their fire into the Petrushka
The war-engine rocks as their fire ignites the magazine, crippling the beast but not destroying it
The mine is ignited as the Chany-class Strike Submarines move forward, crippling one and destroying another in a flash of white light. The surviving Strike Submarines damage the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier as their comrade is smashed on the rocks to stern
A flash of Sturginium sees the death of one of the Chany-class Strike Submarines
Dive Bombers swarm the lumbering behemoth, and the Petrushka falls beneath the waves - an ignominious end for this mighty war machine
The Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier causes damage to the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier, but cannot finish it!
A newly replenished squadron of Dive Bombers descends upon the last Suvorov-class Cruiser, almost destroying it!
SCENARIO POINTS - TURN FOUR
RUSSIAN COALITION - 2 (5)
KINGDOM OF DENMARK - 1 (3)

The surviving Suvorov-class Cruiser gives the Russian Coalition the edge they need. we elected to play another turn

TURN FIVE
Chany-class Strike Submarines pour more fire into the defenceless Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier, crippling it
The Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier turns about, destroying the Suvorov-class Cruiser and sending it out of reality in a flash of light, but the damaged turrets cannot finish the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier
The Kreml moves forward to shield itself from the Danish fleet, but is harried and finally destroyed by the last Skagerrak-class Gunship
Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortresses successfully target and destroy one of the Chany-class Strike Submarines
Tyr-class Assault Craft move in support of their flagship as the Danish fleet assumes control of the area
The Danish fleet regroups, and the last Russian vessel slinks beneath the waves
SCENARIO POINTS 
RUSSIAN COALITION - 0 (5)
KINGDOM OF DENMARK - 2 (5)

A last grab by the Kingdom of Denmark secures crucial points, and denies the Russian Coalition a Pyrrhic victory

AFTERMATH
The battered remnants of Battle Group Adglek withdraw to their home port for refit, repair and reinforcement
A lone Chany-class Strike Submarine flees the area
At the end of five turns, the Russian Coalition had scored 1,135 Victory Points and Five Scenario Points, but the Kingdom of Denmark had performed slightly better - 1,750 Victory Points and Five Scenario Points. Tied on Scenario Points, the margin of victory was nonetheless enough for this to be declared a VICTORY for the Kingdom of Denmark!

CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
The Svarog-class Battle Robot - how did it do? 
  • Held the Objective Zone for one turn - securing three Scenario Points
  • Destroyed four Korsor-class Minelayer Corvettes in one shot
  • Four points of damage on the Raggnarok-class Pocket Battleship
  • One point of damage to a Skagerrak-class Gunship, destroying it
  • Two points of damage on another Skagerrak-class Gunship
  • Two points of damage on a Fafnir-class Light Sky Fortress
  • One point of damage on the Asgard-class Heavy Battle Carrier
Before being destroyed in almost one turn by a squadron of Gunships, a pair of Light Sky Fortresses and a squadron of Dive Bombers. Ouch. 

The Petrushka can take a lot of fire, but the Danish are kings of Range Band One, and the amount of dice they can throw is incredible when they get in the right position. A lucky critical hit taking four points of damage off him and the aerial superiority inherent in the Danish fleet meant I was struggling to keep him alive later in the game. Perhaps he should have been held back a bit longer, or been deployed closer to the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier to get more aerial defence, but this might have scuppered my chances to score Scenario Points. 

Overall I probably should have held back a bit longer with the entire fleet - the Danish mines slaughtered me as they were propelled into my nicely bunched squadrons. They are really nasty! Usually I am the Danish player rather than the victim, and it was impressive to be on the receiving end. 

A number of key critical hits and good rolls really scuppered my chances - the Chaos and Disarray stopping my Tambov-class Gunship from Linking fire, for example, but overall I feel Mike had the upper hand for most of the game. It started so well, but once the Rogatina Squadron was destroyed I was fighting an uphill struggle! 

The Chany-class Strike Submarines, Shashka Squadron and the Kostroma-class Fleet Carrier stood out for me today - reliable amounts of dice, and tough when it counted. Shashka Squadron will be making a future appearance (though avoiding mines where they can!), while the Chany's continue to make the Rostov look obsolete. 

The Danish fleet continues to impress - the Asgard remains a must-take, and the new addition of the Magni-class Assault Airships brought even more mines to the field! Their boarding parties were not so impressive in this game, but I imagine they would cause trouble with better dice. 

The fleet is light, and with better fire at longer ranges they would really struggle on a board like this, but luckily they were faced with a fairly short-range Russian fleet. Against another fleet, I am not so sure they would survive.

The firepower of the entire fleet is really something to behold, and I should have done more to stop them. Destroying the Raggnarok was one thing, but not finishing the Skagerraks allowed them to Link their fire and cause serious damage to the Petrushka, as well as drop mines that smashed the Chany-class Strike Submarines. 

Overall a lot of fun, and a really nice scenario for these two brawler fleets! The Petrushka needs a bit more practice, but will have to be dragged from the ocean floor first! 

THE NARRATIVE
"Battle Group Kreml and the Petrushka were halted and all but destroyed by the Danish fleet at the mouth of the Skagerrak, a deep shock for all concerned. Once again, the tenacity of the Prussian Empire and their allies was stifling the Russian efforts in the North Sea, and their efforts to pursue the Markgraf were fast making them a laughing stock across Northern Europe. Pushing back their plans for Bremerhaven, the White Navy instead moved their focus to Agger and the hulk of the Petrushka - first they would recover their mighty war machine, and then they would smash the Prussian fleets once and for all..."


Thanks for reading, 

George

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