"The attack upon Bremerhaven was launched at the beginning of summer, as the waters of the bitter North Sea began to warm and the Russian fleets held in the ice of the Kara and Berents Sea could begin to head south. The Petrushka was with them, and none could stand before its wrath as the incredible power of the Sturginium-powered Bombard was unleashed upon the defences of the port.
The Curtain Wall - first line of defence for Bremerhaven but weak in the face of concentrated Russian bombardment - was sundered in mere hours. The attack continued, driving great rents in the structure that would allow an entire fleet to sail through and into range of the city itself.
The Prussian retaliation was swift - even as the Bombardment Group prepared to withdraw to allow the next wave of Russian ships to attack, their interceptors leapt upon them. Leading elements of the 76th Iron Fleet, lead by the rugged SMS Kronprinz and the belligerent SMS Hetzer II would catch them before the walls.
Whether they had the firepower to deal with the Petrushka was another question entirely..."
- The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1874
Welcome to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and one of the final games of the Hunt for the Markgraf campaign. Things hot up as the Russian Coalition begin their attack on the port of Bremerhaven, using their powerful mortars to bring down the outer Curtain Wall. The Prussians have dispatched a fleet to intercept them, but will it be enough? Can their massed gunnery match the immense power of the Svarog-class Dreadnought-Robot?
|The fleets engage amid the ruins of the Curtain Wall|
This week we chose something fairly standard - the standard Free to Engage Fleet Orders for both sides. This would mean the first to achieve 1,050 Victory Points would be the winner. The only major difference in this game would be the terrain - the broken Curtain Wall of Bremerhaven would divide the board, and the fleets would play down the board length-ways.
The Russian Coalition
|Bombardment Group Slava and the Petrushka - tasked with breaking the Curtain Wall of Bremerhaven|
Slava - Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship with Regular Crew
Shashka Squadron - one Tiksi-class Support Cruiser accompanied by three Novgorod-class Frigates
Rogatina Squadron - one Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular Crew accompanied by three Veliky-class Escorts
One Squadron of three Tiksi-class Support Cruisers
One Squadron of five Kazimov-class Corvettes
One Squadron of four Nikel-class Heavy Frigates
Two Wings of five Fighter Planes
This list was based around the Strike Flotilla with the addition of Shaska Squadron and the Petrushka to really carry forward the theme of bombardment. I wanted to make their intention to shatter the Curtain Wall quite clear! The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers were there because I had painted them recently more than anything. The Kazimov-class Corvettes made up the numbers and would threaten anything that came too close, while Rogatina Squadron brought the usual impressive firepower - lead with these two while the rest moved up in support and bombarded the Prussians out of the water!
Overall it was not a usual tournament-winning force, but themed nicely and I hoped it would work to bring down some defences. I had big hopes for the Petrushka and the new squadron of Tiksi-class Support Cruisers, but was not sure about the Nikel-class Heavy Frigates.
The Prussian Empire
|Lead elements of the 76th Iron Fleet, based at Bremerhaven and dispatched to defend the Curtain Wall|
SMS Kronprinz - Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship with Elite Crew
SMS Hetzer II - Emperor-class Battleship with Elite Crew, accompanied by three Wachter-class Escorts
One Squadron of three Uhlan-class Cruisers
Two Squadrons of three Hussar-class Gunships
One Squadron of four Stolz-class Destroyers
One Squadron of five Saxony-class Corvettes
Two Wings of five Fighter Planes
Mike's fleet was chosen with gunnery and boarding in mind - the massive batteries of the Hussar-class Gunships and the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship caused me a lot of consternation, while the Boarding Torpedo in the form of the Emperor-class Battleship and the Wachter-class Escorts could attack and win in any combat. This was a nasty fleet, notably lacking in Tesla-weaponry but making up for it in other ways. He chose gunnery as he knew in advance I would be running the Petrushka, and wanted some serious firepower to bring it down!
We both found it somewhat amusing that we had not chosen any proper Support Aircraft, and the Fighter Planes would be spending the game chasing each other around.
|At the ruined outer defences of Bremerhaven, the Prussian Navy intercepts the well-armed Russian Bombardment Group|
|The Russian fleet sails down past the walls, ready to present their broadsides for maximum firepower|
|The Prussian fleet passes fleeing civilian vessels, coasting through the broken Curtain Wall to engage. The Hussar-class Gunships are withdrawn from the vanguard - the Petrushka is their target and they cannot commit too early|
|The fleets close in before the broken walls, long-range fire causing damage to both sides. The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers and Uhlan-class Cruisers engage, while the Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship and Rogatina Squadron attacks the SMS Hetzer II|
|Saxony-class Corvettes commit themselves to attack Rogatina Squadron, but their exposure to the Bombard Cannon of the Petrushka obliterates three of them!|
|The mighty Dreadnought-Robot makes his presence felt|
|Hussar-class Gunships lurk behind the Curtain Wall with the SMS Kronprinz, unwilling to attack yet. The SMS Hetzer II and Uhlan-class Cruisers have suffered heavy damage from the mortars of the Russian fleet|
|Heavy ordnance waits to spring the attack|
|The Russian fleet is unified in its attack, sailing incredibly close to one another|
|Prussian boarding parties prepare themselves|
|The Uhlan-class Cruisers take the initiative, ripping through the Tiksi-class Support Cruisers with close-range gunnery|
|The Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship replies in kind, ramming and boarding parties smashing aside one of the Uhlan-class Cruisers while the mortars destroy one Saxony-class Corvette|
|The SMS Hetzer II and attendant escorts destroy the damaged Rogatina with pinpoint accuracy, but are not close enough to launch their boarding parties|
|Shashka Squadron tries to halt the Prussian advance, but their mortar fire only destroys a single Wachter-class Escort|
|SMS Kronprinz unleashes its main battery and ruins the Shashka - incredible firepower!|
|The Nikel-class Heavy Frigates damage the last Wachter-class Escort and finish the Saxony-class Corvettes with their mortar batteries|
|Hussar-class Gunships move on the Petrushka, their massed fire causing minor damage to the immense war engine|
|The Kazimov-class Corvettes spring their attack past their larger cousins, swarming the SMS Hetzer II with drunken conscripts and leaving it a burning ruin!|
|Novgorod-class Frigates from Rogatina Squadron fire upon the lead Uhlan-class Cruiser|
|The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers move into close range - they cannot fire so close but succeed in scuttling one Uhlan-class Cruiser and rendering the last derelict|
|The Petrushka turns upon his attackers, the incredible power of the Bombard Cannon and the wrist-mounted turrets ripping through both squadrons of Hussar-class Gunships|
|Swarms of Russian vessels overwhelm the Prussian vanguard, but their flanking force attacks from behind the Curtain Walls|
|The bombardment continues! The Petrushka rains hell upon the Hussar-class Gunships, crippling the majority and sinking one|
|Two survivors of the hellish attack move into close range of the Dreadnought-Robot and score critical damage|
|Nikel-class Heavy Frigates bombard the Hussar-class Gunships, finishing two of them|
|The SMS Kronprinz enters the battle, firing in all directions and causing massive damage to the Petrushka. Batteries and broadsides also damage a Nikel-class Heavy Frigate and smash aside a Kazimov-class Corvette and Veliky-class Escort|
|The survivors of Shashka Squadron cripple one of the Hussar-class Gunships|
|The last survivor of the second Gunship squadron opens fire upon the Petrushka|
|The Veliky-class escorts finish the last Wachter-class Escort|
|The Stolz-class Destroyers reveal themselves, smashing the motivators of the Petrushka while their boarding parties bring down two of the Nikel-class Heavy Frigates|
|Kazimov-class Corvettes spring their attack upon the SMS Kronprinz|
|Their boarding parties are repelled at cost|
|The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers smash aside the derelict hulk of the Uhlan-class Cruiser, but cannot damage the Prussian flagship|
|The Khatanga-class Heavy Battleship plays its hand, mortar fire and broadsides obliterating two Stolz-class Destroyers and the crippled Hussar-class Gunship|
|For Mother Russia! It launches a massive boarding assault upon the Kronprinz, but all of the drunken conscripts are cut down by electrical defences and elite Luftlancers!|
The Prussian fleet is smashed, but their spirited defence means the Russian Coalition cannot secure their victory just yet!
|The last Hussar-class Gunship moves behind the Dreadnought-Robot for the killing blow, but cannot penetrate the thick armour|
|Nikel-class Heavy Frigates finish the last Stolz-class Destroyer before pouring troops onto the Kronprinz. They are lost, but succeed in culling some of the elite Luftlancers|
|Kazimov-class Corvettes disengage as the Tiksi-class Support Cruisers damage the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship|
|Boarding parties try in vain to stop the power of the Kronprinz|
At this point the Russian Coalition had scored 1,165 Victory Points, enough to secure victory. The Prussian Empire had scored 945 Victory Points. Despite this, we elected to play on
|Continuing to rampage through the Russian fleet, the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship smashes asunder both Nikel-class Heavy Frigates and one of the Veliky-class Escorts|
|The Novgorod-class Frigates cripple the last Hussar-class Gunships, but their boarding parties cannot break through the defensive fire of the SMS Kronprinz|
|The damaged Hussar-class Gunship moves to protect the flagship, finishing the last Veliky-class Escort and firing upon the Tiksi-class Support Cruisers|
|The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers cannot close the range to capture the Kronprinz, but obliterate the Hussar-class Gunship in their frustration|
|The Russian fleet has smashed the walls of Bremerhaven and broken the Prussian fleet, but at great cost|
|Lone survivor of the Prussian fleet, the flagship Kronprinz withdraws to the next layer of defences|
|The battered remnants of the Russian fleet|
At the end of Turn Four, the Prussian Empire were in a ragged state, and had officially lost the game (in fact, they might have lost at the end of Turn Three, but we did not count these points). Playing on, however, the Prussians (well, the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship) had caused untold chaos and clawed back a huge number of Victory Points - actually giving them the advantage!
CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
DREADNOUGHT-ROBOT WATCH - What did it achieve today?
- Destroyed three Saxony-class Corvettes
- Nineteen points of damage to six different Hussar-class Gunships
- Soaked up the firepower of two Gunships squadrons, the Destroyers and the majority of the ordnance from the Heavy Battleship for three or more turns
Overall, not bad! Not game-breaking by any stretch - looking at the equivalence it probably destroyed around 390 Victory Points worth of Prussian vessels. Keeping it withdrawn from the battle was a good choice - it does not need to close with the Istomin Bombard Cannon, and it was only the speed of the Prussian vessels (and their nasty Close Gunnery) that caught it. The double-tap bombardment of the Hussar-class Gunships was a nasty move, but one I enjoyed a great deal!
The rest of the Russian fleet performed pretty well - I was very happy with the Nikel-class Heavy Frigates, which was a bit of a surprise, and the Khatanga proved its worth shooting in all direction and bringing down multiple targets. I was extremely unlucky not to cause more damage with the boarding action against the Kronprinz - you'd think ten Reckless crew would be able to score more than one hit! As it was, this failure allowed the vessel to run rampant through my fleet and cause several hundred points worth of damage.
The Tiksi-class Support Cruisers were unlucky not to add more to the game - their early damage and stifled Line-of-Sight with the Uhlan-class Cruisers blocking them made it difficult for me to get them shooting properly.
The Specialist Squadrons were fine, though they did not really get a chance to make a big impact on the game. Once the lead vessels of the squadrons were lost, their attendant Escorts and Frigates still played a big role, so it was not the end of the world.
On the Prussian side, Mike's decision to play cautiously with the Gunships and Destroyers was a good choice, as even though his "boarding-centric" force of Corvettes, Cruisers and Battleship with Escorts were lost, the Gunships were able to move in once I had committed. Had it not been for the Petrushka, I am sure the Prussian fleet would have pulled off a nice flanking attack on the Russians.
Vessel of the match must go to the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship Kronprinz - what a monster! Surviving waves of Russian boarding parties and laughing off every major ordnance attack, this beast accounted for almost all of the kills of the Prussian fleet - no mean feat when they scored so many Victory Points!
The incredible defensive statistics of the Kaiser Karl-class Heavy Battleship really came out today - the Rugged Construction, high CR and the Shield Generator meant I was really suffering. Only the lucky Generator strike from the Mimic'd Tesla Generator on the Petrushka opened it up, but by then it was too late.
So there we are! Finally, a victory (of sorts) for the Russian Coalition, and a battering for the Prussian Empire. We shall see how things go in the next meeting, as things get decidedly more violent...
"...the outer Curtain Wall has been breached, and a significant portion of the defence force lost with the destruction of the 76th Iron Fleet. Bremerhaven had never faced such a dire situation - there would be no escape for the vessels moored at the port-city - only violent engagement with the immense White Banner Northern Fleet.
Baron Karl-Ehrhart Grunner was not disheartened - the Russians had played their hand, revealed their greatest assets and suffered significant losses bringing down the Curtain Wall. The Markgraf would ride out soon enough, and the Russians smashed on the shores of Bremerhaven..."
Thanks for reading,