Friday, 26 June 2015

AAR - The Russian Coalition versus The Prussian Empire

"In the weeks since the disastrous attack on Stavanger, the Russian Coalition had endeavoured to blockade the Byfjorden and scour every nook and cranny of the broken coastline, searching for signs of a secret port that could accommodate the grand Dreadnought Markgraf. Their largest vessels were held back to enforce the blockade or were commissioned away from the North Sea theatre, leaving packs of smaller vessels to reave the western coastline of Prussian-Scandinavia. 

Chance encounters and skirmishes between opposing squadrons were common, but without the movement of massed fleets nothing would occur to rival the immense Battle of Stavanger or the Breakthrough at Byfjorden. The Russians held the line, while the Prussian Empire effected refits and licked their wounds. A period of relative calm settled over the Norwegian coastline, and the eyes of the world looked elsewhere. 

In the wake of the Battle of Stavanger and the string of brutal losses that had preceded it, the Prussian fleet commander Karl-Ehrhart Grunner had had his requests for reinforcement intercepted or ignored and his attempts to break the deadlock thrown back. His best hunter, submarine commander Jürgen Grönemeyer, had not returned from the counter-attack at Kvitsøy, and he began to fear the Byfjorden theatre would be locked for the rest of the war. If he could just break the blockade, Prussian naval operations in the North Sea could resume at full effect - without the support of the Norwegian coastal ports, their operational range was severely limited. 

In the last week of June, 1873, Grunner was presented an opportunity to upset the balance. A small column of Russian ships based around the assault carrier Ulyanovsk had broken formation and advanced beyond the protection of the blockade, gathering speed toward Stavanger once more. Ignoring the risks of this potential feint, Grunner gathered what frontline-worthy warships he could find and pounced - he lacked the patience for this siege, and would take any chance to score a blow against the Russian Juggernaut! 

The price of Grunner's hubris would soon be discovered..."
- The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1873
Welcome back to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and another chapter in the Hunt for the Markgraf. It has been quite a while since the last report, owing to "Real Life" issues getting in the way and other games distracting our attention. Nevertheless, we will always try to make time for Dystopian Wars!

As the campaign progresses, we see the Russian fleet blockade the Prussian port of Stavanger and halt Prussian operations down the Norwegian coastline. Their search for the Dreadnought Markgraf continues, and though the Prussians know to unleash the Dreadnought would break the blockade, it would also draw the attention of a much greater number of Russian ships, and drag them even deeper into the quagmire. In this battle, the Russians have detached a small force from their blockade, and the Prussians have leapt on the opportunity to cause some damage. Have they fallen for a Russian ploy?

This battle would give us a chance to use some of the new ships from the recently-released Bombardment Groups, and for the Russian Coalition I took the opportunity to try out a selection of new ships - Submarines, Heavy Frigates and an overall much smaller focus on Large vessels in favour of a swarm of Small and Medium squadrons. Many of these would be placed in a Flanking Force, following a conversation I had with Mike in the past about overcoming the short-range of the Pesets-class Submarines. We shall see how this works out!

Given the time since our last game, we did not try anything too special with the Scenario, instead relying on the old-fashioned secretly drawn Objectives.  I decided that my Submarine group would be operating as a reserve flanking force, to try and get close with their powerful weaponry and act as a nasty surprise for Mike. Rolling for their arrival, I was rather dismayed to see they would appear on Turn Three.

Mike drew to destroy all of my Small squadrons and score 750 Victory Points, a task that looked easy at the start of the game given my flanking force was not present! In turn, the Russians would be forced to destroy or capture the enemy Commodore and score at least 750 Victory Points. This would be easier, given Mike had only chosen one Large vessel - although it was a mighty Elbe-class Fleet Carrier!

Battle Group Ulyanovsk of the White Banner Northern Fleet, detached from the blockade to lure out the Prussian fleet

My Fleet
The Russian Coalition

One Dudinka-class Assault Carrier equipped with a Glacier Generator and carrying one wing of five Fighter Planes and a Reconnaissance Plane

One Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular crew
One Azov-class Battle Cruiser with Regular crew
Three Tambov-class Gunships

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

Two Wings of five Dive Bombers

Task Group Akula, operating unseen in the waters of the Byfjorden. The Nikel-class Heavy Frigates were able to avoid detection using their unusual propulsion method to hug the coastline
Flanking Force

Two Pesets-class Submarines with Target Painters (Primary Gunnery)

One Squadron of four Nikel-class Heavy Frigates
Two Squadrons of three Chany-class Strike Submarines

The Prussian Hunter Fleet out of Stavanger. Not pictured are the Hussar-class Gunship squadron
Mike's Fleet
The Prussian Empire

One Elbe-class Fleet Carrier carrying one wing of five Dive Bombers and one wing of four Fighter Planes

One Konigsberg-class Battlecruiser
Two Havel-class Light Carriers each carrying a wing of four Fighter Planes
Three Hussar-class Gunships
Three Uhlan-class Cruisers

One Squadron of four Arminius-class Frigates with one attached Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser
One Squadron of five Saxony-class Corvettes
Two Squadrons of three Stolz-class Destroyers

Two Wings of five Dive Bombers

The Prussian fleet sails close together
A strong formation of aircraft surround the carriers in the centre, defended by Destroyers and Gunships
A Frigate squadron with attached Support Cruiser hold the far flank
The smaller Russian fleet is deployed wider, with Battle Cruisers on one side of the Assault Carrier while Gunships hold the other side. Destroyers and Corvettes anchor the flanks
Battle will be joined around the rocks
The larger and faster Prussian fleet has a good opportunity to surround and engulf the Russian fleet, but are they aware of what lurks beneath the waves?
As waves of Fighter Planes and Bombers surge forward, the Russian fleet enters extreme range and opens fire. The Hussar-class Gunships and Elbe-class Fleet Carrier suffer minor damage
The Gunships make their move, attacking the Russian flagship with their massed turrets
Tambov-class Gunships launch their counter-attack, crippling the central vessel and damaging a second
The Konigsberg-class Battlecruiser makes its presence felt, harpooning the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier with the deadly Speerschleuder
Kazimov-class Corvettes expose themselves to the Uhlan-class Cruisers, and suffer for it
Rostov-class Destroyers utilise their formidable long-range firepower to pour more fire into the Prussian Fleet Carrier
Saxony-class Corvettes cause more misery for their Russian equivalents
The Stolz-class Destroyers launch their attack upon the pair of Battle Cruisers, smashing vital systems with their powerful guns
The Elbe-class Fleet Carrier adds to the fusillade, but is unable to cause more damage
The Frigate squadron attacks from the flank, sinking one of the Russian Destroyers
The two fleets are bloodied and have advanced at full speed towards one another. Lacking the support of their reserves, the Russian fleet has come forward too quickly and will suffer the full power of the Prussian fleet in the coming moments
The Hussar-class Gunships seize the initiative and smash the gun decks of the Dudinka-class Assault Carrier, breaking through the Ablative Armour with their Close Gunnery. One of the Tambov-class Gunships also suffers damage from the broadsides
The Rostov-class Destroyers take a gamble and open fire on the Elbe-class Fleet Carrier, while their boarding parties launch their attack on the Stolz-class Destroyers. Many crew are lost, but they scuttle one of the vessels
The full-strength Stolz-class Destroyer squadron bypasses the Russian ships and unleashes hell into the Azov-class Battle Cruiser. Hitting crucial Sturginium reserves the vessel disappears in a flash of light. The burning hulk reappears to starboard, plunging into a sea a ruined hulk
As their brutal attack destroys the Battle Cruiser, Prussian boarding parties cripple two of the Rostov-class Destroyers
The surviving Battle Cruiser seeks vengeance, utilising boarding parties and broadsides to smash two of the Destroyers. The turrets cause minor damage on the massive Fleet Carrier
Broadsides from the Uhlan-class Cruisers destroy a Kazimov-class Corvette
The ruined Assault Carrier tries to attack the Prussian Gunships, but cannot cause any damage with the ruined weapon banks. Boarding parties are repulsed at great cost
The Stolz-class Destroyers finish the last Rostov-class Destroyer but fail to damage the Azov-class Battle Cruiser
Fire from the Frigate squadron lands a Speerschleuder harpoon in the hull of the Battle Cruiser
Russian Dive Bombers desperately try to stop the Prussian attack on the port-side flank
The Tambov-class Gunships make their presence felt, destroying two of the Hussar-class Gunships with close-range turret fire while waves of drunken conscripts overwhelm the last
Saxony-class Corvettes finish the last Kazimov-class Corvette
Prussian Dive Bombers swoop down to finish the Russian Assault Carrier
A second squadron of Dive Bombers cripples the lead Russian Gunship
Fire from the Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser finishes the damaged Gunship, but cannot break through the armour of the Battle Cruiser
The lightning of the Havel-class Light Carriers is more than enough, however, and the last Battle Cruiser is destroyed
A wide shot of the carnage, as the Russian fleet is dragged down by the Prussian warships
The Prussian fleet has lost the Gunship squadron and a scattering of other vessels, but the Russian fleet is almost completely destroyed - or is it?
Drawn into the trap, the Prussian fleet is outflanked by a strong force of Russian submarines
Two squadrons of Chany-class Strike Submarines, a squadron of Nikel-class Heavy frigates and two Pesets-class Submarines emerge from hiding
The Saxony-class Corvettes react quickly, their guns bringing down one of the strange vessels. Their boarding parties fail in their attack, but the Russian squadron is broken and confused
The Tambov-class Gunships break through the rocks, causing critical damage to the Konigsberg-class Battlecruiser. One of the Gunships is caught on the rocks and suffers severe damage to its hull
The insidious Chany-class Strike Submarines ambush their target, the Prussian Fleet Carrier. Pinpoint accuracy at extreme range shreds the defences of the immense vessel
As the Prussian fleet reposition their aerial squadrons to face the new threat, the second squadron of Chany-class Strike Submarines rises from beneath the waves
Another crucial blow causes a leak in the reactor - if they do not stop the problem soon the vessel will be finished!
Prussian Dive Bombers have a big impact on the beleaguered Russian Gunships
The vessel is destroyed on the rocks
Pesets-class Submarines score their first kill, sinking the Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser
The scattered Nikel-class Heavy Frigates fire at the enemy Corvettes, destroying one and breaking the squadron
The rest of the Prussian fleet swings about the rocks, opening fire on the last Russian Gunship
A wide shot shows the chaos the new arrivals have wrought
The Elbe-class Fleet Carrier struggles to escape the Russian pursuers, and is only moments away from obliteration
The Prussian fleet has smashed aside the Russian vessels, but the submarine task force emerging behind them has forced a change in heading
The damaged Tambov-class Gunships careers toward the rocks, drawing a shot through the gap but failing to damage the Elbe-class Fleet Carrier. The sacrifice of the vessel will be in vain
Concentrated mortar fire and boarding parties from the Heavy Frigates cripple the Saxony-class Corvette squadron, leaving a lone, bad damaged survivor
The Chany-class Submarines continue their pursuit, and though their fire is limited by the rocks, they smash the stern of the Fleet Carrier and finish it
The trap has been sprung and their true target destroyed!
The Pesets-class Submarines smash the gun decks of the Uhlan-class Cruiser
The Chany-class Strike Submarines pour fire into the same target, causing more damage and starting a major fire through the decks
The last, battered remnant of Battle Group Ulyanovsk is destroyed by the Havel-class Light Carriers, smashed onto the rocks
The Uhlan-class Cruisers lay mines behind them as they sail around the rocks
The Prussian fleet struggles to counter the threat of the submarines, damaging one of the Chany-class Strike Submarines with the Stolz-class Destroyers
The two fleets disengage as the day draws to a close
The surviving Prussian squadrons limp back to their port
Task Group Akula has suffered very little damage, but Battle Group Ulyanovsk is lost
The Russian Coalition scored 925 Victory Points and achieved their Objective, while Mike and the Prussian Empire scored 995 Victory Points but did not achieve their Objective. A pyrrhic victory, but nonetheless, Victory for the Russian Coalition! 


Another great game for the two fleets! Once again, the Russian Coalition have proven their might, though the Prussian Navy should not be written off - they did score more Victory Points overall, and only the Victory Conditions make this a Russian victory. 

The new vessels performed admirably, and will hopefully appear again in future battles. The Russian Chany-class Strike Submarines were especially brutal, scoring three Critical Hits at long range on the Prussian Fleet Carrier alone, while their defences made them all but untouchable. 

The Prussian Havel-class Light Carriers were no less impressive, their Tesla arrays causing several crucial blows to the ruined Russian fleet, while their supporting aircraft aided in picking off the stragglers. I would still like to see them run with a Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser. The Stolz-class Destroyers were another squadron that have changed a great deal with the new updates, and did well considering their size - a full squadron (or pair of squadrons) would have caused even more chaos! 

Overall a disappointing result for Mike and the Prussian Empire - with a different Secret Objective, he could have won the game very quickly as his tactics and dice rolling were well up to scratch. Comparatively the Russians had a very easy Objective, and though times were tough before the Flanking Force arrived, things went in their favour once the rest of the fleet was on the board. I imagine if those squadrons had arrived on Turn Two, it would have been a very different game!

Overall a messy affair, with a lot more Small squadrons on the table, something new with several new ships being tried out, and an unusual choice to have a large Flanking Force spring their trap late in the game. A win by technicality for the Russian Coalition, as they achieve their Objective, but lose on Victory Points and have their entire Battle Group destroyed!

In the future... what will the Prussians do to break the blockade? Will the Markgraf finally appear to turn back the Russian tide?

"...The Russians played their hand and destroyed several of Grunner's warships, including his immense Fleet Carrier, but at great cost. Battle Group Ulyanovsk was lost, taking with it a significant portion of the White Banner Northern Fleet's blockading strength. The port at Stavanger was now poorly defended, but if the Prussian Empire tried to reinforce the theatre and sent ships to the Byfjorden, the Russian fleet would struggle to hold them. 

Both fleet commanders were running out of time and out of ships, and their was still no sign of the Markgraf. Russian spies drew closer to discovering the location with every passing day, while the Grunner's temptation to unveil the vessel, play his last trump card and smash the blockade aside grew as well. Whatever else happened, if the Markgraf was still near Stavanger, it would soon be revealed..."

Thanks for reading, 



  1. Thank you for the, as usual, excellent battle report. This has been a difficult campaign to read through, considering my Prussian proclivity. Since this campaign's release I have gone on to purchase a Russian fleet as well, perhaps one day I can look back onto this campaign and cheer for both sides...?

  2. Excellent report and beautiful pics
    Thank you

  3. Nice read and excellent pictures!