Thursday, 25 February 2016

AAR - The Kingdom of Britannia versus The Prussian Empire

"In the wake of the Fair Isle Incident, the engagement between the Russian Battle Group Vityaz and Britannic Task Force 37, tensions were high between the two supposed allies. No longer operating in concert to track the Markgraf, the fleets of these two Powers operating in the North Sea were on constant alert. Through the storms and squalls that plague those waters, they jumped at shadows as their eyes scanned the horizon.

The Kingdom of Britannia secretly deployed a number of Wolf Pack flotillas into the theatre, obliquely to track the movements of both their enemies and their supposed allies while operating counter to the Prussian Wolf Packs still roaming the North Sea. The largest of these submarine groups was the 7th Submarine Squadron under the HMS Auriga

Mere weeks after the horror of the Fair Isle Incident, the 7th Submarine Squadron was tracking Russian movements south of Egersund when they chanced upon a small Prussian flotilla following a similar mission. Surprise was on their side as they launched the attack, or so they thought..."
The Hunt for the Markgraf (cont.)
Naval Battles of 1874
Welcome to another Battle Report from Full Spectrum Dominance, and the first appearance of the Kingdom of Britannia as a standalone force. This report is also my first game with an all-Submarine force, so please excuse the poor gameplay and general ineptitude on show! To add to my misery, Mike will be running his old favourites the Prussian Empire, and has been forewarned that he faces all-Submarines. Whether he will take this into account is another story! 

For the mission today we have chosen to take a break from the Ironclad scenario pack or any other special scenarios and just pull Secret Objectives from the deck. This should give a "fair" assessment of the new fleet. The composition of the fleet is mixed, with two squadrons each of Large, Medium and Small, so I was not worried about being undone in this regard.

Drawing Secret Objectives, the Prussian Empire drew Break Their Backs! meaning Mike would have to destroy both of my Vanguard-class Submarine squadrons and score at least 455 Victory Points (50%). The Kingdom of Britannia were more concerned with crippling the Prussian airpower, so their aim was Go For Their Leader! I would have to destroy or capture the Rhine-class Assaul Carrier (his Commodore) and similarly score at least 455 Victory Points. 
The two fleets clash near a collection of oil derricks and platforms
The Kingdom of Britannia
HMS Auriga - Vengeance-class Submarine
HMS AstuteVengeance-class Submarine

Two Squadrons of three Vanguard-class Submarines

Two Squadrons of five Valiant-class Attack Submarines

Two Wings of five Fighter Planes
7th Submarine Squadron, led by the HMS Auriga and tasked with the tracking and destruction of enemy Wolf Packs
The Prussian Empire
One Rhine-class Assault Carrier carrying one wing of five Dive Bombers and one Reconnaissance Plane

Beschützer Squadron - one Königsberg-class Battle Cruiser and three Wächter-class Escorts
Träger Squadron - two Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers and one Havel-class Light Carrier carrying four Torpedo Bombers
One Squadron of three Uhlan-class Cruisers

One Squadron of three Saxony-class Corvettes
One Squadron of three Arminius-class Frigates

Two Wings of five Fighter Planes
Prussian Hunter Fleet out of Bremerhaven, patrolling south of Egersund
A wide channel dominates the starboard side
The Prussian fleet splits around the rocks, while squadrons of Bombers fly overhead
A symmetrical attack from the Submarine Squadron, the centre anchored around two Vengeance-class Submarines
Bold moves from the Kingdom of Britannia, who engage at full speed
A lucky hit to the magazine of the Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser cripples it
Return fire from the Beschützer Squadron causes massive damage to two of the Vanguard-class Submarines, forcing them to surface
Exposed, the rest of the Prussian fleet has a better target
Träger Squadron moves into range
Electrical fire destroys one of the exposed Submarines, first blood for the Prussian Empire! 
Bloodied, both fleets have closed quickly and the battle will only get fiercer
The damaged Vanguard-class Submarine squadron moves to finish the crippled Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser, almost finishing it and causing chaos to spread through the decks
Aerial war - at cost, the Prussian interceptors bring down the Britannian air support
The second Vanguard-class Submarine squadron tries to stymie the Uhlan-class Cruisers closing on their position, but their volley of torpedoes is ineffective. Two of the vessels fail to dive, leaving themselves exposed
The Uhlan-class Cruisers move into optimum range, their concussion charges damaging the port-most Submarine while their turrets and boarding parties attack the surfaced vessels. They also lay a collection of mines behind them
Saxony-class Corvettes move to finish the kill, their turrets destroying one of the Valiant-class Attack Submarines. Their boarding parties are cut down as they launch their assault
The HMS Astute damages the Rhine-class Assault Carrier with a volley of torpedoes, while boarding parties scuttle one of the Saxony-class Corvettes. The immense vessel then disappears beneath the waves once more
Träger Squadron finishes the damaged Vanguard-class Submarine on the starboard flank
Valiant-class Attack Submarines finally bring down the crippled Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser. All but one then disappear beneath the waves once more
The Wachter-class Escorts move against the Valiant-class Attack Submarines, destroying one with boarding parties
The second Valiant-class Attack Submarine squadron makes a bold attack, their torpedoes damaging one of the Arminius-class Frigates as their boarding parties rampage through the lead Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser and leave it a burning derelict
The response from the Arminius-class Frigates is brutal, scuttling three of the enemy Submarines, Their turrets also damage the last Vanguard-class Submarine on the starboard flank
The Rhine-class Assault Carrier moves to engage, firing indirectly with the assistance of the Reconnaissance Plane to no avail. Broadsides into the hidden Valiant-class Attack Submarines is also ineffective
Battle is joined! The Kingdom of Britannia has taken the brunt of the violence, losing six vessels and suffering damage on several more, but the Prussian Empire has also taken several good hits, and crucially lost many of their Luftlancer boarding parties
The Valiant-class Attack Submarines may have taken down one of the Donnerfaust-class Support Cruisers, but their failure to dive left them exposed and they were punished
In the centre the Kingdom of Britannia are in a better state, as neither of the Vengeance-class Submarines have taken damage
On the port-side, the Uhlan-class Cruisers have engaged the Vanguard-class Submarines in a violent brawl, and are winning quite substantially
Things take a turn as the crippled Vanguard-class Submarine launches forward underwater into the minefield. The massive explosion destroys the vessel, but also causes damage to all three of the Uhlan-class Cruisers and destroys one of the Saxony-class Corvettes
Revving their immense chainsaws, the two remaining vessels ram the Uhlan-class Cruisers, as boarding parties overwhelm the last Saxony-class Corvette. Their attack is partially successful, as the collision destroys both ships on the port-side, while the starboard Submarine fails to wound its target
Torpedo Bombers launch their attack and finish the last Vanguard-class Submarine from the port squadron
Surviving a volley of torpedoes from the Torpedo Bombers and eager to utilise the power of the chainsaw, the HMS Astute smashes into the Rhine-class Assault Carrier at full speed. The sound of rending metal and muffled explosions fills the air, and the vessel is ripped apart! A decisive blow for the Kingdom of Britannia!
A series of manoeuvres sees the Wachter-class Escorts fail to damage the Valiant-class Submarines, while in turn their boarding parties sabotage one of their number and launch an ill-fated torpedo volley into the Havel-class Light Carrier
Arminius-class Frigates destroy one of the damaged Valiant-class Attack Submarines with concussion charges, while their turrets fail to find the last Vanguard-class Submarine
The HMS Auriga makes its presence felt, chainsaws ripping asunder one of the Wachter-class Escorts while boarding parties finish the last. A volley of torpedoes hit the reactor of the last Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser
The Uhlan-class Cruisers, having dealt with the Vanguard-class Submarines, are free to engage and launch turrets and broadsides into both of the Vengeance-class Submarines. The HMS Auriga takes damage
Collisions with the derelict vessel ahead of them sees both the remaining vessels of Träger Squadron take damage
The attempts to achieve their objective and destroy the last Vanguard-class Submarine are in vain
Throwing caution to the wind, the last Vanguard-class Submarine rises from the deep, chainsaw carving one of the Arminius-class Frigates in two while boarding parties smash the second. The last ship is destroyed in the confusion, crew abandoning ship in the face of such madness
The heart has been carved from the Prussian fleet, leaving only two battered squadrons remaining. The Kingdom of Britannia have suffered heavy losses, but achieved their objective and denied their enemy

At this point the game had been won by the Kingdom of Britannia, but we decided to play one more turn! 

The HMS Astute turns about, and obliterates the lead Uhlan-class Cruiser with a powerful volley
Fire from the last Uhlan-class Cruiser cripples the Vanguard-class Submarine
The HMS Auriga smashes the last Donnerfaust-class Support Cruiser with torpedoes
Valiant-class Attack Submarines surround and prize the Uhlan-class Cruiser
Overwhelmed, the last Havel-class Light Carrier disengages and flees for friendly waters
At the end of the Third Turn the Kingdom of Britannia had achieved their Objective and scored 658 Victory Points, while the Prussian Empire had only scored 463 Victory Points, leaving it a strong VICTORY FOR THE KINGDOM OF BRITANNIA!
The surviving forces of the 7th Submarine Squadron
The operational strength of the Hunter Fleet has been crippled
Playing to the end of the Fourth Turn, things did not get better for the Prussian Empire - with their extra losses and the Prizing of the Uhlan-class Cruiser, they had lost 895 Victory Points, while scoring a total of 493 Victory Points and still not achieving their Objective.
The Kingdom of Britannia finish the last survivors of the Prussian fleet
The lone Havel-class Light Carrier evades the hunters, for now...
Overall a very different game to usual, playing Dystopian Wars at a new height level to an extent not seen before! The all-Submarine force plays strangely, but is a lot of fun. I am still not sure how I managed to pull a win out of the bag, as Turn Two was looking decidedly dodgy. However, once the chainsaws started revving up it was their time to shine!

Three big moments stand out for me - the explosion of the Mine around the Uhlan-class Cruisers that damaged them badly, the damage to the Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser that took it out of the game so early, and the loss of 5HP on the Rhine-class Assault Carrier is one brutal Ramming attack! This destroyed the vessel, and won me the game.

The power of the chainsaws is something to behold, and in combination with boarding the Britannian Submarines have a real power in RB1. I think I took out more vessels in close-range assault than with the torpedoes!

Their torpedoes are frankly lacklustre, but I doubt this is a list intended to be used alone - with better use of the Target Painter and long-range fire from the more traditional naval vessels to bring down enemy CC, the torpedoes will cause a lot more damage.

The Vanguard-class Submarines are probably the weakest link for me - I feel they need something make them better as their torpedoes are poor and speed middling. Advanced Engines/Streamlined Hull would be nice to give them more chance to use the chainsaws, or actually giving the massive broadsides on the side of the model a statistic! I guess they are meant to be used in conjunction with other vessels (especially Target Painters), but I'm after something else.

The Submarines have strong defences with the water, but once that is taken away with Hunter (Diving) or Sub-Killer, they get trashed very quickly. Exposing them to boarding also caused me a lot of trouble - I think all but one of the Valiant-class Attack Submarines were brought down by counter-boarding.

In the future, I think the Submarine contingent will work with a traditional naval force, and I think with their matching colour schemes the Indian Raj will be a powerful ally - now I just need to work out the balance!

Mike's fleet was sound on paper, and could have caused a lot more damage had his dice been kinder (especially the boarding). The nature of everything being underwater can be frustrating to play against, but I think Mike quickly worked out what he needed to do - just actually doing it was the problem!

The Beschützer Squadron was impressive, or at least would have been had they not lost the Konigsberg-class Battle Cruiser so quickly. The Wachter-class Escorts are surprisingly dangerous, and adding some more of those across the fleet will really turn it into a boarding nightmare! 

This experiment has revitalised some of our interest in the rich ruleset of Dystopian Wars, and we will be intending to run a more varied mixture of height bands in the future - a game ranging from the deep to the sky will be quite impressive, I think!

"The 7th Submarine Squadron engaged a small Prussian Hunter Fleet off Egersund, cutting them off and shredding them with their immense chainsaws. At some cost, the enemy had been defeated and another threat to Grand Coalition shipping dealt with. 

The Squadron withdrew to Britannian waters for refit and repair while the Royal Navy and the Russian Coalition poured more vessels into the North Sea. The inevitable Prussian counter-attack was expected soon, but where? And would the Markgraf be leading them?" 

Thanks for reading, 


1 comment:

  1. Really funny and cinematic AAR! The number of ram with chainsaw was ridiculous!
    Overall I was expecting the KoB will be crushed...