Author Topic: From the Ashes - part 32  (Read 850 times)

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Offline Haji

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From the Ashes - part 32
« on: June 18, 2017, 01:35:40 PM »
4th August 2414

   Eight Hegemony carriers, their supporting groups, a jump battleship and over two dozen assault ships assemble at the jump point to Amarillo. The entire formation is led by newly promoted Admiral Rosa Landmann, a controversial decision due to her loss of the Amarillo and Albuquerque systems to the Confederation and the resulting seven year long stalemate. At the same time she had experience not only fighting the Kinharans, but also leading jump point assaults, as she commanded the entry into Untama system during the war with the Kingdom. She also impressed the Hegemon with her aggressiveness and refusal to give up even in the face of her reputation.
   Not all ships will take part in the assault of course. Four of the carriers – Defiant, Vanguard, Victory and Vengeance – are considered to be a little too small and would require additional battleship which was only recently completed and not trained. In addition frigates, command ships, missile destroyers and spare jump ships with no one to escort – one hundred and twenty eight warships in total – were considered useless in the coming battle, so they will stay behind as well. It still left a jump battleship, four carriers and one hundred and thirty six destroyers and cruisers. This will be not only the largest assault in human history but also the single largest battle.
   To increase the survival chances of her carriers the Dauntless group will enter fifteen seconds after the lighter warships. If the enemy is trained as well as the humans, by that time they would have used all their missiles. If they aren't trained as well as the Hegemony there is a good chance they will all die before firing a shot.
   The powerful jump engines on board the Hegemony warships could allow exit up to one and a half kilometres from the point itself, but the actual exit point was completely random resulting in a force that was very spread out with the closest ones being mere two hundred thousand kilometres from the enemy. Their first order of business was to group together to consolidate their defences, but some formations had to take an oblique course to avoid the Confederation. Fortunately the vast majority of the assault force entered on more or less the same side allowing for an easier rendezvous.



   The enemy turned out to be very well trained and very soon Mark W. Clark, Naxos, Yu Huang and Caracalla has been damaged quite heavily, but most could stay in formation. Considering two hundred and sixteen enemy warships have been detected such a small amount of damage was outright miraculous.
   The only potential issue was that thirty three warships broke formation and begun closing on the human ships at over six thousand kilometres per second, much faster than the previously observed speeds of a little more than five thousand kps.
   On their own side, the Hegemony ships could not yet return fire, as gravity related electronics – which included their active sensors and fire controls – were still recovering from the transit. They did however begun assembling with the well trained precision that was drilled into them over the years, although two formation were slow on the helm. Those two contained less well trained ships included simply because the Navy needed the numbers and the government was unwilling to give them more time to assemble larger force.
   The assault destroyer Didius Julianus was the first to die, after thirty hits by enemy missiles, but Hegemony sensors begun coming online. They showed thousands of missiles bearing down on all the groups, but they also allowed the humans to try and return fire.
   By the time the carriers arrived three more ships – Nerva, Hadrian and Mark W. Clark – has been destroyed, but the first Tomahawks were finally launched. Unfortunately only very few managed to get their electronics online so it was still a pitiful response.



   Dauntless, Invincible, Incredible, Indefatigable and Indomitable did not linger to watch however. The emerged over eight hundred thousand kilometres away from the jump point and on the opposite side from the assembly point so they begun moving as far away from the enemy as possible. The fighters were already prepared and were being launched as fast as possible but it will still take them precious seconds to get into space and even more to fire.
   To the surprise of the human crews, the few Tomahawks fired managed to destroy four enemy destroyers, but in that time twelve more Hegemony ships were lost. As the fighters finally cleared the decks and prepared to fire, seven Kinharan cruisers died, but so did twenty three Hegemony ships.
   The exchange continued to heavily favour the Confederation, but more and more human ships were firing now as well as some of the fighters. Unfortunately the enemy flushed his missile reserves at the carriers which meant the Invincibles will soon be confronted by fifty four hundred enemy shipkillers. It will be up to Dauntless to stop them. On the other hand all the other enemy missiles have already hit or been intercepted so the remaining warships could now bombard the aliens with impunity, at least for the time being.
   Unfortunately it took a little too long for the battleships fire controls to come on line allowing enough missiles to get through to annihilate Invincible within seconds. That however was the very last ship to be destroyed.
   The assault went much better than Landmann expected. The entire alien force has been annihilated and while she lost one of her carriers, a total of eighty four warships survived, well over half of the initial fleet.
   While various officers begun trying to get a full picture of what was going on, the time has come to execute the most important, and risky, part of the operation. Entering Amarillo was very expensive and important beginning, but it was irrelevant in the larger scheme of things for the system was essentially useless. It was obvious the aliens have not built any installations in it and there were only two jump points. If the campaign was to end now it would be essentially a failure.
   As it happened thanks to the superior Hegemony speed and the positioning of the jump points, humans could enter Albuquerque before Kinharans could blockade its jump point, assuming any reinforcements were located at their colony and their speed has not increased. The window of opportunity will be tight however so even before the wreckage cooled the four remaining carriers and all the warships which did not partake in the assault begun entering the system, setting course for Albuquerque even as colliers and frigates left behind begun joining the three remaining Invincibles. A colony ship has also entered, tasked with recovering survivors from both sides.
   The decision what to do with the remaining destroyers and cruisers was always difficult. They used very little anti-missiles while also possessing gauss cannons and energy weapons making them useful. However they also had empty missile launchers and in the battles seven years prior defending against enemy attacks was never an issue. Seeing how many ships survived and how many missiles they could possibly launch Landmann decided to send them back to Kensington to re-arm.
   She also decided she had no choice but to order abandonment and scuttling of the two hundred fighters of Invincible which now had no carrier to return to. The crews will be taken off by the colony ship.

5th August 2414

   The rescue operations have been completed with nearly thirteen and a half thousand people saved. Even so a total of twenty two thousand one hundred and eight Hegemony spacers died in the battle.
   Thirty two thousand five hundred and forty nine Kinharans have also been rescued.

11th August 2414

   After a single frigate went through the jump point and confirmed it to be clear, the seven Hegemony carriers entered the Albuquerque system. A single alien destroyer hovered less than two hundred million kilometres away, likely using the active sensors to get an accurate count on the humans, but the bulk of the aliens, detected by their thermal signature, was located between the jump point deeper into Kinharan space and their colony. Landmann realised the enemy wasn't sure how many warships will be coming, so they positioned themselves in such a way they could either defend or run depending on circumstances.
   This was very unfortunate. While only battleships could be detected form such a range, those ships were encountered before and if they were still accompanied by the same smaller ships as they were seven years before they comprised twenty four battleships and likely over eighty cruisers and close to a hundred destroyers. Not only was this a more powerful force than the one at the jump point in Amarillo, the Hegemony had lost a lot of ships and enemy reinforcements could arrive before Hegemony ships re-armed, assuming there were reinforcements to be had in the first place. All of which meant if the enemy run, the current campaign will have to end in Albuquerque until more assault ships were ready.
   The Confederate destroyer begun to run away, his task likely done and Landmann could not be bothered to waste her missiles considering she'll need a lot more if the enemy decides to stay. She'll send one of her own destroyers when they arrive. Meanwhile her entire fleet begun moving towards the alien planet
   Several hours later it became obvious the enemy fleet was withdrawing.

17th August 2414

   The seven carriers close on the planet but do nothing else, as troop transports are coming together with the returning destroyers and cruisers for safety.

4th September 2414

   The various destroyers and cruisers are back with the fleet although due to missile situation some carry Harpoons rather than Tomahawks – longer ranged but with weaker warheads.
   More importantly however troop transports with eight assault and mobile infantry divisions have also arrived. Landmann begun moving on the planet but as she did the dozen or so space stations self-destructed, most likely to save lives. Considering the disparity in firepower that was a reasonable course of action, although perhaps not one she would have taken.
   Thanks to that however the landing could proceed uninterrupted.

10th September 2414

   The Kinharan planet turned out to be very well defended. The Hegemony forces weren't in as bad a situation as they were on Khamali but nonetheless fourteen of their battalions suffered casualties while damaging only nine enemy ones. Overall it seemed the defenders had about twenty percent more strength.
   Bombardment was an option but it was still unknown what the Confederation was planning. Their forces have retreated from the system of course, but it remained to be seen if they intended to fight after being reinforced or if they planned another jump point defence. As such there was no reason to hurry with taking the planet, as the Hegemony could not launch another jump point assault.
   There were a lot more ground forces back on New Earth but the transports there were still undergoing refit to newest engines so they won't be ready until December and after that it will take several months to embark and transport them. For now the forces already on the ground are ordered to halt their offensive and protect their landing zone.
   While the delay is regrettable some point out this may entice the aliens into trying counter-attack. While potentially dangerous, the humans are faster and can easily retreat but if the Confederation miscalculates it may allow the Hegemony to win another victory and possibly push further into the alien territory.

6th October 2414

   So far there is no sign of any Confederate counterattack. Considering how much time has passed, they should have been able to gather all the ships they had which means they effectively gave up Amarillo, Albuquerque and any systems connected to the latter. This leaves the Landmann with the initiative but there is only so much she can do with it. Unfortunately she has to commit one way or the other now, as some of her ships have been in space for over a year and their performance will suffer.
   During that time the thousands of captured prisoners were being interrogated, a process that is still ongoing. Not only that but orbiting their colony has allowed the humans to hack some of the networks – mostly civilian – below. All of that generated a huge amount of information, although most of it is not military in nature. In fact the only solid piece of military intelligence recovered was the news the Kinharans have developed next generation engines, but were so far unable to put them into wide deployment.
   What was much more interesting was the overall 'generic' data. The Confederation has a total population of around thirteen billion – three billion less than the Hegemony – but has lower technology, which was known, and is apparently less developed, although they are working hard to change that. All of that gives the humans a significant strategic advantage. It is unknown how much the enemy knows but it seems their long term strategy is to stall until they can meet the Hegemony on more even ground. Whether or not they can accomplish that is a question that cannot be currently answered, but if that is the case it is very likely the enemy won't be counterattacking any time soon.
   Unfortunately it is also known that the next system is no great prize. It has a population of over two hundred million but apparently no mining going on and only two jump points. The next system in chain is very similar. What the humans need to attack is the system of Larrani, which is three jump away, the largest colony outside the enemy home system and an important transit junction. The prisoners seemed very worried about that star, and the Intelligence fully believes the aliens will stand and fight over it no matter what. The officers also believe that if the system can be secured, it will effectively mean the end of the war.
   The problem for Landmann is that she cannot fight another full scale jump point assault. She has a total of only seventy one destroyers and cruisers remaining, although with the jump ships themselves the number rises to eighty three. Even so many are equipped with missiles with lighter warheads and it's still less than sixty percent as many ships as she had during the previous assault and the enemy may have much heavier defences on the other side.
   Of course the enemy may not be defending. Considering the problems with long term jump point picket it is impossible to have the entire alien strength at the scene at any given time, which is why the previous assault succeeded in the first place. As such she may be able to enter the system and depending on location of jump points and the enemy fleet, she may be able to force a deep space engagement. Unfortunately the only way to know for sure is to blindly send ships into the enemy system.
   In the end she believes she has no choice but to do so. If the enemy is truly running a bluff, she needs to know.
   Before she can order her fleet to the jump point, she is contacted by Rear Admiral Kumari Gusain who points out the jump gate is not picketed. That means the aliens may freely send information through and while the local colony is being jammed, the enemy has stealth ships. Those may be easily spotted by the active sensor arrays, but the jump point is too far and the carriers have enormous thermal signature, which will be easy to spot from any distance. Overall the aliens will know the humans are coming and can reinforce their jump point defences.
   Of course the Hegemony does not have to attack immediately, allowing the aliens to lower their guard, but the whole reason for moving out now is the state of the ships, which will only get worse as the time passes.
   Landmann retraces the logic and has to agree with it. It is possible that a full scale attack involving all her remaining ships and four carriers, like the previous one, could win the battle, but it would cost the humans dearly. In the end losing such a force to win the war would be acceptable, but she could not guarantee that to be the case and it would significantly weaken the Hegemony, even if only temporarily. As such she intends to revert to defensive posture, conquer the local colony and prepare the next invasion.
   The assault ships are send to secure the jump point and begin to jam any transmissions while the escorts are redistributed among the seven carriers, three of which are sent to Pensacola for overhaul. For all instances and purposes the war has just entered its second stalemate.

15th October 2414

   The Hegemony government and naval staff have been monitoring the situation at the front. Overall there is a feeling of disappointment, especially in the political circles, but the Fleet is quite content with how things went. As they point out the attack was pushed heavily, despite some objections and even thought the Hegemony wasn't as prepared as it could be, the navy nonetheless secured at least two systems, and likely more considering Albuquerque has three jump points, while also destroying seventeen enemy battleships, thirty seven cruisers, a hundred and twelve destroyers of different sizes and fifty corvettes. Despite the loss of the Invincible, the exchange was hugely in the humanity's favour.
   There was of course some discussion about ordering Landmann to launch another attack, especially as she herself admitted that it would likely be successful despite heavy loses. In this particular case however the Hegemony himself stepped in, supporting the Admiral and reminded people of the debacle at the ES – 09 system, where four carriers were committed against a weakened opponent with expectation of easy withdrawal that nonetheless ended with the destruction of over half the Navy. He also reminded everyone that there is no way of knowing when the Destroyers will arrive, that Travellers may appear at any time and place and even Commune may decide to attack. As far as he is concerned despite the costs of a much longer conflict, the fleet cannot be significantly weakened, even if this would not only end the war earlier, but resulted in lower price, in life as well as materiel, in the longer run.
   With the general drop in activities various forces and intelligence agencies have also begun to finalise their various analysis and recommendations. Most discussed was Landmanns own analysis of jump point assaults.
   The general wisdom is that defending a jump point gives significant advantage do the defender, but as she points out this may not actually be the case. Judging by what was found on the other side it appears the aliens had the same logistical problems as Hegemony when it came to defence, which meant only part of the defending fleet could be present at any given time. However the attacker was not constrained by it, allowing the Hegemony to concentrate their forces resulting in an easy victory. She also pointed out that for the longest time New Earth refused to build jump point defences, as they were all or nothing proposition, due to impossibility of withdrawing from combat. Taking all of that into account long term jump point defence may be suboptimal choice.
   However she also pointed out there are situations in which it is the only reasonable option. While it would be easy to assume the aliens learned the same lessons, allowing the humans to easier enter their systems in the future, their technological disadvantage means jump point battle is the only way for them to mount any sort of reasonable defence. In fact the assault on Amarillo was the very first time the Confederation destroyed any human ship and that means they are very likely to continue defending their jump points in force.
   From the tactical point of view, the biggest disappointment were the energy weapons, as they essentially played no part in the battle. In particular, despite having over two hundred ships, some of which were apparently designed for close quarters combat, the aliens failed to destroy even a single vessel with their lasers. Energy weapons are still necessary, to finish anything which survived missile exchange, but it is obvious that in this kind of battle missiles are vastly superior.
   In addition the orders Landmann gave for the assaulting formations were in error, which she freely admitted. She ordered her ships to gather in order to amass their defences and while it seemed reasonable, there simply was no time for that, for none of her scattered forces managed to link up before the entire battle ended. What she should have ordered, was for their ships to move directly away from the enemy to buy themselves precious seconds to bring their systems on line.
   The biggest surprise for her however was the fact that active defences were not as useless as was expected. Thanks to the very powerful jump drives not only did her ships emerged far away not to be destroyed outright, the systems were being brought back on line much more rapidly than anyone expected. Gauss cannons were doing their best and most ships managed at least a couple of anti-missile launches. While the scattering of the attacking forces is still an issue, in the future it may be possible to design ships with reasonable active defences which may prove survivable in jump point assault.
   The last part of her analysis deals with the fleet compositions. As she points out the carrier doctrine has served the Hegemony well but while it is very good for deep space combat, it lack flexibility. The Confederation which appears to be using multi role ships ranging from corvettes to battleships, can use any and all forces for jump point defence or assault. The Hegemony however had over a hundred frigates standing behind simply because they had nothing to contribute and using carriers is both risky and difficult. Going forward New Earth has realistically only two choices – to either build and keep very large jump point assault fleet, or to modify their existing fleet composition. What she proposes is nothing less than complete abandonment of frigates coupled with addition of jump leaders to the existing carrier groups. Doing so will ensure that any and all forces – carriers included should more jump battleships be built – could be used in jump point defence or assault which would make it easier to amass forces for such operations. In fact, had the fleet had more destroyers and less frigates, the entire stalemate could have been cut in half, just long enough to build jump leading ships and the second stalemate may have never happened.
   While this proposal will certainly be discussed for now the Hegemony will focus on preparation for the next battle, building more cruiser and assault destroyers.

26th October 2414

   The news of the recent battle in the Amarillo system were of course announced to the public, making other nations aware of them, but they were also devoid of details. Many in the Republic were worried but by and large the Hegemony is not viewed as an enemy there. The Commune of course was a very different matter.
   The lack of details was very problematic but they knew the Hegemony lost the carrier Invincible and some escorts while destroying over two hundred enemy warships. The exact sizes of those warships were not given, but their classifications were, so the Commune had a general idea of their mass. Of course New Earth could have lied, overstating or understating loses but most intelligence analysts agreed that between three and four million tonnes of Kinharan military shipping was destroyed. If the Hegemony lied, it could get as low as one million or as high as five, although most considered this unlikely. For comparison the Sixth Fleet, located at the Kraken system and expecting combat against the Travellers, has combined mass of only one million and two hundred thousand tonnes, causing the Committee a considerable worry.
   The military however is more confident pointing out there was only a single front, and considering the battles of Atlantic and ES – 09 the Hegemony likely used fifty to seventy percent of their whole navy in that battle. Nonetheless considering New Earth is much larger and will soon get possibly even more territory, many believe steps have to be taken to ensure the Commune Force continues to grow quickly.
   Their first decision was the one the Force feared – the government decided to suspend further refits. All ships, with the exception of some frigates, are now equipped with anti-matter drives and are now upgrading mainly their energy weapons. However as their main armament are missiles, many believe those refits are too expensive and slow for the increased capability they provide. As such from now on new technologies will be divided into three categories – immediate upgrades, 'as available' upgrades and sidegrades.
   The essential upgrades will be limited to engines. Speed has played vital role for the Force and in fact lies at the very foundation of the Commune strategic thinking. In the future development of new engines will result in immediate refit for any and all ships.
   The 'as available' upgrades are those to be installed on all warships but only when refits happen anyway, for other reasons. Due to the need to limit the costs this will include electronic warfare systems but depending on the design may include nothing else. Most likely armour will also be on the list, followed by fire controls.
   Sidegrades will refer to those technologies which will not be included in refits at all due to cost and time constrains. This will certainly include energy weapons, sensors and may also include other technologies, depending on a cost. As a result, in the future, any design will have numerous variants. For example there are currently two version of the Harpy class cruiser in service – Harpy IV which is baseline ship equipped with anti-matter drive and Harpy V which is a new version equipped with latest technologies, including armour, fire controls and lasers. Until now all ships were supposed to be refitted to the newest version, but now those two will be reclassified as Harpy IV A and Harpy IV B and will be considered essentially two different classes of ships. Further upgrades will of course be suspended and in the future those two types will be upgraded separately rather than to a uniform standard.
   In most cases this will simply allow shipyards to go back to producing the newest warships available, but it causes problem for Courland. The habitat has three shipyards, one for destroyers, one for frigates and one for gunboats and has been producing the old, mixed destroyer squadrons. However as the Luna class is considered to be the future of the class, many question whether or not the mixed squadrons should be built at all. In this case however a simple solution is selected – the smallest yard, used to built gunboats, will be moved to Knossos and the medium sized one will be enlarged to build destroyers as well. This may cause slight manpower shortages, but is considered the best available option.
   The second step the government intends to take is to speed up development of new shipbuilding sites. The Commune economy is in very good shape in monetary terms, the recent gallicite issues have been solved and while uridium and fuel stockpiles are steady and have to be carefully managed, they are not a threat and are already being taken care of. The Committee fully intended to take advantage of that, but each of the existing sectors already have a military shipyard and due to their closeness to each other, they intended to build new ones quite far away for security reasons. In fact they intended to develop the system of ES – 202 FFFGH12, twelve jumps from the capital, as the next shipbuilding site, possibly constructing the very first true Commune capital ships. Unfortunately while the system is very promising, with several candidates for colonisation and large, albeit scattered, mineral deposits, it has population of only two million and development will be slow due to distances.
   After rather heated discussion the Committee made the decision to place a new shipyard above the Gneafa colony in the Amber system. It is located in an area of space beyond Sudetes and an adjacent planet has reasonable mineral deposits which are already being mined by automated systems. In addition the planet has sparse biosphere, is close to habitable and once modified will be very Earth-like making it attractive to people from less pleasant planets like Wieliczka.
   The decision what to build was similarly heated. While some wanted to go ahead with true multi-purpose battlecruisers or maybe even battleships, the general consensus is that the Commune still needs larger numbers. In the end the decision was made to expand the new yards to ten slipways, each of twenty five thousand tonnes, to build new Kraken class cruisers. Lunas, while having a lot of potential, are quite small and will be built in quite large numbers on Gdansk and Courland already, while Nihoggr class was untested and somewhat experimental. The Krakens, while not the newest design available, has proven themselves and are the kind of medium sized, multi role combatant the Commune wants more of.

25th November 2414

   While many government officials and officers within the Hegemony agree with Landmanns point about the fleet composition, the exact way to rectify the issue is hotly debated. The problem is that the existing frigates play an important role, with their point defence complimenting the pure offensive capability of the carriers. Admittedly there is nothing wrong with a fleet focused more on offence than defence if it works, but many feel it would not work. Despite the fact that the fighters are supposed to allow the carriers to launch strikes from safety, historically far too often this did not work that way. In particular, during the battle of ES – 09 mere seven hundred missiles managed to get through point defences of four carrier groups. Technologies, doctrines and ships themselves evolved since than of course as exemplified during the first battle in Albuquerque, but this still means many people are worried about sacrificing too much defensive capability.
   In the end only two options remain. The first one is to modify the destroyer designs to be more defensive focused. While somewhat counter-intuitive considering this is done to improve jump point assault capabilities, the sheer increase in number of ships would offset any loss of individual capability in that area.
   Nonetheless it would require using many more ships in any assault potentially leading to much heavier loses. In addition it would take seven years to enlarge the Froncillo-Stelman Manufacturing Co. shipyard, currently with seventeen slipways, to build destroyers instead of frigates.
   The second option is to modify the frigates themselves, making them larger in the process. This would allow them to keep their defensive capabilities while giving them a small amount of offensive launchers. While individually weak, modern carrier groups have twenty to thirty frigates anyway, so the total offensive potential would be considerable. The main problem with that idea would be the need to build dedicated jump ships, as using Omar Bradley class destroyers would be suboptimal. In addition it would also require using custom designed engines, which would also be less fuel efficient.
   In the end the first option was chosen. Of course, as it will take seven years to implement it, for the time being the Hegemony will keep building the ships they already designed but as twenty four assault destroyers are being built simultaneously, not counting thirteen cruisers, many feel there is no hurry as the assault arm is growing larger quite quickly.

1st March 2415

   Nine additional Hegemony assault and infantry divisions have been delivered to the Kinharan moon in the Albuquerque system, reinforcing eight divisions already present there. The aliens have not tried to counter-attack either in fear of orbital bombardment or due to having forces focused more on defence than offence. Those new troops should be more than sufficient to deal with the enemy.

5th March 2415

   The initial Hegemony offensive went well. While a total of nine battalions suffered casualties they caused damage to fourteen enemy ones. Overall the odds seem to be in human favour, although not by as large a factor as many hoped, considering well over half of New Earth's ground forces are present on the planet. Even so it seems victory is only a matter of time and this time it will be achieved without nuclear bombardment.

30th March 2415

   The ground combat in Albuquerque system is progressing slowly but steadily. In fact the greatest question right now is why the aliens even bother resisting. The fight, on a planet that is still not habitable for them, has already claimed over two million civilian lives due to collateral damage.
   While some believe this is due alien psychology that makes them unable or unwilling to give up, most analysts agree this is simply a case of desperate play for time, which would be consistent with their ongoing strategy. After all the moon is the only candidate for colonisation in the system so as long as it resists, humans can't build a naval base there. It is likely a hope of the defenders that as long as they resist they are delaying further attacks at their territory, even though in reality it's just a matter of the Hegemony needing more assault ships.
   Whatever the case the battle is far from over, despite very optimistic outlooks. So far not one enemy battalion has been destroyed so it will likely take months to secure the moon. Whether or not any Kinharans will still be alive by that point remains to be seen as the total remaining population seems to be a little over fifteen million.

25th June 2415

   After several months of vicious fighting the Kinharan moon in the Albuquerque system has finally been secured by the Hegemony. Five alien divisions tried to hold it and died, dragging with them millions of their own civilians. The exact number may never be known, but it is believed over eight million of them died in the fighting, mostly due to the uninhabitable nature of the battlefield. This in fact represents over forty percent of the initial population as only a little over eleven million Kinharans survived.
   It is now obvious that the moon was being turned into a full scale naval base, that could support even the sixty thousand tonne alien battleships. However due to the devastation that is no longer the case and by now nothing larger than a destroyer can be maintained. Industrial and mining sectors have also been reduced by more than half, leaving forty one construction factories and thirty mines standing.
   The moon, known to the locals as Krikara, will become the new Hegemony base from which further attacks will be launched, but a new human colony will be established for that due to trust issues. Freighters, colony ships and tugs are already on stand by in Kensington, from where the colonisation will be launched.
   The rebasing will be lengthy of course and not without consequences. As the space stations will have to be moved, neither Kensington nor Krikara will be able to overhaul carriers for some time and many of those still didn't have any downtime after the recent fight. Worse while fuel situation is not critical and recently the refining sector has been expanding once again, the constant movement of large portion of the Navy has significantly impacted the existing stockpiles. Last but not least the missiles will have to be moved as well, in addition to all the new ones that have to be delivered to support future operations.
   All of this means significant delays before any new forays into enemy territory could be launched, but as the Navy needs to replace loses and possibly expand anyway, it should not actually impact future operations, assuming of course lack of any significant delays.

23rd February 2416

   Despite the war the Hegemony continues to explore new system on its frontiers and they've just received a very interesting report. A new star, located in a nebula, has been identified as ES – 263 MH13 and has been already discovered by the Commune eight years earlier.
   As there is no trade between the three human nations, all information flows through a limited number of jump gates and as such can be easily censored. Despite that the Commune and the Republic have a tradition of free speech so the only information they actually cut from transmissions is what could potentially be used by the Hegemony to better plan an attack. This means that while the exact location of jump points is not known, the general astrography of all nations is known, although Hegemony is secretly slow with upload in case they want to classify existence of a system.
   In addition to avoid potential border disputes, the three nations upload very detailed data about the central star, especially elemental absorb ion lines, which are unique, allowing for easy identification. The practice comes back to the first contact between the Commune and the Republic when it turned out both nations discovered several systems and their ownership had to be decided.
   Last but not least a couple of system adjacent to the newly discovered one did not have jump gates, and both ES – 263 and Bloise, the last Hegemony system in chain, are in nebula. This is very important as it means the news are actually several weeks old but there has been no communication from the Commune indicating they have detected the entry. Considering what happened when the Hegemony first entered the Pacific system and coupled with the fact nebulae can severely impact sensor sensitivity it is very likely the Commune is none the wiser about the visit – and the system has already been fully explored by them. In short the Hegemony may have just found a secret entry into Commune territory.
   As the information is being processed most regard it as in interesting, but not truly significant development. The system may offer entry into enemy space and several different sectors may actually be reached from it, but it is quite distant and it is likely any invading force would be detected by forward deployed tracking stations long before they could actually reach an inhabited system. It certainly offers interesting strategic options, but nothing more.
   Rear Admiral Chien Ai Feng, head of the Economic Analysis Bureau of the Naval Intelligence proposes a different use. As she points out the Commune returned to space much earlier and with better starting point, which is the reason they are ahead of the Hegemony in terms of industry and technology. New Earth will catch up and surpass them sooner or later, thanks to their larger size and more efficient economic system, but it will take time. However the time may be shortened by sabotaging the Commune economy. And while a carrier group would likely be easily detected, stealth ships would not.
   She specifically points out to the Kinharan scout ships which thanks to their small size and use of such stealth were essentially undetectable by their passive emissions and even active sensors struggled with them. In fact only the massive, very sensitive and advanced sensors on naval command cruisers and carriers could detect them at any useful ranges. As the Commune appears to relying primarily on planet based passive installations, stealth ships could potentially infiltrate numerous enemy systems with near impunity.
   Such an operation would of course be dangerous and subject to many potential failures. In particular no matter how stealthy a ship is, it can be detected by any vessel sufficiently close by. In deep space that should be irrelevant but traversing a jump point will be a roulette, as the situation on the other side cannot be known. This is especially problematic since the entire purpose of the entire operation is to sabotage the Commune economy without going to war, which means the Hegemony involvement has to be kept secret at all costs.
   In this particular case however a simple solution is available. What Feng proposes is to build those ships in orbit of Khamali using Takaran shipbuilding practices. As none of their ships ever ventured beyond Newark, even if a vessel were to be captured essentially intact, it could not be traced back to the Hegemony. This of course means the crews would essentially be executing a suicide mission, but it should be no issue if they didn't actually know that. The captains and several of the most senior officers would likely have to be briefed about that and selected very carefully, but any ship abandon procedures would be fake. As a result even if a ship is discovered, it would destroy itself, leaving no bodies and next to no biological residue to analyse and it's make would be completely alien to the Commune or the Republic.
   As for the potential targets, it is impossible to say what could be reached without entering an inhabited Commune system and analysing information available to their own public, which would not be filtered. Even so there should be convoys and trade ships that could be reached as a bare minimum and possibly automated mining and fuel refining sites.
   Even if that was not the case strikes by stealth ships could be used as a diversion, an attempt to disperse the Commune Force as a prelude to an all out attack on other fronts – or attempt to lead them into a trap.
   The Hegemony government is quite interested in the possibility and orders further study of the proposal. However even if the actual military portion is abandoned, they do agree that preliminary survey of the Commune space by stealth ships would provide invaluable advantage in case of a future conflict. As such they authorise construction of several small shipyards in orbit of Khamali and crash priority development of improved stealth devices. New Earth has already done some research in the area, but if they are to use this on warships, and not just scout ships, the better devices they can develop the better.

15th March 2416

   The system of Albuquerque had a total of three jump points, one leading back to human space, one believed to lead towards the Kinharan homeworld and a third one believed to lead to previously unexplored systems. The Hegemony has been exploring the latter for some time now finding no sign of Confederate activity confirming it was a frontier for them as well. A total of three systems have been found but there was only a single jump point leading out of the area, which turned out to lead to an already explored Hegemony system of New Orleans, where a small colony is located. The aliens found a previously dormant connection into human territory.



   It is unknown whether they actually knew of its existence or not, but it seems likely as they had seven years to find it. It is probable that due to their limited numbers and technological inferiority they were simply unwilling to use it, but it also means they could have done enormous damage to the Hegemony should the recent attack failed. New Orleans is rather insignificant, but the next system in chain, Kansas is site of large fuel harvesting and refining operation. More importantly the next one is Philadelphia. Not only is it the site of the largest Hegemony colony outside Sanctuary it is extremely important mining location in it's own right and the only entry into an entire area of space, which includes another important mining location.
   Once the jump gates are ready, the new connection will help the movement of Hegemony ships between Sanctuary and Albuquerque, although not to a significant degree. The previous route was fifty billion kilometres long, while this one will be forty billion kilometres. Even so this will help save some time and fuel.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 01:37:16 PM by Haji »
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 12:33:30 AM »
I am just stunned at the scale of your campaign.  50 billion km, megatons of ships.  Years upon years of investment destroyed in a single battle.
 
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Offline Neophyte

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 11:51:03 AM »
MEANWHILE, IN THE REPUBLIC:

*crickets*


Seriously, this has all been fantastic!  I'm loving the vast sweep of the conflict and good on you for being willing to slog through what must be hours of 5sec turns to get all this.   Hope you keep it up for as long as you can stand it!

Really though, what is the Republic doing?  How is their tech/fleet considering the've been at peace this whole time?  Could they be the next target for the Hegemonic Hordes?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNN

 
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Offline HighTemplar

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 06:47:07 PM »
Will there be any special rules for the hegemony stelth ship with regards to detection or related issues?
 
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Offline Haji

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 03:51:25 PM »
Really though, what is the Republic doing?  How is their tech/fleet considering the've been at peace this whole time?  Could they be the next target for the Hegemonic Hordes?

The Republic is simply lucky and I am being lazy. They were supposed to be just another nation, undergoing the same trials and they did have their own share of fight against the ADS and the Spectres, but they never really faced any real challenge. As I was busy enough with the other two nations I never tried to rectify it and I think this is for the best. This makes the Republic unique in that they have large fleet (66 battleships plus escorts) that nonetheless have never been truly tested in battle, so once they finally do commit it may end up being... interesting.

As for being the target. All I write is subject to change, but the way I tried to set up the politics (although I may not have done the exposition properly) the Republic is hoping for peace between the human nations and are very indecisive, but the Commune is very assertive when it comes to threats and are very decisive. What that means is that if the Republic is attacked, the Commune is certain to respond and do so immediately; but if the Commune is attacked it is fully expected that the Republic at the very least will hesitate, significantly delaying their entry into war and possibly even preventing it entirely. As such any attack on Phoenix have to be done as part of a larger strategy involving the Commune.

Will there be any special rules for the hegemony stelth ship with regards to detection or related issues?

Probably not. I should be able to do everything I want to do with the stealth rules already in place, but it may change if I run into unanticipated issues.
 
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Offline joeclark77

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 07:49:29 PM »
Very interesting campaign!  I've enjoyed the read-through so far.
 
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Offline Admiral Cole

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 05:17:37 AM »
Desperately waiting for your next update! Its an amazing read and also helps so much with understanding the game!
 
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Offline Haji

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2017, 06:19:30 PM »
Sorry for the slow updates, but after playing nearly non-stop for the better part of the year I just had to take a break from Aurora. I'm back now, but I'm playing battle so large it took the missiles over an hour just to enter enemy detection range. By now it's been twenty minutes since the first anti-missile launch and the game is still processing. I may have it done before Christmas, but I'm not so sure. And no this is not a joke, even if this salvo is resolved, this was just an opening and there is a lot more fire to come, so playing out this one encounter may really take me a whole month or more.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2017, 07:29:27 PM »
That sounds pretty epic!  And probably challenging to sum up.

And perhaps a deterrent to playing truly long game Aurora.
 

Offline Haji

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Re: From the Ashes - part 32
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2017, 09:25:02 PM »
Alas, I don't think large battles are more epic than small ones. The problem with Aurora is that due to the mechanics, once the actual battle starts the best tactic is to hold together. That isn't necessarily bad - in fact I consider it quite realistic considering the physics of space - but that means there is little battle manoeuvring and whether you have ten ships or a thousand ships the battle will be effectively fought the same way. In fact in many ways small battles may be more interesting, as there is space to tell what happened to each individual ship, list the damages and loses of each exchange. In case of massive battles you can't really do that. If fifty ships die in 20 seconds, even listening their names may be problematic, which is why in most of my previous write-ups I just summed the exchanges telling how many ships were destroyed and how many were damaged. This is actually somewhat annoying, since every single human ship have a name and I spent literal hours trying to think them up, but I very rarely have an opportunity to use those names.
The above also means it's not really that challenging to sum things up. The greatest issue will likely be figuring out exactly which ships got damaged and how badly, as the repair screen, which is very handy for such situations, only shows vessels with internal damage, which means armour damage can only be checked in the ship's status screen - one by one.
As for playing a long game of Aurora, the problem with the campaigns I have seen so far (and this one to a lesser extent) is that not a single game have had a proper strategic scale. There were most often than not only a handful systems in which fighting occurred and only a single point of contact. Getting a game with a proper scale would require either a setup that would be very challenging and taking weeks if not months (I know, i tried) or playing a really long game so that a proper strategic scale, and opportunities, are created before the final showdown. Hence the From the Ashes campaign.
 

 

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