Author Topic: Excerpts from the Encyclopedia Obsidiana (Battle of Luyten 143-23 and others)  (Read 233 times)

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Offline obsidian_green

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Excerpt from the Encyclopedia Obsidiana.

Battle of Luyten 143-23

The Battle of Luyten 143-23 was a space engagement in the Luyten 143-23 system between forces of the Terran Federation and those of Alien-Designate NN 3126, believed to be the automated remnants of a biological species that has since disappeared. Regarded by some sources as two separate battles, the twenty-seven day period in which the system was contested began on January 6, 2102 and concluded nearly a month later with the Terran Federation's destruction of all detected A-D NN 3126 vessels. Although the battle was an entirely one-sided affair in which Terran ships incurred no casualties and suffered no damage, it prompted a Fleet doctrine and design review which led to the redesign of several planned ship classes, the cancellation of plans for a class of four light cruisers, and new statuatory capability requirements for the Terran fleet.

Background: First mapped in 2077 after exploration of a jump point in the Alpha Centauri system, Terran Fleet Command deemed Luyten 143-23 a low priority for immediate survey missions given the relative unimportance of other worlds along the Proxima jump-branch at the time and given the presence of only three system bodies; it was not until late 2101 that Luyten 143-23 was among systems selected for comprehensive survey. Given the scarcity of military assests along the jump-branch, the Bertalan Farkas-class survey cruiser Pham Tuan (ExCS-002)---armed with a 15cm quad far UV laser turret, six anti-craft missile tubes, two CIWS, and modest shielding---was deployed from 70 Ophiuchi-A III. (The older Yuri Gagarin-class exploration vessels, equipping only CIWS and minimal sensors, were prioritized to systems where battle group support was more readily availible or where only gravitational survey was required.)

Initial Phase, Action of 6-10 January 2102: On 4 January 2102 Pham Tuan entered the Luyten 143-23 system via flash-jump ("squadron" transit) from Alpha Centauri and set course for the third, outermost planet closest to the jump point. Within two days, thermal sensors detected two Clairvauxs, a previously encountered class of primary sensor ships for the aliens first encountered and engaged in several battles at NN 3126, in apparent orbit of A II. Capt. Vaughn Harville, commanding Pham Tuan, continued with the primary, geological survey mission after reducing speed by a third to reduce the possibility of detection.

On the 7th, Pham Tuan detected two additional 7,700 ton contacts, alien active sensors were detected, and the two new contacts determined to be on intercept course with Pham Tuan, which powered its shields and own active sensors (revealing two additional contacts at A II), resumed full engine power to 6000 km/s, diverted mission to gravitational survey of the system, and apprised Fleet Command of the situation via ansible.

By the 10th, Pham Tuan had disengaged propulsion fields to conduct the first of its gravitational surveys and began lauching missile salvos when the approaching 7700 ton Ranseur and Bernard entered range, destroying both. Continued survey operations were conducted under apparent observation of the two Clairvauxs, which maintained a distance of better than 320 million km, far exceding the range of Pham Tuan's ACMs. Intelligence obtained at NN 3126 precluded the possibility of closing with this enemy class at a velocities below 12,666 km/s. Under cover of a freak ion storm that temporarily inhibited active sensors, Pham Tuan escaped the shadowing of the Clairvauxs and continued with its gravitational survey mission uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, Fleet Command had ordered it's four reserve destroyers of the China and United States classes to rendevous and replenish ordnance at Earth in preparation for expedition against enemy forces at Luyten 143-23. As the sole remaining warships capable of equipping long-range ASMs, the Chinas' magazines were loaded with them exclusively, relying on the United States-class vessels for anti-missile missile (AMM) capability. Fleet Command had considered deployment of Battle Group B, but the force's two frigates had yet to complete refitting to Mod.A specifications, so only the Sun Tzu-class dreadnought, Xiang Yu (DN-002)---including its combat wing of twelve strikecraft and five interceptors---was detached from Battle Group B  to supplement and act as flagship for the Reserve Destroyer Squadron. On 17 January 2102 the force, joined by the jump-tender Birsa Munda, embarked for Luyten 143-23 under the overall command of Rear Adm. Elijah Excell, commander of the 2nd Expeditionary Fleet.

Action of 1-3 February 2102: On 1st February the Reserve Destroyer Squadron arrived at Luyten 143-23 and set course for A III, immediately making contact with the Clairvaux pair, which began retreat towards the inner system. Early on the morning of the 2nd, Xiang Yu made contact with two additional contacts of classes Covenant and Crossbow (suspected missile combatants based on the earlier battles of NN 3126) in apparent orbit of A II. Xiang Yu launched its strikecraft squadron of twelve C/A-5 Aesculapians in pursuit of the Clairvauxs, but the strike squadron was ordered to break off when the new contacts at A II were determined to be the apparent destination. After closing to 85 million km, China (D-001) and India (D-002) launched 24 ASMs at the Covenant. The first salvos failing to destroy the target, the destroyers conducted a second attack, which suceeded. The Crossbow was subsequently destroyed, the strike squadron recalled to Xiang Yu for refueling, and Pham Tuan resumed its geological survey mission. On 3rd February sorties by the strike squadron destroyed the Clairvauxs, concluding the battle.

Aftermath: The Reserve Destroyer Squadron remained on station for several months after the battle, as Pham Tuan finished its geological survey mission and resumed mapping for jump points. Geological survey revealed a ruined settlement on mineral-rich Luyten 143-23-A II with an anomaly that could aid energy research, but the heavy gravity precluded its prioritization as a center for scientific research. Salvager Group A, dispatched from Earth at the conclusion of the battle, conducted salvage operations.

Rear Adm. Elijah Excell, Fleet Cpt. Missy Stych, Fleet Cpt. Ralph Zozaya, and Cpt. Vaughn Harville were awarded Fleet Stars and several C/A-5 commanders were awarded Exemplary Service Crosses for their actions.

Analysis: The success of small attack craft armed with short-ranged anti-ship missiles in the war with the House of Monkey, and subsequent engagements with large formations of small craft of the techno-organic aliens first encountered at Proxima, led Fleet planners to omit long range ASMs of greater than 100 million km range in subsequent warship designs: long range strike capability would be served by small attack craft operating from carriers and dreadnoughts, while small craft defense and secondary anti-ship capability would be conducted with the anti-craft missile (ACM) system that synchronized with the maximum range of high-sensitivity anti-missile/craft sensors. The ongoing refit of Battle Group B's frigates---and according to some analysts, Fleet Command's desire to expend older ordnance stockpiles---led to deployment of the Reserve Destroyer Squadron, which included both China-class destroyers capable of anti-ship attack at greater than 100 million km range. Given the option, rather than risk Xiang Yu's strike craft to the suspected AMM capabilites of enemy combatants, force commander Excell opted to attack with the Chinas, which met their objectives despite their outdated missiles and despite obsolete targeting systems that necessitated a reduced engagement range of ~85 million km. The battle of Luyten 143-23 thus validated the continued utility of long-range anti-ship missiles for some engagment scenarios, a concept which had been in disfavor at Federation Fleet Command.

Critics of survey cruiser design and operations doctrine pointed to Pham Tuan's performance against its two aggressors as inadequate, a failure of the secondary role of ACMs as short ranged anti-ship missiles for use against targets exceeding a thouand tons, primarily because the vessel expended nearly half of its ACM ordnance to counter the threats. Defenders maintained that Pham Tuan's remaining unscathed and continuing it's survey operations while under threat validated both design and doctrine. Other observers accepted the limitations of the survey cruiser concept---and the Bertalan Farkas design in particular---as unavoidable, but warned of its extreme vulnerability to the massive missile salvos that could be encountered when alien AMMs are used in the anti-ship role as at NN 3126; they credited Capt. Harville's caution in diverting from the initial geo-survey mission for averting a potential disaster, as either/both the Covenant or Crossbow had demonstrated offensively-employed AMM capability at NN 3126.

The C/A-5 Aesculapian's ability to achieve launch range while remaining untargetable went untested. Although the then-controversial design decision to reduce each craft's attack capability to two launchers from the preceding C/A-1 Adder's three  proved no detriment (the reduction allowed vastly improved targeting and ECM capability at only a net five ton increase in mass), their performance failed to silence advocates of a three-launcher system of smaller ASM-SRs or those calling for greater standardization with the use of up to four launchers serving the lower-yield ACMs.

A Fleet Review Board concluded that Fleet should retain long-range ASM capability (realized in the Han Xin-class dreadnought and Alalia-class large destroyer), that study of employment of box launchers to replace the survey cruisers' present ACM system be conducted (no resultant change in doctrine), and that the Light Cruiser Project should be reassessed, potentially with a redesign featuring AMM capability for escort of the Dimutri Prunarin-class survey cruisers then under construction (realized in the Jericho-class cruiser). Several officials responsible for the decison to tool for the Light Cruiser Project were investigated for corruption, but many observers considered them scapegoats to distract from broader, institutional mistakes by Fleet Administration.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 06:16:18 PM by obsidian_green »
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Offline obsidian_green

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Battle of HR 4523

Series of actions from 29 June through 1 August 2102 between forces of the Terran Federation and Alien-Designate Proxima Centauri #141, commonly referred to as the Prox, in the HR 4523 system, resulting in the apparent destruction of all Prox units and Terran control of the system. Three Terran ships were destroyed in the battle.

Background: In early 2102, Terran forces had defeated units of Alien-Designate NN 3126 in the Battle of Luyten 143-23 after their presence was detected in the course of survey cruiser Pham Tuan's (ExCS-002) exploration of the system. Remaining on station in the system for several months after the battle, the Reserve Destroyer Squadron was recalled to Earth, while the dreadnought Xiang Yu (DN-002), flagship of the squadron, was ordered to rendezvous with the recently refitted combatants of Battle Group B at 70 Opiuichi-A III.  After completion of its survey, Pham Tuan transited to the HR 4523 system on 20 June 2102 to begin geological survey operations there.

Action of 29 June 2102: Subsequent to orbital survey of Asteroid #24, Pham Tuan detected a formation of fifty Prox Sincheonji units on intercept course and began retreat towards the Luyten 143-23 jump-point, alerting Terran Fleet Command of the situation via ansible. The survey cruiser expended all remaining ACMs (48 percent had been expended in the Battle of Luyten 143-23), destroying twenty-six attackers and damaging three others, before being overtaken and disabled by apparent meson weaponry. Cpt. Vaughn Harville gave order to abandon ship and 235 crew and their captain escaped to lifepods as automated systems scuttled the Pham Tuan.

Response: Upon Pham Tuan's initial contact with the Prox formation, Terran Fleet Command immediately issued orders for armed expedition to HR 4523. Battle Group B--- consisting of Xiang Yu, carrier Australia (CV-004), destroyers Nigeria (D-007) and Bangladesh (D-008), frigates Gaxia (F-007) and Zama (F-008), and their craft complements, which included 36 Aesculapian strikecraft and 17 Fer-de-lance interceptors---would embark from the naval base at 70 Opiuichi-A III under the command of Rear Adm. Elijah Excell, commander of the 2nd Expeditionary Fleet and victor of the recent battle at Luyten 143-23. Despite immediate orders from Fleet Command, there was nevertheless a delay of several days before Battle Group B got underway.1 The battle group arrived at the HR 4523 system on the 18th of July, but not in time to recover the survivors of the Pham Tuan, who perished several hours before the battle group's arrival. The rescue mission unsuccessful, Battle Group B took no action for seven days before enemy contacts were detected on the 24th.2

Action of 24 July 2102: Twenty-four Sincheonjis detected by active sensors on Xiang Yu, Battle Group B finally undertook operations, setting course for HR 4523-A I. Xiang Yu, Nigeria, and Bangladesh launched ACMs against the Prox, destroying 21 units and disabling 3 others that Xiang Yu's interceptors closed with and destroyed.

Action of 29 July 2102: Xiang Yu detected five Sincheonjis previously disabled in combat with Pham Tuan and carrier interceptors were launched to destroy them. Fer-de-lance 027 accounts for two kills, but took damage from a Sincheonji with intact weapons.

Action of 30 July 2102: Xiang Yu detected ten new contacts of previously unencountered classes---nine Yangyangs and one Iri--- and Battle Group B set intercept course via in-system jump. Post-jump, all strikecraft sortied against the Iri, which had diverged from the apparently immobile Yangyangs. The Iri survived intercept by 72 ASM-SR3 anti-ship missiles, indicating the same massive shielding encountered on other Prox units of similar mass, and apparently deployed twenty Sincheonjis, mothership capability also demonstrated by the previous class. ACM attack by Nigeria and Bangladesh destroyed the new formation and Battle Group B's frigates were detached to intercept and destroy the damaged Iri, whose shields had partially regenerated in the interim. Under continuous laser fire and with the aid of ACM salvos from the battle group, the Iri's shields were finally degraded, but it managed to damage Gaxia in a counteract not indicated by the demonstrated speed or weapons' range of the Iri. Ordered to return to formation with the other ships of Battle Group B, the Iri was able to intercept and quickly disable Gaxia. In apparent violation of orders, its sister ship Zama attempted to destroy the Iri by closing to a range in which it's pair of Gauss cannon turrets could also engage, and while it succeeded in again degrading the Iri's shields, it failed to damage it sufficiently to prevent the destruction of Gaxia or itself. Sorties by Australia's strikecraft wing subsequently destroyed the Iri, Battle Group B closed to laser range and destroyed the Yanyangs, and rescue shuttles recovered survivors from the destroyed frigates.

On 1 August 2102 Battle Group B assumed station at HR 4523-A III to await and supervise salvage operations.

Aftermath: Fleet Stars awarded to Fleet Cpts. Marquis Shiffer and Thomas Luetkemeyer, Cpts. Andreas Drollinger and Alonzo Poyner. Distinguished Service Crosses awarded to Cpt. Luanne Tadlock and Cmdrs. Marsha Rondon, Garfield Gillim, Bobbie Lazarski, and Deva Bhinge. Posthumous commendations bestowed on Fleet Cpts. Daniel Defreese and Kailasa Panda, Cpt. Vaughn Harville. Notably, Rear Adm. Elijah Excell received no commendation.

Much controversy surrounds the actions of Rear Adm. Excell. Although a Terran Federation Fleet review board cleared Excell of dereliction of duty, many scholars contend the conclusion was preordained so as not to diminish what was being characterized as the heroic sacrifices of the battle's casualties. Excell's multi-day delay before embarking for HR 45231 and the week-long delay after the jump to the system2 remain subjects of debate; while the former delay entertains wide speculation, the latter is popularly attributed to mental breakdown subsequent to the failed rescue of the Pham Tuan survivors. Upon completion of the deployment, Rear Adm. Elijah Excell was transferred to command of the Reserve Fleet.

Analysis: The Battle of HR 4523 challenged conclusions drawn by Fleet planners after the Battle of Luyten 143-23 and served as a significant test of battle group doctrine established in the wake of war with the "House of Monkey".

Despite it's destruction, Pham Tuan's performance vindicated survey cruiser doctrine that had been questioned after Luyten 143-23 and resurrected the original Light Cruiser design that prioritized ACM armament over AMM capability. Fleet review board concluded the likelihood of Pham Tuan's survival had its magazines been full, blaming operational overconfidence in deploying an unreplenished Pham Tuan to HR 4523 rather than failure of concept.

Battle group employment of strikefighters and ACMs met all expectations of supporters of the doctrine, while the utility of Julu-class frigates (and therefor the Aquae Sextae class as well) as anything more than close anti-missile escorts was brought into doubt.

Extra-dimensional notes: 1.) When the task group contains a 1 km/s flag bridge pod, I really ought to remember to set fleet speed to max after I dock it ... sorry CPT Harville. 2.) No joy when I don't get the "Battle Group B has completed orders" message after the group has completed its orders. Poor RADM Excell has to pay the narrative price, but the spice is nice ... even when the alliteration is forced.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 06:33:52 PM by obsidian_green »
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