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14 February 4009

On the morning of 14 February, with the elements of First and Second Fleets fully refuelled and resupplied from the fleet auxiliaries, Lord Captain Selene Styx ordered the two fleets to advance to Belaire II, aiming to draw out and destroy the Belaire battle fleet defending the system. Without the disadvantage of making a jump point assault, and with the Belaire fleet known to be several ships smaller than that which had defended the jump point, the Lord Captain was confident that two battle fleets would prove sufficient to destroy the Belaire forces even without the assistance of the 15,000-ton Invincibles. The fleets arrived in orbit of Belaire II at 1526 on 15 February, noting that the situation around Belaire Prime had not changed and thus the whereabouts of the Belaire fleet remained unknown. This was a cause of some concern, but Lord Captain Styx was confident that the Belaire fleet would return to defend their vulnerable home planet in due time. Regardless, each Cruiser Squadron was ordered to launch a reconnaissance flight to attempt to detect the Belaire fleet as soon as possible.

While this was continuing, Bad Omen reported from her surveillance position near the Giclas 9-38 jump point the detection of a new Belaire ship class, matching the technical description of the civilian spaceliner previously described to Legion intelligence officers by Belaire survivors from the Battle of Kuiper 79.



After briefly being amazed that such seemingly-superfluous information had actually been useful in some small capacity, Lord Captain Styx ordered Bad Omen to intercept and destroy the vessel. These orders were promptly followed, and despite being armed with only a pair of 102 mm railgun batteries Bad Omen effortlessly dispatched the unarmed civilian vessel by 0044 on 16 February, after which she resumed her watch post near the jump point. Commander Hera Thrace made a note in her report suggesting that the use of boarding marines to commit acts of piracy could be a lucrative source of material rewards for the Legion in future conflicts, perhaps preferable to outright destruction and salvage of civilian vessels.

The efforts of the various reconnaissance flights sent out by the cruiser squadrons proved to be rather less than essential, as at 1225 the frigate Broken Wind sent out an urgent report announcing the detection of the Belaire battle fleet on a direct course for the Kuiper 79 jump point - and the vulnerable fleet auxiliaries on station. While the Legion commanders naturally approved of this nakedly aggressive action, as it was well-known that the best defense is a good offense after all, this did nevertheless present said commanders with some difficulties which would have to be resolved. Immediately, First and Second Fleets fired up their engines and made for the jump point with all haste, ordering the dispersed reconnaissance flights to hold positions in orbit of nearby planets until the crisis was resolved. The auxiliaries were evacuated through the jump point, carrying the alert back to Kuiper 79, while Broken Wind would remain on the jump point to delay or distract the Belaire fleet as long as possible, finally evacuating away from, rather than through, the jump point at 1548 after the Belaire fleet had crossed to within 40 million km. Broken Wind’s maneuver appeared to be effective, as the Belaire battle fleet veered away from the jump point on an apparent pursuit course. With the fleet auxiliaries likely saved from certain doom, Broken Wind set out on a course that would hold the attention of the Belaire fleet, keeping her at the edge of their sensor range, while leading them directly into a confrontation with the bulk of First and Second Fleets.



Approximate course headings of each stage along which Broken Wind planned to evade the Belaire battle fleet. The combined First and Second Fleets would approach from the lower-right, rendezvousing with Broken Wind before counterattacking the Belaire warships.

Due to some miscalculations by the helm officer of Broken Wind, an immediate evasive course change had to be made as she approached the Gamma point to prevent the Belaire fleet from closing into heavy missile range. By the time the frigate could turn towards the incoming Legion fleets she had been forced some 85 million km off of her planned course, though in spite of this the Belaire missile gunners had failed to secure a target lock on their slippery quarry. In spite of this the plan succeeded brilliantly as distraction and to bait the Belaire fleet towards the approaching First and Second Fleets. Thus, Broken Wind set her course to rejoin her Legion comrades who were eagerly awaiting another chance to shed Belaire blood in glorious battle.



Here it can be clearly seen just how far off-course Broken Wind was driven due to admittedly poor helmsmanship, the greatest enemy of the Legion or at least its most successful opponent. Even so, the decoy tactic of Broken Wind had been a clear success in spirit if not in execution.

At 1322 on 17 February, after more than 24 hours of playing the prey, Broken Wind rejoined Second Fleet and prepared to once again play as the predator. By this point, the Belaire battle fleet had detected the threat looming at the edge of their sensor range, and had turned to flee back toward the jump point. First and Second Fleets were ordered to pursue the hated foe, closing to 400,000 km and preparing for the inevitable missile barrage. While there was some concern that the Belaire might reach the jump point ahead of the Legion fleets, placing the Legion in the rather confusing position of having to launch a jump point assault against their own system, at 1950 the Belaire commanders once again showed evidence of a severe allergy to making good decisions, having not even made half the distance to the jump point before veering sixty degrees off-course in a futile attempt at evasive action. Victory for the Legion was all but assured.

Duranium Legion Navy Combined Reconnassaince Fleet
Lord Captain Selene Styx in operational command at Kuiper 79 Mission Control Department headquarters
Captain Jocasta Gelanor in tactical command aboard CL Disruptor
Totaling 363,000 tons displacement with 10,992 crew complement

   First Fleet
   Captain Felix Tegyrios commanding aboard CL Dissolution
   Cruiser Squadron 1: Denouement, Devastator, Dissolution, Grand Cross, 1x R-56, 1x AR-56 Osprey
   Cruiser Squadron 3: Devourer, Domination, Double Edge, Garrote, 2x R-56
   Destroyer Squadron 1: Char, Chronomancer, Furious
   Destroyer Squadron 7: Carnivore, Chu Ko Nu, Cretaceous, Felstalker
   Frigate Squadron 4 (detached): Halberd, Harrier, Heavy Metal, Hellfire
   Totaling 200,000 tons displacement with 6,130 crew complement

   Second Fleet
   Captain Jocasta Gelanor commanding aboard CL Disruptor
   Cruiser Squadron 2: Dauntless, Defenestrator, Disruptor, Gothic, 1x R-56, 1x AR-56 Osprey
   Destroyer Squadron 3: Catharsis, Centaur, Crushing Blow, Final Blow
   Destroyer Squadron 4: Champion, Covenanter, Cry, Ye WIcked, Final Judgment
   Frigate Squadron 3: Broken Wind, Brutal Legend, Endless Night
   Totaling 152,500 tons displacement with 4,603 crew complement

   Dispersed Reconnaissance Forces
   1x Bellerophon class Frigate: Bad Omen
   3x R-56 class Reconnaissance Fighter
   3x AR-56 Osprey class Reconnaissance Fighter
   Totaling 10,500 tons displacement with 259 crew complement

Republic of Belaire Battle Fleet 4
Designation and commander unknown
4x Kirov class Battlecruiser
3x Kiev class Jump Cruiser
3x Slava class Escort Cruiser
3x Sovremenny class Cruiser
4x Osa class Destroyer Escort
1x Skory class Missile Destroyer
Totaling 265,000 tons displacement with unknown crew complement

As was by now the tradition, a pursuit action commenced. At 2202, as the Legion fleets closed to under 400,000 km from the Belaire fleet, the first wave of missiles was detected at launch and Captain Jocasta Gelanor settled in for the also-traditional twelve-minute concert of railgun reverberations which would characterize the Legion’s point defense work at this stage of the proceedings. Her reverie would only be mildly disturbed by the report from her tactical officer that the Belaire had changed course, back in the rough direction of the jump point, at 2207 as they ran out of heavy missiles. Finally, at ten seconds past 2214, the last Belaire light missiles had been destroyed, and the Captains of the Legion fleet grudgingly awoke from their power naps and gave the order to their helm officers to begin the most difficult part of the encounter: closing to Hellfire range.



It is said that there are times when a picture is worth a thousand words. This was not one of those times.

At 2216 plus 25 seconds, the Sovremennys and Hellfires exchanged their initial volleys at extreme range, collectively scoring no hits. Captain Gelanor ordered her fleets to reduce speed, aiming to close to just around 181,000 km without crossing the 180,000 km range of the Sovremennys’ medium laser batteries. Ten seconds later, this was accomplished and the fleets reduced their speeds to match that of the Belaire fleet. This was a mildly momentous occasion, as for the first time in Legion Navy history this maneuver had been successfully executed without crossing into range of the Belaire medium lasers.

While some navies might have celebrated this audacious occasion by popping champagne, the Legion Navy preferred a different sort of celebration, as the four Hellfire-class frigates popped off their second salvo of the duel, scoring two hits against none by their opponents. This pattern was repeated on the third volley, and continued for some time as the Legion frigates scored some 28 hits including 5 penetrations without taking a single hit from the Sovremennys. This fifth penetration succeeded in taking out an engine of the lead Sovremenny, causing it to drop out of formation, ripe for the kill. The Legion fleets slowed to match their wounded target, still wary of facing the wrath of the Belaire medium laser batteries, while the Hellfires continued to fire on their vulnerable target. Despite its vulnerability, the Sovremenny proved once again to be of sturdy build, requiring a full four minutes of beam sniping to take out its second engine, though the third was destroyed in the following volley and the final engine in the volley after that. Two and a half minutes later, the former lead Sovremenny of the Belaire fleet was destroyed with Harrier claiming the kill, and the two Legion fleets resumed their pursuit of the remaining Belaire vessels.

Once again, the fleet closed to a precise distance with no errors at 2249, an accomplishment which was likely to earn Captain Gelanor some measure of honors for her prowess in commanding the famously fickle helm officers of the Legion Navy. No less of an accomplishment, albeit for the other side, was had as one of the remaining Sovremennys finally succeeded in scoring a hit against a Legion vessel, adding another gash to the armor of Hellfire. The beam frigate squadron responded in kind, landing three hits on the armor of the offending Sovremenny. After three and a half minutes of exchanging fire, during which the greatest damage was done to Legion vessels not by the Belaire but rather by simple malfunctions. Particularly, Hellfire had run out of maintenance supplies in a valiant effort to keep her unreliable guns firing, ultimately leading to one of her starboard weapons being completely disabled. For her troubles Hellfire scored a pair of penetrating hits on the targeted Sovremenny, not only disabling one of its engines but causing a massive explosion which crippled the ship and left it stranded in open space. At this, Captain Gelanor ordered her two frigate squadrons to halt, while her heavier destroyers and cruisers pressed the attack against the crippled vessel, being careful to remain out of range of the remaining Belaire fleet. This tactic was proven correct as the Legion cruisers and destroyers approached their prey, which offered a meager four laser shots in response to the attack. The second Sovremenny perished in a hail of 152 mm railgun fire, with Captain Gelanor herself claiming the kill aboard her trusted Disruptor. As the fleet had lost no distance on the remaining Belaire vessels in this brief aside, the Legion fleets resumed the pursuit without interruption.

As the frigate squadrons were rejoining their parent fleets, an unfortunate miscommunication between the helm officers of the various squadrons led to several destroyers accidentally closing to 172,000 km of the Belaire fleet. The surviving Sovremenny thus had the good fortune of scoring a penetrating hit through the battered armor of the destroyer Char, not yet repaired from the jump point assault. Fortunately, no internal components were in fact damaged by this hit, and the Hellfires replied in anger but were unable to score any hits in revenge. Half a minute past 2254, Halberd and Harrier did manage to score a trio of hits between themselves, the first hits made against the third and final Sovremenny. This initial success proved a false herald of things to come, as it took a full seven minutes before Halberd finally managed to knock out one of the Sovremenny’s engines with a well-aimed shot. After this, it appeared that the Sovremenny had lost much of its maneuvering ability as hits became far more frequent, with Heavy Metal blowing apart its second engine only twenty seconds later. The length of the battle began to take its toll on the rest of the fleet as well, scarcely 30 seconds later the Sovremenny managed to score another penetrating hit on Char which this time succeeded in destroying one of her weapons batteries. In reply, Halberd added a second engine to her list of struck components, reducing the Sovremenny to one-quarter speed. She would add a third to this list at 2305, disabling the Sovremenny after a long and grueling gunnery duel. As this was the final Sovremenny, Captain Gelanor ordered the fleet to hold the range open and allow the Hellfires to claim their kill, preferring not to risk any additional hits from medium laser fire against the wounded Char - particularly as the Belaire ship was still firing its heavy laser in spite of what was surely massive damage taken to that point. Finally, at 2309 precisely, Harrier claimed the kill, ending a fourteen-and-a-half minute endeavor and allowing the fleets to once again fire their engines back up to speed and resume the pursuit of the now nearly-defenseless Belaire fleet. By this stage, all four Hellfires had run out of maintenance stores, and three of the four had at least one beam cannon out of commission with Harrier proving the lone exception. As the Belaire only possessed four Osas as remaining combat-capable vessels, Captain Gelanor was content to allow the frigates and destroyers to avoid combat, ordering her cruisers to burn towards the Belaire fleet at full speed and target the Osas.

The devastation was swift and brutal - though Domination did receive a single penetrating hit which failed to damage any internal systems.



Despite superficial damage taken while closing the range, the Legion cruisers effortlessly dispatched all four Belaire Osas in a single salvo from their 152 mm railguns.

The trio of Slavas followed, again eradicated in a single volley. The following two salvos eliminated two Kirovs apiece, along with the sole Skory of the Belaire formation, though the two Kirovs targeted in the second salvo remained technically intact but were clearly mission-killed. After this, the unarmed Kievs stood no chance, and after being afforded fifteen seconds to signal their surrender were obliterated in the final salvo. A brief turnaround to mop up the two crippled Kirovs was no trouble at all for the Legion Captains, and at 2324 plus 40 seconds victory once again belonged to the Duranium Legion.

The immediate strategic impact of the battle was obvious: with their last remaining defensive fleet reduced to nothing, the Belaire had no hope of regaining control over their home system, although cracking the defenses of Belaire Prime would prove a difficult task even for the battle-hardened Legion Navy. Less immediately obvious, though with far longer-lasting implications for the future of the Legion Navy, was the effect of the strong showing put forth by the Hellfire-class frigate squadron, which had despite being pushed beyond the limits of their endurance by the demanding Captain Gelanor had succeeded in destroying all three Sovremennys of the Belaire fleet - a resounding vindication of the particle beam concept. This had been a deliberate move on the part of the Captain, who herself was a strong supporter of the Hellfire experiment and had been eager to demonstrate to her superiors how effective they could be when pushed beyond the limits of conservative doctrinal practices. This move would win her many powerful friends in the Legion high command - and no fewer powerful opponents.

----

18 February 4009

Upon receiving the report of Captain Jocasta Gelanor detailing the events of the decisive battle of 17 February, Lord Captain Selene Styx’s first reaction was not, as one would expect, joyful celebration. Rather, the Lord Captain immediately attempted to file express paperwork to issue a mark of censure against the Captain, this being halted only by the intervention of her superior, Lord Admiral Absolus Criasus. Officially, the reason given for this punitive act on the filed paperwork was “reckless disregard for the safety of Duranium Legion Navy ships and personnel”, specifically Lord Captain Styx claimed that Captain Gelanor had pushed her Hellfire squadron well beyond their doctrinal limits to the point of near-total breakdown, in a fight which the Legion Navy could have won comfortably without taking such extreme risks. This was of course spurious grounds for censure at best, a massive overreach of the Lord Captain’s command authority at worst, and certainly disingenuous in any case. Naturally, the unofficial reason was once again closely tied to the simmering political feud ongoing throughout the Legion Navy officer cohort regarding the controversial Hellfire class, in reality the Lord Captain as a staunch opponent of the beam frigate concept felt personally embarrassed that her chief subordinate had gone to such lengths to demonstrate the full potential of the Hellfires. Indeed, the only reason a second outbreak of fisticuffs was not had was the equally staunch neutrality of the Lord Admiral, who sharply criticized his subordinate for clear overreach without taking any position on the subject.

Increasingly, it was becoming clear by this point that questions of fleet doctrine and procurement could no longer be quietly ignored in hopes that this would all blow over. In the immediate short term, of course, the battlefield remained the highest priority, and after a brief period to refuel and resupply First and Second Fleets would be ordered to the Giclas 9-38 jump point to interdict any potential Belaire relief efforts. Both frigate squadrons would be detached from the fleets, with Frigate Squadron 3 being split up to monitor the Kuiper 79 jump point (Broken Wind) and Belaire Prime, from a safe distance (Brutal Legend), while Frigate Squadron 4 would be dispatched to Adamantine Base to carry out more extensive repairs. It was well understood that this monitoring operation would place significant demands on the Legion Navy’s logistical capabilities, particularly as rear area defenses remained necessary to defend Legion space against the scattered Belaire formations beyond Kuiper 79. Nevertheless, Lord Admiral Criasus was determined to hold the territory he had taken, lest the hard work and sacrifice of the sailors under his command come to naught.

This was not to say that the political tensions would go unaddressed, rather once the Legion fleets had taken up and secured these new positions, a series of “temporary” personnel transfers would be effected with the aim of collecting the most prominent Legion Naval officers on both sides of the Hellfire debate for a conference to settle the question once and for all. Nor would the question of particle beams be the only item on the agenda for this upcoming Naval Conference, indeed questions of doctrine and fleet design patterns were numerous and there were serious concerns even beyond the factional extremists that the Legion Navy was in the process of doctrinal stagnation. Perhaps the most pressing concern of many in the halls of the Legion high command was the question of the Navy’s scouting and reconnaissance capabilities, currently in the hands of the venerable but troubled Bellerophon-class frigates and a few dozen reconnaissance “fighters” considered to be capable, but woefully under-equipped for the needs of the Legion Navy - and, some officers quipped, even more woefully under-equipped to carry the designation of “fighter”. A third concern of many was the proliferation of lightly-armed (or in the case of the Grand Cross class, unarmed) jump vessels which accompanied almost every squadron in the Legion Navy. As these represented significant dead weight on the battlefield the nature of the concern was hardly controversial, however as no two Lords Admiral could agree on a single solution it was clear that a frank and earnest discussion of the subject was badly overdue. While the precise date was to be determined, as always the realities of war would render any attempt at scheduling in advance quite fruitless, certainly the date would eventually arrive when these matters could be settled conclusively.

Until then, as always, the business of the Legion Navy would carry on as usual.

----

OOC Notes: as promised this update certainly complicates the picture as far as fleet doctrine is concerned. Not to be lost in the tumult of the ongoing Hellfire debate is the surprising efficacy of the Bellerophon class as a commerce raider, as we all know from history of course the idea of an effective commerce raiding warship always holds an allure for certain segments of the naval officership. Assuredly there are many possibilities to be discussed at the upcoming Naval Conference.

In other news, expect a shift towards a slightly more majestic posting schedule in the short term as I shall plan only one update midweek next, largely to allow reconstruction of a posting buffer as we will soon turn to the eagerly anticipated Naval Conference which promises to draw great interest from many quarters.

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Were this to happen it would only exacerbate the factionalism tenfold, as you might guess from the proclivity for detailed reports full of statistics and analysis the Legion high command is already a baseball league in all except the sport played. The fighting over precisely which league sport they do not actually play may just tear apart the Legion where lesser debates have failed.
If only they were a Cricket league, same ridiculous amounts of statistics but a more majestic pace. As an added advantage the fights amongst senior officers would be conducted under Queensbury Rules so there would be fewer permanent casualties.

Perhaps a game of brockian ultra cricket?

For my money blernsball is where it would be at, not only does this satisfy the copious statistics requirement but these statistics would be utterly impossible to interpret, indeed half of the numbers are likely made up, thus it is the perfect sport to not be played by flag officers of really any navy.

And on the topic of made-up statistics it is time once again for the author to pad his posting count with meaningless prattle and interminable verbiage, in other words another update is nigh upon us.
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New Cold War / Cold War: Independent Update, Month 165
« Last post by Kurt on Today at 08:27:52 AM »
Month 165, Independent Update

Mintek Universal Union
Total Income (all sources): 35,312 MCr’s
Fleet Maintenance Percentage: 56.3%

The Mintek Union has had one great victory over the last ten months, over the Alowan, but two defeats against the D’Bringi Alliance.  The two defeats have caused the Mintek government to begin a re-evaluation of its military deployments and its strategies for dealing with the D’Bringi Alliance. 

The incorporation of the Alowan race into the Union was a tremendous victory for the Union, increasing its income by a net 8,000 MCr’s per month.  In addition, the fleet captured 1,540 hull spaces worth of ships and bases, and a shipyard with thirteen slipways.  Work is underway converting the captured ships and bases, and the shipyard, for Mintek use.  To date, five battlecruisers and four destroyers have been repaired and converted to Mintek use.  The battlecruisers are en route to the home system to be refitted to the latest technology, while the destroyers have been assigned to the Alowan patrol group, which ensures that any retrogressive Alowan citizens who might remain aligned with the old government keep their heads down and avoid open conflict.  Currently, the mobile shipyard group is concentrating its efforts on converting the orbital shipyard station to Mintek use.  This project will be completed at the end of Month 167, at which time the mobile shipyards will be reassigned and the remaining repair, conversion, and refitting for the captured units will be completed by the Alowan orbital shipyards. 

The recent reverses at the hands of the D’Bringi Alliance means that the Universal Union has lost all three engagements it has had with the D’Bringi and their subject races.  The first loss was at Phyriseq, costing the Union many ships and crews, the second loss was of the entire Delphi colony, where the Union decided to not respond to avoid giving away the location of the closed warp point which led back to the home system, and the most recent loss was the failure of the offensive into the Kure system.  The failure of the Kure offensive was dismaying and concerning, as the Union had counted on its new carrier force to overwhelm the more numerous fleets of the D’Bringi Alliance, but the Alliance had fielded its own carriers and the Mintek fleet was forced to retreat with heavy losses amongst its fighter corps.  It was encouraging, though, that the Mintek fleet lost no ships in the battles in the Kure system, and inflicted significant damage on Rehorish defenses and ships, as well as destroying a number of D’Bringi fighters. 

Strategos Neeron, after his defeat in the Kure System, has been relieved of fleet command and reassigned to the Fleet Training Facility in the capital city, where he will be teaching strategy and tactics to officer candidates while being observed and rehabilitated by the Ministry for Mental Hygiene. Fleet command has been given to Strategos Brammer, who has been recalled from retirement.  Brammer is a highly respected officer who was granted early retirement at his request, as a reward for his long and faithful service. 

While the loss of the entire fighter complement of the 1st Carrier Strike Group is tragic and concerning, the missing fighters will be replaced by the latest Mintek fighter technology, the F1.  The F1 is an improvement over the proto-type F0’s in nearly every way.  It is faster unloaded, carries 50% more weaponry, has twice the endurance and range, and much better built-in scanner technology.  The F1’s should be a surprise to the D’Bringi the next time they are encountered, although Strategos Brammer has made it clear that the Union cannot rely on its perception of its technological superiority, given the unexpected possession of fighters by the D’Bringi.  Brammer and his staff are hard at work developing new strategies for engaging the D’Bringi in the future, and several proposals have already been suggested.  For example, Strategos Brammer has requested that mobile shipyards and freighters carrying crated fighters accompany all Carrier Strike Groups, so that their fighter complements can be replenished in the field after engagements, instead of requiring the carriers to return to the home system shipyards.  In addition, Brammer has requested that Warp Point Denial Squadrons (WPDS) be formed and accompany all squadrons engaging in offensives in the future.  These WPDS’s would consist of freighters carrying automated weapons and control ships for those automated weapons.  These squadrons would follow behind the main fleets and either secure the warp points back to Mintek space behind them, or newly discovered warp points in the systems they are entering.  Strategos Brammer has pointed out that had a WPDS unit been assigned to the main fleet at the time of the engagements in the Kure system, they would have been able to either deter or further damage any Alliance offensive to retake the system.  These recommendations are under consideration. 

It may be some time before Strategos Brammer’s suggestions are acted upon.  The bulk of the Unions economic strength is currently focused on replacing the fleet’s fighter losses, and preparing for a massive refit program to incorporate technology now being developed.  The new technology includes composite armor, which is lighter and stronger than previous types of armor, improved fighter weaponry, improved targeting systems, a new type of missile that is longer ranged than capital missiles but has no penetration-aids, and, perhaps most importantly, anti-matter warheads which can be fitted to almost every missile weapon currently in use, doubling their explosive strength.  These new systems promise to revolutionize the fleet’s ability to wage war against the enemies of the faith, and will be incorporated into every ship currently in service as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, while the new technology is rushed into production, the Mintek government has decided that a massive sensor network will be deployed in every inhabited system in the Union.  Older and more established systems will receive a network that will cover the entire system and be capable of detecting any ships that enter the system through a previously unknown warp point, although the network will not be capable of determining the location of the warp point itself.  Newer colony systems will receive a network that will cover the inner system and should be capable of detecting alien ships performing a probe of the system, or if they exit a warp point in the inner system.  The government has decided upon this course of action after the loss of the Delphi colony system, and the sensor networks will begin being emplaced next month. 

Current Deployments:
Converted Alowan Ships (en route to the home system): 5xBC
Captured Alowan ships and bases (Alowan Home system, awaiting repair and conversion): 1xSS(13xSY), 3xBS5, 2xBC, 7xDD, 7xCT

Fortifications (Ephesos-adjacent to Kure): 1xAF, 30xF0, 3xApin
Fortifications (Over Mintek Prime): 1xAF, 30xF0, 3xApin
1st Assault Group (Home System): 6xSD, 1xCAA, 3xDD
1st Carrier Strike Group (Home System): 1xCV, 6xCVL, 1xCVS, 4xF0, 7xApin
2nd Carrier Strike Group (Ephesos system): 3xCVL, 3xDD, 1xCVE, 84xF0, 3xApin
Alowan Garrison Group (Alowan Prime): 12xDD
Fast Attack Group (Ephesos): 7xBC
Reserve Fleet (Mintek Prime): 2xSD, 1xDD, 1xFighter Replenishment Ship, 12xF0, 200xCrated F0
Home System WP Defense, Drakensberg WP: 1xDD(AWCS), 60xMF
Home System WP Defense, Gobabis WP: 1xDD(AWCS), 60xMF
Home System WP Defense, Lichtenburg WP: 1xDD(AWCS), 60xMF
Home System WP Defense, Phyriseq WP: 1xAF, 9xBS5, 1xDD(AWCS), 30xF0, 3xApin, 355xMF, 50xIDEW-E
Mothball Fleet: 17xBC, 6xCLX, 37xDD
Mobile Shipyard Squadron (Alowan Prime): 10xMSY
1st Survey Fleet (Cut off beyond Delphi, presumed lost): 6xCLX, 24xCutter, 36xF0, 6xApin
2nd Survey Fleet (surveying Megara system): 6xCLX, 24xCutter, 36xF0, 6xApin

Under Construction: 2xCV, 19xCVE, 2xMSY, 84xF0, 2xApin, 320xDSB-Xr

Refitting (these ships are listed in fleets and squadrons above): 2xAlowan BC, 1xAlowan SS(SY)



Bjering Alliance

Bjering Consolidate:
Total Income (all sources): 25,627 MCr’s
Fleet Maintenance Percentage: 48.2%

The Bjering Consolidate is enjoying a period of peace and prosperity.  It currently enjoys a close relationship with the human Tomsk Union, and a trade relationship with the Colonial Union, although that relationship has been strained since the seizure of the Tarek and Tlatelolco home planets by the Colonial Union.  There is a strong movement to cut off all contact with the Colonial Union, although the current mindset is that the trade relationship at least allows the Bjering Consolidate to monitor events in the Colonial Union going forward. 

Plans are being made to join together with the Tomsk Union once the humans have been brought up to the Bjering technological level, although this will take some time as the Tomsk Union is two full tech levels behind the Consolidate. 

Fleet Deployments
Alpha Squadron (Home System): 3xBC, 1xCVS, 3xDD, 1xCVE, 2xCTS, 6xCT, 30xF0
Beta Squadron (Surtr System): 3xBc, 1xCVE, 2xCTS, 4xCT, 12xF0
Delta Squadron (Hymir System): 3xBc, 3xDD, 2xCTS, 6xCT, 12xF0
Epsilon Squadron (Home System): 3xBC, 1xCVE, 2xCTS, 6xCT, 12xF0
Gamma Squadron (Gunnar System): 3xBC, 1xCVE, 2xCTS, 6xCT, 12xF0
Fortifications, Hymir system: 12xBS2, 288xF0
Fortifications, Bjering Prime (home planet orbital): 6xBS4, 5xDD(AWCS)
Fortifications, Bjering Secundus (1st home system colony): 6xBS4, 1xBS2, 24xF0
Mothballs: 3xBC, 28xDD, 45xCT
Repair Group (Ymir): 10xMachineshop Ships
1st Survey Fleet (Freyr): 4xCAX, 3xDDSX, 1xCTSX, 30xCutter, 3xAssault Shuttle
2nd Survey Fleet (Ve): 4xCAX, 3xDDSX, 1xCTSX, 30xCutter, 6xAssault Shuttle

Under Construction: 1xML, 1xMobile Shipyard

Refitting (Already listed above): 3xBC

Tomsk Union:
Total Income (All Sources): 19,915 MCr’s
Fleet Maintenance Percentage: 22.7%

The Tomsk Union has focused its economy on increasing the size of its fleet and expanding its colonial sphere.  To this end, the Union has deployed three survey fleets, although the third is not completely assembled as of yet.  The Union’s shipbuilding projects have lagged due to the few shipyards that the Union has available to it, and so a significant portion of its construction capacity has been diverted to building new shipyards.  The project to increase the number of shipyards available has lagged due to the Union’s decision to build armed space station-based shipyards, to increase the defenses available over the home planet.  Each current station contains one shipyard and weapons and defenses comparable to a Colonial Union battleship.  This decision has meant that the defenses over the Tomsk colony are substantial, however, the orbital stations take much longer to build and are more expensive.  The Union government has decided to switch to unarmed shipyard stations in the future, after the sixth armed station is completed. 

The Tomsk Union’s relationship with the Colonial Union has degraded significantly over the last year, primarily due to the Colonial Union’s seizure of the Tarek and particularly the Tlatelolco’s home worlds.  The Tlatelolco were held in high regard by the people of the Tomsk Union, and the Tlatelolco diplomatic delegation sent to the Union by its home world has requested political asylum since the surrender of their system to the Colonial Union.  The Union government was quick to grant the request, and has officially protested the Colonial Union’s actions in this matter. 

The Tomsk Union’s government, in Month 165, decided to break off relations with the Colonial Union completely, ending the profitable trade relationship that had existed between the two states since the fall of Earth.  This was a very popular decision, given the deep anger of the people over the Colonial Union’s treatment of the Tlatelolco, however, the Union government decided to take this step out of fear of the Colonial Union’s next steps.  The Colonial Union’s ruling New Dawn Party has as one of its core beliefs the imperative that humanity must be reunited, and now that the Colonial Union has amalgamated the Earthly governments, and taken control of the aliens residing within the Colonial Union, the Tomsk Union fears that the Colonial Union will turn its attention its way in the near future.

To defend against this possibility, the Union government has requested that the Bjering deploy one of their fleets to the Tomsk system as soon as possible, to establish a forward defense and establish a deterrent against Colonial Union aggression.  In addition, the Union’s construction resources will be diverted to increase the defenses at the warp point to the Colonial Union in the Tomsk system, and to fortify the warp point that leads to the Titov Free State, which could be used by the Colonial Union should they convince the Free State to let them transit their ships through the Free State’s territory. 

Fleet Deployments
Home Fleet (Tomsk System): 6xBC, 9xDD
Mobile Shipyard Group (Tomsk System): 7xMSY
Mothballs (Tomsk System): 16xES
Orbital Shipyard Complex (Tomsk Colony): 5xSSA(SY)
Survey Fleet #1 (Novokuzneck): 5xFGX, 13xEX, 26xCutter
Survey Fleet #2 (Perm): 5xFGX, 13xEX, 26xCutter
Survey Fleet #3 (Vladimir): 1xFGX, 4xEX, 8xCutter
Warp Point Guard (Tomsk System, WP to Colonial Union): 2xCT(DSBC)

Under Construction: 3xCL, 2xFGX, 1xSSA(SY)

Titov Free State
Total Income (all sources): 7,183 MCr’s
Fleet Maintenance Percentage: 42.2%

The Titov Free State has undergone a large scale internal political transformation in the last ten months.  Originally, the Free State was set up via the peace treaty between the D’Bringi Alliance and the Coalition and USSR navies at the end of the war.  The Free State was intended to be a buffer between humanity and the D’Bringi Alliance, and nothing more.  Certainly, the signatories gave little thought to the form that the Titov colony’s government would take going forward, being more concerned with verification of each other’s naval deployments and maintaining influence within the new state.  At its start the Free State consisted of exactly one population, the former Soviet colony of Titov, bolstered by refugees from Earth who arrived over the months after the formation of the new state.  The ad hoc formation of the new state actually left several former Soviet colonies cut off beyond the Novosibirsk system, and the human states had to negotiate difficult treaties with both the new Free State and the Alliance to ensure that they could maintain contact with those colonies.  Over time, the outlying colonies found they had more in common with the Free State than the newer, more reactionary governments forming in humanity’s inner systems, and ultimately the colonies in the Jaroslavl, Saratov, Magnitogorsk, and Ivanovo systems all sent representatives to the Colonial Union Senate requesting that they be allowed to join the Free State.  The fledgling Colonial Union agreed to this transfer, given the fairly small numbers of people this represented and their distance from the power centers of the human states.  While the populations transferred to the Free State were negligible from the Colonial Union’s point of view, they greatly boosted the Free State’s economy and outlook. 

The new populations caused the Free State considerable trouble, though.  The Free State was an outgrowth of the Titov colony’s original government, which was typical for most Soviet colonies of the time.  Most Soviet colonies were considered to be primarily resource extraction centers, feeding needed resources back to the homeland where they would be used for the good of the state (as defined by the leadership).  The USSR recognized the need for local rule on these colonies, given their distance from the home planet, and encouraged the development of limited local rule, with strictly limited internal authority to solve purely local problems.  These restrictions led to the development of fairly independent local governors with decided libertarian views, somewhat similar to old western towns in the US, or in the Russian far east in the old days.  These colonial governments had no interest in challenging the central government, which maintained overwhelming force in the form of the fleet and the army, but also had no interest in enforcing strict rule on their own colonies, and limited themselves to ensuring that the quotas for the home planet were met when and where necessary.  The Titov colony’s government was an example of this form of limited, libertarian government, which merely expanded into the power vacuum created when they were abandoned by the inner colonies.  This government was, perforce, focused purely on the needs and goals of the Titov colony, and so when the other colonies were brought into the fold it quickly became clear that the existing government framework would not work for the newly unified colonies.  In a series of high-level meetings over the last ten months the governments of the colonies met to discuss the situation, and ultimately decided on a new government structure for the Free State that ensured that all of the colonies had adequate representation, and moved the focus of the government from the Titov colony to the entire nation.  The new state will be called the Confederated Free States, or CFS.  The new state will have an elected head of state, selected from the national legislature by a vote of the sitting legislative representatives.  Every member planet will be represented in the legislature based on population, with the smallest and newest colonies receiving a minimum representation of one.  The member systems retain near complete sovereignty within their own systems, and have much say on new policies and the use of the CFS’s fleet. 

The CFS, situated as it is between the two largest states in the known universe, knows that it cannot hope to match the militaries of those states, and so is focused on creating a small, professional military force that would at least give either of those states a pause before they considered attacking and overwhelming the small nation.  Currently, though, the CFS is focused on exploration and expansion through colonization, and the CFS is working on fielding three survey groups to find new worlds for their expanding population. 

Fleet Deployments
Patrol Fleet, Novosibirsk (capital): 6xDD
Mothballs, Novosibirsk: 4xESX
Survey Fleet #1, Leningrad: 16xESX, 60xCutter
Survey Fleet #2, Rostov-na-Donu: 16xESX, 60xCutter
Survey Fleet #3, Novosibirsk: 4xESX, 24xCutter
Novosibirsk WP Defense, WP to Kirov (Colonial Union): 3xBS2, 60xMines
Novosibirsk WP Defense, WP to Kure (Rehorish): 7xBS2, 60xMines
Novosibirsk WP Defense, WP to Sapporo: 1xBS2, 60xMines

Under Construction: 1xCA, 3xEXS, 12xCutter

*Note: The Novosibirsk system has eight warp points, but only the three above have defenses. 
4
Aurora 1890 / Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Last post by Warer on Today at 06:42:04 AM »
That went about as well as could be expected for trying to knock down heavy fortifications with very basic frigates.
5
Aurora 1890 / Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on Yesterday at 01:27:21 PM »
(12) Once More Unto The Breach

1914

Come on, someone shoot an archduke already, get some action around here!  :P

Quote
In October, Germany invited representatives of the other powers to Berlin. The Martian Conference of 1914 was a tumultuous affair. German delegation opened the conference by introducing their new Hansa class passenger/cargo vessel. This caught the other delegations by surprise and led to accusations of Berlin playing a dangerous game of national expansion with Earth's fate still in question. Chancellor Julius Hayek went into pains to explain the dire financial situation of all the powers after years of war, devastation and frenzied preparation for counter-invasion of Mars. Several powers, including Great-Britain, were in debt. The rest had budgets in the red despite constructing financial centres whenever possible. Only Russia had healthy reserves thanks to shrewd leadership of Prime Minister Maykova.

Hayek then outlined a solution. Germany would create a lunar colony and foster in a new era of international trade, between the Earth powers themselves as well as colonies on the Moon. While the other delegations could accept the general argument, they were outraged that Berlin had not discussed the matter but presented it almost as an afterthought, a fait accompli. President Tad Sieren of USA came up with a compromise that solved the problem: Germany would grant passage to all other powers aboard their ships so that they could create their own colonies without having to play catch-up by developing and building their own ships when most could not afford any distractions from the main mission. They would have to construct the necessary support infrastructure on their own, however. While the other powers were not completely satisfied with this arrangement, it was a workable compromise. Before the ink was dry on the treaty, British shipwrights were hastily making their version of the Hansa, called the Empire class. It could carry five hundred passengers and ten thousand colonists, as well as sufficient infrastructure to enable a colony to be started. At 40,000 tons, it would take a while before Burke Fabricators could start construction and the Admiralty wanted Kirby Shipyard to continue with the Tribal class transports.

And the race begins. It will be interesting to see how many powers end up establishing bases on Luna, surely that cannot be anything but another source of political drama and perhaps even a battleground should things on Earth turn for the worse.

Meanwhile, Germany seems to have successfully distracted the other powers by talking about Luna, but clearly the real threat is that they can colonize Mars immediately after the Martian aliens are defeated, notably they will get first dibs on the riches of the alien ruins. How soon will the other powers realize this...?

Quote
The second part of the conference, the military one was more peaceful albeit with some points of frustration. Admiral Eschenbach of Kaiserliche Raummarine in his introduction outlined the problem: the smaller powers were lagging behind the greater powers and while the Martian Menace seemed quiet for the moment, this calm should not be taken for granted. The Grand Alliance could currently muster 86 ships, divided as:
Kaiserliche Raummarine 15 frigates
Royal Navy 15 frigates
k.u.k Kriegsmarine 9 frigates
La Royale 6 frigates
Rossiyskaya Inmperatorskiy flot 15 frigates
US Void Force 9 frigates
Regia Spazio 9 frigates
Nippon Kaigun 8 frigates

The Japanese delegation was heard muttering about multiples of three being Western devilry, and something about "eight-eight fleets".

Quote
The small asteroid Aten was chosen as the mustering location. National contingents would move there and, once assembled, the attack would commence. Ships departed Earth orbit on 9 December, each squadron making their best speed:

Very cute to see all these warships flying around at 100s of km/s. Hopefully this cuteness doesn't also represent weakness to the superior technology of the hostile Martians.

Quote
On 1 January, at 09:57 GMT the Squadrone di battaglia arrived at the jump-off point. This signalled the start of the attack.

What a coincidence, all these delays cause the battle to begin on 1 January. You can't convince me this wasn't intentional.  :P

Quote
a bunch of ships fire and miss repeatedly

Suddenly realizing, the superior speed of the Martians has to be doing a number on the Earthling fire controls, which are going to be limited to tracking at a fraction of that speed unless the ship has turreted weapons and 4x size BFCs. This is going to be a rough time.

Quote
HMS Active got the honour of One-Hit, One-Kill. with her BL 9" C2 Carronade.

Finally, some right proper Imperial measurements in this AAR - though I'm not sure what size matches to 9" (23 cm).

Quote
This wasn't a cause for celebration since the Martian vessels turned out to be assault shuttles and most of them had already unloaded their deadly cargo on the hulls of the much slower human ships. The Russian fleet was, for some reason, targeted heavily. Royal Navy was happy - the only shuttle coming at them had been speedily destroyed.

That settles it, the Martians are communists attempting to incite the Russian Civil War.

Quote
Nine survivors out of a crew of 116, led by rear admiral Zory Grigoriev, had made it out of the abattoir.

This has to be the absolute poshest word I've ever seen used to describe a ship being seized by enemy boarders. Truly this is the work of a sophisticated and intellectual author.

Quote
Akatsuki became the first Japanese ship to self-destruct. Katanas could not cut steel, it turns out.

Now there's a story well-told in few words for you. Certainly an amusing mental image there.

Quote
At the distance of 82,000 kilometres, Germans lost SMS Graf Spee and SMS Emden. But they were finally in range, having endured the most terrifying gauntlet to sail through. SMS Gneisenau got two shots off, missed with both and was then torn apart by laser fire from Baernoloth 002. SMS Hipper blew up without getting to fire. SMS Erfurt hit Baernoloth 001, blackening its armour and was then blow up by shore batteries which also finished SMS Hamburg. The entire Hochraumflotte had been wiped out with only a smattering of doomed life pods.

This seems likely to put a damper on that whole "Race to Mars" plan with the colony ships and such...imagine if all that time and money had been put into more and better frigates?

Quote
At 10:52 the human fleets had convened together and the Squadrone di battaglia led the charge towards Mars. There were still 56 frigates itching for a fight.

So already a third of the force wiped out, granted roughly half of those by what should be one-shot boarding shuttles. Still, the shore batteries will be difficult to dislodge and the orbital bases are likely to be heavily armored. Even if they can close to range in good numbers and order, it's an open question if these ships can output enough firepower to actually deal serious damage, never mind win the battle.

Quote
To their horror, the humans discovered that Martians had additional ground-based defences: fast firing batteries firing kinetic slugs with a very limited range. Rear-Admiral Jennings desperately ordered his frigates to turn and retreat but that took time and meanwhile HMS Ambuscade was turned into Swiss cheese. The Italian fleet had been wiped out and the British one would not survive much longer.

Things have gone from worse to very much worse. Doomed charges into orbital defenses are the heroin of Aurora: we know they're bad for us but we as players simply cannot pass up the chance.  :P

----

In the end, for the low, low price of 86 frigates (what, 354,000 tones displacement?) the Earth fleets have managed to knock out a single Martian battle station. This is not the whole story, as the Martian boarding shuttles have likely been exhausted and the Earthlings have learned some very expensive lessons, but certainly heads will be rolling in the national admiralty headquarters over this gruesome disaster. I can't speak for all readers, but I'd certainly pay good money to be a fly on the wall during some of those, ah, discussions!  :o
6
Custom Ribbon Maker / Wh40k Ribbon Maker Devices
« Last post by idefelipe on Yesterday at 11:36:07 AM »
Hey there.

As said in my previous post where I shared 43 Wh40k Empire Ribbons, I left here all the devices I used creating the medals (and some more that I didn't use).

It is relatively easy to create the devices using photoshop, so if you want any other device let me know and I will try to do my best (it is not possible to make everything as a device, but I could try).

IMPORTANT BEFORE USE!!

Most of the devices are perfect for a "silver" (grey colour) or "gold" (RGB: 255, 215, 0), but you can use them almost with any colour. Click on Raised Detail for the most detailed devices.

The devices are shown in colour, but the Ribbon Maker eliminate all colours and apply just one. The good point is that the shadows and small details are still there, so the devices are really nice.

Here is a pic with the devices in the file:



Enjoy :)
7
Image Enhancements / WH40k ribbon set
« Last post by idefelipe on Yesterday at 11:28:54 AM »
Hey there.

After a small investigation I figured how to make more devices for the amazing Ribbon Maker tool and I have created a bunch of 43 Warhammer 40k Empire Ribbons.

I used this pages as inspiration:

https://warhammer40k.fandom.com/wiki/Astra_Militarum_Awards_and_Honours

https://warhammer40k.fandom.com/wiki/Honour_Badges_(Space_Marines)

And I have created almost all them with a pic and a couple from my own imagination (star of terra, the marksman helix...). I will post, in the ribbon maker subforum, all the devices with the instruction to use them and create your own medals.

IMPORTANT: If you think I have to include more medals, I just ask for inspiration. Feel free to suggest me any medal with the idea you have in mind and I will try to recreate it.

Here is a pic with all the ribbons:


8
Aurora 1890 / (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Last post by Garfunkel on Yesterday at 08:11:30 AM »
(12) Once More Unto The Breach

1914

Germany added three frigates and two troop transports to Kaiserliche Raummarine by March. In April, USA launched their second naval shipyard - Caplette Enterprises. May was a proper ship launching month with Royal Navy adding two more transports to its Landing Fleet, the k.u.k Kriegsmarine getting three more Salamander class frigates, Italians seeing Regia Marina grow with further three Cavour class frigates and the US Void Force growing by three as well. France became the fifth country to develop powered armour suits for infantry. This leads the French Army to hastily update their plans for their Martian expeditionary force so that the Poilu can be better protected. As a show of good will, United States released the technical details of Cryogenic Transport - Small to the rest of the world. Most powers were happy and grateful as it would allow the building of rescue shuttles, though Germany, Britain and Austria-Hungary already knew the tech. US made this public gesture as their spy ship managed to get the specs of Cryogenic Transport - Emergency from the Germans and they knew that details of the somewhat more primitive technology would soon leak anyway. They also stole improved shipyard management techniques from France and technical details of Visible Light Laser from Italy. The cost of researching, designing and building the spy ships had been gained back with plenty of interest!

Japan added two Akagi class frigates to the Standing Fleet in June and July brought three more Stürmschiff for Germany and three more frigates for Russia. Germany added three more Scharnhorst class frigates to their roster in September.

In October, Germany invited representatives of the other powers to Berlin. The Martian Conference of 1914 was a tumultuous affair. German delegation opened the conference by introducing their new Hansa class passenger/cargo vessel. This caught the other delegations by surprise and led to accusations of Berlin playing a dangerous game of national expansion with Earth's fate still in question. Chancellor Julius Hayek went into pains to explain the dire financial situation of all the powers after years of war, devastation and frenzied preparation for counter-invasion of Mars. Several powers, including Great-Britain, were in debt. The rest had budgets in the red despite constructing financial centres whenever possible. Only Russia had healthy reserves thanks to shrewd leadership of Prime Minister Maykova.

Hayek then outlined a solution. Germany would create a lunar colony and foster in a new era of international trade, between the Earth powers themselves as well as colonies on the Moon. While the other delegations could accept the general argument, they were outraged that Berlin had not discussed the matter but presented it almost as an afterthought, a fait accompli. President Tad Sieren of USA came up with a compromise that solved the problem: Germany would grant passage to all other powers aboard their ships so that they could create their own colonies without having to play catch-up by developing and building their own ships when most could not afford any distractions from the main mission. They would have to construct the necessary support infrastructure on their own, however. While the other powers were not completely satisfied with this arrangement, it was a workable compromise. Before the ink was dry on the treaty, British shipwrights were hastily making their version of the Hansa, called the Empire class. It could carry five hundred passengers and ten thousand colonists, as well as sufficient infrastructure to enable a colony to be started. At 40,000 tons, it would take a while before Burke Fabricators could start construction and the Admiralty wanted Kirby Shipyard to continue with the Tribal class transports.

The second part of the conference, the military one was more peaceful albeit with some points of frustration. Admiral Eschenbach of Kaiserliche Raummarine in his introduction outlined the problem: the smaller powers were lagging behind the greater powers and while the Martian Menace seemed quiet for the moment, this calm should not be taken for granted. The Grand Alliance could currently muster 86 ships, divided as:
Kaiserliche Raummarine 15 frigates
Royal Navy 15 frigates
k.u.k Kriegsmarine 9 frigates
La Royale 6 frigates
Rossiyskaya Inmperatorskiy flot 15 frigates
US Void Force 9 frigates
Regia Spazio 9 frigates
Nippon Kaigun 8 frigates

Fuerza Ibérica and RIM Rymd had no ships yet. Only Germany and Great Britain had troop transports. Additionally, Germany had six assault shuttles and America had a single scout left. The problem was how to use this force. The Martian orbital constructs were a logical first target. The big question was should the ground invasion proceed together with the frigates or should the frigates go at it alone. There was a real risk that the Menace could eliminate the initial Anglo-German force before reinforcements could be brought up. As frigate construction was proceeding well for most of the powers, the conference came to a conclusion of authorizing the national fleets to eliminate Martian orbital forts and then to withdraw back to Earth. This operation would start on the first day of December to allow two months of preparation time. The Iberian Union delegation protested that the mission should wait until their frigates could take part but as that would most likely take at least a year if not two, the other powers ignored them. The conference ended in an amiable mood - the Grand Alliance had been preserved for now.




On 6 October, the Germans landed on the Moon, though it would take until the next day until the two ships were fully unloaded and Luna Stadt would begin to take form. France constructed their first troop transport and American espionage netted them 15cm Laser Focal Size, Fire Control Speed Rating 2000 km/s, 12cm Railgun and 25cm Carronade. In order to build further goodwill, USA made 12cm Laser Focal Size public information, act that benefited Great-Britain, Austria-Hungary and France. October also saw the first two British Royal Marine Squadrons get ready. They were the British answer to the German Stürmtroops.

November saw three more Salamanders for the AHM and the first days of December three Lexingtons for the US Void Force. With these last reinforcements, the attack on Mars would commence.



The small asteroid Aten was chosen as the mustering location. National contingents would move there and, once assembled, the attack would commence. Ships departed Earth orbit on 9 December, each squadron making their best speed:



Boyevoy Flot reached the asteroid first, being there at 15 December and 07:30 GMT. Sturmflotte of AHM came second, arriving the next day at 04:00. Japanese Standing Fleet got Bronze in this improvised race between nations, arriving around 10:30. A whole day went by until Home Fleet became the fourth to arrive on 18 December at 17:30. American 1st Fleet was the fifth, 19 December at 16:15. Stürmflotilla of Germany was the sixth, arriving just before midnight on the same day. The Force d'Action Navale was seventh, around 20:15 on 20 December. The slowest group was the Italians - Squadrone di battaglia took until 04:45 on 23 December to reach Aten. While would have been embarrassing enough, nobody cared about the Italian speed because the eyes of all contingents were on the Germans. Somehow Berlin had mixed up orders and instead of sending the Hochraumflotte, ie the frigates, they had sent the Stürmflotilla, the assault shuttles. In good Prussian tradition, nobody had questioned these orders. Germans acted quickly to fix the issue but the battle would have to be delayed. Luckily all ships had sufficient supplies on board to be able to wait for three days. While the German frigates had not participated in the race, they showed their superior speed as they pushed their engines hard to reach Aten as quickly as possible. Russians were disappointed to realize that their ships weren't the fastest.


Hostiles detected...
Prepare for termination...
Ready...


After a brief meeting between the eight admirals, a decision was made for all fleets to make for Mars but to stop at 1,000,000 kilometres away and regroup, as the Red Planet was still almost 150 million kilometres away. Once all ships were at that point, they would attack independently as per their own doctrines with the goal of destroying as many Martian orbital forts as possible and then make their way back to Earth.

The tension on the human ships was palpable but the Menace did not react even though they must have been aware of the human ships. While the fleets waited for French and Italian ships to arrive, they had to manoeuvre multiple times to keep at the agreed upon range from Mars.

1915

On 1 January, at 09:57 GMT the Squadrone di battaglia arrived at the jump-off point. This signalled the start of the attack. Eight fleets moved forward towards Mars. As if waiting for this, twenty  small vessels were launched from the orbital forts and with mind boggling speed of 3866 km/s, they raced towards the human frigates. At 453 tons, they were quite small but everything the Menace did was threatening. A warning ran across the Earthling fleets as they prepared their weapons to meet the incoming Martians.

Situation when the German ships opened fire:



The incoming Martians were headed past the German flotilla so Vizeadmiral Stiller commanded all ships to fire at one Martian vessel - to both see what happens as well as to help out the other fleets. Most shots went wide and the Germans scored only three hits, all of which were stopped by armour. Then the Russians fired, also focusing all weapons on a single Martian vessel. Canoloth 001 was hit only twice but one of the hits penetrated armour and the ship disintegrated. The Japanese fired on Canoloth 005 but the only hit they scored did not penetrate armour. Royal Navy was next, all of their frigates aiming at Canoloth 019 that was heading towards them. HMS Active got the honour of One-Hit, One-Kill. with her BL 9" C2 Carronade. At the same time, Japanese ships bombarded Canoloth 005 and destroyed it. Austrians wrecked Canoloth 017 with multiple volleys of railguns and Russians blew up Canoloth 019. This wasn't a cause for celebration since the Martian vessels turned out to be assault shuttles and most of them had already unloaded their deadly cargo on the hulls of the much slower human ships. The Russian fleet was, for some reason, targeted heavily. Royal Navy was happy - the only shuttle coming at them had been speedily destroyed.

Italians were having their own little engagement:



Next in turn were the French and Italian fleets while the Austro-Hungarians, Russians and Japanese tried to exact revenge on fleeing Martian shuttles. The good news was that the Italians hit Canoloth 002 multiple times and Russians hit Canoloth 010, causing the destruction of both boats. The French struck Canoloth 014 and while the boat did not blow up, its troop compartment was wrecked and sensors recorded Martian murder machines floating harmlessly into the void. The bad news was that 13 human frigates now had boarders on their hulls, busy cutting holes into the armour.

Akatsuki missed Canoloth 018 but Abukuma hit it and the Martian shuttle exploded into little pieces, as did Canoloth 015 when the railguns of SMS Nagelring found their mark. But now 16 frigates had boarders on their hulls. The French scored a single hit on Canoloth 003 and the Germans one as well on Canoloth 007 but without causing any effect. All the shuttles were now streaking towards Mars and their orbital forts. Except for Canoloth 014 that suddenly vented all its fuel into space and thus became an easy target for Aiglé. few seconds later, Caonoloth 004 and 013 were destroyed by Actée and Albatros, respectively. The French killed three of the four shuttles that assaulted them.

Firefights erupted in several Russian frigates as Martian hunter-killer droids broke through airlocks. Not much later, same happened on Japanese, Austrian and French frigates. For some reason, Germans had not been targeted and the British and the Italians had successfully shot down the lonely shuttles approaching them. Assault Drones and Heavy Assault Drones poured inside and reaped the crews like a scythe of death. Every now and then a murder machine would break down under fire but for every little victory, at least twenty crew members were lost, if not more.

At 10:09:15 a life pod shot out of Admiral Kharlamov and the ship self-destructed as the engines were forced to load. Nine survivors out of a crew of 116, led by rear admiral Zory Grigoriev, had made it out of the abattoir.

As the close quarters' battles raged on, Hochraumflotte was the first to come into contact with Martian shore batteries. At 10:14:25, SMS Augsburg was attacked from an incredible range of 294,625 kilometres by four different weapons, causing significant armour damage but ship remained unharmed as the weapons hit different spots on its hull:



35 seconds later, the shore batteries fired again. Two shots were absorbed by the armour but the other two penetrated causing grievous damage - the ship lots its bridge and secondary laser battery, its reactor went offline, and most of its fuel were vented outside. SMS Augsburg was the command ship of Hochraumflotte and Vizeadmiral Stiller had barely survived the loss of the bridge. He did not give abandon ship command, knowing that the Martians would fixate on his ship until it was destroyed, giving the other ships more time to reach firing distance.

Admiral Kucherov was the next ship to be abandoned. 11 survivors made it to life pods. Soon after SMS Augsburg received its coup de grace at a distance of 247,375 km. Admiral Stiller and 37 survivors made it to life pods. Worryingly for all humans, the Martian shore batteries damage was increasing as the distance to the Red Planet grew shorter. Unluckily for the Germans, SMS Baden-Württemberg was hit in the same spot multiple times and immediately exploded, though 40 survivors escaped in life pods.

Admiral Tributs was scuttled next, quickly followed by Admiral Levchenko. 13 and 17 survivors, respectively. Hand-to-hand fighting was going poorly in all human ships.

At 10:16:45, at the distance of 200,125 kilometres from Mars, SMS Bayern became the third victim of Martian shore batteries. Hit five times and once again each beam of light was more powerful than they had been previously. Austro-Hungarian SMS San Michele - the only k.u.k Kriegsmarine ship to be boarded - was scuttled at the same time. 11 survivors reached life pods with admiral Teltschik.

Situation at 10:17:00 when the first Orbital Forts joined the battle:


Quite luckily for the Germans, both Baernoloth forts missed with their lasers. Worryingly, where the shore batteries were fixated on a single ship at a time, the orbital forts were clearly aiming at multiple ships simultaneously. The forts kept firing and had firing rate twice as fast as the shore batteries down on the surface but their aim was much worse and they kept missing.

Akatsuki became the first Japanese ship to self-destruct. Katanas could not cut steel, it turns out. Akishimo followed just seconds after. There were only 23 survivors, combined, from the two ships total crew of 226. Adroit was scuttled as well, leaving behind 17 bloodied crew members.

Unlike their brethren in orbit, the Martian shore batteries did not miss. SMS Braunschweig was absolutely gutted at the distance of 152,875 km. And as the range fell to under 150,00 kilometres, the massive Baernoloth class forts sorted their aiming as SMS Scharnhorst was hit and lost an engine. The German frigates only had two engines but Commodore Steinbach stubbornly ordered the ship to keep moving forward.

As the German ships took scorching laser hits, the Japanese scuttled Akagi. Human numerical superiority was melting away under the high-tech Martian defence. As if to underscore this, the shore batteries blasted apart both SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Bremen. Simultaneously, the few surviving spacers of Actée knew they had lost their ship to the Menace and overloaded the engines. Short while later SMS Hessen was badly savaged by laser beams and left floating alone, a burning husk with its crew desperately trying to control the damage. Out of the remaining seven ships, only three were intact, with the other four having had much of their armour blasted away. The crew of Hessen might as well not have bothered as the ship was seared apart by surface batteries, now dealing terrifying amounts of damage. SMS Brommy stood no chance.

Russians had to scuttle two more ships - Admiral Zakharov and Admiral Basisty.

At the distance of 82,000 kilometres, Germans lost SMS Graf Spee and SMS Emden. But they were finally in range, having endured the most terrifying gauntlet to sail through. SMS Gneisenau got two shots off, missed with both and was then torn apart by laser fire from Baernoloth 002. SMS Hipper blew up without getting to fire. SMS Erfurt hit Baernoloth 001, blackening its armour and was then blow up by shore batteries which also finished SMS Hamburg. The entire Hochraumflotte had been wiped out with only a smattering of doomed life pods.

But the German defeat wasn't without its lessons. The Italian commander, Ammiraglio di Divisione Mezzastris, signalled the other fleets and urged them to rendezvous with his ships. Then all human ships could move together in a single group towards Mars. It meant that they would be under fire longer but they would not be taken out in small packets, like the Martians had done to the Germans. The other admirals agreed and ordered their fleets to meet the Italians. During the movement, Aconit had to be scuttled, followed by Admiral Chabanenko and Akebono. Admiral Chabanenko took armour damage from Martian shore batteries, the Russians having strayed bit too close to the Red Planet just before its crew gave up the fight. SMS Blutgang also had its armour scorched and the next salvo took out one of its engines. SMS Nagelring was the next victim of the Martian shore batteries. Austrian ships only had a single engine so losing it meant being dead in Aether. SMS Salamander was struck as well. All three ships were eventually destroyed - the extreme range meant that the Martian weapons did minimal damage and often misssed.

At 10:52 the human fleets had convened together and the Squadrone di battaglia led the charge towards Mars. There were still 56 frigates itching for a fight. Five minutes later, the Martian shore batteries opened up again but this time Lady Fortuna smiled to the humans as the first salvo went wide. Distance to Mars was 309,757 km. Next salvo had one hit - Admiral Panteleyev had her armour blackened but it still held. Every 35 seconds, like a clockwork, the Martian guns fired, fixated on the same ship. Her armour pierced at multiple locations, at 11:01:00 the ship exploded, taking Vitse-admiral Melnikova with her. The next target of Martian was Admiral Spiridonov and the poor ship was wrecked immediately by multiple heavy hits. then Admiral Ushakov was hit, her engines wrecked, followed by Admiral Vinograd. It seemed that the Maritan shore batteries targeted the fastest ships and as soon as their engines were knocked out, they switched targeting. Avtroil followed her sisters into helplessness. Baku was unlucky as the ship was blasted to atoms by several heavy shots. Bditelny suffered the same fate with the next salvo, followed up by Bditelnyy. Her destruction signalled the end of the Russian participation as their remaining frigates were ineffective hulks, their crew trying to restore power to engines.

Austro-Hungarians were next as SMS Eckesachs was pierced by beams of coherent light, exploding into thousand pieces, followed by SMS Mimung and SMS Zulfiqar. SMS Santa Elisabeta was struck by six beams that all penetrated her armour and the frigate was turned into plasma. But now that all human ships were close enough to Mars to be targeted by the shore batteries, admiral Mezzastris signalled the fleets to attack independently using their best speed.

SMS Tizona reached 114,367 kilometres from Mars when it was blown up. SMS Tyrfing made it to 86,287 km. SMS Drache was the next to go, leaving SMS Kaiser as the last k.u.k Kriegsmarine ship to advance. But the shore batteries were merciless and from this distance could not miss. No Austrian ship ever got to fire their rail guns at Martians.

The Baernoloths opened fire on Italian ships and while none were destroyed, Aliseo was seriously damaged. The Japanese Standing Fleet got to 57,757 kilometres from Mars and Abukuma's plasma carronade burned the armour of Baernoloth 001. The return fire from Baernoloth 001 damaged Alessandrio Poerio and Alfredo Oriani but when Baernoloth 002 added its fire, both Aliseo and Alfredo Oriani were destroyed. Akigumo and Akizuki scored hits on Baenroloth 001 in return.

Then the shore batteries fired again and Abukuma was blasted into fragments, killing Kaigun Taisho Hideaki, the Japanese fleet commander. British fleet reached firing distance but their ships mostly missed, scoring only two hits, as did the Americans. Alessadrio Poerio was destroyed and Aldebaran was damaged.

But as the range shortened, the human accuracy improved. More and more plasma slugs and laser beams struck Baernoloth 001. Martians blew up Akigumo and critically damaged Akikaze as well as Alcione. French ships reached maximum range and opened fire as Akizuki exploded and seconds later Akikaze was shattered. The Japanese were the third fleet to be wiped out - fourth if you counted the German solo attack. And Baernoloth 001 showed no signs of actual damage.

Martian lasers shafted Alcione. As the Baernoloths fired upon the Italians, it seemed more and more likely that their fate would the same as Austrians - never getting to firing range of the enemy. To drive home this point, Aldebaran exploded and the Martian surface bloomed as the ground-based lasers struck at HMS Achilles, the hapless frigate immediately destroyed. Alabarda followed suit after ten seconds. Airone was next, followed by HMS Active and Achille Papa and HMS Ajax. HMS Alacrity survived only few seconds longer and five seconds later HMS Amazon was destroyed. To their horror, the humans discovered that Martians had additional ground-based defences: fast firing batteries firing kinetic slugs with a very limited range. Rear-Admiral Jennings desperately ordered his frigates to turn and retreat but that took time and meanwhile HMS Ambuscade was turned into Swiss cheese. The Italian fleet had been wiped out and the British one would not survive much longer.

The orbital forts switched fire to the American fleet and USS Abel P Upshur was their first victim, soon followed by USS Abbot and USS Aaron Ward. The ground batteries destroyed HMS Andromeda. The Americans realized what was happening to the British and followed their example but not quick enough for USS Lexington. At the same time, one of the sensors on Baernoloth 001 turned off. This was proof that their sacrifices were not in vain - the orbital forts could be hurt!

The cost was high and getting higher as USS Albert W Grant blew up, taking Reard-Admiral (lower half) Witt with her. Now both Anglo-American fleets were sitting at 31,000 kilometres from Mars, pouring fire on the orbital fort while getting hammered in turn. HMS Antelope got cut in half by lasers. They were joined by the remaining three French frigates even as USS Alden and USS Agerholm turned into burning wrecks. As more and more shots were clearly penetrating the torn armour of Baernoloth 001, the forts exacted revenge on USS Abner Read. Ground batteries took out HMS Antrim. Baernoloth 002 had no problems in shooting up USS Adams but at the same time, Alcyon's particle beams found something fragile inside Baernoloth 001 and the orbital fortress exploded into massive chunks.

The remaining British and French captains knew that there was no escaping the Martian shore batteries so they instead switched targets to Baernoloth 002, the other orbital fortress. Before they could fire again, Aigle was destroyed by the fort while shore batteries killed HMS Apollo. Particle beams and plasma carronades struck Baernoloth, gouging its armour but Albatros was struck repeatedly and blown apart. While her weapons were recharging, HMS Ardent was taken out from the surface. Alcyon miraculously survive three hits before the fourth blew her up. This left only British ships in the fight. HMS Arethusa was the first to go, followed quickly by HMS Argonaut. The last two ships both got a hit in before they in turn were destroyed. Then the Martian shore batteries finished the damaged Russian frigates. By 11:24:00 it was all over, the human attack on Mars had failed.





Flags were lowered and church bells rung as the people across Earth mourned.

(There will be a separate post for actual 1915 update as this all happened on 1 January and the battle took two days to play so I need a little break before continuing.)
9
General C# Fiction / Re: The Official Chronicle of the Duranium Legion
« Last post by mtm84 on April 14, 2021, 10:25:45 PM »
Perhaps a game of brockian ultra cricket?
10
C# Bureau of Design / Re: Missile Design
« Last post by kilo on April 14, 2021, 08:07:00 AM »
I keep restarting my campaign from one specific point to reach this result for Missile Design:

Orion AAM

Missile Size: 1. 00 MSP  (2. 500 Tons)     Warhead: 1    Radiation Damage: 1    Manoeuvre Rating: 12
Speed: 67,200 km/s     Fuel: 175     Flight Time: 62. 9 seconds     Range: 4,226,880 km
Cost Per Missile: 2. 028     Development Cost: 203
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 806. 4%   3k km/s 268. 8%   5k km/s 161. 3%   10k km/s 80. 6%

Engine pwr: 600%    Engine Size: 0. 70  Fuel: 0. 07  Agility: 0. 03

Arrow AS

Missile Size: 5. 00 MSP  (12. 500 Tons)     Warhead: 6    Radiation Damage: 6    Manoeuvre Rating: 12
Speed: 48,160 km/s     Fuel: 3,325     Flight Time: 11 minutes     Range: 32. 85m km
Cost Per Missile: 7. 712     Development Cost: 771
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 577. 9%   3k km/s 192. 6%   5k km/s 115. 6%   10k km/s 57. 8%

Engine pwr: 590%    Engine Size: 2. 55   Fuel: 1. 33  Agility: 0. 12

What kind of tech level are you at? It is hard to discuss your designs when no one knows what you are working with.

On top of that, I would suggest considering ECM and ECCM on your missiles, as these can be pretty useful or painful, depending on your tech level. Let us assume the enemy ship is using ECM 2 and moves at 10k km/s, your chance to hit will change from 57.8 to 37.8%. This can break your damage output. Missile ECM on the other hand can significantly improve your missile's performance against anti-missile weapons. Your AMM would have near 0% chance to hit against your AMM if it had ECM 2. It would reduce the warhead from 6 to 5 though.
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