Author Topic: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11  (Read 5277 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« on: January 31, 2009, 06:43:09 AM »
Despite the problems around Xia, colonization of new worlds continued. The terraforming of Munich II was completed in mid-2046 and the first colonists landed in August. The third planet of the Roma system, located adjacent to London, was settled by civilian colonists on September 3rd 2046. The planet had been designated as a potential future colony but no government-built ships were assigned to the task, mainly because some terraforming would be required and the terraformers were busy with Heidelberg III. Fortunately, civilian-owed freighters transported infrastructure and civilian-owed colony ships provided the colonists. Civilian freighters had also transported some infrastructure to a planet in the Newcastle system, two jumps from Sol via Prague, but as of October 1st 2046, no colonists had landed. By this time, the Commonwealth had twelve populated worlds plus mining colonies in Boston, adjacent to Washington, and Sverdlovsk, adjacent to Xia.

On October 3rd 2046, the Xiamen founded their first off-world colony when half a million settlers landed on Saratov III. This was an ideal habitable world for the Xiamen but a colony cost 0.53 world for humans due to the cold. The diversity of Xiamen and humans effectively increased the available number of ideal habitable planets, which would augment the growth rate of the Commonwealth over time. As it was human-built ships that delivered the Xiamen to Saratov III, the expedition increased the growing bonds between the two species.

The Vittorio Veneto II class jump cruiser Littorio transited into Zagorsk on October 4th and headed for the habitable world. She possessed far more sensitive passive sensors than the vanished Newton and she had moved less than a hundred million kilometres from the jump point when she detected a population on the third planet. Based on the emissions it was plainly not the same race that was encountered in Archangelsk, which was confirmation that there were now two hostile alien races in close proximity to the Xiamen home system. With an EM signature of 38,000, the population was larger than the alien population in Archangelsk, which had a signature of 35,000 and significantly larger than Sparta, with its signature of 27,800. The Fleet Admirals fervently hoped they were also hostile to each other, as a potential three-way conflict was infinitely preferable to an alien alliance against the Commonwealth. Littorio retreated to the Zagorsk - Smolensk jump point and held position, ready to warn if any alien ships attempted to enter Smolensk.

In early October, Hercules II class Tugs arrived in orbit of Xiamen-Kan with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which had one slipway with a 5000 ton capacity, and the ex-USAN Rio Shipyard, with three slipways of 2000 ton capacity. The former was tooled to build Tarawa class troop transports so it began retooling to build Arleigh Burke V class destroyers. The latter was tooled to build Molniya-s class scout corvettes. Three were laid down and then retooling began for the missile-armed Molniya class corvette.

On October 13th, the Vittorio Veneto II class jump cruiser Andrea Doria arrived at the Roma - Stevenage jump point. Roma was the site of a recently founded Commonwealth colony, one jump beyond London, while the second planet of the Stevenage system had excellent terraforming potential. It was also home to the last non-Commonwealth human colony, founded by the Union of South American Nations in 2037. When the Earth-based population of the USAN joined the Commonwealth in 2039 the colony was cut-off, along with a single small colony ship. The President of the USAN, Ferdinand Constantino, an ardent USAN nationalist who was determined that his country should not join the Commonwealth, and sixty thousand colonists were  trapped on Stevenage II. In fact, it was President Constantino's absence from Earth that prompted the rest of his government to abandon his ill-judged stand on independence and join the Commonwealth while some of their population could still be evacuated from an irradiated Earth. The Commonwealth was now expanding its jump gate network and a jump gate was already in place on the Roma side of the jump point. The jump gate construction ship Stephenson was awaiting the arrival of five freighters with jump gate components before transiting into Stevenage to build a matching gate on the far side of the jump point. Andrea Doria was standing by to escort the freighters back into Roma. While she was in the neighbourhood, the Fleet Admirals had instructed her to contact the USAN colony and ask if it wanted to join the Commonwealth.

The jump cruiser arrived in Stevenage just eighty million kilometres from Stevenage II and was immediately  hailed by the colony. Over the previous seven years, the colony had doubled in size and had a population of 130,000. As it was founded on the site of a small ruined alien settlement, the colony had recovered a small number of installations, including a spaceport, a shipyard and twenty assorted mines and factories. Far too many for the tiny colony to handle. It quickly became apparent that President Constantino was no longer in charge. According to the governor of the colony, after it became clear President Constantino could not return to Earth he became mentally unstable and eventually had to be restrained for his own protection. Six months after his incarceration, he feigned recovery and escaped from the colony, disappearing into the dense, humid jungles of  Stevenage II with a survival kit. During the next six years there were occasional unconfirmed sightings of a half-wild humanoid creature stealing supplies and the ex-President became a late-night tale with which to frighten young children. The new governor was more than happy for his colony to become part of the Commonwealth. After seven years of isolation, there were concerns that humanity had perished completely and that the colonists on Stevenage II were all that remained of the human race. The USAN settlers were also overjoyed to learn that seven million of their ex-countrymen had been rescued from Earth and were already citizens of the Commonwealth.

In early November, the Vittorio Veneto II class jump cruiser Impero was holding position on the Xia - Saratov jump point, allowing colony ships to move between Xiamen-Kan and the new Xiamen colony on Saratov III. As the colony ships entered Xia and headed for the Xiamen home world to pick up their next load of colonists, the Fleet Admirals ordered the jump cruiser to leave her station and enter Smolensk to check on the last three unexplored jump points. Her sister ship Vittorio Veneto was located on the Smolensk - Xia jump point watching for aliens approaching from Archangelsk while a second sister ship, Littorio, was picketing the Zagorsk - Smolensk jump point, watching for any signs of the newly discovered aliens in Zagorsk. The fourth ship of the class, Andrea Doria, was still in Stevenage. With considerable trepidation on the part of her crew, given recent events, Impero probed all three jumps, discovering the systems of Irkutsk, Celabinsk and Petropavlovsk. All three were unremarkable, with no habitable planets or even potential candidates for terraforming. Impero headed back into Xia and arrived at the Xia - Saratov jump point before the colony ships returned from Xiamen-Kan.

On January 21st 2047, the Commonwealth Navy finally reached the point where every one of its major warships had a full loadout. The vast majority of the ordnance comprised the older SS-N-2 Sunburns and SA-N-1 Grails, and even the Dagger AMM on the Sentinel class bases, but these were still very capable missiles. Two hundred and seventy ordnance factories were in continuous operation on Eden and thirty more had been built on Xiamen-Kan. They would continue to produce SS-N-3 Scarabs and SA-N-2 Gauntlets, which would be loaded onto ships as they become available. As the older missiles were replaced they would form a stockpile to fall back on in emergencies. The state of affairs was still far from ideal as there were no reloads for the moment but as long as the Commonwealth Navy did not fight any major battles, the situation would continue to improve. Plans for a non-missile unit were still on hold due to a lack of a suitable weapon and the shutdown of the Mars research facilities that would have been involved in developing one.

In the Zagorsk system in mid-February, Littorio detected a strength-120 thermal contact approaching at 2264 km/s. Not as expected from the direction of the inhabited world but from the outer system. The cruiser's tactical officer speculated that it could have been a gravitational survey ship heading for the jump point after completing a survey. In any event, Littorio could not remain in position so she transited into Smolensk and headed for the Xia jump point. Littorio's situation as she retreated from Zagorsk was eerily similar to the withdrawal of Vittorio Veneto from Archangelsk seven months earlier, although on this occasion the alien ship that precipitated the withdrawal was moving much more slowly, suggested that the Zagorsk aliens were of a lower technology level than the alien race in Archangelsk. Because of her higher speed, at the time the alien ship was expected to transit Littorio was outside detection range of the jump point and an alien transit could not be confirmed.

Although Littorio could have used her active sensors to monitor the alien ship, the use of active sensors by Commonwealth vessels was generally discouraged as it gave away the ship's position to any EM sensor in the area. Unless Commonwealth ships were present in significant numbers, remaining undetected was regarded as preferable to learning more about an unknown thermal contact. However, even though the thermal and EM sensors on the Vittorio Veneto II class were the best mobile passive sensors possessed by the Commonwealth they were relatively short-ranged, especially compared to the much more powerful tracking stations that could be constructed on planets. Unfortunately, Smolensk was a planetless system so the mobile sensors were all that was available. By February 2047, six research facilities were in operation on New York IV and were dedicated to sensor and fire control research. With two hostile alien races of unknown strength close to the Xiamen home system, learning more about them was a high priority and that required better sensors. Once improved sensors became available, the Fleet Admirals intended to commission the design of a new class of  scout ship.

The Fleet Admirals continued to take a cautious line in dealing with the alien races in Archangelsk and Zagorsk, partly through concern about taking losses against one race and then facing the other in a weakened state, and partly because they wanted to build up reserves of fuel and ordnance and complete new research projects. Their strategy was to picket the Smolensk - Xia jump point, maintain the four Nagatos at the Xia side of the same jump point as a tripwire defence and hold their primary combat power in Xiamen-Kan orbit in the form of four battlecruisers, six Tribals, eight Trafalgars and three older Scharnhorst class cruisers. The entire strategy was predicated on the assumption that Smolensk was the only point of contact with hostile aliens. On April 21st 2047, that assumption was proven incorrect.

At 21:26 hours on April 21st, planetary-based tracking stations on New London detected emissions from four powerful active sensors, located four point four billion kilometres from the primary on a bearing of 116 and moving at 4480 km/s. The jump point to Budapest was the only one of London's four jump points in that quadrant of the system and was one point billion kilometres further out on a bearing of 117. Almost certainly too close for coincidence. The sensors were operating with a resolution of 95, designed to detect ships of 4750 tons or greater at a maximum range of one hundred and twenty million kilometres, double that of the Commonwealth's most capable active sensor. Warnings were flashed across the jump gate network and the Commonwealth was forced to react to a totally unexpected threat.

New London had a population of twenty-three million and was home to a shipyard complex with two slipways of 14,000 ton capacity, maintenance facilities capable of handling ships of up to 10,000 tons in size and one hundred mining complexes. The forces immediately available in the London system comprised the Arleigh Burke V class destroyer Spruance with a full load of ninety-six SS-N-2 Sunburn anti-ship missiles, a Sentinel class Missile Defence Base with one thousand and ninety-six Dagger AMMs, five Molniya class corvettes and a Molniya-S class scout corvette. Unfortunately, none of the Molniyas had any missiles. New missiles had been shipped to the battle fleet units in Sparta orbit which were regarded as a higher priority. A civilian freighter was in London, en route from the Sol jump point to the Roma jump point with its cargo holds full of infrastructure. As the two jump points were in the opposite half of the system to the Budapest jump point, the freighter was five point two billion kilometres from the alien sensor emissions. As the most immediate need was for more information on the alien contacts, the Molniya-S class corvette Yaguar was dispatched on a intercept course. She had no passive sensors but carried the same Voskhod MR-800 Active Search Sensor as the Peter the Great II battlecruisers and the Arleigh Burke V. Despite being seriously outranged by the alien sensors, her small size would allow her to get within range of her own sensor without being detected. Her chances of survival after sensor activation were probably reasonable because she would able to deactivate the MR-800 and run for it at 6300 km/s.

Molniya-S class Corvette    1000 tons     85 Crew     216.8 BP      TCS 20  TH 126  EM 0
6300 km/s     Armour 1-8     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 8%    IFR: 0.1%    Maintenance Capacity 136 MSP    Max Repair 96 MSP

NPO Energomash Supercharged Ion Drive (1)    Power 126    Efficiency 8.80    Sig 126     Exp 21%
Fuel Capacity 300,000 Litres    Range 61.4 billion km   (112 days at full power)
Voskhod MR-800 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 57.6m km    Resolution 60

New London was one point seven billion kilometres from the Sol jump point and the Sol - London jump point was three billion kilometres from Sol, which made immediate reinforcement difficult. Nevertheless, the fact the aliens sensors had been detected so far out meant that Sparta was only five hundred million kilometres further away from New London than the alien ships. The Fleet Admirals made the decision to send all the available battle fleet units at 4500 km/s, leaving Sparta to be guarded by nine Arleigh Burke V destroyers and three Sentinel class missiles bases. Four Peter the Great class battlecruisers, six Tribal III class escort cruisers and eight Trafalgar III destroyer escorts raced to the rescue. Each of the four battlecruisers was loaded with one hundred and ninety SS-N-3 Scarabs. The collier Castletown followed at 3000 km/s with an extra two hundred and seventy-four SS-N-2 Sunburns.

The alien sensor contacts were on a course that would take them through the inner system but they were not on a direct course for New London. It soon became apparent they were on an intercept course for the civilian freighter en route to Roma, presumably because of its transponder emissions. While it was tempting to order the ship to disengage its transponder, if the aliens continued to track its course they would be pulled away from the centre of the system and the tempting target of New London, possibly for long enough for the task group from Sparta to arrive. For the moment, the transponder stayed active.

Twenty-five hours after the aliens were first detected in London, Fleet Headquarters was contacted by Commander Benjamin Gosselin, captain of the Arleigh Burke IV class destroyer Fitzgerald and overall commander of the small two-ship force picketing the jump point to the Tulan home system. After the Tulan asked the Commonwealth to leave their system in 2042, a force of nine older destroyers was stationed at the Sol - Vienna jump point to guard against any Tulan incursion. Over the next five years, with no sign of the Tulan, the destroyers were gradually withdrawn and scrapped until only the two Arleigh Burke IVs remained. The two Arleigh Burke IVs were laid down in 2030, before the final war on Earth, and despite delays to their construction caused by the war were eventually completed in 2033. By 2047 they were virtually obsolete. With a top speed of 2500 km/s and armed with missiles that had a maximum range of twenty-two million kilometres, they were severely outclassed by the warships of the modern Commonwealth Navy. In the near-panic after the alien contacts were reported in London, the two old ships were not even considered  as a possible response force. However, as Commander Gosselin acidly pointed out to the staffers at headquarters, the Vienna jump point was only five hundred and fifty million kilometres from the London jump point and the Fitzgerald and the Cole could be there within sixty hours, compared to a week for the battle fleet units en route from Sparta. In fact, they could have been almost halfway there if an immediate order had been sent to them as soon as the aliens were detected. The communication from Commander Gosselin was passed upward to the Fleet Admirals who realised their own oversight and ordered the two destroyers to head for London.

At 12:57 on April 23rd, thirty-nine hours after initial contact, a civilian colony ship transited into London from Sol and headed for New London to deliver its cargo. The commercial shipping of the Commonwealth was outside of military control so there was little that Rear Admiral Toyota Tetsuhiko, the governor of New London and senior officer in the London system, could do except warn it of the danger. The colony ship was much closer to New London than the aliens and the civilian captain was more interested in completing his task and heading home than worrying about alien threats. The alien contacts continued to follow a course towards the civilian freighter halfway between the Sol and Roma jump points. By this time they were three point five billion kilometres from New London and four point three billion from the freighter.

Fitzgerald and Cole arrived in London at 11:14 on April 25th and set course for New London. Eight hours later, planetary sensors on New London detected a fifth alien active sensor two hundred million kilometres astern of the first four. The fifth active sensor was less powerful, with a range of eighty million kilometres, which explained why it had only been picked up several days after the initial contact. Yaguar, the Molniya-S class scout, was closing in and was six hundred and fifty million kilometres from the four larger contacts. She was ordered to try and establish contact with all five known alien ships, even if that meant staying in their general location much longer and switching her active sensor on and off as required.

Her CO was Captain Eusébio Gonçalves, a conscientious and reliable officer who had spent most of his career in missile bases and PDCs as part of the officer corps of the Union of South American Nations. He was now more interested in promoting the fast attack concept and the technical abilities of his ship then climbing the promotion ladder. In any event, at 57 he was unlikely to advance any further in rank. Captain Gonçalves used the speed advantage of his ship to guide it around the alien contacts and approached from the aliens' port quarter. His small, difficult to detect corvette slipped inside the theoretical alien sensor range without incident and continued to close. Finally, at 17:09 on the 26th, with Yaguar just fifty-five million kilometres from the group of four alien contacts and the aliens two point five billion kilometres from New London, he ordered his tactical officer to activate the Voskhod MR-800. The active sensor detected four 12,500 ton ships, larger than anything in the Commonwealth Navy. Based on the detailed scan, they were identified as ships of the alien race in Archangelsk, or the Angels as they had become commonly known, and one ship was a different class than the other three. Yaguar disengaged her sensors less than five seconds after she activated them, then changed course to intercept the fifth contact. The alien ships did not even deviate from their course so it was possible they had not even detected the scan.

The size and speed of the alien ships, plus their powerful active sensors, suggested they were at least a match for the Commonwealth in terms of technology. The battle fleet task group, still eighty hours from London, would have its hands full, even if it arrived in time. Four hours after the close approach to the first group of ships, Yaguar moved within fifty-four million kilometres of the trailing contact and engaged its sensors once more. The fifth alien vessel was a new class of 6250 tons. As before the aliens did not react to Yaguar so Captain Gonçalves ordered his tactical officer to leave the sensors active. Still there was no response. Concluding that the aliens did not have EM sensors capable of detecting the MR-800, Captain Gonçalves suggested to the Rear Admiral Toyota that his ship maintain active sensors and pursue the larger group of aliens, moving no closer than fifty-five million kilometres. The admiral concurred. An hour after Yaguar turned to chase the large group, the single trailing alien ship changed course. At first Rear Admiral Toyota thought it had spotted Yaguar but their courses diverged and it was soon clear the alien was on an intercept course for the civilian colony ship en route to New London.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 01:38:57 AM by Steve Walmsley »
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 09:21:15 AM »
Twenty minutes later, the leading group also changed course toward the same colony ship, abandoning their pursuit of the freighter. Unfortunately, while the freighter was leading the alien ships on a course that would not cross the inner system, the colony ship was leading them straight to New London. Rear Admiral Toyota tried to order the colony ship away but the civilian captain insisted on completing his mission. His ship was only 670 million kilometres from New London and the aliens were three billion kilometres away. The captain even refused an order to turn off his transponder, claiming it was against the Commonwealth Commercial Spaceflight Administration's regulations and he could lose his licence. Briefly the admiral considered ordered Spruance to destroy the colony ship but with 50,000 colonists on board he realised that might be considered an over-reaction by his superiors. After this crisis was over, he intended to see there were some significant changes to those regulations.

Yaguar re-established active contact with the first four alien ships at 16:30 on the 27th then held her distance and shadowed the four 12,500 ton ships from directly astern as they continued on course for the inner system. Forty hours later, at 04:30 on the 29th of April, the civilian colony ship arrived in orbit of New London and began transporting its colonists to the surface. The closest alien ships were 1600 million kilometres away, or four days at their speed of 4480 km/s. Cole and Fitzgerald were less than a billion kilometres from New London but four days and thirteen hours away at their maximum speed of 2500 km/s. The battle fleet units from Sparta were still twenty-two hours from the Sol - New London jump point and five days and eight hours from New London. Unless the alien ships changed course, all that stood between them and twenty-three million people was a single Arleigh Burke V destroyer, a base with point defence missiles and five corvettes with empty magazines.

Captain Gonçalves on the Yaguar contacted Rear Admiral Toyota and suggested a plan to slow down the aliens. Although the capability of the alien ships was unknown, it was entirely possible they were equipped with long range missiles, possibly with a range approaching that of their sensors. While the Spruance would probably not be able to get close enough to launch its SS-N-2 Sunburns without being detected and attacked,  eighty of her ninety-six her missiles could be offloaded and used to fill the box launchers on the five Molniya class corvettes. As demonstrated by the Yaguar, those corvettes would be able to reach missile range without detection and then fire their missiles at the alien ships. Their fire controls would be able to lock on the targets illuminated by Yaguar's active sensors. Rear Admiral Toyota accepted the idea immediately and, despite the protestations of Spruance's commander, ordered him to give up his missiles. An hour later, the five Molniyas broke orbit and headed for the alien ships. As far as could be determined, the aliens did not detect their approach and by 23:00 hours on April 30th, they were ready to begin their attack.

Code: [Select]
Molniya class Corvette 1000 tons     49 Crew     136.2 BP      TCS 20  TH 126  EM 0
6300 km/s     Armour 1-8     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control 1     PPV 9.6
Annual Failure Rate: 0%    IFR: 0%    Maintenance Capacity 85 SP
Magazine 64  

NPO Energomash Supercharged Ion Drive (1)    Power 126    Engine Efficiency 8.8    Armour 0    Exp 21%
Max Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 10.2 billion km   (18 days at full power)

Mk 2 Guided Missile VLS (16)    Missile Size 4    Hangar Reload 30 minutes    MF Reload 5 hours
Raytheon R600 Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 57.6m km    Resolution 60

Below is a map of the inner system of London as the Molniyas close in. This is at half the scale of the previous system map. The second screenshot is a close up of the corvettes and the alien contacts. Click to view at full size

[attachment=1:1hj108w1]London23-02-April30.GIF[/attachment:1hj108w1]

[attachment=0:1hj108w1]Yaguar23-02.GIF[/attachment:1hj108w1]

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 10:18:14 AM »
The action, as it happens :)

As the intention was to slow down the alien ships and give the Commonwealth relief forces time to arrive, four of the five Molniyas each fired sixteen SS-N-2 Sunburns anti-ship missiles at a different target. The fifth corvette launched its missiles thirty seconds later, with the intention of directing them against any undamaged ships. With their missiles in flight, the corvettes maintained a fifty-five million kilometre distance from the aliens, allowing their fire controls to guide the Sunburns to their destination. There was no sign of defensive fire as the missiles homed in and all sixty-four in the first wave reached their targets.

[attachment=0:2au1kcrq]MissileAttack.GIF[/attachment:2au1kcrq]
Six missiles struck the single unit of the class designated as Angel Cruiser One and its speed immediately dropped from 4480 km/s to 3840 km/s. The other three ships, designated as the Angel Cruiser Two class, were hit six, six and ten times respectively. None of them were even slowed down, although the active sensor of the third ship ceased operation, presumably because one of the missiles had damaged it. As that ship was already showing some sign of internal damage, the second wave of sixteen missiles was directed against it on the basis it would be the easiest to slow down. Unfortunately, only four hit their target and even with their strength-6 warheads they failed to have any visible impact.

All five Molniya's broke away and headed for New London, their crews extremely disappointed that only one alien ship had been slowed by their attack. The damaged Angel vessel presented a problem for Yaguar as she was positioned astern of the brief engagement and could not maintain her distance to the main body of the small alien fleet without risking detection by the ship slowly falling behind. Instead, Captain Gonçalves took his ship on a course perpendicular  to that of the aliens, planning to close in again from a safer direction. The Angel force was now nine hundred and twenty million kilometres from New London.

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 07:36:59 AM »
One hour and forty minutes after the missile attack, the Angel cruiser that had been reduced to 3840 km/s increased speed to 4160 km/s, presumably because it had repaired a damaged engine. After a further two hours and twenty-five minutes, it resumed its original speed of 4480 km/s. Shortly thereafter, the cruiser that had lost its active sensor reactivated it. Apart from damage to the aliens' armour, the corvette attack seemed to achieved little except to separate one ship from the group of four. The Angel cruiser that had repaired its engine damage now trailed seven million kilometres astern of the first three cruisers but was no longer losing ground.

At 06:00 on May 1st, just under six hours after the corvette attack, the civilian colony ship completed the offloading of its colonists to New London and departed in the direction of the Sol jump point. The incoming alien ships changed course to pursue, which meant they hadn't detected New London yet or they were more interested in the transponder signal for some reason. The captain of the colony ship was extremely resistant to Rear Admiral Toyota's idea that he should take his ship towards the Roma jump point to draw away the alien cruisers and insisted that his schedule was far more important than the military's obsession with harassing what were probably innocent alien explorers. Now rapidly running out of ideas to prevent an alien attack on New London, which the aliens would ultimately detect even on their current course, at 09:00 Rear Admiral Toyota dispatched Spruance to meet Cole and Fitzgerald and transfer their Trident missiles to its own magazines. While Spruance was not as fast as the battle fleet units, at 3600 km/s it was still much faster then the 2500 km/s of the Arleigh Burke IVs. The destroyer's last sixteen SS-N-2 Sunburns were unloaded before it left so that at least one Molniya class corvette could make a second attack.

Spruance rendezvoused with the other two destroyers at 06:02 on the 2nd of May. She loaded one hundred and ninety-two Trident missiles, twice the number of her usual loadout of Sunburns as the Tridents were only half the size, leaving the two Arleigh Burke IVs with just eighty-four Tridents between them. At this point the lead Angel cruisers were four hundred and fifty million kilometres from New London. Spruance was three hundred and ten million kilometres distant but had only eighty percent of their speed and the aliens could presumably open fire long before they would actually reach New London. For the moment, the Angel cruisers continued to pursue the colony ship as it headed for the Sol jump point but the course still took them inside the orbit of London III and within active sensor range of New London, the second planet from the star. Even if their passive sensors did not detect the colony's emissions, their active sensors would detect the shipyard.

These first screenshot show the situation in the inner system at 15:00 on May 2nd, nine hours after Spruance redezvoused with Cole and Fitzgerald. The second screenshot is a zoomed out view that includes the relief force from Sparta and the Sol jump point as a reference point. Click to expand

[attachment=1:1t8glh4i]London15-00-May2nd.GIF[/attachment:1t8glh4i]
[attachment=0:1t8glh4i]London15-00-May2ndLarge.GIF[/attachment:1t8glh4i]
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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 10:46:20 AM »
The Molniyas reached New London at 15:00 hours. A single corvette, the Orlan, was loaded with the last sixteen Sunburn missiles offloaded from Spruance and sent on a solo mission to inflict what little damage she could. She rendezvoused with Yaguar fifty million kilometres short of the alien cruisers, so that Yaguar could identify the targets for Orlan's fire control system. While the cruiser trailing seven million kilometres behind the others may have had the most armour damage, due to its loss of two engines, it did only suffer six hits and the internal damage could have been the result of multiple hits in the same location. Instead, the target selected was the cruiser in the leading group that had so far taken fourteen hits and temporarily lost its active sensor. The missiles were launched at 22:00, with the Angel warships just two hundred million kilometres from New London.

[attachment=1:1hpydwgk]OrlanAttack.GIF[/attachment:1hpydwgk]
Nine missiles struck the target at 22:36 and the impacts were followed almost immediately by a visible secondary explosion. The Angel cruiser lurched out of formation, reduced to a speed of 2560 km/s and once again losing her active search sensor, and began falling behind its two sister ships. Orlan pulled away and headed back to New London while Yaguar continued to shadow the alien fleet. Rear Admiral Toyota and his staff celebrated the first solid hit on one of the alien intruders but it was very likely too late. Two hours later the cruiser repaired its active sensor for the second time. Over the next hour it repaired two engines increasing speed to 2880 km/s and then 3200 km/s but it was already twenty-two million kilometres astern of the two lead cruisers and continuing to lose ground.

Slowly, steadily, the icons of the alien ships on the tactical displays of the governor's command centre on New London crept closer to the planet. Their course was taking them past the planet in pursuit of the colony ship but at an estimated distance of less than one hundred million kilometres. Finally, at 03:56 on May 3rd, the first two Angel cruisers entered their maximum active sensor range of the Nikolayev Shipyard and the Sentinel class Defence Base in orbit of New London. Spruance was still twenty-six million kilometres from the planet, Cole and Fitzgerald were at one hundred and twelve million and the battle fleet units from Sparta were at five hundred and seventeen million, still thirty-one hours away.

[attachment=0:1hpydwgk]London03-56-May3rd.GIF[/attachment:1hpydwgk]
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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 06:29:37 AM »
Nice story Steve.  I hope your AI aliens have some missile defense or they are going to be easy pickings.
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 01:26:11 PM »
Quote from: "jfelten"
Nice story Steve.  I hope your AI aliens have some missile defense or they are going to be easy pickings.

I don't know. The aliens have not had any serious complications from the missiles, yet. They seem to be able to recover from the damage sustained quite handily.
 

Offline vergeraiders

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 01:36:43 PM »
Quote from: "Erik Luken"
Quote from: "jfelten"
Nice story Steve.  I hope your AI aliens have some missile defense or they are going to be easy pickings.

I don't know. The aliens have not had any serious complications from the missiles, yet. They seem to be able to recover from the damage sustained quite handily.

Not if there's nothing left to repair. While a good decision in the current circumstance, splitting fire meant fairly light damage to all ships rather than truely significant damage to one.  Full strikes to one or two ships may remove the usefulness of aparently very capable repair systems.

Its also possible (assuming the aliens use missiles, and they are not too advanced or numerous) that they may learn the usefulness of anti-missiles soon.
 

Offline jfelten

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 04:44:29 AM »
Quote from: "Erik Luken"
Quote from: "jfelten"
Nice story Steve.  I hope your AI aliens have some missile defense or they are going to be easy pickings.

I don't know. The aliens have not had any serious complications from the missiles, yet. They seem to be able to recover from the damage sustained quite handily.

60,000 tons (or something near that) survived a missile strike by a force 1/10th their size and probably have banged up armor and used up most of their replacement parts in the deal.  We'll see what happens when they face something closer to their size.  I expect Steve is going to have to program the NPR's to outfit their warships with anti-missiles and PD if they are going to be much of a threat in a stand up fight.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 11:36:40 PM »
This is definitely a proof of concept for the corvettes.

If they had sufficient stocks of missiles, they would have been able to make repeated strikes.  If they had a hidden base to rearm at, other than the huge sensor beacon that was the planet, it would make operations within the system very hazardous.

Further, if they had larger numbers, there could have been one strike to slow a ship, with another group set to pick off a ship that slows enough that it fall out of the missile defense envelope of the rest of its squadron.

The Commonwealth's emphasis on sensors and scouts could pay off.

One last gambit.  Strike with the corvettes and withdraw the corvettes toward the oncoming reinforcements.
 

Offline jfelten

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 06:01:24 AM »
Yes, it looks like if they had a stockpile of missiles they could wear the big ships down given enough time since the big ships have no active defense, are slower, and can't see the corvettes despite what sounds like pretty big active sensors.  Another suggestion for the AI is to put some effort in to building fleet scouts.  Good AI is often the hardest part of computer games, right up there with pathfinding which at least shouldn't be a big problem in Aurora.
 

Offline Randy

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 11:14:48 AM »
This also highlights a couple of things it looks like the NPR AI doesn't handle yet...

- Morale (or determination): Would you continue sending your ships in when you konw there is an opponent you can't see that can  easily hurt you?

- Adaptive tactics. Of course it might be a bit too early for this to be done given this is the first release of the AI code...

One thing I can recommend is that you allow configureable AI strategy - especially via data files. Check ot how SPace Empires 5 handles this - it will give you a lot of flexability, and allow you to easily have verry different racial "personalities"
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2009, 12:11:13 AM »
The aliens do seem to be coming in like stereotypical Bugs or Eaters.

But it is interesting, they are actually more threatening in a way that way.  Not long term, of course.  That kind of bullheadedness will cost them their fleet.  But they are more threatening in the sense of millions of lives lost, and greater concern for defense.

A human fleet would likely have already turned back, and seriously concerned suing for peace if they believed that the colony world was only one small portion of the race they encountered.
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2009, 03:07:46 AM »
Quote from: "Michael Sandy"
A human fleet would likely have already turned back, and seriously concerned suing for peace if they believed that the colony world was only one small portion of the race they encountered.

Would it?  The Angels can't see the enemy - only a civilian transponder - and possibly can't even see the missiles hitting them.  But the attacks are small, and a long time apart.  Either A) the enemy is slower than us, and we are merely moving past within firing range, resuting in a few 'lucky' salvoes or B) the enemy is faster than us, but with a long reload cycle.  In the case of A, if the Angels withdraw they'll take just as much fire on the way out - possibly more if other ships have been moved into range of their back trail - and they risk exposing their entry jump point to ships they can't see, but who can see them.  In the case of B, the only way the Angels can escape is if their enemies choose to let them, and again they risk revealing their entry jump point (only it's a much higher risk this time - in fact, about the only reason he enemy would let the Angels live is to find that jump point).

The Angel fleet's survival is 85-90% 'the enemy chooses to let us go' - which has unpleasant strategic consequences.  Their best bet has to be head for the implied-colony on the planet (that transponder signal stopped for about the right time to unload a standard installation) and either the enemy will fight to defend it (hopefully coming within sensor range), negotiate to save it (as best they can without communications established) or suffer its destruction.

To surrender before threatening the planet abandons the only card the Angels have left to play, and simply guarantees complete failure.  Any human that did so should be relieved of command.
 

Offline Randy

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 11
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2009, 11:27:30 AM »
All of which would be down to  some sort of morale or determination check.

  There has been countless times in the past where, with full knowledge, things would have gone quite differently. But with the knowledge available at the time, the choices were made.

   Putting your values on the alien NPR means they are just trying to be you...


  But  consider, they may have another 5 or 10 ships handy that actually are capable of defeating the small missile volley size that they are presently seeing. Just that the Commonwealth hasn't detected them yet. In which case it would make sense to retreat, hopefully draw the hidden attackers into range of more capable ships, and...  :-)

  Just keep in mind that we don't have all the information - just what has been detected so far...

  I'd be pretty disapponted if all NPR just mindlessly attack. There should be question in what they will do. :->
 

 

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