Author Topic: The Second Battle of Gliese 625 (November 14, 2057)  (Read 1581 times)

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Offline OAM47 (OP)

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The Second Battle of Gliese 625 (November 14, 2057)
« on: February 02, 2012, 08:26:11 PM »
"At least it wasn't as bad as last time..."  The Empress watched as the Emperor sulked across the table from her.  He was still reading the reports, thought the finer details really didn't matter to him.  The general staff and various assorted aides would be in soon with a briefing much like last time they'd suffered such a defeat.  This year had seen a lot of action, and some losses, but they'd always been spun as positive.  While a bit disappointed at the military's performance as of late, he had been optimistically holding out for better results.

"I suppose so.  And I think we can safely mark 'human error' as a major factor this time.  If our officers had been better trained and versed in their ships capabilities more, or even if our communication protocols were improved, this could have been avoided".  He sighed and looked up at his wife.  "Of course, we lost a lot of good people too".

"I hear the Duke's funeral is going to be the biggest spectacle of the decade".  Her words had a bit of disdain mixed in, mostly directed at the media circus going on, but were also truly sad.  Despite his health problems, the Imperial Family had decided Floyd Loffler was the best choice to be next in line for the throne recently.

"Mhmm...  He'd been in the spotlight a lot lately... I don't think they quite knew what to do when word of his death arrived..."

Before the conversation could continue, Admiral Vogelsburg entered the conference room, the rest of the staff filing in behind her.  A few were same ones that had been at the last meeting like this, though most had a bar or two extra at their collar.

"Well, I'm going to keep this brief.  I know you keep up with the reports very well, even when we've not bungled everything".  While cool, the tension was quite evident in her voice.  "I've compiled the highlights, as they are, and go over a summary of the results of the first investigation".

The displays sprung to life as she took position to the left, staring at one of her many datapads as she kept speaking.  "I'm going to skip to the first combative action.  Seeing as you were present when we had the final vidconference on potential tactics, I'll simply state that the fleet was in the formation we agreed upon following standard doctrine."  The screens were indeed showing the ships arranged into a similar formation to the one used in Lalande 21185, both by the tac monitor and visual cameras.  The tac monitor also showed three 6,900 ton contacts, with another at twice that size, all approaching the formation at close to 7000 km/s.

The Admiral pressed a button and the video began to move forward, but there was no sound.  "We've removed all audio as it is irrelevant in this analysis.  Important bits of dialogue have been selected for a separate report.”  As she finished speaking the tac monitor flashed and six new contacts, anti-ship missiles, appeared at 600,000 km from the human vessels.  More waves appear behind them.  The first six slam into the TES Russia, the ship that was the current command vessel and where Commodore Aquaviva was leading the battle from.  No point defense fire answered.  The second wave of missiles follows suit just as the fleet finally starts to launch their own.  The visual camera shakes violently as the other Terran ships begin to pull away, dull purple beams now lancing out from the defense cruisers, barely visible on the blackness of space.  The feed goes black for a moment, but then is restored as the displays now read “TES Egypt” on their headers.  Point defense fire successfully takes out all further missiles waves for the 40 or so seconds the Admiral keeps the video running.

“This continues for about seven minutes.  Nothing noteworthy, save for a few of the gunnery officers getting lax on the last wave and allowing a lone missile to tag the Oregon.  Two of the hostiles turned away at this point, but the other two and our fleet continued to close range. The Russia retreats for the jump point while conducting serious repairs.  Commodore Aquaviva decided to continue to retain operational control, despite no longer being actively engaged.”  While carefully monotone, her statement was enough to draw a scowl or two from some of the other officers.  Aquaviva was widely regarded as the biggest failure in the Empire.  He was widely seen as being corrupt and responsible for Earth's previous resource woes, though those were only the most notable “accomplishments” on a long list.  The fact that he should have been sacked years ago was only unspoken because it was so obvious.

Admiral Vogelsburg clicked the remote again and the video jumped a few hours ahead.  “Our ships entered missile range after only roughly one hour, but upon attempting to lock it was discovered that the hostiles had some form of electronic interference obscuring their ships from our finer sensors.  It was estimated that we could obtain a lock at roughly two-thirds of maximum range, but right before our ships reached that distance they were attacked by another wave of smaller missiles”.

The video resumes.  The Ontario is the first to be hit, small warheads detonating across its hull like raindrops on pavement.  It takes about seven waves, but the ship eventually slows and falls back.  Despite excellent work by the point defense teams, these missiles are harder to hit due to size and speed, plus come in waves of twenty, twice as close as the larger missiles.  Only about one out of every six is stopped as the lasers are not fast enough to fire.  On waves they do fire, though, more then half are taken out.

As the Ontario falls back the missiles switch targets to the Oregon.  Before long it joins its sister ship trailing behind the rest.  Unfortunately, one of the last hits strikes the engineering section dead on, causing two powerful secondary explosions that almost gut the ship.  The Ontario had gotten off very lightly by comparison.

The Egypt is targeted next.  It reverses course in an attempt to save itself, a valid course of action considering how valuable its sensor suite is.  The point defenses are also noticeably less effective when missiles are attacking the main body, as well.  However, no sooner does the ship drop out of formation then the worse does indeed happen.  Sensors are lost and the displays revert back to the distant vantage point of the Russia.  The missiles keep coming and destroy the severely wounded vessel seconds later.

Admiral Vogelsburg pauses the video.  “As I'm sure you're aware, that was Duke Loffler's ship.  With that, our only hope of an offensive strike was gone.  However, I'm very annoyed to report that, for some reason, it took an unreasonably long time for our Oregons still in fighting condition to activate their backup PD sensor systems.  That is in a separate report as well, but suffice to say, shock, confusion, chain of command issues, and some basic incompetence played a big part”.

She resumed the video.  Over the next few minutes three of the defense cruisers are taken out as they try and flee, life pods springing up with each.  One tries to cut power and avoid being hit while quickly collecting survivors.  The tactic doesn't work and it sustains heavy damage as well.  The other ships finally get their act together at this point, though, and while they don't take out many missiles, they do draw fire from the rescue operations.  One of the remaining defense cruisers is severely damaged, to the point that after the final wave and resulting secondary power system failure all that remains is about half the superstructure.  The log then ends.

“We lost three Hero class ships during that portion of the battle.  The Sendejo had to be abandoned a few minutes later as it was totally dead in the water with no hope of repair.”  The Admiral let out a sigh as her report ended.

“The commander of that ship conducting rescues has been recommended for a medal, yes?”  The Emperor was at least impresses by the bravery shown in that action, and very much wanted to try and look for something positive.

“Yes.  That was actually Duke Del Grande.  He's been recommended for... several awards actually...  There is also a separate report on that.  Overall, while the battle was a loss, many of our personnel showed the utmost bravery in the engagement”.  The Admiral finally looked up from the datapad.  “The failure wasn't there, or with our technology either, as I'm sure Duchesses Ruz and Bellis have already stated, but rather in our chain of command and leadership”.  There was a small pause as she took a deep breath.  “I will take full responsibility if you like.  I see this as a personal failure to reform the structure adequately.  If yo-”

“That won't be necessary.  It seems pretty clear to me that things were going well, though not perfect, far into the engagement.  I think it's reasonable to place the burden of this at the operational, rather than strategic level”.  The Emperor sat back and clasped his hands in thought.  While Vogelsburg would definitely lose some prestige for this, she was still a good Admiral.  The other member of the dual command structure had once again gone out on a secondary command to participate, a practice which would soon be officially condemned, though knowing how politics worked in the Empire it might not stop all attempts.  This did mean that someone fresh could be “bumped up” and perhaps “fix” current doctrine.  “I assume you've also come up with a list of ways to ensure this never happens again...”

“Yes.  I immediately received a memo from both Duchess Ruz and Duchess Bellis concerning our sensors and targeting systems.  An improved sensor grid is already about half done, with refit of our ships already on the agenda for sometime in the next five years.  Also, apparently there have been recent strides made in the field of targeting countermeasures, as well as overcoming any such measures others may take”.  She was clearly relieved, but a bit of annoyance welled up at the mention of the two nobles.  There technology has really shone, despite the defeat, and they knew it.  It was in both of their personalities to rub it in, though very ironic that the two fierce rivals seemingly teamed up to do so.  “Also, we're already working on changing how we form up in battle, as well as our policies regarding officer placement and safety”.

“Indeed...  I'm sure I don't even need to state my thoughts on the matter...”  He put just enough emphasis to warn the Admiral that he'd be watching closely, before getting up.  “Send me another report tomorrow with any policy changes, or other such figures relating the battle.  I'm guessing there will be a few medals to hand out, but we should probably not hype it up.  We don't want to look like we're celebrating a defeat”.

The meeting had really just been a formality.  Despite how things turned out, the command staff was much better then it was seven years ago.  They knew what needed to be done, unlike the old Admirals.  Emperor Patrick was confident this was just a minor speed bump, as compared to the national disaster that the last battle had been...


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