Author Topic: From the Ashes - part 26  (Read 1232 times)

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Offline Haji

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From the Ashes - part 26
« on: March 07, 2017, 08:34:19 PM »
2nd March 2403

   For nearly twelve years now the Hegemony has been occupying the alien worlds of Khamali and Hamha, facing a stiff resistance. While the aliens were forcibly united under the old Kingdom, they had no desire to be part of a human nation, even if the conquerors brought them freedom and liberty. This led to organised resistance which is still present, but nonetheless the majority of the population begins to accept the current status. While the productivity is still down due to disturbances, protests, sabotage and terrorist activities, some of the nation states begun to become a true and integral part of the Hegemoy. This of course necessitated their full inclusion into the political structure.
   The vast majority of the Hegemony's political and administrative power rests with the Hegemon. While the nation is a democracy based on free market states like the old US and China, the founders recognised that the unprecedented danger faced by humanity demands long term strategy that can be executed without fear of undue political consequences. This is why the Hegemon has so much power and why he is chosen for life.
   However he is still being kept in check by the parliament divided into the lower and the upper house. The lower house is made of people chosen by the popular vote, where people vote for the parties, which then in turn gain seats proportional to the amount of votes they gained.
   The upper house is much different however, for each sit is given to a single individual representing a single state. While it seems simple enough, the state division is purely arbitrary. To make matters worse, the Hegemon is not chosen by a popular vote, but by the upper house vote. This was designed to be this way to allow the founders to tweak the balance of power in their favour, for most of the states are part of the old Americhinese Republic which absorbed all the other states on New Earth. This means that while the Republic contains only some twenty percent of the current human population of the Hegemony, they actually control two thirds of the upper house. This effectively mean they wield the vast majority of the political power in the nation.
   The situation has been slowly changing however for the sheer distances necessitated granting statehood status to new star systems. Unfortunately this situation may very well do enormous damage for the Untaman occupation for the regions which fully accepted their status were divided into mere two states. In fact even if the two occupied planets were to fully integrate into Hegemony, they would control no more than twenty five percent seats of the upper house.
   This situation led to a significant discussion about the existing system, but in this particular regard the humans are in very rare near united agreement. The Takarans outnumber the humans, comprising fifty one percent of the population, which will almost certainly give them the control of the lower house, once they are fully integrated of course. Giving them larger number of states could in effect give them control of the Hegemony which would lead to a paradoxical situation in which the victor of the war, which was attacked without warning, would effectively give up himself to the defeated party. That was simply not acceptable.
   The Takarans agree with the last argument, but not with the other ones. They point out that their planet has still not rebuilt and their population growth is much lower than that of humans. In several years, a couple of decades at most, they will become a minority. In addition there are currently no plans for new Takaran colonies, which means the number of states inhabited by them will not increase, while humans continue to settle new worlds. Last but not least even if they continued to control twenty five percent of the lower house, such a division will leave them effectively powerless, and that does not even include the fact that the Hegemon will likely always be a human. In short whatever spin the Hegemony tries to put on this, the Takarans will always be relegated to a secondary status, never to have a true voice in the government.
   Unfortunately with the after mentioned solid human support for the current division of power, there is little they can do but it may lead to renewed hostility of the population to the occupation.

17th March 2403

   Thanks to the newly improved warheads the Republic designs new versions of their missiles.

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Interceptor IV

Missile Size: 1 MSP  (0.05 HS)     Warhead: 1    Armour: 0     Manoeuvre Rating: 38
Speed: 115200 km/s    Engine Endurance: 1 minutes   Range: 5.8m km
Cost Per Missile: 2.26
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 4377.6%   3k km/s 1444%   5k km/s 875.5%   10k km/s 437.8%
Materials Required:    0.25x Tritanium   2.01x Gallicite   Fuel x37.5

Code: [Select]
Ballista III

Missile Size: 6 MSP  (0.3 HS)     Warhead: 15    Armour: 0     Manoeuvre Rating: 10
Speed: 72400 km/s    Engine Endurance: 122 minutes   Range: 529.8m km
Cost Per Missile: 9.182
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 724%   3k km/s 240%   5k km/s 144.8%   10k km/s 72.4%
Materials Required:    3.75x Tritanium   5.432x Gallicite   Fuel x4250

22nd September 2403

   Fifteen new construction brigades have been trained in the Commune capital of Odin. Those were supposed to be deployed to the second largest Valhallan moon, Bothia, to begin preparations for a new colony. However while the Administrator fully intends to follow the wishes of the population in that regard, the initial enthusiasm and interest has died down, making the AI prefer to use this particular batch of engineers to uncover alien ruins while training still more brigades to begin laying foundation for the colony in 2405.
   In the past years the Commune have found numerous ruins but strangely with minimal or no ADS presence leading some to believe the territory of the robots have been fully explored. However none of those sites have been properly exploited, mostly due to the fact that the human nation have advanced to the point where no new technologies can be recovered. In addition to that the jump gate network was slow to grow and the distances meant private shipping lines would not agree to transport colony expeditions.
   While all of this is true the Commune strategic thinking has changed significantly in recent years. Having developed all obvious settlement sites and faced with enormous imbalance of power between Sudetes and other sectors, the government wants to spread out and is using significant amount of money and resources to accomplish this. By excavating the ruins it would be possible to create nuclei of new colonies easily, cheaply and with minimal involvement, although people would still have to be transported by national ships rather than private ones. And while those new planets would be very small initially many important Commune worlds have begun as privately sponsored colonies within just such abandoned alien ruins.
   The Committee agrees with this on principle, but many are afraid of the popular response. Even so, despite loud minority, the go ahead is given to deploy the newly trained brigades to the ruin sites.

17th October 2403

   All Commune Eletha class cruisers, Rugewit class jump cruisers and Sirius class survey cruisers have either been refitted or are completing work in Daratista Space Industries Shipyard above Gardatis. The original plan for the colony was to upgrade the old vessels to the newest engine and fire control standards after which they would begin laying down a completely new class of ships, one built for short range combat without use of ordnance. As the Force points out however their battlecruisers are already designed for just that and the decision was made when ammunition availability was in question, which is no longer the case, for which they present the current missile supply status.

Spear Series (anti-missile)

Required for warships: 144 988
Required for missile bases: 89 580
Ammunition available (all versions): 436 636 (186% of what is needed)

Banshee series (anti-missile sized fighter munition)

Required for warships, fighters and bases: 5 490
Ammunition available (only one version in existence): 16 824 (306% of what is needed)

Needle series (anti-missile sized shipkiller used in new construction)

Required for warships: 2 560
Ammunition available: 8 920 (348% of what is needed)

Arrow series (small anti-ship missile used primarily by gunboats)

Required for warships: 21 600
Required for missile bases: 11 400
Ammunition available (all versions): 130 696 (396% of what is needed)
Jevelins available (new gunboat shipkiller which will replace Arrows; single version available): 23 155 (70% of what is needed)

Mistletoe series (small, long range anti-ship missile used primarily by gunboats)

Required for warships: 16 704
Ammunition available (all versions): 95 424 (570% of what is needed)

Trebuchet series (medium sized anti-ship missile used primarily by cruisers and missile bases)

Required for warships: 11 460
Required for missile bases: 9 800
Ammunition available (all versions): 71 502 (371% of what is needed)
Satyrs available (new medium sized shipkiller to replace the Trebuchets): 6 543 (30% of what is needed)

Hydra series (large multi-warhead anti-ship missile used by new generation cruisers)

Required for warships (still under construction): 560

Ammunition available: 2 813 (502% of what is needed)

   As the numbers show the Force can fight multiple battles and as the Administrator promised the last time the issue came up, the combination of new manufacturing techniques and increased number of ordnance factories have significantly improved the situation. The Committee is somewhat unhappy that the number of anti-missiles, proportionally to what is needed, is lower than anything else, but as the officers explained the Destroyers have never used missiles and what defeated them were gunboats, hence why offensive ammunition was given higher priority. They did promise however to tweak the production numbers a little to increase the number of Spears.
   Of course the number of battles the Commune can fight at its full potential is still limited to no more than three or four, but that only if all the existing warships were to participate, which does not happen all that often. As the best example showcased by the Force, the battle of Rampart has resulted in expenditure of nearly fifteen thousand anti-missiles, which were replaced rather easily. Moreover the numbers include static defences, but as some of those are located in very safe areas of space, they can be stripped of ammunition in an emergency. Last but not least every class of warships, with very few exceptions, uses some kind of energy weapon and some of them, like the after mentioned battlecruisers and most of the frigates, are armed entirely with lasers and railguns. In short while the ammunition will always be a concern, the officers feel there is no need for a specialised energy armed cruiser at this time.
   What they would love to do however is to start using a two shipyard system – one shipyard will be used for production of new hulls and one will be used for upgrades. This will allow the navy to keep their warships in top condition and possibly even to start making refits more often and in greater depth. For example considering that in near future the Harpy class cruisers will need new engines and fire control systems there will be no way to fit new armour or improved energy weapons into the refit cycle without increasing the costs to an unreasonable level. But with the two shipyard system the Harpies would already have new engines and possibly new armour, making further additions easy and relatively cheap. In fact the Gardatis shipyard and their Elatha refit program has been such a great success in the eyes of the Force that they want to use the two shipyard system for all their classes.
   The Committee is quite interested in the concept although everyone realises that due to the current rather fragile state of the economy it will be impossible to establish new shipyards for frigate, destroyer and battlecruiser formations for years to come. However for now they don't want to use the Gardatis yard for refits as the long awaited beam fire control upgrades will be ready in about two and a half years thanks to the recovered Traveller components. As such they want to use the yard for construction until this research is done.
   After some consideration the Force proposes a fleet support vessel carrying ammunition and maintenance supplies. As they point out currently the Commune formations would struggle to operate in foreign territory and the government had already begun taking steps to remedy this in the form of large, fast tankers. Such a support vessel would be a logical next step and building it on a cruiser hull would allow it to carry a significant number of missiles and spare parts. The Committee agrees and the officers promise to have a design ready in a month or so.

7th December 2403

   The Commune Force designs the promised support vessel, the Eupalinos. As box launchers require support facilities to be prepared for firing, the new ship will be limited to carrying anti-missiles, making its existence somewhat controversial. However as the officers point out the need for such ships stems from logistical problems in operating in foreign territory, not simply for offensive purposes but also defensive ones. As such the Commune fleets may find themselves operating in the Republican stars helping their Navy to defend against hostile aliens, like the Destroyers. In such a scenario it is very possible Phoenixian bases may be used for re-arming, but it is currently unknown whether or not the foreign missiles could even be used by the Commune. In addition the Eupalinos carries not only ammunition but also maintenance supplies which will help the warships to stay on station longer, or to easier repair themselves.
   Unfortunately the need to keep up with the fleet and the need to provide at least some armour and sensors for warning means the ships had little space left. Despite being over four times as large as the Negoiu II class colliers, currently used to shuffle missiles between the Commune worlds, the Eupalinos carries less than three times the amount of ordnance. It does however have ten anti-missile launchers and a single gauss cannon for self-defence and as a fleet support unit, rather than “safe areas” collier, this class should be much better at its role.
   Sixteen ships are planned and will likely be put into two squadrons of eight ships each, possibly supported by an Apollo for easier jump travel.

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Eupalinos class Support Vessel    25,000 tons     458 Crew     6501.2 BP      TCS 500  TH 6900  EM 0
13800 km/s     Armour 4-76     Shields 0-0     Sensors 128/160/0/0     Damage Control Rating 22     PPV 17.92
Maint Life 6.16 Years     MSP 12576    AFR 227%    IFR 3.2%    1YR 568    5YR 8518    Max Repair 345 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Spare Berths 0   
Magazine 2935   

Tugurlan Marine High Power Naval SCAM Drive Mk2 (10)    Power 690    Fuel Use 24.11%    Signature 690    Exp 11%
Fuel Capacity 2,500,000 Litres    Range 74.7 billion km   (62 days at full power)

Single Warda Manufacturing Gauss Cannon Mk2 Turret (1x5)    Range 40,000km     TS: 32000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 4    ROF 5        1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hansson Dynamics Point Defence Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 120,000 km   TS: 32000 km/s     92 83 75 67 58 50 42 33 25 17

Jurga -Bakowski Anti - Missile Launcher Mk2 (10)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 5
Goransson-Nilsson Anti-Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 153.6m km    Resolution 1

Hadisapoetro-Baizura Small Missile Detection System (1)     GPS 80     Range 32.0m km    MCR 3.5m km    Resolution 1
Laksono Heavy Industries Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 128     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  128m km
Budiarto-Sugiantoro EM Detection Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 160     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  160m km

Compact ECCM-5 (1)         ECM 50

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

17th March 2404

   The economy has become healthy enough for the Commune to design new versions of their destroyer squadrons. However the Force wasn't sure what direction should they take. Initially those were designed to replace frigate squadrons as supports for gunboats, so they had excellent point defence, reasonable short range armament and some missile launchers to fire together with Piranhas and Sharks. However with the decision to keep the frigates and corvettes operational, the destroyer squadrons seem redundant in their current form.
   The issue is compounded by the ever changing nature of Commune missiles. While it seems the navy is finally more of less satisfied with their designs, combat experience may prompt new changes. Even if that wasn't the case soon there will be a total of four versions of small craft with total of three different launcher sizes which means it is for all instances and purposes next to impossible to make the destroyer squadrons truly compatible with the smaller warships.
   Because of all this a new direction is needed and the Force decided to design new squadrons to be balanced, self-sufficient formations similar to cruiser divisions. However unlike the latter, those will not be able to perform jump point assaults and individual ships will not be full all-rounders like the cruisers are.
   Because of this new direction some wanted to use the recently designed Ruvuma class corvettes instead of designing a successor to the Saimaa class frigates. However this would mean that the Kossakowski Naval Shipbuilding yard in orbit of Courland will not be fully utilised, as it possesses six slipways of ten thousand tonnes each. In addition the ship did not posses any gauss cannons which would force their installation on the destroyers. As such a new ship, based on Ruvuma but larger, was designed and named Yamanaka. It has the same laser and anti-missile armament as the corvette but also has two gauss cannons and thirty three percent thicker armour. Compared to the preceding Saimaa it has fewer launchers and arguably weaker energy armament but more ammunition, better offensive potential thanks to the combination of box launcher and the new Needle anti-ship missile and heavier armour.

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Yamanaka class Corvette    10,000 tons     229 Crew     4143.2 BP      TCS 200  TH 2760  EM 0
13800 km/s     Armour 8-41     Shields 0-0     Sensors 64/80/0/0     Damage Control Rating 6     PPV 42.34
Maint Life 3.49 Years     MSP 1554    AFR 133%    IFR 1.9%    1YR 196    5YR 2933    Max Repair 432 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Spare Berths 1   
Magazine 470   

Tugurlan Marine High Power Naval SCAM Drive Mk2 (4)    Power 690    Fuel Use 24.11%    Signature 690    Exp 11%
Fuel Capacity 1,020,000 Litres    Range 76.2 billion km   (63 days at full power)

Montemayor Cybernetics 200mm Laser (1)    Range 480,000km     TS: 13800 km/s     Power 10-12     RM 8    ROF 5        10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 8
Single Warda Manufacturing Gauss Cannon Mk2 Turret (2x5)    Range 40,000km     TS: 32000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 4    ROF 5        1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hansson Dynamics Point Defence Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 120,000 km   TS: 32000 km/s     92 83 75 67 58 50 42 33 25 17
Hansson Dynamics Long Range Railgun Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 480,000 km   TS: 12000 km/s     98 96 94 92 90 88 85 83 81 79
Janiec Aircraft Engine Co SCAM Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 16    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Jurga -Bakowski Anti - Missile Launcher Mk2 (10)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 5
Mihaili Dynamics Anti-Missile Cell (70)    Missile Size 1    Hangar Reload 7.5 minutes    MF Reload 1.2 hours
Goransson-Nilsson Anti-Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 153.6m km    Resolution 1
Spear VI (400)  Speed: 156,000 km/s   End: 2.4m    Range: 22.8m km   WH: 1    Size: 1    TH: 2340/1404/702
Needle (70)  Speed: 156,000 km/s   End: 4.3m    Range: 40.6m km   WH: 3    Size: 1    TH: 520/312/156

Hadisapoetro-Baizura Small Missile Detection System (1)     GPS 80     Range 32.0m km    MCR 3.5m km    Resolution 1
Pamungkas Electronic Systems Small Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 64     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  64m km
Gebala -Sas  Small EM Detection Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 80     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  80m km

Compact ECCM-5 (1)         ECM 50

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

   The Beowulf has been designed as the next generation destroyer. It has more missile launchers for better balance, the same enormous spinal mounted laser as the newest cruiser classes and armour heavier than the Harpies which are currently considered to be the main Force combatants. While on their own they obviously suffer from lack of defences and somewhat limited sensors, together with the Yamanaka class frigates and Tortola class destroyer leaders the new Beowulfs should be a powerful addition to the navy.

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Beowulf class Destroyer    15,000 tons     352 Crew     7729.8 BP      TCS 300  TH 4140  EM 0
13800 km/s     Armour 12-54     Shields 0-0     Sensors 128/160/0/0     Damage Control Rating 9     PPV 84
Maint Life 3.27 Years     MSP 2899    AFR 199%    IFR 2.8%    1YR 409    5YR 6133    Max Repair 1163 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Spare Berths 0   
Magazine 280   

Tugurlan Marine High Power Naval SCAM Drive Mk2 (6)    Power 690    Fuel Use 24.11%    Signature 690    Exp 11%
Fuel Capacity 1,450,000 Litres    Range 72.2 billion km   (60 days at full power)

Montemayor Cybernetics 200mm Laser (3)    Range 480,000km     TS: 13800 km/s     Power 10-12     RM 8    ROF 5        10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 8
Montemayor Cybernetics Advanced 750mm Laser (1)    Range 480,000km     TS: 13800 km/s     Power 147-12     RM 8    ROF 65        147 147 147 147 147 147 147 147 130 117
Hansson Dynamics Long Range Railgun Fire Control (2)    Max Range: 480,000 km   TS: 12000 km/s     98 96 94 92 90 88 85 83 81 79
Janiec Aircraft Engine Co SCAM Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 48    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Pangratiu Systems Small Box Launcher (140)    Missile Size 2    Hangar Reload 15 minutes    MF Reload 2.5 hours
Wozniak Research Inc Missile Fire Control (5)     Range 223.1m km    Resolution 60
Jevelin (140)  Speed: 144,000 km/s   End: 18.1m    Range: 156.4m km   WH: 4    Size: 2    TH: 480/288/144

Martinsson Dynamics Low Resolution Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 16000     Range 452.5m km    Resolution 200
Laksono Heavy Industries Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 128     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  128m km
Budiarto-Sugiantoro EM Detection Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 160     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  160m km

Compact ECCM-5 (5)         ECM 50

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

10th September 2404

   Seventeen Traveller vessels are detected by the enormous active sensors aboard Seventh Fleet's jump ships in the Thermopylae system. Seven are destroyers encountered previously in Peter's Crossing and believed to carry twenty six anti-missile launchers, five are cruisers massing thirty two thousand tonnes believed to be some sort of laser armed escort and five are completely new ships massing sixty four thousand tonnes each.
   Fortunately for Vice Admiral Felipa Zambrano Bieganska her fleet is eight hundred and sixty million kilometres from the anomaly, giving her ample time to think and plan. Better yet the only jump point in the system, while not directly behind her, is still located in such a way that the enemy could not bypass her fleet. He could bypass her static defences, but even if her ships were slower – which they are not – the rest of the Commune could still be easily protected.
   As always the most important question for the defender is whether or not to meet the enemy in the field or to wait for him near the planet. In theory if she went out she could strike him with missiles then reload and attack him again. Unfortunately the enemy had anti-missiles which out ranged her own fire controls so that tactic depended on her defences. She had two cruiser divisions, three destroyer squadrons, two frigate squadrons and four gunboat flotillas under her command. Unfortunately one of the cruiser formations comprises the older Elatha class which means it has fewer ships and uses railguns for point defence rather than the much more accurate gauss cannons and while all of her ships are faster than the enemy two of her destroyer squadrons are capable of only eleven thousand kilometres per second, which is a very small advantage over the enemy. For comparison the rest of her force is capable of moving at thirteen thousand and eight hundred kilometres per second.
   After running some quick calculations she had eighty six gauss cannon turrets each capable of firing five rounds in a short period of time and having around forty percent interception chance, which meant she could expect to intercept two hundred enemy missiles assuming they were moving at eighty thousand kilometres per second. This would rise to a little over three hundred missiles, if those could be tracked and analysed for sufficiently long time and if one counted secondary energy weapons used in defensive mode, the number would probably rise to three hundred and fifty, but that was the absolutely best case scenario.
   From what information she had the enemy would almost certainly be able to fire one hundred and eighty two anti-missiles in offensive mode from the seven destroyers, which was closing on the lower end of her estimated defensive capability. Unfortunately she didn't know what the five battleships were carrying, and considering how many missiles were carried by the battlecruisers encountered in the Rampart system, her force would be annihilated if the unknown enemy warships were armed with shipkillers.
   Her static defences were fortunately much heavier than those in Rampart. She had a total of twelve Moat IIs with a total of one hundred and forty four gauss cannon turrets supported by two Rampart class ground missile bases with a total of a hundred anti-missile launchers and four hundred missile cells staffed with Trebuchet anti-ship missiles. In the end she decided to wait near the planet.

11th September 2404

   As the Travellers continue to close on the planet Bastille, Bieganska continued to run possible combat scenarios in her head. The behaviour of the enemy was so far simple – move towards the target and fire everything you have when you can. That meant she will have to endure bombardment from outside her own range. Once that is done however it will be the time for her to go on the offensive and the first order of business will be to launch her own missiles. The problem was that she had a variety of munitions and fire controls.
   Her cruisers were designed to use long range Trebuchets and her destroyers could use either short range Arrows or long range Mistletoes, both of which were at the colony. Those had different speeds but could still be made to reach attack range more or less at the same time by staggering launches and while their full range could not be used due to the enemy ECM being better than the Commune electronic warfare capabilities could deal with, it could still allow her to strike the enemy from over a hundred and fifty million kilometres. Unfortunately she could launch only fourteen hundred and forty Mistletoes and nineteen hundred and forty Trebuchets, so if the aliens had some anti-missiles left in their magazines – as they had in Rampart – it may be not enough.
   She had of course four flotillas of Piranhas at her disposal which could fire a total of fifteen hundred and thirty six missiles, but she didn't have that many mistletoes and the short range of Piranhas' fire controls meant they could not engage from more than fifty million kilometres.
   In the end she decided on a somewhat risky move and ordered the Skrzak class destroyers loaded with Mistletoes. Those had much lighter warheads than Arrows, but she intend to fire from maximum possible range and then try to reload. If the enemy continued to close on the planet, she may or may not have time to do that, as it would take the enemy over four hours to cross the hundred and fifty million kilometres from the point of launch to the planet. But if the enemy begun to run away, trying to translate after that first salvo, she may be forced to purse the enemy empty, except for what the gunboats had. Even so it was a gamble she had to take as the enemy warships have proven themselves to be very resistant to damage, as shown in Rampart where a missile strike, similar to what she was capable of, scored rather few kills against an enemy with very few anti-missiles left. In short she will almost certainly need two strikes to do reasonable amounts of damage and even then she will likely have to use her energy batteries as well. Worse she didn't have enough Trebuchets to reload her cruisers and missile bases, although she should have enough Arrows to compensate somewhat. Even so the two strike plan seemed like her best bet. With the orders given she went back to her interrupted sleep as the enemy would need a better part of the day to reach her.
   Early evening the enemy begun getting close. Surprisingly he did not stop to use anti-missile in offensive mode, making the Admiral request confirmation on the enemy warship classes. The intelligence, sensor and tactical officers all confirmed those were similar destroyers to those encountered in Peter's Crossing but they also point out that while the logic of their armament is solid, it is also based on very limited data. Even so most people, including Bieganska herself believe the enemy simply decided to conserve ammunition. This could mean the alien battleships were armed with very short range missiles and the Travellers waited to fire unified salvoes, but it could also mean those large ships were energy armed and the smaller vessels were escorting them through the expected missile attack.
   As the enemy has proven itself to be capable of surprises the Admiral decided to let him close a little more before firing, as she was afraid that due to differences in fire controls some units may fire while other couldn't which would waste a lot of missiles. By the time she gave the order, the enemy was a little over one hundred and thirty five million kilometres away.
   The Mistletoes were fired first and five minutes later the faster Trebuchets followed. Unfortunately due to design flaw the Rampart class missile bases did not have ECCM and could not lock on the enemy from such a distance. Even so almost three thousand shipkillers were launched. Most of the missiles were targeted at the seven destroyers with some others homing on the cruisers while the battleships were completely ignored. Aside from the fact that those will almost certainly be very difficult to kill, destroying the escorts will make the second strike much more effective, assuming one will be possible of course.
   As the missile wave closed to nineteen million kilometres of their targets, the Traveller force stopped. Bieganska realised quickly this was likely due to them detecting the strike and wanting to extend the engagement time. This unfortunately meant her finely coordinated strike will not arrive at the same time, but there was no way for her to predict the enemy behaviour this well. Even so she expected the missiles to be close enough for her needs.
   The Trebuchets were the first to arrive and the enemy systems concentrated most of their fire on Mistletoes, which entered the Traveller sensors first. Those were fifth generation missiles, with powerful warheads, designed before the recent focus on speed forced some compromises. Only four hundred managed to get through and as the ten megaton explosions engulfed the aliens they annihilated six of the seven destroyers.
   Forty seconds later a hundred and twenty seven of the smaller Mistletoes reached their targets destroying one of the escort cruisers. Moments later the aliens resumed their course towards Bastille, but only at ninety three hundred kilometres per second. As no atmosphere loss was noted among the survivors this was likely the result of shock damage.
   Overall the first strike was much more successful then the Admiral hoped for. With next to no anti-missiles her second strike should be much more devastating. Yes only the smallest ships were actually destroyed and the survivors will be much more resilient but with any luck five or six times as many missiles will hit. Assuming of course she had time to reload.
   The box launchers used by the human nations were very small allowing them to launch devastatingly large salvoes, which have become their main way of dealing with enemies. Unfortunately they were so small they could not provide sufficient launching force for their ammunition. Worse to avoid proximity soft kill they had to be quite deep inside the hull. As a result the shipkillers had to active their own drives while still being essentially inside the launch tubes. This of course caused some damage and while it was not enough to impair functioning of the ship, or even adjacent cells, it did require repairs after each use. Those were relatively easy and quick, but it remained to be seen if those could be swift enough under those conditions.
   An hour after the first strike the aliens were moving again at full ten thousand kilometres per second. Two and a half hours later her destroyers were ready to fire once again, but the larger missile cells on her cruisers were still non-operational. Still those twelve vessels will be this time supported by four gunboat flotillas. She gave order to open fire, leaving the two ground bases in reserve. Almost three thousand of fifth generation Arrows were launched with the vast majority targeted at the five battleships.
   The strike was almost powerful enough to deal with the aliens, but two battleships remained. Both were damaged and slightly slowed but it was impossible to tell how combat capable they were. Each was targeted by two hundred Trebuchets from the bases which turned out to be enough.

12th September 2404

   The news of the Battle of Thermopylae reach the Commune government. Due to great success of the Seventh Fleet it is very unlikely the intelligence analysis of the battle will offer any radical insights, but even so the Force has some decisions to make. First and foremost is the ammunition situation, made worse by the fact that the colliers are currently in overhaul so it will not be possible to send more missiles to Bastille. As it is, anti-missiles were not used at all and there are enough Arrows and Trebuchets to re-arm gunboats and forts. Unfortunately the former missiles will be two generations older than the ones used in battle. As such and despite the risks, the order is given for the gunboats to make their way to Wieliczka, re-arm and then head back to their post. Once that is done, the cruisers will do the same, unless the colliers become available again. Fortunately thanks to the combination of speed and distances this should take only a little over a month.
   The second important issue is the question of reinforcements. While the invading force was about the same size as the one encountered in Rampart four years earlier, it was nonetheless much larger than anything found in Peter's Crossing or ES – 161. Of particular concern for many was the fact that the enemy battleships were almost certainly energy armed. If those got into range of the Seventh Fleet they could potentially deal grievous damage to the much smaller Commune vessels.
   Unfortunately any reinforcements would have to come from the Home Fleet which finally got large enough to actually serve as a strategic reserve, albeit one comprising many older formations. After some deliberations the government decided to send two battlecruiser divisions and two gunboat flotillas of Piranhas to Thermopylae and one battlecruiser division and two flotillas of Piranhas to Rampart. Those will significantly improve short range firepower and anti-missile defences of the two fleets while also providing them with additional long range striking power.
   The last issue was lack of ECCM devices on the missile bases. As it happens this was an oversight affecting all old designs, although the recent one was fortunately equipped with them. As those bases were designed over half a century ago it will likely be impossible to know what happened, but upgrading them should be relatively easy and cheap.

13th January 2406

   Thanks in part to the recovered Traveller devices the Commune has completed their research into beam fire controls which are now two generations ahead of what was installed on their newest construction and gauss cannons can now fire twenty percent more slugs than before. This means their oldest post-Destroyer warships like Harpy class cruisers or Skrzak class destroyers will now be quite obsolete with very low speed, short railgun ranges and point defence that is not only less accurate but slower firing as well. Only the fact that those warships use missiles, which can be replaced with new ammunition kept them from becoming completely irrelevant. Even so the Force believes the time has come to begin upgrading their forces.
   The Committee is divided on the issue however, wanting to continue building up the numbers. As they point out the Home Fleet only recently has become large enough to truly serve as a strategic reserve but many other fleets has not been reinforced in decades.
   As the officers point out however the upgrades have been long time coming and unless they begin now, for all instances and purposes the Force will have to essentially forgo refitting older ships and begin to simply replace them. They point out that new warships can have their fire controls and gauss cannons replaced quite cheaply but older ships will need their engines replaced as well significantly pushing the prices up. The situation is so bad in fact that the military wishes to do the upgrades in two stages, replacing engines first and fire controls later, both to speed up bringing the warships to modern speeds and to lower the costs somewhat.
   They also point out that the replacement of frigate squadrons is still ongoing despite the fact it begun nearly twenty years ago. Of course four new formations were established to increase the numbers, but nonetheless it takes simply too long.
   What the Force recommends, with the agreement from the Administrator, is to create a two shipyard system, similar to what they did with their cruiser yards. One shipyard will be constructing new ships while the second will keep the existing warships up to date. The officers hope to not only use this to both expand and upgrade their forces at the same time, but to also increase the scope of refits to include not only engines and fire controls, but also armour and weapons. This of course will necessity creation of new shipyards dedicated to upgrading frigates, destroyers and battlecruisers.
   In the end after a rather lengthy discussion the Committee agrees to begin the refits, although a still significant number of Overseers believes this to be a mistake.
   It should be noted however that until all old frigate squadrons are replaced, those formations will not be upgraded.

24th March 2406

   The first million colonists lands on ES – 153 FFFGH7 D II, taking over abandoned alien habitats. This is the first Commune colony outside already established sectors since the settlement of Emesh in 2372 marked the beginning of the Ayutthaya sector. The system is renamed Herjolfsnes after one of the earliest Scandinavian settlements in Greenalnd while the planet is renamed Brzezinska after the commander of the old Third Fleet annihilated by the Destroyer in 2378.


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