Author Topic: Return to Yunan (10)  (Read 2810 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Return to Yunan (10)
« on: July 22, 2007, 10:07:28 AM »
After Action Report of Captain Lin Meng Lin
Three months after arriving in New Beijing to report the events in Yunan, I was given command of the newly built Manchu class battlecruiser Weichang and assigned to a new fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Yao Mei Chan. The Emperor was reportedly incensed by the destruction of the Second Battle Squadron and ordered Fleet Admiral Long Shan De to immediately send all available ships to Yunan to destroy any remaining Agar ships. Fleet Admiral Long implored the Emperor to await the completion of three new capital ships already under construction, including my own Weichang, before launching a new offensive. The Emperor agreed and the First Battle Squadron under Vice Admiral Yao departed New Beijing on July 4th 2154. The squadron comprised the Manchu class battlecruisers Benxi, Fengning, Qingyuan and Weichang, the Xian class cruisers Pinyin and Shaanxi, the Luda class destroyers Zhuhai and Zunyi and my old ship, a Han class jump freighter. A tenth ship, the Yinchuan, would be joining us within four months and her role would be to bombard any Agar populations, if required, once the Agar navy had been eliminated.

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Yinchuan class Bombardment Cruiser    5000 tons     575 Crew     777 BP      Signature 100-420
4200 km/s     Armour 1     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/0/0/0     Damage Control 0-0
Magazine 1400    Replacement Parts 5    

Ion Engine (7)    Power 60    Engine Efficiency 0.70    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 150,000 Litres    Range 185.1 billion km   (510 days at full power)

S4 Missile Launcher  (5)    Missile Size 4    Rate of Fire 60
Missile Fire Control S03-090 (1)    Range: 900k km
AL-1 Bomb (350)  Speed: 1,000 km/s   Endurance: 1 secs    Range: 1k km   Warhead: 8    Size: 4

On August 4th, the squadron entered Yunan and set a course for the habitable planets orbiting the companion star. Although almost six months had passed since the battle, Vice Admiral Yao was hopeful the Agar had not manage to repair their crippled battleships and destroyers or build any new ships. On September 3rd, the fleet passed by the wrecks of the Second Battle Squadron without any sign of Agar ships and continued closing on the planetary system. Three days later, with the fleet six hundred million kilometers from Yunan-B and located between the orbits of the fifth and sixth planets, passive sensors detected a population on the second planet with a signature of 4700. While still too far away to determine any detail, this provided the first clue to the industrial potential of the Agar Imperium. In comparison New Beijing has a signature of 1940 and the Manchurian population on Earth has a signature of 5700. Still no Agar ships came to meet us.

Finally on September 8th, with the squadron only two hundred million kilometers from the Agar planet, a lone battleship powered up its engines and left orbit on an intercept course. Vice Admiral Yao?s hope that the Agar could not rebuild their fleet in time appeared to be borne out. As the alien ship drew closer, all eight Manchurian warships locked on their fire control systems and set a reciprocal course. At 233,000 km, the battleship opened fire with twelve fusion torpedoes, hitting the destroyer Zunyi twice and reducing her shields to strength-12. Although the two Xian class area defence cruisers were theoretically within range, their fire control systems were incapable of getting a target lock because of the battleship?s ECM system so they held their fire. The Manchus? torpedoes had a maximum range of 200,000 km so they were equally unable to respond. However, instead of charging into close range to use its plasma carronades, the Agar warship used its superior speed to hold the range open, keeping the First Battle Squadron at 210,000 km as it turned back toward the inhabited planet. Realising his force was up against an opponent who had both weapon range and speed on its side and was not going to repeat his previous tactic of charging to close range, Vice Admiral Yao ordered his two Luda class destroyers to charge the battleship. While the Manchus and Xians had a maximum speed of 3900 km/s compared to the battleship?s 4056 km/s, the Manchurian destroyers were capable of 4218 km/s.

Our confidence had been steadily building as we approached the Agar planet and had been boosted even more by the single ship opposing us had. Suddenly, that confidence was shattered as we realised that even a single Agar battleship posed a deadly threat if the Agar used better tactics than in our previous engagement. Our faint hope rested on two destroyers somehow slowing down the leviathan. Zunyi survived two more torpedo salvos but as she moved close, Agar accuracy improved. Five torpedoes from the fourth salvo smashed through the remnants of her shields, wrecked three engines and knocked out both of her triple 12cm turrets. Vice Admiral Yao ordered her to head for home at her best speed of 2800 km/s. Zhuhai continued on alone and survived the fifth volley of torpedos with minor internal damage. The sixth turned the bravely charging destroyer into a ball of incandescent gas.

It was now obvious to all that Agar casualties in the First Battle of Yunan were due to inferior Agar tactics rather than Manchurian fortitude. While the Agar Imperium had not built any more ships in the seven months since the battle, they had plainly learned from the experience and refined their strategy. Their single battleship was probably capable of defeating the entire First Battle Squadron. With no way to bring the enemy into range, Vice Admiral Yao ordered the fleet to retreat in the forlorn hope that his ships could recharge their shields as fast as the enemy could damage them. His flagship Benxi was the first target and even at extreme range the Agar battleship scored enough hits to gradually reduce his shields. Several internal systems were hit by follow-up salvos until eventually an engine was damaged and Benxi fell out of formation. Yao ordered his ship to charge the enemy in a bid to force the battleship away from the rest of the First Battle Squadron. The Agar warship kept the range open, pounded the battlecruiser into irradiated debris and was soon closing on the main body once more. Yao?s sacrifice was futile as the Agar had let the First Battle Squadron move all the way across the system before sending their battleship into action. Safety was a month away and ships were bering destroyed within minutes. Zunyi was next to die as the our five surviving capital ships overtook the wounded destroyer.

Command fell to Senior Captain Xue on board the Qingyuan and he ordered the squadron to scatter in a vain attempt to preserve at least some ships. His own ship took the course nearest to the battleship, drawing its fire away from the rest of the squadron. Qingyuan lasted only five minutes but as the battleship turned to head for the cruiser Pinyin, the other cruiser Shaanxi, which had been heading in the opposite direction, cut behind it and set a direct course for the Agar planet. The Agar must not trust their homeworld defences as the battleship immediately set a pursuit course. With no ability  to fire bombs or missiles, Shaanxi could not harm the planet but the Agar had no way of knowing that. With only a 156 km/s speed advantage, it took the battleship almost two hours to catch and destroy Shaanxi, by which time the three remaining Manchurian ships had opened up a considerable gap. My own ship was the closest at forty-two million kilometers, while the others were at 49m and 55m in diverging directions. Unsurpringly the battleship came after the Weichang but I hoped that before it could catch my ship, the other two would escape sensor range.

My course was toward the other habitable planet, Yunan-B III, while Pinyin headed for Yunan-B V at the far side of the planetary system and Fengning headed for the jump point. Four hours after the battleship began pursuing the Weichang, we reached twenty-five million kilometers from Yunan-B III and detected a new population with a signature of 482. As the battleship was still thirty-five million kilometers astern, I broadcast a message threatening to lay waste to the planet unless the battleship returned to the second planet. Unfortunately my bluff was called as the pursuit continued. However the Weichang did pass close enough to the planet to determine that the population was two hundred and sixty million and there seemed to be little industrial activity except for a number of research facilities. I continued running toward the outer system, drawing the battleships further and further from the Pinyin and Fengning.

For three days the Weichang ran, with the remorseless Agar battleship slowly closing the range. Finally, as we crossed the orbit of the outermost planet, over a billion kilometers from Yunan-B, the first torpedo impacted on our shields. I am proud to report my ship withstood fourteen volleys before our shields went down, more than any other Manchurian warship. As I complete this report, we have now taken seventeen volleys and our damage is considerable. Over two hundred of the crew are dead and I fear the lives of the remaining nine hundred will soon be forfeit. However, I believe our sacrifice will save the crews of the Pinyin and Fengning so our deaths will not be in vain. Long live the Emperor!

Final report of Captain Lin Meng Lin, transmitted to Jump Freighter Han at 14:28 on September 11th 2154

Addendum to report by Captain He Yab Fong of the battlecruiser Fengning.
Based on the end of transmissions, destruction of the Weichang took place at 14:33. At that point my own position was 1075 million kilometers from Yunan-B on a direct course for the jump point, still over ten billion kilometers away. The distance to the wreck of the Weichang and the last known position of the alien battleship was 1380 million kilometers. Pinyin, the remaining Xian class cruiser, was only 900 million kilometers from Yunan-B as the original encounter with the battleship was on the far side of the star from her current position. However, as she was following a course directly away from the alien battleship, not far from the orbital path of Yunan-B, she was 1940 million kilometers from the Weichang, and 1200 million kilometers from my own ship. making my own ships the next likely target of the Agar. With no way to detect the battleship now that Weichang had been destroyed, I saw no alternative but to continue on course for the jump point.

Eight days later and 7800m km from the jump point, a small 1450 ton contact was detected closing from astern at 5500 km/s. The contact moved within one million kilometers and matched speeds, shadowing our course. This previously unknown type of Agar ship is presumably an unarmed scout that intends to follow us, either to keep us on sensors so the battleship can intercept or to discover our destination. On September 21st, the Pinyin reached a point four billion kilometers from Yunan-B which is probably out of planetary sensor range, and changed course by ninety degrees to head for the jump point. So far she has reported no sign of the battleship or a similar shadow to our own.

On October 12th, thirty-one days after the destruction of the Weichang, my ship rendezvoused with Han at the Konghou jump point, still with the Agar scout ship tracking us from a million kilometers away. Pinyin was still 4700m kilometers distant. My own ship could go no further without Han and if Han left, Pinyin would be trapped. Therefore we decided to wait for the cruiser but warned her commander that if the Agar battleship arrived we would have no choice but to leave. Although transiting would give away the location of the jump point, there seemed little alternative unless we simply held position and waited to die. On October 13th, a second Agar scout ship appeared in the opposite direction to the first and also halted a million kilometers away. The presence of the other scout near the system primary could indicate the Agar are aware of jump points and were searching for either additional Manchurian ships or the jump point itself.

Pinyin arrived at the jump point on October 26th without interference from the Agar. Our best estimate is that the alien battleship must have returned to the main alien colony after destroying Weichang, perhaps because pursuing us to the centre of the system would have left their planet unprotected. In any event, we immediately transited the jump point and set course for home. I take full responsibility for revealing the jump point to the Agar Imperium but I was unwilling to sacrifice the crews of the three surviving ships for what could only be a temporary respite before the Agar locate it anyway.

Captain He Yab Fong, HIMS Fengning
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Steve Walmsley »