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Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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(12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« on: April 15, 2021, 08:11:30 AM »
(12) Once More Unto The Breach

1914

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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



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



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


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


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

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

1915

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

Situation when the German ships opened fire:



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

Italians were having their own little engagement:



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

(There will be a separate post for actual 1915 update as this all happened on 1 January and the battle took two days to play so I need a little break before continuing.)
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2021, 01:27:21 PM »
(12) Once More Unto The Breach

1914

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote
a bunch of ships fire and miss repeatedly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

----

In the end, for the low, low price of 86 frigates (what, 354,000 tones displacement?) the Earth fleets have managed to knock out a single Martian battle station. This is not the whole story, as the Martian boarding shuttles have likely been exhausted and the Earthlings have learned some very expensive lessons, but certainly heads will be rolling in the national admiralty headquarters over this gruesome disaster. I can't speak for all readers, but I'd certainly pay good money to be a fly on the wall during some of those, ah, discussions!  :o
 
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Offline Warer

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2021, 06:42:04 AM »
That went about as well as could be expected for trying to knock down heavy fortifications with very basic frigates.
 

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2021, 07:32:58 PM »
Glad to see you continuing this! Ended this with a beautiful screenshot of destruction, unfortunately most of it on the good guys side.

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Somehow Berlin had mixed up orders and instead of sending the Hochraumflotte, ie the frigates, they had sent the Stürmflotilla, the assault shuttles. In good Prussian tradition, nobody had questioned these orders.

Rofl! Very relatable, those Berlin commanders.

Coming up with suitable names in suitable languages often takes me longer than writing or playing so any and all suggestions, whether for components, manufacturers, units, formations, ships, or fleets are warmly welcome.

I know the struggle. Sometimes I spend hours clicking through wikipedia trying to find the right names, hoping I'm not alienating people and misappropriating their languages too much when I use foreign words and script. I'm happy to report that your use of german does not fall into that category!

I've also played with ELINT in my multi-faction Earth game, and came to the conclusion that it was overpowered, mostly because there was no counterplay available, no way for the other nations to know that they're being spied on and be appropriately outraged. Or to turn it off for certain empires.

Can't help but notice a lot of admirals dying in that battle. The academies at home will have to be working overtime to breed new senior command officers. Might it be a sign for the Earth nations to start putting lieutenants and commanders in charge of ships, instead of their best and brightest?

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

So cute indeed! I love the low-tech approach, and humanity making it's mistakes.

Can't help but notice that the major power's fleets all got wiped out just before the minors start putting theirs out. I'm sure it was all just a ploy to keep the minor powers away from influence by launching the attack now, but I do love it when the balance of power returns to a more even playing field.
 
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Offline Migi

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2021, 02:35:29 PM »
Another enjoyable read  :)

I have to agree that the minors are better off letting the majors make all the mistakes and getting some free education. As long as they don't miss the final battle they can claim credit for participating.
 

Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2021, 06:59:32 AM »
Thanks for the comments guys!  ;D

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I've also played with ELINT in my multi-faction Earth game, and came to the conclusion that it was overpowered, mostly because there was no counterplay available, no way for the other nations to know that they're being spied on and be appropriately outraged. Or to turn it off for certain empires.
I have to agree. I've been surprised how powerful it is - Americans basically know all alliances, details of active sensors and facilities, and lot of the tech that other powers know. I'm not quite sure what to do about it for now because as you said there's no counter outside of destroying the ship and nobody else has researched ELINT yet so they don't even know.

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That went about as well as could be expected for trying to knock down heavy fortifications with very basic frigates.
Yup, that's sort of a theme - the corvettes were wiped out fighting the Martian mobile force so humans upgraded to frigates. Now they were wiped fighting the Martian orbital force so there's a need for another upgrade.

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What a coincidence, all these delays cause the battle to begin on 1 January. You can't convince me this wasn't intentional.
It was! It was caused by me sending the wrong German fleet to the asteroid and had to switch them, and that delayed the start until the new year! Pretty strange coincidence.
 
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Offline Warer

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2021, 08:04:12 AM »
Quote
That went about as well as could be expected for trying to knock down heavy fortifications with very basic frigates.
Yup, that's sort of a theme - the corvettes were wiped out fighting the Martian mobile force so humans upgraded to frigates. Now they were wiped fighting the Martian orbital force so there's a need for another upgrade.
Thanks for the reply! And yeah that's absolutely my favorite thing about multi-faction Earth starts, especially conventional ones is the feeling of escalation really evokes that turn of the previous century naval arms race and imperialism vibe which I kind off adore~ So are destroyers the next step up? Or mixed Frigate/Destroyer forces?
 

Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2021, 01:43:31 PM »
I'm mulling it over in my head whether to go with Battleships or Ships of the Line.

Destroyers were originally called "torpedo boat destroyers" so they wouldn't make sense though I will bring them into this campaign eventually once torpedo boats make their appearance. Americans have three frigates left as I forgot to move them to the 1st Fleet before it departed and didn't notice until it was all over but no power is going to build more of them as instead, they will go for bigger ships.

And the reason why I'm not using the cruiser term is that originally that meant a ship capable of "cruising" on its own, in essence waving the flag and projecting power away from home waters. So this term wouldn't make much sense either in the current context. But if humans ever vanquish the Martian Menace and start expanding into the Sol system then cruisers will most likely show up!

I'll most likely port the campaign to 1.13 during next week but I'm a bit busy so no promises when I can actually play & write the next chapter.
 
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Offline Zap0

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2021, 01:54:57 PM »
Battleship was already an offical term by 1890 it looks like. I like that you want to use the class names for their intended roles rather than just sizes. With your yard sizes they may be hardly bigger than the frigates and a rather disappointing upgrade for such a grandiose name at this time.

Otherwise I could see a more generic term like Assault Ship or just Warship used.
 

Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2021, 02:07:56 PM »
True. Actually, it would make a nice breakwater and emulate the pre-/post-dreadnaught battleship divide. This first generation of battleships would be 5-6 thousand tons most likely and eventually, there will be the equivalent of HMS Dreadnought and the later battleships will be much bigger.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2021, 02:12:57 PM »
I'm mulling it over in my head whether to go with Battleships or Ships of the Line.

Destroyers were originally called "torpedo boat destroyers" so they wouldn't make sense though I will bring them into this campaign eventually once torpedo boats make their appearance. Americans have three frigates left as I forgot to move them to the 1st Fleet before it departed and didn't notice until it was all over but no power is going to build more of them as instead, they will go for bigger ships.

And the reason why I'm not using the cruiser term is that originally that meant a ship capable of "cruising" on its own, in essence waving the flag and projecting power away from home waters. So this term wouldn't make much sense either in the current context. But if humans ever vanquish the Martian Menace and start expanding into the Sol system then cruisers will most likely show up!

I'll most likely port the campaign to 1.13 during next week but I'm a bit busy so no promises when I can actually play & write the next chapter.
Battleship was already an offical term by 1890 it looks like. I like that you want to use the class names for their intended roles rather than just sizes. With your yard sizes they may be hardly bigger than the frigates and a rather disappointing upgrade for such a grandiose name at this time.

Otherwise I could see a more generic term like Assault Ship or just Warship used.

In broad strokes, at the conclusion of the Age of Sail most major warships were classed between frigates and ships of the line. As the Age of Steam/Steel took over these transitioned to cruisers and battleships respectively, with torpedo boats followed by destroyers coming up as smaller classes based on using and countering the new torpedo weapon.

So it might make sense to keep to the flavor of the setting by building Ships of the Line as the next major class from each power. The idea would be to have these win the Battle of Mars, after which "torpedoes" can be discovered, extraterrestrial colonies founded, and thus the need for a four-ship class system of TB, DD, CA, BB arises naturally. However, I don't know if Mars can be taken in the next assault as those defense bases are really powerful and the Terran navies are forced to remain at conventional propulsion standards. It might make some sense to plan out a couple more generations of class nomenclatures before moving ahead. For example, one could deploy Armoured Frigates as an intermediate type intended to weather damage from the shore batteries, followed by Ships of the Line. Alternatively the powers could deploy Ships of the Line while building secondary naval yards, and if they fail to take Mars begin to deploy mixed fleets with ships of both class types to make use of their smaller yards to provide additional force.
 
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Offline Andrew

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2021, 04:04:43 PM »
Battleship would be the standard British term and hence the international naval standard since 1889 and the Royal Sovereign class of battleships before that a bunch of terms that would not tranlslate to space would have been used (Central Battery Ironclad, Armoured Ram, Turret Ship, Barbette ship) which were colloqually known as Battleships .
I am using an English source so I am not certain that this is the local name used but the first American capital ships in 1889 were termed second class battleships because they were designed to fight second rate ships and colonial ships on minor powers like Spain not fight against a Royal Sovereign .

Russian used the term battleship for Sissoi Velike laid down in 1892
Japan Fuji class battleships of 1894 (British Built)

Germany Siegfreid Coast Defense Battleship 1888(not sure if this was a later name ) and the Brandanburg Battleships of 1890
Austria Hungary Habsburg Battleship of 1899
France Brennus Turret Battleship of 1889 and Charles Martel Battleship of 1891 but French Battleship building and planning is a total mess in this period and does not recover until the 1930's
Interestingly Italy seems to have used the term Battleship first for a the Italia class but these were not completed until 1885 and look more like the turret ships of the period or crusiers and not what anyone else would have called a  Battleship but the Re Umberto ships of 1884-1893 look a lot more like battleships but still have very long build times.

Noone else built proper battleships , although Sweden build small coast defense battleships


 
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Offline Migi

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2021, 08:24:48 AM »
True. Actually, it would make a nice breakwater and emulate the pre-/post-dreadnaught battleship divide. This first generation of battleships would be 5-6 thousand tons most likely and eventually, there will be the equivalent of HMS Dreadnought and the later battleships will be much bigger.

Based on my non-expert understanding of British naval history, you could call the next generation anything and then when they become outclassed designate them as 2nd Rate with the newer generation being 1st Rate. My understanding is that ships of war were classed in 6 ratings based on size and number of guns. In the Napoleonic era 4th Rates and higher were considered ships of the line and 5th and 6th rates were ships of war but not expected to participate in a full on line battle like Trafalgar. Smaller ships than those existed and did fight but I think they were essentially coastal raiders.

Also last time you upgraded the game version you mentioned that all the wrecks disappeared, which didn't really matter because no-one could salvage anything. If you think it merits it (and if you have the patience) you can use SM to create ships in roughly the right location and use the scuttle command to make an instant wreck. Maybe the tides of the aether washed them into a new location.
 

Offline Andrew

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Re: (12) Once More Unto The Breach - 1914
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 11:20:49 AM »
Unrated ships were sloops and similar smaller warships than Frigates, although often only slightly smaller used mainly for patrol, scouting, escort and message carrying the same as Frigates. The difference being that Unrated ships did not have a Captain instead being commanded by a lieutenant with the position of Commander a great position for a young lieutenant often leading to that ever sought promotion to Captain of the List and eventual command of Frigate, it also allowed access to a much larger share of prize money than lieutenant on a bigger ship which helped a lot with a lieutenant's pay.
But the whole officer system was greatly reformed after Crimea allowing forced retirement to avoid a build up of elderly officers in peace time, with the exception that any officer who had commanded a ship during the Napoleonic wars or 1812 War could remain on the books and be promoted until death. Provo Wallis who commanded HMS Shannon for 6 days after the injury of senior officers would go on to become Admiral of the Fleet and remain on the list of active officers until his death just before his 101st Birthday in 1892 having held the rank for 17 years.
 
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