Author Topic: Terran Federation - Part Ten  (Read 2924 times)

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Terran Federation - Part Ten
« on: January 28, 2012, 06:01:17 PM »
Battle of Gliese 109
9th May 2049
The fleet transited into Gliese 109 at 1510 Earth time. The attack had been delayed by over an hour to allow any waiting ships time to come out of action stations, but not so long that additional reinforcements could have arrived at the jump point. The entire Cruiser Group, supported by all 6 FAC's launched from the Carrier, made a mass transit through the jump gate in 107 Piscium. The Escort Carrier, Collier and Tanker meanwhile would wait on the far side.

As soon as they appeared on the far side the fleet was pounded by heavy enemy fire. Passive sensors aboard Churchill (Churchill II-Class) had seconds to register 28 enemy vessels surrounding the jump point before the helpless cruiser was shredded by over 60 strength-1 laser hits. Disorientated by the jump and in the face of such a sudden attack the entire fleet was immobilised for vital seconds. 15 seconds after transiting a second volley of laser fire tore the second Churchill II-Class Jump Cruiser Coventry apart, costing the fleet hundreds of dead, their last passive sensors and the only remaining jump engines. However Commodore Begum, the fleets commanding officer, was cool in the face of fire - resistance had been expected, and her flagship Alfred the Great was too large to have been transited by the Churchill II-Class. For her this had always been a win or die commitment.

20 seconds after transiting the Terran fleet was finally able to get underway and began powering away from the Commonwealth warships at 4800kps. The escorting FAC's, with their much more powerful engines mounted on much smaller frames, shot away at 8000kps. Commonwealth warships began to pursue but only at 2700kps giving the fleet a clear advantage. Active sensors are still off-line after the jump and despite the fleet being on the move they are still completely unable to defend themselves, nor will they be able to open the range for several minutes. Matters grow even worse as the Commonwealths next target was Sentry, one of the fleets 2 Tribal II-Class ADC's. A volley of 24 strength-4 missiles slammed into the cruiser, tearing great holes in the 10000ton vessel. Nuclear fire boiled away the outer layers of armour and wrecked several key components, including her anti-missile search radar and, vitally, half of her engines. As the cruiser falls behind the rest of the fleet a barrage of energy weapon shots singles her out and reduces her to a burning wreck. For 20 seconds there is no sign of any further incoming fire when suddenly the fleets second Tribal II-Class is destroyed in a sudden explosion, the victim of a second volley of the very missiles she had been designed to defend against. The fleet has now lost both jump vessels and its primary anti-missile defences without even been able to return fire. Commodore Begum was beginning to despair but held to the fact that with their speed advantage and the lapse in enemy energy fire the fleet might still be able to survive. This belief was sorely tested moments later as Alfred the Great was struck by a third volley of 18 strength-4 missiles, shaking the 15000ton heavy cruiser to its keel. Miraculously the warship survived, with much of the nuclear blast being deflected by the cruisers strength-50 shielding, but even so great gouges were torn out of the vessels thick armour and the shields were now totally depleted leaving her vulnerable to further attack.

Almost 30 more seconds passed without incidence, in which time the fleet sped away from the enemy warships and opened the range to over 147,000km. Slowly Alfred the Greats shields began to regenerate. Suddenly, after a full minute since transiting, the fleets active sensors arrays began to recover. Radar pings revealed the pursuing enemy warships tonnage for the first time, showing several of the 12900ton vessels first discovered as wrecks in Alpha Centauri. The majority of the fleet is made up of 12 Han-Class warships at 6450tons. Commodore Begum immediately gave the order for all vessels to open fire as they bear, with no thought given to coordinated fire patterns or time-on-target salvos. Both King-Class Heavy Cruisers open up with their 4 20cm UV Lasers and 10 size-5 missile tubes apiece, but confusion reigns amongst the Nelson II-Class cruisers as they struggle to engage - all except the Invincible, one of the oldest cruisers in service. Invincibles first volley of 6 ASM-N5-Supernovas targeted one of the closest Han-class and gutted the vessel, with her 3 15cm UV lasers finishing the job seconds later and thus scoring the first kill of the battle. At 1512 Earth time the fight back had begun.

[OOC: At the time I wasn’t aware of the massive sensor penalties that using the jump gates caused. Had I known this I probably would have attempted to shuttle through the fleet using the jump ships but given the way things played out this might have been the best option]

With the range opening all the time the Terran fleet begins to pound the enemy mercilessly. Intel gathered in Alpha Centauri, and from direct evidence gathered so far, indicates that the Han-Class are armed only with short ranged 10cm lasers and further that the fleet is already out of their range. Therefore targeting switches over to the larger 12900ton cruisers which are suspected of being the source of the missile attacks. Each King-Class takes 1 cruiser apiece while the 6 Nelson II-Class doubles up allowing the fleet to engage 5 of the 7 enemy cruisers. Meanwhile the FAC's each target one of the non-Han-Class 6450ton contacts and launches 10 ASM's at them with devastating results, the first volley crippling 5 enemy warships which begin streaming air and fall behind. Meanwhile the duel between the cruisers becomes less one sided as a fresh volley of Commonwealth ASM's are detected on the R1 sensors aboard the Hood II-Class Light Cruisers. Despite their best efforts the Light Cruisers are unable to engage the incoming salvo, which at this range flashes across their engagement zone before they can ready their weapons, and bears down on the 2nd King-Class Heavy Cruiser King Richard, commonly known amongst the Fleet as Lionheart. With the range now opened to over 250,000km and the fleet travelling at full speed only a dozen missiles are able to intercept the cruiser and all of the missiles fury is spent on her shields leaving her hull untouched.

The outpouring of fire from the Terran fleet rapidly has a telling effect on the Commonwealth warships. Unable to close the range to use their numerous energy weapons they are forced to engage in a severely lopsided missile duel and soon badly damaged Commonwealth cruisers are littering the path behind the fleet. Realising their advantage Commodore Begum orders the fleet to maintain a distance of no more than 90,000km from the enemy which will allow all of the cruisers to fire their 10cm, 15cm and 20cm lasers for maximum effect. However as soon as the orders are given disaster strikes. A fresh volley of Commonwealth ASM's leaps out and strikes Alfred the Great, whose shields have barely regenerated to a third of their former strength. A huge hole is blown in the Heavy Cruisers side and she loses 2 engines and drops her speed to 3500kps. While this still allows her to outpace the enemy warships the sudden missile strike combined with the new manoeuvring orders causes confusion on her bridge and for vital seconds the warship fails to respond to any orders at all, instead simply hanging in space as the Commonwealth forces bear down. The range rapidly decreases until, with moments to spare, Alfred the Great finally gets underway again as the enemy close to almost 70,000km. Despite this the rest of the Terran fleet has successfully closed the distance and begins to engage the enemy at the optimum range, their lasers burning deep holes through the enemy armour and striking into their vital systems. To save ammunition for deeper in the system the Commodore orders all ships to cease missile fire and rely solely upon their secondary weapons. Now that they have breathing room the fleet is able to coordinate their fire patterns upon each enemy in turn and slowly but surely every enemy vessel is destroyed. By 1527 the fleet is retracing its own panicked flight from the jump point to dispatch scattered enemy vessels badly damaged at the start of the engagement.

The aftermath of the brief engagement is staggering. The Terran Federation has lost 45000tons worth of warship but in return has destroyed over 219000tons of enemy shipping. 2507 brave crew members have been lost but over 1000 are rescued and further more the fleet begins collecting the Commonwealth life pods. 6201 enemy crew are taken prisoner and interrogated before being assigned to holding cells and a wealth of new data is discovered. Key information is provided by the prisoners on a as-yet unencountered Commonwealth battlecruiser massing 19300tons, codenamed ‘Deadly Reaper’. The Deadly Reaper-Class mounts an impressive 45 10cm Lasers all slaved to a single fire control. Thankfully the vessel only uses thermal nuclear propulsion, almost antiquated by Terran standards, and is only capable of 2700kps. Even so had just one of these vessels been present at the jump point the battle could have gone a lot differently. In addition to this, intel is also gathered on a 6450ton Missile Destroyer codenamed ‘Hunter’ and it is revealed that 5 of these vessels were engaged in the recent battle. Hunter-Class Destroyers are equipped with 5 size-4 missile launchers and appear to have been the source of the missiles which so damaged the fleet, not the larger cruiser-sized vessels as was supposed. Further technical information is gleaned on a short-ranged ASM codenamed ‘Bonebeef’, maintenance module research and gravitational and geological survey information on an undiscovered system identified as Gliese 63.

With all prisoners secure if not terribly comfortable, the Commodore decides to wait no longer and sets a course for the enemy colonies at the systems B-component. While the fleet may be trapped in the system until either a jump vessel or jump gate can be deployed they still have almost 50% of their missile stocks remaining and the surviving ships are all in good shape. Now that they have destroyed the enemies fleet once they locate their homeworld the Commodore is certain the Commonwealth will sue for peace and hand over those criminals responsible for the destruction of the freighter in 2046, if they haven't already been dealt summary justice at the jump point. Despite their losses the fleet’s crew members remain in good spirits now that they have weathered the worst that the Commonwealth can throw at them.

11th May 2049
These high spirits are ruined when, halfway to the Commonwealth homeworld, the 104mkm search sensor aboard the King-Class Heavy Cruisers detects an approaching force of 18 6450ton enemy vessels codenamed ‘Huangwen’, all travelling at 5200kps. Not only do they significantly outnumber and out-ton the Terran fleet but their high speed indicates some major technological improvements on the part of the Commonwealth. Worse should the 18 vessels mount some form of point defence, which was noticeably absent from the earlier engagement, then the fleet might not even carry enough missiles to destroy them. Regardless the higher speed of the enemy fleet means that the only course of action can be to attempt to engage them on the best terms, which will be at maximum missile range. 80 minutes later the enemy fleet reaches 50mkm from the fleet, the maximum range of the ASM-N5-Supernova, and the fleet opens fire.

Due to the limited missile stocks each cruiser targets a separate vessel and launches a single salvo which takes 20 minutes to reach the enemy fleet. The fleet watches in awe as the enemy vessels are ripped apart by the incoming missiles, with many ships being destroyed after only a single salvo of 6 ASM's. Noticeably there are also several massive power explosions amongst the wrecks, indicating that the enemy may have attained their high speeds by using unstable boosted-power engine designs. The remaining enemy ships are picked off at maximum range by partial salvos to save ammunition. Despite this victory the fleet’s missile stocks are now down to less than 30% on all ships and the Commodore has a tough decision to make. While her fleet is trapped she can still use a comm. drone to send a message through the jump point to the waiting Support Fleet on the other side, which carries over 320 additional ASM's aboard the Collier and Escort Carrier. The downside of this is that if these ships also jump through they will also be trapped until a method can be found to jump the fleet out again.

In the end the decision is made - to have come this far, sacrificed this much and then fail at the final hurdle is unconscionable. The drone is sent and the support fleet ordered to join the cruiser group. At the jump point the Escort Carrier collects the FAC group, which expended all of its ammunition in the first battle and has since been holding position at the jump point. 54 missiles are used to reload the FAC group while the remainder are distributed amongst the fleet’s cruisers, bringing missile stocks back up to around 50%, when the support group meets them halfway between the B-component and the jump point.

13th May 2049
Partially rearmed the fleet again sets course for the enemy homeworld, confident that there is now nothing left that can stand in their way. They have already destroyed more than twice the number of warships than are currently in Federal service and Naval Intelligence believes that they can have few, if any, other warships which would not have already intercepted them. Any groups operating outside of Gliese 109 will simply be too far away to prevent the Terran fleet from demanding the surrender of their homeworld. Of course the old adage about military intelligence is that there is none, which is dramatically proven to be true when at 20:25 the resolution-1 sensor aboard the Hood II-Class Light Cruisers detects an incoming wave of 101 1000ton enemy FAC's. Commodore Begum is for the first time shaken by the enemy numbers which far outweigh any predictions by the Admiralty back home. To have produced such a number in only a few short years, with a lower technological base and a smaller industry, must represent a total commitment to military expansion unmatched in human history. Whereas the Federal Council viewed the war with the Commonwealth as an unfortunate incident this clearly shows they represent a major threat to the very existence of the Federation and possibly humanity itself.

The only silver lining is that the enemy FAC's are of a clearly inferior design to the Federations and are travelling at only 4000kps, half the speed of a Vanguard II-Class FAC. While the battle fleet units can easily outrun the enemy at 4800kps the Support Fleet is capable of only 3500kps which will result in their eventual destruction. Abandoning the now empty Fleet Collier, the only one currently in service, will allow the support fleets Escort Carrier and Tanker to keep up with the battle fleet but the decision then becomes of what to do then. The fleet has fewer than 600 ASM's remaining and then they will have to rely upon their secondary energy weapons, while it is unknown what the enemy FAC's are armed with. In addition their small size means that the cruisers targeting systems will only be able to lock on at less than 3mkm. Recent experience shows that the primary weapon of the Commonwealth is energy weapons and small ones at that. In addition unless they have box launchers then each FAC would only be able to mount 1 or 2 launchers. The point, the Commodore insists to her staff, is that while the fleet could run away for as long as its fuel lasted they would eventually have to fight the enemy FAC's regardless.

Therefore Commodore Begum proposes a bold strategy. She detaches both Hood II-Class Light Cruisers from the main body of the fleet and orders them to engage the enemy at close range. Each Hood II is capable of 6200kps, being the fastest warship in the Federal arsenal, and boasts 8 10cm UV lasers mounted in high speed turrets for accuracy. If the FAC's are armed with energy weapons then the Hoods will be able to hold the range open indefinitely and destroy each and every FAC without using any ordinance. If the FAC's were missile armed then the Hoods also represent the fleets only remaining missile defence and their high speed gives them the best chance of avoiding incoming fire. With a combined speed of 10200kps the 2 groups closed rapidly, 101 FAC's on one side and 2 Light Cruisers on the other. The range falls steadily to 1.5mkm and both Light Cruiser crews felt that they had safely passed the point at which any missiles would have been launched when suddenly each FAC launched 3 size-3 missiles. Both ships UV lasers immediately went into rapid fire and the cruisers scored several hits but in seconds the wave of 303 missiles crashed over them. The first Hood II-Class Light Cruiser, Hood, took 81 strength-3 hits destroying her entire armour belt. For a moment it appeared as if the cruiser had survived, albeit barely, when suddenly a strength-21 power core explosion ripped the vessel apart. Apparently 1 of the ships 8 fusion reactors had overloaded. Her sister ship Bismarck staggered under a hail of hits but, despite being struck over 2 dozen times, emerged from the glare of nuclear explosions badly damaged but still operational. Her armour was shredded, 8 engines had been destroyed and the AMM search sensor currently tracking the enemy FAC's was wrecked, but she had survived. With her top speed reduced to 2400kps and most of her crew dead she was now an easy target for any follow-up attack, but none was forthcoming. Eventually Bismarck was able to limp back to the cover of the main fleet which approached once it was felt the FAC's, untraceable, had departed.

Despite the effective loss of both Light Cruisers the Commodore was resolved to continue her mission. Assuming that the FAC's had launched all of their missiles at the Light Cruisers they would now have to return to base to resupply and reload and the main battle fleet had a speed advantage of 800kps if they left the Support Fleet behind. If they set course immediately it was possible the cruisers could catch up to the unarmed FAC's and destroy all of them at close range. The fleets captains, shaken by the recent course of events, immediately pointed out the dangers of such a plan - should the FAC's in fact beat them to their base they would suffer exactly the same fate as the Light Cruisers but the Commodore was adamant. Every step closer to the Commonwealths homeworld was a step closer to victory and the end of the war. Some captains feel that the stress of the situation is affecting the Commodores thinking, but they lack the numbers to successfully challenge Commodore Begum and even so no other options are readily apparent apart from fleeing into deep space until they run out of reaction mass. Therefore the fleet continues on towards the Commonwealth homeworld on the assumed minimum distance flight path the enemy FAC’s would have taken. The Support Fleet, escorted by/escorting the crippled Bismarck, breaks off and heads for a comet on the edge of the system. Hopefully there they can avoid detection until the battle can be brought to a close.

14th May 2049
Back in 107 Piscium the 3 Brigades deployed to attack the Commonwealth colony destroy 1 of the 2 garrison brigades active on the surface. The other takes a further 62% casualties in the assault and falls back for a last stand around their outpost. So far no Terran lives have been lost in the fighting.

14th May 2049 04:05
5 new enemy ships are detected on an intercept course with the fleet in Gliese 109. 3 are Han-Class Destroyers armed with 6 10cm lasers and therefore easy prey for the fleet units, but 2 are new ships previously unseen. 1 is a 6450ton destroyer and the other a 12900cruiser codenamed Ming and Houxin respectively. All are travelling at the Commonwealth standard of 2700kps. The fleet has the option of either ignoring them or destroying them and if the latter option is chosen they can attempt to engage with either missiles or energy weapons. As there are currently no missile defences left within the fleet the decision is made to engage them with missiles at maximum range without slowing down. First one salvo is fired, which severely damages all five ships, then a second which destroys all but the 12900ton Houxin. A final five missiles suffice to destroy the crippled cruiser and the fleet never had to slow down. The surviving enemy crew in their life pods are left where they are.