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Lerriano

The Assault of Socotra (Raj (A) vs OE (N) 1500(ish?)pts)

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There had been a blinding assault by the Empire of the Blazing Sun at the island of Socotra, off the Horn of Africa and a key stepping stone to the Red Sea and Suez. Currently a Raj protectorate under Brittanian jurisdiction.

 

The Ottomans are now trying their best to break the town's defences.

 

The 34th Arabian Patrol

180 - 1x Sadrazam

90 - 3x Zuhafs

180 - 1x Sadrazam

90 - 3x Zuhafs

225 - 3x Fettah

225 - 3x Fettah

120 - 4x Mizrak
120 - 4x Mizrak
120 - 4x Mizrak

5x Fighters

5x Fighters

 

 

(the keen eyed among you will note that this is 1350. Due to an error in communications, Rulebrittania had brought 2k, we pared him down to 1500 and I accidentally pared mine down to 1350 (removing 2x fettah) which may well have had an impact on the game, but as we will see later, probably didn't.)

 

The 1st Socotran Garrison 'Singh's Tigers'

330 - 1x Antaka + infantry

35 - 1x Baronet Attachment

165 - 1x Bunker Complex

150 - 2x Guardian Shield Towers

110 - 1x Ajagava

195 - 3x Agra

120 - 3x Vimana

120 - 4x Tarakee

150 - 5x Megha

150 - 5x Megha

Local fighters

Local standard infantry

 

The Fortifications were deployed first, enabling the Turks to essentially avoid them by bundling in the opposite corner. With randomly drawn orders, both forces were ready!

 

Raj Deployment:

Raj Setup

 
Ottoman Deployment:

Ottoman Setup

 

 

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Turn 1

 

The First turn was a rather cagey affair, with the turks trying to set up as large-a grid of storms as they could muster. (Not having permanent defences of any kind makes this a total pain in the hole, by the way)

 

The Socotran defenders were able to jam communications just as the Turks arrived, causing the Ottoman supply of devastating ammunition to be cancelled. *Shakes fist in Turkish*

 

No total casualties and a fair amount of wind.

 

OE - 20pts

RAJ - 0pts

 

Picture from Turkish perspective after the end of the turn

Ottoman T1

 

Picture from the Raj perspective

Raj T1

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Turn 2

 

The greater range of the Raj fleet (And initiative roll) enabled them to seize the initiative, destroying the badly damaged Fettah with ease. Also the Mizraks that were only hidden by storms were destroyed, leaving the unit broken and unhappy.

 

The Turks were still a long way from being in an ideal position, laying down Meltemi's fury to... questionable effect. We were able to damage a couple of Tarakees but it took a LOT of firepower. The Antaka's Guardian shield was on fleek, as the youth say these days.

 

OE - 0 (20)

Raj - 135 (135)

 

Storms in this turn were moderately effective, but only because they were bloomin everywhere. They denied the Antaka a really solid shot, and probably saved my left-flank battleship some of the heaviest firepower, but with the guardian gen rolling so well, I was struggling to really damage anything with my awful long-range firepower (Seriously, we make the danes look like the Japanese in RB3/4).

 

View from Lerriano's Side

Ottoman T2

 
View from Rulebrittania's Side

Raj T2

 
Now the real fireworks begin.

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Turn 3 - AKA 'the triple-crittening'

 

This was a pretty important turn for the Turks to get first move, and they failed to do so. The Doom Palace made its crucial decisive move and unloaded as many arcs as it could into the near (non-commodore) battleship. It caused a massive 33 hits (including 10 6s!), taking all the teeth out of the ship. I'll freely admit that a Hard Pounding, Half Move and 1 Fire marker isn't too bad, but 6 hull points is an awful lot to lose when your primary weapons are not redoubtable.

 

Also the Fettah started dropping early. The Turks managed to knock out a couple of Vimana, and finish the baronet, but not before it was able to deploy its payload of angry Sikhs into a Fettah to prize it. This was the ottoman espionage moment to prevent a Tally Ho (We play Ironclad card rules, because Ironclad rules or no cards as far as I'm concerned!). The Turks also stoked their fettah's to try and get some decisive strikes in with their broadsides, but it didn't really work out and they ended up overreaching by a long way. Naturally they paid for it.

 

In the course of the turn the Raj crushed 3 fettah and prized another one, also clipping a Mizrak in the process.

 

OE - 140 (160)

Raj - 485 (620)

 

This turn absolutely highlighted the weakest part of the Turkish fleet - The initiative roll. Get it, you stand a chance. Don't get it? You, mate, are up poop alley without a minaret-shaped paddle. And that's just unfair, really. Almost every other faction (danes included in terms of their options) get a permanent bonus to their defence, be it a shield, higher stat, rugged or whatever. This makes the turks look really fragile by comparison. Their firepower isn't at glass cannon level, and they don't have the crew to survive being up close to most other fleets without losing most of their stuff to prizes.

 

Admitted, Raj are a boarding faction, but this reliance on (s) weapon systems that work best when being very close to the enemy (where clouds, of course do not work), is extremely frustrating.

 

Turn from Turk's perspective

Ottoman T3

 
Turn from the centre of the main battle

Centre T3

 
A nice perspective from the Raj

Raj T3

 

 

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Turn 4

 

Opening there were turn cards - both 'give me back some hull points!', but the Raj played their Espionage, and the beleaguered battleship was denied her repairs while what little damaged I had managed to score on the Antaka was neutralised...  <_< (I mean, grumpy face, but the game's the game. It was excellently played).

 

Now that the Turks were trying their damnedest to stay relevant to the fight, trying to pick off the smalls (bloody hard work, they're all 4/5 or higher), but the assault infantry was moving in now and that finished the boat, putting the 'SAD' into Sadrazam and sabotaging it. Thankfully no magazine explosion!

 

The Mizraks and remaining Fettahs were trying their best to deal damage to the various smalls, but they just weren't able to muster the dice, and the counter-attack with the tarakees' monstrous levels of AP left most of the skimmers trashed. With no further grand dice pools, it was evidently impossible for the Turks to inflict serious damage, and the Raj pressed their advantage, slashing the zuhafs from the skies and prizing the last fettah.

 

With 70% achieved, and all the activations, er, activationed  :P , the Turkish commodore had nothing left to do but radio his defeat to his... paymasters... :ph34r:

 

OE - 295 (455)

Raj - 510 (1130 and the win)

 

Final pictures:

Raj T4

Ottoman T4

Centre T4

 

Concluding thoughts to come.

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Balance

 

The Raj force included two towers and a fortified bunker complex, but these didn't play a major role in the fight. As a result, the remaining force totals 1190pts. So really my 1350pt naval list was pretty easily wiped aside by the Raj here (almost entirely by the smalls). It would appear that the land units are actually stronger than the naval units in this confrontation.

 

 

Firepower

 

The Raj are quasi-british in this department, and as a result totally ruined my beautiful paperweights at every range band. They are just, on paper and on table, better. From a 'rewriting the alliance Orbat' perspective, I genuinely don't see a way that can fix this short of completely overhauling the Ottoman list. The turrets are always toothless after one or two hits, the broadsides are nice, but underwhelming (come on, SG, sustained fire was our thing before everyone else nicked it! Now ours is poxy and uninspiring. The EIMC get better sustained fire than we do). The volley-guns were probably the most reliable firing system, once they were in range... I have absolutely no problem with Turks being close-quarter fire specialists but they are terrible at it under this current ORBAT (certainly worse than most).

 

Speed

 

Skimmers suffer such a weird crisis when it comes to the Turk list. The Sad is a slow boat. Too slow. The Fettah are, by contrast, one of the fastest mediums and able to race about like charging horses. I love the fettah's speed and firepower, their problems are later in the post. The Mizraks are average, not as fast as some ships in their category but pretty well armed. They could do with sustained (1) though, just to fit in with the Orbat. I don't really care if the skimmers get faster, as hovercraft would be, or slower but have access to GNE, but as it stands it just feels inconsistent.

 

Generators

 

THIS is the real cause of the Ottoman woes.

 

I am more than aware that we were world-beating in 1.1, and that was very much SG's excitability showing through. But all of the Ottoman generators suffered in the transition to 2.0, to the point where asking us to pay points for the MCG is laughable. It doesn't activate appropriately (before the "escorts" lay mines? Cheers SG), it doesn't really have a great range (if minefields are supposed to be battlefield control, I don't want to be within RB2 of the enemy, thanks), and the mines themselves are pointless (against land units following the change to unanimous 360mv).

 

I don't mind whether it's a MAR like Retardant Armour nicked from the close allied french, or access to cloud gens, or shields (hell, everyone's stealing shield gens these days. The Danes?!) from the close allied Covenant, but the Ottomans need something to give them a little staying power. The move to 2.0 made everyone stronger but left them where they were, with none of their toys, meaning that they had a net decrease in power come actually playing a 2.0, or 2.6 (wherever we're up to) game.

 

A note on the Armoured/Naval thing

 

I get that armoured units are smaller, but that made me more surprised to see that armoured 'smalls' are a heck of a lot tougher than naval smalls. 4/5 or, in the case of the baronet, 4/6?! That, coupled with a guardian, is some tough numbers when trying to splay firepower over a dozen targets. A dozen targets that will board you if you miss just a couple of them. I'm sure Rulebrittania will be the first to admit that his guardian shield was less 'emperor protects' and more 'iron dome' in this battle, but smalls should absolutely not be this tought to crack.

 

 

Overall

 

The Raj played well, the Ottomans played the only way they are able to, and it wasn't enough.

 

 

Campaign narrative

 

Socotra has held out against the assault of (presumably) Bond forces, and await a resupply from the Coalition. With Bond controlling the surrounding waters, it will be difficult to supply the island...

 

Stark, sitting quietly in his island fortress, receives a telegram that it's all going down south of Suez, and smiles to himself before getting his coat...

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Thank you for writing this up Lerriano, and for playing that game with the utmost good humour even through the triple crit.  The points confusion was my fault due to points changing due to a clash shortening the game.  The bunker managed a couple of shots and it forced you up a flank.  

 

I was scary with the Guardian roles, especially on the smalls.  The band 3 Raj firepower was fearsome and the Tarakees, as boxes full of AP were absorbing more firepower than they had any right to.  The lack of any Turkish big hitters meant he couldn't take advantage of the lower DR/CR ofthe Land dread.

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Because of the fortification deployment the Ottomans castled in a corner where one half of their broadsides pointed at the table edge for the majority of the game.  Just like the French if you take away the ability of their medium and larger ships to use both broadsides in turns 2-3 you have robbed them of a decent amount of AD.  Excellent deployment for the Raj.  Add in a freak roll that would have triple critted the vast majority of battle ships in the game and I can see why it went downhill so fast.

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The Raj had no reason to spread out.  Most weapons are forward and the land forces have little need to plan firing arcs ahead of moving.  Closing off part of the field seems to have let the Raj smalls have a field day.  If you don't play Armored core often squads of five smalls will surprise you with the punch they give.  Kinda like corvettes with frigate firepower.

 

The Ottomans need desperate reworking but a broadside heavy fleet that gets pushed around in deployment will always be at a disadvantage. 

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The Raj had no reason to spread out. Most weapons are forward and the land forces have little need to plan firing arcs ahead of moving. Closing off part of the field seems to have let the Raj smalls have a field day. If you don't play Armored core often squads of five smalls will surprise you with the punch they give. Kinda like corvettes with frigate firepower.

The Ottomans need desperate reworking but a broadside heavy fleet that gets pushed around in deployment will always be at a disadvantage.

With no predictability on how armoured models will move it's very difficult to 'cross the T', so to speak.

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