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The Battle for Vlissingen

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So NaH2PO4_aq, Sidrial, myself and a non-forum member played an amphibious landing scenario in February in Tilburg, the Netherlands. We played on a massive table with about half as sea and about half as land, with a beach and even a little town made out of scenery.

 

Here's some stats:

  • 4 players
  • 1500 pts per player, total of 6000 pts on table
  • 2 Armoured Core forces
  • 2 Naval Core forces
  • Board size: 96” x 48”
  • Battle length: approximately six hours

TableOverview.jpg

 

As it's been one heck of a battle, I'll be posting updates in a schedule. Today will be introduction, setting and deployment. Tomorrow I'll post the first two rounds and the last two rounds will be posted on Friday (obligations on Thursday evening).

 

Warning: I do tend to ramble. Hence the multiple updates.

 

Without further adieu, the narrative!

 

“In the early days of spring 1873 both the Kingdom of Britannia and the Prussian Empire prepared to do battle once more in northern Europe. After the events of what came to be known as the Storm of Steel in 1871 the year of 1872 was characterised by a war of attrition between mainly British and Prussian forces in the Zeeland territories, culminating in the destruction of the Army of Flanders and the evacuation of British forces from the Low Countries. To the south, the Republique of France preferred to consolidate its holdings, still having a sour taste of its experiences with the Protectorate of Belgium.”

 

“Having fought for two years in the Dutch countries, the Prussian High Command evaluated battle performance of the Prussian armoured forces. Much of the Prussian heavy armour proved ineffective on the rich clay soil of Zeeland, losing their impetus due to the soft ground. Also, the reduced profile of the A9-V Sturmpanzer Landship was less of a boon than normal in the exceptionally flat landscape where the taller Britannian and Flemish landships could see unobstructed for miles around.”

 

“Over the course of 1872 Field-Marshall Kohl succesfully requisitioned the presence of additional forces from the Teutonic Order. He was supported in this by General Sturm, famed court favourite known for the audacious London Raid. In addition to Field-Marshall Kohl received news that he was to support Teutonic field tests of a new terror weapon. The terrain in Zeeland was deemed an excellent testcase for unconvential armour to prove superior mobility and flexibility. Field tests were required as well to evaluate amphibious capabilities of the new weapon, which the shallow Zeeland territories would provide.“

 

“The Kingdom of Britannia had initially profited greatly from the presence of Russian Coalition forces during the Storm of Steel. The Russian expedition proved to be an invaluable asset to the British war effort during the defense of the British mainland in 1871, and so it came as a bit of a blow to local morale when the Russian expeditionary forces were eventually retasked to support the Tsar’s war efforts. Matters were worsened when the Army of Flanders was destroyed in 1872 and the British forces were driven out of Belgium and the Dutch countries. The withdrawal was not a complete loss though as most forces managed to escape safely as the Prussian forces were contending with the soggy landscape.”

 

“Exploring their options, the British High Command eventually approached the Federated States of America for assistance. This was more for political reasons than logistics, as the Americans and the Russians still had a strained relationship after the Bering Incident. With the Russian taskforce in the British homelands, support from the Americans was nigh unthinkable. However, with the Russians gone the Americans would be able to bond with the British forces as a show of mutual trust and respect, at the same time sending a message to the Russians of the nature of the Grand Coalition.”

 

“The FSA upper echelons accepted the invitation for a taskforce, and decided that the temperate weather conditions in Northern Europe would be ideal to gain experience in such conditions. Moreover, most of the conflicts the Americans participated in were in fair weather conditions, and the Hooke’s Reach Incident had demonstrated to High Command the need for experience with multiple theaters of operation. To that end, the FSA created a multipurpose taskforce capable of both defense and offense in equal measure. As a sign of good will to the Kingdom of Britannia the FSA also attached one of their experimental skimming dreadnoughts, an immense robot equipped with rapid-firing naval-grade ordnance weaponry.”

 

“In the beginning of 1873 the Kingdom of Britannia mounted an amphibious assault on Vlissingen. The objective for this operation was two-fold: to re-establish a beachhead in the Zeeland territories and to destroy or cripple Prussian operations in the area. The American expedition volunteered to make landfall under the cover of the experimental Restitution dreadnought robot, confident in their ability to disrupt Prussian troop concentrations. The British fleet would provide long range covering fire and would secure the waters, including some industrial rigs that were constructed outside of Vlissingen.”

 

“The Prussians had detected a build-up in British fleet dispositions near the Dutch territories. Unable to redirect Iron Fleets from their defensive perimeters, the Prussians instead enlisted the Danish SØværnet to shore up the Dutch defenses. The Danish held a grudge against the British and relished the opportunity to prove their shallow waters superiority. Operations immediately began to reinforce the perimeter around Vlissingen with carefully distributed mines. Robotic forces were assigned to bolster several bulwarks on the coast, with the Hochmeister experimental dreadnought robot based near Middelburg. When the first signs of movement towards Vlissingen were detected, the Hochmeister made haste towards the Vlissingen lines. Little did either command know of the presence of not one but two experimental weapons, or the confrontation of the dreadnought robots that was to follow.”

 

 

Vlissingen.jpg

 
I don't really like how the forum handles images, so I've made a blog and posted everything here with some bonusses and full-size images there.
 

http://www.thomasverkooijen.nl

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Overview

One player per team would cover the naval side of things, while the other player would either defend or assault the city that would form the scenario objective. We never intended this game to be highly competetive or even balanced, though that did not mean that we did not try to even things out! At the end of the day we wanted to provide an entertaining match while having fun playing. As a side-note: both my American opponent and myself secretly bought and prepared our respective dreadnought robot without informing our teammate. When we finally did reveal the Restitution and the Hochmeister, our teammates were quite surprised indeed!

 

The southern flank of the table was where the two naval players would do battle. An island on the southernmost edge of the table left just enough room for a squadron of mediums to squeeze through, opening up tactical options. Towards the beach along the center line three oil rigs made up a secondary set of objectives. Each captured oil rig would give an additional 100 VP, so the central line offered an additional 300 VP for the taking! Several Prussian mines, crackling with lethal electrical circuitry, surrounded the rigs.

 

Deployment2.jpgThe southern flank of the table

 

The northern flank of the table was dominated by two rings of fortifications on the outskirts of Vlissingen. A Prussian bunker complex was flanked by several flak towers, providing cover against any flier foolish enough to stray within 8” of a tower. A secondary ring of bunkers was scattered outwards towards the beach and possible landing zones, though long since abandoned due to battle damage. A forward landing field provided a convenient location to resupply Prussian or Teutonic support aircraft. The harbour provided some coverage from hostile fire, although very large units would be able to fire over the reinforced walls.

 

Deployment.jpgThe northern flank of the table

 

Kingdom of Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark deployed most of its forces aiming directly for the oil rigs in the center of the table. As a narrative hook, we decided it’d be fun to have a Ragnarrok including its escorts deployed in the harbour of Vlissingen. From there it could easily reach the thick of the fighting due to its great speed, and come from a different angle to force the Britannians to make less than advantageous moves. The Danish player elected to place a smattering of Skaggeraks, Havels and Korsors in advanced deployment, itching to close the gap to the Brits. The Asgard and Emperor would hold the middle, providing the solid center the rest of the fleet could rally around.

 

The plan was to rapidly advance, engaging any barges in vulnerable positions as targets of opportunity. Once battle was joined, the Danes would occupy the oil rigs and beat back the assault of the Britannians, depriving the Americans of their naval support.

 

Deployment3KoD.jpg

The Danish deployment

 

Kingdom of Britannia

The Kingdom of Britannia deployed in two distinct sections. One section consisted of nippy Attacker frigates and skulking Vanguard submarines, aiming to circumvent the lighthouse island to flank the Danish forces. Next to the American transports the bulk of the Britannian staying power provided coverage by both inordinate amounts of gunnery as well as flickering guardian shields. A very solid core of an Avenger, Majesty and Ruler was prepared to steam ahead. The Britannians were confident that with such concentrated brutish power they could sweep aside all before them.

 

The plan was to advance ahead, then present broadsides to the rushing Danes. The British vessels would move closer to the beach to shield the American barges with the bulk of their vessels and guardians. When the landing was made, the vessels would be free to engage the Danish and take the oil rigs.

 

Deployment4KoB.jpg

The British deployment

 

Teutonic Order

The Teutonic Order and its Prussian allies deployed behind the wall made up from menacing fortifications. Most of the tracked units were deployed angled towards the openings between buildings, hoping to advance quickly enough that most units would not block eachother from moving forwards. The Hochmeister was deployed in support of the massive Prussian bunker complex, aiming to use the bulk of the fortress to shield itself until it could march into the fray. The St. Michaël-pattern Metzger was deployed in support of the Hochmeister, delivering the effects of its guardian generator to the northern flank of the Teutonic-Prussian forces. On the southern flank an under-strength unit of Reckes formed a formidable left hook in combination with Faust and Schildtrager robots, the haze of so many guardian generators distorting vision of the advancing American forces.

 

Although the cityscape of Vlissingen provided terrific cover, it would prove a treacherous terrain to navigate.

 

Deployment5STO.jpgThe Teutonic deployment

 

Federated States of America

The Federated States of America deployed the bulk of its forces facing the beach, preferring to land a safe distance away from the ring of Prussian fortifications. As we were a large landing barge short, we decided to deploy the Philadelphia near the beach, ruling it as trudging the last few meters through the water by sheer force. The Yorktown bombards were scheduled to deploy once the main armoured forces had landed as they could deliver superior firepower at long range. An assortment of tanks and even Defiance robots was deployed atop barges, prepared to rush the beaches as soon as the game started.

 

The Restitution dreadnought robot hovered above the sea through dint of its massive jets, the roar deafening even the opening bombardments. It would provide long range covering fire for the Britannian forces in the opening throes of battle, advancing unto the beach as the main forces would clear the immediate area.

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Apologies for the delay. The forums appeared to act up late last night, and I nearly fell asleep behind the screen. I've mirrored this report at http://www.thomasverkooijen.nl, where this was up in its entirety last night.

 

In the early hours of a crisp late winter day, the waves crashed into the rusty beams of the Vlissingen industrial platforms. A chilling breeze blew in from the west, carrying the salty sting of the sea. Foggy banks of damp mist slowly drifted across the water. As the Dutch craftsmen prepared to change shifts working the platforms, vague shapes began to take form on the outskirts of the visible area. Amidst the panicked cries of civilians running for designated shelters the first airhorns started to wail their warnings. The British had returned to Vlissingen!

 

The British naval forces wasted no time at all and advanced forwards. An early activation from the Majesty dreadnought saw the industrial platforms become wreathed in flame and spark as the Tesla-based mines were detonated by a Pulse generator. The platforms only suffered superficial damage though, and remained intact and in the hands of the Prussians for now. Alarmed by the massive detonations, the Danish Asgard carrier surged straight ahead and fired its guns into the Tribal cruisers, nicking the paint of one cruiser. In retaliation, the British Tribals moved forward and raked the Asgard across its length, crippling its defenses and smashing some of the marine holdings. The Asgard began to smoke heavily as fires spread from the ravaged marine bunks, threatening to take the lives of even more marines!

 

RoundOneOverextendingAsgard.jpg

The Asgard carrier overextends itself

 

Near the beach the Restitution dreadnought robot braced itself and brought its incredible Colt-Cannons up. The jets on its feet stabilized the mechanical colossus’ position, and the Restitution aimed the massive weaponry at the Danish Raggnarok that was still struggling to clear the Vlissingen harbour. With a thunderous roar that drowned out even the British and Danish gunnery, the Restitution fired round after round with unerring accuracy into the Raggnarok. The Danish vessel was physically thrown back from the docks by the might of the impacts. Debris struck the ships engine room and blocked one of the overcharged engines, slowing the Raggnarok down. The Raggnarok limped out of the docks and made for the relative safety of the industrial rigs near the beach, hoping to break line of sight to the monstrous Restitution.

 

RoundOneTheRestitutionStrikes.jpg

The Restitution strikes!

 

On the landing side of the conflict, the battle was barely starting to heat up. A B-72 Heavy Bomber advanced slightly, careful not to overextend. Lining up its arrays of armour-piercing rockets, it fired at the juiciest target it could find in range: Teutonic Recke tanks. Hidden in the canopy of clouds, the Recke crews did not get any warning before the shrieking missiles came into ack-ack range. The Guardian shields buckled under the repeated assault, ack-ack failing to take out any rockets. The rear Recke took a direct hit to the tracks, throwing them off and blocking the Tesla broadsides with the metal tracks, reducing overall firepower dramatically. Taking advantage of the confusion caused by the sudden impact, a squadron of Trentons made landfall and trudged the last few meters towards the beach.

 

As a followup, the Trentons revved their engines and rocketed forward. Their massed gun turrets fired round after round into the Recke formation, reducing the rear Recke to slag. Raking their guns to the front Recke, the Trentons found range and poured a dramatic amount of fire into the front Recke, surprisingly taking it out in one volley!

 

RoundOneLongRangeExchange.jpg

The Reckes duel with the B-72 and Trentons at range.

 

At sea the battle raged on yet. The Danes found their carrier in jeopardy, and rushed forward to protect it. To the left of the stricken vessel advanced an Emperor-class Battleship once furbished from the Prussian Empire but long since crewed by the Danish. On the right a full complement of the Skagerrak gunships rounded the island, moving out of cover to draw a bead on the offending Tribal cruisers. With a thunderous roar all six turrets and all eighteen barrels spoke. When the smoke cleared from the barrels and the Skagerrak crews prepared new rounds to fire, one Tribal was slowly sinking under the waves and an attached Dominion support cruiser was so heavily damaged it held on more by sheer luck than anything else. British vessels tried to return fire, but could only inflict superficial damage on Skagerraks and couldn’t even damage the Emperor.

 

RoundOneTheSeaBattleRagesOn.jpg

The sea battle rages on.

 

Back on land, the Hochmeister finally decided to make its presence known. It stepped out from behind the Prussian Bunker Complex that was firing into the Trenton squadron, wrecking the rear Trenton. Carefully stepping over the buildings of Vlissingen, it held aloft its sword and marked the Trenton squadron for death. The wrist-mounted Speerschleuders and the shouldermounted Speerschleuder turrets combined their ranged prowess to inflict terrible electrifying damage, obliterating the two remaining Trentons and stimied the American assault for a moment. Taking a moment to recharge the capacitors for the Speerschleuder, the Hochmeister turned its head to look towards the Restitution. A reckoning was to follow.

 

RoundOneTheHochMeisterAdvances%21.jpg

The Hochmeister advances!

 

The rest of the forces maneuvred into more advantageous positions, but most fire was ineffective at these ranges. The Teutonic forces found themselves trapped in the outskirts of Vlissingen, struggling to clear the buildings and reinforcements they were bound to protect.

 

RoundOneEnd1.jpg

Round One End 1

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Doublepost because image limit.

 

The Americans meanwhile found the opportunity to land their advanced forces, but felt the sting of the Prussian defenses as they lost their Trentons to both fortifications and the Hochmeister. Reinforcements were inbound though, as the Philadelphia Landship and Yorktown bombards were very close to the beach. The reinforcements looked to arrive safely as the British succesfully distracted the Danes into a brawling match in the center of the sea. The Restitution meanwhile looked towards the Hochmeister and engaged its thrusters forwards.

 

RoundOneEnd2.jpg

Round One End 2

 

RoundOneEnd3.jpg

Round One End 3

 

As the fleets began to come into brawling range, the Asgard looked very vulnerable indeed to the massive Britannian center line. The loss of the Tribals hurt, but the Britannians retained a significant portion of their firepower and would not be denied their charge.

 

RoundOneEnd4.jpg

Round One End 4

 

The Danish had taken a tremendous pounding on their Asgard and Raggnarok, though crucially both were not fully destroyed yet. They moved swiftly through the platforms, trying to deny the British optimal firing angles and hoping to ambush their more robust opponents.

 

RoundOneEnd5.jpg

Round One End 5

 

The British in the meantime held a very intimidating center line anchored around the Majesty dreadnought. Out of sight, a squadron of Vanguards escorted by a veritable swarm of Attacker frigates tried to rush around the island, harassed by torpedo bombers. Surprisingly, two full squadrons of torpedo bombers failed to make an impression on the squadron. The British Commodore hoped to flank his Danish counterpart later on.

 

RoundOneEnd6.jpg

Round One End 6

 

Vlissingen looked to hold strong, but the American forces were drawing ever closer…

 

RoundOneEnd7.jpg

Round One End 7

 

Round one took me much, much longer to type up than expected and I have other obligations today, so expect to see round two this Friday!

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EDIT: added final sections of the round. Next up: last bits! Less photo's I'm afraid, as we were getting caught up in the heat of battle and eventually had to rush the battle as closing time drew near.

 

What do you mean it's late? The report isn't late! I'm not late! You're late! Someone's late! I'm being irrational!

 

On a more serious note, apologies for another delay. Won't promise there won't be more, but there's only one more bit to go! I'll get around to it as fast as I reasonably can, but it's amazing how time seems to fly when you're not paying attention. 

 

I tend to write these posts on http://www.thomasverkooijen.nl first, as I can progressively edit the posts and muck about with pictures much easier. If you can't wait, you can check up there over the next few days but you might catch some very WIP stuff. 

 

Round Two

 

As the commanders of both the land and sea theatres took stock of the situation, they re-evaluated their priorities. Seeing the damage wrought by the Restitution and how close the landing barges were to the shoreline, the Danish Commodore radioed in his intention to instead cripple the British forces and destroy any options for retreat for the American forces. The Teutonic Commander reluctantly ordered his forces to close towards the beach to ensure that providing ranged assistance would be an option.


At the same time the American General witnessed the devastation wrought upon his former Trenton squadron and bellowed forth the order to charge from inside his armoured command post. A liasons officer relayed the intention to advance at the double to the British Commodore. The British Commodore huffed and told his comms personnel to remind the Americans that their upstart armies had the chance to see a truly chivalrous charge in the seas when the regal British vessels would pound the diminutive Danish vessels into oblivion.

 

In the broiling Dutch seas a rabble of Korsor corvettes darted around the legs of the industrial rigs. Their blood fired up from the adrenaline rush of battle, the corvette crews pushed their engines to the brink as they raced straight towards the largest hostile vessels in sight. As they approached the hulking form of the British flagship and accompanying Avenger battle carrier, the Korsor corvettes made a sharp turn to the back of the British lines. At the rear of the vessels batches of high payload mines were deployed, straight in the path of the British Majesty-class dreadnought. Danish marines engaged their jetpacks and jumped to the Avenger carrier, even as swathes of their numbers were cut down by small-arms fire. Enough of the marines landed that they could overpower the local defenses, and the coup de grace came when the last of the marines was cut down and access to the bridge was forced. In the midst of the enemy battle line the Danish decided that they had no chance of holding the Avenger and scuttled the vessel. A mighty blow indeed to the British Empire!

 

RoundTwoAnExplosiveOpening.jpg

The Korsors wreak havoc in the British line of battle!


RoundTwoPlentyOfSpace.jpg

An overview shot demonstrates the immense maneuvering skill of the Korsor corvettes.

 

At the same time the Defiance robots of the American forces galloped to several ruined bunkers, hoping to make use of the cover provided by the ravaged concrete. Wild shots raked the Teutonic lines but failed to find a mark at this range, falling short or lacking the punching power to penetrate reinforced steel. Succesfully managing to get cover between themselves and most of the Teutonic lines, the Defiances radioed the capture of the landmarks to the American forces. Most Defiance operators were none too intimidated when their Teutonic counterparts moved in from behind the Prussian fortifications. This didn’t last when arcs of bright lightning shot across the open fields and scorched several of the heavy steel Defiance chassis. Defiances regrouped and returned fire, but their group was slowly being whittled away until reinforcements would be able to relieve them.

 

RoundTwoDuelOfTheRoboticHordes.jpg

Two robotic hordes face off

 

Furious with the loss of the Avenger, the British Commodore commanded the hulk of the Majesty dreadnought to break the back of the Danish line. Advancing full throttle then banking hard to present full broadsided, the obscene amounts of weaponry on board the Majesty raked fire across the Danish lines. The smoking dishevelled Ragnarrok that limped from out of the harbour fell prey to a hounding barrage of torpedoes, condemned to an ignomous demise without contributing much of note to the entire battle. The Skaggerak gunships swerved in front of the crippled Asgard, shielding its bulk with their own hulls. Their gun turrets swivelled and obliterated one out of two remaining Tribals, ensuring panic in the ranks of the sole remaining Tribal cruiser. The Majesty ignored the offending Skaggeraks in favour of Sigurd cruisers, plowing round after round into the lead vessel until it sank. A Ruler battleship, sensing an exposed flank on the flagship, moved in to cover the Majesty and all but destroyed another of the Sigurd cruisers with barrages of torpedoes and naval cannons. Both the Ruler and the Majesty failed to finish the Asgard, failing to find the proper elevation at these close ranges.

 

RoundTwoTheSeaSlowlyTurnsRed.jpg

The sea slowly turns black and red

 

As the Commodores of both fleets radioed in their reports to their land-based counterparts, repair crews were dispatched and damage reports started flooding in. Several British vessels were sunk or derelicted. Crucially, the British dreadnought and battleship remained in good state and were able to present broadsides and rake nearly the entire Danish line. Worryingly though, the Danes were so close that many of the turret batteries were unable to depress their barrels properly towards their targets and the British torpedoes were unable to meet detonation criteria at these ranges. The Danes however were excelling at these ranges, though their Asgard-class flagship carrier was teethering on the brink of destruction. Perhaps more importantly, the British had split their battlelines as their Vanguard submarines and two full squadrons of Attacker-class frigates were still rounding the island in an ill-fated attempt to flank the Danes. When the Havel carriers moved to the center of the combat zone, they spread a swathe of mines behind them, ensuring that the British flankers would have to take the long route to avoid damage, thus buying precious time to deal with the center of the British lines.

 

RoundTwoNavalOverview.jpg

Naval proceedings so far

 

Near the town the forward elements of the Americans and the Teutonic-Prussian forces were engaging at close range. Pioneer tanks raced forward and disgorged their ordnance into the ranks of the A6-V tanks, which in turned presented broadsides and wracked the American horde of tanks. In support, Walze tanks served around and poured additional supressing fire into the Pioneer tanks. Surprisingly, the massed Prussian fire failed to decimate the Pioneers leaving over half of the diminutive tanks intact and ready to continue their disruptive activities. On the horizon American strike bombers continued their approach, angling in towards high value targets.

 

RoundTwoTheSTOAdvancesOnTheLandingParty.

Teutonic forces advancing upon the Americans

 

The Hochmeister stepped over a warehouse in Vlissingen and shook the ground as it waded into the thick of the confrontation in the front of the Prussian lines. It’s Speerschleuder turrets and batteries hummed as they charged their capacitors and readied the gigantic metal rods that were used as projectiles. With a thunderous blast all weaponry unloaded their rods in an arc towards the Philadelphia landship to the rear of the American lines. With unerring accuracy all of the steel bolts landed in the Philadelphia, buckling armour and rending great gaps in the hull. Sparks wreathed across the entire vessel and streaks of lightning arced between the rods. The Philadelphia took incredible damage, but crucially remained mobile though it was smoking heavily and the engines sputtered in protest.

ALandshipNearlySunk.jpgThe Philadelphia in the Hochmeisters' crosshairs

In retaliation the air contingent of the Americans responded with a veritable barrage: rocket after rocket screeched into the Hochmeister from the B-72 and the grand Savannah Sky Fortress banked to present broadsides, a mass of turrets filling the air with shells. The Hochmeister staggered as the shield protection from the nearby St. Michael-pattern Metzger buckled and cracked. Rockets found their marks in the joints and side armour plating, rending apart complicated machinery. Shells from the Savannah failed to find weak spots as the Hochmeister brought its sword arm up to shield itself from further harm. Then the Restitution spoke.

The Restitution had not sat idle and was skimming towards the Hochmeister, seemingly intent on a confrontation with its counterpart. The terrifying skimming robot brought up both Colt-cannon arms and spoke death. The revolving barrel systems of the Colt cannons enhanced the rate of fire dramatically and the sheer volume of metal slugging against the Hochmeister was enough to make it stumble and nearly fall backwards. The shield bubble protecting the Hochmeister from worse finally broke all the way and the Hochmeister was enveloped in a haze of multiple explosions as naval-grade ordnance detonated all over the massive robot. Speerschleuder turrets were knocked from their mounting and rod supply lines were ravaged. As the barrage subsided, the Hochmeister still stood determinedly, its greaves firmly planted in the Zeeland soil, but the left flank of the great robot looked decidedly worse for wear with black gouts of smoke erupting from gashes in the armour. Sparks were flying from the damaged Speerschleuder weaponry, and a jubilant cheer went up amongst the American lines.

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Jobs done. It's a big one. As usual, it's up on http//www.thomasverkooijen.nl/ as well.

 

Round Three

 

The Prussian General observed the hulking form of the Hochmeister as it was bathed in a ripple of explosions, black putrid smoke pouring from its multiple wounds. In the distance the menacing shape of the Restitution lurched as it moved on its thrusters towards Vlissingen with only the diminishing Teutonic Order standing in its way. The shields of the Saint-Michael pattern Metzger flared a blueish green as the bubbledome of the shield did its utmost best to absorb the punishment inflicted by the Americans. This was going to be rough.

 

RoundThreeFaceOff.jpg

The dreadbots are closer than ever

 

The American General surveyed the battlefield. As he watched, the Prussian bunker complex unloaded its cannons into the B-72. As much as it benefitted from the cover provided by the thick clouds of the Sturginium age, the size of the B-72 meant that even so some of the shells found weak spots in the fuselage. A blast erupted in the engines and with a blinding flash the B-72 disappeared, only to reappear a few moments later above Vlissingen. With a rushing sound air rushed to fill the space where the B-72 was but moments ago, and where the B-72 now appeared the air was pushed away with a loud bang. Though the crew was shaken, they suddenly found themselves in a position to conduct bombing runs much earlier than anticipated.

 

RoundThreeTheFSABombardsTheSTO.jpg

The Americans approach Vlissingen

 

Around the Hochmeister the air was thick with flak as dive bombers homed in on the stricken giant. Several of the small fliers tumbled from the skies as their fuselages were riddled with holes. Bombs fell screeching on the Hochmeister, though the angular plating deflected most bombs and the Hochmeister suffered no structural damage. Not satisfied with the damage inflicted so far, the Yorktown bombards added their firepower to the barrage on the Hochmeister. Most of the rockets went astray or were shot down by the few remaining Ack-Ack turrets, but a single rocket found an exposed fuel cable in the knee joint. With an unearthly speed the fire spread through the fuel lines, eventually reaching the interior tanks and with an earth-shattering blast that rocked the peninsula and caused waves to wash over the naval combatants, the Hochmeister detonated.
Wreckage was strewn for hundreds of meters as the towering hulk of the Hochmeister was torn apart.

 

ThingsGoBoom.jpg

The giant is slain. I am not sorry for horribly disfiguring this image for dramatic purposes.

 

Over in the naval side of things the detonation of the Hochmeister caused concern and celebration in equal measure. The Danes were shocked to see the lumbering giant fall and evaporate, but the British took it as though this meant victory was assured and continued their approach with renewed vigour. The Danish and British fleets were so close together now that marines could fire small-arms weaponry at their counterparts on opposing vessels. At these ranges a carnage was inevitable. Under thundering close range barrages the Asgard of the Danes finally succumbed to the tremendous damage inflicted upon its tortured hull as marines and crew alike jumped off the vessel and made for neighboring friendly ships. A brave few crew remained on board the Asgard as it sank stern-first. Depressing the front turrets to their lowest possible elevation, they unloaded their last few shells into the Majesty dreadnought. The Majesty’s shields hissed and buckled as they gave way to the brutish Danish turrets, leaving the vessel vulnerable.

The Ragnarrok meanwhile plowed on protestingly, its crew still frantically trying to repair the worst of the damage inflicted by the earlier Colt Cannon attack. As it passed an industrial rig the on-board marines activated their jump packs and rocketed aboard the rig, reinforcing the structure for an eventual British assault. When the British Ruler battleship fired at the Ragnarrok almost casually a few shots beneath the waterline were all it took to send the Danish pocket battleship to the murky depths just short of the Zeeland beach.

 

RoundThreeChaosSurroundsTheOilRigs.jpg

An overview shot of the carnage inflicted on both sides

 

Taking advantage of the British hubris wave after wave of Danish dive bomber zoomed towards the Majesty dreadnought. Diving nearly vertically, not all the Danish pilots managed to turn round for another run as several of the planes were blasted from the skies and several misjudged the distance and slammed into the Majesty, detonating their payload as they crashed onto the deck plating. Most however managed to drop their bombs and pull away, turning to the remaining Danish Havel-class carrier to resupply their now empty bomb racks. The Majesty’s hull blackened as ordnance scorched the vessel inflicting wounds and further exposing the internals of the behemoth vessel to the nearby Danish vessels. Made vulnerable, every remaining Danish vessel poured fire into the Majesty and in a withering display of close quarters gunnery the British flagship was turned into a blazing inferno. The British Commodore himself was caught beneath a beam as he made towards the escape boats. Cursing the Danes, he was melted alive when Sturginium-laced fuel burst from broken pipes and started corroding the once proud dreadnought.

 

In the ensuing chaos the British fleet was left in disarray. Ships struggled to establish communications again and the flanking force was left utterly bereft of direction, failing to reach the back of the Danish lines in time to turn the tide. In a rare display of sensibility the Attackers and Vanguards turned away from the remnants of the Danish fleet and made their escape. The Danish Emperor-class battleship proudly sailed between the rigs raking what few vessels remained of the British fleet. The Danes had suffered crippling losses, but in turn managed to destroy pretty much the entire British fleet apart from scattered escorts and the remaining flanking forces who now evacuated the battlefield.

 

RoundThreeNavalOverview.jpg

Another overview shot of the turbulent seas.

 

Back on the battlefield before Vlissingen the situation looked grim indeed for the Teutonic Order as the Americans retained numerical superiority and superior firepower. With the Saint-Michael pattern Metzger the sole remaining super heavy battle unit, the Teutonic battle lines attempted to consolidate into a solid front to withstand the American onslaught. However, the Restitution again proved its merit as with another burst from its horrifying Colt Cannons it easily swatted away the precious shields of the St. Michael and blew its right arm clean off. The Prussian Commodore implored the Order to stand fast, even as more rockets from the Yorktown bombards struck the now vulnerable St. Michael and inflicted lethal damage. Unlike the Hochmeister, the St. Michael did not detonate. Instead, it slowly fell forwards and shook the earth as it crushed several Faust and Defiance robots beneath its mass. The Prussian Commander ran for the emergency escape hatches, but was thrown through a window by the lurch forwards. With a sickening thud the Commander landed tens of meters away.

 

RoundFourTheCityIsBesieged.jpg

The Americans breach the Teutonic lines.

 

With the center of their line ripped apart and their leadership lost, the few remaining Teutonic and Prussian units nevertheless held fast as not even a single unit fell into disarray. The faces of crew and soldier alike stood grim as they prepared to make their last stand against the overwhelming American forces.

Aboard the Restitution the American General attempted to raise communications with his British counterpart. Unable to reach his counterpart, the American Commander turned his attention towards the naval theatre. Finally taking stock of the disastrous situation the Commander grit his teeth as he finally realised the danger to his landing party. With the British fleet out of action, their escape route was cut off. Without an advantage in the naval theatre any assault on Vlissingen, however succesful in devastating the entire city, could not be sustained beyond this single raid. Assessing his objectives the American Commander reached a decision.

The Teutonic forces were surprised when the American forces began to disengage. Choosing not to try their luck, the Teutonic and Prussian units took advantage of the lull in combat to disengage as well, grateful for the cessation of combat.

 

RoundFourABlowIsStruck.jpg

As the Americans finally overwhelm the remaining Teutonic forces, the order to retreat is given as their escape is threatened.

 

Closing up

 

At sea, the Danish fleet saw the Restitution change heading towards them and with the display of raw firepower freshly embedded into their minds the Danes decided to play it safe and they consolidated their fleet around the rigs. Just a short distance ahead the American barges lay unguarded, but the Danes held their fire. In an uneasy cease-fire the Americans re-embarked on their barges as the Restitution hovered overhead, its Colt Cannons held forward menacingly. The British flankers made radio contact and declared their intention to safeguard the barges from attack as best they could.

With a furious snarl, the American Commander turned away from his observation deck as the Restitution finally headed out back to open sea. Back to England. Although the American forces were more succesful than they dared hope, even against an unexpected dreadnought robot equal to their own, the prospect of holding out on their own as they were bombarded from sea and land without open supply lines deterred them from razing the fortifications around Vlissingen.

At the outskirts of Vlissingen the mood was dour. Only a handful of functional army elements remained. Although the Teutonics had stood their ground, they had suffered overwhelming losses and would probably not function as a full army ever again. Instead, the remaining units would have to be spread to other detachments as reinforcements or held as a minor garrison in Vlissingen itself. However, the fortifications still stood as the Americans had focussed their firepower on the Hochmeister first and the Teutonic and Prussian army second, seeing that as the greater threat to their assault. Nevertheless the loss of the Hochmeister to an unexpected enemy dreadnought robot was a heavy price to pay.

The Danes emerged as the army most closely resembling anything of a victor. They held the industrial rigs and succesfully destroyed or crippled most of the British fleet, although barely half the fleet remained afloat and personnel losses were high. Still, the Danes were content in their victory over the British, their pride satisfied for another day. Their pride swelled as it became clear that their naval supremacy meant that Vlissingen was spared, even though the Americans held an overwhelming advantage over the defending forces. Although a very costly victory, the Danish Commodore would receive a commendation for this battle.

  Aftermath

 

This concludes the battle report. I’ll do another write-up where I’ll explore the conclusion some more and I’ll try to get the Danish, American and British players to weigh in as well. The battle ended rather messily as the store closed and we were still in the thick of it, so the later parts of the battle were rushed to conclusion. In addition I do not claim this report to be absolutely correct, as I’ve embellished details and remembered some parts of the battle wrongly (as my American-playing bastard of a friend has repeatedly pointed out). In the end, I’d view a compelling narrative as more fun than a painstakingly correct battle report.

The results of the battle:

Imperial Bond

Kingdom of Denmark: 1915 VP.
Scandinavian Teutonic Order: 680 VP.
Imperial Bond total: 2595 VP.

Grand Coalition

Kingdom of Britannia: 1110 VP.
Federated States of America: 1355 VP.
Grand Coalition total: 2465 VP.

 

Considering both sides wielded about 3000 points, these results are VERY close. We called it a draw, and decided that as the Americans humiliated the Teutonics but the British were crippled beyond salvation that it would be interesting to spin the story to a forced retreat for the Americans and a crippling loss for the Teutonic Order.

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Thanks! The game took about six hours, give or take. I should add though that in the first two rounds we played player by player, so one player was doing his activation and three players would be waiting for their turn (so in effect it'd take twice as long as a normal game). In turns three and four we decided to shake it up as the armoured and naval theatres weren't having much interaction anymore anyway, and we continued 1v1, armoured versus armoured and naval versus naval. Ended up a glorious mess, but a great time was had by all!

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