Archive for July, 2007

Turn 4: The Great League Offensive

Posted in ACTA Campaign on July 26, 2007 by redcoat668

The days of border skirmishing came to an abrupt end this turn as the League of Nonaligned Worlds launched a major offensive against the Minbari and Narn. Simultaneously, the Tza’sol Narn moved a massive fleet of Bin’taks and Ka’bin’taks through the Centauri Jumpgate at Sparta Hill in an attempt to sieze a foothold for a full invasion. 

The situation on Turn 4

The League offensive crashed into the Minbari from their staging system of Ope’diar and rolled across their border in a continuous wave aimed at causing as much economic damage as possible. League fleets jumped into Volk’s Star, Pyra, and Rylus 5, and to cap it off a massive War/10 force drove directly into the Minbari capital world of Henders. In addition, League forces hit the Narn border worlds of Casino and Kellog. In unleashing this massive assault, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds is grasping at the sceptre…victory in all these targets will put the League within a very few systems of control of half the map and victory.

The forces of the Centauri Republic, the campaign’s other Great Power, remained largely quiescent this turn by contrast, though one battlegroup did jump into Saguntum III to contest once again with the Earth Alliance for control of the system. Indeed, the considerable effort the Centauri had expended on Turn 3 virtually required some downtime to retrench and rearm.

It remains to be seen, however, if the effort will pay off as both Narn factions have obeyed the blood imperative that binds them in hate with the Centauri and launched simultaneous attacks. The Regime forces have been content with merely nibbling at border worlds like Yois and Fager, but the Tza’sol Narn have launched a full-on offensive through the Centauri jumpgate at Sparta Hill with a massive fleet of dreadnaughts. Should the Tza’sol manage to secure this beachhead, the Centauri may face the same kind of economic disruption on Turn 5 that the Minbari are facing currently if the League offensive is successful.

Battles will be fought in the following systems:

  • Volk’s Star(D-6): Minbari/League
  • Pyra (D-7): (Minbari/League)
  • Rylus 5 (A-6): (Minbari/League)
  • Henders (E-7): (Minbari/League)
  • Casino (E-8): (Narn/League)
  • Kellog (E-8): (Narn/League)
  • Saguntum III (G-2): (Centauri/Earth)
  • Moshelle (C-4): (Earth/Raiders)
  • Sparta Hill (I-4): (Tza’sol/Centauri)  
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The Battle for Carthage: Drazi vs Narn

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on July 17, 2007 by redcoat668

 Turn/Time: Turn 3/January, 2261

Scenario: Call to Arms

Terrain: One minor planet on the Left table edge.

Situation: Narn and Drazi fleets meet over the strategic mining world of Cyclonus in the Carthage system. Each admiral must strive to do enough damage to make his opponent withdraw his claim to the valuable mineral resources. 

Drazi Freehold:

  • 1x Nightfalcon
  • 1x Stormfalcon
  • 3x Guardhawk
  • 6x Darkhawk
  • 3x Solarhawk
  • 3x Eyehawk

Drazi setup

Tza’sol Narn:

  • 1x Bin’Tak
  • 2x Var’Nic
  • 2x Ron’Goth
  • 1x Sho’Kar
  • 1x G’Quan

Narn setup

Deployment: Having lost initiative, the Drazi deployed in three groups along the long table edge, hoping to be able to contact the Narn fleet wherever it chose to deploy.  The Narn deployed their entire fleet on the Right table edge 45 degrees toward the center.

Turn 1: The entirety of the Narn fleet rapidly closed on the Drazi right flank, and the Drazi admiral desperately tried to reform his ships to face them. The Drazi were met by a blanketing fire of Narn energy mines, a tactic that ended up determining the entire course of the battle. Nevertheless, the Drazi got the first kill, as a Solarhawk sliced the Sho’kar in half with its solar cannon and a lucky Vital Systems critical. The victory was short lived, however, as the unfortunate ship was first crippled by fire from the G’quan, and then finished off by a Var’nic. Even more horrifying, the Bin’tak flagship accounted for a Darkhawk and six flights of Drazi fighters between her energy mines and main batteries. Within seconds of contact with the enemy, virtually the entire Drazi fighter screen was only so much tumbling wreckage. 

The Narn close in..

And the drazi try to reform their fleet.

Turn 2: Now completely without fighter support, the Drazi could only watch helplessly as Narn Frazi fighters tore into their capital ships. The heavily armed Narn craft destroyed a Guardhawk, and damaged several other ships.  A Solarhawk tore into a Ron’goth with all her front arc firepower, crippling it. The Bin’tak continued to show its awesome power, killing a Darkhawk with mine and laser fire. A Solarhawk destroyed a Var’nic, only to have her crew killed by energy mines, while the last Var’nic blew a Darkhawk apart. The Drazi ship blew apart in a devastating fireball which engulfed a nearby Eyehawk and Guardhawk already damaged by energy mines. Also floating adrift were the hulks of three other Darkhawks…reduced to burning wrecks by Narn energy mines.

The fleets meet and energy mines flare...

And a flurry of orders ensues...

Turn 3: A flurry of orders flashed out into the endless night as the admirals marshalled their fleets. The few Drazi fighters which had managed to leave their hangars the previous turn were picked off as they exited by the Frazis. The surviving Var’nic shredded an Eyehawk, while the Guardhawk opened up on a Ron’goth and crippled it. With six ships gone, the Drazi admiral decided that enough was enough and gave the order for his ships to break contact and withdraw.

The battle royale

A bad place for e-mines...

Turn 4: The Narn fighters managed to catch and destroy the last Eyehawk, but the remaining Drazi ships managed to make it off the board to safety. 

The Drazi retreat...

...and the Narn pursue.

Analysis: A devastating example of what happens when energy mines and low Hull value ships meet. While the mines themselves don’t do a lot of damage, they add up on ships not tough enough to resist them…and when those same ships start taking direct fire from Narn heavy lasers, they die like flies. Additionally, the Drazi were unable to concentrate their ships in time to concentrate their formidable forward arc weapons on the tougher-hulled Narn vessels.  

Special thanks to Marc for the pics and notes I based this Battle Report on!

The Battle for Caesar’s Folly: Centauri vs Earth Alliance

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on July 10, 2007 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 3/January, 2261

Scenario: Supply Ships

Terrain: One minor planet in the middle of the table.

Situation: A combined Earth Alliance fleet has caught a Centauri Battleship squadron overseeing the transfer of vital supplies to their new base in the Caesar’s Folly system. The EA must destroy as many ships as possible before the operational window closes (4 hours real time).

ToE:

The Earth Alliance:

TG Leonidas, consisting of:

  • 1x Omega (EAS Leonidas)
  • 1x Nova (EAS Xenophon)
  • 3x Hyperion (EAS Monmouth, Chapultepec, and Antaeus)
  • 2x Oracle (EAS Cayce and Memnon)
  • 4x Artemis (EAS Harpy, Phaeton, Juno, and Ares)
  • 2x Olympus (EAS Terpsichore and Beaujeu)
  • 2x Starfury Wing (320th and 1809th Combat Wings)
  • 2x Thunderbolt Wing (44th and 677th Assault Wings)

And TG Pegasus, consisting of:

  • 1x Command Omega (EAS Pegasus)
  • 2x Nova (EAS Nobunaga and Marlborough)
  • 3x Hyperion (EAS Carceron, Jason, and Hydra)
  • 3x Starfury Wing (1859th, 1755th, and 1857th Combat Wings)
  • 3x Thunderbolt Wing (82nd, 1746th, and 1757th Assault Wings)

The Centauri Republic:

TF Dominus, consisting of:

  • 1x Octurion (HMS Venatrix)
  • 1x Tertius (HMS Imperium Rex)
  • 2x Sullust (HMS Apollonius and Inferna)
  • 4x Elutarian (HMS Impera, Carrhae, Zoninus, and Octavius)
  • 2x Prefect (HMS Octavian and Vorenus)
  • 1x Maximus (HMS Gaius)
  • 2x Corvan (HMS Molon and Canis)
  • 8x Corporate Freighter
  • 2x Space Liner

Centauri setup

Setup: The Centauri deployed in a 1′ square around the planet. I deployed in a rough V formation on the upper left corner of the table.

Setup

The Battle:

Turn 1: The Centauri admiral reacted with lightning quickness the moment his sensor techs detected the forming jump points at the edge of the system. He powered up his ships and desperately brought them around to meet the attack, aided by the effects of the planet’s gravity well. Simultaneously he ordered his transports to get as far away from the planet as possible, rightly realizing that the Earth Alliance’s primary focus would be on his fleet. Only moments later, the EA combined task force presented a breathtaking sight as they advanced in an extended vee formation on the Centauri battlegroup. The defenders met them with a hail of accurate battle laser fire, and EAS Terpsichore and Monmouth died within the first minutes of the attack. Earth Alliance counterfire was desultory due to the extreme range, though EAS Marlborough scored a lucky engine critical on a Prefect. Both Pegasus and Leonidas concentrated their heavy lasers on HMS Venatrix but failed to score even a single critical on the Octurion, which was unable to fire back having used the All Stop Special Order that turn. Meanwhile, EAS Memnon led four Thunderbolt Assault Wings in pursuit of the fleeing supply ships.

The EA closes in

Turn 2: The Earth Alliance closed to effective range and the killing began in earnest. Battle laser, heavy laser, and pulse cannon fire stabbed through the darkness between the ships and Centauri and Humans fought and died. Venatrix’s main batteries finally spoke, and their power ripped EAS Beaujeu in half. EAS Xenophon scored several telling hits on the Imperium Rex and her escorts before succumbing to concentrated battle laser fire. The Centauri then turned their attention to Leonidas as Vice-Admiral Kaer frantically directed his Task Group’s fire. The ship buckled and twisted as the Elutarians, Sullusts, and Prefects poured kilojoule after kilojoule of energy into her. At last, a final blow from HMS Octavian proved too much for her damaged frame, and Leonidas vanished in a cloud of ever-expanding debris.

The Earth Alliance fought back valiantly. Leonidas’ Artemis escorts proved to be deadly effective with their railguns, with EAS Phaeton delivering the killing blow to the Prefect-class HMS Vorenus. EAS Antaeus lined up her boresight on the already crippled HMS Carrhae and tore her apart with heavy laser and pulse laser fire. And the Earth Alliance flagship Pegasus finally scored a telling hit on Imperium Rex, crippling her. Meanwhile, EAS Memnon and the Thunderbolts pursued the fleeing transports, downing two.

...and is met with a hail of fire.

Turn 3: With time running out, both admirals strove to cause maximum damage. The Earth Alliance had swept the skies clear of Centauri fighters and those Thunderbolts not hunting freighters were able to fire on capital ships, though with minimal effect. By this time, the fleets were locked firmly together in combat, trading both broadsides and front arc barrages. An Elutarian’s ballistic torpedoes punched a gaping hole into EAS Hydra. Marlborough fired her broadsides at several ships before being crippled. HMS Imperium Rex blew EAS Chapultepec apart, but her triumph was brief as Pegasus‘ boresight heavy laser ended her career. With Imperium Rex a glowing fireball, Pegasus turned her secondary armament on the hapless HMS Gaius, which had been rushing to join the battle and was damaged by the Octurion’s explosion. The hail of fire shredded Gaius and gave the EA flagship her second kill. As she hurtled through the debris, Pegasus flashed into HMS Venatrix’s front arc, and the Octurion let loose with a deadly accurate salvo. The Omega’s hull buckled under the onslaught and her reactor flared and died, but the ship held together. Memnon and her accompanying fighters managed to destroy a third freighter, but a lucky shot from a Space Liner’s pitiful armament blew her reactor.

The final brawl

At this point, both admirals recieved direct orders from their governments to terminate hostilities. The Centauri admiral graciously ordered his ships to stand down while Pegasus repaired her damaged reactor and retreated with the remains of her fleet.

Analysis: With 49 Victory Points to 19, this was a crushing defeat for the Earth Alliance. TG Leonidas was virtually wiped out except for the scouts, Monmouth was crippled, and Pegasus took heavy, though not crippling damage. Some of this was just karma: when your opponent consistently rolls 6-8 hits with 2 crits and you roll 3-4 hits with 1 or no crits, the Dice Gods are telling you it is not your day. The lucky transport shot that blew Memnon’s reactor was just insult to injury.

That said, there were two main problems with the EA’s strategy:

  1. At least one Hyperion should have been dispatched to hunt freighters. While the additional freighter kills would probably not have turned the tide, they would have kept the defeat from being quite so overwhelming.
  2. EA tactical doctrine has been to allow ships not part of an escort group individual initiative, in order to increase the likelihood of boresight shots. The Centauri, conversely, group most of their ships into squadrons, allowing them concentrated firepower. In practice, superior Centauri initiative has rendered the boresight advantage negligible, while allowing individual ships to be picked off by concentrated battle laser salvos before they can return fire. In the future, the EA should adopt Centauri-style doctrine in conducting fleet operations.

Had the battle gone on another turn or so, I probably would have crippled Venatrix and killed a few more freighters, but lost Pegasus in the process. All in all, three turns were more than enough.