Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands - Part 2

The American Advance Fleet were among the first to sight the enemy. In a brash move, which would characterise the FSA actions that day, the commander of the destroyer squadron stoked his engines and ordered his ships to round the Saipan headland, putting them almost within striking distance of the port. Paddle wheels churning, they spotted a Prussian frigate squadron and unleashed a hail of rockets, causing the frigate Furst to explode in a bright fireball. The Prussians realised the danger the FSA destroyers represented and sped forward, while high above the Pflicht scoutships lumbered ominously toward the action, shrouded by cloud.

The British commander also signalled his frigate squadrons to advance, and move toward the airfield - but too late, he sighted the ominous, sleek outlines of two squadrons Japanese Frigates. Claxons sounded for evasive action, but before they could respond, the Japanese unleashed a barrage of gunnery that sent two frigates into the deep. British Hawk Gunships advanced forward cautiously, using altitude to cover their approach, but their gunnery against the frigates was ineffective. As the Hawks approached, they were stalked through the clouds by a pair of deadly Inari Gyro’s, who despite the difficult conditions, managed to land a well place rocket strike on the Hawks.

Seeing the approaching Prussian menace, the FSA destroyers ordered an all-stop and began to turn on the spot, launching rockets at the Prussian frigates, and the distant Japanese simultaneously, however, the Prussians had now closed into close range with the American destroyers, and their guns raked the American ships caused terrible carnage. The Americans reinforced the destroyers with the cruisers New Orleans and Olympia, the main guns of the cruisers claiming several of the frigates. However, now the bulk of the American fleet was now in close quarters with Prussian ships crowded with rocket marines. Realising his error the American commander ordered the Lee Scoutships to descend from the sky. The ponderous craft raked the approaching Pflicht zeppelin with fire, jamming one of their rudders, but the accurate return fire from the Prussians caused great loss of life, and set the Jackson alight.

Just as things were looking dire, the main assault force steamed into view. Aboard the Texas- the Enterprise class dreadnought, the FSA admiral realised the jeopardy of his advance fleet and used the kinetic generator to power forward, ordering his gunners to lay down a barrage. The tremendous roar of the main guns was deafening as first one, then two, then three Prussian frigates exploded. Undeterred by their heavy losses, Prussian destroyers advanced, their rocket marines hurriedly capturing the port of Saipan for the Empire, while the ships inflicted several crippling strikes on the cruiser. Then, the remaining Prussian ships launched their marines in a coordinated assault on the cruisers.
Meanwhile, on the other flank the Inari Gyro’s exchanged fore with the Hawks as both abandoned the cloud cover. In the ferocious exchange of fire, both Hawks were downed, plummeting blazing into the ocean, but one of the Inari suffered a fatal shot to a rotor, and spun wildly down into the sea. The frigates on both sides continued to fire at one another, and the British Admiral, seeing the Prussian dreadnought steaming toward his line, dispatched a squadron of frigates to bypass the lumbering beast, and land Royal marines on the Fort of Santa Lucia. The admiral was pleased a short time later to see the Britannian flag hoisted proudly above the rocky outcrop. Meanwhile the Avenger fleet carrier and the Hachiman class Dreadnought slowly closed on one another, firing salvo after salvo of torpedoes at one another. The Avenger took the worst of it, smoking heavily, but still she continued toward Tinan Island, determined to secure the critical airstrip there. Realizing the British intention, the Japanese admiral dispatched the mighty sky fortress to secure the objective, and it launched wave after wave of aircraft, which buzzed around the island angrily, daring the British to try and make landfall.
Meanwhile the American’s fought a desperate hand to hand battle aboard the cruisers New Orleans and Olympia to repel the Prussian boarders. Aboard the Olympia the Americans triumphed, but their victory was short lived as Prussian fire sunk the cruiser only moments later. On the New Orleans the Prussian rocket marines overcame American resistance. Outraged the captain of the Saratoga fleet carrier made a fatal mistake. He ordered his own Rocket marines to launch a reprisal boarding action on the largely undefended small Prussian ships. Lucky AA fire claimed several American lives, but one of the Prussian ships was captured and hoisted American colours. Just as the bridge staff were congratulating one another, an ominous dark shadow fell over the carrier as the Pflicht scoutships seized the opportunity to attack the depleted carrier and descended from the sky, launching their marines. The gunners aboard the carrier filled the sky with flack, but it was too late as the crack Prussian commandoes seized the carrier whose decks were still crowded with aircraft. Aboard the American Dreadnought the mood turned from disbelief to outrage as it became apparent that not only had the bulk of the remaining fleet been captured, there was no prospect of now capturing the Port of Saipan.
The British Dreadnought exchanged fire with both Japanese and Prussian dreadnought, inflicting hits on both. Meanwhile the great shadow of the Tenkai sky fortress fell over Tinian island and Japanese sky samurai effortlessly claimed the airfield in the name of the Blazing Sun. Dogfights raged over the island as Japanese and British pilots did battle but both admirals were forced to concede their enemies gains.