The Invasion of Port Stanley - Part 3

The waters around the stationary FSA battleship erupt as huge metal tentacles cause massive damage to the crew, however, a determined resistance by the doomed marines fights off the terrifying monstrosity, and the Ika slip back into the deep.  The FSA battleship does not have long to celebrate though, as a series of well placed shots from a squadron of Tanuki gunships punch large holes beneath the waterline, and the great ship lists, then slips beneath the waves.

In the skies overhead the fierce fire-fight between the Savannah Sky Fortress and Tsukuyomi War Gyro rages on, until fire from the British shield towers finish the matter sending the war gyro careening down into the ocean.  However, only moments later, precision gunnery from Epicurus Sky Fortress causes the great American balloons to erupt in a gigantic ball of flame.

The Olympic troop transport, that had thus far weathered the invasion safely berthed in at the port, now determined to go out and face the might of the invaders.  Her captain knew it would be a one-way mission, but the ship bravely cast off and made for the gleaming hull of the Covenant battleship.  Blazing Sun torpedo bombers swooped on the Olympic, causing damage to the hull, but steeling his nerve the captain set ordered full speed and the mighty liner crashed headlong into the Covenant craft, but even with this great sacrifice, his vessel caused no significant damage, in reply the Aristotle unleashed it’s terrible particle cannon at point blank range, inflicting massive loss of life on board the liner.  Expert fire from the battleships turrets strikes home, and the one proud liner dips beneath the waves.

Blazing Sun small landing barges disgorge dozens of Ke-Ho small tanks onto the beach, as larger landing craft manouvre to deposit their deadly cargo.
 Outside the city the invaders concentrate their fire on the British bunker complex from both land and sea squadrons.  The Atticus walkers advance, supported by both Covenant and Prussian bombards, but still the stubborn gunners in the bunker complex fire on, damaging one of the walkers, then launching a daring boarding raid against a second, and causing the walker to come to a shuddering halt.  Overhead freshly refuelled British dive bombers streak down and destroy the third walker, raising British spirits.  British hopes soar even further when a handful of terrier tanks, all that remains of the British armoured forces, manage to rupture a vital system inside the Seydlitz Mobile Airfield, and render the massive Prussian juggernaut a smoking ruin.

Then, as the lumbering Epicurus Sky Fortress nears the shore, it’s dive bomber drones strike the beleaguered bunker complex with a massive concentration of ordinance, reducing all fighting capabilities in the huge complex.  The Pflicht airships which had been held in reserve now sweep forward and Prussian storm troopers waste little time in securing the remains of the complex.  The Invaders have claimed their first objective.

More landing craft arrive and invading forces sweep toward the city.

Now their attention shifts to the port bunker and landing field.  Prussian Dive Bombers who only recently escaped the inferno aboard the mobile airfield dive down on the landing field and set it ablaze.  The flak towers in the city send up a fearsome barrage, claiming many of the Prussian pilots.  Elsewhere in the city, the flak and shield towers are being knocked out one by one.  A small landing barge full of small Xenephon walkers is teleported directly to the docks and the Covenant walkers start destroying the city defences piece at a time.

Finally British and American Reinforcements are sighted.  The mighty Brunel mobile Airfield advances firing round after round from its powerful main guns into the Imperium Sky Fortress, while other British tanks fan out to take the fight to the Prussian forces.  In the city two huge Washington Class landships move into the city, accompanied by a swarm of small pioneer tanks.

Prussian reinforcements also arrive with two Geier Bombers flying forward to support the Prussian airships.  Behind these is a lumbering A9 – V Land Ship and a squadron of A6-V medium tanks.

The arrival of the British and American reinforcements comes too late for the landing field however, as more Prussian dive bombers from the Impreium sky fortress strike home, turning the entire area into a raging conflagration.  The Invaders have now achieved 2 of the objectives.  In grim retribution a wing of American fighters enage the wounded Prussian Sky Fortress sends the mighty imperium careening to the ground, but it is too little, too late for the defenders.  With the reinforcements occupying the city with land ships and medium tanks, the invaders must destroy the bunker which guards the port.  It has been badly damaged, and now the entire might of the invasion fleet opens up on the squat structure. 

The ground is torn asunder around the bunker, and hit after hit strikes home, but as the fury of the barrage abates, the bunker remains intact, albeit barely.  Then, just as it seems the defenders will triumph, a single Blazing Sun corvette, all that remains of a full squadron, fires a salvo that manages to penetrate the last vital bastion of the bunker defences, and destroys the fortification.  The invaders have triumphed, but only by the slimmest of margins.

Final Victory Points:
Defenders: 2

Authors Note: The game was done and everyone seemed happy with the epic, if improbable, outcome.  Had we another day, it would have been great to play out the battle through the city between the invading forces and reinforcements, but I think the scenario suceeded in its aims.  I asked each of the players to write a small piece reflecting on the game, what worked, what didn't, and their favourite units.  Their text is copied below:

Prussian Empire
The Prussian plan was two phased with the first objective to damage then board
the bunker and allow the naval forces to achieve a landing then move on with
remaining forces to the second objective to destroy the airfield while the
landing forces moved into the city. The follow on forces would support the
attack on the airfield, protect the AP in the bunker and provide further AP if
required to re-take the bunker if it was lost.

To achieve this the plan was to push forward on the right flank with the
airfield, Waltz Tanks and Pflichts to get out of the gun arcs of the bunker and
assault it from the side while softening the defences with the Metzgers and
bombards head on to reduce its AA firepower and AP (with lethal strike) if
possible. Once through the gap the forces on the flank would then be used to
attack the airfield.

The battle went more or less as planned. The British Armour and Air Defence
proved to be quite troublesome and dealt a significant amount of damage to the
leading units which meant the bunker was still intact during the landing but it
was eventually destroyed and boarded. Losing the large flyer early on was a
heavy blow. The bombards also struggled in the indirect roll with the guardian
generator proving its worth meaning their fire was ineffective. The
Antarctican forces teleported in were of great help and managed to draw some of
the fire away and without this the British Armour may well have held the line
preventing the destruction of the airfield.
Most outstanding unit would have to be the mobile airfield. It soaked up a lot
of hits but just kept rolling forward protecting the units behind it. It
provided six valuable tiny flyers and was able to land and launch two flights a
turn with its dual deck which would prove invaluable throughout the battle and
meant that there was enough diver bombers in the air fully fuelled and armed to
support the destruction of the airfield.

There was not a lot of manoeuvre room up front so the forces were pretty much
arranged as best they could. Maybe the Metzgers would have been better in
front of the airfield providing protection to it from the medium tanks.
Focusing fire on the bunker could have been left to later and the guardian
generator was a problem so targeting the landship and tanks a bit earlier,
particularly with the bombards and metzger, might have been a better option.

Covenant of Anarctica
 My plan was to join the Japanese/Prussian land invasion from the east,
engage and destroy defending naval forces before bombarding the coast,
put a small diversionary landing force on the west to lock up
defending naval forces, and teleport units as support directly into
battles at key moments.

The teleportation of units directly onto land in aid of the Prussians
seemed to work spectacularly well, with the destruction of the British
land commodore and guardian shield generator. The bombards and
walkers also did some crucial damage to the fortified bunker to the
east, which despite overwhelming force was incredibly resilient.

The diversion did lock up the defending forces, but given the quick
nature of the battle, I'm not sure the defenders really could have
gotten from the western flank to the eastern land front in time to
save that fort anyway. The diversionary force could probably have
been more effective landing themselves and attacking the defenders
quicker. I also underestimated the effect of tiny fliers on attacking
the landing craft of the diversion force, aborting the landing on the
west coast.

The star of my fleet had to be the Orb, which did allow great
flexibility in landing units and coming to the aid of the otherwise
completely isolated Prussian forces.

Next time I would ignore most of the defence force and perform more
than one landing, accepting more losses at sea. The game is simply
not long enough to land on the eastern edge of the map, and the
deployment area far too tight for one landing zone given the number of
towing craft. Landings must be performed directly at the coastal fort
and near the fortified bunker in the east.

Empire of the Blazing Sun
My plan: was to try and knock off the centre defences (battleship, gunships, frigates and destroyers) as quickly as possible and run transports up the left had edge then kick them towards the centre as the defences were mopped up.  Corvettes were for an initial screen then a wild charge on the battleship to soften it up for the Ika.  The landing platforms were to be towed up using my fastest mediums (my gunships) who then head toward the centre to bombard land defences. A battleship was used to tow one large barge and a Covenant battleship towed another large barge, this still left one under its own power. My carrier was to hang around centrally and recycle the tiny flyers while the battle gyro was to lend support against the enemy air power on the Covenant side.

What happened: traffic congestion in the centre and flank, small landing craft streaked ahead screened effectively by the corvettes.  Behind them towing the barges did work but activations had to be very carefully planned and executed, while the advance of the landing craft did remain as fast as we could achieve the landing beach was too congested to land all craft at the same time, and not enough space on the beaches or on the sea to move craft more central.  This left my ground forces too far on the flank to have any part in the land battle, although if the game had of continued then would have been well placed for an advance on the town.  Centre went according to plan other than above, but defences removed efficiently and with minor losses initially.  Sky fortress recycled torpedo bombers well, but battle gyro could not hit many targets but did hang on and draw a lot of fire until it went down…. With my navy commodore.  Corvettes and Gunships swept across the table bombing shore as planned, although the corvettes lasted much longer than I expected and ultimately had the last laugh with a last desperate salvo…

Stand out: Corvettes….  These were great, with a squadron of five they packed a reasonable punch and did damage where ever they went, hard to hit they were whittled down slowly until the last shot which after 2 battleship salvos and a gunship salvo, the last surviving corvette destroyed the enemy Bunker and won us the pivotal 3rd objective.  I must say though it was incredibly satisfying landing the army forces as intended on the beaches via landing craft!!!

What I would have done differently:  I thought my deployment was on the wrong side of the board (but didn’t really think of that until the end of day 2), as I was better equipped to take on the FSA air forces and the Orb could still teleport from the far side of the board.  Hind sight is a wonderful thing; I could have taken more damage on the landing craft and got them through next to the bunker objective quicker although with substantial losses, they would have then played a part in the battle.  I’m not convinced on the towing to increase speed as in the end the extra vessels required clogged up the sea lanes and were restricted from being as aggressive as they could have been.

Overall – Fantastic game, had lots of fun and it felt very right, it was my first beach assault and it sure added to the atmosphere of the game for me! 

Federated States of America
- My Plan was: to hold the right edge of the board and push the attacking ships to the left (further away from the city). I also wanted to keep some of my airfleet in reserve to support the reinforcements... that didn't really happen unfortunately!
- What went right: We definitely forced to attackers to the left... and I was able to screen my torpedo bombers well enough to get three good attacks in. The Gunboats and the Battleship did their job as well, and despite all my complaints the FSA battleship was a target/obstacle until turn 5 or 6!
- What went wrong: Apart from my luck deserting me from round 2 to about turn 7? The ill fated attempt to take the attack to the Antarctic Capital ships with the Valley. It was a gamble to storm forward like that, but bad dice rolls and the lack of activations left my Skyship way too vulnerable to counter attack!
- Standout Model?: Definitely that wing of tiny flyers. They were my only unit to activate and in every round survive the entire battle. More over they destroyed an Antarctic Cruiser, landed and lauched from the Airfield that was under constant attack, and then in their fighter role took down the Prussian Sky Carrier! All without a single loss!
-  What I'd do differently? - Move the Gunships and Battleship closer to the air support. They were too isolated in the middle and were never going to hold back the horde of landing ships by themselves epecially with all the extra activations the japanese had. More over they were way too easily screened by smaller ships, that are just way too insanely difficult to hit (the corvettes). By being closer to the air fleet they could have concentrated their fire better and would have (hopefully) given my air assault more of a chance i.e. more HP damage would have lowered the Antarctic AA, which in turn would have given the Valley and the Lees' marines more chance in their assault!

Kindgdom of Britannia

I had planned to use my tanks to hold the Prussians at bay hoping that the Bunker Complex and minefields would slow their advance for long enough to weaken their numbers.  Meanwhile my vanguards and destroyers would cause as much damage as possible on the invading forces.

The British tanks performed extremely well and surpassed my expectations.  Were it not for the teleportation of the Archimedes walker to take out the Sovereign Land Ship, I think I might have brought another, critical, turn before the Prussians overwhelmed the landing field.  The Guardian generator was invaluable, but the standouts were the Merlin interceptors and the terrier tanks.  The former delivered a significant morale boost by taking out the Gewitterwolke Airshipearly on, and ther later had tremendous staying power, literally worrying the massive mobile airfield to death.

At sea my fortunes were considerably worse.  Despite thinking this would be an ideal scenario for the vanguard submarines they managed to sink not one enemy model.  They rammed landing platforms and barges many times, but always the 6 critical dice failed to equal the DR of the target, much to the amusement of the enemy players.
My hawks were also our only hope for re-taking the bunker complex before the game ended, but alas, I did not realise this until it was too late.

The fortifications performed admirably, and were an excellent mix of extremely difficult to destroy, without being overly powerful.