Attack on Denzig Outpost

The Eurasian Solar Union had control of a small outpost around the planet of Denzig III. It was a stopover for patrols on their border with the New Anglian Confederation. The NAC decided that they wanted it, so launched a quick attack on the world, aiming to take out or drive off any defending forces and destroy the outpost. This was the scenario for our latest Full Thrust game at Farnborough Wargames.

This Full Thrust engagement was about 1,800pts, with the NAC attacking a world that was defended by the ESU. This was our second game, so we upped the stakes by including a couple of capital ships on each side and some fighters.

The NAC fleet had more points than the ESU, though some of those points was spent on the ground assault capabilities of the Albion battle carrier. As well as ortillery systems, it also had space for ground troops and landing craft, none of which would be used in the battle. Since it only carried two fighter groups, I’d added the Fearless escort carrier to bring the fighter count up to four squadrons.

Eurasian Solar Union Fleet
New Anglian Confederation

I wasn’t sure which way the point in-balance would go. Unfortunately the other NAC carrier I have is designed with 10 fighter squadrons, which would be a much larger imbalance.

The New Anglian Confederation have launched an unprovoked attack on the civilian settlement on Denzig III, killing hundreds of civilians.

— ESU Political Commissar

The ESU started by deploying their fleet around the planet, and then the NAC chose where they were coming out of jump. This probably gave too much of an advantage to the NAC, which possibly hurt the ESU. It may have been better to allow the ESU to reposition one of their ships after the NAC had placed theirs.

Defending ESU

The ESU had a Changchun class Light Carrier, a Khalinev class Battleship, a Kiang Light Cruiser and a Xinglong Heavy Cruiser. They also had a small base on the planet.

The NAC strike force consisted of a Albion class battle carrier, a Thunderer class battleship, a Fearless class escort carrier, a Lancaster light cruiser and a Battleaxe heavy cruiser.

The NAC came out of jump close to the planet, timing the attack so that the ESU’s carrier was on the opposite side of the planet. They immediately began to launch fighters, and opened up with beam weapons.

NAC attack fleet

The ESU orbital force launched their own fighters in response, though the outpost was slow to respond. The two battleships were first to engage each other, with the Khalinev making good use of its spinal mounted class 4 beam batteries.

Long range weapons with a single arc of fire aren’t as restricted when using vector movement. It’s easier to keep targets in your arc of fire when movement direction and facing are independent of each other. The Khalinov was able to keep its front targeting the NAC ships as it slid past them using its side thrusters for control.

The NAC and ESU prepare for battle

Fighters quickly engaged each other, with the heavy ESU fighters up against the lighter long range NAC fighters. The NAC tried to take on the ESU ships, but the ESU fighters wouldn’t allow it, forcing dogfights wherever possible. Losses were taken on both sides, but the NAC lost one hole flight.

By the end of the first turn, things were mostly balanced. Since battle had been joined at relatively close ranges, both sides had taken damage to their ships, in some cases having lost their first row of hull boxes. This was probably going to be a quick fight.

In the second turn, things took a turn for the worse for the ESU. It wasn’t helped by the player (me) getting confused about which ship was which. At attack by the Battleship Khalinov against the Albion used the weapons of the Heavy Cruiser Xinglong. Instead of six class four batteries, I used six class three batteries. By the time we noticed the error, it was difficult to roll back, so we assumed the heavy cruiser had fired since the ranges were similar. I also lost out on the use of two PDS against the attacking fighters.

Battleship Khalinov under attack by fighters

Return fire against the Khalinov got a lucky hit against the bridge, sending the ship out of control for the rest of the game. The light cruiser Kiang also took heavy damage, losing life support and deciding to flee the battle. planetary rules

NAC ships under attack by ESU fighters

The NAC had lost a lot of fighters by this point, leaving the ESU free to harass their larger ships. The Fearless escort carrier was able to use its area defence systems to help protect the ships, but it wasn’t as effective as hoped for.

With the ESU battleship and light cruiser effectively out of the fight, things were by now looking bad for the defenders. The outpost had by now managed to launch its own fighters, and was taking pot shots at anything that came over the horizon with its ground to orbit lasers. An attempt at long range ortillery fire from the Albion had done little to hurt the base at this point.

Beginning of turn 3. Only two ESU ships are still in the fight.

By turn three then, the battle was more or less decided, it was just a case of how much the ESU could cost the NAC for their victory.

The Xinglong tried to engage the Thunderer, but its beams did little damage even at close range. However, a combination of pulse torpedoes (17 points of damage alone) and beams vapourised the Xinglong

The ESU fighters continued to harass the NAC, continuing to do some damage before deciding to retire and try to catch up with their carrier. By now the Khalinov was in a position where it could target the NAC’s Lancaster light cruiser, but damage was mostly superficial.

The two NAC fighter squadrons that had been targeting the battleship turned their attention to the carrier, which was a mistake to them. The 16 PDS on the Khalinov made short work of the fighters before they could do anything.

The Albion got within range of the planetary base, and launched a devastating ortillery strike, which this time blew the base apart. The ESU had suffered a crushing defeat, though both the light cruiser and carrier managed to escape.

The NAC have successfully taken control of an illegal ESU military outpost in neutral territory, with minimal losses to themselves. Several ESU ships were destroyed or forced to flee.

— NAC News Report

This was my first go at trying out my planetary rules for Full Thrust. The planet had an atmosphere, which greatly reduced the effectiveness of most weapons against the base (adding +18″ to the range of any beam attacks, and granting the base one level of screens). Ortillery strikes were the best way of grinding it down.

We could have played through a ground invasion, but I decided to keep things simple.

It was difficult to determine how balanced it was. The NAC got really lucky with some hits, and I messed up early on confusing which ship was which. The short range of the engagement meant the ESU didn’t get to make big advantage of its long range weapons, but it did win the fighter war.

The NAC started with an advantage of being close together with the ESU spread out, which allowed the NAC to concentrate fire on a couple of ESU ships early on, taking them out of the fight.

Despite the loss to the ESU, it was a good game.

Samuel Penn