The newly commissioned Duke of Iron was assigned to protect the Salvation Island chain. This key stretch of islands acted as a midway point on the long merchant routes from Greater Ammoriss to the western ports of the North. The island chain was home to several key strategic points, and only a small Naval flotilla protected the critical zone from the enemy.
Flag Captain Augustus St. Pierre was put in overall command, and provided the newly recommissioned Duke of Iron Reliable Class Cruiser to act as his command ship. A days sail away from his new assignment, the look-outs on the Reliable spotted smoke on the horizon. Augur signs confirmed a ship, but could not identify. The Flag Captain ordered a rendezvous course set, and the other ship seemed all to happy to oblige.
As the mystery ship drew closer, look-outs were able to confirm it was a xeno raider. NavComm North was not the only ones interested in the Sailor's Rest Chain. The Orks had also come to raid the shipping lanes.
The Ork craft seemed all to eager to engage. Flag Captain St. Pierre didn't back down from a challenge. So, history has recorded the first battle of the Salvation Islands Campaign, a ship-to-ship engagement between the Ork Big Dakka Boat, Da Big Boss; and the North Ammoriss PDF Reliable cruiser, the Duke of Iron.
We decided that this battle was going to take place in the open ocean. It was going to represent the Duke of Iron sailing towards its new command. Meanwhile, Da Big Boss was patrolling the merchant lanes looking for victims. By chance, the two ships happen to cross paths along the main merchant routes. Therefore, we did not place any terrain for this battle. Again, I was hesitant, but my opponent wanted to get a strong feel for the mechanics.
Duke of Iron versus Da Big Boss
Initiative: Orks win
Unsurprisingly, the Orks use their Waaagh! Move to race forward and try to close the distance between the two ships. For her part, the Duke of Iron turns to the side to bring her Broadsides to bear. She has crossed the T of Da Big Boss, and is heading to the Ork cruisers starboard side.
Da Big Boss finds that the her firepower is reduced as the gun krews hold on for dear life as the ship surges forward. In addition, the PDF ship is cunningly moving abeam to make the few shots that can be fired harder to hit with. Wetboss Narblitz just shrugs and bellows for his boyz to open fire.
Two of the shots seem to be on target, and the Flag Captain has a serious problem. Should he Brace for Impact and potentially avoid damage or trust in his ships armor and attempt to Lock-on when he could fire? One of the hits could potentially cause Critical damage!
This early in the game, Flag Captain St. Pierre decides to risk it and trust in his armor. The extra hits from Locking On could make the difference as the Ork Krooza will be able to Brace freely, since they have all ready attacked. The Flag Captain's gamble pays off, as his ship's armor belt absorbs the Ork shells, sending an ominous ringing throughout his ship.
Now, the Duke or Iron can attempt to return the favor. Thanks to the turrets on the Reliable cruiser's Macro-cannons, she can turn all her firepower on the xeno marauder. The St. Pierre gives the order to Lock-On and fails the command check. The ringing of the ship's hull garbles the message, and the gun crews are unable to carry the order out. The gunners have a difficult shot as Da Big Boss is wreathed in obscuring smoke, and moved over 12 inches. They need 6's to hit. Locking On would have made things a lot easier!
Despite the tough shot, two shells strike home. Wetboss Narblitz orders the Ork krew to hunker down, and his Nobz ensure the order is carried out. Good thing too. The shells batter the armored super structure, but the grot riggers are able to seal key bulkheads thereby avoiding any serious damage.
There are no Hulks, no Ordinance, and no wake at this point.
Initiative: Orks Win, the +1 Leadership due to Nobz is really paying off!
Da Big Boss slows its movement, choosing not to Waaagh! This turn. She makes a turn to starboard to try and keep the PDF ship in her Bow weapons arc. That is where her heaviest gunz are.
Flag Captain St. Pierre knows that the Orks will shoot first again. He decides to try to increase speed to get out of the front arc of the Big Dakka Boat. He successfully orders All Ahead Full. This successfully moves his ship away from the Ork ships bow gunz.
Wetboss Narblitz fumes impotently as the PDF cruiser has rushed out from under his gunz. The Starboard batteries open fire with a belch of flame and smoke, but the shells splash harmlessly short.
The Duke of Iron's stern gun batteries swivel smoothly on their turrets and bring their superior range to bear on the ork vessel. This time, it is moving abeam, and still wreathed in smoke. The Macro-cannons open fire, but fail to find the Ork ship.
Nothing to do in this phase.
Initiative: This time the PDF won!
The Flag Captain wants to set-up for future broadsides, so he orders, Come To New heading. This will reduce his firepower this turn, but will hopefully help him get the angle for future shots.
The Ork Wetboss is in a tight spot. His ship is somewhat out of position. He can either rush ahead to create a greater distance and move out of range, try to match the PDF ships maneuver and risk her guns, or turn slowly and hope to find the range with her side batteries.
The Narblitz decides to Waagh! forward. This doesn't require a command roll, and keeps him moving abeam to the other ship.
Despite the Ork raiders best efforts, she is still in range of the Duke of Iron's heavy shells. However, the shot will require 6's to hit, and the ship has all ready used its Special Order. The Reliable cruiser rocks back as her full broadside booms out! 2 box cars out of 8 dice.
Since the Ork Wetboss is pretty sure he has nothing to fire back with, he declares a Brace for Impact against the two potential hits. However, this time the boyz of the krew are caught out of position. They don't get to their stations in time. It is up to the Big Dakka Boats armor to protect them. Two fours are rolled. Not enough! Worse, the hits cause critical damage as they were both sixes! A roll on the Critical Damage chart indicates that the Starboard Gunz and Torpedo Tube have been knocked out!
The Ork has nothing to shoot back with.
|We shudda put gunz in da back ov da boat!|
The Ork Mekz leap into action directing their grot charges on what to do. Their diligent work quickly gets the Starboard gunz remounted, and after shooting a few Grot Riggers through the bow torpedo tube the jam is quickly cleared.
Initiative: Orks win
Wetboss Narblitz surveyed his position and that of the enemy vessel. It was clear that it would take extreme manuevering to get to fire some dakka into the PDF ship. Meanwhile, the long range macro-cannons of the Oomie ship would pound him mercilessly.
With a roar of frustration, he ordered his krew to steam away. When an Ork runs away, it doesn't count as losing, because he was just going to get more kroozaz and tubz. Da Big Boss fired up a head of steam and disengaged from the battle by sailing off the edge of the board.
End of Battle
By the time the Duke of Iron came around, the Ork vessel all ready had a substantial lead. Despite that, Flag Captain St. Pierre doggedly gave chase. The Flag Captain's efforts to have reinforcements routed to the area to pin the Ork raider came to nothing. No other ships were in the proper position to hem in Da Big Boss.
As night came, the Duke of Iron gave up pursuit. The darkness let the Ork craft slip away undetected. She lived to raid again. However, the engagement had kept a small convoy of merchant ships from falling under the gunz of Wetboss Narblitz. All in all, a small victory.
You can find everything you need to play Aquanautica Imperialis in the Free Wargames section to the right. This includes rules, fleet lists, paper terrain, and ship templates.