Monday, February 27, 2017

Castles in the Sky- Balkan Uprising- Breakthrough at Salonica

Castles in the Sky- Balkan Uprisings Campaign- Breakthrough at Salonica

With the land war bogging down around Salonica, the Ottoman League has decided to throw their weight into a battle over the front lines.  Members of all the Ottoman League nations have assigned vessels to the attempt.  As Salonica is the flashpoint of the campaign, the Balkan League has their assets operating in the area.  When word arrives from scouts on the ground of the assembling enemy fleet the Balkan forces quickly move to intercept them.  A showdown is inevitable in the skies over Salonica. 

The Ottoman League
Ottoman Empire
Sultan Mehmed II- Fatih                            Captain: Seydi Al Reis                     Command: 3- Flagship
Class: Sultan Osman-I Evvel                         Category: Battleship                       Armor: 9

Basra                                             Captain: Hasan Rami Pasha                          Command: 2
Class: Barbarous Heyreddin         Category: Heavy Cruiser                               Armor: 8

Mecidiye                                             Captain: Medvid Reis                                     Command: 1
Class: Hamidiye                                 Category: Cruiser                                             Armor: 8

Barbaros                                              Captain:  Murat Pasha                                    Command: 2
Class: Berk Efsan                              Category: Torpedo Boat                                    Armor: 4

Prince Eugen                                      Captain: Anton von Sterneck                      Command: 2
Class: Tegethoff                                               Category: Battleship                       Armor: 9

Bravo                                                    Captain:  Anton Pock                                      Command: 4
Class: Huszar                                      Category: Destroyer                                       Armor: 6

San Bartolomeo                             Captain: Paolo Revel                                       Command: 1
Class: Vettor Pisani                          Category: Armored Cruiser                          Armor: 8

Total Points: 52 Armor Points

The Balkan League
Poltava                                                 Captain:  Pyotr Senyavin               Command: 2 - Flagship
Class: Imperatrista Mariya            Category: Battleship                       Armor: 8

Oleg                                               Captain: Aleksey Rozhestvensky               Command: 2
Class: Bogatyr                               Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7

Vityaz                                                    Captain: Georgy Vysotskiy           Command: 2
Class: Bogatyr                                    Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7

Albatros                                               Captain: Feliks Golokov                 Command: 3
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5

Sova                                                      Captain: Vladimir Greig                  Command: 1
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5

Brennus                                               Captain: Theo Aube                        Command: 4
Class: Charles Martel                      Category: Heavy Cruiser                               Armor: 8

Primauguet                                        Captain: Jean de Vienne                               Command: 4
Class: D’iberville                               Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7

Total Points: 54 Armor Points

This attack and defense are so important, each fleet has their admiral present for the battle. 

The Mission
The Ottoman forces are trying to force their way past the blocking Balkan League ships.  If successful, they will be able to target and attack key Command and Control and Logistic centers behind enemy lines.  This could cause the Balkan attack to crumble. 

The Ottoman’s timed their attack to occur during a storm lashing the area.  The clouds for the storm are at Altitude 3, and anyone below the cloud cover is considered in the storm.  The normal rules found in Castles in the Sky apply. 

The Ottoman League set-up on a long board edge in a wedge formation intent on smashing their way past the Balkan defenders and to victory.  The attack was spearheaded by the Ottoman flagship the Sultan Mehid-II Fatih/  To the flagship port was the Italian San Bartolomeo, the Austrian Prince Eugene, Bravo Destroyer, and Barbaros Torpedo Boat.  The Starboard side is the Mecidiye and the Basra.  They are mostly at mid-heights going full speed, but above the cloud line. 

The Balkan League defenders are split into two groups.  They appear eager to close the center gap and cross the T of the Ottoman attackers.  On the south side is the Russian Poltova flagship, followed by the Brennus and the Sova.  On the North side is the Vityaz, Primauguet, Oleg, and then the Albatros.  They are also at various altitudes, but they are move much slower to try to time their T-cross appropriately. 

Turn 1-3
Initiative: The Ottoman’s win and choose to go first.  Admiral Seydi Al Reis has a better command rating and that is helping the Ottoman’s win.    

The Ottoman battle line presses forward methodically at speed 5 with no altitude changes.  The Balkan League creeps c bit closer, but looks ready to close the trap. 

None.  No one has the range.  At the end of Turn 3, long range is in play but no one fires in fear of jamming or failing ammo rolls before the shots are truly needed. 

Turn 4:
Initiative: Ottoman’s win and choose to go first again.  They have 3 orders available while the Balkan League gets none. 

Admiral Al Reis orders all Ottoman ships to full speed ahead!  The ships begin to break up their line formation.  The Escorts race ahead and move to bypass the Balkan battle line.  In addition, the Sultan and Prince stoke their boilers enough to generate a smoke screen for protection.

The Balkan League slow and prepare to receive and deliver fire as they have crossed the T of the inbound Ottoman ships.

The Ottoman fleet opens fire across the line as they rapidly close the distance!  Admiral Senyavin is deeply saddened by the fact that he will not be able to Brace!  The Italian armored cruiser blasts the Brennus with a barrage of Air Torpedoes.  The PD get two, but two more crash into the side of the ship and cause damage.  The Brennus is then plastered by the guns and bow torpedoes of the Prince Eugene as well.  It is left with 5 blasts and two hits. 

The Sultan fires on the Poltava and hits her once, leaving a blast.  Admiral Al Reis is glad he has the smokescreen to protect him from the return fire. 

Air Torpedoes from the Mecidiye and the Basra blast the two Bogatyr class cruisers, but leave only bursts as the Point Defense gunners do their jobs admirably.  However, medium battery fire hits the Vityaz twice from the Mecidiye. 

The Basra uses her broadsides on the approaching French cruiser, Primauguet and cause two bursts and two hits! 

The Brennus fires on the Tegethoff with her full broadside, but the smokescreen and bursts keep the shells from finding their mark!  In addition, the hits caused the Brennus’s forward ammo loaders to jam.  The Primauguet’s bow torpedoes mostly miss the Basra, but the PD kills one and the other strikes a vulnerable place on the ship.

The Poltova fires on the Sultan, but the smokescreen and height difference spare her from any serious damage and instead she takes a burst.  The Oleg fires on the Mecidiye, and inflicts a burst as well. 

Apply damage.  The Brennus’ rudder was jammed in the barrage, and she lost two Armor.  The Vityaz had its screw fouled and lost two armor points.  The D’iberville lost two armor and had the bridge hit! 
The Basra lost 1 armor point and the Port Light Battery was disabled. 

No Repair rolls due to Bursts on the ships. 

Burst removal.  Both sides rolled a 1!  The Ottoman’s took it off the Sultan, while the Balkans took one off the Poltava.   
Turn 5
Initiative: Ottoman’s win and choose to go first again.  Both sides have 1 order.

The Ottoman’s do not let up speed and plow ahead.  The Sultan races just over the Poltova and the Mecidiye is almost right under her as well.  The battle is turning into a knife fight as the lead Ottoman forces crash through the Balkan battle line.

Admiral Al Reis orders the crew of the Mehmed Il-Fettih to lock onto the Poltova, which they do.  The guns on the Ottoman battleship roar to life in a full point-blank broadside.  Admiral Senyavin orders the Poltova to Brace for Impact, but the crew fails to respond in time!  4 bursts and 3 good hits from the barrage. 

The Mecidiye, also fires her bow battery at the Poltova, but her turret jams and can not come to firing position.  However, her stern medium battery hits the Vityaz two more times, and the light batteries pepper her with three bursts.  The Primauguet dove under the altitude of the Basra to get out of firing range of the Heavy Cruiser. 

The Prince Eugene’s main  guns hit the Brennus for another hit and two more bursts!  The San Bartolomeo has no forward guns and does not try to re-load ordinance.  

The Vityaz and the Oleg fire on the Mecidiye and manage to land two hits (Vityaz) and 4 bursts.  The Sova also manages to land two bursts on the Bravo at the edge of the battle despite fighting in the stormy cloud cover. 

Apply damage! In addition to losing two armor (taking her to 3), the Vityaz catches on fire!  The Poltova loses three armor (down to 5), and also loses her rear medium battery.  The Brennus also loses another point of armor down to 5.  The Mehmed Il-Fatih is reduced to 8 armor.  The Mecidye is reduced to 5. 

No repair rolls are possible since all ships have bursts on them. 
Burst removal.  Ottoman’s roll 3 and Balkan’s roll 5.  Ottman’s remove bursts from the Mehmed il-Fatih and the Bravo.  The Balkan/s remove bursts from the Poltova and 1 from the D’iberville. 

(Note, I ran out of burst markers so I switched to a d10 to show how many on each ship! 

Turn 6:
Initiative: Ottoman’s win again and go first again.  1 order each.

The Barbaros Torpedo Boat escapes off the board, giving the Ottoman’s 4 armor and it looks like the Huszar will escape next turn.  The rest of the Ottoman fleet plows forward.  The Oleg and Poltava try to pull up parallel to the Mehmed Il-Fatih to slow her escape.  Meanwhile the San Bartolomeo and Prince Eugene try to get by the immobilized Brennus.  The Mecidiye and the Basra are bogged down by the Vityaz and the Primauguet tries to skirt around behind the battle. 

Shooting: This time Admiral Al Reis fails to get his crew to lock-on to the Poltova, but he again hits her with a close range broadside.  5 solid hits this time, however this time the crew of the Poltova are ready and Brace.  All but one are ignored! 

The Mecidiye slugs the Vityaz with another slew of shells causing two hits.  The Basra lands another one! It looks like the Vityaz will start to sink into the storm next turn.   

The San Bartolomeo hits the Brennus for 1 burst and 1 true hit.  The medium starboard battery also hits the Poltova for a burst thanks to the Russian’s Brace order!  The Prince Eugene lays in three more hits as she tries to go under the stricken French ship. 

The Balkan response is lively.  The Poltova fires on the nearby Mehmed il-Fatih and lands a hit.  The Oleg also adds her weight of fire but only manages 4 bursts on the Battleship. 

The Vityaz forward batteries strike the Mecidiye for a true hit and another burst.  The light batteries land three more bursts on the Basra as well to the Port side. 

The Brennus’ forward battery and port batteries manage to hit the San Bartolomeo for a pair of bursts and the other batteries put 4 bursts on the Prince Eugene.  Very few true hits, but enough to slow down the attackers with bursts and that is the name of the game in this battle. 

Apply damage.  The Mecidiye loses an armor point bringing her down to 4.  The Mehmed Il-Fatih also loses an armor point bringing her to 7 overall. 

The Vityaz is reduce three armor points to 0, and is crippled and sinking, the captain orders all hands to abandon ship as she begins to drop towards the storm raging below.

The Poltava the Russian flagship expodes!  The Mehmed and Oleg are caught in the blast.  The Ottoman flagship takes a hit, and the Oleg takes two more hits.  This is enough to cripple the Mehmed Il-Fatih!  The Oleg loses armor and has its crew fouled!      

The Brennus loses 4 armor bringing her down to 2 armor points.  Her rudder is fouled, her screw is fouled, and she has lost her stern heavy battery and her port medium battery.  Captain Aube decides to strike her colors as she also has 14 bursts on her!  Her fighting days are over without a total overhaul.         


The Mehmed il-Fatih and the Vityaz all drop down an altitude band. 

Repair rolls. 
All ships have bursts. 

Burst removal.
The Balkan’s roll 6 and remove all bursts from the Oleg and Primauguet.  The Ottoman’s only get 1, and remove it from San Bartolomeo. 

Turn 7
Initiative: With the Poltova destroyed Captain Aleksey Rozhestvensky takes command in the Oleg.  Admiral Al Reis manages to score two orders and Rozhestvensky gets 1.  The Ottoman’s choose to go first again. 

The Bravo scoots past the Balkan forces and off the board, the Ottoman’s have escaped 10 armor points.  At the end of turn 8, they need more off the board than on.  This will be close.

The Oleg with her fouled screw barely stays in play and moves to attack the San Bartolomeo.  The Primauguet moves to take a stern torpedo attack on the Mecidiye.  The Albatross also moves to pepper the Ottoman cruiser. 

The Italian armored cruiser meets the Oleg with an accurate broadside attack landing 5 hits!  The Oleg has no choice but to try and Brace or be sunk!  However, the Command test is failed!

Mecidiye launches air mines behind her, and her stern turret misses the Albatros.  The prince Eugene ignores the Brennus as she passes underneath.  The Basra fires on the Albatros with her port heavy batteries and light since her medium’s were knocked out.  The gunboat takes a burst and a hit. 

The Oleg’s return fire on the San Bartolomeo is also accurate, landing 2 bursts and 2 hits.  The Albatross also manages to land two solid hits on the Mecidiye at close range. 

The acting officer in charge of the Primauguet orders torpedo tubes to be readied and the order is carried out successfully.  He fires a full barrage of air torpedoes at the Mecidiye.  Of the six, two hit air mines and are destroyed en route.  Two more are taken out by Point Defense.  1 misses the cruiser.  The last one strikes home for a true hit. 

Apply damage:
The Albatros is crippled from the hit it took.  The Oleg is reduced to armor 0 and begins to sink. 

The Mecidiye has its rudder jammed, but more importantly it is reduced to armor 0 and also begins to sink.  The San Bartolomeo loses 2 armor points. 

Sinking: The Vityaz, Mehmed, Mecidiye, Oleg, and Albatros all lose one altitude band.

The Captain of the Primauguet wakes up from being unconscious and takes over command of his ship. 

Burst Removal:
The Balkan league rolls 3, but it doesn’t matter as all their ships are out of the fight.  The Ottoman’s roll 3 and remove them from Prince Eugene.

Turn 8: Final Turn
Initiative: The Ottoman’s win with 1 command and choose to go first again. 

The Ottoman fleet races to the edge of the board.  The San Bartolomeo makes it off the edge of the board, giving the Ottoman fleet 18 armor off the board.  The prince Eugene and Basra are far too slow.  The Mehmed is crippled, and the Mecidiye is sinking. 

The Primauguet moves up by the stricken Vityaz, Albatros, and Mecidiye and tries to rescue survivors. 


It’s all over but the crying at this point. 

The Ottoman’s managed to push 18 armor points off the edge of the board, but left 33 on the board.  They lost the battle.  However, the Balkan League has no reason to celebrate as their fleet was decimated by the Ottoman attack.  The only craft to escape undamaged was the Sova, a small gunboat who was at the fringe of the fighting. 

Ottoman League Loses:
Mehmed Il-Fatih- Crippled
Mecidiye- Sunk

Balkan League Losses:
Poltova- Exploded along with the Russian Admiral Sanyeviz
Vityaz- Sunk
Oleg- Sunk
Albatros- Crippled
Brennus- Struck Colors

The Balkan League probably can not sustain more “Victories” like this one.  The Ottoman player may have lost the game by bringing so many big units, but they delivered results in smashing the Balkan League fleet.      

The storm around Salonica began to abate, but the troops in the siege were recovering sailors and their bodies for the next several days.  However, many more were captured when they landed on the wrong side of the siege.  It was even worse if you ended up in No-Man’s Land.  Many of the troops were telling colorful stories about that night, and the battle in the storm.  Those who could would rush out to the crash sites of the Mecidiye, Oleg, or Vityaz to gape at the great wrecks. 

Meanwhile, the Balkan League had managed to thwart the Ottoman attempt to help break the siege at Salonica.  A few days after the air battle, and the city fell to the Balkan troops.  They began to push forward again to drive the Turk out of Europe for good.  However, their path was increasingly harried by air bombardment as the Balkan League fleets could do little to contest the airspace. 

Campaign Stuff:
Ottoman League is ahead 3 points to 0.  The Balkan League chooses to turn in the one they just earned to call for 8 DP of reinforcements.  The Greeks offer their only armored cruiser to the cause, the Georgios Averoff which is a Vettor Pisani class armored cruiser formerly of the Italian navy.          

The Albatros is repaired by the crew back to 4 armor
The Primauguet is repaired back to full armor
Brennus is repaired of critical damage and improved to armor 3

Mehmed fails to repair any damage
Basra and San Bartolomeo repair back to starting armor. 

Strategic Assets:
No Strategic Assets change hands after this battle.   

The Ottoman’s use 2 to repair the Mehmid back to full armor, and the other three are banked for a total of 5 Assets in reserve. 
The Balkan League uses all of their banked and current assets to repair the Brennus back to full armor.     


Mehmed Il-Fatih +5
Basra +4 (=2) = 6 total
San Bartolomeo +9
Prince Eugene +4
Bravo +4
Barbaros +4 (+3) = 7 total

Albatros +3
Sova  +2 (+2) = 4 Total
Brennus +2
Primauguet +6

No ships earned enough for an experience upgrade.  Some are very close. 

The loss of so many Russian sailors and ships has left the Tsar uncomfortable with the efforts in the Balkans.  To appease him and show their good faith, the Greeks launch their only Armored Cruiser to join the Balkan League fleet, just in time to help bolster the fleet’s efforts.  The Tsar Nicolas is temporarily satisfied by this gesture.

Meanwhile, Ottoman high command has been busy transporting divisions to travel from Asia to Europe.  The Sultan has been suitably satisfied with the Young Turks efforts to expand the airship capabilities of the Empire.  He is satisfied that their investment is paying off.  The Balkan League fleet is in no position to hamper the convoys ready to cross the Dardanelles.          

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