Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Battle Report: Castles in the Sky- Raiders of the Storm- Balkan Uprising Campaign

After the Ottoman League’s victory destroying the Balkan Leagues main radio relay, the Ottoman attack on Thasos proceeded as planned.  The Balkan League fleet was unable to coordinate a counter-attack and the landing went in unopposed.  Thasos fell quickly back into the hands of the Ottoman forces. 

With the loss of Thasos in the Aegean and so close to the mainland, this essentially put pressure on the frontlines as the Balkan forces attempted to break through to the Dardanelles and push the Ottoman’s out of Europe.  However, Admiral Ivanov was still aggressively pushing eagerly trying to achieve Russia’s goal of access to the Mediterranean.  The Ottoman League Admiral Al Reis was also buoyed by their recent victory.  Both Admiral’s decided now was the time to go on the Offensive. 

Both Admirals chose their orders, and revealed them to be Offensive.  Admiral Al Reis rolled the dice and found that the next scenario would be a Raid, with the Ottoman’s again attacking.  They rolled up a scenario and it was to be a Raid, and Admiral Al Reis coordinates his attack to occur during a storm again.


Ottoman League- 21 Armor Points
Sultan Mehmed II- Fatih                                               Captain: Seyid Al Reis                     Command: 3- Flagship
Class: Sultan Osman-I Evvel                         Category: Battleship                       Armor: 9
Experience: 15- Disciplined Crew

Barbaros                                              Captain:  Murat Pasha                                    Command: 2
Class: Berk Efsan                              Category: Torpedo Boat                                                Armor: 4
Experience: 7

San Bartolomeo                                                Captain: Paolo Revel                                       Command: 1
Class: Vettor Pisani                          Category: Armored Cruiser                          Armor: 8
Experience: 12- Airship Handling

Balkan League
Imperator Pyotr                                               Captain: Pavel Ivanov                     Command: Flagship- 1
Class: Imperatrista Mariya            Category: Battleship                       Armor: 8
Experience: 6

Pallada                                                  Captain: Matija Yumashez            Command: 1
Class: Bayan                                       Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7
Experience: 2

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

Kondor                                                 Captain: Nikolay Konovalov         Command: 3
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5
Experience: 3

Sova                                                      Captain: Vladimir Greig                  Command: 1
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5
Experience: 6

Brennus                                               Captain: Theo Aube                        Command: 4
Class: Charles Martel                      Category: Heavy Cruiser                               Armor: 8
Experience: 14- Blow Smoke

Primauguet                                        Captain: Jean de Vienne                               Command: 4
Class: D’iberville                               Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7
Experience: 13- Marksmen
After the success of the Ottoman Raid on the Balkan radio tower Admiral Al Reis wished to keep the pressure up on his enemy.  He received word that the Balkan Fleet was beginning to amass near Salonika in order to begin their own operations.  Admiral Al Reis quickly assembled a strike force of nearby craft in order to launch a Raid to disrupt the Balkan plans to assist operations near the front. 

The Ottoman Forces skirted the Aegean at low altitude to avoid detection.  They then loitered over the horizon until a forecasted storm rolled into the region.  They simply followed the storm in and began their attack.  The Ottoman Forces would be out-numbered but they put their faith in surprise and a quick strike. 

The Ottoman’s  must do more damage than they take.        

A storm is raging across the board at Altitude 5. 

The Balkan League is placed in column heading towards one of the short board edges.  The Russian Flagship leads the way with the French Heavy Cruiser acting as the rearguard.  Between these two solid pillars is the rest of the fleet.  Therefore they form a rough line:

·         Imperator Pyotr
·         Albatross
·         Palada
·         Sova   
·         Primauguet
·         Kondor
·         Brennus

They are travelling at speed 3 and altitudes of 6.  This puts them above the storm. 

The Ottomans are approaching from the rear of the Balkan column at Altitude 5, through the clouds.  They are closing at Speed 6.  Their column is:

·         Sultan Mehmed Il-Fatih
·         San Bartolomeo
·         Barbaros 

Turn 1:
The Ottoman League wins Initiative with one success for 1 potential command.

The Ottoman forces press forward, with the Torpedo Boat accelerating to speed 9.  Meanwhile, the Balkan League forces speed up to 4 and stay in formation.  They are blissfully unaware of the approaching enemy ships through the storm.

None, no one has the range. 

Turn 2:
The Ottoman’s again win with 2 successes and the Balkans with 1 Command success.  

The Ottoman’s elect to allow the Balkan forces to go first.  The Ottoman’s continue to close the gap, they are in Long range, but decide to stay in the storm to get even closer.  It is a risk that they will not be able to hit the enemy ships enough before they can escape.

The ships in the storm only allow Close Range shooting of 0-8 inches.  Therefore, no shots are fired as Line-of-sight does not exist. 

Turn 3:
This time, the Balkans win the roll-off with 1 Command success.  They opt to go second so they can respond to an Ottoman attack. 

The Ottoman Torpedo Boat maneuvers to stay out of sight.  Meanwhile, the larger Ottoman ships continue to move in, and do not reveal themselves.

None still as the Raiding fleet stalks closer to her prey for a devastating alpha strike.

Turn 4:
This time, the Ottoman’s get what they were looking for, and win Initiative with 3 Orders.  The Balkan ships get 0. 

The Ottoman burst up out of the cloud bank and press in on the Balkan forces!  The Battleship and Cruiser come to height 6, while the Torpedo Boat goes to 8.    The Balkan ships continue to move forward.  Next turn the lead elements will leave the edge of the storm and off the board.  It is now or never for the Ottoman fleet. 

The forward guns of the Ottoman Flagship roar as the battle ensign is unfurled.  The shells burst against the hull of the Pallada.  The San Bartolomeo joins in with a spread of air torpedoes that crash into the Russian cruiser.  Two are destroyed by Point Defense guns, but two burst in weak points in the ships armor.  Finally, the Barbaros fires and the PD gunners on the Kondor take out the torpedo. 

The Balkan fleet is quick to respond!  The Brennus fires on the Sultan Mehmed Il-Fatih and causes a burst against her hull.  The Pallada returns fire on the Italian ship and manages two bursts on the hull.  Finally, the Primauguet surprises the Turkish torpedo Boat by being equipped with side firing Air Torpedoes of her own, and blasts into the smaller vessel with 2 hits!  

Apply Damage- The Barbaros has her Rudder jammed, and a fire has started on board.  The crew rush to put it out.  The Pallada loses two armor from the opening salvo. 

All Friction is removed as both admiral’s roll a 6 to remove friction.

Turn 5:
The Ottoman Admiral wins with 3 command successes to 1. 

The Sultan and San Bartolomeo move to try to parallel the Balkan fleet and use their broadsides to good effect on the Pallada or other weaker ships. 

The Russian flagship manages to break through the edge of the storm and leave the battle.  Meanwhile, the Kondor and Pallada try to dive into the storm and out of danger.  The Albatros and Sova go up to try and catch the damaged Turkish torpedo Boat.  Finally, the French ships move to engage the enemy.  The Primauguet uses the 1 Balkan command to re-load her torpedoes.

The Sultan can no longer get a read on the Pallada as the storm is blocking their vision.  Instead, Admiral Al-Reis orders his men to lock-on to the Brennus.  However, they are slow to react to his commands.  The Brennus takes a pasting with 10 friction markers from Heavy and Light batteries, but non-managed to cause damage.  The San Bartolomeo manages to Lock-on and hits the French Primaugaet cruiser with 6 bursts from various guns.      

The shots leave the French ships in tough shape, but they return fire.  However, the French cruiser can not return fire with her torpedoes due to friction.  The Brennus blasts the Sultan back with 8 friction bursts of various calibers in a short range slugfest.  1 hit manages to penetrate.    

The Albatross and Sova need to gain 1 more altitude to be able to get the range on the Barbaros. 

Apply Damage- The Sultan loses 1 armor point. 
Repair- The Barbaros fails to put out the fire, and loses 1 more point of armor. 
Friction- The Ottoman’s can remove 1 from the Sultan and the Balkan ships remove 6 friction from the Primauguet. 

Turn 6- Final Turn:
The Ottoman’s win with 2 command successes to 0. 

The Barbaros tries to flee as fast as she can.  Meanwhile, the Sultan and San Bartolomeo get ready to light up the Brennus one more time. 

The Breenus is immobilized by Friction.  Meanwhile, the Primauguet and the Kondor escape fromt eh storm and the battle.  The Sova and the Albatross continue to pursue the burning Ottoman torpedo boat, and look set to finish her off.  The Pallada continues to flee in the shelter of the storm.

This time, Admiral Al-Reis gets his men to lock-on to the Brennus.  The Italians also lock-on.  A barrage of fire hits the Brennus, and racks up 20 total friction points, but only causes 2 damage!

The Albatross and Sova fire on the Ottoman torpedo Boat and annihilate the ship, causing it to explode spectacularly with all hands due to overkill.  The Sova gets the credit for the kill.

The Brennus pastes the Sultan with return fire, and lands another friction storm but fails to penetrate her armor.  Both ships are essentially immobilized by friction. 

Apply Damage- The Brennus had her Rudder jammed and lost an armor point. 
Friction- The Ottoman’s take three off the Sultan, while the French remove 1 from the Brennus.  They still have combined friction of 30 tokens!

The Balkan forces win this round of the Campaign, earning another campaign point.  The Ottoman forces took 5 hits, while the Balkan League took 4.  This is another battle where the attackers in the Raid mission lose.  I think I will need to re-work this scenario. 

I also am not satisfied with how Friction is working.  It is stacking up to too high of numbers on the ships and making them useless.  This is stagnating play instead of leading to tactical considerations and choice.  I will need to revisit this mechanic as well.  Perhaps only 1 Friction marker per attacking ship or battery no matter the number of hits? So, a Heavy Battery with 8 shots where 6 hit, the ship would only take 1 Friction.    
Lastly, in the last few battles the small ships have been completely useless.  In fact, they have caused players to lose the battle.  Why would a player take anything other than a Battleship in this current environment?  These are some core issues I will need to address as I continue to re-work these rules.  Feel free to give me any ideas in comments below.

In this battle, I should not have used the Torpedo Boat so aggressively and kept it back until there was a damaged ship to finish off with the Air Torps.  It is a challenge with the fast ships to not rush out and instead to hold them back for when their shots can count.  Other than that, the storm really helped me get close before launching my attack.    

The Balkan League wins the Raid by damaging 5 armor points to the Ottoman’s 4.  The Ottoman’s needed to outperform the Balkan League in this battle.  These leave the Campaign Points at 4 to 2 for the Ottoman’s still in the lead in a first to seven race.  The Ottoman’s are 1 decisive victory away. 

The Pallada’s crew repairs 1 point of armor. 
The Sultan Mehmed il-Fatih repairs 1 point of armor damage back to full
The Brennus also manages to fully repair herself

The Ottoman’s have strategic assets for a value of 14, however they use 8 to call in reinforcements which leaves them with 6.  The Balkan League uses one to completely repair the Pallada and banks the last 1 to bring them to 4.  No one loses any Strategic Assets in this battle. 

The Ottoman’s call in Reinforcements using their Strategic Assets in the form of an older model of battleship that had been guarding the Dardenelles in case of a Balkan breakthrough.  With the Balkan forces pushed back Ottoman High Command feels like they can release the Resadiye class ship the Turgut Reis into action with Admiral Al-Reis forces. 

All ships gain experience but only the following levelled.
San Bartolomeo +3 (12)- Airship Handling
Primauguet +5 (13)- Marksmen

With night fall, the two fleets eventually lose each other in the darkness over the edge of Greece.  The Ottoman’s are unable to search for any survivors from their lost torpedo boat, and a glum mood hangs over the crew and officers as they make their way back over the Aegean. 

Meanwhile, the Balkan fleet continues its withdrawal back to Salonica as the Balkan forces on the ground begin to stiffen their resistance to the new Ottoman reinforcements.  The Brennus has again seen the worst of the enemy fire and is shaken by it.   Captain Aube is convinced that Admiral Ivanov is an idiot and a madman.  Tension grows between the two officers and the coalition but the war has stabilized into another stalemate. 

You can see all the Balkan Uprising Campaign reports here: 


No comments:

Post a Comment