Monday, August 21, 2006

++Encounter at PROTOGONUS 1908.006 M42
++Initial Encounter++

Endeavour and escorts Canine and Terrier encountered four unidentified ships at the edge of the Protogonus system. After challenges were ignored it became apparent that the ships were of UFP origin and were claiming the territory. According to Admiralty order 265.006 stating “Protogonus is an Imperial system. All other ships considered hostile and must be removed” Canine engaged a UFP escort, crippling her. The largest ship in their fleet was identified as the Slaughter class vessel Arbitrator. She approached from the Endeavour’s forward aspect. At maximum range Captain Cook ordered a torpedo salvo fired at here. The missiles were successful in severely damaging the enemy vessel. In the following broadside pass the Arbitrator’s firing was poor while our own ship’s was extremely accurate, crippling the enemy cruiser and forcing her to disengage. During the encounter one UFP escort, identified as Hunter was hulked.
At this point Canine detected a large fleet approaching from in-system and, having taken no significant damage ourselves, we withdrew++

Admiral Jellicoe was extremely pleased with the outcome of the first naval encounter with the UFP for a number of years. He had already succeeded where his predecessor had failed. Based on this initial success the Admiral authorised Vice Admiral Beatty to take Retribution and her escorts and finish of the UFP fleet.
The UFP fleet managed to join up with the escorts from Arbitrator’s battlegroup and together thy made their way to the cruiser’s last known position in order to recover the crippled ship, all the while shadowed by the Imperial squadron led by Endeavour. The UFP fleet then found itself trapped between Endeavour on one side and Vice Admiral Beatty’s squadron on the other. The UFP fleet commander chose to attack before the Imperials could join up and fell upon Beatty’s battlecruiser with the hades class Radiant Light and the carrier Sword Of Justice. The battle was brief as Retribution’s torpedoes were put out of action, followed by her engines. Her escorts were forced to flee losing as they did the sword class escorts Hound and Lupine.
Retribution was forced to surrender by the UFP fleet and Vice Admiral Beatty became a prisoner.
Admiral Jellicoe was highly critical of Beatty in his report. It should have been obvious, he argued, that the Retribution and escorts could not challenge a hades class accompanied by a carrier and that Beatty should have fled as soon as the ships were identified. Other experts suggest he should have run sooner – when his 4 ships detected 7 enemies.
This action led to a fateful decision by Jellicoe. From now on the imperial fleet would only attack when it had numerical superiority and would flee before a larger force before those ships were identified.
The action also saw the battleship Iron Duke escorted by the light cruisers Ajax and Achilles embark for the Protogonus sytem, a journey of about a month.

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