Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Battle of Myrentas Deeps

The Imperial and Tau fleets had been shadowing each other for several weeks as the ground war ground on in the Ornz valley. Neither commander was eager for a fight but with operation End Game the Tau commander was under orders to make sure the Imperial fleet was kept busy and did not interfere with the four UFP cruisers stationed above the planet.

The Tau commander of the fleet was quite concerned as the Imperium now had a significant force in the system including two battleships and five cruisers. This meant the Tau fleet would have to wait until the moment was favourable, or at least not suicidal, before moving into attack formation. Until then the Tau fleet would have to continue avoiding the Imperial fleet who were desperately trying to get the Tau to engage.

Fortune appeared to be smiling on Commander Cold Sight on 2804.007M42 when the ground attack began. This would be the moment he would have to turn and fight before the Imperial ships moved in to attack the UFP vessels around the planet while they were vulnerable helping the ground war. As the Tau fleet commander prepared his fleet the news came in that the Imperial cruisers Galileo and Imperious were not with the bulk of the fleet.

Rear Admiral Dreyer, commanding from the Bridge of Iron Duke had received intelligence of an unescorted Tau convoy from his picket escort during 2704.007M42 and had dispatched the two cruisers to investigate. Though the intelligence was false the crucial decision meant that two of the Admiral's most powerful cruisers, a Mars class carrier and a Tyrant class cruiser, would be unavailable for the coming battle.

The abrupt appearance of the Tau fleet cruising past his formation took the Imperial commander somewhat by surprise but the Admiral soon had his battle line in formation. Leading the line escorted by the light cruisers Ajax and Achilles was the dictator class Emperor's Wrath, followed by the two Imperial battleships.

The Tau fleet were also in some difficulty as they had not expected such quick detection by the Imperial fleet once they changed course. Commander Cold Sight found his fleet travelling away from the Imperial battle-line and his entire fleet in danger of being encircled. The Tau Kor'O ordered the fleet to come about but the poor manoeuvrability and slow speed of the Tau told early on as Iron Duke and Agamemnon poured fire into the cruiser Deep Fire. Venting atmosphere and burning the Tau Protector lurched out of the line crippled before the Tau fleet had even been able to form up a cohesive attack.

The Tau managed to turn their ships line abreast and were soon firing all their forward batteries at the Imperial fleet with the Pinafore on the right wing and the Ores'Au on the left. Guardian and Bright Hope, the inexperienced class Hero class vessel, made up the central vanguard of the Tau attack.

The Imperial fleet had successfully manoeuvred their battle line around the right flank of the Tau, punishing the Ores'Au with battery fire and lance shots. Meanwhile the Tau missiles seemed remarkably ineffective and unable to find their targets. At the same time Imperial fighters and massed turret fire kept the Mantas at bay.

Ajax and Achilles paid heavily for their forward positioning, both disengaging having taken heavy damage from the Ores’Au and escorting Castellans. As the battle reached a climax Iron Duke had her bridged smashed by railgun fire and was forced to withdraw, but not before the combined weight of her gun batteries and the lances of the Agamemnon had reduced the Bright Hope to a drifting hulk.

By this time the remaining Tau vessels had managed to manoeuvre around to the rear of the remaining Imperial battleship but found their weaponry ineffective against the vessel's powerful void shields. In addition the return fire from the Agamemnon quickly crippled the Ores'Au and she was also forced to withdraw. As the Agamemnon and Emperor's Wrath turned back into formation the remaining Tau cruiser realised the game was up and fled leaving the Imperial fleet as the victor.

The battle itself was a defeat for the Tau who lost a valuable cruiser and had three other capital ships - battleships - crippled. The Imperium had two light cruisers crippled and the Iron Duke badly damaged but the Tau fleet had taken more damage and had been forced to disengage. However it could have been a lot worse. Analysis showed that while the Tau missiles were far less accurate than usual, the accuracy of the heavy lance vessel Agamemnon was extremely poor, except for the salvo which almost destroyed Deep Fire. Had the battleship's fire been better the Tau vessels may have lost more than just on ship.

Positionally the Imperial fleet had got their tactics right, engaging the Tau abeam, presenting their broadsides while making themselves a difficult target. However the loss of Novem squadron in the opening minutes of the battle was unfortunate - the frigates were nowhere near where they were supposed to be!

The return of the Imperious and Galileo bolstered the Imperial fleet and they began to move in system towards the UFP vessels stationed above Myrentas II.

Opposing Fleets


Iron Duke Emperor Class Battleship Crippled
Agamemnon Apocalypse Class Battleship
Emperor’s Wrath Dictator Class Cruiser
Achilles Dauntless Class Light Cruiser Crippled
Ajax Dauntless Class Light Cruiser Crippled
Nexum Squadron Three Sword Class Escorts Destroyed
Vagrim Squadron Three Firestorm Class Escorts Destroyed


Pinafore Custodian Class Battleship Crippled
Ores’Au Explorer Class Battleship Crippled
Deep Fire Protector Class Cruiser Crippled
Guardian Protector Class Cruiser
Bright Hope Hero Class Cruiser Destroyed
Vre’Aun Messenger Class Escort
- 2 Castellan Class Escorts
­- 3 Castellan Class Escorts Destroyed

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