Sunday, March 15, 2009

Admiral Doenitz arrives at Tarsis

On 0702.009M42, admiral Jellicoe received some good news. His fleet was to be augmented by that of Admiral Doenitz, a respected admiral and sometime rival to Jellicoe himself. The admiral had been ordered to the Tarsis system with his fleet, following Jellicoe's request some months previously, to reinforce the sector in the face of stiffening Tau resistance and growing Chaos number.

Doenitz was to arrive with a dozen capital ships, including the Emperor Class battleship, Malleus Trebbia, upon which he flew his flag. However, as the fleet jumped towards the Tarsis system, it was noticed. Grand Admiral Thok readied a large portion of his fleet, including the fast battleship Ragnarok, and headed out in search of more Imperial prey.

Doenitz had been briefed about the large Chaos fleet which plundered the void on the Tarsis run, so he wasn't particularly shocked when the augurs detected a large fleet of vessels approaching just as his fleet reached the inner biosphere of the Tarsis system on 0703.009M42. Doenitz turned his fleet towards the Chaos vessels and at 16:14 the first shot was fired.

Although the Chaos fleet had the manouevrability and speed, the formidable guns of the Imperial vessels, as well as the packed hangar decks of Malleus Trebbia, ensured the battle was an even one. During the three hour engagement several Chaos vessels were crippled and forced to disengage, though Ragnarok wasn't one of them.

Thokk however achieved the greatest blow when at 18:08 a large explosion engulfed the Von Der Tann, destroying the Imperial ship utterly. With damage on both sides the fleets withdrew, Admiral Thokk claiming a material victory, and the Imperial fleet headed towards the outer rim to the jump point, their next destination, Caitlen station.

Unfortunately for Admiral Doenitz, Thokk's fleet was not the only one in the Doenitz system. Just two days later the Imperial fleet, now scattered into three divisions, picked up the unmistakable readings of a Tau fleet bearing down on them. Admiral Swiftstar had seen the previous engagement and was now tracking the Imperial fleet like a wolf stalks his prey. He had managed to swing around part of the fleet, including Malleus Trebbia, and now faced it head on.
The Imperial fleet found itself in action once more, this time against a well disciplined and highly experienced foe. Waves of torpedoes and mantas together with precision fire concentrated on each ship in turn before moving on to the next. First the dictator class, reduced to a hulk, then, the Malleus Trebbia herself.

Swiftstar's entire fleet, flying in classic "box" formation, launched wave after wave of ordnance and gunfire, braving the incoming salvoes of Nova cannon from the Broadsword and quickly crippled the giant battleship. Burning and out of control the Malleus Trebbia was only saved by a nearby asteroid field which masked her retreat.

Sadly the Broadsword was less fortunate. Her bridge smashed by bombing raids she was unable to act coherently. At 19:36 she finally succumbed, her plasma reactors detonating. Of the fleet which had arrived at Tarsis barely half were now battle ready, and it would be a poor and battered fleet which arrived at Caitlen station. The engagements had been a boost for Tau and Chaos, and Doenitz was quickly demoted to Admiral and put under Jellicoe's command. Something which the old Admiral enjoyed immensely!

Vs. Chaos Losses:
Von Der Tann (destroyed)
Ozymandias (crippled)

Wyrmfire (crippled)
Skoll (crippled)
Skogul (crippled)
Fafnir (crippled)

Vs. Tau Losses:
Malleus Trebbia (crippled)
Bellerophon (destroyed)
Broadsword (destroyed)

(no losses to Tau)

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