Saturday, August 15, 2015

Iron Warriors fleet mauls imperium

Ever since admiral Pendragon ambushed the federal fleet in 05.015M42 the imperium had controlled the space around Libria III and prevented the alliance from resupplying from off-world. Although the tau and federal forces had managed to resupply from the vast swathes of Librian territory they now controlled, the offensive to take the world had stalled and the crusade were making significant gains. Then on 0608.015M42 Apollo's pre-heresy Iron Warrior fleet, previously held in reserve, was thrown into the fray.

The entire Iron Warriors fleet was sent against Pendragon including at least eight capital vessels and one battleship. This ought to have easily defeated the imperial battlegroup, but unknown to the alliance only days before Admiral Collingwood had arrive with a significant flotilla, and now the two forces were evenly matched.

Apollo's commanding admiral handled his vessels skillfully, forming his fleet into a line which was aimed at neatly crossing the Imperial "T". Pendragon, aware of the damage a pre-heresy fleet's massed long ranged lances could do nevertheless resolved to meet the attack head on, intending to rush headlong at the alliance formation to deliver a devastating torpedo run, followed up by mass gun battery and lance fire.

A more conservative imperial admiral may have turned for the Iron Warrior's vulnerable rear, but Pendragon wanted a decisive result, to avoid the inevitable stand off should neither side be able to inflict significant casualties in the ensuing action. Unfortunately for the imperial admiral, despite some woefully inaccurate shooting on the side of the alliance, particularly with their lance batteries, the imperial attack failed to deliver a decisive blow, and the chaos vessels easily avoided the torpedoes which were launched.

Worse still the angle of approach of Pendragon and Collingwood's vessels was nowhere near the 90 degrees the imperial admiral wanted. The effect was to string out the imperial fleet at an angle to the alliance battleline, allowing the Iron Warriors to concentrate their fire on each imperial ship while half the imperial vessels remained out of range. One by one imperial vessels were picked off in this way, until the Manticore, Sir Bedeviere and Wyvern had been reduced to complete wrecks. The Sir Percival was crippled and four cobras destroyed before the remaining imperial vessels turned and disengaged, allowing the Iron Warriors to take control of space near Libria III. On the alliance side the damage was exceptionally light, with only the hades class Barium taking any significant damage. In their first engagement in 10,000 years the Iron Warrior fleet had scored a major success.

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