Saturday, November 14, 2015

Battle of Libria System: Main Action

The battle of Libria began with the alliance-chaos fleet forming up in the outer reaches of the Libria system. Admiral Thok and the Gotterdammerung formed up on the left wing, while Tragaen and Stahl took the right flank. Apollo deployed in the centre as the entire fleet approached the incoming imperials around the rocky planet of Valbarin. Opposing him the imperial fleets of Collingwood and Pendragon approached in close order, with the Adeptus Mechanicus some way distant on their starboard wing.

Upon seeing the imperial fleet Apollo made the decision to deploy his fleet to port, with Tragaen at the rear, while Thok moved his fleet towards Apollo's flagship, closing the gap. Pendragon followed onto a parallel course, while the Adeptus Mechanicus stood off and begun firing their nova cannons.

At 14:20 system time the long range barrage from the imperial nova cannons began, and at 14:43 the Isoldr and Gotterdammerung were taking heavy fire. However the initial salvoes of the imperial fleet were generally inaccurate, and the alliance took little damage. One exception to this was the Basilisk, whose long range artillery crippled Niobium at 14:45.

The Gotterdammerung unleashed her first salvo at 14:55 as she closed and focussed her fire on Pendragon's flagship, but this gave the Adeptus Mechanicus a clear shot at the mighty weapon, and it was clear that the mechanicum were concentrating on destroying Thok's mega weapon. However the nova cannons took their time to get their range, and the "planet killer" was able to close with the imperial fleet. At the rear of the line, Tragaen and Stahl launched their escorts at Collingwood's cobras, who had become dangerously exposed in front of the cruisers. The results were spectacular, as Iwo Jima, Tobruk, Verdun, Vichy and Somme were quickly reduced to wreckage, all but annihilating the imperial escort screen.

In response to this Collingwood's fleet turned two points to port, closing with the alliance fleet. Their initial torpedo run was unimpressive however, as only Honor Eternal took any significant damage, and dropped out of line. At 15:45 firepower from Collingwood's fleet managed to cripple an additional carnage class, but now his fleet had become detached from Pendragon's his ships forming an effective salient. Apollo took advantage, with his ships, Tragaen's and Stahl's vessels concentrating their fire on admiral Pendragon's leading ships.

The barrage of fire from the alliance arc of heavy ships may have put the imperial torpedo guidance systems off, as the strike by the three gothic class on the middle of Apollo's van did far less damage than had been hoped. Only Honor Eternal was badly damaged by the imperial ordnance, and she limped away, disengaging at 16:20. The Gotterdammerung meanwhile took Pendragon to task. Sir Kay was focussed in her gunsights. The imperial vessel had no chance, and was soon heavily damaged. She tried to turn away but at 15:55 sheer weight of fire overwhelmed the imperial vessel, and she drifted away, her back broken.

Pendragon was firing back however, and a lucky nova cannon shot at Niobium crippled her at 16:30, forcing the Iron Warriors' cruiser to withdraw. Collingwood however was in trouble. His ships were now on an all or nothing charge against the centre of Apollo's fleet. Once again the ordnance strike was ineffective. Torpedoes missed and the bomber waves did little damage, leaving Wyvern, Manticore and Harpy in a perilous position. Wyvern was quickly crippled, but worse was to follow.

Meanwhile as the Adeptus Mechanicus continued to stand off, shelling the alliance fleet from range, Thok was closing in on Pendragon. Combined fire from Pendragon and the mechanicum crippled Valkurer, and then the Gotterdammerung herself, Sir Lancelot causing the most severe damage at 16:40. By 17:20 however it was clear Collingwood would not be able to extricate himself from the alliance guns. Manticore and Harpy were quickly crippled, and at 17:23 Manticore exploded after repeated hits from Stahl's flagship. The ensuing explosion further damaged Manticore, but at 17:45 more murderous fire, this time from Apollo's fleet, detonated Manticore's primary plasma drive. The Apocalyptic explosion ripped through Collingwood's fleet, setting of a chain reaction which resulted in the total destruction of Harpy, and Collingwood himself.

At about the same time, the Gotterdammerung was finally put out of action by the Valente Deo, but the destruction of THok's superweapon was of secondary importance to Pendragon as at 17:50, Collingwood's remaining ships disengaged. Pendragon now faced the full force of the alliance fleet, while the Adpetus Mechanicus still failed to close with the enemy. Pendragon began to wonder if their mission had been to destroy the Gotterdammerung while not risking their own vessels...

At 18:00 Pendragon elected to withdraw, but this proved less than an easy task for Sir Robin. Left at the back of the imperial fleet the alliance first crippled her engines then destroyed her at leisure. At 18:30 the action ceased as the imperium withdrew. The battle of Libria was over and despite losing the planet killer Apollo had secured Librian space for the alliance. The imperium had lost six capital ships and an admiral. Admiral Thok meanwhile had escaped the wreck of the Gotterdammerung and now found himself marooned on the planet Valbarin, although his hulk of a super weapon had been successfully taken in tow by the rest of his fleet.

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