2nd Battle of Cephei 2150
Turn 14


ESU/NSL frontier Kontr-admiral Alexander Zinoviev's 2nd Fleet, as part of the Eurasian Solar Union Operation Iron Hammer, has been ordered to raid the Cephei System and destroy the Neu Swabian League Command Post situated there.

Upon FTLing into the Cephei system, Zinoviev found not one, but two hostile fleets present; an NSL fleet in orbit around the colony world of Cephei I, and an unknown fleet that had just FTLed into the system.

Electing to engage the smaller hostile fleet first, Zinoviev won the 1st Battle of Cephei in the outer system and succeeded in forcing the small Kra'Vak fleet to withdraw.

Now, having repaired all damaged ships' systems, but with hull damage still on the Shandong, Sartov, Jilin and Krakow, Zinoviev moves to engage the defending NSL 5th Fleet.

Cephei System contains nine planets. Cephei I is a sub-Terran world, on which is the NSL colony of Neu Konigsburg and a NSL Command Post. There is a Planetary Defence Unit (equivalent to a BattleDreadnought, though without FTL or Thrust manoeuvre) in orbit around the planet. Cephei V, VI, VII and VIII are small gas giants. All other planets are small, uninhabitable, rocky worlds.

NSL Situation:

Admiral Katharina Haunenstricker's orders are to protect the Neu Swabian League colony of Neu Konigsburg.

5th Fleet consists of:
Markgraf class Heavy Cruiser Markgraf
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Diamantmarkierung
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Boa
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Klapperschlange
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Kobra
Waldburg class Destroyer Csikos
Waldburg class Destroyer Csepel

Task Force 5.2 has just joined 5th Fleet and consists of:
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Stiefel
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Tapfer
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Fledermaus
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Drache
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Esel
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Mungo
Waldburg class Destroyer Kuh
Waldburg class Destroyer Kabeljau
Waldburg class Destroyer Fliege

The Markgraf is serving as Flagship.

Admiral Haunenstricker is an Average Officer as are the Captains of the Diamantmarkierung, Klapperschlange, Boa, Csepel, Stiefel, Tapfer, Fledermaus, Mungo, Kuh, Kabeljau and Fliege. The Captains of the Markgraf, Drache, Esel and Csikos are Good Officers. The Captain of the Kobra is a Poor Officer.

Haunenstricker, as the Defender, automatically chooses the location of battle, which can be in Free Space, at a gas giant, or near a Dense world. Unless the battle takes place around Cephei I, Haunenstricker can not the use the orbital Planetary Defence Unit for fire support, nor call upon its flight of Standard Fighters.

ESU Situation:

As part of Operation Iron Hammer, Kontr-admiral Alexander Zinoviev has been ordered to raid the Cephei System and destroy the Neu Swabian League Command Post, thus disrupting NSL plans to expand to Trailing. Zinoviev's 2nd Fleet is then to withdraw to its forward base in the Schedar System to await further reinforcements.

2nd Fleet consists of:
Manchuria class Battlecruiser Shandong
Petrograd class Battleship Sartov (flag of Kontr-admiral Vladimir Putin)
Gorshkov class Heavy Cruiser Ochakov
Tibet class Light Cruiser Jilin
Volga class Heavy Destroyer Angara
Warsaw class Destroyer Czestochowa
Warsaw class Destroyer Krakow
Novgorod class Frigate Neustrashimy
Lenov class Scout Istomin
Lenov class Scout Zenit

The Shandong is serving as flag ship.

Admiral Zinoviev is an Average Officer, as is Kontr-admiral Putin and the Captains of the Sartov, Shandong, Ochakov, Krakow, Neustrashimy and Istomin. The Captain of the Jilin is a Good Officer, while the Captains of the Czestochowa, Angara and Zenit are Poor Officers.

In the aftermath of the 1st Battle of Cephei, the following ships are still carrying battle damage: the Sartov has lost 19 Hull; the Shandong has lost 13 Hull, the Jilin has lost 3 Armour and 2 Hull; and the Krakow has lost 1 Armour.

Mass and points are as described in the briefing for the 1st Battle of Cephei.

Historical Result:

Admiral Haunenstricker elected to offer battle around Cephei I, where she could draw upon the fighter flight and additional fire support of the Planetary Defence Unit.

As per NSL doctrine, Haunenstricker drew up her Waldburg Destroyer/Waldburg Missile destroyers in two lines, a screen of Waldburg DDs covering the longer line of DDMs, with the Markgraf at the centre of the second line.

Zinoviev deployed his Light division (Neustrashimy, Istomin and Zenit) to port and his Medium division (Jilin, Angara, Czestochowa and Krakow) to starboard of the Ochakov. The damaged Shandong and Sartov followed up the Ochakov to lend fire support.

During the approach phase, Haunenstricker held her course, the DDs leading the DDMs by 12 MU, while the fighter flight looped well out to port. Zinoviev attempted a faint to port with his light division, and then ordered the entire fleet to decelerate as he worried about the approaching NSL missile envelope. Coming out of the deceleration manoeuvre, Zinoviev brought his light division inwards as firing commenced between his B-3 batteries and the approaching Swabians.

As the range fell, Zinoviev brought his medium and heavy divisions onto a port heading, hoping to confuse the DDM's missile locks, as firing became general. The NSL ships concentrated their fire on the Sartov, pounding the already injured ship, while Zinoviev tried to concentrate his fire on just a few of the enemy. As Zinoviev brought his fleet back onto a starboard heading, Kontr-admiral Putin pulled the Sartov hard round to port in an effort to open the range. He was too late, and the Sartov disintegrated under heavy fire. The Angara Heavy Destroyer was lost about this time, after coming under concentrated attack from the Markgraf and a number of destroyers, with supporting fire from the NSL Planetary Defence Unit.

By now, the ESU fleet was passing through the NSL front line. A fighter attack on the Shandong was beaten off, and the KRS Csepel was destroyed. The KRS Csikos, after suffering heavy damage from the ESU medium division, was abandoned as her Power Core went critical.

Then the NSL DDMs launched their missile attack on the Shandong. Ten salvoes bracketed space around the Battlecruiser. At least three locked on, and Admiral Zinoviev and a few of his crew were barely able to escape in the lifeboats as the Battlecruiser was blown apart.

The medium and light divisions had now passed through the second NSL line when the Jilin was lost. In an act of bravado, she had fired on and damaged the Planetary Defence Unit. In retaliation, she was targeted by the vengeful Swabians, and completely destroyed.

As the surviving ESU ships cleared the battle area, 1st Kapitan Nikita Gong of the Ochakov assumed command of 2nd Fleet and ordered the withdrawal. Admiral Haunenstricker of 5th Fleet had good reason to be satisfied. Not only had the 'Lance' doctrine proved effective, she had also netted a senior ESU Admiral as a prisoner, as well as revenging the disappointments of the Schedar Campaign.

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