4th Battle of Cephei 2160
Turn 24


ESU/NSL frontier Believing that the Eurasian Solar Union would make another attempt against the Neu Swabian League Command Post and colony on Cephei I, Admiral Heinrich von Rohard moved 4th Fleet to reinforce Admiral Ludwig von Vettinghoff at Cephei, taking over-all command in that system, while leaving 5th Fleet to garrison Schedar. With the arrival of 6th Fleet out of Canis, Von Rohard's Grand Fleet could now deploy four Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carriers, as well as a sizeable supporting fleet.

Work was also continuing apace on Von Vettinghoff’s pet project, the restoration of the captured ESU Light Carrier Korolev, taken at the 3rd Battle of Cephei. Work to date had seen the patching up of most of the battle damage suffered, though the ship’s drive units were still being worked on. As Von Vettinghoff’s command went over to full alert, the admiral decided that the Korolev would be deployed as an auxiliary Planetary Defence Unit.

Then, the surviving elements of the Mirfak garrison dropped in-system, reporting that Kra’Vak units were on the move. Hard on their heels, the out-system buoys detected the tachyon shear of an inbound fleet. Sensor returns indicated contact with five Capital class, six Cruiser class, thirty-two Escort class and six Scout ships. Drive emission analysis indicated that the inbound ships were of ESU origin.

The Planetary Defence Units are equivalent to Battledreadnought class ships, except that they lack FTL drives and cannot manoeuvre. They carry a standard fighter flight each. As the PDUs are in orbit around the planet they protect, they will follow the orbiting rules for ‘Planets and Other Large Bodies’ from Pg 13 of More Thrust. In addition, restoration of the captured Eurasian Solar Union Tsiolkovsky class Light Carrier Korolev has reached the point where it can be deployed as an Auxiliary Planetary Defence Unit. The Korolev has no functioning drives, no Screen (this suffered battle damage and Von Rohard’s fleet lacks Screen technicians), and no fighters.

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 are two Planetary Defence Units (each equivalent to a BDN, 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 Heinrich von Rohard’s orders are to protect the NSL colony of Neu Konigsburg on the planet Cephei I.

The Neu Swabian League Grand Fleet consists of 1st Fleet, 2nd Fleet, 4th Fleet, 6th Fleet and the garrisons of Cephei and Mirfak.

1st Fleet consists of:
Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carrier Von Vettinghoff with two Interceptors and four Heavy Fighters
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Wurm
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Gift
Stroschen class Corvette/Weasel Boat Emperor Maximilian (can mimic a Capital class vessel).
The Von Vettinghoff is serving as flag ship.

2nd Fleet consists of:
Kronprinz Wilhelm class Light Cruiser Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf
Waldburg class Destroyer Balaton
The Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf is serving as the flag of Admiral von Klump – the Hero of Ceti.

4th Fleet consists of:
Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carrier Der Theuerdank with two Flights of Heavy Fighters, one weak Flight of four Interceptors, and a Flight of Torpedo Bombers
Stroschen class Corvette Speer
The Der Theuerdank is serving as the flag of Admiral von Rohard and the Grand Fleet.

6th Fleet consists of:
Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carrier CVA11 with two Flights of Heavy Fighters, one Flight of Interceptors, and a Flight of Torpedo Bombers
Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carrier CVA12 with two Flights of Heavy Fighters, one Flight of Interceptors, and a Flight of Torpedo Bombers
Kronprinz Wilhelm class Light Cruiser CL26
The CVA11 is serving as the flagship of 6th Fleet.

The Cephei Garrison consists of:
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Mungo
Waldburg class Destroyer Kuh
Waldburg class Destroyer DD207
Stroschen class Corvette CT303

The Mirfak Garrison consists of:
Waldburg/M class Missile Destroyer Keiler - with two Armour and three Hull Damage
Falke Class Scout - with one armour and one Hull damage

Admiral von Vettinghoff and all Grand Fleet Captains, except for the Captain of the Destroyer DD207, are Average Officers. Admiral von Rohard and the Captain of the DD207 are Good Officers.

As the Defender, von Rohard 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, von Rohard cannot use the orbital Planetary Defence Units for fire support, nor call upon their fighter flights.

Eurasian Solar Union Situation:

After Kontr–admiral Hei Cong’s failure at the 3rd Battle of Cephei, and his recall, 1st Kapitan Nikita Gong took command of 6th Fleet as it lay off in the Deep Dark, awaiting the arrival of Kontr-admiral Elga Primakova and 10th Fleet.

Primakova planned a series of co-ordinated moves that dropped 6th, 10th and 13th Fleets, along with Scout Troop 2, into the Cephei System with sufficient time to reorganise all units into 10th Fleet, and then drive the Neu Swabian pirates from their lair. Primakova intends that, this time, the directive of the Committee for Public Safety, that the Fleet take and hold the Cephei system, and destroy the Neu Swabian League Command Post in that system, will be carried out.

10th Fleet consists of:
Shengfeng class Attack Carrier Shengfeng with four flights of Standard Fighters, one Flight of Interceptors - White Tigers - and one Flight of Torpedo Bombers
Tsiolkovsky class Light Carrier Zasyadko with four Flights of Standard Fighters
Sovremenny class Heavy Battleship Soveremenny
Petrograd class Battleship Ulan-Ude (flag of Kontr-admiral Taus Sokolnikov)
Manchuria class Battlecruiser Xinjian
Gorshkov class Heavy Cruiser MinskGorshkov class Heavy Cruiser Ochakov
Voroshilev class Heavy Cruiser MalinovskiVoroshilev class Heavy Cruiser Voroshilev
Beijing/B class Escort Cruiser Xiamen
Tibet class Light Cruiser Jiangsu
Volga class Heavy Destroyer DnestrVolga class Heavy Destroyer Okar
Volga class Heavy Destroyer Vychegda II
Warsaw class Destroyer CzestochowaWarsaw class Destroyer Godunok
Warsaw class Destroyer KrakowWarsaw class Destroyer Tunik
Warsaw class Destroyer LidiceWarsaw class Destroyer Kolos
Warsaw class Destroyer LodzWarsaw class Destroyer Lidrik
Warsaw class Destroyer RadomWarsaw class Destroyer Terezin
Warsaw class Destroyer Bialystok IIWarsaw class Destroyer Kieke II
Warsaw class Destroyer Kovno IIWarsaw class Destroyer Nedorezov
Novgorod class Frigate KazanetsNovgorod class Frigate Burevestnik II
Novgorod class Frigate Neustrashimy - (the famous ‘Black Frigate’)
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK1Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK2
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK3Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK6
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK7Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK8
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK9Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK10
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK11Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK12
Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK13Karpov class Corvette Strkeship MRK14
Six Lenov class Scoutships

The Shengfeng is serving as flag ship.

Kontr-admiral Primakova is an Average Officer, as is Kontr-admiral Sokolnikov.

The Captains of Ulan-Ude, Bialystok II, Kovno II, MRK2, MRK3, MRK6, MRK9, Zasyadko, MRK 13 and Burevestnik II are Good Officers.

The Captains of Minsk, Vychegda II, Kieke II, MRK8, Kazanets and Czestochowa are Poor Officers.

All other Captains are Average Officers.

Neu Swabian League:4202 Points1344 Mass
(6074 incl. PDUs)(1812 incl. PDUs)
(4562 incl. PDU Ftrs only)(1362 incl. PDU Ftrs only)
Eurasian Solar Union:6370 Points1920 Mass

Ships Used:
All Neu Swabian League ships are Fleet Book 1 standard.

All Eurasian Solar Union Ships are Fleet Book 1 standard except for:

SHENGFENG Class CVA: Mass 254, Hull (19/19/18/18), Thrust-4, FTL, 3xFireCons, 6xPDS, 1 x Level 1 Screen, 4 x Class-1 Beams, 4 x Class-2 Beams (2 x AP/FP/F, 2 x AS/FS/F), 4 x Class-3 Beams (All F), 6 x Fighter Bays; 869 pts.

SOVREMMENNY Class BB/S: Mass 132, Hull (13/13/13/13), Thrust-4, FTL, 3xFireCons, 4xPDS, 1 x Level-1 Screen, Armour-8, 3 x Class-1 Beams, 2 x Class-2 Beams (AP/FP/F, AS/FS/F) 2 x Class-3 Beams (2 x FP/F/FS); 432 pts.

KARPOV Class CT: Mass 10, Hull (1/1), Thrust-6, FTL, 1xFireCon, 1 x Class-1 Beam, 1 x Class-2 Beam (FP/F/FS); 35 pts.

Ships designed by David Billinghurst except for Sovremmenny, which was designed by Mark “Indie” Kochte and modified by David Billinghurst.

Historical Result:

Von Rohard deployed his fleet close to Cephei I. His four Der Theuerdank class Fighter Carriers, CVA 12, NSL deployment at Cephei IDer Theuerdank, Von Vettinghoff and CVA 11, formed in line abreast, behind his two Light Cruisers which were, in turn, deployed behind his four Waldeburg Missile Destroyers and his three Destroyers. The Scout and the Corvette were tucked in on the flanks of the Light Cruisers, while the Corvette Weasel Boat Emperor Maximilian tracked the Planetary Defence Units in orbit around the planet.

Kontr-admiral Primakova, having absorbed 6th and 13th Fleets into her 10th Fleet, now deployed her armada in a deep, multi layered formation with over-lapping arcs of fire and under officers from 10th Fleet.

The left wing consisted of the Heavy Destroyers Dnestr, Oka and Vychegda II, with a second line consisting of the Frigates Kazanets and Neustrashimy, the Destroyers Lidice and Lodz, and the Frigate Burevestnik II. 2nd Kapitan Stalbek Dzhabrailov of the Heavy Destroyer Oka had overall command of the division.

ESU deployment, 4th Battle of CepheiThe right wing consisted of two lines of destroyers, the Radom, Krakow and Czestochowa followed by the Bialystok II, Kovno II and Kieke II, backed up by three tri-formations of three Karpov class Corvette Strikeships. A fourth tri-formation of Karpovs was deployed on the flank of the destroyer lines. 2nd Kapitan Lok Bi of the Destroyer Kovno II had overall command of the division.

The centre, under the command of Kontr-admiral Taus Sokolnikov and 1st Kapitan Viktor Kadyrov of the Battleship Ulan-Ude, consisted of a first line of six destroyers, Terezin, Godunok and Tunik and Kolos, Lidrik and Nedorezov, in two tri-formations, followed by a second line consisting of the Escort Cruiser Xiamen, the Heavy Battleship Sovremmenny, and the Light Cruiser Jiangsu. The third line consisted of the Voroshilev class Heavy Cruisers Malinovski and Voroshilev and the Gorshkov Heavy Cruisers Minsk and Ochakov. The fourth line consisted of the Battleship Ulan-Ube and the Battlecruiser Xinjiang.

Behind the centre division came the Reserve Division consisting of the Attack Carrier Shengfeng and the Light Carrier Zasyadko. Each carrier had three Lenov class Scouts from Scout Troop 2 attached to it for close-in support. The Reserve Division was under the personal command of Kontr-admiral Primakova.

The Eurasian Solar Union 10th Fleet approached Cephei I at a Velocity of 9 as Admiral von Rohard brought the Neu Swabian League Grand Fleet to relative rest just outside of the orbit of the Cephei Planetary Defence Units.

As the Eurasian fleet approached, the Reserve Division and the heavy units of the Centre Division decelerated while the rest of the fleet accelerated. The right wing began to curve in towards the centre to bypass the planet and fall upon the left flank of the NSL fleet.

On turn 2, both sides launched fighters. Primakova held her Interceptor and Torpedo Bomber flights in the shadow of the Shengfeng while flinging her eight flights of Standard Fighters forward. Von Rohard’s carriers launched seven flights of Heavy Fighters and four flights of Interceptors. These were joined by two flights of Standard Fighters from the Planetary Defence Units. An enormous furball erupted between the two fleets. Meanwhile, the NSL Torpedo bombers hung back, waiting for an opening.

As the Eurasian Solar Union fleet began to move through the fighter furball, the lead elements of the right wing came into range of one of the orbiting Planetary Defence Units. Accurate long-range fire destroyed the VKK Czestochowa and the lead strkeship, the MRK1.

Firing became general in Turn 4, as the lead elements of the centre and right wings engaged the NSL destroyer line. The KRS DD207 exploded under heavy beam fire.

The ESU fighters had inflicted some reasonable damage on incoming NSL Heavy Fighters, but were being rapidly overwhelmed. Von Rohard then sent his Torpedo Bombers in against the Sovremmenny Heavy Battleship, with his surviving fighters in support.

As the leading lines of destroyers began to pass through each other the VKK Krakow and Tunik were lost, and the Terezin was destroyed by the KRS CT303, after coming under heavy fire. The strike ships MRK12 and MRK13 were taken out by fire from the Planetary Defence Units. Von Rohard’s forces lost the KRS Gift, Keiler, and Kuh, as well as the Mirfak scout as the deadly ESU crossfire began to take its toll. Quick work by the damage control parties on the KRS Balaton and KRS CL26 prevented Power Plant damage from further harming those ships.

In an effort to relieve the pressure on the Sovremmenny, Kontr-admiral Primakova threw her Interceptor Flight into the melee as the NSL Torpedo Bombers headed back to their carriers. The White Tigers took out seven NSL Interceptors for the loss of five of their own, but the NSL Heavy Fighters continued their remorseless attack. With her bridge damaged, and no Point Defence, the Sovremmenny was destroyed.

The Minsk launched its missiles at the Der Theuerdank, to average success and the Wurm’s volley at the Shengfeng succeeded in locking onto and destroying the scout ship leading the carrier.

The Cruisers of the Centre Division were now under 12 MU from the NSL formation. Jiangsu destroyed CL26 with an accurate broadside and Voroshilev and Xinjiang heavily damaged, and then destroyed Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf. Even the NSL carriers were coming under, and giving fire. CVA12 destroyed VKK Kolos and damaged the power plant and took out the bridge of Ochakov, but damage from the heavy fire of the ESU Left Wing on the CVA12 was steadily mounting. Some of the lead ships of the ESU Centre Division had now passed through most of the NSL fleet and had turned end for end, decelerating as they fired on the NSL ships from astern.

Meanwhile, the Orbital Planetary Defence Units continued to take a toll on the incoming ESU ships. The Auxiliary Unit, formally the ESU Light Carrier Korolev, hit the Destroyers Kieke II and Kovno II, destroying them, while PDU#2 hit and destroyed the strikeboats MRK7, MRK11 and MRK3.

During Turn 7, the last of the ESU Interceptors was destroyed while NSL Fighter attacks destroyed the Heavy Cruiser Minsk. In the centre, the two fleets ground away at each other with a number of ships taking increasingly heavy damage. The VKK Ochakov was left uncontrollable after hits to the bridge and eventually passed out of the battle area before repairs could be affected.

The strikeships MRK6, MRK9, and MRK10 were all destroyed by Planetary Defence Unit #1 as the strikeship division reversed course to harry the NSL carriers. The NSL corvette CT303 and the destroyer Balaton were also lost.

Running low on fuel, the NSL fighters were forced to break off for their carriers. At the same time, the Torpedo Bomber Flights launched for their second strike. Observing the NSL fighters breaking off, Primakova at last release her sole Torpedo Bomber flight against the KRS Von Vettinghoff. The NSL torpedo attacks on the VKK Shengfeng and the Ulan-Ude were beaten off with little damage while the ESU attack on the Von Vettinghoff also failed.

The Capital ships were now exchanging fire. CVA11 lost its bridge to fire from the Shengfeng before being destroyed by concentrated shots from the ESU Left Wing units while CVA12 had its Manoeuvre Drive and Power Plant damaged by fire from Zasyadko.

As the tyranny of orbit carried the Auxilary Planetary Defence Unit out of range, it managed to destroy one of the scout ships escorting the Zasyadko, while Planetary Defence Unit #2 destroyed both the VKK MRK2 and the Bialystok II

The following turn, Planetary Defence Unit #2 destroyed MRK8 and MRK13 while Planetary Defence Unit #1 destroyed the destroyer Radom. The NSL carriers, having passed through the Eurasian centre, came about, only to come under intense fire from the ESU fleet. The VKK Nedorizov was abandoned at this stage as its Life Support failed.

In turn 10, the few remaining NSL fighters continued their attacks on Xinjiang and Ulan-Ube. Shengfeng and Von Vettinghoff pounded each other as they moved apart – a lucky shot from the Von Vettinghoff’s main battery damaging the Shengfeng’s bridge. Support fire from the Voroshilev took down the Von Vettinghoff’s FTL drive and damaged its life support. A barrage from Planetary Defence Unit #1 destroyed the Xinjiang.

Finally, the last of the NSL fighters were disposed of, just as Ulan-Ube destroyed Der Theuerdank and concentrated fire from the Left Wing Heavy Destroyers reduced Von Vettinghoff to a drifting wreck.

By now, with the corvettes Speer and Emperor Maximilian on outbound headings, only the carrier CVA12 and the Missile Destroyers Wurm and Mungo survived of the Neu Swabian Grand Fleet. Refusing to surrender, all three ships were destroyed.

Once the ESU fleet had rallied and manoeuvred into position, Planetary Defence Unit #2 was systematically bombarded at long range until its Power Plant went unstable. As Planetary Defence Unit #2 tore itself apart, Planetary Defence Unit #1 and the Auxiliary Planetary Unit were scuttled by their crews and the planet surrendered to the Eurasian Solar Union.

While a number of Neu Swabian League Officers and ratings survived the destruction of the Grand Fleet at Cephei I and were interned on the planet, none of the NSL Admirals survived the loss of their ships.

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