Scenario 8: Carrier Ops!

A NAC carrier task force goes head-to-head with an ESU carrier combat fleet

It's the year 2179. The Third Solar War has been carrying on for almost 15 years! The NAC Command decided to take a decisive blow against the ESU, to try and weaken their grip in the Mu Cassiopeia system. Naval Intelligence indicated that the ESU attack carrier Orel had taken a portion of the defending units there as escort and departed the system a few days earlier on a patrol run, not due back for a couple weeks. The NAC Command decided the time was ripe for an attack, and sent the Enterprise carrier battlegroup in to eliminate the remaining defenders. This was not prelude to an invasion, but was designed to reduce the naval offensive/defensive capabilities of the ESU in this sector.

Unbeknownst to the NAC, the Orel had experienced systems trouble upon her departure and had returned, with her escorting units. Also unbeknownst to the NAC, ESU Cruiser Squadron 42 had recently come in the system on a random patrol. The problem with Orel's systems had been corrected, but unfortunately for the NAC fleet, she was not due to depart the system for another 2 days.

# of players: 4-10

Forces - NAC:
Enterprise Carrier Battlegroup

Forces - ESU (Carrier Combat Group 11): Mu Cassiopeia Military District Fleet Orel ESU Cruiser Squadron 42 Set-up:
You'll need a bit of room for this one. Ideally an 8'x6' area (two 'standard' 4'x6' tables work well :). Or the floor.

The NAC player(s) secretly choose which corner they are coming in from on their end of the table/playing field (either 'A' or 'B'; see illustration below). They may set up their ships after the ESU player(s) have chose which corner their two different fleets will be in. The NAC player can set their ships up anywhere within 24 mu of their starting corner (exception are the scouts, who may set up anywhere within 36 mu of the corner). The starting speeds of the NAC ships is 24.

The ESU player(s) divide the ESU force into two groups: Cruiser Squadron 42 and the main fleet for the Mu Cassiopeia system. The ships for each respective fleet is to be placed on the same side of the short end of the table , but in adjacent corners, not in the middle (either 'C' or 'D'; see illustration, below). The respective ESU fleets may only set up their ships within 24 mu of their chosen corners. The starting speeds of the ESU ships is 16. Facing at the option of the ESU player(s).

If need be, the map can float (but if you're getting that spread out, you might be in trouble...).

                ------------------------
                |A                    C| ^
                |                      | |
                |                      | 6'
                |                      | |  
                |                      | v
                |B                    D|  
                ------------------------
                        <- 8' ->

Fighters are assumed to be all launched. But may not be outside of the 24 mu starting 'box'.

Special:
Note: this is a rather large battle, involving a rather large number of ships (48, to be exact). While FT means the game will go relatively fast, expect to put a little time into finishing this scenario. This scenario is designed to allow players to use the bulk of their accumulated NAC/ESU minis in a major fleet action scenario.

Each side may choose upwards of 260 pts of fighters (until all squadrons are complete). This could mean that if you chose all multi-role (standard) fighters, you may have extra points left over. You may not have any more than 3 of any one type of fighter on any one specific carrier (exception is multi-role fighters; you may have as many as your carriers can carry if you want). You may buy Aces at 20 pts per Ace, but may not have more than 1 Ace per squadron (Aces are purposely expensive because, well, there aren't that many!).

Special Scout Rules: to make scouts usable in this game, if a scout is within 36 mu of an enemy ship, it may 'scan' it. If the scan is successful, the owner of the scout may view the ship control sheet of the ship scanned. In order to have a successful scan, the scout must roll 2d6 per active FireCon it has onboard. The ship being scanned may attempt to jam this by rolling 1d6 per FireCon it has onboard. If the scout's roll is less than the roll of the ship being scanned, the scan fails. Otherwise the scan succeeds.

If the scout is within 24 mu of the ship to be scanned, it may roll 3d6. If the scout is within 12 mu of the ship to be scanned, it may roll 4d6.

At any time any player may ask the other what the thrust output of any ship is, the velocity, and what weapons it has fired (if any) that turn.

The NAC have in their fleet one non-standard Fleetbook ship: the BC/P, Black Prince. If you choose not to use this ship, you may replace it with a standard NAC Majestic battlecruiser.

BC/P - The BLACK PRINCE class battlecruiser (BC/P) is a heavy fire-support variant of the MAJESTIC class battlecruiser. Built in small numbers since 2168, its role is to support a fleet with heavy long-range firepower. Though its thrust is standard, it has a higher rotational ability than many ships of its size, allowing it to bring its limited-arc weapons to bear more easily. In the hands of a good captain, the BLACK PRINCE has proven to be a valuable asset in large-scale fleet battles and more production is planned.
Service Details
First entered Service: 2168
Currently in NAC service: 5
Lost in action: 1
Decommissioned/scrapped: 0
Relegated to Reserve Fleet: 0
Sold to other forces: 1
Under Construction: 2
Procurement cost: 3370 MUCr
- text and design by Daryl Poe

systems configuration: 100 Mass, Average Hull (8/8/7/7), FTL, Thrust=4, Lvl-1 Screens, 6 pts Armour, 3xFireCon, 3xPDS, 1xClass-1, 2xClass-2 (AP/FP/F, AS/FS/F), 2xClass-3 (F/FP, F/FS), 2xPulse Torps (F), 337 pts

Once a ship takes damage to it's 3rd damage row, it must with draw from the fight, if at all possible, unless the commander of the ship rolls a '5' or ' 6' on 1d6, then the ship can stay in the battle. If a ship has taken damage to it's 4th row of boxes, it must withdraw from the fight if at all possible. It is considered a mission kill at this point and may no longer participate in combat (beyond any PDS defensive fire that may need to be done against incoming attacking fighters or missiles). Any ship which is forced to withdraw is considered a 'kill' for Mass casualty calculations.

Whichever side suffers 75% total Mass in casualties must withdraw from the system. If both sides suffer 75%+ total Mass in casualties at the same time, the side with the least amount of Mass of ships must withdraw (really, neither side has the resources to suffer too many ships lost; it is better to withdraw with intelligence on the enemy at this point and return with reinforcements rather than press the issue and retain the system with a weakened force). Fighters do not count for the casualty calculation. Ships which were forced to withdraw due to damage do.

If one side suffers more than 85% total Mass in ships lost, they may be required to surrender (if they are unable to escape the map under standard Thrust power the immediately following turn). Each ship is rolled for. On a 1-3 they surrender but scuttle the ship (escape the ship in lifepods, but are picked up as POWs for later political exchanging). On a 4-5 the ship is captured relatively intact by the winning side. On a 6 the ship attempts to escape, anyway, and the winning side may opt to re-issue the surrender order the following turn, or blow it out of the sky. Should the winning side opt to issue a surrender notice to the losing side, the winning side may not fire that turn! Otherwise the losing side can ignore the surrender request.

These Special Optional Core Systems will be used, but not the Optional Core Systems from the FleetBook.

If you want to use FleetBook only ships, you may replace the following with minimal changes to the overall balance of the two sides:
NAC:

This is the first major engagement of the war in which the ESU got to use it's new Voroshilev extensively.

Victory Conditions

Tactical Notes

NAC: don't let your carriers get caught by the ESU battle elements. Despite the armor and level-2 screens, once they start taking damage, they will go down! . Don't split your fighters up too much; try and mob them all on one big ship per turn (standard fighter ops procedure). Remember: while you outmass the ESU fleet, they have more line combatants than you - unless you really want to bring your carriers into the battle! Also, if you guess lucky and are on the same side of the field as Cruiser Squadron 42, gun for it, and take it out as fast as possible. Whatever the set-up, plan carefully where you want to place your scouts. Too close to the ESU and they become free targets. Too far away and they'll never enter play with any real effectiveness. If you can get behind the Orel, more power to you; you already know what to do. Don't take too many interceptor fighter squadrons; you'll need something to hit the ESU ships with when their fighters are gone.

ESU: The obvious thing to do is go for the NAC carriers. They are valuable, and once you punch through the armor, will die quickly under massed fire (even if it means 'pccking' them to death). The NAC out-mass you by about 9%. Don't let this bother you - remember that a significant chunk of their Mass is tied up in their carriers, and they don't want to bring those into the middle of the fray. However, beware the NAC CEs. While not as efficient or effective as, say, the NSL CE, together they present a formidable anti-fighter force that have good anti-ship damage potential (although arc-restricted; pay attention!). But if you can damage the CEs enough that they take thrust threshold hits, they will be heavily restricted in trying to bring their Class-3 and P-torps to bear.

Historical Outcome:
The NAC player opted to take 2 heavy squadrons of fighters, 1 heavy-interceptor squadron (w/an Ace), 1 attack squadron, 2 normal interceptor squadrons, and 5 standard squadrons. The ESU chose to take 4 attack squadrons, 4 heavy squadrons, and 2 standard squadrons.

The two sides closed with each other at high velocity. The NAC carriers slowed to allow the battleline to barrel straight in for ESU Cruiser Squadron 42. CS42 began to brake in order to not close so fast with the NAC battle wall, while most of ESU Carrier Combat Group 11 (CCG11) accelerated and spread themselves out in a semi-circle arc before the two carriers (the scouts dropped back quickly, having the maneuverability to do so). Initial weapons fire from the NAC CL Erie caused atmosphere to stream from the ESU frigate Huzhou, while the Krasnyy Oktyabrr sent the NAC scoutships, who were attempting to get away from the battle, into oblivion. More weapons fire left the Huzhou and Erie heavily damaged, and both NAC scouts gutted from the long-range fire of the Krasnyy Oktyabrr.

Then suddenly the NAC battleline clashed at point-blank range with Cruiser Squadron 42, while the NAC carriers peeled hard to the left to avoid the CS42 in front and the CCG11 coming in from the starboard. Their idea was to skirt the edge of the battle. Two NAC fighter squadrons engaged the ESU CE Nayabrr Rassvet while the rest hung out waiting for other targets to come in range. The fighters (2xStandard, 2xInterceptor) from the NAC CVL Andromeda were jumped on by 4 heavy squadrons of ESU fighters. One interceptor squadron was eliminated to a man (but dealt the same back to the heavies), while the other interceptor squadron took down their opponents by 50% w/out losing a fighter. The two standard squadrons were not so lucky. One was wiped out but managed to claw down two heavy fighters as they died, and the other was decimated to 1 fighter while only taking out 1 heavy fighter (he was now 5:1 odds against him).

In the fighting between ships, the Erie's captain opts to withdraw from the field, being too damaged to continue fighting, while the Huzhou turns the opposite way and dives for the protection of the CCG11, who is spread out all along the NAC's starboard side, but mostly far enough away to not be in effective combat range.

More weapons blazed and a number of ships take significant damage. On the NAC side destroyer Antietam suffers enough hits to warrent scrapping should she return to base. The Torrent, McGuire, Wright Patterson, and Valiant all either take surface/armor scratches or light damage. The Repulse suffers moderate damage, but loses half of her drive output, plus a number of other key systems (such as FTL). Yet she never opts to withdraw from the battle.

The ESU ships suffer a little heavier damage from the NAC. The BC Gromkiy suffers heavy damage, but like the Repulse, her captain decides he still has a ship with fight left in her. The CL Yibin takes moderate damage, the Nanping light, while the Volga suffers heavy damage (and elects to withdraw). The Navabrr Rassvet is gutted from NAC ship fire and fighters.

What was left of CS42 passed through the NAC battleline - and headed straight for the NAC carriers! The NAC battleline, in the meantime, swung to the starboard of CCG11, who were spread out all over kingdom come. The ESU ships had for the most part slowed down by 25% of their initial speed, while the NAC battleline had slowed by maybe 30%, yet was still travelling much faster than the ESU ships. It appeared that the NAC battleline was trying to get behind the ESU carriers (which is what the NAC battle plan was at the time - but having their own carriers become targets was not part of plan!). ESU fighters pounced on the NAC FFH Nantucket and CEs Torrent and Repulse. Fortunately for the NAC the CEs Avenger and Renown were in position to help support some of the ships (but not all). The Renown shot down a few of the fighters attacking Nantucket, but enough remained to work her over good. She barely holds together from the beating. Other ESU fighters brave the ADFC-guided PDS storm and thump the Repluse hard. Her drives go out, and most of her remaining systems go offline (her engineers managed to get the drive partially working again, but that was her last successful repair this engagement).

NAC/ESU fighter combat from last turn continues, with the NAC losing all fighters that were engaged, while the ESU only lost one squadron. An almost, but not quite, even exchange.

CCG11 ships began to match swords with the NAC battleline, while the remaining NAC fighters divided themselves up between the Peking and Pylkie. A few fighters are lost, but the rest manage to do moderate damage to both ships. The stricken Antietam is knocked from the sky by ESU fire. In return the NAC strike down scouts Vigilant and Guarding, as well as FG Harbin and CL Hong Kong. The NAC also attempt to deal damage to some of the larger ESU ships, but it's barely minimal, if at all. Conversely, the ESU pound the bejeezus out of the Andromeda and Andrews, ravaging the Andrews badly (she retained her main battery, a portion of her drive power, and a single anti-fighter array). The Andromeda streams atmosphere. The Enterprise herself has not yet caught the attention of the ESU, but there's little doubt she will soon.

The NAC carriers accelerate and try to dodge, in an attempt to evade the closing ESU ships. The attempt is in vain, however, as the ESU commanders guess accurately where the carriers are headed. The main combat ships of Carrier Combat Group 11 begin dogging the NAC carriers incessantly. The Andrews attempts to peel off away from the carriers, in an attempt to draw some heat off of the carriers onto herself. The attempt fails as ESU ship ignore the Andrews. However, a batch of ESU fighters take up the slack, jumping on not only the Andrews, but the Torrent, Avenger, and Assateague as well. At the same time NAC fighters decide to stop splitting up their firepower and resolve to take out on ship at a time, in order to preserve the carriers as best as possible. They set their sights on the battlecruiser Pylkie.

The NAC carriers find themselves in the midst of the combat ships of CCG11, while most of the NAC battleline has now spread itself out in a broad front, coming in slowly behind the ESU attack carrier Orel. Most of the ships of CS42 attempt to disengage at this point, having been mauled over enough by various NAC fire.

The three relatively un-bothered NAC heavy cruisers find themselves staring at the starboard side of the Orel and just open up on her. Unfortunately, due to her massive screens and extremely tough hull, the damage is...not as much as the NAC would have liked, considering just how much firepower they were bringing to bear on the monstrosity. Moderately damaged, the Orel lumbers on to join the rest of her fleet.

Intense fighting resolves in the ESU fighters taking a pasting from NAC area defense systems from the escort cruisers, but still manage to get enough through to deal heavy damage to the Assateague. The Andrews is merely harassed, while the other two targetted ships take no damage (all fighters there killed). The Andrews knocked out all but one of the fighters attacking her during this run. The NAC fighters pound on the Pylkie, but fail to take her out of the fight. The Orel smashes the heavy cruiser Wright Patterson for arrogantly getting too close. The Nantucket dies from long-range fire from an ESU destroyer. The NAC carriers begin to suffer as the Andromeda takes heavy damage, losing several of her fighter bays and a number of other systems to fires and short-circuits. The Enterprise now becomes a target and ESU weapons breach her armour. The Enterprise streams atmosphere.

As the combatants circled, a few of the NAC ships managed to finally get behind the Orel. NAC fighters now swarmed the Kranyy Oktyabrr, who, before this, had never been touched. ESU fighters converge on the Renown (who, with help from Andrews, shot all but one fighter down from the sky). The NAC carriers attempt to slam on the brakes, hoping that the ESU ships dogging them would overfly them. This worked...almost. A few ships overflew the NAC carriers, but a sufficient number of other ESU ships were going slow enough as it was to remain in the aft arcs of the carriers. It didn't look good for the NAC carriers at this point. Especially with their battleline so far out of position, scattered behind the Orel.

As the two sides once again traded fire with one another, the Orel suffered hard at the hands of NAC ships. In turn the ESU ships blasted into the Andromeda, and smacked the Enterprise around a bit. The NAC battleline attempted to draw some heat off of the carriers, but they were too far away, and only managed to nick a few smaller ships. The NAC fighters tore into the Krasnyy Oktyabrr, but it wasn't enough, as the Oktyabrr shared in the dissection of the Andromeda. The only major loss to the ESU in this exchange were all but one of their fighters as the NAC escort cruisers and interceptors removed them from the sky.

The end was near for the NAC carriers. The Andromeda attempted to jog away from the ESU ships, but she could not get away clean. The ESU ships slowed way down, which put the Enterprise now in front of the ship she had just gotten behind. The Enterprise manages to shoot down the battlecruiser Pylkie, but then she is in turn mauled. The Andromeda is then destroyed, and the Enterprise soon shares the Andromeda's fate. In response to this the NAC fighters obliterated the Krasnyy Oktyabrr, and the NAC battleline smashes into the Orel with everything it can bring to bear (which really wasn't much, as the slower-thrust ships were still getting turned into the fight). It is enough, though, that the Orel has now suffered critical damage. Most of her weapon systems were offline, her drives had suffered a hit, FTL was out, most of her no-longer-useful fighter bays had collapsed - she was in bad shape. But the NAC weren't finished yet.

The NAC battleline seemed to finally get its act together and swarmed up on the Orel. The ESU CVL was too far away to catch just yet, but the NAC fighters had her in their sights, and set themselves upon her. As the NAC finish off the Orel, they gut a few more of the escort ships that were in range. The fighters, however, are only able to do minimal damage to the Chervona Nova Sevastopol. The ESU are able to respond only by causing significant damage to the escort cruiser Avenger.

With the battle for the system lost, the ESU attempt to withdraw from the fight. The NAC are still steamed at losing the two carriers and pursue the ESU ships as best as possible, concentrating on a destroyer, the light carrier and the remaining battlecruiser. The battlecruiser is badly damaged in this exchange, but the light cruiser got away with only suffering moderate damage. The destroyer went pop. All other ESU escort ships manage to effect an escape at this point. The ESU battlecruiser (Bezboyaznenny) decided to surrender rather than be destroyed.

In the end the NAC controlled the system, but at the cost of two valuable carriers. Their battleline was mostly intact: CAs Edwards and McGuire, BC Black Knight, BB Constellationand BDN Valiant suffered only light damage, and CE Renownwas still in pristine shape. Most of their escorts had either withdrawn or were destroyed; only a couple were lightly damaged. The Valiantcould act as a fighter refuel/repair station, but it could only service one squadron at a time. The other 5 remaining squadrons would have to wait their turn.

Yes, the NAC could hold the system for a while. But they could not stay. Not that they were supposed to. They didn't have the reinforcements to keep the system for long. As soon as it was feasible, the NAC fleet returned to NAC space.

Final tally:
NAC:
Ships destroyed/captured: 6 (CV, CVL, DD, FFH, 2xScout)
Ships heavily or critically damaged: 7 (FFH, CL, 3xCE, 2xCA)
Ships moderately damaged: 0
Ships still combat capable: 8 (FFH, DD, CE, 2xCA, BC/P, BB, BDN)

ESU:
Ships destroyed/captured: 18 (CVA, 2xBC, 2xCAH, CE, 4xCL, DDH, DD, 2xFF, 4xScoutship)
Ships heavily or critically damaged: 5 (3xFF, DDH, CAH)
Ships moderately damaged: 1 (CVL)
Ships still combat capable: 3 (3xDD)