A major battle occurred today in the space around Gran Quivera between UPF forces and a massive sathar fleet that was more than twice the size of the fleets reported in the other systems.
Task Force Prenglar, aided by the timely arrival of Strike Force Nova returning from the Cassidine system, met the sathar forces as they approached the planet. After nearly an hour of fighting, and suffering major casualties, Spacefleet forces defeated the sathar invaders.
Frustrated by the inability to immediately get the more seriously damaged ships into the PGC shipyards for repairs, Spacefleet has sent a delegation to the Council of Worlds demanding activation of the Wartime Construction Control clause of the UPF charter that would grant them full control of all starship construction centers in the Frontier.Kami Hemsley, Frontier News Network
The sathar launched their biggest fleet of the opening offensive at Gran Quivera, hoping to strike at the heart of the Frontier and sever the various segments of the Frontier joined by this core system. With a fleet double the size of the ones appearing in the outer systems, and supported by a pair of assault carriers each carrying seven fighters, the sathar fleet outgunned Task Force Prenglar by a decent margin. Their only major concern were the two minelayers that were part of the Task Force. They fully expected to win this fight. And they may well have.
Unfortunately for the sathar, Strike Force Nova was already en route to the Prenglar system after an extended patrol of the Frontier and arrived in the system just hours after the sathar fleet was detected. With two of the Frontier’s major fleets to deal with, the tables turned and the sathar were now facing a superior foe. When news of the arrival of Strike Force Nova in the system reached the sathar commanders, they no longer expected to win, but they were committed to doing as much damage as possible.
Order of Battle
Task Force Prenglar
- 5 Assault Scouts
- 3 Frigates
- 2 Destroyers
- 2 Minelayers
- 3 Light Cruisers
- 1 Battleship
- 1 Fortified Station
Strike Force Nova
- 6 Fighters
- 3 Assault Scouts
- 2 Frigates
- 1 Destroyer
- 2 Light Cruisers
- 1 Assault Carrier
- 1 Battleship
- 14 Fighters
- 2 Frigates
- 4 Destroyers
- 2 Light Cruisers
- 2 Heavy Cruisers
- 2 Assault Carriers
Everyone knows that it’s a literal minefield between the sathar and the planet, the question for both sides is how the sathar are going to attempt to navigate it.
The UPF set up in a battle line with the center anchored by the battleships and light cruisers, with the destroyers, frigates, and assault scouts out from there on either side of the planet. SF Nova’s fighters are on the far wing above the planet. The line is positioned slightly behind the planet to allow the sathar to commit before the UPF move into the fray. The larger capital ships are moving at speed 10, the smaller capital ships at speed 15, and the fighters and assault scouts are moving at speed 20. The assault carrier, escorted by a light cruiser, along with the minelayers, are far behind the line above the planet and moving at speed 10. They plan to orbit out there and hopefully stay out of the fighting. In advance of the fight, the UPF have deployed all 40 mines from the two minelayers as well as all 16 seeker missiles (4 from each minelayer and battleship).
The sathar set up their capital ships in two of their “diamond” formations with some modifications. The HC is joined by an AC and there are two fighters with each of the frigates. In addition, there are two flights of 5 fighters on the far wings. The capital ships are all moving at a cautious speed of 5 while all the fighters are moving at speed 30. The sathar suspect that the fighters on the wings will fly around the mines while the ones with the capitals ships are intended to be used as sacrificial probes to clear a path to the planet and beyond. The sathar intend to punch through and fight on the far side of the planet where they believe the mine threat to be smaller.
The two sathar diamond formations advance maintaining their initial speed with the destroyers on the wings flying in to close the formation with the heavy cruiser and assault carriers. The two flights of fighters on the wings accelerate to speed 35 and make a run at the assault scout squadrons on each wing. The other four fighter fly ahead of the diamond formations and as they approach the planet, split up with one from each pair looping around the planet and making a pass at the station (accelerating to 35) while the other two remain at speed 30 and turn at the last minute to line up on the destroyers.
Unfortunately for the fighters in the middle, but per the sathar plans, each pair trips 3 different sets of mines that the UPF had laid out. Unsurprisingly, all four fighters are obliterated. However, they have done their job and cleared a path through the minefield for the capital ships.
Defensively, the assault scouts all fire their laser batteries at the fighters. The more distant UPF frigates and destroyers also target the fighters in an attempt to destroy them before they can fire their assault rockets. The assault scouts manage to destroy the lead fighter in the upper flight while another has its navigation controls damaged and one has its maneuvering engines knocked out. The frigates and destroyers score some long-distance hits nearly destroying another fighter and causing an electrical fire on the one with its maneuvering knocked out (in the lower flight).
On the upper flight all four surviving fighters hit with their assault rockets seriously damaging two assault scouts and destroying a third. The fourth assault rocket knocks out the assault rocket launcher on the last assault scout. On the lower flight, only 3 assault rockets hit, two on the lead assault scout knocking out its LB and nearly destroying it. The other assault rocket slams into the trailing assault scout and it is destroyed.
With the sathar’s cautious movement placing their ships right in the middle of some of the seeker missile deployments, the UPF active two seeker missiles on either side of the sathar formations. Both missiles in each group home in on the light cruiser in each formation. The UPF also activate 2 seeker missiles in the more distant groups that they expect will intercept the formations on the next turn. The sathar light cruisers fire ICMs at the incoming seeker missile in an attempt to nullify the threat. Both missiles aimed at the upper light cruiser miss. One headed for the lower light cruiser is destroyed by the ICMs while the fourth missile slams home dropping the hull integrity of that ship to less than half.
The UPF ships on the battle line advance maintaining their speed with all of the ships preparing to engage on the next turn while the assault scouts get some maximum range shots with their laser batteries on this turn. The minelayers, assault carrier and light cruiser advance and turn in their orbit and fire at the fighters, attempting to take them out.
The fire on the sathar fighter damages its combat control system.
Defensively the sathar ships fire all their energy weapons at long range at the lead assault scout in each flight. The upper assault scout is hit by a laser battery from the frigate and proton battery from the assault carrier destroying it. None of the shots at the lower flight of assault scouts hit but the particle weapons from the light cruiser and assault carrier come close.
Offensively, only one of the assault scouts in the lower flight connects with the sathar’s frigate damaging its acceleration. One of the minelayers’ laser batteries connects with one of the damaged fighters destroying it, while the UPF’s assault carrier takes out a second fighter with its laser battery and the light cruiser takes out the navigation control system on a third.
The sathar capital ship formations accelerate to speed 7 and each focuses all their fire at the closest UPF destroyer while preparing to defend against the incoming seeker missiles. The upper flight of fighters, two out of three of which have navigation control hits, spin a bit out of control but manage to line up briefly to fire their assault rockets at the assault carrier. The lower flight of fighters split up with the main group of 4 going after the assault scouts and the other one (with a fire and no maneuvering ability) just flies straight and out of the battle. All the fighters slow to speed 30.
Defensively, the minelayer and assault carrier group, as well as the lower flight of assault scouts, fire at the fighters attacking them while all other ships focus on the closest sathar frigate.
In the upper flight of sathar fighters, the UPF manage to destroy two of the fighters before they get their shots off. The third puts an assault rocket into the assault carrier damaging its acceleration.
The assault scouts in the lower flight all miss as they fire on the incoming fighters. The fighters on the other hand do a bit better hitting two of the assault scouts with assault rockets and destroying both of them.
The UPF capital ships fare no better than the assault scouts with only a single destroyer hitting the frigate in the lower formation with a laser battery doing some minor hull damage.
The sathar only manage to do a bit better. With all the weapons being brought to bare, the upper UPF destroyer is hit by 3 laser batteries and an electron battery slightly damaging its hull and knocking out all of its weapons except its rocket battery. The lower UPF destroyer doesn’t get off so easy as, despite firing ICMs at it, the torpedo from the sathar frigate hits nearly destroying it. It is also hit by an electron battery from the assault carrier that does a bit more hull damage.
The seeker missiles all home in on the closest heavy cruiser. The cruisers fire 3 ICMs at each incoming seeker missile. Against the upper formation, one of the seeker missiles miss while the other connects damaging the cruiser’s acceleration. On the lower heavy cruiser, one of the missiles is intercepted by the ICMs while the other impacts the cruiser and takes out nearly half of its hull integrity.
With its hull nearly destroyed, one of the UPF assault scouts in the upper flight drifts off the map and out of the fight taking a long distances shot at the sathar frigate as if flies away. Similarly, the seriously damaged destroyer just drifts by the sathar formation firing everything at the frigate as it passes by.
The UPF fighters accelerate to 25 and make an assault rocket pass at the sathar heavy cruiser in the upper formation before darting out of range and preparing for another run. The 2 surviving assault scouts in both the upper and lower flights make a similar run (remaining at speed 20) but fire at the assault carriers in each sathar formation.
The surviving frigates and destroyers loop around behind the sathar ships and focus their fire on the assault carriers as well. Defensively, the sathar ships fire ICMs at the incoming torpedoes.
The UPF battleships & light cruisers all slow to speed 8 and turn in to focus fire on the sathar light cruisers. The light cruiser, assault carrier, and minelayers continue their speed 10 orbit away from the battle.
The fire on the sathar fighter knocks out half of its damage control system.
Defensively, the sathar fire at a number of ships instead of really focusing on a few. In the upper group, the destroyers, assault carrier, and heavy cruiser spread their energy weapon fire across all the fighters, attempting to take them out before they can bring their assault rockets to bear. The destroyers in the upper group only hit with a single laser battery and electron battery seriously damaging the hull on one fighter and knocking out the assault rocket launcher on another. The heavy cruiser hits a third fighter with its laser battery but only scratches the hull slightly. The assault carrier does a little better and it laser battery destroys one of the UPF fighters. With the fighters and battleship out of range, the heavy cruiser and assault carrier fire their rocket batteries at the lead UPF light cruiser. Both hit taking out nearly half of the light cruiser’s hull. The frigate and light cruiser in this upper group focus their fire on the UPF battleship. While the frigate completely misses, the light cruiser hits with a laser, electron, and proton battery each doing damage to the battleship’s hull.
In the lower group, the sathar frigate fires at the damaged UPF destroyer as it flies by and hits with its rocket battery destroying it. The lower destroyers fire at the lead UPF light cruiser and one hits with a rocket battery causing some significant hull damage. The light cruiser fires at the battleship hitting with its laser and proton batteries knocking out the battleship’s maneuvering engines and damaging its navigation control system. The heavy cruiser and assault carrier split their fire with the energy weapons targeting one of the UPF frigates and the rocket batteries going after the lead light cruiser in the bottom flight. The rocket batteries both hit knocking out most of the ship’s acceleration and seriously damaging its hull dropping the hull integrity to less than half. The UPF frigate is hit by two laser batteries and a proton battery causing some hull damage, completely knocking out its acceleration, and damaging its maneuverability.
The four surviving UPF fighters all hit the sathar heavy cruiser in the upper formation with their assault rockets, destroying it.
The assault carrier in the upper group is hit by a laser canon, electron battery, and two torpedoes that slip through the ICM screen knocking out the carrier’s masking screen and ICM launcher, causing a power short circuit in its defenses, and taking out a third of its hull integrity.
The assault carrier in the lower group is hit by a laser cannon, two torpedoes, and an assault rocket. One of the torpedoes damages the carrier’s combat control system before it is destroyed by the other weapons.
The sathar light cruiser in the upper group is pummeled by the weapons from the two UPF light cruisers and the battleship being hit by a distruptor cannon, 2 laser, 3 electron, 2 proton, and 2 rocket batteries as well as a torpedo that slipped through the ICM screen. It suffers damage to its hull and a number of systems before finally being destroyed by an electron battery hit from the battleship.
The light cruiser in the lower group doesn’t fare any better. While it is only hit by 2 laser, 1 electron, 1 proton, and 2 rocket batteries, being already damaged by a seeker missile hit it is destroyed as the last rocket battery from the battleship impacts the hull.
The sathar capital ships all accelerate to speed 9 and fire at the closest light cruisers, splitting shots between the each pair. The surviving fighter group decelerates to 25 and loops around to make a pass at the station. Unfortunately for them, they pass through another mined hex. Finally, the single surviving fighter that flew off the top of the map comes screaming back in at speed 32 and fires its assault rocket at one of the minelayers.
Defensively, the UPF battleships fire at the assault carrier or heavy cruiser in the sathar formation they are targeting. The light cruisers each pick a sathar destroyer and focus their fire on that ship. The frigates and destroyers spread their fire around the same ships. The minelayer and assault carrier group fires at the lone fighter. The mines are not very effective only damaging the assault rocket launcher on a single fighter; the other four make it through the minefield unscathed. The station fires on the incoming fighters.
The surviving sathar assault carrier is savaged by shots from the battleship and a pair of UPF frigates knocking out over half of its hull integrity, a laser battery, its maneuvering engines, and its navigation controls system. The lead destroyer in the upper group has over half of its hull integrity knocked out by the lead light cruiser while the trailing light cruiser and a UPF destroyer hit the trailing destroyer in this group damaging its maneuvering and damage control systems, disabling its ICM launcher, and nearly ripping the hull to shreds.
In the lower group of sathar ships, the UPF battleship and frigate completely miss the heavy cruiser. The lead sathar destroyer is hit by one of the UPF light cruisers knocking out its ICM launcher and damaging its combat control system. The other destroyer is hit by the other UPF light cruiser and a frigate for some serious hull damage. The station misses the incoming fighters but one of the minelayers hits the lone fighter destroying it before it can fire its assault rocket.
Having survived the barrage of defensive fire, the sathar open fire on the light cruisers and station. The station is hit by 2 assault rockets which damage its combat control system and score a significant hull hit. The lead UPF light cruiser in the upper group, already damaged, is hit by two laser batteries and a torpedo from the sathar frigate which destroy it. The second light cruiser in that group are hit by multiple weapons from the sathar assault carrier and one of the destroyers including a rocket battery and torpedo suffering only a minute bit of hull damage but significant damage to its acceleration and maneuvering and damage to its combat control system.
In the lower group the lead UPF light cruiser, again already heavily damaged, is hit by a laser battery and torpedo from the sathar frigate knocking its proton battery before the cruiser is destroyed by the torpedo. The second light cruiser takes a beating from the other sathar destroyer and the heavy cruiser being hit by 2 laser, 1 proton, 1 electron, and 2 rocket batteries as well as a torpedo. Knocking out over half of the light cruiser’s hull integrity, the shots also knock out its distruptor cannon and ICM launcher as well as damage its maneuvering capabilities.
The two surviving assault scouts, only one of which has a working assault rocket launcher, join up and make a pass at the sathar heavy cruiser. The UPF fighters make an assault rocket run on the sathar destroyers in the lower group where they are joined by the lower flight of UPF frigates. One of these frigates, whose acceleration is damaged, turns off to follow the assault scouts while the other two slow down to speed 9. The frigate and destroyer group slow to speed 10 and the frigates fire at the assault carrier while the destroyers each target a different sathar destroyer. Screening the smaller ships behind it, the upper battleship slows to speed 9 and pulls to within 10,000 km of the sathar vessels firing on the assault carrier. The damaged light cruiser in the upper group, with reduced maneuvering and a navigation control hit, turn to port and maintains its speed taking a long-distance shot at the assault carrier. The seriously damaged light cruiser in the lower group just drifts away from the battle followed by the battleship that has had its maneuvering systems knocked out. They fire long-range shots at the sathar heavy cruiser. The minelayer and assault scout group accelerates to speed 11 and turn away from the oncoming sathar vessels. They, together with the station, fire at the group of sathar fighters. The fire on the sathar fighter that has now drifted off the map damages its navigation control system.
Defensively, the sathar ships in the upper group fire everything at the battleship knocking out one of its laser batteries and causing some significant hull damage (a quarter of its total hull integrity). In the lower group the heavy cruiser and frigate fire at the incoming fighters while the destroyers target the assault scouts. One of the fighters has its assault rocket launcher disabled, taking it out of the fight, one is hit by a electron battery for some minor hull damaged and a third is hit by a laser battery, destroying the small ship. The lead assault scout it hit by an electron battery starting an electrical fire on board and the other is hit by an electron battery serious damaging it’s hull (dropping it below half integrity).
Despite the long-distance shots, one of the sathar fighters his hit by a laser battery damaging its combat control system and the UPF assault carrier scores an electron battery hit on another, destroying it. The surviving sathar heavy cruiser is only hit by the single assault rocket and an electron and proton battery knocking out its maneuvering and doing some minor hull damage. The lead sathar destroyer in the lower group gets off fairly easy as well being hit by a laser cannon and battery which damage in maneuverability and disable its laser battery. The other destroyer takes a bit more damage being hit by two assault rockets and two laser cannons dropping its hull integrity by more than half and damaging its acceleration and combat control systems.
The ships in the upper group are not so lucky. While the lead destroyer survives, it suffers a significant hull hit, has its electron battery disabled, and suffers a navigation control hit. The other destroyer is hit by every weapon fired by the trailing UPF destroyer completely obliterating the ship. The assault carrier doesn’t fare any better being hit by 10 different weapons from the battleship and two frigates and is completely destroyed.
On the UPF side, the station manages to repair its reduced damage control repair system bringing it fully back on-line. The assault scout with the fire manages to extinguish it before it can do any damage. The other two assault scouts (one of which is off the map) both repair some of their hull damage as does the heavy damaged light cruiser and one of the battleships. The other battleship repairs its navigation controls system and restores some of its maneuvering ability. The upper light cruiser also repairs it’s navigation control system. The two damaged fighters both manage to restore their assault rocket launchers bringing them back into the fight. One of the UPF frigates restores some of its acceleration while one of the destroyers repairs its laser cannon. The assault carrier attempts to repair its damage acceleration but something goes seriously wrong and it seems that it is going to require a shipyard to fix properly.
For the sathar, the lone fighter way off the map gets its fire under control and the frigate in the upper group repairs its laser canon. The other ships all attempt to repair some of their hull damage (and most succeed although the destroyer with the navigation control damage does not).
The two sathar frigates and the less damaged sathar destroyer from the lower group all accelerate and turn to make an attack pass at the station. The destroyer in the upper group with the navigation control system damage makes a hard turn to port. Unfortunately, its severely damaged hull cannot stand the strain and the ship breaks apart. The sathar heavy cruiser and final surviving destroyer just drift forward firing at the assault scouts. The fighters fly out to attempt a run on the UPF minelayers.
Defensively, the UPF focus on just a two of the ships headed toward the station and the fighters. The first target is the sathar frigate from the upper group. All of the ships above the planet fire at that ship, which is really their only target. While the UPF frigates miss completely, the battleship and destroyers land a series of blows. However, despite hitting with 8 different weapons including a rocket battery and two laser canons, the frigate survives the blast suffering a near 75% hull integrity loss, a defensive power short circuit, and damage to its repair ability and maneuverability.
The UPF ships below the planet, together with the station, fire at the destroyer approaching the station from that direction. It is hit by 3 laser batteries and a laser cannon knocking out nearly half of its hull integrity and maneuverability.
Finally, the minelayer and assault carrier group fire at the incoming fighters reducing the acceleration and maneuverability of one, damaging the hull and knocking out the maneuverability of a second and destroying a third.
The surviving sathar fighters fire at one of the minelayers damaging its combat control system and inflicting some hull damage. The wounded and drifting destroyer and heavy cruiser fire at the assault scouts damaging the repair systems on both of them. While the frigate coming in from above misses the station completely, the ships coming up from below do much better hitting with both laser canons, a laser and rocket battery, and slipping a torpedo through the ICM screen. The station suffers a power short circuit in its defenses with the other weapons ripping into its hull including a massive explosion by the torpedo. All told, the station loses over half of its hull integrity.
The minelayers and assault carriers continue to accelerate away from the fight while the undamaged light cruiser loops back to engage the oncoming sathar ships. In an attempt to finish the fight, the UPF ships all spread out to target different sathar vessels. The assault scouts slingshot around the planet and make a run at the heavy cruiser which is also targeted by the UPF fighters. One of the UPF frigates and the destroyers chase down the frigate from the upper flight. Two of the UPF frigates go after the destroyer that made a run at the station, the battleship goes after the other sathar frigate, and the other two frigates go after the wounded destroyer with the heavy cruiser. The seriously damaged UPF light cruiser continues to drift away from the battle while the other turns to go after the surviving sathar fighters. The other UPF battleship, some navigation control restored, accelerates and turns back toward the planet as it slowly rejoins the fight.
The sathar all fire at the ships attacking them. The UPF battleship suffers some minor hull damage from a laser battery hit, one of the UPF frigates attacking the upper destroyer has its navigation control system damaged, and three of the UPF fighters are hit for a slight damage to maneuvering on one, a navigation hit on a second and the assault rocket launcher knocked out on a third. The most serious damage was one of the frigates near the sathar heavy cruiser being hit with a rocket battery that destroyed half of its hull integrity.
The sathar frigate from the original upper flight of ships, barely holding together as it is, is hit by two laser cannons and a laser battery, destroying it. The other frigate, despite being hit by 1 laser, 1 proton, and 2 electron batteries, as well as a distruptor cannon from the battleship, manages to pull through with only minor hull damage but also having its laser cannon knocked off-line, it acceleration reduced, and its maneuvering completely knocked out. The sathar destroyer that just attacked the station is hit with 2 laser canons, a laser battery, and two rocket batteries destroying it. The other destroyer is hit by a laser cannon, laser battery, and 2 rocket batteries. It too is destroyed. The heavy cruiser is hit by 3 of the 4 assault rockets that were fired at it and breaks apart as the explosions rips through the hull. The light cruiser manages to get a long distance hit on one of the sathar fighters igniting an electrical fire.
The sathar fighter with the fire also has no maneuvering capability (or assault rockets left) and just drifts by the UPF light cruiser passing with 10,000 km of the larger ship which hits it with a laser and electron battery destroying it.
The other sathar fighter, also out of assault rockets, accelerates to sped 27 and attempts to ram one of the UPF assault scouts. It is intercepted by multiple hits from several ships that vaporize it.
The sathar frigate, having no maneuverability, accelerates to speed 15 to try to clear away from the UPF ships. However, between the battleship, the undamaged light cruiser and the frigates that were nearby, it is hit by 10 different weapons and destroyed.
The only surviving sathar vessel at this point is the lone fighter that was damaged on the first round of combat and has been drifting away for the past 40 minutes with no maneuverability. The two surviving assault scouts chase it down over the next couple of hours and eliminate it.
With most of the UPF ships damaged to some extent or another, it is six hours before all the battle damage that can be repaired has been. By then the lone sathar fighter has been destroyed and all of the ships return to take up orbit around the planet.
In the end, four vessels have damage that requires shipyard work to repair. On is the fortified station, having been reduced to less than 40% of it’s hull capacity, it is only back to 57% capacity before problems arise that require outside assistance. The assault scout severely damaged early, that drifted out of the battle, is only able to restore 80% of its hull and one of the frigates has a small hole in the hull that just refuses a patch.
The other ship is the assault carrier assigned to Strike Force Nova which suffered permanent damage to it acceleration. If it and its four surviving fighters remain with the Strike Force, they will not be able to execute any high speed risk jumps until that is repaired.
While the sathar played it well using the fighters to clear paths through the minefield, and did a good job targeting the assault scouts early to reduce the assault rocket threat, they were a bit too timid trying to traverse the minefield and came into the battle with not enough speed to clear it quickly. This severely hampered their combat options and it turned into a shooting gallery for the UPF ships which were free to maneuver. Had Strike Force Nova not been in the system, their tactics might have been sufficient and though they would have suffered some loses traversing the minefield, more ships would have made it across to really engage with the UPF. Next time they are in a system with minelayers, they might try something different.
One thing I completely forgot were the seeker missiles on the sathar heavy cruisers. After the fact I realized that I could probably have deployed them on round 2 or 3 and activated them to keep the UPF ships circling around in the mined area on their toes and possibly affected their maneuvering. If nothing else, they may very well have impacted the station and possibly have destroyed it. You would think that with the UPF seeker missiles flying around I would have remembered the sathar ones but it completely slipped my mind until I was doing this write-up.
The ability to maneuver in the minefield, as well as the superior numbers allowing them to focus their fire on more ships, really served the UPF well as they were able to whittle down the sathar ships and use their weapons to full effect. While they suffered some serious losses in numbers of small ships and the loss of the two light cruisers and destroyer, yhey gave much better than they took and definitely came out ahead.
The only real problem is that now most of the UPF force is in the center of the Frontier at Prenglar, while the sathar forces are on the periphery. It’s going to take some time to get ships where they are needed but at the same time, knowing that the sathar could strike at Prenglar again at any time, they have to keep forces here to defend this core world.