The Prussian General observed the hulking form of the Hochmeister as it was bathed in a ripple of explosions, black putrid smoke pouring from its multiple wounds. In the distance the menacing shape of the Restitution lurched as it moved on its thrusters towards Vlissingen with only the diminishing Teutonic Order standing in its way. The shields of the Saint-Michael pattern Metzger flared a blueish green as the bubbledome of the shield did its utmost best to absorb the punishment inflicted by the Americans. This was going to be rough.
The American General surveyed the battlefield. As he watched, the Prussian bunker complex unloaded its cannons into the B-72. As much as it benefitted from the cover provided by the thick clouds of the Sturginium age, the size of the B-72 meant that even so some of the shells found weak spots in the fuselage. A blast erupted in the engines and with a blinding flash the B-72 disappeared, only to reappear a few moments later above Vlissingen. With a rushing sound air rushed to fill the space where the B-72 was but moments ago, and where the B-72 now appeared the air was pushed away with a loud bang. Though the crew was shaken, they suddenly found themselves in a position to conduct bombing runs much earlier than anticipated.
Around the Hochmeister the air was thick with flak as dive bombers homed in on the stricken giant. Several of the small fliers tumbled from the skies as their fuselages were riddled with holes. Bombs fell screeching on the Hochmeister, though the angular plating deflected most bombs and the Hochmeister suffered no structural damage. Not satisfied with the damage inflicted so far, the Yorktown bombards added their firepower to the barrage on the Hochmeister. Most of the rockets went astray or were shot down by the few remaining Ack-Ack turrets, but a single rocket found an exposed fuel cable in the knee joint. With an unearthly speed the fire spread through the fuel lines, eventually reaching the interior tanks and with an earth-shattering blast that rocked the peninsula and caused waves to wash over the naval combatants, the Hochmeister detonated.
Wreckage was strewn for hundreds of meters as the towering hulk of the Hochmeister was torn apart.
Over in the naval side of things the detonation of the Hochmeister caused concern and celebration in equal measure. The Danes were shocked to see the lumbering giant fall and evaporate, but the British took it as though this meant victory was assured and continued their approach with renewed vigour. The Danish and British fleets were so close together now that marines could fire small-arms weaponry at their counterparts on opposing vessels. At these ranges a carnage was inevitable. Under thundering close range barrages the Asgard of the Danes finally succumbed to the tremendous damage inflicted upon its tortured hull as marines and crew alike jumped off the vessel and made for neighboring friendly ships. A brave few crew remained on board the Asgard as it sank stern-first. Depressing the front turrets to their lowest possible elevation, they unloaded their last few shells into the Majesty dreadnought. The Majesty’s shields hissed and buckled as they gave way to the brutish Danish turrets, leaving the vessel vulnerable.
The Ragnarrok meanwhile plowed on protestingly, its crew still frantically trying to repair the worst of the damage inflicted by the earlier Colt Cannon attack. As it passed an industrial rig the on-board marines activated their jump packs and rocketed aboard the rig, reinforcing the structure for an eventual British assault. When the British Ruler battleship fired at the Ragnarrok almost casually a few shots beneath the waterline were all it took to send the Danish pocket battleship to the murky depths just short of the Zeeland beach.
Taking advantage of the British hubris wave after wave of Danish dive bomber zoomed towards the Majesty dreadnought. Diving nearly vertically, not all the Danish pilots managed to turn round for another run as several of the planes were blasted from the skies and several misjudged the distance and slammed into the Majesty, detonating their payload as they crashed onto the deck plating. Most however managed to drop their bombs and pull away, turning to the remaining Danish Havel-class carrier to resupply their now empty bomb racks. The Majesty’s hull blackened as ordnance scorched the vessel inflicting wounds and further exposing the internals of the behemoth vessel to the nearby Danish vessels. Made vulnerable, every remaining Danish vessel poured fire into the Majesty and in a withering display of close quarters gunnery the British flagship was turned into a blazing inferno. The British Commodore himself was caught beneath a beam as he made towards the escape boats. Cursing the Danes, he was melted alive when Sturginium-laced fuel burst from broken pipes and started corroding the once proud dreadnought.
In the ensuing chaos the British fleet was left in disarray. Ships struggled to establish communications again and the flanking force was left utterly bereft of direction, failing to reach the back of the Danish lines in time to turn the tide. In a rare display of sensibility the Attackers and Vanguards turned away from the remnants of the Danish fleet and made their escape. The Danish Emperor-class battleship proudly sailed between the rigs raking what few vessels remained of the British fleet. The Danes had suffered crippling losses, but in turn managed to destroy pretty much the entire British fleet apart from scattered escorts and the remaining flanking forces who now evacuated the battlefield.
Back on the battlefield before Vlissingen the situation looked grim indeed for the Teutonic Order as the Americans retained numerical superiority and superior firepower. With the Saint-Michael pattern Metzger the sole remaining super heavy battle unit, the Teutonic battle lines attempted to consolidate into a solid front to withstand the American onslaught. However, the Restitution again proved its merit as with another burst from its horrifying Colt Cannons it easily swatted away the precious shields of the St. Michael and blew its right arm clean off. The Prussian Commodore implored the Order to stand fast, even as more rockets from the Yorktown bombards struck the now vulnerable St. Michael and inflicted lethal damage. Unlike the Hochmeister, the St. Michael did not detonate. Instead, it slowly fell forwards and shook the earth as it crushed several Faust and Defiance robots beneath its mass. The Prussian Commander ran for the emergency escape hatches, but was thrown through a window by the lurch forwards. With a sickening thud the Commander landed tens of meters away.
With the center of their line ripped apart and their leadership lost, the few remaining Teutonic and Prussian units nevertheless held fast as not even a single unit fell into disarray. The faces of crew and soldier alike stood grim as they prepared to make their last stand against the overwhelming American forces.
Aboard the Restitution the American General attempted to raise communications with his British counterpart. Unable to reach his counterpart, the American Commander turned his attention towards the naval theatre. Finally taking stock of the disastrous situation the Commander grit his teeth as he finally realised the danger to his landing party. With the British fleet out of action, their escape route was cut off. Without an advantage in the naval theatre any assault on Vlissingen, however succesful in devastating the entire city, could not be sustained beyond this single raid. Assessing his objectives the American Commander reached a decision.
The Teutonic forces were surprised when the American forces began to disengage. Choosing not to try their luck, the Teutonic and Prussian units took advantage of the lull in combat to disengage as well, grateful for the cessation of combat.
At sea, the Danish fleet saw the Restitution change heading towards them and with the display of raw firepower freshly embedded into their minds the Danes decided to play it safe and they consolidated their fleet around the rigs. Just a short distance ahead the American barges lay unguarded, but the Danes held their fire. In an uneasy cease-fire the Americans re-embarked on their barges as the Restitution hovered overhead, its Colt Cannons held forward menacingly. The British flankers made radio contact and declared their intention to safeguard the barges from attack as best they could.
With a furious snarl, the American Commander turned away from his observation deck as the Restitution finally headed out back to open sea. Back to England. Although the American forces were more succesful than they dared hope, even against an unexpected dreadnought robot equal to their own, the prospect of holding out on their own as they were bombarded from sea and land without open supply lines deterred them from razing the fortifications around Vlissingen.
At the outskirts of Vlissingen the mood was dour. Only a handful of functional army elements remained. Although the Teutonics had stood their ground, they had suffered overwhelming losses and would probably not function as a full army ever again. Instead, the remaining units would have to be spread to other detachments as reinforcements or held as a minor garrison in Vlissingen itself. However, the fortifications still stood as the Americans had focussed their firepower on the Hochmeister first and the Teutonic and Prussian army second, seeing that as the greater threat to their assault. Nevertheless the loss of the Hochmeister to an unexpected enemy dreadnought robot was a heavy price to pay.
The Danes emerged as the army most closely resembling anything of a victor. They held the industrial rigs and succesfully destroyed or crippled most of the British fleet, although barely half the fleet remained afloat and personnel losses were high. Still, the Danes were content in their victory over the British, their pride satisfied for another day. Their pride swelled as it became clear that their naval supremacy meant that Vlissingen was spared, even though the Americans held an overwhelming advantage over the defending forces. Although a very costly victory, the Danish Commodore would receive a commendation for this battle.
This concludes the battle report. I’ll do another write-up where I’ll explore the conclusion some more and I’ll try to get the Danish, American and British players to weigh in as well. The battle ended rather messily as the store closed and we were still in the thick of it, so the later parts of the battle were rushed to conclusion. In addition I do not claim this report to be absolutely correct, as I’ve embellished details and remembered some parts of the battle wrongly (as my American-playing bastard of a friend has repeatedly pointed out). In the end, I’d view a compelling narrative as more fun than a painstakingly correct battle report.
The results of the battle:
Kingdom of Denmark: 1915 VP.
Scandinavian Teutonic Order: 680 VP.
Imperial Bond total: 2595 VP.
Kingdom of Britannia: 1110 VP.
Federated States of America: 1355 VP.
Grand Coalition total: 2465 VP.
Considering both sides wielded about 3000 points, these results are VERY close. We called it a draw, and decided that as the Americans humiliated the Teutonics but the British were crippled beyond salvation that it would be interesting to spin the story to a forced retreat for the Americans and a crippling loss for the Teutonic Order.