13 Imperial warships Lost Near Sculptor IVb
Given that ork naval forces appear to be dominated by escort-class vessels, Flotilla 18-B is created. It consists of only two cruisers but 10 Firestorm frigates and 10 Cobra destroyers.
The theory behind this force is that the escort flotillas will directly at the greenskin fleet and decimate it with lance fire and torpedoes.
With the xeno fleet heavily damaged, the Imperial escorts would surround and concentrate on the remaining enemy vessels, while the cruisers combine their fire against any surviving capital ships.
The tactic proves a failure. The ork guns have equal range to the Imperials, and they manage to open fire first. This initial volley is as devastating as the Imperials had hoped their initial fire would be. Sixty percent of the frigates are destroyed in the first round of xeno fire.
Meanwhile, some distance away, the 10 Imperial destroyers launch their torpedoes first, but they miscalculate the range and some ork ships have time to avoid the Imperial weaponry. Only two ork escorts are destroyed.
A fierce firefight breaks out, and four Imperial destroyers are wiped out in short order, and one cruiser is crippled
The flotilla commander orders all units to break off. Four destroyers turn to port and use the gravity well of a nearby moon to accelerate and escape; two others take refuge in a gas cloud.
The surviving Firestorms accelerate as well, firing at their opposing enemy ships as they race past. Unable to turn and follow, these ork ships turn to port to chase the retreating Imperial destroyers.
As ships race past each other, one destroyer and one ork gunship are destroyed.
All that remains of the flotilla are the two Imperial cruisers. With one crippled, and limited maneuverability, they fall easy prey to the ork ships that descend upon them and send boarding parties to seize the ships.
Of 22 ship in the flotillas, 13 are destroyed or captured. It is the single greatest defeat of Fleet Corvus in its 20-year-history.
Analysis of Recent Naval Actions
• Imperial Losses are excessive in the extreme: Four cruisers and 21 escort-class ships are lost, compared to only 10 small ork craft. If this trend continues, the xenos will achieve naval superiority in the Sculptor System and put Imperial rule at risk.
• Ork weapons batteries are erratic in their firepower, but occasionally powerful volleys are enough to overwhelm Imperial ships. Much of this weaponry, however, is positioned on the prow of xeno ships, which also features heavy armor. Always seek to strike the orks on their flanks or rear.
• Ork escort-class ships are significantly more powerful than Imperial ships of the same size. They are a high priority.
• The only clear advantage that Imperial ships enjoy over the greenskins is in speed and maneuverability, particularly for our escorts. Use these advantages to keep Imperial ships at a distance unless the odds are favorable.
• Any ship boarded by a cruiser-class ork ship is not going to repel boarders. Even ork escort ships can successfully board a crippled cruiser with significant casualties. It is imperative that Imperial ships deny the xenos any opportunity to close.
++ Report Ends ++
TheGM: TheGaffer, naturally, is playing the orks. I am playing the Imperials, and I am finding the orks a challenging naval power. Each battle saw me try a different strategy, all of which failed miserably.
But I am learning. I’ve picked up a few lessons on how to use torpedoes, and I’ve remembered a clever tactic that U.S. pilots used early in WW II, when their aircraft weren’t as nimble as the Japanese Zero. I’m going to see if that same tactic will work on a tabletop.
(I’m not sharing what it is quite yet. TheGaffer may be reading.)
We’re thinking of a small campaign for control of the asteroid belt . . . or maybe we’ll put the whole Sculptor System up for grabs. So, expect more naval actions. They’re a nice break from the longer and more intense land battles.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.