9 Sep 2011

Dystopian Wars Tactics: American Dream

Welcome to this third article on Dystopian Wars naval power. Today, the Federated States of America enters the breach.


The Federated States of America (FSA) was created after the Southern States emerged victorious in the American Civil War of 1860-64.
The FSA controls a vast swath of territory stretching from the Britannian Canadian and Russian Alaskan borders in the North to the Southern boundary of the Associated Latin Territories.
The Americans control no overseas territory, apart from the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, as the nation has focused heavily on rebuilding after the Civil War.
Although currently unaligned with any nation, the FSA provides the Kingdom of Britannia with material aid in its war with the Empire of the Blazing Sun. President Adams has made his views on expanding American influence in the Pacific quite clear and this had led to tension between the FSA and the Blazing Sun.
A naval task force was dispatched to launch a surprise attack on the main Japanese fleet but this led to greater danger. Instead of intercepting the Blazing Sun battle group, the FSA mistakenly fired on a fleet belonging to the Russian Coalition which has led to open hostilities between the two nations.

American naval strength is low, consisting of approximately 360 vessels. A massive armaments program has been initiated, however, with the latest designs being churned off of the production line.

With regards to reality, American naval strategy was dominated by the thinking of Alfred Thayer Mahan.
In his book the Influence of Seapower Upon History 1660-1783 Mahan sought to explain how European nations had come to dominate the globe and deduced that command and control of the sea had brought this about.
Mahan believed that the only way that the United States could become a global power was by building capital class ships and that the sole purpose of a navy was to bring about the destruction of the enemy fleet. This was to be achieved by concentrating a fleet at a strategic location to lure the opposing fleet into battle and then systematically destroying it.
This notion of the 'decisive battle' was to have a huge impact, not only on America but other nations as well. His beliefs became popular in Europe, especially in Germany where the Kaiser made it the primary textbook for naval officers.
Japan also adopted Mahan's principles which was to dominate and ultimately decimate them in World War II.

When the United States entered the Second World War most of its battleships had been sunk at Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, American carriers were out on exercise at the time and this allowed the U.S. to strike back in the Pacific. America entered the war and out-produced all three Axis nations combined.
The Battle of Midway in 1942 saw a shift away from traditional naval battles. Indeed, neither fleet saw each other throughout the battle with both the Americans and the Japanese using carrier-based aircraft as their strike force.


Factionally speaking, the FSA has focused on engaging an enemy at range. Their primary turrets can throw out more dice than other factions at range bands 3 and 4 whilst still performing well at closer ranges.
The Americans have also adopted rocket technology which further increases their offensive capability at range.
FSA ships are quite durable as they have a higher DR than those of opposing factions.

Their vessels, being based on paddle-steamers, have the manoeuvrable MAR. This enables FSA ships to rotate ninety degrees whilst at an all stop. This allows a commander to either avoid collisions or provide them with better target acquisition.
FSA ships also have the the sharpshooters ability which allows them to roll 1D6 at a model within boarding distance (4"). On a 5 or 6 the targeted model loses 1AP.

The Independence class Battleship comes equipped with two primary turrets that can fire off the following Attack Dice:

12 10 8 6
18 15 12 9 (Linked)
As you can see, the Independence is quite capable of shelling an enemy fleet from afar. This high number of AD at range gives an American Commodore two options for using their battleships.

The first, is to keep the standard configuration of the model with the rocket battery attachment. This allows you to either hang back and let the enemy come to you where your higher AD rolls, combined with rocket attacks, will hopefully be able to weaken enemy vessels as they approach your kill-zone.
In a similar vein, the FSA can attempt to flank around the enemy, thereby making your opponent divert resources to the edge of the board where they have less room to manoeuvre. By splitting a naval battle group, your opponent then has to prioritise their attacks. If all goes to plan, the enemy fleet will be crippled by two sets of long-range gunfire.

The second strategy is to go Gung-ho and replace the rocket battery with either a shield or kinetic generator. The latter allows a ship to roll +1D6" of movement but it must make a half move every time the generator is activated.
By adopting this tactic, an FSA Commodore can steam his vessels towards the enemy where they can bring their superior guns to bare at closer ranges. The Independence can either shrug off any damage, thanks to its higher damage rating and shields, or speed away from the fray with the extra movement provided by a kinetic generator.

Everything is bigger in Texas and playing as the FSA is no different. Smaller ships in the American arsenal do not pack as much fire-power as their factional counterparts.
With this in mind, an FSA Commodore should use larger sized models in their battle groups.

Lexington class Cruisers can be used as mini-battleships as they can throw out a good number of AD and have the same generator configurations as the Independence.

The FSA Enterprise class Dreadnought offers even greater offensive capabilities. The model has three primary turrets (which have the same AD numbers as the Battleship), broadside guns and two rocket batteries. This is before adding the models ramming and boarding capabilities into the equation.

FSA scientists have had a recent breakthrough in robot technology. The John Henry class Flying Mechanized Warrior (FMW), can act as an air defence system as its left-arm cannon comes with the air hunter MAR. This means that any dice rolled against flying models receive a +1 to hit modifier. The other arm contains a rocket battery to rain down death from above.
John Henry's are quite durable as they have the jettison damage ability which enables them to recover one lost HP per game. This, however, then gives them the vulnerable MAR meaning that if they suffer a critical hit your opponent can choose to re-roll both dice.
When considering that these are flying models and can obscure themselves in the thick Dystopian smog, making them harder to hit, these FMW's can be quite useful in battle.

I hope this article has proven useful to any aspiring FSA players. Next time I'll be addressing the Empire of the Blazing Sun, my chosen faction, and how their units perform.

Happy Gaming

JoTG

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