1 Sep 2011

Dystopian Wars Tactics: Prussian Blitz

In this article I'll be continuing with my naval analyses and today, I'll be examining the Prussian Empire.

The Prussian Empire dominates the European mainland but is engaged in a two front war. The Kingdom of Britannia lies across the North Sea whilst the Russian Coalition has advanced from the East, swallowing up vast tracts of previously Prussian territory.
The Empire is not alone though. It has entered an alliance with the Empire of the Blazing Sun to help relieve pressure on the Japanese in the Pacific. In return, the Blazing Sun has offered to deploy troops against the Russian Coalition.
The Prussians are guarded to the West and South by the Republique of France and the League of Italian States both bound by old treaties to serve the Prussian emperor.

The Prussian navy is composed of just over six hundred vessels which are at the cutting edge of technology. The largest naval battle group has been deployed in the North Sea to defend the Fatherland from incursions by the Kingdom of Britannia and the Russian Coalition.

In our time-line, German naval strategy was left in decline after the unification of the country in 1871 as the Prussians, who defeated France in the Franco-Prussian war (1870 - 1871), had placed an emphasis on their land forces.
This began to change, however, when Kaiser Wilhelm II ascended the throne in 1888. The Kaiser had seen how a small island nation such as Britain had achieved global hegemony by controlling the sea and believed that if Germany wished to become a global power, it should imitate a fleet comparable to the Royal Navy.
Wilhelm found an ally in Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz who thought that the German navy should be dominated by Battleships. Under Tirpitz, the German navy began constructing more Battleships which alarmed the British as they saw this a threat to their naval superiority. The continued build up on both sides led to a naval arms race which contributed to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

Naval theory at the time was dominated by the idea of the 'decisive battle' which would witness two enemy fleets engage in battle in an attempt to destroy the other. The victor would then achieve control of the sea which, it was believed, would bring about the defeat of the enemy nation.
After the indecisive Battle of Jutland in 1916, the German navy returned to port where it remained for the rest of the war. This brought about a change in thought of naval strategy to that of a 'fleet in being' or a fleet that extends a controlling influence without leaving port.

As a faction, the Prussians rely on speed and boarding assaults. Prussian ships tend to have a higher AP rating than other nations and, therefore, present a huge danger at close range. By using their luftlancers (on-board marines), Prussian commanders can aim to capture enemy vessels, thus removing threats indirectly as a captured vessel cannot conduct attacks.
The Prussians have developed Tesla technology to help reduce enemy combatants. Most of their ships have the lethal strike MAR which means that if a Tesla attack equals or exceeds the DR of a vessel, it also loses 1 AP.

The Emperor class battleship is the fastest of the currently engaged factions by having a 7 inch movement capability.
Its standard configuration is for three primary turrets which can fire off the following AD:

11 8 5 2
21 12 9 4 (linked)

A Prussian commodore also has the option of swapping one turret for either a shield generator, Ultrasonic Pulverising Generator or a Tesla Generator.
The UPG (or Calcification Generator) can target a ship in range band 1 with 1 die roll which produces the following results but does not cause HP damage:

4 = Shredded Defences (cannot use AA or CC)
5 = Chaos and Disarray (cannot use rockets, torpedoes, bombs or mines)
6 = Loss of 1D6 AP

A UPG can aid a Prussian battleship by either removing a ships AA capability thus allowing Prussian marines to board an enemy vessel without facing opposing fire or by reducing the amount of enemy marines that can fight back. As Prussian vessels have a higher amount of AP, an offensive minded commander may wish to use this technology to preserve the lives of his marines.

A Tesla Generator also provides the Prussians with a greater offensive capability against one ship in range band 1. A roll of a 5 or 6 leads to a roll on the critical hit table. The effect, however, does not result in HP damage but as Prussian strength lies in boarding assaults, this may not necessarily be essential.

The Emperor has a DR of 6 with a CR of 11 and its turrets only start to have an impact at range band 2. This is the same range that the Tesla weaponry also comes online.
Here is where the Prussians are at a disadvantage. Tesla's are a secondary weapon system which means that any HP damage results in the loss of AD as opposed to other nations rockets and torpedoes that don't deplete with damage.
Another disadvantage is that Tesla weaponry can only link fire with other Teslas and seeing as though most are port/starboard and aft, positioning your ships correctly will require a great deal of skilful manoeuvring.

It would be in a Prussian commanders best interest to equip a shield generator at the aft of the Emperor and make a slow approach towards the enemy fleet. When the time is right, the Battleship can utilize its greater movement rating to get into range bands 1 or 2 and unleash a full volley.

Although the Prussian Empire commands the fastest ships it would be in their best interests to either make a slow approach or, use their speed to utilize any cover provided by terrain. A commodore can then strike swiftly at an enemy's flank or rear to encircle and board.

Arminius class Frigates excel at this tactic. With a movement rating of 13 inches, these small ships can outpace capital class models and get into range band 1 (where the enemy capital ship can only hit them on a 6 with primary weapons).
The fore turret on each Arminius provides 6 AD so a squadron of 4 can unleash a linked 15 AD gunnery attack.

Similarly, Reaver class Cruisers can unleash a lot of firepower by utilizing this tactic. Prussian Cruisers are best deployed on the flank where they can pose as great interceptors and boarding threats.

To give greater protection to large or massive models, a Prussian Commodore may wish to deploy Wachter class escorts. These small ships are difficult to hit as they have both the small and elusive target MAR's. Where as other nations escorts offer a purely defensive contribution, to intercept incoming rockets, torpedoes, boarders and aircraft, the Wachters come equipped with the same gunnery rolls as Frigates. Enemy vessels may be deterred from engaging an escorted Prussian ship in range band 1 because of this.

Finally, no Prussian naval battle group should be without air support. The Imperium Sky Fortress dominates the battle zone with its hulking appearance, bombs and array of Tesla weaponry. It also poses a huge boarding threat with an AP rating of nine and the elite crew MAR which means that the marines on-board receive a +1 attack modifier.
The Imperium is also difficult to destroy as it can fly obscured in the smog of the Dystopian world. This means that all attacks made to or from the airship only hit on sixes except AA attacks. It also has the following stats:

DR - 6
CR - 10
HP - 10

If a 1000 point game is played, the Prussians can field three of their Sky Fortresses and still provide a deadly flotilla of ships.

Once again, I hope this piece has proved informative to all those concerned.

John of Team Gambit

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