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Month: May 2021

Invasion Orion : Fights in 20×38 space

Art from the Invasion Orion Manual

Part 1 of Invasion Orion‘s AAR here.

We carry on our journey through the single-player campaign of Invasion Orion. Note that the game lacks a lot of context about the links between those battles : the snippets before the scenario description covers anything you can imagine except the strategic situation. Due to this I got a bit … creative. The tactical situations are exactly as described though.

Also, let’s talk pronouns ! I will use she/her for human ships, as per the Navy tradition, and it/they for the Klaatu ships, as they are hostile contraptions from outer space.

Camelot’s Gauntlet

After its first victory battle – and a quick refit, the Camelot headed to the space shipyard of Autarcia for reload. Its newest generation missiles had run out, and it was now using spare missiles that dated from the beginning of the Orion War.

On its way to Autarcia, she was ambushed by a Klaatu force of one light destroyer, one heavy destroyer and one light cruiser. You can see below the order of battle :

The missiles are way weaker than in the first battle involving the Camelot

The Camelot could certainly defeat any of those ships in a duel, but three of them were probably too much for her to handle – combined the Klaatus could launch 9 missiles by time unit. Therefore, the Camelot was ordered to break through and evacuate to the right of your tactical display. Given how sluggish the Camelot was (she could move at best 4 distance units by time unit), it would be a difficult task.

As the Klaatus moved toward the Camelot, she sent a torpedo in their general direction, hitting their weakest ship – the destroyer :

This seemed promising. Should the destroyer be removed from the map early enough, the Camelot would have some chance to survive against the two remaining hostile ships. She needed to destroy it without receiving to much damage though – for this reason the Captain decided to allocate as much energy as possible to the shield (10) as he (or she?) ordered another torpedo to be sent toward the destroyer.

This proved a wise choice :

1 missile direct hit and 1 missile close hit inflict respectively (11-3=8) and (5-3=2) damage due to armor. The 10 total damage is fully absorbed by the shield

The Camelot was saved by her shield and its heavy armor, whereas the destroyer was hit for the second time. At this point the destroyer was probably crippled, but still a threat due to its missile launcher. The Captain of the Camelot decided to make sure it would not escape and ordered to use his Tractor Beam. Tractor beam uses the drive, but also the mass of your target instead of your own mass, so against a target lighter than you it is an efficient way to avoid escape. In this case, a Klaatu destroyer has a mass of 1, so it could be moved up to 10 distance-units given the Camelot has a drive of 10. Once brought close, the destroyer would be annihilated by the offensive beam.

Tracting an opponent to beam it at close range is extremely satisfying !

The light destroyer had been destroyed, and the Camelot was as powerful as she had started the battle, minus two spent torpedoes.

Approaching the second heavier destroyer, the Camelot spent one more of her torpedoes, in addition to the beam weapon. The destroyer did the same to the Camelot, hitting her.

The enemy cruiser is out of position to support, except with missiles

This time, the shield of the Camelot could not absorb fully the damage. The Camelot lost maximum energy in addition to beam and shield capacity – but this was acceptable.

Closing in with full-shield, the Camelot got rid the second destroyer : first another torpedo totally crippled it :

Shooting its torpedo straight left would have been a better bet for the destroyer

Then it was finished off by a missile.

Sure of her kill, the Camelot had already aimed its beam weapon and a second missile at the cruiser. The shield was also almost fully loaded, stopping the cruiser beam weapon.

The Camelot then proceeded to destroy the cruiser by allocating as much energy as possible to the beam weapon, while shielding just enough to stop the enemy beams. Luckily enough, the Klaatu missiles all missed the Camelot. By the second beam attack, the cruiser had stopped moving, allowing a final destruction by missile.

Any question on that battle? Cadet Smith again ?

  • How do you explain the Camelot destroying 3 targets without receiving much damage, when the Arès – carrying critical intel – was destroyed by 2 corvettes ?

I don’t see the point of that question, Cadet Smith. The Camelot was crewed by more competent people, that’s all !

Protecting Big Rock

The next encounter with the Klaatus happened as two Klaatu destroyers attacked two Stellar Union communication satellites at a place called Big Rock. To defend them, we had three light frigates deployed in the area : the Amazon, the Britomartis, the Jeanne d’Arc. The only objective of the Frigate was to protect the satellites.

The “launchers” on the satellites are only there to absorb damage.

Here is the tactical situation at the beginning of the battle :

If the defenders of the Big Rock satellites had a strategy, we do not know it. Instead of focusing on one destroyer after the other, they initially made no strong move in any direction…

… and just like that the Britomartis, veteran of the Orion war, was destroyed by a torpedo.

At this point, the defenders realized that it was the two of them against superior destroyers. They decided to focus on the destroyer on the left. “Let’s go at it with torpedoes“. They did …

… and the Amazon was destroyed by a torpedo from the Jeanne d’Arc.

I see some of you cringing. I did the same when reading the report. Torpedoes will lock on ANYTHING.

At least before being destroyed, the Amazon had damaged the destroyer, allowing the Jeanne d’Arc to finish it off shortly thereafter :

As you can see though, the second destroyer sent a missile very close to itself. Why you ask ? We will see that soon, because next time unit it did the same :

This is a case of a defensive use of missiles. These are like any other object missiles attract torpedoes, so using torpedoes this way act as a close protection. Of course, in this case, the torpedoes would have missed anyway.

Meanwhile, as you could see on the tactical display, one of the satellites was destroyed by the the two other missiles the destroyer could launch.

The Jeanne d’Arc now tried to protect the last satellite, but for naught :

Once again, the Klaatu had sent a defensive missile, probably saving it this time. The rest of its missiles was sent against the satellite, destroying it.

Its mission complete, the Klaatu jumped out. As for the Jeanne d’Arc, she and her commander, Captain Roger Wilco, are still under search.

And no, Cadet Smith, I am not taking any question this time !

The battle of Neshabur

After the battle of Big Rock, we had some time of respite, with fewer attacks from the Klaatus. This allowed the Orion Colonies and the Stellar Union to negotiate, and sign the first pact against the new threat.

Some of the captains felt a bit… dismayed when they compared the success of the Orion Colonies against the Klaatus to the several defeats received by the Union ; this being why you are currently training here at Orion and not on Earth.

In any case, an opportunity to wash what was perceived as an affront presented itself when a small Klaathu battlefleet was spotted near Neshabur. The Stellar Union had three cruisers available in the area, and rather than waiting for the reinforcements local command decided to engage. Of course, three cruisers is a significant force, but the Klaatu had a battlecruiser with an escort of three heavy destroyers.

The cruisers had learned from the battle of Big Rock, and a perfectly placed defensive missile stopped not one but two Klaatu torpedoes, whereas two Stellar Union torpedoes found their targets !

After this opening, the Terran strategy was to focus on one destroyer after the other – whether missiles were sent from the destroyer or the battlecruiser, the effect would be the same.

On the other hand, the Klaatus decided that their own strategy would be, as usual, missile barrage !

I am not showing the long range inefficient beaming

The Tylosaur was significantly damaged by several close-hit explosions, but one Klaatu destroyer was in a sorry state. The humans decided to finish it off…

… but it escaped away. At this distance, the beam weapons that were aiming at it were mostly inefficient, whereas the Klaatu missile barrage was as efficient as always. The Smilodon was crippled, and the situation had turned.

The next time unit, the Klaatus destroyed the Smilodon at close range with accurate beam weapons. Hundreds of life were lost. Meanwhile, the humans tried to destroy the flying destroyer with their own missile barrage, but they missed it !

The enemy battlecruiser had closed-in, and at this range its beam is devastating (20 maximum power !). The Mosasaur was annihilated next by a combination of beam and torpedo, over two time units.

This leaves the already damaged Tylosaur. The enemy battlecruiser has received some significant damage itself while trying to destroy the Mosasaur, allowing the Tylosaur to survive a bit, but her drive was slowly depleted by repeated mid-range beam attack and close-hit missile explosions. Eventually, its engine died. At this point, it was one missile away from destruction.

This was our worst defeat at the hands of the Klaatus. We lost 3 powerful ships for no loss on the Klaatu side. Hopefully, you will learn on the future of the danger of the Klaatu missile barrage, and you will not let their battlecruisers close-in with their massive beam weapons. Any question on this engagement ?

  • Cadet Smith here. Not on this engagement, but I would like to come back on that engagement at Big Rock. Why did the Klaatu attac...

We already passed that point Cadet Smith ! Let’s move on !

The messengers !

The last battle we will study today will be a very short one. It happened most recently : the mining world Whistlestop, at the fringe of the Orion Colonies, became under attack of a massive Klaatu battlefleet. There were docked on this planet starport two ships in capacity to send the news : the Athena and the Minerva. The problem was that those two ships were not very fast, how could they escape fast enough on either the left or the right of your tactical display.

Sometimes, legends and orders of battle are useful

I hope you remember tractor beams. Well, tractor beams can also work as pushing beams. This was the Minerva and the Athena only chance.

The strategy was clear, the planet starport would use its pushing beam in the hope of giving the Minerva and Athena enough of an headstart to leave the area before the Klaatu battlefleet caught up with them. Meanwhile, a barrage of missiles would stop the enemy torpedoes for zeroing in.

… and just like that, thanks to the sacrifice of the ground crew on the starport who manned the beam until the end, the Minerva and the Athena could bring to us the news of this massive fleet under approach. There are some great battles ahead, and you may be fighting in them very soon !

Before the next steps of your training, we will take a short recess. But Cadet Sudden Smith, we do have a special… assignment for you

Rescue at Rigel is supposedly in the universe of Starfleet // Invasion Orion. You will never see the names “Stellar Union”, “Orion” or “Klaatu” mentioned anywhere, though. “Sudden Smith” is mentioned in the intro of one scenario of Starfleet and on scenario of Invasion

So there are three large scenarios remaining. I am not sure that the after action report on this very technical, absolutely not visual game are so interesting, so tell me if you would like me to cover them, or if you want me to reserve 1, 2 or 3 of them for a commenter’s command. In the later case, do you volunteer to take command of what of humankind’s ships ?

Rating and Review for the game here