Author Topic: Tactical Nuke Incoming! AeroSpace Battle - 50th WoB SD vs. 5th DCMS SoL  (Read 1759 times)


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On April 30th, I met up at my locals and went a few rounds for aerospace with the local X-Wing convert. The capstone of this event was a matchup made with horrific consequences in mind for both sides.

The Scenario

Whilst hunting for members of the Black Dragon Society, an element of the 5th Sword of Light found themselves on-planet when Albalii was struck by a surprise attack by a detachment of the 50th Shadow Division in 3076. Seizing the opportunity, the 5th scrambled a company of AeroSpace Fighters to hit the Blakists' 'Mechs as they withdrew from an objective. In response, the Word sent an AeroSpace force of their own - just two Strigas, each loaded with an Alamo tactical nuclear missile.
Author's Note - Unfortunately, we did not have 14 fighter minis between us, certainly not all on-model. IWM is (relatively) expensive and priming metal is... priming metal. More plastic AeroSpace please.
That aside, most of the fighters were represented by 'Mech minis. The gray-plastic Griffin and Wolverine represented the 50th's
Strigas, while the others represented Slayers, Shilones, Sholagars, Sais, and Lightnings from the 5th.

This particular company of the 5th Sword of Light's AeroSpace wing had not been resupplied in some time, with losses and supply disruptions during the preceding years of the Jihad forcing most pilots to make do with reliable but outdated Succession Wars-era fighter configurations. In contrast, the pilots of the 50th Shadow Division were both piloting the Spectral-series Striga AeroSpace fighters in the Eminus configuration. Both pilots were elites of the Manei Domini, outfitted with buffered VDNI, as well as dermal armor and a pain shunt to render the valuable pilots virtually immune to all but the most grievous harm. The flight lead (represented by the gray Griffin) was also outfitted with a triple-core processor.

Hard and Fast

Both forces met over a large river system, with each of the fighters from the 5th Sword of Light tearing through the sky at their maximum velocity. Unfortunately, in their haste, the 5th Sword of Light neglected to prepare for the superior range of the Word's light gauss rifles; one Sholagar (represented by the Commando) that neglected to make evasive maneuvers against incoming fire was thrown out of control, nearly flinging itself out of the local airspace.

The interceptors were able to get a good look at the enemy Strigas, though, and identified the unmistakable profile of Alamo missiles hanging from the Blakist fighters' external hardpoints. This would advise the Sword of Light's decisions from then on, with a new tactic in play: roughly half of the fighters, those capable of closing the gap with the enemy before they could launch a warhead, would rush the Blakist flight leader, under-running the minimum safe distance of their nuclear payload, while the other roughly half of the fighters would hang back, staying out of range of the missiles and peppering the enemy with LRMs whenever possible.

Upon realizing the payload carried by the Blakist fighters, members of the 5th Sword of Light scrambled to form two groups - some carefully remained spread out and beyond range of the Striga's Alamos, and while others closed the gap to force the 50th's pilots inside their own blast radius.

The initial furball largely centered around the Blakist flight lead was intense, with fighters trading blows with little to no regard for heat. As expected, the Blakists were hesitant to launch nukes when the only large clump of enemies was surrounding an elite (and quite expensive!) member of the Manei Domini. Though the 50th's fighters were able to down a Sai, they were forced to take on enemies one at a time, putting them at an obvious disadvantage.

To make matters worse, the Word's flight lead was now surrounded and bearing the brunt of several alpha strikes from the Combine's fighters. The lead Striga's pilot desperately attempted to regain control, but the incoming damage was just barely too much for them to handle. The heavy fighter's controls went unresponsive and the craft glided forward on a predictable path.

The first casualty of the battle. Caught in the aft, the poor bastard's fuel tank went up and took the rest of the fighter and pilot with it.

Hungry for the chance to take down fully half of the Word's AeroSpace forces involved in the skirmish, the Sword of Light's close fighters began virtually lining up for a chance to put as much firepower as possible into the wounded Striga's aft. Perhaps it was greed or desperation, but they failed to notice the fighter's wingman pulling far away from the furball. Any warnings from the rear-line fighters went unheard before the Blakist flight lead, recognizing that his demise was inevitable, set his Alamo to airburst mere meters from his cockpit, and hit the launch button.

No Plan Survives First Contact

When the dust settled, the 50th Shadow Division's flight lead on this mission was gone, and only half of the 5th Sword of Light's committed AeroSpace company remained.

The nuclear suicide-bombing left both forces decimated, each side retaining only half its original committed force. However, the remaining Blakist Striga had been, up to that point, mostly unmolested. As the rest of the Combine forces deliberated their next move, the remaining fighter of the 50th bore down upon the out-of-position Sholagar, knocking it back out of control just as it began to recover. As the Spectral OmniFighter came around, not even bothering to watch as the Combine's last interceptor spiraled into the hills below, the order was given to fall back.

After the nuclear strike, fully half of the Combine's forces were utterly wiped out.

Questions of honor were shot down with a sudden wave of pragmatic self-preservation as the remaining fighters of the 5th turned South and began fleeing as fast as they could, fully aware that there was still one Alamo on the field. Most of the remaining fighters were Shilones and Slayers of the SL-15A make- fine support fighters but totally unable to penetrate the thick armor of a Striga on their own. Only one other fighter, a Lightning had a chance at doing meaningful damage to the remaining Blakist fighter, and there wasn't much it could do alone. As they burned away, an Alamo was launched that destroyed two other DCMS fighters, the Lightning narrowly avoiding secondary radiological effects from the blast.

Even in the Combine, sometimes discretion truly is the better part of valor

Now down to a quarter of their original number, the Combine began fleeing with all possible haste. The last Striga kept up the pursuit, chasing down the Lightning with its comparable speed and superior range. In a surprise move however, the pilot of the Lightning turned around and challenged the much heavier fighter to a pitched dogfight, desperately attempting to buy as much time as possible for his few surviving comrades to retreat back to base. The outcome was practically inevitable, but the duel managed to last for the better part of a minute.

Finally, a crippling volley from the Blakist shredded the Lightning's engine. As he watched his allies leave the air space, he attempted one final act- one last ramming attempt against the Striga. Unfortunately, this attack failed, and the G-forces exerted on the badly damaged fighter left only pieces to fall to the ground.

Though woefully outmatched in a 1 vs. 1 dogfight, Chu-i Franklin Kondo's fanatical rear-guard delaying action earned him a posthumous promotion to Sho-sa.

Though the battle was a victory for the Word of Blake, the loss of a heavily-augmented AeroSpace commander in what should have been a simple interdiction was highly costly. It would be some time before the 50th Shadow Division could find a suitable replacement of similar caliber.

The loss of their second company left a massive gash in the AeroSpace wing of the 5th Sword of Light. The loss of personnel and materiel would be felt even after the end of the Jihad. Nevertheless, Combine propogandists flocked to the heroic sacrifice of Chu-i Franklin Kondo and his final encounter behind the controls of his Lightning leveraging it as an example of the ideal DCMS soldier (though they tweaked the narrative so that Kondo's final ramming attempt was a success that took the enemy Striga down with him).

Incoming Transmission...

Quote from: REDACTED, 04/06/3088
Exarch Stone,

We have still been unable to determine what the 50th Shadow Division was doing in Draconis Combine space at the time. As you brought up when initially briefed on the conflict, the 50th was most active against the Lyran Alliance. We suspect that this was a small detachment of the 50th chasing down a high-value target fleeing the Alliance, possibly seeking asylum in the Combine. If and when we get more details on that, you will be briefed.

« Last Edit: 01 May 2022, 17:21:29 by pokefan548 »
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