Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 13
By 2641, the Kilrathi had in place for five years their own heavy fighter project. First introduced in the same year, the Jalthi Heavy Fighter was plagued with developmental flaws and setbacks. One such being the tendency to explode when hit in the space drive. The few Jalthi encountered before 2646, held their own against Scimitars and Rapiers. By January of the year, the engineering was as perfect as it was going to get, and the Kilrah Pride began to put them into production. When the Kilrah Pride did so, the Council of Eight responded with their own newer medium fighter, the Krant. It could do well against the Scimitar, but was still outclassed by Rapiers on one-to-one basis, as well as by Jalthis. However, the other Prides could produce far more Krants far faster, and thus maintained their balance.
A newer, larger type of cruiser came on line, the Fralthra-class. The Kilrathi are slow to change their weapons and introduce new classes of ships far less often as Confed. Thus, they have less practice in introducing new products, and they tend to be delayed by more technical difficulties. The new cruiser class was far larger than the Fralthis and had armor and armament powerful enough to hold their own against a Confed Prince of Orange class battleship. The first two Fralthras saw action in 2646, in the Munro System.
Push to Munro III
Despite previous setbacks, Confed moved once again to secure Munro III and climb that much closer to being within striking range of the Kilrathi homeworld. Little was known about Kilrah, and that was obtained from refugees and a few defectors. None had ever visited the homeworld, and could only bring with them encyclopedic knowledge. There was no tactical or strategic data on the planet or system, save that the Kilrah Pride had an impressive fleet. Part of it was on permanent station in Munro.
With bases around Munro VI, as well as the Proxima jump point, secured, Confed felt confident in extending itself. With a fleet headed by six carriers, including Hornet’s Nest, Wolfhound, Tiger’s Class, Raj, Harrier and Finback, three battleships, the Ragnarok, as well as an assortment of lesser ships, many of these brought in from Rostov to form this new fleet, Confed launched its second attempted invasion of Munro III. The Kilrathi had minimal defenses in orbit of the planet, but have greatly increased the defenses around Munro I and Munro II since the last Confed attack. The moment Confed was detected approaching, word was sent further in-system for Kilrathi warships to come to its aid.
The Kilrathi responded with six of its own carriers, as well as two new cruisers, twelve Fralthis and a host of destroyers, frigates and corvettes. The Kilrathi intended to wait until the Terrans have landed upon Munro III before destroying their fleet and trapping them. At this stage of the war, if either side faced total annihilation in the Munro System, it could have spelt doom for them.
The Second Battle for Munro III ended barely before it even began. Confed used its arsenal ship to great use, but the Kilrathi had already developed a plan to counteract the swarm of missiles. The use of Jalthis hit the Terran pilots harder than earlier attacks, but Confed managed to hold off most of the Kilrathi bombers. Some broke through defenses and crippled the Harrier, which later succumbed to internal explosions. Raptors broke through both Krants and Jalthis to return the favor, destroying a Snakier.
The battle was fought to a draw in space, but Confed Marines made impressive inroads on the ground. Within a week, the time the battle beyond the planet took place, Marines had secured several hundred square kilometers of coastline, as well as a mostly intact spaceport. The latter was of great value. Seeing their position untenable, Confed began to evacuate the planet. Marines left, bitter at their abandoning a successful invasion. Along with them, many Terrans living in the occupation zone also fled, their first chance in over a decade to leave voluntarily. Though they were not Confederation citizens, being beyond the pre-war frontier, they would not be turned back for the Kilrathi to slaughter.
The fleet left orbit of Munro III in May, and rendezvoused with several Construction Brigades at the moons of Munro IV. Munro IV would be turned into a new forward base, where Confed can keep an eye on both the inner planets, and be within easy striking range of Munro III and all Kilrathi activities on the planet. The orbit of Munro III quickly became a no-man’s land, where neither side could enter without risk of being attacked.
Other Operations in Munro
In June of 2464, one such encounter took place near a four kilometer rock known as 2613AL41001-Munro. A dual between one of the new Fralthras and the TCS Charles Vreeland, a new Endurance-class battleship took place. The two ships spent the better part of a day maneuvering around the rock, attempting to gain optimal firing with minimal risk. During openings in the parrying, the two warships traded shots with grasers, weakening each others shields, only to retreat behind the rock to recharge.
Both ships were capable of launching fighters, and the Charles Vreeland carried a squadron of Hornets, mostly for defense against the squadron of Dralthi the Kilrathi cruiser carried. Neither fighter was suited to take on heavily armored opponents, and did little but shoot each other down. For the two fighters Confed lost, the Kilrathi lost six before recalling the survivors in case they were actually needed. Hornets proved their worth again in intercepting a spread of anti-ship missiles.
The battle ended when the Kilrathi captain planted mines upon the asteroid. When the Charles Vreeland passed above, the mine exploded, showering it with pieces of nickle-iron. This overloaded the battleship’s shields, leaving it exposed. In desperation, Captain Hue Malloy armed his light fighters with anti-ship missiles and had them make a run on the Kilrathi ship. Though not designed to haul that much extra mass, the Hornets did their job and managed to score two hits on the Fralthra. Its shields were weakened to the point where a graser shot from the Terrans punched through both shields and armor. Though damaged, the Kilrathi were not destroyed and withdrew from the battle. But not before firing their own grazers, crippling the Charles Vreeland, which required several destroyers to tractor it back to Munro VI, where engines were repaired, and then it returned to Proxima and on to Sol, where it spent a year in dock under going repairs.
Battle of Alcor
While operations in the Munro System were taking up resources from both combatants, Confed spared enough resources to attack the Alcor System. This system sat at a strategic crossroads, and from here Confed could strike well behind Kilrathi lines. The Kilrathi knew this, but the Emperor saw more importance in holding Munro, and his throne. Only a pair of carriers and pair of cruisers, as well as six destroyers and a dozen corvettes controlled the space in the Alcor System. Confed entered the system with twice the carrier and cruiser force, as well as the Doomsday and thirteen destroyers. The arsenal ship cleared any and all mines around the jump point.
The Kilrathi charged straight into battle, despite the presence of an arsenal ship. Or perhaps in spite of it. Hundreds of drones were deployed to act as decoys for the missile swarm, which it did successfully. Kilrathi fighters and bombers focused their full force on the arsenal ship. Though most were destroyed, a few bombers reached the Doomsday to cause some damage. These bombers were shot down after making their missile runs. Behind them, three Kilrathi corvettes charged the ship, again all three were destroyed. However, one of the corvettes was still reasonably intact after its destruction, that its collision with the Doomsday caused great damage to the arsenal ship, including knocking out its launchers.
Kilrathi fighters, lightly armed, charged in for the kill. In a suicidal frenzy, that was quite unlike the typically individualistic Kilrathi, two of these fighters dove into the Doomsday’s damaged portions, gutting the arsenal ship. Just why they made suicide runs is unknown, though probably due to the extent of damage to their own fighters and knowing the likelihood of escaping was nil. Kilrathi destroyers braved fire from Confed cruisers for the chance to kill such a highly valued target. A lone Ralatha did just that. Though it did not live to celebrate its victory, anti-ship missiles from the destroyer finished off the Doomsday, breaching the containment fields within the ship’s own ASM stockpiles.
The Doomsday was the only ship van Oranje lost in attack on the Alcor System, though it was a valuable one. The Carrier Cobra’s Fang suffered damage at the hands of a corvette, before its own Raptors destroyed it. After the last ship was eliminated, the invasion force jumped in from Vega and launched their invasion of Alcor V, headquarters of Kilrathi operation in the system. The planet was desolate, and the battle for it long and hard. It was not until almost a year after the invasion did Confed complete the conquest of the planet, and then move on to eliminate outlying positions in the system.
With the Kilrathi fleet in the system annihilated, the Kilrathi began to feel the same weariness as Confed. Half their pre-war strength had already been destroyed in the Vega Sector, as well as several new ships. Confed managed to keep ahead in production, despite its own economic devastation across the Vega Sector. The centralized nature of the Kilrathi Imperial Government was partly responsible. Neither the Emperor nor the kings of the Eight were willing to relinquish their monopoly on war productions. However, this centralization made for easy targeting and reduction.