well known, that our beloved Orion Space Traders (or Pirates
as some people call them falsely) are a race who has a difficult
time if they have to confront an enemy in an open large scale
battle. Unless they have organized heavy warships,
they just lack the necessary firepower to confront a strong
opposition. This is especially true in games without an engine-shield-bonus,
because the low mass Privateer ships are especially poor combatants
(especially against fighter carriers) without an engine-shield-bonus.
Therefore it is usually the best strategy for our peace-loving
green folks from Orion (who prefer dancing anyhow) to avoid
any major fighting and to stay hidden.
Orion Space Traders have to defend an specific important planet
against an determined attack, it takes careful planing to
intercept the incoming enemy at the right places, to break
up his battlegroups by towing some of his ships to hidden
waiting defenders and to render the attacking ships helpless
by robbing their fuel. Some clever hints about this tactic
can be found for example in Dr. Dorn Petersons contribution
as cited in the Dreadlord battle Manual.
are times when you as an Orion commander cannot wait for the
enemy to come to you and when you do not have the possibility
to choose the location of the engagement, because you really
want to attack a heavily fortified planet. Due to your movement
advantages you should have a sound economy with plenty of
starbases and enough minerals and money at each of them. In
other words: you should have a clear superiority in numbers.
But you still lack the real muscles, since your race just
cannot turn resources into great combat vessels. And if you
cannot get such ships from somebody else, you have to overwhelm
the enemy by sheer numbers (and maybe by the surprise due
to the lighting speed of your gravitonic accelerated battle
battle report is from an still ongoing game (TH1 hosted by
Tim Hofstee in CompuServes PBM Forum) and shows how
the Privateers can attack a strong enemy homeworld even without
any foreign technology. It also shows that unexpected events
can bring doom even to the most sophisticated battleplans.
I hope that some of the readers will learn as much from reading
my report as I did from planing and fighting the attack.
had started a war against the people from Orion by attacking
a planet and killing all innocent colonists there. In addition
to that the Crystalline web mines posed a great threat for
the Orion trading lanes, and therefore the council of Orion
had to decide to extinguish this Crystalline danger completely
from the Echo cluster.
the beginning of the war, the Orion activities concentrated
on disrupting the Crystalline economy, harassing the border
planets, destroying freight traffic and isolating the productive
starbases from their supply of minerals and money. Over time,
the Crystalline war fleet degenerated and the Crystals run
out of resources to keep a full coverage of web mine fields
around their core planets. So the time had come for the ultimate
decisive battle: the attack onto the Crystalline homeworld.
The Orion council had developed a fine battleplan and prepared
everything for a long time. Starbases were specifically set
up, ships custom build for the attack, planets taken and supplied
as intermediate staging areas and then a fleet of a total
of 14 ships (which was a big fleet then given the fact that
it was still relatively early in a resource poor game) launched
to fly the attack against the Crystalline homeworld.
(or anybody else) did not see anything moving into position
and could have been warned in advance only by the fact that
their defending ships had been towed away by Orion ships for
several turns. The Orion fleet appeared in attack orbit around
the Crystalline home world without prior detection by the
defenders. All ships came in either cloaked or towed by meteors
directly from the staging area at a planet some 150 light-years
was that the Orion fleet should split into four battlegroups
and attack in four distinctive waves:
1 (the Scout Lance) had the primary role to sweep the area
free of Crystalline webmines, which were deployed as a large
barrier around their homeworld. They had also captured some
defending ships earlier and flew a supporting attack against
a secondary starbase nearby. All scout ships had already
moved to their positions cloaked and were equipped with
high tech beams and plenty of supplies (to repair possible
web mine hits).
2 (the Combat Lance) was to take out (or capture) any newly
arriving defending ships, if they were to be build at the
starbase just during this turn or coming in from other planets.
It was their purpose to protect the third group from enemy
ships. Therefore they fought first with their high tech
torpedoes and went in cloaked, so that they could not be
reached by the planetary defenses.
3 (the Anti-aircraft Lance) had the sole purpose to shoot
down the fighter compliment of the starbase. This group
consisted of cheap expandable ships with enough beam weapons
to handle the base's maximum load of 60 fighters.
4 (the Command Lance) was then to fly the final attack against
the planet and to destroy it with a lot of high tech weapons.
They carried a substantial amount of Mark VIII torpedoes.
the plan did not work out fully and the battle turned out
to be very costly for the attacking Privateers, although this
was not caused directly by the Crystalline defenses.
went wrong? Just in the moment when the brave people from
Orion launched their forces into the orbit around the Crystalline
homeworld, another race - the Fascists - appeared and attacked
the Orion fleet. Here is what happened "in slow motion:
Group swept the webmine barrier away, which allowed not only
the friendly ships, but also the Fascists to move in (had
the Fascists tried to move there any earlier, they would have
gotten stuck in the webmines badly, which had happened to
them at another location earlier in the game). Then some of
the scout ships flew their supporting attack against the second
Group blew the only newly arriving Crystalline ship in orbit
to pieces, but these ships did not fight the Fascist, since
the group was cloaked (to avoid the planetary defenses) and
not set to Fascist as primary enemy, since they were supposed
to attack Crystalline ships.
Group was now attacked by the Fascists and entirely destroyed,
because these ships had never been designed to fight other
ships and were totally lacking any long range weapons.
the Anti-Aircarft Lance was gone, the Command Group started
to fight the Fascist and were able to destroy the Fascist
opposition (which was out of ammunition at this point of time)
Command Group proceeded to fight the planetary defenders.
But the starbase was still filled with fighters and those
fighters were able to destroy most ships of the Command Lance.
Being ships of Privateer design, none of them had the mass
(there is no Engine Shield Bonus in this game) or the high
number of beam weapons to withstand a serious fighter attack
to their high tech weapons, the remaining Orion ships were
eventually able to bring down the starbase and planet, but
only under high losses. After the loss of the homeworld, the
Crystalline opposition collapsed rapidly.
losses during the attack could have easily been avoided, if
the Orions had just added one ship to the Combat group, with
primary enemy set to Fascist. That would have killed the Fascists
(who did not come with strong forces, since they stumbled
onto the battle field by pure chance) in the very beginning
and protected the Anti-Aircraft Lance until its ships
would have been able to shoot down the defending fighters.
But the Orions just did not expect a Fascist attack against
them over the Crystalline homeworld. So the lesson is, always
be prepared, that somebody will surface (come out of cloak)
totally unexpected to screw up your plans. Be prepared for
by Sirius (100441.3504@CompuServe.Com)