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A tale of two worlds

A tale of two worlds

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Battle of the Floatwood Archiapeligo Migration 1898

Tutoring 7
Skill 10
Idea 11
Battle of the Floatwood Archiapeligo Migration 1898

This battle was first contact between one of the races of Mars and a German logging fleet and set in the history of our campaign, back in 1989.

For this we used the Aeronef rules system, although we could have just of easily used Full Thrust rules and just changed the names of things to suit our ideas.

The German forces are from Brigade Games, The Astro Squid are home made from beads, cheap jewellery and bits of wire.  Nothing like wargaming on a budget.

The floating islands are chunks of polystyrene with kitchen towel soaked in PVA glue draped across the tops to for the soiled areas.  The Trees are cocktail sticks with a little red flock glued to them.



After battle report

Unteroffizer Blucher surveyed the desolate Martian expanse before him as he listened to the roll call made in the sharp, Prussian voice of Sergeant Kurtz. He turned once again to look at the men. Barely 40 able to stand, another ten who needed to be propped up and probably another 10 who would die before the day was through. A motley mixture of marines, dirigible crew, engineers, a cook and even the captain’s faithful wolfhound. Sixty men from a ships company of nearly seven hundred. A ship which was launched only a year before to be the pride of the new German Martian fleet by the Kaiser himself. A ship which lay in pieces all around them, scattered as far as the eyes could see.

Blucher shuddered as the winds whipped dust around his greatcoat and harsh sunlight started to fall on the camp, still surrounded by fires from the falling debris of the dig fleet. But is was not the cold he shuddered from. He could still hear the screams of men trapped in the ships stern section, slowly being crushed. He could hear the gunshot like sound of metal rivets being torn loose. The fire crews braving the inferno of the upper decks and the harsh sound of gunnery captain Smeltzer as he barked orders even when all was lost. In barely twenty minutes the force of expeditionary ships ordered to accompany the Bavarian logging crews during the past week had been nearly totally destroyed.

Admiral Hutz had received notice two days prior to this happening when a strange ship had signalled it’s approach. The visitors had come aboard and spoken with the admiral for nearly an hour before departing. Obviously things had not gone well. Some sort of warning had been given and the admiral was not a man to take a warning well. The mission was to extract the floatwood material for new ship testing. Floatwood gave the ability for ships to remain static in the air and still be able to move at vastly greater speeds then the digs they currently used. But the mature trees only grew on the vast floatwood archiapeligo that migrated around the planet. After a week of harvesting they had seen and harpooned a specimen of the architeuthis species. While only a juvenile it weighed in excess of 2000 kg. That was the day before the attack.

Blucher had been in charge of the forward damage party when the attack happened. From his vantage point near the bows of the ship he had seen the astral monsters approach quickly from the south. The sound of the gunnery decks opening fire was deafening and for a little while at least it seemed as if their ship was warding off the attacks as architeuth after architeuth fell before them. When they started to get into close range however the tables turned. Blucher saw strange electrical charges appear from the animals that caused fired to erupt on deck and gunnery decks to lose electrical power to move turrets. Men on fire fell screaming overboard. When the large architeuths hit it was with the force of a freight train. Superstructure buckled and bent, large gun ports were torn free like a small child playing with a tin opener. Still they fought on. Hundreds of marines swarmed the tentacles with axes, swords and anything they could use to cut through the hideous tentacles. Men mounting the deck machine guns poured fire into the vast hulks, aiming for their eyes. Their eyes…. At one point Blucher remembered being knocked down a companionway staircase and seeing a great eye through a rent in the hull.

After that things became a little harder to recall. The shouts and screams of the men became subdued and then quiet. It was as if they were in a trance or a nightmare. Blucher recalled seeing the midships explode and the tail section fall away as the gas compartments were destroyed in quick succession. The deck beneath him had buckled and then risen sharply as the great weight was released. It was the floatwood store that had saved them. When the men came to their senses they found themselves drifting slowly down to earth some half a mile below them with the large tree trunks giving them enough lift in order to sink like a feather and not a stone. It all seemed surreal now.

Blucher turned to see the massive frame of chief engineer Hummel approaching him. He was limping painfully from the acid burn to his right leg.“Sir, I’ve assessed what remains of the ship and the scout parties have returned with some of the parts I need. It’s possible to build something but it will be pretty basic. With all the men helping I could probably have us in the air again in six days. But there is one problem…we have no means of propulsion”. Blucher looked at the three steam clanks that were making repairs to the hull in the distance and then to the  low row of tents which the men were using as shelter, their canvas flapping hard in the breeze. “No my good Hummel, we have the wind..” he said.

And so began the epic voyage of the crew of the dread 33 in their vessel which they nicknamed the ‘Frieda’ (after the engineers wife who had a rather portly appearance and was known to stagger a little after heavy drink).

Meanwhile in Germany the loss of their main Martian navy drew a great cry of indignation from all strata of society. Calls were made for war but it was hard for the public to find an outlet for their rage. Ultimately it was the British who grew suspect in the eyes of the German high command for orchestrating such an event. The British High Commissioner claimed that they knew nothing of the event but was expelled shortly afterwards. Things grew tense. A British ship off the coast of East Africa was sunk without survivors or explanation. The Russians made noises to support the British while the French carefully avoided taking sides with anyone but instead offered a negotiating table for all parties. The Boers in South Africa seem to be receiving German arms and heavy calibre weapons. In the Sudan a British Aeronef patrol has been attacked by an ‘unknown force’ which bore markings last seen during the time of the Mahdi. Things are looking grim. Meanwhile on Mars a secret expedition has been sent out by the Kaisers feared and hated chief of secret police Heinrich Von Hinkel to the southern Polar regions to make contact with the only race known to have defeated the Seers..the Mechaloids.

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Really enjoyed reading that thanks.

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