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Operation Hydra Day 7by Alex Benson
Force A: Just 79 miles from Minrothad City, Admiral Helena sees that given their current slow rate of movement, the landings may be compromised. Reluctantly, she orders the Fleets and transports to halt. Placing the damaged vessels with the transports, she dispatches the undamaged warships out to patrol and secure the area.
Thyatian ships of 8thReg/3rdFleet, 9thReg/3rdFleet, 5thReg/14th, 6thReg/14th, 9thReg/14thFleet, and 10thReg/14thFleet engage the six ships of 1stSquad/2nd Minrothad Fleet. The battle is a stalemate as the Thadder vessels simply outmanoeuvre the Thyatians. It is only after the arrival of 1stReg/1stFleet, 2ndReg/1stFleet, and 3rdReg/1stFleet that the Thyatians are able to box the Thadder ships in. The Thyatians use their superior numbers to concentrate assaults on the ships. After boarding two vessels and engaging the crews hand to hand, the Thyatians opt to sink the remaining vessels with their artillery. The boardings prove to take too much time and the Thyatians are wary that more Thad vessels might appear. At the battles end, only one of the Minrothad ships is able to sail away. Badly damaged she slips back towards her current port of call, Harbortown. Her escape is directly responsible to the magical abilities of the captain, a Merchant Prince of the Mercenary Guild.
Adm. Helena sends word, via magical means, to commanders of Force B. She warns them of their losing the surprise factor. She relates that she suspects the Thadder vessels to be based out of Harbortown, but is unsure. Tells captains and commanders to be vigilant.
Ships damaged in melee are placed with the other damaged ships to be repaired. Down time is extended and will last the rest of the day. No further movement.
The lone surviving vessel of 1st Squad/2nd Minrothad Fleet moves into Harbortown waters around dusk. With no enemy ships in sight, the captain calls for the ship to drop anchor. The Merchant Prince captain has long since dispatched a report of the battle to Harbortown. His duty now is to insure that his ship does not sink.
Force B: Sails without incident for most of the day. After receiving Adm. Helena's message, Force B Overall Commander Adm. Serpico slows pace down and assumes a defensive arrangement. HE places his lookouts on alert status and orders his troops to be ready. He hopes to come across the wounded Minrothad vessel before it can make its way to Harbortown to report the Thyatian assault force. To his relief, there are no contacts with Minrothad Forces. All in all, the group sails 38 miles, leaving 92 miles to Harbortown.
Force C: Naval units sail into mouth of the Quickhand River and drop anchor. The Force Commander Adm. Tiberius, dispatches his sailing ships into a patrol arrangement. He has the empty transports anchor together. He has six of his small war galleys begin rowing up and down the Quickhand River to probe for embankment defence works. These galleys draw missile fire from Hin militia. Galleys use their ballista and catapults to give suppression fire. War galleys venture just short of town of Malfton. Tiberius rotates the groups of six small war galleys to keep crews rested.
Minrothad Naval Forces spot the anchored and patrolling Thyatian vessels. The Commander of 3rdSquad/2ndMinrothad Fleet orders his ships to attempt to break through the Thyatian vessels and run the blockade. Assuming the transports to be full of troops, he focuses his ships to attack these in passing. He hopes to damage these vessels and perhaps sink one or two.
Though surprised by the Minrothad vessels, the Thyatians begin closing in to engage them. They are amazed to see the Minrothad vessels slow to launch attacks on the transports. They cheer as the ballista armed transports return fire from their ballista. One transport manages to sink one. Astonished, the Minrothad captains head for the Quickhand River and the safety of Malfton. They are confronted by the war galleys there. At their rear, they see that other galleys including two large war galleys are approaching. They are boxed in. Unable to manoeuvre, the Minrothad vessels await to be boarded. Instead, the Thyatian war galleys stand off and unload volley after volley from their artillery into the sailing ships of the Guildsmen. The Thyatians halt this barrage to capture the flagship of the Squadron. The boarding is difficult as the war galleys manoeuvre into position. With a large war galley on each side, the Thyatians set grappling hooks and board the Thadder ship. The battle is fierce but brief. The Thadder crew and marines are no match for the mass of Thyatian marine available from the large galleys. The captain, his second mate, and five Minrothad marines surrender.
The captured vessel is thrown lines and towed out to the naval units anchored at the Quickhand's mouth. Fifteen surviving crewmen are pulled from the Quickhand's waters and taken prisoner. Several others attempt to swim to the river bank but are shot down by Thyatian crossbowmen. All of this is witness by the inhabitants of Malfton from the town's defence works.
Adm. Tiberius records the efforts of the transport that sank one of the Minrothad vessels. He recommends the crew of the #2 transport for 2ndCo/3rdBanner/4thCohort for a decoration for the heroic act.
The Land Units of Force B march four miles toward Malfton. They halt after elements of 4thBanner/4thCohort skirmish with the mounted infantry of 4thReg/3rdHomeGuard. The Thyatians form up a tortoise box and send several volleys of crossbow bolts into the Minrothad troops. The Thadders lose almost a score of their fellows before retiring. They make haste to the 1stReg/2ndHG and 2ndReg/2ndHG base camp outside of Malfton to report the presence of Thyatian troops inland.
The Commander of the 2ndHG units on Malfton is worried by this news. He had assumed that the troops would come from the transports down river. As such he had concentrated his forces at Malfton.
Pondering the erratic reports of the mounted infantry of 4thReg/3rdHG and the sighted number of transports, he deduces that there are at least three Cohorts in the area. He is unsure how many are already landed and marching onto Malfton. He assumes that at least one is still aboard the transports and is to be used for a sea front attack.
The Minrothad Commander opts to take on the land forces first since they are so near the town. He dispatches messengers to the HG regiments telling them to prepare to march. He also informs the inhabitants of Malfton as to the situation.
The halflings offer the HG two divisions of their militia to accompany the troops to engage the Thyatians. The HG commander accepts the offer but insists that portions remain in Malfton in the event that a seaborne assault is launched. They settle on sending the 1st Division of the Malfton Militia along with 1stReg/2ndMalfMil and 2ndReg/2ndMalf.Mil. The remaining regiments of 2ndMalftonMilitia will remain in Malfton along with the 3rd division of Hin Militia to man the defences.
The Hin move quickly to mobilise these forces. Though quickly done, it pushes the departure time back several hours. The HG and Hin units will march through the night towards the position that the Thyatians and 4thReg/3rdHG clashed.
He is grateful for the Hin units. He hopes to use their missile weapons to wear down the Thyatians to level the field. He is also aware of and counting on the halflings' hatred of the Thyatians to compensate for their lack of training.
The Thyatian commander for the land forces, Gen. Nikkos, tells his troops to halt and prepare for battle. He hopes that the skirmish will draw the HG units to seek him out. Elven and human scouts from Vyalia have informed him of the mobilisation of HG and Hin forces. He tells his officers to arrange their units in a broad clearing backed by hills that is nearby. He has his heavy infantry of 4th Cohort take up positions at the base of these hills. On their flanks he places the cavalry and mounted infantry of 28th Cohort. His planned strategy is simple. The 28th will encircle the HG units and force them into the reach of the 4th Cohort by assaulting their flanks. The mounted infantry and light cavalry will race to the Minrothad rear and cut off escape. The other cavalry will assault the right and left.
Gen. Nikkos expects the Thadders cavalry to charge. As such, he has instructed the 4th Cohort to stand fast. The infantry of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Banners will use their shields and spears to form a sort of shield and pike wall. The 4th Banner will use their crossbows to fire upon the charging Thadders from behind this formation. He hopes that this will break up any charge.
This plan meets with the disapproval of the officers of 28th Cohort who want to engage the Minrothad cavalry one on one. Gen. Nikkos reminds them of his authority in this operation granted by the Emperor himself. The cavalry commander, Gen. Trassis, grudgedly obliges. However, she does tell her officers to focus on the Minrothad cavalry in their flanking attacks.
Force D: Troops of 14th Cohort assault the Guild Masters Mansions section of Cove Harbour. Splitting up into small box formations, they press on the attack through the streets of the upper class residences. The fighting is fierce as much of the fighting involves pirates holed up in the walled estates. The Thyatian commander of land forces, Gen. Delagro requests assistance so he can give the troops time to rest and get water. The overall commander, Adm. Pentalon, sends marines to supplement 14th Cohort.
Reports of pirates moving toward the Land Gate, give Gen. Delagro the impression that the pirates may attempt a break out in the coming darkness. He relays this information to his commander who in turn approaches the elements of the Retebius Air Fleet and the wizards of Sclaras to give aid. The wizards and RAF begin bombarding the Mansion area. Their focus of attack is around the Land Gate. The wizards' spells prove especially welcome at blasting gaps in the walls of several of the estates that prove difficult. One ingenious use of magic is in using a mansion fountain to summon a water elemental to assault the defenders.
By nightfall the troops are fighting by the light provided by the burning buildings. Soon after midnight the fighting subsides as Thyatis controls all of Cove Harbour. Prisoners are turned over to the control of Thyatian marines that had not been used in fighting. The troops rest and tend to the wounded. Cleanup will be taken care of the following morning.
Early in the day, ships of 4thSuad/2ndMinrothad Fleet came across the wreckage of the two Privateer Fleets. They quickly realised that a sizeable Thyatian force was present, bigger than that allowed by the Minrothad government. The Mercenary Guild had long thought that the Privateer Guild had used Fire Island as a base of operations. The Mercenary Guild commanders suspect that the Thyatians will assault the pirates. The commanders at Gapton dispatched the 4thSquad/2ndMinFleet to investigate and take any action necessary.
Off the coast of Fire Island, 4thSquad/2ndMinrothadFleet has spotted the Thyatian vessels and are preparing to engage several outlying vessels. As they form up, word comes from Gapton for them to set a course for Harbortown.
This change of orders is the result of the sea battle between the ships of 1stSquad/2ndMinFleet and the Thyatians earlier in the day. With news of the Thyatian presence on Open Island, there is little doubt that the Thyatians are assaulting Minrothad in earnest.
The Mercenary Guildsmaster, Warheart Cleaver, in Gapton have recalled most of the patrolling Minrothad vessels to protect the primary islands; Trader Island, Alfeisle, and North Island.
GM Cleaver has spoken with the HG commander on Open Island. He is reminded that the island is defended by a sizeable force. The HG commander relates his confidence that his forces, aided by the Hin militia, will be able to hold off the Thyatian troops for some time. At least until, the situation is fully realised and relief forces can be spared. He also warns GM Cleaver of the strong Thyatian naval presence and their blockade of the Quickhand River. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Squadrons of 1st Fleet in and around North Island are put on alert. 6thSquad/3rd Fleet is enroute to Gapton anyway. It is told to make haste and be wary but not engage any Thyatian vessels.
The Mercenary Guildmaster Cleaver has contacted the dwarves on Fortress Island. He attempt to send them Home Guard troops. The dwarves are confident in their own defences and urge the Guild to focus on the defence of other islands. Still the Merc. GM instructs the 3rd and 4th Squadrons of 3rd Fleet to remain on patrol off Fortress Island. They are to move to eastern side of island and be prepared to move if needed.
Blackrock will be abandoned. 1stReg/3rd HG in training there are to load onto their transports and await for the arrival of 6thSquad/2ndFleet who is expected to arrive with the supply convoy with a day or so. They will then join with 4th and 6th Squadrons of 1st Minrothad Fleet and sail to Alfeisle Island.
The forces already at Alfeisle Island are to remain there. They are to go on an alert status. The naval units will patrol the areas around Seahome and Verdun. The HG units will attach themselves to the garrisons of the two cities.
The Mercenary GM Cleaver dispatches several messages to the Privateer Guild. There are no responses. This causes him to fear the worse for the pirate stronghold. He then turns his attentions to any pirate vessels out at sea. In this he is successful. Several of the ships receive the message and respond. The dwarven GM relates the situation, including the suspected fate of the Privateer's base of operations. The pirates want to sail to Fire Island to see for themselves. GM Cleaver orders them to Gapton to join up with regular Minrothad forces.
The Privateers agree. However, as they decide that the order pertains to only the vessels that received the message. So they decide to seek out their brothers not equipped with the means to receive the message and send them to Fire Island. The rest of the night is spent searching the sealanes for other pirate vessels. By morning, the majority of the pirate naval forces have been contacted and informed of the situation. It is decided that these vessels will sail to Fire Island and investigate.