Turns out, attack craft are only as good as the fool that sends them on their mission. Guess who the fool is?
I took Wedge formation in our 2000 pt Fleet Engagement while Dalton anticipated that action and took Sphere to counter. We ended up on deployment map A and Dalton went for the unexpected pincher tactic, something I was not expecting. Make note: Bill does not handle the unexpected well. Here is some deployment pics.
Dalton had first turn and began to close his trap, I opted to go straight and get some broadsides in. I crippled one ship and managed to tag a couple escorts, but in turn 2 Dalton ripped up my Carnage and one Slaughter real bad.
I disengaged the Slaughter and then did something really dumb: I split my fleet. I sent the Hades and Murder squadron to starboard to tangle with the battleship while the rest of the fleet turned to port. I seem to have misplaced the picture of Dalton rubbing his hands in glee at my obtusiveness. Here's a picture of the port movement, but the rest of my pics were too shaky. :(
The Hades and Murder proved to be inadequate to take on the Desolator by themselves and were constantly braced to avoid doom. On the other flank I tried to break his Archeron and 2 Slaughters. I killed one Slaughter that was damaged from turn 1, but only hurt the other and the Archeron laughed off all damage. My second Slaughter took several blasts and became crippled. At this point, bottom of Turn 4 I think, I had my fleet split and going opposite directions, with the enemy at my rear in both cases, and he had superior numbers by a bit. I opted to conceded in hopes of a small rematch which Dalton graciously agreed to. (Thanks again buddy!)
I possibly could have climbed out of the hole I was in but it would have required a flawless performance by me, mistakes by Dalton, and a huge amount of luck. Dalton deserved a win for his approach and I deserved the loss.
Upon further analysis, the big disappointment for me was the attack craft. In hindsight, sending four assault boats against an undamaged ship was foolish and bombers would have been the superior choice. If anything did me in besides the splitting of the fleet, it was that. I caused some damage on the battleship and Hades with hit and run attacks, but since he had all his hull points he easily brushed them off. Had I used bombers on the cruisers, it would have been a better investment. Ah well, live and learn.
In the second game we went with a cruiser clash. I was determined to play better and for the most part I succeeded. There was only one turn when I positioned two ships poorly and failed to get their broadsides.
Here is the board a couple turns in:
As you can see, Dalton's Battleship ran the gauntlet and had a couple damage points taken, but more importantly needs to come around. In the meantime, I was able to kill the Carnage (almost screwing it up with the aforementioned poor positioning of my ships) and smack the Murder around a bit.
Eventually Dalton's battleship came around and found my crippled Hades, Slaughter, and Murder in his front arc and he fired his torpedoes at the Hades, completely missing on the to-hit roll! He got the Hades next turn with lances but failed his reload ordnance command check. The Murder and Slaughter went on Lock On orders and got within extremely close range of the front of the Desolator. Their firepower was extremely accurate and Dalton failed three chances to BFI (his ship's LD was 7 and had blast markers in contact, but still it was unbelieverable) so the Desolator was destroyed and left a drifting hulk.
We counted up and I had a slight advantage due to the escorts I had taken being able to disengage instead of being destroyed.
Overall Lessons Learned:
1) Assault Boats are better against ships that don't have all their hull points to repair with.
2) Go after the battleship with everything, not a few things.
3) The escorts were amusing, but I would have preferred a second Carnage for that price.
4) Check and double check the moves I make to ensure I don't screw up broadsides again.
5) Think about what Dalton can do with gravity wells, too often I'm being taken by surprise.
Great games, a huge thanks again to Dalton for the rematch. I appreciate the chance to redeem myself a bit.