Operation: North Star Narrative

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Blog, Dystopian Wars | Comments Off on Operation: North Star Narrative

Operation: North Star Narrative

Written by Admin |

We are most excited to present to you the first narrative for our Operation: North Star campaign which sees the Dominion of Canada pitted against the forces of the Teutonic Order. Enjoy the read as Spartan Franco introduces you to one of our most entertaining Campaign settings. And look out for future updates as we deliver short stories and descriptions of the fabulous new models which make up these two new fleets. Time to muster your new fleets Commodores… and set sail for Greenland.  

The Arctic Wastes

When the World War first erupted in its full fury, one of the few truly quiet regions that remained was the inhospitable North Atlantic. While rival battle fleets clashed in the Far Eastern seas, and great armies wrestled for dominance on the plains and in the mountains of Central Europe, the frigid Arctic hinterlands remained a little regarded backwater.

Even after the war spread its tentacles of destruction further out into the world, the far north was still largely left at peace. Few were those who would see its iceberg-haunted waters and harsh, unforgiving islands as valuable in either economic or even strategic sense.

Only the Prussians openly staked claims on Greenland, and even for them, their little overseas dominion was merely a sometimes-useful backwater. Even King Wilhelm City, the largest permanent settlement in the region, was seen as little more than the capital of the Empire’s least-populous province; it’s people insular and withdrawn, and of attraction only to rogues and mavericks.

Otherwise, apart from a few mercenary haunts on the southern tip of Greenland, and a small Britannian garrison clinging to Reykjavik in Iceland, this inhospitable region remained a political and military sideshow; notable only for the numerous skirmishes between fast-running convoys and raiding flotillas.

But as World War turned to Interbellum, and battle-hardened powers took stock, many sets of eyes turned towards the Arctic, especially Greenland. Military aims and hunger for resources would, in the course of the tense Interbellum years, transform this land from sideshow to potentially game-changing prize.

The Teutonic Order in Greenland

On maps in lecture theatres, foreign ministries and military general headquarters across world, the isle of Greenland was, at least in part, coded in Prussian colours. Ceded to the Empire by the Kingdom of Denmark, it was one of the less-storied legacies of Emperor Heinrich Otto.

For a few years, the Empire made a concerted effort to settle the region, but apart from the port town of King Wilhelm City, Greenland remained Prussian largely in name only for decades.

One body, however, did exhibit a greater interest in the area; the Teutonic Order. Following their exile to Prussian Scandinavia by mad Heinrich, the Order sent expeditions to establish outposts on Greenland. Heinrich cared not, provided they kept the ‘perfidious Prussian robber-knights’ well away from his court.

The Knights established a small Commandery near King Wilhelm City, and set up several minor outposts and research bases further inland, some on the mighty Greenland ice shelf itself.

The Order’s touch remained light, and the Greenland colonists looked favourably upon their presence, especially after they helped introduce Tesla electrical power to the city.

In the late 1850s, engineers of the Knights-Luminary, the Order’s scientific research and development wing, also helped establish the famous ‘Hot Channels’ – a series of waterborne heat-producing ‘Fury’ Generators that helped keep the approaches to the city permanently ice-free. This enriched King Wilhelm City and substantially enhanced the Order’s standing there.

The World War and Greenland

Prussian Greenland’s first taste of the World War came in 1871, when what would later be known as the Prussian Imperial Caribbean Expedition arrived at King Wilhelm City en route to join Operation Hurricane. In command of the Order contingent was one Komtur Anton Ewald Ritter von Essen – a man whose fate would later become closely entwined with the island-province.

Nonetheless, Prussian Greenland saw out the first war years in relative quiet. Though it saw many raids, especially by the Britannians and the Russians, the colony was too small and too isolated to suffer concerted attack.

But after 1873, several Sturginium strikes were made. King Wilhelm City, secluded and defensible, experienced a surge of growth, as the Empire’s foremost scientists and military architects made it a key location for weapons development.

There were also war objectives, newly important to the Military Sires of the Empire. The first was the growing presence and influence of independent mercenary factions on the island, some of whom maintained bases in the region. Rumours also abounded concerning a covert Antarctican presence. But the second military factor was far more significant.

The Dominion of Canada, long seen as merely a Britannian vassal and supplier of resources, had undergone dramatic growth as a military power in its own right. Canadian forces had supported the Britannians with great effectiveness during the Grand Coalition’s offensives in the Low Countries.

It was clear that steps would need to be taken to alleviate this threat. As the Sires further reinforced the colony in East Greenland and King Wilhelm City in particular, the Teutonic Order once again turned its attention onto the island, to the more sparsely populated West Greenland enclaves around the Nuup Kangerlua fjord.

The Danes and native Greenlanders living in the region soon bore witness to a stream of airships and merchant steamers bringing in men, machines and supplies. From 1874, a formidable military complex began to take shape, under the stark flag of the Teutonic Order. Dubbed the Schloss Saint Michael, the Order’s latest stronghold was built to act as a potential springboard for future raids against the Dominion of Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

Canadian Dawn

The Prussians were right to be apprehensive. The first stage of the war had truly been the making of Canada as a world power. The formerly wild frontier Dominion of the Britannian Empire had established itself as a military and industrial powerhouse.

By 1873, the Dominion was already taking steps to become a naval as well as a land power. In the ports and arsenals of Quebec City and Halifax, a distinctively Canadian battle fleet began to take shape.

Cast-off hulls and mothballed hulks from the Britannian reserve flotillas were brought out from their hitherto quiet moorings and roundly overhauled by legions of mechanics, artisans and labourers.

In drydocks and slipways, these elderly but stout relics of a former era were transformed into powerful fighting vessels fit to carry the war to the Imperial Bond when hostilities resumed, as everyone but the most naïve knew they eventually would.

As their fleet grew, the Canadian government, especially Prime Minister Sir James Regis, examined ways of striking against the Imperial Bond powers independently of Britannia itself, to protect their own borders and to make a military point.

Inevitably, their eyes fell upon Greenland, and the growing Prussian presence on its western shores. The new Canadian naval staff division eagerly drew up operational plans as the Interbellum drew to a close.

By the time 1876, and the first blows of the new conflict began, the Canadian fleet was ready; what better way to inaugurate the new conflict than to give the arrogant Prussian Empire, for so long complacent in its frozen fastness, a well-deserved bloody nose!

Operation North Star – De Chastelain’s Pride

The new war was a few months old by the time the Canadians chose to strike. The objective of their inaugural operations was to reduce the new Prussian fortress building in West Greenland. If the Prussians were allowed to mass in strength, they could prove a dangerous threat to the Canadian mainland.

However, it did not go unnoticed by the Canadians that the flag of the famed and feared Teutonic Order flew over the burgeoning fortress. Wary of sending the vanguard of their fledgling fleet into pitched battle against Prussian forces supported by the veteran Knights, the Canadians decided to focus initially on attacking the supply lines to the fortress.

Commodore Rebecca De Chastelain, veteran of service with the Britannian Grand Fleet, was chosen to mastermind the first attacks. Known as a dynamic commander who had participated with distinction in similar raiding operations against the Norwegian coastline and East Greenland. Thus, not only was she adept at handling naval forces in raids and surprise attacks, she was also a veteran of combat with the Prussian Imperial Navy.

De Chastelain noted from intelligence reports that the enemy was heavily dependent on bringing in supplies by sea. There was only so much that even the great Prussian Zeppelins could ship in by air; all heavy equipment had to come in by water.

This was a point of weakness she intended to exploit, in combination with the treacherous conditions of the Davis Strait. She also noted that the movements of the Prussian convoys often took them a substantial distance out into the Atlantic.

This was a consequence, she knew, of avoiding the fjords of the southernmost tip of Greenland. These were known to be the haunts of mercenary flotillas and, so it was rumoured, raiding forces connected with the enigmatic Covenant of Antarctica.

This strategy tended to send the convoys on a circuitous route out into the Davis Strait, from which they then had to turn north-north east to reach safe harbour. It was during this period that she planned for Operation North Star’s forces to strike; trapping the enemy against the desolate shoreline, cutting them off from reinforcements or escape to north or south.

A considerable amount of pride and prestige would be associated with North Star. As such, De Chastelain was granted command of the First Division of the Canadian Naval Armada. This incorporated some of the fleet’s most effective ships, including the hulking recommissioned Sussex Class Demi-Dreadnought HMCS Huron, which she chose as her flagship.

In the spring of 1876, the determined commodore gathered her flotilla at St Johns, Newfoundland, and then sailed to the remote Hudson Strait. She would not have long to wait for a suitable target to present itself. Only a day after the fleet’s arrival, recon reports came through of a substantial enemy convoy approaching the designated ambush site.

The ambitious commander needed no encouragement to take the battle to the enemy – not with Canadian pride at stake! Within hours, the First Division flotilla had raised steam and struck out into the Davis Strait, sailing hard for battle and glory!

 

Schloss Saint Michael – Von Essen’s Vigil

When the Teutonic Order returned in strength to Prussian Greenland in 1873, it was an organisation engaged in a high degree of soul-searching. Many felt that their reputation for military excellence had been sullied.

The reason was the ill-starred attempt to conquer Malta during the fierce battles that had wracked the Mediterranean. That defeat had led the Order to examine their war doctrine in detail, eventually deciding they needed naval force projection. The Order therefore embarked upon several projects as World War moved to Interbellum.

One conclave of the Knights-Luminary embarked upon an ambitious ‘super-carrier’ project, in concert with the Imperial Navy, earmarked for the projected relief of besieged Königsberg.

But the second project was the building of a dedicated blue-water fleet for the Order. This was spearheaded by none other than Anton Ewald Ritter von Essen, veteran of the famous Operation Hurricane.

Von Essen’s experience in that campaign had left him one of the most knowledgeable Order leaders in maritime combat affairs. Promoted to Hochmeister following his recall to Scandinavia in 1872, von Essen had overseen the construction of the Order’s first dedicated warships throughout the Interbellum.

Much of this construction was based at the King Wilhelm Chapel in Greenland itself. Here, in the secluded fjords, Knight-Luminary scientists had developed and tested new high-velocity kinetic projectors; electrically powered solenoid arrays capable of launching solid shots or explosive shells at enormous speed and with shattering striking power.

These weapons were built onto modified hull forms used by the Imperial Navy. Other teams worked on a huge naval ‘ark’ design, capable of moving the Order’s fearsome war robots on long overseas voyages.

Alongside the building of the new fleet, the Commandery also oversaw the building of Schloss Saint Michael. This in itself was seen as a major coup; the fortress was built entirely with Order resources, with no assistance from the regular Prussian Imperial military.

By 1876, von Essen was effectively in command of the first wholly Teutonic Order naval fleet, dubbed Maritime Brother I ‘Anton’, in his honour. He commanded the fleet in person whenever possible, acquiring the nickname Wassermeister.

Von Essen was tutored by attached officers from the Imperial Navy, and cut his teeth against mercenary outfits preying on the mercantile traffic running to and from King Wilhelm City, as well as Russian raiders, during the Interbellum. Long considered famously dour even by Order commander standard, von Essen’s style of leadership was essentially conservative. His greatest asset was the ability to remain glacially calm and collected even when placed under severe duress, inspiring great confidence and fighting spirit in his subordinates; they quickly came to believe that, as long as their rock-steady commander remained unfazed, victory would be theirs, no matter the odds.

He held to fixed battle formations wherever possible. Forces under his command acted like floating citadels, especially when on convoy duty to Schloss Saint Michael.

Battleships, Ark Transports and Gunships ships formed the centre of such formations, akin to mighty keeps, their ‘curtain walls’ formed of stout cruisers and gunships, and with smaller vessels acting as a fast-moving ‘moat’ constantly circling the heavier ships and protecting them with tactics based on aggressive defence.

These formations, combined with the frightening power of their high-velocity solenoid launchers, proved their worth many times over against raiders and rogues during the regular transport runs to the Schloss.

As the demise of the Interbellum loomed, von Essen spent more and more time directly leading the flotillas to West Greenland. Order affiliated spies in Quebec provided a constant stream of information concerning the military rise of the Dominion of Canada, and von Essen was determined to personally assure that as many reinforcements got through intact to the Schloss as possible. Thus, it was his fate to be in personal command of the convoy codenamed Trondheim XVI – the primary target for Operation: North Star!