The Second Battle of Congo, also called the Battle of Torch, was an armed engagement between the Solarian League Navy's Maya Sector Detachment and the People's Navy in Exile, a rogue Havenite force employed by the Mesan Alignment.
In order to regain control of the Congo System and its wormhole junction, the Mesan Alignment, using the Mesa System Navy, employed the People's Navy-in-Exile to conduct Operation Ferret, a kinetic bombardment of the planet Torch intended to sterilize the planet and in the process destroy the new Kingdom of Torch. That the planned action would be a violation of the Eridani Edict was not expected to be a problem, as it would, first, have been the responsibility of Havenite rogue units, and, second, there were plans to eliminate them after the action with Operation Wooden Horse.
The Maya Sector Detachment, however, learned of the deployment of the Havenite exile units and manged to deduce where they would be used. Its newly operational units arrived at Torch in time to defeat the attack, and having destroyed enough of the attacking units, cancel the planned bombardment. (CS2)
Order of battle Edit
- "Hammer Force", CO - Rear Admiral Luis Rozsak:
- "Anvil Force", CO - acting Commodore, Commander Laura Raycraft
- a battlecruiser element - CO Commodore Adrian Luff
- a heavy cruiser squadron - CO Commodore Santander Konidis
- a light cruiser squadron
- a destroyer flotilla
Course of battle Edit
The action that would become known as the Second Battle of Congo commenced at 7:34, local time, with the arrival of the People's Navy in Exile one light second short of the Congo System's hyper limit at a velocity of 500 KPS and their immediate acceleration in-system on a least-time approach to Torch itself at a speed of 3.839 KPS-squared. Their arrival was immediately detected by the Royal Torch Navy frigate TNS Nat Turner and the news was passed to Admiral Rozsak on board his flagship, the Marksman-class light cruiser SLNS Marksman by priority message. Included in the message was the class IDs and numbers of each class of the PNE that Nat Turner's CIC had detected. Informed of the PNE's arrival by Lieutenant Karen Georgos while with Commander Edie Habib and Captain Dirk-Steven Kamstra, Rozsak ordered Kamstra to execute their Alpha Two deployment plan.
Rozsak's Hammer Force executed a crash translation into normal space directly astern of the PNE soon after, carrying a velocity of 2.5 thousand KPS with it across the Alpha wall, and began to accelerate in-system in pursuit of the PNE at a velocity of 4.75 KPS-squared at a range of 12 million kilometers. Once in-system, Rozsak attempted warning the PNE to abandon their plan to launch an attack upon Torch. The PNE, using the Solarian's own Nightingale program in an attempt to hide their identities, refused. His attempt to settle the situation peacefully rebuffed, Rozsak continued to close the distance between Hammer Force and the PNE. However, at 11 million kilometers, the PNE launched first, firing a full broadside of Mesan Cataphract-A missiles. Taken by surprise, Rozsak responded immediately and the Masquerade-class arsenal ships SLNS Masquerade and SLNS Kabuki commenced launching pods of Erewhonese Mark 17E missiles. Rozsak ordered Defense Plan X-Ray-Charlie-Three and Fire Plan Delta-Zulu-Niner, marking the PNE's Warlord-class battlecruisers the priority targets.
The slower cycle rate of the broadside launchers of the PNE's Indefatigable-class battlecruisers proved a disadvantage for them as it allowed for only one complete broadside to Hammer Force's three. The disadvantage was somewhat offset by the PNE's use of Solarian Aegis missile defense system and Halo electronic warfare platforms. In addition, Luff ordered the PNE to concentrate on Rozsak's Marksman-class light cruisers in an effort to degrade Hammer Force's fire control ability.
The PNE's first salvo consisted of four hundred and two missiles, of which two hundred and sixty-five survived to attack range. X-ray lasers penetrated the defenses of SLNS Rifleman and her compensator failed, killing everyone aboard. The Warrior-class destroyers SLNS Francisco Pizarro and SLNS Cyrus became unintended targets of missiles meant for their larger light cruiser companions. Francisco Pizarro was destroyed and Cyrus was reduced to a shattered hulk, her crew abandoning when her impeller wedge faltered. SLNS Kabuki took two laser hits and was severely damaged.
It was then that Rozsak's first wave reached attack range of the PNE. One hundred fifty mssiles went after PNES Alexander Suvorov, and the Warlord-class battlecruiser was destroyed, followed seconds later by its sister PNES Bernard Montgomery. Rozsak's second wave concentrated on the PNES Napoleon Bonaparte and PNES Charlemagne. Charlemagne took multiple hits, lost containment in Fusion Two, and was destroyed. Napoleon Bonaparte was luckier and wasn't destroyed, but she was a mission kill, her crew abandoning ship. Rozsak's third wave conctentrated on PNES Sun Tzu and PNES Oliver Cromwell. Sun Tzu was destroyed and Oliver Cromwell was reduced to a limping wreck.
Hammer Force didn't fare much better when the PNE's second broadside reached them. SLNS Gunner, Cyrus, Cyrus' sister SLNS Frederick II, and Kabuki were lost. In response, Rozsak switched to Fire Plan Charlie-Zulu-Omega.
Rozsak's fourth wave was fewer in number because of lost fire control, but no less accurate. PNES Isoroku Yamamoto and the limping Oliver Cromwell were targeted, each the focus of ninety Mark 17Es. Isoroku Yamamoto was mauled badly, losing her after impellers, and Oliver Cromwell was further damaged, forcing her crew to abandon ship. Rozsak's fifth wave bore in on PNES Leon Trotsky and PNES Mao Tse-tung. Both battlecruisers took severe damage -- a hit to Leon Trotsky's flag bridge killing Citizen Commodore Luff and his entire staff -- and continued on as no more than wrecks as Rozsak's sixth wave tore in on PNES George Washington and PNES Ho Chi Minh. Both survived, but were essentially mission kills. With Luff dead, command of the PNE passed to Commodore Santander Konidis on the Mars-class heavy cruiser Chao Kung Ming.
Rozsak's seventh wave concentrated on the already mangled Leon Trotsky and Mao Tse-tung, destroying both of them as Rozsak's eighth wave struck Napoleon Bonaparte. The damaged battlecruier joined her sisters in destruction. It was in Rozsak's ninth wave where Fire Plan Charlie-Zulu-Omega came into play. Hammer Force started to rotate each of its command links through three separate missiles, accepting degraded control in order to maximize firepower. Each surviving Marksman-class light cruiser tripled their fire control ability, controlling one hundred eighty missiles instead of only sixty. The enlarged wave concentrated on the PNE's last remaining battlecruisers, PNES Marquis de Lafayette and PNES Thomas Paine. Both were destroyed in the missile storm.
Then the PNE's last broadside reached Hammer Force. The destroyers SLNS Hernando Cortés and SLNS Simón Bolivar were destroyed outright, and SLNS Charlemagne was badly damaged. Miraculously, SLNS Gustavus Adolphus was the only unit of Hammer Force to emerge completely undamaged in the entire battle, but her larger sisters were not as fortunate. SLNS Marksman took significant damage while Sharpshooter succumbed to new wounds.
Less than thirty minutes passed during the missile exchanges that occured between the units of Rozsak's Hammer Force and the Havenite battlecruisers. These exchanges resulted in the complete destruction of the Havenite battlecruisers, but with heavy loses to Hammer Force, with only four of its sixteen units surviving. Despite outnumbering the remaining forces of Admiral Rozsak's force, the remaining Havenite forces subsequently surrended when confronted by Anvil Force coming out to meet them from Torch with two more Marksman-class light cruisers, SLNS Artillerist and SLNS Archer, supported by the last Masquerade-class arsenal ship, SLNS Charade. (CS2)
The Second Battle of Congo saw the first combat use of Marksman-, Warrior-, and Masquerade-class ships by the Maya Sector Detachment. The battle also saw the enlargement of the Royal Torch Navy with the transfer of captured PNE warships to it by the Maya Sector Detachment. All remaining People's Navy In Exile personnel were sequestered on a remote island on Torch to prevent unwanted disclosure of information about new ship types, tactics, and capabilities employed by Admiral Rozsak. (CS2)