The German Schlachtkreuzer force, off the coast of Riga
1st of July, 1910, just after dawn. The German fleet has just passed the Gulf of Riga and is steaming at cruise speed towards the Finnish coast.
And we do
mean "the Fleet". The only ships absent here are the obsolescent Schwabens
, on permanent patrol in the Med.
The scouting force is comprised of the veteran armored cruisers Hertha
, Victoria Louise
, and Vineta
, with their Zerstörer
escort. Galster is in command of this task force, in what would prove to be the last time he led a heavy cruiser force to battle.
Büchsel, once again, leads the Schlachtkreuzer
. This time, they're all
, Büchsel's flagship, is leading the line of battle, followed by her sister-ship, Moltke
; and, following them is Von der Tann
spots the enemy - and holy crap
that's a lot of funnels spewing smoke. Leading the enemy force is a Rossiya
with her destroyer escort; then a gaggle of what seems to be light cruisers and destroyers; and, bringing up the rear, are two capital ships. Two fast
brings her force around. These are not old battleships; these are the pride of the Russian navy. The Izmail
and the Pobeda
, the Czar's pride and joy. Built in secrecy, very little is known about them. Not even their basic designs. Hertha
runs, bringing her scouts back into the safety of the German Schlachtkreuzer
guns; and her lookouts strain their eyes to make out the enemy silhouettes in the morning light.
What. The. ****
Russia, what are you doing.
This is not a battlecruiser. This is a fat battleship, with a couple of extra boilers strapped onto it. Galster doesn't believe his lookouts when the enemy ship is described to him - he actually climbs Hertha's
mast and has a look on his own. The Russian is closing fast, at 26 knots, but she only has four
In God's name, she's got half
the broadside of a single German Schlachtkreuzer
. And if her sister is anything like her...
...You know what? Screw
The German battle-line just charges forward - and they stop for nothing. They pass less than five thousand yards to the east of the Russian vanguard, pouring 11-inch fire into the Rossiya
; and then the German Schlachtkreuzer
slot next to the Russian pair of battlecruisers, while the latter were trying to turn around to disengage.
fires first, scoring a hit that ricochets off Moltke's
conning tower armor; and then Moltke
returns the favour, burying an 11-inch shell into the Izmail's
The Germans also get their first good look at the Pobeda
, as she emerges from the Izmail's
May God have mercy on these brave men, for their ship designers certainly didn't. And Büchsel doesn't intend to show them any either...
The Germans put accurate fire into the Russian capitals. At 07:16, the Russians manage to strike back, with a waterline hit against Seydlitz
. The German damcon crews laugh
; and immediately
contain the flooding.
Meanwhile, Galster and his darlings are harrying the Rossiya
. It's risky to push into her destroyers (especially since the heavy cruisers have no torpedo protection) and, therefore, the Germans engage from long range. Goeben
drills an 11-inch shell into the Pobeda
; the Russian fires back at Seydlitz
. This time, the shell penetrates her superstructure; and another shakes the ship as it explodes under the waterline armor. No damage
. Krupp Stahl über alles, cyka blyat
The Russian formation falls apart. The Germans have blocked their escape towards the north and east; and Hertha
and the other heavy cruisers are coming up from the south. Izmail
runs towards the west, while Pobeda
turns to engage the German cruisers.
She's not allowed to. The Germans ignore the fleeing Izmail
and go after the Pobeda
interposes herself between the Russian and Hertha
and takes a penetrating hit on her foredeck.
In return, she pounds the Russian's fore turret with 11-inch shells until it jams.
And then, at under 5000 yards, she puts another shell into her engines. The Pobeda
...well, she dies
, with very little fuss.
tries to take advantage of the gap that opened towards the east. Büchsel will have none of that and turns to pursue.
, just die
. (Yes, I realise the irony).
08:51: The German battle-line crosses the Izmail's
aft T. Goeben
, Von der Tann
pound her with their main batteries at around three thousand yards.
08:56: She will not strike her colours. Hit her again
. This time, her guns fall silent.
08:58: Strike your
gottverdammte colours, Russian
. Hit her again
Meanwhile, the heavy cruisers are running out of ammo and that bloody Rossiya
is still running away.
09:22. After half an hour of unrelenting pounding, with only her secondaries returning fire, the Izmail
finally strikes her colours. It's clear she's sinking, but the Germans detach Zerstörer
to pick up survivors and salute the wreck. This is the bravest and most desperate fight the Russians have put up so far and you can only respect them for it and pay homage.
10:52: ...you ****ing
11:16: ...HAHAHA!. Glorious
victory. Seriously, Hertha
, that took you girls much
longer than expected.
Well, time to...
11:58: Water fountains high over Moltke's
starboard decks. The entire ship groans and lists. Her engineering is breached and water quenches the boilers. Her speed drops to 14 knots and her damcon teams cannot
reach the flooded compartments. Dozens of men die, drowned or crushed beneath her decks. She drops out of formation and gradually comes to a halt, alarms blaring.
She's the newest Schlachtkreuzer
in the German navy. This is her first fight. And it looks like it's going to be her last
The fleet cannot assist in her damcon efforts: they need to keep the circling Russian destroyers at bay. Her captain, Kapitän zur See
Sammler dispatches divers and diverts all power to pumps to keep his stricken ship afloat. By 12:55, the flooding has been somewhat limited, but the ship has less than a foot of freeboard on the bow and water keeps seeping in
Ten more minutes of frantic work manage to bring the secondary pumps back online. Still, more water comes in that goes out. The Germans are desperate, but nothing seems to work
Motherf***, look at that HP bar. Keep in mind that this is all flotation damage. She has taken literally
no superstructure hits.
13:10. A team of exhausted divers, at the brink of hypothermia, claw their way up onto the ship.
The main leak's been plugged. The pumps can handle the secondary flooding - barely. The Moltke
She'll live. And she makes her way back to German waters, at five knots.
Well, apparently the Russians had brought their last Pervenets
along - although it must have turned and ran as soon as our smoke crested the horizon. **** that, though. We got our prizes.
is MVP, with 27 hits on enemy ships and a 3.5% hit ratio (for Chrissakes, she was bringing up the rear
! How the hell
does she have more hits than the flagship?)
Kek @ Russian battlecruisers scoring a grand total of three
main battery hits on out forces.
You bet your bloody Lederhosen
it was a major victory. They have nothing
left, except that Pervenets
, a fleet of obsolescent cruisers and four battlecruisers under construction that won't be ready for a year.
(And if they're anything like the ones we fought, the Admiralität
is not particularly worried)
Well. The Admiralität
could use the increased budget for a few more months (Tirpitz shudders to imagine the extent of the budget cuts that will take place once peace is declared). Let's undermine the peace talks with a bit of saber-rattling, shall we?