Part 35: Mission 26: Sinking Feeling (or "Watership Down")
Mission 26: Sinking Feeling (or "Watership Down")
... why the hell does this mission have nine star difficulty?
Let's get started then.
Before that, we'd better reply to Commander Hawke's question.
Oh, what a pain! What did he want again?
The estimated time on the repairs. Can they be done in 30 days?
Under my brilliant direction, the repairs will take 17 days. Not 30, 17.
However, the workers... Can they handle that pace?
If we don't have enough manpower, we'll simply borrow some soldiers. The units sent to hide the lab map have returned, haven't they? Anyway, we'll have them done in 17 days!
Yes... um... OK.
Jess, can you pull this off with this many troops? It's still not too late for Eagle or me to provide reinforcements.
The more troops, the longer it takes to get organized. Time is of the essence here. We must attack before the repairs are done!
That's true, but... If the enemy captures that airport, they'll deploy B copters and bombers. At any rate, you're in for rough seas.
Take a look, Drake. For air units, I've got my A-airs. I'm going to bathe those battleships in artillery fire! Watch and see!
Something interesting I've noticed when talking to people about the two "SF" missions (this one and Sea Fortress) is that a lot of people love one but hate the other. I'm not quite sure why, but I do know that I definitely prefer this mission over the last one. Anyway, the objective is to sink these 9 battleships that are "under repair" (represented by having no ammo). It's a good job they don't have any ammo, really, otherwise it'd be a bit of a bloodbath. Lash has a lot of units guarding her repair yards, but that's okay because we have a fair number too - and we can make more units with the nearby port and base. Lash's airport will be a bit of a pain, but nothing too serious. Really, there is no reason why the game gives this mission nine star difficulty, even with a 17 day time limit.
Anyway, let's break down the plan in detail. First we want to capture this port and crank out a battleship - we're getting plenty of funds in, so a battleship by turn 3 or 4 should be easy. At the same time, our medium tanks, tanks etc. should be pushing Lash back through the area between the river and the sea. The mechs cross the river and, with support from some of our lighter units, get rid of the arties and capture the base - we then spam rockets, artillery and anti-air out of that base. Rockets and stuff to take down the minicannons, tanks and stuff to take down Lash's annoying rocket launchers. As the mission goes on, we'll get more and more indirects from the base and the battleships will suffer exponentially more damage each turn.
We also have an important secondary objective: sending a lander and infantry out to grab the lab map, over on this small island to the west. Incidentally, the first ever time I played this mission on NC, I completely forgot about looking for the lab map, meaning I didn't get Green Earth neotanks - but on the other hand, I didn't get to experience the "joys" of Danger x9, so I guess it works out.
Anyway, let's introduce our new CO:
Paul.Power's CO Notes: Jess (Green Earth) Theme Awesome guitar cover guy does it again
Jess is a vehicle specialist: her vehicles get a +10% attack bonus. Her other units (ships, aircraft, footsoldiers) get a -10% attack penalty - this unfortunately means she has pretty much the worst footsoldiers in the game, as no other CO (Colin aside) gets a footsoldier penalty. Her CO Powers are quite interesting though: aside from attack and movement boosts to her vehicles (+20%/+1 and +40%/+2 respectively), they resupply her units. This indirectly makes her naval and air units quite handy, despite the attack penalty - especially her transports and submarines.
Background/Personality: Away on a training mission during the events of Advance Wars 1, Jess is a tank commander with an analytical mind and a genuine concern for the welfare of her troops. She's very confident in her own ability, but spats with Eagle have left her determined to prove her worth as a Green Earth CO. Going by the "each Green Earth CO is a country" theory, Jess is France - jokes about French military victories aside, France did have the strongest army at the start of World War 2 - they were simply taken by surprise by Germany's blitzkrieg strategy. Jess's resupply abilities also bring to mind Napoleon Bonaparte's famous quote, "An army marches on its stomach".
... and oh yes she carries a
Anyway, let's get the ball rolling by moving my footsoldiers. The infantry starts capturing the port, while the three mechs just move up.
A tank on a city and a medium tank make up the vanguard of the formation, sitting in a two-tile-wide chokepoint. I also move the rocket launcher up here.
The artilleries and another tank next...
... and everyone else to follow.
That's not fair! We're in the middle of repairs!
What are your orders, Mistress Lash?
What are my orders? Counterattack, you twerp!
So, we'll need to push back the deadline on repairs...
But... But... the deadline...
STOP SAYING THAT! Just do as you're told. NOW!
(Who'd be a Black Hole soldier, eh?)
A tank attacked my tank on the city. Unfortunately, the funds sucked into repairs means that it's going to be day 4 rather than day 3 when I get my battleship. Oh well, no big deal.
As the damaged small tank retreats, a pair of middies wipe out the tank that attacked and an AA.
The mechs begin their river crossing...
And the indirects form up behind my medium tanks (I moved an AA when I meant to move an artillery... silly of me, but again, I'll live).
The rest of the guys move up.
Okay, we've got a medium tank and a tank attacking, with two neos inbound.
We can do something about that, though. First my indirects take care of the nearby units (... and the 4HP tank goes off to join with another one. Frustratingly, even with this I'm still just short of the money needed for a battleship)
And then I decide to go on the offensive against these neotanks. It's a bit risky, but I'd rather I attacked them first than the other way round. Knocking one down to 1HP should help a lot. Meanwhile my AA eliminates an infantry unit that was wandering around near my mechs.
Here's my other AA taking out a mech. AA attacking mechs is a bit of a slaughter at most times, but that 10% bonus does add a little extra kick somehow.
While that happens, the small tanks clean up the mess left by my indirects.
And after that, it's a case of moving everything else up.
Gosh, Prime Tactics already? Oh well, guess it says something about the amount of damage I've already done to Lash
During this turn, Lash starts capturing that airport Drake was warning us about.
Oddly though, Lash kind of wasted her SCOP then. Her full-health neotank retreated a bit and her other units decided to move up to my middies and... not attack them. The only casualty was one of my AAs, knocked down to 3HP by a tank.
Oh well. Right back at you, Lash. As mentioned earlier, Overdrive is +2 move and +40% attack to vehicles, and all units refuelled and restocked with ammo. It's a handy power to have around.
With Overdrive, this 8HP medium tank can now one-shot an AA. Wooo.
Various tanks bash on Lash's door, as the damaged AA retreats for some health.
Having done this, my long-range units can form up behind my tanks.
What time is it, Mr. Wolf?
Also time for Lash to do some considerable damage on her turn. I guess I was expecting the artillery to attack a mech, but the neotank just took out an 8HP middie in one shot! Eesh.
Hmm, there's a Neotank on my doorstep and a rocket launcher behind it. What shall I do?
Carry on regardless, basically. Rocket and arty down the neotank (another nice thing about that 10% attack boost is that it makes it a lot easier to take out neos in two hits), and a medium tank rolls through the gap created to deal with the rocket launcher.
South of the river, the damaged mech and a recon take out on artillery.
And the tank and damaged AA knock the other one down to 1HP. With that threat neutralised, my other mechs can approach.
There's a 4HP tank here that's stopping my own tanks from moving freely. A dose of artillery fire will take care of that.
Now all my tanks can roll along this road and take on various targets: finishing off the rocket, knocking a medium tank down to 1HP and attacking an AA.
The battleship moves out of harbour, and I build a cruiser to deal with any subs or bombers that want a piece of my shiny new battleship.
Let's just do a quick check on this mincannon here and see if we're safe. Looks like we are for now.
Lash's leftover units got behind my indirects and damaged them. That's annoying.
Easily dealt with though: the undamaged artillery takes out the tank, while my 5HP medium tank rolls back to clear out the AA.
Taking care to avoid rocket and minicannon fire, my battleship sets itself up to start the assault on Lash's ships next turn. My rocket truck also moves up.
Lots of arrowy action here, so let's break it into chunks: on the west of this screen, my cruiser moves out of port and I build a lander, which I load that infantry unit into. South of the river, my recon finishes off that crippled artillery unit. But most of the action is in the north-east: 9HP tank takes out Lash's retreating middie, and the 8HP tank pushes through the chokepoint to damage this capturing infantry. I'd really rather Lash didn't take this base now we've got the southern part of the map under control... especially as there's always the possibility she'll build an APC and resupply those battleships . The medium tank, unable to get to the infantry unit to attack it, simply slots in behind.
More arrows. Most of it is just units moving around, but the green arrows show the two 5HP AAs joining together to give me a full-health one.
Prime Tactics again? Well, as with last time, I guess we have done a lot of damage.
Given that we've already destroyed most of Lash's ground troops, though, Prime Tactics wasn't a massive issue.
What's more, we're in position to start shelling these battleships. Thanks to a combination of Jess' naval weakness and the defence boost from Prime Tactics, this battleship can only do 40% damage this turn. But it's better than nothing.
Aaand they're off. We've got eleven days to knock off the other 86 hit points.
Wow, that is one tenacious infantryman. I guess that's Prime Tactics for you.
But two tanks prove too much for it, and I can push through here, as well as moving my rocket launcher up to threaten the minicannon. In a few turns I'll get round to capturing that base.
But first we need to do some capturing down here.
The lander sets out on its journey to the lab map island.
The cruiser goes with it for protection, and my artillery cluster up behind the rocket launcher.
Let's see how Lash is getting on with her airport. Hmm, a B-Copter and a bomber. Not the nicest thing to find hanging over you, certainly.
No need to let it get to us though. See, without Prime Tactics the battleship'll now do 45% damage rather than 40%. Although it still only tends to work out as 4HP damage done.
We can also start taking down this first minicannon with the rocket launcher.
The tanks file up the road on the far right of the map, to find that a neotank that survived our initial assault is hanging around up here, getting repairs. Ideally we need to deal with it before it reaches full health.
That's the southern base captured, and I've started on the eastern base as well. Next turn: rockets.
Lander and cruiser continue their odyssey.
And I build a second cruiser. I'm not sure why, really. I guess I thought "well, if that cruiser's protecting the lander, we'll need another one to protect the battleship". But it ends up being a costly mistake.
For some reason that bomber and B-Copter are pussyfooting about up there.
Well, no more pussyfooting from me. Turbo Charge is essentially Overdrive toned down a bit: it's +20% to attack and +1 move for vehicles, together with the resupply power.
Rocket and medium tank finish off minicannon one, and an artillery rushes up to join them.
Now then, this neotank...
With the medium tank leading the charge and knocking it down to 3HP, the smaller tanks can move in to clean up the rest.
The battleship launches its third salvo. I'm looking at damaging multiple units for now rather than going in for the kill on a particular unit. I'm not sure why, it's how I've always done this. I guess you could say that with three attacks on three different ships, I've done 12HP of damage so far, but if all three attacks had hit one ship I'd have only done 10HP of damage - even if it meant that I'd sunk a ship.
Anyway, whee, gratuitous shot of the battleship in action.
I make two rather boneheaded moves this turn. This is the lesser of them, moving an artillery into range of that second minicannon. I guess in my eager rush to get forward and make use of turbo charge, I ran headlong into cannon territory.
Oh well, at least now we can replace that artillery with a rocket! Fun times.
The lander arrives at its destination. And would you look at that, those two submarines never moved. I guess they must stay quiet as long as you don't move into range of them. It makes the cruiser feel a bit redundant, though.
And speaking of redundant cruisers, here's my second boneheaded move of the turn - plonking my shiny new cruiser into rocket range.
Lash rocket sitting on a city = owie.
And here comes that bomber, too.
Oh well, gotta keep plugging away.
That's what that mean ol' bomber gets for attacking my units.
And here's bonehead move number 3, and arguably the most boneheaded of the lot. I decide I'd better retreat my cruiser... and then move it to somewhere still in rocket range. Hoo boy.
In a rather more cunning move, I slot my 5HP artillery into a nice blind spot that the rockets have: inside the range shadow of one, but outside the range of the other. So it can start helping to plug away at battleships next turn. Meanwhile, among other things, my 7HP rocket moves up ready to attack the second minicannon and the full-health artillery moves in to assist it from an angle.
Back at base, rocket production's going quite nicely, and my mechs have captured all the properties down here too.
And I start capturing the lab map city.
A couple of tanks retreat from the bomber a bit, and that's about it.
Wait, what? I wasn't expecting that. Although I guess I should've been...
With all four units in range of it now damaged to 6HP, it's time for Mr. Battleship to start taking second shots at the units in range.
Successfully knocking that ship down to 1HP has also managed to charge Turbo Charge again. May as well use that.
Fun times. First, though, let's grab that map:
Hm? A lab... They've been developing weapons within our borders. Since they went to the trouble, let's take the weapons along with this map. We need to let Eagle know about this. He definitely won't stand for it.
Yes, ma'am. Understood.
These Black Hole goons really are trouble.
Lots of things happening here. The 5HP artillery knocks a battleship down to 3HP, the AA takes out the B-Copter that just damaged my other arty, 7HP rocket attacks minicannon and the recon charges in to damage that southern rocket. It's a bit of a suicidal move because of the other rocket launcher, but we need to get rid of these rockets and there's no time like the present.
On that note, after finishing off the minicannon with medium tank and tank, I send another tank through to attack the artillery up here. Now at least Lash's northern rocket can only attack one of the two units in range of it.
Rockets from the southern base move on up the road. In a few turns they'll be ready to unleash hell on those battleships. I've also finally captured that eastern base with my 6HP mech.
To mix it up a bit though, I'll buy an AA this turn to help deal with that increasingly annoying airport.
More general moving of stuff.
Yeah, we're going to continue to get hit with Prime Tacticses. It's one of the occupational hazards of destroying 9 battleships...
Well, that recon got totalled. As Grit'll tell you, a rocket with a 60% firepower boost is pure overkill.
And the artillery attacked a tank, too.
There's a couple of B-Copters hanging around near that airport.
And now I'm starting to knock battleships below half health, Lash is joining them together. Oh well, not a problem - it's still the same number of hit points to knock off, after all.
Let me help you with that, Lash.
Continuing to attack that rocket and artillery, and moving more rockets up. Again it's all bit dicey, but that deadline is starting to loom just a little, and we need to get the rockets up here.
Rocket from the southern base, artillery from the eastern base.
Among other things, I've finished off that pesky bomber, and joined two tanks together
Well the southern rocket attacked my rocket on the city. The northern rocket... didn't do anything. Er, thanks Lash.
Sorry I can't return the favour, but you know how it is. Wars to win, and all that. The artillery falls, the southern rocket's almost down for the count, and my AA swats a B-Copter that was loitering in the east.
Battleship and rocket attack two battleships, while the arty finishes off that southern rocket.
As the rockets continue to move up, I chip off a couple more battleship hitpoints with my 2HP artillery and the other medium tank.
AA and rockets move up.
Guess I'll have another arty, too.
Lash's rocket decided that it was actually going to fire at me this turn, though
Right, big day today.
Let's kick things off with another Turbo Charge.
The battleship gets an attack in from, er, off the screen.
Woo! Rocket power.
Now that I've got a good cluster of rockets together, I can start doing some serious damage here.
Interestingly, this'll be the first battleship I actually destroy: so far, Lash has been joining them all together.
Time to start shipping out, Lash.
While the medium tanks finally deal with that pesky rocket launcher, my AA takes out another wandering B-Copter.
Keep on moving, lads.
Hmm. We've taken a few casualties this mission, but we're just about okay on the technique front.
To be on the safe side, let's have a couple of infantry and another battleship.
You and what army, Lash?
Basically, Lash has one ground unit left and it's currently hiding inside that T-Copter. So that last Prime Tactics was the AI just going through the motions.
Well, gotta keep trucking. Arty fire knocks a pair of battleships down to 4HP each.
Even the damaged arty and middies knock off a couple of hit points. But this is all softening up for the rockets. Guess what novel I've been reading lately, Lash?
Various rockets fire and move, and Lash is down to one single battleship.
With nothing to shoot at, my own battleship moves up to the edge of the harbour.
Eight down, one to go.
First though, let's have some fun, as an AA takes out a B-Copter.
That's enough to give me another Turbo Charge.
Well, why not.
The AA races back to take out the T-Copter, while three footsoldiers pile on to Lash's mech. Even with 90% firepower, a 3-to-1 advantage is only going one way.
And now let's finish off.
Battleship attacks battleship...
... softening it up for a rocket launcher to finish the job.
And we're done with a day to spare.
(Incidentally, if we had gone onto the final day, we'd have heard this fun piece of dialogue:
Mistress Lash. We have one day remaining to finish repairs.
I know, I know. I'm busy right now. Come back later.
Perhaps we should rethink the deadline after all...
You're such a pest! We're almost finished! If you have enough time to keep jabbering at me, then help!
Yaaah! Let me go! Please!
Well done. Prepare to withdraw.
We've achieved our goal. Let's vanish before they send out more troops.
Yes, ma'am. We'll get started right away.
Stick and move... That's just like you, Jess.
No sense getting caught up in the moment and getting your troops hurt. We seriously reduced the enemy's firepower... That's enough for now.
When you're right, you're right. I'll help get your troops out of there.
We can't fix the battleships if they're all sunk, can we?!
What... What should we do?
What else is there to do? We attack with all of our strength! They've made me mad, and now they're gonna pay big time!
Mistress Lash, that's...
The enemy's gone.
There's no sign of enemy units. It seems they've done what they set out to do and left.
You've got to be joking! They just sank my boats and took off? I... am... so... angry!!!
A fitting end to the last time we face Lash. As with Flak, she'll still be popping up in discussions occasionally, but no more battles with her.
Hmm, looks like we'd've needed to take a day less for 100 speed. Oh well, after the last two missions I'll take any sort of S-Rank, so this'll do nicely.
Beating that mission opened up a bunch of others, but we have a schedule to keep to. There's the lab map, Danger x9, but first I want to introduce our final Green Earth CO, Drake. So...
Tune in next time for...
... Drake in a dilemma!
... Imperial assistance!
... the return of the Black Cannon!