Part 39: Battle 18: The Floating Fortress
Medical/Fire Support Team
The Granbelos Empire's Floating Fortress, under the command of two rogue generals, has been activated and is presently threatening Kahna on the eve of its revival.
Terrain: The enemy has fortified the landing deck of the floating fortress, resulting in an extremely constricted combat area and very limited avenues of approach. In addition, two security doors present an obstacle that will have to be breached before we can engage the enemy's commander directly. These doors and the entrance to the hangar represent key terrain that must be captured for our assault to be effective.
Disposition: The enemy has formed a two-layered defense, with the first layer composed of a small number of troops backed by overwhelming fire support in the form of four upgraded launcher systems. The second line of defense has a greater troop presence, but lacks the more threatening indirect fire capabilities of the first layer. The enemy is deployed to cover both entrances to the inner hanger evenly, giving us an opportunity to achieve local superiority at either point.
Enemy's most dangerous/most likely course of action: The enemy will most likely attempt to draw us into the kill zone of their defenses, trusting that we will not recognize their automated security systems for what they are. Once our units enter the kill zone they will try to fix us in place and then direct overwhelming fire on our forces in order to obliterate them.
The OFF will conduct an attack on the Granbelos Floating Fortress immediately in order to crush the rebellious generals Irvine and Barbarela and take control of the floating fortress to ensure that the Granbelos Empire will be unable to threaten Kahna in the immediate future.
Concept of the Operation/Scheme of Maneuver: Our forces will converge on the only available entrance into the hangar and regroup there before launching an attack at the enemy's troops that are waiting to intercept us. While our main effort destroys those units, our infiltration teams will disable the security systems and then provide assistance. Once the security systems are down our heavy units will focus on General Barbarela while the rest of our forces take on the enemy's launchers. After forcing the inner doors we will move forward as practical and utilize a pincher movement to trap Irvine's final line of defense between our forces, then destroy him.
As usual, our plans had a wrench thrown in them as soon as we landed. Once we set foot on the floating fortress Yoyo could sense that a Holy Dragon was present on the fortress, perhaps being used as a power source. It didn't change our mission, but the concept was more than a bit disturbing.
Once we had reconvened at the entrance, conditions forced the infiltration teams to move ahead and destroy the first line of security systems. Without knowing how the systems were activated, we couldn't rush in and chance being caught up in them.
While Mist's infiltration team didn't have a long range capability to speak of, the wide area effect of the assassin's thunder technique did have the added benefit of softening up the enemy troops clustered near the security systems.
I can't fathom what mad impulse led them to put their mages in the lead, but Sue wasn't the least bit slow in taking advantage of the situation.
Unfortunately our advance stalled after that early success, leading to a withering round of enemy fire from the launchers...
Compounded by Barbarela throwing her own considerable power behind the attack.
The Granbelos debuted a new style of launcher that showed an astonishing ability to withstand punishment, holding out through an attack of Leviathan, Dark Comet, and the infiltration team's lightning attack without showing significant damage.
They weren't, however, built to take all of that and then have Sue essentially sit on them. Despite our best efforts we couldn't finish off both cannons but the position was weakened.
While the rest of our troops were occupied, myself and Matelite's groups focused on stripping Barberela of her escort and weakening her to a point where a final assault was possible.
Unfortunately, she was still standing by the time the launchers were ready to fire again.
Seeing that the situation was well in hand on the left side, Bikkebakke and the training squad headed off to distract the other launchers. At least, I hope that's what they were doing... I really hope they didn't think they could take them out by themselves.
Another round of our best attacks managed to finish off both sets of launchers on the left side, with Inky landing the final blow.
Speaking of final blows, Lukia finished off Barbarela with a tower attack. Much to our surprise, she fell without a word as the inner doors opened.
What we never would have expected, however, was to find her carrying a duplicate of the Dreadnaught that I myself was using. It went to Palpaleos while Rush got his greedy hands on Excalibur.
The Royal Guards, being freed up by our defeat of Barbarela, came to Bikkebakke's assistance with the cannons. Unfortunately, even their full attentions were enough to defeat a launcher by themselves.
A failure shared by Bikkebakke's group after another barrage of cannon fire. I hadn't predicted that the launchers would be such a problem.
Not wanting to waste any time, I rushed forward to start engaging the cannons in the inner hanger. Much to my surprise and relief, however, they were actually single cannons guarded by a couple of weak troops.
Galvanized by their earlier failure, Bikkebakke's group managed to finish off one set of cannons...
While Clue killed for the first time using an ice breath attack, wiping out the other cannon in the area.
Matelite joined me in attacking my targeted launchers, with little success. I'll be half tempted to just ignore the launchers next time and attack the main objective at this rate.
Since Matelite and I were drawing unwelcome attention on the right side, Mist and her group simultaneously destroyed the security systems on the left side and drew the enemy's attention back that way.
This wasn't exactly without cost, but they acquitted themselves quite well for such a light unit.
The calvary wasn't far behind, however, and they were able to hold out long enough to receive some assistance. It was at about this point that I realized how poorly the enemy had place their launchers. While they covered the approaches, they didn't have the range to reach the center of the hangar.
Matelite destroyed the cannon we'd been working on while my back was turned, so I decided to focus on the enemy's healers to speed the battle along. It's not exactly a noble sentiment, but really they don't do anything but prolong the enemy's suffering.
Sometimes to a ridiculous degree. Even Leviathan couldn't outpace their healing magic..
Although following on his coat tails I could certainly finish them off and took great pleasure in doing so.
Once that had been accomplished, the long battle to bring down Irvine was joined.
I wish I knew the secret to their hellish resistance. The enemy's generals are only human, but they can survive things that would kill a dragon. I don't know how they do it.
In a poetic moment, it was Palpaleos himself who struck Irvine down. I honestly can't think of anybody who deserved the honor more.
Irvine wondered if his defeat heralded the end of the Granbelos Empire, but the way things are going I have to question that idea. It could be that the only thing that can preserve the Empire at this point is having the rebellion put down and making peace with Kahna.
With that, we were free to investigate the strange Holy Dragon residing within the fortress.