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The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War

Part Eight - The Battle for Tamarian (II)

As the main Rrk'g'kreglin fleet approached Tamarian I, they completely failed to note the human's scout vessels that had been placed in position to 'paint' them for the planetary defenses. As a result, they still didn't have a clue what was out there, and the humans had a pretty accurate count of their ships, and even had a pretty good idea which ships did what, though without active scanners they did not know all the details just yet. But that wasn't necessary at this point either. As the Grendarl approached the position as which they would launch their waves of fighters, their sensor crews got a rather rude awakening. The information was reported to tR'c'N'S immediately.

"Sir! A massive wave of missiles has just been detected! They'll reach their targets in 15 seconds!"

"Launch all fighters immediately. Have all PD destroyers move forward and engage."

As the missiles approached, the PD destroyers began firing laser beams and a few fusion beams at the missiles. Most of the missiles just shrugged off these pitiful weapons, but about 50 succumbed. Meanwhile, fighters spilled out of their carriers at a rate of one per five seconds. Over 9,000 fighters were launched before the missiles reached their targets, which unsurprisingly were the carrier frigates. But since each frigate only carried 5 fighters, the vast majority of the fighters got out in one piece. The fighters also fired on the missiles, but killed even less missiles than the PD destroyers. Many of them, on seeing their weapons were not causing sufficient damage, decided to hurl their ships into the missiles to detonate them early. Another hundred or so missiles fell. The remaining 482 missiles scored direct hits, and every last one was a kill. But that was not a particularly devastating loss, as the remaining fighters launched, bringing their total remaining fighters to 14,281. They immediately moved in, both to scout for enemy ships and, if they found any, to overwhelm them by sheer numbers.

At the same time the humans, by no means content with scoring first blood, were busily prepping their next round of fire, and launching their own fighters. But since they had no need of scouting data, they choose to keep those close to defend against the hordes of Grendarl fighters. It was well known to human strategists that Grendarl preferred close combat, to swarm and conquer by numbers at very close range. The hordes of fighters had caught them off guard the first few times. This time, however, they had a counter. Instead of trying to achieve numerical superiority, or wasting all their firepower on PD beam weapons, the escort ships for this battle were actually more like chaff or flak guns. The Sharktooth and her sister ships were PD ships, but they fired literal clouds of heavily miniaturized, MIRV-ed but fairly weak missiles designed to target fighter craft. And instead of armor, which took space, these missiles were heavily ECM-ed, in the hopes that the Grendarl would not even realize they were being fired on until they started blowing up.

There were two down sides to this strategy. One, it only left room for a rather small PD beam cluster on each ship, and Two, it had never been tried before. Nobody knew if it would work. Well, time to find out.

Admiral Stockert ordered the Sharktooth and all other screen ships near the planet to fire a full burst of missiles. After they split into their 5 sub-warheads, over 3000 of the small missiles were in the first wave. Each found a target, and though not every single one resulted in a kill, the vast majority did. But now it would be almost 2 minutes before another round could be fired, and it would require all the skill of the PD gun crews to keep the Grendarl's remaining 11,500 or so fighters at a distance while they reloaded.

The Grendarl were surprised by the unexpected destruction of so many of their fighters and the heavy damage to another 200 or so, but they gamely pressed on. Entering the far edge of weapon range they began to pick out destroyers to target and firing their laser cannons. While 8,500 of them worked on the destroyers, the remaining 3,000 pressed on in search of the rest of the human fleet. They had even worse sensors than their main ships, but surely the big human ships wouldn't be far away. And they proved correct. Knowing his escorts couldn't handle the full fighter wave on their own, Stockert had his beam weapon light cruisers open up on the fighters that were approaching, destroying another 500. But now their position had been given away. In order to keep the Grendarl from getting too close, the human fighters closed and began to dogfight with the Grendarl.

So far, all casualties had been Grendarl. This rapidly began to change. 32 of the PD destroyers were destroyed and another 10 were heavily damaged within a minute, while only accounting for about another 500 fighters. And, though technologically superior, the human fighter pilots were not able to handle the centrifugal forces nearly as well as the Grendarl. The losses in fighters were severe to both sides. At this point, with the humans distracted and the Grendarl ships informed to their location, the Grendarl missile cruisers opened up with a full barrage. These were targeted primarily on the human picket ships since the carrier segment's location was still unknown, and the beam ships were not (yet) a serious threat. And though the humans immediately shifted fire to the larger threat, 20 still got through and destroyed several ships. The Sharktooth, though not destroyed, found itself with heavily weakened shields and engines that no longer performed at full specifications.

The human scout ships noted the location of the launches and passed the information on. Time for Stockert to show one of his aces in the hole. With the Grendarl thinking they knew where all his ships were, it was time to distract them. He ordered his secondary missile destroyer group to launch at the enemy missile cruisers and the now empty carriers. At the same time, he also had the planetary missile bases fire their next salvo.

Faced with missiles approaching from two directions, all but one of the Grendarl missile cruisers were completely destroyed, along with another 400 carriers. With the loss of so much of his IF force, tR'c'N'S decided to call in his own secret weapon.

The Sharktooth and the other ships of her class opened up with the second of their four rounds of missiles. With the losses and combat dammage, this time they could only field about 2,500 shots. And at the closer range, many of the exploding fighters took destroyers with them. Over 2000 fighters were destroyed, but another 57 destroyers fell as well. Fortunately for the humans, almost all of the ship losses so far had been system ships, which were much more easily replaced, and would not be needed in future battles to invade the Grendarl systems. Assuming, of course, that they won this round.

But while the human's second small missile wave was devastating the Grendarl fighter groups, a fleet of 175 previously undetected troop transports showed up on the scanners at Tamarian III, with 56 escorting missile frigates. The escorts immediately opened up on the planetary defenses, which had gone to stand-by alert, thinking themselves not the primary target. Though 52 frigates were destroyed along with 68 troop transports before the last missile base fell, the operation was a success. Thousands of Grendarl ground troops poured out onto the world below, and as before began targeting civilians first, this time in the hopes of distracting the humans at the main fight.




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