With everything moved up to—and past—the borders, turn 3 tends to be a bit simpler for the Coalition. Also, I knew that the Duke's SB was weaker than it ordinarily should be, as he was out of carrier escorts there. I contemplated a raid into the capital, hoping to devastate a few planets while the fleet was elsewhere, but it just too easy for major elements to get intercepted on the way, so I settled for a more normal 'sweep the Kzinti off the map' approach.
Lyrans: BC, CA, 4xCW, 2xDW, DWS, 3xFF, PDU, CL->BC, 3xFF->DW, MB->BATS
Klingons: D7C, D7, D6M, 7xD5, LTT, D5S, F5L, 4xF5, FV, E4, E4A, E4R, Activate 2xD6, 3xF5, 3xE4, D6->D6S, D6->D6D, CapDD->K-DD
Converting smaller captured ships to your service is somewhat expensive, but I figure it's less expensive than overbuilding the equivalent ship, so I'm still EPs ahead. Also, I'm planning on converting the DD to a DDE, though I'm still waiting for an answer as to whether the Klingons get to use it as a light or heavy escort. If the latter, it is a poor heavy escort, but serves as an extra for a second-line group as I get all the AD5s in place. If I can use it as a light escort, it'll be the best one I can have for quite a while.
1001: Kzinti: dest MON; Lyrans: crip CL, FF, capture planet
1202: Kzinti: dest MON; Lyrans: crip CW, capture planet; Klingons: crip E4
1502: Kzinti: dest BC, EFF; Klingons: crip D6M, F5, dest D7A
1504: Kzinti: dest 3xEFF, 2xPDU; Klingons: crip D6, 2xD5, 4xF5, dest F5L, F5, E4
1304: Kzinti: dest SB, CC; Klingons: D7C, D6M; Lyrans: crip 2xCA
0902: Kzinti: dest FKE, FFE, wound PT; Lyrans: crip CL, 3xCW, dest CC, DW
As you can see, I'm doing a lot of directing. In fact, my general plan is to try and wear the Kzinti fleet out. The early schedule is sparse, and there's not a lot of spare ships available. In fact, he had no real light escorts for his carriers at the Duke's SB battle at all (1304), which led to it being a single-round affair.
One of the additions of Combined Operations are troop ships and marine assaults on bases. Many people don't care too much for them, and largely ignore them. I don't have enough experience to have a real opinion of them. But the idea is that you can use them to attack ground bases (or regular bases) and do extra damage—if you can roll well. You can also lose your ground troops for no gain, though they get replaced for free like fighters. The main cost is that troop ships have a lower offensive ComPot, so you're doing less direct damage.
Against regular bases, they can cause an extra SIDS of damage, which can make them very useful in a hotly contested SB battle. If you need to direct SIDS to get the SB, this can speed the process up, if the defender is voluntarily taking SIDS, he may find it getting unexpectedly crippled by the ground troops. The problem is the odds aren't too good of making it work, and a SB inherently has a defending marine unit ('G') that must be killed before damage can be done.
Naturally, I rolled two 12s in a row to actually do a SIDS to 1304 with a single D6G.
Overall, the turn went very well for me. SB 0902 is still there, but I took the entire 'second line' of planets (1001, 1202, 1504), and got SB 1304, all for minimal losses. Sadly, I didn't parse the situation with the Marquis area correctly, and that's still on the main grid. Cutting it off will certainly be a priority for next turn.
But now the Hydrans are about to join in, and I have some strategic decisions to make.... Right now, I'm splitting my attention (and new builds) between the two and where I go next will likely depend on how his turn 3 goes.
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