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 The war of the Tasman

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LeVentNoir
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PostSubject: The war of the Tasman   Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:22 pm

Tensions had been building with the Australians diplomatically pressuring us Aotearoans for the Norfolk Islands. LeVentNoir was not going to let them go. He never really conceded anything. Anything worth holding anyway. Tasmania had been a simple solution to a damned problem. Dragon cultists had been infesting the tunnels of that warren, and burning them out would have just been too much. The followers of that genetic abomination did not wish to be part of Glorious Aotearoa, so handing that territory over to the Welsh in New Cymru was a simple method of throwing that nation a bone. A poisonous and festering bone, but the international community didn't know that.

But now, the Welsh prime ministers and the leaders of Australia as the other nation on that continent called itself had been observed to be meeting, and subtlety begun to work together to pressure Aotearoa. Even together those nations had not half of Aotearoa's might. What they did have what a strong influence on the world stage, and the possibility that their rhetoric could produce allies easily if Aotearoa tried an overt military move.

The Australians wanted the Norfolk Island group. Almost halfway between Aotearoa and Australia, they was a vital military base and commercial hub for Aotearoa, situated towards the northern end of the Tasman Sea, a 2000km wide stretch of ocean that was one the principal defensive bulwalks of the Aotearoan home islands. Their reasoning was that they were a historic property of the australian national collective, and while that was true, they had been in Aotearoan possession for far too long for them to be discarded for no gain.

Spies in the Australian and Welsh port cities had reported the sailing of at least two surface battle groups, heading out into the Tasman. These were no small collective of ships, totalling at least two carriers, half a dozen cruisers, and anywhere up to thirty assorted frigates and destroyers. They had the usual accompaniment of fleet oilers, tenders, tugs but more telling was the lack of hospital ships, military supply ships and battleships.

These battlegroups would have been a fierce deterrent, even considered intimidating by most nations, however Aotearoa would not let a small naval blip like a twin battle group even register anxiety let alone alarm. Aotearoa had three battlefleets in the Tasman sea, with Markus Frederick's 1st Carrier Surface Battle Fleet moving in to provide cover for the northern flank of the Lord Fleet, while the 4th Carrier Surface Battle Fleet moved up from sub Antarctican deployment to cover the southern flank.

The 1st Carrier Surface Battle Fleet, the Hearttakers was lead by Markus's Flagship; ANAC-01 Helen Clark a 100,000 ton Carrier known as Queen Bitch. Sailing with her in a 10km wide pentagon formation were five Supercruiser class heavy surface combatants, with two Interdictor class scout frigates ranging around 30km ahead and to the right and left of the combat core, providing a scouting fringe to the fleet. They were still waiting on ANI-34 to complete construction and sail from Auckland to join them, after the loss of ANI-13 Muldoon over a year ago.

The Lord Fleet was to his south, around 500km east of the Norfolk Islands, securely holding them in its protective bubble. The Lord Fleet was the strongest single military unit on the face of the planet, and for good reason. Aotearoan Naval units were renowned as the best in the world, with each ship being over weight for its class, and armed with the best weaponry the scientists and engineers could design.

Markus knew this move was a serious show of force, as the Lord Fleet was essentially two Carrier Surface Battle Fleets in one military unit with Lord LeVentNoir's personal Flagship, ANUC Tyrant of the Sea the only UltraCarrier to have been made. Four hundred and fifty meters long, it held specially converted YF-46's, both -R and -B variants. It was a ship carrying strategic bombers, a feat no other nation could hope to match. This one ship was able to dominate an entire battle sphere, both with direct attacks from its quad 150MJ railgun mount, and the amazing firepower of 10 YF-46-Rs and even more powerful, 10 YF-46-Bs. Strike power like that gave the commanding admiral the ability to demolish a small country, and in past wars, this is exactly what had happened.

Dazzled out of his thoughts of Aotearoan power by a wailing klaxon, Admiral Frederick looked up to find Queen Bitch's Captain, a tall bull of a man called Peterson waiting patiently for his admiral to take the data tablet from his outstretched hand. Markus tooke the tablet, snapping at a junior officer to "turn that damned klaxon off!". Captain Peterson started to give a brief summary of the stream of facts that were scrolling past on the slate, wirelessly linked with Battlenet, and showing real-time the unfolding crisis. Peterson spoke calmly but rapidly. "Admiral Frederick sir, we have reports of sabotage of the main radar on Norfolk island itself, along with almost complete destruction of the main military communications facility."
"Well? What caused it, who did it, and more importantly, why did Battlenet decide to set off the damn klaxons?" Enquired Markus with an angry vigour.
"Sir, it seems that Australian transport submarines have landed a demi division of men on Norfolk Island proper, aided by saboteurs. That was an hour and a half ago. An AWACS with Interceptor XI escort was sent to provide radar coverage of the area and ELINT after the radar feed to Battlenet was abruptly halted followed by the communication carrier wave shortly after."
"Right, so we have foreign troops on our soil, an attack on our military facilities, and if I'm reading this tablet correctly, the loss of an AWACS and two Interceptor XI's to a group of over 20 enemy fighters in a dogfight over Norfolk." Markus was astonished the Australians had tried something like this. Norfolk had been considered a fairly secure island group, with a bare company of Aoteroan Army soldiers deployed there.
"Captain Peterson. Increase the CAP from 6 planes to 12. Alert the crew that we are at DEFCON 2, and that Aotearoa is at war." Markus smiled sinisterly. This would be a true blue water fight, with the Norfolk Islands situated over 1300km from hostile landmasses and over 700 from friendly ones. This is what Aotearoa excelled at.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:13 pm

Six hours later and the situation had become much more grim. Markus grimaced at his latest orders, direct from Wellington. He was to turn right around, and head north, to take up watch near the Solomon Islands.

He understood the strategy off this, as the Solomons were dangerously close to Australian islands, and with no sheltering naval cloak, easy targets for a determined landing force. He was to hold there for near three weeks while additional two divisions were deployed to those islands to bolster the division already present. 10,000 entrenched Aotearoans might not deter the Australians but 30,000 would. In addition, he was being granted command of two of Aotearoa's Shadow class attack submarines, which would be under his command while he was on Solomon Station. Solomon station was an area of ocean around the Aotearoan islands, varying from less than 30km wide at the narrowest point to over 300km deep, fading into the vast pacific.

Already he had been subject to several air to air clashes, probing attacks, probably launched from the Australian mainland, as he could not see an aircraft carrier sized return on his radar screen. Neither side had lost planes, but the attacks had been carried out at extreme long range, and were certain to intensify as he approached the archipeligo.

Contacting Lord Fleet, Markus learnt they were being stalled around 400km east of Norfolk, with anti ship cruise missiles being launched from Norfolk every time they tried to pass closer than around 350km to the islands. Lord Fleet was waiting on a two divisional deployment to sail from New Plymouth, so that they could be landed on the island to clear out the anti ship missiles. Long range missile and rail engagement of the enemy battle groups had begun, but lack of realtime targeting data made the firing intermittent and haphazard. They enemy were over 500km away, roughly 100km west of Norfolk, but there were almost certainly elements at dock at Norfolk.

Markus was in his command center on Queen Bitch, when a communications tablet mounted in his chair chirped at him, and the video link snapped to life. It was Commander Steven Archer, a short, fair-haired 28 year old, who had been in command of his ship, ANI-10 Sea Ranger for only 8 months. "Admiral. I have radar tracks of at least 6 incoming bombers, escorted, bearing 265. Am moving my ship to general quarters." The Interdictor had a much more powerful radar than either a Supercruiser or a Carrier, and were invaluable as scout ships.
"Thank you Captain. Uplink all radar feeds to Captain Peterson here on Helen Clark. We'll place a BAR between 100 and 120km from us on bearing 265. Keep watch for more inbounds"
"Aye Aye."
The comms tablet went to the default view, a rendered theatre view, with simple touch activated icons for communication lines hovering over the icons for each Aotearoan unit.

'So that was what the probing attacks were for' thought Markus, as he felt the mass driver catapults of Queen Bitch throw more fighters into the air. He was posting three squadrons to the BAR, with another squadron as CAP over the hub of his fleet. Looking down at the radar feed on another tablet, he saw with some relief that the hard returns of the bombers were not supersonic, so if the fuzzy returns of the escort could be handled, they would be easy targets. The escort was the iffy part of this engagement. Fighter planes were now almost universally stealthy to some degree, so long range detection and identification was always a problem.

Glancing at the display again, he noted that the returns of the land-masses the north of his position had gone fuzzy, and this interference was creeping southwards. They were sailing into heavy rain, he found after a few deft touches on a general purpose tablet he kept with him. This was going to make the engagement harder than usual.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:01 am

The Interceptor XI's of the Bleed Attack Recon had a simple mission: Bleed off the escorts of the inbound bombers so that they could be located, attacked and destroyed. All thirty planes in three large chevron formations were all trying to find and lock onto the enemy escorts, but all they were certain of were the large, clear returns from the bombers.

Strike Captain Geoff Robin was damned sure that they could just paint up the bombers, slam off the LRAAMs, and watch the ugly bitches die, but that was not what was needed. The escort was likely to be strike fighters, like the Aotearoan Weasel II. The ships couldn't defend themselves against the bombs of the escort if they were allowed to get close enough, and in enough numbers.

With the enemy registering that air superiority fighters must have been launched, the radar fuzz that represented the escort climbed in height to nearly 10,000m, and pushed up to mach 2.2, screaming into supersonic flight, leaving the bombers behind. Strike Captain Robin was tense, watched the screens as the two groups of planes closed at nearly mach 5. As the separation dropped to less than 75km, his radar started to show three new contacts out of the northwest, IFF chirping friendly.

A YF-46-R and two YF-46-D's. The -R was a missile bus, and ripple fired seven of its high power 'Mirror' missiles, which leap away, their powerful motors pushing them to mach 7. These were the specialist anti-formation missiles that had been developed just last year. Nearly 4 times the size of the LRAAMs, they were too large to be carried on fighters, but had two major advantages. They sacrificed range and size for speed, able to hit mach 8 in a dive, but with a max range of only 150km. Secondly, their warheads were a combination of high power radar saturation devices, magnetic radar beacons and chaff.

The missiles from the YF-46-R hit the middle of the fuzz, and with single flicker of the screen, it jumped into perfect clarity. 45 enemy planes, 5th gen stealth strike fighters. It might have seemed like magic to have them resolved so completely, but thats thanks to the YF-46-Ds. Working in pairs, they used massive doppler radars fed into full sized supercomputers to understand what the hell went on at the heart of a Mirror missile impact.

Several of the enemy planes had been hit by the magnetic beacons, and missiles had already been locked and fired on them. The LAARM had only to follow the radio signal, and it would demolish the enemy plane. The radar saturation devices were sending out so much RF power that for this small window, the Aotearoans had locked enemy traces, while they were completely blind. One way mirrors indeed.

Even more missiles leapt forward from the Aotearoan XI's, but they last few had been launched on the waning edge of the Mirror missile window, and didn't have complete locks. Only around half the targeted escort fighters were hit. The other half used the hard returns of the Interceptor XI's provided when they opened their missile bays to fire off all their missiles before turning and retreating. Jinking and launching chaff, the BAR had successfully completed their mission, and was trying to avoid the covering fire of the enemy in order to overhaul and kill the bomber force.

With a powerful wrench, Geoff's Interceptor XI pulled itself out of a horizontal mach two point four flight and into a vertical stall, for an utter eternity as he felt a massive shudder pass through his plane. Realising he was not able to stop it, he waited until Battlenet unslaved his plane from the Cobra maneuver. A fixed rod missile had come from the side, and if it was not for the breaking that the Cobra had done, his plane would have been hit.

Looking at his screens, he saw that nine of the BAR planes had been hit by enemy missiles, with four death, and five ejections. The enemy planes were about to over take the bombers, their fuzzy returns showing them to be far out of lock range. The large, slow bombers on the other hand were being targeted by over half the remaining fighters, and less than a minute later, were pulled into chunks by multiple LRAAM hits.

Opening the radio links Geoff pulled down his face mask. "This is Eightball. All Vipers RTB."

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:41 am

The Wellington docks thrummed with activity. Set on reclaimed land in the massive Wellington harbour, the Aotearoan Naval Yards were where the shadow class submarine, ANS Canterbury floated in her concrete pen. Hidden from both observation and attack by the fortified roof, the nuclear submarine was resupplying, before heading back to war. Food, fresh water, torpedoes, they all were loaded into the vast black vessel.

Torpedoman (who happened to be a women, because nobody had proven they couldn't do the job just as well) Jane Madison was painting kill emblems on the sail of Canterbury, two boxy silhouettes for cargo ships, and a spikey representation of a cruiser. It had nearly sunk the Canterbury after a ASW helicopter had managed to drop a sonar buoy almost right on top of them by pure chance. Those three kills in nine days of war was the best record, ton for ton in the fleet.

Jane looked down to the docks, and caught her captain, Darruh 'Tincan' Zylee salute a man that had just stepped out of a truck. This nickname came from how much he seemed to resemble his ship, cold, metallic, and empty inside apart from a burning heart. The man he was saluting didn't appear to be anyone special, just a man somewhere between 30 and 55, wearing loose black pants, a black t shirt and black beret. No insignia could be seen, and with his face turned away from her, his face couldn't be recognised.

There seemed to be an animated conversation going on, with snippets like "New orders", "What authority?" and "Of course!" Floating up to Jane. Seeming resigned to whatever the man in black had to say, the captain turned around, and walked back towards the ship. 'I'm sure there are no admirals around here, the carriers tie up further down. Apart from them, who does a captain have to salute?' She wondered. The man in black rapped on the side on the truck, and eleven more men dressed identically climbed out, then strapped on large packs, and jogged towards the gangway.

The first man in black, seemed to watch them, then took a look around the pen. Jane saw him lock her gaze, and then she saw, and recognised the emblem on the front of his beret. The silver winged dagger.

'Oh shit, its the SAS.' she thought, her heart starting to beat harder. 'Where the hell are we taking them?' The answer was that the tweleve SAS trooper were to be carried by covert submarine insertion to Norfolk, where they would infiltrate any AShM units and render them unable to attack, letting the Lord Fleet move in closer. Of course, no one but Zylee knew this. For now.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:24 am

It was now more than two weeks since the Australians had invaded the Norfolk island group. In the sixteen days since the first australian semi division landed, several things had occurred. The first and most obvious was that the international media had gone crazy, and several had even tried to sail into the tasman sea. The Australians had simply shot the reporters boats, while the Aotearoans had so far captured the reporters and were executing them under military law. This of course just inflamed the press.

The second point was that the Australians now had nearly 35,000 troops on the Norfolk group, the majority on Norfolk itself. They had started the process of massive intrenchment, and from what could be seen from satellite reconnaissance, had placed the civilian population in prison camps. They were also using the islands terrain to hide their mobile AShM launchers, keeping them mobile and under camo netting.

Those AShM launchers were the reason the Australian battle groups were still floating. Two interdictors had been lost to disproportionate attacks of AShMs from Norfolk when they tried to advance towards the Australian fleet. This had restricted the Aotearoan Lord fleet to long range engagement. This mode of combat had scored only a few hits since the war began, with Aotearoan surface combatants claiming two cruisers and three destroyers between them. The larger capital ships were too hard to locate accurately, while the smaller support vessels were too hard to lock at that distance.

Aotearoan naval aircraft had been in almost constant skirmish with Australian fighters, and several escorted bombing attacks had been aimed at both 1st Carrier Surface Battle Fleet and 4th Carrier Surface Battle Fleet. Lord fleet had not been harried by such attacks, as it was much further from the Australian mainland, and boasted a much heavier air combat ability.

Aotearoans had tried to launch bombing attacks against Norfolk from Aotearoa itself as well as New Caledonia, but each time heavy fighter and AA presence had forced them to turn back. Only unescorted Titans Fist squadrons were getting through, and they were restricted to 'hard' military targets on Norfolk, the enemies naval units all too well defended for unescorted bombers.

The international community saw it as a stalemate, Aotearoa unable to pull back their lands, while the Australians could not consolidate with Aotearoa itching to demolish their position.

The 21st Aotearoan SAS team was what was going to break that stalemate. They had three main objectives. 1: Destroy the main harbour so the enemy could not land any more heavy units or large volume of material. 2: Disable or Destroy the main radar on Norfolk, denying the enemy its vast sight. 3: Disable the enemies AShM batteries.

It was approaching 11pm local time, more than 5 hours after sun set in the middle of the July winter. 5km off the beach, a small black shape appeared above the waves. It was the very top of the sail of ANS Canterbury, and off it launched an inflatable rubber boat, with the 12 SAS troopers inside. They pulled out oars and started to to paddle the boat in, while the submarine dived and turned away. Canterbury would maintain station near Norfolk for supply, radio link, and if needed, extraction.

The cloudy night had a small crescent moon, but the men in their black wetsuits were both near invisible and near inaudible. Landing on the beach, they pulled on rubber footprint maker, so that the tracks they left would be those of bare feet rather than military boots.

By midnight they were off the beach, having taken the boat with them. Avoiding the patrols the best they could they aimed for the dense forest that covered the roughest parts of the island. They were aiming to move towards the highest point on the island, where the main radar was placed.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:52 am

And it was so, on the 17th day since their ill advised assault on Norfolk, the Australians took the first of the Aotearoan counter attacks.

It was shortly before dawn that the explosion ripped through the air. The sharp crack of high velocity explosives shredding the fragile metal of the radar dome on the summit of Mount Bates.

The facility had been reached by 2am that morning and the GA 21st SAS troopers had earthed the electric fence then cut through it. There were four guards on patrol inside the fence, but without dogs the first thing they knew about the SAS was the silenced SMG rounds hitting their backs.

When they entered the radar building, they were unable to remain covert and a series of quick but intense fire fights broke out between the base defense personnel and the GA SAS. The SAS were able to push through rapidly, using the superior firepower of the RX 377. However, they took two casualties while pushing forward to the base of the radar dish itself. Corporal James Western took a hit to the left shoulder, and although his body armour stopped the bullet penetrating, it broke his humerus near the shoulder joint. Private Kevin Sloan was hit in the temple, and killed instantly, the bullet penetrating his helmet and ricocheting inside his skull.

After placing the explosive charges, the 11 SAS troopers retreated from the radar facility and made their way down to their layup position. Reaching it by 5 am, they camouflaged it the best they could, then detonated the charges.

Leaving Cpl Western in the lay up with two other troopers the SAS team left to move down towards to habour. Reaching a vantage point on the roof of an empty office building, they set up a laser designator and connected it to a GPS handset, to provide accurate targeting for phase two of their mission.

Supercruiser Captain Horatio Chanz was watching the video display of the four missiles they had launched half an hour ago. The Supercruiser was a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser, and was currently sending land attack cruise missiles to the location they had received from the troopers of the 21st SAS via Canterbury.

The missiles sped over the sea and with a final dash into shore, slammed into the concrete wharf. Although it was not totally demolished as hoped, about 50% of it was converted to rubble and was now below sea level, while the rest of it was shattered and in large, unstable sections. There was no way you could use the wharf to unload any heavy cargo now.

The Australians now couldn't target nor resupply their AShMs. Their battle groups had lost their cover.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:14 pm

At 0900 hours, the Aotearoan Lord Fleet started to advance upon Norfolk Island. Ranging ahead of the fleet were three Interdictors, with a powerful air to air wing above and forward of them.

Although they were unable to achieve targeting data from radar returns of the Australian Carrier Groups, their general area was known, and with the distance closing as both naval powers advanced, missiles would soon be within close targeting range. Simultaneously 1st fleet under Markus Frederick started long range bombardment of enemy military targets in both the New Guinea and Queensland target areas. 4th fleet in the south started to attack Melbourne and Sydney in welsh territory. These naval barrages were with standard rail ammunition, and were meant to sow chaos in the Australian Command, as any of the bombardment targets could be landing beaches for Aotearoan troops.

However, the real landing beach was on Norfolk itself.

To get there, there were nearly 30 additional vessels in a non combat flotilla advancing behind Lord Fleet. Twenty troop transports, each holding 1000 GAA soldiers. There was DivXIV: The Pumas, a specialist light infantry unit, and DivXI: The Bullheads, highly trained heavy infantry. They would have to rely on naval fire support as there had not been time to mobilise a cavalry or mechanised unit. There were also five supply ships, two fleet oilers and three hospital ships.

Luckily for the Aotearoan Infantry, the Australians had not fortified the beaches, but rather placed easily defendable positions within tactical reach of each other a slightly inland.

As the Lord Fleet reached 100km from Norfolk itself, a mere 2.5 hours from the launch of the beach assault they started to take fire. The Australians had finally decided to fire their AShMs from Norfolk, and at that short range they managed to heavily damage two Supercruisers, while an Interdictor had nearly its entire superstructure blown away. The Aotearoans restrained from firing on Norfolk itself, as the launchers were mobile, firing their single missile then moving before reloading.

The Australian battle groups however were definitely worth targeting and at 175km range, were located to target lock once Interdictors had moved around the Norfolk Island group to light up the radar shadow. OTH-B & -SW were good for long range detection, but lacked precision, and shorter range radars had to be used to feed information to the naval guns and missile cells.

As one the Supercruisers fired on all rails, with over 150 projectiles arcing up and away. Interdictors stayed silent, lacking the railguns for heavy naval fire, and refraining for firing missiles to minimise enemy knowledge about their location.

Within a minute of launching the barrage, Australian activity from their fleet was reported. AShMs, and what looked to be the largest naval aircraft attack of the war so far.

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PostSubject: Re: The war of the Tasman   Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:02 am

The initial barrages from each side were as varied as they were deadly. The Australian AShM attack was a low number of devastating weapons which would all cause horrendous damage if they were allowed to follow their programming and target the Aotearoan ships. The Aotearoan railgun attack used a large number of powerful but not individually deadly unguided projectiles which had little to no chance of being stopped, but they were not guaranteed to hit.

The railgun projectiles had been fired first and were moving faster. The Australians had tried to slow their ships or make a turn, but were limited by the small window they had before the first impacts occurred. Each ship had been targeted with around five rounds, but due to the maneuvering of the battlegroups, only half the projectiles hit. Each projectile punched deep into the superstructure of the Australian ships, with two cruisers being crippled, their bridge and CnC being penetrated by two rounds each. The spall and shredded superstructure had reduced the men and machinery in these rooms to the gruesome cross between an abattoir and recycling plant.

Other ships were hit with one Australian carrier suffering a punch-through on the main landing deck which would severely inhibit flight operations. Other strikes caused minor to medium damage, with only two kills inflicted. One Australian frigate had an impact tear right through the ship blowing a hole in its keel and was starting to sink as water rushed on an amazing rate. The other casualty was a destroyer who had a missile cell penetrated and the rocket fuel was ignited, blowing the ship apart in a massive fireball as the other munitions contributed to the chain reaction.

The Australian strike was just as deadly, with around a quarter of the missiles escaping the active defense of the Aotearoan BattleFleets. Due to their sea skimming nature, no carriers were hit but two Interdictor class were hit twice each, the majority of the ships above the waterline vanishing into a soaring fireball. A third interdictor was struck, and suffered major damage to the superstructure.

The Supercruisers were luckier, with only two glancing hits being reported, and the damage from each was fairly minor. Still human casualties were high and both sides were reeling from the blows.

However, with the ships below them having struck the air combat was just starting with the first long range missiles being launched from either side.

The Aotearoans had the edge, as their superior stealth made it harder for the Australians to locate and lock onto them. In addition, they had longer range missiles, and started firing them as soon as lock was made. The Australian fighter screen broke, trying to escape the missiles, while where they could, returning fire. The Australians also had large slow bombers fitted with AShMs, which would soon be locked. A number of the Interceptor XII's were diverted to attack the bombers, allowing the Australian fighters to swing back and launch more air to air missiles.

Both sides had been bloodied with a number of planes being shot down. The Australians were suffering more, with around three times as many losses as the Aoteaorans, due to the lost initiative. However, the subsonic bombers were being destroyed but at least one managed to fire its missiles, and the fleet started to react. Point defense destroyed most of them but two made it through and hit one of the Supercruisers which had been damaged by the naval attack. The violent death of the first Aotearoan capital ship cemented what everyone already knew.

They were playing for keeps.

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