Threat Assessment: The Fascist Empire

This series of anonymous reports was intercepted in transit to an unknown force outside the Echo Cluster. After emergency review by the Senate Committee on Military Classification, these redacted versions were approved for immediate publication. They can be used to acquaint the unfamiliar with the Eleven Races of the Echo Cluster, but also they should be read by commanders of each respective race so they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of this new and unknown external threat. In this dispatch we focus on the Fascist Empire: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Veteran or Higher
Difficulty To Defeat: High
Style: Aggressive

General: The Fascist Empire, known internally as the Autocratic State (or Hegemony), was founded on a highly militarized nationalist philosophy called the “Way of Honor”.  This combines a rigid hierarchical structure with selfless meritocracy to transform a fleet of relatively weak individual ships into a powerful engine of war when operating in unity. Fascist citizens are noted for their unimaginative nature and absolute dedication to the State; Fascist commanders, on the other hand, are famous for their daring, inventiveness, and self-sacrifice.

Identification: The first sign of a Fascist in the neighborhood is often shock troops capturing your brand-new starbase from a cloaked D7 in orbit. At the same moment, that ship will haul away and capture or destroy whatever freighter was overhead. Worse is the cloaked headshot on your homeworld from multiple Deth Speculas about six turns in. If you’re very fortunate, you will encounter them further away from your developed areas, as your exploration ships and extended colonies are suddenly captured without warning.

Fleet Composition: The largest Fascist battleship is the Victorious, which is basically just an upgunned battlecruiser. It is equal in power to the Diamond Flame of the Crystals, otherwise the weakest battleship in the Echo Cluster. The Fascists also have access to the highly effective Ill Wind, unmatched as a fleet support vessel. They have three cloaking ships: the D3 (scout), the D7 (workhorse), and the particularly deadly Deth Specula (heavy raider). The core of their battlegroups are the Saber and D19b, light destroyers with massive built-in self destruct mechanisms known as Glory Devices. These can either be rigged as traps to detonate around enemy cloaked vessels or used as guided missiles, critically damaging enemy fleets immediately before battle.

Strengths And Weaknesses:

Economic: The Fascist economy can be a powerful engine of cash generation, funded either through standard taxation, the ruthless pillaging of native populations, or the detonation of Glory Devices over Amorphous worlds to generate a massive sudden influx of supplies. This is essential due to their reliance on high-grade engines, top-tech torpedoes, and massed beam weapons. Attacks on their unfortified colonies to sabotage early economic performance before heavy fleets can be constructed are therefore essential for the would-be conqueror.

Military: The light hulls and often second-class weaponry of Fascist ships make them vulnerable to attack from virtually every other race, particularly the Solar Federation and those with access to heavy carriers. Their unusually large complement of beam weapons gives them a moderate advantage against minefield races such as the Robots, the Crystals, and to a lesser extent the Colonies, and their cloakers are deadly commerce raiders. However, cloaking is easily neutralized by minefields, and Fascists are vulnerable to Loki decloaking from either Lizards or Federation. When fighting as Fascist, it’s vital to remain on the offensive so as to make the most of the Glory Device; when battling them, be sure to retain the initiative.

NOTE: More modern factions of the Fascist Fleet have access to the “Fast Beams” advantage, an acceleration in beam recharge rates. While this does increase battleship performance drastically against starbases, it is of almost negligible impact in anti-fleet operations, particularly when battling heavy carriers. Any advantage is traded off against the increase in production cost of the light hulls on which Fascist fleets depend.

Key Vulnerabilities:

  • Fascist cloaked scouts are vulnerable to Loki detection, and are light enough to die easily in minefields.
  • Light cloakers, in a swarm, can be used to mass-detonate a defensive D19b popper reserve faster than replacements can be brought up.
  • Due to economic factors, Fascist ships often lack high-end beam weapons, making them disproportionately vulnerable to mass minefields.
  • Limited cargo capacity in much of the Fascist fleet can slow reinforcement of outlying colonies.
  • A complex “razzle-dazzle” deployment, with ships alternately and unpredictably advancing and retiring in turn, can reduce the threat of massed Glory Device detonations used as guided missiles.

Trade and Alliances:

  • The D19b is a unique trade item, a one-shot that can make vulnerable an enemy cloaking vessel. Those facing Loki-immune races will often find them invaluable.
  • The Deth Specula is light, maneuverable, and powerful, arguably the best commerce raider in the Cluster. Similarly, the D3 and D7 both have their place in trade.
  • Pillage can be employed as a starbase reduction weapon by the patient.

The Fascists are the most toolboxy of the Eleven Races, combining queue control, cloaking, methods to capture starbases without combat, and the Glory Device. However, they lack heavy ships. As well, Fascists are often low on cash and firepower, and will usually welcome overtures from a free-fighter race. They can benefit from Fed Super Refit and can trade profitably for cloaking vessels with Birds, Lizards, and Privateers. Even the Crystals have something to offer them: the Crystal Thunder is inexpensive enough for trade yet sufficiently powerful to augment a war fleet — and it fights well damaged, unlike most heavy carriers.

Summary:

The Fascist Empire is a deadly threat due more to its high value as a trade partner and cooperative entity within a coalition than any virtue on the part of its markedly flimsy and low-tech fleet. Particularly brilliant (and ruthless) commanders can, with care, utilize them effectively against any foe. Where most factions have an opponent against whom they automatically tend to fail, Fascists are equally weak against almost everyone, with only the Solar Federation retaining unique superiority as their crew training virtually trumps the Fascist Glory Device.


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