Late spring sunlight speckled the waters of the Heligoland Bight with every color of the spectrum. As you stood aboard the deck of your trusted flagship the Percival you could see the proud new frigates of the Revolution. In line ahead formation, the Indefatigable. Her sister ship, the Invincible, brought up the van in line astern. Through the mid-day haze the ancient city had begun to appear. Looming out of the depths like the wraith of some mythical sea creature. Waves lapping against the walls of wrecked structures wrought forth the sound of a thousand seaside docks. Further inland, the long dead and forgotten city’s broken buildings rose from the ocean like a thousand accusatory fingers pointing at the sky. For here there was no Ramel, no Henn Dommen Here life had never returned after ‘Adam and the Abomination that caused Desolation.’ Here the World had simply moved on.
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After your monumental victory at Harlow’s Wood a desperate King, his army reeling in retreat, sent his scouts deep into the ‘Old Country’ that fringed the ‘Wastelands’ like a crescent moon. There, separated from you by five-hundred miles of impassable terrain, in a place called ‘NAR-Fuk,’ his Majesty had found the chalice of his quest. In the language of the old ones it was known as an ‘O-yell REE-fine-airy.’ Probably the last of its kind, the Refinery was a wonder of the Ancients. Inside the magical structure, ancient machines transformed our crude pitch into a flammable liquid. The Ancients word for this fire water was ‘GAZ-o-lean.’ ‘Gaz,’ as was the common slang of the Ancient tongue, powered everything in their world... including their weapons of war. His Majesty now had the key to awakening the long lost secrets of the Ancients. In the city of ‘NAR-Fuk,’ not far from the Refinery, he had found one, the Armor Plate Facility.
A crumbling monolith that had stood for over a millennia, the factory stood atop an old hillock. Yet, the World had moved on from the time of the Ancients. What was once a bluff was now the only dry land to be seen. Henceforth, the Armor Plate Facility now dominated the town of ‘NAR-Fuk.’ Upon its ancient walls, etched in the very fabric of the stone, was the illustrious title bestowed upon the structure by its long dead builders. ‘The Mid-Atlantic Aluma-Steel Corporation.’ Although derelict and dilapidated, plates of armor now patched holes in its rotted roof, the building was still functional. With fuel to power its aged machinery the facility rumbled to life once again. Sounds not heard for over a thousand years rolled across the surrounding countryside sending beast and man alike scurrying for cover. An ancient demon had awoke and was now in the service of the King.
Unable to traverse the ‘Wastelands’ You ordered your Free 7th Division onboard three Warships. Your trusted Percival and the two new Frigates supplied by the Rebellion. Accompanying these warships were five new Landing Assault Ships, The Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Cougar and Cheetah. Having sailed your strike force around the ‘Wastelands’ your fleet came to be in the area now called the Heligoland Bight and what was once the Ancient city of ‘NAR-Fuk’ now less than 1000 yards from your Fleet formations starboard side.
“Stephan,” you said, “Order our cannons run out and made ready to fire.” “Aye sir,” responded your trusted lieutenant. “Cannons,” he yelled, “make ready.” “Aye Sir” came the Gunnery officer’s reply. “Signalman,” you said to another officer standing behind you, “Send signal : Battle Fleet, BEGIN BOMBARDMENT / FIRE AT WILL. Assault Force, COMMENCE LANDING OPERATIONS.” “Aye M’Lord,” came The Signal Officer’s reply. You watched as signal flags and acknowledgment flags were raised from ship to ship. Then, from every ship in the Fleet came forth a glorious “Huzza, Huzza, Huzza!” You could not help but smile, an act that was not missed by your subordinate officers. Who, with beaming smiles of their own, saluted you in unison. How heartening to know your troops believed in you.
You had not minced words with any of them. You had explained that the King would expect an assault from the sea. That while your fleet had sailed around the ‘Wastelands’ His Majesties’s forces would have had ample time to fortify the ruins of ‘NAR-Fuk’ and with weapons heavier then the Fleets frigates could carry. Like The Vierville Draws they would be landing under fire. Yet, unlike that day of hell, the Fleet, under your direct control, would expose itself to enemy fire in order to provide close fire support for the landing operations. “Remember Captains,” you had said “Your landing ships will take you as close as they can to the city ruins. Those ruins that provide cover for the enemy, will also provide cover for you. Establish a foothold amongst the ruins as quickly as possible and begin to bring fire upon the enemy strong points. We will need to soften them up for the ground assault.”
An assault that on this late spring day had now begun. Following your orders to the letter, the landing assault ships turned majestically in unison to starboard and made their way towards the battered ruins of a long dead city. Puffs of smoke from amongst the crumbled buildings indicated that shore batteries had opened fire. Numerous ranging shots had begun to indicate your enemies accuracy with the white splashes that now erupted around the entire battle fleet. “Stephan,” You Shouted, “OPEN FIRE!” No sooner had your Frigates begun to reply than the unthinkable happened. The Indefatigable, lead ship in your battle line, was struck by a large caliber enemy shot just abaft her mizzenmast. Having pierced her lightly armored deck, the shot exploded deep within the vessel. Thick, ominous clouds of black smoke began to pour from the mortally wounded frigate. Lurching hard a port, the Indefatigable fell out the battle line. Already she appeared to be sinking by the stern, From within the ship a long, low, groaning sound had begun to emanate across the Heligoland Bight.
Those at a distance, friend and foe alike, simply gaped in horror. Those closer, such as you, dropped for cover. Those closest were simply incinerated.. With sheets of flame and a thunderous explosion the Indefatigable was destroyed. She was simply there one moment and then gone the next. Her landing assault ship, the Lion, was unable to clear her starboard quarter in time. Set aflame and dismasted , the stricken craft drifted helplessly towards ‘NAR-Fuk’ and the enemy. With a single shot nearly one quarter of your assault force was dead, wounded or trapped under fire. There was simply no question in your mind. At this pivotal moment of the war, failure was unthinkable. For even at the cost of every ship, every life in your strike force including your own, the King must be stopped and ‘NAR-Fuk’ must be silenced. For better that the Ancients be completely wiped from the face of the Earth then for the return of ‘Adam and the Abomination that caused Desolation.’ For Mother Earth could no longer bear witness to such destruction. From the time of the Ancients the World had simply moved on.
Well, friend tis’ been 8 months since my last map. What free time I’ve had for SH has been spent on this one. I’ll not mince words with you, fellow Knight. What you have before you here is an epic siege that took me, the author, two days on his first try to defeat. This is no smash and conquer. Your progress will be a crawl at first. Yet, trust me, as building after building, street after street fall to your troops. Your march upon the weapons facility will accelerate at a phenomenal rate. Keep in mind that every nook and cranny can help or hinder the enemy depending on who’s in it! If you have patience, fortitude, and a strategy I promise you victory.
This map is dedicated in memory of Neil, Brave Sir Robin
In SHH Fraternity,
Ok, now for the usual...
This map is only guaranteed for play with Stronghold Warchest. You must at least have the V1.2 patch installed on your computer. The patch is free and available at this site.
This map has been listed as a Siege but will play in Stronghold as an Invasion. My reasons for doing this are first, the map truly is a siege and was designed as one. You will find it has no scripting or eco-goals and that the action is most definitely designed in the same manner as many of my other maps which are all sieges. Secondly, a weird, uncontrollable and untraceable victory glitch occurred. I was able to eliminate the glitch by playing the map as an Invasion.
As with most of my maps, your objectives appear on the launch page. They have been scripted to appear a certain way and have a bizarre appearance in the editor because of it.
This map will play well on any difficulty level but was designed for play on the easy or normal levels. On the Hard level of difficulty your Lord will not appear on your Flagship the Percival.
Although unintentional, some pre-set fires do not light on the Harder difficulty levels. Thank the merciful AI. ;) This will make things a little easier. I felt it also adds a little more re-playability to the map.
The following guide will give you some idea of what difficulty level to play on.
The author has completed this map playing on the Very Hard difficulty level but WITH destroying the refinery first.
Your Skill - Setting
Rookie - Easy
Veteran - Normal
Elite - Hard
Legendary - Very Hard or hard without destroying the Oil Refinery.
* You will need to destroy all enemy units including engineers to obtain the victory page. If the siege doesn’t end then you’ve missed some one!
*Due to the terrain modulation and the complex design of the map, you will find troop movement a little tricky in The Heligoland Bight. When moving or assaulting with groups of units over a long distance, its best to use ‘attack here’ as opposed to ‘move here’ commands and just a suggestion, - save your progress..
* Initial bonus levels for all troops whether friend or foe will appear as +10%, (two green dots above the units life meter). This bonus is false. Real levels are hidden and will not appear until an enemy good thing has been destroyed. Enemy bonus levels will start and stay quite high unless you destroy the refinery first.
* As the Oil Refinery is the last of its kind and as it supplies the Armor Plate Facility with fuel, I have done my best to make it your first objective. As stated above, capturing and destroying the refinery will crush the enemy morale reducing their troop combat bonus level from +25% to -10%! You will also gain access to engineers with oil on an attacking siege map. Of coarse, feel free to try anything you like. Many different strategies can bring about victory!
* Refinery Tank #2 is the derelict/dilapidated one. To reactivate the tank simply man it with engineers. Upon activation, secret ancient technology will reveal a hidden supply of pitch.
* You will find The Heligoland Bight has no traditional Keep, The Frigate Percival is the Keep and is where you will find the Lord. Although he can be ordered to attack the enemy, you will lose the game if he is killed. (Except when playing on the hard level of difficulty.)
* Ship cannons/catapults and most ballista have been ranged, (obviously,) so that you cannot simply smash your way thru the King’s first line of defense. Indirect fire will have some success. Frigate’s cannons/catapults cannot be taken off ship. Be prepared for a tough landing operation.
* Once you have established a foothold. Things will get a lot easier. Think of WWII Stalingrad submerged. This is my fourth map designed to simulate Stronghold urban combat. At many times the fighting will literally be building to building, street to street. Be prepared to fight using all styles of combat : fast assault (Blitzkrieg), melee, direct fire, indirect fire, (fire at will), and early on, be prepared to defend.
* Undeniably the lynchpin to the King’s defense are the ruins of the ‘Grand Hotel.’ Trust me, you will not be able to miss them. You will find it nearly impossible to take this defensive strong point by simple, brute force. Yet, you will find it relatively easy to capture the surrounding ruins, thus being able to bring massive amounts of indirect fire upon the, ‘thorn in your side.’ Soften up this target for your first large assault. Once the ‘Grand Hotel’ has fallen, the rest of the map will soon follow.
* Troops can be salvaged from the Indefatigable. If you make your first moves dealing with her crew. You can get the mace men to the relative safety of the bow and various degrees of cooked pike men off ship. Your penalty is that you relinquish your initial moves and all troops spared on the ship’s bow have a 7 year wait time to access.
* Wood can be salvaged from destroyed landing craft to repair other landing craft gates. All ships have had their underlying terrain modified to allow permanent access to your objectives. However, due to their compact and complex design, badly damaged landing craft may require the deletion of some of their remaining wood tiles to restore access thru the vessel. You may also decide to use this technique to clear land to build siege equipment
* Some siege equipment can be constructed. You will be forced to damage your Frigates if you want to build them early on.
* Shields are invaluable in this mission. Use them to protect your troops from enemy fire as you move them from building to building.
* Tutorials on how to create 7-year fire and the unique buildings around The Heligoland Bight can be found at the following links :
The Heligoland Bight is Chapter 11 in the Saga of The Seventh, it may be nearly impossible for players new to Stronghold. Try an earlier chapter!
All players should be prepared for a protracted offensive siege, ( Remember Submerged Stalingrad! )
The Story thus far…
Ambush at Manathma
The Cumberland Downs
The Battle at Andolin
The Vierville Draws
The Heligoland Bight
Decision at I-95 - coming soon!
The Wastelands - coming not so soon!
...Also related ‘The Interlude’ Battle of the Solomon Sea.
Coming Next - The Interlude II!