The Kaiserin-class Light Cruiser is one of the modern European Union ships designed to update their ageing Navy. Design and production fell to the same shipbuilders responsible for the Bremen-class; the two ships are similar in quality but different in intent.
Capital ships are useful and often fundamental tactical assets in modern stellar warfare. But even advanced, modern ships are held back by an old fashioned opponent – supply lines. The larger a capital ship is, the more logistical support it needs to operate. Within the human Core Systems this is an easy feat – the structures and support is already in place. The Rimward Territories contains none of this; most colonies are still developing and supplies are at a premium. Larger capital ships have no choice but to resupply at the Rim’s few industrialised and obvious ports. This creates a ‘trail’ in their wake (eliminating any sense of subtlety or surprise) and limits their range. Smaller capital ships have smaller requirements for supply – they are able to do so away from the main spaceports and the prying eyes often present. The Kaiserin was designed to strike a balance between low profile and high potency.
The thin profile of the ship is intentional. In battle the ship can turn to face enemies and present a smaller target whilst being able to target a significant proportion of its weaponry. Furthermore, this thinness presents an odd sensor profile – older systems often misake the ship for something half the size if not looking closely. The latter quality is especially useful if the ship is operating alone in non-friendly territory.
The Kaiserin is designed to operate in two main roles. Firstly, as a flag and command ship for groups of corvettes and destroyers in traditional stellar combat. The vessel is equipped with the communication equipment to coordinate a significant force and is fast enough to keep up with a cruising corvette. Its second function is that of a ‘lone wolf’; embarking on long-range patrols and engaging unfriendly contacts. These missions were traditionally assigned to smaller vessels but the introduction of the Wun’Tux changed everything. A patrol boat or corvette would be no match for a Wun’Tux Clanship; the Union needed something that could meet one and survive.
The Cassard-class is of similar size and displacement. In theory, the older ship is more powerful – her large guns and missile systems can cause huge amounts of damage. However, as demonstrated at the end of the Pan-Eurasian War, the Cassard was outmoded and easily beaten by modern starfighters. Several Cassards were also present at Tordov V. Theoretically they were very suitable participants at this battle – Wun’Tux ships attacked head on and lacked manoeuvrability to evade fire. The groups of Cassards started well, deploying barrages of missiles and heavy fire at the ongoing forces. Once the missiles ran out, however, the Wun’Tux committed more and more of their forces. The guns alone were not accurate or powerful enough to half the Wun’Tux advance and the Cassard’s armour buckled under return fire; only 15% defending Tordov V escaped. The Kaiserin’s designers aimed to address these shortcomings. The armoured exterior and modular substructure have the ship greater resilience under fire. The Kaiserin’s weaponry is not ammunition dependent; unlike the Cassard’s missile launchers. Plasma weaponry and autocannons make for a potent medium to short range combatant.
The first five, including EUS Kaiserin, were pressed into service towards the end of the disastrous Oroso conflict. They served alongside the strike fighters of Grendel Squadron to drive back an Oroso counter-offensive and put an end to the conflict; they were vastly superior to the few Cassards left serving on the front line and these old ships were soon sent to serve ignominiously with the Border Fleet.
Ships of this class are predominantly assigned long range patrols along the Wun’Tux border. They are well equipped to engage lone Clanships; they can use their difficult to hit profile and turreted weapons to good effect. They are under orders to avoid larger forces, though, and exercise operational caution. A number have incidentally been involved with the USEF – either coming to the aid of an American warship or vice versa. This arrangement is a welcome example of thawing frostiness between human factions but remains strictly informal.
Role: Long range patrol, flotilla command
2 x Plasma Cannon Turrets (port and starboard)
1 x dual autocannon turret (keel mounted)
2 x heavy autocannons (deck mounted)
4 x ‘Starsnipe’ flak cannons
Special Features: Thin Profile. Modular Construction.