The 15th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses exclusively on the Empire’s decisive response to the Alliance’s invasion. While the Alliance fleets prepared for some sort of counterattack, they were still caught on the backfoot with tragic results.
The episode begins with Admiral Ulanfu’s fleet being the first Alliance fleet under attack. He rushes a message to Yang in the hope that he will arrive, but simultaneously the 13th fleet is also under attack. Yang orders the deployment of Spartanians, the Alliance’s take on space combat fighters.
Two fighter pilots, Ivan Konev and Oliver Poplan, prepare for battle. The former gets out first, while the latter is delayed by the preparation to his fighter. The overstressed mechanic eventually finishes the job, but horribly configured firing sights send him back for repairs quickly. On the way back, some fighters get in the way of a ship’s main cannon and are killed in friendly fire.
Poplan is furious at his superior Toda, to the point of punching him for firing on his own men. Konev interrupts him, telling him settle their fight after the battle. He then tells Poplan that two other pilots are dead, and therefore they should think more about surviving than anything.
Meanwhile, Ulanfu’s fleet is taking heavy damage in it’s fight against Bittenfeld’s fleet. Admiral Bucock has his fleet withdraw to Iserlohn while expressing frustration at the lack of preparation for this situation. He also knows there is likely to be no help from the other fleets. Reuenthal sees the withdrawal, which he believes is the correct decision. Then, Kircheis asks for the surrender of the first Alliance fleet he faces, and gets it quickly.
Yang, meanwhile, switches flanks repeatedly in his battle with Kempf. The purpose of Yang’s strategy is to make the enemy see the pointlessness of a battle of attrition and ultimately allow his fleet to withdrawal. Yang’s reputation allows this a withdrawal as the Imperial fleet believes it could lead to a trap.
Ulanfu’s fleet continues to struggle with only the options of surrender and retreat left. He orders his fleet to take a spindle formation and plow through Bittenfeld’s fleet. In the process, however, Ulanfu’s ship is destroyed in the crossfire with only half of the fleet making it through.
Mittermeyer shows his fleet’s superiority by catching up to Al Salem’s fleet too quickly. They back off and attack the prone Allied fleet, whose flagship is caught in the attack, with Al Salem hit by a heavy cable, critically injuring him.
Yang then encounter’s Kircheis’ fleet which is four times the size. Kircheis asks for Yang’s surrender, and Yang wonders aloud whether they should accept.
Two more Allied admirals are defeated with Wahlen forcing a ship into its flagship which then collided into an asteroid. Admiral Borodin, with his fleet down to a mere 9 ships decides to take his own life rather than see out the battle.
Kircheis, meanwhile, separates his fleet into four parts in an effort to wear down Yang’s fleet. Yang calls Rear Admiral Fischer over and tells him of his plan to shift into a U shape and counterattack Kircheis’ fleet before withdrawal.
Before he can do that, Admiral Lobos orders the remaining fleets to regroup in the Amlitzer system, after being advised that returning to Iserlohn would be the best option. Lobos still does not see the battle as a complete loss.
Paul von Oberstein tells Reinhard of the Alliance’s strategy. Reinhard laughs at the fact it took the Alliance so long to figure out their strategy was stupid from the onset. He directs all of his forces to Amlitzer as well.
The Alliance forces gather in orbit around the star at the center of the Amlitzer system. Yang talks to Bucock and says they still cannot be considered safe at this point. Fredrica Greenhill then tries to force him to eat something, but he only asks for some brandy.
The next stage of the battle begins with Yang launching fusion bombs into the star. This results in a surge up in the direction of Mittermeyer’s fleet, who are unable to react quickly enough. Mittermeyer’s flagship sustains damage, and his fleet retreats. Bittenfeld’s fleet is quick to appear leading Yang to state that his fleet was in trouble. He does manage to dodge the attack successfully.
Admiral Appleton’s fleet is defeated by Bittenfeld’s fleet. He then orders Valkyries to be released as they turn around and have a second attempt at attacking Yang’s fleet. Yang anticipates this maneuver and wipes out a large portion of Bittenfeld’s fleet.
Reinhard, is furious at Bittenfeld for his error. Oberstein suggests he was trying to finish the battle on his own. Bittenfeld asks for reinforcements, but Reinhard turns him down and cuts off communication, while telling him to defend his post to the death.
Kircheis finally arrives and destroys the minefield that was the last thing serving to make the battle competitive. With the Alliance now vastly outnumbered, the battle has decisively ended in victory for the Empire.
Thoughts: The flow of the series to this point probably means another battle for control of Iserlohn…Both the Alliance and Imperial fighter craft seem relatively awkward and large for their purpose. Maybe that’s just me…Turnover for Alliance admirals seems to increase with every battle.