Hi guys, played my largest game of W@S to date on Saturday (and err... Sunday morning XD) - 1,100pts a side, IJN vs a combined fleet of RN and USN ships, with myself playing the Japanese, and my brother playing the allies. Here they are lined up, grouped into the Task Forces (TFs) which they were deployed in :
Going by points alone, the allies had a slight edge in heavy units at 376pts to the Japanese 347pts. Airpower was pretty even : around 400pts of carriers and aircraft for each fleet. The Japanese held a slight edge in terms of both cruisers and destroyers.
As with my previous large battle, I used an escalating engagement type setup, whereby players start with a small force, rolling for reinforcements each turn which enter from randomised points along the board edge, the rules for which are in this link for those interested :
I made a few alterations to these. Players would get one of their subs once their opponent's 2nd, 3rd & 4th task forces entered play, I also allowed subs to move on the turn they deployed. There were 6 TFs per fleet rather than 5. Players got access to their land-based air once the first island was captured. Instead of islands giving one VP each, it worked as follows :
1 island : 1D6 VPs
2 islands: 1D6 VPs. May re-roll.
3 islands: 2D6
4 islands: 2D6 VPs. May re-roll one.
5 islands: 3D6 VPs.
I lost the initiative, but got some good reinforcement rolls, bringing on both the Yamato and Yamashiro TFs along the Southern board edge. Yahagi and Chitose moved back towards the cover of Yamashiro's TF, while I pushed my Terutsukis forward into the lee of the large central island. Meanwhile, the allies suffered some miserable reinforcement rolls, failing to bring on any task forces at all!
The air phases saw Junyo's dive bomber attack on the US destroyers aborted, along with the Swordfish sqn's suicidal attack on Yamato (much to the pilots' relief no doubt!). Chitose's scoutplanes ended the phase by damaging Truculent, whose torpedo salvo slipped past Yamato's bow-wave as a consequence :
I won the initiative this turn, watching the allies succeed in bringing the powerful Iowa TF in from the Northern board edge opposite Yamato, in addition to Hood's TF from the Northeast, facing off against Yamashiro's TF. As had happened to the allies in the first turn, I failed all of my reinforcement rolls so had to content myself with placing I-26 to threaten Hood's TF.
I headed Yamato towards the central island, despatching two cruisers to secure the nearby island, whilst Yamashiro's TF made best speed towards the distant Royal Navy ships - with only 2 light carriers facing the allies 3 fleet carriers, I knew would have to close to action as soon as possible. Intent on denying the initiative bonus to the allies, I ordered the Terutsuki's to round the island - pressing in for a close range torpedo run on Jamaica and her escorts, supported with a dive bomber attack from Junyo.
The airphases saw Saratoga's airwing launch an attack on Shoho, the Avengers slipping through the heavy fighter cover and forcing Shoho's captain into a tight evasive manouevre to narrowly escape their torpedoes. The British aircraft concentrated on the submarine threatening their ships, succeeding in damaging it, Chitose's floatplanes proving to be inadequate cover. Junyo's Vals were forced to turn back when they were intercepted by a Martlett squadron, and a Barracuda squadron sank Matsu, which had been defending Chitose.
In the surface attack phase, the Terutsukis came under a storm of fire from Jamaica and her escorts, eventually sinking both, but not before they had launched their torpedoes, one ripping into the side of Jamaica, the explosion from the large warhead sinking her almost instantly :
Continuing this run of luck with torpedoes, I-26 succeeded in damaging Illustrious, although the severity of the attack was limited by the ship's torpedo bulge :
I had gotten off fairly lightly in the airphases this turn, but couldn't rely on that happening for long! Still, I now had an island captured : IJN 4, Allies 0!
Although I had a +3 advantage, I lost the initiative this turn, but was immediately cheered as Musashi's TF appeared next to Iowa's TF, and Nagato's TF next to Hood and the British carriers! The allies only gained one reinforcing TF this turn, Prince of Wales, Ark Royal and escorts appearing to the South of Hood.
Iowa closed to extremely short-range with Musashi, buying time for Saratoga and most of the rest of the TF to move into position to capture the nearby island. Similarly Hood closed on Nagato and Fuso while Illustrious and Victorious retreated towards Prince of Wales. With these two flashpoints, the game had suddenly accelerated from the slow-burn of manouevre and attritional airstrikes into an inferno of battleship gunnery.
In the Northeast corner of the combat area, the heavily outgunned Hood was strongly supported by airstrikes - however astonishingly effective air defence saw 3 squadrons obliterated. With the skies covered in trails of smoke from the burning planes, the confusing melee of closely manouvering warships saw Nagato crippled and the Japanese losing a destroyer, while Hood emerged from the concentrated firepower from the two Japanese battleships with little damage, though none of her escorts survived the maelstrom :
Further South, the allies lost still another aircraft squadron, with the only damage inflicted by the cannon aboard the Mitchell squadron, sighting Junyo even in the squall. Yamashiro's gunners failed to find Prince of Wales' range, but a brave torpedo attack from Yukikaze and Murasame was more successful, causing extensive flooding to the battleship's port-forward quarter. Still worse, Prince of Wales suffered a jammed mount to her main guns, limiting Japanese losses to Yukikaze and Murasame :
To the West, the confrontation of titans : Iowa and Musashi traded blows, each suffering damage, but neither finding an opening to land the knock-out blow. Greatly outnumbered by the American TF though, Musashi's escorts were both sunk, leaving Soryu dangerously exposed - her airstikes on Saratoga having failed to do any damage :
In other areas of the battlefield, my land-based bomber force attacked Ark Royal (which was attempting to sneak South, past Yamashiro's TF to safety), the escorting squadron of Georges hammering the defending Martlett squadron as they attempted to gain altitude. Unfortunately the formation of lumbering Bettys following close behind were easily driven off, losing one flight to AA fire.
With one island each, the scores were now IJN 6, Allies 1 :
I won the initiative this turn. The allies received no further reinforcements, and with their carrier advantage blunted by lack of aircraft (5 squadrons lost in turn 3!) things were not looking promising. Hood moved to capture the Northeast island, with Prince of Wales making best speed to join her. Illustrious and Victorious continued South, covered by two destroyers. Iowa opened the range with Musashi, while Saratoga moved away North.
Neither of my remaining Task Forces arrived this turn, depriving me of their four fleet carriers - it looked like the big guns would have to get the job done! I moved Fuso and Haguro in to finish off Hood, Yamashiro on a course to intercept Prince of Wales even without the support of Ise who could not maintain such high speeds. Yamato continued North, in position to capture the large central island.
In the air phases, Junyo's dive bombers took out Javelin before she could make smoke in order to protect the carriers she was escorting. The FAA's disasterous day continued, losing their last Barracuda squadron to AA fire. Elsewhere, Soryu lost both of its attack squadrons to accurate fire from Saratoga and the accompanying San Diego. Attacks on Yamato resulted in no damage, even though an Avenger squadron again managed to slip past heavy fighter cover :
The surface attack phase was a disaster for the Royal Navy, with Hood being sunk by Haguro's torpedoes, Prince of Wales succumbing to the combined fire of three Japanese battleships, and Ise and Aoba pummelling Illustrious and her remaining escort. Ironically, Victorious was now the only RN surface ship left in the Northeast battle area :
Things looked to be going better for the USN, with Musashi and Iowa again trading volleys, resulting in minor damage to each. However, the skipper of the newly arrived I-19 now had Iowa in his sights, and fired a full spread of torpedoes straight into the path of the giant battleship - a series of explosions rocking the behemoth all along her starboard flank - triple 6! :
I now had control of 4 islands (the large central island counting as two) to the USN's 1. IJN 15, USN 3.
Losing the initiative and failing to bring my carrier divisions on again, I moved Yamato Northwest towards the Americans, while Ise and Yamashiro hunted down the last two Royal Navy carriers. Soryu kept skirting South along the Western table edge, hoping no new allied TFs would make an appearance there! The allies were able to move a battleship TF on from the centre of the Southern table edge, but were still missing the powerful USN carrier TF, along with Rodney's TF. The US units fled West away from the approaching Yamato.
I directed my returning land-based bombers to attack the newly emerged TF, but warned by Uganda's radar, the attack was beaten off with the loss of another squadron. With this threat neutralised, the gunners of the battleships targeted the two distant Japanese light carriers, Royal Oak's fire demolishing the flimsy Shoho while Warspite took Junyo out with similar ease :
Further North, Musashi shrugged off the minor damage caused by a desperate USN Destroyer squadron, targetting Saratoga which escaped with only minor damage. The rest of the TF was not so lucky, with Musashi finishing off Iowa, although not before her turret crews fired one more salvo off themselves, on target despite the horrendous casualties and crippling damage inflicted to their ship. Baltimore too, went down still firing, destroying a Japanese cruiser and destroyer before herself being overwhelmed :
Further East, Ark Royal and Victorious both survived fire from the battleships closing on them. VPs : IJN 18, Allies : 4.
I won the initiative this turn, watching as the allies brought the US Carrier TF onto the table in the Southwest corner. The RN battleship TF continued North towards the central island. Thankfully I was able to bring on both of my remaining divisions. The allies may have just brought 2 fresh airwings to the battle, but the Japanese now had 4 fresh airwings.
These overwhelming numbers showed in the air phases, with Royal Oak and Saratoga crippled, and Enterprise hit by a long range torpedo. A full strength retaliatory attack on Kaga and Akagi was turned away before any of the US planes could start their attack runs, while the attack on Yamato suffered the loss of an Avenger squadron :
The surface attack phase saw Saratoga finished off along with Laffey, leaving just just the San Diego surviving from the US TF :
In the surface attack phase, Warspite weathered Yamato's fire with some damage, but showed the vulnerability of the older Royal Navy battleships when Nachi's torpedoes crippled her. She managed to damage Yamato in return, but the superbattleship was still fully operational, something which could not be said of Warspite or Royal Oak:
The Allies now controlled 2 islands to the Japanese 3, but continued to roll abysmally for victory points (3 '1's and a '2'!). IJN 26, Allies 5.
I lost the initiative this turn. As I had all of my TFs on the board in turn 6, Rodney's TF came on automatically, emerging close to Musashi and Kongo. The battered RN battleship TF gamely continued to plough towards the central island.
A followup air attack on Kaga and Akagi resulted in minor damage to Akagi, but at the loss of an aircraft squadron. Elsewhere, HMS Glorious took damage from dive bombers, but Repulse was able to Evade the torpedoes fired at her.
HMS Rodney got the better of Musashi in their close-range brawl, although the Japanese ship continued to absorb the punishment with seemingly little effect :
The action around the central island was far more decisive, with the 7 ships of the Royal Navy TF all being sunk for the loss of Nachi. Ark Royal was finally sunk, although plucky Victorious had survived. Victory points : IJN 33, Allies 11 (my brother finally rolled something other than a 1 or 2!). With the Japanese forces dominating and being so far ahead in VPs, we decided to call it :
The lucky shirt does it again!
I was hoping that the USN would give a little spine to the RN's performance vs the IJN, but the dice were certainly on my side in this battle. Probably was a little unfair giving the Japanese both Yamatos while the allies only got one Iowa. Here's a view of the surviving ships. Presuming Rodney had overcome the almost crippled Musashi, she would have been hard-pressed against the remaining 5 Japanese battleships, even though they were all damaged to some extent, especially in the face of the Japanese aerial advantage :
With respect to everyone else who has ever done an AandA Naval report.
In terms of visuals, this is the best report I've read in a long time.
Wow! Looks like you did a lot of work to make it look visually appealing and convenient to play. I bow to you.
Great report from a HUGE engagement.
How long did it take you to conclude the game?
I played a 200 point IJN vs USN (where the Japanese also won despite US dominance of the skies) game on the weekend and we took around 2 hours to conclude the battle (with a brief stop for lunch).
The photos accompanying the text really do make this a great read - thanks for posting!
Thanks guys. I would guess the game took around 6-7 hours, so quite a while! Even though all units weren't in play at once, looking for the right stats for our units slowed thing down a bit, although having the armour values in the bases, and typing the unit stats out on reference sheets really helped.
Bit of a shame it wasn't a closer game - next time I try it I'm going to have an all-USN fleet facing the Japanese, which should hold up a lot better (esp with 2 Iowas!). Time to get the paintbrush out again!
can you tell the order of the fleet
like the ship in the battles