Centre stage ABDA is still thrusting forward trying to break the Japanese centre (see below). The crippled IJNS Nachi is in the foreground, where that cluster of IJN destroyers badly hindered her torpedo evasion chances. In the distance HMS Exeter lies is in a poor state, next to the sinking Dutch destroyer Kortenaer (below, top middle).
The USS Houston now steps in and plays her part flying the Stars and Stripes, her 8 inch guns roar silencing the IJNS Nachi's guns, leaving her with but half a hull box, floating but only just (see below from ABDA perspective, across the decks of the USS Houston in the foreground).
Again viewed from the ABDA perspective, there is one IJN hard nut still left to crack, the IJNS Hagero (see below top right) firing hard and fast, sighting her guns on the valiant little HMAS Perth intent on its destruction.
HMAS Perth faces the music, the IJN player cannot miss (that is unless the IJN player rolls a 9), flames lick out from her broadside, the Australians tense for impact but somehow the express train continues overhead landing well behind HMAS Perth. Long, well long (incredibly a 9 was rolled).
"Guns, Guns, God damn it Guns we're still in this! We need your best, now Guns, now!" The turret indicator lights are lit up one by one, resisting the urge to fire a half salvo quickly, the chief gunnery officer waits for X turret's light, then simultaneously presses the red FIRE button and shouts, "Shoot!" Answering her captain's call and gunnery officer's expertise HMAS Perth straddled the IJNS Hagero. Incredibly bright flames lept up along her Hagero's length followed by clouds of dense, black smoke. She was clearly now a doomed ship, her bulkheads gave way (it's nice to score a critical when you need it) and she slowly turned turtle to crazed Australian cheers.
As seen from above, after that excellent run of torpedo and gunfire, HMAS Perth breaks the Japanese centre.
The IJN player now is faced with a difficult stern chase in fading light. The First Japanese Destroyer Flotilla is in a confused and badly damaged state (middle left above), but "buzzing" as an angry bunch of hornets. The more intact Second Japanese Destroyer Flotilla is in a curious "V" formation to the starboard quarter of the ABDA cruiser line (middle right above). Three destroyers facing down the table, three destroyers facing up the table. The Japanese light cruisers are woefully out of position (far left, middle and far right, middle). The invasion convoy looks to be in deadly peril. Finally there is the US destroyer flotilla in pursuit (see bottom right above) not giving up on the bone.
There are six turns before darkness falls.
Therefore the ABDA line has one last IGN destroyer attack and some long range gunnery dueling to fend off. The IJN must somehow claw at the ABDA cruiser line while it is still in range (and visibility) hoping to slow them down with hull hits or steam-line critical. Worryingly for ABDA their ammunition stocks are all very low (half to over two thirds used). Sadly we had to adjourn for the night, again profuse apologies. Measurements have been taken and so we can resume as we left off above. Perhaps this leads on to "a hunt a Japanese invasion convoy at night scenario! (or do I speak too soon and as the IJN may still have a say in the matter?).