Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Battle of the Java Sea: Last Dice and Darkness

"Japanese light cruiser closing, sir! Guns says she's at extreme range now, but we've got the shot lined up when you want to take it sir." The captain paused only briefly to take stock of the situation before replying, "Tell Guns to wait. We've not got anything left to waste. When we shoot we have to hit, no point making the bugger look more important than she is!" "Aye, aye Captain."

Minutes passed with the Japanese light cruiser edging closer. The posturing seemed seemed to last an eternity.

"Guns reports, Japanese cruiser opening fire sir. Guns says she's well within our effective range now sir, permission requested to open fire sir?" A barely audible sigh, then the captain of the HMAS Perth replied, "Permission granted," then adding to those within earshot "She's a persistent little Sheila that one, doesn't get the hint, but she needs to know we're not interested in her. Earlier in the dance I'd have given her my full attention, but right now I'm just after her pretty little sisters over he horizon." There was a grim chuckle from around the bridge and a few wry smiles but no real laughter.

The encounter was brief, a resounding crash amidships and damage control reported "X" turret was out of commission (another half armament box damage, leaving the Perth at exactly half strength), however no hull or engine damage meant that HMAS Perth could charge on. Collectively the bridge knew the last real moment of crisis was over and the tension slackened. 'Guns' then again earned his months pay. The first full salvo from HMAS Perth straddled the IJNS Naka and wrought considerable damage to her hull. From that point on she was in no position to give serious chase to the much faster HMAS Perth. With one last fling of the dice the IJNA Naka rolled a last straddle on the HMAS Perth, but it resolved to no actual damage inflicted, in return HMAS Perth was content to  "Check Fire" simply to conserve her precious ammunition for better things. As HMAS Perth moved out of her range, and with darkness fast falling the best the IJNS Naka (bottom right below) could do was interpose herself between the last American WWI destroyer (top left below) also trying  to reach the 'over the horizon convoy' (see below).

The last act of the Battle of the Java Sea were the two dull explosions only faintly heard on the bridge of HMAS Perth. One "coup de grace" for HMS Exeter (despite 'damage control' having regained 2cm of "creep speed") being despatched with a close range Long Lance torpedo and the other for the Dutch Java, at likewise short range but from a combination of gun and torpedo. Guessing the cause of these ominous explosions the Perth's captain visibly shook with rage. "That makes us the Wolf now gentleman, rest assured we have a long and bloody night ahead of us gentlemen" being his final comment to his officers.

So finally end'eth The Battle of the Java Sea:


ABDA [Minor] Strategic Victory as there is the (Opportunity) for ABDA via HMAS Perth to attack the convoy ABDA has exceed her historical counterparts and has the opportunity to attack the invasion convoy. This will dislocated the Japanese invasion schedule by weeks rather than days, plus there is a lot of very badly damaged Japanese ships that will be heading back to The Sea of Japan for repairs, making them unavailable for use elsewhere.

IJN: Although a "Major Tactical" victory by essentially sinking ABDA (even HMAS Perth is unlikely to survive through the next morning), it is a very short-lived success considering the major mission objectives were to protect the convoy from harm.

This may well lend itself to a solo naval game, I'll have to put my thinking hat on. The Japanese invasion of Java will likely be delayed by a week as the Japanese forces regroup and take stock of the situation.

Thank you for you patience in reading about it all, I hope you found it as enjoyable as I did in the tale telling



Paul said...

Nice ending to the saga. Rather well played out I think.

Well done and thanks for sharing.

paulalba said...

really interesting Geordie.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks for the feedback folks

On reflection I've amended the "result" to:

A Major "tactical" IJN (after all they essentially sunk ABDA)

but still:

A Minor but rather more importantly "strategic" result for ABDA as they did far better off than history and would have severely delayed the Japanese advance. A lot of Japanese warships would be struggling to get home to The Sea of Japan or Kure Atoll for repair facilities!

It was a pleasure to post it folks and nice to see this one through until the end :)

El Grego said...

What an epic! Thanks for taking the time to post all of this for us.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

No problems El Grego, I'm just glad you enjoyed it

I'm just thinking of my next project, maybe a Convoy run to Malta ;)

mork6969 said...

I enjoyed it! Well done and thank you!