Friday, 19 January 2018

Russo-Jap War Naval: Port Arthur Break Out (Part 6) Freedom or Death?

Yet another similar looking Russian photo of the "enraged" cruiser action (the lighter ships do seem to get hurt when they get hit). A this point the Japanese cruisers seem to have the upper hand. The Russian battleships seem to have a fairly straightforward run off table (see below):

A vicious round of gunfire sees a damaged Japanese battleship (red hit) top left, in the middle of the battle line, but in return a pounding of the Russian flagship causing a critical hit, a steering jam pointing her to the side of the table (away from the target bottom edge) and a morale failure which hurts even further the thought/chance of getting off table [insert Japanese smile "emoji"]. Meanwhile another "silenced" Russian protected cruiser but a huge crippling explosion on the lead Japanese protected cruiser ("silenced and dead in the water"). Additionally the Mikasa is majestically leading the two damaged armoured cruisers is leading the ad-hoc formation (the armoured cruisers are actually using their own command dice) back into the fray (see below):

Not caught on camera was the escape of the battered Russian protected cruisers to Vladivostok via courtesy of the of the world/table edge "fog bank". The Russian battleships were in chaos as despite fixing the steering the Russian flagship could not fix its morale as quickly. So as they headed for the wrong edge of the table the remaining (one had sunk) Japanese protected cruisers sallied forth in a "do or die" torpedo attack on the meandering Russian First Battleship Division. They took severe damage from the Russian battleships but also managed to silence the last remaining Russian cruiser [the Rurik I think] in the run in (see below):

A lot of action was missed but this photograph helps in a way fill in the missing gaps. In the top of the picture (middle) the old (obsolete) Japanese battleships are departing along with the Japanese protected cruisers. For all their valor they (the protected cruisers) scored no hits with their torpedoes. They did however delay the Russian battleships to allow the Japanese (modern) battleships and armoured cruisers to close to effective range. The Second Russian Battleship Division is seen middle right. It has to be said the Japanese obsolete battleships still managed to deliver telling blows on each Russian battleship, as all the Russians carry a red permanent damage marker. Honour, praise and respect for their courageous commander (aka we all thought he would get sunk). Down at the bottom of the picture the First Russian Battleship Division is making its bid for freedom. However the Japanese Battleship Squadron is "peppering" their tail vigorously. The Japanese armoured cruisers are once again in the fray in a supporting fire role [the lead two ships on the left], but trying not to block "line of sight" from the bigger more deadly battleship calibre guns (see below): 

The Russians are in the home stretch, they can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then "kazam!" there is a huge explosion from the last in line Russian battleship [First Division], as she goes from "damaged", to "silenced", to then "crippled" (aka dead in the water). To remove the crippled status it would take too many "Command Points" so the Russian Admiral pragmatically knows she is doomed. Lightning then strikes twicw. "Kaboom!" In the background the Second Russian Battleship Division's rear ship also suffers a critical hit leaving her chugging along at half speed. Not what you wanted when you were two "full speed" turns from exiting! (see below):

Another "almost duplicate" Russian photograph. The only thing to add was that the unfortunate half-speed Russian battleship also became silenced (see below, well actually she is the one Russian ship you cannot see is off table top left silenced):

End Game: 

The game as it ended (there was a family keen to sit down and eat their supper) as night fell. Where have all the Russians gone? All off to Vladivostok I suspect apart from one crippled stationary battleship and one critically damaged half speed battleship (their names sadly escaped me) that the Japanese have eyes on sinking. A third lingers top right but will depart into the "end of the world" fog bank with her next move and there is nothing the Japanese can do about it (see below):

The verdict?

Well most of the Russian Fleet is off table heading to a friendly port (albeit some perhaps looking a bit like a battered colander). However they are shell torn (certainly the cruisers) and battle worn (battleship wise) but are free from imprisonment. The Japanese Admiral was keen to claim the two Russian "limpers" as sunk or captured. That would mean an even 4:4 ratio in battleships, but Tojo also has a squadron of armoured cruisers. Yes he did lose a couple of protected cruisers (and a few more damaged) but it was the battleships he was after. A tactical win! Now strategically the Russian can feel more happy. As he knows the Second Pacific Squadron (along with the Third Pacific Battle Squadron) is en route (if they can get past the Hull fishing fleet that is). So when they turn up instead on a breakthrough to Vladivostok Operation Mark II, Togo is facing a potential "pincer movement" and a fight for his life well outnumbered in modern battleships (the Russin "Borodino" class to be exact).

Tactical: Japanese

Strategic: Russian Advantage

The rules: Simple and brilliant, highly recommended, all I have to do is now go away and read them! As it was a "spontaneous game" we had just thrown a mat down without consideration about the "table edge end of the world" syndrome. Not a great matter here but something to consider for more meaningful campaign games .. where results from one game get pushed into another. The sum of little things counting!


Pete. said...

Great round up of the game. We've found in our games that cruisers son't last long either when someone else gets their sights on them.



Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers Pete
There is great potential here
It was also a lot of fun

Looking forward to taking a look at the Spanish American War too