Welcome to the first proper battle report for our Battlefleet 1900 games. Using the WTJ rules and ships, we are fighting out real and counterfactual naval engagements from the Russo-Japanese War. This scenario imagines an ambush between the Russian Pacific Squadron, en route from St Petersburg to the Pacific, by a force of Japanese ships. This was a scenario widely feared by the Russians at the time, making them so jumpy they blew a British fishing smack to smithereens in the oft-forgotten Dogger Bank Incident, nearly starting a major Anglo-Russian war in the process.
1st Heavy Squadron
- Battleship Sevastopol
- Battleship Suvorov (flagship)
- Battleship Poltava
2nd Heavy Squadron
- Battleship Retvizan
- Armoured Cruiser Aurora
- Armoured Cruiser Izumrud
1st Destroyer Squadron
- Destroyer Bodvy
- Destroyer Buiny
- Destroyer Byedovy
2nd Destroyer Squadron
- Destroyer Bravy
- Destroyer Buistry
- Armoured Cruiser Yakumo
- Armoured Cruiser Idzumo
- Armoured Cruiser Azuma
- Battleship Fiji (flagship)
- Battleship Hatsuse
- Destroyer Fubuki
- Destroyer Akatsuke
- Destroyer Harusame
- Destroyer Ariake
- Destroyer Orobo
Seaway: Choppy (Destroyers are at reduced speed, reduced range and reduced rate of fire because of the poor seas. Cruisers have slightly lower speed and rates of fire.)
Time of Day: Daylight
All photos taken from the Russian side, so the ships at the top are always the Japanese (not bias - sprained my ankle on a run, so I couldn't hobble round to take balanced photos!)
Both the Russians (right) and Japanese (left) opted to put their capital ships and cruisers in central squadrons, with destroyers on the flank. The Russians have one extra cruiser, but the Japanese have experienced crew.
Second Turn. Closing in ... this time the gunnery was short on both sides and no hits were scored by either side, although both of us came within 2cm of hitting!
Third Turn. Again, despite now being well within range both sides fell short with every shot.
Fourth Turn. This is where it really happened. All of a sudden both fleets found themselves at basically point-blank range. Ollie focussed his gunfire on the flanking destroyers. The Bodvy took some serious 6" hits from the Japanese battleship squadron and began to flood rapidly. The crew that weren't killed at their posts (I had neglected to order them below!) rushed to stem the devastating flooding.
|One turn's shooting orders - things were getting busy.|
Overall I think I came off better from that duel, but I still had those experienced Jap gunners aiming down their sights at me ...
The Russians' Sevastopol took a battering, with many of the deck crew falling to shrapnel and a lot of superficial damage that would reduce my firepower for at least the duration of this duel.
Two unlucky destroyers also had a hard turn. The Bodvy on my side fell foul of a full 6" broadside from the Hatsuse, every shot telling. A series of internal explosions followed as the magazines and torpedoes began to explode, tearing a huge hole in the starboard side. In under two minutes, it had capsized - the first casualty of the game!
The Akatsuke on the Japanese side was also unlucky to get the attention of a capital ship. With some shots missing, and the flooding more balanced than on the Bodvy, it merely ground to a burning halt as fires took hold. It sat so low by the bow that the propellers were out the water, leaving it dead in the water as fires began to rage dangerously near the magazine. Oh dear!
Locked in the middle of a point blank duel - who will come out on top? The Russians have managed to keep their capital ships basically intact and extend their numerical superiority by crippling the Fuji. But the Japanese have sunk one destroyer already and their expert crews are finding the range now... tune in next week to find out who wins!
Thanks for reading,