Topic-icon Java Sea Night Clash

Pugliese created the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 2 months ago

This particular game would be a 300 point game featuring ABDACOM vs an IJN force constructed using the Eastern/Center Invasion force list. The game took place at night, and was a convoy escort mission. The IJN would escorting a convoy of troops and supplies to a landing, and would have to repel the ABDA forces that had been scrambled after a report by an allied seaplane of a large convoy inbound. Given that I've never played with the night rules before, and never a convoy mission, this was going to be a learning experience. I've got a few questions for future reference, but I'll save them till the end.

Starting Forces:

ABDACOM *Attacker*

HNLMS De Ruyter
HNLMS Kortenaer
HNLMS Banckert
HNLMS Witte de With

HMS Exeter
HMAS Hobart
HMS Juno
HMS Electra
HMS Encounter
HMS Tarpon

USS Marblehead
USS Edsall
USS John D. Edwards
USS Bulmer
USS Childs

PBY5 Catalina

IJN *Defender*

IJN Haguro
IJN Nachi
IJN Sendai
IJN Naka
IJN Hamakaze
IJN Hayashio
IJN Murasame
IJN Samidare
IJN Chitose
IJN I 53

Unwitting Targets

The ABDA forces are deployed, with the Commonwealth cruisers and De Ruyter forming a squadron, and the Admiralens and British DD's each forming a squadron. USS Marblehead and the Clemson class DD's will appear later as close support. The plan will be for the cruiser squadron to engage and occupy as many escorts as possible, while the destroyer squadrons make all possible speed to block the transports' route of escape and destroy them.

The invasion fleet deploys around the convoy, with Naka and her Kagero-class consorts leading the way, Haguro and Nachi trailing, and Chitose pacing the transport ships. Sendai and her Shiratsuyu-class consorts are ranging out as pickets, and will arrive as close support.

Turn 1:
IJN wins initiative and forces ABDA to activate first
No additional tokens are generated for the ABDA force

* The Admiralen squadron move at flank speed to pass around the far side of the island and head towards their planned intercept point.

* Chitose advances

* The British DD squadron follows the Admiralens at flank speed

* Naka receives reports from Chitose's complement of floatplanes of wakes being sighted, and her squadron advances into a fogbank to await more information.

* The ABDA cruiser squadron advances toward the projected location of the convoy that had been sighted earlier

* Haguro and Nachi receive reports of additional wakes sighted moving towards the convoy, and they begin to shift in response

* The convoy plods forwards

+ The IJN floatplanes move towards the sightings to gather more information on disposition

Turn 2:
IJN wins initiative and forces ABDA to activate first
The ABDA force loses an order token

*The Admiralen squadron rounds the island and continues to the interception point

*Chitose continues to pace the convoy ships.

*The British DD's round the island at flank speed, following after the Dutch destroyers

*Haguro and Nachi continue to make towards the wakes reported

*The ABDA cruisers continue to steam towards the estimated position of the convoy. Silhouettes are spotted in the distance, but spotlights remain off to preserve the element of surprise for as long as possible.

*The transport ships continue to make best speed towards their destination

*Haguro and Nachi have spotted the oncoming cruisers with assistance from the air, and Haguro's searchlight stabs out, illuminating Exeter. Haguro opens fire, and her range is good, resulting in a hit that damages some of Exeter's steam lines. Nachi is masked by her sister, and is unable to follow up.

*In response, the whole of the ABDA cruiser squadron opens fire on the now brightly lit Haguro. Exeter's reply sees two impacts on Haguro, which damage her secondary battery. Hobart lands a round in Haguro's superstructure. De Ruyter fires, but cannot find the range. (De Ruyter has perhaps heard of what became of her real life counterpart when she met Haguro and Nachi, and is frightened into uselessness. This is a trend that lasts the entire game.)

*Naka's commander has received reports of the two formations of destroyers approaching, and orders a bold dash out of the fog followed by laying a spread of torpedoes in their path. Unfortunately, some of the impulse charges fail, and the pattern is incomplete.

+Naka's squadron are spotted by the squadron of Admiralens. In response, they open fire on the largest target, Naka. Witte de With lands two hits on Naka, one of which is ineffectual. Banckert also manages to land a hit on Naka.

+Hamakaze opens fire on Banckert, scoring three hits. Miraculously, two of the shells pass through, causing no meaningful damage.

+Electra fires on Naka, but misses

-Haguro's damage control teams get her secondaries back on line

-Exeter's engineering manages to work around the damaged piping, restoring steam

Turn 3:
ABDA close support arrives, but IJN support fails to materialize
IJN wins initiative, and opts to go first
ABDA generates no additional tokens

*The convoy ships steam ahead, fleeing the approaching cruiser force, unaware of what waits ahead

*The ABDA cruiser squadron continues to focus their ire on Haguro. Exeter's spotlight illuminates her, and the following fire sees two hits on Haguro, one of which opens up a gash in Haguro's hull.
Hobart scores three hits, two of which bring about more flooding. De Ruyter's fire is without success.
Haguro's command remains steadfast in the face of this punishment.

*Again, Naka's commander orders a torpedo run against the body of Allied destroyers. This time, his a large number of torpedoes wind up in the water.

*The squadron of Clemson destroyers make their way forward at flank speed, attempting to cut off the transports from the other side.

*Haguro and Nachi maneuver in an attempt to present their broadsides to the opposing squadron of cruisers

*USS Marblehead steams forward around the island, and uses her searchlight to illuminate the nearest tanker.

*Haguro and Nachi attempt to punish Exeter's brazen advance. Nachi's forward guns land a single hit on Exeter's superstructure. Haguro well disciplined crew opens up at relatively close range on Exeter, and it is only a stroke of luck that Exeter isn't savaged by the volume of incoming fire.

*The squadron of Admiralens boldy dash through the oncoming torpedoes into the Japenese formation, and launch torpedoes of their own

*Naka turns her searchlight on the destroyer Kortenaer, and opens fire, but the quickly moving destroyer avoids her fire. Hayashio's guns however manage to find Kortenaer, landing two blows, one of which passed through the funnel. Hamakaze turns her attentions and spotlight to the destroyer Banckert, but her fire generates nothing but splashes.

*Led by Juno, the British destroyer try to race the spread of torpedoes like their Dutch compatriots. The result is a confused and wild melee.

*Marblehead opens fire on the nearest tanker, but the shots fall short.

*USS Bulmer and Edsall also fire on the nearest tanker, but their shots are short as well.

+Chitose begins slowing, preparing for recovery and rearming operations

+The Admiralen squadron return fire against the Japanese destroyers. Witte de With attacks Hamakaze, without effect. Banckert and Kortenaer fire on Hayashio, with Kortanaer landing a hit that causes no appreciable damage.

+Chitose's floatplanes converge over the group of British destroyers

+The British destroyer Electra likewise adds it's voice to the melee, but generates only noise.

+USS Child's Catalinas prepare to make a run on the convoy ships

+The ABDA cruiser squadron continues to sail forward

-Electra's is unable to completely escape the spread of Longlances, and one catches her in the stern, tearing it off completely. She rapidly sinks.

-Hamakaze and Hayashio avoid the Dutch torpedoes, but one fired by Kortenaer catches Naka. The already heavily damaged Naka begins to break up.

-Haguro's crew manages to bring a halt to all of the flooding

Turn 4:
IJN wins initiative, and opts to go first.
ABDA distant support arrives
IJN close support arrives, but distant support does not
The ABDA force loses an order

* Haguro and Nachi have become hopelessly fixated on Exeter. Haguro lands two hits on Exeter which seem to do nothing to slow her. Nachi fires at a breakneck pace, but the effort taxes her crew with no reward.

* The ABDA cruisers advance, with Exeter finally presenting her broadside to Haguro.

*Hamakaze and Hayashio make another bid to stop the Dutch destroyers. Hamakaze illuminates Banckert and opens fire, but she misses. Hayashio does likewise against Kortenaer, but lands one of her shots.

*Marblehead continues to bear down on the column or transports.

*The Japanese floatplanes swarm Encounter. AA fire from Encounter and Juno drive off one of the flights of Jakes, but the other two flights drop their bomb loads on Encounter. The darkness throws off their aim however, and they are rewarded only with near misses.

* The Admiralens emerge from around a bank of fog, launching torpedoes as they come.

*Sendai and her consorts attempt to insinuate themselves between the oncoming American ships and the convoy.

*Exeter launches a spread of torpedoes against Haguro and Nachi

*The convoy plows forward, sensing their window of escape closing.

*Marblehead illuminates the interloper Samidare, and opens up with her entire broadside. Samidare takes two hits from Marblehead's main battery, and a further hit from her secondaries. She sustains damage to her powerplant, and a fire is started in her ready ammo storage. Despite this, she continues to sail forwards.

*The Catalinas make a torpedo run on a landing ship. Both flights are forced to break off, and one is shot down in the process. Patwing 10 are clearly not Black Cats yet.

+Samidare and Murasame open fire on the American destroyers. Murasame targets John D. Edwards, and Samidare focuses on Edsall. Neither are able to land any hits.

+The ABDA cruiser force fires a repeat salvo at Haguro. Exeter lands another hit at Haguro's waterline, causing yet more flooding. Hobart is more successful, and her fire adds additional flooding. Unable to bring them to bear on Haguro, Hobart fires her secondaries on Nachi. She lands a hit, but does no significant damage.

+Hayashio and Hamakaze steam forward.

+The remaining British destroyers fire on the two Kageros. Juno's fire strikes Hamakaze. Encounter is successful in connecting with Hayashio. Unfortunately, neither hit really affects the Japanese ships.

+The Japanese floatplanes return to Chitose, and begin queuing up to be rearmed.

+The Admiralens open up with their guns on the nearest convoy ships. Banckert illuminates the leftmost tanker with her spotlight, and the tanker is hit twice, killing the chief of engineering. Witte de With also fires on the spotlit tanker, landing two more hits, one of which fails to detonate. Kortenaer plays her light over the rightmost tanker, and connects but fails to damage the tanker.

+The surviving Cat moves away to be tended by Childs.

+ The late arriving Catalina sets up for a torpedo run on the convoy

+Tarpon prowls

-Exeter's torpedoes miss Haguro, but one catches Nachi amidships, tearing a tremendous hole in her side and letting seawater pour in.

-Banckert's torpedoes strike the rightmost tanker, the landing ship, and the ammo hauler. All three ships begin to flood, the tanker badly so. Witte de With's torpedoes miss the right tanker, but strike the landing ship and the ammo hauler. The ships flood more heavily, and fires break out.

-Haguro's crew manages to halt some of the flooding, but she is utterly on the verge of sinking, and her commander finally gives the order for her to break off.

-Nachi manages to stop most, but not all of her flooding.
-Murasame's crew manage to contain her fire, but are unable to fix her centerline gun.

-The rightmost tanker floods heavily, and slows as she takes on water. Fire spreads throughout the ship.

-The landing ship continues to flood, and the fire is not contained. She too begins losing speed as steam lines rupture in the fires.

-The ammo hauler floods, and additional fires break out on the ship.

It was as this point I had to knock off, due to running out of time. However, I think that it's a pretty safe conclusion that the ABDACOM fleet would have been able to successfully repel the invasion. At this point, three of the convoy ships will more than likely destroy themselves through continual effects without any additional help. The remaining ships are in position to be mauled by the numerous Allied destroyers which have been made extremely hard to kill by virtue of no short range bonuses being awarded in night battles. Haguro would likely sink next turn, even without help, and Nachi would be left on her own to try to halt the Allied cruisers that would also be free to chase the convoy. The Shiratsuyus and Kageros would likely still have some show to put on, but I think it would have been too little too late.

Some mistakes were made with Japanese deployment that made it harder to bring both of those expensive heavy cruisers to bear sooner. I'm also not sure that being able to bring in Sendai and the Shiratsuyus at any board edge was worth the tradeoff for not being able to use them right away.

Bad luck was spread pretty evenly throughout the game, but Haguro had it the worst. As I alluded to, when she got to first fire broadside, she rolled five hits against Exeter with her main battery, but a Lucky Stroke roll turned every one of them into misses.

I think the single biggest factor was the destroyers being extremely difficult to hit, and the ABDA force being able to afford more of them.

On to my questions:

Does nighttime increase the to hit numbers for torpedoes?

Likewise, does nightime increase the to hit for aerial attacks and for AA attacks?

Do convoy ships consult the regular location table for hits?

I was sure I had thought of some more, but they escape me at the moment.

The following user(s) said Thank You: Bezmozgu

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Captain Corcoran replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 2 months ago

A good write up Pugliese. I think it should be very hard for aircraft to attack ships at night (how do they see them and identify friend from foe?). Radar equipped planes would help but the issue is trying to find the enemy. So maybe we need some night rules for aircraft finding their target and then actually being able to hit anything.

In general, I think the night combat rules are not good enough. Night fighting is very chaotic with cohesion collapsing very quickly and a high likelihood of friendly fire. Have a read of this document from the Naval Wargames Society's (old) webpage, some very good pointers on night fighting:

As a minimum, we could look at having to make command roles to do anything at night using your order chits (fire, manoeuvre, launch torpedoes), and to make command roles not to fire on your own ship illuminated by searchlights or on fire - the latter tended to attract fire from everyone. Would maybe also need some sort of spotting rule and surprise factor. Could also increase the number of disruption counters at night and allow more than 3 to be played on one order? Might want to penalise some nations command ability at night (Italian and USN in the first two years).

Any ideas from others?

The following user(s) said Thank You: Naval War HQ, Bezmozgu

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 2 months ago

Great writeup Pugliese, and also great feedback Cptn! I'm very busy this week, but I hope things will calm down a bit soon. I'll take a better look at the questions and suggestions then. I really like some of the things brought up. How to incorporate them into the game will require some further thinking. Friendly fire is very hard to model since some clashes has a lot of it and some none at all. Furthermore it is never fun to roll against the game to damage your own ships (one of the starting points of Naval War design) We might however be able to catch it into a seperate order, only valid at night, something along the line of the German mistaken target order, but then with the ability to redirect shots at your opponents own ships when within 20cm or something.

In the meantime, keep the idea's coming!

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-
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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 1 month ago

"Does nighttime increase the to hit numbers for torpedoes?"
- Not currently

"Likewise, does nightime increase the to hit for aerial attacks and for AA attacks?"
- Also not currently, although as soon as you mentioned it it struck me that it probably should

"Do convoy ships consult the regular location table for hits?"
Nope, in the scenario description it says the following: "The convoy ships do not take any command checks, nor do they roll on the hit location table. On the convoy data card, red diamonds are present among the hull points of the ship. When a red diamond is crossed off, the ship’s engine takes damage and a fire is started (both of which can be repaired by an indirect damage control activation)"
This is on deliberate since the ships serve a specific game purpose. Doing all the micromanagement for another 4-6 ships will cost a lot of extra time for very little purpose.

I'm still processing the other feedback, DD (in)vulnerability should be adressed, as should the increase in fog of war and chaos. Planes are a headache, I know they shouldnt be there at night unless being radar-equipped and such, but since the nature of the game is to facilitate pick-up games I can't block out carriers and planes on all night- and bad weather games. Penalties could be a bit harsher though but in this case gameplay requirements trumps realism. Some examples are known of early war carriers landing their planes at night with the help of their searchlights and such, but I am very much aware it is still a weak case.

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-
Last edit: 7 years 1 month ago by Naval War HQ.
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Pugliese replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 1 month ago

Thanks! I missed that bit about locations when I was reading over the scenario description. I'll chalk it up to being in a hurry to squeeze in a game in a limited amount of time.

At least for seaplanes, there's a fair bit of precedent for them operating quite a bit at night, with or without radar. I don't know one way or another if tender operations were carried out at night though.

I'd say planes ought to get some penalty to hit, and some penalty to be hit, or a bonus on the evade roll to not be destroyed. I'd also say maybe appropriate aircraft at appropriate times in the war could be added with nightfighting gear/training for additional point cost within an OoB that would negate the penalty to hit.

As for DD's, how badly would you think it would hurt the game if rolls of 6 were always successes, just like armor rolls?

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 1 month ago

You mean like it says on page 11 of the rulebook? :D
"Note that except when shooting at extreme range, the Target score can never get worse than 6."

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-

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Pugliese replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 1 month ago

I'm gonna go hide in a cup of coffee, and not come back till I'm awake. It might be a while.

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 1 month ago

That should take care of the DD's then ;). I'll add a few lines to the night rules to include bombs and air-launched torpedoes.

I'm still a bit on the fence about surface torpedoes, would night conditions have much effect on the aiming of those?

A 'night bomber' special rule would be handy to give a bit of sting to those planes. I think I will keep it at that for now. I'll keep toying with the idea of a special Command Station order for night actions, to simulate the risk of friendly fire and breakdown of command, but I will really need more data and games to make sure not to break night engagements. I'll give a heads-up as soon as the changes are done.

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 3 weeks ago

Made some quick changes to fix the most immediate problems. Please keep brainstorming about other innovations for Nightfighting and Bad Weather.


Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-

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Pugliese replied the topic: Java Sea Night Clash

7 years 3 weeks ago

I saw that, thanks! Running through Cape Spada again before I call it done is next on my list, but I've been itching to run some more RN and Kriegsmarine fun, next one I do I'll have to do another night game.

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