This was really a tryout of Phil Barker’s ‘Damn Battleships Again’ rules for a fleet action. It was a big game with over 90 ships involved, and we decided to use the optional character rules for senior officers; Russian, 2x Torpedophobes and one Gallant/Mad, Japanese were 2x Chivalrous and one Gallant/mad. We didn’t use the historical OBs, but simply chucked all the Russian Pacific fleet plus the Variag and the Vladivostok cruiser squadron against the whole of the Japanese Combined Fleet.
|The Japanese Fleet.|
|The Russian Fleet.|
The game ran pretty well. We had the usual problems of PIP based movement – you never have them when you need them! Much of the fighting took place on the Russian right, where Japanese torpedo boats were pretty much forced by the need to avoid colliding with their own armoured cruisers into making a torpedo attack against the Russian cruisers and battleships. It was fun, felt rather like a nautical Charge of the Light Brigade, and had pretty much the same result.
|The Mikasa leading the fleet.|
|First blood (on the russians)|
|The situation in the middle of the game.|
|3 Crippling attacks on the Russian fleet.|
Japanese losses totaled 8 destroyers, and no Russian ships were sunk. Still, supporters of the Jeune École would no doubt take comfort from the fact that two Russian cruisers were crippled by the destroyer attacks in the battle. The final result was a draw. Japanese losses were 8 destroyers (4 bases), plus hits on the Mikasa and the Tokiwa. The Russians lost no ships, but the cruisers Bayan, Variag, Diana and Novik were all crippled, and the Askold, Pallada and Boyarin all took hits along with one destroyer.
|The overall situation at the end of the game.|
We decided the overall result was probably a draw. It was a lot of fun and looked good, and definitely one to try again.