22 May 2012

Game with Greg

FSA fleet stationed off the coast of Ecuador was dispatched to investige reports of an Imperial force operating in the region.  The Blazing Sun battle group centered around the Kiyohime carrier Noto with a Tsukuyomi War Gyro in support along with escorts & frigates.  (Naval Core Forces with approximately 820 points in each.)

Under clear skies the two forces spotted each other near some small islands and immediately closed the range.  The FSA fleet, centered around the Dreadnought FSS Enterprise, also included a Saratoga class carrier and several squadrons of surface craft including destroyers, escorts, corvettes, and a pair of gunships.  The Americans opened fire first with ranging shots and the Imperial War Gyro turned to starboard to bring both turrets and the full port broadside of rockets to bear on the Enterprise.  Unfortunately, at least for the "Unfortunate" Dragon War Gyro, several rockets which struck the sides of the Dreadnought failed to explode.  A certain Japanese rocket battery lieutenant may or may not have checked to make sure the rocket warheads were armed.

Around the east side of the islands, however, an Imperial gunship squadron moved into flanking position.  They may have managed to move in close to the FSA fleet undetected if not for the pair of Inari Scout Gyros following and launching rockets which attracted attention from the American gunships.

A squadron of Imperial torpedo bombers made a full-throttle advance and dropped torpedoes on a direct vector to the Enterprise, but several of the torpedoes which struck the side of the American Dreadnought failed to explode.  As the torpedo bomber squadron returned to the carrier Noto, a suspicious fleet admiral on the bridge of the Imperial carrier, removing his pair of battle goggles, scribbled a note in his log to make formal investigations of his ordnance offices at first opportunity after this engagement.

The torpedo bombers landed, rearmed, and launched for a second attack while the Imperial ships concentrated their fire on the American Dreadnought, with no discernible effect.  A squadron of Imperial frigates easily dispatched the American corvettes, and the Kaigun Shosho considered some frigate captains in line for promotion.  On the port side, the Ika which had been lurking alongside the carrier moved swiftly toward the American carrier, surfaced to attack, and then dived again to maneuver for a second attack.

(Note:  the yellow dice were used to indicate activated squadrons, the number for the order during the turn in which they activated.)

But then something terrible happened.  The Tsukuyomi War Gyro was struck in several places by shells fired from the main turrets of the FSA Dreadnought, and one shell in particular set off a chain reaction of explosions which enveloped the entire flying warship in a blaze of fire.  The burning airship fell from the sky, crashing onto the aft deck of the Noto and everything from the bridge of the carrier was a flash of light and fire for several moments.

When the smoke cleared, amid the din of alarm klaxons, the surviving Imperial officers on the bridge of the carrier Noto surveyed the scene to find half of the fleet burning in the water.  Those frigates were gone, the torpedo bombers gone, and the Tsukuyomi War Gyro absolutely gone.  The executive officer reported severe damage to the Noto, particularly to the engines which could not be repaired (it seemed the engine crews were dead as orders to repair were not acknowledged).  But the Japanese would not give up the fight.  There was still a squadron of gunships coming around the flank, and the Kaigun Shosho decided to continue the fight and draw the attention of the Americans so that a flank attack may prove successful.

But the Imperial gunships had been intercepted by the American gunships, and there was small chance they would be able to move fast enough to assist the crippled carrier against the American Dreadnought.

By the end of turn 4 the FSA player had destroyed or damaged more than 70% of the Imperial battle group, winning the game which had started with more than 800 points per side by a margin of more than 30%.  As the carrier Noto sank into the waters, and the Ika (which had suffered engine damage and lost more than half original Hull Points from an attack by American torpedo bombers) submerged and attempted to escape, only the pair of Blazing Sun gunships and a single Scout Gyro remained in any condition to fight and turned to escape to the open sea.