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A "Lessons Learned" AAR


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#1 Kenneth D. Hall

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 10:01 AM

A friend and I made more good use Friday night of the Royal Netherlands Navy supplement. Because I was playing and not refereeing, I didn't get to record a ship track or note the ranges at which firing opened and hits were made. Neither was the engagement a close-run thing...and in addition the performance of "Admiral Doormat" (yours truly) was pretty poor overall, but it's worth discussing briefly. In lieu of the usual detailed AAR, I thought I would offer my view of "lessons learned" for your entertainment.The scenario was adapted from the RNN supplement: A Dutch squadron sailed to intercept a Japanese convoy and was itself intercepted en route. Because there were only two players, we dispensed with the Japanese and Dutch battlecruisers.

IJN: CA KUMANO (flag), CA SUZUYA, CL NAGARA, DD FUBUKI (flag), DD SHIRAYUKI, DD MIYUKI (flag), DD HATSUYUKI

RNN: CL DE RUYTER (flag), CL JAVA, DD KORTENAER (flag), DD PIET HEIN, DD EVERTSEN, DD VAN GHENT

The forces made contact with the Dutch squadron steaming north (destroyers in line abreast, screening the cruisers 2,000 yards astern in line ahead). The Japanese led with destroyers, having formed them in two divisions, some 2,000 yards ahead and to port and starboard of KUMANO in the lead.

Being badly outgunned, my plan was to close the range and hope for the best. I initially sent my destroyers northwest and then north, to make a torpedo attack intended to hem in the Japanese cruisers, which had turned roughly WSW as my cruisers turned to the west in succession. The tactical situation led me to launch earlier than intended, and the Japanse admiral made an adroit and well-timed turn to the north to avoid.

I, on the other hand, elected to brave the Japanese torpedo attack in the need to close the range, and got away with it (to the extent of not getting torpedoed, anyway) until the battle had already been decided, with DE RUYTER in sinking condition (suffering from two! bulkhead hits and failing twice to repair one of them) and KORTENAER making bare steerage way at 5 knots (also striving to shore up a failed bulkhead and in addition being damaged in the engineering plant--she was subsequently sunk by a torpedo). JAVA, attempting to cover DE RUYTER's turn to the south, took a torpedo that reduced her speed to 14 knots and kippered her chance to escape. PIET HEIN was down to 23 knots and attempting to retire behind smoke, and EVERTSEN and VAN GHENT were able to steam at full speed despite taking hits, but were probably too far north to get away. On the Japanese side, KUMANO lost B turret, SHIRAYUKI was down to 22 knots with engineering damage plus a gun and torpedo mount lost, and FUBUKI lost a torpedo mount.

Side note: We had a lot of torpedoes in the water (mostly Japanese), but I thought it was pretty manageable.

Lessons learned: Closing the range was indeed my best bet (short of running away), but I should have made smoke at the outset, rather than getting into a gun duel at 19,000+ yards. My opposite number's shiphandling was superior to mine, compounded by his subdividing his destroyers. I elected to use a division of four, and in the course of battle shook them from line abreast to quarter line to line astern. Unwieldy, to say the least. If the Japanese player could be said to have made a "mistake" (which is questionable), it lay in putting the cruisers on the WSW course that permitted DE RUYTER and JAVA to close to 12,000 yards. It didn't matter in the end, but KUMANO and SUZUYA were even more advantaged at 18,000 yards, and would have been well served to open the range. Still, the Japanese command performance outstripped mine.

Discuss. ;)

#2 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 11:01 PM

Thanks for the AAR. It's nice to see the RNN supplement is proving useful. Admiral Doormat was in a tough spot in any event. The RNN didn't get any breaks back in 1942.You listed some good lessons, too. As they say, real admirals and generals usually learned more from their losses than their victories. Fortunately, with General Quarters, there'll be another time!LONNIE

#3 simanton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:53 AM

The Dutch were mighty gutsy to go in at those odds! Still, "mismatched" forces are more the rule than the exception historically.

#4 W. Clark

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 06:41 PM

That's why the Dutch proposed building those BCs. They knew their CLs were totally outclassed by the Jap CAs and they needed a cruiser killer or two. The real problem for the Dutch CLs with or without the BCs is that they can not rapid fire. That means that even if they manage to close and remain intact while doing so through use of smoke or squalls; they can not smother the CAs with fire. In fact, because of equivalent hits it is the Jap CAs 8" that will smother the Dutch CLs. There is just no upside here except for possible dumb luck and you can not count on that.

#5 W. Clark

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 06:50 PM

Never the less, GQ 3.3 makes Java Sea a great deal more fair than GQ 1 or 2 did. No longer does a defense based on displacement and armor belt only define the quality of a cruiser. GQ 3.3 shows up the weakness in Japanese cruiser design with their CS armored gun houses. They are simply a lot easier to hurt as they should be.

I used to put Java Sea on at cons in the 80s and early 90s using GQ 2. Heck, I even won it with the ABDA a time or two, but it required a good deal of luck, a near perfect game by the ABDA and some serious Japanese mistakes. It is a much more even scenario now even if it is still weighted towards the Japanese.

#6 simanton

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:08 PM

Have you considered adding in other theoretical Allied units, such as the British D class cruisers on China Station? I don't know if the Netherlands supplement has the CL De Seven Provencen or the Isaac Sweers class DDs, they might spice things up!

#7 Kenneth D. Hall

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:41 PM

I want to get back to that theater eventually, but I've been playing FAI lately.




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