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Monday, May 18, 2015

Huzzah! 2015 Day One: Iron Bottom Sound

I arrived at Huzzah Friday night and after a quick stop at Footsore miniatures to pick up some new figure for my Dark age campaign I hit the hotel resturant and bar for a quick bite and the chance to catch up with some friends.  The it was time for the Battle of Iron Bottom Sound.
Our Game master Alen had this cool graphic that shows the geography of the area and where all the ships sank. We set our destroyer picket west of Salvo Island and had our Cruisers positioned just north west of Florida Island.  Our plan had been to have the Destroyers run a head of the IJN forces and have our cruisers drop in behind them (you know what they say about plans right?)
My command the HMAS Australia and the USS Astoria we had two other cruisers the Portland and Indianapolis as well as 4 Fletcher class Destroyers.
All prebattle movement was done on a hex grid so the first sighting we saw of the IJN was when its ships were spotted by are northern most destroyer who observed them trying to slip past him to the north... so in stead of having 4 destroyer in front of the Japanees they are behind them and strung out in a line.
Charles (our DD's skipper) engaged and showed some crack gunnery getting multiple speed hits on one Japanese DD over several turns.
The Japanese commanders plot their cunning attack while firing guns and torpedoes at the lone US Destroyer. Then our cruisers arrives...
Almost perfectly placed to cross the T of the Japanese fleet  (or at least their destroyers)
Gun fire from the Australia and Indianapolis hit the first destroyer in that line hard it was still under way but badly damaged.
Then the IJN Cruisers appear and and the cruiser forces exchanged fire my flag ship the Australia hit the second ship for engine damage and both Indianapolis and Portland landed hits on the first ship in the Japanese line.  (but Japaneses torpedoes  are on their way already)
The Astoria crippled the Japanese destroyer hit the previous turn and it is dead in the water.
A lucky Japanese 8 inch shell hits the Australia and penetrates the magazine and the Admiral and his ship are blown sky high.
The US ships turn desperately to comb the wakes of the torpedoes.
the move generated several misses but there are too many torpedoes in the water to dodge them all
The Indianapolis is sunk when a torpedoes strikes next to another magazine and sets of a chain reaction blowing the ship up with all hands.   The Portland is stuck as well and our gallant destroyer finally succumbs to the pounding the Japanese DDs have been dishing out at it.  Its a bad night for the Americans Two Cruisers and a Destroyer lost (with most of their crews) and a third Cruise damaged against two Japanese Cruises with light damage and two Japanese destroyers crippled but not sunk.  Not a good trade if air craft can get that Cruises I hit in the engine machinery we might almost pull even but no loss of speed was observed before Australia was blown away.