Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Battle of Ha Long Bay

Andy, Dickie and I had a very enjoyable game of Victory at Sea yesterday, with Andy's IJN scouting force clashing with a French patrol sweep and heavy task force off the coast of Tonkin in late September 1940. The French split their forces and attempted a wide pincer movement to split the fire of the Japanese flotilla, which consisted of a heavy cruiser and four light cruisers, approaching Haiphong from the East. The French destroyers and one heavy cruiser went North and the other three heavy cruisers went South.

This worked well until the Japanese light cruisers unleashed their long range Long Lance torpedoes, which caused serious damage to the French heavy cruiser force. In the end, the French sank all but the IJN heavy cruiser and lost all but one of their own heavy cruisers, a real battle to the death by Turn Ten. In reality, this would not have happened, as the French would probably have cut and run well before the big finale, with the Japanese probably following shortly thereafter.

Of course, in reality, the Japanese would have used massive air strikes to destroy the French naval threat, while the French would have shelled the Japanese from their shore batteries and from behind their minefields. In all probability, the Japanese invasion would be only slightly delayed by the French naval speed bump. The Victory at Sea rules were easy and quick to use but I still have some issues with them, which means that an alternative is worth play testing, with Naval Thunder being a strong contender.