Home Forums Air and Sea Naval Kawakaze versus Blue, 22nd August, 1942, in 1/3000

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    I set up a small game to test how well Grand Fleets rules handle night fighting.

    The scenario
    On August 21st, 1942, Rear-Admiral Tanaka ordered the Japanese destroyers Kawakaze and Yunagi, which had been patrolling off Guadalcanal, to find and attack a force of two enemy transports and a light cruiser spotted about 160 miles south of Guadalcanal by a Japanese scout plane. The destroyers found nothing.
    Meanwhile, unknown to the Japanese, the American destroyers Blue, Helm and Henley had escorted two transports into Savo Sound with supplies for the marines ashore.
    After nightfall, the American ships were surprised when the Kawakaze, returning through the waters off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, sighted the Blue patrolling in Savo Sound.

    The game
    Imagine it is dark. 😉

    The Japanese destroyer Kawakaze.in 1/3000
    The Japanese destroyer Kawakaze on her way back to Rabaul, New Britain. [For those of you who know your warships, the model is actually a Kagero class as I don’t have a Shiratsuyu class.]

    The American destroyer Blue in 1/3000.The American destroyer Blue patrolling from north to south off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal.

    The US transports Alhena and Formalhaut unloading off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal.

    Japanese destroyer in 1/3000
    The Japanese destroyer Kawakaze approaching Lunga Point in the darkness. The destroyers fail to spot each other until they are at very close range.

    The Kawakaze spots the Blue crossing her bows. She opens fire with her forward 5-inch guns and hits the American destroyer. The Blue fires back with all her 5-inch guns, hitting Kawakaze twice. Blue fires her starboard torpedoes at Kawakaze: a very small ship (-1), moving fast (-1) at close range (+1). She scores two hits, despite Kawakaze being bow on.
    Kawakaze is blown up and sinks.

    Historically, Kawakaze spotted Blue first and launched her torpedoes, sinking the American destroyer before she had much time to react.

    The rules
    The game revealed a few flaws in Grand Fleets rules when applied to night actions, as written:
    – All ships sight at the same ranges, based on size. Historically, the Japanese were notably superior in August 1942.
    – Radar has no effect on sighting; only on gunnery. SG radar eventually gave American ships in the Solomons a substantial advantage.
    – Moving then sighting in a game doesn’t really work for close-range night actions; ships need to react to sighting enemy ships.
    – Bow or stern facing to torpedoes makes no difference in many situations. That is not right either, with the mere threat of a torpedo often causing ships to turn away.
    But finding the flaws was the point of the test, and all wargame rules are a balance between a game and a simulation. This helped me get closer to a balance that works for me. 😉

    The models
    The models are all 1/3000.
    – The destroyers are a Kagero class and a Benham class in 1/3000 from Tiny Thingamajigs on Shapeways (https://www.shapeways.com/shops/tinythingamajigs).
    – The transports are old Skytrex Davco Liberty and Victory ships.
    – The mat is a Dark Sea mat from Tiny Wargames (https://www.tinywargames.co.uk/sea).

    Darkest Star Games

    With those inconsistencies with the rules vs historicity, are you still going to use those rules , modify them or try a different set?

    EDIT: just saw your main topic post with the conclusion to the issues with the rules.  Are you going to replay this scenario as a test or does it stand as part of the campaign as is?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."


    Thank you for the comments. 🙂
    I perhaps should have cross-posted to my comments on the rules. I do like the rules; I just think the night fighting rules need a little more development.

    I plan to replay this small scenario as part of the campaign.



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