- 10/08/2017 at 02:10 #69587
It’s 2220 on 19 February 1942, and all hands are at their battle stations, ready for surface contact. On 18 February 1942, the Japanese landed a battalion of infantry on the island of Bali, and immediately set to preparing an airfield for their air forces. An airfield on Bali would threaten the American-British-Canadian-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) naval base at Surabaya, and so naval surface forces were marshalled and sent to intercept the Japanese fleet. First up, two ABDA submarines attacked the Japanese, but were easily driven off without causing any damage to the enemy. Then US bombers attacked, moderately damaging a Japanese troopship.
Following the air attack, the bulk of the Japanese combat ships (a cruiser and three destroyers) departed the area; the two troop transports were still conducting ship to shore operations, but finished up and got underway during the evening of 19 February 1942. As they began moving out to sea, ABDA surface ships arrived in the area. The problem was that ABDA command suffered from language barriers, diffused command, interservice- and international rivalry, and being caught off balance, so the ABDA ships dispatched to intercept the Japanese troopships was not only too late to affect the invasion, they were actually split into two separate forces which arrived in the battle area at two separate times.
So the Battle of Badung Strait was fought in two phases, one for each of the arriving groups of ABDA ships, and somehow my little wargames actually followed this pattern, though for a little bit different reasons.
Overview, north is up. At left (top left, off camera to left, the two abutments at top center, and bottom left) is the island of Bali, with the point at left center being Cape Tafel and the little island just above it being Serangan. The big island at far right is Besar (which apparently is now called Penida?), the smaller island to its left is Ceningan, and the mid-size island just above it Lembongan. The Japanese are in two groups, at top left and top center, heading northeast (top right) to open ocean. The ABDA force is at bottom left, heading north on a bearing of 040.
The Japanese (bottom left) get the drop on the Allies, with the Asashio and Oshio swinging to starboard and launching torpedoes at the Dutch cruisers (top center). To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
The rules are working like a champ, but I do want to slow things down just a tad. I’m only playing on a 3′ x 3′ table (my 8′ x 6′ table is covered with other stuff right now), and the current move rates are a bit too ambitious, so I’m going to halve them for the next fight and see how that goes.
Jack10/08/2017 at 04:18 #69594
Good fight, try my pipe cleaner idea for wakes..
Do you have a way to factor in mistaken idenity’s , lots of friendly fire on both sides at night that early in the war.
The Allies would have a higher chance of friendly fire.10/08/2017 at 12:28 #69619Victoria DicksonParticipant
I think halving the moves is probably a good idea. Have you considered allowing ships being fired on to return fire simultaneously? It feels a little odd not having them do so. It might make it a bit less like dogfighting with ships.
I’m getting used to the cotton wool wakes, and I liked the shimmy representing evasive action. 🙂11/08/2017 at 02:22 #69645
John – Thanks man, and pipe cleaners might work, but I worry they’ll stick up too much, just like the cotton wool. I haven’t yet figured out rules for stuff like friendly fire/collisions/etc…, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking of it as random events, just have to figure out a method to initiate them that has them happy, but not too much.
Vicki – Yeah I kinda like the cotton wool myself, it’s quick and easy, though yarn might be even quicker and easier, but I worry it will actually look too clean. Regarding ‘dogfighting with ships,’ yeah, that’s why I’m halving the movement distances; it’s kinda strange with ships zipping all over the place, darting past each other, slowing only to fire on each other as they pass by.
The problem with fire combat with multiple weapons arises all the time in games: a ship with three 5″ guns, six 40mm guns, ten 20mm guns, is the same as a stand that represents an entire squad with seven rifles, three grenade launchers, and three light machine guns. The issue, in game terms, is how do handle the concept of continuous firing? That is, when we say the blue squad and red squad are in a firefight, and this is the third turn they’ve been locked in a firefight, when we say the blue squad shoots at the red squad, that’s really not what it means. They’ve been shooting at each other the whole time, we’ve just now reached a particular point in the game where we’ll going to check to see how effective blue squad’s fires on red squad has been.
I have to look at it this way in team-based infantry games and these naval fights; hell, maybe even in some cases in skirmish games. The only one that really seems different, as individual weapons and attacks, are the dogfight games, where one plane has gotten onto another and is firing a missile or its guns, where the expectation is that the other plane(s) is not.
I’m fearful of allowing a ship to fire once during its turn, then again when an enemy ship comes close, when that enemy ship only gets to fire once. That mechanic would turn sitting back and waiting to be attacked into the best tactic on the table, and that never sits well with me. I hope slowing down the movement rates makes things feel better; well, hell, what am I talking about? I already played the third fight (writing it up now), using half-movement. It allowed for a little pre-fight maneuver, and it made for a bit more of long range gunnery, but it still wasn’t long before the ships were gunwhale to gunwhale, blasting away at each other. It’s starting to seem like I just prefer games like that 😉
In any case, this being my first real go at naval gaming (my father and I played a few games before he passed, but it’s been about seven years since my last naval game), I’m keeping things pretty straightforward, and I’m using real life ships with no named commanders. If this works (and I think it is), my intent is to expand this when the Marines get to the Solomons (I’m also adding in a Marine fighter squadron here in the Dutch East Indies), and when that happens I’ll be making up forces for the US and Japanese, with named commanders and special traits/abilities for the various ships, so that the crews and Captains begin taking on their own character.
The problem I’m already having is, what to name the ships? First, I’m going to need a lot of US and Japanese cruisers and destroyers, so lots of names, but I don’t know that I can make up my own names as there were so many damn ships in WWII that it’s going to be impossible to come up with a dozen new ships’ names that haven’t already been used. That leaves using the names of real ships; I’m not a huge fan of using real names in my campaigns. On the one hand, I automatically start getting guys telling me ‘that ship wasn’t anywhere near that area in February 1942,’ and then that leads to pointing out a whole host of other things I’m not doing or not tracking that you have to do in real life (“that ship has been in action for six months and would have to be drydocked or its speed would be reduced by at least seven knots”). But more importantly, I don’t want to do anything in my games that a survivor or family member of a former crew member might take as disrespectful. That is, in my games I have a flair for the dramatic, so I’m a bit flippant in my write-ups about what is in reality a tremendous amount of death and destruction, and weird/funny stuff happens in the game that would not be flattering to real people (when a ship fails its morale roll and leaves the fight, and I’m cracking jokes about the skipper being a chicken, for example).
So I gotta get that figured out, but I think I’m going to have to as I’m having lots of fun!
Jack11/08/2017 at 03:09 #69647
The US Navy and the IJN reused names for ships and if any one says the the John Paul Jones was not at blank in 1942 you just tell them it’s the other Jon Paul Jones…ya see what I did there….wink wink.
Oh and are you using the ship models you and your Dad used ???
11/08/2017 at 12:32 #69672Victoria DicksonParticipant
- This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by kyoteblue.
Regarding naming ships, I’d go with a linked series of names that wasn’t used historically. For example, a series of US ships named after movie stars of the 30s, so you could have the Karloff, the Bogart, the Colbert etc. Not so sure for Japan, but geography would be the easiest way to go, cities or towns or mountains or islands. Find which of these weren’t used in reality and go with that?11/08/2017 at 15:41 #69680
That is a good idea Victoria !!!14/08/2017 at 16:35 #69861
Movie stars??? That’s brilliant!
Jack14/08/2017 at 19:05 #69869
Use the names of the actors from The Seven Samurai for your Japanese ships.
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