Having my favorite playthrough of any of the RTWs at the moment; started as Japan, 40% technology rate because otherwise, you can see some silly things like 20"-gun super-battleships in 1930. We made it through the pre-dread era without dying of boredom. The first world war was a little earlier; it ended in 1917 with everyone exhausted and hurting. Everyone got together in 1920 for the big naval treaty - no new ships over 20,000 tons, maximum gun size of 12", and tonnage limits for each nation (mostly) according to budgets.
The next decades turned into a cold war of brinkmanship and saber-rattling while everyone enjoyed the economic benefits of not having to build massive fleets. Keeping right up against the tonnage limits meant it was actually a viable choice to refit older ships instead of having to juggle building new ones and scrapping their predecessors. In 1944, I finally got carrier conversion tech, and we converted one of my old battleships, Fuji
, a WWI veteran that had already been through plenty of refits. She was one of my two surviving pre-treaty battleships, and was grandfathered in over the tonnage limits, but I converted her because she had 12" guns anyway. My other battleship, however...she was launched in 1917, the biggest stick I could afford at the time, 33,000 tons with 12 14" guns. And she went through refit after refit, her old coal-fired boilers long since ripped out for fuel oil, the newest steam turbines, two sets of reduction gears, the old casemate secondaries long gone, replaced with a dual-purpose secondary battery and heavy AA guns. I'm in a treaty with Germany, who, without being gutted and ruined by WWI, never had an angry man with a funny mustache rise to power. Great Britain was tense as she watched her former colonies slip away, to rebellions and political upheavals. France and Italy were constantly sniping at one another, just short of open war. It all came to a boiling point when the Germans and I decided to arm anti-communist rebels in Finland. The Soviets, as expected, didn't appreciate this very much, and the HIJMS Iwami
, born too late for WWI, fired the first shots. She waited for 39 years.
The surprise happened at Vladivostok, where Iwami
and my only two carriers, Fuji
, screened by three light cruisers and eight destroyers, led the charge just before dawn. It wasn't an impressive battle, relatively speaking - Iwami
pounded the shore batteries, completely immune to their guns. Some Soviet cruisers and destroyers came out to scout, but promptly ran away when 14" shells came sailing over the horizon. Their carrier(s), which I never even saw, launched a few waves of attackers. Unfortunately for them, two of the light cruisers, Tenryuu
, are dedicated AA platforms, much like the IRL Atlanta
-class. Except bigger, and meaner. 16x 5" DP guns, 16x 4" DP guns, and 16 40mm mounts, guided by four directors. I almost felt bad for the Soviet pilots who flew into that nightmare.
And that's where we are, the Cold War years are over. Iwami
will be outdated in a couple of years, when the first post-treaty battleships launch, but I'm hoping she'll get to flex her muscle before then. This is definitely the most invested I've been in a RTW playthrough thus far.
Edit: The Soviets don't have much in the way of tonnage to throw at me in the Pacific, since Germany's keeping them occupied in the Baltic. A couple of carriers, which I still haven't seen, some light cruisers, and destroyers. Iwami
is displeased. She waited for almost 4 decades to fight; the first actual battle saw her blow three destroyers out of the water in her first three salvoes, and crack a light cruiser in half in a few more. A desperate torpedo, launched with the dying throes of one of those ships, was shrugged off with contemptuous ease, though she lacks modern torpedo protection. Japan's Lady of War needs a better opponent.