So I took a Fleet Action, at very bad odds technically, in the Sea of Korea between Weihaiwei and Inchon, for one reason.
I have battleships. The Brits do not. They have something like a dozen battlecruisers, but only a few Bs and no BBs. Hiei
leads the fleet, followed by Hatsuse
, and Hizen
. Battlecruisers Kongo
, and Kurama
are there, but are not used as a scouting unit; the British battlecruisers could eat them alive. Instead they fall back on the main body and offer supporting fire. First the British battlecruisers fight them, but decide this is too heavy for their blood, so they break off. Then the single British BB that wasn't even supposed to be there tries to fight all four of mine, which doesn't go well, so the battlecruisers have to come save it. Then they start to pull ahead; cumulative minor damage has actually hurt Hiei
quite badly and the other ships are also limping from minor aliments.
But one British ship, an Inflexible-class, falls behind. And enemy ships are exposed, their destroyers having cleared out of the way of the big shells. The battle line cuts west, angling to pass astern of the limping Inflexible, and the destroyers go in.
Ultimately there are relatively few torpedo launches at anything but the crippled Inflexible-class, but at least one connects with a Princess Royal-class ship as well and another with an enemy predreadnought, and the Inflexible takes something like a dozen hits. A DD are lost, but the British break contact, having had enough. The Japanese fleet turns for their base as well.
It is not a great victory. But it is a victory. Japan is still in the fight, standing off the might of the British Empire, cutting them down one capital ship at a time.
There is a certain irony to it. The Royal Navy's heavy ships were always known as Britain's walls, first of wood, then of steel, an insurmountable obstacle to her enemies. Now they've met their match in the form of Japan's walls of steel, and the gleaming blades of her swords, the humble destroyers of the battlefleet. The Battle of the Yellow Sea is where the idea of the invincible Royal Navy died.
And I could win this. It won't be easy. But I actually could. As long as I keep squeezing out victories to make up for the Brit blockade.
There's another fleet action coming up between the Goto Islands and Jeju.
Situation as follows.
Scouting units comprised of three Tsukaba-class BCs and the Kongo
are forward, having detected enemy scouting forces (the blue dot) and are falling back on the main body, composed of two BBs, Hiei-class Hatsuse
and Hizen-class Aki
. So are the main body's screen of light cruisers. Intelligence suggests the British have 2 BBs and 4 to 6 BCs against my 2 BB and 4 BC. Superiority of Japanese light cruiser and destroyer forces in both number and equipment is considered assured.
My objective is to inflict severe damage on as many British ships as possible, forcing them to return home for repairs and lifting the blockade. Sinking enemy ships is desirable, but not essential.
The enemy scouts broke contact as well, and now...there's nobody to be found. Don't tell me the Royal Navy
is going to try and avoid a fight?
IT BEGINS! Enemy ships in sight from Ikoma's masthead, range 23000 yards. Coming to port, course 090, to close the distance.
He's a CL, running south, then cutting north. There's another one out there too, might be the other CL of a scouting line. That new unidentified contact just opened fire with heavy guns. That's an enemy battleship or battlecruiser. Closing the range.
There they are. Formidable-class BB, other ships in support. That B might be another BB, not sure. The glare warning means we're close to sunset, so this is going to have to be quick. Only madmen fight fleet battles at night.
The Brit sent in their DDs to keep from close pursuit of their battleships. I had to turn away, but no torpedo hits for the Brits and two of their DDs are dead in the water from trying, and...ooohhhh ****. There's their BC scouting force! This is no time for hesitation. They don't seem to have much of a destroyer escort and it's already past dusk. Darkness is only minutes away. DESTROYERS FORWARD! TENNO HAIKA! BANZAI!
Then darkness ****s everything up and I lose contact, so the destroyers abort their runs. I direct all ships to form on Hatsuse
, and turn for the Goto Islands and from there Sasebo.
Or not. ****. This was exactly what I didn't want. Those destroyers better get in there quick now! Suzukaze
answers the call, at least. The rest of them are lagging behind a bit...
Well that amounted to a great heap of nothing. Suzukaze
got her torpedo launchers blown up before she could launch. A British Wolverine-class DD took some 12" fire from Kongo and is about to sink.
Everyone sorts back into formation and heads home. Again.
End result? Disappointment. I sank three DDs and got some minor damage on a BC for some minor damage to Hatsuse
But it's enough. A peace treaty is offered, and signed, next month.
I did it.
I won. I didn't beat the stuffing out the British exactly, but I was holding them off effectively and actually doing better than they were. I won.