Thursday, July 12, 2012

Task Force 24: A WWII South Pacific Naval Engagement

Just got my snazzy new Axis and Allies Naval Miniatures starter set in and immediately put them to work.  The mission was for an American Task Force built around a large, heavy cruiser, the USS Montpelier, to rendezvous with the Australian Navy's HMAS Nizam and conduct a sector patrol hunting for a "large" Japanese surface group with land-based bomber support.

Finding and killing this Japanese group was critical to supporting future Amphibious operations in this portion of the South Pacific....

The American Task Force - the USS San Diego in the foreground, with the Montpelier  behind her, and the venerable Destroyer, the USS Taylor behind the Montpelier.  

The HMAS Nizam is on station and has reached the rendezvous point.

Meanwhile the Japanese Heavy Cruiser, the Haguro steams at full speed with a host of other vessels, eager to do battle with the spotted enemy ships.

The Japanese force consisting of the Shigure and the Teretsuki both flanking the massive Haguro.  Picture taken from a  G4MI "Betty" patrol bomber...  They are to link up with the Submarine I-25 and begin their patrol.

Contact!  The Betty goes after the easy prey.  The Nizam steams its way towards the Americans but is caught by the Betty squadron.

UNBELIEVABLE!  Higher numbers are better in Axis and Allies.  6's are double hits.  4 and 5s are good hits.  As you can see, this roll achieves NO HITS for the Anti Aircraft round and the Betty charges in for the attack.

Lucky 6.  Torpedo attacks hit on only 6's but cause 2 hull points worth of damage.  In this instance, the HMAS Nizam only has 2 hull points of damage.  The war is over for her...

The Betty is RTB (return to base) to rearm

The American Task Force maneuvers to meet the Japanese 
Japanese head towards the Americans

The I-25 Submarine makes short work of the USS Taylor.  More allied steel is sent to the bottom and the Allies lost all of their anti submarine capability.  The I-25 can stalk at will now.

The Betty returns!  2 turns later and she is ready to attack the USS San Diego

This time though, she goes after the wrong ship and is aborted by AA fire.

an inconclusive round.  next turn would prove decisive

The Betty is eventually destroyed by accurate AA fire and alot of 6's

The USS San Diego and the Haguro trade broadsides, causing extensive damage to the San Diego and some hull damage to the Haguro.  The San Diego is destroyed and eventually sunk by the Haguro's secondary gunnery systems.  

While you cant see from the picture, the USS Montpelier takes on the 2 small Japanese destroyers and sinks both of them, but not before the Japanese "long lance" torpedo attacks cripple and destroy the Montpelier (the US flagship).  The battle ends with the Haguro and I-25 limping away, bruised but not beaten!

This is the first time in history I've played a naval miniatures game.  I know "hard core" naval gaming enthusiasts would probably scorn me playing the Axis and Allies Miniatures game, but I have to admit, this game was addictive, easy to play, and tons of fun.  The systems are easy with not too much book keeping or clutter.  Dave F once told me the trick with naval games is to not make them feel like micro armor games on larger, blue tables.  This game captures the feel of the naval battle and is sharp, as well as unforgiving!  In fact I can see the need to collect more miniatures because ships are regularly being sent to the bottom.

Here are a few tips if they break out this game at your local gaming club:

KEEP YOUR FORCES TOGETHER:  The whole idea of destroyers "screening" your force is only good if you have a large number of them and can afford losses.  Since my task force was so small, losing the Nizam meant I should have consolidated and kept everyone together.  The USS Taylor went after the I-25 and was subsequently sunk.

IF YOU CAN MAKE SMOKE - DO IT TO CONCEAL WEAKER SHIPS:  Would have been great for my 2 small Japanese destroyers to escape the USS Montpelier's revenge!

STAGGER LAND-BASED BOMBERS:  Land based aircraft take an entire turn to refit so if you have more than 1, resist the urge to use a huge wave of bombers in 1 turn and ensure you have continuous coverage of aircraft.  In this way, you keep the pressure on the other guy.

DONT USE AIRCRAFT AGAINST HUGE SHIPS:  They have an awesome amount of Anti Aircraft firepower and can bring down your planes in the blink of an eye.  Go after the smaller ships that your opponent needs to take out subs, etc.

All in all, the game was very enjoyable and alot of fun.  Plus the miniatures come 5 random minis to a box and you have to collect them.  So that makes the game even more fun.  I have Italians, French, a few German, and a bunch more British and Japanese so I'm well on my way.  This game is appealing because you don't need alot of terrain and the miniatures are relatively inexpensive.  I'm sold.  Huzzah!


  1. Welcome to a new (and under-rated) genre! Great re-cap of your first game, be sure to keep writing as you branch off into, coastal warfare, convoy actions, and naval aviation combat! ;-)

  2. Thanks Buddy! I agree it is totally under rated. I cannot wait to eventually break out my Victory At Sea rules (that I am borrowing from someone) and play them using the A&A miniatures, which I am going to continue to buy with my allowance money! :)

    Soon I will have a large battle on the table! Next up will be some Mediterranean action with some German and British units!