The battle continues!
Having repelled the Japanese reconnaissance mission, the Chinese launched their own offensive operation, assembling an assault group to sever Japanese shipping lanes and board merchant vessels.
After having been informed about this by naval intelligence, JMSDF headquarters decides to put a group of destroyers to sea to engage the Chinese raiders and repel or sink them.
The Chinese assault group consists of 1 Luyang III destroyer, the Chinese answer to the American and Japanese AEGIS destroyers, 2 improved Sovremenny class destroyers and two Jiangkai II frigates.
The Japanese force consists of 1 Kongo class, 1 Asagiri class, 1 Murasame class and 1 Hatsuyuki class.
Then we have got the civil merchant vessels. The navy term for civil merchants is white shipping, which is why we left them partially unpainted. Our house rules regarding them were simple and confusing at the same time: All civil vessels counted as LOS breakers as well as rough terrain. Every turn their course was to be randomly generated and their speed was at around 10 cm each turn. That led to some very funny situations and movements. Next time, we‘ll do it different. :-P
Both strike groups are outside their respective range, which makes it easy to dismiss all firing steps and immediately go to the next turn.
Due to their long-range missiles the Japanese are already in firing range. My friend and I had developed a house rule for coordination of missile strikes, as we two thought that this specific tactical aspect had too less weight in the game. In reality this kind of missile attack is called “oversaturation” and is commonly used to outnumber the fire control channels for missile defense and electronic counter measures of a warship.
Especially in long-range assaults this attack proved to be quite helpful. But that doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee for a successful hit.
Both battle groups launch their missiles. The Japanese score a hit on one of the frigates, but miss to damage the Luyang III destroyer, which represents the most threatening vessel of the Chinese force. A Chinese counter attack misses its targets as well.
Engagement in progress! While fishermen and merchant vessels are moving around like panicking chicken, trying to avoid direct contact with either the Tiger or the Dragon, both battle groups take widespread formations and attack each other directly.
Asagiri is hit! Somehow she seems to be a real magnet for missiles.
While more than a dozen SSM are launched towards the enemy, the operators on board of all ships are sweating to report incoming missiles. Counter measures are taken. Surface-Air-Missiles are thrown into the air, engaging all incoming SSM. Automatic defense systems are acquiring their targets, while electronic counter measures are trying to confuse the targeting systems of the enemy.
Still a couple of missiles reach their targets. The second Chinese frigate is hit. The Luyang III class destroyer receives a critical punch and sinks shortly afterwards. But at the same time, the Japanese loose the Asagiri.
And then the Hatsuyuki is critically hit, too!
Now the Chinese have got an overweight in number of ships and missiles. The Japanese group commander decides to disengage and retreat.
Murasame is able to score a second hit on one of the Chinese frigates. As the warship is already hit, this punch ends its participation in this battle. Meanwhile Kongo manages to get behind a group of merchants and therefore is now in "cover".
That leaves the Murasame to be the top priority target of the Chinese. But their operators are so confused because of the heavy engagement prior to this high speed chase, that all fired missiles are destroyed or miss the Japanese warship.
The Kongo leaves the cover of the merchant vessel and returns to battle.
While the Chinese once again direct their fire onto the Murasame and score a hit, the Japanese divide their fire, damage one Chinese warship and sink one of the Sovremennys.
It’s a draw! But only for a short time. A coordinated missile attack sinks the Murasame, while the Japanese are unable to score a hit.
A fisherman blocks the LOS of the second Sovremenny, which prevents her from taking part in the upcoming engagement. Kongo and the frigate are opening fire on each other. While the Japanese are able to intercept all enemy missiles, the Chinese receive a direct hit. Their vessel sinks.
Last turn: Sovremenny and Kongo in a direct engagement. While Kongo once again manges to intercept all enemy missiles, the Sovremenny receives a direct hit and goes straight to the bottom of the sea.
That makes the Japanese the winners of this battle. It was a close fight until the end.