Friday 19 April 2024

Defending the Malay Barrier: Turn 2, 1st - 15th January 1942, Japanese EAF Patrol v EasGroup (USN) Sweep

The second Japanese patrol was also successful intercepting the USN EasGroup which is the subject of the next game.

The heavy cruiser Nachi with 4 Shiratsuyu class destroyers are on a reciprocal course with the US sweep which it sights at a distance of 23,000 yards (115cm). The US force consists of the cruisers Houston and Boise escorted by 9 Clemson class 4-stacker destroyers.

An overview at the start.
Continued -
A lucky opening salvo from the Nachi hits the Houston (lead cruiser in the photo) breaching a bulkhead. The US ship fortunately stops the flooding limiting the damage to one hull box.

In turn 2 the Houston delivers a devastating reply. It rolls 4 x D12's representing its 8" batteries firing at long range. '1's are required to hit and incredibly 3 x 1's are rolled! This translates to 4 hits. The Nachi loses B and C 8" turrets, a float plane causing a fire, and one hull box.

The US destroyers race to close the gap to neutralise any threat from the Japanese destroyers and launch their torpedoes.

The Nachi continued to sustain significant damage from the accuracy of salvos from the Houston and Boise causing two more fires and all except 'Y' turret knocked out. 

Return fire by the Nachi as largely ineffectual with just one hull box destroyed on the Houston.

The Japanese decided to withdraw under the cover of smoke with all ships firing their Long Lance torpedoes to deter any US pursuit and may even get lucky!

The USN, seeing an opportunity to finish off the Nachi turned at full speed to close the gap. The lone US destroyer at the top of the photo, the Stewart, engaged the lead Japanese destroyers before they were lost in smoke inflicting significant damage on their flotilla leader, Umikaze, knocking out 2 turrets and 2 hull boxes. The Stewart received damage from return fire including a fire which was quickly doused.

As the US ships ploughed towards the Japanese which were now screened by smoke, they found themselves frantically attempting to avoid numerous torpedoes streaking towards them.

Two torpedoes struck the Edsall (bottom right) quickly sending her to the bottom. Another torpedo found the Houston (top right) crippling her and reducing her speed to 14 knots.

A view towards the Japanese with the Nachi having successfully doused all fires before too much damage was caused.

The US flotilla lead by the John D. Ford were hoping to fire their torpedoes at the Nachi before the order came through to withdraw. Although the Houston had sustained too much damage to continue, they still had sufficient strength to attempt to intercept one of the invasion convoys and Admiral Glassford did not want to risk any further loss.
Had it not been for those final torpedo salvos this could have been very embarrassing for the Japanese. In victory point terms this translated to 4 for the Japanese and 3 1/2 for the US. More importantly though, the US fleet has a chance of attacking an invasion convoy.


  1. Gosh! Was this a case of getting too greedy? Surely the convoys are the real target and a neutralised surface group is all that's required to further that aim...
    Enjoying this campaign and looking forward to the next action.

    1. Definitely a little rash there Rob. The USN saw the chance of easily sinking a large Japanese cruiser only to rush into a mass of long lance torpedoes! Not looking too bad for the USN though who now have a clear run at a convoy so long as they can locate them.

  2. A most interesting game report. I am pleased you are posting again on this naval campaign. I look forward to further news from the front.

  3. Interesting treatment of the campaign. Several unusual scenarios in a row. Great AAR .

  4. Another cracking instalment in this campaign Jon:)!