The Japanese were attempting to sink a blockship in the harbour entrance and seal in the Russian fleet. They had three capital ships on hand - Misaka (Togo's flagship), Shikishima and Fuji. Accompanying them was a small flotilla of torpedo boats and three destroyers.
All the Russians had ready to meet the threat were the shore batteries of the Tiger Peninsular and the Burya (a fictional ship based on the Aurora). The Retvizan successfully passed its ready roll, but wouldn't be in game for a number of turns.
You can see the opening moves. The TBs and blockship make a beeline for the harbour entrance while the Japanese BB squadron keeps safely out of range.
That doesn't stop the Russians from having a go!
The early action focuses on the blockship. This naturally attracts lots of fire, but apart from being set alight suffers no damage that will stop it!
The Russian guard boats clash with a much stronger force of light Japanese vessels in a chaotic, point-blank nightime engagement. The Russians' searchlights help, and one DD is sunk with a lucky shot which hits the boiler. Nevertheless the two Russian boats are beaten back easily and suffer heavy damage.
In a rather desperate move, Ollie (captaining the Burya) rams the blockship. The Russian cruiser suffers very heavy damage and begins shipping water uncontrollably. Only the watertight doors, coupled with some judicious (and lucky) counterflooding, saves it.
The Japanese BB squadron turns to offer their other side. Coming in range of the shore batteries, the Misaka takes some minor damage and the Shikishima is hit with a lucky overshoot. 12" gunfire hits one of the Russian torpedo boats (at last!) and finishes it off.
Finally, the Retvizan is ready and comes steaming out of the harbour! Meanwhile, the blockship runs aground with a faulty rudder. The Japanese main objective is aborted, but there is still a battle to be fought.
Another madcap assault! This Japanese torpedo boat gives a nautical banzai and launches a suicidal torpedo run against the Retvizan. It is predictably blown to atoms by the Retvizan's boat guns, but scores a lucky hit which starts some flooding.
This is where it all happened. The Burya briefly tries to give chase, before turning back with heavy flooding. Combined shore battery and Retvizan fire scores a critical hit on the Misaka, causing the forward main gun to explode and causing several fires, which rage out of control. The flag is transferred to the Fiji and the damaged Misaka drops out of line. (It has to roll under an 8 on 2D6 to avoid sinking after the battle, and rolls a 7!)
The Retvizan is then, seemingly in retaliation, hit by three full volleys of main gun fire at less than a mile's distance, and combined with the flooding runs into the shallow water and grounds itself. Both the Russian and Japanese TBs sink, and the game ends there.
A very dramatic game! Some lucky rolls there - both the Russian hit on the Misaka, and the subsequent Japanese roll to save her from sinking after the battle, but it will be out of action for the forseeable future.
The Pressure Dice are starting to ramp up - we're not settling into a nice quiet siege, are we? What a fantastic game. Thanks to Paul for his characterful and detailed fleet orders (which I tried to follow, as much as the Russians would let me!) and for Ollie and Kieran's timely orders.
Week Three updates should be with you shortly.