Monday, October 7, 2013

Java Sea AAR-Naval Thunder

This Past weekend I had the opportunity to attend NAVCON 2013 after a two year absence due to my last deployment overlapping.

If you are a Naval Gamer and have not attended NAVCON in the past I highly recommend it.  It is a nice small event that continues to expand each year held in Oak Creek, WI just south of Milwaukee.

My friend Mike and I ran two Naval thunder events which were well attended.  in actuality they were over attended as we had planned for up to eight players and actually had ten at the first event and eleven at the second.  We were happy to make room though as it is tough to turn away interested parties.

The First event was Java Sea which Mike had put together using his 1/2400 GHQ minis and I helped judge.  As mentioned we ended up with ten total players which were each given command of a portion of the IJN or ADBA fleets.  It was a good mix of Experienced as well as new players so we were able to teach the new players still getting their sea legs while keeping the game moving along for the veteran seamen.


Battle of Java Sea
FEB 27, 1942

The Battle of the Java Sea was a decisive naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, that sealed the fate of the Netherlands East Indies. Allied navies suffered a disastrous defeat at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Navy, on 27 February 1942, and in secondary actions over successive days.
HMLS DeRuyter Doorman's Flagship
The American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) Strike Force commander—Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman was killed. The aftermath of the battle included several smaller actions around Java, including the smaller but also significant Battle of Sunda Strait.

The ABDA force engaged the Japanese in the Java Sea, and the battle raged intermittently from mid-
afternoon to midnight as the Allies tried to reach and attack the troop transports of the Java invasion fleet, but they were repulsed by superior firepower. The Allies had local air superiority during the daylight hours, because Japanese air power could not reach the fleet in the bad weather. The weather also hindered communications, making cooperation between the many Allied parties involved—in reconnaissance, air cover and fleet headquarters—even worse than it already was. The Japanese also jammed the radio frequencies. Exeter was the only ship in the battle equipped with radar, an emerging technology at the time.

IJN Nachi

The battle consisted of a series of attempts over a seven-hour period by Doorman's Combined Striking Force to reach and attack the invasion convoy; each was rebuffed by the escort force with heavy losses being inflicted on the Allies.


JAVA Sea Set up and ready to go
Turn one saw the fleets jockey for position as they moved toward engagement range.  The crew of the HMLS DeRuyter noticed two torpedo wakes pass by their ship and suspected Japanese subs might be in the area.   The British DDs immediately began to lay an effective smoke screen while the HMS Exeter opened up on the IJN Jintsu with no effect to try and determine range.  IJN Heavy Cruiser Nachi also launched a salvo from 28,000 yards with no effect.

Turn 2 action

Turn two opened with the HMS Exeter scoring two hits o the IJN Jintsu knocking out a torpedo  mount and causing ,massive flooding with a hit to the water line.  The crew of Exeter could not celebrate their success though as they were busy catching a full broadside from Nachi who scored two hits knocking out a secondary battery and damaging the engine room reducing her speed.  A second formation of IJN ships lead by the IJN Naka entered the fray as she opened up on the Dutch DD HMLS Witte De Wittte with no effect, but making her presence known.

Turn 3 Action

HMS Exeter being Pounded
Turn 3 was not favorable for the ABDA.  Exeter's crew lost their radar solution on IJN Jintsu and was unable to fire.  USS Houston entered the action with an opening salvo on IJN Nachi with no effect.  The Japanese gunners were definitely up to the task though as Haguro fixed it main guns on HMS Exeter and unleashed a full broadside scoring 3 hits two of which penetrated causing more engine damage and Major Flooding further reducing Exeter's already reduced speed.  Naka opened on USS Houston scoring a critical hit which damaged the fire control center.  Additionally, the Jintsu and two of her DDs opened up onto HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter damaging both of them.  On board Exeter Damage control parties rushed to the scene of the flooding, but were not able to contain this turn.

Turn 4 HMS Exeter is lost
Turn 4 did not improve for the Allies.  The IJN DDS effectively started laying a smoke screen to mask their ships as they maneuvered to close the range with the ABDA.  IJN Haguro let loose another deadly salvo which scored three penetrating hits on HMS Exeter.  Despite the best efforts of her crew the damage was more than Exeter could sustain as she came to a full stop and began to sink.  USS Houston did not fair much better as Nachi pummeled her with 8in shells scoring four hits.  Due to an Air attack a few days earlier USS Houston started this action with her aft turret inoperable Nachi now took out one of her two remaining forward turrets as well as two secondary batteries.  Meanwhile the IJN light cruisers and their DDs continued to pound on the ABDA escorting DDs.  HMS Jupiter was set ablaze, HMLS Witte De Witte took a hit to the bridge which killed the entire bridge crew and set her on a course straight for the IJN line of Battle.  The ADBA did manage to strike back hitting the IJN DD Yukikaze damaging her engine room and taking our one of her batteries.

Turn 5 saw the ranges continue to close.  The ABDA was not ready to back down and were determined to get in to a knife fight with the IJN forces in an effort to break through and reach the landing convoys.  Unfortunately communications were lacking and the USS Houston now with only
Turn 5 saw the ADBA start to hit back
one Main Battery turret operational opted to turn away and preserve the ship.  Haguro now done mauling the Exeter turned its lethal 8in guns on the HMS Perth scoring a critical engine room hit reducing her speed.  At the same time HMLS Java was taking fire from Nachi and started to flood.  The Light cruiser Naka opened on the USS Paul Jones setting her ablaze.  The damage control parties did not have to worry about the fires for long as she immediately began to sink.

Admiral Doorman aboard the DeRuyter was undaunted through and opened up on the IJN DD Hyashio send her to the bottom in a matter of seconds.  HMLS Java opened up and ravaged the DD Amatzukaze with 5 hits from her 6in guns sending her to the bottom as well.  Despite being out of control the Witte De Withe unleashed her guns on the IJN Kuroshio setting her ablaze.  Unfortunately the Dutch DD was overpowered and began to sink as well.

As the lines were now almost point blank range the opposing DDs launched multiple salvos of torpedoes in addition to the short range gunnery duel that ensued inflicting tremendous damage.  While
Turn 5 Torpedoes in the Water
The ABDA did score some hits the IJN gunnery was especially effective.  HMLS Java was hit and damaged, USS Edwards was sunk, USS Alden was overpowered at short range and sunk.  The ADBA was only able to score damaging hits on the DD Natsushio.  The the Torpedoes that were in the water began to hit home.a Torp that had been launched by USS Edwards slammed into IJN Asugumo and successfully detonated breaking her in half.  As tremendous explosion was heard across the waves as a 24in Long Lance lifted the HMS Encounter clear out of the water and then sent her straight to the bottom with massive loss of life.  Damage control, parties on both sides worked feverishly to put out fires and control flooding.  The IJN Minegumo was overcome with her decks awash and slipped beneath the waves as HMLS Java's crew struggled to control their flooding causing the ship to take on a severe list.

Turn 6 devolved into more close gunnery exchanges and the surviving DDs worked feverishly to reload Torpedo tubes.  Haguro unleashed yet another deadly salvo this time targeted at Admiral
Turn 6 Final round of carnage
Doorman himself aboard the HMLS DeRuyter.  The crew was catching lead by the bucket full which was more than the Dutch cruiser could stand as she broke up under the hail of 8in shells as started her long journey to the bottom of Java Sea.  Naka raked USS ford with a salvo as well sending her to the bottom.  the sailors aboard USS ford had already managed to launch a final spread of torpedoes which eventually found their mark on Naka and successfully detonated blowing her apart while her crew was celebrating their temporary success. The USS Houston is shelled by Nachi as she flees the battle area, but this time none of the IJN shells find their mark.  In a defiant act the HMLS he Java crushes the DD Tokisukaze with gunfire sending her to the bottom.  Unfortunately for Java a 5.9in shell from IJN Jintsu finds it mark causing a cartographic Magazine explosion.  Finally the HMS Perth fires on DD Kuroshio at short range lighting her up stem to stern with a one way ticket to the bottom of Java Sea.

Despite inflicting significant damage on the IJN the ABDA realizes that the fight is long since over for them as they have not even touched either IJN Heavy cruiser and the game is called.  The game resulted in a allied defeat, but the Japanese victory was not as one sided as it was historically.

Overall losses:

ABDA                                                                  IJN
Historical/Game             Type Ship            Historical/Game
1 Sunk/1 Sunk                   CA                               0/0
3 Sunk/2 Sunk                    CL                              0/1 Sunk
3 Sunk/7 Sunk                    DD             1 Damaged/6 Sunk

Overall a great time.  new players were exposed to the Naval Thunder game and veteran sailors also had a good time.  Thanks to Mike for doing the research and leg work on putting together this scenario.  it is always a pleasure to see his beautiful models in action.

For more infornation on the game rules you can find them here:


  1. Great AAR....action packed day~~!!

  2. Excellent AAR! Are those pipe cleaners being used for smokescreens or following maneuvers/movements?

    1. Jim,

      Thanks. Yes, they are pipe cleaners and work great for this scale as you can bend to the length you need.