Monday, February 22, 2016

Greetings from the South Pacific!

OK, no, I haven't run away and landed on some tropical paradise. Though wouldn't that be nice? In fact, the reasons for my absence have more to do with a busy life than anything. Oh, the stories I could tell about the past six months - cross country, figure skating, speed skating, visiting Ukrainians. All of which has left little time for painting/gaming. I even missed the only two cons that I usually manage to get to!
Hunters on the prowl.

But, this weekend saw a semi-quiet window, and Big Jon graciously traveled to partake in a game day at my house. And what a day! We got three different types in, all of which were great and went very well. We started with some coastal action in the South Pacific. That's today's story - watch this space for pics of the rest of the day's action!
Japanese barges hugging the coast, keeping a wary eye open.

All of the minis are from PT Dockyard, and were a joy to put together and paint. I have more, but we decided to try a simple scenario to learn the mechanics of the Flaklighter rules, also available from PT Dockyard. I was a little apprehensive, because of all the charts and different pieces of data to keep track of, but in the end the game went remarkably smoothly and didn't take long to pick up the basics at all. (Though to be fair, we ignored all of the nice details like darkness, spotting, etc.)

Jon took a force of six Daihatsu barges escorted by one armed barge, with the goal of getting them off the opposite table edge to deliver much needed supplies to the emperor's brave troops on Guadalcanal. Spotting them were three 80' Elco PT boats, who quickly closed in.

PT boats rapidly close in.
We both feared the worst for the barges. But as it turned out, we were both taught a lesson that must have been hard learned by the Americans in 1942 - don't bring a knife to a gunfight. The PT boats' .50 cal and 20mm proved extremely ineffective against the barges. (Though we did realize at the end we had forgotten to apply a -1 modifier due to the barges' slow speed. Oops - that might have helped!)

And conversely, the Japanese had a bigger punch than expected!

Close combat proved brutal.
While I closed range to open fire on the barges, Jon moved the armed barge out of the column to protect the six other barges. Good move on his part, as he started punishing the PT boats. He knocked a lot of my weapons off, then started a fire on one of the boats, which quickly spread to two fires before I could put it out. Another boat took flooding damage, which slowed things down. Finally, after inflicting only two hull points of damage on the lead barge, and licking my wounds, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and called it off.
Fire! Not good on a boat made of wood and loaded with gasoline...

Lessons learned: Bring the later, more heavily armed PT boats when dealing with barges. These might be fine against larger ships where they can launch torpedoes, but they were almost useless against the tougher-than-expected barges. Or bring the LCI(G)s out, which are slower, but more heavily armed. On the Japanese side, we thought some shore-based batteries would be helpful. And now we want destroyers and aircraft. It never ends!

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