Well, it has certaily been a while since I posted to this forum. My last AAR was nearly a year ago. Much too long! I have been busy with my graduate studies and could not bring myself to typing any more than necessary. Well, those are over and mircaulously I graduated. I am now oficially done with scool. Now, let's get to business.
Precludes to War. 1903
Our neighbors, Imperial Japan, have drafted a settlement to the Manchuria, Port Arthur, and Fusan (Korea) issue that has plagued our two nations since 1898. They sent Itō Hirobumi a repespected stateman, though suspicious to His Imperial Russian Majesties Goverment.
Representing the Czar is Baron Roman Rosen, an elder statesman of noble lineage.
Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as a Japanese sphere of influence. We the proud Russians rightly refused this, and demanded that Korea north of the 39th parallel be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. This was unacceptable to our foes, Japan. So to war we must go.
The diplomats have done their part in this process. Now it is the time for the soldiers, sailors to do their part in making the plans set out by the military learders and the Czar himself a reality. Will this be possible?
In this AAR we will follow the war through the eyes of several ficticous members of the Imperial Russian Navy, (IRN for short) through their eyes. We will also follow the broader story through the eyes of a senior figure in His Imperial Russian Majesties Navy as well as the commading admiral of the fleet. It is my hope that this brings a solid feel of the war from all perpectives. This is truly a great game and I hope to do it justice through the AAR.
Seaman second class Ivan Popov, in Russian Matros vtoroi statiy Ivan Popov
A young man barely 17 and has yet to fire a gun at an enemy. Chose a life at sea to the drudgery of farm life. He is the lowest ranking member of a ships crew and will therefore have duties that are far from admirable, perhaps barely better than a farmer. He does not care, he is ready to see the world as the stories were told to him at enlistment. He has been posted to the HIRMs Askold. he was thrilled to be posted to this newish and very fast protected cruiser. The crew stated her German buliders were quite proud of her. With 24 ship killing caliber guns in a package not quite 6000 tonnes surely is a good thiing.
Captain 1st Rank Sergei Kuznetsov, in Russian Kapitan 1-go ranga Sergei Kuznestov.
Has been proudly in Czar's service for nearly 20 years. Though a youthful 38, he is the master of HIRMs Petropavlovsk. A most feared battleship. Nearly 12,000 tonnes and with impressive armor and armament, Captain Kuznetsov was proud to call her his. Without being the flagship of the fleet/force, and with no flag officer present on her, he headed the compliment of 662 alone. He often wondered at the ouutbreak of hostilities of this war will be his defining moment. His oppurtunity to prove his worth to the navy and obtain a coveted flag position. Not an easy thing to do in the Czarist navy.
Vice Admiral Roman Kozlov, in Russian Vitse- admiral Roman Kozlov
A stalwart figure in the IRN for the past 35 years. At 57 years old and though his energy level is slowly declining, his mental prowess and sheer knowledge base make him an invaluable asset. Though, his views and mannerisms have rubbed a few influential people the wrong way and he suspects that is why he has not gotten the 3rd imperial eagle on his epaulette. In any event, he is ready to steer his fleet towards victory. Which fleet, it has not been assigned yet. Another bad omen he thinks about his chances of fleet or operational command during this war.
This is where we leave it until action commences at the Czars pleasure. War planning will then commence.
In the Admiralty Building St. Petersburg. The heart of power of the IRN.
The Admiralty Council meets to review the OOB and war plans.
A senior member of the council is Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov. Not only of Imperial birth but a man of imposing figure. At 68 years old he has seen his fair share of war in his more than 50 years in the IRN. He has been victorious in this missions so far and is hoping his seniority enables him to attain the rarified rank of Grand Admiral. At present, the only officer of Imperial birth not to have been honored with this rank. This war for him is about more than rank attaining. It is about preserving the honor of his family and legacy. There is much to fight for in his eyes. He wonders if the younger officers have any grasp on this concept.
The settings for this campaign are hard on 1 week turns.
Vladivostock! How could they post an officer of my caliber to a bacckwater like that wondered Vice Admiral Roman Kozlov upon getting his orders? Especially since the Japaneese have attacked our fleet at PA yesterday starting the war. Upon review of the fleet stationed there not a battleship is under his command. He thought he must be the only Vice Admiral who's flag is flown from an armored cruiser. He will have to use his ships wisely as St. Petersburg clearly stated reinforcements are far away if they ever arrive at all.
High Command ordered him to get 2 CA to a point quite near Gensan Korea. He will accompany his flagship HIRMs Rossiya and her sister Gromoboi. Though not a battleship, these are powerful units he knows. He must take care to avoid likely enemy areas. Fleet preservation is on his mind as he meets with his officers for the first time.
Pulling out in this mist a few hours before darkness fell, this is a good night to avoid the enemy he thought. After uneventful steaming, he reached his mission location just before dawn. He then turns about and head home to the icy port. Returning safely at about dinner time, this went just as he was planning. His expierence is surely to credit.
Meanwhile at PA.
The minelayers Amur and Yenisei prepare to lay 500 mines at the entrance to PA harbour. There is much action going on to prepare to move 500 highly explosive objects across the sea and lay them skillfully in the path of an enemy ship. Leaving at night all goes well and they are safe home in a short time.
Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov received a sealed envelope, surely his first intellegence report. It reads THE ENEMY IS PLANNING AN OPERATION. He laughs, of course they are! They started this war! He wonders if the quality of this "intelligence" will improve over time. He decides to train the first and seccond battleship divisions.
So in short, no action on the first turn. The points are IJN 6,000 IRN 1,800.
PA: Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov knew that minelaying is a top prioriity. He tasked his minelayers to lay another 500 mines a bit further off PA. He tasked the long distance scouts to provide security for his valuable minelayers. The Bayan and Askold are tasked with this purpose.
Seaman second class Ivan Popov has been doing the gritty work of setting sail for hours. Could this mission be his first chance to see action he wondered? He was half excited at this chance and half scared for he know not what to expect from enemy action. He would soon find out!
Steaming SSE from PA the group of 4 ships just started to lay mines in strong seas and heavy winds. Just past 09:00 the flagship HIRMs Bayan spots an unknown ship off the starboard bow. Being this close to PA Ivan knew this was no merchantmen unless they were suicidal. The captain rings full speed which is 21 knots. and steers right toward the ship to protect their charges. Ivan hears the words Protected Cruiser from the lookout. The minelayers are orderd to stop laying mines and return to PA double time. Battle was no place for either ship.
Shots were fired from both cruisers and in return splashes fell about the Bayan as well. The enemy ship still unknown turns about and starts to flee our cruisers. Just then Ivan hears Yaeyama class. A quick word with the intelligence officer confirms they are both faster and better armed than this target. Chase is given, The Yaeyama runs for all its worth. After an hour long chase, we are 5000 yards apart. Just then a 5 inch round bounces off the Askold belt armor. Ivan thought that if this is enemy action he has nothing to fear as their shells just bounce off a lightly protected ship. Soon enough the 8 inch and 6 inch shells began hitting the enemy ship. She soon stops dead and lists heavily. Ivan knew they won this engagement. They return to drinks and celebrations.
The Yaeyama was sunk. The points are IJN 8,229 IRN 5,645.
Vice Admiral Roman Kozlov was given a mission to harass merchant shipping in the tsushima straits. Since he ordered his 2 heaviest ships to train, he was left with just one ship left the HIRMs Bogatyr. While not an armored cruiser still a formidable ship. He sets sail alone and in sheer darkness for seas far away. While steaming, another situation was developing in PA that he did not know about.
Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov was furious! Are you sure these sightings are accurate? 3 CA and 2 CL just off PA. I sent nearly all ships to train and they cannot be recalled. What's left?
The short distance scouts, Sir.
These are the smallest and least armed CLs in my command and I hope to intercept CA's with them?
Well, the minefields are close by. Perhaps that will assist in the action.
Hmm... activate them!
In the action report that followed.
After activation we steam toward the last know enemy position. We barely go to cruise speed and a ship appeared out of the rain and darkness. We rang full speed and started to fire as we were 2K years apart. The ship seemed slow and like an AMC class. We overtook it easily. And it hit the Boyarin with a small shell. Minor damage to the belt. The ship stopped and was under fire for a few intense minutes. Soon enough, she sank with no surrvivors visible. On the return to PA Novik noticed a mass of men in the water very near the minefield. We knew at that point we sank a ship with the mines From survivors it was learned that the ship that hit the mine was DD 43. A very small DD and that they were on a minelaying mission of their own. The ship we sunk must have been their minelayer the Koryu Maru. That is why it looked like a merchant.
Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov was not consoled even though we sank 2 ships for no loeeses. He was fuurious about the faulty intelligence report of 3 CA and 2 CL when in reality it was a minelayer of 1200 tonnes and 2 very small DD of 150 tonnes. How could anyone mistake these ships for a CA or CL he wondered???
After a long steam to the destination, merchant shipping was not seen. Vice Admiral Roman Kozlov thought his intel was faulty too.
Are we sensing a pattern?
The score is IJN 7403 to IRN -18903. Pretty steep considering I have sank the only 3 ships in the war.
Sorry for the delay. I live on the coast near Boston Massachusetts and we had quite the blizzard yesterday. Winds were sustained at 55 mph and gusted to 83 mph. We had some flooding and seawall damage and 2 feet of snow. All is now well again.
Almost a month had passed before any mandatory objectives were issues. Commanders wondered if high command realized that the shipis needed training to be effective. So 4 weeks of training later led to some serious gains.
Vice Admiral Roman Kozlov decided it was time to destroy merchant shipping targets. He knew his lack of success must be changed before he is replaced by high command and led to an uncertain future. He decides to sally out in force with the Rossiya, Gromboi, Bogatyr. His destination is Fukuoka ner Sasesbo
Leaving at dusk they all know it is a long steam ahead. Hopefully, there will be results though Kozlov. After 8 hours of nothingness, a slow moving ship is spotted. Several rounds were fired but none hit. It was an AMC. After a brief chase, our 8 inch rounds started to hit and soon she was an inferno. From the survivors she was the AMC Shinano Maru on patrol near Fusan. 2 merchans also in the are heaved to at the sight of our ships. All in all a successful cruise thought the admiral.
Captain 1st Rank Sergei Kuznetsov sorties his ship from PA the mighty HIRMs Petropavlosk. She is sailing without the rest of the 1st battleship division as fuel and supplies are limited at PA due to the extended training schedule demanded by the commander of the squaron, Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov. There are suficient supplies to sortie elements of the long distance scout cruiser division as support. The CL Askold in the lead the CL Diana follows.
Seaman second class Ivan Popov is hoping his second deployment is as successful as his first when the Askold was mostly responsible for sinking the HIJMS Yaeyama. Far less excitement is present in the officers commanding Ivan's ship as there are no smaller DD's deployed as support and they know they are vulnerable especially at night.
Captain Kuznetsov is ordered to patrol the waters around PA and Dalny and not get too far away from the defesive minefields and heavy shore guns. A short 1 hour steam later in declining weather with rain moving in he sees a line of 2 ships 8,000 yards off this port beam. As he is steaming E he knows that they are between him and the saftey of PA. He rings full speed and orders the cruisers to charge the ships to bring them away from him and toward the mines and shore guns. He will follow behind them. The 2 ships start to fire a quick barrage. They are the new ships CA Nissin and Kasuaga. The captain is disturbed as these outmatch his crusers by a considerable margin and together pose a danger to his ship too. he decides to press on and soon they enemy is amongst his 2 minefields. The friendly cruisers take the lead and try to lead the enemy ships closer and closer to PA while the flagship follows more distantly, alone. Just then the rain lifts and the shore batteries open a barrage of fire on the enemy ships violating their space. They enemy ships turn away from PA and the cruisers block their immediate exit. The shots from the shore guns start to tell. Fires are observed on both ships. Seaman second class Ivan Popov wonders if in the mighty barrage will his ship get hit by his own shore guns? Surely, it is hard to identify targets amongst the splashes and smoke? He then sees the mighty flagship moving toward the enemy full speed. He is reassured and gets back to his duties.
Captain Kuznetsov is pleased that the enemy failed to notice how close they came to PA in the rain and was grateful that the rain lifted. He decides to add his main battery fire in the mix to little affect. His crews are still new and inexpirenced. Just then an explosion is seen off the port beam of the flagship . He focuses on it and sees a large cruiser type vessel flying the Japaneese ensign. A mine he thought? As his cruisers are still busy fighting, he steams for the ship which is now listing and sinking. No shots were ever fired by the HIJMS Chitose before she sank. He learnedfrom the survivors that this was her first foray of the war and she never fired a shot!
With the CA's sinking survivors were picked up and the ships soon settled to the bottom of our coast. 283 Japaneese sailors were delivered to the POW camps this day.
Delivering his report to Admiral Grand Duke Pytor Sokolov, Captain Kuznetsov was relieved when asked about damages suffered and he could say 2 hits on the flagship that bounced off the armor and 4 moderate hits on the Askold that knocked out a few guns and caused some minor flooding. The Admiral seemed pleased and said, good, nothing major then.