In the hot ocean north east of Sarigan Island near the Marianas, the French and Blazing Sun fleets continue to spar with each other.
The dominant French Admiral Brouillard du Milieu, fresh from his victory at the First Battle of Sarigan against Admiral Hara-Satsu, drew in some surface fleet support and pressed into the Blazing Sun areas of control. The Second Battle of Sarigan was to be a more bruising affair...
Republic of France
Magenta class pocket battleship
Vauban class sky fortress
Voltaire class heavy interceptors (2 wings)
Alma class frigates
Couronne Class Battle Carrier
Toulon Class Armoured Cruisers
A whole swarm of long range torpedo bombers
Empire of the Blazing Sun
Tenkei Class Sky Fortress
Hachiman Class Dreadnought
Tsukuyomi Class War Gyro
Tanuki class gunships
Uwatsu class frigates
Fujin class frigates
A swarm of fighters
So having taken a complete beating in our first battle, I went away and had a bit of a rethink in how to deal with the Vauban (which we're increasingly referring to as 'The Death Star'). My plan was simple; take several fairly powerful heavy ships and concentrate their fire onto the Vauban until it was brought down. The medium and small ships would hang around on a flank until the time was right for them to leap in and kick out some serious damage.
The battle engaged in the open ocean and both fleets advanced in line abreast with their strength on the northern flank. The Blazing sun medium and small squadrons headed south east at an oblique to loiter on the south flank ready to come in when needed.
Here we see the Tanukis, Uwatsus and lightning fast Fujin corvettes gunning their engines to slice through the waves to the south east; their line astern formations protected behind a droning wall of fighter aircraft.
The French air power was flanked by its surface support and Admiral Brouillard du Milieu broadcast orders and speeches to steady his men. The Blazing Sun fleet would be despatched in short order.
Both fleets advanced at full steam. The French medium ships swung north to get away from the swarm of vicuos Blazing Sun frigates.
To the north, the Blazing Sun heavy ships wheeled to bring their guns to bear on the advancing Vauban. Here the first action of the day was to be decided. Admiral Brouillard du Milieu stood defiant on the command deck of his flagship, disdain for the enemy on his lips.
But his confidence was misplaced! The Vauban and Hachiman exchanged heavy fire, raking each other with dreadful damage. The Hachiman's fore control was smashed and its guns slackened. But Captain Ishida Mitsunari swung his war gyro in close the the Vauban, bringing his full broadside to bear. Rapid fire shells ripped through the Vauban's hull and one volley smashed into its magazine!
As his great flying war fortress listed and convulsed to a chain of shattering internal explosions, admiral Brouillard du Milieu escaped in his personal flyer (an ornate baroque ornithopter). The sea juddered as the mighty Vauban finally exploded, broke into pieces and plunged beneath the waves.
A great cheer erupted across the Blazing Sun fleet as they felt sure the battle was theirs; but the French were far from beaten, and many hours of dreadful conflict lay ahead.
The French surface fleet, together with a seemingly endless wave of torpedo bombers, were far from beaten and despite the loss of their Vauban flagship, they ploughed forwards through the waves. The Hachiman had been badly crippled in the earlier exchange and now the French concentrated everything they had on the mighty dreadnaught.
Finally, a line of Almas finished the great ship off and as it sank, the Blazing Sun commander's personal yatch slipped away.
Enraged and suddenly isolated, Captain Ishida Mitsunari threw his war gyro into the heart of the French ships. Although his guns were making the French pay dearly, too much fire was hitting the flying warship.
Captain Ishida Mitsunari's desperate cries for help came too late and as the southern flank ships steamed at full speed towards the battle they were not in time. Mitsunari's ship listed and fell from the sky into the balmy depths below.
The sky fortress was next and the combined French fire brought it down too. The tide of the battle seemed to be turning as the French recovered from their initial demoralising loss.
However, the day was not to be theirs. As the Blazing Sun southern flank arrived and the vicious Uwatsus went to work up close against the French big ships, their devastating firepower shattered what was left of the French fleet.
The Second Battle of Sarigan belongs to the Blazing Sun.
All told an excellent, tight game where we were both within a hair's breadth of winning each turn.
Ultimately my plan worked, sooner that expected due to a lucky critical hit test on the Vauban!
I think the mediums and small ships needed to turn in and come to the battle perhaps a turn earlier, but the basic plan seemed to work well.
I've got to say, the Uwatsu is one of the best Blazing Sun ships - fast, powerful, and at close range difficult to hit.