I am just beginning my first pbem in AE (against Richard III), and we are playing the Babeslite scenario 26. I have been pondering the use of Force Z on the first day of the war, either the historic or the Sir Robyn type openings. In the past in games against the AI in WitP, CHS, and AE I have had some success with the historic ‘death ride’ of Force Z.
Over the last two years I have had two AE starts in scenario one, and both have been rather successful;
1/ Force Z got into action with the 2 Japanese Kongo class battleships and cruisers and destroyers of the covering force off Kota Bharu. 1 Japanese battleship and 1 light cruiser were sunk in the action, for the loss of 1 destroyer, and Repulse being badly damaged. But unfortunately the Repulse was spotted off Kuantan the next day, and attacked and sunk by Nettie’s. The rest of Force Z safely withdrew to the south, and were sent safely to Colombo.
2/ Force Z got into action with a Japanese landing force convoy, sinking 2 destroyers, a destroyer minesweeper, and several cargo vessels of various sizes. None of Force Z ships were damaged in the action with the landing convoy, but Repulse was slightly damaged in a short inconclusive action with the Japanese covering force while withdrawing. The next day Force Z was attacked by Nettie’s just north of Mersing, both POW, and Repulse were moderately damaged by torpedo hits. But all of Force Z managed to escape south, POW and Repulse was repaired and returned to service.
Now I know that two starts will not be a give me a fare representation on the probable outcome, but it does on the possibilities. So I wonder if the risk is justified, because of the utility of POW, and Repulse in other roles. That also that just the threat that Force Z is still in being, slows the Japanese tempo?