Battle Of Meridan Straits
DISCLAIMER: This RP is fictional, part of the Questarian-Kaigun war of 1941-1975 and as such this event was not roleplayed and the nation in question doesn't even exist.
The Meridan Islands Battle
On 21st April 1948, a Questarian Royal Navy cruiser squadron, accompanied by various destroyers and a seaplane carrier under Captain Aran Harrington engaged a Kaigun Confederacy Task Force attempting to invade the two Meridan Islands. The QRN cruiser squadron did sufficient damage for the local garrison and the cruiser squadron to force the invasion back.
The Questarian fleet of 17 ships was led by Captain Aran F Harrington, RN, and included six large cruisers: Edinburgh, Belfast, Southampton, Manchester, Sheffield, and the eventual flagship, Exeter. The seaplane carrier Empire Express, a converted merchant, provided support for the cruisers as well as two flotillas of Flower and River class destroyers. This formed the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. The large cruisers were brand new with nine 8" guns and a top speed of 32 knots, a match for any Kaigun cruiser, except perhaps the notorious Tone class. The Empire Express could launch six seaplanes, of which all were Supermarine Fireflies under the command of Lieutenant Jack Richards. These outdated biplanes were heavily outgunned b y the fast, deadly, and modern Kaigun aircraft.
The Kaigun Confederacy fleet of 24 ships was led by Captain Mikumo Iziha and included three medium aircraft carriers - Shokaku, Ryujo, and Taiho.. The heavy cruisers Tone, Takao, Myoko, and Nachi were the shore bombardment element and the seventeen accompanying destroyers provided anti air and torpedo assistance. Captain Iziha's flag was raised on Shokaku eight hours before the invasion began.
At 22:30 hours, 20nd of April 1948, a PRAF scout spotted smoke from the Kaigun formation on the horizon. Estimates were sketchy - several large destroyers were thought to be 6" cruisers and the Tone was thought to be a battlecruiser. The carriers were not visually sightable at that hour and as such it was believed that these were passing commerce raiders. The aircraft that flew over to spot was shot down, and since the PRAF garrison was only small they did not risk the loss of another plane. The Admiralty was alerted to their presence, and little action was taken directly. Ironically, when the Tone began to bombard the PRAF airbase, an 11" salvo cut the communications and fearing the worst the Admiralty re-routed the newly formed 2nd Cruiser Squadron under Harrington.
By 23:42 the carriers had arrived and through the PRAF aircraft put up fierce resistance alongside local air defence units, it was an astounding victory for the Kaigun Air Corp, with 9/12 PRAF planes lost to only 4 Kaigun planes. Further bombardment halted the use of the forward airbase at the military island and the planes were either flown or ditched to the local, disused airstrip. In total, all eight torpedo bombers made it across, all four scout planes, however, the fighters had to be ditched because they were too delicate to land on the airstrip, and in any case, probably couldn't take off from the original PRAF base anyway.
By midnight the town of Dartan was ablaze and Kaigun shock troopers were preparing to land via boats deployed from Shokaku. The desperate commander of the island, Lieutenant Commander Arthur Bridlington, was preparing to mount a last stand at the airbase when on the horizon appeared the Belfast. Two minutes later the smoke from the Edinburgh drifted on the horizon and within six minutes the cruiser squadron was visible from lookout points on Mount Trotter. Coming in low from the other side of Mount Trotter, the 2nd Cruiser Squadron was invisible to the Kaigun invasion force. The first blows came when the lookout on the Tone spotted smoke emerging from Mount Trotter, and immediately photographed what was to become a famous picture - six Questarian heavy cruisers emerging from behind Mount Trotter, smoke trailing and their guns raised. Iziha watched helplessly as the Questarian cruisers proceeded to rip apart his destroyer escort. Iziha was now left with a dilemna - swing his cruisers around to counterattack and leave the attacking boats full of Kaigun soldiers open to shorefire, which would surely halt the invasion for now, or cover the beaches long enough for the men to land and then go
He chose to abandon the attacking troops, and quickly turned his cruisers around to assist the destroyers west of the landing point. The Kaigun destroyers, although losing three of their number, quickly regained and fired a pair of torpedo salvos. The fast torpedoes were accurate and three struck Manchester in the bow, ripping apart bulkheads but not miraculously touching ammunition magazines. The Manchester began to list heavily and just after the CO gave the 'Abandon ship' order, the vessel was hit by a full salvo from the guns of Tone causing a massive explosion amidships. Still refusing to go down, the Manchesters list halted at 4 feet and she returned fire, smacking Tone in her aft gun, knocking out a third of the ships firepower in one turret and heavily damaging internal systems. 4" and 5" fire peppered the beleagured Manchester and after the entire ship was alight stem to stern she finally collapsed. A 24" torpedo struck her amidships and triggering her own torpedoes, the Manchester exploded, taking 942 men to the bottom with her.
Torpedoes from Akataze struck Sheffield amidships and heavily damaged her boilers. Another torpedo damaged her rudders, and pouring black soot, the Sheffield charged dead ahead uncontrollably. Again peppered by light fire from the destroyers which she shrugged off. Swerving out of control, the Sheffield dodged a spread of torpedoes from Minekaze and returned fire, sinking the destroyer. Catching Okikaze off guard, Sheffield rammed the heavy destroyer, snapping her in half, sinking the Okikaze, and heavily damaging her own bow. The Sheffields short battle life ended when she took a salvo of shells from Myoko and Nachi, detonating her magazine and quickly destroying the ship.
At 09:33 gunfire exchanges between the Questarian and Kaigun cruisers began. Exeter took a hit to the bridge but kept shooting and both Belfast and Edinburgh rained heavy blows on Takao, ripping her apart from the amidships to the bridge and extinguishing any life onboard as she was sucked underneath. As the fierce battle raged west of Mount Trotter, the Questarian destroyers, still unknown to the Kaigun, sneaked out from behind the island and charged the three Kaigun aircraft carriers with the Thames at the head. The aircraft carriers which had no defence of their own were slaughtered to torpedo fire and close range gunfire. All sank rather quickly, with the exception of Ryujo, whos excellent construction allowed her a little more survivability under the onslaught of Questarian heavy torpedoes and 5" guns.
On the beaches, the shock troopers had been wiped out by a pair of destroyers that split off to bombard the shore. They had been sandwiched between deadly 5" fire and the machine gun and 4" gun emplacements along the islands only natural entrance. Despite heavy losses - almost 1,450 of the garrison's 2200, the Meridan Islands had managed to hold the Kaigun invasion of almost 6,000 marines. At one point in the line two battalions of Kaigun marines broke through the defences and reached Port Meridan. Large parts of the town were captured and remaining garrison at the port retreated into the Town Hall where they fought a vicious seventy minute battle with marines. Outnumbered 10-1 the Questarian colonial troops, consisting of locals and Questarians held back the Kaigun offensive at Port Meridan, even when it was reinforced with a further six hundred troops. At 10:41 21st April the bullet peppered Union Jack was lowered by Kaigun marines after the entire city garrison was wiped out. Commander Dhabi was killed in a last ditch swordfight with the Kaigun marines around the flagmast on the buildings roof. The city was later recaptured when more troops were freed up from the shore operations. The Kaigun did not try anymore offensives into the city, as further probes from various resistance movements halted progress.
To the west of the island, only Tone remained against Belfast, Edinburgh, and Exeter. Southampton had rammed the Myoko and was dead in the water some distance away. Tone delivered a salvo that crippled Edinburgh and left her to die in the water. Belfast and Exeter moved into range and began a gunnery duel with the Tone, who responded by turning to retreat and engaging the Questarian cruisers with her rear guns. A direct hit scored by Edinburgh below the waterline knocked out Tones propulsion, leaving her dead in the water. She suffered an inglorious death as a shell from Exeter smashed a magazine and the ship promptly broke her back.
Despite heavy manpower losses the Meridan Islands had been held against a superior force and the Kaigun had even lost three potent aircraft carriers.
The Sinking of the Musashi
TO BE FINISHED~