Update: Fleet Action, Selection and Campaign UI & and an Interview with Chiyoda!
Hello, Captain! USS Mahan here, with the latest dispatches!
The Naval War College has sent me a parcel with some very exciting information, direct from the Bureau Chiefs. As usual, let’s examine our course and heading first:
We are now 8 weeks into our journey into Morgana dominated waters, and the Bureaus have all met their second goals with colors flying! They have each sent updates to compete for the laurels of success, sir.
Research, Design & Art
The Team has been working at full steam, and the results have been spectacular. Each week brings a new favorite, and we're giddy for you to see them all at launch! The Research Team completed work on 6 Belles and Morganas, while Design and Art completed 12, for a grand total of 95 completed out of 158 at launch.
We’ve also received a number of highly useful suggestions about the Belles we’ve revealed, which the Team is reviewing for possible revisions. Correct kimono layering is the highest on the list, so far.
The Team reports that 58 out of 133 Foundation Stories have been completed, with 22 of those considered to be final production edits. Romance and Friendship Stories are now being written, but I am afraid to say that I do not approve.
There have been some, *ahem*, steamy episodes which I have strongly advised belong in the realm of pulp magazines, and not a serious endeavor such as Victory Belles! No doubt the Naval War College has heeded my call for moral probity and are rewriting them as we speak.
As usual, the Chief has send along two of her favorite quotes:
???: Water! Get your ice cool water here!
Sailor: A literal goddess! It must be a mirage!
???: Shucks! Y’all know how to light the brimstone under a gal’s cheeks!
???: Oh! Captain! Please make way, gents! I’ll get back to y’all shortly!
???: Here’s a premium for you, sir! Take it while it’s not hot! Hee hee!
???: And… there we have it!
Captain: ???… my quarters are…
???: ...much cleaner than they were this morning, no?
Captain: When did you have the time to do this?!
???: Here and there while you were out. You mentioned that it was getting a bit cluttered in here, so I took some liberties!
Captain: Especially with the decor.
???: Oh, no, are the doilies too much? I had some lying around that I made, just sitting there, really…
The Bureau reports that 5 voice actresses were added to the cast, a mix of Canadian, American and English Belles- this completes most of the American Belles, although a few remain outstanding.
We continue to look for RP and Cornish accents, as well as Romanian, Greek, Indian and Arabic.
Additionally, the German Belles have been translated, so please let us know if you are aware of any ingénues longing to voice the mighty Kriegsmarine!
Look for a third cast announcement in August, now that the 4th of July fireworks are done…!
Gameplay, UI & Animation
The past four weeks has been an electric time at the Bureau, with great strides taking places in modeling secondary batteries, additional Naval Flag Commands, and bombing attacks of all sorts.
Gun Club Captains will be happy to know that their secondaries can target independently, if provided with a director, and can try to pre-empt those impertinent Destroyers when they make their torpedo runs.
They will be happier still to know that their battleships can now be ordered to try to keep to their immunity zones for a Phase or two, if the Morganas aren’t able to outsail them.
Carrier Captains will be pleased to learn that their aircraft can engage in both dive and torpedo bombing, with appropriate locations being targeted on their runs. Land based support can also level bomb, because “even the B-17s could make a hit once in a while!”
Most importantly, integration with the UI has begun, with very exciting results! Once integration is complete, we will be able to engage in battle with something very close to the final production version. As you can imagine, there’s little that inspires the Team more!
The UI and Animation Team haven’t been idle either, and as usual, they would like to show you the results that have made them the most proud:
First, they have a prototype of the look and feel of top-down attacks.
Well, Captain, those hits certainly feel satisfying to me!
You may notice that the appearance of hits is different- the first is the general consequences of a shell penetrating, and the second indicates a magazine explosion of a moderate severity.
You’ll notice also that the glass ‘shatters’ as the Morgana is hit, sir. Although this is a mock-up, as a ship is damaged, the glass will crack and then break, to give a general idea of the condition of the vessel. Of course, the Hull Points gauge will also show this numerically.
Next, sir, is a prototype of the Campaign Map.
The map has a topographical look, no doubt based on the Geological Survey.
Of special note is the Morgana Mist Region, which is tiled so that [redacted], or, with even worse consequences, [redacted].
You will also notice the circling scout plane, which indicates that you have given the order to scout that Node this turn, sir. It’s important to have good situational awareness, sir!
Finally, the Bureau would like us to present the Fleet Selection screen.
They have chosen to use a playing card analogy rather than passports, the result of several working sessions of debate, sir!
In this screen you can see that Camicia Nera is the current Flagship of the Fleet, and poor Exeter and Algérie are currently damaged. This screen also shows that Camicia Nera is being romanced, which is an...interesting choice. *Ahem* Perhaps it’s because this Captain has not collected certain other Belles? Well, there’s no accounting for taste!
You may also notice that Algérie is a close friend of the Captain, signified by the blue banner, which is really a delightful choice. I can only imagine that Exeter is a new acquisition, because, really, who wouldn’t want to be friends with her?
On the right side, you’ll notice that Parizhskaya Kommuna and Pola are currently transiting a Region, whereas Exeter and Algérie are in need of repair.
Additionally, you may have noted the stars on the Belles proper- that is [redacted] and a truly critical consideration as you [redacted]. So please remember that, Captain!
Our next goal is to complete the integration work so that something close to a full combat can be shown. If it is anything like the prototypes I have seen, Captain, you will really enjoy the pace and intensity of the thundering guns!
Special thanks to Shestak Denys, Ielay Kresh, Vladislav Kuznetsov, Kristina Piltyay and Ivan Stupenko for their hard work in preparing these!
Captain, when we last met, I told you that this Update we would be interviewing a very special Belle, replacing the Captain's Association Belle.
The Association polls will re-open on the official forums for the next interviewed Belle as usual:
But for now, may I introduce...
Miss Mahan! Captain!
Oh, that wasn’t your cue...well, never mind! Captain, let me introduce you to our final Backer Belle, Miss Chiyoda! She comes to us by the courtesy, resolve and leadership of Yuki Ishimaru, who was determined that she should join the Fleet in 1939.
Although the Team was initially reluctant, as seaplane tenders are a very specialized form of carrier, they ultimately could not refuse the chance to bring her into the Fleet. Captain, I hope you’ll order a 21 gun salute for Yuki Ishimaru!
Mahan, if you do not mind, may we conduct today’s interview outside? It’s a very fine day, and I’ve arranged a special treat for you and the Captain.
O-outside? But we never conduct interviews outside.
Don’t you think spending too much time indoors is unhealthy? And wouldn’t it be a good idea to see the sun on the seas and perhaps even glimpse a great frigatebird on the wing?
Augh! It's so...so… bright outside.
Ah, it’s magnificent, isn’t it? The warmth of the sun’s rays, the breaking of the ocean’s waves… absolutely invigorating. I adore every moment I’m outside, exploring all the world has to offer.
Have you ever witnessed the vivid reds and pinks of the Tsubaki flower with your own eyes? Or scratched the head of a red fox while in the midst of a dense forest? Birds like the red-crowned crane and marine animals like the dugong enthrall me as well.
The world is so full of things to see, and I want to see as many of those things as I can.
That is very laudable, Chiyoda, I must admit. What do you have planned for us?
What… what’s that green mat, over there? And are those… are those golf clubs?
So you do know the game - I’m so happy!
I shouldn't be surprised- It’s a very democratic game, don’t you think? Only a century ago, it was only for lords. But now, everyone plays, across the entire world! And the best part is that it is played outdoors!
Miss Mahan, do you see Hiryū-sama there, about two hundred yards southwest of us?
And do you see that little flag, on her deck?
I can see where this is going… I don’t think we want to be hitting anything at her. I’ve met her, and she’s very serious.
Competitions are always serious, Mahan. Don't you think Hiryū-sama would approve?
Now, here are the rules: the Belle who’s able to drive her ball closest to the flag will win. You agree the Captain would find such an exhibition thoroughly entertaining, don't you?
I’ve brought an assortment of drivers with me - won't you take some time to pick the one which suits you best? While you do, I’ll begin my introductions to the Captain!
Of all the oddball hobbies to include in an introduction…
Captain, I have longed to meet you, and am thrilled to be here today. I hope you’ll look upon me with favor.
Now, for a little about myself - I was commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy on 15 December 1938, the second sister of the Chitose-class seaplane tenders. My name - Chiyoda - means ‘field of a thousand generations’. Poetic, isn’t it? It is one of the names of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Suffice it to say, it’s a name I cherish deeply.
I was built at the Kure Naval Arsenal, and cleverly designed so that I could quickly be converted to fill many different kinds of roles. In particular, I was intended to carry midget submarines.
Although they are very cute, my seaplanes are very dear to me!
Oh, Mahan, may I make a suggestion? Perhaps you may wish to pick a different driver.
What? But I like this one - the grip is more comfortable.
Comfort is very important! But, what about the length?
Don't you feel it is too short for you? Wouldn't you have to bend over to properly strike the ball?
Please consider this club, it may be a better fit.
All right - you certainly seem to know your clubs.
Do you think so? Thank you very much!
The finest clubs I have seen are the Emperor’s special set, presented to him by Walter Hagen himself.
Captain, may I continue?
Following my commissioning, I had the honor of sailing immediately into action. In 1938, the Imperial Navy sent me to the front lines of the Second Sino-Japanese War, “protecting our nation, from all four directions.”
At such a young age, I must admit, I found my assignment to be more than a little intimidating. But I found a friend in Kamoi-sensei, an experienced seaplane tender. I admire her courage, strength and kindly guidance. I have learned so much from her.
Mahan, as you’ve been staring at that flag with fierce intensity for some time now, I wonder if you’re ready to try your skill?
Sure? Sure. Why not? Let's just hit balls at one of the severest Belles I know.
I just swing the driver back, and then bring it back down, right? That’s all there is to it?
In a manner of speaking, yes. Go ahead, try!
Here… goes… nothing!
I missed, thank goodness!
Do not worry, Mahan! When the Emperor and the Prince of Wales played at the Imperial Palace, they, too, weren’t at their best. They did not even turn in scorecards!
You were just a little short, that’s all!
Here’s another ball. Won’t you have another try?
This time, perhaps, plant your feet a little further apart, and follow through more with your driver. See? Why not try a few practice swings while I continue talking to the Captain?
Okay, okay. But I really think this is not a sound strategy...
Regarding my speed and weaponry: at my fastest, I can reach speeds of 28.9 knots. I also carry four 12.7cm/40 Type 89 naval guns and twelve Type 96 25mm AA guns, for those incidents where my seaplanes do not drive off the foe. I’m sure you’re much more interested to hear about them, however!
On board, I house twenty-four floatplanes: Kawanishi E7K2s and Nakajima E8Ns. Of all the birds I’ve seen in my life, they are my favorite to watch! Enduring, beautiful and even graceful in their landings...they are a wonder that man has added to the world! Their eyes are sharp, Captain, and they have bombs for the enemy, as well.
Are you about to have another go, Mahan? Isn't this diverting?
No, this is terrifying!
How does my stance look?
It looks wonderful. Give it your best shot!
Here… I… go!
D-did it actually land on Hiryū? Oh no. That's not what I planned...
It did hit her, right on the deck, amongst all those airplanes! Splendid job, Mahan, just splendid. Soon you will be ready for the course at shinjuku gyoen!
Now, may I make a shot of my own? Mahan, would you provide a countdown for me, please? I must focus on making the Tokyo Golf Club proud!
Sure... are you ready?
Three… two… one… go!
Goodness! Now that’s what a golf swing is supposed to look like! Did you see Chiyoda’s form, Captain? Admittedly, my knowledge of golf is less than thorough, but that was lovely!
Such praise is undeserved!
I can’t tell from here whose ball landed closest to the flag. Mahan, would you mind keeping the Captain busy while I go investigate?
Are you sure you want to board Hiryū after we just lobbed golf balls at her? Why don’t we send Leningrad or someone?
It won’t be a problem! Please, excuse me.
She certainly is a plucky Belle, isn’t she, Captain? I admire her verve.
While she’s gone, why don’t I give you her real-world service record?
On 1 September 1939, Chiyoda was still engaged in the Second Sino-Japanese War, where she would remain until May 1940. On the twenty-third of that month, she returned to the Kure Naval Arsenal. There, her aircraft capacity was reduced, so as to free up room for twelve Type A Kō-hyōteki-class submarines.
Once modifications were complete, she sailed in a naval review to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire. Afterwards, Chiyoda and her sister underwent training for the next few months, developing strategies to use their submarines to attack enemy ships and harbors. Oh, I'd love to read their conclusions, Captain!
She was docked at the Kure Naval Arsenal at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and continued training until March of 1942. Thank goodness for that!
While she was present for the Battle of Midway in June and tasked with establishing a seaplane base at Midway, her operation was cancelled following the loss of the Japanese aircraft carriers, including Hiryū. She returned to Japan unharmed, and having seen no combat.
Over the next six months, Chiyoda was attacked three separate times as she ferried seaplanes and submarines: USAF airplanes attempted to sink her at the Aleutian Islands and at Guadalcanal, and the submarine USS Grayling fired three torpedoes at her at Truk. However, all three attacks were unsuccessful, and each time she escaped without damage.
On 8 January 1943, Chiyoda traveled to Yokosuka, to undergo the conversion into a light aircraft carrier. The modifications lasted nearly the whole of the year, and were finally completed on 21 December 1943.
Following her conversion, Chiyoda joined the defensive effort after the fall of Kwajalein. She returned to Kure in April of 1944, and the following month accompanied her sister Chitose and several other carriers as part of Operation A-Go.
During the subsequent Battle of the Philippine Sea, she was hit by a bomb on 20 June, killing several crew members, and forcing her to return to Kure for repairs until the end of July.
In October, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Chiyoda joined the decoy force, assisting the Japanese in luring the American carriers away from the intended area of operation.
However, they succeeded too well. On 25 October, bombs dropped by aircraft belonging to USS Franklin and Lexington (CV-16) seriously damaged Chiyoda. The battleship-carrier Hyūga tried to take her under tow, and the cruiser Isuzu attempted to rescue her crew, but U.S. forces made any attempt impossible.
Chiyoda was sunk by the combined firepower of the USS Mobile, New Orleans, Santa Fe and Wichita. Her entire crew of 1,470 officers and men were lost. Her sister, Chitose, was sunk on the same day.
Mahan, you won!
From what I could tell, your ball must have ricocheted off a plane’s canopy, which sent it straight for the flag.
Of course, I had to tell Hiryū-sama whose ball that was. I’m sure it is no problem, however, even with a slight crack in the glass from where it struck.
W-what did she say? Did she look angry?!
Oh no, not at all.
Actually, she didn't speak at all. She only stared in this direction in silence, gripping your golf ball in her hand.
...wonderful. Just wonderful. Would you wrap up with the Captain while I just pace frantically over here?
Captain, don't you agree that there is nothing finer than spending time outside, in the open air? For me, nature is where I feel most at home. The Morganas - and their war - are a threat to that home, and I must not allow them to hurt the things I love most.
If you believe I could be an asset to the Fleet, then I would do my utmost to answer your trust with all my energy!
Well...it’s been a...pleasure...meeting you today, Chiyoda.
As for the crack in the glass - Captain, I believe I have some groveling in my future. I’ll need to look into the current costs of plane repair...
See you next time.
Sincerely, USS Mahan