- Meet with the Royal Navy
- USS Houston must survive
- Sink the Haruna
- HMS Exeter must survive
- Sink I-23
- Destroy all enemy warships
One of, if not the, hardest campaign missions in the game, this mission will most likely test you many, many times. You start south of an island in the Java Sea, with command of the Northampton-class heavy cruiser USS Houston, escorted by the two Clemson-class destroyers USS Walker and Worden.
The battle starts right off the bat - a large number of Vals come in from the direction of the island. These Vals will rarely defeat you outright, but they can cause a lot of damage and will likely sink one of your Clemsons. Keep it alive if at all possible - the more ships you have later, the better.
Immediately turn your broadside to the incoming attackers to increase your fire power, and set all personnel on all three ships to fire duty to extinguish fires from bomb hits.
For now, focus on the dive bombers. They'll come at you in one massive wave, but use the twin forward-firing crow's nest guns on the Houston to shoot down as much of the enemy air force as possible before they arrive, diminishing their firepower. You shouldn't have any problems with the Vals.
Once the Vals are done, they'll all run away and not be seen again. Don't worry about them, and instead worry about the wing of Kate torpedo bombers coming in from the west. Quickly repair all damage before setting all personnel to water duty, to repair hits from torpedoes. Again, flak the Kates down as they come along, and dodge the torpedoes as much as you can. See if you can turn to starboard and present a smaller target for them - don't present a large target for them, since once they drop their torpedoes they'll all run away, just like the Vals, never to be seen again. Take as many down as possible, but don't worry if most escape.
The final enemy for the first part of the mission is I-23, a submarine by the southeast of the island. This submarine is what you need destroyers for - send both destroyers at the submarine and take it down, using typical anti-submarine tactics against it. I-23 isn't smart enough to hit your destroyers, so have the Houston retreat to a safe distance and avoid its torpedoes. Alternatively you can pull the Houston in so close I-23 can't train her torpedoes on you. Either way, I-23 isn't a major issue. Just get on top of her and depth charge her hull until she goes down.
If you love sea battles, you'll enjoy this next part. The enemy heavy cruiser Haguro and her escorts - the Amagiri and the Akigumo - are duking it out with the British surface fleet you were supposed to rendezvous with. Consisting of the York class heavy cruiser Exeter and the two escorting destroyers Decoy and Hotspur, this fleet is identical to yours - which is identical to the Japanese. You should outnumber the Japanese now 2:1 at best, and you should have few problems sinking this surface fleet. Don't take a lot of damage though, and sink them as quickly as possible - the worst is yet to come.
Now is the hard part. The final test between you and victory on this mission is the Kongo-class battleship Haruna, and she's a tough customer at best. The good news is that you receive reinforcements in the form of the USS Nautilus - a submarine, obviously. As a sub, it can take down the Haruna single handedly.
The bad news is that the Haruna is escorted by not two but three destroyers - which can make mincemeat of the Nautilus in short order. If you're a submarine ace, you can send the Nautilus in and sink the Haruna in short order, but if you're not - you're going to need another plan. Additionally, the Houston and, if you want the silver medal, the Exeter must both survive. This is quite hard to pull off with a battleship that outranges and outguns you. To top it all off, in order to get the gold medal you have to not only sink the Haruna but also all her destroyer escorts - which means getting in close with the Haruna, leaving your other warships open to attack.
Perhaps the worst part of this mission is that, due to the Haruna and her escorts spawning at different locations every time, it is impossible to draw up a strategy that works all the time against it.
One tactic that seems to work is by rushing the enemy warships with your destroyers. The enemy has Fubuki class warships, which outrange and outgun your own destroyers, which means that it will be a difficult battle at best. It works best when you can get extremely close to the warship you're targeting, allowing you to fire massive torpedo volleys at it until it goes down. If you can maintain a 1:1 kill ratio with your destroyers, you should be in good shape.
Once the enemy destroyers are down, you can send the Nautilus in (you really should order the Nautilus to move in so that the time the Nautilus and the other destroyers arrive on scene is almost simultaneous) and torpedo the living daylights out of the Haruna before her super-long range guns can sink your heavy cruisers.
Another tactic that can be attempted is luring the enemy destroyers away from the battleship. One DD will aim for the Nautilus, but the other two will attempt to hit your ships. Because the Haruna moves at 25 knots, your ships can outrun her for a while until you hit the edge of the map. Once you feel that the destroyers are sufficiently far away from Haruna to strike, destroy them with shots to their magazine. Then have your fleet run away while you perform the head-on attack to sink the final destroyer. You are then cleared to torpedo the Haruna.
Whichever tactic you choose, you should bring Nautilus somewhere close to the Haruna while your cruisers take on the enemy destroyers. When submerged, you travel at the same speed as the battleship, so chasing her will be somewhat impossible. Surfacing to travel faster will be suicidal (especially on Veteran level), as you'll be mincemeat to her artillery. By keeping Nautilus close to the Haruna, you can torpedo her at short range once the destroyers are done.
If you do end up chasing the battleship with your sub, a tactic which might work is to shoot stray torpedoes towards the area in front of the Haruna. It shoud force her to slow down to avoid it, helping you to catch up with her.
Regardless of how you sink the Haruna, by torpedoes or by artillery (if the Nautilus sinks) or torpedoes, once she's under, the mission is complete. Take a well-deserved breather.