If you've just purchased the game and you have chosen to do the American campaign first, this will be your first taste of nighttime action. Under the cover of darkness and in a thunderstorm, you'll be charged with the task of finding and destroying a small flotilla of Japanese oil tankers. Only three heavy cruisers, a handful of destroyers, and quite a few PT boats stand in your way.
- Sink all Japanese ships.
- Save allied ships from enemy attack.
- Destroy the escaping convoy to the south.
Setting the night alight
You begin the mission at the helm of the USS San Francisco, a Northampton-class heavy cruiser. You trail a small group of American ships – two destroyers and one light cruiser. Directly ahead of them is a Japanese convoy consisting of two Fubuki-Class destroyers Hatsuyuki, Fubuki and one Takao-class heavy cruiser, the Aoba. In order to get a gold medal on this mission, you can't afford to lose a single American ship.
Less than 30 seconds after the game starts you'll be in range of one of the Fubuki-class destroyers. Target the magazine first, causing an explosion and a major loss of health. You should be able to take her out with three full salvos if placed in the right spots.
Your next target is the other Fubuki. You can't let them get close enough to your ships to launch torps! This is especially true on Veteran difficulty. If you let those destroyers live too long, they can put up to 18 torpedoes in the water at any given time. Not something you want to see heading towards you or your fleet.
Finally, start shelling the heavy cruiser, the Aoba. Try to get in range as quickly as possible to take the Takao's attention off your leading CL and onto you. Put several salvos into her magazine until it too explodes, then finish her off.
Once the initial group of Japanese ships are sunk, you'll be put into command of the USS Duncan – a Clemson-class destroyer which has had several of her artillery guns blown to pieces. Set your damage control to "Armament", and you're ready to continue the fight.
After you've repaired the Duncan, you finally gain control of all four warships – the USS Duncan, Farenholt, Helena, and the aforementioned USS San Francisco. Duncan and Farenholt are Clemsons, while the Helena is a Cleveland-class light cruiser.
Directly in front of your fleet are the Kinugasa and the Furutaka. Both are Takao-class heavy cruisers that you need to eliminate as soon as possible. Move your entire fleet in a southwestern direction and pull up broadside (and if you can, cross the T), with the Takaos. Launch a large spread of torpedoes at 1.1 miles from your Clemsons, and then keep them moving south, not waiting up for the two American cruisers. Man the San Francisco at maximum range, choose one of the two Japanese cruisers to focus on, and shell it until she slips beneath the waves. Repeat for the next heavy cruiser. Make sure you get your Cleveland within its effective range (1.0 miles is preferred), so you're not taking the CAs on alone. Though it's only a light cruiser, the Helena packs quite a punch.
"Fish in the water!"
The final part of the mission requires you to destroy five Japanese oil tankers which are part of an escaping convoy. You'll also encounter swarms of Gyoraitei PT boats and several Japanese destroyers. Your biggest enemy at this point is the group of torpedoes that are bound to come at you. Losing a single American ship can cause you to fail the secondary objective.
The first thing you'll see is a group of three Japanese PT boats coming toward your fleet, and a sinking Cleveland-class to the south. Split your fleet in two – send the San Francisco and one of your destroyers south, to rescue the ailing warship. Have the Helena work with the other destroyer to start on the convoy. Be sure to dodge all the torpedoes – taking multiple hits simultaneously is a sure-fire way of sinking. Use a combination of artillery and AA fire to eliminate the PT boats quickly.
As you get closer to the Cleveland and the Fubuki that's near her, proceed farther south to encounter a smaller fleet. It consists of a pair of Japanese Fubuki-class destroyers and a single cargo ship. Sinking all three of these ships will accomplish the hidden objective.
Sink each destroyer in the area with your cruiser before they get into range, and more importantly, before they launch their torpedoes. Once you've destroyed the escaping convoy to the south, switch your focus to the oil tankers. From here, target each tanker's magazine or fuel to quickly sink them and end the mission.