Alan R. Arvold and Michael P. Flagiello


   On 19 December 1907, 16 American battleships participated in

an unprecedented world cruise, today commonly referred to as the

"Great White Fleet" (so named due to the ships being painted in

"white and spar" as was common in peacetime). Lasting until 22

February 1909, the cruise deterred hostile actions towards the

United States, most notably those of Japan, raised American

prestige as a global naval power, and impressed upon Congress the

importance of a strong navy and a thriving merchant marine fleet.

It was in fact a dramatic gesture made by then President Theodore

Roosevelt as signal evidence of his "Big Stick" foreign policy.


   In Japan the general attitude towards the United States was

one of anger. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo

-Japanese War in 1905, the Japanese achieved their limited war

aims but because they were the winners of the war they felt that

they should have gotten more. As President Roosevelt was the main

negotiator for that treaty the Japanese felt anger towards the

United States in general and him in particular. Then in 1906

California passed a law barring children of Japanese descent from

attending any public school. What started as a local matter was

raised to the level of an international incident by the Japanese

Imperial government and talk of war between Japan and the United

States began to circulate not only in Japan, but also around the

world. But on the Japanese side this was nothing more than saber

rattling as they were in no condition to enter into another war

so soon after the end of the previous one. (Their economy was

still recovering from the Russo-Japanese War and the Imperial

government was still paying off the huge foreign debt it had

accumulated during the war.) So when the Great White Fleet began

its cruise, the Japanese rightly discerned that they were going

to be visited by it, even before the United States announced that

the fleet would make a stop in Japan. Faced with the prospect of

either having to back up their war talk or back down, the

Imperial government wisely decided to back down. When the Great

White Fleet arrived at Yokohama in October of 1908, the Japanese

staged a three day celebration in honor of their arrival. This

served to ease tensions between the two countries and war was

averted. To be doubly safe, the Japanese sent their navy into

the Sea of Japan on extended fleet maneuvers and to "keep an eye

on the Russians" so they would not interfere with the Great White

Fleet's visit. But this was mere subterfuge to keep the fleet

away from the Americans so that some of the more war mongering

leaders in the Navy could not create an "incident" that would

trigger a war with them.


   To make a scenario about the Great White Fleet's visit to

Japan, one must change history a little. Here history follows its

normal course except that the Japanese Imperial government does

not send its fleet into the Sea of Japan, but instead just has it

remain in port. The Japanese naval leadership does not accept

this course of action and on their own initiative orders the

fleet out to intercept the Americans and escort them safely to

Yokohama if their intentions are peaceful or deal with them

directly if their intentions are warlike. Of course the

commanders of the actual Japanese fleets going out are the more

war mongering ones of the bunch and it is their intentions that

the Great White Fleet does not make it to Yokohama. On the US

side the commander of the Great White Fleet is no fool, and while

his primary mission is to get the fleet to Yokohama and in the

process preserve the peace, if the Japanese want to give a war

then he is to give it back to them with both barrels.

(Historically the Great White Fleet spent eight days at their

previous stopover in the Philippines getting ready for a possible

confrontation with the Japanese fleet. This included two days of

intensive gunnery practice, three days of intense maintenance and

repair, and three days of fully loading up on coal and supplies.)


Operational Scenario 21

War or Peace?

12 October, 1908

Maps: Use the operational map from 1904.

Rules: Being a Pre-Dreadnought era scenario, the special rules

from 1904 are used. Exception: Special Rule 19.0 Effectiveness,

is not used in this scenario.

Playing Pieces: This scenario requires the playing pieces from

1898 and US NAVY PLAN BLACK for the Americans and from 1904,


Fleets: The Japanese uses the fleet pieces from 1904 and the

Americans use the fleet pieces from 1898.

Hit Record Sheets: The American uses the sheets from 1898 and US

NAVY PLAN BLACK. The Japanese uses sheets from 1904 for most of

his ships. The Japanese Russian prize ships use the sheet from

GREAT WHITE FLEET. Japanese ships BC07, BC08, B09, and B10 use

the sheets from CRUISER WARFARE.

Time Frame: 90 turns. The American player may choose the turn on

which play begins.

Starting Weather Condition: 1 (Clear)


Japanese (Central Powers) Forces

At Sasebo (Z17)

Leader Togo

B02 Fuji

B03 Shikshima

B05 Asashi

B06 Mikasa

AC01 Asama

AC02 Takiwa

AC03 Yakumo

AC04 Adzama

AC05 Idaumo

AC06 Iwate

AC07 Kasugo

AC08 Nisshin

AC09 Aso

C09 Chitose

C10 Kasagi

C11 Tsushima

C12 Niitaka

C13 Otawa

C19 Tatsuta

C22 Tsugara

31 x Type 21 TB


At Kobe (AC26)

B11 Iwami

B12 Sagami

B13 Suo

B14 Hizen

B15 Tango

B16 Iki

CD01 Chin Yen

CD03 Mishima

CD04 Okinoshime

C17 Hashidate

C18 Matsushima

20 x Ikuzuchi Class DD


At Yokosuka (AG33)

B07 Kashima

B08 Katori

B09 Satsuma

B10 Aki

BC07 Tsukuba

BC08 Ikoma

13 x Hayabusa Class DD


American (Allied) Forces

At Sea Zone M29

B5 Kearsage

B6 Kentucky

B7 Illinois

B9 Wisconsin

B11 Missouri

B12 Ohio

B13 Virginia

B14 Nebraska

B15 Georgia

B16 New Jersey

B17 Rhode Island

B18 Connecticut

B19 Louisiana

B20 Vermont

B21 Kansas

B22 Minnesota

5 x Slow Transport


Special Rules

Ports: The American player may use Shanghai. The Japanese player

may use all Korean and Japanese ports, plus Port Arthur and

Dalny. All other ports on the map are considered to be neutral

and may not be used by either player. All ports have unlimited

refueling capability except the following: Dalny, and all Korean

ports may each only refuel five fuel boxes per turn.

Port Destruction: Any port bombarded by at least four battleships

(two armored cruisers count as one battleship) may not be used

for refueling for the remainder of the scenario. The Japanese may

not bombard Shanghai. (Being an international port, the Japanese

would not want to risk intervention from third party nations who

would not take kindly to Shanghai being bombarded.)

Fuel Use: Mark off two fuel boxes on each American ship. In

addition, each American ship is considered to have expended fuel

for five more sea zones towards its next fuel box.

Russian Prizes: The Imperial Japanese Navy refitted most of the

warships captured during the Russo-Japanese War and put them into

service. By October 1908, the coastal defense ships Mishima and

Okinoshima, the battleships Iwami, Sagami, Suo, Hizen, and Iki,

and the armored cruiser Aso had joined the fleet. These were

ready by the time the American Great White Fleet showed up in

Japanese waters. The other prizes took longer to repair, but the

fear of an American attack would have hurried them to completion.

Thus the battleship Tango and the cruiser Tsugaru, which

historically joined the fleet in 1909 and 1910 respectively,

appear in this scenario as well. Although most of the prizes

ended up as training ships, again the fear of American attack has

forced them to be used as front line units.

Initial American Course: The American force operates as one fleet

at the beginning of the game. It must plot out a course to

Yokohama (Sea Zone AG34). The course may be as long and devious

as the American player desires, given the limitations of his

ships' supplies of coal. Once the American fleet has made contact

and has been fired on by a Japanese fleet, the American fleet may

then break up into smaller fleets and each new fleet may be given

new mission.

New American Missions: Once fired upon the American fleet may

plot a new mission or missions if it breaks up, starting on the

next turn. The missions that may be plotted are Raid, Intercept,

or Abort. A Raiding fleet may have any number of ships and does

not require a leader. (The Great White Fleet had four Rear

Admirals in it so leadership was not a problem.) Because the

American ships were equipped with wireless communications,

Raiding and Intercept fleets plot their movement as in the

Standard Rules.

American Slow Transports: The five American slow transports were

not troop transports but were in fact support ships (two stores

ships, one repair ship, one hospital ship, and one commander's

yacht to be exact). Should the Japanese sink any of these ships

they only receive the standard point value for sinking merchant

ships for them. One of the stores ship carried a small emergency

supply of coal should one the other ships run out of fuel. (The

American player must secretly designate which troop transport

this is.) If an American ship runs out of fuel and the designated

troop transport is in the same Sea Zone, that American ship may

have enough fuel boxes restored so that if may move to the

nearest friendly port by the shortest possible route, providing

both ships spend the entire turn in that same Sea Zone and the

mission Coal has been plotted on the log sheet for that fleet.

This may only happen once in a game.

American Merchant Raiding: For every merchant ship that an

American raiding fleet sinks, the American player may restore two

fuel boxes, no more than one per ship per turn, in his raiding

fleet. (What is happening is that the Americans are stopping

Japanese merchant ships, capturing them, then stripping them of

what coal they have before sinking them. The merchant ship crews

are left to drift in their lifeboats.)

Contact: When a Japanese fleet makes contact with the American

fleet on the operational map, the Japanese player must announce

whether he intends to fire at the Americans. If he does, then

play immediately goes to the tactical board and the battle is

fought out. If he chooses not to fire at Americans then there is

no battle and play continues on the operational map (the Japanese

are choosing to shadow the Americans and may plot Pursue on the

log sheet for that fleet). This is done each turn that the

Japanese make contact. Once the Japanese have chosen to fire upon

the Americans then the non-firing option becomes null and void

and all further contacts result in battle for the rest of the

game. No Japanese fleet may fire at the American fleet in Sea

Zone AG34.

Japanese Yokosuka Fleet: The Japanese fleet at Yokosuka (Sea Zone

AG33) remains at base through out the game until it is released.

It is released when the American fleet has been first fired on by

another Japanese fleet. It is not released if the Japanese make

contact and choose not to fire. If the American fleet passes

through the Yokosuka sea zone and has not yet been fired on, then

if the Japanese fleet at the base there makes contact, it must

choose the non-firing option and thus no battle will result. (The

Japanese commander of this fleet was very loyal to the Emperor

and was in favor of keeping the peace and thus would not

instigate any action against the Americans on his own. However if

fighting had already broken out between the Americans and

Japanese, he would not hesitate to bring his fleet out to defend

his country and the Emperor.)

Victory Conditions: If the American fleet reaches Yokohama (Sea

Zone AG34) and has not been fired upon by the Japanese during the

entire game, then the American player has gained an Automatic

Victory. (The peace has been maintained, no war will result.) If

the American fleet has been fired upon, then the above Victory

Condition becomes void and victory is determined by the greatest

number of Victory Points in the game. In addition to the standard

VPs awarded for sunken warships and merchant ships and for the

Scenario VPs awarded in the 1904 Special Rules (page 3) to both

sides, the Americans receive 1 VP for each Japanese Coastal Zone

and 2 VPs for each Japanese (not Korean) Port that is bombarded

by at least two battleships. (Still need four battleships to

knock out a port's refueling capability.) The player with the

most Victory Points at the end of the game is the winner.