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Opening Salvo: Pt. 3
War at Sea -- Task Force Set
by Rich Baker

The new Axis and Allies Naval Miniatures: War at Sea -- Task Force set hit store shelves on Jul 25th! For our second salvo, we take a look at Italy's Zara and the USS San Francisco.

The Zara was the lead ship in a class of four excellent heavy cruisers. Unlike previous Italian heavy cruiser designs, the Zara-class ships traded speed for protection; they were very well-armored by any standard. Three of the four ships were lost on the same evening, during the Battle of Cape Matapan. Pola was torpedoed, and Zara and Fiume had the misfortune of being surprised by three British battleships when they went to her assistance. The Warspite, Barham, and Valiant opened fire at close range and destroyed the Italian cruisers in minutes.

USS San Francisco
Like the Zara-class ships, the U.S. Navy’s New Orleans-class cruisers were better armored than their predecessors. And, also like the Zaras, the class suffered badly on one inauspicious night when caught by surprise. USS Astoria, USS Quincy, and USS Vincennes were all sunk by Long Lance torpedoes in the disastrous Battle of Savo Island. San Francisco herself was savagely pounded during the first night of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, taking hits from Japanese battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. But she survived the battle and fought on to the end of the war.

Check back next Monday when we will be focusing on a new pair of units from the Task Force set. Until then, go to our message boards to talk about this preview.

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