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Opening Salvo: Pt. 4
Condition Zebra Set
by Mons Johnson


        The letter W!
      elcome back! In our fourth preview of the upcoming Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures expansion Condition Zebra, we'll take a look at two new battleships!





West Virginia

Upon its launch in 1921, West Virginia was one of the most powerful battleships in the world. During the interwar years it was one of the "Big Five," the most modern and heavily armed US battleships. The "Wee Vee" had a long history of excellent gunnery, winning several awards for its gunnery. Before the outbreak of the war, she received the CMAX-1 Radar during refit, allowing the ship to track and attack enemy units beyond visual range. On December 7th, 1941, West Virginia was one of the eight Pacific Fleet battleships moored along Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor. She was struck by multiple torpedo hits and settled to the bottom, heavily damaged. West Virginia was eventually raised and rebuilt in Puget Sound, rejoining the fleet in September 1944, just in time for the Battle of Leyte Gulf. West Virginia was part of the group of old US battleships that were assigned to block Surigao Strait. During the battle (the last battleship engagement), West Virginia hit the battleship Yamashiro with her first salvo and helped to crush the Japanese Southern Force.


Game Play: The West Virginia represents the ship as she was in 1941. She's tough and hits hard for her cost, but her maximum speed of 21 knots equates to a Slow 2. Radar Solution, representing both the CMAX-1 Radar and excellence of the ship's gunnery, gives both a boost on the first attack and a bonus during darkness. With multiple batteries and reasonable defenses, attempt to close with the enemy and grab the objectives.

Caio Duilio

Laid down in 1912, Caio Duilio was launched with coal engines and 12" guns. Commissioned in 1916, she spent the rest of WWI ready to oppose the Austrians, but didn't enter combat. After the war, Caio Duilio was given several refits, the most important of which was a massive overhaul that took several years starting in 1937. The ship was lengthened by over 55 feet, the engines were replaced, and the main batteries were reduced in number while increased in size. Additionally the superstructure was drastically changed and the secondary batteries were replaced by more modern versions. It was perhaps the most extensive overhaul of any WWI battleship. Upon the entrance of Italy into WWII, Caio Duilio made a couple of sorties without making contact, then had the unfortunate luck of caught in port at Taranto by the daring British air raid of 11 November 1940. British Swordfish torpedo bombers hit Caio Duilio with only one torpedo, but the single hit caused heavy damage, knocking her out of the war for months. After repairs, she escorted convoys across the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean. Caio Duilio was present for the First Battle of Sirte (17 December 1941), but was unable to close to firing range. Afterwards fuel shortages forced her to spend the most of the remainder of war in port.


Game Play: Being slightly smaller than the average WWII battleship, Caio Duilio doesn't have the toughness to go toe to toe with the larger ships. The Covering Fire ability is best used in support of other ships. Try to keep Caio Duilio at maximum range and fire at the most dangerous enemy ship, allowing the rest of your fleet to close to finish it.


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