To put it bluntly, I'm never sure how aggressive a position to take when playing operation Narai.
I have 2 ships that I have that I'm confident taking into the operation: Inianapolis (AA spec) and Scharnhorst (Secondary spec) but it seems like I'm always the one in front taking a major beating even if there are ships better suited to the job which usually end up with me dying before the final fight. Often at least half my teamates are hanging around with the 'lead' assault ship (the one in the middle of the formation with the repair aura) or even further behind.
With Indy I usually hang around near the foremost troop carrier of the formation and try to screen against aircraft but often there aren't many player ships forward of me. I usually cut down a lot of aircraft before they can do much damage (In the most recent game I topped out at about 50 aircraft shot down) and do a fair amount of surface damage but since I'm the furthest forward player ship, I get hammered before I reach the deployment zone and there's rarely a BB or other ship ahead of me to support me into the bay.
With Scharnhorst I try to be about 1-2km in front of the transport formation but there's rarely any AA cruisers that far forward (they're often hanging in the middle or the back) so even popping the catapult fighter and maneuvering as best I can, I still on average eat a couple of torpedoes and several bombs which leaves me 2/3rds dead before I even enter the bay. I either continue the push and die quickly or hang back with the other players and let the leading assault transports get torn to shreds.
So what do I do? I feel like if I hang back in the middle of the formation with the other players then we'll lose at least 2 assault ships to aircraft and surface ships before I'm in a postion to start shooting up the bay...but playing my usual postion gets me killed trying to cover the NPC ships because I have no support that far forward.
In the most recent game (that prompted this post) I'd taken my Indy into the bay down the middle channel with the first assault ship and within a minute I was sunk because I got focused by the reinforcement spawn...right about the time a Gneisnau and Pensicola came into the bay with the 'lead' assault transport and a Nagato popped up at the northern entrance, all at full health because they'd been hanging back and letting the the leading elements go in supported. Either of the BBs would've been better than me at leading the charge into the bay but they hung back so we lost 2 assault transports (and me) because I couldn't cover everything alone.
Basically, I want to ask if I'm playing too aggressively and I should hang back near the middle/rear of the assault transport formation and just accept we'll lose the first 2 transports...or am I just getting bad luck with teams and they're being too passive? Is the fault with poor positioning on my part or my teams?
Being ahead of the transports is a good idea as enemies wil target you instead of them. But you must not isolate yourself or when the CV will atack, you will take too much damage.
As a Scharnhorst, go straight ahead at 3/4 speed, start killing the forts then focus on the closest enemies (DD & cruisers must be kill first to prevent them of launching torpedoes). When Missouri arrrives, angle yourself if you are focused and rush him to use your torps. Then take the middle straight, kill the fort and the CV (but don't rush iin the melee, slow down to 1/4 at the exit of the straight), have fun with the red transports and then deal with the attack force, focusing first on CV and cruisers.
For the Indianapolis, you must be ahead but not the first one as you can't tank damage, focus on cruisers and DD, yo ucan burn BBs later. When the CV attacks use your Def AA to panic the bombers and cover your teammates. If you take damage go in the repair zone as you will need those hp at the end. After Misourii, you have the choice : if noone else goes to the south west straight, ten rush there to kill DDs and transports, if someone else goes there, staay with your main flett to give AAA cover and focus the DD and cruisers. Try to find an island to shoot from cover when the main fleet arrives to save your HP.
A gunboat DD can do well in Narai, but as yo ucan''t tank, you must either stay with the transports or rush to the flanks to kill enemies at short range with torps. Using torps to deal with Missouri helps well, then yo uhaveto go south west to kill the trnasports and then try to use smoke to cover team from main fleet.