USN misses search [on approach], did not search in hex, I think there is a problem here with how we played does it mean you almost always auto spot, when searching in hex? Especially if you wait until units arrive on target hex.?? Sound right. So the US defender missed an opportunity to search I think, or perhaps should have waited to search in hex and thus be alerted more easily.
TF 04 and 07, air roll to co ordinate and succeed!
The combined strike survive the AA [5 step rolling an 8 to miss], Then the experienced IJN pilots go to work.
The Hornet is struck by the attacks in two two waves taking 1 and 2 hits respectively, surprise is complete, [Str 6,twice with 4 and 3 rolled. You really need a two or less to whack them harder than 1 or 2 hits.] These hits impact deck capacity on the Hornet and she shoves 3 unit steps of aircraft off the burning flight deck.
The high risk high reward attack was executed flawlessly now the IJN boldly return to their carriers for a dangerous dusk landing losing 1 step. L
Sees the clock roll to night time operations and the end of the Operation cycle and thus the month.
The disadvantage player, the IJN have 5 cycles in a countdown to the end of the month. In that time they can attack once in the first phase and must then position forces in port or in coastal waters. The cycle begins for the IJN, as the USN de activates in the Guadalcanal hex in inter coastal waters with 2 task forces supporting the 11 steps of marines on the island.
As Day 16 dawns the USN is attacked again, this time they spot early and the single attack that the IJN can conduct in the first end of month cycle only is spotted, prior to executing.
This time the CAP works over the L2 quality fighters, 4 steps are lost leading to abort of one attack!! Disaster. The Hornet and Saratoga have their revenge!
The other Air group presses onwards. The IJN aircraft take out 3 steps of US air also. The skies burn.
The strikes go thru, if not in an underwhelming fashion. Saratoga takes one hit as a secondary target , and the Hornet ratchets up to 5 of 6 hits, she is thus aflame,, listing and may well sink unless something drastic happens.
The rest of the IJN battlegroup cannot close to firing range in this cycle so they head back towards Rabaul to recover and re stock. They may well have bitten off more than they can chew if they took on all the US cruisers in any case.
Strategy note. As part of the opening moves and actions the IJN may be smart to leave the Engineering unit in the island near G.cancal and build the airfield their thus extending it strike range South of the Guadalcanal area to allow for harassment and bombardment and spotting. Without air on the ground in G’canal the Japs are at a bit of a disadvantage.
Rules – forgot US OSB which allows reinforcement of base. We place this, and this would probably have changed IJN targeting? 5 hits on that I think destroys it and removes the ability to reinforce the island. A big miss by us as players and that will certainly change the dynamic of the rest of the scenario.
As hitting the reinforcement would be more valuable than the sinking of CVs. Yes??
As October rolls around the weather is clear. The 164th Infantry regiment lands in Noumea, BB Washington and CL Brooklyn arrive also, so the USN will begin another barrel run to reinforce the island and boost the # of ships in the region.
In Truk, IJN Command is given 65 points to activate units realizing that the time is nigh for a response (verses 25 for the USA), the 144thInf regiment and 2ndInfanty division arrive along with the Zuiho, Junyo, Hiyo and BB Haruna. Assorted air replacements arrive also.
IJN rolls 7 on Strategic Intel for a level 2 intel rating. On G’canal the isolated Engineers all break and just the rugged Imperial Marines hold it together.
Force 5= Air units Force 2 – 3 infantry [location note], TF 7/4/3/1 are in Rabaul (?)… The IJN gets 2 more steps of inf into Rabaul, 6 L0 and 4 L1, as well as further bomber support from other reinforcements.
Onto the next month. Stay tuned.