1942 August Days 4-6.
The lighten strike of the hastily convened and executed counter stroke to the IJN inexorable march across millions of square miles of the Pacific Ocean was in jeopardy from the moment that the strategic intel rolls went for the IJN Forces ( see my smiley face comment in this post) where we rolled up Intercept and then level 1!
The US had sent its taskforce with Raiders and Marines who were barely ship shape, supported by mediocre pilots and a Navy that really did not understand land operations at all. What could possible go wrong?
In the last report we saw both sides push forces to the small Island of Guadacanal. Where the fate of this scenario lies. The owner/controller of the Isle at the end of the scenario wins.
It is now time for the Battle Cycle resolution.
The USN choose daylight as his fighting time, this will allow air ops against my weak air force and the potential to pound ships from the air. We roll for initiative in this first Battle Cycle IJN: 8, USN: 7!
IJN have it!
Advantage Player Ground Movement, Battle Cycle
The small IJN task force in the Guadalcanal hex that has an ADP (group of transport destroyers) with a Battalion of tough IJN Marines aboard disembarks. Firs things first!
The ‘Canal is reinforced and now has 2 battalions of Marines and 2 regiments of Engineers.
Naval Movement, Battle Cycle
After Ground movement IJN naval TF #2 steams closer to the Canal hex to build up the air and BB presence with the Ryujo and Hiei steaming to engage the hapless USN ( they are not really hapless..I’m just wishing).
No Air Movement
We really would like to sink the transports and those pesky Raiders/Marines :
Each hex the IJN get to move brings them closer to success. This is a stark contrast to the prior game where the USA had strategic surprise and were in G’canal before we could do much of anything ! Very historical.
Fortunately the table collapsed and robbed my opponent of victory!
Combat! – Round 1
In the combat phase for Naval we end up in short range, great for Torps, but bad also as the USA have a bit of an edge in close range and restricted waters don’t improve things much either.
Wit the opening salvos of torpedo fire and gunnery we see the Tenryu and Yubari both put on a hit each to APD transporters carrying the Marines and the North Carolina BB. Their Gunnery is a disaster rated at 1 they don’t do much but the Takao gets closest with a gunnery rating of 5, rolling a 7…sigh.
The return fire that is resolved simultaneously from the North Carolina, Portland and Northampton kind of surprises everyone.
All the Torps miss. No surprise there!
The North Carolina rated a 5 scores a hit with a 1d10 roll of 3, on the Takao the Northampton misses, the APD misses but the Portland rolls a Zero  at the Yubari and scores 3 hits before we even have to worry about a critical hit roll!
As the Yubari sinks below the waves round two ensues.
The US has a tricky choice now opt to withdraw or place his CV’s up and expose them. The likelihood is they wont risk that in another round of combat so the IJN while battered elect to stay so they can get a parting shot at the USN and maybe sink a ship.
All the ships miss…unbelievable, except for the APD which hits with its Torpedoes and does 3 hits! The North Carolina has just 1 hit left before it sinks but the IJN just cannot score another. She limps away listing badly but under her own power. Likely to be repaired in dock at some point, the IJN fail to kill anything. Here is where the choice of force mixes for the limited TF groups starts to come to play. With the opportunity for a quick hit and some kills on the USN, should I have sent stronger units to the front to take on the USN BB’s? If I did would this have changed the US strategy and have them seeking to bomb key units I need to defend the CVs of the IJN?
The Mogami and Tone could have shot with a two rating at mid range with Torps and FOUR at short range! It is conceivable with a 50% better chance to hit we could have taken out the US BB AND the troop carriers. Delaying the ‘surprise’ invasion long enough to fully reinforce and fortify G’canal.
Little choices in this game have far reaching impact.
The Forces in Truk:
Back to the battle:
The US now runs its air missions (the IJN cannot as it has no air activated). The Saratoga, Enterprise and Wasp launch a strike flying over Guadalcanal air space to attack TF #2! They are intercepted and have to fight off the CAP taking 1 step loss to the SBD’s. The wildcats escape unscathed. They rush on into the flak!
The IJN intercept over the target hex is a mild success inflicting a hit and the final Flak (value 9) score a meager 1 hit on a roll of 2. Worthless bastards. Force optimization was the key here and I did not pay enough attention to my task force mixes, which reinforces the poor planning done at the outset here!
The Ryoyo is targeted by the 3 air groups. The first inflicts 1 hit, the second cracks a massive 3 hits sinking my bloody CVL!!! The BB Hiei takes no damage.
A fantastic mission run by those hapless USN boys!!!
The USN retreats now 100 miles as part of their choice to withdraw from the Naval battle:
The next Battle Cycle is ready to begin. The US must no weigh returning to base (all units need to be deactivated by the end of the full turn in a naval base on at anchor in coastal waters). They could then return in the next month or even in 4 months [it’s a 6 month scenario] with more TF’s and a bigger bombing plan to soften up the strong defenses of the ‘Canal. But by then the IJN will be in full swing in the area and ready to counter attack, or even attack on their own to seek out disruptive targets and executing thwarting or spoiling attacks with its full naval and air capacity, positioned locally.
Alternatively they could resign themselves to attempting the landing now in somewhat adverse conditions and odds, but supported by good air!
The third alternative is resignation. Kidding…. He has a few turns left to try again. IF he garners a Surprise then it could be game over for the IJN.
The USN may not be able to make history happen, as it was denied the element of surprise, the sinking of some bamboo boats and linoleum covered decks wont cut it Admiral!
Only the capture of Guadalcanal is counted as success.