The I-Boat Raid and CPO Withdrawal adjustments are in play.
IJN Comments: In Pearl, the 7th AF, both cruisers
(both with 1d, argh!), and three BBs escape (two damaged, one crippled). In
Indonesia, 5th AF is shot down, while both Brits get away unscathed. Mike leaves
the Houston in the Philippines, and a number of brits base in Singapore. Only 1
Alled CV can base in Australia. Usual 7 POC for Japan.
IJN Comments: After patrols and LBA, and a lot of
deliberation, IJN goes on pretty much just a one area attack (my first time I've
done this!) Somehow, I just couldn't make the forces balance out right. I guess
it was the extra ships that got out of Hawaii, but I could not pull off a two
area without a huge lap. Maybe I should have tried anyway.
Elsewhere, one CV goes to Coral, to threaten the repairing BB in Australia. Two CVs each go to SPO and CPO, and one to Aleutians. The two 554s go to Marshalls to defend against the block. One cruiser goes to NPO to try and deny Mike a POC there.
I expect Mike will hit Coral, CPO, NPO, and maybe Aleutians. I even debated putting the Aleutian CV in CPO to further discourage his attacking there. He surprises me quite a bit, attacking Indo with all Brit CVLs and the one American CV that can make it. Two BBs go to NPO, CV + CA force to Aleutians, suicide CV to Hawaii, remaining two CVs and surface to Coral.
- Indo: Three IJN LBA sink one brit 027 and disable the other. I-boat cripples Saratoga. Then, Allied fire downs two LBA! It's one LBA vs. Hermes, I figured about a 10% of losing the game on T2. Round 2, the 22nd Airflot sinks the Hermes, and in return, the Hermes scores a hit! But it's only for 1d. Whew! Disaster averted.
- Coral: At night, Japanese forces manage to sink one cruiser before going down completely
- USM: Allied LBA sink one IJN 118 before they can retreat
- Hawaii: Hornet sunk unceremoniously in a night action
- Marshalls: agreed to N action, allowing IJN to sink both CAs without loss
- NPO: lone Kako sinks the Allied patroller before being blown into tiny bits
- Aleutians: First round day allows Shoho and Yorktown to exchange, and in the pursuit, the lone IJN 127 is sunk by seven Allied 117s
- Mari: Saesbo lands under cover of night and disables the 7th AF.
Two allied CVs sunk, 1 crippled; roughly even surface attrition. Allies save Attu/DH but other bases are converted and Hawaii T3 conversion threatened. IJN gains 9 POC to go to 16 for the game.
IJN Comments: Mike leaves only 2 CA at Dutch
Harbor, supposedly due to lack of air cover. This makes my job easier, as I
don't have enough material to both convert Hawaii and guarantee to force out a
significant surface force from the corner.
I abandon Indo and focus on converting Pearl. Kure goes to Aleutians and LBA/CV lightly defend the SPO/Marshalls border.
Mike could lap in Hawaii by 1 ship, but certainly not worth it. His crippled CV repairs in Australia, his two functional CVs hit SPO, and surface to Coral/USM. His two northern CAs take a try at my 117 in CPO.
- Hawaii, first round is night, and both marines are sunk. Two following day rounds see all 6 LBA destroyed, but they take Kaga, Zuiho, and Ryujo with them, and disable enough carriers so that all three BBs at Pearl escape (argh!!), although one is crippled in air raids.
- CPO, the Allies exchange CAs and deny the IJN a POC
- Coral/USM, both IJN 118s sunk, New Orleans also goes down
- SPO, first round day sees Enterprise sunk. The two CVs score a hit against the damaged 22nd Airflot... and roll only 2d. I-boat whiffs, but 22nd disables Lexington in the second round and holds the area.
Allies will be up to three functional CVs next turn; IJN down to 6, plus Hosho. Japan needs to only convert Attu and Guad for the full Applebaum. POC goes up 5 to 21 for the IJN.
IJN Comments: IJN concentrate on taking
Guadalcanal. Fleet goes to SPO, LBA and CVs guard the rest of the perimeter.
Some CVs also scattered in Mari/JI to threaten attrition against USN raids.
Mike uses one LBA to control Aleutians (oh well). Surface defends USM/Coral, and most of his raiders hit the JI. The two BB (565,443) and the CV (Saratoga, 1 shy of max damage) all pass their speed rolls!
- Indonesia, the three LBA get a meaningless disable against the British surface ships
- USM and Coral, the IJN cruisers each get a shot in a night action, but get sunk without loss
- Aleutians, IJN cruiser runs in a night action
- SPO, no combat, Guadalcanal invaded
- JI, day action, and I hope to get one more carrier with 5 bonus shots, but no!! The Lexington is disabled by Hosho while Junyo and the I-boat whiff. Fortunately, while Junyo is sunk, Hosho is only disabled. Takao manages to take down a cruiser as well before being sunk.
POC goes up 6 to +27, and only Attu remains USN behind enemy lines. USN will have 3CVs+Vicky and a slightly superior surface force to challenge the perimeter next turn. In hindsight, I did not need as much POC this turn, and could have probably bunched my CVs together a bit more.
Next turn will be a challenge; I'm hoping to be able to take advantage somehow of surface shortage in either Indo or Hawaii. However, the brits haven't been touched, so this makes it harder. I base my two amphibious units in Japan, in the slender hopes I can sneak one of them through to Attu. (but he'll probably read me correctly and send around 6-8 LBA there, so it's only a 20-30% chance).
IJN Comments: Not having enough to defend the
perimeter, I have to decide where my weak point will be, and how much to put
there. I definitely don't want to lose either Indo (exposing JI) or SPO
(exposing Indo to the T6 reinforcements). I eventually decide on Marshalls. A
Hawaiian flag shields fewer POC (2 swing in NPO rather than 3 swing in Mari),
but I'd also like to slow the reconversion of Pearl, and make Mike fight for
Hawaii next turn against my LBA.
Then I have to decide where my fleet will defend. With low attrition against both the US and British fleets, Mike can easily lap me by several ships in any area. Although it means going against the Brits, I eventually decide on Indo, as it has the most speed rolls for his BBs. (This also let me get Mushashi from Japan.)
I also had to decide how to max out the POC. I only need to gain two POC, but if I patrolled too many back areas, Mike could abandon his home areas and have more surface available to fight and more LBA available to stop my amphibious units in the Aleutians. But if I don't patrol, Mike could strongly patrol his home areas and stop me from maxing out. So I had to patrol, with one cruiser in each of NPO, Mari, JI, and CPO.
All the rest of my surface ships I just went ahead and ran into Indo, holding back only the carriers to raid. 3 LBA go to SPO, two to Hawaii, and my 3d LBA to Marshalls.
Mike patrols 2 CA each to SPO, Marshalls, Hawaii. 2 LBA each to USM/Coral, 1 to BoB, and the rest (5) to Aleutians. British all go on raid except for 1 CA to Indian Ocean. I understand the CAs, but thought Mike could have afforded to send all his LBA to Aleutians. As it is, I now have about a 50% chance of taking Attu. Also, with the British on raid, that's more SRs Mike would have to make if he attacks Indo.
My fast carriers go to Hawaii and Marshalls, and the few remaining ones go to Indo. If the USN gets all it's air to Hawaii, they still stand about a 25% chance of downing both LBA in the first round; the carrier support was just to make sure little survived that first round. Soryu (and later, the I-boat) went to the Marshalls to attempt to turn back the marine. Indo seemed really shaky, too, but with average speed rolls I SHOULD be at a surface advantage, although a slight air disadvantage.
Mike does indeed hit Marshalls, and I don't know whether I'm glad or not :) Some surface ships raid to Coral (to base in New Hebrides for next turn, I suppose).
- Aleutians, Day, the Allied LBA sink one NLF but only damage the other one. Whew! Attu finally falls.
- SPO, Day - I agonize about whether my 3 LBA should target the cruisers or the marine. I eventually decide on the marine but it's a moot point as I merely disable
- Hawaii, Day - 6 normal and 8 bonus shots sink only the Canberra while disabling the Wichita. Grump!
- Marshalls, Night - ARRRRGH! Soryu gets creamed, while it does no damage in return (neither does the I-boat, which whiffs the Marine). The bright side, if there can possibly be one, is that my LBA survives til next turn to help defend the Hawaiians.
IJN Comments: With 29 POC and a bid of 4, I need to
swing 27 POC to win. If I assume I hold Japan three turns, then I need nine more
My initial plan, with SPO under IJN control, was to hold Indo with the fleet and force Mike to fight my LBA in the Hawaiians. However, Mike bases enough of his BBs in Australia to make this a little iffy.
So I go for a different plan. Fleet holds Marianas instead, and three LBA go to Indo. LBA also go to CPO and Hawaii, where Mike will have to fight. Japan and NPO can be held for 1 CA each. This should swing, in addition to Japan, Indo(4)+Mari(3)+NPO(2)=9 this turn. Also, USN can't patrol Aleutians T6 or T7, so if I can find just one more POC, I will only have to decontrol Japan on T8 instead of holding it. I figure that either I can try to hold CPO for a 1-2 point swing, or stop the Hawaii marine, preventing Allied patrol of NPO on T7.
Mike surprises me by attacking Indo along with CPO and Hawaii. This leaves CPO light, but then I run the numbers and realize that Indo was pretty risky with 3 LBA. I should have sent the CPO LBA there, too. My fears rise when my first round sends away only one of the three CVs. Arrrgh! If he downs two LBA (not horribly unlikely), this could be very bad. Trying to sleep that night (before seeing his return fire), I have nightmares of him controlling Indo, which would mean I would need to find ANOTHER POC from somewhere, and then still Saigon and Singapore would flip T7, allowing the entire Allied navy to engage in Japan T8. Not good.
The next morning I find that Mike gets two hits... but both of them are on the NLF, so he can be sure of holding Lae. I manage to send away the other two carriers (only sinking the Wasp), without further loss. Whew!
In other seas, I sink the two Mari cruisers in day, I send away the 4 Marines in Hawaii, but otherwise Mike downs three LBA.
USN gains 1 point for the turn, score is at +28 for the IJN.
IJN Comments: This turn I simply expected to sit
tight in Japan and await the T8 battle. Looking at the fleet sizes, this may be
a tougher fight than I thought. Beyond the Pearl raid, no BBs have been lost on
either side. USN will have 15BB, 15CA, 10CV, and 9 CVL vs. the IJN 12BB, 10CA,
4CV, 7 CVL, and 6 LBA. Some of the USN CAs will have to patrol elsewhere, but by
going to Indo/Mari/CPO, the USN fleet should be able to be mostly patrollers.
Then, however, Mike bases his T6 carriers in Australia, when I expected them to go to Samoa. This tempts me into another idea, that of fighting for the CPO. The only patrollers that can make it come from the Marshalls. If I decontrol the area, it saves another POC (prevents Allied patrol of Aleutians T8), and Allied ships that fight have to rebase elsewhere, with Midway still under IJN control. In fact, any speed roll failures to the CPO this turn will have to base awkwardly, too.
If I control the CPO, then thats another POC, and T8 reinforcements will be blocked from Japan. I also could probably threaten NPO this turn with my LBA, drawing more air units out of range. Now I regret sticking it out for a second round in the Hawaiians last turn. That damaged LBA could have held Japan this turn by itself, with no Allied air units in range. As a backup plan, I patrol Japan with the Ryuho, intending to screen it with surface ships if I shift into another plan. (Mainly, to threaten sending 3 LBA to Hawaii to deny control there.) However, this proves to be useless, because I forgot the F-boat can send it away 50% of the time. Oh well, and LBA will have to be used. Maybe Mike will be confused and wonder what I'm up to :)
Allies send three patrollers to Hawaii, including 1 BB and 1 CVL. Good! Less that can hit CPO. Heavy patrol to Marianas, too, including two air units that could have hit CPO. LBA go to Aleutians (but not to Hawaii, where the USN CVs in Australia could reach...). My entire fleet goes to CPO.
Now I threaten a 3 POC swing, all I need to win, so Mike will have to fight. He settles on attacking CPO (which in retrospect, was too easy a decision, I should have sent only 1 LBA to Aleutians). Mike had his BBs split between Lae and Kwaj. He doesn't get all his speed rolls THIS time, but still more than expected, including the most important one, the Lexington from Lae making it to the sea zone.
I have a 6 six lap, so Mike calls for day, and gets it. Hmmm... should I target the patrollers, or the CVs? I eventually decide if I can reduce his air enough, my fleet can afford to sit around and wait for a night. I'd really like to base at Midway, too, which also needs fewer USN CVs to pursue or air raid.
So I shoot and manage to take out all but two of Mike's CVs. Excellent! I'm willing to face that should he send away most of my air. The USN return fire sinks Shokaku and Chitose, disables Hosho, and cripples Akagi. However, his hits on Hiyo and Taiho leave them one point of max damage!
In the second round, I sink both his CVs, but he can only manage to disable Zuikaku. I still have Hiyo, Taiho, and Chiyoda. Then Mike calls for night, but I proceed to get two day rounds, and the salvos are good. By the time night falls on round 5, my three air units sunk or disabled 4 out of 5 of his bonus BBs, and the last one is damaged!
Night sees good fire by the IJN surface navy, taking out all of the Americans except for 2 BB, one crippled. Return fire sends away only four of my six patrollers. The next two rounds are both day, which allow me to finish off his BBs. IJN control the area, and win the game! I had to apologize to Mike for my atrocious luck during that last battle, but it could have swung either way.