The I-Boat Raid and modified North Pacific Option adjustments are in play.
IJN Report: The air raid on Pearl Harbor saw the demise of five battle wagons and one cruiser. The West Virginia, Tennessee, and San Fransisco got out untouched. The Pennsylvania was crippled with 4 damage. The 7th AF also had one damage. The most unusual thing was that only one bottomed ship remained for the third and fourth rounds. The air raid on Indonesia was a total success. The 5th AF was shot down in the first round and both Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk in the second.
The IJN got some good news from the location uncertain rolls. Only Group W showed up at all (in the North Pacific as raiders). Interestingly, the USN decided, after that, to keep even Lexington at Pearl Harbor -- so there are no USN CV at Australia for next turn. That'll make securing Indonesia easy.
The other action for the turn came as Exeter, DeRuyter, and Houston went to the Japanese Islands to face two 444s. Houston was sunk in the first round while DeRuyter was disabled. However, in the return fire Hyuga was disabled. It came down to Fuso vs. Exeter. Exeter was sunk. Exeter missed its return shot. Whew! The IJN gambit paid off with Houston and Exeter sunk for nothing in return. That helps move the attrition toward the normal end of things.
Allied comments: John patrols with 2*4-4-4 in the JI and does not support it with any raiders. Thatís too tempting for me, so Houston, Exeter & DeRuyter raid hoping to shell the Emperorís palace. The IJN is favored in the battle but I think 3 POC is worth the gamble. John sinks Houston & disables DeRuyter. But we have a chance when Hyuga is disabled. So it gets a little exciting as Exeter faces off against the lone BB. But it doesnít work out as Exeter is sunk for no cost to the IJN. So much for that ploy.
I get 2 BB, a crippled BB, a CA and the 7th AF out of Pearl Ė better than ave. But Indo is a clean sweep for John. And no groups show up in the HI, so all CVs will come in at Pearl next turn. Sigh.
Japanese Islands (3)
U.S. Mandate (2)
North Pacific Ocean
IJN gains the standard 7 PoC.
IJN Report: My patrols were fairly standard -- with the home areas getting 6, 4, and 2. The three LBA in Indonesia will be enough (two probably would be, but I can't afford to risk it). Ed knows my predilection for going with a three-area attack, so he uses all three LBA to defend the U.S. Mandate.
I haven't done this for a while, but I decide to go with a two-area attack. This lets me hit his LBA (which can make things a lot nicer for next turn). Unfortunately, both CV in Japan fail their speed rolls (a mere 17% chance). I figure the USN will save Pearl Harbor.
I'm wrong, however. The USN decides to take a risk that the first round in the U.S. Mandate will not be a pure night action. Because this only takes two CV, this lets Ed pursue several other ventures -- saving Attu, Midway, and Lae and ensuring no IJN flag in the Coral Sea. Ed's decision means very little surface attrition for the USN this turn.
The first round sees the IJN win all of the preference rolls except the key on in the U.S. Mandate. Of course, most of these were day actions. That let's the IJN CA escape in the Central Pacific, the NLF invade Dutch Harbor, the CA in the Coral Sea wait to see what happens elsewhere, and the DeRuyter to be sunk (with four hits no less). In the South Pacific, the I-Boat disables Hornet to set up a 2-1 CV-LBA battle in future rounds (with the fate of Junyo in the balance).
In the U.S. Mandate, Kaga and Akagi each sink their target (Enterprise and Yorktown) with a single hit. The 4 smaller CV (Hiryu, Ryujo, Zuiho, and Hosho) land two hits on the LBA -- shooting down the 7th and putting one damage on the 10th. If the USN shoots poorly, the Allies could face a knockout threat.
Ed doesn't shoot poorly -- in fact, he shoots very well, sinking four CV. However, because his one miss is the Kaga I decide to hang around and try my luck against two LBA. I get three damage and disabled for my trouble.
In subsequent rounds in SPO, my LBA is shot down while doing two damage to Saratoga.
The turn favors the Allies slightly. Thankfully, Ed had to sacrifice two CV in the U.S. Mandate to pull this plan off or I'd be in big trouble.
Allied comments: John does his usual aggressive patrol that allows him to react to my patrols/LBA. I donít really want a fleet fight, so I put 3 LBA in the USM hoping to dissuade John. But nope. Here comes John with a 2-area attack anyway. Both T2 CVLs fail their SRs to the HI, so that is some help.
There arenít any good options Ė which is exactly the point of Johnís aggressive attack. A fight in either the HI or USM risks a lot of attrition while giving up almost everything else. So I choose a different risk in the USM. Two CVs + 3 LBA should be enough to hold the USM if I get my pure D (72% chance). And Iím probably favored in a D/N although it would be fairly close. Plus that frees up my fleet & 3 CVs to raid some nice areas where I will be favored. I probably lose 2-4 CVs, but there is peril in anything I do. A nice plus for me is the SPO. I can raid the Junyo sitting in port after failing her HI SR if I have a surviving CV.
The turn works out for me as I get my D in the USM and hold that area while saving Lae, Midway & Attu. I even save the CS POC despite the N battle. I lose 2 CVs and an LBA while he loses 4 carriers and an LBA. John loses 2 CAs to my 1. POC goes to 12. A favorable turn for me.
Allied comments: John once again is aggressive putting a lot of pressure on me with another 2-area attack. Iím faced with similar options as on T2. If I defend the USM with my fleet, I give up a lot of the board to cheap patrols. I donít like that option this time either.
So I respond as on T2. An LBA, CV and 2 BBs to the USM. If it is N, my BBs are likely to remove his patrollers. In a D, Iím guessing the 4-banger will shoot my CV which means my LBA is likely to survive against his 3 remaining shots. That frees up the rest of my fleet to raid for favorable attrition (I hope) and save POC. I want the flags in the SPO and CS, so a CV goes to each area.
In the HI, I get my D, but I lose both marines, 2 LBA and 2 BBs in follow up battles. I manage to down the Zuikaku with my LBA and 2 pursuing CAs.
In the USM, Johnís 1st round fire sinks my CV and downs the LBA with his 3 remaining shots. Rats. So much for the favorable probability. After some thought I decide to put Saratoga on Shokaku. If I get enough CV kills, I should be able to hold the USM next turn and avoid the KO. I also target Ryujo with the LBA instead of a patroller. If the LBA whiffs, it wonít matter what I shot at. If I remove (hopefully sink) the CVL, Iím probably favored to take out his patrollers with my BBs in a N action as he would only have the Hosho for air support. Bad decision! I disable both targets, which would have denied him control had I targeted the patrollers. And Hosho cripples the WV in two D actions. Finally I get a N action Ė but too late as I only remove 1 patroller while getting sunk. So Johnís 1 patroller holds the USM.
The other areas fair better as I hold the CS/SPO and get some attrition. Net for the turn are 5 BBs, 2 CAs & 1 CV lost by the USN to 1 BB, 7 CAs & a CV for the IJN. But the POC stays low going to 13.
IJN Comments: I continue a two-area attack precisely to force the USN into battle in the hopes of sinking more CV to make life easier for me on the next two turns. Ed commits only the Saratoga to saving the KO threat. Saratoga is sunk for her efforts (so that my plan works somewhat), but I also manage to flag both the U.S. Mandate and convert Pearl Harbor. That will give me a strong KO threat for next turn. I'll have to exploit it to shore up my holey perimeter.
Allied comments: As expected John puts a number of patrollers in the USM to force most of my LBA there or face a KO threat. I only have 2 CVs that can move which limits my response. Iíd be a long shot to win Indo although the payoff would be huge. I might be able to control the JI, but would likely lose a CV there. Iíd like to contest the SPO, but my CVs would have to target his marines while he sinks my CVs.
It is more important to have a hole in the IJN perimeter on T5 (so the T6 CVs can exploit it) than T4. So I decide to go for surface attrition while not exposing my CVs to his air attack. Hopefully the IB will not sink or cripple a CV (72% chance for me) leaving me a fairly good shot at opening a hole on T5. Iím guessing that 4 LBA plus the Wasp threat will dissuade John from going for the KO (where I think he would be an underdog). And the SPO LBA might be able to remove an IJN marine and save a base. I will be giving up a chunk of POC, but I think it is my best choice.
So I give John his perimeter and go for attrition Ė especially in the USM. I want the CPO open so my AI CAs can raid into the Marianas. I donít want the IJN to get the JI or Mariís with just a CA next turn.
The turn works out better than Iíd even hoped for. The 10th AF disables Sasebo saving a base in the SPO. I get D in the CS and sink Hiei. I sink Maya in the AI over 3 rounds for no cost. We each lose a CA in the CPO.
And in the USM, I get the D/N I hope for letting my air and surface hammer the IJN intruders. And hammer they do! The air strikes sink a BC, cripple a BC and sink Kitakami. The IJN surface fire (4 bonus & 2 non-bonus shots) can only disable 2 CAs while my surface fleet sinks all but the crippled Kirishima. The pursuit takes care of the last IJN ship at no cost.
It is an attrition disaster for the IJN. They lose 3 BCs and 8 CAs to my 1 CA. To add to their frustration, the IB also whiffed. John does pick up 9 POC to go to 22 and has an intact perimeter although my 3 Attu based CAs will be able to raid his interior.
IJN Comments: My patrols are too weak in SPO, but I want to keep a conversion threat against Samoa a serious possibility in order to draw as much Allied LBA there as possible. Ed wisely uses only four LBA there, since that's enough to make me a serious underdog in a KO attempt. So I switch to my SPO offensive -- designed to bring some wayward bases into the fold.
Alas, Ed's one lousy LBA in SPO manages to disable an NLF and save Lae. I choose to invade Guadalcanal so that next turn I'll have the option of shutting down Lae from either side.
However, the really bad news this turn comes from the U.S. Mandate -- where Ed beats up my patrolling force, sinking all 8 ships! Even with Ed's deployment, I figured to get four of those ships out of there with a chance to sink a couple of US ships while doing it. But it's not to be. I have only 3 cruisers (all 127s) at the end of this turn -- since I also lose the Coral Sea raider and my CPO and Aleutians patrollers. It's a massive hull attrition. I predict Ed will be asking for night action practically everywhere for the rest of the game!
IJN Report: My goal this turn is to establish a perimeter to hold off the USN Turn Six reinforcements -- and to secure Lae along the way. Unfortunately, I don't have enough surface ships to protect my CV in any front line area. I also hope to ramp the POC score up significantly.
The USN can get three CV plus a British CVL into each of the front-line areas -- enough to have a chance at two LBA. That makes it very unlikely that I'll be able to hold the entire perimeter. I use two LBA in Indo and the Hawaiians and one each in the other two front-line areas. The USN will have an easy target in the Marshalls.
Ed responds to my patrols and LBA very well. In fact, I realize before moving my NLF, that if I go to the SPO I will have to sacrifice my CV (the one edge I have left) by asking for night -- something that would cause me to lose the game anyway. So my NLF go to Indonesia where I can freely ask for day action. That'll let my battleship line be happy to see a night action in SPO.
Ed puts a small force in Indonesia, hoping that I'll accept a night action there to land my NLF on Lae. He even keeps a British BB back in Ceylon! His real objective is the Philippines, however -- where the CA raiding the Marianas from Attu will base. He'll let his SPO Marine take Lae back -- after his overwhelming forces there win a big victory.
I lose another CA in the Marianas without inflicting any loss. Fortunately, I sink an Allied CA in the Hawaiians.
Indonesia is first -- to let the NLF have a chance to send away the SPO LBA. I decide to go for day action to stop the USN Marines -- even though a disable result will let him reinforce Lae. Day action is rolled. Both Marines are sunk (though one is by a single hit, whew). Better still, one LBA is shot down and the other takes 3 damage. The British CVL is untouched. That should let me win the area even if he does manage to keep Lae. In return, Ed disables one NLF and whifffs on the other. That kicks the Allied LBA out of Indonesia and SPO. Shokaku and Soryu pursue the British naked. (It's not like I'm going to have surface escorts in this game EVER again, after all.) Formidable and one British cruiser are sunk when the pursuit is finished.
In the South Pacific Ocean, the Allies win their preference for a night action. That means I'll lose Hiyo for naught, alas. The IJN BB sink North Carolina, Pennsylvania (the two damaged BB), and three cruisers while another cruiser takes 1 damage. In return, Hiyo is sunk, Yamato is disabled with 3 damage, Mutsu is crippled and disabled, and one of the 444s is disabled with 2 damage. Another 444 is crippled while the Haruna (the last 436) takes two damage. The Marines re-take Lae after the I-Boat sinks Hornet.
The next round is daylight (with the IJN asking for night). I would have run but I wanted to give my BB another shot at fighting. My LBA manages to cripple and disable Wasp to Samoa. The Allied CV inflict one damage with 10 shots.
The next round the USN agrees to night action -- to ensure the chance to sink some ships just in case they lose the air battle. The IJN sinks Massachusetts and two cruisers. Nice shooting again! In return, the USN disables Nagato with 2 damage, disables Haruna, and sinks two 444s (ignoring the crippled 444).
Now the USN asks for night and doesn't get it. The IJN LBA sinks Lexington with one hit for six damage! There will be no functional USN CV from the first five turns next turn. In return, the Allies land one hit for 2 more damage. The IJN now look favored to win the AREA! If that happens, Lae will convert to IJN control due to isolation, POC will go to 29, and the perimeter will be solid!
The next round is night. The crippled 444 is sunk without doing any damage in return. The USN loses 8 hulls (3 BB and 5 CA) in exchange for 3 BB and some damage. It doesn't make up for last turn's carnage, but it definitely helps a lot. The reason, of course, is that the IJN surface navy is now almost entirely BB -- so they have a lot of kick and staying power even though their numbers are few.
Now it's day action -- one LBA with 3 damage vs. the Victorious. The LBA rolls its first whiff. The Victorious rolls a hit to deny the IJN the area, keep the POC from hitting 29 (it'll be 27), and keeping Lae in Allied hands. Nonetheless, the IJN CV and LBA traded themselves for two Allied CV plus another crippled. Over-all, the USN gets the bare minimum it needed, but the IJN profits nicely from the battle too.
The IJN still have six CV left from the start of the game -- but only two CA and six BB to back them up! It's going to be hard just to patrol the areas I want to patrol! I may have to put a CV or two on patrol. The massive hole in the perimeter in SPO also lets the Turn 6 reinforcements reach a lot of areas. I'll be hard-pressed to contain them in any rational sense, but we'll definitely be giving it a college try.
IJN Comments: My patrolling forces are so pitiful that all I think I can even try this turn is to draw a tiny perimeter around the NE corner. Unfortunately, for me this includes an Allied Attu.
The turn goes by quickly with little combat. However, I make a crucial mistake -- the lone patroller in NPO is dislodged by the lone Allied CA from Attu. I sink the Allied CA in NPO and Hawaiians, but the Allies have such a huge surface edge that it won't matter. The single POC from NPO ruins all my POC calculations. Now I'll have to find a POC somewhere.
IJN Comments: This time I remember to patrol the NPO with two CA. I actually repair two CV this turn since there's no way the USN will challenge me in the Japanese Islands. However, I decide to use my LBA to pick up that missing POC from last turn. One LBA goes to each of Indo and Coral Sea to draw Allied air away from SPO where I feel it'll be easy to disable the New Mexico and take down one LBA. I also send Shokaku on a suicide mission to the U.S. Mandate -- again to draw off firepower from the SPO.
In the U.S. Mandate, the move is total bust since it draws off only a single CVL. Worse, the Shokaku is sunk without even sinking the CVL.
In the Coral Sea and Indonesia, day actions trap my LBA. One is shot down and one is wounded with 3 damage. I sink nothing in return.
In the South Pacific, I lose all four LBA and fail to remove the two patrollers besides.
The damage this turn is so total that I won't even be able to hold the Japanese Islands next turn. That one POC from last turn sure is going to cost me.
I'd expected to deny the USN the SPO, save Truk, and get back to Japan with 2-4 of my LBA. Instead I got nuthin'.
IJN Comments: I go all out for the Japanese Islands (holding back enough raiders only to keep Ed honest). The best I can do is a tie. It's not enough as the USN easily wins the area -- crushing my carriers on just two rounds. My only solace is that I keep hold of Dutch Harbor. :-)
The USN gains 16 POC to win by 1 POC before the bid is applied. The bid makes the final USN victory a 6 POC margin.