* * 2005-2007 BPA Single-Elim * *
* * Final * *
Darren Kilfara (IJN; Bid 4) vs. Charles Drozd (USN)

The I-Boat Raid and CPO Withdrawal adjustments are in play?

Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4
Turn 5
Turn 6
 

Turn 1

IJN Comments: Not an ideal start for me: four BBs (one crippled) and 1 CA escape Pearl along with 7th AF. Worse, 24 shots fail to even damage the 5th AF in Indonesia, which escapes during a Night Action. Saratoga is the only CV to make it to Australia, which is what they call “small solace”.

USN Comments: Darren did a wonderful job detailing the combat results of the turns, so I will just detail what my thought (or lack of though) processes were during the course of the game.

With Darren’s Air Raids so poor (nothing hit in Indo, 3 BBs, 1 CA, 1 Crippled BB, 7th AF escaping Pearl) the only thing that was missing was 3 or 4 carriers showing up in Australia! Location Uncertain resulted in the Saratoga arriving in the Hawaiian Islands (and then withdrawing to Australia) while Groups W, X, and Z hung out on the west coast. With nothing exceptional happening PoC was +7 for the IJN.

Turn 2

IJN Comments: It always felt like a one-area attack would be needed after that poor T1. I awaited the 4 USN LBA placements with interest – they were a curious scattershot approach, I felt, with 2 in USM, 1 in SPO (why?) and 1 in CPO. I decided to offer Charlie an 18 v 16 surface advantage at Pearl and otherwise hoped to knock off a few LBA (and/or entice the USN into battles where they might lose CVs instead of LBA) and make my life easier in HI on T3. Charlie responded by targeting an all-out block on HI – which I only belatedly noticed – in heavily backing up his patrollers in the Marshalls and CPO.

I won every R1 preference roll, but I didn’t exactly get my own way thereafter:

• Coral Sea: Hiryu sank the patrolling/crippled Oklahoma, and then we hightailed it for Truk.

• SPO: Both sides whiffed in their LBA attacks, and then Charlie withdrew.

• Indo: The two big British CVLs were sunk and Hermes crippled at no cost to the IJN – a good result.

• CPO: My SNLF was sunk along with Zuikaku, with Soryu disabled to give the USN control of the area after Yorktown was sunk and Hornet disabled.

• Marshalls: Hosho sank Enterprise, and the I-boat crippled Lexington but my LBA whiffed twice and eventually got sunk by Saratoga along with Hosho, and my BBs couldn’t hang around long enough to knock out the patrollers, Ise and Fuso getting sunk in the bargain.

So the block was in place, with POC at +14 before the bid; I’d now rolled 36 LBA dice without a hit. I did have 16 airstrike factors and 16 surface ships based at Johnston, but would it be enough?

USN Comments: With only two patrollers in US Mandate I was not all that concerned about a 2 area attack (at least not Hawaii and US Mandate) because of all the extra ships I had floating around, so I felt I could be a little more aggressive with my LBA placement, 1 in SPO and 1 in CPO gave me the flexibility of having a little extra firepower if I tried to save either base, plus the ability to possibly flag those zones without using a patroller.

My biggest concern about my raider move was that Darren would stay for multiple Day actions in the Coral Sea. I ended up sending a BB that would have gone to the Marshalls there instead as added incentive for him to leave sooner and not later.

After combat-

Darren’s fleet is split in two, with the bulk at Johnston Island and the remainder mostly at Truk, with a few cruisers in Yokosuka and Attu for patrolling the NorthEast.  I base the CPO force at Midway, and the Coral Sea units at New Hebrides while the crippled Pennsylvania heads to Pearl for the shipyards, and possible air raids.  The crippled Lexington went to Australia where a decision would have to be made on repairs.  The remaining survivors rebased at Samoa.  I thought about basing the Saratoga in Australia to add to the threat against Indonesia, but I felt is was more important to maintain the pressure where the hole in the perimeter was.

I guess I have to be pleased with the results from turn 2, I set out what I accomplished to do, and the only question will be was the price too high?  I expected to lose 2-3 CV’s; obviously 2 + a cripple is within that range, but even accomplishing what I set out to do, I still look at the board with apprehension.

Turn 3

IJN Comments: Charlie patrolled 2 CAs into the Marianas in response to my lone 118, three CAs into the Marshalls in response to my lone 127. Then came the weird part…I put my first two LBA into HI, and Charlie put his first two into the SPO. So I put one into the Marshalls and one into Indo (against the lone British CVL available)…and Charlie put two more LBA into SPO. He was giving me Pearl without a fight? Mmmm, OK. So I was able to back up my patrollers in JI and Marianas with a very strong CVL presence, enough to deter any USN adventuring, sent a lone CVL to the CPO to back up my SNLF there, and kept four CVs and most of my surface fleet from Johnston in HI to air raid Pearl. Charlie sent most of his fleet to the CPO, with a lone BB going to NPO to take on my 127 patroller + 436 raider.

Battles:

• SPO: Charlie got Day but whiffed with 8 LBA dice against my 444, who retreated.

• Coral Sea: The outnumbered Mikuma managed to sink Pensacola on its way down.

• Marshalls: Two LBA sank DeRuyter and Vincennes (finally!), then Atago chased down Canberra as well without getting hit for a perfect result.

• Marianas: Both USN patrolling CAs were sunk in a Day action.

• Indo: The lone British CVL was disabled without reply by my lone LBA.

• NPO: Idaho sank both Nachi and Hiei without getting scratched.

• CPO: Started poorly after I lost the Night roll and had Kure SNLF sunk by two BBs, but four CAs failed to hit or disable Zuiho; the I-boat then crippled Hornet, and Zuiho/Saratoga sank each other. In the resultant pursuit, Nagato, Mutsu and New Mexico were sunk.

• Pearl raid: Before HI was captured, I raided Pearl and sank all three T3 BB reinforcements; Pennsylvania was restored to the crippled status she had at the start of the turn.

Not bad – HI converted, good surface attrition, and remarkably good CV attrition. On T4, Charlie would have only the Wasp available, with two crippled CVs to repair and protect; I had 9 carriers with 28 airstrike factors left in pristine condition. Midway and Dutch Harbor were still Allied, but Charlie’s returns – leaving only California and Houston in the Northeast, the rest going back down south – minimized my worries somewhat.

USN Comments: Since Darren is limited in the forces he has available outside the Pearl Pocket, I have decided to maximize the pressure on his forces outside the bubble as well as threaten the conversion of the Marshalls.  Realistically it doesn’t seem like that (conversion) will be allowed to happen.  Everything else is on raid to react to IJN movement, and break up as many zones as possible.

I felt 4 LBA in the SPO would be enough to flag the zone, thus allowing his marines only one side of Guadalcanal to invade from on Turn 4, as well as providing the flag for the D/N rolls.  I do not expect to flag US Mandate, the 2 LBA are there to prevent his one patrolling cruiser from flagging it, if he goes against my 2 LBA in US Mandate I will probably support with a raiding BB and go for night, hoping the BB can take care of the patroller allowing the LBA to escape for Turn 4.

By not fighting in Hawaiian Islands I hoped Darren would consider sending carriers to Hawaiians to be a waste, and send them elsewhere, but he elected to have 4 carriers remain in the Hawaiian Islands for air raid purposes. 

I ended up deciding to go to CPO on turn 3 for a couple of reasons, the first was that it was the “safe” play exposing my carriers to only Zuiho and the I-Boat, the second was that since I was going to lose Pearl, I wanted to maintain as many bases in the north east as possible.

After Combat-

So much for the safe play, with on CV sunk and the other Crippled.  When I was rebasing my ships, I realized that if I left a significant portion of my fleet in the north, there was no way I would be able to mount a credible defense of US Mandate, so I shifted the bulk of my escorts back to Australia, using a BB and a CA to provide at least a small “Threat” on his home areas.

Turn 4

IJN Comments: With Pennsylvania (again) and Lexington repairing at Samoa, my battleplan was simple: hold the front four with LBA, guarantee JI and Marianas with strong-enough forces, send SNLF backed by 2+ surface ships each to take Midway and Dutch Harbor, and patrol USM with 3 x 118 with a view to raiding it with everyone (and trying to knockout the repairing ships – Hornet now being in Australia – and possibly even control the area). Charlie had 8 LBA to play with; I figured he could either protect Samoa with all 8, in which case the Northeast would be locked up, or he could send a few LBA to NPO/CPO and hope to get a bit lucky with preference and combat dice. In the end, he went with 5 in USM, 2 in CPO and 1 in NPO – a reasonable play, I thought. Still, that made my decision easy for me: 12 surface ships (to mask his 12 available BBs + CAs) and all of my carriers went to USM. I feared Charlie might send everyone to USM and look to win a few Nights in a row with the flag and start whittling away at my CVs with his bonus BBs, but no, only Wasp and the BBs went to USM, with the CAs staying in Coral Sea. A strange decision, I thought.

• NPO: Charlie got Day and disabled my SNLF with his two shots. Drat!

• CPO: Charlie got Day and sank my SNLF with his four shots. Double drat!

• USM: As combat began, Charlie decided that even having saved the two northeastern bases, he wished he had put all 8 LBA in USM (repairing both of his CVs as well). Well, in the first Day round I sank Wasp and shot down two of Charlie’s LBA, damaging a third…then this happened:

Wasp (4+) vs. Akagi
>Roll: 6 4 2 2 (1 hit, disabled)
>Hits: 4 (4 Damage)

5th AF (2) vs. Hiryu
>Roll: 1 5 (No hits, disabled)

7th AF (2) vs. Shokaku
>Roll: 1 5 (No hits, disabled)

10th AF (2) vs. Soryu
>Roll: 6 4 (1 hit, no disables)
>Hits: 5 (5 Damage)

11th AF (2) vs. Hiyo
>Roll: 6 2 (1 hit, no disables)
>Hits: 6 (6 Damage)

13th AF (2) vs. Junyo
>Roll: 5 3 (No hits, disabled)

So much for my cunning plan! I-boat then disabled South Dakota; R2 was a Day action which saw Kaga disabled and another LBA dinged. At this point I was only sticking around hoping for Night against the flag to try and increase my surface attrition, knowing that his LBA weren’t likely to do too much damage in the interim; I duly got a Day/Night action in R3, whiffed on my four shots against the US LBA…and then this happened:

> 7th AF (2) vs. Haruna
Roll: 6 4 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 3 (3 Damage)

> 10th AF (2) vs. Krishima
Roll: 6 6 (2 hits, no disables)
Hits: 4 3 (7 Damage)

> 11th AF (2) vs. Hyuga (2d)
Roll: 6 4 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 4 (4 Damage)

Ha! So much for *that* cunning plan! The subsequent Night action saw Indiana and Washington sunk, Idaho crippled and Tennesee dinged; in return, Charlie sank two 118s and put 7d on Yamato. I then retreated, ingloriously.

POC was now at +26; not a game-ending turn by any means, but one which certainly shifted the balance of power back to the USN.

USN Comments: Turn 4 was a funny turn, I think I got back into the habit of trying to do too much with not enough.  I patrolled 2 cruisers in the Coral Sea which Darren could not reach, and placed the rest of my ships on raid, then I proceeded to place 5 LBA in US Mandate, 2 in CPO, and 1 in NPO.  Darren responded with an all out attack on US Mandate, at this time I had this epiphany-

“I think I was doing ok until we made it to this turn...  Trying to save the bases in the northeast made sense on so many levels, and yet I wonder if that's the one mistake that will cost me.  If I had 8 LBA in US Mandate and both carriers repairing, I don't see Darren coming into US Mandate, and if I leave the Wasp in port that gives me 3 USN Carriers + Vic to punch a hole someplace on turn 5, and most likely 10 LBA with a Guadalcanal as a secure airbase.”

I looked at the forces I could bring to bear in defense of US Mandate, and I decided that I would only send the Wasp and my 5 BB’s.  I felt that sending my cruisers would result in atrocious attrition against them, and I thought that my BB’s might be able to take a hit and get disabled.  Additionally I figured that if Darren went for a night action (to take out the  Wasp before it had a chance to fire) I would pretty much be able to guarantee the elimination of the three patrolling CAs, allowing my LBA to focus their fire on the CVs.  As it turns out, my LBA was pretty much unstoppable in that first round, sinking or disabling everything they targeted.  It’s odd,  I think I invited a disaster for the USN on turn 4, and yet I somehow managed to come out ahead.  Somehow I don’t think Darren will ever let me complain about die rolls again.

Turn 5

IJN Comments: Strategically, my concept for T5 was similar to T4. My two SNLF would go after Midway and Dutch Harbor, as I couldn’t realistically threaten Guadalcanal in the face of three Marines. I again held the “front four” with LBA – 1 in Indo (backed by a CVL, against potentially the damaged Hornet and Hermes), 2 in SPO, 1 in Marshalls, 2 in HI. I put 2 x 127 in the Marianas, tempting Idaho to speed roll from Dutch Harbor; I also put Musashi in JI, intending to back it up with a CVL but realising that in all likelihood I’d max out on POC this turn anyway, thereby convincing me to send no CVL and thereby making it a bit of a sucker target designed to lure out the two USN surface ships from the northeast. My likely area for massing my fleet was SPO; that was confirmed when I saw Charlie put only 3 LBA there, along with 2 in Coral Sea (why 2?), 1 in USM, and 1 damaged LBA each in CPO and Aleutians. I sent Hiryu to support my Midway patrols, figuring that if the SNLF was removed I’d still have a decent shot of knocking out the LBA and controlling the area, which in turn would protect against a likely USN raiding strategy of sending Marines and a strong fleet to the Marshalls – keeping the Marianas-CPO-HI controlled would mean no USN ships based in the Marshalls could break through to JI or the northeast. Charlie then surprised me again with a very aggressive Marines + raider move, with Lexington and 3 Mar going to the Marshalls against my LBA (and I-boat) on their own, with everyone else – including Hornet, 1 Mar and 2 Mar – to SPO. (The damaged Hermes was on its own against my one LBA in Indo.) Also, California went on its own to JI, with Houston. All a bit risky, I thought, especially the USN advantage to this point.

In IJN R1, I did this:

• JI (Night): Musashi crippled the California but did not remove it.

• CPO (Day): Hiryu hit 7th AF but only for 1d, taking it up to 2d.

• NPO (Night): Oi whiffed on Houston.

• Marshalls (Night): I got the desired Night, but I-boat whiffed on Lexington.

• Indo (Day/Night). Hermes was sunk, but yuck…Day/Night against the flag surely doomed Shoho.

• SPO (Day): I targeted the carriers and LBA, not the Marines, with Ryujo also targeting the damaged Tennessee in an attempt to lower the three-ship USN overlap. Shooting wasn’t bad: Hornet, Victorious and 14th AF were sunk, and RNZAF suffered max damage.

Then came Charlie’s response:

> SPO-
> Hornet (4+) vs. Kaga
Roll: 6 3 1 6 (2 hits, no disables)
Hits: 1 1 (2 Damage)

> Victorious, RAAF (4) vs. 21st AF
Roll: 6 1 1 4 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 5 (5 Damage)

> RNZAF, 14th AF (4) vs. 25th AF
Roll: 6 4 6 2 (2 hits, no disables)
Hits: 3 1 (4 Damage)

> Japanese Islands-
> California (4) vs. Musashi
Roll: 6 3 5 6 (2 hits, disabled)
Hits: 2 3 (5 Damage)

> CPO-
> 7th AF (2) vs. Yokosuka Marines
Roll: 6 1 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 4 (4 Damage)

> Aleutians-
> 11th AF (2) vs. Kure Marines
Roll: 6 6 (2 hits, no disables)
Hits: 4 3 (7 Damage)

> NPO-
> Houston (1) vs. Oi
Roll: 4 (No hits, no disables)

> Indonesia (Day)-
> Hermes (1) vs. 26th AF
Roll: 6 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 6 (6 Damage)

> Indonesia (Night)-
> British Fleet (11) vs. Shoho
Roll: 4 3 4 4 5 6 1 4 6 4 2 (2 hits, disabled)
Hits: 1 5 (6 Damage)

HA HA HA! That pretty much ended the game right there – SPO *and* Indo broken open, both SNLF sunk outright in the northeast, and JI successfully decontrolled (which obviously now mattered, given Charlie’s great results elsewhere). In R2 I whiffed in Marshalls, CPO and NPO; SPO was a Day/Night action in which Kaga, Shokaku, Junyo and Ryujo targed BBs and a CA and failed to sink anyone, only removed Massachusetts and left the USN at least a one-ship overlap for the Night round. And to truly add insult to injury, here are the relevant portions of Charlie’s R2 attacks:

> Marshalls
> Lexington (4) vs. 23rd AF
Roll: 4 6 1 4 (1 hit, no disables)
Hits: 5 (5 Damage)

> CPO
> 7th AF (2) vs. Hiryu
Roll: 4 5 (No hits, disabled)

> NPO
> Houston (1) vs. Oi
Roll: 5 (No hits, disabled)

All of which guaranteed that POC on T5 would drop from +26 to +23 (depending upon the SPO result) – so much for maxing out.

USN Comments: With Guadalcanal still in Allied hands I intended to use as many LBA as I could there to help in opening a hole to Indonesia for my Turn 6 CVs, that ended up being 3.  2 LBA went to Coral Sea (you ask why and you shall receive) I was concerned that you might try and backdoor Guadalcanal and invade from the Coral Sea side.  I figured that in order for that plan to work, you would need to air raid the Marines on Guadalcanal before you could land your marines, therefore you could not just sneak your marine in with a night action, you would have to expose it to some fire.

I again had LBA in the north east corner trying to fend off encroaching NLF, and amazingly I managed to win both preference rolls (again) and remove both NLFs (again, this time both were sunk)

In addition to opening a hole in the SPO to Indonesia, I wanted to open a hole in either the Marshalls or the Hawaiian Islands so that I could get some much needed relief to the isolated bases in the North East, Marshalls ended up being the weaker zone so I sent a Marine (hoping to draw fire away from the Carrier) and the Lexington.

Originally I had the Hornet slotted for Indonesia (with the Hermes) hoping to break up control but I realized that if Darren ignored my Marines, my LBA would be at a horrendous disadvantage in SPO, so I sent the Hornet so SPO along with the rest of the fleet.  Again my shots in the decisive first round were incredible, with 13 regular shots I was able to sink 3 LBA and 2 NLF in 4 zones.  The box-cars by the Hermes was completely unexpected, but the icing on the cake, with the D/N in Indo removing the Shoho as well, I flagged Indo on turn 5, coupled with the opening up of the SPO it made for an easy conversion of Singapore and Saigon on Turn 6.

Charles: I just wanted to let you know that Darren has been an EXCEPTIONAL sportsman in this SE Final.

On Several occasions he has pointed out errors on my part, and it is unfortunate what the dice gods are doing to him (he is not having much luck)

Examples of his sportsmanship-

On Turn 4 I was trying to decide whether to commit all or part of my fleet to a battle in US Mandate, and I decided to only send part of my fleet (and stated so in my E-mail); however, I had failed to save the game file after moving the cruisers from US Mandate to Coral Sea. Darren allowed me to move the cruisers to Coral Sea.

On Turn 5 I had placed an LBA in the Aleutians on my board, however when I sent my move to Darren I had stated it was in the NPO. Darren immediately pointed out my mistake, and allowed the LBA to be moved to the Aleutians (LBA ended up sinking his NLF trying to capture the base).

Currently we are on Turn 6 with the IJN holding a PoC lead of 23.

Turn 6

IJN Comments: So that was it: after a couple of desultory combat rounds thereafter, we had a ridiculous attempt to play on through Turn 6, which looked like this:

Anyway, I resigned and Charlie won the tournament. It’s a pity to have a game like that, where the rolls have such a disproportionate influence on the game relative to the strategy and tactics involved; but then, that’s VITP for you. Sometimes games of chance are won this way!

USN Comments: I managed to kill 4 LBA on Turn 5 (1 in Indo, 2 in SPO, 1 in the Marshalls) leaving Darren only 2 LBA for Turn 6, the one advantage Darren had on me was surface escorts, but with the impending conversion of Indonesia, the British would soon nullify that.  I scattered LBA all over the board as my patrollers, sent the British in force to Indonesia, and sent a couple of cruisers to Hawaiian Islands, the rest of my forces would react in a support role.

Darren went for the PoC grab, sending lone CVs against my LBA in Coral Sea and US Mandate, but he was unable to dislodge either.  He was able to finally sneak a Marine into Dutch Harbor disabling my LBA in NPO and Aleutians.  Additionally he was able to sink both my patrollers in the Hawaiian Islands, even so the PoC dropped from 23 to 21 in his favor.  At this point Darren resigned.

After Game Commentary-

As Darren mentioned, sometimes games are decided by luck, I don’t feel I made any moves that were really better than Darren’s, and I know I made some that were not as good as they could have been.  Darren was an exceptional sportsman through out the game.  Sometimes its all about winning the preference rolls, sometimes its what you do with them…  For two turns my LBA was unstoppable, and that was what decided the game.


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