* * Ladder Board #1 - Round 16 * *
* * Championship Match * *
Ed Menzel (IJN; Bid 3.5) vs. Joel Klein (USN)

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

Turn 1

Turn 2

Turn 3

Turn 1

IJN Post-Raid Comments: It seems each new game offers a challenge.  Twenty four shots & the 5th AF only takes 1 damage.  Plus I lost the D/N roll.  (Does that sound familiar?)  So I will face 4 LBA on T2.  Sigh.  Waiting for his WXYZ.

IJN Report:  This turn did not go well for the IJN.  The Pearl raid was a bit below ave as two BBs, 2 CAs & the 7th AF escape Pearl.  The 5th AF also escapes Indonesia as 24 shots can only scratch the paint for 1d.  The Brits win the D/N roll & the Allies get away.  The I Boat whiffs.

Compounding the IJN problems, Groups W, Y & Z show up in the HI.  Four CVs hustle off to Australia for a major T2 Indonesia threat.  Group X rolls into the CPO before beating a retreat to Pearl.

The POC is at the standard 7.  But the 4 Allied LBA & 4 CVs in Australia will make life difficult for the IJN.

USN Comments: I played a fine turn 1! I rolled three groups into the Hawaiians, then boldly moved four CVs to Australia.

I patiently waited for Ed to exhaust his AFs as they straddled targets in Indonesia. Taking a '1' damage marker I lightly placed it on the 5AF and moved them to Australia.

Oh, is there more I have do?

Turn 2

USN Pre-USN Patrol Comments:: Joel to Ed: "I'll take a while longer for my turn 2 patrols & LBA; my head aches from having to think this hard!!"

Ed to Joel: "It's probably from an over-abundance of carriers in Australia & all that LBA strength :-( Maybe it would ease your headache if some of the air was removed :-)"

The fourth LBA and 4 CVs in Australia encourage the IJN to concentrate in Indonesia and spread out in US Home Areas. In response my LBA head for IJN-sensitive areas.

My greatest vulnerability is to a 2-zone attack this disposition has an indirect 'web' to help discourage that. 7AF is in Coral Sea. I'd intended it for US Mandate, then decided it would either force me to commit there or serve as a javelin-catcher if I didn't. Better to save it for turn 3.

In the usual IJN 2-zone, the Americans have to throw just about everything into the defense of an area, leaving the Japanese to scoop up the 2-turn surround bases. In this case, US LBA are hanging around for PoC, flags, and turn 3. So the depletion of force that usually follows a turn 2 battle won't work so completely in IJN favor.

USN Pre-Combat Comments: My turn 1 luck has been turned to as much advantage as it could. I believe it encouraged Ed to opt for a modified, conservative 2-zone. With the SNLF into the Hawaiians, I could win the battle in the US Mandate, but theres little strategic payoff.

By raiding the Marshalls, I hope to limit follow-up force into the Mandate on turn 3. Marshalls bases are threatened while surface force is still available for both the Hawaiians and the Mandate. I usually fight IJN flags in both the Mandate & Hawaiians the enemy flags hamper defense of the Hawaiians, and my CVs are out of position. Nevertheless, the 5 CVs in the Marshalls are a favorite to succeed with minimum risk exposure, and I present some counter-threats.

I wont send a suicide CV to the Hawaiians; while a successful attack on the SNLF along with the Marshalls block savages Japanese prospects for turn 3, I need to be patient and see what develops. After all, if I flag the Marianas and block the Marshalls my turn 3 is excellent.

USN Post-Combat Comments: My failure in the Marshalls is to laugh at this is the kind of dicing I've shown my opponents to reach here! Good shooting, Ed. After all, I'd prefer the Japanese to shoot at 3 CAs with only 2 LBA & I-Boat. I could feasibly remove the LBA in a single volley (not that I did) so each volley has to count removing some but not all targets means failure. Trying this tack is going to get big dividends when it succeeds.

IJN Report:  IJN Patrols:  Four CVs in Australia & the 4 USN LBA available this turn makes this a tough game situation for the IJN.  The USN air threat to Indo forces me to patrol the SPO with surface.  (My LBA may be sorely needed in Indonesia!)  I debated between a BB & a CA.  I finally decided on a CA.  That will keep the BB available in case I decide to make a 2 or 3 area attack.   I patrolled the Allied Home Areas in a typical fashion to keep my options open.  I also put out 4 LBA in Indonesia with the surface patrollers.

USN Patrols:  Joel has a lot of options.  He elects to sprinkle his LBA around with surface patrollers in the remaining usual places.

Now what to do against this defense? 

IJN Raiders:  If I do a one area attack, the KO threat is gone.  The Allies would have lots of options for attacking my perimeter and/or Indonesia.  I will probably have to add more air (LBA or CV) to the Indonesia defense to increase my odds of holding Indonesia against a determined attack.  That would weaken my perimeter defense.  Not good.  Definitely not good.

I prefer to put more pressure on the USN to limit the options of those 4 Australia based CVs.  So I decide on either a 2 or 3 area attack.  But which?  I finally decide Yokosuka should go to the HI to reduce its vulnerability to suicide attack (no USN flag).  I prefer Yokosuka in the USM or Coral Sea if Im doing a 3 area attack.  So I decide to go 2 area. 

I concede the SPO.  (Ugh!)  My last 2 LBA go to the Marshalls.  That air plus the I Boat will make the suicide CV/Marshalls block a less than 50/50 chance for Joel.  Plus he may choose to go after Indonesia, the USM or the HI.

This approach is riskier for me than I prefer.  But I dont like the likely resulting game situation with the relatively passive one area attack.  I believe that Joel could open up my perimeter too easily leaving me in a big hole for T3.  So we will see how the Allies respond!!

After Allied raiders:  Hmm.  He goes for the Marshalls block less the suicide carrier.  Im now faced with targeting choices in the Marshalls CVs or patrollers.  Its very unlikely I can win the Marshalls.  If I shoot the CVs, hell probably have the block.  That will severely limit my T3 USM threat.  So much as I hate too, I go for his patrollers.  I need to remove them on the first pass or survive for a 2nd round to get another crack.

I go for D which Joel accepts.  I want to see what my LBA do.  If they whiff, then the I Boat will shoot at a CV giving up on decontrolling the area.  But Lady luck decides to make up for her mistreatment of my LBA on T1 1 CA sunk & 1 disabled.  The massed USN carrier fire downs 1 LBA & puts 1d on the other.  OK.  Ill have an LBA for another round of fire if needed.  But the I Boat then comes through sinking the last patroller.  Way to go guys!  I now run with the mission accomplished.

More good fortune as Sasebo invades the Philippines during N.  In the CPO, his CA escapes uncontested after a futile round of N action.  Rats!  In other action, Joel shoots well too sinking 3 CAs & putting 1d on another.  The USN loses another CA, the Ca gets crippled & the W Va takes 2d.  One Brit BB is sunk & another crippled.

POC goes to 14.  On to T3.

Turn 3

IJN Report:  Joel surprised me by returning Lex to Pearl at the end of T2.  Is he planning an LBA/Lex defense of the HI or just wanting some air threat there if his LBA go to the USM?  Hmm.  The other 4 CVs base in Australia.

IJN Patrols:  I patrol the HI & USM heavily planning a 2 area attack again.  The objective is to force a fight with USN CVs (and maybe the fleet) or have good odds for the KO.  Joel will be able to have a several ship lap in either the USM or HI depending on how many surface patrols he makes. 

If his LBA defend the HI, then most of mine will go there too so as to have the carriers available for the USM.  If his LBA go to the USM, then I will peal off a few of mine for patrol duties. 

After Allied Patrols:  Joel patrolled several ships.  We play a little cat & mouse with our LBA.  I would like to have put 1 in the Marianas, but was too worried about the HI.  I was happy to see only 1 marine come out as that reduced the likelihood of losing Johnston Isl.

IJN Raiders:  I put enough surface into the HI to guarantee a 1 ship wrap.  Hiryu can fire her guns, to assure that I can get a BB on the marine at Night if needed.  That leaves me 1 short in the USM if the USN fleet challenges.  But I have 2 more BBs than the USN & the bonus CAs to offset that plus 10 carriers.  Baring bizarre dice I should be able to get attrition on the USN CVs (& maybe fleet if Joel brings them) or have good odds of the KO.

USN Raiders:  Joel decides to stay out of a fleet fight but brings a CV to help out in the USM.  I thought he would bring 2 minimum.  I think I now have fairly good odds of winning in both HI & USM especially since I have good odds of getting a N or D/N (58% in each area) in at least one area.

Combat:  Ouch!  I lose the D/N toss everywhere except the SPO.  Now I have to flip both Pearl & Samoa or this game is going to be a real challenge.  My shooting needs to be a lot better than my D/N rolls!

The IJN does some stellar shooting.  The Marine & Lex are sunk in the HI.  The Yorktown & 3 LBA are sunk in the USM.  A 4th LBA takes 2 damage.  Prospects for the KO look good.

At this point Joel conceded.

USN Surrender: I'm resigning our vitp ladder game ... Ed beat me.  Middle of turn 3.  Congratulations, Ed!

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