Monday, 23 January 2012

The Solomons Campaign - Turn 2 AAR

Turn 2, September 1942
Weather forecast: mostly clear (ie: no modifications to the weather roll).
First off I’d like to apologize for not having any combat pictures. I really dislike AAR’s that are just text and don’t have any eye candy so I substituted historical pictures I managed to google. My wife went to a baby shower the same day as this campaign turn and took our only good camera, and apparently someone’s new baby took precedence over the epic struggle over Guadalcanal.
Game and scale: We are using General Quarters 3 to play the tactical battles, and The Solomons Campaign from the same publisher (ODGW) for the campaign. All ships are 1/6000 Figurehead.
What’s happened so far: Turn 1 (link: was a tacit affair, both sides mobilized their carriers but were unable to locate the enemy carrier group. The IJN successfully bombed and suppressed Henderson airfield and received reinforcements of more light carriers. The USN supplied their Marines holding the Cactus Airfield but was unsuccessful in its patrolling efforts to stop the IJN.
Turn 2: Unlike Turn 1, this turn saw lots of devastation in the air and sea. The allies managed to successfully bomb the IJA forces gathering on Guadalcanal, and the Marines made a successful Recon of the island’s perimeter further disrupting the Japanese army. Meanwhile Admiral Nimitz made a tour of the area boosting the morale of the troops.
Carrier Engagement: Both the IJN and the USN sortied their carrier groups to seek out and destroy the opposing side’s carriers. This time the USN sortie struck first causing some serious damage to the Zuikaku and temporarily disabling it. The IJN’s second carrier Shuikaku launched its sortie in response and managed to cripple and disable the Wasp. The third round of sorties was inconclusive as both sides withdrew. All in all the IJN got the better of the exchange by crippling the Wasp, but the Zuikaku being out of action for at least two months will limit their carrier capability in the near future.
US Torpedo Bombers formation
US Dive Bombers attaking the Zuikaku
US Wasp is left a burning heap from Japanese Torpedo and Dive Bombers

IJN Supply Mission vs USN Patrol: The USN managed to decode some of the Japanese transmissions and successfully intercepted one of the two IJN supply missions this turn. A bloody and confusing night battle ensued as the US Patrol of two heavy and four light cruisers attempted to disrupt the supply mission. They were met by a powerful force of IJN of one heavy cruiser, six light cruisers and seven destroyers escorting the Tokyo Express. The USN used their radar to detect the lead cruisers of the IJN and opened the first salvo, the IJN quickly threw up a smoke screen around their transports and returned fire with the remaining ships. The battle got mess very quickly as the US ships made an aggressive move toward the docked transports and the IJN screens threw themselves in between. Lots of torpedoes were launched at almost point blank range with both sided taking serious damage. US firepower was overwhelming as the Japanese ships got themselves tangled up with their own and the US ships. In the final hours of the battle two Japanese destroyers collided with US light cruisers. Both the Japanese and US admirals decided to cut their losses and withdraw. The US Patrol in the end did not disrupt the supply ships from unloading but they did cause terrible damage on the Japanese escort squadron, almost wiping it out completely with the exception of one 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer. In the end the US lost 1 heavy cruiser and 2 light cruisers, while the Japanese list 6 destroyers, 1 heavy cruiser and 4 light cruisers. The cost was very high for the Japanese forces but their supply mission was successful. Later in the turn the IJN managed to later slip a supply past the US patrols with no incident.
The US Heavy Cruiser New Orleans is the Capital Ship of the Patrol Force

US and Japanese ships exchange fire in the night
Japanese ships are a burning wreck, though their supply mission is hidden from the US Patrol

As the IJN player, I was successful in my two supply missions but it was a Pyrrhic victory because I paid a heavy price for the first mission. The two sides now have parity in carrier strength and neither one seems hesitant to use it. On the bright side my successful supply missions positioned me well to assault the Marines on Henderson Airfield.
If there is an Assault we have to decide whether we want to just roll for the land battles as per the campaign rules or whether we want to adapt the roll into some land battle mechanism with FoW. The problem is that FoW doesn’t have lists for the Pacific theatre and I don’t actually have Marines and IJA forces so I’d have to port Brits and Germans.

Lastly, I may not be a very good tactical naval commander, I lost more ships than I should have in the last battle and I am not very effective with the placement of my torpedoes, maybe I was made to be a landlubber. Regardless, I am thoroughly enjoying this campaign and the intense surface actions it created this turn.

1 comment:

  1. You might try using ODGW's WWII rules for land combat— Mein Panzer, in spite of its name this rule set gives a very good infantry game.