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 3 was the turning point in the campaign, the IJA successfully assaulted and took Henderson Airfield and now they held the initiative. http://micromegasatwar.blogspot.ca/2012/03/solomons-campaign-turn-3-aar-empire.html
Weather forecast: Overcast (add one to the weather roll)
Turn 4: In this turn his turn the IJA player was pre-occupied with supplying the newly taken airfield and shoring up its position. The IJA’s carrier force had been devastated in the previous months and they only had escort carriers available, therefore as the IJA player I had to leave my carriers at port in hopes that I would get a fleet carrier back in the next turn. Since my main goal was supply of my island I decided to also send out a bombardment force to attract his attention away from my supply mission and to cause some havoc amongst the retreating Marines on the island.
The USN player predictably sortied his superior carrier force; by luck they were unable to locate my bombardment mission. Since they had just lost Henderson airfield the US player didn’t have enough initiative to attempt a counterattack and so spent his turn also resupplying the Marines on the island.
Turn 4 was pretty quiet as both sides shored up their positions and adjusted to the new reality. Only two turns were left in the campaign.
Weather Forecast: Severe weather (add five to the weather roll)
Turn 5: After a rather timid Turn 4, both sides went back to work in their desperate fight over Henderson Airfield. The IJA got their fleet carrier Zuikaku back into action and so were able to sortie their carrier fleet while the USN tried to press home its advantage in carriers. This turned out rather disastrously for one side. On the surface both sides went to work to shore up and supply their land units on Guadalcanal. For my part I knew that in order for the Marines to assault Henderson they would need to be supplied so I launched a kamikaze style patrol mission with my surface ships in order to disrupt his offloading operations.
Carrier Engagement: In this carrier exchange, the IJA got the strike advantage first and was able to land a crushing blow to the US carrier groups, two of the US carriers were disabled and had to retreat prior to being able to launch a counterattack.
|IJN carrier fleet ready to launch|
|The surprise achieved by the Japanese planes allows them to land devastating blows to the US carriers|
|Japanese torpedo planes perform anvil attack on US carrier|
Rabaul Patrol vs USN Supply Mission: The USN sent a heavy escort force to accompany and protect their supply mission, the IJN sent just about everything they had in Rabaul to try and intercept this supply mission. While the IJN were outnumbered and outgunned their goal was to prevent the transports from unloading. They were ultimately successful in this goal, although they lost almost their entire patrol formation, the emperor will honour them in the afterlife.
|Weather called for squalls and high winds making targeting and visibilty a challenge|
|A US task force of a battleship escorted by cruisers emerges from a squall and targets the approaching Japanese at full range.|
|The Japanese approach in a double line, the southern cruiser squadron remains hidden by the destroyer screen which takes the brunt of the initial salvos.|
|The Japanese player makes an aggressive move towards the US transports, having to fight through two heavy US squadrons and a destroyer squadron whom manage to cross their T. The IJN DD screen is virtually wiped|
|The IJN cruiser squadron sees the transports in the distance but is blocked by US destroyers, on their flank a heavy US squadron of BB's and CA's is bearing down on them. Off to the left of the screen another US heavy squadron fires deadly salvos.|
|Torpedo ally, as both forces close in they release torpedoes. At this stage the Japanese cruisers have a clear line of site to the transports and manage to land a few salvos, disrupting their supply mission.|
|The cruiser squadron is a burning heap and in disarray, the DD squadron is wiped out. After suffering heavy fire, point blank torpedoes, they still completed their mission and prevented the USMC from receiving supplies, albiet at a heavy cost.|
Conclusion: The interruption of the supply mission ultimately meant that the US Marines couldn’t assault Henderson, with only one more turn left this means the USMC will have on opportunity left to take back the airfield. I don’t have enough ships left in Rabaul to be able to disrupt all of the USN’s supply missions, therefore this campaign will essentially come down to the final die roll when the USMC manage to assault the airfield. I feel that my strategy so far has paid off, I’ve had to pay a high price in ships to gain and maintain my position, but ultimately I am poised to win the campaign.