From: Wisconsin, USA
4/19/42: Allied Signal Intelligence is spotty at best - several TFs are spotted in Lunga by coastwatchers, but only the destination of 1 can be determined with any certainty - 1 Div embarked for New Caledonia. The other piece of intel indicates 17th Army is targeting Espirtu Santo. Allied planners decide to dedicate SCTFs to Noumea, since there is definite intel about Jap intentions. Espirtu will have to hold on with what air power and ground forces it has.
Results: It turns out the IJN sent a lot more towards Noumea than what SIGINT revealed - fortunately the bulk of Allied TF strength was sent there. The only problem was the allied planners thought they would be fending off transport TFs primarily instead of a main assault by combined fleet.
Combat 1: Admiral Crace arrives off Noumea with his SCTF (CAs - Pensacola, Portland, Chicago and Indianapolis; CLs - Perth, Hobart Achilles, Detroit and Raleigh) - they run into a Jap SCTF with Yamato, a Kongo-type BB, two Fusos, CAs, CLs, etc. Pensacola, Portland, Hobart, Achilles and Detroit lost as the Jap TF pounds away at Adm Crace's TF. The Aoba is claimed in return.
Combat 2: As the Jap SCTF pummels Crace's TF, Admiral Scott arrives with a BB TF - Colorado, Arizona, Ohklahoma, Ramilles, Royal Sovereign and Revenge. The Allied TF fires first and inflicts serious damage; in round 2 the BBs exchange fire again and the Colorado goes under after sustaining an 18" projectile below the waterline In return, 3 Jap BBs and a CA are sunk.
Meanwhile, KB tries to strike the Allied TFs but Adm Yamaguchi air raids airfields instead - 1 CVL/CVE appears to have been damaged by allied LBA. The Hornet, trying to stage into the area to contest the Japanese operation, was struck by a sub off America Samoa and is now moderately damaged - leaving little for Carrier coverage in the South Pacific The good news is Noumea and Espirtu are left in Allied hands after a major Jap offensive. Jap ground forces landed on Espirtu but the AUS units based there stopped them from taking the base Stay tuned ...
< Message edited by Skipjack -- 7/4/2008 4:31:13 AM >