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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop (J) vs CF (A)

 
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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 12:01:30 PM   
ny59giants


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What amount of the newer airframes do you have on KB?? Jill?? Judy?? A6M5s??

My Allied opponent had done a raid on Tokyo about this time and after the LBA got some quality hits KB caught up off Midway and chased the rest to just off Pearl. Set the Allies back many, many months.

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 9:05:49 PM   
Cribtop


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We have a good amount of A6M3a, but no 5s, Judys or Jills yet. All these either just started building or are on the imminent verge of completing R&D. Then again, we know CF doesn't have Hellcats yet, which is comforting.

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 9:06:11 PM   
Cribtop


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February 3, 1943

No battle today, but one is now almost certain. Tension levels are so extreme that we are forced to drop the "e" and describe them as Xtreme! And then chug a Mountain Dew (or perhaps a Dewars).

Subs

Drum torpedoes but doesn't sink an xAK near Saishu To. Trigger sinks an xAKL near Ponape.

Combined Fleet

As if the world is holding its breath, nothing much happens outside of the key naval theater off NW Oz.

As anticipated, we end up 8 hexes NW of Exmouth, astride the enemy's path of retreat to his base at Perth. CF dodges our subs by moving a few hexes NNW, bringing his CVs to a tantalizing 9 hexes from KB. Air search spots his TFs, but there are no CAP shoot downs of our Kates and Jakes, which is instructive as to his strength.

We also spot (and several searching Kates claim hits on) a ship identified as CL Adelaide hugging the coast near Port Hedland. Cribtop Intel believes this is the escort TF trying to shepherd the damaged Canberra home.

Finally, a small strike of Vals quickly dispatches the AM Warmambool. There are no other strikes.

At Broome, recon now shows 5 LCUs present. Troop numbers indicate the new arrival is probably a support unit. Four large TFs of various types remain in the Broome hex. They are all in a very tight spot.

We do not spot any enemy search planes, either carrier or land based. The only KB TF with any DL is the CVTF that launched the Val strike, which is at 3/3.

Analysis

In retrospect, perhaps a flank move of a total of 10 hexes would have been ideal, allowing for a sudden strike against the Allied CVs. However, we could not predict CF's exact move or our fuel consumption, so the risk probably outweighed the reward. Further, the enemy carrier hex had heavy rains today, and we still have a huge DL advantage, so perhaps it is for the best.

The question now is what will CF do. He is in a pickle, no doubt. His basic options are to stand and fight (fine by me) or to run. If he runs, he probably concedes the Broome task forces, meaning the loss of 2 CVE, the whole UK battle line, and two big, but probably empty, transport TFs with their escorts. These ships would come under assault from KB, LBA and three powerful IJN SCTFs. Little to nothing will survive. In addition, this will set up the isolation of the Broome beachhead and doom the invasion here.

Of course, we want his damn CVs! Search planes have a high DL on him and show a strong cruiser SCTF leading a CVTF with four CVs and one CVE reported. Sounds a lot like what Cribtop Intel predicted would be present. Barring spectacular luck, this force can at best hope for a losing exchange battle with KB. It is possible CF thinks he is only facing a mini-KB since he only spotted one task force and only 13 Vals and 15 Zeros flew against the Warmambool, but given my tendency to keep KB together, we must assume he knows the whole enchilada is present. We therefore conclude he will try to run. We will further assume he has the gas for at least one flank move, because if he doesn't he is toast almost no matter what he does.

What are his options? Basically he can run east toward Broome, which really doesn't do much but delay the inevitable, try to slip around Exmouth and down toward Perth or out toward open sea, or go for the surprise and flee NW toward Java, hoping to later slip south into open sea.

CF doesn't seem like the kind that would run NW. He will assume correctly that IJN LBA from Denpasar or Java will hit him hard. We will have 45 Zeros and about 75 G3M3 Nells covering that route. In addition, these planes will able to intervene if he stays put. We will also break off two DDs to move flank into his NW line of movement in hopes of triggering an Ops point siphoning surface engagement.

He could run East, hoping to buy time or even run the gauntlet of LBA to the Torres Strait, but again that doesn't seem like CF. He will correctly assume that LBA from Lomblen and Timor (and then from Meruake, which also has an Air HQ) will inflict high losses over this long and dubious escape route. We would also block the Torres Strait with a sub horde and he will know that, too. Two Betty groups, a Val unit and a 45 plane Zero Hikotai will watch this avenue.

It seems most likely he will run West past Exmouth with his CVs. A 16 hex flank move could put him well down the coast of Oz if he turns SW, or out to sea if he continues West or WSW. KB will thus guard this route, which is hard. The truth is he might get away. Our current plan is to move a bit closer to Exmouth on an "offline" path to minimize the odds of a surface intercept with his SCTF. KB will be able to strike him if he stays to fight or runs at normal speed, but we have to slow him down somehow or he could slip past at flank. Our plan is to send the 4 CA SCTF accompanying KB to park in the hex NW of Exmouth. Our subs nearby allow us to plot move paths and it looks like all reasonable attempts to run West will pass through this hex. Hopefully a night engagement, even if it only gets at the leading SCTF, will leave the enemy CVs in range by burning Ops points and fuel and perhaps causing a weird retreat path. One factor in favor of this move is that by chance the moon is at 0%. While this could help his radar, it could also mean a devastating long lance attack from close range.

If I was CF, I would have the CVs flee West at flank while the Broome TFs suck it up and run East all the way through the Torres Strait. Those boys are in trouble no matter what, and it seems that East is the best chance for some of them to survive. Then again, I have a higher risk tolerance than CF, and this may not occur to him.

The only other choice for KB, IMHO, is to go all in that he will move flank and sail further south. This puts us out of position if he does anything else, however. A further argument against the move is that we would have to move flank ourselves in order to cover the projected end point of his run, which again is fraught with peril.

What does the readership think? What would y'all do?

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 9:57:55 PM   
Feurer Krieg


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I'd move your CV's as little as possible. The risk of making the flank move south and 1) getting nothing or 2) some refueling fluke causing problems is too high IMO.

If his CV's get away and you demolish lots of transports and surface ships that is still a good haul. Allies need lots of transports and surface ships as the war goes on after all. Less heavies means those forts and CD guns can slow him down that much more.

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Upper portion used with permission of www.subart.net and www.skybirdart.com, copyright John Meeks

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Post #: 1774
RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 10:01:18 PM   
Cribtop


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FK, that is my premise exactly. At present we are only planning to move KB three hexes.

I am willing to move the CATF at flank to the point NW of Exmouth. If CF doesn't run West, they will be safe and we have Oilers nearby. If he does run, their efforts could lead to a major strategic victory.

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 10:56:08 PM   
SqzMyLemon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feurer Krieg

I'd move your CV's as little as possible. The risk of making the flank move south and 1) getting nothing or 2) some refueling fluke causing problems is too high IMO.


On the flip side, there's always a chance CF could suffer a refueling fluke that leaves him exposed to a moderate move by KB. You might just get lucky. I'm glad I don't have to make the call.

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Luck is the residue of design - John Milton

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/11/2013 11:24:57 PM   
Cribtop


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Agreed, Sqz, and I'm trying hard to make that happen with SCTFs hanging out in the most likely avenues of retreat. Imagine a good night surface engagement, re-fueled DDs, no Ops points, and the USN hanging in space 6 hexes from a loaded for bear KB. I'm not saying this will happen, but it could happen. Then I would enter Nirvana through a process of transcendental sublimation.

All fevered dreaming aside, it's a tough choice. Hammer CF's carriers now and he is stuck in neutral for much of 1943, which is probably fatal for him as I will run out the clock. Then again, as FK points out, second prize is an all out slaughter of valuable shipping and the isolation of an invasion force. Not bad...

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/12/2013 3:44:55 AM   
Mikawa


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Cribtop, been following your great AAR for sometime. Excellent reading!

Agree with advice, I would move as little as possible to preserve ops points.

Good luck. Banzai!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/12/2013 4:17:09 AM   
Cribtop


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Welcome and thanks, Mikawa! The orders for KB are complete, and I stuck with the three hex move plan. Should finish the other theaters in 20 minutes or so. Then we hit the send button and the die is cast!

Who will cover themselves in glory tomorrow? Quien sabe, señor.

The Z flag is raised over Carrier Akagi. All pilots man your planes! Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/12/2013 12:09:04 PM   
PaxMondo


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Pax

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/12/2013 9:36:09 PM   
Cribtop


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FYI, I'm not holding out on y'all. No turn back yet from CF. He is usually very fast (much faster than me - I have 3 kids) so methinks he's cogitating his options. Then again, maybe it's just sunny for once in Oregon and he's enjoying it. Either way, you will know as soon as I do what happens.



< Message edited by Cribtop -- 1/13/2013 4:02:40 AM >


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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/12/2013 10:47:03 PM   
GreyJoy


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Just to see if there was something new... Let's go charging!!!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 1:18:41 AM   
Mikawa


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Banzai!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 2:11:58 AM   
temagic


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Banzai!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 3:15:00 AM   
ny59giants


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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 3:59:59 AM   
Cribtop


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Still no turn. This is not a complaint, as CF needs to take time for this critical orders phase, and frankly if anyone should be blamed for slow turnarounds it's yours truly. Just checking in to acknowledge your support and let you know where we are.

I have to say, given how quickly CF usually gets a turn back, I'm feeling positive. He is worried, I can feel it through gmail!

< Message edited by Cribtop -- 1/13/2013 4:00:18 AM >


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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 4:15:55 PM   
Cribtop


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The turn has arrived. Running replay now. Here goes nothing...

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 4:28:21 PM   
Cribtop


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Radio message in Clear from CATF near Exmouth:

Heaven sent opportunity to engage enemy carriers Hornet and Wasp on surface. Will press home attack with full dispatch. Long Live the Emperor!

Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 6:31:20 PM   
Cribtop


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Full report soon. Short report as follows:

VICTORY!!!!!!!!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 8:38:09 PM   
GreyJoy


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Oh, com'on!!!! give us more!!!!!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 9:56:54 PM   
ny59giants


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Turn off or mute the football games and give us a report.....NOW!!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 10:09:21 PM   
Cribtop


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Typing as fast as possible, lads. It's worth the wait! Football on mute, I promise.

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 11:19:15 PM   
Insano

 

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Etorofu listening outpost is gathered around the radio waiting anxiously for news of a rumored glorious Imperial victory! Others across the empire must surely be doing the same.

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/13/2013 11:44:46 PM   
Mikawa


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Update urgently needed!!!!!!!

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 1:08:24 AM   
Cribtop


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Here 'tis at last.


Dusk, February 3, 1943
320 Nautical Miles NW of Exmouth, Australia

The massive Kawanishi H8K float plane lumbered in for a water landing near Carrier Akagi as the sun disappeared into the Pacific. A motor launch from the big Japanese flat top was already lowered and moving out to collect a small group of passengers.

"Who do you suppose that is?" said Lt. Commander Daigo Yoshino. The answer from Commander Genda Minoru caused his jaw to drop: "It's Yammamoto."

Despite the shock, Daigo managed a reply after missing a few beats. "Admiral Nagumo won't be happy about this."

Nagumo, already nervous about the upcoming battle with the Americans, had a somewhat testy relationship with the Commanding Admiral of Combined Fleet. The last thing he needed right now was to have his boss looking over his shoulder.

One hour later, the brain trust of the First Air Fleet met with the brocade-covered command staffs assembled around a huge map of the area on the Flag Bridge.

"Commander Genda, please review the plans for Operation Katana," rumbled a visibly uncomfortable Vice Admiral Nagumo.

"Thank you, Admiral," replied Genda. "Gentlemen, as you know, the enemy has initiated an invasion of Japanese-occupied Australia at the port of Broome. The enemy is estimated to have employed most of his remaining carrier strength and significant surface assets to cover this attack. The intention of Operation Katana is to surround these naval forces on three sides, trapping them against the Coast of northern Australia. Combined Fleet and strong elements of Indes Fleet will then destroy them with a series of air and surface attacks."

"The main concern is that the enemy carriers will withdraw at high speed past the 'corner' of the sub-continent, escaping to open waters to the West and eventually back to their main base at Perth. To counter this, Captain Yamazumi's surface group of four heavy cruisers and eight destroyers has already departed at flank speed to arrive at a point about 40 nautical miles northwest of the small town of Exmouth, right at the corner of Australia. Their mission is to engage the enemy and delay his retreat long enough for the sun to rise and for our carrier aircraft to finish the job. Various smaller forces will watch other possible avenues of escape, and our land-based bombers will be unleashed against Broome, but that is the essence of the plan. Questions?"

Yammamoto considered the map before pointing out the models representing a strong force of cruisers that was shadowing and protecting the American carrier task force. "Why won't the enemy sacrifice these ships to block Yamazumi, allowing his carriers to slip past to safety?"

Genda replied, "The Admiral's question points out a valid concern. Our force was originally intended to cover the landings in India, and is not optimized for this mission. It will be up to our cruisers to outwit and outfight the enemy in that respect."

February 4, 1943
0815 Hours, approximately 40 miles NW of Exmouth

Captain Yamazumi Teijiro looked out as the early morning light revealed a choppy sea. Weather conditions were not ideal for flight operations. His task force, powerful though it was, might be the only thing between the vital enemy carriers and freedom. Cruisers Myoko, Ashigara, Haguro and Nachi cut graceful but small wakes as they loitered after a harrowing speed run the night before. Yamazumi said nothing, but he harbored secret fears that the Americans had already passed the intercept point.

This negative reverie was suddenly broken by multiple calls from lookouts. Two groups of ships, separated by several miles, had been sighted hugging the coast.

"Just as Nagumo's Staff predicted," the Captain muttered under his breath.

With more authority in his voice, he issued a pre-arranged command that sent the entire task force into action. Their target was the trailing group, which even at this range obviously contained two large enemy fleet carriers.

0820 Hours
Flag Bridge of Carrier Akagi

Junior staff officers swarmed around the battle map like ants, but so far there was little to do. Daigo and Genda exchanged a worried look. "The sun's been up for some time," commented Daigo. "True, but the search planes should only just now be reaching the limit of their patrol routes," said Genda, his tone indicating far less confidence than his words.

The only stillness in the room was Admiral Yammamoto himself, who sat in a chair with a warm cup of tea at his side. His already stony face was impassive, waiting...

Suddenly the speakers in the room crackled to life. Daigo jumped involuntarily, Genda dropped a sheaf of reports, then bumped heads with a young ensign as both leaned to pick them up at once. Yammamoto put down his tea.

Message in clear from Captain Yamazumi: "Heaven sent opportunity to engage enemy carriers Hornet and Wasp on surface. Will press home attack with full dispatch. Long Live the Emperor!"

The room erupted as further, coded reports arrived detailing the enemy force's location, course, size and speed. It soon became clear that the Americans would not escape without a fight. The following hour was a blur.

"Range 7,000 yards...

Hit reported on enemy Cruiser Chester...

Heavy fire incoming...

Carrier Wasp hit by Myoko!

Torpedo hit reported on Carrier Hornet!

Hornet is firing over open sights on our attacking destroyers...

Torpedo hit reported on Carrier Wasp!

Wasp hit by salvo from Nachi and burning!"

And then, the day crashed from triumph to disaster in the space of a few minutes. The Japanese carrier fleet encountered a strong storm - flight operations were postponed until further notice. In the meantime, the enemy cruiser task force, racing to protect their carriers, came into range and began to inflict damage on Yamazumi's ships. Ashigara and several destroyers tried to hold them off, but the modern American warships were very strong and well-handled. Japanese losses began to mount, and the American carrier force limped out of range.

Nagumo ceased pacing to give a humane order. "Tell our cruisers to disengage, they have done all they can, indeed more than we could hope for." It was true. The USN carriers, already hopelessly outnumbered, had suffered enough damage that the Wasp would not be able to launch or recover aircraft. In addition, many of their escorts were hit hard enough that flak would be weak - if the Japanese planes could only launch. "Set course directly for the enemy and ring up flank speed," Nagumo continued, "we must clear this damn storm."

The minutes dragged on. Three Japanese destroyers were sunk by enemy gunfire. The sound of rain drummed on the outer wall of the Akagi, clearly audible to all within.

Some good news arrived in late morning, as land-based torpedo bombers ripped into the enemy invasion task forces unloading at Broome. Surprisingly, no enemy fighters rose to resist, allowing the Japanese to claim 10 ships sunk (8 transports and 2 small escorts), many with troops still on board.

The news that the weather was clearing caused the room to erupt in cheers, but within minutes of the announcement, Japanese ready fighters were scrambled to deal with a small incoming strike launched from Carrier Hornet. Over 140 Zero-sen soon destroyed all but eight SBD Dauntless dive bombers, and those planes released their bombs harmlessly in the waters around Carrier Zuikaku. But another 50 minutes of daylight were lost. Would the weather snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

At 1530 hours, the Japanese carriers finally swung into the wind and launched everything that could fly. Daigo Yoshino said a silent prayer to his ancestors that they would arrive in time.

1645 Hours
Bridge of Cruiser Ashigara

Captain Yamazumi struggled to control his burning ship and his decimated task force. Where were the Japanese planes!? His men had fought on against odds for hours, then tried to escape when it was clear no more damage could be done to the burning but still operational Allied carriers.

Suddenly a shell from one of the enemy cruisers impacted just below the bridge, while the rest of the salvo penetrated Ashigara's belt armor, dealing mortal wounds to her vitals.

Yamazumi was astonished to find himself whole. Gazing to the horizon, he was pleased to see the rest of his valiant ships escaping destruction. It was time to go.

He turned to one of the few surviving bridge officers and issued a painful order. "Secure the Emperor's portrait and order all hands to abandon ship. Signal Hibiki to take on survivors if she is able."

The young lieutenant hesitated, but then relayed the orders. An unspoken question hung between the men.

Yamazumi answered it forcefully. "In case you're wondering, I've always believed that only defeated Captains should go down with the ship. The Emperor still has need of the victors."

"What do you mean, victors, sir?" stammered the Lieutenant. Clearly eight inch shells deteriorated naval proprieties somewhat.

In answer, Yamazumi simply pointed toward the northern horizon, where over 300 Japanese carrier aircraft had appeared like a cloud in the late afternoon sky, making straight for the American carriers.

1710 Hours
Flag Bridge of Carrier Akagi

The attack went in almost unopposed. Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes swarmed into range and began to deliver ordinance with uncanny accuracy. Fuchida's excited voice poured excellent news over the speakers, and one by one the model ships representing the US fleet were removed from the map. Finally, an amazing exchange took place.

"Junyo's torpedo wing requesting target vector..."

"Wasp and Hornet are both sinking... Avoid them and target escort ships. Repeat, target the escorts."

"Look at Hornet - there she goes! She's capsized!"

Once again the bridge buzzed with activity. Then someone cleared their throat. It was Admiral Yammamoto, standing calmly near his chair. The Admiral spoke in crisp tones, extending his arms as if to embrace the battle map.

"Enough. The reports can wait for this evening. For now, gentlemen, I give you... Victory. Admiral Nagumo, I would cordially suggest that you inform Imperial General Headquarters and the Imperial Palace. I would further suggest that you mention the brave actions of Captain Yamazumi in your dispatches. In addition, if I could trouble your radio staff to send a further message or two, we have much to do tomorrow."

1800 Hours
Battleship Mushashi

The world's largest battleships, accompanied by numerous destroyers and an escort carrier, waited near Bali for word the enemy air threat had been neutralized. Across the water the barrels of flagship Yamato's 18 inch guns glinted in the setting sun. Then brighter flashes of her signal lights passed a message that spread through the ship like wildfire. The American carrier task force had been destroyed. Two fleet carriers, 2 modern light cruisers, an anti-aircraft cruiser, and at least six destroyers, all sunk. Only two vessels, a crippled heavy cruiser and an equally damaged destroyer, were not yet confirmed lost. A glorious victory.

The path to dozens of enemy ships still trapped at Broome was now clear. The twin monsters, engines thrumming, turned to the Southeast...


< Message edited by Cribtop -- 1/14/2013 2:56:55 AM >


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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 1:28:03 AM   
Mike Solli


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Banzai!!!

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Created by the amazing Dixie

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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 1:34:39 AM   
ny59giants


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Banzai!!

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Post #: 1797
RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 1:42:47 AM   
Cribtop


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Thanks, Mike and Michael. Ashigara is gone, and 3 DDs. Myoko is probably doomed, Haguro iffy but probably survives.

So we trade two two CAs and 3 DDs for what appears to be the last operational USN fleet carriers, a horde of modern escorts, and whatever we get to kill at Broome over the next few days (a lot, we assume). Where is the Big E? Best guess is she was hurt worse at Torres Islands than we assumed and is still in the yards. The Yamato TF, a 4 Mogami TF, and KB will close Broome and inflict destruction tomorrow. It looks like he disbanded many of his warships into the port at Broome, but that trick won't work for long. There were no airfields in range and per Tracker it looks like all his CV air wings went down with their ships. 139 carrier aircraft destroyed for the USN today. Our plane losses were tiny.

I'll post some of the combat reports, probably tomorrow. In the meantime, I have to say it's gratifying to guess right and prevent his carriers from getting away. The surface action against his CVs was a sight to behold. Hornet really did fire directly on one of our DDs - just crazy.

I guess today we showed Admiral Kurita how to do this Texas style.

< Message edited by Cribtop -- 1/14/2013 2:13:52 AM >


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(in reply to Mike Solli)
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RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 2:26:51 AM   
Mike Solli


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It hurts to lose Japanese CAs, but it's inevitable. You traded them for much larger game. Good sacrifice, in my humble opinion.

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Post #: 1799
RE: Wait, I can't read Cuttlefish's new AAR? - Cribtop ... - 1/14/2013 2:35:19 AM   
Cribtop


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Especially since these are the first losses on the CA front of the war. I hate to lose those beautiful ships, but the strategic implications of a fleet carrier score of 5:0 in my favor for the war are huge. He's now lost Hornet, Wasp, Yorktown, Saratoga and Lexington.

Enterprise vs Japan, indeed.

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