From: Iowan in MD/DC
September 13 - The Second Battle of the Solomon Sea, and more action at Tassafaronga
First, I discover that my opponent has left me a present of my own at Buna - it is mined! Luckily, my APDs discover and destroy several mines rather than hitting them. I will have to send some DMS hulls over here.
Several USN submarines waste torpedoes firing at ASW TFs outside of Rabaul.
Skirmishes off Guadalcanal
Sendai sights and sinks AK Cetus with a surprise Long Lance attack in 17% moonlight.
Then, west of Guadalcanal, Ishikawa is surprised by an Allied TF at 8,000 yards in 28% moonlight and partly cloudy conditions (so much for IJN night-time superiority on this particular evening). During the opening salvo, CA Aoba is crippled by several shell hits and a torpedo from DD Selfridge. The very first shell fired by a USN DD destroys one of Chokai's main battery guns. CL Yubari and DD Akigumo also take a couple of bad shell hits that start fires. Throughout the rest of the melee, 6" shells from the Australian CL Hobart achieve penetration after penetration against Aoba's armor, dooming what would otherwise have been a salvageable ship. In exchange, Hobart is sent away on fire and sinking, and DD Mugford is sunk outright. Chokai appears to fire every torpedo she has in this engagement, along with her escorts, but no hits are achieved. Rough.
Japanese aircraft losses
E13A1 Jake: 1 destroyed
CA Chokai, Shell hits 3, on fire
CA Aoba, Shell hits 11, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
CA Furutaka, Shell hits 2
CA Kako, Shell hits 2
CL Yubari, Shell hits 4, on fire
DD Akigumo, Shell hits 6, on fire
CL Hobart, Shell hits 11, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD Mugford, Shell hits 8, and is sunk
DD Ralph Talbot
DD Conyngham, Shell hits 2
DD Selfridge, Shell hits 2
DD Hull, Shell hits 1
When dawn comes, Ishikawa and his remaining combat-worthy ships react back from Tassafaronga to find DD Hull by herself, presumably having just rescued survivors from Hobart. Chokai sinks her without remorse with two immediate 8" shell hits below the waterline from 17,000 yards. Then, apparently attracted by the gunfire, a second Commonwealth CL and 4 DDs are sighted at 26,000 yards.
The 4 USN DDs corner and destroy the already wounded Akigumo, but this leaves the IJN CAs free to send Achilles on her way. In the exchange, Chokai takes a hit that destroys one of her torpedo mounts. As if the crew was using it anyway . One USN DD is sunk as well.
CA Chokai, Shell hits 6
CA Furutaka, Shell hits 6
CA Kako, Shell hits 8
DD Akigumo, Shell hits 31, and is sunk
CL Achilles, Shell hits 11, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD McCall, Shell hits 1
DD Maury, Shell hits 2
DD Benham, Shell hits 5, and is sunk
The Second Battle of the Solomon Sea
Tanaka's bombardment TF happens across a supply convoy protected by BB Washington and 2 DDs. Tanaka's force is comprised of 2 Kongos, 3 CAs, and 4 DDs - superior on paper, except for the armaments on the battlewagons. If the USN BB lands any serious hits with her superior weaponry, one or two of my extremely valuable fast BBs could be out permanently. The coming action is nail-bitingly intense.
Kirishima opens fire first, bouncing a shell off of Washington's tower armor. Washington responds by putting a 16" shell straight through Hiei's deck armor - this does not bode well. As the USN battlewagon and Hiei (Tanaka's flagship - attaboy Tenacious Tanaka!) begin a gunnery duel, the IJN CAs run amok through the rest of the convoy and the USN DDs team up on DD Sazanami. 5" Shell after 5" shell penetrates the IJN destroyer's side, and she eventually succumbs. Even the APs Crescent City and President Hayes get in on the action, destroying several main battery mounts on Sazanami and some torpedo tubes.
Hiei finally finds the sweet spot at 7,000 yards and one of her shells explodes in Washington's machinery compartments, with belt armor penetration. (I didn't think this was going to happen, at all. I had no faith in the ability of WW1-era 12" guns to penetrate modern fast BB armor belts.)
The APs begin shooting at the CAs that are sinking them, with an AA mount on Haguro being swept away and Crescent City destroying one of Atago's depth charge racks just before she goes under - what kind of ace merchantman gunners are these?!
Washington penetrates Hiei's tower armor with a main battery shell, causing severe damage to her electrical systems, but the battlecruiser-turned-battleship responds by hitting her more modern adversary in the engines once more. Numerous shells from both Kirishima and Hiei have made a mess of the superstructure on the USN BB.
By the time the task forces finally break off, both of the IJN fast BBs are out of main battery ammo, but nearly the entire convoy is sunk or sinking. No troops on board, so it must have been full of supplies for Milne Bay (APs for the unload bonus at the small port, I guess)
BB Hiei, Shell hits 5, on fire Damage next day: 38/29(1)/25(2)/1 - wow!
BB Kirishima, Shell hits 5 12/0/4
CA Atago, Shell hits 1
CA Haguro, Shell hits 2
DD Sazanami, Shell hits 22, and is sunk
DD Yayoi, Shell hits 1, on fire
BB Washington, Shell hits 13, heavy fires
DD Bagley, Shell hits 2, heavy fires
DD Henley, Shell hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP Barnett, Shell hits 13, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP Henderson, Shell hits 7, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP President Hayes, Shell hits 4, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP President Monroe, Shell hits 10, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP Crescent City, Shell hits 10, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP Monrovia, Shell hits 7, and is sunk
AP Heywood, Shell hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAP President Wilkerson, Shell hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AP Cambria, Shell hits 16, heavy fires, heavy damage
AK Crater, Shell hits 9, heavy fires, heavy damage
Next, the RO-64 sinks DD Cushing south of Lunga.
The sunk sound effect is heard in the PM - my guess is that this is one or both of the USN DDs damaged in the Solomon Sea action, possibly also the Achilles.
During the air phase, the only real action is a Zero sweep against Port Moresby. 26 Zeroes meet 15 Kittyhawks and 5 P-39s; 4 Zeroes are shot down with pilots for 5 Kittyhawks and 3 P-39s, with 3 and 2 more Allied ops losses, respectively. Not bad.
Saratoga's airgroups at Lunga launch against the light surface force offshore, and score 2x500kg GP bomb hits against Yura, destroying a main battery turret.
At dusk, xAK Atlantic Maru sinks in the Slot from a prior bomb hit.
Sub attack near Milne Bay at 100,136
BB Washington, Torpedo hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
SS I-171 launches 8 torpedoes at BB Washington
No DDs are sighted, so they must have sunk from the damage sustained in the naval battle. Washington should be finished after this.
No attack at Tassafaronga today, but bombardment reveals that the AV is 200 USMC vs. 115 IJA.
< Message edited by Lokasenna -- 3/19/2013 10:22:04 PM >