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Guadalcanal and The Aleutian Islands: A prelude (Japanese and Allied Sides)

 
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Guadalcanal and The Aleutian Islands: A prelude (Japane... - 5/26/2014 9:43:36 AM   
SierraJuliet


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Welcome to the action of my Guadalcanal training scenario with tocaff. After finishing off our WITP game earlier this year Todd invited me to take on some of the scenarios before we jumped into the GC. We knocked over Coral Sea with honours reasonably equal although my invasion fleet had to give up the PM quest so the scenario victory went to Todd. We swapped sides and came up with a similar result; Todd turning his invasion force around after losing the ability to provide air cover.

This AAR is open to Todd as the action is at least 5 weeks down the road from my initial writing.

So then, onto Guadalcanal with Todd in charge of the Allied cause; looking to boot me out of my toehold at Lunga and Tulagi and then march up the chain of islands in the Solomons. For my part I was thinking; once the Allies kick me out of Lunga how would I go about maintaining supply to the troops stuck at Tassafaronga. Add to that the prospect of Zuikaku and Shokaku going head to head with Saratoga, Enterprise, Wasp and not long after that Hornet in a 6 month long scenario and you can imagine my trepidation.

We are well into the scenario now and I have found it to be captivating and an excellent learning tool. Todd has chipped in with timely and useful advice regarding supply related issues. I particularly liked his advice on obtaining supply and fuel from a number of bases which really don’t need what they start out with at the beginning of the scenario. Truk is the centre of attention when it comes to supply with 2000 fuel and 1500 supply turning up each day. From there the Japanese need to get fuel and supply to Rabaul (which is the base that needs to stay above 20 000 supply points) and places such as Lae, Buna, Shortlands and Tassafaronga.

The fact that repair facilities for ships is very limited means that decent damage to a ship will most likely mean that it is out of the game for good…. So how to look after those ships needs to be factored in as well. This scenario is also a great introduction to learning the basics, at least, of repairing ship damage.

On 6 August 1942 the Imperial Forces are attempting to entrench themselves at the southernmost reach of the Empire at Lunga (on Guadalcanal) and Tulagi. Tassafaronga also has a fighting force in place. The fighting strength of the troops at Lunga and Tulagi do not amount to much. A determined assault by Allied forces is likely to see ownership of the base change hands. Further up the chain Shortlands provides an ideal location to set up float planes for naval search patterns. Backing this up is the bastion of Rabaul. Rabaul is the base that the IJN will come to call home for this scenario. Truk is the provider of fuel and supply and the magic place where reinforcements of all types will arrive.

New Guinea is also the scene of fighting with Buna and Lae in the mix. Lae is my main airfield base and Buna is the supply base for troops on the Kokoda Track. Capturing Port Moresby is a possibility but definitely not the main course.


< Message edited by SierraJuliet -- 8/1/2014 3:13:11 AM >
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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 9:47:19 AM   
SierraJuliet


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Day 1 6 August 1942

Some tentative moves today.

Beauforts attack my engineers on the Kokoda Track and they in turn are followed by Airacobras with the same intent. My forces on the track carry out a bombardment of the 30th Australian Brigade with no reported effect. Some of my Betties at Rabaul have been tasked to fly supplies to Lunga (in retrospect they should have started sending supplies to Tassafaronga instead).

Lunga and Tulagi both go to fort level 1… something but never enough to withstand the Allied assault when it arrives.

CS Chitose, DD Yayoi, E Oite, E Asanagi and xAKL Noshiro Maru #2 arrive at Truk. Chitose is off to Shortlands to provide a base for my seaplane searches. 11 submarines arrive at Truk and they are all off to the south…. Some to ferry supplies around and the rest to head south of Guadalcanal to see what havoc they can wreak amongst the Allied shipping coming my way.

35th/124th Infantry Regiment and 35th/2nd(Kitao) Battalion arrive at Tassafaronga so there will be something for the survivors of Lunga to fall back upon.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 9:59:38 AM   
SierraJuliet


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7 August 1942

16 A6M2 at Rabaul are fitted up with long range tanks and head off to sweep over the track… for no better reason than it is a new toy to me and I wanted to see it in action. They tangled with 6 Kittyhawks. Two of the enemy planes were claimed as downed. More raids by the Airacobras and Beauforts over the Track… this will become a regular feature from the Allies.

The 8th Naval Guard Unit at Rabaul starts packing to board 4 Marus and head off to Tulagi. This is certainly something I wouldn’t consider doing again in this scenario…. This will be an ill-fated voyage.

The map shows the situation at the end of the day on 7 August. The baby cruisers are Tenryu and Tatsuta on their way to bombard Milne Bay. The 4 Aoba cruisers are just off the north edge of the map north of Shortlands. The supply situation at Guadalcanal is not good. Tassafaronga has a mere 247 supply, Lunga has 663 supply and 300 fuel and Tulagi has 1871 supply and 1700 fuel. In retrospect now it seems such a waste to have all this supply and fuel waiting for the Allies to come and grab it.

The badly placed troop transport has an element of 82nd Naval Guard from Shortlands on board with the intention of making it to Lunga to help bolster the AV strength. I’m fairly certain that this little convoy was given orders to high tail it well out of the way once the Allied fleets had been located. At the end of the day the Allied fleet sits poised to swoop on Lunga and Tulagi.





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< Message edited by SierraJuliet -- 5/28/2014 1:18:46 AM >

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 10:20:26 AM   
SierraJuliet


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8 August 1942

Tenryu and Tatsuta bombard Milne Bay. I send in my first Lae based sweep over Port Moresby. Beauforts and Airacobras return to torment my troops on the Track.

The Allied invasion of Lunga is announced when 84 Dauntless and 39 Avenger escorted by 40 Wildcats roar in. Nothing to do other than watch the destruction rain down. Airbase hits 4, airbase supply hits 7 and runway hits 11

Over at Kokoda the Japanese ground forces are ordered to attack to test out the mettle of the defenders. Assault odds of 1-2… this jungle is going to be tricky to fight amongst

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 10:30:45 AM   
SierraJuliet


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9 August 1942

Overnight near the Feni Islands an interesting duel takes place between xAKL Keizan Maru and SS S-38. The captain of the S-38 is certainly an audacious guy as he orders the sub onto the surface to deal with the Japanese merchantman. Perhaps he was keen on saving torpedoes. Keizan Maru suffers 10 shell hits but in return manages 7 hits and is rewarded with reports of fire coming from within the submarine. 8 casualties reported and Keizan steams on to port with a story to tell.

More air assaults for the troops on the track to endure.

I’ve still got my aerial supply runs into Lunga going…. Good idea if the Americans had of waited a few weeks before springing their invasion.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 10:38:15 AM   
SierraJuliet


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10 August 1942

The naval air strikes return over Lunga during the afternoon. Airbase hits 8, airbase supply hits 8 and runway hits 37.

More aerial torment in the skies over the track but today a couple of zero fighters are on station to mess with the raiders.

A bombardment is ordered on the Track but little result is observed.

The American fleet is sorting out my scouts with 3 float planes brought down by their CAP.

Tulagi expands forts to level 2.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 10:54:34 AM   
SierraJuliet


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11 August 1942

American forces start coming ashore at Tulagi. There is of course little in the way of defensive gun fire. The Americans force their way onto the beach with no damage to their ships and little in the way of disruption to their landing forces.

A little further north, near Shortlands, xAKL Keizan Maru is back in the action when 3 Beauforts take to her. She dodges their bombs and steams on.

B-17s put in an appearance and bomb Japanese troops on the Track. Letting loose their bombs from an altitude of 15000 feet, however, did little to worry the men sheltering in the jungle far below. After the bombers had departed fighters from both sides tangled. Down on the ground those men hiding underneath the cover of the jungle blast another round of bombardment in the direction of the Australian defenders…. The jungle swallows up the shells and again little effect is observed.

Over at Tulagi Det – Kure 3rd SNLF, 14th Naval Construction Battalion and 129th JNAF AF Unit set about bombarding 1st USMC Raider Bn/1, 1st USMC Parachute Battalion and 2nd USMC/2nd Rgt/1. 12 casualties for the Japanese and a mere 6 for the Allied forces

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 11:15:45 AM   
SierraJuliet


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12 August 1942

The invasion forces continue to come ashore at Tulagi.

Near Tulagi SS I-10 runs afoul of Allied warships and suffers 11 hits.

Lunga is targeted by Allied cruisers for a night time bombardment. CL Hobart is hit by 1 shell in return. 217 Japanese casualties reported as well as airbase hits 4, airbase supply hits 1, runway hits 12, port hits 19, port fuel hits 1 and port supply hits 4.

During daylight Lunga is also subject to invasion support gunfire. During this DDs Dewey and Blue are each hit by 1 shell.

Offshore from Tulagi at 116,137 SS I-16 lines up CV Wasp in her sights. 3 torpedo hits are reported plus reports of the carrier being on fire and suffering from heavy damage and an ammo storage explosion. SS I-16 manages to elude the furious response from the escorts.

SS I-21 launches a spread of torpedoes against CLAA Atlanta at 116, 137 but misses. She too escapes the attention of the escorts.

SS I-11, also in the same patch of water, launches torpedoes against CV Saratoga but misses. The escorts fail to locate the submarine.

During the afternoon carrier aircraft again give plenty of attention to Lunga.

B-17s come sniffing around the Track again, whilst on the ground, the Japanese launch a deliberate attack which garners assault odds of 1 – 2. The 3000 strong Australian force is using the terrain to their advantage to hold off the 8000 strong Japanese force. I can see that this course of action is not likely to achieve much without a big investment of AV strength and the backup supply necessary to support it.

At Tulagi the defenders shell the invading Americans to little effect.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 2:01:43 PM   
tocaff


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I was just informed by Steve that he's doing this and that it's OK for me to drop by. I'm far from an expert in things AE but thanks to another Steve who mentored me I'm able to pass some stuff along here. Steve and I are playing the short scenarios from both sides until he announces that we're ready for our rematch in a GC.

_____________________________

Todd

I never thought that doing an AAR would be so time consuming and difficult.
www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2080768

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/26/2014 4:33:40 PM   
Cribtop


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Very cool. Seems like IJN subs are often the force equalizers in this scenario.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/27/2014 11:24:59 AM   
SierraJuliet


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13 August 1942

Well here is a strange thing. Once in the scenario is interesting but within days there is the strange coincidence of a second American submarine chancing it on the surface with Japanese merchant ship. At the end of the duel xAKL Shinsoku Maru suffers 2 shell hits and SS S-41 also has to deal with 2 shell hits. Deciding that the action on the surface is a bit too hot Holley, G.M. decides to submerge due to damage.

The American close in on Tulagi and unleash a night time bombardment with cruisers.
Near Stewart Island SS I-21 locates the damaged CV Wasp and scores 3 more torpedo hits. Ammo and fuel storage explosions are reported. After 6 reported torpedo hits I think it safe to venture that Wasp is indeed on the bottom. The number of planes destroyed on the ground and a message from Todd confirm this to be so. Funnily enough the sunk ship message reports the Enterprise as being the carrier that went down. The Big E though is still out there.

SS I-174 is found by Allied ASW but manages to avoid depth charge induced damage.

I mentioned previously that a certain Maru convoy was ill fated. Today the convoy is located by Allied aircraft steaming near Shortlands at hex 110, 132. 29 Dauntless plus 15 Avenger escorted by 14 Wildcat pounce. xAKs Boston Maru, Soyo Maru, Josho Maru and Ryoka Maru all succumb to the attack. They are all loaded with troops and 2695 casualties (50 combat squads and 21 non-combat squads) are destroyed. A very ill-fated convoy and one that I should never have allowed to stray so close to the combat zone. Wasp might be gone but the Allied carriers still pack a considerable punch.

The Allied carrier aircraft are back over Lunga in the afternoon.

During the day SS RO-68 survives an ASW attack near Tulagi.

The Japanese defenders at Tulagi try another bombardment attack before the Allied force carries out a deliberate attack. The Allies achieve assault odds of 3 – 1 and reduce the forts to level 1. 342 Japanese casualties in exchange for 83 American. For the time being the base stays Japanese.

Over on Lunga a deliberate Allied attack achieves assault odds of 41 – 1 and the base is easily captured. 2859 Japanese casualties to 145 Allied. The defeated Japanese straggle through the jungle to Tassafaronga. The victorious Allied units are 1st USMC Amphb Tank Battalion, 1st USMC/1ST Regiment, 1st USMC/5th Regiment and 3rd USMC Defense Battalion. The beaten up Japanese are Kure 3rd Naval Guard Unit, 81st Naval Guard Unit plus 13th and 11th Naval Construction Battalions. For its part the 8th Naval Guard Unit disperses.

For the second time Japan claims the Wasp as sunk. I’m sure this is so and now I have hope that my carriers have something closer to a 50/50 chance in any future duel with the American carriers.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/27/2014 11:28:02 AM   
SierraJuliet


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Hi Cribtop.

I found that the IJN submarines are well up for the fight in this scenario. The Allied submarines on the other hand are well tied down by their poor torpedoes.

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/27/2014 4:14:58 PM   
tocaff


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Excepting the older S class boats who have torpedoes that actually explode on contact. Problem with these is that they are of much shorter duration on station and carry fewer torpedoes. USN skippers on the subs are also making poor choices as Steve has mentioned.

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I never thought that doing an AAR would be so time consuming and difficult.
www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2080768

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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/28/2014 12:13:49 AM   
SierraJuliet


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Here is a shot from 12 August. The Allied landings are set to go and the carriers are to the east of Guadalcanal.... sitting pretty in the swarm of subs.




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RE: Guadalcanal: A prelude - 5/28/2014 12:17:29 AM   
SierraJuliet


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One day later on 13 August Wasp moves southwards in an attempt to remove herself from the swarm only to be finished off.

Todd sallies forth with his carriers and cleans up 4 Maru merchants.... with troops on board!

So far not Japanese carriers are not at hand so the Allies have a free reign in the air.




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Guadalcanal 14 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 12:52:47 PM   
SierraJuliet


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14 August 1942

Unopposed aerial attacks on the Kokoda troops before 5 A6M2 take on 7 Kittyhawk and 16 Airacobra. 1 Kittyhawk is reported destroyed.

The Japanese defending Tulagi fire off a desultory barrage before the Allied forces attack and gain a 5 – 1 assault odds and capture the base. 14th Naval Construction Battalion is wiped out by attrition.

AR Akashi arrives at Truk so I will now have some ability to repair some major engine damage. Akashi is off the Rabaul as her base of operations.

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Guadalcanal 15 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 12:53:38 PM   
SierraJuliet


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15 August 1942

SS RO-68 launches torpedoes at DD Benham at Lunga…. They miss and the escorts fail to find the sub.

Some more unopposed attack on the Kokoda Track troops whilst at Tulagi and decimation of the Japanese continues. Det - Kure 3rd SNLF is wiped out by attrition.

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Guadalcanal 16 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 12:55:43 PM   
SierraJuliet


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16 August 1942

SS Grayling ventures to Truk and launches torpedoes at xAK Nitiyo Maru. No hits and the sub evades the attention of the escorts.

Zeros, Kittyhawks and Airacobras mix it again over the Owen Stanley Range. 1 Zero and 2 Kittyhawk reported lost and the troops on the ground hope the jungle does a job of hiding them.

I’ve set up a regular aerial supply run to Tassafaronga. I also have about 6 submarines picking up supplies on islands that don’t need the supply and getting them to dump it at Tassafaronga…. The supply situation on this base is slowly improving.

Yokosuka 5th SNLF arrives at Truk. It takes me some time to realize it but the new arrivals at Truk (and there will soon be a bunch of them arriving) do a job of sucking up all the new supply. Getting those new arrivals out of Truk is a most important job if you want your supplies to build up.

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Guadalcanal 17 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 1:41:04 PM   
SierraJuliet


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17 August 1942

Some more bombs falling on the Kokoda troops whilst they go about bombarding the entrenched Australians.

At Truk Shokaku, Zuikaku, Ryujo plus a host of escorts of all sizes arrive. Absolutely masses of cruisers and destroyers. More submarines too and more merchant vessels. Now to set about fashioning a defensive barrier for those isolated troops at Tassafaronga. The intention of course is to make the American troops at Lunga and Tulagi the isolated ones.

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RE: Guadalcanal 17 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 8:32:45 PM   
Cribtop


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A comment and a question. I'd be leery of basing the AR or significant fleet assets at Rabaul for long periods without major attention to day and night CAP. One 4E port raid can ruin your day big time.

Now the question: How do you anticipate using your carriers and surface capital ships of Combined Fleet?

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RE: Guadalcanal 17 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 9:06:40 PM   
SierraJuliet


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Excellent point and one I'll file away for future reference. Not sure if Todd considered a raid on Rabaul as his B-17 attention was fairly exclusively centred on Lae. In retrospect there is great risk in basing forward like this..... More often than not there was a fighter unit based at Rabaul as I was moving fighter units in and out of Lae to keep them fresh. We are some 50 turns into the scenario so I'm writing from my experience which turned out to be a good one.

As for my fleet tactics. Once I get my carrier TF out of harbour the first CV engagement won't be far off. I recall leaving them at Truk for a day or two before giving them their orders. My plan was to set them up to the north east of Guadalcanal and see if they could manufacture an attack which would do the most harm to the USN and the least damage to the IJN. Isn't that what all Japan players strive to achieve. . I like to get surface ships amongst the merchants too.... Dream result of course if I can do that.

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Guadalcanal 18 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 9:56:33 PM   
SierraJuliet


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18 August 1942

SS I-123 launches torpedoes at APD Manley near Lunga and missed. Then she sneaks off and eludes the attention of the escort.

Sweep over Port Moresby. Lose a Zero for no other reported result although it was 3 v 12 defenders.

Bombers return over Kokoda in the afternoon. Then B-17s turn up over Buna.

17th Army arrives at Truk. I intend getting them down to Tassafaronga to provide support either in defence or should things go well an eventual assault upon Lunga and Tulagi. I am playing with a desire to be attacking down there rather than defending. It will take some time to get into this position as the supply situation is taking time to redress.

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Guadalcanal 19 August 1942 - 5/28/2014 9:57:37 PM   
SierraJuliet


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19 August 1942

SS RO-68 attacks APD Colhoun near Rennell Island. Everyone lives to fight another day.

10 Zeros take on 12 CAP over PM today. This time 1 Airacobra is reported lost. 2 Zeros make a late run and bag a Kittyhawk.

Bombers again over Kokoda and today the B-17s turn their attention on Lae. 18 Zero are available for CAP against 17 bombers. 3 Zeros reported damaged. 3 bombers damaged and 1 destroyed by flak. They come in at 5000 feet and cause 5 casualties, airbase hits 3, airbase supply hits 2 and runway hits 14. Buna is also paid a visit by 13 B-17 and 2 Zero are there to provide nuisance value…. 1 runway hit reported from these bombers also flying at 5000 feet.

The Japanese troops on the Kokoda Track do some more bombarding but in the jungle I get the feeling that very little is being achieved by this tactic.

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Guadalcanal 20 - 22 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 1:06:44 PM   
SierraJuliet


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20 August 1942

Bombers over the track. Bombers over Lae. 20 Zero are available for CAP…. 45 B-17 turn up escorted by 3 Airacobra. Some damage on the ground and a couple of planes lost on either side.

21 August 1942

SS Greenling shoots 6 torpedoes at PB Tama Maru # 8 near Rabaul and misses.

CA Chokai and two of the Aobas + 2 light cruisers try a bombardment of Lunga. 35 ground losses reported plus airbase supply hits 2, runway hits 1 and port hits 1. I neglect to get night time spotters up…. Todd reminds me of this. I won’t be forgetting to do that again.

SS Greenling moves on to Kavieng and fires off 6 torpedoes at xAKL Kennichi Maru and misses.

Bombers over the track again… no Japanese damage reported.

22 August 1942

The only thing of note to report is more bombing on the track of Japanese forces…. Again no damage reported.

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RE: Guadalcanal 20 - 22 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 1:09:22 PM   
SierraJuliet


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The US Fleet is on the move again. Well off the map the IJN CVs are also moving south from Truk.




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RE: Guadalcanal 20 - 22 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 1:12:17 PM   
SierraJuliet


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As I am still coming to terms with the search functionality in AE I've made a determined effort to get decent search patterns organised. The intention is to keep tabs on the US Fleet movements.

Here is the patterns coming out of Shortlands.




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RE: Guadalcanal 20 - 22 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 1:13:41 PM   
SierraJuliet


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And here is the search patterns fanning out from Rabaul.




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Guadalcanal 23 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 10:21:27 PM   
SierraJuliet


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23 August 1942

SS Greenling scores 1 torpedo hit on xAKL Heiwa Maru near Rabaul and the merchant sinks.

Sweep over Port Moresby. 9 Zero v 10 Kittyhawk and 10 Airacobra. 3 Zero lost for 3 Airacobra. A trade but ouch that hurts. Second sweep 9 Zero v 9 Kittyhawk and 3 Airacobra. This time 1 Zero for 3 Kittyhawk. 3rd sweep sees 2 Zero v 2 Kittyhawk and 1 Airacobra…. No one is lost. 3 more Zero make a sweep and find they have the sky to themselves.

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Guadalcanal 23 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 10:24:44 PM   
SierraJuliet


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And a screenshot of the fleet positions at the end of the day. The IJN carriers are just off screen. The Allies have sent in shipping to Lunga and I'm guessing their main force is to the south. Tanaka with cruisers Takao, Atago and Maya is poised to make a run on the shipping at Lunga.




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24 August 1942 - 5/29/2014 11:59:25 PM   
SierraJuliet


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24 August 1942

Tanaka eludes the screening task forces and bursts into the anchorage at Lunga. APs President Bowen and George F. Elliot are sunk along with DD MacDonough and Dale. Furragut and Worden also take shell hits. AP Fuller is present but escapes Japanese attention. DD Oyashio and Maikaze each take 3 shell hits. Oyashio is at 22 10 6 0 and 4 major flooding whilst Maikaze is at 38 20 8 0 and 7 major flooding. Maikaze’s last report stated that temporary flooding repairs were failing. Allied ground casualties reported as 1630 with 50 non-combat squads and 27 engineer squads destroyed, 15 guns and 22 vehicles destroyed. 100% moonlight and the Allied task force was caught at the anchorage and Maya gets the credit for sinking Dale and George F. Elliot.

SS Greenling is still hanging around Kavieng.

My CVs send out a partial aerial force against the American task force near Kirakira. 12 Zeros escort 8 Kate and find themselves up against a CAP of 36 Wildcat. Final tally is 5 Zero and 3 Kate destroyed for 1 Wildcat destroyed. They sight CV Saratoga but nothing nasty comes anywhere near the carrier. So now Todd is well aware of the area my carriers are operating from.

Fortresses attack Lae.

Japanese forces launch a deliberate attack on the Kokoda Track and achieve 1 – 1 odds. 342 Japanese casualties to 185 Allied casualties.

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