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dealing with Kido Butai - 1/5/2008 6:40:10 PM   
daveja vu

 

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I have a problem playing the campaign scenarios where the Battle of Midway is assumed not to have occurred. Specifically this refers to dealing with Kido Butai (meaning the carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu aka The Big Four). The Japanese like to group these carriers together (sometimes with Shokaku and Zuikaku, thus recreating the original Pearl Harbor strike force) and brutalize my forces with massive (250+) airstrikes. A tactic I once witnessed was Kido Butai sitting up close to Lae and letting Port Moresby have it with mondo strikes, sometimes reinforced with Betty/Nell raids from Rabaul. Unfortunately I was in the midst of sending a supply convoy, with carrier escort, to PM. This monster raid blew through my P40 and F4F CAP (carriers had ALL fighters set to LRCAP) and proceeded to brutalize my convoy (multiple AP/AK's sunk or seriously damaged). Later PM got hit directly with large airfield damage and many planes damaged or destroyed.

How do I counter these monster raids and tactics? I deliberately spurned the opening Coral Sea carrier battle and let my LBA and surface assets handle things against the Gili Gili landings. I thought that I would be better off sparing Lexington and Yorktown and giving them time to build up their aircrews, as well as waiting for the rest of my carriers (Saratoga, Enterprise, Hornet, Wasp) a few months down the road, so I could have huge carrier battlegroups of my own. Instead I seem to had given the Japanese the advantage, where they could resist any foray into their territory with near impunity. NOTHING is scarier than dealing with 100-odd Vals and Kates coming at your carriers or transports.

Should I have gone ahead and fought Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Shoho at the Coral Sea with my carriers? At least hope to do enough damage to keep them out of action for a few months? Unfortunately I never escape Coral Sea without enough damage to send both Lexington and Yorktown back to Pearl Harbor, if not for the outright loss of at least one. If I make any effort to challenge the Japanese carriers, I NEVER escape without significant damage in return, no matter what combination of escorts/CAP I use with my F4F's. So my carrier situation vs. the Japanese is no better a few months down the road. Maybe I should just hunker down, conserve my assets until they become more numerous, and wait for the AI to get stupid and split up Kido Butai where I can challenge them on more even odds (the AI does seem to get stupider as the game progresses).

Any advice would be appreciated.
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/5/2008 8:48:42 PM   
ILCK

 

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I tried that scenario one time and got mauled- badly. I thought it would be more of a challenge than the historical path but since the AI always grouped all the carrier groups together it was awful. I got ripped when I got too bold and sent my 3 carriers to cover the Lunga landings and 6 Jap carriers plus the CVE's as well showed up and sent my ships sailing to the bottom.

Never seemed to matter how I replayed that one. The Japs would never break up their massive carrier battle group so it was always gonna be me vs the whole air arm of the IJN.

(in reply to daveja vu)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/5/2008 8:49:11 PM   
tocaff


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If you're really concerned with not giving the KB a chance to deep 6 your CVs then avoid it.  When you know where the KB is then your CVs can raid elsewhere and gain experience.  The KB is a fragile weapon that can't recover it's loses as those highly trained crews are lost forever so even if you lose 6 CVs (you get more later) and the KB's airarm is destroyed you've won the battle of attrition.  The VPs can be recouped later on.

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(in reply to daveja vu)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 4:38:21 AM   
Long Lance


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My proposal is:

Rebase your B-17s to Luganville around May, 15th, set them to Naval Bombardment 1000 ft.

Send the CAs from Brisbane to Noumea, then wait until around 20-25th of May may 1942.
By then, the first F4-reinforcment squad has arived.

Base all your F4-squads at Noumea, I'm under the impression they are upgraded/reinforced faster as if staying aboard.
Wait till one squad has changed from F4F3 to F4F4, and wait again till the F4F3Fs sent to pool have been used to reinforce the F4F3-squads.
Get your CVs, perhaps 5 DDs with best AA-values and fill up to 15 ships by using (US-)CAs to create your CV-TF.
Put all F4s you can get aboard the CVs, perhaps detach a squad of TBDs.

KB, which consists at that time only of Zuikaku, Shokaku and Shoho will be bombing Guadalcanal. This is your chance to draw them into battle with nearly all F4s (80%) on CAP. Your SBDs will somehow get through KB's CAP anyway. If you sail your CV-TF SE of GC, they may even come in range of the B-17s based in Luganville.

In my last game, the B-17s didn't join battle, I lost a CA and lots of (replacable) SBDs, but sank Zuikaku and Shoho without even a scratch on my CVs. Checked for the Jap, Shokaku is just at 15 % Sysdamage, but it also has only 5 D3As and B5Ns each left. Perhaps I was lucky, but this is the way to go IMHO: Get KB piecemeal





(in reply to tocaff)
Post #: 4
RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 6:24:25 AM   
Wirraway_Ace


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As a matter of strategy and tactics, the only way for the Jap to even make scenarios 17 or 19 interesting is to mass the KB and smash allied airpower at Port Moresby and any allied CVs that get too bold. The only reason the real Coral Sea and Midway turn out the way they did was because of the IJN failure to mass. A Jap player (AI or human) should be able to avoid the series of poor decisions the IJN actually made.

Allied CVs only start to have any normal chance of success once all six are upgraded with TBF Avengers (by mid-sep 42).

My semi-informed opinion is that the KB will run amok until early 43 and then quickly become irrelevent--even a liability.

The allies should maintain their CVs as a fleet-in-being until Essex arrives. Strike were your opponant gives you opportunities, but don't take any unreasonable risks. Only commit to defend against an auto-victory

(in reply to Long Lance)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 2:36:13 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wirraway_Ace

... The allies should maintain their CVs as a fleet-in-being until Essex arrives. Strike were your opponant gives you opportunities, but don't take any unreasonable risks. Only commit to defend against an auto-victory


That's a sound strategy, assuming your opponent doesn't take PM in the mean time; I lost 2 CVs defending it, resulting in Bettys on the 'Canal, but at least I'm still in the game.


_____________________________

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Home of the Chance-Vought Corsair, F4U
The best fighter-bomber of World War II

(in reply to Wirraway_Ace)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 2:54:29 PM   
daveja vu

 

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Just curious - does the AI ever go for PM as the Japanese, or do only human players do it vie PBEM?  Contrary to the tactics I've read in this forum I think the Japanese trying to take PM is a bad idea - too many resources needed to take and keep supplied.  I'd prefer taking Gili-Gili, building up Lae, and maybe even going for Dodobura.  That way I can base my bombers in a good position to interdict all shipping in the Coral Sea early on, thus starving out PM.  Meanwhile keep up some good airstrikes early on and the occasional bombardment run with BB to trash the place and make it useless.  Sort of the Japanese version of Operations Cartwheel and Hailstone (the isolation and trashing of Rabaul and Truk, respectively). Of course this would require very aggressive Japanese tactics, concentrating their forces and keeping the Allies at bay before the material weight swings in their direction in early 1943.  

(in reply to Joe D.)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 3:18:25 PM   
Joe D.


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Playing at the historical setting, in some scenarios -- i.e., "Yamamoto's Prophecy" -- the AI repeatedly sent a bombardment fleet to PM after taking Gili Gili, otherwise I've never seen it attempt to cross the Owen Stanley Mts., or head south from Lae.

Perhaps other players have had different experiences.

_____________________________

Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

"The Angel of Okinawa"

Home of the Chance-Vought Corsair, F4U
The best fighter-bomber of World War II

(in reply to daveja vu)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 3:46:39 PM   
ILCK

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joe D.

Playing at the historical setting, in some scenarios -- i.e., "Yamamoto's Prophecy" -- the AI repeatedly sent a bombardment fleet to PM after taking Gili Gili, otherwise I've never seen it attempt to cross the Owen Stanley Mts., or head south from Lae.

Perhaps other players have had different experiences.



So far the AI took Gili Gili and bombarded PM but sat dead still on the rest of PNG. They sat so still that Kanga force came perilously close to taking Lae unopposed.

BTW, taking Gili Gili looks to be bad draw for the AI. Land based planes at Cooktown and Cairnes plus the forces out of PM have just savaged the AP's and other ships trying to resupply the base. Their transport capability is just getting drilled.

(in reply to Joe D.)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 3:49:44 PM   
ILCK

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wirraway_Ace


My semi-informed opinion is that the KB will run amok until early 43 and then quickly become irrelevent--even a liability.

The allies should maintain their CVs as a fleet-in-being until Essex arrives. Strike were your opponant gives you opportunities, but don't take any unreasonable risks. Only commit to defend against an auto-victory



OK, while the AI is not gonna do this what if a human foes sallies the KB down the slot and past the Santa Cruz islands and take Luganville or EPV. Both look weakly defended on the ground and nothing early game can possibly stop KB on the allied side. I shiver to ponder what happens if Betty's get installed within range of Noumea.

(in reply to Wirraway_Ace)
Post #: 10
RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 5:43:36 PM   
Wirraway_Ace


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ILCK


quote:

ORIGINAL: Wirraway_Ace


My semi-informed opinion is that the KB will run amok until early 43 and then quickly become irrelevent--even a liability.

The allies should maintain their CVs as a fleet-in-being until Essex arrives. Strike were your opponant gives you opportunities, but don't take any unreasonable risks. Only commit to defend against an auto-victory



OK, while the AI is not gonna do this what if a human foes sallies the KB down the slot and past the Santa Cruz islands and take Luganville or EPV. Both look weakly defended on the ground and nothing early game can possibly stop KB on the allied side. I shiver to ponder what happens if Betty's get installed within range of Noumea.


That is one of the courses of action the IJN had in mind--sever Allied lines of communication between the U.S. and Australia. From Santa Cruz and Noumea, they would have continued south to New Zealand. While this was possible (until Midway), the Army was against such an over-extension. Taking Luganville is an auto-victory for the Japanese if they can hold it till 1 Jan 43. Against a human opponant, this is what you must guard against. It is still quite difficult for the Japanese to actually do. Without intermediate bases with at least a level three port and a decent airfield at Lunga, the KB is at great risk this far south. A carrier battle too far from Japanese airfields and ports could result in irreplacible losses in carrier air groups having to ditch when the CVs are damaged and the CVs sinking before they can make it back to port. I recommend reading Miller and Ike99 AARs for two very different but thoughtful opinions on Jap attacks toward Luganville (the key).

< Message edited by Wirraway_Ace -- 1/6/2008 5:45:20 PM >

(in reply to ILCK)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 8:42:35 PM   
daveja vu

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ILCK


OK, while the AI is not gonna do this what if a human foes sallies the KB down the slot and past the Santa Cruz islands and take Luganville or EPV. Both look weakly defended on the ground and nothing early game can possibly stop KB on the allied side. I shiver to ponder what happens if Betty's get installed within range of Noumea.


Once again, the Japanese would have serious logistics problems taking and holding anything past Guadalcanal. Look how much trouble they had historically keeping bases supplied, I don't think they could sustain a supply train all the way to Luganville. Best to build up Lunga and base Bettys there to intercept convoys and prevent any movement into the Solomons. I believe they still have the range to hit Luganville. Irau would be a good place to take too, for basing Zero escorts.

(in reply to ILCK)
Post #: 12
RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/6/2008 9:13:11 PM   
Wirraway_Ace


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quote:

ORIGINAL: daveja vu


Once again, the Japanese would have serious logistics problems taking and holding anything past Guadalcanal. Look how much trouble they had historically keeping bases supplied, I don't think they could sustain a supply train all the way to Luganville. Best to build up Lunga and base Bettys there to intercept convoys and prevent any movement into the Solomons. I believe they still have the range to hit Luganville. Irau would be a good place to take too, for basing Zero escorts.


I agree with daveja vu. It would be a real logistics challenge for the IJN to support operations vic Luganville. However, if Port Moresby falls quickly or your opponant ignores it completely, look out for an all out drive on Luganville. Additionally, watch out for the Miller style late december gamble with the entire Jap order of battle thrown against Luganville to autovictory.

I don't see much offensive advantage to Irau for the Japanese. It is really a denial operation to keep the Allies from easily grabbing a base close enough to launch P39s against your barge resupply ops at Lunga. Your Bettys escorted by A6M2s can strike Luganville from Lunga.

(in reply to daveja vu)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/7/2008 2:16:30 PM   
HansBolter


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quote:

ORIGINAL: daveja vu

Just curious - does the AI ever go for PM as the Japanese, or do only human players do it vie PBEM?  Contrary to the tactics I've read in this forum I think the Japanese trying to take PM is a bad idea - too many resources needed to take and keep supplied.  I'd prefer taking Gili-Gili, building up Lae, and maybe even going for Dodobura.  That way I can base my bombers in a good position to interdict all shipping in the Coral Sea early on, thus starving out PM.  Meanwhile keep up some good airstrikes early on and the occasional bombardment run with BB to trash the place and make it useless.  Sort of the Japanese version of Operations Cartwheel and Hailstone (the isolation and trashing of Rabaul and Truk, respectively). Of course this would require very aggressive Japanese tactics, concentrating their forces and keeping the Allies at bay before the material weight swings in their direction in early 1943.  



In my current campaign game they are going full bore for PM. They got a good size force ashore in GiliGili and also at Canal, but they have focused the reinforcement effort on GiliGili and have bombarded PM several times with BBs. I am making them pay dearly as GiliGili is within reach of both PM and Cooktown(B17s). I have been able to raid GG repeatedly with small surface forces based out of Cairns and they finally got tired of it and brought the BBs out to play. I have been able to trash the BBs with my carrier force keeping it sheltered under LBA cover south of New Guinea. So far, I have managed to avoid the KB.....we'll see for how long though. I have a feeling they will intervene now that I trashed the BBs.

(in reply to daveja vu)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/7/2008 9:38:31 PM   
Ike99


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quote:

Should I have gone ahead and fought Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Shoho at the Coral Sea with my carriers? At least hope to do enough damage to keep them out of action for a few months?


Only if your prepared to lose your carriers in the process. However you can keep your own carriers close to a large port and make his carriers fight at an extended range from his own ports. This will give your carriers a good chance to dock and be saved from sinking in a battle from damage. Also it allows you to use land based fighters for LRCAP as extra fighters over your own carrier group.

Fighting head to head in the open sea early you´ll lose. Being close to a large port of your own with extra allied landbased airpower and you can even it up.

(in reply to HansBolter)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/7/2008 10:18:53 PM   
ILCK

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ike99

This will give your carriers a good chance to dock and be saved from sinking in a battle from damage. Also it allows you to use land based fighters for LRCAP as extra fighters over your own carrier group.



I'm not sure what good this does, nor for that matter any CAP. I'm not seeing where fighter interceptors do much damage to incoming bombers. I can put a sea of planes in the air, shoot down 1 Zero and then the entire bomber force glides in. I thought this was about bad American planes vs top end Zeros but the thing is they don't do much damage to me either and no matter how many planes and how much experience as the Americans nothing good happens.

I'm much more afraid of flak than fighters in terms of what kills my planes.

(in reply to Ike99)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/8/2008 2:35:38 AM   
Ike99


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quote:

I'm not sure what good this does, nor for that matter any CAP.


What good it does is this...You have a carrier battle, your carriers are 6 spaces from a good size port of your own. His carriers are 25 spaces from a good sized port of his....

You exchange hits. You get 3 badly damaged carriers and he gets 3 badly damaged carriers. Your carriers only need to go 6 spaces to reach a port where the flooding can be stopped and the ships saved.

His badly damaged carriers need to go 25 spaces to reach a friendly port and they´ll more than likely sink before they ever get there.

(in reply to ILCK)
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RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/8/2008 5:55:40 AM   
daveja vu

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ILCK

I'm not sure what good this does, nor for that matter any CAP. I'm not seeing where fighter interceptors do much damage to incoming bombers. I can put a sea of planes in the air, shoot down 1 Zero and then the entire bomber force glides in. I thought this was about bad American planes vs top end Zeros but the thing is they don't do much damage to me either and no matter how many planes and how much experience as the Americans nothing good happens.



Seems to me the more fighters you have vs. the bomber escorts, particularly if you can shoot down a good number of escorts, determines how well your CAP is able to engage incoming bombers. This would accurately reflect a good bomber escort being able to engage and tie up the opposing CAP, preventing them from getting to the bombers, even if the escorts aren't able to score many kills. I would assume that factors such as fighter performance (fast fighters like P38's, P47's and F4U's being able to blow right past a flock of Zeroes) altitude differences, pilot quality, bomber defensive armament (Zeroes and Oscars tended to be very vunlerable to defensive fire from American level bombers), fatigue, morale, etc. would determine CAP effectiveness towards bombers as well. Unfortunately, early available Allied fighters (P39's, P40's, F4F's) tended to lack high-speed performance and experience, thus their lukewarm showings against even lightly escorted bomber forces.

(in reply to ILCK)
Post #: 18
RE: dealing with Kido Butai - 1/9/2008 3:32:12 AM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: daveja vu

I have a problem playing the campaign scenarios where the Battle of Midway is assumed not to have occurred. Specifically this refers to dealing with Kido Butai (meaning the carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu aka The Big Four) ...

How do I counter these monster raids and tactics?


Although the KB can dish it out, it can't take hits; so give your LBA enough escort and eventualy you'll get lucky and score some hits on the IJN CVs. Then you can engage the KB w/ur own CVs after it's been trimmed down to size.

But when you engage, take Ike's advice: engage near ur own bases where you can retreat, even if damaged. Your orphaned air may even launch a 2nd strike if they make it to a nearby airfield after they are forced to abandon their crippled CVs.


_____________________________

Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

"The Angel of Okinawa"

Home of the Chance-Vought Corsair, F4U
The best fighter-bomber of World War II

(in reply to daveja vu)
Post #: 19
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