From: the bridge of the DNTK Kitakami
Now that BtS and BtS Lite are up to ver. 4.5 (thanks again to John and the whole mod group), my esteemed opponent Falken and I are going to play taking the side we are least comfortable with. That means I get to play the Allies, and Falken gets to play the Japanese. I get the joys of ordering the vast allied supply fleets, while he gets the joys of managing the Japanese war economy. We will be playing 2-day turns, which should slow the tempo of operations, and make game-time advance faster.
This is a general description of the situation:
The Washington Conference
Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes blueprint for naval disarmament gets out and the Japanese stonewall a Naval Conference for a full year. After considerable bickering and pressure being brought to bear, the Conference does take place in 1922 and disarmament is agreed upon. However, there are additions allowed due to the added time to get the meeting going. The whole Mutsu debate is scrapped due to Mutsu actually being ready and deployed at that point. A slightly higher 10:10:7 ratio between Great Britain, the United States, and Japan is agreed upon. These are the outcomes:
1. The Ratio Changes to 10:10:7 (USN:RN:IJN).
a. The Japanese keep BB Tosa and BC Ishitaka. The USN gains a fourth Colorado-Class BB and BC Constellation. Great Britain gets the option to build a pair of Super-Hoods.
b. Tonnages are left open for the British to build two 35,000-ton battleships, the United States has 28,000 tons available, and the Japanese have 18,000 tons open for new Capital Ships. These warships are designed through the late-20s and are authorized for building at the time of the London Naval Conference. The US builds BC Chesapeake (4x3 12" guns), while the Japanese build BC Chichibu (2x2 16.1" guns).
2. The whole subject of CVs is reworked:
a. Two 'experimental' CVs (two Hosho's and two Langley's) are built. The US converts USS Langley and USS Ely to CVEs and they begin the war at the Panama Canal. Japan has IJN Hosho and Ibuki.
b. Two BC to CV conversions are still allowed. The Americans use all their Treaty tonnage to make Wasp a 4th Yorktown-class CV. The Japanese back off the failed Ryujo design and build IJN Ryukaku and Karasu while Soryu is built as a Hiryu-Class CV.
3. The Big 3 allow for more research into 'cruiser' submarines. The Americans build an additional Argonaut, Narwhal, and three Seaplane carrying subs. The Japanese add three mine layers and four large ocean-going Glen SS, and the French add another Surcouf.
The London Conference
The subject of cruisers is re-worked:
1. Japan sticks to its goal of 70% for CAs (instead of 60%) at all costs. Thus, Japan is authorized to build a total of 14 CAs.
2. Great Britain, who nearly scrapped the treaty due to the issue of CAs and CLs, stands firm over its argument and forces a larger tonnage for CLs. This brings no change to the Treaty since Japan was already at 70% in this category.
3. Both Japan and the United States were looking on hybrid cruiser—CVs and they force Great Britain, following the example set with the Washington BC—CV Conversions, to allow for two hybrids each to be built in the early-30s. The nations are allowed to place up to 8" guns on those vessels. The US builds CLV Charlotte and Jacksonville (3x3 6" and 18 Planes), GB builds CAV Melbourne and Wellington (2x2 8" and 15 Planes) sold/given to Australia and New Zealand, and Japan finishes up with CAV Kushiro and Tokachi (3x2 8" and 27 Planes). These hybrids are not true, useful CVLs nor are they true, useful cruisers but they have a unique niche in 1941 and all of them can be converted into carriers late in 1942.
To take maximum advantage of the revised Treaty tonnages, Japan converts several of the oldest CLs into fast MLs, builds additional Myoko-Class CAs and keeps the last four Mogami Class as 6” CLs.
Warship Construction after the Treaty Years
After abandoning the Treaty System, great discussion goes into the first new battleships to be built by Japan since the Nagato Class. The choices ends up centering on building two modern, fast, conventional battlewagons as opposed to the mighty Yamato-Class. The prohibitive factors of cost, additional shipyard construction and time finally swing the decision in favor of creating the Owari-Class (3x3 16.1" Guns). By building the Owari-Class BBs, the Japanese clear the slipways 12-18 months faster. The net result is that two modern 28-Kt. BBs join the Kaigun BEFORE Pearl Harbor, and their successors (two B-65 Class BCs) are either finished or near complete at war's start. Hoping to stay competitive vis-a-vis the Two Ocean Bill, two additional Owari-Class BBs are laid down just prior to the start of hostilities.
A new class of heavy cruiser is initiated. The proposed Tone-Class floatplane CA is discarded in favor of a balanced, more capable cruiser. The Niitaka-Class grows to over 15,000 tonnes and carries 4x3 8" guns. Six of there rugged cruisers are planned. The initial two are complete at war's start, a second pair coming in late-1942, and a final pair in 1944.
The Rise of Admiral Yamamoto
History takes another turn as Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku makes a greater contribution to the development of the Kaigun from 1936 to 1941. Yamamoto exerts a much greater influence first on the Japan Naval Aircraft Industry, then as Deputy Navy Minister, and finally as Navy Minister. Yamamoto chooses, at great risk to his life, to forego command of the Combined Fleet and dedicates himself to preparing Japan for the war he didn't want. He adds two new slipways (Shanghai and Port Arthur) for Fleet construction to facilitate a different, final pre-war expansion of the Kaigun. New and expanded Naval Yards, Heavy Industry, and Armaments are added at tremendous cost to the Japanese economy, as the Admiral attempts to prepare Japan for a possibly long war. In so doing, Yamamoto changes the 4th Circle Building Plan, dropping the 3rd and 4th Owari-Class Battleships for two improved Shokaku-Class CVs, a pair of Kawachi-Class fast BCs, an accelerated Light Cruiser deployment, and additional destroyers. Quick, reasonably cheap carrier conversions are moved forward seeing all of the pre-war CVs/CVLs deploy by December 7th or at slightly earlier dates in 1942. The highly unrealistic 5th Circle Plan is added in late-1941, and adds the 3rd and 4th Owari-Class BB back into building queue. Despite Yamamoto's objections, this allocation of resources goes ahead, with completion dates set in 1943-1944. Though only a few of these new ships are ready on December 7th, these additions make the Kaigun a force to be reckoned with well into 1944.
The Japan Naval Air Arm deploys the A6M2 with research complete for its successors of the M3 and M5. These airframes are nearly ready in December 1941, and the Japanese wisely look at advanced prototypes elsewhere, and decide to explore several second-generation fighter concepts. The Zero Team moves on to the Jack and Sam, while private contractors work on the George. Yamamoto fosters a sense of competition between the two teams to see who will win out as producing a worthy successor to the A6M2 line. Additional streamlining and encouragement brings forward second-generation aircraft of other fields: Dive-Bombing, Torpedo-Bombing, and the creation of a small heavy bomber line.
On the ground, Yamamoto reorganizes the SNLF units into a Brigade-Sized offensive force and, knowing it will be a war of attrition, converts many Naval Guard into enhanced units with Coastal Defense artillery (using guns taken from refitted warships). Additional small units are added to the IJN’s Troops and support units better reflecting Yamamoto's foresight into base building, defense, and expansion needs. While all these units are small and not in great number they promise to help the Japanese war effort.
Supply and fuel reserves start at a much reduced state. The Japanese MUST take the DEI as fast as possible!
Once war begins, BtS Lite postulates Yamamoto’s influence upon the wartime Kaigun. Four more improved Shokaku-Class CVs are ordered, and the conversion of several CLs into CVLs is added. First class destroyers are accelerated and emphasis is shifted to the AA Akizuki-Class at the expense of the more balanced Yugumos. Manpower is at a premium within the Fleet so Submarines, Escorts, and ASW forces all see a major retooling reflecting the Japanese quality over quantity belief. Yamamoto chooses the immediately useful projects, large APs converting to CVEs, better destroyers, fast transports and coastal defense forces.
On the Allied Side
Not all the changes benefit the Japanese. Between the Storms brings major additions and more choice for the Allied Player. The Allies see continued major changes in their starting locations, new air units, the addition of Training Squadrons on mainland USA to allow for an American pilot training program, enhanced aircraft production numbers, additional Allied FP groups, several ground units, additional New Zealand and Australian ships, a French Squadron at Tahiti, the CL Eendract for the DEI, a stronger Force Z, a CLAA conversion for the Omaha-class CLs, an additional pair of CVLs, and optional conversion of the Kittyhawk Class AKV and Tangier Class AV into CVEs. The added warships reflect a ‘stopgap’ counter to the increased Japanese strength found at war’s start.
Additionally, the Hepburn Board's recommendation to augmenting and expanding many Pacific Bases is heeded and work is sped up at Wake, Midway, the Aleutians, and in the South Pacific. While work has just begun in many ways, these advances pose a tougher problem for Japan if she moves east or southeast.
As war clouds gather on the horizon, the United States makes several important decisions:
1. To slightly reinforce the Asiatic Fleet with an additional CA and 4 modern DDs.
2. Admiral Hart also decides to follow his instincts and begins development of Cebu as an alternate anchorage.
3. The Scouting Force, commanded by Vc-Adm Wilson, is sent south to protect the ships helping to develop Pago Pago into a forward operating base. This powerful Task Force serves to aid the convoy going to the Philippines (the Pensacola TF) and the empty TF returning from the Philippines (the Chester TF). In a major development, Winston Churchill decides, at the last minute, to add HMS Renown to Force Z to better demonstrate British 'resolve' reflecting the seriousness of Japan's overt aggression. Repairs on HMS Indomitable are rushed, and this valuable carrier is just days away from assisting Force Z by providing invaluable air cover. Is it too little, too late?
In addition to its own special modifications, Between the Storms has been made fully compatible with DaBabes and thus has more ship classes than stock, and many more of the smaller vessels comprising these classes for both sides: yard oilers, coastal minesweepers, auxiliary subchasers, patrol boats, minefield tenders, and many others designed to give a more robust and realistic feel to the development, population, capabilities, and logistical support of bases and rear and operational areas. Database elements have been modified to provide more realistic results for AAA (flak) combat, ASW combat, and certain minor, but nevertheless fun, aspects of naval combat, like land bombardment and coastal defense fire and new modifications to ATA combat. The modifications include lining-up and unifying data elements within certain fields, so that things interface more smoothly, as well as substantial changes to the data elements themselves.
Garrison requirements have been raised in China as well as India to, hopefully, better reflect the political environment of the regions.
All in all, after taking a good look at both sides, the mod feels balanced. The Japanese have more naval surface and air units at start but less resources and supplies in storage. This means they must conquer the DEI and other resource-producing areas, or the economy will crash. The Allies also get more toys, although they face stronger forces at the start of the war. Perhaps it will take them a bit longer, but I feel that once IJN pilot quality begins to erode, the Allies have a good chance to take Japan down.
Now, even though it is a new scenario, since I have never played the Allies against a human opponent, could the AFBs please give me a few pointers? In exchange I will attempt to write a very, very basic AAR, more like my thoughts on how the war is progressing and questions when I feel lost. Please don't hold me to the standard of the great AARs here.
I will post our house rules later on.
< Message edited by Kitakami -- 10/11/2017 4:16:52 PM >
Tenno Heika Banzai!