Hey guys, newb here! I'll make this grab for advice a bit AARish to keep it kind of interesting, plus I enjoy writing up that kind of stuff, but I don't believe it deserves its own AAR thread since this went not exactly as planned and I'm asking for advice. Enjoy!
The date is April 17, 1942. Playing Japan, I have taken the Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra and have landed on Java.
The fighting is a little slow on Java, but we are making steady progress through the region. There has been stiff opposition in the air, and we are bombarded daily by B-25s and B-17s. Despite this, we have recon flying from Palembang and fighters providing LRCap to our troops.
My fleets consisting of 4 CVs, 4 BBs and several CAs are resupplying at Singapore when a rather interesting recon report comes through from Palembang. An Allied task force with at least two BBs is making its way through the area, and is headed East towards the Batavian (I think that's right?) strait between Sumatra and Java. I can immediately think of only one thing... A chance to strike and help secure the Java sea.
I look over my forces at Singapore. Ryujo and Zuiho are stocked up, fueled and filled to the brim with aircraft. However, Soryu and Hiryu are running low on planes and reinforcements are at least two days away, by then the opportunity will have slipped away.
After counting my aircraft, I tally ~140 aircraft, slightly less than half of which are Fighters. Easily enough aircraft to make a significant strike. I decide to attack.
Kongo and Ise are in repairs from prior battles in the area of Java, mostly from airstrikes and are unavailable. Hyuga and Haruna are ready to go, but fearing Hyuga would slow the task force too much, I keep her in port. Haruna will have to guard the task force herself. I grab the CAs Nachi, Myoko, and Mogami and then flesh out the Task Force with 8 DDs of various types.
Time is short, the enemy task force is only 3 hexes away from the strait, I'll only have one shot at this. I set the task force to full speed as theres no way the task force would make it under mission speed, and set the destination to where I believe the task force will be close without encountering the enemy in direct combat. I set my A6Ms to fly at 14,000 feet, Escort with a CAP of 40%. I set my D3As to Naval Attack with 20% on ASW at 12,000 feet. And finally, I set my B5Ns to Naval Attack with 20% on search. I limit all air wings maximum range to 7, the max range at which the B5N will fly with torpedoes equipped, and the max range of the D3A as well.
After running through the rest of my turn, I end it and eagerly await the result of my ambitious move. Finally, I get to the air phase (AM), and sure enough, spot the Allied task force mentioned in the prior turn... four hexes away from my CTF. But there's an issue, we spot another task force nearby.. And then another. Immediately I can only think of what an idiot I am, of course this task force had Carrier cover.
Eventually, the first air strikes roll in. However, immediately there's a huge issue. This first strike consists of 7 D3As, and 7 A6Ms. This strike is against the two battleships that were spotted earlier, they are both Revenge class BBs. Through past experience with these ships, I know that a 250 Kg bomb cannot penetrate the armor on these ships. The strike is a total wash before it even has the chance to process. Worse yet, 14 P-40s are flying air cover. I don't think I need to explain how this strike panned out.
The second strike comes in, 10 B5Ns attack a small group of cruisers... No hits are registered on the CLs.
And the final strike attacks the final enemy task force. 8 D3As and 4 B5Ns attack another group of Cruisers, again with no hits registered.
There were no PM strikes, and with that the enemy task force escapes. It becomes too risky to pursue further toward Soerbaja, I begrudgingly set my task force to mission speed to save fuel, and order a return to Singapore.
How could a Task Force consisting of almost 150 aircraft send out such small strikes? I check every factor, the task force commander has over 60 air skill, and each squadron commander is decent as well. No aircraft carriers were overcrowded, had plenty of ammunition and torpedoes, and all squadrons are carrier trained. There was no adverse weather, otherwise the patrols from Haruna and friends would have been canceled, which they were not.
So, this is where I ask the veterans to educate a newb such as myself. Is this normal? My strikes should have been much larger than they were, and I can't find any reason why they were so small. Worse yet, not even a single B5N went to attack anything larger than a CL. Is there any way I can tell them to prioritize the Big Boys?
Thanks guys, I'll offer as much info as necessary to help figure this one out. Have a nice day!
< Message edited by Mevennos -- 2/16/2019 1:25:18 AM >