|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|Pacific Theater of Operations: Part 2 Results|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
Pacific Theater of Operations: End of Spring - Summer 1942
Japan wins all the naval engagements and subdues the Philippines while the British tenaciously hold on to Hong Kong.
There were quite a few large naval engagements to be resolved last week and the Japanese took them all. At least that’s how if appears if you just look at the win/loss column.
In Battle No. 16 the Japanese Imperial Navy had hoped to finish the job it started at Pearl Harbor. They used the exact same assault force and attacked the American fleet off the coast of Samoa. But American commanders are learning quickly about tactical withdrawal. The Japanese won more battles but the Americans retreated more units. The end result was that the American fleet lost two fighters and they were pushed back to the Line Islands, while the Japanese, despite being victorious, came away with the bloodier nose. To push the Americans back one space cost them two fighters and a submarine. Battle 16 is a classic example of how to win the battle but lose the war. The Japanese lost more units than the Americans and the American carrier, the intended target, survived. The US battle group massing at Pearl Harbor has Japanese High Command worried.
American Commander Jason Krish reported:
“Second to last turn: Yamato missed Anti-air rolls and 2 Catalinas both roll 6’s! The USS Washington dealt one hit (range 3). This left Yamato crippled, but they pressed on, smelling victory as Washington was down to 3 hull points. Then Yamato blows USS Enterprise out of the water in a Vital Armor hit! Luckily for the USA, all three fighters attached to the carrier made it to land bases. Last turn: All Japanese aircraft are being re-armed. The 2 Catalinas returned to attack the Yamato. The Yamato disrupts one Catalina. Remaining Catalina misses torpedo run. It is a moot point as USS Washington hits and easily deal the death blow to Yamato. Yamato’s return fire was ineffective. One I-19 sub was in range and hits, but thanks to the torpedo belt, it’s only one hit! With the sinking of Yamato, the USA squeaks out a close win.”
Battle No. 17 was a resounding victory for Japan. While the UK was able to get all the Australian ground forces onto Papua (where they now significantly outnumber the Japanese) the Royal Navy took a pounding in doing so. The Japanese were able to sink two transports, a carrier and two fighters at the cost of two destroyers, a sub and a fighter. Most importantly, the battleship survived and can now link up with the Japanese carrier group to the north. The Japanese now control access to Papua. Access to Papua is important if the Australians are going to be kept in supply for their intended offensive to retake all of New Guinea. A comment overheard at British High Command was, “We’ll let the Americans deal with the Japanese Navy.”
Battle No. 18 was a win for Japan but the British were (just barely) able to retreat enough forces to keep a battleship and a destroyer. With the landing on Sumatra already in effect the win for Japan was again a hollow victory. The following report details the overall battle very well:
“TO: First Lord of the Admiralty, Home Islands
FROM: Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville, Commander Far East Fleet
In our bid to retake Sumatra, we have successfully landed our ground forces. The Japanese have arrived too late to prevent the landing. However, they attempted to force their way past our covering force to bombard the beachhead. Standing between them are the CV Hermes, BB Revenge, BC Renown, CA Cornwall, a DD and a sub. The Japanese fleet consisted of the BB Yamato, BB Yamashiro, CAV Tone, CVL Shoho and DD. They attacked in the early morning hours of April 10th, 1942.
In the opening moments of the battle, the Yamashiro was struck by a spread of torpedoes fired at extreme range. Undaunted, it continued underway. The Renown and Yamato exchanged fire. The Yamato's opening 18" salvo obliterated the battlecruiser, while the Renown's own 15" guns only caused light damage in return. Both Japanese battleships concentrate fire on the Revenge. Another spread of torpedoes hit the Yamashiro. The unlucky ship faltered and listed, but ignored the Revenge and moved toward the Hermes. The Yamato turned away from the enemy sub and the Revenge, and moved to support the Tone which had engaged the Cornwall. Both cruisers only damaged each other, but have moved into point blank range and played hide and seek in the destroyer's smoke screen. The two destroyers manage to sink each other and the Revenge finished off the Yamashiro before it could fire on the Hermes. The Yamato crippled the Revenge at long range and sank the Cornwall with its secondary. For the third time that day, the submarine scored a hit, this time on the Yamato but with minimal damage.
With the loss of the cruiser and destroyer, the Revenge and Hermes attempted to withdraw. The submarine's luck failed in its final attack of the day. The crippled Revenge could not outrun the Yamato's guns and was sunk. The Japanese have won the day, but they fail to exploit their victory and attack the vulnerable landing beach.”
Battle No. 19: the continued battle for Hong Kong resulted in defeat for Japan. The British defenders are tenaciously holding onto their half of the city and despite numerical superiority, the Japanese just can’t seem to win. The British were able to win with just enough points remaining to continue to keep an infantry division in Hong Kong. The Japanese were able to maintain a fighter squadron but lost all four of the assaulting infantry divisions. The Chinese are rushing two infantry divisions to Hong Kong; the fate of the city is still undecided.
Battle No. 20 was Part II of the battle for the Philippines. When all the AARs were tabulated it resulted in a tie. Meaning the Japanese and the Americans had an equal number of wins. In case of a tie we turn to total points remaining to determine the outcome. In this case the Americans had 1092 and the Japanese had 1029, a difference of 63 points, giving the US the win. When calculating what units remain on the strategic board we average all the points remaining and then divide that number by value of the territory. For the Philippines battle the territory value was 25 and the American average for surviving units was 36. Thus 36 divided by 25 gave us 1.44 (rounding factions gave us 1 point) points to turn into strategic board pieces. In Axis & Allies there are no ground units that defend on a 1. Therefore the Americans have no pieces to reconstitute back into the Philippines. The Japanese had a superior force to start with and so can reconstitute one infantry division and one fighter squadron. In the end, the Americans win the Philippines battle but lose the islands to the Japanese for the lack of adequate number of defenders. If the Americans could have just had .001 points more, High Command would have rounded their remaining points to two and placed an infantry division on the islands and they could have continued to fight. But in the end, it seems that the Japanese were just successful enough to win the territory.
In other action, the Japanese were unable to stop the British from taking Sumatra or the Shan State. In the Shan State they were completely beaten and now have no forces to defend French Indo-China from a powerful British army group. Attacks into Chinese provinces by the Japanese were also met with defeat. The Chinese managed to stop superior Japanese forces at Shansi and Hunan.
Strategically, Japanese High Command has two important decisions to make for next turn:
- Do they move the carrier group out of harms way from the American Navy now at Pearl? Or...
- Do they send a large ground force from the home island to French Indo-China to defend an impending British attack?
Either way the Japanese need to win a crucial movement die roll against the Americans and British. If they win the roll they have to choose one of the two paths before the Allies can move.
Over the weekend Japanese High Command is taking strategic suggestions from its commanders. This is your opportunity to voice your thoughts on how the Japanese should handle this very important decision. Please post your comment on the forum and Japanese High Command will take every suggestion into account before making their final decision.
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: