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Axis & Allies Miniatures Campaign: Guadalcanal
Strategic Turn 2
by David Devere & Tom Maertz

Results of Tactical Turn 1
for the
Guadalcanal Online Campaign.

Since this Campaign is only four turns in length one major slip and the entire battle could be lost. Have the Americans lost already? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Battle #1 was in sector D. The Americans won the engagement damaging a destroyer squadron but the Japanese submarine contingent remains hidden. American strategic losses were zero, but as USN Commander Eric John reports, the tactical battles were heated and costly:

"Our force was not optimal for dealing with a swarm of smaller opponents and the Long Lance torpedoes proved their effectiveness once again. At the critical stage in the battle, USS Massachusetts lost the initiative, and managed only one hit on Kongo in twenty minutes of firing at ranges of 10,000 yards. Perhaps she was affected by the same electrical shorts as her sister ship, the South Dakota. Despite all these setbacks, the doughty Massachusetts, with the help of significant air cover from Henderson Field, managed to sweep the seas of Japanese ships. Apparent victory was snatched away when a long range shot from a submarine identified as I-26 sent the battered Massachusetts to a watery end..."

Battle #2 was an important carrier action in the Slot. The Americans again won the battle but it was costly. Strategically they destroyed two Japanese fighters and damaged a cruiser but the Japanese came back to destroy the American cruiser and carrier leaving the escort fighters untouched. Commander Marcus Polk of the Imperial Japanese Navy reported:

"After taking a bomb hit and dodging air launched torpedoes, heavy cruiser Myoko destroyed the USS Saratoga in one turn from range 2 using a combination of gunfire and a salvo of deadly accurate Long Lance torpedoes."

Battle #3 moved inland to Guadalcanal. The invasion was a spectacular success with the Japanese defenders being completely destroyed. Crucial supplies were captured allowing the Americans to build a second airfield on the island.

Battle #4 for the island of Malaita was another easy victory for the Americans. The Japanese defenders didn’t stand a chance. American field commanders reported:

"We have completed the destruction of the Axis forces on Malaita. The Red Devil Captain led several M1 Garands in some vicious hill to hill action and wiped out the entire Japanese resistance."

Battle #5 for New Georgia was a complete American disaster. When the Japanese needed to win the most they got it in a definitive way. All but one unit of the assaulting American forces were thrown back but they did manage to take out a Japanese infantry, artillery and anti-air unit in the process. The Japanese vastly outnumber the remaining Americans and have built an airfield to support further actions. Japanese field commanders reported:

"Japan was able to achieve these stunning results by using Map 3, enfilade fire and by winning initiative when it mattered the most. Japan used in all 4 battles:

1 Imperial Sergeant, 13 Arisaka Riflemen and 4 Barbed Wire."

Options for Tactical Turn 2

The strategic map this week reflects the current position of all units including the turn builds.

The Japanese Imperial Navy offers these three options:

#1 Into the Slot. This is self explanatory. The carriers and the battleship move forward and press the issue with the, now much reduced, American fleet.

#2 Malaita Sneak. Here the entire fleet would move quickly toward Malaita and try to take it back using the transport in sector G and the troops stationed on Santa Isabel.

#3 Alone in the Slot. This strategy would move the battleship into the Slot and the carriers out to perform the Malaita sneak. Breaking up the fleet could be dangerous –the Americans have a dominating amount of airpower.

The American Navy offers these three counter moves:

#1 Protect the canal. Since the invasion of New Georgia was a complete disaster the remaining troops would be repositioned to Guadalcanal and the fleet placed in the Slot. The remaining carrier would stay in a defensive position in sector J.

#2 Reinforce Malaita. The battleship would still move to the Slot but the carrier fleet would move to K. The Americans plan on building an airfield on Malaita next turn so having a fleet offshore to protect the island might not be a bad decision.

#3 Slot Shot. Sometimes it’s best to circle the wagons. #3 would move the battleship fleet to H and move the carrier fleet to H. A combined fleet would put the Americans in the strongest defensive position.

While the loss of the American carrier and cruiser and the failed attempt on New Georgia are devastating events they aren’t campaign ending. The more the Japanese extend themselves the more vulnerable they become. Certainly turn two could produce a turning point for either side – it’s just too early to tell.

This week we had many excellent AAR’s and some photo submissions. High Command has included some of them in this report. Keep up the good work and we will try to include as many interesting details of your battle as possible in the recaps. As always you can discuss your exploits and grand strategy on the forums.

Commanders, those are your options. Choose a strategy and work quickly! Submit your choice to before the deadline of Thursday August 21st 2008 at 8:00am PST. High Command will then collate your choices and issue the first battle tickets on Friday.

"A line of Marines withdrew off a hill they were defending. Shortly after, they were ordered to charge with fixed bayonets. They did and they recaptured the hill. The Japs tried three bayonet charges against the Army who are in our old position. It is a very nice place for our lines. There is a huge field in front which is strung with three aprons of barbed wire. They were let come in each consecutive time and each was broken. Result: 600 dead Japs."

Excerpt from the diary of:
Sgt. James A. Donahue
United States Marine Corps.
First Marine Division (H-2-1)

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