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Axis & Allies Miniatures Campaign: Guadalcanal
Tactical Turn 4 Results
by David Devere & Tom Maertz

Japan quits Solomons.
All Japanese Warships routed.
Americans within striking distance of Rabaul.

With the results of the last five battles calculated it is official – the Americans have won. The final victory point total was America 14, Japan 9. In the last desperate struggle to gain a few extra victory points both sides had some tactical victories. Let’s look at how the final battle came out.

Battle #16 was in Sector G. The Americans successfully landed their four Marine brigades on New Georgia and in the process utterly destroyed the defending Japanese surface fleet. The Japanese failed to score a hit. Australian war correspondent James Paterson logged this After Action Report “The US Fleet based around the Iowa, while the Japanese had 5 long lance equipped destroyers and cruisers plus a sub. The Iowa survived 15 long lance shots and only took one hit - she finished with 4 damage as the last of the Japanese surface fleet went to the bottom of the sound. US and Jap aircraft spent the game shooting at each other to no effect.”

Battle #17 was all about revenge. The Japanese had a numerical advantage going into the battle and their strategic objective was two fold: destroy the American fleet- specifically the battleship and carrier- and stop the landings on Choiseul. In the end, just one objective was accomplished. The Japanese scored nine hits on the Americans, knocking out two destroyers, two bombers, two fighters, two transports and damaging the carrier. The loss of the transports prevented the landing on Choiseul but they failed to sink the American battleship and carrier. The Americans scored ten hits, sinking or damaging every Japanese combat unit, leaving only enemy transports in the sector. This report was filed with the Imperial Navy: “Japanese After Action Report: Captain Yasaki reporting for Admiral Osowski:

"I regretfully inform you that our naval battle group was unsuccessful in our role in defeating American forces in Sector F. In the initial air assault we gained an early advantage as a spectacular dive bombing run by our Val bombers obliterated the USS Enterprise in a single attack. In the first 20 minutes we also destroyed the American transports and began damaging their destroyer flotilla. Our air attacks and the Kongo were unable to prevent the Americans from seizing the westernmost objective. The battle continued with the Kongo fighting a US battle group of a Fletcher, the San Francisco and the battleship California. In our third wave of the air assault our dive bombers pressed the assault and were torn to bits by AA fire, we lost half of our bombers in a matter of minutes. However, the battle was still going in our favor as the Yamato made its presence felt, launching long range attacks against the remainder of the US carrier group. It then turned to support the crippled Kongo in the engagement with the California, sinking the San Francisco in minutes. Thus began 30 minutes of engagement between the Yamato and the California, which it proceeded to sink. However, after an hour of constant attacks, the Yamato succumbed to massive US air assaults and capsized after taking damage from numerous torpedoes and bombs. This is when the battle began to turn against us. We sank the remainder of the US surface fleet but they still had aircraft squadrons operating from land bases. While we seized the central objective and landed troops on two enemy islands it was not enough. Our damaged ships could not reach the eastern objective before US planes hunted them down and destroyed them. After the battle we had but 1 I-26 submarine and two squadrons of dive bombers, while the Americans still had 8 aircraft squadrons. While neither side gained a clear victory, we still failed our objectives and I regretfully inform you that Admiral Osowski committed hari-kari to make up for his failure to bring the fleet's vengeance against the Americans."

Battle #18 was in Sector H. If Japanese ground forces on Guadalcanal were hoping for artillery support from the Imperial Navy then they were disappointed with the outcome of this battle. The Americans sunk the Japanese cruiser and transport stranding the infantry brigades on the island. It seems the Imperial Navy has abandoned the ground forces.

Battle #19 was for New Georgia. This was the largest land battle of the campaign and this time the Americans would not be denied. They were able to win the battle taking possession of the island but were not able to fully remove the Japanese garrison from the airfield.

Battle #20 was for Choiseul. The sinking of the American transports in sector F voided the results of this battle but one final report was logged by Japanese General Cho Nagate:

"Continuing the trend of the campaign, a combination of fanatical Japanese soldiers, jungle terrain, and fortified emplacements proves simply too much for the American force. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the war has already been lost at sea. The Imperial Army can hold their heads high, however. Despite the crushing defeat inflicted on the navy, the humble riflemen have won nearly every engagement they have fought."

It’s taken us two and a half months, 20 battles and countless hours but the battle for the Solomon Islands has been determined. Hopefully you’ve had a good time playing this campaign. Thank you for your participation – without it we couldn’t fight the war.

Until next time – Company Dismissed!

"We are moving again today. We are scheduled to board ship in a few days. I hope we do before anything comes up. We are near the commissary and we are raiding it. The anti-tank went aboard ship, so it won't be long. There are a few things I would like to put down. Solomon Islands are the worst place in the world for malaria. TB and Elephantitus flourish here. When it rains, the mud is up to your ankles. After it stops, a plague of flying ants eat you. Rats and lizards.

We boarded ship today--Norham and then we changed to Pres. Johnson. I now write finis to Guadalcanal."

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

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