Turn 37 -38 – Big Jap Fleet Approaching – Two large Jap fleets centered on two giant battleships are closing. The Navy sent a free battleship with two destroyer escorts. Some damage from the last naval battle has been repaired. After the last battle, all dive bombers returned to Henderson Field for repairs and refitting. My strategy is send aircraft to sink the Jap fleet, starting with the destroyers and working my way up to the battleships. I get 150 resource points for each battleship I sink. The fleet will cluster close to Henderson Field and let the Japs approach.
I’ve got a lot of time to take the last two victory hexes. I’ve brought up three marine units to face the dug in Jap infantry. My light armor made a big sweep to cut off the position. On turn 38 I shot down the fifth Jap squadron and was awarded another air commander.
Turns 39 – 40 Jap Fleet Sails Into a Trap – On turn 39 my aircraft sink a Jap Destroyer. A combination of very long-range naval gunfire and Marine aircraft on turn 40 sink a destroyer with another sinking. It is hard to pull off because of their slow speed and limited time underwater, but the US sub can probably put a torpedo into the Jap Battleship next turn.
The flanking attack was successful and only a large Jap bunker remains on the victory point. This is the last big picture of the battle. My ground forces will capture the next to last victory hex next turn. I have ten turns to take the last victory hex. The overview also shows how the Jap Fleets are sailing piecemeal into US Naval Gunfire.
WARNING – the scenario ends when all victory hexes are captured. Don’t take the last one if you have time to sink a Jap Battleship.
Turn 41 – US Navy Sinks Jap Escorts – Jap Escorts steamed ahead a full power into range of US Naval Gunfire. Every ship was sunk! Marine aircraft flew North, scouted the 2nd Jap Fleet and sank a destroyer. The sub got a marginal (1 point) hit on the Jap Battleship. US subs do not do much damage on capital ships until later in the war.
Turn 42 – Jap Destroyers Sunk – Marine Aircraft sank the last Jap Destroyer. Only four ships remain, two heavy cruisers and two battleships. My destroyers can approach and put torpedoes into those few targets at the cost of only one or two destroyer squadrons.
Turn 43 – Only 3 Jap Ships Left – A Jap Heavy Cruiser charged forward to be sunk by naval gunfire and Marine Aircraft from Henderson Field. The other Jap Cruiser took damage. The US Battleship has not been spotted and hit the Jap Battleship with its 16 inch guns at long range. Battleships take a lot of hits to sink and this one is at 5 strength out of 8.
Turn 44 – The Jap Navy Dies – The Jap Heavy Cruiser charged forward and did moderate damage on a US Destroyer. But the Cruiser is under US guns. After it is sunk US Destroyers can charge forward to torpedo Jap Battleships. Naval Units can only fire at one target per combat round, so charging the destroyers is both a safe move and a deadly move.
US Cruiser Gunfire sinks the Jap Heavy Cruiser. US Destroyers race forward putting multiple torpedoes into the Jap Battleship which explodes!
Marine Aircraft pound the last Jap Battleship and almost sink it.
The “destroyer torpedo rush” strategy works under limited, specific conditions. Destroyer gunfire is largely ineffective on large capital ships. Four turns are needed to reload destroyer torpedo tubes. US torpedo range is terrible and destroyers must be adjacent to large targets to do any damage. Combine these facts and the conclusion is a destroyer rush is an end game tactic. Done at the wrong time your destroyers are under your opponents’ big guns for multiple turns while their torpedoes reload. Cruisers hammer destroyers at point blank range.
Guadalcanal Victory! The last victory hex is captured on turn 46 (of 50). I have a lot of resource points banked for the next scenario. Having those resource points is vital to my New Britain strategy.
Female Labor is purchased which grants 2 land and naval command points plus one air command point. I need every one of those points for my New Britain strategy.
The game inserts notices of other things happening in the war outside of the theater of the current scenario. I find this to be a nice touch which places your battle in the context of the overall war. Yamamoto was killed because the US had broken the Jap Naval codes.