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Old 05-23-2021, 04:25 PM   #1
Molon Labe
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Default War in the Pacific AAR Thread - ML vs JFranzen

Hey Subsim,

I'm about to embark on my first War in the Pacific campaign against a human opponent. I kind of want to do an after-action report thread. Matrix games (the owners of WITP) have an AAR subforum, but Subsim feels a little more like home for me so I was thinking of doing it here. I'm just not sure if anyone would read it.

For those that aren't familiar, WITP is a strategic-level sim of the Pacific theatre of WWII, so the campaign is essentially playing the entire war, 1 or 2 days at a time. Each turn consists of the players issuing their orders, then the sim carries those orders out and reports the results back to the players. An AAR thread would essentially become a story of an alternate history.

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Old 05-23-2021, 04:52 PM   #2
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Default welcome back!

Molon Labe!
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Old 05-24-2021, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'm a WitE player, so would follow this. I'm also on the Matrix boards and read the AARs there as well. I don't play WitP as I think it's a little too micro intensive, which is relative when we are talking about Grigsby's games isn't it?


But a well-written AAR of a campaign between two good and hopefully well-matched opponents can be entertaining indeed.


Repulse took a torpedo to the number two turret eh? That's gonna hurt
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Old 05-24-2021, 02:53 PM   #4
Molon Labe
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I just taxed that image from an AAR in the Matrix forums. My opponent is still writing his first turn orders.
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Old 05-29-2021, 04:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molon Labe View Post
I'm just not sure if anyone would read it.

as a WiTW player I probably check in once in a while to see the progress looking forward to it.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:19 AM   #6
Molon Labe
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The war has begun.

7 December 1941

My opponent opened with the traditional attack at Pearl Harbor plus several others, the biggest historical difference appears to be in the Philippines.
Starting with Pearl:





The strikes here outperformed the historical results, with no battleship left un-crippled or sunk, and plenty of attention given to the cruisers. The shipyard is overtasked and I'm going to be forced to send some of these ships east across sub-infested waters.

Airfield damage was relatively light, which is probably how he got the better ASUW results:
B-17E Fortress: 14 damaged
B-17E Fortress: 1 destroyed on ground
B-17D Fortress: 30 damaged
B-17D Fortress: 1 destroyed on ground
P-40B Warhawk: 18 damaged
P-40B Warhawk: 3 destroyed on ground
A-20A Havoc: 11 damaged
A-20A Havoc: 1 destroyed on ground
PBY-5 Catalina: 56 damaged
PBY-5 Catalina: 3 destroyed on ground
SBD-1 Dauntless: 21 damaged
B-18A Bolo: 7 damaged
B-18A Bolo: 1 destroyed on ground
C-33: 1 damaged
P-36A Mohawk: 1 damaged
R3D-2: 2 damaged
F4F-3 Wildcat: 1 damaged
F4F-3 Wildcat: 1 destroyed on ground
O-47A: 1 damaged
SOC-1 Seagull: 1 destroyed
OS2U-3 Kingfisher: 2 destroyed
These reports are "fogged" so the actual results are probably a bit worse for me--but I count 14 aircraft destroyed. His loss was at least 3 Vals and 3 Kates. The base itself only took about 10% damage, so I'll have no trouble getting a CAP up to meet any followup strikes.

While this was going on, a small group of destroyers (3 reported) approached Johnston Island, southwest of Pearl. As it turned out this was nearby the USS Lexington, whose SBDs spotted the attempted raid. The Lexington launched a strike of SBDs, scoring hits on 2 DDs--one is confirmed sunk, and it's likely the other will join it.

Philippines
My opponent launched sweeps over Manila and Clark Field, shooting down 4 defending fighters for no losses. These were followed by strikes, damaging the destroyer Pope in port and damaging most of the B-17s at Clark; he also shot down another 5 defending P-40s.

My opponent's ground operations in the Philippines included the traditional landing at Bataan Island--hey, it's a "free" size 2 airfield to base fighters on--but there have not been any landings on Luzon proper. What was interesting was that a bunch of ground units popped up in 5 empty bases all over Luzon--I presume these are paratroops. The landing at Bayombong along the road north probably means I won't be able to evacuate or reinforce the rifle battalion near Appari, and the southernmost landing at Boac threatens to cut the rail lines to a likely landing site in Legaspi.



Malaya
Japan launched airstrikes on Georgetown harbor (in the strait), and Kuantan airbase. The Georgetown raid wrecked 5 transports at harbor--good thing I wasn't planning on evacuating by boat anyway. A fighter sweep over Georgetown took out 5 defending fighters for 1 zero lost. The Kuantan strike hurt-the airbase was damaged to 44%, with 5 a/c destroyed on the ground and 20 more damaged. Flak claimed a Sally for their trouble.

Local British forces attempted to counterattack, but were turned away with 2 Hudson bombers shot down.

Japanese marines landed in Kota Baru with at least 14,000 troops, plus armor support.

China
Air raids on Hong Kong damaged 7 cargo ships at in port and damaged the airbase to 35%. There was also an ineffective torpedo bomber attack against a few destroyers on patrol. Japanese light bombers made raids in Pengpu (eastern China near Nanking) and near Kiukiang (frontline) with minimal results. As for me, I started with Ichang mostly surrounded--I hit it with an air raid from Chungking to soften it up, but got little results and a bunch of bombers grounded with holes all over them for my trouble (edit: 3 bombers crashed on the way back, and a fourth had to be scrapped due to damage).

This is as good a place as any to mention Guam was also attacked by floatplanes of all things, and surprising no one they didn't hit anything.

-----
Strategically, there wasn't much for me to do for the next turn other than pick up the pieces. Malaya and Luzon should really heat up tomorrow--I'm especially interested in seeing what kind of results my surviving B-17s can get. Logistically, there are a ton of ships on the move now, mostly to start setting up supply lines, and a ton of fortifications being built. My subs have all put to sea, focusing on interdicting likely troop transport lanes. I'm also gathering surface forces outside the reach of his Betties with the hope of finding opportunities to hit-and-run as he pushes south. I'm not happy about the Lexington revealing itself (and the Enterprise isn't far from it), but I should have time for them to run away before the Kido Butai can find them. For now, I want my CVBGs on the sidelines.
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:29 AM   #7
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8 December 1941

This was an ugly turn as the IJN pulled several unexpected plays and as the submarine forces jumped in... very much favoring Japan.


Pearl Harbor Area
Overnight, a task force of DMSs led by a heavy cruiser cleared out the last, crippled DD out of Johnston.

Then, the submarine I-16 managed to intercept the Enterprise CVBG. Attacking from long range to avoid the screening destroyers, it fired a full 8 torpedoes, striking the Enterprise once. Miraculously, the hit did almost no damage, I guess it hit the very tip of the bow or something (no torpedo blister until 1942 upgrade).

The Kido Butai moved off from its position north of Pearl to the southwest, apparently pursuing the Lexington and Enterprise. This left it in range of Pearl as the sun rose. It launched a Val strike at extreme range against Lahaina. Only 3 fighters from the Pearl CAP were able to respond--and were overwhelmed. One Texan was shot down. The Vals hit 2 AGs, 2 tankers, and a cargo ship with little 60kg bombs, sinking one AG and TK each, and the other 3 are still burning.

Pearl itself was also hit again--but just by Zeroes, with no bombers. There was a severe storm in the area--perhaps the Kates got separated and turned back? The Zeroes claimed 8 P-36s and 2 P-40s for only one loss. The downside to the Japanese about staying in range of Pearl, though, was that we had a chance to strike back. Unfortunately we mostly just have level bombers there, which I thought have been wasted on their CAP, so I ordered them to stand back and stand by. But I had one squadron of 14 SBDs. So they went out with a ridiculously oversized fighter escort because I forgot to set several squadrons to CAP (20 P-36, 55 P-40, 8 F4F, and 3 Texans). There were only 18 Zeroes on CAP, but they managed to claim 5 P-36s and an SBD with only one loss. The SBDs attacked the cruiser Chikuma (what the hell, man?) and the Hiryu, but missed. Hiryu's gunners claimed one more SBD.

Malaya/Burma/South China Sea
Overnight, minesweepers cleared out 13 mines in Singapore harbor. They'd disarm another 28 over the course of the day. There were also night air raids against Rangoon (sinking 1 HDML) and Georgetown (light airbase damage)

I had ordered a few transports to try to evacuate British base forces from Miri and Brunei. One of these transports was intercepted and sunk by the submarine I-158 before arriving.

In the morning, Japan raided Singapore harbor with unescorted Betties; these were routed by defending Buffalos and Blenhiem fighters, with 5 kills claimed. A major raid struck Kuantan airbase - 47 Sallies escorted by 27 Nates. We opposed that with 10 Buffalos, so a slapfight between obsolete fighters ensued. Neither sides fighters could hurt the other, but a few of my fighters got through to claim a Sally. The Sallies did moderate damage to the already bombed-out base. A sweep of 6 Oscars arrived later--apparently a scheduling SNAFU--which splashed another Buffalo. In the afternoon, 7 Oscars swept Singapore, taking out 5 Buffalos and a Blenhiem IF for only one loss. A massive raid of 39 Lilys hit the hapless defenders in Kota Baru, ensuring the success of the land battle below. More Sallies hit Kuantan again, unescorted, but it didn't matter because we weren't able to get a significant CAP up between losses and airfield damage.

I put a little bit of pressure on him with strikes of my own. 9 Blenhiem Is hit the landing site at Kota Baru, causing light casualties to the troops while losing 3 bombers to patrolling Nates. We also hit ships landing in Patani with a raid of 6 Blenhiem IVs and 7 Swordfish torpedo bombers (equipped with bombs, apparently my air HQ had not yet acquired torpedoes as ordered). Buffalo escorts took out a defending Nate, and the Swordfish managed to hit two troop-carrying cargo ships, causing significant casualties. They'll have torpedoes ready to go tomorrow.

The IJN closed out the day with another unescorted Betty raid against Singapore harbor. The CAP was diminished by the earlier sweeps that they got through and took a run at the HMS Repulse, but missed. (Task Force Z is laying low in harbor, I'll send them out to wreck **** up if I can keep them under air cover when they go) One Betty was splashed.

Allied forces are in full Sir Robin mode in Malaya, except for a few units serving as delaying forces. All aircraft still flying have evacuated Kuantan. Georgetown and Alor Star to the north are still operating but that won't last long.

Philippines
Minesweepers found the expected sub-laid minefield outside Manila and got to work. The first ship through, a cargo ship evacuating Manila, was torpedoed once it got clear of the minefield. The Japanese submarine, not satisfied with a single torpedo hit, came back to hit the ship with two more fish to guarantee a kill. Fortunately, this ship wasn't loaded with troops. Our luck would not hold after sunrise.

Asiatic fleet boats attempted 3 attacks on invasion forces around San Fernando, all three missed despite minimal ASW protection with any of these convoys.

The air war over Manila became ferocious. Zero sweeps got at 8 P-40s and 2 P-26s while losing only one of their own. We hit back when the bombers arrived, though, taking out 7 escorting Zeroes and 2 Nates while only losing 2 P-40s. The bombers hitting the airfields and ports were mostly ineffective. And I got a gift when Sallys and Lilys arrived without escorts--we got nine of them. But strikes against ships trying to evacuate were more successful. A task force evacuating the Cavite Base Force was targeted by three raids; one transport was torpedoed by a Betty and is on fire and at risk of sinking. The AV Langley, trying to set up a temporary seaplane base and eventually evac some scout planes, was also hit and returned to port.

Adding injury to, well, more injury, a CVL entered the Celebes and interdicted US and Dutch surface forces where they were trying to form up. The Dutch cruiser De Ruyter and US destroyer Bankert were torpedoed by Kates and sunk. The "good" news is the most likely CVL here, the Ryujo, only carries 27 torpedoes, and it just used up 24. Also, my surface forces have now formed up and are under friendly air cover. The bad news is the default task force for her has 3 CAs and 6 DDs (my scouts report this formation as 9 CAs, for whatever that's worth), so even if I can get close enough for a slugfest it probably won't go my way. Maybe I could get lucky with the B-17s? Nah, Ryujo's top speed is 29 knots, they won't hit it.

Speaking of B-17s, the raids I had been looking forward to fizzled. In the north, I bombed a captured airbase that I expected to house enemy fighters, but it was empty. In the south, my mission was scrubbed due to weather.

I didn't think they could move a full hex in a day, but that paratrooper unit that landed along the rail line to Legaspi/Naga has already moved north a hex and severed the line. More paratroops landed in Mabuan, right next to Manila--well, that gives the troops I was going to send to Naga something else to do. Yet more paratroops took Vigan, and a force of just 91 paratroops kicked the 491 troops of the 3rd/12 PA battalion out of Tuguegarao. I guess that's what happens to troops with low morale and experience when they get surprised by razors.

Java Sea
Possibly the most unexpected development was the presence of 4 Japanese DDs in the Java sea. They blundered into another surface group (2 CL 2DD to start, 2CL 5DD later) that I was assembling in what I thought was a rear area, getting into three separate fights throughout the day. We concentrated our hits better: two IJN destroyers were badly damaged (I suspect one will sink), while we have one DD with fires burning out of control and several ships with light damage. Very disappointing considering how outgunned we had them, but, at least we got some low-risk gunnery experience.

Everywhere else
A night raid against Changhsa airbase took out a bomber on the ground. I raided Ichang again (a mistake, I should have allowed them to recover from yesterday).
Wake was raided by Nells, which was ineffective.
Makin Island was invaded and taken without resistance.
Zeroes from Takao swept random Chinese bases (looking for the AVG?)
IJA took Pengu.



--------
I can't help but notice that no marines have showed up in Guam or Wake yet. I wonder where they'll turn up. The damaged PBYs at Pearl are starting to get repaired, I may be able to forward deploy some patrol squadrons and get a better picture soon.

Definitely a bad day for the Allies, but it could have been a lot worse.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:22 AM   #8
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Good reports, thanks for taking the time. I've done many AARs and I know they take a lot of time to put together.

One of the things that appeals to me about Grigsby's games is seeing how I can change history by err, changing history and not making the same mistakes force commanders did in the war.

So concentrate your fleet boats in Formosa strait

Good luck commander!
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:57 AM   #9
Molon Labe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threadfin View Post
Good reports, thanks for taking the time. I've done many AARs and I know they take a lot of time to put together.

One of the things that appeals to me about Grigsby's games is seeing how I can change history by err, changing history and not making the same mistakes force commanders did in the war.

So concentrate your fleet boats in Formosa strait

Good luck commander!

Thanks. I was just reading in the Matrix AAR threads that "you always miss something." Well, I missed the CAPs at Pearl right after I said I'd have enough CAP! Which led to that crazy Dauntless raid. Didn't quite change history but we came pretty close.

Funny you should mention the strait. I've got a lot of boats heading to choke points around Taiwan right now, but I'm actually thinking about turning four of those boats back. Those 3 submarine attacks that missed their targets yesterday targeted at least two different convoys that look like they're about to land in San Fernando. It looks like they're using minelayers as their primary ASW protection. I've got 11 boats in that hex right now, mostly traveling to other places. Shouldn't hurt too much if I keep a few there to take some potshots, I just wish I thought of it before turning my 12/9 orders in. EDIT:: NOPE! Our scouts have detected several TBs in that group. Those actually carry the deep-reaching depth charges, which makes that convoy one of the best ASW-capable units on the board.

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