We had another opportunity to play excellent Fire in the Sky. I was to take Americans again – however this time I was ready and had a much better idea of how to work the infinite forces that the industry pushed forward. 😉
However, my opponent also had much better idea of how to use the Japanese forces and it showed. This time however it was not so straight forward endeavor to push towards Australia unopposed, nor it was so easy to take Singapore – or Wake. Both eventually fell, but British put up a tough resistance in Rangoon, and the barrier held. At least for the time being.
Early war British attempt to relieve Rangoon met nasty drawback when HMS Indomitable was torpedoed and ended up at the bottom of he sea. And that was her first outing. Meanwhile, Doomed defenders of Wake saw a big carrier battle almost turning the tide permanently since Japanese suffered a loss of CV’s Kaga and Akagi along with CVL – however, joy was premature because they were only slightly damaged and returned later to revenge the fate of CVL Hosho. All this at cost of Lexington, permanent loss. A bit later, it was another big battle in the vicinity of Guadalcanal, where Americans saw an opportunity to snatch a Carrier or two – Shokaku and Zuikaku being harbored in Rabaul. of course Japanese reacted, but with way more than just those two. In fact, three other smaller carriers joined in, and Japanese mustered total of 16! air steps against my 8. Comfortable advantage that entailed a huge disaster for Americans. It was to be one of the first serious setbacks that showed the wounded dragon could yet bite back.
It was a lot of work for AAA crews to cut the Japanese strike down to 3 and 5 respectively. Other carries survived without a hit, and other – well, a bit of repair time but nothing excess. My strike then? It aborted due to enemy fighters and heavy AAA. Nobody got through. It was a gamble and did not pay off at least on the short term. Shortly after Port Moresby fell. Now, only Guadalcanal stands on a way of Japanese wave that can flush over the southeast Pacific.
It was not to happen though. Japanese were now stranded by the oil shortages, and mounting US reinforcements made it possible to set covering forces to keep any serious attempt to gain foot in Guadalcanal. Rabaul on the other hand was build to become fortress. Initially 2 step, and later 8 step infantry, and covering air force made any landing prospect difficult, considering that Leyte held Japanese reactionary force sufficient to beat any modest landing attempt.
After beating head on the Rabaul fortress for too long, and seeing how Manilla and leyte become fortifications of massive magnitude, change of plans was in oder – next target: An express way through Marshalls, Palu, Marianas and finally poorly defended Kure. All was well initially, but once in response range of Kure task forces, it was evident that wounded Japanese navy was deadly dangerous. After losing quite few ships in various operations, mounting sufficient strength that would guarantee superiority was both costly and slow.
Closer I advanced towards Japan, and the oil fields of south, Japanese options to utilize interior lines increased dramatically. Further I needed to deploy my forces for reaction and operations. Unlimited fuel does not help if you are not able to move things around fast enough.
After British lost both carriers, they became inept and there were little progress towards Singapore and generally they were content to keep the Japanese at bay and tie up some air, naval and ground forces. After repulsed a few times in Palau it was evident that Japan would not surrender easily, and when VP count hovered around 9-10 when there were only three turns left, I had to call it.
When force of four carriers (16 air points!), and associated other crafts made attempt to Palau, and then soundly defeated, it had DEFEAT written all over.