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Causing Mission Aborts and Other Mischief


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#1 W. Clark

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:20 PM

We played three GT of TSC with out Savo being fought and started over for several reasons.

1. We found the campaign to be too unbalanced in the Allied favor without Savo. I'm the main Allied guy and I was probably more convinced than the IJN Player that this was so.

2. On GT 2 my patrol mission with 6 CAs (mostly Astorias), 2 CLs (Brooklyns) and Desron 4 ran into a IJN bombarment mission comprised of 2 BC (Kongos) and 2 CA (Myokos) along with about 8 DDs (mostly Kageros). I immediately had my DDs lay smoke upon sighting the BCs as their presence threw my cruiser fight battle plan out the window. I engaged them for about 4 turns with only my DDs exposed to the IJN heavies while my cruisers shot up any IJN DDs imprudent enough to penetrate our smoke. I then withdrew and per the rules the bombardment mission was aborted. The Japanese were not happy.

3 On GT 3 my patrol mission with the BB NC, 5 CAs (all Astorias) and 2 Brooklyns as well as Desron 4 reinforced with another DD for a total of 10 ran into another bombardment mission. The IJN force consisted of the Nagatos and 2 Myokos as well as a CL and about 8 DDs. At this point I got informed that there would be a modifier to the abort mission rule that would require me to damage the core elements of the bombardment group (the BBs & CAs). I made smoke again and turned away with my heavies while my DDs launched about 80 fish at the Japs. We hit a CA and the Mutsu several times and 1 torpedo apiece went off. The Ref did not totaly abort the bombardment, but he did reduce its effect. Again, the Japanese were not happy.

The Japanese felt that my smoking up the joint every time their force was superior was just not right. They also felt that I should be compelled to close even if I did not find that to be in my best interest and even if I could execute my mission (abort theirs) without closing.

Anyhow, I agreed that I had an advantage that they were having a very difficult time over coming and agreed to a restart with Savo being fought and we are in the process of doing that now. I proposed that we add to my difficulties (above that required by the scenario rules) by making any of my ships (other than maintaining station in a formation) have to make its green morale to do anything it wanted to do including firing star shell at radar contacts and the like.

Having said all that (I know ask me for the time and I'll build you a watch), it appears that they are still unhappy. Probably because we made some morale rolls and layed some smoke again. Even more so because their torpedoes missed, we've knocked the snot out of Chokai and now they are in a gunnery fight were we are hitting on 1,2 & 10s (with illumination) and they are hitting on 1 &10s. Half their older CAs are about 18,000 yards away (and useless) so that we have 3 Astorias (27x 8") pounding at their damaged Chokai and 2 older CAs (18x8" left) or 4 D12 & 1 D24 per cruiser versus 3 D12 per cruiser. Also they shot at my 3 DDs for the first 5 GT and hit them 10 times sinking 1 while hitting my CAs 5 times reducing us to 26 knots but we've repaired bulkhead and engineering hits. All of their fire has been at 10,000 yards or more and much it was 8" at DDs. We didn't hit any thing until GT 8 & 9 when we got hot and hit Chokai at least 7 times knocking out 2 turrets and causing some hull damage as well.

Their complaints seem to be:

1. We didn't keep sailing straight at them as opposed to the USN repeatedly blundering into very close contact during TSC so we must be doing something wrong.

2. We keep laying smoke at night and that just wasn't done.

3. They don't feel that the rules are allowing them to hit often enough.

4. Their torpedoes are missing (I don't remember them fussing about all our torps missing).

5. Our radar keeps giving them up before they can close.

6. Oh, I don't know, maybe just a sense of disatisfaction.

So, my questions are; are any of their complaints valid. I've proposed that we cease making Allied visual acquisistion DR and assign what ever Allied visibility we can establish from historical battle reports (3,000 yards or less at Savo) unless the action occurs when no historical action took place and then live with the results of 1 DR (good or bad)for the entire action. I've suggested that we make only 1 radar acquisisition DR (good or bad) for each action and live with that. I'm not certain what concession to make next. I am trying to be fair but I'm losing my sense of generosity.

A Salted Dog (I used to be Salty, but now I'm feeling a salted)

#2 Frank

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:54 PM

1) True. Not sure how to deal with that realistically. How quickly are the Americans reacting to sightings? Is the admiral immediately jumping on a report of ships he can't see? That didn't seem to happen.

2)This is true, also. Americans have a hard enough time with visibility at night. You want it to be worse? PT boats used smoke in their actions. Accounts I have seem to indicate smoke doesn't work the same way at night.

3)Japanese gunnery wasn't all that good. The Kirishima hit the South Dakota only once. Most American losses were from torpedoes. Check it out.

4)The Japanese fired off their torpedoes in vast quantities. Some good hits. Many, many misses. No hits on large ships at either Cape Esperance, or second Guadalcanal. You want more hits, fire more torpedoes. But they don't automatically hit.

5)The real life Japanese noticed that. They didn't like it either.

6)The Japanese ended up feeling that way, also. They hated it when the enemy failed to conform to their plans.

#3 W. Clark

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:31 PM

What I do is this; I form my patrol mission TF into 2 TG, each with a destroyer division and a heavy (BBs, Astorias or Brooklyns) division with each division in line ahead. The heavy divisions are are just over 8,000 yards behind their respective destroyer division's tail. The TGs are at least 4,000 yards apart. Upon radar contact each division speeds up and turns 45 degrees in succession, starboard columns to starboard and port columns to port. This causes the DDs to out pace the heavies and clear their fields of fire while remaining outside of their sight which for the moment prevents my heavies blasting their DDs by mistake. It also means that the radar contact is unlikely to be able to see my heavies.

My DDs now star shell their radar contacts, port DDs from left to right and starboard DDs from right to left to insure coverage. My DDs are for (continuous) star shell for illumination and torpedo attacks if a gun duel doesn't look good. When the contacts are illuminated dummy contacts are removed and I get to see what I'm up against and how its is deployed. If I my odds in a gun duel and the range is right, bang go the heavies. If I don't like what I see the destroyers make smoke and the heavies turn away. I then deliver a torpedo attack and see what happens. If it works I come back at them if it does not work I preserve my force for another day.

So my communication consists of 1 division sqawking contact over the TBS with 3 divisions acknowledging, the fouth sqawk is the execution order for the simulaneous division turns with each division's ships turning in succession.
As soon as my heavy division completes its turn I sqawk illuminate and the prearranged star shelling starts, contacts are illuminated in the next GT.
I examine the results and either sqawk fire or withdraw depending on my assessment. If its fire the DDs continue to starshell while the heavies pound. If its withdraw the heavies turn away, the DDs smoke and then execute a torpedo attack.
Or as Napoleon said; "First you engage then you wait and see".

#4 simanton

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

I believe von Clausewitz' corollary to Napoleon was "No plan survives the initial contact with the enemy."Gov

#5 W. Clark

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 10:13 PM

Good quote, but it only applies when the enemy makes what you're doing not work. Until then this is like the Packer Sweep; they know its coming and I'll run it till they stop it.

#6 Frank

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 02:14 PM

I believe you are relying too much on the technology of the day. TBS, as I understand it was something like a one channel CB radio. The circuit was often jammed with trivial communications. American radio discipline was famously bad. Your destroyers would certainly be chatting away continuously. Might miss an important message, or one they sent might fail to get through.

Star shells didn't work all that well, and they gave away the position of the firer. Your destroyers are about to be on the receiving end of the standard massive Japanese torpedo attack. Followed a gunnery attack. Don't forget, at this time the Americans were unaware of Japanese torpedo ranges. Any ship firing off it's guns stands a chance of the shock knocking out the radar. Often, radar just refused to work well at all. If your radar goes out, that smoke screen stops being your friend.

On top of all of this, was the basic lack of night training and doctrine with the American surface fleet. A screw up like the helmsman on the San Francisco at Cape Esperance could cost you the battle in as complicated a setup as you are trying to execute.

I think your plan is an excellent one for later in the war. I don't think the Americans could execute it flawlessly in 1942. Tassafaronga comes to mind. They went in with a sound plan that ended up in the crapper.

#7 Cpt M

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:15 PM

Good quote, but it only applies when the enemy makes what you're doing not work. Until then this is like the Packer Sweep; they know its coming and I'll run it till they stop it.

In a TSC campaign, I had the USN player employ your tactics in several battles. As the IJN commander, I used that smokescreen against him and, in total, traded 2 IJN CAs for 6 USN CAs. I also smothered his DDs that were laying the smoke and lobbing the starshells with every gun that could be brought to bear. By the end of the campaign (which I won), his DD force was severely reduced and he had no CAs in theater. If the IJN remembers to be aggressive and use his sighting and torpedo advantages, such tactics can be shredded fairly easily.

#8 W. Clark

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:12 PM

I believe that based on personal history I could make believers out of my commanders about the concept of radio silence. Also once the Japs are illuminated if it's my Astoria's versus their CAs or my Bats versus their Bats then my heavies gunnery will claim their attention somewhat and hopefully allow my destroyers some cover.

Finally, someone with a counter action and not just a complaint that I don't mindlessly sail into slaugther at point blank range to suit them. I've suggested to the "Ref" that he suggest some thing to the Japs and it was very near word for word what you have indicated as a counter tactic. I believe your tactic would give me a great deal of trouble, and it is not the only one that comes to mind. Although to be sure if I caught on to what your counter action was I would immediately withdraw to fight again with something else in mind. Of course the down side to that is your mission succeeds and mine fails. But my pride is a small thing to take a hit in if taking the hit perserves my ships and crews.

The mission comes first until I cock it up beyond repair and then my people and material should be preserved and not thrown away to salve my rep. I only commit my troops to a fight I believe they can win. I hold no regard or respect for bushido. When in command I am totally accountable to accomplish the mission, but I equally accountable for losing men and ships when it serves no purpose but to serve my pride.

In war one should not forget that while he is trying to kill the enemy that the enemy is trying to kill him. War is murder and the most efficent murderer wins. I've no intention of offering a fair fight; if I can, I intend to shoot you in the back without so much as a how do you do.

#9 Cpt M

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:38 PM

I believe that based on personal history I could make believers out of my commanders about the concept of radio silence. Also once the Japs are illuminated if it's my Astoria's versus their CAs or my Bats versus their Bats then my heavies gunnery will claim their attention somewhat and hopefully allow my destroyers some cover.

That's assuming that I haven't already accounted for your DDs by gunfire and torpedo. The IJN has to hit first and hard with everything available. If they don;t, they'll give up the initiative to the USN. And that is something I never allow as the IJN.

Finally, someone with a counter action and not just a complaint that I don't mindlessly sail into slaugther at point blank range to suit them. I've suggested to the "Ref" that he suggest some thing to the Japs and it was very near word for word what you have indicated as a counter tactic. I believe your tactic would give me a great deal of trouble, and it is not the only one that comes to mind. Although to be sure if I caught on to what your counter action was I would immediately withdraw to fight again with something else in mind. Of course the down side to that is your mission succeeds and mine fails. But my pride is a small thing to take a hit in if taking the hit perserves my ships and crews.

It sounds like your IJN player is under the impression that by merely showing up, the IJN wins. The IJN commander must have a concise plan to thoroughly impose his will on the USN player. And with his notable advantages, he should be able to.

The mission comes first until I cock it up beyond repair and then my people and material should be preserved and not thrown away to salve my rep. I only commit my troops to a fight I believe they can win. I hold no regard or respect for bushido. When in command I am totally accountable to accomplish the mission, but I equally accountable for losing men and ships when it serves no purpose but to serve my pride.

The IJN mission is to attack. The USN mission is to thwart that attack. Properly handled the IJN should be more than able to bull through your forces. That he'll incur losses is inevitable. But remember that your other mission is to destroy the enemies forces. You are in a battle of attrition. Those CAs lost or critically damaged tonight are gone forever. And that makes tomorrow's night goals that more attainable. The IJN needs to press hard to attain their goals.

In war one should not forget that while he is trying to kill the enemy that the enemy is trying to kill him. War is murder and the most efficent murderer wins. I've no intention of offering a fair fight; if I can, I intend to shoot you in the back without so much as a how do you do.

And this is even moreso in an attrition battle such as the Solomons. The calculus of how much can I lose to achieve my goals is a cold one. If I can put four of your Astorias out of the war for the loss of two Chokais, then its a deal I'll gladly live with.

#10 Dave Franklin

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:23 AM

I'm a little late in seeing this conversation, but a couple of things I thought of when reading the thread:

1. Regarding "heavy divisions are are just over 8,000 yards behind their respective destroyer division's tail. The TGs are at least 4,000 yards apart" and "My DDs now star shell their radar contacts", since your DDs, or TGs, are more than 3000yds away, a strict adherence means you should be rolling each turn to aquire your own ships, and if you aquire them with an ODD ADR, you have to shoot at them. Sounds somewhat ridiculous, but that's the RAW. To avoid it, you have to keep your all of your divisions within 3000yds of each other. Among other effects, this will mean you will make a nice bunched up target for the IJN torpedoes.

2. Regarding US gunnery, remember you have to have everyone shoot at the closest acquired target to the division flag (that does the acquiring) the first turn, and you have to roll to switch targets - and you have to go up another row on the Gunfire CRT for every additional ship firing at the same target. Also, all the US heavies illuminate themselves when they shoot due to lack of flashless powder.

3. Squals and land shadow should reduce the probablity of US radar detection.

4. All of the above being said, it sounded like the USN player was using superior tactics - tactics the IJN player(s) should have been employing!


At least you're playing the campaign, and working through the issues - so many campaigns hit the first sang and fold!



#11 Dave Franklin

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:23 AM

I have no idea where those [indent=1]s came from...

#12 W. Clark

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

I checked that out in the rules and learned something new, thanks for the heads up. I'll have to spread the TG farther apart. I use the 8,000 plus yards to keep them from visually acquiring one another without illumination. I figure to illuminate the Japanese with star shell before they illuminate me and then engage their heavies immediately to get my heavies involved shooting at a target I want them to shoot at and hopefully that will keep them from shooting my destroyers when the Japanese illuminate them. I didn't know about the heavies illuminating themselves, but that seems to me like all the more reason to fight my gunnery duels with their heavies from beyond 15,000 yards. I still hope to get the first shot in at a range at which my Astorias penetrate their CL/CS armor and they can not penetrate my CA armor. It also puts my heavies in the Jap 4th range band for their long lance. That's a long shot with torpedoes any way you see it.

I spent over a decade (69-80) in recon and I often find the USN remiss in that area during this period. It seems to me that when it comes to recon its almost as if they want to leave it all to the Aussies. Heaven forbid that they launch a few float planes 2 or 3 hours before dark to conduct an immediate recon of the southern end of the slot. Of course, I suppose that might not allow them to fix blame on MacArthur's boys for any recon SNAFU. Leaving it to Aussie may not be a good idea for preventing surprise, but its great for fixing blame and these were all long service johns who knew how to play that game.

#13 Dave Franklin

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

Assuming you obtained the > 8000yds from the max acquisition range of the USN in a new moon, or overcast, period? You'll need a more separation if the moon is out.

And of course you'll also have to roll to Aquire, and if successful possibly fire upon, your DDs when they fire their starshells to illuminate the IJN. In the above overcast/new moon period, to avoid it, that would mean being more than 16000yds apart.

#14 W. Clark

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:08 AM

So far all of our engagements have been under a new moon. A different moon will require me to go with plan B, C or D or any plan that gives me a gunnery duel at 15,000 yards plus. What I do not want is what our historical actions provided for, engagement after engagement within 4,500 yards which meant that IJN torpedoes (in game terms) hit the same turned they were fired in. That's suicide; pure and simple. Todate we have not rolled more than a total of 4 (even rolling 2 D12) for radar and that has allowed us to avoid the historical close engagements that are simply the USN fighting battles the way the IJN wants them to.

#15 Frank

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 05:58 PM

You might find this useful: http://www.timeandda...l?year=1942&n=0

#16 W. Clark

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:37 AM

Thanks that was great and I printed a copy to keep. I'm impressed. Now that you are on a roll do you have a site that would give weather (wind force and possibly sea state) in the North Sea during WWI.

#17 Frank

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:34 AM

Believe it or not, I've been trying to get a handle on the actual weather at various points during the Solomons campaign. The areas was a convergence zone, and probably weather was somewhat worse than the game charts allow. Many bombing/recon mission failures due to weather.

I'm currently interested in the mid-September weather. This when the Wasp was sunk covering the reinforcement effort. The Japanese were at sea supporting a land attack. I wondered why the convoy was never spotted and attacked.

Reading diaries, I found a period from Sept.14, lasting over a week, when there were no air raids from Rabaul because of "bad weather". I'm planning on a clash between the Japanese and the US ships covering the convoy. Japanese patrol planes mentioned, but apparently too murky for good recon.

#18 W. Clark

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:18 AM

I'm more of a WWI North Sea guy. My main co-conspiritor is the WWII guy. But we both like the period between 7 Dec. 41 and the end of 42 and TSC is my personal favorite for WWII.

I like having historical weather available. My thought is to look at what's common for the area and compare it to the historical weather. I then use a DR modified by how unlikely the historical weather was to determine if we use historical weather or go with the weather chart. The rub is finding out what the historical weather was.

I've run a WWI what if von Spee tried to get home immediately after Coronel and was intercepted by Grand Fleet armored cruisers off Utsire Island,Norway on Xmas eve 1914 scenario twice. I do not know the historical weather (probably bad) and have rolled on the weather chart and ended up twice with a force 4 wind with visibility over 20,000 yards. That's luck for you but it does not make for a good explanation to a German player who was looking to typical North Sea weather that time of year to get him home. There is no acounting for bad dice, but by knowing the historical weather and measuring it against the norm lessens the likelyhood of odd ball weather for that time and area IMHO.




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