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Battle off Samar


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#1 RazorMind

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:44 AM

Old shellbacks, is this battle doable in an all day session? With the holidays approaching, I thought it could be a fun all day game.
My concern is the "Fog of War" aspect of this game. How do you play the Japanese misidentifying all the US ships? Of course lots of planes, but if I recall many did not have a bomb loadout and were just "fake" dive bombing to get the Japanese vessels to move.

http://en.wikipedia....attle_off_Samar

Thoughts?
"I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

Capt. John Paul Jones

#2 simanton

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 06:27 PM

Taffy 3 planes were down to dry runs and strafing, but Felix Stump's Taffy 3 to the east was sendng in fully armed planes in the latter stages.

#3 Cpt M

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:32 PM

Old shellbacks, is this battle doable in an all day session? With the holidays approaching, I thought it could be a fun all day game.
My concern is the "Fog of War" aspect of this game. How do you play the Japanese misidentifying all the US ships? Of course lots of planes, but if I recall many did not have a bomb loadout and were just "fake" dive bombing to get the Japanese vessels to move.

http://en.wikipedia....attle_off_Samar

Thoughts?


This is a particularly hard battle to game for the one factor you mentioned and several others. The biggest is how to model the IJN mindset during this operation. For all intents and purposes, this was a suicide mission since even if they were successful (doubtful as that may be), there was little chance that any of the major units would have escaped the subsequent mauling by Halsey's carriers (and, possibly, his surface ships (as in, 6 modern BBs), as well). Second, the Japanese had been through an almost non-stop series of attacks (from submarines and aircraft) that left them considerably reduced and severely shaken (especially after seeing the Musashi sunk). Add in that the crews and command staff had been up for several days and that the Japanese CinC had to shift command after his ship had sunk, and you have one rattled, tired, command. Then there's the USN DD's and DE's fierce defense against all logic and sense with the added agony of relentless aircraft attacks, armed or not. This is not an easy thing to model! I wish I could give some ideas as to how to handle this, but I really don't have any (I tried this battle once and it was a complete and utter flop! So all I may have is how not to do it!).

#4 RazorMind

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

Well, reading Hornfischer's book on the battle got me all fired up, but alas I fear you may be right Coastal. I will keep thinking on it and if you want to share what you used for the fog of war bit I am most interested in hearing about it.
"I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

Capt. John Paul Jones

#5 simanton

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:52 PM

It might be one to experiment with, especially with morale options.

#6 Frank

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:02 AM

Lower Japanese morale. If you really want to be creative, have the Japanese charge in, thinking it's escort carriers. Instead, it's Halsey's carriers and battleships. But have the Americans in air defense formation, as if surprised. Shooing carriers out of harms way, and getting the surface ships into formation should make for an interesting time.

#7 RazorMind

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:32 AM

I was also wondering if I could use night fighting rules to create that Fog of War aspect in identifying ships. Good ideas so far, thanks!
"I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

Capt. John Paul Jones

#8 Cpt M

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:17 PM

I was also wondering if I could use night fighting rules to create that Fog of War aspect in identifying ships. Good ideas so far, thanks!

Probably not. By this stage of the war, both sides were thoroughly familiar with the others ships and their capabilities. As for substituting fleet carriers for the CVEs in the Taffy groups, that's not likely either. Under no circumstance, given the incredibly thick screen of ships that surrounded the fleet units, would a IJN force the likes of Kurita's be allowed within gun range or any big deck carrier. And, don't forget, the fleet carriers travel with Lee's BBs (and those would definitely have something to say about a IJN sneak attack).

As for using the night rules to mimic a 'fog of war': This would benefit the USN far more than the IJN. Remember, the USN by 1944 has very capable radar, the IJN does not.

About the only thing that might (and I say, might) work is to use a very strict version of 'fleet morale' for the IJN player (and, of course, no morale restrictions for the USN; they would get to fight to the last man, regardless of losses. Which, historically, is what they did. And then some...).

Finally, the single biggest problem is the battle itself. Everyone knows it; the forces, the action and the outcome. That is something you are never going to overcome, no matter what mods and restrictions you include (that was my experience in the one abortive try of my own).

#9 RazorMind

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:18 PM

sigh, I fear you are correct. A man can dream though haha
"I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

Capt. John Paul Jones

#10 Cpt M

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:47 PM

sigh, I fear you are correct. A man can dream though haha


Well, I wouldn't throw in the towel yet. Was discussing this battle and how to game it with some friends and we came up with some possible options to make it more a game (and less a IJN walk over). They mainly work around the two big 'what ifs' of this battle.

1) Jesse Oldendorf's BBs Arrive- This one has the 7th Fleet battleline (or the bulk of it) entering the battle. The idea is that after the action in Surigao Strait, the battleships and cruisers rush up to the southern edge of the Samar battle area just as the IJN is about to break through the last Taffy line. You'd have to have some form of ammo limit on the USN BBs since they would not be able to resupply. So the battle might balance out due to the use of older ships with limited ammo. I'd fight the Samar action (DDs/DEs/CVEs) out just as it presented in the actual battle with some form of random entry for the USN battleline starting x turns into the game. I'd also use only a portion of the 7th Fleet BBs (assume some were left behind to cover the strait or some other reason). Bit of a stretch, but it might be an interesting battle with all facets in play (surface and air).

2) TF 34 Arrives- Or rather TF 34.5. Here's the classic 'what if' that has Halsey's BBs under Lee arrive as the battle is raging. Now, if you have all 6 BBs join the battle, then its not much fun for the IJN player (6 modern, 9x16" BBs will not be a fair fight!). However, historically, the fastest ships were detached (forming TF 34.5) to run at full speed to Samar. This would put Iowa, New Jersey, 3 cruisers and 8 DDs into the fray (and wouldn't massively outgun the IJN). As with the first option, I'd have the battle progress to some point and then start having the USN reinforcement dice for entry. I'd also have the USN enter from the north. This would present some interesting options for both sides (the IJN may continue pressing south with part of its force while leaving some to act as a delaying force in front of the USN BBs). And, as before, I'd have the Taffy's throwing up every plane possible to harass the IJN force.

Both options require some finagling with the history, but both are fairly reasonable 'what ifs'.
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#11 RazorMind

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:22 PM

Thanks Coastal, I like your line of thinking. Will run it past the group locally and hopefully after Millenium Con here in Austin, TX I will be able to get a game set up for the holiday break.
"I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

Capt. John Paul Jones

#12 Aman

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 08:54 PM

The key with any well-known battle is to not play it exactly out, unless it was a fair fight and a near -run thing.

So tweak the scenario, go with a couple of what-ifs [no Musashi sunk if you like big BBs?] Then concentrate solely on making an interesting GAME inspired by Samar. Your players will like you for it. Once you take that "it's a game and meant to be fun while providing playesr with interesting historically inspired situations" attitude, it'll work just fine.

For example, I would never try to refight Savo Island "as is". It's just a quick ambush and a departure. Dull. Tweak it around, giving the USN different deployment and perhaps a bit more alert - could be fun.

#13 Kenneth D. Hall

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:53 PM

2) TF 34 Arrives- Or rather TF 34.5. Here's the classic 'what if' that has Halsey's BBs under Lee arrive as the battle is raging. Now, if you have all 6 BBs join the battle, then its not much fun for the IJN player (6 modern, 9x16" BBs will not be a fair fight!). However, historically, the fastest ships were detached (forming TF 34.5) to run at full speed to Samar. This would put Iowa, New Jersey, 3 cruisers and 8 DDs into the fray (and wouldn't massively outgun the IJN).

Heh. Officer in tactical command: RADM Victor Henry, ComBatDiv Seven. :)



#14 Cpt M

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:19 AM

Heh. Officer in tactical command: RADM Victor Henry, ComBatDiv Seven. :)

A Herman Wouk reference!  I love it!     :)



#15 Jahan

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:48 AM

I played a very abstracted version of Leyte, the scenario basically had two task forces per side, one representing the approach off of Samar and the other Surigao straight. This is a very hard battle to play out on the table and this is just a fun and simple scenario that was inspired by the battle.

 

The details of the scenario are attached, it produced a very enjoyable game for our group with a narrow US victory, once we called the game we played another turn just for kicks and found that the Japanese actually turned the tide of the battle.



#16 simanton

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:06 PM

Better Victor "Pug" Henry than Philip Francis Queeg!

#17 Cpt M

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:06 PM

Better Victor "Pug" Henry than Philip Francis Queeg!

True enough!  Of course, you'd have to some how work in the USS Caine into the OOB (although where to put a converted flush deck DMS is a bit of problem)!   :)



#18 Kenneth D. Hall

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:04 PM

Pug Henry is the man I have striven to be most of my adult life. Not sayin' I've succeeded. ;)



#19 simanton

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 06:58 PM

You know, you could put the Caine in with the landing forces in Leyte Gulf....

#20 GMG4RWF

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:14 PM

Probably not. By this stage of the war, both sides were thoroughly familiar with the others ships and their capabilities...

Actually the reports I've read all agree that the whole reason Taffy 3 wasn't whipped out was misidentification. the DD Johnston was identified as a "heavy cruiser" when she fought her last stand next to the G.B. it's also likely that the reports back to Adm. Kurita failed to include the words "escort" or "light" (just as the report at CS of Shoho was "scratch one flat top"). The G.B. was likely reported as "sunk 1 carrier" not "1 escort carrier". so all indication was that Kurita thought he was facing Halsey. That's why he fled, trying to preserve some of  his fleet ('course he was probably still shaken from having Atago blown out from under him as well).






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