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New scenario for Guadalcanal

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Joined: 19 Aug 2017
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb - 12:26 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal Reply with quote

i would like to propose a new scenario for the Guadalcanal campaign.

Actually between the battles of Eastern Solomons in August and of Santa Cruz in October there was heavy action in September with the Japanese trying to take control of Henderson Field and the US trying to reinforce the troops on the island.

On the 10th of September the Japanese fleet left Truk with the mission of supporting the Japanese assault on Henderson and send planes on the airfield after its capture (still a manifestation of Japanese overconfidence...). There were 2nd Fleet with two BBs and five CAs and 3rd Fleet with two CVs, one CVL and two BBs (plus escorting CLs and DDs).
On the 13rd of September a US convoy departed from Espiritu Santo with 5 transports, escorted by TF65 (one CA, two CLs and 8 DDs) and covered by TF18 with the CV Wasp and TF17 with CV Hornet.
The Japanese got aware of the US moves but decided to send submarines rather than their CVs that were supposed to support the Japanese land assault on HF.
During the night of 13 to 14, the Japanese attacks on Guadalcanal were stopped by the Marines and, strangely, the Japanese ships just turned back. However on the 15th of September, the Japanese submarines found the US carriers and Wasp was sunk while Hornet narrowly escaped torpedoes.
Finally the US transports managed to reach Guadalcanal and unload their carries on the 18th of September.

So i think we could design a scenario around an hypothetic carrier battle that could have taken place most probably on the 15th or 16th of September had the Japanese not turned back.
We already have everything we need including the map, the ships and the planes. We just lack a name for this hypothetic battle that never was.
What do you think?

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Joined: 25 Jan 2016
Posts: 1,208
Localisation: France

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb - 21:35 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal Reply with quote

I was ignoring the Japanese had some CVs in the area
Why not, it would be an easy add-on, also very similar to Santa Cruz
Do you have any historical link ?

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Joined: 19 Aug 2017
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb - 23:07 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal Reply with quote

Not really but i can provide quite easily lists of ships for both sides. Regarding the planes i will have to make some more research.
You are right, it should be much like CS. Actually, CS happened a few weeks later in much similar conditions except that, this time, the Japanese CV just did not turn back.

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Joined: 19 Aug 2017
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Thu 8 Mar - 21:32 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal Reply with quote

OK, so here are some information about the operations in the area in between the battles of Eastern Solomons (23-25 of August) and of Santa Cruz (26-27 of October):

- on the 24th of August, so in parallel with their main effort against Guadalcanal, the Japanese launched operation RE against Milne Bay with the objective to land troops there in order to make a concerted attack against Port-Moresby together with the troops coming from Kokoda track. The Japanese fleet was built around CLs Tenryu and Tatsuta, DDs Urakaze, Tanikaze and Manikaze, 2 submarine chasers and 2 TRS, Nankai Maru and Kinai Maru. There were also some so-called Daihatsu barges coming from Buna with troops from famed 5th SNLF of Kure.

- on the 25th, the barges were attacked and sunk by P40s of n°75 RAAF Sq while the transports were attacked by RAAF Hudsons. Japanese troops began to land on the 25th evening at Milne Bay

- on the 26th, the Japanese faced unexpected resistance at Milne Bay while the ships were under attack of B-25, B-26 and B-17 of 5th USAAF.

- on the 28th carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku arrived at Kavieng while some of their fighters were sent to Buka for escorting bombers above Guadalcanal ; at night, the Tokyo Express consisting of DDs Asagiri, Shirakumo, Yugiri and Amarigi was attacked by SBDs from Henderson Field and Asagiri was sunk (a bomb direct hit on its torpedoes...).

- on the 29th, DDs Kawakaze and Umikaze brought reinforcements at Milne Bay but the Japanese began to think about a withdrawal; at night, DD Yudashi land troops at Guadalcanal.

- on the 30th, 16 SBDs of VMSB-231 arrived in Guadalcanal while 8 G4M Betty attacked a small convoy with APDs (fast TRS) Colhoun and Little; Colhoun is sunk.

- on the 31st of August, the carrier Saratoga was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-26 and had to be get back to Pearl for repairs. Adm Fletcher was slightly injured during the attack and had to be replaced; at night DDs Kawakaze, Umikaze and Yaguro landed troops in Guadalcanal.

- on the 4th of September, at night, APDs Gregory and Little after ferrying troops from Guadalcanal to Savo, were surprised by DDs Yudashi, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo and sunk; these Japanese DDs were part of the Tokyo Express together with DDs Ariake, Shikinami and Uranami. The same day, carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku departed from Kavieng to Truk.
-on the 5th of September, the Japanese troops in Milne Bay reembarked on TRS Nankai Maru and Kinai Maru escorted by CLs Tenryu and Tatsuta, DDs Isokaze, Hamakaze , Mochizuki, Yayoi and Arashi, plus 3 small patrol boats.

- on the 6th, DDs Ariake, Uranami, Shikinami and Yudashi tried to intercept TRS Fuller and Bellatrix in Guadalcanal waters but Japanese intelligence was wrong and the TRS were not there yet.

- on the 7th, the Bellatrix and Fuller arrived at Guadalcanal but could not unload their cargo because of air attack

- on the 8th, the Bellatrix and Fuller finally managed to unload their cargo and departed for Espiritu Santo despite Japanese air attacks.

- on the 10th, the 2nd Fleet under Adm. Kondo departed from Truk together with the 3rd Fleet of Adm Nagumo in order to support the Japanese assault against Henderson Field. They are:
2nd Fleet: BBs Hiei and Kirishima, CAs Atago, Maya, Takao, Haguro and Myoko, DDs Makigami, Naganami, Natsugumo, Minegumo, Asagumo and Oyashio.
3rd Fleet: CVs Shokaku and Zuikaku, CVL Zuiho, BBs Kongo and Haruna, CL Nagara and DDs Makigumo, Kazagumo, Yagumo, Akigumo, Tanikaze, Tokitsukaze, Amatsukaze, Hatsukaze, Yukikaze, Hayashio, Oyashio and Nowaki.
The Japanese also had seaplane tender Kunikawa Maru with DDs Murasame, Samidare, Harusame and Ariake cruising north of the Santa Cruz.
Finally DDs Shikinami, Sazanami, Umikaze, Suzukaze, Ushio and Yudachi were in the Solomons, on Tokyo Express duty.

- on the 11th, as they were no more fighters available in Guadalcanal, the Wasp sent 24 F4F from VF-5 plus 6 TBM (coming from the Saratoga air group).

- on the 12th, at night, the Japanese launched an assault against Henderson Field but were stopped at Bloody Ridge

- on the 13th, a large convoy departed from Espiritu Santo to reinforce Guadalcanal: TRS Heywood and McCawley (with men of 7th Marines Regiment), plus TRS Bellatrix and Fuller and fast TRS MacFarland with fuel, vehicles and ammunitions. The convoy was escorted by TF65 of Adm Turner with CA Minneapolis, CLs Boise and Atlanta, DDs Monssen and MacDonough and minesweepers (old DDs) Southard, Hovey, Hopkins, Zane and Trever.
The convoy was further covered by TF68 including:
- TF18 (under R.Adm Noyes) with CV Wasp, CAs Salt Lake City and San Francisco, CLs Helena and Juneau, DDs Laffey, Aaron Ward, Duncan, Lansdowne, Lardner and Farenholt.
- TF17 (under r. Adm Murray) with CV Hornet, BB North Carolina, CAs Pensacola and Northampton, CL San Diego and DDs Bagley, Patterson, Anderson, Mustin, Russell, O'Brien and Morris.
The US ships were spotted by a Japanese seaplane but the Japanese command decided to give the priority to supporting the attack against Guadalcanal and send submarines to intercept: 7 new submarines were to join the 2 ones already cruising in the sector were the American ships were supposed to sail.

- during the night of 13th to 14th, Japanese attacks were stopped again with heavy losses; upon information of Gen. Kawaguchi's failure, Adm. Kondo and Nagumo decided to turn back... most probably one of the worse decision of the war.

- on the 15th, while the US ships were under surveillance of Japanese seaplanes, Japanese submarines got close and attacked. The Wasp was torpedoed and sunk by I-19 (also hitting North Carolina and O'Brien) while Hornet narrowly escaped torpedoes from I-15.

The convoy arrived safely at Guadalcanal on the 18th and troops landed while equipment was unloaded.
From 19th to 26th there was a lull in naval and air operations but land operations were still raging with heavy fightings at Cruz Point
On the 27th, the Japanese air raids resumed with 18 Bettys escorted by 38 Zeros that were intercepted by F4F from the Cactus Air Force.
A second raid was launched on the 28th with 27 Bettys escorted by 42 Zero.
All in all the Japanese lost some 10 bombers (plus several damaged) and decided to build a forward airbase in Buin for better escort by the Zeros.

And so on...

Beginning of October, the Japanese reinforced the Tokyo Express, sending new troops on Gualdacanal.
On the 9th of October, the US sent a new convoy from ES escorted by TF64 (under R. Adm Scott) and covered by TF17 with carrier Wasp.
On the 11th, a B17 from Henderson Field spotted quite a large Tokyo Express. R. Adm Scott decided to intercept and this resulted in the battle of Cape Esperance.

So i think:
- we may build a scenario based on the operations between 13th and 15th September, with carriers on both sides. Especially, it would be a nice opportunity to add subs when available.
- we may consider to add a Japanese operation against Milne Bay during the battle of Eastern Solomons. This kind of quite complex simultaneous operations with various targets, one covering the other one, was typical of Japanese planning (the most famous one being Midway - Aleutians spreading over the whole North Pacific Ocean!!!). Of course, this would require to add some bases, especially Lae and possibly Gasmata plus Australian allied bases. The operation eventually ended in a failure but the landings were successfull.
- after some reflection, we may also consider a scenario about the battle of Cape Esperance. Actually, the operations ended with a major surface engagement (actually something very current in CBfG, most probably more than in the reality Wink ) but this could have been different with again two large simultaneous reinforcement/resupply operations. However, this scenario would be very close to the Battle of Santa Cruz.

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USS Archerfish


Joined: 16 Mar 2017
Posts: 780

PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar - 01:16 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal Reply with quote

That’s one hell of a report Larsenjp. Excellent work!

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PostPosted: Today at 23:31 (2018)    Post subject: New scenario for Guadalcanal

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