Fumbling My Way through History
- Oct 18, 2009
Chapter 20: Island Hopping.
The Japanese merchant navy continues trying to slip past us, and they continue getting sunk, both on the trade route to Dublin (really, AI? Did you really hope to slip past both the US destroyers and the Royal Navy Home Fleet?) and in South America. This is a good thing. The more we sink, the further their NU will drop, but more on that later.
While we wait for our ships to repair, US Congress shows us that they are very happy with the president’s handling of the war, voting in stricter civil laws. Partisan activity will not be that big of a deal for us, since we are democratic, but any chance to lower CG Need is welcome.
I also transfer a point of LS from research to Diplomacy. We are out of diplomacy points, because the AI loves ending and starting trades.
More importantly, though, is the completion of the 2nd Armour Division. I attach them to the 1st Tank Corps and start a new one right away. We are still a long time away from being able to even think about invading Europe.
By the 10th of July, we are ready to make our first offensive move. I move the fleet to Wake Island first, since it is closer to our target. Not shown on this picture is the Assault Fleet, carrying the entire 1st Army Group.
On that same day, we can begin researching 1943 techs. I begin with Mechanical and Electronic Computing Machines, since both of these techs speed up our research.
The actual battle plan. Our target, Marcus Isle, is situated on the edge of two seazones. CTF 1 will take up position just outside the island’s port, hoping to catch Japanese ships before they escape. The surface fleets will each take up position in the other seazones. 2nd Navy, still lacking a destroyer, will be to the north, the least likely spot of a massive Japanese counterattack.
The Assault Fleet will be placed away from the port, so that ships sailing out can’t catch them unaware.
While all that is going on, Japan launches another attack against Guam. I send in my fighters and it turns out that is only a very small (and very optimistic) squadron.
Three transports without any kind of escort. Needless to say, they will pay dearly for their stupidity.
Six hours later, I encounter a fleet of cruisers and destroyers. They will lose a Light Cruiser, a Destroyer and a transport before they manage to get away.
I launch the attack with 3 infantry divisions and the 1st Marine Division. Technically, I could have split the fleet in two and assaulted from two sides, but that would have put the weak and slow landing craft in front of Marcus’ port. As you can see, it is not even necessary. Note, also, that my choice to have 5 marine brigades in the Marine Division is affecting the number of units I can send to the frontline at one time because of its bigger CW.
The same cruiser fleet from before tries to make another desperate attempt at lifting the siege of Marcus Isle. They will lose a heavy cruiser and 2 light cruisers, before escaping east, where I have the 1st Navy stationed.
Marcus Isle is mine and Japan loses 5 more cruisers. Remember the penalty you get in combat if you don’t have enough screens. If I sink screens now, that means that Japan will have to rebuild them or suffer the consequences later.
3rd Navy is a bit battered, and will be rebased in Midway for repairs. This has the added benefit that they can act as rear guard in case of an emergency.
Time for some recon. By sending the M/R on a ground bombing mission, I will be able to see what the state of the defense is on Saipan before committing my forces. As it turns out, they have only 2 subs in port and no planes on the tarmac, while the ground defense consists of a single garrison (3 gar) without any kind of heavy support. Should be easy enough.
The attack begins on the 16th of July with the same troops that were so successful earlier, but this time something is wrong. The troops are lacking supplies, suffering a massive -39.6% penalty for it. Bad weather and well dug-in defenders only add to my trouble. At this point, I have two choices. I can break off the attack and wait for supplies in Guam, or I can add to the firepower of the attack and hope to overcome the penalties through sheer bullheadedness. I have the initiative at the moment, and I don’t want to lose it. There are still a lot of Japanese carriers out there. I add another 3 divisions to the attack, and the number begins to creep back up ever so slowly.
A single escort carrier and destroyer try to intervene, but both will end at the bottom of the ocean, along with the 2 subs that eventually try to make a run for it.
It takes another day before the defenders yield. I rebase the whole fleet on Saipan. This is a level 5 port, which, even slightly damaged, can handle the repairs for 47 ships, which is more than enough for my 43 ships.
My CAGs will need some time to rest, however. Their replacements are still under construction, so I have no choice but to wait before implementing the next phase of the plan: the invasion of Iwo Jima.