My Little Man's first real wargame play: Barbarossa Solitaire
7th Fleet: Invasion of Hokkaido or how the Bear mauled the Eagle and darkened the rising sun
A Soviet-Japanese skirmish has gotten out of hand in the northern reaches of Japan. The USSR has launched a full scale invasion of the northern most of the Japanese home islands, Hokkaido. In response, the Japanese Self Defense force is putting ships to see (as many as they can seeing how they were caught off guard) and the United States has responded by sending ships to reinforce Japan with supplies, as well as a carrier battle group and a few American submarines. The question now became: could the USSR crush the sea forces and complete their overrun of Hokkaido before the USA showed up in force.......
● Focus on getting SC and MP units to their destinations
● Hit enemy air bases early to try to neutralize enemy air power
● The CV Task Force to cripple the nearest Soviet Task Force while providing air cover for near by allied Task Forces.
● Sink the Soviet SC units if possible.
● Use submarine force to hunt SC and MP task forces.
● Converge their two CV Task Forces on the USA CV Task Force to try to sink with SSM.
● Get the SC units to their base
● Hit enemy air bases
The day began with recon planes being launched by both sides. The resulting search found all the USA Task Forces (TF) and all the Soviet TF as well. No submarines were located.
The USA began the fighting with a bold move, attacking a Soviet base with a heavy CAP. The CAP was indeed strong, and the USA lost an F-16!!! The USA launched a second air strike against the Soviet basee Yuzhno-Kurislsk, causing a level one damage. The CV Carl Vinson also launched an air strike against a Soviet base, only to have its A6 unit damaged with a no hits result on the base. The Soviets retaliated with their own massive air strike against the Japanese base of Misawa. The air combat was fierce but in the end the CAP drove off the attackers, causing damage to one of the Soviet M23 units. The Soviets followed up that air strike with one against TF 1, resulting in 2 US SC units being damaged. The Soviet CV Novorossiysk launched an air strike as well sinking one of the damaged SC units. The USA player then used his Cruise Missile attacks of the CG Long Beach and Antietam. The result was very disappointing, as neither strike caused any damage Bad start for the USA player. The Soviet Union unleashed its subs as well, hitting TF 3. The torpedo attacks focused on USA combat ships, the Soviet commander reasoning that with those ships out of the way, the others would be sitting ducks. In the battle, the US DD Oldendoff was damaged. However, the TF might have a chance for revenge as both Soviet subs were detected..... The Soviets also launched a torpedo attack on TF 5 (the Japanese TF) but missed the ship they were after (any ship with an ASW value of 11 is going to be a prime target. The allied surface groups continued to have success as TF 5 detected the attacking sub. The Soviet subs finished their initial assault with the SN Yenisey launching its cruise missile attack on the base at Misawa, just missing! The US responded with a submarine cruise missile attack of its own on a Soviet base which, like the CG CM attacks, failed. The US SN Batfish moved into the Soviet bastion area, accompanied by a Japanese sub. The Soviet close defense hexes damaged the US sub, but failed to find the Japanese sub. Both were sent into the area to intercept Soviet TF 6, which had the SC units with it. The Soviets ended the morning fighting by having their TF 3 close in on US TF 1 and launch a devastating SSM attack. After all the smoke had cleared, the Soviets had damaged the FF Robert E. Bradley and had sunk the FF De Wert! This was clearly NOT how CINCPAC had envisioned the battle going!
The afternoons fighting commenced with another massive Soviet air strike against Misawa. Again the powerful allied CAP turned the enemy back this time damaging a Soviet M25 unit. The Soviets again used their air power to hammer US TF 1. They sunk another SC unit, but this time there was a price as one of their BMB units was damaged. The Soviets CV in TF 3 launched its attack wing and the resulting combat found the Y-36 unit damaged and the US FF Robert E. Bradley sunk!!!! Soviet TF 3 then moved in for the kill firing off another blistering SSM attack which sunk the FF Samuel B. Roberts and the DD Benjamin Stoddert. US forces were being beaten like a rented mule!!!!
The US fought back with TF 3 conducting ASW that damaged the Soviet SN Kudelkin. The Japanese TF 5 also got their licks in with ASW damaging the Soviet SN Yegorov. With the Yegorov damged, US TF 7 (with the CV Vinson) finished the job sinking the Soviet sub and finally getting the allies a victory! The Soviets continued their sub attacks, undeterred by the allied ASW ability. Two of them launched torpedo attacks against TF 3 only to have both fail! The CV Vinson attacked Soviet TF 8 with its air wing. While one F-18 was damaged, the strike did damage the USSR CV Minsk in return! Air units from Misawa tried to then finish off the Minsk, but failed in their attempt.
As late afternoon gave way to early evening the Soviet subs continued to prowl, unwilling to give up the hunt. Two Soviet subs again fired torpedoes against TF 3 only to fail yet again! (In a secret intercept of information after the battle, the CIA learned that the Soviets plan to rework their strategy and tactics against our ASW ability). The Soviets tried yet another torpedo attack on TF 5 only to come away again empty handed. Unfortunately, TF 5 failed to detect the whereabouts of the sub. The US and Japanese subs after Soviet TF 6 fired their first torpedo attacks, damaging the DD Tributs. The US continued to go after Soviet TF 8 with another air strike against the CV Minsk. And this time.....they again failed to sink it! The CV Vinson then launched its planes again and this time the attack honed in an sunk the Minsk!!!!! The Soviets tried another tactic in this late afternoon brawl: they mobilized almost all their air power and went after TF 7 and the CV Vinson! In savage fighting, the Soviets were driven off with one S24 being damaged. The Soviet air power again went after TF 3, but failed to hit anything. Allied TF 3 and 5 continued their ASW actions, but neither scored a hit this time. And so the cat and mouse game goes on beneath the waves.....
The Soviet TF 3 finished off the last SC unit from TF 1 with a SSM attack. Meanwhile, to the north, TF 6 sunk the US SN Batfish. With the major sub threat defeated against TF 6, Soviet TF 8 made preparations to head south and go into battle with the other US and Japanese sub which had initially planned to pursue TF 6, but got off to a slow start and then rounded the southern end of Hokkaido to engage in the massive battle brewing in the Hokkaido Sea Zone....
The day began with recon missions being launched. Both sides were limited to two missions each as some difficulties arose. In the end, the Soviet TF 8 and 6 were located and the allied TF 5 and 3/7 (these two had stacked together at the end of turn 3) were found as well. The morning began with two Soviet sub attacks on TF 5, both of them failures! The Soviets boldly made a play for the CV Vinson with a torpedo attack as well, but it too failed and the Soviet sub was detected! With the Soviet subs coming up short, the Soviet player decided on a new strategy: get USSR TF 3 into SSM range against TF 5 to sink the Japanese super ASW unit. The Soviet air assaults this turn paid off well mainly because the USA took a big gamble in keeping down one of the CAPs that had been up before. The dice were rolled (literally! ) and the USA came up short. As a result the Soviets caused damage level one to the bases at Chitose and Misawa as the fearsome CAP over Misawa was finally bested. The Soviets did have a BMB unit damaged, but it was a small price to pay as they succeeded in damaging the two major allied bases, severely limiting allied air power. The USA launched an air strike with the P-3 planes that did not do recon against TF 6. The result was one Soviet SC damaged. The CV Vinson again launched its planes into the air and again hit pay dirt sinking the Soviet CG Vladivostok! The US TF 7 then commenced ASW with good results as they damaged the SN Yenisey. TF 5 closed in for the kill and finished off the Yenisey. However, the damage had been done for the turn as the air gamble failed for the USA leaving them vulnerable as the MP units made their way toward the Japanese port. The question now became: could they get there before Soviet air power completely dominated the skies?
The Soviets began the afternoon with air strikes against the remaining US air base in Japan at Hachinohe. Even though an S24 unit was damaged, the Soviet strike succeeded and the last US base was damaged. With all allied land air bases out of commission, only the CV Vinson could project air power in the region. The Soviets again attacked with subs against TF 5 and again were beaten with the Soviet sub again being detected. The Soviets then closed in for the kill against TF 5 with their TF 3 unleashing an SSM attack. This time, they finally achieved their goal with the Japanese super ASW DD Shirane being sunk! TF 5 tried to retaliate with its own SSM attack on TF 3, but failed. Then they tried ASW as well but with the super DD gone, the result was failure as well. TF 7 decided to hit USSR TF 3 with its own SSM attack. The missiles honed in on their targets as the Soviet CG Tashkent was damaged. The CV Vinson then finished the job with an air strike and the CG Tashkent sank!
With Soviet forces swarming all over the Hokkaido Sea Zone, the end appeared to be near. Both US MP units made it into port this turn. By some miracle they had survived. US TF 7 fired off another SSM attack and the Soviet DD Vliyatelnyy was damaged. Soviet SC units also made it to port this turn, getting much needed supplies to an important base. (3 of the SC were fine while 1 was damaged). The Soviets launched an air strike on TF 5 only to have the CAP of the Vinson pick them up and intercept. The Soviets must have been caught by surprise as they lost on M23 unit and had another damaged. The Soviets launched another air strike on TF 3 and again the CV Vinson CAP rose to the occasion destroying a Soviet M25 unit. The Soviet subs made another major torpedo attack, this time going for bigger game and they succeeded in damaging the US CG Antietam. A Soviet SN had the chance for the kill, but again American ASW saved the day! A Japanese sub attempted ASW against one of the Soviet subs, but failed in its attempt. The USS Springfield launched a torpedo attack against TF 3 but failed. The CV Vinson made one last air strike against USSR TF 3 only to have one F-18 damaged and the bombing attack fail. Thus ended the Battle of Hokkaido.
Task Force/subs in sea zones=10
US SN sunk=3
US DD sunk=2
Japanese DD, US FF sunk and air INT units destroyed=5
MP to port=10
USSR DD, SN, CG sunk=8
USSR FF, CO, SS, INT, and BMB destroyed=4
Final result=+19 VP for USSR. Soviet decisive victory!!!!!!
Post Game comments:
● No US VP for sinking Soviet CV?!?!?!?!??!?!?
● USSR on last turn should’ve landed CAPs and used air units offensively.
● USA air unit gamble failed; critical moment at mid point of game
● USSR should’ve concentrated on MP TF first
● Using the Japanese ships in a TF near MP units worked as a ruse. Soviet subs several times attacked TF 5 thinking it was TF 3!
● USSR momentum hurt. Twice they had turns where they moved ALL their unit types first. Hammered USA badly.
● Ineffective use of subs by USA. Need to have clearer plan in mind for them next time.
Overall: bad beating taken by USA. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you (or mauls you to death as the case may be ).
Good session report! Making me want to play these again