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Subject: The Submarine Campaign against Japan: Full Campaign Report rss

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Simon-Pierre Harvey
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Silent War Campaign: The Submarine campaign against Japan

Started October 28, 2015 – 2nd week of December 1941
Finished September 30, 2016 – 2nd week of August 1944

Game length: 129 turns

Comments: my average game play has been one turn every three days. I estimate that each turn took me between 1 and 1 ½ hour. Of course, there was time when I played more, sometimes 2 turns in one day, and times when I have been weeks without playing

Result:

Decisive Victory

5 500 000 tons in the 2nd week of August 1944, for a Total Victory Result on the tonnage table
and 69 submarines lost (1 scuttled and 3 decommissioned for heavy damaged), for a total of 65 submarines lost in action, diminishing the result to Decisive victory

1222 enemy ships were sunk.

Career thresholds:

Feb 42 - 94 000 T (33 ships), May 42 – 229 000 T (66 ships), August 42 - 474 000 T (144 ships), November 42 – 806 000 T (234 ships), February 43 - 1 124 000 T (312 ships), May 43 – 1 474 000 T (393 ships).

War Periods:

WP1 - 2nd week of Dec 41 to 1st week of Oct 42
WP2 - 1st week of Oct 42 to 1st week of March 43
WP3 - 1st week of March 43 to 1st week of July 44
WP4 - 1st week of July 44 to 2nd week of Aug 44 (end of hostilities)

Torpedo Value:

First improvement from TP-2 to TP -1: 4th week of June 42
Second improvement from TP-1 to TP0: 3rd week of Feb 43
Third improvement from TP0 to TP+1: 2nd week of Sept 43
Fourth improvement from TP+1 to TP+2: 2nd week of July 44

I played with the Imperial Japanese Navy extension, which was really a blast! Searching the Net for the ship you just sunk is a lot of fun and leads to great discoveries (YouTube ijnfleetadmiral channel comes to my mind). Around January 44, I had sink almost the entire fleet except the battleships. We sunk Kirishima and Fuso by submarines. Yamato, Mushashi, Nagato, Hyuga, Ise, Yamashiro and Kongo made it through. Kiel and Mutsu were sink by other means. Fourteen carriers were sink, and two were put out of action by submarines. Of course, they were four others sunk at the Midway battle. Almost all the heavy cruisers and the light cruisers were sunk by the submarines. A few were destroyed in other events. Thirty destroyers were sunk by submarines.

I played with the Allied submarines rules. In Mid-August 1944, none were destroyed and they had destroyed 46 000 T of Japanese shipping.

I did not used the Staggered arrivals and withdrawals rule until around midgame, for it was too punishing at the beginning of the campaign, and every sub/week is critical. I introduced this rule with the rising number of new submarines arriving and I thought it was too unrealistic to have them all in the first week.

We had a tremendously high number of losses by torpedo malfunctions (8 submarine lost). I wonder if I was particularly unlucky, or if the likeliness of this event might be a little too high. In Silent Victory (Clay Blair jr), while there is a lot of torpedo issues reported, NO loss by running torpedoes were reported, to my knowledge... (but I still have to read the second tome). I read the rules a few times to make sure I was playing it right, because I felt it was strange that with the improvements of torpedoes, chances that you get destroyed by the running torpedo gets higher.


Here is the Admiral’s report

Admiral Harvey's Report on Submarine Operations in the Pacific Theater 1941-1944


Our philosophy, as a submarine force, was aggressiveness. The submarine has been a great weapon to bring the war to Japan and hurt it in the belly, at the core of its resource supplying activities. As so, it was used almost exclusively as an attack weapon, unless orders from the high command requested otherwise for special operations.

Our general strategy has been to maximise the time submarines were at sea patrolling, while avoiding congregation and transit time. Our priority has been to avoid transit time as much as possible. We wanted to make sure that once a sub is affected to a submarine base, he would stay there, its only duty being to rotate as fast as possible to its patrolling area. We tried to position our submarines in the most prospectful areas and attack Japanese merchantmen as often as we could. In the first period of the war, our line of conduct has been to target the one ship with the best odds, no matter what the tonnage. (Only in the late war did we allow our captains to try two, or sometime three ships in the same attack. But rumours came to our ears that some captains did not always respected that rule in the heat of the action) This was due to poor torpedo performance and the necessity to sink has much ship as possible to climb on the torpedo improvement table. This line of conduct was perpetuated through the entire war, tough more loosely, as torpedo performance improved and captains began to aim for bigger ships with high tonnage value despite better odds on other smaller ships.

On the tactical level, our captains had to be very aggressive and pursue the attack even against strong escorts or despite damaged conditions. At mid war, (winter 43), the rate we were losing submarines became a preoccupation and that policy was changed. Captains had to avoid attacks when they judged the escorts were too aggressive, and had to evade at all cost and RTB when damaged. Despite these new rules of engagement, our rate of losses has been a preoccupation to the admiralty for the entire war.

Four Super skippers were declared in the course of the campaign. (I didn’t kept tracking of the individual scores of submarines as it seemed too much bookkeeping to me.)

Captain O’Kane (+1), in USS Swordfish : Decorated the 3rd week of September 42
Captain Moore(+1), in USS Albacor : Decorated the 1st week of March 43
Captain Gross (+1), in USS Scorpion : Decorated the 3rd week of April 43. MIA the 3rd week of May 44 (torpedo malfunction)
Captain Cutter (+2), in USS Sunfish : Decorated the 1st week of November 43. Decorated the 4th week of March 44


Submarine Base Pearl Harbour was used as the main destination for damaged ships at the exception of those patrolling in the South China 1 and 2, North Philippine Sea, South Philippine Sea, Banda Sea and Java Sea areas, which were dispatched to Freemantle to minimise the transit time. To be noted that the shipyard facilities in Freemantle were more then adequate

Freemantle has been our second base of operation in importance. As mentioned earlier, the entire southwest region of the theater was relying on this important center of command. After the Second WP, no ships patrolled the southeast region of the theater. From then on, all the older ships (P, New S1, New S2 and T submarines) with less efficiency were affected to this base as the probability and density of contacts were a little weaker there.

The third Submarine Base Brisbane was only used in War Period 2,. It is the only time it was usefull to keep the patrolling turnaround times at minimum. Also, its repair and shipyards capacity were less developped then Freemantle and Pearl Harbor.

The Aleutian Base was used almost throughout the war. The event was triggered in December 41, and the end of the Aleutian campaign was declared by default only when the fourth period started. The areas covered by this base are interesting, with a good density of Japanese ships up to the fourth period (Kuriles), but the longer turnaround time due to harsh winter conditions reduced significantly its appeal. So I decided to base S-Boats there, who already have a low statistical efficiency. Not only was I respecting the historical narrative by doing so, but I ensured that the boats delayed by bad weather were not the most efficient.

The most successful week of the war was the 4th week of July 44, with 210 tons of enemy shipping destroyed
The most successful month of the war was July 1944 with 508 tons of enemy shipping destroyed
Eighteen Japanese submarines were destroyed during hostilities.

The first wolfpack experience was tried in October 1943. Our results were mitigated. Groups were often disbanded before making contact with the enemy, or lost contact with each others during battle. We never got to the point where we were confident enough to try numerous packs simultaneously (experience level 7).


Submarine Losses
Name : cause of loss (week/month/Year)

1. Shark : escort (03/12/41)
2. Saury : escort (01/01/42)
3. Sealion : airplane (01/01/42)
4. Salmon : decommissioned due to heavy damaged (03/02/42)
5. Seadragon : scuttled in Luzon (03/03/42)
6. S-18 : diligent escort (01/04/42)
7. Seawolf : diligent escort (04/06/42)
8. Trigger : escort (02/07/42)
9. Pollack : decommissioned due to heavy damaged (04/07/42)
10. Silversides : escort (02/08/42)
11. Cachalot : lost at sea, cause unknown (04/10/42)
12. Pompano : escort (02/11/42)
13. Grampus : escort (04/11/42)
14. Growler : escort (01/12/42)
15. Argonaut : diligent escort (02/01/43)
16. Plunger : lost at sea, cause unknown (04/02/43)
17. Gato : escort (04/02/43)
18. Drum : airplane (01/03/43)
19. Snapper : escort (01/03/43)
20. S-32 : diligent escort (02/03/43)
21. Scamp : diligent escort (01/04/43)
22. Snook : lost at sea, cause unknown (02/04/43)
23. Pogy : escort (04/04/43)
24. Peto : escort (04/04/43)
25. Sculpin : escort (04/05/43)
26. Tambor : Betty bomber (01/06/43)
27. Guardfish : escort (01/06/43)
28. Dolphin : escort (03/07/43)
29. Gar : escort (03/07/43)
30. Pargo : diligent escort (01/09/43)
31. Pickerel : diligent escort (02/09/43)
32. Steelhead : lost at sea, cause unknown (03/09/43)
33. Grunion : diligent escort (02/10/43)
34. Barb : diligent escort (01/11/43)
35. Seahorse : escort (02/11/43)
36. Cisco : escort (03/11/43)
37. BlackFish : diligent escort (03/11/43)
38. Haddock : circular torpedo (02/12/43)
39. Wahoo : circular torpedo (02/12/43)
40. Searaven : escort (01/01/44)
41. Permit : escort (01/01/44)
42. Haddo : circular torpedo (01/01/44)
43. S-47 : diligent escort (02/01/44)
44. Archerfish : circular torpedo (02/01/44)
45. Sargo : circular torpedo (03/01/44)
46. Bluefish : submarine (01/02/44)
47. Ray : escort (02/02/44)
48. Balao : diligent escort (03/02/44)
49. Corvina : escort (04/02/44)
50. Apogon : circular torpedo (02/03/44)
51. Kingfish : diligent escort (04/03/44)
52. Halibut : diligent escort (01/04/44)
53. Triton : diligent escort (03/04/44)
54. Grouper : diligent escort (04/04/44)
55. Harder : circular torpedo (02/05/44)
56. Scorpion (Gross) : circular torpedo (03/05/44)
57. Tautog : diligent escort (04/05/44)
58. Flying Fish : airplane (01/06/44)
59. Guitarro : diligent escort (01/06/44)
60. Muskalunge : diligent escort (03/06/44)
61. Shark II : escort (04/06/44)
62. Gunnel : decommissioned due to heavy damaged (04/06/44)
63. Cabrilla : diligent escort (02/07/44)
64. Aspro : airplane (03/07/44)
65. Greenling : airplane (04/07/44)
66. Cero : diligent escort (01/08/44)
67. Seal : escort (01/08/44)
68. Hoe : diligent escort (01/08/44)
69. Golet : escort (02/08/44)


God bless the souls of these brave young men.

Admiral Simon P. Harvey
ComSubPac Pearl Harbour
October 6, 1944







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Ryan
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Great write-up. Thank you!
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Runs with scissors
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That's some dedication. It's nice to see the results of a full campaign. 8 subs lost to circular torpedoes. That's hard.
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Simon-Pierre Harvey
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Especially the loss of Captain Gross!
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Losses:

24 Escort
22 Diligent escort
08 Torpedo
05 Airplane
04 Unknown
03 Decommissioned heavy damage
01 Scuttled
01 Betty bomber
01 Submarine


Sources say at least the Tang captained by R. O'Kane and the Tullibee were sunk by circular torpedoes. Found that accidentally while checking something else and got curious.

sources:
http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/TopTenUSNavySubmarineCapt.html
http://www.subsowespac.org/the-patrol-zone/circular-torpedo-...
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Simon-Pierre Harvey
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Thank you for this really interresting information. I read it his morning. I find interresting that these events where not that uncommon and that the game designers were not completely off track in this. I wonder what is the everage of losses by torpedoes in the long campaigns played...

On another topic, the " Betty bomber" is the same as"airplane" loss. I just doidn't realise that I wrote it differently.

Thanks
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