I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
I had the pleasure today to not only play FitS for the first time in a long time, but also to introduce a new player to the game, Björn. In keeping with his oft-declared megalomania, he asked to play the Japanese, and I of course let him.
So, after a brief summary of basic strategy (I'm no master, but at least I could make sure he'd not do the particular boneheaded mistakes that lost me my first game as Japan) we set up the Campaign Game. The Japanese started off with variety of minor attacks, a raid on Pearl Harbor, and a major invasion of Singapore. I suggested he might want to get the invasion of the Philippines underway immediately too, but he said he was confident of taking it before turn four anyway, and needed the transport pts better elsewhere.
Then it turned out the entire IJN had been issued with defect dice. At Singapore, the Japanese air failed to hit anything and the invasion fleet was routed by the Anglo-Dutch fleet. At Pearl Harbor, the US Carrier Reaction Force turned up and promptly tore the Japanese fleet to bits, sinking Akagi/Kaga while damaging another carrier and suffering no loss themselves.
Clearly, even a veteran Japanese player would have a very uphill struggle after this, so, rather than prolong Björn's agony, we, as we'd previously agreed we'd do if Japan's first turn went too poorly, abandoned the game and set up the Short Campaign Game instead.
The Japanese now started off unsurprisingly by invading New Guinea, Java, and Rangoon. The last fell after pathetic resistance by the British defenders, the ABDA unit put up more of a fight but came just short of actually surviving, whereas at Singapore the Dutch ships sacrificed themselves to buy the defenders there another turn. Singapore inevitably fell in turn 3, but I thought tying down substantial Japanese forces for another turn was well worth the Dutchmen's lives. The Dutchmen may have felt differently.
In Burma the British continued to embarass themselves and quickly fell back into India. The Americans meanwhile rushed reinforcements to Port Moresby and the islands to the east and southeast, helped by some dithering by the Japanese who failed to try and seize Port Moresby the one turn they had a decent change to take it. Instead the IJN forces in the area found themselves bested in a big battle off Lae, followed by the conquest of same by an American army shipped there from Guadalcanal. Rabaul fell shortly thereafter, the situation being made untenable by American aircraft at Guadalcanal, Port Moresby, and Lae. Hollandia, which the Japanese had managed to reinforce, OTOH held out several turns, and costing me many transport points to get enough BB's there to compensate for the Japanese "autohits" from the aircraft. Just before it did fall, Björn artfully extricated his air steps and finally occupied Leyte, denying me the ability to deploy troops there (it's just two steps from Hollandia).
Back on the Indo-Burmese front, the Japanese, presumably encouraged by the British's dismal preformance this far, struck into India, invading Ceylon and Calcutta. The former fell, but at Calcutta the Brits finally put up a decent defense and would not be dislodged. Even the victory at Ceylon proved Pyrrhic as the British European Fleet now entered early and the Japanese henceforth were on the defense against the Commonwealth forces.
The reconquest of Ceylon started off poorly with the initial attack failing to cause a step loss, but it was made up for in the next turn when thorough bombardment by BB:s and CA:s did the trick and destroyed the Japanese unit outright. The Japanese army at Calcutta was destroyed at the same time (Japanese transport points not sufficing to reinforce it), and a two-pronged invasion of Burma followed, with the Indian Army entering overland and the unit from Ceylon making an amphibious assault on Rangoon. An epic series of naval battles off Rangoon followed, wherein at first both sides' aircraft did poorly, but in the third one performance improved, one Japanese CV unit being sunk, while side had a CVL damaged, as well as various surface combatants. The Brits were thus the clear victors, and the Japanese land and air saw themselves forced to fall back to Bangkok, with even that position looking questionably tenable.
Meanwhile, the Americans had made a push in the central Pacific, taking the Giberts and Marshals, then changing tack and invading Leyte from New Guinea (effactively bypassing Palau and Truk, where lots of Japanese air steps were stationed). In two epic battles off Leyte, each side had one carrier unit sunk and another damaged; an unsustainable exchange for Japan. It was some consolation that the sacrifice of several surface combatants made sure too little bombardment power was available for the Americans to actually conquer the base, but of the once considerable Japanese naval forces at Truk and the home islands little was left.
Then the Brits invaded Singapore. The battle started off badly for the Japanese as their last operational carrier (except the Ise/Hyuga hybrid) was damaged, albeit at the cost of a British CV, then the naval clash started off horribly with Yamato/Musashi damaged before it could hit anything. The battle then turned into a drawn-out meat grinder, with the Japanese losing two further BB:s (one sunk, one damaged) and a DD, the British two BB:s (one sunk, one damaged) and a CA. One British BB and three DD:s remained to allow a landing, which took the base and destroyed several Japanese air steps and a couple DD:s who had not had the oil to sally forth.
This was on turn 11. Japan now had 5 VP's, zero oil, Surabaya and Brunei wide open to allied invasion in the next turn, and another two turns before they'd get enough naval aviation to put even one carrier into action (I, despite losses at Leyte, having more American CV:s left than I had the transport pts to be able to use). Björn thus understandably offered his surrender, and I accepted, judging that barring exceedingly poor dice, my final victory was indeed inevitable.
Looking at the big picture, Björn did a few obvious mistakes, in particular in not pressing the attack on New Guinea before the Americans got too strong there, and in invading India without having dealt with the remains of the British Oriental Fleet first. Me getting into Singapore as I did involved some luck, but that many British naval around was always going to consume lots of Japanese transports and oil, leaving the Americans' jobs that much easier.
Looking at my own side, no big mistakes leap out ot me in retrospect (FitS veterans are invited to point out any I'm missing!), but I felt I should have been able to push harder with the Americans, given how much of the IJN was off fighting the Brits. I suppose I still have much to learn concerning efficient use of transport points.
Nick Bah Doo
Stop touching me!
... but I thought tying down substantial Japanese forces for another turn was well worth the Dutchmen's lives. The Dutchmen may have felt differently.
Great report though!