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A War of Infamy (Z AAR)

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Udet (Japan) vs Timskorn (Allies)

Despite being a beta tester, due to life circumstances I didn't get much time into Operation Z as someone like Blashy did, but I did a have a couple games under my belt prior to this, but not enough to avoid mistakes as you'll see. The game is still progressing. We are into March of 1943, and will be posting in "blocks" so I can provide screenshots.

December 7th, 1941-June 1942

Japanese forces destroy the bulk of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, America is shocked and rally to defeat this cowardly foe! Thailand is quickly invaded and succumbs to the Japanese. Forces land at Singapore and catch the Philippine's off guard, and US naval forces in the area, in a fit of rage, dive straight into combat against the BB Humana. A US sub and destroyer deal significant damage to an already wounded ship, having taking port fire from Hong Kong, but cannot sink it and are subsequently destroyed.


US fighter is destroyed but B-17's relocate south and hammer Saigon, disrupting supply to the local Japanese air forces hitting British positions in Singapore. It doesn't take long for Manila to fall though and the bombers are relocated to Rabaul to support Port Moresby, where heavy fighting between the Aussie Kanga's and two SNLF divisions threatens to bring the Japanese closer to Australia. Sizeable IJN forces are spotted in the area as they support the SNLF, including one flattop, but after reorganizing at Rabaul the B-17's go to work again and score a direct hit on the carrier! Preliminary reports indicate the carrier itself and aircraft refueling on deck were damaged in the attack, but to what extent is unknown. The carrier appears to have withdrawn from the area.

The British under General Hutton with support from General Stilwell, two Chinese divisions and the Flying Tigers look to check the advance of Japanese forces against Rangoon. Forces have been taking heavy losses, but the city stands against at least one SNLF and tank division. An Aussie division and the 7th Armored have been sent to support operations there.

China holds firm, but the Japanese have taken Changsha and Foochow.

Singapore falls in early May after a tenacious British defense behind the river and holds off 3 SNLF divisions for awhile, but the fall of Singapore sends Dutch troops fleeing in panic. The East Indies are next…how long will they be able to hold? Will they get support from their Australian brothers?

The US is gearing up and in the meantime, making their presence known in the Pacific by shuffling in air and bomber divisions to help the Aussies and keep an eye on the IJN.

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July-Aug 1942

Heavy IJN bombardment of the Aussie Kanga Boys at Port Moresby finally softens them up enough for the SNLF to clear them out, but only one IJN flattop is seen. US fighter and bomber units continue to harass it from New Ireland. Great luck, or rather, superb Dutch scouting by a sub that snuck out of DEI and into the open ocean south of Guam picks up two more IJN carriers apparently making their way for the Port Moresby area. The sub is hunted down and sunk, but the invaluable information gave US forces closing in on Port Moresby from the east the confidence to attack as they knew only one carrier was in the immediate vicinity.


The Enterprise and Saratoga, along with a few support ships, had been full steam ahead to assist the Aussies but it became clear they were outnumbered and outgunned. Do we wait for more USN ships to arrive, or assemble with the two local Aussie cruisers to harass the IJN?

US bombers at Rabaul spot a lone BB to the east, separated from the rest of the IJN fleet at Port Moresby. Had I not known about the two other IJN carriers near Guam I wouldn't have decided to commit my own against this single target and with little support, but the rest of the IJN at Port Moresby would require 2 weeks to reach my fleet, giving them time to escape east if the IJN pursued. I prep and send the Enterprise and quickly sink the BB and keep the Saratoga in reserve with CAP support, as their damaged flattop could potentially reach my fleet depending on its aircraft range. Plus, I wasn't sure where his 4th flattop was which could have been around the Gilbert Islands to the north.

South of Rangoon, the Yamato makes an imposing appearance and draws out the UK fleet. The massive ship is listing heavily but manages to escape, damaging 2 BB's, a cruiser and sub in the battle. Weather keeps UK air grounded in the attack.


Chinese are giving up ground slowly but are managing to put up a fight. Two Japanese tank divisions are in the Rangoon area now and Allied commanders are deciding whether to pull back to better defensive positions before they are overrun.


A third Japanese armored division is moved into the Rangoon area! On August 24th General Hutton, in the face of aggressive and concentrated Japanese armored divisions, is ordered to evacuate Rangoon as "expeditiously as possible”. General Stilwell commands the remaining forces in a fall-back defensive line to keep advancing Japanese forces in check while the Brits reform in India. In China, soldiers celebrate their first routing of a Japanese Army. The US is still preparing their continued operations in the Pacific and a US sub runs into BB off of Guam.

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It's been a fun game so far! Next post will detail the results of the first major naval battle of the war, "Battle of the Solomon Sea" and the terrifying results of having 3 Japanese armor divisions pushing through Burma.

I'll get that turn done tonight...and I have tomorrow off so I can follow up with a few more than usual. :)

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Sep. 1942- Jan 1943

Japanese forces have concentrated heavy armor and infantry divisions in Burma. General Stilwell was ordered to make a defensive stand behind the Irrawaddy river while Hutton reorganizes the Commonwealth forces to go on the offensive. A daunting task for Vinegar Joe, who has only a Chinese Army and British SF division to keep the tanks from crossing the river. A British fighter and tac bomber arrive soon after and a US bomber group arrives to help hit the tenuous supply lines around Rangoon.

The Chinese, due to the lack of concentrated Japanese units, are able to hold their own while bringing in new reinforcements. With the recent success in Burma however, Japanese air units have entered the theater and are beginning to change the situation there rapidly.

In late October, the IJN decides to move against Bougainville which has had a US tac fighter there reconnoitering the area and pestering any Japanese ships that got in range. At least 3 CA, 3 BB’s, a destroyer and an SNLF amphib unit are found moving against the island. I know there are at least 2 enemy CV’s in the area, likely 3 and possibly even 4 but I decide to make a move to check their advance anyway.


In the initial engagement I commit 1 cruiser, 1 BB, 1 sub, 1 destroyer and 1 CV. In backup I have 3 more cruisers, 2 BB’s, 1 destroyer and another CV. Plus the tac bomber at Bougainville. All in all, roughly 8-10 IJN ships against 5 initial USN ships, with 7 in reserve to follow up the next turn or two.

I sink 1 cruiser, damage the amphib down to 4 and critically damage another CA and 2 BB’s (all going down to about 4 strength each). This effectively cut the IJN fleet down by four ships. I committed the Enterprise which had some experience from the small skirmish months earlier when it sank a BB, and instead of sinking one ship I decided to cripple two. This is because I’ve committed my fleet earlier than I wanted to (I wasn’t able to bring them all to bear at once), and I’m positive I’m outnumbered with carriers.

If I could make the IJN feel weak I hoped to make them withdraw instead. Taking out 1 ship is good, but making two relatively ineffective is better in this case. I also felt confident due to my superior naval tech and superior air tech at level 2 and 3 respectively. And finally, I had good weather as rain over the Rabaul area prevented any Japanese air cover from protecting their fleet.

Up north at Wake Island I move a small fleet against it as a diversion that I had hoped to have created a couple of turns earlier, prior to the Bougainville engagement with the plan of drawing off some of his ships. This is 1 CA, 1 BB, 1 CV and an amphib unit with another 2 BB’s and DD on their way for support.

In Burma, I commit the British fleet there confident the IJN will not be able to react in proper force. I hit Rangoon and its port, dive bomb an HQ and send a sub past Singapore and towards their shipping lanes, which unfortunately runs into quick trouble. The IJN has been pro-active in patrolling the supply lanes with DD’s.

In Dec. the Battle of the Solomon Sea goes on as the IJN decides to stay and fight. Only 1 enemy CV is engaged, and its aircraft do little damage due to CAP from the nearby Saratoga. They sink a US cruiser, a US DD and a sub. In the counter-attack, I sink another BB, nearly destroy the Akagi (all its aircraft are gone too) and critically damage another CA. I’m worried about where the rest of his carriers are. I am hoping they’ve either been grounded due to weather, or he had moved them somewhere for another operation and is trying to get them back to the fight. I imagine they will strike next turn if the weather holds up. In either case I will be withdrawing from the fight to refit my fleet, happy with the current results.

Dec 12th and the Allied fleet pulls back from the Battle of the Solomon Sea. We lose a US cruiser and an Aussie DD before withdrawing. All in all, a bloody fight for both sides but hopefully a costly one for the Japanese. A lot of aircraft losses on both sides, but no carriers sunk. The IJN kept their CV’s a safe distance away for the most part except for the Akagi. I believe we faced two enemy CV’s, so am completely in the dark where the others are.

Battle of the Solomon Sea Results:


Sunk: 1 Cruiser. 1 Battleship.

Critical: 2 Cruisers. 2 Battleships. 1 Carrier (Akagi)


Sunk: 2 Cruisers. 1 Destroyer. 1 Sub

Minor: 2 BB’s. 1 Cruiser.


Sunk: 1 DD.

Generals Stilwell and Hutton meet again behind the Irrawaddy, as Hutton brings reinforcements. Japanese fighter and tac bomber arrive in the theater, and the concentrated armor forces here are still giving the Allies nightmares, especially since they destroyed the last Chinese army that was with Stilwell.

Thankfully in China proper they are doing OK despite taking losses and have hopes of putting an armor division into the front sometime next year. Meanwhile, the small USN taskforce near Wake Island covers a Marine landing and we take the island, immediately shuttling in Corsairs to help defend our fleet. A concentrated IJN attack here with their other two carriers could cost us dearly.

IJN counters at Wake Island! Their fleet gets tangled in some surprise engagements with both my BB and CA. On the following turn, the Hornet and its support ships sink the Shokaku, the Tone cruiser and a sub in a decisive one-sided battle. Japanese also had two bombers and a DD in the area that engaged our fleet but it wasn’t enough. Overall a fairly equal engagement on paper, but aggressiveness and some bad luck caught the IJN in a snare. I think he felt his bombers and nearby carrier had a view of the area around Wake and went for blood against the Hornet which was docked at the Wake port, but instead ran into the BB and CA for surprise engagements.


Shortly after the Shokaku was sunk though another IJN carrier appeared with some support ships and sank the Hornet, who only had one Corsair wing at Wake for protection as the carriers fighters weren’t prepped in time. The North Carolina BB is also sunk, and both the IJN and USN retreat from the Wake area.


Battle of Wake Island Results:


Sunk: Shokaku carrier. Tone Cruiser. Sub.

Minor: 1 BB


Sunk: North Carolina BB. Hornet carrier.

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Jan-April 1943

1942 has been put behind us. It was mostly a year for the Japanese, with the only real victorious battles waged by the USN. The few weeks of engagements in the Solomon Sea could have gone vastly different had the IJN committed more of its carriers. The US only had two in the area and only one doing CAP duty. A stalemate at the Battle of Wake ends up going to the US as the Japanese lose one of their precious carriers.

With this in mind, the US has big, early plans to continue moving against Japanese positions in the Pacific. Two landing groups were dispatched against Rabaul and Port Moresby, both of which have heavy Japanese infantry and air presence, and also an HQ. It’s clear the Japanese want the US to fight hard here, and we do, the Marines make sure of that!

In March, McArthur lands with an armor and a Corp. to take on the Japanese at Port Moresby. Poor planning however created a terrible landing. McArthurs unit took heavy losses, going down to strength 5, and was destroyed from a combined land/air counterattack. The armor division landed next to Port Moresby and is able to fight the Japanese there, but the Corp. made a landing directly behind the armor and is unable to move forward until Port Moresby is taken.


To the north, General Eichelberger lands with the Marines. An artillery and Marine division, Eichelberger and the reorganized Aussie Kanga Boys make a strong landing at Rabaul. The town itself is only defended by a Zero fighter wing and it is nearly destroyed with the initial assault. Rain in the area prevents USAAF and carrier support. The following week the Marines march into Rabaul and fight the remaining Japanese defenders just south of the city. The failed McArthur landing to the south needs immediate relief, and Eichelberger and his troops are tasked with landing north of Port Moresby to effectively surround Japanese resistance and bring supplies to McArthur’s divisions.

The IJN showed the location of another of their carriers near the coast of Thailand, which sunk a British BB that was shelling Rangoon.

In March, Japanese armor crosses the Irrawaddy and smashes the 254th Indian Tank group forcing the British to pull back again. The Brits are hard pressed to stop the Japanese tanks. The Chinese continue their battle against the Japanese, taking down another division and recapturing the mines. US air force units also arrive with General Chenault, a much needed addition to help put pressure on the Japanese in China.


The Japanese have also taken Timor and launched into Australia itself with a SNLF landing at Darwin and another division marches on Perth, but Australian Home Guard units are quickly sent to the city for defense.

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Glad you're enjoying it. It's late 1943 right now. Lots of lessons learned, and what is nice about Op Z is that despite Japan's sort of "inevitable" ending, there are plenty of strategies on both sides to try. Udet has done a great job playing as Japan so far. Fairly cautious, but bold enough where he has needed to be. It's now getting to the point where momentum has really turned to the US, so 1944 will see how well I am on the offensive and he on the defensive.

He will have a sizeable navy that will be able to put the hurt on me still, so there's no "highway to Tokyo" yet. :)

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Thanks for your kind words, Tim. I have done my best, but I fear, the last two years of the war hear the Allies singing their victory songs. Maybe it will end sooner, but the Japanese will go down fighting. Banzai!


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May-Dec 1943

On May 14th, the Battle of the Coral Sea commences. IJN carrier strikes the BB Idaho, sinking it and also severely damages an Australian Cruiser. An IJN BB and DD are also in the area during the attack. The USN follows up with land-based air attack on the IJN carrier, and the Enterprise loads its tac bombers, finds their target and sinks another flattop! USN CA and BB sink the nearby destroyer, and we find out the enemy BB is the Yamato! Two USN BB’s engage the behemoth and take severe damage, yet the beast survives. The wounded Australian CA group is sent in a desperate attempt to finally sink it, and in a vicious exchange of volleys both ships go down.


Eichelberger’s Marines have cleared an airfield at Rabaul and the nearby 8th Bomber group is flown in to extend USAAF airpower in the region. Marines are on their way to seal the noose around the Japanese holding Port Moresby.



On May 21st, the Chinese go on an all-out offensive against the thin lines of defense the Japanese have. They may eventually get pushed back depending on what reinforcements they bring in, but we’ll capture some cities and rout some divisions in the meantime. In Burma, the impossible armor divisions plague the Brits. All they can hope for is to hold out long enough so the Japanese will pull them out to use elsewhere.


The US loses two more BB’s in the Battle of the Coral Sea as they faced off against the formidable Matsuko BB, which is nearly sunk but escapes. More Marines land at Port Moresby but take a hell of a shelling coming in. The Japanese have brought in major air reinforcements to the island, but the US has also done the same. The Battle for Port Moresby is going to be long and bloody for the Marines, USAAF and USN.

Battle of Coral Sea Results


Sunk: 1 CV, 1 DD, BB Yamato

Critical: BB Matsuko


Sunk: 3 BB’s


1 CA

Meanwhile, a fresh USN task force has organized and launched an attack against the Gilbert Islands, with Marines landing at Wotje. With the IJN battered it’s unlikely able to put sufficient forces against us at the Gilbert Islands and Port Moresby area, and right now the latter is shaping up to be the definitive fight for the Pacific.

IJA forces have made their way through the middle of Australia, making the long forced march through the sweltering heat. So far not a threat but has been sufficient enough to get the Aussies recruiting Home Guard units. They made it as far as Melbourne where an Aussie tank division stopped an SNLF unit and chased them west, but a Japanese para group landed and took Melbourne, cutting off the armor group. A US Corp. arrived in the theater to help, but at this point the Japanese presence in Australia is doomed simply due to the long supply lines and the ongoing success of the USN and Marines to the north. But they won't go down without a fight...

October 8th, 1943. Japanese armored divisions emerge from the tangled jungles of Burma to fight the British, but find allied air waiting to smash them. Japanese forces reach the end of their rope and the Brits finally begin their counterattack. Good weather and reformed divisions under Hutton move east, with bombers, fighters and tac swooping down and leaving burning hulks all along the muddy roads. The Brits have hung on long enough and broke General Terauchi and his armor divisions!


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