Part 42: Philippine Sea: July 20, 1944 (morning)
While initially we were just sending the fleet to protect our landing area in the Marianas, the Japanese apparently have sent almost everything they have at us.
Allied Turn 5 (USA): July 19, 1944
We end up having our own difficulties running into escorts of the enemy bombers.
The Zero is a minor distraction for us now. In short order, we finish off the squadron of interceptors.
The Minneapolis engages the cruisers at close range and comes off with heavy damage after a crippling hit to the magazine.
Instead of going toe-to-toe with the Yamato, we sneak a sub into range. One torpedo scores a hit.
As it's reeling from the attack below the waterline, the Iowa opens up. The exchange is about even, with little actual damage.
Axis Turn 5 (Japan): July 19, 1944
The undamaged Mushashi continues to pick on the little ships.
The Yamato seems intent on greater harm, but as it steams toward our carriers, it runs smack into another sub.
The Hornet takes some damage from the cruiser Kumano.
The southern group has seen little activity so far. Now there are strike craft heading their way.
A few destroyers show up there as well.
Allied Turn 6 (USA): July 19, 1944
In the late afternoon, clouds build up in the sky.
The Yamato finds itself cornered by two hidden ships, and in a great humiliation, is sunk by a torpedo from a submarine.
With the first big battleship gone, the Iowa and the New Orleans pick the Maya as their target.
Our bombers might have a chance to make it through to the enemy carriers, but they're forced to hit the cruisers in order to protect our own flattops.
Since our fighters eliminated most of the Zeros already, the Japanese bombers are largely unescorted and easily taken down.
Axis Turn 6 (Japan): July 19, 1944
The Hornet takes more heavy hits and we're in danger of losing a carrier.
More Japanese bombers get through to our southern group. They're not going after the big targets yet.
Allied Turn 7 (USA): July 19, 1944
As the sky darkens, the Iowa comes up on the rear of the Nagato and the two exchange fire. The Iowa takes a hit to the engine room and slows to a crawl.
The southern group is dealing with the main strike of the enemy planes now.
But we've finally managed to clear the way for air attacks on the enemy carriers.
One of our destroyers ends up colliding with the Junyo as night falls. We did manage to get the Chitose pretty good with the first bombing run.
Axis Turn 7 (Japan): July 19, 1944
The last of the Japanese strikes of the day scores some hits on the Tuscaloosa. Our carriers have survived relatively intact, at least.
The Mushashi blows a hole in the New Orleans and she sinks in 15 minutes. It's another tough loss for our core.
The Iowa as well is being worn down by little by little.
Allied Turn 8 (USA): July 20, 1944
The day dawns clear, and the Hornet is struggling to stay afloat.
The Iowa engages the Mushashi. It scores only minor damage to the superstructure, and takes even more damage in the exchance.
There is a bright spot to the new day. Our strikes take out the Chitose, and the Zuiho has taken several bomb hits. We'd still like to bag something bigger -- these are both smaller carriers.
We have nearly eliminated the remainder of the Japanese attack aircraft.
Axis Turn 8 (Japan): July 20, 1944
Unfortunately we weren't able to knock out all of the bombers, and the Lexington takes a torpedo hit to the fore of the ship.
The Japanese bombers are having a good outing; another destroyer is lost.
The San Francisco is the latest target for the Japanese cruisers.
Allied Turn 9 (USA): July 20, 1944
With the Iowa working at about half effectiveness, the only way to take out the Mushashi is to wear it down with air attacks.
Though the Iowa is eager to do what it can.
As we make our strikes, we realize there are more Japanese carriers in this group than we expected. With luck, we can take out a significant portion of their carrier fleet.
We'll need to get in another strike run today if we hope to sink them.
A goodly number of enemy fighters remain, and the Hellcats are doing their best to shoot them all down.
Axis Turn 9 (Japan): July 20, 1944
Realizing they've mostly failed to eliminate our air attack capabilities, the Japanese are now retreating as fast as they can.
The Mushashi isn't finished yet, however. It shoots off a round of shells at the Iowa that explode all over the deck and the ship is left a burning mess.
Our subs go on the run before the enemy destroyers can knock them out.
Despite the tough odds, we have clearly halted the enemy plans to disrupt our invasion. We also managed to gain a measure of revenge for Pearl Harbor by sinking the Yamato. Yet the Mushashi still remains, and we haven't knocked out any major carriers.
PG Name: M3 GMC How Type: Artillery
Effective Date: 8/42
Value:8 Cost:156 Spot:1 Move:8 MM:Half-Track Trans:Naval Fuel: 57
Init:3 Range:2 SA:11 HA:5 AA:0 NA:0 GD:6 AD:6 CD:1 TT:Hard Ammo:7
The M3 was another attempt to produce something very quickly in response to the possible need for weapons to fight against the Germans. In this case, an old 75mm artillery gun was put on a halftrack troop transport (the M3, distinct from the tank chassis). It was originally intended to be used in an anti-tank role. While it was not entirely ineffectual, the arrival of better options like the M10 made the Army largely abandon their use by 1944.
While that makes it sound like it should have been placed in a different category, they were in fact often used as assault guns in the Pacific by the Marines. They rarely had to deal with Japanese armor, and could also be used for indirect fire. Thus they fit into the 'artillery' category acceptably.
In-game analysis: While fast, this unit is still a very weak gun. Still, it can be put almost anywhere you need it. Luckily a stronger towed gun shows up not long afterward. This one can hop around the battlefield to defend the troops that have just taken new ground. I wouldn't want to use it when pressing an assault.
Sims-class Destroyer (12 built)
PG Name: Somers Type:Destroyer
Effective Date: 3/37
Value:11 Cost:132 Spot:1 Move:7 MM:Coastal Fuel: 144
Init:3 Range:1 SA:3 HA:6 AA: NA:8 DA:8 GD:14 AD:5 TD:16 TT:N/A Ammo:40
Special: Sonar, Radar
These were the last American destroyers built prior to the war, but also the first to be built under the updated London Naval Treaty of 1936, which allowed for larger destroyers. These took advantage of that and were able to fight with the wartime fleet. All but one made it to the Pacific once the war with Japan broke out, and they were used in various roles, most commonly as carrier escorts.
In-game Analysis: The Sims is really only good for anti-sub warfare, but it is pretty good at that. I can't quite shake the feeling that you're spending more for features you don't need, like all that extra fuel capacity.
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
PG Name: USMC SB2C HellDiver / SB2C HellDiver Type: Tac Bomber
Effective Date: 7/42 / 12/43
Value:25 Cost:300 Spot:3 Move:9/8 MM:Air Fuel: 76
Init:3 SA:8 HA:8 AA: NA:17 GD:10 AD:16 TT:No/Naval Ammo:4
The SB2C was intended to replace the Dauntless early on in the war, but some difficulty in meeting the requirements (a small profile for carrier transport, internal bomb stores, and, initially, a turret) caused it to be delayed until around 1943. At first crews didn't like it, as the handling was considered poor; later versions with a better engine and dive brakes seemed to mend that reputation. What could not be denied was that it was even more deadly than the SBD, since it had two 20mm cannons in the front and could carry a greater bomb load. The Helldiver was responsible for sinking more enemy tonnage than any other plane in the war.
In-game Analysis: Solid air defense and strong offensive power make this a dive bomber par excellence. There finally isn't anything new in the works when this appears, which is fine, because there isn't as good a bomber to be found at this price. My only wish is the same thing I'd want for all the USN bombers -- a larger ammo capacity.