|Combined Guadalcanal Campaign Pt. 8|
|The Second Battle of Guadalcanal|
|by Patrick Graham|
Dissatisfied with the inability of the first action around Guadalcanal on November 13th to produce decisive results, Admiral Abe was recalled and a new force to escort the transports was cobbled together under the command of Admiral Kondo. Key to this escort was a bombardment of Henderson Field. Its presence had been the greatest difficulty for Japanese operations in the area. Planes launched from there had repeatedly foiled other landing attempts and preyed on isolated Japanese ships. Heavy cruisers and a Kongo class battlecruiser would enter Iron Bottom sound and pound the airfield into submission. Once neutralized, the transports waiting behind would come in and land during the day to unload their cargo and the soldiers on board without fear of reprisal.
In response to the possibility of another sortie from the Japanese, the Americans also hastily assembled a surface force using whatever ships that had not been already destroyed in the heavy fighting the prefigured the Guadalcanal Campaign. Admiral Lee was put in charge of Task Force 64, consisting of two battleships including the brand new USS Washington and four destroyers. All of these ships were assembled from disparate forces and had no experience working together. A lack of fuel prevented more ships from being added to the force. Wasting no time, the force positioned itself at Iron Bottom Sound and waited.
As Admiral Kondo approached Savo Island he split his forces into four groups with the heaviest capital ships in the rear, preserved for bombardment. The force was quickly picked up on radar at 22:55 hours and the American force closed to attack. Five minutes later, the Japanese force spotted the American ships and closed for battle as well.
While the Japanese successfully damaged or destroyed most of the American force, they could not account for the USS Washington which had moved to the north in order to lure away the screening force protecting the convoys. Having lost many ships themselves, including the Kirishima which was irreparably damaged in the duel with the Washington, the screen lacked the integrity to protect the transports.
Unable to wait any longer, they set out on November 15th, however it was not long before they came under fierce aerial attack from Henderson field and the USS Enterprise. The transports game aground on Guadalcanal and the surviving occupants quickly began unloading what they could. The arrival of the USS Meade ended any unloading operations as it finished off the transports. Three thousand soldiers made it on land, but once again they lacked equipment and provisions. These forces were insufficient to regain control of the offensive on the island. Thereafter, Japanese force could only fight a determined but doomed battle for survival. Weight of American arms would bear out an eventual victory on February 9th, 1943 as the last Japanese soldiers on the island slipped away.
The success on Guadalcanal signaled the continuation of a broader campaign to retake the entire Solomon Islands and strike deeper into the Pacific Empire forged by Imperial Japan. Japanese bases at Rabaul and New Britain were now at a much closer range, and the planes stationed at Henderson Field could assist in a number of operations aimed at reducing Japanese presence in the area. Moreover, the pressure placed on Australia herself was finally relieved. While the Japanese had enjoyed many tactical successes during the campaign, the losses she sustained in ships, aircraft and veteran pilots were irredeemable. Japan simply lacked the capacity of the United States to make up such losses. Momentum in the war was firmly in Allied hands and would remain so for the remainder of the war. While Guadalcanal proved to be a telling defeat for the Japanese, two more years of war and thousands more Allied lives would have to be sacrificed be Imperial Japan was finally defeated.Scenario Description: During the night of November 14th, a Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Kondo makes a last ditch attempt to clear away American ships from Iron Bottom Sound at Guadalcanal in order to land a force at Guadalcanal and bombard the American forces there as well.
Maps: Use Battle Map #6 for this scenario.
Task Force 64 under Admiral Lee
USS Samuel B. Roberts x 2
USS Fletcher x 2
USS Washington x 1
USS Tennessee x 1
Bombardment Force under Admiral Kondo
Myoko x 2
Jintsu x 2
Kongo x 1
Yukikaze x 4
American forces deploy first in the Player Two Deployment Area for this map configuration.
Japanese forces deploy second in the Player One Deployment Area for this map configuration.
Victory Conditions: Victory is determined normally with extra points being awarded for the following:
- +15 points for the Allies for each Myoko or Kongo Unit destroyed.
Campaign Instructions: If playing this scenario as part of the Guadalcanal Campaign. In the instance of a Japanese win, play scenario Guadalcanal 2-A next. In the instance of an American win, play scenario Guadalcanal 2-B next.
All ships may waive round restrictions for the use of their ‘Night-Fighting’ SA.
Electrical problems: Once per game, before the USS South Dakota (represented by the USS Tennessee) fires during the Surface Attack Phase, the Axis player may declare a ‘short-out’. All gunnery attacks made by this unit have a -2 penalty until the end of this turn.
The Combined Guadacanal Campaign