Raid on Rabaul; Great War at Sea: Pacific Crossroads Operational Scenario 2; April 1919
Dateline: Washington D.C. April 2 – The US Secretary of the Navy announced today that the US Asiatic Fleet has been ordered to “oppose any and all Japanese expansion in the South Pacific.” Asked if this means war, he answered, “Only if the Japanese want it. If they do, we are read to give them a licking!” Meanwhile, according to reliable London observers, the US Secretary of State visited with the British Foreign Minister yesterday reportedly to ask the British to deny the use of their Australian ports to Japanese warships. Later in the day, the Japanese Naval Attache was seen leaving Whitehall and when asked by reporters what had transpired he quipped, “our Anglo-Japanese Alliance is as strong as ever.”
Dateline: Rabaul; April 3 – At least four Japanese ships remain in harbor here in Rabaul. Though there are signs of frenzied preparations for getting ready for sea, local officials claim to have received no direction from London on whether the Japanese ships will be allowed to stay or forced to leave. There are rumor abound that His Majesty’s Government will soon impose a requirement that all cables leaving Rabaul be reviewed by a government official.
SECRET FROM COMMANDER ASIATIC FLEET STOP 4 APRIL ADMIRAL YORK DEPARTED GUAM WITH FLAG INTREPID AND BONHOMME RICHARD THIS AM STOP
Dateline: Rabaul; April 6 – Local fishermen report that part of the Japanese fleet in Rabaul left under the cover of darkness last night. This reporter can tell you that at least -CENSORED- ships of the -CENSORED- type remain in harbor this morning.
To: His Imperial Majesty from His Loyal Servant Commanding Rabaul Detachment, April 6. In response to reports of American ships soon to arrive in our area I have dispatched the gunboats Yodo and Mogami to perform guardship duty in the straits leading to Rabaul.
SECRET FROM GUAM APRIL 6 STOP ASIATIC SCOUTING FORCE CONSISTING OF SCOUT CRUISERS MANILA DAVAO AND CEBU WITH 12X DESTROYERS UNDERWAY TO CLEAR PATH FOR YORK STOP
Dateline: Rabaul; April 7 – Rumors have reached this reporter about a large American fleet that has taken on coal near islands to the northwest of New Britain. At the same time, at least -CENSORED- Japanese ships remain in harbor.
SECRET FROM ADMIRAL YORK APRIL 7 STOP RENDEVOUZ WITH NEPTUNE COMPLETE STOP ALL COAL ABOARD IN RECORD TIME STOP ON WITH THE HUNT STOP
To His Imperial Majesty from His Loyal Servant Commanding Truk Detachment April 7. Truk scouting force of scout cruisers Chikuna, Yahagi, and Hirado leaving for sea late tonight to hunt for large American fleet that rumors have leaving Guam earlier today. Unsure of American fleet composition though suspect it is not the battlecruisers that have not been seen for days.
FLASH FLASH Dateline: Rabaul, April 8 – Destruction rained down on the harbor at Rabaul early this morning. There are reports of many killed. There are reports that London is vigorously protesting this wanton act of violence that had to have been the work of the dastardly Admiral York of the American pirate fleet.
To His Imperial Majesty from His Loyal Servant Commanding the Rabaul Detachment April 8. The American Fleet attacked our ships while in harbor this morning. Your battleships Satsuma and Aki sustained no damage. In light of protests from local officials who worry that the presence of your battleships invite further attack, and in the best tactical interests of the fleet, I have detailed them off for coastal defense duty.
FLASH FLASH Dateline: Rabaul April 8 – In yet another act of brazen disregard for innocent human life, the Pirate of the Bismarck Sea, Admiral York, shelled yet another defenseless outpost of the British Empire. The late morning attack on the sleepy little port city of Kavieng left it burning under the guns of the American Fleet.
To His Imperial Majesty from His Loyal Servant Commanding the Truk Detachment April 8. Battlecruisers Yoshun and Teibo put to sea this late today. We will hunt this so-called Pirate York and show him the true meaning of Japanese naval might.
SECRET FROM YORK STOP RETURNED GUAM LATE APRIL 11 WITH NO DAMAGE STOP NEVER SAW SINGLE JAPANESE WARSHIP STOP READY FOR NEXT MISSION STOP
Americans started game with Raiding Fleet (York embarked in Intrepid with Bonhomme Richard) sailing almost due south from Guam while avoiding Japanese scout fleet (Intercept Mission) out of Truk. Met collier Neptune in Manus Islands (Y39) and re-coaled. Meanwhile, Japanese gunboats from Rabaul departed port and atempted to set picket line along approaches to Rabaul. While York ran in to Rabaul Asiatic Scouting Fleet left Guam with Intercept Mission headed towards Truk. Japanese scout fleet had to return to port and refuel before coming out to face the American fleet rushing towards Truk. York used cover of night to slip through Japanese picket lines and then bombarded Rabaul and Kavieng on consecutive turns. Japanese battleships in Rabaul put to sea for coastal defense, acknowledging they were too slow to pursue battlecruisers. Following bombardment Japanese battlecruisers in Truk set to sea and with scouting force try to find American raiding fleet while US scout fleet remains in their rear. Search was unsuccessful.
The ability for a raiding fleet to hide is very powerful. Two turns after bombarding Kavieng the US fleet literally “disappeared” and was able to avoid the intercepting Japanese fleets which had to be on the mapboard.
There was no ship-to-ship combat in this game. The US player won with 15 VP (10 for bombarding Rabaul and 5 for bombarding Kavieng).