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BoSol - Battle of the Solomon Islands

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BoSol - Battle of the Solomon Islands

 

Hi all,

 

Even though we have the upcoming Normandy expansion to keep us entertained for the foreseeable future, I would like to explore how a Solomons campaign could work if/when the game goes to the PTO. It is an idea that has been suggested a number of times so I figured it should be explained properly. Needless to say this all depends on the devs having the resources to get it done, especially in terms of the Japanese aircraft.

 

I'm a SP player myself but I think this could work for the online guys as well. Just to be clear, I see this campaign sitting amongst other possible PTO/CBI expansions e.g. Midway.

 

I envision the campaign running from 1 July 1943 with Operation Toenails (the US invasion for the Georgia Islands group) having just kicked off and ending early November 1943 with the simultaneous Operations Cherryblossom (US landings at Empress Augusta Bay), Goodtime (US/NZ invasion of the Treasury Islands) and Blissful (US raid on Choiseul). From a historical point of view this end date may be a bit too late as the Japanese airfields at Kahili/Kara and Balalle were more or less knocked out by then, however I don't feel like it would be too much of a stretch to have them still functioning for the sake of game play.

 

I know some players would prefer an expansion covering the Guadalcanal campaign but the distances between the Japanese airfields and Henderson field are far too great for the game to handle... unless if the devs are prepared to scale down the map but I haven't heard of them giving any indication that they'd consider doing it, so I'm sticking with what can fit in a full scale map.

 

Please note that when I use the word "campaign" I am referring to the in-game campaign mode, unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Mission Types

 

Carriers weren't really part of this campaign so the flying would all be from land bases, but apart from that it will have everything one could want... both sides have fighter sweeps, bomber intercepts, ground pounding, level bombing, anti-shipping and even some night fighting if you want it. If, one day, the game is able to handle heavy bombers then B-17s and B-24s would also fit.

 

 

The Map

 

The orange border represents the extent of the BoBP map (approx 447x357km), stretching from the Russell Islands in the south-east to about half way up Bougainville Island in the north-west. Given that this map would contain no major population centers I guess the map limits could be pushed out some more (preferably to the north and west) but by how much I don't know.

 

At the start of the campaign the Allies would hold the Russell Islands while in the New Georgia Islands their forces have landed on Rendova and have taken Segi Point, while the rest are under Japanese control. As the campaign progresses the Allies work their way through the New Georgia Islands before taking Vella Levalla, then the Treasury Islands and establishing a beach-head at Empress Augusta Bay on the west coast of Bougainville. Choiseul, Santa Isabel and the Shortland Islands remained in Japanese hands until the end of the war.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.4a95a1ae5eca85ed2535e8baf2f3022d.jpeg

 

 

Airfields

 

It is worth noting that the Japanese didn't permanently base air units on their central Solomon airfields but rather staged flights through them from their bases up in Rabaul, Buka and Bougainville. Likewise the Allies did much the same. However that shouldn't have an impact on how it would work in game, especially given that the devs have indicated with the proposed BoN map that they're ok with aircraft flying out of bases they weren't historically based at. I have not included any seaplane bases.

 

Russell Islands

 

The two airfields of Renard and Sunlight would be available for the Allies for the entire campaign.

 

New Georgia Islands

 

Segi: Construction began soon after the US landed on the east coast of New Georgia island, the airfield being available for the Allies from 10 July.

 

Munda: Used by the Japanese from the start of the campaign until early August when it was taken by US ground forces. Used the Allies from mid August onwards.

 

Vila: Used by the Japanese as a satellite to Munda, flights from there seem to have ended mid August with the field being abandoned by September although they didn't fully evacuate Kolombangara island until early October. Not used by the Allies.

 

Vella Levalla

 

After the US invasion of the island, construction began on the Barakoma airfield with the first official landing on 24 September.

 

Bougainville (incl. the Shortland Islands)

 

Balalle: On an island that's part of the Shortland group off the southern coast of Bougainville, this airfield would be in Japanese control for the entire campaign.

 

Kahili: Located in southern Bougainville, this large airfield would also be Japanese for the entire campaign.

 

Kara: A satellite field to Kahili, this would be used by the Japanese from September till the end of the campaign.

 

Torokina and Piva (x2): Constructed inside the Allied beach-head, these would not be available during the campaign as they were not ready until December and the following January. However it might pay to include them for use in on-line play.

 

Kieta: A small pre-war civilian strip on the east coast, it was never used by the Japanese but it might be usable for single engine aircraft in on-line play. In Japanese hands for the entire campaign.

 

 

Aircraft

 

No doubt many will see my aircraft list and instantly wonder why such iconic aircraft like the F4F Wildcat and D3A 'Val' are missing, or why there are no float-planes/flying-boats.

 

In regards to the former I have not included them exactly because, as I said earlier, I see this expansion sitting alongside other potential PTO/CBI modules like Midway, and those iconic carrier aircraft would be needed for those releases but could then later be added to BoSol.

 

Concerning the later I feel they'd require a heck of a lot of work by the devs for such a niche set of aircraft, while at the same time I believe there would be no Allied seaplane bases within the map limits for most, if not all, of the campaign (sfaik)... also there's disparity between the Catalina and the plethora of single engine Japanese types.

 

Note that the 'premium' aircraft were also operated by units flying the 'standard' aircraft so they might not require new unit histories and missions for the campaign play. Also both the G4M and the B-26 could carry torpedoes.

 

IJNAF/IJAAF

 

Ki-43-I 'Oscar' fighter
A6M3 model 33 'Hamp' fighter
Ki-48 'Lily' light bomber
G4M1 model 11 'Betty' bomber

 

Premium: A6M3 model 22 fighter, an improved version of model 33.

 

- I'm the first to admit I know very little about Japanese aircraft however I went with A6M3 series as they were present and, sfaik, the carrier groups were using the A6M2 model 21.
- I added the Ki-48 because it gives the Japanese some more ground attack options while the US can use their fighters as effective fighter-bombers.
- I considered listing the Ki-21-IIb 'Sally' instead of the 'Betty' but it may be of better use in another expansion such as Burma.

 

USAAF/USN/USMC

 

P-39N-2 Airocobra fighter
P-40M-5 Warhawk fighter
F4U-1 Corsair fighter
B-26B Marauder medium bomber

 

Premium: P-38G-10 Lightning, a fighter with good range and speed but lacking some features available on the J-10 already in-game, such as boosted ailerons and dive-recovery flaps.

 

- The P-39N-2 was also used by the VVS so could perhaps fit in one of the existing Eastern Front modules? It differs from the existing L-1 in having a different prop and reduction gear ratio.
- The P-40M-5 was used by both the USAAF and RNZAF in the Solomons.
- The F4U-1 with the blown canopy would would fit but the Solomons was also the only theater where the 'birdcage' canopy was used on operations, perhaps it could be an option in the mods list.
- The B-26 is coming as an a.i. aircraft in BoN, however if it were made flyable that would give Allied bomber pilots something to play with in BoSol as well as BoN and BoBP.
- Replacing the B-26B with the B-25C Mitchell is also an option. As I understand it the C is just like the D already in game but was made in different factory.
- The a.i. C-47 coming with the BoN module would fit the Solomons campaign as well.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.6306ed0a6ef3549bc58a1b7195ee3c83.jpeg

image.jpeg.a02c0c30a1abb8e5d6a5d6ea2ba250d1.jpeg

image.thumb.jpeg.427c9d6cbfc45000dc7f8005db4850b3.jpeg

 

Ships

 

The upcoming BoN module might give us some US ships that could be used in the Solomons, but if not then Cruisers and Destroyers will be needed for both sides along with other types such as landing craft, barges and MTBs.

 

 

Some Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Georgia_campaign#Capture_of_the_Russells
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Treasury_Islands
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vella_Lavella_(land)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landings_at_Cape_Torokina

 

Cheers,

 

HB

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Spent 9 months living in the Solomons Islands from Guadalcanal up to Shortland Island. The amount of WW2 material on these islands is amazing with Japanese transport ships at snorkel depth, Japanese sea planes 10 metres off the shore up near Shortland, not to mention all the material in Iron Bottom sound and on the Islands itself.  This would be a fantastic arena and it has my vote!

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The JAAF flew very few missions in the Solomons. I think there was a single mission by Ki-43-I and Ki-48 to Guadalcanal in January 1943.

 

My suggestion would be:

A6M3 model 22

A6M3 model 33

Aichi D3A2 Model 22

G4M1 model 11

 

As collector aircraft I prefer a seaplane:

A6M2-N, F1M2 or E13A1

 
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9 hours ago, Juri_JS said:

The JAAF flew very few missions in the Solomons. I think there was a single mission by Ki-43-I and Ki-48 to Guadalcanal in January 1943.

 

My suggestion would be:

A6M3 model 22

A6M3 model 33

Aichi D3A2 Model 22

G4M1 model 11

 

As collector aircraft I prefer a seaplane:

A6M2-N, F1M2 or E13A1

 

Interesting, I stand corrected on the Oscar and Lily. If the D3A2 is included I assume the D3A1 would still be viable for inclusion in other expansions? If so then maybe, to balance it out, the P-39 could be replaced with the SBD-4 while leaving the -3 and -5 available for other expansions.

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Posted (edited)

One nice detail about these late model P-40 and P-39 was that they equipped the 80 series Allison that had 5 minutes at 57" for around 1400 HP at sea level if i'm not mistaken.

P-40M was also used by the Soviets, both the VVS and PVO, for example here this Finnish captured P-40M, you can notice it's an M because of the punctured plate in front of the exhaust stack (something only the M and N P-40s had, the non-cutback rear cockpit rules out an N variant).

kh51photos.jpg

Edited by -=PHX=-SuperEtendard
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Don't forget New Guinea. Read "Race of Aces"

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Yes, this is IJN territory.  I see no problem with the northwest corner of your map, but the southeast corner would absolutely require the inclusion of Guadalcanal, Savo and Neegela Islands.  Without those I could not see a way to me purchasing such a South Pacific Module to IL2: Great Battles.

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11 minutes ago, CDRSEABEE said:

Don't forget New Guinea. Read "Race of Aces"

 

Great read. Almost finished 👍

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Posted (edited)

Lose the Oscar and FFS you need Guadalcanal. That’s a 6 month campaign right there and the turning point in the war no less.

 

You need the Japanese  “R Area Air Force” as well.

In other words, float plane bases and float planes. At the very least you need a float Zeke. “Rufe”

 

Also need the PBY.

 

I’ve always been a proponent of the Solomons. It covers early through mid-war.

Cactus Air Force and the daily, brutal fighting over Guadalcanal, then move up the slot for some Blacksheep action.

 

However, we’d need the float planes.

Solomons is far and away the best/most bang for the buck PTO option even as a first release. No small part of that is that you can’t have a carrier based “career” if you want more than a few days worth of missions.

 

Start with the Slot map, add carriers later.

 

I suggest Guadalcanal by Richard B. Frank. You’ll never leave that island off of a map proposal again..:you’re welcome. ;)

 

 

Edited by Gambit21

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On 7/31/2020 at 12:00 AM, CDRSEABEE said:

Don't forget New Guinea. Read "Race of Aces"

I don't know enough about the New Guinea campaign to make a detailed 'suggestion' thread for it, if you or anyone else would do so that'd be cool. 👍
 

On 8/6/2020 at 9:05 AM, Gambit21 said:

Lose the Oscar and FFS you need Guadalcanal. That’s a 6 month campaign right there and the turning point in the war no less.

 

You need the Japanese  “R Area Air Force” as well.

In other words, float plane bases and float planes. At the very least you need a float Zeke. “Rufe”

 

Also need the PBY.

 

I’ve always been a proponent of the Solomons. It covers early through mid-war.

Cactus Air Force and the daily, brutal fighting over Guadalcanal, then move up the slot for some Blacksheep action.

 

However, we’d need the float planes.

Solomons is far and away the best/most bang for the buck PTO option even as a first release. No small part of that is that you can’t have a carrier based “career” if you want more than a few days worth of missions.

 

Start with the Slot map, add carriers later.

 

I suggest Guadalcanal by Richard B. Frank. You’ll never leave that island off of a map proposal again..:you’re welcome. ;)

 

Starting off a suggestion/counter proposal by swearing at me is counter productive.

I thought I made it clear in my proposal that I left Guadalcanal out not because I'm not interested but because I don't think it's plausible as the game currently works. The map below shows why:
- the orange box is my proposed map and is the same size as the BoBP map so we know the devs can make it that size.

- the green box is how big the map would need to be in order to do what you're proposing and to do it historical justice, and as you can see that's a truly massive increase in size. Yes, I suspect the devs could increase my suggested map size due to the lack of towns/cities increasing map performance, but by that amount? It'd be a miracle if they could.
But say they perform a miracle, then IJ players are faced with the prospect of flights which are many hours long even with the use of autopilot and the timescale sped up. Only later in the campaign would they have Kahili, Balalle and Munda to operate of. The Allies are faced with the same when going up the Slot. The MP crowd will also be faced with some lengthy flight times.

- the yellow box is if we cut the map down to the smallest size possible for the start of a Guadalcanal campaign by having all IJ land based aircraft flying out of Buka rather than Rabaul. More reasonable but still a sizeable increase in the map area.

image.thumb.jpeg.57cbdc4bda18e38afbbfeae5f73aebf2.jpeg

So what full aircraft list would you propose? Should we assume from your comments about CVs that the likes of the F4F and B5N should be included from the get go in BoSol? If so then what carrier aircraft would the devs introduce if they "add carriers later"? We all have our own tastes in what we like to fly but if I'm honest the idea of flying a handicapped Zero (the Rufe) or a very slow, lumbering Catalina leaves me unmoved.

I would love to see the devs create a map(s) and campaign such as you've suggested but I went with what I suggested in my first post because it's do-able.

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