LOL Tell me about it. It is much more a thinking man's game than the standard mindless run-and-gunner for sure.
Okay, I downed the Houston (around my 18th or 19th attempt! Sheesh!). I saved my destroyers until the end, then used them as a screen to distract the Houston's guns (and confound it's helmsman with torpedoes) as I hammered it with my cruiser's main batteries. The next mission is tricky but I know what I have to do: Avoid the CLs by skirting the islands until I can make contact with the seaplane, then launch a close range strike on the cruiser using as many torpedoes as possible (I almost had it on my second attempt).