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-   -   War in the Pacific AAR Thread - ML vs JFranzen (https://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?t=249520)

Molon Labe 06-04-2021 08:35 AM

He might be doing it again. Check this out.

https://i.ibb.co/JHRtDVg/1941-Dec-11-Sigint.jpg

That's a whole lot less crazy than Johnston. Committing a regiment plus to that is questionable when he's trying to take Singapore and Manila and push quickly into Sumatra and Java, and is apparently going hard into the Bismark Sea area with more forces than was done historically. EDIT: In addition to the 16th Regiment, the inclusion of elements of the 4th Regiment imply he's ordered the bulk of the 2nd Division to plan for Midway.

As for holding Java, I don't think it's a realistic goal. The balance of forces is too extreme, I'd have to wipe out entire divisions in their boats while getting my own troop convoys across a sub-infested ocean unmolested. When I sink transports, I'm not saving Java or Sumatra, I'm saving some little island that he might otherwise take after he secures the oil-rich areas.

Threadfin 06-04-2021 09:30 AM

I had briefly forgotten this is a head to head, and that a crafty human player could indeed use deception in this way. Yeah, Midway is more realistic, but it's still a huge gamble. Having a human opponent makes it all much more interesting.

How many flattops do you still have afloat, and in ready status? It would seem that is a huge key to your early game, putting these limited assets in the right place to do the most good. No "AF is low on fresh water" type stuff to sniff out Japanese intentions. Or is there?

Molon Labe 06-04-2021 09:44 AM

I have the Lexington, Saratoga, and Enterprise in theatre now, and all more or less operational. Saratoga's escorts are a little busy for now, so she's not deploying yet. Lexington and Saratoga still have Buffalos on board instead of Wildcats, that will need to change before I send them out. Yorktown should arrive around 30 December. 3 months for Hornet.

Beyond doing what he's going and telling units to plan for places they have no intention of going to, I don't think I can send fake intel to him.

Threadfin 06-04-2021 09:48 AM

Thanks. I don't want to sink you with questions, but I have one more related to the last. How does the game handle new construction? Do you have to spend points and choose what is built? Or is it historical and the same ships roll out on the same schedule as they did historically?

Molon Labe 06-04-2021 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Threadfin (Post 2751091)
Thanks. I don't want to sink you with questions, but I have one more related to the last. How does the game handle new construction? Do you have to spend points and choose what is built? Or is it historical and the same ships roll out on the same schedule as they did historically?

Depends on the side you play for. For the Allies, ships just "arrive" on the historical dates, +/- some variability based on game settings. For Japan, the ships come from shipyards. To produce a ship by its historical date, a certain number of "naval points" need to be spent on that ship each day until its complete. To accelerate production, the rate of expenditure can be increased. Production can also be suspended. To produce naval points, they need to first produce Heavy Industry points. Heavy Industry points are produced by factories, which need to be fed Fuel and Resources. Heavy Industry is also needed for aircraft, vehicle, and weapons production, so there is a tradeoff.

Here's a diagram of Japan's economy (Naval Yard is what produces the naval points, so you can follow it backward to its inputs):
https://i.ibb.co/N9JT7y7/Japan-Economy.jpg

Threadfin 06-04-2021 10:33 AM

Sounds similar to how it works in WitE,where the German commander has all historical arrivals and departures, where the Russian commander can build whatever the hell he wants. It's never made sense to me why the devs would not have each side using the same rules, and it is the thing I dislike most about that game.


Good luck commander, and may none of your S-Boats run aground :)

Molon Labe 06-05-2021 10:49 AM

10 Decebmer 1941

Allies roll the dice on risky counter attacks and hit the INJ where it hurts!

Celebes Sea
https://i.ibb.co/ZLk5xzz/1941-Dec-10-Celebes-Sea.jpg
I don't usually start here but I don't want to bury the lede. My most aggressive move was an interdiction of the forces about to land in Manado. A surface task force of 5DD led by the light cruiser Marblehead sprinted south from Jolo, arriving in Manado right before sunrise and catching the phibs by surprise. They were defended only by the 2 Japanese seaplane carriers and a bunch of PBs. My skimmers sank the CS Chitose outright, along with 2PBs. The CS Mizuho was shelled and hit with a torpedo, and 2 more PBs were damaged. The transports, though, weren't hit that hard. An AP was left a burning wreck along with 2 tankers badly damaged. But the enemy turned east to run, and my boys called it a day at that point and got the hell out of there before they could get hit with an air strike.

Those CVLs apparently switched planes--the Vals did fly, but from the direction of the Ryujo, and as hoped they went after some evacuating AKs instead of my SCTF. Manado is still in my hands for now, but I'm not under any delusion that I can hold it, I've just made him pay a little bit for sending his CVL deep.

The B-17 strike I ordered three days ago finally happened: the port in Babeldoab was hit, destroying a minesweeper. Looks like everyone already left!

The destroyers Hatsuharu and Wakaba were spotted moving north up the Makasar Strait. These were the ships left undamaged from the first Java Sea engagement and attacked the second day. I presume he is reorganizing his CVL task forces and these are becoming escorts. That I've spotted these two again but not other two probably means the other two sank.

Malaya and West Java Sea
https://i.ibb.co/9VFWfwj/1941-Dec-10-Malaya.jpg
My gambit here was to throw Force Z into the mix for the first time. The plan was to go East, out of range of the Vietnam-based Betties, and try to get in position to smash the ARG in Kuching overnight. This didn't go so well. The enemy ARG was very efficient and had left before Force Z arrived. My ships have been detected, and most concerning, it appears a massive number of bombers have been rebased from Vietnam to Kota Baru. It's a safe bet that if they don't have an AirHQ there yet, they will within a day or two. I expect they will attempt an air strike tomorrow as they return to Singapore. I'll have Buffalos protecting them, but I have a lot more aircraft down for repairs right now than I have flying. The ground forces in Kuching seized the base there as Force Z turned around.

As expected, my destroyer group didn't arrive yet in the Batavia area, so the submarine turkey shoot continued. 4 Merchies were hit, 3 are already on the bottom. Just outside Singapore, another Japanese sub captain took the sage advice "be more aggressive" to heart and put a heavyweight torpedo into a little motor launch patrolling outside the harbor. Maybe some day we'll recover that wreck from orbit. Another Japanese sub attempted to penetrate Singapore harbor and hit a defensive mine--potentially the first first submarine loss of the war (excluding midgets). I'm not sure if the presence of 2 subs at Singapore means he's trying to break out into the Indian Ocean or if he just got tired of seeing Force Z sitting there under air cover.

Predictably, the follow-up troop/supply convoys off the Indochina coast turned south to avoid the Dutch subs they detected yesterday. I had ordered the subs to move south, anticipating this reaction. The KXVII hit 2 troop-carrying ships in rapid succession, one of which was hit 3 times so we can safety assume it sank. Wouldn't it be nice if THAT was the AirHQ for Kota Baru?

The air war over Malaya took an interesting turn as Zero-escorted Betties started attacking ground forces just south of Georgetown. This is actually a really good sign--these are probably the guys the rebased to Kota Baru, and we know that Force Z was spotted and in range. They probably didn't have their torpedoes yet. The fight in the skies was otherwise remarkable for the lack of casualties. I lost 4 Buffalo to a sweep over Singapore, but our fighters otherwise stalemated today. My medium bombers attempted attacks on phibs in Kota Baru and the Mersing covering force but missed. My torpedo bombers sortied but failed to locate their targets.


Luzon
My third aggressive play of the day was a PT boat raid on the phibs in San Fernando. The PTs were escapees from Hong Kong that slipped past their surface fleet and refueled on the Philippine coast. The fleet they met was massive--32 merchies and 8 small escorts (PC, TB, CM, PB). The results were poor; they torpedoed one AK while getting 2 of the PTs blown away. There were at least two collisions as the gators tried to get underway in the chaos. That was followed up with a 10x B-17 raid on the landing area, which caused significant disruption but not enough to tip the scales on the ground. By day's end their soldiers had pushed mine out, resulting in the first mass-casualty ground action--over 2600 Philippine soldiers were lost.

In the air, the raids against Clark/Manila paused. My read on it is they're giving their mechanics time to catch up--partly because a lot of the Zeroes flew north instead...

China
The American Volunteer Group made their debut defending against a sweep of Zeroes in Changsha, and boy did they blow it. We lost 5 AVG P-40s with nothing to show for it. Compounding this, the same squadron had been ordered to escort medium bombers to raid Ichang, but failed to link up. Fortunately, the Nates waiting for the bombers couldn't bring any down with their pitiful .30-cals. Another AVG squadron swept Canton (where they are bombing Hong Kong from), downing three Nates.

Ground forces began their assault on Hong Kong. Japanese engineers immediately demolished fortifications--Hong Kong isn't going to last long, could fall as early as tomorrow.

Elsewhere
-The Enterprise CVBG encountered an armed merchant cruiser at night near Christmas Island. It was a little hairy for a moment as the surprised warships traded shots, but the Big E disengaged and let Lexington send 9 SBDs after it in the daytime. 4 of them hit, I assume the burning ship won't survive the 3,000 mile trip to Truk.
-IJN Marines finally assaulted Wake. Wake's coastal batteries hit two of the merchant cruisers unloading troops. They made a hasty assault on my Marines, but it was a disorganized mess. We took out half their force--about 700 men--without taking a casualty.
-That minesweeper that left Guam ran into another convoy, just 4 AKs this time. It's a safe bet that this means at least 3 IJN task forces are either in or near the Bismark Sea.
-US fleet boats continue to suck. My subs attempted a total of 6 torpedo attacks around Luzon, Marcus, and near French Frigate Shoal (western Hawaii, targeting KB's replenishment group)
-Japanese marines landed in Brunei and Miri. We don't have enough troops to offer meaningful resistance.

Molon Labe 06-05-2021 03:58 PM

11 December 1941

A good day for British air forces

Malaya and West Java Sea
My ASW group arrived off Batavia but failed to find the subs, which happily attacked more shipping in the area. A group of HDMLs that had moved to Kuantan from Georgetown drew a Nell airstrike--one was blown away, but while the Nells were playing in Kuantan, Force Z returned to Singapore unmolested. IJAAF light bombers pounded Georgetown. I have far more damaged, grounded planes there than airworthy, and the facilities are taking a beating. I'm worried those planes are going to be trapped there when their armies come.

Then came the good part--the torpedo bombers at Kuala Lumpur finally got into the fight with three airstrikes. In one of them, the Japanese merchants were able to maneuver away from the attack. But the other raid of 16 Vildebeests hit four troop-carrying ships, sinking two. Thousands of Japanese soldiers and hundreds of vehicles went down, their worst tactical defeat in the war so far. The third was a bomb-carrying raid against ships too far out to reach with heavy torpedoes; those Swordfish hit a troop-carrying AKL, likely sinking it.

To the north, Japanese soldiers seized Victoria Point.

Celebes Sea and East Java Sea
The Ryujo didn't swap planes with CVL#2 (likely actually the CVE Taiyo) after all. The reason I thought the Vals came from the Ryujo is because the Taiyo followed the Ryujo into the Makassar strait, and the Ryujo, went south towards the Java Sea. This seems absolutely insane to me. I thought it was a mistake for him to push so far, and that yesterday's routing of his Manado force would have made that point to him as well. But instead of protecting his forces, he doubled down on the advance. The Ryujo's Kates bombed some tankers that I had trying to bring fuel to the eastern island bases. They'll probably get more. But as far as I can tell, all those heavy cruisers are still with the Ryujo. So, that SCTF that had hit Manado and had been leaving the area is turning back for another round. My 2nd SCTF, this one at full strength (the first lost a cruiser in the opening days), is now retracing the path of the first. He has landings in progress near Manado and at Ternate--I'm going to lose Ternate--but with any luck I'm going to shatter the fleets that delivered them. Speaking of Ternate, Dutch medium bombers took a crack at the landing ships there, and managed to bomb one of them. Won't make a difference.

The thing I said the other day about not being intimidated into keeping my ships in port... well, I don't have a choice anymore, not with two carriers approaching Surabaya.

Luzon
I had my B-17s shift focus. My southern-based bombers, instead of hitting the empty Babeldoab again, hit a captured airfield in San Fernando that I know for sure he moved aviation support into. But once again, there were no planes there. The bombers did moderate damage to the airfield facilities. As for my Clark-based B-17s, they went all the way to Cam Rahn Bay and bombed the port facilities, hitting a heavy cruiser. Maybe this will force him to pull some fighters away from somewhere else.

My British PT boats tried to get back to San Fernando but were driven off by subchasers. Northeast of Taiwan, the USS Swordfish made a successful night surface attack against an unescorted AO, scoring 2 torpedo hits.

Japan pretty much hit Clark with everything they had today-70 Zeroes, 30 Nells, 60 Betties. I had maybe 40 fighters defending. The raid resulted in 7 Zeroes and a Betty shot down, for 6 of my P-40s. That may look like a good result, but it's not--going close to 1-for-1 with them only means I'm going to be even more outnumbered next time. I credit the superior durability of the P-40 for the even numbers. Fortunately for me, the bombers bombed from very high altitude and caused almost no damage. With my P-40s all defending Clark, 40 Sally and Lily bombers hit my troops hard at Lingayen, the last stop on the enemy's march toward Clark.

Everywhere else
-My armies in Ichang probed the enemy there and found the defenders appear to be weak. I may be able to take Ichang soon.
-I attempted a land attack in Paotow, China, but there the enemy there appears to be stronger (we outnumber them, but the terrain favors Japan and my conscript troops are pretty ****ty). They'll be backing off for now.
-The enemy in Hong Kong took the day mostly off to recuperate from yesterday's attack. They'll probably attack in force tomorrow.
-The KB is still near Pearl. They sank a patrol craft and supply ship bound for Midway, then launched a series of sweeps over Pearl. Disgustingly, they achieved air superiority over the base. Kills were in their favor with at least 15 of mine shot down to 5 of his.
-The extended presence of KB west of Pearl gives credence to the SigInt about an early attack on Midway.
-I lost a transport to a submarine attack in port at Canton Island. Fortunately, the transport had already dropped off nearly all its cargo--USMC AA and coastal defense artillery.
-Japanese marines landed in Rabaul. I had been trying to reinforce it, but that now looks like a mistake. Coastal defense batteries managed to hit some of the phibs, but probably not enough to endanger the operation. At least, it won't be enough if there are more to come, and there probably are.
-Japanese marines landed on Ocean Island. I had already evacuated.
-My marines counter-attacked the desperate IJN marines on Wake, killing about a third of the remaining troops while taking only light casualties.
-Miri and Brunei were captured; more troops landed in Jesselton.
-10 paratroopers (not a typo) attempted to seize a hex west of Hong Kong only to be wiped out. I can only assume he thought that space was empty.

-----
I find it interesting that despite constant sub attacks by my side, mostly against escorted targets, the only ASW hit Japan has scored was by the gunners on that cargo ship the crazy Dutch captain tried to get into a surface duel with.

Molon Labe 06-06-2021 12:41 AM

12 December 1941

Force Z goes down fighting, and Japan captures Hong Kong.

Malaya
After its failed hit-and-run attempt on Kuching on the 10th, Force Z was ready for another attempt on the forces landing in Kuantan. They hit two of the damaged transports that survived the Vildebeest raid yesterday, causing a similar mass-casualty defeat. But the covering force spotted Force Z and engaged:

Japanese Ships
BB Kongo, Shell hits 1
BB Haruna, Shell hits 18, on fire
CA Takao, Shell hits 2, on fire
CA Atago, Shell hits 2, on fire
CL Jintsu
DD Asashio, Shell hits 2, heavy fires
DD Oshio
DD Michishio, Shell hits 1
DD Arashio, Shell hits 5, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD Akatsuki, Shell hits 3, heavy fires
DD Hibiki
DD Shikinami
DD Ayanami
DD Asagiri, Shell hits 1

Allied Ships
BB Prince of Wales, Shell hits 33, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
BC Repulse, Shell hits 1
CL Danae, Shell hits 10, and is sunk
CL Mauritius, Shell hits 2
DD Vampire, Shell hits 1
DD Vendetta
DD Tenedos
DD Electra, Shell hits 11, on fire, heavy damage
DD Express, Shell hits 16, heavy fires, heavy damage

It had been a pretty even fight until that torpedo hit the Prince of Wales. The PoW wasn't nearly as accurate after that and the shelling became mostly one-sided. She sank shortly after this engagement. An enemy submarine intercepted the damaged Electra and Express, but they still had some fight left in them and managed to damage the sub with depth charges and drive it off. Both wounded ships sank before reaching Singapore. The rest actually made it back to Singapore, but the airstrike we've been dreading finally caught up with them. The defending Buffalos were overwhelmed by Zeroes and Oscars. 34 Nell and Betty bombers got through, scoring 5 torpedo hits on Repulse. Even if it doesn't sink, repairs will take months--and Singapore isn't going to be in my hands for months.

My air forces attempted a few raids today, but didn't get great results. I lost 2 Hudsons and a Blenheim bombing Kota Baru in exchange for some light facility damage. My torpedo bombers made another attempt on ships near Kuantan, but got separated into two groups, one with escorting Buffalos, the other without. We lost 6 Vildebeests and didn't manage to get any hits. The Japanese finally made landfall at Kuantan.

A little bit to the south, my ASW force finally caught up with those damn subs and damaged one of them with depth charges. One of the braggart captains is claiming he sunk it--I call BS.

Luzon
USS Tarpon intercepted a troop convoy south of Taiwan and sank a minelayer, while on the other side of the Strait, USS Sculpin put 3 fish into a troop-carrying cargo ship. I tried to get the British PTs back into the fight, but it looks like they're just too well prepared at this point. They were driven off again. Likewise, a PT squadron made a run at an ARG landing on the east side of Luzon, but was cut off by a pair of destroyers. But, with those destroyers occupied, the S-41 snuck by and torpedoed an AKL, and the Porpoise shelled another on the surface.

In the Sulu sea, the Japanese landed troops at Puerto Princesa, which I've been using as a seaplane base.

Japan focused on Lingayen this turn, pounding it with medium bombers before a decisive ground assault. We lost about 4,000 soldiers there, with survivors retreating to Clark. A smaller force took the abandoned base at Iba, and a few Betties made a naval attack in Manila harbor, destroying one of the minesweepers on ASW duty. Aerial losses on both sides were light: 3 P-26s for us and a Betty for them.

Celebes and Java Seas
"CVL #2" wasn't the Taiyo. It was the Soryu!
The second of the surface forces (CA, CL, 4DD) I sent in to interdict enemy ARGs around Manado and Ternate intercepted the Soryu and its pitiful escort of 4 DDs. Or maybe not so pitiful, those damn IJN destroyers got the job done! Soryu was only hit 3 times, and only one of those 3 hits did major damage. After shaking my task force off, Soryu launched airstrikes, their Zeroes laughing at the few Dutch Buffalos trying to play defense, and scoring a torpedo hit on USS Boise; Boise's gunners shot down one Kate.

Apparently bored of Luzon, they sent 27 Nell bombers all the way down here to bomb Cagayan airbase, which was staging P-35s that were trying to protect my surface forces here. The P-35s were not up to the task of defending their own base and the airfield took moderate damage.

I bombed the troops landing in Ternate with B-17s from the north and Dutch 139WH-3s from the south. It wasn't enough--Ternate is now in enemy hands.

Further south, the Ryujo CVBG turned east and sank a seaplane tender near Bima. Just as well, if they went towards Surabaya I'm sure my untrained attack pilots would have embarrassed themselves trying to hit it.

In Tarakan, one of my cargo ships hit a mine. Gotta give him credit, this was a good place for a sub-laid minefield. There's significant traffic here during the general retreat, it doesn't start with a minesweeper, and his sending carriers through the Makassar Strait delayed the arrival of minesweepers from the south.

China
Hong Kong has fallen. This appears to be a major success for my opponent as the historical capture date was 25 December. I hope this means he committed substantially more ground forces; but I suspect it was the concentration of light bombers that made the difference.

There were other scattered raids in China, but the one that probably matters was in the Chengdu area, because I had also noticed ground forces advancing there. This may signal an offensive.

I made a land attack on Ichang but failed to capture it. The city has significant fortifications. I outnumber the defenders by about 3-to-1, but I lack engineers to bring down the forts and my supply situation isn't great. It might be better if I just let this go.

Everywhere else
-The Soryu-less KB humiliated the USAAF over Pearl some more with another series of Sweeps that saw the Zeroes again controlling the skies. It cost them 6 Zeroes; we lost 4 P-40s, a P-36, and 2 USMC F4Fs. While embarrassing, I suspect this is to my benefit. His shot down pilots aren't making it back, and they're probably the best he has. At least some of mine are bailing out and getting another plane.
-Midway isn't a feint. One of my subs headed for Japan came across an invasion fleet. There isn't much I can do about this.
-Japanese destroyers raided the harbor at Suva, Fiji, and sank a minesweeper.
-My Marines on Wake finished off their Japanese counterparts.

--------------------------

Missing my chance at the Soryu was both frustrating and relieving. If he had burned himself that badly this early in the war I'd feel bad. But my forces in the area are in disarray after those strikes. Everything he has is pulling out to the east while the Ryujo looks like its ready to come through the island chain from the south. So, him going that deep wasn't as crazy as I thought it was (at least if you don't think a 4DD escort for a fleet carrier isn't crazy).

https://i.ibb.co/yybWKJK/1941-Dec-12-Strategic-map.jpg

Molon Labe 06-06-2021 01:47 PM

13 December 1941

The Battle of Celebes Sea

Celebes
So, not only did my opponent manage to surprise me but moving a fleet carrier in with a minimal-sized escort that I didn't think could possibly be bigger than a CVL, he managed to put two battleships into the mix with no escort whatsoever. Why would I think two ships off on their own were heavyweights? Sigh. So my committment of both Celebes area surface groups to this fight ended up leading to exactly the sort of decisive engagement I wanted to avoid.

By days end I'd lost the CA Houston and 5 destroyers. My fleets scattered and disorganized. CL Marblehead managed to escape to air cover but the Soryu's Kates got two hits on her anyway (at a cost of 4 Kates).

The battleship Ise was badly damaged in the exchange, so we probably won't see her for months (if ever again), and the Hyuga took a decent pounding. But even with these ships putting in for repairs, the IJN now has uncontested control of the Celebes Sea.

Luzon
The SS-40 took light damage in a depth charge attack as it tried to hit troops ships.

Japan had an absolutely dreadful day in the north. The Zeroes and Oscars escorting their bombers were apparently easily distracted. We bagged 16 bombers and four Zeroes over Manila and Clark at the cost of 6 P-40s and 2 P-26s. My B-17s hit their troops in Lingayan again while they're still in open territory.

Naga has been captured.

Malaya
The Repulse limped into port and our dockyard got to work. Who knows, maybe I can get her seaworthy in time to escape.

Japan didn't have a good day in the air here, either. Their Oscars failed to keep my Buffalo off of bombers hitting Kuala Lumpur; we got 5 Anns, a Sally, and 5 Betties at the cost of 2 Buffalo. We lost 3 more Buffs trying to defend Singapore from an escorted Betty raid, and three Vildebeests in a raid on landing ships (which managed to get one hit). My medium bomber raid on Kota Baru was unescorted, but successful (light damage, no losses) as the base was only being defended by anemic Nates. Even with our territory rapidly shrinking and our mechanics more concentrated, we just can't keep enough fighters in the air to hold them off.

One of the Dutch subs hunting troop ships was depth charged for light damage. Japanese subs continue to probe Singapore.

Alor Star was captured by advancing armor. We're now in a race to get damaged fighters out of Georgetown before they're overrun. Kuantan has also been taken; 5 damaged bombers had been left behind at the overrun airfield.

Elsewhere
-Japanese marines landed on Midway and the nearby Kure Island. One of their Kure troop ships was torpedoed by USS Gudeon. But Kure was taken without resistance. US Marines are giving them hell on Midway hitting several troop ships and supporting warships with coastal defense artillery, but it's not looking good. I've evacuated the aircraft based there. The KB didn't sweep Pearl again today, so it's likely moved to Midway to provide some CAS to the troops.
-Midway being under seige means that Wake is effectively cut off, including the Wildcat detachment operating there.
-Japan landed troops on Guadalcanal and Kevieng, taking both without opposition.
-More troops and supplies came ashore in Rabaul, but our batteries got good hits on two of the cargo ships. It's a relatively small force, it's a shame my bombers can't reach them from Port Moresby because I'd probably win if I had air support.
-That pair of DDs at Suva wrecked another minesweeper. I'm going to have to be careful about landing troops around there. I tried to attack them twice with Vincent bombers, but the pilots aren't trained for it and unsurprisingly whiffed.
-Lily bombers have started bombing British troops in southern Burma.
-Jesselton has been captured.

-------------
https://i.ibb.co/jkBHfJj/1941-Dec-13-air-losses.jpg

We managed an air-to-air kill ratio of 2.5 today. We're still losing fighters too fast, but the enemy's loss of bombers should help our ground forces hold out.

Molon Labe 06-06-2021 10:12 PM

14 December 1941
Time for my bomber forces to take a beating
The dark days of the war are in full swing

Philippines
Taking advantage of their victory in the Celebes Sea yesterday, a SCTF of 3 CA and 3 DD went on a tear, sinking 5 cargo ships trying to leave the area. Fortunately, they did not spot the transports evacuating the Cavite Base Force.

The Japanese gave most of their medium bombers the day off to recover from yesterday's beatdown. Fighter sweeps cleared all my fighters out from over Clark, 5 P-40s and a P-26 lost. Light bombers attempted to hit ships in port but came up empty. We shot down a few, but these are obsolete models that aren't good for much other than coastal ASW patrols, so it doesn't really matter.

The Soryu finished off the Marblehead, while Claudes from Ryujo shot down a Dutch bomber trying to attack Ternate.

The P-35s at Cagayan once again failed to stop the unescorted bombers hitting their base. With my surface forces defeated, there's not much point to keeping them here, time to head back to Manila/Clark.

Weather kept my B-17s on the ground.

Malaya
My bombers took a beating. I decided to go with unescorted medium bomber strikes while cancelling torpedo bomber strikes for a day, to let my fighters repair. Instead of meeting Nates, my bombers found Oscars on CAP at Kota Baru. I lost three to the Oscars and two more to flak. Another Blenheim and 3 Wirraways were lost to the CAP over Kuantan. And about those torpedo bombers..I forgot I had them at two bases, so I didn't cancel all the strikes. I lost 6 Vildebeests thanks to that.

Other
-They made a push in Rabaul and failed. But they're landing more troops. Just a matter of time.
-I still hold Midway, for now. It looks like my coastal guns actually wore them down enough that my marines could take them in a head-to-head fight. But my troops are too disrupted by naval gunfire to attempt a counterattack. I had the USS Indianapolis and several destroyer-minesweepers make a stop there (it was in the area trying to avoid the KB), too late to shell any of the transports. The Indy's scouts spotted a covering force, so I'm going to shell the marines and GTFO before KB arrives.
-My ASW group in west Java managed to find one of their subs but only caused light damage
-Two enemy subs are now known to be operating east of Surabaya, one took out an AKL.
-I lied about Kavieng yesterday--we do have troops there. Just 55 of them, but enough to shoot 12 Japanese soldiers in the face and send the invaders running for cover for the night. They'll be surrounded by tomorrow, though.
-I don't think any of my subs attempted a single attack today. Probably means the troop convoys passing through their areas finished their missions, it may be time to shift patrol areas. It's definitely time to change the Asiatic Fleet's homeport from Manila to Surabaya; any sub returning to Manila at this point is likely to be bombed.

Molon Labe 06-09-2021 01:16 AM

15 December 1941

Midway falls.

This turn was slow enough I don't need to break it down by headings.

-In Malaya, routine-ish air raids continued in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; I lost two Buffalos, he lost 2 Anns (both by the same pilot from a New Zealander squadron flying out of K.L., his #5 and #6 to become my first ace). The Repulse was damaged lightly in the shipyards.

-In the Philippines, he continued to raid Clark with little effect. A few of his ground units started trickling into Clark so I attempted a counterattack, but not fast enough. He's got a CVL pushing down through Makassar again, probably pursuing the Boise as it makes a run for Surabaya.

-My surface group near Midway was intercepted before it could get away, but it fought off the CL and DDs that came after it with minimal damage. But their marines got the push they needed. Midway is theirs.

-He's hitting my forces fighting for Ichang with significant air raids. I ordered the AVG to fly a CAP over it instead of trying to escort bombers, maybe we'll have a little party in the sky.

-Manado is holding for now.

-Rabaul has been captured.

-He's definitely on to my subs near the Indochina coast. A 4-ship ASW group is patrolling there now with nothing else coming through.

-I got a boost with the arrival of 8 radar-equipped Sims class DDs from the Altlantic. Since my CVs already have radar, I'm guessing these will be used best with surface groups, so I'll probably scatter them around.

https://i.ibb.co/fQjZyLR/1941-Dec-15-strategic-map.jpg

Threadfin 06-10-2021 08:18 AM

Awesome! These are excellent reports, full of detail and the thinking behind your decisions. Very much enjoying the read. Keep it up mate and good hunting.


The Midway occupation could be a thorn. Any thoughts on what you will do about that? They'll be able to reach Pearl from there with air strikes?

Molon Labe 06-10-2021 10:07 AM

It's a little too far for air strikes on Pearl directly, or for me to bomb him from Pearl.

Especially after suffering two major defeats in surface battles, I'm reluctant to allow myself to get provoked into another. Doing nothing is definitely on the table. For now, the KB is still at Midway, so nothing is all I can do. If it leaves maybe I'll find a way to hurt him.

Midway is mostly useful as a patrol aircraft base or a sub refueling stop, for both of us. If I find out he's moved a sub tender there, I might be more inclined to hit it somehow, I'd really rather not have his subs have their time-on-station boosted that much. Otherwise, I should just expect that he's going to put his longest-range seaplanes there. Right now that's the Mavis: 25 hexes, would get within 5 hexes--200 miles--of Pearl. I really don't need to send anything on the surface west, so that's not a big deal. But in two months he'll have a small number of Emilies, which can make it all the way to Pearl, and he'll be able to start producing those in mass starting around July 1942. So potentially he can monitor traffic in and out of Pearl, but departures in particular can probably be mitigated by leaving at night.
https://i.ibb.co/VBbjKz6/Mavis-vs-Emily.jpg

Threadfin 06-10-2021 10:22 AM

I thought it might be a simple matter to cut in an airstrip and start Betty strikes from there. Pearl's what, 1000 miles? Well within range, and for the Zeros too. But perhaps it's not so simple. And of course his aircraft would be equally vulnerable to your strikes.


Yes, a tender based there could be problematic. If nothing else, he has denied it to you, which is a good move.


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