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Old 02-04-2022, 04:03 PM   #496
Molon Labe
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27 November 1942
Targets of opportunity in China and Solomons?

Northern Australian Coast
An enemy submarine tried to transit the straits around Horn Island, where I had a minesweeper on patrol. We scored several damaging near-misses before it got away.

At Babar, I'm a little concerned that the enemy troops are recovering faster than we're hurting them. Nevertheless our additional light infantry unit is nearly fully disembarked and our supply levels are increasing. There's also no sign of naval intervention and we've now gone two days without a Betty raid. That's... both good and bad. I like that our operation is proceeding, but sometimes a lack of activity precedes a surge.

Burma, Thailand, and Indochina
Enemy airpower continues to focus on our former Rangoon base forces. It appears enemy troops are going to try to hit Raheng again head-on rather than cut off their supply. I'm pulling a few units back to blunt that blow, while the Vengeance bombers continue to interdict them. I expect the total force to be about a division, and that my local forces can handle them.

The overall picture here is still rather poor, as whatever supplies are coming in through the mountains aren't even keeping pace with Raheng's needs, much less the major army at Moulmein. I still can't decide the army at Moulmein is going to fall back to northern Burma through that same mountain path, or if they'd be better off trying to go through Indochina. I've moved some recon aircraft to the China-Indochina border to investigate enemy force levels there. Along with way, I had them snoop Canton, and it looks really weak--just about 6,000 troops there. These estimates have been off before, so I won't act based on this just yet, but that's a possible operation for when I finally finish off the 4 surrounded divisions in Foochow.

Solomons
Recon flights over Guadalcanal didn't report the massive air presence we've become used to seeing there. Once again, I don't want to leap into action based on one uncorroborated report. I'll confirm that with another recon mission tomorrow---with a P-38 sweep for extra confirmation. If it still looks weak, there are a lot of ships in harbor there that are looking really inviting.


Refits and Reinforcements
CL Phoenix beginning refit in shipyard at Sydney
BB Indiana arrives at Balboa
12th Marine Defense Battalion arrives at San Diego (full strength, unrestricted)
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Old 02-05-2022, 08:53 AM   #497
Molon Labe
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28 November 1942
Enemy heavy surface task force spotted near Ambon; raid on Guadalcanal ordered

Banda Sea
The KX spotted a large task force overnight and made a contact report before it was chased away by escorts: 2 BB, 3 CA, 9 DD, right next to Ambon. My scoutplanes failed to acquire this task force in daylight, which is concerning. I've suspended all amphibious operations at Banda and ordered those task forces to withdraw--even my cruiser-heavy covering forces can't handle a pair of battleships. It's a bit of a shame I don't have the Lex and Sara still here--but then again, for all we know, this task force is being backed up by the KB. (I would.)

Yesterday I said a surge might be coming--this might be it.


Burma and Thailand


Prome has been captured as enemy armor continues to pursue our retreating Bangkok base forces. We lost 5 Blenheims and 1 Hudson thanks to poor coordination with fighters in the Mandalay area, with Oscars now trying to protect the troops in the open there. We still hit them hard, mostly with American B-25s, in spite of the coverage.

Raheng's CAP helped out over Moulmain when an Oscar sweep arrived there--6 Oscars and 3 P-40s down in that exchange.


Solomons
A VT-3 Avenger bombed an enemy sub near Rossel Island.

Today's recon and sweeps over Guadalcanal confirmed what was reported yesterday--the 100+ fighters that were there are gone, only about a dozen left behind. The P-38s reduced that by 5.

He's clearly up to something, and with planes being moved out of here and major surface forces showing up near Ambon, I'd say the move is going to be there rather than here. So, I'm greenlighting a raid on Guadalcanal. The P-38s will fly the sweep again, with that to be followed by a B-17 raid on the airbase, and Lexington & Saratoga to hit the port and any nearby ships after that. Recon is reporting plenty of ships here--mostly small stuff but they did report at least one cruiser. Maybe I'll get lucky and get some loaded transports.


Reinforcements
LST-446 arrives at Portland
VD-1 arrives at San Diego (8/8 recon Wildcats, can transition to Liberator MPAs)
44th Indian Brigade arrives at Karachi (reformed unit, empty)
AM Glenelg arrives at Burnie
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Old 02-05-2022, 01:40 PM   #498
Molon Labe
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29 November 1942
No sign of the heavies in near Ambon; enemy army advancing on Moulmein

Banda Sea
One of the torpedo-damaged transports was trying to get to Darwin before the enemy heavy task force arrived to blow anything at Babar away. Unfortunately, there was a sub waiting for it, which finished it off. The minesweeper escorting the transport wasn't able to damage the sub before it escaped.

The heavies never showed up and our scouts can't find them. I suppose no news is good news. I'll wait a turn and then probably resume operations.


Burma and Thailand
The enemy cancelled their cross-river assault on Raheng, but ordered one against Moulmein. Which means the evacuation Burma is now an opposed operation, and we'll be doing it under fire for real from this point forward (the rather ineffective bombing raids didn't count for much). The units at Moulmien that I can't supply will move towards Raheng first, while the combat-ready units hold the bridges. The Tavoy base forces haven't arrived yet, they're close but they're running out of time.

Further north, the enemy in the open is making a move on my weakest base on that front. Tuang Gyi. It's still stronger than he probably expects; Chinese reinforcements just arrived by rail. I'm not sure what the balance of forces is at the moment, but I have no doubt that he can push through here if he makes it a priority.

The enemy put a pretty strong CAP up over its army at Pisanoulke, and with our Hurricanes escorting the Vengeance bombers at only 15,000ft, the Oscar's maneuverability advantage carried the day, with us losing 5 Hurricanes and 7 Vengeances with no kills.

With the enemy attack on Raheng cancelled, I'm actually going to advance on them. But from their flank overland rather than over the bridges. I think I have the superior forces locally, still, and the air raids have been beating them down. With a little luck I might even get a haul of supplies--there appear to be a lot of support units at Pisanoulke, which implies construction or aviation, which requires supply flow.

Solomons
The Lex and Sara didn't get in range in time to join the party. The P-38 sweep managed another 4 dead Oscars, and the B-17s hit the airbase as planned causing light facility damage. I forgot to increase their altitude from their previous assignment (hitting the marooned regiment on Ndeni), so I lost a plane to flak with several more damaged. I'm getting conflicting reports about naval activity around Guadalcanal; the coastwatchers are saying the port cleared out while our recon flights say there's probably about a dozen ships, mostly support, transport, and ASW. Scoutplanes are still reporting multiple task forces in the area of varied composition, including cruisers. It's possible VT-3s attack on a submarine yesterday prompted an evacuation today. If not, we should have some carnage tomorrow. Even though the carriers are pretty close to the Solomons, they aren't reporting any enemy scout flights, so we're probably undetected except for the sub attack.

Reinforcements and refits
-DD Kalk arrives at San Francisco (Bristol class)
-Several cruisers and destroyers have arrived at Pago Pago to replace the ships there that need upgrades--two CAs and 3 DDs are now on their way to shell Canton Islandas a parting gift, and from there they'll retire to Pearl to receive their upgrades.
-Starting next month, the US sub fleet will begin another round of upgrades, going from SJ to SJa/PPI surface search radars. Some boats will also be swapping .50cals for 20mm AA, upgrading from Mk10 to Mk12 mines, or getting an improved air search radar.
-Also starting next month, the 125-footer patrol craft will be getting Mk20 Mousetrap ASW launchers.
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Old 02-06-2022, 02:16 PM   #499
Molon Labe
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30 November 1942
Most enemy ships escape Guadalcanal in time; a second surface combat task force appears in Banda Sea

Burma and Thailand
Moulmain suffered a bombardment by 2 battleships and 3 cruisers, plus the bulk of the medium bombers in the area. Casualties were moderate considering the volume of explosives lobbed at them. I'm concerned about the amount of disruption is might cause with the enemy army about to make its way over the bridges. Our CAP from Raheng lent a hand, shooting down 5 Zeroes and 2 Sallies without loss--but there might have been a hundred bombers, shooting down 2 is meaningless. I'm offsetting this, though--my B-24s are hitting their advancing army, and even if our numbers are fewer, our bombloads are much bigger.

Near Mandalay (north of Rangoon) we lost a Hurricane and a Blenheim trying to bomb the enemy troops advancing on our line of bases. The B-25s are getting most of the work done, inflicting at least 300 enemy casualties this turn.


Banda Sea
We spotted a surface task force in the area--not the one with the battleships--and sent the Beaufightes after them. We lost one to flak and three to Zeroes on CAP, but shot down 2 Zeroes and badly damaged one enemy destroyer by strafing. All our bombs missed. This task force is very close to Babar and we're keeping our ships away, although it looks small enough--led by 2 heavy cruisers--that we might be able to take it on. But there are also a lot of unseen potential threats--Betties, carriers, and the other surface task force. I'm reorganizing my fleets a safe distance away to give myself better options.


China
The enemy put a CAP on Foochow, which cost us a B-24. I'll be sweeping this area going forward.


Solomons
No enemy fighters attempted to stop any of our flights against Guadalcanal. So we had an uneventful P-38 sweep, B-17s hitting the mostly empty airbase, followed by CVW-2 and -3 hitting the port, which was unfortunately mostly empty:
AD Shintoku Maru, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires
AS Jingei, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
AKE Asaka Maru #3, Bomb hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
AS Heian Maru, Bomb hits 1, on fire

These support ships are pretty valuable, though. A large enemy task force was seen north of the Solomons heading towards the Gilberts--they evacuated in time.

Reinforcements
TK British Zeal arrives at Cape Town
No.6 Sqn IAF arrives at Tanjore (2/12 Hurricane fighter-bomber/recon variants)
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Old 02-06-2022, 02:50 PM   #500
Molon Labe
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1 December 1942
Enemy assault on Raheng fizzles


China
A small amphibious task force landed at Foochow to deliver supplies to the surrounded troops. If the ships can reach them, why not evacuate them instead?


Banda Sea
The 2nd enemy task force approached Babar, and was opposed by our PTs there. Unfortunately this was a daylight battle and our PTs never had a chance to get close. We lost 5 of 6 and did not damage the enemy.

Enemy fighters tried to intervene in our regular bombings of their troops on Babar. They got one B-26 at the cost of 2 Oscars and 2 Zeroes. I'm sure they were actually assigned to protect the ships that attacked earlier. Our P-38s also made a low-level attack on the enemy task force, filling in for the Beaufighters (which are mostly down for repairs from flak/fighter damage). Their strafing was mostly ineffective, but they did get a 500lb bomb hit on a destroyer. We got a Zero and an Oscar that tried to stop the raid, while losing a P-39 and a P-38, one more P-38 was shot down by flak.

After the raid, the enemy task force bombarded Babar, disabling a lot of the fighters there--including many of the P-38s from the raid that had landed by then. That's a problem. The lucky jerks managed not to hit any of the mines. We also took about a hundred casualties in the raid.

Just as concerning, we're seeing the enemy forces strength gradually coming up. Without the heavy cruiser bombardments, our bombers aren't adequately suppressing them on their own.

Burma and Thailand
The enemy bomber focus continues to be Moulmein, with another 100+ sorties flown. Our fighters from Raheng got an Oscar and a Zero, but couldn't get to the bombers in force. Our B-24s again hit the opposing army on the other side of the bridges, this time facing some resistance from Zeroes, but not enough to shoot down any bombers. Fighters sweeping from Raheng shot down 6 of the Zeroes, though.

Raheng's squadrons lost a fighter over nearby Cheng Mai, a base along the supply route in the mountains. They followed that up with an airborne assault on the base, destroying my paratrooper unit fragment there and seizing the base. This force only needs to march 1 hex to cut off my supplies.

At my defensive line of bases in the north, we traded 2 Oscars for a Hurricane. Our bombers continue to get through and inflict heavy losses to the advancing enemy armies.

A rather weak enemy force made it to the bridges to Rahang--led by an Royal Thai Army "division", the total force equal to about a regular regiment. I guess I was wrong that he cancelled the attack... But it looks like player error--they have a lot more than this there, and sending these guys across was sending them to slaughter. Casualties 1525 to 8.

Now for the bad news--the supply situation in Raheng is completely untenable. I'm evacuating my flyable Vengence bombers to India, as well as one of the Canadian fighter squadrons. I suspect the aircraft that aren't airworthy now will never be again. The other fighter squadrons will follow eventually, but for now they have really important work to do near Moulmein, as the our entire evacuation plan could collapse if the enemy breaks through Moulmein too soon.


Solomons
I had B-17s follow up the CVBG port attack, scoring a hit on a surviving sub tender and likely finishing it off. 1 B-17 was lost to flak.


Indian Ocean
A Lysander bomber bombed an enemy sub off Karachi, India.


Reinforcements and Refits
SS Pike begins refit while under repair at Brisbane
SS Permit begins refit while under repair at Brisbane
SS Seal begins refit while under repair at Pearl Harbor
SS Sturgeon taken out of commission to begin refit at Brisbane
SS Trout begins refit while under repair at Adak Island
SS Silversides taken out of commission to begin refit at Pearl Harbor
SS Runner taken out of commission to begin refit at Adak Island
PC Vigilant taken out of commission to begin refit at Pago Pago
PC Morris taken out of commission to begin refit at Pago Pago
PC Crawford taken out of commission to begin refit at Dutch Harbor
PC Jackson taken out of commission to begin refit at Dutch Harbor
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Old 02-06-2022, 03:37 PM   #501
Molon Labe
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2 December 1942
Massive enemy casualties in Burma crossing bridges under fire in Moulmein and Rahang, surrounded armies at Foochow just about done

Indian Ocean
Harbor patrol craft spotted an enemy sub near Karachi and dealt it some moderate depth charge damage before it got away. A second pair of patrol craft reacquired it and were much more accurate, forcing it to surface. It was a little worrysome when that happened because these craft's biggest gun is a 40mm "pom-pom". After an exchange of fire, the sub went under again--probably still under control--but realistically, this far from home, a sub barely clinging to life isn't going to make it.


Burma and Thailand
We clashed with enemy fighters for control of the skies over Moulmein--the enemy Tojo fighters there were highly effective, shooting down 3 P-40s without loss, but we got 4 Zeroes to avenge those losses. Neither side was able to stop the other's bombers-so both armies on opposite sides of the bridge took significant bombing disruption.

The enemy apparently divided their forces, with 2 nominal divisions and change (approximate actual strength 1.5 divisions--thanks, bombers!) going straight into Moulmein under fire and at least 1 division crossing over into an adjacent hex to flank us. Which raises the question--why not send the whole offensive force to the flanking hex, so you can attack overland in force instead of over bridges? Another think to ask him later. Casualties were 11,000 to 844--that's more than half his force killed or wounded.

The forces coming up from Tavoy have made it all the way up to the road to Ragheng. We held Moulmein as long as we had to. All my units with less than 50% of their requested supplies are evacuating to the east. Those with 50% or more of requested supplies are going to take advantage of the carnage and counterattack, hopefully putting these 2 enemy divisions out of action more or less permanently.

Another RTA "division" crossed the bridges at Raheng under fire, taking 808 casualties without inflicting any on me. There are still more troops that haven't crossed, and it looks like they're moving to the adjacent base, which I actually hold with more troops now than I'm holding Raheng with (because I don't have fortifications there and there's no river limiting access). I actually couldn't ask for anything more--the Raheng troops pretty much killed everyone they could and are now low on ammo. And now he's going to attack my fresh troops instead? Please and thank you.

This is also a good time to mention that I am an idiot. This whole time, that mountain supply route? The one supposedly keeping Raheng in operation and hopefully tricking supplies to the armies near Moulmein and Tavoy. I don't think it ever existed. The "road" terminates in a hex with a rail route, which I thought was good enough because railroads are assumed to have "trails" that give land units movement bonuses, I thought that would move supply too. But I checked supply status using an interface hotkey, and it looks like everything south of that intersection is completely unconnected to supply movement. So that's why Raheng dwindled to nothing in spite of apparently being connected. That said, this wouldn't have changed the plan. We still can't go north because the enemy has more troops there and we'd be the ones crossing bridges. We couldn't go south to Bangkok because we'd get bombed in the open terrain, just like we're doing to them in northern Burma now, and then we'd have to cross bridges into fortified and well-garrisoned positions. East has always been the only option...and it keeps our forces alive the longest, even if he does hunt them down eventually. I'd say I'm about a week from being able to launch a major offensive out of Australia.

Another thing worth mentioning now...I think he had about 7 divisions in Burma, but what we're seeing now looks like 3-4 divisions at Moulmein, 1 division at Raheng, and probably not even a division moving up towards Mandalay. There's at least 1 division not in play in any of these moves...and I've been getting a lot of SIGINT about preparation for an attack on Ceylon. And there's plenty of ship traffic going into Rangoon now. Odds are, this is his next operation, to happen after he's done in Burma. But it's at least possible that he thinks he can catch Ceylon off-guard with another surprise landing.




Solomons
I moved a Beaufigther squadron from Australia to Rossel and had it attack the enemy port at Tulagi, based on scout reports that a pair of subchasers were docked there. We found a subchaser...and a sub. The sub took 5 bomb hits and multiple strafing runs and sank, the subchaser was hit by one bomb plus a few cannon bursts, and will likely join the sub at the bottom of the harbor.


Banda Sea
Mostly quiet. The 1st surface task force, I think, was spotted hanging out at Koepang, along with a bunch of fighters and bombers at the base standing back and standing by. Unsettling. The 2nd surface task force has disappeared, presumably it went back to Ambon to rearm.

I'm shifting some forces around to deal with this problem. I'll be sending more ground forces from Port Morseby as it's clear even with the extra infantry on Babar, I'm not going to kill those 2 enemy regiments. I also need more airpower to deal with the surface threats--Beaufighters and P-38s are great for transports and destroyers, but cruisers (and maybe battleships) take something that hits a bit harder.


China
3 of the 5 units in Foochow (4 of which are infantry divisions) have been eliminated. Not sure which ones. One even surrendered, a rarity for Japanese units. That was another 7900 killed/wounded/captured to add to the IJA's awful day.


Reinforcements
SS Snook arrives at San Francisco
45th Indian Brigade arrives at Karachi
18th British Division arrives at Aden
^---both of these are empty commands, and I don't think I'll have squads to fill them out with anytime soon thanks to the urgent need for replacement troops in Burma.
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Old 02-06-2022, 08:47 PM   #502
Molon Labe
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3 December 1942
All enemy solders at Foochow eliminated; enemy armies at Moulmien & Raheng routed


China
A heavy cruiser and 2 destroyers shelled my troops at Foochow overnight, causing a few casualties. Much too little, much too late. Some of our P-40s tried to attack one of the cargo ships that were delivering supplies (or maybe now are trying to evacuate troops?) were driven off by a CAP of Zeroes and Oscars; with two each Oscars, Zeroes, and P-40s shot down.

Our army attack finished off the last of what was once four divisions and an aviation support battalion--another 10,000 enemy casualties. I suppose we might not have completely eliminated all of them if a few got on the boats, but even if that happened, these units were all shadows of their former selves when they embarked. We won't be seeing them again.

Burma and Thailand
We fought a bit to control the skies over Moulmein, with him winning--I just don't have enough operational fighters to keep up. We lost a P-40 and a Hurricane with no victories, and his bombers got through unmolested in the afternoon. Ours got through as well, but without any shootdowns by his fighters. So once again, we had mostly offsetting air support. But his troops hadn't recovered from yesterday's shellacking. Our counterattack routed them, chasing them back across the river with an additional 2744 casualties (to our 504) and destroying 110 combat squads and 208 support squads, plus a bunch of equipment. I'd estimate the 4th and 33rd Divisions were at just 25% strength for today's attack, and by destroying the majority of disabled squads and equipment, I think we just locked that number in. It's going to take them so long to get back to normal strength that they're effectively eliminated from the campaign for the foreseeable future.

We also kicked the enemy out of Raheng, although it was apparently only the 15th Army HQ that was left there. Odd, I didn't think they could evacuate in just a day or two, and even if they could why would they leave the HQ behind? Maybe the RTA units were wiped out?

Also, along the northwestern coast, the units we have moving into the region from India caught up with some of the broken troops that once occupied Akyab, and engaged them a bit. That was another 300 enemy casualties.


Banda Sea
The fight over Babar is slowly tipping in the enemy's favor. Today we suffered a significant aerial defeat, failing to fight off a sweep of Nicks, Oscars, and Zeroes. We shot down just one Oscar and a Nick, while losing a P-38, 3 P-40s, and 5 P-39s.

Our airbases are getting overcrowded and what we have isn't getting the job done. The two enemy regiments on Babar are starting to look like actual regiments in strength. We're badly outnumberd and the only thing that's kept the island in our hands has been the constant suppression of the enemy troops by air and sea bombardments, and the enemy surface and air surge is reducing that.

Lex and Sara had been working their way back here, and lucky us, they had subs waiting for us around Horn Island. We didn't get attacked but the subs and our Avengers had mutual detections. I'm sure he can make the inference--he did at Guadalcanal a few days ago. It's starting to look like there's a submarine surge in this area, from Horn Island all the way to Darwin.

East Australia
I'm about 3 days late reporting this, but a troop transport that was damaged in the KB's raid on Noumea months ago was finally repaired enough to try to move it to Sydney. But on the way, it suffered a catastrophic bulkhead failure in the engineering spaces. It's still afloat, but it's taken so much water it can only move at 1 knot. Over the last few days, the flooding's been getting slowly, but progressively worse. I've ordered them to stop at a nearby island, which they should arrive at tomorrow. It will give the crew a chance, hopefully, to dewater the "extra" spaces that flooded (they can't do anything about the huge flooding in engineering) and try again to get to Sydney.

Refits
SS Snook taken out of commission to begin refit at San Francisco
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:47 PM   #503
Molon Labe
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4 December 1942
Attacks on Darwin, Babar, and Colombo imminent; supply convoy sunk by carrier aircraft near Colombo


Burma
Sallies and Helens are bombing my ground forces pulling out of Moulmein. The bombing seems more effective now that I'm on the move. Raheng is done for as a fighter base as we've got no more fuel, ammo, or parts to fly the remaining (disabled) aircraft. It's going to be a long walk for these guys, getting bombed daily as they try to pull out.

I tried to hit Rangoon's port with the B-24s today, taking advantage of the lack of urgent tasking for them with the land-based threat to Moulmein neutralized for the moment. Not only did we fail to catch any ships, but we lost 9 bombers to the CAP. We took 6 fighters with us, two each of Oscars, Nicks, and Tojos.

Enemy paratroopers retook Akyab, routing a unit of AT guns that was passing through at the time. I'm not planning an immediate response to this, the base is a wreck and it'll take time before he can use it against me, assuming he even wants to.

Evacuating through Indochina is starting to look like a bad idea. Recon in the Hanoi area is promising, but I checked the manual about militia forces, and if I'm reading it correctly they get to spawn as much as 4 divisions of militia in Indochina if my troops enter. It looks like going through the mountains to northern Burma or China makes more sense, and while I'm doing that, I can capitalize on the enemy's recent losses at Amoy and Foochow to launch offensive in China that capture enemy factories so that the backwards flow of supplies down the Burma Road stops being stupid.


Bay of Bengal
A supply convoy from Colombo to Diego Garcia was bounced by 46 Vals with 27 Zero escorts. All 4 cargo ships were fatally damaged in the first wave. A follow-up strike sank the minesweeper that was providing ASW services. My CVBG--at Diego Garcia to try to keep it out of the way of an attack on Colombo--reported enemy scout plane overflights, so they should know we're there. 20 enemy Kates flew a few long distance flights, trying to bomb a heavy cruiser about to report in to Colombo, just arriving in theatre, but they all missed. This looks like 2 carriers worth of planes, but it's possible there are more CVs standing by.

The enemy has a choice to make, now. We have a lot of traffic at Colombo right now...tankers and transports. And we've got the fleet at Diego Garcia. Which does he want more?

I'm glad I pulled my dive bombers out of Raheng when I did, because they're at Colombo now, along with some Beaufort torpedo bombers. If the enemy fleet closes to let their Vals attack, we should get a shot at them.

Luzon Strait
USS Grunion hit a cargo ship in a convoy near Bataan Island with 3 torpedoes, one of which actually detonated. We can credit our aerial surveillance for this intercept--they were spotted yesterday and I put two subs in their path.

Banda and Timor Seas


The surge has arrived. Two surface task forces and a CVBG coming in from the west--at least 2 carriers. There's a transport task force reinforcing Bandar that's basically caught here, it can't retreat fast enough to get away. I'm going to leave their fate to the fighters based on Bandar. As for enemy surface forces, well, we have PTs and a minefield. I have a decent sized group of surface combattants here, but they won't be able to compete with battleships, especially if they get softened up by a an airstrike first.

I had a bunch of other convoys inbound--more troops, supply, and fuel--they're all far enough to turn around and get out of the way.

I have plenty of strike assets in the area, I've even moved level bombers out of here to make room. They actually attempted a strike today, but failed to find the enemy thanks to storms. Maybe tomorrow. But tomorrow I mostly want to play defense and try to find out what I'm really up against. Right now it looks like 2 carriers in that CVBG, but it could be more. There's a lot of potential danger to both of us right now, I'm just crossing my fingers right now hoping he's trying to do to much at once like he's doing in Burma.


Reinforcements
180th USAAF Base Force arrives at Seattle (unrestricted, 70% strength)
4th USN Naval Construction Regiment arrives at Port Hueneme
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Old 02-08-2022, 12:33 PM   #504
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5 December 1942
Enemy carrier air raids target transports near Colombo and Babar, Darwin shelled by Yamato, large amphibious task force approaching Babar

Bay of Bengal
Today's overnight festivities began with an enemy sub being spotted by the destroyer escort USS Kenneson, which was escorting a pair of (relatively) fast tankers to Colombo. Kenneson managed to connect solidly with one pattern and managed another damaging near miss. It's possible that was enough to send it home.

The enemy carriers chose to attack Colombo rather than our CVBG (which backed off from this, I don't have enough attack aircraft there to get a good result against even one fleet carrier). The first raid was 27 Zeroes and 9 Kates against 22 Sea Hurricanes, as well as several Beaufighters that were on a training flight. We got 8 Zeroes and lost 2 Beaufighters and a Hurricane. The Kates, apparently flying at extended range without torpedoes, attacked a troop transport from high altitude and missed. A second wave of 19 Zeroes and 18 Kates was opposed by 15 Hurricanes--we got 7 of these Zeroes without losses, and once again, the Kates all missed.

They stayed too far away for any of our planes to reach them. If they want to get their Vals involved, that might change. The newer D3A2 variant would have to get inside our attack range, while the older D3A1 can reach us at extended range--and a severely reduced bombload.

Just as we're seeing in the Timor Sea action, it appears that the enemy is keeping at least one carrier's airwing in reserve to make it look like it's just one fleet carrier here. I'm fairly sure it's at least two, if not the whole KB-west.

We got some SIGINT with three valuable bits of information: that the 14th Division is planning to attack Ceylon, and that the 14th Division is currently at Port Arthur, Korea, and that they are currently split of in fragments that suggest they're being loaded onto ships right now. If they leave today, I'd expect them to arrive around December 23rd. So the attack on Colombo seems like it's trying to prepare the battleground by eliminating the British fleet there or by cutting off reinforcements.


Battle of the Timor Sea
My surface task force withdrawing southeast from Babar spotted a sub and made an ineffective attack on it.

The heavy cruiser Suzuya and three destroyers, which I presume detached from the enemy CVBG, attacked Port Hedland, Australia, a small port that collects a ton of resources. I've had small, unescorted convoys running from there to Perth since day 1 of the war. We lost two light cargo ships.

The lead enemy heavy surface task force approached Darwin to shell the base. We had 5 PT boats attempt an intercept, at night, but sadly they didn't get any hits even though the attacked from just 1000 yards. No casualties on either side in that exchange. The task force--comprised of the battleships Yamato and Hyuga, the heavy cruisers Maya and Kingusa, and 11 destroyers--continued, sinking a coastal minesweeper before hitting the base. We suffered 131 troop casualties at Darwin. Aircraft losses (damaged numbers are estimates): 3 Wildcats destroyed, 23 damaged; 4 SBDs destroyed; 1 Beaufrighter destroyed, 8 damaged; 3 PBYs destroyed, 9 damaged; 2 B-17 destroyed, ~8 damaged; 15 B-26s damaged, 1 transport aircraft destroyed, 6 damaged. The runway damage is at 47% and service damage at 41%.

80 miles west of Babar, the KVIII took a shot at a cargo ship in the approaching amphibious task force, but missed. It took a rare hit from a type-95 depth charge in deep water--perhaps this boat can't dive deep enough? Flooding is moderate. At least we got good intel; the task force is 1 CA, 1 CL, 9DD, 1 APD, 2 PB, and 6 xAK. That we know of, anyway, there could be more.

The first air attack was a sweep of Babar by 6 Oscars from Ambon. We had 10 P-40s, 7-P-38s, and 15 P-39s greeting them. 1 Oscar was shot down.

Next was a pair of attacks from CVW-6 out of Darwin, although the fighters for this attack were VF-3 instead of VF-6. CVW-6 had to rebase from Rossel Island, but VF-6 didn't have the range to make it to Darwin. But they could make it to my carriers, so the Saratoga lended VF-3 to CVW-6 and CVW-6 lended VF-6 to the Saratoga. I'm very disappointed that the AI commanders decided to split this strike into two instead of just picking one target, considering they were already beaten down by the pre-dawn bombardment.

Against the enemy amphibious task force, we had 9 Wildcats (led by Jimmy Thatch) and 9 Dauntlesses against 65 Zeroes, 3 Rufes, and 3 Oscars. It looks like 80% of the CAP came from the enemy carriers, which joined up with the 'phibs, with the rest coming from Koepang. With numbers like that we obviously weren't going to do well--we shot down 1 Zero and 1 Rufe while losing 5 Wildcats and all 9 SBDs.

Against the Yamato's task force, we had 10 Wildcats and 11 Dauntlesses against 27 Zeroes and 9 Oscars--probably all from Koepang. We lost 3 Wildcats (including one flown by this world's version of Albert Vorse, killing him), and again, all 11 Dauntlesses. We had no kills of our own--very disappointing considering how elite the VF-3 pilots are--but we did manage to get 6 SBDs through to the Yamato before they were shot down, enough for a single hit that destroyed an AA gun mount. The bomb was just a 500lb SAP instead of the usual 1000lb thanks to the extended range of the strike.

Darwin also sent 8 flyable B-26s to bomb Babar; thanks to the strikes against the enemy task forces, enemy CAP did not intervene.

The enemy carriers--at this point preliminarily identified at the Shokaku and Hiryu, plus a CS probably a CVL and one more fleet carrier (of the fleet carriers, only two have been involved so far, I think he's keeping one in reserve)--attacked our amphibious task force at Babar. This was 27 Zeroes, 6 Kates, and 26 Vals, opposed by 10 Australian P-40s, 7 P-38s, and 14 P-39s, all flying directly from Babar itself. We lost 1 P-39 while taking down 7 Zeroes, 16 Vals, and 3 Kates, but that left plenty getting through:
xAK Centaur, Bomb hits 1, on fire
xAK Yochow, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage (sank later)
xAK Johanne Justesen, Bomb hits 2, on fire (sank later)


In the afternoon, the enemy launched another strike, but it fragmented. First, 5 Kates and 13 Vals arrived without escorts, we picked off all 5 Kates and 4 Vals. But, more hits:
xAK Yunnan, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage (sank later)
xAK Autolycus, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
Then 21 Zeroes and 18 Kates went after a pair of minesweepers on an ASW patrol between Babar and Darwin. It was close enough to Babar that our fighters responded, 6 P-38s and 5 P-39s, enough to shoot down 5 Zeroes and 6 Kates without losses. The Kates failed to get any torpedo hits on these rather small targets.

The action ended with torpedo attack by USS Greenling against the amphibious group, bouncing a dud Mk14 off one of the cargo ships. It evaded counterattack.

During all this, VT-3 Avengers were hunting enemy subs, reportedly bombing two of them around noon. We currently have detections of 6 subs in the Arafura sea, making me nervous of a repeat of the Enterprise debacle.

As I mentioned earlier, although this enemy force is holding itself out to be centered around two fleet carriers, based on scout reports it really looks like 3 to me, 4 is even possible (i.e., the KB is back)--that plus the likely CVL and support from Koepang is more than the Lex and Sara can handle. I'm not counterattacking today, instead I'm going to try to get away from the subs, get under some P-38 protection, and see if he wants to come to me. If I pick up the P-38 support while he loses Koepang, our odds are pretty even. If he stays to cover the landings, there are plenty of opportunities for me to cause attrition...subs, PT boats, mines, my defensive CAP, and I'm going to send what's left of VF-3 on a high altitude sweep. I'm sending another PT squadron from Darwin to Babar, they'll hold off to avoid attacking in the day, but I should be able to get two consecutive nights with PT attacks in low moonlight. With a little luck, tomorrow we'll be looking at a weakened and vulnerable Kido Butai.

The heavy enemy surface task force is pulling out to rearm. He may be faced with a bit of a tradeoff--with the heavies headed to rearm, and with a detachment broken off to hit Port Hedland, his surface forces at Babar are somewhat limited. Will he bombard the island to neutralize the airbase overnight? If he does, those ships will need to rearm too and won't be much use if I send my surface forces in to have a knife fight with him. But if he doesn't, he's going to have to deal with those fighters in addition to my carriers, plus whatever I can throw at him from Darwin.


Solomons
The S-44 put 2 Mk10s into a troop-carrying cargo ship near Ontang Java, sinking it.

CENTPAC
I've greenlit the Midway operation. I'd be really surprised if they had a carrier ready to intervene with what we're seeing around Darwin, but I have CVEs for added protection. We were ready in advance for this, so it will proceed quickly.

E. Australia
I'm tentatively organizing a new offensive based out of here as well. The last pieces are coming into place now, but because of the proximity to events in the Timor Sea this isn't as certain to go forward as the Midway op.


Reinforcements
224 Group RAF arrives at Aden (AirHQ)
LST-447 arrives at Portland - that makes two, off to Pearl with them
TK Gulfwave arrives at Balboa
317th TCG/40th TCS arrives at Eastern USA (unrestricted and full strength, but most valuable as a training unit at the moment)
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Old 02-08-2022, 01:16 PM   #505
Ostfriese
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Almost one year into the war now.

Despite all the losses, his air training blunder and his resource consuming he's still going strong, but I've got the feeling that he's just one major naval defeat away from crumbling, maybe even collapsing.

His plane losses seem to be excessively high, especially in the carrier air groups. How long can he endure and replace such losses?
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Old 02-08-2022, 06:58 PM   #506
Molon Labe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostfriese View Post
Almost one year into the war now.

Despite all the losses, his air training blunder and his resource consuming he's still going strong, but I've got the feeling that he's just one major naval defeat away from crumbling, maybe even collapsing.

His plane losses seem to be excessively high, especially in the carrier air groups. How long can he endure and replace such losses?
I wish I knew. It kinda looks like my resource denial strategy completely failed. There's really never been a point where it looked like he didn't have replacement aircraft available, his naval optempo has taken a few dips but nothing that's stopped him from doing what he needed or wanted to do. The one place where it looks like he's hurting is China.

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Old 02-09-2022, 12:07 AM   #507
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These numbers are insane.

I'm aware WiTP is a game and not a repeat of real history, but I'll still make a comparison:

Japanese aircraft production (all types):

1939: 4,467
1940: 4,768
1941: 5,088
1942: 8,861
Total: 23,184

I do not have the numbers of aircraft produced before 1939, but the number was much lower, and the aircraft were less modern, but with the war in China already raging there were also losses, and most aircraft he lost are Zeros and Oscars, which were produced from 1939 onwards.

He lost about a third of the aircraft Japan historically had produced up to this point. With his current ops coming up he's on pace to lose another 1,000 to 1,700 aircraft (40 - 70 per day) before the end of 1942, so his losses could eventually outnumber the historical production numbers, all this at a time when your aircraft production has only begun to increase (and still the US produced about 48,000 aircraft in 1942 alone).

I know that WiTP allows the Japanese player to influence his industry, but to sustain losses like this he would have to ramp up aircraft production by some 20% to 30%, and this for the duration of the war, not just for a few days.

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Old 02-10-2022, 09:20 AM   #508
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6 December 1942
Close call for USS Wasp; Colombo disengaged, more transport losses at Babar while enemy avoids significant losses

Battle of the Timor Sea
Our transport group encountered an enemy surface group (2 C, 4 DD) approaching Babar. They took a few hits as they retreated, but they weren't the enemy's actual objective today and were able to get away.

The PT squadron crept within 1000 yards of the enemy task force before opening fire. The CL Kitikami was raked with .50cal fire (in real life, this would have been aimed at the bridge and searchlights) but we failed to get any torpedo hits against the fast, manuevering ships. One PT was sunk and another was damaged by small-caliber AA gun hits.

At Port Hedland, enemy detachment there hunted down 4 more cargo ships that had been running resources from there to Perth.

Back to Babar--the surface group made it through the minefield without hitting anything and shelled the base. Fortunately, this rather underpowered group didn't accomplish much--1 P-38 destroyed and as many as 10 fighters damaged but probably less (each instance of a plane being damaged is reported, many of which are the same plane being damaged multiple times). Facility damage to the airbase was insignificant.

The O20 and KXIII attempted attacks on enemy surface combat forces near Babar, but both were spotted by escorts and failed to get into attack position.

That was all before the sun rose. During daylight, the enemy would launch airstrikes that finished off all the transports that hadn't bugged out (5 cargo ships and 2 minesweepers--with some equipment lost due to an embarked land unit fragment). They didn't go after the Lex and Sara, in fact the KB even backed off a bit, taking a position where we'd have to expose ourselves to fighter-escorted Betty raids from Koepang if we wanted to take a shot at the carriers. The raids resulted in the losses of 7 Oscars, 10 Betties, 1 Zero, 2 P-39s and 2 P-40s. One of the lost cargo ships had been intended to be used to refuel PTs cycling into Babar, so that loss is going to interfere with my ability to keep PTs on station.


Strait of Luzon
USS Tautog torpedoed and sank an unescorted troop-carrying cargo ship off the southern coast of Taiwan. Two shots, two hits, two detonations, confirmed kill. Not bad at all.


SouthPAC
Near Starbuck Island (south of Palmyra) an enemy sub fired a 6-torpedo spread at the Wasp. We got lucky and all of them missed. I presume this was fired from extreme range due to the number of escorts--12 destroyers in this group. We prosecuted the sub afterwards but only scored one damaging near miss on it before it got away.

This is still a bad result for us, as the enemy now knows the Wasp isn't among the carriers threatening them near Babar.


Burma
I send my second-rate medium bombers to hit Akyab, mostly thinking it would be an easy training run for the rookie pilots in those groups. But they had Oscars protecting them and we lost 1 Blenheim and 1 Hudson.

Enemy land forces (regiment strength) attempted an attack against the brigade serving at the tip of the daschund's tail in the Moulmein area evacuation and once again found themselves understrength for the task. Casualties were 43 to 458 favoring us.


Reinforcements
SS Harder arrives at Balboa
W Flight RAF arrives at Sydney (0/6 Beaufighters Ic, unrestricted--I have enough VIc models to transition a full-sized squadron, that will free up Ic models to bring these to full strength)
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Old 02-11-2022, 04:15 PM   #509
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7 December 1942
Enemy carriers backing down in Timor Sea?

Burma
We got a little payback for the bombers splashed over Akyab, with the Canadian P-40s that were formerly based at Raheng sweeping over the base and downing 5 Oscars.

Japanese paratroops tried to take Cox's Bazaar but were routed by the garrison.

Solomons and New Britain
We swept Rabaul with P-38s but no one came up to play. B-17s followed that up with an attack on the airbase, which did little damage (probably due to severe storms interfering).

Timor and Banda Seas
Really quiet here today as the enemy carriers aren't here to be seen anymore. Doesn't mean they're actually gone. We had some bombers hit Babar and one of our subs took a shot at their amphibious reinforcements and missed, but that's all.

Refits and Reinforcements
CA Northampton beginning refit in shipyard at Pearl Harbor
CA Quincy beginning refit in shipyard at Pearl Harbor
DD Gridley taken out of commission to begin refit at Pearl Harbor
DD Benham beginning refit in shipyard at Pearl Harbor
DD Ellet beginning refit in shipyard at Pearl Harbor
SS Seadragon taken out of commission to begin refit at Brisbane
SS Haddock taken out of commission to begin refit at Adak Island

CL Cleveland arrives at Balboa
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Old 02-11-2022, 04:37 PM   #510
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8 December 1942
Chaos in Burma; PTs miss amphibious transports, but they turn around anyway?

Timor Sea
We had 11 PTs take on their amphibious group--which had only an APD and 2 PBs as escorts, on a moonless night with combat breaking out at just 2,000 yards. We managed one torpedo hit, which was a dud. 4 of our PTs were lost to return fire.

I'm not sure why, but this group ended up turning around. My best guess: he lost sight of my carriers yesterday and thought they left and ordered his fleet in, but when the enemy scouts spotted my carriers today, the AI commander of the amphibs chickened out. And not irrationally--it did save them from a punishing airstrike.

There was a Betty raid on Darwin; our CAP shot down 1 Zero and 1 Betty before they turned around.

The Yamato's group made it back to Koepang; the O20 and KXIII took shots at them near the base but missed.

An enemy sub took approached the Lex&Sara's replenishment group, got caught and got depth charged for moderate to heavy damage. The CVBG's Avengers also reported another hit on a sub. It looks like there are at least 6 in the area, though.

It's my turn to push a little, I need to get supplies and fuel into the area pretty badly, and at least for now we're not seeing enemy carriers, and my carriers are in position to support the fleet movements.


Caroline Islands
USS Herring torpedoed and sank a PB that was part of an ASW group hunting it.


Solomons and New Britain
Nicks came out to play with the P-38s this time, we shot 3 of them down along with 5 Dinah recon aircraft that were apparently on a training flight.


Burma and Thailand

What a mess. We lost Swebo to paratroops. Not a huge deal but it will likely slow down supply flow to us. The bulk of the enemy tanks arrived in Mandalay, hot on the heels of our retreating Rangoon base forces. We have some fortifications there, and a decent number of troops, but not a whole lot of antitank guns. The B-25s and B-24s are going to work together to try to suppress them tomorrow. While that's going on, I'm trying to pull some more base forces back so if I can move planes out of here, I'd hate to lose squadrons on the ground if there's a rapid overrun.

In Thailand, the western evacuation continues with tons of bombing slowing us down. At the nose of the procession, the enemy has moved the equivalent of 2 divisions into Uttaradit. So much for my hope of short-term local force superiority. I'm close to that, but not quite. The best thing I can do for now if let the procession continue and hope I build up a critical mass faster than he does, all the while getting bombed and with supplies continuing to be consumed.

Refits and Reinforcements
SS Sunfish begins refit while under repair at Seattle (She made it!!!!)
AK Carina arrives at Alameda
SC PC-1077 arrives at Los Angeles
VS-2D13 arrives at Seattle (restricted, full strength floatplane unit--training duty)
5th USN Naval Construction Regiment arrives at Port Hueneme
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