RE: Here I Come Again! (Full Version)

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tocaff -> RE: Here I Come Again! (6/24/2009 11:32:12 PM)

February 19, 1942

Bill looks up from his desk and Ed is standing there. "What's up boss," he says and gets up to go to his wall map as he sees that Ed is holding some comms. "Sarmi has been invaded and Kweilin has fallen to the Japs," he replies. "Great," mutters Bill. Ed says, "Sit down and think what I'm going to say to you over. I don't expect an immediate answer, though by the end of the day would be good. My wife will arrive in a few days and she has a niece in tow. What I need from you, or should I say that I would appreciate your taking her off our hands for an evening. My wife and I have some serious talking to do and this girl shouldn't be around for it. You'd really be helping me out here." Bill responds with "OK, just let me know when and where."

All convoys remain untouched.

The bombardment TF heading for Wake Island remains undetected and should arrive on the 23rd.

In San Francisco another convoy begins loading as another one is scheduled to sail in 2 days.

Not far from the Pentagon, FDR signs Executive Order 9066. More than 100K German, Italian and Japanese-Americans will be moved from Pacific coastal areas to camps.

Loading ships for another convoy.

tocaff -> RE: Here I Come Again! (6/26/2009 2:55:57 AM)

February 20, 1942

In China a formation of the AVG has been doing battle with the Japanese. The Zeros are making the fight a living hell for them at present.

The Dutch TF is moving from Derby to Broome as it offers better escape options if needed.

The Australians flying Hudsons out of PM hit an IJN DD with a bomb off of Buna. These green pilots train slowly and die in a flash.

"Sarmi has fallen and the Admiralty Islands have been invaded," says Ed, "How about we go get some lunch?" Bill gives a thumbs up to lunch and wonders if all of these people and places that are casualties of the war can be so casually thought of. Are we really capable of events changing us so much?

Pearl Harbor receives another convoy of men and material.

tocaff -> RE: Here I Come Again! (6/26/2009 9:06:33 PM)

February 21, 1942 Banjarmasin

The IJN appears and the shells start to rain down on the Dutch defenders at Banjarmasin.  Japanese aircraft add to the misery of the garrison there.  As the bombardment stops Japanese troops storm ashore.

Dutch planes find an attack the mini KB supporting ops in the Banarmasin area.  The Japanese CAP is a little slow intercepting, but though 10 torpedoes are dropped none score a hit.  The CAP then tears into the retiring planes with a vengence and down 9 while damaging another 8 aircraft.

Japanese planes hit a Dutch PT at Bali.  These poor guys just can't hide and though the damage is light it's enough to prevent these boats from getting into an attacking position no matter how hard they try.

The Admiralty Islands are taken as is Ferguson Island.

The USN BBs are closing on Wake Island though they were spotted by an IJN sub.  This could get dicey as they will refuel the DDs for the runin tomorrow.

I don't have much time for the AAR at present as the construction on the house, normal life, WITP turns and now my father in ICU again are taking all of my time.  I apologize, but this will have to do for today's installment as it's time to tend to the dog.

tocaff -> RE: Here I Come Again! (6/27/2009 9:06:57 PM)

February 22, 1942 East of Wake Island

Orders are given, klaxons sound, men scramble to their battle stations, and they wait. The wait is a short one and the warships that were sneaking up on Wake Island, formerly the hunters, are now the hunted. Zeros escorting Nells and Bettys have little to do other than watch for a Cap that doesn't exist. The sky seems to be filled with planes looking up from the decks of the ships and they're dropping in altitude as they approach. Torpedo bombers, almost everyone shudders at the same time with the same thought. From the sky the ocean seems to be filled with ships and the aircrews are delighted to have clear approaches to drop their torpedoes. The flak is not very accurate but 1 plane bursts into flames and another 8 are damaged. The torpedoes are released and the Japanese head back to base unable to claim a single hit. The USN, though unlucky that the sub yesterday must've reported sighting them, is extremely lucky to escape this air attack unharmed. The order is given to make full speed (21 knots) and retire to Pearl Harbor. The mission has been wisely scrubbed.

The Dutch sub KXVII hits the IJN DD Asakaze with a fish near Banjarmasin. The DD is on fire and heavily damaged, but the sub wisely slips away before the rest of the TF can attack her.

In the Pentagon Ed and Bill are chatting as there have been no reports crossing their desks today worth mentioning. Of course there have been the usual air and artillery bombardments, but no new landings or assaults have been reported today. Ed says, "A lazy Sunday is exactly what we needed my boy. That map of yours has to many pins stuck in places that should never have been heard of by the public." The phone rings, Ed answers and nods his head, grunts and finally says, "OK, I'll meet you then, 3PM, Union Station, Tuesday." He turns to Bill as he hangs up the phone and says, "Well we've got dates on Tuesday so prepare yourself as my wife isn't the person that you'd expect to marry a military man, especially Navy and Elizabeth will have you under heavy scrutiny."

tocaff -> RE: On my heels (6/29/2009 12:39:13 AM)

February 23, 1942  Washington DC

Bill asks Ed where they're going tomorrow with the women and Ed only says, "Whatever my wife, Elizabeth, wants is what we'll do.  What's the news today?"
"Well, let's see," says Bill, "The Japs have landed troops at Emirau Island and Biak.  The landings at Benjarmasin have been going on for 3 days now and they finally assaulted the base with a force of 12.9K troops, suffering 18/0/0.  The Dutch defenders numbered 8K and they lost 21/0/0 with the rest of them retreating.  The Japanese with 171.7K men have attacked Bataan and the defenders numbering 39.3K held, though the forts dropped to 3.  The loses are reported as 7171/86/20 and 1586/48/11, respectively.  There is a report that the CL Tenryu has sunk too.  I have the tally for ship loses here if you'd like to see it." He hands a sheet of paper to Ed containing the list shown below.

The AK Palawan is being loaded with supplies for Johnson Island so her crew is enjoying their last day in Honolulu for a while.

The Tarpon has gotten orders to prepare to load mines for her next mission.  Her destination will be given to CDR Wallace Wednesday, when he reports to HQ.

Houston sits idly at anchor at Brisbane awaiting orders.

The submarine Cuttlefish patrols the Aluetians and all agree that this northern assignment stinks.  Lookouts and officers who are topside are encrusted with ice from the spray almost immediately.  Life aboard a submarine is hardly tolerable under these conditions so tarpon's skipper, CDR Hottel has shortened watch times for these men.


tocaff -> RE: On my heels (6/30/2009 1:29:00 AM)

February 24, 1942 Washington DC

Ed takes the comms from Bill and notes that Japanese troops landed at Roxas while Emirau and Biak have been taken by the Japanese. Ed tells Bill that he's got to leave now to get to Union Station to meet the train. Bill asks where he should meet them and is told at the Hotel Mayflower bar. Bill says, "I'll be there in dress whites by 7PM, OK?" Bill answers with a nod and leaves.

The Dutch are running air attacks at the Japanese shipping in the Banjarmasin area daily and today they hit an MSW with 3 bombs and watch it sink almost immediately.

Back in Washington Bill arrives at the Hotel Mayflower at 7 PM, sharp. He walks into the bar and spots Ed and asks, "How is everything?" Ed answers, "Dinner will be as soon as the women finish dressing and join us, we'll dine here. Two drinks later the women arrive and another round is ordered. Introductions are made and it's easy to see that Ed is uncomfortable and Elizabeth is cold. Elizabeth's niece, Elaine, is a knockout and she and Bill hit it off well. Once they have finished dinner Bill and Elaine take their leave to go dancing. Now that they are alone Ed says, "Beth, I know that you're unhappy with me because I remained in the Navy instead of going to work for your father's company and that you blame me for our son's death. With that being said I think that I deserve to know the purpose of this meeting." Elizabeth coldly states, "I am filing for a divorce. You're in love with the damned Navy and now with a war on I'm as good as being a widow. I know you won't be happy until you get sea duty, which means combat. I'm not going to sit at home worrying if you'll survive from day to day. I've lost enough already when our son, who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, died in the service of his country." With that they just sit there staring at one another and Ed orders 2 more drinks. Finally he says that he'll sign the divorce papers and that he bears her no ill feelings. He finishes his drink, pays the bill, kisses Beth on the cheek and says goodbye. She just sits there staring blankly off into space.

tocaff -> RE: On my heels (6/30/2009 9:00:22 PM)

February 25, 1942

Benham sails as flag of a small convoy bound for Johnson Island.  Palawan is 1 or the 2 AKs loaded with supplies.  Red is telling his crew members that he's a good luck charm and who in their right mind would argue with him after what he went through.  "I won't sleep below decks until this war is over or we get really foul weather," says Red.  It is a common thing during this time period for the men to sleep under the stars in these warm climates so the officers don't mind as long as you're not in the way.

The CV Hornet leaves San Francisco with her escorts bound for Anchorage.  The USN is determined that any Japanese move on the Aluetians will be met with force.

The Dutch continue to attack the IJN despite heavy loses and today, again near Banjarmasin, a MSW sinks after being hit by a torpedo.

"Damn!  Now Roxas has fallen! I've got to get more damned pins!  When the hell will we go over onto the offensive?"  Bill is unusually vocal this day and Ed asks, "How did dancing go with Elaine?"  The twinkle in Bill's eyes says it all and Ed says, "OK Romeo let's get these mountains of paper out of here so we can go home sometime."  Bill doesn't tell Ed that he'll be seeing Elaine just about every chance he gets as he's been smitten and Ed hasn't mentioned the impending divorce.

In London after 2 days of debate concerning the war's conduct the House of Commons closes with many speakers critical of government policy, questioning the bombing of Germany.

Air Marshall A T "Bomber" Harris has recently been made CinC of Bomber Command.

tocaff -> RE: On my heels (7/1/2009 11:18:35 PM)

February 26, 1942  East of Banjarmasin

A Dutch air raid on a Japanese TF reports a torpedo hit on BB Fuso while 5 Zeros on CAP damage 5 Dutch planes.  Two more strikes attack this TF scoring nothing and reporting fire on Fuso while the CAP loses a Zero and the Dutch lose 2 planes and 4 more damaged.

The failed bombardment of Wake Island TF has arrived safely at Pearl Harbor.  Maybe even though the mission failed Steve will realize he needs to be on his toes.

3 convoys are heading to Pearl, 1 to the US and 2 more are heading to NZ.

Bill shows up in the office looking tired and Ed just smiles and asks, "Rough night?"  They review comms together and see that Hengchow, which was surrounded, was assaulted by 176K Japanese troops and was taken despite the 26.1K defenders best efforts to hold them.  Loses are reported as 2640/53/3 for the Japs and 39151/169/0 for the Chinese.  Those who didn't die in the fighting now face the harsh treatment of prisoners by the IJA.

FDR has called an end to his meeting with his cabinet and now is alone with Gen G C Marshall.  "Damn it then do it.  Shore up the Central Pacific defenses and make the bastards pay if they come that way.  Ready Alaska proper, I don't care much about the Aleutians as we can retake them.  I do want the Japs to pay for any gains they make and I want them thrown out on their asses from those islands fast.  As for the SWPAC area do what you can, but please safeguard the route to Australia and see about sending American troops there and soon."  Gen Marshall outlines the plans for these areas and FDR nods his approval and suggests that they close with a drink.  "Remember," FDR says, "We need something and soon to give to the American public besides bad news."  An aide knocks on the door and enters handing a message to General Marshall.  "Well the British have something to crow about at least.  The RAF has bombed the Gneisenau and did some heavy damage to her."  The Gneisenau will never put to sea again under her own power.


tocaff -> RE: Bye Bye Bataan (7/2/2009 11:07:54 PM)

February 27, 1942 Washington DC

This is my 2nd attempt at posting this. The 1st time I had finished what I thought to be a pretty fair post only to have lost the server. I hope to be able to recreate it well. Here we go...

Bill walks into Ed's office, drops 2 comms on the desk and as he collapses into a chair he says, "They're not going to like this at all." Ed picks up the papers and as he's reading he picks up the phone. "Give me the admiral. Very important. I don't care, interrupt the meeting. If you won't do it then I'm on my way to do it myself. OK, I'll hold...Thanks. Hello sir. Yes sir your orderly told me. Yes it is. We just got the news that the Japs assaulted Bataan and it fell. Yes sir their force was put at 165K and our defenders a meager 34.4K. Loses for them pegged at 2258/35/5 and ours 60443/214/88. Yes sir a massive surrender took place. I don't envy you that task sir. Yes I'll send them up now. Good bye sir. Bill, they won't like hearing that Omoc has fallen either." Bill says, "We need to fight this war, not read about it. We were trained to fight and a deck beneath our feet would be a welcome change." Ed agrees and sits down. "There are going to be lots of questions asked about this surrender," he says.

All convoys are proceeding to their destinations without interference.

Plans are drawn up and will be issued for the redeployment of troops to strengthen the arc of islands that shield Pearl Harbor from isolation. If the Japanese intend to strike at any of these places they will be met with stiff resistance. Orders are also cut and soon US troops will be sent to Australia, in force. Suddenly there seems to be a shortage of APs in the Pacific.

Japanese troops celebrate the fall of Bataan.

tocaff -> RE: Bye Bye Bataan (7/3/2009 9:28:37 PM)

February 28, 1942

Ed and Bill are filled with gloom and doom. The constant flow of comms containing bad news is dragging both of them down. Today's news is more of the same:
The Japanese have landed troops at Kiriwina Island and Vella Lavella. They have taken Ormac. There are unconfirmed radio reports out of the Phillipines that the IJA is being unusually barbaric with their POWs from Bataan, which is going some given their rapidly growing reputation. There has to be a way of halting this advance across the Pacific.

The Dutch continue to fly raids on the Banjarmasin area and today the hit an AP with a bomb. In tribute to the Dutch colonial troops they seem to be the only ones doing any damage to the Japanese war machine. Their subs and planes have done well so far, but as bases fall it's getting harder and harder to stay in the combat area.

The Tarpon leaves Pearl Harbor to mine Saipan.

Convoys continue on their way unimpeded.

Anchorage is closing in on it's airfield reaching a 7 level. Now additional support units for the planes are needed there, but unluckily the IJN managed to nail an AP taking one such unit there.

Bataan Death March

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/4/2009 9:16:12 PM)

March 1, 1942

The IJN has commenced sweeping the mines in the Bataan area according to guerrilla band with a radio.

The Dutch attack a pair of IJN CVEs but run into a 30+ CAP comprised of Zeros.  They hit nothing and lose 3 torpedo bombers for their efforts.  Did I ever mention that I hate the Zero bonus?  Well at least when I'm playing the Allied side.

Ed sends the comms upstairs knowing that the stream of bad news has no end in sight.  Kiriwina and Vella Lavella have been taken by the Japanese.  Bill's map is so filled with pins that Ed has started calling in their voodoo map.

VP-82 flying Hudsons out of Argentia, Newfoundland sinks the U-656 off of Cape Race.

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/6/2009 12:47:22 AM)

March 2, 1942

A small, empty convoy leaves Johnson Island bound for Pearl Harbor only to be attacked by a Japanese sub. The DD Preston takes 2 torpedoes and is crippled. All efforts to save her are futile and she's scuttled.

The Palawan's convoy is unloading a Johnson Island and her crew thinks that a day or 2 either way and it would have been them getting attacked. The men of the Palawan are beginning to view Red as a talisman. Maybe between their skipper, who got them out of the Phillipines, and Red they can survive this war.

Another Dutch air attack on Japanese shipping near Banjarmasin sees them score 2 bomb hits on a MSW, which they leave heavily damaged and burning.

Bill puts a pin in his map as Munda has fallen. Ed tells him that Jap troops have landed at Tacloban. Bill says, "Can't you speak to the boss and speed up getting that ship of ours? This sitting on my behind is going to drive me crazy." Ed smiles and replies, "I thought that Elaine was driving you crazy. You'd actually give up a desk for a deck and not be able to see her? The good news is that I've been invited to a dinner and our boss is attending it too. With any luck I can ask him if he has any idea about that promise of his since he's privy to what's going on with the production of new ships."

Tarpon sails peacefully on her way to Saipan. The crew bitterly has taken to making jokes about a war raging all around them, yet they see nothing of it unless they're in port.

Houston and Boise are making their way towards Pearl. Somewhere along the way some ASW assets are supposed to join them. Both ships are in need of upgrades and maintenance.

Pearl Harbor has seen her capacity for supplies almost completely filled. Aircrews are training furiously in preparation for the fighting ahead and their squadrons are almost all up to full strength. Some of the units have been upgraded to newer plane types.

DD Preston

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/6/2009 9:38:37 PM)

March 3, 1942 Washington DC

Bill puts a pin in the map for yet another base has fallen to the Japs, Tacloban this time. He heads into Ed's office and Ed is just hanging up the phone. "Grab a seat," he instructs Bill. "What's up today?" Ed replies about Tacloban falling and that the IJN has bombarded Soerabaja. He also says that there is a fuzzy report of a Dutch sub putting a fish into an AP in the waters east of Soerabaja. "No confirmation, no mention of other ships, just that. So when's that dinner that you and the boss are attending?" Ed replies that it's on Monday the 9th and yes he'll try to pin the Admiral down about a ship and the time frame. "Speaking about relaxing, lover boy, how's it going with Elaine?" Bill replies that tomorrow she's heading home, to Pittsburgh. "She lives in the Squirrel Hill section of the city on Forbes Road and I've been invited to visit if my slave driving boss will give me a long weekend off," Bill says with a large grin on his face. Ed laughs and tells him that he'll let him know in a day or 2 as to when he can go. "After all, Ed says, "It's not as if the war will be won or lost if you're out of the office for a short amount of time."

A surface combat TF silently slips out of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific bound for Anchorage. If the Japanese go that way it'll cost them.

In the White House FDR is handed a report that was issued by the Vichy government in France. It states that 'official' German figures concerning the number of French citizens arrested in 1941 was 5,390 and it goes on to state that more than 250 were executed.

In England Bomber Command hits the Renault plant in Billancourt, a Paris suburb with 235 planes and only lost 1 of them. The Lancaster bomber makes it's debut today mining Brest.

Lancaster bomber

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/7/2009 11:03:21 PM)

March 4, 1942 Washington DC

"Soerabaja has been invaded," says Bill. Ed replies that so has Guiuan and that Catbalogan has been occupied by the Japanese. They both stare gloomily at the wall map and quietly wonder what it'll take to stop the Japanese.

Dutch PTs make 2 attacks on Japanese shipping at Soerabaja with 1 PT sunk and another damaged. The CGs are giving the invaders a tough time of it though for the last couple of days.

There are reports that S-27 has staged a surface attack on a Jap AP scoring 7 hits with her deck gun and leaving the ship burning. There is no position report given due to static.

Convoy PQ-12 is sailing towards Murmansk and is now entering the danger zone.

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/8/2009 8:07:52 PM)

March 5, 1942 Washington DC

As he heads to Ed's office Bill puts a pin in Guiuan because it's now in Japanese hands. He relates the latest news about Guiuan and adds, "Pamakasan has been invaded, PM is under increasingly heavy air attacks and the Japanese have assaulted Soerabaja with 22.1K troops. They lost 540/22/0 and the Dutch defenders, who numbered 9.4K, lost 123/5/0. The Dutch PTs attacked two more times today with no good news, losing 2 of their boats for the effort. The bright side is that the CGs at Soerabaja continue to damage the Japs. Oh yeah, I shouldn't forget that the IJN has lost another MSW. It seems that the Dutch sub O 20 nailed it with a torpedo." Bill sits down and says, "All of this makes you wonder when Uncle Sam will start punching." Ed has been silent and shares the growing state of frustration that's endemic at the Pentagon. The Big Brass had better know what they're doing, he thinks to himself. Bill snaps him out of his thoughts with, "Have you heard the rumor spreading about that convoy, PQ-12 I believe it's called, having been spotted by the Germans? Now those guys manning those merchantmen have guts. Go in the water there and it's all over in minutes."

At this point in the game I grow increasingly aware of the US government's desire to have some good news to report to the public. Morale is suffering though I know that my time is almost just around the corner, if I can hang on.

O 20

Capt. Harlock -> RE: Hello March (7/8/2009 8:42:06 PM)


At this point in the game I grow increasingly aware of the US government's desire to have some good news to report to the public. Morale is suffering though I know that my time is almost just around the corner, if I can hang on.

Time to start planning a Doolittle raid![;)]

tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/9/2009 10:36:19 PM)

A Doolittle Raid? If I only could..........There are wheels that have been set in motion that could catch the Japanese by surprise. More on that in a future installment.

March 6, 1942 Washington DC

Little is going on in the war today other than the usual bombings and artillery exchanges. The Japanese landings continue at Pamakasan and Soerabaja. The IJN again bombards Soerabaja while the CGs continue to deal out their punishment. A report showing the pilot pools of the various Allied nations fighting against Japan has made it's way to Ed's desk and sits there. Ed is relaxing in his office chatting up an Annapolis pal of his who has stopped by. Bill is off to Union Station to see if he can get ticketed for his trip to Pittsburgh and from there he's heading home to relax.

In Europe the BB Tirpitz has sailed with 3 DDs to intercept PQ-12. Bad weather has intervened on behalf of the Allies and the German Navy will return home empty handed. On their return planes from HMS Victorious attack doing no damage.


tocaff -> RE: Hello March (7/10/2009 9:23:25 PM)

March 7, 1942

The IJN again bombards Soerabaja as troops continue to pour ashore. The Japanese unit commanders organize their men and a force of 41.5K assaults the defenders who number a paltry 8.9K. The Japanese lose 326/8/0 and the Dutch 375/3/0 with the forts falling to 0. To say that the situation is hopeless is an understatement. There are no more of the valiant Dutch PTs left to defend Soerabaja and almost all of their subs have departed those waters for supplies or due to damage.

Taung Gyi is attacked by a Japanese force that numbers 37.1K and the defenders numbering 7.4K collapse and retreat towards Lashio. The Japanese lose 1245/20/1 but take Taung Gyi and the Commonwealth troops lose 234/4/0.

At Pamakasan the Japs attack with a force of 1.6K and are repulsed by the 2.3K strong denfenders. Loses are 26/0/0 and 106/1/0 respectively.

In the Med Force H delivers 15 Spits to Malta. On the 21st and 29th 32 more Spits will be delivered.

The biggest thing that now preys on my mind is that my opponent holds a 3:1 victory point advantage and I'm, of course, still on my heels and reeling. The Armed forces of the USA are spreading out in a defensive crescent to shield Pearl Harbor and this will be extended to try and protect the sea lanes to Oz. Almost everywhere else I continue to be weak and my defenses are barely slowing the Japanese advance.

TM-5 firing

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/11/2009 6:15:36 PM)

March 8, 1942 Washington DC

Bill has his tickets to Pennsylvania Station in Pittsburgh for a Thursday, March 12th, departure from Union Station in Washington. Ed smiles at the sparkle in Bill's eyes when he relates the story of his uniform securing the tickets for the trip as transportation now has it's priorities with the war going on. Ed laughs and says, "Well I suppose that a little white lie won't hurt anyone. Tomorrow evening is that dinner so maybe this'll be a good week for us." Bill replies, "With the comms that I've got for you here I kinda doubt it. Soerabaja was assaulted today by a force of 43.2K with the Japs loses pegged at 105/4/0. It was met by 8.4K defenders, who lost 2654/16/0, including POWs. The rest of the defenders are retreating to Madang. The CGs at Soerabaja exacted their toll until the very end and they savaged the IJN's APs, DDs, APDs and MSWs during the past few days. With the fall of Soerabaja there are no bases worth mentioning to stage any ops out of north of Australia. This is pretty bad news, even if it was expected." Bill takes the comms and announces that he'll take them upstairs himself.

The surface combat TF has arrived at Anchorage so now there are 2 BBs, 2 CAs, 1 CL and 6 DDs in addition to the CVTF stationed there and about 4 subs. The size of this force will fluctuate, of course, and the LBA will soon swell as additional support units arrive. It's expected that the Japanese could make a move in April and the US wants to give them a warm welcome if they do come.

Tarpon continues on her voyage, spotting nothing.

The Chinese have dispatched a number of divisions assigned to the SE Asia theater and hopefully their arrival in Burma will catch the Japanese in the flank and by surprise.

China has seen little in activity by the Japanese, though their planes continue to attack Chinese forces. The AVG has been positioned and split into 3 formations, 2 of which have gotten P-40Es.

AVG P-40

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/12/2009 7:16:16 PM)

March 9, 1942 Washington DC

Bill and Ed confer over things that need to get done and are interrupted by an orderly knocking at Ed's office door. "Come," says Ed and he's handed a fresh stack of comms and the orderly leaves. "Well, let's see" as he sifts through the stack of paper, "Seems that the Japs have landed at Iloilo. Hmmm, the Chinese are on the move into Burma. This is good, Anchorage has reached a level 7 on it's port size and now the engineers there will concentrate on the forts level. Well that about wraps it up and I'll be off to ready myself for the dinner. The office is yours Bill, try not to let it bother you and please leave at a decent hour as the war will plod along no matter what we do or not do here in our little corner of it."

Later that evening.....

"Ed we've got a brand spanking new class of ship coming. They're built to protect the carriers from air attacks. They're called CLAAs and the first one to join the fleet is yours, if you want her. She's named the Atlanta and in a few weeks she's going to need a new skipper to guide her through the Panama Canal on her way to San Francisco and then off to Pearl Harbor. Don't ask about her present skipper, just answer the one question that needs to be addressed, yes or no?" Ed, in a state of shock answers in the affirmative. "Who's going to take my current spot? I told Bill that he's my first choice as an exec, that is if I'm being given that choice." Admiral Leahy answers, "I had to call in a few favors to get you this posting, not that you don't deserve it on your own merits, but honestly if your Great Uncle Bill hadn't saved my ass way back when at the Academy I wouldn't have done this. I think that he will consider this final payment on a long owed debt of honor, may he rest in peace. Your new ship already has an exec and Bill will have to cool his heels a bit longer, but he's in line for a promotion and with it he'll be getting his own command, probably a DD. So when you tell him the news tomorrow leave out the last part. Now I'd appreciate it if you'd get this old sailor a Scotch." Ed answers by heading off to the bar wondering how poor Bill will take it when he finds out that he'll be statying in Washington a bit longer than he'd like to.

Houston and Boise continue on their course to Pearl where they will undergo repairs and a long overdue refit.

The Benham's small convoy is leaving Johnson Island after her 2 charges have emptied their holds. Phil has the bridge and he's enjoying a beautiful night at sea, ever wary of what might be lurking.

Aboard the Palawan the crew is edgy as they know that Japanese subs have been in these waters recently. Their skipper Capt Demesa paces the bridge calmly staring at the stars wishing for a safe journey back to Pearl. Red is busily engaged in shooting craps with 3 other members of the crew who are off duty. One of them remarks that Red's luck doesn't appear to be so good tonight as he's been losing. Another of the men tells him to shut up and not tempt the fates.

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/13/2009 10:05:33 PM)

March 10, 1942

Aboard the Palawan the crew has taken to rubbing Red's head whenever they pass him hoping that the good luck rubs off. They are a day out of Johnson Island and it seems to be working.

On the Benham all eyes are peeled for periscope feathers in the water, torpedo wakes, enemy ships or even aircraft. The crew will get little rest until they return to Pearl. They view the record of having safely completed all convoy missions flawlessly with pride and look forward to the day that they can repay the Japs for the loss of the Enterprise, who they were escorting on that fateful day.

The Tarpon sails on her lonely mission and they expect to sight Saipan on the 13th. Who knows, they joke, maybe they'll even get to see some shipping. CDR Wallace knows that even if they do spot something they can't attack it until after they've sown their minefield.

The Saratoga prepares to sail as she has orders to go raiding. Hopefully she'll have better luck than the Big E did.

In Washington DC Ed calls Bill into his office to go over the comms that they have to this point in the day. Landings by the Japanese continue at Iloilo and Pamakasan. Iloilo was assaulted by 17.3K Japanese troops, who lost 665/29/0 but dropped the forts to 0. The defenders lost 61/3/0 of their original strength of 3.2K. Lashio has fallen. They discuss the reports of the RAF bombing of Essen yesterday and finally Bill blurts out with, "What happened last night? Are you getting a ship?" Ed replies that he's supposed to get the CLAA Atlanta and will be getting his orders to assume his new command in the immediate future. "What about me?" You're taking me out of this basement right? By the lack of an answer and the look on your face," Bill says, "The news for me is not so good. Please tell me that I'm not correct." Ed replies, "Damn it all to hell. I'm not supposed to say anything about what's ahead for you other than I can't take you with me. I'm going to disobey an order and say this and I'll deny it on a stack of bibles. You are to stay here in this office for an undetermined amount of time. I don't know if a new commander will be sent in or it'll be your baby. I do know that you're in line for a promotion and that you're also up for a tin can, but you never heard that from me. Let's call it a day and go out for some dinner and I'll have a drink and you'll get some milk. How is that little problem of yours doing anyway?" Bill says that he's been OK and they get ready to leave.

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/14/2009 9:06:53 PM)

March 11, 1942 Pearl Harbor

The CV Saratoga sails with her escorting force, destination unknown, mission: raid targets of opportunity.

In the Pentagon Ed puts a pin in Bill's map and says, "The Japs assaulted Madioen and took it. The landings are continuing at Pamakasan. By the way when do you leave tomorrow?" Bill tells him, "It's a late train and it arrives in the morning." Ed says, "Good, then we can grab a bite to eat before you go loverboy."

At the Oval Office FDR is informed that the government of the DEIs is in Adelaide and is up and running. He asks if there's nothing that can be done to light a fire under the Russians to get them to move against the Japanese and the answer is still the same, they need more men, planes, supplies and training before they'll be ready.

In Moscow Stalin is informed that PQ-12 is expected to arrive in Murmansk tomorrow. He tells his aides to demand more be sent by the British and Americans. He also adds that if the Americans ask about attacking the Japanese the answer should be "when we're ready."

Tarpon continues as if she's alone on the planet.

Houston and Boise continue towards PH.

2 days out of Johnson Island finds Benham and her charges are right on schedule, a couple of false sightings of periscopes and that's it. Red is complaining that his shipmates will rub his head so much that his hair will fall out.

American industry is really starting to pump out the goodies for conducting a war.

Building P-39s

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/15/2009 8:05:34 PM)

March 12, 1942

The Japanese troops continue to come ashore at Pamakasan.

Iloilo falls as a Japanese force of 16.4K eject the 3K defenders. The Japanese lose 209/5/0 and the Allies 6590/29/0. The Japanese have added the 108 USAAF BF and the 61 PA Div to the POW bag.

S-27 puts a fish into DD Akigumo 60 miles NW of Rabul. She had been trying to penetrate the screen and get at the CV she spotted.

Ed and Bill have finished a hearty dinner and headed to the train station. They say their goodbyes at Union Station and Bill boards the train for Pittsburgh. The noise of the train's wheels on the track and the drowsiness result in Bill being lulled to sleep in a very short time. Suddenly he is awakened by a young woman who excuses herself and sits down in a seat opposite to Bill's. "Hi," she says, "Sorry I woke you, but I lost my balance and couldn't help bumping into you. My name is Florence, Flo to my friends and you are?" "Lt William Smith, USN, miss," he replies. "No need to be so formal William, or may I call you Bill?" Florence continues to talk through the night and Bill, not wanting to be rude, stays up.

Stalking the IJN

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/16/2009 9:22:55 PM)

March 13, 1942 Pittsburgh, PA

The train pulls into Pennsylvania Station 3 hours late and Florence hasn't missed a beat. Poor Bill is bleary eyed and wonders how this woman can talk so much. As the train stops he has an overwhelming sense of relief to be escaping from "Motormouth" and as they say goodbye he spots Elaine on the platform. She's waving and looking overjoyed to see him and he waves back as he lets Florence get off the train in front of him. To Bills' shock Florence and Elaine run to each other and embrace. He descends the steps and jumps to the platform and awaits recognition. Elaine says, "Bill I'm so glad that the two of you have met. Florence is an old pal of mine from high school and now we can have the best time together, the 3 of us. A young man in an Army Air Corps uniform walks up to them and says that he's got the car right out front and that they should get going. Elaine introduces her older brother, Bob, and they go to the car. They pile into the car and head off to Elaine's parents home. Bill falls asleep during the ride and they wake him when they get to their destination. A busy day is canceled as it's obvious to Elaine's father and brother that Bill is beat. They sit on the front porch talking and drinking beer, have a large dinner and then Bill begs off in search of a good night's sleep. Florence says, "Elaine he's certainly no Romeo."

Back in Washington Ed puts 2 pins in the map, one each for Sampit and Djokjakarta as they've both been taken by the Japs. Japanese troops have landed at Cebu.

The Tarpon continues her lonely patrol without sighting a thing.

Another convoy approaches Pearl.

The AVG is now fully deployed in China just waiting for the chance to spring a little surprise on the Japanese.

Houston and Boise continue eastwards.

Benham's convoy continues on it's return to Pearl and Phil has decided that he and LCDR Worthington deserve to blow off a little steam of their own, if they find the time when they make port. Aboard the Palawan Red has now taken to wearing a watch cap at all times and vows to do so regardless of the weather as long as all his shipmates insist on rubbing his head. Much to Red's dismay the crew of the Palawan seems to have changed tactics and now pat him on the back, some harder than others.

As we approach April I expect the Japanese to move into the northern area, but not the mainland of Alaska. My real question is now that the DEIs and PIs are nothing more than mopup ops how long will he rest his heavy LCUs and then send them to where?

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/17/2009 8:39:38 PM)

March 14, 1942

The Japanese continue to pour ashore at Cebu.

Tarpon's lookouts joke about a blind man being able to stand watch for them. Their skipper, CDR Wallace, hears them and says, "Belay that talk and keep on your toes because in a second all that could change. We're only a couple of hundred miles south of Wake Island and don't think for a minute that the Japanese aren't flying search missions from there."

Benham scurries here and there on the perimeter of the tiny convoy making sure that her assigned sector is well covered. Palawan lumbers along riding high and the crew wonders where their next port of call will be as they figure that as long as they seem to have drawn the assignment of running supplies from Pearl to other bases they'll be a pretty busy ship.

The Cuttlefish is awaiting orders to sail on another war patrol in the Aleutians and her crew is busy making the minor repairs that never seem to end.

Bill wakes up refreshed and gets out of bed to find that the pillow his silhouette on it. He goes to the bathroom, washes up, returns to his bedroom and dons a fresh uniform. He heads down to the kitchen where Elaine's mother is cooking breakfast. Elaine's father, brother and Florence are sitting at the dining room table talking about the war. Bill takes a seat and asks about the soot on his pillow and they all laugh at him. Mel says, "This is the steel city and there's a war on so the mills are running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that soot is from them. What's going on with the Navy and why aren't they pounding the hell out of the Japs already?" Bill tells them that things aren't so simple and that the USN knows what it's doing and that he's sure that the "Brass" has plans to win the war. Mel replies that his unit is done training and that they'll be shipping out for Britain within the next 30 days. His leave ends tomorrow so he'll be leaving to catch a train to New York City this afternoon. Mel's father and mother take him to Pennsylvania station while Bill, Elaine and Florence go to Schenley Park for a picnic. They stroll through the grass barefooted and Bill notices that his feet are covered with the soot and that it looks like he's wearing socks. They return to Elaine's home in time to wash up before dinner and while Bill showers he wonders if Florence will ever stop talking long enough for him to get a chance to say anything. The family decides to go to the movies that night and afterwards they stop at an icecream parlor on the way home. Bill and Elaine's father, Harry, sit on the porch smoking cigarettes while the women are chatting in the living room. It's been a long day and they all say their good nights at about 10PM and retire to their bedrooms. Elaine and Florence are sharing Elaine's room since Bill is in the spare bedroom and Harry is using Mel's no vacant bedroom to pile up old unused clothes and old pots and pans that haven't been used since the last ice age. These things will be given to the local Boy Scout troop next week as they collect these items for the war effort.

The story about the soot from the steel mills was related to me by my father, who trained in the US Army Air Corps in Pittsburgh during the war. The pillow and park stories were from him.

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/18/2009 6:16:02 PM)

March 15, 1942

The AVG has managed to ambush the Japanese and has caught an unescorted raid on Homan. The toll is 5 Ki-51s destroyed and 2 damaged with all P-40Bs returning to base undamaged.

The SS Grayback fires a spread of torpedoes at a TK and 2 of them slam into her. The crews cheers because both fish detonate. Grayback silently slips away before trouble can find her leaves the TK heavily damaged and ablaze.

Artillery duels continue at Cebu.

Tarpon continues home and still spots nothing.

Benham and Palawan continue towards Pearl Harbor when all of a sudden Klaxons sound and men scurry to their battle stations. Phil is the OD and has given orders to increase speed to get them to the spot that sonar says that a contact occupies. The Captain arrives and takes command of Benham as Phil quickly fills him in on what's going on. Sonar now claims that the contact is gone and despite repeated sweeps nothing is detected. LCDR Worthington confides quietly in Phil that he suspects that there never was a target for them and that as the crew gains more experience these things will happen less and less. Benham returns to her station and aboard Palawan the men are praising Red's now mythical luck.

Elaine, Bill and the ever present Florence go to The Point, where the Monongahela and Allegheney Rivers meet and form the Ohio River. This is where the British built Fort Pitt during the French and Indian Wars about 180 years ago. From there they go to Pitt University and see the Pitt Tower, Forbes Field (the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team) and the Botanical Gardens. It's been a busy day of sightseeing and the girls claim to be exhausted so they head for home. Upon arrival the women go into the house and Bill sits on the porch with Harry and has a smoke. They talk of the war and how everything is different now. Harry offers Bill a drink and they then head into the living room and sit in front of the fireplace, which has a nice fire going. Bill thinks of his parent's apartment and comments at how nice Harry's home and family are. They all dine together that night and then it's off to go dancing, just Elaine, Bill and of course Florence. Bill thinks of his early wake up to catch his train in the morning and tells the girls that it can't be a very late night.

Flying Tigers hunting

tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/19/2009 3:59:07 PM)

March 16, 1942

Ed sits in his office after a long day and grabs another mug of coffee. There have been continued landings at Pamakasan. He sees a report that 2 IJN MLs have hit mines at Singkawang, which brings a smile to his face. Bill walks into the office and Ed says, "Welcome back, how was the trip?" Ed says, "I'm famished so I'll tell you all about it over some food." They leave the office as it's getting late and Bill relates the tale of romance failed. "I never stood a chance with Florence there every second," he complains. "Well at least Elaine is going to visit Washington next month, or so she thinks and we'll get together then, without Florence. Pittsburgh is a nice city, but cold and very dirty because of the steel mills."

The British at Imphal have discovered that Hurricanes with average pilots who are outnumbered are in trouble against Zeros as they suffer 10 lost aircraft to downing only 1 Zero.

Tarpon continues towards PH with nary a sighting.

Houston and Boise draw ever closer to Pearl.

The Dutch fleet in Australia is chomping at the bit to raid Japanese shipping, but heavy IJN assets continue to prowl the waters preventing this.

PQ-12 has almost completed unloading at Murmansk. It arrived on the 12th without any loses, the last PQ convoy that will have that lucky distinction.

# German spies were stood trial and were convicted to a toatl of 117 years imprisonment.

VP-82 has sunk the U-503 near the Grand Banks.

The Red Army's offensive against Army Group B from the Kerch area in the eastern Crimea grinds on.

Army Group North attacks and cuts off the Soviet 2nd Shock Army.

The Russian people flock to join partisans after the German security forces burn many villages and kill 3.5K civilians.


tocaff -> RE: Chinese Surprise? (7/20/2009 6:47:26 PM)

March 17, 1942  St Patrick's Day  Washington DC

Bill put a pin in the map at Pamakasan as the Japanese landings culminated in an assault by 19.6K troops who lost 168/2/0  while the Dutch defenders, 2K, lost 2239/8/0.  The Barisan Rgt and 12 DAF BF both surrendered.  With that he heads into Ed's office and informs him of the news and hands over a stack of comms.  "Anything concrete as to when you'll be leaving to assume command of the Atlanta?" he asks Ed.  Ed says he'll know in a few days exactly when and where he'll take command of her.

Convoys to NZ has quenched the thrist for supplies and fuel there and more is on the way in 3 different convoys, one of which also has oil bound for Oz to help fuel her industry.

Tarpon still remains alone on her voyage and the lookouts can't help but joke about it as they keep their eyes peeled.

Saratoga's TF will replenish tomorrow and then head back to Pearl Harbor.

Some ASW assets at PH are readying themselves to get under way to join with Houston and Boise as the 2 cruisers are nearing Pearl and what is considered high risk waters for sub attacks.

The Germans begin the deportation of Jews from Lublin to Belzec.

tocaff -> RE: Where? (7/22/2009 9:30:07 PM)

March 18, 1942 Washington DC

"Yes sir we'll keep an eye peeled, but to be honest with you intercepts and the code breaking boys will be of more use. Yes sir, will do." Ed walks out of his office after hanging up the phone and calls the staff together. "The brass seems to think that the Japanese are up to no good and are preparing to launch something big. Now we all know that that's what they've been doing since this whole mess started, but some Army general seems to have got it into his head that a massive buildup is being conducted prior to opening a new offensive now that the PIs and DEIs are all but wrapped up. This being the case we're to watch for anything that supports this notion. Questions?" Bill says that there have been confirmed landings at Cebu and Bankha and other than that nothing of note.

The AVG continues to prowl the skies over China spoiling for a fight.

The Dutch sailors are getting tired of sitting in port awaiting the word to sail into battle. They won't be risked as long as heavy IJN units prowl alertly looking for targets.

The USN is having 2nd thoughts as to the disposition of the fleet and arguments for the concentration of all 4 CVs at Pearl Harbor are beginning to be listened to.

Lord Mountbatten has been appointed Chief of Combined Operations.

tocaff -> RE: Where? (7/23/2009 7:35:51 PM)

March 19, 1942

Bill gives Ed the comms that are worth seeing and tells him that the CGs at Cebu have hit an AP as the Japanese continue to land there. Landings at Bankha continue and Kragen has been invaded, but there is nothing that relates to a new Japanese troop concentration.

The AVG at Homan is repaid by the Japs as Zeros called. For 1 downed Zero the AVG loses 8 P-40Bs, a poor showing.

The Australians tried to sneak some P-40Es into PM as the Japs have been bombing there without escorts lately. Sometimes things have a way of blowing up in your face though and the dreaded Zeros sweep PM and kill 3 damaging 2 of the P-40s while they lose 2 planes.

The Saratoga's TF is refueling courtesy of 3 AOs and then she and her escorts will return to Pearl Harbor.

The Palawan is taking on fuel and cargo from a wharf at Pearl, her destination will be Midway. Meanwhile her crew has gone into town to blow off some steam. They stop and look in a pet shop window and see a cute, lonely looking puppy. An engineer says that the ship needs a mascot and Red should get a gift from them as he's kept them safe and sound. The men go into the store and Red doesn't know it yet, but he's just obtained a pet as the men buy the puppy. The men don't know anything about dogs and one of them heads off to the library to see if he can find information as to what kind of dog they just bought as the owner of the store didn't know. They have never seen a gray colored dog with blue eyes before and send him on his way as they're curious. Another 2 members of the crew take the dog back to the Palawan with orders to buy a collar and leash on the way. They will all join up again at their favorite bar.

Tarpon has yet to spot anything even though her lookouts continue their vigil.

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