Last Stand at San Diego (no Richard please) (Full Version)

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ADB123 -> Last Stand at San Diego (no Richard please) (12/14/2009 1:34:35 AM)

A nice Forum member asked me if I wanted to try my hand at an AE PBEM, despite my schedule which will mean many lapses in play. (He will use my game as a fill-in when he is waiting for his other PBEM. ) So I will be seeing first hand what a human opponent can do to me.

Hmmm... considering what the AI does to me, this could be very painful... [sm=00000030.gif]

The first thing that I learned is that downloading an AE game file onto my Mac and transferring it via external drive to my laptop PC doesn't work for some reason. (I haven't gotten WitP AE working in PC mode on my Mac so far, and I'm not curious enough at this point to spend the time to figure out why.) So instead I went to a webmail location to grab the file, at which point I could open it.

We are trying a non-historical start, with Surprise on, PDU on, garbage Allied torpedoes, no "roll your own" R&D for the Japanese, Allied ship repair bonus on, no Computer control for anything, and all expansions, replacements, repairs and so on set to off. My opponent will do something of a historical start - I agreed not to hunt down his AOs on turn 1 and he agreed not to invade on the first turn places at the edges of the map like San Diego. [;)]

So I expect to get badly clobbered for the first couple of hundred turns. [sm=fighting0056.gif]

Depending upon my opponent's moves, my initial plan is to keep my head down and assume that I can lose most anything other than the West Coast of the US, although I may also be able to save India if I move a number of units there quickly. I will try not to get sucked into throwing away good forces too early in places like the South Pacific and Northern Australia. [sm=innocent0001.gif]

BTW - I did move my two US CV TFs on Turn 1, one to the north and one to the south. As I wrote to my opponent, the rest of my forces are waiting "in lamblike blissful ignorance of the oncoming slaughter." [sm=00000506.gif]

ADB123 -> Midget Subs on the Attack! (12/15/2009 2:04:26 AM)

I got my opponent's Combat Reply and turn this evening and I was able to successfully download them and run them. (Not on my Mac.)

The December 7 attacks were pretty much standard, with a couple of surprising exceptions. The turn started with "something" being reported in Pearl Harbor, and then a midget sub made a successful attack on the West Virginia.

Okay, I saw the same thing in my last start against the AI.

Then there were more disturbances in the water of the Harbor, and another midget sub made a successful attack on the Arizona! [X(]

Wow! My opponent ought to go out and buy some Lottery tickets!

After that the rest of the chaos and destruction was almost anticlimatic.

Oh yeah, the PoW and Repulse were sunk - we had agreed to a reasonably historic start, so I didn't have them go off in the opposite direction.

Now I've got my work cut out for me. My first order of business will be to set up as much Naval Air Search as possible so that I can figure out what my opponent is planning. I'll also try to save as much as possible at Pearl, but if he sticks around another day I expect the Pacific Fleet to be limited to a few PTs.

I'm also not planning to make any massive moves of ships, troops or planes right off the bat. I'm planning to try to figure out my opponent's main axis of attack first - will he go after "everything", or will he focus on one main region?

Now where did I put all those fire extinguishers?...[&:]

ADB123 -> Two Observations (12/15/2009 4:42:26 AM)

First off, thank goodness for the Industry Management screen!!!! [&o] Otherwise I don't know how I would ever find all of the bases where I want to shut off repairs on the various industries.

Second - my opponent achieved much more than I expected at Pearl - upon close examination I found out that the Shipyard suffered 47 damage!!!!!!!! [X(][X(][X(]

Assuming that he doesn't go after the port again next turn it will still take me a month and a half to get the Shipyard back to full functionality. [:(][:(][:(]


Arnhem -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 6:05:49 AM)

Repairs for the port will be quicker than you expect so don't worry too much about that, it should be in the order of days not weeks. I've had PH airfield and services bombed into the red and port damage in the 50s and everything was back to 0 well before end Dec. 

Regarding PoW and Repulse, there was a time I thought like you too. Thing is they didn't put to sea till 10 Dec so letting them sink (which I did in one PBEM game, it'll be my last) isn't really historical, that and it's just a darned waste to let 2 heavies bite it just like that without using them to annoy your opponent first, no more freebies on your next go around! It's a game not a recreation of history, go nuts with the plausible what-ifs I say.

Smeulders -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 7:03:09 AM)

Best of luck

ADB123 -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 11:02:43 AM)



Repairs for the port will be quicker than you expect so don't worry too much about that, it should be in the order of days not weeks. I've had PH airfield and services bombed into the red and port damage in the 50s and everything was back to 0 well before end Dec. 

Regarding PoW and Repulse, there was a time I thought like you too. Thing is they didn't put to sea till 10 Dec so letting them sink (which I did in one PBEM game, it'll be my last) isn't really historical, that and it's just a darned waste to let 2 heavies bite it just like that without using them to annoy your opponent first, no more freebies on your next go around! It's a game not a recreation of history, go nuts with the plausible what-ifs I say.

I'm not speaking of the Port, which is in the red, along with the Airfields, I'm speaking of the Shipyard. The Shipyard will only repair one damage point a day, as long as I've got sufficient supplies in Pearl. So that will be 47 days and 47,000 supply points to get it back to full operation.

But what is worse is that this means that I can only put 53,000 tons of shipping into the Shipyards without overloading it. So repairs on the survivors will be slow.

BTW - I forgot about the date for the Repulse and PoW. Thanks for reminding me. Next time I do a game start I won't be so quick to let them go to their doom.


Smeulders -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 11:14:22 AM)

Don't worry too much about that. It's annoying, but not really a disaster. Start planning the repairs as best as you can. One thing that I noticed is that ships with less damage also seem to repair more points per turn. Because of this, where there is limited capacity, start with the smaller ships first. Large ships can get pierside repairs first to get as much systems damage gone as possible, this way they're in better shape when entering the drydock and should get major damage away faster, meaning they use less yard time. You don't need really need the BB at the start, so if there is enough space to get your DD and Cruisers back online in a reasonable time-frame, then that is enough.

Arnhem -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 12:15:56 PM)

Ah my bad, it didn't register that it was the shipyard when I was reading your post, I find it odd that your opponent deliberately targeted your shipyard, I have to admit that's something I wouldn't have thought of.

ADB123 -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 9:25:03 PM)



Ah my bad, it didn't register that it was the shipyard when I was reading your post, I find it odd that your opponent deliberately targeted your shipyard, I have to admit that's something I wouldn't have thought of.

It's actually quite a smart move on his part - it means that I have to spend lots of supply that I could otherwise use elsewhere, and it will take longer for me to repair the ships that were damaged. These factors together may also make it easier for him to stage an early invasion of the Hawaiian Islands if that is what he is planning.

Smeulders -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 10:14:34 PM)

I'm not too sure, the damage to the docks can be repaired, best case scenario is a delay off about 1 month in repairing ships. This isn't that much of an advantage when compared to shooting up more planes or sinking ships.

ADB123 -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 10:20:36 PM)


ORIGINAL: Smeulders

I'm not too sure, the damage to the docks can be repaired, best case scenario is a delay off about 1 month in repairing ships. This isn't that much of an advantage when compared to shooting up more planes or sinking ships.

Somehow my opponent was able to "get it all" - he sank and damaged a ton of ships, closed the air fields, severely damaged the port, and destroyed most of the aircraft.

And a delay in repairs could well mean a lot if an invasion comes along during that repair period.

In any event, we'll see what my opponent does with this opportunity.

Thanks for the comments.

Smeulders -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 10:22:18 PM)

In that case you should keep your forces well back the first couple of weeks, let the bad luck wear off.

ADB123 -> RE: Two Observations (12/15/2009 11:21:25 PM)


ORIGINAL: Smeulders

In that case you should keep your forces well back the first couple of weeks, let the bad luck wear off.

That's for certain... I have no intention of risking forces on the High Seas until I get a good idea of what my opponent is planning.

tuga555 -> RE: Two Observations (12/16/2009 10:55:25 AM)

Hi all.
I usualy put the ships in pierside mode until they can no longer repair and then send to the shipyard, it saves the shipyard space just for major damage, of course if you have some free shipyard space You can add ships, but i found out that shipyard space in the front lines are at premium.
Also if you clear all non major damage you can take them to the USA. Unless you are very unlucky they dont sink. I took 2 BB's from noumea to SF with 40 major float and they arrived ok.

ADB123 -> RE: Two Observations (12/16/2009 11:11:04 AM)


ORIGINAL: tuga555

Hi all.
I usualy put the ships in pierside mode until they can no longer repair and then send to the shipyard, it saves the shipyard space just for major damage, of course if you have some free shipyard space You can add ships, but i found out that shipyard space in the front lines are at premium.
Also if you clear all non major damage you can take them to the USA. Unless you are very unlucky they dont sink. I took 2 BB's from noumea to SF with 40 major float and they arrived ok.

I've got everything at pierside in Pearl at the moment, other than the ships that are burning. I suspect that my opponent will try another attack on the Shipyards and I don't want him to have more sitting duck targets than he already has. My problem will be afterwards, if he leaves anything floating. Surface ships are much more important in AE than they were in WitP, so I want to be able to repair my ships as fast as possible. This has turned into a great way to prevent that.

ADB123 -> HDML vs Sub (12/17/2009 4:28:52 AM)

I got the second turn this evening. It took me 2 days to do the previous turn; this turn only took me 2 hours.

When I watched the Combat Replay I was expecting a continuation of the slaughter of the first turn. Instead I got:

- My opponent mined Bataan, just like the AI does. I had guessed this, so I had sent out my 6 minesweepers from Manila and they did their job nicely. Next turn I'll send them out again to finish the job, and then I'll send them out as two ASW TFs.

- A couple of Dutch subs attempted attacks on the big and tough TFs at Kota Bharu. It wasn't pretty. One sub received 14 hits, the other 9. They are both now limping down towards Singapore.

- My opponent likes to send out concentrated bomber attacks. It's quite the change of pace from the scattering of attacks that the AI does. In one instance my opponent sent 69 Nells from Patani against Georgetown. Surprisingly enough they didn't add much to the existing damage at the base and more of the planes that had been damaged during the air attacks of the previous day actually became repaired.

- There was also a big air attack on Clark Field - 76 Zeros and 56 bombers. My P-40s accounted well for themselves, shooting down 12 Zeros for a loss of 14 P-40s, and shooting down a number of bombers too. The damage to Clark was minimal.

- My opponent also sent out a number of small air raids on various Chinese units in the open in China. I've got the two China-assigned AVG squadrons on their way into China, so those raids will become more costly soon.

- Some of my ships left Singapore, and one small surface combat TF consisting of two HDMLs ran into a Japanese sub halfway to Palembang. The first torpedo was a dud, the second brought the "obliterated" message to the screen. The other HDML attempted to hunt the sub but found nothing.

- For some reason my opponent did a bombardment attack on my forces at Kota Bharu this turn instead of a deliberate or shock attack. In all the games that I've played against the AI the AI has always launched an assault on the first opportunity, and it has always captured the base on the first try. So I'll happily take the time that my opponent's caution is giving me.

Finally - you may well be wondering, as was I at the end of the Combat Reply, where was the KB? Well, it seems to have gone into Stealth Mode and disappeared from sight, despite the presence of multiple air searches from multiple bases, along with a couple of PT TFs out searching, and a number of subs. There were no more attacks on Pearl or any of the other bases, and there were no attacks on my retreating TFs. Even the Japanese subs didn't find anything other than a PT TF. I'll take this breather and be very happy for it.

Afterwards I looked over the SigInt report and there was nothing out of the ordinary there, so I still don't know if my opponent is planning a "standard" Japanese expansion or something different. Maybe the next turn will tell me more.

ADB123 -> Attack of the Penguin! (12/17/2009 10:46:50 PM)

The night phase started out with more successful minesweeping at Bataan again, which then lead to a successful mass exodus of ships and subs from Manila Harbour. I grouped the subs into 4 large TFs – the S-boats heading to Darwin, the long-range subs heading to Brisbane, the next longest range subs heading to Colombo, and the rest heading to Soerabaja. If these ad hoc “wolf packs” run across something, so much the better, but my main objective is to get them distributed to the areas where I will eventually want them, and where they can be supported.

The rest of the night phase was fairly quiet. A Japanese sub off of Palembang did torpedo and sink a TK, and afterwards shot up and sink an AK, but there were no other surprise attacks by Japanese forces. In contrast the one Allied sub attacking at Aparri was hammered hard and is now limping back to Manila.

There was one “surprise” Allied night attack… sort of… A naval combat screen came up and there was an Allied AM attacking a small Japanese transport TF that consisted of two AKLs and an AK. At first I thought that this was the AM that I send down from Johnston Island towards Palmyra, but it turned out to be the Penguin on its escape run from Guam towards the northern coast of New Guinea. Both TFs manoeuvred a bit, and then they exchanged a little bit of gunfire. The Penguin drew first blood with a hit on an AKL, and then was hit in return by a shot from the other AKL. At that point the two commanders decided that enough-was-enough and they broke off contact with each other.

The day phase brought plenty of Japanese air attacks, but most of them were hampered by bad weather. This resulted in many broken attacks with the escorts going in alone first. So, for example, there was a sweep by 51 Zeros over Hong Kong.

Huh? Who in their right mind would bother trying to put up an air defence over Hong Kong? There was also a sweep by another 35 Zeros over Chuhmein. Again, why would I stick anything way out there? Finally, there was a nicely coordinated naval air attack on Wenchow. Elsewhere, plenty of bombers hit Georgetown again, as well as Khoto Baru.

Cool... I can live with that, and hope that my opponent continues for a few more turns while my pilots rest up and planes repair at Manila, Singapore and in Java.

One very interesting air attack occured over Tavoy. I've been spreading out my planes in Malaya, the Philippines, and the DEI in order to get the best search coverage I can and also to move planes to where I eventually want them. So most of the Blenheim IFs were sitting in Tavoy waiting for the remainder to be repaired and join them. An Oscar sentai flew in and attacked. I expected the worst, but instead the IFs and Oscars were evenly matched and lost one plane apiece. I'll take those results any day!

In addition to the mutual surprise brought by the Penguin, The Lexington's air groups provided a real surprise to the incoming Japanese Wake invasion force. Despite lousy weather a squadron of divebombers attacked the invasion TF and hit one of the AMCs with four 1000 lb bombs. I'm hoping that this causes my opponent to pull back for now, although I don't intend to stick around and try to make the surprise more serious.

That's because I still don't have any idea where the KB is hiding! No sign of the TF showed up anywhere, despite increasing naval air patrols. My Pearl Harbor survivors continued along their way to the South safely, and none of my subs around the Hawaiian Islands spotted anything or were spotted by anything.

I'm guessing that my opponent has sailed off to the East in the hopes of intercepting some incoming TFs. That will be good if he has, because the only TFs that I have between West Coast and Hawaii are two quasi-wolfpacks of subs, one travelling from San Diego to Hawaii and the other from San Francisco to Hawaii. I'm in no hurry to try to move forces around until I know where the KB is located.

Otherwise, there wasn't a lot more excitement to this turn. The first Japanese unit reached Hong Kong and was satisfied to do an artillery bombardment. And to my surprise, the Japanese troops at Khota Baru did a deliberate attack but my units held, despite the fortifications going down to level 1.

So I'm continuing along with my current plans. Pearl is still a mess and I still have one DD burning furiously in the harbor. I guess that things will get fixed up sooner or later as long as the KB doesn't come back again for another strike.

I split out the surviving DMs from my fleeing TFs and ordered one each to go to Johston, Baker, Canton, Palmyra and Christmas Islands to drop off mines and then head back to Pearl. To a good extent these ships are acting as canaries-in-a-coal mine for me while I try to figure out my opponent's intentions.

For now I'm not sending the other ships back to Pearl. I wanted surface combat ships in the South Pacific so that I could interfere with any early invasion attempts, and I also wanted to get some support ships into harbor at Pago Pago, Suva and Auckland anyway; I just wasn't expecting to do it quite this early.

Smeulders -> RE: Attack of the Penguin! (12/17/2009 11:02:42 PM)

Are you sending your subs straight to their new bases ? It might be better to let them roam around the PI and surroundings first, they're there now, makes for a good chance for an extended patrol. If you're sending them to their bases first and then let them return, you lose a couple of weeks worth of attacks.

ADB123 -> RE: Attack of the Penguin! (12/17/2009 11:35:38 PM)


ORIGINAL: Smeulders

Are you sending your subs straight to their new bases ? It might be better to let them roam around the PI and surroundings first, they're there now, makes for a good chance for an extended patrol. If you're sending them to their bases first and then let them return, you lose a couple of weeks worth of attacks.

I've got the Dutch subs out on attack already, along with the US subs that were already out to sea. And I've set waypoints so that these big TFs will go through areas that have or soon will have the most Japanese action.

So it's a bit of a trade-off, but the Japanese TFs that are already off of Luzon and Malaya have tons of ASW anyway, so attacks are very difficult, as three of my subs have already discovered.

ADB123 -> Scratch on AMc (12/19/2009 2:11:04 PM)

This turn illustrated clearly the differences between playing against the AI and playing PBEM. Against the AI Japanese subs were a nuisance, but nothing significant. And my Allied subs did well, even with Bad Torpedoes. But against a human opponent things are very different.

My opponent has his subs on the Patrol setting and they are tracking my ships all over the map. They are also attacking effectively and my ASW is unable to stop them. Even the HDMLs with ASW ratings of 8 aren't getting off any successful ASW attacks. The ships losses are acceptable to me, but I am concerned about the way the Japanese subs now follow my TFs - it is a great addition to the SigInt for my opponent.

In contrast, most of my subs are not being successful in their attacks and usually are getting whacked by ASW instead. However, one of my Dutch subs did score my first "victory" this turn - a Japanese AMc escort off of Miri was obliterated by a torpedo. It's obviously going to be a long war under water.

Another big difference versus the AI is in my opponent's disposition of Japanese forces. My opponent has now got a Surface Combat TF in the Philippines, along with a CVL TF. I'm starting to lose ships, and I will lose more. My only hope is that my opponent's forces will run out of ammo before they run out of targets. One good thing is that I've got my DDs in surface combat TFs too, so they do fight it out. The Brit DD Thanet fought it out with a Japanese CA/DD TF and actually scored a couple of hits before being sunk. And better yet, it caused the Japanese TF to fire a lot of ammo.

But the biggest difference is in the speed with which my opponent is moving in the PI and DEI, mainly because he knows that he has nothing to fear from the Allied LBA. That is one big disadvantage that the AE system provides to the Allied player in comparison to WitP - Japanese players no longer have to be concerned with Allied LBA for the first few months of the war.

Yes, I know, "train, train, and train some more". But that will only pay off several months from now. At this point the Japanese player can sail anywhere he wants in perfect safety.

Well, not quite "perfect" safety. I found out against the AI that the Allied LBA that can't hit anything when doing Naval Attacks will occasionally drop bombs on Japanese ships when the planes are flying "Search" missions. So as long as that "feature" isn't taken away in the future there is at least still "one small act of defiance" left for the Allied player when it comes to LBA early in the game.

Otherwise it was another fairly normal turn. The weather buggered up a lot of the Japanese air attacks again, but this time my opponent wasn't testing my air defenses and so he didn't lose many planes other than to Operational damage. He continued to focus his attacks on troops in Malaya and Chinese troops near the coast.

There was another, larger artillery attack on Hong Kong this turn, and Khota Baru finally fell to a Deliberate attack.

And I took a risk that bit me in the rear - I allowed a Chinese unit to cross a river to join seven other Chinese units in the siege of Ichang. I had set my troops to do a bombardment and was hoping that I remembered correctly that one unit joining many wouldn't trigger a "Shock" attack.

Oh well, I remembered wrongly.

The Mandatory shock attack on river crossing remains one of my least favorite design decisions in WitP/AE. There's nothing that I'm going to be able to do about it, except to deliberately avoid it in the future if at all possible, but I will never accept it as a "good" idea.

Another design decision that I disagree with popped up to bite me again this turn - understrength starting garrisons. I boosted the garrison at Sialkot over the "magic" requirement of 20 this turn by turning on replacements to the Base Force and Infantry units there, so that was no longer a problem. But "native revolts" popped up and cost me Victory Points at two more bases this turn - Srinagar and Mandalay. Srinagar was another "19/20" garrison issue that I corrected by turning on replacements for the units there. But Mandalay is at "10/20", which will take a long time to recover by replacements, particularly since Malaria is working again.

So I had to set a unit at Rangoon to "Strategic" mode and I'll have it take the railroad to Mandalay to push the garrison over 20. I also set all of the troops at Mandalay to Add Replacements because they will lose strength due to Malaria as time goes on.

I then went over a number of other bases in India and found more that were at the "19/20" level. I guess that the only reason that they weren't flagged for a "revolt" was that it appears that uprisings are a random sort of thing instead of a hard-set given. Never-the-less, I set the troops at those bases to gain Replacements too, just to make certain that I can minimize the irritation.

Sigh... I find this sort of "busywork" such a pain in this Game. But there is nothing I can do to influence anyone otherwise, so I have to live with it. (And no, I am not going to play around with the Editor.)

Finally, there still was no sign of the KB this turn. My opponent knows where my forces are, thanks to his subs, and I have no idea where the KB is, so I am continuing to "run away, fast" everywhere. I can't see any other choice at this time.

My troops are still trying to repair things at Pearl. The Airfields are now "sort of" open, although they are still damaged and the Air Support facilities are still in the red. And of course the Port won't repair until the Air facilities repair, so it will still be a while before Pearl is relatively back in business. Interestingly enough, the DD that had been burning at a 95 fire level last turn was down to a 65 fire level this turn. Will it actually survive?

Oh yes, the Wake invasion force is retiring, so my CV raid accomplished its mission. I was also able to successfully fly off the Marine Wildcats to my CV, so they will be deposited at a safer base once my CV is out of the danger zone.

Interestingly, my opponent has held up the Makin/Tarawa invasions. I sent a CA in to "case the joint" and there were no Japanese TFs to be found anywhere. Maybe my opponent assumed that I would use my CVs to interfere with the invasions in that area instead of up at Wake, and so delayed the invasions.

ADB123 -> Brutal times (12/23/2009 4:08:19 AM)

This was a nasty, brutal turn for the Allied forces in the Philippines. My opponent sent in a BB TF, a CA TF and a DD TF to hunt down my transport TFs. I lost 30 ships due to surface combat, with a dozen more damaged but still afloat, likely because the Japanese ships probably ran out of ammo. My few DDs did put up respectable fights, but "respect" doesn't do a lot for you when you are at the bottom of the ocean.

My opponent also commenced an early invasion of Cagayan. I had expected that and so I had positioned a 4-ship PT TF in Cagayan to intercept the incoming Japanese invasion fleet. But the invasion fleet was huge, and although my PTs sank a Japanese DMS and an AKL, and damaged other Japanese ships, they just couldn't drive off the invasion fleet, so Japanese troops started to land at Cagayan anyway. Simlutaneously another invasion fleet landed at Davao.

The Davao invasion was immediately followed by a successful attack and capture, but there was no attack on Cagayan, so I guess that my PTs did succeed in postponing the inevitable. But this put me into a quandry because I wanted to use Cagayan as the main base for my B-17s, and now I can't. So since I don't have enough PPs to convert the B-17s to a non-restricted command I had to send them back to Clark Field. I've decided to use them to attack the airfield at Vigan in order to slow down the movement of Japanese air power on Luzon - we'll see if I have any success at that.

Otherwise it was a pretty normal early turn for the game. The KB still hasn't shown up anywhere, which is good news and bad news. Pearl Harbor continues to clean up the disaster of the first turn and the airfields are finally completely fixed, although the air support facilities aren't. I'm getting sick of the Japanese subs that are hanging around off of Pearl, so I am sending out three 4-ship ASW TFs next turn to try to discourage them. Having useless naval ASW and useless airborne ASW at the same time makes things quite frustrating but I still feel that I have to try something.

ADB123 -> Burning Bunker C (12/29/2009 5:17:00 AM)

After a Christmas break I got back to my PBEM today as the 121241 turn came into my mailbox. My opponent informed me of a second hot fix, but he didn't install it for this turn. I'll find it and install it for the next turn.

This turn started out with a lot of sub-hunting by my ASW ships, and finally one Japanese sub stayed near Pearl Harbor a bit too long so one of my DDs was able to drop a depth charge on it. There likely wasn't a lot of damage, but this certainly felt good for a change. In contrast, my subs were pounded by the Japanese ASW forces quite well again this turn, and a Japanese sub sank yet another HDML off Sumatra.

Once daylight came the Japanese air war continued in a similar fashion as before – Japanese bombers attacked Allied ground units in forward positions, but didn't challenge any of the Allied air bases. So air-to-air losses have been negligible over the past few turns. But the Allied land-based air forces struck back for the first time as the B-17s in the Philippines took off from Clark Field and hit the undefended airfields at Vigan very hard, causing a fair amount of damage. I'm ordering those B-17s to hit the airfields at Aparri next turn. It will be interesting to see if my opponent decides to send his bombers against Clark in an attempt to stop my attacks.

The Naval air war took a very nice turn for the better for the Allied side this turn as the Japanese Replenishment TF was found by the Lexington way up in the far north Pacific, and hammered quite hard. USN divebombers hit four AOs and 3 DDs with 1000 lb bombs. One DD was reported sunk. I had sent the Lexington TF north towards the Aleutians after they scared off the attempted Japanese invasion of Wake Island. I wanted to keep the Lex away from the KB, and also my Patrol planes at Midway had reported that the Replenishment TF appeared to be heading north. So I lucked-out in two ways.

I still don't know where the KB is hiding, but I did get an unconfirmed report of 7 ships off to the northeast of Midway, so that might be the KB. At least if my opponent were trying to interdict TFs coming from the US West Coast to Hawaii that would be a reasonable location to hide. So I put more long range air units on Patrol in the region and also put my fighter units at Pearl back on alert.

Speaking of Pearl, the airfields, air support facilities, and port were back in full operating condition this turn. Now I only have to wait the 7 weeks or so for the Shipyards to be fully repaired and Pearl will be back in proper order.

Otherwise, things were relatively quiet with no particularly unusual attacks or invasions. My opponent landed at Shortlands, Madang, Wewak and Hollandia, and also captured Guam. His attack on Hong Kong failed again, but the fortifications are now down to Level 1, so HK won't last much longer.

My opponent's TFs in the Philippines appear to have run out of ammo finally, so only a couple more AKs were sunk this turn, although several more ships sank due to damage from previous turns. All-in-all my opponent did a good job of shooting my fish in the barrel in the region. Never-the-less, I'm still busy filling up every ship that I can in the DEI with fuel and sending them down towards Australia. By the time my opponent starts to push on Java in a serious manner I should have most if not all of my ships out of harm's way.

In the meanwhile I still haven't sent any ships out of the West Coast. My philosophy is that if my opponent really wants to invade most anywhere early in the war there is little that I can do about it, so I don't want to send out weak forces in a piecemeal manner, particularly since I still don't know the overall strategic intentions of my opponent. (Plus, I have no intention of sending transport TFs into traps this early in the game.) So I'm essentially fighting with what I have on hand at the moment at the front lines, and I'll let my reserves build up and train in the far backwaters until I'm confident that I can send them out safely and use them wisely.

ADB123 -> The KB Shows Up at Wake (1/2/2010 10:19:10 PM)

The early morning of the thirteenth of December, 1941 saw a number of Japanese invasions continue or start – Raboul, Cagayan, Madang, Wewak, Brunei, San Fernando, Legaspi, and most interestingly, Wake Island. My opponent is obviously moving quickly to establish positions in all of the major theaters. A foursome of my MTBs attempted to interfere with the San Fernando landings, but after being shot at a lot by the multiple escorts of the invasion fleet, the MTBs retired without hitting anything with their guns or torpedoes. The CD unit at Wake, in contrast, hammered an xAK and a PB in the invasion TF there.

The sub wars continued with the Japanese subs moving further afield. One or more Japanese subs attempted to interdict my ships that were heading out of Batavia and into the Indian Ocean, but after an inconclusive scuffle with one of my escort ships the main Japanese attacker suffered repeated problems with its forward torpedo tubes and my ships sailed off unharmed. I ordered some ASW ships to patrol the area next turn.

My returning ASW TFs off of Pearl chased more Japanese subs without any luck, good or bad. So I set more ASW TFs to head out next turn. I also sent some of my DMs to mine the Hawaiian Islands so that there are fewer places for Japanese subs to roam freely.

And finally, during the day phase my Patrol planes off of the West Coast started to spot some Japanese subs for real. I don't have any shipping out there at this time, so the subs are free to roam around, use up fuel, and help my LBA practice airborne ASW techniques. I have a lot of restricted bombers on the West Coast, so I am more than happy to set them all to ASW and let them fly around to their heart's content.

Speaking of flying, my opponent sent in a high altitude sweep of Zeros over Clark Field this turn. My P-40s engaged and shot down a number of Zeros, although the end result was around 2:1 for my opponent. But I don't mind trading Philippine P-40s for Zeros at this stage of the game, and no bombers accompanied the Zeros, so my B-17s flew off again and hit the airfields at Aparri nice and hard. For next turn I have set the Fortresses to hit the ground troops at San Fernando – that will help my ground troops there, and it will keep my opponent guessing where I will bomb next.

Speaking of bombing, my opponent left me a very nice little “temptation” at Miri this turn – ships in the Port. So I moved some Dutch 2-E bombers into range and gave them orders to do Port attacks. The Allied LBA can't hit anything that is at sea in this game, but stationary, non-naval targets are easy pickings as long as there isn't any CAP. We will see how this goes.

Part of the KB finally showed up this turn as a moderate quantity of Naval Air hit the airfields at Wake Island. I suspect that my opponent has split the KB at this point, so I'm not taking any chances with my TFs. Thus the Lexington and associates continued along its way away from the Central Pacific and didn't attempt to hunt down the Japanese AOs that were damaged last turn. However, my Patrol AC in the Canton-Pago Pago region spotted a 2-ship Japanese TF just about half way between those two islands. That TF is heading West, and the Enterprise is sitting at Pago Pago, so I ordered the Big E to head out and see if that Japanese TF happens to be a pesky AMC TF or not. Of course, if it happens to be part of the KB I will be in real trouble, but that's how these things go.

Elsewhere, my opponent continues to use massed LBA to hammer my troops at Alor Star. I don't expect the troops there to hold anyway, so I am just glad that those bombers aren't hitting elsewhere. In China my opponent is using the opposite approach and is hitting multiple Chinese LCUs with small air strikes. I haven't put the AVG into action yet, but I will once my opponent shifts his attacks further away from the main Japanese bases in China. We also both exchanged bombing runs over Ichang. I sat down my Chinese bombers afterwards because I expect my opponent to put some more serious LR CAP over Ichang in light of this.

Speaking of China, so far things are fairly quiet there with the exception of Ichang where it appears that my opponent will stand and fight. That's a bit of a pain, because I don't really want to contest the base, but I don't want to pull back and leave it to him either. Oh well, at least this means that my opponent is committing troops there and not somewhere else. In the meanwhile the rest of my re-disposition of Chinese forces is progressing as planned.

The Japanese land attacks this turn worked out better for me than I expected. The most entertaining attack was at Wake where the Japanese landing force was whacked with 1:11 odds on its Shock Attack. And that is despite the fact that I have been flying out troops to Midway with Catalinas since December 8! Elsewhere, Hong Kong was bombarded again, which was fine by me because it meant that I got to fly out yet more Canadian troops into China. Eventually, once HK falls, I'll march the Canucks to Burma.

In another surprising contest, Cagayan held against a strong Japanese attack. The fortifications are now gone and the base will likely fall with the next attack, but this bought me time to fly out the remaining B-17s that had just repaired at the air field. So those two planes joined the others back at Clark. Elsewhere, my opponent bombarded my troops at San Fernando and Raboul. This allowed me to continue to fly the Raboul garrison out to PM.

But my opponent easily captured Victoria Point and sent the Base Force there up the coast. I'll fly the survivors out via Flying Boat and let them rebuild elsewhere. There is no point letting them be run down or starved in the jungle.

In other news, I finally scuttled the burning DD in Pearl Harbor. The fire damage wasn't getting any better so I threw in the towel. Now my forces at Pearl can focus on repairing all of the other ships that are sitting there.

ADB123 -> Brave and Skilllful Gunners at Wake (1/6/2010 5:13:09 AM)

December 14, 1941 brought more smiles and grimaces to me. My biggest smile came from the continuing success of the CD guns on Wake, which shot up more AKs and patrol ships in the invasion force, both at night and at day. Then in the combat portion of the turn the Japanese invaders only attempted a bombardment attack which accomplished nothing. If I had left more troops on the island they could have kicked the invaders off.

The grimaces came as another Japanese sub sank two more stragglers off of Tarakan, using torpedoes and gun fire. I certainly managed the attempt to escape from the Philippines poorly. I'm not taking a chance on another repeat so I am moving everything that sails out of the DEI early, with the exception of cruiser/destroyer TFs which I have left sprinkled around just in case my opponent forgets to send some cover along with his invasion TFs.

PT boats certainly work oddly now. (We're at Patch 2, Hotfix 2). I sent a flotilla of MTBs into San Fernando and they scared off the invasion force for a bit, but then the MTBs turned around and headed back towards Manila, and so the invasion TF set back up and continued to unload troops. No shots were fired. I'll try to rest the MTBs at Manila and the send them out again with a new leader.

I got a very surprising message from the North Eastern Pacific – the Regulus, still on its long journey away from Midway and towards Alaska fled from a “Surface Combat TF” at 167,62. That's south of Dutch Harbor. Unfortunately I don't yet have any air support in Dutch Harbor, so I can't fly a PBY in to see what is going on. The Lexington TF is now sailing north of the Aleutians, but I don't want to send it to check this out just in case the Regulus fled from a sizable portion of the KB and not just some surface ships. In any event I redirected some subs up that way to see if they can stumble upon anything.

The day portion of the turn brought a big strike of Bettys, Nells and Zeros on Clark Field. My P-40s faced up to the overwhelming odds and did quite well for themselves. There were also a number of follow-up bombing raids where no Zeros came along, so my fighters did get a chance to score some kills on unescorted bombers. The overall damage to Clark was minor, and my B-17s took off and had a good hard strike on the Japanese troops at San Fernando.

But the “fun times” are over now, and I can see the presence of an Air symbol at Vigan, so my opponent obviously intends to CAP anything of value. My P-40 squadrons have also ended up with rather low morale and high fatigue, so I am resting most of them this turn. With all this I decided that it was time to pull out the B-17s and I sent them to Soerabaja to rest up and wait for more opportunities to strike.

Speaking of opportunities – my Dutch bombers did get to surprise some Japanese ships in port in Miri, and put bombs into an APD and a TB. So this turn an Air symbol turned up over Miri too, and I therefore pulled back my Dutch bombers. There is no point being silly and getting whacked when trying a trick a second time.

BTW – that small enemy TF in the South Pacific between Canton Island and Pago Pago has moved further to the east. It is surprisingly quick, but I have already redirected my TFs out of that region, with the exception of the Enterprise TF which is attempting to sneak in behind the raiders. Just to add to the fun I also moved some land-based divebombers to Palmyra just in case the raiders turn to the north.

In invasion news, I was entertained to see that the amphibious invasion at San Fernando had some amount of difficulty – I received reports of Japanese tanks falling off of ships and into the water, and numbers of troops drowning. But that might have been wishful thinking on the part of my SIGINT folks, because the subsequent Japanese attack easily kicked my troops out of the base.

Hong Kong also fell this turn, so I pulled back the transport planes to Chungking and started the survivors of HK on their way along the Chinese railway system to eventual redeployment at Lashio. They should turn out useful in Burma if they get there before the Japanese troops. Legaspi, Cagayan, Brunei and Tuguegaru were all captured this turn. Surprisingly, Rabaul held, again despite the fact that I am flying out troops every turn.

ADB123 -> ASW on the Attack (sort of) (1/9/2010 3:57:17 PM)

15/12/41 – We both installed Hotfix 3, so now subs will only react 1 hex. Time will tell if this will be a blessing or a curse for my plans. I did enjoy seeing my subs hound enemy TFs all over the map, but I can understand the rationale for stopping that.

I'm going to segue a bit here and write about how I approach a turn. First off, I watch the Combat Replay. For some reason, when I hit the “End” button at the top of the animation screen it only speeds up the animation and doesn't end it like it does when I play against the AI. I'm assuming that is a function of how my opponent has the game set up from his end, and it isn't too much of a bother, so I haven't attempted to hunt down the source of the discrepancy.

I also make notes during the Combat Replay. I find that there are always some things that I notice while watching the CR that don't really show up afterwards in the Combat Report or Operational Report. And sometimes it's just a matter of writing down general gut-feeling observations so that I remember them later.

I then prepare a page with six areas on it: Ships, TFs, Bases, AC, Attacks, and Troops. I use this page to make detailed notes on what is reported in the various reports when I run the turn. Next I start the turn and make the first of a series of temporary saves that I will make as I set up the turn. I do that so I can go back if I goof something up badly and don't want to start the turn from scratch.

I next look at the main Info table and compare the Air Combat results on it against the Air Losses table and consider both against what I watched during the Combat Replay. I also check the Air Withdrawal and Ship Withdrawal tables to see what is coming up for withdrawal. I check the Ground Withdrawal table much less frequently because not as much is withdrawn, and most of that is not for quite some time.

I then look at the SIGINT table and scan it for any reports of “Planning Attack”, or any Japanese units that are reported to be heading toward any of my bases that aren't part of the usual Japanese targets at this point of the game. If I find any such reports I note them in the “Attacks” section of my prepared sheet.

I then go to the Operational Report and go over that carefully. I note all activities for my ships, such as arrivals at bases or repair status in the “Ships” section of the page that I prepared. I note the arrival of all TFs in the “TFs” section as well I note of any of my TFs are being reported as low on fuel. I note the arrivals of Air Units in the “AC” section, and the arrivals of LCUs in the “Troops” section. I also note upgrades of my bases in the “Bases” section.

I also go over the Air Search reports if during the Combat Reply I noticed a report of a spotting where I wasn't expecting to see one, either an unexpected spotting of an enemy force, or an unexpected spotting of one of my forces by an enemy that I wasn't aware of.

I now have my working sheet ready for doing the turn. I go through all of reports one-by-one and adjust my forces based upon the current situation. I also check the status of all of my submarine TFs and individual subs, and send home those subs which have sustained damage or have shot off at least half of their torpedoes.

I then do all of the usual micromanagement of LCUs, Aircraft, Ships and TFs. So a normal turn at this point in the game usually takes be a couple of hours to complete, and I will have around 10 interim saves before I do the final save and send the turn back to my opponent.
Okay, now for the turn. The only night phase invasion was the continuation at Wake where my CD guns once again happily shot up a PB and an AK. Then during the day phase the CD guns got going in a major way and put shells into two CLs and two more PBs. BTW, one or more Japanese CVs were still hanging southwest of Wake and sending in bombers during the day.

There was a lot of ASW action this turn because I sent a lot of ASW TFs out from Pearl. One DD was sunk by a sub, but the rest were able to duck the Japanese torpedoes and then attempt to depth charge the enemy. There were no reported hits, but at least my commanders got in some live training.

As an aside, I've observed that speed is a crucial factor in ASW ships surviving encounters with enemy subs. When I send out slow ASW TFs, such as TFs containing AMs, they often get hammered by the subs. But DDs tend to “duck” the torpedoes more often. All-in-all, my opinion is that the subs in the early game are too good and the ASW too bad, but that appears to be WAD, so I have to learn to live with it.

I finally got a small TF of MTBs to engage the enemy at San Fernando, but unfortunately they ran into a big Surface Combat TF instead of a transport TF. Surprisingly, my MTBs were able to close in and fire without being destroyed. However, they didn't hit anything, so I have them retiring to Manila to reload and try again later. The only good thing about this is that I now know that there is a big Japanese SC TF at San Fernando that contains CAs, CLs, and DDs, and that they aren't elsewhere.

My opponent sent in a bombing attack against Clark again this turn, and once my my P-40s did quite well. Fortunately, the attack was smaller than the last one and caused negligible damage, so I was able to repair and fly out two more B-17s to Soerabaja. I've got the B-17s resting up there. I'll use them for low level aerial searching for a while until new ground targets open up.

Elsewhere my opponent continued his heavy bombing of LCUs in China and northern Malaya. This is nice because it is allowing me to reposition my air units and start to train them up. As part of this training I am continuing with hit-and-run air raids. Other than a raid on the Japanese troops at Ichang my bombers were quiet this turn, but I'm sending some British bombers against Japanese troops in northern Burma next turn. The 2-E bombers don't do a lot of damage against LCUs with the latest Patch/Hotfix changes, but air attacks still work to slow down ground units, and in general this makes my opponent spread out his air defences more, which helps me.

BTW – one of the AVG squadrons finally got into action as it ambushed first an Ida attack and then a Lily attack over Kweilin. I then moved the AVG squadron just in case my opponent tries a retaliatory sweep by Zeros next turn, but the important result is that this will make him move more escorts to cover his bombing raids.

There wasn't much land combat this turn. The Japanese did their daily artillery attack on my troops at Ichang, as did the invaders at Rabaul. And Wake finally fell to a land attack, but the skeleton crew there did their job very well, and the rest of their compatriots are now rebuilding at Midway.

BTW – as far as China goes, so far I have been successful at repositioning my troops to more useful positions. I have all of the Chinese artillery units on the move away from Chungking and towards the Front, and I am also moving all of the small LCUs back to Chungking so that they can rebuild and eventually be reunited. The stalemate at Ichang is getting worse, but I don't want to pull out because that will simply allow my opponent to split my forces. So I am committed to moving more and better units into the battle and also into position to try to cut off the Japanese. I'm also hoping that this keeps my opponent's attention there and not elsewhere in China.

ADB123 -> AMCs on the Attack (and being attacked) (1/10/2010 3:54:30 AM)

16/12/41 – Luck was on my side this turn. Things didn't start out promising as one of my PT TFs ran into a Japanese TF off of Cagayan, but my TF broke and ran even before a combat animation screen appeared. I've decided that I've got to pull those guys out of the Philippines and probably disband them for now. They aren't contributing.

But things got much more interesting during the day phase when the Japanese raiders that were prowling in the area between Canton Island, Pago Pago, Christmas Island, and Palmyra finally caught up with one of my TFs. But in this case the hunter became the prey because the TF that the two-AMC raider TF found, during daylight, was the Enterprise TF. And here is where my luck turned for the good, because it was a daylight intercept instead of night time, so the two CAs in my TF started to shoot at the AMCs while the AMCs were still out of gun range, and all of the escort ships in my TF eventually got into the fray and protected the Big E.

One of the Japanese AMCs was hit a dozen times or so, and the other one only twice. CA Chester had the back luck of getting hit twice in the superstructure with 6 inch shells from one of the AMCs, but the damage turned out to be minor. Eventually, after exchanging fire for some time the Japanese commander decided to break off and did so successfully.

However, since my TF was a CV TF, the Naval Air units on the Big E eventually got into action in the afternoon phase. The first wave of dive bombers sank the more damaged AMC which could only get a hex away from the CV TF. The second less damaged AMC got further away, but it was spotted by a Vindicator from Canton Island, so more of the dive bombers from the Big E caught up to it and put two more 1000 lb bombs into the ship. I don't know if the second AMC sank, but it isn't going to be bothering me for a while with that damage.

BTW – I have no intention of trying to hunt down the wounded AMC. If the Vindicators at Canton get a chance to attack, that's fine. But I'm sending the Enterprise TF back to Pearl for repair and replenishment. They did their job well and I don't want them to sail into a trap. It's enough that my opponent now knows where the Big is located.

Speaking of traps, something very odd is going on in the North Pacific northwest of Midway. My SIGINT report said that there were a lot of radio signals coming from 147, 83. I looked up there and sure enough, there was the mark of a Japanese TF. However, passing my cursor over the TF didn't give me any more info on composition or direction.

Hmmm – what could it be?

- Whatever scared the Regulus a few turns back?

- The part of the KB that had been hitting Wake? (If so it certainly travelled a long way very quickly.)

- A Japanese TF that is returning from prowling the “dead zone” in the Northeastern Pacific where my patrol planes can't reach?

- An invasion TF trying to sneak up on Midway from the north?

In any event I don't have anything of value at risk up there, so I'll keep my eyes open and see what happens. Never-the-less, I am also sending out of Pearl anything that can't stand and fight, just in case my opponent has been inspired by all of the other reports of early Japanese invasions of Hawaii.

In other news, my daytime luck continued in the Philippines as a squadron of Bettys flew at Clark Field unescorted, and so provided a number of nice kills for my P-40 pilots. Similarly, Lilys and Babs flew over Kweilin unescorted again this turn, and so provided some nice kills for the AVG again. And my Chinese bombers flew successfully against Ichang again today, despite the presence of a couple of Nates on CAP. I wonder if I send some AVG fighters on a sweep over Ichang they will intercept any of those Nates? (I don't believe that the Nates are actually stationed at Ichang.)

The one place where my air strategy didn't work was over Alor Star where my British bombers were intercepted by a couple of Oscars and one of the bombers was shot down. The attack was shaken enough that the bombers didn't hit their target. I'm moving that bomber group out to rest and rebuild.

There were only two ground assaults this turn, the regular Japanese bombardment at Ichang, and an unsuccessful attack on Rabaul. However, the forts are now down to 0 at Rabaul, so I expect the next assault to capture the base.

ADB123 -> A Quiet Turn (1/11/2010 3:13:29 AM)

17/12/41 – Ah, a reasonably quiet turn for a change. I like quiet turns – it means that my plans are working reasonably well. There were no overnight invasions, and no other overnight actions either. The only new invasion showing up in the day phase was the appearance of some ships at Shortlands.

The day phase was generally quiet too. My opponent did send a couple of Zero sweeps over Clark Field that shot down a few P-40s without any losses to themselves. But I had most of my P-40s resting so that wasn't too bad. The only follow-up bombing raid was some Bettys attacking an Allied Armoured unit at Clark – the Zero sweeps did their jobs and the Bettys got through without any interceptors present.

Some Zeros showed up in China and Malaya this time, so my air raids appear to be causing my opponent to spread out his air units, as I had hoped. There were still only a couple of Nates over Ichang when my Chinese bombers came in this time, so my bombers went past the Nates and hit the defending Japanese troops well. But I am resting those bombers this coming turn because of a forecast of poor weather and also in case my opponent does send some Zeros in on Patrol.

There were only two ground attacks this turn, a Deliberate Attack captured Alor Star easily, and another Deliberate Attack at Rabaul failed again. I certainly don't understand how my remaining units at Rabaul continue to fight off the Japanese troops. Each turn I pull more troops out, so the number left to fight continues to dwindle. I guess that my opponent is having a run of bad luck, but I expect the base to fall any time.

I'm starting to wonder just what my opponent is up to in the short term. He has not followed up on his early attacks in the Philippines, Malaya and DEI to any great extent, and from what my Recon and Intel can tell me, it doesn't look as if he has overwhelming forces in those areas. It seems like he is keeping “just enough” to make progress and to keep me busy. However, my Intel is suggesting that my opponent is moving a lot of forces towards the Southwest Pacific. I wonder if he is planning a blitzkrieg into the SWP in order to cut off Australia?

Interestingly enough, my opponent still hasn't gone after Makin and Tarawa. I guess that the presence of the Enterprise group, as well as the early ambush at Wake has made him cautious. But I suspect once he has refuelled and re-armed the KB I will see some serious movement into the South Central Pacific.

BTW – the TF that was spotted to the northwest of Midway last turn disappeared this turn. I'm still not keeping anything at Pearl that I don't need to keep there. It's too easy for a serious raid to come back and trash the place.

Otherwise, I am busy moving LCUs in all of the theaters in order to recombine as many of those small fragments into bigger units as I possibly can. As far as I can tell from playing against the AI, small units are pretty much useless on defense, so I may as well try to avoid having them destroyed piecemeal.

ADB123 -> Too Quiet for Comfort (1/13/2010 3:47:22 AM)

18/12/41 – Hmmm... another relatively quiet turn. There was no night action again, other than one of my PTs hitting a Japanese mine at Tarakan, and even then the mine did amazingly little damage. (Was it a mine, or just a sake bottle? [;)] ) There were no invasions and no night raids on sea or in the air.

The day phase was almost as quiet, other than the usual bombing raids on some of my troops in Malaya and China. A couple of Zero sweeps shot down a few more P-40s over Clark, but more of my P-40s took off to ambush a Sally raid over Lingayen, so things evened out.

There were no naval actions, and in fact few Japanese TFs showed up anywhere. Even sub action was light with most Japanese subs disappearing out of my patrol areas.

And the land action consisted only of lackadaisical artillery bombardments at Ichang and Rabaul, and the Japanese troops at Rabaul took the bulk of the damage from the artillery exchange.

So just what is my opponent up to? I keep on getting the feeling that he is setting up a massive assault into one of the key regions. But which one? My SIGINT continues to be pretty much useless, so I have to just prepare for any eventuality. The key, of course, is to avoid having a number of forces caught unprepared, so I am routing my TFs even more carefully than I usually do, and maintaining my combat forces in locations where they can prevent small nuisance raids but can also flee any major assaults.

However, having seen all of those AARs where Japanese players are happily blitzing through the Hawaiian Islands in early January 1942 I've decided to move up my major transport plans a couple of weeks and start a mass transit of forces to Hawaii in about 2 days, instead of the middle of January like I do against the AI. We'll see how it goes. (And I'll also use waypoints away from the usual shipping lanes.)

ADB123 -> Two Weeks, No Game (1/16/2010 12:24:37 AM)

Although this pbem has been going at a relatively glacial pace up until now, it is going into a real Deep Freeze for the next two weeks as I will be away from my game computer.

What does one do for two weeks without AE? [X(]

ADB123 -> Back at it, Finally! (2/1/2010 11:54:27 PM)

December 19, 1941 – I’m back after two weeks away from the Game. When I looked over the turn it felt like I was looking over someone else’s PBEM; I couldn’t remember any of my plans. Oh well, maybe that’s for the better.

This was a good turn to return to because there were no bad surprises waiting for me. My opponent is being methodical in most areas and has some big surprise offensive coming up somewhere, but for now things were pretty much as one would expect.

The night phase brought a Japanese invasion TF to Kuching. I’ve had a Dutch PT TF waiting there for a number of turns. I’ve been stationing PT TFs openly at a number of key bases and waiting to see what my opponent would do. In this case he made the effort to put a CA and a couple of DDs in the invasion TF. When the Japanese TF first arrived my PT TF took off without engaging the Japanese, but set up to return. Later on in the turn the PT TF did return and had an inconclusive minor gun fight with the escorts in the invasion TF before sailing off again. This allowed the invasion TF to eventually offload some troops at the end of the turn. The CD guns at Kuching exchanged fire with the Japanese CA and got one hit in on the CA’s armor, but didn’t cause any damage.

Kuching always falls easily, so I have been busy for a number of turns flying out troops to Sumatra. Once the Japanese invasion troops finally do assault the base they will take it even more easily than usual, but I would rather have my troops helping out in Sumatra than slogging around in the jungle in Borneo. Also, I moved a B-17 squadron to Batavia and I will have them bomb the Japanese troops at Kuching next turn, both for practice and also to keep my opponent from feeling too complacent. Once my opponent captures Kuching I will bring more B-17s to Batavia and start a bombing campaign against the air fields at Kuching. It will be interesting to see if my opponent attempts to counter this with some decent fighters.

At this time it appears that most of my opponent’s decent fighters are busy sweeping Clark Field and Manila. I lost a few more P-40s to these sweeps this turn without getting any kills against the Japanese in return, so it appears to be time to give up on the air defence of those bases. I withdrew another fighter group this turn and I am resting the remaining groups for next turn. I expect that my opponent will send out the “sweepers” again next turn before he sends bombers back, and I want air-unit markers at my bases to keep him guessing.

Speaking of fighters, I withdrew or disbanded all of my old obsolete fighter units and substituted those essentially useless planes for better planes in restricted units that are in West Coast bases. I’d rather have a handful of half-way decent fighter groups in Pearl than have the airfields filled with useless planes that are piloted by rookies. At this point I don’t want to give my opponent the opportunity to train his pilots against my pathetically weak air units – my most effective “weapon” right now is to let my opponent lose planes and pilots to Operational damage or flak.

Japanese bombers continued to harass my retreating troops in northern Malaya and northern China. I’m leaving my British fighters at Singapore and the AVG in Central China for now until I see some opportunities for air ambushes.

Speaking of air ambushes –my Intel may have prevented me from suffering from a naval air pincer movement in the DEI. It appears that a CV TF is hanging off of the Kuching invasion, and another CV TF is sailing off of the north-western tip of New Guinea. I’ve had cruiser/destroyer TFs sitting at forward bases across the DEI, so I ordered them back a bit until I see just where the CV TFs are headed. However, where I may have some pain anyway is at Palembang where I just sent in some TKs in an attempt to “steal” some of the fuel that is building up there. It will be hard to save those TKs if my opponent keeps some CVs in the area.

BTW – the CV TF off of Borneo may be headed onwards with one less DD because one of my Dutch subs put a torpedo into a DD in that TF and the Intel reports are telling me that the DD went down. My sub escaped unharmed.

My opponent has brought more troops to Ichang, including an armoured unit and two artillery units. He continues to do artillery attacks each turn, but the results are fairly light and even between both sides. I’ve got a couple more LCUs that are about to join in the siege, and maybe even cut the road, so it will be interesting to see how this goes. In any event I am quite happy to see a stalemate build at Ichang while I move my other Chinese units to more sensible and defensible positions.

And Rabaul finally fell this turn, after an unexpectedly strong stand by an ever-diminishing number of Australian troops. Almost all of the defenders of Rabaul are now in Port Moresby and I will pick up the remainder over the next turn or two. BTW – I have no intention at this time of trying a major stand at PM, but I will attempt to keep it supplied and let it act as a general nuisance.

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