Cribtop -> RE: The Die is Cast! (4/3/2011 6:09:56 AM)
Thanks, Rob. Fear not, as I could easily commit 21st and 38th Divs to Luzon if need be. Just hoping I don't have to - a siege is quite acceptable to me as the alternative has two full divisions raging through the eastern DEI towards Timor and an early Java invasion (or Sumatra).
On the whole a good turn. Force Z is nowhere to be seen - interesting given CF's statement via e-mail that it was heading my way.
Dec 7, 1941
Every group, even the elite of a society, has its outcasts. Tail gunners are the bottom feeders of Imperial Japanese Naval Aviation. Hanabusa Amane was justifiably proud of his acceptance into the Naval Air arm, but in the end he was assigned to serve as the rear gunner on a D3A1 dive bomber flying from Carrier Hiryu. His role on the fateful day of December 7, 1941 was to serve as spectator to the audacious attack on the USN's Pacific Fleet base at Pearl Harbor.
There are few experiences more discomfiting than hurtling to takeoff from a carrier's plunging deck. Facing backwards while performing this dubious manuever is doubly problematic. However, repetition can inure one to any hardship, so Warrant Officer Hanabusa thought little of the stomach churning plunge into nothingness. His emotions at the prospect of combat, however, did weigh on his gastrointestinal system as the aircraft gained altitude and joined up with the large group of planes preparing to unleash war in a manner never attempted, or even contemplated, by Amane's ancestors.
The feeling of disjunction continued as the flight to the target commenced. The beauty of Oahu was revealed below as the sun rose over the port wing of the Type 99 Kanbaku Amane shared with pilot LtJG Endo Giichi. Amane reflected that the sun was of course rising over his starboard shoulder, a testament to the ironic existence of the rear gunner.
These thoughts were banished as Pearl Harbor came into view. Expecting enemy fighters, Amane's fingers tightened on the grip of his 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun. Amazingly, the only aircraft in the sky was the vast armada from Kido Butai. Intelligence reports were correct for once, the Americans were caught completely by surprise. Despite his pilot's insistence that Amane remain alert, the tail gunner's practiced scans of their surroundings revealed nothing to arouse concern.
The Type 99s had been ordered to prioritize enemy carriers, but none were spotted in the harbor. Priority two targets were the American airfields, and it was here that Hiryu's planes drew blood. The enemy planes were drawn up wingtip to wingtip! Amane felt his aircraft tilt downward as Giichi sought a victim. Their aircraft happened to bomb Hickam Field, hitting a B-17D bomber and rendering it useless to the enemy. American AA fire whizzed and popped around them, but the gods smiled on the D3A1 the enemy code-named "Val."
It was only after they pulled out of the dive that Amane experienced a sight only a rear gunner could observe. "Battleship Row" was a pall of smoke, with numerous ships ablaze and at least one sinking before his eyes. Flames shot high into the early morning air, while antlike Americans ran pell mell over the once proud facilities of the Pacific Fleet. Amane was amazed and appalled by the horrors of war displayed below him.
Seconds later, the Type 99 bomber leveled off and headed back for the Hiryu. The flight home gave Amane time to think. He first contemplated with elation of the great victory that Japan had clearly won today. Eventually, however, he was troubled by the sights and sounds of death unleashed on an unsuspecting foe. It occurred to him to consider the attack from the American perspective. He wondered how he would feel had he survived such a devastating attack, and could not shake the conclusion that he would be consumed with a desire for vengeance at any cost.
Upon returning to his carrier, Amane shared his feelings with LtJG Endo. Giichi responded: "What would a rear gunner know of such matters? Just keep looking for P-40s and leave the strategy to Combined Fleet." Amane wondered whether such arrogance was warranted. Even tail gunners are right on occasion.
CF did not set any planes on CAP in a gracious acknowledgement of the complete surprise achieved historically. The results are painful for him. For a cost of 10 Vals and Kates, KB's strike smashes somewhere between 24 and 48 planes on the ground, including many Catalinas, P-40s and B-17s. Maryland is sunk outright, California and Oklahoma are likely to join her in the mud, and seven BBs in total are listed as having suffered "heavy damage." In addition, we hit 4 CLs, a submarine, several DDs and numerous valuable support ships, including AE Mauna Loa, an AV, a DM, and an AG. Cribtop HQ is disappointed there is no PM strike, but will take what we can get. We are seriously considering a second day of attacks given that the enemy's aircraft suffered so heavily.
Morning Air attack on Pearl Harbor , at 180,107
Weather in hex: Clear sky
Raid detected at 80 NM, estimated altitude 17,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 30 minutes
A6M2 Zero x 88
B5N2 Kate x 144
D3A1 Val x 135
Japanese aircraft losses
B5N2 Kate: 6 destroyed, 22 damaged
D3A1 Val: 4 destroyed, 27 damaged
Allied aircraft losses
P-40B Warhawk: 7 destroyed on ground
B-17E Fortress: 1 destroyed on ground
PBY-5 Catalina: 7 destroyed on ground
B-17D Fortress: 2 destroyed on ground
B-18A Bolo: 2 destroyed on ground
SBD-1 Dauntless: 1 destroyed on ground
C-33: 1 destroyed on ground
O-47A: 1 destroyed on ground
F4F-3 Wildcat: 2 destroyed on ground
BB West Virginia, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
BB California, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 5, heavy damage
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 3, on fire, heavy damage
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
BB Nevada, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
BB Tennessee, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 3, on fire, heavy damage
BB Oklahoma, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 5, on fire, heavy damage
AE Mauna Loa, Torpedo hits 1, on fire
BB Arizona, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 3, on fire, heavy damage
SS Dolphin, Bomb hits 1
CM Oglala, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Henley, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL Helena, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, on fire
CL St. Louis, Torpedo hits 1
CL Detroit, Bomb hits 1, on fire
PT-22, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AG Aries, Torpedo hits 1, on fire
AM Tern, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DM Preble, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AV Wright, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
AM Grebe, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DD Schley, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
CL Raleigh, Torpedo hits 1
Allied ground losses:
5 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Airbase hits 25
Airbase supply hits 4
Runway hits 90
Port hits 20
Poor PT-22. Obliterated by an errant torpedo.
We sweep and bomb Clark Field to good effect with minimal losses. Bettys from Takao try their hand at torpedoing British DDs fleeing Hong Kong without success.
Laoag and Aparri fall to paratroop assaults.
Jolo invaded. Manado and Ternate will be invaded tomorrow. KBL is near Ternate, a cruiser force lurks near Palawan. Search planes sight an enemy CL near Mindanao. Probably That Damn Boise. We assume she will try for an intercept at Jolo and will have a surprise awaiting her.
Most of the fun occurs in this AO. We pound Alor Star and Kuantan with IJAAF bombers, achieving a 4:1 kill rate and numerous a/c destroyed on the ground. Enemy planes attack our ships at Kota Bharu four times. A strong but generally ineffective Nate CAP inflicts about 1:1 losses on enemy Buffalos and shoots down or turns back several raids, but eventually some British bombers get through. They achieve no hits. Large numbers of IJA troops pour over uncontested beaches at Singora.
Despite a sighting report of 10 Allied ships one hex off Kota Bharu, Force Z is MIA. Did Cuttles screw up their orders, do something creative, or engage in some playful maskirovka with his e-mail message? We don't know, but every Netty in Indochina will be hunting them tomorrow just in case.
The Sinkawang invasion suffers a setback when Swordfish out of Singers get two lucky hits on two transports. Despite this, our troops all get ashore. We must assume enemy surface forces will be here tomorrow, so only kamikaze xAKs will be left to unload supplies until sunk by enemy action.