January 3, 1942 -
It was only a matter of time before my opponent would get tired of watching the AVG whack his Nates in China, so this turn he did something about it. That “something” was, of course, sending in some Zero squadrons. Fog of War must have made him think that the Zeros did really well because he was almost apologetic about it, but the results were pretty much a wash, although I'm not telling him that. But what I did do was put the H81s at their ceiling for the next turn. Sure, it bothers me that I have to fly my fighters at unrealistically high altitudes, but it doesn't bother me enough to not do it and then have my planes wiped out.
There was a fair amount of action during the night phase for a change. New Hanover Island was occupied automatically, and then I-5 attacked one of my 4-stack CLs off of Christmas Island (the one in the Eastern Pacific). The sub's torpedoes missed, and so did the depth charges of the DDs that were escorting the CL. We both gained a bit of knowledge from this exchange, and while it doesn't surprise me to find a Japanese sub off of that base, seeing that CL doesn't really tell my opponent much, other than that I'm not keeping all of my combat ships hidden in distant ports.
A bloodier exchange occured at Ambon Island where another BB/CA bombardment TF came in and slugged it out with the CD guns. I LOVE the new CD gun activity in the latest patch! The 150 mm guns fired back at the ships, causing some topside damage and generally holding their own. In the end there were 5 hits on Hyuga, 2 on Fuso, and 1 on the CA Sugera. And best of all, at the end of the exchange when the ships departed there was no damage to the CD unit!
Then daylight came and so did Zero sweeps everywhere – Tsiaotso, Balikpapan, Palembang, Kendari – along with the usual escorted bombing raids in Luzon, Borneo, Malaya and China. Interestingly enough, my opponent didn't follow up his Zero sweeps over Tsiaotso with any bomber raids, although I sent in my bombers. The Chinese Hudsons were roughed up a bit, but the B-17s that followed just brushed off the Zero LR CAP. And, best of all, those Zeros were flying a long ways to sweep and LR CAP Tsiaotso, which means that Operational damage is definitely rearing its ugly head in those fighter Daitais.
Land action started out with a Japanese amphibious landing at Kwangchowan. I guess that my opponent saw the AI do it and figured that he might as well also, instead of marching over to the empty base. Then came a no-effect artillery dual at Tsiaotso. The Forts at Tsiaotso also increased to Level 3 this turn, so the next action there ought to be even harder for the Japanese. Chengchow was quiet again, but another big Chinese unit marched in, so the next time that the Japanese try something there they ought to receive an unpleasant surprise.
In Luzon the Japanese units besieging Clark Field fired off an artillery attack but it had little effect, even though I pulled back a number of my better units into Bataan ahead of it. Two Japanese Infantry Regiments and a Recon Regiment captured the empty Antimonan. And a dozen Japanese LCUs moved in to besiege the lone Philippine Infantry Division that was left behind in the rush to evacuate Manila. It shouldn't be hard for the Japanese troops to kick that Philippine Division out.
In Malaya two Japanese Infantry Regiments, assisted by one Engineering Regiment, captured Georgetown easily. Other than the Static fort there were only two already-demolished infantry fragments there. All three surrendered.
At Moulmein my Burmese Rifle unit that stumbled into town after Moulmein was captuered was easily wiped out by the collection of Japanese Infantry, Armoured and Artillery Regiments that are there. Never-the-less, I am getting the feeling that I was Bluffed Out of Burma by my opponent. There is no sign of any big Japanese Infantry Divisions on the way, and even my reconstitued British Burma division could have held Rangoon against the stack of Japanese troops that are currently at Moulmein. Oh well, such is hindsight. And anyway, maybe those missing Japanese Divisions are being prepared for an attack on India, in which case I will be very happy to have the Burma Division free to join in the defense.
Once again there was nothing definite in the SIGINT reports, although there were a lot of reported radio transmissions in Manchuria. I have the feeling that I am being snookered in a big way, but I can't seem to find the key to understand what is coming and where.
In other news, my second reinforcement TF arrived at Pearl Harbor this turn. It ought to unload quickly, and the third reinforcement TF should arrive next turn. So things are coming along well at Pearl. I also sent out another big TF full of non-combatant ships on a circuatous trip back to the US West Coast. And hopefully within a week I will have my first functional BB in the Pacific arrive at Pearl – Warspite is sailing smoothly towards the cauldron of shadows that is the Pacific at this time.
Finally, I received 3 P-40 squadrons in Eastern US this turn, along with one of those silly 5-plane Headquarters units. I topped up the three squadrons with planes and then sent them on their 38 day journey to Cape Town. I then withdrew the Headquarters unit so that I could have the planes in the Pool. Once the P-40s reach Cape Town I'll most likely send them on to Australia and New Zealand. They aren't much, but they are so much more than what I have there now.