January 16, 1942 -
Lubang was occupied automatically, and other than that, all that could be heard across the Pacific was the sound of the occasional bored cricket. Yes, we had another night without any action. I'm not sure who turned the Pacific into a “No Sub Zone”, but it certainly gives a nice false sense of security.
During the day phase my Patrol planes did spot a couple of enemy subs, and enemy Patrol planes spotted a couple of my subs, but other than that things were very quiet. My Air Patrols and subs are not spotting enemy TFs anywhere, and the only reasonably firm reports that I am getting are from Coast Watchers in PNG.
There was one report that was a bit irritating - one of those “multiple enemy ships are sailing quickly nearby” sort of reports that never turn into anything. This time it came from a Seagull near Tahiti. I call this one “irritating”, because if there did happen to be a Japanese sub there, and if the sub reported the Seagull, then my opponent knows that I have at least one Seagull-equiped combat ship way down there at Tahiti, and I don't really want my opponent to know that right now. In fact, I have a lot more than just one Seagull-equiped ship down there, but I don't want my opponent to know that either. I am attempting to set up the capability to spring a serious surprise on any Japanese expansion into the South Pacific, and I need my forces to be pretty much undiscovered for some time yet in order to make this happen. Oh well, we will see what transpires.
Even the Air War was a bit quieter. My opponent sent plenty of bombers against Bataan again, and once again the Japanese planes were hammered by Flak and didn't hit their targets. And once again, my units continued to use up supplies, so, unfortunately, the fun and games won't be continuing too much longer. Other Japanese bomber units hit my isolated and weaker units in the Philippines and Malaya without problems because those Allied units have no supply and no AA to fire at the Japanese planes.
Interestingly, there were no Japanese attacks on Singapore this turn. I guess that the Flak was a bit too painful for my opponent. However, some Japanese LCUs finally moved in to besiege Johore Bahru. That will be an easy target because I only have one weak Malay Infantry unit there as a “place holder”.
Away from the Front Lines the news was up and down, with the emphasis on “down”. Two more fighter units turned up at Brisbane, but once again they are full of 30-experience “heroes”, so I banished both units to backwater training bases. A British CV turned up at Aden and I am sending it to Karachi, but those 30 planes on that CV aren't going to Turn the War Around in any manner. I'll just keep them training away from the Front until my US CVs arrive in the Indian Ocean in a month or so. And the temporary flotation repairs on Houston sprung a leak again, so I'm hoping that Houston can make the two hexes to Port Hedland and more pier-side repairs.
And what was the news from the SIGINT folks? Well, at least one Japanese Division is “planning” for an attack on Chengchow. Okay, what about the other two Japanese Divisions that are already at Chengchow? I feel like sending my entire SIGINT team to the front lines in Chengchow to see if that helps them see the obvious more easily.
Current Status Update:
West Coast – Limited numbers of Japanese subs have been showing up and are being chased in a haphazard manner by my LBA. I am not sending out many TFs, so the Japanese subs have few targets to practice upon. I have left all of the Restricted LCUs at the West Coast with the exception of the one Marine Regiment that I changed over to Pacific control and is now onboard a TF headed for Hawaii and the rest of the Marine Regiments.
Alaska - I've done little to Alaska other than to send in some supplies and some S-boat subs. I have sent the bulk of the Northern reinforcements to Prince Rupert which continues to be built up as my primary Northern base. I do have the Colorado, Lexington, some CAs and DDs in Seattle in case my opponent gets overly ambitious in the region.
Hawaiian Islands – I have distributed CD units to the smaller islands, along with Base Forces to the bases that were empty, and some AA units. My intention is to maintain a capability to provide mutual air support from the various islands in the case of an attack. I am also building fortifications on all of the islands. Pearl remains my main base and contains my main combat units. The Port is now at its maximum and the Forts will reach Level 4 soon.
Midway, Johnston, Canton, Palmyra, Christmas Islands - I have left all of the islands the same, other than flying in to Midway the Base Force from Wake, and moving that little British unit from that dot island near Christmas Island to Christmas Island itself. I have Catalinas flying out of all five bases. I have also sent supplies and fuel to all five bases, but I have not attempted to “top off” any of them. If a “serious” (“serious” meaning an attack that includes CV and Surface Combat support) Japanese attack is made on any of those bases I will pull out the Catalinas and allow the attack to occur.
South Pacific – After the short “tour” by the KB the South Pacific has remained quiet. I have sent supplies to the bases that already have troops but have not reinforced them, other than the Air Force Base Force that I dropped off at Noumea in order to base Patrol Planes there. I am setting up supply and fuel depots in the region around Tahiti and am starting to send the beginnings of a land support force to the region too. I have surface ships and a CV in the region to prevent any minor Japanese incursions, but if a serious (as defined above) Japanese operation moves into the region I will pull back too.
New Zealand – I have not reinforced NZ with Ground forces, but I have set up a Naval support capability at Christchurch, and have based most of the ANZAC combat ships there. I am not using Auckland because it is too vulnerable to attacks by the KB. I have the Warspite on its way to join the ANZAC ships in order to make a viable threat in the region.
Australia – I have rebuilt all of the broken up Australian LCUs that I can. (There are still some Base Forces that are slowly marching to meeting points to allow rebuilding.) I don't want totally helpless fragments all over the place – I would rather build them up to something resembling minimal competence. I have left most of my stronger Ground Forces in southeaster Australia. Adelaide has become my main Naval base due to the ease of raiding by the KB of any of the bases on the North, East and West Coasts of Australia. Currently the four British fighter units from Singapore are rebuilding and training in Australia, as are the pretty much hopeless American “loaner” fighters and dive bombers. I can't fight off a serious attack by the KB with what I have in Oz, but I can deter long range, unescorted bomber raids.
Dutch East Indies – My opponent has inexplicably stopped expanding in the DEI after his capture of Kendari. Sorong, Ambon, Timor, and Balikpapan have been pretty much left alone, other than the occasional small bomber raid over Balikpapan. Japanese LBA at bases in the southern Philippines, northern Borneo, and Kendari, along with the reappearance of the mini-KB at Kendari, are dashing any thoughts of Allied surface combat intervention. One also has to remember that I threw away the Prince of Wales and the Repulse on December 8, and that the Houston TF was ambushed and whacked hard at Ambon, so in reality I have little with which to fight in the region anyway.
Philippines – I made a mess of my troop placements in the Philippines right at the beginning and I've never recovered from that. I also didn't get enough Supply into Bataan before I was cut off. In retrospect, I should have moved everyone to Manila on Day 2 and taken my chances there, but that's hindsight and there isn't anything more I can do now.
Malaya – Malaya is another place where I messed things up right from the beginning, so I ended up with half of my forces spread out and trapped in central Malaya where they are being steadily picked off by Japanese armoured units. Singapore has plenty of supply, but only half of the combat power that should have been there, so I haven't bothered spending PPs changing the bad commanders for better ones. I can only hope that my opponent makes the mistake of sending one or two small, fast moving units over the Causeway first and allows me to whack them, but my opponent hasn't shown signs that he is about to start to make those sorts of mistakes.
Burma – As I mentioned a while back, my opponent bluffed me out of Burma and now has it essentially for “free”. So far he hasn't moved beyond Rangoon, but then he really doesn't have to at this point. I haven't changed my plans and I still have most of my Burmese units moving towards the Border bases in India. I don't intend to go back into Burma until I have good units available to me and the threat of Japanese attack to the rest of India is gone.
India/Ceylon – I continue to fill India proper with my better British/Commonwealth units. Ceylon isn't empty, but I won't fight hard for it either if it is invaded. India is a different matter and I am building up my capabilities at Karachi, Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. I have also recombined the broken-up Indian Base Forces so that I now have decent Air Support bases back from the coast along the Bay of Bengal. This way, in case of a Japanese invasion, I have good air bases that are free from the threat of Naval bombardment.
China – I have almost finished my pull-back to the Rail Line Bases. The Supply situation in China is ugly, but that's how it goes. I still haven't attempted an attack on Ichang, and I'm concerned that by now the fortifications may be too high for my troops to overcome, so I'm not certain if I should really attempt to capture the base or pull back instead. I would hate to waste a lot of troops there on a lost cause. Otherwise, my opponent is pretty much as laid back in China as he is elsewhere.
Which brings up the Big Question – just what is my opponent planning to do? He has committed only about 20% of his forces so far. Where are the other 80% headed? He has the KB, the Combined Fleet, and Eight Divisions available, along with the bulk of his transport fleet, and most of his good land-based fighters have vanished from sight too. It's not like he won't take chances – his blitzkrieg of Port Moresby showed that he will. So what will be the next PM?