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You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI

 
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You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/4/2010 4:42:03 PM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
((Hopefully this may be entertaining and of some interest to other new players. It might be summed up as: How many mistakes can you make while sorting stuff out. Update rate probably will be slowish and I am not sure how many combat reports I will post up. As the game was started under an older version and then updated there may be a few odd things happening, or odd things may have happened. Campaign Notes: Allied Forces Far East vrs IJA/IJN (AI)

Settings: Player Controlled Upgrades off, Reliable USN Torpedoes off, Historic Japanese Submarine Doctrine on, Historic First Turn on, Dec 7 Surprise on, Allied Damage Control on.))

SITREP FOLLOWS
CURRENT DATE: 1-APRIL-1942

INDIA/BURMA COMMAND

Initial operations in this area by the IJA and IJN forces did not begin until early March 1942. Before that time period only random air attacks against the air groups of 221 Group, and the AVG. 224 Group RAAF bombers escaping from north Malaysia were involved in night raids on Bangkok. The RAF Buffalo fighters based in Rangoon were depleted over the course of the campaign.
The AVG groups were hard hit but a surprise Japanese air raid that damaged or destroyed a large number of fighters at Toungoo early in the campaign. 2nd and 3rd AVG provided additional combat air patrols over Rangoon from their base in Toungoo. Air-to-air combat over Rangoon was particularly fierce with the 1st AVG being reduced to a single operational H8-A3 aircraft by mid-march 1942.

Port Blair reinforced by naval transport of RAF personnel, 2 Buffalo Fighters and a lone Swordfish Torpedo bomber. The ships bring over the RAF base force were sunk by Betties while unloading. Subsequent supply delivery missions have cost 3 small coastal cargo ships. The base is currently being bombed by substantial Japanese air assets. The fighter flight at Port Blair now has lost both its planes while the Swordfish flight is up to 3.

British 18th Division intended for Singapore was diverted to Colombo and is currently undergoing tropical training there. AA and AT assets were also diverted from Singapore and are present in Colombo (AA), Imphal (AA) and Cox Bazaar (AT). HQ III Corps is loading in Cochin for transport to Colombo. 2 Indian Divisions are forming currently to reinforce Eastern Command and the 70th Division brigades are currently either at Aden or in transit to Karachi. The command group for the 70th Division is enroute for Calcutta.
Australian I Corps troops are now all in theatre. The 16th, 17th, and 18th brigades have been temporarily assigned to missions. The 16th is garrisoning Diego Garcia, the 17th is in Cox Bazaar, and the 18th is in Chittagong. All other Australian forces are scheduled to return to Australia from Cochin as shipping is available. All I Australian Corps assets are in India and most are now in rail transit to Cochin.
The 2 Indian brigades sent in to reinforce Rangoon were caught by torpedo bombers though the RAF and AVG tried to give air cover. The actual troop losses were not bad as the ships were caught in the river delta and most troops were rescued by the motor launches sent to help. Salvage operations recovered most of the two brigade’s heavy equipment.

Burma Corps resisted the Japanese invasion that began in early March 1942 but were initially caught by surprise with a naval landing at Moulmien. This resulted in a brigade and a regiment of mountain guns caught behind the lines. The attempt to stop the Japanese advance at Pegu was decimated by a tank onslaught and the forces fell back to Rangoon. The battle for Rangoon itself was fierce with the British and Burmese troops resisting for 4 days until overwhelming numbers (4 IJA Divisions, 4 Tank Regiments and support troops) forced them out of the city. Viper Force and the Burmese Railway Bn that was attempting to entrain to Mandalay were destroyed in the combat.

The loss of both Rangoon and Pegu forced the AVG to relocate. The ground elements and the 1st AVG went to Lashiro. The 2nd AVG went to Kumming and the 3rd AVG when to Chungking. The Chinese were convinced to release 2 divisions from the 11th Army to reinforce Lashiro. Burmese battalions and brigades have contested the Japanese advance and in all cases managed to execute an effective retrograde movement to Myitkyi. This base is now held by a Burmese Bde and 4 Burmese Bn supporting the Base force and Auxiliary AA regiment. 221 Group command staff and Burma Corps command staff were airlifted out of Myitkyi to Ledo and are currently based in Sichar. Kalemyo is held by a Burmese Bde and Bn with a Base Force marching to it through the jungle. Unfortunately both of the Burmese Bde suffered serious casualties to Japanese armoured forces in their battles over Mandalay and Schwebo. Neither is currently fit for combat. The 3rd Burmese Bde along with a regiment of mountain guns has abandoned the plan to move to Lashiro and is marching through the jungle to reach the main road from Prome to Mandalay they will then proceed north crossing the river south of Magwe and then on to Kalemyo. The survivors from Rangoon marched up the coast road towards Akyaba. Unfortunately the Japanese landed a strong force in Akyaba forcing out the Burmese battalion garrison. The forces will now assemble in the jungle and cross the river just north of Akyaba and then march to Cox Bazaar. Tuning Gyr was assaulted by Thai troops that drove out its garrison battalion. The battalion is screening the approach to Lashiro.

Imphal is held by the Royal Tank Bde, an Indian Infantry Bde, heavy and light AA regiments, a mountain gun regiment and a base force, with a field gun regiment marching from Sichar. Chittagong is garrisoned by an Australian Bde, the fortress troops, heavy and light AA regiments and a battalion from the Assam rifles. Cox Bazaar has an Australian Bde, the Hussar tank Bde, a regiment of 2 lbers, a mountain gun regiment and a battalion of Burmese light infantry.

RAF Operations (221, 222, 223(-), 224, 225 Groups)

221 Group will be based out of Sichar once its airfield is developed. Along with a squadron from 224 group and 225 group it is undertaking harassment bombing of the main body of IJA troops currently located near Katha.
222 Group is based in Colombo and is undertaking training and search operations from there. It has primary responsibility for defence of the RN base.
223(-) Group is based in Madras and is undertaking training and acclimatization while waiting for transhipment to Australia.
224 Group is based in Madras and will be responsible for air defence of Southern Command.
225 Group is based at Dacca and is contributing to the harassment of the IJA units in central Burma.

All transport aircraft are currently in Ledo and are involved in transport of supplies to either China or Myitkyi. More transport squadrons are in Aden currently waiting for ships.

The Mohawk squadron based in Calcutta has been involved in several engagements with unescorted IJA bombers. The five pilots are gaining valuable experience and will likely soon be aces. Other groups are patrolling the coasts of India. On board cargo ships heading for Cochin from Cape Town are a headquarters squadron and the 16th pursuit squadron of the 51st PG from the Tenth Air Force flying P40Es. These planes will be based in Dacca. The most obvious lack is in patrol air craft to cover the Bay of Bengal.

The current plan is to reorganize the forces assigned to 223 and 224 groups and return the Australian bomber group to Australia plus other squadrons, and to return to India various RAF squadrons currently deployed near Darwin. This will make 223 Group a combined RAF/RAAF/RNZAF force and it will be responsible for assisting in the defence of NW Australia. The question still on the table at AIRHQ India is which squadrons will be shuffled where.

RN Operations Bay of Bengal

Current forces:
Force R: HMS Indomitable, CAx2, CLx2, CLAA, DDx4. Sortied from Colombo against the landing at Moulmein. Took up station 120 nm SW of Ramree. Albacore I torpedo bombers made repeated attacks against unloading transport ships. Fulmar II fighter bombers caught by Oscar’s and handled roughly. Retired to Colombo when torpedo magazine empty. On station at Colombo.

Eastern Fleet: HMS Warspite, 4 R-Class BBs, CLx3, DDx4 Sortied, pre-reinforcement (only the Royal Sovereign present), against the shipping at Akyab with Force R providing air cover. No ships present. On station at Colombo.

Hermes Task Group: HMS Hermes, CA, CL, DD. Conducting ASW operations near Karachi.

Reinforcement Group: HMS Formidable, CA, 2 CL, and 3 DDs in transit from Cape Town. Two of these ships were part of the screening force sent with the Prince of Wales (CL Dragon and DD Iris). The Dragon's damage was repaired in time to join the Indomitable.

3 CLs, 6 DDs, 1 DE and several small escorts are employed guarding transport groups. Several KVs and other small escorts engaged in ASW operations near Colombo, Bombay and Karachi. 3 Patrol Craft used as a rapid reaction force based in Calcutta to engage attempts to reinforce Akayba. The rapid reaction force ships have sunk one cargo vessel in a night engagement so far. HMS Prince of Wales currently in Cape Town shipyards with a repair estimate of approximately 1 year (System: 45; Float: 54 (major), Engine 34(24 major)).

Submarines from the Dutch, British and American navies are currently based out of Colombo and are transiting to patrol areas in the Bay of Bengal and near Sumatra and Java.

((Some of the above numbers are approximate as I can’t recall them exactly.))

The failure to deploy a major force against the landing at Moulmein is considered a lost opportunity by Eastern Fleet HQ. It was not originally though to be so major a landing as it was expected the main attack would come over land. Had the Eastern Fleet surface elements with its battleship sortied against the landing and had the Hermes Task Group accompanied Force R there would have been significantly higher losses of Japanese assets. The Eastern Fleet was not deployed mainly due to concern over land based air strikes such as those that caused the loss of the HMS Repulse and damaged the HMS Prince of Wales.

Imperial Japanese Army Dispositions

Akyaba is garrisoned by 2 units with at total troop strenght around 9000 men. Photo recon is ongoing. There are likely base forces and other land forces in Rangoon and Prome. Air assets were briefly based in Mandalay but night bombing raids from Dacca based bombers drove them out. Most of the Japanese air assets seem to be in Rangoon and Prome. Oscars, Betties, and Sallies have been observed in attacks on Port Blair, Lashiro and Calcutta.
A Thai division is located at the trail crossing east of Taung Gyi.
A large Japanese force…reported at nearly 60,000, 600+ guns and 300 AFVs…is located near Katha. At least 4 IJA divisions, 3 Tank Regiments and a Recon Regiment were present at Rangoon along with support troops. At the moment where the Imperial high command may be planning on going is unclear.

((Other commands to follow. I truly kick myself for not hitting that landing harder and for it sneaking in, but I had only limited patrol air assets there. Basically the planes from Hong Kong and I was expecting him to come over land as I had a japanese land force visible so the combined land-sea assault caught me off guard. The picture below is the state of things approximately mid-march, as you can see some plans have changed.))




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 5/11/2010 12:30:10 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/4/2010 5:04:18 PM   
Grit


Posts: 142
Joined: 4/7/2010
From: North Carolina
Status: offline
I look forward to following your war.

I appreciate the detail and that you identify your units.

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 2
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/5/2010 10:54:22 AM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
Grit, thanks. I imagine this will be boring for anyone not rather new to the game. I made a lot of errors as I was going along...I make a lot of errors still I'm sure but they don't seem so obvious here as nothing much happened in India till March 42.

Next update is the last of the "dull" sectors.

====AAR BEGINS====

CHINA COMMAND

Although the troops at Hong Kong had no chance to actually hold the city, British, Canadian and local volunteers fought for 5 days to hold off the advancing Japanese troops. When it became apparent that the city was beyond saving the planes of the Hong Kong detachment evacuated via Chinese airfields to Burma, eventually ending up in Chittagong. The destroyers sortied out intercepting Japanese shipping and then retired to Singapore joining up with the ships there to form the Sumatra Squadron. The MTBs moved to the Free French city of Kwangchowan and the Chinese port of Pakhoi, where they remain until this time. Intel intercepts indicate that the Imperial high command is planning an attack on Kwangchowan. As no forces are present in the city beyond the MTBs it is unlikely to be not successful.

The situation in China is at the moment stable. There are three ongoing actions. The first is on the main road to former French Indochina. A Chinese Corps is dug in, blocking the road while three extremely weak Japanese formation attempt to displace it. This action has been going on for over 9 weeks and the Japanese forces are progressively getting weaker. In the mountains near Paotow (this base is in Chinese hands) a lone Corps and Headquarters unit has been standing off three brigades since the start of the year. The artillery duels accomplish little and the strength of the formation has been increasing. For the past month SW of Loyang a Japanese infantry division and independent brigade have been engaged in combat with 2 Chinese infantry Corps that have been reinforced by a Cavalry Corps. A weak Corps moved to block their supply lines but 2 apparently Thai “divisions” displaced this unit, a significantly stronger Corps is marching to engage these two weak forces, hopefully it will displace them and again cut the supply line to the Japanese forces. One of the two original Corps has been badly handled by the Japanese and has been relieved by a nearby reinforcement Corps. It is nearing the end of a march NW of some 46 miles and will then dig in to let its infantry battalions recover from their mauling. ((160 disabled chinese rifle squads, 13 active ones))

There have been 3 Japanese punitive forays into Chinese territory. One captured Chengchow, but a strong counter-attack from Loyang was able to recover the city. The city is strongly held and an attempt by a Japanese division to assault across the river resulted in the near destruction of the Japanese unit. Another launched from Taiyun consisting of 2 independent brigades pushed the Chinese forces attempting to cut the rail links back to Paotow. A Japanese division and 2 independent brigades launched an attack out Canton that captured Wuchow and Kukong but the Japanese retired from these cities so it was possible to recover the cities. Three new divisions were released from the central reserve to reinforce Nanning, Luchow and Kukong. Strong Corps are dug in near Canton, Wuchow, and Kukong.

Wenchow was assaulted from the sea by 3 Japanese divisions. The fighting for the city was fierce and the infantry Corps defending the city has suffered serious casualties. Eventually the Japanese forced the brave defenders out and then proceeded to capture Chuhsien and Pucheng. But again the Japanese did not garrison Wenchow so acting on his own initiative the local commander re-occupied the city. It is currently strongly held by the original defenders and a Corps originally in Chusein and its local industry is providing a good store of supplies to ensure the city remains in Chinese hands. The troops are engaged in fortifying all approaches to the city.

Early in the year a major effort was under taken by the Chinese forces to capture Sinyang. Chinese infantry first surrounded the city and then collapsed the net inward laying siege to the city and launching a series of probing attacks. A major Japanese relief force from Hankow fought their way into the city breaking the seige. High Command still views the objective of taking this city as one that is possible, and if nothing else cutting it off will have a good effect. But for the moment forces are not available to do so. However, the majority of the forces had dug into the rail link west of the city and were undergoing training when a Japanese division assaulted them over the river. Again the Japanese division was obliterated in the attempt to force a crossing ((when I counter attacked the next day it showed an AV of 0, the day before it had an AV around 440)).

The plan for the next months is to maintain a force in the field as defence in depth appears to be the most successful way to fight the Japanese. Keeping them out of the cities we control while our engineers work to repair the industry damaged earlier in the war is the immediate objective. Chungking is now at full production capacity and Chengsha is beginning to repair the damage it suffered. Chengchow’s industry is completely knocked out. Supply is the limiting factor and every effort is being made to fight solely defensively.

The Chinese airforce flying A29 Hudsons and SB-III bombers was able to sneak raids in against the ground forces used near Canton and Loyang. The A29 group is now some of the most experienced combat bomber crews in China but they have a total of 2 working aircraft. The 3rd AVG squadron now equipped with P40Es is in Chungking and there is some thought to deploy it to a base near Canton where the bulk of the Japanese air power (Oscars and Sonias) seems to be. The bulk of the Chinese air force is dispersed over several bases, and the groups intended for taking the newly available P43 lancers Stilwell is promising the Chinese are, of course, in the rear area bases near the border with the Soviets.

Largely the situation is quiet and so long as the Japanese don’t initiate any major operations China command sees no disadvantage to building up our strength. For the moment our forces are not considered capable of offensive operations of significant magnitude.

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND COMMAND

Rabaul was attacked in December by Japanese troops. Lark Bn and the base force plus the New Guinea rifle company supported by the Hudson bombers based there put up a 2 week long resistance. Artillery duels and counter attacks nearly displaced the Japanese landing forces but additional troops were landed and eventually Lark Bn was pushed out. The Australian troops began marching to Gasmata base for air extraction. Meanwhile the Empire flying boats were bringing the troops stationed at Kaiveng over to Port Morsby. ((After I got them back there…I made the mistake of basing them at Gamata and they went out of service due to the lack of a ground unit with air support and only by luck did I get them back to some place with air support…BIG mistake on my part but the manual is astoundingly unclear on how to execute a “pick up troops” operation.)) Although the Japanese forces captured Gasmata Lark Bn was able to recapture it as it was evacuated before they arrived. Rabaul base force, and Lark Bn with the exception of a platoon of support troops are currently in Port Morsbey. Gasmata was assaulted during this operation and the depleted Lark Bn was not able to hold the base in the face of determined Japanese opposition. Cataline and Empire flying boats were able to extract the troops regardless of the lack of an air field.

Port Morsbey is currently held by the Port Morsbey Bde, Lark Bn, Rabaul Base Force, A, C and D companies of the New Guinea Rifles, a commando company, a militia battalion, an artillery regiment and an Australian brigade. The problem is that with the withdrawal of the P40s in mid march no air craft are available outside of patrol aircraft. Intel intercepts indicate the Japanese are planning an attack on the base with a recon regiment. The north coast of New Guinea is firmly in Japanese hands is the base at Terapo. PT boats based at Port Morsbey have sunk or damaged Japanese transports but they are running out of torpedoes and the base can’t re-arm them. A Japanese submarine or multiple submarines are operating in the Torres Straight and have sunk a patrol craft (the Swan) and cargo ship re-supplying Port Morsbey. Further re-supply efforts are on hold until air cover over the base can be re-established.

The Japanese tried to land on Horn Island in early April but withdrew their forces and are currently retiring from the Island. As the Island is strongly held it is unlikely anything but a major effort will work. A flight of Kingfishers was transferred from Darwin to supplement the patrol aircraft there. They have been attempting to bomb the troop transport.

The RAN Cruiser division (Canberra, Australia, Adelaide, and another light cruiser) have launched three night attacks against Lae and Koumac. Australia needed some yard time after one of the engagements near Lae but that night was lit by the fires of burning fuel as 8” shells impacting into the cargo ships caused massive fires ((Fuel Cargo Burning)). The attack on Koumac sank or damaged nearly a score of small coastal transports and their fishing ship escorts. Overall the RAN cruisers have been effective at these raids and these raids have been the primary morale increasing events in the area.

Darwin is having serious supply issues and is the base of most of the planes from 223 and 224 groups. Every effort has been made to secure Darwin as a submarine base but setting up a secure supply line will require escorts not currently available.

Almost all the long range cargo ships in Australia are either in the west coast of the USA, Cape Town or else in use transferring supplies from Cape Town to Australia. Submarines are based out of Darwin (which has 3 AS), Perth (1 AS present), Brisbane or Sydney.

The focus for the moment in Australia is:
1. to strengthen its air defences,
2. improve the ASW situation as submarines have so far sunk 1 patrol craft, and 3 or 4 small coastal cargo ships,
3. get I Corps troops back home,
4. assist the US in holding Noumea and recovering Koumac,
5. assist the Dutch in holding Koepang. To this end Blackforce was landed in Koepang and is now ready for combat. Bombers out of Darwin are executing bombing runs on the Japanese forces trapped on the beach in Koepang or port and air field raids on Lautem.

Charters Towers, Townsend, Coen, and Katherine are in intense development as future air bases of importance.

New Zealand is building up its troops and has dispatched its two light cruisers to Suva, where they are currently the only surface force in the area. It has also formed a transport group and dispatched it Suva to ferry the US troops disembarking there to Noumea. Beyond that its forces from Fanning Island are on Palmyra and its troops form the bulk of the infantry in Suva.

Japanese Dispositions

The Japanese have overrun New Guinea and the islands near Milne Bay. All bases in New Britain are under Japanese control. The have captured Shortlands, and other bases in the outer island chains. They have zero fighters potentially based in Lae and land forces building up in Buna. Rabaul has Betty and Sally bomber groups. Significant merchant traffic into the bases of New Guinea occurs. The Japanese Imperial high command is exploiting the lack of significant surface and air assets to take undefended bases on the cheap. Intelligence on actual numbers of troops, location of plane groups and intentions is currently poor.

Until II Fighter Command and V Bomber Command are present in force it is unlikely this situation will improve. As Kittyhawk’s have begun production the groups are now available for combat duties but there is a serious lack of both escort fighters and strike aircraft. The primary deterrent force remains the B17s in Charters Towers.

((And so ends the less active fronts))

(in reply to Grit)
Post #: 3
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/5/2010 2:35:47 PM   
Galahad78

 

Posts: 159
Joined: 9/28/2009
Status: offline
I was planning to do a similar AAR when I finish my Day-2 stuff (slowly going yet), will follow yours closely.

BTW, is it a full campaign or a scenario?

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 4
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/5/2010 3:21:21 PM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
This is the full campaign started under patch 1, I took a break and have begun again under patch 3 but there are apparently some things that don't quite get updated such as supply flow so I have a bit of an advantage that I will not abuse. Feel free to comment away, the mistakes I made early on will be more apparent in this report.

====AAR BEGINS====

United States Armed Forces Far East Command (USAFFE)

Philippines December 1941-February 1942(Luzon)/April 1942(Elsewhere)

In surveying the wreckage of its flight groups and fields from the attacks on Dec 7 the HQ in Manila started looking at how best to defend the scattered forces of the command. US Houston was the primary striker of the Asiatic fleet and it was stuck away from any screens, the screens were on their way to the DEI escorting auxiliaries and the Japanese were clearly up to no good. Troops were out of position, activation of the reserves of the Philippine army would take time and a lot of troops were spread out over the islands that formed the Philippine’s anyway. About the only thing that could be counted on to not happen was a Japanese force landing directly in Manila due to the forts protecting the harbour.

The first thing to do was to get the Asiatic Fleet’s submarines out to sea and this was done sending them to scout the coasts and interdict likely movements of the Japanese. Other ships were gathered into task forces determined by speed and purpose; these were dispatched to the DEI and then to Australia. Two AS, and some AV and other support vessels were retained in harbour to support the operations of the Asiatic Fleet. Mine sweeper forces were formed as well as apparently a submarine had been busy mining the way out of Manila. Orders were given to the Boise and her destroyers to proceed to Tarkan, split the convoy and to rendezvous with the Houston to form the Houston SAG. Marblehead and a strong force of destroyers was tasked with escorting valuable tankers and other important ships to the DEI.

Clark Field was a beehive of effort as the mechanics struggled to repair the planes damaged in the attacks the day before while engineers repaired damage to the field itself. The first Air to Air zero kill of the war had gone to a P26 flown by a Philippine airman and the American’s intended to not be left behind.

Looking at the map, MacArthur and Wainwright decided to send their only mobile troops (Stuart Tank Bn and the Philippine Scouts Cavalry) to secure Aparri before the Japs could get ashore. A further PA division was split into three groups and given orders to secure San Fernando, Vigan and Laong ports. Forces in Manila and south were to secure the approaches from the south, and eventually another PA division was split into thirds to secure: Batanga, Maupan, and Altimona. ((Ok here is where I really goofed. I didn’t fully understand how to set things to strategic move, or how to use railways so some of these troops moved a lot slower than they could have. I didn’t understand “preparation” so there was string of changes made to what people were preparing for. I didn’t understand the need for aviation support troops or check carefully where they were or understand how the size of the base affected flying operations. The bolo's of the PAAF didn't fly ever because they start on a lvl 1 strip. I also did not understand that an involuntary shock attack would be triggered advancing from Tugena to Aparri. This cost my two best units for no gain at all, after that they were hors de combat.))

The Japanese air assault on Northern Luzon was strong but the USAAFE pilots made them pay. That first zero kill was joined by dozens more and unescorted bombers were blasted out of the sky, and the number of crashed planes littering the country side grew. But for all their “hands on training” the number of planes in each Pursuit Squadron slowly dropped while the Japanese seemed to have unending numbers of zeros, and bombers to throw at them.

Japanese forces were landing at Aparri as the PS/US Army force rushed forward. Throwing caution to the wind and hoping to catch the Japanese at a disadvantage both units raced down the road…and into an ambush. Stuart tanks and the elite of the Philippine army died attempting to cross the bridge to Aparri. The shattered survivors of that action fell back on Tuguena and tried to set up a defensive line there.

The PA units tasked to defend the NW ports had barely sorted out which way to march and in what order and packed their lunches when the Japanese troop transports started disgorging masses of troops into the ports they were supposed to be “defending.” Calling this a fiasco probably is giving it more credit than it is worthy of. The first line of the defences had been breached before it was even formed. There were comments that the three stooges seem to be in command of the USAFFE. Then to cap of the weeks good news there came the news that a landing was happening at Lagasapi.

However, by this time USS Boise and 4 Destroyer had met up with the Houston and Admiral Stark sent orders for them to head south. The Houston and escorts came around the point and approached Lagasapi in the night. They found a large force of poorly escorted transports off loading. The Houston open up at range and walked her 8” main batteries through the masses of cargo ships and converted fishing smacks with a vengeance. Ship after ship was set afire and soldiers and sailors alike could be seen diving over board from their sinking ships. Half a division’s worth of men and equipment was destroyed in a short engagement that cost the Houston her entire stock of main gun ammo. Retiring back towards Manila to re-munition the Houston SAG encountered Japanese surface group escorting tankers whose flagship was a Japanese cruiser seaplane tender. The Boise opened up and between her main and the Houston’s secondaries plus the destroyers sank these ships including the flagship and several tankers. All ships involved in these actions were mentioned in dispatches sent to Washington.

Meanwhile the much reduced Tank/PS force attempted to hold the Japanese at Tugena and then later at Bayambo but numbers and the fact they had lost more than half their strength to an ambush at Aparri made their efforts near futile. The Philippine divisons holding the flanks of the line were hard pressed as the Japanese land forces pressed inland from their port of disembarkation. But hold they did. PT boats made their first of a number of raids along the coast, striking at night to wreck havoc through the landing but nothing seemed to stop the endless waves of ships. Float fighters originally tasked with ASW patrols were re-tasked to Naval attack. ((This is with the original PT boats, but still most of these were night attacks so I doubt the change would have made any difference. Also the float fighters did a good job attacking shipping…so long as they either had fighter cover or there was no CAP present.)) Clark Field and its supporting strips were getting hit hard by persistent Japanese attempt to bomb the runways. The southern blocking forces were finally into position. ((I think it was about this point 10-14 days into the game that I sorted out that engineer’s had to be in combat mode to actually dig in, while I had most of my troops in Rest/Train. This meant my fort levels were much lower than they could have been later on.)) Leaving a destroyer in Manila to repair some minor damage the Houston SAG returned to wreck yet more havoc on Japanese transports landing more troops at Lagaspi. After this mission though Asiatic fleet determined that the overall threat to the ships of an air attack was increasing dramatically so the Houston SAG was ordered to proceed to Singapore along a path slightly north of Puerto Princess and then along the north coast of Borneo. ((More on this later.))

A serious issue with the 21” Mk 14 Torpedo had by now become apparent. Spit or rocks would do more damage to the ships than this piece of useless scrap metal and several rather unprintable telegrams were sent from Command Asiatic Fleet to BuWeapons suggesting they find out why the torpedoes in the submarines can’t seem to find it in their hearts to explode when they hit the enemy ships. Meanwhile more and more Japanese forces pour into the captured ports and the defending forces are pushed back towards Clark Field. A major re-arrangement of planes from secondary bases to Clark Field takes place and the strength of the CAP tends to go up and down like a yo-yo. The pilots are bleary eyed, but still they give better than they get and the area around Clark field and Manila are awash with the shattered remains of aircraft. The B17s have been stood down for a week and they are sent south to Charters Towers, staging through Cagayan. ((Took me a bit to work why I could not send them where I wanted. I had to transfer them to SW PAC before I was allowed to do this.))

Lingayan falls and the front line is now Clark Field. The Japanese are advancing from the south towards Manila. The sole Japanese LSI is sunk by float fighters off Mauban while invading Polillio and other bases. The blocking force at Atimona is unable to stop the advancing troops while Clark Field is under siege. ((Pre-artillery fix, I was loosing huge numbers of troops to that cursed bombardment.)) The Japanese have seemingly brought one artillery piece for each foot soldier. The now much depleted air forces start consolidating their pilots and planes. Attrition is now doing what main force could not and more and more raids get through nearly unscathed.

A vicious battle breaks out in Manila with the Japanese forces and their tanks. The battle rages back and forth for several days before the USAAFE troops are pushed out splitting the allied forces into two groups. The Japanese forces link up with the troops at Clark Field but displaced troops from Manila counter attack recapturing Manila and Cabanat (a city which is to change hands a few more times).

The forces at Clark Field are getting worn thin by the Japanese bombardment attacks. Further bad news abounds as Jolo falls to a Japanese invasion and zeros and Betty’s take up home there. An attempt to stop this invasion by the Dutch CL Java and 2 escorting destroyers determines that a carrier group is present providing air cover. The Java is sunk in an air strike but the 2 destroyers end up taking two Japanese destroyers with them in a series of surface actions before they too are lost.

Fighters evacuate Clark Field for the primitive strip in Bataan, while the defenders face repeated waves of infantry charges supported by heavy artillery fire and tanks. The surviving USAFFE forces are eventually shoved back into Bataan and part of the Japanese force heads south to deal with the Philippine force in and around Manila. Fresh troops are approaching from Lagaspi and the forces in Manila are trapped and eventually destroyed, surrendering to the Japanese. A defiant Philippine army force still holds Cabanat however.

Landings begin on Mindanao and the lack of troops, the quality of troops not to mention dwindling supply stocks make this a desperate hopeless struggle. Cut off forces attempt to recapture bases but are driven away by the Japanese base forces, Philipine and US forces grimly hold at Cagayan for nearly five days, but eventually they are pushed back to Surigao where they surrender less than a week later. Most of the delay due to the slow marching speed of the Japanese force.

But the main show is Bataan. The supply level is low, there are but a handful of fighters … they eventually fly night CAP to hold off Japanese attempt to prevent the troops from getting a good nights sleep as they can do nothing against the zeros, and Oscars now escorting the bombers. The troops are dug in better; they have artillery and some fresh units. The Japanese attacks begin with their standard bombardments but these are no longer killing hundreds of soldier a day and the Japanese force (2 Infantry divisions (1 at half strength due to the Houston SAG), an infantry regiment, 2 tank regiments, 4 engineer regiments and more artillery than Toby has toenails) starts attacks and for the first time Japanese casualties begin to mount. Though the engineering regiments chew up the defences they are themselves worn down. Day by day the strength of the Japanese forces declines. Tanks are shattered by 75 mm rounds from both field guns and the GMC gun carriages. Eventually the supplies are exhausted in the main and the pilots from the remaining plane groups(2 P40E, 1 P40B and 1 P26 are left when they can no longer fly) leave their planes in their improvised hangers and join the front lines. For days the losses mount on both sides and then the Japanese receive reinforcements, two fresh divisions. Renewed assaults begin and soon the Japanese engineering regiments are combat ineffective, the infantry regiment is combat ineffective neither tank regiment can muster significant forces, the original two divisions lack the combat force of a full strength division (one is about half the other little more than a reinforced brigade). Even reinforced and with more artillery then Toby has toenails it takes a week to force the suborn defenders to put down their arms. Around the middle of February the guns are finally silent at Bataan.

The force in Cabanat held out for 2 more weeks before surrendering to a superior Japanese force. With its fall Luzon was subjugated totally.

Sizable Philippine forces still exist at the start of April 1942. Leyte only falls to seaborne invasion in late March and Cebu is still in Philippine hands though the base is under continual air bombardment but the search planes still fly giving valuable information on Japanese movements. Puerto Princesa and Panay also have surviving Philippine troops.

The last 3 USN PT boats were sunk while attempting to transit to the DEI due to running out of fuel. ((Basically this was due to retreat results and not my planning.)) The 3 Philippine PTs though are currently based at Koepang. They made a daring transit stopping at various existing bases to refuel and spent some time in Java. The only allied ships near the Philippines are some submarines.

(in reply to Galahad78)
Post #: 5
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/6/2010 10:40:07 AM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
Here is part I of a more complicated situation. Enjoy.

====AAR BEGINS====

ABDA COMMAND

This report is divided into two sections, the events that occurred in Malaysia and Northern and Eastern Borneo from December 1941 to February 1942 and the events occurring in the Dutch East Indies from January to April 1942.

Section I: Borneo and Malaysia

The war with Japan for the British started with the air attack on Force Z. The Buffalo's from Singapore proved decisive in this battle. In several cases they were able to beat off the attacking Betty’s before they could drop their torpedoes. The cover they provided meant that while both the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were struck by torpedoes and bombs neither ship sunk outright in the two days they were under bombardment. Unfortunately, the HMS Repulse was hit by several torpedoes and was nearly awash due to the damage to her hull ((Float: 97)). Force Z steamed for Singapore at the best speed the Repulse could make but just 12 hours out of Singapore, nearly within sight of the city itself the pumps could no longer keep up with the flow of water and she sank. Most of the crew was recovered by the Destroyers and the Prince of Wales entered Singapore the next morning moving directly into the repair yards to patch up the damage to her hull.

Landings began in Khota Bharu and the defenders were quickly overwhelmed. The pilots of 223 and 224 Groups put up a tremendous resistance and made every effort both by day and by night to disrupt the Japanese advance; however, most of the forward air bases had been hit the first day and the Japanese enjoyed a tremendous local superiority. Orders from Singapore were also disjointed and in a few cases British and Indian Bde marched towards one objective only to be told the next day to reverse direction. ((I had to teach myself to NOT do this, patience is a necessity I found. Changing my mind on what I wanted to do on a turn by turn basis did not help. Neither did not understanding that engineers don’t dig in except in combat mode.)) The troops from Khota Bharu fell back along the rail line towards the important rail junction. It was intended to set up a defensive position here.

The minelayers in Singapore moved north and set up a field guarding Mersing’s approaches as well as Tandjoe. Ships damaged in the attack on Force Z are sent to the yards and two combat forces are made based around light cruisers escorted by destroyers. One such group is stationed away from Singapore at the Dutch Islands to provide a fast interception force while the other is retained in Singapore. The Dutch navy is divided along similar lines.

The Japs un-sporting-ly enough brought along tanks to this fight. The first indication of this is destruction of the troops based at Georgetown along with the night fighters and bombers there. This tank force then proceeds, accompanied by a strong artillery train, south along the main road toward Singapore. The speed of this advance leaves British troops caught behind enemy lines. This force was to spend several weeks trying to avoid the Japanese troops and or take control of a Japanese base: first Patani and then Khota Bharu. Neither plan was successful as they kept hitting strong waves of Japanese reinforcements.

III Corps and the Malaysian Army HQ attempted to stop the Japanese advance at three successive lines. Kuala Lumpar, Malacca and Jalora. Troops were ordered to dig in and every effort was made to retreat by rail to Singapore the troops from the previous line. In every case a force of Japanese tanks along with more artillery then Toby has toenails would blast through the defenders in at most 3 days and wreck havoc in their ranks. Even a brigade although supported by AT guns and mountain guns proved incapable or resisting this tank onslaught. ((I think this sort of absurd thing has to do with playing when artillery was the wet dream of a WW1 artillery general. Overall the combat system is pretty much WIR with tweeks but still the one sided slaughters I experienced in Malaysia strained my patience. The one at Kuala Lumpar was incomprehensible since 2lbers were present in significant numbers and tanks unsupported by infantry should not be so effective. Though in real life the Japanese got lucky once they got hurt badly at other times. The trouble is the combat system is a black box and trying to sort out what happened and more importantly why it happened is far from easy.)) The Japanese tank and artillery force pushed their way down the course and disturbing reports began filtering in of a strong infantry force following behind.

The air war was at this time settling into a period of attrition. The pilots of the Buffalo fighters in 223 and 224 group are now rivalled in skill only by the US pilots in the Philippines. The trouble is that no replacement air craft are available. During this time every effort is made to rejoin the dispersed squadrons. This accomplished some squadrons were evacuated: a RAAF Hudson I squadron flying to Rangoon via Sumatra and Port Blair for example.

A reinforcement group arrives in Singapore and is off loaded. Unlike the one sent to Rangoon this time fighter cover is sufficient to keeping the ships from being attacked at any point. 2 fresh brigades are a welcome addition to the defenders. Follow up units though are diverted to India as by then the risk was greater that Japanese bombers would get in. Troops are working ferverishly to dig defences around Singapore. ((After, mind you, I sorted out how to do this.))

While the drama in Malaysia is unfolding the Japanese, ever the busy beavers they are, were making landings on Borneo. About this time the Asiatic Fleet decided to remove the Houston SAG from the growing air threat. The Houston SAG was transiting the Northern Borneo coast on the way to Singapore near Miri when it blundered into a major troop supply convoy. Again the Houston’s 8” main guns opened up on the hapless merchant ships sinking the entire force, a few hours later it hit a Japanese surface action group of a CL and some DDs. The result was several sunk Japanese warships and some damage to the American destroyers. The Houston SAG proceeded to Singapore, re-munitioned and re-fuelled leaving two destroyers behind to be repaired in the yards and then preceded toward Java. Again the SAG was mentioned in dispatches.

When the Japanese began landing troops at Kuching the Royal Navy could not let the Houston have all the glory and the Sumatra Squardon sortied, a CL and 2 DDs arrived to smash the landing ships and their escorts into kindling. This resulted in the troops being fragmented. The RAF joined in with the first mass use of the Blenhiem IV bomber squadron which was to eventually become the most experienced ground attack unit in 223 or 224 group. Flying daily out of Singapore they dropped bombs on the Japanese interlopers. The Punjab battalion attempted to drive the Japanese back into the sea, but irrespective of the destruction of the landing force, and daily bombing runs the Japanese troops were stubbornly dug into the shore line. However, by this time as well the Japanese were firmly established in Miri and could now cover the landings with Betty bombers so when the next convoy arrived it was not quite so easy to engage it, especially as this one was escorted. Fresh troops arriving, undeterred by the Dutch level bombers flying out of Singkawang on naval strike missions drove the British back on the Dutch forces at Sambas. Supplies were being sent in to Pontianak to support the troops and never in this campaign was supply a serious issue for the defenders. An attempt to land troops directly on Singkawang was engaged, irrespective of the bomber threat, by both British and Dutch surface vessels resulting in significant shipping losses to the Japanese. However, regardless of the efforts at sea, in the air or on the land nothing could seem to stop the Japanese advance and the troops were pushed out of Sambas to Singkawang and from there to Pontianak and then out into the wilds of Borneo to begin a march for Balikpanpan.

On the east coast of Borneo, the port of Tarkan proved to be useful for staging out of the Philippines a detachment of Kingfisher float planes and some PBYs. It also was a staging port for the naval evacuation with ships stopping to pick up as much fuel as possible. The Japanese made a naval landing and although the local garrison did its best it was forced out to Tanjoe. This base was held for just long enough to let more float planes, a detachment of SOC-1s to fly to Balikpanpan then the troops abandoned the small port marching overland towards Balikpanpan. They were to arrive there in mid march 42.

The Japanese invaded Jollo, and since the initial reports did not indicate significant air threat existed the Hr.Ms. Java escorted by 2 destroyers sortied to catch the landing force. Unfortunately the existence of 2 Japanese carriers operating in the area became blindingly obvious when the Java was sunk by carrier aircraft. The two destroyers attempted to evade and return to Balikpanpan but were intercepted by a Japanese surface group. Although both destroyers were lost the next day to air strikes they managed to sink 2 IJN destroyers in the surface action.

By mid January 1942 the ability of stopping the Japanese advance on Singapore was looking dubious. At this time HMS Price of Wales, a damaged auxiliary merchant cruiser, the damaged HMS Dragon and all available RN warships except for a small squadron based around the HMS Durban and 2 destroyers (including the HMS Thracion) was given orders to weigh anchor. The force would remain together to escort the Prince of Wales, capable of only 7 knots to Batvia. There several of the warships would part to return to Colombo while a trio of destroyers would escort the damaged ships to Diego Garcia where the Iris alone would then escort the ships to Cape Town.

As well efforts were made to move planes out of Singapore to Java. The Blenhiem IVs and a Hudson bomber group based themselves in Palembang to provide air support and these bombers provided ground support in an attempt to slow the Japanese advance. The Wirraway detachment and the RAF fighter squadron, at this time down to 2 Buffalo's remained in Singapore and were eventually captured when the city fell.

After pushing the defenders of Jolora out the Japanese tanks and artillery train advanced across the river leaving the Australian Brigade in Mersing now cut off. A counter attack on the interlopers was ordered and nearly a full division of troops hit the Japanese bridgehead. The attack was beaten off with ease and heavy casualties were suffered. ((This was still when artillery was the God of War, so I am fairly sure the reason is there. This battle was the next of my lessons in: AV is meaningless. It also is at extreme variance with what 30 years of war gaming tells me should happen when a battalion or two of armoured cars, pardon me: Japanese “tanks”, and crap loads of artillery that could not possibly have been set up are attacked by a division worth of troops just after forcing their way across a water obstacle. Pardon my tone here but even now this result irritates me. Not, mind you, that it would have changed the final outcome any except by a few days I suspect.))

Efforts now start to evacuate 223 Group HQ to Palambang by sea lift and a couple of small xAPs and xAKs do a series of daring runs to get the valuable HQ staff out. All other forces continue their efforts to dig in.

The main Japanese force arrives a few days later. More tanks, more artillery and the equivalent of 5 full divisions of troops. The Australian Bde in Mersing begins marching for Jolora in an attempt to cut off the Japanese troops from supply. The Japanese predictably enough begin with a bombardment with their artillery train. After this the daily attacks begin, bombers from Palambang, and the Wirraway’s from Singapore make daily runs to disrupt the Japanese. Singapore is still holding on when the Australians arrive in Jolora finding it garrisoned by some base forces and an engineering regiment. The commander orders an assault and the first attack disrupts the defenders defensive preparations but after that no headway is made and no matter the efforts of the Australians they can not display the stubborn Japanese. Worse a Naval landing at Mersing takes place ((Pink Arrow on Map)) cutting them off from their supply base.

While the siege of Singapore is ongoing a collection of British troops (2 Base forces, 2 Indian Brigades, a Mountain gun regiment) are fighting rearguard actions from the rail junction to Kuantan and then after being forced from there a long route march through the jungle towards Mersing.

The troops of Singapore try their best to hold of the Japanese but even fighting in the streets the overwhelming numbers of Japanese troops is decisive. On January 31, 1942 ((In real life the day the Japanese forced a crossing to the island)) the city fell, with the remaining troops of III Corps and the Malaysian Army surrendering.

A few days later a division forced the Australian Bde at Jolora to surrender. The British troops marching on Mersing were to arrive at an un-garrisoned base capture it and the lone Indian brigade in half descent shape went on to advance on Jolora and see if they could capture that. Japanese troops from Singapore counter attacked the Indians before they could make much headway. By mid-march all remaining troops of III Corps had been forced to surrender. Malaysia was completely in Japanese hands.


((Map follows showing the main events of this part of the campaign.))




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 5/6/2010 11:42:20 AM >

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 6
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/6/2010 2:43:50 PM   
Bogo Mil

 

Posts: 286
Joined: 1/28/2008
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul McNeely
This battle was the next of my lessons in: AV is meaningless. It also is at extreme variance with what 30 years of war gaming tells me should happen when a battalion or two of armoured cars, pardon me: Japanese “tanks”, and crap loads of artillery that could not possibly have been set up are attacked by a division worth of troops just after forcing their way across a water obstacle. Pardon my tone here but even now this result irritates me. Not, mind you, that it would have changed the final outcome any except by a few days I suspect.))


Most of your early LCUs have very low morale and experience. As a rule of thumb, you can read these numbers as "percentage of effectiveness". The Japanese numbers are at least in the 80s - so a 100 AV unit is worth at least 64 ( 0.80*0.80*100 ) "real AV points". Many of your units have 20/20 or even less - 100 AV of such "troops" is worth 4 (in words: four) "real AV"...

You have similiar crap in Burma. You should meet the garrision requirements there and pull all the larger LCUs out. (it's possible to hold rangoon vs. AI, but this will cause it to do stupid things... It gives a better game if you don't defend too hard what the Japs took in the real war).

If such units are in a large, non malaria base in rest mode, their morale will improve quite fast. You'll see 90 within two month or so - "real AV" is multiplied by 5! Building experience is a bit slower, but eventually you'll see some 50 there without combat.



_____________________________

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. (Benjamin Franklin)

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 7
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/7/2010 11:25:29 AM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
Thanks for the comment Bogo Mil. I agree with you completely. My main point is that you can't use the AV to judge combat capability. The best use of it is to determine how well filled out with equipment a force is. A typical division has an AV near to 450 so if you see one with an AV of 100 it is likely in bad shape. Beyond that you need to look at your troops in detail. As far as the attack goes though the units were near to 50 experience and 90 or so morale so that isn't a good reason for them to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I'm fairly sure it was due to the, at the time, overpowered artillery.

====AAR BEGINS====

Section II: DEI and outer Islands groups

As there was no immediate threat to the DEI in December of 41 a great deal of preparatory work was able to be accomplished with no interference by the Japanese. To this end the Dutch navy was organized into three surface action groups of a CL and 2 destroyers. A replenishment group of the various TAN oilers, a minesweeper and a screen of two destroyers was set up. One of the surface groups was forward deployed from the Island bases between Sumatra and Borneo. This force was to work in conjunction with the Sumatra squadron of the RN. Resupply to the various island bases was carried out to ensure they had sizable supply stockpiles.

A survey of the status of various bases was carried out. Balikpanpan, and Ambon were identified as bases of importance. To this list was later added Koepang in Timor. Balikpanpan, Ambon and Semarang had defensive mine fields established. Additionally a mine field was laid in the strait north of Donggala between Borneo and Celebes.

The KNIL command made the difficult decision that it would not reinforce Sumatra and would reserve its efforts to hold Java but it didn’t strip Sumatra of its defensive troops since the view was held that giving the Japanese something for nothing was not in the best interest of ABDA. The KNIL air elements were re-distributed over the Java fields to provide both good search coverage but also minimize the threat of air attacks on the base fields. Most of the KNIL air elements begin training operations.

For the first several weeks of the campaign, the primary activity in the DEI was “Operation Siphon” an attempt to remove as much fuel from the DEI to Australia as possible. USS Marblehead and several destroyers escorted convoys of tankers back and forth to Perth. Large merchant ships loaded up with barrels and another group of American destroyers escorted other tankers between Soerabaja and Darwin.

The first Japanese attacks fell on Menado and Ternate. Carrier air power supported the landings in both cases and although the planes from Amdon, supported by RAAF Hudson’s, attempted to disrupt the landing the KNIL garrisons were defeated. In the case of Menado a few weeks later the base was recovered by the KNIL forces as it was abandoned by the Japanese and as of April, 1942 is still in Dutch hands. The base force from Menado marched to Gornata and it was intended that the Lodestar’s would air lift them out. For that task this valuable strategic asset was rebased to Kendari. Unfortunately, that day in a surprise attack the Japanese captured Kendari and the planes were over run on the ground. ((As a tip to the new players, the rules say planes will try to fly off. I have never seen it happen, ever. I can’t say it doesn’t happen but it is rarer then hens teeth.)) A detachment of Kingfisher’s arrive in Ambon at this time from the Philippines and begin rendering good service against the Japanese attempts to take this base.

Festung Ambon

This is a key base, and denying it to the Japanese became a focal point of the KNIL strategy in early January 1942. ((I confess it took me a while to get familiar enough with the game to start looking at the bases in detail, evaluating them and formulating a coherent strategy. About the same time as this was happening the Japanese started invading them. C’est la vie ou le guerre.)) The harbour entrance was mined, and additional air craft were stationed there. They were used to night attack Japanese over run air fields at Ternate to good effect. The first attempt by the Japanese to invade Ambon was defeated when a pair of American destroyer sortied from Darwin, crushing the invasion force but losing one of the destroyers to enemy action. The Coastal batteries also rendered good service but still some Japanese engineers managed to make it ashore. The garrison counter attacked, supported heavily by air power and after several days of hard fighting forced the Japanese to surrender. This was the first allied land victory of the war. The Kingfisher’s wracked up an impressive score of bombed merchant shipping as the Japanese invaded bases nearby.

IJN Carrier Incursions Part I

The first indication of trouble was the sighting from patrols at Singkawang of a Japanese carrier just off the coast of Borneo. Further contacts refined that it was a single carrier and a lone destroyer escort. To say there was utter shock in A
ABDA HQ would be an understatement. The idea beggared the imagination. Why would the IJN do such a thing was the question everyone asked. Regardless of the reason, the sinking of this force was demanded. Torpedo planes re-deployed from Singapore to cover likely approaches. The KNIL air arm stopped training and intensified search efforts. Three SAGs were tasked with aggressive patrols. Confidence was high this interloper would pay the price for his audacity. Day two…no hostile contacts, all attempts to bring the enemy to combat had failed. The IJN force was now off the coast near Sampit. No one could believe they missed it and again the SAGs plotted courses and planes readied for an attack. Day three…the SAGs again miss it, but this time the enemy is within range of level bombers and their escorts. A lone, CVE against the might of the KNIL had no chance. Strike after strike was bounced by the Zero’s though the escorting planes did their best. Finally, a small group of level bombers breaks through and misses. Day four…the IJN force is slipping through the gaps somehow and is now in the Java sea heading for Celebes. Finger pointing in ABDA abounds at how this ship can be avoiding the SAGs. Another days air attacks are attempted but though more bombers break through they still can’t land a bomb on the CVEs flight deck. One further chance remains the Hr. Ms. Java and her escorts sprint out of Soerabaja their course projected to intercept the carriers over a large surface are. Day six…the CVE is now off Saljar when the excited lookouts on the Java spot her. The cruiser heals over and races towards the Japanese force as its gun crew bring her 150 mm main gun in line. Wood, and aircraft are soon exploding into the air as the cruiser lands round after round into the Japanese ship. It is soon engulfed in flame and sinks beneath the waves, the destroyer escorting it following soon after. Though the Java and escorts would be lost near Jolo this was her finest hour. ((AI must have had a glitch…but that single CVE nearly did manage to escape. However, this ship seems to have vanished from my killed ship list. I’m not sure what is up since the combat showed it sinking…))

A few weeks after the first incursion a submarine patrolling off Balikpanpan spots movement in the night. Changing course and submerging the skipper soon has a prime target in his targeting periscope. A Japanese CV. 53 cm torpedoes are loaded and extra care is taken in the course calculations. Minutes later the careful work pays off as a torpedo is observed to slam into the ship. An American liason officer is heard to observe that perhaps the USN should buy Dutch torpedoes as their’s at least explode when this news is transmitted to ADBA HQ. The next night, a different submarine sees a carrier limping north and puts two more torpedoes into her. Given the sudden appearance of carrier planes at Ternate there is reason to believe the IJN Kaga has been sunk. It is also possible that she struck a mine in addition to the torpedo hits. Night raids on Ternate’s fields from Ambon are reported to have destroyed several more carrier aircraft making the loss of the Kaga even more credible.

Though the IJN was driven from Ambon in disarray they return this time with a cruiser escort and a major duel between the coastal batteries and Kingfishers and this Japanese force begins. No matter the efforts of KNIL defenders, US or RAAF aircrews there seems no way to stop the Japanese landing. Troops wade ashore from burning transports who finally retire a day later stranding the Japanese. Bombers begin ground attacks and the garrison launches some probing attacks but this a much more substantial force given the time it took before the landing ships were driven off. Still they were loosing troops daily and had to be in bad shape due to the disrupted landing. The situation was clearly dire but with a bit of luck Ambon would remain in Dutch hands. Then yet another invasion force showed up. This time there were tanks coming ashore. The coastal defence guns hit the ship time and again, it was aflame, it had no superstructure left but somehow it kept landing tanks. Things were now looking desperate for the defenders. Bombing runs could not keep the enemy from starting to launch their own probing attacks and a combined arms force began wearing down the defenders. Still the KNIL forces held on grimly, even after their air power relocated to Koepang. The lack of any surface forces to contest the landing was the telling difference between this invasion and the last. About a week later Ambon fell.

IJN Carrier Incursion Part II (aka the IJN invasion of the DEI)

By mid February 1942 the situation was looking grim for the DEI. Balikpanpan was under assault and the SOC-1 detachment there in conjunction with local bombers and British Blenhiem IVs of 223 group were unable to stop the build up of forces. Operation Siphon was ongoing and at least one attempt to invade Palembang had been driven off. Reports began filtering in that IJN carriers had been seen. Mistaking this for a raid the task forces involved in Operation Siphon did not turn back immediately a serious mistake. Marblehead and her escorts ended up trapped in Soerabaja along with the remaining Dutch and British combat ships. Other ships headed for Batvia’s harbour, only the group from Darwin due to the fact it was still offloading fuel from the last journey did not end up making this trip.

Kibbles and Bits and friends took up positions around the island of Java and the air strikes started. 223 and 224 Group planes, supporting the KNIL air scored some notable successes in the first days of the air war. A Torpedo hits the CVE Taiyo, and the battleship Mutso takes 3 torpedoes and several bomb hits. But combat with the zeros is fast depleting the KNIL fighter forces who are struggling to protect the harbours, air fields and strikes. 223 Group HQ is now in Osthaven. Merak and Kalijda are mined and Landsturm battalions are sent to the coast, something that in hindsight should have occurred earlier. The IJN bombers are starting to break through in numbers and ship damage is starting to mount. As there is a virtual ring of carrier groups around Java trying to escape is considered more risky then riding out the storm. In hindsight it was the wrong decision as events later were to show. By the start of March there is virtually no fighters left in Java and those that are there are grounded. A sudden influx of US support allows the KNIL air arm to begin fielding more modern planes in their strike arm.

The only good news comes from the British/Dutch SAG. The HMS Thracion and Hr.Ms. Everton are the last combat force in the DEI all other ships are damaged or in upgrade. ((When I disbanded the Marblehead and escorts they immediately went into upgrade and thinking this was a raid I left them in there. Worse I had pulled a bunch of ships out of Java then sent them back in…again thinking this was a raid rather than the precursor to the invasion. A STUPID error that cost me a lot of ships. I also should have gotten more support ships out earlier.)) One component of the siege of Balikpanpan that was considered a positive was that even if the defenders were pushed out so long as we controlled Banderjmasen it would be possible to extract, reinforce or resupply them. The IJA put paid to that when an invasion task force appeared off shore and began landing troops. The BD SAG was given orders to disrupt the landing and that night both destroyers made the high speed run between Soerabaja and the invasion beaches. This action reaped amazing rewards. Two lightly escorted groups of transports were caught landing troops. In a close range night action the two destroyers sunk ship after ship and more than 2000 soldiers and their valuable equipment were lost. They repeated the raid the next day catching a further transport unloading but this one had a destroyer escort. The night action went the Allies way and for minor damage to HMS Thracion the IJN destroyer and the transports were sunk. A further 1000 soldier were lost. For these two actions the captains are mentioned in dispatches and talk of medals is heard. ((I’m not sure if you would give a VC for this but I’d sure as heck think anything else is possible.)) The bombers from both the KNIL air and Blenhiem IVs from 223 group hit the troops that had managed to get ashore. The IJA had attempted to land a division what seems to have survived the landing attempt is barely stronger than the KNIL battalion garrison. Though it pushes the garrison back down the road leading to Balikpanpan there seems to be barely more than 1200 troops in the division after a week of bombing and the destruction of the landing transports.

During a lull in the Japanese bombardment of Java it is attempted to move 223 group to Merak. The transport runs afoul of a Japanese destroyer just off Merak and is sunk. Then a group of 2 transports and a coastal freighter is formed in Tjilatjap and makes the hazardous run to Osthaven, picking up the surviving staff of 223 group and transporting them back. The coastal freighter is lost to Japanese air attack during disembarkation in Tjilatjap but 223 group HQ is in Java. The group then begins a long process of movement by rail to southern Java, transfer via plane to Den Passar, then Koepang, and finally arrives in Darwin near the end of March.

Balikpanpan’s defending air is transferred to Koepang and the Japanese begin landing tanks. Likely these are the same tanks used at Ambon. By mid march Balikpanpan falls but Samarinda is still in Dutch hands and the troops from Banderjmasen and the surviving British and Dutch from NW Borneo are marching on the city.

In an effort to get some much needed fighter support to Soerabaja to protect the warships there and using the fact that Makassar had been recovered by the Dutch forces. P40E’s were transferred from Darwin to Keopang and then staged to Makassar. Of course, the Japanese launched a naval invasion of Makassar that very day. The defenders were destroyed and 20 valuable fighters were lost. ((I had not remembered that P40Es can use drop tanks else I could have sent them direct from Keopang and avoided losing them. Given their poor skills they likely would not have had a huge effect but still.)) This left the harbour bare of air defences outside of the AA guns of the garrison. The damage to the ships in the harbour was mounting with the Marblehead taking several bomb strikes while under refit. When the Japanese invasion of Merak started, ABDA HQ ordered the ships to attempt to break out. CLs Marblehead ((System: 99)), Sumatra and Durban escorted by Thracion, Everston, the repair ship Castor and 2 damaged American destroyers made a break for it. One US destroyer and the Marblehead sunk 40 miles from Soerabaja. The Sumatra was hit by bombs as was the Durban dropping her speed to 2 knots. For two more days through foul weather the ships struggled to get away but finally the Task Force commander made the hard decision to split the HMS Durban from the group. This allows the surviving warships to increase speed to the 11 knots the Castor can make. The next day air strikes sink the Durban. However, the remaining ships are to arrive in Perth less than a week later. A lone damaged tanker that had been repairing in Balikpanpan until the Japanese overran the city managed to make the run to Soerabaja, bunker fuel there and then proceed to Perth. The ship was at some points within 100 nm of IJN carriers but never got attacked.

By this time Batvia harbour is scene of carnage. Constant air strikes and the bombardment by Japanese battleships have made it navigable only by row boats. Burnt out hulks are everywhere. In Soerabaja the air strikes disable the repair yard and the orders are given to get everything out that can be gotten out. ABDA HQ with the Dutch Mariner Battalion plus a battalion from Tjilatap are evacuated on the few surviving transports. Other groups of transports are sorted by speed and sent off to Perth. Only PT boats: Dutch and Philippine remain for another week. Even the coastal minesweepers defending Soerabaja have been ordered to proceed to Koepang. Then the Philippine and half the Dutch PTBs are sent to Koepang as well. Koepang by this time is the home of the last surviving Dutch fighters and all remaining D339B groups are amalgamated into a single force while another group gets some P40Es. The trouble is Koepang’s mechanics are overwhelmed by the number of planes there and repairs to any damaged planes go slowly. The RAAF planes are evacuated to Darwin and every other effort is made to lessen the maintenance burden.

The Japanese invasion of Merak displaces the Landsturm battalion back to Batvia and even 150 defensive mines can’t slow the Japanese transport stream down. Bombers attempt to sneak in attacks. Meanwhile a further landing occurs at Kalidja. The Mobile Einhiet battalion on the way to Batvia to be used in an counter attack at Merak returns to Bandoen and the Japanese forces proceed inland direction of Batvia under constant attack by all bombers available. The Mobile Einhiet battalion is able to regain control of Kalidja and leaves the Lifwacht squadron to guard against further landings while it turns south to deal with the landing at Semarang and the division of IJA troops moving south towards Soerabaja. Meanwhile the Japanese pour 3 divisions, a further regiment and an infantry group into Batvia. Nearly a full division of troops hold Batvia but in a nearly embarrassing 4 days of fighting the city falls and the troops surrender. The aerial harassment of the division advancing on Soerabaja is intense and so far the IJA has lost more troops to being bombed then in combat. That changes when they hit Bandoen. The regiment is dug in and for the first time the Japanese pay in blood. The first attacks decimate the Japanese attackers as the Dutch Regiment resists with a vengeance. B25s, DB7C, CW22, and older bombers harass the troops. Carrier based Zeros intercept from time to time but still death strikes from above. The Mobile Einhiet recovers Semarang and heads for Tjepoe which has recently fallen but the IJA division turns around and both forces end up in the field between the two cities engaging for the first time in a battle of maneuver. Neither side launches any attacks as bombers continue to pound the IJA forces. By now all non-Dutch planes have been evacuated from Java. Bandoen falls and the troops fall back on Tjilatjap, there are surprisingly enough a good number of survivors from the 4th KNIL regiment which are as soon as possible railed back to Malang while the troops in Tjilatjap prepare to resist the oncoming IJA forces. The battle for Tjilatjap does not go as well for the defenders but still the Japanese are forced to pay for the city. Semarang is invaded but the PTB sorties scatter the invaders, though admittedly without sinking any ships and level bombers harass them. Only artillery lands and though undefended the city remains in Dutch hands. Kalidja falls to the Japanese and the Lifwacht squadron is over run. By the start of April 1942 Java is split nearly in half.

While the invasion of Java was ongoing Sumatra was invaded by the Imperial Guards division, and a regiment of tanks at Palembang and later another division landed at Sabang. By the start of April only Bengkalis and Sigbola remain in Dutch hands.

Koepang is invaded in mid march a single small task force of a heavy cruiser, a destroyer, a patrol boat and a cargo ship unload the 32 Naval Garrison on the beaches. Koepang is utterly vital to the defence of Darwin and is the single most critical base in the Banda sea area. The sole surface group from Darwin, the HMAS Hobart escorted by the HMAS Vampire and Vendetta start a high speed run for Koepang. The three RAN ships arrive and catch the Japanese ships unloading. The Hobart screened by her two escorts opens the battle up and her 6” guns score multiple hits on the heavier Japanese warship. Though she can’t penetrate the IJN’s belt the crew in the gun directors see multiple explosions in the heavy crusiers superstructure and the cruiser is set ablaze. A torpedo hits the transport and multiple hits from both the Hobart and the two V class destroyers send her to the bottom. The IJN force recovers and shells begin to land on the RAN ships and soon all ships involved in this brawl are fighting to see their targets due to smoke, either from the burning enemy or that of their own ship. With the sinking of the transport accomplishing his primary mission the Hobart gives orders to withdraw and all ships return safely to Darwin and a hero’s welcome.

Blackforce is loaded onto Dutch ships that just finished the evacuation of the ABDA command staff and it sent to Keopang. It arrives safely and by the early part of April is ready to support the Dutch forces in driving the Japanese into the sea. Lautem finally falls after base force holds out for nearly a week to the Japanese company sized landing force. ((This was a very odd fight between very low AV units on either side.)) The AA unit from there is marching across Timor and should be in Koepang in a week or so. The Japanese troops are under constant bombardment from planes based in Koepang (B25) or Hudson III’s flying out of Darwin.

Dutch forces are going to attempt to recover Balikpanpan from the Japanese and tattered remains of 2 battalions are marching on the city.

((That was a lot longer then I expected...the USN for the last update...including some of those combat report things since I just discovered where they are stored.))

< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 5/8/2010 2:28:38 PM >

(in reply to Bogo Mil)
Post #: 8
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/8/2010 10:55:23 AM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
US Forces Pacific

The Week that will live in Infamy

Instead of the chirping of birds or the sound of the surf, December 7, 1941 began with the sounds of aircraft engines, bombs and machineguns as the Imperial Japanese Navy struck at the US naval base of Pearl Harbor. Fighters and bombers hammered the air fields, and the planes neatly parked in mid field to protect them from non-existant sabateurs were easy targets and those few fighters that made it into the air were outnumbered ten to one. In the naval yards and battleship row, chaos reigned as bombs and torpedoes smashed into the pacific fleets capital ships. Smoke soon filled the air and the harbour was filled with burning oil after the attack. Surprise had been total, and shock was the main emotion.

During the night the staff, crews, engineers and maintence crews worke frantically to get the base back into shape. It was decided to withdraw the damaged cruisers and a number of the valuable support ships to San Fransisco. Unfortunately, there was a degree of confusion to the orders and instead of heading south and then east to the mainland they left heading due east. Instead of safety they ran into Kate's and Val's. No cruisers made it to San Fransisco. Most of the valuable munitions ships were also sunk. About the only good news for the day was that the base at Pearl and 7th Air force was not directly engaged.

December 9, 10, 11, and 12th nothing spared the forces of CENPAC, or the 7th Airforce. Marine and Army pilots vainly tried to blunt the attacks but their squadrons were shattered. They shot down planes in desprete dog fights only see a dozen more diving or bombing. The base was engulfed in flames and the run ways the planes took off from rarely served for landing.

Finally on the 12th scouting PBYs spotted the Japanese force retiring. The 13th the IJN last strike hit the secondary port of Lhaiha. A last parting gift to the US forces.

The carnage this wrecked on the pacific fleet was incredible. The US navy could muster now outside it's three CV battlegroups only a total of two operational cruisers. The only captial ships to survive Pearl Harbor were the battleship Tennessee, and the cruisers New Orleans and Honolulu. Repair estimates for Tennessee were around 2 years while the smaller ships would be available in 6 to 9 months.

And if that was not enough, there was a further...icing on the cake to come.

The Lexington Battlegroup has been ferrying marine planes to Wake when the new reached them of the attack on Pearl. They continued on the way to Wake disrupted a Japanese invasion force and then turned north for Midway, planing to fly off the marine planes to reinforce Midway since the cold logic of war said Wake could not be held. Like the other carrier battle groups the Lexington was warned to remain clear of the Japanese carriers. When the IJN carriers began withdrawing she steamed north of Midway to stay clear. But then an intellegence failure occured ((in both senses of the word...)). Planes lost track of "Kibbles and Bits" as the IJN carrier force had become known as. However, there seemed to be a prime target of what looked like a resupply force. It looked possible that the carriers had simply headed off back to Japan and left the slower moving resupply vessels behind.

The Lexington moved south slightly and position herself to launch a second attack on what was expected to be an unsuspecting support group. Unfortunately, Kibbles and Bits had not moved away.


December 15, 1941--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Morning Air attack on TF, near Laysan Island at 165,91

Weather in hex: Thunderstorms

Raid detected at 120 NM, estimated altitude 18,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 45 minutes

Japanese aircraft
A6M2 Zero x 31
B5N2 Kate x 68
D3A1 Val x 64



Allied aircraft
F2A-3 Buffalo x 11


Japanese aircraft losses
B5N2 Kate: 2 destroyed, 19 damaged
D3A1 Val: 7 damaged

Allied aircraft losses
F2A-3 Buffalo: 1 destroyed

Allied Ships
CV Lexington, Bomb hits 6, Torpedo hits 3, heavy fires, heavy damage
CA Portland
CA Astoria, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Drayton
DD Mahan
CA Chicago, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
DD Lamson
DD Flusser
DD Porter

Morning Air attack on TF, near Laysan Island at 166,95

Weather in hex: Light rain

Raid detected at 40 NM, estimated altitude 14,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 15 minutes

Japanese aircraft
A6M2 Zero x 68



Allied aircraft
F2A-3 Buffalo x 10
SBD-2 Dauntless x 14
SBD-3 Dauntless x 9
TBD-1 Devastator x 11


No Japanese losses

Allied aircraft losses
F2A-3 Buffalo: 2 destroyed
SBD-2 Dauntless: 8 destroyed
SBD-3 Dauntless: 5 destroyed
TBD-1 Devastator: 7 destroyed

Morning Air attack on TF, near Laysan Island at 165,91

Weather in hex: Thunderstorms

Raid spotted at 20 NM, estimated altitude 21,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 7 minutes

Japanese aircraft
D3A1 Val x 13



Allied aircraft
no flights

Japanese aircraft losses
D3A1 Val: 5 damaged

Allied aircraft losses

Allied Ships
CV Lexington, Bomb hits 2, and is sunk
DD Flusser
DD Drayton

Afternoon Air attack on TF, near Laysan Island at 165,91

Weather in hex: Thunderstorms

Raid spotted at 13 NM, estimated altitude 21,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 4 minutes

Japanese aircraft
A6M2 Zero x 17
B5N2 Kate x 52
D3A1 Val x 72



Allied aircraft
no flights

Japanese aircraft losses
B5N2 Kate: 14 damaged
D3A1 Val: 1 destroyed, 9 damaged

Allied aircraft losses

Allied Ships
CA Portland, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
CA Astoria, Bomb hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
DD Flusser
DD Lamson, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DD Mahan
DD Drayton
CA Chicago, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
DD Porter


The tattered remains of the Lexingtons air group arrived at Midway, 6 Buffalo fighters and 12 Dauntless dive bombers. The Chicago was scuttled by torpedo fire and the Astoria sank when her pumps failed. The destroyers conducted search and rescue operations before returning to the west coast. A third the strike capacity of the USN was lost.

The first few months of the war saw a beehive of activity though most of it logistic related. Ships were stuffed with troops, and supplies given hastly cobbled together escort forces and sent to their destination. Formations intended for CENPAC or the general fleet reserve went to San Fransisco and then on to Pearl. Those intended for NORPAC went to Seatle. Those designated for SW/S PAC went to Los Angeles. Midway, Johnson, Palymara, Christmas Island, Pego Pego, and Suva became names known over night.

CENPAC set up resupply groups for the outer lslands formed of patrol craft, small craft tenders, coastal cargo ships and mineswepers. A division of three destroyers and a tender were sent to Christmas Island to give it some anti surface capability. Later on the escorts grew to 4 destroyers, a destroyer minesweeper escorting a single cargo vessel.

Regiments, artillery, anti-aircraft guns and supplies flowed out of the main bases and the valuable supply line to Australia began to get strengthened. But all the while the Japanese took territory: Canton, and Baker fall. Midway is attacked twice during resupply operations and the heavy destroyer escorts pay off. Although they are attacked by a heavy and light cruiser pair with 2 destroyers for escorts the four USN destroyers and single minesweeper drive off the attackers only losing one destroyer and the cargo ship they were escorting. The second time around on the next day, their bombs painted with the names of the ships lost in the attack on the Lexington the Midway air group puts 4 1000 lb bombs into the IJN cruiser and 1 in to the light cruiser. The marine and navy pilots return to base with huge smiles on their faces.

Two IJN destroyers suprise the resupply convoy at Johnson Island. The 2 patrol ships, and single minesweeping destroyer supported by the guns on the general purpose auxillies used as cargo ships are no match for the IJN fire power. However, they manage to set one destroyer ablaze in exchange for the loss of both auxillies and a patrol ship.

On the west coast reports of submarine activity is confirmed when a IJN submarine sinks a RCN Flower class corvette off Vancouver Island. The RCN becomes the sole effective anti-submarine warfare force on the west coast engaging and damaging two submarines and surviving a further attack while on patrol. The yard patrol forces near alaska and southern california can't seem to actually engage any of the many submarines spotted from the air. The HMS Warspite escorted by a single patrol ship makes the hazardeous run from Seatle to Balboa and then heads for Cape Town.

2 small craft tenders ((AGs)) are sent to NORPAC, one going to Juneau and the other to Dutch Harbor to support the ASW patrols. A submarine tender is dispached with escort to Seeward. This will support the 2 gato class subs based there in their long range patrols off the Japanes mainland. It is intended to build this up into a 6 submarine force.

Large transfers of ships between Australia, New Zealand and India with the USA occur. These nations send there large ocean going long range cargo vessels to San Fransisco and Los Angeles. For SW/S PAC this is a tremendous aid as the supply line stretches accross the pacific.

After a few months of frantic and largely uncoordinated efforts the fact that Pearl Harbour has not fallen, or Kibble and Bits come to pay a visit to San Fransisco allows a bit of a breather and a more sensible plan for escort utilization is devised. All the short range destroyers...largely the Wiches Class are designed for use only in NORPAC for alaska resupply and with CENPAC for the resupply of Pearl or Christmas Island in SoPAC. Longer range escorts are used in the SWPAC convoys forming up to begin the first major reinforcement wave of the war. Troops intended for Noumea and most importantly the next wave of air craft reinforcements for II Fighter group are loading in the West Coast.

Of course, nothing can be that simple.

The Houston SAG had spent some time in Java but after repairing the damage to her destroyers headed for Suva. The Japanese were advancing south of Rabaul and the allies had not surface presence to speak of in that area. Transiting the Torres Straight a japanese submarine attacked but was driven off by the destroyers. Then crossing towards Suva near Lord Howes Island the SAG encountered a Japanese transport group and promptly sunk it.

This made the securing of Noumea and its valuable air strips even more critical and a base force from Suva and artillery from Australia were assembled and sent to the island. On the west coast a reinforcement group of infantry, engineers and other support forces is assembled and loading into transports. At this time (mid March 1942) a japanese division lands in Koumac. Constrination reigns. The newly arrived troops and the french garrison are pulled out of Noumea to Suva, the artillery returns to Brisban. It is also intended strip the base of its supplies and fuel. Unfortuantely while the operation was underway a raiding force of 2 light cruisers and 2 destroyers hits. The French destroyer Triumphante vainly tries to defend the minesweeper and cargo ship but all vessels are sunk, though the tanker Gulfdawn docked and loading fuel is not attacked. The Houston sorties from Suva thinking this force may be based out of Koumac. It doesn't find them, but does find a transport group screened by a destroyer. Although the SAG sinks all IJN forces a long lance torpedo hits the Houston. Along with a destroyer escort she heads for Brisbane's repair facilities. However, a series of confused orders strips the destroyer from the Houston...rather than adding the remaining ships of the SAG to the escort. Alone, with fairly signficant damage to her hull she is steaming towards Brisbane in the middle of bloody no where when lookouts spot shapes on the horizon. Given they turn tail and run they must have been yet more Japanese where they had no right to be. The Houston re-united with her escorts arrive in Brisbane and a 2 month stay in the yards. The remaining ships head for Sydney and their refits.

The Enterprise battlegroup was covering the resupply operations at Midway when the strangest report was recieved. 11 Japanese ships sighted. This had happened before but it was dismissed as over-active imaginations of flight crew. The dropping of a bomb from one of the Big E's SDB's on a japanese destroyer was; however, viewed differently. Cpt. G. D. Murray the Battlegroup commander turned his force south to investigate.

April 2, 1942--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Morning Air attack on TF, near French Frigate Shoal at 171,107

Weather in hex: Severe storms

Raid spotted at 45 NM, estimated altitude 12,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 20 minutes


Allied aircraft
F4F-3A Wildcat x 13
SBD-2 Dauntless x 22
TBD-1 Devastator x 15


Allied aircraft losses
SBD-2 Dauntless: 1 destroyed, 11 damaged
TBD-1 Devastator: 4 damaged

Japanese Ships
CA Aoba, Bomb hits 1
CA Kinugasa, Bomb hits 1, on fire
CA Furutaka
DD Arashi



Aircraft Attacking:
5 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 3000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
5 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 4000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
15 x TBD-1 Devastator launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Naval Attack: 1 x 22in Mk 13 Torpedo
6 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 2000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
2 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 3000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
4 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 2000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb

Afternoon Air attack on TF, near French Frigate Shoal at 171,107

Weather in hex: Partial cloud

Raid spotted at 12 NM, estimated altitude 14,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 5 minutes


Allied aircraft
F4F-3A Wildcat x 7
SBD-2 Dauntless x 17
TBD-1 Devastator x 14


Allied aircraft losses
SBD-2 Dauntless: 1 destroyed, 14 damaged
TBD-1 Devastator: 1 destroyed, 6 damaged

Japanese Ships
CA Aoba, Torpedo hits 1, heavy damage
CA Furutaka
CA Kinugasa, on fire, heavy damage



Aircraft Attacking:
4 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 4000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
8 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 4000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
13 x TBD-1 Devastator launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Naval Attack: 1 x 22in Mk 13 Torpedo
1 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 2000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb
4 x SBD-2 Dauntless releasing from 3000'
Naval Attack: 1 x 1000 lb SAP Bomb

There indeed were 11 IJN warships operating where they had no right to be. After this attack the IJN force split. Half going east and half going west. Cpt. Murray turned the battle group north and attempted to catch the force heading north west but bad weather cancelled flight operations and the ships escaped into the night. ((More fodder for the AAA discussion possibly. The TBDs bracketed that target, they came in from all sides so that single hit is a bit of a dissappointment.))

The Battlegroup was now running low on fuel and Cpt. Murray turned the ships towards Pearl, they would rebunker there and then head to San Fransisco as every ship in the force was due to be upgraded.

====Other News====

On Koepang the Dutch-Australian forces launch two successful attacks on the Japanese troops dug into the beaches. The second attack begins to show that the Japanese are running out of supplies. ((1st attack 5:1, 2nd attack 11:1 still nothing happens...)).

The IJN taskforce that launched the April Fools attempted invasion of Horn Island decided that they would try to take Port Morsbey. Brigadier General Bernard Evans incharge of the base was awoken by the sound of his 6" Mk XI/XII guns engaging a converted liner. He sends of a request for all possible aid. The RAN cruisers head north hoping to catch the invasion force landing troops and the B17's of the 7th and 19th Bombardment groups at Charters Towers start planning their raids. No 22 RAAF Squadron newly equipped with DB-7B bombers moves north, it will eventually rebase to Port Morsbey. No. 7 RAAF squadron rebases to Cairns, their Hudson III's have the range to attack from there. The PT boats attempt to stop the invasion but being low on torpedoes and having those they do launch miss doesn't help. The Kingfishers sent to Horn Island are told to move to Port Morsbey.

General Evans surveys the landing troops the next day with a good part of his command when cheering starts to break out. The Australian gunners have hit their stride. 6" shells start impacting on the converted liner and soon what little of its upper decks that remains is a mass of flames. The IJN commander pulls up anchor and leaves as the Australian troops cheer the gunners. General Evans decides to give the IJA troops now trapped on the beach three days of bombardment then to attack.

On Suva the troops from the SW PAC reinfocement convoy disembark American ships and are told they will be re-embarking on New Zealand ships for a short trip to Noumea. 2 Infantry regiments and a base force will go in to secure the base. Fighters in Suva will stage through it to Australia. Artillery, engineers, tanks and anti-air craft guns will also be arriving. But likely not for a month or more as they have to be assembled from different bases first.

On a more distrubing note intell has decoded some Japanese messages that indicate the 4th Ind. SNLF Coy will be attempting to take Norfolk Island. Clearly this can't be allowed to happen.

Tenative planning puts the recovery of Canton Island in the summer. Marine troops are preparing now and by then sufficient dedicated assault ships should be available to mount the attack.

< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 5/8/2010 2:33:31 PM >

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 9
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/10/2010 9:18:28 AM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
April 5-12, 1942

The Mk 14 torpedo continues to be a threat to the Japanese captain's only in the sense that they have to pay tax on them. The S-class subs are; however, wracking up an impressive hit total though with few sinkings. The Dutch subs evacuated to Colombo are on their way back to patrol zones. The requirement for the subs to operate in shallower waters near the DEI is causing more successful attacks by the escorts and one submarine has been lost on the way back to repair at Colombo.

On the west coast of the USA the first ever...sort of...ASW operation by the USN occurs. The Yard Patrol craft's captain did move to engage the Japanese sub but then decided that he was bored and left.

I-15 is attacked by the HMAS Adelaide while the RAN cruisers return to Sydney. The cruiser can't quite get into attack position on the sub but, unlike the USN, still manages a few successful attack runs on the Japanese sub with depth charges.

The 1st resupply convoy returns to Darwin. It had lost a cargo ship to a Japanese sub in the Torres straight and then during unloading a group of Betty bombers attacked. Torpedo strikes destroyed the minesweeper escort and two of the remaining 3 cargo ships while unloading. The CAP was too late in arriving to protect the ships. Clearly the next convoy will need more air protection if Darwin is to be resupplied.

A minor fuel crisis is striking Australia, Not a lack of fuel exactly but a lack of fuel movement. Huge stockpiles of fuel exist in: Perth, Darwin and Adelaide. Virtually no other base has any. The government is demanding an investigation into this state of affairs.

The three SW/So Pac reinforcement convoys are well on their way. The first, by the end of the week, has arrived in Suva and unloaded both infantry regiments and the fighters it was carrying. It heads back to the US west coast. The two AKVs are considered too important to risk further. The second convoy, less ships it has left behind on Christmas Island and Pego Pego, arrives with more fighters and additional support troops. The third convoy is closing in on Suva with more fighters and an anti-aircraft regiment. The New Zealand transports have boarded a base force and the 132nd Infantry regiment, and then screened by the two RNZN light cruisers raced for Noumea. The force arrived unmolested and by the the 12th the Base Force has completed unloading and most of the infantry is ashore. A few more trips and Noumea will be strongly held. Once the Infantry regiment is fully ashore the 80 planes of the 8th pursuit group will stage through and the II fighter command in Charters Towers will actually have fighters to command. A second full pursuit group (35th Pursuit Group) is on the way from Cape Town in a convoy and a Bombardment Group is in a convoy currently in the mid Atlantic heading for Cape Town from the East Coast of the USA. On the West Coast more planes of II Fighter and V Bomber Commands are ready to move to the front. These planes hopefully can stage forward via the air bridge being built. Penrhyn Island's air field is 25% complete and with this and a further base closer to Pego Pego fighters can fly in a week from Christmas Island to Australia. So Pac command starts looking for two construction units: one for Bora Bora to set up the main So Pac base and the other for Tu'a Island to close the air gap.

The USN this month will be very quiet as major upgrades are underway. By the 12th the totality of the USN's striking power is undergoing refit in San Fransisco. The work on the carriers proceeds quickly but the screens are getting a substantially more extensive refit. Estimates place the completion times near the end of the month or early into may.

The Queen Elizabeth completes one last mission delivering a regiment to Christmas Island before she must depart the theatre. The unfortunate thing was that she took a torpedo hit and spent most of the last few months in the yard getting repaired.

The main activities of this period have been on land.

In Burma the Japanese tank forces undeterred by the bombers of 221 group closed on the Burmese troops in Mytikyina. After three days of fighting the Burmese troops were forced to withdraw towards India. What surprised everyone was that the fighting went on three days and the Japanese tank forces suffered losses.

The 2nd Burma Brigade with attached 27th Indian mountain artillery makes it to the highway leading north from Prome finally. Brigadier General R.J. Ellis breaths a huge sigh of relief as in no more than a few days now that they have a road to march on they should be well on their way to getting out of southern Burma. The Japanese planes based in Prome are making things interesting but the troops are in good spirits. Things become exciting for the forces marching north along the coast road heading for Cox Bazaar. A Japanese force moves out of Akyab to occupy the region they are heading for. Not about to loose the better part of a division of troops Burma Command orders the 7th Hussar's and 18th Australian Brigade to advance from Cox Bazaar and aid the arriving troops to make it back. Let's see how the Jap's like to deal with tanks is the general feeling of the Command in Silchar. The move leaves Cox Bazaar dangerously exposed as only a Burmese light infantry battalion, and a regiment of anti-tank and mountain guns remains behind.

On April 11th General Blackburn surveys the beaches at Koepang. His plan to isolate the Japanese with his Vicker's machine guns and then send in his infantry had worked. It had come down to grenades and bayonets a few times but the Japanese landing was destroyed. The 32nd Naval Garrison was gone from the beaches. In a discussion a few days later the tasks of the sea planes based at Koepang are changed. Instead of searching for Japanese ships they will bring the troops stuck on Celebes to Koepang. The base force currently starving over there will nearly double the number of aviation mechanics available at the base, while the infantry of the garrison battalion will be needed in the future.

On Java the Japanese continue to advance. KNIL Army command and the Mobile Einheit are overrun. ((Both could no longer be given march objectives for no reason I can fathom...ok now I fathom it...blast and damnation.)) The masses of Japanese troops are compressing the Dutch back onto Soerabaja. Attempting to evacuate the troops from there to Koepang except by air does not seem to be possible. The Dutch pilots demand fighter planes but the first flight by the Dutch in Hurricanes to escort their strike ends up costing them half their planes: 3 in combat and 2 written off after landing. A bitter blow. Time is definitely running out for the Dutch resistance in Java.

April 12th at Port Morsbey is marked by both sadness and joy. The Australian troops had defeated the Japanese troops in 4 days of hard fighting, with the day before the Japanese staging a bayonet charge ((Banzai Attack occurred.)) The guns are silent as General Evans and his command staff survey the battle field a last time. He has a number of troops in the hospital as his casualties were around 700 killed and wounded, and his commando company can barely muster a platoon but the Japanese troops marching over Owen Stanley trail will find no friends here. If the good news from Noumea continues he will soon have air cover and fresh supplies and troops. The 21st or 25th Australian Brigade group will be sent to Port Morsbey along with further artillery when air craft are available to cover the ships.

In China the battle over the road to Indochina continues with the ever weakening Japanese troops launching more attacks on Lt. General Lung-Kwang Teng's 52nd Infantry Corps lines. South-east of Chengchow things have gotten interesting. The 16th and 17th RGC Temp. Divisions that had ousted a weak Chinese force of battalion strength have been invested by a substantially stronger force, the 7th Infantry Corps of the 21st Group Army (nominal strength is about that of a brigade). The commander, Lt. General Kan Chang, launched attacks and so far things are going his way plus his casualties have been light. This means the division and independent brigade 40 miles or so further in land are completely surrounded.

((Got to checks names and groups as I forgot to not them down in my journal...will edit later. Updated, I need to add a mini update on some events I forgot.))

< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 5/11/2010 12:13:37 PM >

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 10
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/14/2010 9:34:24 PM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
I'll be trying different approaches to the AAR, I usally use a more story oriented formula. Anyway the bulk of the update. Fuel on the east coast of Australia is a nightmare. I have to update the china situation still but this covers the main events of the week.

====AAR BEGINS====
April 14-21, 1942

As the bulk of the critical screening vessels for the USN are in an upgrade and the east coast of Australia is still siezed of its conspicous lack of fuel the allied naval activities were limited to the SW/So Pac Reinforcement echalons in the main. A collection of support vessels arrives in Auckland. A variety of sea plane tenders, auxilliary base ships, a submarine tender all sheparded by some converted destroyer based sea plane tenders.

Noumea harbor is crowded. The New Zealand transports have finished off loading the base force but the 132nd Infantry's heavy weapons and trucks takes a long time and is not completed by the 20th. Additional artillery arrives from both Brisbane and Suva and the Free French detachment is also offloaded after its percipitous departure.

On the 18th in Brisbane the air field is home to the local marching band, and a collection of guests. The band is playing local favorites when a private comes running from the control tower. "They are on final." The band master, nods and they finish the song then after a paus start up the American national anthem as over head the first planes come through the clouds heading for the new runways. One after another the P39s of the 8th Pursuit Group descend and a rather bemused Cpt. D. Wilborn CO of the HQ squadron is greated by Maj. Gen. Paul B. Wurtsmith, CO of II Fighter Force, Lt. Col. L. Fenton, the commanding officer of the Brisbane base and a bevy of local dignitaries and members of the Australian government. Several sheep are cooking on the bar-b-ques set up by a trio of local restraunts and four kegs of beer are visible behind a hastily set up table and mess area near the runway. The pilots weary from their long journey are astounded. After Wiborn reports the group is all present and accounted for...baring two planes lost in landing at Noumea, Wurtsmith tells his subordinate to enjoy the day and that the group headquarters and the 80th Squadron would be going to Darwin, the 35th squadron would be going to Port Morsbey and the 36th would be retained as a reserve in Charters Towers. "Sir...why all this?" The confused pilot finally asks when he gets a moment. "You are looked on as the savriors of Australia captain." He pauses. "No stress. But now ships can resupply both Darwin and Port Morsbey so that isn't as odd a notion as it might sound."

The japanese try two more landings at Port Morsbey. On the 20th, watching the Japanese transport ships sailing away, General Evens turns to Lt. Col. W. Spanton. "God above man, get someone to send us more of those 6" guns." He raises his binoculars to admire the blazing transport more. "Bloody wonderful shooting. Just bloody wonderful. What a glorious sight." The time before the Japanese had gotten some troops ashore then pulled out but not fast enough as the Australians had over run the troops left behind in a brief firefight. "Any news on when we can expect resupply?" "Well apparently we have to wait on a tanker convoy from San Fransisco...there is still no fuel on the east coast, if you can believe that." General Evans reply is an unprintable obscenity then he shrugs. "When we get air cover here I'll be a lot happier, not to mention more guns and the 21st Brigade."

On the 19th Soerabaja falls. The two KNIL regiments, the 4th and 6th faced 5 divisions, enough infantry to make up a good two more divisons, a tank regiment and more artillery then toby has toenails. The assault over ran the Dutch no matter their defensive preparations. The Dutch efforts are now focused on moving as much of possible of their remaining troops and planes to Koepang. There is little chance the remaining KNIL forces in Java, now cut out of supply will last more than another week.

Operation Tony

Port Blair's supply situation had become critical but any attempt to resupply this base meant exposing the ships to Nell, Lilly and Betty bombers. The airfields at Port Blair were in no shape to be used for aircraft, so the first idea of flying off some fighter cover was not possible. That left using the carrier planes of Force R. The vetern screen of the last resupply mission a patrol craft and a minesweeper together with two cargo vessels is assembled in Ceylon then proceeds toward Port Blair. Force R now consists of the HMS Indominatable, and Formidable, plus 2 heavy and 4 light cruisers screened by 5 destroyers of the P and N types. An Albacore squadron on the Formidable is swapped for 806 Sqn flying Fulmar II's. Together with the Marlets they will provide cover for the resupply ships while the Sea Hurricanes protect the task force standing off 90 nm from Port Blair. By the 20th aided by poor weather the merchant ships have arrived and are offloading in the port. The question on everyones mind is if the good luck will continue.

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
Post #: 11
RE: You Just Did What? Me vrs the EAI - 5/28/2010 4:41:49 PM   
Paul McNeely

 

Posts: 616
Joined: 9/8/2000
From: Germany
Status: offline
Pardon the delay I was on a business trip so away from the computer for a week.

At the moment I am just recovering from a fairly extensive refit of the USN and am convoying stuff around like crazy to get things into place for what I hope to be a late summer offensive. I do escort heavily so this tends to slow the whole process down but as I illustrate the price of not doing so isn't worth considering!

====AAR BEGINS====

April 22-May 6, 1942

Operation Tony

The resupply of Port Blair has been accomplished, approximately 2600 tons (5200 supply points more or less) of much needed food, supplies and spares were transfered to the base. The tactic of screening the ships by carrier based fighters worked very well and serious damage to Japanese air groups was inflicted in particular on the Nell bomber groups which suffered near 100% casualties in several raids. Unfortuantely both the Erinpura and the Clan Maciver were lost. Both merchant ships were lost due to high altitude Sally bomber attacks. In each case a single bomb struck the ship, a fire broke out and was not able to be contained. The Erinpura sank in Port Blair harbor and the Clan Maciver sank on the trip back to Ceylon. This was frustrating as the chances of a bomb attack from 19,000 feet in bad weather suceeding was considered improbable.

Air War over Chitagong

The Japanese launched a major air offensive to secure air suporiority over Chitagon in early May. Oscar and Nate fighters conducted sweeps while Oscar and Sally bombers raided the base. As luck would have it the 1st Squadron of the AVG had just transfered to Chitagong and was able to support No. 67 Sqn RAF but planes from No. 135 and No. 136 Sqn's at Dacca were drawn into the arial combat. It was a vicious day of combat as the Japanese tried to wear down the allied defenders. The Oscar's proved difficult foes either due to their pilots or inate maneuverability but the Nate's were essentially shot out of the sky. The defending fighters broke into the attacking bombers even after dealing with two groups of sweeping attackers and the Japanese have been quiet. RAF and RAAF bombers continue to conduct night raids on Akyab and the crews report destroying a large number of planes on the ground.

Siege of Lashiro

Lashiro is the last remaining allied hold out in Burma. It is held by the 36th and 88th Chinese Divisions, the 102 RAF base force and the 13th Burmese rifle battalion. For the first time since the start of hostilities the IJA tank regiments fail to carry the day. Although the chinese divisions have a total of 2 47 mm AT and 8 75 mm Field guns they have stopped 3 attacks cold. The number of smashed IJA tanks around the base perimeter grows and daily bomber raids account for a few more. A recon regiment and the 10th tank regiment seem to have burnt themselves out in attacks. Unfortunately a large body of infantry is marching towards Lashiro but the blunting of the IJA tank force which has caused so much constination in the past is a morale victory.

Behind the Lines in Burma

The bulk of the troops from Rangoon follow the 48th Gurka Bde towards allied lines through the jungle near Cox Bazaar. They are estimated to be 3-4 days away from safety. The 2nd Burma and 27th Mountain guns are marching towards Kalyemo but are probably 5 days away from hitting the jungles. They have been both hit hard by Japanese air attacks, with the 2nd Bde down to 50% effectives even though it has not been in combat. But they are making good time and there is no evidence of Japanese forces that can cut their retreat off. Both groups are getting air dropped supplies which is keeping the men's spirits up. The bulk of the Burmese auxillary troops are two weeks away from crossing into India but again the IJA is more focused on Lashiro so they are not being pursued.

Noumea to West Coast

The 182nd Infantry regiment is currently begining to unload at Noumea. It is estimated the unloading may take up to 5 days. The 32nd Infantry division newly arrived in Los Angeles has been given all available information on Koumac and told to perpare to retake the base. The Louisville and 4 Gridley class destroyers are escorting a major convoy to Christmas Island, including the HQ SQN and 2 B26 Squadrons of the 13th Bombardment group, 2 artillery bn, a infantry regiment and towed AT regiment. South Pacific and SW Pacific forces are building up in the Suva-Pago-Christmas Chain and over the next few weeks significant forces will be pre-positioned for the planed offensives of the summer.

2nd of May, San Fransisco. With little fanfair at dawn 3 carrier battlegroups leave the harbor heading for Pearl. The Enterprise, Yorktown and Saratoga each screened by 2 cruisers and 7 destroyers are done with their refits. The Saratoga battlegroup is weaker but the New Orleans, Honolulu and 2 Mahan class DDs await her in Pearl. The Hornet remains in port due to a lack of heavy escorts along with the 5 remaining operational battleships of the pacific fleet. A shortage of cruisers and tin cans is holding the USN planning back. BuShips has promised a major reinforcement wave in less than 60 days so CENPAC is preparing for operations in July.

Reacting to information gleaned by radio intercepts indicating the Japanese are planning an attack on Norfolk island, Australia Command and Southwest pacific command asked the New Zealanders for what aide they could provide. N-force was assembled in Aukland and an amphibeous task force assembled to transport the troops there. Unfortuantely the lack of proper assault transports made offloading the heavy guns impossible so SoPac sent its assault landing ship to Aukland where it will pick up the guns and transport them to Norfolk. Given the strenght of this unit the Japanese are in for a shock if they are so foolish as to attempt to land.

Port Morsbey

On April 28, 1942 the 48th Naval Gd was obliterated in combat on the beaches of Port Morsbey. On May 4th the Japanese landed elements of the 144th Infantry Reg. and 62nd Naval Gd on the beaches. The Australian counterattack decimated the units and they were withdrawn. The RAN cruisers Australia, Canberra, Perth and Adeliade under Cpt. F.E. Getting raided the inital landing on the 30th and sunk a lone freighter but then while withdrawing the surprised a major japanese troop convoy screened by an E class escort and a Torpedoe boat including one of the new IJN landing ship docks. The cruisers heeled over and sprinted towards their victems shaking down into a line astearn formation, opening up with their 8" main guns the heavy cruisers began a methodical sweep of the transports. The light cruisers 6" main guns soon joined as the RAN ships raced towards the japanese ships. The escort was obliterated by 6" shells and ignoreing the infective torpedo boat the cruisers landed shell after shell into the japanse ships which were soon blazing stem to stern. One xAk sun outright while the other were reported to have taken heavy damage. Intell estimates were that some 2000 IJA troops perished in the attack. Attempts to bomb the ships with B17th proved fruitless mainly due to bad weather. A major victory for the convoy raiders of Australia.

Horn Island

On May 5, 1942 the 48th Naval Gd attempts to force a landing on Horn Island. Lt. Col Grifford the commander of the Torres Str. Bn watches in amazement as the Japanes blunder into his carefully prepared ambush positions. In a brief few hours 250 japanese casulties are racked up by his dug in troops for the loss of a mere 4 men. He spends the night preparing to launch a counter attack to sweep the Japanese from his island. B17 and B24's from Charters Towers are scheduled to hit the disorganized Japanese troops to soften them up.

Australia

With considerably less fan fair the 7th Bombardment Groups B17E and B24 Liberators arrive at Charters Towers air field. They have completed the week long journey from San Fransico via Pearl, Pago Pago, and Brisbane for the B17 crews. On the other side of the sub-continent at Perth the 35th Pursuit Group arrives from Cape Town on freighters. One squadron is retained as local air defence, the HQ and another squadron transfer by rail to Wagga Wagga for further training and the last squardon moves to Brisbane by rail. Australia now has 160 modern fighters and nearly 30 heavy bombers. Inside of a month the Banshee's, B25Cs, and Havoks of the 3rd Bombardment group currently in Cape Town should be arriving in Perth while B26 Marauders will be arriving by Island hoping form Christmas.

A major convoy of fuel is on it's way to Sydney via Aukland. ETA is under two weeks. The support troops of I Corps have arrived in Perth. Only 3 brigades remain in India and the British expect that they will be able to release one in a month or less so the situation is looking better for reinforcement of both the SW Pac operations and reinforcement of Port Morsbey.

Tanna

Not to be outdone by the Australians the RNZN cruisers Leadner and Achilies raided the japanese invasion force at Tanna and sunk a number of smaller cargo ships, putting a crimp in the planes of the IJN. Reports indicate a large number of small cargo ships have gathered there and the RNZN cruisers intend to sortie out from Suva.

Koepang

Things are not going well for the Dutch and Australians there. The IJA 14th division has landed and the first attack destroyed much defensive work that had gone on. Brigadier General Blackburn has been bombarding the Japanes troops while the Dutch and Australian bombers have been conducting ground attacks. Transport operations are well under way to move all the troops from Den Passar and Marakasan to Koepang and if the situation does not deterioriate reinforcements of the forces will be ongoing. Unfortuantely that still is like to leave the Japanese with a near 3 to 1 advantage in combat troops. Negotiations with Australia have allowed Darwin to be reclassified as an ABDA base...mainly due to the presence of the ABDA command HQ being there. The Hobart and her destroyers have to go to Sydney to be repaired and the supply situation in Darwin is pecarious. It is hoped that the troops can hold out, especially as the likelyhood is that the japanese troops are low on supply. The B25's have rebased to Darwin which reduces the load on the aviation support troops but the distance reduces their bomb capacity and increases the fatigue for their crews. Carriers lurking off shore complicate the consideration of resupply as well. B-Squardon of the 3rd Hussar's has just arrived in Darwin and is available to reinforce Koepang but getting it there looks near impossible.

(in reply to Paul McNeely)
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