From: St.Petersburg, Russia
Operational Planning and Execution: Philippines/DEI offensive.
Luzon: I've used a non-historical first turn to land at Vigan and Laoag instead of Batan Island. Southern Luzon landing were cancelled, with forces at Babeldaob going for Mindanao, and forces from Japan landing at Aparri. 21st Division was dispatched to reinforce the Luzon invasion, it came just in time to stop dead the Allied counterattack attempt at San Fernando. Yes, Yubari attempted to counterattack landing sites and now my air and ground forces are mauling Philippino troops outside of Manila/Clark. 38th Division and arty from Hong Kong (where the siege is still ongoing) also will be dispatched to end things on Luzon quickly.
My surface forces used patrol zones, instead of destinations or following amphibious TFs to cover the landings on Luzon. As a result, no Allied surface attackers broke through to the landing sites (I was lucky to sink/disable Manila USN destroyers in the harbor on the second day, so Boise and Houston attacked without escorts and my light forces repulsed them without taking serious damage). However, subs and torpedo Catalinas exacted a noticeable price, sinking four ships and putting CL Kuma into shipyard for 2.5 months (she survived only thanks to unreliable torpedos, as subs attacked her three times after crippling).
Air warfare over Luzon was bloody, but by now Japanese aviation has three operating airfields on Luzon and can successfully bomb whatever I want. One of Betty Ku and Tainan Ku took heavy losses while getting there, though.
Malaya-Burma-Sumatra: In this region I launched my main trust, supported by Mini-KB, Nagato, Mutsu and most IJN CAs. If you think about my amphibious operations in waves, separated by my main forces retreating to replenish ammo and sorties, I wanted to create the conditions for early fall of Singapore, as well as for advance on Java from the west, and to take my greatest prize, Palembang, in the first wave. I succeeded, landing at Mersing on turn 2, grabbing Palembang and, finally Singkawang. In the process, 6 TKs, 2 old British CLs and some lesser ships were sunk around Palembang by air and surface attacks. Allies also lost most of their stringbags which unsuccessfully attacked mini-KB. I lost five ships to mines, air and sub attack, but these vere highly valuable ships, including a new DD and an LSD.
As about troop allocation. Imp.Guards Division now marches to Moulmein. 4th and 33rd Divisions will be used to take Singapore instead. This is suboptimal in the terms of preparation and HQ support, but 33rd is preparing for Rangoon, and Allies are unlikely to defend there. And, mainly, it allows to win some operational tempo. I've assigned better commanders to 15th army and Imp.Guards and Southern Army now is shipped to Bangkok, to further boost my attack on Moulmein with its preparation. Two regiments took Kota Bharu, to establish an airfield for LRCAPping Mersing and three tank regiments landed in the north too, to clean up the peninsula. Elements of 2nd Division in Japan were rerouted to Babeldaob, for my eastern DEI thrust. As Singapore now can't be reinforced. I think I don't need them.
It should be noted, that my exploitation of success at Mersing was slow so far, because pre-loaded reinforcement convoys included slow ships and had only 2-hexes speed. Maybe reloading them can actually save time.
Also, Miri was easily captured. And paradrop on Port Blair, meant to cut off the air bridge between CBI and DEI, so far achieved no success: my paratroopers are too disrupted to dislodge the enemy.
Mindanao and Eastern DEI: Here the bloodiest fighting happened. My goal for the first wave was to land Mindanao early, so that Philippine troops can be easily cleaned out while they are inexperienced and the Cagayan airfield, capable of serving Flying Fortresses, can be shut down. I also wanted to take Jolo and, potentially, Ternate (the pre-loaded Manado invasion force was too weak to succeed). Finally, my fleet had to interecept shipping fleeing South China Sea, whenever possible. 4 old BBs and 2 CVEs were assigned to these operations.
Mindanao landings went without a hitch. I lanted Kimura Detachment and an SNLF at Butuan, with Miura Detachment and some air support at Davao, both forces routed the opposition on the first attack. However, my further advance was stalled by not noticing that there is no road going straigt from Butuan to Cagayan...
Ship hunting also was nice. Besides some small fry, I got four tankers from Manila.
But then Yubari counterattacked vigorously, almost completely destroying Jolo and Ternate landing forces with Mauritius, Danae and 3 British DDs on 14th. They were interepted by my battleship cover and both cruisers, as well as 1-2 DDs were sunk, but only after they destroyed the transport force. My battleships under Adm. Tanaka also interecepted and sank a TF of 4 four-stacks DD that day. However, the true disaster struck on 15th, when a TF consisting of Marblehead and a bunch of DDs, as well as CA Houston, acting separately, raided Babeldaob and totally massacred the TF that wasn't disbanded after Butuan landings, as well as some smaller ship groups. Another big TF, that just unloaded reinforcements at Babeldaob, was saved only by actions of CL Oi, that torpedoed both Houston and Marblehead. Houston limped away to be finished off by BB Ise two turns later and I believe Marblehead was sunk.
My losses were far heavier, however. Evil Allied cruisers sank both Chitose and Mizuho. Also, over two days I lost 31 transports, small escorts and auxilaries, including one large xAP. One destroyer also was fatally damaged during the sinking of the British TF. This is a very heavy blow, and now I'm sending both Mini-KB and my new battleships to relaunch the thrust to Eastern DEI. Thankfully, troop losses were relatively slim - only 2 airfield support companies gone forever. So, once more transport ships, no longer needed around Luzon, get there, the offensive will recommense. Also, it should be noted that I already hauled an Air HQ to Babeldaob (for further deploymend at Kendadi). My NavSearch just failed to detect either of the approaching forces...
Anyway, now my plan is to move east of Celebes, taking, at least, Manado, Ternate, Kendari and Ambon in one push. If Allies offer no resistance, I'll be able to go for Macassar and Timor without ever retreating my heavy cover forces. I thought about going right for the oil centers on Borneo, and decided not to. They might be reinforced and protecting them from both day and night strategic bombing will tie down my fighter forces too much. After the stranglehold on DEI is established, I'll take them carefully, by first bombing garrizons into oblivion.
Sub operations: the main current areas of patrol are Macassar Strait and around both tips of Java. So far my subs got two TKs, one large xAK and one xAKL. One subs was sunk by mines at Georgetown on the first turn. I paid much attention to Georgetown, in case my opponent uses it to evacuate his forces. Oh, and all subs had Saigon set as the home base. To think of it this should be added to Turn 1 checklist.
< Message edited by FatR -- 5/17/2010 9:09:25 AM >