From: St.Petersburg, Russia
The Sword Doesn't Strike True
On January 28-29 both parts of Kido Butai launched air and surface attacks against Allied fleet assets across the map. Unfortunately, while Japanese forces achieved surprise at both points of attack, results happened to be relatively disappointing, due to both lack of worthy targets and bad luck.
Nagumo's air search detected CLs Achilles and Leander near Taveuni Island, apparently moving from Suva in northeastern detection, thus crossing the path of KB-2. This is where the "bad luck" part came in. Cruisers were spotted near the dusk and only 24 Vals were on the carrier decks and ready to strike. Even though weather wasn't particularly bad, their attack was uncharacteristically inaccurate (probably due to moisture condensating on bomb sights in tropical condition or something) and only one bomb hit Leander, not causing appreciable damage. Both cruisers got away under the cover of night.
One day earlier, Japanese recon planes spotted a large Allied convoy in Sabang on the northermost tip of Sumatra. Admiral Yamaguchi, upon receiving these news, decided to detach his cruiser escorts, with 3 DDs, to attempt a surface intercept. On 28th the Allied convoy was spotted again, by ramped up airsearch from Rangoon, and the Japanese SCTF turned right into its path.
In the middle of the night, Japanese hunters found what proved to be an Allied evacuation convoy.
Night Time Surface Combat, near Great Nicobar at 37,65, Range 2,000 Yards
xAP Khandalla, Shell hits 1
xAP Takliwa, Shell hits 1
xAP Santhia, Shell hits 5, on fire
xAK Catrine, Shell hits 8, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
xAP Changte, Shell hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAK Silverteak, Shell hits 10, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAK Silverwillow, Shell hits 6, on fire
xAP Singu, Shell hits 15, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
xAP Australia Star, Shell hits 10, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
KV Jasmine, Shell hits 14, and is sunk
Allied ground losses:
208 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 12 destroyed, 13 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Guns lost 6 (2 destroyed, 4 disabled)
Poor visibility due to Thunderstorms with 92% moonlight
Maximum visibility in Thunderstorms and 92% moonlight: 2,000 yards
Unfortunately, their lack of numbers and, most of all, bad weather prevented them from catching everything. In the morning the remnants of convoy weren't found, probably because my warships were in "Retirement allowed" mode, so the commander decided to search a safe haven in the storm. Should have ordered them into an one-hex patrol zone instead.
In the day phase hundreds of planes took off to attack Colombo, Suva and Allied ships spotted nearby. A sweep at Suva, although understrenght, because only Akagi squadron decided to sweep, for some reason, took out enough defending Airacobras to avoid any damage to the raid, while at Colombo the skies were empty of Allied planes. Very lucky, cause most of my Zero escorts decided to not fly. But accuracy of port-bombing Kates proved to be abysmal. 192 planes scored only 9 bomb hits. I don't know if this because of poor recon or weather. I really expected better at Suva, where the port was already reconned.
Also, nothing more valuable than a tanker was found in either port, and none of the attacked ships were sunk.
Meanwhile, Vals struck targets of opportunity around ports. At Colombo they sank or left in sinking condition 4 KVs, 2 AMs, 1 PG and 1 xAK. At Suva AP U.S Grant and xAK Henry S Grove were hit hard enough to almost certainly sink, and the former seemed to be loaded with vehicles. Old DD Kilty was moderately damaged.
US aviation launched counterstrikes at Nagumo's fleet, but the coordination between Army and Marines was appaling. Airacobras arrived separately from Vindicators and Dauntlesses, but were mauled anyway. Of the latter, those who turned back after not meeting their escorts lived to fight another day. Brave souls who pressed on all were torn apart by the swarm of Zeros before reaching a release point. Overall, 46 Allied planes are reported to be lost today, about half of them Airacobras.
Japanese losses over the day are 9 Kates due to flak and ops. 8 Zeros were lost too (5 A2A, 3 ops), but as we had some air combar against Dutch over Soerabaja, some of them might belong to 3rd Ku. 12 pilots were KIA and MIA, probably not all, but most of them carrier pilots.
< Message edited by FatR -- 6/25/2010 7:15:43 PM >