A good idea topeverest, if only I had the troops available. All of my marine defense batallions are in or en route to the South Pacific. I would be very strongly tempted to try an invasion of the Kuriles in late 1942, but I think that doing that triggers a lot of extra Japanese reinforcements. If it is to be done, then I would only attempt it either in October 1943, when a lot of Essexes, Corsairs and Hellcats are available, or after any battle which gives the allies carrier equality.
You will see how my attempted air strikes against the KB went on next, but I had too few surface ships in the area to really attempt to engage the carriers.
A tale of two carrier strikes, part 2.
The KB is divided into two sections. As best I can tell the Shokaku, Zuikaku, Soryu, Hiryu, Shoho and Zuiho form the main part of the KB, the part which hit Perth. The second part of the KB contains the Akagi, Kaga, Ryujo, Hosho and Chuyo and is in the south pacific. Also potentially available are the Nisshin (which becomes available as a CVL in this mod) and the Junyo (which comes available a lot earlier).
Carrier strike 1.
On the 29th, the main KB launches a strike against Columbo. Fortunately the only ships in harbour were a couple of tankers and a coastal minesweeper, and these are sunk by Kates. Vals manage to destroy a convoy of frigates and minesweepers, these had been moving from Trincomalee to Columbo prior to an escape into the Indian Ocean. A few Kates are shot down by the flak, but most importantly the British fleet is safe, and the 6th Australian Division is around 4 days sail away from Columbo, I want to land this as soon as possible in the event of any Japanese attack on Ceylon. The Japanese force moves towards Port Blair on the 30th and launches no further attacks, but preparations are being made for an attack against Calcutta, over 100 Hurricanes are ready to move in.
Also on the 29th, the Chikuma and Tone meet an evacuation convoy from Sabang and sink 6 of the 10 ships, they had been carrying most of the coastal guns from Medan.
Carrier strike 2.
On the same day, the other half of the KB launches strikes against Suva. The P-39Ds there perform creditably on CAP, shooting down about 8 Zeroes for the loss of 12 of their own. An attempted allied strike on the carriers goes terribly wrong as all of the allied planes fail to co-ordinate. In 4 separate strikes 10 P-39s, 6 Dauntlesses and 6 Vindicators are shot down by the Japanese CAP. I am fortunate that a lot of the unescorted bomber pilots decided to withdraw. On the 30th, the Haruna and Kongo bombard Suva but do almost no damage. The Japanese carrier force heads towards Australia. All ships in Australia are to be moved to relative safety (or the best I can manage) at Sydney, I have around 120 fighters available to protect the harbour, I expect a player as aggressive as FatR to go there looking for more blood. Another potential target is Auckland and it is being evacuated.
At Pearl Harbour, the US carrier force has completed refueling and replenishing its planes, and is heading to the South Pacific, some 10 days sail away. Sigint notes a unit preparing for Johnston Island.
Singapore is back up to level 1 forts, the 25 or so Japanese bombers on airfield attack failing to do significant damage. Could it finally be that the huge bomber losses are causing FatR problems? Bataan is still unattacked and with level 2 forts. Submarines are bringing in more supplies.
A dreadful mess. Japanese tanks take Magwe on the 30th and look to be trying to cut my troops off at Mandalay. I shall try to use my Blenheims on ground attack to slow them down but foresee a big defeat.
One side effect of taking the Chinese coastal cities is that it allows my S-Boats to refuel there. I might be able to use these valuable ships in the South china sea for a while if FatR doesnt realise what is going on. In Northern china, there is a 24 unit stack at Nanyang. Is it heading towards Nanyang, Sinyang or Sian? Chinese bombers on recon are trying to determine.
Dutch East Indies.
The Nagato, Mutsu, Ise and Hyuga bombard Tarakan and a regiment is landed here, the coastal guns doing decent damage to a Japanese CA and a couple of destroyers. A shock attack takes the base the next day. I am sending patrol planes to try and pick up the survivors and take them to Balikpapan.
The allies lose about 60 planes in these 2 turns to take them up to total losses of 865. The Japanese lose just under 40 but now have total losses of around 1030. It really is utter carnage.