A joyful day for any allied player, as the invasion bonus has finally expired at the start of May.
There are still large numbers of Japanese surface ships at Hawaii including the Yamato, mostly based at Kona, behind a huge CAP that I have no chance of getting through. Recon reported 617 planes at Kona on the latest turn.
The Kido Butai Happy Sunshine Tour Spring 1942.
The Kido Butai continues its tour of the South Pacific in early May 1942 scoring a meagre haul of a few small and slow Dutch xAPs. The faster ships were all able to escape. In total, I have lost about 70AV of troops that were loaded on the transports, but parts of both of the units have escaped and so they will not be lost permanently. Latest recon shows the mini KB 3 hexes south of Palmyra with 260 planes and the main KB 6 hexes further south with 474 planes. Given the number of planes, I wonder if the Junyo and Akagi did indeed return to Japan for repairs after their torpedo hits. Indeed, were the hits even real at all?
The AVG fights a large battle against the Japanese over the troops moving near Canton. First come 10 sweeping Oscars who gain a 10 to 1 victory against the P-40Es despite being considerably outnumbered. Then come the bombers, mostly unescorted. 14 Sallies, 8 Kates and 8 Sonias are shot down; that is about the fourth or fifth time that that Kate squadron that starts in China has been shot down to the plane! Then, two turns later it attacks again with another 8 planes, Zombies I tells ya, no matter how many I shoot down they are back in similar or greater numbers a turn or two later! Chinese troops progress further and have now crossed the river near Canton. The first units should be arriving in Hong Kong the next turn and Canton in three turns. More units are spotted unloading at Hong Kong.
The fighting near Canton shows that P-40s are utterly outclassed, even by the Oscars and so I shall keep them out of front line fighting as much as possible in the future.
The Mutsu stays at the same hex for a couple of days, surrounded by Dutch subs it is a tempting target but it retreats back to Singapore for the 1st May. More ground units are moving towards Langsa so it seems likely that the ship was merely providing very heavy cover for transport fleets.
The Dutch light cruisers De Ruyter and Sumatra bombard Port Moresby, but do absolutely no damage at all. Of the 60 or so bombers I have stationed at, a grand total of zero decide to fly their ordered missions against Horn Island, probably down to the size of the airfields. Engineers are now stationed at all of the bases on the East coast but it is taking a long time to build even small airfields.
In the afternoon phase, Bettys and Oscars attack the Dutch force, now at Cooktown. 6 Betties, 3 Oscars and 6 allied figthers are shot down and the De Ruyter takes one torpedo, flooding damage is at 71 percent.
So here we are at the 2nd May, the Japanese invasion bonus has ended and I am fairly pleased about how things have gone so far. Although a number of cruisers have been lost, there has only been one capital ship sunk so far (West Virginia on the second turn) and the US carrier fleet is in fine shape, or at least as good as it can be in May 1942.
Japanese losses, particularly in the air have been very heavy and I think that the Japanese economy will be struggling due to the massive amount of Japanese production that must be going on, and the amount of action that the IJN has performed. If I was to guess, I would be surprised if Japan could get to 1944 without severe problems.
Given that I think that most or all of the Japanese carriers are located in the South Pacific, suppose that the allies were to launch a major invasion in the next few days, where would you land?
Here is a map of the Pacific, with Japanese controlled areas marked by the red line. Basically the historic conquests minus small parts of the DEI, and plus Midway, Johnston and half of Hawaii.