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RE: Major battle in the IO

 
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RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/4/2011 12:50:28 AM   
kaleun

 

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June 19 1942 Suva is a crowded muggy place.
The port is crowded with shipping, mostly cargo ships and escorts. The combat naval forces must be occupied somewhere else for they are not here. Also absent are all those marines that left the West coast months ago. Between swatting mosquitoes, I was able to find out that the allied forces in Lautem are driving the enemy back into the sea. The latest allied assault resulted in 290 enemy losses, with no allied casualties.

June 20 1942 Darwin attacked!
Enemy carrier aircraft, dive bombers and torpedo bombers have attacked Darwin. BB Revenge reportedly was hit by 4 bombs and is on fire.
The allies are still on the offensive in Lautem.
And something is definitely up. There are all kinds of rumors of an upcoming allied offensive. Think weeks, not months, said an unidentified colonel who shall remain unnamed.
Tomorrow, I have managed to wrangle a seat on a Catalina flying to Noumea. Maybe I’ll find out something there.




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Post #: 91
RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/4/2011 3:13:44 PM   
kaleun

 

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June 20th 1942
I’ve arrived at Noumea and the Marines are not here either. The harbor is filled with ships, some unloading supplies, some just sitting there. Information gleaned from some idle merchant sailors indicates that their ships are waiting for fuel to arrive before heading back to the West Coast.
The BBC announced a Japanese amphibious attack on Palenbang and that Hurricanes have splashed several Betties at Port Blair.
The Australian news announced another strong allied assault at Lautem; it appears the Japanese are reaching the end of their supplies there.

June 21st 1942

Kavieng fell to Japanese attack yesterday. A strong enemy assault was repelled at Koepang and the daily attack at Lautem pushed the enemy further back.

June 24 1942
While I still do not know where the 1st Marine Division is, except that it is not at Suva or Noumea, and rumor has it that it is not at Luganville either, information released today places the allied carrier Yorktown at Sidney.
The rumors of impending allied offensive action coupled with the presence of at least one US carrier at Sidney may indicate that, for once, I may be at the right time and place to report on some action.


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Post #: 92
RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/4/2011 4:45:14 PM   
kaleun

 

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June 25th 1942 Lautem cleared of enemy forces!
In another setback for the Japanese imperialist plans, the enemy invading force at Lautem has finally been destroyed. In the Island of Timor, only in Koepang do the enemy forces still hold terrain.
June 26th 1942 1st Marine appears!
The mystery of the 1st Marine Division is resolved. Yesterday, a transport task force bearing the 1st Marine Division arrived at Luganville and began unloading the troops.
The BBC announced today that allied forces withdrew yesterday from Palembang under Japanese attack.


June 28th, 1942 At Luganville.

With most of the press corps, I arrived today at Luganville. The US SPAC command under VAdm Skip Lockwood is located in this island, right at the front lines of the South Pacific action. The nearest Japanese outpost is at Guadalcanal Island, not too far away.
At a briefing today, Adm. Lockwood announced the name of the upcoming allied operation. Operation Shoestring.
The target however remains unnamed although the press corps is betting on Guadalcanal and Tulagi.


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Post #: 93
RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/6/2011 6:34:39 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 29th 1942. Updates.

As this goes to press, I am at sea, with the Shoestring invasion force. Under a news blackout, I am only allowed to mention that the name of the target is “Mosquito Island” which probably describes two or three thousand islands in this region.

Two battleships, Hyuga and Fuso bombarded Koepang yesterday.

I am allowed to release some information on the disposition of forces in this theater.

Port Moresby, an important port in the southern coast of New Guinea is held by the 41st Infantry division, assisted by the Australian Port Moresby Brigade. The US SWPAC is also headquartered here with the USN Forward Air CenPac. Additional support troop s and base forces make this garrison solid and impregnable.





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RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/6/2011 6:35:26 PM   
kaleun

 

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At Timor, after clearing Lautem and Dili of enemy forces, only Koepang remains in dispute. The Japanese are not willing to let this port go and keep bombarding the defenders and bringing up reinforcements and supplies.

At Darwin, loaded in their transports, the 19th Australian Batallion and the 2/4 MG bn, await their departure to reinforce the besieged garrison.

Nearby, in Kendari, an enemy carrier force waits, or so the high command believes. Also nearby, a surface combat task force hides.





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Post #: 95
RE: Major battle in the IO - 5/6/2011 6:47:06 PM   
kaleun

 

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June 30th 1942 At sea.

Where are the enemy carriers? That is the question that Alex Vandergrift ponders in his cramped office on the flagship of TF 124, the invasion fleet. In CV Saratoga, V Admiral Mitscher ponders the same question, as does Cpt Withers on the bridge of Oklahoma, commodore of the bombardment task force.

Vandergrift briefed us today on one of the objectives of Shoestring, apart from seizing the mosquito filled island.

“The Japanese want to fight our carriers now, when they have the advantage of numbers. If they are to have a chance to win, they must destroy our carriers now. Thus we expect them to sortie their carriers and bring them to battle.”

It is in that brief period of time, when the enemy carriers and attention is away from Timor, when the Australians plan to deliver the 19th battalion to Koepang.

Fingers are crossed all over the Southwest Pacific.





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Post #: 96
RE: It is on! - 7/6/2011 8:29:18 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 3rd 1942: It is On!
After 7 months of constant retreats and defeats, the US Navy is on the offensive. Today, the battleship Oklahoma and the heavy cruisers Pensacola and Louisville opened fire on the island of Guadalcanal occupied by the Japanese. It is here, in the Solomon Islands where the allies begin their march on the Japanese empire. Shortly before dawn, the 1st Marine Division boarded their landing craft and set out for the forested island. A short distance behind the task force, the 2nd wave composed of the Americal Division, follows.
Meanwhile, Japanese forces land and occupy Shortlands.





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Post #: 97
RE: It is on! - 7/6/2011 8:45:59 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 4th 1942. Guadalcanal falls.
The 1st Marine Division, together with the 137 USA Base force, and the 2nd USMC field artillery battalion defeated and destroyed the Japanese defenders of Guadalcanal. Since the operation was a complete success, Vandergrift ordered the second wave, the Americal Division to attack the island of Tulagi instead.
The US Navy carriers attacked enemy transports supplying the Japanese invasion of Shortlands. SBD 3 Dauntless and TBF 1 Avengers attacked the enemy ships and scored. xAK Kamikaze Maru succumbed to 7 bomb hits, xAK Tenyo Maru sunk by one torpedo and 2 bomb hits. The minelayer cruiser Tokiwa was hit by 2 bombs as was the patrol boat Nagata Maru. The destroyer Yunagi was damaged by one bomb hit and the minelayer cruiser Okinoshima was crippled by 5 bomb hits.
Not everything is good news today. Our British friends report the loss of Mandalay in Burma. All the friendly troops had been evacuated however.






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Post #: 98
RE: It is on! - 7/7/2011 2:51:41 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 5th 1942.
The Americal Infantry Division, together with the 131st and 148 artillery battalions began landing at Tulagi yesterday. At Lunga, the airfield is operational and we have been informed that CVE Long Island is approaching the island with a flight of fighters.

Some more good news. CV Saratoga and CV Wasp are both in transit to the SW Pacific. The arrival dates have not been made public though.

Meanwhile, in Koepang, the allied forces comprising the 19th Australian Brigade, remnants of the Dili Detachment, the Timor Garrison Bn, 2/9th Field regiment and 6th heavy AA are facing the determined attack of the Japanese 33rd and 54th Divisions and 86th Naval garrison. Though outnumbered the allied warriors are not undaunted as reinforcements are loaded at Darwin, ready to come to their aid.

However, air recon showed enemy carriers nearby, waiting to pounce.





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RE: It is on! - 7/8/2011 6:08:57 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 6th 1942.
Tulagi fell yesterday to the Americal Division. The enemy forces have withdrawn into the jungle around the base and will have to be rroted out.
A Japanese battleship force has been spotted in the Macassar strait steaming southwest. It is thought that they may be part of a move against Koepang.


July 7th 1942.

The BBC announced yesterday that the 19th Australian Battalion and the 2/4 MG bn have disembarked at Koepang. The task force sneaked into harbor as the attention of the Japanese was distracted by the events in the Solomons.
In Tulagi, the Americal Division is conducting operations to eliminate the 61st naval guards that garrisoned the island. The enemy is stubborn and the terrain favors defense so it may take some time.

July 8th 1942 The best laid plans.
Sometimes you have to wonder on which side God is. The successful invasion of Lunga and Tulagi gave the US Navy a size 4 airfield at Lunga. Saratoga and Wasp are en-route to the SWPAC and no further offensive operations are planned for the near future aside from the on-going support of the defenders of Koepang. COMSWPAC therefore decided to send Yorktown and Hornet to Pearl for overdue upgrades that had been delayed due to the desperate need for these carriers. While cruising in the direction of the Hawaiian Islands, somehow, an enemy submarine managed to sneak in through the destroyer screen and fired a spread of torpedoes at Yorktown striking the carrier with one of them. The carrier survived the encounter, although its stay in the shipyard at Pearl will be longer than planned.
In Koepang, the allied transports withdrew from the harbor and a Japanese force steamed in with troops and supplies for the enemy forces. To make things worse, a second task force of unidentified ships was noted standing off to the NW.




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Post #: 100
RE: It is on! - 7/13/2011 4:34:55 AM   
kaleun

 

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July 9th 1942. Japanese counterattack in Timor Sea.

As feared, the taskforce standing off Koepang turned out to be a carrier force that chased the retreating allied transports southeast into the Timor Sea. The best that can be said is that the transports, led by light cruiser Danae, almost made it. Only 80 miles away from the comparable safety of the harbor, they were intercepted by enemy carrier air. Not one ship survived.






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Post #: 101
RE: It is on! - 7/19/2011 9:55:26 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 10th 1942:
It is time to reorganize, resupply and reinforce the new outposts in the Solomons. The 1st Marine Division motorized support crews cannot land at Lunga. They return to Luganville. In any case, 1st Marines will soon be pulled out of Guadalcanal and assigned for duty elsewhere. An army unit will garrison the island.

At Tulagi, the desperate enemy screaming: “Banzai, Banzai,” at the top of their lungs, attacked the invaders and were massacred on the spot. The 1st 102nd Infantry battalion has been assigned to Tulagi to replace the Americal Division.

Meanwhile, in the Timor sea, the Japanese reinforce their beachhead at Koepang. The enemy carrier group comes under air attack from the scanty local air forces. 6 Beauforts and 5 Hudsons with 14 Kittyhawks attempt and attack. The enemy intercepts with 22 Zeros and 7 obsolete Claudes. 6 Beauforts and 2 Hudsons get through the CAP with no success. Later in the day, 4 Hudsons sneak through the CAP and are able to mount an attack on CVL Ryujo, but they score no hits.

July 11 1942: Enemy counterattack?
In Tulagi, yesterday, a group of Kate torpedo bombers attacks the convoy unloading there. One Kate scores a hit on DD Worden. The enemy bombers did not use torpedoes this time, so we are informed that the attack was probably launched at maximum range. Is the enemy mounting a counter invasion of its own?

July 12, 1942 Battle of Guadalcanal!
Allied ships, retreating from Tulagi come under attack by enemy carrier aircraft. A nasty surprise is in store for the enemy pilots as F4F wildcats from the newly operational Henderson field at Guadalcanal fly cover for the withdrawing ships. It is not enough and AGP Janssen, DD Stack, AD Hand and AKE Mormanack sink.

It is now time to return the favor, and the Marine pilots from Lunga do so in spades:

13 SBD Dauntless escorted by 13 F4Fs and 11 P40s attack the enemy carrier force. All the bombers break through the CAP barrier and they score! CV Akagi takes 2 1000Lb hits and CV Soryu takes one.

The enemy carriers manage one more strike against Allied ships. DD Perkins thakes 3 bomb hits, AKL Kertukian sinks, hit by three torpedoes, DD Wordern sinks under 2 bomb hits and two torpedoes, as does AKL Colorado and AKL Tenemin.



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Post #: 102
RE: It is on! - 7/19/2011 10:07:32 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 13 42.
Just before dawn, Henderson field is rocked by the sound of many aero engines warming up in the dark. As the first light creeps along the Eastern sky, the pilots smoke cigarettes and wait for orders. The scout airplanes have departed before dawn and are now seeking the wounded enemy carriers.

The freshly arrived dive bomber pilots no longer strut as they did in Luganville. They are silent, dragging on their Lucky Strikes, anxious to go yet worried by the sight of the mangled SBD from yesterday’s strike force. The fighter pilots, tired and worn from yesterday’s battles with the numerically superior, faster and better armed Japanese Zeroes are not so sure they want to see the green flare rise from the makeshift control tower (actually, a bucket)

By midmorning, the order arrives:

“Stand down.”

The enemy carriers have withdrawn out of range.

New orders arrive at Lunga:

Americal will garrison the island, while 1st Marines will embark for Luganville ASAP.
In Darwin, the 7th Australian Division begins to prep for Koepang.

In the USA, through all the radio networks, one phrase is repeated on the newscasts:

“It’s payback time!”

In Suva, the US 40th Division embarks. Its destination: Darwin.

It is complex move. The Australians want very much to hold on to Koepang and keep Timor as a bastion protecting their northern cast. The US wants to help her Southern ally but does not want to enmesh US troops in a long battle for the Dutch East Indies. Darwin cannot be left ungarrisoned though.

The solution: The US 40th will garrison Darwin while the Australian 7th will reinforce Koepang.

Only time will tell if this is a gambit, or an error.



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Post #: 103
RE: It is on! - 7/20/2011 3:56:56 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 15th 42.
Enemy forces invaded and captured Merak at the NW tip of Java. Batavia is surrounded.
Spruance takes Saratoga and Wasp to Sydney for quick repairs.

July 16th 42.
“Up to three divisions.” That was the promise that FDR made to the Australian Prime Minister.

The US will commit up to three divisions to the defense of Australia. The US Navy will also use its forces to escort the Australian efforts to reinforce Koepang and to kick the Japanese out of the island. The 32nd infantry division arrived at Suva. It has been sent along to Port Moresby.

July 18th 42
USS Hornet and Yorktown enter Sidney’s repair shipyards to repair damages.

July 19th 42.
Unconfirmed reports state that SS Pickerel scored a torpedo hit on CV Zuikaku, but the torpedo malfunctioned. The Navy refused to confirm or deny this report.

July 21st 42
Mutsu and Furutaka bombarded Koepang on the 19th prior to reinforcements landing on the 20th.


July 22nd 1942
Saratoga’s repairs in Sidney cancelled. The carriers are hastily prepared for sea duty.


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Post #: 104
RE: It is on! - 7/20/2011 4:00:12 PM   
kaleun

 

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July 24th 42. At sea.
I share a bunk with three other journalists. We take turns sleeping in it. The sailors call it hot bunking. Admiral Spruance shared his orders with us, so this report will not go out for a while.

The task force will steam to Darwin to escort the 40th Division to Darwin and the Ozzies to Koepang. Under no conditions are the US Navy ships to leave the Darwin land base fighter coverage area. Meanwhile, all the available aircraft will try to attack the enemy carriers. It is the hope of the allied command that a lucky hit, or two, might send the Japanese carriers packing, especially since the LBA hits on Akagi and Soryu.


July 25th 42, at sea.


Good news. SS S 35 hits CV Shokaku with a torpedo, SW of Koepang. SS S 36 gets the heavy cruiser CA Kinugasa with two torpedoes SW of Koepang,

In the island of Celebes, the garrison defending Kendari withdrew to Palopo. Per the Australian liaison officer, an attempt to evacuate them via seaplanes is underway.


July 27 42. At sea.


The task force moves slowly up the east coast of Australia. No enemy in sight. The wireless picks up news that most of the 17th Australian brigade has been picked up by seaplanes from Palopo. Next is the 2/2 Australian pioneer battalion.

July 29th 42. Confined to ship.
We are docked at Darwin, refueling, but the three journalists are confined to the ship and not allowed to send in our reports. It is OK; we listen to the wireless instead. There are reports of an allied raid on the enemy harbor of Rabaul with many enemy tanker ships hit. The US 40th unloads at Darwin.

August 3rd 42. At sea again.
The 7th Australian Division, minus motorized support has loaded and is now en route Koepang. The Wildcats conduct combat patrols and also fly cover over the troop transports.

August 5th At sea.

There is a lot of zigzagging by the transports. They seem to be taking the scenic route. There is much concern about the danger of enemy air attack as the location of the enemy carriers is unknown. Patrol planes fly constantly looking for them. We wonder what our few carriers can do, if KB is located, other than run for the dubious cover of Darwin.





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RE: It is on! - 7/21/2011 7:49:12 PM   
kaleun

 

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August 10th 1942 Melbourne off the grid?

While the reinforced combat forces slog it out at Koepang, something weird or, as the Brits would say, a rum thing happened.

A London Times reporter I befriended on board ship, Thomas Richfield, and I debarked at Townsville and prepared to take a train down to Sidney. While in Townsville, Richfield attempted to make a phone call to Melbourne, where he has family. He was not able to reach his relatives in Melbourne, not from Townsville, nor from Brisbane. He was told the lines were down. Tomorrow he will try again from Sidney. Meanwhile, I caught up on the war from the local papers. There has been nothing unusual out of Melbourne. We shall see.

August 14th, 1942 Tragedy in Timor.
A task force of transports, shuttling the 16th Australia brigade from Lautern to Koepang was surprised and destroyed by carrier aircraft on the 12th. The battered ships reached Koepang and began unloading the survivors of the 16th when they were surprised by an enemy task force including BB Mutsu. The allied cruisers tried to protect the transports but quickly succumbed to the heavier broadsides of the Japanese. They did manage to buy time for most of the survivors to escape from the doomed transports. Vincennes sunk and Achilles and Leander were scuttled.

Still no news from Melbourne.

Richfield and I shall try to take a train down there tomorrow and see what’s going on.







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< Message edited by kaleun -- 7/21/2011 7:50:29 PM >


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RE: It is on! - 8/1/2011 1:33:18 AM   
kaleun

 

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August 17th, 1942 Ambon invaded.

The Japanese have developed an annoying habit. Every time we believe that they are finally on the defensive, content to await our next blow, they come up with something new. This time is the invasion of Ambon. Despite strong resistance from 150mm CD guns, the 41st, 42nd and 43rd naval guards landed to confront the Molukken garrison, the 4th coastal gun battalion and the Ambon base force. An Allied response is expected at any time.







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< Message edited by kaleun -- 8/1/2011 1:34:24 AM >


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Post #: 107
RE: It is on! - 8/1/2011 1:47:28 AM   
kaleun

 

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August 18th 42 Battle rages at Ambon!
An allied destroyer task force sailed from Darwin and hit the enemy transports at Ambon hard. The enemy had to stop unloading to try and defend against the allied ships that fell on them like a swarm of angry hornets. With better fire control and plenty mad, the allied gunners score hit after hit on the enemy transports. All the enemy ships sink by the time the allied destroyers return to base.



< Message edited by kaleun -- 8/8/2011 10:08:30 PM >


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Post #: 108
RE: It is on! - 8/8/2011 10:11:33 PM   
kaleun

 

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August 19th 42

1st Marines relieved at Lunga, the entire division is on ship to Luganville. Two allied carriers, Hornet and Yorktown wait at Luganville for Saratoga and Wasp that have put in at Sidney for a quick round of repairs.

August 22nd 42Action near Ambon.

The invading forces at Ambon, deprived of supplies by the allied destroyer attack, have been destroyed by the allied defenders. Meanwhile, an enemy surface task force was spotted S of Kendari by allied recon. Hudson and Banshee bombers out of Kendari attacked this surface combat task force. One of the Banshees scored a hit on Mutsu with a 1000 pounder but the battleship’s thick armor repelled the bomb.

The US 40th infantry division aboard TF # 64, is returning to Darwin as the reinforcements it carried were unneeded at Ambon anyway.

August 24 42. Enemy invasion at Tenate.


On the 22nd, the enemy surface taskforce led by Mutsu bombarded allied positions at Ambon. Too late since, as we reported, the Japanese invaders had surrendered on the 21st. SS Sculpin intercepted the battlewagons as they returned to Kendari and scored two torpedo hits on Mutsu. Stingray also scored on Mutsu but its torpedoes were duds.

The 23rd was a great day for allied submarines. The old pig boats had a field day:

S-18 torpedoed xAK Siraha Maru, S of Kendari. S-23 hit Siraha Maru again to finish her off. S-34 scored on xAK Pacific Maru with two torpedoes sinking her. S-35 sunk xAK Tokushima Maru and S-45 sunk xAK Sugiyama Maru with two torpedoes. These last three Marus were found to be carrying troops that will now have to swim to their destination.

Ambon based Banshees scored a hit on xAKL Arizama Maru near Tenate. That ship was also carrying troops.
Despite these setbacks, the enemy landed a significant force at Tenate in the Moluccas.

Wasp and Saratoga are preparing to depart Sidney to refuel at Noumea and join the two allied carriers at Luganville. Adm Halsey will command the task force that will protect the next allied invasion: Operation catapult. The ground forces will be the 2nd Marine Division, 110th US Base force and 1st Marine Raider battalion. The objective has been identified as the enemy base at Shortlands.



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Post #: 109
RE: It is on! - 12/6/2011 6:55:20 PM   
kaleun

 

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Naval battle at Koepang
August 25 1945.
While allied forces bombard the invaders at Koepang, the Japanese continue to reinforce their beachhead. The Dutch and Australian defenders face three enemy infantry divisions and two regiments plus a Naval Guard unit. Their only hopes rest in the American reinforcements now assembling in Darwin.

In the northern tip of Sumatra, enemy level bombers attack and torpedo allied shipping. A small transport is sunk by enemy torpedoes.
A small allied destroyer force, Selfridge, Paul Jones, Schley and Ward, commanded by LCMDR C. Reynolds approaches Kopeang. Their orders to attack enemy shipping unloading there.
The Japanese capture Tenate.

August 26 42
Reynolds launches a nighttime attack against the enemy amphibious taskforce. He opens fire at 12000 yards and closes to 3000 before the enemy ships manage to escape. Even so, the enemy pays a heavy price:
Japanese Ships
xAK Keihuku Maru, Shell hits 28, and is sunk
xAK Kuwayama Maru, Shell hits 13, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAK Somedono Maru, Shell hits 12, heavy fires
xAK Kurohime Maru, Shell hits 19, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAK Koyo Maru, Shell hits 7, and is sunk
xAKL Tientsin Maru, Shell hits 22, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Shun Yuan, Shell hits 22, and is sunk
xAKL Kikuryu Maru, Shell hits 28, and is sunk
xAKL Misaki Maru, Shell hits 14, heavy fires, heavy damage
There was no damage to allied ships





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RE: It is on! - 12/6/2011 6:57:20 PM   
kaleun

 

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The game is proceeding very slowly at the rate of 2 turns a week.
After this long hiatus, I shall continue to update this AAR but I will change the style. I think I will report more on plans and strategy rather than the pseudo journalist style I attempted before.



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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 111
RE: It is on! - 12/7/2011 6:35:29 PM   
kaleun

 

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August 26 42
In the Coral Sea, four mighty task forces converge to the SE of Rennell atoll. Halsey’s carriers will rendezvous with his cruisers, battleships and invasion fleet, reorganize and proceed to their target.

August 27 42
Japanese forces capture Bandoeng and attack Batavia.



August 28.
Japanese forces capture Muntok.
Allied fighters repel enemy bombers over Sabang.
Halsey’s invasion forces assembled SE of Rennell Is. Invasion of Shortlands launched.





In Darwin, the US 40th Infantry Division loads into its transports; the objective, Koepang is close by, but it could be as far as the moon until the US carriers, released from the Shortlands invasion can cover the crossing.

August 28 42.
Near Rennell Island, Yorktown and Wasp join up with Saratoga and Hornet. With four carriers Halsey feels able to take whatever the Japanese Navy can throw at him.





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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 112
RE: It is on! - 12/8/2011 5:30:26 PM   
kaleun

 

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August 29 42

Allied High Command might not wish it generally known, but it is clear to anyone listening to the news or reading the papers that the DEI have been written off by the US and Australian leadership. Only Timor has been defended and is being fought for, mostly as a bulwark against a Japanese advance against Australia. The defense of Timor is, really, just a forward defense of Australia. Lip service may be paid to the liberation of Java, to the reinforcement of the heroic defenders that still hold out against the Japanese invaders but everybody who is somebody knows that there are not enough divisions in the SWPAC to make a difference in Java. Sumatra is a different matter. The Royal Navy has began to reinforce the port city of Sabang, at the NW tip of the island despite the strong enemy air presence that inflicts a heavy price for the privilege of supplying the Dutch garrison.

September 1st 1942.

It’s D day H hour for Operation Cornmeal. During the night, the bombardment force, Heavy cruisers Salt Lake city, Chester and Northampton, assisted by the light cruisers Honolulu, Phoenix, Detroit, Raleigh, Ceres and Dauntless creep in unnoticed and pound the Japanese installations. With the first light of dawn, CL Trenton leads CLAA San Juan and Atlanta, and the invasion fleet towards the beaches. The 2nd Marine Division will receive its baptism of fire this morning. The Japanese launch an air attack against the invasion fleet. 5 Betties and 6 Zeros approach and are dealt with by 12 F4Fs on CAP. 4 Betties get through but their bombs, launched from 15000 feet miss their intended targets. Later in the day, 3 Betties and 3 Zeros try again and miss. In the afternoon, convinced that no enemy carriers are nearby, Halsey unleashes his dive bombers against the Japanese defenders. 140 SBDs and 18 Avengers pound the positions of the 7th Indpt. SNLF Coy.



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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

(in reply to kaleun)
Post #: 113
RE: It is on! - 12/8/2011 5:45:51 PM   
kaleun

 

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September 2nd 42.
The 2nd Marine Division takes the weakly defended Shortlands base. Halsey orders his carriers to head southwest towards Darwin where the 40th infantry Division awaits.

September 3rd 42
The Japanese empire is not planning to just roll over and die. In the Ceram Sea a Japanese invasion force attacked the port of Boela on the East side of Ceram. The allies responded with air attacks by Hudsons that missed, followed by a raid by Ambon based Banshees. Unencumbered by fighter cover the allied dive bombers dropped their 1000Lb eggs on 4 enemy transports.

September 4th 42
Despite repeated attacks by the Banshees that score a hit on an APD, the Japanese manage to seize Boela.
Meanwhile, a large secret is revealed. For weeks the naval shipyard at Melbourne had been off limits to civilian and even naval personnel that were not assigned to work there. Early this morning, just before dawn, a large ship slipped its moorings and, without fanfare left the harbor. The ship’s name, finally released was CV Formidable, damaged and reported sunk by Tokyo Rose. It is rumored to be heading to Sidney or Pearl Harbor for further repairs.





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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 114
RE: It is on! - 12/13/2011 3:44:02 PM   
kaleun

 

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September 5th 42
While allied air attacks enemy shipping in the Ceram Sea, and the Banshees score yet again achieving two hits on xAK Kizan Maru, further east, trouble brews.
Halsey’s carriers are now west of Port Moresby, preparing to enter the treacherous, coral reef strewn waters of the Torres straits.
The airwaves fill with distress calls in the clear:
“SOS, xAP Empire Star, 60 miles NE Palm Island. Under attack by carrier bombers 6 bomb hits. Abandoning ship.”
“SOS, xAP Amra, carrier aircraft attacking. 5 bomb hits. Abandoning ships.”
“DD Fox, 60 miles NE Palm Island, TF under attack by 9 Kate type bombers. Amra and Empire Star sinking. Picking up survivors. Request assistance.”
Despite his captain’s concern for the fuel status of his ships, Halsey orders his carriers about and heads for the Coral Sea at full speed.





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< Message edited by kaleun -- 12/14/2011 3:08:26 PM >


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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 115
RE: It is on! - 12/14/2011 3:28:29 PM   
kaleun

 

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September 8th and 9th 42
Large air battles over Sabang pit the twin engine IJN torpedo bombers and their Zero escorts against Hurricanes moved in from Port Blair. Losses are heavy on both sides.
In the Coral Sea, the enemy carriers are midway between the Australian coast and the Solomons. Their aircraft attack a small TF. DD La Triomphant escorting an ACM to Shortlands takes 2 bomb hits. ACM Trapper succumbs to 3 direct hits. 18 SBD Dauntless from Lunga escorted by 10 P40Es attack the enemy carriers. Only 5 dive bombers get through the CAP and fail to score. A flight of 3 B26 from Lunga, heavily escorted by 29 P40s gets through. The army bombers fail to score but at least one carrier is identified: CV Junyo. Additional uncoordinated attacks cannot get through the enemy fighter cover. In the evening enemy dive bombers finish off La Triomphant with 5 bomb hits; the last one causing a magazine explosion that dooms the destroyer.
South of New Guinea, Halsey pushes his task force as hard as he can to intercept the enemy carriers before they can withdraw.





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< Message edited by kaleun -- 12/14/2011 7:06:29 PM >


_____________________________

Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 116
RE: It is on! - 12/14/2011 7:06:09 PM   
kaleun

 

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Dancing in the Coral Sea.
Enemy carriers move South East instead of North. Halsey’s carriers, between Rabaul and Espiritu Santo move SE. There is not enough fuel for a high speed dash. The enemy carriers may yet get away.





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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 117
RE: It is on! - 12/19/2011 3:35:47 PM   
kaleun

 

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September 9th
Is this a fumble? The Japanese carrier task force did not swing southeast of the Solomons chain to return to its base at Truk. Instead, the enemy carriers approached Espiritu Santo and launched successful attacks against allied shipping there.
Had they opted to leave the Coral Sea, Halsey, without enough fuel to give chase, would have no alternative but to return to Espiritu Santo to refuel and the Japanese would make a clean getaway.
Is it possible that Halsey’s task force remains undetected?


With the Japanese carriers occupied in the Coral Sea, the US 40th Infantry set out from Darwin under the best available air cover, which wasn’t much. The ships made it to Koepang undisturbed and began to unload the GIs to the relief of the defenders.

Near Torres Island, CL Helena sinks after 1 bomb and five torpedo hits. AKV Hammondsport takes one bomb hit but gets away.
In Luganville, AVD Hulbert and xAKL Surigao sink after seven bomb strikes apiece; xAKL Wawa takes one. The corvette Quesner sinks after two torpedo hits, xAKL Vincent and PC Taney both sink with one torpedo each.
Halsey’s carriers steam South East.





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< Message edited by kaleun -- 12/19/2011 3:44:07 PM >


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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 118
RE: It is on! - 12/19/2011 3:50:39 PM   
kaleun

 

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September 10th Alea Iacta Est.
The enemy carriers are spotted withdrawing to the NE of the Solomon chain. Halsey launches everything he has to attack the hated enemy. As soon as the strike force leaves the deck, the CAP fighters take off and wait for the enemy planes to arrive.
The Japanese hit first.
Japanese aircraft
A6M2 Zero x 54
B5N2 Kate x 35
D3A1 Val x 34
Allied aircraft
F4F-3 Wildcat x 22
F4F-4 Wildcat x 26
Japanese aircraft losses
A6M2 Zero: 7 destroyed
B5N2 Kate: 2 destroyed, 4 damaged
D3A1 Val: 3 destroyed, 8 damaged
Allied aircraft losses
F4F-3 Wildcat: 1 destroyed
F4F-4 Wildcat: 1 destroyed
Allied Ships
CV Wasp, Bomb hits 6, heavy fires
CV Yorktown
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 3
CV Hornet, Bomb hits 2, on fire
CV Saratoga, Bomb hits 3, heavy fires
BB California, Bomb hits 2
BB New Mexico
DD Sterett
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 12, on fire
DD Blue, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires.

Wasp struggles to contain the damage. Worse than anything else, two of the bombs hit the bridge taking out the ship’s commander. But the allied airplanes find the enemy carriers.












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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 119
RE: It is on! - 12/19/2011 4:05:34 PM   
kaleun

 

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Lunga gets into the fight too; 18 TBF Avengers and 14 P40-Es find the enemy task force. 14 torpedo bombers launch torpedoes at the enemy carriers but the inexperienced pilots all miss.
12 P40s escort 18 Dauntless in. The enemy flak scores 5 kills on the dive bombers but the allied aircraft score no hits. They only confirm that Yamato, Yamashior, Junyo and Hiyo are still on fire.
Lunga still attacks and 13 Dauntless and 6 Marauders find the enemy but faced with a CAP of 12 Zeros, they also fail to score.
In the afternoon, 17 unescorted Avengers fail to score but just as the exhausted Japanese fliers think they are safe, a second flight of torpedo bombers, 14 of them, sneak under the fighter cover and score 2 torpedo hits on Junyo.
The Japanese, stricken though they might be, are not taking all of this lying down. They assemble yet one more strike.
A6M2 Zero x 23
B5N2 Kate x 31
D3A1 Val x 29
Allied aircraft
P-40E Warhawk x 1
F4F-3 Wildcat x 12
F4F-4 Wildcat x 16
Japanese aircraft losses
A6M2 Zero: 5 destroyed
B5N2 Kate: 1 damaged
D3A1 Val: 8 damaged
Allied aircraft losses
F4F-3 Wildcat: 1 destroyed
F4F-4 Wildcat: 1 destroyed

Allied Ships
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 2
BB California, Bomb hits 1
CV Hornet, on fire
BB New Mexico, Bomb hits 3
CV Wasp, on fire
CV Saratoga, Bomb hits 3, heavy fires, heavy damage
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 7
DD MacDonough
CV Yorktown, Bomb hits 3, on fire, heavy damage.

But the American carrier aircraft also find their targets.
Japanese aircraft
A6M2 Zero x 4
Allied aircraft
F4F-3 Wildcat x 11
F4F-4 Wildcat x 14
SBD-3 Dauntless x 67
TBF-1 Avenger x 24
No Japanese losses
Allied aircraft losses
SBD-3 Dauntless: 7 damaged
Japanese Ships
CV Hiryu, Bomb hits 1
BB Yamashiro, Bomb hits 4, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires
CV Soryu, Bomb hits 4, heavy fires, heavy damage
BB Hiei, Bomb hits 2, on fire
CVL Shoho, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires
BB Yamato, Bomb hits 2, on fire
DD Akizuki, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Tawakaze
DD Hokaze

And then, it is over. Saratoga sinks taking the body of Admiral Halsey with her.
VADM Mitcher takes command and orders the task force south east, to Luganville.





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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 120
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