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RE: New surface battle at Koepang.

 
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RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/9/2012 8:13:46 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 1st 1943

If you thought Japan had gone on the defensive, think again. Though Japan is not perceived to be able to mount a real offensive anymore, that does not mean they are ready to move into a static defensive posture. The first dawn of the New Year revealed a small task force offshore the small base of Sorong, at the NW end of Papua. The ships unload eager Japanese invaders. Japan thus responds to the allied efforts at enlarging and garrisoning the bases along New Guinea’s northern coast. What the allied response will be, remains to be seen. No one expects the Allies to take this development lying down.






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Post #: 181
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/10/2012 9:18:29 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 2 1943

Over Rabaul, air battles continue as both sides struggle for dominance of the airspace. A flight of dive bombers attacks the ground forces and the Maizuru SNLF receives the brunt of it.

Near Macassar, 4 Hudsons and 4 B26 Marauders get lucky and score a hit on a cargo ship, the xAK Taihei Maru. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut in the forest from time to time.

At Sorong, the Japanese invasion force continues landing troops and supplies undeterred by the attacks of level bombers from Ceram. Something must be done, and something will be done.

Mitscher’s carrier force freshly repaired assembles at Sidney and prepares to sortie again. Speculation is rife about its destination. Most say it will spearhead an invasion of Sarong, others think the time is ripe for Kwajalein and the Marshalls to be attacked. There is even a third group that speculates with a raid against Rabaul. Time will tell.






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Post #: 182
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/14/2012 7:27:01 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 3rd 43

The allied response to the invasion of Sorong is delayed due only to the lack of resources at Darwin. Despite the war build up, Darwin remains a small port. It has been recently enlarged, like the airfield but it lacks a railway connection to Sidney or Perth. As a result, despite its position on the Australian mainland, it is also at the tail end of the allied logistical chain. A hastily assembled squadron, of the heaviest surface fighters available got sent to intercept the Japanese invasion force. An indication of how stretched the resources are may be deduced by the fact that the two heaviest ships are the CLAA San Juan and CL Nashville. DDs Monaghan, Allen, Schley, Stronghold and Electra form the rest of the squadron.

They approach Sorong during the night and sink the entire enemy force, cruiser mineslayers Itsukushima and Yaema, and xAP Kahone Maru.

Despite this victory, the 42 JNAF attacks and captures Sorong. The Sorong detachment flees East.








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Post #: 183
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/17/2012 7:20:27 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 4th 1943

At Koepang, the 19th Australian battalion begins to prepare to invade Sorong. The US Navy realizes the need for smaller, battalion sized forces, capable of fast raids to seize weakly held enemy bases. As a result, the 2nd and 3rd USMC Parachute battalions, as well as the 3rd Marine raider battalion are released to SWPAC command and service in the New Guinea area of operations.

Jan 5th 1943

A B26 Marauder scores a hit on xAK Tenryu Maru at Makassar.

Over Rabaul, a flight of 10 P40K Warhawks engages 44 A6M2 Zero fighters and destroys 8 of them at a cost of only one Warhawk lost.

Jan 6th.


SS Tarpon stalks an enemy convoy but is discovered by PB Kure Maru. In desperate straits, the American submarine launches 4 torpedoes against the approaching escort and one of them scores. As Tarpon evades, the second escort attempts to locate the submarine but fails.

B17s attack Rabaul airfield from 25 thousand feet. The results cannot be determined. Later in the day, seven P40Ks tangle with 8 Zeros at 29000 feet. 3 Zeros fall from the sky and one P40 doesn’t make it back.





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Post #: 184
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/21/2012 12:30:37 AM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 7th 1943

The skies over Rabaul have become exponentially more dangerous for American flyers. The new A6M3a Japanese fighter has appeared in the theater fighting alongside the older workhorse the A6GM2. Even so, B17F bombers continue to slowly pound the base’s airfield, only to have the damage repaired overnight by the busy Japanese engineers.

Jan 8th
The Royal Navy sent a transport task force to ferry supplies and men to the beleaguered garrison at Sabang. The men debarked fast; the supplies follow as fast as the men can unload them in the inadequate harbor facilities. Protecting this task force are three obsolete Royal Sovereign class battleships: Resolution, Ramillies and Royal Sovereign. Absolutely useless against any enemy capital ship, these stalwarts have been reduced to convoy escorts in waters too dangerous for a more valuable asset to be risked. However, the task force has been at Sabang long enough, the enemy can see them and it is only a matter of time before torpedo bombers attack the anchored battlewagons.

The decision is made to detach the old battleships and withdraw them to Colombo however, a last mission remains for them in this trip.

Even if old and slow, the ships carry heavy cannons and their holds are filled with unused high explosive ammunition. During the night, the naval rifles pound the enemy’s positions, in preparation for an early morning deliberate attack by the allied forces.

The allied soldiers attack the disorganized and disrupted Japanese and achieve 5:1 odds. The enemy retreats leaving Sabang to the Anglo/Dutch contingent.

The old battleships withdraw to the North West, their mission accomplished.






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Post #: 185
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/28/2012 9:05:36 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 9th 1943

Enough is enough. The allied efforts to suppress the airfield at Rabaul have been costly and unsuccessful. A daring operation is called for and the US Navy delivers. Under cover of darkness a task force including BBs Indiana, South Dakota and North Carolina, as well as heavy cruisers Minneapolis, SLC, Pensacola, Chester and Northampton approach the enemy base and pound it with heavy naval fire. The surprised enemy cannot respond the accurate heavy fire and by the time the task force withdraws, way before morning, the airfield burns as does the base. Seven zero fighters are reported destroyed but 38 are damaged enough that they won’t fly for a while.

No enemy fighters challenge the Wildcats sweeping the air in the morning, and no fighters rise to challenge the 12 B-17F that pound the airfield later in the day, or the 8 unescorted ones that arrive overhead in the evening. The P40Ks also sweep unchallenged the air over Rabaul.

In Noumea, the 3rd Marine Division boards an amphibious task force. It is time to get rid of Rabaul once and for all.


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Post #: 186
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/29/2012 6:10:25 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 10th 1943

23 B17s bomb Rabaul from 23000ft. No fighter opposition rises to meet them and they score hits on the port and airfield. Photography later reveals one fighter pulverized on the ground by the heavies’ bombs.

Jan 11th 1943

The third Marine Division leaves Espiritu Santo heading for Rabaul. In addition, in Milne Bay, the 37 Infantry Division loads as second wave and the 135th USA Base force as support.

Fighter sweeps over Rabaul fail to find opponents and the B17s, attacking at a lower altitude this time, 20000 ft, are also unopposed.

Jan 12th.

Schwebo in Burma now sports level 4 fortifications. In view of the Japanese offensive having ceased long time ago, further fortification construction is stopped as a waste of supplies. Gasmata airfield is now size 2 allowingdive bombers to operate from it.

An enemy task force of six ships was spotted E of Rabaul making for the base. Tentatively identified as destroyers, this may be a fast transport supply force, or perhaps an evacuation force. Dive bombers on Shortland have been ordered to attack in the morning.

Mitscher’s two carriers steam at full speed into the Solomon sea, although they might be too late to intercept the small enemy force.









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Post #: 187
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/30/2012 6:12:38 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 13 43

The enemy task force is identified just south east of Rabaul. As expected, it is a fast moving destroyer force, presumed to be ferrying supplies from Truk to the garrison. The first attack comes from Shortlands. 25 P-40K Warhawks escort 12 TBF-1 Avengers. Their gliding attack from 8000 feet misses all targets but the components of the TF are identified as DDs Uzuki, Yayoi, Yukaze, Sawakaze and Mutsuki.

A second attack, this time dive-bombers escorted by F4F and P40Ks from Gasmata and Shortlands also misses.

The carrier airplanes do not. Despite widespread thunderstorms in the area, 31 F4F, 41 Dauntless and 18 Avengers converge on the enemy task force. It is found to be much larger than previously reported. Kisagiri, Namikaze, Hayate, Asanagi, Nokaze, Kikuzuki, Yuzuki and Oite are also identified. The torpedo bombers release their fish and all torpedoes miss but, while evading the torpedoes, the destroyers cannot avoid the dive-bombers that score hits on Uzuki, Yayoi and Asanagi. The 1000 lb bombs penetrate the thin armor and cause havoc in the depths of the enemy. Asanagi sinks outright, heavily damaged Uzuki struggles towards harbor on fire while Yayoi and Kisaragi steam on, while burning fiercely.

12 Dauntlesses appear next, but miss their targets. Among the thunderstorms that dot the surface of the ocean they only find three destroyers, one of them, Kisaragi still on fire. This will be the last attack of the morning.

27 Dauntless, qith 11 P-40 and 16 F4Fs from Shortlands and Gasmata find the enemy in the afternoon. Only one of the bombers scores a hit on Yayoi but their position is confirmed for the next raid, the carrier airplanes. 41 dive bombers and 33 torpedo bombers arrive. It is a massacre.
DD Oite: One bomb hit (to add to the 2 prior ones) followed by a massive magazine explosion. Sinks.
DD Kisaragi, one torpedo finishes off the prior bomb. Sinks
DD Namikaze, two bombs find her deck and she is left foundering and on fire.
Sawakaze, one bomb followed by a massive explosion.
Uzuki one bomb adds its damage to the morning hit.
DD Yayoi, a torpedo puts her out of her misery and Nokaze sinks after a single torpedo hit.

In the evening Mitscher divides his task force in two. The surface combatants will proceed at full speed to Rabaul to engage the remnants of the destroyer force while the carriers and destroyer escorts will continue air attacks in the morning.
TF 57 with the 37th div and TF 69 with 3rd Marines are already en route to Rabaul. TF 78, North Carolina, SoDak and Indiana will provide bombardment support.






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Post #: 188
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 8/31/2012 10:40:41 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 14.

The allied surface combat force steams at full speed throughout the night. Led by heavy cruiser Vincennes, with three light cruisers, Dauntless, Detroit and Trenton, and three destroyers, Lardner, Barton and Woodworth, the allied task force detects the enemy at 17000 yards. They close upon the unsuspecting Japanese destroyers and open fire at 11000 yards. Vincennes scores two hits on Sawakaze; she lies dead in the water, settling. The heavy cruiser switches fire to Yukaze, just as CL Dauntless fires a spread of torpedoes at the destroyer. One of the fish hits DD Kikuzuki that sinks rapidly. The allied forces close the range and both Detroit and Dauntless fire again at Yukaze.

Mutsuki engages Dauntless in a hopeless action just as Lardner also opens fire on Yukaze. Now Vincennes and Barton also engage Yukaze, ignoring the efforts by Hayate and Yuzuki to distract them. Lardner opens fire and sinks Mutsuki with a torpedo before the Japanese destroyers begin to try to disengage. Yukaze finally sinks after 14 shell hits. Yuzuki, Hayate and Hokaze flee the scene. Mutsuki, Kikuzuki, Sawakaze and Yukaze are all lost. Not a single round found any of the allied hulls.

Weather prevented Mitsher’s carriers from launching their devastating attack. Two land based dive-bomber attacks find the enemy destroyers but only one of them scores two hits on DD Hayate. Late in the afternoon, a flight of 18 avengers finds the remaining two destroyers. Torpedo stores exhausted, the Avengers attack with 500 pound bombs. DD Yuzuki and Hokaze are the targets and receive 3 bombs apiece. The Japanese destroyer force, whatever its intention was, is no more.

Beyond the horizon, the invasion force approaches. The withdrawing Vincennes task force, running to rejoin the carriers crosses with the battleships steaming the other way.





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Post #: 189
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/3/2012 11:36:09 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 15th.

In Pearl Harbor, Nimitz meets with the brass. The US Navy is no longer fleeing from the Japanese. Even though it is still outnumbered in fleet carriers, it has proven that it can make a stand and, slowly, push the enemy back. Long range plans begin to be developed and decisions need to be made.

What to do about the Marshalls? No one likes to leave them in Japanese hands. Too easy to stage submarines out of Kwajalein or Maloelap even and harass the hyper-extended allied supply lines. Classical naval theory calls for the archipelago to be secured before further operations in the South West Pacific and the Philippines can be considered.

“That will take far too long!” General MacArthur rises to his feet, “What we need to do is to advance along the north coast of New Guinea, a spear head pointing directly at the Philippines.”

‘We cannot cover such an advance MacArthur,” Fletcher tries to explain, “the enemy carriers still outnumber us and they can stage out of Truk and Peleliu; your north flank will be wide open, and so will your troop and supply ships.”

“Then take Truk and Peleiu.”

Nimitz shakes his head, “Doug, we cannot take those two islands with just two carriers, not even when Victorious arrives in March.”

“What are you going to do then? Sit and wait until the new carriers arrive?”

“Perhaps there is another way.”

“We can develop the bases along the North shore of New Guinea, as well as the Admiralty island and Kavieng. Develop the airfields at Manus, Kavieng and Rabaul, once we capture it, and hit Truk with B17s until it is neutralized. Then, when we’ve got torpedo and dive bombers covering those bases, you could have an air corridor that would take you all the way to the Celebes and Mindanao.”

“That could work,” MacArthur sucks at his corncob pipe, “that is acceptable.”

Before the meeting is dismissed, an orderly enters and hands Admiral Nimitz a message.

“Gentlemen,” he says, “the invasion of Rabaul has begun. Five battleships, Missouri, Idaho, California, Colorado and Maryland began the preliminary bombardment before dawn and the 73rd infantry Division began landing this morning without waiting for the marines. The enemy attacked the invasion fleet with G4M1 Betty bombers from Truk and sunk one of the transports.

In addition, a second battleship force pounded Rabaul including Indiana, South Dakota, and North Carolina.”

A Cheer goes round the table.

“Also, a smaller force has invaded Sorong at the tip of New Guinea. We shall take the Japanese out of there before they get too comfortable.





_____________________________

Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 190
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/6/2012 11:25:29 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 16th 1943

TO: COMSUBPAC
FROM: SS Guardfish.
Have attacked and hit with two torpedoes Kaga class carrier 60 nm southeast Truk. Kaga steamed with 2 light cruisers and heavy destroyer escort.

The position of the enemy carrier, plotted in the map suggests a sortie to intercept the Rabaul invasion force. Two torpedoes, probably not enough to sink the carrier, after all, it was originally designed as a battleship, enough however to send it back to Truk. Or so the allied brass hopes.

The news from Sorong is not good. A task force including two battleships, Kongo and Haruna, and three heavy cruisers, Takao, Atago and Furutaka, and assorted destroyers approached the invasion force. The covering force, though outnumbered and outgunned tried to intercept and allow the invasion transports to escape. CL Nashville took 13 impacts and remained on fire and heavily damaged. DD Monaghan, Allen, Stronghold and Electra were all damaged too. CLAA San Juan managed to escape with only one shell impact.

A second force led by Kirishima, CA Myoko CL Jintsu and Yuro and 7 destroyers tore into the invasion force. The results are a disaster for the transports and their escorts:
DD Ward, Shell hits 21, and is sunk
DD Tenedos, Shell hits 14, and is sunk
CM Keokuk, Shell hits 2, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AP Wharton, Shell hits 24, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AP Zeilin, Shell hits 4, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
AP J. Franklin Bell, Shell hits 14, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AP Heywood, Shell hits 12, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AP George F. Elliot, Shell hits 16, and is sunk
AP Fuller, Shell hits 14, and is sunk
AP McCawley, Shell hits 27, and is sunk
AP Barnett, Shell hits 5, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
PC Zeeman, Shell hits 4, and is sunk.

The only mitigating factor being that all the troops had unloaded already.

In Rabaul, the invasion force comes under attack by torpedo carrying Betties. xAP Diomed and Khandalla are hit but again, most of the combat forces had already debarked.

A large carrier force attacks the survivors from the covering force. 25 Val dive bombers attack CLAA San Juan and DD Monaghan. They score a hit on Monaghan at a cost of 2 dive bombers destroyed and 8 damaged. A second group of 48 B5N2 Kate bombers with 31 A6M2 escorts attacks DD Schley and Electra, but all the torpedoes miss.

Later in the day, the 37th Infantry Division and a section of the 3rd Marine Division launch a deliberate attack in Rabaul. The entrenched Japanese 19th and 87th Guards suffer 755 casualties at a cost of 267.

In Sorong, despite bombardment by the Japanese battlewagons, the 19th Australian Batallion, 2/9th Field Regiment and 5th Marine defense battalion attack the 42nd JNAF engineer unit and recapture the base.

Mitscher puts into Milne Bay for fuel and ammo although no torpedoes are to be had and the battleships also cannot reload their heavy shells.

Tension grips the Rabaul invaders, what will Kaga do? How about the Sorong carrier force, will it steam at full speed east and engage the Rabaul invaders before they can unload the 3rd marine?




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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 #: 191
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/22/2012 2:11:56 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 17 43
Complications
.

While invasion support operations continue at Rabaul, twin engine bombers from Truk attack the landing ships with varying degrees of success. Carrying torpedoes, the enemy bombers hit AP Kota Bahru with two fish.

The allied forces rush into the Bismarck Sea. The enemy threat against the area must be honored; unfortunately, the allied forces are not coordinated and the task forces have to rush piecemeal into the fray without the benefit of mutual support. Fortunately the enemy attack is also not well coordinated.

Near Manus, the surface task force led by North Carolina finds 8 Kate bombers and 3 D3A1 Vals. 20 Zero fighters escort the bombers. Flak destroys 3 and damages 4 but North Carolina takes two torpedo hits and 1 bomb hit. Indiana escapes unscathed.

The 3rd Marine Division and the 37th Infantry Division launch a shock attack that results in reduction of the enemy fortifications and an estimated 1700 enemy casualties at a cost of 700 allied.

At Sorong the enemy 42 JNAF unit is wiped out. The base is deemed secure.

Two enemy task forces are approaching the Admirals. One is clearly a carrier force, of a strength yet undetermined. The second one’s purpose and strength are undetermined.

Against these forces, North Carolina and Indiana await south west of Manus, their location well known to the Japanese carriers. To the South East, a second surface force approaches and, still in the Solomon Sea but steaming at full speed are Mitschner’s two carriers. Will they be enough?





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Post #: 192
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/23/2012 6:21:57 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 18 43

A dauntless on search north west of Manus locates the enemy carrier task force. Mitscher sends off his attack and, following it he launches a heavy CAP. Good thing that he did it since soon after an enemy strike comes in. 8 Kate and 6 Vals come in escorted by 22 zero fighters. 32 F4Fs on CAP tear into the enemy aircraft. Only 2 dive bombers and 2 torpedo bombers get through the fighter cover and launch their eggs and fish at CV Hornet. The carrier evades both bombs and torpedoes and escapes unscathed. 3 Zeros, 4 Kate and 2 Val bombers were destroyed by the Wildcats. One Dal was blown to pieces by the carrier’s flak batteries before it could drop. Only 3 F4F-4s were lost in the action.

Next the radio crackles with static and with the report that Mitscher’s strike has found the carriers. 32 F4Fs escort 53 SBD-3. Only 16 enemy fighters made it to the air and only one F4F and one SBD-3 are lost to the enemy fighters. The results come fast and furious:
CVE Chuyo, Bomb hits 6, on fire.
CV Kaga, Bomb hits 7, heavy fires. The old carrier shrugged off the two torpedoes that hit it off Truk and came to meet its doom off Manus.
CVL Ryuho, Bomb hits 4, heavy fires.
CVE Taiyo, Bomb hits 4, heavy fires.
CVE Unyo undamaged.
CL Naka, undamaged.
DD Tanikaze, undamaged.

The strike turns for home, the pilots elated by the results as 4 columns of dark oily smoke rise to the sky on the horizon behind them.

At Manus, a small enemy invasion force is seen landing troops. An air strike is called on the enemy transports and 6 B25C attack at 8000 feet. xAK Terushima Maru and xAKL Toyotu Maru come under attack but the army pilots, inexperienced in naval attack miss.

12 Betty bombers locate and attack BB Miss, Id, and Md, near Rambutyo, near Rabaul. Armed with torpedoes, the Betties face murderous flak that destroys three of them and damages 5 but they manage to score one hit on Maryland.

A second attack arrives over the allied carriers, however this time it is a weak yet heroic showing by the Japanese. 5 Zero and 4 Val bombers are met by 20 F4F fighters. The results are a foregone conclusion.

Mitscher launched a second attack against the remaining Japanese carriers. 18 F4Fs escort 50 Dauntless dive bombers. The Japanese manage to scramble only 3 Zero fighters.
CVE Unyo, bomb hits 3, heavu fires. CVL Ryuho, bomb hits 2, CVE Taiyo heavy fires, DD Natsushio Bomb hits 1, DD Murasame Bomb hits 1.
A third, smaller raid arrives over the ravaged Japanese task force. Only 15 SBD-3s arrive with a massive escort of 28 F4F-4. They find a single, forlorn Zero that falls to the 50 cal fire of the Wildcats. CVE Taiyo is on fire and the dive bombers ignore her. CVL Ryuho however takes two more bomb hits.

3 Betties appear over Rambutyo, but this time it is different. 5 fighters diverted from the carrier force and 2 Betties will not make it back to Rabaul.

Off Manus, the enemy landing force, oblivious to the carrier disaster, bores in. 270 coastal guns fire at the enemy ships. xAKL Katsura Maru takes 4 hits, xAK Tatuharu receives 2 and xAKL Toyotsu Maru one.

In Rabaul, a new shock attack reduces the enemy fortifications to zero.
A transport task force with reinforcements approaches Manus from the south. Skippers all over the task force hear the news and breathe easier. Enemy submarines might still pose a threat but the enemy naval air is no longer a factor. Overhead, a token fighter force, now spared from CAP protects the allied transports as the sun dives into the western horizon.





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Post #: 193
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/26/2012 10:40:35 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 19th

Free from the threat of Japanese naval airpower, BBs Indiana and SoDak with a gaggle of heavy cruisers advance on Manus and pound the 66th Infantry group that landed on the base. Missisipi, Idaho, California and Colorado follow suit during the day. Enemy naval forces appear to be retreating towards Truk. Mitscher considers sending his carriers in pursuit but the report of a transport torpedoed by G4M Betties out of the Japanese island bastion sends him on his way back to Milne Bay. There is no way he would risk his only two carriers against LBA.

Even so, he manages one attack on a transport task force near Manus, 25 Dauntless and a token escort of 7 Wildcats pounce on xAK Katsura Maru and PG Takuna Maru #7, remnants of the invasion force creeping back north. A single 1000Lb bomb apiece consigns both vessels to the deep.

In Manus and Rabaul, allied forces attack the enemy with good results.

In Pearl Harbor, Adm Halsey, Nimitz and the top brass meet with a naval intelligence officer. The objective of the meeting is an attempt to determine exactly how many carriers the enemy has available.

“After counting their losses, we believe they have CV Shokaku and Zuikaku, although one of these two might have been sunk or heavily damaged,” the captain says looking at his papers. “CV Junyo and Hiyo are unaccounted for and not assumed to be in the immediate region although they might be in Manila. CVL Zuiho and Shoho are also assumed to be in Manila. That brings us to 4 fleet carriers and 2 light carriers at this time.”

“Thank you captain, dismissed.”

The admirals look at each other, “CV Victorious is expected to arrive on Feb 13th,” Nimitz says, “The Essex class will begin to arrive in April or so. By August we shall have two carrier task forces: Mitscher’s Wasp, Hornet and Victorious, and the fast carrier Essex force. Halsey, you will command the Essex force.”
Halsey nods, “Aye.”
Nimitz continues: “We will invade the Marshalls as soon as the Essex carriers are ready, that will give their new crews some experience and might even draw the enemy out, we’ll let Mitscher operate around New Guinea and Darwin until then, that will keep Yamamoto guessing and Doug out of our hair.”

“And then?” Nimitz asks.

“Truk, Peleliu and the Philippines.”





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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 #: 194
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 9/27/2012 7:21:45 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 20th 43

Long distance reconnaissance detects three carriers N of New Guinea and West of Truk. The Catalina could not spot them but based on intel estimates they are thought to be Zuikaku, Shokaku and Hosho, arriving late to the party. Mitscher receives these news and orders his carriers back to Milne Bay.

“No torpedoes, low fuel, low ammo, I am not engaging a superior force like this.”

He gets no argument from his tired pilots.

It’s time to quit while you are ahead.

Back in Pearl the replacement schedule shows Essex arriving in June with Bunker Hill and Lexington 2 in July and Yorktown 2 on August 1st. The light carriers Princeton, Belleau Wood and Independence will also arrive prior to August. Three fleet and three light carriers for Halsey’s Carrier Force II.

For once, there is no hurry. Transport, troops, fuel and supplies have almost 6 months to come together.





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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 #: 195
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 10/18/2012 12:27:47 AM   
kaleun

 

Posts: 4753
Joined: 5/29/2002
From: Colorado
Status: offline
Jan 21 43
Enemy Betty bombers from Truk continue harassing allied shipping at Rabaul. xAP Iron Crown sinks from a single torpedo hit.

At Manus, allied forces launch a deliberate attack at 25:1 odds against the abandoned Japanese soldiers. 241 enemy casualties estimated at no allied cost.

Jan 22 43
Allied attacks at Manus and Rabaul achieve good results against an enemy that continues to resist.

Meanwhile in Sumatra a daring flanking operation seeks to advance the allied cause. An amphibious occupation of the island of Sinabang is planned to provide air support to the forces creeping down the Sumatran coast.






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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 #: 196
RE: New surface battle at Koepang. - 11/12/2012 12:54:34 AM   
kaleun

 

Posts: 4753
Joined: 5/29/2002
From: Colorado
Status: offline
Jan 22 1943.
Once again, enemy Betty bombers attack shipping at Rabaul. 22 of the bombers launch torpedoes at xAK Idomeneus, CL Raleigh and Marblehead. Fortunately they all miss and 9 Betty are damaged by flak.
Allied command decides to set a trap for the impudent enemy bombers: 8th FG/35sq flies to Gasmata with the new P38e fighters and will fly LRCAP over Rabaul.

Jan 23 43.
The 23rd Marine Regiment boards TF 21 bound for Manus to replace the garrison there and also to allow the 1st Marine Paratroop battalion to begin prepping for Kavieng. The plan is to seize Kavieng via an airborne attack.
The trap is sprung! 20 Betty bombers arrive over Rabaul; 9 P38E and 4 P40K fighters on LRCAP pounce on the unescorted and overconfident bombers. To the defending Japanese’s dismay the sky fills with the sight of burning twin engine bombers as 12 Betty bombers draw fiery streaks on the sky and crash in fiery fireballs on the ground. No allied airplanes are lost.




_____________________________

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

(in reply to kaleun)
Post #: 197
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