From: Lone Star Nation
January 2, 1943
Convoy escorts DC Flying Fish near Shortlands as the CD unit convoy withdraws. Better yet, escorts of a big convoy bearing 18th Division to Singers for Whirlwind get a penetrating hit and two fuel hits on S-39. Sub sinking sounds later in the turn appear to confirm a kill.
Our subs confirm that the big enemy convoy sighted at Perth is still heading West and thus probably is not an invasion force.
BA by Japanese forces to test the waters shows raw AS of 626 to 99. We've been disappointed that weather has prevented bombing runs the last few days, so tomorrow we order a max effort by five different air groups. Then we will try a DA to evaluate combat power. We have also ordered a Rufe group to fly CAP over Tulagi to test whether CF is air evac'ing the Marines. So far he has not made any detectable moves to rescue or reinforce his troops here.
An interesting revelation comes from a milk run by IJAAF bombers against the big enemy armored stack near Daly Waters - no flak bursts! CF must be out of supply here. Hmmm.
The rest of the enemy troops arrive in the same hex as the 7th Division and the Allied army is spotted moving toward the empty hex between Magwe and Mandalay. Here we go.
We are constantly bombing Chungking's airfield to hit supply. Same thing at Tsuyung. Finally, we are daily picking off a few planes from the large KMT air force trapped at Kweiyang.
Cribtop HQ is considering resuming the offensive against Kweiyang, or alternatively pushing a force between Kweiyang and the three "Burma Road" bases. Intention would be to cut the Chungking plain off from life-giving supplies once Burma falls to the Allies. We already have an armored car unit moving to block the main road at a key choke point, but could do more. It took some months for the army that captured Changsha to recover disablements, but we are ready now to use these forces.
Status of Operation Whirlwind
We have five divisions that will land at Singapore over the next three days. They will join three divisions already in place. This army constitutes the main force assigned to Whirlwind, and contains several very elite units with EXP in the 90s. In addition, a big base force is waiting at Rangoon to support air cover, and we will probably throw in one or two smaller IJAAF base forces to allow flexibility as we advance. 17th Army HQ will lead the effort.
Plenty of air assets are in place in Burma, with a further reserve at Bangkok. We have six elite Tojo groups and a group of Oscars for long range escort. Bombers include five Helen IIa groups and some Lily IIs that will soon convert to Helens. Their job is to hound the Allied advance into Burma. The IJNAF brings a 45 plane Zero Hikotai, a 36 plane Betty Hikotai and a 36 plane G3M3 Nell Hikotai. These assets blanket the Bay of Bengal with Nav Search and torpedo attack capabilities, but have been kept on restricted ranges to avoid showing themselves to date. Torpedo enabled bases include Port Blair, Rangoon and Prome. Additional Zeros and Nells could be brought into the fray if needed from Southern Army.
The fleet is nearing full readiness, with the last SYS damage projected to be cleared in 3 days. MKB (8 CV, 3 CVL, 2 BB, 4 CA and hordes of DDs) is ready and will be divided into three TFs as is standard. Indes Fleet (2 BB, 4 CA, and DDs) is already fresh and prepared. This force will probably be split into two separate SCTFs. The Fleet Oilers are available, as will be several 4 DD ASW TFs. If the battle lasts long enough, a powerful SCTF centered around Yamato and Mushashi will arrive as reinforcements.
The invasion force will consist of an initial force of two infantry divisions to eat the disruption of a contested landing at Cox's Bazaar and capture the lightly held base. Then a follow on force of 4 infantry divisions, 2 armored divisions and support troops will land. Landings will be covered initially by MKB fighters and quickly supplemented by a 42 plane Tojo group. The army will secure the beachhead and then march on the major enemy airfield at Dacca before turning inland. The TFs will contain up to 75K tons of supply to ensure we are in good shape (we could bring 100K if needed). Cribtop Intel expects to capture significant Allied supply dumps built up in Assam to support the enemy's Burma offensive, but we are not counting on it.
The final phase of the plan involves dropping 1st and 2nd Raiding regiments at two undefended dot bases to cut the rail line connecting Assam to the rest of India. This will occur on D-Day.
This is a BIG Op. Much could go wrong, but we are comforted by the fact we have CV superiority by virtue of the Torres Islands. Cribtop Intel is intrigued that we recently picked up simultaneous SigInt from Colombo, Trivandrum and Karachi. If CF has something in the works we may get an old fashioned ambush by MKB in before the landings. To watch this sector, we will deploy search planes, pickets and a horde of subs in the western Bay of Bengal.
Plan A is to seize everything all the way to Ledo. This will totally cut off Allied armies in Burma and leave CF in a pickle in both Burma and China. If successful, we will hope to crush a desperation effort by the Allied navies to break through.
Plan B is to divert down the coast road, seize Akyab, isolate the enemy army currently locked up with 15th Army forces in the Arakan, and threaten the flank and rear of the Allied advance on Rangoon, using naval control of the Bay of Bengal to provide a safe LoC. Plan B will only be enacted if the enemy has enough "stuff" left in India to threaten to stalemate or cut off 17th Army. It is, in effect, a failsafe we hope to avoid.
All this probably launches five days from today, maybe six. D-Day is estimated for about the 20th of January, give or take. Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!
< Message edited by Cribtop -- 10/19/2012 10:14:50 PM >