From: Lone Star Nation
March 3, 1943
Still hunting the ill-fated SCTF near Perth, I-4 sinks DD Case today. I-173 misses DD Balch in the same hex. Cribtop Intel believes this task force consisted of ships damaged at Exmouth that were making for larger shipyards to finish repairs. Thus, add a CA, a CL and 2 DDs to the haul from that victory! The damaged condition of the DDs no doubt slowed them up enough for our subs to register these hits.
I-2 is DC'd by two RN DDs near Trivandrum, hit multiple times and forced to surface. She gets a penetrating hit on DD Thracian before being sunk in a hail of gunfire.
O-16 enters the Boela hex (note that CF is doing this a lot lately). The shallow waters allow a PB convoy escort to score a penetrating hit on the sub.
Tarawa makes forts 5.
Vaitupu, which is empty, is reconned by the Allies for the first time today. We may send subs and a CLTF down here to try to catch CF if he goes for this base.
P-38s and B-24s hit the port at Milne Bay today. CF probably is reacting to SigInt here as we just routed a supply ship to the base yesterday.
The Allies bomb the airfield at Cox's Bazaar today. I suspect the Bazaar will be closed for some time!
The UK 2nd Division arrives in hex 76, 107 to find an IJA brigade, the RTA Cav Division, and two arty units. This hex is important because it protects the right flank of Taung Gyi (1 hex to the West) and because the trail to Thailand's "back door" branches off from here. We are moving troops to reinforce Taung Gyi, which will in turn allow more troops to enter this hex. Another response is that 1/3rd of the RTA infantry division trapped in the Chinese mountains has been marching quietly on an empty Bhamo in the enemy rear and will arrive to take the base tomorrow. Strictly a harassment move, but fun.
Cribtop Intel continues to monitor the status of CV Enterprise. She is still on the sunk list as we approach five months after the Battle of the Torres Islands. Is the Big E really sunk? Is that why she wasn't present at Exmouth? Who knows, but another month or so on the sunk list and we may start to believe.
This musing caused me to play around with the sunk ships lists to compare losses generally. Let me tell you, that was not a pretty sight from the Allied perspective. Horrific USN and RN losses for little in return by the IJN, particularly in the areas of CVs, BBs, CAs and assault shipping.