ORIGINAL: USS America
Welp, its 1/3/44 and I now have five divisions ashore on New Caledonia and have secured Noumea. Repairing and stocking supplies there while my troops begin the slog north to La Foa and then Koumac.
The carrier battle was hectic, but I won it. He came with his Death Star, and unlike last time, all my flight decks were in one hex. He sank the Nassau by air attack, and I had to scuttle the Blue Ridge after she ate several bombs. The Kitkun Bay was badly damaged by air attack and unfortunately sunk by submarine whilst trying to reach Sydney.
The Idaho and a few smaller vessels are on the way back to CONUS for repairs after heavy damage, while the Langley is tied up at Suva for necessary repairs after a submarine torpedo hit her on the same day my task forces left Fiji. She stood her watch in the line through the whole battle, though.
On his side, I have confirmed a CA, 2 CL, a couple of DDs, and 15 SS sunk in the last two weeks. I know I landed bomb strikes on at least 5 of his flat tops, and left all five of them burning, but no sinkings confirmed.
The most important bit was the air battle. He's accelerated his aircraft to field A6M8, D4Y4 and B6N2, but my pilots don't seem to be scared of them any more. During my first strike against his carriers, he fielded nearly 200 A6Ms on the CAP. On the last one, it was around 30. His dive bombers and torpedo planes were equally savaged (but to be fair, my CAGs didn't look too good either). I can replace my losses, though.
My newest Hellcat squadron (on the Intrepid) went from 0 to 128 kills in three days.
I think, and hope, that this broke the qualitative edge of the Kido Butai. I think the decisive carrier battle will come in late summer, early fall. That'll be when I attack Saipan/Tinian/Guam to secure B-29 bases. Until then, more shenanigans in the South, and the loooooooooooooooong overdue reconquest of Ceylon.
Well done, T!
You forced him to fight on your terms, and it looks like you will have surely dulled the edge of his sword, if it didn't quite break in half yet. His pilot losses will likely be harder to replace than his planes, but there are a finite number of ships available to the penguin forces. Keep on sinking them! Might it be worth trying to pursue his naval forces to see if you can bag a few more or finish off a flattop or two?
Couldn't. My CAG's were savaged. Spruance's flagship Bunker Hill had 20 F6F, 2 SB2C and 1 TBM. And she was symptomatic of the rest of them.
But I was quite happy with the result. On the day before the carrier battle, Kido Butai was hit by LBAs from Luganville, Efate, Tanna and Suva. Took away some of his fighters, landed a few bomb hits and even got in a 75mm hit or two from strafing B-25Hs.
Last turn, I marched four divisions with heavy engineer, armour and artillery support up to his line at La Foa. He has about 14000 Penguins there, that were evicted from Noumea. Shouldn't take long.
I think he's trying to reinforce Koumac, but I have ships, subs and air enroute to interdict. There's about 50000 IJ there at the moment.
We are all dreams of the Giant Space Butterfly.