From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
28 Jun 43
Nothing to report.
The end at Shortlands Island. The Japanese rabble was pushed to the dot hex to the north. Among the rabble is the 5 Air Division HQ. Iím using flying boats (Mavis transports) to pull as much of that unit out as I can. Iíd like to use it elsewhere and donít want to go through the process of having it destroyed, waiting for it to come back as a reinforcement and then rebuilding it. Should I get it all out (whatís left actually), Iíll start on something else to save. Probably some infantry, but Iíll make that decision should the time come.
The supply TF dropped all its supply today! Rabaul is now up to slightly less than 20k supply in its coffers. Thatís great news! I can now use drop tanks and fly my fighters from Rabaul to Truk. I moved a couple units to Truk to either take on replacements aircraft or to upgrade, the single Oscar unit for replacements and a Tojo IIa to upgrade to the IIc. Iím tempted to upgrade the Oscars (IIb) but wonít for their range, in case I need to escort something in the future. Some people like the Oscar but they seem to be nothing but targets for me.
Anyway, the supply TF will head back to Truk and the CA TF will try to pop a small TF before heading back to Truk.
Right now, I can see 7 small Allied TFs within 6 hexes of Rabaul. They are all out of range of Allied air cover (unless itís LRCAP). I moved all of my available Betties (~60) to Rabaul and set them to naval attack with torpedoes at 6 hex range along with a couple of fighter units for escort. Letís see what happens. My primary goal is to have Ted pull the TFs back with a secondary goal of sinking things. I think Ted is eyeing Gasmata as the next invasion but he may be concerned about the defenses there. There are level 6 forts and a base force with CD guns along with a decent amount of infantry, mainly Naval Guards and SNLF.
Since I sank the Dutch sub between Palembang and Singapore earlier this month, the Allied subs in that area have disappeared. It might just be the all needed to refuel or rearm, but I think Ted realized that shallow hexes are detrimental to a subís health. Thatís very helpful in getting fuel and oil out of Palembang and cargo TFs out of Singapore.
Iím still moving forward with increasing my ASW assets in the area. Muntokís airfield reached level 1 and continues to grow pretty quickly. Eventually, Iíll bring in an IJA medium bomber sentai for ASW work, probably a Sally. Not sure if Iíll take it from Burma or buy one out from Kwantung yet. Iím also kicking around bringing in a 1E bomber training sentai, either an Ann or Mary. So, there are a few options to ponderÖ
About 50 of my bombers flew a night bombing attack against Akyab. Minor airfield damage was all they managed.
Another Chinese unit in the countryside took a beating.
The Ki-84a Frank R&D advanced to 12/43 (will become operational 8/43). There are 8 factories total with 1x55 and 3x30 and the others repairing at 27, 19, 11 and 3. Iím keeping my fingers crossed that the 27(3) factory will finish repairs soon to speed up R&D. When this model becomes operational, Iíll allow the 55 and 1x30 to become operational (and increase them both to 60) and have the remaining 6x30 work on accelerating the b then r models.
I got some good intel from Ted about the Essex. When he returned the turn where she got torpedoed, he said that by the time her repairs are complete, heíll have 2 new CVs. That tells me sheíll be in the yard for about a month. Seems like the Enterprise will be repaired about the same time. So, right now Ted has 5 pre-war carriers available along with at least 5 CVEs. Hereís where I think they are:
Yorktown Ė spotted 22 Jun 43. I'm pretty sure they're still at Milne Bay.
Saratoga Ė spotted 22 Jun 43. I'm pretty sure they're still at Milne Bay.
Enterprise Ė ate a Betty torpedo on 22 Jun 43, should be repaired by 1 Aug 43
5 CVEs Ė last seen ~20 Jun 43. I'm pretty sure they're still at Milne Bay.
Aleutians (could be just about anywhere now):
Hornet Ė spotted 27 Apr 43
Lexington Ė ate a 500kg bomb & 1 sub torpedo on 27 Apr 43, suspect sheís repaired now
7 hexes south of Pearl Harbor:
Essex Ė ate a sub torpedo on 26 Jun 43, should be repaired by 1 Aug
So, by 1 Aug, he should have 6x pre-war CVs, 3x Essex class and 5+ CVEs, say 870 aircraft capacity.
Right now I have the following available at Truk:
Akagi (36 F, 18J, 27T)
Kaga (36F, 18J, 18T)
Soryu (27F, 18V, 18T)
Ryujo (30F, 18T)
Shokaku (36F, 18V, 18T)
Zuikaku (36F, 18V, 18T)
Ryuho (9F, 18T) Ė 18F, 9T when she gets her air group + 3T from Unyu
Unyo (3T) Ė 9F, 18T when Ryuho gets her air group, 3T to Ryuho
In refit in the Home Islands (will be done by 1 Aug 43):
Junyo (27F, 18V, 9T)
Hiyo (27F, 18V, 9T)
Shoho (21F, 9T)
Zuiho (21F, 9T)
In addition, Iíll get 3x Amagiís hopefully in Oct 43. I accelerate them as I can, probably averaging 1-2 a day.
So, when the refits are complete, around 1 August, Iíll have ~687 aircraft capacity. My carrier aircraft supremacy days are pretty much over.
The Snapper was confirmed sunk off Truk on 5/1/43. So, some of those hundred alleged sub hits each day really are hitting something other than whales!
In a couple days, I get a nice selection of IJNAF units, all assigned to training groups:
An 18 & 27 slot fighter group. Definitely for training. Thatís 60 pilot capacity. Since I now train my pilots to 70 def, this is a big help. Plus, one of my current 27 plane fighter training units goes *poof* in a couple of weeks.
An 18 plane 1E TB unit. Definitely training since I like to train my naval torpedo bombers for naval bomb (68-70), naval torpedo (70+) and naval search (65+). It takes a long time to train them.
Two, 27 plane DB units. Iím thinking Kamikazes. I have only 1 IJNAF unit currently doing that and need more. The goal for Kamikazes is a minimum 40 exp, 60 low naval.
Two, 27 plane 2E TB units. More naval TB pilot training.
I have 4 more turns to report, but I will have to type them up...
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