From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
5 Jul 43
I spotted a supply/fuel convoy headed to Dutch Harbor and vectored 3 subs to intercept it. Two caught it sinking a couple of xAKs. Too bad they couldnít have hit the tankers (if there really were tankers in the TF).
Off Truk, the Kisaragi found the Rasher and hit her with a DC. Serves her right for sinking my little escort yesterday!
At Amchitka, I had an Ansyu PB on a fast transport mission dropping some supply. She found and hit the SS Blackfish with 2 DCs. No report of her sinking, but I canít see her anymore.
Nothing to report.
Ted knew I had a supply TF headed to Rabaul (see yesterdayís report) so he sent a bombardment fleet in to catch it (I suspect) and hit the base all in one shot. It was composed of 6 CA, 8 DD, 3 DMS. They did catch the fleet in port and sank it all (4 PB and 10 xAKL). I was concerned about the supply, not the ships. Turns out they dropped all the supply before being destroyed! Yay!
The US TF is still sitting in Rabaul harbor, low on ammo. I set my two Betty daitai (72 aircraft), sitting at Truk to naval attack out to their normal range of 17 hexes, exactly the distance to Rabaul. Each has 10% search on a narrow vector at Rabaul. If he decides to stick around another day, I hope the Betties launch. Theyíll have fighter cover and can possibly take out a few warships.
Oh yeah, immediately after my cargo TF was taken out, I heard a mine explosion. The DD Bache was shown as a loss to mines at Rabaul, but I donít think she sankÖ.yet.
Allied air target for today: Rabaul
There were a total of 11 separate attacks on Rabaul, 4 fighter sweeps (carrier based Hellcats and P-38Gs Ė 79 total sorties) and 7 bombing runs (97x 2E and 87x 4E sorties), all against 135 Japanese fighters.
When it was all said and done, I ended up losing 25 planes shot down, 10 KIA and 10 WIA (not bad overall). The Allies lost 11 fighters (all CV Hellcats), 13x 2E and 4x 4E bombers along with about a dozen op losses too, half Hellcats. The reason he did so well was that the first three attacks was from Hellcats, 13, 12 and 32 aircraft. That wore down and damaged the defenders so they werenít very effective against the bombers later. Damage to the airfield was significant: 0-66-96 (that was including the naval bombardment. Weíll see if he keeps it up. If not, Rabaul will be back in business in a few days.
My Nells dutifully recon bombed Timoeka, reporting the 4 Marine Raider Battalion to be present. Iím hitting it again tomorrow to see if something else shows up. I have the 16 Division hanging out as the SRA reserve, along with ships to move them. I may send them to visit and oust the Marines. There are plenty of powerful surface ships and aircraft in the area to support the visit.
My carriers did their job, which was nothing really. They sat, just in case some ships came west. None did. My BBs moved to within a few hexes of MeraukeÖand stopped. Really? Tanaka is their commander! Oddly enough, neither TF was spotted by the Allies! I see a small Allied TF a few hexes to the SW of Merauke and a decent sized supply/transport convoy 2 hexes to the east of Merauke and headed there. So, I changed plans a bit. I detached 4 DD from the surface TF to go after the small TF. The surface TF (4 BB, 4 CA, 1 CL, 8 DD) changed to a bombardment TF and is headed for Merauke. I hope to take out the convoy headed there, then bombard the base. Merauke has some 16-17k troops so I donít expect to ever take it back, but I want to keep him cautious here. Merauke is a very nice jump off base to invade the SRA.
The daily sweep of Akyab netted 11 Allied fighters shot down for no loss.
A Chinese corps was destroyed out in the middle of nowhere. A few days ago I surrounded Chungking except for the hex to the NW of the city.
I finally shut off Sally production for good. Not sure why I kept it going for so long. I think the Helen is better. Also, it frees up an airframe factory for other uses. In addition to the Sally factory, I have had the Mary factory off for a long time (engines used up). They are both available for future airframe needs.
Created by the amazing Dixie