From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
23 May 42
The I-3 is down to 71 flot damage and one hex from Kwajalein. Hopefully sheíll make it.
The DMS Zane is still hanging out at Wotje. Thatís odd. Wonder what Tedís up to. My Nell daitai refuses to attack her, which is normal for one ship TFs. The 6x Fubukis are 9 hexes out so they should engage her if sheís still around next turn. If thatís the case, she will make a nice addition to the reef at Wotje.
Another one ship TF is heading toward this area, just a bit further south though. Itís showing up as a DM. Weíll see shortly.
Iíve been using Wuchow as a base for target practice for some of my bombers in China for most of the war. I finally attacked and took the base. Losses were 5211(276) Chinese to 657(1) Japanese in the 3:1 attack. The infrastructure was relatively intact at Manpower 1(1), Resources 55(5) and LI 55(5). Iíll set the resources to repair but wonít attempt to draw supply there. If it repairs, great, but if not, no big deal. Thatís another 1650 supply per month for the Chinese theater for Japan and a reduction of 1800 supply per month for the Chinese. Not bad!
Tedís B-17s arrived over Milne Bay again today. The damage to the base had been reduced to 23 service damage. Well, itís back up to ~50 each for service and airfield damage, but it wasnít without cost on both sides. Two Zeros were shot down with an additional one destroyed on the ground, but 3x B-17s were shot down with another crashing on the way home. I lost one pilot. Iíll take it even though my IJNAF fighter pilot situation is serious. Iíll discuss it below.
I currently have 27 IJNAF fighter pilots in the pool, and they are all at 70+ experience. Iím reserving all IJNAF fighter pilots with 70+ experience for KB replacements. The land based Zero units only get the 50 experience replacements. Iím only getting a handful of them a month out of the on map training units, so all of the land based Zero units are understrength (except one in Burma).
Ideally, as I get the 50 experience pilots released into the reserve, I can get the land based Zero units to full strength. Then Iíll begin to swap out the 70+ exp pilots with extra 50+ exp pilots in the pool to increase the KB reserve. Also note that KBís fighter daitai increase in strength in July. I donít have the numbers in front of me right now, but I know I donít have enough pilots to fill out the increases right now. I need to pull the Zeros out of combat where possible and replace them with Oscar sentai. Iím not sure I can do much more of that though. I have 1x Oscar sentai and 2x Oscar chutai guarding Palembang and Java as well as 1x Oscar chutai in Pt. Blair. Theyíre training up pilots for the most part. I may move them into Burma and pull the two Zero daitai out. I am considering using one in Pt. Blair and the second as a training unit in Singapore. That would allow me to strip about 20 pilots out of the training daitai for the KB reserve (and to flesh out other daitai). I could also convert the training unit to Claudes to increase my Zero pool. There is a risk with this though. Should Ted decide to go after Pt. Blair in an air campaign, I would have only one Zero daitai to defend it. I wouldnít have a backup to swap out when needed. Right now Iím willing to take that chance because Tedís air force in Burma is pretty beat up.
Here is my current force of Zeros in the frontline:
21 Air Flotilla Ė Burma/Pt. Blair Ė 2x 27 plane daitai
22 Air Flotilla Ė Southern SRA/Australia Ė 1x 27 plane daitai
23 Air Flotilla Ė SE Fleet Ė 2x 27 plane daitai and 4x 9 plane chutai
24 Air Flotilla Ė 4 Fleet Ė 1x 31 plane daitai (the 9 plane chutai assigned to 4 fleet is currently serving on Taiyo with MKB).
Other Other Stuff
There has been a lot of discussion of which ships to accelerate and when to accelerate them over the years. Iím of the school to accelerate a ship between 10x and 3x itís durability in days. That way, the ship gains 2 days per day for the cost of its durability. (Note that between 10x and 3x, under normal, there is no cost in ship points.
That being said (and my intent is not to start up that discussion), I am currently accelerating CVs, DDs and some TKs but this discussion is on naval ships (and not merchant ships). I have shut off all transport subs. At this point, I donít see much benefit to them, although I reserve the right to start them up later. Right now I am accelerating 6x CVs and 6x DDs, all that are within the 10x-3x time frame. That is using exactly all of my naval shipbuilding points. I get a sub in a few days, which will increase my available naval ship points by 33 per day. Here comes the dilemma. I can either save those points for a rainy day or spend them on 1-2 DDs that are nearing completion. I have only 18 points in the pool so I may build up the pool to 2-300 before working on those DDs. Iím not sure what getting some DDs a couple weeks early will gain. Gotta think about that some more. Your advice is welcome, as always.
Future ship reinforcements
Iím getting a CVE and a string of xAPs shortly. That will put me in the green with merchant ship points. Iíll continue to build them up for the future. Note that I have 8x 11,600 capacity TKs accelerating right now. I also have >32k merchant ship points in the pool.
Next Phase of the War
With the SRA liberated and frantically building forts everywhere, what is the next step? Ted is content to hide his fleet and build for when he feels heís ready to take me on. Iím also content with that. Let me discuss by region what is going on and what my future plans are.
A couple of general comments:
- I am building forts at all bases that I feel Ted can use to level 6 (thatís the goal anyway).
I have Adak (and all points west) and Dutch Harbor. Both have (relatively) significant defensive forces but Iíll eventually withdraw most of them. Just speed bumps really. I want to keep this area until early to mid-43 if possible. My major threat in the area is a force of 9 subs to harass Ted, mainly around Kodiak.
I also have a surface fleet of 3 CLs and 13 Minekaze DDs residing at Ominato. They are just sitting in port rusting so Iíll eventually reassign them. The Minekazes will most likely become ASW escorts for short range merchant missions. Their endurance is only 2500, the lowest of any DDs.
So far, Ted is content to building up the area around Kodiak. Heís not doing anything at all offensive. I have a sub enroute to drop off a load of mines at Kodiak.
I have no offensive missions from here against any enemy bases, nor are there any currently planned. Iím content to build up forts.
The only naval units here are 15x subs with more scheduled to arrive from the new builds in the pipeline. Five of the subs are the midget carrying subs. Iíve only tried a few midget attacks, all unsuccessfully so far. If I need surface naval vessels, they are temporarily drawn from Truk.
Iím still attempting to find Tedís refueling base, but I may have found it. Weíll see. If thatís the case, Iíll allocate either 3 or 6 subs to that area. The rest move about looking for game. Iíve had the most success off the US west coast.
Iíve finally mined Wake and may mine other bases in this region too, but weíll see. There arenít a lot of mines and there are a lot of bases Iíd like to mine. The SRA has priority for mines.
This is a thorn in my side, with Tedís ownership of Pt. Moresby. Iím trying to bleed him of his fighters here (and in Burma). Iíve moved the 5 Air Division here, to support the 23 Air Flotilla. The two Oscar sentai are doing stellar work over Pt. Moresby. The two Sally sentai are flying night missions over Pt. Moresby. They donít do much but occasionally kill a fighter on the ground, which is more than they would do if the fighters were in the air opposing them. There are several light bomber sentai in the area as well. One can be upgraded to Sallies (without the 75 pp cost) and the rest will eventually become ASW units.
In addition to the 90 Zeros (when at full strength), there are 81 Betties, which occasionally fly naval attack missions. I suspect theyíll get more chances for glory in the coming months.
Naval forces permanently stationed here include 3 CAs, 3 CLs, 18 DDs (Fubukis), 11 fleet subs and 7 Ro class subs. These forces augment the 4 Fleet as necessary and can be reinforced by KB, MKB and/or the Battle Fleet as necessary.
I own the Solomons as well as all of PNG (except for Pt. Moresby and Merauke (in the SRA theater)). I have no intention of expanding any more here. I am building a large nest of airfields to keep enough open at any time to be a threat to Tedís incursions.
I still want to take Pt. Moresby but I doubt that will happen. He has an estimated 40k troops there. Thatís crazy. I am toying with the idea of taking the NE corner of Australia. It would not be an invasion though. I have 2x divisions (plus other miscellaneous forces) in North Central Australia. In addition, I have the 14 Army just hanging out without a mission. This army is composed of 16 and 48 Divisions and 56 Brigade, along with 2x tank regiments and quite a bit of artillery. I may transfer them to Australia and let them go rampaging around the NE corner. My goal would be to force Ted to relocate his B-17s farther south, out of normal range of Milne Bay (and all my other air bases in the region). That would cause him some heartache at Pt. Moresby. I can afford Oscars (and IJA fighter pilots) more than he can afford his P-40s and Kittyhawks.
Before I do that, I must take Merauke, discussed below.
Ted is withdrawing from northern Australia and made no attempt to hold it this game. At some point heíll come back with a vengeance, but I have no idea when that will be. I hope to have the Southern SRA well defended by then and have my frontline fighter be upgraded to the Tojo IIa, Oscar IIa and the Zero M3a at least.
I already discussed what Iím considering with the 14 Army above.
The defenders of Australia are already arriving. Theyíre nothing more than Naval Guard units and SNLF companies.
So far, Ted is doing nothing to defend Australia. I think he hopes I will move to the center of the country and get myself cut off. No such luck.
I intend to take Merauke but I want to whittle down the enemy sub force a bit first. When MKB recently moved in for a little visit, a couple of subs arrived within a day. I moved some DDs to counter them, but they vanished again. Iím planning on sending MKB in once more to sweep Merauke and draw out the subs. This time Iíll have the DDs ready and waiting. Weíll see what happens this timeÖ.
The SRA is entirely mine. I have my convoy routes set up and am efficiently moving stuff out. Itís not moving fast enough though. In June, Iíll begin conversion of the Std-C class xAKs to TKs. Once that is complete in late June, Iíll be able to move stuff faster and clean out the bases that have too much fuel/oil, including Palembang, Medang and Singapore.
Defenses are not yet set, but Iím working on it:
25 Army Ė 1x Division Ė Malaya
16 Army Ė 2x Divisions Ė Java & Sumatra
14 Army Ė 2x Divisions & 1x Brigade Ė Southern SRA (after Australia)
Southern Army Ė 3 or 4 Divisions Ė SRA interior & reserve
Well, not entirely mine I guess. Merauke is still in Ted's hands. I'll take it, but it'll cost merchant ships which I guess I can afford. The thing that is slowing me down is his subs. I flinch a bit when I see them. Nightmares of Hiryu....
Currently, Akyab is cut off with ~40k troops. I have 18 Division and 1x infantry regiment, along with 4x AT battalions assigned to occupation duty. Iím content to let them starve.
I have 3x infantry divisions that are in the Imphal hex, with the rest of the invasion force within a few miles of reaching that hex. Weíll see what happens.
In addition, I have a tank regiment in the hex just to the west of Ledo, cutting off the rail line. There is an Allied division in the hex, but I donít think itís strong enough to push me out. Iíll decide what to do here as the Imphal invasion unfolds.
A convoy just arrived in port with elements of the 1 and 2 Tank Divisions along with a bunch of supply. The remainder of the divisions arrive as reinforcements in about a month or so in Manchuoko. Iíve been stocking PPs (1741 currently) and will buy them out when they arrive. Then, off to Burma theyíll go. They will become my mobile reserve there.
I currently have more air units than I can effectively use, due to the slow build-up of airfields. I finally realized my mistake. I have 3x engineer regiments still in Palembang. Two of them will head to Burma within the next few days. Thatíll help get my airfields built up more quickly. Another load of supply is going to be sent from Japan as well (100k hopefully). Itíll take a while to get there, but when it does, it should help with the chronic supply problems that plague this theater.
Ted has an estimated 40-50 fighters here. If I can get a significant number over Imphal for an extended period of time, I can force him to withdraw the RAF and have my way with his army. The only ďsafe havensĒ for his air force are Chittagong and Imphal. Neither is really very safe. Chittagong gets regular visits from my BBs and CAs and Iíve significant forces at Imphal. I think itís only a matter of time.
With the successful conclusion of the Imphal attack, I will consider clearing out the nest of bases around Imphal. After that, Iíll have to think about it.
I have succeeded in taking both Loyang and Sian for their oil. Loyangís 90 oil is intact but Sianís 20 oil was damaged. I can live with that. Now I need to calculate how much fuel & resources I need to keep the HI & LI running in China/Manchuoko/Korea. I know I have plenty of resources but I want to know what fuel I need and if the 120 refineries will be enough to fuel it. Also, I want to know how much excess oil I have so I can allocate some of the Std-C TKs to moving the excess to Japan. Iím eyeing that base way up north that has some 50 oil. That would be outstanding. I have a small force working its way up there, but itíll take a while.
My two large armies (victor of Sian and the army that destroyed the last of the surrounded units are moving toward other objectives in central China. My goal here is to take the rail line, mainly for interior lines to respond to Chinese armies in the later years. Eventually, Iíd like to take a few divisions out of China for use elsewhere.
All Iím doing here is to build up the bases for late war. The entire Kwantung Air Force is training. They produce a lot of pilots for the real war. My goal is to build every base to level 6 forts. I have pulled out a couple of divisions and 10x heavy artillery units (that I used to very good effect at Sian). In addition, Iíll pull out the remainder of 2x tank divisions when they arrive in a month or so and some engineers. Not sure what else Iíll pull out or when.
Not much going on here other than building up forts and certain ports and air bases.
I havenít seen anything larger than a DD in months. Ted is using this time to train, convert and build up his navy. Iíll see them eventually. I suspect theyíll appear in late 42. Note that he began getting Avengers this month. Heíll have his carrier TB squadrons fully replaced by next month or so.
Created by the amazing Dixie