From: La Salle, Colorado
December 13-16, 1941
A crazy and rough four turns have been played by Lew and I through the weekend. If ever there was a doubt as to him temporizing his aggressiveness, it has been laid to rest over these turns. His opponent--ME--should have expected this better and been more prepared for it. I knew he might be willing to bet the house to slow down the initial tide and, in a couple of places, I've made him pay for it but he has blooded the Kaigun around Rabaul in a NASTY fashion!
The Attu, Adak, and Umnal Invasion Forces are moving. Adak and Attu will have an escort of 7 older DDs to protect them.
CarDIv5 is headed for the Marshalls to refuel and then move on to the Coral Sea.
The Midway Invasion Force is now about 50% of the way there and has been rejoined by reprovisioned 2 CA to provide gun support for the landing.
CarDiv2 refuels and victuals at Kwajalein and is now 2/3 of the way to the Solomons: 70% CAP to protect these tender decks.
LONG ENTRY here!
We left off with the Lexington being spotted East of Tulagi, a STF heading into PM, the Rabaul IF was twiddling its thumbs near Manus, and BBs Mutsu and Nagato arriving at Truk.
The PM Strike Force sinks CL Adelaide
Allied Cruisers are everywhere!
---CA Canberra and CL Perth intercept and destroy a convoy near Rambutyo of 1 AK and 4 AKL carrying two small BF Coy. Hmmm... Already bought them back out and they will be at Tokyo within a couple of weeks.
---CLs Ajax and Achilles sink a pair of AKL off of Shortlands
---CL Leander sinks a pair of AKL at Manus
Form-up the BBs (2 BB and 4 DD) to bombard Rabaul
CarDiv2 departs Kwajalein for the Tulagi Area
TF Spotted at PM so I redirect the TF that just left there to hit it again.
Nagato and Mutsu PLASTER Rabaul in an excellent bombardment.
DAY PHASE: The BBs (with little main gun ammo left) encounter 4 CA, 3 CL, and 3 DD one hex NW of Rabaul. The battle takes forever and, at first, I am celebrating my 16" guns vs. the Allied 8" and 6" rifles. This celebration rapidly turns to concern as I watch shell after shall slamming into Mutsu (occasionally Nagato). The 4 DD are not enough to protect the BBs and a Torp slams into Mutsu's side. The fight lasts an incredible 21 Gunnery Rounds with 2 CA, 2 CL, and 1 DD badly damaged on the Allied side. Mutsu takes--GET THIS--66 6"/8" hits! CRAP! Well...we hope the BBs can make it back to Rabaul.
NO! Lexington moves in South of Gasmata and launches strikes during the day:
---Mutsu takes 2 1000lb bombs and another Torp and a DD is hit twice with bombs
---My PM Force has Kako and Furutaka each take a bomb. CL Yubari gets 2.
End of the day: Mutsu Sinks, lose 1 DD, and I have two CAs racing for their lives to get home.
In a stroke of GOOD luck, CA Furutaka, CL Abukuma, and DD Mutsuki stumble into the Lex's TF during the night. Furutaka hits Lex with 2 8" Shells and Mutsuki hits here with a Torp. NICE! Furutaka pays for it as she is hit 13 8" shells from Lexington and her 2 CA protectors.
Lexington retreats towards Luganville but is not damaged enough to NOT fly strikes: Kako is finished in the morning and Furutaka--Yubari are sunk in the afternoon.
LORDY! OK. PLAN: Lex is hurt and cannot make full speed. Next Turn CarDiv2 enters the waters NW of Lunga and may be close enough to hit Lex from long range. We'll see about that. If I can sink Lexington without anymore losses then I will consider it worthwhile for this bloodbath to have happened. If I cannot or we run into Enterprise then things are gonna be BAD. We'll have to see...
TF are moving to take out Timor. Land at Lautem on the 15th and take it on the 16th. A TF will land at Dili tomorrow and another will land at Koepang on or about the 18th. This side of the DEI looks pretty good at the moment.
My 2 CVE are south of Timor and moving into a blocking position SE of Soerabaja.
BB Ise and Hyuga bombard Darwin on the 16th and sink an AVP while doing that.
My 5 CV/CVL link-up on the 13th and go to work East of Soerabaja hitting the Port and moving towards Batavia while gradually moving into a position to Cover the Palembang IF. Over the 4 turns these ships LAY WASTE!
Soerabaja is smashed by 49 Zero and 84 Kate. These planes sink 4 AMc and SS KVII while damaging 3 TK, an AVP, an AR, 2 AK, and 3 AKL.
Shipping at Sea is targeted and 2 AP, 2 AKL, 1 TK, 1 AVD, and DD Parrott get sunk. About 8-10 more ships are hit.
KB is now NW of Batavia and ready to Cover the Palembang TF approaching from the NE.
As hoped the Allies throw everything at the CVs so it can be SMASHED and they do not attack the graver threat of the Invasion Force. Four strikes are flown against the KB and over 70 Zeros flying CAP make good work of them. Nearly 70 planes are shotdown or destroyed by AA (22 Fighters, 18 PBY, L-212, 139WH-3, Blenheim, and a few Vildebreest are among the destroyed). Coupled with the losses from the fall of Singkawang and Ambon and one sees the Allied air threat starting to drop. There are still A-24, Swordfish, and more Vildebreest to account for but this is pretty solid work. I imagine that these planes will be seen when I land at Palembang on the 17th.
KB Strikes: CL Java, 3 DD, 1 CM, 1 AG, 2 AVP, 3 TK, 1 AD, 1 AMc, and 1 DM are sunk during the course of 4 Strikes launched by the TF.
Two small strikes are flown against the KB and they are easily brushed aside.
Air Strikes: CL De Ruyter, DD Pope, 6 AP, and 5 AKL are sunk with another 10-12 damaged during the day.
The Palembang IF is three hexes from its destination on the 16th. I've got two CV's worth of Zeros flying LR CAP to protect the Landing Force. Four CAs are embedded in the TF to provide plenty of support during the landing. Have an Air Flotilla and large Naval LF about 2 days behind this landing force to get the AF up and running ASAP.
Talk about a tale of two regions. Get my crap handed to me near Rabaul and dish it out around Java. NUTS! CarDiv1 will not be able to stay much longer due to sorties dropping below 200 on each CV. Figure two days and then it is time to head for the barn.
The Imperial Guards and 18th ID are all formed up and they are leaving Singora. Will have another ID formed up and on the move on the 17th or 18th.
Move planes into Kota Bharu while troops move out from there towards the center of the Peninsula.
Will land at Kuantan on the 18th and Mersing directly after that.
The 55th ID is leaving Pisanlouke and heading for Moulmein while an Inf Reg and TK Reg are moving up from the south.
The 65th Brigade takes Legaspi (14th) and destroys a small Philippine unit stationed there.
San Fernando falls on the 15th to the 48th ID
2nd Inf Div will be completely unloaded on the 17th and it will join the assault.
The base is attacked and Forts are dropped to ZERO. Base should fall tomorrow opening up the 38th ID for nex operations.
Japanese units enter Changsha on the 15th. Not sure if 4 ID and support units is enough but we shall try it. Have 2 ID and 2 Brigades on the way to strengthen this attack.
Have other units moving to attack the bases on the Central Plains.
I-158 sinks AP Hong Kheng near Koggala
I-166 sinks CM Willem v d Zan near Soerabaja
I-157 sinks AKL Agnes near Columbo
Ro-65 hits AO Bishopdale at Port Moresby
I-155 hits a mine at Palembang
I-157 hits AK Indira Cochin near Konggala
Ro-64 hits AP Mildura near Port Moresby
I've decided the first ID that will be bought out of Manchuria will be the 14th. It is set to prepare for Port Kembla and to confuse the Allies, I set 5 other Inf Div all to prepare for other likely Invasion Targets in India and Ceylon. Should serve to confuse Lew if sees this.
Nasty four turns in and around Rabaul! I got hasty and let Lew's boldness severally cost me ships. STUPID. Lesson relearned and I will not make it again. If I can sink Lexington then all is better and we'll see what happens after that.
The combining of the 5 CV/CVL north of Java has made a powerful unit that can raid with impunity right now. They have done quite well.
Total Ships Losses December 13-16, 1941
Japanese: BB Mutsu, CAs Kako and Furutaka, CL Yubari, 2 DD, 1 AK, 1 AMC, and 8 AKL
Allies: CLs Adelaide, De Ruyter, and Java, 5 DD, 1 SS, 5 AMc, 8 AP, 2 CM, 1 AG, 3 AVP, 8 AKL, 1 AVD, 4 TK, 1 AD, 1 DM
< Message edited by John 3rd -- 1/23/2012 7:38:35 PM >