May 1st 1943
I feel sorry about this AAR. Work has been very demanding lately, and various hobbies are using a lot of my free time. The war still rages on, but we’re down to four turns per week, three of them played real fast, motivation is low, and I lack the time to write the AAR.
I do realize there are lots of thing a serious JFB should do in 1943, and I think I am beginning to get a pretty good notion of what should be done while waiting for the long noses to invade. I need to move small detachment to dot bases, to prevent them from falling from autocapture (this forces the enemy to invade, and takes time, for very little cost). I also need to move air support and flak to the front. The old 24/48 SP per airfield is no longer enough in 1943, and I have quite a few flak units which do make a (small) difference. I need to take a better look at ship upgrades : this is the time when I get a lot of new devices, radar, ASW stuff, and the enemy navy has not yet reached its late war efficiency. And most importantly, I’m falling behind in pilot training. Spence obviously has a number of very good pilots in some of his frontline squadrons, while mine are mostly in TRACOM, and this is making a lot of difference.
I do realize all this, but each of those important actions is hundreds of clicks away, and use way too much time. I have said it before, my wish for WITP 2 is not a better model for this or that, or more detail, or better history, I just want a better user interface, which keeps the complexity as it is, but eliminate the ridiculous clicking, and all the shifting between the game and Tracker.
Just for the record, I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t need rewriting the engine. Basically, what is needed is some form of improved Tracker (without the database clutter and Java that need so much memory), which can not only view the content of a turn, but also edit and save modifications.
But anyway, I’m going on with this game. I’m not the best player around, and I’m not fighting at the best of my ability, but I won’t give the Allies an easy victory either. And I’ll know a lot of things if I ever play PBEM again (I doubt it, I think my next game will be against the AI).
Most of the action is happening in the air. Loss ratios are climbing as the allies get better planes and pilots and probably a lot more support, but his pools are not improving: in April, we shot down 500 allied planes, for 700 ours. From the numbers shot down, he must be low on P38, Spitfires and Hurricanes, and I am destroying more B24D than he produces.
Hellcats, the new kid on the block for April, were nowhere to be seen. He must have 120 of them by now. Allied fleet carriers were nowhere to be seen in April, and have reappeared around the Solomons a few days ago, obviously looking for battle.
He won’t have any. Most of KB in is Japan for upgrades, the rest moved to the Celebes, in the hope of catching enemy CVE which had been detected there, and were ready to support the next invasion.
And it worked… A week ago, enemy CVE sporting Corsairs and just a few bombers were parked in Babar, and trashed my bombers and fighters, while his invasion forces disembarked. Undetected, a lightweight KB moved in, and attacked unopposed.
Afternoon Air attack on TF, near Babar at 76,117
Weather in hex: Light cloud
Raid detected at 105 NM, estimated altitude 14,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 39 minutes
A6M5 Zero x 62
B5N2 Kate x 35
D3A1 Val x 38
D3A2 Val x 12
F4F-4 Wildcat x 70
F4U-1 Corsair x 13
Japanese aircraft losses
A6M5 Zero: 14 destroyed
B5N2 Kate: 8 destroyed, 5 damaged
B5N2 Kate: 2 destroyed by flak
D3A1 Val: 1 destroyed, 6 damaged
D3A1 Val: 1 destroyed by flak
D3A2 Val: 2 destroyed, 2 damaged
Allied aircraft losses
F4F-4 Wildcat: 6 destroyed
CVE Suwannee, Bomb hits 7, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL Columbia, Torpedo hits 1
CVE Chenango, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
CVE Sangamon, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
CLAA San Juan, Torpedo hits 1
DD Stuart, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
It was costly. I lost 65 carrier planes in the process, and since I didn’t know where enemy fleet carriers were, KB retired north, towards the Philippines. The Suwanee was lost, but my VP total went up by more than three hundred, so there is a good chance that at least another escort carrier sank. The next day, CLAA San Juan, CL Columbia and DD Stuart appeared in the sunk list.
This is the second time in a row I get an unopposed strike at enemy carriers. The last time, we damaged the Wasp, this time we sank a CVE or three. The next day, enemy fleet carriers reappeared in the Solomons. Spence is obviously looking for revenge, but I’m definitely not coming to his party. There is no point risking a trade in a CV battle right now.
Babar was the only invasion this month. Dili and Lautem are next, obviously, and I have not spent enough time reinforcing them, which is too bad. In Burma, the front is stable.
So, that was April 1943 for me. I can’t really complain, I only lost one base, sank one or two carriers, and shot down 500 planes, while not spending too much time on the game.
65 Carrier planes lost? That isn't expensive Francois! You can easily rebuild them and train up the pilots. These are the kind of "easy" victories that Japan should always look forward to. The allies will get hundreds of CVEs, but every little bit counts. These defeats may force him to keep all his CVEs togheder and to back them up with the CVs, thus limiting the operations they can develop at the same time