March first, 1942
A good beginning
(koto flourish) – The briefing room in the Evil Naval Force Subsidiary Headquarters in Macassar – A nice drawing of the coast of South Java on the wall, complete with pine trees, rolling waves, snowcapped peaks, and a bridge with kimonos and umbrellas, hangs from the wall, under the ENF Motto “just botch it” (I know, this motto is a bit ridiculous, but it is also in latin, and nobody noticed because nobody took latin in school).
General Kato, former head of planning in Saigon, now demoted and transferred to forwards operations after an unsuccessful night attack on Singapore (it had happened on a new moon, an auspicious day, but pilots somehow got confused by the lack of moon, and missed their targets by a few hundred nauticals), steel-rimmed glasses, evil looking moustache, boots and horsewhip under his arm (the boots under his arm make him look a bit silly, but he’s in command, so you’d better not notice), addresses ship captains on the eve of Operation Blunder (historians believe the actual name of this operation was Thunder, but that the beginning of the message ordering it got QRN, or whatever they call bad transmission in your favourite milspeak, and that none of the officers who understood English dared oppose an imperial order).
You might wonder, gaijin, why an incompetent general is sent to forward operation headquarters. In evil empires like ours, gallantry, élan, and such values that send free world leaders to die in mess uniform and white gloves in front of their troops, are frowned upon. In such societies, the better your CO likes you, the further removed from the front you are.
- Right, gentlemen, enemy carriers have retired, our beach head on Java is secure, our fighters dominate the skies, Operation Blunder, the bombing of Surabaya can now commence. I expect every man to do his best, to do his duty to the country, and the Queen, and to obey the Regulations of the Task Force. Yes, Wasabi?
- But General, we have an emperor, here, not a queen
- Figure of speech, Wasabi, figure of speech, any other question, gentlemen?
- Isn’t the port mined, sir?
- Please, Kendo! We had the area recced, can you imagine the ENF would send a battleship, several cruisers and destroyers, into an enemy minefield, just for the sake of shooting at a few patrol boats? Dismissed, gentlemen.
(Kato writes something on his pad, Kendo blemishes)
Need I elaborate, dear reader? For some unfathomable reason, sending BB Kongo, CA Mogami and Kumano, and assorted DD and DMS, looked like a good idea yesterday night. I had not drunk, which means, old age is probably the only excuse I can find for myself.
Anyway, we found the minefield, two destroyers and two DMS are lost, the rest is barely floating, and will disband in Pamekasan, in the hope enemy bombers won’t notice them before they can get back into enough shape to cross the Java sea, and then limp back to yard. We did sink 3 PT boats and an AMc in return, though…
Embarrassing as this might be, it has little consequences on the war. Operations on Java and Sumatra are not compromised, all three capital ships will most certainly survive (but need quite a while in yard). But I now have a good number of ships that need repairs. Two light carriers, three battleship and a dozen cruisers have severe damage. I will use the three next months to get my navy back into shape. I don’t really need those ships now, anyway.
While looking at ships in need of yard time, I also checked crew experience on most of my ships. If I remember correctly, the manual says something about shakedown cruises. Basically, sailing should increase a crew’s experience. This does not seem to be the case with my convoy ships : most of them have sailed since day one, and still have the same (abominable) experience. In fact, it seems the only way to get experience is to get shot at. In which case, “training” ship crews seems a bit useless…
Any experience on this?
Little else happened today. We damaged a Dutch submarine that came too close to my unloading cargoes in Probolinggo. Mataram, in the DEI, was captured. I now hold most of the islands between Java and Timor. On Sumatra, Praboemoelih (the base south of Palembang) fell to a river crossing by the 38th ID. Two divisions are now marching on Oosthaven. Paratroops have been ordered on Benkoelen.
And a montly review
February 1942 was a good month for Japan.
In China, we captured all the area between Sian and Tienshui. We are now closing on Ankang and Kungchang, and have cleared the northern roads between Paotow, Lanchow and Kiuchuan. We also broke through near Ichang, and captured Changteh and Chihkiang, cutting Changsha from Chungking.
In the Philippines, Mindanao, Cebu and Leyte were captured, and all small islands occupied. The Allies only hold Bataan and Iloilo.
In the Indies, the most important feature was the fall of Singapore, on the seventeenth of February. This allowed an early reinforcement of Burma (now under way) and the quick capture of Palembang. We now have more than three divisions on Sumatra, against very light enemy resistance. The Celebes, Flores, Bali, were occupied, we now have a strong beach head in South Java.
The main setback was the destruction of mini-KB by US carriers. The best I can hope is that the damage done will prevent further action.
As a result, VP ratio progressed from 1.3:1 to 2.1:1. We now hold 490 bases, 68 captured this month.
Plane losses are 1000:1350 (300:400 this month), LCU total losses 400:6600 (120:3200 this month)
We lost 300 planes for 400 enemies, and 120 LCU points, for 3200 Allied.
The economy is steady. The capture of Palembang (undamaged) brought a huge increase in Imperial oil and fuel stocks, and production. Over the month, resource stocks went up from 9.3 to 9.6 million tons, oil stocks from 4.47 to 4.59 million tons, fuel stocks from 7.27 to 7.40 million tons. Only supplies went slightly down from 5.05 to 5.01 million tons. Fuel stocks are now stable. At current usage, fuel and oil reserve would be sufficient to feed the economy for 15 months. In reality, they would last much longer.
We are saving about 7000 HI points every day, and have accumulated about 550 000 HI points so far. Armaments and vehicle stocks are stable around 5000 and 1000. Plane production seems to be able to replace losses, but not to build pools up. We are build 550 frames per month right now, half of them fighters (Zeroes and Oscars in equal numbers). Research has started on the Helen II-a (30 factories repaired, 30 more soon) and will soon start on the A6M5 (Rufe factories repaired). Plane production should, and will, be increased in March.
The flow of supplies to Japan is still insufficient, even though the situation is much less critical than at the beginning of the war. We are almost fine on fuel (at current usage, stocks would last about 1000 days), but low on oil and resources (14 months and 8 months at current usage). Hokkaido convoys can be a little improved, but most of the effort must come from Korea.
What are our objectives for March?
In China, our north western column (a tank regiment, a division and a brigade) should take Jiuchuan, Ansi and Hami, and march on Urumchi. Around Sian, Ankang and Kungchang will be taken. We will probe Lanchow and Kienko. But the main action will be in central China. My objective is to consolidate our positions around Chihkiang, take Tuyun and Kweiyang, and isolate Sichuan.
In Burma, our reinforcements will be used to clear the north of the country, and prepare a defensive line. A small column will move on Lashio and Paoshan (probably empty since the divisions that begin the game there were seen in Mandalay. The goal is to prevent, or at least delay and complicate, the escape of KMT units to India.
In the DEI, we should complete the capture of Sumatra, and hold a large part of Java. In the south, we want to take Timor.
Finally, I need to do something about Port Moresby and the Solomons. I am not really interested in this area, but I don’t want my opponent to consolidate, or not too fast.
< Message edited by fcharton -- 6/23/2012 8:15:50 PM >