April 8 - 9, 1943
Brad is launching his first counter offensives...and he's hitting hard!
On the night of the 8th April, 2 strong allied SAG, supported by 2 8-PTs TFs, managed to penetrate unseen my early detection system and arrived at Lautem bay (Timor), sinking 2 CMs (we have already run short of CMs all over the map) and bombed Lautem base, destroying 20 planes on the ground and badly damaging the air strip. These two TFs were composed by modern Cleveland Class CLs and by British CAs, supported by fletcher DDs... we didn't have our usual DD TF in place cause we sent it back to refuel at Kendari...
The following day (8th April) 100 4Es, escorted by 50 P-38s, smashed the base. Our CAP was in bad condition cause most of our fighters were damaged during the night. Nonetheless we destroyed 18 enemies, losing 10 planes in A2A combat, plus more 15 on the ground.
On the 9th several empty barges TFs appeared at Selroe and Saumlaki, along with 2 PT TFs...i hate these useless TFs that create only chaos!
However, today Brad wanted to put an end to Lautem: 32 Corsairs came sweeping, followed by 30 P-38s. We did fight well against the corsairs, killing 8 of them, but when the P-38s arrived my situation was already too desperate and the morale of my fighter pilots too low... the day ended with 22 planes lost in A2A against 10 of his own (only 6 pilots killed thou, not bad!). The 4Es followed and smashed again my base which is now closed. My fighters have been moved to Dili but i need to rotate my groups cause the morale is really too low to fight now.
We have clearly seen that something was up at Ndeni and Lungaville...several fighters and bombers groups appeared in the last week, along with an encreasing number of ships at Ndeni and Lungaville... today we had the confirmation: enemy barges (or LST, don't know for sure) unloaded troops at Karaikira, while 60 4Es attacked Lunga, unopposed. So he's up a compaign in the Solomons...
At Araroe something is still happening. He's reconning heavily Tarawa and the 110 fighters remain CAPping at Araroe, along with several ships...
So, how should i reply to these movements? Well, untill his CVs pops up again, i won't go unbalancing. The plan remain the same: create and fortify the key areas. If he wants to advance in the Solomons...well, he's welcome to try it... it takes months to advance with frog leaps there and we're already in April 1943...it's a long way to Tokyo. Same for Tabiutea: does he want to make frog leaps there? He's more than welcome. Tarawa and Makin are two fortresses and soon Kusiae and Ponape will be too. After Tabiutea he will need months of heavy bombing campaigns and he will have to risk some major amphib landings...and the clock is running fast.
He's also up to something in Burma: he's bombing campaign against Mytikina continues but he's moving troops. From Akyab area he's extracting at least 2 armoured units and so from Kalemyo... repositioning... i'll have to keep an eye on these movements.
At Christmas Is. his bombings stopped and now i have a working strip once again, with 42 fighters defending the base. good.
In China our 3 tank divisions are marching to Shangai for being extracted from the theatre and sent to the DEI, while the tank regiments will be sent to the pacific.
The fightings for shrinking his central perimeter continue... we're obtaining good odds in our attacks but it takes forever to force those corps to surrender!