January 16, 1942
The Hardest Working Task Force in Show Business!
Another slow turn and the next is in my in-box, so . . .
1) Today we see serendipity as well as another "odd" use for little babes of the sea. Sometimes you set out to do something bad, but good things happen.
Over the first six weeks of the war the PT forces have been, well, abused. Sent to sea from Hong Kong without fuel to reach the PI, multiple suicide missions north to face cruisers, bait for port attacks--these guys have earned their sea pay. A final indignity was lumping PTs, Q-boats, and MTBs from several nations into one mutt task force at Bataan. That base had a little fuel, but no torpedo reloads. In fact, only one boat had any weapons. The rest had to wave dirty skivvies at the enemy and shout insults in French.
Finally, with bombing at Bataan reaching epic proportions, the local HQ decided to not give away the VPs and devised one last indignity. The PTs would proceed to Cebu, where only a splash of fuel was available, then weave their way west, past Jolo (100 fuel on hand), to Tandjoengselor on Borneo's east coast for a full drink. South there were multiple IJN task forces inbound for Balikpapan, with known carriers. Balikpapan was the next and last source of PT fuel before a (probably) futile try for Soerbaja. "But", the PT CO thinks, "at least I can make them waste main battery ammo on me, lower CD responses, and maybe, just maybe, get the idiots to ram each other." Gotta keep earning that sea pay after all.
So, that's what the PTs do. After language barriers between the USN and RN are ironed out they leave on their last run south. And become the single best intel source the Allies have had to date.
AFTER ACTION REPORTS FOR Jan 16, 42
Night Time Surface Combat, near Tandjoengselor at 68,93, Range 2,000 Yards
"Ah, cruisers! Protecting what?"
Day Time Surface Combat, near Balikpapan at 66,97, Range 23,000 Yards
"Ah, carriers! Interesting mix. And, notably, CVL Zuiho is missing. That torpedo must have done some good things. We press on . . ."
Day Time Surface Combat, near Balikpapan at 65,98, Range 20,000 Yards
xAK Seian Maru
xAK Igasa Maru
xAK Kiyozumi Maru
"There it is! Medium landing force, medium supplies, must think Balikpapan is a knock-over." (It is.) "But is that all there is? Don't know, but there's Balikpapan entrance buoy. Time for some gas."
The Hardest Working, ladies and germs! They'll be here all night. Tip your coastal gunner!
2) Balikpapan is the center of the war today. Japan puts a brigade ashore, but not without lumps.
TF 103 encounters mine field at Balikpapan (64,97)
DD Shikinami, Mine hits 1, heavy damage
3 mines cleared
I've gotten more milage out of mines so far in this game than all my AI games put together.
3) Spearfish finds another landing TF and gets the worst of it. But this indicates Japan is coming for Balikpapan in force and needs it fast.
ASW attack near Balikpapan at 64,97
xAP Hakozaki Maru
xAP Hikawa Maru
SS Spearfish, hits 6
4) Balikpapan is hit hard by LBA on the base, and hard from the MKB on the base forces. The light carriers are still flying Claudes. Don't know if this is typical in Scen. 2. But I've got nothing to fight them with, so it doesn't matter here. Balikpapan launches two small naval attacks which lose planes and get no hits.
5) In the actual landings CD is moderately effective, and fairly high Japanese surf losses are recorded. But the amphib bonus still works, and a big chunk of nasty gets ashore. Balikpapan has sent a fair bit of the garrison to Soerbaja since it is essentially indefensible in this era. The air forces will evac tomorrow, and the base will fall to the first good hit applied. This base is the red line in the march south in the DEI. The Allies will stand at Soerbaja. There is a light surface TF there, but the PTs' work has shown far too stiff an opposition to throiw them in now. When Soerbaja's time comes it might be necessary for Force Z to emerge, but right now is no time to throw away a CL and five DDs for nothing.
Pre-Invasion action off Balikpapan (64,97)
38 Coastal gun shots fired in defense.
xAP Hakozaki Maru
DD Shikinami, heavy damage (mine ouchie!)
xAP Hikawa Maru, Shell hits 2
Japanese ground losses:
25 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 2 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Amphibious Assault at Balikpapan (64,97)
TF 103 troops unloading over beach at Balikpapan, 64,97
Japanese ground losses:
225 casualties reported
Squads: 15 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Allied bombardment shows the landing force to be 65th Bde.
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 12/13/2012 5:40:55 PM >