February 18, 1942
Operation NEUMAN: Phase 1
Operation NEUMAN is designed to strike Johnson Island's naval defenders hard with objectives to 1) sink precious IJN capital ships; 2) damage IJN capital ships with a view to driving them away and opening the base to multi-dimensional assault, thus lowering operational pressure around the Hawaiian islands; 3) damage or sink support ships and any combat ships disbanded or repairing there, particularly submarines; and 4) distract attention away from the Singapore-Palembang theater.
In preparation for NEUMAN, recon was increased the past four days from a steady-state level present since December. Best evaluation of the base showed between 4-6 BBs, and 0-2 CAs. Normal FOW upgrades capital ship sightings to BBs more often than downgades to CAs, so the higher number of BBs was considered more likely. Some ASW assets have been seen. An AS has been seen. Up to two docked subs have been intermittently seen. And many xAK and TK hulls have been observed. However, medium d/l levels have consistently showed an AF Level 1. Last recon showed one fighter unit, one smaller bomber unit of some kind, and 18 auxiliaries. In the past these have been Mavises, so long-range air search capability was assumed.
The structure of NEUMAN is driven by several factors. 1) Distance from Pearl, coupled with speed differentials between USN cruiser force and USN BB force. Cruisers can make 32 knots. BBs can make 21. 2) No AKE has been seen at Johnson I. 3) The nearest ship repair of any import is Truk. USN ships can fall back to Pearl with much less sinking risk. 4) IJN damage control is poor, and BBs are vlulnerable to fire. Ships smaller than BBs can start fires. 5) The KB has not been seen in weeks. The location of one MKB is known for sure. Scores of USN submarines have patrolled--in all directions--west of Johnson all the way to Kwajalein for weeks. No sightings by carrier A/C have occurred. However, the chance of CVs being in response range was a risk factor considered, especially given the "odd" practice of hanging multiple BBs out on the edge of Japanese controlled water with very limited air cover.
Based on these realities and assumptions NEUMAN is structured in three phases, only two of which will likely occur.
Phase 1 (today):
1) Large CA/CL/DD force proceeds on a dogleg course north and then SW to Johnson I. Objective is to arrive in daylight to avoid early-war Japanese night fighting advantage. All cruisers in force have been in stationary TFs at Pearl for much of last two months increasing crew experience. The objective of this force is to shoulder the BB onslaght, to empy BB main battery magazines, and to do whatever damage they can, mostly start fires. After any engagement they will withdraw.
At that point, depending on results, Japan may extract naval forces from Johnson, as airborne search will no doubt see Phase 2 coming. If they do, Phase 2 will reprogram to Bombardment and attack the airfield. In an optional Phase 3, the healthy survivors of Phase 1, if any, will form a new surface/bombardment TF (based on Phase 2 ships' observations), turn around, and re-attack/bombard Johnson.
2) Phase 2, tomorrow. The BB force consisting of five BBs plus DDs will approach at Full speed and attack any remaining capital ships. Assumptions are they will be low or out of main gun ammo and will be somewhat damaged, primarily system damage. A 2:1 trade of BBs would be an acceptable loss budget. If Phase 2 BBs do not find BBs they will opportunistically attack/bombard, and withdraw.
3) Air cover: 80% of available fighters at Pearl, with all available drop tanks, are on LRCAP at 80/20. Half cover the cruisers, half the BBs. Range extends on average less than half way to Johnson I. Both TFs will be uncovered during their attack actions.
1) Phase 1. The cruiser force finds and engages a 5-BB IJN force consisting of mostly older BBs, plus DDs. The replay takes over 20 minutes. Waves of torpedoes are employed; none hit.
Day Time Surface Combat, near Johnston Island at 164,112, Range 26,000 Yards
Allied aircraft losses
SOC-1 Seagull: 2 destroyed
BB Kirishima, Shell hits 2
BB Nagato, Shell hits 5
BB Mutsu, Shell hits 18, heavy fires
BB Fuso, Shell hits 5
BB Yamashiro, Shell hits 5
DD Yugure, Shell hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
CA Portland, Shell hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
CA Salt Lake City
CA New Orleans, Shell hits 2, on fire
CA Astoria, Shell hits 3, on fire
CA San Francisco, Shell hits 14, and is sunk
CL Trenton, Shell hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL Concord, Shell hits 1
CL St. Louis, Shell hits 6, on fire
CL Helena, Shell hits 2, on fire
DD Mustin, Shell hits 1, and is sunk
DD Walke, Shell hits 4, on fire
CL Trenton sinks during the withdrawl. CA New Orleans fllooded magazines during late action.
Of hits on BB Mutsu about ten are 8in. CA main battery. One penetrated, most of the rest were superstructure and tower armor strikes. Heavy fires observed. DD Yugure will sink. In later phases of action only BB Kirishima observed still firing main battery. Evaluation of this action is positive. Losses acceptable.
During the withdrawl two unsuccessful small Zero/Betty attacks are made. Three Bettys in each case. One attack on cruisers, one on BB Colorado, approaching at six hexes. The Phase 2 force is therefore sighted.
Phase 2, unless the turn shows significant new information, will procede on naval attack orders.
2) In other news . . .
SS KXII goes into Singkawang harbor, misses the xAK unloading, and suffers three penetrating hits. Doubtful she will survive.
3) Night bombing of Djambi air field by 12 B-26s in severe storms. All but three become lost on the way to target. At 5000ft. the remainder score one runway hit and no other damage. During the day B-17s record 1 more Oil damage point.
4) Multiple TFs spring up in straits near Balikpapan. Some tankers are seen. No attacks. Ditto multiple TFs in the Sea of Japan. Seven fleet subs are now on patrol in Empire waters, from Hokkaido, inside and out, around to the Pescadores.
5) Singers has heavy bombing with a lot of AA damage inflicted. Some small transports get in; not sure how many. Damaged FT TF is launched again from Palembang, but on Mission speed. MKB seen transiting toward Babel-de-bob. Cruiser TF has left the area south of Singers. Many Allied subs are in area. Force Z withdraws back to Cocos; no further sub sightings in IO.
6) Palembang CAP now has a few P-38s as well as Wildcats. Oppose Zero sweep, but lose 2:1. But it's good to see Lightnings flying.
7) 10-stack near Taung Gyi has disappeared, leaving only the gutted tank unit visible to recon. Chinese units consolidate and continue to move south and SW from Mandalay into the bush. Some early Cihinese units are heading toward Imphal to proceed to railhead and India. Lashio has a strong garrison and supplies are increasing. Two warden units are camped in high mountains between Chungking and Paoshan, stradling the yellow road through.
8) At Lanchow the Chinese take advantage of yesterday's gutting armored Shock attack, and repsond. The current production code requires the Japanese be ejected from the hex in order for supply production to resume. The Japanese armor takes another licking and beats a retreat.
Ground combat at Lanchow (81,34)
Allied Shock attack
Attacking force 26917 troops, 166 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 1086
Defending force 1407 troops, 2 guns, 145 vehicles, Assault Value = 66
Allied adjusted assault: 1334
Japanese adjusted defense: 35
Allied assault odds: 38 to 1
Defender: terrain(+), disruption(-), preparation(-), supply(-)
Japanese ground losses:
169 casualties reported
Squads: 15 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 14 destroyed, 17 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Vehicles lost 86 (38 destroyed, 48 disabled)
Units retreated 2
Allied ground losses:
484 casualties reported
Squads: 3 destroyed, 51 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 2 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Defeated Japanese Units Retreating!
11th Chinese Corps
8th Route Army
1st Chinese Corps
81st Chinese Corps
8th Chinese Base Force
17th Group Army
19th Chinese Base Force
3rd Tank Regiment
20th Recon Regiment
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 1/22/2013 1:03:19 AM >