From: La Salle, Colorado
June 15, 1942
Absolutely crazy seeing this thing unfold over the last 7-10 turns. The Australia feint ends and the troops return home setting in motion my reorganization of NW Australian defenses THEN begin to ponder if Dan might try something HERE, and then find him ON HIS WAY just days later. NUTS! I have the blessing of 'leaning' in the right direction to knock this Operation apart if we can catch just a bit of luck. Just wish I had had even one more day to get more fully prepared.
OK. Here we go with the day. READY??
The Battle of Exmouth begins with I-158 putting a Torp into the sides of AK Alchiba as the Invasion Force and a STF arrive at Exmouth.
My SNLF and Inf Reg Convoys are unloading through the night as the Allies arrive.
The fight centers around the two DD STF I had placed here to slow down his landing and occupy his warships. This side of the plan works reasonably well as 8 DD (six of them old) meet up and fight a STF comprising CAs Portland and Salt Lake City, CL Helena, and 3 DD. A marathon DAYLIGHT fight occurs with a total of 21 gunnery rounds taking place. At the end of it, two Japanese DDs are sunk with two more seriously damaged. The American TF loses all of its DDs and sees the two CAs scratched and dented.
Just as the waters begin to calm somewhat the 6 DD TF appears and shoots a CRAPLOAD of TTs at the Allied cruisers to no effect. Beautiful targets but no luck. This part of the Operations sees another pair of Jap DDs go down to sharp shooting Helena. HATE THOSE US CLs! Damned fine ships...
The upshot of all this is to strip the Invasion Force of its STF protection and delay the landing until later in the day.
Japanese Air Attacks
The Japanese launch two attacks from Corunna Downs. The first is 48 Zeros and 38 Betty--Nells against NO OPPOSITION! YUMMY! Three APs are hit along with 3 AKs. Two of the AKs sink immediately costing 38 Cas, 5 G, and 79 Vehicles. The second raid comes in with 24 Fighters and 6 Nells. These planes sink AP Koolama doing 103 Cas and 28 Vehicles.
OK work. Not too exciting but still pretty decent for no losses.
American Air Attacks
As expected there are FOUR US CVs involved. No surprise here. I've known these CVs to be down working between New Zealand and Australia. Sure enough we see planes from Lexington, Saratoga, Yorktown, and Enterprise. Damn. I guessed that one. These four together SCARE THE HELL OUT OF ME!
The great news is that four strikes fly hitting nothing of great value. Some of them tangle with my LRCAP and pay a bit for it. STRIKES:
1. 2 Zero vs 7 F4F 17 SBD from CV-6 (Ent) hitting a DD with a single bomb. They lose 2 F4F and an SBD.
2. 20 Zero vs 37 F4F 18 SBD from CV-2 (Lex) hit 1 DD with 3 bombs sinking it. The good guys lose 3 Zeros in exchange for 6 F4F and 4 SBD.
3. 35 F4F 54 SBD 27 TBD (Sara and York) fly into Exmouth and sink an AK and SC and do crippling damage to 4 AK and 2 AP, however, they keep unloading! Lose 649 casualties here.
4. 8 F4F and 12 TBD from Yorktown miss an AKL.
Very good news is that the American planes totally ignore the slow moving TF carrying 16th Army HQ and an Engineering unit. It will be out of Harm's Way tomorrow.
Weather prevents ANYTHING from flying in the afternoon and that really sucks from the Nell--Betty perspective but it does also serve to allow my ships at Exmouth to keep unloading so I'll take that.
The Allies land. I am shocked to see it is only the 6th Aust Cav Brigade! There must be more so I won't celebrate yet.
As expected dan focuses everything of his LBA on Carnavon. The base puts up about two dozen fighters to fight 18 Vindicators, 25 B-25, 5 B-26, and 15 B-17. The CAP does fairly well keeping many raids from doing a bunch of damage. There are no fighter escorts for these planes and the Vindicators, in particular, are chewed up. Going by the report is looks like 6-8 Vindicators, 3-5 B-25, a pair of B-26 and a B-17 are shot down. For this the field takes fairly decent damage with Runway at 39% and Service at 33%. STILL OPERATIONAL!
Corunna has to come as a surprise to Dan.
I have roughly 300 AV ashore right now. There are still 4,200 SNLF troops on board 3 AK and 3 AP. They are ordered to keep unloading through the night. Should add about 100-150 more AV. Think we are OK for the moment. If he has more coming--which I expect--then nothing is certain for holding here.
1. Four of my DDs are still in good shape. Send them back in to disrupt the unloading during the night. Detach a CL and 5 DD from the CVs to make a full speed run hitting shipping at Exmouth and retiring towards Pt Hedlund.
2. The seas shall SWARM with Japanese SS next turn with all nine moving in for attacks.
3. Shuttle a Daitai of Zeros from the CVEs to Corunna to add escort to the Nells and Bettys. Move one of the four Daitai of Nells from Corunna to Carnavon to see if that surprises Mr. Roper. This gives Carnavon a second Daitai of Bombers. Set ranges at Corunna to 8 and from Carnavon to 4.
4. The Carriers move SE towards Broome. Things look fairly decent so I will hold them back for the moment and play a bit of a conservative game here. This matches my play period in this campaign. Am trying to not simply ATTACK and then lose everything for no reason. My little CVs might inflict some serious damage on those 4 CVs but I'll lose them in the process. Not worth the exchange at this point. Pending on tomorrow's developments will I make a decision. I can always funnel in the planes to add to dan;s woes if needed.
5. A single Allied unit enters the Canravon hex. I order the ground forces there to attack it and drive it out.
6. Reload TTs at Carnavon and Corunna.
Totals for the day:
Japan: 6 DD (Five of them older), an SC, and 5 AK.
Allies: 3 DD, 2-3 AP, and 2-3 AK.
1. Dan is now firmly committed with ALL of CVs in southern waters and/or the IO. GREAT! The KB--most of it--will stay highly visible pounding the Marshalls while I detach a Division to move North and support my Aleutian Operations. Not sure whom. Anyone got some bright ideas? A CVL will tag along for Fighter help.
2. The Marshalls will be fully retaken. His commitment here provides me at least a month of time to finish off the troops landed and vulnerably waiting for hep that will not be coming.
3. Unrelated but relevant is the focus shifting to Burma. The war has been already lost there. Don't worry defeat is not a problem for the Japanese HQ. Taking Ramree is quite serious, however, I can take it from the land side. With this in mind, I now have a total of four ID heading for Rangoon. Their sole purpose shall be the reduction of Ramree. The remaining pair of Inf Div and TKs will hold Northern and Central Burma while we drive on Ramree. Doubt if it will work but the attempt has to be made.
Big Post with BIG ideas and developments. Comments Please????
Here is a screenshot of the Landing Force:
< Message edited by John 3rd -- 3/27/2013 8:31:03 AM >