From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Bay of Bengal and Burma: Big air/sea/land battle rages today. Both sides take losses; both sides experience some bad luck; both sides get in licks. Overall, the Allies come out ahead - possibly way ahead - but more about that later.
Sea Clash 1: The Japanese bring in a bombardment TF, led by four BBs, that tangles with Ching Lee's Vincennes TF. Lee gets surprise and roughs up the enemy. All enemy ships are set afire, with BB Ise taking a torp, CL Tenyru sinking, and three DD taking heavy damage. CL Mauritius takes one torp and is the hardest hit Allied ship. (The Allies were fortunate, no doubt, that the enemy's missions was bombardment rather than surface combat.)
Sea Clash 2: The Vincennes TF flees the hex, unfortunately, and tangles with a five-DD TF. Vincennes goes down as does one enemy DD.
Bombardment of the Airfield: Hyuga, Yamashiro and Fuso hit the airfield, somehow managing to avoid altercations with other Allied TFs in the hex, and do moderate damage including the destruction of 17 planes and damaging many more. This reduces Allied CAP, which will have an effect later in the day.
Sea Clash 3: The three IJN BBs tangle with the New Orleans/Helena TF. All three IJN ships take multiple hits, with Hyuga set afire. No damage to the Allies.
Sea Clash 4: The RN weighs in and scores the most lopsided victory of the day. BB Revenge, CA Cornwall and CL Dauntless face an imposing fource of four IJN CA and two CL. CAs Kako and Kinugasa and CLs Abukuma and Kuma are confirmed sunk and CA Aoba has "heavy fires/heavy damage." The only casualty for the Allies is DD Decoy with HF/HD (though she can still make 23 knots and will flee the scene). It has been rare, in my experience, to see a relatively small Allied TF flagged by an R-Class BB take on and decisively beat a big IJN cruiser TF.
Air Battles: Then begin the air battles, which for some reason aren't nearly as big as I would have expected. This is fortunate, because Allied CAP acted very squirrely. For one or two strikes, there was no CAP over some Allied combat ships a hex from Akyab. Then ALL CAP was over those TFs, leaving Akyab and it's shipping completely naked. The Allies took some hard licks - CL Nashville sunk, CA Pensacola with two TTs (Fires/Heavy Damage) and CL Maurtius two more TT (also F/HD). Allied CAP and flak scores a fair number of kills on the day, so that the Allies come out on top on that scoreboard.
IJ Loss Reconciliation. Confirmed sunk: Two CA (Kinugasa and Kako); three CL (Tenyru, Abukuma and Kuma), one DD. Very Heavy Damage: CA Aoba, two DDs. Yard Time Required: BB Ise and BB Kyuga. The Japanese lose 16 fighters (4 Tojo, 12 Zero) and 19 bombers (including 9 Kates).
Allied Loss Reconciliation. Sunk: CA Vincennes; CL Nashville. Very Heavy Damage: CA Pensacola; CL Mauritius; DD Decoy. Yard Time Required: CL Helena. In addition, 13 Allied fighters are destroyed a-2-a with 17 destroyed on the ground.
Burma on the Ground: 41st USA Div. and 5th UK Bde. rough up 4th IJA Div. in the open near Schewbo. The Allies dont' take any losses to speak of; the IJ unit loses seven squads destroyed and 158 infantry squads disabled. This division is completely isolated now, so it looks ilke it will be the third IJ division to be seriously reduced. In the hex just vacated by 4th Div., the Allies shock attack and destroy one of two arty units (55 guns and vehicles and 20 non-combat squads destroyed). The surviving unit should be destroyed tomorrow, so the Allies will have sole possession of that jungle hex.
Burma Tomorrow: If this was the climax of the Japanese attack, the Allies have won a decisive victory. If, however, the Japanese are just beginning the battle - if, for instance, Musashi and fresh enemy TFs are inbound - the battle could easily turn the other way. Tomorrow, the Allies will have five combat TFs at or moving into Akyab: New Orleans TF (now commanded by a captain with very good ratings - I'm afraid Ching Lee might have gone down with Vincennes); Cornwall/Canberra TF (commanded by Shafroth); Hobart TF; and inbound from Chittagong the Dorsetshire/Devonshire TF and a smaller Adelaide TF. These TFs are mostly replenished, so the Allies can hold the field if new and powerful enemy forces aren't in bound. I think I'll know beforehand whether more is coming: If so, John will be anxious to flip turns today (he's off from work). If not - if the battle has basically ended - he'll have suffered a pretty telling defeat and won't be very anxious about proceeding. One other thing - the mass of damaged Allied shipping has to transit waters packed with subs, so the bleeding should continue. On the flip side, Allied mines scored some hits and there are a host of Allied subs in the Andaman Sea. The two enemy carrier TFs report a total of 10 CVE, two CV (I know one is Hiyo, so Junyo is undoubtedly there too if recovered from that torp. hit awhile back) with 100 F, 115 B, 3 Aux.
NoPac: Quiet. The dot hex goes to level one tomorrow on the suppostiion that the more noise and activity everywhere, the better.
CenPac: AM Robin was "feeling out" the enemy near Kwajalein and gets sunk by a four-DD TF. The two USN CVs at Pearl? One remains at six days; the other drops one to five days. If things don't improve by tomorrow, I may appeal to the Tech department for help.
SoPac/SWPac: Lots of enemy subs around - near Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, etc. Gonna be hard to achieve surprise for the pending operation.