el cid again
The enemy is conducting a conservative but very aggressive offensive campaign, exploiting land air power where they have it, and naval air power where they think they want it. The Allied players all believe in the offensive-defensive and do not think the "bastion" strategy is wise or politic.
They are approaching Southern Malaya at the end of Decembar 1941 without ever having had more than the advance elements in contact with the enemy - somewhat similar to real history - but much faster. They are aggressively using land based air power to reduce the positions in front of their troops wether or not they are in contact to follow up with a land attack. The steady "rain from above" is badly attriting and even eliminating Allied units trying to slow them down. Intending to reinforce Malaya with troops, the British commander instead has decided to evacuate - in part because the enemy is not devastating the port/airbase complex at Singapore. In Malaya, the enemy has a very Russian view: a strategic base is important to sieze and use, not to destroy. So they tend not to wipe out airfields and ports, lest it delay how long it takes to bring them into service when captured. The inability to stand before even the adance elements of the IJA, when strongly supported by air power, combines with the undamaged ports to permit evacuation of some units.
They have virtually captured all of Luzon - there are three hexes left in Allied hands (one is a minor one on the East coast not present in any non RHS mod; otherwise Clark and Bataan hexes). The enemy suffered a significant setback today - concentrated AAA fire over Subic destroyed 60 aircraft by the time the turn ended. An expensive lesson, no doubt the enemy has learned it, and won't do it again (until lack of supplies kills the effectiveness of the AAA). But the speed of the conquest, partly due to unexpected landings in force in the South, has led to a situation in which many Allied ground units are weak and demoralized, and not many supplies have been moved to Bataan. The Allied player for this sector elected to remove virtually all air units and naval units South early - they are concentrated in the NEI combined with Dutch and Australian forces there.
Early British and Dutch plans to defend Borneo in force turned into a disaster. Ports were unable to land troops fast enough, and the rapid enemy invasion caused Allied plans to be overtaken by events. The enemy is strongly invested in Miri and Brunei, and enemy task forces in the area may imply further invasions are likely.
The Allies in this area - what we call Chairs 2 (USAFFE, NEI, Australia and also Russia) and 3 (UK, India, Burma, Malaya, China and also Canada and the mainland Alaska Command) - have decided to concentrate defenses on Java. It has a lot of infrastructure and considerable ground defense. Adding to that air power from Malaya and USAFFE and Australia, and also adding troops from Malaya and Ceylon, may offer the chance to contest the air over a position with considerable ground combat power.
In the Pacific, the enemy began with a classic attack on Pearl Harbor, but then proceeded Southward, and began a systematic campaign of dominating what should be the Sea Line Of Communications between the USA and Australia. Admiral Kimmel - who was not relieved prior to the start of the war - elected to go with one of the plans of the historical Kimmel - rotate half the fleet out of Pearl, keeping the other half in port. Not having any actual mission for the absent half, it went to Lahaina. This had two effects - the half that remained in port was sunk in toto - probably more ships lost than might have been the case if the hits were spread over more targets. The other half escaped, although it was detected and hit by KB bombers - the damage was not very significant - and most of the damage eventually inflicted came from running at full speed for days to escape. The four surviving BB, and their escorts, made a huge circle, and ended up back at Pearl, where today all but one Battleship have no damage at all - and that one will be completely finished in 8 days or less (damage repair estimates seem consistently to be too high if you have enough shipyard capacity to permit higher than normal repair status).
The carriers, joined by a few extra escorts picked up along the way, were able to combine into a single force, which ended up at Midway - not so much by plan as because constant evasion of the Kiddo Butai made them go where it was not. These ships now have zero damage and full air groups - but are still equipped with F4F-3s, Buffalos, older dive bombers and TBDs. That is, they would lose a fair fight with the Kiddo Butai. A fourth carrier, Yorktown, will enter the main map in six days - having departed Panama already - having gone there from the US East Coast. It will proceed to Midway and join the other carrier, forming a group of four.
In addition to multiple attacks on the Hawiian Islands, the KB also attacked Johnston, Palmyra, Christmas Island (Pacific), Samoa and (today) Suva (Fiji). The KB is divided into two groups and they are operating separated from each other - increasing the search area they cover compared to a single force - and indicating the enemy is not afraid of the US carrier attacking just half his force at one time.
Kimmel's Pacific Fleet did manage a significant tactical victory. USS Detroit, a CL, and a division of destroyers, were detached from the battle line and "hid" at one of the islands near French Frigate Shoal. Joined by division of fast (WWI vintage) destroyer minelayers (originally on ASW duty), these nine ships located, engaged and sank all but one of the tankers supporting the KB, damaged its CL escort, sank a couple of destroyers and damaged the rest. Not a singe US ship was lost - although some are still being repaired at Pearl from damage inflicted in the fight - which took place SE of French Frigage Shoal. It was assumed the loss of these tankers would force the early retirement of KB. That did NOT happen. So the enemy must have sent more tankers forward, probably from Truk, his major fuel depot.
The persistence of the KB in the SLOC implies the enemy may intend to prevent it from functioning. After not much more time passes, it will be possible for troopships to arrive - and instead of attacking bases with planes and battleships - the enemy might be able to seize these bases - preventing their use for recon planes and to support movement of units and supplies and fuel along the SLOC. Since it is unwise to confront the KB, or even half of it, with the present avaiable carrier force, the Allies intend to attemt an early end to this reign of terror. AFTER the aircraft upgrade to F4F-4 standard, and better SBDs, and AFTER Yorktown joins the carrier force, we intend to organize a combined land, air sea battle over Fiji. We believe Fiji will be invaded (it was hit by Nagato and carrier planes today - but just as a raid) eventually - but probably not until other islands have fallen North of it. Fiji offers the prospect for considerable land based air power, combining US, Australian, New Zealand and RAF units, with a strong land defense - in a situation where we might be able to support with a concentrated carrier force - ideally including the British carriers as well - although split into multiple task forces with perhaps two carriers in each.
Although it is still December 1941, the enemy offensive in Burma began today. Yesterday, advance elements of forces advansing down the Northern most route into Burma were spotted. Today, the HQ of the enemy in Burma, an artillery unit and an infantry regiment captured Moulmein, having advanced down the middile road/trail route into the country. An airborne force captured Ye. We can reasonably assume this is a deliberate, early and major offensive - and for that reason - that forces are also advancing up the Southern route - only a trail at this time (the eventual route of the Burma-Siam RR). The Chair 3 commander has decided to evacuate riverine shipping from the Irrawaddy to India, along with all non-territorial units - except for the Burma Division (which is historical and which RHS permits to form from regiments in Burma). Otherwise, land units and small vessels in Burma tend to get trapped in the North, where most would be lost anyway. In RHS more river shipping makes logistics in India better - vital before the Bengal and Assam RR is upgraded (in fact, the line is cut every Monsoon by floods coming out of the Himalayas - there is a one and a half hex gap in the RR. The river, however, moves troops and supplies and oil (from Ledo) and resources faster than the RR does. The Allies intend to fight for Bengal and the NE approaches to India proper. Aside from not wanting the IJA in country, Ledo is also the principle oil field of India - and Indian industry needs that oil.
The enemy is also on the rampage in China as well. Although China in Test 8 is far stronger than it was in earlier tests, and they had a much stronger China than stock (with many more units, aircraft, locations etc - all of them historical) - the enemy is winning battles faster than in any previous game of any kind. Weaker Chinese forces held the same cities far longer in Test 6, for example. And the Allied decision to concentrate air power on Java has also removed the AVG prematurely from China. However, longer term, we intend to fight for China, because if China is substantially subjugated, it becomes a strong economic support location for Japan and releases considerable ground and air power for their forces to use elsewhere. We might even face invasions of North America or the USSR if we let them drive the Chinese out of most of China. The immediate strategy is to try to slow them down, fighting over the land line of communications - forcing the enemy to make inefficient use of his units - and to focus on defense of the mountains of Western, Southwestern and Northern China. Also - to facilitate air logistics - all Chinese state controlled airlines air transport units have been outfitted with impressed DC-3 airliners. Most fly in CNAC colors, but some are just plain aluminum finished - usually used by USAAF in the early phase of the war. These DC-3 have more range than the C-47, although they carry less cargo. [Early in WWII CNAC DC-3s were the only aircraft that carried supplies "over the hump" from India to an airfield just West of Kunming. We now have about four times that number of DC-3s in Chinese service.] To the extent territory is lost, China will concentrate on defending in particular the mountains near Burma, where considerable supplies have been assembled already. With supplies and mountains, it should be possible at some point to fly in additional air units and even ground units - as well as to fight an offensive to re-establish the land LOC - which we believe will be cut in January, 1942. But a strong position in Bengal combined with a strong position in SW China may facilitate an offensive down the Ledo Road earlier than history. We may have to adopt more of the ideas of Gen Wingate (of Chindit fame) - and use air supply to support ground operations - until we can recapture Rangoon and have proper sea communications with the RR and road system of Burma - which ultimately we must have to go to China in force from the SW. If the enemy is foolish enough to cause war with the USSR, we may also be able to bring in the Russians offensively against Northern China - crossing Mongolia and perhaps Sinkiang.
< Message edited by el cid again -- 4/8/2013 10:54:44 PM >