Well the CVs survived as did most of the other shipping. I lost a CA and DD to flooding from previous damage but everything else survived. Some of my SAG TFs managed to intercept some of KB's TFs in night-time surface action but while the USN DDs traded shots with IJN BBs, CAs, DDs and even CV surface armament neither side hit the other. I'm happy though since I feel that these surface actions will help prevent Damian from sprinting eastward towards Dutch Harbour.
I thought Damian would attack Attu Island so I moved every fighter I had in range into the island ( all 66 of them ) and waited. Sure enough a nice manageable strike of about 75 IJNAAF aircraft ( 30+ zeroes and 20+ Kates plus 20 or so Vals ) came in. My fighters were a mix of (mostly) P-40Es, a dozen P-38Es, F4F3s and F4F4s and even some Kittyhawks from Canada and due to superior positioning and the fact that the Zeroes were escorting managed to down 40 enemy planes, comprising about 18 Zeroes and 10 or so each of Kates and Vals. The remaining Vals and Kates hit nothing.
I lost 1 P40E in return. So 40:1, not a bad exchange rate, especially as I'm killing the IJNAFs best aviators.
Attu is currently only a Level 2 airfield held by 1 Regt of troops. There are NO troops at all ( not even construction troops ) anywhere between Attu Island and Dutch Harbour and I'm intensely worried Damian will just land on those and isolate Attu. Therefore I've ordered a lot of emergency loading of convoys in CONUSA and PH in spite of the fact that I have VERY few xAPs and relatively few xAKs left. Altogether I currently have about 25,000 men and slightly over 90,000 tons of supplies heading for the Aleutians. My plan is to occupy each of the islands there and build them up to support supply airlift and SLOC protection missions. Attu will be built up to support as many transports as possible flying supplies in plus APDs and DDs operating in FT TFs.
I've also gone through CONUSA creating a pilot training programme. The USAAF, USN and USMC reserves comprised less than 100 properly trained pilots in total. I've graduated the trained ones into frontline squadrons and rotated the partly trained ones into training squadrons. I've also designated every squadron not on the front lines for training purposes. This hadn't previously been done.
E.g. In the Eastern US there were 2 P-39 squadrons and 4 squadrons of B-18s with 2 planes each. Each of the B-18 squadrons had just two pilots and those pilots weren't training. I filled each squadron with replacements up to the max of 25 pilots and began training. End result, in 2 months time I'll have 100 fully trained bomber pilots with ground bombing skill of 70 to send to the front. This was repeated in every city in CONUSA. I don't think there was a single squadron filled out with pilots and training. I've filled them all out with hundreds of pilots and set them all to training.
Any squadrons which weren't restricted are making their way to the Aleutians via Canada. I'm using several Stranraer and Kingfisher units to provide heavy ASW protection along the portion of coast from Vancouver to Prince Rupert as I'm planning to ship all the supplies, troops etc to the Aleutians via Prince Rupert ( as that's the shortest SLOC there ). Ground units are already making their way north using the railways. Escorts, support ships etc are all making for Vancouver and Prince Rupert so that I can match escorts with transports and get a more rational escort system than was previously apparent.
Today I will begin flying supplies into the Kuriles. I only have 30 planes tasked to the mission now but that'll rise to 300+ per day over the next week. Today these planes should fly 66 tons of supplies in. SST Argonaut is one day away with some 72 tons of supplies and the first of my fleet boats is loading up on supplies ( 24 tons per fleet boat with 25 boats tasked to the mission should yield a total of 600 tons per submarine supply run... not all the subs are currently in place but they're on their way to the theatre and will be in action soon enough.
My plan is to create a sea bridge delivering 600 tons per week and an air bridge delivering 3,600 tons per week. In total that should allow me to support both of the islands taken in the Kuriles.
I sent a DD into Hakodate overnight where it bagged a PB and several LBs. This was a DD which was some 500 miles west of KB and so didn't have the option of sprinting east to escape. Since its death was assured I tried to gain something for its loss. It survived without a scratch and so will return to my holdings in the Kuriles from where it will raid again once fuel and targets appear.
Central and Southern Pacific:
Well there's very little here and likely to be very little here until I actually stabilise the situation in the north, which is critical. If Damian pushes he'll take whatever he wants and I'll have to use the
LOTS of troops are just sitting around in the south and east guarding against invasion. My preference is to use them offensively to make Damian fear invasion. Consequently they are all marching north to Darwin to push the Japanese out. They will then form the nucleus of my forces pushing into northern PNG and the soft underbelly of the Phillipines.
I thin I've found a weak spot at the junction of the Japanese northern and southern forces. The position here appears largely stalemated but by accepting weakness through reducing my defences along two major axes below the level that can hold I can concentrate sufficient mass to be able to act offensively. If Damian notices and exploits the weakness before I strike then I'll have to waste this offensive force in holding his attacks - but will lose ground and position. If Damian doesn't notice in time and I land my blow first then he'll have to fritter away his concentration of mass in reacting to mine. It is a risk but not a gamble.
Approximately 40,000 men are currently loaded on ships and making their way to a jumping off point near Akyab. I plan to land them at Ramree ASAP and then bring in as large a force as possible as rapidly as possible by shuttling my forces back and forth to Calcutta and Akyab where, again, there appear to be huge concentrations of force deployed into defensive positions. I count some 4,000 AV available in India. Much of this is restricted but I believe 2,000 AV can be freed for offensive work fairly rapidly. The vast majority will go via Ramree while a smaller portion will move across the land border from India I'll post a map of Burma to show just how I plan to do this but basically my concept is to land at Ramree and make a major show of pushing along the trails from Ramree inland whilst also making a show of pushing south from Akyab along the trails to link up with Ramree. This will draw a strong Japanese response with, ideally, two or more divisions opposing this thrust. Then I'll land at the non-base hex 46 miles south of Ramree with infantry to guard the lines of supply into the NEXT hex south--- a lovely open terrain hex just ideal for the amphibious landing and unleashing of a rapid Operational Manoeuvre Group comprised of 600+ AV of tanks and mechanised troops into the enemy's operational depth, seeking to move inland to take the Japanese base 138 miles away.
The beauty of this is that it doesn't rely on my ground forces to blow a hole in the IJA land in Burma ( which can be difficult in jungle terrain ) whilst also solving the problem of how to supply a non-base hex landing. It also allows me to salvage an operational victory if the Operational Manoeuvre Group is defeated in its strategic objective ( the drive on Prome ). How? Simple, if it cannot take Prome by itself it will simply move north-eastward instead, cutting off whatever IJA divisions are facing off against my Ramree invasion. This will force them to retreat out of the jungle due to the dislocation of their lines of supply and will force Japan to cede me coastal Burma, creating a new defensive line along the north-south river running through Central Burma.
That new defensive line will lie in open terrain, the sort of terrain a tank-heavy army with superior artillery support dreams of. So, even the OMG's strategic failure ( in acute terms ) gains an operational victory which sets the stage for a slightly slower but still decisive strategic victory ( cutting across the river and racing eastward to isolate any IJA forces in northern Burma - since Damian is too good a player to risk that he will withdraw from northern Burma instead. If he does this I win back 210 Oil centres and deliver a crippling blow to the Japanese economy.
So, really, so long as the Ramree landing holds it is a win/win/win position for me where even failure should be able to be turned into the foundation of longer term victory. Plus its a nice plan which utilises manoeuvre to draw the enemy into a position whereby they expose their flank and allow an OMG to be launched into their operational depth. Its a nice, simple plan which relies on cunning more than force and that's always more satisfying.
We'll soon see how it works out. I'd say it'll be about a week before all of my forces are ready.
< Message edited by Nemo121 -- 4/28/2013 1:27:13 PM >
John Dillworth: "I had GreyJoy check my spelling and he said it was fine."
Well, that's that settled then.