From: NYer living in Boise, ID
23-24 Oct 43
Highlights – IJN lands a division at Babar!
Jpn ships sunk:
DD: 2 (Asagiri, Mochizuki - both to mines)
SS: 2 (RO-37, RO-38)
Allied ships sunk:
Jpn: 2 Attacks, 0 ships hit
Allies: 4 Attacks, 2 ship hit (AM, PB dam)
Jpn Amph Inv:
Babar Is (SWPAC)
Allied Amph: None
Bases lost: None
Bases Liberated: None
SIGINT/Intel: Looks like L_S_T is going all in to throw me off Babar - entire division landed supported by what appears to be most of the fleet.
West Coast/Admin: NSTR.
In NOPAC, NSTR.
In CENPAC, Ponape Amph TF departs Tabit and will now stage between Kusaie and Ponape to link up with bombardment and CVE TFs, as well as reorganize TF composition a bit. Initial minesweeping effort at Ponape only clears 12 mines at the cost of the minesweeper. Two DMSs will run in this turn and continue the work. LBA continues to prep. Even with the week long prep, mines and CD batteries will still take a toll. Lastly, CV Bunker Hill TF reaches PH and takes on fuel enroute to the Marshalls.
In SOPAC, Umboi Amph and supporting TFs will depart Buna for target next turn, landing the Americal Div and supporting troops. Amph TF will then head back to Vella to pick up the supporting 33rd Div. Unless defenses are much less than expected, will not attack on the ground at Umboi until both divisions are ready. LBA continues to prep target. On New Guinea, 37th ID has reached Madang, and will attack next turn. US DD TFs continue to harass IJN resupply efforts off New Guinea, sinking a PB off Manus. DDs will raid Biak next turn, although I’m not expecting much shipping to be found.
In SWPAC, L_S_T has gone all in for Babar, landing what looks to be the full 2nd ID plus a lone artillery battalion. Apparently, the division was far from fully prepped as it suffered over 2000 casualties in the landing including 133 squads disabled. The USMC Def Bn was active and reportedly hit about a half dozen xAKs during the landing as well as a DMS and two AMs curtailing minesweeping operations. The 300+ mines also did damage, sinking two DDs, and damaged an LSD and an xAK. There’s still about 250 mines. Somehow, the massive Amph TF was able to EVADE the intercepting PTs….not that they would have done much, but I was still surprised! After the Amph TF evaded the PTs, the CA TF (3CA, 2CL, DDs) easily brushed aside the PTs - sinking 6 without loss. The Amph TF had numerous warships in it (2BB, 3CA, 2CL, DDs), but without a dedicated bombardment TF, the USMC Def Bn’s batteries remained active throughout the landing. Two large Air strikes from the KB targeted the port, doing minor damage. No US LRCAP met the numerous sweeps or strikes. While Allied night strikes were totally ineffective, losing 7 Beauforts to flak, the two attacking squadrons in daylight (SDB and B-25) escorted by F6Fs did very well, brushing aside a weak 12Z CAP. An LSD, 2 xAP, 2AK, and 5xAK were all hit and set afire. While the Allied response this turn was limited, I’m going to throw in the kitchen sink, at least air wise, next turn. Full aerial attack from Bathurst (6hexes, AF8), Darwin (7hexes, AF9), Fenton (9hexes, AF9) and Katherine (11hexes, AF8). Bathurst (173F, 87Bomber) and Darwin (248F, 80B) will have most of the fighters and single engine strike aircraft, including torpedo bombers capable of ranging Babar. Fenton (79F, 56B) the twin engine for low level naval strikes, and Katherine (50F, 73B) the Heavies which will hit ground targets. Some fighters will be held back as CAP just in case the KB tries to strike the bases, but there should be enough fighters to penetrate the assumed heavy LRCAP over Babar, even with the very likely strike coordination penalties with US Army, Navy, USMC and Aussie planes involved from a few different Air HQs. With luck, the IJN’s Amph TF will remain on site at Babar as well, and the KB will not move between Babar and the Australian coast. While that would allow the a/c to hit the KB, I’m not likely to effectively penetrate a heavy KB CAP sitting over the carriers. At sea, the only contribution will be the usual sub threat and a squadron of PTs will sortie from Bathurst to harass the landing. Cruisers and destroyers will stay at Darwin. Going to be a bloody turn regardless I think.
In China, NSTR.
In Burma, the 20th Indian Division is held again and needs to rest before another attack. The two US divisions are moving up through Lashio, as well as the Chinese Division flown in from Ledo to Lashio. Heavies also need a rest. The road will be opened, but it will take a while. Meanwhile, the Indian 19th Div gets a brigade across the Sittang River into an undefended jungle hex, and the remainder of the division should follow next turn - that should flank the defense line being thrown up in front of Moulmein. Of course, there is another river to cross, and more jungle, but so far that line isn’t fully occupied either. Allied troops need to do considerably more shifting and repositioning anyway, so this is about as effective as an offensive operation can get at the moment. The priority needs to be opening up the Lashio-Pashoan corridor. Three fighter squadrons have moved into Rangoon as the first major convoy will arrive next turn. Although I don’t expect a heavy air attack, I don’t want to chance it. Shipping will be packed in Rangoon in the coming days until the port can be expanded (level 4 now) and much naval support brought in. It will take most of November to get situated supply wise and relocate support troops, as well as bring in the majority of the India based bomber force before a major offensive move can be made to take Moulmein.
In the IO, mines were cleared from Trinkat and the last part of the US 7th ID pulled out without incident. Another convoy is inbound to pull out the Canadian Bde and engineers. Supply convoy brought Port Blair up to plentiful supply levels. No response from the IJN. Will still take a week or so to finish out shuttling troops.