From: NYer living in Boise, ID
30 Nov - 1 Dec 43
Highlights – Another major IJN push against Babar; US subs still terrible!
Jpn ships sunk:
DD: 1 (Shiratsuyu - old)
Jpn ships un-sunk:
DD: 2 (Teruzuki, Uranami)
Allied ships sunk:
SS: 1 (O-19)
Jpn: 2 Attacks, 0 ships hit
Allies: 7 Attacks, 1 ships hit (PC sunk) US subs missed BB Hiei, CV Shokaku and CA Aoba, but hit CV Hiryu….with a DUD!!!! Geeze! I’ve heard of bad luck….but this is ridiculous!
Jpn Amph Inv:
Allied Amph: None
Damar (SWPAC - was unoccupied)
SIGINT/Intel: KB and likely most of the IJN focused on Babar again!
West Coast/Admin: CVL Langley arrives at Balboa; will head to join the fleet in the IO.
In NOPAC, NSTR.
In CENPAC, CV Bunker Hill TF refuels again draining the AO, and will head to a position ENE of Truk to support raids. Jaluit Amphib TF completes loading at Tarawa and will proceed to Mili to stage and link up with BB TF (2BB, DDs) heading out of PH to support landings. The BBs (New Mexico and Tennessee) are heading from repair/refit on the West Coast and enroute to join BB Pennsy currently in SOPAC; a small detour enroute to provide support.
In SOPAC, preparations for Manus continue. LBA begins hitting Manus port and AF, will start hitting ground troops next turn. Amphib TFs at Buka and Torokina begins loading, and will then head to Namatanai where the 1st Mar Div will load, beginning next turn. BB Wash TF will head to bombard Manus, and should be able to bombard 3 times prior to the invasion. IJA activity remains confined to the Biak area, but barges are hit by LBA out of Merauke loaded with troops off Nabire, due south of Biak on the New Guinea coast. About 20 barges sunk along with 1600 troops. Lastly, USMC Raiders clear out enemy remnants from Aitape, taking the base.
In SWPAC, all hell breaks out with another major IJN push on Babar. Begins quietly enough with US DM dropping 40 more mines before the IJN arrives. IJN effort begins with minesweepers (AMc and AM), and one of the three Minesweeping TFs is intercepted by PTs, which don’t engage. USMC Def Bn CD guns do engage, sinking 4 AMcs, and heavily damaging 3 AMs and remaining 4 AMcs - but the minesweepers do their jobs under fire, clearing almost 200 mines (leaving 466). This is followed up by the KB moving in to support, and troops being put ashore - an unknown number, and no mines were hit. The KB was stalked by subs, SS Gato, Runner and Trout all failing to score with torpedo spreads, missing opportunities against the BB Hiei, CVs Hiryu and Shokaku. Daylight brings airstrikes, and heavy engagements between Allied LRCAP over Babar and IJN CAP supporting from CVEs and the KB. By the second day, Allied LRCAP had worn down the cap to where strikes were having an effect. By the end of the two days, CVEs Chuyo and Kaiyo were hit by at least 4x500lb bombs each, both with heavy fires and heavy damage. BB Mutsu was also hit repeatedly, but nothing penetrated. About 4xAKs were left burning from numerous hits, but nothing sunk. Still, the CVEs are in trouble, surrounded by sub infested waters. Cost was high of course, 24 Mitchells (US and Aus), 13 TBFs and about 6 fighters from the LRCAP were lost in exchange for 36 Zeros of the CAP - including the first encounter with the A6M8! IJN remained in position at the end of the two days, assuming still offloading. Will continue air attacks and LRCAP cover over Babar, hopefully the SBDs will launch this time. Three 8 boat PTs squadrons will also head to Babar to disrupt operations. And of course, US subs are still thick in the area. Figure another expensive day ahead! Lastly, an Aussie PBY squadron was tasked to pick up troops from Babar - a small cadre of the 40th ID Bde there, just in case the island falls - which it might.
In China, the LRCAP trap near Chengtu actually worked well! 37 Lilys and 12 Helens shot down in exchange for a single Beaufighter due to ops loss. The Allied long range fighters need a rest, but hopefully this may give L_S_T pause on sending out unescorted raids - and I haven’t seen many fighter squadrons (only one Oscar squadron comes to mind) operating in China for quite some time. On the ground, a major IJA force with plenty of artillery is heading south out of Chungking aiming straight at Kweiyang. Its currently just probing - bombarding the outlying Chinese defenders; I can expect an attack next turn. Once the Heavies rest a bit in India, I’ll commit at least one bomber group to ground support against the IJA in China, it won’t offset the artillery balance against Chinese, but at least its something.
In Burma, the attacks against the RTA at Bhamo begin to make progress. In two attacks, forts are reduced from 3 to Level 1, but Allied losses were heavy at 1400 to only 400 IJA. Fortunately, mostly all the Allied losses were in disabled squads. Still, the Allied force needs to rest, and I may wait until the US 27th ID is brought up. Elsewhere, its pretty quiet. Brit Heavies hit both Alor Star and Bangkok at night with no effect. Heavies will try hitting Saigon port (harassment) and Medan AF (assist the Sabang effort) next.
In the IO, the IJA subs have moved off, removing the threat at least for now. US CV TF takes on F6F replacements and is back up to strength, and some ships, detached, take on fuel. Next turn will return to support the reinforcement group landing support troops from Trinkat - where they are currently still loading at the end of the two days. So far no interference against the shipping at Trinkat. Instead, the LBA is thrown against Sabang, strikes come in before sweeps for a change. P-47s do well, but are worn down by repeated sweeps by Franks and Tojos. After the two days, DD Mugford takes a single bomb hit, and 14 P-47s are written off (7 ops) in exchange for 21 Tojo, 5 Oscar, 3 Franks and 6 Judys. Have reinforced the AF at Sabang with a fresh P-47 squadron, P-40K and Spit V squadrons, layering the CAP from 30k to 15k. No naval targets will be at Sabang next turn, other than PTs, but there will be DD ASW TFs nearby which could be targeted. I expect heavy sweeps again - there are a reported 300+ fighters at Medan, so hopefully the Sabang CAP can attrit them some BEFORE the reinforcement group convoy comes in from Trinkat in a few days. Still no indication of any IJN effort in the Malacca straits - KB seems fully engaged off Babar.
< Message edited by IdahoNYer -- 5/24/2018 12:48:24 AM >