From: Fort Wayne IN USA
ORIGINAL: Don Bowen
Don will have to provide a better answer, but as far as i remember the number of merchant ships for both Japan and the Allies is actually much lower than was comitted at certain times. We realize a fair amount of these ships were used in the Atlantic, but the idea was to take two ships that served part time in the Pacific and not put one in the game while the other is here full time.
Yes, what Mike said - as best we could. I will freely admit that we have limited data on the actual service of most merchant ships. If not lost or attacked they sailed without ever gracing the pages of history books.
Actually, I was mainly concerned about troopships (I haven't had a chance to study the cargo ships that much yet)--the British, Australians, and Duch have far too many to begin with, and now you have added a lot more. The fact is, from early 1942 to early 1945, neither the British nor the Australians had the capability of sealifting much more than one brigade at a time. In the original scenario 15, it's no trick at all for the Brits to mount a corps-size amphibious invasion of Malaya in the fall of 1942 if they feel like doing so.
I agree that there is a lack of data about merchantmen (in particular, the logs of WSA-operated ships were destroyed because no one wanted to pay to store them); but there is a lot more data available about troopships, for a variety of reasons. Your point about counting every merchantman you can find on the assumption that this will make up for all the ones that have been missed might or might not be valid; I'll have to check into it. I know that it does not hold for troopships, however--in particular for the Commonwealth. You have included a large number of British (and the Big Three US) troopships that brought reinforcements to Singapore in late 1941 and early 1942; these ships were almost all withdrawn to the Atlantic within a couple of months, and seldom if ever returned to the US.
Having said that, I am impressed with the research you have done so far; inevitably, there are errors, but you have made a fair start. I've been working on a scenario of my own, and I've been doing a lot of research on OOB issues. I'm preparing several comprehensive posts on various issues; the first will be about Allied troopships. I have attempted to cite the most authoritative sources I can for the information I've discovered; I hope that others will find my work of value, and that eventually most of the errors in the "Official" scenarios will be corrected.
"I know Japanese. He is very bad. And tricky. But we Americans too smart. We catch him and give him hell."
--Benny Sablan, crewman, USS Enterprise 12/7/41