The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (Full Version)

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tocaff -> The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/5/2009 3:09:00 PM)

I've started a PBEM with Steve and as you can guess I'm playing as the Allied side, which I'm totally new at. We've closed these AARs to eachother. If any of you would like to bounce strategies off of my dense skull, please do so as I'm learning all of the time.

I'll try to make this an enjoyable read and won't be posting the Combat Reports. I've been inspired by Cuttlefish, John III, Canoerebel and others so maybe I can rise to their lofty standards.

Reports to follow.


Names of the characters are a figment of my imagination or listed in WITP as the CO of a ship, etc.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/5/2009 3:45:16 PM)

December 1, 1941  Washington DC

1st Lt William Smith, Annapolis Class of 1935, has just been promoted and gotten his new posting.  He's not overjoyed to be assigned to the Pentagon and even less so to be dumped into the netherworld of communications.  Hell, he knows that he's an ocean going sailor late of the cruiser Houston, not a desk weenie.  It was a painful thing to say goodbye to his fellow officers of that fine ship and fly east with tensions running so high in the Pacific.  If Japan stays it's course what choice will the US have other than war, a naval war? A friend of his has an apartment not far from the Pentagon and he's been given the keys since his buddy, Phil who also is a naval officer from his Annapolis class, has been assigned to Pearl Harbor awaiting assignment to a ship (the lucky dog).

This being a Monday morning he's reporting to his new assignment.  His section is under the command of Commander George Phillips, of who he knows nothing.  Communications, dull and boring stuff to be sure, he sighs to himself.  Well there's nothing to do except make the best of this situation and become proficient in this new job.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/5/2009 7:59:18 PM)

Did I mention that Steve is from the Brisbane area?  Should I claim unfair recon?  [:D]

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/6/2009 8:18:35 PM)

December 5, 1941  Washington DC

The week has gone rapidly for Lt Smith.  He has gotten to know Commander Phillips as a gruff old naval officer who gets right to the point, is not afraid of stepping on people's toes and who doesn't stand on ceremony.  He wants you to do your job and do it well, simple as that.  He's already taken to calling Lt Phillips Bill, maybe seeing something there that he likes.  The job is more than what Lt Smith initially thought.  There is a certain joy in knowing things before the admirals do.  He has been given the task of checking in with the intercepts section on a several times a day routine.  What they're finding interesting is that Japanese military radio traffic peaked and has fallen off sharply of late.  Tracking units locations has become very difficult without the usual communications.  This is bothering to Commander Phillips when he learns of it and passes his concerns on to higher authorities. 

Not much else is happening and the office staff are looking forward to their weekend as Christmas is on the way and shopping needs to get done for those with families in the area.  Lt Smith has decided to spend his weekend chasing skirts since he's single, unattached and the DC area is awash in young females that staff the federal government's secretary pools.  He must report into the office as usual on Saturday though as the intercept section's lack of activity has raised some eyebrows and Commander Phillips wants to stay on top of things.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/8/2009 12:36:37 PM)

December 6, 1941  Washington DC

Lt Smith has put in a long day and there is no end in sight as Commander Phillips has asked (ordered) him to stick around as something smells rotten.  There have been some scattered reports from various sources of an increase in movement of Japanese shipping.  This could be nothing at all or, well time will tell.  There will be lots of coffee in the immediate future and cat naps at their desks while the two of them try to put together a picture from the information drifting in from far off places in the Pacific Ocean.  They both realize that events could lead to war.  [;)]

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/9/2009 3:22:03 PM)

December 6-8, 1941  Washington DC

The skeletal staff in the bowels of the new Pentagon building are roused out of dozing as reports begin to filter in of Japanese air attacks, naval bombardments and troops landings from various points around the Pacific Ocean.  Clark airbase in the PIs has been hammered by several air strikes and the list seems to go on endlessly.


This is only the tip of the iceberg and Commander Phillips is pouring over the reports and looking at the maps.  The telephone is ringing constantly as higher ups want information.  Lt Smith feels as if the whole world has gone to Hell and he's the one spreading the bad news.  Reports start filtering in of ships being attacked too.  It'll take some time to sift through all of the messages and be able to present a clear picture of the events unfolding.  A briefing of the President is going on right now and the General Staff is demanding to know exactly what is going on and where.

So far the news is looking bad and Lt Smith is thinking to himself that calling it that is being charitable.  The situation gradually is coming into focus and there is no doubt that the focus of the Japanese onslaught appears to be in the PIs and Malaya.  The Commonwealth troops are reeling from the sudden ferocious assaults and the only good news seems to be that a counterattack at Naga has thrown the IJA back.  Well it's something at least.  Maybe the Army of the Phillipines is really as good as MacArthur thinks?

The USN has sortied the Pacific Fleet from PH due to sketchy reportings of a Japanese fleet sighted to the NW of the base. 

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/14/2009 1:52:33 AM)

December 9-12  Washington DC

Commander Phillips asks Lt Smith into his office and tells him to shut the door.  "Bill, what the hell is this request for a transfer?  You know that I need you here.  I want you to withdraw the request, for now.  You know that the Navy needs to fill out ship crews and that new vessels will be sliding off the ways faster than we can imagine.  This'll require men like you and me, so please, for now, stick around."

Bill answers with a sullen look on his face, "Aye, aye.  But you know that I'll resubmit the request George.  I'll keep giving it to you until I can get into this fight."

The fact that the two men are on a first name basis in so short a time is a testament to the bond between them that is growing from their mutual respect.

Bill goes back to his office and lies down on the cot that's now there.  The visits to the apartment are short and irregular.  He lies there thinking of the latest reports, all of which are gloomy.

Wake, Guam, Nanchang, Makin, Legaspi, Vigan, Kuatan, Lingayen and Laoag have all fallen.  Other spots on the map are under attack.  Hong Kong is pleading for help as they hang by a thread.  IJN fleets seem to be heading for the northern coast of Borneo, though reports from the Dutch are considered suspect as there's no way to confirm anything there.

Allied shipping has taken it on the chin in the PIs as anything larger than a conoe that moves seems to get sunk.  The British and Dutch seem to be moving their shipping with light loses though.  Allied warships have fled the PIs and are basing with the Dutch fleet.  Force Z has retreated to Ceylon as the British try to build a force that can protect India and maybe do damage to the Japs as they advance on Singapore.

Meanwhile Lt Phillip Grant cools his heels at PH awaiting assignment.  He's not sure why he's been forgotten, or so it seems, but there's a war on and already it's almost a week of fighting and here he is rotting at the bar in The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.  Some people might consider this a lucky break as men are dying across the Pacific.

I've been on the road for the last 4 days with no internet access so with luck I'll get a turn from Steve tomorrow.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/15/2009 12:49:11 AM)

December 13-16 Pearl Harbor

Lt Phillip Grant continues to wait for an assignment as he reports each morning to an office to be told to report back tomorrow.  His tan is getting deeper and he thinks that he's drinking to much, there's not much else to do.  As a gunnery officer he has hopes of joining one of the BBs, but they're all at sea right now.  As a matter of fact there are only some DDs, mine warfare craft and subs at PH.  New planes are arriving daily and it seems that the skies are filled with Army planes on patrols or training missions.  He wonders where the USN is and what it's up to.

Meanwhile Bill and George sift through the comms flooding in and they see that Davao, Dadjangas, Brunei, Alor Star, Morotai and Weda have all fallen.  There is constant fighting as HK continues to hold and that's about all of the good news for the moment.  San Francisco has paniked citizens as a Japanese sub or two ply the waters around the port and the USN and Army try in vain to hunt them down.  Morale among the citizenry is low as a float plane recons the port on a daily basis.  Something, somewhere by somebody has got to slow the Japanese down.  The problem is Allied forces are scattered and ill prepared to deal with this onslaught.  There was a small skirmish between IJN cruisers and USN and Dutch ships.  The Japanese suffered a few gunnery hits and gave nothing in return.  The Allied fleet returned to base and then was order to shift ops as IJN CVs were sighted south of the PIs.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/15/2009 3:27:10 PM)

December 17  Moscow

Uncle Joe rages at this latest Japanese transgression and orders the following note sent to the Japanese embassy.


Any further border crossings, mistake or otherwise, will be viewed as an act of war.

J Stalin, Chairman

The Japanese claim an error by a unit commander and for now the Soviets are content with a repositioning of forces, increased training and a heightened state of alert in the area.  Knowing the Soviets and their penchant for doing whatever they deem proper at the moment it's a tough call about what the Japanese can expect. 

Hong Kong has fallen.  Allied naval assets, Dutch and American, are being repositioned due to the threat of air attacks.  This renders the surface force assembled in the area less of a threat as the sailing times increase.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/16/2009 3:31:53 PM)

December 18  Moscow

Molotov and Stalin are in conference discussing the pressure being brought to bear by London and Washington to declare war on Japan.  Stalin is enraged that the Japanese have flown many recon missions in the last day and 2 air attacks, 1 each, on Borzya and Khabarovsk were reported.  He's screaming at the top of his lungs now. "So Tokyo was lying through their teeth about the incursion?  Well if it's war they want, then it's war that they get.  This time it will end differently for Japan than when an inept Czarist Russia fought them." 
Molotov cautions, "Don't forget that we're not prepared to fight the Japanese right now and the Germans still advance deeper into the Rodina.  Why don't we demand an official apology from Tojo and prepare?  We will hit them suddenly and hard when they least expect it.  If they pull this again then fight, but the raids were small and did little damage."
Stalin peers at his minister and tells him to send a dispatch to Tokyo demanding a cessation immediately or a declaration of war will be declared.  He has decided that Tojo and Hitler are both trecherous dogs and that they must be dealt with.  He will attack the Japanese forces as soon as his forces are brought up to full strength and the Japanese shift some troops elsewhere. 

Meanwhile back in Washington DC word has come in that Aparri has fallen and that American and Phillipino troops are reeling in retreat.  Naga is still held but the Japanese are building up a large force for what appears to be another go at taking it.

The IJN appears to have some carrier assets in the Borneo area, but exactly what isn't clear yet.  Where is the KB wonder Bill and George and why hasn't anything concrete on it's location surfaced yet?  If they can't give an accurate assessment to the General Staff how can forces be allocated properly to slow the onslaught?

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/16/2009 5:00:15 PM)

If at any time any of you readers would care to throw some hints in my direction concerning prosecution of the war or the AAR itself, please feel free to do so. 

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/17/2009 6:04:43 PM)

December 18  Berlin

Hitler has accepted the resignation of Field Marshll von Brauchitch as head of OKH and has taken command of the army on the Eastern Front himself.  He sacks Field Marshall von Bock and replaces him with Field Marshall von Kluge.

Stalin has received a prompt reply from Tojo and a fragile peace will hold between Japan and the Soviets, for a while longer.  After all Uncle Joe is now in a good mood as the Germans are retreating from the approaches to Moscow.  The Germans aren't supermen after all, me thinks.  The Japanese will be dealt with as soon as things turn in the war to save the Rodina as the Northern and Southern areas are not going well for the moment.

Washington has intercepted communications between Moscow and Tokyo and FDR can be heard 10 blocks from the White House as he thunders "They did what?"  It seems that the Japanese "mistakingly" had troops cross into Soviet territory and Tokyo issued an apology and immediately pulled them back.  The next day recon flights were flown and 2 air raids conducted.  Stalin issued an ultimatum and Tojo agreed to resume the uneasy truce in the area.  Chruchill has contacted FDR and is livid about Russia's not entering into conflict with the Japanese.  "Another front is what we need the Japs to be fighting on to give us some time."  FDR agrees, but there's nothing to do except apply limited political pressure.  Harry Hopkins will be meeting secretly with Molotov in the very near future.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/19/2009 4:09:06 PM)

December 19, 1941  Washington DC

News arrives of the fall of Tavoy and Taiping is virtually defenseless and the IJA has arrived in force.  This will cut off all hopes of any retreat for the Commonwealth troops in Khota Bharu.

China continues to see bloody assaults by the IJA and yet the Nationalist Chinese are giving good account of themselves.

Submarine activity in the SF area continues with 2 confirmed IJN subs spotted within 100 miles of the harbor.  Somebody will have hell to pay if this isn't cleaned up and soon. 

Commander Phillips has just received orders for his reassignment to SF.  He informs Bill that until somebody new comes in he's in charge effective immediately.  They wish each other luck and Bill accompanies George to Union Station.

In Hawaii Phil continues to wait for his new orders.  Is it possible that the USN has no use for him for this long?  He still sees relatively little activity in PH considering that there's a war on.  Where the hell is the fleet?  Is it possible that the entire Pacific Fleet sailed to do battle with the IJN already?  He's suffering from to much time on his hands with nothing to do.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/20/2009 5:56:00 PM)

December 20, 1941  Washington DC

Bill sits in the office thinking that he's the only unlucky soul in the US military.  His boss is gone, the war is raging and he's stuck in DC.  He sifts through more comms and sees that the Chinese in Changsha are still holding despite increased pressure.  Rabul is under attack, both naval bombardment and amphib assault.  He looks at the map to find Rabul's location and is stunned.  The Japs have advanced this far this fast?  He reads on and see that Kuala Lampur has fallen.  Another day of reports that will make the brass unhappy for a change.

Aboard a train that's Chicago bound George sleeps peacefully.

In PH Phil faces another day of the same.

In Manila Bay another merchantman readies to make the run to safety.  Reports state that the IJN has loosened it's noose in the PIs and moved on.  There are reports of air attacks on ships trying to flee the PIs though.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/21/2009 5:23:05 PM)

December 21, 1941  180 nm WSW of Manila, Phillipine Islands

The night is dark, the air is warm and the seas are calm.  The crew of the SS Capillo are trying to get some sleep, but their nerves make this a difficult task.  Their captain is an old hand and they figure that if anybody can get them to safety, he will.  Suddenly the ship shudders and is lifted upwards accompanied by 2 huge explosions in quick succession.  The unlucky vessel has been hit by 2 Long Lance torpedos and sinks almost immediately.  The few survivors are struggling to reach anything that floats.  This seems to be the fate of all vessels trying to elude the Japs.

Bill reviews the day's events and notes that Tuguegarao, Taiping and Kavieng have fallen.  Rabul is under heavy attack and the Aussies are trying to mount an effective defense.  The pattern is all to common.  The Japanese rule the skies and seas, making the taking of these far flung outposts all the easier.  He's aware that Pearl Harbor has requested immediate resupply and troops, if possible. 

Phil reports again with the hope of an assignment.  On the way to the base he sees that overnight it's become a crowded hive of activity.  He sees BBs, CVs, CAs, hell the fleet is back!  He's told to report back tomorrow.

In Moscow it's noted that things in the Far East Command have returned to the dull, normal routine and the focus remains firmly on dealing with the German invaders.

A joint Dutch and American surface fleet is into the second day of it's current mission in which they hope to intercept a Japanese convoy.

In SF large convoy gets under way with a destination of PH despite Japanese sub activity in the area.  It's imperative that this convoy reach PH.

Hornblower -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/21/2009 10:55:56 PM)

Good Luck [:)]

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/21/2009 11:59:52 PM)

Thanks, I'll need it with the way things go for the Allies early on.  I hope you enjoy the story as it unfolds.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/22/2009 5:17:21 PM)

December 22, 1941 

The submarine Tarpon hauls a single survivor of the SS Capillo out of the water.  Commander Wallace, the Tarpon's skipper, had to wait a few hours for the IJN TF, which consisted of 2 crusiers and 5 destroyers, to vacate the area before he could conduct rescue ops.  They have saved a 17 year old boy named Damon "Red" Gaffney.  The crew of the Tarpon are going out of their way for the boy.  Red tells them that he was off duty at the time of the attack and that he was on deck looking out at the sea.  The next thing he knew was that he was flying through the air and landing in the ocean.  He also jokes that the swimming lessons he never took would've been almost as usefull as the hatch cover he was found lying on.  Until the Tarpon makes port Red is a guest of the USN.

Phil reports for orders and as usual the answer is the same. 

Bill sees the reports of more ship sinkings.  That naval TF bombarded Morotai, but found no shipping there.  Rabul and Khota Bharu remain in Allied hands despite the Japanese attacks.  Manila's harbor was subjected to an air raid, it's first, and a number of subs were sunk or badly damaged.  Is there any place in the Pacific that the Japanese can't reach?

A Japanese sub was detected and attacked as the large convoy sailed for PH.  The question is did it report the convoy or possibly it missed spotting it?

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/23/2009 5:59:42 PM)

December 23, 1941

The cramped spaces (why called s paces when none exist?) are giving Red the heebeejeebies already.  His time on board the Tarpon have already taught him why subs are called pig boats.  Hot bunking, body odor, the smell of machinery is making him claustrophobic.  When the sub surfaces at night he's allowed to go topside for some fresh air.  Red can't wait to reach port and sign onto another ship to get back stateside where he plans to enlist in the USN and reap his revenge for those who died on the Capillo.

The Allied TF that bombarded Morotai was ordered north and they are rewarded with finding 3 unescorted APs.  One is sunk another left burning and the third is damaged.  They will return to base as lingering is to dangerous.  All in all it's a poor showing for a naval TF made up of cruisers and destroyers.  The experience gained is valuable though.

Bill has a day go by where he notes that no Allied bases have fallen.  He doesn't get up any false hopes as nothing has changed for the poor slobs on the ill prepared front lines.

George is now on a train bound for Denver, where he will change to one bound for SF.

Phil is ordered to report at 0600 the following day to receive his new posting.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/23/2009 9:34:39 PM)

December 23 1941 

Continued after my being interrupted by a huge T-storm.  The nerve of Mother Nature disrupting my having a beer in the yard and playing WITP.

Phil has hopes of joining up with one of the BBs or CAs and expects this, though the military has a knack of being nondiscriminatory based on qualifications so he retreats to the beach a bundle of nerves.

Back on the Tarpon orders have been received so a course for a new patrol area is plotted.  It was expected that hunting in the waters around the PIs would be a target rich environment, but it hasn't worked out that way.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/24/2009 4:39:13 PM)

December 24, 1941 Washington DC

Bill stares blankly at the wall map in his office.  Cagayan has fallen and Georgetown is now under attack.  How can the Japanese seem to be everywhere at once in force he wonders?  Why hasn't the US relieved the PIs as yet?  What's the Pacific Fleet doing sitting in PH instead of seeking out the IJN and giving battle?  He sees communication that are deemed important before his office passes then on, but he still doesn't see the bigger picture of what the US and her Allies are really up against.

Phil reports in to get his assignment, thinking this will be a great Christmas present.  He stares blankly at the orders in a state of shock.  He's to report to Pensaola Naval Air Station for training!?!  Surely this must be a mistake!  The clerk just tells him, "I just pass out what given to me.  I have nothing to do with what the Navy wants from you.  Sorry.  You don't have to return here as we'll inform you about tranport."  Phil has a low priority for transport back to the States so he'll have to await for a space on a departing ship.  He'll return to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and wait.

The Tarpon moves towards it's new patrol area without the slightest sniff of a ship, friend or foe, in these waters.  Red tries to sleep during the day while the sub is submerged. 

George gets to Denver so he'll be spending Christmas Eve trying to find a place to sleep and then resume the trip on Christmas Day.

The large convoy bound for PH is making slow but stready progress and appears to have slipped through the IJN's net, for now.  They expect PH to send out additional ASW support and hope for some heavier units also as you can assume that the enemy will do what you least expect of him.

Malaya is a rapidly deteriorating situation as more and more IJA troops land.

The only bright spot seems to be that the shipping that's escaped from the DEI have safely made it to their assigned ports or are continuing on to PH.  The Allies aren't able to form an effective convoy system at this point in time so the chance is being taken with sending individual ships on their way.

Aircraft are beginning to fill out the strength of the Army Air Corps.  The pilots are pretty green and training, training and more training is the order of the day.  The AAC has managed to evacuate the P-40Es and B-17s from the PIs to Oz.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/25/2009 5:29:34 PM)

December 25, 1941  Washington DC

Winston Churchill is putting the finishing touches on the speech he will give to a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow.  He'll be happy to mention that British forces have retaken Benghazi. 

Bill sifts through more reports and sees:

Allied shipping loses in the Atlantic for the year are approaching 500 ships at the cost of about 35 Uboats sunk.

The Axis air offensive against Malta continues.

Over 3K have starved to death in Leningrad.

Hitler has relieved Guderian from command of Panzer Group 2. 

Reports continue of a typhus outbreak among German troops in Russia.

Goebbels continues the appeal for winter clothing for German troops on the Eastern Front.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are now in Fort Knox, the US Gold Depository, Kentucky for safety.

Nauru Island has fallen while Tarawa is invaded.  Georgetown, Rabul, Mendo, Khota Bharu and Changsha continue to hold.

IJN carrier aircraft and BBs are operating in the waters of the DEI so Captain K I Riker of the CA Houston, who commands the TF in that area has retired to refuel and rearm.  "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" will continue to hit the Japanese as opportunities present themselves, but with prudence.

Aboard the Tarpon the war patrol continues to be boring as the sub moves to the SW.  There is no Christmas dinner for the crew, but morale remains high.

Phil receives notice that he'll be sailing in the first convoy heading to the US. 

George has himself a nice meal with other officers who are also in transit.  Nobody seems to know what's going on so George tells them what he can, none of which is good.

The Russians are filling out their Far Eastern LCUs with a repositioning of troops also in the works.  A plan is being drawn up for the attack on the Japanese forces in this area though nothing is firmed up yet.

The convoy bound for Pearl continues on with a course change to throw off any IJN plans to intercept it.

*As a footnote I'd like to mention that events mentioned in this AAR that happen outside of the Pacific really did happen and I'll try to weave them into this story.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/26/2009 1:18:22 AM)

December 26, 1941  Washington DC

Winston Churchill gets a huge ovation after his speech even though he says that an Allied offensive must wait until 1943. 

Bill is having a typical day as he shuffles more paper than he ever thought existed.  It's Friday and he thinks about how pre war almost nobody would be working today.  He has applied for a transfer as he wants to escape a desk and get back to sea, where he belongs. He spots a report that the Russians have landed on the Kerch Peninsula as they try to break the seige of Sevastopol. 

Victoria Point has fallen.

The Tarpon has almost reached her assigned area.  Red can think of nothing other than getting off of this sub.  He thinks that it's so much worse than the tenament his family was squeezed into before he left home.

George is on a train to SF with his ultimate destination being Mare Island.  The sound of the train's wheels on the track lulls him off to sleep.

Phil is doing what he now does best, have a drink and enjoy the beach.  Life for a bachelor naval officer with nothing to do isn't all that bad he's decided.  He jokes with anyone who'll listen that he's in training for New Year's Eve.  The boredom is killing him. 

The large convoy of badly needed supplies plods on towards PH.  The escort screen is much smaller than anyone would care for, but that's the way things are for now.  Reports of IJN sub activity in the waters surrounding Hawaii continue and despite a large effort the USN has failed to find and effectively mount an attack on them.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/26/2009 3:33:55 PM)

December 27, 1941  Washington DC

Bill sits at his desk and silently reads the reports of the surrender by the British at Khota Bharu and the 11K+ POWs.  So many men captured.  How can this be going so wrong as the Commonwealth troops are in such large numbers?  The IJA can't be so strong everywhere that sheer weight of numbers can sweep away all opposition.  Is it possible that the British are so poorly trained, supplied, equiped or are their officers bad? 

There are reports that Georgetown's collapse is immeninet. Landings are being made by the Japanese at Jesselton.  Rabul reports additional Jap troops arriving and help is needed.

Bill now decides to compile a list of ship sinkings that are confirmed that he's been keeping a tally of.

TYPE             Allied       Japanese

AK                  15               1
AO                  4
AP                   1                4
AS                   2
MSW                4
PC                                     1
PG                   2
PT                   5
SS                   4

This doesn't seem as bad as the daily reports once he considers that it's been 3 weeks of war for which America, Britain and the Dutch were unprepared for.  Tomorrow he thinks that he'll try to tally aircraft loses.

The large convoy continues unmolested towards PH.  Commander J Wells, aboard the DD Humphreys is in command of it and he's stressed as they approach their destination because he knows that the Japanese know that supplies must be sent to Hawaii.  He hopes that additional assets are deployed from PH to assure a safe arrival.  The convoy is made up of the following ship types:

AE    1
AK   25
AO    6
AP   11
AS    1
AVD  1
DD    6
TK   11

There is an ASWTF made up of 4 DDs and a CVTF centered on the Saratoga, 1 CL and 4DDs providing additional cover against any would be intruders.

The Tarpon has another patrol area change issued within hours of their arrival of the old one.  Commander Wallace wonders what's going on that would cause such a rapid change of orders.

Phil has taken to making phone calls to anyone he can think of that might be able to help him get assigned to a ship.  He knows that once he's on a ship bound for the US that getting an assignment a warship will become almost impossible.  Some of his classmates from The Academy had friends in high places so maybe there's still some hope.

George will be extremely well rested when he finally reports for duty at Mare Island.  He anticipates that there will be plenty of activity there and hopes to land an interesting assignment.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/27/2009 9:33:23 PM)

December 28, 1941  Washington DC

Bill is finding it difficult not to get depressed as he reads more bad news.

Rabul and Georgetown are both reporting that the situation is all but lost and they don't expect to hold on for another day.

Nanning is still the scene of sporadic fighting.

Jesselton has fallen.

Kuching was bombarded by the IJN and Japanese troops are landing.

A train has pulled into the station in SF and a naval officer continues to sleep.  The conductor tries to wake him up only to discover that the man is dead.  Commander George Phillips has died peacefully in his sleep.  The police are notified and they'll handle notifying the Navy.  Normal everyday life and death continues, even during a war.

Phil is still calling and recalling everybody he can think of.  The responses have ranged from "I'll see what I can do" to "Sorry, there's nothing I can do."  If Phil is anything it's having a never say die attitude.

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/28/2009 4:21:10 PM)

December 29, 1941 

Commander Wells is getting increasingly nervous as the convoy approaches PH.  So far there have been no contact with any Japanese subs or search planes and that, of course, is a relief to all those who sail on the ships bound for Pearl.  A CVTF of 2 CVs 5 cruisers and 8 DDs has sortied from Pearl with the sole purpose of helping to insure the convoy's safe arrival.  An ASWTF of 6 DDs has also been dispatched to help sheppherd the convoy to a safe delivery of it's badly needed supplies and LCUs.

Bills has received news of George's death and is saddened by it.  There's nothing he can do about it as it's busy every day in his communications section.  He has reviewed many messages for a change and has noted that Rabul has hung on for another day despite determine Japanese assaults.  The remnants of Lark Force, the bulk of which was air lifted to PM, has distinguished themselves in the battles around Rabul.

It hasn't gone so well for Georgetown, San Marcelino and Moulmein though as all of these bases are now held by the Japanese.

Soviet troops have made an amphib landing at Feodosiya in an attempt to relieve Sevastopol.

The TF centered around the Houston has sailed from Darwin in the hopes of lurking undetected and pouncing on unsuspecting Japanese targets.  Captain Riker of the Houston has been considering a strategy that suits his orders and leaves a line of retreat open to a harbor with ample fuel stocks to keep the TF going.  They've managed to burn lots of fuel since the start of the war and have only encountered those 3 APs a while back. 

The Tarpon continues to cruise and sights nothing.  Commander Wallace thinks that soon he will be getting orders to retire to a base for fuel.  He'll put Red ashore at the first opportunity as the poor boy is not made of the stuff required of a sub's crew.

CaptDave -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/28/2009 8:42:30 PM)

To this point, and presumably beyond, an enjoyable read. No advice or questions -- just encouragement to keep it up!

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/29/2009 8:16:25 PM)

Thanks for the kind words.  I'm trying to do this AAR in a way that gives a fairly complete view of the war from various angles.  I'm also trying to make it as enjoyable a read as I can.

December 30, 1941

Aboard the Tarpon Commander Wallace studies his charts.  They have arrived at the assigned area and so far there are no contacts.  This is the life of a submariner, lengthy periods of absolutely nothing except the mind numbing routine. The sudden action that is usually followed by the terror of a depth charge attack is the only "relief" of the boredom.  According to the last set of orders Menado is the expected target of another amphib try by the Japs. 

The naval TF headed by Houston cruises towards their destination of the Amboina area.  Captain Wallace calmly scans the horizon, studies the navigational charts and just by his presence keeps everyone on their toes.  He is the commander of the TF and is keeping a wary eye on the status reports from the various ships under his command, watching for the inevitable problems that will crop up when dealing with machines. The ships in this TF are on the hunt, yet it's easy for the hunter to become the prey.

Commander Wells knows that they convoy is now entering the area where sub attacks are most likely to occur.  The CVs in the area continue to fly large CAPs with their fighters, ASW patrols with the Devastators and the SBDs conduct naval searches.  There have been no contacts as of yet but he just feels it in his bones that all hell can break loose at any moment.  He's confident that the only real threat this close to Hawaii is from subs, but you never know for sure.

In the bowels of the Pentagon Bill has just been on the receiving end of a joke about his current assignment by a couple of naval officers passing by.  Bill is upset as he's starting to realize just how important his job really is.  If he doesn't pass long a comm to the proper destination tagged with the appropriate urgency bad things can happen and people could die needlessly.  He is sure that he'll go blind from all of the reading that he's been doing on a daily basis.  He has put in a request for additional staffing and office space as the number of comms are literally flooding his people and it's getting heavier as more commands and units become active or expand.  He anticipates that the US military is going to grow at a pace that prior to the war wasn't even imaginable.  Yes, Bill is starting to think of the Comms Sction as his own and until someone else arrives, he's relieved or is tranfered it is indeed his.  Enough of the daydreaming and back to work.

Lamon Bay has been invaded and Kuching has fallen.  Rabul gets a day of relative quiet as both sides are catching their breath.  In China the usual air raids and bombardments have ocurred in places such as Changsha, which appears to be a major focus of the IJA.  It's clear to Bill that the PIs, though under heavy pressure, aren't the main focus of the Japanese.  He suspects that Malaya and Borneo are the primary targets for now.  In China the Japanese haven't been very aggressive, but will troops from Manchuria be shifted to China?

Phil continues to burn up the phone lines and it's starting to look like he's going to be bound for the States.

The Soviets are busily building the forts at their bases as they don't trust the Japanese.  At the same time the ground and air units are being brought up to full strength as rapidly as possible though the fight against the Germans has priority on everything.  The time will come when Stalin will order the attack on Japanese held Manchuria and it will come with no warning. 

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (4/30/2009 5:56:34 PM)

December 31, 1941

Commander Wells scans the reports of increased Japanese sub activity in the approaches to PH.  This doesn't bode well for the convoy as it plods on towards it's destination of Pearl.  They're still to far out for LBA to be of help in ASW so the escorts are on their own.  There is a sonar contact and the DDs race off to prosecute an attack which succeeds in driving off I-3 before she can make an attack.  Just as the escorts are resuming their stations another contact is reported and they race off again, this time driving off I-168 before an attack on the convoy is made.  This routine happens again as I-8 was detected trying to sneak into attack position.  Wells wonders how long their luck of the past 7 hours can hold and is answered by the rumble of a distant explosion.  I-3 has managed to launch torpedos and one has hit AS Fulton.  The Fulton has suffered heavy damage to her systems, moderate flooding and light fires.  She can't keep up with the convoy so she's left behind to do her best to reach Pearl on her own.

In Moscow Stalin is told that the Germans have evacuated Kerch.  The Germans have decided to halt offensive operations in the Sevastopol area due to winter.

Bill reads that Tarawa and Lamon Bay have been taken by the Japanese.  Changsha and Malacca continue to be bombarded by the IJA.  He decides to tally loses since the start of hostilities and see that the Allies have lost 253 aircraft of all types to the Japanese loses of 189.  Not as bad as one would expect for the first month of the war, he thinks.  The Allies have lost 44 ships and the Japanese 10, confirmed to date.

The Tarpon continues her fruitless patrol.  Red Gaffney can't get used to life aboard a sub, no matter how hard he tries and can't wait to reach a port where he can get off of the Tarpon.

The Houston nears it's destination where the TF will refuel and commence patrolling the waters around Amboina.

Phil has given up his efforts with the phone and he heads off to the Royal Hawaiian's Bar for a beer.

AS Fulton

tocaff -> RE: The Battle Under: The Allies Fight Back (5/1/2009 5:06:15 PM)

January 1, 1942

Phil is awakened by somebody shaking him.  "Get yer ass up Lt", a SP enlisted man says.  "You've had a bit to much to drink last night and we picked you up for your own protection so you could sleep it off.  There's a jeep waiting outside to take you to pick up your stuff as you've got orders to report immediately aboard the Benham."  Like a rocket Phil is up and gone.  A night in the brig for any reason is nothing he wants on his record.  He jumps into the jeep where a sailor drives off while informing him that Phil is the new exec aboard the Benham.  It seems the Benham's exec has appendicitis and the ship has orders to set sail within the next couple of hours.  Her skipper LCDR J Worthington is eager to welcome Phil aboard as the Benham is part of a newly formed ASWTF with orders to clear the convoy's route into PH of any Jap subs.  Worthington tells Phil that there's no time to get himself squared away as they are preparing to leave Pearl immediately.

CDR Wells continues to pace the bridge of the Humphreys.  The Fulton has managed to stop her flooding and is currently pumping out water while the fires are almost out.  She's making 9 knots and an ASWTF is shadowing her in the hopes of bagging an unsuspecting sub.  I-170 tries to attack the convoy and the escort drives her down and prosecutes an unrelenting DC attack that results in debris, oil and some bodies floating to the surface.  I-4 tries to attack the convoy and is attacked by the esorting DDs before it can get into position.  Another sub, the I-7, has been spotted and attacked by an SBD out of Pearl.  The pilot reports hitting the sub, but nothing is confirmed.  The convoy is 120 miles from Pearl.   

Bill sees that the Japanese have used naval forces to bombard Rabul while it also suffers an air attack which is immediately followed by an assault that results in it's fall.  Taytay and Apamama, which is taken, both are hit with Japanese troops landing.  The Japanese continue to hit Changsha with air raids and artillery bombardments.  Malacca suffers an artillery bombardment.  Mersing, Tarakan, Singapore and Clark are all hit by air raids.  Happy New Year Bill thinks to himself.  A report sent from HK states that a Japanese vessel, the ML Hatsutaka has hit a couple of mines and sinks.  Well that nice he thinks as he wonders who the hell is left in HK with a radio and how they are managing to avoid the Japanese.  A Dutch sub, the KXVII, has managed to put some fish into a Jap AK, which promptly breaks in half and slips beneath the waves.  More good news is always welcome.

The Tarpon continues it's fruitless patrol while the Houston's TF refuels at it's destination.

DD 397 USS Benham

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