I read here and there a couple times that land based air have a hard time conducting LRCap over ships at sea, and that even if they find their target there are still penalties in how many aircraft will make it to cap.
But I dunno why with that many planes you didn't get any at all to the ships. When I first took Rangoon I had 9 or 10 fighter groups stationed there that I set to LRCap with droptanks and used them to cap incoming freighter taskforces. They never seemed to put as many planes in the air as normal cap would, but they still always had some planes on top of the ships. I set them the same way I set cap, with 40% set to the LRCap (and target set to the TF) and everything else left blank (0%).
I had the base the same command as the planes, plus an air HQ in place of the same command as well. Planes set to 40% LRCap with the TF as target, I might have also set 20% cap, can't remember (but I probably moved in british hurricanes to conduct separate cap). Alt 20K, 0% rest, drop tanks with range set out to 8 or 9 I think, I only protected them as they came between akyab and rangoon.
I remember fatigue was an issue for these guys. But other then that they shot down some small air raids by betties and sallies I think it was. Never more then 10 or 15 per raid. I don't remember how many fighters I got from these 9 25 plane groups, but it was enough to drive off the raids without any ships hit mostly. A couple TF's a week for a month or so before I moved south with my LCU and cleared airbases that were conducting the raids.
that's exactly my point - had 5 or even 1 plane been over the targets - I wouldn't have posted - I'd have still lost ships - that's not the problem....the losses are fine - BUT - not the way I suffered them...
if not one plane out of either 100 for the Koepang operation or around 50 for the Denpassar Operation has taken off - then I have a problem....
the Japanese Empire could live with the losses - but if it's just a random thing that happens, and has nothing to do with reality (having been in the army, I know that even Austrian pilots take off on a clear day - doesn't even have to be elite Japanese) -let's just say I'm a little disappointed....