From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
That's crazy stuff, guys. By the way, it's raining here again today. We got over an inch yesterday and so far today (as of 5am) another half inch. We've gotten 6.5" this month which is 3" more than the average. Definitely a damp month. 27" for the year so far, some of it snow.
Anyway, back to the war....
10 Sep 43
An Allied sub finally hit something off Truk. The Grayback hit an xAK entering Truk, but the damage was surprisingly light. She’ll repair for a few days and then head out full of resources.
Nothing to report.
Well, Ted finally broke this area wide open. He invaded Manus one day too early. My CM was 6 hexes out and was caught by SBDs and sunk after being hit by 12x 1000 lb bombs. Too bad. Those mines would have caused some disruption of the invasion fleet. His bombers went after the troops, which will not be able to hold off the attackers. There’s a Naval Guard, a SNLF company and a couple of AS units, each with a company of troops. That versus the 37 and 43 IDs, a combat engineer regiment and the XIV HQ. Note that the 37 ID is the Ohio National Guard. I spend many years in the 37 Separate Infantry Brigade (an extreme cold weather unit destined to guard the Aleutian Islands back in the cold war era, then the 37 Armored Brigade, the current version). I spent a LOT of years practicing freezing. And that was before we had decent cold weather gear. Anyone remember Mickey Mouse boots? We had ‘em but weren’t allowed to use them. How’s that for good leadership?
Manus Island is a shrewd choice. Its airfield is currently 2(5) so he’ll be able to stage 4E bombers there with a little expansion. It is 16 hexes from Truk, so that base will eventually be targeted. I’ve been pulling resources from Nauru and Ocean Islands. That is over. I’ll pull my main fleet back to Saipan, which has been building up for such an eventuality.
I am going to try and make it difficult for him though. The airbase and port are both trashed, so he won’t be able to base fighters there for a little while after he takes it. I have level 3 forts so I hope to hold out a day or two. I figure a week before he can base his fighters there.
I’m not going to post the replays. Too many of them. He had separate TFs for each of the 4 ground units, a bombardment TF, the CV TF and a (maybe) covering surface TF. It looks like the raw AV is 834:87 in his favor. I’ve got level 3 forts and jungle so maybe I can hold out a few days.
I’ve moved KB (Shokaku, Zuikaku & Soryu) to 10 hexes NE of Manus and MKB (Ryujo, Shoho and Hosho) 12 hexes NE, 2 hexes north of KB. I have a lot of planes flying naval search so I should be able to keep an eye on anything going on in the area. The idea is that my Jills with KB can hit any Allied shipping at Manus with torpedoes and MKBs Jills can hit ships at Manus with bombs. The Judys with KB are doing some naval search out 7 hexes and will hit anything in that 7 hex range should he stray north (but I doubt he will). Here’s what they have available:
In addition, I have 45 Betties and 27 Nells on night naval attack. 21 flew against the US carriers but missed last night. They mistakenly carried bombs because I forgot to replenish the HQ with torpedoes. They’ll be carrying torpedoes tonight.
I know he has at least 36 SBD-5s, which have an 11 hex range with drop tanks. I suspect he won’t do that because of the inability to escort them at that range. I’m pretty sure that, unless the US carriers move north of Manus, my carriers will be out of range. We’ll see.
I can see what appears to be a surface TF sitting at Manas. It may be the carriers (but I doubt it). We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Soon he’ll have Manus and Kavieng, making a ring around Rabaul, Gasmata and Talasea, and rendering them useless.
I’m curious what bombers have a 16 hex range. Gotta check that out. I also need to see if there are any fighters that have that kind of range to escort them.
Nothing to report.
A third convoy left Singapore for the Home Islands today hauling 163k resources. That makes a total of 365k that left since yesterday. More is loading.
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