From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
1 Dec 43
Subs (and ASW) were busy today...
The SS Escolar finally got frisky and entered Truk's hex. She ate a DC from Shinonome. Hopefully, she took enough damage to go home. She's been a real nuisance.
Two hexes NE of Palembang, the Tachikaze hit Harder with a DC. She's sitting right on my route from Palembang to Singapore. I've got a couple of ASW TFs prosecuting her, along with some Sallies on ASW. All that in a shallow hex.
Just NW of Brunei, a PB on ASW duty was sunk by Seadragon. Another Ansyu bites the dust.
Finally, the I-22 made an attempt at Bunker Hill. She ended up taking 2 DCs, was driven to the surface where she took 3x 5" shells and got away. She's attempting to limp to "safe" port at Kwajalein with heavy damage: 46-88(38)-16(6)-0. More on that below.
The Sally sentai bombed the Allied troops at Umnak. The BB bombardment force is still a few days out. The carriers are hiding in the Pacific until the BBs arrive. Then, I'll go in with both barrels and attempt a Deliberate Assault.
The I-22 engaged Bunker Hill's TF (I think) but never spotted the carrier. This was 6 hexes west of Pearl Harbor. What I discovered is that there are 2 damaged carriers there. They split up into 2 TFs. One is 6 hexes out and the other is 4 hexes out. I had no idea. Wonder what damaged the second carrier? I missed something somewhere.
Anyway, I-22 is limping home. There are only 2 subs remaining, and they both are short of fuel. Once more day to attempt to engage the western most carrier (probably Bunker Hill, but who really knows). Then they'll both have to return to Kwajalein to refuel.
Pretty quiet here. Ted was happy to send over 100 bomber sorties against Rabaul's troop. What few there are there...
I sent 5 DDs south on a little side trip to clear out the xAKLs that were attracting my carrier planes, while my carriers withdrew north a bit to hide from Allied snoopers. I didn't find the baby cargo ships but I did find the enemy carriers. Turns out there are 3x CVLs: Princeton, Belleau Wood and Cowpens. In the ensuing action, both side's DDs wasted a lot of torpedoes and I got a single 5" hit on a BB, destroying some radar. They hit little Tanikaze (a Kagero) 7 times, including 2x 16 inchers and leaving her burning. The one up side was that Cowpens and CLAA Atlanta collided in the confusion. Then the Allied TF escaped.
The Allied TF was composed of 3 CVLs, 3 BBs, 2 CLAAs, 5 CLs and 12 DDs.
The two TFs blundered into each other again. The Allied ships focused on poor little Tanikaze. She was a torch in the dark, after all. The Allied TF then fled again to the south and out of sight.
Tanikaze sank later that day, my first Kagero loss of the war.
The weather must have been bad in the region today, because the only attack was 8 Helens escorted by 21 Oscars against Ledo where they met 5 Warhawks. I lost 2 Oscars vs. 1 Warhawk, and one Helen was lost to flak. Light damage was done to the airfield that was easily repaired. This ain't the way to close an airfield.
As I said earlier, I'm going to try a single 11k AV attack. Troops are resting for that event. No bombers flew in China today, probably due to weather. They probably needed the rest anyway.
Reinforcement: CVE Shinyo, 33 plane capacity, slower than molasses. This is the last CVE I'm building. She'll carry 24 Zeros and 9 Judies.
I heard sinking 3 times during the turn. I suspect one was poor Tanikaze, but the other 2 were Allied. No clue what they were. Both damaged Allied subs were reported sunk, but the points don't reflect that, so who knows. The two carriers are showing up west of Pearl, so it wasn't one of them. (Hell, until now I had no idea there were 2).
The D4Y4 Judy R&D advanced to 11/44 (will become operational 4/44).
I had 2 BB (Ise & Hyuga), 2 CL and 2 DD enter refit at various ports.
My TACOM pilots were slackers last month. I had 39 IJN pilots accelerate in month 10 and 12 IJN pilots accelerate in month 8.
I did get 728 IJA pilots graduate today. That's really nice. My IJA pilot pool was empty. I can really use them in my training units.
Not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but I decided to convert my size 360 Ha-34 engine factory to the Ha-45. That happened today.
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