From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
11 Dec 43 - An omen of things to come.
The Harder is still hanging around 2 hexes NE of Palembang, smack dab on top of the route to Singapore. I have 3 separate ASW TFs sitting there. Today, Shirataka found her and hit her once with a depth charge. I know she's been hit at least once before. Hopefully that sends here home, but there's probably half a dozen more subs headed there. I know I'd be doing that.
A hex east of Buna, the I-9, who's job it is to scout, not attack, decided to surface and attack an LST. She hit her twice with torpedoes sending her to the bottom, but not before being hit 5 times by a 40mm Bofors. Here's her damage: 6-35(6)-4-0
The 23 Tank Regiment is fully repaired and the 19 Division is repairing nicely now and is at 284 AV. The BBs will reach Ominato tomorrow and replenish their main gun rounds. Then they'll return and I'll finally attack Umnak.
The US carriers disappeared after their attack on Nauru Island. I have a few subs in the area looking for the carriers in case they return.
I had dropped off some mines by sub at Mili a few days ago and today it paid off. The DD Caldwell hit one and is apparently heavily damaged. The report said 2 mines were cleared. I wonder if that includes the mine that the DD ate.
It all started with an 12 plane Betty attack on an enemy TF that had been floating around about 7 hexes south of Truk. They spotted 2 BBs and a CA and hit the BB Massachusetts with a torpedo. I think this is a bombardment TF of 9 ships. I hope they try to bombard Truk. I have 450 mines (yeah, I know, unlikely to do anything) and 99 CD guns. All those base forces that were in New Britain and points south ended up at Truk. There are also a few subs around Truk to give then a warm welcome. Could be interesting.
In the morning the bombers returned to Truk, a total of 187x 4 and 100x 2E bombers escorted by 26x P-38Gs. My response was an even 200 fighters. The first massive raid got through followed by a series of squadron sized raids that did little. Here's the final tally:
Fighters: 11 destroyed, 1 op loss
2E bombers: 18 destroyed, 1 op loss
4E bombers: 32 destroyed, 13 op losses
Fighters: 26 shot down
84 planes destroyed on ground.
Japanese pilot losses:
IJAAF: 5 KIA, 12 WIA
IJNAF: 2 KIA, 4 WIA
Truk Damage: 0-54-97
So, the airfield is closed. I have a LOT of engineers there (and supply too) so the airfield should be repaired at a fairly good clip. There is also a lot of AAA so continued raids will cost him in planes lost and damaged, as well as pilots. Truk will recover, this time. I won't station nearly as many planes there anymore. His last 300 plane bombing raid was 11/24/43, so 17 days for him to recover. I expect continued raids to attempt to keep the damage up, but he'll run out of steam eventually due to damage and low morale. I see about 180 planes at Kavieng now (where he's been stationing his bombers. It was over 300 yesterday, so there are a fair number of damaged planes too.
I'm not too concerned about my destroyed planes. My pools are good. I am pleased at the low number of pilot losses, especially the naval pilot losses.
My bombers hit the airfield at Kalemyo, where the level 4 airfield is being upgraded. They caused a decent amount of damage that wasn't fully repaired. There were some Hurricane IIbs guarding the airfield!
As I said earlier, the Oscar IIIas performing LRCAP over Chungking didn't do anything. They were from 4 hexes away using drop tanks but set to only 4 hexes. There were 3 units doing this mission from 2 different locations. I reset their max range to 14 and will try it again tomorrow.
The bombers didn't do a lot today. They killed only 5 squads (2 infantry) while disabling another 128. The ground bombardment killed 21 (20 infantry) and disabled 36. There are 164 ground units in Chungking (down 1 from yesterday).
A total of 204 Chinese infantry steps have been destroyed this month.
The Japanese army is ready to go with 11,069 raw AV. Tomorrow, the deliberate assault goes in. Let's see what this does.
Reinforcement: MTB G-162
Not much else to discuss today.
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