From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Operation Roller Coaster: On Pucker Factor Day when I half expected the wheels to come off, D-Day goes nearly perfectly. I had issued a complicated set of orders that included some of the bombardment TFs that fired yesterday to withdraw and merge with invasion TFs (to serve as CD-gun sponges) with other bombardment TFs moving forward to bombard the beaches prior to amphibious landings at Maloelap, Mili, Jaluit and Ailingalap. When the movie started with a series of "TF X merged with TF Y" messages, it seemed a good omen.
In the morning phase Allied ships bombarded Jaluit and Mili. No bombardment was deemed necessary for Maloelap, which had been hit hard the day before. All three landings went well - shore guns claimed one supply LST at Maloelap. No other hits of not were registered. Most of the assault troops were aboard APA, which helped greatly, but most were also poorly prepped, which meant a good number of disablements.
During the day, a host of Japanese strike aircraft targeted Allied TFs, especially those at Ailingalap and Mili. Bleedover CAP from the carriers was robust at Ailingalap and meager at Mili. But the Allied fighters downed more than 200 enemy aircraft, losing a dozen of their own on the day. It had a bit of the feel of the Mariannas Turkey Shoot, which was awfully nice. The only hit scored of note was that a Betty put a TT into BB Washington at Mili. She has 20 FLT damage but will remain and continue operaations.
The afternoon phase included amphibious landings at Ailingalap. This base doesn't have an organic CD unit, so no pre-assault bombardment (but capital ships were embedded with the amphibs just in case). 3rd Marines came ashore here in decent shape, though lack of prep is again a factor.
At the close of the day, there were four shock attacks since each base is an atoll. The Allies easily took Mili (with its level one airfield) and Jaluit (with its level four port). At Ailingalap, the shock attack dropped forts from 4 to 0. This base should fall tomorrow. And at Maloelap, the attack came off at 1:1 and dropped forts from 5 to 4. (This base may need a bombardment TF tomorrow).
The Allies have staged forward a P38G squadron to Mili and PBY squadrons to that base and Jaluit (each have base forces ashore already, and Mili has a Sea Bee unit). As you players know, getting patrols up and running is a major step forward, though I don't get the benefit of that for another day. So KB might pounce yet with utter surprise.
The AKE/AE TF is amidst the carrier TFs, just two hexes from Jaluit, and will disband in that port tomorrow. Already, some of the combat ships in the bombardment TF that hit Jaluit have been able to replenish. So AA is 98% and guns are 88% (though the big guns are the ones lacking ammo).
I'll think overnight what to do tomorrow. It will probably include the BB bombardment of Maloelap. But I need to decide whether to proceed immediately to Wotje and Roi Namur or whether, instead, to pull a bit to the south, attend fully to matters at the four bases currently involved, and wait for the patrols to have a day to work before moving north. There is also the option of moving south to Makin (possibly ungarrisoned) and Tarawa (probably strongly garrisoned but the Allies will hit with a lot). Not sure yet. Perhaps I'll compromise by remaining mainly in place but also hitting Wotje.
Operation Circus: Mainly quiet as IJN subs pick off two barges. Half KB North (showing 340 aircraft) remains posted at Attu Island).
Battle of Sumatra: No bombardments today. Bombers hit Sabang and the west road defenders. Supply down to 6k. Japanese bombardment results in the destruction of 14 IJA guns. This base is ripe for the fall. This will happen soon.