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RE: 1942 - 10/17/2015 2:16:03 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 12th

Sidney.

“Morning Blaney,” Vice Marshall Bostock greeted the general while carrying a mug of tea, “What is the news today?”
Despite his airy tone, Bostock’s face was grave. He did not expect any good news, hadn’t in what seemed like months.
General Blaney stood up and pointed at the map.
“Looks like they have a carrier group stationed south of Port Moresby. They have effectively blockaded PM. A small surface task force is now turning the tip of New Guinea. We can presume that it is the PM invasion force.
A knock on the door admitted a corporal with a message slip.
The General took it, read it, and handed it to the Vice Marshall.
“Horn Island. That closes the strait of Torres for the duration.”
Bostock nodded, his face grave, “Timor invaded too.”

“What do we know of the cousins?” the Vice Marshall asked.

“Curtin told me the 24th Division departed Pearl Harbor on the 7th or 8th.”

“Are they sending anything else besides?”

“Looks like a heavy surface escort, and some carriers.”

Both men looked at a map of the Pacific on the wall.

“It is far, bloody far.”



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Post #: 61
RE: 1942 - 10/20/2015 1:48:54 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 13 42

Small decisions have, at times, great consequences. Today, Spruance decides to take Carrier 3 on a more northerly route. Leaving the battleships and transports to proceed on the safest, southerly route, he takes his carriers West, towards Noumea.
Part of his problem is fuel. He doesn’t have enough to return to Pearl as it is. A replenishment force, forming up at Pearl will come down to meet him half way back and resupply him, but there is the nagging fear, in the back of his mind, that he might bring his carriers this far, only to lack the fuel to fight them. Cutting the corner in this manner, if a suitable enemy force were to appear in the area, he would be in a position to attack, or to get out of Dodge.
2/3 Ind Coy is at Luganville, building a seaplane base.



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Post #: 62
RE: 1942 - 10/20/2015 1:49:50 PM   
kaleun

 

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In Australia, the enemy continues to advance south, towards Daly Waters while the plucky Australians continue to fight a delaying action gaining time to reinforce Alice Springs.
Dili and Lautern captured.

DEI
An invasion force is approaching Palenbang.

Toungoo, Burma

Aside from his main job trying to scrounge up supplies, ammunition and gas to keep AVG flying, Capt Montes has one more assignment dropped on his imaginary desk. He is also the press corps for the American Volunteer Group.
“The press back home just laps this up,” Boyngton told him.
“Seriously,” he continued, “now that war has been declared, we run the risk of losing out on supplies. For the American public, this is a backwater, and defending the Brit’s colonies is not what they care about. Glam this up and get us our supplies.”
So he pulls out a British typewriter and types up a slightly glorified report. The story is good, and factually true. Eleven H81-A3 rose to meet the enemy 26 Oscar Ic fighter sweep. They tangled and one Oscar was destroyed. 3 H81 fell too, but Montes tried to put a good spin on it. The pilots, rescued, will be ready to fight again tomorrow, if they have machines to operate, of course. A big if.





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Post #: 63
RE: 1942 - 10/21/2015 1:07:37 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 14th
Palenbang, Wyndham, Port Moresby, Milne Bay, and Lae invaded.
Ketapang taken.

Orders go out. All the Catalinas from Port Moresby transfer to Cairns. The Empires go to Townsville and are ordered to pick up Wren detachment from PM.

Jan 15th.
Captain Montes job is to embellish the daily reports for the press. Not an easy job as, over Toungoo, 25 Oscars sweep the skies and are met by 26 H81s. Despite even numbers, 2 H81 are lost while only one Oscar is destroyed. It gets worse. Later in the day 3 Oscars fly by and are met by 9 AVG fighters. Three AVGs fall out of the sky!

Then again, the news is hard to spin.
Port Moresby, Palenbang, Milne Bay, Lae, Wyndham, and Pare Pare taken. Manado holds.



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Post #: 64
RE: 1942 - 10/23/2015 5:05:36 AM   
CrackSabbath


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Good to see you back in the saddle again! Looks like an interesting campaign so far.

Cheers!

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Post #: 65
RE: 1942 - 10/25/2015 4:39:08 PM   
kaleun

 

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Thanks CrackSabbath

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Post #: 66
RE: 1942 - 10/25/2015 4:39:18 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 16th

AVG 2 and 3 will stand down. Pilot fatigue has reached dangerous levels. AVG 1, with the dubious assistance of the Buffaloes of 67th RAF Squadron will provide CAP over Toungoo.

Japanese forces establish a foothold at Singapore.

Japanese forces take Daly Waters.

Tulagi occupied by the Japanese.

At Sidney, the Prime Minister considers Northern Australia. At Pearl Harbor, Nimitz considers the Solomons.
“They are coming,” he says.
“So they are,” Watanabe responds.
“Warn Spruance.”


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Post #: 67
RE: 1942 - 10/26/2015 5:05:04 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 17th
Australia.

Sparrow Battalion arrived at Tennant Creek; ordered to rest, it joins the 2nd cavalry regiment digging in. Gull battalion is ordered to move to Tennant Creek.
The first, large, convoy bearing supplies and fuel from the US arrives at Sidney. The papers, with the tacit complicity of Government, make a lot of this show of support. On the harbor, two oilers, Bishopdale and Victoria, load up with fuel to resupply Car 3.
At Pago Pago the 47 Construction regiment unloads and begins building.
After the arrival of a large task force of support ships, sub and destroyer tenders, seaplane destroyer tenders, repair and auxiliary ships, and a mine tender, Tahiti becomes a functional base of sorts, and the Southern Submarine base is operational. AS Pelias will service SS Narwhal, Nautilus, Dolphin, Cuttlefish and Tuna, as well as S-27 and 28. The S boats, completely inadequate for operations from this distant base will, eventually be sent back.
Narwhal, commanded by Lcdr Wilkins, C will patrol off Ndeni, Nautilus Lcdr Brookman W. H, to the ESE of Rennell Is, Cuttlefish LCDR Hottel M. P. NW of Koumac, Dolphin, Lcdr Rutter R. L. NW of Vaitapu. Defensive deployment, not something these submarines are good at, but at least, it is hoped, advance warning will be received, if the enemy moves towards the growing US bases.
Slowly, so slowly, a chain forms between the US West coast and Australia’s East.
At Aden, the 6th Australian Division, reformed, is ordered to prepare for Alice Springs, Government’s red line, and to pack up for travel.

Toungoo. Burma.

Montes packs his gear again. The enemy forces are on the outskirts of Toungoo, with the airfield coming occasionally under mortar fire. Two of the AVG echelons are ordered back to China despite protests of the British high command.
“They still belong to China,” Boyngton explains to the irate British brass, “I, of course, shall remain here with a third of my planes, but, barring new orders from my government, I must return the aircraft to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.”
AVG 1 moves to Meitkila.
Manado and Toungoo both fall to Japan during the night.





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RE: 1942 - 10/27/2015 4:16:44 AM   
kaleun

 

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January 18th

Balboa, the western end of the Panama Canal. Balmy tropical breezes. Ships passing through. Mostly east to west. Today, a gray submarine, SS Finback sails off into the sunset, destination Tahiti.
Near San Diego an enemy submarine fires two torpedoes at DD Rathburne, misses, and escapes.

US Carrier task force 3.
Spruance reads a message just decoded and delivered. Enemy fighter planes reported near Sidney. What does this mean? It could just be a submarine float plane, misidentified. Or it could mean the real thing, an enemy carrier task force. His position is just west of the Hoorn Islands when he orders his airgroups to a war footing. No more training flights; all groups are to be on alert during daylight hours. Fighters on 50% CAP at 15K feet 30% rest. SBD 3 on 20% search. SBD 2 100% naval attack. TBDs on ASW 80% at 1000 ft. He will not be surprised as he cautiously probes further west.




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RE: 1942 - 10/28/2015 3:22:07 AM   
kaleun

 

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At Tahiti, the once sleepy tropical paradise where Gauguin painted his idyllic scenes, a new support task force arrives. One of its ships, AS Fulton, refuels and departs immediately for Suva. The S boats do not have the range to operate from Tahiti. They will be based at Suva and operate from the submarine tender.

The PBYs of VP24 arrive at Canton. VP 22 arrives at Suva with plans to deploy to Luganville as soon as a tender can arrive there.

Canton Island.

Capt C.D. Baker gets up before dawn, as is his habit. Navy coffee mug in hand he walks over to the west side of the atoll. He looks out on the blackness of the ocean. There is nothing between him and his men, and the enemy. Two tiny islands, nominally under US control, but ungarrisoned, await the enemy's arrival to the west. But for those specks in the map, there is nothing between Canton Island and the expanding Japanese empire. And he is coming. Captain Baker feels it in his bones. His men feel it too, and every day they dig deeper into the coral rock that forms this godforsaken excuse for an island.
This is the time, he thinks, when they will strike. The battleships, beyond the horizon, their fire control masts, invisible in the darkness, ready to open fire when the sun, rising in the east, will illuminate the island, leaving the battlewagons for a precious second or two, still in the dark. His men were ready for this and every morning they moved into the fortifications well before dawn. Only after daybreak, the sea still empty, will they move out into the open and continue to dig.
He looks behind him, where a row of coconut palms marks the high water line and where the 2nd Marine tank battalion has dug in their M2A4 light tanks. Lieutenant Colonel Andrews waves at him. He, too, waits for the invasion every morning.
Reinforcements are coming; a coastal gun unit will arrive soon. Perhaps before the Japanese did.
In the lagoon the twelve PBY 5 of VP 22, engines silent, await the morning light to depart on patrol.
The rim of the sun rises over the eastern sky and the shadows race west. Captain Baker looks at the sea once more. Empty.
They will come, just not today.






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< Message edited by kaleun -- 10/28/2015 4:25:19 AM >


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Post #: 70
RE: 1942 - 11/3/2015 5:14:12 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 19th

12 PBY touch down on the lagoon at Canton Island. VP24, now assigned to the island while VP 22 departs for Suva; maybe for Luganville, if support Can be found. Capt Baker considers his fortifications; level 3, the manual says. Not enough if the Japs bring carriers though. There are coconuts for breakfast all around. The coconut palms are being chopped down, their trunks will add another layer over the roofs of the fortifications.

The BBC confirms in the evening what Tokyo Rose announced at noon. Singapore fell today.

January 20th
Aden
The men of the 6th Australian division load up in their transports. Scuttlebutt says they are going to Perth. It is far, far away.


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RE: 1942 - 11/5/2015 4:15:36 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 21st

Derby invaded.
The newspapers are all over the news. Government decided not to censor the invasion; after all, it would only be a matter of days before the news got out. Opinion pieces range from a major effort by the Japanese to seize Australia, to a simple attempt by the Japanese to establish a perimeter to protect their new empire recently acquired from the Dutch.
This last alternative is the preferred explanation at Government house. Some would call it wishful thinking.

Over Meitkila 26 Oscar sweep and meet 15 H81-A3. 3 Oscar fighters fall at a cost of only one AVG fighter.
AVG1 however has only 10 functional fighters left, despite captain Montes’ best efforts. Reluctantly 1-AVG is ordered to stand down again. Maybe some more machines can be rendered fit for duty. On the tent that serves as officer’s mess, 1st Lieutenant Neale celebrates his 4th kill, equaling him with 1st Lt Prescott. On the roster on the canvas wall 2 Lt Smith is on third place with 3 kills while 4th place is shared by 1st Lt Mc Garry and 2nd Lt Wolf with 2.

At Cape Town AP Dominion Monarch returns to the UK.
3rs AVG departs Kumming for Changteh


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RE: 1942 - 11/8/2015 6:21:07 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 23rd.

No one expects any good news on the newspaper and when the occasional piece shows up, it is invariably blown up, out of all proportion to its war value. For instance, buried in the third page are the fall of Lobato, Djambi, and Madjene. All places no one has heard of and those that follow the war need to look up in an atlas, if they can find one that has not been appropriated by the war effort. The people in Australia do not need a map to identify where Derby is though. The town has fallen and the defenders withdraw south.
On the first page, there is a report of a Dutch submarine, the “plucky K XVIII” that scored a torpedo hit on xAK Pacific Maru. Despite 2 depth charge hits from an E boat escort, the sub is expected to return to base shortly.
Two ships, Minelaying cruiser Bungaree and Destroyer Minelayer Stronghold depart Sidney bound for Perth. They shall refuel there and proceed to lay mines either at Broome or Port Hedland. Their captains do not share with their crews what they think of this pathetic effort to defend their homeland. On the other hand, what else is there for the Australian navy to do?
At Tahiti a Port Service engineer unit disembarks and immediately begins expanding, excavating and building.


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RE: 1942 - 11/10/2015 6:17:54 PM   
kaleun

 

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Over the skies of the Chinese city of Loyang, a small surprise greets the Japanese. The enemy has been bombing the airfield and the ground forces. Undefended, unsupplied, the Chinese huddle in the mud digging into the earth like rats. Today, the enemy bombers, 49 Ki21 Sally, with the nominal escort of 9 obsolete Ki27b Nate fighters, show up for their daily mission. Out of the sky 10 H81 A-3 of AVG/3 scream diving on the enemy formation destroying 2 bombers that spin in flames out of the sky, damaging 3 more that turn back home and blowing up one fighter in the bargain. The Chinese soldiers, huddling in the mud, miss all of this. Later in the day 25 Sally bombers return, unescorted, and find 5 AVG machines waiting for them. One Sally lost and 8 damaged for no allied losses.

Tahiti now sports a size 2 port.

AVG 3 transfers to Sian, leaving behind a single pilot and plane awaiting repairs. Japan is not expected to take today’s losses very well and the AVG fighters do not want to wait for the enemy’s wrath.


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RE: Disasters galore - 11/12/2015 3:04:55 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 24th 25th.

Captain Torres’ report for the 24th is not as optimistic as he would want. The enemy 43Ic Oscar seems to be more than a match for the AVG/1 H81-3, or perhaps it is the numbers 24 Oscar versus 15 H81-3. Even so, 1 Oscar destroyed at a loss of 2 allied planes. The enemy seems to have no problems replacing their losses, even this far from their bases. The AVG resorts to cannibalizing their own machines to keep others flying. Then again, who in the USA even knows where Mytkivina is?

The 67th RAF squadron, battle worn and exhausted is ordered from Shwebo to Calcutta where their Buffs will be upgraded to the, perhaps better Hurricanes.

In Hawaii, the 25th Infantry Division, still prepping for Suva is ordered to begin loading. Nimitz watching the task forces forming up and following their escorts through the minefield is pleased. A new division has been promised to him to cover up the hole left by the 25th.
Japanese naval forces have been reported by scout planes out of Dutch Harbor. Nimitz misses that division heading in the wrong direction, but there is nothing he can do about that. What he is certain about is that there are no carriers reported in those invasion forces. Probably a distraction, but something he can do something about. It will give Halsey something to do, and provide training for his naval pilots. Car 2 based on Yorktown is ordered to intercept and return.

In the airfields of the Eastern USA the first graduating classes of pilots leave their training groups and move to the general reserve pool. Their first assignments are airfields in the west coast, where they will await final orders.

In Melbourne, AS Canopus disbands for 2 days of repairs at pierside. It is miraculous what a larger port can do.

Cebu invaded and captured.

And then, just as the ships bearing the 25th infantry left the harbor, with their single carrier escort group, the teletypes at naval HQ Pearl Harbor open up in a veritable explosion of typewriter fire. Aides line up in front of the Admiral, message flimsies in their hands, messages they aren’t supposed to read, but their inability to control their fidgeting belies their orders.

FROM CV Yorktown
TO COMPAC

Received 2 torpedo hits 60 nm N Pearl. Situation not critical. Must abort mission. Returning Pearl.

Nimitz crushes the flimsy tossing in on his desk and, reluctantly extends his hand for the next.

FROM NPAC Anchorage
To COMPAC

Amtchika and Adak Islands invaded.

The Admiral’s eyes look towards the norht where his only available carrier is making her way back to harbor, with damage as yet unknown, and to the south, where his only infantry division continues her way south towards Suva.



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Post #: 75
RE: The Battle for Noumea - 11/15/2015 12:37:31 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 26th
The only US Navy carriers are now in the SOPAC area. Yorktown will take 60 days to repair the damage inflicted by those two torpedoes.
Reluctantly Nimitz orders the 25th to return to Pearl. Much as it distresses him to delay the buildup in the south, the threat in the north must be honored, even if not met, and the 25th is all he has to honor it with.
A message sent to Spruance informs him of the situation. 3rd Car is all that is there to protect the South Pacific.
At Alice Springs the 3rd Australian Division reassembles and begins its long march to Tennant Creek.

And then:

The Battle of Noumea, a game changer.
Spruance receives intelligence of an enemy light carrier force advancing on the south coast of Noumea, threatening the transports taking the 24th to Australia.
He reacts.
The Japanese strike first.
93 Kate bombers, 82 Val dive bombers 54 Zero fighters. These is not the strike package from a light carrier force!
16 Buffalo, 36 F4F rise.
CV Saratoga bomb hits 9!
CV Lexington BH 11 Torpedo Hits 1
CV Enterprise BH 2

The US naval strike package arrives over the enemy. 54 SBD 3 and 35 SBD 2, 18 F4F and 8 F2A
34 Zero escorting.
CVL Ryujo BH 4, Akagi BH 3, Zuikaku BH 1, Hiei, BH1, Shokaku escapes damage.

The second Japanese wave of 76 Kate bombers meets the allied task force
Lexington BH 2 TH 2 and sinks. CA Northampton 3 bomb strikes, Portland 5. Saratoga BH 4.

All carriers will sink overnight.

At Pearl a despondent Nimitz checks his intelligence estimates: Hornet arriving Balboa 38 days. Wasp June 8th.

Now the cupboard is really bare.


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RE: The Battle for Noumea - 11/16/2015 4:44:20 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 27th

Japanese troops come ashore at La Foa. The surviving aircraft from the sunk carriers, now based at Noumea, carry out sporadic attacks, uncoordinated, unled. Angry men, flinging themselves at the enemy, to no effect.

At Sidney, the 24th Infantry division unloads from their transports. The newspaper headlines announce the, slightly embellished results of the naval battle. Akagi presumed sunk, as is Ryuju. Some men follow the war, on hidden maps torn from high school atlases. You can tell who they are. The ones whose faces grow pale when reading the papers. If you were trained in lip reading you could read the same phrase, uttered in silence.
“Thank God for the Navy.”

La Foa will fall during the night, as will Palopo in Celebes and Benkoelen in Sumatra.

The newspapers in Pearl Harbor will be full with the story of a Clemson class destroyer, DD Peary, just arrived at the harbor, with half her systems destroyed, 30% floatation damage and her engines barely turning. Her skipper, Cmdr Webster V.W. steps down the gangplank to report. The crew, dressing the ship in uniforms the color of grease, or oil cheer him three times. The old destroyer just ran the gauntlet from Manila.





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RE: The Battle for Noumea - 11/17/2015 2:35:54 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 28th

The airfield at Sidney filled up, almost overnight, with fighters flown in from other aerodromes up and down the coast. 4 US pursuit squadrons flying P40E and one RAF squadron flying Buffaloes. A constant combat air patrol now flies over the city and port.

The naval aviators still fly out of Noumea and today, they score. Two xAK are hit, Tokati Maru once and Nishimi Maru twice at La Foa. Later in the day 18 SBD attack xAK Kamitu Maru. 11 get through the fighter cover and one scores. Even the old, slow TBDs get their licks in. 3 of them score 3 bomb hits on xAK Seyo Maru at La Foa. Enemy ground forces probe the perimeter at Noumea. The PBY fly off to Brisbane and the Seagull float planes to Luganville.

Elsewhere, at Changsha, AVG/3 stands down, men and machines exhausted. 1st Lt Hendress R tied for first place with capt Jentalt K at 3 confirmed kills apiece; 1st Lt McMillan has 2 and Cpt Reed, 1st Lt Conaut and Cpt Gunovordahl have one each.

In Colombo, CVL Hermes, CA Dorsetshire, Cornwall, Exeter and light cruiser Enterprise depart Colombo for Cape Town.







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Post #: 78
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/17/2015 2:42:09 PM   
kaleun

 

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Jan 29th

Today’s the day Cpt Baker and Lt. Colonel Andrews were waiting for. The enemy bombardment began on cue, moments after daybreak, but his men were ready for it. Also, the shells exploding and pulverizing the coconut trunks that covered the concrete fortifications were not the heavy monsters hurled by battleship rifles. They were 5 inch or so in size, light cruiser caliber. To his utter disbelief, there were almost no casualties among his men, or among the marine tanks. Now the enemy amphibious invaders began to make their way to the beach. Aside from an occasional shell fired to suppress the defenders the enemy approached the beach in an eerie silence. Two naval guard units land, unmolested on the beach.
Then all hell breaks loose. All the tanks of the 2nd USMC tank battalion open fire, as well as everything that the 142nd USN base force has. It lasts only minutes that seem like hours for the invaders, surprised, trapped on the beach.
A light cruiser, CL Tana escorts the transports back west.

TO: COMPAC
FROM: Cpt Baker, 142nd USBase force, Canton Island.
PHEASANTS FLY IN THE FALL HAVE REPELLED ENEMY INVASION. 52 AND 61 IJN GUARD UNITS WIPED OUT SEND US MORE JAPS

The Japanese forces are barely over the western horizon when a small task force arrives and begins unloading. The 57th Coastal Artillery arrived, a day late, but most welcome nevertheless.



Capt Torres files his daily report, 26 Oscar Ic find 20 H81-A3 over Meiktila and shoot down 7 of them. No Japanese losses. Pretty soon AVG 1 will have no machines to fly!






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RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/18/2015 2:09:43 PM   
kaleun

 

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AVG/1 now boasts its first ace.1st Lt Neale has 5 kills with 1st Lt Prescott in close pursuit at 4. Further kills must wait as the group is ordered to Schwebo.

January 30th

Noumea and Koumac captured. 2/4 Ind Coy destroyed.
The harbor at Sydney is large enough that 24th Infantry unloads in a single day. All thoughts of leave are bashed however as the men transfer directly into railroad cars that depart as soon as they are loaded.
“Where is Alice Springs?” some of the men ask.
“Must be some kind of resort,” the more naďve reply.



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Post #: 80
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/18/2015 2:28:55 PM   
kaleun

 

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January 31st


Canton Island.
The PBY from Pearl alights in the protected waters of the lagoon. It brings, among other things, emergency spare parts, small supplies, mail, and newspapers from Hawaii.
PFC Moretti stands at attention in front of Cpt Baker. On the captain’s desk, the newspaper headlines blare out their message:

Japanese Invasion repelled at Canton Island. Enemy forces utterly destroyed. US Navy and Marine troops request “Send us more Japs”

“What is the meaning of this?” Captain Baker spits out?
PFC Moretti was in charge of signals when the report went out.
“Sir, we add some nonsense at the beginning and end of the message, to confuse the enemy.”
“I know that you blithering idiot.” The captain looks at the harbor where the men of his base force, with the willing assistance of the marines try to unload the heavy guns of the 57th.
“The Japs read these newspapers too,” Captain Baker groaned.
“Since you want more Japs, join the burial detail, help dispose of the ones we have. Dismissed.”
There was no space to bury the enemy dead. The only solution was to pile the bodies in a downwind corner of the atoll, douse them with aviation gasoline, and incinerate them. A thankless job that no one wanted.
“The Japs burn their dead,” Baker thought, “they won’t mind.”
Once again he looked at the harbor. He could see Warspite zigzagging outside the lagoon, wary of enemy submarines.
“I hope they send our share of Japs somewhere else.”

In the East Coast several small units board trains bound for San Diego. Among them, 1st/102nd Inf Battalion, prepping for Christmas Island, and the 276 Coastal Artillery prepping for Bora Bora.


_____________________________

Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 81
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/19/2015 12:50:47 PM   
kaleun

 

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February 1st

Enemy forces supported by carrier air landed at Akyab on the 31st. CL Isuzu spotted supporting the invasion. The defenders retreated towards Cox Bazaar.
A group of B26 transferred to Suva set to naval attack.

In China, AVG 2 moves to Sian.






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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 82
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/19/2015 12:51:57 PM   
kaleun

 

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February 2nd
Allied ships flee Noumea and are hit by Japanese naval air assets after almost reaching the dubitable safety of Sidney harbor. 22 Val dive bombers and 26 Kate, escorted by 40 Zero fighters are met by 4 Buffalo and 34 P40E. Despite this generous CAP only one Zero and one Kate bomber were destroyed by the allied fighters. 4 Kate and 3 Val were damaged. As for the allied ships, xAK Cagou sunk after 7 bomb hits, AMC Cap des Palmes succumbed to 9 and xAK Royal T Frank took 3 hits.

Pearl Harbor

Captain Ito Watanabe enters Admiral Nimitz’s office with un-naval nonchalance. His salute and stance would give any petty officer an instant stroke.
“Watanabe,” Nimitz says, “What do you make of that Canton business?”
“Just a probe, I’d say sir.”
“The question is: will they come again?”
“I don’t think so sir. They are pushing south east, into Noumea and, I presume Suva will be next. Unless they are goaded by that press story, I don’t think they will be distracted.”
Nimitz frowns. He’d wanted the 24th at Suva, but it was now in Australia where, he thought, it would just be a very small drop in a very large bucket.
“How fast?”
Ito scratches his chin, “Pretty fast I’d say. I wouldn’t waste time if I was them.”

Orders are given.
SS Argonaut loads up with 50 Mk 10 mines and sets out to lay a minefield at Nadi.
A telegram orders the immediate halt to further expansion of the size 3 airfield at Suva; all efforts to be devoted to increasing the size 3 fortifications. This news is not welcomed in the island. 25th Infantry Division begins to prepare for Suva while Nimitz calls all his political friends, anyone he can think of that will help influence the White House to release the 25th. It will be an uphill battle.






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Post #: 83
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/22/2015 2:13:23 PM   
kaleun

 

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Feb 3rd

The air above Sidney harbor throbs with the roar of aero engines, Allied and Japanese both. This time, modern fighters, 77 P40 E join the rather obsolescent 11 F2 Buffalo in defending the harbor against 27 Zero escorting 68 Kate and 67 Val bombers. The Zero fighters, tied to their charges cannot perform as well as they are wont and score only 6 kills, 1 Buff and 5 P40, but lose only 2 of their own. The defending fighters manage to kill 12 Kate and 7 Val bombers and the Ack-ack gets one more dive bomber. 14 additional bombers are damaged.
This did not prevent the enemy bombers from delivering their eggs, CA Minneapolis, 4hits, Australia 2, CL Rakeigh 2, Concord 1.
Later in the day, 16 Zero fly over the harbor and meet 7 Buffalo and 45 P40E. Though outnumbered the Japanese fighters prove that, even with modern machines, the novice allied pilots are no match for them. 6 P40E destroyed, no Japanese losses.

Pago Pago now has a size 3 airfield.

In the evening Vice Admiral Skip Lockwood decides to take his old battleships and try and find the enemy carriers that are said to be loitering nearby, to try again in the morning.

During the night the B26 from Suva fly to Sydney where they load up with bombs tasked with attacking the carriers as soon as they are located. 19 P40E of the 13th Pursuit squadron under LtC Gray (2kills) will escort them to the carriers.

The PBY of 24VP arrive at Nadi and set up evacuating 2/3 coy from Luganville.

At Aden, CL Glasgow and DD Isis join CV Indomitable and set out for Colombo




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Post #: 84
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/23/2015 5:10:03 PM   
kaleun

 

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Feb 4 42
Lockwood’s battleships fail to find the enemy carriers in the night. The reason is that the enemy task force moved northeast to sweep up the remaining shipping that fled the Noumea debacle.





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Post #: 85
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/23/2015 5:10:58 PM   
kaleun

 

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In addition Ndeni and Luganville were invaded, Ilo Ilo and Broome captured.
Luganville cannot hold so the floatplanes based there as well as the ships (a floatplane tender) are evacuated to Tanna island in the south (the short range of the Kingfishers preclude them reaching Nadi in one hop)





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Post #: 86
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/23/2015 5:12:02 PM   
kaleun

 

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The B26 bombers from Sydney find themselves returning to Suva. The pilots wonder if the high command knows what they are doing. They at least wonder; the high command doesn’t.
All PBY at Ndeni are tasked with evacuating the ground forces 2/3 Ind coy at Luganville.
And North Australia is a shambles.





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Post #: 87
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/26/2015 1:21:49 PM   
kaleun

 

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February 6th

Wars are not won by successful retreats, Winston might have said that, but the news in Australia is full of the rescue of the Coy in Luganville, flown to Nadi, as well as the success in the staged flight of all the Seagulls from Luganville to Tanna, and from there to Nadi in Suva. The AVPs Pelican and Teal are following their birds to Nadi.
At Nadi, all the PBY move from their rescue mission to search and the B26 in Suva are set to naval attack. Also at Suva a Marine group of obsolescent Vindicators are set to naval attack.

In Australia, the US 24th division arrives at Alice Springs and is set to unpack. The plan does not call for the 24th to be deployed further north.

Naval reconnaissance shows enemy forces approaching Java. Without many other options, most of the submarine forces in Soerabaja are set to seed mines in Semarang and Tjepoe

The invasion however occurs in Kalidjati. A task force of DMS clear paths through the minefields and the Japanese come ashore.

AS expected, Ndeni, Luganville, and Efate are taken by the enemy.






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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 88
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/28/2015 8:14:51 PM   
kaleun

 

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February 7th

Fuel running low at Sidney. Only 27000 tonnes left. A Tanker task force departed Sidney for SFCO via Tahiti. AS Canopus repaired in Melbourne departs bound for Townsville where a submarine base is planned. She will refuel at Sydney.

SS-27 scores one torpedo hit on xAK Genoa Maru near Noumea.
Kalidjati falls, as expected.

In Burma, The Imperial guards/B division pushes on towards Cox Bazaar.

Lark Battalion arrives at Tennant Creek and promptly merges with Sparrow and Gull to form the 23rd Australian Brigade. The Brigade will wait at Tennant Creek awaiting the arrival of the 3rd Australian Division and will then move south to Alice Springs.

At Cairns all the available PBY begin to evacuate the troops that have withdrawn to Buna. The first unit to be so evacuated will be the New Guinea Volunteer Rifle battalion.

In the West Coast the 27th Infantry Division, at LA will move to San Francisco via rail and is assigned to the North Pacific command.


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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 89
RE: Canton Island Invasion - 11/29/2015 3:50:14 PM   
kaleun

 

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February 8th.
Pearl Harbor

Admiral Nimitz, his aides, secretaries, and all the brass in Honolulu assembled round the long conference room table. In front of the flag rank naval officers and the Army generals were thin, identical folders. Inside was Ito Watanabe’s current assessment. From a dais, Capt Watanabe addressed those present.
“Java is the final piece in the Japanese resource grabbing drive.
Once Java is conquered, the enemy must create a defensive perimeter to protect his resources. The occupation of the northern Australian bases is part of this perimeter; he aims to deny our long range bombers bases from whence to attack his resources.
Resources, once gained, must be transported to the home islands. Our submarines’ lackluster performance to date is an encouragement to the enemy. The loss of our carriers in the battle for Noumea makes the submarine arm even more important. Their performance must improve if the enemy is to be denied the resources gained by their expansion.
We can expect the Japanese to fortify their Eastern flank to delay our advance into their empire.
It is difficult to make predictions, but, in their place, I would attempt a thrust into Suva, Pago Pago and Tahiti, to sever our transport lines to Australia.
His report complete, and absent questions, Capt Watanabe departed. Behind him, silence.



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