11 May 43
More enemy air activity over Tavoy.
Big enemy strike on Portland Roads. This area has been quiet for a long time. I had fighter protection here for months but pulled them out, with the emphasis around Timor. But I forgot what I had in port there. Recent Allied shipping in the area, spotted by Glens, brought OPilot's attention to Portland Roads, and he evidently got a good idea that there were targets in port there. Bravo to him. I am reminded how close Lae and Buna are to Australia.
Morning Air attack on Portland Roads , at 91,132
Weather in hex: Light cloud
Raid detected at 80 NM, estimated altitude 9,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 28 minutes
A6M3a Zero x 29
G4M1 Betty x 62
Japanese aircraft losses
G4M1 Betty: 1 destroyed by flak
AVP Fazant, Bomb hits 3, heavy fires, heavy damage
AKE Mobile City, Bomb hits 11, heavy fires, heavy damage
AKE San Bernadino, Bomb hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
AG Albatros, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
ARD Tandjong Kv-2, Bomb hits 7, heavy fires, heavy damage
Port hits 21
Port fuel hits 4
Port supply hits 2
All ships sank after combat, clearing the port completely of ships. The ARD was a small Dutch one. It's always bad to lose valuable AKEs. These had been somewhat forgotten behind the lines.
My surge of air activity in China did not pay off. The hex north of Wuchow was not attacked, and my air units were spotted, and are ordered back to the capital. In the far north, Lanchow was not attacked, and the Allied fighters were not spotted nearby. They stay. In the south, Allied search planes did spot shipping south of China, but not the big tanker convoy, seeing just a small ship at a base on Hainan Island. The search itself may cause some concern for the enemy. Naval bombers, which didn't fly, were spotted at their bases and are ordered back to Ledo.
Lots of US heavy bombers from Koepang hit Kendari's port and airfield, finding 42 Tonys and 36 Oscars at the start. Unfortunately, the two squadrons of P-38s at Koepang did not fly to Kendari at all. This certainly increased the bomber losses. Total losses for the US were 6 B-24s and 4 B-17s. Enemy losses were 12 Oscars and 9 Tonys in the air, and 5 Bettys, 4 Lilys and 3 transport Helens on the ground. An ACM was destroyed in the port. Most of the bombers need to recover, which is bad for the upcoming invasion of Ambon. The P-38s are once again ordered to go to Kendari.
Sub Paddle hit xAK Sinko Maru with a torpedo near Tanegashima, south of mainland Japan.
Enemy destroyers are spotted west of Timor, southbound towards Broome. Naval bombers at Koepang, within range, didn't fly due to weather.
Invasion shipping for Ambon will leave Darwin and Taberfane and head towards Babar, to rendezvous with the carriers, battleships and escort shipping. Ambon has been showing 6 enemy units, and less than 10,000 men. The US 2nd Marine Division should be able to handle it. A Marine tank battalion, 2 artillery units, and a AA unit, as well as base support and engineers, will all land at once. In a few days.
Carriers and battleships at Truk are not seen today. 3 Fletcher class destroyers, having refueled at Wake Island, are on a raid and will pass close to and southwest of Marcus Island. Marcus is just a size 1 airfield. Odds are, the ships will be spotted. But if not, they'll patrol between Marcus and the Mariannas.