5 Apr 44 - Preturn
First, the summary of the last turn.
Dutch sub KXII was patrolling the Vietnamese coast just southwest of Cam Ranh Bay, in shallow water. It spotted an AS with an E-boat escorting. 4 torpedoes were fired at AS Nagoya Maru, and 2 hit, causing fire and heavy damage. E W-25 hit the sub with a depth charge. Despite the sub's damage (SYS 8/FLOT 12-1/ENG 0/FIRE 0, it was lucky), KXII attacked again, firing 4 more torpedoes at the damaged AS. 2 torpedoes hit. 1 was a dud. But it was enough to sink the ship, judging by the audio. A nice day for the old Dutch boat. Previously, KXII had sunk a patrol boat and damaged an xAK and another patrol boat.
Yesterday, paras dropped on Saishu To, near Korea. Today, Sallys with Tojos and Georges attacked its port, causing minor damage. The island has no airfield, and the paras have no engineers. 2 US subs were unloading supply there. The base will not be reinforced and will serve as a distraction for a little while longer.
My carriers covering the feint towards Korea launched strikes on sub chasers west of Nagasaki. I had limited the naval bombers' range to 5, to keep them from flying to any enemy bases, but OPilot had a ranged CAP up and intercepted my strikes to the west.
Morning Air attack on TF, near Fukue-jima at 100,57
Weather in hex: Moderate rain
Raid spotted at 20 NM, estimated altitude 13,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 8 minutes
N1K1-J George x 22
Ki-44-IIb Tojo x 7
FM-1 Wildcat x 18
F6F-3 Hellcat x 40
SB2C-1C Helldiver x 28
TBM-1C Avenger x 18
Japanese aircraft losses
N1K1-J George: 2 destroyed
Ki-44-IIb Tojo: 1 destroyed
Allied aircraft losses
FM-1 Wildcat: 4 destroyed
F6F-3 Hellcat: 4 destroyed
SB2C-1C Helldiver: 1 damaged
TBM-1C Avenger: 2 destroyed, 2 damaged
SC CHa-47, Bomb hits 1, and is sunk
SC CHa-30, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
SC CHa-32, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
SC CHa-48, Bomb hits 2, and is sunk
SC CHa-45, Bomb hits 1, and is sunk
SC CHa-29, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
SC CHa-46, Bomb hits 1, and is sunk
30 Helldivers then went without escort and were intercepted by 18 Georges near Nagasaki. Some bombers were lost, and no bombs hit either SC that was attacked. Total air losses were 19 SB2C-1Cs, 12 F6Fs, 8 FM-1s and 4 TBMs. 9 Georges and 2 Tojos were shot down. Costly. Hopefully it will reinforce the notion that Korea is the target, and hopefully the planes can be replaced by nearby replenishment squadrons.
Some of the TFs moving towards Korea were spotted, but not the LCT task force. So the feint may not look as intended. Regardless, the carriers will now move to join the main armada to the southeast, and the LCTs will try to make it home on their own.
As for that main armada, there are 47 task forces in the hex just southwest of Amami Oshima. Just 2 were spotted today. A CVE task force and a big APA task force. Just seeing the APAs will probably get the alarm bells ringing on the Japanese coast. They only show up for the invasions.
I usually discuss the previous turn having just sent my next one. Today I'm showing the situation in Japan before I plot my turn. I did more extensive recon, while avoiding my primary landing objectives. I wanted to see what defenses Kagoshima and Kanoya had. The defenses aren't overwhelming, had these targets been my primary objectives, but I have just one division planned to land on each. That will not be enough to take these bases. I will probably keep those troops at sea and wait to reinforce another landing after the base is captured.
Enemy bases are well stocked with aircraft. It's tempting to want to hit them with slow battleships, but it may not be worth it. The bases probably have lots of mines. They do have ACMs, and CMs have been spotted in the area recently. And even if a bombardment is successful, that's just one base. There are so many others full of aircraft. It may be better to keep the battleships for the bombardment of the invasion targets.
I have the feeling that this operation is going to be ugly. OPilot has nothing to lose by using everything that he has left. He has a few battleships. He has many aircraft, and since our war hasn't had a great number of aircraft losses, he still has good pilots left. He's had since January to prepare kamikaze units. I haven't seen any yet.
I will probably lose more combat ships than I've lost in the entire war so far. I've lost no CVs, no CVLs, and 3 CVEs. I've lost no BBs and just a couple of CAs, if I remember correctly. I've lost no APAs. That will certainly change soon.
It's going to be quite a show. How it will turn out is a complete unknown at the moment.
I will work on the turn during the afternoon on Tuesday. I'll check to see if there are any comments before then.