January 5, 1942
S-27 finds the Japanese AK Sensan Maru off Nadi, a cripple from last turn’s SBD strikes, and sends it to the bottom.
I-26 attacks the ASW task force sent to hunt it, sinking DD Gilmer with a single torpedo hit.
I had been waiting for just this moment – As I previously mentioned, I had extensive naval search over the Java Sea and this extended to recon flights over bases in Borneo like Balikpapan and Sinkawang. My plan was to attempt a repeat of the Ryujo sinking by keeping a large number of cruisers in proximity for lightening strikes into these waters when opportune targets present themselves.
Last turn I noticed potential tanker activity at Balikpapan as well as a convoy approaching Bandjermasin. There also didn’t appear to be any major Japanese surface task forces in the immediate vicinity (likely due to the action around Palembang). I assembled two cruiser task forces and sent one at each of the two targets.
The first to connect was the attack on the convoy. Six British cruisers (two heavy and four light) found six AKs escorted by four Japanese destroyers. In two rounds of night fighting, the entire Japanese convoy was sunk for minimal damage to the cruisers.
Next were the three British light cruisers on the more risky Balikpapan raid. Unfortunately, due to the more dangerous nature of this mission, I only sent three ships. This was not ideal since the target they encountered was a large gaggle of fat tankers with mostly PB escorts. Nevertheless, I caught the tankers loading and vulnerable, and 4 large tankers and an AO were left sinking or about to sink. During the day, the three daring cruisers were still in the area and attacked once more, sinking 6 more large and small tankers, two more replenishment vessels, and an assortment of subchasers and small escorts. They only ceased their fire when they exhausted practically all their ammunition and torpedoes.
The Japanese take Kuantan
The Japanese land additional reinforcements at Palembang with fast transport groups. Heavy cruisers pound my defending forces with a night bombardment.
The Japanese finally attack Chengchow. They get 2 to 1 odds in their favor, but the heavy fortifications I built up seem to have gone a long way towards insulating the defenders. The Japanese sustain 7,374 casualties for 2,285 Chinese! Unfortunately fortifications are reduced to level 1.
Just to the south of Chengchow, Chinese forces reinforcements finally arrived from Nanyang to push a Japanese mixed brigade and an infantry back across the river in a shock attack. 2,317 Japanese casualties were inflicted but for 4,212 Chinese.
The KB races at flank speed south of Fiji to get the Saratoga but the American carrier force had no intention of sticking around to meet the fate of the Enterprise.
< Message edited by DesertWolf101 -- 6/1/2020 2:42:01 PM >