14 May 42
I had a cruiser force moving with KB, but when KB sprinted south for the engagement near Auckland, the cruisers didn't move as far, lagging a few hexes behind. I ordered the cruisers back north to bombard Norfolk Island. I knew that there would be mines there. Destroyer Murasame hit a mine. It is SYS 29/FLOT 78-57/ENG 24-12/FIRE 0 and may not make it, with it barely able to move. The rest of the task force bombarded.
Allied aircraft losses
P-39D Airacobra: 10 damaged
P-39D Airacobra: 1 destroyed on ground
PBY-5 Catalina: 4 damaged
F4F-3A Wildcat: 8 damaged
Allied ground losses:
272 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 5 destroyed, 18 disabled
Engineers: 2 destroyed, 16 disabled
Vehicles lost 11 (1 destroyed, 10 disabled)
Airbase hits 6
Airbase supply hits 4
Runway hits 15
A decent bombardment for 3 cruisers. With no ACMs currently at Norfolk, I'll know if the mines ever completely dissipate.
Zeros swept Magwe, in 2 big groups. 33 Hurricane IIb Trops defended. I tried to win the atmospheric sweep game, but the Hurri's were at 30000 and 15000, while the Zeros maximum height is 29000. 19 Hurricanes shot down for the loss of 12 Zeros. There are Flying Tiger P-40Es at Magwe, but they were sweeping over Japanese units south of Mandalay. 25 Sallys with 42 Oscars arrived with just a single Hurri still flying. Moderate base damage was done.
KB moved to the northwest of Wellington by 6 hexes, as planned. Allied carriers moved southeast just one hex, still adjacent to Auckland, just as I had predicted. This put the carrier task forces 8 hexes apart, with my carrier planes purposefully range limited to 7 hexes. I didn't want to attack carriers if they were at Auckland or adjacent to it.
Bad weather prevented any strikes from KB in the morning. In the afternoon, KB planes attacked Wellington's port in thunderstorms.
Afternoon Air attack on Wellington , at 112,191
Weather in hex: Thunderstorms
Raid detected at 119 NM, estimated altitude 15,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 44 minutes
A6M2 Zero x 18
B5N2 Kate x 46
D3A1 Val x 61
Japanese aircraft losses
B5N2 Kate: 5 damaged
D3A1 Val: 28 damaged
xAK Anna Odland, Bomb hits 1, on fire
AV Pocomoke, Bomb hits 2, on fire
AP Hugh L. Scott, Bomb hits 1, on fire
AK Fomalhaut, Bomb hits 1
AKV Kittyhawk, Bomb hits 1, on fire
CL Helena, Bomb hits 1 (did not penetrate)
xAK Period, Bomb hits 1, on fire
KV Jasmine, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DMS Perry, Bomb hits 1, on fire
CL Trenton, Bomb hits 1, on fire
18 Vals then attacked:
AP Barnett, Bomb hits 1, on fire
17 Kates then attacked:
CL Helena, Bomb hits 1, on fire
xAK Aroona, Bomb hits 1, on fire
xAK Exmoor, Bomb hits 1
xAK Vito, Bomb hits 1, on fire
xAK Mundalla, Bomb hits 1
xAK Theofano Livanos, Bomb hits 1
AS Platypus, Bomb hits 1
Note that there were no fighters protecting Wellington. I had guessed that Auckland would get loaded up with all of the Allied fighters in the area, and I may have been right. An excellent recon of Wellington showed 99 ships in port! With Wellington being a size 6 port, few if any of these ships will sink. I think there could have been a lot more hits in better weather. But it is acceptable. A couple of CLs hit, and a couple of nice APs hit, as well as an AS. Nothing war-changing, but a consolation prize for not hitting any of the US carriers yesterday.
KB will now retire to the northwest and then to Belep Island. Shokaku, with some battle damage, and Zuikaku are due for a radar installation at the beginning of June. I'm considering whether to do that or not. It's a 21 day upgrade. It may be better to continue to try to hit the US carriers as soon as possible.
I did see 4 enemy carrier task forces by Auckland. Judging from the number of fighters and bombers shown for each task force, it looks like each task force has a single big carrier. This makes sense. Yorktown has been sunk, and the US would have 4 other big carriers at this point. KB with 6 carriers is better than KB with 4 carriers. I don't want anything close to an even fight, and 4 versus 4 doesn't appeal to me. I'll probably delay the carrier upgrades.
The first Japanese attack in far northern China. Units are still moving in from Paotow. 2 of the 3 divisions were in this attack, and the armor was set to pursue. All units will attack today. Bombers hit the Chinese. Considering the clear terrain, I expect B-17s to appear at Lanchow and hit the Japanese troops in this battle hex. I moved a big Oscar group to Paotow and will LRCAP. They won't shoot down many, if any, bombers, but they could disrupt the bombing. I will be moving Nicks to this area. The first Nate to Nick upgrade will occur today with a unit in Tokyo. It will move to Paotow when ready. I know that the enemy bombers will come to the clear terrain of the desert up there.