December 23, 1941
Having lured Wirraway into an early attack on Palembang and driven his fleet from the area (not to mention finally solved my Ops points problem), I moved this turn to accomplish the next step of my plan which is to shut down the critical Japanese airfields in the area. Both Sinkawang and Palembang were heavily hit by cruiser bombardment, destroying 19 aircraft on the ground and shutting them both down. I also noticed a heavy cruiser force moving in from the north so I sent the 4 Clemson class destroyers operating in the area to interfere with and delay it. At the cost of the 4 old destroyers, I forced the cruiser force to expend what I am pretty sure was all its torpedoes and the vast majority of its ammo. This will force them to turn back to Indochina to rearm which buys me another 4-5 days of critical operations around Palembang without significant Japanese naval interference.
Speaking of Palembang, I now have 60 ready heavy bombers in Java who will be tasked, along with Dutch and Commonwealth medium bombers, to strike at the oilfields. In almost perfect timing, Soerabaja's airfields will reach level 5 next turn which should dramatically increase the effectiveness of my heavy bombers. Allied naval forces will be tasked with keeping the airfield at Palembang closed over the next four days. If weather holds, I will have hopefully inflicted some very good damage by then which will allow me to shift some of the bombers operations to keeping the airfields closed and thus free up the cruisers.
To sum up, at the cost of 6 Clemson class destroyers, the Houston, and a damaged POW, I am now in a great position to go all out against Palembang. Unfortunately weather over Palembang shows thunderstorms, so it can't be all perfect...
Oh, with regards to POW - it made 6 turns and is close to Java. The biggest risk to the ship now is IJN submarines. I still have 14 destroyers in the immediate area. I am hoping that I can keep her safe over the next few days to get her out, but I am not counting on it until it happens.