AAR

 

Hello all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is after-her-weekend Annie reporting, with the first assault on your morale:"

Tokyo, Dec. 9, 1941 G/T 1/13/41; 1st Air Phase actions:

Hostilities open with our strike at Pearl Harbor. After our strike is airborne, winging its way towards Oahu, the atmosphere on the bridge of the Akagi is electrified by a report sent by one of our Jake scout floatplanes sent on ahead:

"Ships present in the harbor are 8x battleships, two heavy cruisers, six light cruisers, and one Yorktown-class carrier just now entering the harbor!"

Unfortunately for us, Adm. Nagumo has been overly-cautious & has retained half his A6M's as CAP, sending only 6 to Oahu. The presence of the CV forces us to send all of the attackers against the ships at Pearl, ignoring the airfields -- the few Zeros will have to the best they can against the American air assets on Oahu.

The unlucky carrier present is, of course, the Enterprise. She proves resilient and it requires two waves to sink her. The BB Arizona is the only capital ship which sinks catastrophically (i.e., direct "S" result). The BB's Nevada & Pennsylvania are also bottomed, & Tennessee receives "D2" damage.

Our exceptionally good luck turns on us, as the US AA "wakes up" unusually early and, though we lose no air points destroyed, several attacking A/P's, including most of the follow-on torpedo-laden Kates, are aborted. Thus, our last waves are not very effective: CL's Helena & St. Louis are sunk; CL 's Honolulu & Phoenix each receive "D4" damage; CA New Orleans receives "D3" damage; & we sink one Somers-class DD. The remaining US BB's can thank the "E" from diverting attention from them, & receive only some chipped paint.

The attacks on the US airfields prove a fiasco. We lose one elite A6M (our only air loss of the strike) from AA & have another aborted. The remaining fighters apparently cannot find Hickam, Wheeler or Bellows fields, as the USAAC forces are virtually untouched. We do manage to destroy 2x PBY's, a PB2Y, and one TBD (evidently from "Torpedo Six," ex of Enterprise's air group) air point.

Regarding the Enterprise, apparently Adm. Halsey wasted no time on going ashore when she entered Pearl, as he is not aboard his flagship. We can assume, though, that he had a good ringside view of her going down.

In the Philippines:

Fortunately, we have clear weather for our strikes on Clark Field, and here MacArthur suffers horrendous losses, as our strikes at Clark are especially effective: We destroy fully 75% of the US air point assets there, for the loss of 1x G3M & 1x A6M.

In addition, we sink an oiler and a DD in Cavite.

At Singapore:

Clear skies also exist over Singapore, & we destroy approx. 50% of the British air points there, for the loss of 1x G4M A/P.

Though the overall ship damage inflicted at Pearl Harbor is somewhat disappointing, and the results against the USAAC are obviously far less than hoped for, we still consider ourselves especially fortunate, and lift a sake toast to the destruction of the "E."

Time will tell whether the Americans are able to raise & repair her, and any of the other ships sunk.

End Report

 

Hello all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is after-her-weekend Annie reporting, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, Dec. 11, 1941 G/T 1/13/41, operations through 2nd Naval Phase

In Malaya, the Imperial Navy tips its cap to the brave Adm. Phillips, who courageously sorties from Singapore in the vain hope of interfering with our landings near Singora. Force "Z" is tracked as it moves north along the coast of Malaya, and from Saigon we launch 3x G4M, 8x G3M, & 4x A6M Zero Air Points in an unopposed attack on the British Task Force.

Our attackers are formed into 4 waves, and are all "elite" air crews. The British fight back resolutely, downing one G3M Nell from the 1st wave via AA. We are only able to slightly damage the "Prince of Wales."

The follow-on waves, though, press home their attacks, first heavily damaging P.O.W., leaving her dead in the water, and damaging "Repulse." We sink both "Repulse" and "Prince of Wales" with the last two attacking waves, and sink one British DD to boot.

Admiral Phillips (Cdr, Eastern Fleet HQ & aboard P.O.W.) is seriously wounded but survives. We surmise his war is over for him, as he will be unavailable for at least the next 6 months. We salute our brave navy pilots & drink sake toasts to the destruction of the two British battleships.

In the Philippines, Japanese forces are landed at four locations: 1. At Aparri, the 62nd Rgt (21st Inf Div). 2. At Vigan, the Tanaka Rgt (48th Inf Div). 3. At Tuguegarao, the Kanno Rgt (48th Inf Div). 4. At Lingayen, the 48th Inf Div (-). All landings appear opposed (and will be resolved during the yet-to-be-played Ground Phase).

Prior to these landings, we conduct several naval gunfire bombardments of the Philippine landing sites. Following one bombardment (of Aparri), the Americans score their first success of the war -- a US submarine puts a torpedo into the CA Mogami, leaving her with (at least) "D2" damage.

The few remaining P-40's in the Philippines attempt attacks against our amphibious shipping, but are ineffective.

In Malaya, we land the 3rd Tank Bde Group and 5th Inf. Div at Singora, against no opposition. A strong IJN naval bombardment is carried out at Kuantan, where the 45th Ind. Bde is located.

In Borneo, the 4th Bn, Yokosuka SNLF Bde & the 8th Bn, Sasebo SNLF Bde are landed at Brunei, an opposed landing. And, the 2nd Bn, Yokosuka SNLF Bde is landed, unopposed, SW of Kuching.

The Pearl Harbor Striking Force leaves Hawaiian waters, headed apparently west.

Allied naval movements in the Philippines/Borneo area give the impression the Allies do not intend to fight at sea there. Several Allied TF's congregate near Ceram/Amboina.

End Report

Hello all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is after-her-weekend Annie reporting, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, Dec. 14, 1941. Operations through end of G/T 1/13/41

AIR OPERATIONS

In the CBI, we finally discover the new location of the US AVG, as we conduct an unescorted bomber raid on Yunnani. Luckily, our 4x Ki-48's, after being ambushed, receive no losses but do no damage to the airfield there.

In the Philippines, the few remaining US P-40's continue to be a nuisance, with one inflicting minor damage to an APB (thankfully already off-loaded) off Lingayen. We launch an all-out effort from Formosa against Lingayen, against the reported ground troops there, in support of the 48 Div's landing (in vain, as we shortly will discover -- the beaches are left undefended).

In the central pacific, a Japanese strike against Wake, from the PH carrier strike force (now, at least in part, NW of Wake) manages to destroy the one F4F A/P there, but fails to do any damage to either of the US coastal batteries there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

The intrepid US oilers which luckily escaped Guam thanks to bad weather there run out of luck, as they approach too close to Marcus I, are spotted by our seaplanes there, and are later attacked by another strike by Nagumo's carriers, sinking one & inflicting "D3" damage on the other.

At Wake I., our invasion TF (from Kwajalein, carrying the Maizuru SNLF Bde) is hit by the coastal battery on the W. side of the atoll, with one Wakatake-class APD receiving only minor damage. Our landing on the SW coast succeeds, the SNLF Bde passes its Troop Quality check, & continues the attack against the USMC Defense Bn, dug in near the airfield. The attack succeeds, the Americans surrender & Wake Island is captured without loss.

At Rabaul, we suffer an embarrassing setback. An invasion force from Truk (2x APD's, with DD escort) is found by US subs, and one APD receives "D4" damage ("dead in the water") prior to landing. We lose 2 steps from the 144th Rgt, and are forced to turn back. The US submarines continue to be a major thorn in our side, and our ASW capabilities continue to be poor...

In the Celebes/Halmahera area, the entire region is covered by storm systems. The Kure SNLF Bde is landed at Manado (Celebes). We win the battle against the Dutch defenders there, but lose 1 step in the process. Interestingly, a US TF, of unknown composition, attempts a REAC move against our landing at Manado. It stops short, however, and its composition remains a mystery. Could be the US Asiatic Fleet. Perhaps time will tell...

At Halmahera, no intrinsic garrison is deployed there, & the 2nd Bn, Sasebo SNLF Bde lands there unopposed.

At Sorong, in NW N. Guinea, our landing force is attacked by a lone Hudson from Amboina -- inflicting a lucky hit, and minor damage to one Merchant Shipping Unit on the way in. A very low-quality intrinsic garrison is deployed there, and the 1st Bn, Sasebo SNLF Bde makes short work of it, without loss.

At Guam, we land the 1st Inf Bde (from Saipan). We land at Agana, where the USMC Def. Bn is. The marine defenders surrender, but fight well, inflicting 2 steps of loss on our Bde. Guam thus is captured.

From Palau, the Miura Rgt is landed successfully at Lae, on N. Guinea. The Allies are apparently taken by surprise by this move, as no intrinsic garrison was deployed there.

At Brunei, the 4th Bn, Yokosuka & 8th Bn, Sasebo SNLF Bdes are landed, against the Ind. Bn. defending there. Our assault succeeds without loss, and we capture our first Co-Prosperity Sphere Resource hex ( a valuable one, at a level of "9").

PHILIPPINES

In the Philippines, several good and bad events transpire. We find that, in North Luzon, MacArthur has deployed his units well forward on the beaches, mostly defending the northern airfields. Our heavy bombardments (both air & naval) have, as we discover, only mixed results:

At Aparri, the defenders (31st Fil. Militia Div, understrength) have been broken, and have suffered losses via bombardment. Thus, our 62nd Inf. Rgt makes it ashore there, with minor losses, though we are unable to force the Fil. defenders to retreat. Still, a successful landing, as the 31st "Div" is down to a single step.

At Vigan, we discover Gen. Wainwright is there, with the 26th Phil. Scouts Rgt + the 71st Fil. Militia Div. Our bombardment here has failed to have any effect, and the Tanaka Rgt's landing succeeds, but at high cost. We have a tenuous hold on the Vigan beach-head, as we again are unable to force Wainwright to retreat.

At Tuguegarao, we are surprised to find one of the better Filippino units, the 1st Fil. Div, dug in there. And, apparently our heavy bombardments there have had no effect on the defenders. The Kanno Rgt's landing there becomes our first major setback of the war. Though the Kanno Rgt inflicts heavy casualties on the defenders, we fail a required Troop Quality check, and in the end the Kanno Rgt is wiped out on the beaches.

At Lingayen, MacArthur has chosen to leave this area undefended, and the 48th Div (-), after extensive (& unnecessary, as it turns out) bombardment, walks ashore in parade formation. We thus capture the anchorage there, and are adjacent to Clark Field.

MacArthur, during the Allied Ground Phase, appears to be rushing the "South Luzon Force" north, towards Clark & Manila. Clark Field is reinforced by another Fil. Militia Div.

We are disappointed in the loss of the Kanno Rgt, but are heartened by the severe losses suffered by the Allied units in N. Luzon, and by the secure beach-head at Lingayen. We vow to exact severe regenge on the Americans in the Philippines for this loss of face.

BURMA/THAILAND

The Japanese advance towards Burma begins, with the Imperial Guards division advancing to the outskirts of Bangkok. In the north, the 55th Div occupies Chengmai, and the 33rd Div (Gen Sakurai) advances towards the Salween River, along the Chinese border.

West of the Salween, the Burma Area Army commander has deployed several Burmese Bn's, and they begin to dig in.

End Report

Excerpts from Adm'l Ugaki's diary, entries from Dec. 15-17, 1941"

Tokyo, Dec. 17, 1941. Operations through 2nd Naval Phase, G/T 2/13/41

Note: Admiral Kimmel is relieved of command at CincPac, and is replaced (temporarily at least) by V. Adm. Pye.

AIR OPERATIONS

In New Guinea, we launch ineffective air strikes against Port Moresby from a CVL TF, combined with floatplanes from AV's/CVS's.

Near the Celebes, a US MS unit (apparently fleeing from Manila) is sunk by 2x G4M Bettys operating from Palau.

In the Philippines, more strikes against Clark Field from Formosa eliminate a surviving P-36, & 2 more P-40 A/P's. The USAAC presence in the PI continues to dwindle, but it is still a factor.

Off Malaya, we dispatch one Dutch sub with ASW air operating from Saigon. This is the first Allied sub point destroyed in this area.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Malaya: The Japanese 18th Inf Div, with Gen. Mutaguchi, is debarked at Singora. We now have 2x divisions plus the 3rd Tk Bde Group preparing to push south, with Gen. Yamashita in command. The British attempt an attack on our transport TF (APB's) with 1x Vildebeest A/P from Khota Bharu. Zekes flying emergency CAP from Singora down the attackers, but the British attack (as will be revealed) is a decoy intending to draw fighter cover away from a more valuable target.

A Japanese bombardment TF (departing after bombarding Khota Bharu) is then attacked by another Vildebeest, flying from Singapore. Our TF has ventured to within torpedo-carrying range, and we pay for it, as no CAP is available. The intrepid lone attacker survives AA, goes in & lightly damages the CA "Maya." Unfortunately, Maya receives a critical hit & her damage (known to the British via subsequent sub search) is upped to "D2" (moderate damage).

During the aforementioned sub search, a US subron contacts this TF off the coast of Malaya. Our ASW efforts continue to be found wanting and, despite a plethora of dud torpedoes & other operational problems, the US luck holds -- the BC "Haruna" is sunk! We are shocked by the loss of "Haruna," and by the loss of face from this outrage. We now curse our intelligence service, with its pre-war estimates of poor US torpedo performance.

Celebes / Ceram Sea area: Off Manado, part of the US Asiatic Fleet initiates the first surface engagement of the war, a daylight action. The opposing forces are: US TF12 (No Adm'l present): CL's Boise & Marblehead, plus 3x DD's. Jap. TF14 (No Adm'l present): 1x DD, 2x APD's Obviously outgunned, we do not intend to stay long. The only damage inflicted during this short engagement is "D1" damage inflicted on a Japanese DD, by the Boise. Our TF successfully disengages, & we reluctantly toast the courage of the Asiatic Fleet commander, Adm'l Hart.

Then, near Sorong, a 2nd Asiatic Fleet TF (again, no Adm'l present) contacts a Japanese MS TF. The US TF consists of the CA Houston, plus 3x DD's. We are able to disengage successfully, with (fortunately) no loss.

A Japanese surface TF attempts to engage the "Houston" TF at night, but fails to successfully contact it.

Both US TF's later beat a hasty retreat from the area, heading S & SE towards the Torres Strait.

Rabaul / Solomon Sea area: We lose a heavily-damaged APD which is being towed, the victim of attacks by Australian Hudsons & Wirraways flying from Rabaul.

New Guinea: More bad news! A Japanese CVL TF, operating SE of Port Moresby, is attacked by B-17's operating out of Cooktown. We are unable to turn any of the attackers back via CAP or AA. The attackers concentrate on CVL Zuiho. They score a lucky hit on her and, remarkably, it is enough to sink her! We suffer another outrage, having the Zuiho sunk by, of all means, B-17's. Meanwhile, the Allies appear perplexed by the mere presence of Japanese ships in those waters.

Borneo: At Kuching, we land the 1st & 3rd Bn's, Sasebo SNLF Bde.

Philippines: More bad news, in a game-turn which is rapidly attaining near "black-day" status. The BB "Nagato," departing Philippine waters following multiple bombardments in the Tuguegarao area, is torpedoed by yet another US sub. She receives (at least "D3") damage.

We wonder whether we have learned our lesson regarding holding the US subs in such low esteem, and have to reluctantly admit that the Allied pre-war submarine deployment was magnificently done.

End Report

Hello all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Tokyo Rose reporting, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, Dec. 25, 1941. Operations through end of G/T 3/13/41

AIR OPERATIONS

In Burma, we conduct a bold & risky night, extended-range paradrop from Hanoi, on Lashio, with the IJA's 2nd Para Rgt. We are hoping that it is defended with the expected low-quality Burmese Bn's. To our dismay, the Allied commander in the CBI has placed a much tougher Gurkha Bn there. Our assault still has a chance of success but, after hard fighting our troops are defeated, & the venture fails. We vow to avenge yet another outrage, and to take Lashio overland by force.

In the Philippines, we lose another G3M A/P as we bombard the Filippino troops deployed there. Over Clark, we lose two elite A6M's, for only 1x P-40 destroyed on the ground, as the Allies continue to fight hard.

At Port Moresby, we are surprised to learn of an apparent US carrier ferry, flying planes into Moresby. We are unable to locate the US carrier, which we suspect to be Lexington.

We are able to make our new airfield at Lae operational, and commence air operations from there against Moresby, with Ki-45's & B5N's striking there. Little opposition is encountered, mainly from Australian Wirraways & we suffer no losses. During these strikes, we confirm that a few US carrier planes are indeed present (2x SBD's & 1x SB2U A/P -- but no fighters). The SBD's will soon prove a minor menace.

At Singapore, combat reports indicate the destruction of the last remaining British air assets: a few Vildebeests, Albacores, & Buffaloes, via G3M raids launched from Indochina.

We discover that the CW has deployed air points (unknown type) into Legaspi, from Balikpapan, and at Koepang, in Timor (origins unknown).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

East Indies: The Australian Hudsons which continue to operate from Amboina continue to be a nuisance, attacking (without results) our amphibious TF headed for Kendari. We are able to land the Kure SNLF Bde (-) there, and capture it from the Dutch intrinsic garrison there, without loss.

Fortunately, strong storm systems continue to prevail in the Ceram/Timor/Arafura Sea area hamper Allied attempts to contact our forces. Then, a typhoon appears in this area, threatening many ships operating in that area, along with the many bases there. More on that system later...

In New Guinea, we land 3 regiments (which were diverted from the original war plan assigning them to Mindanao) at Buna/Gona: The Sakaguchi detachment, & the Kimura, & 146th Rgt's. We thus achieve one of our major goals of our "Phase 1" operations: the seizure of important bases in NE & Papua N. Guinea. We hope this operation comes as a shock to our enemy. Though our landing is unopposed, we have some problems with the Kimura Rgt, which will get worse as this Rgt will soon disgrace themselves. All 3 units, after landing, prepare for an immediate trek along the Kokoda trail to their prime objective: Port Moresby!

The 2nd Bn, Sasebo SNLF Bde is landed successfully at Biak, sailing from Halmahera. A CW intrinsic garrison of very low quality is quickly defeated, & we capture Biak without loss.

At Manokwari, in NW N. Guinea, the 1st Inf Bde (-) is landed without opposition, and we capture the lone Co-Prosperity Sphere Resource Point there in N. Guinea.

On New Britain, we are back with another landing attempt, which succeeds this time, south of Rabaul: the 144th Rgt (-), which still has bad memories of their abortive first attempt, which resulted in the loss of many troops by the torpedoing of their fast transports. This time, though, we are able to evade the US subs operating there.

Later on in the week, we follow up this landing with an amphibious landing from Lae, directly on Rabaul, with the Miura Rgt + 1x IJA Bn. Australian Wirraways there attempt to attack our ships, but without effect. Our troops are landed successfully.

In the South Pacific, Japanese engineers occupy Nauru, which is un-garrisoned.

The US carrier planes at Port Moresby then attack a transport TF, which to our chagrin is located & reported by CW coastwatchers on Long Island, as it heads towards Buna/Gona. US SBD's sink one MS unit. We are unable in this report to confirm or deny any cargo it was carrying.

The US Asiatic Fleet, fleeing through the Torres Strait, makes good on its escape & has survived the journey from the Philippines & Borneo completely intact. It heads apparently for Rockhampton, where it enters port. We would recommend a most-deserved extended leave for the crews of these brave ships. We hope to meet up with them again, soon...

In the Arafura Sea area, typhoon "Zed" causes havoc, damaging the Allied base at Amboina, and our base at Sorong, in N. Guinea. Fortunately, none of our ships in that area at sea are damaged, though we are not out of harms' way yet.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Borneo: At Kuching, the 1st & 3rd Bn's, Yokosuka SNLF Bde which were landed there defeat the few Dutch defenders, & we capture it without loss.

Thailand/Burma: The Imperial Guards Div occupies Bangkok, and Thailand aligns herself formally with the empire of Japan. At Bangkok, both the 38th Inf Div (Gen. Sano, from Hong Kong) & the 2nd Inf Div are debarked. They commence their movement north, towards Burma. In the north, our 33rd Div (Gen. Sakurai) reaches the bank of the Salween River, opposite Lashio. The defenders there are dug in across the river.

Philippines: From Lingayen, we launch an assault south against Clark, with the 48th Div (-) & 16th Div (-). The defenders there are overmatched: The 41st & 21st Filippino Militia Divs. They are routed, & retreat into Bataan. We suffer only minor losses. We thus capture the major American airbase, though it is severely damaged & will take some work & time to be made operational. Our first major success of the Philippines campaign, & we toast Gen. Homma, the 14th Army commander.

At Aparri, our 62nd Inf Rgt (21st Inf Div) destroys the remnants of the 31st Fil. Mil.Div, and we finally capture the airfield there.

Our first patrols in the Bataan area reveal the following information about the strength of the Allied units defending the heavily-fortified peninsula: 21st & 41st Fil. Mil Divs (ex of Clark; both "broken"), along with a USA engineer & the 4th Mar. Rgt. We are thankful that the powerful US Army's Philippine Inf Division, still at Manila & yet to be heard from (is this unit Gen. MacArthur's personal guard, we ask?), has not made it to Bataan.

At Vigan, we launch an attack north from the Lingayen area: The Tanaka Rgt, a crack unit, plus one Rgt from the 48th Div, against Gen. Wainwright & the Phil. Scouts' Cav Rgt + the 71st Fil. Mil Div. This battle is a draw, with both sides taking heavy casualties and though the Phil. Scouts' unit is destroyed, we are unable to force the remaining defenders to retreat. We call off the attack, retreating back towards Lingayen.

Malaya, 2nd week operations: Gen. Yamashita's vaunted 25th Army begins its advance down the Malay peninsula, from Singora. Our 5th Inf Div (Mutaguchi) & the 3rd Tank Bde Group assault Jitra, forcing the 11th Ind. Div & 22nd Ind Bde to retreat in disorder. Our first encounter with CW troops leaves us confident of our invincibility. On the E. coast of Malaya, the 18th Inf Div begins its push, wiping out one Ind. Bn. It does, though, suffer the ignominity of a step loss incurred from this puny little unit. Gen. Yamashita is not entirely pleased with this.

Malaya, 3rd week operations: The 18th Div continues its advance, wiping out another Ind. Bn at Khota Bharu, which is taken. In this assault, we find a dubious prize: General Heath is captured! We would have preferred him to have remained in command of the CW units defending Malaya, and consequently offer him back to Gen. Percival in a P.O.W. exchange, but we are rebuffed.

Near Kuala Lumpur, we destroy what is left of the British 53rd Bde, probably the best Allied ground unit defending in Malaya. We now have the nucleus for our planned construction project: the Bangkok-Rangoon railroad! The 5th Inf Div continues its attacks against the now-broken 11th Ind Div & 22nd Bde. Here, though, the defenders gain some back-bone -- though the 22nd Ind Bde surrenders, the 11th Ind. Div holds, and cannot be forced to retreat.

At Rabaul, our coordinated amphibious/overland assault there succeeds, against the Australian intrinsic garrison of Troop Quality "4." Our attack captures the important base with no loss, as our progress continues to be most encouraging, on all fronts.

New Guinea: The cornerstone of our "Phase 1" operations in the South Pacific is kicked off: the march along the Kokoda trail to Port Moresby, which is still defended only by a weak Australian Bn. The assault will be a difficult one, and in the movement towards Moresby, the Kimura Rgt breaks, returns to Buna & will not be available for the assault. This unit has, unfortunately, disgraced itself & Adm. Inouye (South Seas Fleet HQ commander) is most displeased. But, fortunately both the Sakaguchi Detachment and the 146th Rgt, both good units, make it across in good enough order to attack. They are attacked by US B-17's flying from Cooktown, which desperately attempt to interdict & disrupt their movement to contact. But, their attacks fail to deter our units, which launch their assault. Though costly (we suffer two step losses), our assault on Port Moresby succeeds -- the Australian Bn surrenders, and we now control Port Moresby!

End Report

Tokyo, Dec. 26, 1941. We forward this from an intercept of a BBC (Far East) broadcast, reported by Mike Daniels:

Clark fell in the P.I. and the Americans are split into three (3) pieces: (a) North Luzon Force (still holding most if not all of the airbases in North Luzon), (b) Battan Defense Force, and (3) Southern Luzon Force (holding Manila and Legaspi).

In addition, the Japanese took Port Morseby prompting the following message to Churchill:

"(SECRET-NOT FOR ATTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN FORCES)

From: Gen Hutton

To: Prime Minister

Subj: Performance of our American Allies

The Bloody Americans have made a complete shambles of the Philippine Islands and Port Morseby despite the loan of considerable military assets from the Burma and Malaya Army Groups. Apparently these colonials are incapable of successfully completing even the most rudimentary of military operations. In the event that any American Units are allowed to enter combat in the ETO, I recommend that they be placed under a British Officer to make sure that these undisiplined colonials do not cobble up another operation."

In Malaya, the Japanese are making steady progress (taking Jitra, Khota Bhuaru, and some jungle hexes).

In Burma, the Japanese made a night paradrop on Lashio!..Running into the the best Gurka Battalion in Burma. Needless to say, the Japanese paratroops were totally destroyed. I guess the Japanese expected the city to be undefended. If it had worked, it would have unhinged the British Defensive Line along the Salween River. Looks like the Japanese are heading directly for Northern Burma. This should be an interesting part of the campaign...Can a small number of superior Japanese units destroy a considerably larger (but inferior quality) Commonwealth Force dug in behind a river?

End Report

"Hello all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is after-her-weekend Annie reporting, with another assault on your morale and more distressing war news for the Allies."

Tokyo, Jan 1, 1942. Operations through end of Cycle 13/41

AIR OPERATIONS

We discover Australian air points operating from Koepang (Timor), and launch preliminary fighter sweeps (Zeroes) from Kendari (Celebes) there. We find only 1x Hudson air point & we do no damage.

We discover US P-40's now present at Amboina, apparently rebasing there from Darwin. Unfortunately for the Allies, Amboina's airfield still is damaged from the effects of Typhoon "Zed." We launch more fighter sweeps from Kendari -- 3x "elite" A6M's, and manage to destroy one of the P-40 air points there, without loss.

In Burma/Thailand, the British launch air strikes on some of our 15th Army units moving towards the Salween river defenses. One strike, from Akyab (Blenheims & Hudsons) actually inflicts a step loss on our 33rd Inf Div (Gen. Sakurai), as it is preparing for a cross-river assault on Lashio. We are unable to provide fighter cover, as our advance has been so rapid that our forward airbases in this area are far to the rear. The British continue these air strikes right up to the actual assault. They have little effect, however.

From Yunnani, the AVG's P-40's (as fighter-bombers) join in these attacks on Gen. Sakurai's division.

In New Guinea, the first USAAC strike on Port Moresby occurs: B-17's flying from Cooktown, in what we're sure is but the first of many raids there. There is no air opposition against the 5x B-17's, and they are able to suppress the airfield there.

(In the Ceram area, Typhoon "Zed" finally runs out of steam, after having disrupted operations for both sides in that area for nearly two weeks)

From our newly-won airfields on Borneo (Permangkot), we launch fighter sweeps on Palembang, and discover 3x Dutch Buffalo, & 2x P-26 air points there. Our 5x A6M's are unable to inflict any damage, so far at least.

In the South Pacific, the first Japanese air units arrive at the fighter strip at Rabaul.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

In the Java Sea, a Japanese carrier TF enters from the Celebes area. It is fortunately not spotted by any Allied air search until it is too late. After gaining valuable information via air reconnaissance over Tjilitjap, we launch a carrier strike on Soerabaja, and catch Adm. Doorman's ships in port there!

Nine "elite" B5N's (level-bombing from LOW altitude), along with nine D3A's (7x of them "elite"), with fighter escort, attack. There is no fighter opposition, and the Dutch ships are sitting ducks. We attack in 5 waves, and our boys make short work of the Dutch ships, sinking all 3 CL's (DeRuyter, Java, & Tromp), along with 3 out of the 4 DD's present there. We lose 1x "elite" D3A air point from flak. We thank the ABDAFLOAT command for these gift targets.

Following the carrier strike, this TF covers an amphibious TF which sorties from Kuching (Borneo), to Bangka Island, off Sumatra. Our movements are unmolested, and we land the 1st Bn, Yokosuka SNLF Bde there without opposition.

GROUND OPERATIONS

In Java, the ABDA HQ is formed at Batavia, commanded by British Gen. Wavell (though his command there will prove short-lived, as will be seen shortly).

Malaya: At Kuantan, the 45th Indian Bde is attacked by our 18th Inf Div. Though it is nearly wiped out, this valiant CW unit refuses to budge, and we are unable to force it to retreat. This is a stunning setback to the 18th division, which vows to attack with renewed vigor in January. South of Jitra, Gen. Mutaguchi's 5th Inf Div has better results, as the 11th Ind. Division is destroyed!

Thailand/Burma: Gen. Sano's 38th Inf. Div occupies the airfield at Tavoy. There is no CW intrinsic garrison deployed there.

Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Inf. Div launches its assault across the Salween river, against Lashio! The defenders there are 1x Gurkha Bn (the same which defeated our 2nd Abn. Rgt there previously), plus the 1st Burmese Bde. Our assault succeeds in crossing the river, but fails to rout the CW defenders, which continue to hold onto Lashio. We do, however, destroy the Gurkha Bn responsible for our previous defeat. We take no prisoners from this unit. Thus, the 33rd division is locked in combat with the CW defenders, who send in another Burmese unit to reinforce Lashio.

Philippines: No major activity or movement occurs, on either side, though we receive reports that apparently Gen. MacArthur has relocated his USAFFE HQ from Manila to Corregidor. We finally are able to fully repair Clark Field, so that we may commence full-scale air operations from there in January.

We receive reports of a major shake-up of the Allied command in the British sector, as Gen. Wavell is transferred, from command of the ABDA HQ, to command the Burma Army HQ in Rangoon, replacing Gen. Hutton. British Gen. Irwin then takes command of ABDA, in Batavia. And, the British Malaya Army Group HQ, in Singapore, commanded by the ineffective Gen. Percival, is disbanded. Henceforth, the defense of Malaya apparently will be an ABDA responsibility. We lament the departure of Gen. Percival, who has been responsible for much of our early success in the march to Singapore.

End Report

 

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific, with news for you fighting men."

Tokyo, Jan 11, 1942. Operations through 1st Naval Phase, G/T 2/1/42

AIR OPERATIONS

In Burma, the British continue small-scale air attacks on our Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division, engaged in hard fighting at Lashio. Small numbers of Blenheims, with P-40's of the AVG, have little effect. Through reconnaissance, we discover (to our surprise) that no Allied air units are based at Rangoon, or at Mandalay. We finally hit back at Lashio, with a long-range fighter sweep (Zeroes), shooting up the lone Blenheim there on the ground. Gen. Sakurai need fear these units no more.

Heavy carrier air strikes are launched by Adm. Nagumo's carriers against the ground troops & fortifications at Singapore, ahead of our advancing 25th Army. We're confident heavy damage was inflicted, as these raids are unopposed in the air.

In New Guinea, the Americans continue B-17 raids against Port Moresby, again inflicting "D1" damage to the airfield there. There is no Japanese air opposition (as yet, there are no Japanese air units stationed there).

From Perawang, in Sumatra, the British launch a weak attack (1x Blenheim A/P) against our shipping still off Bangka Island. We are able to send 1x A6M from Nagumo's carrier TF to cover it, & no damage is inflicted. We are surprised to find CW air units based there. We also discover there are apparently 8 Allied A/P's based at Palembang. It seems as if Allied air units are everywhere. We launch a strike from the 1st Air Fleet against Palembang. This time, the Dutch fighters hit back, with 3x Buffaloes & 2 more P-26's. Our Zero escorts are unable to prevent the loss of one "elite" B5N A/P, though in return we destroy 4 of the 5 Allied fighter A/P's.

Nagumo later launches a fighter sweep of the airfield there, & we discover 2x Buffaloes & the lone Blenheim there. Unfortunately, we are unable to inflict any damage on these units, for the time-being.

We discover additional Allied (Dutch?) air units at Batavia, & Nagumo's 1st Air Fleet launches a fighter sweep against the base there. We initially find 1x Dutch Buffalo & 2x unidentified & ancient P-26's opposing us in the air. Our Zeroes destroy the "Peashooters." Later fighter sweeps launched against Batavia finds more newly-arrived Allied air units, with 5x Martin bombers plus 1x PBY there. Nagumo tends to this problem equally well, destroying two of the "Martins" and inflicting "D1" damage to the airfield at Batavia. We laud Adm. Nagumo, who continues to run amok in the Pacific.

In the Philippines, we begin large-scale rebasing of air assets into the now repaired & fully-functional Clark Field (which we plan to rename shortly). From Clark, we launch massive bombardment strikes, with Ki-48 & Ki-21 IJA bombers, against the American defenders in Bataan.

We continue attacks against the troublesome Australian airbase at Amboina, whose air units have fought bravely & well. 2x P-40 A/P's, & the same lone Hudson, continue to stubbornly occupy & operate from Amboina. Multiple strikes from Kendari and Sorong (Zeroes) finally destroy the Hudsons, and one of the P-40 A/P's.

In the CBI, we finally are able to launch long-range air strikes from Hanoi against the US AVG base at Yunnani. We are able to muster a massive bomber raid, with Ki-48's & Ki-21's, escorted by Zeroes of the famed "Tainan Air Corps." We inflict "D1" damage to the airbase there, and destroy two of the "Flying Tiger" A/P's, with no loss. We finally are gaining the upper hand against the "Tigers."

NAVAL OPERATIONS

In the Gilbert Is., we are able to ascertain that no Allied garrisons exist on either atoll. Subsequently, Tarawa is occupied.

At Amboina, in preparation for our imminent landing there, we conduct a small-scale surface bombardment of the island, against the Allied ground units there. Our TF is attacked during egress by the P-40's there, but we are able to cover it with Zeroes from Sorong & "Rufes" from a TF operating near there. We suffer no damage.

Heavy weather fronts move in in the Timor and Tawi-Tawi areas.

We launch an amphibious assault against Amboina, landing the Sasebo SNLF Bde (-), from Manado. The Australian & Dutch defenders' locations are not known, as there is no opposition on the landing beach (we land east of the airfield & expect that the defenders are in that area). Unfortunately, our brigade fails a TQ check & is deactivated immediately after landing, so we are unable to advance to the airfield.

We later reinforce the landing with the "K" Brigade, as we expect stiff opposition from at least the Australians present. Following our landing, the Australians pull a fast one on us, air transporting an undetermined number (we estimate an additional battalion) of ground units into the airfield on Amboina, from Darwin. The battle for Amboina might prove interesting, after all.

NE of Balikpapan, in Borneo, we land the Mai SNLF Bde. It prepares to assault the valuable oil center of Balikpapan, defended by one weak Dutch Rgt.

In the eastern Bay of Bengal, air search reveals a British TF, apparently headed for Moulmein. We are surprised to find that it contains the BB Revenge, plus 2x DD's. We launch extended-range air strikes from our Indochina airbases (Phnom Penh; 7x G3M "Nells," most of them "elite"). We are unable to sink the Revenge, but do inflict moderate ("D2," at least) damage to her. We praise the Mitsubishi designers who saw fit to ensure the Nells had "long legs," and dare the British Eastern Fleet commander to repeat this venture.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: From Yunnani, the Chinese 19th Army moves out, down the road towards Lashio. It is unable to reach the city & is attacked enroute (though without results) by air.

At Lashio, the pivotal battle is fought, with Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Div, against the 16th Indian Bde & one Burmese Bde. The battle does not go well for Gen. Sakurai, as we are defeated, & are unable to take the city. The 16th Ind. Bde proves a stout unit in this battle, & the 33rd division, unsupplied, fails in the attack & is forced to retreat back across the Salween river. Gen. Sakurai vows to return with a vengeance.

At Moulmein, our 2nd Inf Div launches its attack, against 1x Gurkha Bn + the low-quality 1st Burmese Division, dug-in. Though we are able to wipe the Gurkhas out, & suffer only minor losses ourselves, we are unable to force the remaining defenders to retreat, but we inflict heavy casualties on them. We are beginning to tire of seeing these hated Gurkha defenders.

Malaya: The 3rd Tank Bde Group has reached the Johore Strait, & the outskirts of Singapore! More fighting continues in the upper Malay peninsula, but soon all CW defenders are wiped out and/or routed, retreating into the city. Heavy land-based air bombardments are begun against the defenders in Singapore. The road now is open to the city, & we hope to begin a full-scale assault shortly. We are able to accurately ascertain the strength of the defenders there (Australian Gen. Bennett commanding): 8th Australian Div (-) 28th Indian Bde + 1x Ind. Bn. Two Malay Bdes (the 1st & 2nd; both low-quality units) The British still have 1x CA-3 Wirraway, 1x Hurricane, & 1x Blenheim A/P on the airfields around Singapore. Gen. Yamashita gears for the assault against what the British, laughably from our standpoint, have called "Fortress Singapore."

In New Guinea, the Kimura Rgt (disgraced from their failure on the Kokoda trail) has been assigned to occupy Milne Bay, which it does via overland march from Buna/Gona. We plan to leave this Rgt there, in malaria-infested Milne Bay, to toughen them up. Madang similarly is occupied, by the 1st Amphib. Bde.

In the Celebes, the Kure SNLF Bde begins an overland march from Kendari, towards Pare-Pare.

End Report

 

Tokyo, Jan 29, 1942. Operations through end of G/T 4/1/42 (cont.)

Singapore: Gen. Mutaguchi, in temporary command of the 5th Inf. Div, makes an astounding march (a 3-hex advance), all the way from Kuala Lumpur, to join in the attack on Singapore with the 3rd Tk Bde Group. In the first concerted assault on Singapore, though the defenders have been broken by our air bombardments, they defend fiercely, and we are forced to take many casualties in forcing our way across the Johore strait & reducing the fortifications guarding the city. The British fortification level is reduced, and both sides take heavy losses in this first assault. But, the defenders continue to hold out. Later, we mount a full-scale attack against Singapore, with the 5th & 18th Divisions (the 18th now again commanded by Gen. Mutaguchi), along with the 3rd Tk Bde Group. Gen. Yamashita is also physically present, and we expect this attack to force the British to surrender. But, alas, our attack fails to induce Gen. Bennett to give up, as the 8th Australian Division stubbornly resists. We inflict serious losses to the defenders, and Gen. Yamashita is incensed at this failure. Making matters worse, the defenders are able to rally themselves. Gen. Yamashita exhorts his troops for one final push, which we vow this time will be the end for Singapore!

HEADLINE: 28 JANUARY 1942 -- SINGAPORE NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT!!! Gen. Mutaguchi this time leads the final assault on Singapore. Further massive air bombardments of the defenders have apparently had an effect, and the Australians & Malays there have had enough. Gen. Mutaguchi's assault is decisive, and the CW defenders surrender! Australian Gen. Bennett is captured, and headlines throughout Japan laud both Gen'ls Yamashita and Mutaguchi. Note: Gen. Mutaguchi's performance has earned him a promotion -- his "Troop Quality" bonus is raised. This is no insignificant event, and we will watch his further exploits closely.

At Balikpappan, the 3rd & 4th Bn's, Yokosuka SNLF Bde defeats the Dutch defenders there, capturing the valuable oil fields there. Fresh from this victory, our marines are immediately embarked & sent north towards Tarakan (see Naval Operations).

Sumatra: Following our airborne drop on Sabang (outskirts of Palembang), the Dutch Rgt defending Palembang passes its TQ check and commences demolition of the invaluable oil fields there. They are able to bring the fields to "D1" damage level. We subsequently drop leaflets on these troops, informing them that any damage they choose to create will be promptly repaired by the fruits of their labor -- that is, by any survivors of our attack on them which is not long in coming.

In ending this report, Japan hails Gen'ls Yamashita, Mutaguchi, and Iida. The entire grateful Japanese nation voices a hearty "Banzai!"

End Report

 

"Hello again out there to all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne back after a relaxing vacation to some of our newly-won territories in the Pacific, with news for all you misguided fighting men."

Tokyo, Feb. 6, 1942. Operations through end of G/T 1/2/42.

(General notes; Cycle 0/1/42)

The new 17th Army HQ is established at Rabaul. In Burma, the newly-formed Burma Independence Army Bde Group is attached temporarily to the hard-fighting 55th Inf. Div. We will test this new unit shortly. Our 16th Army HQ (Gen. Imamura) is redeployed to Brunei, for the conclusion of the campaign in the Dutch E. Indies. The USN commences its submarine war on our Merchant Shipping -- we suffer some tonnage losses but we are able to sink one US sub.

AIR OPERATIONS

In N. Guinea, the USAAC changes targets with its B-17's operating from NE Australia -- they are launched against our A/F at Lae. Operating at extended range, the "forts" are opposed in the air by 5x A6M's. We manage to abort one, but neither side suffers losses, and the US bombing has no effect. We continue to expand the A/F at Lae, and it just now reaches "Level 2." We shall see if the Americans continue their raids here, against increasing opposition.

In the Philippines, we launch large-scale BMB missions from Clark against Manila, against the US Army's Philippine Inf Div defending there. At Davao, apparently the US has rebased some air assets (unknown type & quantity) there. Later, we are able to ascertain that they consist of 1x Blenheim & 1x unknown-type (probably P-40) fighter.

E. Indies: Two Australian CA-3's are rebased into Makassar. They don't last long there, as sweeping Zeroes launched from Kendari quickly destroy both A/P's in an air battle over Makassar. And, there is increased activity at Koepang (Timor) -- apparently the ABDA command intends to make a fight for Timor.

Sumatra: Zero fighter sweeps launched from Singapore destroy 1x Blenheim & 1x Hurricane A/P on the ground at Palembang. From Batavia, the ABDA command has the temerity to launch a strike (1x PBY & 1x Buffalo) against our shipping off the coast of Sabang (N. of Palembang), but their attacks fail to score any hits.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

We launch our first midget sub attack, at Brisbane. Unfortunately, apparently none of our subs are able to penetrate the Allied defenses, and all are lost without result.

We occupy Shortland, in the Solomons -- our first incursion into that island chain. There is no garrison present.

We occupy Bintan I., off Malaya, with 1x SNLF Bn. No opposition is encountered.

Near Midway, we have intel reports of substantial USN activity, but these remain unconfirmed.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Sumatra: We reinforce the SNLF Bn's at Sabang, for the assault on Palembang, with tanks remaining from the Malaya campaign. We also send along an Engineer unit, as we will have to repair the damage the **** Dutch have done to the oil fields there. Our assault on Palembang, led by the newly-arrived tanks (against the under-strength Dutch Rgt defending there -- apparently our heavy air bombardments from Singapore have had a decisive effect) succeeds, though we suffer fairly heavy losses in our "lead" unit (the tanks, ex of the 3rd Tk. Bde Group). The Dutch defenders surrender, and are quite surprised and dismayed to learn that we will put them to immediate work, repairing the damage they have done to the oil fields via their demolition last month. At any rate, we now are in possession of the invaluable oil fields there. Now, only Java remains!

Burma: We send the new & un-tested Burma Independence Army Bde Grp against a weakly-defended Prome. Though almost a fiasco (they suffer heavy losses), their assault succeeds & we capture the airfield there intact. "RANGOON UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT!" Our 2nd Inf. Div launches its assault against Rangoon, defended only by the weak "Rangoon Bde." The assault easily succeeds, forcing the remnants of the British garrison to retreat to Bassein. The 2nd Div successfully pursues, trapping the rag-tag British unit there. We will finish them off shortly. We thank the Burma Army Command (Wavell, now at Chittagong) for defending Rangoon so lightly. Gen. Sakurai's beleaguered 33rd Div, still opposite Lashio, remains "broken." We are beginning to lose patience with Gen. Sakurai, as his unit remains the sole disgrace to our thus-far stunning success in Burma. The 2nd Burmese Bde (of the 17th Indian Div) moves out east, crossing the Salween River, to the Thai border. They are apparently intent on moving on our Offensive Support Base (15th Army) at Chengmai, in Thailand. We will deal with this insolence in short order. The rest of the 17th Indian Div arrives in the Imphal area, by rail from Calcutta. We begin construction of the Bangkok-Rangoon rail line.

Philippines: Our 16th Inf Div wipes out the remnants of the 1st Fil. Div, south of Tuguegarao. We are then surprised to discover the appearance of a new unit, apparently newly-forned, in N. Luzon -- the 62nd Fil. Militia Div. They are immediately attacked, NW of Aparri, by the 62nd Inf Rgt (21st Div). Our attacks are not a success -- both sides suffer heavy casualties & no decisive result is gained. We vow to be more careful in the future, as we have inadvertently left open a LOC to Manila, allowing this unit to operate. We are a bit disheartened by Gen. Homma (14th Army HQ), as the Allied North Luzon Force continues to fight well. We launch our first concerted assault against Manila (defended by the tough US Army's "Philippine Inf Div"). No open city here, as MacArthur (now apparently safely on Corregidor) has directed that the city be held. We launch the 48th Div against it. Though our heavy air bombardment of Manila has succeeded in "breaking" the US Division, heavy casualties result to both sides, and the Americans continue to hold the city. Our progress in the Philippines continues to disappoint, and MacArthur, we are forced to admit, is proving a most-able opponent. On Mindanao, we are able to capture the valuable A/F at Cagayan without loss (65th Independent Bde doing the honors). Our units on Mindanao now prepare for the move south towards Davao.

Borneo: The 4/Yokosuka & 2/Maizuru SNLF Bn's attack Tarakan, defended by one Dutch Rgt. This unit proves tough, as our attack fails to force them to retreat. We are able to cut their size down by half, but are unable to take Tarakan. Fortunately, we suffer no step losses. We will deal with these Dutch next week.

End Report

 

HEADLINE RADIO NEWS - 11 FEB. 1942 "Today's news today"

As a result of the unbridled success of the Japanese juggernaut in the Pacific, the U.S. War Department has become alarmed at the lack of assertiveness and decisiveness in the CINCPAC command, especially in consideration of the recent Japanese conquest of Rangoon and Port Moresby. After considering CINCPACs lack of pugnacity in the last month, the War Department relieved the top-ranking CINCPAC commander two weeks ago, according to official sources.

The situation in the Philippines continues to worsen as the Japanese maintain air and naval superiority around the islands. As a result of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a relief force for General MacArthur and the USAFFE is unlikely. General MacArthur maintains a defensive perimeter around Manilla and Bataan, but the Japanese have persistenly bombed American and Filipino positions. With no relief in sight for the Philippines, rumors persist that the President may order General MacArthur to evacuate. Some isolated units in the Philippines have begun a "bandit campaign", but Gen. MacArthur has vowed to hold out, insisting that U.S. warships from the Atlantic be diverted to the Pacific Theater. Churchill, however, was apparantly perturbed at that possibility. The War Department is considering tranferring the carrier USS Ranger for duty in the Pacific theater, especially after the USS Enterprise was sunk at Pearl Harbor last December.

After the shakeup in the US high command, the CINCPAC has begun to effectuate a reinforcement of Australia and other island bases in the Pacific. A Japanese attack on Australia and Hawaii has not been ruled out. Indeed, an attempted infiltration by Japanese midget submarines into an Australian port may be a precursor to an invasion, according to an Australian military attaché in Washington. All but one of the Japanese midget submarines were sunk during the attempt to enter the harbor, with the other becoming beached in shallow water. The sub was discovered yesterday by a local fisherman, although the entire crew inside had apparantly committed suicide two days before.

Yesterday, a General Motors automobile plant began the first stage of conversion to building warplanes. For security reasons, the type of aircraft to be built at the new plant is unknown, but the plant is expected to double the current aircraft production in the United States. Along with Hitler's declaration of war on the United States, more such plant conversions are expected in the near future to "cloud the sky with warplanes".

Several anti-aircraft guns have been set-up around Washington D.C., including several atop the White House itself. The First Lady is known to have commented that the guns were detracting, though she says that she understands the precaution.

Watchful citizens along the California coast have reported sightings of "Jap submarines" near major metropolitan areas. Several people aboard a yacht out of San Francisco all reported to have seen a single Japanese submarine "surfacing and diving". One of the persons aboard claims to have seen a torpedo coming toward the yacht itself, although military authorities expressed doubts as to the authenticity of these reports, indicating that Japanese submarines couldn't make it across the expanse of the Pacific Ocean due to their likely poor construction.

 

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with some especially distressing war news for all you misguided Allied fighting men."

Tokyo, Feb. 20, 1942. Operations through end of G/T 3/2/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Sumatra: The ABDA command launches 3x Dutch Martins from Batavia against our transports still lying off Sabang. We're able to scramble 1x A6M & 1x Ki-43 from Singapore as Emergency Naval Cover. They are enough to down two of the Martin A/P's, & abort the other. When will these Allies ever learn? Such a shameful waste of life...

Philippines: From Davao, Hudsons commence regular bombing runs against Manado (Celebes), where we have the 16th Army's Offensive Support Base. Though several raids are mounted (some at night after we move 1x A6M there), no damage is caused. Later, we learn that 3x P-40 A/P's (apparently Australian) have transferred in to Davao. The Aussies are using Hollandia, in N. Guinea, as a staging base. As it turns out, the Kittyhawks' stay at Davao will be a short one.

"They were expendable:" At Cavite, we discover US MTB's still present, & launch several Ki-21's from Clark. We lose 1x A/P from flak, but sink 3x US boats there.

N. Guinea / N. Britain: The Americans switch tactics, commencing night bombing raids from their Australian bases. Gasmata is hit first (B-17's). Then Hudsons hit Port Moresby. Finally, B-17's and the first B-24's encountered in the war hit Lae. Fortunately for us, the Allies are not quite up to speed at this night-bombing; no damage is caused by any of the raids.

E. Indies: Fighter sweeps (A6M's) from Kendari finally clear Koepang (Timor) of Australian Hudsons. We commence heavy fighter-sweeps from Balikpappan (A6M's, including aces Sakai & Sasai), first against Soerabaja (1x Australian Wirraway destroyed on ground), then multiple raids against Tjilitjap (at extended-range). At Tjilitjap, we discover several British Hurricanes, & a couple of air battles ensue. Both result in the loss of 1x Hurricane A/P, with no losses inflicted to our boys. Then, apparently feeling Tjilitjap becoming a little too hot, the surviving ABDA air points are evacuated to Batavia. Here, we fear they will experience the unpleasant "frying pan into the fire" syndrome, as we are busy trying to repair the newly-captured airfield at Palembang (Sumatra); only a short hop from Batavia. Our air war continues to go remarkably well for us!

Solomons: 2x B-24's attack the anchorage at Shortland, at night, where we have 2x AV's & are operating seaplanes from there (more on that later). But, consistent with the proficiency displayed by these inept Allies to this point, no damage is done.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: (This 2-week period will see the first concerted Allied effort to contest our moves, by the brave (but ultimately futile) sorties of two Allied cruiser Task Forces. It will also see the first major surface battle of the war, and the first success by our submarines)

1. The adventures of the "Galloping Ghost:"

An Allied TF (sortied from Rockhampton) is spotted 100nm SW of Rennel Island by seaplane air search from Rabaul. We launch an air strike from Rabaul (1x G3M Nell A/P -- our airfield at Rabaul is still under-construction & our basinc capacity there is extremely limited). We find the TF to be composed of 1x CA (USS Houston); 2x CL's (one of which is the Boise), plus 2x DD's. We are unable to score, & later launch 1x H6K (Rabaul) also against this TF. Again, we are unable to score any hits. The US TF proceeds to the Guadalcanal area -- dangerously close to our AV's operating at Shortland.

We later launch additional strikes against the Houston TF SE of the Santa Cruz Is from Rabaul, none of which succeed. We even launch strikes from Shortland (to no avail, & we lose 1x Rufe from AA). This US TF continues to thumb its nose at us, and the "Galloping Ghost" proceeds towards the Nauru area (in which a fairly large storm front exists).

The Houston TF, apparently intent on bombarding our under-construction airfield at Nauru, attracts considerable attention. We try to launch 5x G3M's from Kwajalein against it, but (due to the bad weather prevailing), all are unable to locate the Americans. Then, 1x H6K (armed with torpedoes), launched from another base in the Marshalls, does locate the TF, and inflicts "D1" damage to the Houston.

The Houston TF does bombard Nauru (fortunately, no damage is done). Then, the Houston's luck runs out. We launch further strikes from Kwajalein, & this time 1x G3M manages to find the US TF. These are "elite" pilots, and are able to score another hit on Houston, bringing her damage to (at least) "D3." The Houston TF then escapes, sailing east towards Enderbury I. We applaud the audacity of the American TF commander (whose identity we never learn -- perhaps the US player will be good enough to provide same in his own "after-action" report of this operation).

2. "Admiral Somerville's excellent Adventure:"

About this same time, another Allied TF sorties from Noumea. Shortly thereafter, our submarines contact this TF. It is reported as "4x CA's, 2x CL's, 2x DD's, & 1x AV." Attacks commence, and the Australian CA Caberra is sunk! We serve notice now to the Allies that we also have submarines!

This TF also proceeds to the Solomons area. We occupy Vella Lavella shortly before this TF arrives in the general area. Apparently our moves in the Solomons have prompted the Allied command to react strongly.

The arrival of these Allied surface TF's prompts the formation of a DD TF at Truk (Adm. Tanaka), which is quickly sent south to the Solomons, there to protect our moves in the northern Solomons, and deal with these insolent Allies should they threaten our moves there.

This Allied TF is spotted, & shadowed, by our planes from Shortland. Tanaka's TF (with a "Reaction" mission) arrives on-station east of the Shortlands, spoiling for a fight. The Allied TF is still operating in the area NE of Santa Isabel. Thus, for the first time in the war, there exist powerful TF's operating in close proximity to each other. The result will be:

THE BATTLE OF NEW GEORGIA SOUND

(Night of 14-15 Feb, 1942)



The Allied TF, still spotted, and apparently unaware of Tanaka's TF east of Shortland, proceeds around Santa Isabel, and enters "the slot" between Santa Isabel & Choiseul at night. We declare a "Reaction" with Adm. Tanaka's TF. The distance between the opposing TF's shortens to 3 hexes when our reaction is declared. Adm. Tanaka's "reaction" rating allows a DR, which in this case happens to provide a 2-hex bonus to his reaction movement. Absent this DR, it is likely that the Allied TF would not be caught, in the 1-for-1 hex-by-hex reaction movement by the triggering & reacting TF's. At any rate, we are lucky, & Tanaka's aggressiveness allows him to reach the Allied TF's hex as it enters "the slot."

Next, we must ascertain whether "contact" results, and whether a fight will ensue. After calculations, it is found that there is a 2/3 chance of "contact." However, (aren't our Admirals great?), Adm. Tanaka possesses an "Engagement Value" modifier of (-2), providing a (providential, in this case) -2 DRM on the "Search & Contact" Table. In this case, Tanaka's ratings have not only allowed him to chase down the unsuspecting Allied TF, but have also resulted in an assured "contact." Battle stations are manned by both sides.

Forces involved:

ALLIED

CA Exeter * CA Australia ** CA Pensacola CL Adelaide CL Perth "L" class DD (British; x1) "Stuart" class DD (x1)

  VAdm Somerville (OTC; CA Exeter)

  * RAdm Crace (RAN; subordinate to Somerville; CA Australia)

JAPANESE

Kagero-class DD's * (x2) Akatsuki-class DD's (x2) Hatsuharu-class DD (x1) Shiratsuyu-class DD's (x2) Akitsuki-class DD (x1)

  RAdm Tanaka

Breakoff levels for the opposing TF's: British 5; Japanese 4. Average DR's are made for the opposing admirals involved. But, Adm. Tanaka's "average" DR bests, by a substantial margin, both CW admirals. Thus, we begin with a tactical edge.

1st Tactical Sequence The battle begins well for the Allies. We have two DD's hit (both to "D1") by the 3x Allied CA's. Despite our torpedo advantages, we are unable to score. Round 1 goes to the Allies, and we begin to worry.

2nd Tactical Sequence Tanaka wakes up, and we begin to score hits: The Adelaide & Perth are both hit (to "D1"), and the Exeter receives "D2" damage. In return, we have another DD hit (to "D1"). Thus, after the 2nd round, the Allied "breakoff" level has reached "4;" ours "3." Thus, both sides edge closer to a possible required breakoff, and to this point the battle could go either way.

3rd Tactical Sequence We manage to score hits on one of the British DD's ("D1"), and to the USS Pensacola (also "D1"). We also hit the Adelaids again, bringing her damage to "D2." This brings the Allied breakoff level to "6," mandating their withdrawal. But, we also receive more damage, having two more DD's damaged -- thus bringing our own breakoff level to "5." Without Tanaka, this would normally require our own breakoff. But (aren't our Admirals great?), Adm. Tanaka has a "breakoff" modifier, allowing him a DR chance of temporarily ignoring the mandated withdrawal. He has a 1/3 chance of passing, and (naturally, & unfortunately for the Allied ships) does.

4th Tactical Sequence Adm. Tanaka is again required to pass a "breakoff" DR, and again does! He thus is eligible to stay for this (which will be the last) Tactical Sequence, freeing him to chase down the fleeing Allies with one last torpedo attack.  During this round, we chase down and sink both the Exeter & Adelaide!! And, for good measure, we damage the remaining British DD. The rest of the Allied TF successfully withdraws from the battle, and the 1st major surface engagement of the war is a decisive Japanese victory! In Tokyo, an Imperial Rescript recognizes Adm. Tanaka's outstanding performance.

BATTLE SUMMARY

The following summarizes the minimum (reported; prior to "critical hit" DR's following the battle) losses & damage incurred, by both sides:

ALLIED

CA Exeter: SUNK // CL Adelaide: SUNK // CA Pensacola: D1 // CL Perth: D1 // "L"-cl DD: D1 // "Stuart"-cl DD: D1

JAPANESE

A total of 5 (of DD's receive "D1" damage)

Post-battle notes: Adm. Somerville is WIA, and will apparently be out of action until cycle 4/42. We were surprised to find Somerville in the S. Pacific, and ask the British command why he isn't in Ceylon where he belongs? For, it is apparent that, at this stage of the war at least, he is no "long-ball hitter," and is clearly overmatched in the "big leagues" of the South Pacific. We also wonder just who is minding the store in Ceylon, and wonder whether we might make a major move in that direction soon...

NAVAL OPERATIONS (Cont.)

E. Indies: We occupy Tenimbar I., against no opposition. At Tarakan, we reinforce the troops fighting there with another SNLF Bn.

N. Ireland: We land the 1st Inf. Bde on New Ireland, SE of Kavieng.

Central Pacific: We are shocked to discover a USN TF operating near Marcus I. It approaches close, and our seaplanes there manage to locate it. It is 1x AV (the Wright?). What in the wide world of sports are these crazy Americans up to? We have 2x F1M2 ("Petes") there at Marcus. The arrival of this ship gives our pilots there an actual opportunity to get in the war. We launch a strike, and actually manage to damage the US AV! Minor damage only, but might just constitute the biggest headline of the war, as far as the little "Petes" go.

GROUND OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: Aitape is captured, by the hard-fighting (against Intrinsic Garrisons, anyway) 1st Amphib. Bde.

N. Ireland: Kavieng is captured by the 1st Inf Bde, without loss.

Burma: Mandalay is captured! Our 55th Inf. Div. steam-rollers over a lone Burmese Bn. defending there. Following their success, the division advances to the outskirts of Lashio. Yenangyuang also is taken, by the 5th Gd. Rgt (Imperial Gds Div), again against a lone Burmese Bn. We do suffer some losses in this battle, but the valuable resource hex is ours.

At Bassein, the fleeing remnants of the British "Rangoon Bde" surrender, but (alas) not without inflicting another step loss on our 2nd Inf. Div. We rail 1x Inf Bn. from Singapore to Chiengmai (in Thailand), which contains the 15th Army's Offensive Support Base & is currently threatened by the 2nd Bur. Bde moving against it from Burma. There, they arrive just in time, as this Bur. Bde makes a suicidal attack against us there, and is promptly wiped out. With this victory, Thailand & southern Burma is secured.

Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Div, opposite Lashio, finally rallies! Apparently embarrased by the rapid progress of the 55th Div advancing on Mandalay, Sakurai's battered division may now get back in the war. It's about time!

Near Moulmein, the 1st Bur. Div, severely depleted, is finally defeated, surrendering to our 23rd Inf Bde(18th Inf Div).

Borneo: The battle for Tarakan continues: 3x SNLF Bn's (8/Sasebo; 2/Maizuru; & 4/Yokosuka) mount the final assault against the Dutch Rgt defending there. This assault succeeds, & Tarakan is ours (we suffer no losses).

Celebes: The Kure SNLF Bde (-) launches an overland attack on Makassar. There, the Dutch Intrinsic Garrison is a good one (TQ "3") and, although we capture Makassar, we suffer a step loss to our marine unit. With the taking of Makassar, the Celebes campaign is over.

Sumatra: Our engineers at Palembang are able to repair the light demolition damage done by the Dutch to the oil fields there. Hopefully, within a cycle or two, we will begin to reap the benefits of this most valuable resource area. A Japanese Tk Bn. advances from Palembang & defeats a Dutch Intrinsic Garrison (Troop Quality of "1") at Teloebetoeng. We thus capture the valuable port opposite Batavia (Java). Fortunately, we suffer no losses (our tank strength is nearly gone; severely depleted in the Malayan campaign).

Philippines: The bitter & bloody fight for Manila continues. Another attack by the 48th Div. alone vs. the hard-fighting US Phil. Inf. Div is inconclusive, with only minor losses to both sides. We decide to throw another 2 divisions (what's left of them, that is) into the fighting for Manila. Now, we have the 48th (-), 16th (-), & 4th (-) Inf. Divisions in the fight for the Philippine capital. All 3 of our divs are fairly severely under-strength. Our assault results in heavy casualties inflicted on the defending Americans, who stubbornly refuse to give up the city. The Phil Inf Div is now down to approx. 30% of its original strength, but remains un-bowed. The unexpectedly-bitter fight for Manila shall continue, and it appears as if we have got more than we bargained for here.

On Mindanao, two Japanese brigades (65th Indep. & the 19th Inf) advance on Davao, & mount their assault there. The defenders are two under-strength & low-quality Filippino Militia "divisions." They are routed & retreat into the hills (we will have to chase them down), though we suffer a step loss. Davao is thus captured!

China: NE of Yunnani, the Chinese 19th Army attacks & defeats a lone Japanese Bn holding out on the Burma Road. Our incursion into northern Burma begins to show signs of collapse, as our units there (the equivalent of 1x Rgt) are now isolated.

End Report

From the Navy ministry"

Tokyo, Feb. 21, 1942. Special Report (filed under "loose lips sink ships")

One of our I-boats east of Nauru fished some American sailors out of the water last night. They were most cooperative, and stated they were from the USS Houston, which they say sank early last evening. More good war news! We were under the impression that we had only merely damaged her. Apparently the USN damage-control techniques are not all they're cracked up to be. Scratch one more cruiser...

<< Huh? The Houston went down? Hmmm, I wasn't aware of that. Could it be that we fished some survivors out of the water near Nauru?>>

uh... no comment. The Department of the Navy doesn't release information to the public regarding naval ships in a war zone. The Damn lying press is another issue.

February 24th, 1942.

U.S. Task Force 3 pulled into Pearl Harbor yesterday morning after a harassment foray near Japanese island positions in the South Pacific. Despite intercepted Japanese news reports, the USS "Houston" limped into Pearl with severe bomb and torpedo damage from Japanse aircraft, but still afloat and under her own power (due to excellent American design, construction and damage control). Apparantly, the reports of the Houston's demise was premature. The Galloping Ghost of the Java coast rides again!

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific, with news for all you fighting men."

Tokyo, Feb. 27, 1942. Operations through end of Cycle 2/42

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: The nascent US 5th AF, operating from their developing bases in NE Australia, continue small-scale night raids, against Lae, Port Moresby, and against Shortland. One subsequent larger raid (5x B-17's) scores the first success of the US night bombing efforts, at Lae, where we lose 1x Zero A/P. No damage is done to any of the installations, and no B-17's are lost.

Philippines: We mount an all-out effort against Manila. If Gen. MacArthur won't give up the city, we intend to bring it down on the heads of the USA's Phil Inf Div. These multiple raids will pay off in our next assault on Manila, finally making the difference.

E. Indies: We mount raids against Batavia, from Singapore & fighter sweeps from Palembang. We KO the last Dutch Martin bomber there, & force PBY's there to skeddaddle to safer surroundings.

Later, we launch a fighter sweep from Balikpappan (2x A6M's @ extended range), which unfortunately is in a storm front, which serves to hamper our operations from there. At Bali, we are surprised to find 3x P-40's there. Our pilots didn't stop to ascertain whether they were Australian or American; the air battle is inconclusive, as neither side suffers any loss.

Solomons: At Tulagi, the Americans have moved in at least 1x AV. One PBY is present there, & we launch attacks by Rufes & Petes from the Shortlands area -- to no avail.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

We occupy Ocean I., with troops from Jaluit. No opposition is encountered.

Solomons: The Allies sortie another TF, this time from Espiritu Santo, which approaches Tulagi at night. Prior to this, we receive an air search report that it consists of "2x BB's, 8x DD's, & 5 transports." This report gets the attention of the So. Seas Fleet commander at Truk, and we are not a little surprised at the audacity of the Americans, sailing such ships so close to Rabaul.

The Americans are most fortunate, though, as Rabaul is also socked in by a storm front, limiting our ability to launch planes from there. Nevertheless, we're able to get off 1x G3M "Nell," with torpedoes, in a Joint Strike from Rabaul-to-Shortland-to-Tulagi. From Shortland, we add 1x H6K (also armed with torpedoes), and two "Rufes" as escort. These planes are sent to attack the American TF at Tulagi.

At Tulagi, we find the US TF is actually comprised of 1x BB (reported as the "Colorado"), 6x DD's, plus 3x APB's (one at "D2"). This constitutes a substantial lift capacity, and is cause for some concern, as the Americans apparently have decided to garrison Florida I. / Tulagi. In our attack, the "Mavis" is fortunate to only be aborted, but the "Nell" goes in to attack, and manages to inflict "D3" damage to one of the full-strength US APB's. Hopefully, we got some US soldiers "wet" with this attack. We also promise these Americans that, once the weather clears, we shall return with more friends.

E. Indies: One of the last survivors of the "ABDAFloat" command, 1x Dutch DD, is evacuated from Soerabaja. Fate will be cruel to these ships, though, as one of our subrons NW of Exmouth Gulf (NW Australia) finds & sinks them.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: We move the 15th Army HQ to Rangoon. At Lashio, we mount an assault by 2x divisions: the 55th (lead) & Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division, now rallied & attacking with a vengeance back across the Salween river. Defending at Lashio are a good-quality but understrength Indian Bde (the 16th), plus the Chinese 20th Army, & 1x Burmese Bde. Our attack is aided by ground-support bombing attacks from Mandalay (Ki-21's), & our attack succeeds in forcing the Allied defenders out. Lashio is now ours!

In northern Burma, new Indian units (including the 17th Indian Div, and the 49th Ind Bde) mount a counter-attack against our 215th Inf Rgt in the Myitkyina area. Our unit is forced to retreat, and is successfully pursued by the attackers. We vow to avenge this humiliation, though in truth the defeat is not decisive.

Philippines (Luzon): Gen. Homma is finally able to capture Manila! Far, far behind schedule, following increasing & incessant attack from the air, the valiant US Army Philippine Inf Division finally surrenders, though, true to form, not without exacting still more losses, this time from our 16th Inf Division (which led the final assault on the city, replacing the now badly-mauled 48th division).

(Mindanao): We commence mop-up operations, wiping out one of the remaining two Filippino Militia Divs. The other manages to hold out, but we should be able to arrange for its surrender next week.

N. Guinea: The hard-fighting (against low-quality opposition, at least) 1st Amphib. Bde defeats the low-quality Intrinsic Garrison at Hollandia, capturing the last Allied-controlled installation on New Guinea (the irrepressible commander of the Bde badgers the 17th Army commander for his next assignment. He is told to acquaint himself with any maps he might have of Florida Island & Tulagi).

STRATEGIC CYCLE

The USN now has 24 boats assigned to MS Attrition. We lose two more MS Points, and suffer minor losses to the few "escorts" we have assigned.

End Report

The Wavell Wire--

Ahoy, chaps! And how goes the war?

Sad news from our front as Lashio has finally fallen with our brave Indian boys have been destroyed to a man and our Burmese and Chinese allies retreating their own bloody way. The week was not without her bright spots for though we've lost southern and most likely, central Burma; we have a tenacious hold on the northern frontier. As much as we would have loved to have destroyed their isolated regiment, we have inflicted more casualties and the bastards are cut off and surrounded.

News from our ally across the pond is rather vague as their President's naval attache to the Indian department has been rather secretive but all their activity seems to be directed to the Solomons as that seems to be the plan, you know; securing Australia's flanks and all...

Meanwhile, General Irwin of ABDACOM has more or less started evacuation procedures. Java has been pounded from the air and the irony is not lost to us that the enemy has been using our old base of Singapore for the dirty deed. The Dutch Air Force has been completely neutralized and what remained of the proud Dutch fleet has been sent to Australia to reinforce our efforts there. We have not heard of her safe arrival and now fear the worst.

Nonetheless, we choose to be optimistic and that in a few years, our empire shall be an actuality once again, from which the sun shall never set!

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific, with news for all you fighting men."

Tokyo, Mar 2, 1942. Operations through 2nd Naval Phase, G/T 1/3/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: IJA bombers from Clark F. initiate large-scale bombing raids against Bataan, which is heavily-fortified (Defenders there are identified as the 4th Mar. Rgt + 3x Filippino Militia Divs).

Solomons: IJN bombers continue to pound the US ships operating around Tulagi. A Joint, coordinated strike (Rabaul-Shortland-Tulagi), consisting of 1x G4M (torpedo), 2x H6K (1x torpedo-armed), plus 2x "Rufes" & 2x "Petes" ends up sinking one (D2) APB, and damaging the US BB Colorado (to "D1").

Later, another (Special) strike is launched as the US TF leaves Tulagi (apparently things were getting a little too hot for the US ships there, completely devoid of any protection). We are again able to successfully coordinate a Joint Strike from Rabaul-to-Shortland-to Tulagi. Our strike is similarly-composed to the previous one, and this time we inflict severe damage to the Americans, sinking one US ("D3") APB, and damaging a full-strength one (to damage level "D2"). The US TF limps away, badly mauled by our unopposed air strikes. The waters around Tulagi, Gavutu, & Guadalcanal are now littered with the burning hulks of US transports. We wonder what the troops on Florida Island are thinking as they witness these events? For, perhaps their turn is not long in coming...

As a final coup de grace, another strike is launched from Shortland against the US AV Tangier (which is damage level "D3"), still near Tulagi. One torpedo-armed H6K send the Tangier to the bottom. There, she may presumably commiserate with all the other American ships, wondering why they were sent into "harm's way" with such apparent reckless abandon.

Small-scale B-24 night raids are continued over Shortland, still without effect.

E. Indies: Fighter sweeps from Palembang finds one Boston still at Tjilitjap, which we are eventually able to dispose of. Over Bali, multiple fighter sweeps (A6M's, extended range) from Balikpappan knock down two of three US P-40's there, without loss to us. From Darwin, 5x RAAF Hudsons are launched against a Japanese transport TF moving north, away from Tenimbar I. The Japanese TF consists of 2x APB's (both "D3"), plus 2x DD's. We are able to launch 1x A6M from Amboina as Emergency Naval Cover, but these planes are unable to turn back any of the attackers. Fortunately, though, none of the Hudsons are able to score, and one is downed by AA.

Later, 2x G3M's are launched from Sorong against Darwin, in the first Japanese air raid on Australian soil. At Darwin, we discover 7x Hudsons & 3x PBY's. No fighters are present, and our raid destroys 1x Hudson A/P. No damage is done to the A/F there, and we are fortunate not to suffer any losses from AA.

N. Guinea: Small-scale US night B-17 missions are continued over Lae. No damage is inflicted.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Pacific: We are alarmed when we receive an air search report of a large US carrier TF operating in the Ocean I. / Nauru area. The American TF is reported as "3x CV's, 6x CA's, 3x CL's, plus 13x DD's." We launch a Joint Strike (Kwajalein-Nauru) against this TF. The Japanese strike consists of 2x G3M (bombs) + 3x "Rufes" from Nauru. The US TF is far too powerful to attempt attacks against the carriers, so we settle for inflicting "D1" damage on one "Gridley-class" US DD.

Later, this same DD is detached & sent to Nauru, where it contacts an inactive Japanese APD TF (there to embark SNLF troops for future operations). A small daylight surface battle ensues there, which we win (taking 3 Tactical Sequences to finish, the US DD is sunk by 2x "Mutsuki-class" APD's, without loss to us). Our little victory, however, will turn out to be short-lived.

Later, the US carriers launch their first strike of the war, against our two APD's. A total of 2x SBD's & 5x TBD's (two of them "green") are launched, and they make very short work of our ships. Valuable combat experience finally is gained by some of the American carrier air groups. Meanwhile, apparently unknown to the Americans, a Japanese carrier TF is steaming NE at flank speed, not too far away from Ocean I.

The US carriers subsequently launch a raid against Nauru (against our under-construction A/F there). 2x F4F's (with ace O'Hare) & 4x SBD's are opposed by 4x "Rufes." The US fighters are inexperienced, but still manage to abort 1x Rufe, and our planes are unable to dent the Dauntlesses. But, no damage is done to Nauru.

CARRIER BATTLE OFF NAURU I.

Adm. Nagumo, who happened to be at sea NE of the Solomons when the US carrier TF (apparently commanded by Adm. Halsey) appeared off Nauru, boldly steams towards the US carriers. Approaching Nauru from the SW, Nagumo enters a squall area west of Nauru (which is not screening the Americans). Despite this, the US TF succeeds in finding our TF. Perhaps due to the squall conditions which are somewhat screening our ships, Halsey decides not to launch a Special Strike. The search report on our TF which we provide to the Americans list only one carrier. Perhaps Halsey feels confident that the danger to his ships from one carrier is minimal.

Halsey's TF is already "located," following its operations & previous contact. Following Nagumo's approach, Halsey's boys begin retiring eastward. Nagumo launches an immediate Special Strike -- the first carrier-to-carrier engagement of the war!

Unfortunately for the Americans, they are new to carrier warfare and Halsey does not do well with 3 carriers this early in the war, failing his 1st Carrier Coordination DR as US CAP is launched. As it turns out, the US CAP will be short a couple of Wildcats due to this failure. And, the Americans are unable (for the above reasons) to launch any of their SBD's as "emergency" CAP.

Fortunately, though, for the Americans, we are also having our problems. Though the squall conditions our ships are operating from might have prevented the Americans from launching against us, these conditions also hamper our air strike. And, Adm. Nagumo himself does not perform well -- the fighter cover launched with our strike almost all fail to rendevous with our D3A's & B5N's enroute to their target. Fortunately, this failure will not prove fatal, as the US CAP, in their first engagement, will disappoint. But, Nagumo's own failure of an easy Carrier Coordination DR, coupled with the bad weather, serves to drastically reduce the strength of our strike winging its way towards the Americans.

Arriving over the US TF are 1x A6M (loose escort), 3x D3A's, & 4x B5N's (all torpedo-laden). All of the Japanese A/P's, save one of the "Kates," are "elite." The Americans manage to launch 5x F4F's as CAP, splitting them up with 2 at medium altitude (against the unescorted Vals), & 3 at low (against the lone A6M + 4x Kates). Thanks to a DRM for their ace O'Hare, the Americans receive "the bounce." But, the Americans are inexperienced. The F4F's fail to turn back any of the Vals. Down lower, 1x Kate is aborted, but no other losses ensue. Thus, 3x Vals & 3x Kates (2 of the Kates are "elite") approach the US TF.

The American TF, though perhaps unwieldy regarding Halsey's ability to coordinate that many carriers, still is a big one, with substantial AA punch. We form 3 attacking waves, each of 1x Val plus 1x Kate. The US TF contains the carriers Lexington, Saratoga, & Yorktown.

The US gunners are alert & capable. In the 1st wave, only the Val gets through, and attacks the Lexington. Alas, we miss! The 2nd wave is turned back in total. But, our 3rd wave gets through intact, & our boys line up their attack runs. All our attackers concentrate on Lexington. This time, the Americans' luck runs out, as our Combined Attack scores, & we manage to damage the Lexington (to damage level "D2")!

Our strike ends the brief battle near Nauru I. At this point, we are unable to report the true composition of Nagumo's TF, as they are still at sea. Perhaps later we might be able to provide such information to the valiant-but-still-fledgling Americans.

The results for us are most disappointing, after getting such a rare opportunity to get in a first strike against a juicy (but formidable) target. Both commanding admirals' performances were apparently sub-par. We fear that all we may have done was to teach the Americans a valuable lesson on command & composition of carrier TF's, at a not-too-expensive price. ______________________________________________________________________

In other naval operations, we land at Bandjarmasin, in Borneo, via amphibious assault from Tarakan. Surprisingly, we encounter no opposition: ships, submarines, or air. Everything is strangely quiet. Three SNLF Bn's are landed: 2 & 4/Yokosuka, & 8/Sasebo. Resolution to be concluded during the upcoming Ground Phase.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with some more distressing war news for all you poor Allied fighting men."

Tokyo, Mar. 12, 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/3/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: Continuous air reconnaissance over Florida I. indicates the Allied ground forces there are not very powerful -- reports vary from 4 to 5 Bn's.

N. Guinea: Large-scale raids are mounted, in daylight, from the US North Queensland bases, against P. Moresby once again. The A/F there is damaged, yet again ("D1").

We note that the Americans have now begun construction of an A/F well north on the Cape York Peninsula (near Princess Charlotte Bay), which will be within normal B-17 range of Lae. We mount an initial, unescorted air strike from Rabaul-Lae against this area (4x G4M's) but cannot affect the progress of construction there. Later, we send another raid there (2x A6M's @ extended-range escort + 2x G3M's & 3x G4M's), & this time the Americans manage to position 4x P-40's + 1x P-39 as Cover Cap from Cooktown to oppose our raid. The American fighters down 1x "elite" Betty A/P, & scatter the remainder.

E. Indies: More air raids are mounted from Sorong, against Darwin. We send 2x G3M's & 2x G4M's (unescorted), but are unable to do any damage (at Darwin are 4x RAAF Hudsons & 3x PBY's).

On Timor, we discover 3x P-40's are operating from Koepang.

In Java, the ABDA air force is reduced to one lone Buffalo Air Point, which is chased out of Batavia, to Bali, after fighter sweeps from Palembang (A6M's, with Sasai) destroy the last Hurricane at Tjilitjap. Our Zeroes have virtually swept the Java skies clean.

Philippines: Large-scale bombardment missions continue against Bataan. We lose some Ki-21's via multiple mission penalties, and begin to mount raids at low altitude, in an attempt to reduce the strong fortifications present there. We're unable to tell if our strikes have had any effect, until we mount our assault there. We can assure MacArthur that this assault will not be long in coming.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

E. Indies: 2x SNLF Bn's (4/Yokosuka & 8/Sasebo) are landed at Bali. They brush aside token opposition & we capture Bali's airstrip intact. Three large amphibious TF's sortie, from Saigon & Singapore & enter the Java Sea (destination Java?). US subs in the area are able to contact some of these ships but all the American boats are successfully screened.

Solomons: We occupy Bougainville. Then, two powerful American TF's (TF's 14 & 18) arrive in the southern Solomons from the Espiritu Santo area. We get a submarine contact on one of them, and our submarine force's recent successes are repeated -- we manage to put the "Indianapolis" dead-in-the-water ("D4") & she is towed away, back south. Meanwhile, the rest of the American ships continue NW. Air & sub contacts report the two TF's as:

TF18: "3x carriers, 5x CA's, 1x CL & 2x DD's." TF14: "2x CA's, 3x CL's, 16x DD's, & 4x MS (3 @ "D2," 1 @ "D1")."

Our own ships, including the indomitable Adm. Nagumo, are also operating in the area, NE of the Solomons. Once again, it seems that powerful carrier (and surface) TF's are operating in close proximity. Adm. Nagumo lands the first punch, striking TF 14 from his (unlocated) position NE of Santa Isabel. TF 14 enters a squall area near Rennel I. Adm. Nagumo does well this time in coordinating his strike, and there is no protection for the American ships.

BATTLE OF RENNEL ISLAND

3x attacking waves arrive. The 1st wave (1x D3A + 2x B5N's) has one "Kate" aborted by flak. The remainder go in and sink 1x MS (@ "D1")! The 2nd wave (2x D3A + 2x B5N, all "elite") pummels the escorting American cruisers, sinking the USS Pensacola & heavily damaging the Chicago (to "D3"). The 3rd wave (same composition as 2nd) goes in against the now-reeling Americans. We sink 1x "Gridlley-Cl." DD and another MS. We also lightly damage another "Gridley-Cl" DD ("D1"), and inflict "D1" damage on the CL Richmond.

We thus rack up a big score off Rennel Island. A summary of the US losses:

SUNK: CA Pensacola, 1x DD, 2x MS (1 @ "D2;" 1 @ "D1"). DAMAGED: CA Chicago ("D3"), CL Richmond ("D1"), 1x DD ("D1").

Once again, Adm. Nagumo's name is prominent in the news, and we wonder if these Americans will ever learn their lesson from sending ships in harm's way without air cover. We're thankful that the gods of war have once again seen fit to smile on the sons of Nippon.

Remarkably, though, the plucky US TF14 continues towards Ironbottom Sound! The American carriers have stopped SW of the Solomons, out of range. TF 14 approaches Guadalcanal at night, and triggers "reaction" movement: First, Nagumo smartly reacts away from the battle scene; he remains un-spotted. Then, a Japanese surface TF approaches Guadalcanal. Fortunately, this TF remains unlocated, & no Coastwatchers are able to spot it either. Unfortunately, we run out of night and, as the sun rises, we decide not to continue the reaction movement to engage. But, as the sun rises, and the US merchantmen begin to debark their troops at Guadalcanal, more misery arrives over the US ships, from Rabaul:

1ST BATTLE OF IRONBOTTOM SOUND

After the Americans are (apparently) able to debark only one ground step, 3x Betty A/P's arrive, unescorted. One of the G4M's is armed with torpedoes, & the other two are at medium altitude, armed with bombs. This time, the Americans manage to launch Naval Cover CAP over TF 14, & 3x F4F's oppose our bombers. We lose the torpedo-laden Betty at low altitude, but the others make their attack runs from medium altitude.

We sink the remaining two US MS, bringing to a screeching halt the American unloading. We wonder how many American soldiers were lost in this debacle, and once again pay homage to the gods of war, as we hand these brave-yet-foolhardy Americans another stinging defeat.

Unfortunately, however, our surface TF, though currently unlocated, is well within range of the American carriers only a short distance south of them. We shall have to await further battle reports from Ironbottom Sound to determine their fate. We trust our good fortune will continue.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Borneo: Our amphibious assault at Bandjarmasin (3x SNLF Bn's, vs. token opposition) succeeds without loss.

Burma: At Katha, the 17th Ind Div & the 49th Ind Bde continue their attacks against our Rgt. there. We inflict serious losses on these two units, and are able to break the 17th Ind. Div, but are finally forced to surrender. Our move into northern Burma thus is on the verge of collapse, but our units there have served a most valuable purpose. Then, the Chinese 19th Army is activated, attacks Myitkyna, and wipes out the last Japanese Bn. holding out there.

The Japanese 15th Army, for the time being, halts offensive combat operations in Burma, as supplies have temporarily dried up.

Philippines (Luzon): Our 48th & 4th Inf Divs begin a march to Legaspi, wiping out the 51st Fil. Militia Div enroute. Then, we run into problems on the approach march to Legaspi. We try a 2-hex jungle advance -- the 48th Div fails but otherwise suffers no adverse effects. The 4th Division, though, becomes the 2nd Japanese division to disgrace itself (Gen. Sakurai's division in Burma being the first), as it fails miserably to complete its mission: It loses one step, is deactivated, and breaks! Gen. Homma's performance in Luzon continues to disappoint. We long for the salad days of rapid jungle advances under Gen. Yamashita!

Philippines (Mindanao): On Mindanao, our 65th Indep. Bde launches an attack on the last unit remaining there -- the weak 101st Fil. Militia Div. Surprisingly, this unit manages to hold out, refusing our demand to surrender. It is, however, down to 1x Bn., & we shall remove this last vestige of organized opposition on Mindanao next week.

End Report

--- The Wavell Wire --- (supplemental)

'allo! Tis I again, Lt Rodney Nelson at your service. The General has instructed me to tell you that all is well in Burma. He conducted a magnificent attack on a demoralized Japanese regiment and liberated the town of Katha. If you hear anything and by Jove, I have; of any rumours about our forces taking casualties and leaving Katha that it may be occupied by the enemy once more...the General tells me to ignore that bloody rubbish and blame either the bloody Yanks who want all the glory of winning any campaign or the dastardly Japanese who can't even brew a respectable cup of tea!

Nonetheless, a victory is a victory, and with the Chinese re-capturing Myitkina at the expense of a poor Japanese battalion; the war is going splendidly. We ought to be in Rangoon pretty soon barring any unfortunate circumstances. Cheerio, chaps!

Oh, those Japanese and their propaganda. Consider the following report by the Japanese military:

"First, Nagumo smartly reacts away from the battle scene;"

However, This was reported in Australia and in the States as such:

"First, Nagumo nervously flees from the battle scene, abandoning several vulnerable Japanese task forces still left in the area, while the American task forces holds their position south of Guadalcanal."

END REPORT

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! And, I mean orphans! This is after-her-weekend Annie with some most distressing news for you Allied fighting men. We send some extra-special greetings to those Americans occupying Florida Island and Guadalcanal, who I'm afraid are in for a very unhappy, lonely stay."

Tokyo, Mar. 19, 1942. Operations through end of G/T 3/3/42.

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: We launch a Joint Strike from Lae-Shortland against US TF 14, still operating near Guadalcanal. 3x "Rufes" from Shortland, escorting 3x G3M "Nells" find the US ships, but are opposed by 2x F4F's from Halsey's carriers nearby. Our attacks are beaten off & we score no hits.

Philippines: Multiple medium-strength strikes are launched against Bataan (Ki-21's, Ki-48's).

N. Guinea: More B-17 raids from Queensland are mounted against Port Moresby. We are unable to mount any opposition, and we lose the lone Zero A/P stationed there. Once again, the airstrip there is rendered un-useable.

E. Indies: We discover 2x P-40's operating from Koepang (Timor), and launch fighter sweeps from Amboina (4x A6M's), but neither side is able to score any hits.



NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: This week will see a decisive, desperate carrier battle, and will result in a crushing defeat for one side, in the:

BATTLE OF THE SOLOMON SEA (Mar. 16, 1942)

The battle is actually several engagements, culminating in a one-sided carrier battle. At the outset, a Japanese carrier TF (CV's Akagi, Kaga, & Soryu, commanded by Adm. Nagumo) is operating NE of the Solomons. A 2nd Japanese carrier TF (Shokaku & Zuikaku, commanded by Adm. Yamaguchi) is steaming south, approaching the Solomons. The Americans have two TF's operating in the Solomons: TF14 (2x CL's -- Concord & Trenton -- plus 13x mostly older-type DD's, commanded by Adm. Kinkaid), in Ironbottom Sound, plus TF18 (3x CV's: Saratoga, Yorktown, & Hornet, plus a medium-sized cruiser & DD screen, commanded by Adm. Halsey).

The US TF's are "located;" the Japanese ships are not as yet.

Nagumo's carriers begin the sequence of events by moving south, at night, ending up west of the Stewart Is, 240 n.m. from Halsey's ships. Nagumo, for the time being, remains un-spotted. Then, Adm. Yamaguchi approaches, with orders to link up with Nagumo west of the Stewarts. Unfortunately, Yamaguchi's move is spotted by American PBY's flying from Espiritu Santo, in time to allow Kinkaid's cruisers & DD's to react.

Adm. Kinkaid begins a REAC movement towards Yamaguchi. Enroute, he encounters, at night, Nagumo's carrier TF (much to Adm. Nagumo's horror), NE of Malaita. After calculation, contact success for the Americans is judged as a 2/3 chance. Kinkaid succeeds, & Nagumo's TF prepares for battle with the plucky US Admiral.

Nagumo's TF consists of the 3x CV's, plus 6x CA's & 6x DD's. Nagumo orders a hasty withdrawal, which succeeds with no damage incurred by either side. Kinkaid's REAC effort is thus frustrated.

But, Kinkaid's TF 14 continues its REAC movement, contacting Adm. Yamaguchi's TF steaming south to link up with Nagumo. Again, with a 2/3 chance, Kinkaid succeeds in contact, and Yamaguchi prepares to disengage. This time, though, Kinkaid's CL's Concord & Trenton manage to score hits on CA Kako, inflicting "D1" damage on her. The rest of Yamaguchi's ships manage to withdraw successfully. No damage is inflicted on the American ships.

Adm. Kinkaid continues his TF's movement south, linking up with Halsey. Kinkaid's actions have served to locate both of the Japanese carrier TF's and also have forced them to "retreat" one hex to the north -- which will put the opposing carrier TF's at extreme range. This will have a profound impact on the coming carrier battle.

The Solomon Sea battle is a series of inter-related exchanges. The first strike to arrive is one from Rabaul: 5x "elite" G4M "Betty's" (unescorted) contact (reorganized) US TF 26. TF 26 consists of CV Hornet, 3x CL's (Perth, Trenton, & Concord), & 5x DD's (one British). The Betty's are all at Medium altitude, carrying bombs. The US CAP over TF26 is well-prepared. 2x F4F's from TF26 are augmented by 2x F4F's from TF 18 (Halsey). Note: This action will prove a tactical mistake by Halsey, leaving the two other American CV's with less protection. But, in this case the Americans perform well, splashing one Betty & aborting 3 others. The lone remaining Betty targets the Hornet, but is unable to score.

Via the Strike Sequence procedure, the next-arriving strike is a combined strike from TF 18 (Yorktown & Saratoga) & TF26 (Hornet), launched against Yamaguchi's TF (CV's Shokaku & Zuikaku, along with a small screen of 2x CA's + 1x DD). Japanese CAP is 4x A6M's. Yamaguchi's carriers have already launched their own strike; they are winging their way towards their launching tormentors. They are facing 9x SBD's (like the coming Japanese strikes, at extended-range). It is most fortunate that the Japanese are beyond normal Dauntless range. The Zeroes splash one Dauntless, and abort 2 others. Six SBD's commence their bombing runs, in two waves of 3 each. The first wave sees one SBD splashed by AA, and the other two aborted! Adm. Yamaguchi's gunners are from the "A" team! The 2nd wave (and the only really powerful one remaining in this battle) sees only one SBD aborted. The remaining two dive on Shokaku. The sailors aboard the Zuikaku are alarmed as they watch several splashes around her sister ship, and elated to see her emerge from these attacks unscathed! Yamaguchi's boys have weathered the storm, and now it is our turn!

The next strike to arrive is Yamaguchi's strike vs. US TF 18 (Halsey; consisting of CV's Yorktown & Saratoga, along with a screen of 5x CA's & 9x DD's). Yamaguchi's strike consists of 5x D3A "Vals," along with 5x B5N "Kates," all "elite" & at extended range (the "Kates" are all torpedo-armed, at maximum range), & un-escorted. US CAP is only 2x F4F's (along with their ace Butch O'Hare). They face long odds against so many attackers, despite the fact that they are un-escorted. The Americans fail to turn back a single attacker! Yamaguchi's attackers form 3 waves:

1st Wave Attack (1x D3A + 1x B5N): The initial wave targets the US inner ring, preferring to avoid the strong AA of the core ships containing Yorktown & Saratoga. Though AA aborts the "Val," the remaining "Kate" A/P gets through to damage the CA Astoria (putting her at "D2").

2nd Wave Attack (2x D3A + 2x B5N): The 2nd wave faces a firestorm of flak -- seeing 1x Val & 1x Kate splashed, & the other two aborted (unfortunately, since this strike is at extended-range, these aborts will turn into "kills"). Thus, we lose 4 "elite" Air Points, & so far Halsey's boys are doing well. Their luck, though, is about to run out.

3rd Wave Attack (2x D3A + 2x B5N): The American gunners continue to do well, aborting one Val & one Kate. But, the survivors commence their attack on Yorktown. Yamaguchi's flyers demonstrate their "elite" status in a most convincing way, sinking the Yorktown outright!!! "Old Yorky" thus goes down, and the momentum of the battle shifts to the Japanese side.

The next strike to attack is from TF 18 (Halsey), launched against a Japanese surface TF (TF8, commanded by Adm. Mikawa, & consisting of 5x CA's, plus 6x DD's) near Florida Island. This strike consists of 2x SBD's + 4x TBD's (armed with bombs; beyond their torpedo range). We have plotted Naval Cover CAP (2x Rufes from Shortland arrive). Our Rufes manage to splash one TBD, and abort one of the SBD's. The Americans attack, managing only to seriously damage ("D3") one Kagero-class DD.

Lastly, Adm. Nagumo's strike against US TF 26 (Hornet, now commanded by Kinkaid) arrives. 6x D3A's & 7x B5N's, escorted by 2x A6M's ("loose" escort) show up with a vengeance. US CAP consists of 3x F4F's. Though the Americans manage to achieve the "bounce," they are able only to abort one of the "Kates." Six Vals & six Kates (5 of each are "elite") prepare to pummel Hornet's (now-hapless) TF. 3 attacking waves are formed:

1st Wave Attack (2x "elite" D3A's + 2x "elite" B5N's): The Hornet TF's AA is not strong. All of our boys go in for the attack, damaging Hornet ("D1") and the CL Perth (also "D1"). Thus, our first waves' attack is disappointing. Like the attack on Yorktown, though, our follow-on waves will show the others how it is done!

2nd Wave Attack (same composition as 1st): Again, the US AA fails to even turn back one attacker. The "Horny Maru's" luck runs out -- she is sunk by a plethora of bombs & torpedoes! And, for good measure our boys put the Perth dead-in-the-water (to "D4").

3rd Wave Attack (2x D3A's & 2x B5N's, one of each "elite"): Our pilots continue to run amok, sinking the CL Trenton & heavily-damaging the CL Concord (to "D3"). Somehow, we manage to miss the now-dead-in-the-water Perth, and she survives.

With that last strike, the fateful Battle of the Solomon Sea ends. It is a clear & convincing Japanese victory. A summary of the battle:

IJN LOSSES: 1x Kagero-cl DD "D3"

USN LOSSES: CV's Hornet, Yorktown SUNK; CL Trenton SUNK; CL Concord "D3;" CL Perth "D4."

As a final icing on the cake, both Admirals Nagumo & Yamaguchi achieve promotions! Both American TF's later sail away, towards Noumea -- leaving the troops on Florida I. & Guadalcanal feeling, no doubt, more than a little lonely...

OTHER NAVAL OPERATIONS:

Java: Major landings are achieved on Java! At Bandoeng, we land the 5th Inf Div (Mutaguchi), with 1x tank Bn. At Semarang, we land in two groups: First, the 6th Inf. Div; followed by the 35th Inf. Bde plus two tank Bn's. Enroute to Java, Dutch subrons in the Java sea contact our amphibious TF's but all are successfully screened. (Note: see Ground Operations for detailed narrative of the resulting combat)
Solomons: Following our spectacular victory at the battle of the Solomon Sea, we are able to land the Horii ("South Seas") Detachment on Florida Island (see Ground Operations).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Java: At Bandoeng, our troops find the landing difficult, against an Intrinsic Garrison of TQ "4." We lose 3 steps from the 5th Inf. Division, and vow to avenge this outrage against the defenders of Batavia. Ground reconnaissance reveals the Batavia defenders to consist of: One Dutch "division," plus one British Bde, fortified only to Level "3."

At Semarang, the Dutch repeat their tenacious defense. Another Intrinsic Garrison of TQ "4" inflicts even worse losses on us: The 35th Bde suffers very heavy casualties, losing a full 4 steps! Fortunately, though, the 6th division is untouched. Ground reconnaissance reveals the defenders at Tjilitjap to consist of: One Dutch Rgt, plus another British Bde, fortified also to Level "3." We are a bit surprised to find these two British units in Java, but on the other hand delighted that we will accept their surrender here rather than later in Burma (or elsewhere?).

Florida Island: We land the Horii Detachment (with Gen. Horii present) on the eastern end of Florida I. The American defenders located on Florida thus far are revealed as 2x high-quality US Army Inf. Bn's plus one lower-quality USMC defense Bn. They are deployed near the center of the island, with the Marines opposite Gavutu/Tanambogo. It will be difficult rooting the Army units out of the jungle/rough terrain that they occupy, but time will tell on that...

Philippines: Legaspi is finally captured, with the Japanese 48th Inf. div wiping out the last-remaining Fil. Militia division there. An added pleasant surprise: we find, among the few Americans taken prisoner, Gen. Parker masquerading as an American private! He is ignominiously humiliated, and put in with the other American enlisted men. Such shameful antics by these Americans...

On Mindanao, the last-remaining Filippino defenders are routed & forced to surrender to our 65th Indep. Bde. Mindanao is thus secured!

China: We are not a little shocked to see the Chinese 28th Army activated, crosing the Indo-china border & advancing to the outskirts of Hanoi. Hanoi is defended by one Japanese Rgt (the 83d, of the 21st Inf. Div). No attack is mounted by the audacious Chinese, which are pounded by IJA bombers based at Hanoi & Haiphong. Subsequent weeks will see even more pummelling. We see now we must teach Chiang-kai-shek the same lesson we have taught the Americans in the Solomons.

End Report

 

The Wavell Wire --

I've just received several dispatches from our liaisons from the various battlefronts. My successor in Java has only chagrin in describing the failure in destroying the invasion fleet. First off, our American Allies and their plywood shanty boats could not even find them! And worse, they landed on beaches out of range of our hastily built coastal guns. A complete disaster, a repeat of the capitulation of our former bastion of Singapore seems highly likely.

Word from the American Naval attache has it that they have lost two of their fleet carriers in exchange for not even a bloody scratch on the Nips. I see a very good oppurtunity to show both these stalwarts that His Majesty's Royal Navy on how we do our damn jobs and have ordered our distinguished hero of Malta and Santa Isabel Admiral Somerville to make ready her ships for sail!

Meanwhile, as much as I'd love the singular moment of triumph in these Burmese hinterlands, it won't be long now till the enemy shall cross the river and the whole god damn bloody mess of retreating starts all over again. Without any air cover, that seems highly likely as well.

After my conference with the Prime Minister, all I can say is that I've done my bloody best to extricate our forces and mostly, our honor in this bloody shambles. If he can find someone to do a better job, he can send me to India so I may organize our defense of that flank against the bloody Germans! Wavell out.

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific, with news for all you fighting men."

Tokyo, 2 Apr. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 1/4/42

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: The RAAF launches strikes from Darwin against our under-construction A/F on Tenimbar I. Zeroes are scrambled on Emergency Cover CAP from Amboina (2 arriving, to oppose 7x Hudsons). One Hudson is aborted, but no hits are scored, and the Aussies are able to halt construction on Tenimbar. Later, more strikes are launched, but fail to add to the damage.

We continue medium-scale bombardments from Singapore (G3M's) and Palembang (Ki-51's) against the Dutch defenders at Batavia.

Burma: Fighter sweeps (Ki-43's) are mounted from Mandalay against Ledo, which has begun operating US P-40's. The first strike sees one P-40 A/P shot up on the ground, with no Japanese loss. Then, Wavell reinforces Ledo and a subsequent Japanese raid (at extended range for the "Oscars") runs into 5x US P-40's. This time, the Americans have a bone in their teeth & we suffer our first significant losses in the air in that theater: We lose 2x Oscars downed -- which translates into 4 lost, as our raid is at extended range. It seems that, finally, someone in the CBI has decided to make a fight in the air. We'll be back.

At Akyab, we discover that 5x SBD's (might be A-24's) have been redeployed there. We launch a fighter sweep, from Rangoon (only 2x Oscars), but are unable to do any damage there. The CBI is certainly heating up, at least in the air war. Also, apparently some major air redeployments have been effected into Chittagong and Calcutta.

Indochina: Several large-scale bombardment missions (Ki-21's & Ki-48's) are launched from Hanoi against the KMT 28th Army, advancing on that city. Some smaller-scale raids join these, from Haiphong (Ki-51's & Ki-32's). Our constant attacks will have a decisive effect when this unit launches its attack on Hanoi.

Philippines: Bataan continues to be pounded from the air, from Clark (large #'s of Ki-21's, with some Ki-48's).

Solomons: From Rabaul, G4M's continue to attack the US defenders on Florida Island. Unprotected, these units will suffer from these attacks when we launch our assault against them (see Ground Operations). For good measure, since there is no risk, we occasionally add a couple of H6K A/P's to these raids, from Shortland. We have complete control of the air in the central Solomons.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: The Japanese 20th Inf. Div. is landed on the eastern side of Florida I., sailing from Truk. We're unsure of the exact enemy ground strength there, and as it turns out the division will not be needed. This is an unfortunate wastage of a very large amount of shipping tonnage and supplies, but Adm. Inouye (commander, So. Seas Fleet HQ) intended to take no chances in erasing this early American incursion.

The CA Mikuma is heavily-damaged by a US submarine while operating in "the slot." Her damage is (at least) "D3."

Bay of Bengal: The first Japanese incursion in this area sees the capture of the Nicobar Is, by the 230th Inf. Rgt (of the 38th Div, from Tavoy). The landing is unopposed.

Sumatra: We land another regiment (the 228th, also from the 38th Div, from Tavoy) at Medan, in N. Sumatra. There, a weak Intrinsic Garrison (TQ "1") is present, but ends up posing no problem for our troops -- Medan is later captured without loss.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Solomons (Florida I./Tulagi): The Horii Detachment launches its assault against the American defenders (Two US Army Bn's + 1x USMC Defense Bn, holed up in the center of Florida I.). Horii's performance, in very difficult terrain, is outstanding. Aided by the previous air bombardments, Gen. Horri's attack, though not without some losses, succeeds in wiping out the Americans -- Florida I. is secured! Thus ends the abortive American attempt to forestall our advance in the central Solomons, except for an undetermined garrison which still exists on Guadalcanal. To be sure, they are next on the hit parade and we imagine that unit (whoever they are) must be feeling quite abandoned about now.

Java: The first week's attacks against Batavia & Tjilitjap will see two remarkable & disappointing failures by our troops. Gen. Imamura (commander, 16th A) will later make amends for this, but we cannot avoid the truth in reporting that, initially at least, the Dutch/British defenders on Java put up a pretty good fight. At Batavia, our 5th Inf. Div (Gen. Mutaguchi), plus 1x Tank Bn, is initially repulsed (defending there: 1x Dutch Div + 1x British Bde from the 18th Div.), though the Allied defenders suffer fairly heavy losses. The next week's attack, though, is directly affected by Gen. Imamura, and this assault succeeds -- the remnants of the ABDA defenders give up Batavia, & are forced to retreat to the Java coast. The ABDA HQ is finally, permanently, disbanded (& Gen. Irwin is apparently recalled to India).

At Tjilitjap, the first assault, by our 6th Inf Div (plus 1x Tank Bn) is also repulsed, with heavy losses to both sides (defenders there: 1x Dutch Rgt + 1x British Bde, also from the 18th Div.). Like at Batavia, though, the next week's assault benefits from Gen. Imamura's direct participation, and his influence is again decisive. The ABDA defenders are routed with heavy losses, retreating into the hills.

We launch a 3rd assault, against Soerabaja, by our 35th Inf. Bde, plus another Tk Bn. Here, though, the Dutch defense is weak, as the important port is garrisoned by only a single Dutch Bn. Our attack succeeds in forcing the defenders to surrender, & Soerabaja is captured. We also capture Dutch Gen. ter Poorten, who was directing the futile defense of the city. Thus, except for a few badly-broken, hopelessly isolated, and weak remnants, Java is virtually secured! We are very close to closing the chapter on our Phase 1 Operations.

Philippines: We begin to gather the forces required to storm the Bataan peninsula. As yet, insufficient troops are in position, but we get an accurate assessment of the Allied defenders there: The US 4th Mar. Rgt, plus 3x understrength & low-quality Filippine Militia Divs, and 1x US Engineer unit. These units are well-dug-in (occupying a Level-9 fortification). We're confident that our constant air attacks against these defenders, over the past several weeks, will serve to seriously weaken both the defenses there and these units' will to resist. The clock is ticking for Bataan...

Indochina: The Chinese 28th Army continues its surprisingly aggressive advance on Hanoi. But, unfortunately for the Chinese the heavy air attacks against this unit breaks it as it goes in to attack. Though only one Japanese Rgt. is defending, the Chinese attack is repulsed.

Following this action, another Chinese Army (the 31st), along with an Independent Corps (the 35th), is activated. We are disheartened to see the arrival of the NCAC HQ, with Gen. Stilwell commanding, in SW China. His presence allows these added activations, and these units commence a move into Indochina, advancing on Hanoi. Things are getting a little hot in Hanoi, and we prepare for the eventuality of having to evacuate the city. But, our defenders stubbornly refuse to give up, defeating the 31st Army's assault, against long odds. These new Chinese attackers are forced to retreat, and are also broken. The heroic defenders of Hanoi are the 83rd Inf. Rgt. They are heartened to learn that reinforcements are approaching by sea. The Chinese may be a bit alarmed to hear the following news: There are reports by Chinese forward units that the Japanese appear to be making preparations for a major offensive in S. China!

Burma: Once again, the Japanese 15th Army is on the move, as our advance in Burma is resumed. Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Div wipes out an understrength Burmese Bde NW of Lashio. North of Lashio, our 55th Div. inflicts a serious defeat on the Chinese 20th Army, forcing them to retreat back across the Chinese border, into Yunnani.

The Imperial Guards Div prepares to cross the Arakan range, with an objective of occupying Akyab.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific."

Tokyo, 16 April 1942. Operations through end of G/T 3/4/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: The American SBD's currently (though not for long) operating from Akyab launch strikes against the Imp. Guards Div south of the Arakan Range. Oscars from Rangoon & Mandalay on Cover CAP intercept, but are unable to score. No significant damage is inflicted on our troops. We will deal with these planes shortly.

Later, we mount fighter sweeps from Mandalay (4x Ki-43's) against Akyab. P-39's fly from Chittagong to protect the base (plotted Cover CAP). No hits are scored. Then, a sweep from Rangoon to Akyab (4x Ki-43's, @ extended range) are opposed by 1x P-39 plus 1x F2A. The Buffalo A/P is splashed; no losses to our forces.

Further sweeps from Mandalay (9x Ki-43's) are launched against Akyab, as the Allied base there continues to get hotter by the day for them. We splash 1x P-39 in air battles over the field.

Then, more attacks are mounted, this time from Prome (5x Ki-43's). This time, the base is unprotected and we shoot up 2x SBD A/P's on the ground. We wonder how long the Allied commander in the CBI will hang around at Akyab, as later we add bombers to the mix (7x G3M "Nells" plus 1x G4M "Betty") from Rangoon -- this raid suppresses the A/F there.

Switching targets, sweeps are mounted from Mandalay (10x Ki-43's, @ extended range) against Ledo. 5x US P-40's oppose the raid, and we lose 2x "Oscars" for the loss of 1x P-40.

From Myitkyna, the Allies launch a ground strike of 2x SBD's (which have escaped from the now-apparently-judged-as-untenable Akyab field) against Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Division. Unfortunately for the upstart Allies, we manage fighter cover from Mandalay (4x Ki-43's) which downs another of the SBD's.

Indonesia: Further strikes (Hudsons) are launched from Darwin, against our A/F construction effort on Tenimbar I. Zeroes from Ambon I. are able to abort some, & no damage is inflicted -- construction continues. Later, the Hudsons manage to inflict "D1" damage there, temporarily halting construction. Clearly, additional measures are needed to deal with this menace from Darwin. We think we have it figured out.

Air reconnaissance from Kendari provides a rather shocking report that up to as many as 7 ground steps may be at Koepang (Timor). This is most unwelcome news, as we have an amphibious assault in the planning stage for there & were expecting light opposition only. We figure that the Australians have been busy air-transporting troops into Timor, from Darwin. Further reconnaissance reveals 2x C-47 A/P's at Koepang, confirming our fears about this.

The Allies air-transport a unit (1x Australian Bn.?) from Timor to Flores. Koepang is apparently becoming "Air Transport Central," and we must devise some means of ending this. We launch fighter sweeps from Makassar (3x A6M's), and Ambon I. (4x A6M's), which destroy one of the C-47's at Koepang on the ground. Perhaps this is a fairly effective means.

N. Guinea: The Americans try a new tactic, launching a coordinated Joint Strike from Rockhampton (B-17's) & their new (& still building) A/F in the Cape York peninsula (fighter escorts). 2x P-39's & 2x P-40's attempt to escort the forts (and a few B-24's) on a raid against Port Moresby. Zeroes (with IJN ace Sugita present) from our powerful & still-burgeoning base at Lae (which, we learn, has acquired the nickname "Zeke Alley" by the USAAF & RAAF units stationed in Queensland) are able to oppose the raid, and down all four of the escorting fighter A/P's! We teach the Americans a hard lesson about flying escorts at extended range & at medium altitude at the same time. All of the bombers, of course, get through and once again P.Moresby's (still un-manned) A/F is "suppressed."

NAVAL OPERATIONS

NORTH PACIFIC, DATELINE 4-11-42

The Americans launch the "Doolittle" Raid (2x B-25 A/P's), against Chitose on Hokkaido. The raid is a surprise, and succeeds (we admit) brilliantly -- we lose 3 "bumps" on the Strategic Inititative Track, our homeland fighter garrison requirement is increased, and the Americans "max out" on their intel advantages gained via the raid. No actual damage is done to the Homeland Resource hex there, but the raid has had a significant impact. We lament this unfortunate and embarassing event, and vow to avenge the outrage! The American press refuses to reveal the name of the carrier (s?) launching the "Mitchells."

Solomons: One SNLF Bn (2/Sasebo) lands unopposed at Choiseul, from Bougainville. Further landings are made on New Georgia (again, unopposed), and Malaita & Santa Isabel (same) as we continue to mop up the Solomons. On Guadalcanal, we had unconfirmed reports that the Americans may have deployed a unit(s) there, so the Horii ("South Seas") Detachment is sent there, on a short trip from Florida Island. We encounter no opposition on Guadalcanal -- apparently our reports were erroneous, and Guadalcanal is quickly secured by Gen. Horii.

Indonesia: We land 1x Rgt (the 125th, part of the "K" Bde from Ambon I.) at Soembawa, against a weak Intrinsic Garrison. We suffer no losses in the landing, and secure the island. A Japanese Amphibious TF approaching Timor is attacked by the marauding Hudsons from Darwin. 6x Hudsons attack (in two waves of 3 each) and manage to damage our APB transporting our landing force. We lose 2 steps from the 25th Rgt ("K" Bde, from Ambon I.), making our landing on Timor a very "iffy" affair. Things will be very tense on Timor (see Ground Operations).

From Soembawa, another amphibious landing is made, against Soemba I., by the 125th Rgt. Light opposition is encountered, and we secure the island without loss.

Philippines: A landing is made on Palawan (3x Bn's, from the 65th Independent Bde, from Davao). Palawan is defended by a weak Intrinsic Garrison, & we suffer one step loss there but secure the island. Another landing is made on Tawi-Tawi (same composition as above). There, our landing is unopposed.

Bay of Bengal: Amphibious landings are made on Andaman (Port Blair; the 228th Rgt, of the 38th Div, from Medan) -- against no opposition -- and on Car Nicobar I, in the Nicobars (230th Rgt, also from the vaunted 38th Div). Car Nicobar is also undefended.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: The BIA Bde Group attacks & wipes out a lone hopelessly-isolated Burmese Bn, in their approach to Lashio. The BIA then moves into Lashio to garrison the important city. Our 55th Division reaches the outskirts of Myitkyna, which is undefended. Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Division mounts an attack on two British units west of Katha: the 17th Indian Div plus the 49th Indian Bde. Gen. Wavell directly affects the outcome of this battle, and the Indian units fight very well, repulsing Sakurai's attack. True to form, the unpredictable 33rd Div. is forced to retreat, with heavy losses, and is once again "broken." In true roller-coaster fashion, Gen. Sakurai once again is in the dog-house with another miserably-embarassing performance. It is a bad two weeks for Japanese Generals, attested to by a disaster befalling us in Java (see below).

On the south end of the Arakan range, the Imp. Guards Div is still unable to mount a successful crossing, to enter the Arakan. Gen. Iida continues to fret over this delay, which is rapidly becoming critical, as our reconnaissance reports a strong Allied garrison, well-dug-in, at Akyab. The monsoons are due to commence in two months, and we need to mount an attack in the Arakan before then.

Java: In the final mopping-up operations on Java, we suffer a serious set-back. From Batavia, Gen. Mutaguchi (our best General, now that Gen. Yamashita has been "shelved") leads an attack with a lone Tank Bn. against the remnants of a British Bde (from the 18th Div) NW of Batavia. The attack succeeds in wiping out the British, but not before Gen. Mutaguchi is killed in action. Thus, fresh from promotion, we lose our brightest star in a routine mop-up action. Truly lamentable!

Elsewhere on Java, our 5th Div forces the remnants of the Dutch Div (ex-Batavia garrison) to surrender SW of Batavia. Near Tjilitjap, our 35th Bde overruns another British Bde (from the 18th Div), but not without taking losses. And, SW of Tjilitjap, the last vestiges of ABDA opposition in Java is removed, as the last Dutch Rgt surrenders to the 6th Inf Div. Java is secured!

Sumatra: On Sumatra, two areas remain Allied-controlled: Padang (the port on SW Sumatra) and Perawang (A/F, opposite Singapore, on the east side). We mount a paradrop agasint Padang by our 1st & 3rd Bn's, Yokosuka SNLF Bde (our last airborne troops). Though only a weak Intrinsic Garrison defends there, we are unfortunate enought to lose one of our Bn',s in fighting there. Padang is captured, and we are down to one airborne Bn remaining.

Timor: After we secure a tenuous beach-head (between Dili & Koepang), the Australians at Koepang mount a counterattack. 3x Bn's (including the "Gull Force" & "Sparrow Force" Bn's) attack our beach-head. Fortunately, we are able to call on bombers from Amboina & Sorong to assist us. The Bettys from Sorong end up saving our bacon, rendering the "Sparrow Force" Bn. "hors de combat," and successfully breaking up the Australian attack. The Australians retreat back into Koepang, and our beach-head is (temporarily, at least) safe.

China / Indochina: For the first time, our C.E.F. HQ (Shanghai) is "activated," and we launch minor attacks in the Canton area, with our 104th Inf Div attacking the Chinese 38th Army NW of Canton. Heavy losses are suffered by both sides, and no ground is gained, as the Chinese stubbornly refuse to retreat. Later, we add another Division (the 116th), and a Bde (the 14th), and continue the attack, with similar results -- again, we are unable to gain any ground, though the Chinese 38th Army has suffered grievous casualties.

In North China, we are surprised by the Communist 2nd Corps' activation & attack, launched against our 34th Bde. The Communists fight well, breaking our unit & forcing their retreat. The CCP 2nd Corps declines to pursue.

In Indochina, the newly-arrived 53rd Inf. Div., a relatively low-quality unit fresh from Tokyo, attacks the now-broken Chinese 31st Army & 25th Corps, north of Haiphong. Heavy losses are inflicted on the Chinese, but, incredibly, they refuse to retreat, stiffened by the impact of Gen. Stilwell. We are thus unable to gain ground here. Near Hanoi, though, our 82nd Rgt (fresh, from Haiphong) launches an attack against the Chinese 28th Army, severely under-strengh & also "broken." The Chinese suffer heavy losses (the 28th Army is down to one step), though they refuse to retreat!

Philippines: These two weeks see the final battles for the beleaguered defenders of Bataan. Following incessant air bombardments, our first assault, led by the 48th Division, fails to produce a victory. Our air attacks continue, and later prove decisive, finally reducing the fortifications there to a level low enough to proved decisive. One final push is made, again led by our 48th Division. Though we suffer heavy losses, this last attack succeeds in finally breaking the Allies' back in Bataan, and they have had enough there -- Bataan surrenders! The remnants of the 4th Marines, plus 4 Filippino Militia Divs, are bagged. In these battles for Bataan (and Luzon, in general), our 48th Division has suffered horrendous losses, and it will take a very long time to rebuild it.

Now, only Corregidor remains!

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Annie with news for you poor Allied fighting men."

Tokyo, 23 April 1942. Operations through end of G/T 4/4/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: Incessant Japanese air strikes against Akyab continue. In one strike (Joint Strike, from Rangoon-Prome-Akyab), 4x USAAF P-39's at Akyab manage to down one "elite" G3M "Nell" A/P, for the loss of 1x P-39. But, we're able to suppress the airfield there. Later, a fighter sweep from Mandalay (10x Ki-43's) win an air battle against these Airacobras decisively, downing 3 without loss to us.

Further attacks are mounted from Mandalay against Myitkyina (soon to be ours, & containing 2x US SBD's + 1x F2A. We shoot up 1x of the Dauntlesses on the ground. Following these strikes, the last P-39 is apparently pulled out of Akyab -- the Allied air situation in Burma continues to go badly for them.

IndoChina: Massive air bombardments are mounted against the Chinese 31st Army north of Haiphong. We're confident the Chinese are regretting their abortive incursion into IndoChina.

Philippines: Large-scale bombardments commence against Corregidor. Air reconnaissance of the island reveals a fairly substantial defense there, with 13 ground steps, very deeply dug-in. We also have information that Gen. MacArthur is still there, still commanding the USAFFE HQ.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Off Timor, the RAAF Darwin-based Hudsons continue to be a thorn in our side, sinking one (D3) APB (we are able to manage only a single A6M as Naval Cover, from Amboina -- the ones from Makassar for some reason fail to show up).

In the Santa Cruz Is., 2x USN AV's show up. One of our subs sinks one of them (the "Curtis"). The remaining AV commences air operations from the Reef Is., north of Ndeni. An interesting development for us as, unknown to the Americans, we have an amphibious operation planned against those very islands. Later, an additional US TF approaches this area, & apparently links with the US AV there. We are able to ID the remaining US AV (the "Wright"), but are unable to ascertain the composition of the additional US ships. This causes some consternation at Truk (South Seas Fleet HQ). US PBY's commence air patrols from the Reef Is.

We land successfully on the Reef Is, & no contact occurs with the US ships there (low "Engagement" values apply to both sides' ships in the vicinity). But, unfortunately for the Americans, we have a strong TF steaming SE. Reaching the Reef Is. area, our TF, commanded by Adm. Kondo (& also containing Adm. Ozawa, on the CVL Ryujo), contact the American ships there. The result is a daylight engagement:

BATTLE OF THE REEF ISLANDS (22 April 1942)

The IJN ships consist of:

CVL Ryujo (Ozawa; screened) CA's Suzuya, Tone, & Chikuma (Kondo) 1x "Kagero-class" DD 3x "Akitsuki-class" DD's

The USN ships consist of:

2x "Sims-class" DD's 1x "Porter-class" DD 1x "Gridley-class" DD AV Wright

The US DD's, apparently detached from a 3rd TF, have no Admiral present. The battle is predictably one-sided, with Adm. Kondo making short work of the out-gunned US ships:

1st Tactical Sequence: The AV Wright is put to "D3" damage level. The "Porter-cl" DD receives the same, and one of the "Sims-cl" DD's is lightly damaged. The US TF receives a mandatory withdrawal order.

2nd Tactical Sequence: The "Porter-cl" DD is sunk. The other "Sims-cl" DD receives "D2" damage, and the AV Wright successfully escapes. The remaining US DD's are desperately attempting to break off.

3rd (& final) Tactical Sequence: The "Gridley-cl" DD (undamaged) successfully withdraws. But, the remaining US ships fail to escape, and all 3 of them are sunk.

Summary of Losses, Battle of the Reef Is:

IJN Losses: None (no damage is incurred)

USN Losses: 2x "Sims-cl" & 1x "Porter-cl" DD sunk; AV Wright severely ("D3") damaged.

In the Dutch E. Indies, we reinforce the tenuous Timor beach-head with the rest of the "K" Brigade, plus 1x SNLF Bn. As our transports approach Timor, they are attacked by the Darwin Hudsons, which this time are joined by 1x USAAF B-25. Aside from the Doolittle Raid, this is the first appearance of this US bomber in combat operations in the So. Pacific. This time, though, squalls off Darwin hinder the Allied attacks, and 1x A6M (Amboina) manages to chase off enough of the attackers which are then unable to score any hits.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Our 55th Inf. Div occupies Myitkyina. This time, we are there to stay! Our 2nd Inf. Div approaches Imphal, & we discover that the CW defenders there consist of just one Indian Bde (the 1st, from the 23rd Ind. Div), plus 1x Engr. A Level-4 fort is present. The 2nd Div. prepares to assault Imphal next week.

China/IndoChina: NE of Haiphong, we continue attacks (53rd Inf. Div) against the still-broken & understrength Chinese 31st Army. The 53rd's attack succeeds, inflicting heavy losses on the Chinese. North of Hanoi, our 82nd Rgt (21st Inf. Div) continues its attack on what is left of the Chinese 28th Army. Though this unit is down to one step, our attack goes badly -- though we are able to wipe the Chinese out, our Rgt is itself rendered hors de combat.

In North China, one CCP Corps continues an aggressive & effective foray into Hopei Province, advancing approx. 100 mi. south of Hanchow, & defeating our 34th Inf. Bde there. The Communists are proving difficult to deal with, especially so considering this unit's high Troop Quality. We shall have to redouble our efforts next month.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific..."

Tokyo, 5 May 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/5/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: From Calcutta, small-scale British airstrikes are launched against our 2nd INf. Div. These strikes, which are ineffective, see the first appearance of the British "Wellington" bomber. From Myitkyina, several fighter sweeps are launched against Ledo. Initially, 2x P-40's oppose these raids, with 3x C-47's found there on the ground (flying the "hump" supply missions into China). One P-40 & 1x C-47 are destroyed. Later raids (5x Ki-43's) shoot up an additional Dakota on the ground.

Dutch E. Indies: Over Flores I., we send 3x A6M's (with our ace Akamatsu) against the American P-40's there. The Yankees are able to add a couple more P-40's (Cover CAP, from Timor), along with their ace Welch. We are badly out-numbered and for the first time are decisively outfought in the air, losing one Zeke Air Point. The Americans may chalk up their first real win in the air. Later, we reinforce the Zekes at Makassar & try again. This time, 5x A6M's (all "elite") launch & are opposed by 3x US P-39's & 1x P-40 (Welch). We lose another "elite" A6M, while downing one of the US P-39's.

From Darwin, the Allies launch a joint strike (Darwin-Timor) against Flores I., against our troops fighting there. We continue to suffer indignities from the ubiquitous RAAF Hudsons, joined there now by small numbers of US B-25's.

N. Guinea: More B-17 raids are launched from Queensland against Port Moresby. We still are unable to base fighters there, but this time succeed in opposing the raid from Lae. 7x A6M's oppose 8x B-17's plus a few B-24's. We down one B-24, but suffer the loss of 2x Zekes (one of them "elite"). The airfield at Moresby once again is damaged ("D1"). Later, we discover that the US B-17 force has been augmented significantly: the largest raid to date (14x B-17's) is sent, once again, against Port Moresby -- this time, though, against our garrison there. The US bombers, not very effective in this bombing mode, have little effect.

South Pacific: We attempt an "Operation K," with our KRS sub refuelling 1x H6K "Mavis" air point (flying from Shortland) at Lord Howe Island, off E. Australia. Our attempt to get an accurate reconnaissance report of Brisbane, though, fails.

From Espiritu Santo, 5x USMC SBD's commence strikes against our troops on Reef I., where we are commencing airfield construction. These strikes, initially at least, have no effect.

We learn that some air assets (unknown quantity or type) have been rebased into Funafuti, from Espiritu Santo. It appears as if someone is worried that we soon will make a move there.

China: We discover that the Allies have rebased 5x P-40's into Yunnani. This causes an immediate reaction: we launch large-scale fighter sweeps from Mandalay against Yunnani. At Yunnani, apparently the Americans have resurrected the old "AVG," at least temporarily. The first battles over Yunnani (10x Ki-43's vs. 5x Warhawks) sees each side lose 1x air point. Later, in subsequent raids, we down an additional P-40 without loss.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: CVL Ryujo, operating near Ndeni, is attacked by 5x USMC SBD's at extended range from Espiritu Santo. Ryujo's CAP is 2x A6M's, which fail to deter the Americans. Flak downs one of the Dauntlesses & aborts another. The remaining 3, luckily for us, fail to score any hits on Ryujo. An airstrike from Ryujo (B5N's) then sinks the USN AV Wright near Ndeni. When Ryujo's TF egresses the area, she is attacked again from Espiritu Santo, this time by 4x USMC Dauntlesses, again at extended range. Again, Ryujo's CAP is unable to help, and this time flak only aborts one. Thus, again 3x SBD's dive on Ryujo. Can her luck hold out? Yes, the gods of war once again smile on the sons of Nippon, as the Americans are unable to score any hits on her! Things, though, are a little too hot for us near Espiritu, and the Ryujo TF steams away to the north.

(See General Note, below) Nagumo once again is at sea, first operating in the Fiji area (Viti Levu). As our carriers approach, we are unfortunately "spotted," allowing some US ships there (apparently several transports) to escape, via an emergency sortie "reaction" move. The US ships disappear somewhere in the vast waters of the South Pacific.

Off New Caledonia, IJN subs sink a US Gridley-class DD.

Dutch E. Indies: We land two SNLF Bn's (8/Sasebo & 4/Yokosuka) on Flores I (see Ground Operations).

Philippines: We land two Bn's from the 65th Indep. Bde (ex of Mindanao) against light opposition on Mindoro. That island is quickly secured.

(General Note): For the first time, we encounter the playing of a US "Magic" chit. The Americans are apparently seeking information regarding the sortieing of another Japanese carrier TF, from Truk. We don't know how successful the attempt is, but in any case it is a little disconcerting that our mail might be being read. At any rate, it becomes obvious that we indeed do have another carrier TF operating in the South Pacific.

Sumatra: We land one SNLF Bn (3/Yokosuka) near Perawang, the last-remaining installation on Sumatra which remains Allied-controlled.

Morotai is finally occupied, by 2nd Bn, Kure SNLF Bde (no opposition is encountered).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: As the monsoon season is but a couple of weeks away, our attacks in Burma are stepped up, in an attempt to secure the Arakan (the Imperial Guards div. is still unable to cross the Arakan range), Katha & Imphal. We will meet with little success, as the British defenses begin to stiffen. Worse still for us, we discover that Gen. Alexander has replaced Wavell as CG, Burma Area Army HQ. And, to make matters worse, we find that M/Gen Slim has taken over the defense of Imphal. The arrival of these two very capable generals is most un-welcome news for us.

At Imphal, the CW defenders are: 23rd Indian Div (a good unit), plus 1x Engr, fortified to Level "4." Gen. Slim commands there. Our 2nd Inf. Div mounts an initial assault there, meeting very stiff resistance. Gen. Slim's presence is decisive, and we suffer heavy losses in reducing the fortification level there. The CW defenders hold stoutly. The 2nd Div continues its assault later. Again, the CW defenders hold.

NW of Katha, our 33rd Inf. Div (Gen. Sakurai) continues its attacks against the also-stiffening Indian defenders there (17th Indian Div -- severely understrength -- plus the high-quality 49th Indian Bde). Here, Gen. Alexander impacts this battle and Sakurai is unable to dislodge the dogged defenders. Both sides take small losses, but more importantly we are unable to break or force the Allied troops to retreat.

In the north, our 55th Inf. Div (-) occupies Ledo, which we are most surprised to find un-garrisoned! We thank the CBI commander for this gift, which (for the time-being, at least) has removed the Allied ability to pour Command Points into China on the cheap, by "flying the hump." After we occupy Ledo, we see a flurry of rail activity, as the Allies realize the implications of the loss of Ledo. Several units are sent by rail to the Ledo area: we identify the 14th Indian Div, & two brigades (the "Calcutta" Bde + the 36th Indian). They all detrain SW of Ledo. We can expect a hasty attack launched against the 55th Div there!

In the Myitkyina sector, the Chinese 19th Army is activated, crossing the Burmese border & advancing to the outskirts of Myitkyina. No attack is launched against our defenders there (one Rgt. of the 55th Div).

Dutch E. Indies: On Timor, our "K" Bde (-), plus 1x SNLF Bn (2/Yokosuka -- airborne) attack Koepang, which is defended by two Australian Bn's. We force the Australians to surrender, but lose the SNLF Bn in this attack. Koepang is secured, & the important airbase there is ours. Now, at last we might be free from the "Hudson scourge" of harassing attacks throughout this area, from Timor.

Dutch E. Indies: On Flores I., we discover an understrength Dutch Rgt, which apparently was the old Timor garrison, air-lifted from there to Flores. Our two SNLF Bn's (8/Sasebo & 4/Yokosuka) make short work of them, & Flores is secured. The Allied fighters there apparently bug out to Darwin.

China: This cycle, to our surprise, sees a massive infusion of Command Points into China by the Allies, and large-scale offensives launched by both Nationalist & Communist units. Several bloody battles are fought, with the Chinese winning most, gaining some ground. A summary of the ground operations in China:

Hopei Province: After transferring in large numbers of IJA bombers to cope with the insurgent communists, the CCP 2nd Corps is broken by repeated bombardment. Two CCP Corps mount an attack against our 35th Div. The initial communist attack here fails, with both CCP corps breaking. We suffer moderate losses, but hold. SW of Hanchow, though, we lose one Rgt to attacks by the CCP 1st Corps. Later, the communist corps is broken by air bombardment.

Hupeh Province: At Ichang, the Chinese 66th & 18th Armies attack a fortified IJA Bde (the 29th). Both sides suffer heavy losses, but the IJA defenders hold. The Chinese 66th, 18th, & 9th Armies then mount a concerted attack North of Kiangling, against two IJA Bdes. Here, our defenders hold off the Chinese hordes, with both sides suffering heavy losses.

Kiangsi Province: The Chinese 23rd Army attacks & wipes out an IJA cavalry Rgt (of the 13th Div). Later, heavy air bombardments breaks this Chinese Army, stopping its advance.

Hunan Province: The Chinese 6th Army attacks our 6th Inf. Bde. Our Bde holds, with no progress made by the Chinese. At Changtea, two more Nationalist Armies (the 5th & 15th, both good units) mount an assault against one IJA Bde (the 8th). Here a

...(the 8th). "Here again, though we suffer heavy losses, the IJA defenders hold. But, the Chinese later continue their attacks, finally wiping out our Bde, capturing Changtea."

In sum, we would like very much to thank the irresponsible puppet Chiang-kai-shek for this general offensive in north & central China. We have a very nasty surprise for him in the upcoming months...

(Ed. Note): I've found that the posting & editing of long messages, such as this, is impossible to accomplish accurately using this interface. Several paragraphs inevitably end up garbled, despite several editing attempts. Thus, starting with this post & in the future, I'll attempt to correct such garbled transmissions. In the preceeding post, the garbled paragraph (under "GROUND OPERATIONS") should read:

"Dutch E. Indies: On Flores I., we discover an understrength Dutch Rgt, which apparently was the old Timor garrison, air-lifted from there to Flores. Our two SNLF Bn's (8/Sasebo & 4/Yokosuka) make short work of them, & Flores is secured. The Allied fighters there apparently bug out to Darwin."

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! How's tricks! Here's Orphan Annie with the latest news."

Tokyo, 19 May 1942. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 4/5/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: Multiple fighter sweeps continue against the US base at Yunnani, where P-40's & C-47's have been accumulating. Up to 9x Ki-43's are launched against Yunnani (mostly from Mandalay but also from Myitkyina), and at no time do the Americans come up to fight. Originally, 3x P-40's + 2x C-47 air points are based there -- after our raids, spread out over 2 weeks, 2 of the Warhawks remain (the others shot up on the ground).

Philippines: Large-scale bombardments continue against Corregidor -- alternating between ground unit & the coastal batteries there. Over the course of 3+ weeks, we have apparently succeeded in reducing the coastal battery strength on "the rock" by about half. We don't as yet know how effective our missions against the well-dug-in Allied defenders have been.

On the 13th of May, we conduct an airborne landing on Corregidor -- against the main coastal batteries which have been sited on the SW portion of the island. The 3rd Bn, Yokosuka SNLF Bde jumps alone, with the mission of taking out the batteries in preparation for our soon-to-come amphibious landing. Unfortunately, present with the battery is a dug-in USMC Bn (must be from the 4th Marines, as it is of high-quality). Though it is a close-run thing, our troops fail in their assault & are defeated by the US marine defenders. Most lamentable!

China: From airbases at Tientsin & Chengmai, round-the-clock missions continue against the several attacking Nationalist & CCP units which have been attacking for 3 weeks. Our missions have good success, breaking several units & assisting our now-hard-pressed units in China.

E. Indies: We now have a fighter strip completed on Tenimbar I. Air strikes are launched from Darwin against our new strip there: 9x Hudsons, 2x B-25's, & 4x PBY's, escorted at extended-range by 5x P-40's (with the American ace Welch) are opposed by 5x A6M's (all "elite," with our ace Akamatsu). In an especially vicious battle, our fliers get the "bounce" & down 4 of the 5 P-40's, along with 2 of the Catalinas! Unfortunately, though, we lose 1x Zeke A/P and, along with that our ace Akamatsu is KIA. Our airfield at Tenimbar is then suppressed by the remaining Allied bombers. Note: Somehow, the American ace Welch manages to survive this battle, getting back to Darwin safely.

Later, we return the favor, launching a raid from Amboina-Tenimbar against Darwin. 4x G4M's, + 2x G3M's & 1x H8K, escorted by 2x "elite" Zekes from Amboina, are opposed over Darwin by 2x P-39's, 3x P-40's (Welch again), & 1x RAAF Beaufighter. This time, the Allied pilots get the "bounce," & the battle does not go well for us: we lose 1x Betty & have most of the remaining bombers aborted -- no losses are incurred by the Allied fliers & no damage is done to Darwin's A/F.

N. Guinea: More B-17 strikes against Port Moresby: 9x forts, joined for the first time by several B-26's (the first instance we've seen of them in significant numbers), damage our A/F there. But, as the Americans choose to come in at medium altitude, our flak manages to down one of the B-17 A/P's!

We launch our first staging bombing raid of the war, staging Bettys & Nells from Amboina, & Zekes from Rabaul, through the hastily-repaired P. Moresby airfield. Our target is the USAAF base at Townsville. We hope to catch the Allies with their pants down, but unfortunately are met by 4x P-40's & 1x P-39 there. Our Zekes manage to down one of the Kittyhawks, & we lose another Betty. Most of the rest of our bombers are aborted, and we're unable to do any damage to the airfield.

Following this raid, the USAAF B-17's pay another visit to P. Moresby (8 of them this time), again damaging our A/F there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons/Santa Cruz area: Adm. Nagumo continues to operate in the south, running amok. An American air search from Noumea locates Nagumo's carriers as he approaches Noumea, intent on a large-scale raid on the port/airfield there. Both sides ready planes, and the Strike Sequence Table favors Adm. Nagumo again! We land the first punch, getting in our strike before the upstart Americans are able to launch theirs. Unfortunately, we find the harbor at Noumea empty, but find rich targets at the airfield there. Many Vals & Kates (no escort) arrive, & we lose one of the Vals from flak. Our pilots spread panic, hate & discontent: Of the 6 SBD's present, we destroy 4; we also nail 2 of 4 PBY's and, for good measure, render hors de combat a PBM air point there. Quite a bag! And, we also damage Noumea's A/F ("D1").

Surprisingly, the American commander decides to go ahead with his planned airstrike against Nagumo from Noumea, launching his remaining 2x Dauntlesses (we have ID'd them as refugees from the "Hornet") & 2x PBY's. One of the "Cats" is armed with torps, at "low" altitude. Nagumo's CAP (all retained over his TF) makes quite short work out of these Americans, downing all 4! On board the (*********), Adm. Nagumo is heard to voice praise for the Americans, remarking that "these Americans sacrifice themselves like samurai!"

Later, Adm. Nagumo raids Espiritu Santo, where another 4 or 5 Dauntlesses are based. There, we are unable to catch the Americans unawares, though we manage to suppress the small A/F there. Following this raid, the American SBD's "bug out" of Espiritu, flying south to Noumea (which, we learn has been dubbed "Hornet II" by cynical American fliers).

Philippines: From Tawi-tawi, we land the 65th Indep. Bde (-) on Leyte (see Ground Operations).

Aleutians: Japanese forces occupy Attu! An unknown # of troops occupy the undefended island.

GROUND OPERATIONS

  (General Note): We discover that Gen. MacArthur has left the Philippines. Apparently he is evacuated during cycle 0/4/42, taking command of the US SWPac HQ, located at Townsville.

Indochina: The IJA 6th Inf Div arrives at Haiphong, from Java. It is readied for an immediate attack north, against the resurgent Chinese armies.

Philippines: At Leyte, our 65th Indep. Bde (-) runs into unexpectedly stiff opposition from the US Intrinsic Garrison there, taking a step loss in securing the island.

Burma: In a mad rush to beat the monsoon season (due to arrive in but 2 weeks), both sides attack feverishly -- the British beat us to the punch this time, to (it will be seen) their distinct disadvantage. Near Ledo, the now-detrained CW troops go into a hasty attack against our 55th Inf. Div (-). Air attacks from Mandalay & Rangoon hamper the CW units, which consist of: The "Calcutta" Bde, + the 14th Indian Div & the 36th Ind Bde (26th Ind. Div). All of these units are as yet unblooded. Their attack is a fiasco -- these units suffer grievous casualties, break & are forced to retreat indisarray. We hold Ledo!

At Myitkyina, though, the 19th (KMT) Chinese army (Stilwell) launches an attack against a lone IJA Rgt defending there (the 112th, of the 55th Division). The Chinese attack is well-conducted, though our troops barely manage to hold Myitkyina.

At Imphal, the battle there continues. Here, the British launch an ill-advised counter-attack against our 2nd Inf Div. The 23rd Indian Div (Slim is in command of this attack) mounts a futile attack, which despite Gen. Slim's talents fails miserably: the CW troops here also are forced to retreat from Imphal in disarray. We thus take Imphal by default! We also eliminate one of the Burma Army's Offensive Support Bases here! A major victory for Gen. Iida's 15th Army!

NW of Katha, the CW units continue their ferocious (and ill-fated) counter-attacks. This time, Gen. Sakurai's veteran 33rd Inf. Div is (graciously) on the receiving end of an attack by the 17th Ind. Div + the 49th Ind. Bde. In this attack, led by the excellent & hard-fighting 49th Ind. Bde, this unit is wiped out; the 17th Ind. Div is routed & broken, taking heavy casualties, & retreats. We marvel at our good fortune in yet another failed British attack! Later, Gen. Sakurai counter-attacks himself, but though the 17th Ind. Div is now down to but 4 steps, is unable to force their surrender -- both sides lose two steps & no change is effected on the ground.

Timor: Dili is occupied, completing the conquest of Timor.

China: Surprisingly, the Communist units in the north have called off their hit & run attacks, withdrawing west to the vicinity of Yangku (provincial capital; Shansi Province). Elsewhere, though, several KMT units do continue attacks, though these are not large-scale. We are forced to retreat in a couple of locations, and KMT Gen. Yueh's 6th (Chinese) Army makes a successful attack, forcing our 6th Inf. Bde to retreat yet again, with heavy losses. The Chinese 11th Army (a low-quality unit) mounts an attack against our 65th Rgt (13th Inf. Div). This battle, where IJA bombers prove decisive in aiding the Japanese defenders, ends inconclusively.

Sumatra: At Perawang, we are finally able to start to root out some Dutch defender hold-outs. We send a single SNLF Bn (4/Yokosuka) against the remnants of a Dutch Rgt there. The Dutch are long-isolated & broken, & our marines rout them, forcing their retreat (down to 1x Bn) into the jungle, with heavy losses. We shall mop them up next week.

Summary: Overall, a good two weeks for the Empire of Japan! We give the American naval aviators a good thrashing in the south pacific, and Adm. Nagumo continues to operate there with apparent impunity. We do note, though, that the US strength in the air continues to rise.

End Report

(Addenda to report of 19 May 1942)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Ref: 2nd paragraph (garbled transmission). Should read:

"Indochina: The IJA 6th Inf Div arrives at Haiphong, from Java. It is readied for an immediate attack north, against the resurgent Chinese armies."

End Report

Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Tokyo Rose here, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 28 May 1942. Operations through end of G/T 1/6/42

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: B-17 raids from Cooktown continue, this time targeting our ground troops at P. Moresby. The "forts," which are joined this time by several B-26's, also at "high" altitude, are ineffective.

E. Indies: Strikes continue from Darwin, against our developing airfield at Tanimbar I: 9x Hudsons, joined by 2x B-25's, cause no damage or delay to our construction efforts. Our air reconnaissance later reports the Allied air units deployed at Darwin to be: 9x Hudsons; 2x B-25's; 2x PBY's; 1x Beaufort; 1x Boston; 2x P-39's; 3x P-40's, & 1x new RAAF Beaufighter.

Later, another raid is launched from Darwin against Tanimbar, this time escorted (P-39's & P-40's, at Medium altitude & at extended range). The combination of the increased operating altitude & long range will prove disastrous for the Allied fighter force. 9x Hudsons, along with both the Mitchels & one Beaufort, arrive to hit the airfield. They're escorted by all the Darwin-based Allied fighters: 3x P-40's (Welch), 2x P-39's, & 1x Beaufighter. We have 5x A6M's based there, led by our outstanding ace, Sasai. Our boys get the "bounce" over the Allied raid, and the Allied fighters are ripped to shreds: we down 2x P-40's & 1x P-39 on the first pass (which translates into the loss of ALL of these types due to the "extended range" penalty), and abort the Beaufighter -- with no loss though 1x Zeke is aborted. Then, we manage to down one of the B-25's, aborting a couple of other bombers as well. Worse still for the Allies, the surviving bombers do no damage to the airstrip. And, we learn that they also have lost their ace, Capt. Welch! Quite a disastrous mission indeed, and another lesson to these stubborn fellows!

General Note: Commencing with the outset of G/T 1/6/42, the monsoon season arrives. This will severely curtail air operations in the CBI, & elsewhere in areas affected.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippines: A Japanese amphibious TF arrives off Corregidor, as our landing there finally is launched! We have pounded the US coastal batteries for the past 3 weeks, in hopes of neutralizing them. Unfortunately, though, they still possess a strength level of "5," more than enough to do damage. We have 6x CL's escorting our transports, which themselves are unable to do any more damage to the big coastal guns. They, in turn, open up on our maru's, managing to bring one 2x MS (full) do "D3" damage level -- a fairly major loss for us. We lose a total of 5 ground steps: 4 from the 16th Inf. Div (-), & 1 from the 62nd Rgt. The rest of our transports get through. The USN's MTB Ron (still hiding out in Manila Bay) sorties, but is unable to contact our ships. We land our troops on the NE coast.

Aleutians: Following our earlier occupation of Attu, the US has apparently sent reinforcements, landed on Agattu Island (east of Attu). We have no air (or other) means of reconnaissance as yet, so have no idea of the strength of the US forces sent (or even if they were in fact).

In response to this, we later sortie a surface TF from Shibetsu, with orders to engage any US ships prowling the waters around Attu/Agattu. On the 26th of May, our ships arrive on station off Agattu. They are ID'd as 1x BB, 3x CA's, & 1x DD. We find no American ships in the vicinity. However, after our arrival an (apparent) US TF sorties from Dutch Harbor, arriving off Agattu, in the same phase as our arrival (thus, was pre-plotted at the same time as our arrival -- with both sides unawares). No surface engagement is possible, though, due to the extended movement by both TF's in that hex. Thus, we do not know whether this US TF is a "dummy" or not. We are certain to find out in the next Naval Phase, which should prove very interesting.

Solomons: A small Japanese transport TF is attacked south of Shortland by 6x B-17E's from Cooktown. Fortunately, no hits are scored.

Central Pacific: On the 23rd of May, the 1st Raider Bn (USMC) is landed at Wake, by submarine! Unfortunately for the raiders, Wake is stoutly defended & we are ready for the Americans, which are detected. At Wake, we have a well-entrenched Inf. Bde (the 5th), along with an engineer (dug-in at fortification level "7"). The American raiders have bitten off a little more than they can chew, and though we suffer some losses, we wipe the raiders out! Scratch one raider battalion.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Sumatra: The last organized resistance on Sumatra finally ends, with the rag-tag remnants of the Dutch garrison from Perawang defeated by the 4th Bn, Yokosuka SNLF Bde.

China:

Our 6th Inf. Div, fresh from its victories in the Dutch E. Indies, is debarked at Haiphong, & sent into action near the Indochina border against the Chinese 31st Army (which has been mercilessly pounded from the air in the past week). This battle is one-sided, as the 31st Army is eliminated. Later, we expand our operations in the south, & the 6th Div continues its advance into Kwangsi Province, inflicting a serious defeat upon the Chinese 35th Army, which retreats with very heavy losses. The Chinese plainly are unable to cope with such an outstanding, combat-experienced Japanese division. Our operations in the south, though fairly minor in scope, are beginning to get Chiang's attention.

In Yunnan Province, our 53rd Inf Div advances from Indochina to the outskirts of Mengtsz -- where Gen. Stilwell's NCAC HQ is located. There, we find it stoutly defended by two KMT armies. No attacks are launched.

In concert with the 6th divisions' operations, we activate the 116th division in the Canton area (Kwangtung Province). Its first attacks force the Chinese 10th Army to retreat, with moderate losses.

NW of Tsingyuan, in the north, the CCP 3rd Corps launches probing attacks against one Japanese Rgt. No ground is gained, and both sides suffer minor losses. Further south of this area, another CCP corps (2nd) mounts an attack against our 41st Cav.Rgt (of the 41st Div). We manage to "break" the CCP troops by air bombardment prior to their assault. But, they still manage to force a minor retreat. Later, the CCP 3rd Corps attempts to continue their attacks, north of Hanyang in Chahar Province. They are pummeled by air attacks launched from Tientsin, & their attack is a fiasco -- they are forced to retreat in disarray. Their come-uppance may not be long in coming, as we try to muster the necessary resources to mount a counter-attack.

East of Ichang, a fairly large-scale KMT attack is mounted by the 66th, 9th & 18th Armies (most of them understrength) against 2x Japanese brigades (along with an engineer Rgt). Both sides suffer losses, and again we are forced to retreat. The Chinese attacks, fortunately, appear to be losing steam.

In Hupeh Province, the KMT's 5th Army (an outstanding unit) mounts an attack against our 4th Inf. Bde, which holds without loss.

NW of Wuchang, the (broken) KMT 15th Army launches an unsuccessful attack against our 17th Inf. Bde, which inflicts severe losses on the Chinese, & holds its ground.

In Kiangsi Province (south of Hwaining), the KMT 11th Army (an inexperienced, ineffective unit) conducts another unsuccessful attack, against our 65th Rgt (of the 13th Div). Here again, we inflict moderate losses on the attacking Chinese, & no ground is lost.

Burma: SW of Myitkyina, just prior to the arrival of the monsoons, the Chinese 19th Army (Stilwell) mounts a successful attack against our garrison there (one Rgt of the 55th Inf. Div). Though the Chinese fail their "jungle warfare" pre-battle DR, they still manage to defeat our Rgt, & Myitkyina is recaptured by Stilwell's KMT troops!

At Ledo, two weeks of bitter, intense & bloody fighting commences, as Gen. Slim mounts an assault to try to recapure the vital airfield (from which now is the only means whereby the Allies may get supplies/Command Points into China). Slim's first attack is led by the "Calcutta" Bde. It also includes the 14th Indian Div, a mediocre unit, and the 36th Indian Bde (of the 26th Indian Div), a poor unit. Defending Ledo is our 55th Inf. Div (-), which is severely understrength. Gen. Slim has no effect on this initial assault, which goes badly for the British -- the Calcutta Bde is wiped out, in inflicting but one step loss on our division & failing to retake the city. Unfortunately for us, though, this is but round one. Gen. Slim, after this failure, will shortly take matters into his own hands...

Gen. Slim returns the next week with a vengeance. This time, he has a definite (and decisive) personal impact on the battle for Ledo. The 14th Indian Div leads the attack against our defenders. Gen. Slim provides the needed combat edge (a decisive column shift, along with a Troop Quality boost to the 14th div), and we suffer our first major defeat -- we are forced to retreat from Ledo, with heavy losses! This is perhaps the first real victory for the Allied forces anywhere on the ground in the war.

Philippines (Corregidor): The 16th Inf. Div + our 62nd Rgt (21st Div) starts its advance from our beach-head west, mounting an assault against a well-dug-in USMC Bn (the last-remaining of the excellent 4th Mar. Rgt). We force the marines to surrender, taking minor losses. The only remaining defenders on Corregidor are the broken 2nd Fil. Div, holding out one hex to the west. We shall deal with them next week. It appears as if the long, costly and not-too-well-executed campaign for Luzon is nearly over.

End Report

(Addenda to report of 28 May 1942)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Ref: 5th paragraph (garbled transmission). Should read:

"NW of Tsingyuan, in the north, the CCP 3rd Corps launches probing attacks against one Japanese Rgt. No ground is gained, and both sides suffer minor losses. Further south of this area, another CCP Corps (2nd) mounts an attack against our 41st Cav Rgt (of the 41st Inf. Div). We manage to "break" the CCP troops by air bombardment prior to their assault. But, they still manage to force a minor retreat. Later, the CCP 3rd Corps attempts to continue their attacks, north of Hanyang in Chahar Province. They are pummeled by air attacks launched from Tientsin, & their attack is a fiasco -- they are forced to retreat in disarray. Their come-uppance may not be long in coming, as we try to muster the necessary resources to mount a counter-attack.

End Updated Report

Welcome to the Alexander Air --

First off, I want to thank Field Marshall Wavell for a splendid job so far in holding the line in Burma. After a magnificent show in the Mediterranean, East Africa and the East Indies, he'll need a proper rest and there is nothing better than being CinC-India for that purpose.

Then a hearty congratulations to Bill Slim. The man who lost Imphal has re-captured Ledo with minimal casualties and greater harm to the enemy. Good show, ol' boy!

Of course as you well know, we here at Chittagong have been pounded not by enemy shells but by this bloody awful, nasty weather. On any day, I prefer the London fog. Yet, we won't rest till we are back in Singapore and Hong Kong and Rangoon; yes , hopefully we can all see each other at Picadilly soon but there is much work ahead. Thankfully we got no better friends than those Yanks and fellow tea drinkers, the Chinese. Together we'll give the enemy serious reflection on starting the whole bloody mess and deal with the Germans in our good time. Good luck all!

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 3 June 1942. Operations through end of 3rd Air Phase, G/T 2/6/42

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: JNAF units mount a staging strike (Rabaul-Tanimbar I.-Darwin), with 5x G4M's (at "low" altitude), escorted by 5x "Zekes" from Tanimbar. There is no fighter opposition (our having dealt with that aspect last week), but our mission succeeds only in suppressing the (Level-4) airfield at Darwin, failing to damage any of the numerous Air Points there.

Later, the joint USAAC/RAAF force at Darwin attempts to strike back, hitting Tanimbar with 1x Beaufighter (loose escort), 9x Hudsons, 2x B-25's, 1x Boston, 1x Beaufort, & 2x PBY's -- all at medium altitude. We have augmented our Zeke complement by 2, so 7x A6M's rise to meet the raid (we actually had plotted a fighter sweep with these units against Darwin, but the Allied raid beats us to the punch, so our fighters fly CAP over their base instead -- canceling our raid). We get the "bounce," and our boys (still led by the redoubtable ace Sasai) quickly dispose of the lone Beaufighter, then pounce on the Allied bombers. We down both of the PBY's, and the RAAF Beaufort, & lose 1x Zeke Air Point in return. Despite their losses, the patchwork Allied force manages to finally score a hit on our airfield, suppressing it.

South Pacific: From Espiritu Santo, small harassing raids are launched against our new base at Reef I (where we have an airfield under-construction). Two A-20's, joined by 2x USMC Dauntlesses, fail to do any damage or hinder construction.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippines: We land on Cebu (4/Yokosuka SNLF Bn), Negros (65th Indep. Bde, minus), & at Panay (2x Bn's from the 65th Bde). At Panay, there is no sign of the Fil. garrison division -- we land at Iloilo & prepare to ferret them out; a long guerilla-style campaign may be in the offing on Panay.

Central Pacific: On the 31st of May, a Japanese Carrier TF arrives off Midway (300 nm north-by-northeast of the atoll)! Initial US air searches find one TF, and it is reported as "5x carriers, + 5x capital ships." Admiral Nagumo, it would seem, is on the loose again. We wonder if not a little bit of consternation exists at POA HQ in Pearl Harbor, as to what the Japanese are up to here.

The USN is lucky, in that 1x AO, & 1x AV are able to sortie & escape the anchorage there just in time. We are most surprised to find only a weak air garrison at Midway, consisting only of 2x PBY's, 2x PB2-Y's, & 1x PBM. No fighters! No Dauntlesses! Our fears that Midway would be bristling with air opposition were apparently groundless. We launch a preliminary air strike against the airfield there (10x B5N's, escorted by 4x A6M's). Our Zekes nail one of the PBY's, & the PBM on the ground. The "Kates" then dispose of one of the PB2-Y's, and damage the airfield ("D1"). We suffer no losses from flak.

Later, we launch a 2nd strike, this time against Midway's ground defenders (it appears as if Midway is not strongly garrisoned). Results unknown. We would like to know the reaction at Pearl Harbor! We have apparently caught the Americans unprepared here.

Aleutians: Our surface TF operating off Agattu contacts some sort of USN TF, at night. But, it apparently is but a single ship, and it is able to withdraw without our being able to fire a shot. Adm. Kondo, in command of our TF there, remains on-station. This decision will soon prove regrettable. For, out of nowhere a US carrier TF appears NE of Agattu, out of the Bering Sea. We, for once, are caught with our "pants down," and the Americans launch a strike against Kondo:

"BATTLE OF THE BERING SEA: 2 June 1942"

The Americans launch a total of 8x F4F's, 9x SBD's, & 5x TBD's, from an unknown # of carriers. We think 3, and this is alarming, as our intelligence estimates had the US as down to 2 operational CV's -- somehow the Yankees have found another, either the Ranger or possibly a repaired Enterprise!?

The US raid forms 3 waves. After the Wildcats manage to slightly suppress our AA, the 1st wave appears (3x SBD's + 2x TBD's). One of the Devastators is aborted, but the remaining attackers sink the CA Kako. The 2nd wave (same composition) damages the CA Aoba ("D2"), and heavily-damages CA Furutaka ("D4," & dead-in-the water). The 3rd wave (3x SBD's + 1x TBD, which is aborted by AA) attacks BB Mutsu, but no hits are scored on her. Thus, finally the US carriers have managed to get their licks in, and we lose the CA Kako. Thus ends the unhappy (for us) Battle of the Bering Sea. We wonder how long the US carriers will linger in the area, as our carrier strike force north of Midway is within striking range. What will transpire, we wonder? And who led this daring American foray?

Palau: To the west of the Palaus, a typhoon creates havoc. We are fortunate not to lose any air units, but we lose one Kagero-class DD, which sinks at anchor there. We must endeavor in the future to do better in our meterological predictions.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific, with an especially-cheerful greeting to our British friends who seem to have such courage in dying for their American allies. This is Orphan Annie, with another assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 8 June 1942. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase, G/T 3/6/42 (Post #1 of 2)

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: IJN air strikes continue from Tanimbar I. against Darwin. We are now unopposed in the air, & 6x A6M's (escorting 2x "Nells") strafe the airfield there at will, destroying 1x B-25 & 1x Hudson on the ground. Our bombers suppress the airfield there. Another raid, a fighter sweep from Koepang to Darwin (extended-range; 5x A6M's) fails to do any more damage.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific (Midway): An intense battle for Midway develops -- not in the expected carrier-vs-carrier clash, but resulting from a surprising & daring sortie by elements of (of all things) the British Far East Fleet!

With the IJN Carrier Strike Force repositioned now 200 nm NW of Midway, our amphibious TF approaches, from the west. Just prior to this, though, we are most surprised to see an allied TF approach Midway from the E/SE. An initial carrier search (at medium range) apparently fails to locate these ships (we learn later that the Allied Cdr drew a "Report False" search chit). The allied TF continues toward Midway. A final air search from our carriers _again_ seemingly succeeds in locating it, but once again the TF is reported as a "dummy" (we learn later that the Allies have not been as unlucky as we've been led to believe in their code-breaking & "magic" efforts -- they hold an "ace" card allowing yet another "Report False," & the Allied TF has managed to get to Midway unharmed.

So, our amphibious TF steams toward Midway, unaware that the Allies have a surprise waiting for it. Most unfortunate that our carriers have been "caught napping." Reaching Midway, we receive the distressing news that the Allied TF (TF 28) is not in fact a "dummy." Our arrival necessitates calculations to determine contact, & the matrix & respective movments, missions, & engagement values ("14" for the Allies; the mandatory minimum of "1" for our boys). It boils down to a 50-50 die roll for contact, & the Allied player succeeds: there will be a daylight surface engagement just SW of Midway!

  * BATTLE OF MIDWAY (Surface) : 4 June 1942 **

The combatants in this pivotal battle, which has enormous consequences (defeat for us will necessitate withdrawal, & the cancellation -- at least temporarily -- of our landing at Midway) are fairly evenly-matched. We are shocked to learn that our enemy is Adm'l Tom Philips, with part of the British Far East Fleet. The respective combatants:

IJN (Adm'l commanding: Nishimura): BB Yamato; 10x DD's: 5x Kagero-class; 2x Shiratsuyu-class; 1x Fubuki-class (Nishimura); & 2x Mutsuki-class. Screening: 3x APB's (2x "full;" 1x @ "D2"). Embarked: elements of the 20th Inf Division, the Midway landing force.

RN (Adm'l commanding: Phillips): BB's Resolution, Royal Sovereign (Phillips) CL's Ceres, Danae, Durban, & Mauritius + 1x "M" class DD

The IJN Breakoff Level is determined as "11;" the RN as "8." The battle, a daylight fight, starts with the RN possessing the advantage, as our destroyers endeavor to close range. Though he is clearly a little beyond his depth, Adm. Nishimura manages to roll "boxcars" for his surface ratings, and gains a decided edge over Adm. Phillips. This edge will not prove decisive in itself, but will have an impact on the battle.

1ST ROUND (summary): At long-range, the Royal Sovereign scores a hit on one IJN APB, inflicting only "D1" damage. We have 3x DD's damaged (Two to "D2" including Adm. Nishimura's flagship, & one to "D1"). BB Yamato, though, finds the range on Royal Sovereign, severely damaging her (to "D2"). Thus, the 1st round is a draw, & the IJN DD's close range.

2nd ROUND (summary): We have 1x Kagero-class DD now dead-in-the water, and two more DD's damaged (one to "D1;" the other to "D2"). In return, our DD's put several torpedoes into Royal Sovereign, bringing her to "D3" damage level. We also score hits on CL's Durban & Ceres (both to "D1"). Following this 2nd round, the battle is anyone's to win, with the IJN breakoff level reaching "6" (with 6 remaining); the RN's "5" (with only 4 remaining).

3rd ROUND (summary): The British continue to put up a courageous, tough fight in this desperate battle. We lose 1x Kagero-class DD sunk, and have most of the others at least moderately-damaged. In return, our DD's sink the CL Durban & damage Danae. Then, the RN DD is hit, & the RN's breakoff level is reached -- one more point & Phillips will be forced to breakoff! The deciding shot belongs to Yamato: she scores a hit on CL Mauritius, bringing the RN breakoff level to "9," & Adm'l Phillips orders a withdrawal! Our forces have prevailed.

Remaining ROUNDS (summary): The battle continues through 4 more rounds. The Royal Sovereign meets her fate at Yamato's hands, & the brave Adm'l Phillips is killed in action on his ships' bridge. CL Ceres is sunk before she can withdraw, as is CL Danae. Escaping undamaged is BB Resolution. CL Mauritius ("D1") & the British DD (@ "D2") also escape.

Thus ends the surface battle of Midway, & another Japanese victory is entered in the books. The Combined Fleet salutes the outstanding courage & resolve displayed by Adm. Phillips, & the laudable attempt to stop our Midway operation. We drink a sake toast to the British sailors, misguided though they may be in dying to defend the now-apparently-doomed American outpost!

FINAL RESULTS, surface Battle of Midway:

IJN losses:

APB8 "D1;" one Kagero-class DD sunk; 3x Kagero-class DD's damaged (one to "D3," one to "D2," & one to "D1"); 1x Mutsuki-class DD damaged (to "D1"); & 1x Fubuki-class DD damaged (to "D2"). Note: fortunately, Adm. Nishimura is not harmed by the damage inflicted to his flagship and, following the battle, receives a well-deserved promotion!

RN losses:

BB Royal Sovereign, & CL's Ceres, Danae & Durban sunk; CL Mauritius ("D1") & the lone RN DD ("D2") damaged.

The British fleet withdraws from Midway, to the SE. Unfortunately for them, their travail is not yet over, as our carrier pilots will strive to finish them off.

NAVAL OPERATIONS (Midway) -- Continued

We lose one ground step from our landing force (from the damage inflicted one one APB by Royal Sovereign), but we are able to land successfully -- initially only on Eastern Island, with 2+ regiments (see GROUND OPERATIONS). During our landing, the remaining USN planes at Midway's seaplane base (2x PBY's + 1x PB2-Y) launch a futile, last-ditch attack. Our carriers, now awake, manage to cover our ships going in, downing one of the "cats" & aborting the others.

Following the conclusion of the surface battle off Midway, our carriers launch a strike against the withdrawing British ships. In 5 waves, a total of 11x D3A's & 3x B5N's attack. This strike proves disappointing, though. For, though we manage to sink the CL Mauritius, we are only able to bring BB Resolution to "D4" (dead-in-the-water). The British DD also remains. We fear that we may lose Resolution if the British manage to tow her away. A most disappointing air strike indeed!

Following this attack, we discover a US transport TF, apparently consisting of 4x full-strength MS, departing Pearl. IJN subs NW of Oahu manage to take a bite out of these unescorted ships, hitting one. The US TF begins to approach Midway, ending its movement approx. 600 mi. east of it. Could this be a relief expedition to Midway? We anxiously await these ships' arrival there. ______________________________________________________________________

Solomons: Off the Reef Is, we lose one DD (Mutsuki-class) sunk by planes operating from Espiritu Santo: 3x USMC SBD's & 2x PBY's make short work of her. But, this DD's presence is a ruse to draw the American air units out -- later we sortie an evacuation TF which manages to pull our garrison at Reef I. out. Thus the Allies may content themselves with witnessing the first pull-back of our forces in the south pacific, as we abandon the airfield under-construction there.

Aleutians: The American carriers (or carrier), still lurking north of Agattu, catch the CA Furutaka (being towed by one DD) & make short work of our ships, sinking both (3x SBD's, joined by 2x TBD's, attacking). We are surprised that the Americans have chosen to remain safe in the Bering Sea, while the British fleet is asked to defend Midway. We wonder how this will play out at Wavell's HQ in India? We also may have a surprise in store for the American flattops in the far north -- stay tuned, you orphans of the pacific.

General Note: The typhoon that formed off the Palaus approaches the Philippines, & appears headed straight for Luzon & Manila Bay.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Midway: We are unable to mount an attack on the main MI defenders: the US Army Rgt defending the airfield. Our landing north of the field, against the marine defense Bn, fails to clear the defenders but results in no real losses to either side. We land one Bn. on Sand Island, to capture the American seaplane base there. No defenders occupy Sand Island. Thus ends the first phase of the ground battle for Midway, with our beach-head established.

Philippines: Corregidor. On Corregidor, Gen. Homma's 14th Army troops continue to disappoint. The 16th Inf Div (-) elements mount a "banzai" charge against the remaining defenders on Corregidor: the 2nd Fil. Div (broken), dug in with a level-4 fortification. Unfortunately, our attack is badly coordinated & our 62nd Rgt fails to join in the attack. Though our losses are minimal, the Filippino defenders manage to retreat to the west end of the island. We are thus still unable to claim total victory on Luzon.

Elsewhere in the Philippines, our landings on Negros & Cebu reveal weak intrinsic garrisons (of TQ "1" & "2," respectively). Mopping up operations on these islands will have to wait another week.

Burma: Gen. Slim & the 14th Indian Div continue a tentative advance south from Ledo, chasing the now-retreating & badly-understrength Japanese 55th Inf. Div. No combat ensues. The Imperial Guards Division, after their humiliating failure to penetrate the Arakan range, begins redeploying (by rail) to Lashio, with one of its regiments arriving there. This division has a lot of answering to do.

China: In Kwangsi Province, south of Yungning, the IJA 6th Inf Div. continues its pursuit of the KMT 35th Army. Though still routed & nearly destroyed, the Chinese unit manages to hold out. In Hunan Province, south of Hengyang, our 116th Inf. Div manages to inflict a serious defeat on the KMT 10th Army, which takes heavy losses & retreats into Hengyang, in disarray. Thus, our limited offensive in the south continues to make steady progress. In Chahar Province, the CCP 3rd Corps continues its advance, attacking one regiment of the IJA 27th Inf Div. The communist attack inflicts moderate losses, & our unit retreats. But, this CCP Corps is now badly-depleted.

End Report

                "This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific."

Tokyo, 11 June 1942. Operations through end of G/T 3/6/42

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies/N. Australia: Darwin's sad saga & travails continue. Yet another strike from Tanimbar I. (2x G3M's + 5x Zekes) catch the Allies completely asleep. Our fighters have the mission of their lives, destroying 5 of the 8 remaining Hudsons, and one Boston to boot! The once-bristling Australian base now is down to 3x Hudsons & one B-25. Later, a follow-up fighter sweep disposes of another one of the hapless Hudsons. We thank the Allies for providing such realistic training targets!

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Midway: The remnants of Adm'l Phillips' abortive Midway TF (BB Resolution, "D4" & being towed by the Br. DD) are disposed of by IJN carrier strike: A total of 2x D3A's & 2x B5N's are all that are needed to bottom these ships.

Aleutians: We have the favor returned to us in the Bering Sea. Despite our best efforts to scare the American carriers away (we do now have at least _some_ carriers operating in that area, looking for the Americans), they have refused to be suckered and have remained on-station. This proves most unfortunate for Adm'l Goto: the BB Mutsu, & CA Aoba ("D3"), still on-station off Agattu, are attacked & sunk by American SBD's & TBD's. Worse, Adm'l Goto (perhaps predictably) is KIA. We reluctantly salute the performance of the American TF commander (we think it is Halsey, but these Americans seem especially tight-lipped about these things here), who, for the first time, is able to return home with several scalps for his lodge-pole -- our Aleutians TF has suffered the same fate as Adm'l "Tom thumb" Phillips. Most lamentable.

Worse still for us, as we send several units north toward the Aleutians to attempt to trap the American carriers, they apparently have slipped through the noose & are able to escape off-map. We are not entirely sure of this, but unfortunately it seems to be the case.

GROUND OPERATIONS

  * Headline, 10 June 1942: "MIDWAY UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT"

Midway: After preparatory air strikes both from our carrier strike force (now NE of Midway, still on-station) and from Wake I. (4x G4M's), we launch a full assault on the American defenders: 1x USMC defense Bn, + 1x Rgt (35th) of the US Army's 25th Inf Div, defending the airfield on E. Island. First to surrender is the marine Bn. Then, 2x Rgt's of our 20th Inf Div launch an attack on the Army Rgt. Surprisingly, they do not fight well, surrendering without much of a fight, and we are able to declare Midway secured! And, our losses in this operation are much lighter than expected. This more than makes up for the loss of the Mutsu TF in the Aleutians.

Burma: Gen. Slim continues his monsoon advance south from Ledo, continuing his pursuit of the badly-battered IJA 55th Inf Div. Fortunately, though our Div is forced to retreat, it does so in good order & we suffer no more losses & the 55th links up with Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division. Then, the Chinese 19th Army, advancing from Myitkyina, is pushed too hard by the Allied CBI command: advancing beyond command range from Stilwell's NCAC HQ, the Chinese unit is pushed an extra jungle hex, and this proves too much for them: the Chinese break, take a full step loss, and are forced to retreat back towards Myitkyina.

Elsewhere in Burma, a 2nd Rgt. of the Imperial Guards Div arrives by rail from the Arakan range area, to Lashio. From Lashio, we advance the BIA Bde Group towards Yunnani, across the Chinese border, in a probing action. We are surprised to find Yunnani un-garrisoned, & the BIA unit is able to capture it without firing a shot. Two US P-40 Air Points based there are forced to evacuate and, due to the monsoons, one is lost in the effort.

China: In Kwangsi Province, the IJA 6th Inf Division finishes its task of eliminating the KMT 35th Army, which it does with only minor losses. South of Liuchow, this unit is finally destroyed. In Hunan Province, the IJA 116th Inf Div, at Hengyang, launches an assault on the city with the KMT 10th Army defending (retreating there last week). The Chinese 10th Army is on the ropes also, and our assault succeeds in wiping this unit out also! Hengyang is captured, and the Chinese position in the south appears to be in complete & utter disarray.

From Haiphong, two IJA tank Bn's are debarked & begin movement north, into the now-gaping breach in the Chinese "line." Resistance in this sector appears to have completely disappeared.

Philippines: Both Negros & Cebu are secured, against relatively weak intrinsic garrisons. On Corregidor, though, the typhoon which has now passed through Luzon (we lose 1x Ki-21 Air Points at the now-renamed "Akamatsu -- ex Clark -- Field") has apparently lessened our troops' resolve. We had expected to secure the surrender of the last-remaining defenders (2nd Fil. Div, still broken) but our assault, led by our 16th Inf Div (-) fails miserably, & Corregidor holds for at least another week. Gen. Homma's performance in Luzon continues to be well-nigh execrable.

End Report

"Greetings everybody! This is your # 1 enemy, your favorite playmate, Orphan Ann, on Radio Tokyo -- the little sunbeam whose throat you'd like to cut. We're ready again for a vicious assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 18 June 1942. Operations through end of cycle 6/42

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: Strikes continue from Tanimbar I. against Darwin. One raid (8x A6M's + 2x G3M "Nells") finds 4 newly-arrived P-40's (with 1x B-25 & 3x Hudsons still there). The P-40's choose not to fight & are ruthlessly shot up, with 2x A/P's destroyed. But, the Allies are able to turn the tables on us in a subsequent raid: This time, 5x Zekes (& 2x Nells) are jumped by 7x P-40's (we forget to ascertain their nationality). The Allied fighters get the "bounce," & we lose both bombers & one Zeke.

Central Pacific: For the first time, we launch a long-range daylight raid against Pearl Harbor, from Midway. Primarily an "armed-recce" mission, 1x H8K ("Emily") arrives, not knowing what kind of opposition to expect. Surprisingly, only 3x P-39's, & 1x P-40 rise to meet us. Unfortunately, the Yankees are able to abort the raid, so we get no report on Oahu. Not to worry; soon a much stronger raid will appear (once again) over Oahu's skies.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: A USN transport TF (previously located by IJN subs as it exited Pearl) approaches Laysan atoll (east of Midway) & there apparently debarks a garrison force. We are unable to locate or interfere with this mission -- most lamentable.

Hawaiian Islands: The 15th of June sees the Kido Butai once again operating in Hawaiian waters! Adm. Nagumo has returned, hoping to catch the US carriers returning from the Aleutians (unfortunately, this hope is dashed, as the Americans continue to operate up there -- see below) or, failing that, some juicy targets at anchor there. Nagumo moves to within 250nm of Pearl, NW of Nihoa. One of the IJN carrier TF's is located by searching B-17's.

Thus, for the 2nd time in the war, Nagumo warms up a strike against Pearl Harbor. We are in the dark as to what awaits us there. Meanwhile, the American heavy bombers on Oahu ready a strike of their own (B-17's and a few B-24's). Our strike arrives first but, most unfortunately, Adm. Nagumo has become overly-cautious, and his strike is a weak one: 3x A6M's, escorting 6x Vals & 4x Kates (level-bombers) approach. We are most pleasantly surprised to learn that there are only 4 US FTR A/P's on Oahu: 1x P-40 & 3x P-39's (though we shortly learn why).

Most of the Japanese bombers get through, and we are most disappointed to find only one undamaged ship in the entire harbor! (USS Houston). But, we find the Enterprise (apparently having been raised from her bottoming of Dec. 7th) there in dry-dock, along with the CL's Phoenix & Honolulu, also undergoing repair at Pearl.

We concentrate on the hapless Enterprise, and blow her to bits this time. We trust that she will not again be "resurrected" (note: she had been repaired to damage level "D3"). We also bottom the Phoenix. Thus, quite a disappointing haul -- apparently the bulk of the US Pacific Fleet is at sea or in southern waters.

A 2nd strike targets the airfields on Oahu. Here again we are frustrated, losing 1x B5N to AA, & fail to do any damage. A most disappointing raid, though we do manage to (finally, we hope) put the Enterprise out of the war once & for all.

The Americans attempt to counter-punch, launching 6x B-17's (we've been wondering where the "forts" have gone; absent for quite some time from the S. Pacific) & 3x B-24's. They target Adm. Ozawa's carrier TF (containing the Hiryu & Soryu, with 4x CA's & 5x DD's). 7x A6M's (CAP) aborts one B-17, & we lose 1x Zeke, but the US strike, fortunately (& predictably) fails to do any damage.

Aleutians: An IJN carrier TF (CVL's, commanded by Adm. Takagi; containing CVL's Junyo, Ryujo, & Shoho, and also the CVE's Taiyo & Hosho), still operating off of Adak, locates a lone USN oiler sailing east away from the Attu area (where the US CV's, much to our surprise, we will find are still lurking). This AO is easily sunk, in the Bering sea. This strike is the first in a series, which will see a carrier exchange (of sorts) off the Rat Islands, and south of Adak.

Unfortunately for us, the Hosho develops engine trouble and must be detached. At this point, we are still unsuspecting that the American carriers are still in these northern waters -- believing that they successfully escaped our "trap" (of sorts) last week. We are about to find out differently, as the unlucky Hosho will attest. The Hosho is quickly located by US carrier search (aided by PBY's operating out of Agattu, where the Americans have already completed an airstrip). 4x F4F's, escorting 5x SBD's & 1x TBD (level-bombing) make very short work of the unfortunate Hosho, & she goes to the bottom with all hands.

Then, we are forced to detach the CVS Chiyoda due to fuel. She is also attacked by the American flattops (2x F4F's, escorting 1x SBD & 2x TBD's). This time, though, we manage some (plotted) naval cover CAP, from Takagi's carriers (who themselves, fortunately, remain unlocated by the Americans, still off Adak). 4x Zekes oppose the US strike, downing 1x Dauntless & aborting both Devastators. The Chiyoda escapes to the south. Then, Takagi's air search succeeds in finding at least part of the US force: One TF (10) is located & reported as containing 1x CV. And, another also is found, also containing (a reported) 1x CV. Adm. Takagi prepares an air strike. He remains most fortunate, in that the Americans still have not found him.

As the Americans sortie south from the Attu area, they are attacked by Takagi's strike, in:

 

  * THE BATTLE OF THE RAT ISLANDS ** 17 June 1942

We launch against US TF 10, at 200 nm. The US ships are NE of Kiska. 6x A6M's + 1x A5M, escorting 1x Val & 6x Kates, go in to attack. We lose the Val & Claude to US CAP, led by Thatch. The Americans, desperate to turn back our attackers, launch a total of 3x Dauntlesses as emergency fighters. Unfortunately for them, they aren't enough, as our low-altitude strike gets through (only one Kate is "aborted").

3 attacking waves are formed, & we are more than a bit surprised to receive reports that the American flattop has a big number "4" painted on its flight deck & superstructure! It is the USS Ranger! Apparently, Nimitz has succeeded in prying her away from the US Atlantic Fleet, due to the earlier US carrier losses in the southern Solomons. We also learn that this TF is commanded by Adm. Murray.

Fresh from their kills off Attu, the Ranger now will have the unpleasant experience of watching enemy torpedo planes boring in on her. The US TF consists of the Ranger, 1x CA (we don't even bother to ascertain which), 3x CL's (ditto, but one might've been the CLAA Atlanta), & 3x DD's. Our 1st wave (2x Kates) gets through the AA unscathed, & lines up on the Ranger: No hits! The 2nd wave (also 2x B5N's) also escapes flak, & this time we score: the Ranger is heavily-damaged ("D4," & dead-in-the-water)! Unfortunately, the final wave (a single Kate) is downed by flak. Thus, we leave the Ranger D.I.W. & are not able to ascertain whether she went down or not.

So, we have to this point traded the Hosho for the Ranger, but it could be that she is being towed away. The US ships continue their movement SE, away from Takagi's TF & now out-of-range.

As part of this battle, the American commander, apparently desperately trying to locate Takagi's TF, detaches a total of 3x DD's which steam toward Takagi, intent on doing what the American search planes haven't been able to. They succeed in finding our TF, but pay rather heavily for their effort: 2x Mahan-class & 1x Farragut-class DD are sunk in surface actions (our CVL TF is escorted by the BB Nagato (Adm. Abe), & CA's Tone, Chikuma, Nachi & Suzyua). We suffer no damage, though Takagi's force is now located.

No American strikes ensue, & Takagi later launches a 2nd strike as the Americans continue to move, this time targeting a 2nd carrier TF (TF 15). This time, though, the US CAP is formidable, downing 1x B5N & 1x escorting Zeke, & aborting one level-bombing Kate. Only 1x Kate survives CAP, but is aborted by the US AA from this TF. All we get from this mission is a report of a passing glance at the USS Lexington.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Philippines: On Corregidor, one final push by our 16th Inf Div (-) & 62nd Rgt (21st Inf Div) finally does the trick, as the broken & badly depleted 2nd Fil. Div finally surrenders. Thus, the long campaign for Luzon finally comes to an end. The Philippines are, except for Panay, secured! The 65th Indep. Bde is enroute to Panay to deal with the scattered Filippino combat units reportedly hiding out in the jungle there.

Burma: The summer monsoon season continues to hamper all operations, but the 14th Ind. Div (Gen. Slim, corps Cdr) does continue its attacks against Gen. Sakurai's belaguered 33rd Div. We are again forced to retreat, & once again the 33rd Div is broken, but not before we inflict moderate to severe losses on the attackers.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 25 June 1942. Operations through end of G/T 1/7/42
 
AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: From Oahu, a long-range strike is launched against an IJN cruiser TF in the vicinity of Laysan I. 1x B-17 + 4x B-24's attack, in a single wave, targeting the CL Oi. A close miss results; we suffer no damage.

NE of Laysan, 400nm SE of Midway, we launch a strike against two retreating USN merchantmen. One H8K ("Emily") at low (torpedoes) + another with bombs attack, sinking one of the MS. The other (still "D1" from an earlier encounter with IJN subs) escapes, headed back for Pearl.

The airfield at Midway is fully-repaired now, and we realize that, up to now we've failed to thank the American seabees for building us such a nice level-4 airfield there.

Note: Air recce reports indicate a reported US ground garrison at Laysan I. of approx. 5 steps. Apparently, at least one US engineer unit is there.

We commence light bombardment missions against them at Laysan, from Midway (small numbers of Bettys & Nells). We continue to build our air strength there, and vow to return in greater numbers. We'd like to express our sympathy for the "lost souls" there at Laysan -- their stay promisses to be an unpleasant one.

N. Australia: We find that the Allies have beefed up their air strength at Darwin: apparently up to 11 fighter A/P's, + 9 bomber A/P's, now occupy the airfield there. For now, our strikes are discontinued.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

North Pacific: South of the Aleutians, to our profound disappointment, it seems as if the American carriers (Lex, Sara) have slipped through Adm. Nagumo's fingers, this time definitively escaping. Worse yet, we can find no trace of the Ranger which, if still afloat, has to be being towed. A most unprofitable sortie north by Adm. Nagumo, as we are completely out-maneuvered. We shall simply have to await another opportunity to destroy these pesky Yankee flat-tops.

After being quite the hot-spot for nearly a month, the Aleutians area sees both sides' naval activities reduced to nil.

Java: In a stunning surprise, we see a British carrier TF approach Java from the south. SE of Christmas Island, air recce from Soerabaja spots the marauding British. The TF is reported to contain 3x CV's, 3x BB's, 2x CL's + 7x DD's! We are amazed at the audacity of the British, as they continue their movement towards Java.

We scramble & launch a strike from Soerabaja against them. We have 5x G4M "Bettys" & 4x G3M "Nells" there. Unfortunately, they are not the "A" team -- none of them are "elite." We are only able to arm one of the Bettys with torps; the others must go in at medium altitude, level-bombing. We have no fighters to escort our attackers.

The lone Betty at low altitude is met by 3x Martlets, 1x Fulmar & 1x Sea Hurricane. Predictably, this Betty is quickly dispatched. Our 8 level-bombers face 3x more Martlets. We lose another Betty, & the remaining 3 Bettys are aborted. Thus, only 4x Nells manage to get through the British CAP to attack.

We find that the British TF was accurately reported previously, and form two waves. We must content ourselves with picking at the screening ships, sending the 1st wave against BB Revenge & the 2nd against the Ramillies. We score no hits.

The British TF (we assume Adm. Somerville must be in command?) continues its movement towards Java, apparently intending to launch strikes against our bases there. We must await developments on that score, and several desperate messages are sent to Rangoon, Amboina & other points requesting that some of the "A" team be sent to Java ASAP.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: We are able to re-occupy Myitkyina, with units from the BIA Bde Group. Unfortunately, our stay there might be short, as this unit is broken by CW air attacks. Also, ominously, Gen. Slim, with the 14th Ind. Div, starts movement NW towards Myitkyina.

Elsewhere in Burma, our 38th Inf. Div begins rail movement north, from Rangoon/Moulmein. One Rgt joins Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Div (the 55th is also there) SW of Katha. There, both the 38th & 55th Divs are trying to recuperate from the costly hard campaigning through June.

The British continue to be active during the monsoon season, as we see the British 2nd Inf. Div detrained at Sadiya & started south. The 17th Ind. Div is also activated, moving south, on Slim's right flank, moving SE of Imphal & threatening to cut off our 2nd Inf. Div. there. In India, the 23rd Ind. Div remains NW of Imphal, blocking any Japanese advances from there.

China: In Kwangsi Province, the KMT 1st Army crosses the INdo-China border, attacking an IJA Tk. Bn north of Hanoi. Though the Chinese are hampered (& eventually broken) by heavy air attacks from Hanoi & Haiphong, we are lucky to be able to retreat in one piece. The Chinese successfully pursue, and are now just north of Hanoi. We wish that Chiang would cease these irritating attacks, & instead concentrate on hording supplies & resources for use against the communists. We clearly shall have to take harsh measures against these stubborn Chinese, & teach them a lesson they'll not soon forget.

In the north, in Suiyuan Province, once again the 4th CCP corps is active & making a nuisance of themselves. Advancing east from the provincial capital of Kweisui, to relieve the broken & battered 3rd corps in Hopei Province (N of Hanchow). No attacks are made, but it appears as if that could change shortly. We will have to figure out some way to deal with these Chinese as well.

End Report

 

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in and around the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 2 July 1942. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase, G/T 3/7/42

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: We launch a staging fighter sweep from Lae-P. Moresby against the Allied northernmost Cape York airfield, in NE Australia. 7x A6M's (the "Sakai/Sasai team," soon to be known as "Sakai's flying circus") are opposed by only 2x P-39's & 1x F4F (cover CAP from a nearby base). We down 1x P-39 & the Wildcat, for no loss. The Zekes strike transfer back to P. Moresby. Thus, for the first time we feel strong enough to begin operating planes from Moresby. And, it will be a busy two weeks.

Another raid is launched from Moresby later, this time opposed by 3x P-39's. Sakai's flying circus this time downs 2 of the Airacobras, again suffering no losses. Then, a 3rd sweep finds us meeting up with 5x P-39's + 5x F4F's. We're able to identify 3 of these Wildcats as "VF-8," refugees from the long-ago-sunk Hornet. Once again, we destroy 2 of the P-39's, & the Americans still are unable to lay a glove on us! Our bag for 2 weeks' worth of raids is 5x P-39's & 1x F4F. We're creating quite a few aces here in the South Pacific!

Central Pacific: The Americans begin long-range bombing strikes from Oahu against Midway: 4x B-24's are opposed by 5x A6M's, at high altitude. We lose one Zeke & are only able to abort one of the Liberators. The bombing fails to damage Midway's airfield but we do lose one Betty on the ground.

Later, the Americans switch to a night raid against Midway, but fortunately for us fail to do any damage.

We attempt an Emily recon of Pearl Harbor, staged from Midway to a KRS sub at Nihoa. Unfortunately, bad weather results in no report & the mission fails.

Bettys & Nells from Midway raid the US "base" at Laysan atoll, effectively halting the airfield construction underway there.

E. Indies: The Allies launch a large raid from Darwin against our base at Tanimbar I. 2x Hudsons, 1x Beaufort, & 1x Beaufighter, along with 16x P-40's (at extended-range; & 2 of them are RAAF) are met by 10x A6M's, at low altitude. We down 4 of the P-40's, but lose 2x Zekes (one of them "elite"). No damage is done to Tanimbar's airfield (now up to level-3).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Java: Adm. Somerville's British carrier TF operating south of Java launches a strike against Soerabaja's airfield. We as-yet still have no fighters there. 5x Albacores & 1x Swordfish manage to suppress the field. This will prove most fortunate for Somerville.

We transfer in a few more Bettys & Nells, and a handful of Zekes, into Tjilitjap, intending to hit Somerville. As the British carriers begin their egress away from Java, we launch a joint, coordinated (unfortunately, it turns out not-too-well-coordinated) strike from both Soerabaja & Tjilitjap. Despite the damage to Soerabaja, we launch a maximum strike from there (losing a G4M and a G3M in the process). The combined totals are:

Low Altitude: 3x G3M's (2x "elite") + 1x G4M, all with torpedoes, escorted by 3x "elite" A6M's.

Medium Altitude: 4x G3M's (1x "elite"), unescorted, level-bombing.

Somerville flies all his CAP against the level-bombing Nells: A total of 6x Martlets, with 1x Fulmar & 1x Sea Hurricane, make short work of our planes -- we lose 3 of the Nells & none make it through. At low altitude, though, our 4 A/P's form two attacking waves. The British AA gunners, though, are more than equal to the task. Unwilling to press on to the British flat-tops, we attempt attacks against the screening ships. Even these, though, have impressive AA: Both waves lose one bomber & have the other aborted! Thus, our attack is a fiasco, and our combined losses, in total, from this raid amount to 5x Nells & 2x Bettys.

Somerville's TF sails away to the south, and the British may content themselves with their first truly successful operation of the war! Much more impressive than poor Adm. Philips' abortive sortie against Midway of just a few weeks ago.

Central Pacific: After landing her cargo at Midway, one IJN APB ("D3") is sunk as it sails away, by prowling American subs SW of Midway.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Slim & the 14th Indian Div evicts our weak BIA Bde group from Myitkyina, brushing them aside, inflicting heavy casualties on them. The Imperial Guards Division, though, has finally arrived NW of Lashio. Other IJA reinforcements also arrive at Rangoon, by sea. Once the monsoon season abates, it promises to be a most interesting Autumn in Burma...

China: Things heat up a bit in China, as we are forced to pour resources into the C.E.F. HQ to deal with the marauding KMT and CCP units. In Yunnan Province Stilwell, from Mengtz, launches an attack SE with the 28th & 21st KMT armies against the IJA 53rd Inf. Div. Heavy air bombardments from Hanoi & Haiphong breaks up the Chines attack, breaking the 28th army, and the attack is a bust -- the 53rd Div holds, inflicting heavy casualties on the Chinese.

The 53rd Div. then counter-attacks, but Stilwell manages to stiffen the Chinese units & both sides suffer moderate casualties. The Chinese armies hold.

In Hunan Province. Chinese Gen. Yueh, in command of 3 KMT armies: the 66th, 18th, & 9th, attacks at Heng Yang against the IJA 116th Inf. Div. The attack succeeds in breaking the 116th Div & forcing its retreat, but the Chinese suffer heavy losses.

In north China, in Chahar Province, the CCP 4th Corps, attempting to relieve the 3rd CCP Corps, launches a very poorly-conducted attack against one IJA Rgt (of the 27th Inf. Div). The attacking communists are broken by air attacks, & their attack is a total failure, suffering very heavy losses.

Then, we launch our first offensive operation in north China, with two divisions & one Rgt activated for an all-out assault on the 3rd CCP Corps. The 35th & 70th Divs, along with 1x Rgt from the 27th, surround the communists & mount their attack. We're unable to wipe out the communists, but inflict grievous losses on them (down to a single step) & promise to finish the job next week.

In Indochina, north of Hanoi, the KMT 1st army continues its assault against a lone IJA tank Bn, wiping it out. The 1st Army, though broken, advances to the outskirts of Hanoi. Unfortunately for them, though, they meet up with a new division, the 17th, which has arrived at Haiphong from the Shantung peninsula, to deal with this situation. The 17th division is able to go right into the attack, counter-attacking the KMT 1st army north of Hanoi. And, the 17th's initial action of the war is spectacular, inflicting no less than 5 steps' worth of losses on the Chinese, & routing them.

In Kwangsi Province, our 6th Inf. Div. (our best in China) routs the KMT 34th army. And, the IJA 104th Inf. Div. mounts probing attacks, which net little results, against the 38th army. In the south, we thus make significant gains against Chiang's armies.

Perhaps the busiest two weeks of operations in China yet, at least from the IJA's standpoint, & very expensive, in terms of resources. But, the gains we've made more than outweigh the cost. And, worse yet (at least for the delusional Chiang), prospects are good for continuing the operations. We would advise Chiang to either come to his senses, or relocate very shortly from Chungking!

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"
xxxxx
Tokyo, 16 July 1942. Operations through end of Cycle 7/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The unfortunate Americans on Laysan atoll settle in to their evident lot in life -- regular small bombing raids from Midway, which they are powerless to contest. The standard raid is 2x G3M's, 2x G4M's, & 2x H8K's. We are able to halt construction of the airfield there, & the effect on the troops there is unknown.

B-24 night raids (from Oahu) continue against Midway, but they have no practical effect.

No other air operations of note (the monsoon season continues).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Australia: RAN transports from Darwin move troops (unknown composition, but probably engineers) into Bathurst Island, just north of Darwin. It appears as if the Allies intend to build a forward airfield here, which is within P-40 range of our base at Tanimbar I.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: In Yunnan Province, SE of Mengtz, the IJA 53rd Inf. Div continues its attacks against two KMT Armies (the 28th -- "broken" -- & 21st). Though the Chinese 28th Army receives heavy losses (it is now down to a single step), so do we & we are forced to call a halt to this offensive.

Kwangsi Province: Near the Indo-China border, the IJA 17th Inf. Div. continues its pursuit of the KMT 1st Army. But, our attack is repulsed & we suffer heavy losses; the 1st Army holds. The next week, the 17th Div. continues its attacks and, though our losses are less severe, we still fail to break the Chinese, or even to force their retreat. It is not a good two weeks for our 17th Div.

And, also in Kwangsi Province, the IJA 6th Inf. Div. continues its offensive against the KMT's 34th Army. Its first attack goes badly, with both sides suffering heavy losses -- the 34th Army holds. But, in the next week operations are continued, and we are rewarded -- the 34th Army is broken by air bombardment and the 6th Div forces the 34th Army to surrender!

And, our 104th Inf. Div. attacks, against the Chinese 38th Army. This time, we have better results, forcing the Chinese to retreat. The next week, the 104th continues its advance, this time against both the 38th and 33rd Armies. Again, the Chinese are forced to retreat, but this time in good order with only minor losses.

Chahar Province: In the north, we have the 3rd CCP Corps surrounded & one final push is all it takes to wipe this unit out! The 35th Inf. Div leads the attack (joined by elements of the 70th Div & 1x Rgt from the 27th). Though the attack is poorly coordinated & we take very heavy losses again, we finally dispose of this communist corps.

STRATEGIC CYCLE, NOTES

In Strategic Cycle 0/7/42, our Economic Multiple is eligible for potential increase for the first time. And, we are most fortunate! We see our EM rise to 3.

End Report

"Greetings everybody! This is your #1 enemy, Orphan Ann, on Radio Tokyo. Today we have more bad news for you orphans of the Pacific, as we get ready for another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 30 July 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/8/42

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies/Darwin: These two weeks will see some very intensive air battles in & around Darwin. We start off "Operation MD" by learning that the Allies now have 17x P-40's there, along with a few Hudsons & Beaufighters. IGHQ has determined that we will now deal with the Darwin menace decisively (see Naval Operations).

Central Pacific: Our base at Midway has settled into what's become our normal routine: watching a few B-24's bomb ineffectively at night from Oahu, then our boys hitting the poor wretched souls still on Laysan atoll. There, the Americans are unable to make any progress on the airfield there, being continually pounded by small Nell/Betty raids. Things can't be pleasant there, but at least there are no mosquitoes.

Australia/N. Guinea: We launch a joint strike (Rabaul-P. Moresby) against the US base at Cape York. 5x "elite" A6M's, escorting 5x G4M's (2 of these are "green"), are opposed by 3x P-40's, 4x F4F's (ex "VF-8"), & 4x P-39's. This raid does not go too well for us -- we lose one Zeke & both of the "green" Bettys, for 2x P-39's.

Later, the 5th AF, from its Cape York airfields, hit P. Moresby -- this time an impressive strike, with 10x B-26's & 3x B-25's (unescorted). We're able to scramble a total of 10 A6M's (led by S. Sakai), along with the combat debut of 3x J1N's & 1x Ki-45. We lose one "elite" Zeke (fortunately, Saburo gets home OK), & down 2 of the "Mitchells." But, the US raid is effective, putting Moresby to "D1" damage level. Due to this, we lose an additional Zeke & one J1N. This is the first large-scale B-26 raid of the war, and we shall have to devise some means of dealing with them.

Later, the raid is repeated. This time, we are unable to effectively oppose the raid, and Moresby's fighters are directed to Lae. Though the Americans lose one to flak, the B-26's again damage the airfield there, effectively bombing us out of Moresby. We lose a lone E13A1 ("Jake") in the water

Solomons/N. Hebrides: For the first time, we get air recon reports on Espiritu Santo, indicating (apparently) only a very small Allied garrison there, along with a level-7 airfield (with either 6 or 12 Air Points). Interesting developments...

Burma: Still mired in the seemingly endless monsoon season, the British finally manage to mount an effective raid on our airfield construction effort at Yenangyuang. Despite bad weather, they're able to halt construction (at least temporarily), with a small strike of Hudsons, Wellingtons, PBY's & 1x Blenheim, in a joint strike from Calcutta-Akyab. The British repeat the effort later, & this time we are able to scrape together enough Ki-43's to down one attacking Blenheim. The British then switch to night raids, but these are as-yet ineffective.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: An IJN TF sorties from the Marshalls SE towards Howland-Baker Is. It is spotted from Funafuti as it closes & is reported only as "3 ships." The TF continues towards Howland & conducts a bombardment there, then withdraws. What, the Americans must be asking themselves, are they up to here?

N. Australia / Darwin area: On July 22, a Japanese carrier TF approaches Darwin from the north. Our ships remain undetected, as Darwin's air search capabilities are apparently low. The opening shots of what will become the battle for Darwin are fired, as we launch a very strong joint airstrike from Tanimbar I. & our flattops (yes, Adm. Nagumo is once again loose in the Pacific!) against the unsuspecting Allied flyers at Darwin. This strike results in the largest, & bloodiest air battle of the war to date:

We manage to launch a total of 23 Zekes (11 from Tanimbar I.), escorting a total of 15x D3A's, 9x B5N's, and a lone G3M along for the ride. Our escorts are split evenly between "close" & "loose." We're opposed in the air by all 17 P-40's, who get the "bounce" over our loose-escorting A6M's. We lose 2 in the first pass, and another Zeke from the close-escorts (with Nishizawa), for the loss of 4 Warhawks (with others "aborted"). The Americans press their attacks, downing 2x of our "Kates," & aborting several of the other bombers. Another P-40 goes down following these attacks. A total of 15 D3A ("Vals") & 5x B5N's go in to attack Darwin's airfields. We lose yet another Kate to flak there, but our strike is a good one: we put the airfields there to "D2" damage level, effectively shutting down Darwin. Also, as will be seen, writing the epitaph for all those P-40's which once proudly filled the skies there. The damage to the airfield results in yet another 2x P-40's lost, so the total Allied losses amount to 7 of the P-40's. It has been an expensive raid for us also, losing a total of 5x carrier-based Air Points (and one Zeke from Tanimbar I.).

Next to arrive off Darwin is an IJN BB bombardment TF (reported as "3x BB, 3x CA, & 3x DD's), arriving at night to hit the airfield again. Unfortunately, this bombardment is a total waste of ammunition, as we're unable to effectively target the place.

Then, another airstrike arrives, this time solely from Tanimbar I. 5x Zekes, escorting a single G3M, arrive. This proves one of the costliest raids of the war for us, as our best IJN ace, Nishizawa, is KIA strafing Darwin! And, no further damage is done. Alas!

Adm. Nagumo then takes matters into his own hands, hitting Darwin again. This time, our carrier Zeke pilots rip the Americans to shreds, nailing 4 more P-40's on the ground. We lose another "elite" B5N to flak. Darwin's once-formidable fighter garrison is now down to 6x P-40's (and dwindling fast!).

A new airstrike, this time a joint strike (Koepang-Tanimbar I.), consisting of 4x A6M's, with 2x Bettys & 1x Nell, results in the destruction of another 3x P-40's (they are now down to 3!), for no loss.

The IJN is now operating at considerable strength north of Darwin in the Timor Sea area. Clearly, something major is afoot. Yet another BB bombardment TF approaches Darwin (2x BB's), but has no better luck than the first. Our NGF efforts are a major disappointment.

One last airstrike is launched against Darwin, a small carrier strike. Despite the damage to their airfield, the Allies decide to launch nearly all they have remaining: 3x P-40's + 1x Beaufighter. One of the P-40's is lost due to the damage, & we down the Beaufighter, for no loss. Thus, in the space of approx 2 weeks, we've destroyed 15x P-40 air points -- 150 aircraft. The Allies surely must be reeling from these losses. But, unfortunately for them, the biggest blow is yet to come.

Finally, the object of these intense operations is revealed, as two Japanese Amphibious TF's approach Darwin, from two directions, via the Arafura & Timor Seas. We successfully land two units: Part of the IJA 5th Inf. Div. is landed NE of Darwin, and the "Karafuto" Bde. is landed SW of it. Though our units unfortunately are deactivated, no counter-attack is launched & we learn the status of Darwin's defenders: We're elated to see that the main defenders (the 4th Australian Div -- accompanied by a lone British Bn) have not fortified themselves. Also, we discover that the Anzac HQ, commanded by Gen. Blamey, is present. We optimistically prepare for phase two: The assault against Darwin!

N. Hebrides: The USMC's 2nd Raider Bn. is landed on Reef. Is., which they discover is abandoned. The marines also report the presence of a nearly-completed airstrip there. Thus, the Americans may content themselves with their first wresting of a previously-controlled Japanese island from us.

Report of 30 July 1942 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: These two weeks see another large-scale activation of the KMT armies, in several provinces, and a few hard-fought battles.

In Hupeh province, we lose an understrength Bde (the 15th) after a well-conducted attack by a total of 4 Chinese armies, apparently intent on moving against Wuchang. South of Wuchang, 2 more Chinese armies (the 11th & 3rd) mount less successful attacks against one IJA Rgt (the 116th) -- the Chinese take significant losses, but do force our Rgt to retreat back into Wuchang.

The next week, the Chinese keep up the pressure on Wuchang. Despite continuous air attacks, they launch an assault on Wuchang, with 3 armies: the 15th (lead unit; broken by air bombardment), the 11th & 3rd. Defending the capital of Hupeh province are the 20th Inf. Bde & 116th Inf Rgt. We are significantly out-numbered, but our air attacks help break up the Chinese attacks, & we are able to hold out. The Chinese siege there continues.

In Hunan province, the Chinese stir up trouble there also. There, they move a total of 4 armies: led by the 66th (a very good unit), it also includes the 38th & 23rd, along with the badly-understrength 33rd. These units mount an attack against our 104th Inf. Div. Prior to & during the attack, the Chinese are mercilessly pounded by air attacks, from Canton, by IJA bombers (mostly Ki-21 "Sallys"). The Chinese attack is a debacle, and they take catastrophic losses, with the 66th Army nearly wiped out: The Chinese lose a total of 9 ground steps, & our 104th Div. receives barely a scratch!

We here in Tokyo continue to scratch our heads, wondering when that crazy Chiang-kai-shek will ever get wise as to the futility of attacking our battle-hardened veterans in set-piece battles in China.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 9 Aug. 1942. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase; G/T 4/8/42

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: An intense week-long bombardment of P. Moresby from the Allied Cape York airfields is kicked off by 9x B-26's. This time, the Americans are intent on targeting our ground troops & installations there. Their raid is an effective one, and is unopposed.

Later, the 5th AF repeats the raid, in an all-out "maximum-effort." Not to worry; our defenders there are a stout bunch & "they can take it."

Central Pacific: Laysan atoll continues to be bombed into submission by our boys at Midway. Midway has now become our training center, where all our "green" bomber pilots are sent to gain some combat experience dropping bombs on the hapless GI's & their attempt to build an airfield there.

The Americans step up their B-24 night raids from Oahu against Midway, launching several "maximum-effort" strikes.

Southern Solomons: B-17's from Espiritu Santo raid San Cristobal. This is the first B-17 raid we've seen in the South Pacific in quite some time.

Australia (Northern Territory): We begin softening up the 4th Australian Div, defending Darwin, with raids from Koepang, Tanimbar I. & from Nagumo's carriers still operating north of Darwin, in the Timor Sea. Our raids are not extensive, but will pay off handsomely.

Also at Darwin, Nagumo deals with a few merchant ships still in the harbor there, sinking them with little trouble

Australia (Western): Air recce indicates that some division is still present at Broome -- probably the 6th Australian division, which was moved there several months ago.

Burma: The British mount their first successful night strike, hitting Yenangyuang with a total of 9x bomber air points (Hudsons, Wellingtons, Blenheims, & Catalinas). They manage to knock out some Oscars on the ground.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Southern Solomons: The 2nd Raider Bn (USMC) is landed at San Cristobal. They find no Japanese garrison.

N. Australia: The remainder of the IJA 5th Inf. Div. is landed NE of Darwin, & is prepared to go right into the attack with the units landed last week.

GROUND OPERATIONS

  * Dateline 4 August 1942: DARWIN UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT! **

Our worries over how well the 4th Australian Div (a militia unit) would fight are eased. Our air bombardment was apparently enough to "break" them, although Gen. Blamey valiantly tries to rally them. It isn't enough, & the 4th Aus. Div. is not up to the task. Our assault against the now-surrounded Darwin forces them to surrender, & we capture Gen. Blamey to boot! The gallant IJA 5th Inf. Div. leads the assault, and our losses are minimal. The Australian Northern Territory has a new master! All over Japan, the newest expansion of the Japanese empire is celebrated. Can nothing stop us?

China: Chiang's KMT armies have mixed success. In Hupeh Province, they have their first real victory of the war, as their continued assault against the provincial capital, Wuchang, pays off. Our defenders (the 20th Inf. Bde + the 116th Inf. Rgt) are defeated, & the city is taken. The Chinese assault is led by the 15th Army, & near-continuous air attacks by our forces in Chinkiang & Tsinan are not enough.

Elsewhere in Hupeh Province, the KMT 5th & 12th Armies mount an offensive against another IJA Bde (the 2nd). Though the Chinese attackers are "broken" by air bombardment, they succeed in forcing our retreat. Both sides suffer moderate losses.

In Hunan Province, SW of Heng Yang, KMT Gen. Yueh coordinates a large-scale Chinese attack against our 116th Inf. Div. Several Chinese armies, most of them severely understrength (& led by the 66th army, "broken"), attack. Though we are out-numbered, the Chinese attack is a debacle, resulting in very high losses, & they are forced to retreat.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 August 1942. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase; G/T 1/9/42

CYCLE 0/8/42, Note: In the CBI, Gen. Alexander is recalled to the Middle East, & is replaced as GOC, Burma Army, by Gen. Wavell.

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The Americans switch tactics in their B-24 raids against Midway, daring to resume daylight strikes. This proves fortunate for us, as we send up 6x A6M's against 4x Liberators. We down two of the B-24 air points, & trust these foolish Yankees will follow the British lead & stick to night raids.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

A US TF approaches the Reef Is, from the Espiritu Santo area. It is spotted by air search out of Tulagi, & reported as "1x MS + 6x DD's." We launch a small strike against it, from Tulagi -- 2x G3M's (one at low altitude with torpedoes; one at medium with bombs). The Americans manage to scrape together 4x P-40's on Naval Cover, at extended-range, from Espiritu Santo. They make short work of our torpedo-armed Nells, but the level bombers get through. We find the US TF to actually contain 4 (full) MS + 6x DD's. The Nells at medium altitude, against the odds, manage to sink one of the merchantmen.

The US ships continue movement toward the Reef Is., causing a Japanese carrier TF, operating south of Truk, to react. Meanwhile, we launch a 2nd strike against the US ships -- 1x Emily (med. altitude; bombs), escorted by 3x A6M's. This time, we are opposed by a lone P-40, plus a new aircraft type we have not yet encountered in the pacific: one P-38 air point. In its combat debut, the Lightnings fail to do any damage, & we down the lone P-40. Our attack, though, fails to do any damage, & the Americans apparently debark cargo (unknown) at Reef Is.

The Japanese carrier TF is spotted as it moves south by prowling American subs, which are successfully screened. But, our presence is now known. We are unable to get into position to attack the US TF.

GROUND OPERATIONS

In China, in yet another foray from Yunnan Province into northern Indo-China, Stilwell sends 3 understrength KMT armies against our 53rd Inf. Div. The Chinese, as usual, are pounded from the air prior to their attack, effectively breaking it up. The result is another costly defeat for Chiang, & the Chinese retreat back across the border.

End Report

 

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the pacific. How's tricks? This is your number-one enemy again, Orphan Ann, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 27 Aug. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/9/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Southern Solomons: The Americans finish the airfield we started for them on Reef I., & it is now operational (just beyond normal Zero range from our airfield at Tulagi).

Australia: From _our_ airfield at Darwin, we launch strikes against one of two advancing Allied divisions -- we have 5x G3M's & 1x G4M at Darwin, & they work over the "Americal" division (Gen'l Patch), as it advances overland into the N. Territory from Queensland, marching on Darwin. Note: the other div. is the 6th Australian, starting their movement eastward from Broome. We intend these units' movement to be quite unpleasant, and they have quite a surprise waiting for them should they ever reach Darwin.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Aleutians: The IJN is once again back in the Aleutians, about to wreak more havoc. Approaching to 280 nm SW of Agattu (the US-occupied island just SE of Japanese-controlled Attu), a Japanese carrier TF launches a strike against the airfield there. We have apparently surprised the Americans with our move, & 10x A6M's, escorting 4x D3A's & 6x B5N's, are met by 3x F4F's. The Americans get the "bounce," and abort 1x "Kate." Our Zekes down 1x Wildcat in return. We lose a Kate to AA, & find 2x PBY's, with 2x SBD's on the ground at Agattu. Most unfortunately, our strike fails to do any damage to these air units, or to the airfield. This will prove significant, as shortly after this strike a fast Japanese amphibious TF approaches Agattu!

The US air search, which failed to locate our carriers, also fails to detect our approaching ships (APD's), which are able to commence off-loading at night. But, we are only able to partially debark the landing force before the sun rises, & we are hit by everything left at Agattu. Our carrier operation continues to be poor, as no CAP arrives over the APD's, & they are sitting ducks. We lose 3x "Minekaze-cl." APD's to the Dauntlesses, Cats & Wildcats, and lose two ground steps in the process.

Fortunately, though, 2/3 of the landing force, the "Horii (ex "South Seas") Detachment" is landed, with Gen. Horii. They are in for a tough fight, as we discover that Agattu is garrisoned with 1x Rgt of the 25th Inf. Div, from Hawaii (along with a US Engr unit).

Fortunately, Gen. Horii rallies the landing force, and they are not deactivated following their landing. The US troops are deployed to defend the (now) level-2 airfield, in the north-center of the island. A follow-up carrier strike does manage to suppress the airfield there, & we down another F4F, & destroy 1x SBD air point on the ground. Later, prior to Gen. Horii's assault, we follow up with a carrier strike against the US defenders that will later prove decisive, softening them up. They are dug-in only to level-1 (interesting how lazy these Americans are in preparing their defenses, compared to our boys who are masters at fortification).

(see Ground Operations for the outcome of the battle for Agattu)

Southern Solomons: Here too we have carriers prowling undetected & unmolested! We have some sitting ducks of our own at Reef Island, US transports which have apparently already off-loaded. A fairly small strike is launched, and there is no CAP over the US ships. In 3 attacking waves, the final tally is 3x (full) MS sunk, along with 1x Benson-cl. DD. Another DD is heavily-damaged & left dead-in-the-water. We learn that Adm. Draemel is in command of this unfortunate TF. A follow-on strike launched from Tulagi (1x "elite" G3M & 1x H8K, both armed with torpedoes) sinks the drifting DD (which was being towed away) & damages another. Adm. Draemel escapes unscathed (physically, at least).

Central Pacific: The USMC's 2nd Raider Bn. is heard from again. Quite a busy unit, it is landed in a rather bold move on Nauru, where we have a fighter strip. Unfortunately for the raiders, we also have a marine Bn. stationed there (2nd Bn, Kure SNLF Bde). In a brief but vicious fight, the end result is that these two units end up rendering each other hors de combat. We thus dispose of another US Raider unitReport of 27 Aug. '42 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Agattu: After a week consolidating, Gen. Horii launches his attack. The odds are pretty even: the Horii Detachment, of 4 steps, is of TQ "6." The US 27th Inf. Rgt (25th Inf. Div), of 3 steps, is also of TQ "6." Gen. Horii decides on an "all-or-nothing" banzai attack. The gods of war continue to smile on the "soldiers of the sun," as our carrier air strike forces the US unit into a TQ check -- and the Americans break, just prior to our banzai charge. This is the deciding moment, as Horii's boys pass every check along the way and our attack routs the Americans. Gen. Horii pursues & forces the Americans to surrender, losing only a single step! Agattu is secured and Gen. Horii's outstanding performance is recognized in Tokyo -- he receives a promotion to 3-star, making him eligible now to command Army HQ's. All in all, another outstanding operation and yet another humiliating defeat for the Americans. A side note: we intercept one of the last radio transmissions from the 27th Infantry's HQ, where the C.O. plaintively asks "where are _our_ ships?" So, we thank the Americans for building us another airfield, which we plan to make good use of. Next stop: Dutch Harbor!

China: Another active two weeks in central & southern China and, on balance, a bad two weeks for Chiang, as the Chinese will suffer very high losses, severely weakening the Chinese position in southern China.

In Kwangsi Province, our 6th Inf. Div. is assigned the task of breaking through to two cut-off Japanese divisions: the 104th & 116th. Routing the KMT 38th Army, it does just so & enters Kwangtung Province.

In Kiangsi Province, the IJA 3rd Inf. Div. routs the KMT 11th Army SW of Kiukiang. IJA air support is decisive in breaking the Chinese, in what is becoming a more & more common occurrence. In a remarkable performance, the following week the 3rd Div. encounters the Chinese 13th Army at Kiukiang. The Chinese are broken by air bombardment, & the 3rd division's attack is an outstanding success, wiping the Chinese unit out.

At Nanchang, the Chinese 16th Army briefly occupies Nanchang. But, the IJA 68th Inf. Div. quickly mounts a counter-attack, routing the Chinese & forcing their rapid retreat from Nanchang.

In Kweichow Province, the Chinese gain a measure of revenge, as the 19th & 1st Armies (commanded by Gen. Stilwell, still at Mengtz) attack the IJA 83rd Rgt (21st Inf. Div), despite the 1st Army's being "broken" by air attacks prior to the attack. Later, the Chinese press their attacks, & are able to wipe our Rgt. out.

In Kwangtung Province, the Chinese receive several serious setbacks. The outstanding 6th Inf. Div pursues the routed 38th Army & gives that unit the coup de grace, wiping it out. From Canton, the IJA 58th Inf. Div forces the KMT 23rd Army to retreat from the Canton area. Then, the 22nd Inf. Div follows up this successful attack by routing the Chinese 21st Army, inflicting severe losses on it near Macao. The Chinese are in head-long retreat in Kwangtung Province.

A summary of the losses in China during the last two weeks' operations:

Chinese (KMT) step losses, total: 29

IJA step losses, total: 6

End Report

Report of 27 Aug. '42 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Agattu: After a week consolidating, Gen. Horii launches his attack. The odds are pretty even: the Horii Detachment, of 4 steps, is of TQ "6." The US 27th Inf. Rgt (25th Inf. Div), of 3 steps, is also of TQ "6." Gen. Horii decides on an "all-or-nothing" banzai attack. The gods of war continue to smile on the "soldiers of the sun," as our carrier air strike forces the US unit into a TQ check -- and the Americans break, just prior to our banzai charge. This is the deciding moment, as Horii's boys pass every check along the way and our attack routs the Americans. Gen. Horii pursues & forces the Americans to surrender, losing only a single step! Agattu is secured and Gen. Horii's outstanding performance is recognized in Tokyo -- he receives a promotion to 3-star, making him eligible now to command Army HQ's. All in all, another outstanding operation and yet another humiliating defeat for the Americans. A side note: we intercept one of the last radio transmissions from the 27th Infantry's HQ, where the C.O. plaintively asks "where are _our_ ships?" So, we thank the Americans for building us another airfield, which we plan to make good use of. Next stop: Dutch Harbor!

China: Another active two weeks in central & southern China and, on balance, a bad two weeks for Chiang, as the Chinese will suffer very high losses, severely weakening the Chinese position in southern China.

In Kwangsi Province, our 6th Inf. Div. is assigned the task of breaking through to two cut-off Japanese divisions: the 104th & 116th. Routing the KMT 38th Army, it does just so & enters Kwangtung Province.

In Kiangsi Province, the IJA 3rd Inf. Div. routs the KMT 11th Army SW of Kiukiang. IJA air support is decisive in breaking the Chinese, in what is becoming a more & more common occurrence. In a remarkable performance, the following week the 3rd Div. encounters the Chinese 13th Army at Kiukiang. The Chinese are broken by air bombardment, & the 3rd division's attack is an outstanding success, wiping the Chinese unit out.

At Nanchang, the Chinese 16th Army briefly occupies Nanchang. But, the IJA 68th Inf. Div. quickly mounts a counter-attack, routing the Chinese & forcing their rapid retreat from Nanchang.

In Kweichow Province, the Chinese gain a measure of revenge, as the 19th & 1st Armies (commanded by Gen. Stilwell, still at Mengtz) attack the IJA 83rd Rgt (21st Inf. Div), despite the 1st Army's being "broken" by air attacks prior to the attack. Later, the Chinese press their attacks, & are able to wipe our Rgt. out.

In Kwangtung Province, the Chinese receive several serious setbacks. The outstanding 6th Inf. Div pursues the routed 38th Army & gives that unit the coup de grace, wiping it out. From Canton, the IJA 58th Inf. Div forces the KMT 23rd Army to retreat from the Canton area. Then, the 22nd Inf. Div follows up this successful attack by routing the Chinese 21st Army, inflicting severe losses on it near Macao. The Chinese are in head-long retreat in Kwangtung Province.

A summary of the losses in China during the last two weeks' operations:

Chinese (KMT) step losses, total: 29

IJA step losses, total: 6

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 10 Sept. 1942. Operations through end of Cycle 9/42

A remarkably quiescent two weeks -- not much to report.

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: In the only air operation of note, a small raid from our base at Tulagi (5x A6M's escorting 1x G3M & 2x G4M's) hits the US airstrip on Reef. I (east of Ndeni). The raid is opposed by 4x marine F4F's (with both aces Carl & Smith present). One Wildcat A/P is downed, & we lose the "Nell" (an "elite"). Also, USMC ace John L. Smith is posted as MIA. We do no damage to the facilitites.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: After some IJA attacks in Kwangtung Province, which inflict serious losses on the Chinese, the lines in China are stabilized, & both sides appear ready for a rest.

With the end of Cycle 9/42, the long monsoon season finally ends, and things promise to heat up considerably in Burma next month.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 17 Sept. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 1/10/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: With the end of the long monsoon season, the air war resumes in Burma. Japanese fighter sweeps are launched from Mandalay and Prome/Yenangyuang against the British airbase at Akyab. A weeks' worth of operations see a total of 1x Hurricane & 3x Kittyhawk A/P's destroyed, for the loss of 3x Ki-43's.

Several strikes are launched against our base at Imphal (2nd Inf. Div), from Calcutta, Chittagong, & Ledo (Wellingtons, Hudsons, & Bostons), but these raids have little effect.

From Lashio, the British airbase at Myitkyina receives quite a working over from our "Oscars." A total of 3 (of the 4 based there) Blenheims are shot up on the ground, for no loss.

Australia: As the 6th Australian Div & the Americal Div prepare for their assault on Darwin, our troops there (the "K" Bde) is hammered by two large-scale B-17 strikes from the Cape York bases. We are most unpleasantly surprised by the Americans' ability to muster such numbers (12 A/P's!), & we are unable to oppose these missions in the air. One of these raids (as will later be revealed) succeeds in scoring a DRM to the upcoming assault.

We respond with (apparently) ineffective strikes on the two Allied Divs, both from Darwin & Amboina (G3M's & G4M's). These Allied units are "A" team boys, & not easily deterred by Japanese air attacks.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: In the Allied Ground Phase, we receive unpleasant news: we learn of two new divisions in the theater: The vaunted 7th Australian division (which, apparently, the Australian P.M. has allowed the British to use in the CBI), from Chittagong, & the 70th (British) Inf. Div., from Kohima. Both these units appear to be moving towards Imphal, where the 23rd Ind. Div remains, blocking any Japanese advance west.

Unperturbed by the British air attacks on it, the IJA 2nd Inf. Div. attacks south from Imphal, against the 17th Ind. Div near the Burma border. The CW division, a weak one to start with, and not very good jungle fighters, is broken by air bombardment (Mandalay; Ki-21's) during the attack & suffers grievous losses, & is forced to retreat in complete disarray back across the border into India. Our 2nd Div then retrogrades back to Imphal.

Australia: After a seemingly endless movement to contact, & a week's pause to reorganize, the Allies launch their attack against Darwin. Gen. Patch (Americal Div.) is in command, and this time the Allies, for the first time, show their mettle, easily defeating our defending brigade, recapturing Darwin & forcing the defenders to retreat to the coast, to await evacuation or (more probably) a last stand there. The Allied attack is most impressive, suffering no appreciable losses, and we are forced to swallow our first defeat on the ground at the hands of an American unit (helped, of course, in no small measure by the outstanding 6th Australian Division, which actually leads the attack).

End Report

 

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, with another assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 27 Sept. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 3/10/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: We continue to hit Akyab with fighter sweeps (Ki-43's, from both Prome & Yenangyuang). After a couple of raids, we trade 3x Oscars downed for 2x Kittyhawks & 1x Hurricane. Disappointing results for us, and we are forced (for the time being, at least) to halt these sorties.

The British continue their night strikes (mostly from Calcutta & Chittagong) against our airfield at Yenangyuang. Hudsons, Wellingtons, & Catalinas, fortunately so far, fail to do damage after a couple of raids.

The British then change tactics, launching a daylight strike (Calcutta-Akyab) against Yenanguang. 5x Beaufighters (loose escort), with 3x Wellingtons & 4x Hudsons arrive. Unfortunately for the British, we have predicted this, & plotted cover CAP over "Y.Y." from Prome. We are thus waiting for them. We get the "bounce," & down 1x Beaufighter right away. Then, our boys (9x Oscars, led by the IJA aces Kuroe & Sasaki) tear into the bombers, downing 2 of the "Wimpys." The remaining Beaufighters are unable to destroy any of our Oscars! The remaining British bombers fail to hit the airfield. We thus send the British packing, and can claim a clear victory! We welcome the British back.

From Lashio, we launch a sweep (5x Oscars) against Myitkyina's airfield (1x Blenheim still there -- still no fighter cover). But, the raid is a bust, & we score no kills.

Australia: From Amboina & Tanimbar I., we hit Darwin, in an all-out effort to damage the airbase there (we have an evacuation TF approaching there to pull out the hopelessly cut-off "K" brigade). A total of 6x G4M's & 4x G3M's fortunately manage to put Darwin to "D1." Sure enough, following this raid, the Allies rebase several A/P's into the damaged base at Darwin (we don't know how many they are forced to sacrifice to accomplish this). We later launch a fighter sweep from Tanimbar (4x A6M's) & discover 4x B-25's, + 4x P-40's there. The Warhawks decline to climb to intercept, but unfortunately we can't do any damage to any of them.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Aleutians: We have suspected that there were US carriers prowling about near Attu, and after several failed attempts, one of our Mavises based on Agattu finally locates them! US TF 11 is reported as: "3x CV's, 2x CL's, 13x DD's, plus 1x AO & 2x DE's." They are approx. 200 nm NE of Agattu. We decide, as this TF begins to move away (what are these Americans up to, we ask?), at 240 nm. Our strike (carrier pilots rebased into Agattu from Hiryu previously) is a weak one: 2x A6M's, with 1x Val & 1x Kate. We do not believe the sighting report, and are hoping that only one flattop is there. But, we are met by a total of 6x F4F's on CAP. They turn back our strike, & we are unable to confirm the #'s actually present. The US TF continues its movement away, ending up near the Andreanof Is.

Australia: We send an evacuation TF, from the Java area, towards Darwin to pull out the "K" brigade. Approaching from the Timor Sea, we are fortunate to be covered by squalls on the way in. We manage to get 2x Zekes on naval cover from Tanimbar I., & reach the troops. After embarking one Bn (still daylight), the Americans launch their strike from Darwin. 4x B-25's, with 3x P-40's escorting, attack. Fortunately for us, the Americans have yet to learn the "skip-bombing" technique, and these are still early Mitchells. Our Zekes fail to turn away any of the attackers, and though one of the B-25's is aborted by AA, the remaining 3 manage to take a bite out of our ships (2x APB's, with 4x CL's & 4x DD's), putting one of the APB's to "D1." Fortunately, though, we lose no troops, and we are able to embark the rest of the brigade, sailing away to the north. The troops are debarked at Tanimbar. There is a little concern in Tokyo that things have reached the point whereby we now are measuring successes by accomplishing evacuations.

New Hebrides: Our subs patrolling in these waters get a sighting of a very heavily-escorted convoy sailing from Noumea to Espiritu Santo. Two full MS, each escorted by 5x DD's, arrives at Espiritu. Our subs are unable to come close to penetrating the American screen (the Americans also have PBY's from Espiritu on ASW duty). This must have been extremely valuable cargo to have been so closely-guarded. We wonder if this convoy was carrying the 1st Marine Division?

We also note that the American base at Espiritu Santo has developed into a near bastion: A level-8 airfield, with a reported 11 fighter, 14 Tac block, & 9x bomber Air Points present. A most formidable array of air power, to say the least. Could this be Ghormley's jumping-off point? When & where are the Americans going to make their move? At Combined Fleet HQ at Truk, tensions are high.

(27 Sept. '42 Report -- cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Things continue to heat up in Burma, with heavy fighting on two fronts: near Imphal, & at Myitkyina.

We kick off things with our 2nd Inf. Div (Imphal) chasing down & finally wiping out the weak & broken 17th Indian Div, SE of Imphal. Another division is thus rendered hors de combat. Unfortunately for us, the British are bringing up a few "real" divisions to Imphal, and it is not long before we hear from them:

The British bring up 3 divisions (the 7th Australian, an outstanding unit; the 70th Br. Inf. Div, an excellent one; and the 23rd Indian, one of the best of the Indian divs), and launch a very-well-executed series of probing attacks against our 2nd Inf. Div at Imhal. Led by the Australians, the British manage to inflict 4 step losses on our division, while losing only one of their own. A most impressive showing, and the British are (here, at least, thanks to the Australians) able to match us in the jungle. Worse, we find that one of the IJA's strongest divisions (the 2nd) is out-classed. We still hold Imphal, but things do not look good for us there.

Following the British attacks, we launch an ineffective counterattack NW of the city, by Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division, plus one Rgt from the 2nd division. Launched against the British 70th division, the attack is a failure, with both sides taking moderate losses. We choose to retreat, and the Rgt. from our 2nd division breaks as they retreat back into Imphal. More bad news!

Things are different in the Myitkyina sector, though. From Myitkyina, Gen. Slim (with the 2nd Br. Div + the 14th Indian) launches an attack against our 38th division NW of the city. We are most pleasantly surprised to find Slim's attack turn into a fiasco -- despite Slim's presence the lead British division fails its jungle warfare TQ check and the British attack is a complete failure. The 2nd Br. div. takes very heavy losses (5 steps!) and worse, in the retreat back to Myitkyina becomes broken. The path is clear for a counterattack, which we are quick to do.

After Slim's uncharacteristic failure, we attack with 2+ divisions: The Imperial Guards (full-strength) + the 38th (also full-strength), along with the depleted 16th division. The British are fairly well-dug-in at Myitkyina, and defend well (both sides initially take 3 steps). But, we are able to breach the fortifications by expending more losses, and end up taking a total of 6 steps. Neither side retreats, and the 2nd Br. Division, still broken, is now down to an understrength brigade. The battle for Myitkyina continues. Things look as bad for the British here as they do for us near Imphal. The next two weeks will prove most interesting.

North of Lashio, Stilwell pushes one KMT Independent Corps (the 75th) across the Burma border, in an effort to relieve the Japanese seige at Myitkyina. We are able to mount a hasty, not-too-well-executed attack on this unit, by the Lashio garrison (the BIA Bde group, recently reinforced from Rangoon with a Cav. Rgt from the 55th Inf. Division). Our attack produces disappointing results, as the Chinese offer surprisingly effective resistance. Our losses in this battle are double those inflicted on the Chinese, and this battle continues, as neither side retreats.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific, with news for all you fighting men!"

Tokyo, 15 Oct. 1942. Operations through end of 3rd Naval Phase; G/T 1/11/42

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: The now-major American base at Espiritu Santo is hit by a night strike (Bettys staging from Jaluit-Shortland). Results unknown. We repeat the night strike method, this time from Bettys now stationed at Shortland. We have 1x BMR aborted, & again the results are not known.

Then, the Americans hit back, striking from Espiritu against Shortland -- a massive B-17 strike (12 Air Points) is met at high altitude by a total of 7x A6M's (with our ace Muto). We are fortunate & down 1x of the forts (which are flying at extended range, & thus the one loss is increased to two), without loss to us. We do lose a G4M destroyed on the ground, & have our airfield suppressed, though. Thus, the US strike may be judged successful. The Americans later repeat the raid (this time unopposed) & lose 1x B-17 A/P to flak (again, translated to two losses due to the extended-range). No further damage is done to our airfield (now a Level-4 at Shortland -- as is Tulagi to the south).

We finally get a fairly accurate picture of the US base at Espiritu: It's up to a Level-9 (!), & has approx. 7x BMR (i.e., B-17/B-24), 14 TAC block, & 15+ FTR A/P's there. Quite an impressive base. There also is apparently 1+ US division (Ist MarDiv?), & 6x DD's anchored there.

Subsequent B-17 raids from Espiritu Santo catch an IJN transport TF (1x APB + 3x DD's) steaming south of Tulagi & manage a lucky hit on the transport (putting it to "D1"). Worse for us, though -- we manage to scramble Naval Cover CAP and though we are able to scrounge up 9x Zekes, they fare badly against the Americans, & we lose two without inflicting any losses.

CBI: Regular night raids continue from Calcutta, against Yenangyuang -- 5x PBY's, + 2x Hudsons & 2x Wellingtons, succeed in suppressing our airfield there. We are helpless to counteract the missions, as we have no night fighters trained yet.

The 2nd week in October sees heavy air activity throughout Burma, with both sides trading blows all over the place. The regular "Calcutta express" night raids continue, still aimed at "Y.Y."

We then concentrate on fighter sweeps against Chittagong, from both YY (when repaired) & Mandalay. Several battles take place over Chittagong, initially strongly opposed by the British. Total air combat losses over several days are:

IJA: 4x Ki-43's CW: 2x Hurricanes + 1x Martlet

In addition, one of our raids is unopposed, & we manage to shoot up 1x US P-40, 1x US P-39, and an additional Hurricane to boot.

British ground-support missions (Chittagong, Ledo) concentrate on Gen. Sano's 38th Inf. Div north of Myitkyina & Gen. Sakurai's long-suffering 33rd Div. near Imphal. We are unable to oppose any of these missions.

We then receive a shock to see US B-17's (where are they getting all of these forts, we wonder?) over Mandalay, flying from Calcutta. Six of them raid our airfield there & pound it good, destroying 2x Oscars on the ground & damaging the A/F ("D1"). Quite an unpleasant surprise, but we may have an answer for the American flying forts about to arrive in-theater (the Oscars are, unfortunately, no match against them, at any altitude but especially at high). We invite these impudent Americans to continue their raids, as we will soon have a nasty surprise for them over Burma.

We are able to make our newly-taken Myitkyina airfield operational, & commence operations from there against Ledo. One fighter sweep (5x Oscars) finds a total of 7x Bostons + 2x C-47's on the ground. We manage to shoot up one of the Bostons, & promise to return very soon.

Australia: Air recce reports that most of the Allied Cape York airfields are now empty -- no doubt their air assets have been redeployed to Espiritu Santo. It looks like something's brewing down there, and we shall have to be especially vigilant.

We mount small, ineffective (so far, that is) night raids from Sorong & Tanimbar I. against Darwin (apparently still boasting 8+ P-40's). We do, though, manage to halt the construction of the Allied airfield north of Darwin, on Horne Island, with G3M raids from Tanimbar.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Very little to report, except for a most-embarassing incident for us. On Oct. 10, we receive a report of a US carrier TF (containing one carrier) steaming south toward Wake. We are forced to emergency-sortie some ships (we won't reveal which ones) that were at anchor there, in a mad dash out of dodge, to escape the marauding Americans.

Several intensive air searches are launched, & it turns out the report was a false alarm! Needless to say, we need to improve & augment our air search tactics there. The Americans can be satisfied for the moment with having caused quite a stir at Combined Fleet HQ's, at Truk. Two can play at that game, we think...

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: At Myitkyina, for the first time we are able to deal the vaunted Gen. Slim a defeat, retaking the vital city & causing Slim to retreat into China, north of Yunnani. Unfortunately, we are unable to isolate him and, in any case the Allied airbase at Ledo is capable of supplying him by air, if need be. Nontheless, we mark this as a significant victory!

At Imphal, our Myitkyina victory is dampened by a defeat handed us by the 7th Australian Div, which forces our 2nd Inf. Div. out of Imphal, recapturing the city for the British. Fortunately for us, the 2nd div. is able to retreat in good order, and our casualties are not too high.

NW of Lashio, the KMT 75th Ind. Corps has moved across the border & we mount counter-attacks against it. This is the IJA's "Burma B Team," led by a Cav. Rgt from the 55th Inf. Div, & we throw in the heretofore-unreliable BIA Bde Group. The battle is inconclusive, though the Chinese are forced to retreat.

Near Imphal, we begin to mount flanking movements, intending to cut off the 7th Aus. Div. At Rangoon, we receive a most-welcome reinforcement -- which for now will remain anonymous but which (we are certain) the British will be none-too-happy to see arrive. Things are looking up for the Imperal Army in Burma!

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, with more news for my poor misguided American friends."

Tokyo, 22 Oct. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/11/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: We initiate new, high-altitude raids from Rangoon against the British base at Akyab. These raids see the combat debut of the Ki-49 bomber. Though unopposed (we find only 1x Spitfire, 1x RAAF Kittyhawk + 1x US P-40 A/P there), we have little success initially. Later, we try again, this time with fighter cover (Ki-45's) and this time we manage to suppress Akyab. Again, there is no opposition. It appears as if the British have given up trying to defend the place.

We follow these strikes up with fighter sweeps. 5x Ki-43's (Anabuki) from "YY" raid the base. The British still refuse to come up & fight, and they pay: we shoot up that Spitfire -- the first we've seen in the pacific to date -- along with the Kittyhawk to boot. Clearly, the British have yet to learn how to fight us in the air.

Later, we see the combat debut of the first-production run of the Ki-61 ("Tony") over Akyab. This raid is a bust, as we lost another Oscar to AA fire. In other battles, we kill another Hurricane, at Chittagong, for no loss.

From Myitkyina, we launch fighter sweeps against Ledo (5x Ki-43's). There, though, the British decide to fight (3x Hurricanes + 4x Beaufighters). We lose 2x Oscars, though we manage to down one of the Hurricanes. We repeat the raid later & lose another Oscar, with no British losses. Not to fear, we shall deal with Ledo in another fashion -- with the Imperial Guards division.

From our newly-constructed airbase at Port Blair (Andaman Is.), we start small harassment bombing runs against Madras (1x G3M), but find nothing there worthy of bombing (we were hoping to catch some British merchantmen by surprise there, but to no avail).

The British continue their regular night strikes from Calcutta, against "YY" (Hudsons, Cats, & Wellingtons). No major damage is incurred, as our luck holds. Then, the American B-17's from Calcutta hurt us big-time: they manage a "first strike" via the Strike Sequence Table & manage to destroy two of our brand-new Ki-61's on the ground. They also put the airfield out of commission, at "D1." Most regrettable...

Australia: We launch regular night strikes, from various bases (Sorong, Amboina, Tanimbar I.) against Darwin, but are unable to do any real damage. Later, we switch tactics & hit Darwin by day, with a fairly large joint strike (Amboina-Tanimbar): 4x A6M's (loose escort; Sugita) + 5x G4M's & 1x G3M. We're met by 3x US P-40's + 1x Australian. The Allies get "the bounce," and we lose one Betty. No Allied planes are lost, & we manage to suppress the airfield. Not our best mission.

We launch some "armed-recce" raids from Java, against the NW Australian ports of Broome & Exmouth Gulf. But, once again we find no shipping present.

Central Pacific: It appears as if the Americans have recommenced work on the airfield they were building on Laysan atoll, east of Midway. We remind them that this is futile with a Betty/Nell/Mavis raid, & again put the project out of commission. Stubborn, these Yankees. "We shall have to constantly put them in their place, lest they get too insolent" (Adm. Ugaki).

All in all, a very busy & bloody week in the air.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

On Oct. 19, a Japanese carrier TF appears out of the Sowoe Sea, moving S/SW, down the west coast of Australia, ending up near Geraldton. There are no Allied searches, or indeed any sign of life whatsoever anywhere around here.

We launch a carrier raid against Perth-Freemantle, but once again are foiled as we find no ships in harbor. Our hopes for a lightning-quick surprise strike, catching Allied ships in port are dashed. We do, though, at least manage to damage the port there, to "D1." Since the Allies are making no use of the port, though, this might porove no more than a slight nuisance.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Notes: M/G Horii (soon to be promoted to Lt. Gen.) replaces Gen. Hyakutake as CG, 17th Army, at Rabaul. Also, the Allied ANZAC HQ is re-established, at Perth-Freemantle.

Burma: During the 2nd week of October, the British are beset by a couple of disastrous attacks. In the first, near Imphal, a British assault (led by the 7th Aus. Div, & also with the 70th Br. Div and 23rd Ind. Div) against Gen. Sakurai's veteran 33rd Inf. Div. is hampered by surprisingly effective Japanese air support. The British attack goes badly, the Australians suffering a staggering 4 step losses, & the CW units are forced to retreat. We also suffer very heavy losses, but the battle is a victory for us, as the 7th Aus. Div. is now down to half-strength. Further casualties incurred prior to taking on replacements will knock this excellent unit's TQ down. Thus, we're confident we won't see any attacks by this feared Division until next month, at the earliest.

The British recover quickly, though, and soon launch another attack against our 33rd Div -- this time led by the 70th (Br.) Division (the 23rd Ind. Div. also joins). This time, we are defeated, and Gen. Sakurai is once again forced to retreat (though in good order), with substantial (2 steps) losses. The British later are forced to abandon Imphal yet again, and our 23rd Bde (18th Div.) occupies it.

Then, the Allies suffer a 2nd setback on the ground. This time it is Gen. Slim's troops, attacking out of China, with the 14th Ind. Div, along with the Chinese 28th Army. The 14th Ind. Div fails its jungle warfare check, and the attack quickly turns into an embarassing rout for the British. The 14th suffers grievous (6 steps) losses, & we lose only a single Bn. Though Gen. Slim is unable to directly affect this battle, it still is another defeat for him, and the Allied units are forced to retreat, in disarray, back across the Chinese border. We do not pursue.

Also in the 2nd week of Oct., two brigades of the IJA's 18th Inf. Div. arrive as reinforcements in central Burma, after railing from Rangoon (the 18th Div, a crack unit, is fresh from garrison duty in Java/Sumatra). These two Bdes begin their movement to contact, towards the 7th Aus. Div near Imphal. In the north, the Imperial Guards Div. + the 38th Inf. Div move to Ledo, where they will soon begin an assault. We find the British garrison at Ledo to be surprisingly weak: the 36th Ind. Bde (a very weak unit), plus 1x Ind. Bn. & 3x British Engineer units (fortification level "5"). How long can these pitiful units hope to hold out against our two battle-hardened divisions? We think not long, as the British position throughout Burma appears to have crumbled to dust.

On the 20th, our attack against Ledo commences. Surprisingly, the CW garrison there holds out, but loses more than half its strength. Our losses are relatively light, and it appears as if we shall have to wait another week before claiming Ledo as our latest prize.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 6 Nov. 1942. Operations through end of Cycle 11/42

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: The US B-17's continue to frustrate us, first suppressing the Prome airbase (no air opposition). Later, they hit Lashio, damaging the airbase there ("D1") & destroying one Oscar on the ground. This raid causes a major change of tactics on our side, as we struggle to find a way to deal with these planes. Regular night strikes from Calcutta fail to do any damage at Mandalay. But, the B-17's visit there. This time, we fly to oppose them (5x Ki-45 "Nicks" + 2x Oscars). The battle is again a defeat for us, as we lose both of our Oscars; we still are unable to do any damage to the American fortresses, and the airfield again is suppressed. Clearly, our army air forces in Burma are proving unable to cope with this situation. Time for a change. To add insult to injury, the Allies change targets, sending the forts against the oil field resource hex at "YY." They're able to damage this site as well. Fortunately, though, we have an engineer there, and they're able to repair the damage prior to onset of the Strategic Game-turn.

From Kohima & Ledo, desperate ground-support missions are flown by the British against our units involved in the battle for Ledo (Gen. Sano's 38th Div + the Imp. Guards Div). These strikes are somewhat successful, but will prove insufficient to turn the tide of that battle (see "ground ops").

From Rangoon, we continue to keep the British base at Akyab under fire, with Ki-45's, Ki-49's & Ki-21 bombing raids there. Only a single Sea Hurricane A/P is based there, & is later evacuated to Chittagong. We're able, for the time being, to keep the airfield damaged ("D1"). After some British strike transfer missions bring more planes into Akyab, we hit it from Mandalay & YY again, sending 4x Oscars. No air opposition is encountered, & we find 3x Albacores (where are the British carriers, we wonder?), 1x Hurricane, & 2x Bostons on the ground. We're able to nail the Hurricane, and one of the Bostons, gaining at least some measure of revenge against the several defeats we've suffered in the air in the last two weeks.

From Lashio, a fighter sweep (5x Ki-43's) manages to catch 2x C-47's on the ground, & the base is (temporarily) unprotected. We destroy one of them. Later, we mount a joint strike (Myitkyina-Lashio) again against Ledo (a total of 7x Ki-43's; met by 2x Hurricanes + 4x Beaufighters). Our Oscars from Lashio are at extended range, and we lose two in this exchange, for one Beaufighter. This raid will be the first in this two-week period in which we will (temporarily, we are confident) lose control of the air over Burma to the resurgent British.

In what becomes a debacle, we mount a joint fighter sweep (Mandalay-YY) against Chittagong, with 6x Ki-43's (at extended-range). 2x Hurricanes, 2x Martlets, + 1x Sea Hurricane rise to challenge us, and the result is a major victory for the British. We end up losing a total of 4x Oscars (against the loss of the lone Sea Hurricane). Worse, our IJA ace Anabuki is lost in action. Most regrettable.

South Pacific: Air searches out of Tulagi locate a previously-unknown US MTBron (full, containing six boats) operating out of San Cristobal. This is surprising, as these boats have no air cover. We will concentrate on making life difficult for them, as we consider this pretty bold effrontery, basing PT boats so close to our bases at Guadalcanal & Tulagi. Several air strikes are sent against this unit:

1. 4x Rufes + 2x Zekes (Shortland & Tulagi) manage to find & sink one boat. 2. 3x Rufes (Tulagi) sink another. 3. 1x Rufe + 2x Zekes (Tulagi) fail to hit anything. 4. 4x Zekes (Tulagi) find but fail to score any hits 5. 4x Zekes (Tulagi) then hit the jackpot, teaching the Americans the meaning of "They were expendable," finding & sinking 3 of the surviving 4 boats. We're confident the Americans will not again try to base PT's so close to us, unprotected. But, we're grateful for the opportunity to teach them a lesson.

The Americans continue to build up their airfield on Reef Is (east of Ndeni), and we decide to pay them a visit from Tulagi. Launching 4x Zekes (extended-range) + 4x Bettys, against an unknown airbase complement, we are met, much to our chagrin, by 3x marine F4F's + 2x USAAF P-40's. With the Wildcats are the marine aces M. Carl and, in his first action in the south pacific, Joe Foss. Despite our gaining the "bounce," Foss's first engagement is a good one: we lose two Zekes, for no loss by the Yankees. Our Bettys fail to do any damage.

Aleutians: Like in the Solomons, the Americans have deployed an MTBron at Amchitka, within range of our base at Agattu. We're only able to launch one attack (2x Zekes + 1x D3A + 1x B5N) but can't do any damage.

Australia: We continue to pound Darwin, from Tanimbar I: 6x A6M's knock out one RAAF "Inop" Kittyhawk in one raid. We later repeat the raid, and with much regret have to report the loss of yet another IJN ace (Sugita), killed by flak over Darwin. We do manage to destroy another two P-40's, for the loss of 1x Zeke. We lose 1x Betty (AA) in a later raid, from Amboina.

The Allies continue airfield construction on Bathurst I. (north of Darwin). We raid it from Koepang (G4M's, G3M's, & even one H8K "Emily"), managing to once again halt construction.

It appears as if the USAAF has redeployed most of their B-25's, which were last reported at Espiritu Santo, to Cairns. They launch a raid against Port Moresby (which we've re-named "Fort Moresby," after the bristling fortifications we've constructed there over the last several months). We lose a single "Pete" at the seaplane base, but we manage to down one of the Mitchells (AA; we still have no fighters deployed there).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: On 25 Oct., a small IJN amphibious TF appears, approaching the Phoenix Is from the NW. We're able to remain undetected until we reach Enderbury I. (the planned target of our assault). Our intelligence efforts, though, have failed us in this opposition, as we find the airfield at Enderbury far from unoccupied, as we expected -- but instead there are 3x SBD's + 2x TBF's based there. We have a small carrier TF covering the operation (CVL "Ryujo;" Adm. Yamaguchi commanding).

As we approach the island, the Americans attack, launching the 3x Dauntlesses + 1x Avenger (level-bombing) at medium altitude, plus 1x TBF at "low" (torpedoes). We manage 2x Zekes for Naval Cover CAP from Ryujo, & send them against the Dauntlesses. They have no effect. The Americans come in in a single wave, and we are fortunate to abort 1x SBD, & both TBF's by AA. Our TF consists of:

2x CL's, 2x DD's, plus 2x APD's (carrying the 2/Sasebo SNLF Bn.).

The Dauntlesses make short work of our APD's, sinking one and rendering the other "D4" (dead-in-the-water). We lose the SNLF Bn, and are forced to retreat, towing the surviving APD away to the NW. Adm. Yamaguchi then launches a strike from Ryujo against the airfield (3x A6M's + 1x B5N), in order to try to cover our withdrawal, but is unable to do any damage.

The Americans launch one final strike, this time against Ryujo's TF, as we withdraw. Fortunately for us, Enderbury I. is covered by squalls, hampering the US launch -- only two of their SBD's manage to find us. This time, our CAP manages to down one of the SBD's, & aborts the other. The attacking TBF's (only one armed with torps) fortunately miss, & we escape.

Bay of Bengal: In an effort to deal with the British base at Calcutta, we do two things: First, there is a change of command at Rangoon -- 15th Army no longer will control air operations from there. Henceforth, South Seas Fleet will, and the airbase at Rangoon changes from Army to Navy control. All the army air assets, except for two Ki-61's, are rebased out, and we effect a massive tranfer in of Navy air assets (A6M's & G4M's).

Second, we send a carrier TF into the Bay of Bengal, with orders to knock out the British airbase at Calcutta (where the hated B-17's are). The British have impressive air search capability at Calcutta, and quickly spot our approaching TF's. They are reported as:

TF32: (a) "1x CV, 1x CVL, 5x CA, & 4x DD" then later as (b) "2x BB, 5x CA, & 6x DD."

TF 40: (a) "1x CVE, 2x BC, & 3x DD" then later as (b) "1x CVL, 1x CVE, 1x BC, & 2x DD."

On 11-4-42, we launch two large strikes against Calcutta, first from Rangoon (3x A6M's + 7x G4M's). Unfortunately, our luck on the Strike Sequence Table runs out and for both of these strikes, all of the Allied air assets have "flown the coop," and are already airborne, winging their way toward strikes of their own. Our Rangoon mission is a flop, & we are unable to do any damage.

Then, we launch a carrier strike against it, with 3x A6M's escorting a total of 6x D3A's + 8x B5N's. The British manage to call up fighters from Chittagong to oppose this raid (cover CAP) -- a total of 1x Hurricane, 2x Beaufighters, & 2x Martlets show up to do battle. Though our Zeroes get the "bounce," we don't do much with it, only downing 1x FAA Martlet. In exchange, the British down an "elite" Val. We lose one "Kate" over the target from AA, and regrettably again we fail to do any damage to the airfields there.

Thus, our surprise for Calcutta has failed to pan out, though all the Allied air assets there, except for the US B-17's, have strike-transferred out. Now, if we can only get a good "Strike Sequence Table" result next week, we shall deal with these B-17's.

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: In the 2-week battle for Ledo, the British defenders are down to two engineer units. Predictably, our battle-hardened units quickly force them to surrender, and we now control Ledo! Later, we send one Bn. from the 38th div. on a "recon" assignment, to determine Kohima's garrison strength. This Bn. quickly becomes isolated, but we determine the British garrison there is a fairly strong one: the 34th Indian Div (-), plus the 80th Indian Bde. Gen. Sano's 38th division is then withdrawn from the Ledo area, starting a march south towards Imphal, to bolster our line there.

Elsewhere, the front stabilizes in the Imphal area.

With the fall of Ledo, two CW divisions just across the Chinese border become cut-off, and initially with Gen. Slim leading them, they start a long trek out of China, towards the safety of India. They march well to the NE of Ledo, and are the 2nd (Br.) Inf. division, plus the 14th Indian Div -- both units badly under-strength.

STRATEGIC CYCLE, Notes

Gen. Slim is pulled out of NE India. He now commands the "Imphal front," with 3 good CW divisions (including the excellent 70th Br. div) opposite Imphal, guarding the approaches to Kohima.

At Ledo, we are able to establish an air supply link from Lashio (3x Ki57's there reamain operable), and are thus able to "link" two of the Imperial Guards' regiments.

At the Japanese South Seas Fleet HQ, Adm. Inouye (to the "retired" list) is replaced by V/Adm. Takasu.

During this month, the US subs prowling the merchant shipping lanes have their best cycle yet, sinking 10 Japanese MS Points.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 19 Nov. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/12/42

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: Our efforts to mount an effective air strike from Rangoon against the Allied B-17 base at Calcutta are frustrated, as Rangoon is socked-in for nearly a week (this same weather front will also curtail our efforts at carrier strikes against Calcutta by our carrier TF in the Bay of Bengal). One raid (1x A6M + 5x G4M's) does manage to get to the target (we find 1x Fulmar, 1x Hurricane, & 8x B-17's), and we do manage to destroy 1x B-17 on the ground. No damage is done to the A/F, though.

The Allied bases, though, are not hampered by bad weather and they continue to pound our airfields throughout Burma. The Americans have apparently augmented their B-17 forces at Calcutta, for we see a whopping 9 of them show up hiting our A/F at "YY." We launch 4x Ki-45's, plus 6x Ki-43's (in desperation). The Nicks manage to down one fort A/P, & we are fortunate to lose only one Nick in return. Naturally, our A/F is again suppressed. The British follow up this raid with one from Akyab (5x Bostons), but fortunately for us do no further damage.

From YY, we hit back, launching a fighter sweep against Chittagong. 4x Ki-43's (aces Sasaki & Kuroe), along with 4x Ki-45's, are opposed by 2x Beaufighters, 1x Hurricane & 1x FAA Martlet. In what will turn out to be our lone victory in this two-week period, we score big, downing both Beaufighters without loss!

We then receive a visit at YY from the US B-17's. They damage the A/F again, & destroy 1x "inoperable" Oscar A/P on the ground. We see another B-17 bite the dust, though, as this raid constitutes a 2nd multiple mission for the forts, & the Americans lose one via a bad "multiple mission" DR. What a shame, we say...

The British night strikes from Chittagong finally begin to pay off, as we lose 1x Ki-45 on the ground to one strike. Things continue to go from bad to worse for us. Later, we try to hit back, launching a fighter sweep from YY against Akyab (5x Ki43's + 2x Ki-45's). We lose yet another of the Nicks, to AA & fail to do any damage. Our travails continue.

The next week, the Americans turn their attention first to Ledo, where 6x B-17's from Calcutta put that A/F out of commission, rendering 2 of the 4 Oscars there "inop." We are beginning to lose the initiative in the air war over Burma. The British follow up this raid with one from Kohima (4x Hudsons + 1x FAA Swordfish).

The Americans add insult to injury, as they next hit Rangoon, which they've never before dared to attack. 5x B-17's + 2x B-24's hit the base (now navy-controlled). 4x Ki-45's + 3x "elite" Zekes are scrambled. We lose one of the Zekes, are unable to do more than abort one of the attackers, and see our airfield at Rangoon damaged for the first time ("D1") -- a most mortifying turn of events. Tokyo receives persistent & urgent requests to get the new Zekes (A6M3's) out to the fleet ASAP, as these US heavy bombers are making quite a nuisance of themselves.

Australia / N. Guinea: The US 5th AF begins a series of concentrated raids against P. Moresby (airfield). A large-scale B-17 raid from Cooktown puts it out of commission ("D1"). Note: we still have no air assets deployed there. Later, 8x B-25's raid the place from the northern Cape York airfields, further damaging the field.

Interestingly, the Allies begin to pay attention to our ground garrison at & around Moresby, launching small-scale Hudson bombing missions at night.

A large-scale air transfer mission occurs between Cairns & Darwin -- apparently the Americans/Australians have decided once again to fight in the air there. Not knowing the exact new fighter garrison there, we launch a fighter sweep from Tanimbar (8x Zekes -- led by our ace Sasai). We are not a little shocked to find 10x US P-40's, plus 5x P-38's awaiting us. Significantly out-numbered & out-gunned ("15/70" to "8/41"). We are indeed fortunate to break even in the battle: we down 2x of the Lightnings, & lose 2x A6M's (fortunately, Sasai makes it back).

We launch regular small-scale night raids from Sorong against Darwin (usually, 2x Bettys). As far as we can tell, no real damage is done.

South Pacific: We have an inspiration, & decide to try a long-range Betty staging strike from Tulagi-to-Noumea. We first launch an "armed recon" mission, with only 2x Bettys, from Tulagi against Noumea & discofer that Noumea is bereft of fighters, containing only a rather large # of seaplanes (5x PBY's, 2x PBM's, & 2x PB2Y's). We also discover that Noumea's A/F is a staggering level 12! The next day, we launch a full-scale raid, staging several Bettys into Tulagi & sending them on to Noumea, at low altitude. Our plan doesn't go well, though, as AA downs one Betty (increased to 2 due to the extended-range nature of the staging strike) & aborts another. Though we manage to "D1" the A/F, we're unable to do any damage to the US seaplanes there. Alas!

We discover that the long-neglected fighter strip on Howland/Baker I. is finally made operational by the US.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Bay of Bengal: Our carrier TF, sent to neutralize the Calcutta heavy bomber bases, encounters persistent bad weather & we're unable to mount any significant raids. Surprisingly, the Allies mount no strikes against us, though. After several frustrating days, we finally sail away, to the SE into the Andaman Sea, abandoning the attempt.

Madagascar: The British conclude their "Operation Ironclad" there. We mount 2x midget sub attacks against RN shipping involved in the operation, but unfortunately both missions fail to score any hits.

South Pacific: Our CA Kinugasa, approaching Truk, is attacked by US subs. She is hit but fortunately the American torpedo is a dud, & she slips into Truk none the worse for wear.

Indian Ocean: We occupy Cocos Island.

General Note: The Americans have moved their MTB rons out of harms' way, leaving the Aleutians in the north & San Cristobal in the So. Pacific. US MTBron 4 is now operating out of Ndeni. No more free targets...

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Slim's old command (the 2nd Br. Inf. Div, plus the 14th Indian, both approx. half-strength), successfully complete their march back to India, moving NW of Ledo. They once again are linked with the British Burma Army & Far East HQ's.

In Burma, the front line appears to have stabilized in the Imphal area, as some front-line IJA units begin to dig in.

Australia: We discover that the US 32nd Inf. Div. is in Perth/Freemantle.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 3 Dec. 1942. Operations through end of cycle 12/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / N. Guinea: The 5th AF's Darwin base continues to be a hub of activity. 8x Mitchells arrive from there over Tanimbar I. We have 6x A6M's on CAP (with Sasai), & down one of the attackers, while losing one of our Zekes. The A/F at Tanimbar is suppressed. The next week, we see B-17's out of Darwin change targets, hitting Koepang (where we have 1x H8K & 1x H6K based). We're delighted to see one of the forts going down in flames to AA over Timor. No damage is done to our base.

We continue our weekly night strikes (2x "elite" G4M's) from Sorong against Darwin. Though we don't know the exact extent of any damage done, at least while it is being done, some of Darwin's airstrikes following these raids contain 1 or 2 fewer bombers than expected. Could be that we are scoring hits here & there...

CBI: The British continue their night raids against YY (long-since abandoned as a Japanese airbase -- at least temporarily). They follow up this raid with one from Akyab (daylight) which contains a large # of British FAA assets (Albacores & 1x Swordfish).

The air battles over Rangoon (our only remaining viable & occupied airbase in Burma), with a US heavy bomber (5x B-17's + 2x B-24's) strike from Chittagong. From Moulmein, Prome & Tavoy we have a considerable # of Oscars plotted on Cover CAP. These join 2x "elite" A6M's + 4x Ki-45's based at Rangoon in opposing the raid, at the normal high altitude. With 16 A/P's attacking, we score big, downing 2x of the "forts," and aborting two others to boot. We lose one Oscar + one of the two "elite" Zekes. The remaining US bombers press on & do well, destroying one of our new J1N's on the ground at Rangoon -- and suppressing the airfield as well.

At Calcutta, the Americans still have 6x B-17's. They raid Mandalay, keeping that airbase out of commission.

The Allies in CBI then change tactics, going after our resource hexes at YY & also at Rangoon. From Akyab, they manage to knock out the oilfields at YY. From Chittagong, their raid is opposed: we down another B-17, for the loss of the remaining "elite" A6M at Rangoon. The resource hex at Rangoon goes to "D1."

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Two IJN carrier TF's appear in the south pacific: one off the Fijis & one off Samoa. One is located by air search out of Viti Levu, & is reported as containing two carriers. Later, air strikes are launched by both of these TF's. Against Apia, 4x A6M's, + 2x D3A's & 2x B5N's find both the airbase & anchorage deserted. Against Viti Levu, 4x A6M's are launched against the airfield there. We find 1x PBM + 2x Bostons grounded there, & proceed to destroy one of the Bostons. We also receive a report that, in port there are 3 full USN APB's, plus 2x APD's & 1x AO. The Americans quickly rebase some air assets into Viti Levu, from their Reef Is. airbase, and from Espiritu Santo.

Central Pacific: Air search out of Midway locates a US TF approaching French Frigate Shoals. It's reported as 2x MS (full) + 6x DD's. We manage a strike from Midway against it (2x H8K "Mavises;" one of them with torpedoes) but our aircrews are inexperienced & we score no hits. Apparently, the Americans have placed a garrison there, perhaps intending to try to build an airbase or seaplane base there.

GROUND OPERATIONS

No major developments to report on the ground. A couple of new airfields appear: one of ours at Tarawa, and an Allied strip on Bathurst I., north of Darwin.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 17 Dec. 1942. Operations through end of G/T 2/13/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / N. Guinea: Regular night strikes, which are now dubbed "washing-machine-charlie" raids by the Allies, continue from Sorong against Darwin (2x "elite" G4M's). On one of these strikes, our returning pilots reported "many explosions" down below -- perhaps our persistence has paid off with the loss of an air point or two at Darwin!

We see the first infusion of Allied fighters into their new strip on Bathurst Island, from Darwin (we assume these to be P-38's). This gives the Americans a fighter strip within normal range of our base at Tanimbar.

Later, we visit the place, sending 4x Zekes from Tanimbar. This time we get the short end of the stick, as we're opposed by 4x P-40's + 1x RAAF Beaufighter. They down one of our Zeroes for no loss.

In an inspired moment, we get creative & mount a staging fighter sweep (Lae-P. Moresby-Cape York A/F). This raid surprises the 5th AF, whose morale appears to be slipping a bit. 10x Zekes arrive, and are opposed by 5x USAAF P-40's. This battle goes completely our way, and we down 2 of the Warhawks. We thus give MacArthur another black eye!

As further evidence of the declining morale of the US 5th AF, B-17's from Cairns hit P. Moresby (two of them) at night. It seems as if the Americans are too timid to mount raids during daylight. Could that be true? No damage is done by this strike, but it does give us a bright idea (stay tuned)...

The US 5th AF mounts a raid from Darwin against Tanimbar I., with 5x B-17's at high altitude, escorted by 4x P-38's. Accompanying them are 5x Mitchells, unescorted. At Tanimbar I., we have a veritable buzz-saw of Zekes, which are led by the returned-to-action Saburo Sakai (he's been on the shelf for the past 4-5 months). We launch no fewer than 10 Zekes, led by Sakai, against the B-25's. Disappointing results: we're only able to down one, despite the lack of American escorts. The US strike presses on, and manages to suppress the airbase.

South Pacific: From Tulagi, we launch an extended-range fighter sweep (6x A6M's) against the US Reef Is. airbase. The lone occupant is discovered to be 1x P-40, which remains grounded. Our strike fails to do any damage.

CBI: British & American raids damage further our oil resource hex at YY, moving it from "suppressed" to "D1." From Chittagong, our airbase at Ledo is hit (US B-17's), & we lose a lone Ki-43 ("inop") there. Thus, Ledo is now abandoned.

Bay of Bengal: We move bombers into our airfield at Port Blair, and shortly after send a slew of them (G4M's, G3M's) against Colombo! This must be a most rude awakening for the sleeping British on Ceylon. We find no Allied fighters there, but do find 1x Walrus & 3x US Kingfisher A/P's grounded there. Unfortunately, the great port there is empty, except for one lone ship: it is the British CVL Hermes, currently undergoing repairs there. She's still in very bad shape, still at "D4." We surmise that she was the unlucky victim of "naval attrition," and this is confirmed -- apparently in cycle 4/42 her luck ran out. Though we have 1x Betty turned back by flak, the rest pound the poor, luckless Hermes into oblivion. What a shame, all that previous repair work on her that now has gone for naught. The Nells, unopposed, hit Colombo's airfields, damaging it ("D1"). We lose no bombers.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: One of our two carrier TF's running amok in the Fiji/Samoa areas is spotted by air search out of Viti Levu. It is reported back as "4x CV, 2x CVL, + 9x DD." Note: air recon reports from our planes over Viti Levu indicates a very large Allied ground garrison there (at least one, and as many as 3 divisions!). We're hoping to be able to catch several USN transports in port there. The Americans launch a strike from Viti Levu against us:

A full 7 B-26's are sent in. Fortunately for us, they are just outside torpedo range, and all are at medium altitude, armed only with bombs. CAP over the IJN TF amounts to one "elite" + 8x regular A6M's. We only manage to abort one of the Marauders on the way in -- six of them go in to attack!

The Americans form a single attacking wave. They discover the true composition of our TF to be 2x CV's, 2x CVL's (Hiyo & Junyo), 3x CA's, + 6x DD's. Our AA gunners are on the ball, downing one of the attackers & aborting 3 others. Thus, two of the USAAF B-26's go in, targeting the CV Soryu. We breathe a sigh of relief as, even though the Marauders are not too effective as level-bombers against ships, all are splashes & no damage is incurred!

Following this battle, a 2nd IJN carrier TF arrives off Fiji, from Samoa. This one also is quickly located, & is reported as "2x CV, 2x BC, 2x CA + 5x DD." Again, a strike is launched from Viti Levu. This time, we are within the B-26's torpedo range (intending to try to catch some of the American ships in port, we need to close the range). This TF is commanded by Adm. Nagumo, and he does not do well in handling this TF -- we only manage to launch 4 Zekes (fortunately, all are "elite") against the Americans. The US strike contains 6x B-26's: 4 @ "low" altitude, armed with torps, and 2 at "medium" altitude, with bombs. Our CAP is completely ineffective, failing even to turn one of the low-level attackers back. We will have to rely completely on our AA to avert a possible disaster!

Once again, the Americans come on in a single wave, and things start well for us: we down one of the level bombers & abort the other. Two down, 4 to go. Now, in come in the torpedo-laden Marauders. They face a wall of lead, as our TF actually has 4x CV's, 1x BB (the Musashi), 3x CA's + 6x "Akitsuki-cl" DD's. We are fortunate, in that the USAAF pilots apparently want no part of this array of firepower: Our flak downs one of them, and aborts the remaining 3! We thus turn the Americans back in shame (with no small measure of luck).

This sortie by Adm. Nagumo will prove more than a little disappointing, as the American attacks, though not successful in scoring hits, has allowed Nagumo's main targets (3x USN APB's in Viti Levu's harbor) to get away, unscathed. We have to be content with a small strike against the airfields there. 5x A6M's, escorting 5x B5N's, are met by 4x F4F's + 3x RAAF Beaufighters (these units were hastily flown in from Espiritu Santo & Reef Is. as our carriers were spotted approaching). The US Wildcats are led by two marine aces, both Foss & Marion Carl. We have met them before and come out with our hair mussed, and it happens again. Though we manage to down one of the F4F's, we lose one A6M, and our airstrike agains the airbase is a complete fiasco -- no damage is done & we lose one "Kate." With this, Adm. Nagumo decides to get out while the going is good. He will turn away to the NW. Thus, this carrier raid will return to Truk with few scalps. Most unfortunate.

As if to add insult to injury, on approach to Truk on return, one of our carrier TF's is spotted by prowling US subs. We're able to screen the flattops, but the Americans manage some shots against CA Kumano. Our luck holds, though, as but for one heart-breaking "dud," Kumano would've been damaged. Good thing for us the Americans still haven't figured out their torpedo problems.

Central Pacific: A typhoon approaches the marianas, headed straight for Saipan...

GROUND OPERATIONS

Nothing of note to report. All is quiet on the "Burma front."

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, wishing you a very merry christmas, and happy new year. Bet you wish you were back home with your girl. Don't worry, it looks like the war will be over for you soon."

Tokyo, 1 Jan. 1943. Operations through end of cycle 13/42

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / N. Guinea: From Cairns, the 5th AF hits P. Moresby again. Apparently alarmed by the discovery of Japanese air units now there (moved in last week), they send 5x B-17's at high + 4x B-25's at medium altitude. Little do the Americans suspect that we've laid a trap for them -- the Zekes rebased in last week were just bait, and we have a large contingent of friends plotted on Cover CAP from Lae, lying in (no pun intended) wait for them. The lone Zeke from Moresby, plus 9 others from Lae, tear into the hapless Americans, downing one of the Mitchells for no loss. Unfortunately, though, the remaining bombers damage Moresby's airfield, so perhaps the raid wasn't a total failure. We must content ourselves with one measly Mitchell.

The Americans later visit Moresby with a night raid from Cairns (4x B-17's), but fail to do any further damage.

CBI: Now virtually without air opposition over central Burma, the Allied air strikes hit many different targets. Switching tactics, they target our Offensive Support Base at Mandalay (B-17's, from Chittagong), putting it out of commission (@"D1"), at least temporarily. Fortunately for us, though, we have engineers there who'll quickly be put to work repairing the damage done (note: the same is true for our oilfields at "YY"). Predictably, YY is hit again, by a British night strike. It's further damaged (now standing at "D2"). Not to worry -- there is plenty of oil elsewhere for us to tap.

The Americans then switch targets again, targeting the main rail line south of Mandalay. They do small damage, which is quickly repaired & fortunately has no long-range effects.

Bay of Bengal: We send a risky large-scale night strike, from Port Blair, against Calcutta (G4M's + G3M's). The raid is a risk because of the size, and these crews are not night-trained. We fail to do any sort of damage, but fortunately lose no crews. We still have not seen any Allied night fighters, anywhere in the pacific.

Central Pacific: Sending H8K's from Midway, we get an air reconnaissance report of Oahu (how this must steam Adm. Nimitz). This is a rarity. The ship report is a bit sketchy, but does indicate at least one carrier & 2x CL's at Pearl. A large heavy bomber force, transport A/P's & what's reported as 5x FTR A/P's round out the report.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: For the first time in the war, the Americans are able to transport troops well within Japanese bomber/fighter range, (apparently) moving some engineers (& others?) from their Reef Is. airbase a short hop west into Ndeni. It thus appears as if this will be the next US construction project. Though we're able to locate the move via seaplane search out of Tulagi, it appears as if the Americans have learned how to provide air cover for their transports (from nearby Reef Is., and quite possibly out of Espiritu Santo as well). We decide not to tangle with them, and thus for the first time are forced to allow a naval move to pass unmolested, not quite under our noses but close enough to ring alarm bells.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Again, nothing of major import to note)

CYCLE Note: IJN V. Adm. Takasu (Cdr, So. Seas Fleet HQ, @ Singapore) is moved to the "retired" list. He's replaced by V. Adm. Kobayashi.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the pacific!"

Tokyo, 20 Jan. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/1/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: (These 3 weeks will see somewhat intensified air activity in the Burma area, as we reoccupy the A/F at Yenangyuang, and once again try to make a fight in the air for central Burma)

The new year is kicked off with a joint Allied strike (Chittagong-Akyab) against Rangoon. We've reinforced Rangoon's air complement considerably, with Ki-45's & the newer Ki-43 II's. This time, the US B-17's (& 1x B-24) drop down to medium altitude, joining RAF Beauforts & Blenheims in an attempt to knock out our base at Rangoon. Of course, we are one step ahead of them and are waiting for them. Along with Rangoon's air units, we throw in 4 more Oscars from Moulmein (on Cover CAP). The result is our largest interception of the war: we have 9x Nicks + 15 Oscars, going against 7x B-17's, 1x B-24, 2x Beauforts & a lone Blenheim. The B-17's are a little more vulnerable down lower, and we score big, downing two of them! The surviving Allied attackers then fail to do any damage to the airbase. We once again repeat our warning to them: "stay away from Rangoon" (or, "come back when you've got Mustangs").

Allied air strikes keep YY's resource hex in a more or less permanent state of heavy damage. We then begin to move fighters into YY. Shortly after, the British send 4x FAA Martlets from Chittagong against YY. Once again, we manage to out-number them, as we've got 8x Oscars there. Upon returning to Chittagong, the British discover that their number has been reduced by 1 A/P. Since YY remains undamaged for a couple of weeks, we're able to continue work expanding the A/F, & it's now reached Level-4. We also begin work enlarging the A/F at Mandalay.

Later, a RAF strike from Chittagong hits YY: 3x Martlets + 2x Beaufighters, escorting 2x Vengeances, 4x Beauforts, 2x Blenheims, & 2x USAAF A-24's show up. We launch YY's 4x Ki-43's, & add 2x Nicks + 3x more Oscars from Rangoon, plus an additional 3x Oscars from Prome. Though we have the British once again out-numbered, they get the "bounce" & make good use of it. The final tally once the shooting stops is 1x Ki-45 + 2x Ki-43's lost for us; the RAF loses both Vengeances, a Beaufort & a Blenheim. The remaining bombers are all aborted.

The Allies keep the pressure on, though, and soon we're made to pay. B-17's from Chittagong (back at "high" altitude, we notice) seriously damage the A/F at YY, and also destroy 2x Oscars on the ground. We're unable to oppose this raid, as our new Oscars are no better at higher altitudes than the old ones (new Oscars, same old problems...).

From Port Blair, we launch a night strike against Calcutta (6x Bettys + 3x Nells). We're a little shocked to find British night fighters present, the first encounter of the war. 3x Bostons attack, & down one Betty, scoring the first night-fighter kills of the war. We have 3 more Bettys aborted, but press on and are (apparently) rewarded by a lucky hit on 1x A/P on the ground (unconfirmed, though).

Australia / N. Guinea: Our infusion of Zekes into Port Moresby prompts MacArthur to keep pounding it. Several B-17's hit us there, at night. They suppress the airfield, rendering 2x A6M3's there "inoperable," & pay us return visits to keep the A/F that way.

South Pacific: We've redeployed our "washing-machine charlie" unit from N. Guinea to Tulagi. They (2x Bettys) commence night runs against the US Reef Is. airbase, but do no damage. The Americans continue work on an airfield on Ndeni (1 hex west of Reef Is.). We the pay Ndeni a couple of visits, adding a couple of Bettys to the 2x "elite" ones -- in an effort to hinder the ongoing construction there.

We launch a staging (Bettys) strike from Rabaul-Tulagi, against Ndeni. 8x Bettys, escorted by 6x A6M3's (their debut, though they're at extended-range). We're surprised that no CAP shows up from nearby Reef Is., & the Americans apparently choose not to fight the new "Hamps." We make them pay, gaining a "suppressed" result and perhaps delaying construction off briefly.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Virtually no activity to report. All is strangely quiet.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Ditto, except that the IJA 15th Army HQ is able to report a projected completion date of the Bangkok-Rangoon rail line of 29 April 1943 -- ahead of schedule!)

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the pacific! Hope you've been good. This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, here with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 28 Jan. 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 1/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: Combined RAF/10th AF raids keep most of our central Burma airfields in a continual state of disrepair, even though they're nearly all deserted. Our attempt at reoccupying the "YY" airfields has proven a bust. A very strong fighter sweep from Akyab is sent against it (5x RAF Kittyhawks, 2x Beaufighters, 2x Martlets, 2x Spitfires, and 4x USAAF P-40's), & the marauding Allied fighters shoot up the place pretty good, destroying one of 4 Ki-43's on the ground (there is also another Oscar in "inop" status there). But, we manage to take down one of the Kittyhawks with an AA hit. The raid, though, is more than enough to convince us that YY is a little hot for us. We later abandon the base (again), leaving only the 1x "inop" Oscar A/P.

Fortunately, the British airbase at Akyab is beyond (normal) range of Rangoon, at least for all of the fighters they have based there, except the Beaufighters.

Australia / N. Guinea: We try another staging mission, moving 8 Bettys in through P. Moresby, joining our A6M's there for another strike against the northernmost Allied Cape York airfields. Unfortunately, bad weather over the Moresby area cuts down the size of our strike, and only 5x Zekes + 5x Bettys arrive over their target. 4x US P-40's meet us, & the Americans get the "bounce." We trade 1x Betty for 1x Warhawk, and our raid is unable to do any damage.

Later, 8x B-17's hit Moresby at night, from Cairns. They do well, damaging it ("D1"). The RAAF quickly follows up this raid, now that our airfield has been hit, sending 2x Hudsons + 2x Vengeances from their Cape York A/F's, unescorted, against Moresby. We have 1x "inop" A6M, and two others grounded due to the A/F damage there, which are unable to fly. We still have 5x others though, and they rise to oppose this daring raid. But, we only manage to down one of the Vengeances, & the remaining RAAF attackers hit the A/F, destroying one of the grounded Zekes. A pretty bold raid, we would say. And, one which we'd like the RAAF to keep up...

(No Naval or Ground Operations of note)

End Report

"Hello Joe, and greetings to all my friends, you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy again, Orphan Ann."

Tokyo, 18 Feb. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/2/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / N. Guinea: Once again, our stay at Port Moresby is a short one, as we decide to once again pull our planes back to Lae. The 5th AF continues small-scale night missions against the A/F at Moresby anyway.

From Darwin, small B-17 raids north against Tanimbar I. are mounted. They initially do no real damage (later they do manage to suppress our airfield, only temporarily), and we wonder why it is that the Americans feel they have to bomb like the British -- only at night? Not to worry, though. We're busy converting our Ki-45's & J1N's to night fighters. Perhaps soon we'll be able to provide some company for you Yankee flyers in the lonely dark skies.

Hawaii: We see that Adm. Nimitz is again irate. We heard that one day early in Feb. he was once again working diligently at his desk, when he looked up out over Pearl Harbor to see one of our Emilys (flying from Midway) happily taking pictures over Pearl, unmolested. We heard that some heads rolled over that one. Anyway, we received quite a laugh when the pictures clearly showed that the Americans have once again raised the carrier "Enterprise." She is in dry-dock at Pearl, apparently once again undergoing repairs. How many times do we have to sink her? Why, we wonder, don't the Americans tow her back to Mare Island. We shall simply have to pay a 3rd visit to Pearl, with Adm. Nagumo...

Central Pacific: The Americans have apparently constructed an airstrip of some sort at French Frigate Shoals, and are apparently operating PBY's out of there.

South Pacific: We continue regular "washing machine-Charlie" night raids, with our 2 remaining "elite" Betty A/P's, from Tulagi against various targets -- against the under-construction American airstrip at Ndeni (no effect), Noumea (no effect), Reef Is. (also no effect).

CBI: Over central Burma, the Allied air forces continue to have things completely their own way, putting several of our still-abandoned airfields out of commission (Mandalay, YY).

The US 10th AF heavies (B-17's + B-24's) hit the rail lines south of Mandalay several times, knocking it out more than once & temporarily cutting off our LOC to the north. Nothing serious comes of this minor inconvenience, though, as there still is no ground activity of note. The Imp. Guards div (-) at Ledo receives several visits from British airfields in N. Assam, but they prove they can take anything the British care to dish out -- the British attacks have virtually no effect.

Rangoon is hit next by these bombers, as the Americans hit us at night with a large-scale raid (9x B-17's + 2x B-24's). As yet, we still have not developed any night-fighters but are working feverishly on the problem.

Finally, the British discover that we are using Lashio as an airbridge to fly in supplies to Ledo, and they take steps to put a halt to that operation. Sending 4x Beaufighters from Chittagong, we lose one Ki-57 cargo A/P shot up on the ground, then another from another strike from Chittagong (more Beaufighters, + some US A-24's & British Blenheims). Another one is destroyed on the ground, and shortly thereafter we bug out of Lashio, sending the remaining transports south to the Moulmein area. The Imperial Guards div. at Ledo will have to forage.

Later, the British change targets, concentrating on the IJA 18th Inf. Div., holding the left flank of the front line in the Imphal area. They hit this unit several times and hard, and we prepare for a possible British offensive in the area.

From Port Blair, regular IJN night strikes are launched against Akyab -- usually with 2x G4M's + 2x G3M's. These are not, unfortunately, "elite" aircrews (they're in the South Pacific, at Tulagi).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Still nothing noteworthy to report, though our subs patrolling off the Hawaiian Is. & off N. Caledonia regularly spot heavily-escorted transport TF's sailing into & out of Pearl & Noumea. The air & DD screens are always too strong for us to test.

Note: The Americans have expanded the anchorage at Espiritu Santo greatly, and have turned that mosquito-ridden island into quite an impressive base.

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: We finally complete our Supply Base at Rangoon, greatly relieving the terrible supply situation we've faced there up until now. Also, Rangoon's airfield reaches Level-6.

A new CW division arrives at the front: the 17th Indian Div, moved into the front line opposite Imphal.

On this front, the CW units shape up as follows:

2nd (Br.) Inf. Div -- reserve, from the Kohima area // 7th Australian Div // 7th Ind. Div // 70th (Br.) Inf. Div // 23rd Ind. Div -- reserve, at Kohima / N. Assam

The IJA units are:

18th Inf. Div // 2nd Inf. Div -- Imphal // 38th Inf. Div (Gen. Sano) // Reserve: 143rd Rgt (55th Div) + Gen. Sakurai's veteran 33rd Inf. Div. // Ledo: Imperial Guards Div (-)

Ominously, Gen. Slim then later arrives on the front, with the excellent 70th (Br.) division. Though the 7th Australian division is pulled out of the front (moving North into N. Assam, possibly against Ledo?), it appears, with the arrival of Gen. Slim, that the British intend to mount an assault soon against our left flank, west of Imphal -- against our 18th Inf. Div, which has received quite a pasting from Allied bombers in the past week or so. For the first time, we begin to hear grumblings from our ground troops, about "where's _our_ air force?"

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 4 Mar. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 1/3/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: "Washing-machine-Charlie" (out of Tulagi/Florida I.) visits Noumea (unknown results but pilots report several fires started), & Reef Is twice (pilots bring back a similar report).

The Americans have completed their airstrip on Ndeni. They now have, for the first time, a fighter strip within normal (P-38) range of our stronghold at Tulagi/Florida Island. We shall see if they dare to send planes against us there. We send "WMC" against Ndeni at night but are unable to even find the island.

Central Pacific: For the first time, the Americans launch a raid staging out of their new strip at French Frigate Shoals, against us at Midway. 2x B-24's hit us at night, but fortunately no damage is incurred. We also note that work has resumed on the airstrip on Laysan atoll, much closer to Midway. We shall have to deal once again with these stubborn Americans.

CBI: We rebase one Ki-43 into YY, as flak bait, and the British bite -- several Kittyhawks, US P-40's, Beaufighters, Spitfires & Marlets show up, and our AA gunners down one of the American Warhawks. Note: YY, and most of the central Burma airfields, now are fully-supplied, thanks to the completion of our supply base at Rangoon. Previously, our AA (as well as airbasing capacities at these airbases) had been severely hampered by the poor supply conditions there.

Later, the Allies come back, this time with fighters and bombers. RAF Kittyhawks & a couple of US P-40's easily shoot up the lone Oscar on the ground. On the bombing run, one Beaufighter is downed (flak), and YY's airfield (now once again empty) is again suppressed.

We try the same trick at Ledo, but this time it backfires, as we have a lone Ki-48 sitting on the ground. The base is plastered by B-17's & B-24's flying out of Chittagong.

At Mandalay, though, the trick works, as the British send 3x Hudsons, 2x "Wimpy's," & several "Cats" from Calcutta. Again, a lone Ki-48 is the bait, and we down one RAAF Catalina. The airfield is suppressed, but the Lily gets away.

Raid out of Chittagong knock out the rail line south of Mandalay ("D2," & solidly out of commission for the time being). We send an engineer unit north, from Rangoon.

Timor Sea area: The Japanese Zero air garrison at Tanimbar is pulled out, rebasing to safer fields to the north & northwest. Allied air searches out of Darwin (Batchelor Field) discover this. They also learn of the strength of the IJA ground garrison on Tanimbar, which is reported to be 8+ steps (level 7 fortification).

From Darwin, the Allies send 6x B-17's on a night strike against Koepang (airfield). They find no targets there, and no damage is done to the airstrip there. Later, the forts visit Dili, on Timor, and severely damage the port there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Espiritu Santo: RAAF Catalinas operating out of Espiritu sink an IJN sub North of the island.

We note that V.Adm. Ghormley is still in command of the US South Pacific HQ, at Noumea.

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: In Burma, the IJA 15th Army HQ is replaced by the new Burma Area Army HQ, commanded by Lt.Gen. Kawabe. The BIA Bde group, south of Lashio & never entirely reliable, is disbanded.

Gen. Slim's anticipated attack west of Imphal never materializes, and the 7th Australian Div. moves no closer to Ledo. Things are strangely quiet (on the ground, at least) on the Burma front...

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 18 Mar. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/3/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: More B-24 raids are launched against our base at Midway, staging out of the new US strip at French Frigate Shoals. No damage is reported from either of two separate attacks.

When the Americans resume construction of their airstrip on Laysan atoll, we begin to again pay it attention with Betty & Emily bombing raids (unopposed, of course) from Midway. After a couple of raids, we manage to put a halt to construction for the time being. Then, mounting a 3rd strike, we're surprised to find a lone F4F opposing us (sent at max. range Cover CAP from French Frigate Shoals). Neither side suffers any loss.

CBI: Intense air activity in these two weeks is again the rule. The usual Allied night strike is mounted from Chittagong against Rangoon, with 7x B-17's + 1x RAF Liberator. We surprise them with night fighters (4x Ki-45's) sent up against them. Unfortunately, we're unable to down any of the attackers.

In a raid from Calcutta against Mandalay, our flak downs 1x RAF Hudson.

With Rangoon again under IJA control, someone gets the bright idea to commence operation "yoku-Go," a resumption of daylight bombing raids from Rangoon against Akyab (the nearest British airbase). In this raid, which becomes our Schweinfurt of the Pacific War, we send no fewer than 14x Oscars (+ 1x Nick), on loose escort with 8x Ki-21 (Sallys). The Oscars and Sallys are at extended range. Knowing we'll meet stiff opposition, we aren't disappointed. The British send up 4x RAF Kittyhawks, 3x US P-40's, 2x Spitfires, 2x Beaufighters, a Hurricane and for good measure 2x FAA Martlets from Akyab. Adding insult to (what will soon be) injury, they add another Kittyhawk from nearly Chittagong. In a veritable furball, our bombers are cut to pieces, losing 5 A/P's (which, due to the extended-range nature of the mission, translates to all 8 of them!). Our fighters manage to extract some measure of revenge, though, downing 2x Beaufighters, 2x Martlets, and a Hurricane. We must quickly arrange for some better bombers, or better strategy...

We send 4x G4M's + 2x G3M's on a night strike from Port Blair against Akyab. We're met by 1x Beaufighter night-fighter, which turns back one Betty. Our raid has little effect.

Continuing operation "yoku-Go," we send 5x newly-arrived Ki-49 (Helens), much better bombers, at high altitude, from Rangoon, against Calcuttta (extended-range). Only 1x FAA Sea Hurricane and 1x Spit show up to oppose the raid (aborting one bomber). British flak aborts a second, but we still manage to destroy one RAF Catalina on the ground there.

We later repeat the raid, this time getting bolder & dropping to medium altitude. Four British fighter A/P's oppose us, but they only manage to abort some planes. No damage is done to Calcutta's airfield.

We then change tactics, sending 6x newly-arrived Ki-48's from Rangoon on a staging mission through Mandalay, against Calcutta. This one doesn't work too well, as the Lilys are opposed by 2x P-40's + 1x Spit, plus a Kittyhawk flying from Chittagong. We lose 2x Ki-48's, and the mission is a failure. Following this, we stage 9x Ki-43's from Rangoon, again through Mandalay, in a fighter sweep against Chittagong. This time, we manage to out-number the Allied fighters 2-to-1, and we down 2x Spitfires, for no loss!

The British then again begin to pound the central Burma rail lines, with B-17's knocking out the line both north & south of Mandalay (the southern line heavily damaged).

South Pacific: We mount another staging strike (Rabaul - Tulagi - Ndeni), with 9x G4M's, escorted by 7x new A6M3's (unfortunately at extended range from Tulagi-to-Ndeni). Ndeni is a growing US airbase, and we hope to slow its development. We're surprised to find 6x F4U's, in their combat debut, opposing us (5x from Ndeni + 1 from nearby Reef Is.), along with 3x P-39's also on Cover CAP from Reef Is. Fortunately, we get "the bounce" (no doubt saving many Betty crews), and of the 7s Zekes 2 are "elite." We give the Corsairs (no US marine aces are present; Joe Foss must be on leave in Noumea or Australia) a bit of a bloody nose welcome to the Pacific air war, downing two of them. With our Betty crews praying for a miracle, their prayers are answered and the Americans choose to tangle with our escorts rather than going after the bombers. We lose 2x Zeke A/P's in the exchange (including one "elite"), so the score is evened. The Bettys go in & wreak havoc, though, putting the airfield at Ndeni to "D1" damage level.

"Washing-machine Charlie" during these two weeks pays visits (from Florida I.) to Reef Is. twice -- once augmented by an additional 3x Bettys. We do no damage to the airfield but might have hit some of the US planes there. Later, we do manage to hit Ndeni successfully, suppressing the airstrip there.

N. Australia: B-17's from Batchelor Field (Darwin) hit the anchorage at Ceram, then hit the resource hex at Manokwari. In the latter raid, bad weather turns most of the attackers back. But, the Americans return later, sending the B-17's in low, this time managing to suppress it.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Our picket line of subs locates a US transport TF sailing north from Espiritu Santo (reported as total of 2x CL's, 6x DD's, escorting 1x MSU -- full). Our subs are unable to penetrate the combined DD/ASW (from Espiritu) screen, but we now have night-trained Betty air crews on Florida I. We launch both of these ("elite") A/P's, plus an additional 3x non-elite night-trained Bettys from Shortland, in our first night strike against Allied shipping. Only one of the "elite" Bettys with torpedoes manages to show up. Of the 3 from Shortland (one armed with torps), all of these A/P's find the US TF. Our attack goes in as the US ships approach Ndeni.

We form 3 attacking waves, and unfortunately are unable to locate the US transports. Instead, we find 3x US CLAA's (Atlanta, San Juan, & Juneau). Regrettably, our first night shipping strike is a failure, as no hits are scored. The US TF continues to Ndeni, apparently bringing with it more engineers, to speed construction & to deal with the delays caused by our frequent "WMC" raids from Tulagi. This is bad news, as now the Ndeni airstrip will grow fast.

Central Pacific: Out of Midway, we locate a US TF 650 nm north of French Frigate Shoals, and send a strike against it (2x G4M's with bombs + 1x H8K with torpedoes). The US TF consists of 1x APD + 3x DD's. One of the Bettys, and the Emily, are turned back by AA. But, the remaining Betty scores, damaging the US APD (to at least "D2" plus a possible critical hit). Score one for the Midway IJN air crews!

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: Still, all quiet on the Burma front. Our 33rd Inf. Div (Gen. Sakurai) near Imphal, is finally brought back to full-strength, with the addition of a newly-arriving regiment.

Then, quite ominously, we are most disheartened to learn of the arrival of another CW division. It is the highly-regarded 9th Australian division, arriving from Bombay by rail, detraining near Dimapur. Now, Gen. Slim has two outstanding Australian divisions, the 7th & 9th. Our troops near Imphal continue to dig in frantically. We hope the monsoon season arrives early this year!

End Report

 

18 Mar. 1943 Report (cont.)

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Our picket line of subs locates a US transport TF sailing north from Espiritu Santo (reported as total of 2x CL's, 6x DD's, escorting 1x MSU -- full). Our subs are unable to penetrate the combined DD/ASW (from Espiritu) screen, but we now have night-trained Betty air crews on Florida I. We launch both of these ("elite") A/P's, plus an additional 3x non-elite night-trained Bettys from Shortland, in our first night strike against Allied shipping. Only one of the "elite" Bettys with torpedoes manages to show up. Of the 3 from Shortland (one armed with torps), all of these A/P's find the US TF. Our attack goes in as the US ships approach Ndeni.

We form 3 attacking waves, and unfortunately are unable to locate the US transports. Instead, we find 3x US CLAA's (Atlanta, San Juan, & Juneau). Regrettably, our first night shipping strike is a failure, as no hits are scored. The US TF continues to Ndeni, apparently bringing with it more engineers, to speed construction & to deal with the delays caused by our frequent "WMC" raids from Tulagi. This is bad news, as now the Ndeni airstrip will grow fast.

Central Pacific: Out of Midway, we locate a US TF 650 nm north of French Frigate Shoals, and send a strike against it (2x G4M's with bombs + 1x H8K with torpedoes). The US TF consists of 1x APD + 3x DD's. One of the Bettys, and the Emily, are turned back by AA. But, the remaining Betty scores, damaging the US APD (to at least "D2" plus a possible critical hit). Score one for the Midway IJN air crews!

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: Still, all quiet on the Burma front. Our 33rd Inf. Div (Gen. Sakurai) near Imphal, is finally brought back to full-strength, with the addition of a newly-arriving regiment.

Then, quite ominously, we are most disheartened to learn of the arrival of another CW division. It is the highly-regarded 9th Australian division, arriving from Bombay by rail, detraining near Dimapur. Now, Gen. Slim has two outstanding Australian divisions, the 7th & 9th. Our troops near Imphal continue to dig in frantically. We hope the monsoon season arrives early this year!

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 2 April 1943. Operations through end of G/T 1/4/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Regular US 7th AF B-24 raids on Midway continue -- all night missions. Though the Americans occasionally are able to muster up to 6 Liberators, no major damage is done.

At Laysan atoll, the Americans continue once again their efforts to build an airstrip there. Now, though, they have fighter cover, with some F4F's flying at maximum range from French Frigate Shoals. Our supply situation at Midway is not good, hampering our ability to send a sufficiently-big strike to hit Laysan hard. In the only raid of the last week of March, we're only able to send 1x A6M + 1x G4M. The Americans manage to deploy 2x Wildcats on CAP, and they abort both our A/P's. Everywhere now, it seems, we face long odds and an uphill battle in the air...

South Pacific: Our "washing-machine charlie" Betty crews' luck finally runs out, in a night mission from Florida I. against Ndeni. Our boys run into a RAAF Beaufighter night-fighter squadron deployed there, and we lose one G4M A/P. Following cycle 0/3/43, we train another "elite" G4M A/P to replace this one, reconstituting the squadron. Sending them right back into action, they hit Espiritu Santo (fortunately no night fighters are encountered there). Our pilots report a few fires set.

CBI: The Chittagong-based US 10th AF B-17's (along with one RAF Liberator) continue raids against the central Burma airfields: Mandalay receives extra attention, as we continue occasional staging raids through there from Rangoon, hitting some of the front-line British units in the Imphal area (apparently with little effect). After a couple of raids, Mandalay is again put out of commission.

From Calcutta, the "rag-tag" bombing group of Catalinas, Hudsons & Wimpys hits the AF at "YY." No damage is done, and we decide to lay an ambush for the British next time they hit the place. Sure enough, the British pay a return visit a few days later, and this time we have 8x Oscars on Cover CAP from Rangoon waiting for them. We manage to down one of the RAF Catalinas (no escorting fighters), but still the British manage to suppress YY. The B-17's from Chittagong then turn their attention to YY, apparently not impressed by our Oscar trick. They inflict heavy damage, and are not opposed.

N. Australia: B-17's from Darwin/Batchelor Field pound Manokwari, in NW N. Guinea, inflicting minor damage there. Next, a smaller force (now down to 4x B-17's) hits Sorong, at night (extended range). No damage is noted.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

We send a KRS sub off the coast of Australia near Brisbane, but the Emilys are unable to provide any reports of either Brisband or Sydney.

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: Ominously, the two Australian divisions in India (9th & 7th) move to contact in the north, moving to the outskirts of Ledo. This force is commanded by Gen. Slim. Our defenders at Ledo are two Rgt's from the Imperial Guards division, out-of-supply and only moderately-well dug-in. We can thus expect a major attack against Ledo, by Slim's units, next week. Not to worry -- behind us lies thousands of square miles of jungle, which the Guards division will use to teach these upstart Australians the meaning of "jungle attrition."

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 April 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/4/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Regular American B-24 night raids (up to 6 A/P's) continue from FFS against Midway. The Americans are unable to gain much success bombing from high altitude, and in any case they've been unopposed in the air at night (so far), so someone at 7th AF HQ gets the bright idea to send in the Liberators at low altitude. This proves an unfortunate development, as we've been hiding our night-fighters there, waiting for just such an opportunity. We have our entire inventory of night fighters: 3x Ki-45 ("Kai") Nicks plus one brand-new J1N "Irving." All of these aircrews have been transferred in from Rangoon over the past couple of weeks. They'll prove a most nasty surprise for the unsuspecting American Liberator crews. When 5 of them show up at low altitude, again at night, we unleash hell & down one of the "Libs." And, as the raid is at extended range, this is parlayed into 2 B-24's downed, for no loss. That's the way to deal with the heavies, boys! Well-done!

From Midway, we continue very small-scale (supply problems) missions against the now-nearly-completed US airstrip on Laysan atoll. Now, though, the Americans are regularly able to put up at least 1x Wildcat on Cover CAP over the atoll from FFS. Though we lose no bombers shot down, we're not able to complete any of our planned bombing missions. We later discover that these are USN, not USMC, F4F's.

On the 10th of April, the Americans finally finish the airstrip on Laysan, giving them a fighter strip now within range (F4U's & P-38's) of our base at Midway. Time will tell how this plays out.

South Pacific: "Washing-machine Charlie" is again active, hitting Espiritu Santo from Florida Island. It seems the American night fighters continue to be a step behind us -- they regularly fly transfer missions into bases we hit at night, afterwards, and though we don't know for sure which units they are, we're guessing that they're night fighters hoping to catch our Bettys. Must be mighty frustrating for poor Adm. Ghormley (yes, he's still in command of SoPac HQ at Noumea).

At Ndeni, the airstrip there is upgraded to Level-2. Already within P-38 range of our major base on Florida I/Tulagi, the Americans now may move Mitchells & Marauders into Ndeni. We'll see, though, if they have the stomach for a protracted air battle here over the southern Solomons. We have quite a few new Zeros waiting for them on Florida I.

CBI: After we manage to repair most of the central Burma airfields, the Allied strikes resume. 6x B-17's + 1x RAF Liberator hit Mandalay (which we've regularly been using as a staging base for IJA air units based at Rangoon). For once, our AA gunners get lucky and we down one of the forts. We manage 5x Oscars on Cover CAP over Mandalay, but choose not to engage as we get a bad DR on the Air Point Availability Table (less than half of the fighters sent there showed up).

The next week, the Allies try again. This time, though, our fighter coordination is better, and we manage 7x Oscars from Rangoon over Mandalay. 5x US B-17's + 2x RAF Liberators are engaged, and we manage to down one B-17 (but lose 2x Oscars). Our heroics are unable to prevent the remaining Americans from once again putting Mandalay's A/F out of action ("D1"). This effectively puts a halt to our staging missions through there.

YY is again plastered by raids from Calcutta (both US & RAF PBY's, along with small #'s of Hudsons & Wimpys). In a subsequent strike, our AA gunners manage to down one of the US PBY's.

From Rangoon, we mount a couple of staging strikes (though Mandalay, until it is put out of action later), with 2x Ki-49's, against Gen. Slim's Australians west of Ledo. Unfortunately, our raids seem to have had little effect against the Aussies, who're busy preparing an assault against Ledo. On the other hand, effective strikes against our garrison at Ledo (2x Rgt's of the Imperial Guards division) from Chittagong & Kohima. We are powerless to oppose the raids in the air, as our Army Air Forces have been badly depleted over the past several months, and we are regularly bombed out of any of the central Burma airfields we try to reoccupy.

When we switch staging bases to Myitkyina, we're able to get in one strike against the 9th Australian Division but the Americans then quickly put Myitkyina out of commission with their B-17's, so that tactic turns out to be another one-shot-deal.

Indian Ocean: We send a probing raid from Port Blair (1x G3M) against Trincomalee. Though no Allied fighters are stationed there, there are some US P-39's at Colombo. They're able to scramble enough of them to easily down our Nell.

Later, we send Bettys from Port Blair all the way north against Ledo (recaptured by the Australians; see "Ground Operations"), at night, and our pilots report good results against a few British fighters transferred into there.

N. Australia: Small-scale B-17 raids out of Batchelor Field hit Tanimbar I. (no longer with fighter garrison), at low altitude (no damage done).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Air search out of Midway (H8K's) locates what's reported as a US transport TF (reported as "2x CL; 2x DD; + 1x APB") approaching FFS from the SE. We're unable to mount any attack against it (too far away, supply problems, nearby FFS's Wildcats scaring us off, etc, etc.). Could be that Nimitz has decided to strengthen the garrison there? What for, we ask?

South Pacific: In a similar vein, the Americans spot a Japanese transport TF, from Shortland, approaching Guadalcanal. PBY's from Espiritu Santo locate our ships, but the Americans mount no attacks. The mission of our TF remains a mystery...

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: On the 11th, Gen. Slim mounts his assault against Ledo. Our defenders, the Imperial Guards div (-), have been hit hard from the air, and have to face two excellent attacking divisions: the 9th & 7th Australian. Though we're moderately-well-dug-in (fortification level "7"), and are fortunate in that Gen. Slim is unable to directly affect the outcome of the battle, we're still unable to hold off the Australians, and we're forced to abandon Ledo. But, our withdraw is conducted in good order, and our losses are low. We retreat to the sanctuary of the Burma jungle, where we hope to again meet the Australians, on our terms.

In other news, the Bangkok-Rangoon rail line is finally completed, on the 15th of April.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 22 April 1943. Operations through end of G/T 4/4/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: This week, before the Allies are able to put Mandalay out of commission, our staging strikes manage to get the first punch in, hitting several of the British front-line units in the Imhal sector (3x strikes of 2x Ki-49's each). We encounter only token opposition, take no losses but also fail to hurt any of the CW divisions. Sure enough, following these raids the dwindling number of US B-17's, along with 2x RAF LIberators, knock out the Mandalay A/F ("suppressed," not major damage but enough to prevent any staging raids through there).

The "rag-tag" bombing group out of Calcutta (RAF PBY's, Hudsons & Wellingtons) hits YY again, knocking the A/F out but our AA gunners once again score, knocking down one of the Catalinas bombing from low altitude.

Our Imperial Guards division is hit hard by FAA ground strikes launched out of Dimapur. Back home in Japan, urgent requests are repeated to get more fighter blocks out of production & to the front lines.

Our 18th division, SW of Imphal, receives similar attention by the RAF's Chittagong & Calcutta boys. But, the 18th is well-dug-in & suffers no ill effects from the raids.

From Port Blair, 3x G4M's hit Colombo at night, failing to do any damage. Fortunately, we encounter no fighters & only light flak.

South Pacific: Our WMC Bettys, flying from Florida I., hit Espiritu at night, but both are aborted by the very heavy AA fire. The US airbase there is fairly bristling with AA guns, and we can no longer count on surprising them. We repeat the raid later, but this time run into 1x 13th AF P-38 night fighter. It scores no hits, & neither do we.

From Ndeni, the first US airstrike against Florida I./Tulagi appears: It's Joe Foss and his flying circus, with 8x Corsairs (flying at extended-range; Florida I. is a mere 2 MP's beyond the F4U-1's normal range). They encounter "Muto's flying circus," with our ace leading 9x A6M3's against the Americans, who're coming in low. Both sides down one opposing A/P, but due to the extended-range, the Americans lose an extra F4U (R.A.H.*).

  R.A.H. : "Rules Amended Here"

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Things heat up. On the 17th, two IJN TF's approach the Midway area from the SW. US air search out of FFS eventually spots one of them, which is reported as containing "15 ships, including 3 carriers & 4 capital ships." B-24's from FFS are launched against this TF, in a joint strike with P-38's & P-40's from Laysan I. Approaching at high altitude, the USAAF flyers discover that our carrier TF (ably commanded by Adm. Ozawa), actually contains 4x CV's, 3x CA's, & 6x DD's. IJN CAP climbs & discovers 3x B-24's, closely-escorted by 3x P-38's + 1x P-40. Our Zekes quickly down one of the Lightnings, aborting another. We're unable to turn back any of the bombers, though, and all 3 commence a high-altitude bombing run on our carrier TF. Our ships are well-protected with AA fire, though -- even against high-altitude attacks, with the 6x "Akitsuki-class" DD's. Our AA gunners are alert & well-trained -- we down one of the Liberators & abort another. The remaining bomber A/P doesn't come close to hitting anything, and we take delight in seeing the US strike turn into a dismal failure.

Now approx. midway between Laysan I. & FFS, Adm. Ozawa launches a powerful strike against the American airstrip on Laysan I. Only a single (night-fighter) P-38 remains on the ground there (the others futilely trying to protect the 7th AF B-24's mentioned above), & we send a total of 7x A6M's (led by W.O. K. Sugino), 5x D3A's & 6x B5N's. To boot, 4x Bettys from Midway are able to join in the fun. We're surprised to find a lone USN F4F (flying Cover CAP from FFS) in the air opposing us. Sugino's boys make short work of the Wildcats. We lose one Betty to flak, and our bombing run puts Laysan's airfield out of operation ("D1"). In a subsequent, smaller fighter sweep, our Zeroes manage to down one P-38 over Laysan.

The next day (the 18th), another IJN TF approaches the Midway area from the SW. Steaming east of MI, & north of Laysan I., it is a powerful bombardment force hell-bent for FFS. Commanded by Adm. Kondo, our TF fearlessly approaches FFS during daylight (we have intelligence indicating a USN MTBron operating out of FFS & do not want to encounter them at night). Kondo's TF consists of 1x BB (later ID'd as "Nagato"), 3x BC's, 3x CA's + 3x DD's. As we approach FFS, 3x US PT boats do attempt to attack, but they're easily driven off (though we're unable to actually sink any). Following this little action, 5x F4F's (carrying bombs) are launched against the Kondo TF, from FFS. No CAP is covering our ships, & all 5x Wildcats form up in a single wave. Flak drives one off, & the remaining four target BB Nagato. Predictably, the Americans' attack does no more than kill several dolphins we've seen accompanying our ships as they approach FFS. Following this, our ships conduct a withering bombardment of the small (yet effective) airstrip on FFS, rendering it "D1." Kondo's ships then withdraw towards Midway.

That night, Adm. Ozawa's carriers are moved closer to FFS. We are spotted the following morning, by PBY searches out of Oahu. Adm. Ozawa takes station 100 nm NNW of FFS. On the 20th, our presence in this area is made clear by the appearance of an amphibious TF bearing down on FFS from the NW, covered (supposedly) by Adm. Ozawa's flattops. Fortunately, our TF is not spotted by American search planes, & reaches FFS, approaching tiny Tern I., where the US airstrip is located, from the north. The Americans discover the force to contain 1x APB (D1) + 3x "Akitsuki-cl." DD's. Somehow, the Americans are still able to launch 5x Wildcats from FFS, and our carriers are only able to manage a single Zeke on CAP over our transports (a singular failure by Adm. Ozawa, in this instance). Two of the F4F's jettison their bombs, & are able to get the other 3 past the lone, ineffective Zeke. The 3 F4F's bear in on our transports, commencing their attack only after we have commenced landing (a single ground step). Fortunately, the flak from the DD's is enough to thwart the Americans' attack, and our landing force suffers no hits. We even manage to down one of the attacking A/P's.

Our intelligence estimates of the US garrison at FFS quickly are proven wrong. Though air patrols did spot what was reported as a US transport TF near FFS several weeks ago, someone at Combined Fleet HQ apparently discounted this fact and we are expecting to encounter only engineers. Our landing force is the Aoba Rgt, from Truk. We're a little disconcerted to find the US Army's 158th Infantry (Rgt) garrisoning the island. True to American habit, fortunately they are not well-dug-in but are nontheless an unwelcome sight. (See GROUND OPERATIONS for further narrative of the battle for French Frigate Shoals).

GROUND OPERATIONS

  * The Battle for French Frigate Shoals (Tern Island); 20-22 April 1943 **

Combined Fleet's order to take out the troublesome US airstrip on FFS will result in a short, fierce battle between one veteran IJA Rgt (the "Aoba" Rgt.) and an un-tested US Army Rgt, the 158th Infantry. The Americans are deployed on the southern half of the tiny island (the only land mass at FFS), defending the airstrip.

The Aoba Rgt. is put ashore on the northern part of the island, and is under the gun from the start. Facing a difficult tactical situation, as we will be "isolated" if we remain ashore without taking the American airstrip, we decide to go all-out with a banzai charge from the beach-head. Things start off well, with the Aoba Rgt passing its required deactivation "Troop Quality" check (both the 158th Rgt. & our Aoba Rgt. are 3-step, quality "5" units, so they're evenly-matched). Also fortunately, we have barely sufficient MP's remaining to conduct the assault. The decision is made: we go! Our luck holds, as the required "banzai" TQ check is made & again we pass! The Aoba Rgt. upholds the proud tradition of the IJA, and an all-or-nothing attack is mounted. In a fierce, very close fight, the US Army's untested "dog-faces" prove up to the task. Though severely battered (down to a single Bn.), the 158th holds out, and our Rgt. is wiped out to a man! As Adm. Ugaki would say, "a most regrettable war result."

Thus, our attempt to take FFS ends in failure. Who will apologize to his majesty?

CBI: From Ledo, Gen. Slim's corps, now augmented by another division (14th Indian) attacks south, hitting the Imperial Guards division (-) SE of Ledo. For the 2nd straight time, Slim has a little trouble coordinating the attack, this time led by the 7th Australian division (the 9th Australian also joining). The attack, now in the jungle, is inconclusive, with both sides taking fairly heavy losses. The Australians call off the attack, withdrawing in good order. The Guards divsion holds but is now badly depleted. Another month separates us from the onset of another monsoon season.

End Report

"Hello to all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 27 April 1943. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 1/5/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: We notice the gradual attritioning-out of the US 10th AF B-17's continues. Only 4 (A/P's) of them remain in this theater. We are happy to further reduce this number, as they (along with 2x RAF Liberators) hit Mandalay, from Chittagong. We manage 7x Oscars from Rangoon on Cover CAP, and the Allied bombers have no fighter escort. We happily trade one Ki-43 for one B-17 downed, and the Allied strike fails to do any damage.

Later, another strike is sent from Chittagong against Mandalay -- this time 2x Beauforts, 2x USAAF Banshees, + 2x Vengeances, again with no fighter cover. We resolve to teach the Allies a second lesson, as we once again ambush the raiders with 7x Oscars from Rangoon. The result is a bloodbath -- we destroy no fewer than 3 A/P's (one of each type), & abort the rest. Leading our IJA units were 3 aces: Kuroe, Sumino, & Sasaki. Keep up the good work, boys! We see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Since we are able to keep Mandalay open, we send small harassing strikes from Rangoon through there against the British 70th & 2nd divisions, opposite Imphal.

From Calcutta, the British "rag-tag" outfit hits YY (2x Hudsons + 2x Wimpys), but does no damage. Could the tide be changing in the air over Burma?

From Rangoon, we try a large-scale night raid against the British base at Akyab, sending all 6x Ki-49's + 3x Ki-48's. Untrained in night operations, our strike is opposed by a single night-fighter Beaufighter but it only manages to abort one "Lily." Our strike has little success, and we lose one of the valuable "Helens" upon return (night attrition).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

After a very long hiatus, the closing days of April '43 will see the Americans return to sea in force. A major battle will be joined west of Midway. The Americans use "SIGINT" twice, once each in the 1st & 2nd Naval Phases of G/T 1/5/43. This will prove most unfortunate for one of our best Admirals, Adm. Kondo.

Central Pacific: The series of engagements off Midway starts off with an ineffective carrier strike against FFS, by Adm. Ozawa's pilots. The Americans are able to maintain 2 squadrons of F4F's there, & we're unable to do any damage to the airstrip.

  * Battle of Midway, 25 - ? April 1943 **

Following this, several USN TF's begin appearing, both north & south of Midway. Some are reported to be "dummies." One of these reports later proves a notable error.

On the 25th, a large USN TF is located by Adm. Ozawa's boys, 250 mi. WSW of Midway. This is electrifying news, as we did not expect any significant opposition to our (failed) moves against FFS. The TF is reported as: "3x BB, 10x CA, + 4x DD's." We send out an immediate strike from Midway against it (1x G4M -- torpedoes). But, this strike is aborted by effective AA fire. The US TF continues to steam northward, and we launch a 2nd strike, again from Midway. This time, 2x G4M's + 1x H8K are sent. Only 1x of the torpedo-armed Bettys manages to elude flak (the others are aborted), & goes in targeting the US CA New Orleans. No hits are reported.

Meanwhile, Adm. Ozawa readies his own strike against these brash Americans. It appears as if the Americans have mis-judged the location and/or presence of our carrier TF. Adm. Ozawa sends a total of 8x D3A's + 6x B5N's winging their way against the Americans, in 3 waves:

1st Wave (2x Vals + 2x Kates): Unwilling to press the attack against the 3x BB core, the 1st wave attacks the CA's Chigago & Houston in the "inner ring." One of the B5N's is aborted going in (AA). 1x D3A + 1x B5N target CA Chigago, and heavily damage her ("D3"). CA Houston escapes unscathed.

2nd Wave (2x "elite" Vals + 2x Kates): This time, we press home our attack, going after the American battlewagons. But, both of the Kates are aborted by accurate flak. The remaining Vals are "elite" aircrews, from the Kaga. One dives on CA Indianapolis; the other against the BB Colorado. We only manage to lightly damage Indianapolis ("D1"), but the poor Colorado is pummeled -- Kaga's pilots render her dead-in-the water, with "D4" damage!

3rd Wave (3x D3A + 2x B5N -- all "elite"): Saving the best for last, the final attacking wave goes after screening cruisers. They will make mince-meat of the hapless American CA's. Though one of the Vals is aborted, we pair up 1 + 1 against the CA's Portland & New Orleans. This is indeed our "A" team, as our boys show what they're made of, sinking both Americans cruisers outright! Outstanding work, boys!

Following Adm. Ozawa's strike, the American form a CripDiv, with BB Colorado being towed away. We don't surmise that she'll get far. As darkness falls on the 25th, we lose contact with the Americans, who continue to steam north -- the last thing we expect!

Report of 27 Apr. '43, cont.

Little do we know that the Americans have indeed been reading our mail, and have figured correctly Adm. Kondo's bombardment force location. Evidently, the Americans are still spoiling for a fight and on the 26th we are surprised to find the Americans bearing down on our withdrawing bombardment force. Unfortunately, this US TF is led by Adm. Lee, and Adm. Kondo is unable to prevent engagement. The result is a daylight surface battle 200 mi. west of Kure I.

Battle lines are formed. The US TF consists of:

2x BB: West Virginia, Maryland

7x CA: Vincennes, San Francisco, Astoria, Minneapolis, Houston, Salt Lake City & Indianapolis ("D1").

6x DD's: Gwin, Grayson, Laffey, Aaron Ward, Bagley & Helm

Adm. Kondo's bombardment force consists of:

1x BB: Nagato

3x BC: Hiei, Kirishima, Kongo

3x CA: Myoko, Haguro, Ashigara

6x DD: Asashio, Arashio, Natsugumo, Minegumo, Asagumo, & Arare

Unfortunately, our TF (except for the DD's) is low on ammo following its heavy bombardment mission, and we are severely disadvantaged. Adm. Kondo orders an immediate fighting withdrawal.

1st Tactical Round: CA Haguro damages DD Grayson. But, we suffer more damage, as CA Myoko is hit by the Astoria & Minneapolis, which combine their fire. Worse for us, BB Nagato, the former Combined Fleet flagship, is hit & damaged by the US battlewagons -- in this engagement, they will gain more than a measure of revenge for Pearl Harbor.

2nd Tactical Round: Adm. Kondo continues withdrawal. The DD Grayson is sunk by IJN cruiser fire, but the US BB's again score, lightly damaging BC Kongo. Adm. Lee relentlessly pursues.

3rd Tactical Round: We successfully disengage the Hiei, CA's Ashigara & Haguro, along with all our DD's. Unfortunately, Nagato is simply not fast enough. Adm. Kondo, aboard her, courageously resolves to cover the withdrawal from the bridge of the old battleship! Adm. Lee, sensing victory now, closes in for the kill. We are unable to score any hits, but the resurgent Americans are. The Myoko is severely battered by CA Vincennes, and the American destroyers which close to torpedo range, scoring several hits (Myoko is rendered "D3"). Kongo is hit by no less than 4 of the American cruisers, & is now also "D3."

4th Tactical Round: The heavily-damaged Kongo, along with her sister Kirishima, successfully withdraws, thanks to the heroics of Adm. Kondo aboard Nagato. Both Nagato & Myoko stand as rear-guards, fighting to the end. Both ships go down fighting, and Adm. Kondo chooses to go down with his flagship. Alas! RAdm. Omori survives, and manages to lead the rest of the bombardment force away.

The result of the battle is a clear American victory. Summary of losses:

IJN: Sunk: BB Nagato; CA Myoko. Heavily-damaged: BC Kongo.

USN: Sunk: DD Grayson.

Following the battle, Adm. Lee breaks off his chase. Little did he know that other Japanese ships are very close, including Adm. Ozawa. As darkness falls on the 26th, Adm. Ozawa resolves to even the score! We surmise that this battle is far from over!

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 20 May 1943. Air Operations through end of Cycle 5/43

AIR OPERATIONS

(Note: The Allied side, in these 4 weeks of operations, finally are able to claim substantial victory in the air war -- we do not hide the truth. It is indeed a catastrophic month, which will see no less than 40 Japanese A/P's (400 a/c) destroyed in combat, along with an additional 25 (250 a/c) lost operationally. Thus, we lose a staggering 65 A/P's from all causes, and are fairly reeling.)

South Pacific: From their Ndeni airbase, the Americans hit Florida I./Tulagi relentlessly. The following highlights the results of several raids:

An initial fighter sweep (8x F4U's, with Walsh) is opposed by 1x "elite" + 7x A6M3's (Muto). Losses are even -- both sides lose 2x A/P's, & we lose the "elite" Zero also. We move more A6M's in, from Rabaul.

The Americans later switch to bombing raids, first sending 2x US B-17's @ high + 1x RAAF Mitchell (the first we've seen of this squadron), both elements well-escorted (USMC Corsairs flying with the Mitchells, Dick Bong & his P-38's with the "forts"). We send all our Zeros up against the B-17's (2x "elite" + 6). Bong's lightnings get "the bounce," and we lose another "elite" Zero without hitting anything. The Corsairs go in to strafe, and we down one of them with AA. The B-17's hit the airfield, & destroy one D3A on the ground. We send in more Zeros, from Lae.

Later, the Allies pull off the same raid. Again, we send our Zeros (1x "elite" + 6 regular) up against the B-17's (escorted by Bong & 4x P-38's again). Bong's boys again get "the bounce," and make us pay. Though we manage to destroy one of the B-17's, we lose 3 A6M3's. Once again, the Corsairs go in to strafe and, once again, AA downs one of them. This time, no damage is done to the airfield. Again, we reinforce Florida I. with Zeros, from Rabaul.

Next week, the raids continue, this time with only 1x B-17 + the RAAF Mitchell, all at medium altitude, escorted by 5x P-38's (yes, Bong again) + 5x F4U's (Walsh). We send all we have: 2x "elite" + 8x regular Zeros. Again, we're unable to get "the bounce" (at this point in the war, and with the US aces' totals better than ours, we have only a 1/6 chance), and lose both of the "elite" Zeros -- the last we have. We do manage to down one of the Corsairs, & the bombing raid suppresses the A/F at Florida I.

From Florida I., we send "WMC" against Espiritu Santo, but see no positive results. We're later forced to redeploy these two "elite" Betty's far to the west, to Rangoon, in response to very disturbing & ominous naval activity by the Allies (see NAVAL OPS).

CBI: The British mount near-continuous small-scale ground support missions against our front-line units, both in the north (especially the now-hard-pressed Imp. Guards div.) & around Imphal (primarily against our 18th Inf. div.). They have moderate success, and remain unopposed.

A combined US-British Joint Strike (Calcutta - Akyab) hits Mandalay. We manage 7x Oscars on Cover CAP (aces Sasaki, Kuroe) and this time we tear into the Allied formations, downing 2x US P-40's and an RAF Wellington, for the loss of only a single Ki-43. The Allied FTRs present were 3x RAF Kittyhawks, 2x US P-40's, 1x RAAF Spitfire & 2x FAA Sea Hurricanes. No damage is done to the A/F.

Staging through Mandalay, we send 5x Ki-49's + 3x Ki-48's from Rangoon against Gen. Slim's rampaging Australian Corps in the north. We lose one "Helen" from flak.

The US B-17's hit Rangoon at night, from Chittagong. For the first time in the war, the Americans' raid hits the jackpot. Later confirmed by Allied recce, it is learned that this raid (by only 3 A/P's) destroys no less than 6 Ki-43's on the ground! Most lamentable.

Later, the "forts" are sent against Mandalay, at night, against our Offensive Support Base there. No damage is done, fortunately.

From Ledo, the British send their 2x Liberators on a long-range mission all the way to Hanoi. No fighters are met, but we foil the raid by downing one of the attackers with very heavy AA that is there.

End Report (Air Ops) -- Naval Ops & Ground Ops summaries to follow separately

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 20 May 1943. Naval Operations through end of Cycle 5/43

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Adm. Lee's victorious surface TF steams away from the Midway area. We send a small strike from Wake (1x G4M, bombs) against him but our planes are easily swatted away by flak.

On 28 April, we shock Nimitz, as an IJN amphibious TF (part of the abortive French Frigate Shoals operation) approaches Laysan I., from the Midway area. Covered by Adm. Ozawa's carriers (100 nm SE Midway), our force is not spotted until it reaches the objective -- Laysan I. We commence landing, and the Americans can only send a lone P-40 FB against the transports. This is fortunate, as Adm. Ozawa is asleep at the switch, only managing a single A6M on Naval Cover over the TF. We're lucky & manage to abort the attacker, and we conclude landing operations at dusk -- landing the 4/Yok SNLF Bn, + the 65th Indep. Bde (-). See GROUND OPS.

A carrier strike is launched against the US Army garrison on Laysan. Unfortunately, once again we are careless and lose one B5N in air combat (opposed by 1x F4F, 1x P-38, + 1x P-39). Worse, 3 other "Kates" are aborted. An embarassing failure. Following this, Adm. Ozawa is forced to temporarily withdraw to refuel.

On the morning of 1 May, Adm. Lee's "CripDiv" is located by air search out of Midway. We find the heavily-damaged BB "Colorado" (being towed), along with the damaged CA "Chicago," and two DD's ("Selfridge" & "Phelps"). From Midway, we're able to launch 4x G4M's (two with "torps"), along with an "elite" G3M. Forming 3 attacking waves, we go in to finish off the Americans:

1st Wave (1x G4M "torps" + 1x G4M -- bombs). Several torpedoes are put into the hapless "Chicago," and she goes down. BB "Colorado," now cut adrift, is missed.

2nd Wave (same composition). "Hapless" is indeed the catchword here, as DD "Phelps" is quickly dispatched, and level-bombing Bettys manage to nail BB "Colorado," sending her to the bottom.

3rd Wave (1x "elite" G3M, bombs). All that's left now is the DD "Selfridge," and her fate is the same as her bretheren. We send the sad news to Adm. Nimitz at PH, ensuring him that the few survivors we're able to pluck out of the sea will be well-treated.

The next day, air search relocates Adm. Lee's TF 14, steaming away approx 600 nm NNW of Midway. In the last action of this "Battle of Midway," we only manage 2x G4M's (one with "torps;" at maximum range for torpedo arm't). Unwilling to face the remaining BB's flak, our attackers content themselves with hitting CA "San Francisco," lightly damaging ("D1") her. This small action effectively ends the "Battle of Midway," as Adm. Lee escapes to the north.

With Adm. Ozawa out of the area, refuelling to the west, Adm. Nimitz sends in a USN bombardment TF to Laysan, after our landing there. We get several air recon reports of the TF, but are unwilling to launch against it against the small-but-effective US FTR cover based there. The US TF actually consists of CL "Columbia," with DD's "R. Talbot, Patterson, Hamman & Mustin." They lay a good amount of fire down on our troops, disrupting (but not fatally; see GROUND OPS) our units as they prepare for their assault. We later get information that this TF possibly was commanded by "Pug" Ainsworth.

Report of 20 May 1943: NAVAL OPERATIONS (cont.)

On the 5th of May, Adm. Ozawa is back on station off Laysan. With more resolve, a strong carrier strike is launched against the US Army troops defending the island. A total of 9x Zeros, escorting 8x D3A's, 5x B5N's + 2x Zero FB's, hit the island. The Americans send up 2x marine F4F's (M. Carl), along with 1x P-38 + 1x P-40. We lose an "elite" B5N, but in return down both of the Wildcats. And, we are delighted to see the USMC ace Carl, forced to bail out, come down square in the middle of the IJA's 65th Ind. Bde! He is treated to a courtesy army-ration lunch, then packed off to sit out the rest of the war as a P.O.W.!

Bay of Bengal: On May 2, we are most surprised to find an Allied TF steaming into the Bay of Bengal. Spotted by air search out of Port Blair, it is reported as "3x BB's, 5x CA's, 4x CL's & 6x DD's." Though outside of torpedo-range, we send 4x Bettys + 1x Nell from P. Blair against it. Two P-39's (Madras) are scrambled & manage to show up covering the Allied TF (TF 34). They dispatch the Nell. The remaining Bettys go in to attack, level-bombing. The Allied TF is discovered to be a very powerful one. Apparently British-led, it actually is composed of 6x BB's (5 of them American), 3x CA's (all RN), 6x CL's (3x RN, 2x RAN, 1x RNZN), plus 2x RN DD's. Our attackers suffer horribly from the intense flak -- two are downed & the other two A/P's are aborted. This very powerful TF continues movement along the Indian coast, moving SW of Chittagong. A very bold move! Soon, a 2nd TF (36) joins them. We're unable to get any spotting reports of this force. What could these ships be up to?

The next day, we do get a report on this 2nd TF (36), as it moves SE, towards Rangoon! It is reported as "1x BB, 3x CA, + 2x DD's." We decide to try a combined (IJA-IJN) coordinated strike, from Rangoon, sending everything we have against it (Note: Rangoon is a "combined" airfield, allowing a virtually free mix of IJA & IJN types).

At low altitude, we send 1x G3M + 3x G4M's (all with torps), entrusting them to the escort of 7x IJA Oscars. At medium altitude, we send 4x Ki-49's, 3x Ki-48's, + 4x Ki-21's -- unescorted. From Akyab, the British manage only 2x Kittyhawks + 1x Spitfire as CAP. They choose to take on the army level-bombers, and do very poorly -- only managing to abort a single "Lily." Worse, the Spitfire A/P is downed. This will turn out to be the only IJA contribution to this attack, as the army fliers prove not up-to-speed in the anti-shipping role.

1st Wave (4x Ki-21's, level-bombing + 2x G4M's, torps). Our attack is a debacle. We lose 2 of the Sallys & one of the Bettys to flak, and the rest are aborted.

2nd Wave (4x Ki-49's + 2x Ki-48's, level-bombing + 1x G4M & 1x G3M, torps). The IJA planes are either aborted or drop their eggs harmlessly into the sea. The only hit scored is from a Betty, lightly damaging the RN CA "Devonshire" ("D1").

We are forced then to watch this British TF steam impudently right off Rangoon, & then conduct a heavy bombardment of the airfield there, rendering it to "D1" damage. As this TF egresses Adm. Kurita (2nd Fleet Cdr, @ Rangoon), infuriated, orders all planes from Port Blair into the air. But, only two Bettys (one with torpedoes) are available, and no hits are scored. Most regrettable.

Our embarassment is compounded as later the 2nd Allied TF, a vastly more powerful one, steams to Rangoon & opens up on the port & supply base there. They are moderately damaged ("D1"). Both Allied TF's gleefully then steam north, away from "danger," taking station off Chittagong.

Report of 20 May 1943: NAVAL OPERATIONS (cont.)

On the 10th of May, yet another British TF is spotted entering the Bay of Bengal, off the Indian coast. Air search out of Rangoon reports this TF as: "8x CL's, 14x DD's, plus 2x MS (D1) & 1x MS (D1). Allied transports! Adm. Kurita orders every navy plane into the air. Unfortunately, the Allied ships remain outside of torpedo range, but 2x G4M's + 1x G3M are sent with bombs. A single Spitfire out of Calcutta covers the Allied ships, & aborts the "Nell." The attacking Bettys radio back a true report of "2x CL's, 4x CLAA's, 16x DD's, plus a total of 5x Tac MS (with a total load capacity of "37;" quite a large transport force!). The Rangoon-based Bettys do well, sinking one of the MS units!

Then, from Port Blair, a 2nd strike is sent: 2x G4M's + 2x H6K -- all but one of the "Mavises" with bombs -- go in. Both of the Bettys, and the torpedo-armed H6K, are aborted by flak. The lone remaining Mavis scores a hit on one of the MS units. The total load capacity sent to the bottom, from both these strikes, ends up as 8 (of 37 to start). Thus, we at least do more than mere minor damage to these transports. We have no idea as to the nature of their cargo. This TF proceeds, rather quickly, to Calcutta. From Rangoon, a last strike is launched (4x Ki-49's, at maximum-range) but our army pilots have no more luck than previously -- no hits are scored. The Allied TF pulls into port at Calcutta, in total.

The main Allied bombardment TF, departing the Bay of Bengal for the Indian Ocean, is attacked one final time, on the afternoon of 13 May. By this time, Rangoon has received some more Bettys, and Adm. Kurita sends them out, at maximum torpedo range. A total of 6x Bettys (5 with torps), along with 1x torpedo-armed Nell, go in to attack, in a single wave.

Two of the attacking A/P's are aborted, but we manage to slip 5 torpedo-laden bombers in! The net results are a bit disappointing: The US BB "California" is lightly damaged ("D1"). Ditto for the RN CA "Dorsetshire," & the RAN CA "Shropshire." The RNZ CL "Hobart," though, is not so fortunate. She is heavily-damaged & goes dead-in-the-water. A "CripDiv" is formed to tow her away. Shortly after, more attackers arrive, from Port Blair (2x G4M's + 2x H6K's). But, our luck runs out -- we lose both of the Bettys from flak & the Mavises are driven off. The Allied TF sails past Ceylon, into the Indian Ocean.

As Chittagong is reported as containing 2x British cruisers, we send the newly-arrived "washing-machine-charlie" unit from Rangoon (2x "elite" night-trained Bettys), armed with torpedoes, into Chittagong at night, after them. Unfortunately, though, the British have 3x night-fighter Beaufighters stationed there, and our attack is quickly driven off.

Central Pacific (submarine operations): An IJN TF is spotted by prowling US subs off Truk (2x BC's + 3x CA's). The "Wahoo" is one of 2 subs attacking, and in this instance "Mush Morton's" presence actually is decisive, producing a hit on "Kirishima" (absent his presence, the US DR's would have "missed"). Only lightly damaged ("D1"), she reaches the safety of Truk lagoon. Note: After this near-disaster, an urgent call goes out for H6K's & H8K's, and several are redeployed to Truk to help with ASW operations.

Their presence is felt shortly after, as another IJN TF approaches Truk (CVL's "Hiyo" & "Junyo," along with 2x CA's, 1x CL, & 2x DD's) is attacked. This time, "Mush" isn't present, and the US attack is foiled, and we sink one fleet boat to boot!

South Pacific: On 16 May, air search out of Tulagi sends back yet another alarming report: An American carrier TF is spotted 360 nm E of Espiritu Santo! It is reported as: "3x CV's, 3x BB's, 2x CA's, 3x CL's, 9x DD's + 3x DE's." In addition, 1x APB, plus two full-strength Tac. MS units are reported! This TF, which is later joined by another one we are unable to locate, moves closer to Espiritu Santo, but remains at sea. What could this TF be up to? Is this the long-awaited and long-delayed American move into the South Pacific?

End Report (Naval Ops) -- Ground Ops summary to follow separately

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 20 May 1943. Ground Operations through end of Cycle 5/43

Central Pacific -- Battle for Laysan I: On 28 April, we land the 4th Bn, Yok. SNLF & the 65th Indep. Bde (-). 2x US Army Inf. Bn's, plus an Engr, are defending. No immediate contact results, and both our units fail their deactivation DR's after landing, preventing us from launching an immediate attack. The Americans are defending the airfield, in the southern half of the island.

The US air units on Laysan are able to mount one attack against our troops (2x F4F, 1x P-38, 1x P-40), but we manage to pass a required Troop Quality check following the strike. This will prove most fortunate.

After reorganizing, and following a heavy pounding of the defending Americans from our carriers, our troops are subjected to a USN naval bombardment. We are again fortunate, passing two consecutive TQ checks prior to launching our assault. We corner the Americans in the southern tip of the island, and our attack succeeds in forcing the Americans' surrender! Laysan island is ours! We suffer heavy losses, including the 4/Yok. SNLF Bn, which is wiped out, but the operation is, thankfully, a success.

After our victory, US 7th AF units begin pounding Laysan, and have good results against our 65th Indep. Bde, whose performance is beginning to raise concern.

CBI: Gen. Slim launches an attack out of Ledo against the Imp. Guards div. Our div. is "broken" by heavy air attacks preceeding the ground assault. The CW units are an impressive force: Led by the 9th Australian div, Slim's corps also includes the 7th Australian & 14th Indian divs, along with a separate Ind. Bn. The attack is well-led by Gen. Slim, and we suffer a major defeat -- the Guards Div. is forced to retreat, with very heavy losses, in disorder. Gen. Slim orders a pursuit & succeeds, with all units save the 7th Australian. A major victory for Gen. Slim. Later, the Imp. Guards div. successfully breaks contact, retreating into Myitkyina.

On 6 May, Gen. Slim continues his relentless advance, launching a hasty attack against Myitkyina, with 1x Bde (24th) of the 9th Aus. Div, plus the 14th Indian div. Our troops defending: The badly-battered (& "broken") Guards div, plus one regular Inf. Bn. + 1x Engr. Surprisingly, this time we manage to hold, with both sides taking moderate losses (our Guards div. is now down to one understrength Rgt.). Gen. Slim then calls off the advance, withdrawing from Myitkyina.

After a few days rest, Gen. Slim is back, launching two divs (9th Australian + the 14th Indian) again against Myitkyina -- defended now by a Rgt (the 9th, from the 16th div.), plus the still-broken Guards div. Once again we hold, with both sides taking moderate losses.

The IJA 16th Inf. div (-) is railed north, from YY, to help step Gen. Slim's rampaging Australians.

Following Gen. Slim's successful attack, we find that Ledo has been left with only a small garrison (2x British Engr's). On 4 May, we counterattack, sending one tank Co., and a single Inf. Rgt (the 112th, from the 55th div.). We surprise the British -- the defenders there quickly surrender, and , and raise the "rising sun" once again over Ledo!

Our stay proves to be a short one, though. For, Gen. Messervey quickly counterattacks with a vengeance, with 2x Bdes from the 7th Australian div. We are forced to retreat, giving up Ledo, but manage to do so in good order.

Not content with his victory at Ledo, Gen. Messervey the following week attacks south from the city, sending his two Aus. Bdes against what is left of the IJA 112th Rgt, plus 1x Tk Co. & 1x Inf. Bn. The attack is well-coordinated, but fails to dislodge the Japanese defenders.

Just prior to the monsoon, one final attack is made by the 7th Aus. div. Our Tk. Co. is wiped out, but Gen. Messervey is frustrated as once again we hold, but just barely. After this attack, we are most relieved to see the heavy rains start.

SW of Imphal, another British Burma Army attack is mounted, against our 18th div, which is very well dug-in. 3 CW divisions attack (70th & 2nd Brit., plus the 7th Indian div.). Little progress is made by the attackers, though they manage to partially reduce the fortifications, at fairly heavy cost: 4 steps from the 70th div. The 18th div. holds.

The following week, the British stubbornly continue the attack against the 18th div. This time, the difficult terrain serves us well, and the British attack (led by the 2nd div) is poorly-conducted. The British are forced to retreat, losing 2 steps. We take no losses, and revel in taunting the Tommies as they withdraw. Our 18th div. continues to fight well, proving to be nearly invincible.

Summary of 3 weeks' actions, Burma: In a rush to beat the oncoming monsoon season, some progress is made by the British in N. Burma, but the 9th Australian div. has been badly depleted.

Cycle 0/5/43, Notes: At Myitkyina, the INA Bde Group is formed, augmenting the beleaguered Imp. Guards div.

South Pacific: On the 1st of May, construction of our Supply Base at Rabaul is finally finished.

Australia: We notice that a US Supply Base has been completed at Perth/Freemantle (apparently started ca. 4/4/43). This causes us some concern.

End Report

 

Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! How are those mosquitoes? This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, bringing you more distressing war news."

Tokyo, 27 May 1943. Operations through G/T 1/6/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Regular US 7th AF B-24 raids from FFS continue, against our now-hard-pressed garrison on Laysan I. We have not yet based air units into the airstrip there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(This week will see an immense amount of activity at sea, all over the map)

Solomons: Since last week's alarming reports of American ships possibly approaching the Solomons, 2x IJN surface TF's are sent south, approaching Florida I. at night. Allied coastwatcher search misses them, but next day US air search out of Ndeni finds them, reporting "2x BC, 4x CA, & 3x DD." Note: The American ships' presence in the southern Solomons have caught us with our pants down, with our carriers (see below) thousands of miles away. Anticipating an invasion of Florida I./Tulagi, Adm. Yamamoto orders everything south to do battle.

Meanwhile, Japanese air search out of Tulagi finds US TF38, now SE of Espiritu Santo -- reported as 2x Tac. MS (both "D1"). An IJN subron off Espiritu contacts this force, but is driven off by DD and very heavy air ASW screen out of Espiritu. Later, another US TF is reported 100 nm east of Espiritu (air search; Tulagi) & is reported as "1x CV, 1x CVL, 2x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, 6x DD's, 2x DE's, plus 1x APB and 2x Tac. MS units (one @ "D3"). An alarming report, and clearly indicative of something big brewing in the southern Solomons!

One of our subrons contacts this TF, reporting 1x CVE, 2x MS, & 3x DD's. Again, our I-boats are successfully screened off, and no attack is made. But, our luck changes as another subron subsequently contacts this force, and this time only 3 of the 4 subs are screened. Lining up a shot on the (apparently brand-new) CVE "Barnes," our efforts pay off handsomely, as several torpedoes find their mark, sending the "Barnes" to the bottom!

The American TF continues moving north, and we launch an airstrike against it. A Joint Strike (Shortland-Florida I.) arrives -- 4x A6M's (close escort; Florida I.), with a lone G4M (bombs; Shortland) is met by Naval Cover CAP (the Americans are not caught unprepared this time) from Ndeni: 2x F4U's (Foss, Walsh), 1x P-38, and 1x F4F. Once again we suffer defeat in the air: One escorting Zero, and our Betty, are downed, for no loss to the Americans. The US transport TF proceeds to (unoccupied) San Cristobal, & commences off-loading of troops.

The following day, another IJN sub contacts yet another US TF, just south of San Cristobal. Most of our subs are screened off, yet we get a shot at the CL Concord -- but miss. At this time, many Japanese ships are steaming south at top speed, hell-bent for a fight!

  * 1st Battle of San Cristobal: 23 May 1943 **

The 1st IJN TF to contact the Americans is a REAC TF from the Guadalcanal area. Commanded by Adm. Abe, it is the "Yamato" and "Musashi," in the first (and what, sadly, will be their only) wartime sortie together. Adm. Abe reacts to San Cristobal, successfully contacts one US TF there, and a daylight surface battle is joined.

The US TF (Adm. Tisdale) consists of the CL's "Richmond" & "Concord," and DD's "Shaw, Cushing, Lamson, Conyngham, Blue, Patterson, Hamman," and "Walke." We surely would have liked to have been a "fly on the wall" on the bridge of Concord, when Adm. Tisdale saw the looming silhouettes of Yamato and Musashi bearing down on him!

1st Tac. Sequence: The US DD's bravely charge, but the only damage inflicted is "D1" damage to both Concord and Richmond.

2nd Tac. Sequence: The Concord, fighting well, manages to hit Yamato, lightly ("D1") damaging her. In return, Concord is plastered and left burning, dead-in-the-water. CL Richmond is heavily damaged also.

3rd Tac. Sequence: Adm. Tisdale proves to be a tough fighter, refusing to run. His efforts pay off, as CL Richmond scores against Yamato, bringing her to "D2" damage level (Adm. Abe is aboard Musashi). The Richmond then is blown out of the water, by Yamato. In addition, DD Hamman is sunk, with Walke & Shaw heavily-damaged. The US "breakoff" level is reached, and Adm. Tisdale (who has survived the damage done to Condord) orders withdrawal.

4th Tac. Sequence: The damaged Yamato, and Musashi continue to pound the now-retreating Americans: DD's Shaw & Cushing go down, and Lamson is reduced to a holed hunk. The remaining US ships continue to flee for their lives.

5th Tac. Sequence: DD's Blue & Patterson successfully escape, but we finish off Lamson and damage Conyngham.

6th Tac. Sequence: No hits scored.

7th (final) Tac. Sequence: DD Conyngham luckily manages to escape. Left dead-in-the-water & abandoned, and quickly finished off as Yamato & Musashi withdraw, are CL Concord, and DD's Hamman & Walke.

Report of 27 May 1943 (cont.)

·  * 2nd Battle of San Cristobal: Night of 24-25 May 1943 **

American ships continue to operate off San Cristobal, protecting the USN transports. A 2nd IJN surface TF approaches, at full steam, arriving at night. Under the "now it can be told" department, this TF is commanded by Adm. R. Tanaka, who in 1942 was "on the bricks" for 6 months, & only recently put back in command. The entire war, Adm. Tanaka has been itching for this very opportunity: the chance to engage the Americans in a night destroyer battle! Finally, he will get his wish. Contact! And, he will indeed make the most of it.

Adm. Tanaka commands a formidable DD force: 11x "Kagero-class" DD's ("Yukikaze, Hayashio, Maikaze, Isokaze, Kagero, Kuroshio, Amatsukaze, Tokutsukaze, Urakaze, Hamakaze, and Arashi").

Opposing him is a US TF (with no notable Admiral in command) that, on paper, is impressive: BB "Massachusetts," no fewer than 12 "Fletcher-class" DD's ("Radford, Nicholas, O'Bannon, Chevalier, Saufley, Waller, Strong, DeHaven, Beale, Bennett, Fullam, & Pringle"). Also present are DD's Meredith & Monssen, and 2x "Butler-class" DE's. We later learn this TF was CVE Barnes' screen. The US warships are screening 1x APB, & 2x full Tac. MS units. Only Adm. Sherman is present, aboard "Massachusetts," and he is most ill-suited to the engagement about to take place...

The pre-fight odds: Things go wrong immediately for the Americans: Adm. Tanaka indeed is spoiling for this fight -- his combat rating DR is "boxcars," meaning he will fight at his maximum ratings! And, the initiative is with him. This will bode ill for the brave but overmatched Americans.

1st Tac. Sequence: We are actually most surprised to find BB "Massachusetts" present, not suspecting her presence until she is revealed during this sequence. Adm. Tanaka's first torpedos do major damage: 3x US DD's are quickly sunk (Waller, Saufley, & Bennett). In addition, the O'Bannon is nailed squarely, and she goes dead-in-the-water. DD's Nicholas, Beale, Fullam and Pringle are also damaged. The Americans strike back, sinking the Kuroshio & Tokitsukaze, & damaging Urakaze.

2nd Tac. Sequence: Fortunately, we manage to force the Americans to withdraw before Massachusetts can do more damage, as the US "breakoff" level is reached: Four more US DD's go to the bottom: Nicholas, Beale, Fullam, & Pringle. We suffer no hits, and a major Japanese victory is in the offing!

3rd Tac. Sequence: One of the US MS units successfully escapes, with Adm. Tanaka frantically trying to overtake them. The hulk O'Bannon is finished off, along with DD Radford.

4th Tac. Sequence: Adm. Tanaka, aboard "Kagero," along with DD Isokaze, reaches the fleeing US transports. He nails the APB, to "D1" damage. BB Massachusetts successfully withdraws, as the US ships are in complete disarray, scattering to the four winds. Adm. Tanaka is in his element, running amok.

5th Tac. Sequence: Continuing the slaughter, 3 more US DD's go to "Davey Jones locker:" Meredith, Chevalier & Strong.

6th Tac. Sequence: Before they get away, Adm. Tanaka manages to take another bite out of the US APB (we learn that these are US Army Engr. Support Bde ships).

7th (final) Tac. Sequence: Finally, mercifully the carnage ends, with DD Monssen becoming Adm. Tanaka's final victim. The remaining US transports manage to escape, but Adm. Tanaka has won a stunning victory! Proudly, he is lauded as a hero back in Japan, and will gain a gesture of appreciation and accolades from the Emperor himself!

Unfortunately for the Americans, their travails are not yet at an end... ______________________________________________________________________

·  * 3rd Battle of San Cristobal: 25 May 1943 **

Yet a 3rd IJN surface TF, this one from Truk, manages to predict the Americans' defeat at Adm. Tanaka's hands, and accurately guess their withdrawal hex. This is Adm. Omori, and he has with him BC Hiei, CA's Atago, Chokai, & Suzuya, along with DD's Oshio, Asashio, Yamagumo & Minegumo. He successfully contacts BB Massachusetts, screening 1x APB & 2x MS units, south of San Cristobal, in a daylight action. We benefit from the Massachusetts being low on ammo.

1st Tac. Sequence: BC Hiei scores a hit on Massachusetts ("D1").

2nd Tac. Sequence: The US APB successfully escapes. No further damage.

3rd Tac. Sequence: One of the US MS units escapes, but CA's Chokai & Atago catch & sink the other! The Massachusetts fails to score any hits.

4th Tac. Sequence: (only BB Massachusetts remains) No damage done.

5th (final) Tac. Sequence: The "Massachusetts" manages to withdraw with no further damage, ending the battle.

Though we take no damage, Adm. Omori's performance is frowned on, and he is demoted. Such little damage inflicted with such a powerful force! Not a good day, and Adm. Yamamoto personally reprimands Adm. Omori.

Report of 27 May 1943 (cont.)

Following this series of naval engagements, the Americans hit back, sending an airstrike from Ndeni (which we are chagrined to learn they are beginning to call their "Base of Aces") against the withdrawing "Yamato" & "Musashi."

We manage only 2x A6M's to cover them, from Florida I. They prove no help, as the US strike is a strong one: 1x F4F (Joe Foss, now once again flying Wildcats), along with 5x P-38's (Bong) are escorting 3x F4U's (with bombs), along with 3x RAAF Mitchells, coming in low, skip-bombing. Naturally, the American flyers get "the bounce," downing one of our Zeros, & aborting the other. The Allied planes go in to attack, in a single wave, concentrating on Yamato. They learn that she is more heavily-damaged than reported -- she suffered an additional "critical hit" during her fight, and is actually at "D3."

BB Musashi manages to down one of the attacking Corsairs, but the Aussies bore in, scoring hits on Yamato, & bringing her to "D4" damage level -- dead-in-the-water!

That night, ships are dispatched to Yamato, to take her in tow, as she drifts off the west end of the island of San Cristobal. US MTBRon 4 (Ndeni) arrives & attacks. Though 7 of the 8 boats are screened, one manages an attack on Yamato, but fortunately misses!

The following morning, yet another US airstrike finds Yamato's "Crip Div" limping north. Again, only 2x Zeros from Florida I. can be spared, this time on Emergency Naval Cover CAP, & they run into another buzz-saw: 3x F4U's (Joe Foss, once again flying a "hog"), with 5x P-38's & a Wildcat for good measure. They are escorting 2x of the RAAF Mitchells. We are lucky to lose only one of the two Zeros, and once again the Australians go in to try to finish off "Yamato," skip-bombing. Most fortunately, one of the attackers is aborted by Yamato's escorts' AA, and though hit, Yamato barely escapes being sunk! She escapes, and eventually later will reach a repair yard somewhere in Japan.

Adm. Omori's TF (BC Hiei) is harassed by US MTB's as he leaves the Solomons area. 3 US boats attack Hiei, but fortunately score no hits. Adm. Omori returns to Truk in disgrace.

Bay of Bengal: On 22 May, the British E. Fleet HQ at Colombo receives an alarming report from a US sub in the Malacca Strait: 4x Japanese CV's, 2x CA's, & 3x DD's are reported steaming through the strait, into the Bay of Bengal! Fortunately for us, no attacks are made, but to our great misfortune, our presence is discovered, and the British now have time to raise steam & try to escape our grasp.

The British ships in Calcutta are able to emergency-sortie, & they put to sea, no doubt in terror, shortly after the US sub contact report is received. This will prove indeed most unfortunate -- Adm. Ozawa's aim was to catch this large force in port at Calcutta. Adm. Ozawa moves to within 400 nm SSE of Calcutta.

IJN air search out of Rangoon locates the Allied TF, & reports it as "1x MS x2 (full), 4x CL, + 5x DD's." We try to launch an airstrike (G4M's) out of Rangoon, but the bad monsoon weather, plus a lousy squall system over Rangoon, foil our plans, and we are unable to attack. Alas!

Another Allied TF sorties south from Chittagong, no doubt with extra lookouts scanning the air. This one, along with the one from Calcutta, move hugging the Indian coast south-west, reaching approx. half-way to Madras. Then, a 2nd IJN TF is spotted entering the area (air search; Calcutta). It is reported as "5x CA's, 2x CL's, & 6x DD's."

The next day (23 May), we send a small strike from Port Blair (1x H6K) against one of the fleeing Allied TF's. The report our planes send back is shocking: No less than 4x MS, 6x CL's, and 16x DD's! All USN. With so many American ships active all over the map, we marvel at their ability to put so many ships to sea, spread so far out over the Pacific & Indian oceans.

The following day (24th), a 2nd IJN carrier TF (Adm. Nagumo) catches one of the Allied TF's near Madras. Our strike, though, is hindered by persistent bad weather and Adm. Nagumo only manages 4x A6M's, 3x D3A's, & 3x B5N's. A single US P-39 out of Madras arrives as cover, but has no effect. Targeting the damaged RN CA "Devonshire," 3 attacking waves manage to sink her.

On the 25th, most regrettably, the large US TF, benefiting from a most provident storm front, manages to elude both Adml's Ozawa & Nagumo, and escapes past Colombo. Bad news indeed! Quite a small, disappointing bag (CA Devonshire) for such a powerful TF, sent such a long way. We must redouble our efforts to avoid such failures in the future.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(No major operations of note -- the long monsoon season starts in the CBI)

End Report

 

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 17 June 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 6/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The US 7th AF B-24's switch targets, sending 4x B-24's against Midway, at night. We have 2x Ki-45 "Nick" night-fighters there, but they are ineffective. The airfield at Midway is suppressed.

Solomons: Intensive air recce missions over San Cristobal reveal the apparent presence of 13 US ground steps (apparently a division). And, the Americans have already begun constructing an airfield there.

In the 1st week of June, the Americans continue to taunt us from their "Base of Aces," Ndeni. They resume fighter sweeps from there against our forward airbase at Florida I. No fewer than 5x Corsairs (Foss, Walsh), accompanied by 7x P-38's (Bong, Westbrook), hit the airfield. We send up 5x A6M3's (Muto, Sasai) -- all we have left there. We lose 2, but manage to down one of the Corsairs.

Shortly after these raids, we see a very unusual typhoon hit the New Hebrides, hitting both Espiritu Santo & later Ndeni. We lament the sad situation whereby now the weather is doing more damage to the American air effort than our dwindling air forces.

(This typhoon picks up steam, and will eventually hit Florida I./Tulagi, but not until we evacuate all air units from there. It then finally runs its course before moving up to Shortland)

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: One of the last-remaining TF's lingering near San Cristobal is a decoy IJN CVE TF, consisting of the "Ryuho" and CL "Katori." Their luck runs out before they can egress the area, and they're found by air search out of Espiritu Santo.

The "usual suspects" (Foss, Bong, et al) fly from Ndeni, with 3x F4U's with bombs, and the 2x ubiquitous RAAF Mitchells. We try again to cover our ships, but only a single A6M is managed, out of Florida I. The P-38's make short work of them, and the Allied attackers form a single wave, going in against the hapless "Ryuho."

All 3 of the Corsairs drop their eggs on Ryuho, and she goes down very quickly. The Aussies bore in on CL Katori, lightly damaging ("D1") her. Unfortunately, she suffers an additional "critical hit," bringing her to "D2." She does, though, manage to sail away to safety.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Still no offensive operations in Burma. In the first week of June, though, we receive a surprising report: the US Army's "Americal" division has arrived, by rail, at Ledo!

NOTES, Cycle 0/6/43:

In Burma, the Imperial Guards divison's war is over; they are withdrawn. In its place, the 2nd Guards div. begins forming, from the remnants.

In the South Pacific, there is a change of command at Noumea. at the US "So Pac" HQ: Adm. Halsey replaces Adm. Ghormley, and his HQ is moved forward, to Espiritu Santo. We surmise that it cannot be long before a major move is made up the Solomons chain, or perhaps elsewhere? Worse, little do we know that this change-of-command will virtually coincide with an epic catastrophe for us.

We learn that the last of the US B-17's in the Pacific have been written off. We are happy not to have to see any more of them.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, reporting in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 28 June 1943. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 2/7/43

** The Black Day of the Imperial Navy **

The Navy Ministry announced, on 20 June, to a shocked nation, the death of our great Combined Fleet Commander, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. Flying into a forward base at Vella Lavella, his plane was bounced by US P-38's, flying at maximum range, from Ndeni.

Adm. Koga replaces him as Cdr. Combined Fleet (with orders not to fly anywhere in the near future), and our Combined Fleet HQ at Truk is temporarily thrown into disarray. Adm. Koga vows to avenge the great admiral's death with a new, bold series of operations.

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia: The RAAF base at Iron Range, in the Cape York peninsula, is once again active. A small Vengeance raid is launched from there against our ground troops at Port Moresby.

Later, the RAAF builds on this raid, sending 3x Vengeances, along with 2x Hudsons & 1x Beaufort to P. Moresby -- again after our ground troops' positions there.

South Pacific: We discover that the US 13th AF in the Solomons area has been augmented, as 6x B-24's, along with the Australian Mitchells, hit Florida I. from Ndeni. Our AA gunners down one of the Liberators, which have dropped down to medium altitude. But, the Allied bombers damage our airfield (now devoid of Japanese planes) there ("D1"). It seems the old "B-17 scourge" has been replaced with a new "B-24 scourge."

"Washing-machine Charlie" is back in the south pacific: Our 2x "night" Bettys hit the under-construction airfield on San Cristobal, flying from Shortland. We're uncertain if we've had any success.

Sure enough, after this raid the Americans hit back hard, sending 7x B-24's from Ndeni against Shortland, at extended-range. They manage to suppress our airfield there, but we down one of the raiders with flak.

CBI: The British launch an ambitious raid -- a very long-range strike with 2x RAF Liberators, from Calcutta to Haiphong. We have no fighters based there, and lose 1x Ki-48 destroyed on the ground.

Later, we see the RAF Liberator force is growing in strength: Four of them hit Hanoi, from Ledo. This time, though, no damage is done.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Under the "more bad news" department:

2x IJN CA's, returning to Japan for their Yard Periods, are caught off Yokohama by US subs. Unfortunately for us, the Americans have started to solve their torpedo problems, and our carelessness costs us. In a very effective attack, The "Mikuma" is sunk, and "Nachi" is heavily-damaged ("D4"). We are able to send out 2x DD's from Yokohama to take her under tow, and she manages to reach port.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: To shorten our lines, Gen. Kawabe is forced to abandon Myitkyina. It is reoccupied by the 14th Indian div.

Central Pacific: We finally finish a Supply Base at Kwajalein. This somewhat alleviates the poor supply state of Midway, but not completely.

As June 1943 draws to a close, we wonder just who it was that p***ed the gods off, and caused us so much consternation, in so short a time. We do take heart, though, as Adm. Koga still has the carrier striking force still virtually intact, and now spoiling for revenge.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 15 July 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 7/43.

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: "Washing-machine Charlie" (2x "night" G4M's) hit San Cristobal, this time from Rabaul (they've been pulled back to a base which is a little safer). One RAAF night-fighter Beaufighter shows up, and aborts one of our raiders. No damage is reported to the under-construction airstrip on San Cristobal.

From Ndeni, gradually-intensifying raids (7x B-24's + 3x RAAF Mitchells) continue to pound the airfield on Florida I. In the first raid, no damage is done. Later, the Allies return, this time in bigger numbers (9x B-24's + 3x RAAF Mitchells). This time, they pound our airfield good, heavily damaging it. But, AA gunners (the raid is launched at medium altitude) manage to down one of the B-24's.

Australia: Regular raids from the "Iron Range" airfields on the Cape York peninsula continue against P. Moresby -- concentrating on our ground garrison there. Relatively small #'s of Vengeances, Hudsons & Beauforts are still unopposed. Later, targets are switched and this force knocks out the (still unoccupied) airfield there.

Central Pacific: The US 7th AF continues its night B-24 raids from FFS against Midway. Unknown to them, though, we have beefed up our night fighters there, adding 3x J1N1's to join 2x Ki-45's. Our move pays off, as we surprise the Americans, coming in at low altitude (4x Liberators). We down one of the B-24's! The Americans fail to do any damage to the airfield, as we send them packing.

CBI: From Ledo, RAF Liberators manage to suppress our Burma Area Army's OSB at Mandalay. They return shortly thereafter, suppressing the airfield there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South China Sea: Prowling US subs manage to contact a pair of IJN DD's sailing towards Singapore. Both Oyashio and Nowake go to the bottom, with all hands.

Central Pacific: On 12 July, our radio intercept station on Wake receives several distress calls from USN vessels, apparently well SE of Wake. They have run into a fluke typhoon, apparently as they are approaching Wake. A few days later, one of our fishing trawlers, approx 200 nm NE of Trongi atoll, fishes out some survivors, from a USN Butler-class DE. They state their ship went down in the storm. Apparently, the Americans ran headlong into this storm and paid a price for it. We are a bit concerned about the presence of an American TF in the area. For, we are unable ever to locate it. It will appear a couple of days later:

On the morning of 14 July, Adm. Koga (Cdr-in-Chief, Combined Fleet; Truk) is (rudely) awakened by the sound of many aircraft engines buzzing low over his HQ on Dublon I. He is more than a little chagrined to see that they're USN Avengers! Where did THEY come from!? Many Dauntlesses are also seen overhead, and many Zeros, some from our carrier fleet based ashore there, are in the air chasing them down! A major air battle is raging over Truk lagoon, and chaos exists among the fleet there.

The Americans have managed to sneak a carrier TF (we learn later commanded by Adm. Kinkaid) to a launch point NE of Truk! Now we piece together the reports from the Wake vicinity previously. Our search planes out of Truk have failed. Fortunately, though, we do have CAP on station over Truk, and they at least are not caught unprepared. Frantically, we attempt to get some of the fleet assets underway.

We are fortunate in that the Americans' launch hex (180 mi. NE of Truk) is squalled-in, and their attack wave has difficulty forming -- apparently some of the attackers are unable to join the raid.

Coming in at "low" altitude are 4x unescorted TBF's. At "medium" altitude we find 3x F4F's escorting 5x Dauntlesses. We send up no fewer than 13 Zeros, many of them "elite" carrier A/P's. We send 4 of them (Iwamoto) against the Avengers, downing 1 and aborting 2 of them. Against the SBD's, the Americans get "the bounce" but the Wildcats are too badly outnumbered to matter. They're unable to prevent our Zeros' slipping past them & tearing into the Dauntlesses -- we down 2 & abort 2. Thus, only a single SBD + 1x TBF are able to attack.

The Americans have found most of the Combined Fleet swinging at anchor in Truk lagoon -- all of the big carriers, some of the smaller ones, several cruisers and many DD's lay below. Fortunately, the heavy AA fire turns the attackers away, and they are not able to seriously threaten our ships. But, the raid has shocked us to the core. We laud the audacity of Adm. Kinkaid, and get together a TF to sortie to chase him down!

As Adm. Kinkaid egresses, to the south, we finally get an air search report, which sends back: "3x CV, 2x BB, 4x CA, 4x CL, + 8x DD's." Around this time, we receive another report of an American TF, operating 180 mi. NW of Makin. This one is reported as "3x CVE, 1x DE, & 3x DD's." They appear to be moving closer to Truk, to the SW, apparently in an attempt to join with Adm. Kinkaid. As we were fortunate in that weather hampered Adm. Kinkaid's strike on Truk, so we are vexed as bad weather clings around Rabaul, as we try to form an airstrike from there against the US CVE TF.

We do manage to send off a fairly strong strike (7x G4M's, along with 1x H8K). Forming a single wave, the Emily and 2 of the Bettys go in low; with 5x Bettys staying at medium altitude. All are armed with bombs, as the strike is at long-range. We discover the US TF actually contains 4x CVE's, 1x DE, & 2x DD's. 4x Wildcats are launched as CAP. Both of our low-altitude Bettys are downed, and 2 up higher are aborted. Going in to attack, we lose another 2x Bettys to AA, with the rest of our strike turned back. Thus, our strike is thwarted.

Meanwhile, at Truk, ships weigh anchor and sortie, at full-speed. The chase is on! Will we be able to run the Americans down before they escape to the safety of Espiritu Santo or Noumea, where they appear to be heading? Stay tuned. Adm. Koga is indeed in a foul mood. Having just taken command of Combined Fleet, no sooner has he settled in to command than the Americans manage to launch a carrier strike at Truk! Previously unthinkable. Most embarassing, and we vow to avenge this raid.

South Pacific: IJN subs report a very large USN CL/DD TF, apparently containing 6x CL's + 16x DD's, moving north from the Coral Sea. This TF is apparently heading for the now-fleeing-for-his-life Adm. Kinkaid, as he approaches the New Hebrides.

GROUND OPERATIONS

CBI: Road construction commences, from NE of Yunnani to the North. 3x British Engineer units move out from Ledo & start construction of the road to link Ledo with it. The Ledo road is thus begun. Perhaps the war is again to become active in China, after a long hiatus.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 29 July 1943. Operations through end of G/T 2/8/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: "WMC" raids from Rabaul (2x G4M's, "night") continue against the nearly-completed US airstrip on San Cristobal. Our efforts are unable to affect construction. The US airstrip is then completed and opened for operations on July 20th. This gives the Americans an airfield very close to our front-line airfield on Florida I./Tulagi.

From Ndeni, B-24 strikes hit Florida I. (our airstrip there is still abandoned). Mixed results are gained; with no major damage inflicted.

Central Pacific: B-24 raids from FFS continue to hit Midway, now during daylight. We lose one Ki-45 night-fighter destroyed on the ground, and are unable to put up any effective air opposition to these raids.

CBI: British Liberators hit the rail line from Mandalay to Lashio, temporarily knocking it out.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Carolines: Adm'l Kinkaid's forces from the Truk raid successfully evade IJN carrier TF's sortied from Truk to chase them down. They reach the safety of the New Hebrides, and once again leave Adm. Ozawa cursing in frustration. Near Ndeni, an IJN subron slips in and gets a shot off at the CVE "Liscombe Bay," but unfortunately misses. Later, another subron contact at Ndeni is screened off by US ASW air and USN MTB's patrolling there. The American PT boats sink one IJN sub.

A 2nd USN TF, approaching Ndeni from the south, is contacted & attacked by IJN subs. This time, the US screen is minimal, and the BB "Oklahoma" is moderately-damaged ("D2").

Adm. Kinkaid's TF is attacked again, south of Ndeni, apparently heading for Espiritu Santo, by 2x IJN subrons. Following both attacks, we receive detailed reports of this now-combined TF, revealing:

"4x CV's, 4x CVE's, 6x BB's, 3x CA's, 8x CL's, 24x DD's, + 1x DE."

Attacks against one of the American flat-tops are foiled, with one IJN sub lost. Later, another IJN subron is luckier, sneaking in, penetrating the USN screen and getting a hit in on the BB "California" ("D1").

Adm. Kinkaid's TF apparently pulls into anchor at Espiritu Santo.

E. Indies: A US sub patrolling the Java sea lanes catches IJN BB "Fuso" off Soerabaja. Fortunately, no hits are scored.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(No major operations to report)

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 5 Aug. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/8/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia/N. Guinea: Regular missions continue from the RAAF Iron Range base, concentrating on the well-dug-in perimeter defenses around P. Moresby (Vengeances, Hudsons, Beauforts).

CBI: Brief weather clearings allow a couple of small-scale night raids from Rangoon, against Akyab (2x G4M's) & against the under-construction RAF airstrip at Arakan (2x Ki-49's). No damage is noted, and we encounter no night-fighters.

From Ledo, 4x RAF Liberators target our Offensive Support Base at Mandalay, but do no damage. There are still no Japanese air assets in any of the Burma airfields, except for Rangoon.

Central Pacific: 7th US AF B-24's continue regular raids from FFS against Midway. We have augmented our fighter force there, however, and this time we meet the Americans, with 2x A6M3's + 3x Ki45's. Our pilots down one of the Liberators, but we lose a Zero A/P in return. We're able to turn back the raid, which inflicts no damage.

South Pacific: From Ndeni, the combined US/Australian air groups there hit our airfield on Florida I (6x B-24's, along with 5x B-25's -- 3 of them RAAF Mitchells), suppressing the still-unoccupied strip. Something seems to be brewing in the area, as we notice increased Allied naval activity in & around N. Caledonia & Espiritu Santo...

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Aleutians: An American bombardment TF (commanded by R.Adm. "Pug" Ainsworth, we learn) arrives off Agattu, and commences pounding our airstrip there. We have but a lone A6M there, which is quickly armed with bombs & sent after the Americans. Targeting a "Fletcher-class" DD, our mission is turned back by AA. The US TF consists of 1x CA, 1x CL, & 5x DD's. Little damage is done to the airfield, but we wonder if anything is lurking behind "Pug's" ships...

Rabaul: We lose one "Kagero-class" DD, which strikes a mine off Rabaul (Naval Attrition).

Solomons: Something major clearly is in the works. We get several sub contacts on a large US TF steaming north from Espiritu Santo. In the first, SW of Ndeni, we receive an apparently partial report of "1x CVE, 2x BB, 2x CA, 6x CL, & 3x DD's." Most of this subron's boats are screened off (covered also by ASW air from Ndeni), but one boat slips in, lining up the USS "Northampton." Luck is with us, as we catch her with a full spread, sending her to the bottom!

The US TF continues NW, & is spotted by air recce out of Shortland. We receive the following report: "1x CV, 3x BB, 2x CA, 8x CL, 10x DD, + 1x MSU!" An American carrier/transport TF, heading for the southern Solomons!

The next day (4 Aug) a 2nd sub contact SE of Malaita again finds the US ships, but this time we are unable to manage any attacks. We do learn, though, that this TF actually consists of 2x CV's (one "Essex-class"), and also has a very large transport force (1x MS x2, full; plus 2x MS x1, full; plus 1x MS @ "D1" -- with an apparent total load capacity of 33! ). This is a clear indication of a possible major US operation in the southern Solomons, and our bases at Rabaul, Shortland, and Vella LaVella receive urgent orders to ready an all-out strike should this TF continue.

As we feared, this is an American amphibious TF, headed for Florida I.! As the US ships approach the northern part of the island, we ready an all-out Joint Strike (Rabaul-Shortland-Vella LaVella). We have been augmenting our bomber force at Rabaul for some time, and are able to send many Bettys south.

Our strike is fairly well-coordinated (only a couple of A/P's from Vella LaVella fail to join). We're sending everything that'll fly, except for our H6K's/H8K's, against the Americans: From Rabaul, no fewer than 15 G4M's (14 of them armed with torpedoes), plus a lone "elite" G3M (torps) picks up a fighter escort of 5x A6M's, plus a lone Rufe, from Shortland. Rounding out the strike are 2x D4Y ("Judy's") & 1x B5N from Vella LaVella.

The Americans are able to put up effective fighter cover, including some USAAF planes from San Cristobal. At "Low" altitude, our strike, which contains all of the A6M escorts, is met by 6x F4F's + 1x F6F "Hellcat" (this type's combat debut) from the US carriers (with ace Thatch) , plus a single P-39 from San Cristobal. As usual, the Americans get "the bounce," and they tear into our Bettys, downing 3 & aborting 3. The return fire, and our escorts' counter attack scores well, though -- downing the Hellcat & 2 of the Wildcats. Thus, making it through the CAP are 8x torpedo-armed Bettys + 1x Nell, along with a lone B5N.

At medium altitude, our level bombers & Judys from Vella LaVella are met by 2x P-38's, 1x F4U (Foss), and a single P-40 (Johnson). The lone Rufe assigned to escort our bombers is naturally unable to help, and we lose both of the "Judy's" (this is the combat debut of this type also; regrettably it is not to be an auspicious one), and the rest of this element is turned back.

Our torpedo bombers go in to attack, in a single wave (1x "elite" G3M; 8x G4M's, + 1x B5N). We learn that the US carriers are the "Essex" and "Lexington." Two BB's (Indiana, N. Carolina) accompany them. Unfortunately, we are unable to gain a favorable attack entry against the largest US transports, which are well-spread-out. So, our attack is ordered in against the US carriers! The American flak, though, is withering: the Nell, and one of the Bettys are blasted from the sky, and the rest of the strike is aborted. Our all-out strike is thus unable to score a single hit!

Now safe, the Americans detach their transports & commence landing on the northern coast of Florida Island. As the sun comes up on the 6th of Aug, we learn that the 5th marines (1st Mar Div) has come ashore, landed in the north/center part of the island, opposite "Utuha passage," & approx. 9 miles east of our airstrip. The Americans continue debarkation. Meanwhile, the Combined Fleet sorties south, from Rabaul & Truk. Stay tuned!

GROUND OPERATIONS

Florida Island (cont.): As the US marines come ashore, 2x IJA Bn's are activated from the airstrip perimeter & sent east to block their advance, moving to contact west of the marines' beach-head. Can our navy prevent the off-loading of the rest of the 1st Mar Div? How will our garrison do in their first major encounter with these US marines?

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Ann, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 12 Aug. 1943. Operations through end of 3rd Naval Phase; G/T 4/8/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia: The RAAF continues to pound the Moresby area defenses, from their Iron Range base (Vengeances, Hudsons, Beauforts). We still are unable to provide our troops with fighter cover, being hard-pressed everywhere else.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(This week sees a major series of operations on both sides, as the first US offensive in the south pacific, the US marines' landing on Florida I./Tulagi, progresses)

South Pacific:

On 6 Aug, we learn of a US BB TF, sortieing from Espiritu Santo, which is contacted NW of there by our I-boats. Apparently containing up to 4 BB's, with a large DD escort, our first attack succeeds in hitting BB "Pennsylvania," lightly ("D1") damaging her. The US ships continue north.

Meanwhile, the Americans continue their off-loading on Florida I., with the rest of the 1st Mar Div coming ashore. We are unable to get a strong surface TF down there in time to interfere, but continue to send airstrikes south from Rabaul, Shortland, & Vella LaVella. We manage a very powerful Joint Strike, with 11 Bettys (10 of them with torpedoes) from Rabaul, joined by 5x A6M's + 1x "Rufe" from Shortland, and single Kates, Jills, and Judys from Vella LaVella.

The US ships continue to be well-protected, with CAP from the nearby Essex & Lexington, and land-based cover from San Cristobal, along with small #'s of fighters flying from Ndeni. In this strike, all of our escorts accompany the torpedo bombers, and are met by 3x F4F's (CV's), a P-40 (Walsh) + a P-39 from S.C., and another P-40 (Johnson) + 1x Corsair (Foss) from Ndeni. Tired of constantly being "bounced," we switch escort to close. We lose 1x Zero & have 2 aborts, but in return down one of the US P-40's. Our escorts thus do well, as we lose only 1x Betty (with 2 aborts). Up higher, we have 1x Betty, a Kate & Judy. They are ripped into by 5x P-38's (Bong, Lynch), and only the B5N survives (turned away).

Our strike is a strong one; going in are 7x G4M's + 1x B6N. Forming a single attack wave, luck is with us this time, as our approach path finds a juicy target: A 2x MS (full). AA downs one of the Bettys (with 2 more aborts), and the Jill. We make the Americans pay this time, sinking these transports, & damaging the CLAA "Atlanta" ("D2") & CL Montpelier ("D1"). An excellent strike! We learn that we have hurt the marines, and that they lose 3 steps (the better part of one Rgt.). The remainder of the division, though, is successfully debarked.

The next day, more IJN sub contacts occur against the US BB TF still steaming towards the Solomons. Most of our attacks are foiled, but we do get one good shot at BB "Tennessee," missing. The US BB's continue NW, moving to the New Georgia area (note: we later learn that the Americans have "read our mail," & know that this hex is the destination for one of our carrier TF's hastily steaming south into the Solomons. Thus, the Americans hope to catch our ships in a surface battle there!).

Other US TF's continue to arrive in the southern Solomons, one apparently containing another carrier.

The next day, one of our subrons in the Coral Sea spots the BB "Pennsylvania," damaged before, apparently heading for Australia. "Penny's" luck continues to be bad -- she is heavily-damaged (apparently with the aid of a "critical hit"), and later has to be towed out of the area.

On 9 Aug, powerful IJN TF's begin to arrive in the area. Adm. Nagumo's carrier TF is soon spotted, near New Georgia, and is hit by an Allied strike from Ndeni & San Cristobal. A total of 6x B-24's, 6x B-25's (3 of them RAAF), with a very small escort (2x P-39's) arrives. We ignore the Liberators up high, and send 8x Zeroes against the skip-bombing Mitchells. The Airacobras are no help -- they are quickly dispatched -- and we manage to down one of the Aussie B-25's. Fortunately for us, the B-25's, flying from Ndeni, are at extended-range. The Allied strike chooses not to press home against the carriers, instead concentrating on CA "Haguro." Fortunately, no hits are scored.

Also on the 9th, another IJN carrier TF (Adm. Ozawa) arrives in the area, north of the Solomons. Adm. Ozawa's arrival is not spotted prior to his gaining a launching position, against the US BB TF near New Georgia (the one hunting for Adm. Nagumo). Thus, Adm. Ozawa is forced to come to Nagumo's aid, sending a powerful strike.

This time, the American ships have no air cover, and our boys have a good day. 8x Vals + 1x Judy, plus 8x torpedo-bombers (6x B5N + 2x B6N) go in to attack. We lose 2x Zeroes, which are sent in to help suppress flak, but most of our attack planes get through the AA to attack. BB "California" is moderately ("D2") damaged; BB "Tennessee" lightly so, but the "Mississippi" is hit hard, heavily-damaged ("D3"). We also sink two DD's (Aaron Ward, Duncan). We are thus able to foil the Americans' plans to ambush Adm. Nagumo, and the US ships begin to disperse. Later that same day, we send an afternoon strike against the now-fleeing battlewagons. From Rabaul, 6x torpedo-laden Bettys find the BB's "Mississipi' (D3) & "California" (D4, being towed -- she apparently was harder-hit than our pilots reported earlier), with 4x DD's. The Bettys make short work of the hapless ships, sinking both the "Mississipi" and "California!" What a field day! Great work, boys!
On the 10th, after the remainder of the marines get ashore, the US transports escape, but a very powerful US surface TF remains on-staion there, apparently intent on preventing our reinforcing the island. We send two separate carrier strikes against it. Adm. Ozawa's is the first to strike. Unfortunately, Ozawa's strike is badly coordinated, arriving understrength. 4x D3A's + 1x D4Y (escorted by 5x "elite" A6M3's, with Okumura), plus 4x B5N's + 1x B6N (escorted by 4x A6M's, with Iwamoto & Ishii) run into a buzz-saw of American fighters, which continue to provide impressively-effective air cover.

Against the IJN dive-bombers, 1x F4U (Foss), 1x P-38 (Bong), 2x P-40's (Johnson, Lynch) & 1x P-39 score well, downing one Zero, & one Val & Judy. The rest of the dive-bombers are all aborted -- a good performance by the Americans, who in turn suffer no losses. Down low, 5x F4F's (O'Hare, still fighting) + 2x P-40's do even better: downing 1x Zero (our ace Ishii is KIA) and no fewer than 3 of the "Kates." The rest of our attackers are chased away, making this strike a bitter failure.

The next strike to arrive is from Adm. Nagumo. It is fated, regrettably, to do no better. 4x Vals + 3x Judys, along with 4x close-escorting Zeros are met by Foss's F4U's & Bong's P-38's (4 of them), with now-predictable results (one Zero & Judy downed). Meanwhile, at low altitude 3x B5N's, with the same 4-Zero escort, are hit by 3x F4F's (carrier-based) + 2x P-40's. Again, we lose one Zero and one Kate. This time, we manage to get a few attackers in, to face the AA fire of the US ships. Forming a single wave, and being content to target only the "inner ring" of the US TF, we see two more Vals go down, and the other two attacking A/P's turned away. Alas, another failed attack! We must concede the Americans have learned well how to protect their ships from concentrated air attack. Times have indeed changed, from the salad days when we would happily sink unprotected American transports.

The next day, we gain a measure of revenge, as our subs spot & attack BB "Tennessee" in the Solomon Sea, rendering her from "D1" to heavily-damaged "D3" status. Following this contact report, one last strike from Rabaul is sent: 9x Bettys (4 with torpedoes) hit the now-hapless "Tennessee." She is hit again, rendered dead-in-the water, and suffers an additional "critical hit," sending her to the bottom. Another American battleship sunk!

NW of Ndeni, we finally locate the US carriers, as our subs try to penetrate the Essex's & Lexington's screen. Unfortunately, we are unable to & suffer the loss of another I-boat.

Aleutians: Off Agattu, the US CA "Witchita" runs aground in a heavy storm, after having bombarded the island, & she is apparently heavily-damaged.

End Report

 

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 18 Aug. 1943. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 1/9/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Regular WMC night runs continue, from Rabaul, against the still-expanding US airstrip on San Cristobal. Twice, we are met by a lone P-38 night fighter, which is unable to score any kills. We do no damage.

CBI: From Ledo, breaks in the monsoon allow British Liberators to hit the rail line south of Mandalay. Fortunately, the line remains intact. From Calcutta & Kohima, small-scale British ground support missions are mounted against two of our front-line divisions, the 2nd & 18th.

Australia (note): Australian engineers continue construction of a new airfield ("Higgins Field"), on the northern tip of the Cape York peninsula.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: On Aug. 14, 6x US B-24's from Ndeni locate & attack Adm. Ozawa's carrier TF, NE of Choiseul. They arrive without escort, and are met by a total of 8x A6M's (including our ace, Iwamoto, from CV Zuikaku). We trade one Zero for one of the B-24's (aborting another), & 4 of the Libs go in to attack. Apparently unwilling to risk further loss from AA, the Americans concentrate on Adm. Ozawa's "inner ring," picking on CA "Ashigara." No hits are scored.

Adm. Nagumo's carrier TF departs the area, and apparently heads back to Truk.

Shortly after this, the US TF patrolling Florida I./Tulagi departs, giving up their station off the now-contested island. SE of Santa Isabel, they are contacted by an IJN subron. We are unable to get into postion to attack, as American PBY ASW air, and growing numbers of US MTB's patrolling the southern Solomons, foils our attempt. Later, though, 100 nm W of Espiritu Santo, another IJN subron finds them. This time, we manage to line up two shots on CA "Louisville." Unfortunately, though, we are unable to score against her.

Note: IJN & USN carrier TF's, known to each other, continue to remain at arms' length -- approx. 360 nm separate the two. Adm. Ozawa's TF remains close NE off Choiseul; the US TF (commander & composition unknown) is approx. 120 nm NW of Ndeni -- apparently reluctant to stray too far from this so-called "Base-full-of Aces."

We are surprised, then, when this TF does launch a strike against Adm. Ozawa, at extended-range! At this point, we have been "located" but we've lost track of the Americans. Scrambling Naval Cover CAP from Shortland (4x A6M's) & Tulagi (1x A6M), Adm. Ozawa's performance leaves something to be desired, and only reduced CAP is available from his ships.

Arriving to hit us are 8x SBD's (@ "extended-range"), close-escorted by 6x F4F's. With the land-based Zeros to help, we manage a total of 12 Zeros. They are enough to tear the Wildcats to pieces, sending no less than 4 of them down, & aborting the rest. But, we manage only to splash 2 of the Dauntlesses. 4 of them press on, & are intent on "going all the way in," against the 4 CV's we have!

The US Adm. learns that Adm. Ozawa's TF consists of 4x CV, 1x BC, 4x CA, 1x CL, & 6x DD's. Forming a single wave, the Americans are indeed an agressive bunch -- we only manage to turn one of them back by flak. All 3 of the attacking SBD A/P's line up their bomb runs on CV "Zuikaku" (which happens to be Adm. Ozawa's flagship!). We see many large splashes, which temporarily obscures Zuikaku, but afterward we are greatly relieved to see her steaming out of it, unhurt! Several close-misses do, though, put quite a scare into us. We are forced to admit we admire the American pilots' courage.

Following this strike, the American flattops pull out, steaming S by SE. An IJN subron contacts them NW of Ndeni. Most of our boats are screened, but a single one gets in, lining up an attack on the USS "Saratoga!" Our luck does not hold, though, and our spread fails to hit her. The next day, this US TF is spotted by another IJN subron, this time approaching Espiritu Santo. We have no chance this time, though, as we lose one I-boat to patrolling PBY's.

Following this series of movements, no US ships remain on-station off Florida I. Adm. Ozawa, though, does remain. Will Adm. Koga (Cdr, Combined Fleet) & Gen. Horii (CG, 17th Army, Rabaul) decide to reinforce, and contest the US Marines' advance?

Java Sea: US fleet boats patrolling the Java Sea spot an IJN BB TF (reported as "2x BB + 4x DD") steaming NW from Java. Fortunately, we are able to screen all the attacking sub points.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Florida I: Now ashore in force, the 1st Mar Div (Gen. Vandegrift) commences its advance. On the right flank, the 5th Marines hit a low-quality IJN Bn., quickly destroying it without loss. This Rgt. is able to continue its advance, wiping out another IJA Bn & reaching the outer perimeter of the airfield. The marines learn that it is defended by the old "South Seas Detachment," plus 1x Engr, commanded by Gen. Tanaka. These defenders are very well-dug-in.

On the left flank, the 7th Marines' attempt to keep up with their brother Rgt does manage to defeat another IJA Bn, but not without losses this time. We are forced to admit that the US marines have had a good first week on Florida Island. But, to this point they've faced only low-grade delaying Bn's. We shall see what transpires next.

CYCLE, Notes: A Japanese Supply Base is completed at Manila. In Burma, the Burma Nat'l Army Bde Group is formed, at Lashio. On the British side, the 14th Army HQ is formed, at Chittagong. Gen. Wavell remains in command. On Florida Island, the 1st Mar Div receives replacements, making good the losses they suffered in having the latter two Rgt's swim ashore (thanks to the Rabaul Bettys).

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 26 Aug. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 2/9/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: From San Cristobal, regular ground support missions (small #'s of USMC SBD's) pound our garrison on Florida I. We mount some missions of our own, including one Joint Strike from Rabaul, joining with carrier air from Adm. Ozawa's TF still steaming north of Santa Isabel -- hitting the 1st Mar Div, with pretty good results (see "Ground Ops").

US fighter sweeps control the skies over Florida I./Tulagi, with F4U's (including the South Pacific debut of Maj. Pappy Boyington) & P-38's forcing us to eventually evacuate the airfield there.

We see USAAF A-20's, the first we've seen of this type in a long time, also flying from Ndeni, which join in the GS missions against the "South Seas Detachment" defending the airfield.

N. Australia: The RAAF base at Darwin has been augmented, and is once again in business, with RAAF Hudsons, 1x Liberator, & Mitchells pounding Koepang's airstrip (abandoned). Later, these units hit our airfield on Tanimbar I. (also empty), suppressing it.

From the RAAF "Iron Range" airfield, P. Moresby is hit regularly (growing #'s of Vengeances, along with small #'s of Beauforts), suppressing the airstrip there. In two raids, though, we down two of the Vengeances with flak.

We continue our WMC (2x Bettys, night) raids from Rabaul, against the still-growing US airstrip on San Cristobal. The missions are regularly opposed by a single night-fighter P-38, which is enough to consistently foil our attacks. We're thus unable to halt or hinder construction.

CBI: The British have been stepping up air operations in Burma, from Kohima & Ledo, concentrating on a couple of our front-line divisions (primarily the 38th), and the rail line south of Mandalay -- which is temporarily knocked out by a raid by 4x RAF Liberators. Small #'s of IJA air assets begin to be moved into the central Burma airfields, in preparation for the end of the long monsoon season, in a couple of weeks.

Everywhere, we continue to be hard-pressed in the air...

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: A decision is made to reinforce Florida I. The plan is to send the 48th Div (-), from Rabaul, which is now a little more than half-strength, down the slot to reinforce the defense of the airfield there. It is not long before our transport TF is spotted by US air search, NW of Santa Isabel. As we approach Florida I., all hell breaks loose, as a powerful 13th AF strike from Ndeni hits us:

Coming in at low altitude are 6x B-25's (skip-bombing), with an impressive escort of 2x P-40's (extended-range; Lynch, Robbins), 3x USMC F4U's (Walsh, Aldrich, Boyington), & no fewer than 8x P-38's (Bong, Westbrook). Ndeni is indeed living up to its billing as the Americans' "base-full-of aces." We scramble to get CAP over the transports, from Adm. Ozawa's carriers, Shortland, & Tulagi. But, we manage only a single "elite" A6M3 (with Iwamoto, flying from "Akagi"), plus 6 others. We are badly out-numbered and out-gunned, and (as usual), the Americans get the "bounce" on us. We quickly lose two Zero A/P's splashed (plus 3 "aborts") and, worse, our ace Iwamoto is shot down and killed by Dick Bong himself! We are unable to turn back any of the bombers, which all get through.

Up high are 6x B-24's, with 4 more P-38's as escort (McGuire). We manage 3x Zeros (including one "elite" from the carriers). We fare no better, losing another Zero without doing any damage.

The Americans form two attacking waves. Our TF consists of 2x CL's, 4x DD's, plus a full APB and one at "D1". We prepare for an onslaught. In the 1st attacking wave, (3x B-25's + 2x B-24's), the Liberators contribute nothing, but the Mitchells hit one of the APB's, bringing it to "D2." The 2nd wave, though, does a number on us. Once again the B-24's score no hits, but the B-25's have a veritable field day, sinking our (full) APB outright. The result is a disaster, as we have our own "Battle of the Bismarck Sea" off Florida Island -- our division loses 6 of its 8 steps.

Our travails are not over. Two USN MTBrons (based at San Cristobal) attempt contact, with one succeeding. Fortunately, our CL's & DD's screen them off, and we are able to commence off-loading the remaining troops. No sooner than we get one Bn. ashore, though, the skies again are filled with US planes: this time, a Joint Spl Strike from Reef I. - San Cristobal. 2x SBD's from San Cristobal, escorted by 4x extended-range Lightnings from Reef I., + 2 more P-38's and a P-39 to boot, are met by a total of 5x A6M3's. This time, we manage to abort one of the Dauntlesses, but lose two more Zeros in the exchange. Thus, a single marine SBD dives on our remaining APB (it is at "D2" already), and scores, rendering it "D3" and destroying in the process the lone remaining IJA Bn.

The end result of our reinforcement attempt is a fiasco. We manage to land a single Bn. from the once-proud 48th Inf. Division. Adm. Ozawa's performance, in failing to protect our ships going in, is sorely lacking. On egress, our transport TF is hit again by B-24's, which fortunately miss CL "Yura."

The next day, the Americans are back, hitting Adm. Nishimura's TF as it steams NW north of the Solomons. Six more B-25's, again skip-bombing, sink the remaining transports, and lightly damage ("D1") CL "Isuzu." And, in one final strike, the Mitchells, this time with 12x P-38's along with them (they down two more carrier-based Zeros), now level-bombing from medium altitude, fail to score against CL "Yura." Adm. Nishimura finally escapes the inferno, returning to Rabaul & cursing the failure of our air cover to prevent the devastating losses. Adm. Koga, at Combined Fleet HQ (at Truk) continues to disappoint.

Indian Ocean: We learn, through radio intercept, that the RN CL "Emerald" has been moderately damaged by a mine, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, possibly off Ceylon.

Aleutians: A US TF (apparently commanded by Adm. Rockwell), sorties from Dutch Harbor and arrives off Agattu, on 24 Aug. It consists of 5x CL's, 5x DD's, plus 1x APB. They open up, in preparation for a landing, which soon follows: The 1st Spl Svc Bde (known in Hollywood parlance as "the Devil's Brigade"), comes ashore but finds the place long-abandoned, save for an intrinsic garrison component. Our small garrison, though, manages to take a step loss from the Canadian-American unit, but Agattu once again flies the US flag.

Torres Strait (Australia): H6K's from Rabaul, on 25 Aug, report a small US TF (reported as "3x APD's") steaming around the horn of Cape York, through the Torres Strait. Contacted off the coast by an IJN subron, our attack is foiled, in part by another USN MTBron (Cairns), which sinks one I-boat. But, we are able to launch an airstrike against the US ships: 8x G4M's (level-bombing, beyond torpedo range) hit the Americans off Horn Island. Only a single RAAF Beaufighter, from the Iron Range base, arrives as CAP. The US TF is actually only 2x APD's, and one of our attacking waves nails one of them ("D3"), then reports some troops in the water -- apparently Australians! The US TF continues, unmolested now, into the Arafura Sea, apparently heading for Darwin.

Report of 26 Aug. '43 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Florida I: The week of 13-19 August is a bad one for the US 5th Mar Rgt. Their attack is broken up by one strong ground support air strike and they temporarily break. An attack against a flank IJA Bn. fails miserably, as our troops, a low-quality unit, hold, inflicting a step loss on the marines! An encouraging result! The US 1st & 7th Marines, though, have better luck on the left flank, defeating an IJA Rgt (the 107th, of the 52nd Inf. Div), sending it headlong into retreat into the airfield perimeter defense.

The two USMC Rgt's pursue, and the battle for the airfield is joined. Unfortunately, our defenders are also broken by heavy US air pounding. Fortunately, though, they are well-dug-in, and this saves us (at least temporarily), as the 1st US assault fails to dislodge us (defenders are led by the So. Seas Detachment, led by Gen. Tanaka), though we take heavy losses.

The following week (20-26 Aug.) sees the battle for the airfield continue. Our troops are ordered to "hold to the last man," and they fight well. Though broken, Gen. Vandegrift is once again unable to defeat us. Both sides take minor losses (the US 1st & 7th Marines, though, are both at about half-strength, a dangerous condition), and we hold! Again, encouraging news! We are able to taunt the marines, exhorting them to once again try to storm our well-prepared defenses. If only our 48th Division had made it ashore intact! Alas!

CBI: The British have completed the "Ledo Road." We can now expect an increased tempo of ground (and air) operations in China. More bad news.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 9 Sept. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 4/9/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Very heavy and intense ground support missions are mounted against our troops fighting for Florida Island. USAAF A-20's & USMC SBD's from San Cristobal mount multiple missions, and have good success over this 2-week period. US B-24's from Reef I. also join in, dropping down to low altitude, as we still are unable to oppose any of these raids in the air. From Ndeni, especially effective & punishishing strikes (6x B-24's + 6x B-25's -- one of which are RAAF) join in, also with multiple strikes. Our troops on Florida I. continue to be hard-pressed.

N. Australia: 2x US B-24's, from Batchelor Field (Darwin area) hit the A/F on Ambon I., at night (no Japanese air assets there), but do no damage. Heavier raids from Darwin (3x RAAF Hudsons, 2x RAAF Mitchells, 1x RAAF Liberator, plus 2x US B-24's) hit our A/F at Tanimbar I. The field is heavily-damaged, but the Australians lose one Hudson from flak.

N. Guinea: Gen. MacArthur is surprised (and distressed, we hear) to learn that JAAF air units have begun rebasing into (& reoccupying, after a very long hiatus) P. Moresby! These are fighter units previously uncrated at Lae. On 2 Sept., RAAF missions from Iron Range are launched: 1x Beaufighter (strafing), along with 6x Vengeances + 2x Beauforts, show up. On the ground is a lone Ki-61 (with more friends on the way). We down one of the Vengeances with AA, but the A/F is suppressed. We will soon turn the tables on these Australians, as Allied air reconnaissance shortly after reveals 7x JAAF A/P's present!

With P. Moresby now reinforced with Ki-61's, the Australians come back for more, sending 1x Beaufighter, along with 2x new US P-38's, escorting 5x Vengeances + the 2x Beauforts. This time, we are ready for them! All 7 Tonys fly, plus 2x Ki-45's from Lae. Though we lose one of the "Nicks," we down 2 of the Vengeances + one of the Beauforts. That'll teach them! (Note: P. Moresby now is IJA-controlled, having passed from IJN command due to lack of available JNAF assets).

We send our 2x night-trained Bettys from Rabaul against the RAAF Iron Range field, but apparently have little success.

CBI: Weather begins to clear, and air operations begin to increase in tempo. An RAF strike from Ledo hits Mandalay (A/F), with 4x Vengeances, 2x Beauforts, & 1x Liberator. On the ground there are 3x Ki-21's (2 of them "inoperable"). Flak downs one of the Vengeances, but the others suppress the field.

Several central Burma Japanese A/F's have begun to receive air reinforcements. These receive prompt attention. From Calcutta, small-scale missions (Wellingtons & Blenheims) hit YY at night (doing no damage). From Kohima, small Hudson night raids hit Lashio (again, doing no damage). They later repeat this raid, during daylight, and our AA gunners down one of the Hudsons (on the ground at Lashio are 3x "inop." Tonys).

From Ledo, RAF Bostons and 1x Liberator hit Gen. Sano's front-line 38th division. The 38th division holds the northern-most positions opposite Gen. Slim's boys.

The RAF Ledo base then mounts a very successful mission, hitting Mandalay hard -- sending 3x Beaufighters, along with 2x RAF Liberators, 4x Vengeances + 2x Beauforts. Our airfield, unfortunately, is still in bad shape due to the monsoon. There, we have 7x Ki-61's ("Tonys") -- but only 2 of which are operational. Also on the ground are 4x Ki-21's (2x operational). We choose not to rise to oppose the raid, and pay dearly for it. The strafing Beaufighters shoot up 2 of our Tonys on the ground, and the bombers account for one more, plus one of the "Sallys." We thus lose 40 a/c in one day, not a good omen. In addition, the airfield remains "suppressed."

Report of 9 Sept. '43 (cont.)

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: US carrier strikes are launched, flying ground support missions in concert with the impressive land-based efforts. Based on the numbers of SBD's & TBF's, we estimate these raids have come from 2x US CV's (which continue to operate in the safe waters close to Ndeni).

On 28 Aug., IJN subs thrice locate an Allied CVE/transport TF sortieing from Espiritu Santo, apparently heading NW for Florida I. Effective ASW screens prevent any attacks. And, one subron attacking off Malaita loses one submarine -- with US MTB's from San Cristobal helping out here. This TF continues to Florida Island, & is located by air search out of Shortland. We surmise that it contains ground reinforcements to help out the 1st Mar Div, and we ready a large airstrike:

We thank our foresight in stockpiling so many torpedoes at Rabaul, as the 8 Bettys we send south are all armed with them! We mount the now-standard Joint Strike, with the Bettys joined by Zeroes (and B6N's) from Shortland, along with B5N's from Vella LaVella. Arriving at "low" altitude are 6x A6M3's (Sakai & Sasai -- close escort), with the 8 G4M's, plus 1x B6N "Jill" + 2x "Kates;" all torpedo-armed. They're met in the air by a total of 4x F4F's (carrier-based), 1x F4U (Boyington) + 4x P-38's (Lynch, Roberts; all from Ndeni). In the furball which ensues, 2x Zeroes are lost (but no aces), along with 2 of the Bettys + the Jill. In addition, 3 more of the Bettys are aborted. In return, we manage to destroy 2x of the USN Wildcats. Thus, going in to attack are 3x G4M's + 2x B5N's.

At medium altitude are 2x unescorted B5N's from Vella LaVella. They do not last long, dispatched by P-38's (McGuire). Our attackers form a single wave, and find that the US TF consists of 1x APB (D2), 2x CVE's, + 8x DD's. We go for the baby flat-tops and the transports! Two of the Bettys are turned away by flak, so going in to drop are 1x Betty + 2x Kates. The Betty lines up the CVE "Suwanee," and our attack is brilliantly executed, sinking her! The Kates drop against CVE "Liscombe Bay" and the APB. Unfortunately, no further hits are scored, and we are forced to content ourselves with the sinking of the "Suwanee." We are unable, then, to prevent the off-loading of Allied reinforcements for Florida I. -- with the 8th NZ Bde coming ashore.

When this TF egresses, another IJN subron slips in & gets two attacks against the "Liscombe Bay," SW of Ndeni. Alas, we miss. This TF, along with the carrier TF, proceeds to Espiritu Santo, entering the anchorage there.

On 4 Sept., IJN subs spot another US carrier TF leaving Espiritu. 3 separate subrons contact and attack, as this TF (which we later learn also contains transports) moves towards Florida I. Also well-screened, we are unable to mount any effective attacks, and again lose one I-boat. Note: See "Ground Operations;" this TF contains more New Zealanders (the 14th NZ Bde, also of the 3rd NZ Div), with now-desperately-needed reinforcements, after the 8th NZ Bde's first attack meets with very heavy casualties.

Java Sea: An IJN transport TF, consisting of 1x APB (D2) + 2x DD's, is attacked by US subs. They do well, hitting the transports (to "D3"). Many IJA troops go into the water. We continue to curse these US submariners. On the 2nd of Sept., the news gets worse: Other US subs sight & attack an IJN TF leaving Soerabaja & steaming west. They sink the CL "Nagara," and heavily-damage CL "Sendai." The Java Sea is rapidly becoming a very dangerous place for us.

Aleutians: The US TF patrolling Agattu now bombards Attu, for the time-being remaining on-station up there. No evidence of Japanese forces is seen.

Southern Indian Ocean: We have tracked the progress of the USN APD TF previously sighted in passing the Torres Strait, and have guessed its progress. We have sent a carrier TF against it, sortieing from Soerabaja (the Nagara & Sendai were originally part of this TF -- fortunately the US subs were unable to spot the carrier), & heading at top speed towards Cocos I. -- hoping the US ships will show up in that vicinity. They do! Air search (H6K's) out of Cocos I. locates them, and we surprise the Americans (a lone APD) with a carrier strike launched from nearby Cocos I! A single B5N (torps) deals swiftly with these careless Americans, sinking the APD. We pick up some survivors out of the water, and learn that the cargo (apparently originally embarked in E. Australia; possibly Rockhampton) was the Australian paratroop outfit! Our ambush (TF commanded by Adm. Yamaguchi) thus succeeds, and we give the Americans a black eye. We wonder what the Australian PM thinks of this?

Bay of Bengal: Port Blair-based H6K's locate an RN TF steaming past Ceylon, into the Bay of Bengal. It is reported as "3x BB, 5x CA, 3x CL, + 2x DD's." This TF initially proceeds to the Arakan area, then steams straight south, apparently heading for the Andamans! Once again we are insulted by these impudent British, daring to steam so close to our bases. We ready a strike, not far SW from Rangoon, with the only planes we can muster: a combined JNAF/JAAF strike, with 1x G4M + 2x Ki-45's acting as FTR-BMR's. The British ships are unprotected in the air, and we learn its actual composition: "2x RN BB's, 6x CA's (4x RN; 2x RAN), 3x CL's (2x RN; 1x RAN), & 3x DD's (2x RN; 1x RAN). We are unwilling to face the full AA from the battlewagons, so content ourselves with the screening cruisers. The navy Bettys fail to score but, in a rare instance of JAAF success, the Nicks lightly damage the CA "Dorsetshire."

The British ships approach Port Blair, and we send a lone Mavis in an unsuccessful attack. Note: IJN AV "Natoro" is forced to emergency-sortie from Port Blair, upon the approach of the RN TF. Fortunately, she slips away. The British ships open up on the Port Blair A/F, plastering it (it contains no air units) & knocking it out of commission. These ships then steam away SW, heading towards Ceylon. We're unable to ascertain who was in command of these ships.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Florida Island: The week of 27 Aug-2 Sept. sees the arrival of the 8th NZ Bde, & their combat debut. They are sent directly into the attack for the airfield (along with the now-depleted 1st & 7th Marines). Our troops, though broken & pinned, are still well-entrenched. They continue to "defend to the last man." This attack results in grievous losses for us (we are now down to 2 Bn's), but our stubborn defense guts the 8th NZ'rs -- they take 75% casualties! Guess we won't see them leading another attack! Our troops, against all odds, continue to hold the airfield, though just barely, and it appears, with the arrival of the 14th NZ Bde, the end is in sight.

The week of 3 Sept., an additional IJN Bn is thrown into the battle (they were holding off the 5th Marines, NE of the airstrip). Finally, on 6 Sept., after relentless Allied air attacks, the 14th NZ Bde leads the final battle for Florida Island's airfield. Our troops can hold no longer -- the old "South Seas Detachment," and what remains of the 48th Inf. Division (and Gen. Tanaka), are wiped out, and the Allies finally wrest control of the airfield from us. Thus we see the first instance in the war where the Allies are able to take a well-defended airfield from us. Also, the first IJA division eliminated in battle. This battle lasted from 4 Aug to 6 Sept. We are proud of our troops who fought so well and inflicted such heavy losses. Rest assured, more of the same awaits you Allies!

Aleutians: The US-built airfield on Agattu is once again made operational for the Americans. US intel then later discovers that Attu has been abandoned.

CBI: The 5th Indian Div. is detrained, NE of Dacca.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, once again calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 Sept. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 1/10/43

CYCLE 0/9/43, NOTES: The Japanese economic multiple rises to 4! Now we can build more planes (though they won't start arriving until well into 1945). In Burma, Gen. Slim (now a 3-star General) takes command of the 14th Army HQ, at Chittagong. Gen. Wavell returns to the safety of India.

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: (With the weather finally clearing, the week of 9-16 Sept. will see extensive air ops in the CBI, as both sides try to get in the first punches)

The first raid is a JAAF one, from Rangoon against the still-under-construction RAF airstrip on the Arakan. It is actually a small strike, indended mainly to draw RAF fighters down from Akyab. 4x Ki-43's escorting 4x Ki-21's are met by Cover CAP from Akyab: 4x RAF Kittyhawks, 3x US P-40's, + 1x Spitfire & 1x Sea Hurricane. It's been a long time since we've gotten a "bounce," but we do here and we nail the Spitfire. No other losses ensue, and no damage is done.

Rangoon's next strike is against Akyab airfield. We've been building our army air assets up in Burma, & this strike has 8x Ki-45's escorting 10x Ki-49's. The same interceptors as above show up to oppose us, and once again we're lucky, receiving "the bounce." This makes the difference, as we down one of the American P-40's + this other Spitfire. In return, we lose one of the "Nicks." We're able only to suppress the A/F.

We then launch a fighter sweep, from YY, against Akyab. This time, most of the Allied planes are grounded (previously "aborted" in prior air battles), so all of them stay on the ground: 4x Kittyhawks, 3x P-40's, + 1x Sea Hurricane. Coming in to strafe are 5x Ki-61's, 4x Ki-44's, + 2x Ki-43's (Kuroe). We're disappointed in only destroying one of the P-40's. But, we lose no planes from flak.

After a couple of days rest, we are back, sending 7x Nicks + 6x Helens. In the air battle which ensues, we trade one of the Nicks for the Sea Hurricane + 1 of the US P-40's -- a fairly good trade. No further damage is done to the field, & we lose one of the Helens operationally upon return.

Then, we repeat the fighter sweep (5x Ki-61's, 4x Ki-44's, 2x Ki-43's). The RAF commander chooses to ride the attack out on the ground. We destroy 1x Havoc night-fighter, but nothing else.

We later get greedy, and lose 1x Ki-43 + 1x Ki-21 in another raid against the under-construction Arakan field. Worse, near the end of the week the British finally finish construction, and the strip is operational. Too close to Rangoon for comfort!

From Myitkyina, 2x FAA Marlets (FTR-BMR's) hit the Indian Nat'l Army Bde. We scramble 4x Ki-61's, from Mandalay & Lashio. But, no hits are scored, on either side.

The RAF then gets in a good raid of their own, sending (from Ledo) 6x Beaufighters, escorting 7x Vengeances + 5x Beauforts against Mandalay. Our fighter opposition is strong: 5x Ki-61's, 3x Ki-43's (Sumino), + 2x Ki-44's. This time, though, the British get the "bounce" back. We lose, in total, 2x Ki-61's plus an Oscar. But, we nail 3 of the Beauforts, which are more vulnerable at medium altitude. In the bomb run, we're distressed to see 2x Ki-21 "Sally" A/P's destroyed on the ground. A good mission for the RAF!

A summary of the weeks' losses sees us lose 12 A/P's (including 2x Tonys lost defending against a strike against one of our rail moves north of Mandalay, where the Brits lose another Vengeance) -- the British lose 11. A very costly week's worth of operations for both sides.

South Pacific: We send 1x night-trained Betty from Rabaul to wake Gen. MacArthur up at Cooktown. 1x Boston night-fighter shows up, but hits nothing. We're unsure of any results. 2x additional night Bettys hit the RAAF Iron Range A/F, managing to suppress it! A later raid fails to add to the damage. Still no Allied night-fighters there.

The RAAF, now stirred up, hits back from Iron Range, sending 3x FTR's (2x US P-38's -- Westbrook --, 1x Beaufighter) & 5x BMR's (3x Vengeances + 2x Beauforts) against Port Moresby. We're ready for them! 2x Nicks from Lae, + 6x Moresby-based Tonys, tear into them, downing 1x P-38 & 1x Beaufighter -- at a cost of only one of the Ki-61's. Flak downs one of the attacking Vengeances. We thus send these Allies packing, & back to the drawing board in Queensland. We certainly will welcome you boys back, anytime!

We hear reports that the Americans have flown their first air assets into their newly-won Florida I. A/F (which is level-4 & is quickly put into action by US Engr's).

US B-24's from Ndeni hit Shortland's A/F, at night. We abort one (AA). No damage is noted.

Australia: Darwin continues to operate many planes. 11x Allied bombers (RAAF Hudsons, Mitchells & Liberators; US B-25's/B-24's) nail Tanimbar I.'s A/F, heavily damaging it.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Hawaii: NE of Oahu, a US TF (apparently incoming from the W. Coast) is contacted by IJN subs. We get a report of a large force: "3x CV's, 1x CVL, 2x BB's, 5x CA's, 1x CL, 1x AO, + 5x DD's!" Against all odds, 2x boats evade the extensive screen. We line up a perfect attack against CVL "Cowpens." Curses! Only 2 _very_ close misses! We try again, with another subron, as the ships close Oahu. This time, though, our luck doesn't hold -- we are screened & lose another I-boat. The "Cowpens" gets away, pulling into Pearl.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Florida I: The last-remaining IJA troops (one hopelessly isolated & "broken" Bn.) is quickly overrun by the marines & New Zealanders. Adm. Halsey may content himself at Noumea as Florida I. is officially secured.

Burma: Gen. Slim wastes no time in his new command, ordering two major attacks: One on the left flank of our line west of Imphal; the other in the north. In the north, our 38th division is hit hard by multiple ground-support RAF air strikes. An impressive array of units launch an assault againt it: the 9th (lead) & 7th Australian divs, plus the US "Americal" division. We are fairly well-dug-in (fort level "7"). Gen. Messervey is in operational command for this attack, which goes well initially, inflicting very severe losses on us. Initially taking only low losses, Gen. Messervey is not content with the Australians' failure to break us, ordering further frontal attacks against the fortifications. He trades 4 additional step losses to do so, and our defenses are badly degraded. But, in the trade the 9th Aus. division has taken 4 steps as losses. Our 38th division holds out, refusing to retreat!

SW of Imphal, our 18th division is also hard-hit from the air, which has an effect on the battle. Assaulting, from no fewer than 4 sides, are 4 Allied divisions: the 70th (lead) & 2nd British, along with the 5th & 7th Indian. Here, though, our 18th division has long been preparing for this attack -- our fortification level is "maxed" out at 14! The British assault fails to dislodge us, though we take fairly heavy losses. Once again, the British trade additional losses for fortification reduction. We once again hold!

China: After a very long period of inactivity, things heat up again, in Kwangsi Province. After taking a veritable pounding from the air, we hit the KMT 60th Corps at Liuchow. Our 17th division does remarkably well, wiping out the Chinese, and capturing the airstrip there, without loss!

Two KMT armies move into northern Indochina. We will deal with them shortly, the way we _always_ deal with these Chinese, who seem never to pay heed to the numerous "advance at your own risk" warnings posted there.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, with another assault on your morale."

Tokyo, 30 Sept. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/10/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI (This 2-week period sees a continuation of intense, bloody air battles throughout Burma):

IJAAF fighter sweeps kick off from YY, against Akyab. 10x Japanese FTR A/P's (Ki-61's, 44's, & 43's (Kuroe) are met by 4x RAF Kittyhawks + 1x US P-40, along with 2x Spitfires from Chittagong. We trade one "Tony" for one Spit. Following this, we launch a smaller fighter sweep against Akyab from Mandalay (6x FTRs), but no A/P's are downed.

We repeat the YY-Akyab fighter sweeps, this time sending 9x FTR's. The British have reinforced Akyab heavily, as we see 11x Allied FTR's rise to meet us, including 6x new Spitfires! We lose two "Tonys" for 1x "Spit."

From Rangoon, we hit the new RAF strip at Arakan hard. It is as-yet unoccupied, & we send 6x Ki-45's, escorting no fewer than 9x Ki-49's + 7x Ki-21's. No opposition is encountered, and we heavily-damage the field ("D2").

Later, we repeat the raid, with smaller #'s of bombers, and increase the damage there to "D3." It is later partially repaired so, during the next week we return, again heavily-damaging it with our Helens & Sallys from Rangoon.

Then, we turn our attention from Rangoon against Akyab, sending a risky strike against it: (4x Ki-43's -- extended -- + 6x Ki-45's, escorting 9x Ki-21's). They're met by 6x RAF Kittyhawks, 1x US P-40, 3x Spits + 1x Beaufighter. We luck out and get the "bounce." Expecting heavy losses, we in fact turn the tables on the RAF, obtaining an excellent war result: The Allies lose the P-40, 2 of the Kittyhawks, along with 1x Spitfire! We lose one "Sally" bomber + 1x Oscar. We fail to do damage to the field, and lose an additional Sally operationally (multiple strike).

As part of Adm. Ozawa's carrier raid (see "Naval Ops"), we're forced to send our 9x Helens from Rangoon against Calcutta, at maximum range. We end up losing 2, though a Beaufighter is downed in return.

From Port Blair, IJN Bettys (2), Nells (1), + 1x H6K hit Colombo at night, but do no damage.

From 21-23 Sept., the British mount an extensive (though fortunately fairly ineffective) series of air attacks throughout Burma. From Ledo, they send 5x RAF Liberators (unescorted) against the A/F at "YY." We send 1x Ki-61, 4x Ki-44's, + 2x Ki-43's up, downing one of the Libs. No damage is done to the field! Good job, boys! Following this mission, a large raid, also from Ledo, hits the rail line north of Mandalay again (3x Havocs, 3x Beauforts, 3x Beaufighters, + 6x Vengeances). Again, they miss, and the rail/supply line of ours to N. Burma remains intact.

During the week of 24-30 Sept. 4x RAF Liberators hit Rangoon at night, from Ledo. We have no night-fighters capable of intercepting, but fortunately no damage is done to the bustling airfield.

The RAF hits back from Akyab, against YY, sending 11x FTRs (including 5x Spitfires). We manage 11 of our own, including the YY boys, + Cover CAP planes from Prome & Mandalay. This time we come out ahead, downing 2x of the Spits, losing only a single Tony (the RAF seems to be concentrating on knocking down our Tonys at every opportunity). On both sides, the casualties in the air continue to mount.

Intense ground-support missions hit our 18th & 38th divisions, currently engaged with Slim's ground forces. Good results are gained against us, and we are unable to oppose these strikes.

The British discover an IJA rail move & hit it hard, north of Mandalay -- resulting in yet another air battle, in which we down 2x Beauforts, but lose yet another Tony, along with one "Tojo." The RAF also loses a Vengeance operationally, due to the increased tempo of operations. The rail line north of Mandalay has become the effective terminus of any IJA rail moves in Burma, as at that point any rail movement is immediately, and effectively, pounced on by nearly any RAF bomber that can fly. This hampers our reinforcement of the front line in N. Burma.

South Pacific: A night strike is sent against the US airfield on Florida I (3x Bettys). 2x RAAF night-fighter Beaufighters are based there, & they effectively turn back the raid.

Florida I. has apparently become Dick Bong's new digs. We see massive #'s of "fork-tailed devils" (P-38's) commence operations from there. 12 of them hit Shortland (FTR-BMR's). We have abandoned Shortland, save for 3x Ki-46's and a couple of Emilys at the seaplane base there, anticipating these raids. The Americans knock out the airfield, though they lose 1x P-38 from flak.

The US marines then get into the act, sending a couple of Dauntlesses from Florida against Shortland, hitting our ground garrison there. This time, we send a couple of A6M5's down from Rabaul to meet them (along with aces Muto & Ogiya). But, we only abort them -- no kills.

Then, the B-24's from Ndeni hit Shortland, and nail 2 of the 3 "Dinahs" left on the ground, & suppressing the now-abandoned airfield (our seaplanes have also bailed out, heading to safer locales). Note: We have also pulled out of our airstrip on Vella Lavella, where we had based 5x land-based "Kates" & "Judys."

Australia: Gen. MacArthur, apparently irate at the recent setbacks inflicted on the US/RAAF units flying against P. Moresby, has new toys at the Iron Range base. We see 3x P-38's, plus 2x brand-new P-47's (the first we've seen of this type in combat in the South Pacific), escorting RAAF Beauforts & Vengeances, show up over Moresby. We have 6x Ki-61's there. They, along with a Nick & Zero from Lae, fight it out. We lose another Tony & down one Vengeance. No damage is done to the field, but the presence of the US fighters bodes ill for our continued opposition in the air from Moresby. At 17th Army HQ, debate rages whether we should once again allow ourselves to be "bombed out" of there.

Later, 6x US B-25G's hit Moresby, from Cairns. We lose 1x Ki-45, but down one of the "Mitchells." Again, no significant damage to the field is done. This raid is enough to convince us -- time to once again move out from Moresby -- we evacuate our air assets there, to Lae/Gasmata/Rabaul. Just in time, as it turns out, as the Allied raids continue to pound it hard.

From Darwin, very heavy raids are mounted against Tanimbar I. (hitting the airfield there very hard). We do manage to splash one attacking US B-25 (flak).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: On 19 Sept, a US TF arrives off Midway! Supported by (apparently) 3x CV's + 1x CVL, it is an amphibious TF which also contains 2x BB, 5x CA, 2x CL, 5x DD's + 1x DE. Also present are 4x full APB's (a most impressive transport force). At Midway, we have emplaced strong coastal batteries. They're pounded & suppressed by the US surface ships but, in the exchange we manage to lightly damage CL Birmingham. Unfortunately, we're unable to hit the transports on the way in. Before our guns are later blasted, we also manage a hit on CA Indianapolis, lightly damaging her.

A US carrier strike hits Midway: we see only 1x F4F, 1x SB2C (the first we've seen of the "Helldiver"), along with 2x SBD's & 2x TBM's. They hit our ground garrison on Eastern Island -- the 20th Inf. Div (-). We are far-too-well dug-in here, though, to be bothered by such a puny strike.

We choose not to fly any of our meager air assets from Midway, and the US landings commence! The first-wave landings are all on Eastern Island -- The US 25th Inf. Div (Gen. Collins) is put ashore directly against our 20th division! The 24th Inf. division is also landed, broken down into Rgt's & landing at multiple points on E. Island.

Despite a good air bombardment result from FFS (B-24's), "Lightning Joe's" initial assault is nearly a disaster. We now know apparently how he achieved his nickname: It appears as if units under his command seem to take heavy losses in "lightning-fast" fashion! The 25th division's initial assault bogs down seriously on the beach, with very heavy losses. Fortunately for "lightning Joe," though, they pass a required TQ check & are able to remain in good order, still engaged but with a solid beach-head.

Our 20th division, an outstanding outfit, has taken good advantage of the year they've had to prepare their defenses. We inflict 7 steps' worth of losses on the 25th division, and our losses are light! An exceptionally good start for us, and very encouraging! We will teach these Americans just how expensive in blood their "island-hopping" campaign promisses to be!

(For continued narrative regarding the battle for Midway, see "Ground Ops")

Hawaiian Is: We lose another sub operating off Oahu to B-24's patrolling out of there. These waters are beginning to be too dangerous for us.

Bay of Bengal: On 25 Sept., an IJN carrier TF is spotted by RAF air search out of Ceylon as it steams NW into the Bay! Adm. Ozawa is once again on the loose! He is headed for Calcutta at Speed Class 3, hoping to catch the RN ships docked there. Unfortunately, our early detection allows the British to emergency-sortie, so Adm. Ozawa must do a bit of fancy maneuvering in order to attempt to nail them at sea.

A cat-and-mouse game ensues in the northern Bay of Bengal, as the Eastern Fleet ships sortie from Calcutta, steaming (initially) SW, hoping to escape Adm. Ozawa's clutches to the safety of Ceylon. But, the old sea dog Ozawa is not-so-easily fooled. He is fast enough to cut the British off, approx 300 mi. SW of Calcutta. Initial air recon reports (out of Port Blair) puts the British TF as: "1x BB, 7x CA, 1x CL, + 3x DD's."

We send an initial air strike against it from Port Blair: 1x G3M, 2x G4M's, + 1x H6K, all with bombs, and confirm the original contact report. The Bettys manage to make bomb runs against the CA Australia & CL Achilles, but miss. Meanwhile, Adm. Ozawa readies his strike, as the British continue to run. He does well, launching a full strike, which consists of 5x A6M's, escorting 8x D3A's (all "elite"), 3x D4Y's, 2x B5N's (1x "elite"), and 4x B6N's. Luck is with Adm. Collins (who, we learn, is in command of this British TF), as a single Beaufighter is scrambled as CAP -- this lone figher will be enough to help distract our attackers partially.

Forming a single attacking wave, we feel strong enough to brave the heavy AA & target the core ships. RN AA fire splashes 1x Kate + 1x Jill (with an additional 2 aborted), along with 2x Vals (with an additional 4 aborted). The RN gunners have done well indeed, as going into attack are only two torpedo-bomber A/P's, which are joined by 2x Vals & 3x Judys. 1x B5N + 1x D4Y concentrate on CA "Dorsetshire," lightly ("D1") her. 1x B6N + 1x D4Y hit CA "London," again only lightly damaging her. But, the remaining attackers find their mark, sinking the CA "Shropshire." Thus, Adm. Ozawa's first strike is disappointing. Adm. Collins, following this strike, reverses course & heads back north, towards Calcutta. Adm. Ozawa is able to follow, taking up station approx. 220 nm SSW of Calcutta -- with the British ships still within range.

On 28 Sept., Adm. Ozawa launches his 2nd strike. This time, however, there is ample protection for Adm. Collins' ships. CAP is scrambled from Calcutta, Akyab and Chittagong, to try & protect the RN warships. Again, Adm. Ozawa proves up to the task, launching another "full" strike:

Coming in low are 1x B5N, 3x B6N's, escorted by 6x A6M's (Sugino). They're met by 2x Kittyhawks + 3x Spitfires (1 at "extended-rg"). We get "the bounce" & splash 2x Spits. The RAF FTRs are only able to abort one "Jill." At medium altitude are 6x D3A's (all "elite") + 3x D4Y's, escorted by 5x Zeroes (2x "elite"). They are bounced by 4x Beaufighters & 2x US P-40's. One Val goes down & 2 aborted; 1x P-40 is lost. Thus going in to face flak are:

LOW: 1x B5N + 2x B6N's (torpedoes) MEDIUM: 3x D3A + 3x D4Y

Once again, the RN AA gunners rule the day, aborting one of the torpedo-laden Jills, splashing 2 Vals & aborting all the rest of the dive-bombers! But, this is Adm. Ozawa's "A" team. Going into attack, the "Kate" A/P targets the damaged (D1) CA Dorsetshire, sinking her! The lone remaining attacker (1x Jill) misses CA London. This ends our airstrikes.

Adm. Collins then attempts a night engagement against our TF! We are most impressed with his aggressiveness, but Adm. Ozawa is too wily to be caught napping -- he gets away. Our TF steams SE & out-of-sight, apparently having refuelled SE of the Andamans. Thus ends this Bay of Bengal adventure. We had high hopes for a bigger bag of ships.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Midway (cont.): Following the initial landings, Adm. Turner lands the (apparent) reserve, 2 Rgt's of the 40th division. The 108th Infantry is put ashore on E. Island, but will not be reorganized in time to join the main battle this week; the 159th lands on Sand Island, quickly taking the undefended seaplane base.

On Eastern Island, 2 Rgt's of the 24th division lead the attack this time (along with the 25th Inf. division, which has taken heavy losses in the fighting so far). This time, the US attack goes better, with both sides taking moderate losses & our fortification level reduced. But, we are far from being even close to dislodged; the battle continues.

Burma/India, week of 17-23 Sept: SW of Imphal, our 18th division is hit by 5 CW divisions: the 6th Australian, 70th & 2nd British, & the 5th & 7th Indian. Note: The British now have all 3 Australian divisions fighting in Burma! They must have quite a few US divisions in Australia, placating the Australian P.M. These divisions are a most unwelcome sight to us. The British attack results in moderate losses to both sides (the 6th Australian div losses are fairly heavy), but we hold. We will voluntarily withdraw later.

West of Myitkyina, our 38th division (Gen. Sano) is not so well-dug-in. The British assault here is led by the 7th Australian division -- joined by the US Americal & 9th Australian divs. Gen. Messervey, GOC, is decisive this time, forcing our division to retreat, with minor losses. All units concerned pass TQ checks, and the Americal division successfully pursues, keeping the pressure on. This move will force us to make another tactical retreat, virtually along the entire front. We are thus forced to abandon our front-line fortifications, in order to shorten our line.

Burma/India, week of 24-30 Sept: In our retreat, we are forced to abandon Imphal, which is occupied by 2x Indian divs.

NW of Katha, the US Americal division leads an assault against Gen. Sano's 38th division. The 9th & 7th Australian divs also attack. The 38th fights well, inflicting 4 step losses on the Americans, and holds their ground! But, the division is now down to half-strength, as the Allied ground units continue their incessant attacks. Gen. Sano then breaks contact, retreating south.

In the Imhal sector, no attacks are mounted, and we gain some breathing space there.

China, week of 17-23 Sept: In Kwangsi Province, 3x IJA divisions are activated for an offensive. Our 53rd division (ex-Haiphong garrison) attacks the KMT 21st Army, forcing its retreat. The IJA 17th division's attack against the KMT 27th Army, though, does not go well. We are forced to call off this attack and are indeed fortunate to pass a TQ check -- else our losses would have been very heavy. Our 104th division, though, does better -- forcing the KMT 7th Army to retreat, broken, with very heavy losses.

In Kwangtuna Province, our outstanding veteran 6th division defeats the KMT 29th Army at Kukiag, taking that city.

China, week of 24-30 Sept: In Kwangsi Province, the IJA 53rd division continues its attack vs. the KMT 21st Army ("broken"). But, this time the Chinese hold well, with both sides taking moderate losses. We begin an assault against Kweilin, the Provincial Capital. Our 104th division is handed the task of taking the capital. Defending there are two Independent Corps (74, 39), plus the broken KMT 7th Army. Fairly well-dug-in, the Chinese hold -- we are unable to wrest control of the vital city from them.

In Hunan Province, though, our vaunted 6th division continues to run amok, routing & nearly destroying the KMT 29th Army (now down to a single step).

GENERAL NOTES: In Australia, the RAAF's "Higgins Field" (northern tip of the Cape York peninsula) is made operational. A typhoon hits Formosa hard, heavily-damaging Takao before it finally runs out of steam at Amoy, on the China coast.

End Report

Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with a special greeting to you poor dogfaces fighting and dying on Midway! Finding the going a little rough there, huh?"

Tokyo, 14 October 1943. Operations through end of G/T 1/11/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: We begin to air-transport into Shortland a few Inf. Bn's, from Rabaul, to augment our garrison there. Flying mostly at night, the Americans are unable to prevent these missions.

We send the "washing machine charlie" boys (3x G4M's) from Rabaul against the US A/F on Florida Island. We're chased away by 2x night-fighter Beaufighters based there, plus 1x P-38 showing up from San Cristobal.

We are mightily impressed the next day, as we see no fewer than 15 (150 aircraft!) P-38's hit Shortland hard (FTR-BMR's). Flying from their base on Florida Island, they cause heavy damage to the field (which we've abandoned). A mighty impressive show of strength, we're forced to admit. This raid does temporarily shut down our nightly air transport missions from Rabaul. Later, though, we repair the damage & manage to continue the runs into Shortland, at night -- though now on a smaller scale, and the American P-38's come back to shut it down shortly afterward.

That same day, 3x USMC SBD's hit our garrison on Shortland, causing some hate & discontent on the ground.

Australia: Regular raids from Darwin continue, and we see that the US-RAAF air forces there have been massively augmented: They hit Tanimbar I. with 11x B-25's (2 of them RAAF), 4x B-24's (again, 2 of them Aussies), along with 3x Hudsons. The A/F there is nearly obliterated.

A few days later, someone at Rabaul gets the bright idea to send our Bettys on a maximum-range strike against Darwin. Calculating that Darwin, with so many bombers present, couldn't have many fighters there, we hope the raid is only lightly opposed. We forget, though, about the Allied base north of Darwin, on Bathurst Island. We send 8x G4M's, and they are met by 10 Allied FTR's on Cover CAP (2x US P-40's, 3x RAAF Spitfires, 1x P-38, 1x Beaufighter, 1x P-47, and 2x RAAF Boomerangs -- their combat debut). We count ourselves as exceptionally fortunate in only losing 3 of the Bettys. Though we manage to down the Thunderbolt A/P, the raid is a debacle, & not likely to be repeated!

From Iron Range, regular visits from Vengeances & Beauforts continue over P. Moresby, and moderate damage is done.

We see the first Allied planes rebased into "Higgins Field," on the northern tip of the Cape York peninsula (unknown what types). After we get this report, we send our night-trained Bettys from Rabaul against it, but unfortunately are unable to cause any damage.

Throughout the Pacific, we have several "green" bomber A/P's, & we launch several strikes on far-flung targets to try to get them some combat experience, & hopefully "promote" them to normal status. Thus, we send some Bettys from Amboina to hit the anchorage at Broome. Good bomb results are gained, but none of our pilots are promoted.

CBI: In a night strike from Ledo, our OSB at Mandalay is hit by Beauforts & RAF Liberators, & takes "D1" damage (reducing its command radius 25%). Not to worry, our front-line troops remain linked. The Allied bombers from Ledo later hit Lashio very hard, knocking out our airfield there ("D2").

From Rangoon, we continue to hit the as-yet-unoccupied RAF field at Arakan (Ki-49's, Ki-21's). We keep it in a constant state of damage, and to date haven't seen any RAF opposition over it. This doesn't last, though, as we discover to our chagrin the next week. The IJAAF gets a black eye when we show up with 11x FTR's (Ki-43's, Ki-61's, & Ki-45's), escorting but 4x Ki-21 "Sallys." This time, the Allies are up & waiting for us, sending 11 FTRs down from Akyab (Kittyhawks, P-40's -- Robbins --& Spitfires). We lose the "bounce," and pay through the nose. In total, we lose 2x Ki-61's, 2x Ki-45's, & 2 of the bombers. We get nothing in return. Most regrettable.

We do manage to slip in several small-scale ground support attacks, from Mandalay, mostly against the US "Americal" division in the north.

From Port Blair, we send a few Bettys all the way to Nagpur, in India, hitting the airfield there. It is our first visit so deep into India, and our pilots are mostly "green." No opposition is encountered. Later, we send 2x "green" Bettys against Hyderabad. One P-39, flying from Madras, intercepts but does no damage to us.

In China (see Cycle Notes), we see the first Allied air transfers into China. We suspect that several FTR A/P's have been transferred in, into Kunming & Chunking. These bases are, for the most part, sufficiently far to the rear so that they pose no immediate threat to us. Nevertheless, in one of our ground strikes, from Hanoi, against the KMT 21st Army, some of our Ki-48's are met in the air by 1x US P-51A -- the first we've seen of the Mustang in the PTO, flying from Kunming. This lone A/P manages to abort both of our attackers.

For the first time, we have based into China several "green" Betty air crews. They hit numerous targets, and prove very fast learners: several of them are promoted from "green" status very shortly thereafter! Too bad our Army pilots cannot do the same.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Midway: "Lightning Joe's" nightmare continues. His soldiers are proving not-too-agressive in finishing off our valiant troops defending Eastern Island. The US troops continue to mount probing attacks, with both sides taking heavy losses. They are, though, unable to defeat us -- our boys still hold out!

CBI: These two weeks see Gen. Slim's leadership highlighted, with the British gaining mixed successes along the front.

SE of Imphal, the 5th & 7th Indian divs hit Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division. The Indian troops are not up to the task this time, & their attack is called off by Gen. Slim. They take heavy losses & retreat.

Gen. Sakurai's travails are not over, as the next week sees the Australians & Americans hitting him. Led by the 9th Aus. Div, which is joined in by the 7th Australian & the Americal divisions, Gen. Sakurai's luck runs out. Gen. Slim is decisive here, and we are defeated: Our 33rd division once again is broken & retreats. The 7th Aus. div successfully pursues.

North of Lashio, the 14th Indian div hits our INA Bde Group. This attack is somewhat better coordinated, and we take heavy losses, but are not dislodged. The Indian attack is called off, with moderate losses.

On Oct. 12th, we receive a shock: Gen. Wingate, with his 77th (SF) Abn. Bde, drops in on Lashio! From Chittagong, Wingate is landed with his troops, the first we've seen of either in the CBI. For us, Lashio is defended by the unreliable BNA Bde group, a very low-quality unit. Nevertheless, the air assault is behind our lines, and is a very daring move for the "Chindit" leader! Gen. Wingate has planned this operation well, and it goes off almost without a hitch. Our defenders break and are routed by the British troops, and Wingate takes Lashio with minor losses (1 step). In this battle, Gen. Wingate is decisive & the British gain a stunning victory.

Following this operation, Gen. Slim orders the 14th Indian div, now reinforced by the Chinese 28th Army, into an attack north of the city. Our defenders, the BNA Bde, have been reinforced as well, with a Rgt from the 55th division. It is just in time, and the British attack is blunted. They take heavy losses (most from the Chinese), but do not retreat -- they will continue the attack next week.

South of Imphal, the British have a new commander, Gen. Stopford. His debut will rate amongst the most execrable performances in the Pacific Theater, as he throws 3 divisions (2nd & 70th British; 6th Australian) into a hastily-planned attack against our 18th & 2nd divisions -- two outstanding units. Gen. Stopford is most unfortunate, obtaining the worst-possible combat result. The British 2nd division is nearly cut to pieces as the British prove they are not yet masters of the jungle. We encourage Gen. Stopford to stop by any time!

Encouraged by this victory, we send the 18th division in a counterattack north, against the previously-defeated 5th & 7th Indian divisions. But, this attack peters out without good results, and we call the attack off.

In north Burma, the British moves south have left Myitkyina weakly-garrisoned. We see the opportunity and strike, sending the 143rd Rgt (55th div) against it. The British defenders are merely the token Intrinsic Garrison, which is quickly overwhelmed & we recapture Myitkyina! We can only imagine Gen. Slim's reaction to this embarassment!

China: In Kwangsi Province, our 53rd div continues its assault on the KMT 21st Army (broken). The Chinese hold, but the 21st is down to a single step. At Kweilin, the battle for the capital of Kwangsi Province continues, as our 104th division launches another assault. We are initially unable to force the Chinese out, & they doggedly hold onto the city. Our losses, though, are minor. The next week, though, we finally defeat the Chinese and drive them from the city -- the provincial capital is ours! Heavy air bombardments prove decisive.

In Kwangtung Province, our outstanding 6th division hits the KMT 25th Army hard, inflicting heavy losses on it but in the end we fail to break them.

General Note: We commence construction of a new Supply Base at Singapore.

CYCLE 0/10/43, Notes: In China, the US 14th Air Force HQ is established, at Kunming. Now, we can expect US air assets to be introduced into China.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 28 October 1943. Operations through end of G/T 3/11/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: We now have several "green" bomber air crews in theater, and we begin sending them on "safe" missions to try to get them "promoted" faster. We thus hit Nagpur A/F, in India, from Port Blair, with 4x Bettys. Nothing comes of this raid, though. We later send the Bettys against one of two under-construction airfields on the Indian coast, at Bandar. This time, our boys do the job, hitting the place well-enough to temporarily halt construction. It seems as if these British airfields are meant to protect RN convoys sailing to Calcutta, along the Indian coast.

We hit Lashio (temporarily, as it will turn out, British-controlled) with a raid from Mandalay. No air opposition is encountered, so our Tonys & Tojos strafe the place, shooting up a Spitfire A/P on the ground. Our Sallys & Sonias manage to destroy one FAA Swordfish also, but no damage is done to the strip. We also hit Lashio from Rangoon, with Nicks & Helens. Left on the ground there are 2x Albacores & 1x Martlet. One of the Albacores is destroyed in the raid.

The US 10th AF continues to grow in the CBI, at alarming speed. Chittagong is a major fighter base, & a huge fighter sweep shows up from there against Mandalay. No fewer than 12 RAF Beaufighters, along with 6x P-38's (Lynch) & 2x P-47's, are met in the air by all we can muster: 7x fighters (Ki-43's, 44's, & 61's). Again, we "take it in the shorts," losing 2x Tonys & 1x Ki-44, in return for a single "Jug." How can Tokyo expect us to cope with such numbers?! Next, 5x US P-47's from Arakan (McDonald) hit Mandalay. We've been forced to largely abandon the place, but 2x Ki-51's remain on the ground. We have one of them shot up, but heavy AA fire splashes one of the attacking fighters. A good trade, for us. Finishing off the job is a powerful raid from Ledo (RAF Liberators, Vengeances & Beaufighters, plus US B-25's), destroying the lone remaining Sonia and heavily-damaging the airfield there at Mandalay. Chalk up another airfield we have been unceremoniously "bombed out of." Is there no end to this misery? For the first time, we begin to hear cries of "where are OUR planes?" from some of the troops.

Our airfield at YY receives attention as well, from Akyab. US P-40's & RAF Kittyhawk fighter-bombers, escorted by 6x Spits, hit the place, and the Spitfires shoot up a lone Oscar on the ground. The airstrip is suppressed. Worse, Liberators & Wellingtons from Chittagong manage to suppress the Oil Fields there.

In China, ground-support bombing runs from Hanoi begin to be opposed by small #'s of P-47's, now based at Kunming. Our free hand in the air in China is apparently a thing of the past, though the small numbers of US fighters there as yet pose not a significant problem.

South Pacific: We continue regular small night air transport missions (when the Allies allow it by not bombing Shortland's A/F out-of-commission) from Rabaul into Shortland, still reinforcing our garrison there. Usually, a single night-fighter Beaufighter from Florida Island show up to interfere, and usually turns back a few transports. Gradually, though, enough of our Ki-57's get through and our ground defenses slowly begin to grow.

Sure enough, the Florida I. P-38's are not long in responding: 14 of them put the A/F out of service. SBD's from Florida I. also hit our ground garrison there.

For the first time, the American B-24's from Ndeni mount an extreme-range raid, against Lae! 12x Liberators show up, and we down one with AA. Fortunately, no damage is done to the airfield. Quite an audacious mission, we must say!

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: With the battle for Midway still raging (though winding down), a USN reinforcement TF arrives from Pearl. It apparently is supported by 3x CV's, 1x CVL, 3x BB's, 6x CA's, 1x CL, 5x DD's, + 1x DE. Intelligence indicates that one of the battleships is USS Washington, with Adm'l Callaghan flying his flag there. The surface ships open up and pound our front lines on Eastern Island. In addition, one US Army Rgt is picked up on Sand Island & moved across to join the battle on E. Island. And, a new unit, a Rgt from the US 40th Inf. Division, joins the fight.

Aleutians: A US landing on Attu finds the place deserted; Attu once again flies the Stars & Stripes.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Midway: The US 40th Div. leads the assault on our hard-pressed and nearly-beaten troops. In another pitched battle, we are down to a single step but gain a moral victory when, in rolling to continue, the Army troops continue to disappoint Adm'l Nimitz: Only a single Rgt (the 19th Infantry) is willing to continue the fight, and they are not quite enough to root the last defenders out -- Midway will hold out for another week! All over Japan, the heroes of the 20th Infantry division are lauded. They have indeed shown the Americans what a determined, well-dug-in defender can do.

Burma: Gen. Slim continues to push his troops relentlessly, no matter what the cost in casualties. We begin to think he would have made a great General in Flanders, in 1915!

South of Imphal, the 7th Australian & Americal divisions (Gen. Messervey, GOC) hit Gen. Sakurai's 33rd division hard. Our troops are broken & forced to retreat, with heavy losses, just north of Mandalay. The Americal division successfully pursues, keeping the pressure on.

SW of Yunanni, the British attack does not fare as well. The 14th Indian division, along with the KMT 28th Army, attack 1x Rgt from the 55th Inf. division, reinforced with the INA Bde. This time Gen. Kawabe (CG, Burma Area Army) is decisive, and the attackers suffer a humiliating defeat, losing 3 steps, retreating, and having to call off the attack. They pull back across the border, into Yunanni.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 28 October 1943. Amended report, operations through end of G/T 3/11/43 (previous report should read "through end of G/T 2/11/43")

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: We launch a night strike from Rangoon against Arakan, with air crews untrained for night ops: 6x Ki-49's + 6x Ki-21's. A lone Beaufighter flies (& does no damage). Our strike has unknown results, and we lose one of the "Helens" operationally on return.

We repeat the Port Blair - Nagpur airfield strike (G4M's) and this time manage to inflict "D1" damage on the place. But, no "promotions" from green status are gained. Later, we hit Allalabad's airfield similarly, but have no results to write home about.

From Chittagong, Wellingtons, Liberators, Beaufighters & P-38's hit the oilfields at YY hard, bringing it to "D2" damage level. YY's airfield (now abandoned) is hit also, with P-40's & Kittyhawks from Akyab. We down one of the Kittyhawks with AA; no further damage is done to the field.

Heavy ground strikes are mounted virtually all along the front against our defending troops. These raids have, for the most part, mixed success.

The RAF Ledo boys (along with US Mitchells) hit Mandalay's A/F hard, heavily-damaging it.

South Pacific: The 13th AF begins to concentrate on our airstrip (L-1) at Vella Lavella, sending 2x B-25's (one of them RAAF) + 6x P-38's. They manage to suppress the field (which is empty).

Regular raid from Florida I. (14x P-38's) continue, against Shortland A/F now. Though no serious damage is done, it's obvious that we are powerless to man the airfield against such strong opposition -- so we don't. Marine SBD's from Florida also continue to hit our ground garrison there.

Central Pacific: US 7th AF B-24's, flying from FFS, continue to hit Midway, hitting the last few IJA troops' positions prior to the final push.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: A USN carrier strike (1x SB2C, 4x TBF, 3x SBD, 1x F4F) hits Midway, piling on, pounding our defenders & gaining good results. And, again the US surface ships still steaming near Midway open up again, and more iron rains down on our heads. Clearly, our boys are at the end of their rope. Most unfortunate that we are, alas, unable to come to their rescue, and even the score.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Midway: Our troops, defending heroically to the last man, are finally overrun, and the Americans are able finally to declare Midway secure on the 27th of October! Very few prisoners are taken; an omen of things to come, lest you Yankees think that things will be "smoothe sailing" in the future. More of the same awaits you...

Burma: Gen. Wingate's Chindits abandon Lashio. Apparently, the general heard the footsteps of the IJA 2nd Guards division coming up from Rangoon! The Chindits withdraw to the area south of Yunanni, as Lashio is reoccupied by IJA units.

Myitkyina is recaptured by Commonwealth forces, with the 23rd Indian division wresting control of the city from our 143rd Rgt (55th div), which is wiped out.

Near Mandalay, Gen. Slim continues to push south hard, obviously intent on taking the prize key city. NW of the city, Gen. Sakurai's 33rd Inf. division (still "broken") is defending the outskirts, on the river. The Americal division mounts a hasty assault on Gen. Sakurai, and succees in forcing our retreat. This proves most unfortunate, as the Americal division pushes hard in pursuit, crossing the Irrawaddy & gaining a foothold just outside Mandalay. Thus begins what will turn out to be a several weeks' long, bloody see-saw battle for Mandalay.

We immediately move quickly in an effort to encircle the Americal division at Mandalay, railing a Rgt of the 2nd Gds division up from Rangoon. This rail move is effectively interdicted by US Mitchells & RAF Liberators, and we're forced to detrain south of the objective. But, we are able to move other units so as to nearly surround the Americans. Can we continue to move fast enough, and can we mount an effective counterattack before Gen. Slim is able to send reinforcements into the battle?

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 4 Nov. 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 11/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia: We send our nocturnal Bettys from Rabaul against the RAAF Higgins Field. We encounter no night fighters, and apparently our raid does nothing of note.

From Darwin, RAAF Hudsons hit Tanimbar I., keeping the (empty) A/F there suppressed. Note: Darwin, and nearby Bathurst Island, are both fairly bristling with fighters and bombers. Clearly, some major operation in that sector is in the offing. We plan to be ready for it...

RAAF Liberators from Darwin hit the resource hex at Manokwari, lightly damaging it & temporarily denying us the resource point from it.

CBI: RAF & US 10th AF strikes concentrate now on ground-support missions against our troops defending Mandalay. For the next several weeks, our forces will face a veritable firestorm from the air, with devastating attacks which will only increase in intensity, as our IJAAF fighter forces, now badly depleted, are unable to offer effective resistance.

We hit back, with a strike from Rangoon against the Americal division. We send 7 FTR's (Ki-43's, 45's), escorting 15 BMR's (Ki-49's, 21's). Emergency Cover CAP is launched from both Akyab (2x Kittyhawks, 1x P-40, 1x Spitfire) & Chittagong (6x Beaufighters, 3x P-38's). The air battle is bloody for both sides: the final tally sees us lose 4x Ki-21's + 1x "green" Ki-49; in return we nail 3 of the Beaufighters, as we're fortunate enough to have gotten "the bounce."

From Port Blair, our Bettys hit Nagpur's A/F again, bringing it to "D2" damage. Still, no promotions from "green" status.

On 2 Nov, air reconaissance from P. Blair locates a TF steaming NE along the Indian coast, reported as "2x US CVE's." Where are these guys heading, we wonder? The next day, we send out a strike against it, with 5x Bettys (2 of them "green") + 1x H6K. Beyond torpedo range, all our planes are level-bombing. A lone P-39 from Madras shows up to counter us, but has no effect. We find the TF does consist of only 2 USN CVE's, and we form a single attacking wave. All but a single Betty are aborted by flak. The lone attacker, though, is a determined one: it goes in and lightly damages ("D1") the USS Nassau. We surmise that these ships are ferrying in more US fighters to Burma, as no CAP is launched from the ships (the other CVE is USS Sangammon).

Devastating strikes from Chittagong (as many as 11x Beaufighters + 6x P-38's) hit the Mandalay A/F hard. On the ground there is a lone Ki-44. For now, it survives. Later, B-24's from Ledo join in, heavily damaging the field & we down one of them with AA.

South Pacific: The US P-38's from Florida I. continue to keep our A/F at Shortland damaged, and we offer no resistance in the air, as the #'s of Lightnings simply is too overwhelming for us.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: A typhoon hits the Santa Cruz Is, and the US A/F at Reef Is. is hit hard.

On 29 Oct., an IJN subron in the Coral Sea locates a US carrier TF. Reported as 1x CV, 3x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 1x CL, + 5x DD's, it also is well-protected by ASW air assets. We manage to slip in one I-boat, for a single shot on the BB New Mexico, but miss. A day later, another subron contacts this TF and this time 4 boats are "available." Two are screened, but 2 get through. We line up attacks on the US CVL Belleau Wood, but (alas) miss with both shots. This TF then turns around, returning apparently to Espiritu Santo.

Bay of Bengal: The American CVE's, apparently completing their ferry "fly-off" mission, egress out, passing Ceylon.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: We manage to surround the Americal division at Mandalay, and mount a desperation attack to try to wipe it out! We have several units converging on it, and the attack is led by a Rgt of the 2nd Gds division. Also present, among others, are the badly-mauled 33rd div (-), the 18th, 38th & 16th divisions, all well-understrength. Allied air attacks greatly hamper our assault, and Gen. Sibert's Americal boys fight well, holding us off. We take heavy losses, as do the Americans (the Americal div is down to approx. half strength). Unfortunately, strong Allied ground units are on the move to try to relieve the Americal -- this might have been our one & only chance to wipe it out.

North of Mandalay, Gen. Messervey presses south, trying to break through to the Americans. Sending the 7th Australian div against a lone IJA Rgt, Gen. Messervey succeeds brilliantly, wiping our unit out and breaking the encirclement of the Americal division. Curses!

CYCLE 0/11/43, Notes: The US sub war continues to succeed, and our Merchant Shipping Point total falls below 400 for the first time in the war. And, for the first time, our "Co-Prosperity Sphere Resource Points" imported falls below the "sufficient" threshold (barely), requiring a DR for possible reduction of the Japanese Economic Multiple. We pass the DR.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 18 Nov. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 2/12/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: The Ledo RAF Liberators continue to pound the Mandalay A/F. And, the Chittagong Beaufighters (12) & US P-38's (now up to bomb the place virtually into oblivion ("D4"). Mandalay's AA strength has been cut to approx. 1/3.

From Chittagong, Ledo, and Calcutta, massive Allied air strikes are launched in ground-support missions against our troops at Mandalay. These type missions will comprise the majority of Allied air operations in Burma for the next few weeks.

From Ledo, 5x RAF Liberators hit the oil fields at YY, but this time are unable to do any lasting damage.

Our Mandalay defenders once again are hit hard from the air, from Ledo and Chittagong.

From Arakan, 5x US P-47's hit our Prome A/F, damaging it (we have no A/P's there).

South Pacific: Shortland continues to be hit regularly by P-38's, and remains in a continual "inoperable" status.

Air reconnaissance reveals some US ships anchored at Tulagi. We send out 4x Bettys, armed with torpedoes, in a night strike against them! Bad weather over Tulagi prevents all our bombers from participating (only 2 show up), and a night-fighter Beaufighter turns back one of the attackers. The lone survivor goes in to attack a US CVE (we learn later it is the Corregidor), but we score no hits. No doubt, though, we've sent a scare into Adm'l Halsey at Noumea (he is still in command of the US South Pacific HQ there).

Australia: Manokwari is hit again by Darwin-based B-24's.

Central Pacific: We learn that the first US A/P's have been moved in to Midway.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Another US carrier TF is located by our subs in the eastern Coral Sea, steaming north. It is reported as: "1x CV, 2x CVE, 1x BB, 2x CL, 4x DD, 1x DE, + 1x APB (full) and 1x MSU (full). Four of 6 available I-boats are screened. We go in and are not a little shocked to hear that the US CV is none other than the Enterprise! She has apparently been repaired once again, and is now operational. We get two shots on her. Our bad luck continues to hold, though, as we score no hits.

The next day (10 November), another IJN subron contacts the Enterprise TF, now SW of San Cristobal. This time, though, all our boats are screened. Then, that night a 3rd IJN subron contact is made -- the US TF is apparently headed for San Cristobal. We're unable to locate Enterprise this time, but are allowed no fewer than 3 shots on a US CVE (we think it is the Natoma Bay). Again, all misses! Surely, our luck has to change soon. The US transports do pull into San Cristobal, debarking some type of cargo there (ground units?).

Two days later, this TF is again located by air search out of Rabaul, and is apparently operating near Guadalcanal/Tulagi. On the 15th of Nov, yet another IJN subron attacks it. This time, our luck does indeed change! Reported as: "1x CV, 2x CVE, 1x BB, 2x CL, 4x DD, 1x DE, + 1x APB, we get two boats in, and again target the Enterprise! This time, we score a hit, lightly (apparently) damaging the "E." We note that the "big E" is rapidly gaining fame as the most unlucky ship of WWII -- already sunk twice (bottomed inside Pearl Harbor), she is once again damaged. Our 2nd shot is made on the CLAA Oakland (no hits). Later that night, yet another sub attack fails, and we lose one boat. Most interestingly, though, we intercept transmissions indicating that the Enterprise may have been more seriously damaged than we thought! Could be she has suffered some "critical hit" additional damage! That would indeed be consistent with the Enterprise's luck so far. At any rate, she is detached, and both her & the TF steams south, out of the area, past the New Hebrides. Our submarines are as thick as flies in the Solomons! Congratulations to our valiant undersea men! Well-done, boys!

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Our Burma Area Army HQ is forced to call off the attacks on the Americal division at Mandalay. Gen. Sakurai's 33rd div is withdrawn from the city. Another Rgt of the 2nd Gds div arrives by rail from Rangoon to reinforce our defenders there. Now, the entire division is present there.

The 7th Australian div moves in to the Mandalay area, reinforcing the Americal div, but as yet (the week of 5-11 Nov.) no attack is made.

During that week (5-11), north of Lashio Gen. Stilwell sends several Allied units into the attack against the unreliable INA Bde Group (plus 1x IJA Bn.). Leading this assault are two Chinese Armies: the 9th & 28th. Also participating are the 14th & 23rd Indian divs, and Gen. Wingate's Chindits. Our defenders are modestly well-dug-in, and the Allied attack is a fiasco! They suffer grievous losses to the Chinese units, are forced to call off the attack, retreating in disarray. That'll teach them to lead with the KMT forces in the jungle -- which we remain the masters of!

(Operations, 12-18 Nov):

Gen. Messervey arrives at Mandalay with the 9th Australian div, and the "butcher" Gen. Slim orders them right into the attack! Despite incessant air attacks on our units, the attack is not well-prepared and despite the presence of the outstanding 9th Australian div, the attack fails to dislodge us, both sides taking moderate losses. The battle for Mandalay, though, is joined in force.

NW of Mandalay, on the Irrawaddy, Gen. Stopford presses his units (6th Australian, 5th & 36th Indian, & 70th Inf. divisions) forward, hitting our 2nd Inf. division. Again, we hold, & both sides taking heavy losses. The 6th Australian div is now down to nearly half-strength.

Elements of our 51st Inf. division, recently pulled out of Minchow (China), begin arriving by rail at Prome, from Saigon. We thank once again our Australian & British POW friends -- posthumously -- for their help in completing the Bangkok-Rangoon rail line, making this possible! Our front lines in Burma are holding by a thread, as the "butcher" Gen. Slim keeps intense, unrelenting pressure on us.

End Report

"Hello out there again all you fighting orphans of the pacific! This is your number-one enemy, little Orphan Anne, with more bad news for poor Admiral Nimitzes' misguided lost souls!"

Tokyo, 2 Dec. 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 12/43

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: US 7th AF B-24's keep hitting Wake, from Midway, and keep depriving our garrison there of sleep, but little else.

South Pacific: In the middle of extensive air-naval actions in the Solomons (see "Naval Ops"), and hoping to catch the Florida Island P-38's engaged elsewhere, we get bold & send 2x Bettys down from Rabaul to hit Florida Island, in daylight! Most of the P-38's are gone, but the Americans do manage some emergency cover from San Cristobal: 3x more P-38's + 1x Corsair. We lose one Betty.

CBI: In a night strike from Port Blair, 4x G4M's fly all the way to Ledo, catch the British unprepared and suppress the A/F there! Well-done, boys!

The YY oil fields continue to receive attention from Ledo (RAF Liberators), and now is "D2."

Most other Allied air ops in Burma consist of heavy ground-support missions flown in support of their attacks underway at Mandalay. We are fortunate that, for a few days Mandalay is stormed in, and we do get somewhat of a break from the air attacks.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: On 27 Nov., the US 3rd Raider Bn. is landed at Vella Lavella. It is undefended save for an Intrinsic garrison (which, it will turn out, will fight most valiantly for an intrinsic garrison -- see Ground Ops).

NW of Espiritu Santo, in severe storm, which grounds the island's ASW air assets, IJN subrons contact another transport TF moving into the Solomons. All our boats are screened, though. We spot one APB ("D2"), destination as yet unknown but still steaming NW, towards New Georgia! Off San Cristobal, another IJN subron contacts this TF, & sends a report of "1x APB (D2), 4x CL, + 5x DD's." Again, & this time with the assistance of a USN MTBRon based at San Cristobal, we are screened out. The TF continues on, to Vella Lavella (the audacity of these Americans!), apparently with a small # of reinforcements for the Marine Raiders.

We immediately send down an airstrike from Rabaul. Before this, shortly after the 1st IJN subron contact report is received, at Rabaul Adm'l Nishimura scrapes together a surface TF, and emergency sorties in reaction south, intent to fight it out with these Americans. Our airstrike consists of 4x A6M (xtd rg.), 3x D4Y's, 4x B6N's (these A/P's are not carrier-trained), plus 4x Bettys. All of the "Jills" + 1x Betty are torpedo-armed. At medium altitude, the Americans manage 5x P-38's on emergency Naval Cover CAP, from Florida I. All our Zeroes are down low, protecting the torpedo planes, so the Lightnings quickly dispatch 2 of the Bettys & send 2 of the Judys home, aborted.

Thus, coming in low are 4x B6N's + 1x G4M (torps), while up high a single Judy & Betty with bombs join in. Due to the heavy flak values at this point in the war, we form a single attacking wave. All the Jills are either downed or aborted, and the Judy/Betty up high are turned back as well. All that survives the withering AA is a lone Betty. It manages a hit on the APB, bringing it from "D2" to "D3" damage level. Apparently, this is enough to cause a step loss from its cargo, which we later learn is the 112th Rgt, of the US 1st Cav division. In concert with the standard Allied transport mode, wherein (historically, to date at least) the SOP calls for approx. half of the troops to end up swimming ashore, it seems only fair to do the same for horses, so we teach many of them to swim as well (yes, we know it's only a Cav division in name, but we have to take what we can get here).

Meanwhile, Adm'l Nishimura (sporting a previous promotion chit from a preceeding battle) rolls well for his Reaction, gaining a 4-hex bonus! This will turn out to be barely sufficient to get him to Vella Lavella before the Americans can complete their transport mission & escape! What impressive admirals we have, indeed! Adm'l Nishimura's force has an Engagement Value of "14;" the US TF "4." Prior to contact, US MTBRon 6 (San Cristobal) attempts engagement, but is driven off in total without doing any damage. Most encouraging! We attempt a daylight engagement, and contact is joined: we will fight it out!

·  * NAVAL BATTLE OF VELLA LAVELLA: Daylight engagement, 28 Nov. 1943 **

The US TF, commanded by RAdm. Rockwell, consists of:

CL's St. Louis, Santa Fe, Columbia & Boise; 5x Fletcher-class DD's (Fletcher, Guest, Renshaw, Schroeder & Conway), 2x Benson-class DD's (Gwin, Barton), & 2x Sims-class DD's (Sims, Anderson). Adm'l Rockwell's ships are screening the lone APB.

Opposing him are Adm. Nishimura's boys: CA Atago, CL's Kitakami & Oi (both still torpedo-laden monsters), 8x Kagero-class DD's (Kagero, Maikaze, Isokaze, Amatsukaze, Shiranuhi, Hamakaze, Arashi & Tanikaze), + new Yugumo-class DD's (Kazegumo, Akigumo, Onami & Tamanami). Adm'l Nishimura bests Adm'l Rockwell in their combat rating DR's, by a wide margin. Our breakoff level is lower, but our admiral is better -- a bad omen for the Americans. Worse, we get the initiative for the battle.

1ST TACTICAL SEQUENCE: The US CL's Santa Fe & St. Louis gang up on Atago, damaging her. Also, DD Amatsukaze is sunk by US torpedoes. In return, we sink DD Guest, heavily-damage the Gwin, and lightly damage CL Boise (CA's Atago & CL Kitakami). First round is a draw.

2ND TACTICAL SEQUENCE: CL's St. Louis & Columbia are damaged, and DD Schroeder heavily damaged. The US APB successfully escapes, and the US breakoff level is reached (but not exceeded). Adm'l Rockwell, it seems, is wavering! Meanwhile, the Kitakami is hit by US torps. After CA Atago is again hit hard (Santa Fe), now badly damaged ("D2"), the battle turns for us when we sink both DD's Conway & Schroeder, and heavily damage both the Anderson & Renshaw. Adm'l Rockwell has had enough, and orders a withdrawal!

3RD TACTICAL SEQUENCE: The chase is on, and we sink the Anderson. Also, CL Boise is hit again (D1 to D2).

4TH TACTICAL SEQUENCE: The Kitakami and Oi combine to pummel the Boise with torpedoes, sending her to the bottom! DD's Renshaw & Anderson soon join her. But, the Santa Fe & St. Louis successfully withdraw.

5th & 6th TACTICAL SEQUENCES: Several Kagero-class DD's finish off CL Columbia, sinking her. The battle ends in a resounding Japanese victory!

Final loss tallies:

USN: CL's Columbia & Boise, & DD's Guest, Renshaw, Schroeder, Conway & Anderson sunk; CL St. Louis lightly (D1) damaged; DD Gwin heavily-damaged.

IJN: CA Atago badly damaged (D2, later turns to D3 via critical hit damage), CL Kitakami damaged; DD Amatsukaze sunk.

Seven US ships go down to our one! What a great victory! That'll teach Adm'l Halsey to send his ships in harms way so close to Rabaul! The Imperial Navy still has quite a bit of fight left in it, as we're so delighted to demonstrate so emphatically! Word is that in Tokyo an Imperial Rescript is being prepared, celebrating this battle. Unfortunately, the only down side is that Adm'l Nishimura is denied a promotion. But, in any case a decisive victory once again is ours, and in daylight at that.

Following the battle, the US 13th AF readies a retaliatory airstrike against us, from Florida Island. Sure enough, the Americans will gain some measure of revenge, as 8x P-38's + 3x USMC SBD's are soon seen winging their way through the slot, hell-bent-for-leather. Against them, we manage a pathetic lone Zero from Rabaul, which is quickly shot down. But, at least the Lightnings stay away from our ships. Going into attack, the 3 Marine Dauntless A/P's do well: they sink CA Atago and heavily-damage the Kitakami.

Meanwhile, "the Rock" (Adm'l Rockwell, whom we assume acquired this nickname for being so-headed) heads SW for Australia. We imagine he will receive a somewhat lukewarm reception there from his superiors.

Following the morning's airstrike against Adm'l Nishimura, we are fortunate & the Americans lose contact with most of our fleeing ships, which are broken into several smaller forces, in an attempt to avoid the wrath of God. The tactic works, as the Americans are frustrated in sending a large strike NW, against what turns out to be a "dummy" TF. Adm'l Nishimura then escapes, and the Battle of Vella Lavella is history.

Report of 2 Dec. '43 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Solomons: On Vella Lavella, our Intrinsic Garrison sticks it to the marine raiders, rendering them (temp.) hors de combat before surrendering. Vella Lavella falls to Adm'l Halsey, along with its L-1 airstrip.

Burma: North of Mandalay, on the Irrawaddy, a Bde from the 23rd Indian div (49th), plus the understrength 7th Indian div, hit Gen. Adachi's 58th Rgt again. Once again, the Indian formations prove unenthusiastic jungle fighters: though down now to a single step, we hold.

The news to the NW is not much better for "the butcher" (Gen. Slim), as he sees Gen. Stopford's attack against our 2nd division fail yet again. Heavy losses are inflicted on the 36th Indian div this time.

At Mandalay, the Americal division switches to lead the assault (still with 7th & 9th Australian divs). The Allied troops are still out-numbered, and despite good air bombardment results, and Gen. Slim's influence, Gen'ls Anami & Sano (the local commander) fight well, with both sides taking moderate losses. We hold! Gen. Slim then, we learn, briefly considers breaking off the attack, and withdrawing, due to the mounting losses. Eventually, he decides not to, and the Allied forces do not break contact -- the bloody battle for Mandalay will continue, unabated.

In China, IJA forces continue our limited winter offensive. In Kwangtunt Province (at Kukiag), our 6th division again smites the KMT 25th army, again forcing its retreat, though in good order. And, north of Chaoan, two IJA Bdes (24th, 9th) hit the KMT 2nd Army hard, forcing its retreat.

In Kiangsi Province (at Kanksien), our 34th division is activated & sent in against the Chinese 36th Army (broken by heavy air bomardment). This attack succeeds brilliantly, routing the Chinese & we take no losses.

CYCLE 0/12/43, Notes: Finally, after what seemed like ages, the IJAAF in Burma receives significant fighter replacements. We are forced to spend liberally in order to deploy them, but our air forces in Burma at long last receive a desperately-needed infusion, of trained A/P's.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 Dec. 1943. Operations through end of G/T 2/13/43

AIR OPERATIONS

CBI: The Allies, getting wind of our IJAAF fighter reinforcements into the CBI, hit the YY A/F (itself now reinforced) at night, from Ledo (4x RAF Liberators, 4x A-20's, & 5x B-25's). No damage is done. Someone at SEAC wants the YY airfield hit badly, as they Allies repeat the strike the next night (same composition). Once again, we escape damage, and the Americans lose a B-25 operationally. The next week, the night strikes resume, and our A/F is suppressed. In addition, we lose an Oscar destroyed on the ground.

The next week, the air battles intensify over YY: From Akyab, 6x Spitfires, "escorting" 2x Kittyhawks + 4x US P-40's (fighter-bombers) are met by 8x Ki-44's & 5x Ki-45's from YY. The Spitfires (only) get the "bounce," the FB's quickly dropping their ordnance, and the battle is an even exchange: 2x Ki-44's for a Kittyhawk & P-40.

At Calcutta, we see yet further evidence of the overwhelming #'s of US Air Points entering the theater -- 23 of them (23!) are sent against Gen. Adachi's now wavering Rgt. in a ground strike. No one could long survive such a pounding, and the raid is devastatingly effective (see Ground Ops). Piling on, P-38's from Chittagong and, later, B-25's, A-20's & Wellingtons also join in the slaughter. Not to be left out, they throw the Vengeances & a few Havocs from Ledo against him as well.

Small #'s of RAF Liberators from Calcutta do damage all out of proportion to their #'s to our A/F at Mandalay, completely laying waste to it. The next week, after we effect partial repairs, the Allies are back, and we are waiting for them! The Calcutta B-25's show up unescorted, and in a wild melee (a total of 16 IJAAF fighters appear to greet them), we splash 4 of them in air combat (and get a 5th with AA fire). We lose, in return, 2x Ki-44's & 1x Ki-43. Once again, the A/F is plastered. But, we're quite happy with that exchange rate, at least in the short-term.

Heavy ground strikes continue against our Mandalay defenders, from Chittagong. In one raid, from Ledo, we gain another impressive victory, as the Allies mess up, sending only 2x Beaufighters, along with 8x Vengeances down. This time, we've anticipated the raid, and our Cover CAP is larger: a total of 17 fighters tear into the RAF fliers and, in our biggest single-mission kill total of the air war in Burma, 5 of the Vengeances end up in the Burmese jungle! We lose a single Tojo. Quite an impressive victory -- our recently-arrived reinforcements are surely making their presence felt! We're only too happy to deliver these blows to the Allies, who've had things their way in the air for far too long. How long can they endure these losses, we wonder?

Seeing regular Japanese rail movement up from Rangoon, usually carrying a Rgt per week to the front near Mandalay, the Allies decide to interdict these moves. Most of the raids succeed, and some air battles result. One in particular sees one of the biggest air battles of the air war in Burma. From Chittagong, the Allies send 10 Beaufighters, 8x P-38's (fighter-bombers), 3x B-25's, 2x A-20's, & 1x Wellington to Prome against one such rail movement. We manage some Cover CAP, with a total of 3x Ki-43's (Sasaki), 3x Ki-44's, & 7x Ki-45's, from both YY & Rangoon, and get the "bounce!" We win one for a change, as in the exchange we down 2 Mitchells & 2x of the Beaufighters, at a cost of 2 "Tojos." In addition, the Americans lose 2x P-38's operationally (mulitple strike penalties). Nevertheless, the rail interdiction works, hampering our reinforcement of the front lines.

In another such strike, the Arakan P-47's are faced with 11 IJAAF fighters from YY, but we lose 2x Ki-44's, while downing one "Jug." This rail move involved a Rgt from the newly-arrived 32nd Inf. division (ex of China). And, a 3rd such mission sees an RAF Liberator from Ledo lost operationally. Clearly, the increased tempo of air operations on the Allied side is costing them Air Points. A few days later, they lose a P-47 operationally after ground strikes against our 2nd Inf. div.

US P-47's from Arakan hit Prome's A/F again (on the ground there: 2x Ki-57's). No losses are incurred, but orders are not long in coming sending the transports out.

South Pacific: Our night-flying Bettys hit Vella Lavella (not yet operational), avoiding the usual single Beaufighter, but we're unable to damage it. A few days later, the Americans manage to repair damage to the strip, and it is operational. Our Bettys then revisit it, at night, and do suppress it. As yet, no Allied A/P's have been moved in. Note: Vella Lavella is a stone's throw from our last-remaining base in the Solomons -- Shortland. Shortly after our raid, the US 871st Engr Bn (their only airmobile Engr unit) is air-transported in to Vella Lavella, under heavy escort. It appears as if an expansion of the strip there is in the offing.

Shortland continues to receive attention from Florida I. SBD's, which we see now have been joined by 2 USMC Mitchells.

Australia: We see greatly expanded A/F construction in the N. Cape York peninsula. Several A/F's already exist, along with some newly-initiated construction.

China: We note that A/F expansion work has begun at Kunming.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(A quiet two weeks; nothing major to report)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Wingate's Chindits are withdrawn to Yunanni. Just north of Mandalay, where the valiant Gen. Adachi has been holding the fort, preventing large-scale Allied reinforcement of the battle raging there, the end finally comes. Throwing in the newly-arrived 254th Indian Tk. Bde (with 2 Indian Inf. Bdes + the now-decimated 7th Indian div), we cannot hold any longer -- our 58th Rgt is wiped out, with Gen. Adachi valiantly dying leading the defense! The road is now wide open to Mandalay for Gen. Slim, not a good omen for our prospects of holding the vital city.

NW of Mandalay, the Irrawaddy battle continues,with Gen. Stopford throwing his 4 divs against our 2nd Inf. division. Once again, Gen. Stopford cannot dislodge us, and the 5th Indian div takes heavy losses. Our 2nd div is now at approx. half strength, but still holding out!

After a week's pause to consolidate and bring up reinforcements, the "Butcher of Burma" thows 4 divisions (9th & 7th Australian, 7th Indian, & the Americal) along with 1x Indian Bde + the Indian Tk. Bde against Mandalay, in a final push to capture the city. We have withdrawn a couple of our badly-battered divisions from the fight, and our remaining defenders finally are overwhelmed -- on the 15th we're forced to retreat, and Mandalay falls. Gen. Messervey, once again ruthlessly pushed by Gen. Slim, succeeds and Churchill finally has an early Christmas present, and something to brag about in Burma. As we retreat, with some units broken, Gen. Slim does not pursue. Apparently, even he has acquired a sense of humanity, and perhaps the 14th Army will halt to make good their grievous losses.

NW of Mandalay, after the horse has already bolted the barn, Gen. Stopford finally succeeds in driving us from our last position on the Irrawaddy: Our 2nd division is spent and badly mauled; it is retreated (the British 70th div. leading this assault).

China: Our winter offensive continues! In Kiangsi Province, SE of Kanksien, we throw 2x IJA Bdes (9th, 24th) against the broken KMT 2nd Army, which is forced to surrender. In Kwangtung Province, two more IJA Bdes (26th, 27th) force a Chinese Corps to retreat, routing it. We continue to have good success in SE China, though these operations are expensive.

The next week (10-16 December) sees our Bdes finally dealing the death blow to the Chinese Corps SE of Kukiag. And, in Kwangsi Province, NW of Liuchow, the newly-activated 116th Inf. division forces the KMT's 27th Army (hit heavily by IJAAF ground strikes) to retreat, though in good order and with only minor losses.

Australia: Intelligence reports that the US 32nd Inf. division, and possibly (though this is unconfirmed) the 3rd Australian div have been moved into Darwin.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with a very happy new years' greeting for all my misguided, wandering orphan friends throughout the Pacific."

Tokyo, 31 Dec. 1943. Operations through end of Cycle 13/43

AIR OPERATIONS

South Pacific: Regular Betty night strikes continue from Rabaul, against Vella Lavella. No satisfactory bombing results are obtained, as 1 or 2 Beaufighters continue to show up, hindering our efforts.

After air reconnaissance reports a significant # of US ships at Tulagi, on the night of 28-29 Dec. we send down the Bettys from Rabaul to see what we can sink. The Americans are well-prepared, though. We're met by 2x P-38 & 2x Beaufighters, and see one Betty go down (with 2 others aborted by the Allied night-fighters). A single Betty A/P goes in with torpedoes, and targets the US BB "North Carolina." No hits are scored.

Australia: The Darwin B-24's are active again, first hitting Amboina at night (10 Liberators, 7 of them American). No damage is noted by this strike. Shortly thereafter, US B-25's (they're everywhere!) hit Amboina. A measly two Rufes constitute our only fighter protection, and they are not very effective against the 10 Mitchells. We lose a Betty + one Dinah destroyed on the ground, and the A/F is damaged ("D1").

Burma: From Ledo, 3x RAF Liberators hit Rangoon at night. We have our 4 Ki-45 night fighters there ("surprise!"), and they turn one bomber back. No damage is done.

Two weeks' worth of intense air battles over YY is kicked off with an Allied strike from Chittagong: 8x Beaufighters + 6x P-38's, escorting 1x B-25, 2x A-20's, & 1x Wellington, are met by 11 IJAAF fighters from YY. We get "the bounce," and make the most of it -- 2 of the Beaufighters, and the "Wimpy" are splashed, at the cost of two Nicks. We note that this Wellington A/P was the last remaining one in the PTO. We thus will see no more of them.

Later, the US B-25's from Calcutta show up, this time targeting the oil fields. From the previous battle's aborts, we can manage only 5 fighters against the 18 Mitchells. Though we down one of them, we lose a Ki-61 and a Ki-44. The oil fields are seriously damaged.

We hit back with a small night strike from Port Blair (3x G4M's), but find 2 more night-fighter Beaufighters stationed there. Our raid is turned back by this CAP, and AA.

The next week, the Allied Chittagong boys come back for more. This time, we are lying in wait, having some of our Rangoon fighters helping out defending YY's airfield. Only 6x Beaufighters arrive, escorting 5x bombers (B-25's, A-20's, Beauforts). A whopping total of 25 IJAAF fighters tear into them! Though we lose "the bounce," it proves unimportant as we deal a heavy blow to the British Beaufighters, downing 4 of the 6! And, we only lose a single Ki-61 in return! Excellent work, boys! YY's A/F is, however, suppressed by the Allied strike.

In another strike from Chittagong, 6x P-38's (fighter-bombers) show up. We manage 13 fighters, & the US a/c quickly jettison their bombs. Though we out-number the Americans better than two-to-one, the best we can manage is an even trade: 1x P-38 for 1x Tony.

The Calcutta Mitchells come back the next week, sending 17 of them against YY's A/F. Once again, we throw up an impressive CAP total of 24 fighters, from both YY and Rangoon. In a vicious air battle, 2 Mitchells are destroyed, but we lose two more Tonys + a Nick. 13 of the B-25's hit the airfield. On the ground ("inop" status) are 1x Ki-43, 2x Ki-45's, + 1x Ki-61. The B-25's destroy one of the Nicks, and further damage the airfield ("D1").

The RAF bases new a/c into Mandalay, and sends them into action against YY. 8x Spitfires, escorting 5x Vengeances, are opposed by 14 fighters, from both YY and Rangoon. Again, we get "the bounce," and make the British pay dearly, splashing 3 of the Vengeances and a Spitfire. In return, we lose but a single Tony. British air losses in Burma continue to mount. Can they keep up this pace, we wonder?

Closing out 1943, the last airstrike is from Ledo against YY: 4x Liberators + 4x Mitchells. The damage to our airfield limits our response; only 10 fighters are scrambled. We down one B-25, but lose a Nick in the air in exchange. Also, of the "inoperable" fighters on the ground, we lose a Tony and an Oscar. And, the airfield is heavily damaged. Quite a lot of attention is being paid here. Obviously, someone at 14th Army, or SEAC wants this A/F put out of commission. For our part, we shall continue to fight them in the air, to the limit of our ability.

China: US P-38's are rebased into Kweiyang, closer to the front. They are not long in getting into the act, as the first US 14th AF offensive strike from inside China is launched -- a ground support mission with these 5x P-38's against the IJA 116th Inf. division.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: Rabaul-based air search reveals a US TF, probably containing ground reinforcements, arriving at San Cristobal from Espiritu Santo (two "full" APB's are reported). On 27 Dec., a 2nd US TF operating in the Solomons is attacked by IJN subs south of San Cristobal. We receive a report that it contains 3x CVL, 3x CA, + 3x DD's. 2 sub points evade their screen, and we get two shots at the US CVL "Bellau Wood." We're dismayed; no hits are scored. The IJN sub commander vows, though, to do better next time! This TF pulls into Tulagi, temporarily. Two days later, we get another chance! This time, a more detailed contact report is received: "1x CV, 3x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 7x DD, + 2x APB's." Only 2 of our available 5 subs are screened, and once again the "Bellau Wood" is targeted. This time, we score -- the Belleau Wood is moderately ("D2") damaged. We get a parting shot at the "USS Independence," but score no hits on her. This TF egresses the area, apparently heading for the Noumea vicinity.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: Our winter offensive continues to yield good results. In Kwangsi Province, we do have a setback, as an attack by our 116th division (against the Chinese 27th Army) fails, resulting in our retreat and "breaking." Both sides suffer heavy losses. Elsewhere, our 104th division does better, defeating & routing the Chinese 7th Army, and destroying two Independent Corps (39, 74).

In Hunan Province, two IJA Bdes (24th, 9th) are repulsed in an attack on the Chinese 25th Army. Despite the Chinese unit being "broken," we are unable to dislodge it.

During the following week (the last of 1943), our 104th division attacks in Kweichow Province, hitting the badly battered Chinese 27th Army. They hold, though the Chinese are down to a single ground step. In Kwangsi Province, we mount two attacks. Two IJA Bdes (26th, 27th) combine to hit the Chinese 23rd Army, and have little success. The two other Bdes (24th, 9th) do better, wiping out what is left of the Chinese 25th Army.

Burma: Gen. Slim calls a Christmas halt to the attacks in Burma. It appears as if the 14th Army is in need of reorganization & replacements. So, these two weeks see no attacks made, and we are able to consolidate our wavering lines. Two additional IJA Rgt's arrive by rail, south of Mandalay. We note that the Allies do not interfere with these movements.

Solomons: We see that airfield expansion work at Vella Lavella has begun in earnest.

With that, the year 1943 comes to a close. The Allies have much work ahead of them in 1944, as we prepare all manner of nasty surprises for them, all over the Pacific. Whatever happened to Gen. MacArthur, we wonder? We're guessing he's missing those four excellent divisions (6th, 7th, 9th Australian, + the Americal) that are fighting in Burma. We're happy to see them there, as they are doing far less damage to us in that theater. We hope Gen. Slim retains them there.

End Report

 

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 13 Jan 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/1/44

CYCLE 0/13/43, Notes: Newly-promoted Lt. Gen. Sakurai replaces Gen. Anami as CG, Burma Area Army.

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: In a night strike from Rabaul against Vella Lavella, our 4x G4M's are met by 4x new F4U night fighters. We lose one Betty A/P & do no damage.

Later, the Corsairs hit back, and are opposed by 2 Nicks over Rabaul. No losses result.

The next week, we get sneaky, mounting a staging strike from Rabaul, through a (temporarily, it turns out) repaired airfield at Shortland, against Vella Lavella. We send 14 fighters down there (N1K1's, J2M's, along with a couple of Army Ki-61's). We strafe the hell out of the place, shooting up 3 of the 4 US Corsairs on the ground! That's the way to do it, boys! Unfortunately, shortly thereafter the P-38's are back over Shortland, and once again knock it out, putting an end (at least for now) to these type raids.

We send our 2x Bettys in another night raid to Vella Lavella, but are unable to do any damage. Then, we try our 2x night-fighter Nicks at night strafing there, but again do no damage.

The Americans get a little careless later, sending 4x 13th AF B-25's, unescorted, from San Cristobal, against Shortland. This time, we have planned some cover, and 5x J2M's, along with 1x N1K1, hit the Mitchells, downing one of them.

Australia: Darwin-based US B-24's regularly visit Manokwari, keeping it in a constant state of damage. Later, B-25's + RAAF Liberators chip in, hitting our airstrip on Koepang hard, moderately damaging it.

CBI: An IJAAF night strike from Rangoon against Arakan (4x Ki-45's) is opposed by a lone Beaufighter. No losses are incurred by either side.

Intense air operations in Burma continue. From Akyab, a large Allied fighter sweep hits YY. 10 Allied fighters (P-40's, Kittyhawks, Spitfires, P-38's) are met by a total of no fewer than 20 Japanese A/P's! Including several fighters flying Cover CAP from Rangoon, we badly outnumber the Allied planes and end up downing 4 of them (the RAF Kittyhawk, 2x Spitfires, & 1x P-38). We lose, in return, but a lone Ki-61. Later that same week, two Vengeances from Akyab show up, and we make mince-meat of them over YY, splashing both. A very good week's worth of air operations for us over Burma. Will our success last long?

The answer is not long in coming, as we are paid back in full for the previous week's victories: In a large strike from Chittagong against YY (5x P-38's, 4x Beaufighters, 3x Spitfires + 17x B-25's), we don't have enough to mount effective opposition in the air so gamble on riding the attack out on the ground. It is a bad choice. The Allied planes have a field day over YY, destroying in strafing & low-level bombing attacks no fewer than 8 of our fighter A/P's (5x Ki-61's, 2x Ki-44's -- one of them "inop" -- plus a Nick).

Later, a small follow-up strike from Chittagong (3x Beauforts) sees us down one of them. Finishing out the week's strike agains the now-bombed-out YY airfield, another fighter sweep from Arakan (4x P-47's -- Westbrook) shoot up another Tony on the ground. We are left, after less than a week's worth of operations, with but a single Ki-44 at YY. Our losses have truly been staggering, and we are in awe at the might of the US 10th AF. As a parting shot, Ledo-based RAF Liberators put the airbase out of commission, heavily damaging it.

We try to hit back, with a strike from Rangoon against Akyab. In an inconclusive air battle, the only loss is a US P-40. We do manage to suppress the airfield, though.

In the following week, the B-25's from Chittagong continue to pound YY, and we down one with AA fire. But, out last A/P there is destroyed. Once again, we are bombed out of one of our airfields. Will our travails never cease?

We gain a small measure of revenge when we kill an A-20 with flak (and the Americans lose a 2nd in the raid due to extended-range operational loss) over YY.

China: The US Kweiyang-based P-38's strafe our airstrip at Liuchow 9where we have 1x Ki-43 + two Sonias. But, no damage is incurred. More 14th AF P-38's, from Kunming, make ground support strikes against our 104th Inf. division.

We hit back against Kwaiyang, mounting a Joint Strike (Haiphong-Hanoi) against it. WE send 6x Ki-44's, 1x Ki-45 (ex of Burma), escorting 11 bombers (Ki-21's & 48's). We manage to suppress their airfield, but not before another P-38 strike from there (already aloft) hits Liuchow again, destroying one Tony on the ground.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Torres Strait: IJN subs patrolling the Torres Strait (Cape York; northern Queensland) spot a large USN TF steaming west, towards Darwin. Reported as 1x CV ("Ranger"), 2x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 1x CL, 7x DD, 1x DE, + 2 full APB's, we manage to get one shot, lining up a spread against USS Ranger! In an agonizing close miss (DR of "5, 6" -- a "6,6" would have sunk her!), we are frustrated in seeing the US ships steam west, safely out of harm's way. This TF later docks at Darwin. Hmmm... very interesting.

On 10 Jan, the IJN AV "Komikawa Maru" is torpedoed & sunk in the South China Sea.

From Darwin, the Americans mount their first ASW sweep mission of the war, sinking one of our boats in the Torres Strait.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Nothing to report; all is quiet in the CBI)

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific?"

Tokyo, 27 Jan 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 1/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: The battle for the night skies over Rabaul - Vella Lavella continues. We continue to have (what will later turn out to be short-lived) success, as we send 2x Ki-45 Kai-C's, with 2x J1N1-C's ("Irving") down south. 2x P-38's + 1x F4U night fighters oppose us, and we down one of the Lightnings. Later, we repeat the raid, and down the Corsair night-fighter. Bettys then follow up (2 of them), but unfortunately do no damage to the airfield.

Later, we repeat the Betty strike, and are met in the air by 1x P-38 + 2x newly-arrived Beaufighters. Both our bombers are aborted, but we lose neither permanently. Then, we send our night fighters to Vella Lavella, getting lucky & shooting up one of the RAAF Beaufighters there. For the time being, anyway, we rule the night skies over the northern Solomons! It appears as if our alliance with Germany has at least borne some fruit.

In later raids, the Americans stay on the ground, and avoid loss by the now-rampaging Nicks & Irvings. The following week, though, they get bold again and take to the air. Outnumbered 5-3, we kill another Beaufighter and are delighted with ourselves. We see the US airstrip on Vella Lavella enlarged to L-2 -- not good news for Rabaul.

Several ground strikes are made against our Shortland garrison, from San Cristobal and Florida Island. After the first of them, we send Cover CAP down south from Rabaul (1x George + 4x Jacks), and run into a buzz-saw: 2x P-38's + 2x F4U's (Boyington, Hansen), escorting 2x RAAF Mitchells, get "the bounce" over us and we lose, in the exchange, the lone George plus one of the Jacks. We shall not make that same mistake again.

The Americans are quick to put Shortland out of commission, before we can mount another staging strike through there from Rabaul (the Florida Lightnings doing the honors).

Australia: Manokwari is hit again by the US B-24's from Darwin. Then, the US B-25's, along with 3x RAAF Liberators, smash Koepang's airfield, knocking it out (we have no fighters in the area).

CBI: Now-abandoned (really, "ghost town") YY continues to receive attention, with US B-25's pummeling the strip into near oblivion. YY's oil fields then receive considerable attention, and they are once again put out of commission in raids from Mandalay (Vengeances, A-20's).

China: We hit Kweiyang again, with a Joint Strike from Haiphong-Hanoi, sending 6x Ki-44's escorting 14 bombers (Ki-49's, 21's, & 48's). We get "the bounce" over the P-38's there (McDonald) & down one. In the bomb run we nail another, though we lose 2 "Lilys." We lose another two to operational (extended-range) loss, and again suppress Kweiyang's A/F.

Later, we return, with a smaller strike (6x Tojos, escorting 7 bombers). This time, Kunming-based US fighters (1x ea. P-40, P-51, P-47) show up to help. And, we lose "the bounce" (and one of our fighters, plus two Ki-48's). The 14th AF makes up for the previous embarassment.

We reinforce Liuchow with Ki-43's and send them against Kweiyang (5 of them), but are again defeated, losing one without inflicting loss on the enemy. Then, we send a fighter sweep from Hanoi (6x Ki-4's) against it and, in an air battle with 5x US fighters, trade one of the Tojos for a US P-51 (our first hit on a Mustang in the PTO!).

The following week, we repeat the Haiphong-Hanoi Joint Strike against Kweiyang, but lose 1x Ki-44 in an air battle against 3x P-38's (McDonald) + 1x P-47 (from Kunming). We notice that Kunming has now been expanded to L-2.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Bay of Bengal: We sight another (apparently) US CVE ferry mission, flying off replacement a/c into Burma/India. We no longer have sufficient bomber strength on the Andamans to interfere.

Torres Strait: Allied ASW sweeps again prowl the Torres Strait, sinking two more of our subs. This turns out to be an especially productive sortie, and we learn later than a RN admiral (Adm. Power) was actually in command of this joint DD TF.

CYCLE 0/1/44, Notes: Japanese merchant shipping totals begin to fall to dangerously low levels, and the Japanese Economic Multiple, for the first time, is lowered.

We hear that someone up the higher Allied Command chain finally has apparently located the long-lost Gen. MacArthur, rousing him from his comfortable, indolent bliss at Cooktown, where he has been for about a year-and-a half -- apparently happily moving about phantom units and ships across his maps -- and ordering him, with his SW Pacific HQ (and the 7th Fleet), to relocate to Darwin. Could it be that he is finally going to actually get busy and start fighting this war? This may be an ominous development, and we suspect that the lull in activity is about to end.

In northern China, we come to an uneasy agreement with the Communist units, and a loose truce prevails, for the time being at least.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling once again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 3 Feb. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/2/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Burma: After January's Allied victory over YY, their attention is turned to Rangoon -- heretofore fairly immune to large-scale Allied air attacks. Thus, as Feb. begins, the air battle for Rangoon is joined. It is, sadly for us, to be a short campaign.

US P-47's (Kearby) from Arakan lead the way, with a fighter sweep (10 of them!). From Rangoon, we launch 1x Ki-61, 2x Ki-43's (Sumino, Kuroe), plus 9x Ki-45's (which will prove unsuited to dogfighting with Thunderbolts). From Moulmein, a lone Ki-61 joins in. We lose both of our Tonys (leaving none in the CBI), but do down one of the P-47's. Not an auspicious start for us, with only Nicks left to face the American 10th AF fighters.

So, the decision is immediately made, before things get completely out of hand, to bail out of Rangoon. Shortly after this strike, we move nearly all our fighters out at night, fleeing to bases south and east. We are, then, once again "bombed out," this time out of our bastion of Rangoon. Two Oscars are left there, though. A raid from Mandalay disposes of one of them, and we down one strafing Spitfire with AA fire.

Not taking any chances, the Allied air forces keep our airfield at YY in a continuous state of disrepair, with the Chittagong B-25's doing most of the damage. Occasionally we down one of them with flak. The oil fields there are not left alone; being put at "D2" damage level. Not to worry, we say -- we no longer have sufficient tanker hulls to get the oil out anyway, and the loss of the minor resource hex is of no consequence to us.

Our garrison at Lashio is heavily hit in ground strikes -- perhaps indicative of a major move against it.

We turn our attention to China, as we have secretly built up quite a stockpile of supplies, with which we intend to resume a winter campaign in SW China. The Americans, though, are not idle themselves, hitting several of our front-line divisions in Kwangtung province, from Kunming (A-20's, P-47's, P-51's, + British Beaufighters).

We have moved into Haiphong 4x new Ki-45 night fighters, and throw them at Kweiyang. We have no luck, though.

Solomons: Heavy ground strikes are mounted against our Shortland garrison, from Vella Lavella (RAAF Mitchells), & San Cristobal (B-25's, SBD's @ "extended" range). It appears as if the time is near for an Allied move against Shortland (our last remaining Solomons base).

The Americans, apparently not taking much of a liking to their setbacks in the night skies over the northern Solomons, have reinforced Vella Lavella: Now 4x F4U's, 3x P-38's, and 1x RAAF Beaufighter are stationed there (which we learn the Americans are now calling "night fighter central"). It's not long before they show up over Rabaul, and we lose a night air fight, having one of our Nicks downed. We do, though, manage to kill one of the Lightnings in return. Still, the tide has turned in the air at night, as we cannot keep this up for long.

Getting wind of possible Allieds shipping in Tulagi harbor, we send down 4 night-flying Bettys, with torpedoes, hoping to catch some unawares US ships in our flares. Alas, we find the place empty.

Australia: We have been building up our air assets at Sorong, especially long-range reconnaissance aircraft, since the relocation of Gen. MacArthur's HQ (and the 7th fleet). The Darwin B-24's then raid Sorong, at night, with 10 A/P's (3 of them RAAF). But, we weather the storm -- no damage is done to our forces. We do learn that our submariners' contact report of the USS "Ranger" apparently was inaccurate; we are informed that at Darwin is a US "Essex-class" carrier -- along with 2x CVL's.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(Last months' quiet period is a thing of the past -- as apparently most of the US ships have used the time to get in their "yard periods" for what surely will be a busy 1944 for them)

South Pacific: An IJN surface TF is spotted by US air search leaving Rabaul at night (B-24's out of Ndeni). It is reported as: "1x BB, 2x BC, 1x CA, 1x CL, + 6x DD's." The Americans launch a strike with other B-24's from Ndeni, skip-bombing (at "extended range"). Attacked approx. 180 nm north of Rabaul, we can muster a measly 2 fighters to cover our ships: 1x George + 1x Jack from Rabaul. Five B-24's bore in. They're able to positively identify the IJN BB as "Musashi." Fortunately, these pilots are not the "A" team and, unwilling to face Musashi's withering AA fire, content themselves with a half-hearted run at CA "Suzuya." She come through unscathed, and the Japanese TF steams away to the NE, out of sight.

On Feb. 1, NE of Rennel Island, IJN subs contact a US TF, reported as: "1x BB, 4x CL, 2x MS (full) + 1x MS (D1)." We're able to line up one attack on the BB, which is positively ID'd as "Indiana." We score no hits on her, but a 2nd IJN subron contacts her not far from the first contact. Here, out luck changes! We manage 3 boats "available," and have 2 of them screened. The sub skipper that gets through is a good one, though. Once again targeting the "Indiana," a full spread finds their mark, and she is heavily damaged ! ("D3" at least!) The US TF, after this, changes course & makes for Cooktown. This attack might turn out to be the last of the "happy times" in the Solomons, though, as the USN will be back in force the following week, with many destroyers aggressively hunting us down.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Still no major operations in Burma, as Gen. Slim's 14th Army apparently continues to rebuild)

China: Chiang and his American friends have apparently become aware of our impending major winter offensive in China. Two KMT armies are activated in Kwangsi Province, with one pulling back (north) into Kweiyang.

We then kick off the largest-scale offensive in China to-date: Five divisions (initially) are activated, in Kwangsi, Kweichow, & Kwangtung Provinces.

In Kweichow Province, we get off to a good start: Two of our divisions (116th, 104th) hit two badly-understrength KMT armies (21st, 27th), wiping both out with but minor losses. A very encouraging development for us!

Australia: For some unknown reason, we learn that the Allies have started construction of a rail line, to link Darwin with Australia's eastern cities.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific, this is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, with another vicious assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 10 Feb. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/2/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia: Darwin-based B-24's again raid Sorong, again at night. They fail to do any appreciable damage. Later (and revealingly) the Darwin B-25's hit our garrison on Tanimbar I. very hard.

Rabaul-based air reconnaissance reports in port at Cooktown are "1x BB, 1x CA, 6x CL, 4x DD, 1x DE, 3x MS (2x full; 1 @ D1), plus one ESB APB (full). We also learn that, apparently, two Allied divisions are there: One US & one Australian; ID's unknown.

From Cairns, an Australian night strike (Liberators) hits Lae. No damage is done in this first strike we've seen over Lae in a considerable period. And, from the RAAF base at Iron Range, small numbers of Beauforts, US P-38's and Vengeances hit our airfield at Port Moresby (suppressing it).

Solomons: The Allied night-fighters from Vella Lavella are back over Rabaul. We trade one Ki-45 for 1x Beaufighter. Shortland is kept in continuous damaged state by the Florida I. boys (P-38's). Our ground garrison there is also hit hard, from San Cristobal (B-25's, SBD's). These units gain very effective results, as will be seen shortly.

CBI: Our last fighter in Burma (a lone Ki-43 at Rangoon) is turned to scrap by Allied planes from Mandalay. Clearly, we have some rebuilding to do if we are again to contest the skies over Burma.

Ground strikes are mounted from Myitkyina and Ledo against Lashio. Good results are gained.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: A USN DD ASW sweep TF departs Espiritu Santo, heading for the southern Solomons. We quickly lose one I-boat to these aggressive ships. A 2nd ASW sweep TF shortly follows this first one, but they initially have no luck locating our boys. From 6-8 Feb. both of these TF's continue operating, one south of the Solomons; one south of the Santa Cruz Is. Two more I-boats are located and sunk. The waters around the Solomons are beginning to get a little hot for us.

On the 7th, our submariners show their mettle: we are not cowed by these American destroyers. An IJN subron locates a US TF (which sortied from Australia) NW of Rennel Island. The TFis reported as: "1x BB, 4x CL, & 8x DD's." These Americans are caresless -- they screen none of our boats, and we get four shots at this force! First up is the US BB "Oklahoma." First a miss, then a big score: She is heavily-damaged (to at least "D3")! Switching targets, our boats sow further hate and discontent among these American sailors: the US CL "St. Louis" is also heavily-damaged ("D4"), and dead-in-the water! We receive unconfirmed reports that the "Oklahoma" might have suffered additional (critical) damage, possibly dead-in-the-water or even sunk. Once again, good work, boys!

On Feb. 8th, another US TF sorties from Espiritu Santo. Air search out of Rabaul locates it SSW of Ndeni, & it is reported to us as: "3x CVE, 1x CA, 1x CL, 3x DD, + 1x (ESB) APB." This TF proceeds north, between the Gilberts & Carolines, and appears headed for the north-western Marshalls. We're amazed at the scale of operations so far, and we're shortly to learn that it's only the beginning.

Central Pacific: Our subrons around the Hawaiian Islands lately have been better deployed, and reinforced. We are confident that the Americans there will be careless, as we've had no contacts from our boats there for over a year. We will not be disappointed: A US TF sorties from Pearl and, 120nm SW of Oahu is contacted by a single IJN I-boat. Reported present: "1x CV, 1x CVL, 2x BB, & 3x CA." No destroyers! Though a moderate air ASW screen is put up, it is not enough. Our skipper chooses the new CA "Boston." This is indeed the "big week" (to borrow a US 8th Air Force term) for our submarines in the pacific, as we send the "Boston" strait to the bottom! We learn that this was her maiden sortie. What a shame, we say, as we drink yet another sake toast to a sunken American warship. A 2nd subron also contacts this force, but due to distance factors (sub base is at Kwajalein) is unable to mount any effective attacks.

This US TF steams west, & appears to be headed for Wake Island, pausing approx. halfway there out of Pearl.

Report of 10 Feb. '44 (cont.)

Australia: As we have suspected, a strong US carrier force, escorting an amphibious TF, departs Darwin. So, apparently Gen. MacArthur's presence there is not mere window dressing, as we had hoped. It's OK, General, we have a nice little surprise for you and your 7th Fleet Commander (whoever that unfortunate soul is). Air search from our base at Sorong (which has been augmented by several H6K's, supported by AV's there) quickly locates this force, & reports it as: "1x CV, 2x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 1x CL, 7x DD, 1x DE, + 2x full APB's."

Background: We have suspected a move out of Darwin for some weeks and, some days ago, a Japanese carrier TF, commanded by Adm. Ozawa, sortied from ?????? and has been lurking near Halmahera, waiting to react to any Allied move in these waters. We've also sent the BB force that sortied from Rabaul there, after (hopefully) deceiving the Allies that they were bent for the Marshalls or Truk. Fortunately for us, the American ships from Darwin sortie soon enough, before we have to refuel. After receiving the contact report, both our TF's (Ozawa, Ugaki) commence reaction movement south. They both are still hidden, & undetected.

Long-range air search out of Darwin (fortunately) fails to locate Adm. Ozawa's carriers as we steam south. They do, though, find Adm. Ugaki's surface force. The American pilots, though, erroneously report this TF as containing "2x CV, 4x CA, 3x CL, + 10x DD's." Meanwhile, the American TF's approach Tanimbar, and the amphibious force commences landing of troops (actually on Babar I., part of the Timor Laut Is. near Tanimbar, where our airfield/garrison is located). Another search out of Darwin again finds Adm. Ugaki's force but fails to locate Adm. Ozawa ("ain't he somethin'?). Both forces continue to steam south, hell-bent-for leather. Amazingly, these rookie Americans again falsely report the presence of a couple of carriers.

The Americans continue to off-load troops, and Adm. Ozawa continues to react, finally (after 5 steps have debarked) reaching airstrike range, from north of Ceram (240 nm).

·  * BATTLE OF THE BANDA SEA ** 8 Feb. 1944

The first punch in this battle will be a joint strike, with the bulk of the attackers from the still-undetected Adm. Ozawa's four carriers. They're joined, from Sorong, by 2x Army Ki-45's, plus one G4M (bombs), and 2x H6K's (one with torpedoes).

Adm. Ozawa has come ready to fight! His Combat Rating DR is a "12" (max!). Still, though, he fails the first Carrier Coordination Check, but our luck is not all bad -- only the fighter escort part of his strike is reduced -- all our bombers will arrive to attack!

Coming in at low altitude are: 8x B6N ("Jills"), 1x H6K (all with torpedoes), escorted by 1x "elite" + 3x regular A6M's (aces Sugino, Okumura).

Up higher are 8x D4Y's, 2x "elite" D3A's (our last), + 1x G4M & 1x H6K carrying bombs. Fighter escort are the two Nicks plus 4x Zekes.

From Bathurst Island, the Allies struggle to line up Naval Cover over (whom we learn later) Adm. Montgomery's TF, which itself launches 3x F6F's (only, with ace Kepford). Joining the Hellcats down low are 1x Beaufighter + 1x Kittyhawk. The Allied planes get "the bounce," and quickly down two Jills; aborting two others plus the "Mavis." Our Zero pilots strike back, downing one F6F and, in the melee, their ace Kepford is KIA! Getting through to the US TF are 4x torpedo-laden B6N's.

Up high, only four USAAF fighters arrive (2x P-47's; Robbins) + 2x P-40's. Again, the Americans get "the bounce," & down one Judy; aborting another plus one "Val." We end up splashing one of the P-40's, and end up getting the majority of the bombers through: 6x Judys, 1x D3A, 1x G4M + the Mavis.

Thus, a fairly powerful strike arrives to attack. We go for the carriers, and will brave the fierce US AA fire, going for the core! We confirm that indeed an "Essex-class" carrier is at the center of this TF, and go into attack! Alas, all of our Jills are either splashed or aborted, but 3 of the Judys (plus the ineffecual Mavis) get through!

Going for the gold, we have the USS "Oriskany" in our sights. All our attacking D4Y's concentrate on her, and the results are good, but a little disappointing: She is rendered "D3" (heavily-damaged). Very shortly after, though, we receive reports that she has gone DIW ("D4," apparently via a critical hit). Most unfortunate that we could not sink her! But, Adm. Ozawa has made his presence felt.

We are, of course, unable to prevent the US transports from continuing to unload. We are unwilling to send Adm. Ugaki there, for fear of the hundred + skip-bombing B-25's at Darwin/Bathurst.

The landing force is the US 32nd Infantry Division. As they continue to off-load, both Adm. Ozawa & Ugaki begin to egress away, to the north, towards Sorong (our carrier force is still undetected).

Though he has lost (presumably) his flagship, Adm. Montgomery sends a strike north against Adm. Ugaki: For once, Adm. Ozawa fails us, providing but two Zeroes to cover our BB force. Coming into attack are 3x TBM's + 3x SBD's (no escort). Adm. Ozawa's two Zekes manage to abort one of the Avengers, and heavy AA fire dispatches another TBM plus 1x Dauntless (aborting another of each). Thus, getting through to attack is a lone SBD, lining up against the CA "Chokai." No hits are scored (the Dauntless attack was launched at "extended range").

This ends the first phase of the Battle of the Banda Sea. The next day (the 9th) will see a continuation of the battle, after the US ships stay in the vicinity, to assist the landing by naval gunfire support. With the intent of the US ships to stay around becoming apparent, Adm. Ozawa reverses course, and again moves south to attack! Shortly after the American ships open up, he reaches strike range. We send south another joint strike (Sorong) against the Americans.

This time, coming in low with torpedoes are 4x B6N's, & 2x Bettys + 1x Mavis from Sorong. They receive a strong escort: 7x Zekes. At medium altitude, joining the strike are 6x D4Y's + 1x Mavis. This time, we see no US carrier fighters. Down low four Allied fighters provide cover, and they gain "the bounce" again. They splash our torpedo-laden Mavis & abort one Jill + one Betty. One RAAF Kittyhawk is downed by our Zeroes.

We fare much better up high, though, as our escort (2x Ki-45's, 3x A6M's) gain the bounce themselves, chasing away most of the US (and Australian; 1x CA-12) fighters -- all of our Judys get in!

Going in to attack are: 3x B6N + 1x G4M (torpedoes), plus 6x D4Y's. We send most in with the first wave, this time concentrating on the "inner ring" of ships. For once, the American flak is ineffective: only the Betty at low is aborted. Not good news for these American bluejackets!

Ganging up on the CA "Houston" (yes, it is _that_ Houston, the old "galloping ghost of the Java coast" fame) are 2x Judys + 1x Jill. In a perfectly executed attack, they sink the Houston outright! The remaining planes of our strike sink two US ("Farenholt, Nicholson") DD's and 3x RN DD's. Once again, Adm. Ozawa, the old sea dog, twists the knife. Following their bombardment, the US ships return to the Darwin area. Adm. Ozawa then moves out of the area, east of Halmahera and out-of-sight.
Solomons: On Feb. 8, another US amphibious TF emerges near San Cristobal. Air search out of Rabaul reports it as: "1x CA, 2x CL, 7x DD + 2x APB (full)." An IJN subron nearby contacts this force but is screened off, in part by help by US MTBRon 7 (San Cristobal). These US MTB's are making it very difficult for us to contact anything in restricted (i.e., "coastal") waters in the Solomons.

Near Tulagi, another IJN subron tries, and this time MTBRon 9 (Tulagi) is very aggressive, sinking two of our boats. The remaining US escorts (DD's) make it inadviseable to attack, so we call this one off. Off Choiseul, though, a 3rd subron attacks, this time penetrating the screen, getting 3 good shots at one of the US APB's. But, all 3 are misses, and the US TF continues up "the slot," apparently headed for Shortland!

Just off Shortland, we launch an airstrike against this force from Rabaul. Coming in at "low" are 2x "elite" G4M's + 1x B5N, both with torpedoes, & escorted by 7x J2M ("Jacks"). Up high are 1x B5N (level-bombing) + 2x D4Y's, escorted by 3x N1K1's. The Americans are unable to muster any CAP (the P-38 boys from Florida I.) down low, but do manage 4 of them up high (with their ace, Lynch). One "Judy" is splashed and the other (along with the lone "Kate") aborted. Going into attack, then, are 2x Bettys & 1x Kate. Due to intense flak, we have to content ourselves with picking at the outer ring screening DD's. Our attack, though, is a disappointment: all we do is damage one "Farragut-class" DD.

Off Shortland, the US warships open up on our ground garrison, in preparation for their landing, which follows shortly. Coming ashore are the 2nd Marine Division and the 41st Infantry Division (see "Ground Operations"). The battle for our last-remaining post in the Solomons is joined.

South of the Santa Cruz Is., yet another US ASW sweep concludes its sortie, sinking another I-boat.

Marshalls: The US TF spotted west of the Gilberts continues moving fast up into the Marshalls! Their target becomes clear: Eniwetok! Off Eniwetok, we receive reports that this TF contains 2x CV, 1x CVE (or CVL), 2x CL, 4x DD, + 1x APB (ESB; US Army).

Our air defenses in the Marshalls are limited, and no attacks are made. The Americans (this TF, we learn, is commanded by Adm. F. Sherman) open up on Engebi Island (where our airstrip is located), pummeling it good. The landing force are 2 Rgt's of the US 43rd Inf. Div: the 169th & 172nd Infantry. Gen. Hodge is in overall command (see "Ground Operations").

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Wingate, with his "Chindits," is at it again, and the British perform another air assault operation, against Lashio. Two Gurkha para Bn's (from Yunanni) are dropped in, and the 111th Spl Svc. Bde (-), from Chittagong, later joins them. For now, at least, the British have complete control of the air over Burma, and we are powerless to contest these moves.

The Lashio operation is a two-part attack; first the air assault, to be followed up by an overland assault by two Chinese Armies (19th & 28th), plus one Indian Bde (1st). Defending Lashio are 1x IJA Bn + the INA Bde Group (totalling 9 steps, a fairly strong force). Though they lose one of the Gurkha Bn's, otherwise Wingate's air assault goes well, wiping out 2 defender steps (including the Japanese Bn.), and gaining a foothold, with Gen. Wingate anxiously & impatiently awaiting the Chinese/Indian assault. He is to be disappointed with their performance, however. This force (Gen. Stilwell is in command) is defeated, taking heavy losses, though the attackers are not forced to retreat. The week ends with us still holding Lashio, though now tenuously.

Tanimbar I. amphibious assault: On Babar I., Gen. MacArthur sends his forces to 2 landing beaches: One in the south part of the jungle-infested island, which is undefended (landing force: 30th Bde, 3rd Australian Division). They land in good shape, though deactivated for the remainder of this week. On the SW part of the island, where our airfield is situated, we have 1x Bn defending the beach, and the rest of the "K" ("Karafuto") Bde further inland, guarding the airstrip. The Allies land in two sites nearby: Coming ashore against the IJA Bn. are the 127th Infantry (US 32nd Inf. Div.), plus the 28th Bde (3rd Australian Div.). They quickly dislodge our troops, who retreat back into the heavy jungle. On the left, the 126th Infantry plus the last Bde of the 3rd Australian Div. (29th), plus Gen. Eichelberger, storm ashore. Gen. Eichelberger prepares for an assault against our main defenders, which will have to wait for supplies. Thus, we hold for now.

Shortland: The Americans are able to discern 3 defended beaches, all with Rgt's of the (low-quality) IJA 43rd Inf. Div., and they are not well-entrenched. These 3 beaches are directly assaulted, 1 each with Rgt's of the 2nd Mar. Div. In what we must admit is a most-impressive performance, the US Marines make short work of our troops (these are the ones ferried in by air a couple of months ago; hence understrength): In one fell swoop, all 3 defending Rgt's are wiped out (along with it the 43rd div.), virtually without loss! Gen. H.M. Smith is in overall command of this operation, and what a magnificent performance his marines turn in!

On Shortland, the 2nd Marines, which took Shortland Harbor, advance to the (L-4) airfield, which is NW of it. Also coming ashore, though they do not take part in any direct combat immediately, SW of Shortland Harbor, is the 162nd Infantry (41st Inf. Div; Gen. Griswold).

Following this rather dismal performance by our troops, it appears as if soon Shortland (and with it all of the Solomons) will soon be in enemy hands.

Eniwetok (Engebi I.): Defending the airstrip in the northern part of Engebi is one IJA Bde (the 25th). The Americans land opposite them, on the south part of the island, with 2 Rgt's of the 43rd division. This landing is not an agressive one; though eligible to mount an assault following their landing, the Americans choose not to. Two of our defending Bn's (all of our troops are _very_ well dug-in), are broken by the intense US naval bombardment which preceeded the landing. So, as of now we still hold Engebi.

China: Our winter offensive proves the only bright spot for us this week, as several IJA divisions move to nearly surround Kweiyang. And, we summon the vaunted 6th Inf. division from the SE. We are able to pocket four Chinese Armies, plus one Indep. Corps, at Kweiyang. Our assault, though, will have to wait for the 6th division, which will take another two weeks to get there. A major battle may be in the offing for Kweiyang, and Chiang may be in deep trouble if we win this battle.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 17 Feb. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/2/44

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: With the ground battle raging on Tanimbar, we send some small ground support missions (at night) down there from Sorong: 2x G4M's and, in a separate strike 3 Ki-45's, hit Gen. Eichelberger's troops and also the 29 Aus. Bde. We repeat the Betty raid a couple of days later. No Allied night fighters are encountered.

The Darwin B-25's (x 9) hit back, gaining good results against one of our Bn's on the eastern side of the island.

Finally, the US & RAAF Liberators come after Sorong during daylight: a total of 10 of them show up, at high altitude, and we can manage only 3x Ki-45's. We're unable to do much, and the airfield is damaged ("D1"). We had tried to bluff the Allies into thinking our fighter garrison there was substantial, and to date we had succeeded, with only night raids being mounted. But, apparently Genl's MacArthur & Kenney were not satisfied.

Solomons: From Vella Lavella, which will shortly become L-3, the Americans keep hitting Rabaul at night, with Corsairs & Lightnings. Another "Irving" night-fighter is lost, and we are no longer able to contest the night skies over Rabaul -- the Americans are simply too numerous.

Supporting the marines on Shortland, ground support missions hit our troops there, but have only minimal impact.

China: As the ground battle for Kweiyang continues, we pound the US airstrip there, with numerous fighter sweeps (4x Ki-43's) from Liuchow. The US ace McGuire, we learn, has been posted there! What a place for such an ace! We'll bet he'd be much happier on Florida Island, with the rest of the P-38 boys from the 13th AF.

We hit Kweiyang with a strong raid from Hanoi: 8x fighters (Ki-44's & 45's), with 8x Ki-49's at "extended-range." McGuire & 4 P-38's fight us off, and we end up losing 2 "Helens" (one operationally) for one P-38. No damage is done to the A/F. We're initially disappointed in our fighters' performance.

Two days later, we are back, in a multiple mission, this time bringing 6x "Sallys" along with us. By this time, the US a/c have been whittled down to 2 P-38's, and we down one of them in an air fight. This time, we're able to suppress Kweiyang's airstrip, and lose no planes.

We've deployed night-fighter Nicks to Haiphong, and send them againt Kweiyang, but they're unable to have any luck.

From Chunking, British Hudsons hit our 116th division. They, and the B-24's/B-25's from Ledo (see below) gain good results against our troops.

Burma: With no air opposition, the Allied air forces in Burma run amok, plastering Rangoon's A/F, and YY (both the A/F and oil fields are laid waste). They also mount a long-range ground strike from Ledo into China, against our 116th Inf. Div. holding the NW perimeter around Kweiyang (the Chinese will later attempt to break the seige by attacking this division).

Strong ground support missions are run from Mandalay & Myitkyina against Lashio (soon to be assaulted by Gen. Wingate's boys -- see Ground Ops), gaining excellent results.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Marshalls: US carriers NE of Eniwetok mount effective ground support missions (7x SBD's, 1x SB2C, 4x TBM's) in support of the 43rd division's so-far not-too-agressive assault there. They hit the eastern part of our defenses hard, and will break our garrison there.

Next, the US flattops hit Kwajalein's airfield (on the ground there: a single Ki-45). Flak downs an Avenger, but our airstrip is suppressed. Long-range air search out of Rabaul reports this TF as: "1x CV, 2x CVL, 1x BB, 6x CA, 3x CL, 4x DD, + 2x AO." Later, this force is augmented by another carrier TF, reported as containing 3x CV's + 1x CVL.

Solomons: ASW sweeps are kicked off again. Sortieing two DD TF's from San Cristobal, we initially escape the destroyers' wrath. Our luck does not hold, however: One of our subrons south of New Georgia loses two boats, and another subron SW of there loses one. Clearly, the Solomons are no longer a safe place for our subs.

Up the slot comes a bombardment/reinforcement TF, headed for Shortland. We locate this force by air search out of Rabaul & learn it contains 3x CL, 8x DD, & 3x APB's. The TF reaches Shortland, and we send an airstrike against it from Rabaul! Knowing the US night fighters at nearby Vella Lavella will be of little use, we are hoping that the only other possible protection for these ships, the USAAF P-38's from relatively-distant Florida Island, will be ineffective. We will not be disappointed!

Winging their way south are 2x D4Y's, 3x B5N's + 2x G4M's (the "Kates" & "Bettys" all torpedo-armed). Escorting are 3x N1K1's + 7x J2M's. Sure enough, we meet only a lone P-38 up at medium altitude (nothing shows up down low), and quickly abort this unit. We form the now-standard single attacking wave, heading for the "core," where the US CL's are. US AA fire, though, is (as usual) effective: both of our "Judys" are splashed, and both Bettys aborted. Going in, though, are 3x torpedo-laden B5N's. We line up one each against:

CL Montpelier: No hits // CL Santa Fe: Heavily-damaged (D4) & dead-in-the-water! // CLAA Atlanta (Adm. Ragsdale's flagship): Sunk! Note: Adm. Ragsdale apparently surives the attack.

We again thank the 13th Fighter Command for being so lax in their support, and wonder where all the marine Corsairs are?

We are lucky a day later when one of our subs lines up an attack on Santa Fe, being towed southeast. Unfortunately, we are chased off by US DD's and heavy ASW air screens.

Tanimbar: Air search out of Sorong locates a US bombardment TF headed again for Tanimbar: 2x BB, 4x CA, 1x CL, 4x DD steam there & open up, pounding our defenders, and the airfield there -- this time without any effect, though. The Americans return to Darwin (and may thank their lucky stars that Adm. Ozawa is no longer on the prowl down there).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Wingate, incensed at last week's failed overland assault, this time personally leads a renewed effort against our weakly-defended post at Lashio (the INA Bde Grp). With the 111th Bde, a Gurka para Bn, an Indian (1st) Bde plus two Chinese Armies (19, 28), we're defeated decisively and retreat with heavy losses, and Lashio is recaptured for Gen. Slim.

China: In a desperate attempt to break the threatened encirclement of Kweiyang, folowing several bombardments of our 116th division, the Chinese attempt to break out to the NW. A final air battle erupts, as we send defensive ground support (Hanoi) and are opposed by small #'s of P-51's, Beaufighters & P-38's from Kunming/Kweiyang. We win this air battle, downing 1x Mustang & a Beaufighter, for the loss of only 1x Ki-21. Three Chinese armies assault (15th, 40th & 27th). But, our boys hold out, turning back the attackers & routing them back into Kweiyang! Unfortunately for us, our 6th Inf. Division is not quite up to the front. It is this unit that is slated to lead the assault against Kweiyang. But we will have to wait another week to launch the assault -- giving the Chinese possibly yet another chance to break out before it's too late, if they can rally their troops!

Tanimbar: Two separate battles are joined on Tanimbar, with the 127th Infantry & 28th Aus. Bde hitting a lone IJA Bn on the eastern part of the island (defending a L-1 airstrip there). Gen. Eichelberger's boys make short work of our defenders -- they are wiped out, and the airstrip captured. On the SW part of the island, we have our main defense line: The "K" Bde, well-dug-in. The 126th Infantry + the 29th Aus. Bde assaults this position and are repelled, though with only minor losses. Our Bde is now down to a little over half-strength, but we still hold out!

Eniwetok (Engebi): The 43rd division's battle for Engebi continues to flounder! Though we are down to 2x Bn's, each defending one end of the airstrip, the US Army troops (led by Gen. Hodge, in a singularly unimpressive performance, we must say!) are not agressive: In one battle, they refuse to continue the fight after being initially rebuffed; in the other, they are forced to give ground, in utter disgrace. We intercept a rather desperate radio transmission, purportedly by Gen. Hodge himself, after these two failed assaults, saying "It's going to s**t on Engebi, I gotta have more troops!" Clearly, he is no Major ("send us more Japs") Devereux. The US Army's performance continues to be a disappointment for the Allied command.

Shortland: Two additional regiments of the US 41st division are brought ashore, bringing that unit to full-strength. They may need them, as the Americans discover as they advance inland (into the jungle, that is) that the going may not be as smooth as the first week's relatively easy assault against our beach defenses. Our last stand on Shortland, defending the airfield, NW of Shortland harbor, consists of the 8th tank Rgt, plus 1x Rgt (73rd) of the 19th division, along with 1x Engr. We are still very well-dug in, and the 2nd Mar Div (along with 1x Rgt of the 41st) mount a hasty assault. Our tanks make the difference and, though we're now down to a single company of them, we hold -- for the first time forcing the marines to pull back!

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 24 Feb. 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 2/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: The US night fighters from Vella Lavella continue to hit Rabaul, but so far we suffer no real damage.

Air reconnaissance from Rabaul reports a large US TF anchored at Tulagi: "3x CV, 1x CVL, 3x BB, 4x CA, 3x CL, 3x DD, + 2x AO's."

Ground support missions continue to aid the Allied fight for Shortland. The US P-38's from Florida I. have one especially good mission.

China: We continue to concentrate hard on Kweiyang, where 2x US P-38's remain. They no longer rise to meet our raids, but we're initially unable to do further damage to the A/F. The Americans mount small ground support missions against our 116th Inf. Div. again -- apparently the Chinese intend to attempt another breakout.

In one of our fighter sweeps (from Liuchow; 4x Ki-43's), in a strafing attack we nail one of the grounded P-38's. We lose 1x Ki-21 "Sally" A/P operationally, after another "multiple" strike against the US base.

Burma: The American P-47's from Arakan switch targets, now hitting the port at Rangoon, damaging it. Vengeances from Mandalay hit the airfield there (no damage done), and our AA gunners down one of them.

From Chittagong, the US B-25's continue to pound the YY oil fields, which are kept in a continuous state of disrepair.

N. Guinea: From Iron Range, small raids are sent against the P. Moresby airfield (Vengeances, Beauforts). One of the Beauforts is downed by flak.

Australia: Multiple ground-support missions are flown from Darwin & Bathurst I. to Tanimbar, but these raids have only marginal impact on the battle, which continues to rage.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Marshalls: US reinforcements (another Rgt, apparently the 43rd div. reserve) are landed at Engebi, in response to Gen. Hodge's repeated desperate calls for help (see Ground Ops). They will end up tipping the balance.

One of the US carrier TG's operating in the Eniwetok area apparently heads home. It is spotted by air search out of Kwajalein as it steams south, past the Gilberts. One carrier TG remains, though, NE of Eniwetok.

Solomons: We lose 3 more subs to US ASW sweeps SW of Guadalcanal and S of N. Georgia.

NE of the Santa Cruz Is., IJN subs locate & attack a US TF. The only ship we're able to ID (and attack, gaining 3 shots against her) is the BB "Alabama." One of our boats manages to lightly ("D1") damage her, but she (and the rest of the TF, which we never sight) gets away.

GROUND OPERATIONS

N. Guinea (note): The IJA 56th Inf. Div., our P. Moresby garrison, moves back across the Kokoda trail, to Buna.

China: The Kweiyang breakout, part II, sees 3 Chinese armies (now rallied) try their luck again against the IJA 116th division, prior to our launching our own assault against the city. Though we hold, the Chinese attack does fairly well, opening up an escape route to the NW, with both sides taking moderate losses.

We then launch our assault, sending 2 divs (6th, 17th) against the Chinese defenders (15th Army + 1x Indep. Corps). Our attack fails to dislodge the defenders; they hold! NW of Kweiyang, our 116th division counterattacks, joined by two additional divisions (the 104th & 53rd), against the Chinese breakout units. Again, the Chinese resistance stiffens -- they hold fast and we are unable to close the ring around Kweiyang. As our supplies for this massive winter offensive for this cycle are gone, it remains to be seen whether, in March '44, we will be able to continue the attack. Rumors of Gen. Hata's imminent firing also make us uneasy, as that may disrupt operations in China (at least temporarily).

In Hunan Province, we have better luck: Two of our smaller divisions (63rd, 64th) attack the "broken" & badly-understrength Chinese 7th Army, and destroy it.

Australia: The Northern Territory is fairly lousy with American Engineer units -- they are virtually all over the place, feverishly building the rail line SE from Darwin. Apparently Gen. MacArthur is not as comfortable at Darwin as he was on the E. coast, and needs additional "comfort" items.

Burma: South of Lashio, Gen. Wingate's 111th SF Bde, plus the Chinese 19th Army, hit our rapidly-disappearing INA Bde Group, again routing them. They retreat back across the Salween, down to a single step and likely never to be heard from again.

Tanimbar: Gen. Eichelberger continues the attack against our "last stand" defense, sending the 29 Aus. Bde + the 126th Infantry into the attack ("K" Bde). This time the Australians lead the charge and we surmise that Gen. MacArthur is greatly regretting allowing the outstanding Australian divisions to "get away" to Burma -- though good troops, these Aussies are not quite the "A" team, and they fail to dislodge us. The "K" Bde is now down to 3 steps, but the Allies are forced to call off the attack for this week. We intercept some rather pointed radio messages from Gen. Eichelberger, similar in tone to those we heard from Gen. Hodge on Engebi, pleading for more help. Things are apparently not all roses for the Allies in prosecuting the ground war against us: the battle for Tanimbar will continue!

Eniwetok (Engebi): With the arrival of the 43rd Inf. Div's reserve (103rd Infantry), the jig is up for us. Ordered to hold to the last man, our valiant 25th Bde does its job, inflicting 3 more steps in losses on the 43rd division. But, we're finally wiped out, and Engebi (and with it, Eniwetok atoll) is secured!

Shortland: The jungle battle NW of the harbor continues. The Americans throw two full divisions (2nd Mar Div; 41st Inf. Div) against us. Though we're decidedly outnumbered, our fortifications prove the difference. We lose the last of the 8th Tk Rgt, and are down to 3 steps, but we still hold the airfield. Continuing the battle, only the 2nd Mar Div proves up to the task of continuing the fight (again, the US Army embarasses itself, with the 41st Div crapping out, unable -- or unwilling --to join). Though we're down to a handful of troops now, the US Marines fail to wipe us out: the battle for Shortland is not yet over! (All the money and supplies we've spent on digging in there -- and elsewhere -- is paying off handsomely for us)

CYCLE 0/2/44, Notes: Though we have another disastrous month's worth of MS losses (our MS total is now down to approx. half of the tonnage with which we started the war), our Economic Multiple holds.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 2 March 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/3/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Solomons: Night actions over Rabaul (US Corsairs & Lightnings) down one J1N. We later move in two Ki-45 KAI-1C's to help, but we continue to suffer losses at night.

We send our night-flying Bettys (2 of them) south from Rabaul to hit Ndeni, the US B-24 base. No luck. Then we add another two, from Sorong, sending all 4 down there, but again apparently cannot do any damage.

Several ground support missions are mounted against Shortland, from Florida I. (P-38 F/B's) & San Cristobal (B-25's). The P-38 raids end up catching our Engr Rgt, virtually destroying it. Later, a US carrier TF operating in "the slot" launches a very successful mission (we see 6x F6F's, 6x SBD's, 2x SB2C's, & 7x TBM's in this strike) against our hard-pressed Shortland garrison.

The US airfield on Vella Lavella (now L-3) has been augmented with day fighters also. They kick off operations with their first daylight raid against Rabaul: 3x P-38's (Bong) & 2x P-47's escort 2x US B-25's. We send up an impressive array of fighters: 2x A6M5's (Sakai, Sasai), 3x N1K1's (Muto, Kanno), 6x J2M's and one Ki-61. We're thus able to out-number the US fighters more than 2:1, but they again get "the bounce," downing one of our Zeros. In the exchange, we end up splashing one Thunderbolt, but the two American Mitchells do damage all out of proportion to their numbers, knocking out (on the ground) 1x G4M, 1x B5N & 1x Ki-57 transport A/P. A good mission for these 13th AF boys, we must admit.

Central Pacific: The Americans still have not yet made their airstrip on Eniwetok operational, and have yet to base any air units there. Small (1x Ki-45) strikes from Kwajalein visit Eniwetok, but are unable to do any further damage.

Australia: Iron Range-based Allied a/c (RAAF Beauforts, Vengeances; US P-38's) hit P. Moresby's A/F, damaging it.

From Cairns, a strong B-24 strike (8x US + 2x RAAF) hits our airfield at Lae. We send up 4 Ki-61's, only turning back one of the attackers while losing one "Tony." We do manage to down one US B-24 from heavy flak over Lae, but the airfield is hit hard ("D1").

Burma: By-now-routine Allied unopposed air strikes maintain YY & Rangoon's airfields in a more or less permanent state of damage.

The British fly in another Chindit Bn. from Yunnani to Lashio, as Gen. Wingate continues to rack up "frequent flyer" miles.

China: Our night-fighting Ki-45's from Haiphong hit the still-growing US airbase at Kunming, but fail (apparently) to do any damage initially. But, in a later strike we do score, apparently destroying one US A/P on the ground there (unknown type).

Hanoi-based IJAAF bombers (Ki-49's & 21's) knock out the (now-empty) US airstrip at Kweiyang.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Solomons: A major IJN redeployment of submarines sees the virtual evacuation of our sub presence throughout the Solomons: the frequent US ASW sweep sorties have simply been too expensive for us to maintain our I-boats there. New boats are deployed to the Ceram/Banda Sea areas, and in the Central/West Marshalls.

Banda Sea: A US reinforcement/bombardment TF sorties from Darwin, bringing in more troops to Tanimbar: the US 5307th Composite Unit ("Merrills Marauders"), plus the 32nd division's last regiment (the 128th Infantry), and a US Army Engr unit. The US naval gunfire unit includes 2x BB's, 4x CA's, 1x CL & 3x DD's.

Solomons: Air search out of Rabaul locates a US carrier TF operating in "the slot;" reported as containing 2x CV's + 2x CVL's. After hitting Shortland, this TF moves east, heading north of the Ellice Is.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Notes: We are informed that the US Army's 6th Army HQ -- Lt. Gen. Krueger -- has been deployed at Cooktown. In the N. Territories, we see yet another US Engineer arrive, joining the many already there & continuing the rail construction, in what is being described in the Australian press as "the Great Northern Territory Rail Adventure" to link Darwin with Australia's eastern seaboard.)

Tanimbar: Gen. MacArthur reinforces his forces fighting for Tanimbar (see Naval Ops), but these forces are, for this week, unable to get into the action in the fight for the central airfield. The US 126th Infantry (joined by 2 Australian Bdes: the 29th & 30th) leads the assault. Our "K" Bde is now down to 3 steps. The US attack is lackluster, resulting in no ground gained and only minor losses to both sides: We hold!

Shortland: The end is near on Shortland. Two US divisions (2nd Mar Div; 41st Infantry) launch the final push against our dwindling garrison (now down to the 73rd Rgt, after our Engineers are wiped out in air attacks). Our extensive fortifications, though, continue to pay off, as we inflict big losses on the enemy. But, we are finally broken & routed from our position. A lone Bn. retreats to the center of the island, into jungle/mountain terrain, and the Americans are able to capture the airfield. The fight for the Solomons is thus virtually over, and we wonder what the enemy's next move will be.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 9 March 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/3/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The airstrip on Engebi (Eniwetok) is made operational. Some US air units (as-yet unknown #'s or types) are flown in from Ndeni -- probably P-47's or P-38's.

From Wake, we hit Engebi with 1x G4M and (our last) 1x G3M, at night. We're unsure of any positive results. A few days later, we send them back -- this time augmented by an additional 2x Bettys we've transferred into Wake. No damage is apparently done.

Solomons/South Pacific: We send down a night strike (4x G4M's) from Rabaul against Ndeni. No US night fighters are based there, but still we're unable to do any damage. A repeat strike a couple of nights later fares no better.

San Cristobal-based 13th AF B-25's hit our beleaguered garrison on Shortland hard. Later, the P-38's from Florida I. join in. We're powerless to stop these Allied raids. After taking one of the Shortland airstrips on the eastern part of the island, the first US air units are rebased into there, from San Cristobal.

The Americans hit back, sending their Corsair & Lightning night-fighters from Vella Lavella to visit us over Rabaul. They hit nothing.

From Cairns, no fewer than 12 US B-24's hit our airfield at Gasmata hard, knocking it out of commission. One B-24 is downed by flak. From Iron Range, RAAF Beauforts & US P-38's keep the long-ago-abandoned airstrip at P. Moresby suppressed.

Australia/E. Indies: The first Allied air units are rebased into Tanimbar I., from Cape York's Higgins Field. Note: the battle for Tanimbar still is in progress, but the eastern airstrip (L-1) is Allied-controlled.

From Darwin, 7x US B-24's hit our seaplane base at Sorong (where we've moved in significant #'s of long-range search planes). A single Ki-45 rises to meet them, but scores no hits. Flak downs one of the Liberators, and no damage is done to the 3x AV's there , or the base itself.

Also from Darwin, the Australian Liberators visit Flores I.'s A/F for the first time. No Japanese air assets are based there, and the airstrip is "suppressed."

The Australians begin constructing an airfield at Broome.

Burma: The Allied air forces in the CBI concentrate on ground-support missions, hitting our front lines very hard, in several places -- in support of Gen. Slim's general offensive.

China: Our night-fighting Nicks from Haiphong hit Kunming again, and this time we apparently manage to shoot up 1x A/P (unknown type) on the ground. The British send over a couple of Beaufighters to oppose these raids and, in a subsequent strike our 4x Nicks down one of them.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Tanimbar I.: A US bombardment TF sorties from Darwin. Our air search from Sorong reports it as "2x BB, 4x CA, 1x CL + 3x DD's." This TF proceeds to Tanimbar, and blasts our K Bde defenders there. It then returns to Darwin.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Tanimbar I.: "Hail Caesar" is the battle-cry, as Gen. MacArthur gains his first victory of the war. Our defenders, down to 2 steps (+ 1x Engr Rgt), are finally finished off by the US 32nd Inf. Div, aided by the 3rd Australian Div. + "Merrill's Marauders." Ordered to defend to the "last man," our defenders do their job before they're wiped out, taking 3 steps from the 32nd Div's regiments. But, Tanimbar is secured for Gen. MacArthur's SW Pacific boys.

Shortland: More bad news this week for us. Gen. Griswold's 41st Div. chases our last-remaining step (from the 73rd Rgt, IJA) down, wiping it out. Once again, though, we're able to inflict losses on the Americans. Shortland is secured and with it, the Solomons.

Burma: Large parts of the British 14th Army are activated, and a major offensive resumes in central Burma. SW of Mandalay, on the Irrawady, our 51st Inf Div is hit by 3 Allied divisions (6th & 7th Australian; 2nd British), plus the 16th (Chindit) Bde. Gen. Slim's preparations pay off handsomely, and we are routed, taking heavy losses. All 3 of the CW divisions pursue successfully, as we retreat into Yenangyuang ("YY"). A good start indeed for Gen. Slim.

South of Mandalay, our defenses are formidable: no fewer than 4 IJA divisions (2nd Guards, 33rd, 38th & 15th), plus 1x indep. Bde (28th) and 1x Rgt (124th) await an attack led by the 9th Australian division (along with the 7th Indian, + the 254th Ind. Tank Bde). Gen. Sano, our commander there, though he outnumbers the attacking Allied forces, loses the battle, being forced to retreat, though in good order and with only minor losses. This time, there is no pursuit.

SW of Mandalay, we are again dislodged. Two IJA divisions (32nd + 18th), along with the 112th Rgt + the BNA Bde Group, are hit by the British 111th Spl For. Bde ("Chindits"), plus the 37th Indian Bde and the Chinese 19th Army. Gen. Wingate leads the attack, and our commander, Gen. Sakurai, is unable to hold. Yet, once again we're able to retreat in good order, with only minor losses. Meanwhile, the British Chindit Bde takes very heavy losses, and there is no pursuit.

New Guinea: In N. Guinea, our 56th Div. finally reaches Lae, after a long overland march which began in P. Moresby. Plans are afoot to pull them out, as they are desperately needed elsewhere. Stay tuned...

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 March 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/3/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: From Midway, a powerful B-24 strike hits our airfield on Wake: 12x B-24's show up, and we have no fighters there to oppose them. One G3M (the last operational Nell in the Pacific) is destroyed on the ground, and the airfield is heavily-damaged (we do manage to down one of the attackers with AA fire).

We still have 3 G4M's operational at Wake, and send them at night against Engebi. But, as usual, we're unable to discern any appreciable damage. We send them back 2 nights later, and lose one of them operationally.

South Pacific: Daylight operations are kicked off from Vella Lavella against Rabaul. 3x P-47's + 2x P-38's (Bong), escorting 2x RAAF Mitchells + 2x USMC SBD's (a true multi-national & multi-service strike) are opposed by 2 A6M5's. We're able to abort one of the Mitchells; no a/c are downed, and no damage is done to the airfields.

In concert with an amphibious assault against Milne Bay (see "Naval Ops"), the Americans drop in the US 503rd Para Inf. Rgt, from Higgins Field.

Australia: 7x Darwin-based B-24's hit our (L-2) airfield at Sorong. We only manage a single Ki-45 to oppose them, and our airfield there is suppressed.

Burma: Heavy ground-support missions continue against our ground units. For the most part, they are very effective.

China: More night air fights over Kunming; 4x Ki-45's vs. 1x Beaufighter -- no losses are incurred by either side.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

·  * The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (or, the great "Bismarck Sea Blow-out") -- 11-15 Mar. 44 **

Bismarck Sea: We have decided to try to evacuate the 56th Inf Div (-) at Lae. Adm. Ozawa is dispatched to the Bismarck Sea area, north of Lae, to cover our transports. His TF is spotted on the 11th by B-24 air search out of Cairns, as is our transport TF north of N. Guinea, heading for Lae.

Making use of "Sigint," the Allies try to gain information on our TF's. We don't know how effective their efforts are.

As it happens, our evacuation effort is taking place at the same time that an Allied landing at Milne Bay is underway. We are unable to locate the Allied ships until they are very close to Milne Bay, but finally Adm. Ozawa's carrier TF locates them, reporting the force as "2x CL, 4x DD, 1x DE + 1x APB (ESB)." On the afternoon of the 13th, at maximum-range, Adm. Ozawa launches a strike against it as the Allied ships reach the Milne Bay area. 7x D4Y's + 5x B6N's are launched.

Forming two waves (a tactical error, it will turn out), the first (4x D4Y's + 3x B6N's -- level-bombing, outside of torpedo range) goes for the "core," aiming for the Allied transports. Two of the "Judy's" are splashed by flak, and all others save a lone "Jill" are aborted! The single B6N targets the US APB's, but miss. The 2nd wave (3x D4Y's + 2x B6N's) fares no better; unwilling to under go the surprisingly heavy AA fire, the strike aims for a "Fletcher-class" DD. All miss! A most disappointing strike. The 5th Australian Division is then put ashore at Milne Bay.

Another US TF, meanwhile, is operating in the area, as-yet undetected. On the morning of the 14th, our evacuation TF reaches Lae, and the US (carrier) TF launches a strike! Ignoring the IJN transports (apparently against orders!), the US strike comes in against Adm. Ozawa!

The strike is a farily powerful one, but is only lightly escorted: 2x F6F's + 2x F4F's (O'Hare), escorting 4x TBM's + 5x SBD's. Adm. Ozawa's TF consists of 4x CV's, each of which has an extra Zero in expectation of heavy air opposition in the area. All the USN fighters are kept at low altitude, protecting the Avengers. They are met with a very strong CAP: from our carriers 11x A6M's, and 1x J2M from Lae arrives also to help out. The Americans get "the bounce," but cannot make it pay off: our Zekes down two of the Avengers & abort the other two. Good work, boys!

Meanwhile, up high (5x unprotected Dauntlesses) are met by 4x A6M's (Sugino, Okumura), plus another J2M from Lae. We manage to splash one Dauntless & turn a 2nd away. Thus, going in to attack are 3x US SBD's!

They form a single attacking wave, and only 1 is turned away by flak. Two gang up on CV "Kaga," and score on her, lightly damaging the flagship! Our luck is bad, though, and she takes a 2nd "critical hit," bringing her to "D2" damage level.

Using the attention paid to Adm. Ozawa to best advantage, our transports are able to get into Lae, embark the 56th division, and get away to the north unscathed. Thus, the operation has been a success, despite the moderate damage to "Kaga." The battle is not yet over, though.

Following the egress of the IJN transports, Adm. Ozawa begins his withdrawal to the north. Gen. Kenney makes a fateful decision at Cairns, sending 12 B-24's, at low-altitude & at extended-range, against our carrier TF, now just south of the Admiralties. It is a very risky venture against such a well-protected force. And, we will make the Americans pay very dearly.

On the morning of the 15th, with all the B-24's coming in low (and very vulnerable down so low), intending to skip-bomb (and unescorted), Adm. Ozawa still has 15 Zeros in his pocket. They're all sent aloft (along with a lone J2M, from Lae) against the Americans. The result is a veritable slaughter: our CAP downs 3 of them, and aborts 3 others! The remaining 6 B-24's press home the attack, going for our carriers. Our ships are well-protected with AA fire, and the single wave of 6 attackers is cut to pieces: 2 are splashed outright; the remaining 4 aborted! The worst, of course, is yet to come. As the mission was at extended range, the American planes are liable for additional loss operationally. Luck is with us this day, as the American flyers "crap out" completely. The net result of this disastrous strike makes the US 8th AF losses at Schweinfurt look low: A total of 10 B-24 air points are lost in this mission!

Following this disaster, we receive unconfirmed reports that Gen. Kenney was assasinated by the 5th Bomber Command G-3. At any rate, we rejoice at the victory, and are confident that even the Americans will not be able to make good such losses, at least for some time. Well-done, boys, and well-done to the old sea-dog, Adm. Ozawa (who's become affectionately known now to his flyers as "the Gargoyle").

The next day (the 16th), following the "blowout," two more US TF's show up at Milne Bay: One is a bombardment TF which plasters our (intrinsic only) garrison there. The other is another transport TF, which lands the US 17th Infantry (7th Inf. Div). Quite a major operation indeed.

GROUND OPERATIONS

N. Guinea (Milne Bay): The Allied force storms ashore, brushing aside our intrinsic garrison with no trouble at all. They thus have their first foothold on New Guinea. Gen. Krueger, in Australia, is in command of this operation.

Burma: The battle for YY is joined, as Gen. Slim's 14th Army continues its so-far brilliantly successful offensive. Three Allied divisions (6th & 7th Australian; 2nd British) force our defenders there (51st div; 138th Rgt; 22nd Indep. Bde; plus 2x Engr's) to beat a hasty retreat -- this time we are routed and soundly defeated. YY is thus "liberated," and two of the Allied divs (7th Australian, 2nd British) keep the heat on, pursuing us as we retreat south. One positive note: with this pursuit, Gen. Slim's troops have finally outrun their supply lines. From here on out, any further advances will be harder to achieve. (With the capture of YY, this represents the first Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere Resource Hex -- value greater than "1" -- to be captured; a Strategic Initiative shift of +1 Allied occurs.)

NW of Prome, we stiffen. Three IJA divs (38th, 15th, 32nd; plus the 124th Rgt) are attacked by 3 CW units: The 9th Australian division, 19th Chinese Army, + the 37th Indian Bde (Gen. Messervey, GOC). This time, we repulse the attack and hold, with both sides taking moderate losses. We are happy to see that the 9th Australian division once again is down to approx. 60% strength. Perhaps this flank is running out of steam for them!

End Report

"Hello again all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, your number-one enemy, with another vicious assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 23 March 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 3/44

AIR OPERATIONS

China: We continue night raids from Haiphong-to-Kunming (usually, 4x Ki-45's). We see no further Allied night fighter opposition (where did the Beaufighters go, we wonder?). No damage is reported to the still-growing US airbase there.

South Pacific: From Vella Lavella, their nocturnal F4U's & P-38's destroy one J1N on the ground at Rabaul. This time, though, we splash one of the Corsairs. Air opposition at Rabaul is nonexistant, as the base (save for a few transports) has been virtually entirely evacuated by now. Sure enough, P-38's from Shortland follow up the night strikes, hitting Rabaul during daylight. All that remains is 3x Ki-57's, and the still-powerful Rabaul AA downs one of the Lightnings. Rabaul's A/F is heavily-damaged, though. No worry to us -- Rabaul has lost its importance to us now that the Solomons have been wrested from us.

N. Guinea: After discovering significant IJN & IJAAF air assets on Lae, Cooktown-based B-24's hit Lae at night (including 2x RAAF Liberators). This strike is a good one, suppressing the airfield and destroying 1x J2M + 1x Ki-57 transport on the ground.

E. Indies: For the first time, the Darwin-based B-24's (10 of them) hit Soerabaja, targeting the oil resources there. The Americans & Aussies discover where we've been keeping many of our land-based Zeroes -- in Java! From Soerabaja, 5 Zekes are launched, and are joined by another 2 from Tjilitjap, and one from Batavia. We down one Australian Liberator & turn back 2 others; losing one A6M5 in return. The oil field resource hex is damaged ("D1"), though. And we have no engineers nearby to repair it.

Burma: The still-unopposed Allied air forces continue to concentrate on ground-support missions against our now-stiffening defenders.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(Nothing of note to report this week)

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Most of the 14th Army units in central Burma have now out-run their supply lines. The British have some road-building to do if they are to supply their front-line units fully. We are thankful for this, and our troops begin to fight back hard.

NE of Prome, we give Gen. Slim a bloody nose. Forced to lead an attack with an Indian Bde (the 37th) due to heavy losses to the 9th Australian division, an Allied attack (which also includes the 7th Indian Div + the Chinese 19th Army) goes badly against our 3+ divisions. This time, we send them packing with very heavy losses!

Nearby, on the Salween, the 111th (Chindits) Bde + the 6th Australian division also run into a stone wall, as our 18th division (Gen Hanaya in overall Cmd), reinforced by the 16th div (-), repulses the assault. This will be, as it turns out, Gen. Wingate's last battle (See "Cycle Notes").

South of Yenangyuang, we have four "broken" units (51st div, down to only 4 steps; 138th Rgt; 22nd Indep. Bde; + 2x Engr's) and one good one: the 2nd Guards division (Gen. Sakurai is in local command). Low on supply, the 7th Australian div + the 2nd British div go into the attack. We win again, turning the Allied forces back, with minor losses to both sides.

With only two months to go before the onset of the monsoon season, and Gen. Slim's 14th Army having severe supply problems, we are now heartened by our prospects of holding south-central Burma!

CYCLE 0/3/44, Notes

On a sad note, one of the biggest thorns in our side in Burma, Gen. Wingate, is killed in an a/c accident flying out of Lashio.

In China, Gen. Okamura replaces Gen. Hata as CG, C.E.F. Gen. Okamura is an excellent commander, and his arrival might mean a resumption of offensive operations in China. The IJA still has considerable fight left, and we remain most confident!

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 30 March 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/4/44

Cycle 0/3/44, Notes:

With parts of Gen. Slim's 14th Army having out-run their supply lines, the British establish two emergency command/air supply links: From Chittagong to YY (8x Air Transport A/P's), & from Myitkyina to Mandalay (4x A/P's). These lifts will supply up to 48 ground steps (approx. 4 divs), allowing Gen. Slim to keep the pressure on us.

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: From Cairns, 8x US B-24's hit Lae at night. We send up 4x Ki-45 night fighters, aborting one of them. We escape damage. A few days later, the Darwin boys visit Lae (8x B-24's: 4x USAAF & 4x RAAF). We send up all we've got: 5x Ki-61's, 6x J2M's (Muto, Kanno), & 1x A6M5 (Sugio). In a vicious air battle, our fighters down one of the American Liberators. Our flak gets another, and we lose only one "Tony" in return. But, the Allied bombers manage to suppress our airfield -- a tough mission but one which brings back successful results to Gen. Kenney, now (apparently) with Gen. MacArthur at Darwin.

From Lae, we commence air transport evacuation runs out, lifting 1x Inf. Bn, to Manus (Admiralties). Our intention is to get the regiment there (part of our 56th Inf Div, previously evacuated by sea) out, rejoining its parent division (the location of which will remain unrevealed).

Missions are launched from Cooktown (RAAF Mitchells) and Iron Range (RAAF Beauforts) against our P. Moresby garrison.

Central Pacific: From Wake, we send 4x night-trained G4M's against Engebi. We encounter no opposition, and the results of our strike are reported as poor. We later send another 4x G4M's (non-night-trained), in another night strike, but fare no better. Two nights later, we send the night-Bettys back (and achieve similar disappointing results).

Continuing to keep the pressure on Engebi, we send a daylight raid from Kwajalein against it: 3x G4M's, escorted by 3x Ki-45's + 5x A6M5's, are met in the air by 2x P-47's + 2x P-38's. We receive "the bounce," and make the most of it -- downing one T.Bolt & one Lightning. Though some of our raiders are aborted, we lose none outright. No damage is done to the airstrip there.

Later, we send the 3x Nicks + 5 Zekes in on a fighter sweep, but the Americans evade us. Confident that we've got the American fighters there suppressed, we send in 5x Bettys, unescorted, during daylight. Only 2 US fighters remain (1x P-47, 1x P-38). Some of our planes are aborted but we finally manage to "suppress" the airstrip.

Then, in a "maximum effort," we launch the kitchen sink against Engebi (this time 7x Bettys, plus the Nicks & Zekes). We shoot up the lone-remaining Thunderbolt (2x newly-arrived night-fighter PV-1's are untouched), but fail to further damage the airstrip.

From Midway, no fewer than 11 US B-24's (where, we wonder, do they get them all?! If only we'd had such power in our hands....) hit Wake. There, on the ground, are 12 Betty A/P's (we have no fighters there, doh!), all lined up. Fortunately, we only lose one. Our AA gunners, though, get lucky & splash one of the attackers. And, as the raid was at extended-range, the Americans fail their return DR & lose another operationally. We only wish it would put a dent in their overall efforts.

Burma: Allied air units throughout the CBI concentrate on ground support missions. In Burma, they achieve good results, especially against our 38th & 33rd divisions in the front line. Rangoon is visited by the Arakan P-47's -- they heavily damage the port there, affecting our Burma Area Army HQ's command range (and they take away 4 CP's) for the coming weeks' operations.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

South Pacific: A USN carrier TF operating in the Coral Sea hits P. Moresby (2x F6F, 2x SBD, 2x TBM). Following this raid, this TF proceeds through the Torres Strait, heading for Darwin. Far to the southeast, a typhoon hits Samoa hard. We hope the Americans have many ships and planes there.

Air search out of Sorong locates another strong US TF (reported as "1x CV, 2x CVL, 1x CVE, 3x BB, 2x CA, 1x DD, 2x AO, along with 1x APB & 3x APD's") steams through the Arafura Sea, entering Darwin. Quite an impressive array of US naval power now sways at anchor there. Clearly, it won't be long before Gen. MacArthur launches a major operation from there.

Central Pacific: On the 26th, air search out of Kwajalein locates another US carrier TF, 300 nm SW of Nauru. It is reported (twice) as: "2x CV, 4x CVE, + 4x DD's." This TF steams north, heading towards the Marshalls. On the 28th, this TF again is spotted, now 120 nm NW of Bikini (same report). Unluckily for us, our main base -- Kwajalein -- is heavily squalled-in, hampering air operations out of there. Nevertheless, we decide to send a strike against this US TF. A separate strike from Wake will take part also.

From Kwajalein, we manage 2x torpedo-laden G4M's, plus another 5 level-bombing (escorted by 5x A6M's @ extended range). From Wake, 3x torpedo-armed Bettys plus another 3 level-bombing ones join in. The only CAP seen are 4x Hellcats, sent down low against the torpedo bombers. They do well, downing 2 Bettys (and aborting 2 more), plus one of the escorting Zeroes. Going in to attack, then, are 5x level-bombing Bettys from Kwajalein, plus 2 from Wake. We are unable to fully coordinate the strike & thus they're required to form separate waves. Unwilling to undergo the strong AA (we learn there is one CV, plus 3x CVE's actually present) from the "core," both waves concentrate on Fletcher-class DD's. Alas, we score not a single hit! A bitter disappointment. We are once again frustrated that such a relatively puny US TF can steam right in our "backyard," with apparent impunity. Truly an intolerable situation!

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Now partially resupplied, Gen. Slim's 14th Army keeps the pressure on in their drive for Rangoon. In the battle for Prome, two 14th Army divs (7th Australian, 2nd British; Gen. Stopford in local command) defeat our garrison (33rd div + 1x Indep. Bde; hit very hard in airstrikes) there, capturing the city with only minor losses. We retreat south, towards Rangoon, with the Australians in hot pursuit.

Not to be outdone, NE of Prome Gen. Messervey's units (9th Australian div + the Chinese 28th Army) inflict a serious defeat on our now seriously low-on-morale defenders (led by the 38th division). We are completely routed, withdrawing to the south, again with the Australians in pursuit!

New Guinea: The US Army's 7th Inf. Division moves out from Milne Bay. Moving along the NE coast, it moves to contact against our trip-wire Rgt at Dobodura. The Americans prepare to attack next week. It will be their first action in New Guinea.

Also at Milne Bay we discover a 6th Army (Gen. Krueger) Offensive Support Base has been constructed.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific"

Tokyo, 6 April 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/4/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: From Wake, we again hit the US 7th AF B-24 base at Midway, with our night Bettys. We get unconfirmed reports of some damage inflicted. Confident that no US fighters are based there, we send 5x Bettys from Kwajalein in a daylight strike, at low altitude (& extended range). We're right that no fighters are there, but the US AA gunners do quite enough damage -- they splash 2 (and we lose an additional one operationally). Not a good result at all.

New Guinea: 6x US B-24's hit Lae from Cairns. We send up 3x Ki-45's, managing to turn one attacker back. One J2M, and 1x Ki-57 transport are destroyed on the ground.

Ground-strike missions are launched againt our P. Moresby garrison from Iron Range. From Cooktown, RAAF Mitchells hit our Dobodura garrison (in support of the US 7th divisions' upcoming assault). This time, we scramble 4 fighters from Lae on Cover CAP, but are unable to down either of the attackers. We do, though, manage to prevent the strike from achieving any positive results.

Australia: From Darwin, 4x RAAF Liberators hit our airfield at Sorong, at night. They do no appreciable damage.

South Pacific: From Shortland, USAAF P-38's & A-20's hit Rabaul, heavily damaging the (long-abandoned) airfields. We do manage to splash one of the A-20's with flak. From Vella Lavella, RAAF Mitchells & USMC SBD's hit the (also long-abandoned) seaplane base there, damaging it.

China: Someone on our side gets the bright idea to hit the US airbase at Kunming, so a strike is sent from Hanoi against it (7x Ki-49's, escorted by 7x Ki-44's + 3x Ki-45's). Gen. Chennault's boys are waiting for us, as we face 4x P-38's, 1x P-47, 2x P-51's + 2x P-40's. Our fighters are on "close escort," and we quickly lose two of the Nicks, in return for a single P-40. Then, the Americans tear into the "Helens," downing one. Another one is destroyed by AA fire, and we fail to do any damage to the airfield. Worse, we lose another two Ki-49's operationally on return (extended-range). Quite a bloody nose.

This raid apparently gets Gen. Chennault's dander up, and he sends his boys down south against Hanoi on a fighter sweep. 2x P-38's, 2x P-51's (Lynch), 1x P-47 + 1x P-40 show up, and we send up 7x Ki-44's from Hanoi, along with a single Oscar from Haiphong. We end up trading one of the "Tojos" for the US Thunderbolt, and are quite content with that result. But, the Americans follow up this strike with another raid: 2x P-38's, escorting 3x A-20's. This time, we send up 9 fighters (this time we commit up the Ki-45's -- which ran away & hid from the US fighter sweep preceeding this strike). We turn the Yankees away, splashing one of the Lightnings.

Next, a raid from Ledo hits Hanoi (what a firestorm we created; sleeping dogs are indeed best left to lie): Six RAF Liberators hit us hard. We lose 1x Ki-44 + 2x Ki-21 bombers destroyed on the ground, and the airfield at Hanoi is (for the first time) suppressed.

Burma: Heavy ground-support missions continue, from Arakan (US P-47's) against our 33rd division, and from Mandalay (a mixed bag of USAAF & RAF units) against our 38th division. Both of these strikes achieve excellent results.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Adm. H.W. Hills carrier TF, now operating NE of Wake, hits Wake with 4x F6F (strafing), 3x TBM, & 2x SB2C's. We are fortunate not to suffer any damage, and one of the strafing Hellcats is downed by flak over the airfield. That afternoon (Apr 2) we hit back, sending a total of 9 Bettys (from Wake) against Adm. Hill's TF. Four of the Bettys are "elite" air crews (taken off night-flying duties in this emergency), and they are all torpedo-armed. They'll be joined by an additional regular torpedo-armed Betty, plus 4 more level-bombing (there is apparently a torpedo shortage at Wake).

The US CAP is only 3x F6F's, sent against the torpedo bombers. Again, they do well, splashing one and aborting another. This time, we decide to go for it all, targeting (what turns out to be) the USS Franklin. Flak, though, even from such a relatively small US TF, is withering: all of the level-bombers, and 2 of the 3 torpedo bombers, are turned away. Thus, going into attack is a single Betty, making a torpedo run on the "Franklin." Adm. Hill's luck holds, and we score no hits.

The next day (Apr 3), as Adm. Hill begins to egress to the NE, we send another strike from Wake: 6x G4M's (3x "elite"). This time, we're able to arm 5 of the 6 with torpedoes, and our attacks sink 1x DD (USS "Terry") and heavily damage another (USS "Brownson"). Following this attack, the Americans withdraw, apparently to Midway.

On Apr 4, yet another US carrier TF is spotted (air search, Kwajalein), north of Howland/Baker. Reported as "1x CV, 1x CVL, 3x BB, 2x CA + 2x CL," we send a lone G4M from Kwajalein on an armed recce mission against it, and confirm the report. The Betty is aborted by CAP (1x F6F, 1x F4F). This TF proceeds to the Enderbury I. anchorage.

On the 5th, two more US TF's are spotted by air search out of Kwajalein, approaching the Marshalls from the southeast. These TF's (we learn later) are intent on pulling out part of the US Army units on Engebi (Eniwetok). One carrier TF (commanded by Adm. McCain), escorting a transport TF, are attacked approx. 120 nm NE of Wotje. Strikes from Wake, Wotje, and Kwajalein are formed and sent after both TF's.

Against Adm. McCain's carriers are 4 Bettys from Wake (1x torpedo; 3 level-bombing), plus 3x Ki-45's in a separate wave from Kwajalein. These strikes are primarily intended to draw the US carriers' CAP away from the transports, which are our primary targets. This tactic will partially succeed. The 3 "Nicks" from Kwajalein are ignored by the US CAP fighters, and get through. Targeting a Benson-class DD, they do no damage. The Bettys, face 3x F6F's (O'Hare). The single torpedo-armed G4M is splashed, leaving 3 level-bombing Bettys to target another Benson-class DD. Again, no hits are scored. Our strike against Adm. McCain's ships, thus is a failure. But, they have drawn several fighters away from the American transports.

Sent against the transports are two strikes: From Wotje, a single G4M; from Kwajalein, a powerful strike of 7x G4M's (one torpedo), escorted by 4x A6M5's. We're able to coordinate these attacking strikes, so they all go in together. In a "furball" at low altitude, our 4 Zekes (led by our aces Sasai & Ogiya) tangle with 2x F6F's (Thatch). "Jimmy" Thatch's luck runs out for him, as he is downed by Lt. Sasai, and killed in action! All the attacking bombers thus make it past the small US CAP force, and go in to attack!

Finding the transport TG as containing one tactical MS (full) + 2x (Butler-class) DE's, our boys from Kwajalein wreak havoc, sinking the US transports in total, and one of the DE's! Fine work, boys!

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: SE of Prome, Gen. Slim sends the 9th Australian div, plus 2 Bdes of the British 2nd division, against four "broken" IJA units: 15th, 38th, & 32nd divs, plus the 124th Rgt (31st div). As the Australians are down to 60% strength, they do not lead this attack. The lower-quality British Bdes are thrown in first, and as a result Gen. Sakurai's boys defend well, retreating, in good order, across the Salween R & into Thailand. Both British Bdes pursue, after having suffered moderate losses.

South of Prome, the drive on Rangoon continues, with the 7th Australian division going in alone against our 33rd div + 28th Indep. Bde. Once again, we defend well, retreating in good order with minor losses. There is no pursuit, as two additional steps of losses are inflicted on the Australian division -- now itself down to 60% strength.

New Guinea: In the first ground battle in New Guinea, the US 7th Inf. division gets its first taste of combat, attacking our Rgt (62nd) defending Dobodura. Our Rgt is of medium quality, but is a reinforced one and very heavily-fortified. Expecting better, the US 7th division turns in an outstanding first performance, inflicting grievous losses on our troops. We are down to a single Bn, though we hold (for the time being). Gen. Krueger can indeed be proud of this division.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 20 April 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 4/44

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: RAAF Liberators from Darwin hit Lae at night. 3x Ki-45's can do no good, and our airbase is again suppressed. We are once again in the midst of being bombed out of yet another airbase. US B-24's (x 6) from Tanimbar I. follow up this strike, in a daylight raid. In what will be our last victory in the air over N. Guinea, we put up 7 fighters (Ki-61's, J2M's, with 3 IJN aces: Sugio, Kanno, & Muto). Once again, the Americans are flying at "extended range." We do well, with our fighters downing one; flak gets another. We lose but a single "Tony," and (once again) the Americans pay a high price for the extended-range losses: two more Liberators are lost on return. We continue to marvel at the Americans' abilities to make good on these high bomber losses.

After a couple of days' respite, the rain of iron from B-24's continues, as no fewer than 13 of them (2x RAAF) hit us from Cairns. This time, we send up everything we have: 2x Ki-61's, 4x J2M's, & 3x Ki-45's. We lose two J2M's, but down one bomber in the air battle. Unfortunately, in this combat one of our IJN aces, Muto, is killed in action over the N. Guinea jungle. Flak over Lae accounts for yet another B-24, but the airfield is yet again further damaged and we lose 1x transport destroyed on the ground.

The following week, the Cairns B-24's strike again -- this time there are only 8 of them, but they do no further damage and there is no air opposition, as orders have come down for us to abandon Lae's A/F.

At Dobodura, our (doomed) 62nd Rgt, guarding the southern approaches to the Kokoda trail, is hit by RAAF Mitchells from Vella Lavella. US B-25's from Shortland also join in these ground-support missions, which have little effect.

Strikes from Iron Range & the newly-completed RAAF base at Jardin River (also part of the now-massive Cape York airfield assortment) hit our garrison at Port Moresby especially hard.

At Milne Bay, the Americans have managed to complete a fighter strip there (they have 3 Engr units there devoted to the task).

Australia: On the 16th of April, we get an air reconnaissance report from search planes out of Sorong of the first appearance of the USAAF's new heavy bomber, the B-29, at Darwin. Apparently there are 10 A/P's there, warming up for their first taste of combat. We also receive a detailed report of US shipping at anchor there: "1x CV, 3x CVL, 1x CVE, 4x BB, 2x CA, 5x CL, 4x DD, 1x AO, 2x MSU (full), & 1x APB (full)."

Central Pacific: 8x US B-24's from Midway hit Wake at night, but fail to do any appreciable damage. An identical strike is launched the following week, with similar results.

Burma: Continuing to support Gen. Slim's now hard-pressed attacks in southern Burma, the Allied air forces continue to hit our front-line units. Rangoon then receives some attention, with the port once again being moderately damaged (P-47's from Arakan), and the airfield is kept in a continuous state of damage.

China/Indochina: Our base at Hanoi becomes the focus of Gen. Chennault's China-based 14th AF. Hanoi will join Lae on the "bombed-out-of" list. From Kunming, 1x P-40 + 2x P-51's (Lynch), escorting 3x A-20's + 3x P-38 FB's, are met by 4x Ki-44's. Neither side suffers any losses, and no major damage is done to the airfield. A B-24 raid from Ledo follow up this strike, which does damage it.

The following week, Gen. Chennault switches targets, from Hanoi to Haiphong, sending his 3x A-20's, escorted by 3x P-38's, 2x P-51's (Lynch), & 1x P-40. We can manage only 2x Ki-43's + 2x Ki-45's to oppose them, and we lose decisively, with one Oscar & one Nick being downed, for no loss to the Americans. We lose one Ki-21 bomber destroyed on the ground. Sure enough, the usual tactic of following this strike up from Ledo is not long in coming: 6x RAF Liberators hit the place, and our AA gunners nail one of them. But, once again the A/F is heavily-damaged. Haiphong is thus becoming untenable also.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: Adm. McCain's carrier TF, still operating NE of the Marshalls (N of Maleolap), is hit by a Joint Strike from Wotje (1x G4M) & Kwajalein (4x A6M + 7x G4M's -- only one of them torpedo-armed). This time, the Americans ignore the two torpedo-armed Bettys, sending 5x Hellcats (with O'Hare) against the level-bombing Bettys. They have a veritable field day, splashing no fewer than 3 (& aborting the rest). Our two torpedo bomber A/P's are both aborted by AA fire. Thus, nothing favorable comes from this strike. Adm. McCain shortly thereafter retires to the east, apparently to Pearl.

E. Indies: On the 17th, air search out of Sorong reports that "Gen. MacArthur's Navy" is once again on the move from Darwin. Two TF's, one small carrier TF plus an amphibious TF, approach Timor. We lack sufficient air assets in the area to contest such a move, and the US 1st Cav. division is put ashore east of Dili without incident (see Ground Ops). The US ships then open up against Dili (where we have only an intrinsic garrison), pounding it hard (it is a waste of ammunition, as will be seen).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma, week of 7-13 April: Gen. Slim's troops are low on supplies, and the Australian divisions have been greatly weakened by the continuous operations. Still, he orders the advance to continue, and he will once again merit our derisive nickname for him ("The Butcher of Burma"). He sends two Brigades from the British 2nd division into a desperate attack well north of Rangoon. We have beaten him to the punch, reinforcing the area with our IJA 2nd Inf. division (which will prove decisive, and disastrous to the British troops). Gen. Messervey leads this ill-fated and ill-advised attack and, despite some excellent air bombardment results (our newly-arriving 2nd division is quickly "broken"), the attack is a disaster -- both attacking British brigades are wiped out! Worse still for Gen. Slim, we capture Gen. Messervey! This is the best news for us from Burma (practically the only good news to emanate from there in many months) and, with the onset of the summer monsoon season only a few weeks away, it seems that our fortunes there may be improving! Well-done to Gen. Sakurai's Burma Area Army boys!

N. Guinea, week of 7-13 April: At Dobodura, our 62nd Rgt is steam-rollered by the US 7th Inf. division, and the Americans ponder a move across the Kokoda trail against P. Moresby, as the way is apparently clear.

Burma, week of 14-20 April: Following the disastrous attack north of Rangoon, Gen. Slim finally is forced to call a halt to further offensive operations -- there are no further advances nor attacks in southern Burma.

N. Guinea, week of 14-20 April: The way appears clear for the US 7th division to make the move across the Owen Stanleys to P. Moresby, but Gen. Krueger (CG, US 6th Army) hesitates -- his lack of aggressiveness shows, and the 7th division remains idle. Our garrison there has been depleted over time by lack of supply & near-continuous air attack: it is the old "Ichiki" Rgt, down to a single Bn, but still well-dug-in.

Timor: The US 1st Cav division makes short work of our intrinsic garrison at Dili, capturing the port though they do lose a single step in the process. The way is now clear for an advance against the airfield at Koepang -- surely to follow the next week.

Broome: US/Australian Engineers, long at work there, have upgraded the anchorage to a minor port.

CYCLE 0/4/44, Notes: The Japanese Economic Multiple again falls; it is now down to "2."

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 27 April 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/5/44

Cycle 0/4/44 Notes, Cont: The Americans kick off strategic bombing, sending 13 new B-29's from Darwin against Soerabaja. There is no opposition, and heavy damage is done to the oil/resource center there.

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: US B-25's from the Darwin area pound our garrison on Koepang (Timor), our last line of defense of Timor. From Soerabaja, Bettys hit the under-construction airstrip at Broome, suppressing it. Unfortunately, the Americans have more than enough engineers there to quickly repair it, and continue construction un-hindered.

N. Guinea: From the Iron Range, Jardin River, Cooktown & Milne Bay airbases, our garrison at P. Moresby is hit hard, nearly continuously. (Meanwhile, the US 7th Inf. Div continues to prepare for an overland assault across the Owen Stanleys, from Dobodura/Kokoda. From Milne Bay we see the first appearance of RAAF Mosquitoes. From Cairns, 9x US & 3x RAAF Liberators hit Lae's airfield, keeping it damaged (we do manage to down one Australian A/P with AA.

Central Pacific: Bettys from Kwajalein visit Engebi at night, but fail to do any damage.

China: From Chungking, Kunming & Chengtu, US 14th AF bombers (and some RAF Hudsons) concentrate on ground support missions against Kweiyang. They are ineffective.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Timor Sea: American carrier TF's continue to operate south of Timor, in the Timor Sea. Our air-search assets at Sorong keep tabs on them, and they appear to be content to cover the American advance on Timor. Later, we discover a US BB TF also in the area. And, a reinforcement transport TF arrives at Dili, apparently with American engineers. We're unable to contest any of these moves, as the American air power at nearby Tanimbar I., and at Darwin, is formidable. Still later, we notice a US CVE TF pass through the Torres Strait (reported as "3x CVE + 3x DD's"). They also take up station south of Timor, as the US naval presence continues to build in this area.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: Gen. Okamura, the new commander of Japanese forces in China, makes his presence felt, and we are able to "activate" two divisions (6th & 17th) in Kweichow Province, for an attack on Kweiyang. Despite heavy US air attacks on our units, which they weather well, we are able to decisively defeat Chiang's troops there (the KMT 1st & 15th Armies, plus the 91st Indep. Corps), forcing them to retreat, giving up the city!

In Kwangsi Province, we acitvate the IJA 63rd div, and send it against the (broken) KMT 4th Army, NW of Kweilin. This attack, though, is not a success and though both sides take heavy losses, we're unable to force the Chinese to retreat.

Australia: We learn that 2 New Zealander Brigades have arrived at Darwin.

N. Guinea: We continue to be thankful that Gen. Krueger still has not unleashed the US 7th Inf. Div. for an attack against P. Moresby. Clearly, his performance must be a considerable disappointment to Gen. MacArthur at Darwin.

Timor: The US 1st Cav Div. advances west, & reaches the outskirts of Koepang, preparing to kick off their assault probably next week.

Burma: No major attacks this week. The IJA begins moving the 33rd Inf. division out of Burma, by rail, from their positions north of Rangoon. Our moves are greatly hindered by US B-25's from Chittagong, and we're only able to move 1x Rgt out, arriving at Singora.

End Report

 

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 4 May 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/5/44

AIR OPERATIONS

NW Australia: US Army engineers complete an airstrip at Broome. We send 4x Bettys from Soerabaja there shortly after, and suppress it.

N. Guinea: The regular pounding of our P. Moresby garrison continues from many of the Allied Cape York airfields.

China: After last week's defeat at Kweiyang, American air attacks concentrate on our 104th Inf. division, harassing it.

Timor: US Darwin-based B-25's hit Koepang, assisting the upcoming 1st Cav's attack there (our defenders are the IJA's 4th Amphib. Bde).

Burma: The American Chittagong-based B-25's concentrate on rail harassment missions, NE of Rangoon. From YY and Mandalay, heavy ground-support missions are mounted against our defending troops north of Rangoon (3+ divisions, including the 2nd Guards div). Perhaps an assault is in the offing, by the two Australian divisions north of there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Timor Sea: American TF's continue to operate south of Timor. We receive an ominous report early in May that they've been joined by more CV's (3 of them reported as appearing, along with one "Independence-class" CVL).

We receive a report of a US DD TF (possibly another ASW sweep) heading into the area, after having passed through the Torres Strait. We send one Mavis from Sorong to attack it, at long-range. Unfortunately, the Americans manage a lone P-38 on emergency naval cover CAP from Higgins Field (one of the many Allied Cape York airfields), and it is enough to turn our attack back. Sure enough, two days later this TF (actually composed of 5x US DD's) proceeds into the Banda Sea (just south of Ambon I.), on an ASW sweep. Fortunately, they're unable to locate any of our I-boats operating there.

NW Australia: The American CVE TF moves SW, taking up station N of Broome. Their intent is unknown, but possibly could be to temporarily protect the airfield there from Betty air attacks from Java.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: We continue our limited offensive in SW China, with our 17th Inf. div mounting an assault (in Kweichow Province) against two KMT units: the 15th Army + 91st Indep. Corps. This time, the Chinese fight well, and we cannot rout them. Both sides take moderate losses, and we are unable to gain any new ground.

In Kwangsi Province, our 63rd Inf. div. hits the (still-broken) KMT 4th Army. We've hit this Army hard this week in strikes from Canton (Ki-49's, Ki-21's, Ki-48's), and our efforts pay off handomely -- the Chinese are routed, and nearly wiped out.

Chiang hits back, sending two Chinese Armies (back in Kweichow Province now), the 40th & 37th, into an attack against our 104th division. We are forced to retreat, but do so in good order, with only minor losses. The 104th, though, is down to approx. half-strength.

Burma: Just north of Rangoon, Gen. Slim sends two Australian divisions (9th, 7th) into an important attack. Defending are 3+ IJA divisions (2nd Guards, 51st, & part of the 33rd), plus the 28th Indep. Bde. Gen. Stopford (GOC) leads this attack for the Australians, against Gen. Sano. Though the Allied ground-support strikes here have been very effective, Gen. Sano bests Gen. Stopford this time, holding his ground. So do the Australians, though, and the battle will continue into next week.

Timor: The battle for Koepang is joined. Our deeply-dug-in 4th Amp. Bde holds off the US 1st Cav's first attempt, with both sides taking minor losses. This battle will also continue into next week.

N. Guinea: The Americans' frustration continues for, though Gen. Krueger finally gives permission for the 7th div's assault to proceed against P. Moresby, the American troops prove not up to the task, and are (temporarily, at least) unable to make the crossing. We rejoice in the frustration of the Americans, and proudly continue to hold Port Moresby! Better luck next time, Yankees! Elsewhere on New Guinea, the 5th Australian division takes Buna, advancing NW & apparently receiving orders for a long overland march from there against Lae.

End Report

 

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 11 May 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/5/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: We send our night-flying Bettys (x4) from Kwajalein against Midway, at maximum range. The Americans manage to abort one, and we do no apparent damage to the 7th AF's B-24 base there.

Allied air operations throughout the Pacific Theater concentrate on ground support missions, against Koepang, Port Moresby, in China and in Burma against our 2nd Gds division north of Rangoon. Nowhere are we able even to mount token opposition.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

NW Australia: The American CVE TF arrives at Broome, pulling into the anchorage there. We plan for a night attack against them, and issue orders for our night bombing Betty squadron (currently in the Marshalls) to transfer into Java for this mission.

W. Carolines: A typhoon hits Wolei & Ulithi.

GROUND OPERATIONS

China: We have an especially good week in Kweichow Province. Our 63rd division finally disposes of the badly-depleted & broken KMT 4th Army, destroying it. And, our vaunted 6th division (the best we have in China), hits a better Chinese Army, the 1st. This ends up only as a probing attack, as we choose to retreat, but not after inflicting serious losses on the Chinese, with only minor losses on our side.

Elsewhere in Kweichow Province, the IJA 17th division finishes off what is left of Chiang's 15th Army, along with the 91st Indep. Corps. All in all, a very encouraging week's worth of operations! Gen. Okamura (and the Emperor, who issues an Imperial Rescript) is most pleased.

But, Chiang later hits back, also in Kweichow Province, sending two fresh Chinese Armies (40th, 37th) into a well-coordinated and well-supported (US 14th AF units) attack against our hard-pressed 104th division. Down to less than half-strength, we lose the battle and choose to retreat. Unfortunately, the 104th breaks, and is pursued by the Chinese. Our div. is now down to 2 steps, and an urgent call goes out to the nearby 6th division for help.

Burma: Gen. Slim continues his advance towards Rangoon. Only two weeks away from the onset of the monsoon season, a critical battle is joined just north of Rangoon. Two Australian divisions (7th, 9th), along with the 132nd Infantry (Americal division) hit a strong position, defended by 2+ IJA divisions (2nd Guards, 2nd, & an understrength 51st), and one Bde (28th). Gen. Stopford leads this assault, and Gen. Sakurai (CG, Burma Area Army) exerts a positive influence on the battle: we hold, with only minor losses to each side. But, in order to minimize their own losses, primarily to the 7th Australian division, Gen. Stopford calls off the attack early, and the Allied units break contact. We hear that the British general is infuriated with the late-arriving Americans, blaming them for the failure to dislodge us. The line north of Rangoon holds!

Timor: The battle for Koepang continues, with the US 1st Cav division continuing to battle hard. But, our 2nd Amp. Bde holds out. Now down to a single Battalion, though, the "writing is on the wall" for us here. Next week's operations very probably will see the fall of Timor to Gen. MacArthur's troops.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 18 May 1944. Operations through end of G/T 4/5/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Allied air operations, like the previous week, concentrate for the most part on ground support strikes, against Koepang, Port Moresby, in Burma and in China.

E. Indies: From Tanimbar, the Allies mount a fighter sweep against our base at Sorong. 4x P-38's, along with 2 new RAAF Corsairs, fail to do any damage to the airstrip (it is still moderately damaged; we have been unable to repair it). On the ground there are 5x Ki-46's (one "inoperable"). The operational ones quickly receive orders to find more suitable accommodations to the north. Fortunately, these orders are quickly acted on, as when 4x RAAF Liberators show up (from Darwin) a couple of days later, only the single inoperable "Dinah" is left -- and is promptly destroyed.

NW Australia: On the night of May 17, we're finally able to send our newly-arrived night-trained Bettys against Broome, looking for the American jeep carriers supposedly at anchor there. Flying from Soerabaja, we are unfortunately beyond torpedo range and, though we encounter no night-fighters, US flak manages to turn back one of our A/P's. We do manage a low-odds attack against (what turns out to be ) the USS White Plains, but score no hits. We do, however, cause much hate & discontent amongst the American sailors there, who evidently thought they were safe from attack. We receive a report that the anchorage apparently contains 3x US CVE's, 2x DD's + 1x DE. We vow to return.

Central Pacific: After last week's mission from Kwajalein woke the Americans up, they hit back from Midway, sending 8x B-24's against our seaplane base at Wake. There, we have 2x "Emily" A/P's. We send the Americans packing, downing one Liberator with very effective AA fire. And, true to form (due to extended-range) the Americans lose another operationally. And, no damage is done to our facilities there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

E. Indies: IJN subs prowling in the Timor/Banda Seas locate an American amphibious TF (which apparently sortied from Darwin), steaming north. Reported as: "1x CVL, 1x BB, 2x CA, 3x CL, 6x DD + 2x (full) MS units," we go for the transports. Our Cdr Yokota is present in one of our two attacking I-boats, and he gets a hit on one of the transports, inflicting minor ("D1") damage. This TF continues to steam north, landing the 8th New Zealand Bde in NW N. Guinea, just SE of Sorong. Their landing is unopposed. We send a measly single Nick (to test the American CV CAP covering this US TF SW of there). It doesn't last long; US Hellcats (Vraciu) and a couple of P-38's from Tanimbar I. make short work of the strike.

The next day, we receive a sub contact report of another US amphibious TF, in the Banda Sea, also steaming north. This one is reported as: "1x CVL, 2x BB, 3x CA, 2x CL, 5x DD + 2x (full) MS units. This time, we attempt an attack on the US CVL, but are driven off by the American destroyers. But, a few hours later a 2nd IJN subron locates the Americans! This time, the Yankees are less vigilant; we get 3 boats in to attack. Lining up the USS "Independence," our first spread is a good one: we score several hits on her, rendering her "D4" and dead-in-the-water! Good shooting, boys! We also hit and seriously damage a Gridley-class DD. We learn later than the "Independence" is the flagship of the TF commander, Adm. Stump. This is apparently his first foray against us, and we hear he is none too pleased with the welcome we've so graciously laid out for him! The "Independence" is later towed back to Darwin. The rest of the TF, though, continues to steam north, landing the 14th NZ Bde at Ceram (also unopposed).

On May 14th, the Americand finally discover our seaplane tenders at anchor at Sorong, and they send a carrier TF (Adm. McCain) north to deal with us. We're trapped, and unable to escape. A total of 9x SBD's, 1x SB2C, and 6x TBM's show up. We've been caught with our pants down and lose 3 ships: CVS "Nisshin," and AV's "Kamikawa Maru" & "Kamoi."

Central Pacific: On the 14th, IJN subs patrolling SW of Oahu locate another US carrier TF, steaming SW. It is reported as containing 3x CV's, 1x BB, 1x CA, 2x DD's + 1x DE," but we surmise that this is only a partial report. Our subs are all screened off; we get no shots at them.

A few days later, this TF shows up in the Marshalls, south of Maleolap. Another sub contact reports it more accurately: "5x CV, 1x BB, 3x CA, 6x DD, 1x DE." We try to mount an attack, but the American escorts are alert; all our boats are screened.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Slim changes the focus of his attacks, hitting our line well to the NE of Rangoon. This time, the US Americal + the 9th Australian divisions are sent into the attack (a mere week before the monsoon season). Again, our line is stout, defended by 3+ divisions (18th, 32nd, & 15th, along with parts of the 16th). We significantly out-number the attacking Allied formations. Gen. Sibert is in command of this attack for them, and again we hold firmly! Gen. Sibert calls off the attack, suffering only minimal losses. We eagerly await the rains, hoping that we've weathered the 14th Army's storm for now. The Allies' supply problems continue to hamper them. We note that they've started another road, attempting to link Mandalay with the rail line to Chittagong. We hope that they're very "happy in their work," as Gen. Yamashita was fond of saying, once the rains commence.

China: Chiang, desperate for a victory, tries to finish off our nearly-destroyed 104th division. The Chinese 37th & 40th Armies, in pursuit, continue their attacks. We are most fortunate to survive. Our division is down to a single Bn, and shortly after this battle our 6th division arrives to relieve them.

Timor: Gen. MacArthur may be pleased, as his 1st Cav division finally finishes their work, capturing Timor & wiping out the last remnants of our defenders there, on May 16th.

Australia (Note): We note that Darwin now has been upgraded to a Major Port. Those American engineers indeed have been busy; they're still building the rail line to link Darwin with the eastern seaboard.

End Report

 

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, back again with another assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 25 May 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/6/44

(Cycle 0/5/44; Notes): The Japanese merchant shipping total falls below 300 for the first time, resulting in another Strategic Initiative Shift. In the South Pacific, Gen. MacArthur relieves Gen. Krueger as CG, 6th Army, replacing him with Gen. Eichelberger. At Noumea, VAdm Kinkaid relieves Adm. Halsey as commander, South Pacific HQ. Halsey takes command of the new 3rd Fleet HQ there.

Strategic Bombing: From Darwin, 10x B-29's it Balikpappan. One is downed by flak. Another 10 hit Tarakan, and 6 bomb Kendari. No damage is done to Balikpappan; minor damage is inflicted in the latter two sites.

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: From Midway, 5x 7th AF B-24's hit our seaplane base at Wake, at extended-range. They suppresss it (2x H8K's currently are there; they escape damage). Later, the raid is repeated, this time at night. No further damage is done, and one of the "Liberators" is lost operationally (multiple strike penalty).

From Eniwetok, 2x US P-38's hit Kwajalein's A/F (see Naval Operations). After the US carrier strikes, only a single A6M5 is left. No results are gained.

NE Australia / N. Guinea: Heavy ground-support missions, achieving good results, are mounted against P. Moresby, from nearly all of the Cape York airfields. US B-24's from Cairns also hit Lae, supporting the 5th Australians' upcoming attack there (see Ground Ops). In this raid, the Americans lose 1x B-24 operationally. US P-38's & B-25's from Mutee Head also join in, hitting our garrison at Lae.

China: From Kunming, Chungking, & Chengtu, strong US airstrikes hit our two divisions fighting for their lives SE of Kweiyang. We note that the US 14th AF base at Chengtu now boasts no fewer than 10 B-25's! Gen. Chennault loses one of them operationally following a 2nd multiple strike from Chengtu.

From Canton, we hit back ourselves, targeting the Chinese units preparing to attack our divisions. In a large strike, we send 2x Ki-44's, 1x Ki-43 (Kuroe), & 1x Ki-45, escorting a total of 17 (!) IJAAF bombers -- including 6 "green" A/P's. From Kweilin, 3 US fighters show up (1x P-51, 1x P-38, 1x P-40). For once, we get "the bounce," & our fighters abort the P-38. We lose two "green" Ki-21's, but they lose the Mustang in the exchange.

NW Australia / E. Indies: From Soerabaja, we send our 4 night-trained Bettys against Broome again. We are after the reported 3 CVE's there. One P-38 night fighter there turns one attacker back, and the Americans' AA fire is strong enough to drive off the remaining 3.

Later, the RAAF hits back, sending 6x Liberators from Darwin in against Soerabaja, at night (& extended-range). This time, they've caught us in preparation for another raid against Broome, and the Aussies beat us to the punch. One "elite" Betty is destroyed on the ground (leaving 3). No major damage, though, is done to the A/F there. Following this raid, our repeat strike against Broome is launched -- this time with 3 Bettys (carrying bombs; beyond torpedo range from Soerabaja). This time, the American AA fire is not as accurate: Our first wave (2x G4M's) gets through, & attacks CVE "White Plains." No hits are reported. The last Betty, though, reports one hit ("D1") against a US DE also in port there.

Burma: The monsoon arrives, virtually curtailing all air operations throughout Burma. This also severely hampers Gen. Slim's supply situation (see Ground Ops).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The American carrier TF operating in the Marshalls (commanded, we learn, by RAdm. Sherman), steaming E/SE of Kwajalein, launches a raid against Kwajalein. Fortunately, this first strike encounters heavy squalls near our base, and Adm. Sherman (apparently) also has other trouble coordinating the strike: Arriving are 8x F6F's (Vraciu), escoring 4x SB2C's & 4x TBM's. Rising to meet them are 6x A6M5's (two of them "green"), with aces Ohta & Sugio, & 3x Ki-45's. The Americans get "the bounce," and rip us to pieces: in their first pass downing both of the "green" Zeroes and one "Nick." After the air battle ends, we end up splashing 1x Avenger, and lose another (regular) Zero. Attacking the airfield are 3x Helldivers & 3x Avengers. On the ground there is but a lone ("green") G4M -- a couple of others having hastily rebased out at night prior to the Americans' strike. No major damage is done to our base. Note: Air search out of Kwajalein, prior to this strike, had reported the American TF as containing: "3x CV, 3x BB, 1x CA, & 3x DD's."

On May 22, the Americans return. This time the weather has cleared, and there are more attackers: 6x F6F's, 1x SBD, 5x SB2C, & 5x TBM's. The Hellcats strafe the hell out of the place, destroying 2 of the 3 Zeros left on the ground (we choose not to rise to meet them). Strong AA fire downs one "Helldiver," and Kwajalein's A/F is heavily-damaged. Adm. Sherman, though, loses 3 A/P's on return operationally (multiple strikes; 1x SB2C & 2x TBM's). Following this strike, the US carrier TF egresses the area, steaming away to the SE.

Banda Sea: South of Ceram, IJN subs get 2 separate contacts with an Allied transport TF steaming south for Darwin. We get a total of 6 shots against 2x MS (full), but (alas) are unable to score a single hit!

GROUND OPERATIONS

New Guinea: The 8th NZ Bde, landed previously SE of there, attacks Sorong, which is lightly defended, only by an Intrinsic Garrison. Sorong quickly is captured, without loss to the New Zealanders.

At Lae, the 5th Australian division, having advanced overland all the way from Milne Bay, launches an assault against a heavily-dug-in IJA Rgt. Gen. Horii (CG, 17th Army at Rabaul) is decisive in this battle, as we hold out. Both sides take only minor losses.

Gen. Eichelberger, the new CG, US 6th Army (HQ at Cooktown), has apparently received orders from Gen. MacArthur to the effect of: "Bob, take Port Moresby or don't come back!" Gen. Eichelberger is no Gen. Krueger -- he orders the US 7th Inf. division across the Kokoda trail & they comply. Our defenders there, the old "Ichiki" Regiment, long down to a single Bn (step), and "broken" by incessant Allied air attack, has no chance. The best we can do is inflict a 1-step loss on the excellent American division, and Port Moresby finally falls to the enemy!

China: In Kweichow Province, SE of Kweiyang, the Chinese launch an attack against two IJA divisions: the 17th & 104th (104th down to a single step). The attack misfires, and the Chinese are quickly forced to call it off, retreating, with both sides taking moderate losses.

Burma: With the onset of the monsoon season, and with most of his army long having outrun their overland supply lines from India, Gen. Slim's air supply efforts are not as effective: Only 3 frontline Allied divisions (7th & 9th Australian, Americal) are able to be supplied for the "cycle." The remainder of the 14th Army is out-of-supply, and several units are "broken." British engineers are feverishly trying to complete a road leading part-ways towards Mandalay, originating at Chittagong, but they have a long way to go.

No attacks are mounted in Burma. It is evident that the 14th Army, after a rather maginificent advance, has finally reached the end of its tether north of Rangoon. Also, we note that the 6th Australian div (Lashio sector), and the 9th from north of Rangoon, are both pulled out of the line. Apparently they have orders to withdraw from Burma.

Australia: The "great outback rail project," planning to link Darwin with the eastern Australian seaboard, is abandoned (approx. half-way done). Instead, someone figured out a better solution: building a supply base at Darwin. US engineers there commence that project (estimated time to completion: 1 cycle).

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 1 June 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/6/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The 7th AF B-24's from Midway hit Wake (seaplane base) again. This time they're joined by 1x USN PB4Y. The base is damaged, and 1 of the 2 Emilys there is destroyed. We do manage to splash one of the Liberators (flak).

E. Indies: From Darwin, 10x B-24's (six of them RAAF) hit Soerabaja (our Betty base), at night. One of the (non-elite) Bettys there is destroyed on the ground in the raid, but no further damage is noted (or is at least apparent to the Allied crews).

Our "night crew" Bettys hit Darwin back, from Soerabaja (3 of them), at night, at extended-range. One night-fighter Beaufighter is encountered, but we suffer no losses. No damage is reported to the large airfield complexes around Darwin, but we trust we've put a scare into the 200+ US B-29's stationed there. Sure enough, following this raid more Allied night fighters are rushed there.

B-25 raids from Tanimbar I. are mounted against Ambon Island, concentrating on the (intrinsic) garrison there.

N. Guinea: Ground support strikes concentrate on Lae, in continued support of the 5th Australian division trying to take it.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Hawaiian Is: USN ASW sweeps continue WSW of Oahu, but we lose no subs.

Banda Sea: In the east Banda Sea, 6x US DD's continue their ASW sweep, but again we (fortunately) suffer no losses. Note: This area, stretching all the way to to Soemba/Flores area, is virtually infested with our submarines (as VAdm Carpender -- commander, 7th Fleet with MacArthur at Darwin, will soon discover, much to his discomfort!). On 28 May, our luck runs out, as we lose an I-boat (from Cdr Yokota's subron) to hunting US DD's south of Amboina.

On 27 May, south of Ceram one of our subrons contacts a US surface TF, and we get a single shot at BB "New Mexico." We are lucky, and score a hit on her, rendering her to "D2" damage level. Good shooting, boys! It is reported that this hit might have been from Cdr Yokota's I-26. Sadly, his luck will not hold much longer. A few hours later, another IJN subron also contacts this TF (it contains 2x BB, 3x CA, 2x CL, & 5x DD). This time, we have 5 boats in contact. Two are screened, but the luckless BB "New Mexico" is again targeted. We hit her again, badly damaging ("D4") her. Dead-in-the-water, she unfortunately survives to be towed back to Darwin.

Next day, Cdr Yokota's subron contacts another USN TF off Pulai Kai-Besar Island (NE of Jamdena), in the E. Banda Sea. Reportedly, this TF contains a CVL, but we're unable to locate her. Instead, the next victim turns out to be CA "San Francisco." She is holed repeatedly, and also rendered DIW. But, we can't sink her, and she also is towed back into Darwin. We loose off another few torpedoes at CL "Honolulu," but miss her. All in all, though, a most productive and encouraging two days of operations for us!

The Americans, though, after our two torpedoing of their capital ships, are out for blood. Their efforts pay off, and we lose another boat. This time, it is our ace, Cdr Yokota, who is sunk and killed in action. These are dangerous water, indeed, for both sides.

On 1 June, we learn from sub contact reports that the 7th fleet has again sortied. South of Ceram, an (apparent) amphibious TF is located. We get no fewer than 4 (!) shots at CVL "Princeton," but miss. This TF (which contains 1x MS) then steams to Amboina, but as yet no troops are landed.

Then, NE of Timor, another US TF is found & attacked. We only spot 3 ships: BB "Alabama" (D1), CL "Honolulu," & 1x DD. One of our 3 attacking boats is screened, and we attack BB "Alabama." We cause more consternation at Darwin, as we score one hit on her, bringing her to "D2" damage level (not serious). Then, we again unsuccessfully go after the "Honolulu." This TF continues steaming west and, off Wetar, another IJN subron goes in. This time, we discover that there are more ships than previously reported: "1x CV -- Essex-class --, the "Alabama," 2x CL, 4x DD, and 1x (ESB) APB. Another amphibious operation! This time, all our ships (attempting to get at the carrier) are driven off. This TF then proceeds to Flores, and the US 127th Infantry (32nd div) begins landing (see Ground Ops) as dusk arrives. At Soerabaja, meanwhile, we ready our 3 Bettys for a torpedo attack! We are most surprised, though, to discover 2 night-fighter Hellcats waiting for us. This is (apparently) the only carrier-trained night-fighter squadron in the USN. They put it in the right place, as the fighters abort one G4M going in. Two more go in to attack, but unfortunately the American AA fire is strong enough to turn both back. Alas, and what an outrage! We're thus unable to prevent the rest of the US Rgt from landing.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Flores: Storming ashore (we learn that Adm. Barbey is in command of the amphibious ships for this operation), the Americans discover only the usual (low-quality) Japanese intrinsic garrison. But (true to form), we aren't so easy to dispose of, as the Yankees fail to destroy us. Neither side takes any losses, and our garrison survives to fight one more week.

Lae: The 5th Australian division continues its assault against our Rgt. They discover how well we're able to dig in as, despite moderately-successful air strikes against us, the attack goes badly. Though our defenders are left with but a single Bn., the Australians fail to dislodge us, and are forced to call off the attack with moderate losses.

Aleutians: We discover that US engineers have completed an anchorage at Agattu.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour calling, with news for fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 8 June 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/6/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / E. Indies: Darwin-based B-24's (including RAAF Liberators) hit Soerabaja at night, but do no damage. Clearly, our Bettys based there are becoming of great concern to Gen. MacArthur.

Tanimbar I.-based B-25's hit Amboina hard, in ground strikes supporting an imminent landing there by Gen. MacArthur's troops.

At newly-captured Sorong, RAAF Catalinas are rushed there, supported by the US AV Chandeleur (see Naval Ops). They are desperately needed to help suppress our rampaging submarines in the area.

China: From Kunming, Chungking & Kweilin, heavy strikes are mounted against our 6th Inf. Division, despite the relative inactivity on the ground in that sector. They achieve good results, and we suffer some losses.

Bay of Bengal: From Calcutta, 8x RAF Liberators are sent against Port Blair, in the Andamans. Fortunately, the monsoon conditions (which have virtually curtailed air operations throughout Burma) hinder the British fliers. Only 10% are effective, and no damage is done. On the ground are 3 G4M's (two of them "inoperative").

Central Pacific: Midway-based B-24's & PB4Y's continue to hit our seaplane base at Wake, usually at night to avoid AA fire. Nothing of concern. From Eniwetok (which has severe supply problems for the Americans), very low-scale fighter sweeps occasionally visit Kwajalein -- where we have but a lone Zero. No losses are suffered by either side.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: ASW sweeps are kept up SW of Oahu, to no effect.

Banda Sea Area: South of Amboina, though, American ASW sweeps begin to have a telling impact. We learn that the US Desron south of Amboina is commanded by RAdm. A.E. Smith, and his formation succeeds in sinking its 3rd IJN sub this sortie! Then, in his parting shot, on 5 June Adm. Smith outdoes himself, sending another I-boat to the bottom, before returning to Darwin. Quite a successful sortie, we must admit. We have lost no fewer than 4 I-boats to this squadron, in a little over a week. We put out a hefty bounty on Adm. Smith's head, and vow to even the score. For now, we shall have to settle for bigger fish.

The waters around this area, patrolled by several IJN subrons, remain perilous indeed for Allied warships. For, on 3 June, NW of Koepang, one of our boats finds BB "Alabama" (previously hit by subs), and puts more torpedoes into her, seriously ("D3") damaging her. She manages, though, to elude the remaining subs enroute back to Darwin, where she puts back into port -- joining the growing list of holed American ships.

Also on the 3rd, the Americans land at Amboina, sending the 126th Infantry ashore (against only an intrinsic garrison; see Ground Ops).

Off Pulai Kai-Besar I., we get a shot at a USN AV (the "Chandeleur"), unescorted, on her way to Sorong. We miss her.

The night of 6 June, we launch yet another night strike from Soerabaja against the US carrier TF operating off Flores (more on this TF below). As before, we are frustrated, with the 2x Hellcat night-fighters turning one attacker back; and AA fire aborting the other two.

But, on 7 June we gain a measure of revenge for Adm. Smith's actions. NE of Flores, a full IJN subron locates the American carrier, steaming east. It is "Yorktown II," along with 2x CL's & 3x DD's. The Americans manage to screen 5 of our 6 boats, sinking one of them, but we get one shot at "Yorky II." The gods are with us this day: our torpedoes slam into her, heavily damaging the American "Essex-class" carrier ("D3")! Then, next day she is contacted again, by another subron, between Wetar & Flores. Again, we have a full subron (6 boats) "available." Only two of them are screened off, and we thus are provided a dream attack: 4 shots at the almost-helpless "Yorktown II." Could this be the first "Essex-class" flattop we dispatch? As luck would have it (each shot with a 50% chance of a hit, quite probably sinking her), all four of our attacks miss! She escapes, proceeding back to Darwin. Despite the bitter disappointment of missing such a juicy, easy target, we are confident that her war is over, as heavily-damaged as she is.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Amboina: The US 126th Infantry is landed, against only a (standard) intrinsic garrison. But, as at Flores the week before our boys prove resistant; no losses are suffered and we survive to fight another week.

Flores: The US 127th Infantry crushes opposition on Flores, but we inflict a step loss on the Americans -- the best we could hope for. Thus, Flores is secured.

Port Moresby: We note that the Americans have made P. Moresby's (L-3) airfield operational.

Burma: All remains quiet, and we note that the 6th & 9th Australian divisions are definitely being pulled out of Burma. They both continue their long, monsoon march back through the Chin Hills towards India.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 15 June 1944. Operations through end of cycle 6/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Australia / E. Indies: The American B-25's from Tanimbar I. continue to pound our (intrinsic) garrison on Amboina. We are doomed there. The Darwin-based B-24's hit Soerabaja again, at night. We again thumb our noses at the Americans and Aussies, and challenge them to try the raid during daylight! We'll give you something to remember then!

N. Guinea: Our garrison at Lae (now isolated and down to a single Bn.) continues to be hit hard. Fortunately, the 5th Australian division has not sufficiently recovered from their previous failed attack, though, and perhaps we can hold out longer. We see the first US air operations mounted out of P. Moresby, with small #'s of P-38's hitting Lae.

Central Pacific: The American B-24's have returned to Ndeni, and 5 of them are sent, at maximum-range, against our sub base at Kwajalein. No major damage is reported.

Bay of Bengal: The British Liberators from Calcutta are sent against Port Blair again. This time more of them show up (4), but their efforts continue to be hampered by the bad weather conditions. The attackers return to Calcutta with no damage to report.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Borneo: NE of Tarakan, a US (strategic) subron spots an IJN troop transport heading for Tarakan. The US ace Dealey is present here, and his target is a juicy one: 1x APB (D2), unescorted. He scores hits, bringing the APB to "D3" damage level. Fortunately, though, not all of the ships are sunk, and the survivors reach Tarakan. The Americans report large numbers of Japanese troops in the water, and there are unconfirmed reports of atrocities committed by the American submariners. Has Dealey become another "Mush" Morton? The barbaric way these Americans continue to wage this war only fills us with more resolve!

Banda Sea Area: On 10 June, NNW of Tanimbar, the US CVL TF which was supporting the Amboina operation is contacted by subs. Reported as: "1x CVL, 1x CA, 2x CL, 3x DD + 1x MSU (full), we only manage a single shot at CA "Astoria," missing her.

A small US transport TF is contacted NE of Jamdena (apparently bringing engineers to Sorong). The US DD screen is large and alert, and is aided now by the RAAF Catalinas flying out of Sorong. We dive, unwilling to risk the attack. The arrival of the Aussie Cats is an unwelcome development for us.

South China Sea: US subs locate another IJN troop convoy (out of Singora). Another (unescorted) APB (D2) is hit, with similar results to that we suffered off Tarakan. More IJA troops are lost at sea, though sufficient transports remain to continue the mission.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Amboina: The US 126th Infantry finishes us off, securing Amboina and the level-4 airfield there. No losses are inflicted on the Americans this time.

Lae: The 5th Australian division's attack on Lae is apparently put on hold. The Aussies are still "broken" by their previous failed attack, and unable to rally. We note that the US 7th Inf. Div. receives orders to join them, and they begin a movement from Moresby, apparently to join the attack. This may buy us more time! We shall see if Gen. Eichelberger can "rally" the Australians first.

Burma: The British continue the slow, laborious road work from Chittagong, trying to link their front-line units north of Rangoon. Started approx. 2 months ago, we estimate that the work is perhaps half-way to completion. For sure, in any case, we are likely safe from any major attacks for the remainder of 1944's monsoon season.

The Allied airfield at Broome, we note, has been improved to L-3, and work continues. There are apparently multiple engineers there doing the work, as progress seems to be remarkably rapid there.

CYCLE 0/6/44, Notes:

Strategic Bombing: From Darwin, 23 USAAF B-29's hit Balikpappan hard. We manage to down one of them (AA), but the oil resource center there is heavily-damaged, and not repaired this cycle.

In Burma, the British begin to feel the effects of having out-stretched their overland supply line: several units suffer attrition losses (including one Indian Bn. at Mandalay, which apparently ceases to exist).

At Darwin, a Supply Base has been completed. The Americans now are eligible to repair some of the (many) damaged ships there. Some moderate supply problems north of Darwin are relieved.

All the IJN subrons are withdrawn from Hawaiian waters -- there now simply are too many PBY's/B-24's operating out of Oahu. Many subs are redeployed ESE of the Marianas.

From the Allied side, we detect a definite & mounting sense of apprehension and tension. We suspect that something big may be in the offing.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! How's tricks? It seems the war is about to pick up. Be good..."

Tokyo, 22 June 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/7/44

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: P. Moresby now boasts several P-38's, which roam at will over Lae. A few B-25's are also coming in, and work is apparently ongoing in expanding the airfield there.

Central Pacific: From Ndeni, 13th AF B-24's hit Kwajalein again (sub base). This time, they manage to suppress it, hindering our submarine operations in that region. Two days later, a maximum effort is launched and they're back; this time damaging ("D1") the base. One Liberator is lost operationally, and our subrons in this region will pay a price for this damage (see Naval Ops). Little do we know the reason for this increased attention, though it will become apparent all too soon.

China: Canton evidently is atop Gen. Chennault's list of "next Nip airbase to bomb them out of." We suffer another defeat there, as a joint strike is mounted (Kunming-Kweilin-Canton), & we send up 2x Ki-44's, 1x Ki-43, & 1x Ki-45, against 1x P-51 (the new "D" model), 3x P-38's + 1x P-40, escorting 7x B-25's + 2x B-24's. Naturally, we are bounced, & lose 2 fighter A/P's in the 1st pass. On the bombing run, 2x Ki-21's and 2x Ki-48's are destroyed on the ground. We're unable to inflict any losses on the attackers. Before the Americans can repeat this, we rebase most of our assets out of there, at night. Sure enough, they're back a few days later, damaging the airfield but inflicting no further losses on us.

E. Indies: The Darwin B-24's (5th AF) hit keep hitting Soerabaja at night, and continue to have limited success. Now, from Broome, RAAF B-24's (x 4) hit Batavia for the first time. A lone A6M5 has no luck except in surviving; no damage is done in this first strike here. We note that some fighters (possibly RAAF Corsairs, though this is not confirmed) have begun rebasing into the newly-captured Flores airstrip.

Burma: Limited air operations are resumed in Burma, concentrating on Rangoon (the port/supply base). The monsoon conditions greatly impede the Allies' strikes, but the base is "suppressed" after 4 separate raids, from Chittagong (B-25's), Akyab (P-38's), Arakan (P-47's) & YY (RAF Beaufighters, Mosquitoes, Mitchells).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(We were correct last week in our assessment that something major was brewing)

Banda Sea: We are again slapped, as we see another ASW sweep emanate from Darwin. This time, the Allies have quite haughtily tagged this TF as "TF (Desron) 23," and it is again commanded by the hated RAdm. A.E. Smith. It commences operations in the E. Banda Sea, south of Sorong. It takes Adm. Smith only 3 days until he claims his 5th victim within a month.

Central Pacific: On the 16th, we begin receiving reports of large-scale TF operations between Nauru & Truk. Our sub pickets initially are unable to make contact but report massive numbers of smoke trails on the horizon. Then, on the afternoon of the 16th, the wires begin to run hot with innumerable contact reports. Most contacts occur approx. 540 nm WNW of Nauru; ships on a roughly northern course. A summary of them:

1) A carrier TF ("3x CV, 1x CVL, 1x BB, 2x CL, & 3x DD") successfully screens 3x I-boats from attacking.

2) A 2nd carrier TF ("2x CV, 2x CVL, 1x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, 2x DD") screens 1 of 2 boats "available." We get one shot, and it is against CVL "Bataan." No hits are reported.

3) A 3rd carrier TF ("2x CV, 1x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, 2x DD") has its screen asleep. Unfortunately, we have only 1 boat attacking. Lining up a shot on the BB "South Dakota," again we miss.

4) A 4th carrier/transport TF ("4x CVE, 3x APB, 4x DD") screens all 3 boats in contact. This report, with the surfacing of large #'s of amphibious transports, electrifies the atmosphere at Truk (Combined Fleet HQ -- though little else -- is still there) and at (______).

5) Another transport TF ("4x APB, 4x DD's, + possibly some unknown # of CVE's") fends off 2 more I-boats, preventing their attacking, from two separate subrons.

6) A 5th carrier TF ("1x CVE, 2x DD") chases our boats away -- no attack is attempted by the lone sub present.

7) A 6th carrier TF ("4x CVE, 2x DD") screens 3 of 4 I-boats. We attack one of the CVE's: the "Santee," but again miss.

With staff officers scrambling to keep track of so many enemy contact reports, we get the last of the day from that sector, from yet another carrier/transport TF ("4x CVE, 2x APB, 1x CL, 2x DD"). With only 1 sub "available," we have no chance.

As night falls on the 16th, the last reports were that all 9 of the contacted US TF's were last seen steaming north, approx. half-way between Nauru & Truk. Frantically, we try to guess their destination: Truk? The Marianas?

The next morning, we can guess, as we see six new (game-turn-deployed) US tactical subrons show up on a picket line (north-to-south), approx. 650 nm W of the Marianas, from just SE of Palau to the Tropic of Cancer. Looks like they're trying to screen any of our ship movements towards the Marianas. The orders go out: "Stand by for the decisive, all-out battle!"

Steaming well NE of Truk, the American carriers give it a "look-see" and confirm that the anchorage is empty. On the 18th, the American ships turn NW, heading for the Marianas. Our air searches, on the 18th, begin to fill the air waves with contact reports. First contacting the Americans at long range (approx. 750 nm), most of the reports come in from long-range planes out of Saipan. 3 separate carrier TF's are located & reported on. The total # of carriers reported is less than our submarine contact reports: Only 4x CV + 2x CVL. The US ships then make a high-speed night run-in towards Saipan & Tinian, and are partially screened by a storm front to the east of the Marianas. They reach a launch point on the night of the 19th.

Meanwhile, SW of Jaluit comes in another sub contact report: ("4x CV, 1x CA, 4x DD"). Again, we can't penetrate the strong ASW screen, nor can we muster enough subs to make it work. We see this TF steam west, also arriving at an apparent launch point, squarely in the middle of a storm front, somewhat south of the other TF's reported. Our pilots at Saipan and Tinian are raring to go, and cannot wait until sunup! We have quite a surprise planned for these Yankees.

The US "jeep" carriers (and their transports) are moved to within 400 nm east of the Marianas. They're also safely concealed within the storm front. Not a good omen, this weather serving the Americans so well at the start. Another bad omen: We contact a USN AO TF enroute to the area, and this time we get 5 shots at the US oilers (screened by only 3 DD's, there are a total of 5 AO's, of varying sizes). All misses!

E. Indies: Another 7th Fleet carrier TF is spotted operating off Flores. It is (apparently) escorting transports there; probably with engineers. None of our I-boats in the area are able to maneuver for successful attacks.

A British TF has put to sea (from Colombo?). Approaching the W coast of Sumatra from the Indian Ocean, it is initially undetected by air search (Singapore, Batavia) and reaches the Sumatran coast NW of Padang, at night.

Next morning, it is spotted by air search out of Singapore, and reported as: "3x CVE, 3x BB, 1x BC, 2x CA, 3x CL, & 5x DD"). A British carrier TF! And, obviously carefully coordinated with the movements of the US Pacific Fleet, so that it does not receive much attention. Aso!
Marianas: ** The Battle of the Marianas: 20-___ June 1944 **

A (potentially) major sea battle begins to develop. On the morning of 20 June, our last contact reports of the American carriers reveals 3 known TF's, 240 nm E of Saipan/Tinian (a 4th is reported to be a "dummy"). There is a probable 5th one somewhat to the south, hidden by a storm front. The rest of them, though, are in bright sunshine.

The Americans get an early recon report of Tinian. Their pilots report back a total of 25 Japanese A/P's present. A full house!

Both sides have their first strikes readied before sunup on the 20th. In a series of exchanges, the first punch is landed by the Americans, as they catch us at Tinian with our strike as-yet to launch (we have a very large joint strike plotted from Saipan-Tinian, against the American flattops).

Arriving at first light are 5x F6F's, escorting a total of 11x SB2C's + 15x TBM's: 260 bombers inbound! The decision is made to minimize the CAP, hoping to retain the other Zeros at Tinian to escort the survivors to the American carriers. Our lone A6M5 is quickly dispatched by the Hellcats. Flak downs one Avenger & aborts 3 other bombers. The 22 remaining attackers do well, destroying 4x G4M's (1x "green") and 1x B6N ("green") on the ground. Moderate damage is done to the airfield. A disappointing start to the day for us.

We then manage to get our strike off, from Saipan & Tinian. While they are winging their way east, Saipan is hit: 7x F6F's, escorting 1x SBD, 10x SB2C's, & 13x TBM's, commence their attack. There is no CAP, and caught on the ground are 4x Ki-46's ("Dinahs"), + 4x Ki-49's (half of them "green"). Two of the "Helens" are ripped up by the strafing Hellcats (we splash one of them with AA). The US bombers then destroy one of the "Dinahs" & inflict moderate ("D1") damage to Saipan's airfields; AA fire splashing one of the Avengers.

The Japanese Strike: We have planned a joint strike, from Saipan-Tinian, against the weakest-reported US carrier TF (air search reported only 1x carrier present). Our strike is a powerful one: A total of 5x A6M5's are escorting 4x D4Y's, 6x B6N's (3 of them "green," & all torpedo-armed), and a total of 10 Bettys (9 of the 10 are "green," and six of the 10 are torpedo-armed). Thus, we have no fewer than 20 attackers going in. Unfortunately, many of them are green and willl suffer accordingly. Still, we are hopeful that we can do serious damage in this first strike!

Down low, we place all the Zeros as close escort. They're met by 7x F6F's (CAP from the attacked TF). The Hellcats splash one Zero, & abort another in their first pass. The remaining escorts turn one F6F away, then the remaining six go in against 6x "Jills" & 6x Bettys. 3x of the Jills are downed right away, and the remaining 3 aborted. In addition, we lose one of the torpedo-armed Bettys. Another Hellcat is lost in the exchange, so we get through to the TF 5x Bettys: all but one of them "green."

Up higher, where we have no escort, 3x more F6F's (apparently Naval Cover CAP from one of the other US carrier TF's nearby) only manage to abort one of the 4 "Judy's." Thus, 3 of them, plus 4x level-bombing Bettys (all of them "green") get through to attack!

With 120 attackers forming, we gamble that the #'s are sufficient to get through the sure-to-be-severe flak, & form a single attacking wave. We learn, then, the true composition of the targeted TF (commanded, we learn, by RAdm. T.L. Sprague): "2x CV -- one of them "Essex-class" -- 1x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, & 2x DD's." Come on, boys, go in and do your stuff!

Despite their relatively small numbers, the American AA gunners do remarkably well. Two of our Bettys are destroyed, and another 2 aborted. Up high, all of our attackers are either knocked down or aborted (a total of 2 D4Y's & 2x G4M's destroyed). Our luck has abandoned us, as out of a total of 12 attacking A/P's, only a single one gets through. It is a green Betty torpedo A/P, picking the CV "Saratoga" out. No hits are scored. This is a bitter blow to us, and we tally the air losses: USN - 1x F6F; IJN - 1x A6M, 3x B6N, 2x D4Y, & 5x G4M's.

The news only gets worse for us, though. Upon returning to their now-damaged airfields, a fairly high percentage of our planes are rendered "Inop" due to the damage. Thankfully, as it turns out , though, our engineers on both islands do their jobs well, repairing the damage quickly.

The day's air battles concludes with another arriving US carrier strike. This one (arriving while our strike is returning) is from the hidden TF, which launches in a storm, against Tinian. 11x F6F's show up, escorting 1x SBD, 5x SB2C's, & 8x TBM's. We nail another Avenger, and one of the strafing Hellcats, but lose two Ki-49 ("Helens") destroyed on the ground. Fortunately, though, no further damage is done to the airfield, which remains only at "D1."

Next day, a major Japanese naval reaction becomes apparent. Multiple IJN TF's appear in the area, moving at top speed, & arriving in the area from the NE, N & W. One of the US picket subs well to the W contacts an IJN carrier TF: ("4x CV, 1x BB, 5x CA, 2x CL, 4x DD"). Approx 420 nm NNE of Palau, 3 of the 4 US fleet boats are screened off, but one gets a shot, and it is against CV "Zuikaku." No hits! The IJN TF (and quite possibly others, not contacted by the American subs) continues east, running in at high speed to an area just W of Saipan/Tinian, arriving on station during the night, now within launch range of the American carriers. We note that there is no initial reaction movement by the American TF's to the sub contact.

That night, our luck runs out, as the US subs contact an IJN refuelling TF (5x AO, 3x DD), and inflicts "D3" (severe) damage on one of the smaller oilers. Our AO's continue east, towards the Marianas. We are thus unable to hide our movement, as we had hoped. The American submarines, showing up unexpectedly, have revealed our intentions. But, we are as-yet unlocated by any American air search, and they are not. The stage is set for another series of all-out strikes. Will we be able to evade the American air searches next morning? The country holds its breath...

Indian Ocean: On 21 June, the British get in a strike of their own, and the news for us continues to be bad. They surprise us with a strike across Sumatra, against Sinagpore, where we have many ships. The British strike consists of 2x Martlets + 4x Seafires, escorting 2x (FB) Hellcats, 2x (FB) Corsairs, & 2x torpedo-laden Barracudas. Our only CAP consists of the fighter groups from 2x CVL's berthed there, a total of 3x A6M's. The British get "the bounce" on us, splashing one Zero & aborting another. We're thus unable to prevent any of the attackers from making their runs.

Going into attack our ships are 2x Hellcats, 2x Corsairs, & 2x Barracudas. They report back, probably to Adm. Somerville, that in port at Singapore are: "2x CVL, 4x BB, 11x CL, & 10x DD's." Forming two attacking waves, the Corsairs & Barracudas go in first, and our AA fire is not up to speed: all of them get through, and all concentrate on BB "Ise." The FAA pilots do well, and Ise is heavily ("D4") damaged! The remaining attackers (2x Hellcats) go after a Kagero-class DD, and fail to do any damage. Another battleship out of action! And, the first real success for the RN in this war.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: We're able to quickly repair the damage done to Rangoon, so none of our troops on the front line go "out-of-supply."

No major action occurs this week, anywhere. In N. Guinea, the US 7th Inf. Div. continues its approach march to Lae. They are still at least 2 weeks away from being able to mount any attack. Meanwhile, the 5th Australian Div. remains unable to recover. Who will get the honors for taking Lae? Will the Aussies rally in time to avoid the shame of having the Americans move in to do the job? A lot of pride is at stake here. (Note: Our Lae garrison, a single Bn, is also "broken" & "isolated").

We see that the airfield at Broome is expanded to L-4.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 24 June 1944. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase; G/T 2/7/44

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: From P. Moresby, 8x P-38's, escorting 4x B-25's, hit Manus (Admiralties) for the first time. On the ground there are 2x Ki-61's, 1x J2M3, & 1x Ki-45 night-fighter. We choose to ride it out, and are lucky. We even down one of the Mitchells with flak. That night, 2x P-61 night-fighters show up, strafing the hell out of the place. This is the first we've seen of these planes.

E. Indies: From Flores, 3x RAAF Corsairs hit our airstrip (unoccupied) on Soembawa I., suppressing it. From Koepang, US B-24's hit our 16th Army's Offensive Support Base at Manado. No damage is done.

Central Pacific: Ndeni-based US B-24's continue to hit our sub base at Kwajalein, but without results.

Burma: The Allies resume air operations, hitting the port/supply base at Rangoon, from Chittagong (B-25's), Akyab (P-38's), Arakan (P-47's), & YY (RAF Beaufighters, Mosquitoes, Mitchells). Though plagued by the monsoon conditions, they do manage to suppress the port, temporarily (only) affecting our supply conditions.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

  * The Battle of the Marianas (cont.), Operations of 22-24 June 1944 **

On the morning of the 22nd, air searches out of the Marianas again locate 5 US carrier TG's operating east of Saipan/Tinian. A grand total of up to 9 CV's are reported, along with 3 CVL's. Meanwhile, the Americans are feverishly searching for our ships on-station west of the Marianas. Sadly, they perform their duties well, locating 4 reported Japanese carrier TF's, at approx. 300 nm west of most of the US flattops. The US search reports received are:

1) TF 1: "3x CV, 2x BB, 6x CA, 3x CL, 5x DD"

2) TF 2: "3x CV, 3x CVL, 1x BC, 3x CA, 2x CL, 6x DD"

3) TF 3: "1x CVL, 3x CVE, 1x BC, 2x CA, 1x CL, 5x DD"

4) TF 4: "1x CV, 3x CL"

As we later learn after-the-fact, the Americans list as the priority targets TF's 2, then 1, in that order. Our hopes that at least some of our ships would escape immediate detection have been dashed. Now, activities on both sides are a single-minded frantic, desperate rush to get airstrikes airborne. Who will strike the first blow? Will we prevail? It is sure to be a momentous day, in any case.

The day's battle will indeed be decisive, and several complex, interrelated strikes are in the offing. As fortunes would have it, one Admiral, RAdm. Sherman, commanding the lone US carrier TF to the south of the others, proves fastest & best -- it is his strike which will hit first, and it is launched against our TF 2 -- commanded by VAdm. Kurita. Most unfortunately for us, Adm. Sherman's performance is to prove decisive: he catches our carriers with our strike just getting ready to launch!

Adm. Sherman's Strike: Adm. Sherman manages to get off a "full strike," and it is a powerful one: At medium altitude are 4x F6F's, 2x SBD's, & 9x SB2C's. Joining them down low are 4x F6F's, escorting 10x TBM's. A very formidable strike indeed. Scrambling fighters, Adm. Kurita can manage but 5 Zeros (1x of them "green"), and they are all sent against the American Avengers. We manage to bounce them, but splash only 1, & abort 2 others. In exchange, return fire from the TBM's and the Hellcats passes down 2 Zeros. Thus, a total of 180 attack planes are inbound! Forming two waves, the 1st consists of 5 Helldivers + 5 Avengers. Our AA fire is innacurate & ineffective: Only 2 of them are turned back. The Americans line up their attack runs, sending 2x SB2C's + 2x TBM's in against the CV "Soryu." She hasn't a chance, is holed repeatedly, and is sunk! This is our first big carrier sunk to enemy action, and is a bitter blow for us. Things, though, only get worse for us as "Soryu's" sister ship, the "Hiryu," is next. They send the same composition after her, and we are shocked to see her join her sister going to the bottom! Aboard "Hiryu," Adm. Kurita is WIA & out-of-action, but survives. Can this really be happening to us? The 2nd wave (2x SBD's, 4x SB2C's, & 2x TBM's) then begins its approach. Our TF is in disarray, but our AA gunners finally wake up, downing 1x Helldiver & 1x Avenger. CVL "Chitose" is targeted by 1x Dauntless & 1x Helldiver. Adm. Sherman's boys go "three-for-three," as "Chitose" becomes yet another victim, & goes to the bottom. At this point, the makings for a catastrophe clearly are in the making, but the battle is still young. Finishing off their maginificent strike, 2x Helldivers hit CVL "Chiyoda," heavily damaging her (at least "D3"). Following this devastating attack, Adm. Kurita's surviving Zeros recover at Tinian. A very bad start to the battle for us. But, Adm. Ozawa will hit back next!

Admiral Ozawa's Strike: This strike had been a planned joint strike with Adm. Kurita's carrier TF, but Adm. Kurita is now out of the battle, and Adm. Ozawa's strike will have to go in alone. Targeting (we later learn) RAdm. Montgomery's TF, Adm. Ozawa is able to get off a full, coordinated strike himself. Better yet, he (as Adm. Sherman did to Kurita) catches Adm. Montgomery with his "planes on deck," before he is able to send off his strike against us. The Americans then cancel the fighter escort part of their strike, sending all of this TF's Hellcats up as CAP. Montgomery's captains, though, will perform poorly in their fighter dispositions. Our strike is also a powerful one. Arriving at medium altitude are 4x Zeros (1x "green") close-escorting 1x D3A, 8x D4Y's (2x "green") and (from Tinian) 1x G4M. Down low, we have 6x Zeros (2x "green") close-escorting 8x B6N's (3x "green"), plus 4x G4M's (all torpedo-armed, 2 of them "green") from Saipan/Tinian. Up high, our escorts are unable to deter 3 US Hellcats, which quickly down 2 of the green "Judys," & abort 2 more dive-bombers. Down low, our escorts again fail -- 2x "green" B6N's are downed, and 3 of the 4 Bettys are turned back by the Hellcats. As it turns out, the downed fliers are all from the new CV "Taiho's" air group, which is virtually obliterated. Getting through to attack are two waves. We get a "true report" of the American TF: It consists of 3x CV, 1x CVL, 1x "Iowa-class" BB, 1x CA, 1x CLAA, 1x CL, & 3x DD's. Adm. Ozawa's first wave has 5 Judys, plus 4 Jills & 1 Betty with torpedoes. Going all the way in, after the US carriers, the lone Betty + 1x Jill are splashed. Two more Jills, and two Judys, are turned back. But, we line up attacks against two American "Essex-class" carriers. The "Hornet II" is hit by 1x Jill & 1x Judy. Our boys do their jobs, and we gain a measure of revenge, as the Hornet is sunk! This is the first "Essex-class" CV we've sunk. And, Adm. Montgomery, aboard her, is apparently WIA; replaced by RAdm. Davison. That's doing your stuff, boys! Going in against the USS "Shangri-La," 2x Judys manage to lightly ("D1") damage her. 2nd Wave's attack: Only 3 attacking A/P's this time don't press their attacks, concentrating instead against CL "Cleveland" (2x B6N's, one of them "green") -- she is ripped apart & sunk! We also make a run on a Fletcher-class DD, but miss. But, we have hit the Americans back hard. Still, the day's battles are not yet nearly over.

Report of 24 June 1944 (cont.)

Admiral J.J. Clark & Admiral Bogan's Strike: Next up in sequence is another American carrier strike, from RAdml's Clark & Bogan, launching a joint strike. This strike was sent in after Adm. Sherman's, also against Adm. Kurita. It arrives after Sherman's boys have left, and they get the satisfaction of seeing Hiryu & Soryu go down. This combined strike is even stronger than Sherman's: A total of 11x SB2C's are joined by 15 TBM's. Fortunately, though, the Helldivers are at "extended-range."

The Americans form 4 attacking waves. The 1st (from Adm. Bogan's carriers) receives no AA hits, and a single Avenger dispatches the already heavily-damaged CVL "Chiyoda." Next, it is BC "Hiei's" turn: she is holed repeatedly by 2 Avengers, and sunk! BC "Kongo" fares better, & is only lightly damaged. A single Helldiver misses CA "Chokai."

Then, the 2nd wave (Bogan) arrives. This time, our AA gunners are aroused, & down 1x TBM + 1x SB2C, & abort 2 others. BC "Kongo" receives more torpedo hits, going from "D1" to "D2." Things don't look good for her, as 130 more attackers are still yet to be heard from, from the 3rd & 4th waves.

3rd Wave's attack (JJ Clark): Again, we splash 2 & abort 2 attackers, but getting through are 1x SB2C + 2x TBM's. The Avengers concentrate on "Kongo," putting her out-of-action & dead-in-the-water "D4," via critical hits. CA "Takao" receives light ("D1") damage from the Helldivers.

4th Wave's attack (JJ Clark): This time, 2x SB2C's + 2x TBM's get through. The Avengers concentrate on the now-hapless CA "Takao," sending her to the bottom. CA "Chokai" is next. She is pounded by Helldivers & torpedoed, & left dead-in-the-water. CA "Maya" escapes damage from a single Helldiver. Thus ends the day's torment for Adm. Kurita's boys. What a devastating day it was.

Admiral Joshima's Strike: Next up is a strike from Adm. Joshima's carriers, coordinated with a land-based strike from Tinian. This strike is aimed at the US TF we fared so poorly against yesterday, "Saratoga's" (Adm. Sprague's) TF. This strike has going in up high 6x Judys (half "green"), 2x B6N level-bombers, and 2x Army Ki-49's (one "green"), with no escort. Down low, 4 Zeros are close-escorting 2x B5N "Kates," 7x B6N's (3 "green"), and 1x Betty from Tinian. The Americans manage only 6 Hellcats as CAP; 2 of them up high & 4 low. This is, though, the "little TF that could" and, in keeping with their performance of the day before, they make the most of their assets: Down low, two of our Zeros are splashed, as are 2x Jills. Four other torpedo bombers are aborted. We are thus badly attritted going in, and form a single attacking wave which will aim at the "Saratoga." This TF's AA again rips us to pieces going in: we lose 4 destroyed, and only manage, out of the originally-lauched strike, to get a single green Judy in against "Sara." We miss her, and again are frustrated by this seemingly invincible TF. What a debacle!

Admiral Davison's Strike: The final act in the day's incredible series of exchanges is launched by Adm. Montgomery's replacement. It is another joint strike, this time sent against Adm. Ozawa's ships -- the first & only time he has received attention today. This time, the American attackers are sent in without escort; a total of 9x SB2C's (at "extended-range") are joined by 7x torpedo-laden Avengers. Adm. Ozawa, though, is careless with the Japanese CAP (this will cost us dearly), and is only able to muster 4 Zeros (Okumura), which are all sent in down low against the Avengers. Only 1 of these are turned back.

The American strike leader reports back that he's found the Japanese main carrier strike force: "4x CV, 1x BB, 5x CA, 2x CL, & 4x DD." The Americans form two waves: The 1st consisting of 4x SB2C's + 3x TBM's; the 2nd 5x SB2C's + 3x TBM's.

1st Wave's attack: 1x Helldiver is downed (& 2 "aborted") by accurate AA fire. The remaining attackers gang up on CV "Shokaku." The pride of the fleet (along with her sister ship), she does not escape, & is lightly damaged.

2nd Wave's attack: This time, 2x Helldivers & 1x Avenger get through, and they also concentrate on "Shokaku." They do well, pummeling her & leaving her dead-in-the-water. The American strike leader reports that she's going down, but this is unconfirmed.

Thus ends the fateful 22 of June's battles. It has been a black day for us, as the day's summary of (known & confirmed) sinkings reveal:

USN Losses: CV Hornet II; CL Cleveland

IJN Losses: CV's Hiryu & Soryu; CVL's Chitose & Chiyoda; BC Hiei; CA Takao. The Americans also have convinced themselves that they've sunk CV Shokaku. (Interestingly, the next day's air search will fail to locate her, though she was last seen DIW & burning fiercely).

End Report, but stand by for several more reports to follow shortly

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 26 June 1944. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 2/7/44

AIR OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: P-38's (& P-61's, at night) from P. Moresby continue to visit Manus, with fighter sweeps. No major damage is done.

E. Indies: From Broome, RAAF Liberators hit Soerabaja, this time during daylight. Two "elite" (night-trained) Bettys are destroyed on the ground. From Sorong, P-38 FB's hit Morotai (garrison) for the first time, with ground strikes. At the same time, B-25's from Amboina hit Halmahera in ground strikes. Could there be an operation coming here?

China: Our 6th Inf. Div. continues to be pounded mercilessly by strikes from Kunming & Chungking. That division is beginning to take losses from these strikes, and orders go out to pull the division back somewhere safer.

NAVAL & AIR OPERATIONS: ** Battle of the Marianas, 24-26 June 1944 **

(Following the 22nd's disastrous events, the following days saw the following operations):

A carrier strike from Adm. Sherman's flattops locates & hits an IJN "crip div" attempting to get away from Saipan: "1x DD towing 1x CA" is the initial search report. A strike is launched, consisting of 6x F6F's, escorting 4x SB2C's & 4x TBM's. One Zero (green, ex of Adm. Kurita's carrier groups) is scrambled from Saipan, and is promptly dispatched. The US strike finds, in fact, 2x DD's: One towing the DIW "Kongo;" the other the CA "Chokai." The first wave of Helldivers puts the latter two out of their misery, sending those helpless victims to Davey Jones' Locker. The 2nd wave tries to get at the now-fleeing DD's, but they escape damage. We do knock down 2 of the attackers with the DD's AA fire. Those ships then successfully escape, last seen steaming at high speed northward, out of the area.

Adm. Ozawa begins a withdrawal from the Marianas. This time, our movement causes a reaction movement, from Adm. J.J. Clark (who gets an excellent REAC DR and uses it to advantage), and from Adm. Bogan. Both US carrier TF's successfully react, closing the range sufficiently to launch against Adm. Ozawa as he moves west, late in the afternoon. Meanwhile, as he withdraws the old sea dog Ozawa plans a last strike of his own, with his planes unable to return to the carriers to return to Saipan/Tinian.

The other two US carrier TF's plot strikes of their own, against an as-yet unscathed IJN carrier TF: Adm. Joshima's -- who is busy trying to get a strike of his own off. But, the Americans again beat us to the punch, and this strike (another joint strike) catches Adm. Joshima before his own strike is ready. 11x F6F's, escorting 8x SB2C's (extended-range), 7x torpedo-laden TBM's, & 4x level-bombing TBM's, are met by a lone, green Zero as CAP. Not surprisingly, it doesn't last long. The US strike leader reports back the composition of Joshima's TF: "1x CV, 2x CVE, 2x CA, 2x CL, & 5x DD." 3 attacking waves are formed. 1st Wave's attack: Of 7 attackers, we down an SB2C & abort another, along with 1x Avenger. 2x torpedo-laden Avengers line up on the CV "Junyo." The Americans score again, and she is sunk! Next, CVE "Unyo" reels under dive-bomber attack: She is heavily-damaged, and a critical hit sends her to the bottom too! Aboard Junyo, Adm. Joshima is WIA by the intense fires, but escapes to fight (perhaps?) another day. 2nd Wave's attack: As usual, our AA gunners are more deadly against the follow-on attackers, as we down 2 Avengers & 1x Helldiver. Only a lone Helldiver gets through, to dive on CVE "Taiyo," but no hits are scored. 3rd Wave's attack: This time, our AA fire is not as effective. 1x SB2C + 1x TBM (torps) combine to hammer the "Taiyo;" this time she does not escape, & is quickly sunk. CA "Ashigara," though, gets away (relatively-speaking ) unscathed. With this, Adm. Joshima does manage to withdraw under cover of darkness, steaming away to the NW.

While the above is occurring, Adm. Ozawa gets his parting shot off, this time beating Adm. Clark to the punch. His strike will combine with planes from Saipan, and will be our final carrier strike. Ozawa does well, getting off a full strike: 7x Zeros (3x "green"), 1x D3A, 8x D4Y (3x "green"), & 5x B6N's (2x "green"). Joining this strike enroute, from Saipan, are 2 more Zeros, 2x B6N's (torpedoes), 1x D4Y, & 6x Bettys (all torpedo-armed; 3x "green").

For once, the American admiral (J.J. Clark) has problems of his own, and the American CAP is surprisingly small: Only 5x Hellcats! Two of these are deployed up high (& down 1x Judy); three down low (downing 2 green Zeros but only managing to turn back a single Betty). A very poor performance by them! Adm. Ozawa's luck holds, and we have the highest hopes for this strike. Go in and do your stuff, boys!

Our targeted TF consists of 2x "Essex-class" CV's, 2x CVL's, 1x "Iowa-class" BB, 1x CA, 2x CLAA's, & 3x DD's. Nearly all of our attackers are concentrated in the 1st of 2 waves. 1st Wave's attack: Our strike leader is a good one; he successfully avoids the BB (it is the "New Jersey") and both CLAA's AA fire! A good start. Still, the remaining ships are no slouches: Down low, 1x B6N & 1x G4M are splashed; the same # is aborted. Up high, the Val & 1x Judy fall, as does 1x level-bombing Jill. Getting through to attack, then, are 4x B6N "Jill" (2 of them "green") torpedo bombers, & 2x G4M (1x "green") torpedo bombers. The 1st target picked out is CV "Intrepid." She does well in maneuvering to avoid the many torpedoes loosed at her -- she is only lightly ("D1") damaged. The next carrier, though (the "Franklin") is not so fortunate. Jills & Bettys hem her in & she is a sitting duck! The "Franklin" is virtually blown out of the water, and we have sunk our 2nd "Essex-class" flattop! Excellent work, boys, and against all odds! As a parting shot, Bettys put a couple of torpedoes into CVL "Cabot," lightly damaging her. An unsuccessful attack is made against CVL "Langley." All in all, though, it is a most satisfying riposte that we deal. We later intercept a transmission making the sinking all the more satisfying: Apparently, the American commander of these forces is Adm. Mitcher (Cdr, TF 58). We learn that he was apparently seriously wounded, aboard "Franklin," when she received her mortal blows.

Report of 26 June 1944 (cont.)

Our ships steam for all they're worth NW, desperately trying to out-distance one final strike. But, Adml's Clark & Davison manage to get their planes in the air in time. Their strike, however, is not a very strong one: Clark sends but 2x SB2C's + 3x TBM's; Davison 2x F6F's (Vraciu, Valencia), escorting 4x SB2C's (extended-range) + 4x TBM's (level-bombing; beyond torpedo range).

Both the Hellcats end up escorting the 3 torpedo-armed Avengers from Clark's TF. Seven Zeros are launched as CAP: 4 up high; 3 down low. None of these pilots are "green;" they are all well-trained & experienced veterans. Splash one Helldiver! Two other attackers are aborted. Getting through to attack are 2x SB2C's, 2x level-bombing TBM's, & 2x torpedo-armed TBM's. They form a single attack wave, and the Americans must have been impressed by the TF they see. It has been augmented by ships from some of the other TF's: 4x CV, 1x BB, 7x CA, 3x CL, & 7x DD's.

This time (for once), our own AA fire is withering: Most of the attackers are turned back (one more Helldiver is destroyed). Two Avengers (one torpedo bomber) get through, and combine to attack CV "Akagi." She comes through unhurt. And, with this action, the carrier battle of the Marianas concludes. Our ships withdraw, last seen steaming NNW, & out of sight.

OTHER NAVAL OPERATIONS

Sumatra: On June 23, Adm. Somerville's British carrier TF operating off Sumatra is visited by a Japanese airstrike, from Palembang. 11x Ki-21's, unescorted & at extended-range, are sent against the British. Somerville's TF sends up 10 A/P's as CAP: 2x Hellcats, 4x Seafires, 2x Corsairs, & 2x Martlets. They tear into our Army bombers, downing two (two will later be lost operationally due to "extended-range" penalties, totalling four) & aborting two. AA fire turns back another, and the remaining "Sallys" concentrate on CL "Newcastle." We score several near-misses, but otherwise fail to damage her.

Following this strike, Adm. Somerville steams away from Sumatra, SE, north of Christmas Island, approaching southern Java. Initial air searches (Batavia, Singapore, Soerabaja) fail to locate him. He takes up station just south of Djokjakarta.

Submarine Operations, E. Indies Area: NW of Koepang, our subs get five unmolested shots on an Allied MS unit, but we can score no hits. Next day, another target appears in this same area, and is contacted by another subron. It is reported as containing 1x US CV (identified as "Wasp"), 1x CA, 1x CL & 3x DD's. 3 of 4 I-boats are screened, but we get one clear shot at the "Wasp." Alas, no hits. Later, SE of Boeroe, this TF is again contacted by other I-boats, but all are screened off. This TF then proceeds at night towards Halmahera (SE of the island), taking up station in that area. Just south of Ceram, close to shore, we find another MS unit (screened by 3x DD's + 2x RAAF Catalinas out of Sorong). We get two shots at the merchantmen, but again have no success to report.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 27 June 1944. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 2/7/44 (supplemental)

ADDITIONAL NAVAL OPERATIONS: 24-26 June 1944

Marianas: Following the conclusion of the previous days' climactic carrier battles, the American carriers turn their attention to the airfields on Saipan & Tinian. In the first (combined) strike, against Saipan, 7x F6F's, escorting 2x SB2C's & 8x TBM's, are met in battle by 3x Zeros (1x "green"). Though we get the bounce on them, we lose 2x Zeros to the Hellcats, downing nothing ourselves. Saipan AA fire destroys one of the Avengers, but the American strike is a good one: Two "green" Bettys are destroyed on the ground, and the airfield is moderately damaged.

Tinian's turn is next. Another combined carrier strike hits the airfields there; this time 11x Hellcats escorting 7x SB2C's & 8x TBM's. We send up 6x Zeros, half of them carrier pilots from our now-departed carrier TF's. Again we get the bounce on the Americans, and down 1x TBM. We lose 1x Zero (carrier-trained). This time, we only lose 1x Ki-49 (green) destroyed on the ground, and the airfield is only "suppressed."

A few hours later, another carrier strike (from the "lone wolf," Adm. Sherman) hits Saipan: 9x F6F's show up, escorting 2x SBD's, 2x SB2C's, & 7x TBM's. We can manage but a single Zero, which valiantly tries to affect the raid but suffers the predictable result: more heroes for the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Flak does nail another Avenger (and we're beginning to take careful tally of the mounting American carrier air losses from the outset of this battle). This raid destroys two more Bettys, along with a Ki-46 "Dinah" on the ground, and heavily-damages the airfields. Following this raid, all of our (remaining) air assets on Saipan are rendered "inoperative." The American "Big Blue Blanket" thus succeeds.

Following the attacks on the Marianas airfields, that night the American carriers are redeployed around the Marianas, moving so as to virtually surround them. Now positioned SW, N & NW of the islands, the Americans clearly are making sure nothing interferes with the landings sure to follow soon. No Japanese ships remain anywhere in the area -- at least as far as the American carrier air search can reach. Japanese air assets on Saipan and Tinian have been virtually eradicated.

On the 26th, they begin moving in, as someone has given the order: "Land the Landing Force!" US jeep carrier TF's begin moving in, moving very near off-shore. heavy airstrikes are launched against the landing beaches on both Saipan & Tinian, and the American transports approach & begin landing! (See Ground Ops in Reports to follow: On Saipan 2 Marine & 1x US Army division come ashore; On Tinian one of each). We are unable to interfere with either of the landings, in any way.

E. Indies: Adm. Somerville, now operating south of Java, launches a carrier strike against our Soerabaja airstrips. 2x Martlets, escorting 2x Corsair & 2x Hellcat FB's, are not opposed in the air. The Martlets destroy another of our "elite" night-trained Bettys on the ground in strafing runs, leaving us with only a single one left. No further damage, though, is done.

After this strike, we try to mount whatever attacks we can against the British TF, from Batavia, Tjilitjap & Soerabaja. Scraping together a total of 4x Zeros, close-escorting 2x H6K "Mavis" torpedo-armed attackers, our Zero pilots down 1x Seafire, but our Mavises are both aborted by the heavy AA -- including heavy fire from the BC "Renown." Next day, Adm. Somerville withdraws, steaming W into the Indian Ocean, his "excellent adventure" apparently over for now.

Submarine Operations, E. Indies: South of Amboina, we get reports of another US carrier TF at sea (reported on as "2x CVL, 1x BB, 3x CA + 1x DE"). Only 1 of 4 boats from one subron in contact is screened; we get 3 clear shots at the CVL "Princeton." We begin to mutter to ourselves what has happened to our war effort of late; not a single torpedo finds its mark. A 2nd subron finds this same TF, but is unable to get off any shots. We receive reports that this TF also takes up station W of Halmahera, in the Moluksche Sea. Air search planes from Davao fail to find these ships.

NE of Wetar, a subron contact reveals an American amphibious TF at sea, steaming north! Sortieing from Dili (Timor), our boats are all screened off but we have two good reports of two separate amphibious TF's heading north. Something has to be done about this!

These American TF's are finally located again just off Halmahera. A TF is readied at Davao, to be sent down there to contest these landings! RAdm. Suzuki sorties in an Emerg. REAC TF. Our air searches still fail to locate the Americans as he steams SSE. Meanwhile, one of the American TF commences off-loading troops at Halmahera. Finally, we again locate them and send down an airstrike from Davao: Two D4Y's (both "green"), at maximum range. Bad weather prevents their contacting the Americans, though, and they land the entire 26th Cav. Rgt (see Ground Ops).

Adm. Suzuki continues steaming south at high speed, as the other American amphibious TF approaches Morotai. The US carrier "Wasp" fails to locate him initially. The Americans get lucky afterward: A B-24 at maximum range from Darwin finds Suzuki's ships, & radios back the following contact report: "1x CL + 8x DD's."

The US CVL TF W of Halmahera then launches an airstrike against Suzuki, based on this contact report. 3x F6F's, escorting 3x TBM's, are launched but, due to the monsoon conditions prevailing, only a single Avenger is able to contact our ships. An accurate contact report of "1x CL + 18x DD's" is sent back, and the lone attacking TBM does well, sinking 2 DD's: "Wakaba" & "Yugure." Still, Adm. Suzuki presses on, now only 120 nm NNW of the 2nd US amphib. TF. Another airstrike is sent against him, this time from the "Wasp" (Adm. Ofstie), at approx. 240 nm range.

Again, bad weather hampers the Americans; 2x SBD's & 1x TBM arrive. Four more DD's are sunk: "Arashi, Arashio," and two old "Wakatake-class" APD's: "Fuyo" & "Sanae." Adm. Suzuki presses on, as the Americans reach Morotai. One last airstrike is sent against him, from Amboina. Only a single B-25H shows up, though, and AA fire aborts it. The way is now clear for us, and our targets are the American transports!

Adm. Suzuki contacts the Americans off Morotai, after they've landed 1x Bn. They are forced to weigh anchor in a hurry, as contact is made, and a daylight engagement joined off Morotai!

(Next Report will detail the battle of Morotai)

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 27 June 1944. Battle Report: ** Battle of Morotai (26 June 1944) -- Daylight Surface Engagement **

As the US transports hastily curtail their debarkation (1x Bn, 5th Cav Rgt landed), Adm. Suzuki catches the US force & engages. The opposing lineups:

IJN: CL Jintsu (Adm. Suzuki), 2x Kagero-cl. DD's (Hatsukaze, Isokaze); 3x Asashio-cl. DD's (Asashio, Michishio, Minegumo); 2x Akatsuki-cl. DD's (Akatsuki, Ikazuchi); 2x Mutsuki-cl. APD's (Mutsuki, Yayoi); & 1x Wakatake-cl. APD (Yugao).

USN: Six Mahan-cl. DD's (Perkins, Preston -- Adm. A.E. Smith -- Dunlap, Cassin, Cummings, Drayton), screening 1x APB (full).

Little does Adm. Suzuki know at the time of the battle that his opposite number, whom he has badly out-gunned, is our subs' nemesis, the now-famed Adm. A.E. Smith. What sweet revenge it will be to send him to the bottom!

1st Tactical Sequence: The US ships immediately run for it, attempting to disengage, while screening the loaded transports (the rest of the 5th Cavalry is aboard them). The Kagero-cl. boys severely damage USS Cassin.

2nd Tactical Sequence: CL Jintsu & 3 DD's gang up on poor Cassin, sinking her quickly. Adm. Smith is unable to disengage the transports in his first attempt.

3rd Tactical Sequence: DD's Akatsuki & Ikazuchi maneuver closer to the US transports: If they can't disengage them this sequence, we shall be close enough next one to engage them! APD Yugao is heavily-damaged by DD Dunlap. After USS Drayton is holed & damaged by Akatsuki & Ikazuchi, Adm. Smith succeeds in getting the transports safely away. Now, he'll try to conduct a fighting withdrawal with the rest of his DD's.

4th Tactical Sequence: CL Jintsu finishes off USS Drayton, & USS Perkins is moderately damaged by numerous IJN DD's. In his parting shot, Adm. Smith's boys finish off APD Yugao, then the Americans successfully break off, ending the short battle.

Battle Summary; Losses:

IJN: APD Yugao sunk.

USN: DD's Cassin, Drayton sunk; DD Perkins damaged.

Adm. Smith again is a thorn in our side; he has prevented us from possible easy-pickings among the US transports off Morotai. Now, following the battle, Adm. Suzuki must make his own way out of harm's way, trying to evade the inevitable American air attacks.

End Battle Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 29 June 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/7/44

AIR OPERATIONS (27-29 June)

N. Guinea: The P. Moresby P-38's finally clear Manus of Japanese air assets, destroying the lone-remaining A/P, 1x J2M3, in fighter sweeps.

NAVAL OPERATIONS (27-29 June)

Marianas: Along with ground strikes in support of their landings, US carrier strikes again hit the airfields on Saipan/Tinian. In one raid on Saipan, 22 F6F's are loosed on strafing runs (losing one to AA fire), and they destroy 1x Ki-46, 2x Ki-49's, & 1x G4M on the ground (all were "inop"). Carrier bombers then put the airfields completely out of commission. One Avenger is lost operationally.

Tinian's airfields are heavily-damaged, but here they suffer fairly severe air losses: 1x strafing Hellcat + 1x SB2C are downed by flak, and the Americans lose two carrier bomber A/P's operationally due to the high tempo of airstrike operations.

Celebes Sea: As Adm. Suzuki runs for home, "Wasp" launches a strike against him SW of Talaud I., at 300 nm range. A lone A6M5 from Davao (Sasai) arrives to help cover him, and Sasai's boys manage to turn back 1x SBD. Three others, though, get through to make their dives. We learn the US commander of "Wasp's" TF is RAdm. Ofstie. This strike, though, fails to score, as attacks against CL "Jintsu" fail to hit her.

RAdm. C.A.F. Sprague, honcho of the US CVL TF to the west of Halmahera, then gets his own strike off, in the same general area. This time there is no fighter cover. Arriving are 1x F6F (bombs) + 2x TBM's (torpedoes). The Hellcats & one of the Avengers concentrate on CL "Jintsu,", and Suzuki's flagship reels under the effects of several hits: she is heavily ("D3") damaged, then suffers additional critical hit damage. She goes dead-in-the-water, and the decision is made to finish her off with Long-lances. The remaining attacking TBM's attack without results 1x Asashio-class DD.

A single B-25H from Ambon I. shows up later, targeting an Akatsuki-class DD, but scores no hits. Following this attack, Adm. Suzuki manages to successfully escape into the Sulu Sea.

On the 27th, with the seas now made safe again, the US transports reappear at Morotai, intending to resume off-loading the 5th Cav. Rgt there. We scrape together a bare-bones air strike against it from Davao: 1x D4Y ("green") + 1x G4M (torpedoes). We encounter a lone P-38 on Naval Cover, from Sorong, but it has no effect. Though the Judys are aborted (AA), the Bettys go in and score a hit on the US transports, rendering the APB to "D1" damage level. There are unconfirmed reports of small #'s of American soldiers in the water. Two addional steps from the 5th Cav Rgt are then put ashore. As this unit is missing one step, we can content ourselves at least with having done some damage to them.

GROUND OPERATIONS (23-29 June)

Saipan: The Americans conduct 2 separate landings: In the north, on the E coast, south of Mt. Marpi (north of Mt. Marpi are L-2 airfields), the 3rd Marine Division comes ashore. The beaches are undefended, and the 3rd MarDiv lands in good order. It performs well, organizing quickly to mount an attack against the Japanese airfield defenders in the northern section of the island. Our defenders here are a 1x Rgt from the excellent 5th Inf. Div., + the 1st Amphib. Bde, and an Engineer unit. The marines' first assault goes well for them, inflicting severe losses on us, and they (passing all required Troop Quality checks) continue the assault! A bloody battle ensues, and both sides take fairly heavy losses. Our lead Rgt is wiped out, and we are down to 2 steps. Still, the marines continue the assault! Left defending is a lone Bn. from the 1st Amp. Bde, and it is finally overrun. The marines capture the northern airfields, and the performance of this division we can only marvel at; it was truly outstanding. They take approx. 30% casualties, but accomplish their mission in very aggressive fashion.

The 2nd landing on Saipan is on the W coast, below Garapan, where the 2nd Marine + the 41st Inf. Divisions storm ashore. Again, the beaches are not defended. These landings do not go as well for them: Both American divisions are "deactivated" and are thus unable to press advances this week.

Tinian: At Tinian, the Americans will face an opposed landing beach, on the NW coast above Tinian town. Here, the 1st Marine (Gen. Rupertus) and the 77th Inf. divisions are landed. Defending the beach are the old Shanghai SNLF Bn, backed up by the 19th Tk. Rgt. The Americans do well, wiping out the Shanghai marines & forcing the tank Rgt to retreat. They thus secure their beach-head, with fairly minor losses (2 steps from the 1st MarDiv). Though both American divisions are able to remain "activated," no further advances are made as they run up against the main Japanese defense line. We're sure the Americans are unpleasantly surprised to find that Tinian is very well-defended: The northern airfields have 2 well-dug-in Rgt's from the 56th div. Defending the center of the island is the 38th Inf. Bde, and in the south/Tinian town area, another well-fortified Rgt from the 56th is located. There may be as-yet-undiscovered Japanese units also SW of Tinian town.

Halmahera: At Halmahera, the US 26th Cav Rgt (1st Cav Div) easily overcomes our (intrinsic) garrison there, though not without loss. Halmahera is thus secured.

Morotai: Here, our intrinsic garrison fights better: the US 5th Cavalry fails to destroy us in their initial assault. The battle here will continue.

N. Guinea: The 5th Australian division finally recovers sufficiently, and resumes its attack against Lae -- with the US 7th Inf. division rapidly approaching from the south. At Lae, we are down to a single Bn, and they fight well, inflicting severe losses on the Australians before finally retreating back towards Madang. Lae is thus captured, and another Japanese position falls.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with a special greeting to you poor GI's fighting and dying so well on Saipan."

Tokyo, 6 July 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/7/44

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: On the last day of June, B-24 search planes out of Darwin locate 2x IJN AV's at Manado (with 4x H8K's in attendance there). The "Wasp's" boys will soon pay them a visit (see Naval Ops).

From Amboina, B-25's perform ground strikes against our (intrinsic) garrison at Morotai.

RAAF B-24's out of Broome continue to hit Soerabaja, damaging the airfield & destroying (on the ground) 1x "Inop" A6M.

Central Pacific: From Ndeni, small #'s of US B-24's hit our sub base at Kwajalein (extended-range, at low altitude) , but do no damage.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Marianas, US Carrier Operations: Tinian is hit repeatedly and continuously, mostly now with Hellcat fighter sweeps, which strafe anything & everything. Two separate strikes dispose of the last 2 remaining Japanese A/P's on Tinian: 1x Ki-49 & 1x G4M. This eliminates the last air assets of ours anywhere in the Marianas.

Very heavy and effective ground-support missions hit both Saipan & Tinian, many from the American CVE's very close-by.

E. Indies: Following the Darwin-based air recon report of our two (previously hidden) AV's at Manado, the Americans attack. First, their CVL TF sends 3x TBM's in. Bad weather still prevails in the area, and "Sanyo Maru" & "Akitsushima" are able to ride out this first attack. Before they can escape, though, hot on the heels of this strike is another one, this from CV "Wasp" (RAdm. Ofstie). He sends 2 waves in, with a total of 4x SBD's + 1x TBM. This time, the bad weather doesn't prove troublesome for the Americans -- the entire strike arrives intact.

The 1st wave disposes of both our AV's in short order ("Akitsushima" doomed by successive "critical hits"), and both are sunk. B-24's from Koepang & B-25's from Amboina show up shortly afterward, but have no targets (though they have good views of our ships burning & going down).

On 1 July, an IJN TF appears in the Celebes Sea (via the Sulu Sea), and makes a high-speed run-in at night, remaining undetected. It is able to reach within 300 nm of the US ships off Halmahera. As our TF has been undetected, it happens to coincide with "Wasp's" TF apparently receiving orders to return to Darwin, & she leaves the area, unawares of the presence of Japanese ships in the area.

On 2 July, the IJN TF (it is VAdm. Ozawa!) launches air searches, trying to find the US CVL's now SW of Halmahera. Now without the "Wasp" to protect them, they appear vulnerable, as Adm. Ozawa has once again out-foxed the Americans, showing up unexpectedly! We find the Americans, but are a bit surprised when we receive the report that this TF consists of "1x CV, 2x CVL, 2x BB, 2x CA, & 1x DE." Apparently, another US fleet carrier has shown up!

Meanwhile, US efforts to locate Ozawa (from Sorong, Amboina, Koepang & Darwin) all fail. That afternoon, then, Adm. Ozawa readies & launches a strike against the Americans. The range is 300 nm, and bad weather hampers our strike. Arriving over the target are 5x A6M's (1x "green" -- out of a total of 9 launched); 4x D4Y's (2x "green" -- out of a total of 7 launched); & 3x B6N's (1x "green" -- out of a total of 5 originally launched).

This time, the Zeros are kept up high, protecting the "Judys." There is no US CAP there. Down low, though, 3x F6F's tear into the "Jills," downing one & aborting the remaining two. Thus, none of our torpedo planes get through. Going in to attack, then are the 4 D4Y's. We learn the original search report was not accurate; there is no big US carrier; only 2x CVL, 1x BB, 3x CA & 1x DE. Going after the light carriers, 2 of our attackers are turned back by AA fire, leaving only the 2 "green" Judys. They go after CVL "Cowpens." Luck is not with us this day, though -- no hits are scored.

Next day, we receive reports out of Palau that American carriers are steaming down at high speed from the Marianas, after Ozawa's attack. Adm. Ozawa is undaunted; he remains on-station, intent on gaining revenge for our defeat the previous week off Saipan.

On 4 July, air search from Palau keeps the American ships "located," and when they move within range, Adm. Ozawa launches a strike against these ships! This time, a couple of "Judys" from Davao will join in. Monsoon weather persists in hampering our air operations. At 300 nm, Ozawa's strike consists of 4x A6M's (1x "green" -- out of 6 launched, on close-escort); 3x "Judys" (2 from from Davao; incredibly only a single one of the 7 launched by our carriers show up!); 3x "Jills" (1x "green" -- out of 5 launched); & a lone Betty from Davao arrive for the attack!

This time, the Zeros are down low, protecting the torpedo planes. Up high, 2x F6F's fail to hit anything. Down low, though, there are another 5 of them. We lose half of the Zeros and, after this the Hellcats do a number on us, splashing all 3 of the B6N "Jills" & aborting the Davao-based Betty. The TF we're attacking, we learn, consists of 1x (Essex-class) CV, 2x CVL's, 1x (Iowa-class) BB, 1x CA, 2x CLAA, & 3x DD's.

Going in to attack are 3 Judys. Not willing to brave the heavy AA & go after the carriers, our boys attack instead one of the heavy cruisers. 1x of the D4Y's is aborted, but 2 of them go in against the "Canberra II." Hits are reported, and we apparently are able only to lightly ("D1") damage her.

Following these bitterly-disappointing strikes, Adm. Ozawa (fortunately) is able to withdraw, unscathed, to the NW, into the Sulu Sea. We note with satisfaction that another (apparently, as reported by air search out of Palau, a more powerful one) US carrier TF arrives on-station in the area, too late to catch Adm. Ozawa prior to his skedaddling.

Following these actions, another US ASW sweep TF shows up SE of Ceram, hunting our I-boats. So far, they have no success.

Central Pacific: IJN subs locate an apparently withdrawing US carrier TF 540 nm SE of Truk. Reported back as: "4x CV, 1x BB, 3x CA, & 4x DD," we have 3 boats in contact. Two are screened, but we get one shot, against USS "Hancock." No hits are reported. (This TF had been previously located by air search out of Truk).

Wake-based H6K's report several US TF's steaming east, from the Marianas, apparently towards Midway. Several oilers & transports are reported, but we have no air assets to send against them. Alas!

N. Guinea: IJN subs off NE N. Guinea locate & attack a transport TF approaching Lae, but unfortunately score no hits.

Report of 6 July 1944 (cont.)

GROUND OPERATIONS

SAIPAN: In the north, the 3rd MarDiv turns & moves inland. Running into rough terrain, they encounter our previously hidden defenses there, consisting of 1x tank co. + the 131st Inf. Rgt (47th Inf. Div). The marines' first attacks wipes out our tank co, but our boys hold fast. Continuing their assault, we take heavy losses but inflict same on the marines. They are unable to dislodge us, though our Rgt is down to a single Bn. A good performance by our troops!

At Garapan, the US 41st Inf. Div, in a single battle, wipes out our 42nd Rgt (from the excellent 5th Div.), taking the town, though they suffer heavy losses in doing so.

In the south, the battle for the remaining airfields on Saipan is joined. Here, the 2nd MarDiv runs into the last Rgt from the 5th division, plus two badly-understrength Rgt's from the 47th. Here, we are well-dug-in, but devastating ground strikes from the USN have hit us very hard. The first battle breaks our defenders, but they hold on. The US Marines are able to continue the assault, and in 2 separate assaults they are able to wipe our defenders out, capturing the last-remaining Japanese-held airfields. With this action, our 5th Inf. Division is destroyed.

TINIAN: The battles for the northern airfields is joined, with the US 1st MarDiv hitting 2 Rgt's of ours (from the 56th Div.) + 1x tank co (19th Tk Rgt). Though we are well-fortified, our units are broken by incessant air strikes. Gen. Rupertus is decisive in this battle, which turns out to be a one-sided affair -- we are destroyed in one massive assault. We thus lose possession of the northern airstrips, and are able to inflict only minor losses on the attacking marines.

In the south, the battle for Tinian town and the outlying airfields there is joined, with the US 77th Inf. Div. going up against the last Rgt from the 56th Div. (plus some engineers). In two separate assaults, our defenders are destroyed in place, though we fight especially hard, inflicting a total of 5 steps' loss on the Americans. Here, we have made them pay dearly. With this, our 56th Inf. Div. is destroyed, and all of Tinian's airstrips are now lost. The week's operations conclude with only the center of the island Japanese-controlled.

Morotai: Our intrinsic garrison here is overrun by the US 5th Cav Rgt, which takes no losses. Morotai is thus secured for Gen. MacArthur.

N. Guinea: SE of Madang, the US 7th Inf. Div wipes out the last of the broken & isolated Lae defenders (a Rgt from the 52nd Div.).

Burma: We note that the 6th & 9th Australian divs reach Calcutta, travelling the last miles by rail after their long monsoon march out of Burma. We note that they suffered no attrition losses, though.

Note: In the Central Pacific, Adm. Nimitz' P.O.A. HQ is relocated from Pearl Harbor to Midway.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 13 July 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 7/44

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: The Australian B-24's out of Broome hit Soerabaja again. We once again escape damage. Only a single A6M ("inop") remains on the airfield there.

Marianas: The 1st US A/P's arrive at the (still-damaged) airfields on Saipan & Tinian -- a single TBM each. It will be some time before the Americans can make these airfields operational, however.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippines: The American carriers sent south to deal with Adm. Ozawa now launch strikes against Davao. It is a joint strike from 2 US carrier TF's. Fortunately, bad weather prevails, and only 4x F6F's, 3x SB2C's, & 8x TBM's show up. There is no Japanese air opposition, so the Hellcats go strafing. We down one of them with AA, but they shoot up one "inop" Betty on the ground. Our flak downs one of the Avengers, but their strike destroys 2x Ki-46 "Dinahs" on the ground -- but otherwise fails to inflict any damage to the airfield. The Americans report back that, left at Davao are 1x G4M, 4x C6N's (2x "inop"), 2x D4Y's, 1x B6N ("inop"), 1x Ki-61 "Tony, also inop," & 2x Dinahs.

After this strike, these carrier TF's are moved NE, arriving just north of Palau. Apparently, it is Palau's turn next. We are correct. On 9-10 July, the Hellcats, Helldivers & Avengers strike here. The airfield is heavily-damaged (again, we are unable to oppose the raid in the air). No air losses are noted on either side.

About this time, a typhoon appears, approx. 120 nm SE of Palau & the US carriers! Can this be a divine wind, sent to deal with the Americans?! Alas, no, as after these strikes the Americans sail away, straight east, and thus are able to avoid it. They appear to be heading to Truk.

E. Banda Sea: US ASW sweeps continue, and our luck continues to hold: no I-boats are sunk.

N of Jamdena, I-boats locate the US CVL TF which Adm. Ozawa previously unsuccessfully attacked. Unfortunately, the US screen is impenetrable (aided by growing numbers of Catalinas from Sorong). We note that this TF returns to Darwin.

Marianas: The US 4th Marine Division (apparently their reserve) is landed on Tinian, near Tinian town. Heavy carrier strikes (ground support missions) continue, against Saipan and Tinian.

GROUND OPERATIONS

SAIPAN: (This is to be a black week for us). The US 2nd MarDiv hits the southern end of our line on Saipan, where 1x tk. co + the 47th Cav Rgt (47th Div.) are holding out. It takes two assaults, but the marines are able to defeat us, wiping our defenders out to the last man. Not without loss, though, as we inflict more casualties on the Americans.

The last-remaining Japanese strong-point on Saipan, a single Bn. from the 131st Rgt., prepares for the end. It is hit by 2 divisions: 41st Inf. & the 3rd MarDiv (which is severely battered; thus the Army leads this final assault). Defending "to the last man," we can only comfort ourselves with inflicting more losses on the Americans, as we are quickly overrun. Gen. Kawabe (CG, 18th Army) dies heroically in this "last stand," and Saipan is declared secured.

We tally the losses for the Americans in the battle for Saipan, and are heartened by the high numbers: The 2nd MarDiv suffers approx. 28% casualties; the 3rd MarDiv a very heavy loss rate of approx. 50%; and the 41st Inf. Div approx. 31%. A total of 11 marine & 5 Army step losses are suffered -- almost a division's worth of casualties. We've lost Saipan, but made them pay for it. Well, done, boys!

TINIAN: The northern end of our line (NE coast to center of island) is hit by the 1st MarDiv. Here, our defenders consist of 1x Tk. co + the 38th Inf. Bde. Heavy air attacks have pummeled our defensive positions, making our fortifications worthless. Gen. Rupertus is again decisive, as the first assault wipes our tanks out, inflicts heavy losses on us & forces us to retreat to the E. coast. The marines pursue relentlessly, and continue the assault immediately. Once again, Gen. Rupertus is decisive, and the remnants of our 38th Bde are finally wiped out. Moderate losses are suffered by the 1st MarDiv.

We are down to one hold-out position on Tinian, in the center of the island NE of Tinian town. Ordered to hold to the last man again, our defenders here (4th Tk. Rgt + the 3rd Amp. Bde) will show the Americans how we can fight. The newly-arrived 4th MarDiv leads this attack, backed by the 77th Inf. Div. This marine division's baptism of fire will be a memorable one. Their first assault nearly wipes us out, but the marines suffer grievous casualties (5 steps' worth!). Down to a single Bn now, with no tanks left, the last IJA soldiers on Tinian are forced to retreat to the southern tip of the island.

There, they are pursued by both US divisions, but only the 4th MarDiv is able to continue the attack. They do, and pay again for it with more losses. But, defending to the last man in the best Army tradition, our boys are wiped out and with this, Tinian is lost.

Our tally of American losses inflicted on Tinian: 1st MarDiv approx. 28%; 4th MarDiv (in only 1 weeks' operations) approx. 43%; 77th Inf. Div. approx. 37%. Thus, as on Saipan we have made the Americans pay a stiff price for these airfields.

N. Guinea: The US 7th Inf. Div. takes Madang. The Americans make the large airfield complex (we built it to Level-7) fully-operational.

Burma: The IJA 2nd Inf. Div. is pulled out of the front line & begins rail movement out of Burma. Likewise, our 18th Div. is also pulled out, & withdrawn to Rangoon.

CYCLE 0/7/44, Notes:

Strategic Bombing: Now, 31 B-29's are operating out of Darwin. They hit Balikpappan again (12 of them), inflicting heavy damage there. Another target is Soerabaja (again; another 12) -- inflicting heavy damage here also. The last target for the month is Tarakan (7x Super Forts), and moderate damage is noted here. We are unable to repair any of this damage.

In Burma, 9 additional C-47's have been brought in (Chittagong) for the British emergency airlift, which continues. They prove helpful as (unlike last month) the British are lucky, and suffer no attrition losses.

The IJN Combined Fleet HQ is relocated, from Truk to Kagoshima (where it originally started the war back in Dec. of 1941).

With the loss of Saipan & Tinian, Gen. Tojo is now out of the way, and the IJA is heartened to see the return of its best General, from enforced idleness in Manchuria. It is Gen. Yamashita, who arrives to take command of the 2nd Area Army HQ, in Manila. The "Tiger of Malaya" is back!

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is Orphan Anne, with another vicious assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 27 July 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/8/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: US B-24's & PB4Y's from Midway hit Wake multiple times, targeting our defensive positions there.

Bismarck Sea Area: Manus is hit hard by ground strikes from Lae (P-38's, B-25's -- including 2x RAAF ones, & Mosquitoes). Later, 3x B-25's from P. Moresby join in. These strikes have mixed results.

N. Guinea: From Lae, 5x P-38's (Lynch, Robbins), escorting 7x B-25's, hits our Hollandia airstrip. 4x Ki-61's oppose the strike, but the Americans get the bounce, downing two of the "Tonys." No damage is done to the strip. A couple of days later, the P-38's return, on a fighter sweep -- only this time with 7 of them. This time, we ride the attack out on the ground, and the 2 Tonys left there are undamaged.

Our luck doesn't hold, though, as on the 22nd & 23rd the P-38's return (this time 9 of them), & destroy one of the two Tonys on the ground.

On July 20, an airborne drop is launched from Lae, against Aitape (US 503rd P.I.R.; see Ground Ops).

E. Indies: From Broome, RAAF B-24's hit Soerabaja again, heavily damaging the airfield. But, we down one of them with AA fire, and they lose another B-24 operationally due to the "extended-range."

The Americans have been building up their strength at Koepang, and send 8x B-24's from there against Soerabaja, targeting the port, coming in low. Present there are 3x H6K's, and two of these A/P's are destroyed. The port is moderately damaged, and the remaining "Mavis" is hastily flown out.

Sorong-based US B-25's hit our 16th Army Offensive Support Base at Manado, again coming in low. They succeed in damaging the base.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: 2x US carrier TF's operating near Truk send a strike against the airfields there. A total of 5x Hellcats, 5x Helldivers, & 10x Avengers are met by 4x Ki-45's in the air. The Americans easily get the bounce, splashing one "Nick." The airfields are lightly ("D1") damaged, and we claim one of the Avengers with AA.

The Americans stay on-station and send another strike next day, launching a smaller strike. This time, no Japanese fighters are sent aloft, and strafing Hellcats destroy 1x Ki-46 on the ground. The bombers inflict heavy damage on the airfields in Truk lagoon.

WSW of Wake, a US ASW sweep (6x DD's) gets lucky, sinking one I-boat.

Shortly after this, a US carrier TF arrives on-station NW of Wake. Our H8K air searches fail to locate it. A small airstrike is launched against Wake from this TF, aimed at the seaplane base there, where 3x H8K's are based. We're satisfied in splashing one strafing F6F, and no significant damage is done by the Americans.

Later, another US carrier TF is discovered operating near Wake, & it sends a strike against our garrison there, achieving good results.

On the 16th, all this attention directed at Wake is made clear, as a US amphibious TF is spotted by air search approaching Wake (approx. 360 nm NNE). This TF then closes Wake and, on the 21st commences landing the US 24th Inf. division (see Ground Ops).

On 22 July, we get lucky SE of Truk, as 4 I-boats locate & attack an unescorted US transport TF (1x MS, "D2"). We sink it outright. Good job, boys. We note that this TF appeared headed for the Marianas, and this is confirmed as we fish out of the water some American engineers.

E. Indies: Adm. A.E. Smith is at it again, leading another ASW sweep in the E. Banda Sea area. Once again, he scores, sinking one of our I-boats. He repeats his success a few days later, this time NE of Tanimbar, sinking another of our subs.

On 15 July, I-boats locate 3x USN AV's in the E. Banda Sea, heading to Sorong. We get one shot, at USS "Pine Island," but miss. Next day, we sight another US carrier TF steaming north, but its screen is too strong to penetrate. This TF steams east, past Waigen I., along the N. coast of N. Guinea. Unconfirmed reports are that it is the "Wasp," once again at sea from Darwin.

Bismarck Sea area: In the Vitaez Strait, a nearly-full IJN subron contacts another US amphibious TF (reported as "2x APB, 2x DE"). We get no fewer than 5 shots at the American transports, but cannot score a single hit. This TF then steams north, to just SE of the Admiralties on 20 July. It appears as if a landing there is imminent.

Sure enough, we are right. On the 22nd, Allied forces storm ashore in the Admiralties (see Ground Ops).

GROUND OPERATIONS

N. Guinea: On July 20, the US 503rd P.I.R. jumps into Aitape. All we have there is an intrinsic garrison. Gen. Eichelberger (CG, US 6th Army HQ, now relocated from Australia to Lae) has prepared his boys well: they suffer no losses, overrun our garrison, & capture the place intact.

Burma, 14-20 July: The IJA 18th Inf. Div. begins railing out of Burma, towards Singora, from Rangoon. The IJA 16th Inf. Div. (-) is pulled out of the front line & withdrawn to Rangoon.

Burma, 21-27 July: Another IJA division (51st) is pulled out of the front line north of Rangoon. Now left holding the main Japanese defensive line north of Rangoon are 3 IJA divisions (including the 2nd Guards) plus one understrength brigade. Gen. Slim ponders his options, cursing the slow work on his supply road, affected by the monsoon conditions which still prevail.

Wake Island: The US Army's 24th Inf. Div. lands on the 21st of July. On the way in, our coastal battery there inflicts some damage on the Americans, sinking a couple of small transports (which, when the div. lands we discover has cost them some losses -- good shooting, boys!).

The US landing is on the southern tip of Wake, near the E end of the airstrip there. Defending the airfield is the IJA's 5th Indep. Bde, well-dug-in but unfortunately "broken" by near-continuous bombardment. The Americans land in good order but are unable to immediately go over into the assault on our prepared positions. Radio Tokyo reports that "our army still holds Wake!"

Admiralties: Two separate landings are made here. On Los Negros I., where a L-1 airstrip is, 2x Australian Brigades (33rd, 31st) of the 11th Australian division storm ashore, in the northern tip of Los Negros. Progress here is disappointing for the Allies; the brigades are immediately deactivated & are unable to immediately attack the garrison there (a single Bn. from our 46th div. + an engineer unit).

On Manus, coming ashore on the northern part of the island, at the entrance to Seeadler Harbor, are the US 38th Inf. Div (-), plus the 34th Bde, 11th Australian division. Landing in good order north of the L-2 airstrip, these units' landings go well, and they are able to immediately launch a coordinated assault on our positions around the airfield. Defended by the poor-quality & understrength IJA 46th division (broken by preparatory airstrikes and not well-dug-in), the Allied assault is an astounding success, despite the heavy jungle. In one well-executed assault, the Allied units encircle & annihilate our division! The airstrip on Manus is captured intact.

After this action, the Australian Bde begin moving to the E. coast, as the Allies initiate mopping-up actions to secure Manus, looking for hidden Japanese holdouts.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 3 Aug. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/8/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The by-now-regular B-24/PB4Y ground strike missions against Wake continue, in support of the 24th Inf. Div. there.

Admiralties: Ground strikes in support of the Aussies fighting for Los Negros are mounted from P. Moresby (7x B-25's) & Lae (13x B-25's, including some Australian "Mitchells"). Without air opposition anywhere, all Allied ground strikes now come in at tree-top level. Multiple missions are flown from each base.

N. Guinea: Lae-based P-38's continue to fly fighter sweeps over Hollandia, but are unable to rid the base of the lone Tony A/P there.

E. Indies: From Broome, RAAF Liberators visit Soerabaja again, this time virtually obliterating what's left of the airfield there, and destroying the last-remaining Japanese A/P, a lone "inop" A6M. Soerabaja is becoming a waste-land.

From Koepang, the Americans now have 12 B-24's, and they send them against Manado (our 16th Army OSB). Due to bad weather, though, only one of them manages to bomb the target -- causing no further damage.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Banda Sea Area: Adm. A.E. Smith continues his ASW sweep NE of Tanimbar I, this time without luck.

On the 2nd of August, our subs once again find that the USS "Wasp" has again apparently sortied from Darwin. N of Tanimbar, two of our I-boats slip past her screen, and get two good shots at her. Alas, once again we are frustrated as "Wasp" thumbs her nose at our efforts to ding her. The next day, another subron attempts contact with Wasp's TF, SE of Ceram. But, US PBM's out of Sorong screen us well, and sink one of our boats as well.

Bismarck Sea Area: I-boats operating near the Vitaez Strait happen on the apparently-returning US transports from the Admiralties, inflicting "D1" damage on one of the US Army's ESB APB's (they were escorted by only 2x DE's).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Wake Island: The headline continues in Tokyo: "The Imperial Army still holds Wake!" The US 24th division overruns our coastal batteries on the southern tip of the island, and mounts an assault against our main positions north of there. In two separate assaults, we are left with but a single Bn, but hold out! The Americans pause for the moment, after suffering moderate losses.

Admiralties: On Los Negros, the 31st & 33rd Australian Bdes (11th Australian Div.) prepare to deal with our defenders there. After the first try, the 31st suffers one step loss, but wipes out our lone Inf. Bn -- leaving the engineers to hold out. But, the 33rd Bde performs poorly, and will not participate in the final assault -- the 31st Bde will have to go it alone. The Aussies have little trouble with our overmatched engineer unit, destroying them and securing Los Negros. With this battle, our 46th Div. is destroyed.

On Manus, mop-up operations are mounted to secure the west & east portions of the island. The 34th Australian Bde clears the eastern end, finding no hold-out Japanese units. Meanwhile, the 149th Infantry (38th division) begins moving to the west, through very difficult terrain -- again encountering (thus far at least) no Japanese opposition.

N. Guinea: The US 503rd P.I.R., advancing from Aitape, reaches Hollandia & launches an attack against our (intrinsic) garrison there. We're able to inflict a step loss on the Americans, but are wiped out and Hollandia falls to Gen. Eichelberger's troops.

At Wewak, the 17th Infantry (7th Div.) makes very short work of our intrinsic garrison there, capturing the place without loss.

Marianas: The Americans begin work on a Supply Base at Saipan, and commence expansion of the airfields (which are now operational) there.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling again in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 10 Aug. 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 8/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: The US Army's assault on Wake is assisted this week by multiple ground strikes from Midway (B-24's & PB4Y's).

E. Indies: Soerabaja has now become a veritable ghost-town. Pounded again by Koepang-based US 5th AF B-24's, there is little left there which is serviceable -- the airfields have been completely destroyed, and the port there remains lightly-damaged.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Palau: The "Wasp" is active, launching a carrier strike against the airfields on Palau. Bad weather persists, though, effectively negating the strike. Only a single Dauntless finds the target to bomb, & no damage is done (a short air battle is fought over Palau, with 1x A6M -- Sasai -- intercepting the small US strike. Nothing is hit).

On Aug 6, a fast USN amphibious TF approaches Ulithi, in terrible weather. Our air searches out of Palau, greatly weakened anyway by the extensive damage the monsoons and US carrier strikes have done recently, is unable to even locate them until we hear that the 1st & 5th Marine Rgt's (1st MarDiv) have been put ashore. The fast amphibs then pull out quickly, withdrawing to the NE. (See Ground Ops).

This operation is especially irksome to us, as the Americans have done this on the cheap, with very little support (apparently, anyway), aside from the known "Wasp" TF operating in the general area.

New Ireland Area: E of Kavieng, I-boats locate & attack a US transport TF (reported as "1x MS, + 4x DD's"). The Americans have PBY's from Shortland helping to cover, and they prove decisive: all of our boats are screened, and one is sunk by the heavy ASW screen.

Bismarck Sea Area: Off Kar Kar Island, a US transport TF, which sortied from Lae, is contacted & attacked. We have 5 boats in contact, & the target is a juicy one: 1x APB (full), with no escort! Our performance in this instance is horrible; the Americans get away with no hits scored. This TF then proceeds to Biak where, on Aug. 5, the US 32nd Infantry (7th Div) is landed (see Ground Ops).

Shortly after this, 2nd US amphibious TF sorties from Lae, but this one (APD's) is too fast (apparently) for our I-boats, & slips by undetected. This TF lands the 45th Australian Bde (5th Aus. Div.) at Manokwari. Manokwari is undefended (not even an intrinsic garrison), and is thus captured without a shot.

E. Banda Sea Area: This area is becoming infested with Allied flying boats operating out of Sorong. Despite the persistent bad weather, they're still everywhere. When one of our subrons attempts contact with a USN TF N of Tanimbar, we lose another boat to these pests.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Wake Island: The writing is on the wall at Wake for us, as the US 24th Inf. Div. prepares for the final assault that will eliminate the last of our defenders there. Sure enough, our 5th Indep. Bde is wiped out, and Wake is lost. We have, though, inflicted approx. 30% losses on the Americans.

Admiralties (Manus): On Manus, mop-up operations continue on the western half of the island, with the US 149th Infantry moving towards the W. coast. They encounter no opposition, but at week's end the island is still not able to be declared "secured."

Ulithi: The two marine regiments storm ashore against only a standard, puny intrinsic garrison, which has no chance. We are overrun without inflicting any losses on the Americans, and they have captured Ulithi at very little cost. The pace of operations against us is now staggering, as we reel from blow to blow.

At Combined Fleet HQ in Kagoshima, though, plans are underway to change the picture.

Biak: Here we have only an intrinsic garrison, and the jungle doesn't help us. The US 32nd Infantry is able to quickly dispatch our troops, capturing Biak without loss. With this, all of New Guinea is in Allied hands.

CYCLE 0/8/44, Notes:

Strategic Bombing: 28 B-29's are sent out from Darwin this month, hitting the same targets they did last month. 14 of them are sent against Soerabaja, but they are unable to increase the damage. 11 appear over Balikpapan, rendering that resource hex to "D4" (maximum) damage. The 3 sent over Tarakan have no effect. This month, we are cheered with reports that our AA gunners have downed 3 of the super forts!

Repair Notes: At the end of the strategic cycle, we are finally able to repair the (resource) damage to both Soerabaja and Balikpapan (but not Tarakan).

In Burma, Gen. Slim's long-suffering troops suffer minor attrition losses due to "out-of-supply" problems. The roads which will link the front lines are reported to be approx. 1 months' time from completion -- just in time for the end of the monsoon season.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 24 Aug. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/9/44

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: B-24 raids from Koepang & Broome inflict heavy damage on the airfields at Tjilitjap & Batavia, respectively. At Batavia, RAAF pilots report 1x IJN AV in port there. A 2nd raid the next week against Batavia destroys 1x "inop" A6M5 on the ground there. A 3rd raid against Batavia, by the Australians out of Broome sees one Liberator go down due to flak, but not before further damage is done to the airfield.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Banda Sea Area: RAdm. A.E. Smith is back hunting I-boats, conducting ASW sweeps this time NE of Tanimbar I. His first few days' searching prove fruitless. His luck changes later, though, as he finds & sinks one I-boat on 19 Aug.

Bismarck Sea Area: Several IJN sub contacts occur N. of the Vitaez strait, and off the Admiralties. Most subs are successfully screened off by numerous RAAF Hudsons now operating out of the Admiralties.

Palaus: A US carrier strike is launched (poss. from the "Wasp's" TF), from 300 nm ENE of Palau. Bad weather hampers operations on both sides. A single A6M5 (Sugino) rises to meet 1x F6F + 3x SBD's. No air losses occur, and no damage is done to the airstrips at Palau.

Marianas: Off Saipan, a US transport TF is contacted by IJN subs. Reported as "1x APB + 4x DD's," the US TF is also protected by PV-2's flying out of Saipan & Tinian. We get two shots at the American transports, but miss.

Two days later, the same IJN subron patrolling off the Marianas locates the "Wasp" TF. Five of its 6 I-boats are screened, but one boat lines up a shot on "Wasp." No hits, once again. The "Wasp" then pulls into Saipan.

Still later, more US transport TF's appear heading into Saipan & Tinian. We are unable to get into position to attack, and note the rapid buildup of Allied forces on Saipan & Tinian.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Admiralties: On 19 August, Manus is finally declared "secured," as no Japanese holdouts are encountered in the jungle.

China: The IJA 6th Inf. Div. is withdrawn from China, moving by rail to Saigon. Our army withdraws from Hunan Province, and pulls back two divisions in Kwangsi Province.

Later, 3x KMT Corps are activated, & begin moving south into Kwangsi Province, from Yunnan & Kweichow Provinces.

Burma: The IJA 51st Inf. Div. is railed south to the Kra isthmus; its regiments to garrison Victoria Pt., Tavoy & Mergui. On the 24th of August, Gen. Slim's supply road at long last is completed, linking Mandalay with Chittagong. A 14th Army Offensive Support Base is then deployed forward at Mandalay. Now, Gen. Slim's 14th Army is again fully-supplied, two weeks before the end of the monsoon season.

Celebes Sea Area: A US level-1 airstrip is completed on Halmahera. And, on Morotai airstrip construction begins.

Marianas: A US supply base is completed at Saipan.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, calling with another assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 31 August 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/9/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Central Pacific: From the Admiralties, 3x B-24's + 2x PB4Y's hit Truk (airfields), at night. 1x Ki-45 night fighter is sent to oppose the Americans, but no claims are made. No damage is done to the airfields.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Submarine Operations, E. Indies: A US transport TF is contacted NW of Koepang (between Timor & Flores). Reported as "2x APB's + 2x DE's," our I-boats are screened off, helped in no small part by a USN MTBRon out of Dili -- which sinks one of our subs.

On 28 August, the same transport TF mentioned above is spotted south of Ceram. Two separate contacts are made, by 2x subrons. In the first, our boats fail to penetrate the screen (heavy ASW air assets out of Sorong assist). In the 2nd the same unhappy results are gained, with the added bad news that we have lost another I-boat.

Our I-boats now are unable to attack any Allied shipping in the coastal waters in this area. Numerous USN MTBRons are deployed throughout the area. These, in combination with the PBY's/PBM's operating out of Sorong, have made these waters increasingly perilous for us.

Submarine Operations, Bismarck Sea Area: Two separate sightings/contacts are made on a US transport TF, first off Kar Kar I., then west of Manus. Hudsons out of the Admiralties make things very difficult for us, and we are unable to evade the RAAF air patrols. No attacks are made.

Two days later, another US transport TF is contacted, SE of the Admiralties. We are again screened off, and the Hudsons score a kill, sinking one I-boat. A 2nd attempt the next day results in another failed attack -- the ASW screen simply is too strong to penetrate. Two days later, this TF (apparently coming back from P. Moresby or Milne Bay) is again contacted. We again try to evade the screen, again fail, and lose another I-boat to the RAAF Hudsons.

Later, another US transport TF is contacted, and this time our luck changes. It is a lone APB, heavily screened (as usual) by ASW air out of the Admiralties. This time, 3 of the 4 boats in contact are screened, but we get one shot, and score, bringing the APB (full) to "D1" damage level. Apparently, the Americans have lost one ground step, from some infantry unit. So, our efforts at least partially pay off.

Submarine Operations, Marianas: Another USN transport TF is contacted, 360 nm E of Pagan. Reported as "2x APB (full), & 6x DD's," they are also assisted by PV-2's out of the Marianas. Most of our subs are screened, but we get two shots at one of the APB's. Predictably, we miss with both.

Bay of Bengal: On the 28th, British TF's approach Port Blair, from Colombo. G4M searches out of P. Blair fail to locate them. The British ships steam to an area 180 nm WSW of the Andamans, at night.

The next morning, we discover that the British carriers are once again active: Two separate carrier strikes are launched against P. Blair. Fortunately, the monsoon weather proves an ally to us. The 1st strike consists of 1x Seafire, escorting 4x Corsairs + 1x Hellcat (fighter-bombers), and 1x Avenger. We have no CAP. On the ground is a lone G4M. The RN planes suppress the airfield.

The 2nd strike consists of a lone Martlet, escorting 1x Corsair + 3x Avengers. This strike does no damage.

On the 30th/31st, we observe more British naval movement in the Bay of Bengal. Two more TF's from Colombo, plus one from Calcutta, sortie & rendevous NE of Ceylon. The British carriers remain W of the Andamans. What is Lord Mountbatten up to, we wonder?

GROUND OPERATIONS

(Nothing of note, except that we notice that a USN Mobile Service Base is now under-construction at Ulithi)

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 7 Sept. 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 9/44

AIR OPERATIONS

E. Indies: Decreasing in frequency now, the US B-24's out of Koepang visit Tjilitjap, at low altitude, but fail to do any damage to the airfields there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Bay of Bengal: More British carrier strikes against Port Blair. This time, a stronger joint strike, from (apparently) two RN carrier TF's operating in the area, consisting of 1x Martlet, 6x Corsairs, 1x Hellcat (all with bombs), plus 2x Avengers, hits the airfield. One Betty is destroyed on the ground, but the airfield suffers no major damage.

On Sept. 2nd, a British amphibious TF approaches the Andamans! They commence off-loading the 6th Australian Div. at Port Blair. All of our previous air search attempts (P. Blair & Singora-based H6K's) have failed to locate the British ships before they comence landing.

We manage a pitiful strike against the British transports, of a single Betty (level-bombing) from P. Blair. It is met by 4x Seafires flying CAP over the transports, and is quickly aborted. Thus, we are completely unable to prevent the British landing (See Ground Ops).

Following this strike, the FAA planes are back, this time on a fighter sweep: 2x Seafires, 5x Corsairs, & 1x Hellcat strafe everything of value at P. Blair, destroying one of the two Bettys there. The other is rendered "inoperable."

Banda Sea Area: Adm. A.E. Smith's ASW sweep in the E. Banda Sea concludes. No more subs are lost.

Marianas: More IJN sub contacts with USN transports busily steaming into Saipan & Tinian. We contact, but are unable to attack, a large TF pulling into Saipan.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Andamans: The 6th Australian Div. storms ashore at P. Blair against only a standard (low-quality) intrinsic garrison. Though we do inflict a step loss on the Aussies, our garrison is overrun quickly, and Adm. Mountbatten may be pleased with the British capture of the Andamans.

Ulithi: The USN Mobile Service Base is completed.

CYCLE 0/9/44, Notes:

No strategic bombing attacks are made. We surmise that most of the B-29's in the Pacific are being rebased into the Marianas, as those airfields expand.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 13 Sept. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/10/44

AIR OPERATIONS

(With the end of the long monsoon season, air operations in Burma & the Philippines take on an increased tempo)

Mindanao: From Halmahera, 1x RAAF F4U + 4x US P-38's hit Davao. 2x Ki-61's oppose the raid, and one is lost. Two days later, they are back. This time, 1x Tony + 2x A6M5's (both "green") are on CAP. One of the Zeros is downed, and again we're unable to splash any of the attackers. Flying a 2nd multiple strike this week, the Allied planes return yet again; this time downing another green Zero.

We notice that the Americans have completed an airstrip on Morotai, bringing them closer to Mindanao.

China: From Kunming & Chungking, ground strikes are launched against our 53rd Inf. Div.

Burma: Heavy attacks are mounted against the rail lines out of Rangoon by low-flying RAF Liberators out of Calcutta. Heavy damage is done and the line cut in two places, and one B-24 is downed by flak.

Ground strikes are conducted against our 15th Inf. Div (Chittagong, Akyab, Arakan, YY, Mandalay & Prome), as Gen. Slim's 14th Army prepares to resume offensive operations in southern Burma, in the Rangoon area. Our div. is hit hard.

E. Indies: Broome-based RAF Liberators hit our airstrip at Balikpapan, suppressing it.

Palaus: From Ulithi, 5x P-38L's hit Palau in a fighter sweep. A lone A6M is sent aloft. 4x of the Lightnings are split off to strafe the airfields there. On the ground are 1x Ki-45 & 3x Ki-46's. One of our "Dinahs" is shot up on the ground.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Submarine Operations: Off Yokohama, Japanese ASW air sinks 1x US sub.

W of Midway, IJN subs locate a US transport TF (2x APB, 6x DD) but all our boats are screened off. A 2nd contact by another subron in the same area then gets in a shot against 1x USN APB, and scores a hit, rendering it to "D1" damage level.

N of Saipan, another US transport TF is located & attacked (2x MSU), but without results. Clearly, a very heavy buildup of forces is in progress in the Marianas. S of Tinian, another transport TF is attacked (2x APB's). PV-2's out of Tinian perform well, screening our boats, and sinking one of them!

S of the Andamans, IJN subs locate & attack one of the RN carrier/transport TF's preparing to egress the area. Reported as "3x CVE, 3x MSU, 2x DD + 1x DE," we get no fewer than 5 shots at CVE "Battler," but no hits are reported on her.

Numerous ASW sweeps are conducted by USN DD's, both W & E of Saipan, and W of Midway. None of our subs are lost. In the E. Banda Sea, though, Adm. Smith adds to his growing total of victims, sinking 1x I-boat (he has 4x USN + 2x RN DD's with him).

Bay of Bengal: All of the British TF's involved in the Andamans operation withdraw, returning to Colombo.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: We get the jump on the 14th Army, and are able to pull out the 15th Inf. Div before it is hit, replacing it in the front line with the 2nd Gds Div. Gen. Slim then sends the 7th Australian Div into a different attack, against the withdrawing 15th Div. + 1x Bde (the 28th). Though we take heavy losses, we do not break or retreat, and are able to hold.

China: In Kwangsi Province, 3x KMT Indep. Corps are sent against our 53rd Inf. Div., which has been "broken" by very heavy and effective ground support missions. In a very well conducted attack, the Chinese troops inflict heavy losses on us, forcing the 53rd to retreat in disorder. There is no pursuit.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 21 Sept. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/10/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Palaus: The Ulithi-based P-38's continue to hit Palau hard. In one air battle, we send up 1x Zero, 1x Nick, + 1x Rufe. The Nick & Rufe are destroyed, and the Americans remain invincible. As with last week's operations, the Americans keep up the pressure with multiple missions. Returning, they destroy 1x Ki-45 there on the ground -- leaving the airfields there abandoned (our seaplane base there maintains a single E16A1).

Following this, 9x USAAF B-24's, now flying out of Sorong, hit Palau, suppressing the now-abandoned airfield.

Mindanao: We gain a measure of revenge against the US P-38's hitting Davao out of Halmahera. This time, we are ready for them, sending 5x Ki-61's (2 "green") + 2x Ki-44's down from Cagayan/Del Monte to help out. One of the green Tonys is downed, but we splash one of the P-38's (and they lose a 2nd due to extended-range). Thus, we actually win an air battle, and are very encouraged by the development. We suspect that it will not be long before the Americans visit Cagayan.

Later in the week, the Americans mount their first strike from Morotai, sending 5x P-38's in another fighter sweep against Davao. We again have Cover CAP planned from Cagayan, sending 4x Ki-61's (1x "green") + 3x Ki-44's in against them. This time, the green Tony is lost, but we down another Lightning.

China: US 14th AF planes turn their attention now to our 116th Inf. Div.

Burma: The RAF Calcutta-based B-24's, after wreaking havoc with our rail lines last week, now join in ground strikes, hitting our 2nd Gds Div, coming in low. We're also hit by RAF Mosquitoes out of Mandalay, and by RAF Beaufighters & Mitchells out of YY. The RAF mounts multiple strikes this week, and pays for it with the loss of 1x Mosquito & 1x Beaufighter operationally.

Our 15th Div. does not escape attention, getting pounded by US B-25's from Chittagong, US P-38 Ftr-Bmrs out of Akyab, & P-47's out of Arakan. Not to be outdone, RAF Thunderbolts out of Prome join in.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

USN ASW sweeps off the Marianas & Midway continue, without results.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: Gen. Slim sends in 2+ divisions (Americal + 5th Indian, plus the 254th Indian Arm. Bde) against 2x IJA divisions (2nd Gds + 32nd). Heavy losses are suffered by both sides, but they are unable to dislodge us.

North of Rangoon, the 7th Australian Div. is in action again, attacking our 15th Inf. Div. ("broken") + our 28th Indep. Bde. In a bitter fight, we take heavy losses (the 15th Div. is now down to approx. 50% strength), but we hold our ground! Following this battle, we are able to withdraw the 15th Div. into Rangoon, pulling it out of the line.

China: In Kwangsi Province, NW of Yungning, growing #'s of KMT units hit 2x IJA divisions (116th + the badly-depleted 53rd). Leading the Chinese attack is the 77th Indep. Corps. It is joined by 2 other Corps (58th, 68th), plus the newly-arrived 40th Army. We suffer another defeat, as we are broken & routed, retreating into Yungning & SW of the city. Again, the Chinese do not pursue.

End Report

"Greetings to all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! It's time for the Zero Hour once again!"

Tokyo, 28 Sept. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/10/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Mindanao: Sorong-based B-24's hit our airfield at Davao. No CAP planes remain there, and this time we choose not to send fighters down from Cagayan/Del Monte. Two D4Y's are destroyed on the ground, and the airbase is suppressed.

On the 26th & 27th, the Allies feel strong enough to tackle Cagayan/Del Monte, sending 1x RAAF F4U + 9x P-38's from Halmahera (now a L-2 A/F) in a fighter sweep against it. We're able to launch 5x Ki-61's, 3x Ki-44's, and 2x brand-new Ki-84 "Franks," in this a/c's combat debut in the Pacific. Their first action is impressive, as we win this air battle, downing 2x P-38's (one of them operationally; extended-range penalties) for the loss of 1x "Tony." Good job, boys! Keep it up!

China: US 14th AF air missions this week continue to pound the IJA 53rd Inf. Division.

Burma: RAF Liberators out of Calcutta (in smaller #'s now; it appears as if they are gradually rebasing them into Port Blair) again hit the rail line, this time NE (and out of) Rangoon. Very small #'s of them flying out of Ledo join in, but do no further damage.

Our 28th Inf. Bde receives the attention of Chittagong-based US B-25's, Arakan-based US P-47's, as well as strikes from YY (Beaufighters, Mitchells) & Prome (Beaufighters, RAF Thunderbolts). From Akyab, US P-38's, joined by RAF Mosquitoes, concentrate on our 2nd Gds div. Joining these planes are later smaller #'s of the same plane types from Mandalay. In a subsequent multiple-mission strike, one of the Mandalay-based Mosquitoes is lost operationally, as Gen. Slim continues to drive his supporting air forces hard.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Adm. Smith's ASW sweep in the E. Banda sea nets no more victims. But, Sorong-based PBY's sink 1x I-boat as it attempts contact with a US TF steaming NW, south of Sorong.

New Ireland: I-boats contact a US surface TF (3x CA's) E of Kavieng. They are heavily-screened by ASW air assets out of the Admiralties, and also out of Shortland. All 3 boats are screened & thus prevented from attacking. These ships appear headed for Ulithi or the Marianas.

Midway: SW of Midway, our subs contact a large US TF (reported as: "1x CVE, 6x BB, 3x CA, & 6x CL's"). We attempt to get a shot at one of the battleships, but have only a single boat in contact, and it is screened off. This TF continues heading west. Sometime later, the same IJN subron finds yet another US TF SW of Midway, steaming west in a hurry. This one is reported as "4x CV, 7x CVL, & 1x DD." This time, we have 4 boats in contact, and the skipper of one reports an attempted attack against the USS "Enterprise," but nothing is heard from him again, and we receive no successful attack reports. Heavy ASW patrols out of Midway continue to hamper our operations near there.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: North of Rangoon, the 7th Australian div. battles its way towards the city, hitting the overmatched IJA 28th Inf. Bde. Our troops are broken by near-continuous air attack, and though they inflict minor losses on the Australians, they are unable to hold long, & are wiped out. The Australians thus reach the outskirts of Rangoon.

NW of Rangoon, the attack on our 2nd Gds Div (+ the 32nd Inf. Div.) is led by the Americal Div, joined by the 5th Indian Div. + the 254th Indian Arm. Bde. The Guards div. continues to fight hard, inflicting heavy losses on the Americans. We are able to retreat, in good order, to the area NE of Rangoon. Gen. Slim orders no pursuit.

China: The Chinese offensive in SW China continues without respite, in Kwangsi Province. SW of Yungning, our hard-pressed 53rd Inf. Div. is attacked by 3 Chinese Corps (58th, 77th, & 68th), along with the 40th Army. Still broken, the 53rd suffers yet another defeat, taking very heavy losses (though inflicting heavier losses on the Chinese). Our Div. is down to a single Bn., but still holds out. We have, alas, insufficient supplies on-hand to help them out.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 5 October 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 10/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Mindanao: Cagayan is hit by B-24's out of Sorong. We note that the Liberators, unlike elsewhere, do not dare come in down low here, and we send up 4x Ki-61's, 2x Ki-84's, + 3x Ki-44's to meet them. We do well again, downing one Liberator for the loss of 1x Ki-44. But, the bombers do their job, damaging ("D1") the airfield. Not long in following this raid is a large fighter sweep from Halmahera (the same composition as the previous week: 1x RAAF F4U + 9x USAAF P-38L's). After the B-24 damage, we're only able to launch 3x Tonys + 1x Frank as CAP. We trade the lone "Frank" for 1x P-38 destroyed.

Following this sweep, Morotai-based P-38's show up in yet another sweep. This time, due to A/F damage and previous "aborts," we're unable to send up any CAP. Sitting on the ground are 4x Ki-61's (1x "inop"), 1x Ki-84, + 2x Ki-44's. Fortunately, the five Lightnings do no damage (even from Morotai, they're still flying at "extended-range").

Gen. Kenney has Cagayan/Del Monte firmly in his sights, as more fighter sweeps are mounted this week against it. In the 2nd sweep of the week from Halmahera, P-38's destroy 1x Ki-44 ("inop") + 1x Ki-61 (also "inop") on the ground. They lose 1x P-38 operationally due to the high tempo of operations. Then, the general gets a little too greedy, sending his Morotai P-38's in again. This time, we suffer no losses, but the Americans do: 2x P-38's are lost operationally. That'll teach them it's not a good idea to fly every day.

A few days later, we learn that RAAF Liberators have joined the Americans at Sorong. Apparently rebase in from Broome, 4 of them hit Cagayan, inflicting further damage to the airfield. There is no opposition in the air.

China: To assist the final assault against the 53rd Inf. Div, Kunming-based P-38's, A-20's, & B-25's hit that unit hard in ground strikes.

Burma: RAF Liberators (Calcutta) continue to hit the rail lines in & around Rangoon, inflicting very heavy ("D3") damage to the line NE of the city.

Ground strikes (Chittagong) hit our 2nd Gds Div, but without much result. Ground strikes are mounted against our Rangoon garrison, from Akyab & Arakan, as usual at low altitude. Elsewhere, our 112th Rgt is hit especially hard by strikes from YY (RAF Beaufighters & Mitchells) and Prome (Beaufighters + Thunderbolts).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

US ASW sweeps E of the Marianas nets one I-boat victim. Other sweeps, W of Midway & in the E. Banda Sea, fail to locate any.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: NE of Rangoon, the vaunted 7th Australian Div. leads an attack against the 2nd Gds div (along with our 32nd Inf. Div.). Joining the Aussies are the (chronically) understrength Americal div., the 5th Indian Div. and the 254th Indian Arm Bde. Gen. Sakurai (CG, Burma Area Army) is decisive here, and we give them a black eye, turning them back with heavy losses, & forcing them to call off the attack, in retreat. The 2nd Gds Div. continues to be the only thing between us and utter collapse/disaster in Burma. How long can they endure?

Elsewhere, E of the Salween R, well to the NE of Rangoon, the old "Chindit" units are again on the move. Four Bdes (3rd, 16th, 77th, 111th) concentrate for an attack on the IJA 112th Rgt (55th Div.). Gen. Slim is decisive here, and the British attack is especially well-done. With only minor losses to the 3rd Bde, our Rgt is overrun & destroyed. Gen. Hanaya is KIA with them.

China: Still in Kwangsi Province, the Chinese prepare for the last assault against the doomed 53rd Inf. Div, SW of Yungning. Three KMT Corps + the 40th Army, aided by effective ground strikes out of Kunming & Chungking, win the battle decisively, destroying the 53rd division in place.

CYCLE 0/10/44, Notes:

Strategic Bombing: For the first time, as we have long feared, we see B-29's, in very large numbers, over Japan! Having built up the airfields on Saipan & Tinian, and bringing in the heavy bombers gradually, the Americans are finally strong enough to strike, and strike they do.

A single large strike from Saipan (28x B-29's) hits Tokyo. We have been garnering our fighter strength in the home islands for some time, and a fierce air battle erupts over the capital. On CAP protecting against this raid are 4x Ki-84's + 8x Ki-61's -- all fully-trained! Our fighters down one of the superforts (for the loss of 1x Frank & 1x Tony). AA over Tokyo accounts for a 2nd B-29, and a total of 3 are aborted (CAP + AA). The remaining bombers plaster the industrial areas around Tokyo, inflicting heavy ("D2") damage outright. A most impressive start for them.

From Tinian, two separate B-29 strikes are mounted. The first (15x B-29's) hits Nagoya (Industry). Here, we have the navy defending the city, sending up 7x J2M3's, along with 6x N1K2's (3 of them "green"). Again, we down one bomber, losing two (two of the "green" George's). AA over Nagoya aborts two more, and the remaining superforts duplicate their friends' results at Tokyo, inflicting the same "D2" damage level here. Most unwelcome news.

The 2nd raid from Tinian (15x B-29's) is sent against Nagasaki (again, the Industrial area). We have few planes in this area, but do manage to send up 4x Ki-84's. They're only able to abort one bomber, and we lose one "Frank" in the exchange. But, flak downs one and aborts another. Moderate ("D1") damage is done, and the Americans suffer an additional B-29 lost operationally on the way back (the raids are all at "extended-range").

Repair Attempts: We do not do well in our attempts to repair the damage from these first strikes, only managing to make good the damage to Nagasaki.

Note, Burma: Many front-line IJA units in Burma (north of Rangoon) are now "isolated" due to the numerous rail line breaks, most of which we are unable to repair.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 12 October 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/11/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: The long reach of the US 5th AF is again felt. No fewer than 15x B-24's (including some RAAF) hit Legaspi, from Sorong. It is the first Allied air raid on that base of the war, and comes as a most unpleasant surprise for us. Legaspi is well-defended, though, with 8x Ki-84's (2 of them "green") rising to meet them. We down one of the US B-24's, but both of the green "Franks" are destroyed in combat. On the ground at Legaspi are 4x Ki-67's, & 1x ki-46. Fortunately, none of them are damaged but the airfield is (to "D1").

From Morotai, 9x P-38's show up over Cagayan in a fighter sweep, but find nothing to shoot at -- the base is now abandoned.

Burma: RAF Liberators out of Calcutta hit Rangoon (port facilities), but do little damage, and we splash one of the attackers, who come in low. The US B-25's (now down to 6 of them) out of Chittagong then follow them in, but likewise fail to do any appreciable damage.

More ground strikes hit Rangoon (Akyab, Prome), our 38th Inf. Div., and our 22nd Indep. Bde. Multiple strikes hit Rangoon and, following one such raid, another Akyab-based Mosquito is lost operationally.

Central Pacific: From Yokohama, we hit the Americans back, sending down 3x "elite" night-trained Bettys, staging them through Iwo Jima, hitting the airfields at Tinian at night. Two US P-61's, and one night-fighter F4U show up as CAP, aborting one attacker. AA fire turns another back, so we bomb with but a single A/P. We are unsure, but receive reports of very large fires started -- possibly we have hit them where it hurts.

China: Gen. Chennault sends his boys now against our 104th Inf. Division, still cut off well to the north of our front lines in Kweichow Province. They achieve good results.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

US ASW sweeps E of the Marianas sinks one I-boat.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: W of the Irrawaddy, SW of Prome, our cut-off and broken 22nd Indep. Bde is attacked by two CW units: the 14th (Cdo) Rgt, ex-of the British 70th division, along with the 150th Indian Bde. Gen. Slim's boys do well, routing our unit & decimating them, leaving our Bde down to a single step.

South of this battle, our 138th Rgt (31st div.), now joined by the fleeing, routed survivors of the 22nd Bde, is hit hard by the 7th Australian division. Joining in this attack are the 2nd (Br.) div., + the 254th Indian Arm Bde. Gen. Slim is again decisive, and the bad news continues for us: Our units are destroyed in combat, having inflicted only minor losses on the Australians.

E of the Salween R., the Chindits continue to advance southward, trying to out-flank our right. Four British Bdes hit our 124th Rgt (31st div.). We are badly out-numbered, and badly out-fought. Again, we are routed and, this time in the process are chased down and annihilated. Our position in Burma now consists of a short line from Rangoon to Moulmein, and a creaking one it is. The pressure by the 14th Army is simply too much to bear.

China: In Kweichow Province, the Chinese are again on the move. Two corps (75th, 67th), plus two armies (1st, 37th) move to a coordinated attack against two IJA divisions (the 17th + the nearly-destroyed 104th), SE of Kweiyang. Though broken by air attack, we hold well, with both sides taking moderate losses.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 19 October 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/11/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: The Allied B-24's from Sorong (reinforced by more RAAF planes) hit Legaspi again. This time, we are ready & waiting for them, sending up 8x Ki-84's (2x "green") + 1x Ki-44 from Legaspi, plus 1x Ki-84 from Leyte & 2x A6M5's (both "green") from Manila. Of 14 B-24's, we down 2 (1 USAAF, 1 RAAF), losing only 1x Zero & 1x Frank. Though the airfield is undamaged, we unfortunately lose 2x brand-new Ki-67 bombers destroyed on the ground in the raid.

Burma: This week's recipients of RAF/USAAF ground strikes are the Rangoon defenders (hit by both Akyab & Arakan), & our 38th division (Mandalay, YY, Prome). Not much damage is suffered by the 38th, for once.

Central Pacific: We send down the night-flying Bettys from Yokohama, through Iwo Jima, this time against the American airfields on Saipan, at night. We're met there by 2x F4U & 1x RAAF Beaufighter night fighters. Two Bettys are aborted (one via CAP; one via AA fire), and the lone attacker sets more fires on Saipan. No confirmed destroyed, but we're confident that we are spreading hate & discontent among the American airmen in the Marianas.

Burma: Rangoon, and our 38th Inf. Div. are hit hard by Allied ground strikes. One RAF Mitchell is claimed downed by 38th div. AA gunners.

The RAF has been busy reinforcing Port Blair with Liberators, and on the 18th they send 16 of them against Saigon, targeting the port there. AA downs one, and the British lose another operationally, as the raid is at extended-range. The port facilities are merely suppressed, nothing to worry about. We welcome the British back.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Saipan: On 14 October, we unleash our newest weapon, launching our first kaiten attack of the war, against Allied ships believed to be anchored off Saipan. A single I-boat launches 4 kaiten, but unfortunately none of the kaiten nor the launching sub are ever heard from again, and we fear this first attack has been a failure.

Philippine Sea: After a long lull, the US navy is again at sea. On the 14th, numerous contact reports on two separate carrier TF's are gained by long-range search planes out of Manila. One TF is reported as containing 1x CV, 3x CVL, 2x BB, 3x CA, 3x CL, & 3x DD. The other is reported to contain as many as 3x CV's. These TF's are first located approx. 380 nm SSW of Iwo Jima, steaming at high speed NW.

The next day, we again locate these TF's, now 350 nm SE of Okinawa, still steaming NW, towards Formosa! Later that afternoon, more contact reports come in. Something big is in the works, and Combined Fleet HQ at Kagoshima is alerted.

A submarine contact is gained the morning of the 15th, SSE of Okinawa, by our I-boats. The US TF located is reported as: "2x Essex-class CV's, 2x CVL's, 1x BB, 2x CA, 2x CL, & 2x DD's." We try for an attack against one of the "Independence-class" CVL's but unfortunately all 3 of our boats are screened off.

Meanwhile, new air search sightings of US ships, following roughly the same course as the previous ones, are gained. These ships have apparently sortied from the Marianas, or from Ulithi. Both TF's located this day report either 1 or 2 CV's, + CVL's, well-screened with surface ships.

These TF's join the previously-located ones on station approx. 250 nm E of Takao. A summary of the numerous contact reports indicates the presence of a great many ships at sea off Formosa.

On the morning of the 16th, we get several more confirming contact reports, indicating at least 4 separate US carrier TF's off Formosa, with the total reported carrier strength as 12x CV's + 8x CVL's. That same morning, Formosa is blanketed by US navy planes from these carriers, first reconnoitering both Taihoku & Takao.

During the night, we have transferred most of our few air assets out of Formosa, in anticipation of heavy American airstrikes.

Taihoku is first to be hit: A total of 16x Hellcats, escorting 19x SB2C's + 15x TBM's, arrives over the airfields there. The only planes left on the ground are 1x Zero + 1x Oscar. Miraculously, they both survive the strafing runs of the Hellcats. We even splash one of them; a good start. But, the Helldivers & Avengers more than make up for that failure, heavily-damaging the airfield, virtually knocking it out in one blow.

The "Big Blue Blanket" simultaneously hits the airfields around Takao. This raid contains 16x Hellcats, 4x SBD's, 13x SB2C's, & 16x TBM's. No Japanese a/c are left on the airfield here, & the Americans are only able to moderately ("D1") damage the airfields. Our AA gunners claim one Avenger A/P shot down.

Next day, the US carriers send recon missions over Aparri & Tuguegarao, in northern Luzon. More strikes are sent against Formosa, but smaller. Against Taihoku, 7x Hellcats, escorting 8x Helldivers + 8x Avengers, fails to damage anything. And, we down one strafing Hellcat + 1x Helldiver. At this point, the only remaining Japanese a/c on Formosa consists of a lone "inop" Ki-43, at Taihoku.

Takao receives more attention also. Similar #'s are sent against the airfields there, but this time heavy damage is done. Another Helldiver falls to AA gunners, but the American strikes have virtually obliterated our air strength in Formosa, in two days' worth of strikes.

On the morning of the 18th, Manila-based air searches report more US ships heading into the Formosa area. Two TF's are reported as containing large #'s of CVE's & DD's/DE's. More ominously, reports are received that a transport TF (reported as: "1x APB + 8x DD") has been located 400 nm SE of Okinawa, heading towards Formosa. Later, another such TF is spotted, this time 540 nm E of Aparri (with the same reported composition as the former). This TF continues steaming NW, towards Formosa!

More unpleasant news arrives later, as another US carrier TF (reported as: "4x CV, 1x CVL, 3x BB, 3x CA, 3x CL, & 4x DD's") is spotted in the Bashi Channel, approx. 100 nm SE of Takao! And, the previously-located carriers SE of Formosa have moved to an area approx. 120 nm N. of Aparri.

At Combined Fleet HQ, the wires run hot with messages to the fleet. Is this a diversion? Are the Americans headed for Formosa? The Philippines? We shall soon know well enough, we suspect.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: E of the Salween R., north of Moulmein, the Chindits continue running amok, launching a critical attack against our 38th division holding the road open to Rangoon from the East. A British victory in this battle will seal Rangoon's fate, isolating it & cutting off any possible retreat route out of Burma. The battle goes well for us. We take only minor losses, and are able to retreat in good order into Moulmein. There is no pursuit there by the British.

NE of Rangoon, four Allied divisions (led by the British 36th, & also including the Americal, the 5th & 7th Indian), along with one Indian Bde, goes into the attack against the stout 2nd Gds Div. (backed up still by the 32nd div.). Gen. Slim is unable to affect this battle, which goes badly for the Allies. They take heavy losses, though they do not break off the action. Our losses are minor, and we hold the middle of the line here (between Moulmein & Rangoon).

China: The Chinese offensive continues in unprecedented intensity. In Kweichow Province, SE of Kweiyang, our 17th & 104th divisions are hit by 3 Chinese Armies (1st, 32nd, & 37th) + 2x Indep. Corps (75th, 67th). The Chinese 75th corps is wiped out in this battle, & both sides take heavy losses. But, we hold firm.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 26 Oct. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/11/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: A large joint strike is sent against Legaspi from Sorong (15x B-24's, including some RAAF a/c) & Morotai (6x P-51's escorting). To oppose the raid, we send up 7x Ki-84's + 1x Ki-44. The Mustangs get the "bounce," and quickly down two of the "Franks." But, we destroy one of them in return (and they lose another later, operationally, due to "extended-range" penalties -- that'll teach them). We're unable to molest any of the bombers, & caught on the ground at Legaspi are 2x Ki-67's, 1x Ki-46, & 1x Ki-21. No a/c are lost, and the airfield is only suppressed.

Burma: Ground strike missions concentrate on Rangoon (from Akyab, Arakan, & Prome), Moulmein (from Mandalay, & YY). RAF Liberators from Port Blair continue to hit the rail lines in southern Burma, and continue to have success -- they continue to come in at tree-top level & cut the rail line in multiple places.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippine Sea/Formosa: On the 20th/21st, carrier strike fighter sweeps are launched against N. Luzon airfields. The 1st sees a total of 14x F6F's hit Tuguegarao. They catch us with our pants down, as 4x "green" Ki-84's are destroyed on the ground! The 2nd sends 10x F6F's against Aparri. We send up 3x Ki-44's + 2x Ki-61's in defense, & lose 1x "Tony." No losses are suffered in either raid by the Americans.

Following these raids, 2x US CVE TF's take up station close off the eastern coast of Formosa. On the morning of the 21st, a US amphibious TF approaches Formosa, landing the 4th Marine Division on the E. coast, south of Taihoku! Shock waves reverberate in Tokyo and at Kagoshima (Combined Fleet HQ). Shortly after the initial landing, a 2nd US amphibious force approaches, landing the 3rd Mar Div + part of the 2nd Mar Div -- coming ashore south of the first landing. There is no initial IJN reaction, and we are utterly unable to contest these landings with air power.

On the 22nd & 23rd, US carrier strikes concentrate on ground strikes against Taihoku (2 separate raids, containing a total of 17x SB2C's & 12x TBM's) & Takao (also 2 raids, with a total of 3x SBD's, 10x SB2C's, & 12x TBM's).

Meanwhile, plans & preparations are finalized, and approval is given to activate a new attack method: The Kamikaze Special Attack Corps is given orders to commence special attack operations!

·  * 1st Kamikaze Operation: 24 Oct. 1944 **

Launched against a US carrier TF operating in the Balintang Channel between Luzon & Formosa, the "Asahi" Special Attack Corps, from airfields in central & western Luzon, is sent into action! A total of 3x A6M5's (Sugino, Sugio) are dispatched to escort a total of 24 Kamikaze A/P's: 3x A6M's ("green"), 1x "green" Ki-44, 13x Ki-48's (3 of them "green"), 3x Ki-49's, 2x D4Y's, & 2x P1Y's. They are met by a multitude of Hellcats protecting the American carrier TF: A total of 16 of them.

The Americans dispatch our small escort force with ease, and our ace Sugio is killed in action. They then rip into the attacking Kamikaze bombers, splashing 3x Ki-49's & 2x Ki-48's in the first pass. They then get (possible) "aborts" against 7x other Ki-48's. This results in 5 more "kills," but 2 of the Lily's are able to return to base.

Getting through to the US ships, then, are 3x A6M5's (all "green"), 1x "green" Ki-44, 4x Ki-48's (3x "green"), 2x D4Y's & 2x P1Y's. The TF they are about to attack consists of 2x CV's, 2x CVL's, 1x BB, 3x CA's, 1x CLAA, & 2x DD's. A single attacking wave is formed, and the US AA fire is withering -- all but a single P1Y ("Frances") & the two D4Y's ("Judys") are downed.

The 2x Judys go in against the CV "Wasp." We have met her on several occasions in this war, have come close to sinking her many times, but always this lucky ship has escaped. This time, though, she is facing a much more formidable weapon. Our pilots attack with determination, boring in for the kill. They do their job, and the "Wasp" is sunk!

The Frances goes in against the other US CV, the USS "Bemis Heights" (CV-16). We are only able to lightly ("D1") damage her. The only planes which return to their Luzon airfields are a lone escorting Zero, and two Ki-48's. A very costly mission, but the Americans are on notice that things will be very different from here on out, and we have confidence that future Special Attack missions will sink more American carriers!

Next day, the remainder of the 2nd Mar Div is landed on Formosa, and the American amphibious groups egress the area. Our air searches (Manila) locate 2x US AO TF's in the Philippine Sea, approaching the Formosa area. One is reported as: "4x CVE, 3x AO, & 5x DD;" the other as "3x CVE, 4x AO, & 4x DD." A 3rd possible oiler TF escapes detection. We ready 2x P1Y's (Manila) for an (conventional) attack. Launched at maximum torpedo range (1 is torpedo-armed; the other with bombs), the torpedo planes are met by 4x FM-2 "Wildcats" on CAP. They abort our attackers. The lone remaining level-bomber reports back the TF consists of "2x CVE, 5x AO, & 3x DD's." Attacking one of the oilers, we miss.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Formosa: All the US Marine landings on the E. coast are unopposed. No initial combat occurs, and none of the US divisions moves inland. They do learn the extend of our defenses on Formosa: At Taihoku, the 66th Inf. Div. + 2x Indep. Bdes; At Shoku, the 56th Indep. Bde; At Takao, the 6th Inf. Div. + 50th Indep. Bde.

Burma: The Battle for Moulmein is joined. Four of the ex-"Chindit" Brigades attack our 38th Inf. Div. Gen. Slim's plans & leadership are (as usual) excellent, but it is not enough to break us, or force a retreat -- we hold, and inflict heavy losses on two of the attacking Bdes!

NE of Rangoon, Gen. Slim presses the attack against our 2nd Gds Division, throwing in more reinforcements. Now, a total of 5 divisions are present, joined by 1x Indian Inf. Bde + the 254th Indian Arm. Bde. Gen. Stopford is G.O.C., and this attack does not go to Gen. Slim's liking: heavy losses are suffered by the lead division (the 36th British), and we hold firm!

China: In Kweichow Province, SE of Kweiyang, our badly-battered 17th & 104th divisions are now under "seige" by 3x KMT Armies + 1x Indep. Corps. We are somehow able to hold out, inflicting minor losses on the Chinese. But, both of our divisions are down to a single Bn. each, and conditions in China prevent our breaking through to them. They appear doomed.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 2 November 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 11/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: The Allies send 6x RAAF Liberators on a joint strike, Morotai-to-Leyte. 5x P-51's (McDonald) are picked up as escort from Morotai, and are met over Leyte by 5x Ki-84's (2x of them "green"). As usual, the Americans get the "bounce," downing two "Franks." We lose a 3rd from return fire from the bombers, and 5 of them get through to the target. The airfield at Leyte is suppressed.

A few days later, it is the American B-24's turn, flying from Sorong against Leyte, unescorted this time. We manage 2x Franks from Leyte, which are joined by 3 more, plus 1x Ki-44 from Legaspi. We win this one, downing 1x B-24 without loss to us. The airfield at Leyte, though, is suppressed.

From Morotai, 3x P-38's, escorting 5x B-25's, hit Cagayan. On the ground there remains 1x "inop" Ki-44. No further damage is done in this raid. Later, 6x P-51's (McDonald) are sent from Morotai on a fighter sweep against Leyte. Our Ki-84's continue to be hard-pressed. We send up 2 of them from Leyte, and another (plus 1x Ki-44) from Legaspi. This time, we trade the "Tojo" for one of the Mustangs.

Andamans: From Port Blair, 8x RAF Liberators are sent in against Singapore, targeting the ships in port there, bombing from high altitude. We send up 9x A6M's (Sasai), & splash one of the bombers, aborting another. Two "green" Zeroes are lost in the exchange. In port are 2x CVL, 3x BB, & 11x CL's. The British form a single attacking wave, targeting CL "Kuma." AA fire from the port & ships splashes one attacker, and no hits are scored on "Kuma."

Burma: This week's ground strikes repeat last week's raids against Rangoon (Akyab, Arakan), and this time hit our 2nd Gds division (YY). From Port Blair, 4x RAF Liberators hit Tavoy (our ground garrison there -- 1x Rgt).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippine Sea/Formosa: Carrier strikes hit Aparri again. One raid (these, we note, are usually joint strikes from 2 or 3 carrier TG's together) sends a total of 8x F6F's, 2x SBD's, 20x SB2C's, & 18x TBM's (480 planes!). A large air battle ensues over Aparri: We scramble, from Aparri, 3x Ki-44's + 1x Ki-61. These planes are joined by 2x "green" Ki-84's from Laoag & 1x "green" Ki-102 (the combat debut for this plane type) from Vigan. This time, we get the "bounce," but the gods are not with us this day: we manage to down only a single Hellcat. The US escorts then account for the Ki-102 ("Randy") and one of the green Ki-84's. We lose one of the Ki-44's in attacking the numerous attacking bombers, which manage only to suppress the airfield at Aparri.

Other carrier strikes, apparently from CVE TF's, hit Takao (ground strike; 6x FM-2's + 6x TBM's) & Taihoku (same). These TF's follow these strikes up later with smaller strikes consisting of a few Wildcat fighter-bombers, against the same targets.

Following these strikes, the US fast carrier TF's are apparently refuelled on station SW of Formosa. They thus remain in the area.

The Americans concentrate on Aparri, sending another carrier strike against it later. This time, a total of 13x Hellcats, escorting 2x SBD's, 15x SB2C's, & 19x TBM's, arrives. No CAP awaits them this time. Two Ki-44's are destroyed on the ground by strafing Hellcats, and the US carrier bombers heavily damage ("D2") the airfield.

A follow-on strike, much smaller in size, shows up 2 days later, but fails to do further damage. Only a single "Tony" now remains based there.

Tugegarao is visited again by another carrier fighter sweep (14x Hellcats). They strafe anything that moves, and most things that don't move; destroying the lone-remaining A/P there, a Ki-84.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Formosa: Still no major movement inland by the US Marines. The 3rd Mar Div does, though, do a probing attack at Shoku, hitting the IJA 56th Bde there. They inflict serious losses on our troops, then withdraw with minor losses of their own back to their beach-head area near the E. coast. Apparently, Gen. H.M. Smith is unpleasantly surprised by the strength of our defenses at Taihoku & Takao.

Burma: The Battle for Moulmein continues, with the now-badly-depleted Chindits hitting our 38th division again. Again, we are able to hold, though our losses this week are double those of the British. The 38th div. is now down to 1x Rgt.

NE of Rangoon, the British continue to attack, futilely, our 2nd Guards div. The 5 divisions (many of them seriously understrength now) are joined by another Indian Bde (150th), but this is no help. This attack goes very badly for the British, and they are thrown back with heavy losses. Gen. Sakurai's presence is decisive in this battle. The 2nd (British) division is gutted in this attack. Meanwhile, the "Butcher of Burma," Gen. Slim, fumes.

China: The end is near for our cut-off units in Kweichow Province. Our 17th & 104th divisions are finally destroyed SE of Kweiyang by the Chinese. Fortunately, these battles over the past 2 months have resulted in very heavy losses to the Chinese, and winter now is just around the corner.

CYCLE 0/11/44, Notes:

Strategic Bombing: Following their very successful debut last cycle, the Americans experience some growing pains this month. From Saipan, two raids are launched: 14x B-29's against Tokyo, and 14 against Osaka. Opposing the Tokyo raid are no fewer than 18 fighters (6x Ki-84's -- half of them "green" -- and 12 Ki-61's -- five of them "green"). Our pilots down one B-29, but we lose 3 fighters in return. AA fire over Tokyo accounts for another superfort, and the raid inflicts no damage.

Over Osaka, 6x fighters rise to meet the US bombers: 5x J2M3's (1x "green"), + 1x N1K2. No air combat losses are suffered by either side this time. But, AA fire does destroy 1x B-29. And, we are pleased to see the Americans lose a 2nd operationally due to the long range. Osaka's industrial area is merely suppressed.

From Tinian, two raids are sent also. The first sees 13x B-29's hit Kyoto. There, there is no CAP available, but fortunately Kyoto is only suppressed. Then, another 13 B-29's hit Kobe. We scramble a lone George from Yokohama, but it does not fare well. Kobe is heavily-damaged in the raid.

Industrial Repair Attempts: We are able to make repairs on last months' damage to Nagoya, and this weeks' to Kobe. But, the "D2" damage to Tokyo (1) remains unrepaired.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 9 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/12/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Formosa: USN carrier ground strikes continue to pound both Taihoku and Takao, as winter arrives.

Philippines: A joint strike (Sorong-Morotai) hits our airstrip on Leyte, with 5x P-51's (Westbrook, Johnson) escorting 5x B-24's. They're met in the air by 7x Ki-84's: 3 from Leyte and 4 on Emergency Cover CAP from Legaspi. The Americans bounce us again, and 1x Frank goes down. Our fighters ignore the US bombers this time, hitting back at the Mustangs, and splashing one. Left on the ground at Leyte is a lone "inop" Ki-84. The bombing raid does no further damage (the strip continues to be at "suppressed" status).

Later, the RAAF Liberators also based at Sorong hit Leyte, this time sans escort. 1x Ki-84 is destroyed on the ground, but no further damage is done to the field. Still later, a small (multiple) strike is sent, this time with 3x US & 3x RAAF B-24's, along with 3x P-51's (Westbrook, Johnson again), 1x P-38 (MacGuire), & 2x P-61's from Morotai. There is no CAP available, and the US fighters destroy 1x "Frank" on the ground. No further damage is done to the airfield, and the Aussies lose one of their Liberators operationally due to the high tempo of operations this week.

From 5-7 Nov., US carrier strikes hit Clark Field (no, we have not re-named it), destroying 2x Ki-45 "Nicks" and 1x Zero on the ground, and suppressing the A/F -- a good series of missions from US TF's 1 (Harrill) & 2 (J.J. Clark). At the same time, Adml's Sherman & Bogan send their planes against Manila & the outlying A/F's there. This time, there is serious air opposition: we send up 7x A6M5's (Kanno, Ohta -- 5 of them "green"), and are faced with a big raid. 14x Hellcats, escorting 2x SBD's, 13x SB2C's, & 14x TBM's, comprise the American strike. This time, we get the "bounce," but are only able to down 1x Helldiver. In return, the US Hellcats rip our Zeros apart, downing 3. We lose another after attacking the carrier bombers, for a total loss of 4 out of 7. The US raid heavily damages the airfields & destroys 2x P1Y "Frances's" on the ground. Note: this strike arrives after a 2nd Kamikaze strike launched agains the American carriers operating in this area; see Naval Ops.

From 8-9 Nov., US carrier fighter sweeps appear over Manila (1x Hellcat downed -- flak) and Legaspi. During the Legaspi sweeps, we're able to launch 6x Ki-84's against 9x Hellcats. We trade one-for-one downed.

China: The Kunming-based US 14th AF planes (they're augmented by 2x RAF Liberators) concentrate on hitting our 116th Inf. Div in ground strikes, from "low" altitude. Small #'s of British Hudsons, still based at Chungking, join in later.

Burma: Early in the week, ineffective Allied ground strikes hit Rangoon, the 2nd Gds Div, & the 38th Div. Port Blair-based RAF Liberators also hit our ground defenses at Tavoy (1x Rgt), this time without result. Later in the week, more strikes are launched, though smaller in size, at the same targets in Burma. This time, they achieve better results, but not decisive ones.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Formosa Area: From 3-4 Nov., Japanese Manila-based air search locates 2x US transport TF's SW of Iwo Jima, steaming NW. As these TF's approach Formosa, P1Y's are sent out on a strike from Manila against them. We send out a total of 5: four of them are "green," and two are torpedo-armed. We catch the Americans without air cover over their transports; the range from Manila is 640 nm. As luck would have it, we hit the smaller TF, containing 1x MSU (D2), 1x MSU (D3), & 2x DD's. What little AA fire there is is not effective; all our planes go in to attack! The torpedo-armed Franceses hit the transports, sinking them all! Excellent work, boys! This TF possessed only a small load capacity, and we do not know what it was carrying, but our returning pilots do report small #'s of troops in the water. A good day, indeed!

On 4 Nov., off Batan I. (Bashi Channel, North of Luzon) an IJN subron locates & attacks a US carrier TF (reported as: "1x Essex-class CV, 2x CVL, 1x BB, 3x CA, 1x CL & 2x DD's"). But, all our boats are screened off as we attempt to hit one of the light flattops. That same day, a separate IJN subron locates another US carrier TF, off Batan I. (reported as: "2x CV, 1x BB, 2x CA, 2x CL, & 2x DD's"). Only 2 boats are on-station, though, and we fail to penetrate this TF's screen.

Philippines: The next morning, though, the 1st subron above gets lucky, as it spots the 2nd one, now SE of Batan I. This time, the TF is reported as "2x Essex-class CV's, 2x CVL's, 1x BB, 2x CA, 2x CL, & 2x DD's." This time the US ASW screen is caught napping: we get 3 attacks, targeting one of the CVL's. It turns out to be the "Belleau Wood," and her luck runs out -- we sink her!

Both of the above-spotted US carrier TF's continue steaming south, approx. 120 nm E of Luzon. The Japanese air commander on Luzon decides to mount our 2nd Special Attack of the war, and we send out a powerful Kamikaze strike, against Adm. JJ Clark's TF!

From Clark Field, we send out 2x escort Zeroes, with 6x Ki-48's (2x "green"). Of these, all but two of the "Lily's" arrive, after joining up with the main strikes, from Manila & Legaspi. From Manila, 3x escorting Zeroes are joined by 22 Kamikaze attackers: 6x A6M's, 3x D4Y's, 2x B6N's, 3x Ki-48's, 6x Ki-49's, & 2x E16A1 float-planes. They proceed to Legaspi, picking up 6x Ki-84's as additional escorts, along with 4x Ki-67 Kamikaze attackers.

Over Adm. Clark's TF, our strike is met by 13x F6F's (Valencia, Vraciu). They quickly splash 3 of the escorting Zeroes. The remaining Japanese escorts splash one Hellcat & abort two more. In a vicious, desperate air battle to save their ships, the US Hellcats down 3 Ki-48's, 2x Ki-67's, & 4x Ki-49's. A single B6N is turned back, and actually is able later to make it back to Manila. It will be the only non-escort survivor of this attack.

Getting through the US CAP to commence their runs, then, are: 6x A6M's (all "green"), 3x D4Y's (2x "green"), 1x "green" B6N, 4x "green" Ki-48's, 2x Ki-49's (1x "green"), 2x Ki-67's, & 2x E16A1's (1x "green"). A more accurate contact report is sent back by the now-departing escorts, of the US TF composition: "3x CV, 1x BB ("Iowa-class"), 2x CA, 1x CLAA, 1x CL, & 2x DD's."

Two attack waves are formed: the first will be an all-Navy affair; the 2nd all Army. In the 1st wave are 12 attacking A/P's. This time, we will not attempt to get at the American flattops; we will try to pick off their screen instead. Five of the attackers get through the still-heavy flak: 2x A6M's, 2x D4Y's, & 1x "Paul" float-plane! They line up their attack runs against 1x CA & 2x DD's. One of the "Judy's" & 2x Zeroes attack the "Canberra II." She is pummelled by hit after hit after hit, and succumbs to the onslaught, sinking! The remaining attackers sink 1x "Fletcher-class" DD, the USS "Miller."

The 2nd attacking wave, encouraged by the sight of burning American warships, is eager to prove that the IJAAF can do just as well for the Emperor. Of 8 attackers, five get through the AA fire, to attack another US CA and DD's. 2x Ki-67's, plus 1x Ki-48 line up on the CA "Witchita." The Ki-67 "Peggys" pack an extremely heavy punch, and the "Witchita" has no chance -- she joins her fellow cruiser in Davey Jones' locker! We miss the destroyers in this ring.

Returning to base following this, our 2nd Special Attack mission, are 9x escorting fighters, and a lone B6N "Jill." Note: Two additional Ki-48 Kamikazes, launched from Clark & unable to join up with the initial strike, arrive later and are very quickly shot down by Hellcats.

That night, a sub contact E of Camiguin I. of another US carrier TF fails to penetrate its screen. We estimate that now, either 1 or 2 additional US carrier TF's have taken up station 120 nm E of Luzon, N of Legaspi.

Formosa, 5-7 November: On the 5th, a US carrier search (from flattops operating E of Formosa), at extreme range, locates an IJN transport TF at Okinawa, debarking troops. It had commenced off-loading at night, but debarkation continues into the morning, and two US carrier TG's declare a "Reaction" move NE, toward it. Both US TF's move to within 300 nm, and launch air strikes, as our TF is approx. half-way completed with debarkation.

Though both US TF's send strikes, only the first (we learn commanded by R.Adm. Reeves) will be required. Two Hellcats, escorting 2x Hellidvers & 5 Avengers, arrive & are met by CAP over Okinawa: 1x Ki-43 (Sumino), 1x "green" Zero, & 3x N1K2 "George's." The Hellcats are down low with the torpedo-carrying TBM's, and they bounce us, downing the "green" Zero & turning back 2 of the N1K's -- a remarkable performance. The remaining Japanese fighters manage only to abort one of the TBM's. They go in and sink our APB (D1) before it can finish off-loading troops, and we lose some infantry due to our carelessness.

On Formosa, the US 1st & 5th Mar Divs debark, reinforcing the 3 divisions already ashore. Now, there are 5 US Marine Divisions on Formosa!

Central Pacific: On the night of 8-9 November, we launch our 2nd "Kaiten" attack, with 1x I-boat sending 4 Kaiten in at Ulithi. Unfortunately, this attack, like the initial one, fails. And, our launching sub is later located and sunk.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma: The IJA 38th division, down to a single Battalion, is able to break contact with the Chindits & is withdrawn from the front at Moulmein. Our 2nd Guards Div. takes its place in the line at Moulmein.

At Moulmein, Gen. Slim continues his relentless attack. Though now "broken" by very heavy ground strikes, our 2nd Guards Div. still fights well, against now 4 Chindit Bdes (most of them understrength). In this battle, the British 3rd Cde Bde is destroyed, and the Guards division holds.

NE of Rangoon, our 32nd division holds open the link to the vital city/port. Three Allied divisions (Americal, 5th & 7th Indian), along with 3 Indian Bdes (49th, 150th, + the 254th Armored) attack. Gen Sakurai (at Rangoon) this time out-fights Gen. Sibert (the US General is GOC for this attack). The "Americal" takes heavy losses, though the same is true for our division which, though also "broken," holds.

Formosa: The Battle for Takao opens, with 2x Marine Divisions (2nd, 3rd) launching an attack, against our outstanding 6th, and the 50th Inf. Divs. Gen. H.M. Smith, now ashore, though effective is unable to spur the marines enough -- we inflict more casualties on the marines than we take, and we hold. But, they are able to reduce our fortifications there. They lose the equivalent of most of 1x Rgt in the attack.

China: In Kwangsi Province, S of Yungning, Chiang keeps the pressure on us, sending the 77th Indep. Corps + the 40th Army against our 118th Inf. Div. Our division is an untested, green outfit. But, in its debut it does fairly well: though we suffer high losses, we do not break and the 118th is able to hold its ground.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 16 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/12/44 -- "I SHALL RETURN!"

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: On 10-11 Nov, more US carrier strikes hit Legaspi: 5x F6F's (McCampbell, Vraciu, Valencia), escorting 11x SB2C's & 6x TBM's, are met by 5x Ki-84's. This time, we "bounce" the Americans, and do a number on them, downing 1x Hellcat, 1x Helldiver, & 1x Avenger. No Japanese planes are lost, but the airfield is damaged. We thus show these Yankees that we can still win an air battle on occasion!

Another carrier strike hits Mindoro. This raid consists of 11x F6F's, 2x SBD's, 12x SB2C's, & 14x TBM's. Our CAP is 3x Ki-84's & 2x Ki-61's (1x "green"). We're bounced this time, and the Americans turn the tables on us, splashing both "Tonys," plus 1x "Frank." The airstrip on Mindoro is heavily-damaged.

Later (12-14 Nov.), carrier fighter sweeps hit Legaspi twice, but these raids do not work well. Each time, we are able to send up 5x Ki-84's, and each time we out-number the arriving Hellcats -- downing 1 in each raid! Well-done, boys!

More carrier strikes (15-16 Nov.) hit Legaspi, this time coming in "low." This time, there are 5x Hellcats (McCampbell), escorting 6x SB2C's, 1x SBD, & 6x TBM's. They meet the regular 5x Ki-84's, and we are again "bounced." We trade 1x "Frank" for 1x TBM. We also have 1x Ki-46 & 1x Ki-21 destroyed on the ground. They lose 1x Helldiver operationally, as this strike apparently was a multiple mission.

From Sorong, a very heavy (15) B-24 raid hits Leyte. One Ki-84 is destroyed on the ground, and the airstrip moderately ("D1") damaged. No Allied bombers are lost. A fighter sweep follows up this raid, from Morotai (3x P-61's), but they discover no targets. Later, a smaller B-24 raid shows up (there is no CAP), but it does no damage. Then, another P-61 fighter sweep shows up, and again they discover no targets. One "Black Widow" is lost operationally -- a most welcome result from our perspective: Come back anytime, boys!

From Morotai, P-51's, escorting 6x US B-25's, hits Cagayan -- our 35th Army HQ there. They inflict "D1" damage, costing us some supplies/command points.

Formosa: Week-long carrier ground support missions hit Takao very heavily. These strikes are launched by 2x CVE TF's, and 2x CV TF's (commanded by Adml's Reeves & Montgomery, we learn), operating E of Formosa.

On the night of 15-16 November, we send down 2x "elite" night Bettys from Okinawa, against the US CVE's operating E of Formosa. They're unable to find any of the CVE's, but do go in with a vengeance against their DE escorts, sinking two "Butler-class" & heavily-damaging a 3rd. We meet no US night fighters there.

Borneo: On 13 November, a US B-24 search plane out of Sorong, flying over Brunei sends back a flash report, that of a large # of IJN ships in port there, including CV's, BB's, CA's, CL's, DD's, & AO's. The report estimates that at least 30 ships are in port there. Alas! They have finally found us! (Or have they?).

Andaman Sea Area (see also Naval Operations): A RN carrier strike (Adm. Somerville) hits the Victoria Pt. airstrip (2x Seafires, 6x Corsairs, 3x Hellcats). We have no planes there, and the A/F is suppressed. Another carrier strike, apparently from RN CVE's (Adm. Brind) hits Tavoy -- a ground strike against our garrison (1x Rgt.) there.

Later in the week, Adm. Somerville sends another strike against Victoria Pt. It does no damage, and he loses 1x Hellcat operationally.

China: Gen. Chennault has received reports that we have begun rebasing air units into Canton, and he sends 1x P-38, escorting 6x B-25's, from Kunming, against the A/F there. They destroy 1x Betty on the ground, but do not damage the field.

Burma: The Allies mount only 1 strike from each field this week, with ground strikes continuing against our 32nd & 2nd Guards divs. From P. Blair, RAF Liberators hit our airfield at Ayutthaya (Thailand), heavily ("D2") damaging it -- as usual, coming in at tree-top level.
NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippines, 10-11 November: An IJN sub contact of a US carrier TF in the Philippine sea results in a failed attack, and we lose 1x boat from the TF's destroyer screen.

Philippines, 12-14 November: American naval activity in the Philippine Sea increases in intensity, as we begin to get numerous air & sub contact reports of US ships steaming towards the Philippines. One air search out of Legaspi reports 2x (full) APB's, 2x CVE's, 5x DD's & 2x DE's approx. 360 nm E of Legaspi, steaming NW! IJN subs shortly thereafter locate this TF, and mount an attack. Only 1 boat of 5 on station is screened, and the CVE "Altamaha" is holed by torpedoes, and rendered dead-in-the-water ("D4")! A "CripDiv" is then formed, and she is successfully towed out of the area, last seen headed back towards Ulithi.

After this sub attack, we ready an airstrike against this TF, from Legaspi. We send out 5x Ki-84's, escorting 4x Ki-67's (2x of them trained, carrying torpedoes; 2x "green" level-bombing). We learn that RAdm. Mullinix is commanding this TF, and he sends up a meager CAP contingent of 2x FM-2's. They're unable to do anything to our strike. Going in to attack in a single wave, we receive an accurate contact report of this TF ("1x CVE, 2x APB, 4x DD, 2x DE"), and order our bombers to go for the transports! Unfortunately, our Army flyers are unable to avoid unexpectedly heavy AA fire: both the torpedo-laden "Peggys" are splashed, and the level-bombers are aborted. A bitter failure!

Following this attack, Legaspi-based air search reports another US transport TF ("1x APB, 5x DD") located in the Philippine Sea, just E of the area of the above abortive air strike. Clearly, something big is happening in the Philippine Sea. Could they be headed for landings in the Philippines, we wonder?

As these ships continue to steam west, another sub contact in the Philippine Sea takes a bite out of a US transport TF, rendering "D2" damage to 1x (full) USN APB! Our sub skippers report back that large #'s of US troops are in the water! Tokyo Rose that night taunts the Americans, opining that, this time at least, it appears that these boys are too far offshore to make it swimming! A well-done is radio-ed out to all our submarines operating in the area, with exhortations to keep it up!

Apparently heeding this message, and not to be out-done, another IJN subron gets a hit on another US APB. We are able that night to pick up a survivor, and he is most eager to report that he's of the US Army's 32nd Infantry Division! Apparently, though, only few losses were incurred.

Phlippines, 15-16 November: On the 15th, IJN subs contact a US AO TF (3x AO, 3x DD) in the N. Philippine Sea, but cannot score any hits here.

On the morning of the 16th, all this activity comes to a head, as the 1st US amphibious TF approaches Luzon! The US 7th Infantry Division comes ashore on the E coast of Luzon, south of Tuguegarao! (See Ground Ops). General MacArthur has returned!

Later that same morning, a 2nd US amphibious TF approaches & lands the 77th Infantry Division at Lamon Bay. This division, we note, is missing quite a few troops. It could be this unit that suffered from our submarines' success related above.

Another US amphibious TF approaches Luzon, approx. 180 nm NE of Samar. It is located & attacked by IJN subs, without results. Then, it is successfully located by air search out of Manila. We ready airstrikes, from Manila (1x "green" P1Y) & Legaspi (2x Ki-84, close-escorting 2x Ki-67's), hoping to catch their transports again without air cover. Unfortunately, they are able to scramble 4x F6F's on Emergency Naval Cover CAP, from a nearby US carrier TF. But, they're only able to abort one of the (torpedo-armed) Ki-67's. The (level-bombing) P1Y is driven off by flak, but our lone-remaining attacker, a "green" Ki-67, lines up a run on one of the ("D1") US APB's. But, we cannot score any hits, and RAdm. Wilkinson, whom we learn is in command of this TF, may breathe a sigh of relief. Following our failed attack, this TF continues moving towards Luzon, and lands the 32nd Inf. Div. (minus 3 steps; apparently lost to IJN submarines!) north of Manila, in an opposed landing -- See Ground Ops.

On the night of the 15th, our subs manage to lightly ("D1") damage one USN AO in the Philippine Sea, as it apparently moves west to refuel the US carriers operating in that area. Next morning, Manila-based H8K's locate a newly-arrived US carrier TF (reported as "2x CV, 3x CA, 3x CL, & 3x DD's"), which apparently sortied from Ulithi, NE of Samar. Then, a 2nd TF joins this one. We get a sub contact on this one, but cannot evade its screen.

NW of Sonsorel (E of Mindanao), our subs continue to impress. Locating a US BB TF, which has apparently sortied from Sorong), only 1 of 2 boats on station is screened. We get a shot at the BB "Oklahoma," hitting & lightly ("D1") damaging her. This TF joins the rapidly-growing #'s of USN ships in the Philippine Sea, approx. 300 nm NW of Mindanao.

Moluksche Sea, 15-16 November: A US transport TF, apparently sortieing from Sorong, is contacted by IJN subs west of Halmahera. We manage a single shot at 1x US APB (there are 2x DE's + 2x APD's accompanying her), but score no hits. This TF pulls into the anchorage at Halmahera, apparently embarking troops, then proceeds to Morotai, again apparently embarking troops. It then steams NNE into the Philippine Sea, joining a large gathering of US ships there.

Andaman Sea: Approaching the Kra Isthmus, IJN subs send back a contact report of a RN carrier TF ("2x CV, 1x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 2x CL, & 6x DD's"). We try to get a shot at the RN CVL, but cannot evade her screen. This TF takes up station 120 nm SW of Victoria Point.

Shortly after this contact report, another IJN subron contacts a 2nd RN TF ("4x CVE, 4x DD, + 3x (full) MSU's!"). We get 3 attacks against one of the merchantmen, but unfortunately score no hits. This TF continues steaming east, landing on the 11th the 9th Australian Division just south of Tavoy! (see Ground Ops) We were wondering what happened to these boys.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Amphibious Assault, Burma: South of Tavoy, the 9th Australian Division is landed successfully south of Tavoy. It is an efficient operation, and the Aussies come ashore unopposed. They are not deactivated, and thus are in good position for next week to mount an assault against either Tavoy or Mergui.

Philippines (Luzon): At Baler Bay, north of Manila, the only opposed landing pits the US 32nd Inf. Division against the IJA 79th Inf. Div/Grp. Gen. Eichelberger (landed near Tuegarao, to the north) has planned this one well, and though both sides take moderate (3 steps each) losses, the 32nd div. passes its "deactivation" TQ check, so it secures its beach-head in good order. We do not retreat from the area.

The other landings in Luzon are initially unopposed, at Lamon Bay (77th Inf. Divison), where a beach-head Offensive Support Base is put ashore successfully, and at Casiguran Bay (S of Tuguegarao), where the 7th Inf. Div. + Gen. Eichelberger's 6th Army HQ is landed in good order.

Thus, the initial US Army landings on E Luzon go well for them.

Burma: NE of Rangoon, the 7th Australian Div. is back in action, leading an attack against our (still "broken") understrength 32nd Inf. Division. Joining the Aussies are the Americal, & 5th & 7th Indian divisions, along with 3 Indian Bdes. Gen. Stopford is GOC for this attack, and it is his high-water mark of the war. We suffer a major defeat; the 32nd division is wiped out, and Rangoon now is hopelessly cut off.

At Moulmein, that battle continues between the "ex-Chindits" and our 2nd Guards division. Both sides are severely depleted, and the 3 British Bdes' attack is well-done. Our boys are routed and forced to retreat south, into the N. Kra Isthmus, now down to a single Bn. Gen. Slim orders two of the British Bdes to pursue. Things continue to deteriorate in Burma for us.

Formosa: Following very heavy air attacks, the battle for Takao continues. Here, the US 5th Marine Division joins the 2nd & 3rd in the battle for the city. This time, our losses exceed that of the attacking marines, but our 6th division still fights well, refusing to retreat. We still hold the city, and the battle continues!

China: In Kwangsi Province, S of Yungning, the Chinese keep up their attacks on our now-hard-pressed 118th division. Our inexperienced unit is again defeated, and retreats, but does so in good order, so the Chinese units (77th Indep. Corps; 40th Army) do not pursue.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, with a very special greeting to you poor marines fighting and dying so often on Formosa."

Tokyo, 23 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/12/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Borneo: Sorong-based US B-24's again send back reports of the Combined Fleet's presence at achor at Brunei. The next morning, sure enough, 15x B-24's show up over Brunei, at high altitude, intent on hitting our ships. While our ships get up steam, 5x A6M5's (Okumura) are sent up to oppose the Allied bombers. We down one bomber, but lose 1x Zero in return. All of the bombers line up on CL "Oyo," and though some loud near-misses occur, she escapes unscathed! The orders come down from Combined Fleet HQ at Kagoshima: "Brunei is no longer safe; prepare for major fleet operation!"

Philippines: US B-25's mount a staging strike out of Sorong, through Morotai, hitting the Leyte airstrip. A lone Ki-84 sent up has no effect, and the strip is heavily-damaged. Immediately following this raid, another one hits Leyte, from Morotai: 4x P-51D's (Westbrook, Johnson) + 6x P-61's are joined by 6x B-25's, coming in low. Our now-inoperable Ki-84 is destroyed on the ground.

Later, we mount a ground strike mission from Legaspi (4x Ki-84 FB's). The Americans, though, manage some emergency CAP from nearby US carrier TF's, and 5x Hellcats oppose us. We trade one "Frank" for one Hellcat, and the raid is aborted.

From Halmahera, 10x P-38's hit our airstrip at Davao (where a lone B6N resides). Heavy AA fire greets the Americans, and they suffer a severe blow when their ace, MacGuire, is killed in action! (1x P-38 A/P downed).

China: In a raid from Kunming against Canton, 1x P-38 + 4x P-47's, escorting 6x B-25's, come in low. We have strongly reinforced Canton, and this has apparently not been noticed by Gen. Chennault's boys. The Americans are met by 8x Ki-84's (all "green"). We get "the bounce," and down 2 of the T'bolts + 1x Mitchell. We lose 2 "Franks" in return. The airfields are undamaged, and two of our "green" A/P's are "promoted" to "trained" status.

Burma: Heavy ground support strikes from all the British Burma airfields are mounted against Rangoon -- which continues to hold out against very strong British attacks. Our ground garrison at Tavoy is hit hard by RAF Liberators out of Port Blair, coming in at tree-top level. This strike hits us very hard.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

(An especially busy week, and this will hold true for the next 3 weeks)

Operations -- Formosa (17-18 Nov): On the 18th, "jeep carrier" strikes hit Takao in support of the ground battles ongoing there. That night, we send 2x "elite" night-trained Bettys (torpedos) down from Okinawa against one of these CVE TF's, operating slightly east of Formosa. Unfortunately, neither A/P is able to locate any carriers, and we are left with one torpedo run against a "Butler-class" DE, missing completely.

On the night of the 18th, SE of Formosa, one of our I-boats nails a US AO, bringing it to "D2."

Operations -- Philippines (17-18 Nov): A carrier strike hits the Manila-area airfields on the 17th. 5x F6F's, escorting 6x SB2C's & 5x TBM's, is met by 3 Zeros (Kanno, Ohta; 1x A/P "green") + 2x N1K2's. The Americans get "the bounce," and down our green zeros. We lose one of the "George's" from return fire from the Avengers, none of which are we able to down. The airfield is moderately damaged.

Later, same day, another carrier strike hits Clark Field: 6x F6F's, 3x SB2C's, & 3x TBM's are met by 2x N1K's. Again, the Americans bounce us, and we lose 1x "George," but down 1x TBM in return. The airfield is suppressed.

Again on the same day, a heavier raid hits Legaspi: US TG's commanded by Adm'ls Clark & Bogan launch 10x F6F's, 14x SB2C's, 1x SBD, & 7x TBM's. 4x Ki-84's are launched from Legaspi. This time, we bounce them, and down 1x Avenger. The Hellcats, though, destroy one of our "Franks." The US raid destroys 1 of 2 Ki-21's on the ground (there are also 2x Ki-67's there), and heavily-damages the field. The "Big Blue Blanket" is all over the place in the Philippines.

Japanese air search (Manila-based H8K's) spots a US carrier TF entering the Sulu Sea! It takes up station SW of Panay, entering through the Surigao Strait. This is the first US major naval presence in these waters since December, 1941. Something must be in the works. After this move, more US TF's enter the Sulu Sea area. They remain unlocated by either sub or air search. Then, NE of Mindanao, one of our subrons does contact one of these TF's, and it is reported as a powerful one: "4x BB, 1x CA, 2x CL, 8x DD's." An entire subron evades this TF's screen, and we get 6 shots, at the BB "Indiana." Unbelieveably, we score no hits on her! This TF enters the Sulu Sea, taking up station WSW of Negros.

Another sub contact occurs, in Leyte Gulf, heading for the Surigao Strait. It is yet another US BB TF, reported as "3x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, 1x DD." Only 1 of 5 I-boats is screened, and this time our luck changes: we put several torpedoes into the "Maryland," moderately ("D2") damaging her! Another well-done, boys! The "Maryland" is then detached & sent back east, apparently bound for Pearl.

There are literally American ships everywhere! How shall we deal with this situation?!

Another I-boat subron contact finds a returning US transport TF, heading for Ulithi. No hits are scored on a US APB. Shortly after this, a different subron locates a CVE/transport TF, also heading back to Ulithi. We get 4 shots at CVE "Breton," but are unable to score.

Naval Operations -- Philippines (19-21 Nov): Situation: The Combined Fleet at Brunei has finally received orders to sail, to engage the Americans in the long-awaited "Great All-Out Battle." With knowledge of our Fleet's presence at Brunei, and 2 US carrier TF's now operating in the Sulu Sea, only approx. 540 nm away, Adm. Halsey (whom we learn is the overall commander of this operation, commanding the 3rd Fleet) faces a tough decision: Does he steam SW at full-speed and risk engaging us, or does he remain on-station in the Sulu Sea?

(Reader's Note: US makes extensive use of "Sigint" here)

On the night of 18-19 Nov, US subs stationed off Brunei locate a small IJN TF (DD's) leaving Brunei, but are unable to attack.

The Combined Fleet then sorties, en masse, in several TF's, from Brunei. We are not caught in port! Departing at night, we escape detection totally! Our ships disappear into the night, somewhere into the South China Sea.

On the 19th, most of the US carriers operating in the Sulu Sea enter the South China Sea, apparently looking for us. They arrive at a spot approx. 250 nm NW of Palawan. They are too late; we have already passed this spot, and remain undetected! Thus, initially at least, we have out-foxed Halsey.

Later that day, the American intent in the Sulu Sea area is made apparent. A US amphibious TF (reported by air search as "1x CVE, 1x APB, 2x DE, 2x APD") arrives at Mindoro, and commences landing elements of the 1st Cav. Division there.

In the Surigao Strait, we get a sub contact report of another transport TF, but our boys are unable to successfully attack it. This TF moves to Negros (reported as "1x CVE, 1x APB, 2x DD"), landing 2 Rgt's from the US 41st ("Sunset") division.

The same subron above shortly thereafter contacts yet another US CVE/transport TF entering Surigao. This time, we get one shot at the CVE "Gambier Bay," but miss. This TF procees to Cebu, landing 2 Rgt's (298th, 161st) from the 25th Inf. division there.

Yet another US landing force arrives at Panay. There, the other 2 Rgt's of the 25th division (35th, 27th Infantry), plus engineers, storm ashore. They are welcomed by Philippine guerilla forces, which have been running amok and making nuisances of themselves on Panay for the past 2+ years.

Operations -- Philippines (22-23 Nov): On the 22nd, the US carriers in the South China sea locate a small IJN DD TF (reported as "1x APD + 1x DD" by US carrier search planes). Adm. Clark readies a strike. Apparently, Adm. Halsey has directed that this first strike be restricted to the USS "Enterprise," part of Adm. J.J. Clark's TF -- as a measure of revenge for that ship (the only ship in the pacific war with the distinction of having been sunk *twice*). So, the "E" gets the first punch in.

Our hapless TF actually consists of APD's Mutsuki & Yayoi; DD's Satsuki, Fumizuki ("Mutsuki-class"); & 4x "Fubuki-class" DD's: Asagiri, Yugiri, Amagiri, & Akebono. IJN R.Adm. Shiraishi is in command. The "E" sends out a fairly small strike (1x F6F FB, 2x SB2C's, 1x TBM), but they do well, sinking both APD's, along with DD's Fumizuki, Akebono & Amagiri.

Also on the 22nd, we get in some licks of our own: The lone-remaining Japanese A/P on Mindanao -- a B6N -- is apparently forgotten, and makes the Americans pay for their carelessness. Launching from Davao, against a US CVE TF near Negros, for some reason there is no CAP opposing it, and several torpedo hits are scored on the CVE "White Plains," seriously ("D3") damaging her.

British subs operating off Singapore get into the action, first contacting & reporting an IJN BB TF (reported as "3x BB, 1x CA, 5x CL's, & 4x DD's") sortieing from Singapore, on the 22nd. One British sub escapes our screen, targeting BB "Hyuga." This submarine goes on the RN honor roll, as it holes Hyuga (to "D3") so bad that her damage quickly rages out-of-control; due to "critical hits" she goes down -- a very inauspicious start to this TF's sortie, and a bad omen.

Then, another British subron off Singapore reports a contact: "1x CVL, 1x CVE." The CVL turns out to be "Shoho," and the British subs get 3 shots at her: Fortunately, they miss this time. This TF, as did the BB TF above, continues moving east, towards the Philippines.

Rounding out the week's operations, I-boats find a US BB TF off Legaspi. We lose one I-boat from the DD screen, but find & attack the BB "Oklahoma." She has sortied at "D1" damage level, and we add to that with some well-placed torpedoes, seriously (now "D2") damaging her.

Bay of Bengal: A RN carrier strike (6x Corsair FB's + 3x Hellcats) hits the airstrip at Mergui, damaging it. No Japanese planes are anywhere near the area. A 2nd RN carrier TF hits Tavoy (ground support; 3x Corsairs, 2x Avengers, + 1x Swordfish).

The British luck runs out the next day, as these TF's egress the area. Both of these TF's are contacted by prowling I-boats. In one attack, we miss the CVE "Rajah." But, we shortly afterward find bigger fish: Adm. Somerville's TF. Apparently enroute back to Ceylon, in the Andaman sea, we evade the RN screen, & get a good attack opportunity against the CV "Indomitable." Our first attack fails, but one I-boat scores big: "Indomitable" is heavily (D2) damaged! Good news immediately follows: apparently, we have scored a Critical Hit, and she suffers more damage! We later learn that the damage is so severe that Adm. Somerville himself is WIA! Unfortunately, "Indomitable" stays afloat, but we are sure that she has suffered at least "D3" damage. Well done, boys! The Indomitable is later split off, with orders for Ceylon; meanwhile the rest of the British carrier TF moves west, apparently to refuel.

The news gets worse for the British Far East Fleet: Another I-boat puts one torpedo into the BB "KGV" in the Andaman Sea, but she is only lightly-damaged.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Amphibious landings, Philippines: Panay: The two US Rgt's from the 25th division have a little trouble with our Intrinsic Garrison there, losing one step, but otherwise they liberate Panay quickly.

Negros: The two US Rgt's from the 41st division have the same experience here, and Negros is liberated.

Cebu: Identical results are seen here, and the other two 25th division Rgt's take Cebu without too much trouble -- aided by Philippine guerilla activity.

Mindoro: The US 1st Cav. division (-) overruns our Intrinsic Garrison here easily (though they take a step loss also). More importantly for Gen. MacArthur, with the capture of Mindoro's airstrip, the Americans have a fighter airfield within range of the Luzon beach-heads. They thus have their first airfield in the Philippines.

Burma: At Tavoy, the 9th Australian division makes very short work of our 115th Rgt ("broken" by heavy land & carrier-based ground strikes), wiping them out with but minor losses.

North of Tavoy, the remaining "Chindit" brigades, the 111th & 16th, continue their attacks against 2 badly battered & understrength IJA divisions: The 38th & 2nd Guards. We suffer a minor defeat, but in retreating we are "broken," and as we retreat back into Thailand, the 16th Bde pursues. In this battle, the 111th Bde -- down to 2 Bn's, finally is rendered hors de combat. The Chindits thus have succeeded in chasing these 2 units out of Burma. In Burma, only the Rangoon bastion remains Japanese-controlled.

Philippines: Gen. MacArthur sends the US 77th division against Legaspi again. Defending there are the IJA 26th Tk Rgt, along with the understrength 102nd division, and some engineers. The 77th's attack goes badly, and they are forced to call their assault off, with both sides taking moderate losses. Legaspi, with its key airfields and port, holds.

North of Manila, the US 32nd ("Red Arrow") division launches an attack on what is left of our 79th division ("broken" and now doomed). Gen. MacArthur helps here, and our 79th div. is wiped out. The US 32nd division thus reaches the outskirts of Manila. They learn that Manila is a bristling fortress, defended by the IJA 4th Inf. division.

Formosa: The critical battle for Takao continues. The 3 marine divisions (3rd, 2nd, 5th) continue the bitterly-fought battle against our two defending divisions: the outstanding, crack 6th, supported by the 50th. Gen. H.M. Smith is indeed "howling mad," as he sees little progress towards victory this week. Though our 6th division takes heavy losses, Gen. Suzuki performs well, and Takao holds! Could the Americans be regretting their winter landing on Formosa? The longer the battle for Takao continues, the better for us! For, the Americans have no airfields there; they must rely on their carriers for air support. This fact is not lost on the Combined Fleet HQ, and plans are put into action to take advantage of this fact. We prepare for a momentous week to come! Stay tuned...

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 25 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of 1st Naval Phase, G/T 4/12/44

AIR OPERATIONS

(No major land-based air operations, except to note that RAF Thunderbolts have arrived at newly-captured Moulmein, flying a strike transfer mission into there from Prome)

NAVAL OPERATIONS

The Situation: The Japanese plan as formulated is a last major sortie of the Combined Fleet, from Brunei & Singapore. The plan is to send diversionary forces (primarily the Singapore-based BB's) towards the southern Philippines, then the bulk of our remaining fleet, including our carriers (which, unlike the historic time-line, *do* contain air groups), to Formosa.

The plan is to use the carriers as a diversion, to commit the US carriers operating in those waters to a carrier battle. Meanwhile, a strong surface TF, commanded by Adm. Kurita, is to seek a surface engagement with the American forces, especially their carriers, somewhere near Formosa. Then, we plan to move in strong ground reinforcements into Formosa, from numerous points. The plan is risky, and will no doubt prove very costly, but IGHQ in Japan has decided to try to defend Formosa at all costs -- perhaps making the battle so costly for the US Marines there that the Americans may decide to evacuate.

Both Adm'ls Ozawa and Kurita have high hopes for this coming "All out battle." Everything is at stake. Let the final reckoning come! ______________________________________________________________________

The series of engagements begins on Nov. 24, as Adm'ls Ozawa, commanding the main Japanese carrier force, and Adml Joshima, commanding a second, smaller one, arrive NW of Luzon Strait, seeking to engage the US "jeep" carriers providing the main air support for the US marines ashore on Formosa.

We thus will throw the first punch, with a joint strike from Adm. Ozawa & Joshima's TF's. Unfortunately, Adm Joshima's performance is not spectacular; he will launch only a 40% strike.

Nevertheless, our strike is a powerful one. Coming in at "low" are 7x A6M's (Okumura; 4 of them "green"), escorting 5x B6N's (4 "green"). Up high are another 4x Zeros, escorting 9x D4Y's (6 of them "green"). The American TF commander puts all of his CAP (6x FM-2's + 4x F6F's) up high, and gets the "bounce." Two Zeros and 1x "Judy" are splashed, with another D4Y aborted. Thus, most of our planes make it through!

Unfortunately, we have been misled as to the composition of this US TF: It consists of only 2 newly-arriving CVE's -- the "Santee" and "Block Island." Forming 3 attack waves (we will need only two), the first blasts the "B.I." to smithereens, and heavily-damages "Santee." The 2nd wave makes short work of "Santee," and thus ends our first airstrike. Only two CVE's sunk. A disappointing bag. We fear now that we have wasted our powerful first strike.

Meanwhile, much further south, in the S. China Sea, the IJN DD TF (Adm. Shiraishi) hit hard a few days earlier is again found, and another US carrier strike is sent out against it. Adm. Shiraishi, aboard the DD "Asagiri," finds himself very much alone, and without a chance. Four F6F FB's, along with 3x SB2C's & 1x TBM have no mercy, sinking the remaining ships of Adm. Shiraishi's force (DD's Satsuki, Yugiri, and Asagiri). Adm. Shiraishi goes down with his ship.

North of Mindanao, the previously-damaged BB "Maryland's" luck runs out. Steaming east, apparently heading for Pearl for repair (she is "D2"), I-boats locate her, and she has no chance: several torpedoes find their mark, and she goes down! There are no escorts with her, and we fear that this will cause quite a scandal somewhere in the US pacific fleet when her loss is finally discovered.

Off Zamboanga, I-boats locate more easy pickings: It is the heavily-damaged CVE "White Plains." She is likewise unescorted, trying to egress the area to reach a repair port. She has no chance, and is easily sunk. This will be the last good news to reach Combined Fleet HQ for the next several days, at least.

The 24th of November will see more activity than perhaps any day of this war. As the day progresses, events take on virtually a life of their own. Adm. Joshima, in a REAC move with his carriers, moves NE along the China coast, heading (quite bravely) into the Formosa Strait. US carriers in the area close with him, and are able to launch an airstrike against him.

·  ** 1st Battle of Formosa Strait: 24 Nov. 1944 ***

We scramble to provide CAP for Adm Joshima. Adm. Ozawa's carriers, nearby, launch emergency naval cover CAP, managing to send 2 Zeros to help. They join 6 Zeros launched by Adm. Joshima's flat tops. We send our CAP all up at high altitude, against the American Helldivers. There, we encounter 10x F6F's (McCampbell), escorting 10x SB2C's. We are lucky, & get the bounce on them. Splashing 1x Helldiver & aborting 2 others, we lose 3 "green" Zeros in the process.

Getting through to attack, then, are no fewer than 7x SB2C's, along with 9x unmolested Avenger torpedo A/P's down low. A very strong strike. The US strike leader sends back his contact report: "3x CV's, 2x CA's, 2x CL's, & 6x DD's."

US Hellcats that were escorting the TBM's down low are sent in to try to suppress AA. One of them is destroyed. We learn that this strike was launched by 2 US carrier TG's, commanded by Adm'ls Sherman & Harrill. Adm. Halsey (3rd Fleet commander) is also present.

Three attack waves are formed. The 1st (2x SB2C, 3x TBM) sees 1x A/P of each aborted by flak. The remaining 3 all concentrate on the IJN CV "Taiho." The American flyers do well, pummeling her & rendering her dead-in-the-water. She doesn't last long, though, as a "critical hit" sends "Taiho" to the bottom. Adm. Joshima, aboard her, escapes but is seriously WIA, and is out of the action.

The 2nd wave (same composition) sees 1x TBM splashed (and the other 2 aborted), and 1 of the 2 Helldivers turned back -- leaving only a single one, which goes in against CV "Amagi." This is truly the "A" team, as this lone A/P heavily-damages "Amagi" ("D3"). Critical hit damage increases this to "D4" (DIW), and "Amagi's" war is over -- she is scuttled later that night.

The 3rd wave (3 + 3) does just as well. Only 2 A/P's are aborted. CV "Unryu" is attacked by 1x Helldiver + 1x Avenger. She receives only light damage, but our lax damage-control procedures have indeed finally caught up with us -- successive secondary explosions ("critical hits") bring her all the way to "D4." She likewise has to be scuttled later. CA "Kinugasa" (for now) escapes damage by attacking Avengers, but the "Kumano" does not: Helldivers heavily-damage ("D3") her.

As the American strike returns, the strike leader can proudly report many ships sinking. He must be very pleasantly surprised, then, as he approaches the recovery point, to see another US carrier strike wining their way towards Adm. Joshima. This one is launched by the US CVE TF commanded by Adm. Stump.

All of Adm. Joshima's carriers are either sunk or sinking, & the only CAP help Adm. Ozawa can send is a lone Zero. It faces 8x FM-2's, escorting 6x TBM's. It has no effect, and the 6x US Avengers form a single attack wave. Flak splashes one and aborts another. All 4 of the remaining ones concentrate on CA "Kinugasa." This time, her luck runs out. She is heavily-damaged, and critical hits very quickly send her to the bottom.

(Following this very successful & impressive series of strikes, all 3 US admirals -- Sherman, Harrill, & Stump -- will be promoted).

As night falls, the Japanese fleet continues heading into the Formosa Strait. Early the next day (25th), US air searches find Adm. Ozawa's ships, east of Amoy. The 1st battle of the Formosa Strait's 2nd day of action commences. Once again, the Americans show their mettle, and this time it is Adm. Montgomery's boys which will be the first to hit Adm. Ozawa, who commands a very strong force.

The US strike is a strong one. Down low, 4x F6F's escort 6x TBM's. They are unopposed. Up high, another 4x F6F's, escorting 2x SBD's + 4x SB2C's, are hit by 6x Zeros (Okumura). We lose the battle, with 2x Zeros splashed for the loss of a single Helldiver.

Once again, the Americans send some F6F's (the ones down low) to try to suppress AA. Once again, they regret it; one is splashed & the rest aborted -- Adm. Ozawa's boys are well-trained and ready for battle!

Two attack waves are formed. The 1st (2x SB2C, 3x TBM) has 1x Avenger downed by AA. But, 1 + 1 line up their attacks on our proudest carrier, CV "Zuikaku." She is hit very hard, set afire, listing & dead-in-the-water. We continue to stagger under the blows of Adm. Halsey's boys. The 2nd wave, though (2x SBD, 3x TBM) also has 1x TBM splashed. The 2 Dauntless A/P's dive on CV "Akagi," but she valiantly escapes any damage.

Following this strike, it is decided to scuttle the "Zuikaku," and that proud ship goes down. Alas!

Adm. Ozawa's travails, though, are but just beginning. A few hours later, another US carrier strike finds him. This one is from Adm. Davison's CVE's. 11x FM-2's, escorting 6x TBM's, are met by 5x Zeros (4 of them "green"). This time, we are badly beaten in the air, losing 3 of the Zeros in the first pass. No US planes are downed.

Adm. Davison's strike is formed into 2 waves. The Americans continue to go after our carriers, and suffer high losses from AA hits. The 1st wave (3x TBM) has one splashed & 2 aborted. The 2nd (same) likewise loses 1x Avenger, but CA "Chikuma" (this wave does *not* press their attacks, attacking instead the TF's outer screen) is lightly damaged.

Thus ends the first battle of the Formosa Strait. Predictably, it has been a bad two days for us, and we have suffered a humiliating and serious defeat. But, we still have the long-range goal in sight, and we are far from finished. ______________________________________________________________________

Other operations: Off Borneo (north of Beaufort), US subs find Adm. Nishimura's BB's, steaming east. One US fleet boat successfully torpedoes BB "Fuso," heavily ("D2") damaging her. Later that night, we are again attacked, by another US subron. This time, it is BB "Yamashiro's" turn. Four shots are gained against her: The first 3 all miss; but the last doesn't. She is mortally damaged ("D3," which is quickly turned into critical hits), and sunk! Worse, this was Adm. Nishimura's flagship, and he is WIA. "Yamashiro's" crew is able, though, to talk him out of going down with the ship. For now, our BB's will continue on with their diversion mission to the Philippines absent their commander.

Next day, British subs locate this TF in the Sulu Sea, and attack CA "Mogami," but miss her.

·  ** Battle of the Sulu Sea: Daylight Surface Engagement 25 Nov. 1944 ***

The scene shifts to the Sulu Sea, where Adm. Nishimura's TF (the admiral, sadly, is WIA and is not able to take active part in this battle) continues its movement towards the Visayas; a diversion sortie designed to bleed off major assets of Halsey's 3rd Fleet, away from Formosa.

Adm. Nishimura's fate is indeed a cruel one. Not only is he seriously wounded enroute, but unfortunately our mail has been read and, as our ships approach Negros, we find that US TF 34 (V.Adm. Lee; R. Adm. Oldendorf in tactical command) is waiting for us. Contact is made SW of Negros, and we are seriously out-gunned.

Adm. Oldendorf's battle line includes 5x BB's: "Texas, Idaho, Massachusetts, W. Virginia," and "Iowa." Also present are CA's "Louisville, Salt Lake City," and "Chester," with CL "Biloxi" & 6x Fletcher-class DD's. On our side are CA "Mogami," CL's "Yura, Natori, Kinu," & "Oi," along with 8x Shiratsuyu-class DD's.

(Adm. Oldendorf is spoiling for a fight; his combat ratings for this battle will be excellent).

1st Tactical Sequence: We immediately run for it, desperately attempting to out-distance the US battlewagons. CL Oi is hit & damaged by BB Idaho & CA Louisville. CA Mogami is likewise hit by the "Wee Vee." A general withdrawal is ordered on the Japanese side.

2nd Tactical Sequence: With the US ships chasing us down, the only damage noted is CA Mogami, hit this time by BB Massachusetts. She is now seriously damaged. Without Adm. Nishimura, we are unable to score any hits on the Americans as we withdraw.

3rd (last) Tactical Sequence: Thanks to Adm. Oldendorf's aggressiveness, the Americans have been able to successfully close the range. Mogami is plastered by 3 different US BB's, rendered DIW & finally sunk by the "Wee Vee." CL Naka is hit hard by 4x US DD's, and further damaged by the Idaho. This seals her fate, as all of our other ships except DD Kawakaze manage to successfully withdraw. The Naka, now slowed, receives the coup de grace by the US CL Biloxi.

Thus, the engagement ends with another defeat for us, but all told we were able to escape with most of the TF still intact. ______________________________________________________________________

Other Operations, Philippines: The US 1st Cav div (-) is transported from Mindanao, fresh from their easy victory there, to the Legaspi area, joining the US 77th division NW of the city.

Following the Sulu Sea battle, US TF 34 returns to Ulithi.

Hoping to catch a reported US CVE TF with little protection, we launch a small airstrike out of Clark Field against US TF 11, WNW of Bataan. Once again, our air search reports have proven most unfortunate. A single (green) Ki-45, plus 1x NiK2, hoping to encounter minimal opposition, instead find no fewer than 13 (!) Hellcats waiting for them. Predictably, this is a very short engagement.

Japanese submarine operations, Philippines: Off Zamboanga, I-boats get an excellent chance with shots at the CVE "Gambier Bay," but miss. Then, another subron finds her TF SE of Talaud I., and 1x boat gets through, again missing her.

Later, again off Zamboanga, a US CVE/transport TF is contacted & attacked. We lose an I-boat to this TF's screen, get one attack on CVE "St. Lo," but again are unable to score any hits. Later, again off Talaud I., another attack is made, but this time all of our boats are screened, and we lose another one to the US DD's.

End Report

This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 28 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of 2nd Naval Phase; G/T 4/12/44

AIR OPERATIONS

(No major land-based air operations of note)

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Operations -- South China Sea: Saigon-based air search locates a US carrier TF just south of Hainan, reported as: "2x CV, 2x CA, 3x CL & 2x DD." This TF is only approx. 180 nm south of two IJN TF's, including Adm. Kurita's. US carrier air search promptly locates both of our TF's (Kurita, Sakonju) off the SE coast of Hainan; range 180 nm. No immediate activity results, though.

From Davao, on the 26th a small Kamikaze strike (1x B6N) is sent out against a small US surface TF. Apparently part of US TF 34 -- which had previously (erroneously) been reported as returning to Ulithi -- our planes go in, targeting the US CA "Chester." Sadly, our heroic efforts result only in light damage to her. Mindanao is now devoid of Japanes air assets.

Our Taihoku airfields are hit by US carrier strikes. The first is a small one (3x F6F, 2x SB2C, 2x TBM), and is opposed by 1x N1K & 1x Zero. This raid has negligible effect, and no losses are suffered. The 2nd raid, by Adm. Davidson's CVE's, sees a total of 11x FM-2's coming in. 7x of them peel off to strafe, leaving 4 to fight our lone "George." Again, no losses occur, and heavy AA fire accounts for one Wildcat over the airfield. On the ground are 3x "inop" fighters, none of which are damaged.

On the morning of the 26th, the previously-located US carrier TF off Hainan is identified as Adm. J.J. Clark's. They find one of our transport TF's, which had been enroute to Formosa but was forced by Clark's presence to beat a hasty retreat towards port at Hainan. We have not off-loaded the troops, and all our transports (1x APB, "D1) are sunk. We suffer major losses from the IJA 90th Bde, which will not be showing up at Formosa anytime soon.

Later, Adm. Clark shows he's not finished wreaking havoc. Another strike is sent out, this time against our main surface TF (V.Adm. Kurita). No CAP is available to protect our ships, and a total of 8x F6F's, 7x SB2C's, & 4x TBM's arrive over our TF. A contact report of "1x BB, 1x BC, 4x CA, 4x CL, & 22x DD's" is sent back to Adm. Clark by the US CAG commander. The Americans form 2 attack waves.

In the 1st, they suffer 1x Helldiver + 1x Avenger splashed by AA, as the plucky Americans go for our BB's in the "core." BC "Kirishima" is targeted by a lone SB2C, and she escapes unscathed!

The 2nd wave of Adm. Clark's strike fares no better: Another two bombers are downed, and CA "Ashigara" evades the dive-bombing Helldivers. Adm. Clark is not happy with the poor results of this strike.

The next day (27th), Adm. Clark seeks to redeem himself. He hits the smaller surface TF commanded by Adm. Sakonju as he begins to steam south. Contact report received is "1x CA, 1x CL, & 12x DD's." This time, 6x Helldivers & 2x Avengers are formed into 2 waves. We splash one Helldiver from the first, but CA "Suzuya" is effectively targeted by TBM's and SB2C's: she is sunk outright, and Adm. Sakonju, aboard her, is seriously wounded.

The 2nd wave of this attack (3x SB2C's) suffers no AA hits. CL "Abukuma" is pummeled by 2x Helldivers, rolls over and sinks. The newer DD "Makinami" soon joins her.

Following this strike, both Adm'ls Kurita and (ex) Sakonju's forces steam at full-speed south of Hainan, attempting to engage Adm. Clark's carriers in a surface battle! But, Adm. Clark is too fast & clever for us; alas, no contact is gained. Adm. Clark's TF later steams away, escaping to the newly-captured Mindoro anchorage.

Note: Another (apparent) US carrier TF pulls into Panay anchorage. We are a bit shocked at the brazen docking of such valuable ships so close to Luzon. Plans are put into action to deal with this impetuosity.

On 28 Nov., Adm. Ozawa gets back into the fight in the Formosa Strait. Japanese search planes from his TF locate a US carrier TF in the Formosa Strait, reporting it as: "2x CV, 1x CVL, 1x BB, 1x CA, 1x CL, & 6x DD's." At 200 nm range, Adm. Ozawa sends out a strike.

·  ** 2nd Battle of Formosa Strait, 1st Phase: 28 Nov. 1944 ***

In what may turn out to be Adm. Ozawa's "last hurrah," he gets the first punch in against the Americans as they steam E of Amoy. We still pack a powerful punch, sending 8x A6M's (5 of them "green"), escorting 7x D4Y's (6x "green"), 2x (dive-bombing) B7A2's, & 3x torpedo-armed B6N's (2x "green"). Our targets are commanded by Adm. Sherman, and he is no slouch. 7x Hellcats are placed up high, and the Americans (as usual) gain the "bounce." One B7A2 ("Grace") is destroyed, and 2x "Judy's" aborted. Our 7x Zeros (Okumura) shoot back, downing 1x Hellcat. Down low, 4x more F6F's splash one "Jill," and abort the other two.

Getting through to attack, then, are 5x Judys + 1x Grace (all dive-bombers). Adm. Sherman's TF actually contains 3x CV's, 1x CVL, 1x BB, 1x CA, 2x CLAA, & 4x DD's. We go for the carriers' screen, and even that flak is too much for us. Aided primarily by the BB "South Dakota's" AA fire, all our Judys are either downed or aborted, and the lone Grace is turned back also. A most regrettable war result; we are unable to inflict *any* damage at all.

After turning Adm. Ozawa's attack away, Adm. Sherman continues moving NE, through the Formosa Strait. Adm. Ozawa initiates a REAC move, desperately attempting to escape to the NE. He almost makes it! After initially failing to locate us, Adm. Sherman's boys finally locate their quarry, now some 250 nm NE of him. Adm. Sherman launches planes!

Note: As a result of our earlier strike, all 5 of our "green" Zeros with Adm. Ozawa's remaining carriers are upgraded to "trained" status. Will that be enough?

Coming in low are 4x F6F's, escorting 4x TBM's. We send no CAP down there, instead sending all 7 Zeros available up high, where they meet another 4x Hellcats, escorting 1x SBD + 6x SB2C's. We're able to splash the Dauntless & 1x Helldiver, but most get through. Two attack waves are formed. The 1st (3x SB2C, 2x TBM) are sent in against CV "Akagi." Most of this wave's attackers are either splashed or aborted by flak; 1x TBM bores in against "Akagi." The venerable Pearl Harbor veteran manages to escape any damage!

The smaller 2nd wave (2x TBM's) chooses not to brave the strong AA fire, targeting instead DD "Onami," seriously-damaging her.

Thus closes the inconclusive 1st Phase of this second battle of the Formosa Strait. Stay tuned to this station for updates...

Operations -- Philippine Sea: Japanese air search (G4M's) out of Okinawa report a US CVE TF ("4x CVE's") steaming SE, apparently egressing the Formosa area. 200 nm south of Okinawa, the orders go out: Launch special attack mission! Thus, our 3rd major Kamikaze strike is sent out. It will be another mixed Army-Navy strike, escorted by Army fighters (1x Ki-43 -- Sumino -- + 2x Ki-61's). The Kamikazes are 2x Ki-48's (1x "green"), 2x P1Y's, & 5x G4M3's (all "green").

Four FM-2's constitute the only US CAP over our targets, which turns out to contain 3x US CVE's (and no escorting ships). The US fighters manage to splash 1x "Frances," 1x "Lily," and 4x "Bettys." Going in to attack the CVE "Liscombe Bay" is 1x (fully-trained) P1Y. This attack is an astounding success: The "Liscombe Bay" is sunk in spectacular fashion! The lone-remaining "Lily" and "Betty" combine to do the same to the "Marcus Island!" Two more US flat-tops scratched! Once again, all we can do is marvel at the valor of these special attack units, which selflessly sacrifice their lives so that the empire might live. Well-done, boys!

That night, west of Basilan in the Sulu Sea, I-boats get a rare chance, locating a US carrier TF. Four boats evade this TF's screen, and we get 4 (!) shots at the USS "Essex!" She combs all our torpedo wakes, though, and steams away, happily thumbing her nose at our failed attempts to nail her. What an outrage!

Other Operations: NW of Brunei, British subs spot the damaged BB "Fuso" steaming back towards Singapore. They are unable to put any torpedoes into her. But, our luck does not hold. US (strategic) subs operating nearby also contact her, and "Fuso" has no chance. She is repeatedly holed by torpedoes, capsizes and goes down off the Borneo coast.

Off Mergui, a powerful RN combined TF opens up, bombarding our defending garrison there.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 30 Nov. 1944. Operations through end of Cycle 12/44

AIR OPERATIONS (29-30 Nov.)

Philippines: From Legaspi, 3x Ki-84's + 1x Ki-67 hit the US 77th Inf. & 1st Cav divs NW of the city. Met by emergency cover CAP from a US CVE TF off-shore (2x FM-2's), we splash one of the Wildcats, go in low and content ourselves with the knowledge that, occasionally at least, we can hit back.

Burma: From Prome, the 50th Indian Para Bde is airlifted into Tavoy.

NAVAL OPERATIONS (29-30 Nov.)

Formosa / So. China Sea area: Two separate US carrier TF's hit the Taihoku airfields again (this airfield, if operational and occupied, has the potential to "isolate" parts of the US marines' beach-heads on Formosa, since they still lack land-based air cover). In one mission, we lose 1x N1K2 in air combat with Hellcats, and have 1x "inop" Ki-43 destroyed on the ground. The airfield is very heavily-damaged. In the 2nd strike, we down 1x Hellcat, but lose 1x Zero & 1x George in air combat. The airfield, meanwhile, is virtually obliterated -- thereby making the marines' stance on the east-coast Formosa beach-heads secure for at least another cycle.

On the 29th, the US 11th Airborne Div. (+ US Army Engr's) arrives & is debarked at Formosa, joining the 1st Mar Div, & relieving them of beach-head defense. (They will shortly join in the battle for Takao -- see Ground Ops). The Americans now have 6 divisions on the island.

On the night of 29-30 Nov., Adm. Kurita's surface TF, still seeking battle, steams north through the Formosa Strait, surprising 2x US carrier TF's NE of Formosa! Both of these TF's carelessly fail to locate him as darkness approaches. Contact is sought, and engagement is gained! Adm. Kurita has his wish: a night surface battle with the Americans. He has caught up with Adm. Montgomery's carrier TF!

·  ** 2nd Battle of Formosa Strait; 2nd Phase: 29-30 Nov. 1944 ***

1st Tactical Sequence: CL "Oyo" is lightly damaged by 2x US Fletcher-class DD's, as the Americans score first. One of the tin cans (USS "Stevens") is hit hard by CA "Nachi" & DD "Onami." Another US DD (USS "Ringgold") likewise is heavily-damaged, by IJN DD's.

US CV "Intrepid," & CVL "Cabot" escape into the night. DD "Maikaze" is hit by the US CL "Nashville," & left afire. CA "Indianapolis" is targeted by many ships, though she (thus far) is only lightly ("D1") damaged. We hit "Nashville" back, as she is similarly ganged-up on by numerous Japanese ships, which have Adm. Montgomery's TF badly out-numbered.

Meanwhile, CV "Bennington" also manages to withdraw successfully.

Our BB "Musashi" is able to fire her guns in anger, nailing CA "Quincy," but only lightly. The US BB "Washington" is discovered and targeted by 4 IJN ships (including CL "Kitakami"), but she also escapes with but minor damage. CA "Quincy" is able to hit back hard, blowing our DD "Asashio" out of the water. BB "Musashi" shifts her fire to the "Washington," scoring several hard hits on her, & bringing her to "D2" damage level! BC "Kirishima" joins in, hitting "Indianapolis" again, severely damaging her. The Americans continue to withdraw.

2nd Tactical Sequence: CA "Maya" scores her first hits, further damaging CL "Nashville." She is now in serious trouble. Several Kagero & Shiratsuyu-class DD's expend all their torpedoes, hitting CA "Quincy" several times. But, she continues bravely in the fight, which is beginning to go our way. US DD "Stevens," already hard-hit, is finished off by CA "Ashigara" & CL "Oyo." Two more US DD's go down ("Ringgold" & "Hutchins"), victims of CA "Nachi" & several IJN DD's.

The "Nashville's" time has come, and she is sent to the bottom -- pounded into scrap by CA "Haguro," CL "Isuzu," & more IJN DD's. The US DD "Wadsworth" is sunk, victim of long-lance torpedoes from IJN DD's. In what will turn out to be the battle's parting shot, the "Musashi" avenges her sister ship "Yamato's" long-ago pounding by scoring more hits on BB "Washington," bringing her to "D3" damage level. What a great victory!

3rd Tactical Sequence: The Americans suffer no further damage, as CL "Juneau," CA's "Quincy" ("D2") & "Indianapolis" (also "D2"), and BB "Washington" ("D3") withdraw, ending the engagement.

Later, DD "Maikaze" has to be abandoned, and DD "Minegumo" sinks after failed attempts to tow her away.

Thus ends the 2nd Phase of the 2nd Battle of Formosa Strait. It is a Japanese victory! The Emperor personally sends his congratulations to V.Adm. Kurita.

Philippines: Adm. Stump's CVE's launch ground strikes against Legaspi, & achieve fairly limited success.

Bay of Bengal: RN surface ships once again bombard Mergui, supporting the 9th Australian Div's upcoming assault there. After this action, and a failed IJN subron contact attempt, this TF returns to Trincomalee.

GROUND OPERATIONS (24-30 Nov.)

Formosa: The US 1st Mar Div, relieved by the newly-arrived 11th Abn Div, joins in the now-furious battle for Takao, where our troops valiantly and stubbornly refuse to give in. In this week's actions, the Americans fare badly. Gen. Suzuki is decisive; Gen. H.M. Smith is not, and we take only minor losses, while inflicting heavy casualties against the 1st Mar Div. (Note: Lt.Gen. Suzuki replaced Gen. Sasaki as CG, 18th Army at Takao -- in overall command on Formosa -- last week). Takao continues to hold out, though now we are out-numbered approximately 3-to-1.

Thailand: NW of Ayutthaya, the 16th (Chindit) Bde tenaciously continues its pursuit of the IJA 38th & 2nd Guards divisions, now in terrible shape & nearly destroyed. In this battle, in fact the 2nd Guards are wiped out; the 38th division, now down to a single Bn., manages to retreat in fairly good order, near Bangkok. Fortunately, the British troops are simply too exhausted & understrength themselves to pursue.

Philippines: Gen. MacArthur orders another try for Legaspi. This time the 1st Cav Div joins in the 77th Inf., which still leads the assault. We are outnumbered only by a 3:2 margin, and though we take very heavy losses (our 26th Tk Rgt is wiped out), we are not forced to retreat. Gen. Eichelberger is known to be getting very impatient; the battle for Legaspi will continue unabated. A well-done to Gen. Yamashita!

Burma: Heavy fighting continues, as the Rangoon stronghold is besieged by Gen. Slim's troops. Assaulted on all sides, by massive numbers of Australians, Americans, British, Indian, and Chinese units of all types, Gen. Sakurai proves equal to the task. Gen. Stopford (local GOC) fails in this attempt to take the last-remaining Japanese position in Burma. Both sides suffer heavy losses; the 7th Australian division taking most of them on the CW side.

CYCLE 0/12/44

Strategic Bombing: This month's raids will not be as successful overall as previous ones. Industrial centers remain the primary US targets. Kobe & Kyoto are hit by Saipan-based Superforts (one of them is downed by AA), but suffer only light damage -- which is quickly repaired.

Nagasaki is targeted by a combined raid from Saipan & Tinian (12x B-29's). We send up 7x Ki-84's to meet them, and manage to down one of them (losing 2 "Franks" ourselves in the process). Nagasaki likewise is lightly ("D1") damaged, and once again we're able to repair this damage.

Tokyo is hit by 2 separate raids from Tinian. One raid fails to do any damage at all; the other inflicts only light ("D1" again) damage. Two B-29's go down from these two raids; we lose 4x Ki-61's.

General Notes: Four new USN MTBRons are deployed forward into the Visayas -- bad news for our submarines & barges in these areas.

The US SoPac HQ (Adm. Kinkaid) is redeployed forward to Mindoro. US carrier a/c now occupy the (now-operational) airstrip there, covering all the US Luzon beach-heads.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, back on the air once again after having to evacuate our radio station following the last B-29 raid on Tokyo. We're once again calling all fighting men in the pacific!"

Tokyo, 7 Dec. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 1/13/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: Early in the week, US fighters are brought into Mindoro (P-38's from Morotai, we surmise). The Americans now have land-based air cover over their beach-heads on Luzon.

On Luzon, Gen. Yamashita orders Clark Field re-named "Akamatsu Field."

On the night of 1-2 Dec., we send 3x "elite" night-flying Bettys down from the Manila area to Panay, at night -- seeking to find the US ships reportedly anchored near there. All planes are torpedo-armed, and 2 waves go in. The 1st (1x G4M) finds the US CVL "Bataan," but no hits are scored. A Fletcher-class DD (USS "Spence") is damaged. After this success, we repeat the tactic a few nights later, this time at Negros. This time, though, the US AA gunners are awake, and all our Bettys are aborted.

China: A raid from Kweilin against Canton pits 2x P-47's (Kearby) & 3x P-51's against 6x Ki-84's (4 of them "green"). Neither side scores.

Burma: RAF B-24's from P. Blair hit Mergui (ground support) hard. From Moulmein, RAF P-47's hit Ayutthaya (Thailand). Akyab-based US P-38's + RAF Mosquitoes hit Rangoon, as do an assortment of planes from Arakan, Mandalay, and YY.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

·  * Battle of Formosa Strait: 1-2 Dec. 1944 **

Three US carrier TG's launch a strike against Adm. Kurita's TF. Adm. Ozawa, at long range, manages to send a lone A6M to cover him. Meeting 8x Hellcats, our Zeroes are quickly downed. 3 attacking waves are formed:

1st Wave: 2x SB2C's + 3x TBM's go in. Our AA fire is inaccurate, and CA "Ashigara" is heavily-damaged. CL "Sendai" also receives one hit.

2nd Wave (same composition): This time, it is CA "Haguro's" turn. She is pummelled by the Helldivers & Avengers, & left burning & dead-in-the-water. CL "Isuzu" is hit hard, suffering a critical hit to bring her to serious ("D2") damage level.

3rd Wave: 3x SB2C's + 3x TBM's. We manage to splash one of the Hellivers with flak, & abort another plus 1x Avenger. The already-damaged CA "Ashigara" is targeted, & her luck runs out -- she goes down. The same fate, alas, meets CL "Sendai." ______________________________________________________________________

·  * Battle of Iriomote Jima: 2 Dec. 1944 **

The next day, a US surface TF attempts engagement in the Formosa Strait with Japanese ships operating there (including Adm. Kurita). No contact is made. Later, Adm. Ozawa's carrier TF is spotted by US carrier air search 100 nm NE of Formosa, moving toward the island. The search contact results in one of the searching Helldivers conducting an attack, but misses CA "Tone."

Not long after this report, the Americans ready another strike. Adm. Sherman send out the first strike, as Adm. Ozawa steams N. of Iriomote-Jima. Coming in down low are 4x F6F's, escorting 6x TBM's. We're unable to send any CAP down low; sending 6x Zeroes (Okumura) up high to meet 5x more Hellcats, escorting 5x Helldivers. We do well in this battle, splashing 2 of the Helldivers, losing only 1x Zeke.

Down low, the 4x Hellcats make an AA suppression run, and lose 1 AP in the effort. All the rest are quickly turned away, having no effect.

Adm. Sherman's boys form 2 attack waves. In the 1st, the lone attacking SB2C is splashed by AA, along with 1 of 3 Avengers. Another TBM is aborted, leaving but one lone one to go in against CV "Akagi." No hits!

In the 2nd of Adm. Sherman's waves, 2x TBM's get in through the AA fire, targeting CL "Noshiro." She is hit hard, with "critical hit" damage putting her in bad shape.

It is not long before a 2nd US carrier TF (Adm. Montgomery) sends in more planes. This time, we can manage only 3 Zekes as CAP, and they're all sent against the Helldivers up high. We abort one of the two present. Down low, another Hellcat AA suppression attempt again backfires, as we splash another. Going in to attack, then, are 1x SB2C + 3x TBM's. Forming a single wave, our AA fire continues to do well, splashing the Helldiver and one Avenger. The rest are all aborted, and we suffer no damage! Adm. Ozawa sends a "well-done" to his boys, now under seige but holding up well so far. Our hopes remain high!

In the afternoon, Adm. Ozawa must weather another storm, a small strike launched by Adm. Mullinix's CVE's. The lone TBM present is aborted by 3x A6M's (Okumura).

Following the day's harrowing events, Adm. Ozawa then moves away NE, away from Formosa. Little do the Americans know, at this point, that his movements were a diversion, intended to invite the American air strike responses that occurred. As Adm. Ozawa egresses, another Japanese carrier/transport TF (CVL's escorting troop transports -- Adm. Matsuda, aboard "Ryujo" commanding) approaches Formosa, from the SW, bringing in desperately-needed ground reinforcements.

Adm. Matsuda's force is spotted by US carriers in the Formosa Strait. Two US surface TF's in the area declare "reaction" moves.

As Adm. Matsuda approaches, US subs SW of Takao locate his force and attempt an attack on 1x MSU (full). Fortunately, the lone boat available is screened off. Shortly thereafter, though, another US subron contacts us, and one manages an attack on our transports -- fortunately missing!

One of the reacting US TF's SW of Formosa then arrives on-scene, attempting engagement! Contact is made, and battle is joined!

It is US TF 32, and Adm. Matsuda launches an airstrike from his CVL's as the Americans approach. Adm. Sherman manages emergency naval cover CAP from nearby, sending in 2x Hellcats. Adm. Matsuda's strike has 3x Zekes (1x "green"), escorting 1x B5N + 1x B6N. The "Jill" is aborted by US fighters, as they gain "the bounce." Going in to attack, the lone "Kate" attacks a US Fletcher-class DD, but no hits are scored.

·  * Surface Battle of P'Eng-Hu Lieh Islands: 3 Dec. 1944 (Formosa Strait) **

US TF 32, consisting of 1x BB, 1x CA, 2x CL + 2x DD's, badly out-gun our forces (2x CVL, 1x CVE, 1x CL + 1x MSU).

1st Tactical Sequence: The US DD's run down and sink our transports! CVE "Chuyo" withdraws, as does CVL "Ryujo." US CL "Phoenix" heavily-damages CL "Yubari" ("D3"). The looming silhouette of the USS "South Dakota" rises, and she opens up on the hapless CVL "Shoho." Miraculously, she escapes sinking -- only heavily-damaged. CLAA "San Juan" then runs down the damaged "Yubari," rendering her "D4" (diw). "Yubari" is later scuttled, and the "Shoho" manages to escape. The battle thus ends in a bitter defeat for us, as our reinforcement attempt has failed. The Emperor is informed of the disaster. Adm. Matsuda later withdraws through the Formosa Strait, disappearing into the E. China Sea.

R. Adm. Kingman receives a spot promotion following his victory.

Adm. Kurita quickly follows Adm. Matsuda into the E. China Sea, vanishing from sight.

The battle is not an entire failure, however. For, as Adm. Kingman is busy dispatching Adm. Matsuda's transports, we manage to sneak another transport TF -- this one a much larger one -- into Formosa, and are able to debark the entire 14th Infantry Division (pulled out of Manchuria) at Taihoku!

That night, our luck holds again, as a 3rd transport force, carrying the new 94th Inf. Div, debarks them at Takao. Adm. Matsuda's sacrifices thus have not been in vain, for we are successfully able to land valuable reinforcements, against all odds, in Formosa. Surely, this must be most unwelcome news to Gen. H.M. Smith and his marines fighting there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS, 3-7 Dec. '44

Philippines: CVE launched fighter sweeps (US TF22; 8x FM-2's) hit Manila. In an air battle with 4x A6M's + 1x N1K2, our "George" is destroyed, along with one Wildcat. Following this, 6x Avengers show up to hit the airfields. One is destroyed with AA, and the airfield receives no damage.

10x FM-2 fighter-bombers hit our troops defending Legaspi. We force them to ditch their bombs, though, when we send up 3x Ki-84's, which accounts for one enemy AP destroyed (we lose 1x "Frank" also).

In the Philippine Sea, IJN subs locate a US transport TF E. of Luzon. We manage to sink a few merchantmen without losing any I-boats. Unfortunately, we're unable to prevent this US TF from off-loading reinforcements NW of Legaspi (1x Rgt of the US 37th Inf. Div.).

Another IJN sub contact in the Philippine Sea finds a US carrier TF (reported as "1x CV, 2x CVL, 1x CVE, 1x BB, 1x CA, + 8x DD's") sees one boat get through the screen to get one shot at the CVL "Langley." But, she escapes damage. Later, in the Bashi Channel (N. of Luzon), another IJN subron locates the same TF. This time, only 2 of 6 boats on station are screened. We get what turns out to be 4 attacks on another US CVL -- the "San Jacinto." But, once again we're denied success; no hits are reported.

In Balintan Channel (N. of Luzon), more IJN subs are active, contacting Adm. Kingman's TF. We get two unmolested shots at the US CVE "Breton," but our bad luck this week holds; she escapes undamaged.

Adm. Kingman's TF, later steaming south along the W. coast of Luzon, is spotted by air search (H8K's still successfully operating out of Manila). We send out an air strike, a joint one from Akamatsu (ex. "Clark") Field (2x Ki-67's; 1x with torpedoes) and Manila (2x Ki-67 -- both with torpedoes -- plus 1x P1Y (green, level-bombing). Forming a single wave, we're unable to penetrate the strong AA fire, and all our attackers are aborted. Adm. Kingman proceeds to the anchorage at Mindoro -- an especially galling event; the Americans apparently feeling so confident that they can anchor valuable ships so close to Luzon. We busy ourselves making plans to remedy that situation...

Another sub contact in the Bashi channel SE of Formosa finds a US carrier TF. We're unable to get to the American flat-tops, but do manage a single boat going in against CA "Vincennes." This time, their luck runs out, and "Vincennes" is sunk! Well-done to subron 2, boys!

Closing out the week is one last IJN sub contact, NE of Legaspi, vs. US TF22 (a large CVE TF). This time, only a single boat (of 6 "available") is screened, and we line up 5 shots at CVE "Chenango." Disgracefully, we miss again.

Formosa Area: A carrier strike from US TF24 hits our troops at Takao, providing close air support to the marines fighting for the city.

On Dec. 6, the US carriers prowling off Formosa find our transports which snuck into Takao harbor a few days prior. US Helldivers & Avengers sink all of them. (We have no air assets on any Formosan airfields).

Central Pacific: We send out another "Kaiten" attack against Ulithi, with 2x I-boats going in launching them. None of the kaiten score any hits, and one of the launching I-boats is lost.

Singapore: A RN subron patrolling off Singapore locates a Japanese TF near there. Reporting our TF as "4x CL + 4x DD," we only manage to screen 3 of 6 British subs, and pay for it -- DD "Shiratsuyu" is sunk.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Burma/Thailand: At Mergui, the 9th Australian Div. continues its rampage down towards the Malay peninsula, defeating our 66th Rgt there & capturing the airfield. Our defenders retreat to Victoria Point. For once, the Australians are unable to pursue.

At Ayutthaya (Thailand), the 16th Chindit Bde hits what's left of our 38th division, which is "broken" and barely hanging on. The routing of the 38th div. is complete, as we are again defeated, the lone surviving Bn. left retreating into Bangkok. Thus, this once-proud division has been chased virtually all the way out of Burma, all the way to Bangkok. Gen. Slim is reported to be delighted with this turn of events.

The long seige of Rangoon continues, and our troops somehow continue to hold out against a veritable Allied horde of troops -- the numerical equivalent of 5 or 6 full divisions are investing the city. Though broken, we're still well-dug-in and determined to hold out as long as we can. Our 15th division is nearly wiped out, but we hold. Heavy losses are suffered by the 7th Australian Division in reducing the fortifications, and they are later pulled out of the line, badly mauled. Most importantly, fortress Rangoon holds out!

Philippines: The battle for Legaspi continues, with 2 Bdes of the US 1st Cav. Div leading the US 7th Inf. Div. in the assault against our badly understrength 102nd division. Gen. Yamashita, though, is decisive here, and our troops' spirits are raised --- we hand the Americans a bloody repulse, forcing them to retreat & call off the attack. Legaspi holds!

US airstrip construction commences on Cebu & Panay.

Formosa: The bitter battle for Takao continues, with elements of 4 Marine Divs. continuing the long, bloody battle. Gen. H.M. Smith is in personal command there now -- facing our Gen. Suzuki. The battle starts badly for us, but Gen. Suzuki, at the last minute, is decisive, staving off a required retreat! We take fairly heavy losses (mainly to the 6th Inf. Div), but Takao follows "fortress Rangoon's" fine example, denying the enemy possession of the vital port/airfield complex.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 14 Dec. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 2/13/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: Our airfields in the Manila & Clark areas remain operational, and we launch a small ground support strike from Manila (1x P1Y, 2x Ki-67, 2x Ki-49) vs. the US 77th Inf. Div near Legaspi.

Shortly thereafter, a US fighter sweep (5x P-38's -- Bong & Lynch) from Mindoro hits Manila. From Akamatsu Field, we send 2x Ki-84's up as emergency cover. No losses are incurred by either side.

From Akamatsu Field, we repeat the ground strike on the 77th Div., with Ki-84's, Ki-44's, & Ki-67's. 2x P-38's from Mindoro appear to cover the area, but no losses are noted.

Sorong-based B-24's hit Legaspi, in support of the US units fighting there. The attackers remain at "high" altitude, though, and have only marginal success.

Burma: Very heavy strikes continue against "Fortress Rangoon," from all the RAF airfields in the area. They gain good results, but they won't prove decisive. From Port Blair, RAF Liberators hit Bangkok, targeting our troops there -- in preparation for an upcoming battle on the ground there.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Okinawa: A Japanese troop transport TF approaches Okinawa (from Japan) at night. We debark 1x Rgt, with daylight approaching. US carrier searches (Adm. Sprague) from the E. China Sea NE of Taihoku (Formosa) finds our ships, and Adm. Sprague launches a strike on the morning of the 9th. We can manage but a lone Ki-43 from Okinawa to cover the still-offloading ships. Inbound are 10x Hellcats, escorting 3x SB2C's & 5x TBM's. We determine later that one of the Avengers is named "Barb," & is flown by a young naval aviator from the "San Jacinto," Geo. W. Bush. Five of the Hellcats stay as escorts (the others going in with the attackers for AA suppression runs), and they make short work of our Oscars.

Our transport TF is reported as "2x APB's (D3), + 1x MSU (D2) & 1x MSU (D3). Three attack waves are formed. The 1st, 1x Helldiver + 1x Avenger, sinks 1x APB. The 2nd (1x SB2C; 2x TBM's) misses the other APB, but sinks one of the marus. The last wave (including Mr. Bush, we are informed; 2x TBM's) sinks the remaining APB. We lose, in sum, the equivalent of 1x Bn, having landed a good portion of the mixed Bde there.

Formosa: US ground support carrier strikes hit Takao. Surface ships then conduct a NGF bombardment there also (no effect).

In Bashi Channel, Adm. Sprague's TF is contacted & attacked by I-boats. We get a single, unsuccessful shot at CVL "Langley." Another IJN subron later finds the same TF, and our attack is foiled -- with us losing 1x I-boat to the USN DD screen.

Philippines: NW of Legaspi, the rest of the US 37th Inf. Div. is put ashore, with Gen. Griswold. At least 1x USA engineer unit is also debarked. Later, another US transport TF commences off-loading the US 6th ("the sight-seeing sixth") Inf. Div, also NW of Legaspi, with more engineers. This TF is covered by a CVE TF nearby -- reported by air search as containing at least 2 CVE's. On the 10th, this TF launches a carrier ground strike against our defenders at Legaspi (2x F6F fighter-bombers + 1x Avenger). They gain good results for such a small strike, as the lone "Frank" which rises to meet them can't do much.

A US bombardment surface TF then appears off Legaspi and opens up on us. Gen. Yamashita says "that's enough of that nonsense," and we send out an airstrike from Manila against them. It is once again a combined Army-Navy affair, and the Americans manage only 4x FM-2 Wildcats as CAP -- all up high against 1x Ki-61, shepherding 1x Ki-67 + 2x Ki-49 "Helen" level-bombers. All of our attackers get through the CAP, and they're joined by 1x P1Y "Frances" (green) + 1x Ki-67 "Peggy" torpedo bombers down low.

We form a single attack wave, and the Allied AA aborts both torpedo bombers. All the level-bombers concentrate on the CL "Perth." No hits are reported. Following this attack, the Allied bombardment TF withdraws, pulling into the Mindoro anchorage.

US carrier strikes (Adm. Sallada) conduct ground support missions at Legaspi (Hellcat fighter-bombers + TBM's).

On the night of 13-14 Dec., we send our night Bettys against a (now-empty) US transport TF. Of the 3 G4M3's, 2 are torpedo-armed. We manage to sink one (D2) US MSU, and lightly damage one "Fletcher-class" DD.

Andaman Sea: The RN carrier TF operating in the Andaman Sea is contacted by an IJN subron. It is reported as: "1x CV, 1x CVL, 2x BB, 5x CA, 2x CL, + 6x DD's." Half of our boats are screened off, but we get 3 shots at CV "Victorious." No hits are reported, and this British TF steams to Victoria Point, where the surface ships are split off, bombarding our troops there (apparently to help the rampaging 9th Australian Division, which has designs on taking the place). The bombardment nets good results, and is repeated.

Later, the British carriers (Adm. Power) send a ground strike in against Bangkok (Corsair fighter-bombers + Seafires). They have no effect, though.

This RN TF is later refuelled by RN oilers out of Trincomalee, in the Andaman Sea. It remains on-station.

GROUND OPERATIONS

Thailand: The battle for Bangkok opens, with a British paradrop -- the 50th Indian Para Bde landing to support the Chindits attacking there. The paradrop goes well, but the combined attack is not enough to dislodge our defenders there (38th Inf. Div. remnants + the 70th Bde) -- Bangkok holds.

The 1st Indian Bde (23rd Ind. Div.) advances, occupying Ayutthaya. Three CW Bdes now are operating in the Bangkok/Ayutthaya area.

Burma: The 9th Australian Div. takes Victoria Point, badly routing our 2x understength regiments there. The survivors (a single Bn.) retreat south. The Australians are unable to pursue, but Victoria Point is now in British hands.

The saga of "Fortress Rangoon," continued: The British seige continues. Now down to about 5 Bn's, between the 15th Div. + the 19th Indep. Bde, we are still fairly well-dug-in. The 19th Bde is wiped out, along with 1x Engr unit, leaving the battered 15th division with 2 Bn's effective. The heroic resistance thus continues for another week, but the last messages out of Rangoon are not encouraging; clearly, the handwriting is now on the wall and we cannot hold out for much longer.

Philippines: The battle for Legaspi continues. Four US divisions (led by the 6th) launch a poorly-coordinated attack against what's left of our 102nd Div. Gen. Yamashita's leadership is again decisive, for our badly-outnumbered and out-equipped troops are exhorted to superhuman efforts in repelling the American attacks. Though now down to the equivalent of 2x Bn's, Legaspi's heroic defenders hold out! This is US Gen. Griswold's first battle, and his performance is not well-received at Gen. MacArthur's HQ. Heavy casualties are suffered by the US 6th Inf. Div.

Formosa: The battle for Takao continues. This week, the 5th Mar. Div. leads the 4 division attack. Gen. H.M. Smith is putting a lot of pressure on his troops to finish this fight, and our vaunted 6th Division, an outstanding outfit, is now down to a single Bn. effective, as it is torn to pieces this week. But, Takao continues to hold, and we continue to deny the Americans their prime objective on Formosa.

End Report

"This is the Zero Hour, calling all fighting men in the Pacific!"

Tokyo, 21 Dec. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 3/13/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Philippines: US Mindoro-based P-38's (Bong, Lynch) hit Manila again. Most Japanese a/c are off attacking other targets (see Naval Ops), so the 5x Lightnings find only our 3 "elite" night Bettys on the ground. Retaining their bombs, they bore in and we down one with flak. No hits are scored on the airfield, and all our Bettys are untouched. In a reciprocal strike, meanwhile, 1x P1Y, along with 2x Ki-67's & 2x Ki-49's go off to hit Mindoro. No air opposition is encountered (Mindoro remains, for the time being, only a Level-1 strip), but we're still unable to do any appreciable damage.

Two days later, we return to Mindoro, with a fighter sweep (5x Ki-84's -- 1x "green" -- + 2x Ki-44's -- same) are met in the air by Dick Bong's P-38's (four of them). We trade one "Frank" for one Lightning destroyed.

From Akamatsu Field, 3x Ki-84 FB's + 2x Ki-67's hit Gen. Eichelberger's HQ on the E. coast of Luzon. Results are unknown.

Later in the week, we mount a joint strike (Manila/Akamatsu F.), against the Panay anchorage -- looking for US ships reported at anchor there. A total of 4x A6M's + 1x Ki-61 are escorting 4x Ki-67's & 1x P1Y -- all with torpedoes. Dick Bong's P-38's from Mindoro are scrambled as CAP, and 3 arrive. The Yankees get "the bounce," and splash the lone "Frances" torpedo BMR. In return, though, we down one P-38. Two attack waves are formed, but unfortunately none of our planes can evade the heavy AA fire; all are aborted, and the attack fails.

From Sorong, the Allied B-24's hit Legaspi again (ground strikes), without result.

China: From Kweilin, 3x 14th AF P-51's + 2x P-47's (Kearby) hit our C.E.F. Offensive Support Base at Canton. Canton, though, is far from helpless: 6x Ki-84's (4 of them "green") are launched against the Americans. We lose in this exchange, having one of the untrained Franks downed. We score no kills.

Thailand: Port Blair-based RAF Liberators hit Bangkok again (ground strikes) -- this time without result.

Burma: Virtually all the other RAF aircraft throughout Burma continue to pound "Fortress Rangoon" (airfields at Akyab, Arakan, YY, Prome & Moulmein).

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Philippines / Formosa: On 15 Dec., our Bettys mount a night strike against US TF 42. We send in 2 with torpedoes & 1 with bombs. Finding only measly pickings, we manage to lightly damage a "Gridley-class" DD, while missing a "Butler-class" DE. Still, we gain some satisfaction at retaining the ability to sting the Americans.

On the night of 15-16 Dec., our subs attack a US transport TF NE of Mindanao, scoring a minor hit on one MSU. That same night, also in the Philippine Sea, a US carrier TF is located and attacked. Three of 6 boats on station are screened off, but we get 3 shots at the CVE "Fanshaw Bay." Predictably, no hits are reported. Our subs' performance continues to deteriorate. This TF then takes up station approx. 150 nm W. of Okinawa -- the first time a US carrier TF has ventured so close to there. Air search reports this TF as: "2x CV, 1x CVL, 1x CVE, 1x BB, & 8x DD's."

On the 18th, Adm. Sprague (Cdr of this TF) sends a strike in against Okinawa. We are caught unprepared, with 10x Hellcats (5 of them carrying bombs) come in with 2x Helldivers & 5x Avengers, targeting the airfields. Two IJAAF FTR's (1x Tony + 1x Oscar) are sent up; the Tony doesn't return (the USN ace McCampbell is there). The US strike is a good one -- the airfield is moderately damaged, and 1x Ki-67 + 2x Ki-49's are destroyed on the ground. A good strike by Adm. Sprague's boys.

In the next 2 days, part of Adm. Sprague's TF is split off, the surface ships bombarding Takao.

Adm. Sallada's CVE's, still in the Philippine area, continues to provide close air support to the US troops fighting for Legaspi. That night, he receives a scare as we send our Bettys in against him. Two of the 3 Bettys are aborted by AA, and we again must be contented with another unsuccessful torpedo attack against a US DE.

Japanese long-range air search locates (21 Dec.) a US DD TF (reported as "5x DD's") in the Philippine Sea. We surmise this could be another USN ASW Sweep mission, and we send out a strike from Manila to greet it! It, of necessity, is a small one (2x Ki-67's; one with torpedoes) but this time we are rewarded: Two "Butler-class" DE's are sunk. Elated with our success, we decide to send more in for the kill -- sending in another 2 torpedo-armed "Peggys," this time from Akamatsu Field. This strike meets with only minor success; with a "Benson-class" DD moderately damaged.

The previously-attacked US DD TF indeed turns out to be another ASW sweep (commanded, we learn, by RAdm. Hustvedt). East of Samar, they manage to locate & sink 1x of our I-boats.

Andaman Sea: RN TF26 (Adm. Power) is found again by IJN subs. We get one shot at a CA ("Cumberland"), but miss. The British ASW screen continues to be difficult to penetrate. The British TF takes up station NW of Victoria Point, and later sends Corsairs and Seafires in against Bangkok (ground strikes).

GROUND OPERATIONS

Formosa: With Gen. "Howlin' mad" Smith now highly agitated, the battle for Takao drags on for another week. The 5th Mar. Div is pulled out of the battle; replaced by the Army's newly-arrived 11th Airborne Division. And, they lead this week's attacks (the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Mar. Divs. also involved in the fighting). Our outstanding 6th Inf. Division is finally destroyed in this week's fighting, and we manage to inflict fairly serious losses on the 11th Airborne. But, the city is still ours, though our defenders now are 2 very low-quality formations (the 50th & 94th divs.), which will have a very difficult time standing up to the continued American assault.

Malaya: Yes, British units once again have troops on Malayan soil. Across the border S. of Victoria Point, the 9th Australian Div. continues its astounding march, wiping out our 102nd Rgt (of the old 51st Div.). Amazingly, the Australians are still at full-strength; we are utterly unable to stand up to them.

Thailand: The battle for Bangkok continues into its 2nd week, with 3 CW Bdes continuing the fighting there. The battle-worn IJA 38th Division's history comes to an end here, and we barely manage to hold ontot the city, down to a single Bn. from the 70th Bde. Things look very dark indeed for us on this front.

Philippines: The battle for Legaspi finally turns for the Americans. Barely holding on, the IJA 102nd div. is wiped out; the US 1st Cav Div (-) taking the honors of leading Gen. MacArthur's troops in. With this turn, the Americans now have a large, serviceable airfield, and a good port, under their control on Luzon. It is to be the 2nd of 3 very distressing battle reports from this week for Imperial GHQ in Tokyo.

Burma: Fortress Rangoon has fallen! Down to a few ragged, haggard troops, the IJA 15th Division surrenders its colors to a massive Allied assault (led by Gen. Stopford; a major feat for him). Gen. Sakurai surrenders the Burma Area Army HQ to Gen. Stopford, and with this turn of events we are ejected completely from Burma -- ending that long, hard-fought campaign. Gen. Stopford receives a spot promotion for this victory from Gen. Slim.

End Report

"Hello out there all you fighting orphans of the Pacific! This is your number-one enemy, Orphan Anne, with another assault on your morale!"

Tokyo, 28 Dec. 1944. Operations through end of G/T 4/13/44

AIR OPERATIONS

Thailand: The Port Blair RAF Liberators hit Bangkok again, with ground strikes in support of the CW battle to take the city. We hit back after Christmas, with a Ki-21 strike from Bach Gia, in support of our troops. A lone USAAF P-47 on cover CAP from Moulmein has no effect.

Philippines: We hit the now-US-controlled airfield at Legaspi with Ki-67's & Ki-49's, damaging it. No Allied planes have arrived there yet.

On Christmas eve, we send another joint strike/fighter sweep (Manila/Akamatsu Field) against Mindoro. We send 10 FTR AP's (Ki-84's, Ki-44's, Ki-61's & Zekes), and are met by Dick Bong's 5x P-38's (Lynch is present also). We lose 1x "Frank," but down 1x P-38. In this battle, the US ace Lynch is WIA & is rotated home -- for him the war is over.

NAVAL OPERATIONS

Formosa area: US carrier strikes hit the Taihoku airfields, heavily damaging them (no Japanese a/c are present). We down 1x F6F FB with effective AA fire.

Another USN naval gunfire bombardment (1x BB, 8x DD's) hits Takao again. Next day, they repeat the bombardment. They're beginning to have a telling effect. Following this 2nd bombardment, this US TF proceeds to Mindoro.

Philippines: Two USN ASW sweep DD TF's are operating E. of Luzon & E. of Samar, within air range of our central Luzon airfields. They have no luck in sinking any I-boats, and the Americans' presence is noted -- along with the fact that they have no air cover.

So, on Christmas Day, we visit them. Adm. Hustvedt's TF is hit by 2x Ki-67's (both torpedo-armed) out of Manila. We sink 2x DD's: USS "Swanson" & "Ingraham." Following this successful mission, we send out more "Peggys" from Akamatsu Field (3 of them; one "green," all with torpedoes). We send another DD ("Emmons") to the bottom, along with 1x US DE. Our "green" Ki-67 is "promoted" to "trained" status. That will teach these Americans to venture so close to operational Japanese airfields with no air cover (or will it?).

With Mindanao apparently being by-passed by Gen. MacArthur, we decide to try to get some of our ground units out of there, bringing them into the fight for Luzon. To do so, we will have to mount our first large-scale barge move of the war. From Cagayan, we will try to move 1x Bde up through the Visayas. These waters are lousy with US MTBRons, and we will have to brave the P-38's at Mindoro as well. It is a risky move, but we have no choice.

We manage to evade the 1st MTBRon (Negros), thanks to some help from Manila-based H8K's. Another squadron (Cebu) fails to contact us! A very good omen, and most encouraging news. But, our luck runs out when our move is spotted by Allied PBY's out of Sorong. All the Allied B-24's based there descend on our barges with a vengeance. We manage a lone Zero out of Manila, but it of course is little help -- we have about 20% of the force sunk. Still, we press on. The P-38's out of Mindoro are next. Again, a lone A6M5 out of Luzon fails to deter them (there are 4 Lightnings). They rip us to pieces, sinking almost half of the remaining barges.

Next night, US MTBRon 13 (Panay) contacts our now-luckless and doomed force. They sink a few more, but we have a few left and they press on to Luzon (it is far too late to turn back now). The mission ends when, on 28 Dec. another US MTBRon finds us E. of Mindoro. What's left of the force is obliterated, and with it our 35th Bde is wiped out. A bitter failure.

We gain a measure of revenge, though, when I-boats find a US jeep-carrier TF E. of Samar, and bore in. It is Adm. Bogan's TF, and we luckily happen to pick his flagship, USS "Breton." It is a rude awakening for him, to be sure, as "Breton" is hit several times with torpedoes, and quickly goes down! Adm. Bogan is forced to transfer his flat to the "Nehenta Bay." Another American carrier sunk! This somewhat offsets the sad story of the 35th Bde's ill-fated voyage.

The news gets better for us. We hit Adm. Hustvedt's ASW sweep TF again, this time with our Bettys out of the Manila area, at night. We sink two more "Benson-class" DD's, and damage a 3rd. We have thus made things very unpleasant for this TF, and our subs are a little safer now. After this, Adm. Hustvedt heads in a hurry for Mindoro, cutting short his ASW mission.

Andaman Sea: RN TF 26 launches another ground-support carrier strike against Bangkok (4x Corsair FB's + 2x Seafires). They are ineffective initially but they repeat the raid 2 days later -- this time achieving somewhat better results.

GROUND OPERATIONS

(As bad as the news for us last week was, it gets even worse)

China: In Hunan Province (NE of Kweilin), Gen. Yueh musters several units (4x KMT Armies + 1x Indep. Corps) for a winter attack against 2x IJA Bdes (26th & 27th). In a hard-fought battle, we are forced to retreat -- though in good order, and with only minor losses. There is no Chinese pursuit.

IndoChina: Bangkok falls! "Mad Mike" Calvert, leading 3x CW Bdes (1st Indian; 16th Chindits; 50th Indian Para) finishes off the last-remaining Japanese defenders, and Bangkok is in British hands! Most unwelcome news for us.

Formosa: The worst news, though, is that the long battle for Takao has ended. Gen. H.M. Smith finally gets his long-awaited victory, as our 2 divisions there are finally routed & forced to retreat. Now, the marines have their desperately-needed airfield (which they manage to make operational nearly immediately) and port on Formosa. But, we still have several divisions left on the island, and vow to fight for every inch.

Philippines: No major attacks are mounted, but the Americans repair their newly-captured airfield at Legaspi. It probably will not be long before substantial US air assets come in.

CLOSING NOTE: With this war report, we must report that "Tokyo Rose" will be signing off here. Henceforth, the reports will come (perhaps appropriately) from the Allied side. We will try to occasionally chime in with appropriate "bragging," but the changing of the guard has occurred. So, "Orphan Anne" sends her warm regards to her poor misguided orphans of the pacific, with a heartfelt warning of "never to volunteer for anything!"

End Report

It's 1945, a new year dawns and the war in the Pacific continues...

Cycle notes: 1/45

Strategic Bombing Campaign against Japan:

Tokyo is targeted twice with raids launched from Saipan giving attention to two of the Industrial Centers there with dismal results. Only a "suppressed" result garnered from the second strike which practically achieves nothing. Of the 310 B-29s we sent that month, we lose 30 to interceptors and 20 to AA. Japanese losses in air combat are reported at 40 Ki-84 Hayates (Franks) and 20 Ki-61 Hiens (Tonys).

Kobe is attacked by 150 B-29s from Tinian and with almost no air opposition encountered, losses from AA amount to 10 B-29s lost with the Industrial Center receiving a "D1".

Finally, also from Tinian; 150 B-29s bomb the Kyoto Industrial Center, giving it a "D1" result as well with no losses. No interceptor combat occured and AA fire was ineffective.

All damage were repaired so the effect of the raid was negligible.

Other cycle notes --

The Japanese 35th Army HQ relocates from Mindanao to Taihoku, Formosa with Gen. Sasaki relieved of command (he remains in Mindanao) being replaced with Gen. Suzuki.

In the Allied camp, two British HQs: the 14th Army and SEAC, relocate. The former commanded by Gen Slim is moved from Chitaggong to Bangkok while the latter commanded by Lord Mountbatten transfers from Calcutta to Rangoon.

The new year also welcomes the first carrier based Corsairs into the war, operating from the CV Kearsage which is enroute to the battle area.

Turn 1/1/45 narrative...

Air Operations (29-30 Dec '44)

A night bombing mission from Manila consisting of 3 G4M Bettys achieve no result on a raid to Legaspi. One is turned away due to AA.

Later, from those same airfields; 60 A6M5 Zekes with Sakai, Ohta and Sugino launch a fighter sweep on Mindoro. Encountering no CAP, they see but are unable to inflict any damage to 20 P-38 Lightnings which just finished some nighttime combat air patrol.

Better results are achieved from Akamatsu (Clark) AF, as 30 Ki-84 Franks and 10 Ki-44 Shokis (Tojos)escorting 20 Ki-67 Peggys hit Mindoro with the fighters strafing and destroying 10 P-38s. The Peggys miss damaging the airfield though, 10 of them being turned away by the airfield's AA.

A strike on Guam's isolated troops is launched from Saipan consisting of 30 P-47 and 50 P-38 fighter bombers.

Recently captured Legaspi AF receives her first aircraft as 20 P-38s from Mindoro have now rebased there.

Naval Operations (29-30 Dec '44)

Subron 16 (located NW of Talaud Isl. in the Celebes Sea) locates a CV Task Foce and is able to take a shot at it despite having 3 of her I-boats screened. A torpedo is launched at the CV Lake Champlain and misses. On the following day, she locates a surface TF and managing to deflect the TF's screen manages to sink the CA Indianapolis which had already been moderately damaged and her escort a damaged Benson Class DD.

An MTBron based in Negros manages to sink an I-boat operating near Basilan Island in the southern Philippines.

A Manila based air search locates a DD Task Force consisting of 4 DDs and 2 DEs and a strike is launched against the destroyer squadron. Coming at low altitude are 80 Zeroes escorting 20 torpedo equipped Ki-67 Peggys. A nearby CV Task Force (Adm. Litch commanding) allocates some emercency cover with only 20 F6F Hellcats vectoring in. In the ensuing air combat, Valencia is wounded in action against Sakai while 9 other fighters fall to Sugino and Ohta with no loss to the Japanese. The wound is enough to incapacitate the ace for the rest of the war. The Peggys meanwhile, zero in a Butler Class DE and manages to lightly damage her ('D1').

Air Operations (31 Dec '44 - 2 Jan '45)

As dawn arrived on the last day of 1944, a CV Task Force (Adm. Montgomery commanding) launches its air components consisting of 60 Hellcats armed with bombs (with David McCampbell), 40 SB2C helldivers and 40 TBM Avengers. No air opposition is encountered but AA fire downs 10 of the Hellcats but the raid manages to destroy 10 Ki-67 Peggys and 10 Ki-49s. Simultaneously, in a fighter sweep launched from Akamatsu Field to Legaspi; 30 Ki-84 Franks and 10 Ki-44 Tojos escorting 20 bomb-laden Peggys encounter opposition in the form of 20 P-51D Mustangs with Johnson and 20 Marine F4U Corsairs with Aldrich and Hanson. The aces manage to down 10 of the bombers while losing 10 F4Us to the escorting Jap fighters. Aldrich is lightly wounded which may keep him out of action for awhile.

Later that evening, a moonlit strike is attempted by 10 night-trained F6F Hellcats but the pilots could not find the airfield.

Naval Operations (31 Dec '44 - 2 Jan '45)

US Subron 9 operating out of the waters SW of Kyushu locates a merchant shipping TF and with 3 of her subs, manages to damage some of her ships. One of the them is commanded by Fluckey, our sub ace.

The AFs around Manila are a hum-drum of activity once more as 100 A6M5 Zekes (SOS team of Sakai, Ohta and Sugino flying) escort 10 Ki-67 Peggys on a strike mission against Litch's CV TF. They manage to gain the bounce and down 20 Hellcats on CAP (out of 90) before the F6Fs turn back the bombers without destroying a single plane. The task force continues to proceed north of Luzon. Enroute, it is attacked by two subrons which miss an attack transport from two I-boats.

 

Air Operations (3-4 Jan '45)

A raid from Akamatsu AF consisting of 30 Ki-84 Franks and 10 N1K2 Georges escorting 10 Ki-67 Peggys encounter 20 P-51s with Johnson and 10 F4Us with Hanson. Air combat fails to yield a decisive result and the bombers produce a negligible result as well.

A Japanese night strike from Manila composed of 30 G4M Bettys are encountered by 20 P-61B Black Widows above the skies of Mindoro. 20 of the night bombers were turned back while the rest of them failed to do any appreciable damage to the installation.

Air Operations (3-4 Jan ’45) (Continued…)

Identical night raids are launched from Legaspi and Takao consisting of 20 P-38 night trained units. They target the Manila and Taihoku AFs respectively. Both raids have half their number aborted from flak and both raids come up empty.

In China, the 14th Air Force with Gen. Chenault in command, launches a strike from the Kweilin aerodromes against the airbase in Canton. Led by Kearby and 20 P-47 fighter-bombers and supported by 30 P-51s, 10 A-20 Havocs and 40 B-25 Mitchells. They destroy 10 “green” Ki-84 Franks on the ground and lightly damage (D1) the airfield with 10 B-25s turned back due to the base’s AA.

Back in Formosa, 60 B-25s, 20 P-51s and 30 P-38s on a ground support mission from Takao inflict some noticeable results on the Japanese forces on Shoku.

Guam’s isolated garrison is bombed from the air once more, both during the day and during the night. From Saipan, night trained pilots flying 20 F4Us, 20 RAAF Beaufighters and 20 A-20s are joined later by their daylight flying brethren of 10 P-51 and 40 P-38 FBs causing some concern to the enemy’s already shrinking morale. The Tinian based night fighters (10 A-20s, 20 B.ftrs and 20 P-61 Black Widows) were not as effective though.



Naval Operations (3-4 Jan ’45)

Taihoku AF is attacked as carrier based planes (70 F6Fs, 60 SB2Cs and 40 TBMs) signal the return of the “big, blue blanket”. 10 Franks are destroyed in air combat as the Hellcats elect to drop their ordnance to engage the enemy. Ten more Ki-84s are decimated on the ground by the bombers as the airfield remains only lightly damaged. Adm. Montgomery (on board the CV Enterprise) deserves the credit for eliminating Japanese air opposition on Formosa once more.

An air search originating from Manila find a fleet of oilers and merchantmen escorted by a sole DE. IJN Subron 17 off Eastern Mindanao report one boat making contact with no hits reported. The Manila air group commander decides to take care of the ships himself by launching 110 bomb-laden Zeroes accompanied by the SOS team (Sakai etc.) and 10 Ki-67 Peggys with torps. As the ships approach Samar, Legaspi based fighters (Lightnings and Mustangs with Johnson, ten each) rise to cover the oilers. Unfortunately, the Japanese aces get the first shot downing Johnson and the P-51s. The pilot manages to chute to safety and is picked up by a friendly PT Boat. The Peggys line up on the DE and her AA crew manage to drive the bombers off.

In the vicinity of the Malay Peninsula, a ground strike is launched from Bach Gia, French Indo-China against the 9th AusDiv currently located north of Singora. The elements contain 50 Ki-21 Sallys, flying at extended range. A nearby British Carrier TF (Adm. Power commanding) launches emergency cover cap and 30 Corsairs from the CV Victorious manage to intercept the Japanese planes, downing 10 of them. We get confirmed reports of 10 more Sallys lost due to damage on return to Bach Gia. IJN Subron 11 off the Andamans in the Bay of Bengal finds Power’s TF and though she manages to screen three I-boats, two are able to launch torpedoes at the flagship but miss. The subs find another target in the form of a merchant assault task force managing to sink some of the boats. This event repeats itself with an attack from IJN Subron 16 around the same area from one I-boat while two torpedoes miss the CA Cumberland. Fortunately, although some soldiers were lost unexpectedly, it didn’t hamper the amphibious assault on Jitra. One battalion from the 19th IndDiv makes landfall (See Ground Ops).

More I-boats make their presence felt as IJN Subron 18 (located off the Celebes Sea) makes contact with a heavy cruiser escorted by two DDs. With three available boats, The DDs manage to screen one while the CA Chester manages to elude two torps.

Finally, IJN Subron 17 off E. Samar, manage to sink some more merchant shipping which dock at Legaspi and disembark more reinforcements for the Luzon campaign.

Ground Operations (31 Dec ’44 – 4 Jan ’45)

As this is the first operation mounted by SEAC, Lord Mountbatten’s inspirational speech before the sortie must’ve made an impact as the lone Indian battalion defeats Jitra’s intrinsic garrison and captures the AF intact without loss.

The 14th Army, not to be outdone captures Singora with the 9th AusDiv on a march down the peninsula.

Battle of Shoku (Formosa)

Led by the 4th MarDiv and supported by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd MarDiv and the 11th AbnDiv, Gen. H.M. Smith’s ground forces attack the retreating Japanese from Takao (50th and 94th JapDivs) which are reinforced by the stationary 56th JapBde. Though supported by air, the attack stalls as the Japanese hold though losing more men to the Marines than vice-versa.

Road to Manila (Philippines)

Gen. Eichelberger (6th Army CO) orders the 1st CavDiv and the supporting 37th InfDiv (“Buckeyes”) to march west up the Bicol Peninsula from their base at Legaspi towards Manila. Enroute they encounter the 23rd JapBde with orders from Gen. Yamashita to hold until relieved. And they do, inflicting equal numbers of casualties to the US Divs as it received. The Tiger of Malaya’s jungle fighting capabilities have not diminished, even while on the defensive.

Battle of Central Luzon (Philippines)

In a simultaneous offensive, Gen. Swift in his first action with the 184th Regt.(of the 7th InfDiv) leading the 32nd and 43rd Inf Div encounter the 2nd JapDiv east of Baguio. The local JapDiv commander acting on his own initiative, manages to hold off Swift’s attack with both sides losing equal numbers of men.

END REPORT (1/1/45)

 

TURN 2/1/45

Air Operations (5-6 Jan ’45)

Philippines: From Manila, the SOS team (Sakai, Ohta and Sugino) along with 110 A6M5s escorting twenty Ki-67 Hiryus (Peggys) and twenty Ki-49 Donryus (Helens) head east on a bombing mission towards Legaspi. CAP over the base consists of ten P-51Ds led by Johnson, thirty P-38s and ten F4Us led by Hanson. The American warplanes take down twenty Sallys but the Zekes manage to cut a swath through the Marine air contingent with Hanson suffering minor injuries. AA fire has minimal effect but the leftover Peggys fail to score any hits on the airfield.

From Akamatsu Field, thirty Ki-84 Hayates, twenty N1K1 Shiden-Kais and ten Ki-61 Hiens flying top cover for twenty Ki-67s sortie against Mindoro AF. Opposing this raid are twenty P-38s and ten Corsairs courtesy of the RAAF, which unfortunately proves fatal for the latter as the Japanese fighters annihilate each and every one of them. Caught on the ground are twenty P-61Bs, which the bombers miss along with the airfield.

Naval Operations (5-6 Jan ’45)

At Jitra, the rest of the 19th IndDiv debarks under the protective aerial umbrella from Admiral Power’s CV TF. The RN carriers with a huge surface escort steam down the Strait of Malacca, sailing towards Singapore.

A carrier strike from Admiral Litch’s TF is launched against the airfield at Amoy, China. With forty F6Fs armed with bombs along with thirty SB2Cs and twenty TBMs, they locate ten Zekes and ten Franks caught on the ground. Though unable to achieve significant results with the enemy aircraft, they manage to suppress (‘S’) the airfield.

Enroute to her new base at Legaspi, the task force becomes a magnet to the subrons stationed at the Balintang Channel between Formosa and Luzon. With all six boats available to it, IJN Subron 13 is unable to penetrate the screen and loses an I-boat to a series of depth charge attacks. Litch’s TF’s destroyers only manage to screen five boats belonging to IJN Subron 15. With a torpedo that hits its mark, a single sub manages to sink the CV Boxer with all hands reported as lost. Adm. Litch has a breakdown and is relieved of command. With Adm. Low taking command on the BB Wisconsin, along with the CV Lake Champlain, they encounter another IJN suborn (19) stationed off the Philippine Sea. With three boats making contact, all subs make the decision to dive as Low has ordered all destroyers to commence active “pinging”.

Air Operations (7-9 Jan ’45)

A joint strike is ordered to attack American ground forces on the Bicol Peninsula. From Akamatsu Field, twenty Ki-84 Franks and ten Ki-61 Tonys escorting twenty Ki-67 Peggys are joined by twenty Manila-based Peggys joined by a hundred Zeroes and the SOS team. No interceptors are encountered but the bombers have no telling effect on the Yanks below.

Later that night, thirty P-38s attempt to bomb the Manila airfields but to no avail as ten are turned back due to flak.

Naval Operations (7-9 Jan ’45)

Admiral Montgomery sends his carrier planes on a ground support mission in the continuing battle for Shoku. With sixty F6Fs armed with bombs and forty SB2Cs and thirty TBMs, they attack the JapDivs opposing the Marines and obtain a good result.

From Adm. Power’s RN CV task force, a flight of thirty Corsairs, ten Seafires, ten Swordfishes and ten Avengers is sent to attack shipping in the port of Singapore. Losing ten Corsairs to eighty intercepting Zeroes, both torpedo bombers line up on a Jap. CL TF. Concentrating on the light cruiser Kuma, the Avengers are turned back by her AA guns but the Swordfishes press on the attack, managing to lightly (‘D1’) damage her.

Adm. Power then detaches part of her surface forces placing Adm. Martin in command from the BB Howe. The force consists of another battleship (KGV), five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and two destroyers. She makes daylight contact with some Japanese barges off Bintan Island. Eighty bomb-laden Zeroes are sent to attack the surface fleet but are intercepted by twenty Corsairs, twenty Seafires, ten Martlets, ten Hellcats and ten Firefly’s from Adm. Power’s carrier fleet. Ten Zeroes and ten Corsairs are lost in this air melee as the Japanese jettison their ordnance to challenge the Royal Navy’s carrier pilots. The barges are all sent to the bottom in the ensuing slaughter from the guns of Admiral Martin’s task force.

Air Operations (10-11 Jan ’45)

During the night, the Japanese launch a staging strike from Manila to Aparri with the purpose of raiding the Takao harbor facilities. Launching is thirty “Elite” G4M Bettys carrying torpedoes but they encounter opposition in the form of twenty night-trained P-38s. They successfully down ten of the bombers and abort the rest.

Later that day, The US Air Force strikes back by launching a raid on the airbase at Minchow, China. One hundred twenty five B-25s from Takao effectively demolish ten A6Ms and ten Ki-84s caught on the ground. They lightly (‘D1’) damage the airfield as well.

From the same base, thirty P-38 and twenty P-51D fighter-bombers attack Amoy finding the same composition of planes on the ground. They, however miss the targets completely. From Kweilin, the 14th Air Force continues its pressure on Canton, switching to attacks on the CEF OSB. They miss their target, too.

Naval Operations (10-11 Jan ’45)

From IJN Subron 14 off Legaspi, four KAITEN attacks are launched against the USN ships stationed there. All attacks failed and four of the subs that launched them are lost as well.

An air search originating from Manila finds a CVE task force leaving Panay, it turns out that the ships are on an ASW mission seeking I-boats to sink. Composed of six “jeep” carriers and two destroyer escorts, she patrols the IJN Subron 18 area off the Sulu Sea and reports no kills.

IJN Subron 8 operating off Panay with two boats making contact intercepts another similar task force. The CVE TF (Adm. Davison commanding) manages to screen the attackers. An air strike is then launched from Manila against this force consisting of the SOS team and 110 Zekes with twenty Ki-67 Peggys armed with torpedoes. They encounter forty FM2 Wildcats and the Japanese aces and company destroy twenty of them and turn back the rest as they manage to get the upper hand again. <<Sakai is still escorting Army bombers again as he did in the movie “Zero Pilot”>> The Peggys line up on a single CVE (USS Kitkun Bay) and are turned back by her ship’s AA gunners. On their turn of hunting down the I-boats of IJN Subron 8, they too come up empty.

From Saipan, a single merchant assault unit unloads two Army regiments off Guam…

GROUND OPERATIONS (5-11 Jan ’45)

GUAM (Amphibious Landing): Commanded by Admiral Fechteler (who does not affect the battle), the ships discharge their cargo, which is led by Gen. Hall comprised of the 34th InfRegt of the 24th InfDiv and the 167th InfRegt of the 31st InfDiv. The 34th assaults Agana (an anchorage) directly with the 167th landing on a beach NE of Agana to lend support. Facing the soldiers in Agana is a lone Japanese battalion that is destroyed in the fighting as the anchorage is captured without loss. Meanwhile, advancing scout parties report that an under strength Japanese InfRegt is still present within the jungles of Guam.

PHILIPPINES: Gen. Yamashita seizes the initiative and redeploys units in Luzon and affects the ongoing campaigns significantly. The IJA 4th InfDiv reinforces the Bicol battle (in the nick of time as we shall see), while the IJA 79th InfBde reinforces the Cabanatuan battle up northern Luzon.

Battle of Cabanatuan (Central Luzon)

A successful attack by Gen. Swift commanding the 32nd InfRegt of the 7th InfDiv, supported by the 32nd and 43rd InfDivs succeeds in pushing back the Japanese forces. Losses to the Japanese amount to casualties equivalent to a regiment while the 32nd InfRegt loses about two battalions. The IJA 2nd InfDiv breaks and retreats with the newly deployed IJA 79th InfBde into Vigan. The 32nd InfRegt and 32nd InfDiv manage to keep contact and pursue the Japanese. The 43rd InfDiv is left behind to consolidate her gains.

Battle for Bicol (SE of Manila)

Leading with the 37th InfDiv and the 1st CavDiv in support, Gen. Eichelberger orders a resumption of the drive to Manila as the opposition has been diminished to an over strength battalion. Unfortunately, the IJA 4th InfDiv reinforces the battle and manages to deflect the odds a bit. With Yamashita yelling from his radio, the Japanese forces hold on inflicting losses to about two battalions against the Americans but receiving double of that from their own losses.

FORMOSA (The Battle of Shoku)

With the local division commanders taking initiative, the 1st MarDiv takes the lead while being supported by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th MarDivs and the Army’s 11th AbnDiv as they continue the battle. Facing them are the IJA 56th InfBde and the 50th and 94th InfDivs which have been “broken” for some time now. Though effectively supported from the air, the assault falters as Gen. Suzuki intervenes and manages to stiffen up the opposition to the American push. Marine losses equate to two battalions; the Japanese, three.

MALAY PENINSULA: The 20th InfBde of the 9th AusDiv captures Khota Bharu in a skirmish with its intrinsic garrison and suffers the loss of a battalion.

Engineering:

Supply Base construction starts at both Legaspi and Rangoon.

END REPORT (2/1/45)

Scuttlebutt is passed around that a “secret” weapon has arrived in Taihoku and is being assembled as the week’s activities start to abate a bit. Meanwhile, it is also rumored that the Russians have left their embassy in Tokyo.

 

Turn 1/8/45 Reports

Air Operations (13-14 July’45)

The week opens with air activity over China. From Kunming, US P-38s, B-25s and RAF B-24s make mincemeat of the IJA 66th InfDiv’s supply depot as well as three defensive strongpoints.

Davao is Southern Mindanao is hit from Cebu and Panay. Mosquitoes from the former blast a mortar company while an amalgamation of Liberators, Mitchells, Corsairs and Beaufighters courtesy of His Majesty’s Royal Australians and New Zealanders destroy an artillery position on the ground.

Okinawa is pounded from all sides as targets are “softened up” in a prelude to invasion. From Legaspi, B-24s skimming near sea level at extended range (though a fifth are aborted due to flak), their efforts pay dividends as an ammunition dump goes up in flames and a pillbox is demolished.

Formosa gives them a one-two punch as B-25s destroy five major strongpoints as well as two battalions laying beach obstacles. Some camouflaged guns also take some hits as well as an OP. P-38s devastates a minor supply depot as well as a defensive position.

A carrier raid from TFs 2 and 7 composed of the usual suspects coated in blue, kill a battalion in the open moving from Yontan to Kadena. A major ammo dump is blown to bits as well.

The RN’s flyboys lend a hand as Hellcats, Seafires, Avengers and Corsairs demolish two defensive strongpoints with the final blow coming from TFs 16 and 28 (a combined US-UK force) with the regular suspects from both quarters. They destroy three strongpoints, a major ammo dump, and some gun emplacements. Okinawa is softened all right.

The IJA attempts to transfer some Franks into Naha except that the airfields are under constant patrol from airbases in Formosa. Half the Franks return to base.

Naval Operations (13-14 July’45)

ASW sweeps by TFs 47, 48 and 49 in the patrol sector located south of Okinawa come up diddlysquat.

A sub contact from IJN Subron 10 locates RN TF 23, west of Sonsorel Island, east of Mindanao. The heavy cruiser London is picked off by four I-boats and she sinks after being hit by several torpedoes.

In the same vicinity, RN TF 31 is spotted by the same I-boats minus one and all are screened by the task force’s escorts.

An air search from Sasebo finds TF 12 and is reported as “2xCV, 2xCVL, 2xCL and 6xDD”. Another search finds TF 17 leaving Legaspi, this force is identified as “3xCVL, 3xBB, 3xCA and 4xAPD”.

Air Operations (15-17 July ‘45)

A Japanese night transfer from Kyushu to Okinawa goes without a hitch. Despite patrolling P-61s from Formosa, about twenty Ki-84s land on Ie Shima, Kadena, Yontan and Machinato fields.

From Keelung, P-47s strafe Okinawa with some of the “Jugs” aborting due to flak. On the ground are the Franks, which successfully came in from a few days back but the damage from the raid is negligible.

P-38 fighter-bombers follow up the attack but are intercepted by the same Franks. The Lightnings decide to jettison their ordnance and fight it out. On hand are veteran aces McDonald and Robbins and half of the Franks are KIA’d with no loss for the good guys.

From Takao, the B-25s are sent on another ground support mission despite the grumbling of some tired crews. A percentage is turned back from the CAP provided by Okinawa’s remaining Ki-84s but half of those Franks are shot down by the Mitchell’s’ returning fire. The bombers nail a defensive strongpoint and a gun emplacement. Unfortunately, more than fifty planes are forced to ditch in the wide-open sea, fatigued crews just too tired to make it back home.

Kunming follows suit and sends its planes on a repeat mission agains the IJA 66th InfBde. The mission is a success with a n enemy battalion wiped clean from their unit’s roster. Unfortunately more than twenty B-25s and about half that number in RAF Liberators are lost due to pilot fatigue.

A carrier strike from TFs 17 and 22 (jeep carriers) kill a battalion moving along the airfields in the open while another defensive strongpoint bites the dust. Another carrier strike from TFs 1 and 13 do even better. Splitting up their components between dive-bombers and level bombers, the former erases another strongpoint off the map while the latter obliterates seven defensive positions, more artillery embrasures and some command bunkers. Some planes were aborted to AA but are not missed.

TFs 3 and 12 join the party with sending about four hundred planes, smashing three defensive positions and blowing up an ammo dump. Legaspi’s B-24s are ordered for a low level strike again but come up empty and minus a fifth of their planes, ditching in the sea due to pilot fatigue as well.

Naval Operations (15-17 July ‘45)

ASW sweeps again come up with nothing to show for.

Meanwhile, the very objects of the hunt are not done being a thorn on the Allied side yet as subs from IJN Subron 5 makes contact with the “London-less” RN TF 23. Though an I-boat is screened off, two subs find the heavy cruiser Cornwall and put four torpedoes in her. She has a twenty-degree list and is dead in the water.

IJN Subron 7 finds RN TF 31 (mostly CVEs)