February 1, 1942: Bring me my Bow of Burning Gold...
The Japanese juggernaut continues its path of destruction through the Pacific. Singapore, Manila, and Bataan are now in dire straits. Port Moresby is under heavy air attack and is barely hanging on with the help of a few decimated squadrons of P-40s and P-39s. The USN is holding its ground, but that is also coming at a severe cost. The IJN/A shows no signs of slowing, despite a few minor defeats inflicted upon them. The next two months will surely tell if we can hold the Port Moresby-Luganville-Pago-Pago line or if we must retreat to a more southerly defensive line.Significant Events:
The IJN/IJA staged a massive thrust towards Midway that was narrowly parried only by the narrowest of margins. Our Intel division ferreted out information that a invasion fleet was enroute. CVs Enterprise, Yorktown, Saratoga, and Lexington were waiting by Midway when they arrived, but luck was not on our side. The invasion fleet was escorted by a CV and CVL carrying nearly 100 fighters. As a result, they had little with which to attack, but plenty to repulse our attack. Aircraft losses on both sides were terribly severe, exceeding 90% in some cases. The invasion fleet was decimated, but their CVs remained unscathed while the Enterprise took two torpedoes into her side. Both sides retired after three days of fighting, with the Big E heading to dry dock for about a month.
2) Midway 2
The IJN/IJA returned a few weeks later and managed to land a short regiment and some support troops at Midway. Our remaining CVs (minus Enterprise) repulsed the attack, bolstered by Marine dive-bomber and fighter squadrons as the organic squadrons were still recovering. Again, no joy on the IJN CVs, but we smashed their invasion fleet and took no ship losses. The Marines at Midway easily repulsed the assault, with the IJN/A taking very heavy casualties.
3) Battle of Lae Bay
A combined TF of AUS/RN/USN surface vessels caught the IJN unloading at Lae and destroyed most of a division as well as several support ships and tons of equipment. This should hopefully slow their advance across New Guinea. We're also hoping this will delay the arrival of air units as well, thus helping relieve Port Moresby. Intel:
Very little to report. The lines are not yet stabilizing, but appear to be headed in that direction. Most disturbing is the sighting of a German U-Cruiser near Manila. The bolstering of the IJN by the Kriegsmarine is a most unwelcome surprise. Plans:Operation Burning Bow--
Elimination of Canton and Baker Islands as viable air bases. With the arrival of several BBs from the West Coast as well as the nearly repaired Arizona, we now have the ability to shell advance enemy airfields. Two squadrons of BBs will depart in early February and destroy potential air bases at Canton and Baker Islands. This is will also give us some ability to gain the initiative in the Central Pacific and begin preparation for the invasion of Canton Island. Logistics:
With the capture of Canton Island, a new port was chosen to serve as a hub for the supply of AUS and Noumea: Pago-Pago. Pago-Pago has recieved reinforcements and two engineer battalions to reinforce defense and expand the harbor and airfield. The first vessels bearing supplies and fuel have already arrived and victualing is underway.