August 1, 1943: Push Them Back! May-July 1943
These last few months have proven disastrous for the Japanese. The major actions are as follows:
1) A major counter-attack on Kwajalein was repulsed with great loss to the IJN. CVs Yorktown, Enterprise, Saratoga, and Lexington were dispatched at full speed from Pearl to engage a major IJN force in the Marshalls, resulting in the sinking of 3 CVs, 3 CVLs, 2 BBs, and numerous escort ships. The IJN managed to land forces on Kwajalein, but were repulsed with great loss to the Japanese. One of the mighty Yamato class BBs, the Kii, was sunk! Unfortunately, the escort carrier Chenango was lost at Kwajalein while defending the transports unloading supplies.
Lt. David Faroe, Air Group 6, USS Enterprise
May 22, 1943
Jack Barr and I were in the mess eating breakfast when we got the word. The Jap carriers had been spotted by a PBY out of Kwajalein and we'd be launching at daybreak. We finished up right quick and started the preflight, Jack and I waving to each other on the deck acting like we were ready to take on the whole Jap fleet. Well I think we saw most of it today. More Jap ships than you could count. We got airborne about 0500, winging our way westward with the boys in their new new Hellcats. The Japs were right were the PBY said they would be, steaming westward trying to flee from our 1000 pounders. Fat chance. Bobby Ring in vic 3 was the first to spot the Zekes coming up to stop us, but we had the taste of blood in our mouths after hearing about the Chenanago go down the day before. Bob Collins was on that ship, still haven't heard if he got out. In any case, I was ready for some payback. I said a small prayer that the Hellcats would keep the Zekes off us and bored in with Jack on my right wing. I stole a glance out the window, but he was looking dead ahead, boring in on the smokestacks. I got myself situated called back to Ronny in the backseat to keep an eye out and armed the bomb. Then the flak started. Heaviest I've seen to date, saw a few of the torpedo boys get hit down below but we pressed on, diving down on the biggest flattop I could find. I let loose at about 2000 feet and peeled left. Good hit right amidships. Saw a Zeke get blown right off the deck. Ronny called out some Zekes coming in and I booked it right down on deck trying to find the rest of the squadron. I got a few miles out and pulled right back up to 10000 where I found the rest of the boys forming up. I looked back and saw lots of black smoke, like someone was burning leaves all over the Pacific. Payback's a #%&*$#, aint it...
2) The South Pacific has been a hotbed of activity as well. The Marine landings at Torokina succeeded in capturing the airfield and efforts to reduce Rabaul have been successful. Many ships were sunk in the harbor under repeated air attack. The IJN has all but abandoned Rabaul as a naval and air base. In addition, the Shoho, Yamato, and Fuso were caught in the open and sunk near Rabaul.
3) Operation Welcome Mat. We dispatched a major bombardment fleet to hammer Truk, a major supply facility for IJN operations in the South Pacific. Six BBs bombarded the airfields at Truk, result in what intel calls over 340 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground.
Capt. Bill Preston, 44th Bomber Group, Torokina
June 8, 1943
Got the "Louisville Express" off the ground with little fuss, despite the heavy load, dipping my wing in salute to the waving Marines at the end of the airfield. Glad they're here, damn Japs are just 30 miles to the south where we ran them off after the invasion. Word had it there was a big Jap battlewagon to the north waiting for our resupply ships due in a week. Well, she was there alright, biggest damn ship I ever seen. She'd apparently already been hit by the boys at Port Moresby, we were just there for cleanup. Cleanup...yeah right. That damn boat opened up with the whole enchilada. Had flak throwing up columns of water right in front of us as we bored in at about 500 feet. As I got closer I could tell she was hit pretty good. The top decks were battered up and smoking. I couldn't miss, the boat was that damn big. Saw the Jap sailors scrambling around as I let loose and climbed away. I hit her good, and the rest of the flight did too. I don't know if she sank, but she was alight top to bottom as we disappeared over the horizon...
Corporal Reginald Hower, 7th Australian Division, Lae
July 31, 1943
Bloody balls up. These damn creaky boats barely got us on the beach before the Japs opened up. Those Yank battleships shut their arse up pretty quick tho. Assembled on the beach with my section leader and started up towards the airfield, our Matildas giving them a little what for. Got a little sporadic fire from the hangers, but we shut that #%&*$# down too with some direct fire from our tanks. Had the airfield in a hour, pushed the rest of the bastards back into the jungle in another. 'Bout damn time we got moving on New Guinea, what with the boys down at Moresby still under siege. Look out Tojo, the Aussies are in New Guinea to stay!Overall Strategic Picture
The Japanese have suffered several major defeats on land, air, and sea. Their defensive cordon is being pushed back, not easily, but pushed back nonetheless. New Guinea should be neutralized within the next 6 months, Truk is under fire, and the Marshall are neutralized. IJN losses have been enormous, with perhaps 50% of their available CVs sunk or in drydock.
Wake Island is scheduled for invasion soon, but intel reports the strongest garrison yet encountered is waiting for us there. Next in line is the Marianas....next stop Tokyo.