Invasion ist com! Normandie! (HPS AAR)

16:00 Hours, 7th June 1944

 

Advanced elements of 47th Panzer Corps, the Aufklarer Abteilung of the Panzer Lehr Division have started to arrive at the Invasion Front. The 12th SS Hitlerjugend has now fully arrived with the main divisional HQ approaching Troarn and both of its Panzer Grenadier Regiments are now poised to engage the enemy. The Panther Battalion of SS Panzer Regiment 12 has joined Panzer Regiment 21 in forming a wall of steel and fire in the ridges to the North East of Caen. They face a rolling advance of British troops headed by the 3rd Infantry Division. Artillery of the 21st Panzer Division, dug in in the center of Caen itself, has been pounding the advancing Tommies and caused them to halt at Blainville. The initial plan calls for the Panthers of the 12th SS and half of Pz.Rgt.22 to make the left wing of a pincer coming from the ridges to the North West of Herouville, while the other half of Pz.Rgt.22 will take its Panzer IV’s through the village and through the defensive lines of the 1st Company of Pioniere Battalion 716 holding the ground to the north of Herouville. The assault is programmed for 20:00 Hours to minimize disruption from air attack or naval bombardment from the big guns offshore. The Stab of Panzer Regiment 22, currently dug in the steelworks to the south of Caen, will coordinate the attack.

Current sitaution to the North of Caen

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

Action was also hotting up in the Santa Cruz-Solomon Islands Front. The USAAF’s 39th Fighter Squadron had earned itself  somewhat of a hot shot reputation with many of its pilots achieving at least one kill and had several aces on its roster. It was also the first unit in the Pacific to be equipped with the new P-38 Lightning fighter, and later to upgrade to the G version of said plane. It has started with P-39’s and had spent a few months gaining its battle spurs at Ndeni and then at Horn Island against the IJNAF and IJAAF. It had also received a glut of new pilots, rotated back to the front after spending some time sharing their battle earned skills with rookie pilots Stateside. One illustrious new pilot one the roster was one Major Boyington, former of the AVG in China. As such the squadron was sometimes derogatorily know as The Flying Celebs. However 8th December was to prove that sometimes their hot shot reputation was well deserved.

Tasked with flying a Sweep mission over Lunga for three squadrons of B-17s tasked with bombing the airfield there, there was some difficulty in timing the arrival over Guadalcanal before the bombers. Bad weather on their flight route caused them to take a longer flight route to avoid several tropical storms. As such they caught the panicked screams of the crews of the B-17s claiming they were being assaulted by hundreds of enemy fighters over their target. The fighter jocks were somewhat sceptical as it was well established among the fighter crews that bomber fliers see 10 enemy planes for every real one there. But for once they were wrong as there were indeed ‘hundreds’ of enemy planes over Lunga, waiting for the Americans to come over and dance the merry dance! Into the maelstrom sailed the B-17s and their name ‘Fortresses’ was an apt nickname. 50 and 30cals spat out deadly fire at the swooping Zeroes and Oscars. Only one B-17 was actually shot down over the target area, but another 5 were posted MIA as they never reached home base…

When the 39th actually got over Lunga, a few minutes after the bombers had headed for home, they did indeed see a mass of enemy fighters, stacked at different heights over Lunga Point. Smoke from fires around the airfield was testament to the bravery of the bomber crews that carried out their mission despite the odds. Flying at 20,000 feet the squadron leader gave the order for the squadron to engage the enemy and thus swooped down guns and cannons blazing as he lined up a Ki-44 in his sights and blew it out of the tropical sky…

Over 20 enemy fighters were shot down, that added to a total of 52 across the theatre for a loss of 11 on our side. Yet the news was tinged with sadness as it was confirmed that 5 Kill Ace 2LT Gilmore and 7 Kill Ace LTC Lynch were Killed in Action over Gudalacanal.

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

8th December 1942

COMSOPAC was alive with the signals coming from Maloelap. Firstly from the Washington saying she was engaging incoming enemy ships. Consternation gripped HQ as it was feared the Japanese fleet, elements of which are known to be based at Truk, had sortied against the landings. The US Admirals were confident that the Washington and the South Dakota could easily handle themselves against the main Japanese battle line but they feared the worst if carriers intervened, three of which are definitely operating in the area. Fears, however, were rapidly allayed as a short message followed on saying the enemy vessel (in the singular) had been dispatched. Observers also confirmed that it was a small vessel, possibly a damaged escort of the trio of oilers engaged by the ANZAC cruisers earlier in the week.

 

Aerial support for the main landings was at full pelt and the squadrons involved put in a maximum effort to keep the ships secure and the incoming bombers escorted. Years into the future scholars studying the battles in the Marshalls would have come across the operations report for the Battle of Maloelap dated 8th Decemebr 1942:

Sorties flown 8-12-42 in Area of Operations SOPAC

VMF-221 & VMO-251           39

VMSB-151                                14

VF-71 (remnant)                    15

90th Bomber Group             16

28th OG                                  14

 

All these missions were flown in support of the land assault on the second Japanese line of defence. Further overnight landings had reinforced the Marine presence on the atoll. The 8th Marines was fully unloaded and prepared to spearhead the assault while the 1st Marines would be in reserve. As it turned out the 8th supported by the Stuarts of the 1st USMC Tank Battalion and the tubes of the 1st USMC Artillery Battalion were enough to penetrate the Japanese lines and totally wipe out, to a men the garrison of roughly 2,000 men. A large amount of material was captured but very little in terms of ammunition and supplies, a testament to the ferocity of the Japanese defence. The Americans now had another well developed airfield from which to base their bombers and search plan.

The final assault at Maloelap

 

The Mandate Islands

A little bit of History fluff on the Mandate Islands from Wiki

South Pacific Mandate

The South Sea Mandate (南洋庁 Nan’yō-chō?) was the Japanese League of Nations mandate consisting of several groups of islands (modern-day Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Marshall Islands) in the Pacific Ocean which came under the administration of Japan after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.

History

Early history

Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, after the start of World War I, Japan declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914 and participated in a joint operation with British forces in the Battle of Tsingtao to capture the German settlement in China’s Shandong Province. The Imperial Japanese Navy was tasked with pursuing and destroying the German East Asiatic Squadron and protection of the shipping lanes for Allied commerce in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

During the course of this operation, the Japanese Navy seized the German possessions in the Marianas, Carolines, Marshall Islands and Palau groups, mostly without resistance, by October 1914.

After the end of World War I, as determined in the Treaty of Versailles, Japanese occupation of former German colonies in Micronesia north of the equator was formally recognized, and Japan was given a League of Nations Class C mandate.

In line with the terms of the mandate, Japan sought to incorporate the islands as an integral part of its empire, mounting aggressive economic development and immigration programs. Japanese, Okinawan and Korean immigrants eventually came to outnumber islanders by as many as two to one.

Pacific War

During the 1930s, the Japanese Navy began construction of airfields, fortifications, ports, and other military projects in the islands controlled under the mandate, viewing the islands as “unsinkable aircraft carriers” with a critical role to play in the defense of the Japanese home islands against potential American invasion. These became important staging grounds for Japanese air and naval offensives in the Pacific War. This work was done in secret, but this was not a direct violation of the Washington Naval Treaty as that treaty, by its own terms contained in Article XIX, did not apply to the Mandated Islands.

In addition to the islands’ naval importance, the Japanese Army utilized the islands to support air and land detachments. The “island-hopping” strategy employed by the United States military caused the Japanese Empire to lose control of its Pacific possessions between 1943 and 1945.

The League of Nations mandate was formally revoked by the United Nations in July 1947, and the United States was made responsible for administration of the islands under the terms of a United Nations trusteeship agreement which established the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

Administration

Saipan in the Marianas archipelago was the most important island militarily and economically in the South Pacific Mandate, and became the center of subsequent Japanese settlement. Another important island was Truk in the Carolines archipelago, which was fortified into a major navy base by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The administration of South Pacific Mandate was managed by the Imperial Japanese Navy, which divided the region into six administrative districts reporting to naval headquarters in Truk. Later, in April 1922, civilian government was established in the form of a civil administration department which still reported to the local naval garrison commander in each of the six administrative districts: Saipan, Palau, Yap, Truk, Ponape and Jaluit Atoll.

Later, the headquarters of the South Pacific Mandate was transferred from Truk to Koror, Palau, and its governor reported directly to the Prime Minister of Japan. However, after the establishment of a Ministry of Colonial Affairs, the mandate’s governor was ordered to report to the colonial minister in June 1929.

When colonial affairs were absorbed into the Ministry of Greater East Asia in November 1942, the primacy of the Imperial Japanese Navy was again recognized by appointing an admiral as governor. Furthermore, the six administrative districts were reduced to three in November 1943: Marianas, Truk and Palau.

Significance

The population of the South Seas Mandate was too small to provide interesting markets and the indigenous people had very limited financial resources for the purchase of imported goods. The major significance of the mandate to the Empire of Japan was its strategic location, dominating sea lanes across the Pacific Ocean and providing convenient provisioning locations for sailing vessels in need of water, fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Later, the islands became important coaling stations for steam-powered vessels.

Economy

The mandated territories produced significant quantities of sugar cane, bananas, pineapples, taro, coconuts, and other tropical farming products on a par with Taiwan. The islands also provided bases for the Japanese fishing fleet.

In terms of mineral products, many islands yielded phosphates for farming, especially from Angaur island, which produced some 60,000 tonnes per year. Bauxite was another segment of the colonial economic structure, although the mineral was only present in the Palau group. Large quantities of pearls, both natural and cultured, were extracted from the islands.

The islands also allowed for regular flight links for long range seaplanes such as the Kawanishi H6K2-L (“Mavis”) of Dai Nippon Koku KK.

Area of Japanese adminstered Mandate Isalnds

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

One aspect of the game I really enjoy, probably because its the only one I can master, is the submarine warfare. The game boasts every submarine to have ploughed its way through the Pacific, well almost all of them. It is a side of the game that gives you a strategic feel, you are the man responsible for carrying out the submarine warfare against the Japanese merchant traffic taking back resources and oil to the Home Islands. Against the AI this is a relatively easy thing to do, but against a human opponent in a PBEM it is far more difficult as convoy routes change when the wolf packs descend on them. Furthermore sub warfare also brings out one of the most frustrating parts of the game, the infernal dud rate of the MK14 torpedo. It really makes you sympathise with those men who had to fight with these faulty fish! The record in my games is one merchant in a game vs Fletcher (from Matrix Forum) that was hit by 18 consecutive duds in a run from Milne Bay to Merauke, via Port Moresby and Horn Island! Yet the successes bring a massive sense of achievement.

So far SS Pogy under LCDR Wales (no relation to HRH the Prince of Wales :P) has been a rising star of the Silent Service. She has been patrolling off the Japanese Home Islands for about 8 weeks and if you look at the screenie you can see her current state of ammunition. She has been responsible for sinking or damaging 19,425 tons of enemy shipping. The stats come from a recent creation by rcm161 and can be found in the Tech Section of the Matrix Forums on AE. The Submarine Reporter Tool is now crucial to my gaming experience and it is a great supplement to the excellent AE Tracker.

The unit patch is also work of the great community at the Matrix AE Forum. These patches come for Allied and Japanese air units, land units and ships. Kudos to Halsey, Lesbaker, Dixie, Smeulders and all the guys who have worked on the project.