4th January 1943
IJN ships have been spotted returning to Truk en masse via Kusaie Island. SS Grouper reports being heavily damaged when engaging a battleship of the Kongo Class and is returning to Tarawa leaking fuel oil. Happier news came from SS Thresher who reports hitting an enemy tanker off Tawi Tawi. The target erupted into orange flames as its cargo engulfed the ship in a sea of fire. The 20% drop in dud rate has already had a positive effect as this is the second consecutive hit in as many days!
The Washington and the South Dakota failed to make a mid ocean intercept of the enemy’s main carrier body. Despite the radar no contact was made and it is assumed that the enemy carriers pulled back Westwards mindful of the demise of the Junyo in these waters by surface action. Both capital ships will withdraw East to refill thier bunkers. Washington has very light damage and one 20mm mounted knocked out of action by the two bomb hits she received on the 3rd.
Much further to the West a mass of ships leave a port to a top secret destination…