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

18th March 1943

Interesting times in China as the IJA seems to have launched a Northern Offensive coupled with moves on the Southern Front. Chinese positions to the East of Nanyang were assaulted but held dealing the Japanese a somewhat bloody nose. Six Japanese divisions supported by strong artillery elements assaulted defensive positions manned by the 2nd and 26th Group Armies. It is clear that Japan intends to surround the Loyang/Chengsha position by throwing her armoured units into the the plains to the North East of Nanyang and run into the rear of the Loyang position. The attack on Nanyang makes sense as it clears the left flank of the Japanese attack. Chinese redeployments have begun to take advantage of the wooden terrain behing Nanyang and to the South of Sian in order to counter the enemy superiority in armour.

Elsewhere Japanese cruisers bombarded the forward base at Bathurst Island causing moderate damage to the base there. Something must be done to counter the Japanese cruiser menace to the bases at Merauke and Bathurst.

Interesting events around Ponape as well. For a number of days Japanese transports had been seen snooping around Ponape. Earlier actions had seen submarines sinking several support craft there but these transports were soon identified to be troop carriers. As such DESRON 45, stationed at Tarawa, was ordered to try a high speed sweep of the atoll as submarines staked out the approaches. The last visual of the enemy transports was at last light on the 17th. DESRON 45 swept in and found the atoll bereft of enemy vessels. What they did fin however was a rain of bombs and torpedoes courtesy of D3A2’s and B5N2’s from a Japanese carrier hitherto unidentified somewhat to the North of Ponape. Thankfully no destroyers were hit or damaged but the call was too close for comfort!

Manchester United 2 Stoke City 0

Match corresponding to the FA Premier League and played at Old Trafford.

After the debacle at Anfield on Saturday and our elimination from the FA Cup (update on blog was not forthcoming as we were moving into our new house on Saturday) David De Gea called in ‘sick’ yesterday and to make matters worse Anders Lindegaard has apparently hurt hos foot quite badly in training. As such Ben Amos was fielded in goal by SAF, a rather telling moment in the career of our Polish goalkeeper! Needless to say it was a game of two penalties, that for once were as clear as the light of day, and the penalty that was the clearest of the three and not given. United dominated this match quite easily and Paul Scholes seems to have turned back the years with quite a masterful performance in midfield. Stoke were uncharacteristically quiet and lacked their usual bite and growl. Hell even Park looked like a footballer for once and won us our first penalty that was transformed by Chicharito, his first goal since the game against Newcastle United in November. Valencia continued in his recent rich vein of form and drove the Stoke left back rather insane with drooping shoulders and mazy runs. Dimitar Berbatov, sporting a new Balotelli style mohican, converted our second spot kick in the second half and that was the end of the game as a contest. Paul Poga came on with 20 minutes to go and rather impressed in his Premier League debut. An evening that was made even better by the news that former Red Darron Gibson scored Everton’s winner against Manchester City at Goodison Park! One can argue that that was Gibson’s greatest achievement for United. The game against Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge has been nicely set up!

Manchester United Team

40 Ben Amos

3   Patrice Evra

5   Rio Ferdinand

6   Johnny Evans

12 Chris Smalling

13 Ji-Sung Park

22 Paul Scholes

16 Micheal Carrick

25 Antonio Valencia

9   Dimitar Berbatov (Goal/Penalty)

14 Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (Goal/Penalty)

SUBTITUTES

Paul Pogba on for Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez

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

17th March 1943

Onc again the Bay of Bengal resounds to the sinking of British and Commonwealth merchant ships. Indeed SEAC has immediately set plans in motion to strike back at th hornet’s nest that sank three transports at Calcutta harbour itslef.

Warning of the raid came early in the morning and a combined CAP of RAF Hurricanes and USAAF Warhawks was up. Hurris flying top ceiling at 20,000 feet while the P-40’s held the low station at around 13,000 feet. A mass of Ki-43’s escorted five G4M2‘s. The Japanese fighters seemed to have got the bounced on the American fighters with three Warhawks falling from the sky in the opening minuted of camobat. Thats when the Hurricanes brought their 20mm cannon to bear, diving from height onto the Oscars. Four enemy fighters went down quickly while another five quickly followed. Yet fighter jocks being fighter jocks…

Too busy tussling with their Japanese counterparts, the fighters forgot the real danger. The 18 inch torpedoes carried by the Mitsubishis. Straight as an arrow the five enemy bombers achieved a remarkable 60% hit rate as they sunk the Karoa, the Silverteak and the City of Pretoria. The 225 Group, responsible for the air defence of Calcutta, got a severe chewing off from the high command. Merchant Marines were losing their lives due to the inability to defend the air space above Calcutta!

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

15th March 1943

US submarines dealt a heavy blow to whatever operation the Japanese were carrying out in the Solomons. Heavy maritime traffic was reported entering and leaving Munda with a mass of fast transports, destroyers and APDs spotted. Intelligence also reported a mass redeployment of the 38th Infantry Divison from Guadalcanal to somewhere else, at the moment it was moving to Lunga, no doubt to be loaded on bigger transports. An interception by a squadron of PT boats met disaster at the hands of a powerful covering force of two battleships and several heavy cruisers. At least one carrier, identified as the Hiyo, was also covering the operation. Enter the Silent Service.

Two submarines, the SS Salmon and the venerable S-18 both struck at the fleet support train supplying fuel to the enemy ships in the Southern Solomons. First the Salmon struck the Japanese oiler Toei Maru with two torpedoes with one explosion that set off a massive fire as fuel reacted to the flames created by the exploding warhead.

The smaller, but carrying more reliable torpedoes, S-18 also successfully engaged the fleet train by severely damaging the 7,000 ton AO Ondo. Once again the gratifying sight of full bunkers going up in flames was seen through the periscope of the skipper on the S-18.

A third tanker was sunk of Miri, Borneo by the SS Searaven. Miri is no doubt one of the Empire’s fule hubs and as such will soon have a standing wolf pack patrolling its approaches.

Finally the SS Runner successfully attacked a convoy heading into Truk for the second consecutive day. If it was the Celebes Maru yesterday, today it was the turn of the 4,875 ton Atlantic Maru to receive a torpedo deep in her guts! These latest victims make 74,695 tons of enemy shipping sunk or destroyed in a week!

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

11th-12 March 1943 contd

12-3-43

Operation Tully was a go. It had been obvious since the capture of Mili and Majuro that an attack on the central Marshall Islands was soon to come. Twice before the operation had been called off as enemy carriers snooped into the area of operations. The last cancellation averted a major disaster thanks to the SS Trigger and her attack on the Shokaku and subsequent location of the main enemy fleet. Third time was as charm. The main carrier fleet was suspected in home ports, well the Kaga and Shokaku were in dry dock for sure. Other elements of the enemy carrier force were spotted two days ago in a cover position near the southern Solomon Islands. Large number of fast transport vessels were seen coming into Lunga, the carriers no doubt providing aerial cover. Ship sightings at Ponape were proved to be ACM’s, sunk by the SS Silversides.

The plan called for simultaneous landings on Roi-Namur and Kwajaelin. The 1st USMC Paras would carry out their third combat jump of the war as they dropped into Roi-Namur in support of the the Army’s 35 Infantry Regiment. The main landings on Kwajalein would see two USMC tank battalions in support of the 15th Marine Defence Battalion and the 5th Marine Regiment. The 1st Marine Regiment would act as floating reserve should it be needed. The operation against Kwajalein also saw the baptism of fire of a new landing vessel, the Landing Ship Tank (LST) that would deliver the tanks right onto the beach!

The Bombardment force was led by the New Mexico that bombarded the main enemy positions on Kwajalein prior to the arrival of a force of minesweepers leading the LST’s in. It proved to be an awe inspiring and fearsome sight for the tankers as the big guns on the battleship lit up the coming dawn. The 3rd USMC Tank Battalion was going into action for the first time and it was many a trooper that emptied their breakfast into their tanks.

The New Mexico leads the Bombardment Force

 

As it turned out the fireworks just made a lot of noise and smoke as opposition was negligible as it was obvious the Japanese had pulled out a while ago. Several enemy companies did put up some sort of spirited last ditch defence but the outcome was never in doubt. Indeed Roi-Namur was bereft of enemy troops and it was only US Marine Paras that met the GI’s on the beaches. Whatever the case several units did gain the experience of their first amphibious landings and the LST proved more that capable of the task it was designed for. Furthermore two importbant bases had been acquired that would soon be able to project American power further into the Central Pacific

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

11th-12th March 1943

11-3-43

IJN destroyers tried on the 11th March to repeat the stunning success their cruisers had achieved a few days earlier in sinking 13 transports vessels sailing in and out of Calcutta. Three Fubuki Class Destroyers, sleek prows digging into the waters of the Bay Bengal, used a dense fog to steal in under the eyes of aerial search planes scouring the area. The Royal Navy, smarting from the earlier attack and willing to restore some lost honour and some faith in the the hearts of the Merchant Marine had similarly posted a patrol under the auspices of the heavy cruisers Exeter and Shropshire and were steaming into the path of the enemy ships. Fog may hide you from human eyes but not from the mechanical one of radar.

Shropshires radar mast was the first one to start reporting contacts. Soon the light crusier Dauntless was also tracking three enemy vessels at an extreme range of 22,000 yards. Full battle speed was ordered and armour piercing ordinance was started to move to the turrents on the Royal Navy task force. Solid contact via visual was first made by the Exeter than soon opened up with a full broadside of eight inchers. She was soon joined by the Shropshire as the light cruisers and destroyers sped forward into torpedo range. With shells flying over their heads at supersonic speeds it was the crew of the RNN Tjerk Hiddes that scored first blood when two four inch shells tore into the number one turret on the IJN Murakumo. Highlighted as she was by the sudeen strike the Exeter found her range and struck three telling direct hits that first slewed the enemy vessel to a stop and was then followed by a tremendous explosion that caused the ship to sink.

The flames cast light on two other destroyers that were starting to make smoke and speed away from the righteous vengeance of the Royal Navy. A full torpedo salvo scored no hits but once again superior gunnery on the heavy cruisers were able to cripple another of the enemy ships as the stern of the IJN Shinonome disappeared in fire and smoke. This vessel then swerved again to face the oncoming British wall of steel and thus buy her sister time to further increase range. The pummeling she took was not worthy of a battle…

The Murakumo disappears under the waves as the Shionome starts to burn

Reports also came in from the DE Decoy that she had engaged and sunk an enemy submarine off Diamond Harbour

Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2

Match corresponding to the Premier League and played at the Emirates Stadium.

A great, exciting match that United had no choice but to win as Manchester City had earlier defeated third placed Spurs 3-2 in a second half that was full of drama and controversy. United fielded an attacking side that took the game to Arsenal. Arsenal for their part kept on pressing forwards as the first half progressed, young Chamberlin in particular having a very good game. United’s attacks drew little fruit however as faulty passing and bad finishing meant that United only scored very late in in the half via Antonio Valencia. Phil Jones had already been stretchered off after going over his own ankle and looked in a lot of pain. United’s injury woes continued in the seconfd half with both Nani and Rafael, who had replaced the injured Jones both limped off. Arsenal came off the blovks very quickly in the second half. Quick, decisive and started to dominate United especially in midfield where once again our dearth of quality was obvious and plain to see. Robin Van Persie scored (inevitably) but then missed a sitter after preying on a mistake by Chris Smalling! United’s second goal was entirely upto the effort and determination of Antonio Valencia who took on three of Arsenal’s defence, pulled the ball back for Danny Welbeck to smash the ball into the back of the net. Arsenal to thier credit kept pushing United back and did so until the 95th minute. Welbeck missed a very good chance by engineering to fall over his own feet! The referee’s whistle brought the game to an end after 96 pulsating minutes and both Rooney and Welbeck seemed to leave the pitch limping heavily. Three points behind once again and the Battle of Manchester is well and truly on!

Manchester United Team

34 Anders Lindegaard

3   Patrice Evra

4   Phil Jones

6   Johnny Evans

12 Chris Smalling

17 Nani

16 Micheal Carrick

11 Ryan Giggs

25 Antonio Valencia (Goal)

10 Wayne Rooney

19 Danny Welbeck (Goal)

SUBSTITUTES

Rafael on for Phil Jones

Paul Scholes on for Nani

Ji Sung Park on for Rafael

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

8th March 1943

Back online after upgrading my PC to an i7 processor and upgrading my RAM up to 8 gigs worth! Skyrim is beautiful in this setup!!!

The Australia Squadron of the Royal Navy was called into action today as it intercepted a Japanese destroyer operating in the Milne Bay-Port Moresby area. Aerial search yesterday had spotted the Japanese vessel, though yesterday’s report indicated to a larger number of ships, and its course had been plotted throughout the day. The AUSQDN was ordered to leave its patrol around Horn Island and to steam SE towards Milne Bay. The inherent risk was judged acceptable as the Royal Soverign and her two accompanying cruisers were deemed strong enough to deal with the two cruisers spotted by the RAAF Catalinas. Disappointment then turned to egg on face when they stumbled upon a single Fubuki Class destroyer they were not able to dispatch.

Much more effective was a sweep carried out of Darwin harbour by several Japanese cruisers. They stole in from the NW and were quick to engage and sink two destroyers that had been guarding a couple of 4,000 ton transports unloading material. A quick and savaged gunfight lasted just shy of a quarter of an hour ended when both the Sterett and the Woodworth were both sunk. The Japanese vessels then, unexplicably, steamed NE and were spotted at sunrise by Catalinas of VP-101 near Ambon.

Luckily Allied airmen seemed to be possessed of a better fighting spirit. Air battles over Merauke had been a regular thing since the Allied recapture of the base. Two P-40 squadrons had already been broken there and the standing CAP patrol was taken over by Spitfire V’s of the RAAF. For the second day in a row they tussled with A6M3a’s and shot them down in their droves. The speed and height the Spitfire could attain allowed it to gain and then maintain a great advantage over the Zero. Morale surged and the omens for future deployments of the Spitfire looked outstanding.

Meanwhile developments continued to unfold in the Burma-India border. The IJA seemed hell bent on launching some sort of offensive into India. Moves had already been spotted heading towards Imphal and now it also seemed that Cox’s Bazzar was also a target. The 77th Chindit Brigade, deployed on the road by the border leading to Chittagong had reported several attacks by dive bombers over the past few days. Today several large fighter sweeps were observed over the 77th’s positions and Blenheims scouting the Japanese side of the border also reported seeing enemy columns heading into the jungle and moving northwards. Was the IJA carrying out a twin pronged offensive or was one of these moves a feint to distract attention from the other? Time will tell. 4 divisions stood ready.

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

5th March 1943

They called it the Massacre of Bengal in the histories that were later written about the war and it was not one of the British Empire’s greatest moments. A day of fire, havoc and misery that left the Royal Navy with plenty of egg on its face!

It all started in the deep of night with three submarine strikes at the doors to Diamond Harbour. Two different enemy submarines attacked and sank three British merchants on the regular Cape Town-Calcutta supply run. Despite the presence of aerial ASW efforts and a brace of DE’s on patrol, one of the attacks was on the surface! Despite the tonnage lost these ships were on the outward journey and thus had empty cargo holds!

Yet this was just the harbringer of more destruction! A pair of old light crusiers had run the gauntlet of aerial search and had thrust deep into the Bay of Bengal like a rapier searching for easy prey. Easy prey was to be had! Using the dark night as its best early these torpedo laden ships tore into TF 59 with a devasting torpedo salvo that sank three ships barely 2 minutes into the action. Panic and confusion was sown as the brave merchant mariners went from a peaceful journey into a hellish night of fire and death. Accompanied by a destroyer the two cruisers proceeded to sink all 6 ships in TF 59. 25,200 tons of Brtish shipping, full to the brim with supplies for the bombers in India went to the cold, dark bottom of the Bay of Bengal.

The Hunt was to be a good one as after destroying TF 59 the Japanese ships steered NNE and stumbled upon a second convoy, TF 126 leaving Calcutta having already run the gauntlet of Japanese submarines. This time it was the main batteries on the Japanese ships that did the damage sinking 5 ships leaving the pitiful, few survivors to the mercy of the sea. All in all another 22,000 tons of shipping was lost was barely a scratch on the Japanese ships. Righteous fury was directed at Eastern Command at Colombo, where RN warships sat pennants fluttering in the breeze! For the Merchant Navy it was a disaster beyond reckoning and the full extent of it was not publicly revealed until after the war.

As the sun rose every single plane on the Indian seaboard was scouring the sea to locate the enemy ships and sure enough a solid lock was soon fixed on their location, steaming south east just off Chittagong. Another task force of three destroyers was also spotted at Akyab, no doubt unloading supplies to the garrison on the island. Beauforts, Libeartors and Mitchells all took a pop at the enemy ships but revenge was not to be forthcoming. It was only a USAAF attack on the ships at Akyab that scored the only hit on the enemy ships with one 500lb bomb hitting a destroyer.

Manchester United 3 Bolton Wanderers 0

Match corresponding to the Premier League and played at Old Trafford.

Paul Scholes made his second home debut, and true to the script scored the first of United’s three goals. Lindegaard kept goal once again and he wasn’t really tested as United dominated the match from the kick off. Bolton proved that they are a poor team and no manner of screaming and yelling by Owen Coyle is going to improve the quality shown by his players. One of those players, Zat Knight, fouled Danny Welbeck in the box and surprisingly was not sent off as Welbeck was sure to shoot and score. Rooney stepped up and shot hard and to the left but the Bolton goalkeeper pulled off an excellent save and unlike at City during the cup tie the rebound went wide. Cue United dominating the match but unable to score. Bolton for their part showed a total lack of ability to captialize on thier minimal chances. Scholes, however, was on hand one minute before half time to score United’s first. The second half started where the first left off. United dominant but not having the cut of the green in front of goal. That was until Welbeck poked in a second, which resulted in an injury. Carrick then placed a beautiful shot beyond the Bolton keeper who was easily their man of the match. With Spurs being held to a draw at White Hart Lane United are now level at the top of the league with City that play against Wigan Athletic on Monday.

Manchester United Team

34 Anders Lindegaard

3   Patrice Evra

5   Rio Ferdinand

6   Johnny Evans

21 Rafael

17 Nani

22 Paul Scholes (Goal)

16 Micheal Carrick (Goal)

25 Antonio Valencia

10 Wayne Rooney

19 Danny Welbeck (Goal)

SUBSTITUES

Ji Sung Park for Nani

Ryan Giggs for Paul Scholes

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez for Danny Welbeck