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!
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)
Paul Pogba on for Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez