Panzer Campaigns Normandy 44 AAR

Following the successful local action at Secqueville elements of the I./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 came into solid and heavy contact with several units of the British 8th Armoured Brigade. Several companies of Stuarts, Shermans, Churchills and even some of the strange looking tanks that hit the beaches two days ago, began a protracted drive against the front held by the Pz IV H’s of SS Panzer Regiment 12. Roughly about half the battalion was deployed to the East of Secqueville while II./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 held position some miles to the rear. Around 17:35 several British tanks began long range fire against the Panzer IV’s. Though the fire was ineffective most commanders ‘buttoned up’. This initial salvo was accompanied by several salvoes of large calibre activity, probably ship borne, that knocked out two tanks via direct hits. Using this hail of fire as cover, the British advanced steadily to engage our tankers at short range. Despite artillery support and the aid of the long range guns that out Panthers bear, I./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 was forced to abandon its position and retire into the ruins of Secqueville. Despite knocking out 7 enemy vehicles it suffered similar losses to its own ranks. Obersturmbannfuhrer Wunsche ordered its immediate withdrawal should it become overwhelmed by the British armour. Several self propelled guns from Stug Abteilung 200 were called up to support the 12th SS’s Panthers while the second half of the I Abteilung of SS Panzer Regiment 12 also moved forward to support the Panthers on their left flank.

 

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

Reuters, Changsha, China

For two days now the better part of two Japanese armies have been bombarding the outskirts of the city. The news from the West was not much better as the holding corps was routed by three enemy divisions supported by armoured elements. Civilians had been leaving the city for the past week or so but now the city was under martial law and no one else is leaving. This reporter is as close as one can get to the Front. USAAF bombers and fighters have made the skies over Changsha deadly for the Japanese, that have clearly had to reinforce their aerial units. Yesterday morning a full blown assault was carried out by the Japanese. Harassed by American and CAF planes the Japanese made a determined attempt to take the city. Yet they did not count on the courage and bravery of the average Chinese soldier. His tenacity in action matched by a desire to rid his land of the aggressor. The line held, not only did it hold but it solidly repulsed the enemy who is estimated to have left over 20,000 casualties behind him. Changsha could become the Stalingrad of the Orient for the Japanese.

 

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

11th June 1943

04:02 Radar CONTACT CL Santa Fe. Covering Force moves to intercept two enemy cruisers entering Munda anchorage from East. South Dakota fires first 16inch salvo 04:09. Enemy cruiser seen to sink at 04:35.

04:13 SS Seadragon reports sighting and engaging enemy heavy cruiser on a south easterly heading to the East of Kavieng.

04:46 SS Blackfish engages destroyer escort of two battleships near Lihir. Enemy task force on southerly heading.

05:23 Visual CONTACT CA Quincy. Damaged enemy cruiser spotted and engaged, enemy ship sunk 05:57.

06:34 SS Billfish reports two attacks by carrier planes to the East of Kavieng. Sub proceeds to shadow. COMSUBPAC orders all boats to attack. Be aggressive!

08:23 Lt Phillips sends message ***SIGHTED***ENEMY CARRIERS***

09:15 Second confirmed sighting of enemy flattops. Estimated two days out of Munda.

10:00 Enemy float plane shot down by CAP over Munda.

11:23 LRCAP scrambled as enemy planes detected incoming. Ki-43’s and D3A2’s. 30 enemy planes shot down. No loss.

13:45 TF 186 reports unloading completed, withdrawing.

15:09 CAP scramble as incoming raid detected from NW. 3 D3A2’s dive on CVE Sangamon, no hits. All enemy planes destroyed.

18:09 US I Corps receives message ***HAVE MADE EDGE OF AIRFIELD***TWO LINES OF BUNKERS DESTROYED***ENEMY HANGING ON***ATTACK TO CONTINUE TOMORROW***

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

31st December 1942
Battle is joined!

The rumours came to fruition when Japanese naval power finally revealed itself in full glory over Nauru Island. Weeks of intelligence gathering and radio intercepts were hinted at the fact that something was up. All that was missing was the target, now it seemed the Japanese had revealed the final piece of the puzzle. The Marshall Islands.

The first indication came once again from HMAS Cootamubra. Going mildly about her business in her patrol area, she stumbled upon the cream of the IJN, her main carrier force the Kido Butai. SUffice to say she made herself very, very scarce once the identity of her foe was confirmed!

As dawn broke the innumerable sighting reports started to come in from Catalinas and Liberators out of Nauru Island. The seas seemed to be covered in Japanese Battle Grey. Carriers, battleships, cruisers and destroyers. The identification of ships was endless. Had Japan concentrated ALL her Navy at Nauru? The many Allied submarines also started to report contacts with carrier borne and float planes of various classes as their commanders tried to vector into the enemy carriers.

The first flight of enemy planes was soon over Nauru however. 70th Fighter Squadron (P-39) has been on full alert since yesterday had begun to put planes aloft on CAP since daybreak and this high level of preparedness stood it in good stead. 14 fighters were aloft and ready to meet the first sweep by A6M2s. A vicious dogfight ensued and despite the advantages the Zero possess over the Airacobra, 3 enemy planes were shot down for one loss. Nauru’s airfield reseembled an assembly line of planes lining up to take off as others refuelled and rearmed. The second CAP patrol of the day shot down another three Zeroes for no loss. 6-1 were good odds for the P-39!

The pilots of the 70th were in for a busy day as a third wave of enemy planes were detected by radar coming in at around 14:52. This time B5N2’s carrying bombs escorted by about 20 Zeroes came in over Nauru’s airfield. The fatigued USAAF pilots engaged the escorts but unlike the morning  came off the worst losing 4 aircraft. The Kates proceeded to bomb the airfield causing little damage. Three P-39’s, however, reacting late to the call to scramble were able to vector in on unescorted bombers on their return journey splashing 3 and make sure one was heavily damaged. The 20mm cannon the P-39 mounts was used to good effect to tear into the flimsy Japanese planes.

USAAF Liberators were soon also called into action from their bases further to the East. A flight of 4 from the 404th Bomber Squadron dropped several sticks of bombs on a cruiser task force that was closing to Nauru Island. They braved a CAP of zero fighters, but were ably assisted by the pilots of the 70th, some flying their 5th sortie of the day. They punched their way through the enenmy fighter screen and dropped their 500lbers from 12,000 feet to little effect. One B-24, Daisy May, flown by Captain Lewis ditched near Tabiteuea and her crew rescued by flying boats.

Those particular ships then proceeded to inflict a terrifying shore bombardment of Nauru Island. The enemy cruisers came in close to shore despite the guns of the 9th Marine Defence Battalion. The fire controllers on the Japanese vessels had clear orders to zero into the airfield which received the majority of the shells fired. Moderate damage was inflicted on the facilities and the runway was holed in many areas. Despite the number of engineer units at Nauru it was not expected to have the field in operation on the morrow. As such the 70th and the 400th Bombers were withdrawn east. The 70th Fighter Squadron could be very pleased with its performance against high quality IJN pilots. Its scorecard read 15, 10 confirmed 5 probables, and it had lost 5 planes, 4 shot down 1 operational and three pilots. The next days are sure to be bloody and now eyes turn to the nocturnal prowling of 20 submarines in the area.

Game note: Dud rate falls 20% as from tomorrow 1-1-43!

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

30th December 1942

 

Major Japanese naval units have been spotted and engaged to the North West of Nauru Island. A busy day of engagement reports and sightings have been arriving at SOPAC HQ. The first missive was received at 03:35 from the SS Seawolf that reported launching torpedoes at a small enemy carrier strongly believed to be the Ryujo. No explosions were recorded and the submarine eluded all attempts by the escorts to engage her. The Seawolf has ordered to shadow the enemy carrier and relay hourly reports to her sister boats.

The second engagement report was sent by the SS Dolphin that recorded a hit, but no explosion on the IJN Cruiser Atago. Two of the four torpedoes launched hit the enemy vessel but none exploded on contact. The erstwhile Captain continued to shadow this task force and at 04:35, 25 minutes after his first attack, launched another four torpedoes at the light cruiser Tenryu. Another two hits were rewarded with two more dud hits. The Dolphin was engaged by enemy escorts but no hits or damage has been reported. Her commander has relayed the contact coordinates and has continued to shadow the enemy ships last reportedly seen on a south easterly heading.

By 08:23 the picket ship HMAS Cootamundra was reporting a large number of aircraft sightings. Four float planes of various class and three B5N2 bombers were positively identified. Her Captain has been ordered to hold position for one more day, a precarious duty at best!

The first positive aerial sighting of the enemy vessels was made by a Catalina of VP-62. Its pilot radioed in the sighting of various enemy carriers and heavy units to the WNW of Nauru Island on a south easterly heading. She was eventaully chased of by several fighters but her pilot’s reports confirmed fears that the enemy was striking at the newly acquired bases in the Marshall Islands.

Further confirmation, if any was needed, was reported at 10:20 by ‘Lets See ’em’ a B-24 of the 400th Bomber Squadron based at Nauru Island. Her crews counted a large number of enemy ships including carriers and battleships. The IJN was bringing its full might to the party. The New Year celebrations were sure to be electric!

(No screenies as my PC tower is in dry dock getting its processor upgraded)

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

Boxing Day 1942

Lots of submarine action today across the theatre.

Japanese submarines have attacked and damaged two ships. The first reported attack came in the form of a May Day sent by the tanker Gulfbreeze enroute back to Los Angeles. She reported being struck by a torpedo off Brisbane two days into her return journey. Damage was moderate and she was making her way back to Brisbane trailing fuel and oil. Two gunboats have been dispatched from Brisbane to escort the wounded fuel carrier into port.

A second report of an attack came from the 6100 ton Dominion L Cargo Class ship Troilus off Koggala n Ceylon. She reported substantial flooding and several fires in her cargo holds after being struck but what appears to be one torpedo. She is making 5 knots and heading due East into Koggala. She is the second ship attacked in these waters in a week despite the patrolling by a number of corvettes. Several Walrus float planes have been redeployed into Koggala itself to help counter this submarine menace.

Further to the NW HMS Jasmine and HMS Thyme (Flower Class Corvettes) did however exact some measure of revenge as they successfully sunk an enemy submarine patrolling off Colombo. A solid sonar contact was followed by a successful depth charge attack. 36 charges were dropped by the Thyme which resulted in the surfacing of a Japanese submarine which was immediately engaged by the 4 inch guns mounted by the Corevettes. The enemy sub, clearly damaged was quickly set on fire but not before hitting the Jasmine with her deck gun, causing light casualties but hitting the ship’s engine room hard. 13 minutes after surfacing the sub rejoined the depths never to return!

Japanese submarines were also active in the Aleutian Islands with ASW patrols twice engaging an enemy submarine just off the harbour entrance at Adak Island. The DD Brooks, escorting an outgoing convoy back to Seattle, reported dropping 12 depth charges over a solid sonar contact near the mouth of Kuluk Bay on her outward journey. She relayed the coordinates to the standing ASW patrol of three YMS who then rengaged an enemy submarine slightly further out than where the Brooks reported its original position.

 

Yet the most telling submarine contact of the day came from the SS Saury near Kusaie Isanld in the Western Marshall Islands. Rumours have been afoot of a major Japanese operation for weeks now. Massively increased radio traffic had been detected at Truk and there has been a rise in the number of vessels there. High alerts had been issued from Colombo to Pearl Harbour especially after the recent reawakening of the Japanese submarine fleet. SS Saury’s message rasied those alerts to Red Alert all around the recently conquered bases in the Marshalls. At 12:30 hours she reported the sighting of two float planes, not an uncommon sight as Japanese submarines are known to carry them. At 13:04 hours she reported the sighting of an aircraft strongly resembling a B5N2 torpedo bomber, clearly a carrier borne plane. Its identity was conformed when the Saury reported being attacked by a duo of Kates carrying bombs one of which exploded very near to the sub causing substantial damage. Commander Burnside immediately put his boat on a course to the nearest port but also, rather riskily, sent the contact report in the open. The Japanese would hear it but so too would his underwater brothers nearby…

Location of sighting and attack of SS Saury by B5N2 bomber

Invasion ist com. Normandie!

10:00 Hours 9th June 1944

Elements of 51st Highland and 3rd Canadian Division have pushed into the Northern suburbs of Caen. Units of both 12th SS Panzer and 21st Panzer Divisions have stemmed the Allied thrust into the city routed one Canadian Company. Caen itself is being put under tremendous pressure from the North as a combined arms assault is being launched by the British and the Canadians. AOK 7 has given the defence of Caen the highest priority as it is crucial to the strategic defence of the whole Normandy front. Elements of SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 26 have been detached from front holding against the British Airborne and have been ordered into the Caen area around Herouville to assist in the defence. Reinforcements have once again been asked for.