Saturday 20 May 2023

Defending the Malay Barrier: Turn 1, 16th - 31st December 1941, Hunt for the Convoy

Rear Admiral Arthur Palliser commanding the WESGROUP sweep breathes a sigh of relief having successfully evaded any Japanese patrols. It was now important to locate the Batu Kharu supply convoy to buy the allies time. His flagship, the heavy cruiser Exeter, with the light cruisers Dragon and Durban, the destroyers, Encounter, Jupiter, Scout and Tenedos, heads north straight into a force 8 gale. 

Visibility was heavily reduced and WESGROUP searched in vain. Unable to locate the convoy they head for home in Singapore.

Summary of all movements at the end of turn 1.

Several damaged Japanese ships are drydocked for repair bringing turn 1 to an end.

There will be a delay before I return to this campaign having switched to another era, the Roman invasion of Britain  which will be the subject of the next posting.

Thursday 4 May 2023

Defending the Malay Barrier: Turn 1, 16th - 31st December 1941, 1st Contact

 IJN Western Attack Force (WAF) - Allied WESGROUP (RN)

Rear Admiral Arthur Palliser commands the WESGROUP sweep intending to intercept the Batu Kharu supply convoy. His flagship is the heavy cruiser Exeter, with the light cruisers Dragon and Durban, the destroyers, Encounter, Jupiter, Scout and Tenedos sailing out of Singapore. Intelligence has been received from a sub reporting a sighting of what is believed to be this convoy. It has been confirmed this intelligence has been deemed accurate and therefore increasing the possibility of interception.

The weather is a rough Force 7 and overcast reducing visibility. As the fleet heads north Japanese land-based aircraft sortie to intercept but failed to locate them.

The wind drops to a Force 5 and still cloudy. Palliser curses the weather improvement raising the prospect of his force being located by the Japanese Distant Cover Group patrol. He need not have worried. The veteran Vice Admiral Ozawa was demanding answers from his lookouts as to why they failed to spot the Royal Navy ships. It was now just a question of locating the supply convoy.

IJN Eastern Attack Force (EAF) - Allied EASGROUP (US)

Rear Admiral William Glassford in the aging light cruiser, Marblehead, prepares to lead out his similarly aging flotilla of destroyers. Each has to test to ascertain if any have mechanical problems. As they slip their moorings, the Paul Jones announces it has engine damage. It could continue but its speed would be reduced. Believing it would be more of a hindrance than an asset, it was decided it would remain alongside for repairs.

Heading out of Tarakan in Borneo, Glassford's force is now reduced to 4 Clemson class destroyers, the Stewart, Parrott, Barker and Bulmer. They hope to intercept one of the Philippines invasion convoys. The weather is a relatively calm force 4 and cloudy allowing for carrier born air operations. The IJN light carrier, Ryojo, launches its aircraft but they fail to make contact with the US group.

As the Marblehead and its escorts continue the wind speed drops to a Force 2 and the skies clear. Not exactly what Glassford was hoping for with a Japanese patrol lurking out there somewhere. Sure enough, the EAF Distant Cover Group made contact during daylight 0800 - 1200. 

Contact was made at a distance of 23,000 yards (115cm). Both forces steaming at 25 knots with the Marblehead heading north-west and the Japanese south-east. The Japanese are located 4 points off Marblehead's quarter. 
Continued -