Over the Philipines – Imperial Japanese Navy Fighters and Bombers cover the skies as they launch wave after wave on the expanded USAAF squadrons, desperate to whittle down the numbers of B 17E units before the main invasions start. despite the warnings of Pearl Harbour hours before, the Far East Air Force is caught on the ground. At Manila Zeros strafe the airfields holding three squadrons of A-24 Attack planes, shooting holes in one as the ground crews scatter in panic. Over Clark Airfield 4 points of AA is unable to turn back any of the IJN bombers but fortunately for the USAAF only two squadrons of the Heavy Bombers stationed here are aborted.
Northern Luzon – Off the coast of Appari the Filipino militia observe the arrival of a cruiser heavy task force supporting several transport ships, obviously intent on some sort of landing. The two milita battalions are supported by some light weight artillery – which conveniently doubles as Coastal Defences. The battle hardened Japanese commander scoffs at these shore based pop guns and sneeringly orders his cruisers to engage. Fire opens at battleship range and the commander of the Cruiser Ashigara is joking about the upcoming campaign with his deck officers when a shell slams into the bridge, killing them all. Flames and smoke erupt from the vessel. The Japanese commander orders a saki to settle his nerves. The task force closes in on the beach, shots are exchanged at cruiser range, but all miss in the smoke. Again the navy closes the distance but the Filipino gunners can easily spot the smoking Ashigara and accurately lob a round into an open deck hatch – a second hit slows the cruiser. To the disbelief of the Japanese commander secondary explosions rock the ship and the Ashigara explodes into tiny metal shards (obviously internal fires reached the magazine). MacArthur issues a press statement on how he had personally selected the gun position several weeks earlier during a tour of inspection. In response the destroyers and remaining cruisers disrupt the artillery unit with heavy and accurate gunfire.
Marines of the 2nd Sasebo SNLF climb into their landing craft and with the 21st DS engineers (amphibious) and 2nd Formosan Lt Mtn Regt storm ashore under the support of the navy’s gunfire aginst the Filipinos. With their artillery support disrupted, the two defending battalions are destroyed (7:1 = DE). The Japanese commander orders the beheading of the gun batteries personnel in revenge for the Ashigara.
As the soldiers secure the beach head, overhead transport planes fly from Formosa and Hainan carrying the 1st and 3rd Yokayama parachute battalions who launch an air assault on the air strip of Tuguegaro. The 1st II lands disrupted but the 3rd secures the airfield, causing the Filipino P-35A based there to flee to Baguio airstrip. they are expected to be joined quickly by the 2nd Formosan regt marching from the beach head.
Meanwhile carrier based Petes and Claudes raid Ilagan airstrip, shooting up a squadron of Filipino P-40Bs on the ground. Following this effort, the nothern fleet splits – some units head to Formosa while others remain on station off the coast of Laoag.
From Palau, the IJN sets forth towards Mindanao. Off the coast of Tandag float planes and carrier based aircraft are launched onto targets in the area. The USS Pensacola, tied up alongside PT boats in Cagayan on Mindanao’s north shore is attakced by jakes – AA fire from the cruiser aborts one squadron (to the anger of the Japanese commander) but the remaining squadron shows cool courage to easily drop bombs down the cruisers funnel to score a hit. Over Del Monte airfield, Claudes attempt strafing runs on the parked up B 17Es, although AA fails to deter them the attack fails. over Cebu City, the USS Boise is tied up in port. Kates scream over head surprinsing the AA gunners who all miss. This is a grevious mistake as the IJN planes score a direct hit on the cruiser. Suddenly the USN presence in the Philippines is looking shaky…..
Recovering their aircraft, the IJN sails through the Panaoa Strait – the USS Pensacola elects not to react, nor does the battered Boise. The IJN slips south of Bohol island, avoiding the CD in Cebu city and lands troops and supplies at Argao on the south tip of Cebu. The 56/146 Lt Mtn Regt, attached engineers and AA digs in and awaits reinforcements. As the IJN returns to base from this excursion, it contemptuously scatters mines in the sea off Cebu City and Cagayan.
At Okinawa the 16/20 Lt Inf Regt and attached odds and sods move to Palau.
The Japanese commander is pleased with the battle to date – some damage done to the large USAAF and critical damage to the USN. The only downside was the surprising loss of the Ashigara to a tiny CD unit. Normally in TDDH these units never appear so it was taken for granted that they would be a less serious threat than the big guns of Corregidor. Luckily the invasion at Cebu was planned to avoid a direct landing at Cebu City otherwise losses could have been heavy here too. Especially pleasing was the fact that no LC were damaged in the assaults.
Around Cebu – USN units from Borneo meet up with the Houston, Boise and pensacola while the sea lanes are swept for mines – luckily no hits occur to the sweepers. P-40Es and Bs (USAAF) are flown into the air strips on the islands around Cebu while a B-18A squadron smashes the limited dock facilities at Argao. A mixed transport unit is flown to Zamboange to fly out the US infantry battalion to join the 41st Division in the main part of MIndanao.
Luzon – Subs take to the seas, heading north to form a perimeter around the ports in the area. MacArthur elects not to upgrade any units yet, keeping his massive store of artillery (some 30+ replacement points) in the armoury until he can work out whjat the Japanese plan is.
B 17E and PBY-5 squadrons take to the air and search over the seas north of Luzon looking for the IJN. 3 B17 sqns return to base with no luck but a couple of others with the navy aircraft spot and attack the IJN force off Laoag. One B17 is frightened off by AA fire while the others drop their bombs around the fleet. A USN PBY-5 accurately hits the Cruiser Maya much to the delight of MacArthur who informs Washington that he shook hands with the air crew once.
On land the motorised 34th Regt and 218 Art III arrive at Ilagan airstrip to the relief of the Filpino pilots stranded at the town. The US mechanised and armoured forces trundle up to the Cagayan River across from the paratroopers but elect not to attack and save their supplies for future battles.
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