0500 December 16th 1944.
BB Division 1 Flagship. IJN Yamashiro, Gulf of Martapan.
Genda was currently leading the Naval bombers as they harassed Spruance during his move north. Their undivided attention was slowly producing results.
The USS Alabama was very close to being sunk as the American fleet tried to exit the area.
Very little escaped the Naval bombers of Japan when they were this far from a safe port. The USS Alabama would not be one of the ships returning to its home port. Ozawa had just enough time left in the day to inflict some damage to the Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard but Spruance would be back in the Celebes Sea and temporary safety by the time dawn returned. Ozawa would take the time to rest his tired bomber squadrons for as long as he could until another target showed up.
0600 December 16th 1944.
North China Army Headquarters. Jinghong, China.
The first wave of reinforcements had arrived and were ready for action in Cuttack. They knew were they were going before the orders were given.
Three divisions, led by Lt. General Nishihara, atacked the outdated British division in Ranchi. He did not really need the air support but it was there anyway. Japanese troops would need to become accustomed to the sound of Japanese Tactical bombers overhead as they were going to be an ever present factor for the time being.
Two Cavalry divisions headed west to capture Vishhakhapatnam before they headed further inland.
Three more divisions arrived that evening to further strengthen the defences of the area. There was no way the British could possibly remove this invasion quickly now unless they had a very large army in India that was not already committed. This was not very likely. Admiral Godo sailed for Bangkok as it was just about the only place where any further troops could be stripped from the front line to support the invasion.
Higashikuni decided that it was time to try and take Baoshan back from the British. It was undefended and he had fifteen divisions at his disposal, including three armoured. The mountainous region would take almost a month to traverse assuming the British did not send too many troops to halt the advance. The Close Air Support aircraft would remain in the area to assist as needed. Baoshan province was looking likely to be a fairly key objective in the near future as it was almost definately going to need to be taken to provide a continous supply chain in Asia.
0400 December 18th 1944.
Carrier Group C Flagship. IJN Zuikaku, Gulf of Mannar.
Nagano had been ordered south to scout out another area for a possible spreading of the Indian offensive. What he found was to his liking and he quickly contacted Admiral Mikawa who had been holding his position to the north.
"The area in question is not defended by ground forces Admiral so we shall proceed with Yamamoto's plans."
"Surprising to say the least. The area contains some resources that the British would probably want to hold at all costs."
"I can assure you that the only defenders are aircraft and ships. I do not know how many of either, but you have my Carriers to protect you whatever there is hiding in these ports."
Mikawa's Transport fleet arrived shortly afterwards and another invasion began. "The British really should defend their vital resources a lot better than this if they wish to continue to use them." thought Nagano.
Two infantry divisions, commanded by Lt. General Uchiyama, began to head for the coast of Ceylon with Colombo as their first target. The two divisions had been picked back up after being dropped off in Cuttack specifically for this mission.
Two British Light Cruisers tried to interrupt the landing shortly after it had begun with no success. HMS Belfast and HMS Scylla were sunk by aircraft from IJN Hiyo and IJN Junyo respectively.
Five hours later a very large fleet was detected entering the Gulf of Mannar. It had been hiding in the port of Colombo. Aircraft were scrambled from Carrier Group C to neutralise the enemy fleet.
The fleet was large but presented very little threat as it turned out. Of the fourteen flotillas detected only two possessed any sort of offensive firepower both of which were Submarines. Nagano had stumbled upon a very large part of the British Transport fleet. Only one would be sunk despite the initial favourble conditions as night fell shortly after the battle began. IJN Zuikaku would sink the Empire of Africa Flotilla.
Meanwhile on the Indian mainland Lt. General Hitomi led his two Cavalry divisions on a large expedition to try and capture the south of India. No knowledge of the area had been obtained, and it was unlikely that the entire area would be devoid of troops, but Hitomi would advance as far as he could.
0000 December 19th 1944.
Intelligence Offices. Tokyo, Japan.
December was proving to be a very fruitful month for Kuniaki's scientists. Another research project had been completed.
Mitsubishi Jukogyo had finished their current task of improving Japan's agricultural techniques and they were tasked with proceeding with this research to try and improve on it even more.