Spanish port.] Maybe the Western group, with CV Furious, should also hang around in that region – might be a better change of intercepting a Spain-bound BC if I have air search in the area.)
The storm once again intensifies to Gale in Turn 14, sending my dock workers in Liverpool scrambling to cover (probably cover that includes pints of ale) and leaving HX.8 only 2/3 unloaded, thus momentarily delaying my inevitable 34 VP’s. The gale, and my own mistakes in plotting a couple of pursuers, lets the mystery TF slip through my first wave of intercept TF’s. More are on the way a little further south, and one of the just-passed “first lone” groups is fast enough to catch the mystery TF if the seas calm enough for increased speed. Plus two submarine groups are inching their way towards southwest Norway in intercept position (my third flotilla found itself a little too far west to intercept in the waters north of Norway, and is now hanging about up there in case this TF should prove a dummy and Bremen should sally forth later.)
The dummy task force continues to do well as a distraction.
The gale decreases back to Storm as night falls, and in Turn 17 a German raider (presumably Gneisenau) attempts to find “rompers” (Convoy stragglers) from HX.9. However, there are now two TF’s sharing the convoy’s space - the convoy itself and my Dummy Battleship Squadron, serving as sort of a “loose escort.” The German, fortunately, picks the wrong TF to search for stray merchants, and thus fails. Then in Turn 18 the gale hits again, negating any attempts by “Gluckstein” to straggler-hunt (since her weaponry cannot fire in this weather.)
Also overnight, the German light ship TF that had been furtively skittering around Norway and Denmark enters port at Wilhelmshaven.
The German light task force comes home to refuel in preparation for a second sortie.
Day and weather break simultaneously; November 24 dawns with the much-improved weather condition of Rain. (From Gale to Rain, with no intermediary steps; the North Atlantic weather in November seems eerily like that in Chicago.) It still makes operating flying boats chancy, and I lose 2 steps of Sunderlands transferring from Rosyth to Greenock (one from takeoff, one from landing.) I also transfer my Hudsons and Blenheims from Digby to Aldergrove (Belfast), in the meantime putting 2 Blenheim steps each from Aldergrove and Reykjavik on air search, and 3 Catalina steps from Belfast on ASW. The air search provides an immediate reward, not through visual sightings but through radio direction finding. Huff-Duff locates a raiding TF (almost certainly Scharnhorst) in AB38, northwest of the Faeroes; she moves to AB39. Unfortunately she’s much too far from land for any air attack, nor do I have subs near. But at least I know where she is now, if only fleetingly. She’s far enough from the chase of the mystery TF that, if I can contact that elusive presence, I should be able to dispatch Bremen (if she is in fact present) without interference from the wounded but still deadly battlecruiser.
And then Gneisenau makes her presence known – by taking advantage of the