Part 206: Operational Report: 30/06/42
The defenders of Shortlands continue to see daily bombing runs. Today's actually causes some damage.
The carriers find a couple of supply ships to the north of Luganville, and quickly send them to the bottom.
Then they pay the runway a visit.
The 67th Squadron make themselves known when the bombers return to Calcutta. We can't stop them hitting another ship, but we take out a good number of planes in revenge.
A later raid loses move planes over the city, as the most experienced squadron in the theatre play amongst the unescorted bombers.
Smithforce suffers a day of heavy attacks from the Japanese forces desperate to stop them linking up with the main force and withdrawing to safety.
One in seven of the men trying to escape north is killed, wounded or captured today, but they pay back the Japanese for every man.
The men to their north try desperately to break through, but the more numerous Japanese forces have the advantages of the terrain and the defences, and inflict heavy losses on them.
I cannot see this ending well for Smithforces, who will be cut down within sight of rescue.
Another assault on our positions in Sinyang is held off, but we're no longer seeing the massive and one sided casualties of the early battle. There is less cover now, and the enemy are much less willing to throw themselves at the well protected enemy.
While the men at Anking have been reinforced, and make an attack. Somehow, despite their massive firepower, they get slaughtered by the Japanese forces as they attack.
Some heavy losses today. I cannot see Burma ending in anything but the loss of Smithforce now, and we continue to lose ships to enemy raids on Calcutta.
At least the air to air combat was nicely one sided today. And we got those ships trying to (or coming from) supplying Luganville.
Wagner, once the greatest pilot in the Pacific, is now fourth below members of the 67th, and Wigglesworth is now a quadruple ace. Although Wagner has done his in a third of the missions.