Part 314: Operational Report: 16/10/42
I start by combining all of the Carriers into one task force, if it works for the enemy, it may well work for us.
The morning starts with a Japanese attack on our carriers, much fewer planes than yesterday are seen, but there are still seventy of them in the air.
Of these, fourty bombers and ten Zero's make it through to the carriers, where the Yorktown claims two kills and the Wasp claims another. No more hits are landed on our ships, and the Japanese forces leave much reduced in numbers once more.
I begin to relax, and wait for our raids to go in.
The raid consists of over a hundred and twenty planes, against 33 Zero's of the enemies CAP.
Eighty bombers get trough, and make their attacks.
The Kongo is reported burning by some planes, not by others, but we do get solid hits on the Shoho again and wreck a section of the flight deck of the Kaga
Then ground based Val's from Shortlands come in, but with no fighter support they are butchered.
This is followed by a raid of Kates.
This is when I realize that the lack of ditched planes yesterday can be explained all those planes just landed at Shortlands the nearest available landing strip. Yesterdays sinking is looking more likely now.
The afternoon begins with a sweep by enemy Zeros, but our CAP deals with them with only one loss.
The afternoon raid from the enemy carriers looks anaemic in comparisons to yesterday.
But our CAP is weaker, and the Wasp takes two torpedoes.
While our own attack is less than successful. Although does report that the Kaga is still burning.
Right, I'm definitely trying out the night fighter options, this is getting annoying.
Especially when this is followed by another raid that hits the runway only.
The flak gunners at Cox's Bazar get lucky again today, but then so do the Japanese.
Although they do balance up the numbers in a later raid.
We continue to make them pay over Darwin. I'll have to check the pilots list after the last couple of days, we may have some more Aces on there.
Another attack at Sinyang, this one costs the cut off Japanese forces dear, with a large number of destroyed squads.
And that may be the end of this phase of Operation Castration we need to repair the planes and get our wounded carriers to the dry docks. The Japanese air to air losses today have been heavy, but overall losses are fairly even.
The damage to the Wasp is fairly minimal, and the Yorktown has actually pumped some of yesterdays water out of her hull.
Surrounding them is a large number of task forces, made up of damaged ships that have broken off the main force to head home for repairs. A few days in Sydney should deal with the worst of the damage, and allow the planes to be replaced. We may even get strikes in on some of the enemy task forces on the way home.
I'm not continuing for now, as all the carriers have lost half of their planes, and the risk is now to great. But once they have replenished themselves, they will be making another raid.