Part 39: Operational Report: 14/01/42
The Pickerel puts two fish into an enemy troop carrier moving towards Rahbaul.
Off Soerabaja, our Cruiser task force runs straight into the enemy carrier force at a range of 1,000 yards. The severe thunderstorms in the area having prevented either side from detecting the other before then.
Seeing their chance, the Allies open fire, the cruisers unloading everything they have at the two carriers, and leaving the destroyers to their own destroyer escort.
The Van Ghant Concentrates its fire on the Japanese destroyer Umikaze, hitting her many times and sinking her.
The rest of the ships spread their fire, and although they are not able to sink the enemy ships, they leave both the carriers burning and trade off in all other damage fairly equally. As we lose the Pillsbury during the battle.
The Imperial Navy manage to slip back into the rain, but the Allied ships track them by radar, and that morning they once again engage, this time at 6,000 yards. But the enemy destroyers have put themselves between our ships and the prize, and take the brunt of our fire before escaping once more into the driving rain.
Then it was the turn of my ad-hoc force, as they steamed into range of the enemy ships and laid more fire into them.
Hopefully the damage, if not enough to sink the two enemy ships, will defiantly be enough to put them into harbour for a few weeks or months, giving our carriers an opportunity to operate without fear.
Although it seems that the damage to at least one of the carriers was not enough to stop her putting planes into the air, as she strikes the ad-hoc unit a few hours later.
Luckily, the damage was confined to one of the smaller, poorer armed ships of the fleet.
Their afternoon strike is split between the two forces, one goes for the cruisers, and manages to get a hit in on the Durban.
The other has more effect on the ad-hoc unit.
South of Guadalcanal, our task force that was hit by the carrier based air strike today meets an enemy destroyer.
The Japanese captain has the early advantage, and damages the freighter, but once the two destroyers lock horns the battle is broken off when both ships are damaged but unable to secure a victory without the loss of their own ship.
At Port Moresby, the enemy torpedo some more ships, including the cruiser liner the Queen Elizabeth.
A return visit in the afternoon hits her again, and sinks on of the other ships.
The enemy land in Celebes today, using a cruiser to support their troops as they come ashore.
This is the opening of yet another area of operations for us to worry about. The defenders manage to hold off the enemy for today, but 1,400 troops were put ashore today alone, so I cannot see them holding for long.
The enemy also continue to advance on Singapore.
Moulmein, south of Rangoon is attacked, but we get some planes into the air, who have some success in warding off the enemy.
The skies remain clear over Luzon, which suits me, as it gives us time to repair our planes, hopefully getting some into the air the next time they come.
On the ground, the enemy bombard our troops, but make no other aggressive moves.
While its been a very busy day in the Dutch East Indies, its been very quiet everywhere else. Although I won't complain.
We've come out behind on ships sunk today, but the damage to the enemies carriers is enough for me.
Looking at the two task forces that engaged the carriers yesterday, I decide that although damaged, the enemy are also in bad shape, so I'm going to send both groups back in.
Most of the Ad hoc force are okay, and the three ships that are badly damaged have been sent home.
Tomorrow, like today, should be tense.