Part 49: Operational Report: 24/01/42
The Crusiers out of Soerabaja come in and attack the troopships unloading in Makassar, the Japanese ships are surprised and quickly sunk by accurate fire from the Cornwall
They then try to repeat the trick later with another task force, but are stopped by accurate fire from the Japanese Navy destroyer Kamikaze which puts several rounds into the Cornwall and Vampire, leaving the latter burning heavily.
The Kamikaze manages to hold off the Allied ships until her Cargo escort can get under way, and with other ships in the area, the Commander of the Task force, Mainwaring, decides to let her go and concentrate on less dangerous targets that still present themselves to him.
Despite the best efforts of the British and Dutch ships however, the enemy take the city. They had already landed enough troops, and there was nothing to be done to stop them overwhelming the defenders.
The Dutch KXV hits a cargo ship carrying valuable fuel for the enemy, its left burning as its cargo catches fire. Although the crew do not confirm the kill, its expected she will go down, with her whole cargo on fire, it would be difficult for the crew to put it out and save the ship.
The Japanese have responded to our deployment of the P-40's to Port Moresby by moving up fighter support of their own.
An entire fighter wing of Zero's is too much for the inexperienced pilots, and we lose two planes today as well as taking a battering in the harbour. They get a small measure of revenge that afternoon as the bombers come it without any fighter escort.
Our Pilots may not have been able to stop them from attacking, but they did manage to bag one of the attacking planes.
The Bombardment of Singapore continues, but is less effective today as it has been in the past few days.
Off the East Coast, S-40 Tries to take out a large enemy tanker, but, as usual, the curse of the American torpedoes strikes home. The clunk of the torpedo making contact with the ships hull is heard over the hydrophone, but there is no accompanying explosion.
The city of Bataan once more gets a pounding today, there is now little left standing of military value, but the Japanese Air Force continue their daily visits.
The Japanese army try and use a tank push today to take Clark Field, its stopped, but at a heavy loss of life.
The defenders of Kukong continue to get their daily bombing visits, today's attack was better coordinated than most, but only managed to cause thirty casualties or so.
We continue to fail to make ground at Luganville, and it has been decided to scale down the attacks, we can stop the enemy from resupplying their defenders, while we can keep our men well supplied, so we are willing to starve them out, as there is no need for a quick victory.
All in all a good day. While we lost a fair few aircraft in the air, we made up for it with the sinking of a good number of enemy ships.
The fact that the enemy is planning to attack Clark Field is not news.
After ordering the surface combat force to continue raiding south of Celebes, I make sure the Hermes Will be in position to support them.
Next I turn my attention to Port Moresby. Although we lost a few P-40's today, we also gained something of great value.
Hurricanes. While not the Spitfires I would have liked, these are tried and tested workhorses, and one of the planes that won the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire may get all the glory, but we used more Hurricanes during that air war, and they have proven themselves to be one of the best fighters in the world.
Add to that the fact that the pilots are twice as experienced as their American counterparts, and the enemy will be in for a surprise tomorrow.
If the Enemy at Port Moresby are in for a Surprise, that's nothing compared to the defenders of Wake.
With a battleship and four cruisers reported in the harbour by out scout planes, if we can get the drop on them we could inflict heavy damage on their surface fleet.
This also explains why we're only seeing patrol ships supporting the invasions in the Dutch East Indies they've been massing their big ships out here, possibly for an invasion of Midway, or maybe even another attack on Pearl Harbour.
Tomorrow, we'll see about doing something to put a spanner into those works.