Part 61: Operational Report: 05/02/42
Off Brisbane, the Canberra is torpedoed. The ship was part of a task force I'm moving over towards Luganville to give some fire support.
I really, really need to teach people what a periscope looks like.
More Japanese troops are landed at Balikpapan. This time they are supported by a cruiser, which is unable to prevent the defenders from shooting up the troop ship.
The Kinu takes a hit herself later, as does another transport. Its been a good day for the coastal guns.
The Pickerel continues to hunt around Rabaul. Today she picks up one of the damaged ships left over from yesterdays Dive bomber attack from Port Moresby yesterday.
Two hits and one dud seems to be about par for the course.
We have a nervous moment, as the Hermes sights the smoke of a enemy convoy, she manages to escape without being fired upon, but we have to raise serious questions about the abilities of the scouts off the ship.
The enemy also use planes, suspected to be flying out of Watapone, to strike at Soerabaja.
The CAP reacts spectacularly, and five of the eight attacking ships are downed. But this does tell us that the enemy have opened up another operational airfield, one in range of our most important port in the region!
But there are Sea Hurricanes in that mix which mean that the HMS Indomitable has reached Soerabaja.
When I had reports of a flight of Hudson bombers going hunting, I had little hope of anything except maybe not losing any planes, but it seems that the pilots are having a good day.
A great hit, and intelligence tell us that that was a heavily laden troop ship in range of Java! Things are suddenly getting very interesting in what I had assumed to be a secure area.
Then the Albacore torpedo bombers off the Indomitable go into action, there may only be three of them, but they still inflict a solid hit on another target ship.
Then the Swordfish that the Hermes brought down from Ceylon go into action, in what seems to be a maximum effort day for our attack planes. They finish off the damaged Hikawa Maru.
Then the Swordfish based off the Hermes go into action at the beleaguered invasion force.
We lose some planes, but get two more hits.
This was all in the morning of today.
But the enemy are determined to not make this one sided, as their carriers launch a afternoon strike at our cruisers who are patrolling the area looking for trouble.
We get lucky, and the enemy miss with all their attacks, and two planes will not be returning home. The bulk of their forces have been sent to attack the port of Lautem, which is unimportant, and a great way to soak up the bombs.
Our planes return to the convoy in the afternoon, and get another two torpedo hits on a freighter. We also get two hits on a patrol boat.
We lose Balikpapan itself though, as the defenders surrender.
We have bigger problems though today.
Singapore is lost.
I Repeat, today the defenders of Singapore surrendered to the enemy, the lack of supplies has forced the Officer commanding, General Percival, to submit to total surrender to the Japanese Army.
Fifty three thousand men have begun to march north to the prisoner of war camps. This is a dark day for Britain and the Allies.
Bataan is bombarded once more, and we take heavy losses on
The slaughter in Manila continues today, as the Japanese Army tries once more to push us out of the Capital.
The butchery at Pucheng continues, where did this Japanese General learn his tactics? The trenches of the first world war?
The enemy continue to press our men at Luganville, but the casualties are still on our side.
That's the worst day of the war, our god dam troops loss score has jumped by 1000 points, and we're now officially losing the war.
We may also have lost 10 ships, but they were all mine layers that were being built, so that's no real loss.
well, that's a mess of a picture. Those carriers are going to make a mess of us if we don't play this right, but lucky for us, the cruisers are in striking distance of them.
The original idea was to raid Makassar, but that's gone out of the window now, its time to send them after the big boys again.
The Hermes and Indomitable are heading north, out of range of the enemy carriers who massively outclass them. But they can still strike at that troop transport convoy, and support the attacks on the carriers if they come this far west.
Tomorrow will be interesting.