Part 67: Operational Report: 11/02/42
It was a dark and thundery night when the two main battle fleets of the Allied and Imperial navy's clashed. They made contact at only 1,000 yards, but the positioning was perfect, and Gordon, aboard the Enterprise, was able to cross the T on the enemy fleet.
Even in the night, two battleships could be made out, and the lead ship in the Japanese formation was the battleship Hygua.
Aboard the Enterprise, Gordon ordered his men to focus their fire on that ship, and then ordered his gunnery officer to launch his torpedoes at the monolith before them.
The trails disappeared into the night, and then there were two mighty explosions.
The Hygua had been hit, this was followed by accurate fire from the Caledon, and soon the allied ships could see one of the largest ships in the Japanese navy sinking.
More fire was directed at the Chikuma who came up in support of the rapidly sinking ship, and one of the destroyers managed to hit the Thracian with a torpedo, knocking out her engines. Further fire caused her crew to abandon ship, as the Express repaid the enemy by hitting one of their destroyers, the Tsuga.
The battle then broke off into the rain of the night, but there was no question to who had been victorious, and during the confusion, and in her haste to escape, the cruiser Myoko collided with the stricken Tsuga, finishing her off.
Flush with success, Gordon ordered his ships to make full steam for the reported location of the Japanese carriers. He quickly found them and set to work in shelling them.
Unfortunately, during this battle, the Emerald took a torpedo to the engine room, and the carriers were once more able to slip away into the night, abet with some more war wounds.
The carriers are spotted once more at dawn by the Corfu but not engaged, as she is a sub hunting ship. The fires on the Shoho were observed to still be burning at this point, meaning she was continuing to suffer damage from the battle.
This information is all the Gordon needs however, and he detaches his damaged ships before going back in and gives the escorting cruisers a pasting in another round of viscous combat.
Now acting more like a crazed dog with blood in its sights, Gordon orders his ships, many now burning from over twelve hours of fighting, to make another pass that the Japanese ships.
This damage is enough to separate the cruisers from the charges, and he is then able to move in an strike at the carriers unprotected bar from a few destroyers, by this point the Enterprise is the only ship to have not sustained any real damage, and her luck continues to hold as she gets a salvo on target on the Shokaku.
Despite all this damage, there is still a carrier with enough capability left to put the daily bomb into the Hermes.
A later attack however, packs a little more punch.
And another raid puts two more 250kg bombs into her. Although I'm now glad that I put those Hurricanes into the area, as they claim two Zero kills.
A final raid puts another four torpedoes into her, and the enemy finally find out what it takes to sink a British Carrier.
Annoyingly, with all this valuable metal in the area, the Soerabaja Swordfish decide to waste their ordnance on a troop transport in southern Borneo.
The 139WH's have the better idea as 27 of them are launched at the crippled cruisers, they get no hits, and lose three planes to marauding Zeros, but at least they are trying.
A raid on Sorong, although not causing any real damage, warns us that the enemy is moving another carrier into a region already packed with the bloody things.
Bataan continues to get daily visits from the Japanese Air Force, there are three or four raids like this a day, and then five or six smaller ones, some at night.
Today the enemy assaulted Manila with nearly 50,000 men, unsurprisingly the defenders were driven back or captured.
The enemy is now in control of the Capital City of the Philippines, but we still maintain troops in Bataan.
Our attack in Pucheng is not as successful as I'd hoped it would be, but its still caused damage to the enemy, if we keep pushing them then we may be able to rout these troops.
A mixed bag today, although we lost the Hermes, we did bag a Battleship and inflict more damage on those carriers even if the stubborn sons of bitches refuse to actually go down.
The loss of Manila was long coming, but that doesn't mean that its anything less than a disappointment, this will allow the enemy to free up troops for the invasion of areas further south.
Although we did claim out 500th air to air kill today.
Heavy damage indeed today, somehow, the Indomitable stayed afloat, and also managed to not attract any more fire.
Lets hope her captain can bring her home safe. He still has about 120 miles to do, and she can only make one knot.
We also now have three desperate carrier groups in the area around Soreabaja, and only a few ships to deal with them.
I'm once more forced to risk every workable ship in an effort to sink one of them.