March 12, 1942 -
My opponent went away for a week and all he brought me back was a Bombardment TF.
The night phase started out with the Japanese invasion TFs at Cebu still unloading, then the big Japanese Bombardment TF that had hit Cairns a while back sailed into the waters off of Darwin. Waiting for the Japanese were the three surviving PT boats from the Philippines.
I've got to salute my PT boat skippers. They hit the gas and roared in against the four Japanese BBs, three Japanese CAs and five Japanese DDs with all guns blazing and their torpedoes rocketing out of the launchers.
Unfortunately, the Japanese gunners on the BBs were ready for them and sank each one in turn with a single shot. No US torpedoes hit their targets, and the Japanese Bombardment TF sailed along on its mission pretty much without noticing the debris that they cut through.
The Japanese TF then got into position to fire, but the Defenders were awake and prepared, and I was more than pleasantly surprised with the following results:
Naval bombardment of Darwin at 76,124 - Coastal Guns Fire Back!
546 Coastal gun shots fired in defense.
BB Hyuga, Shell hits 32, on fire
BB Fuso, Shell hits 20
BB Mutsu, Shell hits 18
CA Suzuya, Shell hits 6
CA Ashigara, Shell hits 19, on fire, heavy damage
CA Maya, Shell hits 1
Allied ground losses:
201 casualties reported
Squads: 1 destroyed, 4 disabled
Non Combat: 9 destroyed, 12 disabled
Engineers: 4 destroyed, 5 disabled
Guns lost 15 (4 destroyed, 11 disabled)
BB Hyuga firing at Emery Point Fortress
BB Yamashiro firing at A/B Battery Heavy Coastal Artillery Regiment
BB Fuso firing at Emery Point Fortress
BB Mutsu firing at Emery Point Fortress
CA Suzuya firing at Emery Point Fortress
CA Ashigara firing at Emery Point Fortress
CA Maya firing at Emery Point Fortress
I had forgotten that there were 9.2 inch guns at Darwin, along with the usual 6 inch guns. Sure, none of the CD guns could penetrate the armor of the BBs, but they sure tore up the superstructure of the ships. Interestingly enough, the Combat Replay showed things a little bit differently – for example Yamashiro was shown taking superstructure damage – but never-the-less it was a very satisfying message to send to my opponent about the potential cost of an invasion of Darwin.
Afterwards, when I checked the damage, I was surprised to see that there was no damage to the Port or Air Fields; the Bombardment appears to have been focussed upon the Base Fortifications, as was reported in the Combat Report. And the CD units had suffered very limited damage. So if my opponent comes in again he will meet something of the same thing the next time. I can't wait to see those 9.2 inch guns against APs.
Otherwise, the night phase was quiet with the exception of Dutch sub O16 getting caught in the shallows off of Balikpapan and being harassed and damaged slightly by Japanese ASW ships. O16 will now have to head off to Colombo for some repairs.
Daylight brought Japanese Air attacks to most of the usual places – Cebu, Madioen, Bataan, Oosthaven, and the Sumatra stragglers. Then some Kates, escorted by Zeros, from the KB Lite hit Darwin, but they spent most of their time arguing with Flak. Allied Air was rained out in all theaters.
Japanese troops in Java made more ground today as the two Japanese Infantry Regiments at Madioen finally captured the base in a Deliberate attack. The two Dutch units retreated to a nearby empty base. And I was surprised that once again there was no serious Japanese attack on Cebu. Instead both sides fired off ineffectual bombardment attacks at each other.
So it appears that my opponent is pretty much committed to a direct invasion of Darwin. I am still wondering why he is his bothering instead of landing at Wyndham, which is undefended, and then cutting off Darwin. Maybe he has most of his armored units committed elsewhere, such as the one sitting around at Cebu. In any event, I don't mind either way because this simply causes the Japanese advance to slow down even more.
Although, who knows, maybe this is just another bit of misdirection. And considering that I have no idea where the KB is located at this time, I probably shouldn't focus too much of my attention on northern Australia.