December 12 42. Pegu falls.
The Japanese score their first success in their drive for the oil and resources from Burma. Pegu fell yesterday. This vital station in the Burma road fell to Japanese attack isolating Rangoon from the resource rich inland forests.
December 13 42 Ships that cross in the night.
Vanikoro is a small collection of coral atolls, of no importance to anyone who had not read 20,000 leagues under the sea, however, yesterday, two task forces crossed each other during the night and, had the allied force been a combat force instead of a tanker one, history might be different. Imagine, if you will the shock on the bridge of DD Cushing, flagship of the oiler fleet when, out of the night’s gloom pour a gaggle of enemy ships; among them, he recognizes two battleships, Hiei and Kirishima, and two heavy cruisers, Tone and Chikuma. Expecting to be blown out of the water, he orders his ships to open the range; he ponders ordering the tanker convoy to scatter, in the hopes of saving at least one or two of his juicy, fuel laden tankers. Only as the two fleets begin to open the range, in divergent tracks he sees the reason why the Japanese did not attack him. Following the battleships and cruisers, CV Hiryu, Soryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku and Akagi.
He has time to issue a contact report and to steam away as fast as his oilers can. Dawn however comes way before he is out of range. The men man the AA guns, and wait.
The results speak for themselves. A transport TF, fortunately homeward bound and empty is found first.
AP Henry T. Allen, Bomb hits 5, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Kahuku, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
AP President Polk, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
AP President Jackson, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
AP Henderson, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
DD King, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAP President Buchanan, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 4, and is sunk
xAP President Fillmore, Bomb hits 4, heavy fires
xAP President Taylor, Bomb hits 5, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAP President Tyler, Bomb hits 3, heavy fires, heavy damage
AP Tasker H. Bliss
AP President Monroe, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
Then it’s the oilers turn.
AO Patoka, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
AO Neches, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
AO Sabine, Bomb hits 4, heavy fires, heavy damage
AO Kaskaskia, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires
AO Kanawha, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
DD Rathburne, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires
Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.