From: La Salle, Colorado
May 1, 1945
The Japanese have had a string a relative successes over the last several days. Yesterday's sinking of the Alaska and modern Light Cruisers Columbia and Phoenix (at the cost of 6 DDs) was a heady event. The evening of the 30th brings the sharp realization that the Americans will probably throw everything they have into attacking Fusan port. Nearly 100 AKs and APs are loading over a dozen units to bring back to the Home Isles. There is a lot left to protect these valuable ships but it only LOOKS like a lot.
Adm Tanaka's BCs are ordered home by Combined Fleet. Though damaged, the crews of these two ships are quite satisfied with what they accomplished but fully understand what is coming. With an escort of E-Class ASW ships, the two BCs and CA Maya depart for Yokohoma. They will have an uneventful cruise. The remaining pair of CAs with 5 DDs depart as well but they are ordered to make a limited offensive sweep west and then head for Yokohoma. The remaining ships is divided into weak Task Forces. They are not much. There are the normal MTB and PT groups. Four small units of E-Class escorts are created as well as one of large PBs. The goal is not to win the battle but to keep the Allies AWAY from the harbor.
Ohhhhh...yes....the harbor. Fusan is protected by its Fortress as well as two full strength CD units. Nearly 500 mines fill the approaches as well.
Fusan girds itself for what is to come.
Beginning at about 1am the hammer begins to fall on the Japanese position. The Allies created five TFs of 6 PT boats and at least five Surface TFs. They are all ordered to attack shipping as well as penetrate the harbor and/or soften up the AFs with bombardment.
What a wild-and-crazy melee follows!!!
Nearly 20 separate TFs clash during the late-night/morning hours. We see the little boys duking it out with machine guns and light cannons, Allied TFs (some with cruisers--Baltimore, Canberra II, Houston II, Gambia, as well as several others--but most with just DDs) fight it out in close quarters. Ships maneuver, fire, and get hit. Many Japanese ships are smashed and sunk but goal always remains the same PROTECT the shipping inside the harbor. This they do. Many ships purposefully attempt to draw the Allies into the minefields and closer to the guns of the coastal defense. This they do as well. The American PT boats get crushed within the minefields. Over TWO DOZEN of them are hit by CD or take mines! Allied vessels work closer to their gunnery targets and take heavy CD fire (at least 10-12 Allied warships are hit) and smack into the ever present mines (over 10 mine explosions are heard during the turn). Put simply--it is a maelstrom of violence.
Wrecks fill the area outside the harbor. The Japanese lose 15 E-Class escorts, an AK, 2 SC, 4 PB, and an MGB. Allied losses are hard to imagine. Lookouts claim at least 3-4 American DDs are sunk in the minefield as well as several cruisers hit. Gunnery reports are compiled and the CLAIMED results are impressive.
Now the AA crews go over to alert. The snarl of nearly 200 Japanese Fighters flying CAP becomes the background sound for the rest of the day.
Several Allied Fighter Sweeps occur but are handily brushed aside. Once the Fighters have tried to smack down the aircover, dozens of B-24s bore in from multiple AFs in the NW and W. As has happened two other time in the last week, these bomber crews are jumped but well over 100 Fighters and GET CHEWED UP! Another 40-50 brave crews are killed. Bombs fall but do little damage.
The CAP holds.
By the time the suns sets, Fusan, KOREA is left behind as five TFs of AKs and APs make good their escape carrying 25,000 support troops that can be used effectively elsewhere.
Korea may be lost but this day is rated a success by Imperial General HQ.