昭和 17 2月四日
Battle of Gili Gili part I
An enemy task force had been reported approaching and in the vicinity of Milne Bay. Kido Butai ordered to steam at full speed from Truk to intercept. Expected to arrive on station by the afternoon.
The battle begins, as aeronaval battles often do by a single radio report. A succession of dots and dashes. A Mavis flying boat reports 3 enemy ships near GiliGili, class unknown.
That is enough for the air commander at Rabaul. 14 G4M1 Hamaki, escorted by 20 A6M2 Reisen fighters launch. They launch their torpedoes at two enemy ships that are now clearly identified: The heavy cruiser Australia and her escort, the destroyer Voyager.
A new raid launches in the afternoon. 16 Hamaki and 20 fighters. Once again, the attack fails miserably but one more ship is spotted, xAP Sarpedonia.
But in the afternoon, another player is in range. VAdm Nagumo Chuichi orders Kido Butai to launch. The results are definite, disastrous for the enemy.
55 Reisen fighters escort 109 B5N2 level bombers and 101 D3A1 dive bombers. With the enemy position well determined by the cigars, the enemy is smoked.
CL Adelaide, Bomb hits 1
CM Bungaree, Bomb hits 3, heavy fires
CA Australia, Bomb hits 6, on fire
xAP Rangitata, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAP Maori, Bomb hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAP Rangitiki, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires
CL Hobart, Bomb hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
CA Canberra, Bomb hits 1
xAK Cycle, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
Only one dive bomber was destroyed by the enemy AA fire and 13 damaged.
Back in Rabaul and on the carriers, pilots rest and mechanics work throughout the night.
< Message edited by kaleun -- 4/14/2014 6:29:06 PM >
Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.