December 28, 1941
Bad day for the Allies.
While cat groups in the Aleutians report every school of fish as a major Japanese TF, the crews of my two cat groups operating out of Brisbane seem to spend their time aloft reading comic books and, so, fail to see anything no matter how big…including a raiding Japanese CV TF moving toward Sydney.
Luckily, I had read in reports from the day before that a couple of AMc operating out of Sydney were sunk by unknown means. That didn’t sound good.
Sitting in the port at Sydney were two Allied CVs, the Lexington and Enterprise.
I didn’t know what, if anything, was coming but decided, perhaps wrongly, to not put the CVs in a TF. I was concerned that CVs in a TF might react away from the AA at Sydney (even with zero react, but I wasn’t sure) and I think that CVs operating in TFs sitting in ports have reduced air operations, something I certainly didn’t want. So the two CVs sat in the port disbanded.
Other surface ships formed TFs in the chance (true?) that such ships might more effectively use their AA than if they were disbanded in port. My carrier fighters were already CAPing over Sydney from the land airbase and carrier DB and TB based on land not far away were set to naval attack.
I’m not sure I could do much else, given only a single day’s warning that something might be coming.
Luckily, Japanese carrier planes didn’t attack the CVs sitting in port. But when all is said and done, I expect I will have lost 4 DDs and will have a CA sitting in the Sydney drydock for a long time. My DBs were within range of the Japanese carriers but didn’t take off. They likely would have been slaughtered had they attacked the Japanese TF but still…
The total carnage from 6 different Japanese strikes:
DD Maury, Bomb hits 2, and is SUNK
DD Flusser, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage and, later, SUNK
DD Lamson, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires LOTs of fires burning and it might not survive.
DD Dunlap, Bomb hits 1, on fire only scratches
DD Drayton, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage SUNK
CA Chicago, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
CA Portland, Bomb hits 1
B5N2 Kate: 3 destroyed, 2 destroyed by flak, 13 damaged
A6M2 Zero: 1 destroyed
D3A1 Val: 1 destroyed, 2 destroyed by flak, 17 damaged
F2A-3 Buffalo: 2 destroyed
F4F-3A Wildcat: 1 destroyed
The sunk DDs were performing ASW between Sydney and where the Japanese CVs set up shop. Unplanned by me, these ships apparently served as sacrificial pickets as Japanese pilots just couldn’t help themselves in attacking anything floating that they came across. Four of the six Japanese air strikes attacked ASW groups instead of hitting the port at Sydney.
I assume that the Japanese carrier bomber groups have been reduced in strength enough that a second strike is unlikely, but I can't be sure.
My conclusion: Sydney isn’t a safe place particularly if you can’t trust your naval search assets and, my main takeaway, I continue to benefit from luck as the sunk DDs performing ASW very possibly saved me from a much worse outcome.
< Message edited by Panjack -- 9/20/2014 5:20:13 PM >