The allied carrier force turns around. They will not get into range of the feared Nell bombers, not for a few enemy escorts and a seaplane carrier. The battle is done. The enemy lost three carriers, one of them, Zuikaku, a modern fleet carrier. The allied losses, negligible. Hermes will spend some time in a shipyard, but the small, slow CVL will survive.
The news goes out on the wireless and, but minutes later is released to the press for distribution to a country, Australia, thirsty for any good news.
Farther to the north, at Kalgoorlie, the next act of the tragedy opens.
Ground combat at Kalgoorlie (56,147)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 75430 troops, 714 guns, 577 vehicles, Assault Value = 2508
Defending force 48006 troops, 700 guns, 356 vehicles, Assault Value = 1030
Japanese engineers reduce fortifications to 3
Japanese adjusted assault: 2465
Allied adjusted defense: 867
Japanese assault odds: 2 to 1 (fort level 3)
Japanese Assault reduces fortifications to 3
Defender: forts(+), preparation(-), experience(-)
Japanese ground losses:
7266 casualties reported
Squads: 140 destroyed, 372 disabled
Non Combat: 11 destroyed, 63 disabled
Engineers: 26 destroyed, 31 disabled
Guns lost 60 (12 destroyed, 48 disabled)
Vehicles lost 28 (14 destroyed, 14 disabled)
Allied ground losses:
3230 casualties reported
Squads: 28 destroyed, 293 disabled
Non Combat: 1 destroyed, 37 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 51 disabled
Guns lost 96 (5 destroyed, 91 disabled)
Vehicles lost 13 (1 destroyed, 12 disabled)
Yes, the attack is repelled, but the enemy will try again.
North of Esperance, the US 24th Division will try and dislodge the enemy armor from the railroad. The Japanese tanks are worthless, unless you do not have tanks of your own to oppose them, then they are murderous. But the 24th will not face the enemy armor, just the 2nd Recon regiment, and forces them off the railroad on the 2nd. The men receive their baptism of fire and now feel optimistic. Pity that reality will catch up with them soon.
The 163rd regiment will arrive at Esperance on the 3rd and begin loading up on the awaiting transports.
Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.