23 Mar 43
Submarine Jack recently arrived near the southwest part of southern Japan. Jack spotted a tanker convoy, and fired 2 torpedoes at large tanker Shiranesan Maru. Both torpedoes hit. The tanker was full of oil that almost made it to Japan, and burned. Sinking audio heard immediately after the engagement. Scratch one tanker. The dud rate has been right around 40% for 1943.
Enemy subs have reappeared south of Ceylon. I-37 spotted a cargo convoy returning from Rangoon. 2 torpedoes missed xAK Fresno City II. Plans for having to build Fresno City III are on hold.
Enemy ships engaged between Babar and Saumlaki, during the day. Allied ships have been unloading at both bases for days. 8 Fletcher class destroyers go into the fight, but are outgunned by 4 cruisers. The fight was at generally long range, with it closing to 7,000 yards and then slowly extending, giving many rounds for the cruisers to fire without being targetted.
Day Time Surface Combat, near Babar at 77,117, Range 17,000 Yards
CA Chokai, Shell hits 1
CA Myoko, Shell hits 1
DD Oyashio, Shell hits 2, on fire
DD Asashio, Shell hits 1
DD Fletcher, Shell hits 4, on fire
DD Chevalier, Shell hits 7, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD DeHaven, Shell hits 1, on fire
DD O'Bannon, Shell hits 1
Chevalier sank soon after, becoming the first Fletcher class destroyer to be lost. Fletcher is SYS 20/FLOT 22-8/ENG 7/FIRE 0. DeHaven is SYS 34/FLOT 13-3/ENG 6-1/FIRE 0, and with minimal major damage, can repair completely at Darwin. O'Bannon is SYS 6/FLOT 0/ENG 2-1/FIRE 0. A disappointing engagement where the Fletchers launched just a couple of torpedoes.
Bombers from Darwin went after the enemy, but found some Oscars flying LRCAP.
Morning Air attack on TF, near Babar at 77,117
Weather in hex: Overcast
Raid spotted at 39 NM, estimated altitude 10,000 feet.
Estimated time to target is 17 minutes
Ki-43-IIb Oscar x 5
SB2U-3 Vindicator x 18
No Japanese losses
Allied aircraft losses
SB2U-3 Vindicator: 5 destroyed, 4 damaged
SB2U-3 Vindicator: 1 destroyed by flak
9 Vindicators dropped bombs but all missed.
Enemy bombers started hitting Lanchow in far northern China.