Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 913 March 1, 1942

At dawn 300 miles South of Java near Christmas Island, US destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall transfer 453 survivors from USS Langley (which was sunk on February 27) to oiler USS Pecos. Whipple heads to Cocos Islands to escort a tanker while Edsall returns to Tjilatjap, Java, with 32 USAAC personnel to assemble and fly 27 P-40 fighters delivered on February 27 by freighter Sea Witch. At noon, 4 waves of Aichi D3A1 dive bombers from Japanese carriers Kaga and Soryu attack Pecos for several hours, scoring multiple hits on the undefended oiler. Pecos sinks at 3.48 PM. Whipple and Edsall receive distress signals and race back. Whipple picks up 232 survivors but leaves many men in the sea due to reports of 2 Japanese submarines in the area. However, Edsall is detected by the Japanese fleet and sunk by shellfire and divebombers from 4.03 to 5.31 PM (147 killed, 6 survivors picked up by Japanese cruiser Chikuma and treated well until handed over to Japanese Army on March 11 and decapitated).

Second Battle of the Java Sea. At 9 AM, British cruiser HMS Exeter and destroyers HMS Encounter & USS Pope 4 Japanese cruisers and 5 destroyers covering the Eastern Force and start evasive maneuvers. At noon 190 miles North of Soerabaya, Java, HMS Exeter (54 killed, 651 survivors) and HMS Encounter (7 killed, 166 survivors) are sunk by shellfire and torpedoes. At 12.50 PM, 12 dive-bombers from the aircraft carrier Ryūjō sink USS Pope (1 killed, 152 rescued and become POWs of which 29 die in captivity). Also in the Java Sea, US submarine USS Perch is damaged by depth-charges from Japanese destroyers Amatsukaze and Hatsukaze.

South of Java, Japanese warships and submarines cutting off the escape route to Australia sink 5 merchant ships including Dutch vessels Rooseboom, Pariji and Modjokerto.

Invasion of Java. Japanese Western force begins to close in on Batavia; 2nd Division from Bantam Bay move 10 miles inland and capture Serang, while 230th Infantry Regiment from Eretan Wetan captures Kalidjati airfield at Soebang (30 miles inland). Eastern Force (48th Division) moves 20 miles inland hampered by US B-17 bombers and strafing from Allied fighters. Japanese bombing of the Allied naval base at Soerabaja damages US destroyer USS Stewart (in dry dock for repairs following Battle of Badung Strait) and Dutch destroyer HNLMS Witte de With. Dutch minesweeper HNLMS A is scuttled by her crew to prevent capture by the Japanese.

Japanese submarine I-25 launches its floatplane to reconnoiter Hobart, Australia.

33 miles South of Cape Race, Newfoundland, a Lockheed Hudson patrol bomber (Naval Squadron VP-82) sinks U-656 on an anti-submarine sweep from Argentia (all 45 hands lost). VP-82 was equipped with 20 Hudsons diverted from Lend-Lease and claimed the first 2 U-boats ‘kills’ by US forces.

No comments:

Post a Comment