Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 980 May 7, 1942

British invasion of Madagascar (Operation Ironclad). Overnight, with British Royal Marines on the loose in Antsirane and a large British contingent (29th Independent Brigade plus both 17th and 13th Infantry Brigade Groups) advancing on the town from the South, Vichy commander surrenders. At 5 AM, Vichy French submarine Le Héros is located and attacked off Courrier Bay by Fleet Air Arm Swordfish from British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. Le Héros crash dives but is forced to the surface and abandoned. Vichy 12-inch guns on the Orangia Peninsular continue firing until subdued by “gentle persuasion” from 24 rounds of 15-inch shellfire from British battleship HMS Ramillies. By noon, all hostilities are over and the British fleet enters the harbour.

At 3.35 AM 100 miles South of Mobile, Alabama, U-507 sinks Honduran SS Ontario with shellfire from the deck gun (all 45 crew in 3 lifeboats picked up after 6 hours by American patrol yacht USS Onyx). At 8 AM 30 miles northwest of Paramaribo, Suriname, U-162 sinks Norwegian SS Frank Seamans (all 27 hands rescued next day by a Dutch ship).

Battle of the Coral Sea. A US scout planes locates Japanese light carrier Shōhō, 4 cruisers and 1 destroyer covering the invasion force heading for Port Moresby. At 10.40 AM, 93 American aircraft from carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown (18 Wildcat fighters, 53 SBD dive bombers, and 22 TBD torpedo bombers) attack, hitting Japanese light carrier Shōhō with 13 1,000 lb bombs and 5 torpedoes. Shōhō sinks at 11.35 AM (631 killed, 203 rescued by Japanese destroyer Sazanami). As a result of being discovered and fearing attacks on the troop transports, the Japanese invasion force heading for Port Moresby turns around and heads North. A Japanese search plane mistakes US oiler USS Neosho and escort destroyer USS Sims for a carrier and a cruiser. At 9.30 AM, 15 high level bombers attack but miss and at 10.38 AM USS Sims evades 9 bombs dropped by 10 bombers. A third attack by 36 Val dive bombers scores 7 direct hits on the oiler USS Neosho plus a kamikaze plane dives into her. USS Neosho is kept afloat (in part by the actions of Chief Petty Officer Oscar V. Peterson, who is horribly burned and wins the Medal of Honor posthumously). Three 500-pound bombs hit destroyer USS Sims which buckles amidships. There is a massive explosion as USS Sims sinks stern first (178 killed, 16 survivors reach USS Neosho in a damaged whaleboat). 4 days later, US destroyer USS Henley arrives and rescues the survivors from USS Sims and USS Neosho. At 5.47 PM, 12 Japanese dive bombers and 15 torpedo bombers searching for the US carriers are picked up on radar intercepted by 11 US Wildcat carrier-based fighters (9 Japanese bombers and 3 US fighters shot down). At 8 PM, the Japanese and US carrier fleets are only 70 miles apart.

Operation_Bowery. USS Wasp, carrying Spitfires to Malta, is joined off Gibraltar by HMS Eagle carrying a further 17 Spitfires from Gibraltar.

In response to requests from German naval staff, Japanese Imperial Navy sends submarine I-30 to reconnoitre the East coast of Africa for possible attack. I-30’s floatplane conducts a reconnaissance flight over the British port of Aden in Aden Colony (now Yemen).

No comments:

Post a Comment