17th March 1943
Onc again the Bay of Bengal resounds to the sinking of British and Commonwealth merchant ships. Indeed SEAC has immediately set plans in motion to strike back at th hornet’s nest that sank three transports at Calcutta harbour itslef.
Warning of the raid came early in the morning and a combined CAP of RAF Hurricanes and USAAF Warhawks was up. Hurris flying top ceiling at 20,000 feet while the P-40’s held the low station at around 13,000 feet. A mass of Ki-43’s escorted five G4M2‘s. The Japanese fighters seemed to have got the bounced on the American fighters with three Warhawks falling from the sky in the opening minuted of camobat. Thats when the Hurricanes brought their 20mm cannon to bear, diving from height onto the Oscars. Four enemy fighters went down quickly while another five quickly followed. Yet fighter jocks being fighter jocks…
Too busy tussling with their Japanese counterparts, the fighters forgot the real danger. The 18 inch torpedoes carried by the Mitsubishis. Straight as an arrow the five enemy bombers achieved a remarkable 60% hit rate as they sunk the Karoa, the Silverteak and the City of Pretoria. The 225 Group, responsible for the air defence of Calcutta, got a severe chewing off from the high command. Merchant Marines were losing their lives due to the inability to defend the air space above Calcutta!