Operation Cobber Day 3 contd
As the 1st Australian Division began its attack on Port Moresby the shipping unloading men and supplies also began to feel the strain of battle. Five seperate attacks were made during the 8th by both elements of the IJAAF and the IJNAF. The first attack of the day saw 17 G4M1 bombers, escorted by 7 Zeroes, focus a direct attack squarely against the HMS Revenge. Her flak batteries covered the sky in black plumes of smoke and deadly shrapnel and despite a crowed Joyce Bay none of the 17 torpedoes launched struck her armoured hide. The second Betty attack of the day however did score.
The 4 Lightnings on CAP were able to down two of the escorting Zeroes but could do nothing to deter the 7 G4M’s heading straight to the fleet. Three peeled off to attack the Revenge once again while the remaining four honed in on the 7,300 ton troop carrier Santa Inez. The Japanese planes divided into two groups and attacked the transport in a hammer and anvil attack. The ponderous vessel was not lithe enough to evade all four torpedoes and she took one apeice on her port and starboard sides sinkng late in the afternoon.
The three Betties that attacked the Revenge were able to get through her flak screen and launch all their fish at her port side, one scoring a hit that inflicted minimal damage on her. Several of the G4M’s were also carrying bombs and carried out a level attack that missed all intended targets.
The remaining raids carried out by IJAAF level and dive bombers scored no hits though the xAP Colac did suffer a very near miss from a 500lb bomb dropped by a Sonia.