17th April 1943
Following the conclusion of the operations at Lunga and Port Morseby Allied forces are looking to consolidate their gains. Port Moresby now supports fighter and fighter bombers and has been able to deal a defeat to the IJAAF over Buna. An intial defence line has also been dug and the 1st Australian Division had moved to secure the immediate hinterland as support units begin to setup the administrative and supply support systems at Port Moresby itself.
The Americans on the other hand are not having such an easy time of it on Guadalcanal. Though a foothold has been secured Lunga is currently facing the bared teeth of enemy air power. 75 G4M1s plastered the air facilities there despite the efforts of P-38’s flying at extreme range. Though most ships have now left the area, several units are still disembarking. These were caught by a flight of D3A2 dive bombers that had the luxury of a fighter escort that kept the 5 P-38s on LRCAP at bay, though 3 A6M3’s were shot down.
First to attract attention was the destroyer Dale that took two direct hits from the first two bombers to dive on her. Burning profusely she and her were testament to the bravery of the destroyer arm as her AA guns were still engaging the enemy bombers as they dived on the unloading transports. Their main target was the Poelau Telo that was straddled by three bombs that hit amidships. She was finishing unloading some supplies for the 1st Marine Regiment and the bombs exploded in the hold carrying some 75mm shell for the regiments howitzers. A massive explosion broke the ship’s back in half and she sunk, amazingly only one unfortunate sailor lost his life with most of the ships compliment joining the soldiers and marines ashore.