Are the happy times coming back?
Are the happy times coming back?
8th May 1943
The lull continues as the Japanese fleet seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet after the dud hit on the Hiryu. Yet there are still small pockets of action to remind us that there is a war going on.
Japanese destroyers and fast transports are making regular runs from Munda/Shortlands to Rabaul and have attracted the attention of both USN submarines and aircraft in the Santa Cruz islands. Shuttles of APD’s and DD’s led by CL’s have either been reinforcing the aforementioned places, redeploying troops or bringing in supplies. The SS Sailfish was able to sink the APD Tade just off Shortlands on the night of the 7th May and several unique photographs were taken through the periscope viewing port.
(The photos are of the real life Tade also sunk by submarine action)
Not only that an AO was also sunk by the SS Barb near Manus, could the Japanese carriers still be around. Enemy activity was also spotted at Gasmata. Heavy bombers had already targeted the airfield there and regular enemy presence had been recorded, mainly destroyers and light cruisers. VMSB-243 (Port Moresby) had been hoping to strike at enemy vessels in the Coral Sea since their redeployment to New Guinea and had been thwarted by the weather on several occasions, not today. 17 SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers took of early from Port Moresby and caught a small task force of a brace of destroyers led by a light cruiser on the hop at Gasmata. Surprise was total as the first plane to dive dropped a 1000lber right amidships on the Japanese destroyer Ushio. The bomb must have gone off in the main magazine as the ship virtually disappeared in a massive fireball. The rest of the squadron followed on down and the light cruiser was hit by three bombs while a second destroyer (Fubuki) was also hit. One plane was lost to flak as it came out of its dive but the remaining 16 planes returned home bombless but with squadron morale sky high. Allied planes could also sink enemy ships!
5th May 1943
Somewhat of a lull falls over the battle zones. The redeployment of the Japanese fleet away from the Southern Solomons has been confirmed today by the SS Blackfish. Her skipper reported attacking and hitting the enemy carrier Hiryu near the Caroline Islands. Alas the Blackfish was carrying the older type torpedoes that had so plagued the submarine fleet with duds earlier in the war. Her sonar man detected to definite hits on the hull of the enemy aircraft carrier but no subsequent explosion. The last heard of the Blackfish was that she was continuing to shadow the enemy.
Similar news from the SS Tullibee on station just off Tokyo. She reported two sightings of a large enemy task force on a south easterly heading. She initially engaged and missed a heavy cruiser. She was not detected and continued to prowl. Her skipper’s perseverance paid off however as he second target sailed into her sights. A new type of small carrier was hit by a dud. Her last report stated she had been attacked by depth charge but had received no damage of note. She was proceeding with patrol and following the enemy task force.
Match corresponding to the the last 16 of the Europa League and played at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao.
Well they carried on where they left off at Old Trafford and if they had better aim this could have been an epoch ending hammering of biblical proportions. Athletic are worthy winners proving much, much better than United over the two legs. Frankly they deserved to go through on the Old Trafford performance alone, this one tonight just vindicated it! United seemed to be up for it after a quick fire attack straight from the kick off, but that was it. Bilbao once again asserted their dominance over a midfield that included an invisible Ashley Young, I frankly noticed he was on the pitch when he fouled someone on the 85th minute mark! Ji Sung Park once again demonstrated that he is not a United player, Cleverley cannot handle the pressure of carrying this midfield, Rooney was MIA (until his wonder strike) and the defence was jittery all night long. Llorente once again struck but this time with a sweet cushioned volley, though Rio should shoulder some of the blame as he should have been marking the Spanish forward more closely than he was. The already electric atmosphere raised a notch or two to hellish proportions reminiscent of the Turkish stadiums. Half time saw a shell shocked United retire into the dressing room expecting a Fergie rocket. Bilbao had hit the post and were guilty of some woeful finishing, that may explain their 37 points almost 40 behind Real Madrid in the league (this stat I suppose puts their humiliation of United into stark contrast). This lack of profligacy continued into the second half. Yet De Marcos scored their second after his shot, which De Gea had well covered, took a wicked deflection off Evans. United were bereft of steel or skill in midfield, though Pogba showed why United should keep him when he came on putting himself about and trying to get the ball in United’s control. Rooney scored a wondrous goal to give United some hope 10 minutes from time but it was to no avail. Athletic’s supporters proved to be a class above by giving Ryan Giggs a thunderous ovation as he was subbed off. Just the Premier League title left and 10 do or die games that will surely culminate on the 30th April at the Etihad Stadium! Congratulations to Atheltic Bilbao for the masterful performances in this tie. United truly, truly woeful.
Manchester United Team
1 David De Gea
3 Patrice Evra
5 Rio Ferdinand
6 Johnny Evans
13 Ji Sung Park
16 Michael Carrick
23 Tom Cleverley
11 Ryan Giggs
18 Ashley Young
10 Wayne Rooney (Goal)
Paul Pogba on for Michael Carrick
Chris Smalling on for Rio Ferdinand
Danny Welbeck on for Ryan Giggs
3rd May 1943
Message from SS Steelhead to COMSUBPAC
***ENGAGED ENEMY BATTLESHIP***IDENTIFIED AS HIJMS YAMATO***NO HITS***YAMATO HEADING NW***
Message from SS Haddock to COMSUBPAC
***ENGAGED ENEMY BATTLESHIP***DUD HIT***ENEMY CONVOY HEADING NW***SUBJECTED TO HEAVY DEPTH CHARGE ATTACK***LIGHT DAMAGE***WILL PRESS ON WITH PATROL***
1st May 1943 contd
Enemy carriers have made their presence know in the Battle of the Solomons for the first time. The Royal Navy had bravely charged the massing enemy ships to the south of Ontong Java and had sunk the cruiser Kiso and heavily damaged the Kuma for no loss. Japanese ships were then, inexplicably, spotted later in the day steaming West and North West. Several aerial attacks were intercepted by A6M2 fighter planes with little effect. Just as much of an effect as the B-25’s had over the enemy battlewagons. Two being lost to flak guns over the Mutsu.
Our aircraft, however, do hit something when a light transport was hit by bombs from PB4Y Liberators at Shortlands. Further heavies once again struck Munda getting several G4M’s on the ground. The action was once again bloody in the air as 18 enemy planes were shot down for 3 of our own.
Finally the Japanese carriers were finally spotted to the North of Ontong Java. Several B5N2’s were followed at high altitude by PBY-5’s after sinking the destroyer McCalla at Lunga. These planes approached from the North East rather than the usual north westerly approach raids until then had taken. Two Catalina’s shadowed the Kates back home, several carriers skulking behind the mass of IJN guns seemingly running away from two RN cruisers.
1st May 1943
Naval Engagement off Onotong Java, the first salvoes of the Naval Battle of the Solomon Islands.
Radar Room HMS Devonshire:
‘…three solid contacts 30,000 yards to the NNW…’
Able Seaman Smith, lookout USS Columbia to his friend Able Seaman Mackenzie:
‘…its too dark and its too quiet out there Bob, I sure do hope those flyboys actually saw some ships…’
Bridge HMS Devonshire:
‘…and please relay these fire coordinates to the firing officer and sound for battle stations…’
Fire control centre USS Farenholt:
‘…ready turrets one and two, 5 inch AP shells…’
Bridge gantry HMAS Hobart:
‘…definitely three explosions, fire clearly seen sir, three points off port…’
Coalroom HMS Dorsertshire, ‘Blacky’ Keane:
‘..we’ve been that boom must have been a hit for sure…’
1st LT Cooper-Smith, Torpedo Officer:
‘…target that burning bastard over there Jock, full broadside on my mark…’
Bridge HMS Devonshire:
‘…fires under control sir, Turret three out of action 25 KIA, enemy ship seen sinking…’
First Officer USS DeHaven:
‘…5inch ammo running low sir, torpedoes launched, closing to engage enemy cruiser with 20mm AA guns…’
Forward Turret HMAS Hobart:
‘…yes we hit the bastard Bluey, square between both middle funnels. Burn you…’
Headline Daily Mail 3rd May 1943
ROYAL NAVY GIVES JAPS BLOODY NOSE. SHOWS YANKS HOW ITS DONE!!!!