Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

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glenn239
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by glenn239 » 15 Sep 2012 15:21

Yes, you’ve said all along that this pause was needed but haven’t really explained why it was so vital. Now you say it’s so that KdB can rest and so that the army’s 1st Phase divisions can be replenished.
We’re operating from two different strategic premises. Yours, based on the historical planning, is that the Japanese would make the ‘hop’ to Ceylon as an add-on to the 1st Phase operation, an opportunistic gesture exploiting the temporary disruption of British defences for a ‘hasty’ invasion, at the cost of having to relinquish the offensive in Burma. That is, taking Ceylon was to be an end in itself.

Mine has been that Ceylon only made sense within the context of a much larger offensive into the Indian Ocean to annihilate the whole British position in the east. As this was not possible in a hasty operation limited to Ceylon, and since the Japanese were contemptuous of British strength by the end of February 1942 anyway, I assumed a better prepared offensive along the lines of the original 1st Phase Op. Ceylon was too far, and by itself not of enough importance, to try and take in what amounted to a glorified raid in force.
I’m surprised that you would suggest that the Japanese would ignore the US raids. After all, the 18 April Doolittle raid gave Yamamoto the argument he needed to get his MI plan approved.
I did not say our historical Japanese characters ‘would’ ignore the carrier raids. In fact, they were of a mind not to. I’m saying that they could have ignored because they were of no real strategic consequence. Like Hipper’s raids on the British coasts in 1914, the material threat was non-existent and the only real impact was in the question of what the British would do in reaction. As it turned out, Yamamoto was not of a mind to ignore a political gift dropped into his lap helping to get his way on his longstanding agenda to engage the US fleet in decisive battle at its lair near Hawaii. But if Japanaese minds had been focused in the west, then just as easily Yamamoto could have used submarines and land based airpower and brushes off the matter as inconsequential. And had he done so, the carrier raids would have been inconsequential.

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Rob Stuart » 15 Sep 2012 23:24

Okay. We'll leave it there then.


Rob

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Rob Stuart » 08 Apr 2013 22:32

To resume discussion of Somerville and Operation C, I’ve recently learned something new concerning why there was no attack on KdB by Somerville’s Albacores on the night of 5 April ’42. The basic reason remains the same, namely that Somerville did not receive adequate information from the RAF’s Catalinas or his own aircraft concerning the position, course and speed of KdB. What really but the nail in the coffin of his night attack was the report he received at 1817 indicating that two carriers and five other ships had been heading northwest at 1600. This report was made by Albacore pilot SLt Grant-Sturgis, who landed back aboard Indomitable by 1815. Somerville immediately altered course to 315 degrees to remain in range of KdB, but since Nagumo was in fact steering to the southeast at the time the two forces drew apart and KdB was soon beyond Somerville’s reach.

I think that it has generally been assumed that this report that KdB was steering to the northwest was simply mistaken. However, j-aircraft forum member genie854 has generously shared with me information suggesting that KdB, or part of it, may have been steering to the northwest at 1600, for a short period, in connection with changing from one formation to another. The time line appears to have been as follows, which uses local time. (I’ve italicized the new information from genie854.)

1411: Four 827 Squadron Albacores take off from Indomitable to search to the northeast to a depth of 200 miles. (from Indomitable’s log and other UK sources)

Approx 1500: Hiryu alters course to the northwest. (Hiryu track chart)

1524: DesRon1 occupies its position in 9th Screening Cruising Disposition. (DesRon1 war diary)

1540: BatDiv3 occupies its assigned position in the 9th Screening Cruising Disposition. (BatDiv3 war diary)

Approx 1600: Grant-Sturgis sights part of KdB

1604: Hiryu launches CAP Watch 6. (Hiryu track chart.) It must have turned into the wind (230 degrees) to launch.

1605: KdB is on course 135 degrees. (BatDiv3 war diary)

1620: Hiryu launches four Zeros, apparently to attack an enemy plane approaching from the west. (Hiryu track chart.) I’m not sure of this was Grant-Sturgis or SLt Streathfield, who was piloting another Albacore.

1628: Hiryu CAP Watch 6 shoots down Streathfield. (Hiryu track chart) He apparently made no sighting report.

Approx 1630: Hiryu CAP Watch 5 sights an Albacore 270 degrees 30 nm from Hiryu. The Zeros attack but the enemy plane escapes in cloud. This was Grant-Sturgis. This aircraft was only slightly damaged but his radio operator/gunner was wounded, so he left the scene and headed back to Indomitable.

It’s pretty clear from the Hiryu track chart that it, and presumably the rest of KdB, altered course to the northwest at 1500, changed formation and then reversed course. (This little diversion to the northwest is not shown in any track chart in any secondary source, presumably because it was just a brief diversion. These charts simply show KdB altering course from southwest to southeast.) It’s not entirely clear to me when KdB reversed course from northwest to southeast, although it certainly appears to have been by 1605. The Hiryu track chart has it still steering northwest at 1530 and looping around to port maybe 10 minutes later and heading southeast. But it then turned southwest, to launch and/or recover CAP aircraft, and then did a weird kind of figure-eight manouever during which it was briefly pointing to the northwest again. You can see this in Hiryu's attached track chart, covering 1700 to 2100 JST, which was 1400-1800 in local time. The annotations in red are genie854's.

So, genie854’s observations seem to suggest that perhaps KdB, or the portion of it that Grant-Sturgis saw, really was steering northwest when he observed it. This would mean that KdB may have escaped being attacked that night by 30 or more Albacores only because, fortuitously, he was briefly steering to the northwest when sighted, and because his CAP shot down one Albacore before it could report and drove off the other before it could confirm KdB’s course.

Does this seem plausible?


Thanks,

Rob
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Apr 2013 01:07

Rob Stuart wrote:...
So, genie854’s observations seem to suggest that perhaps KdB, or the portion of it that Grant-Sturgis saw, really was steering northwest when he observed it. This would mean that KdB may have escaped being attacked that night by 30 or more Albacores only because, fortuitously, he was briefly steering to the northwest when sighted, and because his CAP shot down one Albacore before it could report and drove off the other before it could confirm KdB’s course.

Does this seem plausible?

Yes. The out come of military actions turning on small chances like this is not uncommon. There are certainly other examples of naval fleets turning onto false interception courses due to bad signals, or inoportune sightings.

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by genie854 » 09 Apr 2013 01:50

Rob, I'm here too.
"truly a fighting admiral who never lost a battle, nothing was forgiven and very little applauded."

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by genie854 » 09 Apr 2013 02:01

Hiryu Action Chart April 5th - 1.JPG
These are the first (out of three) part of Hiryu Action Chart on April 5th. KdB's track chart, as usually used in Japanese and English sources, doesn't show small changes in course. Hiryu Action Chart is more detailed.
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Urmel » 10 Apr 2013 17:41

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Rob Stuart wrote:...
So, genie854’s observations seem to suggest that perhaps KdB, or the portion of it that Grant-Sturgis saw, really was steering northwest when he observed it. This would mean that KdB may have escaped being attacked that night by 30 or more Albacores only because, fortuitously, he was briefly steering to the northwest when sighted, and because his CAP shot down one Albacore before it could report and drove off the other before it could confirm KdB’s course.

Does this seem plausible?

Yes. The out come of military actions turning on small chances like this is not uncommon. There are certainly other examples of naval fleets turning onto false interception courses due to bad signals, or inoportune sightings.
Italian navy missed the chance for a proper battle in 1st Sirte because of false reconnaissance reports.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 10:09

An passing interest in this topic has brought about the following chain of the improbable. This improbability is beyond obscure coincidence.

So.... please bear with me and do the work.
@herosrest wrote:10th March 1942 - A porcelaine knot

http://www.j-aircraft.org/smf/index.php?topic=10088.0

Japanese intentions to mount a major offensive into the Indian Ocean were placed on hold in March 1942; since strong naval forces were needed in the western Pacific against the United States, and the Imperial Japanese Army refused to allocate troops for an invasion of Ceylon. The IJN developed Operation C as an aggressive raid into the Indian Ocean in early April to destroy the British Eastern Fleet and disrupt British lines of communications in the Bay of Bengal in support of the Burma Campaign.

British intelligence correctly assessed the Japanese strategy. The Americans were notified; the Doolittle Raid – which was already in progress – took on the additional role as a diversion.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto issued the initial order to proceed with Operation C to the IJN's southern force, commanded by Admiral Nobutake Kondō, on 9 March 1942.


Eglin

10 March 1942 - Doolittle stated in his after-action report that the crews reached a "safely operational" level of training, despite several days when flying was not possible because of rain and fog. One aircraft was written off in a landing accident on 10 March and another was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident on 23 March.

The challenge of learning short field takeoffs in a short period of time had consequences. The first incident happened during a navigation flight on the afternoon of March 10, 1942. B-25B SN 40-2254 suffered nose wheel failure after landing at Ellington Field, Texas. None of the 6 men on board were injured. Pilot Richard O. Joyce had just landed and the aircraft developed a severe shimmy in the nose wheel about 400 feet from the end of the runway. Power was cut to the engines and the nose wheel collapsed. It was determined the cause was a malfunction of the shimmy dampener on the nose landing gear. The aircraft would eventually be repaired, but it would not return to Eglin during training.

8–13 March 1942 - The Invasion of Salamaua–Lae, Operation SR, was an operation by Imperial Japanese forces to occupy the Salamaua–Lae area in the Territory of New Guinea during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The Japanese invaded and occupied the location in order to construct an airfield and establish a base to cover and support the advance of Japanese forces into the eastern New Guinea and Coral Sea areas. The small Australian garrison in the area withdrew as the Japanese landed and did not contest the invasion.

10 March 1942 - In response to Japanese landings, a United States Navy aircraft carrier task force including the carriers Yorktown and Lexington struck the invading Japanese naval forces with carrier aircraft on 10 March. Supporting the carrier aircraft were eight B-17 bombers of the 435th Bombardment Squadron of the 19th Bombardment Group from Garbutt Field, Townsville, Australia and eight Royal Australian Air Force Hudson bombers of No. 32 Squadron from Port Moresby, New Guinea. The raid sank three transports and damaged several other ships. The raid sank or damaged two thirds of the invasion transports employed. Higher casualties among the Japanese Army personnel were only prevented by the fact that most of the transports had been close to shore and could beach themselves. The psychological impact was greater, putting the Japanese on notice that the Americans were willing to place their carriers at risk to oppose their moves in the region. The fear of interdiction by US carrier forces against future operations contributed to the decision by the Japanese to include fleet carriers in their later plan to invade Port Moresby, resulting in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The IJN's Indian Ocean raid (Operation C) from 31 March to 10 April 1942, struck Allied shipping and naval bases around Ceylon, but failed to locate and destroy the British Eastern Fleet. The Eastern Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir James Somerville, was forewarned by intelligence and sailed from its bases prior to the raid but its attempt to attack the Japanese was frustrated by poor tactical intelligence.

The British interpreted their position as precarious. Ceylon and the Eastern Fleet were required to safeguard the sea lines of communications through the Indian Ocean. The British expected the Japanese to continue threatening these lines. SIGINT suggested that the Japanese were preparing a deliberate advance across the Indian Ocean. The raid demonstrated that the RAF was too weak to defend Ceylon and the naval anchorages, and that the navy was ill-prepared to meet a Japanese carrier force.

The Eastern Fleet transferred its main base to Kilindini, Kenya, in East Africa, temporarily ceding the eastern Indian Ocean to the Japanese; from there it continued contesting control of the central Indian Ocean on better terms. Force A, including its two aircraft carriers, Indomitable and Formidable, retired to Bombay, and Somerville regularly deployed a fast carrier force to the central Indian Ocean over the next six months, during which he operated from or near Ceylon for nearly half that time. On 18 April, naval planning accorded the Eastern Fleet the highest priority for reinforcement, which also included transferring most of the carriers from the Home Fleet and the Mediterranean, with the intention of returning to Ceylon in September.

By June, Ceylon was defended by three RAF squadrons (64 aircraft, plus reserves), three strike squadrons (including one of Beauforts), and much improved radar and anti-aircraft defences. Ground defences were manned by two Australian army brigades. The invasion scare was short-lived. British intelligence detected the movement of the Japanese carrier force eastward in mid-April, and their deployment in the Pacific in mid-May. After the Battle of Midway in June, it was realized that there was no longer the threat of major Japanese naval activity in the Indian Ocean. In September, British intelligence predicted Japan would go over to the defensive. As a result, the Eastern Fleet was not reinforced as planned and, instead, shrank after early July.

So............
Osamu T
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Re: Delay in launching of Operation C due to Marcus raid
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 09:24:02 pm »
Hi Rob,

The raid on Marcus by Enterprise was not the real reason for 5th Koku Sentai's delay in reaching Staring Bay. True, Zuikaku and Shokaku sortied in an attempt to intercept the U.S. carrier, but were relieved of that duty on 7 March and left Homeland waters on the 8th, headed for Staring Bay in order to rejoin KdB.

According to 5th Koku Sentai War Diary, as cited in Senshi Sosho Vol. 26 [N.E.I. and Bay of Bengal Navy Offensive Operations] pp. 623-624, a radio intercept was received at 1830 (JST) on 10 March indicating possible enemy carrier activity 350 degrees, approx. 600 naut. miles from Wake Island. 5th Koku Sentai was ordered to pursue on the 11th. The two carriers changed course in compliance. and radioed estimated arrival 190 degrees, 120 naut. miles from South Iwo by 0600 on 13 March, with intent to advance to 50 degrees, 300 naut. miles from Iwo Jima by 1200 on the 14th. But lack of subsequent radio intercepts caused Combined Fleet to conclude that the whole thing was a false alarm. Fuel expended in this detour, however, forced 5th Koku Sentai back to Yokosuka on the 16th to refuel. It then set out next day to join KdB at Staring Bay once more. The rest you know.

Best,
Sam
Who was transmitting, at 1830 (JST) on 10 March 1942; 600 naut. miles from Wake Island.??

I do love a good impossible mystery. [a href="https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by- ... raids.html"]Early Raids[/a]

[a href="https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/US ... .html#CONT"]The Early Raids[/a]

9 March 1942:
Admiral Yamamoto issues orders to the fleet to prepare for Operation "C", a raid into the Indian Ocean.
12 March 1942 - IJN Aircraft Ferry [a href="https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?137483"]Goshu Maru[/a] arrived at Wake Island and unloaded six type 96 Mitsubishi A5M 'Claude' fighter aircraft. speed: 17.5 knots

11 March 1942: Arrives at Wake Island. Unloads six Type 96 A5M Claude fighter aircraft.
12 March 1942: Departs Wake Island. http://www.combinedfleet.com/Goshu_t.htm


AV Goshu Maru (10,600 tons, 14.5 knots) http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/J/a/Japanese_4_Fleet.html Doubt about ships fate 44/45 bombed/mined.
Well..... well........ well........... Goshu Maru.... and [a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qOD ... 42&f=false"]Joe Rochefort[/a].

Biddly bub

Who was transmitting, at 1830 (JST) on 10 March 1942; 600 naut. miles from Wake Island.??................. You cannot dream it up. :D

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 10:50

I'm pulling several strands of this topic, as follows; to an unusual and interesting conclusion which is only partial :lol: vis-à-vis - 'Who transmitted, the IJN alert of 1830 (JST) on 10 March 1942; 600 naut. miles from Wake Island. ??

1 - http://www.j-aircraft.org/smf/index.php?topic=10088.0 Reply #1 - The raid on Marcus by Enterprise was not the real reason for 5th Koku Sentai's delay in reaching Staring Bay. True, Zuikaku and Shokaku sortied in an attempt to intercept the U.S. carrier, but were relieved of that duty on 7 March and left Homeland waters on the 8th, headed for Staring Bay in order to rejoin KdB.

According to 5th Koku Sentai War Diary, as cited in Senshi Sosho Vol. 26 [N.E.I. and Bay of Bengal Navy Offensive Operations] pp. 623-624, a radio intercept was received at 1830 (JST) on 10 March indicating possible enemy carrier activity 350 degrees, approx. 600 naut. miles from Wake Island. 5th Koku Sentai was ordered to pursue on the 11th. The two carriers changed course in compliance. and radioed estimated arrival 190 degrees, 120 naut. miles from South Iwo by 0600 on 13 March, with intent to advance to 50 degrees, 300 naut. miles from Iwo Jima by 1200 on the 14th. But lack of subsequent radio intercepts caused Combined Fleet to conclude that the whole thing was a false alarm. Fuel expended in this detour, however, forced 5th Koku Sentai back to Yokosuka on the 16th to refuel. It then set out next day to join KdB at Staring Bay once more.



2 - Japanese intentions to mount a major offensive into the Indian Ocean were placed on hold in March 1942; since strong naval forces were needed in the western Pacific against the United States, and the Imperial Japanese Army refused to allocate troops for an invasion of Ceylon. The IJN developed Operation C as an aggressive raid into the Indian Ocean in early April to destroy the British Eastern Fleet and disrupt British lines of communications in the Bay of Bengal in support of the Burma Campaign.

British intelligence correctly assessed the Japanese strategy. The Americans were notified; the Doolittle Raid – which was already in progress – took on the additional role as a diversion.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto issued the initial order to proceed with Operation C to the IJN's southern force, commanded by Admiral Nobutake Kondō, on 9 March 1942.

3 - 10 March 1942 - Eglin - Doolittle stated in his after-action report that the crews reached a "safely operational" level of training, despite several days when flying was not possible because of rain and fog. One aircraft was written off in a landing accident on 10 March and another was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident on 23 March.

The challenge of learning short field takeoffs in a short period of time had consequences. The first incident happened during a navigation flight on the afternoon of March 10, 1942. B-25B SN 40-2254 suffered nose wheel failure after landing at Ellington Field, Texas. None of the 6 men on board were injured. Pilot Richard O. Joyce had just landed and the aircraft developed a severe shimmy in the nose wheel about 400 feet from the end of the runway. Power was cut to the engines and the nose wheel collapsed. It was determined the cause was a malfunction of the shimmy dampener on the nose landing gear. The aircraft would eventually be repaired, but it would not return to Eglin during training.

4 - 8–13 March 1942 - The Invasion of Salamaua–Lae, Operation SR, was an operation by Imperial Japanese forces to occupy the Salamaua–Lae area in the Territory of New Guinea during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The Japanese invaded and occupied the location in order to construct an airfield and establish a base to cover and support the advance of Japanese forces into the eastern New Guinea and Coral Sea areas. The small Australian garrison in the area withdrew as the Japanese landed and did not contest the invasion.

10 March 1942 - In response to Japanese landings, a United States Navy aircraft carrier task force including the carriers Yorktown and Lexington struck the invading Japanese naval forces with carrier aircraft on 10 March. Supporting the carrier aircraft were eight B-17 bombers of the 435th Bombardment Squadron of the 19th Bombardment Group from Garbutt Field, Townsville, Australia and eight Royal Australian Air Force Hudson bombers of No. 32 Squadron from Port Moresby, New Guinea. The raid sank three transports and damaged several other ships. The raid sank or damaged two thirds of the invasion transports employed. Higher casualties among the Japanese Army personnel were only prevented by the fact that most of the transports had been close to shore and could beach themselves. The psychological impact was greater, putting the Japanese on notice that the Americans were willing to place their carriers at risk to oppose their moves in the region. The fear of interdiction by US carrier forces against future operations contributed to the decision by the Japanese to include fleet carriers in their later plan to invade Port Moresby, resulting in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

5 - The IJN's Indian Ocean raid (Operation C) from 31 March to 10 April 1942, struck Allied shipping and naval bases around Ceylon, but failed to locate and destroy the British Eastern Fleet. The Eastern Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir James Somerville, was forewarned by intelligence and sailed from its bases prior to the raid but its attempt to attack the Japanese was frustrated by poor tactical intelligence.

The British interpreted their position as precarious. Ceylon and the Eastern Fleet were required to safeguard the sea lines of communications through the Indian Ocean. The British expected the Japanese to continue threatening these lines. SIGINT suggested that the Japanese were preparing a deliberate advance across the Indian Ocean. The raid demonstrated that the RAF was too weak to defend Ceylon and the naval anchorages, and that the navy was ill-prepared to meet a Japanese carrier force.

The Eastern Fleet transferred its main base to Kilindini, Kenya, in East Africa, temporarily ceding the eastern Indian Ocean to the Japanese; from there it continued contesting control of the central Indian Ocean on better terms. Force A, including its two aircraft carriers, Indomitable and Formidable, retired to Bombay, and Somerville regularly deployed a fast carrier force to the central Indian Ocean over the next six months, during which he operated from or near Ceylon for nearly half that time. On 18 April, naval planning accorded the Eastern Fleet the highest priority for reinforcement, which also included transferring most of the carriers from the Home Fleet and the Mediterranean, with the intention of returning to Ceylon in September.

By June, Ceylon was defended by three RAF squadrons (64 aircraft, plus reserves), three strike squadrons (including one of Beauforts), and much improved radar and anti-aircraft defences. Ground defences were manned by two Australian army brigades. The invasion scare was short-lived. British intelligence detected the movement of the Japanese carrier force eastward in mid-April, and their deployment in the Pacific in mid-May. After the Battle of Midway in June, it was realized that there was no longer the threat of major Japanese naval activity in the Indian Ocean. In September, British intelligence predicted Japan would go over to the defensive. As a result, the Eastern Fleet was not reinforced as planned and, instead, shrank after early July.

So............

12 March 1942 - IJN Aircraft Ferry [a href="https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?137483"]Goshu Maru[/a] arrived at Wake Island and unloaded six type 96 Mitsubishi A5M 'Claude' fighter aircraft. speed: 17.5 knots

11 March 1942: Arrives at Wake Island. Unloads six Type 96 A5M Claude fighter aircraft.
12 March 1942: Departs Wake Island. http://www.combinedfleet.com/Goshu_t.htm

AV Goshu Maru (10,600 tons, 14.5 knots) http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/J/a/Japanese_4_Fleet.html Doubt about ships fate 44/45 bombed/mined.

Goshu Maru.... and [a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qOD ... 42&f=false"]Joe Rochefort[/a].

Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway.

Gushu Maru was delivering aircraft to Wake Island. Zuikaku and Shokaku were diverted to intercept US's carriers in that area. Goshu Maru was later implicit to Rochefort's work.

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 11:18

Minami-Tori-shima - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minami-Tori-shima

Marcus Island raid - 4 March 1942 - http://www.cv6.org/news/42-03.htm

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 12:39

Someone had a sense of humour - [a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Marcus_Island"]USS_Marcus_Island[/a]

Marcus Island

[a href="http://saltofamerica.com/contents/displ ... spx?18_184"]Central Pacific Carrier Offensive Begins, Marcus Island, Fall 1943[/a]

[a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/68823101"]Marcus Island Attack[/a]

[a href="https://www.pacificwrecks.com/airfields ... arcus.html"]American missions against Marcus Island and Marcus Airfield
March 4, 1942–July 4, 1945l[/a]

[a href="https://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/his ... us-island/"]Baptism of Fire[/a]

GALVANIC Carrier losses.

[a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liscome_Bay"]USS Liscome Bay[/a]

[a href="https://www.navyhistory.org/2016/08/uss ... -galvanic/"]USS Indepenence[/a]

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 19:10

Excerpted from - https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... ocean.html

Publication Section, Combat Intelligence Branch
OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE
UNITED STATES NAVY
[1943]

NAVY DEPARTMENT
Office of Naval Intelligence
Washington, D. C.

January 8, 1943.

AIR ATTACK ON MARCUS ISLAND
(See chart opposite) - https://www.history.navy.mil/content/hi ... 555467.jpg

On February 25, 1942, the Commander of Task Force HOW was informed by the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, that, fuel and other considerations permitting, a raid against Marcus Island would contribute to the further effect desired. Marcus is situated at latitude 24°18' N., longitude 153°58' E., or about 600 miles northwest of Wake on a line leading directly to southern Japan. It is triangular in shape, about 5 miles in circumference, and has been claimed for many years by the Japanese, who call it Minami Tori Shima. At the time of the attack order it was believed that the island was being used as an administrative center by the enemy, and that it contained radio and weather reporting installations. Landplanes had been sighted near it, indicating an air field.

Three days later Admiral Halsey directed the carrier, Enterprise, and Cruiser Division FIVE (the Northampton and Salt Lake City) to proceed to a point 175 miles northeast of Marcus, to launch an air attack about 1730 March 3d (Greenwich civil time), and to retire at high speed.

The attack was arranged to take place before sunrise on March 4 (zone minus 11 time) in the expectation that the full moon would provide sufficient light for the launching of planes and for rendezvous. Early in the morning of March 4 the Enterprise, in company with the Northampton and Salt Lake City, speed 24 knots, was nearing Marcus on course 235°. Because it was desired to include fighters in the attack, launching of planes was delayed until the ships were about 125 miles from the island. At 0438 the Enterprise changed her course into the wind and a few minutes later the first plane was launched.

"The raid against Marcus caused some concern as to the defenses of the Japanese homeland", wrote Admiral C. W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, in his report, "but the exact amount of diversion from Japanese effort in the southwest cannot be measured at this time."


On the 7th of March (1942) information was received from COMANZAC which changed the tactical complexion entirely and necessitated a drastic revision of plans. This information was that a Japanese convoy consisting of a cruiser and several destroyers, with transports, had been sighted off Buna, New Guinea. The following day, additional information was received from COMANZAC to the effect that enemy forces had begun an early morning landing at Salamaua, and that at 0830 (local time) on the same date 11 additional enemy ships, including 4 cruisers or destroyers, had begun to shell both Salamaua and Lae. Landings had been made and both places were in enemy hands by noon. Furthermore, air reconnaissance by the RAAF on March 8th had revealed no warships and only 3 transports at Rabaul, and no shipping whatsoever at Gasmata. The day before this reconnaissance, 23 ships had been present at Rabaul alone. It was apparent that the Japanese were moving in force on New Guinea.

It at once became evident to Admiral Brown that it now was advisable to attack the enemy while they were in an exposed position at Salamaua and Lae and before they had an opportunity to establish themselves in force at those two ports. It was considered that such an attack, if successful, would remove the immediate threat to New Guinea (the Allied base of Port Moresby was generally considered to be the enemy's goal), and would go far toward checking any Japanese advance in the area.

Having determined to strike at Salamaua and Lae rather than at Rabaul and Gasmata, Admiral Brown next had to fix upon a method of approach to the new objectives. Two general directions of approach offered themselves: From the eastward, that is north of the Papuan Peninsula, or from the south below that peninsula. Considerable thought would seem to have been given the choice, for Admiral Brown stated in his action report that it was made after "careful deliberation."
Zuikaku and Shokaku sortied in an attempt to intercept the U.S. carrier, but were relieved of that duty on 7 March and left Homeland waters on the 8th, headed for Staring Bay in order to rejoin KdB.

According to 5th Koku Sentai War Diary, as cited in Senshi Sosho Vol. 26 [N.E.I. and Bay of Bengal Navy Offensive Operations] pp. 623-624, a radio intercept was received at 1830 (JST) on 10 March indicating possible enemy carrier activity 350 degrees, approx. 600 naut. miles from Wake Island. 5th Koku Sentai was ordered to pursue on the 11th. The two carriers changed course in compliance. and radioed estimated arrival 190 degrees, 120 naut. miles from South Iwo by 0600 on 13 March, with intent to advance to 50 degrees, 300 naut. miles from Iwo Jima by 1200 on the 14th. But lack of subsequent radio intercepts caused Combined Fleet to conclude that the whole thing was a false alarm. Fuel expended in this detour, however, forced 5th Koku Sentai back to Yokosuka on the 16th to refuel. It then set out next day to join KdB at Staring Bay once more.
Yamamoto, meanwhile, came to the conclusion that the intercepted signals of what seemed like enemy carrier activity north of Wake were a false alarm, and ordered CarDiv 5 reassigned to KdB on 15 March. Pursuant to that order, CarDiv 5 C-in-C Hara signalled Kusaka at 1400 JST that same day indicating departure from pursuit area on the 15th, arrive Yokosuka to refuel on the 16th, depart same 17th, with planned arrival at Staring Bay on the 24th.

On the 16th, Ugaki radioed Kusaka and chief of staff of 2nd Fleet that, in light of delay in CarDiv 5's schedule, GF desired KdB take a portion of its strength and raid shipping at Darwin in the meantime. But 2nd Fleet chief of staff objected to this in a signal back to GF at 2300 JST on the 17th, citing the following reasons: Need to make new arrangements for oilers to join KdB for such a raid; That KdB was then undertaking aircraft maintenance and aircrew training at Kendari such that departure prior to 21 March was very difficult; That a raid on Darwin at this time would mean postponing departure for Indian Ocean from Staring Bay to 28 March or later, which, in turn would mean postponement of attack on Ceylon until 7 April at the earliest. Consequently, Yamamoto acquiesced and gave up the idea of giving Darwin another bash, and the attack on Ceylon was set for 5 April.

herosrest
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by herosrest » 29 Nov 2019 20:22

The IJN's 10th March intercept placed a US carrier force risk at 600 miles from Wake Island on 350°, which is an area of the pacific at 1800 miles from the eastern point of New Guinea and 2,300 miles from the Gulf of Papua, where Task Force Baker launched airstrikes against Japanese landings at Lae/Salamua from the Lexington and Yorktown.

Rear Admiral Grace, R. N., commander of the ANZAC squadron, in command of the Australia, Chicago, Astoria, Louisville, and the Anderson, Hammann, Hughes, and Sims was stattioned southeast of Rossel Island and maintaining a distance not less than 600 miles south of Rabaul.

Deploying Car Div 5 toward Iwo Jima on 10th March 1942 was a real feather in Yamamoto's cap. Pure genius as two US carriers steered a northerly course, roughly paralleling the Australian coast on the 9th and early next morning launched 100 aircraft against the Japanese invasion fleet stood off Lae and Salamua.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Dec 2019 04:51

Cute

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