Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Paucity Of Targets


SUN 1 FEB 1942
TF 8 (Vice Admiral William F. Halsey Jr.), formed around carrier Enterprise (CV-6) and TF 17 (Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher), formed around carrier Yorktown (CV-5), raid the Marshall and Gilbert Islands; TF 8 concentrates on Kwajalein and Wotje, with heavy cruiser Chester (CA-27) bombarding Maleolap atoll; TF 17 targets enemy installations on Jaluit, Makin, and Mili. TF 11 (Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr.), formed around carrier Lexington (CV-2) supports the operations from the vicinity of Christmas Island.

At Kwajalein, SBDs (VB 6 and VS 6) and TBDs (VT 6) from Enterprise sink transport Bordeaux Maru and damage light cruiser Katori, submarine I-23, minelayer Tokiwa, auxiliary netlayer Kashima Maru, auxiliary submarine chaser No.2 Shonan Maru, submarine depot ship Yasukuni Maru, oiler Toa Maru, tanker Hoyo Maru, and army cargo ship Shinhei Maru; in the bombing of shore installations, Rear Admiral Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi (Commander Sixth Base Force) becomes the first Imperial Navy flag officer to die in combat when an SBD scores a direct hit on his headquarters. Off Wotje, gunfire from heavy cruisers Northampton (CA-26) and Salt Lake City (CA-25) sink gunboat Toyotsu Maru; destroyer Dunlap (DD-384) shells and sinks auxiliary submarine chaser No.10 Shonan Maru.

Japanese retaliatory air attacks (Chitose Kokutai) on TF 8 result in damage to carrier Enterprise (near-miss of crash of land attack plane), 10°33'N, 171°53'E, and heavy cruiser Chester (by bomb dropped by carrier fighter), 08°45'N, 171°33'E.

Planes from Yorktown cause less damage, due to a paucity of targets at the objective; nevertheless, SBDs (VS 5) bomb and strafe gunboat Nagata Maru at Makin, while SBDs (VB 5) bomb and strafe cargo ship Kanto Maru at Jaluit. Rear Admiral Fletcher detaches three of his four destroyers to look for downed TBD (VT 5) reported in the water astern of TF 17. During the search, a Japanese reconnaissance flying boat (Yokohama Kokutai) attacks (but does not damage) destroyer Sims (DD-409). Soon thereafter, two F4Fs (VF 42) splash the flying boat. The TBD crew, however, is never found in the prevailing poor weather.

Motor torpedo boats and USAAF P-40s repulse Japanese landing attempt on southwest Bataan. PT 32 damages Japanese minelayer Yaeyama off Subic Bay.

Naval Base, Sydney, Australia, is established.

Seventh Naval District with headquarters at Key West, Florida, is reëstablished.

Naval Air Stations, St. Lucia, British West Indies, and British Guiana; and Naval Auxiliary Air Facility, Antigua, British West Indies, are established.

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