Saturday, February 4, 2017

Organizational End Of Asiatic Fleet

WED 4 FEB 1942
Pacific
Australian-New Zealand naval command is established (Vice Admiral H. Fairfax Leary).

Japanese reconnaissance flying boats (Toko Kokutai) contact and shadow allied force (Rear Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) of four cruisers and accompanying destroyers (sighted the previous day by 1st Kokutai aircraft) attempting transit of Madoera Strait to attack Japanese Borneo invasion fleet. On the strength of that intelligence, Japanese naval land attack planes (Takao, Kanoya, and 1st Kokutais) bomb Doorman's ships, damaging heavy cruiser Houston (CA-30) (1st Kokutai) and light cruiser Marblehead (CL-12) (Kanoya Kokutai), 07°23'S, 115°47'E. Dutch light cruisers De Ruyter and Tromp are slightly damaged by near-misses (1st Kokutai). Marblehead's extensive damage (only by masterful seamanship and heroic effort does she reach Tjilatjap after the battle) results in her being sent back to the United States via Ceylon and South Africa; despite the loss of turret III (one-third of her main battery), Houston, however, remains.

Asiatic Fleet (Admiral Thomas C. Hart) ceases to exist organizationally (not formally abolished). Units of Asiatic Fleet are organized into Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area (Vice Admiral William A. Glassford).

Submarine Sculpin (SS-191) torpedoes Japanese destroyer Sukukaze as the latter patrols off Staring Bay, south of Kendari, Celebes, 04°00'S, 123°00'E.

Atlantic
Unarmed U.S. tanker India Arrow is torpedoed, shelled, and sunk by German submarine U-103 about 20 miles southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, 38°48'N, 73°40'W. Two of her men perish when the ship is shelled; 24 drown when two lifeboats are swamped. Fishing skiff Gitana rescues the 12 survivors 12 miles off Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Canadian armed merchant cruiser HMCS Alcantara comes across lifeboat from torpedoed U.S. tanker W.L. Steed (sunk by German submarine U-103 on 2 February) and rescues the three survivors she finds (see 6 and 12 February).

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