Sunday, February 19, 2017

Survival At Sea

THU 19 FEB 1942
Japanese forces land on Bali, N.E.I.

Battle of Badoeng Strait begins as Allied naval force (Rear Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) of three cruisers and accompanying destroyers attacks retiring Japanese Bali occupation force (Rear Admiral Kubo Kyuji) in Badoeng Strait. Destroyer Stewart (DD-224) is damaged by gunfire of destroyers Oshio and Asashio, 07°18'S, 112°46'E. Dutch destroyer Piet Hien is sunk; 30 of her survivors find motor whaleboat jettisoned by destroyer John D. Ford (DD-228) and proceed unaided to Java. Dutch light cruisers Java and Tromp are damaged by Japanese gunfire. Japanese destroyers Ushio and Michisio are damaged by Allied gunfire.

Japanese carrier striking force (Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi) attacks Darwin, Australia; 189 planes from carriers Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu bomb shipping, airfields, and shore installations; carrier bombers sink destroyer Peary (DD 226), 12°30'S, 130°50'E, U.S. Army Transport Miegs and U.S. freighter Mauna Loa (on board the latter all hands--37-man crew and seven passengers--survive); and damage seaplane tender (destroyer) William B. Preston (AVD-7). U.S. freighter Portmar is damaged and beached (one of her 34-man crew is killed; two of the 300 embarked soldiers perish as well; 12 men are injured); freighter Admiral Halstead (carrying drummed gasoline) is damaged as well (she suffers no casualties). In related actions, U.S. freighter Florence D, under charter to the Army and carrying a cargo of ammunition, rescues eight-man PBY (VP 22) crew (Lieutenant Thomas H. Moorer) off north coast of Australia, near Darwin, and later comes under attack by Japanese carrier aircraft that bomb and sink the ship (one man of Moorer's crew and three of the 37-man ship's complement are killed in action); Australian minesweeper HMAS Warrnambol and mission boat St. Francis rescue the survivors. Japanese carrier planes also bomb and sink Philippine motorship Don Isidro (chartered by the U.S. Army to run supplies to Corregidor) off northwest coast of Bathurst Island, 11°00'S, 130°00'E; 11 of the 67-man crew and one of the 16 embarked soldiers are killed. HMAS Warrnambol rescues the surviving crew and passengers. Japanese naval land attack planes (Kanoya and 1st Kokutais) bomb airfield at Darwin.

Submarine S-37 (SS-142) is damaged by grounding off the northeast corner of Lembogan Island, Lombok Strait, N.E.I., but continues on patrol.

Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate Harold F. Dixon (Naval Aviation Pilot) and his two-man crew (VT 6), whose plane ditched due to fuel exhaustion on 16 January, reach Danger Islands, 10°48'S, 165°49'E, having spent 34 days at sea in their rubber boat. They have subsisted on occasional fish speared with a pocket knife, two birds, and rain water. While the straight line distance traveled measures 450 miles, the estimated track is approximately 1,200 miles. Dixon is awarded the Navy Cross for heroism, leadership, and resourcefulness.

Destroyer Dallas (DD-199) rescues 46 survivors from Brazilian tanker Olinda, sunk the day before by German submarine U-432.

Unarmed U.S. tanker Pan Massachusetts is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-128 about 20 miles off Cape Canaveral, Florida, 28°27'N, 80°08'W; Coast Guard lighthouse tender Forward (WAGL-160) and British tanker Elizabeth Massey rescue 18 survivors from the 38-man crew.

U.S. freighter Lake Osweya is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-96 in the North Atlantic, 43°14'N, 54°45'W. Although U-96 sees three lifeboats pull away from the ship, no survivors from the 30-man merchant complement or the seven-man Armed Guard are ever found.

Transport William P. Biddle (AP-15) arrives at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and disembarks the 9th Defense Battalion.

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