Saturday, April 7, 2018

Last Gasp In The Solomons:
HMNZS Moa Goes Extinct

WED 7 APR 1943
Operation I: Last Japanese air offensive in the Solomons. Carrier bombers (VAL) strike U.S. and Allied shipping near Tulagi, Solomons, damaging destroyer Aaron Ward (DD-483) and sinking New Zealand corvette HMNZS Moa and damaging oilers Kanawha (AO-1) and Tappahannock (AO-43) and tank landing ship LST-449 (the latter two ships by near-misses). Submarine rescue vessel Ortolan (ASR-5) and tug (ex-minesweeper) Vireo (AT-144) attempt to beach Aaron Ward, but the destroyer sinks as the result of bomb damage at 09°10'S, 160°12'E. Destroyer Farenholt (DD-491) is near-missed by at least three bombs. Tug (ex-minesweeper) Rail (AT-139) is damaged by friendly fire as motor torpedo boat tender Niagara (AGP-1), moored alongside, fires through the former's rigging. Rail fire party boards abandoned Kanawha and attempts, assisted by minesweeper Conflict (AM-85), to put out the raging fires until told to withdraw. Later, Rail, tug Menominee (AT-73) and net tender Butternut (YN-9), tow Kanawha into Tulagi harbor, where the damaged oiler is beached. Rail suffers further damage alongside Kanawha (see 8 April 1943). Elsewhere off Tulagi, destroyer Sterett (DD-407) is damaged by friendly fire from adjacent ships (six men are wounded), while attack cargo ship Libra (AKA-12), off Lunga Point, is near-missed. Adhara (AK-71), loading cargo off the Tenaru River, is damaged by near-misses and suffers one dead and eight wounded. Of the freighters, two bombs land near William Williams, Louis Joliet is strafed, and Dona Nati is shaken by two near-misses; none of those three ships suffer casualties.
The above attack is probably what's depicted in the last panel.
Submarine Grayling (SS-209) unsuccessfully attacks Japanese cargo ship Lima Maru off Mindoro, 13°20'N, 121°33'E.

Submarine Trout (SS-202) lays mines near Sarawak, Borneo.

Submarine Tunny (SS-282), despite presence of escort vessel, torpedoes Japanese victualling stores ship Kosei Maru about 250 miles northwest of Truk, 08°50'N, 147°06'E. Attempt to tow the damaged vessel fails, and Kosei Maru sinks en route to Truk.

Submarine Pickerel (SS-177) sinks Japanese cargo ship Fukuei Maru near Shiriya Zaki, Honshu, 41°00'N, 142°00'E.

No comments: