Thursday, June 20, 2019

Battle Of Philippine Sea Concludes W/ "Mission Beyond Darkness"

TUE 20 JUN 1944
Battle of the Philippine Sea concludes as planes from TF 58 (Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher), launched late in the afternoon from carriers Hornet (CV-12), Yorktown (CV-10),
Bunker Hill (CV-17), and Lexington (CV-16), and small carriers Belleau Wood (CVL-24), Monterey (CVL-26) and San Jacinto (CVL-30), strike Japanese fleet in what becomes known as the "Mission Beyond Darkness." TBFs from Belleau Wood (VT 24) sink carrier Hiyo northwest of Yap Island, 15°30'N, 133°50'E. Fleet tanker Gen'yo Maru, damaged by F6Fs, SB2Cs and TBFs from Wasp, is scuttled by destroyer Uzuki, west of Saipan; likewise, oiler Seiyo Maru, damaged by F6Fs, SB2Cs and TBFs from Wasp, is scuttled by destroyer Yukikaze, 15°35'N, 133°30'E. TF 58 planes also damage carrier Zuikaku, small carriers Chiyoda and Ryuho, battleship Haruna, heavy cruiser Maya, destroyers Samidare and Shigure, and fast fleet tanker/seaplane carrier Hayasui. Vice Admiral Mitscher orders the ships of TF 58 to show lights in order to guide returning strike groups home.

In the two-day Battle of the Philippine Sea the Japanese Fleet loses 395 (92%) of its carrier planes, and 12 float planes remain operational. Besides the losses afloat, an estimated 50 land-based Japanese aircraft from Guam are destroyed. The U.S. Fleet loss is 130 planes and 76 pilots and crewmen for the two days, predominantly from the "Mission Beyond Darkness" on 20 June 1944 (see 23 June 1944).

Destroyer Phelps (DD-360) is damaged by shore battery, Saipan, 15°10'N, 145°58'E.*

Submarine Hake (SS-256) attacks Japanese convoy off south coast of Mindanao, and sinks army cargo ship Nichibi Maru in Saragan Strait, 05°36'N, 125°17'E.

Submarines Narwhal (SS-167) and Nautilus (SS-168) land supplies and evacuate people from Negros and Panay, P.I.

USAAF A-20s raid New Guinea coastline, sinking Japanese fishing vessels Shinei Maru and No.3 Kompira Maru at Manokwari and No.31 Taikoko Maru at Windessi.

*Phelps moors alongside the battle damage repair ship Phaon (ARB-3) soon thereafter, in such a manner to permit the destroyer to continue to carry out her fire support duties!

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