IJN Naval Base Rabual
0500 May 6 After Action Reports.
At sunrise our cap went up and we sent off the 2/4 NAG to fly escort over
TF1 and do a fighter sweep over Pt. Moresby. The four planes assigned to
the fighter sweep intercepted a flight of B17's flying towards Lea and made
several passes at them inflicting damage to the enemy bombers.
As we waited for the B17's to arrive a flight of American medium bombers
arrived. Our cap moved towards them and made several passes at the American
When the flight of B17's arrived our pilots were all warmed up and gave the
B17's a hot welcome. One B17 exploded in a huge midair fireball. The 20mm
shells from our Zero fighters must have set off the bomber's load. The
fighters continued to inflict damage on the planes until the base
antiaircraft opened up. The AA was effective today getting the range right
away and inflicted damage on all the enemy planes. The bombers dropped
their loads but the AA must have made them nervous as we suffered only
minor damage to the base and field.
We sent up our sunrise cap as usual. It had been comparatively quiet since
the first day when our fighters shot down two American flying boats. When
we heard the drone of many plane engines we knew that peace had ended. The
Americans were turning their attention to us now.
They sent in what apparently was two different carrier air groups of dive
bomber and torpedo bombers. Our CAP of three Rufes were in a good altitude
position to intercept the dive-bombers. They moved immediately to attack
the American planes. With the first pass two planes were hit, as the
fighters swung around enemy fighters were seen climbing to attack. On the
second pass against the dive-bombers, two enemy planes exploded in
spectacular explosions of the bombs. At that point the enemy planes
outnumbering our cap shot one of our heroic pilots down. The remaining and
outnumbered two planes limped off damaged, using the clouds to avoid more
The torpedo bombers attacked first going against the seaplane tender. Our
AA was accurate and deadly as planes were seen smoking and crashing into
the sea and in some cases on the island. Two torpedo bombers and many
dive-bombers were shot down and several crews captured. A torpedo hit the
troop transport "Azumasas Maru" and it began to settle immediatly in the shallow waters.
The enemy dive-bombers attacked the ships, sea planes and base buildings
with little effect. One building suffered minor damage, none of the planes
suffered any damage at all but the destroyer Yuzuki was sunk when a bomb
set off its magazine. The intense AA was the probable cause for the many
misses by the enemy dive-bombers. Finally a second flight of torpedo planes
came in but they inflicted little damage.
All in all the Americans had sent two carrier air groups against us and
went away the sorrier. They had many more plane losses then we had
incurred. The loss of the Maru 12 and a destroyer hurt us, but
replacements have been dispatched and should be here by late on the 7th.
Our cruiser task force arrived as the sun was rising. The plan had been for
them to make their attack under the cover of darkness. The transit through
the many islands though had slowed the task force. Spotters were sent aloft
and the forty 8 inch guns began to rain shells down on the Allied base.
Enemy fighters had gotten off before the shelling started and went
immediately for the spotters high over head. The fighter escorts we had
been assured of for our spotter planes never showed up. That meant that our
planes would be defenseless and have to evade. As that happened the
cruisers stopped firing. One of our spotters was shot down and the other
did evade the enemy fighters. Soon after our guns became silent the enemy
launched two flights of medium bombers. The first flight initially looked
like it was going to drop bombs as they did not get down to wave top level
and were seen flying over the ships in the task force. But alas this was
not so. As the second group began to drop its torpedoes our cruisers began
to take many hits. Our AA was effective but not effective enough and all
the cruisers were torpedoed. Two ships, the Aoba and the Kinugasu, sank in the
The loss of the TF2 was tragic but the Americans did little damage at
Tulagi and Lea. The night though, has allowed us to repair our bombers and
move our other task forces into position. Soon the American's will be in
full retreat from our superior Naval and air forces.