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2nd Battle of Banjermasin


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#1 W. Clark

W. Clark

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 06:59 PM

This fight occurred in GT5 of a play test of Defending the Malay Barrier campaign. The Japanese Eastern Attack Force has three convoys at sea and all must succeed.

 

2nd Battle of Banjermasin

It was a dark and starry night or it would have been if the complete overcast had not left you feeling like you were steaming along in a bag. Rear Admiral Glassford (USN) turned to his flag lieutenant and asked what the visibility estimation was. Flags replied, that he would find out, but he had already heard that the masthead could not make out the leading two destroyers of DesDiv 57 some 3,000 yards ahead of USS Boise.

Glassford mumbled something under his breath and Flags queried; “Sir?” Glassford replied; “Nothing Flags; I was just thinking out loud that it will be a searchlight engagement rather than star shell.”

Glassford continued to peer into the gathering gloom. He had rearranged TF5’s sailing order at dusk and transferred his flag to Boise from Houston. Boise and her sister ship USS Phoenix now led Houston in the cruiser column to take advantage of their rapid fire power and new FC radar. Glassford had stationed a destroyer division at either end of his column to give him some chance at using torpedoes. But each of his destroyer divisions (57 & 58) was short a destroyer due to engine breakdowns. The old cans were showing their age.

 

Glassford had steered TF5 on a course that should bring them to the south coast of Borneo to the west of Banjermasin. He hoped to use the land shadow to help hide his force and hoped the Japanese covering force would be further out to sea where they might be silhouetted. In any case he would not know if his dead reckoning was off until dawn allowed them to fix their position hopefully.

 

Vice Admiral Ozawa (IJN) peered into the dark from the bridge of IJNS Chokai and thanked his ancestors that the landing at Banjermasin had succeeded this time. If the cursed Allies would just hold off until dawn he and his entire force would be out of there.

 

At 2012 hours with visibility at 2,000 yards, a Force 2 wind from the NE, IJNS DD Amatsukase stumbled onto the USS Boise and USS Phoenix while they crossed her tee. The rapid fire from 30 six inch guns raked her from stem to stern with some thirteen hits that knocked out her torpedoes, setting her afire, knocked out her first two gun mounts, damaged a bulkhead and sank her outright. Amatsukaze’s return fire was ineffectual and quickly smothered.

Admiral Ozawa quickly realized that his tee was being crossed and ordered an immediate retirement on the anchorage while Hatsukaze laid smoke to cover his withdrawal. Admiral Glass ordered a turn to port, but not far enough to port and TF5 missed maintaining contact and failed to find the rest of Ozawa’s force before it had unanchored and set sail to RTB.






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