We fought this at Enfilade.
The Third Battle of Java Sea
Time: 1200 hours Wind: Force 5 Speed: 20 knots Direction: South
Max Visibility: 16,000 yards Cloud Cover: Overcast Squalls: 6
Squall Visibility: 6,000 yards Sea Haze: None Relative Bearing: Dead Ahead
ANZAC Squadron: Rear Admiral Crace (RAN)
Heading: 270 degrees Speed: 25 knots
Heavy Division: RAdm Crace Light Division: Commodore Collins (RAN)
HMAS Australia CA flag HMAS Hobart CL flag
HMAS Canberra CA HMNZS Achilles CL
USS Astoria CA HMNZS Leander CL
USS Chicago CA
USS Louisville CA
Australian DesDiv DesRon 2 (-)
HMAS Napier DD USS Sims DD
HMAS Nestor DD USS Anderson DD
HMAS Nizam DD USS Hughes DD
HMAS Vampire DD USS Hammann DD
Surabaya Invasion Convoy: Vice Admiral Takahashi (IJN)
Heading: 90 degrees Speed: 15 knots
Cruiser Division: VAdm Takahashi DesFlot 4: RAdm Nishimura (IJN)
IJNS Ashigara CA flag IJNS Naka CL flag
IJNS Maya CA DesDiv 2
Cruiser Squadron 5: RAdm Takagi (IJN) IJNS Harusame DD
IJNS Haguro CA flag IJNS Murasame DD
IJNS Myoko CA IJNS Samidare DD
IJNS Nachi CA IJNS Yudachi
DesFlot 2: RAdm Tanaka (IJN) DesDiv 9
IJNS Jintsu CL flag IJNS Asagumo DD
DesDiv 16 IJNS Minegumo DD
IJNS Amatsukaze DD DesDiv 24
IJNS Hatsukaze DD IJNS Yamakaze DD
IJNS Tokitsukaze DD IJNS Kawakaze DD
IJNS Yukikaze DD IJNS Chitose AV
The ABDA had suffered multiple disasters on 28 February and 1 March 1942. The bulk of Rear Admiral Doorman’s Striking Force had been defeated and then hunted down and sunk including all of its cruisers. There had been one bright note however in that Rear Admiral Takagi had taken his fears during the battle to heart and had aborted the first Surabaya invasion convoy.
The result of Takagi’s aborting the convoy was that although the Western Attack Force had invaded Java near Batavia; it lacked the second landing at Surabaya. Dutch forces, not having to with stand a two pronged assault were holding the Japanese near Batavia.
Vice Admiral Takahashi, Takagi’s superior decided to try again with additional strength in the form of three more heavy cruisers. During this interval American naval reinforcements for North Australia had arrived (March 9) in the form of three heavy cruisers and a division of destroyers and been placed under the command of Rear Admiral Crace (RAN). Crace decided to try and intercept the expected second invasion attempt against Surabaya. He didn’t know if he could stop the invasion; but he did know that Java was acting as an outwork for Australia and his mission was to keep the Japanese off of Australian soil. He believed that as long as Java held out; no invasion of Australia would occur.
This then is the AAR of this what if scenario of a last hurrah at defending the Malay Barrier. The action takes place during the latter half of GT6 of the “Defending the Malay Barrier Campaign”.
Admiral Crace led the squadron in HMS Australia. At 16,000 yards Australia’s mastheads spotted Ashigara and they opened on one another missing. Crace turned his cruiser column 2 points starboard while Takahashi made a 4 point turn to starboard also.
Admiral Tanka turned DesFlot 2 to port to oppose the Australian destroyer division while Admiral Nishimura increased speed to take on DesRon 2 to starboard.
Over the next 24 minutes the two cruiser columns pounded one another with Australian and US gunnery triumphing over the Japanese. Ashigara was left sinking while Maya was sunk. Haguro with a rudder hit blundered helplessly into the center of the Allies where she was shot to pieces. Myoko lost a fore turret and was slowed to 30 knots. Nachi alone escaped unscathed. On the other hand torpedoes from Myoko sunk Canberra after Haguro had pounded her into a wreck. Australia had lost three turrets and been slowed to 26 knots. Astoria had lost a turret and was slowed to 21 knots between hull and engine hits. Chicago too, had lost a fore turret while an engineering hit had slowed her to 21 knots. Louisville and the three light cruisers were untouched.
To the west; Jinstu had blown up from non-penetrating hits near her fore guns that started a chain reaction among her ammunition parties that spread to her forward magazine. Harusame was sunk by some 9 hits that set her afire and damaged her engines. Murasame lost her forward gun and suffered hull damage that slowed her to 15 knots. Samidare was reduced to 31 knots while Yudachi escaped unscathed. In return, Nestor lost a torpedo mount while Vampire was slowed to 26 knots. The Australians seemed to lead charmed lives until Nestor also suffered a magazine explosion.
To the east Naka and 8 destroyers took on DesRon 2’s 4 Sims class destroyers. Naka lost a gun; Amatsukaze was slowed to 32 knots and Tokitsukaze loss a torpedo mount. In return Hughes was reduced to 32 knots.
Nishimura upon realizing he was the sole surviving flag officer ordered a withdrawal under smoke and aborted the in invasion of Surabaya again.