|Battle of Second Madras Convoy|
|Date||October 12, 1944|
|Location|| Alliance Froces 140 miles NE of Mahe Island (Seychelles)|
Kurokawa's forces 260 Miles N-NW of the Seychelles.
|Seen||Blood in the Water|
|Allies||Grand Alliance forces|
|Enemy||Kurokawa's Japanese/Grik forces|
The Battle of Second Madras Convoy occurs in Blood in the Water. It is not so named by Taylor Anderson so I took the liberty of naming it so. The official designation of the second Madras convoy is TF Alden. Aircraft from three of Hisashi Kurokawa's carriers attacked the convoy transporting First and Third Corps from India to Madagascar, sinking a large number ships and causing great loss of life. Ben Mallory's P-40Es followed the Japanese and sank two of Kurokawa's carriers. [BITW Chapters 26 & 30]
Alliance Second Madras Convoy: Edit
- One "Baalkpan Bay" -class fleet carrier -
USS Baalkpan Bay CV-5
- One self-propelled dry dock/supply ship - USS Tarakaan Island
- One "Andamaan"-class protected seaplane tender -
- One "Sular"-class armored troop transport - USS Sular
- Two "Wickes Mk.II"-class destroyers - USS James Ellis,
- Twelve steam frigates - USS Bowles, USS Saak-Fas, USS Clark. rest unknown. A number lost.
- "Dozens" of sail&steam oilers, transports and auxilaries - names unknown. Almost a half lost.
- About a hundred of airplanes, including eight P-40E fighter-bombers, P-1C "Mosquito Hawk" fighters, PB-1B "Nancy" seaplane light bombers, and eight PB-5D "Clipper" seaplane bombers. Majority lost.
- Tens of thousands of troops. Many lost.
Kurokawa's carrier fleet: Edit
- Three "Akagi"-class carriers - IRIS Akagi,
IRIS Kaga, IRIS Soryu
- Twelve "Azuma Kai"-class armored cruisers - IRIS Nachi (flagship), rest unknown
- 120-180 carrier-based aircraft, including AJ1M1 fighter-bombers and DP1M1 level/torpedo bombers. About a 2/3 probably lost.
Kurokawa's offensieve: Edit
Bomber strike against TF Alden Edit
The aerial attack started with a wave of bomb-armed AJ1M1 fighters, coming from the east at the dawn - thus providing the element of surprise. The initial targets was USS Sular and USS James Ellis. The USS Sular was hit several times, but her armor wasn't penetrated, and despite outside damage, her crew and troops weren't harmed. The "Ellie" was struck aft by a single bomb that wrecked equipment but did not affect overall battle performance.
The attack against USS Andamaan was much more successful, with one bomb penetrating the aft hangar doors and detonating inside. The machinery of USS Andamaan was damaged such that the steam-powered pumps lost pressure and the disabled seaplane tender started to take water. Without working pumps, it was impossible to correct the list, and the ship was evacuated and sunk fast. Several auxilaries were also attacked and damaged or destroyed, lacking any anti-aircraft defense.
A flight of six fighters took off USS Baalkpan Bay, and aerial battle raged. A few planes from both sides were shot down. The large carrier used this time to prepare the P-40C fighter-bombers for launch.
Torpedo bomber strike against TF Alden Edit
After the fighter-bomber attack, the new wave of Kurokawa's aircraft attacked. This wave was composed of DP1M1 torpedo bombers, coming in at low altitude.
The main target of attack was the USS Baalkpan Bay. She was initially hit by single torpedo that did limited damage. Shortly thereafter, a new group of torpedo bombers attacked the carrier: one of these, damaged by the USS Geran-Eras, collided with the carrier, inflicting heavy damage. The carrier was then hit by another torpedo. Another bomber - either damaged or deliberately suicidal - crashed into the carrier's flight deck. Heavily damaged, with a fire out of control, USS Baalkpan Bay lost power and the ability to launch aircraft. After the battle she was scuttled by the torpedoes from USS James Ellis.
In some unspecified moment of the attack, the USS Geran-Eras was destroyed by a single torpedo hit.
Alliance's counter-strike: Edit
P-40 strike against carriers:
The six P-40Cs launched from USS Baalkpan Bay and led by Ben Mallory were equipped with bombs and drop tanks. They followed the retreating Grik aircraft to their carriers. Identifying three carriers surrounded by twelve or so heavy cruisers of the 'new' type and other escorts, the P-40s pressed the counterattack against the carriers. Both Soryu and Kaga, sailing together, bore the brunt of this attack. The Soryu was hit by a heavy bomb that penetrated its unarmored decks and provoked the detonation of aircraft fuel and ammunition deep within the ship. The carrier was destroyed in single blast.
The attack against Kaga also was successful; the carrier was hit by two bombs that ignited a large fire, and two more detonated in water close to the carrier's sides, rupturing them by the blast. The bridge of Kaga was destroyed with all senior personnel aboard, and the fire on-board the carrier quickly went out of control. Two P-40 were damaged by anti-aircraft fire from carriers.
The third carrier, the Akagi, was sailing a short distance away and had time to prepare for battle. Unknown to Mallory at the time, this carrier had a larger proportion of Japanese pilots and carrier officers. Akagi launched a large number of fighters that formed a defense screen around her. Escorting cruisers, both hers and those of the other two carriers, gathered around Akagi to add to the defense. Considering the attack against Akagi as far too dangerous for the remaining planes, Ben Mallory ended the Allied counter-attack and ordered remaining Allied aircraft to land at the new, hasty airfield at Mahe.
The battle ended as clear, but rather costly victory for Kurokawa. He managed to destroy three out of four most powerful and valuable warships of Second Madras Convoy - the USS Baalkpaan Bay aircraft carrier (with the majority of air wing), the USS Andamaan protected seaplane tender, and newly-build steel destroyer USS Geran-Eras. With the aviation losses considered, about 3/4 of total convoy's naval power were destroyed, along with significant portion of supplies and ammunition.
On the other hand, two most valuable non-combat ships - the USS Tarakaan Island floating drydock and USS Sular armored troop transport - survived without significant damage, and the majority of land troops aboard USS Sular were well protected by her armored casemate. The steel destroyer USS James Ellis also survived, and at least some planes were able to escape destruction.
The success was also costly for Kurokawa; two out of three his carriers were destroyed, one with all personnel aboard. On the other hand, the most valuable carrier, the IRIS Akagi (on which all Japanese pilots were based) survived, and the Alliance's supply of P-40C aircraft was almost exhausted by this attack.
- The Alliance naval forces on Madagascar weren't significantly reinforced due to large warships and planes loss in battle
- The Alliance land forces on Madagascar were significantly reinforced due to survival of First and Third India Corps
- The Kurokawa's carrier navy was temporarily weakened by the loss of two carriers and pilots (these losses are considered to be quickly replaceable)