Battle of the Bismarck Sea (2-4 March 1943)
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (2-4 March 1943) took place in the South West
Pacific Area (SWPA) during World War II when aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air
Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a Japanese convoy
carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the task force was destroyed,
and Japanese troop losses were heavy.
The Japanese convoy was a result of a Japanese Imperial General Headquarters
decision in December 1942 to reinforce their position in the South West
Pacific. A plan was devised to move some 6,900 troops from Rabaul directly
to Lae. The plan was understood to be risky, because Allied air power in the
area was strong, but it was decided to proceed because otherwise the troops
would have to be landed a considerable distance away and march through
inhospitable swamp, mountain and jungle terrain without roads before
reaching their destination. On 28 February 1943, the convoy - comprising
eight destroyers and eight troop transports with an escort of approximately
100 fighters - set out from Simpson Harbour in Rabaul.
----- The Allied Air Forces also adopted other innovative tactics. In
February 1942, the RAAF began experimenting with skip bombing, an
anti-shipping technique used by the British and Germans. Flying only a
few dozen feet above the sea toward their targets, bombers would release
their bombs which would then, ideally, ricochet across the surface of the
water and explode at the side of the target ship, under it, or just over
it. A similar technique was mast-height bombing, in which bombers would
approach the target at low altitude, 200 to 500 feet (61 to 152 m), at about
265 to 275 miles per hour (426 to 443 km/h), and then drop down to mast
height, 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) at about 600 yards (550 m) from the
target. They would release their bombs at around 300 yards (270 m), aiming
directly at the side of the ship. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea would
demonstrate that this was the more successful of the two tactics. The
two techniques were not mutually exclusive: a bomber could drop two bombs,
skipping the first and launching the second at mast height. Practice
missions were carried out against the wreck of the SS Pruth, a liner that
had run aground in 1923.
The wiki says Japan started with 8 transports (all got sunk)
and 8 destroyers (4 got sunk).
Samuel Eliot Morison is more interesting in describing it than the wiki.
Did anyone here read Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" ?
This is the battle when Goto Dengo 'loses the war' on page 320
titled "Skipping". Cowardly Americans have no honor and are
flexable and willing to change!!!!!