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Fourth Battle of Wake Island
USS Yorktown hit-740px

USS Enterprise hit by a torpedo

Beginning:

9th April 1942

End:

11th April 1942

Location:

Wake Island

Outcome:

United States Victory

Combatants

Empire of Japan

United States

Commanders

Shigeyoshi Inoue

Gary Murray

Strength

1 Aircraft Carrier
4 Destroyers

2 Aircraft Carriers

Casualties

1 Aircraft Carrier, 3 Destroyers sunk

1 Aircraft Carrier damaged

  


Another invasion attempt by the Japanese Empire was predicted by GH and Nimitz after some key intelligence was passed their way. It turned out to be accurate and a Task force lead by USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown arrived to intercept the invasion force. The Japanese spotted the American fleet first, but were unable to land any hits on Enterprise or Yorktown.

Knowing that Japanese carriers were indeed in the area, the American TF launched its attacks. With much of the Japanese force still organising the Americans were able to score many hits on the Japanese fleet, but uneven weather meant not all was directed on the IJN Shokaku. She took two bomb hits, with the Maikaze and Yugumo taking bomb hits and the Hagikaze being sunk after 3 bombs set off her Long Lance stocks.

Attacks the next morning focused on a Japanese transports, when a flight of SBDs missed their targets in the carrier force. Later in the morning, attacks shifted to the Japanese Carrier Task Force. Thunderstorms prevented fourteen SBD-3s from finding Shokaku and the Destroyer Amagiri was the recipiant of two bombs, setting her ablaze. Yorktown then skillfully avoided a number of Bettys from airbases in the Marshal Islands. Enterprise was less fortunate and took two torpedoes amidships. Speed was reduced, but the fires were brought under control quickly.

Shokaku was then found by Yorktown's flight group and attacked. Ten bomb hits from SBDs set her ablaze from bow to stern. Only a single Wildcat and SBD were lost in the raid. No TBDs were lost, but this can be attributed to their cautiousness and no torpedo hits were recorded. A raid of Enterprises planes confirms Shokaku burning and listing heavily later in the day, and they finished off its escort the Destroyer Yugumo.

The Americans had defended their hard won Wake island from the Japanese. Shokaku was lost off Wake Island with almost all hands, including many of the experienced pilots that only four months before, had attacked Pearl Harbour.

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