The Battle Of Wake Island #3 by AliceFromLake ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
Early on the morning of 11 December, the garrison, with the support of the four remaining Wildcats, repelled the first Japanese landing attempt by the South Seas Force, which included three light cruisers and destroyers and eight destroyer, all of old design and two troop transport ships containing 450 Special Naval Landing Force troops.
The US Marines fired at the invasion fleet with their six 5-inch (127 mm) coast-defense guns. Major Devereux, the Marine commander under Cunningham, ordered the gunners to hold their fire until the enemy moved within range of the coastal defenses. "Battery L", on Peale islet, sank Hayate at a distance of 3,700 m with at least two direct hits to her magazines, causing her to explode and sink within two minutes, in full view of the defenders on shore. The four Wildcats also attacked the force. During one of these attacks, Captain Henry T. Elrod became the first man to sink a warship, the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi, with small-caliber bombs delivered from a fighter aircraft, dropping the bombs with a lucky strike onto the destroyer's stern, causing the depth charges to explode. Another destroyer was sunk too. Both Japanese destroyers were lost with nearly all hands (there was only one survivor, from Hayate), with Hayate becoming the first Japanese surface warship to be sunk in the war. The Japanese recorded 407 casualties during the first attempt. The Japanese force withdrew without landing, suffering their first setback of the war against the Americans.
After the initial raid was fought off, American news media reported that, when queried about reinforcement and resupply, Commander Cunningham was reported to have quipped, "Send us more Japs!" In fact, Cunningham sent a long list of critical equipment—including gunsights, spare parts, and fire-control radar—to his immediate superior: Commandant, 14th Naval District. But the siege and frequent Japanese air attacks on the Wake garrison continued, without resupply for the Americans.
To be continued...