ANZAC Squadron

The ANZAC Squadron, also called the Allied Naval Squadron, was an Allied naval warship task force which was tasked with defending northeast Australia and surrounding area in early 1942 during the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The squadron, consisting of cruisers and destroyers from the navies of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States was formed on February 12, 1942, under the command of Royal Navy Rear Admiral John Gregory Crace. The squadron was the primary fleet element operating in the ANZAC Area under the overall command of United States Navy Vice Admiral Herbert Fairfax Leary.

On 9 March, the squadron, as part of Task Force 11 known as Task Group 11.7, covered the Louisiade Archipelago, securing the right hand flank of Task Force 11 and Task Force 17 for the attack on Lae and Salamaua due to the Imperial Japanese invasion of Lae-Salamaua, New Guinea and also covering a Port Moresby reinforcement convoy. On April 22, 1942, the ANZAC Force was absorbed by the South West Pacific Area (command) under United States Army General Douglas MacArthur and the ANZAC Squadron was redesignated as Task Force 44. The New Zealand cruisers passed to the control of the South Pacific Area.

ANZAC Squadron
ActiveFebruary 12 – March 30, 1942
Country Australia
 New Zealand
 United States
AllegianceAllies of World War II
TypeCruiser/destroyer force
RoleDefense of Australia and Commonwealth territories
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
John Gregory Crace

Ships of the task force

Bibliography

  • Gill, G. Hermon (1968). Volume I – Royal Australian Navy, 1939–1942. Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Series 2: Navy. Canberra: Australian War Memorial.
  • Gill, G. Hermon (1968). Volume II – Royal Australian Navy, 1942–1945. Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Series 2: Navy. Canberra: Australian War Memorial.
  • Willmott, H. P. (1982). Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-535-3.
  • Willmott, H. P. (1983). The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies February to June 1942. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-535-3.
ANZAC Area

The ANZAC Area, also called the ANZAC Command, was a short-lived (29 January – 18 April 1942) naval military command for Allied forces defending the northeast approaches to Australia including the Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, and New Caledonia during the early stages of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The command was created on 27 January 1942. United States Navy Vice Admiral Herbert Fairfax Leary commanded the force. The force co-existed with the Allied ABDA command which was charged with defending Allied colonial territories in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific from Imperial Japanese aggression.

The ANZAC Area command was established by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff on 29 January 1942 in response to an Australian government request for a command dedicated solely to the protection of Australia after the fall of Singapore and Rabaul during which ABDA Command was focused on events in Java and the Malay barrier to the west and United States fleet assets were focused on defense of Hawaii.

Action off Bougainville

The Action off Bougainville was a naval and air engagement on the South Pacific Theater of World War II near Bougainville, Papua New Guinea on 20 February 1942. A United States Navy aircraft carrier task force on its way to raid the Imperial Japanese military base at Rabaul, New Britain was attacked by a force of land-based bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The US task force was commanded by Admiral Wilson Brown and the Japanese aircraft forces were under the command of Eiji Gotō.

In the ensuing engagement, the Japanese air group lost 15 of 17 bombers sent to attack the American carrier group. The United States lost only two fighters in defence, and no ships were damaged. As a result of the loss of surprise, however, the Americans retired without raiding Rabaul as originally planned. Because of the heavy losses in bombers, the Japanese were forced to delay their planned invasion of New Guinea, giving the Allies more time to prepare defences against the Japanese advances in the South Pacific.

Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia, taking place in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The battle is historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which the opposing ships neither sighted nor fired directly upon one another.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive position in the South Pacific, the Japanese decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby (in New Guinea) and Tulagi (in the southeastern Solomon Islands). The plan to accomplish this was called Operation Mo, and involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet. These included two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion forces. It was under the overall command of Japanese Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue.

The U.S. learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence, and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-U.S. cruiser force to oppose the offensive. These were under the overall command of U.S. Admiral Frank J. Fletcher.

On 3–4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were sunk or damaged in surprise attacks by aircraft from the U.S. fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of U.S. carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers advanced towards the Coral Sea with the intention of locating and destroying the Allied naval forces. On the evening of 6 May, the direction chosen for air searches by the opposing commanders brought the two carrier forces to within 70 nmi (81 mi; 130 km) of each other, unbeknownst to both sides. Beginning on 7 May, the carrier forces from the two sides engaged in airstrikes over two consecutive days. On the first day, both forces mistakenly believed they were attacking their opponent's fleet carriers, but were actually attacking other units, with the U.S. sinking the Japanese light carrier Shōhō while the Japanese sank a U.S. destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the fleet carriers found and engaged each other, with the Japanese fleet carrier Shōkaku heavily damaged, the U.S. fleet carrier Lexington critically damaged (and later scuttled), and Yorktown damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two forces disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.

Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. The battle marked the first time since the start of the war that a major Japanese advance had been checked by the Allies. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku—the former damaged and the latter with a depleted aircraft complement—were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway the following month, while Yorktown did participate, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the U.S. victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean and helped prompt their ill-fated land offensive over the Kokoda Track. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign; this, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate surrender in World War II.

Francis X. McInerney

Francis Xavier McInerney (28 March 1899 – 24 June 1956) was a United States Navy Vice admiral, Navy Cross recipient, Silver Star recipient and namesake of USS McInerney (FFG-8).

HMAS Australia (D84)

HMAS Australia (I84/D84/C01) was a County-class heavy cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of two Kent-subclass ships ordered for the RAN in 1924, Australia was laid down in Scotland in 1925, and entered service in 1928. Apart from an exchange deployment to the Mediterranean from 1934 to 1936, during which she became involved in the planned British response to the Abyssinia Crisis, Australia operated in local and South-West Pacific waters until World War II began.

The cruiser remained near Australia until mid-1940, when she was deployed for duties in the eastern Atlantic, including hunts for German ships and participation in Operation Menace. During 1941, Australia operated in home and Indian Ocean waters, but was reassigned as flagship of the ANZAC Squadron in early 1942. As part of this force (which was later redesignated Task Force 44, then Task Force 74), Australia operated in support of United States naval and amphibious operations throughout South-East Asia until the start of 1945, including involvement in the battles at the Coral Sea and Savo Island, the amphibious landings at Guadalcanal and Leyte Gulf, and numerous actions during the New Guinea campaign. She was forced to withdraw following a series of kamikaze attacks during the invasion of Lingayen Gulf. The prioritisation of shipyard work in Australia for British Pacific Fleet vessels saw the Australian cruiser sail to England for repairs, where she was at the end of the war.

During the late 1940s, Australia served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, and participated in several port visits to other nations, before being retasked as a training ship in 1950. The cruiser was decommissioned in 1954, and sold for scrapping in 1955.

HMAS Canberra (D33)

HMAS Canberra (I33/D33), named after the Australian capital city of Canberra, was a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) heavy cruiser of the Kent sub-class of County-class cruisers. Constructed in Scotland during the mid-1920s, the ship was commissioned in 1928, and spent the first part of her career primarily operating in Australian waters, with some deployments to the China Station.

At the start of World War II, Canberra was initially used for patrols and convoy escort around Australia. In July 1940, she was reassigned as a convoy escort between Western Australia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. During this deployment, which ended in mid-1941, Canberra was involved in the hunt for several German auxiliary cruisers. The cruiser resumed operations in Australian waters, but when Japan entered the war, she was quickly reassigned to convoy duties around New Guinea, interspersed with operations in Malaysian and Javanese waters. Canberra later joined Task Force 44, and was involved in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Tulagi landings.

On 9 August 1942, Canberra was struck by the opening Japanese shots of the Battle of Savo Island, and was quickly damaged. Unable to propel herself, the cruiser was evacuated and sunk in Ironbottom Sound by two American destroyers. The United States Navy Baltimore-class cruiser USS Canberra was named in honour of the Australian ship, and is the only American warship named for either a foreign warship or a foreign capital city.

HMNZS Achilles (70)

HMNZS Achilles was a Leander-class light cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy in the Second World War, the second of five in the class. Originally constructed by the Royal Navy, she was loaned to New Zealand in 1936 before formally joining the new Royal New Zealand Navy in 1941. She became famous for her part in the Battle of the River Plate, alongside HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter and notable for being the first Royal Navy cruiser to have fire control radar, with the installation of the New Zealand-made SS1 fire-control radar in June 1940.After Second World War service in the Atlantic and Pacific, she was returned to the Royal Navy. She was sold to the Indian Navy in 1948 and recommissioned as INS Delhi. She was scrapped in 1978.

Mahan-class destroyer

The Mahan-class destroyers of the United States Navy were a series of 18 destroyers of which the first 16 were laid down in 1934. The last two of the 18, Dunlap and Fanning (this pair laid down in 1935), are sometimes considered a separate ship class. All 18 were commissioned in 1936 and 1937. Mahan was the lead ship, named for Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, an influential historian and theorist on sea power.

The Mahans featured improvements over previous destroyers, with 12 torpedo tubes, superimposed gun shelters, and generators for emergency use. The Standard displacement increased from 1,365 tons to 1,500 tons. The class introduced a new steam propulsion system that combined increases in pressure and temperature with a new type of lightweight steam turbine, which proved simpler and more efficient than the Mahans' predecessors—so much so that it was used on many subsequent wartime US destroyers.

All 18 ships saw action in World War II, entirely in the Pacific Theater, which included the Guadalcanal Campaign, and the battles of the Santa Cruz Islands, Leyte Gulf, and Iwo Jima. Their participation in major and secondary campaigns included the bombardment of beachheads, amphibious landings, task force screening, convoy and patrol duty, and anti-aircraft and submarine warfare. Six ships were lost in combat and two were expended in the postwar Operation Crossroads nuclear tests. The remainder were decommissioned, sold, or scrapped after the war; none remain today. Collectively, the ships received 111 battle stars for their World War II service.

Military history of New Zealand during World War I

The military history of New Zealand during World War I began in August 1914. When Britain declared war on Germany at the start of the First World War, the New Zealand government followed without hesitation, despite its geographic isolation and small population. It was believed at the time that any declaration of war by the United Kingdom automatically included New Zealand; and the Governor (the Earl of Liverpool) announced that New Zealand was at war with Germany from the steps of Parliament on 5 August.The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–18, excluding those in British and other Dominion forces, was 100,444, from a population of just over a million. Forty-two percent of men of military age served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, fighting in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front. 16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war – a 58 percent casualty rate. Approximately a further thousand men died within five years of the war's end, as a result of injuries sustained, and 507 died while training in New Zealand between 1914 and 1918.

The First World War saw Māori soldiers serve for the first time in a major conflict with the New Zealand Army (although a number had fought in the Second Boer War when New Zealand recruiters chose to ignore British military policy of the time of disallowing 'native' soldiers). A contingent took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, and later served with distinction on the Western Front as part of the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion. 2688 Māori and 346 Pacific islanders, including 150 Niueans, served with New Zealand forces in total.

No. 461 Squadron RAAF

No. 461 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol squadron during World War II which operated under Royal Air Force control flying in Europe and over the Atlantic. The squadron was formed in 1942 and was disbanded in mid-1945, just after the end of the war in Europe. Personnel were drawn from many countries of the British Empire, although the majority were Australians. Throughout the war, the squadron was credited with destroying a total of six German U-boats, and operated mainly in the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic.

South West Pacific Area (command)

South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific War. SWPA included the Philippines, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies (excluding Sumatra), East Timor, Australia, the Territories of Papua and New Guinea, and the western part of the Solomon Islands. It primarily consisted of United States and Australian forces, although Dutch, Filipino, British and other Allied forces also served in the SWPA.

General Douglas MacArthur was appointed as the Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area, on its creation on 18 April 1942. He created five subordinate commands: Allied Land Forces, Allied Air Forces, Allied Naval Forces, United States Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), and the United States Army Forces in the Philippines. The last command disappeared when Corregidor surrendered on 6 May 1942, while USAFIA became the United States Army Services of Supply, Southwest Pacific Area (USASOS SWPA). In 1943 United States Army Forces in the Far East was reformed and assumed responsibility for administration, leaving USASOS as a purely logistical agency. Both were swept away in a reorganisation in 1945. The other three commands, Allied Land Forces, Allied Air Forces and Allied Naval Forces, remained until SWPA was abolished on 2 September 1945.

Task Force 44

Task Force 44 was an Allied naval task force during the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The task force consisted of warships from, mostly, the United States Navy and a few from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It was generally assigned as a striking force to defend northeast Australia and the surrounding area from any attacks by Axis forces, particularly from the Empire of Japan.

Task force

A task force (TF) is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy, the term has now caught on for general usage and is a standard part of NATO terminology. Many non-military organizations now create "task forces" or task groups for temporary activities that might have once been performed by ad hoc (designated purpose) committees.

USS Chicago (CA-29)

USS Chicago (CA-29) was a Northampton-class cruiser of the United States Navy that served in the Pacific Theater in the early years of World War II. She was the second US Navy ship to be named after the city of Chicago. After surviving a midget submarine attack at Sydney Harbour and serving in battle at the Coral Sea and Savo Island in 1942, she was sunk by Japanese aerial torpedoes in the Battle of Rennell Island, in the Solomon Islands, on 30 January 1943.

USS Lamson (DD-367)

The third USS Lamson (DD-367) was a Mahan-class destroyer of the United States Navy; named for Roswell Hawkes Lamson. She served in the Pacific during World War II. Lamson participated in the Battle of Tassafaronga, and remained undamaged until hit by a Japanese kamikaze during the recapture of the Philippines. Lamson was sunk during the Operation Crossroads atomic weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.

USS Lexington (CV-2)

USS Lexington (CV-2), nicknamed "Lady Lex", was an early aircraft carrier built for the United States Navy. She was the lead ship of the Lexington class; her only sister ship, Saratoga, was commissioned a month earlier. Originally designed as a battlecruiser, she was converted into one of the Navy's first aircraft carriers during construction to comply with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, which essentially terminated all new battleship and battlecruiser construction. The ship entered service in 1928 and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet for her entire career. Lexington and Saratoga were used to develop and refine carrier tactics in a series of annual exercises before World War II. On more than one occasion these included successfully staged surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The ship's turbo-electric propulsion system allowed her to supplement the electrical supply of Tacoma, Washington, during a drought in late 1929 to early 1930. She also delivered medical personnel and relief supplies to Managua, Nicaragua, after an earthquake in 1931.

Lexington was at sea when the Pacific War began on 7 December 1941, ferrying fighter aircraft to Midway Island. Her mission was cancelled and she returned to Pearl Harbor a week later. After a few days, she was sent to create a diversion from the force en route to relieve the besieged Wake Island garrison by attacking Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands. The island surrendered before the relief force got close enough, and the mission was cancelled. A planned attack on Wake Island in January 1942 had to be cancelled when a submarine sank the oiler required to supply the fuel for the return trip. Lexington was sent to the Coral Sea the following month to block any Japanese advances into the area. The ship was spotted by Japanese search aircraft while approaching Rabaul, New Britain, but her aircraft shot down most of the Japanese bombers that attacked her. Together with the carrier Yorktown, she successfully attacked Japanese shipping off the east coast of New Guinea in early March.

Lexington was quickly refitted in Pearl Harbor at the end of the month and rendezvoused with Yorktown in the Coral Sea in early May. A few days later the Japanese began Operation Mo, the invasion of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and the two American carriers attempted to stop the invasion forces. They sank the light aircraft carrier Shōhō on 7 May during the Battle of the Coral Sea, but did not encounter the main Japanese force of the carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku until the next day. Aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown badly damaged Shōkaku, but the Japanese aircraft crippled Lexington. A mixture of air and aviation gasoline in her improperly drained aircraft fueling trunk lines (which ran from the keel tanks to her hangar deck) ignited, causing a series of explosions and fires that could not be controlled. Lexington was scuttled by an American destroyer during the evening of 8 May to prevent her capture. The wreck of Lexington was located in March 2018 by an expedition led by Paul Allen, who discovered the ship about 430 nautical miles (800 km) off the northeastern coast of Australia in the Coral Sea.

USS Perkins (DD-377)

The second USS Perkins (DD–377) was a Mahan-class destroyer in the United States Navy before and during World War II. She was named for George Hamilton Perkins.

Perkins was laid down 15 November 1934 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington. She was launched 31 December 1935, sponsored by Mrs. Larz Anderson, commissioned 18 September 1936, with Lieutenant Commander Samuel P. Jenkins in command.

United States Seventh Fleet

The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet (a military formation) of the United States Navy. It is headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its principal responsibilities are to provide joint command in natural disaster or military operations and operational command of all naval forces in the region.

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