Before the success of the operations in Dutch Indian, the Japanese fleet received command from assaulting the English mercantile traffic in the Indic Ocean accomplishing simultaneously raids air of bombardment on the English bases in Ceylon.
After of the collapse of the English battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales in December of 1941, the English improvised a battle fleet, based on Ceylon. The fleet was compounded by old five battleships drawn from the Mediterranean, two large air carrier and small other, with old and obsolete planes only capable of operating unopposed air, and the corresponding escort ships. Conscious the English of his inferiority, was limited to the convoys escort toward the Gulf of Bengal.
The Japanese split its forces in two groups. One to the north integrated by the carrier Ryujo, the cruisers Mogami and Suzuya and six destroyers, with command of assaulting the traffic. Another more on south composed by the carriers Akagi, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku and Zuikaku, the battleships of the class Kongo, the heavy cruisers of the class Myoko and fourteen destroyers, with orders of destroying the British fleet.
Around the end of March of 1942, the Japanese penetrated in the Indic Ocean and begin their operations. While the group of the north, to the command of Mikawa, began the convoys search, that received the command from be dispersed, the group of the south, to the command of Nagumo and Kondo, were approximated for Ceylon waiting to locate to the English.
|the English battle fleet made act of
presence. However, the time was elapsing and the recognition planes were not detecting
The English fleet had abandoned his anchoring-place awaiting located in assault position on dusk to attempt an nocturnal torpedo assault with the slow and old planes Albacore relying on the scarce air protection and detection difficulty on the darkness. The few speed of the battleships were making un-hopeless slow the approximation with the obvious risk of be detected and assaulted. During four days Nagumo marauded by Ceylon without sighting to the English fleet; conscious of his superiority and believing that the English were continuing sounded in its bases, sorted the assault against the port of Tricomalee causing important damages in its facilities. As gratuity its planes detected to the light carrier Hermes that it was sunk together with its escort in a fulminating assault.
The intensity of the Japanese assaults convinced English command of the uselessness of risking the fleet that received command from returning to the Maldives to stay during the war in defensive operations. After this operation the Japanese fleet of air carriers did not return to operate in the Indic Ocean.
© 1998- Francisco José Díaz y Díaz and Luis Alberto Gómez Muñoz. Leon. Spain