A tropical haze had spread across the island archipelago that the small battlegroup sheltered in. It was getting towards the hottest part of the day, when all operations were forced to a virtual standstill by the unrelenting temperature. The Captain of the H.M.S. Warspite, a Tribal class Cruiser, John Cooper surveyed his position. It had been weeks since he had left the safe port of Christchurch on a long range scouting patrol with the small battlegroup comprised of the trio of cruisers and their supporting frigates. No contact had been made, save with a few hostile locals. Naturally the fuzzie-wuzzies were educated in the pure excellence that is British doctrine and once swearing an oath to Her Royal Highness, they were immediatly put to work.
But aside from the haze and the memories of past glories, there seemed to be nothing afoot in this calm archipelago. It was not until the H.M.S. Exeter, an Attacker class Frigate erupted from a magazine explosion that the calm morning was broken into cries of action. More columns of smoke erupted around the support vessels as out of the haze loomed rounded prows bristling with murderous guns. Rockets began to rain down, setting a nearby oil derrick alight and forcing all hands to sprint for cover. Around the other flank small support vessels arrived, pouring their lethal fire into the frigates. The H.M.S. York was hit in her bridge, and remained blazing for the remainder of the engagement. It was about now that the well Cooper's disciplined crews began to set about their work. Main guns blazing at the smaller vessels ahead, the Warspite sought to put an island between herself and the pursuing capital ships.
On the other flank, the Brittanians were not faring well. The cruiser H.M.S. Colossus was struck in her rear boiler, causing a catastrophic eruption of flame as she sank briskly, with the loss of all hands. Other frigates lay burning hulks in the water. An order was relayed by the Commander of the H.M.S. Vanguard for the Warspite to break engagement at top speed, and the last Cooper saw of him was the cruiser moving at full steam, firing all torpedos and guns directly towards the oncoming enemy.
With the Warspite laid up in port, Cooper was interrogated by Higher Command as to the tactics, firepower, structure and nature of the Japanese attack in an attempt to understand and comprehend the engagement on the archipelago, so that when the full Southern Battlegroup arrived, the Brittanians would not be caught unawares again....
For the Japanese account, head here. Note that it is all lies and propaganda, nothing from Kruger can be trusted!
In other news, the Federated States of American are entering the Coral Sea also, and are expected to make first contact with the Japanese tonight....