Robalo’s last known position, and Redfin’s unexpected return

Posted by Rebekah
Jul 02 2010

Two things occurred today that impact our story, and neither of them involve Flier. She’s still puttering her way south, in the neighborhood of Exmouth Gulf, though she’ll skip re-fueling and just head strait for Fremantle.

Also today, the condition of Torpedoman Pluta on the Redfin is serious enough that HQ ordered the Redfin to terminate her patrol early, and make for Darwin using the Sibutu Passage head SE and exit the war area east of Timor Island.  Apparently, there was no one else near enough to take him aboard, so they had to head for the nearest Allied medical facility, which happened to be 1,600 miles away, as the crow flies.  Poor Pluta.  It was going to be a hard five day run.

The Solid Green line indicates Robalo's prjected path based on the three known points at which she was seen or detected using radar, plus her last reported position. Everything from here on out will be dotted, meaning, conjectured. Some of her track will be guessed at based partially on Flier's orders and Crevalle's path through the strait. The dotted yellow line is the rough path that Redfin has just been ordered to take to get Pluta to Darwin. Good thing they'll remember it, it'll come in handy before they know it.

Most importantly, today is the last transmission from the Robalo, revealing her location.  Her orders were to take Lombok, Makkasar, to the Celebes Sea to Balabac Straits (the same route Captain Crowley would be given in a month).  She radioed her position, as you see above, just off the eastern coast of Borneo, having just spotted a 3-ship convoy made up of a battleship and two destroyers with air cover.

What happens to her from this point forward will be mostly conjecture.  Until someone finds her wreck, we may not know what happened.  For all we know, the convoy that she just reported (and I cannot find any reference saying that she intended to attack said convoy) found her and took her out right there near Borneo, though the evidence strongly suggests she at least made it to Balabac.  If she stayed on schedule, she would have reached it within 24 hours from this point.

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