Cruiser guns — II.
I love this photo (hard not to, I'm Australian after all). A sailor aboard the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (D84) is seen here polishing the tampion on one of the 8" guns. Exact date and location unknown. Note the Australian Coat of Arms embossed in it.
The 10,000-ton County-class (of the Kent-subclass) heavy cruiser, HMAS Australia, was one of two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships involved in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The other being the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (D63). Both Australian cruisers were part of a small joint Australian-U.S. battle group under the command of Australian Rear Admiral John G. Crace; Task Force 44, that sailed from Sydney in late April 1942, and would eventually link up with Admiral Fletcher's Task Force 17 centred around the aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2), and USS Yorktown (CV-5), in the Coral Sea.
Temporarily re-designated Task Force 17.3 as part of Fletcher's Force, the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia, USS Chicago, and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart along with three U.S. Destroyers were tasked with patrolling the Jomard Passage east of Milne Bay on May 7, 1942, taking up a blocking position, and ordered to engage any enemy shipping encountered there. Admiral Crace's Support Group never got to tackle any Japanese shipping as their invasion convoy bound for Port Moresby had already turned back by midday of May 7. They were attacked themselves in the afternoon however, twice by Japanese land-based torpedo and level bombers, but came through unscathed, accounting for at least 5 Mitsubishi G3M torpedo bombers shot down.
The critical fighting in the Coral Sea had occurred elsewhere on May 7-8 between the opposing Imperial Japanese and American Carrier Groups; which although had been a tactical victory for the Japanese (they sank more ships), it was a strategic win for the Allies, as the invasion of Port Moresby in New Guinea had been thwarted.
HMAS Australia (D84) would go on to fight through the Pacific War, surviving it, ending its career with the RAN in 1954.