Battle of Badung Strait

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Battle of Badung Strait
Part of World War II, Pacific War
HNLMS De Ruyter.jpg
HNLMS De Ruyter off Java in 1942.
Date 18–20 February 1942
Location Badung Strait off Bali in the Dutch East Indies
Result Japanese victory
Belligerents
 Netherlands
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Netherlands Karel Doorman[1] Empire of Japan Kyuji Kubo[2]
Strength
Sea:
3 cruisers,
7 destroyers,
2 submarines
Air:
20 aircraft
4 destroyers,
2 transports
Casualties and losses
unknown human losses,
1 destroyer sunk,
1 cruiser damaged,
1 destroyer damaged
25 killed,
~83 wounded,
3 destroyers damaged

The Battle of Badung Strait was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the night of 19/20 February 1942 in Badung Strait (not to be confused with the West Java city of Bandung) between the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) and the Imperial Japanese Navy. In the engagement, the four Japanese destroyers defeated an Allied force that outnumbered and outgunned them, escorting two transports to safety and sinking the Dutch destroyer Piet Hein. The battle demonstrated the Japanese Navy's considerable superiority over the Allies in night fighting which lasted until the Battle of Cape St. George.

Background[edit]

A battalion of the 48th Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army landed on Bali on 18 February 1942. Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman's naval forces were scattered around Indonesia, but the invasion of Bali could not be ignored — it would give the Japanese an airbase within range of the ABDA naval base at Surabaya — so he sent in all available ships. The short notice gave no time to concentrate his ships; accordingly, several Allied forces were to attack the Japanese.

Battle[edit]

The first Allied vessels to engage were the submarines USS Seawolf and HMS Truant. Both attacked the Japanese convoy on 18 February, but did no damage and were driven off by depth charges from Japanese destroyers. Later that day, 20 planes of the United States Army Air Forces attacked the convoy but succeeded only in damaging the transport Sagami Maru.

The Japanese were aware that their invasion convoy was likely to be attacked again, so they retreated north as soon as possible. The cruiser Nagara and the destroyers Wakaba, Hatsushimo and Nenohi were well away and took no part in the action. The last ships to leave were the two transports, each escorted by two destroyers. Sasago Maru was escorted by Asashio and Oshio; the heavily damaged Sagami Maru was escorted by Michishio and Arashio.

The first Allied group—consisting of the cruisers HNLMS De Ruyter and Java and the destroyers USS John D. Ford, Pope, and HNLMS Piet Hein—sighted the Japanese in Badung Strait at about 22:00 and opened fire at 22:25 on 19 February. No damage was done in this exchange of fire, and the two Dutch cruisers continued through the strait to the northeast, to give the destroyers a free hand to engage with torpedoes. Then Piet Hein, Pope and John D. Ford came into range. At 22:40, a Long Lance torpedo from Asashio hit Piet Hein, sinking the Dutch destroyer immediately. Asashio and Oshio then exchanged gunfire with Pope and John D. Ford, forcing the two American destroyers to retire to the southeast instead of following the cruisers to the northeast.

In the darkness, Asashio and Oshio mistook each other for enemy ships and fired on each other for several minutes, without any damage.

About three hours later, the second group of ABDA ships—the cruiser HNLMS Tromp and the destroyers USS John D. Edwards, Parrott, Pillsbury, and Stewart—reached Badung Strait. At 01:36, Stewart, Pillsbury and Parrott launched torpedoes but did no damage. Then Oshio and Asashio sortied again and there was another exchange of gunfire. Tromp was hit by eleven 5 in (130 mm) shells from Asashio, severely damaging her and hit both Japanese destroyers, killing four men on Asashio and seven on Oshio. Tromp later had to return to Australia for repairs.

Arashio and Michishio had been ordered by Admiral Kubo to turn back, and at about 02:20 they joined the battle. Michishio was hit by shells from Pillsbury, John D. Edwards and Tromp, killing 13 of her crew and wounding 83. She lost speed and had to be towed after the battle. Both groups of ships turned away, and the engagement was over.

Aftermath[edit]

The third ABDA group—seven torpedo boats—arrived in Badung Strait at about 06:00 but did not encounter any Japanese ships. The battle was a significant victory for the Japanese. Lieutenant Commander Gorō Yoshii of Asashio and Commander Kiyoshi Kikkawa of Oshio had shown great bravery and skill. They had driven off a much larger Allied force, sunk the destroyer Piet Hein and severely damaged the cruiser Tromp, had sustained little damage themselves, and had protected their transport ships.

Bali's garrison of 600 Indonesian militia offered no resistance to the Japanese, and its airfield was captured intact. The Japanese continued their conquest of the Dutch East Indies with the capture of Timor from 20–23 February. The ABDA forces engaged at Badung Strait were decisively defeated in the Battle of the Java Sea on 1 March 1942, in which the Dutch cruisers Java and De Ruyter were sunk and Admiral Doorman was killed. Tromp evaded this fate, for she was withdrawn to Australia to repair damage suffered at Badung Strait. The destroyer Stewart was repaired in Soerabaia, where she was next captured by the Japanese and put to their service as the patrol vessel P-102.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Rear-Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 
  2. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Rear-Admiral Kyuji Kubo". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]