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Battle of Badung Strait (Yellowstone: 1936)

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Battle of Badung Strait
Part of the Pacific War
HNLMS De Ruyter
HNLMS De Ruyter off Java in 1939.
Date 24–26 February 1939
Location Badung Strait off Bali in the Dutch East Indies
Result Japanese victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands

Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) United Kingdom
US Pacific-Asiatic Zone

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Netherlands Karel Doorman Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Kyuji Kubo
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 War, fought on the night of 25/26 February 1939 in Badung Strait (not to be confused with the West Java city of Bandung) between an Allied fleet under the command of Karel Doorman 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 throughout the war.


Overview

On 24 February 1939 a battalion of the 48th Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army landed on Bali, giving the Japanese an air base within range of the crucial Allied naval base at Surabaya. Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman's naval forces were scattered around the Dutch East Indies, but could not ignore the threat the Japanese imposed. All available ships were sent but the short notice gave the Allied forces no time to concentrate their forces. The Japanese convoy was observed by Allied submarines, but were unable to do any damage and were driven off by depth charges from Japanese destroyers. Later that day, twenty American fighters attacked the convoy but succeeded only in damaging the transport Sagami Maru.

Aware that the convoy would likely be attacked again, the Japanese convoy quickly retreated north. The cruiser Nagara and the destroyers Wakaba, Hatsushimo and Nenohi were well away and were able to easily withdraw, taking 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 on 19 February at about 22:00, and opened fire at 22:25. In the initial exchange no damage was done, and the two Dutch cruisers continued through the strait to the northeast, to give the destroyers a free hand to engage with torpedoes. With the Piet Hein, Pope and John D. Ford now coming 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 Allied ships, consisting of 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. 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, but 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.

After the battle's conclusion the third Allied group arrived, consisting of seven torpedo boats, entering the 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, and were praised for driving off such a much larger Allied force. The Japanese had successfully sunk the destroyer Piet Hein and severely damaged the cruiser Tromp, sustaining 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 26 to 29 February. The Allied forces engaged at Badung Strait were decisively defeated in the Battle of the Java Sea on 7 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.====Badung Strait====

On 24 February 1939 a battalion of the 48th Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army landed on Bali, giving the Japanese an air base within range of the crucial Allied naval base at Surabaya. Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman's naval forces were scattered around the Dutch East Indies, but could not ignore the threat the Japanese imposed. All available ships were sent but the short notice gave the Allied forces no time to concentrate their forces. The Japanese convoy was observed by Allied submarines, but were unable to do any damage and were driven off by depth charges from Japanese destroyers. Later that day, twenty American fighters attacked the convoy but succeeded only in damaging the transport Sagami Maru.

Aware that the convoy would likely be attacked again, the Japanese convoy quickly retreated north. The cruiser Nagara and the destroyers Wakaba, Hatsushimo and Nenohi were well away and were able to easily withdraw, taking 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 on 19 February at about 22:00, and opened fire at 22:25. In the initial exchange no damage was done, and the two Dutch cruisers continued through the strait to the northeast, to give the destroyers a free hand to engage with torpedoes. With the Piet Hein, Pope and John D. Ford now coming 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 Allied ships, consisting of 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. 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, but 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

After the battle's conclusion the third Allied group arrived, consisting of seven torpedo boats, entering the 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, and were praised for driving off such a much larger Allied force. The Japanese had successfully sunk the destroyer Piet Hein and severely damaged the cruiser Tromp, sustaining 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 26 to 29 February. The Allied forces engaged at Badung Strait were decisively defeated in the Battle of the Java Sea on 7 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.

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