Allied Warships

HNMS De Ruyter

Light cruiser of the De Ruyter class

NavyThe Royal Dutch Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassDe Ruyter 
Pennant 
Built byWilton-Feijenoord (Schiedam, Holland) 
Ordered1 Aug 1932 
Laid down16 Sep 1933 
Launched11 May 1935 
Commissioned3 Oct 1936 
Lost28 Feb 1942 
History

HrMs De Ruyter (Kapitein-luitenant ter Zee (Cdr.) Eugène Edouard Bernard Lacomblé) was sunk by Japanese cruisers during the Battle of Java Sea, along with light cruiser Java and destroyer Kortenaer. 375 of the crew died and 113 were rescued by IJNS Yukikaze/ Or swim ashore and 2 are rescued later by the USS S 37

For HrMs De Ruyter's full operational history see this website (offsite link).

 

Commands listed for HNMS De Ruyter

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CommanderFromTo
1kapitein ter zee (Capt.) Henri Jan Bueninck, RNN4 May 193927 Jan 1941
2Jan Hajo Solkesz, RNN27 Jan 194118 Aug 1941
3kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Eugene Edouard Bernard Lacomble', RNN18 Aug 194127 Feb 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving De Ruyter include:


15 Dec 1941
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) departed Surabaya for the Java Sea where at 1213 hours she made rendes-vous with HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN).

Course was then set for the Kumai Bay, south Borneo where the ships anchored late on this day and all Commending Officers went to the flagship for a breefing. With the breefing over the ships departed Kumai Bay at 0830/16 for Strait Karimata. (1)

18 Dec 1941
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN). anchored in the Sampit Bay, south Borneo. HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) had already left the formation at 1600 hours the previous day to return to Surabaya for repairs.

In the afternoon destroyer Piet Hein went alongside and fuelled from the Tromp.

Early the next day Tromp and destroyer Banckert fuelled from the tanker TAN 3 (3126 GRT, built 1928, former merchant tanker Djirak). (1)

26 Dec 1941
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) departed Surabaya together with HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) for Batavia via Strait Bali, the south coast of Java and the Sunda Strait.

For the daily positions during the period of 26 December 1941 to 29 December 1941, see the map below.

(1)

29 Dec 1941
The task force, made up of HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), arrived at Batavia. (1)

1 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Batavia. They were to bolster the escort of convoy BM 9A that was en-route to Singapore. The Dutch ships joined the British convoy at 1345 hours.

The Dutch ships remained with the convoy until 2000/2.

Convoy BM 9A was made up of the following ships; liner (troopship) Devonshire (11275 GRT, built 1939), passenger (or in this case troops) / cargo ships Lancashire (9445 GRT, built 1917), Rajula (8478 GRT, built 1926), Ethiopia (5575 GRT, built 1922) and Varsova (4691 GRT, built 1914). They were escorted by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), the British light cruisers HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN). The convoy arrived arrived at Singapore on 3 January. (1)

3 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) arrived at Banten Bay (to the west of Batavia). (1)

4 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) departed Banten Bay to bolster the escort of convoy BM 9B that was en-route to Singapore. The Dutch ships joined the British convoy around 1300 hours.

The Dutch ships remained with the convoy until 2000/5.

Convoy BM 9B was made up of the following ships; passenger (or in this case troops / cargo ships Madura (8975 GRT, built 1921), Rajput (5521 GRT, built 1925), Risaldar (5407 GRT, built 1940), Jalarajan (5076 GRT, built 1925) and El Madina (3962 GRT, built 1937). They were escorted by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), the British destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. (retired) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)). (1)

5 Jan 1942

Convoy DM 1

Convoy from Addu Atoll (Port T) to Singapore.
Departure date: 5 January 1942.
Arrival date: 13 January 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
American liner (troopship) Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1933), British liners (troopships) Narkunda (16227 GRT, built 1920), Aorangi (17491 GRT, built 1924), British cargo vessel Sussex (11062 GRT, built 1937), Dutch passerger / cargo ship Abbekerk (7906 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy was escorted by British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), British light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna (Cdr. W.R. Shewring, RIN).

On 9 January, the British light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), joined the escort in position 04°27'N, 94°47'E.

On 10 January, the Dutch light cruiser HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) joined the escort for three hours in position 05°22'N, 100°34'E. Rear-Admiral Doorman then boarded HMS Emerald to discuss the route and policy with the commanding officer. After Rear-Admiral Doorman returned to his flagship HrMs De Ruyter parted company with the convoy.

Later on 10 January 1940 the British destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) joined the escort in position 05°30'N, 100°55'E.

Shortly before 1800 hours on 11 January the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) bolstered the escort of convoy DM 1. The Dutch ships remained with the convoy until 0745/13. (1)

7 Jan 1942
After having released convoy BM 9B at 2000/5 HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) returned to the Sunda Strait, passed it and proceeded on a sweep into the Indian Ocean towards Pulau Enggano. After reaching Enggano around 0700 hours on this day course was reversed to return towards the Sunda Strait. (1)

8 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) put into the Keizersbay (near Lampung), southern Sumatra where they were fuelled by the naval tanker TAN 8 (2770 GRT, built 1927, former merchant tanker Petronella). Later the same day the task force departed for the Indian Ocean. (1)

9 Jan 1942
At 1930 hours, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) are ordered by Rear Admiral Doorman aboard HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN) to proceed towards Pisang Island (Pulau Pisang) on the south-west coast of Sumatra where they were to refuel. (1)

10 Jan 1942
Shortly after 1030 hours, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) dropped anchor off Pisang Island (Pulau Pisang). There they were fuelled by the Dutch naval tanker TAN 8 (2770 GRT, built 1927, former merchant tanker Petronella). The three Dutch warships departed around 2300 hours to rejoin HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) in the Indian Ocean which they did at 0645/11. (1)

14 Jan 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) arrive at Batavia (Jakarta), Java. (1)

4 Feb 1942
At 0130 hours, the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) departed their anchorage to the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) for the Java Sea.

At 0500 hours they made rendes-vous with the US heavy cruiser USS Houston (Capt. A.H. Rooks, USN), the US light cruiser USS Marblehead (Capt. A.G. Robinson, USN) and their escorting destroyers USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN). These American ships had also been anchored the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) but had left a little earlier then the Dutch ships. The mission of the joint Dutch-US task force was a 'hit and run' raid into Strait Makassar.

Around 0955 hours the task force came under air attack in the by the Japanese in the Bali Sea in approximate position 07°28'S, 115°37'E and USS Houston and USS Marblehead were damaged. Houston was hit on the roof of her rear 8" gun turret heavily damaging it and it could not be repaired. (When USS Houston sank about four weeks later she still had only two operational 8" gun turrets). USS Marblehead was hit twice and also straddled and received serious damage resulting in that she had to be sent to the USA for repairs. The raid into Makassar Stait was now cancelled.

USS Houston had been sent towards Tjilatjap (Cilacap) on the south coast of Java for repairs. USS Tromp was later ordered to give her protection during her passage there and proceeded after her. She caught up with her to the south of Atlas Stait and both ships then proceeded in company until 0000/5 when Tromp left USS Houston again and proceeded to re-join the task force as ordered which she did at 1325/5 when she made rendes-vous with HrMs De Ruyter and the three Dutch destroyers. (1)

8 Feb 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) arrive at Tjilatjap (Cilacap) on the south coast of Java.

At Tjilatjap HrMs Tromp was fuelled by the US naval oiler USS Pecos (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Abernethy, USN).

Around 1800 hours Tromp departed Tjilatjap together with HrMS De Ruyter. (1)

9 Feb 1942
Around 0800 hours, HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), were joined by eight US destroyers USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN), USS Edsall (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Nix, USN), USS Alden (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Coley, USN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN).

At 1700 hours the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) also joined. Van Ghent developed engine trouble and was later replaced by HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN). (After repairs Van Ghent re-joined the task force on the 11th.)

Around 2130 hours the US destroyers USS Edsall and USS Alden were detached and sent to Tjilatjap. (1)

12 Feb 1942
At 0200 hours, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), departed the Prigi Bay on the south coast of Java. Outside the bay she waited for HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) which had also fuelled there. While leaving the bay De Ruyter collided with the US destroyer USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN) (or it was the other way round, Whipple colliding with De Ruyter, depending on what sources one reads, Dutch or American, sic.).

At sea the Dutch cruisers made rendes-vous with the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) and HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN). The task force then set course towards the Sunda Strait.

At 1600 hours, HrMS Van Ghent and HrMs Kortenaer departed the formation and at 1830 hours HrMs Piet Hein and HrMs Bankert also left.

Both cruisers then continued their passage towards the Sunda Strait unescorted. (1)

13 Feb 1942
Around 1400 hours HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) arrive in the Sunda Stait which was then entered and passed northbound. Course was then set towards the Gaspar Staits.

At 1830 hours they were joined by the third Dutch cruiser in the Dutch East Indies, HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN). As by now there were still no destroyers with the cruisers for an intended hit and run raid northwards the cruisers turned around and headed for Oosthaven (Bandar Lampung), Sumatra. (1)

14 Feb 1942
Around 1600 hours, an Allied task force, now made up of five cruisers; the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). They were escorted by a total of ten destroyers, four Dutch and six American; HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN), HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN), HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN) depared Oosthaven (Bandar Lampung), Sumatra for a hit and run raid to the north of the Gaspar Straits to attack a reported Japanese convoy. (1)

15 Feb 1942
Around 0315 hours the Allied task force entered the Stolze Strait (to the east of Mendanau Island (Pulau Mendanau). The task force was clear of the strait around 0800 hours but not before the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) had hit a reef resulting in the loss of this vessel. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) remained behind to render assistance to her stranded sister but it was soon apparent that the ship was beyond salvage. Several valuable items of the equipment were however taken off and by 1700 hours the wreck of the Van Ghent was destroyed by the Banckert. The Banckert now made off for Surabaya with the crew of the Van Ghent on board.

Meanwhile around 1150 hours the first Japanese air attack on the remainder of the Allied task force started. The attacks, which came in five waves, lasted until about 1745 hours. No major damage was done to the Allied ships which had reversed course shortly after 1300 hours. Only the US destroyers USS Barker and USS Bulmer required repairs to their badly shaken up machinery spaces.

The task force was then split up with the De Ruyter, Tromp, Exeter, Hobart and the US destroyers Barker and Bulmer proceeding to Batavia to refuel. The Java and the remaining US destroyers proceeded to the Ratai Bay to refuel and the two remaining Dutch destroyers to Oosthaven to do the same. (1)

19 Feb 1942

Battle of Badoeng Strait

It was expected that the Japanese would soon land (night of 19/20 February 1942) on the south-east coast of Bali (Badoeng Strait). Rear-Admiral Doorman therefore wanted to attack them in three waves. The first wave came from Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java and consisted of the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), escorted by the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN) as well as the US destroyers USS John D. Ford (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Cooper, USN) and USS Pope (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Blinn, USN). However while leaving Tjilatjap in the evening of the 18th the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer grounded and was only able to get of at high tide therefore was no longer part of this force.

The second wave was made up of the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and four US destroyers; USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN). They sailed from Surabaya in the afternoon of the 19th

Finally the third wave was made up of the Dutch Motor Torpedo Boats; HrMs TM-4 (Lt. J.E. Gobée, RNN), HrMs TM-5 (S.Lt. E.J. Hoeksel, RNN), HrMs TM-6 (S.Lt. P. van Rees, RNN), HrMs TM-8 (Lt. J.G. Treffers, RNN), HrMs TM-9 (Lt. J.A. van Beusekom, RNN), HrMs TM-10 (S.Lt. J.W. Boon, RNN(R)), HrMs TM-11 (S.Lt. A.A.F. Schmitz, RNN), HrMs TM-15 (Lt. H.C. Jorissen, RNN). HrMs TM-13 (?) was also part of this force but acted as 'rescue boat'. Shortly after their sailing from Surabaya in the evening of the 18th HrMs TM-6 was forced to return due to engine trouble. These Motor Torpedo Boats proceeded through Strait Bali and anchored in three bay's on the Java side to refuel which took the whole day. In the evening of the 19th they departed for Badoeng Strait.

The Japanese attack on Bali was carried out by two transport ships Sasako Maru (7180 GRT, built 1941) and Sagami Maru (7189 GRT, built 1940). They had on board part of the Imperial Japanese Army’s 48th Infantry Division and had departed Makassar for Bali during the night of 17/18 February. They were escorted by four destroyers; Asashio (Lt.Cdr. G. Yoshii), Oshio (Cdr. K. Kikkawa) Arashio (Cdr. H. Kuboki) and Michishio (Lt.Cdr. M. Ogura). Distant cover was provided by the light cruiser Nagara (Capt T. Naoi, flagship of Rear-Admiral K. Kubo) escorted by three destroyers Hatsushimo (Lt.Cdr. S. Kohama), Nenohi (Lt.Cdr. T. Chihagi) and Wakaba (Lt.Cdr. M. Kuroki).

The Japanese landed around 0200/19 on the south coast of Bali. The transports were attacked unsuccessfully by the American submarine USS Seawolf. Seawolf herself was then counter attacked with depth charges by the destroyers but managed to escape.

During the day the Japanese transports were attacked from the air and the Sagami Maru was damaged. She left the landing zone escorted by the destroyers Arashio and Michishio. The undamaged Sasako Maru remained in the landing zone to pick up the landing barges. The destroyers Asashio and Oshio remained with her.

The allied first attack wave arrived south of Bali around 2130/19. A line was then formed in the order, HrMs De Ruyter, HrMs Java, HrMs Piet Hein, USS John D. Ford and finally USS Pope. Speed was increaded to 27 knots and they proceeded up Badoeng Strait. Around 2230 hours HrMs De Ruyter and HrMs Java opened fire on the Japanese which were taken by surprise. The Asashio turned a searchlight on which was quickly taken out by a salvo from the Java. The Dutch cruisers claimed heavy damage on the enemy but according to Japanese reports on the battle damage was only minor and after being initially taken by surprise the Japanese soon counter attacked. By that time however the Dutch cruisers had moved on.

The Allied destroyers were further behind the cruisers then intended and now arrived on the scene. Piet Hein was a little ahead of the US destroyers and opened fire with her 4.7” guns and also fired two torpedoes. Shortly afterwards two more torpedoes were fired but none found their intended target. Piet Hein then turned around towards the US destroyers with the intention to attack the Japanese again. While doing so her smoke generator was started. It is not completely clear but it is possible that one of these US destroyers then engaged Piet Hein with gunfire thinking she was Japanese. It is also possible that it were the Japanese that engaged Piet Hein. At this time Piet Hein was hit several times, resulting in her to come to a stop. After about 15 minutes Piet Hein was illuminated by a Japanese searchlight and taken under fire. The crew was ordered to abandon the doomed destroyer and she soon sank.

USS John D. Ford and Pope sighted a Japanese transport vessel (this must have been the Sasaga Maru) and what they thought to be a Japanese cruiser but this must have been the destroyer Oshio. They launched torpedoes (Ford – three, Pope - five) and turned away. Asashio and Oshio when went after them. The Americans thought they faced a very powerful enemy, even heavy cruisers were thought to be present. Both destroyers then retired to the south-east to return to Tjilatjap. Shortly afterwards they heard gunfire. This gunfire was coming from both Japanese destroyer that were now engaging each other by mistake. After a few minutes the mistake was noticed and both Japanese destroyer retired up the Strait to the north.

Meanwhile the Allied second attack wave was nearing the scene of the action. They had arrived south of Bali around 0100/20. The four US destroyers were ahead of the Tromp. It was intended that the four US destroyer would enter Badoeng Strait and attack with torpedoes first and that the Tromp would come behind them to finish off the Japanese after the confusion of the torpedo attack. During the torpedo attack a total of fifteen torpedoes were fired, six each by USS Stewart and USS Pope and three by USS Pillsbury. Their targets, Asashio and Oshio were not hit and both Japanese destroyers now went after their attackers. Stewart was then hit with gunfire. The US destroyers then set course to the east to leave Badoeng Strait. Now Tromp went in. Soon she was illuminated by a searchlight and the Japanese opened fire. Thy obtained eleven hits on the Tromp causing heavy damage to the Dutch cruiser. The Oshio on her turn was seriously damaged by the Tromp. The action was over around 0215/20 and Tromp retired from the Strait to the north-east. When north of Bali she went to full speed and returned to Surabaya for repairs.

Japanese Rear-Admiral Kubo, on board the Nagara, had meanwhile ordered the Arashio and Michishio to return to Badoeng Strait (Nagara and her three escorting destroyers were too far off). When the two Japanese destroyers entered the Strait they encountered the four US destroyers. Both sides launched torpedoes but all missed their intended targets and then a gunfight was started. During this gunfight the Michishio was heavily damaged and in the end she had to be towed back to Makassar. The US destroyer meanwhile continued to retire from the area.

The third wave then entered the Strait. The Dutch MTB’s had seen the second wave attacking but when they entered Badoeng Strait the Japanese were not sighted and they left without being able to fire torpedoes.

The Allies were at that time under the impression that they had obtained a victory. They thought to have sunk a Japanese cruiser and have damaged two more cruisers and two destroyers. This was not the case, one Japanese destroyer was heavily damaged and one seriously. In return the Japanese sank a Dutch destroyer and damaged the Dutch cruiser Tromp heavily. As the Dutch naval base at Surabaya was now under daily air attack it was deemed wise to sent the Tromp to Australia for repairs.

Sources

  1. Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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