February 28, This day during the World War ll

February 28, 1942 – In the Dutch East Indies, Allied cruisers USS Houston and HMAS Perth were ordered to sail through Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap, where they would participate in the Battle of Sunda Strait, and USS Houston would sink with the loss of 693 men. Meanwhile, Japanese troops landed at Bantam Bay and Eretan Wetan, west and east of Batavia, respectively; another force landed 100 miles east of Surabaya. Australian light cruiser Perth and American heavy cruiser Houston survived the Battle of the Java Sea and reached Tanjung Priok. On 28 Feb, they received orders to sail for Tjilatjap via Sunda Strait. On the night of 28 Feb, to both sides’ surprise, the two Allied cruisers ran into the main Japanese invasion fleet for West Java at Bantam Bay off Batavia. At least three Japanese cruisers and accompanying destroyers engaged the two Allied cruisers, but because they were so widely dispersed that they could not converge on the Allied ships quickly. Houston and Perth immediately charged at the exposed transports guarded only by destroyer Fubuki. They were unable to sink any Japanese transports before the Japanese escort fleet closed in. Perhaps a bit trigger-happy as a result of the surprised engagement, the escort ships fired a total of 87 torpedoes against the two Allied ships, followed up by a hail of gunfire. The two Allied ships sank in short order. With torpedoes swimming in all directions, two Japanese ships, a minesweeper and a loaded troop transport, were struck and lost. Three other transports were also damaged by friendly torpedo fire.
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