The Battle of Badung Strait was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the night of 19 February – 20 February 1942 in Badung Strait 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 engagement demonstrated the Japanese Navy's considerable superiority over the Allies in night fighting.
A battalion of the 48th Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army landed on Bali on 18 February 1942.
Admiral 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.
The first Allied vessels to enggage 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 twenty planes of the United States Army Air Force 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 HNLMS Java and the destroyers USS John D. Ford, USS Pope, and HNLMS Piet Hein , sighted the Japanese in Badung Strait at about 22:00, and opened fire at 22:25. 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.
About three hours later the second group of ABDA ships — the cruiser HNLMS Tromp and the destroyers USS John D. Edwards, USS Parrott, USS Pillsbury, and USS Stewart — reached Badung Strait. At 01:36 Stewart, Pillsbury and Parrott launched torpedoes but did no damage. Then Oshio and Arashio sortied again and there was another exchange of gunfire. Tromp was hit by several 5-inch shells from Arashio, severely damaging her (she later had to return to Australia for repairs), and hit both Japanese destroyers, killing four men on Arashio and seven on Oshio.
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 thirteen of her crew. Both groups of ships turned away and the engagement was over.
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 Arashio 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 on 20 February – 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.