Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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1942: February 4:  Battle of Makassar Strait

Continuing the south-east expansion, the Japanese sailed with an invasion convoy to capture the cities of Makassar and Banjarmasin to control the Makassar Strait.  An American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) cruiser-destroyer strike force led by Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, RNN, onboard flagship HNLSM De Ruyter steamed to counter the convoy on February 4, 1942.    Attacked by Japanese aircraft, USS Marblehead (CL-12) and USS Houston (CA-30) received damage, though Marblehead was struck numerous times.  The damaged ABDA ships, including De Ruyter, headed to Tjilatjap, Java, for repairs and for the wounded to be assisted.   Note, the fourth cruiser was Royal Netherlands Navy HNLSM Tromp.   As a result of the retreat, the Japanese were able to take control of Makassar Strait. 

Image:  80-G-237439:  USS Marblehead (CL-12) at Tjilatjap, Java, February 1942.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.