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General Information
  Introduction
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  The Anatomy
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  Meet the Team
  The Gears
  The Gears
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  Episode Overview
  Episode Overview
  The Empress of Asia
  The Empress of Asia
  The Quest for Truth
  The Quest for Truth
  Prisoners & Warriors of the Sea
  Prisoners & Warriors of the Sea
  The Ultimate Disaster
  The Ultimate Disaster
  Sinking the Unsinkable
  Sinking the Unsinkable
  Yellow Coals from the Deep
  Yellow Coals from the Deep
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The Ultimate Disaster
The final act in the slaughter of ABDA occurred off western Java, as the Houston and Perth, fleeing from the debacle in the Java Sea, tried to break out through the Sunda Strait. And as it happened they came upon a Japanese landing force at Bantam Bay, covered by widely dispersed force of cruisers and destroyers. Houston and Perth immediately charged the exposed transports, which were protected at first by the destroyer Fubuki alone.
The Allied cruisers were quickly mobbed by the various converging Japanese warships, which fired an unprecedented eighty-seven torpedoes at the two unexpected interlopers. Hit by gunfire and torpedoes, they both were sunk in relatively short order. The Japanese, however, paid the price for their profligate use of torpedoes, because they managed to sink two of their own vessels (a minesweeper and a transport), and severely damaged three more transports with friendly torpedo fire.
The USS Houston (American heavy cruiser) began its final journey late in the day of February 28, 1942. It had been operating in the Java Sea as part of the ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian) task force and had been badly mauled by the Japanese during the Battle of the Java Sea the previous day. The Houston and the HMAS Perth (Australian light cruiser) were making a night run toward the northeast entrance of the Sunda Strait to attempt to escape from the Japanese and into the Indian Ocean. Intelligence reports indicated that the Sunda Strait was free of Japanese warships. No one knew that the Japanese were planning the invasion of Java that same night by way of the northeast entrance to the Sunda Strait and Banten Bay, on the northwest tip of Java.
 
 
 

 

 
Just before midnight the Houston and Perth ran directly into one of the largest Japanese task forces assembled during World War II.
The ensuing battle resulted in the loss of several Japanese ships but also of the Houston and the Perth. Both ships sank with the bulk of their crews. Japanese patrol boats machine-gunned survivors while they were in the water and many were swept into oblivion by the strong currents of the Straits. The survivors who remained were picked up by the Japanese and worked until the end of the war in Japanese slave labor camps in Burma, where many died of malnutrition and disease.

This episode tracks the maze of the sea battle. We will research and dive to investigate what ‘Curse’ can send so many ABDA ships to their graves, no country was spared. This episode promises to be a hit to contest the Pearl Harbour drama.

 
 
   


 
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