December 29 1941: Japanese wipeout in Balikpapan.
Hooray and Huzzay! The Royal Navy scores its first victory in the Pacific war. Where the capital ships failed, the little warships could! Two light cruisers, Dragon and Durban, escorted by the destroyers Van Ghent, Scout, Thanet, Thracian, Encounter and Isis, dashed at full speed into the anchorage at Balikpapan and caught the Japanese invasion feet napping. The Japanese force was escorted only by two patrol boats, Busho Maru and Keiko Maru. They probably thought they had nothing to fear. There were no allied capital ships in the area, and the IJN controlled the airspace. The combat report transmitted to Soerabaja tells the story, in the laconic fashion traditional to the Royal Navy:
Night Time Surface Combat, near Balikpapan at 64,97, Range 12,000 Yards
PB Busho Maru, Shell hits 16, and is sunk
PB Keiko Maru, Shell hits 32, and is sunk
xAK Kizan Maru, Shell hits 21, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Kofuku Maru, Shell hits 17, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAK Konan Maru, Shell hits 30, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Nanko Maru, Shell hits 25, and is sunk
xAK Minryo Maru, Shell hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAKL Turusima Maru, Shell hits 8, heavy fires
xAKL Tainichi Maru, Shell hits 10, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAK Tofuku Maru, Shell hits 25, and is sunk
xAK Tosei Maru, Shell hits 19, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAKL Nichiryo Maru, Shell hits 17, and is sunk
xAKL Fukkai Maru, Shell hits 10, and is sunk
xAKL Totai Maru, Shell hits 14, and is sunk
xAKL Bichu Maru, Shell hits 12, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Ryuto Maru, Shell hits 6, on fire
xAP Rakuyo Maru, Shell hits 2, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
xAP Horai Maru, Shell hits 4, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
DD Van Ghent
Unfortunately it was not enough to save Balikpapan that fell to a determined Japanese attack in the morning.
Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.