Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 903 February 19, 1942

Overnight, Japanese troops land unopposed at Denpasar, Bali. At 7 AM, 13 US heavy bombers and 7 dive bombers attack the 4 Japanese destroyers and 2 transports in raids lasting all day (transport ship Sagami Maru is badly damaged by a bomb in the engine room). At 10 PM, Japanese destroyers Asashio and Oshio escort the crippled Sagami Maru through the Badung Strait when Dutch cruisers HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java and 3 destroyers arrive. In an exchange of torpedoes and gunfire, Dutch destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein is hit with torpedoes and sinks (64 killed). Cruisers De Ruyter & Java and US destroyers USS John D. Ford & USS Pope retire.

At 8.45 AM, Japanese aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Hiryū and Sōryū launch 71 dive bombers and 81 bombers escorted by 36 Zero fighters. From 9.58 to 10.40 AM, they bomb the RAAF airfield, port facilities and ships in harbour at Darwin, Australia, sinking US destroyer USS Peary (93 killed, 49 are rescued or swim to shore), transport ships USAT Meigs, SS Zealandia & SS Mauna Loa, freighter MV Neptuna, tanker MV British Motorist and coal storage hulk Kelat. 7 Japanese aircraft and 4 American P-40 fighters are shot down (3 more P-40s destroyed on the ground). A second wave of 54 Japanese medium bombers from Kendari, Celebes, pummels the RAAF airfield, destroying 6 RAAF Hudson light bombers, a US B-24 Liberator bomber and 2 P-40 fighters.

Washington. President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066 authorizing exclusion of all persons from military zones, leading to internment of Japanese-Americans.

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