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The Battle

This description of the battle comes from the log of the USS Marblehead.  I thank Mr. Oscar Rudie for providing this information.

UNITED STATES SHIP MARBLEHEAD Wednesday 4 February, 1942

0 to 4

Anchored in BUNDER ROADS, Netherlands East Indies in 10 1/2 fathoms of water with 60 fathoms of chain out to the port anchor, shortening chain preparatory to getting underway. Anchorage bearings: GILI DUA Island 235 degrees T, GILI GILINGAN Island 205 1/2 degrees T, GILI RAJA BEACON 155 1/2 degrees T. Ships present: H.N.M.S. DE RUYTER (S.O.P.A.), TROMP, U.S.S. HOUSTON, PECOS, PILLSBURY, STEWART, BULMER, EDWARDS, PAUL JONES, BARKER, WHIPPLE. 0046 Lieutenant LUXEMBURG, R.N.N. reported on board for duty as Liaison Officer in accordance with N.E.I. Naval Staff Headquarters orders of February 1942. 0056 Hove short. 0113 Underway in accordance with operation order of Admiral DOORMAN, R.N.N., Commander newly formed striking force of allied units, in H.N.M.S. DE RUYTER. Steaming in War Service on various courses and speeds clearing anchorage. Captain conning, Navigator on the bridge. Standard speed 15 knots. 0149 GILI GILINGAN Island abeam to starboard, distance 1 mile. 0210 Steadied on course 090 degrees T, speed 10 knots, approaching channel through mine fields. 0312 Increased speed to 15 knots, 140 rpm. 0325 Cleared mine field. 0340 Changed course to 137 degrees T, 137 degrees pstc, 135 degrees psc, heading for rendezvous with allied striking force. Ship darkened in Condition of Readiness III, Material Condition "Yoke". Average steam 265, average rpm 105.7.

M. J. DRURY, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy

4 to 8

Steaming as before. 0450 Sounded General Quarters. 0500 sighted other ships of our striking force. Steamed on various courses at various speeds joining other ships and taking station in formation. 0533 On station in column as follows: H.N.M.S. DE RUYTER, HOUSTON, MARBLEHEAD, H.N.M.S. TROMP; screened by BULMER, STEWART, EDWARDS, BARKER and H.N.M.S. PIET-HEIN, BANCKERT and VAN GHENT; O.T.C., Rear Admiral DOORMAN, R.N.N. in DE RUYTER; speed 15 knots, course 087 degrees T and pgc. 0600 Commenced zig-zagging in accordance with Dutch zig-zag plan #1. 0735 Secured Degaussing gear. Average steam 265, average rpm 151.3.

H. A. PEARCE, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy

8 to 12

Steaming as before on course 087 degrees T and pgc, speed 15 knots, zig-zagging in accordance with Dutch Plan #1. 0813 Sighted KANGEAN ISLAND on port bow, distance approximately 32 miles. 0850 Sighted LOMBOK ISLAND on starboard bow distance a approximately 60 miles. 0949 Sighted strange air-craft approaching from the N.E., bearing 030 degrees T, at high altitude. Flight of 37 planes believed to be enemy (Japanese); went to air-defense stations; set Condition ZED; lighted fires under all six remaining boilers; manned all Damage Control, Repair and Boiler Control stations. Dumped 4200 gallons of Aviation gasoline. 0953 Observed planes separating into four groups, one group making an approach on this ship. 0955 Steadied on course 085 degrees T and pgc. 0956 Changed to full speed, 20 knots. 0958 HOUSTON commenced firing. 0958-30 Commenced firing; changed to flank speed, 25 knots; commenced swinging to left with full rudder. 0959 Planes passed overhead, 9 in first group and 8 in next group. 1001 Ceased firing. 1001-30 Steadied on course 085 degrees T and pgc. 1005 Observed flight of 8 planes on port bow making an approach. 1005-35 Resumed firing. 1006 Changed speed to emergency full speed. Commenced swinging to left with full rudder. 1007-15 Ceased firing. 1008-25 Resumed firing; observed one enemy plane smoking. 1009-15 Ceased firing. 1009-50 Resumed firing; steadied on course 345 degrees T. 1011-30 Called for all speed possible; commenced swinging with full right rudder, changing course to 010 degrees T. 1013-30 8 Planes passed overhead. 1014 Ceased firing 1015-20 Swinging to right with right rudder. 1016 Attained speed of 29 knots (280 rpm). 1017 Resumed firing. Observed 9 planes approaching on starboard bow. 1019-30 Stick of about 7 bombs landed close aboard on port bow as planes passed overhead. 1020 Observed enemy plane losing altitude on starboard bow; heavy machine gun fire directed at this plane. 1022 1/2 Ceased firing. 1023 Resumed fire. 1023-30 Enemy plane previously reported losing altitude crashed about 1000 yards off port bow, no survivors observed. 1026 Commenced swinging left with full rudder, 7 planes passing overhead. 1026-50 Ceased firing. 1027 Received two direct bomb hits, in vicinity from 42, about 10 feet from starboard side, one in vicinity frame 1 about 4 feet from port side. One near miss exploded under water close aboard port bow at vicinity frame 24, lifted the ship bodily upward and to starboard and did unknown underwater damage. 1028 Observed fires amidships and aft; lost all internal (?) communications; lost steering control, rudder at full left (30 degrees); gyro out; forward main battery director and 3 6" single mounts and after twin out of action. Group 3 magazine reported flooded, ship settling down by the head. 1030 Executive Officer came on the bridge severely burned and with head wound; he was removed to Conning Tower for first aid and medical treatment. The Gunnery Officer assumed the duties of Executive Officer. 1036 The ship appeared to be settling down more by the head. Ship steaming in circles to the left, listed to starboard, leaving a large oil slick. Continued making all possible speed. 1044 Damage Control Officer reported damage as serious, Central station filling and I.C. Room flooded, gyro wrecked, fire parties functioning amidships and aft, getting fires under control. He proceeded aft to free the rudder. 1050 Chief Engineer reported ready to continue at 25 knots, on boilers 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12; firerooms one and two secured because of ruptured uptakes, broken auxiliary steam and feed lines. 1052 Attempted directional steering by means of the engines, stopping starboard engine, port ahead maximum. Steamed in larger circles. 1100 Fires were controlled amidships and aft. 1104 Planes approaching starboard bow, both engines ahead flank speed, 25 knots, steaming in smaller circle. 1106 Planes disappeared in clouds, stopped starboard engine, maximum on port. 1111 All engines ahead maximum, two flights of planes approaching on port bow. 1114 Stopped starboard engine, maximum on port engine, rudder still at 30 degrees left. 1115-30 Resumed firing, 7 planes on port beam. 1117 Ceased firing, planes clear of us. 1117 1/2 Planes observed bombing HOUSTON. All engines ahead flank speed. 1118 Received report hand steering demolished, trick wheel and steering engine wrecked from hit aft. 1120 1/2 Stopped starboard engine. 1126 All engines ahead all possible speed, enemy planes observed circling back. 1128 Stopped starboard engine. 1128 Enemy planes bombed DE RUYTER. 1134 Attempted steering magnetic course by dragging starboard engine. 1138 7 Planes observed on starboard beam at high altitude heading toward ship. 9 Planes observed on port quarter. 1139 Bombs from flight of 7 planes landed about 2000 yards from the ship. 1140 1/2 Stopped starboard engine. 1142 One enemy plane made circle of ship at about 3000 feet altitude, range about 4500 yards, on apparent reconnaissance of this ship. 1144 1/2 Resumed firing. 1149 Backed starboard engine for steering. 1150 Ceased firing, ammunition expended approximately 600 rounds. 1151 Attained somewhat steady steering on southerly magnetic course, 220 degrees pstc, steering by working the engines at variable speeds. Average steam 265, average rpm 187.4.

12 to 16

Steaming as before on approximate course 220 degrees pstc, steering by the engines; estimated speed through the water, 20 knots. Damage control and repair parties continuing their work. Medical Department attending the wounded. 1227 Steering approximate course 180 degrees pstc for LOMBOK STRAIGHT. 1240 Commenced steering ship using base speed 21 knots port engine, working starboard engine speeds up and down. 1247 Damage control parties succeeded releasing rudder angle to 9 degrees left. Formed bucket brigades to remove water from vicinity A-30b and CPO bunkroom. Submersible water pumps in action on A-304. 1255 Forces were ordered by the O.T.C. to retire to the westward. Changed course slowly to 270 degrees pstc. Continued steering with engines. 1256 Two U.S. destroyers, STEWART and EDWARDS, closed and formed anti-submarine screen. 1300 Received report from Medical Officer the following Officers and Men were killed in action:

    Lieutenant Edward Martin Blessman, U.S.N., Senior Aviator

    BASSINGER, Glen William, 261-27-52, B.M.1c., U.S.N.

    BEGGS, Edward Latchford, 355-63-23, C.W.T., U.S.N

    OWEN, John Edward, 355-87-54, E.M.1c., U.S.N.

    RANKERT, George Robert, 385-68-55, Q.M.3c., U.S.N.

    SAYLES, Orville Crawford, 371-99-13, M.M.2c., U.S.N.

Note: Other sailors on the Marblehead also died and are noted later in the log:

    BUCKENDORF, George Washington, 371-69-48, C.W.T., U.S.N.

    HODGES, David William, 380-87-45, S.K.2c, U.S.N.

    KLEYN, John Robert, 385-38-86, C.M.M., U.S.N.

    MELE, Albert Gene, 283-30-10, Sea.1c., U.S.N.

    PING, Sing Fa, 507-84-77, Offc.Ck.3c., U.S.N.

    RANKERT, George Robert, Q.M.3c., U.S.N.

    TSENG, Ping, 498-51-60, M.Att.1c., U.S.N.

    YAO, Shao Ching, 504-72-60, M.Att.1c, U.S.N.

This page will be updated with additional information from the log as time permits in the future.

Here is another account of the battle.

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