While the Japanese invasion force was landing at Balikpapan, on the early morning of January 24, at around 02:45, the Allied (ABDACOM's) 59th US Navy Destroyer Division under Rear Admiral William A. Glassford and Commander Paul H. Talbot attacked the Japanese navy escort led by Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura for about four hours. The U.S. Destroyer Division composed of USS Paul Jones, USS Parrott, USS Pope and USS John D. Ford, and mainly attacked the 12 transport ships and three patrol boats escorting them. At least three transport ships (the Kuretake Maru, Sumanoura Maru and Tatsukami Maru) and a patrol boat (the P-37) were sunk in torpedo attacks.
This action was the first involvement of U.S. Navy in south east Asia since the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. However most of the torpedoes launched by the Allied destroyer missed the targets or did not explode. Because the landing had taken place around 21:30, the raid was too late to stop the capture of Balikpapan.