Battle of Balikpapan (1942)

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.

In 1942 the Japanese armies overran much of the territory of the European empires in the Far East. Malaya, Burma, Indonesia and Vietnam were all occupied by Japanese troops. Once Japan was in retreat the European powers were determined to reclaim their empires. With France and Holland still too weak after suffering the effects of German occupation, it fell to the British Labour government to restore French rule in Vietnam and Dutch rule in Indonesia as well as reoccupying Britain's own colonies. In both countries the British met with fierce resistance that inaugurated bloody wars of national liberation.