Japanese Forces Invade Portuguese Timor

During the night of 19–20 February, 1,500 troops from the Imperial Japanese Army's 228th Regimental Group, 38th Division, XVI Army, under the command of Colonel Sadashichi Doi, began landing in Dili.

Initially the Japanese ships were mistaken for vessels carrying Portuguese reinforcements, and the Allies were caught by surprise. Nevertheless, they were well-prepared, and the garrison began an orderly withdrawal, covered by the 18-strong Australian Commando No. 2 Section stationed at the airfield. According to Australian accounts of the resistance to the Japanese landings at Dili, the commandos had killed an estimated 200 Japanese in the first hours of the battle, although the Japanese army recorded its casualties as including only 7 men. Native accounts of the landings support the Australian claims however.

Another group of Australian commandos, No. 7 Section, was less fortunate though, driving into a Japanese roadblock by chance. Despite surrendering, it is believed that all but one were massacred by the Japanese. Outnumbered, the surviving Australians then withdrew to the south and to the east, into the mountainous interior. Van Straten and 200 Dutch East Indies troops headed southwest toward the border.

Japan demanded the delivery of raw materials, most importantly OIL from Sumatra. The Dutch administration complied; yet in March 1942 the Japanese invaded, occupying most of the archipelago (southern New Guinea escaped Japanese occupation). The Dutch residents, in total 170,000, were INTERNED, a Japanese military administration established; the Japanese partitioned the archipelago in three zones, Sumatra, the Central and the Eastern Islands; many Indonesians found employment in the new administration. Dutch was replaced, as language of administration, education and jurisdiction, by Bahasa Indonesia and Japanese.