Skip to comments.US Navy divers to visit wreck of USS Houston in Indonesia
Posted on 06/14/2014 12:36:48 PM PDT by llevrok
Divers from the U.S. Navy will visit the World War II graveyard of the "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast the sunken USS Houston later this month in a bid to determine what remains of the ship, which went down with more than 700 sailors off the coast of Indonesia.
The wreck of the Northampton-class heavy cruiser, which was sunk by the Japanese during the World War II battle of Sunda Strait on Feb. 28, 1942, will be surveyed by Navy divers working with their counterparts from Indonesia. The ship lies about 125 feet deep, near Java, Indonesia, where it has become a popular dive site for scavengers. Navy officials now want to find out what's left of the sacred site, especially given that it rests in corrosive waters in an unstable region.
The mighty, 570-foot ship was sailing at night with the Australian ship HMAS Perth when they ran into the Japanese destroyer Fubukim, which quietly shadowed them for the next half hour before the encounter culminated in what became known as the Battle of Sunda Strait. Houston scored hits on the Japanese ship Mikuma, then managed to elude a torpedo barrage from Fubukim. But other Japanese destroyers engaged the two Allies' ships, first sinking Perth and then sending Houston to the bottom just after midnight.
Of the crew of 1,061, some 368 survived, including 24 of the 74-man USMC detachment aboard. The crew became prisoners of the Japanese for the remainder of the war, with dozens dying at the hands of their Japanese captors.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Harrowing story of WW2 POW's. God rest all their souls.
Already a private group dedicated to documenting the site. One dude has over 80 dives on the wreck.
Houston was already severely damaged from a previous battle. Japanese material and numerical superiority in the area was obvious. This was a desperate attack in hope of interrupting the Japanese offensive. I think every man on board understood it was effectively a suicide mission.
Maybe they’ll find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 there, too.
Bump. Read the book more than once.
I believe they have a memorial service every year in downtown Houston.
From what I've read, the Japs had superb night doctrine in pre-radar days that just about cleaned USN surface action clocks into early 1943.
“From what I’ve read, the Japs had superb night doctrine in pre-radar days that just about cleaned USN “
Ask JFK ...
I Live in Sugar Land and there was the annual “International Festival” in downtown Houston about 6 weeks ago.They pick a country for a theme each year.This year, it was Australia. They had a display about the USS Houston there, which I was happy to see.
Documentaries salute Houston’s WWII contributions
Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston
My father was the Chief Signalman on Huston. Just before her last deployment another Chief Signalman also was given orders for Huston. They flipped a coin to determine who would get their orders changed. My dad lost and got his orders changed. Not being with the ship on her final mission haunted him his whole life. Something like survivors guilt.
While you’re at it,read a book about Harry S. Truman’s”lost Cruiser”,The USS Indianapolis!Her crew were”dined”on by sharks while The US Navy IGNORED her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The”Long Lance”was “Deadly”while ours were so”Top Secret”that Bu-Ord Never checked them to see if the”magnetic-exploders”REALLY worked!!!!!!!!!
My dad's ship the Marblehead was fighting for it's survival after that battle.
Title: U.S.S. Houston Monument
Artist: Jeff Ryan
Location: Sam Houston Park
The U.S.S. Houston Monument incorporates the brass ships bell recovered from the wreck of the U.S.S. Houston, which has been placed atop a granite pedestal. It is the scene of an annual commemoration of the sailors who died in the sinking of the Houston in the Sunda Strait, March 1, 1942, by the Japanese Navy. Of the 1, 068 men on board, 700 died, and the survivors were used as slave labor on the Burma Railroad. Many died before being liberated by the Allies in 1945. The names of the ship’s crew are written on the pedestal.
Second shot is of a later ship, the light cruiser Houston, CL-81 launched in 1943.
Interestingly the “light cruiser” displaced more (was a bigger ship) than the “heavy cruiser”.
Thanks for mentioning “Neptune’s Inferno”. I’ve read the previous two books by this author and liked them. I am now looking forward to “Inferno”
Note that they did not ignore the captain upon his rescue and return to the States. Sick War Dept.bastards court martialed him for their F up. So considerate.
The captain of the Japanese sub that sunk the Indy was brought in to testify at the court martial. That made me sick to hear many decades later. That had to have a role in his eventual suicide.
I don’t think they were making an attack as such the Houston and the Perth, along with a Dutch destroyer were all that remained of the Allied navy and they were making a run around the west Java coast down through the Sunda Strait (site of the Krakatoa volcano) from Batavia (Jakarta) to Australia.
They simply had the misfortune to run slap bang into the main Japanese invading force which annihilated them.
The Japanese Navy’s tactics were superb using searchlights and torpedoes they wiped out the three Allied vessels without the Allies laying a glove on them.
All the ships sunk in the action were sunk by the Japanese including the accidental sinking of a Japanese troop carrier. I believe later that the captain of the destroyer who sank the troopship came to the troopship’s captain to apologise for his error, understandable in the heat of battle, the trooper’s captain silenced him and told him that he would prefer to allow the Houston to have the honour of the sinking.
It was a combination of tactics and training. Prior to Pearl Harbor and during the early days of the war, many of our ships were crewed by recent conscripts—that’s one reason that Admiral Kimmel’s predecessor as CINCPAC, Admiral J.O. Richardson fought with FDR to move the bulk of the fleet back to San Diego. He knew we needed time to train, and we would lose a lot of engagements until the training gap was closed.
Of course, we did have a few things going for us. Commanders like Halsey and Ray Spruance were first-rate; our aircrews developed tactics to lessen the Zero’s advantage until the F6F Hellcat became available, and Japan simply couldn’t match our advantage in war production.
Still, we paid a heavy price until the tide began to turn. The naval campaign that accompanied the invasion of Guadalcanal is a case in point. The first naval battle of Guadalcanal was a tactical disaster; the Admiral leading our forces, Daniel Callaghan, had ships with the latest radar, but put them in the back of the formation. He never issued a battle plan and had difficulty recognizing what the Japanese were doing and issuing orders to his command.
With IJN forces (under Admiral Abe) split into multiple columns, portions of the U.S. force found themselves caught between two Japanese elements. At one point, Callaghan issued the order, “Odd ships fire to starboard, even ships to port.” With the lack of pre-engagement planning, no one could discern which ships in the chaos were “odd” or “even.”
Admiral Callaghan was killed during the engagement (along with much of his staff) when a shell struck his flagship, the USS San Francisco. Command (literally) passed to a Lieutenant Commander named Bruce McCandless, who, along with the captain of the USS Helena, managed to lead the decimated U.S. formation through the rest of the battle.
Incidentally, Callaghan’s assignment before arriving in the Pacific was as naval aide to President Roosevelt, a job he got on the recommendation of the commander-in-chief’s military physician. Callaghan was a brave man who gave his life for his country, but you can argue he was the wrong man for leading our forces in that epic battle.
I’ve heard the Callaghan was commander because he had one month seniority over Admiral Norman Scott, who had more combat experience and also died in the battle.
Yes, I have seen that one also.
long lance torpedoes were excellent offensive but this came at a cost. the propellant was more explosive than USN torpedoes so main gun hits in the torpedo bays of an IJN cruiser would cause larger secondary explosions and considerable more damage.