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Light Cruiser (Modified)
562' 3.875" x 56' 8" x 19' 7"
8 x 6" guns
8 x 4" guns
12 x 50 cal MG
10 x .303 MG
8 x 21" torpedo tubes
RAN January 3, 1942
On February 14, 1942 Perth sailed with a convoy of empty oil tankers to the Netherlands East Indies on a mission to retrieve as much oil as possible before the Japanese could invade the area. En route, the tankers were ordered back to Australia and Perth departed for Tanjong Priok on February 24, then proceeded to Surabaya the next day, where she met the ABDA fleet.
Battle of the Java Sea
On February 28, 1942 at 2.30pm HMAS Perth and USS Houston arrived Tanjong Priok and were ordered to escape via the Sunda Strait bound for Tjilatjap. Before departing, the two warships attempted to resupply, but HMAS Perth departed with only about 20 rounds left per gun left.
The Japanese destroyers made torpedo attacks on the two cruisers and an urgent call was sent to Mogami and Mikuma to assist. Perth exchanged fire with Hatakaze as the other destroyers continued to attack. Light cruiser Natori and her destroyers now joined in the attack but the fire from Perth and USS Houston was so intense that the Japanese were forced to break off under a smokescreen.
By now Mogami and Mikuma had commenced firing at our ships. Another attempt was made by the Jap destroyers to mount a torpedo attack but they were driven off by the sheer ferocity of the gunfire from Perth and USS Houston. At 11.50pm Perth was hit by a shell from Harukaze which did little damage. Our cruisers were still exchanging fire with the enemy cruisers.
Perth was low on 6" and the 4" AA were firing star shells and practice rounds to make it look like they had plenty of ammunition left. At 11.55pm Perth started to turn to make a run for the Sunda Strait. At the same time Murakumo, Harukaze and Hatakaze all fired torpedoes toward her. Perth was hit by four torpedoes over the next 15 minutes. On March 1, 1942 at 12:25am she finally sank a few miles north of St. Nicholas Point at the entrance to the Sunda Strait.
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