War in the Pacific

HNLMS Piet Hein Was Sunk in this Battle

HNLMS Piet Hein Was Sunk in this Battle

The USS Seawolf

The USS Seawolf

WWII caused Dutch rule over Bali to be short lived, and the Japanese would end up occupying the island.  

This happened after the Japanese sailed four battleships escorting two transports into the Badung Strait, and landed troops near Sanur on February 18th, 1942.  Two allied subs, the USS Seawolf and the HMS Truant, attacked the fleet, but were driven off with depth charges before the allied subs could do any damage. 

The Japanese vessels were ordered to retreat north.  During the next evening, another group of allied ships (cruisers HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java, and destroyers USS John D. Ford, USS Pope, and HNLMS Piet Hein) discovered two of the four fleeing Japanese battleships around 8 PM (the Asashio, and the Michishio), and opened fire 25 minutes later.  Fifteen minutes into the battle, the Japanese battleship Asashio hit the HNLMS Piet Hein with a torpedo, sinking it immediately.

The HNLMS Tromp Before Sustaining Damage in the Battle at Badung Strait

The HNLMS Tromp Before Sustaining Damage in the Battle at Badung Strait

The battle raged on through the night, and sometime after one am on February 20th, five more allied ships arrived to engage in the battle.  These ships included a single Dutch cruiser, the HNLMS Tromp, and four US destroyers, the USS John D. Edwards, USS Parrot, USS Pillsbury, and the USS Stewart.  

The Japanese Admiral Kubo ordered the other two Japanese battleships to return toward Bali to engage in the battle to help the grossly outnumbered Japanese battleships.  The battle did not continue very long after they arrived, and both Japanese and allied fleets were ordered to turn away, ending the battle.

The Japanese Destroyer Asashio

The Japanese Destroyer Asashio

The Only Known Photograph of Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai

The Only Known Photograph of Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai

After the battle, the Japanese were able to land in Bali.  The garrison of 600 Indonesian troops offered up no resistance to the Japanese soldiers, and Japan took control of the island.

The Balinese resisted the Japanese occupation, as the Japanese turned out to be much worse as occupiers than the Dutch.  A rebel army was formed under the command of a Balinese officer of the Dutch sponsored Indonesian military, named Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, which continuously harried the Japanese invaders using guerrilla tactics.

The Dutch Invade. . .  Again

The Flag of Independent Indonesia Being Raised for the first time on August 17th, 1945

The Flag of Independent Indonesia Being Raised for the first time on August 17th, 1945

After the war ended, and the Japanese were forced to withdraw from Indonesia as part of the terms of surrender to the allies, Colonel Ngurah Rai and his troops gathered all of the Japanese’s discarded weaponry to defend themselves in case of the Dutch returning. 

On August 17th, 1945, the Indonesian leader Soekarno declared Indonesia’s independence.  However, the Dutch did return to Indonesia to exercise their perceived colonial rights to the archipelago with their military.  Colonel Ngurah Rai united the Indonesian military, and fought the returning Dutch invaders vociferously.  

Memorial Statue of Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai

Memorial Statue of Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai

The Dutch, having the stronger military, continued to beat back the resisting Indonesian troops.  The Dutch tried to use their stronger position as a platform to negotiate Indonesia's subjugation, however Colonel Ngurah Rai refused the Dutch’s request to negotiate, and continued to attack them. 

The Dutch launched a massive attack on November 20th on his base in Marga (located in Tabanan Regency).  In the true Indonesian spirit, Colonel Ngurah Rai ordered a Puputan in the face of a hopeless battle.  Using the advantage of aircraft (the Colonel's army din't have any aircraft at all) and superior ground firepower, the Dutch slaughtered the Colonel and his men, ending all military resistance to their occupation of Indonesia. 

For his acts of heroism, Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai is featured on the 50,000 Rupiah note, and the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali is named for him.

 

Indonesian Independence

Soekarno Declaring Independence on August 17th, 1949

Soekarno Declaring Independence on August 17th, 1949

After the fall of the resistance forces, the Dutch constituted Bali into the 13 districts in their State of East Indonesia.  Due to the senseless slaughter, however, the war-weary west began to develop resentment toward the Dutch occupation. 

This culminated in a UN Security Council order that the Dutch withdraw their forces from Indonesia, and open up negotiations, allowing the UN to act as mediator. 

Finally, on December 2th, 1949, the Dutch relinquished all of their declared ownership, and rights to Indonesia.  The UN, and the rest of the world officially recognized the country’s independence.  Indonesians today, however, celebrate their actual Independence day, which occurred on August 17th, 1949.