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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
Built at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard for the Royal Navy as HMS Amphion. Laid down on June 26, 1933. Launched on July 27, 1934. Commissioned on June 15, 1936. During 1939, transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and recommissioned as HMAS Perth.
At the start of World War II, Perth patrolled Australian waters, before being sent to the Mediterranean Sea at the end of 1940 and was involved in the battles for Greece, Crete, and Syria. During June and July, the ship fought against Vichy French forces in Syria, before she was replaced by HMAS Hobart. Afterwards, Perth returned to Australia in August for refit, then resumed convoy escort duties in home waters until early 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 27, 1942 around 4:00pm, the Eastern Strike Force spotted a Japanese force bound for Surabaya and began the Battle of the Java Sea. During the engagement, Perth targeted a Japanese cruiser.
Battle of the Sunda Strait
On February 28, 1942 at 2.30pm Perth and USS Houston arrive Tanjong Priok on western Java and were ordered to escape via the Sunda Strait 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.
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