The Battles for Timor
On 19 February 1942 the Japanese bombed Darwin to achieve air and naval superiority for their invasion of Timor. 297 Australians and Americans were killed.
Just before midnight that same night a Japanese battalion landed west of Dili and headed for the airfield. The 22 men from No 2 Section, defending the airfield, heard Dutch artillery fire but received no alarm.
Expecting Portuguese reinforcements, the Australians withheld their fire until the Japanese were recognised by the forward position. Following a six hour firefight, the section blew up the airfield, withdrew at dawn, avoided an ambush and killed more Japanese before retreating to the hills.
Two Australians were killed and one was wounded and captured. The small Dutch force defending Dili retreated inland.
The next morning two Japanese battalions attacked Koepang in West Timor from the south. A further 300 Japanese paratroops were landed to the east, isolating the defenders from their HQ and supply base.
The 1,100 strong Sparrow Force in West Timor fought a spirited defence, inflicted heavy Japanese casualties and all but wiped out the paratroops.
The troops destroyed the airfield and then moved inland. After four days of heavy fighting, Sparrow Force surrendered due to Japanese air superiority and armoured support as well as a lack of ammunition and food.