Wreck in Java Sea ID'd as USS Houston.

Navy divers investigating a sunk vessel in the Java Sea have determined it to be the USS Houston, a Northampton-class heavy cruiser that was sunk during World War II.

The USS Houston fought with several other Allied cruisers and destroyers in the Battle of the Java Sea - a campaign which ended in a fairly significant defeat for the Allies. The battle began on February 27, when an Allied fleet of 9 destroyers and 5 cruisers tried to disrupt the Japanese invasion fleet attacking the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese assault force was escorted by a superior naval force of 4 cruisers and 14 destroyers, and was very highly trained.

During the first day of naval combat (at the time, the largest surface ship combat since 1916) the Allied losses were severe, with 1 cruiser heavily damaged and 2 cruisers and 3 destroyers sunk. The next day, the two undamaged cruisers, USS Houston and HMAS Perth were attempting to sail around the island of Java when they ran into a Japanese amphibious landing force, and after about an hour of intense fire, both Allied cruisers were sunk.

The USS Houston, which had a crew of 1,061, sank so quickly and violently that there were only 368 survivors which were taken prisoner. Of those, only 291 sailors and Marines survived until the end of the war.