The IJNS Nachi and HMS Exeter square up to exchange blows. The ABDA line (see below) loses the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer to a barrage of gunfire from the Japanese Second Destroyer Flotilla. Powerless and barely afloat she at least gives HMS Jupiter a chance of firing her torpedoes at the IJNS Nachi.
All working turrets bear from the Exeter and Nachi, simultaneously the order to "Shoot" is given. Six minutes of deadly salvoes exchanging leaves HMS Exeter in a bad way, a dull thud and pall of black smoke from her stern signal the end of "Y" turret (down to her last gunnery box) and several telling hull hits cause Exeter to lose speed, down to 3cm. Nachi in return receives her first hull damage to reduce her speed to 10cm, but still has three quarters of her guns firing. The fight now looks very far from fair, Exeter needs a lucky hit to even the odds and stay in the fight.
It looks grim for HMS Exeter as Nachi's turrets train on her. HMS Jupiter tries to distract the Nachi by attempting to torpedo her (see below) and HMAS Perth comes to the assistance of the Exeter with her 6" broadsides. ADBA's dice are woeful and nothing is scored. The IJN rolls for the 'coup de grace' on HMS Exeter: "6", "6" and a "6", the mark of the beast in GQII terms meaning an internal explosion on the IJNS Nachi. Instead of six minutes rapid firing a forward turret blows the back off her casing, belching smoke and flame to confuse the ships gunnery. The IJNS Nachi is now down to half gun strength, the guns from her front turrets are cocked askew or are mournfully drooped, pointing at the sea.
The jubilation aboard HMS Exeter is short lived as she shudders from fire from an unexpected quarter. The IJNS Hagero is hidden behind a smokescreen but still has a spotter plane high in the sky. An unwelcome lucky hit brings more hull damage and only heroic damage control maintains her 3cm headway. Strange twists of luck and fate abound. What will happen next? ABDA badly needs the 8" guns of the USS Houston to come into play.
To buy time for this to happen HMAS Perth signals to HMS Exeter, "Attacking enemy with torpedoes".