World War II: Battle of Java Sea

MatthewA By MatthewA, 3rd Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Energy

In 1941, the Pacific War began after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began to advance in the Pacific and occupied Hong Kong, Singapore, New Guinea, and Rabaul. The Allies had been unable to halt the Japanese armies on land, and now they would be tested at sea.

World War II: Battle of Java Sea

Java was the next target for Japan, and the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) naval forces were organized under ABDA command in an attempt to defend the Java and the rest of the Dutch East Indies. Overall, this multi-national navy was at a numerical disadvantage, and the Japanese also has general air superiority.

What ABDA did have they pulled together in a somewhat desperate attempt to defend Java from the Japanese transport convoys heading towards it. ABDA's navy for the Battle of Java Sea included heavy cruisers, light cruisers, and destroyers which provided the backbone of the Allied fleet. However, the Japanese had up to 14 destroyers for the battle, which comfortably d
warfed the ABDA total.

Winning the Battle of Java Sea was no easy task for ABDA and their commander Admiral Doorman. As the ABDA fleet moved to intercept the convoys, they came under heavy torpedo fire from the Imperial Japanese Navy. During this salvo the heavy carrier Exeter was hit and a destroyer sank.

As the battle continued, ABDA made further attempts to reach the Japanese transport convoys. However, each time the Japanese intercepted, and further Japanese torpedo strikes increased ABDA losses. During these torpedo strikes Admiral Doorman's ship was hit and sank.

The remainder of the ABDA fleet began to retreat. However, they were pursued by the Japanese and the Exeter was finished off before it could escape from the battle. Only a few American destroyers managed to withdraw from the Battle of Java Sea intact.

As such, the battle was a decisive Japanese victory. While the invasion of Java was delayed, it could not be prevented by ABDA as Java fell to Japan. ABDA naval losses were also heavy, losing one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, and up to five destroyers.

Given such losses, the ABDA defence of the Dust East Indies all but crumbled. The Imperial Japanese Navy won further victories at the Battle of Sunda Strait during the Dutch East Indies Campaign, and so the rest of Indonesia fell to Japan. Above all else, the Imperial Japanese Navy had again demonstrated its potency in the Pacific War at the Battle of Java Sea. However, this potency would be shattered months later at the Battle of Midway.


Battle Of Java Sea, Dutch East Indies, Java Sea

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at

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