Battle of the Java Sea

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In the Battle of the Java Sea, 27-28 February 1942, "an Allied force striking force of 2 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers and 10 destroyers belonging to four different nations and manned by personnel exhausted by constant activity. Never had this force operated as a tactical unit and there was no common set of signals or communication plan. [1].

"Japan, while losing no ships, sank two Allied cruisers and three destroyers and ended all threat to their invasion convoys by splitting the remaining Allied force. The latter ships had no alternative but to attempt escape from the Java Sea through the Japanese controlled exits. In this endeavor the three remaining Allied cruisers as well as four destroyers were lost. The escape of the remnants of the Allied Navy from Java waters on 1 March 1942 marked the end of organized resistance to the Japanese occupation of the Southern Resources Area.


U.S. submarines spotted the approaching Japanese and made attacks, as General Wavell left Java and Admiral Helfrich took upon his shoulders the naval defense of the remnants of the Dutch Empire. [2].

Order of battle

While the forces were not radically different in size, the Allied command was made up of a mixture of units with different doctrines, different languages, and very little joint training. The more homogeneous Japanese force also had a decisive weapon, whose capabilities were not yet fully understood by the Allies, the Type 95 torpedo.[3]

  • Allied Forces
    • ABDA Combined Striking Force, Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, Royal Netherlands Navy
      • USS Houston CA Capt. Arthur Rooks USN
      • HMS Exeter (1929) Capt. O.L. Gordon RN
      • HNLMS Java
      • HNLMS De Ruyter (1935) (F) Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé RNN
      • HMAS Perth Capt. H.M.L. Waller RAN
      • Destroyer Division 58, Cdr. T.H. Binford USN
        • USS John D. Edwards, Lt. Cdr. H.E. Eccles USN
        • USS Paul Jones, Lt. Cdr. J.J. Hourihan USN
      • Destroyer Division 59, Cdr. E.N. Parker USN
        • USS John D. Ford Cdr. Parker
        • USS Alden Lt. J.E. Cooper USN
        • USS Pope Lt. Cdr. W.C. Blinn USN
      • British Destroyers Cdr. C.W. May, RN
        • HMS Electra Cdr. C.W. May
        • HMS Jupiter Lt. Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN
        • HMS Encounter Lt.Cdr. E.V. St. J. Morgan, R
      • Destroyer Group 3. Evertsen Lt. Cdr. W.M. de Vries RNN
      • Destroyer Group 1, Lt. Cdr. F.J.E. Krips
        • Witte De With (F) Lt. Cdr. P. Schotel RNN
        • Kortenaer Lt. Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN
  • Imperial Japanese Navy
    • Eastern Attack Group, Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura
      • Destroyer Squadron 4
        • CL Naka (F)
        • DesDiv 2, Capt. Masao Tachibana
          • IJN Yudachi
          • IJN Samidare
          • IJN Murasame
          • IJN Harusame
        • DesDiv 9, Capt. Yasuo Sato
          • IJN Minegumo
          • IJN Asagumo
    • Eastern Covering Group, Rear Admiral Takeo Takagi
      • Cruiser Division 5
      • IJN Nachi (F)
      • IJN Haguro
      • Desron 4, Desdiv 24
        • IJN Yamakaze Lt. Comm. Shuichi Hamanaka
        • IJN Kawakaze
      • Desdiv 7
        • IJN Sazanami Lt. Comm. Hiroshi Uwai
        • IJN Ushio Comm. Yoshitake Uesugi
      • Destroyer Squadron 2, Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka
      • Desdiv 16, Capt. Shiro Shibuya
        • IJN Yukikaze—Comm. Kenjiro Tobita
        • IJN Tokitsukaze—Comm. Giichiro Nakahara
        • IJN Amatsukaze—Lt. Comm. Tameichi Hara
        • IJN Hatsukaze—Comm. Kameshirou Takahashi


  1. United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Chapter 3: The Japanese Invasion of the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and Southeast Asia, Campaigns of the Pacific War, Hyperwar Foundation
  2. Office of Naval Intelligence * United States Navy (1943), THE BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA FEBRUARY 27, Combat Narrative: The Java Sea Campaign, Hyperwar Foundation
  3. Stephen King, Jan Visser, Richard Worth and Tony DiGiulian (18 May 2008), Order of Battle:Battle of the Java Sea, 27-28 February 1942,