of the Java Sea
February 27-28, 1942 was the Battle of the Java Sea. Dutch, British,
Australians and several other ships of the American Navy were involved
in this Naval battle. The Japanese, were the unquestioned victor.
The Allies lost almost their entire fleet. A few WWI four stack
destroyers miraculously got away before the battle ended, having
been ordered out of the fray when their armament and fuel was exhausted.
The Allied naval force, under the
command of RAdm Doorman, RNN of five cruisers and 11 destroyers
in Java Sea near Surabaya attack Japanese support force covering
Java invasion convoy. Japanese gunfire proves ineffective 1,271
8-inch rounds achieve only five hits; of those five, four are duds.
The only shell that does explode reduces HMS Exeter's speed. Japanese
heavy cruiser Haguro torpedoes and sinks Dutch destroyer Kortenaer.
Japanese destroyer gunfire sinks British destroyer HMS Electra;
while British destroyer HMS Jupiter is sunk by mine laid earlier
that day by Dutch minelayer Gouden Leeuw. Allied gunfire damages
two Japanese destroyers.; U.S. destroyers' torpedo attack proves
The Allied forces put to sea on the 26th on the
news that invasion convoys are approaching. Failing to find them
they head back to Surabaya the next day, but before getting in,
more reports arrive and the Allied force goes out again towards
a position to the northwest.
main battle starts on the 27th at around 16.00 against the two
heavy, two light cruisers and 14 destroyers covering
the Japanese transports. Both Allied heavies open fire at long
range, but "Exeter" is soon hit and her speed reduced.
In the resulting confusion one of the Dutch destroyers is torpedoed
sunk. As "Exeter" returns to Surabaya with the second
Dutch destroyer, the Royal Navy destroyers go in to attack and Electra
is sunk by gunfire. Adm Doorman heads back south towards the Java
coast and sends off the US destroyers to refuel. He then turns
the north with his remaining four cruisers and two British destroyers.
By now it is late evening and Jupiter is lost
probably on a Dutch mine. Encounter picks up survivors
from the first Dutch destroyer and shortly follows the Americans
The four cruisers, now without any destroyers, are in action sometime
before midnight and both De Ruyter and Java are
blasted apart by the big Japanese torpedoes. HMAS
Perth and USS Houston (both
later sunk in the Battle
of Sunda Strait) make for Batavia,
further west along the north coast of Java.