Java Sea

Battle of the Java Sea
On 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 ineffective.

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.

The 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 and 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 to 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 to Surabaya. 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.

   HMS Electra

   HMS Jupiter

Bawean Island
Lat 5° 46' 0S Long 112° 40' 0E  Small island north of Java


  HNMS De Ruyter

  HNMS Java

  HNMS Kortenaer
  Discovered December 8, 2004


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