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    Java Sea  Indonesia

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RAN February 27, 1942

Location
The Java Sea borders Borneo to the north, Java to the south, Sumatra to the west, and Sulawesi (Celebes) to the east. The Karimata Strait to the northwest links to the South China Sea.

Battle of the Java Sea
During February 27-28, 1942 was the Battle of the Java Sea, a three day / three battle engagement. The second phase occured during the afternoon of February 27, 19412 south southwest of Bawean Island, known as the Second Battle of the Java Sea (Battle of Bawean Island). During the engagement, American, British, Dutch and Australian vessels were defeated by the Japanese Navy. 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

Wartime History
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" rounds achieve only five hits; of those five, four are duds. The only shell that does explode reduces the speed of HMS Exeter. Haguro torpedoes and sinks Dutch destroyer Kortenaer.

Japanese destroyer gunfire sinks British destroyer HMS Electra; while HMS Jupiter is sunk by mine laid earlier that day by Dutch minelayer Gouden Leeuw. Allied gunfire damages two Japanese destroyers, but American destroyer torpedo attack proves ineffective.

The Allied forces put to sea on February 26 on the news that invasion convoys are approaching. Failing to find them, they head back to Surabaya the next day, but before arriving, more reports arrive and the Allied force goes out again towards a position to the northwest.

The main battle starts on February 27, 1942 around 4:00pm. The Japanese Navy force includes two heavy, two light cruisers and 14 destroyers covering the Japanese transports. Both Allied heavies open fire at long range, but HMS Exeter is soon hit and her speed reduced and Hr Ms Kortenaer is torpedoed and sunk. As Exeter returns to Surabaya with the second Dutch destroyer, the Royal Navy destroyers go into action and HMS Electra is sunk by gunfire. Adm Doorman aboard Hr Ms De Ruyter 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 HMS Jupiter is lost probably due to 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 Hr Ms De Ruyter and Hr Ms Java are sunk by Japanese torpedoes.

The final phase was the Battle of Sunda Strait on morning of March 1, 1942 that resulted in the sinking of HMAS Perth and USS Houston.

HMS Electra (H27)
During the Battle of the Java Sea, in afternoon of February 27, 1942 sunk by gunfire from IJN destroyers. Shipwreck discovered August 19, 2003.

Hr Ms Kortenaer
During the Battle of the Java Sea, in the afternoon of February 27, 1942 sunk by a torpedo fired from Harugo. Shipwreck discovered December 1, 2002.

HMS Jupiter (F85)
During the Battle of the Java Sea, in the evening of February 27, 1942 sunk by a Dutch mine. Shipwreck known.

Hr Ms Java
During the Battle of the Java Sea around midnight of February 27, 1942 sunk by a torpedo fired from Nachi. Shipwreck discovered December 1, 2002.

Hr Ms De Ruyter
During the Battle of the Java Sea around midnight of February 27, 1942 sunk by a torpedo fired from Harugo. Shipwreck discovered December 1, 2002.

HMS Exeter (68)
Sunk late morning of March 1, 1942 by scuttling gunfire and torpedo from Inazuma. Discovered February 21, 2007

HMS Encounter (H10)
Sunk late morning of March 1, 1942 by scuttling gunfire and torpedo from Inazuma. Discovered February 21, 2007.

USS Pope (DD-225)
Sunk early afternoon, March 1, 1942 by dive bombers, scuttling and shell fire after sustaining many hits. The shipwreck has never been located.

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Last Updated
May 9, 2016

 

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