Today is the battle commemorated in the Java Sea, on February 27, 1942, 75 years ago, took place between an Allied squadron led by Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman and the Imperial Japanese Navy under Rear-Admiral Takeo Takagi. The Combined Striking Force of 14 Dutch, American, British and Australian ships lost. Especially for the Royal Navy was the big blow. Besides Doorman itself 900 Dutch lost their lives in the blue waters of Indonesia.
In 1937 was Japan China in with the goal of submitting country and weaken the European colonial power in Asia. But the Japanese ambitions were hampered by the lack of own resources. US fuel was of great importance, but after the Japanese invasion of China announced the United States on sanctions against the country.
The oil-rich Dutch East Indies was an alternative, but after 1940 the Dutch government in London followed the US example. Which together with the successes of Nazi Germany , the Japanese did in 1940 decide to remove the oil, therefore, but to go. After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Netherlands declared on December 8, 1941 Japan itself the war because it was clear that India was the main objective.
The defeat in the Java Sea has a heroic edge by the decision of Rear-Admiral Doorman to stay aboard his burning and sinking flagship and to perish with it. The sunken ship was a war grave which for decades was untraceable.
In 2002, the positions of the naval vessels were established with certainty. They were at about 70 meters depth. However, the discovery had mixed results. On the one hand, families of the fallen sailors were able to locate the tomb, on the other hand, the wrecks were the playground of recreational divers and souvenir hunters. As a diving expedition to the Karel Doorman Fund is the position of De Ruyter on November 3, 2016 to confirm plaques and make a documentary, the wreck on the seabed proves disappeared.
After initial doubts earlier this month finally determined that the wrecks are removed illegal for scrap iron. That happened by scrap metal thieves of the kind that also operates in the Netherlands, as the company ‘Friendship Offshore’ in Terschelling which British war has plundered in the North Sea. Often lacking the authorities to the will and the ability to put an end to this form of maritime crime.
Who wants to know more about the aftermath of Battle of the Java Sea can be the book Battle of the Java Sea – War between the Netherlands and Japan Anne Doedens and Liek read Mulder. In this book, the Second Battle addressed in the Java Sea of on March 1, 1942. It was another three Allied ships sunk and eight hundred made the Japanese prisoner of war. This was the last major naval battle that gave the Japanese in the waters around the Dutch East Indies.
A few days after the lost battle in the Java Sea surrendered the Dutch Armed Forces (March 8, 1942). The Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies took below to tens of thousands of Europeans and hundreds of thousands of Indonesians living.
~ Edwin Ruis