Modelers are often inspired to make models of subjects they read about. Java Sea 1942
has a lot to read about. Every type of ship was involved - carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, patrol boats, subs. Every type of combat occurred - day and night, surface, undersea, aerial. Gun duels, torpedo attacks. Organized coordinated engagements, and chaotic brawls. Those battles included the largest surface action since Jutland, with Japan facing off against Americans, Australians, British and Dutch forces.
Regardless of what one models, there should be inspiration in this book.
IntroductionJava Sea 1942 Japan's conquest of the Netherlands East Indies
is a new Campaign series book from Osprey Publishing LTD
. It is Campaign 344
and authored by naval authority Mark Stille, supported with artwork by illustrator Jim Laurier. Osprey
catalogues the book with their Short code CAM 344
, and with ISBN 9781472831613
The publication date is 28 Nov 2019.
This subject is personal for me - my father was aboard the heavy cruiser USS Houston
, the heaviest unit in the Allied fleet. He survived and made it to Australia. His friend he joined the Navy with survived but spent three-and-a-half brutal years as a POW.
describes the story:
The battle of the Java Sea, fought in February 1942, was the first major surface engagement of the Pacific War and one of the few naval battles of the entire war fought to a decisive victory. It was the culminating point of the Japanese drive to occupy the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and, to defend the territory, the Allies assembled a striking force comprised of Dutch, American, British and even an Australian ship, all under the command of a resolute Dutch admiral.
On 27 February 1942, the Allied striking force set course to intercept the Japanese invasion force in the Java Sea. In one of the few such times during the whole of World War II a protracted surface engagement was fought unmolested by airpower. For over seven hours, the Allied force attempted to attack the Japanese invasion force, finally breaking off in the early evening. Some three hours later, the Allied force, now reduced to just four remaining cruisers and two destroyers, attempted another attack on the invasion convoy during which Japanese torpedoes scored heavily, sinking two Dutch cruisers and bringing the battle to a conclusion. Over the next two days, as the Allies attempted to flee, five more ships were sunk. From that point on, Allied naval power was eliminated from Southeast Asia.
In this illustrated title, Mark Stille tells the full story of the battle of the Java Sea, explaining how and why the Japanese achieved such a resounding victory, and delving into the tremendous impact of the battle on the course of the Pacific War.
Modelers will find a vast array of subjects to inspire their modeling interest.
ContentJava Sea 1942
is told through 28 sections in 96 pages:
ORIGINS OF THE CAMPAIGN
• The Naval Balance of Power
• The Initial Japanese Attacks
• The Destruction of Force Z
• Japanese Command Structure and Commanders
• Allied Command Structure and Commanders
• Imperial Japanese Nay
• Allied Naval Forces
• Orders of Battle
• The Japanese Plan
• The Allied Plan
• The Battle of Balikpapan
• The ABDA Striking Force is Formed
• The Invasion of Sumatra
• The Battle of Badoeng Strait
• The Japanese Approach to Java
• The Battle of the Java Sea
• The Allied Route is Complete
• The Battle of the Sunda Strait
• The End of Exeter
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FURTHER READING
The Java campaign is a fascinating chapter of World War II in the Pacific. Mr. Stille organizes the text in an efficient manner and writes clearly. I think his balance of detail and narration is good.
Origins of the Campaign
starts with Japan in the 1930s and why they started the war. It leads us through the opening shots of the war, and a detailed account of the legendary air attack that destroyed the Royal Navy Force Z.
through seven pages presents overviews of the main commanders of the campaign, 10 Japanese and 17 Allied (American, Australian, British and Dutch. Their relationships, cooperation, conflicts, and intrigues are narrated. Fourteen pages presents Opposing Fleets
, which details the ships and aircraft involved, including weapons, combat doctrine, unit descriptions and compositions. Training of the opposing forces is explained, with a section focusing on Japanese night combat.
is a short three-page description of Japanese plans to invade and Allied plans to repel them, within the context of forces available with a severe war raging on the other side of the world.
narrates the nine battles of the campaign through 53 pages. The text of the complicated naval battles are supported with maps. The cumbersome and ineffectual ABDA Striking Force is recounted in detail. Losses of crews are also laid bare.
The Battle of the Java Sea was the Allied Combined Striking Force, five cruisers with nine destroyers, against Sentai 5, a Japanese force of four cruisers with 14 destroyers. It was a long eight-hour battle fought over several phases. The author explains the severe handicaps the Allies operated under. He also describes Japanese blunders. The results of the battle and the effect upon the remaining Allied forces is examined, leading up to the tragic Battle of the Sunda Strait, and the Second Battle of the Java Sea. Naval battles are hard to describe but the author does a good job of it, in my opinion.
Finally, four pages of Analysis
examines the facts, successes and failures, of the campaign. It is interesting in recounting the number of hits considering the number of shells and torpedoes fired.
Photographs, Artwork, GraphicsOsprey
supports the text with a strong visual element. The quality of the photos vary but all are useful. Many are a boon to modelers. The majority are ships that took part. Many were taken during combat. I have read several books on the Java campaign and found some of the photos in this book to be new to me.
Illustrations and Maps
Several excellent full-Color illustrations by artist Jim Laurier support the text.
1. Map, Battle of Balikpapan, January 24, 1942
2. Map, Battle of Badoeng Strait, February 19-20, 1942
3. Map, Battle of the Java Sea: First Phase, 1555-1720hrs
4. Centerfold: Haguro in Action
. Two-page deck level view of Japanese heavy cruisers firing on the Allied fleet, bracketed by Allied shells. This scene features a detailed narrative keyed to three main events.
5. Centerfold: Exeter in Distress
. Two-page deck level view of heavy cruisers Exeter
and USS Houston
firing on the Japanese fleet, bracketed by Japanese shells. This scene features a detailed narrative keyed to five main events.
6. Map, Battle of the Java Sea: Second Phase, 1720-1810hrs
7. Map, Battle of the Java Sea: Third Phase, 1750-1820hrs
8. Map, Battle of the Java Sea: Fourth Phase, 1900-1950hrs
9. Map, Battle of the Java Sea: Fifth Phase, 2300-2400hrs
10. Centerfold: Death of De Ruyter
. Two-page deck level view of heavy cruiser De Ruyter
taking a torpedo. This scene features a detailed narrative keyed to three major events.
Tables & Charts
1. Pacific Naval Balance, December 7, 1941
: six types of ships for each navy: US Navy; Royal Navy and Dominions; Royal Netherlands Navy, Japanese.
2. Orders of Battle
: as noted above, detailing forces and ships involved.
ConclusionJava Sea 1942
is an excellent book from Osprey
. It recalls the desperate fight the Allies undertook during the early part of the war when the Japanese seemed unstoppable. It demonstrates the risk of sending mixed forces into battle with no realistic training or plans. It is also an example that sometimes circumstances do not allow cohesive planning, and a military must fight with what it has.
Strengths of this title are the detail and presentation of the text, reinforced with an impressive gallery of photographs, supported by excellent illustrations and other graphics.
Considering the constraints of the format, I do not have any meaningful complaints about the book. If one desires to read more on the Java campaign, Osprey
published the book Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The Disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II
Students of the early Pacific War, naval warfare, the Java Campaign, or the commanders and ships involved should find this book to be essential for their library. I highly recommend it.
Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on