The Loss of Java: The Final Battles for the Possession of Java Fought by Allied Air, Naval and Land Forces in the Period of 18 February - 7 March 1942

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By P.C. Boer

The Loss of Java explains in detail the air, sea and land battles between the Allied and Japanese armed forces during the battle for Java that followed the evacuation of southern Sumatra in February 1942. Little has been written about the allied air campaign, or about why Dutch forces fought just one major land battle with the Japanese, the Battle of the Tjiater Pass, in the later stages of the struggle.

P.C. Boer considers whether the assessment of Major General Van Oyen that deploying the Allied air forces might prevent Japanese invasion of Java was realistic, and whether reliance on air power limited the capacity of land and naval forces to repel Japan's advances. The generally accepted idea is that the Allies were ineffective in their fight against the Japanese invaders but in fact the Japanese suffered serious losses. Boer's study shows that Dutch strategy grew out of a carefully-devised plan of defense, and that the battle for Java comprised not one (the Battle of the Java Sea) but four major engagements. However, Japanese commanders at various levels consciously took steps that exposed their forces to great risk but succeeded in putting the Allies under great pressure. In the end the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) and the allied forces capitulated on 8 March 1942.

This book is a translation of Het Verlies Van Java: Een kwestie van Air Power. De eindstrijd om Nederlands-Indie van de geallieerde lucht-, zee- en landstrijdkrschten in de periode van 18 februari t/m 7 maart 1942 (Amsterdam: Bataafsche Leeuw BV for the Koninklijke Militaire Academie, 2006).

"The Loss of Java as it stands will be welcomed by scholars as a significant contribution to the study of the Second World War in Asia." - Joey Long

P.C. Boer is President of the Corts Foundation and an Associate Professor at the Netherlands Defence Academy.

Publication Year: 2011
640 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-513-2, Paperback

NUS Press