Dutch Empire/Japanese Invasion
Dutch, Australian, British and United States forces fought the Japanese during the Dutch East Indies campaign. From January 1, 1942, Allied forces in South East Asia formed the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM), under the British General Archibald Wavell. ABDACOM's control of the "Malay Barrier" (also known as the "East Indies Barrier") was considered vital to the Allies' global strategy. However, Japanese advances over the next several weeks split the Allied forces, and ABDACOM was dissolved on February 25. Allied operations in Indonesia (except Sumatra) were later controlled by the South West Pacific Area command, under General Douglas MacArthur.
Borneo[edit | edit source]
In 1941, Borneo was divided between the Dutch East Indies and British crown colonies. The northern part was under British control and the southern, and larger part, was under Dutch control.
On December 13, 1941 the invasion began, soon after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The lightly defended North Borneo was overrun by the Japanese in early January.
On December 22, the Japanese bombed the Dutch defences, and occupied their oil fields. The Dutch, and remaining British troops retreated into the Jungle covered mountains where they began a 10 week long Gurellia War campaign before surrendering in April 1942. During January, on an island off of Boerno, 1,300 Dutch troops who had burned oil fields to prevent them from falling into Japanese hands, were all exuecuted, many of them were killed by samurais.
Manado[edit | edit source]
On the island of Celebes (now known as Sulawesi),1,500 Dutch troops were attacked by a much larger force of Japanese on the Minahasa peninsula. The Japanese launched a combined air and ground attack, in an attempt to capture a strategic airfield. After two days of fighting, seeing that the battle was lost, the Dutch troops retreated inland and started a Gurillea War. By the end of February, most had been captured and many of them were executed.
Ambon[edit | edit source]
On January 30 the Japanese launched an attack on the island of Ambon. The island was first bombed, and the invaded by sea. Within a day of the Japanese landings, the Dutch detachments in their vicinity were overrun and/or had withdrawn. On January 31, after the fall of Batugong, the Japanese surrounded the Dutch troops, and they were forced to surrender.
After dawn on February 2, the main Australian force on Nona plateau, commanded by Lieutenant Bill Jinkins, was in danger of encirclement. Jinkins ordered a withdrawal to Amahusu, where he became aware that the Dutch had surrendered. By the morning of February 3, the Australians around Eri were struggling to cope with increasing air and naval attacks, wounded Australians, the influx of Dutch personnel, diminishing supplies and widespread fatigue. Soon after it was agreed that they would surrender.
Allied casualties in the battle were relatively light. However, at intervals for a fortnight after the surrender, Imperial Japanese Navy personnel chose more than 300 Australian and Dutch prisoners of war at random and executed them. This was in revenge for the sinking of a Japanese Minesweeper.
Palembang[edit | edit source]
On February 13 the Japanese launched an attack on Palembang, Sumatra. They dropped paratroopers over strategic airfields around the area. Although they failed to take the Airfield, they did manage to take the entire complex of an oil refinery, undamaged. The Allies launched a counter attack an retook the refinery, but with heavy casualties.
On the morning of February 13, a river boat commandeered by the British Royal Navy, HMS Li Wo — under Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson — ferrying personnel and equipment between Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, ran into the Japanese fleet carrying the main invasion force. On February 15, an ABDA naval force of five cruisers, HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java and HNLMS Tromp, HMS Exeter, HMAS Hobart and 10 destroyers, under Admiral Karel Doorman, made an abortive attempt to intercept the Japanese force. Planes from Ryujo and land-based aircraft made a series of attacks on the Allied ships, forcing them to withdraw to the south of Sumatra.
As the Japanese landing force approached Sumatra. The remaining Allied aircraft attacked it, and the Japanese transport ship Otawa Maru was sunk. Hurricanes flew up the rivers, machine-gunning Japanese landing craft.
However, on the afternoon of February 15, it was ordered that all Allied aircraft were ordered to Java, where a major Japanese attack was anticipated, and the Allied air units had withdrawn from southern Sumatra by the evening of February 16, 1942. Other personnel were evacuated by ships to Java or India.
Timor[edit | edit source]
During the night of February 19–February 20, the Imperial Japanese Army's 228th Regimental Group, under the command of Col. Sadashichi Doi, began landing in Timor. Portuguese Timor had been occupied by the Dutch in the previous year. During the night, Dutch and Australian troops managed to inflict heavy casualties onto the Japanese invaders, but failed to stop them. The Australian commandos withdrew south and east into the mountainous interior, and about 200 Dutch East Indies troops, headed southwest toward the border with Dutch Timor. It is believed that all but one of the POW's was exucuted.
On the same night, Allied forces in Netherlands Timor were under extremely intense air attacks. This caused the Australian Airforce to withdraw to Australia. The bombing was followed up by the landing of the main body of the Japanese invasion force, on the undefended southwest side of the island. Light tanks were landed to support the Japanese infantry, and the force advanced north, cutting off the Dutch positions in the west.
As the Dutch retreated, the destruction of an airfield was ordered, however, Japanese Paratroops were dropped onto the field. Despite killing most of the Japanese paratroopers, the Dutch surrendered due to the fact they were low on ammunition.
By the end of February, the Japanese controlled most of Netherlands Timor. However, many Australian and Dutch troops had withdrawn to the South part of the island and began a Guerrilla War. During August, Japanese forces began to burn and/or bomb villages believed to have assisted the Allies, with huge civilian casualties. During the summer of 1942 the Japanese launched an assault deeper into the island, and difficult campaign, forced the remaining allied troops to withdraw in February 1943. By the end of the campaign, between 40,000-70,000 civilians of Timor had been killed.
1st Java Sea[edit | edit source]
In an attempt to stop the Japanese fleet, which was going to land at Java, the Dutch-American-British-Australian fleets set off to find the Japanese fleet. The fleets sighted each other on February 27. During the engagement, the allied ships Kortenaer and Electra were both sunk. Within two hours after engagement, the Allied Fleet broke off from battle covered by a smoke screen laid by 4 American destroyers. As they withdrew, the allied ships ran into mines, which sunk Jupiter . During the night the two fleets encountered each other again, and the Dutch ships De Ruyter(named after Michiel de Ruyter) and Java were sunk. During this time, the Dutch commander Karel Doorman was killed.
Java[edit | edit source]
The Japanese troops landed at three points on Java shore on March 1, 1942. The West Java invasion convoy landed on Bantam Bay near Merak and Eretan Wetan. The West Java convoy had previously fought in the Battle of Sunda Strait, a few hours prior to the landings.
West Java Campaign[edit | edit source]
On March 1, the invaders set up new headquarters at Serang. On March 2, a Japanese detachment was sent to cut off an allied escape route. The detachment arrived at Rangkasbitung and continued to Leuwiliang, 24 kilometres (15 mi) west of Buitenzorg. The Australian and American troops put up stiff resistance, destroying many Japanese trucks and tanks and holding up the Japanese for two days before being forced to withdraw.
Around the same time, two other detachments headed westwards to Madja (Maja) and Balaradja(Balaraja). They found many of the bridges already destroyed by the retreating Dutch and were forced to find other routes; some units took the opportunity to make for Buitenzorg.
On March 4, the Dutch commander decided to withdraw his forces from Batavia and Buitenzorg to reinforce the defence of Bandoeng. The following evening Dutch troops in Batavia surrendered. By dawn of March 6, the Japanese troops had attacked Buitenzorg, which was guarded by the KNIL(Royal Dutch East Indies Army). In the morning Buitenzorg was occupied, while a large number of Allied soldiers had retreated to Bandoeng. The Japanese continued to pursue the Dutch troops for the next 3 days, capturing Tjiandjoer and Tjimahi. On the same day Bandoeng was also occupied by the Japanese.
East Java Campaign[edit | edit source]
The Japanese first landed on March 1,on Kragan, a small village in East Java. The Dutch forces who resisted the landing were quickly subdued.
The Japanese occupied Tjepoe on March 2 and occupied Bodjonegoro on March 3. The Japanese proceeded further and overwhelmed the Dutch defences at the Ngawi Regency, Tjaroeban, Ngandjoek, Kertosono, Kediri and Djombang.
At Porong, near Surabaya, Dutch and American troops gave fierce resistance to the incoming Japanese. Eventually the Allied troops under Major-General Gustav A. Ilgen had to retreat to the island of Madura upon the completion of demolition of the city's infrastructure. On the evening of March 9, Major-General Ilgen, commander of the KNIL in East Java, signed the instrument of surrender.
The Japanese moved southward with main objective to occupy Tjilatjap in order to capture the harbour and block the retreat to Australia. In one week, they advanced rapidly and overcame all Dutch army defence found in Blora, Soerakarta, Bojolali, Jogjakarta, Magelang, Salatiga, Ambarawa and Poerworedjo. Also during this time the invades captured Keboemen and Purwokerto.
Dutch Surrender[edit | edit source]
By March 7, defeat was inevitable, with Tjilatjap already in Japanese hands. Soerabaja was being evacuated while Japanese troops were rapidly converging on Bandoeng from both the north and the west. At 09:00 on March 8 the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces, Ter Poorten, announced the surrender of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in Java.
The Dutch Governor, Jonkheer Dr. A.W.L. Tjarda Van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and Lieutenant-General Ter Poorten, together with Major-General Jacob J. Pesman, the commander of the Bandoeng District, met the Japanese Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant-General Hitoshi Imamura at Kalidjati that afternoon and agreed to the capitulation of all the troops.
On March 12, 1942, the senior British, Australian and American commanders were summoned to Bandoeng where the formal instrument of surrender was signed in the presence of the Japanese commander in the Bandoeng area, Lieutenant-General Masao Maruyama, who promised them the rights of the Geneva Convention for the protection of prisoners of war.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Initially Japanese occupation was welcomed by the Indonesians as liberators. During the occupation, the Indonesian nationalist movement increased in popularity. In July 1942, leading nationalists like Sukarno accepted Japan's offer to rally the public in support of the Japanese war effort. Both Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta were decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1943.
During the occupation, the Japanese encouraged and backed Indonesian nationalistic feeling, created new Indonesian institutions and promoted nationalist leaders such as Sukarno. In the decades before the war, the Dutch had been overwhelmingly successful in suppressing the small nationalist movement in Indonesia such that the Japanese proved fundamental for the coming Indonesian independence.