The Java Sea Campaign is the story of the Japanese conquest of the Netherlands East Indies. Strictly speaking, the history of the United States Navy's participation in that campaign should begin with the arrival of our Asiatic Fleet in the Indies and the beginning of our active cooperation with the British and Dutch.
It is difficult, however, to set a definite date for such a beginning. Several of our ships were sent into the East Indies in the latter part of November 1941, and various units of our fleet followed at intervals all through December. Moreover, the conquest of the Indies by the Japanese was merely the culmination of a single, carefully planned campaign which opened with their attack on the Philippines and Malaya. Their advance into the Dutch possessions was carefully coordinated with and dependent upon their successes in these other theatres. While our defense of the Philippines is the subject of a separate narrative (in preparation), some reference must be made to events there to explain the situation at the opening of the Java Sea Campaign.
Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation