Rising sun, falling skies : the disastrous Java Sea campaign of World War II / Jeffrey R. Cox.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese juggernaut quickly racked up victory after victory. Desperate to secure resource-rich regions in the Pacific and ensure their continued dominance of South East Asia, Japanese forces were determined in their efforts to conquer Malaya, Singapore and the oil-rich islands around Java Sea - Borneo, Sumatra and Java itself. In the face of this seemingly unstoppable tide stood a small Allied force - American, Australian, British and Dutch. Thrown together by circumstance; cut off from reinforcements or in many cases retreat; operating with old, obsolete equipment and dwindling supplies, there was little hope of victory. Indeed, the month-long Java Sea Campaign, as it subsequently became known, quickly evolved from a traditional test of arms into a test of character. In the face of a relentless enemy and outnumbered, outgunned and alone, they defiantly held on, attempting to buy weeks, days, even hours until a better line of defense - and offense - could be established. These were the men of the US Asiatic Feet, the British Far Eastern Fleet, the Royal Netherlands Navy's East Indies Squadron and the Royal Australian Navy. And their supporting units like Patrol Wing Ten, the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, the US Army Air Force's 17th Pursuit Squadron and submarines of all these fine nations. A campaign that has been too often either ignored by historians or criticised for poor command decisions, this is the story of the sailors and the airmen at the sharp end, and how they fought and endured the first months of the War in the Pacific.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliography (pages 474-479) and index.
    • ISBN:
      9781780967264 (hardcover)
      1780967268 (hardcover)
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:


LJ Reviews 2014 April #1

Cox, a freelance military historian, focuses on the first three months of World War II in the Southeast Pacific, which culminated in the February 1942 Battle of the Java Sea, in which the Allied Dutch, British, American, and Australian naval forces fell to the Japanese. Cox integrates his strategic and tactical analyses with the narratives of those involved in the Pacific Theater. He is very critical of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Dutch Admiral Conrad Helfrich, whose personal failures so damaged Allied work in the Southeast Pacific. Cox points out that these united armies fought with different strategic goals, dramatically weakening the overall effort. With no experience in joint operations, they even fumbled basic cooperative moves, with fundamental deficiencies in communications, logistics, and air power. These, along with unfortunate accidents, severely handicapped the endeavor. The author expressly honors the bravery of those who were wounded or died in this failed attempt to defend Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and Australia. Cox, who is also an attorney, ably documents his pointed conclusions, citing U.S., British, Dutch, and Japanese sources. VERDICT This book will appeal to all readers interested in military affairs, especially in relation to World War II.—Mark Jones, Mercantile Lib., Cincinnati

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