Dutch East Indies Campaign, Celebes and Moluccas

11 Jan 1942 - 31 Jul 1942

Contributor:

ww2dbaseOn 11 Jan 1942, Japan landed troops on the Menado Peninsula in the north of the island of Celebes in the Dutch East Indies. The troops were sent from the newly established forward base of Davao in the Philippines. The island's defenses did not pose a significant challenge for the invading troops. On 24 Jan, the Japanese Eastern Force took control of Kendari, along with its air base, which would prove to be strategic as that air base enabled the Japanese to control the sky between Java and Australia. On 9 Feb, Japanese troops captured Makassar.

ww2dbaseTo the east, the island of Ambon hosted a major Dutch military base in the Moluccan Islands. Japanese aircraft began bombarding the island as early as 6 Jan 1942. The invasion began on 30 Jan when 1,000 Japanese Special Naval Landing Force and Army troops landed at Hitu-lama on the northern coast and on the Laitimor Peninsula on the southern coast. Batugong was captured by the Japanese on the following day early in the morning, and the town of Passo also fell by 1600 hours, which signaled the end of the main Dutch resistance. On 3 Feb, the main Australian resistance surrendered at Kudamati at 1200 hours. After a lull, the Japanese captured Aru, Babar, Kai, and Tanimbar islands in the Moluccan Islands in late Jul 1942.

ww2dbaseSources:
Dan van der Vat, The Pacific Campaign
Wikipedia

Dutch East Indies Campaign, Celebes and Moluccas Timeline

17 Dec 1941 The 1,100-strong Australian Gull Force arrived at Ambon, Dutch East Indies to reinforce the Dutch garrison.
6 Jan 1942 Japanese aircraft bombed Dutch positions on Ambon, Dutch East Indies for the first time.
11 Jan 1942 Japanese troops on the Menado Peninsula in northern Celebes, Dutch East Indies.
11 Jan 1942 Nachi provided support for the landings at Menado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies.
13 Jan 1942 Japanese aircraft struck Ambon, Dutch East Indies.
23 Jan 1942 Japanese Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force set sail from Menado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies for Kendari on the southeastern tip of the island.
24 Jan 1942 Japanese Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force captured Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies, overcoming the 400 Dutch defenders at the airfield.
24 Jan 1942 Nachi provided support for the landings at Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies.
28 Jan 1942 US B-17 bombers based on Java, Dutch East Indies bombed Japanese positions at Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies.
30 Jan 1942 800 men of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force and 4,000 Japanese Army troops landed on the island of Ambon in the Dutch East Indies, covered from above by carrier aircraft of Hiryu and Soryu. Without air support, the 2,800 Dutch and 1,100 Australian troops withdrew toward Passo, failing to destroy bridges behind them.
31 Jan 1942 Japanese troops captured Batugong and Passo on Ambon, Dutch East Indies.
1 Feb 1942 Dutch forces at Passo, Ambon, Dutch East Indies surrendered.
2 Feb 1942 On Ambon, Dutch East Indies, Australian troops fell back to Amahusu while Japanese troops attacked various pockets of resistance.
3 Feb 1942 The last of the Australian Gull Force on Ambon, Dutch East Indies surrendered the town of Kudamati to the Japanese.
5 Feb 1942 Nachi departed Bangka Roads, Celebes, Dutch East Indies to support the landings at Makassar, Celebes.
6 Feb 1942 Six Japanese troop transports, escorted by cruiser Nagara, 11 destroyers, and 2 minesweepers, departed Kendari, Celebes, Dutch East Indies for Makassar on the western coast of the island.
8 Feb 1942 The Japanese invasion fleet arrived off Makassar, Celebes, Dutch East Indies. USS S-37 attacked the fleet at 2036 hours, firing four torpedoes at the escorting destroyers, sinking Natsushio (10 killed, 229 survived).
9 Feb 1942 Japanese Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force troops landed at Makassar, Celebes, Dutch East Indies at dawn and captured the city. Most Dutch defenders fell back to the fortifications at Tjama. A small number of captured native troops were tied in groups of three and thrown into a river near Makassar to drown.
30 Jul 1942 Japanese troops landed on Aru, Babar, Kai, and Tanimbar islands in the Moluccan Islands, Dutch East Indies; light Dutch resistance at Kai and Tanimbar opposed the landings, killing a small number of Japanese troops.
31 Jul 1942 30 men of Australian Plover Force attempted to land on Tanimbar, Moluccan Islands, Dutch East Indies; they were driven off by Japanese gunfire. The Japanese would secure the island before the end of the day.

Maps

Map showing Japanese offensives in the Dutch East Indies, Dec 1941-Apr 1942




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