Witte de With In The Java Sea

Witte de With In The Java Sea

Tom Womack
Tom Womack

January 19th, 2013, 6:09 am #1

After Exeter was hit in the Java Sea, Admiral Doorman ordered the British destroyers to counter-attack in order to cover her withdrawal. Does anyone know if Witte de With was ordered to attack as well? This order almost certainly would have been conveyed by short-wave radio, which functioned between the Dutch ships right up to the end of the battle.
Quote
Share

John Melmoth
John Melmoth

January 19th, 2013, 5:40 pm #2

Between 1722 and 1810 hours (per DD-230 decklogs--which is all I feel like digging up at the moment..)

No mention of gunnery, but that doesn't mean anything necessarily.

So, the basic answer is yes, WdW rec'd the order, and made smoke before she retired with EXETER (within, say, another 15 mins. & not too much more.)

JM
Quote
Share

Kerber
Kerber

January 19th, 2013, 8:45 pm #3

After Exeter was hit in the Java Sea, Admiral Doorman ordered the British destroyers to counter-attack in order to cover her withdrawal. Does anyone know if Witte de With was ordered to attack as well? This order almost certainly would have been conveyed by short-wave radio, which functioned between the Dutch ships right up to the end of the battle.
Tom,

After Exeter was hit, she steered out of the line of battle. All ships, except "De Ruyter" followed her. By this maneuver, the British destroyers were close to Exeter and the enemy. When Japanese ships moved in to finish off Exeter, Doorman had to react fast. So only the British destroyers were ordered to attack because they stood directly between Exeter and the enemy. Witte de With was too far away, so she was not ordered to attack.
Quote
Share

John Melmoth
John Melmoth

January 19th, 2013, 9:19 pm #4

Well, this U.S. destroyer's decklog reports British and Dutch DDs laying smokescreens together at one point; a few minutes later the log records a "Dutch destroyer" again making smoke to cover the (disorganized) movements of the cruisers after KORTENAER is sunk and EXETER damaged...
Quote
Share

KevinD
KevinD

January 20th, 2013, 7:03 am #5

I think the difference here Don might but one's interpretation of an 'attack'.

It seems what Tom was (may have) been after was who actually 'attacked' the IJN after Exeter was hit, to which Kerber confirmed it was only the British DD's that actually 'attacked'; resulting in Electra's demise as we know. Whereas its seems your reference is to various units making a smoke screen. Is that considered an 'attack'? I wouldn't think so, but.....................what do I know.
Quote
Share

Tom Womack
Tom Womack

January 20th, 2013, 7:44 pm #6

Hi Guys...

Actually, I am most interested to know if Witte de With actually received any orders to counter-attack with the RN destroyers. I think I answered that question on my own shortly after I posted it.

That said, Witte de With did engage Minegumo one-on-one for several minutes as she tried to close on Exeter. I can't say for sure, but it appears that Witte de With likely inflicted all/most of the damage Minegumo received in the Java Sea.

Regards...
Tommy Wo
Quote
Share

John Melmoth
John Melmoth

January 20th, 2013, 9:15 pm #7

Tom,

Clearly she got those orders--which was my point--although I doubt very much it was a "counter-attack" command, but rather a "cover me" or "cover my retirement" type of message, which is exactly what the flushdeckers received, altho' rescinded & countermanded, etc.

The idea that ANY tactical nuances had been worked out prior to BatJvzee is absurd. Every account by surviving USN officers flatly refutes that notion.

The CSF 'communications system' was a nightmare in itself...

BR,

"JM"
Quote
Share

Kerber
Kerber

January 21st, 2013, 9:19 pm #8

Hi Guys...

Actually, I am most interested to know if Witte de With actually received any orders to counter-attack with the RN destroyers. I think I answered that question on my own shortly after I posted it.

That said, Witte de With did engage Minegumo one-on-one for several minutes as she tried to close on Exeter. I can't say for sure, but it appears that Witte de With likely inflicted all/most of the damage Minegumo received in the Java Sea.

Regards...
Tommy Wo
After Exeter was hit by a grenade in one of her boilers in the after boiler room she sheered out of the battle line. All other ships, except "De Ruyter" followed the movement. At about 17.25 Doorman gave the order "British destroyers counter-attack" because several Japanese ships moved in to finish off "Exeter". So WdW did not receive the explicit order to go in the attack to defend "Exeter". She did take part in the laying of a protective smoke screen, as all other ships did.
At 17.40 Doorman signalled to "Exeter" to go to Soerabaja and to WdW to guide her. Shortly after the attack by the British destroyers ("Electra" sank at 17.30), at about 17.45 a short engagement took place between WdW and a Japanese destroyer, most probable "Asagumo". The Japanese destoyer was hit by shells of WdW and damaged. Escorted by "Minegumo" she limped back, on one screw, to Balikpapan.
After the engagement with the Japanese destroyer WdW searched for, and eventually found, "Exeter" and escorted her back to Soerabaja.
The above is based on Bosscher, De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, which is based on official Dutch, British, Australian and American reports. But it is also stated that the whole battle, especially after "Exeter" received her fatal hit, was confusing.
Quote
Share

John Melmoth
John Melmoth

January 27th, 2013, 6:41 pm #9

JACAR track charts show the IJN destroyers of DsGp9 (Asagumo, Minegumo; the other two DDs from this division were not involved at Javazee) engaged HMS Encounter (H-10) and HMS Electra (H-27)--i.e., they were close enough to see at least one of the British destroyer's pendant numbers: H-27.

Also, the TROMs of these Japanese ships show they were hit by shellfire from the British destroyer(s) as well.
See:http://www.combinedfleet.com/minegu_t.htm
http://www.combinedfleet.com/asagum_t.htm

FWIW,

JM
Quote
Share

Kerber
Kerber

January 27th, 2013, 8:38 pm #10

I have looked at the website www.jacar.com but cannot find anything about Asagumo, Minegumo or (Battle of) Java Sea. How can I access them?

Greetings,
Kerber
Quote
Share