Asia Pacific 1942: Battle of Java Sea
Allied efforts under ABDA proved unable to halt the Japanese offensive. In mid-February the vital British naval base of Singapore surrendered, followed 12 days later by the sinking of the main ABDA naval force when it tried to stop the Japanese invasion of Java.
7 Jan–9 Apr 1942 Battle of Bataan▲
US fighting retreat against Japanese forces in Philippines
15 Feb 1942 Fall of Singapore▲
Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, commanding officer in Malaya, surrenders the stronghold of Singapore—the most important British naval and military base in South-East Asia—to the invading Japanese after two months of British resistance in Malaya and 8 days fighting in Singapore itself. About 80,000 British, Indian, and Australian troops become prisoners of war—the largest surrender of British-led personnel in history.
19 Feb 1942 Bombing of Darwin▲
In the single largest attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia, 242 Japanese aircraft bomb Darwin, Northern Territory, in two separate raids. The attack kills 236 Australians, wounds 300-400 more, destroys 30 aircraft, and sinks 11 vessels for a handful of Japanese casualties. In response, over half of Darwin’s civilian population flees south.
27 Feb 1942 Battle of the Java Sea▲
The Allied navies of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) engage the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Java Sea in an effort to prevent the Japanese Eastern Invasion Force from reaching Java, the main island in the Dutch East Indies. After a two-hour battle, the Allies are repulsed by the superior Japanese firepower, losing 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, and 2,300 sailors—including the ABDACOM Strike Force commander, Dutch Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman—to a Japanese loss of only 36 sailors.