Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The Disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War IIA fresh look at the disastrous Java Sea Campaign of 1941–42 which heralded a wave of Japanese naval victories in the Pacific but which eventually sowed the seeds of their eventual change in fortunes. 

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.


This book picks up after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and how the Japanese Navy and Army, continued their dominance across the Pacific and really anywhere they wanted to go. The beginning speaks of how MacArthur, dis obey orders and allowed the entire Army air corps to be destroyed. This would have a profound effect for many months. Even after he left the Philippines he would deflect responsibility to another person who actually was doing their job and making the best they could for his mistakes. The author also goes into the Dutch, and the British, and how they at first were also caught by surprised. Because these two countries had been fighting the Germans in the Atlantic the ships they had along with Ares at first were old and very out dated especially when it came to weapons. There was also a power struggle between the three and the Dutch won out and Washington let an Admiral Hart out and reassigned him. He actually was a man with a plan instead the new man to me had a disregard for human life because he sent his ships in or ordered them to attack against must stronger force and put all of his ships out there. Nothing wrong with the men serving just they were on much older ships going against the Japanese. Lost a lot of good men because of him and MacArthur, just not thinking that at the beginning of the war that they were going up against a much more powerful foe until our war machine was up and running. An interesting book with battles that I had not read about before. Really a forgotten part of the beginnings of the war. Overall a good book. I Got this book from netgalley.  I give this 4 stars.

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