Thursday, January 25, 2007

ABDA Afloat and other links

Buzz Creek was kind to comment about the Battle of Balikpapan. He provided me with some interesting links. So going to list them here plus a few of my own. Will probably in the future add them to the sidebar.

I will start though by explaining what ABDA Afloat was. ABDA stood for American-British-Dutch-Australian. This force had everything from heavy cruiers to submarines to gunboats from these four countries. Admiral Doorman of the Royal Dutch Navy was the overall commander since these ships were operating in the Netherlands[Dutch] East Indies trying to protect them from the Japanese juggernaut. USS Houston was the most modern surface ship of the Asiatic Fleet to participate in these struggles against Japan while the light cruiser Marblehead was the most elderly. The Duth Navy had more modern ships but they were light cruiers[Tromp, Java, and De Ruyter] and submarines like K-XVIII. Australia provided cruisers like Perth and gunboats like the tiny Yarra. The Royal Navy, after the disastrous loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse only had lighter units available, the biggest being the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, which with HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles, cornered the German pocket battleship Admiral Graff Spee in neutral Uraguay causing the battleship to be scuttled. ABDA Afloat faced off against a Japanese force that had aircraft carriers, battleships, and many aircraft. That they had any success was a tribute to their fighting spirit, skill, and blessed luck.

Buzz's blog is called Chinagunboat.

A web-site devoted to the history of the Asiatic Fleet has two articles about diving on the US heavy cruiser Houston and the Australian cruiser Perth, both lost in a surface engagement against superior Japanese forces. Both ships suffered heavy casualties during the battle and during their crews imprisonment. Diving on Houston and Perth. Another dive on Houston and Perth.

A surprisingly good web-site that documents World War II Allied ship loses plus having links to other pages with more information is U-Boat.Net. Here is the page listing Allied warship losses in WWII from all combatant nations.

This link is HistoryNet's story on the Battle of Balikpapan.

Specific web-sites on Dutch warships in WWII are Dutch Submarines and Royal Netherlands Warships of World War II.

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