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The capture of Bali Island, February 1942

Bali Island is an island west from Java. In World War II he played important role in conquest of Java Island. From Bali's airfields was important Allied Naval Base Soerabaja in range of Japanese bombers.

  The map of the Dutch East Indies 1941-1942
The map is courtesy of Graham Donaldson

Bali Island was originally not a target in the Netherlands East Indies Campaign, but as the airfields on Borneo (Bandjermasin) were inoperative due to heavy rains and considering the fact that Bali Island didn't have that kind of rainfall, it was soon decided by the Imperial Japanese Army to occupy the island. They decided to send the Kanemura Detachment, one infantry battalion of 48th Japanese Infantry Division (Major-General Yuitsu Tsuchihashi) under command of Major Matabei Kanemura in order to capture Bali Island. The island had no regular KNIL troops. There was only a Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (Korps Prajoda) consisting of about 600 native soldiers and several Dutch KNIL officers under command of KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg. Their main mission was to defend and/or to destroy Den Passar airfield in case of enemy attack. On 19 February 1942 the Japanese forces landed near the town of Senoer, Bali Island, advancing in the darkness of night and squall. They made a surprise attack on the Dutch barracks and occupied them with a little resistance. The airfield was also easily occupied. The Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda immediately fell apart. Meeting no resistance, the Japanese secured the Den Passar airfield by 10:30 p.m. on the 19th February. Surprisingly the airfield had not been blown up. The order of the Dutch commander, Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg, not to delay demolition was misread by the engineers on the airfield, who thought he wanted the operation delayed, so the airfield fell into Japanese hands completely intact. Early in the next day the men and planes of the Tainan Air Group arrived on the island.



Note Major-General G.A. Ilgen not only commanded the 3rd KNIL Division/III Military District, but was officially also the commander of the Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda on Bali Island. The assistant commander (the one who did all the work) was KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg, who was the senior officer on Bali Island when the Japanese invaded the island, February 1942.


Order of battle for Dutch and Japanese Army


Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger (KNIL Army)
Bali Island didn't have any regular KNIL troops. There was stationed only the Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (Korps Prajoda) of about 600 native soldiers and several Dutch KNIL officers, commanded by KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg. The Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (a battalion size unit) consisted of:
• Native Auxiliary Infantry Company
• Native Auxiliary Infantry Company
• Native Auxiliary Infantry Company
• Native Auxiliary Infantry Company
• Prajoda Depot

Militaire Luchtvaart, KNIL (Air Force)
There were no planes at that time on Den Passar airfield, Bali Island.

Zeemacht Nederlands-IndiŽ (Royal Dutch Navy)
There were no Dutch vessels.


Nihon Rikugun (Imperial Japanese Army)
• 3rd Infantry Battalion (the Kanemura Detachment) minus one company under command of Major Matabei Kanemura
• Mountain Gun Platoon
• Engineer Platoon
• field and radio units
• part of the Anchorage headquarters of the 1st Formosa Infantry Regiment of the 48th Japanese Infantry Division

Teikoku Kaigun (Imperial Japanese Navy)
The Eastern Force came under the command of Vice-Admiral Ibo Takahashi and was intended for the landings at Menado, Kendari, Ambon, Makassar, Timor and Bali.
The Japanese convoy for Bali Island had only two transport ships Sagami Maru (7,189 brt) and Sasako Maru (9,258 brt), carrying one battalion (the Kanemura Detachment) of the 48th Japanese Division. The convoy was escorted by
• 8th Destroyer Division
destroyers- Oshio, Asashio, Arashio, Michishio
Covering Force was under command of Rear-Admiral Kyuji Kubo in the light cruiser Nagara (flagship) and
• 21st Destroyer Division
destroyers- Wakaba, Hatsushimo, Nenohi

The Lesser Sunda Islands 1941-1942 page. . Bibliography . Article List . Geographic Names

Copyright © Klemen. L. 1999-2000
Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942

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