(Netherlands East Indies Oedjoeng Marine Establishment (ME) facilities at Surabaya, Java destroyed by the Dutch in 1942)
History of the IJN's No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department
at Surabaya, Java (Indonesia)
by Bob Hackett
© 2016-2017 Bob Hackett
Oedjoeng Marine Establishment (ME) located at Surabaya (Soerabja) on the eastern part of Java Island was the main Dutch naval base in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). The ME's facilities included a harbor, a shipping port,
a 14,000 ton drydock, the largest in the NEI. There also were a 3,500 ton drydock, a 3,000 ton drydock, and a 1,800 ton drydock, two submarine drydocks and a base with workshops, including a torpedo workshop and an
incomplete torpedo storage building, barracks, cranes and concrete docks, seaplane base, radio station, and underground fuel tanks.
In 1939 and 1940 new workshops, barracks, cranes and underground fuel tanks were built, while radio facilities, to maintain contact with patrolling aircraft, were added. At the outbreak of the Pacific War, the base was
one of the best of its kind in Asia, able to carry out virtually all repairs.
On 3 February 1942, Japanese bombers made their first air strike on Surabaya. Shore facilities were hit and moored Dutch Dornier flying boats were strafed and sunk. In the following weeks, the port and airfield
received attacks on 15, 16, and 18 February. The attack on the 18th consisted of 23 Mitsubishi GM4 "Betty' medium bombers escorted by 15 Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters caused heavy damage on the ME.
The old ex-cruiser Hr.Ms. SOERABJA (SOERABAIA), now serving as a gunnery training ship, was moored as an AA battery near the south entrance of the ME. She took a bomb hit on an unsecured armored hatch that penetrated into her engine room and knocked out
all power. Tugs pulled the old ship into the ME and she tied up at one of the piers. The bomb blast opened several seams and her pumps could not keep up with the rate of flooding. Hr.Ms. SOERABJA settled to the shallow seabed
at a 15 degree list. She was left in place as an AA battery. On 19 February, after the Japanese seized the airfields in southern Sumatra and Bali Island, the attacks on Surabaya increased.
On 1 March 1942, the Japanese invasion force landed at the village of Kragan, East Java, about 100 miles west of Surabaya. The invasion force consisted of MajGen Tsuchihashi Yuitsu's 48th Division and MajGen
Sakaguchi Shizuo’s detachment of the 156 Mixed Infantry Brigade.
On 8 March 1942, overwhelmed by Japanese forces, the C-in-C of the Allied forces, Dutch LtGen Hein Ter Poorten announced the surrender of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in Java. That afternoon, Governor
Jonkheer Dr. A.W.L. Tjarda Van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and Ter Poorten met the C-in-C of the Japanese forces LtGen Hitoshi Imamura at Kalidjati, Java and agreed to capitulate. That same afternoon, MajGen Tsuchihashi
ordered his 48th division to attack and occupy Surabaya which was accomplished by 1800.
The next day, the commander of Dutch forces in East Java also surrendered. By that time, much of the ME's facilities in Surabaya had gone up in flames, as destruction parties had already begun their work in early
March. The shore facilities and numerous ships in the harbors were destroyed.
The IJN No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department was established under Rear Admiral/Eng Nagamatsu Masaru (22) who was appointed Director on 25 January 1942 and served at Surabaya from March 1942 to 15 April
In June 1942, partially completed Dutch gunboat REGULUS, captured by the Japanese in March after she sustained minor damage to her stern by a Dutch demolition party in March, underwent repairs and further
new construction by the 102nd Naval Construction and Repair Department. In June 44, she was completed and registered in the IJN as river gunboat NANKAI. In Sep '44, off Balikpapan, Borneo, NEI. NANKAI was escorting transport
HOKKAI MARU when both struck and were damaged by mines. NANKAI and HOKKAI MARU were towed to the ME at Surabaya and repaired.
Also in June 1942, Dutch tanker JOSEFINA, scuttled at Surabaya in March, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the IJN’s No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department, was renamed YOSEI MARU and placed
in IJN service.
In July 1942, Dutch tanker ALDEGONDA, scuttled at Surabaya in March, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the IJN’s No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department and was renamed AITEN MARU. On 8
September 1942, repairs were completed.
In August 1942, Dutch 6,200-ton cargo ship TOENDJOEK, scuttled in March as a blockship off the port of Tandjung Priok, Batavia, Java (Jakarta, Indonesia), was refloated and salved by the Tandjong Priok branch
of the No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department at Surabaya. From 1942-1943, she was repaired, reconditioned and requisitioned by the Japanese Government and renamed TANGO MARU.
On 27 October 1942, Dutch patrol boat Hr.Ms. GEMMA, scuttled at Surabaya by Dutch forces in March, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the IJN’s No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department and was
renamed KITA MARU. On 1 August 1943, she was registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport and attached to the Sasebo Naval District.
On 20 January 1943, Dutch gun boat ALBATROS, scuttled at Surabaya by Dutch forces in March 1942, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department, and renamed
ARABATO MARU. In Nov '43, she was registered as an auxiliary salvage ship in the Sasebo Naval District.
In April 1943, Dutch gun boat AREND, scuttled at Tanjong Priok, Batavia by Dutch forces in March 1942, was refloated by the Japanese and towed to Surabaya. From January- July 1944, she underwent extensive
modifications and repairs by the No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department and was reclassified and registered in the IJN as patrol boat PB-108.
On 15 April 1943, Captain/Eng Shimada Tojiro (24) was appointed Director, No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department. On 1 May 1943, he was promoted Rear Admiral/Eng and served at Surabaya until 4 March 1944.
On 21 April 1943, Dutch patrol boat VALK, scuttled at Tjilatjap in March, was refloated by the Japanese and towed to Surabaya where she underwents repairs by the No.102 Naval Construction and Repair Department. In Jan '44,
repairs were completed and she was registered in the IJN as patrol boat PB-104.
On 23 July 1943, Dutch tanker ANGELINA, scuttled at Surabaya by Dutch forces in March 1942, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the No.102 Naval Construction and Repair Department, renamed ANJO MARU
and placed in IJN service.
On 1 September 1943, Dutch militarized Gouvernements Marine seaplane tender POOLSTER, scuttled Tandjong Priok (Batavia) on 1 March 1942, was refloated and underwent repairs by the No.102 Naval Construction and Repair Department
and conversion to salvage ship HOREI MARU. The conversion was completed on 22 November 1943 and she was based at Surabaya.
In 1943, among other warships that received work at Surabaya were destroyer IJN HOKAZE, torpedo boat IJN KIJI, minelayer IJN TATSUMIYA MARU, subchaser IJN CH-4, oiler IJN ENOSHIMA MARU
(ex-British RFA EBONOL), tankers IJN KINREI and NISSHO MARUs, transports IJN KITA and IJN KUMAGAWA MARUs and IJA SUEZ MARU, supply ship IJN ARASAKI and tug IJN KEISHU MARU (ex-USAT HENRY
On 4 March 1944, Rear Admiral/Eng Mori Takeo (25) was appointed Director, No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department and served at Surabaya until war's end.
On 6 May 1944, Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, Sir) James F. Somerville’s (former CO of HMS NORFOLK) British Task Force 65 consisting of battleships and cruisers and destroyers departed Trincomalee,
Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and the next day joined Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet/Sir) Arthur J. Power's Task Force 66 from Trincomalee, Ceylon consisting of carriers HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA (CV-3),
a battlecruiser, cruisers and destroyers to attack Surabaya in Operation "TRANSOM".
Forty-five Grumman “Avenger” torpedo-bombers and Douglas "Dauntless" dive-bombers escorted by 40 Grumman “Hellcats” and Chance-Vought “Corsair” fighers attacked the Wonokromo refinery, nearby harbor
facilities and shipping at Surabaya. ILLUSTRIOUS' planes sank transport SHINREI MARU and SARATOGA's damaged auxiliary subchasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, cargo ships CHUKA and TENCHO MARUs and IJN tanker
YOSEI MARU (ex-Dutch JOSEFINA). While undergoing repairs in No. 2 dry dock, patrol boat PB-36 was hit by a bomb from SARATOGA’s planes that caused heavy damage and killed eight men.
USN Strike Photo of the Operation "TRANSOM" Attack on Surabaya
On 31 July 1944, Dutch patrol boat Hr.Ms.FAZANT, scuttled at Surabaya by Dutch forces in March, was refloated by the Japanese, underwent repairs by the IJN’s No. Naval Construction and Repair Department. On 15 Oct '44,
she was registered as IJN patrol boat PB-109, but it wasn't until 30 Apr '45, that repair work was actually completed.
Among the other warships that received work at the No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department at Surabaya in 1944 were torpedo boat IJN KIJI, patrol boat IJN PB 2, IJN minesweeper W-101 (ex-HMS TAITAM), IJN tanker
YOSEI MARU, LST T. 149, transport SHOEI MARU, converted rescue ship YUSHO MARU and IJN minelayer TATSUMIYA MARU finally completed repairs after she received a torpedo hit in her engine room in Aug '43.
In November- December 1944, patrol boat PB-108 (ex-Dutch gun boat AREND) was drydocked at No. 1 Floating Dock in Surabaya.
In 1945, among the warships that received work at the No.102 Naval Construction and Repair Department at Surabaya were subchasers IJN CH-4 and CH-5.
On 7 March 1945, German U-195 arrived at Surabaya, Java for repairs, but on 5 May '45, Germany ceased hostilities hostilities in the West and the U-boat's crew was interned by the Japanese. Then on
15 July, U-195 was registered as IJN submarine I-506 and overhauled at the No. 102 Naval Construction and Repair Department , but no Japanese crew was assigned to I-506 and she never left her mooring.
On 2 September 1945, after the Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard USS MISSOURI (BB-63), the Japanese Army and Navy issued General Order No. 1, that ordered "all military commanders both
within Japan and abroad to completely disarm Japanese forces and other military forces under Japanese command, regardless of their location ... and to surrender all weapons and equipment …"
On 21 September 1945, in Surabaya, advance officer Royal Dutch Navy Captain P. J. G. Huijer took the surrender of Vice Admiral Shibata Yaichiro's (40)(former CO SUZUYA) 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet and
MajGen Iwabe Shigeo's Mixed Defense Brigade.
Thanks go to Sander Kingsepp of Estonia.
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