I grew up in the United States, going back and forth to my family in Europe, and learning history mostly through school and a few history books. When it comes to the story of WWII, it was always all about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the invasion at Normandy, the occupation of Central Europe, and not much more. Having lived the last decade of my life in the Netherlands I’ve learned more about how that story is told here; a story of occupation, resistance, and liberation. What you never hear about is the significant battles that were actually fought by the Dutch and Japanese military in what was then called the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia).
This amazingly complex map shows the battles fought as part of the Japanese Centrifugal Offensive between December 1941 and April 1942. In addition to the Dutch military, who were receiving their orders from allied command in the UK, British, French, and American forces were all involved and suffered massive losses against a superior Japanese naval fleet.