The ABDA fleet does an about turn in sight of their own harbour and heads straight for the vulnerable Japanese invasion force spread out in an unseemly, non-military gaggle for some twenty miles. The head of the convoy points directly at Java.
The Japanese escorting force has been caught napping as the IJN did not expect a concentration of Allied assets so rushes all of its available forces to defend the convoy crammed full of troops.
Because of the multi-national nature of his fleet, the Dutch Rear Admiral Doorman has but one tactical command in his itinerary, literally "Follow Me".
The ABDA Fleet heads out with a fan of the five RN and Dutch modern destroyers screening a cruiser line of battle:
- Dutch De Ruyter (Flag Doorman)
- HMS Exeter
- HMS Perth
- USN Houston
- Dutch Java
To try and introduce an element of the "fog-of-war" a set of counters represented the sides formations until direct visual contact was made. The ABDA player could see three IJN counters, one of which was assumed to be the convoy, the others probably escorts. The ABDA commander was given two real and one dummy counters to represent his forces. The dummy would disappear if sighted by an enemy ship.
An immediate annoyance for the ABDA commander was the sight of Japanese (float) planes on the horizon, an asset he was without.
Next: What lurks beneath the IJN counters?