The Battle of Ambon was a World War II battle fought between Allied forces and the Japanese Imperial Navy marines, on the island of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia, from January 30 to February 3, 1942.
As part of the unrelenting Japanese expansion in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, an Imperial Navy task force, composed of 5,500 well-armed and expierenced troops, under Takeo Ito, attacked the Allied garrison of Ambon, which consisted of about 4,000 men (2,900 Dutch colonial troops and 1,100 Australian Army infantry soldiers), commanded by Joseph Kapitz. The main rational for the attack was the Japanese plan to establish an air base that would give the Imperial Navy aircraft a wider and longer range. The Australian military had sent troops to Ambon on December 17, 1941, because if it fell in Japanese hands, the island could be used as a springboard for further expansion, carrying out air raids against northern Australia.
The Battle of Ambon was preceded by Japanese air attacks conducted by Aichi D3A dive bombers scrambled from Zuikaku aircraft carrier. The invasion began on January 30, 1942, when 1,200 Imperial Navy marines landed on the northern coast of the island. It was followed by a second landing on Laitimort Peninsula on the southern coast. After four days of fighting, Ambon was captured by the Japanese. Australian and Dutch prisoners were subjected to forced labor and brutal treatment for the rest of the war. Many of them were shipped to the Chinese island of Hainan, where many died of starvation.
Map of Ambon