"the Dutch considered Java and Sumatra, their 'second homeland where [they] had been trading and living for over three centuries', to be the most important place to defend."
Chivalry World War Two style!
From that era of the Second World War [WW2] we have two instance of chivalric behavior. In both cases Axis personnel [German and Japanese] giving quarter to an enemy [American and Dutch] in a manner most unusual. The no-holds-barred style of combat as was normally the case during WW2 having a pause in the action, honor and respect shown to the vanquished!!
1. "Honour in the skies: The day a chivalrous German flying ace saluted a crippled US bomber and let them fly to safety instead of shooting them down"
•"Charlie Brown's B-17F bomber had come under fire from 15 enemy planes during successful mission"
•"Franz Stigler pursued it, but when he saw the damage he let it fly home to safety, guided by the moral code laid down by his commanding officer"
American B-17 bomber aircraft badly damaged with wounded aboard but still fly-able, that German ace closing in for an easy kill but hesitant to open fire, a personal code of honor and respect for a brave adversary prevailing!
2. The Battle of Manado. Japanese military commander accepting surrender of an over-age reserve combat unit [RK] of Dutch pensioners, sparing their lives, execution forestalled by the knowledge that these men well beyond the age of military service but volunteering and devoted to their cause had fought well and hard. That Japanese commander allowing quarter to the enemy also true to his personal code of bushido as he understood it.
[it is noteworthy that other captured Dutch WERE exectued in the aftermath of the battle, but not the RK survivors!]
"The Battle of Manado was a battle of the Pacific Theatre of World War II. It occurred at Manado (also spelled Menado) on the Minahasa peninsula on the northern part of the island of Celebes (now known as Sulawesi), from 11–13 January 1942"
"Reserve Korps Oud Militairen (RK); this unit was made up from five companies of retired KNIL personnel with an average age of over 50 and was commanded by Captain W.C. van den Berg."
"Captain van den Berg's and his group were taken prisoner on 20 February. His group, made up of pensioners, attacked the Japanese units on several occasions and inflicted heavy casualties. Out of respect for the high average age and fighting spirit, the Japanese commander spared their lives."
Those Dutch men of the RK unit probably having lived all their adult lives in the East Indies and enjoying a retirement in a fashion not possible in Holland even at old age willing to fight and doing so in an admirable manner, even gaining the respect of the Japanese.
These occurrences from WW2 were rare? Axis military personnel their reputation tarnished but as individuals many did comport to a personal code of honor even when in disagreement with their government or the policies of same? This well might be so.