Spring-WS client not setting SOAPAction header

Another walk-around is to add an interceptor and set the soapAction within the handleRequest() method that inbound receives the MessageContext from which the SoapMessage can be derived;

after that you can easily set the soapAction invoking the setSoapAction() method.

here is the code of the interceptor class:

public class SecurityInterceptor implements ClientInterceptor {

    public boolean handleRequest(MessageContext messageContext) throws WebServiceClientException {

        SoapMessage soapMessage = (SoapMessage) messageContext.getRequest();

        return true;

    //TODO:: other methods and constructor..

and of course add the interceptor to the WebTemplate:

WebServiceTemplate webServiceTemplate = new WebServiceTemplate(marshaller);
ClientInterceptor[] interceptors = new ClientInterceptor[]{new SecurityInterceptor(parameters)};
webServiceTemplate.marshalSendAndReceive(uriWebService, request)

I worked this out but never posted the answer. Here's what I ended up with that works well:

public WebServiceTemplate getWebServiceTemplate() throws SOAPException {
  if (webServiceTemplate == null) {
    final MessageFactory msgFactory = MessageFactory.newInstance(SOAPConstants.SOAP_1_2_PROTOCOL);
    final SaajSoapMessageFactory newSoapMessageFactory = new SaajSoapMessageFactory(msgFactory);
    webServiceTemplate = new WebServiceTemplate(newSoapMessageFactory);

  return webServiceTemplate;

public Object sendReceive(Object requestObject, ArrayList<String> classesToMarshall, final String action)
        throws ClassNotFoundException, SoapFaultException, SoapFaultClientException, WebServiceTransportException,
        IllegalStateException, SOAPException {

  final WebServiceTemplate wst = getWebServiceTemplate();

    final SoapMarshallUtil smu = getSoapMarshallUtil();
    smu.configureMarshaller(wst, classesToMarshall);

    // soap 1.2
    SoapActionCallback requestCallback = new SoapActionCallback(action) {
        public void doWithMessage(WebServiceMessage message) {
            SaajSoapMessage soapMessage = (SaajSoapMessage) message;
            SoapHeader soapHeader = soapMessage.getSoapHeader();

            QName wsaToQName = new QName("http://www.w3.org/2005/08/addressing", "To", "wsa");
            SoapHeaderElement wsaTo =  soapHeader.addHeaderElement(wsaToQName);

            QName wsaActionQName = new QName("http://www.w3.org/2005/08/addressing", "Action", "wsa");
            SoapHeaderElement wsaAction =  soapHeader.addHeaderElement(wsaActionQName);

    Object responseObject = wst.marshalSendAndReceive(this.uri, requestObject, requestCallback);
    return responseObject;

A complete answer goes as follow.

While you are using WebServiceTemplate as a class to communicate with the Webservice, I do not understand why but it does not properly fill the HTTP Header.

Some WSDL have a part saying:

            style="document" />

And the WebServiceTemplate ignores this part. The above error means that your soapAction parameter in the header is empty. And it should be not. Check with Wireshark. I did - using some Chrome Soap client and Spring. The second one has an invalid header.

To fix this you need to follow Section 6.2.4 in here: http://docs.spring.io/spring-ws/sites/2.0/reference/html/client.html

What it says is basically add the header part on your own, with WebServiceMessageCallback interface. You can read more in the reference.

Basically it ends up like this:

 webServiceTemplate.marshalSendAndReceive(o, new WebServiceMessageCallback() {

    public void doWithMessage(WebServiceMessage message) {

Where you can set up properly the header value. Worked for me too. Whole day of reading.