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Re: An answer for you Nelson

June 17 2015 at 3:24 PM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to An answer for you Nelson


Methinks I’ve managed to reason myself into a corner, so let me try again. Yes, I did find your map of the Java Sea and Augustina’s final resting place, but what I meant by not having the remotest idea where she lies goes to the scale of the map rather than not knowing where she lies relative to that map (i.e., I still couldn’t find her even with her position flagged, given the limitation of scale). Especially in my follow up, however, I could have made my point clearer.

> And, personally, with all due respect, I think the manner of her drifting (and the time she stayed afloat) may have EVERYTHING to do with solving part of her mystery, or the part I am trying to come to terms with at least. >

I was implying now that her position is known, how she got there is less important. I think you’re saying the drift pattern coupled with her time afloat would enable you to pinpoint the point of interception/massacre site more closely, right?

Which brings us to varying interests and perspective. Mine are twofold:

1. Your supposition of the culprit IJN warship not a DD, endorsed by Nuyt, while not off the wall, is IMO not logical for the three-day period historically in question, viz., February 27 through March 1, 1942, during which major Allied fleet units and their DD escorts still survived and were ready to fight. I daresay there were not flotillas of small IJN warships or independent sailers just noodling about the Java Sea unescorted, choice meat for those Allied CAs, CLs, and DDs. A free-ranging, single Japanese minesweeper or like-size vessel makes no sense to me until all Allied warships presenting a threat had been dealt with or chased elsewhere. And make no mistake, until then, the Java Sea was very much a major battleground. The account we have is that the culprit of the massacre was never joined by another warship, so one must conclude nothing smaller than a destroyer. A cruiser would have had one or more DDs in visual distance, and even to a relatively untrained eye is rather larger than a destroyer. Identification problems are usually the function of distance—closer up, the chance of error in ID is substantially less. So, to restate: as of February 27 through March 1, 1942, what other type of IJN warship had comparative freedom of movement, likely in a reconnaissance or mop-up role unsupported by other warships? The Dutch engineer officer claims the culprit was a DD and I must concur. Comment?

2. While of minor interest to most readers of this forum, the report of sailors aboard the culprit wielding ‘tommy guns’ is of great interest to me. As I’ve already written, Japanese use of submachine guns during WWII was strictly limited, in most instances to the SNLF. I don’t think even the army paratroopers used them (the first waves of both navy and army paratroops were armed mostly with pistols, which accounts for their ready defeats at the hands of determined enemy infantry and their restricted use by the Japanese). There were light machine guns of the Nambu and Bren patterns in naval service, but no one with any knowledge would mistake these larger MGs for tommy guns (and, again, I can’t imagine someone carrying an LMG leaping any considerable height into a bobbing lifeboat). I think you can see where I’m going here: Is it possible the warship in question was a modified DD, carrying an SNLF unit of undetermined size? Aboard ship, these sailors had regular duties. And as more than one contributor to the forum can recount, they had the reputation for being merciless, being responsible for more than one wartime atrocity. Just the guys to detail for a gruesome task. At least a possibility to rule out.


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