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Minesweepers and Destroyers

June 18 2015 at 7:08 AM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to Minesweepers and Massacres


Nuyt wrote, “Another element is that the identification of the vessel as a DD might have come from Commander Moerman in Makassar when interviewing Meijer....Sounds like a DD or what? But check out the pics of the earlier series of IJN minesweepers....Still not concluding it WAS a minesweeper.”

I duly checked the photos of these W class minesweepers, which in size and performance appear roughly similar to the American Tacoma class frigates (PF). Vessels of both classes were suitable as convoy escorts but certainly not as fleet escorts. Thus I doubt the minesweepers’ presence in the Java Sea during the period February 27 to March 1, 1942, before the Allied naval threat ended.

On February 7, 2014, Kevin wrote, “Unfortunately, re the name of the ship that massacred the crew [of Augustina], as far as I am aware, no. I personally spent a great deal of time some years ago liaising with a very knowledgeable person/author (with regards the IJN)—who also had an abiding interest in the question—trying to sort that mystery out and we never could reach a definitive conclusion. Several times we thought we were very close, only to run up against a brick wall. All we eventually came up with was that it may not have been a DD at all.”

Although you don’t specify, I suspect you looked primarily at the first-line destroyers, but I wonder if you investigated the lesser, older class DDs. On the Combined Fleet website, I found the Mutsuki class DDs, for which this description is given: “These were pretty old, tired ships by the time WWII started (they had been laid down in the mid-1920s)....Most of them were spared the rigors of front line combat and consigned to rear echelon escort duties. Six of them were rebuilt 1941–42 as fast transports....”

In line with something already written, Mutsuki herself carried an SNLF party to Wake Island in December 1941. Then the IJN assigned Fumizuki, Minazuki, Nagatsuki, and Satsuki to DesDiv 22, DesRon 5, in the Western Java invasion force. Kevin, I’m curious: Did you investigate any of these four lesser class DDs as the possible massacre culprit? They were present in the Java Sea at that time.


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  • those IJN minesweepers again - Nelson on Jun 18, 2015, 8:04 PM
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