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Kevin: A rethink and three last candidates...

June 22 2015 at 5:50 PM
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Nelson  (no login)


Response to Nelson, my answers to the questions you posed to me

 
...for my part anyway. Can’t say the interest has been overwhelming on this topic. So, Kevin, not for the first time you wrote,

> I still think it wasn’t Harukaze, as she was way over at Sunda Strait just the night before. >

I believe you’re right, and I suggest that unless there was an early detachment from the Western Java invasion force, we can eliminate any warship from that force, viz., Harukaze, her sister Hatakaze (both Kamikaze class), Hatsuyuki (Fubuki class), the four Mutsukis, and minesweeper W-5. Why I seriously considered warships from this invasion force over those from the Eastern Java invasion force, I can only now ponder. In fact, shouldn’t we be looking first and foremost at one of the five DDs involved in the sinking of Exeter and her two escorts for the most obvious candidate, simply on the basis of (close) proximity? So to revise my classes of candidates to only two: (A) The five DDs escorting the two IJN heavy cruiser groups that sank Exeter & Co. (B) Any DDs in the Eastern Java invasion force beginning with the letter H in romaji, solely on the basis of Harukaze being fingered as the culprit (why originally I don’t know). First, let me recommend this site:

http://www.ww2navalbattles.com/second-java-sea.html

Although its accounting of Second Java Sea is quite succinct, the site does provide at one glance the Allied and IJN orders of battle (so many accounts of this battle just mention that four or five Japanese destroyers took part, and may then identify only one or two). It does lump Akebono, Ikazuchi, and Inazuma as Fubuki class DDs, whereas other sources specify the last two as Akatsuki class, which were improved Fubukis. So, one by one:

Akebono joined with Inazuma in the final torpedo attack on Exeter. Her TROM thereafter picks her up as a convoy escort in mid-March 1942; it and other sources do not identify her in the rescue of Allied sailors after the battle.

Ikazuchi, according to her TROM, rescued 404 survivors on March 2 from Exeter and Encounter. The Wikipedia entry, supported by a number of earlier sources, specifies 442 survivors, same date, but from Encounter and Pope. [The U.S. ship is an error, see Inazuma.] There followed, same date, the rescue of 18 men from an unknown merchant vessel, which may have been the Dutch tanker Kasuaris/Karuirus. This identity is confused, but the location is specifically given as S 6º 30', E 113º, 00'. And, yes, I remember well the information provided in this forum back in February 2008 that that small tanker was scuttled in or very near Soerabaja, so the merchant ship which sank at the coordinates specified may still be uncertain in identity.

Inazuma put two torpedos into Exeter, then rescued 376 of her survivors. Two days later, according to her TROM, she rescued 151 survivors from Pope, the entire complement less one man killed in the scuttling. The latter rescue is confirmed in all details, including the date but not the name of the Japanese DD, by Lt. Cmdr. Welford Blinn, Pope’s commanding officer.

Whatever the mix-up between Ikazuchi and Inazuma, it is clear that both DDs were actively engaged in the rescue efforts, and on a large scale.

Kawakaze (Shiratsuyu class) participated in both First and Second Java Sea, and at the latter battle took aboard 35 British survivors (TROM).

Yamakaze (Shiratsuyu class) fought at both First and Second Java Sea. Wikipedia reports that CA Nachi rescued 90 British seamen, and transferred them to Yamakaze, which thereupon took them to Makassar. As this putative transfer is not reported in the destroyer’s TROM, it needs corroboration.

IF Yamakaze did carry survivors, then all Japanese DDs at Second Java Sea but Akebono were involved in such a task, and thus may be, for the moment, considered less than strong candidates for being the culprit, with Ikazuchi and Inazuma for all intents ruled out. My first question then: Did you look at Akebono as the culprit?

Only because of that romaji H, I would add Harusame (Shiratsuyu class) and Hatsukaze (Kagero class) from the Eastern Java invasion force. Of some interest, in March 1942, the latter DD stayed on to carry out ASW duties in the Java Sea (TROM), and Jan brought her name up seven years ago regarding this matter.

What were the Japanese DDs you and your colleague looked at in the past and thereupon ruled out? Did they include Akebono, Hatsukaze and Harusame?

Nelson

 
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  • A very brief answer - KevinD on Jun 23, 2015, 4:12 AM
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