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Re: Minesweepers and Massacres 2

July 10 2015 at 3:00 PM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to Minesweepers and Massacres 2



> W15, 16, 17 and 18 were at Tarakan and Balikpapan. >

And at the earlier battle, a KNIL harbor defense battery sank sisters/near-sisters W-13 and W-14. Whether or not KNIL troops machine-gunned IJN sailors in the water, certainly the HD gun crews were massacred after that action, likely setting a precedent for later IJN atrocities, as you suggest. But equally so, of course, we don’t know if any of those four minesweepers intercepted Augustina, or if any of their crews would have been predisposed to murder strictly merchant seamen who had done no harm to IJN personnel. The TROMs of all four minesweepers involved in the Eastern Java ops are scanty in their details, not to mention at times boilerplate.

> W5 appears to have been in the western parts of the Java Sea all the time. >

Yes, as part of MineSweepDiv 1, but not so far specified as being in Banten Bay during the shoot-out that saw the loss of W-2. Would be nice to know what she had been occupied with at that time. Before it was deactivated, her TROM provided no details on her specific whereabouts, February 28-March 1, 1942.

> The W7 class looked more than the others (but to our eyes vaguely) like DDs with those three 12cm guns behind shields among other things. >

Well, an arguable point. The ships of the W-1 and W-5 classes, 13 to 15 feet (4 to 4.6 meters) longer than those of the W-7 class, and with two stacks (funnels) to the single one of the W-7s, appear more destroyer-like to mine eyes.

All of which begs the question of WHY a greater effort was not made to identify the perpetrator—ship and C.O.—of the Augustina massacre. Memories and evidence would have been fresher, warship movements more easily ferreted out, and Allied anger and determination to bring the criminals to justice at their height. How did this atrocity slip through the cracks?


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  • Agreed - Nuyt on Jul 10, 2015, 4:10 PM
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