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S.S. Jean Nicole, Japanese Atrocity on the high seas

Discussion in 'Massacres and Atrocities of the Second World War' started by Tipnring, May 19, 2020 at 8:42 AM.

  1. Tipnring

    Tipnring Member

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    On July 2, 1944 the " S.S. Jean Nicolet " was steaming alone in the Indian Ocean loaded with a cargo of war materials for the China/Burma/India theatre of war. Sailing from San Pedro, California bound for Colombo, Ceylon. Approximately 700 miles south of Ceylon she was struck by two torpedoes fired from the Japanese submarine I-8.

    The submarine surfaced, took all the survivors they could find on board, and then went about "executing" and "murdering" all of them that they could. 76 men killed, 24 survived.

    Read more by clicking on links below.

    Moore

    S.S. Jean Nicolet ~ WW II

    Harvey Matyas, Private, U.S. Army, Milwaukee, WI was one of the survivors.
    CE138136-492F-4BDE-AF8C-C45B08EB6837.png
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    Wednesday, Apr 07, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI Page:22
     

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    Last edited: May 24, 2020 at 6:10 AM
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  2. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Those Japanese were such a nasty lot. They made the Germans look like schoolboys in the naughty department.
     
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  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The German submariners were callous. I'm reading a book called "Operation Drumbeat". It concerns U-boat activity off the US coast. While they typically did not shoot or execute survivors, they were instructed not to pick anyone up. They were left to float in boats or life vests while the U-boat left the scene. Many of them did not survive the ordeal.
     
  4. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    That's very true, but Allied aircraft and warships attacked u-boats early on in the war while some u-boats were rescuing survivors. I've read this several times in different publications. I believe that it was a direct order from Adm.Dönitz himself to not pick up survivors, but not exactly sure. Right after the Bismark went under, several Royal Navy ships starting picking up German survivors, but broke off rescue operations when u-boats were detected in the area, leaving them in the open sea. I'm not defending any of this, or either side. The war at sea was ugly. What I was alluding to was the Japanese were animals in the way they treated prisoners or survivors at sea. What the Germans and Allies did was mere child's play when considering callous behavior.
     
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  5. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Lou, IIRC, it was the Laconia incident that made the U boats officially give up on rescuing survivors. Captain Hartenstein tried to rescue the survivors when the Laconia was sunk, but was eventually attached by B -24s, even with Red Crosses put on their decks. That was in 1942 I think? After that, Donetz put on the brakes I think. Not to say that some of the uboat skippers were not callous....
     
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  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    You're both correct. Donitz gave the order. I'm not sure which incident caused that directive. Bobby, you hit the nail on the head. The Atlantic U-boat war was brutal. Neither side gave any quarter. Sherman was right, war is hell.
     
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  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Instructions not to rescue survivors did not come until the Laconia Incident in September, 1942.

    If your reading Gannon's book, I believe he confirmed that Captain Hardigen(sp?) in U-123 did assist survivors of his sinkings on several occasions.

    Still, during Drumbeat, I can see the sense in not helping survivors. The U-Boat is far from home & close to it's maximum endurance. The survivors are usually in heavily trafficked coastal shipping lanes, and usually close to shore. Odds are that the survivors should be spotted and rescued within 48 hours. After all, it is not as if those survivors were in the middle of the North Atlantic.

    Another captain who comes to mind was Captain Schultz of U-124, who also assisted survivors on several occasions.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Like the Germans, it depends very much on the captain. Some shot up survivors, most left them them be, and a few offered assistance or capture.
     
  9. Tipnring

    Tipnring Member

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    The Japanese captain of I-8 was a brutal, sadistic creep named Tetsunosuke Ariizumi. He had been nicknamed "The Butcher" by the British Royal Navy because of several other atrocities he had committed against Allied merchant crews similar to that of JEAN NICOLET. One such atrocity was perpetrated against a Dutch merchant ship, SS TJISALAK, on March 26, 1944. Of 103 men on board only five survived. The men on board this ship suffered the same fate as those on JEAN NICOLET. The five survivors saved themselves by jumping overboard and swimming underwater despite the fact they were being machine-gunned. They eventually reached one of the boats previously abandoned and were picked up by the Liberty ship SS JAMES A. WALKER on March 30.

    Tatsunosuke Ariizumi

    612BDF3E-9AAD-4D39-B366-4F51D2F3B342_4_5005_c.jpeg
     
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  10. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Several German sub captains helped survivors of independently sailing merchant ships. Sometimes this was in vain because the survivors never made it to shore but they were helped. Only one U-boat captain was found to have killed survivors and he was convicted of war crimes. I never read of any US or British subs ever helping survivors of the ships they sank. In the Pacific, I believe in the Battle of the Bismark Sea, our planes strafed troops in the water after sinking their transports. Likewise, we strafed the survivors of the Yamato and the cruiser Yahagi after they went down. War is Cruel! Efforts to make it more "civilized" inevitably fail. Killing brutalizes the participants. One of the many reasons that officers need to exercise strict discipline is to keep their subordinates from going to far and committing these crimes but it's going to happen anyway. Audie Murphy admitted that after a certain point he stopped taking prisoners. Therefore, anyone who acts charitably towards beaten foes is to be admired.
     
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  11. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I read in John Bulkley’s book (not sure if it was an autobiography) that in PT boat action in the SWPTO that they would machine gun Japanese sailors in the water after their ships sunk. Not a lot of prisoners were taken, but the Army and Marine Corps took few prisoners as well after dealing with Japanese killing US forces after being taken. Tough war in the Pacific. Tough everywhere really.

    Just read in the paper (Today In History) that today (May 21) in 1941 (ok, its the Thursday paper, I’m behind),
    a German u-boat sank the merchant ship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the crew and passengers were allowed to board lifeboats. Imagine that.
     

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