Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


This is coolbert:

Here from the novel "War and Remembrance" by Herman Wouk.

Regarding the massacre of the Japanese soldiers in the water after their troop transport is sunk by an American submarine.

[this description from the novel by Wouk is obviously based upon the Wahoo incident.]

"a wild sight burst upon them. The transport was disgorging its troops . . . In covered launches, in open landing craft and motor-boats, on wide gray rafts, Jap soldiers crowded in the thousands. Hundreds more were swarming on the deck and fleeing down the dangling cargo nets and rope ladders. 'Like ants off a hot plate.' . . . The blue sea was half-gray with troops bobbing in kapok life vests."

. . .

"how many of them does it hold?"

. . .

"Oh, these Japs are cattle. They just pack em' in."

. . .

"A burst of machine gun fire drowned out his reply, as smoke and flame spurted from a covered launch jammed with soldiers."

"'I'll be damned.' said Aster [the Captain of the submarine], smiling, 'he's trying to put a hole in us!' 'He just might too.' Cupping his hands, he shouted. 'Number two gun, sink him.'"

"The forty millimeters opened up, and the Japanese began leaping off the launch. Pieces flew from its hull, but went on firing for a few seconds, and then the silent smoking little wreck sank."

. . .

"Meantime let's sink these boats and rafts, and send all the floaters to join their honorable ancestors."

"Captain, don't do it." [2nd in command of the sub speaking here!!??]

"Why not?" [Aster speaking here.]

"It's butchery."

"What are we out here for? These are combat troops. If they're picked up, they'll be in action against our guys on New Guinea in a week."

. . .

"His voice [Aster] rang out over the deck. 'Now gun crews, hear this. All these boats, barges, and rafts are legitimate targets of war, and so are the men in the water, If we don't kill them, they'll live to kill Americans. Fire at will.'"

"On the instant every gun barrel on the Moray was spitting yellow fire and white smoke."

. . .

"The Japanese were leaping frantically off the boats and rafts. The four inch gun was methodically picking off boats, and at this point blank range they were flying apart one by one. Soon the rafts and launches were empty, the troops were all in the water, and some were shucking their life jackets to dive deep. Machine gun bullets were drilling rows of white spurts in the water. Byron saw heads bursting redly open like dropped melons."

. . .

"uncountable lifeless Japanese floated all around the Moray on the bloodstained water."

. . .

"'Well, I guess that's that.' Carter Aster said."

The thought was that the soldiers in the water were NOT hors de combat. Could have been picked up by another Japanese ship, delivered to the combat zone, and killed American troops at a later date. EVEN WHILE IN THE WATER, WERE LEGITIMATE TARGETS!



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