The hell course of the Japanese merchant ships"


The hell course of the Japanese merchant ships"

The Japanese merchant "hell Voyage" Getezi Helms

In September 1942, the head of Japan's Transport Department said in a broadcast that Japanese merchant ships must carry white prisoners of war on every return trip. No matter what the merchant ships, regardless of what is transport of troops and munitions and supplies -- as long as the captain of a merchant ship turned the bow, ready to heading Japan, they must return to Japan white prisoners by makes carry as much as possible, these white prisoners will be into the dirty cargo. The prisoners were tightly packed in the hold, there is no place to sit, only in the daytime turns occasionally leaked out of place.

In a voyage in October 1944, Mitsubishi Co built haruna pill cargo ship from Manila to Taiwan, the ship carrying 1100 American prisoners of war, they were all locked in the cabin, they are just one of the cabin passengers and cargo in addition to prisoners of war, horses and coal. The lucky prisoners of war can sit on the coal heap. More unfortunate prisoners of war, they can only squeeze in the cabin, the voyage, a total of 60 prisoners died in the ship. The surviving prisoners said stinking cabin unbearable.

The Japanese government official merchant shipping goods list plainly written, in 1942 to 1945 of 48 cargo ships carrying a separate implementation of white prisoners tasks, from Southeast Asia occupied the Japanese occupied area, China to Taiwan and japan. According to Japan's official records, there are 21 ships transporting prisoners of war capsized at sea, these truths have not yet been made public.

It was a miracle that the prisoners survived what they called the voyage of hell. Many white prisoners of war do not have such good luck. Thousands of white prisoners died in the sea, some died in bad conditions in the cabin, and some died because the ship sank. Japan's official record tells the story of a cruel: Japan Sea were transported 55297 Allied prisoners, of whom 10853 died of the ship sank, including 3632 americans. At least 500 American prisoners died of hunger and thirst. Japan's record of all prisoners of war are the causes of death of the ship "mechanical failure", they would never admit that cause the most fundamental reason is that these deaths, the ship unbearable harsh environment. The most shocking fact is that the conditions on these ships are as bad as ever. Each of the survivors in retrospect, narrative: almost all the prisoners have been dysentery, malaria and malnutrition was feeble, they often gathered in the dark at the stairs of the cabin, the ship can open the door a moment of hope, a breath of fresh air. Japan's big ships can carry 2200 prisoners at a time, a little smaller is 1800, and the smallest 300 ton ship can carry almost 700 people, or even fewer prisoners of war. In a word, the cabin is always full. More deadly, as in the past the bad conditions in the cabin, the cabin door is sealed, the sick prisoners packed like sardines in the whole range of cargo, most of the time, they don't have fresh air to breathe. The following is the corpsman Harry Menoz (Harry Menozzi) described him from Manila in 1942 by Kawasaki heavy industries shipyard changmen pill to japan:

At that time, our prisoners were in very bad health condition, seriously lacking weight, suffering from dysentery, malaria, beriberi and other tropical diseases. As the cabin was closed and crowded, the heat in the cabin was unbearable. Some people even choked. Some people even wanted to kill themselves because they couldn't stand the bad conditions. We don't remember how many companions were killed on our voyage. Our toilets are the two 5 gallon gasoline barrels placed in the middle of the cabin, and since most of us have loose bowels, the two petrol barrels are always full and the droppings are overflowing. Japanese people only allow us to take out the gas tank two times a day. We are the prisoners in the cabin like sardines crowded together, this terrible state language is difficult to describe. The lice on our body add up to millions, they add to our pain, and these hateful worms torture us.

The hell course of the Japanese merchant ships

(Wake Island)

The first batch of American prisoners of war who became slave laborers was the prisoners of war on Wake Island. They boarded the Xintian Maru, made by the Mitsubishi Co in Japan in January 12, 1942. The total number of prisoners of war are 1235, they diverted to Yokohama to Chinese. Before boarding, they were asked by the Japanese to read the "embarkation Ordinance", which was issued by the commander of the Japanese Imperial prisoner transit command. This is written with English inscribed, marked in a prominent position in the file. The official title of this document is the Japanese Navy prisoner of war Ordinance, which reads as follows:

1. prisoners of war who fail to comply with the following orders will be executed immediately:

A. does not obey orders and regulations.

B. represents the attitude of rebellion against the Imperial Army, and have resisted the intention.

C. war show the individualism and egoism, the distribution of goods, only their goods, berserk.

D. talks without permission, loud speaker.

E. a person who moves around in violation of orders.

F. carries contraband items on board.

G. refuses to help each other.

H. touched the ship's raw materials, cables, lights, tools and switches, and other objects.

I. climbs the stairs without following the order.

J. tried to escape from the cabin and the ship.

K. tried to eat too much in the distribution of food.

L. uses more than two blankets.

2. because the ship carrying capacity is limited, the internal space is small, in your boat during food rations will gradually decrease, that stretched, it might make you feel uncomfortable, but if you dare to lose patience, in violation of the regulations, you will be severely punished.

3. before boarding, take care of your problem and clean up your intestines and stomach.

4. two meals a day, one dish per person. Prisoners must speed up while the guards call for food, but must show respect for the guards. Prisoners who do not have a meal stay quiet and wait patiently. Prisoners who leave their places without permission to receive meals will be severely punished. The same is true when the dishes are served at the end of the meal.

5. the four corner of the cabin is the toilet, the barrel and the jar will be used as toilet. When the toilet is full, the guard will arrange for a prisoner to dump the excrement. The prisoner of war had to carry the toilet to the middle of the cabin. The toilet will be lifted by tower crane, and then thrown away. The guards provided the prisoners with toilet paper. Everyone must try to keep the cabin clean. The man who soiled the cabin will be punished.

6. Imperial Japanese Navy does not use the death penalty to each one of you, abide by the rules and regulations of the Imperial Japanese Navy, identity and jihad action purpose, adopt a cooperative attitude to Imperial Japanese prisoners of war, is committed to building the Greater East Asia co prosperity sphere of war, believe that Japan will become the leader of the world, to achieve world peace war that will be favored.


In fact, the voyage, 5 prisoners of war as "misguided" beheaded. The Japanese soldiers sent the prisoners to the deck and forced the prisoners to watch the punishment. The executioner is a Japanese naval officer who is in charge of the ship. Many POWs died in the cabin before they arrived at Wu Song, the destination.

The prisoner in Jo Astalita (Joe Astarita) is an outstanding painter, in Wu, he tried to get some paper and ink. Wusong camp is the first camp in his China question, after he was sent to several pow camp. Just to the Wusong camp, the ship's experience of hell he remembers very clearly, then draw some reflect the ship under the deck cabin hell hell sketch. He rolled up the paintings, he put it in an empty box used to hold the original metal powder. In this way, these outstanding paintings escaped the Japanese inspection and survived to the end of the war.

One of the survivors of Wake Island, J. O. Yang, was one of the forty prisoners held in the narrow cabin of the Xintian maru. In a brief testimony, he said that a considerable portion of the Japanese promised accommodation was not fulfilled:

Crowded and hot...... The two five gallon cans are the toilets. Everybody is seasick. Inclement weather...... The farther we go north, the colder we become. We were wrapped in a blanket, but it was not warm at all. Four men decided to warm themselves in a group, and the guards came to stop it at once. Due to product a lot, dumping once a day. We didn't even have a big spoon to eat, probably a dry barley...... Take a sip of water a day...... We landed at Yokohama...... I guess there are two days when the ship is moored in the harbour...... But the Japanese don't allow us to go up the deck......

According to Robert Doug (Robert Dow), the description of a voyage made by MITSUBISHI in July 1944 to carry 1500 prisoners of war was a common nightmare in the lives of prisoners of war:

The prisoners were rather frightened when they were huddled together...... More and more people were pushed down by the Japanese. Many people fell down and were trampled by others. The Japanese ordered us to throw away all our belongings from an open hatch, and the cabin would soon be full of everything except the clothes on it. The cabin was barely breathing, and the atmosphere of panic hung over people. The prisoners screamed, fainted, and died...... Not long after, our ship stopped for seven days...... The mad water - eating prisoners were tied up by Japanese mouths...... If you are standing where the bucket rises, you can't even drink a glass of water. Sometimes you can't even get a drop of water...... When we entered China's seas, we encountered storms and many people were seasick. They vomited, vomited the vomit in the jar, and soon the dirt overflowed and the deck and we were everywhere...... The language is never enough to describe the prisoner's life on that ship. The dead will be carried to the stern, Japanese let the body lying there, until the higher allowed to carry them to the top of the deck thrown overboard.

Summarized the prisoner transport ship adrift in hell fragments of a lot, which is many prisoners recall -- if they talk about experience are keenly aware of it, the scene is a priest, his name is Lei Fu Rand Bill Cunningham (Reverend Bill Cummings), when he tried to recite the Lord's prayer. "" to inspire the Nanyou spirit, "give me today......" Canin calms the mind. The father reads here and swallows his breath. Everyone in Brazil can't forget this scene.

Only the prisoners of extraordinary courage were able to live on their way to their destination. Each one hell ship unimaginable hardship is a cause of death, in addition, if a ship to comply with international law and the relevant provisions of the regulations, be a prisoner transport ship identification, then live prisoners will be more. As early as the 1907 Hague Convention "there are provisions, ship and vehicle loading wounded soldiers, prisoners of war, the Red Cross parcels, medical remedy, must have a clear identity, for the security of their travel safety.

During the Second World War, the Germans with the letter "KG" (German POWs initials) identification of transportation and transportation of prisoners of war, Japanese did not do so, so now they will use what mark can make nothing of it at the time, we just know, even though a formation supporting airlines often have a merchant, in addition to the tanker, transport ship, occasionally destroyers, but walked in the periphery of the whole formation is often carrying prisoners of war ships, so it is easy to be ordered to try to destroy the Japanese supply lines of U.S. submarines and aircraft targets.

History often has its paradox: the United States Navy had two ships sunk the Japanese medical event, is likely to be the two attacks that Japanese determined, no longer bother to apply the ship identification. The first incident took place in January 1944, when Japanese prisoners of War reached their peak, with 33 prisoners carrying merchant ships heading for the Japanese archipelago, 15 of them sunk and the other 18 safely reaching the finish line. Just a year will have the Japanese hospital ship was sunk, it almost certainly will not give Japanese prisoners of war ship painted logo.

In January 1944, an American submarine sank the Argentina Maru, and the Japanese government not only demanded an apology from the United States, but also pointed out that no fewer than 17 Japanese health care vessels were attacked by American aircraft or ships. As a result, the US government refused to apologize for the apparent breach of international law, or even another serious violation of international law next year, and Washington did not apologize.

In March 1945, the United States agreed to the Japanese merchant awamaru security clearance, Japanese claimed from the sea Mojiko Red Cross medical goods on board, the destination is Southeast Asia, to the Malaya and the Dutch East India prisoners used. In fact, the awamaru just arrived from Singapore Mojiko, 525 from Singapore to Mojiko prisoners on the ship, they boarded the Japanese mainland after being assigned to a factory in Fukuoka County as a slave labour, not to mention the word Japanese. The awamaru did not have any identification shows that this is a hospital ship, but because of the special mission shouldered by the merchant ship, the U.S. government promised its navigation safety. All U.S. submarine commander on duty in the sea has received the notice, inform the awamaru sailing time, route, medical supplies, and the safety of navigation of the ship's commitment to the U.S. government. But the American submarine commander of the Charles Laflin queen fish (Charles Laughlin) at the sight of the awamaru radar waveform after mistakenly think that this is a Japanese destroyer, he ordered fired four torpedoes, awamaru destroyed.

The United States government refused to apologize to the Japanese government, although the Navy's military tribunals and reprimanded were added to the submarine captain. The author believes that the attitude of the United States is likely to have a direct relationship with this: Japan has always refused to accept the constraints of international rules, in the transport of prisoners on the ship logo.

The hell course of the Japanese merchant ships

(Mitsui Corporation)

One of the most serious events was the sinking of the Alishan pill, which was built by Mitsui corporation. In October 24, 1944, the ship was torpedoed, when there were 1782 American prisoners of war, and only 8 survived.

Perhaps a similar incident happened a month ago is the most disastrous war, from the island of Java (Indonesia) Badawi set sail Shun Yang pill carrying 2200 white prisoners, including 14 Americans, and 4320 for Java labor, 506 Asian prisoners of war. The pill was sunk in Java waters and killed 5640 people.

The sinking of the Montevideo Maru transport ship of MITSUBISHI Corporation has become a focus of the trial in Tokyo. In June 22, 1942, the ship set off from Rabaul, carrying 1053 Australian prisoners of war and civilians, and 63 crew members. No escort Montevideo pill in the vicinity of the Philippines island of Luzon by torpedo attack and sinking, according to Japanese records, there are no survivors on the ship, but in fact there are 3 Japanese crew survived, they report the loss of the vessel to the Japanese military, the latter to the owner and the Japanese military intelligence Bureau, accompanied by the board the list of persons. After three years, British and Australian government by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Japanese military intelligence bureau repeatedly requested, the latter not only to provide a list of victims of civilians and prisoners of war, even killed the prisoners to receive mail package including transmitting to the Japanese prisoners of war camp Omori mail classification center letters. More than three years after the sinking of the ship, the family still wrote to their loved ones, thinking they were still alive. It was not until the end of the war that an Australian investigator discovered the truth, and the family knew the facts.

It is difficult to imagine, when the ship was torpedoed, and closed in the cabin of prisoners is more difficult to imagine, what kind of experience; again after Japanese "rescued", was transferred to another ship in the closed cabin, bumps more day and night to continue his trip to Japan, when the slave labor in this voyage, the more terrible experience what it is like, always on tenterhooks, fear of being another torpedo attack. In the Australian George Carol (George Carroll) and his fellow prisoners who this is not imagination, but reality, when they are in Luoyang on the pill. In 1991, Carol told his story in a lengthy interview with the author of the book in Melbourne, where he recalled his legendary adventures:

The ship sank in (September 14, 1944). We jumped into the sea and swam back to the hull during the day until it sank completely at night. The torpedo missed the hull and only one died on board, and he was a japanese!

We begged for supplies. The Japanese escort came back and dropped a raft of lifeboats. I was the last one to come down from the Luoyang maru. There was also a small boat without a sail, which carried two Japanese people. After the Luoyang Maru sank, I went with another Japanese to the lifeboat. We think the convoy will scoop up prisoners of war. In the evening, we put 14 lifeboats in a circle -- about 20, and we tied them together. When a typhoon blew, we broke up, only 3 boats together, but when we woke up, the ship scattered. We heard machine guns, and we thought there was a Japanese submarine nearby.

We saw the Japanese fleet far away, and they ignored us and drove off. We wonder if it's an illusion. On the fourth day, we saw 3 Japanese destroyers, and they rescued us. When each prisoner climbed onto the deck, ate a butt, may also be a stick or Japanese hand on what other things. I got a beating, fell into a lifeboat, and then have to climb on board, waiting for me or blows. The Japanese assembled prisoners of war in front of a double barreled machine gun, and the captain knew english. The Japanese were irrational and extremely rude. They gave us crackers in the brandy.

We were on the shore of Sanya in Hainan province Chinese (Hainan Island in the year to "Special Administrative Region" -- translator), then fed into an oil tanker, the air strikes, but we are not up to - bomber bombing technology really bad!

We went to an American whaling ship. It was captured by the Japanese and changed its name to Bibi maru. There were 150 prisoners on board, and we were all tied up on deck for three or four days, and we had iron covered hatches on top, so we were bombarded by Allied ships all the time. On the fourth day, the Japanese allowed us to go up to the deck and breathe the fresh air. We met the former commander, who had not been home for eight years! He led the team to Japan, and he also improved our living conditions.

There are twenty boats in a line. When the Allied forces began to attack, our ship avoided a torpedo, and a ship loaded with Japanese women and children was hit. Finally, when we arrived in Japan, we were so excited that we landed safely! On the road every day only a cup of water and a rice and vegetable roll, when we sailed into the Gulf of Tokyo, followed by another ship torpedo in the.

We arrived at Moji, I can barely stand up, half blind, covered in oil, Japanese give everyone a pot of rice and a carrot - like this.

Even if a road not encountered shipwreck, all the prisoners arrived in Japan port has also been in sailing along, and driven to distraction weak body disease confused and disoriented. In the sea to create time-consuming "privilege" to the number of Melvin Root and 1000 prisoners of war in the Nanyou matsumaru range: from Malaya via Xigong to Japan they Mojiko at sea for 63 days.

When they finally stood trembling Mojiko street, wearing is broken only cover half of the body of the tropical clothing, some even become naked, these people are faced with the Japanese residents stare and ridiculed and spit. The Japanese smashed them with sticks, stones and broken glass, and any rubble in the street carrying hands called them -- contrary to international law. The second article of the 1929 Geneva convention states that prisoners of war must always be treated humanely and protected, especially in the form of atrocities, insults and public seeking."

The hell course of the Japanese merchant ships

(Geneva Convention)

However, take the sunshine pill Mojiko Robert arrived in the Tao and his fellow prisoners found himself ashore suffered a violation of public rights violations: "under the watchful eyes of the people we accept anal detection...... On the way to the warehouse, a large crowd of Japanese couldn't stand our appearance and smell, so they kept covering their noses and avoiding them."

The captive Texan in Java, Tom Woody (Tom Woody), was the first American to be shipped to Japan as a slave worker. He arrived in Japan in December 1942. Woody arrived in Nagasaki, Japan, on the day of Pearl Harbor 1st anniversary, a city that will become the target of second atomic bombs in the future, marking the end of the war. He recalled that he was afraid of death and did not know why he was brought to japan. But he and his prisoner's companions dared not show a trace of resistance:

We walked down the line Kamakura pill, looks like a parade...... There is no band but a large crowd. We are in a burst of and ridicule, booing, screaming forward, every corner was Japanese ridicule. They spat at us, laughed loudly, and did everything except throwing. Today I can remember it calmly, but I tell you, it's definitely not a pleasant experience. We fear death, and dare not resist it in any way, because we do not know why it is brought to Japan, what the Japanese want to do to us, nor do we know what to do. We just walked forward, trying to avoid the insult...... We had no food and water, and the weather was bitterly cold. Still wearing the (in Java) captured the summer, now some shirts have broken into cloth, poured into the cold wind howling.

Every prisoner has been assigned the task of being laughed at. After each ship landed, the prisoners were divided into several teams: 800 went to Osaka, and the remaining 400 went half to Hokkaido and the other half to Tokyo. Japan's official record lists the transport of each prisoner ship. The Japanese chaebol had to be prepared for the lack of full labour, as some prisoners died on the way. In fact, the mortality rate is higher than expected.

The Allies' knowledge of the transport of prisoners of war was greatly enriched by a telegram. On December 10, 1942, allied intelligence cracked the deputy director of the Deputy Minister of the army and the Japanese prisoners of War Information Statistics Department to "a secret departments":

Transportation to Japanese prisoners of war

Deputy Secretary of the army and deputy director of the census and Statistics Department

Relevant departments receive

In view of the recent war in is on the way to Japan by the harsh treatment, many people are sick or died, many people can not immediately put into servitude. The prisoners sent to Japan's selection and examination work, in charge of health personnel deployment of supplies of prisoners of war, on the way to provide the necessary medical supplies, in the preparatory work, along the way supervision, provide convenience and clothing in the port along the way, must be more carefully.

These instructions at changmen Mojiko shortly after the pill in November 1942 was issued a few days. 150 prisoners on the ship has suffered from the disease epidemic, Japanese think they are not equal to labor, throw them away on the deck. Clearly, the prisoners, the Statistics Bureau and the chaebol clearly know that white prisoners will continue to be supplied. They are on the Pacific Ocean, to the islands of Japan sent half-dead prisoners of war, a large number, throughout the war.

Welcome reader contribution