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The Arisan Maru Affair

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by harolds, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Since tomorrow will be Veterans Day in the USA I thought this account would be appropriate.

    On October 22, 1944 the American submarine, Shark, torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant ship, Arisan Maru. Because there was no special markings on the Japanese ship, the captain of the Shark couldn't know that the Arisan Maru was a "Hell Ship" carrying 1,773 American PoWs captured when the Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1942. Later, when the Americans were re-conquering the country, the Japanese quickly tried to ship the PoWs to the Home Islands. When the torpedo hit, the crew of the Arisan Maru abandoned ship after cutting the rope ladders that were the only way the prisoners could exit the holds. The Americans quickly repaired the ropes and exited the ship. Most were refused boarding on the Japanese rescue ships and were drowned. A few were recaptured and lived through the war while another small bunch somehow were picked up by a Chinese fishing boat and escaped death. In all, 1,762 American PoWs died.

    On top of that, the Shark was attacked by the Japanese destroyer, Harukaze, and sunk, adding the 87 men of the sub's crew to the total. Nine of the dead were from Wyoming, with one, Army Pvt. Bill Schilling, being from our town. He and the other victims of this action will be honored tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Reminds me how many little yet profound stories often do not always get their due.
     
  3. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I had heard that very tragic story before. Hopefully the crew of the Shark did not know who was on the ship they sank. That would have been a difficult burden to bear, even if only for a short while.
     
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

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    From the account I read, it's doubtful that the crew of the Shark had time to find out. They had to dive to avoid the Japanese counter-attack and then they were killed.
     

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