The facts regarding the USS Wahoo (SS-238) January 1943 attack on the Japanese troop ship Buyo Maru remain highly controversial.
The Wahoo, under the command of Lt. Commander Dudley W. “Mush” Morton, attacked the Buyo Maru, one of the four ships in a Japanese troop convoy off the northern coast of New Guinea. After ~1,000 Japanese troops abandoned ship in 20 wooden lifeboats, torpedoes from the the Wahoo sank the Buyo Maru.
Dependent on where they were located during the action, crew members reported different accounts of of the actual events that followed. Surfacing amidst the lifeboats, the Wahoo reportedly received small arms fire as it approached the scene. In response, Lt. Cdr. Morton ordered the Wahoo’s 4”/50 cal. deck gun and .50 caliber machine guns to open fire on the lifeboats. A total of 282 men were killed.
Morton later stated his intention was to destroy the lifeboats so the Japanese troops could not reach friendly territory. After review by the chain of command, Morton received a glowing endorsement from Commander Submarines Pacific, Admiral Charles Lockwood.
Morton claimed killing “most of the troops” from the Buyo Maru, grossly overestimating the number at 1,500-6,000. Sadly, it was later determined that 491 Allied Indian P.O.W’s were also aboard the Buyo Maru and 195 of them were killed in the Wahoo attack. The remainder of the ship’s 1,126 troops, P.O.W’s, and crew were rescued by the Japanese. All told only 87 Japanese were killed.
The USS Wahoo was sunk by Japanese aircraft in October 1943 while returning home from a patrol in the Sea of Japan.
How can you consider anything any of our people did to them war crimes? Have you forgotten everything the Japanese did to everyone they conquered, not to mention the atrocious treatment of our troops unfortunate enough to have been captured by them? My father was with the 509th out of the Marianas…I suppose you people think he and Curtis Lemay were war criminals also. Your right…. they should have all been court martialed for dereliction of duty. They didn’t burn enough of them. Funny thing about wars. EVERYONE is a criminal. Think about it.
No one knows the truth of an action like this unless they were there. However the men that killed almost 200 allied POWs never got over it I can assure you. The enemy uses this to inspire hate and the desire for revenge as was proven when our troops were butchered in similar incidents in Europe and in the Pacific. All that have served in combat have had that fury to punish for the death of a friend or some innocent. Killing, even in war never goes away in your mind but it is a little easier if you know the choice was him or yourself. Unarmed men in lifeboats I’m not sure about that. As I said earlier, I wasn’t there.
You cannot shoot unarmed prisoners of war. It’s clear that you never served a day in your life. We have a duty to have the moral high ground regardless of what the enemy does. People like you make me ashamed of being a combat veteran.
From the account of the captain they came under small arms fire, that obviously means they were not unarmed?