IJN Officers who survived sinking

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Hama
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IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by Hama » 25 Jun 2017 15:00

Given what we know about the Japanese military's attitude toward surrender during WW2 (and how many soldiers and officers were expected to fight to the death) I started wondering what was the attitude of the IJN toward commanders of ships who managed to survive the sinking of their own vessel and return to duty? Did the IJN expect all captains to go down with their ships? If an officer returned after having his ship sunk would he be punished? Are there any accounts of IJN officers who lost one of their own ships but returned to have a decent career for the rest of the war?

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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by ijnfleetadmiral » 25 Jun 2017 23:41

I guess it would depend on what type of ship you lost. Skippers of auxiliaries, submarines, and destroyers were given other commands after having lost one ship. This even applied to skippers of larger vessels.

For example, SUGINO Shuichi (Eta Jima 46) was appointed CO of KUMA in August 1943, and survived her sinking in January 1944. In March 1944, he was appointed CO of TAIYO, and also managed to survive her sinking in August. While some superstitious sailors might consider him a cursed skipper, the IJN apparently didn't, for he was appointed CO of NAGATO right before the end of the war.

Another officer who led a charmed life was ORITA Tsuneo (Eta Jima 49). A seasoned destroyer skipper (he'd previously commanded HAGI, YAYOI, SHIKINAMI, URANAMI, SHIRAYUKI, FUBUKI, and IKAZUCHI), he began the war as CO of HAMAKAZE (he was her first skipper) and was posted CEO/CO of TERUZUKI in July 1942. He survived TERUZUKI's sinking in December 1942, and in March 1943 was appointed ComDesDiv 30. He survived his second sinking when his flagship MIKAZUKI was sunk on 28 July 1943, and was promoted CAPT on 1 November. In April 1944, he was appointed ComDesDiv 32, but his luck finally ran out on 7 June 1944 when his flagship HAYANAMI was torpedoed and sunk by USS HARDER. He was posthumously promoted RADM.

In contrast, NISHIDA Masao (Eta Jima 44) survived the sinking of HIEI and never again held a sea command. This was also the case for AOKI Taijiro (Eta Jima 41), who survived the sinking of AKAGI. Then again, these were probably special cases, HIEI was known as 'the Emperor's ship', and AKAGI had once been commanded by ADM YAMAMOTO, who had a special attachment for her.
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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by fontessa » 26 Jun 2017 03:16

Both NISHIDA Masao and AOKI Taijiro were incorporated into the reserve after their ships' sinking. They were summoned afterward, but they mainly held a command of flying units and didn't command war vessels.

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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by ijnfleetadmiral » 26 Jun 2017 03:22

Yes, that's correct. Nishida even faced a Court of Inquiry upon his return to Japan over the loss of HIEI.
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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by Hama » 26 Jun 2017 12:39

Very interesting info, thanks guys.

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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by BuckBradley » 14 Oct 2019 17:27

Yamamoto is on record as opposing the practice of captains going down with the ship--he thought it was primitive and that it would be very difficult to continue the war if experienced people deliberately committed suicide. There was no rule that required it and no official stigma was attached to surviving a sinking -- as opposed to allowing oneself to be taken prisoner, mind you......

Now of course this did not mean that a captain who lost a ship through negligence would not be punished--just that there was nothing "wrong" with surviving qua surviving.

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Re: IJN Officers who survived sinking

Post by BuckBradley » 14 Oct 2019 18:27

For the record, to my (irrelevant) mind, the practice of "going down with the ship" seems more like cowardice than bravery. Face the music (such as it might be)!

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