PDA

View Full Version : Cowra Breakout - the biggest mass escape of POWs during WW2?



Kato
08-04-2007, 01:31 AM
Cowra Breakout

By August 1944, there were 2,223 Japanese prisoners of war in Australia, including 544 merchant seamen. There were also 14,720 Italian prisoners and 1,585 Germans. At this time, 1,104 Japanese prisoners were in No. 12 Prisoner of War Compound near Cowra, in the central west of New South Wales.

On Friday 4 August, notice was given of a transfer of all Japanese prisoners below the rank of Lance Corporal from Cowra to the Hay Prisoner of War Camp. Information was received that the Japanese were discussing a mass outbreak from Camp B. About 2 am on Saturday 5 August 1944 a prisoner ran shouting to the camp gates, and soon after an unauthorized bugle was heard. Sentries fired as prisoners rushed from their huts and began breaking through the wire fences of the camp. The Australians on guard began firing into the groups of prisoners, while a group of some 400 prisoners broke through the wire and escaped into open country.

During the ensuing nine days 334 prisoners were retaken. In all, 234 Japanese POW's were killed and 108 wounded. One Australian Officer was killed along with three of other ranks, while four others were wounded. Privates B.G. Hardy and R. Jones, who were killed while attempting to thwart the escape, were awarded the George Cross.

Chevan
08-04-2007, 10:21 AM
Oh look who is here-the UPA patriot Kato:)
Welcome back.
The Great Escape in the Australia;)
Where did they want to run - to the Australian desert ? What they will eat - kenguroo?
It's very strange - what was the reason of the desperate escape?
Mst Rising Sun - could you tell us about condition of holding the military prisoners in the Cowra-camp please
Was it the too hard work, bad feeding or maibe it was simply death-camp;)

Rising Sun*
08-04-2007, 12:10 PM
Where did they want to run - to the Australian desert ?

Nah. No desert there, mate. Mild desert starts a long way to the west, and serious desert a lot further west. Parts of Cowra, even then, were almost civilised. Weíre trying to civilise the rest now. :D

http://australianscreen.com.au/titles/cowra-breakout/map/


What they will eat - kenguroo?

They could have, but youíve got to catch them on the hop. :D

Seriously, a decent roo steak cooked the right way beats cheap beef. Better than emu which is hard to describe, but not too bad as an acquired taste. Roo has a lot more flavour and texture than crocodile which is like a tasteless chicken crossed with squid and relies largely on sauces to make its pleasant texture a tasty meal.


It's very strange - what was the reason of the desperate escape?

Iím very rusty on this event but thereís ? two or three good books on it, the only one of which I can remember being Harry Gordonís Die Like the Carp which I read a long time ago. I think I still have a copy, but I canít find it.

My recollection is that, like a couple of German POW examples, a lot of Cowra came down to some zealots controlling the rest.

An awful lot of it also came down to expunging the shame of being captured, which gets into a lot militaristic corruption of Samurai and Shinto ideas and the general bullshit which the Japanese leadership fed to a gullible population which absorbed it because of the communal groupthink which operated in Japan then.

Cowra was a sort of kamikaze break out which would cleanse their souls if they died in the attempt. Which many of them did.

My recollection is that a few of the Japanese dead died by putting their heads on railway lines and being decapitated by trains. Pity all of their countrymen and their colonial Korean soldiers didnít do the same in Thailand.

The original post doesnít specify that the breakout involved over 1,000 POWís heading for open country.


Mst Rising Sun - could you tell us about condition of holding the military prisoners in the Cowra-camp please

Was it the too hard work, bad feeding or maibe it was simply death-camp

No, not a death camp.

We never ran death camps, or even nasty camps compared with what happened in Europe. Never mind what the Japanese did with their camps.

We didnít need to.

We killed most of the Japanese on the battlefield, or soon after.

If they made it to Cowra, they were in clover.

They didnít have to work.

They were adequately fed.

Properly housed.

Adequate medical treatment.

Everything that the Japanese didnít give to the Australian and other Allied POWís when they starved, tortured, beat, and worked them to death on the Burma Railway and the coal mines in Japan and everywhere else that the Rising Sun shone on the wonders of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which supposedly liberated the oppressed peoples of Asia from the European colonial yoke.

Every Japanese POW at Cowra was probably a hundred to a thousand times better off than his mates in New Guinea.

This can be demonstrated simply by the absence of cannibalism of their own troops at Cowra, whereas they got their chompers into both Australian prisoners in the field and their own men in New Guinea, without necessarily waiting for our or their blokes to die before they started slicing off bits of long pork (the best bits come from the thigh, apparently, because those were the bits that were most often missing from Australian dead, although the biceps seemed to be a good second choice) for their cooking pots.

Thatís when the Japanese werenít just amusing themselves wiring Australian field prisoners to trees and bayoneting them where it wouldnít kill them while hacking off their limbs, as they did at Milne Bay and in other engagements where they demonstrated that the Australian Commander in Chief, General Blamey, might have had some reason for his often clearly expressed views that the Japanese were primitive bastards who, although managing to descend from the trees, had a long way to go before they could be regarded as a civilised people. Or even people.

There was a savagery to our war with Japan that, despite the vastly larger scale of the Eastern Front, was never experienced in Europe.

Notwithstanding the bitterness and contempt I have expressed for the vile things the Japanese did to our troops, nurses, civilians and those of other nations, the Cowra breakout has resulted in a highly desirable reconciliation between Australians and Japanese.


Following the cessation of hostilities, members of the Cowra Sub-Branch of the Returned Servicemenís League (R.S.L) visited the Australian War Cemetery at regular intervals to care for the graves of their comrades. In 1948 they decided to forget the past and also assume the responsibility for the care and the maintenance of the Japanese section of the cemetery in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

In 1960 the Japanese Government were considering the repatriation of their war dead to Japan, however they were so impressed with the attitude of the R.S.L members that they decided to bring all their war dead from other parts of Australia to be re-buried at Cowra.

http://www.cowrajapanesegarden.com.au/

On the breakout http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww2/anecdotes/cowra.html

Rising Sun*
08-04-2007, 12:19 PM
Oh look who is here-the UPA patriot Kato:)


What is UPA?

Chevan
08-04-2007, 12:29 PM
What is UPA?
http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4790
Just read from the beginning.

Chevan
08-04-2007, 12:32 PM
They didnít have to work.

They were adequately fed.

Properly housed.

Adequate medical treatment.

Everything that the Japanese didnít give to the Australian and other Allied POWís when they starved, tortured, beat, and worked them to death on the Burma Railway and the coal mines in Japan and everywhere else that the Rising Sun shone on the wonders of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which supposedly liberated the oppressed peoples of Asia from the European colonial yoke.

Every Japanese POW at Cowra was probably a hundred to a thousand times better off than his mates in New Guinea.

I've supposed it Rising Sun.
But may be the Kato had other way of views.;)

Nickdfresh
08-04-2007, 12:39 PM
What is UPA?

Ukrainians (vs. Russians). :shock: "Just walk away!"

http://www.youloveben.com/Thumbnails/Humongous.png

Chevan
08-04-2007, 12:47 PM
Ukrainians (vs. Russians). :shock: "Just walk away!"

Not vs Russian but vs everything non-ukrainians struggle by any methods.

Kato
08-06-2007, 01:35 AM
If about 400 prisoners broke through the wire and escaped into open country and during the ensuing nine days 334 prisoners were retaken. In all, 234 Japanese POW's were killed and 108 wounded.

Does it mean that more than 50 Japanese POWs managed to flee and was never captured again?

Chevan
08-06-2007, 01:44 AM
Well it seem the 50 Samurais simply joined for Australian Aborigins;)

Digger
08-11-2007, 07:30 AM
Some confusion with the figures.;) Only 334 Jap prisoners managed to escape and all of them were either killed, committed suicide or recaptured. The dead and wounded total is inclusive of the casualties inside and outside of the Cowra camp.

The ringleader of the breakout Major Masao Kojima did not manage to escape and hung himself in a kitchen.

Regards digger:)