Daily Event for January 17

The southern entrance of the Sunda Strait became the grave of over eighty Japanese submariners on Jan. 17,
1942 when the I-60 attempted to sink a merchant ship. The distress signal went out and HMS Jupiter F-85
broke from her escort duty and responded to the call.

Using ASDIC Lt. Commander Norman V. J. Thompson-Thew, commanding officer of Jupiter, searched for two
hours for the enemy. Locating a target he loosed two depth charge patterns which forced the I-60 to the
surface, the boat broke the surface just astern of Jupiter. The I-60 was so close to Jupiter that they could not
bring the main guns into action so they fired the 20mm AA guns at the submarine.

The crew of the I-60 manned the deck gun under murderous fire from Jupiter, even after several were killed
more came up from below to take their place, their willingness to stand and fight rather than to surrender was
a trate of the Japanese which cost the lives of thousands of Japanese sailors and soldiers throughout the war.

Even under the heavy fire the I-60 managed to score at least one hit on Jupiter which killed three crewmen on
a one of the twin gun mounts, but for the I-60 the battle was one of futility. Jupiter and I-60 exchanged more
gunfire and even a round of torpedoes each, all of which missed, before several shells set the I-60 afire.

Passing close astern of the I-60, Jupiter dropped several depth charges set to shallow depth which exploded
under the I-60 and she soon sank by the stern taking all but three men with her. The survivors were picked up by Jupiter, however one died on board leaving only two survivors.

I-60 had been involved in a rather unfortunate incident during a training exercise on Feb. 2, 1939 when during
a mock torpedo exercise she ran down and sank her sister boat I-63, only six men from I-63 survived. That
boat was later raised and scrapped and thus was never a threat to Allied shipping. The I-60 may have been
making her first attack when she was sunk as there is no recorded combat victory credited to the boat.

For HMS Jupiter this was a great victory, however she was destine to join the I-60 on the bottom and not far
away. Jupiter sank on Feb. 27, 1942 about 500 miles east of where the I-60 had gone down, during the Battle
of the Java Sea. HMS Jupiter hit a mine laid by the Dutch minelayer Gouden Leeuw and sank four hours later
taking 84 crewmen with her and leaving almost 100 others in the hands of the Japanese as prisoners, the rest
of the crew, about 83 men, were picked up by USS S-38 SS-143 or made shore.

© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

2005 Daily Event
2007 Daily Event