Daily Event for January 3, 2011

Stassfurt was a refrigerated cargo ship built for Hamburg-America in 1930, in 1940 it was was seized by the Dutch at Tjilatjap, Java and the name was changed to Langkoeas. On January 3, 1942 the ship was en route from Java to Egypt and was about midway between Java and Bawean Island when it was struck by a single torpedo fired by I-58, a hail of shellfire sent the ship to the bottom, but most of the 94 people on board were able to get off in lifeboats, this was the first ship sunk by I-58.

Lt. Commander Soshichi Kitamura, the commanding officer, was not satisfied with just sinking the ship, he took his submarine toward the survivors and rammed at least one of the lifeboats and had his crew open fire with machine guns on the remaining survivors. Three were taken aboard the I-58 and questioned, after which they were cast overboard into the sea, presumably to drown or to be killed by sharks, but these men found a raft and several days later made it to Bawean where they were ultimately rescued. Ninety-three people either died during the sinking or were murdered in the water by the Japanese.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock