Remarkable sailors…

Hello all FB friends & blog followers,

Sometimes in life, the guy with the drunken,
so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas hits one out of the park and
saves the day. This is clearly what happened in 1942 aboard the
HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, the last Dutch warship standing after
the Battle of the Java Sea.

Originally planning to escape to Australia with three other
warships, the then-stranded minesweeper had to make the voyage
alone and unprotected. The slow-moving vessel could only get up
to about 15 knots and had very few guns, boasting only a single
3-inch gun and two Oerlikon 20mm cannons making it a sitting
duck for the Japanese bombers that circled above.

Knowing their only chance of survival was to make it to the
Allies Down Under, the Crijnssens 45 crew members frantically
brainstormed ways to make the retreat undetected. The winning
idea “turn the ship into an island”.

You can almost hear crazy-idea guy anticipating his shipmates
reluctance: Now guys, just hear me out But lucky for him, the
Abraham Crijnessen was strapped for time, resources and
alternative means of escape, automatically making the island idea
the best idea. Now it was time to put the plan into action.

The crew went ashore to nearby islands and cut down as many trees
as they could lug back onto the deck. Then the timber was
arranged to look like a jungle canopy , covering as much square
footage as possible. Any leftover parts of the ship were painted
to look like rocks and cliff faces. these guys weren’t messing

Now, a camouflaged ship in deep trouble is better than a
completely exposed ship. But there was still the problem of the
Japanese noticing a mysterious moving island and wondering what
would happen if they shot at it. Because of this, the crew
figured the best means of convincing the Axis powers that they
were an island was to truly be an island: by not moving at all
during daylight hours.

While the sun was up they would anchor the ship near other
islands, then cover as much ocean as they could once night fell.
praying the Japanese wouldn’t notice a disappearing and
reappearing island amongst the nearly 18,000 existing islands in

And, as luck would have it, they didn’t.

The Crijnssen managed to go undetected by Japanese planes and
avoid the destroyer that sank the other Dutch warships, surviving
the eight-day journey to Australia and reuniting with Allied

Blogger Barry: Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed? Till
next we chat!

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