Brazil, the Bahia, and the Phillippines

From today’s Wikipedia front page. You can see the original article (here). I edited/re-arranged the text.

I was looking up pages about World War 2 and was surprised to see the Phillippines on the Axis side. I’m sure I should know this, being Australian, but I just… don’t. Perhaps I fell asleep in history class. The enduring Australian memory of World War 2 is focused around the Kokoda Track, so maybe any operations in the Phillippines were not emphasized during my education, who knows.

No word about whether the guy who did this (below) survived or not, but I doubt it.


Bahia (Brazilian ship, World War 2, 1945)

For anti-aircraft target practice, crewmen were firing the ship’s 20 mm guns at a kite that was being towed behind the ship. One of them shot it down, but also accidentally hit the depth charges on the stern—a direct consequence of the lack of guide rails that would normally prohibit the guns from being aimed at the ship. The resulting explosion knocked out all power on the ship and sank her in about three minutes.

Rescued crewmen believed that they had hit a mine that detonated one of the ship’s magazines.

The survivors of the blast endured four or five days of no food, high temperatures and full exposure to the sun on their makeshift rafts; some, driven mad by these conditions, simply jumped into the water and were eaten by sharks.

The official history of the ship gives 36 rescued and 336 dead.