Death on the Hellships

Gregory F. Michno
Back to Recommended Books

Death on the Hellships
Prisoners at Sea in the Pacific War
By Gregory F. Michno
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2001
ISBN: 1-55750-482-2
errata and additions
Publisher Link 

Without contradiction, this is the absolute best book written about the Hell Ships. Michno provides a scholarly work plus the most complete roster of ships ever compiled. see short list of major losses, Sailing dates, destinations, numbers of prisoners and number of deaths.    CLICK on cover for Amazon
 "More than 150,000 Allied prisoners were transported in the hellships with more than 21,000 fatalities. While many of the deaths were attributable to beatings, starvation, disease, and lack of food and water, the most, Michno reports, were caused by Allied bombs, bullets, and torpedoes. He further reports that this so-called friendly fire was not always accidental -- apparently at times it was more important to sink Japanese ships than to worry about POWs."

Michno adds details of the survival of the Navy men after the disasterous battles near Jave in the early months of the war, culminating with the loss of numerous ships like the HMAS Perth, USS Houston HMS Exeter and USS Pope. Survivors were captured and many endured the hellship travails.