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"Never laugh at a Japanese" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

916 hits since 29 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 3:59 p.m. PST

"A consequential visit by a foreigner occurred in the late 1930s. Kozo Nishino, the skipper of a Japanese oil tanker, visited the field to load oil. While walking with his crew to a formal welcoming ceremony onshore, he tripped and fell into a patch of prickly pear cactus (now below Fairway 11 of the Sandpiper Golf Course). The sight of the proud Japanese commander having cactus spines pulled from his buttocks provoked laughter from a group of nearby oil workers.

Kozo came back a few years later, possibly for revenge. During World War II—now captain of Japanese submarine I-17—he surfaced just off of Coal Oil Point on the evening of February 23, 1942. His crew emerged and manned the sub's 5.5" deck gun. They fired between 16 and 25 rounds at a pair of oil storage tanks near where he had fallen into the cactus. His gunners were poor shots, and most of the shells went wild, exploding either miles inland on Tecolote Ranch, or splashing in the water. One of the explosions damaged well Luton-Bell 17, on the beach just below Fairway 14 of the present-day golf course, causing about $500 USD in damage to a catwalk and some pumping equipment. Kozo radioed Tokyo that he had "left Santa Barbara in flames."[8] This incident was the first direct naval bombardment by an enemy power on the U.S. mainland since the bombardment of Orleans in World War I…."
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rallypoint Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 4:55 p.m. PST

"Never frighten a little man. He'll kill you."
-- Lazarus Long (aka Robert A. Heinlein)

Mark 129 May 2018 5:46 p.m. PST

The account I read in a California National Guard newsletter in the 1976/77 or so, indicated that Capt. Nishino had, in fact, fallen off of a catwalk, which was slippery due to the incessant fog and rain, and had fallen into the mud in his dress whites. There was no mention of cactus needles in his posterior.

But notable: "…causing about $500 USD USD in damage to a catwalk and some pumping equipment."

The conclusion, reached in the article I read so many years ago, based as I recall on then-recent interviews with either Nishino himself or members of his crew, was that the shelling was somewhat more pointed than just randomly throwing shells all over the countryside. Yes, the waves put some shells long, and some short, as the boat rolled. But they had clear targets. The oil well equipment that was hit was one deliberate target. Once hits were observed, fire was shifted to … the catwalk that had been the source of his humiliation. Once the catwalk was seen to have been destroyed, he sailed off.

At least that was the local spin on the story I read at Camp San Luis Obispo.

(aka: Mk 1)

goragrad29 May 2018 9:21 p.m. PST

Refinery would definitely have been a legitimate target.

rvandusen30 May 2018 4:57 p.m. PST

The unfortunate Nishino lost face when the oil workers laughed at him.
If you can help it, never cause a person from the Far East to lose face. It's how to make an enemy for life.

Lion in the Stars30 May 2018 5:05 p.m. PST

I can believe Mark 1's version. Get some hits on the wells, then get revenge for the loss of face!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 11:23 a.m. PST



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