History | 020
History | The
Warriors of the Deep
of the Dutch 016 and 020 Submarines”
The Japanese destroyer saw the jet of fumes from the O
20 upon surfacing hence spotted the submarine. The searchlight
from the Japanese destroyer kept O 20 at sight in its
rays. They fired shells and O 20 replied with their guns.
Torpedoes were fired but the Japanese destroyers managed
to avoid them. The commander gave his last order "To
scuttle the submarine and to leave the ship with life
belts". His order was obeyed. Seven men including
the commander perished into the deep.
The sole survivor,
Boatswain Cornelis de Wolf in claimed to have swam for
35 hours in the sea. It was assumed that the O 16 had
been hit by a mine from the British minefield near the
island of Pemanggil due to a navigational error.
In October 1995 the O 16 was found 38 nautical miles
(70 km) north of the assumed sinking position and only
7 nm from the K 17 wreck. A mine had sunk both ships
from the very same line of Japanese mines north of Tioman
Island. There had been no navigational error and Cor
de Wolf's story was absolutely true: he had survived
35 hours in the water and had covered a distance of
44 nm (80 km) in that time.