Laha Airfield Massacre
This ghoulish event, which killed more than 300 Australian and Dutch POWs, followed the Japanese capture of the Indonesian island of Ambon. Allegedly as an act of reprisal after the Allies destroyed one of their minesweepers, the Japanese randomly selected prisoners and executed them via beheading and bayonet near the island’s airfield. They then repeated the process three more times during the month.
The magnitude of this atrocity was enough for an Australian military tribunal to prosecute more than 90 Japanese officers and soldiers after the war in one of the biggest war crime trials in history. The tribunal sentenced four of the accused to death and handed out a range of sentences for the others. Unfortunately, they never got to try the mastermind, Rear Admiral Hatakeyama. The Japanese officer died while awaiting his trial.