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    Urushi Anchorage (Ulithi Anchorage) Yap State Federated States of Micronesia
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USN Dec 8, 1944

Urushi Anchorage (Ulithi Anchorage) is located off Ulithi Atoll. Also known as Urushi Anchorage, Ulithi Anchorage or Urushi Harbor.

Japanese Occupation
It was the site of a Japanese seaplane base, but was abandoned by the Japanese before American troops landed.

American Occupation
The Urushi Anchorage was developed into a major US Navy base. A number of pontoon piers of a new and special design were built at Ulithi. These piers, each consisting of the 4-by-12-pontoon sections, filled with sand and gravel, were sunk and anchored in place by guy ropes to deadmen on shore and by iron rods, driven into the coral, with connecting tie pieces running across the tops of the pontoons. Despite extremely heavy weather on several occasions he pontoon piers stood up remarkably well, giving extensive service, with few repairs necessary.

Other construction included the erection of 42 quonset huts for use as a receiving station, and a 1600-man mess hall,complete with galley, warehouses and refrigeration units. Additional facilities included the atoll commander’s headquarters, a dispensay, an administration building, a shop and Marine aviation camp. All construction was performed by the 88th Battalion between October 10, 1944, and February 7, 1945, at which time the battalion left for Samar.

Kaiten Attack November 20, 1944
On three mother I-Class submarines, each bearing four Kaitens, were selected to participate in the initial or "Kikusui" mission assigned to these weapons. Their target: the US fleet anchored in Ulithi lagoon. The mother submarines were to approach the Ulithi lagoon passages and release the Kaitens against targets among Rear-Admiral Frederick Sherman's Task Group 38.3 and Commodore W.R. Carter's Service Squadron 10, which occupied the berthing areas within the lagoon. However, en route, one submarine.

I-37 was sunk by American depth charges while transiting the Kossol passage north of Palau while on its way to Ulithi Atoll to particpate in the first Kaiten attack.

I-47 early in the morning of 20 November 1944, I-47, east of Lossau Island, successfully launched all her Kaitens northwest toward Ulithi Lagoon. Sub-Lt. Sekio Nishina, the co-inventor of the Kaiten, piloted one of these suicide subs. After the attack, I-47 proceeded to Leyte Gulf for further operations with conventional torpedoes. A total of four Katiens launched from the I-47.

I-36 submerged to 30' further to the northeast of I-47 and launced one No. 3 Kaiten piloted by Ensign Taichi at 4:54 a.m. The other three fail to launch due to malfunctions: two are stuck in their chocks and the third's engine experienced a leak. The other three disappointed kaiten pilots pressed Lt. Cmdr Teramoto to resurface at a safe distance and attempt to repair their kaiten torpedoes for a follow-up strike; but a wide-ranging depth charge hunt by US warships racing from the atoll immediately after the inital attack forced I-36 to remain submerged until late on November 20 and, after recharging his batteries, and departed towards Leyte Gulf for further operations with conventional torpedoes.

Results of the Attack
Of these five Kaitens, one hit the reef and exploded. A second foundered outside the reef and was sunk by aircraft. A third was rammed by USS Case, at the entrance to Mugai Channel. Only two actually entered the lagoon. One was sunk by depth charges from the USS Rall. The last Kaiten made it to its target, ramming and sinking the USS Mississinewa at 5:45AM.

USS Mississinewa (AO-59)
Sunk November 20, 1944

Kamikaze Attacks March 1945
In March 1945, 24 Japanese A6M Zero fighters attacked the island with Kamikaze attacks. One of the Kamikazes damaged the USS Randolph, another crashed into a warehouse on land. USS Randolph was repaired on site, and went on to finish the war and then was refitted and helped pick up the astronauts in the Atlantic.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018


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