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    Truk Lagoon (Chuuk Lagoon) Chuuk State (Truk) Federated States of Micronesia
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USN February 17, 1944
Location
Truk Lagoon includes the Truk Islands (Chuuk Islands) located in Chuuk State (Truk) in the Federated States of Micronesia. Truk consist of eleven major islands and many smaller islets within a forty mile wide lagoon surrounded by a protective reef. Entrances into the lagoon including North Pass, North East Pass, Salat Pass, Wilger Pass, Otta Pass, Aualap Pass, Ulifauro Pass, Piaanu Pass, Taualap Pass. Truk Harbor (Eten Anchorage)  is the inner anchorage bordering Dublon Island (Tonoas, Tonowas) to the north, Eten Island (Takeshima) to the east, Uman Island to the south and Fefan Island to the west. To the southeast is Kuop Atoll (Neoch Atoll).

Wartime History
On November 15, 1939, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Fourth Fleet (4th Fleet) under the command of Admiral Katagiri Eikichi established their base at Truk. Chitose was assigned as flagship with tenders Kamoi and Kinugasa Maru of the 17th Sentai to support the new fleet. In December 1939 twenty-four H6K Mavis flying boats from the Yokohama Kokutai were based at Truk Lagoon.

During the Pacific War, Truk Lagoon was an important anchorage and staging base. It was also used as a ferry point for aircraft flying Japan or aircraft carriers. From Truk, aircraft could proceed southward to Rabaul and onward to New Guinea or the Solomons. A total of five airfields and seaplane bases were built in Truk Lagoon.

The area was heavily defended with anti-aircraft guns, coastal guns and later in the war defenses were bolstered with additional submarine nets placed in the water along with more mines and even rocket launchers. There were over eighty 25mm anti-aircraft guns and 12cm guns in emplacements along with many smaller guns. Later in the war, manned torpedo bases were established on the outer islands and Daihatsu landing craft were converted into torpedo boats. Other defenses included sea mines in lagoon entrances and land mines on the outer islands.

Allied missions against Truk
January 15, 1941 - June 30, 1945

On January 15, 1941 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Catalina flying boats flying from Rabaul via Kavieng bombed Truk. After the Japanese occupation of Rabaul, no Allied aircraft had the range to reach Truk. Beyond the reach of Allied aircraft and heavily defended, Truk was dubbed the "Gibraltar of the Pacific". It was not until early February 1944 when the first long range reconnaissance mission reached Truk.

During "Operation Hailstone" U. S. Navy (USN) 500+ carrier aircraft from Task Force 58 (TF 58) under the command of Vice Admiral R. A. Spruance including USS Enterprise, USS Yorktown, USS Intrepid CV-11, USS Essex CV-9, USS Bunker Hill CV-17, USS Belleau Wood CVL-24, USS Cabot CVL-28, USS Monterey CVL-26 and USS Cowpens CVL-25 supported by seven battleships, heavy cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and submarines. The raid began on February 16, 1944 with a fighter sweep over Truk with strikes on February 17-18, 1944. During the raids, 400 tons of bombs and torpedoes were dropped. In total, forty ships were sunk and thousands of Japanese died. Ten weeks later, a second raid sank more ships.

The Allies bypassed Truk and instead bombed the anchorage and bases to neutralize them from the air. During 1944, attacked by B-24 Liberators from the 7th Air Force and later Far East Air Force (FEAF). During 1945, Truk was within range of B-25 Mitchells from the Central Pacific and escorting fighters including P-38 Lightnings and P-47 Thunderbolts and B-29 Superfortress flew bombing familiarization missions until the end of June 1945. On the ground, the Japanese garrison was cut off from resupply but continued to defend Truk until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945. Until the late 1940s, oil from the sunken ships and war debris covered the beaches and coral reefs.

Postwar
For more than two years after the Pacific War, oil from the sunken ships covered the beaches and reefs. Caustic substances like high octane aviation fuel, oils, gasoline and acid seep on many of the wrecks. Many wrecks contain unexploded ordnance including explosives, mines, detonators, torpedoes and shells.

Today
Truk Lagoon arguably has the world's best wreck diving because of numerous wrecks, excellent preservation and natural beauty at depths from the surface to over 200'. Divers are allowed to penetrate the shipwrecks but are forbidden from removing artifacts, remains or marine life. Fines and a possible jail sentence await those who disobey. The Trukese people strive to preserve the lagoon and wrecks as an underwater monument and attraction for dive tourism.

Shipwrecks
Kikukawa Maru  sunk October 7, 1943 after accidental fire/explosion into Truk Lagoon.
Ojima  sunk October 7, 1943 after accidental explosion into Truk Lagoon.
Kiyosumi Maru  sunk February 16, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Momokawa Maru  sunk February 16, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Reiyo Maru  sunk February 16, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Aikoku Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Amagisan Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Fujikawa Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Hanakawa Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Heian Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Nagano Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
I-169 "Shinohara" (I-69)  sunk April 4, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Hino Maru No.2  sunk April 30, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Kensho Maru  sunk April 30, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Rio De Janeiro Maru  sunk February 16, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
San Francisco Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Sankisan Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Seiko Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Tonan Maru No.3  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Fujisan Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Fumitsuki  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Gosei Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Hoki Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Hokuyo Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Hoyo Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Matsutani Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Taiho Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Yubae Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Nippo Maru  sunk February 18 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Unkai Maru No.6  sunk February 18, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Shinkoku Maru  sunk February 18, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Oite  sunk February 18, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Sapporo Maru  sunk May 29, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Patrol Boat No. 34  sunk July 3, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Futagami  sunk after September 1945 into Truk Lagoon.
Yamagiri Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.

Unidentified Shipwrecks
Gun High Wreck  sunk to the west of Uman Island into Truk Lagoon.
"Tugboat Wreck"  sunk into Truk Lagoon.

Unknown Shipwrecks
Taijun Maru sunk April 11, 1942 after catching fire into Truk Lagoon.
Kotohira Maru  sunk April 15, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Gyoraitei No. 10  sunk February 16, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Naka  sunk February 16, 1944 west of Truk Lagoon.
Tachikaze  sunk February 17, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Akagi Maru  sunk February 17, 1944 into the northern part of Truk Lagoon.
Minsei Maru  sunk during the night of April 29-30, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Katsuragisan Maru  sunk after hitting a sea mine in the northeast channel.
Hakushun Maru  sunk in Truk Lagoon.
Sub Chaser No. 29  sunk February 17, 1944 to the west of Truk Lagoon.
Sub Chaser No. 38  sunk April 30, 1944 into Truk Lagoon.
Sub Chaser No. 46  sunk April 5, 1944 sunk by B-24 Liberator.
Sub Chaser No. 66  sunk August 7, 1945 by B-29 Superfortress.

Sunken Aircraft
A6M Zero (Dublon)  ditched southeast of Dublon Island.
A6M Zero (Fefan)  crashed upside down near Fefan Island.
A6M Zero (Param)  crashed or ditched off Param Island.
H8K2 Emily (Dublon)  sunk at mooring off Dublon Seaplane Base.
G4M1 Betty  ditched into Truk Lagoon.
D4Y1 Judy (Eten)  crashed or ditched off Eten Island.
A6M Zero (Eten)  ditched into shallow water off Eten Island.
B6N2 Jill (Eten)  ditched northeast of Eten Island.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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