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Armed Merchant Cruiser
527' 7" x 66' 3" x 28' 10"
4 x 150mm guns
2 x 80mm guns
2 x 4 13mm AA guns
2x4 torpedo tubes
2 x E7K Alf floatplanes
Peter Ording 2000
On October 31, 1941 departs Okayama bound for Kure.
On April 30, 1942 arrives Penang with Hokoku Maru to support "A detachment" submarines I-10, I-16, I-18, I-20 and I-30 for operations in the western Indian Ocean. On May 5, 1942 departs Penang with Hokoku Maru.
On April 5, 1943 assigned to captain Shojiro Mizusaki.
On October 20, 1943 assigned to captain Yoshizo Nakamaruo.
On February 16, 1944 anchored in Truk Lagoon inside the 4th Fleet anchorage on the east side of Dublon Island. Immediately, the ship began loading munitions bound for Rabaul. Aboard were 400 troops from Japanese Navy 1st Amphibious Brigade who were billeted in the aft cargo hold no. 4, which was converted into makeshift quarters.
At roughly 8:30am, TBM Avenger 25270 dropped an aerial torpedo that impacted the ship's no. 1 cargo hold and detonates stored ordnance. The resulting explosion nearly shears off the entire fore ship and claims the attacking Avenger in the blast. Aboard, many of the crew and passengers were killed instantly by the shock wave.
The ship sank in only two minutes at roughly Lat 7° 22' N, Long 151° 56E. Aboard, captain Nakamaruo, 945 crew, passengers and 400 troops went down with the ship. On March 30, 1944 officially removed from the Navy List and Captain Nakamaruo was posthumously promoted to Rear Admiral.
Recovery of Remains
Today, the forward section of ship disintegrated during the explosion. The interior may be penetrated at great risk due to silt and debris.
Peter Ording adds:
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