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  Hirokawa Maru (Bonegi 1)
IJN
Cargo

? Tons
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November 15, 1942

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1943

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Albert Stoltzman 1943

Wartime History
Part of a convoy of eleven transports: Arizona Maru, Kumagawa Maru, Sado Maru, Nagara Maru, Nako Maru, Canberra Maru, Brisbane Maru, Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamatsuki Maru escorted by twelve destroyers.

On November 13, 1942 departed Shortland and steamed down "The Slot" bound for Guadalcanal. Although scheduled to arrive during the night of November 13, 1942, the convoy was recalled to Shortland, due to the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

During the afternoon of November 13, 1942 the convoy again departed Shortland again bound for Guadalcanal. Spotted by American aircraft, air attacks began hitting the convoy during the morning of November 14, and overwhelmed the escorting Japanese aircraft and sank six transports and forced one to turn back damaged, and later sank.

The remaining four transports and four destroyers continued to Guadalcanal. After nightfall, they stopped to the west of Guadalcanal, awaiting the conclusion of the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Sinking History
On November 15, 1942 at 4:00am, the remaining four transports Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamatsuki Maru beached themselves on western Guadalcanal. Kinugawa Maru beached the furthest to the east at Bonegi.

Beginning at 5:55am, American aircraft from Henderson Field and elsewhere plus field artillery bombarded the ships. Later, destroyer USS Meade approached and opened fire for an hour with 5" shells, leaving them "blazing with many internal explosions."

These attacks set all four transports afire and destroyed most equipment not unloaded before dawn. Most of their ammunition and food supplies were lost. Approximately 2,000 troops with 260 cases of ammunition and 1,500 bags of rice made ashore.

Shipwreck
Hirokawa Maru was sunk off Bonegi to the east of Kinugawa Maru. Locally known as "Bonegi 1", "Bonegi No. 1" or "Bonegi One". The shipwreck rests with her mangled bow in shallow water with her amidships section is fairly intact. Her stern at 180' / 55m is covered with gun cartridges and deteriorated.

Well broken up by enemy bombing, she is now covered in soft and hard coral growth. A deck gun is still recognizable. Penetration of this wreck is not advised because deterioration leaves the wreckage unstable.

Jeff Johnson adds:
"There's a lot of spent cartridges and broken glass about, but it looks as though the wreck was picked clean long ago by souvenir hunters. Today, it has badly deteriorated."

References
CombinedFleet - IJA AA Transport HIROKAWA MARU Tabular Record of Movement
Solomon Islands Diving "Bonegi One" by Mike McCoy via WayBack Machine January 3, 2004

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

SCUBA
55m stern

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