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CH-34 Class Subchaser

Ship History
Built at Harima Zosensho K. K. as CH-34 Class Subchaser, CH-39. Laid down May 26, 1942. Launched October 31, 1942. Later during 1942, completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District.


On February 10, 1942 arrives at Truk then proceeds to Palau to join "Convoy SO-903" with Tatsukiku Maru, Shinto Maru No. 1 and Sanko Maru towing HA-52 midget submarine escorted by subchasers CH-22 and CHA-16 bound for Rabaul. During the voyage, Sanko Maru towing HA-52 escorted by subchaser CH-39 detaches from the convoy off Mussau Island and proceeds towards Kavieng.

Sinking History
On February 16, 1944 off Three Island Harbor on the northeast side of New Hanover, the Sanko Maru towing HA-52 escorted by CH-39 were spotted and attacked by B-25 Mitchells from the 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron and strafed sink Sanko Maru and damage HA-52.

Later that afternoon, the same B-25 return and again strafe CH-39 sunk by the stern grounded on a coral reef and abandoned. They bomb and strafe the subchaser, exploding it and again attack HA-52 midget submarine. On February 17, 1944 the B-25s return and claim the HA-52 midget submarine was still on the surface and was again bombed, strafed and claimed as sunk. On April 30, 1945 CH-39 was officially removed from the Navy list.

The wreck of CH-39 remains on a coral reef.

Don Fetterly adds in 2000:
"Sub chaser CH-39 I have been looking for this wreck and have done all the islands around the Kavieng and have not been successful. I myself was wondering if it was infact the sub chaser at New Hanover as both photos look similar. I have just returned from New Hanover and dived the Sanyo Maru, mini sub along with the sub chaser and gun boat mentioned in Warpath Across the Pacific. It was fantastic to hold the photo in your hand and manever the vessel to the exact position where the photo was taken."

References - IJN Subchaser CH-39: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
April 29, 2020


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