The Japanese oil tanker Shinkoku was possibly hit by
a torpedo fired by USS Peto SS 265. Shinkoku Maru made it to Singapore
for repairs. Afterwards, ordered to Truk Lagoon arriving on February 14, 1944.
On February 17, 1944 during "Operation Hailstone" the U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft attacks on Truk Lagoon this vessel was spotted and targeted as being anchored northwest of Fefan island. During Strike 1EY, attacked by an SBD Dauntless from USS Yorktown that scored a single bomb hit. Next, during Strike 3A targeted by six TBF Avengers from USS Bunker Hill that dropped torpedoes but all missed, possibly because the lagoon was too shallow at their drop point.
On February 18, 1944 during the early hours, attacked by TBF Avengers from USS Enterprise CV-6 that dropped a near miss bomb off the starboard side near the engine room causing a rupture in the hull and causes the vessel to sink into Truk Lagoon southeast of Dublon Island (Tonoas, Tonowas) and northeast of northeast of Eten Island at a relatively shallow depth. During the sinking, 86 died including 16 crew members. On March 31, 1944 officially removed from the Navy list under internal order No. 508.
The wreck features an operating room, bath and toilets
below bridge. Has a large deck guns aft and a smaller one forward.
Lots of personal effects on board. A sword and scabbard were discovered
once, and typewriters, telephones, records, bottles, and a chest
of hundreds (of worthless) aluminum Sen coins. She sits in 30-125' of water and was sunk by USS Bunker
Hill torpedo plane, after six shots initially missed the target. The
masts used to stick out of the water, but were removed to prevent ships
from snagging them. The wreck's location was then forgotten, and it
was rediscovered in 1971. Many types of fish live in this wreck and
has spacious storage area.
Combine Fleet - IJN Shinkoku Maru: Tabular Record of Movement
Lagoon of Lost Ships includes dive footage of this wreck in 1969
WWII Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon pages 156, 163, 165, 266, 284, 298, 368, 401, 446-448, 449 (profile), 450-451 (dive photos), 452, 460, 513 (index)
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August 4, 2020