Daily Event for October 12, 2011

The cargo ship Deike Rickmers was launched at Rickmers shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany on Feb. 15, 1908, she was 367' long and had a beam of 47' and registered at 4,176 tons. In 1917 she was sold to Chinese owners and remained in Chinese hands until 1926 when she was sold to Dairen Kisen KK in Japan and renamed Toko Maru. Her end came while being used as a transport by the Imperial Japanese government on October 12, 1944.

USS Ray SS-271 was on her 6th war patrol and under the command of Commander William T. Kinsella when he located a three ship convoy just off the northwest coast of Mindoro Island. Ray was submerged and Kinsella sighted the ships by periscope, one transport and two destroyers. He fired four torpedoes from the bow tubes from periscope depth and two of them hit Toko Maru, Kinsella reported that he saw the ship explode through his periscope. Ray and her crew survived the expected depth charge attack that followed and escaped, but two days later Ray almost sank herself.

A Japanese aircraft was sighted so the boat submerged, but the upper conning tower hatch jammed or was not closed correctly, as the boat went down, water entered through the semi-open hatch. Kinsella, who was by now in the control room, ordered the lower conning tower hatch closed, trapping the men still in the conning tower. Kinsella then ordered the boat to surface, regardless of the fact that an enemy plane was in the area, he was not about to drown his men. When the boat broke the surface the conning tower was more than half flooded, but all men survived.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock

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