Daily Event for January 1, 2013

The Nagoya Maru was a Japanese passenger/cargo ship built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki in 1932. She was 406' long and registered at 6,049 tons, her single screw could propel her at a top speed of about 16 knots. In early 1941 she was taken up by the navy and converted into a submarine tender. She supplied Japanese submarines until April of 1942 when she was converted into an aircraft transport. This ship, like much of the Japanese merchant fleet would not survive the war.

The U.S. war effort finally caught up with her on January 1, 1944. On that date she was en route from Truk to Yokosuka in a three ship convoy that was escorted by three ships including the destroyer Ikazuchi. At 0000 hours the convoy was sighted by USS Herring SS-233. After moving his boat into a favorable position for an attack, which took some three hours, Lieutenant Commander Raymond W. Johnson emptied all six of his bow tubes at the convoy firing at the two leading freighters. Unable to visually locate the escorts, Johnson remained on the surface and headed away toward the southwest at top speed.

Johnson reported seeing three hits on the enemy ships, two on the lead ship and one on the second in line. Not having reliable information I can not say for sure if two ships were hit, but it is known that Nagoya Maru took at least one torpedo. Even though the seas were high, the crew managed to slow the influx of water and keep her afloat. By the next day her fate was sealed and Nagoya Maru capsized and sank about 210 miles SSE of the city of Nagoya, Japan taking one hundred and twenty-one men to the bottom. The survivors were picked up by Ikazuchi.

Johnson submerged to reload his tubes and could hear depth charges in the distance, none were even close. The Japanese apparently had no idea where the attack came from and were dropping the depth charges randomly in the hope they could shake something to the surface. A little over an hour after the attack Johnson surfaced with fresh fish in his bow, but the coming dawn made a second attack out of the question, so he submerged again and brought in the New Year in relative comfort and safety.

Herring was now at the end of her sixth war patrol, after rendezvousing with Scorpion SS-278 on the 6th in an attempt to take on a wounded man, which failed due to high seas, Herring returned to Midway arriving on the 8th.

Receiving a new Commanding Officer on Feb. 6, 1944 Herring made one further patrol, but was lost on her eight war patrol on June 1, 1944 just off Matsuwa Island in the Kurlies. After sinking two ships, Hiburi Maru and Iwaki Maru, she was hit by shore batteries and sunk with all hands.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock