28 Apr 1943

Philippines
  • American submarine USS Gudgeon spotted the 17,526-ton Japanese troop carrier Kamakura Maru sailing unescorted in the Sulu Sea 15 miles southwest of Naso Point, panay Island, Philippine Islands. Gudgeon fired a spread of four torpedoes at the Japanese vessel at 3,200 yards range. After two minutes there were two explosions. The Kamakura Maru was hit twice on her starboard side at the No. 4 hold where fuel and vehicles immediately catch fire which rapidly spread. Twelve minutes after the strike there was an explosion and the ship upended and sank by the stern. The US submarine passed through the area where the ship sank and reported a dozen lifeboats and floating debris and a large amount of people in the water. The Japanese crew failed to send out a distress signal before the ship sank, thus no one suspected its loss until 3 May 1945. The Kamakura Maru was the largest Japanese troopship sunk in the war; over 2,000 lives were lost with this sinking. ww2dbase [Gudgeon | Sulu Sea | HM]
3 May 1943

Philippines
  • Having failed to make port call at Balikpapan, Borneo, Dutch East Indies, the Japanese realized that the troop carrier Kamakura Maru might had been lost while en route from Manila, Philippines (she was indeed sunk by submarine USS Gudgeon on 28 Apr 1943). Search and rescue efforts were launched immediately, but after more than 4 days in the water, many had already perished. Only 28 out of the 176 crew and only 437 of the about 2,500 passengers were rescued. ww2dbase [Sulu Sea | HM]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Winston Churchill