MON 28 FEB 1944Extensive research indicates the transport is the Shoho Maru. Her story:
Destroyer Abner Read (DD-526) is damaged by grounding off eastern New Guinea, 08°44'S, 148°27'E.
Submarine Sand Lance (SS-381) sinks Japanese transport Kaiko Maru just east of Musashi Wan, off Paramushiro, Kurils, 50°20'N, 155°26'E, but is later damaged when she runs aground off Paramushiro.
Submarine Balao (SS-285), in attack on Japanese convoy, sinks army cargo ship Akiura Maru and transport Sh_h_ [sic] Maru about 90 miles northwest of Manokwari, New Guinea, 00°06'N, 132°53'E.
Laid down by Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. Kobe Zosensho (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kobe Shipbuilding Yard) as a 2,723-ton cargo ship.
2 November 1940:
Launched and named SHOHO MARU.
8 March 1941:
Completed for Towa Kisen K.K., Kobe.
1 January 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Alloted IJA No. 875.
27 February 1944:
SHOHO MARU departs Halmahera, Moluccas for Manokawari, New Guinea in an unknown convoy also consisting of passenger-cargo AKIURO MARU and freighter TOYO MARU and an unidentified escort.
LtCdr Cyrus C. Cole’s SS BALAO (SS–285) sights smoke on the horizon and commences tracking the three ships and escort.
28 February 1944:
About 90 miles NW of Manokawari, New Guinea. Shortly after midnight, BALAO goes to battle stations and closes for attack. After firing her six bow tubes at the lead ship, she swings her stern toward the wing ships in the formation and fires her stern tubes. BALAO hears several explosions at the expected times, as torpedo after torpedo strikes home.
One of the ships trains a 3 in (76 mm) gun on BALAO, but a heavy internal explosion silences the gun before BALAO can be hit.
29 February 1944:
TOYO MARU picks up survivors and carries them to Manokawari.
Postwar study of Japanese shipping records identifies her victims as 2,723 ton SHOHO MARU, 34 men KIA, and 6,803-ton AKIURO MARU, 497 troops, 10 gunners and 55 crewmen KIA. Both ships sank at 00-15N, 132-53E.
© 2017 Bob Hackett
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TUE 29 FEB 1944
TG 76.1 (Rear Admiral William M. Fechteler), comprising nine destroyers and three high speed transports, lands Army troops (First Cavalry Division) on Los Negros Island, Admiralty Islands,
in Operation BREWER, continuing the strategic encirclement of Rabaul.
The first wave of US troops lands on Los Negros, Admiralty Islands, 29 February 1944
The two light cruisers and four destroyers of TF 74 provide cover and bombard Japanese positions on Los Negros and Manus.
Destroyer Division 44 (Commander James R. Pahl) bombards wharf areas and installations at Rabaul.
PB4Y-1s (VB 108, VB 109, VD 3), flying from Apamama and staging through Kwajalein and Roi, carry out low-level bombing raid on Japanese installations on Wake Island.
Submarine Rock (SS-274), while making a night surface attack on a convoy of three Japanese freighters, is damaged by surface gunfire off Nansei Shoto Islands, 25°33'N, 130°42'E, and is forced to terminate her patrol.
Submarine Sargo (SS-188) attacks Japanese convoy and damages army cargo ship Uchide Maru about 120 miles west of Palau, 08°57'N, 132°52'E (see 1 and 2 March 1944).
Submarine Trout (SS-202) attacks Guam-bound Japanese convoy about 625 miles east of Formosa. She sinks army transport Sakito Maru southeast of Okinawa, 22°40'N, 131°50'E, and damages transport Aki Maru, but Trout is later sunk, most probably by Japanese destroyer Asashimo, 22°40'N, 131°45'E.
USAAF B-25s sink Japanese merchant tow boat Choka Maru on the Yangtze near Chiuhsienchen.
USAAF B-24s damage Japanese cargo ship Narita Maru 45 miles east of Hollandia.
Tank landing ship LST-197 is damaged by shore battery off Anzio.