Friday, May 17, 2019


WED 17 MAY 1944
TF 77 (Rear Admiral William M. Fechteler) lands Army 163d Regimental Combat Team (Reinforced) in Wakde-Toem area, New Guinea, preceded by cruiser and destroyer bombardment (Rear Admiral Russell S. Berkey, Captain Albert G. Noble) in Operation STRAIGHTLINE.

In an operation timed to coincide with the Wakde landings, planes from an Allied task force (Admiral James F. Somerville, RN) that includes carrier Saratoga (CV-3) and British carrier HMS Illustrious bomb Japanese shipping and harbor installations at Surabaya, Java, in Operation TRANSOM. British planes sink transport Shinrei Maru; Saratroga's damage Patrol Boat No.36, auxiliary submarine chasers Cha 107 and Cha 108, cargo ships Ch_ka Maru and Tencho Maru, and tanker Y_sei Maru.

Destroyers Frazier (DD-607) and Meade (DD-602) bombard Japanese defenses on Eniben Island, Maloelap Atoll, Marshalls.

Submarines Sand Lance (SS-381) and Tunny (SS-282) attack convoy 3503, the four Marus carrying Japanese soldiers earmarked for service at Yap and Palau, and the three escorts. Sand Lance torpedoes and sinks transport Taikoku Maru about 60 miles west of Saipan, 14°57'N, 144°47'E; Tunny torpedoes and sinks army cargo ship Nichiwa Maru west of the Marianas, 14°49'N, 142°39'E. Sand Lance torpedoes army cargo ship Fukko Maru, 14°49'N, 142°23'E when she stops to pick up Nichiwa Maru's survivors. Although destroyer Minazuki and submarine chasers Ch 31 and Ch 32 claim the destruction of Sand Lance and Tunny, both boats survive enemy depth-chargings.

USAAF P-38s, P-39s and P-40s carry out sweeps for targets in the Bismarck Archipelago; these operations may account for the sinking of Japanese guardboat Zuiho Maru off Duke of York Isle, 04°12'S, 152°20'E.

Destroyers Gleaves (DD-423), Hilary P. Jones (DD-427), Ellyson (DD-454), Hambleton (DD-455), Rodman (DD-456), Emmons (DD-457), Macomb (DD-458), Nields (DD-616), and RAF Wellington (No. 36 Squadron) sink German submarine U-616 in western Mediterranean, 37°52'N, 00°11'E. U-960 attacks Ellyson without success (see 19 May 1944).

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