WWII Wrecks In Chuuk Microneisa: Most Popular Wrecks of Truk Lagoon
Truk Lagoon has over 60 wrecks, many only recently discovered.
Ships, aircraft, battle tanks, vehicles, and a large assortment of World War II armament.
Some of them took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor and Midway Island operation.
Listed below are a selection from the most popular wrecks of Truk Lagoon.
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SAN FRANCISCO MARU The San Francisco Maru was built in 1919. When World War II began she was taken out of semi-retirement by the Japanese Navy and pressed into service carrying military cargo.
One of the San Francisco's most striking features are the three Japanese Type-95 light tanks that still remain on her deck. The Type-95 tank was manned by a crew of three. It possessed 1/2 inch armor. It weighed 7.5 tons and carried one 37 MM main gun and 2-7MM machine guns. It was powered by a six cylinder air cooled diesel engine which could propel the tank up to 30 mph.
During "Operation Hailstone", the San Francisco Maru was damaged by dive bombers and photos show her stern on fire before she finally sank.
The San Francisco Maru was discovered in 1972. The wreck sits upright. The cargo holds contain sea mines, torpedoes, bombs, artillery, aircraft engines, anti-tank and small arms munitions, and many other artifacts.
LENGTH: 385 Ft. / 117m
Superstructure: 150 Ft./45.7m
Deck: 165 Ft./50m
Bottom: 205 Ft./63m
Gross Tonnage: 5,831 tons
San Francisco Maru
HEIAN MARU The Heian Maru was built in 1930 as a large passenger cargo liner. Her maiden voyage was from Hong Kong to Seattle. While on a routine voyage in August 1941, she was abruptly recalled to Japan. Upon her return, the Japanese Navy converted the ship for use as a submarine tender.
It is the largest ship in Truk Lagoon.
The Heian Maru was sunk on the second day of "Operation Hailstone". A torpedo struck her amidships and because of damage already sustained during the earlier raids, the Heian Maru sank quickly.
The Heian Maru lies on her port side. The cargo of the Heian Maru
contains many of the deadly efficient Japanese Long Lance Torpedoes, as well as submarine periscopes. Many artifacts can be found throughout this wreck.
LENGTH: 509 Ft. / 155m
Hull: 40 Ft./12m
Bottom: 120 Ft./36m
Gross Tonnage: 11,614 tons
AIKOKU MARU The Aikoku Maru functioned as a submarine tender, cargo and troop transport ship. On the day of the attack, she was carrying various high explosives in her forward holds including ammunition, aerial bombs, mines and her own shells.
A large anti-aircraft gun is located on top of the aft deckhouse.
The explosion that destroyed the Aikoku Maru was so violent it also destroyed the attacking U.S. Navy aircraft.
LENGTH: 498 Ft. / 151m
Superstructure: 130 Ft./40m
Deck: 160 Ft./49m
Bottom: 210 Ft./64m
Gross Tonnage: 10,437 tons
AMAGISAN MARU The Amagisan Maru was originally constructed as a cargo/passenger ship. The Japanese Navy acquired the ship in 1943 and used it as a special transport.
In February 1942, she sustained damage during a torpedo attack by a U.S. Navy sub. During "Operation Hailstone" the Amagisan Maru was sunk by bombs and aerial torpedo.
Among her most interesting features are the pilot house, a bow gun, torpedo holes, staff cars, and on the sea floor, a tank truck.
The Amagisan Maru was discovered in 1973.
LENGTH: 450 Ft. / 136m
Superstructure: 100 Ft./30m
Deck: 120 Ft./37m
Bottom: 200 Ft./61m
Gross Tonnage: 7,620 tons
The Shinkoku Maru was built in 1939. Her first voyages were to carry oil from the United States to Japan, prior to the embargo.
The Japanese Navy converted her to a fleet oiler and Shinkoku Maru's most noteworthy mission was her participation in the Pearl Harbor attack as part of Admiral Nagumo's strike force.
In August 1942, she was torpedoed and damaged by an American submarine. She was at anchor in Truk Lagoon at the time of "Operation Hailstone". She survived two days of attacks and two aerial torpedo hits before she finally sank.
The bow gun of the Sinkoku Maru is heavily encrusted with colorful coral, and this wreck is a wonderful night dive. The soft corals and hydroids are quite beautiful. And her operating room is the only one in Truk Lagoon. LENGTH: 500 Ft. / 152m
Superstructure: 40 Ft./12m
Deck: 65 Ft./20m
Bottom: 125 Ft./38m
Gross Tonnage: 10,020 tons
KANSHO MARU The Kansho Maru was built in 1938.
The Japanese Navy took control of the ship when the war began and she was put to work shuttling supplies between Japan and the Marshall Islands. Eventually she was retrofitted with a deck gun and augmented with a Naval Gun Crew and Medical Staff for transporting the wounded.
Just prior to the "Operation Hailstone" attack, Kansho Maru was in Kwajalein Atoll delivering supplies when she was bombed by carrier aircraft and took a hit to her engine room. Unable to get underway, Kansho was towed to Truk by the Momokawa Maru.
Both ships were in Truk Lagoon when the U.S. Navy attack began and both were sunk. The Kansho Maru was struck by at least one bomb and an aerial torpedo.
The Kansho Maru sits upright with a slight list to port.
LENGTH: 384 Ft. / 116m
Superstructure: 60 Ft./18m
Deck: 80 Ft./24m
Bottom: 130 Ft./39m
Gross Tonnage: 4,862 tons
SUBMARINE I-169 The I-169 was launched in 1934 and participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
It was renamed for her last Commanding Officer LCDR Shinohara, the only survivor of her ill fated crew,
and was ultimately converted to an underwater transport. Her large size and long range made her perfect for this duty. After the fall of Saipan, it was one of the few ships that could keep Truk re supplied.
The I-169 was lost during an American air attack after the original "Operation Hailstone" raid. During the attack she attempted to dive to avoid damage, in the rush, the crew failed to close the main induction valve and she flooded her forward compartments causing the submarine to sink itself.
Attempts were made to salvage her. It was discovered that some crewmen had survived the sinking. But due to various problems, the rescue and salvage failed. All hands were lost, with the exception of her Commanding Officer, who was ashore when the attack began.
The Japanese later attempted to destroy her with depth charges in order to keep her top secret codes from falling into Allied hands.
LENGTH: 336 Ft./ 102m
Bottom: 144 Ft./44m
Gross Tonnage: 1,400 tons
The Fujikawa Maru was built in 1938 by the Mitsubishi Company as a passenger and cargo carrier.
The Japanese Navy took possession of her in December 1940 and converted the ship to an aircraft ferry. The conversion included a compliment of six inch guns on her bow and stern. These guns were remnants from the Russo-Japanese War.
Just prior to "Operation Hailstone", Fujikawa Maru arrived in Truk and off loaded thirty "Jill" B5N2 bombers onto Eten Airfield. Since these aircraft had been disassembled for shipment, they were unable to help defend Truk and were destroyed on the ground.
The cargo hold still contain Zero fighters.
Today the Fujikawa Maru has an abundance of colorful soft coral and large formations of hard corals. It is regarded by many divers as the most popular wreck of Truk Lagoon.
LENGTH: 433 Ft. / 132m
Superstructure: 30 Ft./9m
Deck: 60 Ft./18m
Bottom: 112 Ft./34m
Gross Tonnage: 6,938 tons
The Gosei Maru was built in 1937 as a coastal freighter.
The Japanese Navy acquired the ship and utilized it as a supply ship for Sixth Fleet submarines. She carried torpedoes and depth charges.
In 1976 many of her torpedoes were destroyed to eliminate possibility of detonation. During "Operation Hailstone", Gosei Maru was sunk by a torpedo. She now lies on a slope. The depth ranges from 8 feet at the stern to 100 feet at the bow.
The rudder and propeller of the Gosei Maru make for excellent photographic subjects.
LENGTH: 269 Ft. / 82m
Hull: 8 Ft./2.4m
Bottom: 100 Ft./31m
Gross Tonnage: 1,931 tons
The Hoki Maru was built in 1921. Originally christened the British-New Zealand ship M/V Hauraki, under the ownership of the Union Steamship Corporation of
When hostilities began on December 7, 1941 Hauraki was on a run from Fremantle, Australia to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The ship was captured by Imperial Japan's Aikoku and Hokoku Maru (also sunk at Truk).
The crew of the M/V Hauraki were interned in the Ofuna Work Camp until their liberation in 1945.
The Japanese renamed the ship the Hoki Maru on December 31, 1942 and designated her as a special transport for war material.
In late January 1944, she left Yokohama with coal, supplies and personnel for Truk. Much of the construction equipment in her holds is thought to have been captured in the Philippine Islands.
The wreck of the Hoki Maru sits upright with a slight list to port. The cargo includes Caterpillar tractors, stack bed trucks, tow tractor, dump trucks, steam roller, and other construction vehicles. Other artifacts include aircraft engines and propellers, ship propellers, bombs and their fuses, and many other items.
LENGTH: 450 Ft. / 137m
Superstructure: 110 Ft./33m
Deck: 150 Ft./45m
Bottom: 175 Ft./53m
Gross Tonnage: 7,112 tons
SANKISAN MARU The Sankisan Maru was built in 1942 as a passenger transport. The Japanese Navy acquired control of her in October 1943 and converted the ship to a military transport for use in moving special cargo.
Her sunken cargo contains aircraft engines, medical supplies, and several trucks. This is a popular dive and is frequently visited. Her deck has large anemones and her masts contain heavy growth of soft coral.
The Sankisan Maru is one of the most interesting wrecks in Truk Lagoon. The entire aft section of the ship is completely gone and it is thought that a bomb explosion
in the ammunition laden aft hold, led to her sinking.
LENGTH: 367 Ft. / 112m
Deck: 50 Ft./15
Bottom: 80 Ft./24m
Gross Tonnage: 4,776 tons
RIO DE JANEIRO MARU The Rio de Janeiro Maru was built in 1931 as a passenger ship. During peace time the Rio De Janeiro was a passenger and cargo vessel traveling around the world.
In 1940 the Imperial Japanese Navy converted the ship to a submarine tender providing service to the submarines of the Combined Fleet.
After 1943, as the number Japanese submarines had been substantially reduced, the Rio de Janeiro Maru was reclassified as a transport and based in Truk.
During the "Operation Hailstone" attack, the Rio de Janeiro Maru was struck with at least one bomb. She was reported on fire and thought to have sunk on the first day.
The ship lies on her starboard side. It rests on an incline with the stern deeper than the bow. The propellers, rudder, and large stern gun are excellent photo subjects.
LENGTH: 463 Ft. / 141m
Hull: 40-80 Ft./12-24m
Bottom: 115 Ft./35m
Gross Tonnage: 9,626 tons
Rio de Janeiro Maru
UNKAI MARU The Unkai Maru was built in 1905 by the
W. Grey Shipyard of England as the freighter S/S Venus. The ship was sold in 1911 to the Japanese Nakamura Kisen Line for use by the Japanese Navy as a general cargo transport.
Unkai Maru survived several attacks during "Operation Hailstone" before being sunk. She was struck by an aerial torpedo and later by bombs. The fires and flooding finally put her on the bottom where she sits upright.
The Unkai Maru is one of the oldest ships in Truk Lagoon.
LENGTH: 305 Ft. / 93m
Superstructure: 80 Ft./ 24m
Deck: 100 Ft./30m
Bottom: 130 Ft./40m
Gross Tonnage: 3,220 tons
YAMAGIRI MARU The Yamagiri Maru was built in 1938. In 1941 the Japanese Imperial Navy converted her to a military transport for use in moving special cargo.
The ship saw service transporting war material between the Solomon's and the Caroline Islands until she was hit with two torpedoes from the submarine USS Drum in 1943. The repair of this damage can still be seen on the port side of hold number two.
One of the Yamagiri Maru's most interesting features are the huge armor piercing shells contained in her cargo.
The Yamagiri Maru was sunk by dive bombers that reported several hits and left a huge hole amidships that proved fatal to the ship. She now rests on her port side with the pilot house accessible to divers.
LENGTH: 439 Ft. / 133m
30 - 50 Ft./ 9 - 18m
Bottom: 110 Ft./34m
Gross Tonnage: 6,438 tons
The Nippo Maru was built in 1936. Her peacetime duties consisted of carrying bananas from Taiwan to Japan.
In 1941 the Japanese Navy pressed her into service as a water transport. As such, she was stationed in Truk to carry water from Dublon Island to the outlying islands where fresh water was scarce.
During "Operation Hailstone", the Nippo Maru was attacked with a salvo of bombs. Her main features include a light tank and artillery pieces on her deck.