22nd February 1943
SS Trigger reports in with one of the least expected reports of the war.
She had engaged, and sunk, a troop transport on a SE heading off the Home Islands a couple of days ago. COMSUBPAC had ordered the Trigger to continue to track the convoy south east, assuming the troops were enroute to reinforcing either Marcus Island or the Northern Marshalls. After two days on zero contact, SS Trigger’s sonar comes alive with a mass of contacts just North of Marcus Island. Her skipper assumed that COMSUBPAC had been correct in their assumption that Marcus was being reinforced. Recon of Marcus Island had not suggested anything by the Trigger ploughed on regardless. Reacting to the contacts, her skipper ordered her four forward tubes flooded and the boat settled at periscope depth. The sight the confronted him highlighted just how wrong COMSUBPAC actually was. Smack in the centre of his sights was a heavy fleet carrier of the IJN, the Shokaku.
The order to fire was issued and he could feel the palpable tension in the crew as he named the target! Four torpedoes sped true towards the enemy behemoth. The Trigger had unknowingly and unwittingly found herself within the protective destroyer ring and in an optimum firing position. The seconds on the firing clock ticked away as the torpedoes sped towards the carrier. 2 minutes later a loud rumbling was heard in the water, and the Trigger, now diving deep into the dark depths, had scored one terrific hit amidships on the carrier.
Though she had dived deep, she wasnt deep enough. Destroyers soon zeroed on her position and the depth charges rained vengefully on her. She was attacked for three hours and once the noise and the vibrations subsided the emergency repair teams went to work. She was 30% flooded and several systems had been knocked out. The Chief ensured that a 10 knot submerged speed could be maintained but the nearest friendly port must be made soon if the boat was to be saved. A course was immediately set for Wake Island!
Despite the damage to the boast, Trigger’s crew had delivered two valuable pieces of information. The damaging of another enemy fleet carrier, and the location of a large number of enemy capital ships near Marcus Island.