15th March 1943
US submarines dealt a heavy blow to whatever operation the Japanese were carrying out in the Solomons. Heavy maritime traffic was reported entering and leaving Munda with a mass of fast transports, destroyers and APDs spotted. Intelligence also reported a mass redeployment of the 38th Infantry Divison from Guadalcanal to somewhere else, at the moment it was moving to Lunga, no doubt to be loaded on bigger transports. An interception by a squadron of PT boats met disaster at the hands of a powerful covering force of two battleships and several heavy cruisers. At least one carrier, identified as the Hiyo, was also covering the operation. Enter the Silent Service.
Two submarines, the SS Salmon and the venerable S-18 both struck at the fleet support train supplying fuel to the enemy ships in the Southern Solomons. First the Salmon struck the Japanese oiler Toei Maru with two torpedoes with one explosion that set off a massive fire as fuel reacted to the flames created by the exploding warhead.
The smaller, but carrying more reliable torpedoes, S-18 also successfully engaged the fleet train by severely damaging the 7,000 ton AO Ondo. Once again the gratifying sight of full bunkers going up in flames was seen through the periscope of the skipper on the S-18.
A third tanker was sunk of Miri, Borneo by the SS Searaven. Miri is no doubt one of the Empire’s fule hubs and as such will soon have a standing wolf pack patrolling its approaches.
Finally the SS Runner successfully attacked a convoy heading into Truk for the second consecutive day. If it was the Celebes Maru yesterday, today it was the turn of the 4,875 ton Atlantic Maru to receive a torpedo deep in her guts! These latest victims make 74,695 tons of enemy shipping sunk or destroyed in a week!