San Francisco Maru
The San Francisco Maru was built in 1919 by the Kawasaki Dockyard as a medium freighter for the Yamashista Kisen Line. Her design was the result of a need to rapidly replace ships sunk by German U-boats in World War I and was the predecessor to the famed “Liberty Ship.” When the war began she was taken out of semi-retirement by the Japanese Navy and pressed into service carrying cargo.
One of San Francisco’s highlights are the three Japanese Type-95 “Ha-Go” light tanks that still remain on her deck. The Type-95 tank was built by Mitsubishi and was manned by a crew of three. It possessed ½ inch armor weighed in at 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 the “Hailstone” attack, San Francisco Maru was damaged by dive bombers and photos show her stern ablaze before she finally sank. The San Francisco Maru was discovered in 1972 by Sam Redford and now rests at a maximum depth of 220 fsw at her stern.
San Francisco Maru:
- Displacement: 5,864 tons;
- Length: 385 feet;
- Beam: 51 feet;
- Engine: 1 reciprocal steam/coal;
- Max Speed: 14.3 kts.
- Launched: 1 MAR 1919. Crew: 40.