The Yamagiri Maru was built in 1938 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as passenger/cargo carrier for the Yamashita Kisen Line. The Japanese Navy took control of her in September 1941 and converted her to a military transport for use in moving special cargo.
The ship saw service transporting war material between the Solomons and the Caroline Islands until she was hit with two torpedoes from the USS Drum in 1943. The repair of this damage can still be seen on the port side of hold number two.
The Yamagiri Maru’s most interesting feature are the huge 18.1 inch armor piercing shells she carried for the IJN dreadnoughts Yamato and Mushashi. These guns where the largest ever made and surpass even the 16 inch guns of the USS Missouri, site of the Japanese surrender. Each shell weighs 3219 lbs and could be hurled 23 miles. The “Hailstone” strike force had hoped to sink these ships in Truk, but they had wisely departed after being alerted by an earlier reconnaissance flight.
The Yamagiri Maru was sunk by dive bombers from the carriers USS Yorktown and Bunker Hill. They reported several hits and left a huge hole amidships that certainly finished off Yamagiri Maru. She now lies in 110 fsw.
- Displacement: 6,439 tons
- Length: 436.4 feet
- Beam: 58.3 feet
- Engine: 1 MAN diesel
- Max Speed: 17 kts
- Launched: 3 MAY 1939.