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The Kuri Expedition


On October 25, 1944, after the escort frigate CD-34 had pulled Commander Richard H. O’Kane and eight USS Tang crewmen out of the Formosa Strait, it accurately mapped the sunken submarine’s geographic location. The Tang had settled on the sea bottom at a depth of less than 100 feet. In early November 1944, the Secret Secretariat Order No. 021619 was issued to empower an expedition to re-float the submarine and recover her secret code materials. The expedition consisted of the IJN Momi-class destroyer Kuri, the converted rescue vessels Kasuga Maru and Nabari Maru, and two medium-sized sampans from Amoy. On November 15, 1944, the Kuri located the Tang’s wreck at the geographic position 25° 02′ 06″ N, 119° 15′ 00" E. During the next two weeks, weather conditions interfered with diving operations. On November 28th, the Tang’s bow was marked with a buoy. On the 29th, the diving team was able to explore the exterior of the Tang’s wreck on the bottom of the Formosa Strait for the first time. They did not enter the interior of the submarine. By this time American B-25 and B-29 bombers were being sighted in the skies above the expedition more frequently. In addition, the weather conditions were worsening and growing more dangerous. Therefore, on November 26th the expedition was aborted temporarily and the small expeditionary squadron returned to Amoy. They had planned to re-visit the Tang wreck site in 1945, but the fortunes of war had other plans for the secret expeditionary force and the Empire.

USS Tang

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