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The Sasebo-Nagasaki

Deathtrap


On October 17, 1944, the submarines USS Escolar (SS-294), the USS Croaker (SS-246), and the USS Perch (SS-313) were working together as the wolf pack “Millican’s Marauders” in the East China Sea. The pack was named after its senior officer, Commander William J. Millican, captain of the Escolar. On October 18th Millican notified the Perch via radio that he was moving west toward the Sasebo-Nagasaki area because he could not find any targets in his present area. It would be the last message anyone ever received from Millican. When the Escolar did not report to Midway when expected, she was posted as overdue from patrol and presumed lost. There are several perplexing possible explanations for her loss, none of which offer conclusive evidence. One possibility does seem more probable considering the area Millican said she was headed into, which was one of the most heavily mined areas in Empire waters. Even though he knew the locations of existing minefields from data in captured intelligence documents and FRUPAC intercepts, the one thing he could not know was the locations of “floaters” – unmoored mines made free to roam through “safe” waters. It is very probable the Escolar hit one of these thus bringing an abrupt end to her first patrol. She and the 82 souls she carries sailed into eternity.

USS Escolar

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