Timothy A. answered 07/07/19
Don't go to any college - go to the RIGHT college for you. Talk to me
In July of 1942 the US Army Transport Arcata was indeed functioning and classified as a troop ship but she was an old small one and not carrying any troops at the time. She had a crew of 29 and was carrying four additional passengers that day. Three of the passengers were US Navy and one was a civilian, and so there was a total complement of 33 on board at the time of the sinking. On the day in question, July 14, 1942, she was on her way from Bethel, Alaska to Seattle Washington and the attack took place just off Alaska's Kamchatka peninsula.. The Arcata was actually a re-branded former merchant ship launched in 1919 as the SS Glymont, but converted to the Arcata and Army service after the war started in 1941. By 1942, she was considered an aging small coastal freighter past her prime and only 88 feet in length but still useful for coastal resupply. Even the Japanese didn't think she was worth a torpedo however, and so the commander of Japanese submarine I-7 who sank her boldly surfaced and simply engaged her with his deck gun and some machine guns instead. Records disagree a bit as to the details of what happened next. The shellfire clearly killed one sailor outright after a direct hit on the bridge. The order was then given to abandon ship, and the remaining crew, some wounded, all loaded into rafts. During this time machine gun fire from the submarine continued and at least some bullets hit in and around the rafts, leading the survivors to claim later they were machine-gunned in the rafts. The Japanese Captain however later logged that he ceased fire once he saw the rafts in the water. The mere fact that he took the time to make this entry in the log though shows he was most likely aware that some of the rounds did indeed go into the rafts, and this smacks of some nautical cover yourself record keeping going on.
The rafts then disperse in the wind and the cold of the Bering Sea, and some of the crew die of exposure. In the end, the US destroyer USS Kane (DD-235) picks up one raft with 11 survivors and the Alaskan fishing boat Yukon picks up another raft with 14 survivors. Total deaths are 8, with 2 crew members dying from wounds and injures from the combat, and 6 from exposure. All 4 passengers survived.
Mike C.Wow, somehow I missed that you answered this. If you are still out there please tell me where you found this information. I remember reading somewhere else that a whole US regiment was loaded on this ship sometime close to it's sinking, but after scouring the net, I could not find any more information about it. Thanks!