Asked • 07/06/19

How many men were lost on the USAT Arcata and was she loaded with troops when she was hit?

On the 14th of July 1942 the 2,722-ton US Army Troopship (USAT) Arcata was attacked and sunk by Japanese Submarine I-7 at 53-41N, 157-45W. The records that I could find show that this ship as a freighter (cargo ship) that had a crew of only 8 men, but in the book "The Thousand Mile War" by Brian Garfield on page 131 the ship is described as being a troopship and Mr. Garfield states that "only 12 men survived" this would imply that there were more than 12 men on board and raises the question as to whether the ship was carrying troops at the time of the attack or not. In reading about the HIJMS I-7 I could only find that the Japanese submarine attack the ship with torpedoes and its deck gun(s) until life rafts were spotted. There was a general news black-out in the Aleutians at this time as the US govt. thought it my be demoralizing if the public knew the Japanese had invaded the US and actually landed troops on US soil. So the question remains: How many men went down with the USAT ARCATA and was she loaded with troops when she was hit?

1 Expert Answer

By:

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!
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Timothy A.

tutor
The ship was not carrying any soldiers, especially a Regiment. A Regiment in wartime is over 1000 men and this was only an 88ft. ship. You simply cannot fit 1000+ men on an 88 ft ship. Also, the ship was bound for the US, and would not be carrying troops back to the States at that time. Desperately needed troops would only have been making northbound trips in July of 1942, eager to reinforce the Aleutians. As for more details, see.. https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?223156
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