#47. In the Transport Graveyard

1: In July of 1945, after winning the Okinawa battle,
2: the American army began withdrawing a portion of their troops.

1: On July 21st,
2: American Task Forces 99, 1, and 88 departed from Nakagusuku Bay in a convoy of transport ships.
3: The convoy was composed of 7 soldier transport ships and 1 refrigerated transport ship.
4: Their mission was to deliver the soldiers to Leyte for R&R.
5: 9 battleships accompanied the convoy for protection,
6: and were commanded by the USS Underhill, a destroyer escort.

1: On the same day,
2: I-53 arrived at its destination - the east side of the Bashi Channel.
sfx: skritch x5

1-3: skritch
4: Main tank blow!!
sfx: fsssh
sfx: sploosh

sfx: dash x3
1: All clear in front!!
2: All clear behind!!
3: klak
4: We're finally here...
5: It's been a week since we departed. Now there's no telling when we might run into the enemy...

1: Are the Kaiten okay
2: Ye ssir!
3: All 6 Kaiten are in perfect condition!!
sfx: klak x3

1: Commander.
2: Is it firing time yet?
3: Don't rush things.
4: We'll get a chance to engage the enemy soon enough.
5: The Bashi Channel is a vital point for marine transportation...
6: Those who fear it call it the 'transport graveyard.'
7: There are a lot of enemy subs lurking around here...
8: Just waiting to shoot down a passing Japanese transport.
9: If the enemy finds us first, we'll be the ones to sink.

sfx: sploosh
1: Stop that.
2: If the enemy happened to see something floating in the water...
3: our cover would be blown.
4: We need to be too careful.

1: After arriving at its destination, I-53 continued to patrol the area.
2: During daylight hours it would dive to 30 or 40 meters, then rise up to 18 meters every 30 minutes and look around with the periscope.
3: The Bashi Channel is located between the Philippines and Taiwan,
text: Bashi Channel
4: and is a spot where many Japanese ships were sunk by American submarines toward the end of the Pacific War.
5: Over 100 ships were sunk,
6: and over 50,000 officers and men died.

1: You're really working hard there.
2: Don't you ever get tired of drawing yourself?
3: I don't have anything else to do...
4: I'm just passing the time.

1: Commander...
2: I hear propeller noise...
3: Is it an enemy ship?
4: I don't know...
5: It's soft...
6: It isn't coming from the surface.
7: I believe it's coming from a submerged submarine...
8: Hard a-starboard...
9: Leave the area at a slow speed.
10: Turn off all air conditioning within the ship.
11: Don't make a single sound...

1: Depth 80...
2: Dive down as far as you can without damaging the Kaiten.
sfx: gwoosh
sfx: roll x3

sfx: gwoooosh x2
1: The propeller noise is getting farther away...
2: Good... Now move 5 km south.

1: Guess there really are a lot of enemy subs lurking in this area.
2: If they're diving too, then running away is our best bet. We won't even be able to hit them with torpedoes underwater.
3: And if they find us, they'll call all their friends before you know it.
4: Just getting close to a battleship on the surface without being seen is going to extremely hard in itself...

1: I'm fighting so that I can become who I really am.
2: Hurry up and fire me...
3: I feel like my heart's going to burn up...

1: On July 24th,
2: I-53 was contacted by a Type 100 recon plane that was patrolling the air.
3: Commander...
4: We received a message from an ally scout.

1: They discovered a convoy of enemy transports on the surface about 10km northeast from Cape Engaño.
2: The convoy is composed of 8 transports and 9 guards.
3: They expect the convoy to pass through the Bashi Channel in roughly 5 hours.
4: Also, it seems that the scout was seen by the enemy.
5: Therefore, the guard ships have changed their positioning and are on full alert.