Six weeks after the U.S. Task Force 58 fast carrier raid on Truk Lagoon, OPERATION HAILSTONE, the 12 carriers of Task Force 58 reformed for a surprise raid on the great naval shipping and air hub of Palau, 1100 nautical miles west of Truk.

The 2-day raid took place on 30/31 March 1944 and was codenamed OPERATION DESECRATE 1. An initial dawn sweep by 72 Hellcat fighters cleared the air of Japanese opposition allowing the TF58 dive- and torpedo-bombers to pound and sink all the shipping found in the Lagoon.

Today some 20 Japanese WWII wrecks are left in the lagoon – along with many aircraft. You can read the full story of the raid and its legacy in Dive Palau – the shipwrecks

Here are some videos of the wrecks to enjoy


The 15,450-ton IJN oiler IRO was bombed and sunk at Palau during the US Task Force 58 fast carrier raid designated Operation DESECRATE 1 on 30 & 31 March 1944. She was hit starboard aft by a 1,ooo-lb bomb from USS BUNKER HILL planes, the delayed fuze bomb punching in through the shell plating of her hull before exploding in her engine room. Today the wreck of IJN IRO sits upright and largely intact in just over 40 metres of water

IJN Amatsu Maru
The massive 10,567-ton Type 1TL standard tanker was attacked at anchor in Malakal Harbor on 30 March 1944 by U.S.N. Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers from USS Enterprise – she took three hits from 1,000lb bombs, was set on fire and sank. This is a short clip of a dive into the steering flat at the stern
IJA Teshio Maru
The 2,840grt IJA cargo ship Teshio Maru was attempting to leave the lagoon in a large convoy when it was attacked by TF 58 dive- and torpedo-bombers – taking several hits that rendered her unnavigable. She drifted onto a reef where she was repeatedly attacked over the 2-day raid. After the war she slid off the reef and came to rest on her starboard side, She is one of Palau’s most loved wrecks.
The wreck of an unidentified auxiliary sub chaser fitted out for Anti Submarine Warfare was located in 2015 up the west side of the main Palauan island of Babelthuap. The ship lies on her port side in 50 metres and has taken a catastrophic bomb hit at her stern. She sank so quickly by the stern that the impact with the seabed had broken her prop shaft and bent the shaft and keel bar at right angles to the wreck itself. My best guess is that this is the Showa Maru No 5 (ex-Galicia) but nothing to confirm that ID has been found on the wreck as yet
Aichi E13A single engine long-range reconnaissance seaplane
Allied Reporting name JAKE
1,500-ton IJN fast transport sunk during Operation Snapshot on 27 July 1944