While we haven’t seen any more merchant traffic coming toward Rabaul, the watch spotted a large sampan at 1345 hours, and I decided it would be a good exercise to stalk it. Radar made no report on the target, but given a sampan’s small size that’s hardly surprising.
I order us to periscope depth, all ahead standard, and all hands to battle stations. Using the TDC to track the target’s position we approached submerged to 1500 yards before battle surfacing.
At 13:58 we broached the surface all of 1200 yards directly ahead of it. The Japs aboard must have soiled themselves to see us appear as they had maintained their course up to that point, clearly indicating they were unaware of our presence.
The deck gun crew did their jobs well, and the sampan was set ablaze and was listing heavily just over a minute later.
While a lifeboat was deployed, no souls were observed aboard. At least 2 bodies were spotted in the water. The crew was likely killed by the shelling.
We are returning to course.