There were many close calls, with California ships, just barely escaping with their lives. The following two attacks on ships by the Japanese were not so lucky....
When? December 20th, 1941
Where? 25 miles west of Cape Mendocino
Who? Imperial Japanese Navy's I-17
Weaponry? Shells and then fires two torpedoes at the 6, 912-ton Socony-Vacuum oil company tanker Emidio
Damage? Emidio dead in the water with people going over the sides and getting into lifeboats. She is hit in the stern, does not sink. She is finally run aground off Crescent City, California, 85 miles north of where she was torpedoed.
Counter Attack? A patrolling PBY "Catalina" flying boat of Patrol Squadron (VP) 44 spots the Emidio.The PBY also spots the I-17 on the surface and starts an attack. As depth charges are dropped, Commander Nishino Kozo dives and makes his escape.
When? December 23, 1941
Where? Departed Port San Luis, California, on its way to Vancouver, British Columbia
Who? Japanese I-21
Weaponry? two torpedoes from 2,190 yards (2,000 meters). One of them is a dud, but the other explodes in her "Number 2 hold". The 38-man crew abandons the tanker in four lifeboats. I-21 fires several shells from his deck gun to speed the sinking
Damage? An hour later, Montebello goes under four miles south of Piedras Blancas (the map to the left shows where the Montebello sank)
Counter attack? A small Coast Guard patrol boat with only two depth-charges the patrol boat knocks out the I-21's vertical rudder and all her lights. Commander Matsumura (of the I-21) gives the order to surface and battle it out, but at the last minute the emergency lighting is restored and the engineers manage to repair the steering.