KAIBOKAN!

(Type C Escort by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Escort Aguni:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2012 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 3


15 February 1944:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Nihon Kokan K. K.’s shipyard.

21 September 1944:
Launched and named AGUNI.

2 December 1944:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District. Attached to the Kure Guard Unit at Tsurumi. LtCdr (reserve) Higai Toshio is the Commanding Officer.

17 January 1945:
Assigned to the General Escort Command’s First Surface Escort Division.

22 January 1945:
AGUNI departs Moji with kaibokan CD-17 and minelayer NIIZAKI escorting convoy MOHO-01 consisting of SHINTON MARU and three unidentified merchant ships.

2 February 1945:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

3 February 1945:
AGUNI departs Hong Kong with kaibokan CD-9 and CD-18 escorting convoy HOMO-01 consisting of five unidentified merchant ships.

15 February 1945:
Arrives at Moji.

20 February 1945:
AGUNI departs Hong Kong with kaibokan CD-40 escorting convoy HOMO-02 consisting of seven unidentified merchant ships.

3 March 1945:
Arrives at Moji.

4 March 1945:
AGUNI departs Moji with kaibokan OKINAWA and CD-39 escorting the “Kitsurin Maru” convoy consisting only of KITSURIN MARU.

6 March 1945:
Arrives at Shanghai.

14 April 1945:
AGUNI and CD-104 are despatched to 33-25N 126-15 to rescue survivors of JUZAN MARU, NOMI and CD-31 all sunk by USS TIRANTE that had practically destroyed convoy MOSHI-02. Between them they rescue 87 survivors from NOMI, 166 from CD-31 and 164 from JUZAN MARU.

21 April 1945:
Escorts convoys in the Tsushima Sea and the Sea of Japan.

25 April 1945:
Reassigned to the General Escort Command’s First Escort Fleet's 31st Coast Defense Group.

27 May 1945:
Korea Strait, off Geomundo Island. AGUNI and kaibokan OKINAWA are attacked by two Consolidated PB4Y-2B "Privateers" piloted by Lt Leo E. Kennedy and LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, USNR-Ret) George L. Hicks of Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-109 based at Yontan, Okinawa.

Kennedy launches a Mark-9, Mod 0, Special Weapon Ordnance Device (SWOD) radar-guided “Bat” glide bomb from a long distance. The bomb's 1,000-lb warhead explodes off AGUNI’s starboard bow demolishing the whole foredeck area ahead of the bridge and killing 33 sailors. After being hit, AGUNI's crew have to cut her anchor chain to free her. Kaibokan CD-12 is dispatched to assist OKINAWA in rescuing AGUNI’s crew, but despite the heavy damage the kaibokan remains navigable and proceeds stern first to Pusan, Korea on her own power. [1]

June-August 1945:
Pusan. AGUNI undergoes repairs at Chosen Heavy Industries' shipyard until the end of war.

15 August 1945:
Pusan. AGUNI's crew is notified of the termination of the war.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

20 May 1948:
Scrapped at Iino Kaiun K. K's Yard (former Maizuru Navy Yard).


Authors' Note:
[1] The account of the “Bat” attack is based largely on Kimata Jiro’s 1994 Nippon Kaibokan Senshi ("Battle History of Japanese Kaibokan Frigates"). Contrary to some reports by USN personnel, the "destroyer" (sic) (AGUNI) did not sink. Other sources attribute AGUNI’s damage to a mine. In fact, the Japanese characters for "mine" and "guided bomb" can be confused, but the damage itself supports a bomb or missile attack since there was no underwater damage. Only the foredeck was dished in. Moreover, AGUNI's sailors identified the weapon as a "miniature aircraft".

(USN Photos)

In the same attack, using conventional bombs, Kennedy sank 882-ton 2E type freighter DAITO MARU No. 2 and four smaller freighters and damaged two small vessels. For this action Kennedy was awarded the Navy Cross, but he was KIA three days later by AA fire while making a conventional attack off the Yangtze River, China.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Thanks also go to Jeff Donahoo of Iowa and Matthre Jones of Ohio for help in identifying kaibokan COs and to Gilbert Casse of France.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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