(ASAHI by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Repair Ship ASAHI:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2010 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

Revision 3

1 August 1898:
Clydebank, Scotland. Laid down at the Clydebank Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. shipyard as the second of the SHIKISHIMA-class battleships.

13 March 1899:
Launched and named ASAHI (Rising Sun). Captain (later Admiral) Kamimura Hikonojô (4) is posted as Chief Bringing Officer.

29 September 1899:
Captain (later Admiral) Misu Sotaro (5) (former CO of SUMA) is posted as Chief Bringing Officer. He travels to Clydebank to inspect and accept ASAHI for the IJN.

12 January 1900:
Captain Misu is appointed the Commanding Officer.

31 July 1900:
Completed by John Brown & Co. that acquired the Clydebank Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Rated as a first-class battleship of 15,374-tons. Assigned to the Kure Naval District. Departs Clydebank.

23 October 1900:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

22 May 1901:
The ASAHI is incorporated into the Fleet.

3 July 1901:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Masaaki (5) assumes command.

24 May 1902:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ogura Byoichiro (5) assumes command.

21 November 1903:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamada Hikohachi (5) assumes command.

8 February 1904: The Russo-Japanese War:
Without waiting for a declaration of war, Japan opens hostilities with a surprise attack on the main Russian fleet base at Port Arthur (Lushun), Manchuria. ASAHI participates in the blockade.

6 June 1904:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nomoto Tsunaakira (7) (former CO of TOKIWA) assumes command.

10 August 1904: The Battle of the Yellow Sea (Sea of Huang Hai):
The Commander of Port Arthur, Viceroy Vice Admiral Alexieff orders Rear Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft to sortie so that the Russian ships at Port Arthur can link up with their Squadron at Vladivostok and create a force powerful enough to challenge the Japanese.

The Russian fleet sails at dawn. Admiral (later Fleet Admiral, Marquis) Togo Heihachiro lets the Russian squadron clear their defensive minefields. When it becomes clear that the Russians are making for Vladivostok, the Japanese are far behind the Russians. By 1743, Togo catches up and opens fire. His First Division, including flagship MIKASA, ASAHI, FUJI and SHIKISHIMA, exchanges fire with the six Russian battleships.

Just before darkness, the Russian flagship TSAREVICH takes two hits that kill and everyone on the bridge, including Admiral Vitgeft. The helm is wedged into a port turn. In the ensuing confusion, the entire Russian squadron ends up in total disarray. Rear Admiral Prince Ukhtomsky finally assumes command. He abandons attempting to reach Vladivostok and orders the squadron to return to Port Arthur.

26 October 1904.
Near Port Arthur. ASAHI hits a Russian mine and is damaged severely.

November 1904 - April 1905:
Undergoes battle-damage repairs at Sasebo Navy Yard.

27-28 May 1905: The Battle of Tsushima:
In October 1904, Russian Admiral Zinovi P. Rozhdestvenski’s Baltic fleet departed on an epic eight-month journey to the Far East. Rear Admiral Nikolai Nebogatov's Third Pacific Squadron joins Rozhdestvenski's fleet in May 1905. On 26 May, the 45-ship Russian fleet is sighted entering Japanese waters. The next day, the Combined Fleet under Admiral Togo sorties from Chinhae, Korea to engage the Russians.

In a running gun battle off Okinoshima, Togo's flagship MIKASA, battleships ASAHI, FUJI and SHIKISHIMA and cruisers and smaller ships battle Rozhdestvenski. Thirty-four Russian vessels are sunk, scuttled or captured. Only two Russian destroyers and a light cruiser reach Vladivostock, Siberia. Six other smaller ships reach neutral ports and are interned. 4,830 Russian officers and men are KIA and 5,917 captured. Togo loses three torpedo boats and several capital ships are damaged including ASAHI that receives several hits killing 8 and wounding 23 crewmen.

During the battle, Captain W. C. Pakenham, the Royal Navy's official observer, takes notes of the battle's progress from a deck chair on the exposed quarter deck of ASAHI. Pakenham's presence marks the close relationship then existing between the IJN and Royal Navy. His reports of the battle confirm the superiority of Japanese training and tactics (based on the RN model) and publicize the historic victory within Western naval circles. [1]

12 December 1905:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takeuchi Heitaro (8) assumes command.

10 May 1906:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takigawa Tomokazu (6) assumes command.

22 November 1906:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Tsuchiya Tamotsu (9) assumes command.

28 September 1907:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Miyaji Sadatoki (9) assumes command.

7 April 1908:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Yoshitarô (10) assumes command.

15 September 1908:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishida Ichirô (11) assumes command.

20 November 1908:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ushida Jűzaburô (11) assumes command.

1 December 1910:
Captain, Prince (later Fleet Admiral) Hiroyasa Fushimi assumes command.

1 December 1912:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Machida Komajirô (15) assumes command.

1 December 1913:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Asano Masayasu (15) assumes command.

The ASAHI is rerated a gunnery training ship.

1 December 1914:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Arakawa Chűgo assumes command.

1 December 1916:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Masuda Takayori (18) assumes command.

1 December 1917:
Captain (later Admiral) Ôsumi Mineo (24) assumes command.

4 December 1918:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shimanouchi Kanta (20) assumes temporary command.

27 March 1919:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Furukawa Hiroshi (22) assumes command.

10 June 1919:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Koyama Takeshi (26) assumes command.

1 December 1919:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takemitsu Kazu (26) assumes command.

20 November 1920:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ueda Kichiji (26) assumes command.

1 September 1921:
Rerated a first-class coast defence ship.

20 November 1921:
A new, but unknown, Captain assumes command.

6 February 1922: The Washington Treaty:
Washington, DC. Japan, United States, Britain, France and Italy agree to limit the displacement and main armament of their capital ships, aircraft carriers and cruisers and to limit the total tonnage and age of their capital ships and carriers. Battleships and aircraft carriers are set at a ratio of 5:5:3 for the navies of Great Britain, the United States and Japan. Japan's Plenipotentiary at the conference is her Minister of the Navy, Admiral (later Fleet Admiral/Prime Minister), the Baron, Kato Tomosaburo.

10 November 1922:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mori Hatsuji (27) assumes command.

1 April 1923:
Rerated a submarine depot and training vessel.

July 1923:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. ASAHI completes disarmament in accordance with the terms of the Washington Treaty. After removal of her turrets, main armament and casemate guns, her displacement is reduced to 11,441-tons.

16 June 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tokuda Inosuke (32) assumes command.

20 October 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ôta Shichihei (32) assumes temporary command.

15 July 1925:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sugiura Masao (30) assumes temporary command.

1 November 1926:
A new, but unknown, Captain assumes command.

1926-October 1927:
Kure Naval Dockyard. ASAHI's 25 Belleville boilers are replaced with four Kanpon boilers. One of her two funnels is removed. SAHI is converted into a submarine salvage ship and refitted. ASAHI conducts experiments as Japan's first submarine rescue vessel using the old German submarine 0-1 (ex-U-125).

May 1928:
Hiroshima Bay. The Kure Navy Yard installs and tests a 19-meter compressed-air Type No. 1 catapult on the foredeck of ASAHI. The catapult successfully launches a Nakajima E2N1 Type 15 seaplane. Later, after repeated accidents, the compressed-air catapult is discarded in favor of a gunpowder-propelled catapult.

ASAHI is rerated a Reserve ship.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Fujimori Seiichirô (37) assumes temporary command.

10 May 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sakura Takeo (37) assumes temporary command.

20 May 1932:
A new, but unknown, Captain assumes command.

22 October 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Okamura Masao (38) assumes temporary command.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tonomura Senzaburô (40) assumes temporary command.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Lukuokiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

16 August 1937:
Kure. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Katô Nitarô (37) assumes temporary command. That same day, Captain (Engineer) (later Rear Admiral, Engineer) Shimamoto Mantaro (NEA 22) is designated in charge of converting ASAHI to a construction (repair) warship.

November 1937:
ASAHI participates in a surprise amphibious operation that lands troops at Hangzhou Bay, 50 miles SW of Shanghai who attack the city from the rear and defeat the Chinese.

8 January 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoka Kumeichi (39)(former CO of AOBA) assumes temporary command.

15 November 1938:
A new, but unknown, Captain assumes command.

5 December 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Koichiro (39) (former CO) of KINUGASA) assumes temporary command.

18 December 1938:
Conversion constuction is completed. She is equipped with only simple equipment and machine tools that limit the repairs she can perform. Departs Kure.

20 December 1938:
Arrives at Shanghai. ASAHI is fitted with dummy wooden main guns fore and aft to resemble an old battleship.

19 May 1939:
Shanghai. ASAHI and Minesweeper No. 6. are moored on the Whangpoa River. The ex-Chinese gunboat YUNG CHIEN, renamed ASUKA is tied up alongside ASAHI undergoing conversion to a Torpedo Deport Ship. [2]

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuyama Mitsuharu (40) (former CO of TAKAO) assumes temporary command.

29 May 1940-7 November 1940:
Patrols out of Shanghai.

15 November 1940:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina. ASAHI is assigned directly to the Combined Fleet. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Morino Sorokuro (40) (former XO of KONGO) assumes temporary command.

13 September 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tamura Ryukichi (41) (former CO of USUGUMO) assumes temporary command.

19 November 1941:
Departs Kure carrying the 11th Special Base unit.

7 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

16 December 1941:
Camranh Bay. Re-munitioned by ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU.

28 January 1942:
Camranh Bay. Provisioned by ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU.

31 January 1942:
Camranh Bay. MANKO MARU comes along starboard side and transfers 45 tons of No. 3 Grade coal to ASAHI.

9 March 1942:
Departs Camranh Bay.

13 March 1942:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

April 1942:
Singapore. Performs repairs on light cruiser NAKA torpedoed by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) off Christmas Island.

22 May 1942:
Departs Singapore for Kure escorted by subchaser CH-9.

25 May 1942:
100 miles SW of Cape Paderan, Indochina. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. McKinney's USS SALMON (SS-182) makes a night submerged approach on a large warship. McKinney misidentifies his target as light cruiser YUBARI. He fires four torpedoes of which two hit ASAHI in her port central boiler room and aft spaces. At 0103, moments after being hit, ASAHI is abandoned and sinks at 10-00N, 110-00E. Sixteen crewmen are KIA. Captain Tamura and 582 crewmen survive.

15 June 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Pakenham was a rather eccentric, but undoubtedly brave figure. When splattered with blood from a killed/wounded ASAHI crewman from one of the near misses, he promptly went below and changed to new starched whites before resuming his deckchair position.

[2] YUNG CHIEN was sunk on 25 Aug '37 at Shanghai by Japanese aircraft, but raised, repaired and commissioned in the IJN as torpedo depot ship ASUKA in 1940.

As noted in the TROM, during her career as an auxiliary vessel, ASAHI had many temporary COs. These COs held other commands as well. ASAHI's XOs probably ran the ship while the COs were away on other duties. as it wasn't necessary to have a full-time CO on a mostly stationary ship like ASAHI.

Thanks to Peter Cundall of Australia for the story about Pakenham. Special thanks also go to Lars Ahlberg of Sweden for assistance with COs mentioned in the TROM.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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