KUSENTEI!

IJN Subchaser CH-39:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2005-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 6


1941:
Harima. Laid down at Harima Zosensho K. K.

26 May 1942:
Launched and numbered CH-39

31 October 1942:
Completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District.

November 1942:
Assigned to the Kure Guard Unit.

7 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Kure and arrive at Saiki.

11 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki and patrol the Bungo Suido, returning to Saiki later that day.

12 November 1942:
CH-39 and CH-37 depart Saeki escorting the “B” convoy (No. 8 Military Movement) consisting of LIMA and MIYAURA MARUs.

E 13 November 1942:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

15 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on an escort mission.

17 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

19 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on patrol.

20 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

21 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on patrol.

22 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

24 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on patrol.

25 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

26 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on patrol.

27 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

28 November 1942:
CH-37 and CH-39 depart Saiki on patrol.

29 November 1942:
Both arrive back at Saiki.

5 December 1942:
Departs Saiki.

6 December 1942:
Arrives back at Saiki.

9 December 1942:
CH-39, CH-37 and patrol boat PB-46 depart Saeki escorting the “G” convoy (No.8 Military Movement) consisting of MOMOYAMA, HOEISAN, KOSO, TAIMEI, TOKO, ANNAN and BUNZAN MARUs.

E 10 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached at 28N.

13 December 1942:
Arrives back at Saiki.

15 December 1942:
Departs Saiki.

17 December 1942:
Arrives back at Saiki.

18 December 1942:
Departs Saeki escorting the “J convoy” (No. 8 Military Movement) consisting of ASO, SHANGHAI and SYDNEY MARUs.

E 19 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached at 29N.

21 December 1942:
Joins a convoy consisting of storeship MAMIYA (probably from Truk) and oiler SHIRETOKO (from Jaluit) at 30-00N 133-10E.

23 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached off Fukajima and later arrives at Saiki.

24 December 1942:
Departs Saiki.

25 December 1942:
Joins tanker TATEKAWA MARU off Mizunoko Lighthouse and escorts her south to 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

26 December 1942:
Arrives back at Saiki.

27 December 1942:
Departs Saiki on an anti submarine sweep.

28 December 1942:
Arrives back at Saiki.

30 December 1942:
Departs Saiki escorting the “Q convoy” (No. 8 Military Movement) consisting of TAISEI, KOFUKU, YORIHIME and IKUTA MARUs. E 31 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached at 28N.

3 January 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

5 January 1943:
Departs Saiki. Joins Army transport KAZUURA MARU off Fukajima and escorts her south.

E 6 January 1943:
CH-39 is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

9 January 1943:
CH-39 and minelayer NATSUSHIMA depart Saeki escorting the “T convoy” (No. 8 Military Movement) consisting of SEKKO, TAIYU (DAITAKU), and FLORIDA MARUs.

E 10 January 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

11 January 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

20 January 1943:
Departs Saiki.

23 January 1943:
Joins storeship IRAKO off Mizunoko Lighthouse and escorts her south.

E 24 January 1943:
CH-39 is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki. Later arrives back at Saiki.

27 January 1943:
Departs Saiki on a training exercise.

30 January 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

1 February 1943:
Depart on a training exercise.

2 February 1943:
Completes the traing exercise.

3 February 1943:
Completes a further training exercise and arrives back at Saiki.

4 February 1943:
Departs Saiki.

5 February 1943:
CH-37 and CH-39 briefly escort cruiser SUZUYA and destroyer AMATSUKAZE.

7 February 1943:
CH-39 and minelayer NUWAJIMA depart Saiki escorting the “A2 convoy” (No. 8 Military Movement) consisting of YAHIKO, HOUN, TAIKO and SHINNO MARUs.

E 8 February 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

10 February 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

12 February 1943:
CH-39 and minelayer NUWAJIMA depart Saiki join store ship MAMIYA off Fukajima and head south.

E 13 February 1943:
The escorts are detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

16 February 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

17 February 1943:
Departs Saiki on a training exercise.

18 February 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki, then departs on a further training exercise.

19 February 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki then departs on an anti submarine sweep.

23 February 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

26 February 1943:
Departs Saiki.

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

1 March 1943:
Reassigned to the Eighth Fleet's 8th Base Force at Rabaul. Undergoes refit at Sasebo.

18 March 1943:
Departs Sasebo for Rabaul with CH-37.

30 March 1943:
At 0810 both ships arrive at Rabaul.

1 April 1943:
At 0730 CH-37, CH-38 and CH-39 depart Rabaul escorting a convoy. This was likely an Army ship convoy consisting of INDUS, SEKKO, HORAI, TOYO and KYODO MARUs bound for Palau.

E 4 April 1943:
CH-37 and CH-39 apparently detach and return to Rabaul.

7 April 1943:
At 0750 CH-37 and CH-39 arrive at Rabaul. At 1340 CH-39 and CH-18 depart Rabaul for Palau escorting a convoy consisting of TOYO, KOKOKU, AKAGISAN and OYAMA (YUZAN) MARUs.

9 April 1943:
250 miles NNW of Kavieng, New Ireland. At about noon, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Bernard F. McMahon's (USNA ’31) USS DRUM (SS-228). McMahon torpedoes and sinks YUZAN (OYAMA) MARU at 00-38N, 150-17E. Four crewmen are KIA.

10 April 1943:
USS DRUM torpedoes and damages AKAGISAN MARU, but she does not sink and is able to make it to Truk.

13 April 1943:
At 0810 the convoy arrives at Truk instead of its original destination of Palau.

18 April 1943: At 1450 departs Truk with minesweeper W-21 likely escorting a convoy to Palau. 1 May 1943:
At 1500 departs Palau in convoy consisting of HIBURI, GLASGOW, OSUMI, YUBAE, KANJO and THAMES MARUs with CH 39 and CH-24 as escorts.

9 May 1943:
At 1200 arrives at Rabaul.

10 May 1943:
At 1715 departs Rabaul escorting an unknown ship.(Hospital ship SEATTLE MARU en route to Shortland?)

14 May 1943:
At 0400 arrives back at Rabaul.

15 May 1943:
At 1435 departs Rabaul escorting convoy R-515 consisting of ADEN, MIYADONO and KIZAN MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships bound for Palau. At some point CH-39 is detached.

21 May 1943:
At 0430 arrives at Rabaul.

22 May 1943:
At 1500 departs Rabaul in convoy consisting of MEIZAN, KANJO, YUBAE and HIBURI MARUs escorted by destroyer YUNAGI and sub-chasers CH 18 and CH 39.

26 May 1943:
At 1800 YUNAGI detaches from the convoy.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

10 June 1943:
At 1740 CH-18, CH-23 and CH-39 arrive at Rabaul.

13 June 1943:
At 1740 CH-23 and CH-39 depart Rabaul on an anti submarine sweep.

15 June 1943:
At 0500 arrives back at Rabaul.

16 June 1943:
At 1150 CH-16, CH-23 and CH-39 depart Rabaul escorting convoy 609 consisting of ADEN, TAIKO, HOFUKU, YAMAFUKU, SHINYUBARI and KURAMASAN MARUs and one other unidentified ship. CH-16 detaches en route and returns to Rabaul.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

26 June 1943:
Departs Palau with CH-23 escorting convoy So-626 consisting of DAKAR, BUNZAN, TOHO and KINSEN MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships.

3 July 1943:
At 0535 arrives at Rabaul.

6 July 1943:
At 1200 CH-38 and CH-39 depart Rabaul on an escort mission, probably to Palau.

24 July 1943:
At 1450 CH-37, CH-38 and CH-39 arrives at Rabaul likely from Palau escorting convoy consisting of HAVRE, MEXICO, KAYO, HOZUGAWA MARUs and Army landing craft depot ship NIGITSU MARU.

28 July 1943:
At 1400 departs Rabaul on escort mission.

30 July 1943:
At 0300 arrives back at Rabaul. At 1700 departs Rabaul with CH-38 on escort mission (possibly CHORYU MARU to Buin?).

2 August 1943:
At 1100 arrives at Rabaul.

5 August 1943:
At 1000 CH-38 and CH-39 depart Rabaul escorting convoy O-505 consisting of five unidentified merchant ships.

E 13 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

16 August 1943:
CH-38 and CH-39 depart Palau escorting convoy So-604 consisting of TAISHO MARU and three unidentified merchant ships.

23 August 1943:
At 1550 both CH-38 and CH-39 arrive back at Rabaul.

26 August 1943:
At 1455 CH-39, CH-38 and minesweeper W-22 depart Rabaul for Palau escorting convoy O-605 consisting of ASAKAZE, YAMAGIRI, NICHIRYO, TAISHO and TACOMA MARUs.

28 August 1943:
At 2255, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Bernard F. McMahon's (USNA ’31) USS DRUM. He fires four torpedoes at one ship and two at another. A torpedo hits YAMAGIRI MARU in the starboard side between holds No. 2 and No. 3, but she does not sink and is able to make it back to Rabaul. The escorts drop 27 depth charges on USS DRUM, but she escapes.

29 August 1943:
At 1205 CH-39 and YAMAGIRI MARU arrive back at Rabaul.

2 September 1943:
The remainder of the convoy arrives at Palau.

7 September 1943:
At 1500 CH-39 and CH-17 depart Rabaul for Palau escorting convoy 704 consisting of HIBI, SHICHISEI, MATSUE, KINE and UMEKAWA MARUs.

13 September 1943:
The convoy arrives at Palau. It is likely the escorts detached before arrival to conduct an anti submarine sweep.

15 September 1943:
At 0900 CH-17 and CH-39 arrive at Palau.

18 September 1943:
At 0500 CH-39 and CH-17 departs Palau escorting convoy So-806 consisting of YURI, PACIFIC, TAKAOKA, TAMASHIMA and YAMAYURI MARUs.

25 September 1943:
At 0900 arrives at Rabaul.

9 October 1943:
At 1300, CH-39 and CH-16 depart Rabaul for Palau escorting convoy O-903 consisting of KYOEI, TAKAOKA and NANMAN MARUs.

16 October 1943:
At 0830, arrives at Palau.

20 October 1943:
CH-16 and CH-39 depart Palau escorting convoy SO-002 consisting of TAJIMA and SHINKO MARUs.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

2 November 1943:
CH-22, CH-24 and CH-39 depart Palau escorting convoy SO-205 consisting of KOGYO, NAGOYA, ARATAMA, SHICHISEI and TESHIO MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3.

4 November 1943:
At 1700 in 05-20N 140-00E two torpedoes miss KOGYO MARU. The escorts counter-attack and the convoy continues.

9 November 1943:
At 1940 a B-25 attacks the convoy without causing damage.

10 November 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

13 November 1943:
At 1200, CH-39 and CH-24 depart Rabaul escorting convoy convoy O-305 consisting of HOKKAI, TAISHO, MACASSAR and LYONS MARUs and HOSHI MARU No. 5. The convoy is shadowed that evening by a USAAF B-24.

14 November 1943:
At 0003, the B-24 launches a slow low level attack and hits TAISHO MARU amidships in hold No. 3. TAISHO MARU is damaged but able to return to Rabaul arriving the following day.

20 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

25 November 1943:
CH-39 and CH-24 depart Palau for Rabaul escorting convoy SO-505 consisting of HOKKO, UCHIDE, YURI, COLUMBIA and CLYDE MARUs.

28 November 1943:
At 1010, LtCdr (later Commander) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. YURI MARU is hit by three torpedoes. She blows up and sinks at 01-40N, 141-51E. 14 crewmen and 38 troops of the No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) are KIA.

Davis next torpedoes and hits HOKKO MARU aft and sinks her. Three crewmen and one out of 640 troops aboard are KIA. Later that evening, USS RATON attacks the convoy again, but is unsuccessful.

29 November 1943:
LtCdr Robert J. Foley's (USNA ’27) USS GATO (SS-212) attacks the convoy unsuccessfully.

30 November 1943:
GATO launches a second attack. Foley torpedoes and sinks COLUMBIA MARU with 5,800-tons of fuel oil, provisions, motor boats and 180 survivors of YURI MARU, at 01-56N, 147-21E. Abandoned and drifted away, she finally sinks at 01-56N, 147-21E. Only one crewman is KIA.

CH-39 steams ahead. At 0300, CH-39 meets convoy O-006 from Rabaul consisting of WALES, NIKKI, SHOHO, SHINYU and AWA MARUs. Thereafter, CH-39 is the convoy's sole escort.

7 December 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Palau.

12 December 1943:
On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following message from an unidentified station: "TOYOHIME MARU was attacked by gunfire by submarine at 1353 on 11th in about 04-00N, 118-00E. Subchaser 39 is to proceed to her assistance."

27 December 1943:
At 0800, CH-39 and CH-33 depart Rabaul for Palau escorting convoy O-706 consisting of SHIRANESAN, RYUA, HARUNA, HOKKAI and HITAKA MARUs and KOSHU MARU No. 2.

3 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau at 0800. Later that same day, CH-39, CH-33 and CH-24 depart Palau escorting convoy No. 8031 consisting of oiler OGURA MARU No. 3.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

20 January 1944:
Departs Truk with destroyer HAMANAMI and CH-24, CH-30 and CH-33 escorting a convoy consisting of oiler OGURA MARU No. 3.

29 January 1944:
On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following message from CH-39: "At 0155 __ MARU was torpedoed and sunk. I am attacking the submarine."

(According to the attached comment, the torpedoed vessel was on passage from Rabaul to Palau).

February 1944:
Departs Ponape for Truk escorting a convoy consisting of NIPPO, KITAGAMI and YUBAE MARUs, TAKUMAN MARU No. 2 and SHONAN MARU No. 5.

9 February 1944:
On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following message from CH-39: "At 0155 TOYU MARU was torpedoed and sunk in 06-20N, 138-08E."

(According to the attached comment, that ship was actually TOKO MARU, 2748 GRT).

10 February 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

16 February 1944:
Off Three Island Harbor, New Hanover in 02-24S, 150-06E. CH-39 is escorting cargo ship SANKO MARU towing a midget submarine. The convoy is attacked by Fifth Air Force B-25 "Mitchell" medium-bombers of the 500th Bomb Squadron of the 345 Bomb Group. The B-25s bomb, strafe and sink CH-39 and SANKO MARU (14 crewmen KIA) and damage the midget.

That same afternoon, B-25s of the 499th Bomb Squadron of the 345 Bomb Group find CH-39 sunk by the stern on a reef and abandoned, but the midget submarine is still on the surface. They bomb and strafe the midget and claim a sinking.

17 February 1944:
B-25s of the 500th Bomb Squadron return to the scene again and find the midget submarine still on the surface. They again bomb and strafe the midget and also claim a sinking. [1]

30 April 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Japanese sources claim the midget submarine's crew scuttled her after the B-25 attacks.

Grateful thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance. Special thanks go to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for info on FRUMEL intercepts.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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