(Subchaser No. 46 by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Subchaser CH-57:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 3

30 September 1943:
Hokkaido. Laid down at the Hakodate Dockyard Co., Ltd’s shipyard.

28 May 1944:
Launched and numbered CH-57.

28 October 1944 :
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District.

November 1944:
Assigned to the Kure Guard Unit. Undergoes training.

December 1944:
Assigned to the First Southern Expeditionary Fleet in Special Base Force 11 at Saigon, Indochina. Escorts convoys to Singapore.

14 January 1945:
At 0700, CH-57 and CH-19 depart Moji escorting convoy MOTA-32 consisting of DAIKYO, TENSHO, SAMARANG AIZAN, MASASHIMA, SHUNSHO and DAISHUN MARUs, TAMON MARU No. 16 and four unidentified merchants, possibly including TETSUYO and TATSUHARU MARUs, escorted by kaibokan CD-31, CD-132, CD-144, MANJU and destroyer SHIOKAZE.

20 January 1945:
Arrives at Heiniu Wan.

21 January 1945:
At 0700 departs Heiniu Wan and later that day arrives at Sanmen Bay.

22 January 1945:
At dawn, departs Sanmen Inlet. In late afternoon, arrives at Namkwan (Namquan) Bay. At 1600, convoy TAMO-38 consisting of DAINAN, BINGO, TOYOKAWA, RASHIN, SHINNO, TATSUWA MARUs and NICHIYU MARU No.7 escorted by kaibokan CD-26, CD-39, CD-112 and IKUNA heading north arrives and the two convoys merged at anchor.

23 January 1945:
At 0402, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's (USNA ’35) USS BARB (SS-220) penetrates the outer escort screen on the surface and enters the harbor. An unbroken line of ships at anchor, 4200 yards in length, is clearly visible. Fluckey fires a total of eight torpedoes into the target line. DAIKYO MARU, carrying 558 troops, 8 landing craft, stores and ammunition, spectacularly explodes and sinks. 360 troops, 58 crewmen, and 27 gunners are KIA, also lost are six Daihatsu and two shohatsu landing craft. SAMARANG and DAISHUN MARUs, TAMON MARU No. 16 and SHUNSHO MARU are all damaged. [1]

At 0600, the rest of the convoy departs Namkwan. Later that day arrives at Niu Shan Tao.

24 January 1944:
At 0400 departs Niu Shan Tao.

25 January 1945:
At 1200 arrives at Kirun, Formosa where the convoy is dissolved.

16 February 1945:
At 2100, CH-57 departs Singapore with convoy HI-88-H consisting of HONAN MARU, oilers EISHO and NICHIYOKU MARUs also escorted by kaibokan YAKU and CD-13.

22 February 1945:
At 1045, NICHIYOKU MARU, loaded with naval fuel oil, is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr Henry D. Sturr's (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA (SS-319) at 11-30N 109-06E. 32 crewmen and 38 gunners are KIA. The escorts counterattack dropping 65 depth charges, but are unsuccessful. At 1900, the convoy seeks refuge in Nha Trang Bay.

23 February 1945:
In the morning, departs Nha Trang Bay. At 1210, kaibokan YAKU is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr George H. Laird's (USNA ’33) USS HAMMERHEAD (SS-364) at 12-44N, 109-29E. Her CO, LtCdr Mitsui Kiyoi, and 132 crewmen are KIA. CD-13 counterattacks the submarine, dropping 42 depth charges during a 4-hour chase. She continues the search for YAKU's survivors until 2225.

25 February 1945:
At 0500, convoy HI-88-H arrives at Tourane and merges with convoy HI-88-G. The new convoy consists of HONAN MARU and oilers EISHO MARU, YAEI MARU No. 1 and TAKASAGO MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan CD-13, CD-31 and subchasers CH-20 and CH-57. Later that day CD-31 departs on a submarine sweep.

27 February 1945:
Early that morning CD-31 arrives at Tourane. At 0800, departs Tourane.

28 February 1945:
At 1600, arrives at Yulin. Takes on water.

1 March 1945:
At 1100, departs Yulin. At 2300, the convoy is attacked by a single large bomber. At 2314, EISHO MARU is bombed and sunk at 18-32N, 108-16E. She was loaded with 4500 tons of petroleum and carrying 99 passengers. Seven crewmen and 29 passengers are KIA.

2 March 1945:
Arrives at Linkao Bay, Hainan Island.

3 March 1945:
At 0115, while still in Linkao Bay preparing to leave, three aircraft attack. YAEI MARU No. 1 is bombed and sunk at 20-10N, 109-31E. 12 crewmen, one gunner and seven passengers are KIA.

14 March 1945:
At 1950 arrives at Sunichi To (Saengu To), Chosen.

15 March 1945:
At 0500 departs Sunichi To.

17 March 1945:
At 0300, arrives at Moji.

22 March 1945:
On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following message from CH-57: "We are attacking a submarine encountered in position 02-26N, 108-52E."

13 May 1945: “Operation Sho” – The Evacuation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
The Nicobar evacuation group, comprised of auxiliary supply ship KUROSHIO MARU No. 2 (ex-landing ship T-149) and CH- 57, arrives at Nancowry Island, Nicobar Islands. Four hundred fifty troops are embarked.

14 May 1945:
In the afternoon, the evacuation group departs Nancowry Island for Penang. Within hours of departure KUROSHIO MARU No. 2 and CH- 57 are sighted by a patrolling RAF Consolidated "Liberator" bomber of No. 222 Group 4 at Ceylon.

15 May 1945:
In 07-10N, 96-24E, the ships are attacked by two aircraft. CH-57 claimes one of them as shot down.

(the above comes from a long summary of action transmitted by CinC, 10th Area Fleet, on 17 May. There is only a passing reference to CH-57 though. FRUMEL misidentified the other ship as KUROSHIO MARU No. 1 – cf. below)

16 May 1945:
On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following message from CH-57: "Owing to fierce squall at 0320 south of Butang Is. I lost sight of No. 1 KUROSHIO. I searched but I could not find her. I arrived Penang at 1200."

(According to an attached FRUMEL comment, Kuroshio No. 1 had left Nancowry at 2000 on 14th and then ordered to proceed to Penang because of the British TF.)

Later that day FRUMEL intercepts an order from 10th Area Fleet, dispatching CH-57 and destroyer KAMIKAZE to the area where HAGURO was sunk in order to search for survivors.

18 May 1945:
Penang, S channel. CH-57 is lightly damaged by a mine laid by British submarine HMS PORPOISE on 9 Jan ‘45 at 05-20N, 100-08E.

12 June 1945:
Off Rondo Island, 20 miles N of Sabang, Sumatra. Alerted by submarine HMS TRIDENT, the Royal Navy's Destroyer Flotilla 10’s HMS TARTAR, HMS ESKIMO and HMS NUBIAN intercept CH-57 and KUROSHIO MARU No. 2. During the ensuing action, KUROSHIO MARU No. 2 is hit by torpedoes from HMS ESKIMO and explodes. CH-57 is sunk by gunfire at 06-20N, 94-45E. [2]

At 0932, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from the CO of the Sabang Base Force that reads: “KUROSHIO MARU No. 2 and CH-57 were shelled by 3 ---- ships and sank at (0915?) in position bearing ----- degrees (25?) kilometers from Sabang.”

13 June 1945:
At 1731, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “Action Summary: - CH-57 and KUROSHIO MARU No. 2 , while outward bound on 2nd phase Shoo operations (withdrawal of Army forces from Andaman Islands) screened by Army plane at 0820 approximately 20 miles N of Sabang encountered 3 enemy destroyers. They engaged the enemy, were shelled and torpedoed, and sank at 0855. --.”

10 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] The light damage the Marus sustained suggests they were hit by flying debris rather than torpedoes. Why Fluckey's other torpedoes missed remains a mystery.

[2] This was the last surface action by the Royal Navy against Axis shipping during WW2.

Thanks go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

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