KUSENTEI!

IJN Subchaser CH-5:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2017 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 7


25 January 1938:
Yokohama. Laid down at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard.

28 July 1938:
Launched and numbered CH-5.

6 December 1938:
Completed and registered in the IJN.

7 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) (former CO of AOBA) 2nd Base Force of Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet. Attached to the Philippines Seizure Force in Cdr Ota's SubChasDiv 21 with CH-4, CH-6, CH-16, CH-17 and CH-18. At 1630, departs Mako, Pescadores.

10 December 1941:
Participates in the landings at Vigan, Philippines. Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's (39) 2nd Raiding Force consisting of light cruiser NAKA (F), destroyers HARUSAME, MURASAME, YUDACHI and SAMIDARE (DesDiv 2); ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO (DesDiv 4), MinesweepDiV 21 consisting of minesweepers W-9, W-10, W-11 and W-12; MineSweeping Div 30 consisting of W-17 and W-18, SubChaserDiv 31 consisting of CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12. CH-4 is attacched to SubChaserDiv 21 consisting of CH-4, CH-5, CH-6, CH-16, CH-17 and CH-18. This force escorts a total of 6 transports namely OIGAWA, BRISBANE, TAKAO, HAWAII, SHUNKO and SANKO MARUs.

The Six transports, carrying 2,000 men of the Kanno Detachment of the 48th Infantry Division, land troops near Vigan, but are bombed and strafed by five Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" and escorting Seversky P-35A "Guardsman" and Curtiss P-40B "Kittyhawk" fighters of the U. S. Army's Far East Air Force. During the action, a minesweeper is sunk and two transports are so damaged they have to be beached.

22 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines:
Lingayen Gulf. Three echelons of 76 transports carrying the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's Fourteenth Army land at Lingayen. SubChasDiv 21 escorts Rear Admiral Hirose's third echelon of 22 transports from Keelung, Formosa.

January 1942:
Carries out patrols in the Davao area.

24 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
Participates in the landings at Bantam Bay, near Batavia (Jakarta), Java.

8-12 March 1942:
Participates in the capture of Surabaya, Java.

10 March 1942:
Assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Southwest Area Fleet's newly formed Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet in Special Base Force 22 organized at Surabaya with CH-4 and CH-6. Escorts convoys to Balikpapan, Borneo.

29 July 1942: Operation "T" - Banda Sea Operations:
At 1500, the 3rd Attack Force departs Ambon, Moluccas. The force includes CH-5 of Special Base Force 22 carrying a platoon of the 3rd Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and Special Base Force 23's CH-21, carrying one company of Special Base Force 24. Cover is provided by DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HAURUKAZE and MATSUKAZE of the 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

30 July 1942:
CH-5 lands troops on the Tanimbar Islands.

31 July 1942:
Returns to Ambon.

E 4 December 1942:
Met up with submarine chaser CH-3 in Macassar Strait area en route to Balikpapan.

22 December 1942:
Departs Balikpapan at 1600 escorting tanker SAN CLEMENTE MARU and another ship to longitude 121 E.

25 May 1943:
At 0800, departs Balikpapan escorting TAIKAI, SEIZAN MARUs and an unknown ship called SONTO MARU towards Makassar. Then probably escorts IKUSHIMA MARU back to Balikpapan.

26 May 1943:
At 0800, CH-5 departs Balikpapan. Escorts tanker AKEBONO MARU, enroute to Rabaul, as far as 2 degrees N latitude.

27 May 1943:
At 1600, takes over escort of convoy near Balikpapan consisting of tanker KYOEI MARU and cargo ships TOBI, SHONAN and MIYAURA MARUs en route to Tarakan.

29 May 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Tarakan.

30 May 1943:
Escorts tanker AZUMA MARU from Tarakan to Balikpapan.

E 10 August 1943:
CH-5 arrives at Tarakan escorting tanker TATSUNO MARU.

11 August 1943:
CH-5 departs Tarakan with meteorological ship KAIYO No. 2 escorting tanker TSURUMI.

13 August 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

20 August 1943:
At 0900, CH-5 and CH-4 depart Balikpapan escorting convoy No. 2606 consisting of AMAGISAN, NICHIAI and YAMAYURI MARUs and tanker TSURUMI.

23 August 1943:
YAMAYURI MARU and CH-5 are detached for Menado and then NICHIAI MARU is detached.

5 October 1943:
CH-5 departs Balikpapan with destroyer SANAE escorting convoy No. 2608 consisting of TSURUMI, ONDO and ASUKA, RYOYO, TAJIMA MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships. Soon after leaving, TSURUMI encounters machinery problems and is forced to turn back.

8 October 1943:
CH-5 departs Tarakan escorting a convoy consisting of tankers TOA and NIPPON MARUs.

9 October 1943:
At 1700, arrives at Balikpapan.

10 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

16 October 1943:
CH-5 departs Palau with destroyer SANAE escorting convoy No. 2511 consisting of NICHIRYO and SHOEI (1986 grt) MARUs at 9 knots.

23 October 1943:
At 0700, arrives Balikpapan. Prior to arrival, NICHIRYO MARU is detached and sails independently to Ambon. Later that day, CH-5 is ordered to Kau to escort SENKO MARU to Balikpapan.

14 November 1943:
At 1700, CH-5 departs Balikpapan with destroyers HIBIKI and HANAKAZE escorting fast tanker convoy consisting of NAMPO, TOA, NIPPON and SHINKOKU MARUs.

17 February 1944:
CH-5 and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU depart Balikpapan for Palau escorting a convoy consisting of tankers OGURA MARU No. 3 and KYOEI MARU No. 2.

23 February 1944:
At about 2300, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey's (USNA ’31) USS COD (SS-224) makes a surface attack, torpedoes and sinks OGURA MARU No. 3 at 03-53N, 129-17E. 17 crewmen are killed.

On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following order transmitted by Truk Base Force:
"Subchasers 5, 31 and 33 attack the submarine inside the reef with depth charges and force her to the surface. Subchaser 28 is to proceed to the atoll off Sarashima and Hanashima Channels and cut off line of escape."

26 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

2 May 1944:
Arrives at Makassar escorting a convoy consisting of SUITEN MARU, tanker ENOSHIMA MARU (Ex British RFA EBONOL) and another unidentified ship.

8 June 1944:
W of Menado, Celebes. At about 1600, lookouts aboard LtCdr Willard R. Laughon's (USNA ’33) surfaced USS RASHER (SS-269) spot smoke on the horizon at 30,000 yards. Later, the targets are misidentified as "old armored cruiser ASAMA" (fleet oiler SHIOYA) and an "AMATSUKAZE (KAGERO)-class destroyer" (CH-5) patrolling two miles ahead of SHIOYA.

Laughon makes a submerged attack from starboard and fires six torpedoes. Five hit SHIOYA. Her magazine explodes and the aft part of the ship is obscured by flames up to the stacks. SHIOYA takes on a list to starboard. Laughon takes USS RASHER to 300 feet and evades eight depth charges. He and his crew hear breaking up noises. SHIOYA sinks at 03-04N, 124-03E. [1]

25 October 1944:
At 0650, CH-5, CH-31 and patrol boat No. 2 depart Tarakan escorting convoy M-246 consisting of UNKAI MARU No. 12, CAROLINE MARU and oilers TAKASAGO MARU No. 2, NANSHIN MARU No. 8, NANKO MARU No. 1 and HORAI MARU No. 7 At 1437 that day, UNKAI MARU No. 12 runs aground. Patrol boat PB-2 is detached to guard the ship. [2]

29 October 1944:
Arrives at Honda Bay, N of Puerto Princesa. Later that day, UNKAI MARU No. 12 and patrol boat PB-2 rejoin the convoy at Puerto Princesa.

31 October 1944:
At 2000, arrives at Taytay Bay, NE Palawan.

1 November 1944:
Departs Taytay Bay. Later that day, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr George H. Laird's (USNA ’33) USS BLACKFIN (SS-322) and LtCdr William T. Kinsella's (USNA ’34) USS RAY (SS-271). At 0923, Laird torpedoes and sinks UNKAI MARU No. 12 and CAROLINE MARU, both with a full load of fuel oil each, at 12-57N, 120-12E. UNKAI MARU No. 12 sinks with the loss of 12 lives, while CAROLINE MARU has 13 crewmen KIA. At 1042, Kinsella sinks HORAI MARU No. 7, carrying 1425 tons of petroleum. at the same location. 10 of the crew are killed. Later that day, the rest of the convoy arrives at Manila.

2 November 1944:
At 1130, fleet convoy TAMA-31A departs Takao for Manila consisting of KAGU MARU and navy LST's T. 111, T. 139, T. 140 and T. 160 escorted by subchaser CH-21 and minesweeper W-20. The ships are part of an emergency transport run to Manila following the Battle for Leyte Island and are carrying 1,820 men including a naval construction unit from Kure, an anti-aircraft unit and a Special Naval Landing Force.

3 November 1944:
Near Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippines. A temporary wolf pack is formed consisting of consisting of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Wreford G. Chapple’s (USNA ’30) USS BREAM (SS-243), LtCdr William T. Kinsella’s (USNA ’34) USS RAY (SS-271), LtCdr Maurice W. Shea’s (USNA ’37) USS RATON (SS-270) and LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins’ (USNA ’33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363).

Meanwhile, the convoy proceeds into the danger zone. While in the Bashi Channel, the convoy evades torpedoes possibly fired by LtCdr Robert E. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS SAILFISH (SS-192), then shelters in Lapoc Bay, N of Vigan, arriving there at 1800.

4 November 1944:
At 0700, convoy TAMA-31A leaves Lapoc Bay and heads south for Manila. At 1627, LtCdr Shea's USS RATON attacks the convoy and fires six torpedoes at KAGU MARU, but they all miss. The convoy’s escorts and air cover counterattack, but without effect. At somepoint during the day, CH-5 and auxiliary subchaser KEISHU MARU join TAMA-31's escort.

Later that day, Cdr Chapple’s USS BREAM puts one of four torpedoes he fires into KAGU MARU.

10.5 miles NW of Cape Bolinao, Lingayen Gulf. That evening, GUITARRO attacks KAGU MARU. At 1748 (JST), one of a spread of eight torpedoes hits her amidships. A fire starts in the engine room. After USS GUITARRO's attack, RAY fires two torpedoes and blows off KAGU MARU’s bow. At 2010, KAGU MARU carrying 219th Naval Construction Unit, sinks at 15-54N, 119-45E. 24 crewmen and 22 guards are KIA. CH-5 and auxiliary subchaser KEISHU MARU counter-attack unsuccessfully. Credit for the sinking is divided among the wolfpack’s submarines.

9 January 1945:
Bantam Bay, E of Bawean Island, Borneo. Ltz 1 (LtCdr) Jacob F. Drijfhout van Hooff's Dutch submarine HMNS O-19, operating under ComSubSoWesPac, is alerted by an "Ultra" signal that a small convoy is steaming eastwards S of Borneo. Just before sunset. a mast appears on the horizon near Tandjung Puting. Van Hooff executes an "end around" to get ahead of the convoy.

Van Hooff surfaces at sunset and sights a small freighter and an escort. He fires three torpedoes and gets a hit that sinks SHINKO MARU No. 1 at 03-41S-111-54E. CH-5 depth charges O-19 and causes heavy damage. O-19 safely returns to Fremantle via Darwin, Australia. [3]

23 March 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following message from Balikpapan:
"Subchaser No. 5 will transport personnel, equipment and supplies to Balabalagan lookout station. She will move on the following route:
23rd at 1900: Depart Balikpapan
24th at 0700: Arrive Balabalagan
at 0900: Depart Balabalagan
at 2000: Arrive Balikpapan." 27 March 1945:
CH-5 departs Balikpapan for Surabaya escorting convoy BASU-05 consisting of six unidentified ships.

29 March 1945:
CH-5 is ordered to rendezvous with another convoy operating between Banjermasin and Surabaya.

31 March 1945:
Makassar Strait, off Balikpapan, Borneo. USAAF B-24 "Liberator" heavy-bombers attack the convoy and damage CH-5.

At 1508, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from CH-5 that reads: “While escorting convoy engaged in battle with planes outside Balikpapan Harbor. At this time took four near misses. Suffered damage to searchlight, depth charge projectors and ----- lights. The above require repairs. Expended 450 rounds of ammunition. Request the ship be docked and engines overhauled at this time.”

Later that day, arrives at Surabaya.

31 March-8 May 1945:
Surabaya. Undergoes repairs by the IJN's 102nd Repair Unit.

E 8 May 1945:
Repairs are completed. CH-5 departs Surabaya for Balikpapan.

29 May 1945:
CH-5 departs Surabaya for Balikpapan escorting TOBI MARU (former Dutch TOBELO).

1 June 1945:
Java Sea. At 1524, Royal Navy Lt Richard L. Jay's submarine HMS TIPTOE fires two torpedoes at 982-ton TOBI MARU and gets one hit that sinks her at 04-53S, 115-48E. Three men are KIA.

USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from CH-5 that reads:“Torpedo attack, 1 hit, fear sinking, in position bearing 180 [degrees] distant 4 miles from Matasiri Island.”

5 June 1945:
FRUMEL publishes the following intelligence summary:
"Convoy of 4 ships (small) escorted by Subchaser No. 5 left Soerabaya at noon on 4th and arrives off Bandjermasin at 1900 on 7th."

20 June 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the sailing schedule for SUGI MARU, escorted by Subchaser No. 5 and SHONAN MARU No. 2:
"20th at 1000: leave Soerabaya; at 2000 anchor for night at Besuki
21st at 0700: weigh and proceed
22nd at 1200: 7-37S, 116-34E course 050
23rd at 2000: 5-33S, 119-10E course 028
at 2359: 5.12.30S, 119-11E course 044
24th at 0200: Arrive Makassar. "

28 June 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts a sailing schedule for convoy MASU 275 (NANSHIN MARU No. 16, BANDAI and SUGI MARUs, escorted by CH-5 and SHONAN MARU No. 2):
"27th at 1930: leave Makassar
28th at noon: 6-23S, 118-09E, course 227
at 2359: 6-30S, 116-45E, course 243
29th at 0800: 6-55S, 115-54E, hugging coast
At 1300 1 mile off north west tip of Kangean
30th at 0001 Eastern tip of Puteram Is.
0800 5 miles west of Kambing Is.
1300 arrive Soerabaya."

30 June 1945:
N of Bali, Java. CH-5 departs Makassar, Celebes escorting convoy MASU-705 to Surabaya. The convoy consists of sea-trucks NASHIN MARU No. 16, SUGI MARU, SHONAN MARU No. 2 and BANDAI MARU. At about 0200, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr Benjamin C. Jarvis' (USNA ’39) USS BAYA (SS-318) and LtCdr Ernest S. Frederick's (USNA ’37) USS CAPITAINE (SS-336). The submarines engage and damage CH-5 with their 5-inch deck guns and sink civilian cargo ship BANDAI MARU at 06-27S, 117-13E. CH-5 does not sink and later is towed to Batavia (Jakarta), Java (Indonesia) for repairs.

On that same day FRUMEL decrypts a message from CH-5, timed 300308:
"4 or 5 enemy submarines surfaced at 0155 in 6-27S, 117-13E and shelled our convoy. We eluded the submarines at 0225."

The East Indies Force Order 655, timed 300503 is intercepted next:

"1) Subchaser No. 5 convoy engaged 5 enemy submarines at 0130 on 30th in 6.30S. 117-00E. 2) No. 5 TAKUNAN MARU and Minesweeper 106 are to proceed immediately to this position, attack the enemy, and assist with the escort as far as the E. end of Madura Is."

9 July 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following message transmitted by TAKUNAN MARU No. 5, timed 081738: "[...] Singapore convoy:
ENOSHIKA MARU, SHINTOO MARU, SEINAN MARU and RIHEI MARU, escorted by TAKUNAN MARU No. 5, Subchaser No. 3 and Special Minesweeper 106, with Subchaser No. 5 assisting. Speed 7 knots. 9th July at 1000 leave Soerabaya
[...] 14th July at 1800 arrive Batavia.

Subsequent programme will be given later."

10 July 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following message from Soerabaya, timed 092231:
"East Indies Order 666.
Our reconnaissance seaplanes bombed an enemy submarine at 1105 on 9th in 6-33S, 111-48E where there is now a patch of oil. Subchasers 3 and 5 are to proceed to the above position and destroy the enemy submarine. [...]"

11 July 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following message transmitted by CH-5, timed 101309:
"Subchaser No. 3 sank an enemy submarine in 6-31S, 111-38E. I am searching the burning oil at that position with Subchaser No. 3."

19 July 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following message from SHONAN MARU No. 17, timed 181241: "Rendez-voused with Subchaser No. 5 at 1100 but found no trace [of survivors from NANKAI MARU]. Am searching further before returning to base."

21 July 1945:
FRUMEL decrypts the following messages transmitted by CH-5.
1) timed 200728: "Enemy submarine on the surface in 6-30S, 112-10E. Am engaging."
2) timed 200859: "Pursuit was carried out until 0825 when I lost touch owing to inferior speed in 6-25S, 111-55E.
Damage to us. 2 seriously wounded, several slightly wounded, holed above waterline. Two 12-cm binocular lenses damaged, aerial cut and other minor items."

15 August 1945:
Batavia. The crew of CH-5 is notified of the termination of hostilities with the Allied Powers. Later, CH-5 is taken over by British Forces in a severely damaged condition. She is moved to Singapore at an undetermined date.

11 July 1946:
Off Singapore. Scuttled by the Royal Navy.

10 August 1946:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] Later, CNO analysts discussed the 8 June 44 attack by USS RASHER: “The SHIOYA was scheduled to be in position 03-08 N., 124-00 E. at 1930 on 8 June under the escort of CH-5. On 8 June at 2018, CH-5 originated a dispatch to Balikpapan and Davao, infoing CINC Combined Fleet and 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleets. At 082030, CH-5 was addressed in care of Davao Special Base Force. This untranslated traffic probably dealt with the attack on SHIOYA. That SHIOYA was not sunk on 7 June is proved by the fact that at 081248 she was the concealed originator of a dispatch to various fleet commands.”

[2] Some British sources claim HMS TALLY-HO sank CH-5 in the Malacca Strait on 6 Oct '44, but clearly this is a mis-identification.

[3] Sources vary concerning the identification of the escort. Ultra signals, based on decrypts, claim it was CH-5. During the action, CH-5 may have sustained damage, but the extent of damage, if any, is unknown.

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

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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