(Subchaser No. 46 by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color
Paintings of Japanese Warships")
IJN Subchaser CH-61:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2005-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
30 October 1943:
Niigata. Laid down at the Niigata Engineering Co., Ltd. factory.
10 March 1944:
Launched and numbered CH-61.
8 May 1944:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District. Assigned to the Kure Guard Unit. Undergoes training at Saeki.
Based at Takao, Formosa. Escorts convoys between Takao and Manila.
20 June 1944:
At 1930, CH-61 departs Moji for Singapore with destroyer KURETAKE, minelayer SHIRATAKA and kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-5 and CD-13 escorting convoy HI-67 consisting of transports GOKOKU, MANJU, NANKAI, KINUGASA, ASAKA, ASAHISAN and HAKOZAKI MARUs and oilers MIRI, OTORISAN, NICHINAN No. 2, SARAWAK and SHINEI MARUs.
E 26 June 1944:
CD-2 and destroyer ASAGAO join convoy HI-67.
29 June 1944:
Near dawn, LtCdr (later Captain) Anton W. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) picks up convoy HI-67. Gallaher makes a long "end-around" in daylight. At about 1500, he fires all ten torpedoes in his bow and stern tubes at three ships. He damages MIRI and SARAWAK MARUs. Both oilers are hit in the bow, but each manages to proceed to Manila.
30 June 1944:
The convoy arrives at Manila. GOKOKU, SARAWAK and MIRII MARUs are detached.
3 July 1944:
At 0600, HI-67 departs Manila.
9 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore at 1640.
14 July 1944:
At 1900, CH-61 departs Takao for Manila with kaibokan
KUSAGAKI, CD-1, CD-22 and minelayers MAESHIMA, ENTO and minesweeper W-34 escorting convoy TAMA-21C consisting of MANTAI, MITSUKI, JINSAN, SEATTLE, YASUKUNI, TENSHIN, YAMATAMA, SAINEI, HIYAMA, KOKKA , SHOZAN, TOKUSHIMA and SHOKEI MARUs and tankers SHONAN, MITSU, AYAGIRI and AYAZONO MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships.
16 July 1944:
At 0946, LtCdr Harold E. Ruble's (USNA ’33) USS PIRANHA (SS-389) torpedoes and sinks SEATTLE MARU at 19-17N, 120-15E. The ship was carrying 4,285 IJNAF personnel. HIYAMA and SHOZAN MARUs rescue all but 296 of the airmen, 25 gunners and 45 crewmen.
Over the next six hours, Captain (later Rear Admiral-Ret) William V. O'Regan’s (USNA ’23) wolf pack, nicknamed the "Mickey Finns", consisting of LtCdr Duncan C. MacMillian's (USNA ’26) USS THRESHER (SS-200), LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Norvell G. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) and Ruble's USS PIRANHA closes in and decimates the convoy.
At 2300, MacMillian's USS THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SAINEI MARU at 18-53N, 119-32E. 21 troops and passengers on board, and three crewmen are KIA. At 2350, Ward's USS GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks JINZAN MARU. 38 troops, one passenger, seven gunners, two watchmen and three crewmen are killed – a total of 51 dead. Two minutes later, Ward torpedoes and sinks MANTAI MARU. 72 military passengers and 43 crewmen are KIA.
17 July 1944:
The attacks continue. At 0034,Ward's USS GUARDFISH torpedoes and sinks HIYAMA MARU her decks full of Type 95 light tanks, motor vehicles, equipment, and ammunition. The ship was loaded with the 12th Independent Tank totaling 101 troops, of whom four along with four of the crew are KIA. W-34 and CD-1 rescue survivors. At 0345, MacMillian's USS THRESHER torpedoes and sinks SHOZAN MARU at 18-50N, 119-43E. 24 Gunners, 125 troops, 500 SEATTLE MARU survivors and 64 crewmen are killed. CD-1 and W-34 rescue the survivors.
19 July 1944:
At 1920, convoy TAMA-21C arrives at Manila.
23 July 1944:
At 1545, CH-61 departs Manila for Moji with torpedo boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-1, CD-18 CD-28, minesweeper W-17 and minelayer ENOSHIMA escorting convoy MI-08 consisting of MIZUHO, MANILA, ARABIA, TATSUBATO, HAKUROKU (HAKUSHIKA) MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, NITTETSU, MIRI, CHIHAYA, RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6. The convoy speed is eight knots.
24 July 1944:
The convoy stops because of mine danger. Joins W-17 to sweep the route.
26 July 1944:
At 0625 aircraft from aircover bomb a submarine 10 km away. At 0900 W-17 executes an anti submarine sweep at the bombing site. At 0945 W-17 ends the anti submarine sweep and returns to the convoy. At 1700 second class destroyer KURETAKE joins the convoy and starts escorting.
27 July 1944:
At 0920, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 and auxiliary transport OYO MARU join the escort. At 1605, the convoy arrives at Takao and is again reorganized. CH-61 is detached.
1 October 1944:
At 1300, CH-61 departs Takao for Manila, Philippines with torpedo boat HIYODORI, kaibokan CD-6, CD-16 and CD-20, minesweepers W-38 and W-39, subchaser CH-61 and two unidentified warships escorting convoy TAMA-29 consisting of EJIRI, TOKO, RYUEI, KOSHO, URADO, TEIFU (ex French BOUGAINVILLE), TOYOKAWA, JOGU, EIKO, NANKING and PEKING MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships.
3 October 1944:
At 1703, the convoy arrives at Camiguin Island. W-39 is detached
6 October 1944:
At 1900, the convoy departs Camiguin Island.
8 October 1944:
At 0250, the convoy arrives at North San Fernando. W-38 and NANKING and PEKING MARUs are detached.
10 October 1944:
At 1335. LtCdr Donald G. Baer's USS LAPON (SS-260) torpedoes and sets EJIRI MARU afire at 16-10N, 119-45E. She is carrying 2086 passengers including 1,589 troops and tanks of the 2nd Division. Abandon Ship is ordered. Unmanned, she drifts aground at about 1700 S of Cape Rena. Several explosions occur and she sinks about 1800. 191 troops onboard and eight crewmen are killed in the attack. USS LAPON endures 28 DCs, but escapes unharmed.
12 October 1944:
At dawn, the convoy arrives at Manila Bay, but does not enter because of fear of air attacks. TAMA-29 continues southward. At 1410, LtCdr William T. Kinsella's (USNA ’34) USS RAY (SS-271) torpedoes and sinks TOKO MARU at 13-32N, 128-21E. All 29 of the crew are KIA and it is not clear if any of the 120 passengers onboard survive. USS RAY counts 30 DCs, but escapes unharmed.
13 October 1944:
The convoy arrives at Manila.
16 November 1944:
At 0600, CH-61 departs Keelung for Moji with kaibokan CD-20 and CD-39 escorting convoy TAMO-29 consisting of SHUYO, FUKUJU and MELBOURNE MARUs and two unidentified ships.
23 November 1944:
At 0348, LtCdr (later Cdr) Evan T. Shepard’s (USNA ’35) USS PICUDA (SS-382) torpedoes and sinks SHUYO MARU at 34-14N, 128-28E. 60 passengers and 25 crewmen are killed. At 0845, after tracking the convoy and making an "end-around", Shepard torpedoes and sinks FUKUJU MARU at 34-10N, 128-58E. 28 of the crew are killed. The escorts counter-attack and drop 23 depth charges on USS PICUDA, but she escapes undamaged.
24 November 1944:
Arrives at Moji.
9 January 1945:
Off southern Formosa. Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 38 carrier-based aircraft attack and sink CH-61 at 22-40N, 120-04E.
10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
Thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.
-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.