KAIBOKAN!

(Type C Escort by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Escort Chiburi:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2013 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 2


20 July 1943:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Nihon Kokan’s shipyard.

30 November 1943:
Launched and named CHIBURI.

13 May 1944:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District. Assigned to the General Escort Command's First Surface Escort Division. Cdr Ishiyama Taizo is the Commanding Officer. Departs Saeki.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

24 May 1944:
Departs Kure.

29 May 1944:
At 0600, CHIBURI departs Moji with escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII, kaibokan AWAJI, CD-19 and CD-11 and subchaser CH-60 escorting convoy HI-65 consisting of oilers SHIRETOKO, ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, ZUIHO and TOHO MARUs, cargo liners ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII and TATSUWA MARUs and troop transport SHINSHU MARU. Light minelayer TSUBAME departs Moji later, catches up with the convoy, and joins the escort.

2 June 1944:
Bashi Strait. AWAJI is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' new USS GUITARRO (SS-363) and sinks near Yasho Island at 22-34N, 121-15E. Her CO, Cdr (reserve) Niki Kozo, and 75 crewmen are KIA. CHIBURI and CD-19 rescue the survivors, but several die of their wounds.

LtCdr (later Captain) Albert L. Raborn's (USNA ’34) USS PICUDA (SS-382) fires two torpedoes at ARIMASAN MARU that cause her to collide with SHINSHU MARU's stern. This causes a depth charge explosion that kills about 70 men and causes rudder damage. KASHII takes SHINSHU MARU in tow. ARIMASAN MARU is lightly damaged in the attack and heads for Keelung, Formosa with KASHII and SHINSHU MARU.

3 June 1944:
Arrives at Keelung, Formosa.

4 June 1944:
Departs Keelung. Later that day, arrives at Takao, Formosa. KAIYO rejoins the convoy after brief stop at Saei (Tsoying) Formosa. Oiler JINEI MARU joins the convoy at sea. ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII, TATSUWA and SHINSHU MARUs are all detached for Manila.

8 June 1944:
Off Indochina. At 0906(H), KAIYO is sighted by Cdr (later Admiral/CINCPACFLT) John S. McCain Jr.’s (USNA ’31) USS GUNNEL (SS-253) at 11-59N, 112-29E. USS GUNNEL’s SJ radar picks up an aircraft at 24 miles. The Officer of the Deck (OOD) dives prematurely and contact with the convoy is lost and never regained.

12 June 1944:
At 1350, arrives at Singapore.

17 June 1944:
At 0400, CHIBURI departs Singapore with light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CD-7 and CD-11 escorting fast convoy HI-66 consisting of transport/cargo liners SANUKI, HOKKAI and AWA MARUs and tanker OMUROSAN MARU. The convoy hugs the continental coast avoiding deep water as much as possible.

26 June 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Moji.

27 June 1944:
Hitachi's shipyard, Innoshima. Dry-docked.

2 July 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

13 July 1944:
At 1600, CHIBURI departs Mutsure for Manila with Rear Admiral Sato Tsutomu (40) (former ComSubRon 1) Eighth Escort Convoy Command’s escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan SADO, CD-7 and CD-17 escorting convoy HI-69 consisting of escort carriers KAIYO and TAIYO each loaded with aircraft, KIMIKAWA, AKI, ASAMA, SAIGON, HAKKO, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), MANKO MARUs and possibly MANJU MARU and tankers KOEI, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, HARIMA, SERIA and TENEI MARUs.

18 July 1944:
Near Takao, Formosa. About 0600, LtCdr John J. Flachsenhar's USS ROCK (SS-274) fires four torpedoes at HARIMA MARU, but misses. Cdr Alan Banister's USS SAWFISH (USS 276) then fires nine torpedoes at the convoy. HARIMA MARU is hit by a single torpedo, but remains able to steam. At 1055, LtCdr Roger M. Keithy's USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and heavily damages CD-17. The convoy continues to Manila without stopping at Takao as originally planned (less MANKO MARU detached the day before and damaged HARIMA MARU and CD-17 that put into Takao).

20 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila at 2100. KAIYO and TAIYO begin unloading aircraft.

25 July 1944:
At 0530, CHIBURI departs Manila for Singapore with escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokans SADO, CD-7, CD-9, CD-13 and CD-17 escorting convoy HI-69 that now consists of KIMIKAWA, HAKKO, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, SERIA, KACHIDOKI and TENEI MARUs.

31 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 August 1944:
At 2100, CHIBURI, departs Singapore for Moji with escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII, destroyer SHIMOTSUKI and kaibokans SADO and CD-13 and CD-19 escorting convoy HI-70 consisting of MANJU, KINUGASA, ARIMASAN MARUs and oilers SERIA, KUROSHIO, HAKKO, OMUROSAN and OTOWASAN MARUs.

12 August 1944:
SADO is detached to hunt an enemy submarine. Later, she proceeds to Kirun separately.

15 August 1944:
HI-70 arrives at Moji at 1430.

25 August 1944:
CHIBURI departs Moji for Singapore with escort carrier UNYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CD-1, CD-13, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27 escorting convoy HI-73 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship KIBITSU MARU, ex-armed merchant cruiser GOKOKU MARU, ex-seaplane tenders KAGU and SANUKI MARUs, tankers TOHO, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TAIHO, FUJISAN, HAKKO, AMATO, TOA and KUROSHIO MARUs and fleet storeship IRAKO. Later that day, the convoy is joined briefly by transports MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs and tanker MANEI MARU that all depart the following day.

26 August 1944:
At 0900, MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs are ordered away because of excessive smoke. MANEI MARU remains at Kyushu because of engine problems.

29 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. Departs that same day and arrives at Tsoying (near Takao).

1 September 1944:
Off Saei. The convoy splits. KIBITSU, GOKOKU and KAGU MARUs (and probably IRAKO) head for Manila. The remaining ships head for Singapore.

3 September 1944:
TOA MARU strikes a mine S of Saigon and is lightly damaged, but able to continue.

5 September 1944:
At 0954, arrives at Seletar, Singapore.

11 September 1944:
CHIBURI departs Seletar for Moji with Rear Admiral Yoshitomi Setsuzo's (39)(former CO of KAGA and ComSubRon 7) 5th Guard Fleet's escort carrier UNYO, light cruiser KASHII (F) and kaibokan CD-13, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27 escorting convoy HI-74 consisting of tankers AZUSA, OTAWASAN, HARIMA, OMUROSAN and HAKKO MARUs.

16 September 1944:
At 2231, OMUROSAN MARU is hit by a torpedo fired by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's (USNA ’33) USS QUEENFISH (SS-393). KASHII fires a red flare signalling a submarine attack, but at 2334, 11,177-ton oiler AZUSA MARU is hit starboard side by two of a salvo of six bow torpedoes fired by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's (USNA ’35) USS BARB (SS-220) at the overlapping targets. AZUSA MARU blows up and sinks with all hands (100 crewmen and passengers). UNYO is hit starboard side by the other three torpedoes in Fluckey's salvo; one in the stern in the steering compartment, the other in the engine room. UNYO settles aft.

17 September 1944:
At 0142 UNYO radioes "Torpedo attack, two torpedoes, damage sustained." Sinking was not expected. However, the sea conditions worsened, pounding hard at the fantail, and collapsing the emergency reinforcements to the bulkheads. By 0730, UNYO is listing heavily to starboard, and the order is given to abandon ship. At 0755, she sinks by the stern at 19-10N, 116-35E (Radio notice at 0805 gives slight variant of 19-08N, 116-36E.") More than 900 crewmen and passengers are lost including her CO, Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Kimura Kozo (Ikuzo) (49) as are 48 aircraft, including a cargo of 36 Imperial Army planes UNYO was carrying back to Japan for overhaul and repairs. CHIBURI and CD-27 rescue 55 officers and 706 men.

23 September 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Moji.

1 October 1944:
At 0800 CHIBURI, departs Moji with kaibokan CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27 escorting convoy HI-77 consisting of transports MANJU (ex-SANTOS), KINUGASA, ORYOKU MARUs, oilers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, ARITA, ITSUKUSHIMA, AKANE, TAIHO and KAIHO MARUs, German U-boat supply ship QUITO and two unidentified ships. Arrives at Arikawa Bay that same day.

2 October 1944:
Departs Arikawa Bay for Singapore.

5 October 1944:
ORYOKU MARU is detached for Kirun. The rest of HI-77 arrives at Takao. Before departing later that day, kaibokan ETOROFU and SHONAN join the escort.

6 October 1944:
About 1410, LtCdr (later Captain) James B. Grady's (USNA ’33) USS WHALE (SS-239) fires five torpedoes at AKANE MARU. They all hit and the 10,000-ton oiler capsizes and sinks. 63 crewmen and 747 Army Management Branch Cadets and Railway Officials are KIA. Kaibokan CD-21 rescues her survivors and searches for the attacking submarine. At 1547, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles W. Wilkins' (USNA ’24) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) dives and begins an approach on the frigate from 16,900 yards. At 1757, Wilkins, now at 700 yards, fires a full bow spread of six torpedoes. One hits CD-21 that breaks in half and takes down 170 men including all survivors of AKANE MARU.

7 October 1944:
W of Manila. A wolf pack known as the “Holtz Cats”, consisting of LtCdr (later Captain) Arnold H. Holtz’s (USNA ’31) USS BAYA (SS-318), LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA and LtCdr Francis W. Scanland, Jr’s (USNA ’34) USS HAWKBILL (SS-366) heads through the South China Sea towards Fremantle, Australia.

At 1900, USS BECUNA makes radar contact with the northbound convoy. A few minutes later, Scanland’s USS HAWKBILL sights the convoy. At 2149, USS HAWKBILL fires six torpedoes at a large freighter, but they all miss. Scanland then evades an escort.

Soon after attack on convoy HI-77 begins, MANJU MARU charges a submarine and drops depth charges, an act of bravery the convoy commander later cites.

At 2200, KINUGASA MARU, carrying 1,000 port service workers, is hit by one or more torpedoes by either USS BAYA or USS HAWKBILL. Abandon Ship is ordered soon thereafter. MANJU MARU drops depth charges to prevent further attack. [1]

At 2224, USS HAWKBILL, running on the surface, attacks the same large freighter. Scanland fires three more torpedoes. This time two hit and cause a huge explosion. KINUGASA MARU was carrying ammunition The entire area is bathed in light. A mushroom of white and yellow flame rises hundreds of feet in the air. [2]

Holtz’s USS BAYA also fires torpedoes at KINUGASA MARU and claims two hits. [3]

At 2227, KINUGASA MARU sinks at 14-30 N, 115-446E. Ten passengers and 33 crewmen are killed.

12 October 1944:
At 1500, the remainder of HI-77 arrives at Singapore.

16 October 1944:
Keio University, Yokohama. From the Combined Fleet's headquarters, Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) releases a dispatch that assigns CHIBURI, minelayer YURISHIMA, kaibokan CD-19 and CD-27 and minesweeper W-34 with oiler ITSUKUSHIMA MARU to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) First Striking Force's 1st Supply Force with oilers NICHEI, YUHO, OMUROSAN, RYOEI and BANEI MARUs. Later, IJA oilers HAKKO and NIPPO MARUs are also assigned to Kurita's force.

17 October 1944:
Vice Admiral Kurita orders CHIBURI and CD-19 to proceed to Brunei Bay, Borneo with ITSUKUSHIMA and BANEI MARUs. Later, he also orders minelayer YURISHIMA and CD-27 to proceed to Brunei with NIPPO and OMUROSAN MARUs.

19 October 1944:
Departs Singapore.

22 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei. At 0800, Kurita's Striking Force steams for Leyte Gulf via the Sibuyan Sea and San Bernardino Strait. Kurita orders Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) BatDiv 2, cruiser MOGAMI and four destroyers to sortie through Surigao Strait to Leyte Gulf to envelop the U.S. invasion forces. Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide's (39)(former CO of OI) Fifth Fleet from the Pescadores is also to sortie through Surigao Strait to Leyte Gulf.

24 October 1944:
Brunei. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU loads 13,000-tons of oil. CHIBURI departs with kaibokan CD-17, CD-19 and CD-27 escorting oiler NIPPO MARU to refuel Shima's force.

25 October 1944:Operation "SHO-I-GO" (Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
In the course of battle, Kurita loses superbattleship MUSASHI, cruisers ATAGO, MAYA, CHOKAI, CHIKUMA and SUZUYA with KUMANO, MYOKO and TAKAO damaged severely. Several destroyers are also lost and damaged. Nishimura loses old battleships FUSO and YAMASHIRO and cruiser MOGAMI. Shima arrives behind Nishimura's force and wisely reverses course away from certain destruction.

6 November 1944:
CHIBURI departs Miri for Manila with kaibokan CD-19 and later destroyer SHIGURE escorting an unidentified convoy consisting of tanker MANEI (BANEI ) MARU and probably others. YUHO MARU likely is part of the convoy.

8 November 1944:
Off Mindoro, Philippines. CD-19, destroyer SHIGURE and kaibokan CHIBURI are escorting a convoy consisting of tanker MANEI MARU and possibly others. The convoy is attacked by a wolfpack of Cdr (later KIA) Thomas B. Oakley, Jr’s (USNA ’34) USS GROWLER (SS-215)(F), LtCdr Frank E. Haylor's (USNA ’36) USS HAKE (SS-256) and LtCdr (later Cdr) Francis A. Greenup's (USNA ’36) USS HARDHEAD (SS-365). During the action, 100 miles SW of Olongapo (Subic Bay), Luzon, Philippines, at about 0400, LtCdr Francis A. Greenup's USS HARDHEAD (SS-365) torpedoes and sinks MANEI MARU loaded with 7,000-tons of crude oil, at 13-30N, 119-25E. 36 crewmen are KIA. The escorts launch a heavy depth charge counter-attack and possibly sink USS GROWLER that goes MIA after this attack.

15 November 1944:
CHIBURI and kaibokan CD-19 depart Manila escorting tanker YUHO MARU as a sole ship convoy.

E 23 November 1944:
Palawan Passage. Kaibokan CD-17 from Saigon joins the escort of the convoy southbound from Manila.

26 November 1944:
Off Miri, Sarawak. At 1500 hours, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) David B. Bell's (USNA ’37) USS PARGO (SS-264) torpedoes YUHO MARU, loaded with avgas, at 04-55N, 114-06E. She breaks in two. 26 crewmen are KIA. All three kaibokan counterattack the submarine with depth charges, causing moderate damage. Later, CHIBURI tows the forward part of YUHO MARU to Miri, but the oiler sinks inside the port on 2 December.

20 December 1944:
Destroyers KASUMI and HATSUSHIMO are towing heavy cruiser MYOKO, torpedoed by USS BERGALL (SS-320) on 13 December, towards Singapore. CHIBURI arrives and replaces KASUMI that is detached for Saigon to become flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi's (41)(former CO of SUZUYA) Operation "REI-GO" force in the bombardment of the American beachhead at San Jose on Mindoro Island, Philippines.

25 December 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

3 January 1945:
Departs Singapore for Moji with CD-17 and CD-19 escorting a convoy consisting of tanker NICHIEI MARU loaded with 13,000 tons fuel oil and 205 passengers.

6 January 1945:
Gulf of Thailand, 60 miles NE of Kota Bharu, Malaya. LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas L. Wogan’s (USNA ’30) USS BESUGO (SS-321), patrolling the mouth of the Gulf, picks up a large target on SJ radar. At 2215, in a surface attack, LtCdr Wogan fires six torpedoes; three strike home and sink NICHIEI MARU loaded with 13,000-tons of heavy oil and carrying 205 passengers, at 06-57N, 102-57E. 41 crewmen including her CO, Captain Okano Ikkan (36) and 30 troops are KIA. CD-19, CD-17 and CHIBURI rescue the survivors. Okano is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

25 January 1945:
At 1119, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “From: Acting Commander, NICHIEI MARU. Received a torpedo attack and sank in position 06-45N, 102-55E at 2220 on 6 January. Secret documents went down with the ship. Killed: 3 officers, 15 POs, 24 enlisted and 29 others for a total of 71. Survivors 134.”

10 January 1945:
The escorts arrive at St Jacques, Indochina.

12 January 1945:
Off Cape St. Jacques. Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain, Sr.’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 38's attacks the Saigon area. Planes from USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), USS HANCOCK (CV-19) and USS HORNET (CV-12) sink kaibokan CD-17 (159 hands, including 12 officers KIA) and CD-19 (casualties unknown). CHIBURI is also sunk with the loss of 88 crewmen at 10-20N, 107-50E. Her wounded CO, Cdr Ishiyama Taizo survives.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
Thanks for assistance go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France. Thanks also go to Jeff Donahoo of Iowa for help in identifying kaibokan COs.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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