© 2001 Anthony P. Tully
Initial Command Structure:
Captain Sasaki Seigo.
26 January 1943:
Conversion from seaplane tender to aircraft carrier commenced at the Sasebo Navy Yard, under supervision of Captain Sasaki Seigo.
14 April 1943:
Captain Araki Tsutau, commander of Sasebo Harbor Division assumes command of CHITOSE concurrently with present duties.
1 July 1943:
Captain Tsutau relieved by Captain Kobara Yoshio, of the Sasebo Guard Force.
4 August 1943:
Captain Kobara relieved by Captain Miura Yoshio.
1 November 1943:
Re-commissioned, with same name as before. Final fitting out and equipping continues.
17 December 1943:
Arrive at Kure.
1 January 1944:
Completed as light aircraft carrier. Assigned to Mobile Force, attached to 3rd Fleet.
11 January 1944:
Depart Inland Sea for Singapore.
20 January 1944:
Arrive at Singapore.
25 January 1944:
Depart Singapore for Sasebo.
1 February 1944:
Assigned to Mobile Fleet, Cardiv 3, 3rd Fleet. 4 February 1944:
Arrive at Sasebo.
15 February 1944:
16 February 1944:
Arrive at Kagoshima.
20 February 1944:
Depart Kagoshima for Saipan.
26 February 1944:
Arrive at Saipan.
29 February 1944:
Depart Saipan for Yokosuka.
4 March 1944:
Arrive at Yokosuka.
13 March 1944:
Depart Yokosuka; arrive Kisarazu.
17 March 1944:
Depart Kisarazu; arrive Yokosuka.
19 March 1944:
Enter drydock at Yokosuka.
24 March 1944:
Leave drydock; depart next day for Inland Sea.
27 March 1944:
Arrive in Inland Sea; remains through April.
7 April 1944
Captain Miura relieved by Captain Kishi Yoshiyuki.
11 May 1944:
After taking aboard aircraft of Air Group 653 on the 5th and 6th,depart Saeki for TawiTawi. Teamed with sister-ship CHIYODA, rendevous with task force led by super-battleship MUSASHI, comprised of ZUIHO, JUNYO, HIYO, RYUHO, MICHISHIO, SHIGURE, and AKISHIMO.
12 May 1944:
Arrive at Okinawa temporarily, depart again.
16 May 1944:
Arrive at Tawitawi as part of the Mobile Fleet's assembling for "A-GO Operation" the defense of the Saipan/Marianas area.
22 May 1944:
Torpedo attack at 0924 by USS PUFFER (SS-268 ) while engaged in air training off Tawi-Tawi. Torpedoes explode in wake; no damage. (Destroyer YUKIKAZE is sometimes credited as damaged in this attack, but actually, she coincidentally hit a reef off Truk this same day that nicked a propeller).
13 June 1944:
Depart Tawitawi for Guimaras, to escape the mounting submarine danger to the former, and respond to the attacks on Saipan on 11-12 June.
14 June 1944:
Arrive at Guimaras and begin taking on supplies.
15 June 1944:
"A-GO" Operation activated. Depart Guimaras with sister ship CHIYODA and rest of Mobile Fleet for the Battle of the Marianas (Battle of the Philippine Sea).
19 June 1944:
Launch air strikes in first day of the Battle of the Marianas. In the battle form part of the "Van Force" comprised of CHITOSE, CHIYODA, and ZUIHO screened by YAMATO, MUSASHI, HARUNA, KONGO, ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA, CHOKAI, NOSHIRO, ASASHIMO, KISHINAMI, OKINAMI, TAMANAMI, HAMAKAZE, FUJINAMI, and SHIMAKAZE.
20 June 1944:
Air attack: Engaged in anti-aircraft action during TF 58 attack on the Mobile Fleet at 1730. No damage received.
22 June 1944:
Anchor temporarily at Okinawa, depart next morning for the homeland.
1 July 1944:
Arrive Kure, remain there through July.
20 July 1944:
Enter drydock at Kure.
26 July 1944:
3 August 1944:
Assigned to 2nd Diversion Attack Force. Remains in Inland Sea and Kyushu area.
20 October 1944:
Depart Oita with Ozawa's decoy Mobile Fleet (Third Fleet, CarDiv 3) for the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Force comprised of ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, CHITOSE, CHIYODA, screened by HYUGA, ISE, OYODO, TAMA, ISUZU, HATSUZUKI, AKIZUKI, WAKATSUKI, SHIMOTSUKI, MAKI, KIRI, KUWA and SUGI.
25 October 1944:
Battle off Cape Engano in the Battle of Leyte Gulf: Air attack by planes from U.S. TF 38. At 0835 a line of three near-miss bombs or - more likely, torpedo hits - exploded against the hull on the port side forward abreast the No.1 elevator. Massive hull rupture resulted, and Boiler rooms No.2 and No.4 on the port side immediately flooded, and the carrier heeled quickly to a dangerous 27 degree list. But damage control was swift, and after the attack, the list was corrected to 15 degrees and CHITOSE remained underway. However the rudder had failed and it was necessary to steer the carrier by using the after engines. At 0855 the list to port increased again to 20 degrees, the forward starboard engine room flooded, and speed down to 14 knots. At 0915 the after starboard engine failed, and speed dropped still further. The carrier struggled on, but at 0925 the port after engine room flooded and she went dead in the water. Though the list was 30 degrees, RAdm Matsuda on HYUGA ordered ISUZU to close and attempt to take her in tow. This proved impossible.
Sunk: At 0937 CHITOSE lay right over on her port side and nosed under with the loss of Captain Kishi Yoshiyuki and 903 officers and men. The ISUZU rescued 35 officers and 445 men and SHIMOTSUKI rescued 121 officers and men.(Position 19 - 20' N, 126 - 20' E.)
20 December 1944:
Removed from the Navy list.
CHITOSE's earlier career as a seaplane tender will be posted in the future under auxiliaries.