Editorial Notes by Anthony Tully - Managing Editor, CombinedFleet.com


NOTES:

[1] It is worthing noting that Fujinami was apparently the last completed Yugumo-class with the `old style' foremast.

[2] John Whitman located an account online by a diarist aboard Tatsuha Maru who recorded some interesting facts related to the fate of Gyoten Maru and Fujinami's activity that day. The Matsumoto Regiment HQ was aboard Gyoten Maru which was torpedoed and sunk around 0330 17 February 1944. At 0830 Fujinami rescued the drifting officers and men of the Gyoten Maru. Then at 1300 the diarist's transport, Tatsuha Maru, was attacked by enemy carriers planes and set afire. At length there was a large explosion among crates stacked around the bridge, and 2nd Battalion staff and its commander were killed along with much of the Tatsuha Maru 's bridge crew. At 1427 she sank. After sunset, Fujinami and CD No.1 [sic] began a rescue operation. Remark: As the CD No.1 mention shows, sometimes soldier diaries could err in details and must be used cautiously. Nonetheless, though unconfirmed, there is little reason to doubt the general picture presented. Thanks to John Whitman for this link: Tatuha Maru.

[3] Since Fujinami was ultimately lost with all hands during the Battle of Leyte Gulf we are dependent on messages preserved from other ships. Fujinami radioed this damage in combat report to Kurita.

[4] These details and those for 25 October all come from an 0400 26 October radio update to Kurita. Remarkably, it indicates she passed safely through San Bernardino Strait after the 0100 destruction of Nowaki by Halsey's surface forces. This was the last message received from Fujinami before her loss, but not the last addressed to her.

[5] From a Desron 2 radio order to Fujinami. This order is crucial, for not only does it seal Fujinami's fate, it strongly implies that Fujinami (then presumably somewhere east of Coron) was expected to first refuel to 65% capacity, then go back to Hayashimo to refuel and shepherd her to Coron. But it has proven impossible to determine whether Fujinami ever arrived at Coron. It is known she had not arrived by 0235 27 October (was considered overdue) and furthermore, was in view of Hayashimo off Semirara at dawn. On balance, it is thus very unlikely Fujinami reached Coron and the Japanese passed the opportunity to offload the Chokai survivors while taking on fuel. Consider: when Ushio arrived at 0917 at Coron loaded with nearly 400 Abukuma survivors that very same day (27th) - they were transferred ashore indicating some means to land them. Therefor it appears more probable that in response to the 0235 orders - because of where then located - that Fujinami tragically chose to divert to Semirara to investigate before reaching Coron.

[6] Details of Fujinami's fate comes from the reports of Franklin's aircraft, and observers aboard Hayashimo which both confirm the hit amidships. The Franklin's planes, which left the area immediately because of fuel, reported a large explosion between the stacks and left the "Aoba-class" cruiser listing to port and sinking. She apparently broke in two just afterward. There is indication Shiranuhi arrived at the scene around 1045 and was attempting to rescue Fujinami and Chokai survivors when she herself was then bombed and sunk with all hands.


BACK to FUJINAMI TROM