(FUSO during speed trials in May 1933-colorized photo by Irootoko, Jr.)

IJN Battleship FUSO:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2000-2020 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 16

11 March 1912:
Kure Navy Yard. Laid down as Battleship No. 3.

28 March 1914:
Launched and named FUSO. Rear Admiral, Prince (later Fleet Admiral) Fushimi Hiroyasu represents the Imperial family.

26 February 1915:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sato Kozo (18)(former CO of AZUMA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

8 November 1915:
Completed and attached to Kure Naval District. Placed in 1st reserve. Captain Sato Kozo is the CO.

4 December 1915:
Participates in the Grand Naval Review at Yokohama. Embarks the new Emperor Taisho (Yoshihito) and his entourage from the imperial flagship TSUKUBA, debarks them at the Yokohama West Pier. The armored cruiser SARATOGA (ACR-2, ex-NEW YORK) participates in the festivities as the flagship of Admiral Albert G. Winterhalter, CinC, US Asiatic Fleet.

13 December 1915:
Assigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mukai Yaichi (15)(former chief of the Personnel Bureau at the Navy Ministry) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1916:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamaoka Toyokazu (17)(former ADC to the chief of the NGS) is appointed the CO.

19 December 1916:
During the speed trials off Tateyama FUSO makes 23.3 kts.

9 April 1917:
Departs Sasebo to patrol the Chinese coast.

29 April 1917:
Returns to Kure. Later that year, a Type 13 main gun director is installed to the extended foretop.

1 December 1917:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takeuchi Shigetoshi (20)(former CO of SATSUMA) is appointed the CO.

27 February 1918:
Departs Mako (Makung), Pescadores, to patrol the Chinese coast in company of her sister battleship YAMASHIRO, KAWACHI and SETTSU.

3 March 1918:
Returns to Sasebo.

March 1918:
Kure Navy Yard. Four 8-cm/3-in 3rd Year Type AA guns are installed. Four 8-cm Type 41 short model guns are landed. [1]

1 December 1918:
Placed in 2nd reserve for a refit at Kure Navy Yard. Captain Ikuno Tarohachi (21)(current CO of AKI) is appointed the CO of FUSO as additional duty.

1 April 1919:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shimanouchi Kanta (20)(former CO of KONGO) is appointed the CO.

28 April-1 July 1919:
Undergoes powerplant repairs at Kure Navy Yard.

1 July 1919:
Placed in 1st reserve at Kure.

1 August 1919:
Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet. Participates in Special Great Maneuvers with the Blue Fleet in October.

28 October 1919:
Participates in the 12th Naval Review at Yokohama.

20 November 1919:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Otani Koshiro (23)(former CO of KASHIMA) is appointed the CO.

29 August 1920:
Departs Tateyama Bight in company of AKI, HIEI, HARUNA, ISE, HYUGA and light cruisers TENRYU and TATSUTA, escorted by DesRons 1 and 2, for a training cruise in the Sea of Japan and off the Siberian coast. Rendezvouses with KUMA and HIRATO en route.

7 September 1920:
Returns to Otaru port, Hokkaido.

20 November 1920:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Oishi Shokichi (24)(former CO of HARUNA) is appointed the CO.

17 August 1921:
Departs Kure to patrol in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea off Port Arthur (Lüshun), Tsingtao (Qingdao) and Dairen (Dalian), rendezvousing en route with KONGO, KIRISHIMA and NAGATO, escorted by DesDiv 14.

30 August 1921:
Returns to Ariake (Shibushi) Bay on Kyushu.

1 December 1921:
Placed in 2nd reserve at Kure. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kanna Norikazu (27)(former CO of KATORI) is appointed the CO.

7 October 1922:
Commences a refit at Kure Navy Yard. The compass bridge is fitted with a windscreen.

1 December 1922:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kagara Otohiko (27)(former CO of AKI) is appointed the CO.

20 December 1922-31 March 1923:
Placed in 3rd reserve for a refit at Kure Navy Yard. The elevation of the main guns is increased to 30 degrees. The thickness of the main gun turret roofs is increased to 6 inches. The Bausch & Lomb rangefinders in turrets Nos. 1 and 6 are landed. New 8-meter Barr & Stroud rangefinders are fitted to turrets Nos. 3-5 and an 8-m 7th Year Type set to turret No. 2. [2]

Probably at that time a Caquot type kite balloon is rigged to the fantail.

14 April 1923:
Placed in 2nd reserve at Kure.

1 September 1923:
Placed in 1st reserve at Kure. The Great Kanto Earthquake, one of the worst earthquakes in history, hits the Kanto plain, destroying Tokyo, Yokohama and their surroundings that day.

2 September 1923:
Departs Kure for Sasebo to embark provisions and medical supplies, then proceeds to Shinagawa Bay.

3 September 1923:
Arrives at Tokyo Bay. Disembarks 41 Naval Academy midshipmen, all from Tokyo area, tasked with assisting in relief and rescue operations.

6-22 September 1923:
Engaged in relief operations following the Great Kanto Earthquake.

1 December 1923:
Designated as training ship for naval gunnery, torpedo and engineering schools. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shiraishi Nobunari (28)(former CO of TOKIWA) is appointed the CO.

18 July 1924:
Captain (later Admiral) Yonai Mitsumasa (29)(former CO of IWATE) is appointed the CO.

10 November 1924:
Captain (later Admiral) Takahashi Sankichi (29)(former CO of ASO/ex-BAYAN) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1924:
Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet.

1 December 1924-22 February 1925:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. The foremast is rebuilt, adding a new command station, lookout station and target-tracking station accommodating a Type 12 sokutekiban target speed and course calculator. The mainmast is lengthened. A flying-off platform is fitted to No. 2 main caliber turret (no aircraft is embarked). A curved smoke deflector is added to the forefunnel.

30 March 1925:
Departs Sasebo for patrol in the Yellow Sea Chinwangtao (Qinhuangdao) area in company of YAMASHIRO, HYUGA and CruDiv 5. Rendezvouses with KIRISHIMA en route.

4 April 1925:
Arrives at Port Arthur, Manchuria.

1 May 1925:
Emperor Showa's (Hirohito) younger brother Midn (promoted Ensign 1 December 1925; later Captain) Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito (52) takes up his duties aboard FUSO (until 1 May 1926).

12 November 1925:
Kure Naval Base. The US Navy language officer LtCdr Franz B. Melendy is given a tour aboard FUSO.

1 December 1925:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hamano Eijiro (30)(former CO of KASUGA) is appointed the CO.

30 March 1926:
Departs Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa for a training cruise to Amoy (Xiamen), China.

4 April 1926:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

20 April 1926:
Departs Keelung, Formosa, for a training cruise to Chusan (Zhoushan) archipelago.

26 April 1926:
Returns to Terashima Strait.

1 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sugiura Masao (30)(former CO of ASAHI) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1926:
Placed in 1st reserve at Kure. Probably at that time two 8-cm 3rd Year Type AA guns are added.

Undergoes a refit at Kure Navy Yard. The anti-torpedo net booms are landed. A pagoda conning position is added to the foremast. A Type 13 sokutekiban is installed. The Schwarzlose machine guns are replaced by 6.5-mm 3rd Year Type machine guns.

28 July-10 August 1927:
Escorts YAMASHIRO from Yokosuka to Saeki Bay, Amami-Oshima Island, Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands and the vicinity of Bungo Channel, then returns to Yokosuka.

20 August 1927:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ichimura Hisao (31)(former CO of ISUZU) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1927:
Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet. Around that time the kite balloon and all associated equipment are landed.

29 March 1928:
Departs Ariake Bay for a visit to Hong Kong, combined with a patrol off Chusan Archipelago in company of KONGO, HIEI, NAGATO, CruDivs 3 and 5, escorted by DesRons 1 and 2. KONGO and HIEI are detached en route.

2 April 1928:
Arrives at Amoy.

5 April 1928:
Departs Amoy for Mako.

9 April 1928:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

14 April 1928:
Departs Hong Kong for Mako.

15 April 1928:
Arrives at Mako.

4 December 1928:
Participates in Coronation Special Naval Review at Yokohama.

10 December 1928:
Placed in 2nd reserve. Captain Ikeda Takeyoshi (32)(former CO of YURA) is appointed the CO.

30 November 1929:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kurata Tadashi (33)(former CoS of Mako Guard District) is appointed the CO.

19 April 1930-12 May 1933: The First Modernization:
Yokosuka/Kure Navy Yards. FUSO's main machinery is completely replaced. The forefunnel is removed, providing the No. 3 main gun turret (now facing the bow) with an all-round turning capability. The forebridge is replaced by a high pagoda tower with a 6-meter Barr & Stroud duplex rangefinder. The armor protection of the magazines and engine rooms is upgraded. The main gun barbette armor is likewise increased. Anti-torpedo bulges are fitted, deleting the torpedo tubes.

The elevation of the main guns is increased to 43 degrees and the elevation of the secondary battery to 30 degrees. The turret rangefinders are replaced. The shell and powder hoists are upgraded to handle Type 91 "diving" APC shells.

A Type 13 main battery director and Type 91 hydrophones are installed. A Kure Type No. 2 Model 4 catapult is installed on the roof of No. 3 turret for three Nakajima E4N2 Type 90 No. 2 Mod. 2 floatplanes.

15 May 1930:
Placed in 3rd reserve at Kure.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sugisaka Teijiro (33)(former CO of KUMA) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Machida Shinichiro (35)(former CO of FURUTAKA) is appointed the CO.

26 September 1932:
Transferred to Kure Navy Yard. Eight 12.7-cm Type 89 AA guns in four twin mountings and four quadruple 13.2 mm machine guns are installed instead of the 8-cm AA guns. The 6.5-mm 3rd Year Type machine guns are replaced by two 7.7-mm Type 92 machine guns.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Araki Sadaaki (35)(former CO of KISO) is appointed the CO.

1 March 1933:
Placed in 2nd reserve.

1 May 1933:
Placed in 1st reserve.

10 May 1933:
In sea trials off Sukumo Bay the 38,369-ton FUSO makes 24.682 knots on 76,889 shp.

16 August 1933:
Departs Tateyama Bight for a patrol in Mandate Islands area in company of KIRISHIMA and KINU.

21 August 1933:
Arrives at Kisarazu Bight.

15 November 1933:
Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet. Prince Lt Takamatsu Nobuhito is assigned to FUSO as division officer until 1 November 1934.

16 September 1934-31 March 1935: The Second Modernization:
Kure Navy Yard. The hull is lengthened aft by 25 feet. New propellers and rudders are fitted. The anti-torpedo bulges are extended to the upper deck level. An 8-meter Barr & Stroud duplex rangefinder (probably the 25 ft F.M. 2) is fitted to the foretop. [3]

15 November 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Iwamura Seiichi (37)(former CO of ABUKUMA) is appointed the CO.

29 March 1935:
Departs Sasebo in company of HARUNA, YAMASHIRO, two destroyer and two submarine flotillas to patrol off the Saddle (Ma'an) Islands, NE Zhoushan archipelago, China.

4 April 1935:
Returns to Terashima Strait.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kusaka Jinichi (37)(former CO of KITAKAMI) is appointed the CO.

Early 1936:
The starboard sheet anchor is landed.

13 April 1936:
Departs Terashima Strait for a training cruise to Tsingtao in company of HARUNA and YAMASHIRO to join CruDiv 5 (flag MYOKO), CruDiv 8 (flag SENDAI), DesRons 1 and 2.

22 April 1936:
Returns to Terashima Strait.

4 August 1936:
Departs Keelung in company of HARUNA and KIRISHIMA to operate off Amoy-Taiwan Strait area.

7 August 1936:
Arrives at Mako.

1 December 1936:
Placed in 2nd reserve. Temporarily reassigned to Kure Guard Unit as a training vessel. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yoshida Tsunemitsu (36)(former CO of SUZUYA) is appointed the CO.

26 January 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takasaki Takeo (37)(former CO of SENDAI) is appointed the CO.

26 February 1937-31 March 1938:
Additional refit at Kure Navy Yard. The two foremost secondary guns are landed and their casemates plated over. The 13.2-mm quadruple machine guns are replaced by sixteen 25-mm Type 96 AA guns in eight twin mounts. The stern is additionally reinforced. A 10-meter Type 94 duplex rangefinder is fitted to the foretop. Four Type 95 HA directors are installed for the 25-mm AA guns. The 4.5-m Barr & Stroud HA rangefinders are replaced by Type 94 sets of the same base length.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki (39)(former CO of JINTSU) is appointed the CO.

25 April 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro (38)(former CO of MYOKO) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1938:
Reassigned to BatDiv 1, First Fleet. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kishi Fukuji (40)(former CO of NATORI) is appointed the CO.

22 March 1939:
Departs Kagoshima Bight in company of the aircraft carrier AKAGI, battleships KONGO, KIRISHIMA, ISE and NAGATO, CruDiv 8 and DesRon 1 to patrol the north China coast.

24 March 1939:
Arrives at Tsingtao.

2 April 1939:
Returns to Terashima Strait.

1 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamaguchi Gisaburo (40)(former CO of OI) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1939
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sato Tsutomu (40)(former CO of NACHI) is appointed the CO.

15 December 1939:
Placed in 3rd reserve for a refit at Kure. The aircraft equipment is resited to fantail, adding a Kure Type No. 2 Mod. 5 catapult and a 4-ton collapsible crane for three Nakajima E8N1 "Dave" floatplanes. An air defense station is fitted atop the pagoda tower, which is lowered by some 2 meters, deleting the two uppermost levels. A new counterflooding system is installed. Type 98 delay coil is fitted for the main battery guns.

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kawano Chimaki (42)(former CO of ATAGO) is appointed the CO.

10 April 1941:
Reassigned to BatDiv 2, First Fleet.

20 April 1941:
Conducts the counterflooding system tests in Kure harbor.

15 September 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kinoshita Mitsuo (43)(former CO of KAKO) is appointed the CO.

19 September-26 October 1941:
Undergoes Expedition Preparations at Kure Navy Yard.

16-24 October 1941:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard. An external degaussing coil is installed. The anti-torpedo bulges are filled with crushing tubes. Two Nakajima E8N2 "Dave" floatplanes are embarked.

8 December 1941: Operation "Z" – The attack on Pearl Harbor:
BatDiv 2 sorties from the Combined Fleet's anchorage at Hashirajima in Hiroshima Bay to the Bonin Islands area with BatDiv 1's NAGATO, MUTSU and light carrier HOSHO, escorted by DesDiv 21's WAKABA, NENOHI, HATSUHARU and HATSUSHIMO and DesDiv 27's ARIAKE, YUGURE, SHIRATSUYU, SHIGURE, MIKAZUKI and YUKAZE.

13 December 1941:
Returns to Hashirajima. BatDiv 2 maintains standby alert and training in the Inland Sea.

7 February 1942:
Proceeding from American radio traffic analysis, the IJN Owada Communications Unit predicts an impending US carrier sortie from Pearl Harbor. Vice Admiral Takasu organizes a task force for an intercept in the Bonins area, including battleships ISE, HYUGA, FUSO and YAMASHIRO, light carriers HOSHO and ZUIHO, light cruisers OI and KITAKAMI and two destroyers. Additional support is to be provided by carrier ZUIKAKU and six destroyers.

10 February 1942:
The pending sortie of Takasu Force is cancelled.

21-25 February 1942:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard. Main gun barrels are replaced.

5 March 1942:
A picket boat of the 26th Sentai, Fifth Fleet, reports sighting 13 unidentified aircraft heading for Tokyo. The Navy General Staff immediately puts BatDiv 2, involved in training in Inland Sea, on standby alert.

12 March 1942:
Following an erroneous decrypt of Allied radio traffic, BatDiv 2, escorted by DesDiv 27 and other DD units, departs Hashirajima in an attempt to intercept the US carriers in the area N of Wake.

15 March 1942:
After a fruitless search BatDiv 2 is recalled.

16 March 1942:
BatDiv 2 returns to Ise Bay.

20 March 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Ise Bay for Hashirajima anchorage.

21 March 1942:
FUSO returns to Hashirajima anchorage to continue joint gunnery and navigating exercises with BatDiv 1.

23 March 1942:
FUSO and YAMATO are temporarily dispatched to Ise-Kojima anchorage in Hiroshima Bay.

18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Vice Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey's Task Force 16.2's USS HORNET (CV-8), VINCENNES (CA-44), NASHVILLE (CL-43), oiler CIMARRON (AO-22) and destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and MONSSEN (DD-436) and TF 16.1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-26), oiler SABINE (AO-25) and destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and FANNING (DD-385) approach to within 668 nautical miles of Japan.

Led by Lt Col (later General/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe.

Departs Hashirajima with Vice Admiral Takasu's BatDiv 2 and ten destroyers in pursuit of Halsey's ships.

19 April 1942:
At 30-00N, 135-20E, one of BatDiv 2's E8N2 "Dave" floatplanes sights a cargo ship and drops a message tube with an order to stop. About 1000, the BatDiv 2 group, heading NE, encounters the 4,761-ton Soviet cargo steamer ANGARSTROI (ex-GRANTLEY HALL). The patrol boat PB-31 (ex-KIKU), dispatched to search the Russian vessel, sends a boarding party to inspect ANGARSTROI, found to be carrying 7,555 tons of sugar from San Francisco to Vladivostok. The Japanese order the steamer to proceed to Kushimoto, Honshu, for a further search. The BatDiv 2 group turns SE and departs in a further unsuccessful pursuit of the Americans.

20 April 1942:
BatDiv 2 is recalled to Hashirajima.

22 April 1942:
BatDiv 2 returns to Hashirajima.

5 May 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Hashirajima for gunnery practice in the Iyo Nada. HYUGA's No. 5 turret gun blows up and her aft magazines are flooded. FUSO escorts HYUGA to Kure, then returns to Hashirajima. The other battleships proceed directly to Hashirajima.

9 May 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Kure in company of ISE.

19 May 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Hashirajima with the First and the Third Fleets for maneuvers at sea.

23 May 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima.

29 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
At 0600 BatDiv 2 sorties with the Main Body together with the light carrier HOSHO, battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, MUTSU, ISE, HYUGA and the light cruiser SENDAI.

4 June 1942:
BatDiv 2, CruDiv 9, TOA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs and their escorts are detached from the Main Body to support the Northern Force.

6 June 1942:
After Operation "MI" is cancelled, BatDiv 2 is diverted north to support operations in the Aleutians.

17 June 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.

22 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Hashirajima.

24 June 1942:
BatDiv 2 arrives at Hashirajima. Resumes standby alert.

14 July 1942:
Hashirajima. Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi assumes command of the reorganized First Fleet.

August 1942:
To partially compensate for the loss of carrier strength at Midway, the Navy Aircraft Department begins plans to convert the FUSO class battleships to hybrid battleship/carriers. Work is scheduled to begin in June 1943, but the plan is cancelled.

4-9 September 1942:
Dry-docked for maintenance at Kure Navy Yard.

28 October 1942:
Participates in gunnery trials in Suo Nada Sea with MUSASHI, NAGATO, ISE, HYUGA and YAMASHIRO.

15 November 1942-15 January 1943:
Hiroshima Bay. Embarks midshipmen of Naval Academy 71st Class for training in the Inland Sea.

5 December 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komura Keizo (former CO of CHIKUMA) is appointed the CO.

December 1942:
Western Inland Sea. FUSO participates in aircrew training exercises with carrier ZUIKAKU and battleships MUSASHI and YAMASHIRO.

1 June 1943:
Hashirajima. Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 1 November) Tsuruoka Nobumichi (43)(former CO of KITAKAMI) is appointed the CO.

7 June 1943:
Captain Tsuruoka pays a visit to battleship MUTSU to meet her CO, Captain Miyoshi Teruhiko (43)(former CO of MYOKO), an Etajima classmate.

8 June 1943:
Hashirajima. At 1030 embarks cadets of No. 13 Class A Flight Reserve (Yokaren) 12th/navigator team of the Tsuchiura Naval Air Group.

At 1210, MUTSU, moored off FUSO's starboard quarter, suddenly explodes and sinks. FUSO launches both of her Vedette boats to rescue a number of survivors. A submarine alert is put into effect immediately after the explosion, but cancelled after no submarines are sighted. The oil-soaked survivors from MUTSU are assembled on the quarterdeck to receive a hot bath, new clothes and a copious treatment with nihon-shu rice wine. Their testimonies are likewise collected.

9 June 1943:
In the morning, the first divers arrive and remain on the site for several months. FUSO serves as the "headquarters" for MUTSU's salvage efforts. For the next month, FUSO also hosts the "M-Commission" accident investigation board headed by Admiral Shiozawa Koichi.

25 June 1943:
The fleet resumes normal activities. BatDiv 2 resumes standby alert and training in the Inland Sea.

18-24 July 1943:
Dry-docked at Kure for an AA upgrade and radar installation. A Type 21 air and surface search radar is installed. Twenty-one 25-mm AA guns in two twin and seventeen single mounts are added for a total suite of thirty-seven. Probably at that time two Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 "Pete" floatplanes are embarked.

15 August 1943:
MUTSU's survivors, accommodated aboard FUSO, are transferred to NAGATO.

16 August 1943:
FUSO departs Kure with YAMATO, NAGATO and DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE. Stops that night at the Yashima anchorage near Takamatsu on Shikoku to embark the personnel of the 41st Guard Unit, including a number of MUTSU survivors.

17 August 1943:
FUSO departs Yashima via Yokosuka for Truk, carrying Army troops and supplies in a task group with battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, cruisers ATAGO, TAKAO, NOSHIRO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO, YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, DesDiv 24's SUZUKAZE, UMIKAZE and DesDiv 61's WAKATSUKI. Off Yokosuka the escort carrier TAIYO and DesDiv 7's USHIO join Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's force.

23 August 1943:
The task group arrives at Harushima (Moen) anchorage on Truk. Conducts battle exercises thereafter.

3 September 1943:
Refuels from TSURUMI.

18 September 1943:
The fleet, led by Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo, sorties from Truk to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama by Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall's TF 15 carriers USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), PRINCETON (CVL-23) and BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24). FUSO remains at Truk as a guardship with the fleet's flagship MUSASHI and BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA.

25 September 1943:
The fleet returns to Truk.

5-6 November 1943:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred E. Montgomery's TF 14 carriers USS ESSEX (CV-9), YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16), INDEPENDENCE (CV-22), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) and COWPENS (CVL-25) launch raids on Wake and the Marshall Islands.

17 October 1943:
The Japanese intercept radio traffic suggesting that the Americans are planning another raid on Wake Island. Admiral Koga sorties from Truk to intercept the enemy carriers with BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI, NAGATO, BatDiv 2's FUSO, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HARUNA, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA, CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, TONE, light cruisers AGANO, NOSHIRO, OYODO and destroyers.

19 October 1943:
Arrives at Brown Island. Resumes standby alert.

23 October 1943:
Sorties from Brown Island to an area west of Wake Island. No contact is made with Task Force 14.

26 October 1943:
The fleet returns to Truk.

5 December 1943:
The USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercepts and decodes a message in JN-20 to the 902 Air Group dated 050600 that reads "Owing to heavy rain am unable to return to base. Am waiting at Kinyo Island for weather to improve. No. 1 aircraft FUSO and No. 2 aircaft MUSASHI." (FRUMEL comment: Kinyo Island, or Friday Island, is in the Truk Group which suggests these battleships are at Truk.)

27 January 1944:
Truk. FUSO receives 1,325-tons of fuel from oiler NICHIEI MARU.

1 February 1944: Operation "T" - The Evacuation of Truk:
FUSO departs Truk with NAGATO (flagship of Nagumo), CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA, TONE, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE and DesDiv 61's AKIZUKI. At 1000, USS PERMIT (SS-178) sights the task group leaving Truk, but is unable to close to attack.

4 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

16 February 1944:
Departs Palau to avoid air raids with NAGATO (F), CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA and TONE, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE and URAKAZE and DesDiv 61's AKIZUKI.

20 February 1944:
North of Singapore in the South China Sea. After sunset, USS PUFFER (SS-268) sights the 10-ship task group, but the submarine is unable to close to attack.

21 February 1944:
Arrives at Lingga Roads (near Singapore) to commence exercises with Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Mobile Fleet.

23 February 1944:
Lingga. Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 15 October; Vice Admiral, posthumously) Ban Masami (42)(former CO of ASHIGARA) is appointed the CO.

25 February 1944:
BatDiv 2 is disbanded. FUSO and YAMASHIRO are reassigned directly to Combined Fleet. By 1 March their floatplanes are landed.

14 March 1944:
Departs Lingga to rendezvous with NAGATO for gunnery exercises; returns the following day.

8 April 1944:
Departs Lingga for Singapore.

13-25 April 1944:
Seletar. Dry-docked at No. 1 drydock (former King George V Graving Dock) for maintenance. The crew is given liberty in Singapore.

27 April 1944:
Departs Singapore for Lingga.

1 May 1944:
At Lingga. Conducts damage control exercises.

5 May 1944:
Commences joint training with YAMATO and NAGATO.

11 May 1944:
Departs Lingga for the old USN anchorage at Tawi Tawi (southernmost Philippines) in the Sulu Sea. She sails with BatDiv 1's YAMATO and NAGATO, BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA, CHOKAI, BatDiv 7's TONE, CHIKUMA, KUMANO, SUZUYA and DesRon 2's NOSHIRO, HARUSAME, SHIMAKAZE and KISHINAMI (and possibly HAMANAMI). The sortie is led by Kurita in ATAGO. Floatplanes of 936th NAG from Singapore provide anti-submarine cover.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Tawi Tawi.

30 May 1944: Operation "Kon" - The Reinforcement of Biak:
At noon, FUSO departs Tawi Tawi with No. 3 (Distant Cover) Unit with DesDiv 10's ASAGUMO and KAZAGUMO simultaneously with CruDiv 5's MYOKO, HAGURO and six destroyers. The ships are sighted leaving the anchorage by USS CABRILLA (SS-288) and BLUEFISH (SS-222), but neither submarine is able to close to attack. The FUSO group provides distant cover for the "Kon" troop transport force CruDiv 16's cruiser AOBA, light cruiser KINU, minelayers TSUGARU, ITSUKUSHIMA, transport T.127, several freighters, DesDiv 19's SHIKINAMI, URANAMI, DesDiv 27's SHIGURE and subchasers CH-36 and CH-37.

31 May 1944:
At 0857, USS GURNARD (SS-254) and RAY (SS-271) sight FUSO but neither submarine is able to attack. The FUSO group arrives safely at Davao, Philippines.

1 June 1944:
Receives fresh provisions from supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

2 June 1944:
At 2330, FUSO departs Davao towards Biak Island, New Guinea with DesDiv 10's ASAGUMO and KAZAGUMO.

CruDiv 5's MYOKO, HAGURO (No 1. Screen) and the transport group and their destroyers also depart Davao for Biak, but take another route. FUSO is tasked with the night bombardment of Allied positions on the south coast of Biak simultaneously with the counterlanding of IJA troops.

3 June 1944:
Around the noon, the "Kon" troop movement is detected by a Seventh Fleet B-24 "Liberator" aircraft. USS RASHER (SS-269) also sights CruDiv 5, making 22 knots towards Karakelong Island, but the submarine is unable to close to attack. At 2025, since surprise is lost, the CinC of the Combined Fleet, Admiral Toyoda Soemu (former CO of HYUGA), cancels Operation "Kon". FUSO and DesDiv 10 retire towards Davao. The CruDiv 5 group also reverses course, but the transport group continues on to Sorong.

4 June 1944:
E of Halmahera. In the morning, the retiring FUSO group is attacked by three to four B-24 bombers. One of the attackers is reported damaged by flak from either FUSO or her accompanying cruisers.

The Combined Fleet orders FUSO and CruDiv 5 to Palau as a diversion, but that evening the order is cancelled and Operation "Kon" is resumed. The FUSO group reverses course back to the Philippines.

5 June 1944:
The FUSO group arrives at Davao.

7 June 1944:
Bongao, Tawi Tawi. FUSO receives fresh provisions from the supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

13 June 1944:
Davao. FUSO transfers most of her fuel to the 1st Supply Force's oilers HAYUSUI and NICHIEI, KOKUYO and SEIYO MARUs.

17 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
FUSO is placed on alert for Operation "A-Go". Departs Davao and arrives at the old American anchorage at Malalag Bay on the western side of Davao Gulf. She is ordered to stand-by for a single-handed attack on US troopships heading for Saipan.

20 June 1944:
The alert order is rescinded. Departs Malalag Bay for Davao.

June 1944: Operation "Y-GO":
Tokyo: The headquarters staff of the Combined Fleet, appalled at the debacle of Operation "A-Go", submits an Operation "Y-Go" plan to the CinC, Admiral Toyoda. It calls for BatDiv 2's FUSO and YAMASHIRO to assault the American invasion forces off Saipan with their 14-in guns. Admiral Toyoda rejects the proposal as a suicide mission doomed to failure.

1 July 1944:
Departs Davao with DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, YAMAGUMO and NOWAKI for refueling at Tarakan Island, Borneo.

3 July 1944:
East of Borneo. LtCdr Manning M. Kimmel (son of Admiral H. E. Kimmel, former CINCPACFLT at Pearl Harbor) in USS ROBALO (SS-273) reports FUSO with destroyers and air cover at 31-29N, 119-26E. Kimmel is unable gain an attack position. FUSO arrives safely at Tarakan.

8 July 1944:
Departs Tarakan for Kure, escorted by DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, YAMAGUMO and NOWAKI.

14 July 1944:
Off Fukashima at the western entrance to the Bungo Strait. FUSO and DesDiv 4 are about to enter Sukumo Bay for an overnight stop. At 0112 Cdr Frank C. Acker's new USS POMFRET (SS-391), makes a SJ radar contact at 23,000 yds. Acker commences a surfaced approach, identifying his target as a battleship escorted by three destroyers.

Acker manages to position POMFRET 2,000 yds off FUSO's projected track. At 0307 FUSO switches on a large searchlight, forcing the submarine to dive. Acker and his crew await the crash of big shells, but none come. POMFRET comes to periscope depth and continues the chase. At 0333 Acker sets up and at long range of 5,500 yds fires six Mk.23 torpedoes in 31-52N, 133-03E. Three torpedo wakes are sighted from FUSO; all miss.

15 July 1944:
Departs Sukumo Bay, arrives at Kure.

1 August 1944:
Temporarily reassigned to Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide's Second Striking Unit with YAMASHIRO, ISE and HYUGA.

2-14 August 1944:
Dry-docked at Kure Navy Yard. Two sets of Type 13 air search and two sets of Type 22 surface search/gunnery control radars are installed. E27 radar detectors are fitted. Fifty-three 25-mm AA guns (8 triple, 6 twin, 17 single, five of the latter portable) and ten 13.2-mm single machine guns are also installed.

14 August 1944:
Departs Kure.

22 August 1944:
Hashirajima. Fleet oiler NICHIEI MARU refuels FUSO, battleship HYUGA and the old destroyer KUWA.

10 September 1944:
Hashirajima. Reassigned to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's Second Fleet, BatDiv 2 with YAMASHIRO (F).

17 September 1944:
Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji's BatDiv 2's FUSO and YAMASHIRO depart Ujina (near Hiroshima), carrying 2,131 men of the IJA 25th Independent Mixed Regiment consisting of three infantry battalions, one regimental gun company, one anti-tank gun company and one engineer company. Arrives at Kure later that day to await the arrival of DesDiv 17 from Lingga.

20 September 1944:
At 1042 (JST), ComBatDiv 2 Vice Admiral Nishimura transmits BatDiv 2 Secret radio message No. 201700: "BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 joint action schedule: on 23 September departure from western Inland Sea, estimated arrival at Brunei 29 September, estimated arrival at Shonan (Singapore) 2 October, estimated arrival at Lingga 3 October." On that day, two Mitsubishi F1M2 floatplanes are assigned to FUSO.

23 September 1944:
BatDiv 2 departs Kure, rendezvouses with DesDiv 17 off Agenosho Bay, Yashiro Island, then departs for Lingga. Many of the troops are billeted on the battleships' decks.

24 September 1944:
Nansei Shoto (Ryukyu Islands). At 0716, LtCdr Clyde B. Stevens' USS PLAICE (SS-390) sights two FUSO-class battleships emerging from the mist at 29-30N, 129-15E. They are advancing in a column screened by four destroyers; one on each bow of the leader and one on each beam of the second battleship. The screens are stationed about 3,000 yds off the track. The targets are zigzagging, using straight legs. PLAICE also spots a Mitsubishi F1M2 floatplane providing close air screen. Stevens begins his approach.

At At 0742, Stevens estimates the target's length as 600 ft and sets his torpedo spread with a 120 per cent coverage from aft forward. He has a 30-degree angle on the bow of a battleship. Stevens fires his six bow tubes at 29-27N, 129-46E. He then checks the positions of the destroyer screen, and swings his periscope back to the target. In low power, the battleship now fills three-fourths of his 'scope! Stevens takes PLAICE deep to avoid a collision. At 0745, PLAICE's crew hears five explosions, but in reality all torpedoes miss.

26 September 1944:
Luzon Strait, Philippines. Cdr Frank Acker's USS POMFRET (SS-391), whose torpedoes missed FUSO in July, is on his second war patrol. At 1240 (H), while submerged, Acker spots BatDiv 2 at 20-44N, 118-13E, but is unable to attack due to the speed of the battleships. Not seeing any air cover, Acker surfaces and goes to flank speed to close the battleships. At 1434, POMFRET's lookouts spot BatDiv 2 at a range of about 20 miles. The battleships are making about 20 knots and zigzagging on a base course of 211 degrees. Acker continues tracking BatDiv 2, but at 1620 his OOD spots a periscope at 330 degrees relative at 500 yds. POMFRET crash-dives, breaking off the pursuit.

27 September 1944:
South China Sea, off Luzon, Philippines. At 0532, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker's USS FLASHER (SS-249) spots BatDiv 2 at about 15-40N, 117-18E. Whitaker attempts an "end around" at flank speed, but the submarine is unable to close the range for an attack.

29 September 1944:
BatDiv 2 arrives at Labuan Island, Borneo, near Brunei, disembarks IJA troops and departs. That same day, arrives at Brunei Bay, Borneo. Remains overnight.

30 September 1944:
Departs Brunei for Singapore.

2 October 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. FUSO refuels from oiler YUHO MARU.

4 October 1944:
At 1300, BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 arrive at Lingga.

5 October 1944:
Vice Admiral Nishimura and Captain Ban pay a visit to Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome aboard YAMATO.

4-18 October 1944:
Lingga. FUSO is engaged in training with the fleet.

18-20 October 1944:
Steams with fleet from Lingga to Brunei Bay, Borneo. Refuels.

21 October 1944:
Brunei Bay. Refuels ASAGUMO.

22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO" (Victory 1) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
At 1530, sorties from Brunei with Vice Admiral Nishimura's Force "C" (Third Section) comprising BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO (F), CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, DesDiv 10's YAMAGUMO, ASAGUMO and DesDiv 27's SHIGURE.

24 October 1944:
Sulu Sea (approximately 09-02N, 121-35E). Around 0945, Force "C" is attacked by 28 aircraft from TG 38.4's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and FRANKLIN (CV-13). FUSO, astern of YAMASHIRO, is attacked by ENTERPRISE's SB2C-3 "Helldivers" belonging to the 2nd division of VB-20, led by Lt Raymond E. Moore, and VF-20 F6F-3 "Hellcat" fighters. A 500-lb bomb strikes FUSO's fantail and starts a fire in the aviation gasoline tanks near the catapult that destroys her two F1M2 floatplanes. The explosion causes minor damage to the steering gear room, Admiral's quarters and the nearby storerooms. The blaze sets off the floatplane depth charges and the ensuing explosion opens a hole in the fantail above the waterline. Ten sailors are killed. By 1100, FUSO's firefighting teams manage to extinguish the fire.

At 1235, Nishimura - now aware that Kurita will not make it to Leyte Gulf at the prescribed time - orders to reduce the speed of his force to 14 kts.

At 1830, in position 08-56N, 123-37E, Vice Admiral Nishimura detaches MOGAMI and the three destroyers of DesDiv 4 to conduct an offensive sweep of Sogod Bay, Leyte.

Surigao Strait. Captain Jesse G. Coward's picket DesRon 54 lays in wait to launch a "hammer and anvil" torpedo attack. DesRon 54's western section is Cdr Carter B. Jennings' USS McDERMUT (DD-677) and Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles K. Bergin's MONSSEN (DD-798). The eastern section is Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Barry K. Atkins' MELVIN (DD-680), Cdr Reid P. Fiala's REMEY (DD-688)(F) and Cdr (later Rear Admiral) William R. Cox's McGOWAN (DD-678). Cdr (later Captain) Selman S. Bowling's thirty-nine strong Attack Force is arrayed along Surigao Strait in sections of three boats each. At 2236, Section 1's Ensign Peter R. Gadd's PT-131, stationed S of Agio Point, Bohol Island, picks up two radar contacts to the NE. PT-130, PT-131 and PT-152 head toward the contacts at 24 kts.

At 2250, lookouts aboard LtCdr Nishino Shigeru's destroyer SHIGURE spot the oncoming PT-boats and the destroyer illuminates them with starshells, opening fire. By 2254, Captain Coward's DesRon 54's western section makes radar contact with Nishimura's Force.

At 2258, YAMASHIRO's 6-in secondary guns open fire on the attacking PT-boats, well-illuminated by SHIGURE. Lt Joseph A. Eddins' PT-152 is hit and set afire. A 6-in shell from YAMASHIRO damages Lt(jg) Ian D. Malcom's PT-130, but does not explode.

25 October 1944: The Battle of the Surigao Strait:
After 0100 MOGAMI and her escorts rejoin Nishimura's force off the southern tip of Limasawa Island. After 0105, 5 miles SE from that location, FUSO mistakenly targets MOGAMI with her secondary battery. As a result of the "friendly fire" the cruiser receives a 6-in dud hit, killing 3 sailors in her aft sick bay.

Force "C" assumes Night-search Disposition No. 2 with MICHISHIO and ASAGUMO deployed in the van, followed by YAMASHIRO 4,000 meters astern, FUSO 1,000 m astern of YAMASHIRO and MOGAMI 1,000 meters astern of FUSO. YAMAGUMO guards the right flank of the formation with SHIGURE proceeding on the opposite side. As a result of incessant attacks some DDs fail to take up their prescribed stations until 0200.

At 0133 YAMAGUMO sights Section 6's PT-132 and PT-137, raises the alarm and opens fire. SHIGURE also opens fire. Both PT-boats fire their torpedoes at YAMAGUMO, but fail to score any hits.

At 0200, just before entering the choke point between Panaon and Sumilon islands, Nishimura orders to steady on course 000, due north. The speed is increased to 20 kts.

At 0203 Lt Edmund F. Wakelin's PT-134 attempts to attack FUSO from the rear of the Japanese formation. At 0205, she is targeted by MOGAMI and FUSO. PT-134 fires three torpedoes at FUSO from 3,000 yds - too far - and they all miss astern.

At about the same time, Nishimura's Force is engaged from dead ahead by Lt John L. McElfresh's Section 9's PT-490, PT-491 and PT-493. McElfresh's PT-490 misses MICHISHIO with two torpedoes. At 0207, Vice Admiral Nishimura orders an emergency 45-degree turn to starboard and at 0208 orders a second emergency turn.

Japanese shells damage PT-490, illuminated by destroyer searchlights. Lt(jg) Richard W. Brown's PT-493 aborts its attack, then lays smoke to cover PT-490's retreat. The Japanese destroyers get the range and PT-493 is hit repeatedly. She makes her escape on a damaged engine, but sinks later.

At 0211 Nishimura orders his unit to assume Battle Disposition No. 2 (line ahead with MICHISHIO leading ASAGUMO, YAMAGUMO, SHIGURE, YAMASHIRO, FUSO and MOGAMI). One minute later Force "C" is attacked from the SE by LtCdr Francis D. Tappaan's Section 8's PT-523, PT-524 and PT-526, targeting MOGAMI or FUSO with six torpedoes. All miss.

At 0240, when proceeding 1.5 miles W of Kotkot Island and still reforming into news disposition, Force "C" is picked up on McGOWAN's radar at 18 miles. At about 0301, MELVIN, REMEY and McGOWAN launch 27 Mk.15 torpedoes, all set at a depth of 22 ft, then retreat NE, taking fire from YAMASHIRO, FUSO and the destroyers.

At about 0309, two of MELVIN's torpedoes hit FUSO's starboard side. One hits abreast the No. 1 turret and the other a boiler room, flooding it and causing a fire. FUSO immediately slows down and develops a list to starboard, falling out of the line. Belowdecks the lights go out, but emergency lighting is switched on. All communications fail. A fire breaks out starboard aft. The battleship attempts to resume the northward advance, trailing Force "C" at 12 kts.

At 0320 FUSO turns to west and three minutes later commences a slow turn to starboard to retire southward at 10 kts. She is down by the bow with her forecastle awash. The starboard list is reduced by counterflooding, but as a result of progressive flooding both forward turret crews have to be evacuated. Soon thereafter Rear Admiral Ban orders to abandon ship.

Surigao Strait, near Kanihaan Island. Around 0340-0350, FUSO lists to starboard and then sinks by the bow, with her propellers still turning in the approximate area 10-24N, 125-21E. Two low-order explosions follow. Fuel oil from the sinking battleship rises to the surface, then catches fire. The flames engulf many of the survivors in the water.

Only about ten of FUSO's 1,630 crewmen survive the night. Rear Admiral Ban is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. [4]

31 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

25 November 2017:
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and his team of researchers aboard RV PETREL locate FUSO 650 ft (200 meters) below the surface of the Surigao Strait. She lies upside down. (Pictures © Navigea Ltd./R/V Petrel).

All four propellers and both rudders are intact and visible. This propeller is exactly 12 feet in diameter.   This is one arm of the "pagoda" foretop rangefinder used for the main battery.

Author's Notes:
[1] While Skulski (1998, p. 28) suggests that no less than five 8-cm HA guns were installed after 1 December 1918, they must have been present by 24 March of that year, when the first test firings were conducted. Newer sources including the "Illustrated Ships Data of IJN 1868-1945. Battleships and Battle Cruisers" by Ishibashi Takao (2007, pp. 257, 537) suggest that four AA guns were actually installed by that time.
[2] The exact base length of all above rangefinders was 25 ft or 7.6 m.
[3] While the second modernization was scheduled to be completed by 19 February 1935, some works continued until the end of March.
[4] The top-ranking survivor was Paymaster Lt Ezaki Hisato, the Chief Paymaster of FUSO. Confusingly enough, on 25 October seven unidentified FUSO crewmembers were reassigned to an IJN ground combat unit defending Manila. Whether these were survivors of the battle or seamen who had left their ship prior to the battle is unclear.

Special thanks for assistance in researching Japanese-language sources used in compiling this TROM go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan, Messrs. Lars Ahlberg of Sweden and Richard Wolff of the USA. Thanks for assistance in researching IJN officers mentioned herein also go to Messrs. Iwasaki Yutaka of Japan and Jean-François Masson of Canada.

For further reading, see Anthony Tully's "Battle of Surigao Strait" published by Indiana University Press, 2009.

Thanks to the late John Whitman and Gengoro Toda of Japan for info about supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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