(FUSO in 1935 after 1st modernization-colorized photo by Irootoko, Jr.)
© 2000-2016 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
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 planes 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.
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 Task Force 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 takeoff from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. At Yokosuka, a B-25 damages carrier RYUHO in a drydock undergoing conversion from submarine depot ship TAIGEI.
After the bombing, BatDiv 2 and ten destroyers get up steam and depart Hashirajima in pursuit of Halsey's ships.
19 April 1942:
Bat Div 2 catapults its Type 95 Nakajima E8N "Dave" two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes to search for Halsey. One of the floatplanes, armed with two bombs, sights a cargo ship at 30-00N, 135-20E. The biplane drops a message with an order to stop. About 1000, the BatDiv 2 group heading NE encounters neutral Russian merchant ANGARSTROI. A destroyer sends a boarding party to search the Russian ship. The ship is found to be carrying 7,555 metric tons of sugar and 10 tons of other products from San Francisco to Vladivostok. The Japanese order the merchant to proceed with the destroyer to Kushimoto on Honshu for a further search. The BatDiv 2 group turns SE in an unsuccessful pursuit of the Americans.
22 April 1942:
BatDiv 2 returns to Hashirajima.
5 May 1942:
BatDiv 2 departs Hashirajima for gunnery practice in the Iyo Nada with BatDiv 1's MUTSU and NAGATO. HYUGA's No. 5 turret gun blows up and her aft magazines are flooded to save her. FUSO escorts HYUGA to Kure. The other battleships return to Hashirajima.
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:
BatDiv 2 sorties as a screen for the Aleutian Force with CruDiv 9's light cruisers KITAKAMI and OI, 2nd Supply Unit's oilers and 12 destroyers.
14 June 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.
22 June 1942:
24 June 1942:
BatDiv 2 arrives at Hashirajima. Resumes 'standby alert'.
14 July 1942:
Hashirajima. Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi (former CO of ISE) assumes command of the First Fleet. Vice Admiral Takasu is reassigned as Commander of both the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Dutch East Indies Force) and the Southwest Area Fleet.
The First Fleet is reorganized. BatDiv 1's NAGATO and MUTSU are transferred to BatDiv 2 with YAMASHIRO, FUSO, ISE and HYUGA. BatDiv 2 performs 'standby alert' and training missions.
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.
15 November 1942:
Hiroshima Bay. Embarks midshipmen of Etajima's 71st Class for training in the Inland Sea until 15 January 1943.
5 December 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komura Keizo (former CO of CHIKUMA) is appointed CO. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kinoshita is reassigned to the Kure Arsenal as Commanding officer of the Gunnery Test Division.
Western Inland Sea. FUSO conducts air training exercises with carrier ZUIKAKU and battleships MUSASHI and YAMASHIRO.
1 June 1943:
Hashirajima. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tsuruoka Nobumichi (43)(former CO of KITAKAMI) is appointed CO. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komura is selected to command MUSASHI.
7 June 1943:
Captain Tsuruoka pays a visit to battleship MUTSU, moored off FUSO's starboard quarter, to meet with her CO, Captain Miyoshi Teruhiko (43)(former CO of MYOKO), an Etajima classmate.
8 June 1943:
Hashirajima. At 1210, MUTSU, moored off FUSO's starboard quarter, suddenly explodes and sinks. FUSO rescues 353 survivors. A submarine alert is put into effect immediately after the explosion, but cancelled after no submarines are sighted.
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. One Type 21 air-surface search radar is installed. Twenty-one 25-mm AA guns (2 twin and 17 single mounts) are added for a total suite of thirty-seven AA guns.
15 August 1943:
MUTSU's survivors, stationed on 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.
17 August 1943:
FUSO departs Yashima via Yokosuka for Truk carrying army troops and supplies in a task group with battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, escort carrier TAIYO, cruisers ATAGO, TAKAO, DesDiv 7's USHIO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO, YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE.
23 August 1943:
The task group arrives at Truk.Battle exercises are conducted thereafter.
18 September 1943:
The fleet sorties from Truk to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama by Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall's Task Force 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 Task Force 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 that suggests 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 and 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 arrives back at Truk.
1 November 1943:
Truk. Captain Tsuruoka is promoted Rear Admiral.
5 December 1943:
The USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercepts and decodes a message in JN20 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 batsleshlps are at Truk.)
27 January 1944:
Truk. FUSO takes on 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 SUZUYA, KUMANO, 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).
21 February-13 April 1944:
Training at Lingga with Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Mobile Fleet. Ozawa's fleet units are refueled by oilers from the nearby supply at Palembang, Sumatra.
23 February 1944:
Lingga. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ban Masami (42)(former CO of ASHIGARA) is appointed CO. Rear Admiral Tsuruoka is reassigned to the Naval General Staff and later becomes Commander 3rd Escort Convoy.
25 February 1944:
BatDiv 2 is disbanded. FUSO and YAMASHIRO are reassigned directly to Combined Fleet.
11-12 March 1944:
Departs Lingga in company of 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. Training duties.
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.
14-30 May 1944:
Training duties at Tawi Tawi.
30 May 1944: Operation "Kon" - The Reinforcement of Biak:
At noon, FUSO departs Tawi Tawi with CruDiv 5's MYOKO, HAGURO and six destroyers. The FUSO group is 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. FUSO belongs to the No. 3 (Distant Cover) Unit with DesDiv 10's ASAGUMO and KAZAGUMO.
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:
FUSO receives fresh provisions replenishment from supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.
2 June 1944:
At 2330, FUSO (No. 2 screen) departs Davao towards Biak Island, New Guinea with DesDiv 10's ASAGUMO and KAZAGUMO.
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 Commander-in-Chief 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.
5 June 1944:
The FUSO group arrives at Davao. She does not further participate in Operation "Kon".
7 June 1944:
Bongao, Tawi Tawi. FUSO receives fresh provisions replenishment from 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 U. S. anchorage at Malalag Bay on the western side of Davao Gulf, but does not participate in the battle.
20 June 1944:
The alert order is rescinded. FUSO departs Malalag Bay and returns to 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-inch 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 with DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, YAMAGUMO and NOWAKI.
14 July 1944:
S of Japan. Under a bright moon in the early morning, FUSO and DesDiv 4 are zigzagging towards the Bungo Straits. Aboard Cdr Frank C. Acker's new USS POMFRET (SS-391) running on the surface. His SJ radar reports a big contact at 23,000 yards. He puts on full power to intercept. At 14,000 yards, Acker sees the target is a battleship escorted by a "cruiser" (probably one of the big ASASHIO-class DDs) and some destroyers.
Acker manages to position POMFRET 2,000 yards off FUSO's projected track. He starts to dive, but his XO suggests that they remain surfaced for ten more minutes, notwithstanding the brilliant moon. Acker, on his first Pacific war patrol, agrees. Minutes later, FUSO's searchlight illuminates POMFRET's bridge! Acker dives. He and his crew await the crash of big shells, but none come. Acker comes to periscope depth and checks the target. The group has zigged, but then turns back toward him. He sets up and at long range fires six torpedoes at FUSO. They all miss.
15 July 1944:
Arrives at Kure.
2 August 1944:
Drydocked at Kure. Two sets of Type 13 air search and two sets of Type 22 surface search/gunnery control radars are fitted. Seventy-eight 25-mm AA guns (8 triple-mount, 16 twin-mount, 17 single-mount) and ten 13.2-mm single machine-guns are also installed. FUSO's final suite is one hundred-ten 25-mm AA and ten 13.2-mm machine-guns.
14 August 1944:
Leaves drydock, departs Kure.
22 August 1944:
Hashirajima. Fleet oiler NICHIEI MARU refuels FUSO, battleship HYUGA and old destroyer KUWA.
10 September 1944:
Hashirajima. Reassigned with YAMASHIRO to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet, BatDiv 2.
17 September 1944:
Pressed into front-line service, Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (former CO of HARUNA) BatDiv 2's FUSO and YAMASHIRO depart Ujina (near Hiroshima) carrying 2,131 men of the IJA’s 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 and awaits the arrival of DesDiv 17 from Lingga (S of Singapore).
19 September 1944:
DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE and HAMAKAZE arrive at Kure from Lingga to escort BatDiv 2 back to Lingga. At Kure, they are joined by destroyer YUKIKAZE that is already there.
20 September 1944:
At 1042 (JST), ComBatDiv 2 Vice Admiral Nishimura transmits Secret radio message No. 201700: “BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 joint action schedule: 23 Sep departure from western Inland Sea, 29 Sep arrival at Brunei, 2 Oct arrival at Shonan (Singapore), 3 Oct arrival at Lingga.”
22 September 1944:
DesDiv 17 departs Kure for Agenosho, Yashiro Island.
23 September 1944:
BatDiv 2 departs Kure and joins DesDiv 17 at Agenosho, then departs. Many of the troops are billeted in tents on the battleships' decks.
24 September 1944:
Nansei Shoto (Ryukyu Islands). At 0716, LtCdr C. B. Stevens' USS PLAICE (SS-390) sights two FUSO-class battleships coming out of the mist at 29-30N, 129-15 E. They are in 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 yards off the track. PLAICE also spots a Mitsubishi Type F1M2 "Pete" floatplane close air screen. The targets are zigzagging using straight legs. Stevens begins his approach.
At 0742, Stevens estimates the target's length as 600-feet and sets his torpedo spread with 120 percent 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 all six torpedoes miss.
26 September 1944:
Luzon Straits, Philippines. Cdr Frank Acker's USS POMFRET (SS-391), whose torpedoes missed FUSO in July, is on his second Pacific war patrol. At 1240, 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, the OOD spots a periscope at 330 degrees relative at 500 yards. POMFRET crash dives and breaks 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.
15 October 1944:
Captain Ban is promoted Rear Admiral.
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.
22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO" ("Victory") - Battle of Leyte Gulf:
At 1510, sorties from Brunei with Vice Admiral Nishimura's Force "C's" (Southern Force) 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. At 0918, twenty-six aircraft from Task Group 38.4's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and FRANKLIN (CV-13) attack Force "C". A bomb penetrates FUSO's after deck and explodes in the wardroom. This starts a fire in the aviation gasoline tanks near the catapult that destroys her F1M2 floatplanes. By 1000, her crew extinguishes the fire. FUSO maintains speed. During the air attack, a bomb hits destroyer SHIGURE and cruiser MOGAMI is strafed. No other damage is inflicted on Nishimura's force and no further air attacks are made. That morning, MOGAMI launches a reconnaissance floatplane.
At 1235, MOGAMI's floatplane reports enemy battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, transports and PT boats ahead. Undaunted, Nishimura - well aware that Kurita will not make it to Leyte Gulf at the prescribed time - presses ahead at 18 knots.
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 PT boat Attack Force is arrayed along Surigao Strait in 13 sections of three boats each. At 2236, Section 1’s Ensign Peter R. Gadd’s PT-131 picks up two radar contacts to the NE. Gadd reports the sighting to Section 1’s Lt Weston C. Pullen in PT-152, but Pullen disobeys orders and fails to report the sighting to his superiors. Instead, he orders Section 1's PT-152, PT-131 and PT-139 to head toward the contacts at 24 knots. At 2250, lookouts aboard LtCdr Nishino Shigeru's destroyer SHIGURE spot the oncoming PT-boats and fires starshells over them. By 2254, Captain Coward's Desron 54's western section makes radar contact on Nishimura's Force. At 2256, SHIGURE's lookouts also sight MELVIN, REMEY and McGOWAN at 9,000 yards. At 2258, YAMASHIRO's 6-inch secondary armament opens fire on the attacking PT boats that are well-illuminated by SHIGURE's searchlights. Lt Joseph A. Eddins' PT-152 is hit, set afire and a gunner is KIA. A 6-inch shell hits Lt (j.g.) Ian D. Malcom's PT-130, but does not explode. Later, Malcom arrives N of Camaquin Island and passes information about the Japanese ships to Ensign Dudley J. Johnson aboard Section 2's PT-127.
25 October 1944: The Battle of the Surigao Strait:
At 0010, Malcom sends a contact report that is relayed to Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Jesse B. Oldendorf, CO of the Allied Forces's Battle Line aboard flagship, USS LOUISVILLE (CA-28) and finally arrives at 0026.
At about 0307, FUSO opens fire on the American destroyers with her main armament.
At 0309, FUSO, making 17 knots, is hit starboard side by two of MELVIN's torpedoes, One hits in the powder room below No. 1 turret and the other hits aft in a boiler room and starts a fire. Multiple failures of ancient riveted seams occur and she takes on tons of water. FUSO soon slows, sheers to starboard out of formation and reverses course back down the strait making about 10 knots.
From 0310-0311, McDERMUT and MONSSEN launch their torpedoes. At 0320, on the American right flank, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kenmore M. McManes' DesRon 24 launches 15 torpedoes. Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Howard G. Corey of DesRon 24's USS KILLEN (DD-593) orders his Mark 15 torpedoes set at a depth of 22 feet to inflict maximum damage.
At 0320, one or more torpedoes hit destroyer YAMAGUMO portside; she blows up and sinks with all hands.At 0321, one of five torpedoes launched by KILLEN hits YAMASHIRO portside amidships. At 0322, another torpedo, probably launched ten minutes earlier by DesRon 54's MONSSEN, hits YAMASHIRO portside and starts a fire. YAMASHIRO's speed falls off to a mere five knots, but by 0327 she is able to make 18 knots.
Another of McDERMUT's torpedoes hits and disables destroyer MICHISHIO that later sinks. Still another of McDERMUT's torpedoes hits Cdr Shibayama Kazuo's destroyer ASAGUMO. She sinks in the morning.
From 0324-25, DesRon 24 and Captain (later Vice Admiral) Roland N. Smoot's Desron 56's fourteen destroyers launch more torpedoes at Force C.Surigao Strait. About 0345, FUSO lists to starboard and upends sharply. Her screws clear the water and she corkscrews as she sinks by the bow at an undetermined location near Kanihaan Island.
Bunkered oil rises to the surface and catches fire. The flames engulf most of the survivors in the water. Only about ten of FUSO's 1,630 crewmen survive the night. Rear Admiral Ban is among those KIA. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. Also lost are Executive Officer Cdr Hirata Tsutomu and Chief Engineering Officer Captain Nakaya Eiichi. Captain Nakaya is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously and Cdr Hirata is promoted to Captain posthumously.
31 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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