IJN FUSO: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1996-2003 Bob Hackett

December 1925:
The Emperor Hirohito's (Showa) brother Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito, a sub-lieutenant (2nd Class) (later Captain) and graduate of the Etajima Naval Academy, takes up his duties aboard the FUSO. (Prince Lieutenant Takamatsu serves again aboard the FUSO from November 1933 until November 1934).

15 September 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kinoshita Mitsuo (former CO of CA KAKO) assumes command. The FUSO is assigned to Vice Admiral Takasu Shiro's (former CO of CL ISUZU) First Fleet in BatDiv 2 with the ISE (F), the YAMASHIRO and the HYUGA.

7 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 with BatDiv 1's NAGATO, MUTSU and the light carrier HOSHO escorted by light cruisers (probably the guardships OOI, KITAKAMI) and eight destroyers.

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

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Gun barrels are changed and anti-mine degaussing coils are installed along the sides of the ship.

25 February 1942:
Departs Kure.

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 the destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and the MONSSEN (DD-436) and Task Force 16.1's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-26), the oiler SABINE (AO-25) and the destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and the 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 the carrier RYUHO in a drydock undergoing conversion from the submarine depot ship TAIGEI.

After the bombing, Bat Div 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 the 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 the NAGATO. The HYUGA's No. 5 turret gun blows up and her aft magazines are flooded to save her. The FUSO escorts the 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: light cruisers KITAKAMI, OOI, the 2nd Supply Unit's oilers and 12 destroyers.

14 June 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.

22 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

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

14 July 1942:
At 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 the MUTSU are transferred to BatDiv 2 with the YAMASHIRO, the FUSO, the ISE and the HYUGA. BatDiv 2 performs 'standby alert' and training missions.

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 September 1942:
At Kure. Drydocked.

9 September 1942:

15 November 1942:
At Hiroshima Bay. Transferred to the Etajima Military Academy as a training ship.

5 December 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komura Keizo (former CO of CA CHIKUMA) assumes command. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kinoshita is reassigned to the Kure Arsenal as the Commanding officer of the Gunnery Test Division.

December 1942:
In the western Inland Sea. The FUSO conducts air training exercises with the carrier ZUIKAKU and the battleships MUSASHI and the YAMASHIRO.

15 January 1943:
Transferred from the Etajima Military Academy back to the fleet.

1 June 1943:
At Hashirajima. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tsuruoka Nobumichi (former CO of CL KITAKAMI) assumes command. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Komura is selected to command the MUSASHI.

7 June 1943:
Captain Tsuruoka pays a visit to the MUTSU, moored off the FUSO's starboard quarter, to meet with her Commanding Officer, Captain Miyoshi Teruhiko (former CO of CA MYOKO), an Etajima classmate (43rd class).

8 June 1943:
At Hashirajima. At 1210, the MUTSU, moored off the FUSO's starboard quarter, suddenly explodes and sinks. The 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. The FUSO serves as the "headquarters" for the MUTSU's salvage efforts. For the next month, the FUSU also hosts the "M-Commission" accident investigation board headed by Admiral Shiozawa Koichi. The loss of the MUTSU is blamed on a disgruntled seaman who was killed in the explosion.

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

18 July 1943:
At Kure. Drydocked. A Type 21 air-surface search radar set is installed. Twenty-one 25-mm AA guns (2 twin-mount, 17 single-mount) are fitted making a total suite of thirty-seven 25-mm AA guns.

24 July 1943:

15 August 1943:
The MUTSU's survivors, stationed on the FUSO, are transferred to the NAGATO.

16 August 1943:
The FUSO departs Kure with the YAMATO, the NAGATO and DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and the HATSUKAZE. Stops that night at the Yashima anchorage near Takamatsu on Shikoku.

17 August 1943:
The FUSO departs Yashima via Yokosuka for Truk carrying army troops and supplies in a task group: battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, escort carrier TAIYO, cruisers ATAGO, TAKAO, DesDiv 7's USHIO, DesDiv 10's AKIGUMO, YUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and the 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). The FUSO remains at Truk as a guardship with the fleet's flagship, the MUSASHI and BatDiv 3's KONGO and the 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 the 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 the fleet: 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 the 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:
At Truk. Captain Tsuruoka is promoted to Rear Admiral.

1 February 1944: Evacuation of Truk:
The FUSO departs Truk with the NAGATO, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, KUMANO, TONE, DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE and DesDiv 61's AKIZUKI. At 1000, the USS PERMIT (SS-178) sights task group leaving Truk but the submarine is unable to attack.

4 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

16 February 1944:
Departs Palau with the task group to avoid air raids.

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

21 February 1944:
Arrives at Lingga (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:
At Lingga. Captain Ban Masami (former CO of CA ASHIGARA) assumes command. Rear Admiral Tsuruoka is reassigned to the Naval General Staff and later becomes Commander of the 31st Escort Squadron at Manila.

25 February 1944:
BatDiv 2, First Fleet is deactivated, then reactivated as BatDiv 2, Combined Fleet.

8 April 1944:
Departs Lingga for Singapore.

13 April 1944:
Drydocked at the Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. Put in Drydock No. 1.

25 April 1944:
Leaves drydock.

27 April 1944:
Departs Singapore for Lingga.

1 May 1944:
At Lingga. Training duties.

11 May 1944:
Departs Lingga for the old U. S. anchorage at Tawi Tawi (southernmost Philippines)in the Sulu Sea.

12-13 May 1944:
At sea. Fleet deployment, firing practice.

14 May-13 June 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, the FUSO departs Tawi Tawi with CruDiv 5's MYOKO, HAGURO and five destroyers. The FUSO group is sighted leaving the anchorage by the USS CABRILLA (SS-288) and the BLUEFISH (SS-222) but neither submarine is able to attack. The FUSO group provides distant cover for the Kon troop transport forces: CruDiv 16's cruiser AOBA, light cruiser KINU, minelayers TSUGARU, ITSUKUSHIMA, Transport No. 127, several freighters, DesDiv 19's SHIKINAMI, URANAMI, DesDiv 27's SHIGURE and two subchasers.

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

2 June 1944:
At 2330, the FUSO (No.2 screen) departs Davao towards Biak Island, New Guinea with DesDiv 10's ASAGUMO and the 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.

3 June 1944:
In the morning, the Kon troop movement is detected by a Seventh Fleet B-24 "Liberator" aircraft. The USS RASHER (SS-269) also sights CruDiv 5 making 22 knots towards Karakelong Island, but the submarine is unable 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. The 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:
The Combined Fleet orders the 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. She does not further participate in Operation Kon.

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

17 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
The 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 FUSO departs Malalag Bay and returns to Davao.

June 1944:
Tokyo: The headquarters staff of the Combined Fleet, appalled at the debacle of Operation A-GO, submits a plan to the CINC, Admiral Toyoda. It calls for BatDiv 2's FUSO and the 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, NOWAKI and the YAMAGUMO 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 the USS ROBALO (SS-273) reports the FUSO with destroyers and air cover at 31-29N, 119-26E. Kimmel is unable gain an attack position. The FUSO arrives safely at Tarakan.

8 July 1944:
Departs Tarakan with DesDiv 4.

14 July 1944:
S of Japan. Under a bright moon in the early morning, the FUSO and DesDiv 4 are zigzagging towards the Bungo Straits. Aboard the new USS POMFRET (SS-391) running on the surface, Cdr Frank C. Acker's 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 the POMFRET 2,000 yards off the 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, the FUSO's searchlight illuminates the 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 the 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 dual-mount, 17 single-mount) and ten 13.2-mm single machine-guns are also installed. The FUSO's final suite is one hundred-ten 25-mm AA and ten 13.2-mm machine-guns.

About this time, the FUSO probably is also fitted with Type 2 infrared (IR) Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF)/signaling device mounted midway up on each side of the bridge. This may have been based on the German "Seehund" IR device. They are built around a telescopic sensor that receives light-waves in the IR range and registers a readout in the radio shack. The system also includes a pair of 20-mm. binoculars coaxially mounted with the transmitting IR lamp on the bridge so that another ship can use the IR detector for elementary signaling or as a formation light for station keeping.

14 August 1944:
Leaves drydock, departs Kure.

10 September 1944:
Hashirajima. Reassigned with the YAMASHIRO to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet, BatDiv 2.

23 September 1944:
Flagship of Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (former CO of HARUNA) BatDiv 2's FUSO and YAMASHIRO. BatDiv 2 departs Kure with DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, ISOKAZE, URAKAZE and the YUKIKAZE.

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. The 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, 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 the PLAICE deep to avoid a collision. At 0745, the PLAICE's crew hears five explosions, but all six torpedoes miss.

26 September 1944:
Luzon Straits. Cdr Frank Acker in the USS POMFRET (SS-391), whose torpedoes missed the FUSO in July, is on his second Pacific war patrol. Acker spots the BatDiv 2 group, but is unable to attack due to the speed of the battleships and the presence of a Japanese submarine.

27 September 1944:
In the South China Sea off Luzon, the Philippines. The BatDiv 2 group is spotted by the USS FLASHER (SS-249) but the submarine is unable to attack.

4 October 1944:
BatDiv 2 and DesDiv 17 arrive at Lingga, south of Singapore.

15 October 1944:
Captain Ban is promoted to Rear Admiral.

4-18 October 1944:
At Lingga. Vice Admiral Nishimura shifts his flag to the YAMASHIRO. The 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" " (Southern Force): BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO (F), FUSO, 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 the FRANKLIN (CV-13) attack Force "C". A bomb penetrates the FUSO's after deck and explodes in the wardroom. This starts a fire in the aviation gasoline tanks near the catapult that destroys her "Pete" floatplanes. By 1000, her crew extinguishes the fire. The FUSO maintains speed. During the air attack, a bomb hits the destroyer SHIGURE and the cruiser MOGAMI is strafed. No other damage is inflicted on Nishimura's force and no further air attacks are made. That morning, the MOGAMI launches a reconnaissance floatplane.

At 1235, the 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.

25 October 1944: The Battle of the 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 the USS McDERMUT (DD-677) and the MONSSEN (DD-798). The eastern section is the MELVIN (DD-680), REMEY (DD-688) (F) and the McGOWAN (DD-678). At 0245, Force"C" is picked up on the McGOWAN's radar at 15 miles.

At 0250, thirty-nine PT boats attack Force "C". At 0250, thirty-nine PT boats attack Force "C. The FUSO and the YAMASHIRO's 6-inch secondary armament opens fire on the attacking PT boats that are well-illuminated by Japanese destroyers. All of the PT's torpedoes miss. By 0254, Desron 54's western section makes radar contact. At 0256, the SHIGURE's lookouts sight the MELVIN, REMEY and the McGOWAN at 9,000 yards. The YAMASHIRO probes with her searchlight but the destroyers are too far away to be seen. At about 0300, the MELVIN, REMEY and the McGOWAN launch 27 Mark 15 torpedoes, then take fire from the YAMASHIRO and her destroyers.

At 0309, the FUSO, making 17 knots, is hit starboard side amidships by one or two of the MELVIN's Mark 15 torpedoes and a fire starts. The FUSO slows, sheers to starboard out of formation and reverses course back down the strait making about 10 knots. A torpedo also hits the destroyer YAMAGUMO; she blows up and sinks with all hands.

From 0310-0311, the McDERMUT and the MONSSEN launch their torpedoes. At 0320, one of MONSSEN's torpedoes hits the YAMASHIRO. A torpedo also hits the destroyer MICHISHIO, disables her and she later sinks. Another torpedo hits the destroyer ASAGUMO and blows off her bow. She sinks the next morning. At 0331, the YAMASHIRO is hit again by a torpedo and slows to five knots. By 0338, the FUSO's fire reaches her magazines. At about 0345, she explodes and breaks into two sections.

At 0529, the cruisers USS PORTLAND (CA-33) and the DENVER (CL-58) open fire on the retreating cruiser MOGAMI and the ASAGUMO. Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Jesse B. Oldendorf's flagship LOUISVILLE (CA-28) selects a large, stationary target with a very large fire burning. The LOUISVILLE's target turns out to be the still afloat bow section of the FUSO.

Sunk: At 0531, at a range of 18,900 yards, the LOUISVILLE opens fire. The LOUISVILLE fires but eighteen 8-inch armor piercing rounds and the FUSO's bow section goes down at about 0540 in the Surigao Strait at 10-09N, 125-24E.

The FUSO's stern section founders about 0640 at 10-08N, 125-25E, off Kanihaan Island southeast of the bow section. Survivors in the water refuse rescue, so there are few, if any, survivors of FUSO's approximately 1,400 crewmen.

15 November 1944:
BatDiv 2, Combined Fleet, is deactivated.

31 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Author's Notes:
Special thanks for assistance in researching Japanese-language sources used in constructing this TROM go to Mr. Sander Kingsepp of Estonia and Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned herein also go to Mr. Kingsepp, Mr. Yutaka Iwasaki of Japan and Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada.

I also recommend that readers interested in even more detail concerning the FUSO's final hours consult Tony Tully's well-researched "Shell Game at Surigao: The entangled fates of FUSO and YAMASHIRO" at

- Bob Hackett.

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