(Colorized photo of IJN HIRASHIMA by Irootoko Jr)


Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

6 September 1939:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi’s shipyard.

1 May 1940:

6 June 1940:

24 December 1940:
Completed. Attached to the Sasebo Naval District.

14 January 1942:
At 1700, HIRASHIMA departs Moji for Takao, Formosa with minelayer TSUBAME escorting a convoy consisting of TAKAOKA, ADEN, HAVRE, MIYASONO, ASAKA and YAE MARUs.

18 January 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

12 March 1942:
At 0900, HIRASHIMA departs Mutsure for Mako, Pescadores with minelayer UKISHIMA and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU escorting a convoy consisting of FUKKAI, MAYA, SEIYO, KOCHI,TAIKAI, RYUZAN and TEIKAI MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1. The ships are carrying about 4500 personnel of an unidentified aviation group.

16 March 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

6 June 1942: Operation FS - Planned Invasion of Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia:
At 1500, HIRASHIMA departs Karatsu Bay, Kyushu for Palau with destroyer YUNAGI and auxiliary minelayer KAHOKU MARU escorting a convoy consisting of OIGAWA, ARIZONA, SANKO, MYOKO, BRISBANE and YASUKAWA MARUs.

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Palau. It was planned that the convoy would proceed from Palau to Rabaul to participate in the invasion of New Caledonia in July, but the action at Coral Sea and the disaster at Midway leads to a postponement and later cancellation of Operation FS.

2 May 1943:
At 1400, HIRASHIMA departs Shanhai, China for Nagasaki, Kyushu escorting convoy Shi-12 consisting of UNSEN and SHANGHAI MARUs.

4 May 1943:
At 0400, arrives at Nagasaki.

24 May 1943:
At 0900, HIRASHIMA departs Sasebo for Takao, Formosa escorting a convoy consisting of empty 10,216-ton tanker AKATSUKI MARU.

28 May 1943:
NW of Naha, Okinawa. At 1350, LtCdr Anthony H. Dropp's USS SAURY (SS-189) attacks unescorted AKATSUKI MARU, but she evades the torpedoes. SAURY conducts three more attacks over a period of about three hours. She scores four hits on AKATSUKI MARU that sinks at 0100 the next day at 17-40N, 125-55E.

E 29 May 1943:
HIRASHIMA arrives at Okinawa.

21 July 1943:
Reassigned to the Sasebo-Shanghai, China route.

25 July 1943:
HIRASHIMA departs Shanghai for Hirohata, Honshu on the Inland Sea, escorting a convoy consisting of TAIYO, KISO, TAISHIN and MITO MARUs and an unidentified ship.

27 July 1943:
W of Goto Islands, off Cape Ose, Fukue Jima. LtCdr Eugene T. Sand's USS SAWFISH (SS-276) lookouts sight the smoke of a convoy at 32-32N, 127-41E. Sands commences an approach on the largest of the five cargo ships, but the vessel zigs away. Sands decides to attack the sole escort, that he mis-identifies as a "destroyer". When the range is down to only 750 yards, he fires four torpedoes in a "down-the throat" shot.

At 1305, at least one torpedo hits HIRASHIMA. Sands takes SAWFISH to 300 feet and evades seven depth charges dropped by the cargo ships, then comes to periscope depth an hour later. The convoy is gone, but HIRASHIMA's stern is still above water. Later, it too sinks at 32-34N, 127-42E.

28 July 1943:
Kaibokan MATSUWA departs Sasebo to search for survivors of HIRASHIMA. The results of her search are unknown.

1 November 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] It is unclear when and why HIRASHIMA was detached from escorting AKATSUKI MARU.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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