Japanese Escorts


(Type C Escort by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Escort Ikuna:
Tabular Record of Movement

©2006-2015 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 4

30 June 1944:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen Co. Ltd.’s Sakurajima shipyard.

4 September 1944:
Launched and named IKUNA.

15 October 1944:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District. LtCdr Inoue Junzo is the Commanding Officer.

October 1944:
Fitted with a Type 13 air-search radar. Attached to the Kure Guard Unit. Undergoes training and workup with the 21st Coast Defense Squadron.

15 November 1944:
Reassigned to the General Escort Command’s First Surface Escort Division.

30 November 1944:
At 0900, IKUNA departs Moji with destroyer ASAGAO, kaibokan KANJU, SHINNAN, CD-41, CD-66, subchaser CH-28 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-223 escorting convoy MI-29 consisting of CLYDE, BRAZIL, AKISHIMA, MEIRYU, HAWAII, ENOURA, DAII, SHINYU, AKIKAWA and KAZUURA MARUs, JUICHISEI MARU (HOSHI MARU No. 11) and KONAN MARU No.1 and tankers ENGEN, ENCHO and ENKEI MARUs.

2 December 1944:
LtCdr Ralph C. Style's USS SEA DEVIL (SS-400) torpedoes and sinks HAWAII and AKIKAWA MARUs at 30-24N 128-17E. KONAN MARU No. 1 rescues survivors from AKIKAWA MARU. The convoy formation breaks up. BRAZIL MARU goes to Keelung, DAII MARU and three others go to Koniya, Amami-Oshima. IKUNA escorts CLYDE MARU and JUICHISEI MARU (HOSHI MARU No. 11) to Takao. Later, the Koniya ships rejoin at Takao, but at this point the convoy is officially dissolved.

5 December 1944:
Off Formosa. IKUNA is damaged by aircraft.

14 December 1944:
At 0500, IKUNA departs Takao for Manila with KANJU and CD-41 escorting convoy TAMA-36 consisting of KENZUI and YUZAN MARUs and two unidentified ships.

22 December 1944:
KENZUI MARU suffers an engine breakdown. At 1130, after KENZUI MARU resumes her position, she is torpedoed by LtCdr William H. Hazzard's USS BLENNY (SS-324) nine miles N of North San Fernando. Even though the seas are calm, KENZUI MARU sinks rapidly taking down 1,742 of the 2,643 men of the No. 13 Kurogane Infantry Regiment and No. 32 Shipping Construction Regiment she was carrying. Later that day, the rest of the convoy reaches North San Fernando where the convoy is dissolved.

29 December 1944:
At 2400 IKUNA and KANJU and auxiliary submarine chaser SHONAN MARU No. 11 depart Manila escorting convoy MATA-38A consisting of HISHIGATA (ex Philippine BISAYAS) and MEIRYU MARUs.

31 December 1944:
At 1600 arrives at North San Fernando. The escorts are detached. (Both ships are sunk two days later by air attack still at North San Fernando).

1 January 1945:
At 0345, IKUNA departs North San Fernando with kaibokan NOMI, MIYAKE, KANJU, CD-112 and CD-39 escorting convoy MATA-40 consisting of IJA landing ship SHINSHU MARU and IJA landing craft depot ships KIBITSU and HYUGA MARUs. At 1800 arrives at Musa.

2 January 1945:
At 0700 departs Musa.

3 January 1945:
At 0115 arrives off Takao. At 1105 (JST), 50 carrier aircraft attack the ships. SHINSHU MARU is hit by several bombs and explodes. 283 passengers, 66 ship’s gunners and 33 crewmen are KIA. Later that night, SHINSHU MARU's burning wreck is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr Henry C. Stevenson's USS ASPRO (SS-309). KIBITSU MARU is heavily damaged and HYUGA MARU suffers medium damage. MIYAKE and CD-112 both suffer light damage. IKUNA stands by HYUGA MARU and later briefly puts into Saei. The surviving ships put into Takao for repairs. IKUNA arrives at Takao at 2400.

4 January 1945:
At 0315 IKUNA, NOMI and KANJU (the latter from off Takao) depart Takao to meet convoy TAMO-35 [?? convoy did not leave Kirun until 12 January]. In the Formosa Strait IKUNA is also damaged by aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's Task Force 38. At 1600 KANJU, NOMI and IKUNA arrive at Nanao Tao.

5 January 1944:
At 1300 KANJU, NOMI and IKUNA depart Nanao Tao.

6 January 1945:
At 1140 the escorts arrive at Takao.

8 January 1945:
At 1420 departs Takao and at 1955 arrives at Saei.

13 January 1945:
At 0035 departs Saei and at 1308 arrives at Takao.

19 January 1945:
At 0600, IKUNA departs Takao for Moji with kaibokan CD-26, CD-39 and CD-112 escorting convoy TAMO-38 consisting of DAINAN, BINGO, TOYOKAWA, RASHIN, SHINNO and TATSUWA MARUs and NICHIYU MARU No. 7.

20 January 1945:
At 1742 arrives at Nanji Tao.

21 January 1945:
At 0730 departs Nanji Tao. Later that day at 1930 arrives and anchors near Foochow.

22 January 1945:
At 0700 departs Foochow. At 1600, convoy TAMO-38 arrives at Namkwan (Namquan) Bay and merges with anchored convoy MOTA-32 consisting of DAIKYO, TENSHO, SAMARANG AIZAN, SHUNSHO and DAISHUN MARUs, TAMON MARU No. 16 and five unidentified merchants, possibly including TETSUYO and TATSUHARU MARUs, escorted by kaibokans CD-31, CD-132, CD-144, MANJU and destroyer SHIOKAZE and subchasers CH-19 and CH-57.

23 January 1945:
At 0402, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's USS BARB (SS-220) penetrates the outer escort screen on the surface and enters the harbor. An unbroken line of ships at anchor, 4200 yards in length, is clearly visible. Fluckey fires a total of eight torpedoes into the target line. DAIKYO MARU is hit and her cargo of munitions detonates in a massive explosion. SAMARANG and DAISHUN MARUs, TAMON MARU No. 16 and SHUNSHO MARU are all damaged.

At 0700 the convoy departs Namkwan Harbour.

28 January 1945:
At 2134 arrives at Moji.

31 January 1945:
At 0630 IKUNA departs Moji kaibokan CD-26 and CD-67 escorting convoy MOTA-34 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships.

3 February 1945:
At 2100 arrives at Hsiao Changtu Shan, Chusan Island group.

4 February 1945:
At 0400 departs and at 1820 arrives at Wenchow.

5 February 1945:
At 1100 departs Wenchow and at 1730 anchors off Foochow.

6 February 1945:
At 0300 departs Foochow and at 1830 arrives at Kirun.

9 February 1945:
At 0700, IKUNA departs Keelung, Formosa for Mutsure, Japan with kaibokan CD-26 and CD-67 escorting convoy TAMO-41 consisting of HYUGA and SETTSU MARUs.

10 February 1945:
At 0700, departs Mazu Shan. Later that day arrives at Wenchow Bay.

11 February 1945:
Departs Wenchow Bay. At 1930, arrives at Shushan Islands, E of Shanghai, China.

12 February 1945:
At 0230, departs Shushan Islands.

14 February 1945:
At 1815, arrives at Mutsure.

16 February 1945:
At 0630 departs Mutsure and at 1400 arrives at Sasebo. Undergoes repairs.

28 February 1945:
At 0730 departs Sasebo and at 1730 arrives at Moji.

1 March 1945:
At 0800, IKUNA departs Mutsure for Keelung with kaibokans CD-26, CD-41, minesweepers W-15 and W-17 and subchaser CH-19 escorting convoy MOTA-40 consisting of IKOMASAN, AIZAN, DAIKI, TOYOGAWA, KITAKATA, ANKO and DOSHI MARUs.

5 March 1945:
Off Akuseki Jima, Ryukyu Islands. At 1042, LtCdr Walter F. Schlech's USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and damages W-15's stern at 29-36N, 129-45E. W-15 is beached on Suwasi Island and later abandoned, a constructive total loss.

9 March 1945:
At 2010, the convoy arrives at Kirun (Keelung).

11 March 1945:
At 1809 IKUNA arrives at Kirun.

16 March 1945:
At 0102, IKUNA departs Keelung for Moji with kaibokan CD-41 and minesweeper W-17 escorting convoy TAMO-49 consisting of NANKING, IKOMASAN, KITAKATA and AIZAN MARUs. A USN PB4Y (B-24) attacks TAMO-49 and damages KITAKATA MARU at 29-09N, 122-07E.

17 March 1945:
Off Fuchow, China. At about 0100, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) William S. Post’s USS SPOT (SS-413) torpedoes and damages IKOMASAN MARU at 25-58N, 119-58E. She is beached off Matsu Island. At 0335, Cdr Post torpedoes and sinks NANKING MARU at 25-33N, 120-10E. USS SPOT is damaged by gunfire from one or more of the escorts. Later that day, USAAF B-25 “Mitchells” further damage IKOMASAN MARU. At 1308 IKUNA arrives at Matsu Island.

19 March 1945:
Departs Matsu Island.

20 March 1945:
At 1810 arrives at Chiu Shan Liehtao.

21 March 1945:
Departs Chiu Shan Liehtao.

22 March 1945:
Arrives at Ssu Chiao Shan.

23 March 1945:
At 1000 departs Ssu Chiao Shan.

26 March 1945:
IKOMASAN MARU is attacked and again damaged by USAAF aircraft.

29 March 1945:
At 0920 the convoy arrives and shelters at Yuya Wan.

31 March 1945:
At 1400, arrives at Moji.

5 April 1945:
At 0700 departs Moji.

7 April 1945:
At 0700 anchors at Tsutsu Wan, Tsushima. Later the ship is joined by KANJU and CD-21. At 1630 departs the anchorage.

9 April 1945:
At 0700 anchors off Azuchi Oshima. At 1800 departs and joins KANJU and SHINNAN on patrol.

10 April 1945:
IKUNA and kaibokan CD-72 are ordered to rendezvous off Tsuzu Bay (Tsutsu Wan) (36-06N, 129-11E) at 1800, patrol that night, and enter port the next morning.

Tsushima Strait. SW of Iki Island (between Kyushu and Tsushima). At about 2200, LtCdr Everett H. Steinmetz’s USS CREVALLE (SS-291) torpedoes and damages IKUNA at 33-38N, 129-13E.

11 April 1945:
At 0350, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from kaibokan IKUNA that reads: “Received torpedo attack by enemy submarine. Bow damaged. Neither anchor usable. Scheduled to arrive Sasebo ---- 1600.”

At 0357, the codebreakers intercept another message from IKUNA that reads: “This vessel, in company with CD-72, was patrolling P Section when at 2228 in position 33-38 N, 129-13 E detected radar interference and made contact bearing 90 degrees (270 degrees). We headed toward it using ---- and were attacked when we sighted three torpedoes off the bow. One of them hit bow and exploded under chain locker and magazine. We are able to navigate, but received following damage. 1. Bow is badly damaged and both anchors unusable. 2. No. 1 gun will not revolve. 3. ---- and ranging devices are damaged. 4. One man slightly wounded.”

At 1630 IKUNA arrives at Sasebo.

12-28 April 1945:
Undergoes emergency repairs at Sasebo Naval yard.

17 April 1945:
Enters No.4 Graving dock for repairs. Undocked at unknown date.

29 April 1945:
At 0900 departs Sasebo and at 1330 arrives at Nagasaki for permanent repairs.

30 April to 15 June 1945:
Nagasaki. Undergoes battle damage repairs, at Mitsubishi Zosensho No.2 Dock.

June 1945:
Lt Tsuji Shinichiro assumes command.

1 August 1945:
Oguchi Channel. IKUNA is damaged by mine.

15 August 1945:
IKUNA’s crew receives notice of the termination of the war.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

1 December 1945:
Assigned to mine sweeping duties by the Allied Occupation Forces. Renamed OJIKA (PL-102).

10 July 1946:
Designated a minesweeper tender.

26 December 1947:
Transferred to the Marine Transportation Bureau. Assigned as a Central Meteorological Observatory weather survey ship. Renamed IKUNA MARU. Participates in summer season typhoon patrols with former kaibokans CHIKUBU, SHINNAN and UKURU.

1 January 1949:
Transferred to the Maritime Safety Agency. Reclassified a patrol boat.

25 May 1963:

Authors' Notes:
Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Thanks also go to Mr. Aki of Japan and Matthew Jones of Ohio for help in identifying kaibokan COs, Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance and to the late John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

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