(ITSUKUSHIMAby Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2017 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 11

2 February 1928:
Tokyo. Laid down at the Uraga Dock Co. shipyard.

1 May 1929:
Captain Koyama Taiji (34) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

22 May 1929:
Launched and named ITSUKUSHIMA.

26 December 1929:
Completed and registered in the IJN and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District Reserve. Captain Koyama is posted CO. Her call sign is GQCJ.

1 February 1930:
Assigned to the Torpedo School as a training ship.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Vice Admiral, the Marquis) Komatsu Teruhisa (37) (former XO of NAGATO) assumes command.

14 November 1931:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sonoda Shigeru (37)(former CEO/CO of SHIRATAKA) assumes command. Captain Komatsu is reassigned as CO of JINGEI.

5 September 1932:
Departs Yokosuka for the South Pacific.

23 September 1932:
Returns to Yokosuka.

1 December 1932:
Captain Nakamura Toshihisa (39) assumes command. Captain Sonoda is reassigned as CO of NAKA.

30 January 1933:
Departs Iwo Jima for the Southwest Pacific.

9 February 1933:
Arrives at Hachijo Jima, Bonin Islands.

25 May 1933:
Captain Horiuchi Shigenori (39) assumes command.

25 July 1933:
Departs Iwo Jima for the Southwest Pacific.

12 August 1933:
Returns to Iwo Jima.

8 October 1933:
Her call sign changes to JLNA.

15 November 1933:
Captain Kaneko Toyokichi (38) assumes command.

21 May 1934:
Departs Yokosuka for the South Pacific.

20 August 1934:
Arrives at Chichi Jima.

22 October 1934:
Cdr Endo Masaru (37) assumes command. Captain Kaneko is reassigned as CO of the Chinkai (Korea) Base Unit.

25 November 1934:
Departs Iwo Jima for the Southwest Pacific.

3 January 1935:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Begins rebuild and refurbishment that lasts until May 1936.

1 April 1935:
Assigned as a training ship.

9 July 1935:
Departs Yokosuka for the Kamtchatka, Siberia area.

10 August 1935:
Returns to Yokosuka.

September 1935: The Combined Fleet's Great Maneuvers:
ITSUKUSHIMA is attached to the Fourth Fleet in the “Red Fleet”. Exercises are conducted in the NW Pacific between Japan and the Kuriles. ITSUKUSHIMA serves with oilers TSURUMI, KAMOI and SUNOSAKI.

25 September 1935: The "Fourth Fleet Incident”:
Hokkaido. The fleet departs Hakodate and steams into the NW Pacific where it encounters a major typhoon. The carriers HOSHO and RYUJO and several cruisers and destroyers are damaged by the storm and over 50 men are killed. ITSUKUSHIMA's frame is so buckled that she comes close to being a constructive total loss. As it is the repairs are so extensive as to almost constitute a full rebuild as her welding is replaced with riveting.

7 October 1935:
Departs off Shibaura.

22 October 1935:
Departs Yokosuka.

May 1936:
Completes rebuild and refurbishment.

16 September 1936:
Arrives at Sasebo.

20 October 1936:
ITSUKUSHIMA is in the 10th Battle Squadron, Third Fleet with light cruisers TENRYU and TATSUTA.

15 November 1936:
Cdr (later Captain, posthumously) Prince Fushimi Hiroyoshi (45)(former XO of NAKA) is posted CO.

1 December 1936:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Tsujimura Takehisa (42) assumes command.

22 January 1937:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shimomura Shosuke (35) (former CO of KITAKAMI) assumes command of the 10th Battle Squadron.

23 February 1937:
Attached directly to the Combined Fleet. Departs Yokosuka for the South Pacific.

16 March 1937:
Arrives at Tateyama.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The First "China") Incident:
Hun River, Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops on night maneuvers fire blank cartridges. earby Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. They demand entry to a Pekingt (now Beijing) suburb to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city and an undeclared war on China begins.

28 July 1937:
After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, ITSUKUSHIMA is attached directly to the Combined Fleet.

19 August 1937:
Departs Tadotsu, Shikoku, to operate off the Chinese coast; then returns to Sasebo.

26 August 1937:
Departs Sasebo to operate off the Chinese coast.

20 October 1937:
ITSUKUSHIMA is attached to the 10th Battle Squadron, Third Fleet. That same day, Rear Admiral Shimomura is reassigned as CO of the 14th Battle Squadron.

Departs Sasebo to operate off the Chinese coast while based at Port Arthur, Manchukuo.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishikawa Shingo (42) (former CO of SHIRETOKO) is posted CO. ITSUKUSHIMA is assigned to the 12th Squadron, Fourth Fleet.

30 January 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ichimiya Yoshiyuki (44) assumes command. Captain Ishikawa is posted to the Naval General Staff.

20 March 1938:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Reattached to the Yokosuka Naval District.

22 March 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

22 July 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu (41) assumes command.

28 July 1938:
Departs Sasebo to operate on the Yangtze River, China.

1 August 1938:
ITSUKUSHIMA is attached to the 13th Gunboat Squadron, Third Fleet.

28 November 1938:
At Jiujiang, China, from 1425 until 1545, equiped with weapons by auxiliary minesweeper tender NIPPONKAI MARU.

15 December 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mori Tomoichi (42) assumes command. Re-rated as a Reserve ship.

14 January 1939:
Captain Mori assumes command of seaplane tender KAMOI as an additional duty.

20 July 1939:
Captain Mori resumes full-time duty as CO of ITSUKUSHIMA.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hasegawa Kiichi (42), CO of RYUJO, assumes command of ITSUKUSHIMA as an additional duty.

10 December 1939:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Takahashi Ichimatsu (40) assumes command.

18 December 1939:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 November 1940:
Captain Kawara Katsumi (44) assumes command. ITSUKUSHIMA and minelayer YAEYAMA are assigned directly to the Combined Fleet in Mine Division 17.

25 February 1941:
Departs Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa.

3 March 1941:
Arrives at Keelung, Formosa.

25 March 1941:
Departs Ariake Sound, Kyushu, to operate off the Chinese coast.

4 April 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 April 1941:
ITSUKUSHIMA and YAEYAMA are assigned to Mine Division 17, Third Fleet.

10 June 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

5 September 1941:
The converted minelayer TATSUMIYA MARU is attached to Mine Division 17.

8 September 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 September 1941:
Cdr (Rear Admiral posthumously) Morikawa Matao (44) assumes command.

15 October 1941:
Cdr Morikawa is promoted to Captain.

22 September 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama. Drydocked.

2 October 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

4 October 1941:
Arrives at Tachibana Bay, Kyushu.

28 November 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

29 November 1941:
Departs Terajima Channel.

1 December 1941:
Palau. Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Tetsuri's (38) (former CO of MOGAMI) Mine Division 17 with minelayer YAEYAMA in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet's Southern Philippines Striking Force. Her call sign changes to JUDA.

2 December 1941:
ITSUKUSHIMA receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau.

8 December 1941:
ITSUKUSHIMA is the flagship of Rear Admiral Kobayashi's MineDiv 17. Departs Palau escorted by DesDiv 15’s KUROSHIO and OYASHIO.

10-11 December 1941:
San Bernardino Strait, Philippines. Lays 300 type 93 mines in the Straits. LtCdr James W. Coe's (USNA ’30) USS S-39 (SS-144) attempts to attack ITSUKUSHIMA, but screening KUROSHIO and OYASHIO keep USS S-39 at bay with persistent depth charging. USS S-39 endures a day of depth charging on the 11th, but slips away.

14-30 December 1941:
Returns to Palau and remains there.

1 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

3 January 1942:
Reassigned as the flagship of the Second Base Unit for the duration of the Netherlands East Indies campaign.

7 January 1942: The Invasion of Dutch Borneo:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) (former CO of AOBA) Tarakan Occupation Force departs Davao carrying MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Brigade) and the Kure No. 2 SNLF includes Army transports TSURUGA, LIVERPOOL, HAVANA, KURETAKE, NICHIAI, HITERU, TEIRYU (ex German FULDA), HANKOW and EHIME MARUs, Navy transports KUNIKAWA, KANO, KAGU, KOKUYO and RAKUTO MARUs.

The convoy’s escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji’s (39)(former CO of HARUNA) DesRon 4’s light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2’s HARUSAME, SAMIDARE, YUDACHI and MURUSAME, DesDiv 9’s ASAGUMO and MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24’s UMIKAZE, KAWAKAZE, YAMAKAZE and the SUZUKAZE.

Rear-Admiral Hirose’s No. 2 Base Force includes patrol boats P-36, P-37 and P-38, minelayers ITSUKUSHIMA, WAKATAKA and IMIZU MARU, MineSweepDiv 11’s W-13, W-14, W-15, W-16, MineSweepDiv 30's W-17, W-18 and SubChasDiv 31’s CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12 and other auxiliary ships.

The 21st Air Flotilla’s tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

11 January 1942:
Rear Admiral Hirose's Force invades Tarakan, Borneo.

24 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo.
Departs Tarakan with the Balikpapan invasion convoy of 16 transports carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by DesRon 4 and Rear Admiral Hirose’s No. 2 Base Force. SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

Hirose's Occupation Force lands at Balikpapan.

That same day ITSUKUSHIMA and IMIZU MARU protected by the SubChasDiv 21 leaves Tarakan for Balikpapan.

26 January 1942:
The ships anchor near Balikpapan and later enter port.

2 March 1942:
Departs Takisung waters escorting YODOGAWA, TAIKO and IMIZU MARUs, also escorted by 31 DesDiv destroyers.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Kragan, Java.

10 March 1942:
ITSUKUSHIMA is assigned to Vice Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo's (38)(former CO of HYUGA) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

12 March 1942:
Departs Kulagan Bay.

16 March 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

1 April 1942:
Lands a SNLF unit at Kumai Bay, Borneo.

10 April 1942:
Surabaya, Java. ITSUKUSHIMA is assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Southwest Area Fleet.

5 May 1942:
Arrives at Batavia, Java.

8 May 1942:
Departs Batavia.

14 May 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

23 May 1942:

1 June 1942:
Cdr Yanagawa Masao (48) assumes command.

2 June 1942:

7 to 14 June 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya. Embarks provisions.

18 July 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

23 July 1942:

29 July 1942:

30 July 1942:
Departs Singapore.

3 August 1942:
Arrives at Macassar, Celebes (now Sulawesi).

4 August 1942:
Departs Macassar.

6 August 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

15 August 1942:
Departs Ambon.

21 August 1942:
Arrives at Manokwari, New Guinea. Departs later this day and arrives at Momi, New Guinea.

22 August 1942:
Departs Momi.

26 August 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

11 September 1942:
Departs Ambon.

12 September 1942:
Arives at Babo, New Guinea.

13 September 1942:
Departs Babo.

14 September 1942:
Arrives at Fakfak, New Guinea.

15 September 1942:
Departs Fakfak and arrives at Sailolof, Salawati Island.

16 September 1942:
Departs Sailolof.

17 September 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

18 September 1942:
Departs Ambon.

19 September 1942:
Arrives at Babo.

20 September 1942:
Departs Babo.

21 September 1942:
Arrives at Bula, Ceram. Departs later this day and arrives at Waigama, Misool, later that day.

22 September 1942:
Departs Waigama and arrives at Marchesa Bay, Batanta Island later this day.

23 September 1942:
Departs Marchesa Bay and arrives at the Saonek Islands later that day.

24 September 1942:
Departs Saonek Islands and arrives at Gam Island later this day.

25 September 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

5 October 1942:
Departs Ambon and returns there later this day.

11 October 1942:
Departs Ambon.

13 October 1942:
Arrives at Ternate.

14 October 1942:
Departs Ternate.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Ternate.

16 Octpber 1942:
Departs Ternate.

18 October 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

20 October 1942:
Departs Ambon.

21 October 1942:
At 0800, joins a convoy.

24 October 1942:
Arrives at Ternate and departs later this day.

25 October 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

30 October 1942:
Departs Ambon.

1 November 1942:
At 0700 ITSUKUSHIMA and auxiliary gunboat OKUYO MARU arrive at Kupang.

2 November 1942:
Departs Kupang, Netherlands Indies Timor.

4 November 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

7 November 1942:
At 1000 ITSUKUSHIMA and auxiliary gunboat OKUYO MARU depart Ambon.

9 November 1942:
At 0800 arrive at Kupang. At 1850 the two ships depart Kupang.

11 November 1942:
At 1700 arrive at Ambon.

15 November 1942:
Departs Ambon.

16 November 1942:
Arrives at Ternate.

18 November 1942:
Departs Ternate.

19 November 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

22 November 1942:
At 2000 ITSUKUSHIMA departs Ambon for Ternate.

24 November 1942:
At 0400 arrives at Kaimana, New Guinea. Departs at 1800 and arrives at Ambon later that day.

26 November 1942:
At 0600 arrives at Ambon.

1 December 1942:
Departs Ambon to embark SNLF troops .

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Kupang. Departs later that day.

5 December 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

7 December 1942:
Departs Ambon.

8 December 1942:
Arrives at Waigama, Misool.

9 December 1942:
Departs Waigama.

10 December 1942:
Arrives at Fakfak.

15 December 1942:
Departs Fakfak.

17 December 1942:
At 1200 departs Ambon.

19 December 1942:
Arrives at Manokwari to embark troops.

24 December 1942:
Departs Manokwari.

25-26 December 1942:
Arrives at Hollandia, New Guinea with light cruiser NATORI. Lands troops of the 24th Naval Base Force that capture Hollandia without opposition.

27 December 1942:
Departs Hollandia, New Guinea.

29-30 December 1942:
Arrives at Palau to embark the 19th Base Guard Unit.

2 January 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia.

12 January 1943:
Departs Hollandia.

13 January 1943:
Arrives at Gasmata (renamed Tsurumi by the Japanese), New Britain. Departs later this day.

14 January 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia.

20 January 1943:
Departs Hollandia.

28 January 1943:
Arrives at Ambon.

29 January 1943:
Departs Ambon towing torpedoboat TOMOZURU.

6 February 1943:
At 1109, at S06.42-E112.25, evades 5 torpedoes. Arrives at Surabaya, Java later that day.

11 February:
Departs Surabaya.

16 February 1943:
Arrives at Ambon.

20 February 1943:
Lays mines under the command of the Singapore base commander. Departs Ambon.

26 February 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 April 1943:
Mine laying ends. Attached to the army.

1 May 1943:
Cdr Yanagawa is promoted Captain.

14 October 1943:
Under the command of the Singapore Army Base Corps force commander.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

21 October 1943:
Departs Singapore for the Berhala Straits.

23 October 1943:
Arrives back at Singapore.

27 October 1943:
Departs Singapore for the Berhala Straits.

28 October 1943:
Attached to the army.

28 November 1943:
In the Kelang Straits, joins NANKAI MARU and torpedo boat KIJI. NANKAI MARU is detached N of Kran waters, Moluccas. Later, ITSUKUSHIMA provides escort.

30 November 1943:
Off mouth of Macassar Port, ITSUKUSHIMA is detached.

Reassigned to Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Yamagata Seigo's (39) (former CO of HOSHO) newly-organized Fourth Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

1 December 1943:
At 0900 arrives at Surabaya and departs there at 1130.

4 December 1943:
At 1315 arrives at Tjilatjap and departs from there at 1640.

10 December 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Jakarta.

19 December 1943:
At 2000 departs Jakarta.

20 December 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Surabaya.

24 December 1943:
At 0200, ITSUKUSHIMA departs Surabaya escorting an unnumbered convoy consisting of AMAGI and OTORI MARUs.

29 December 1943:
At 1340, arrives at Ambon, Moluccas without incident.

1 January 1944:
At 1200 departs Ambon.

4 January 1944:
At 1500 departs Buton Strait escorting a convoy consisting of TAITO and RYUKO MARUs.

5 January 1944:
Arrives and then at 1100 departs Ambon escorting a convoy consisting of AMAGI, KOSHU and CHIYO MARUs.

7 January 1944:
Arrives in the Buton Strait.

8 January 1944:
At 1520 arrives back at Ambon.

14 January 1944:
At 2000 departs Ambon.

15 January 1944:
At 2040 arrives back at Ambon.

16 January 1944:
At 1800 departs Ambon escorting KINUGASA MARU.

20 January 1944:
At 1500 arrives at Surabaya.

26 January 1944:
At 1000, departs Surabaya escorting an unnumbered convoy consisting of CELEBES, ASAKA, YAMABUKI and CHUKA MARUs.

30 January 1944:
At 1915 W-4 and W-5 depart Ambon and meet up with the convoy and ITSUKUSHIMA apparently detaches.

31 January 1944:
At 1600 W-4 and W-5 and the convoy arrive at Ambon.

1 February 1944:
At 1020 arrives at Ambon.

4 February 1944:
ITSUKUSHIMA departs Ambon at 0900 and meets RAIZAN MARU in 119.38E about 30 NM from Ambon and escorts the ship to Ambon arriving at 1930.

6 February 1944:
At 2200 departs Ambon escorting RAIZAN MARU.

8 February 1944:
At Tioro Strait ITSUKUSHIMA is detached.

10 February 1944:
At 0700 arrives at Ambon.

12 February 1944:
At 0700 departs Ambon.

ITSUKUSHIMA's 76-mm/40 cal. (3-inch) guns are landed and replaced by three Type 96 25-mm AA guns. Six (6 x 1) 13.2 MGs are also installed.

6 May 1944:
Celebes Sea. ITSUKUSHIMA, escorted by a torpedo boat, is attacked by LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas W. Hogan's (USNA ’31) USS BONEFISH (SS-223). Hogan makes a submerged approach and fires four new Mark-28 electric torpedoes, but an error in their setup causes all to miss. The torpedoes explode at the end of their run and alert the torpedo boat. It drops four depth charges, but none near USS BONEFISH.

27 May 1944: American Operation “Horlicks” – The Invasion of Biak:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) William M. Fechteler’s (USNA ’16) Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller’s 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea.

29 May 1944: Operation "KON" - The Relief of Biak.
After sunset, ITSUKUSHIMA departs with the first Biak relief transport force: CruDiv 16's cruiser AOBA, light cruiser KINU, minelayer TSUGARU, Transport T. 127, several freighters, DesDiv 19's SHIKINAMI, URANAMI, DesDiv 27's SHIGURE and subchasers CH-36 and CH-37.

1 June 1944:
Captain Oishi Shinichi (49) assumes command. ITSUKUSHIMA is the flagship of Operation KON's Detached Force.

2 June 1944:
Zamboanga, Mindanao. ITSUKUSHIMA attempts to transport 800 troops to Biak with TSUGARU escorted by subchasers CH-36 and CH-37. At 2126 minesweeper W-30 departs Davao escorting Navy Landing Ship Transport T-127.

3 June 1944:
At 0900 minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA joins as an additional escort. At 1915 arrives at Sarangani. The KON force is sighted by two B-24 bombers. That evening, the operation is temporarily canceled.

4 June 1944:
At 1948 departs Sarangani still in convoy.

5 June 1944:
At 1412 arrives at Tahuna Bay and departs there at 1624. Meanwhile Headquarters, Combined Fleet reinstates Operation KON.

7 June 1944:
Near Halmahera, Moluccas. The Detached Force is held in readiness.

10 June 1944:
At 1747 ITSUKUSHIMA and submarine chasers CH-36 and CH-37 and Navy Landing Ship Transport T-127 arrive at Kau.

12 June 1944:
ITSUKUSHIMA joins the Third KON Force. Operates in the troop transport role from the Kau (Kaoe) area to Sorong with TSUGARU, Transport T-127 and subchaser escorts. At 0300 ITSUKUSHIMA departs Kau with CH-36, CH-37 and T-127.

18 June 1944:
At 0700 departs Sorong.

20 June 1944:
At 1800 ITSUKUSHIMA and CH-36 arrive at Kau.

28 June 1944:
Departs Kau for Surabaya.

1 July 1944:
At 0700 departs Bitung.

5 July 1944:
At 1430 arrives at Surabaya.

12 July 1944:
At 1200 departs Surabaya.

14 July 1944:
At 1040 arrives at Balikpapan.

21 July 1944:
At 1200 departs Balikpapan.

23 July 1944:
At 1940 arrives at Bitung.

27 July 1944:
At 0800 departs Bitung.

30 July 1944:
Ambon, Moluccas. ITSUKUSHIMA is the last IJN ship to go into the Ambon Area. She sets mines in the entrance of the Gulf and withdraws to Lembeh, east of Menado.

2 August 1944:
At 1700 departs Macassar.

4 August 1944:
At 1230 arrives at Surabaya.

11 August 1944:
At 0800 departs Surabaya escorted by minesweeper W-8.

17 August 1944:
At 1600 arrives at Bitung.

20 August 1944:
At 1500 departs Bitung.

23 August 1944:
Arrives at Bitung.

24 August 1944:
Biak, New Guinea. Alerted the previous day by a PBY "Catalina" flying boat to the movement of a Japanese convoy towards Manado, Celebes, Col. Chester A. Coltharp's 345th Bomb Group's 499th, 500th and 501st Bomb Squadrons' North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers take off from Biak and stage through Noemfoor to attack the convoy.

The 345th's planes search in vain for the convoy, then head for Lahbeh (Lembeh) Strait, NW Celebes. Near the S end of the strait, they find ITSUKUSHIMA sitting broadside in the narrow passage. Two of the 499th's B-25's attack the minelayer and score a near miss with a 500-lb bomb. ITSUKUSHIMA's aft section floods and she loses all power.

At Bitung, according to GHB telegram order No. 55, minelayer WAKATAKA is ordered to provide assistance to minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA damaged (1215-1230) by North American B-25s of 345th BG while at anchor in Lembeh Strait.

2 September 1944:
Lahbeh Strait, Celebes. Thirteen B-25s of the 345th BG attack Japanese installations along the strait. Six of the B-25s attack Lambeh Town and ITSUKUSHIMA. The minelayer throws up an intense barrage of AA fire that shoots down 2nd Lt Lloyd B. Bardwell's B-25D nicknamed the "Mexican Spitfire." ITSUKUSHIMA's AA fire also damages two other B-25's that later crash-land at Middleburg Island, NEI.

Bardwell ditches in the water about 7 miles from Lahbeh Island. Several survivors are seen. 2nd Lt Allan W. Lay flies top cover in B-25D "Hell's Fire". Soon, three Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters arrive. Two attack Lay's B-25 and the third strafes Bardwell's crew in the water. The Zekes shoot down Hell's Fire. The "Mexican Spitfire's" crew is never seen again.

At 1110, departs Bitung escorted by WAKATAKA, following a route through Bangka Strait along N-coast of Minahasa Peninsula, N Celebes.

5 September 1944:
At 0800, arrives at Bolaangoeki-Bay (00-50N, 123-56E).

8 September 1944:
Arrives at Paleleh on N coast of Minahasa Peninsula (01-04N, 121-55E).

9 September 1944:
Arrives at Boesak village on N coast of Minahasa Peninsula. (01-16N, 121-20E).

10 September 1944:
At 0630 departs Boesak and at 1730 arrives at Tolitoli NW Celebes.

15 September 1944:
At 1300, departs Tolitoli towed by WAKATAKA.

16 September 1944:
Moves to a better sheltered place, being Pagalungian Bay (00-48N, 120-34E) at the southeasternmost part of Dondo Bay.

4 October 1944:
Departs Celebes for Surabaya under tow by minelayer WAKATAKA.

At 0350, USN codebreakers intercept a message from ITSUKUSHIMA that says “At 22(?51) engaged one enemy catalina aircraft --- --- obtained direct hit. Damage incurred: mines penetrated the upper deck. Deck ---- damaged; breaches of diameter about 5 meters; no---. Killed: 30 men ----. Seriously wounded: about 50 men.”

At 0400, USN codebreakers intercept a message from WAKATAKA that says “At 2320/03, 1 PBY attacked and ITSUKUSHIMA suffered one bomb hit. The damage is given in ITSUKUSHIMA’s’s 040350. As a result of this I am towing ITSUKUSHIMA. Will leave Pagalungian at 040530. Proceeding to Dangulan (00-30N, 120-00E).”

5 October 1944:
Arrives at Dangulan Bay (00-30 N, 120-00 E).

6 October 1944:
Departs Dangulan Bay. Arrives at Palu Bay.

7 October 1944:
Departs Palu Bay. Arrives at Mamudju Bay.

8 October 1944:
Departs Mamudju Bay.

9 October 1944:
Arrives at Mandar Bay.

10 October 1944:
Departs Mandar Bay.

11 October 1944:
Arrives at Macassar.

12 October 1944:
Departs Macassar.

13 October 1944:
Arrives at Doangdoangan Island.

14 October 1944:
Departs Doangdoangan Island.

17 October 1944:
Java Sea. E of Bawean Island. Lookouts aboard Ltz I Hendrikus A. W. Goossens' Dutch submarine HNMS ZWAARDVISCH (ex-British HMS TALENT) spot a minelayer flanked by escorts, probably heading for Surabaya. Goossens sights a tugboat a mile and half away. It is dragging a towline that leads to the minelayer. He sets up to attack the minelayer with a spread of five torpedoes, but an opportunity presents itself to hit an escort as well. Goossens fires three torpedoes at ITSUKUSHIMA and two at the escort.

ITSUKUSHIMA is hit by one torpedo and sinks at 05-23S, 113-48E. Captain Oishi and an unknown number of crewmen survive the sinking. Escorting WAKATAKA is also hit in the bow and damaged, possibly by a dud torpedo. [1]

Subchaser CH-26 carries out a determined counterattack, dropping a pattern of 18 depth charges. After several hours, Goossens comes to periscope depth, but is attacked again, this time with 16 depth charges. The sea floor is only 195 feet deep, but ZWAARDVISCH escapes.

22 October 1944:
At 1805, USN codebreakers intercept a message that says: “At 1058, 17th, Subchaser No. 2 in command of Subchaser No. 26 detected and attacked the enemy submarine which attacked ITSUKUSHIMA and WAKATAKA with torpedoes. Subchasers sank the submarine definitely at 1337, 18th in position 05-22 S., 113-55 E.”

10 January 1945:
Removed from Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] On 15 Dec 2002, dive charter vessel MV EMPRESS of Singapore, using side-scan sonar, discovered the wreck of ITSUKUSHIMA in 184 ft/56 m of water, well to the NE of Bawean Island in the Java Sea. One of the divers aboard at the time, photojournalist Kevin Denlay, who has since revisited the wreck site several times, reports:

"The wreck lies in two sections, cleanly severed where ZWAARDVISCH's torpedo struck aft. The forward section rests 350 to 400 yds/meters from the stern. Disappointingly, the much larger forward section is upside down from the bow stem to the break where the three prop shafts begin to exit the hull. No upper-works or superstructure can be seen. The small stern section sits upright and is relatively intact. The deck is deteriorated with the doors on the two outer mine laying ‘wings’ closed and in place. The doors across the stern are missing. No 5.5-inch guns can be seen on the aft section, but one gun sits upright on the seabed about 49ft/15m from the break. ITSUKUSHIMA's outer port propeller is clearly visible under the stern, still on the shaft and connected to the hull by the ‘V’ support - but now embedded halfway into the seabed."

Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, Berend van der Wal of Netherlands, Allan Alsleben of Oregon and Kevin Denlay of Australia.

Thanks also go to John Whitman for info on USN intercepts of IJN messages, to Matt Jones for additional CO info in Rev 3, and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

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