(Kazahaya by Frank Halbe of Germany)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2011 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

30 September 1941:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Zosen's shipyard as an 18,300-ton fast fleet tanker.

20 January 1943:
Launched and named KAZAHAYA.

1 February 1943:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kanemasu Yoshio (40) (former CO of SHIRATAKA) is posted as the Chief Equipping Officer.

31 March 1943:
Completed and commissioned in the IJN. Captain Kanemasu is the Commanding Officer.

June 1943:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

9 June 1943:
Joined by minelayer NUWAJIMA at 28-55N, 131-48E and escorted north to Fukajima.

30 June 1943:
At 1700, departs Seletar for Palembang, Sumatra.

1 July 1943:
Arrives at Palembang. Probably loads a cargo of refined oil. [1]

4 July 1943:
Departs Palembang.

5 July 1943:
At 1500, arrives at Singapore.

7 July 1943:
At 1700, departs Singapore independently for Truk, initially escorted by TOSHI MARU as far as West Natuna.

July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

July 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

25 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Truk.

27 July 1943:
Bismarck Sea, off New Ireland. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Walter G. Ebertís USS SCAMP (SS-277) makes a submerged night attack on a large oiler. At about 0300, Ebert fires a full spread of six Mark 14-3A bow torpedoes at KAZAHAYA and claims two hits - one by contact exploder and one or two by the Mark 14's magnetic influence exploder. KAZAHAYA is hit in her starboard bow at 02-44S, 149-29E.

29 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Probably receives temporary repairs by repair ship AKASHI.

August 1943:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka, then transfers to Yokohama.

August-September 1943:
Yokohama. Undergoes repairs.

26 September 1943:
Repairs are completed. Departs Yokohama for Kure.

27 September 1943:
Allied codebreakers intercept and decrypt message JN25/2922. It reports KAZAHAYA is scheduled to depart Kure at 1000, 30 Sep '43 and steam at 14.5 knots arriving at Truk at 0700 on 7 Oct '43. Subsequently, COMSUBPAC dispatches an ULTRA signal that alerts American submarines in the area of the target.

30 September 1943:
Departs Kure for Truk. Joined by destroyer HARUSAME off Mizunoko Lighthouse and escorted to 29N.

6 October 1943:
S of Guam, Marianas. Alerted by the ULTRA signal, LtCdr David L. Whelchel's USS STEELHEAD (SS-280) sights what he takes to be a 10,500-ton oiler. At about 0300, Whelchel makes a radar-assisted attack. He fires four torpedoes at KAZAHAYA at 10-01N, 148-31E. One torpedo hits and slows KAZAHAYA. She radioes Truk and reports the attack and her damage. Light cruiser ISUZU and destroyers HATSUKAZE and UMIKAZE are ordered out of Truk to assist KAZAHAYA.

That same morning, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Lawrence R. Daspit's USS TINOSA (SS-283), also alerted by ULTRA, sights damaged KAZAHAYA, steaming alone at six knots. Daspit tracks the oiler and positions TINOSA for an attack. About midday, he torpedoes and further damages the oiler, but comes under fire from KAZAHAYA's 4.7-inch deck guns.

Daspit crash-dives to 150 feet and reloads his tubes. KAZAHAYA drops four depth charges so close to TINOSA that they start a fire in the motor room, but it is quickly brought under control. At about 1900, Daspit attacks again. In all, he fires 16 unreliable Mark 14 steam torpedoes and claims eight hits, but many are duds. Nevertheless, that evening, KAZAHAYA sinks by the stern at 10-50N, 148-30E. UMIKAZE rescues Captain Kanemasu and about 154 men and returns to Truk on 7 October.

Daspit's TINOSA shares credit for the sinking with Whelchel's STEELHEAD. [2]

Captain Kanemasu is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District. On 17 Feb '44, he is KIA at Truk as CO of RIO DE JANEIRO MARU and promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] The refinery at Palembang was under IJA control, but constant trips were needed to carry oil from Sumatra to Singapore for shipment to Japan. The IJA occasionally requested the IJN to assist, and when an oiler was awaiting escort or clearance to leave Singapore, they would sometimes sail to Palembang, pick up a cargo of oil and return.

[2] This attack was almost a repeat performance of Daspit's 24 Jul '43 attack on the 19,000-ton oiler (former whale factory) TONAN MARU III when he fired 15 Mark-14 torpedoes of which 11 were hits, but duds. The incident provided needed impetus to CINCPAC's efforts to uncover the many defects in BuOrd's poorly designed and improperly tested torpedo.

Thanks for assistance goes to Sander Kingsepp of Estonia and Allan Alsleben of Oregon.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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