KAIBOKAN!

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

IJN Escort Mikura:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2012 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 2


1 October 1942:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Nihon Kokan K. K.’s shipyard.

16 July 1943:
Launched and named MIKURA.

31 October 1943:
Completed and registered in the Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to the Second Surface Escort Division. Cdr Oda Takasuke is appointed Commanding Officer.

14 November 1943:
At 0800, MIKURA departs Yokosuka as the sole escort of convoy 3114A consisting of KEMBU and DAIDO MARUs.

27 November 1943:
At 0950, arrives at Truk.

5 December 1943:
MIKURA departs Truk escorting convoy 4205A consisting of submarine tender YASUKUNI MARU and fleet supply ship IRAKO.

7 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Ralph M. Metcalf's (USNA ’35) USS POGY (SS-266) attacks slower convoy 4205B sailing behind convoy 4205A at 14-03N, 152-20E. Convoy 4205B consists of SOYO and AKIBASAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan HIRADO and auxiliary sub-chaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. SOYO MARU is sunk with unknown but heavy casualties (including 35 crewmen KIA) and AKIBASAN MARU is damaged and escorted to Saipan separately by TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. HIRADO searches for the submarine and then joins convoy 4205A as added escort.

10 December 1943:
The convoy arrives at Saipan.

12 December 1943:
At 0800, the convoy departs Saipan. SATSUMA MARU also joins the convoy.

20 December 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

February March 1944:
At Yokosuka. Undergoes maintenance and repairs.

6 March 1944:
At 1130, MIKURA departs Truk with kaibokan AMAKUSA, subchaser CH-33 and minesweeper W-21 escorting convoy No. 4304 consisting of URAKAMI, SHIRANE, JUZAN and AWAJI MARUs.

E 7 March 1944:
Submarine Chasers CH-14 and CH-51 that had left Chichi Jima at 1007 on 3rd March join as additional escorts.

10 March 1944:
At 1222, arrives at Saipan.

1 April 1944:
At 1100, MIKURA departs Tokyo as part of the escort of convoy “Higashi-Matsu” No. 4. The ships and their destinations are: Saipan: SHOUN, TOKO, TAKASAN, AKIKAWA KOKO, SHIRAMINE, TAIKAI, KAKOGAWA and MACASSAR MARUS. Guam: MIMASAKA, TOAN, AZUCHISAN and NISSHU MARUs and UNYO MARU No. 8 Truk: Fleet supply ship KINESAKI, SHOZUI, TATBEI, SHIMA, SHINYO and HAVRE MARUs. Palau: Fleet supply ship MAMIYA, TENRYUGAWA, TAIAN and TOSEI MARU s and SHINSEI MARU No. 5 Yap: SHINSEI MARU.The convoy commander is Rear Admiral Kiyota Takahiko (42) (former CO of NACHI) in destroyer SAMIDARE. The other escorts include destroyer ASANAGI, torpedo-boat HIYODORI, kaibokans AMAKUSA, FUKUE, OKI, CD-2, CD-3 and subchaser CH-50.

3 April 1944:
5 miles S of Tori-Shima. At about 1457, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Bafford E. Lewellen's (USNA ’31) USS POLLACK torpedoes and sinks TOSEI MARU at 30-14N, 139-45E with the loss of one passenger on board. The escorts counter-attack USS POLLACK and drop 55 depth-charges without effect.

8 April 1944:
N of Saipan. At 0228 (JST), LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Frederick J. Harlfinger's (USNA ’37) USS TRIGGER (SS-237) fires four torpedoes at the convoy, but fails to get any hits. OKI and SAMIDARE counter-attack unsuccessfully.

9 April 1944:
62 miles WNW of Saipan. At 1625, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and hits MIMASAKA MARU at 15-30N, 145-00E. MIMASAKA MARU is taken in tow by TOAN MARU. The escorts counter-attack USS SEAHORSE unsuccessfully.

10 April 1944:
At about 0100 (JST), MIMASAKA MARU founders. She is carrying over 1,000 Naval personnel, most of whom are rescued. Seven from the Naval party, one Gunner and ten crewmen are KIA. The convoy arrives at Saipan, then is split into separate groups that continue on to their respective destinations.

17 May 1944:
At 0616, MIKURA with destroyer HATAKAZE, kaibokan MIYAKE, CD-16, subchaser CH-48, minelayer SARUSHIMA, mineseeper W-20 and auxiliary netlayer KOA MARU depart Tateyama, Japan for Saipan escorting convoy No. 3515 consisting of HAKUSAN, NIPPONKAI, TOYO, KINSHU, HINKO, REIKAI, EIKO, NATSUKAWA, SEIGA, MEITO and CHIYO MARUs and UNYO MARU No. 8.

23 May 1944:
At about 0900, W-20 is detached from the convoy.

25 May 1944:
At 0708, the convoy arrives safely at Saipan.

29 May 1944:
MIKURA departs Saipan with auxiliary submarine chaser URUPPU MARU, auxiliary patrol boat SHOHO MARU and subchaser CH-48 escorting a convoy consisting of NIPPONKAI, TOHO and KINSHU MARU.

1 June 1944:
At 0345, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “Subchaser No. 53 proceed immediately to present position NIPPONKAI MARU convoy which sustained a torpedo attack this morning at 0345 in position 18-04N, 141-18E, and engage in escort of this convoy--.”

At 1800 CH-53 departs Saipan and later joins the convoy.

4 June 1944:
At 1000 arrives at Palau.

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

16 July 1944:
At 0820, MIKURA and torpedo boat HIYODORI rendezvous with convoy MI-08 consisting of MEXICO, ASAKA, OLYMPIA, TATSUBATO, HAKUSHIKA, RASHIN and KUROGANE MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO, CHIHAYA, NITTETSU, OEI, YAMAKO, SAN LUIS, RYUSHO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No.6 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18. At 1400, MIKURA and HIYODORI are detached. The convoy arrives at Manila at 2200 that day.

24 July 1944:
At 0600, MIKURA departs Manila for Moji with escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokans HIRADO (F), ISHIGAKI, KURAHASHI, CD-11, CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI escorting convoy HI-68. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and escort carrier TAIYO in column No. 1; IJA landing craft depot ship KOZU MARU (a.k.a. TAKATSU MARU) and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column No. 2 and ex-seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, TOA, TOHO and SHIMPO MARUs in column No. 3. A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. The wolfpack attacks and sinks TOSAN, AKI and OTORISAN MARUs and damages KIYOKAWA MARU. 46 men aboard OTORISAN MARU are KIA. On AKI MARU some 24 passengers were killed as were 14 ship’s gunners, and 3 crew; a total of 41 dead.

27 July 1944:
At 1100, arrives at Takao.

28 July 1944:
At 1800, departs Takao.

3 August 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

10 August 1944:
MIKURA departs Imari Bay (Moji) for Singapore with Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (former CO of KISO) 6th Escort Convoy’s destroyers FUJINAMI and YUNAGI, kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, SHONAN and CD-11 and escort carrier TAIYO escorting convoy HI-71 comprised of oilers AZUSA, TEIYO, EIYO, ZUIHO, AMATSU, KYOKUTO and NIYO MARUs and HAKKO MARU No. 2, fleet oiler HAYASUI, food-supply ship IRAKO, transports TEIA (ex French ARAMIS), AWA, NOTO, HOKKAI, NOSHIRO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships TAMATSU and MAYASAN MARUs and cargo ships KASHII, NISSHO and ORYOKU MARUs.

15 August 1944:
HI-71 arrives at Mako, Pescadores. NIYO, HAKKO and ORYOKU MARUs and IRAKO are detached.

17 August 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO" (Victory) - The Defense of the Philippines:
At 0800, in typhoon weather, HI-71 sorties from Mako for Manila. To strengthen HI-71's escort forces, old destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokans SADO, MATSUWA and HIBURI arrive from Takao and kaibokan ETOROFU arrives from Saei, on orders of 1st Surface Escort Division.

18 August 1944:
At 0524, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Louis D. McGregor's (USNA ’30) USS REDFISH SS-395) torpedoes and damages EIYO MARU. ASAKAZE and YUNAGI are detached to escort her back to Takao.

Off Cape Bolinao, Luzon. At 2210, LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA ’32) USS RASHER (SS-269) torpedoes and sinks oiler TEIYO MARU in a surface radar attack. 41 crewmen and 58 passengers are KIA. At 2222, Munson torpedoes and sinks carrier TAIYO at the rear of the convoy. Because of the fire and speed of sinking, most of her crew are lost and about 790 passengers perish; but by some miracle, Captain Sugino Shuichi (46) is among the just over 400 surviving crew and passengers. At 2310, USS RASHER, still on the surface, hits transport TEIA MARU (ex French ARAMIS) with three torpedoes using radar bearings. The ex-French liner is set afire and sinks. TEIA MARU was carrying 4,795 Army and 427 civilians. 2,316 troops, 275 passengers, six guards, four gunners, 10 special lookouts, and 54 crewmen are KIA.

19 August 1944:
The convoy splits into two groups. Just past midnight, USS RASHER, still running on the surface, closes on an eastbound group of three large ships and one escort. At 0033, LtCdr Munson puts two radar-directed torpedoes into the port sides of AWA and NOSHIRO MARUs. Both ships beach themselves near Port Currimao. LtCdr (later Cdr) Charles M. Henderson's (USNA ’34) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) and LtCdr (later Captain) Gordon W. Underwood's (USNA ’32) USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) join in the attack on HI-71. At 0320, USS BLUEFISH hits and sinks HAYASUI. Captain Sugiura Keizaburo (49) is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously. The number of survivors is unknown. USS SPADEFISH hits TAMATSU MARU with two torpedoes and the big IJA landing craft depot ship rolls over and takes down 4,755 troops and 135 crewmen. HI-71 makes for San Fernando.

21 August 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

25 August 1944:
At 1650, MIKURA departs Manila for Singapore with destroyer FUJINAMI, kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-11 and SubChaser CH-28 escorting convoy HI-71 consisting of AZUSA, KYOKUTO, HOKKAI, ZUIHO, KYOKUHO and AWA MARUs. At 1845, KYOKUHO MARU develops engine trouble and drops behind escorted by FUJINAMI. Later, they catch up with the convoy.

1 September 1944:
At 1356, arrives at Singapore.

6 September 1944:
At 0630, MIKURA departs Singapore for Moji with Rear Admiral Kajioka Sadamichi's (victor of Wake Island and former CO of KISO) 6th Escort Convoy Command’s kaibokan HIRADO (F), destroyer SHIKINAMI, kaibokan KURAHASHI, CD-11 and CD-19 escorting fleet convoy HI-72 consisting of ex-armed merchant cruiser ASAKA MARU, ex-seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU, and NANKAI, RAKUYO, ZUIHO, KIBITSU, SHINCHO and KACHIDOKI MARUs (ex American PRESIDENT HARRISON).

11 September 1944:
S China Sea. 100 miles NE of the Paracel Islands. At 0910, convoy HI-72 is joined by convoy MAMO-03 consisting of IJA Landing craft depot ship KIBITSU MARU, armed merchant cruiser GOKOKU MARU and ex-seaplane tender KAGU MARU escorted by minesweeper W-21 and kaibokan CD-10 and CD-20.

12 September 1944:
S China Sea. E of Hainan, China. At 0155, Cdr Thomas B. Oakey’s (USNA ’34) USS GROWLER (SS-215) torpedoes and sinks flagship HIRADO at 17-54N, 114-59E. Rear Admiral Kajioka goes down with the ship. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. At 0531, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Eli T. Reich’s (USNA ’35) USS SEALION (SS-315) torpedoes RAKUYO MARU, but she stays afloat for another 13 hours, sinking at 1820 that evening. She is carrying 1,318 Allied POWs (601 British, 716 Australian and several US POWs), of whom 1,051 are lost. Reich also torpedoes and sinks NANKAI MARU. 196 out of 525 passengers on the ship and 3 crewmen are KIA.

240 miles south of Hong Kong. At about 0700, SHIKINAMI is torpedoed by USS GROWLER and sinks at 18-16 N, 114-40 E. MIKURA rescues eight officers and 120 men. At 2254, LtCdr Paul E. Summers' (USNA ’36) USS PAMPANITO (SS-383) torpedoes and sinks KACHIDOKI MARU with 950 Allied POWs aboard. At 2337, she founders and 12 sailors and 476 passengers (including 431 POWs) are lost with her. USS PAMPANITO also sinks ZUIHO MARU with the loss one man KIA. The Japanese rescue a few POWs from the two prison ships. The survivors are transferred to KIBITSU MARU and taken to Japan.

13 September 1944:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.

15 September 1944:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan. The convoy is reorganized. The 1st echelon consists of ASAMA, KIBITSU, GOKOKU and KAGU MARUs escorted by kaibokan MIKURA, ETOROFU, CD-10, CD-18 and CD-26.

16 September 1944:
The 1st echelon departs Yulin for Moji.

20 September 1944:
At 0110, the 1st echelon is attacked by B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers at 23-20N, 119-12E. GOKOKU MARU is damaged by a direct hit and ASAMA MARU suffers a near miss aft. Both are towed into nearby Mako for repairs. MIKURA and KAGU MARU are damaged. KAGU MARU heads for Takao while MIKURA is towed by CD-18 to Mako.

October-November 1944:
MIKURA arrives at Yokosuka. Undergoes battle-damage repairs.

6 November 1944:
Departs Kirun in convoy TAMO-28 consisting of TAISHO, JUZAN, SHUNSHO, TOYOKAWA MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan MIKURA and CD-6.

13 November 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

15 November 1944:
The General Escort Command’s 102nd Escort Squadron is formed with MIKURA, YASHIRO, CD-2, CD-33, CD-34 and CD-35.

31 December 1944:
At 0820, MIKURA departs Moji for Singapore with kaibokan YASHIRO, KURAHASHI and CD-13 and destroyers SHIGURE, HATAKAZE and DesDiv17’s HAMAKAZE and ISOKAZE escorting convoy HI-87 consisting of oilers KAMOI, TENEI, KAIHO, KUROSHIO, MATSUSHIMA, MITSUSHIMA, MIRI, MUNAKATA and SARAWAK MARUs and passenger-cargoman TATSUWA MARU. Light carrier RYUHO provides air cover.

1 January 1945:
Reassigned to the No. 102 Escort Squadron of the First Escort Fleet. The Squadron includes light cruiser KASHIMA (F), kaibokan MIKURA, CD-2, CD-33, CD-34 and CD-35.

7 January 1945:
East China Sea. The convoy is sighted by "Loughlin's Loopers", a submarine wolf pack consisting of Cdr (later Rear Admiral/MOH) Eugene R. Fluckey's (USNA ’35) USS BARB (SS-220) and LtCdr (later Cdr) Evan T. Shepard's (USNA ’35) USS PICUDA (SS-382), later joined by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's (USNA ’33) USS QUEENFISH (SS-393). At 0905, in high seas, Shepard's USS PICUDA heavily damages MUNAKATA MARU in the bow. She is assisted by KURAHASHI then proceeds separately to Kirun (Keelung). The convoy anchors at Shinchiku Roadstead, Formosa. At 1300, the convoy is sighted by the wolfpack and tracked. RYUHO and SHIGURE are detached and proceed to Kirun. At 1830, in dense fog, the convoy anchors temporarily on the W Formosan coast. The ships then split up and enter Takao’s port at different times.

8 January 1945:
At 1200, MIKURA, YASHIRO, CD-13, KAMOI and KAIHO MARU enter Takao Port.

That same day, MIKURA departs Takao with kaibokan YASHIRO and CD-13 escorting fleet oiler KAMOI and KAIHO MARU. At 1330, KAIHO MARU experiences an engine breakdown. YASHIRO and CD-13 remain behind with her. At 2313, KAMOI and the other ships anchor temporarily outside Takao’s port.

9 January 1945:
Takao, Formosa. Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain's (USNA ’06) (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 38 aircraft attack shipping off Takao. At 1200, 17 Grumman TBM "Avengers" and F6F "Hellcats" damage YASHIRO.

12 January 1945:
Departs Takao in convoy TAMO-35 consisting of ARIMASAN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by kaibokan MIKURA, SHIMUSHU, CD-2, CD-66, CD-67 and one unidentified warship.

17 January 1945:
Arrives at Moji.

26 January 1945:
Departs Moji in convoy MOSU-01 consisting of MAOKA, GINZAN MARUs and five unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan MIKURA, CD-2, CD-33 and CD-34.

5 February 1945:
Arrives at Swatow.

9 February 1945:
Departs Swatow in convoy SUSHI-01 consisting of MAOKA MARU and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan MIKURA, CD-2, CD-33 and CD-34.

10 February 1945:
Formosa Straits. MIKURA is damaged in a collision with kaibokan CD-33 at 23-51N, 117-25E.

18 February 1945:
Arrives at Shanghai.

8 March 1945:
Departs Yulin in convoy YUMO-01 consisting of TATSUMIYA MARU escorted by kaibokan MIKURA, CD-33, CD-36, CD-69 and submarine chaser CH-21.At 1959 in 19.02N 111.56E shortly after leaving port the convoy is attacked by B-24's of 14th Airforce and CD-69 is badly damaged. Taken in tow the ship eventually sinks near Hong Kong. The convoy soon after anchors.

11 March 1945:
Departs anchorage.

13 March 1945:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

14 March 1945:
Departs Hong Kong.

15 March 1945:
While north of Hong Kong the convoy is again attacked and CH-21 and CD-36 are both damaged, the former running aground near Namoa Island.

17 March 1945:
Anchors at Ssu Chiao Shan. MIKURA detaches and returns south.

18 March 1945:
Departs Hong Kong in MITSUSHIMA MARU convoy consisting of large tanker MITSUSHIMA MARU escorted by kaibokan MIKURA and CD-33.

22 March 1945:
In Amoy sea joins with AKESHIMA MARU and kaibokan UKU and SHINNAN.

23 March 1945:
Arrives Shushan Island anchorage.

27 March 1945
At 0600 arrives at Moji. MIKURA is then detailed to provide anti-submarine cover for the planned sortie of super-battleship YAMATO and her escorts, ComKure Guard Unit's Rear Admiral Kiyota Takahiko (42) dispatches the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sweeping Units to conduct an offensive sweep in Hyuga Nada and Osumi Channel. The surface units are supported by eight Magnetic Anamoly Dectector (MAD) equipped Aichi E13A1 Jakes and Kyushu Q1W1 Lornas from the Saeki Naval Air Group. MIKURA and CD-33 are detached from their unit to participate in the sweep, departing Saeki with the 3rd Sweeping Unit. CD-59 is the flagship.

28 March 1945
SW of Shikoku. At 1027, one of the ASW planes detects a contact and directs the 3rd Sweeping Unit to that area. After 1300, MIKURA, CD-33 and CD-59 and possibly others conduct several attacks on a submarine with Type 3 streamlined depth-charges. After two hours, a large amount of oil and debris is sighted in the area of 32-16N, 132-05E. [1]

That afternoon, off Cape Toi, Kyushu. LtCdr (later Cdr) John J. Foote’s (USNA ’35) USS THREADFIN (SS-410) encounters two kaibokan. Foote torpedoes and sinks MIKURA at 31-45N, 131-45E. All 216 hands are lost. The other kaibokan counter-attacks THREADFIN unsuccessfully. [2]

25 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] It is possible the submarine was Cdr David R. Connole’s (USNA ’36) USS TRIGGER (SS-237), lost with all 89 hands; however, no official report has ever been released with details of the date, place and cause of TRIGGER's loss.

[2] American and Japanese sources conflict. IJN records list both MIKURA and CD-33 as MIA since 28 March 1945. CD-65 witnessed carrier aircraft, most probably of TF 58, attacking a target in that area on that day. Therefore, some Japanese sources list MIKURA and CD-33 as sunk by carrier aircraft in the area of 31-45N, 131-45E. However, other Japanese sources, notably author/historian Kimata Jiro, support MIKURA's sinking by THREADFIN.

Thanks for assistance go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and Mr. Gilbert Casse of France. Thanks for help in identifying Cos goes to Mr. Matthew Jones of Ohio.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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