(An Ukuru Class Escort in 1944 - colorized by Irootoko, Jr)

IJN Escort Mokuto:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2009-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
Revision 1.

5 November 1944:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen Co. Ltd’s Sakurajima shipyard.

7 January 1945:
Launched and named MOKUTO.

19 February 1945:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District. LtCdr Nagahashi Kimota is the Commanding Officer. Attached to the Kure Guard Unit.

20 February 1945:
Departs Sakurajima shipyard.

21 February 1945:
Arrives at Kure. MOKUTO is provisioned and ammunitioned.

2 March 1945:
Departs Kure. Later this day arrives at Saeki. Thereafter MOKUTO conducts anti-submarine training.

28 March 1945:
ComKure Guard Unit's Rear Admiral Kiyota Takahiko (42) dispatches the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sweeping Units to conduct an offensive sweep in the Hyuga Nada and Osumi Channel to provide anti-submarine cover for the planned sortie of battleship YAMATO and her escorts. The surface units are supported by eight Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) equipped Aichi E13A1 Jakes and Kyushu Q1W1 Lornas from the Saeki Naval Air Group.

At about 1200, MIKURA and CD-33, are detached from the 1st Surface Escort Fleet and coming directly from Moji, join the 3rd Sweeping Unit about 15 nm E of Hososhima, Miyazaki Prefecture. MIKURA and CD-33 steam in a single row formation and take position 1,000 meters to the port side of CD-65. At about 1300, CD-65 recognizes two exhaust fumes near the position reported by the Aichi E13A1, at 32-10N, 131-50E. CD-65, CD-59, OJIKA and MOKUTO prepares for depth charge battle while MIKURA and CD-33 continue southward.

29 March 1945:
The four kaibokan depart Funakoshi Bay and later this day arrive at Saeki. Due to serious enemy minelaying activities and air attacks it is decided to transfer a part of the anti-sub training force consisting of 10 kaibokan from Saeki to Maizuru. The other kaibokan are to proceed to Kure. Rear Admiral Nishioka Shigeyasu, CO of the anti-sub training force, transfers his flag from KOGANE MARU (1905grt) to OJIKA.

30 March 1945:
Lead by KOGANE MARU, the former flag ship of the anti-sub training force, MOKUTO departs Saeki together with kaibokan KANAWA and CD-48.

31 March 1945:
The ships arrive at Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

2 April 1945:
The ships depart Kaminoseki. Later this day arrive at Agenosho, Yamaguchi Prefecture. NB: It is possible that kaibokan CD-71 joins the force at Kaminoseki.

4 April 1945:
The ships depart Agenosho in a single column formation. At about 1300, MOKUTO, which is the #2 ship in the column, strikes a mine sown by USAAF XXth Bomber Command’s B-29 “Super Fortresses” in position 160 degrees 4 nm from He-saki. The mine explodes at starboard quarter close to Nos. 4 and 5 crew spaces and causes MOKUTO to heel over to port side. About 90 minutes later MOKUTO sinks stern first at 33-53N, 131-03E with the loss of 27 crewmen (mostly engine room personnel). The survivors are rescued by smaller warhips which are in the vicinity. The wounded are taken to the Ureshino navy hospital.

5 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

The hulk is raised and broken up.

Authors' Note:
[1] It is possible the submarine was Cdr David R. Connole’s 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 USS TRIGGER's loss.

[2] NB: According to MOKUTO´s survivors the ship was hit at about 1300, while the Defense Agency´s War History Office gives time 0905. In all probability, the ships had fuelled at Tokuyama the same morning and that makes 1300 more likely.

Thanks go to Matthew Jones for help in identifying COs. Thanks also go to Erich Muethlthaler of Germany for an almost complete rewrite of this TROM in Rev 1.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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