© 2006-2012 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
25 July 1942:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen Co. Ltd's Sakurajima shipyard.
10 April 1943:
Launched and named MUTSURE.
31 July 1943:
Completed and attached to the Kure Naval District. LtCdr Tomidokoro Kotaro (52) is the Commanding Officer.
1 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Commences working-up in Hiroshima Bay.
15 August 1943:
Assigned to the Fourth Fleet’s Second Surface Escort
21 August 1943:
MUTSURE departs Yokosuka for Truk escorting convoy No.
3821A consisting of OKITSU and YAMAFUKU MARUs.
30 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.
2 September 1943:
MUTSURE departs Truk for Yokosuka with destroyer IKAZUCHI escorting convoy No. 4902 consisting of KIKUKAWA, BOKUYO, HARUNA, KAIKO and TAIAN MARUs and NANKAI MARU No. 2.
N of Truk. At 1356, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Merrill K. Clementson’s (USNA ’33) USS SNAPPER (SS-185) is making an approach on the convoy when MUTSURE detects the submarine on her sonar. MUTSURE increases speed to 16 knots and charges the submarine. At 1401, at 900 yards LtCdr Clementson fires three torpedoes “down the throat” at MUTSURE.
One hits and blows the bow off the kaibokan and another hits the small escort in the engine room. At 1413, MUTSURE capsizes to port and sinks at 08-40N, 151-31E. As she sinks, her pre-set depth-charges explode killing some survivors in the water. IKAZUCHI foregoes a counter-attack and rescues other survivors including MUTSURE's CO, LtCdr Tomidokoro, but 46 crewmen are KIA. USS SNAPPER escapes.
1 November 1943:
Removed from the Navy List after the shortest career of any of the active kaibokan.
There is a small timing discrepancy. According to USS SNAPPER’s own report, the torpedoes (Mk. 14-3A) were launched at 1500 (K) at a FUBUKI class DD; the first hit was observed at 1500:35.
Thanks for assistance 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 and to Mr Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.
-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall