(HASHIMA-class cable-layer ODATE)

IJN Cable-Minelayer ODATE:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2017 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 1

22 April 1940:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shipbuilding as a 1564-ton (standard) HASHIMA-class cable-layer

11 December 1940:
Launched and named ODATE.

31 July 1941:
Completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District. Attached to the Sasebo Guard Unit.

After 8 December 1941:
Conducts several patrols in the Sasebo area.

10 February 1942:
At 0945, departs Sasebo, probably for an exercise drill, with auxiliary TORIKO MARU and TENZAN and TSURUSHIMA MARUs and tugs Nos. 3 and 4, returning that same afternoon.

13 February 1942:
At 0700, departs Sasebo to participate in an anti-submarine drill with other vessels of the Sasebo Naval District.

17 February 1942:
At 1119, when inspecting a submerged cable off Okino Shima, ODATE grazes a reef, receiving slight damage to her bottom. Returns to base for an overhaul on the following day.

16 April 1943:
Departs Sasebo, escorting a convoy.

18 April 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai. Drydocked for temporary repairs. Later, departs Shanghai.

23 April 1943:
Off Woosung. Collides with YASUKUNI MARU (not sub tender of same name), receiving slight damage.

April 1943:
Assigned to escort convoys.

30 April 1943:
Departs an unidentified location escorting an unknown convoy.

3 May 1943:
Returns to Sasebo.

18 May 1943:
Departs Shanghai.

3 May 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

31 May 1943:
Departs Sasebo, escorting a convoy.

2 June 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai.

4 June 1943:
Departs Shanghai for Sasebo.

7 June 1943:
Returns to Sasebo.

11 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo for Chinhae, Korea.

12 June 1943:
Arrives at Chinhae, later departs for Fusan (Pusan), Korea.

16 July 1943:
Calls at Fusan; later, lays cable outside that port in four locations.

28 July 1943:
Following repairs at Sasebo, engages in cable laying work off Hainan and Mako (Makung), Pescadores until 22 August.

At an unknown date and place, ODATE is converted to a minelayer. Two Type 2 depth charge throwers are fitted and her mine storage capacity is increased from 12 to 120 Type 93 mines. Her armament is increased by the addition of six Type 96 25-mm AA guns.

Lays mines off Java, Sumatra, Singapore, the Philippines and Okinawa.

11 September 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

13 November 1943:
Returns to Sasebo.

18 November 1943:
Auxiliary subchaser CHA-66 is instructed to patrol in northern direction between Kuromo-Se (E of Uku-Shima, Nagasaki Prefecture) and Madara-Shima (Saga Prefecture) the intended route of JINGEI towing warship hull No. 300 from Kure to Sasebo.

19 November 1943:
Submarine tender IJN JINGEI departs Kure towing warship hull No. 300 (TONE-class cruiser) for conversion to aircraft carrier IBUKI, towage speed 12 knots.

20 November 1943:
Stops at Mutsure Island off Moji en route to Sasebo.

21 November 1943:
At 0700, ODATE and kaibokan IKI depart Mutsure for Sasebo escorting submarine tender IJN JINGEI towing warship hull No. 300.

22 November 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

6 January 1944:
Departs Nagasaki. Engages in cable laying and escorts convoys between Mako and Takao.

January 1945:
Arrives at Dairen.

22 January 1945:
Returns to Sasebo.

20 January 1945:
Departs Sasebo for Kagoshima. Escorts various convoys in that area until 10 February.

10 February 1945:
At 0800, departs Sasebo for Kagoshima in company of subchaser Cha-44, making an overnight stop at Koshiki Jima anchorage. [2]

11 February 1945:
In the afternoon, ODATE and the subchaser arrive at Kagoshima.

After 10 March 1945:
ODATE is transferred to Amami-Oshima to provide additional anti-submarine protection to convoys passing that area.

25 March 1945:
Departs Sasebo.

26 March 1945:
At 2100, departs Amami-Oshima for Sasebo, probably for repairs of her malfunctioning sonar.

27 March 1945:
East China Sea. At 0745, when ODATE is heading towards Sasebo at 11 knots at 29-37N, 128-37E, she is attacked by two Grumman F6F-5 "Hellcat" fighters. As a result of a strafing attack, all depth charges in the aft storage compartment detonate simultaneously, blowing two 7.7-mm AA mounts and their crews overboard. ODATE goes dead in the water, all AA weapons are disabled. By 0800, the USN fighters depart the area.

At 0930, two four-engined aircraft, identified as Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers, are briefly sighted overhead.

At 1430, two more F6F fighters appear and commence strafing attacks. After 1445, the fighters withdraw to the SE. ODATE develops an increased list. By 1735, after all secret documents are destroyed, ODATE's CO, Lt Shigematsu orders two motor boats and a life raft lowered. ODATE sinks at 1750. [1]

At 0807, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from Sasebo to that reads: Special Subchaser CHa -207: “1. Odate departed Oshima at 2100 on the 26th. At noon on the 27th, position 30-43 N, 127-53E ----.”

At 1437, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt Sasebo Naval District HQ Secret Message No. 75 that reads: “Ibusuki patrol plane discovered survivors (presumed to be from ODATE) drifting in position bearing 226 degrees, distant 142 miles from Ibusuki. SAISHU and NUWAJIMA are to proceed rapidly to the same position and are to make contact after rescue.”

1 April 1945:
No. 17 troop convoy to Oshima passes the area where ODATE went down. One of the ships picks up the No. 1 boat with 44 survivors aboard (three die later). The body of Lt Shigematsu, who escaped on the life raft, is washed ashore on Yakushima Island on 14 April. The rest of the crew is never found.

10 July 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

IJN Cable-Minelayers National Memorial Monument
Sasebo Navy Cemetery, Nagasaki Prefecture

Authors' Notes:
[1] Sander translated a report in the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR) files filed by Sasebo Naval District HQ, presumably based on survivor accounts, that describes ODATE’s sinking by USN aircraft and induced DC explosions, but he and I know of no Western source that mentions this. In fact, both Robert J. Cressman's "The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II" and the late Cdr (Ret) John D. Alden's "U.S. Submarine Attacks During World War II " attribute ODATE's sinking to Cdr (KIA) David R. Connole’s USS TRIGGER (SS-237).

[2] The source text was unclear, the subchaser could have been CH-44.

Ship photo credit goes to Fukui’s Japanese Naval Vessels 1860-1945. Fukui Shizuo Collection via J. Ed Low.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

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