KAIBOKAN!

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

IJN Escort Ojika:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2009 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 1


7 September 1944:
Tamano. Laid down at Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding’s yard.

30 December 1944:
Launched and named OJIKA. [1]

21 February 1945:
Completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District. Attached to the Kure Guard Unit for workup and training.

28 March 1945:
S of Kyushu, Japan. A Japanese aircraft detects and bombs a submarine. OJIKA and other warships are guided to the spot and deliver an intensive depth charging that is heard by SILVERSIDES (SS-236), SEA DOG (SS-401), HACKELBACK (SS-295) and THREADFIN (SS-410) operating in adjacent waters. After two hours, a large oil slick appears. [2]

5 April 1945:
Reassigned to the General Escort Command's First Escort Fleet.

26 April 1945:
Reassigned to the First Escort Fleet's 103rd Escort Squadron.

28 April 1945:
At 0600, OJIKA departs Moji for Shanghai with kaibokan INAGI and CD-59 escorting convoy MOSHI-05 consisting of MIHO MARU. At 2000, that same day, the convoy arrives at Chinkai, South Korea.

29 April 1945:
At 0500, departs Chinkai.

30 April 1945:
At 1408, LtCdr Allen R. Faust’s USS TREPANG (SS-412) torpedoes and sinks MIHO MARU. The kaibokan counter-attack and drop 27 depth charges, but TREPANG escapes undamaged. The escorts head towards Shanghai.

1 May 1945:
At 1300, OJIKA reports her position as 33-20N, 122-15E, course 040, speed 14 knots.

2 May 1945:
Yellow Sea. That night, LtCdr Russell Kefauver’s USS SPRINGER (SS-414) attacks a ship and two escorts. Kefauver fires a spread of four torpedoes. SPRINGER's crew hears the first explode and then see and hears two more hits which sink OJIKA with all 226 crewmen.

3 May 1945:
At 1014, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “Summary of disaster to OJIKA: OJIKA and CD-59 were on station abeam this ship distant 1.5 kilometers proceeding on course 240 degrees. ----about 5 minutes after CD-59 had picked up something resembling an enemy submarine and was observing it, OJIKA was seen to open fire. A few seconds later there was an explosion and a pillar of fire --- and sank. At 0930, oil and debris were seen to the northeast of the disaster ---.”

At 1212, codebreakers decrypt a message from minesweeper W-20 that reads: “Am heading to the scene of the OJIKA disaster ---.”

Yellow Sea. 140 miles SE of Mokpo, Korea. CD-25 is proceeding to the scene of the sinking of OJIKA. At about 2300, Kefauver’s SPRINGER makes a night surface radar attack on CD-25. Kefauver fires six torpedoes and claims three hits on the small escort. CD-25 capsizes and sinks at 33-56N, 122-49E.

5 May 1945:
Yellow Sea. 140 miles SE of Mokpo, Korea. W-20 is proceeding to the scene of the sinking of OJIKA, but W-20 is intercepted enroute by LtCdr Allen R. Faust's USS TREPANG (SS-412) that torpedoes and sinks her at 33-56N, 122-49E.

7 May 1945:
At 1915, codebreakers decrypt a message sent earlier by W-20 regarding the event of 3 May that reads:“In accordance with Yellow Sea Area Force OpOrd No. 39, CD-25 and W-20 left the vicinity of Shichihatsu Shima the morning of the 3rd to proceed to the scene of the torpedoing of OJIKA .”

8 May 1945:
At 0515, codebreakers decrypt a message from the CO of the 103 Division: “Hoisted flag in OKI and sortied from Niioshima to carry out search for CD-25 and W-20 and to sweep for enemy submarine.”

5 July1945:
The Yellow Sea Area Escort Force presumes CD-25 and W-20 were lost with all hands. [3][4]

25 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] OJIKA was also known as OGA. The first Japanese character O can be read as Otoko, Dan or Nan and the suffix Roku can be read also as Shika (Jika) or more commonly Ka or Ga. So either is possible.

[2] If, in fact, a submarine was lost to these attacks it may have been Cdr David R. Connole's veteran USS TRIGGER (SS-237). Alternatively, TRIGGER may have fallen victim to a mine. There has been no official determination on the cause, or even the location, of her loss.

[3] On 3 May '45, USS SPRINGER torpedoes and sinks CD-25 at 33-56N, 122-49E.

[4] On 5 May '45, USS TREPANG (SS-412) torpedoes and sinks W-20 at 33-56N, 122-49E.

Thanks go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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