KAIBOKAN!

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

IJN Escort Okinawa:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2006-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 3


10 December 1943:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Nihon Kokan K. K’s shipyard as kaibokan No. 335.

15 March 1944:
No. 335 is named OKINAWA and temporarily attached to the Maizuru Naval District.

10 May 1944:
Reserve LtCdr (later Cdr, posthumously) Arima Kunio is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

1 June 1944:
Lt Hijioka Kachiyuki is posted an Equipping Officer.

5 June 1944:
Equipping Officer Lt Hijioka is promoted LtCdr.

7 June 1944:
Reserve Lt Sakamoto Osamu is posted Chief Equipping Officer. LtCdr Arima is posted Chief Equipping Officer of T-2.

That same date, Reserve Lt Motohashi Takeo is posted an Equipping Officer.

19 June 1944:
Launched.

3 August 1944:
Reserve Lt (j.g.) Wakita Mami is posted an Equipping Officer.

16 August 1944:
Completed and registered in the Maizuru Naval District. Attached to the Kure Guard Unit and later based at Saeki. Reserve Lt Sakamoto is the Commanding Officer. LtCdr Hijioka is posted Chief Engineer. Reserve Lt Motohashi is posted Chief Navigator. Reserve Lt (j.g.) Wakita is posted Chief Mine Officer. Reserve Lt (j.g.) Yamaguchi Oyu is posted Chief Gunnery Officer.

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

8 October 1944:
OKINAWA departs Moji for Shanghai with an unidentified torpedo boat escorting ASAMA MARU.

12 October 1944:
At 0700, Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsuharu’s (40) (former CO of KITAKAMI) 7th Convoy Escort Group departs Woosung, E of Shanghai, for Manila with kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), CD-11 and CD-13 escorting convoy MOMA-04 consisting of transports NOTO, KINKA and KASHII MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship TAKATSU MARU carrying the IJA’s 1st Division's main body of about 10,000 men plus equipment.

16 October 1944:
OKINAWA, the unidentified torpedo boat and ASAMA MARU arrive at Shanghai.

19 October 1944:
OKINAWA and ASAMA MARU depart Shanghai to join convoy MOMA-04 at the Shushan Islands. ASAMA MARU carries 5,000 troops.

20 October 1944:
At 0230, convoy MOMA-04 departs the Shushan Islands.

26 October 1944:
At 2315, the convoy arrives at Manila.

31 October 1944: Operation “TA No. 2”:
OKINAWA departs Manila with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi's (41) (former CO of SUZUYA) kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), CD-11 and CD-13 escorting transports NOTO, KINKA and KASHII MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship TAKATSU MARU.

2 November 1944:
Early in the morning the convoy is attacked by Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighter-bombers. OKINAWA claims shooting one down. During the attack all kaibokan stream kites loaded with explosives as an AA measure, the first time this weapon is used in action. In the afternoon, the convoy is attacked by two dozen B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers. NOTO MARU suffers a near miss that causes her to flood and sink. About 50 troops, 30 gunners, one shipyard worker and three crewmen are KIA.

4 November 1944:
The convoy arrives back in Manila Bay.

5 November 1944:
Manila Bay. Aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick T. Sherman's (USNA ’10) (former CO of USS LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Group 38.3 [USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), USS ESSEX (CV-9) and USS LANGLEY (CVL-27) attack warships and auxiliaries in the bay and damage OKINAWA.

8 November 1944: Operation "TA Go No. 4".
At 1030, TAKATSU (KOSHIN or KOZU), KINKA and KASHII MARUs, carrying 10,000 men of the 26th Infantry Division and 3,500 tons of munitions, depart Manila into typhoon seas escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama's kaibokan OKINAWA and Admiral Kimura's destroyer screen of KASUMI (F), USHIO, AKISHIMO, ASASHIMO, NAGANAMI and WAKATSUKI. CD-11 and CD-13 are also part of the escort. All proceed under cover of the storm to Ormoc Bay, Luzon.

9 November 1944:
13th Air Force North American B-25 “Mitchell” medium bombers and P-38 fighter-bombers damage OKINAWA and kaibokan SHIMUSHU. In the evening, the convoy arrives at Ormoc Bay.

10 November 1944:
N of Cebu. The convoy is attacked by P-38s from Morotai and B-25s from Leyte. About 1140, during the second attack of the day, OKINAWA is bracketed by near misses and strafed by B-25 bombers, wounding six sailors. KASHII MARU is damaged, TAKATSU (KOSHIN or KOZU) MARU blows up after a bomb hit with the loss of 243 gunners and 104 crewmen and Army's 72nd Specially Established Machine Cannon Unit with its twelve Type 96 25mms. OKINAWA claims one B-25. In the same attack, CD-11 is crippled and later scuttled by CD-13.

11 November 1944:
At 0630 KINKA MARU, escorted by OKINAWA and destroyers, arrives at Manila.

17 November 1944:
At 0730, OKINAWA departs Singapore for Manila with kaibokan SHIMUSHU and CD-13 escorting convoy No. 4118 consisting of DOWA and GYOSAN MARUs.

18 November 1944:
Off Labuan, Borneo. Aircraft damage OKINAWA, but she continues to escort the convoy.

20 November 1944:
At 1210, damaged OKINAWA is detached.

December 1944:
Singapore. OKINAWA undergoes battle-damage repairs.

20 December 1944:
Departs Singapore with kaibokan CD-25 and CD-35 to escort damaged heavy cruiser MYOKO, then returns.

25 December 1944:
Reassigned to 31st Escort Division with kaibokan CD-63 and CD-207.

26 December 1944:
At 1158, OKINAWA departs Singapore for Moji with escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokan CD-27 and CD-63 and patrol boat P-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224) escorting convoy HI-84 consisting of transport AWA MARU, oilers TOA, RYOEI and MIRI MARUs and four unidentified ships.

29 December 1944:
At 1157, HI-84 arrives at Cape St. Jacques (near Saigon) and departs at 1625 the same day.

30 December 1944:
South China Sea. HI-84 passes CarDiv 4's hybrid battleship/carriers ISE and HYUGA, cruisers OYODO and ASHIGARA, DesDiv 2's ASASHIMO and DesDiv 18's KASUMI that are enroute south from Camranh Bay. Later that day, HI-84 arrives at Binhoang Bay, Indochina.

31 December 1944:
At 0745, HI-84 departs Binhoang Bay. Soon after departure, LtCdr Otis R. Cole's (USNA ’36) USS DACE (SS-247) fires three torpedoes at KAIYO, but gets no hits. There is no counterattack, as the convoy seems unaware of the attack. At 1804, HI-84 arrives at Quinhon, Indochina.

1 January 1945:
Departs Quinhon.

2 January 1945:
At 0105, arrives at Shiran Bay, Indochina.

3 January 1945:
S of Hainan Island. MIRI MARU strikes a mine and her engine room floods. She is left behind, but manages to reach Hong Kong.

5 January 1945:
At 1840, convoy HI-84 arrives at the Hong Kong area and departs at 1937.

9 January 1945:
Arrives at Chusan Retto (archipelago), E of Shanghai.

10 January 1945:
Departs Chusan Retto.

13 January 1945:
At 1725, arrives at Moji.

14 January 1945:
Arrives at Kure.

10 February 1945 :
OKINAWA departs Moji with kaibokan ETOROFU, UKU and CD-39 escorting convoy MOTA-35 consisting of two unidentified merchant ships.

19 February 1945:
Arrives at Keelung.

23 February 1945:
OKINAWA departs Keelung with kaibokan CD-39 escorting convoy TAMO-45 consisting of TEIKA MARU (ex French CAP VARELLA) and two unidentified merchant ships.

3 March 1945:
Arrives at Moji.

4 March 1945:
OKINAWA departs Moji with kaibokan AGUNI and CD-39 escorting the “Kitsurin Maru Convoy” consisting of KITSURIN MARU.

6 March 1945:
Arrives at Shanghai.

14 April 1945: Operation "AS-3" - Anti-submarine sweeps in Tsushima Strait and Yellow Sea:
Off Chusan Archipelago. Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) equipped Aichi E13A1 "Jake” and Kyushu Q1W1 "Lorna” patrol planes from the Chusan Detachment of the 951st NAG detect an Allied submarine and attack it with depth-charges. OKINAWA and kaibokan CD-8 and CD-32 are dispatched to the area and conduct several attacks between 1530 and 1558. OKINAWA makes a sonar contact with the damaged submarine and chases it for the next two hours until the contact is lost. A widening oil slick is sighted. It is possible that Cdr J.F. Walling's (USNA ’35) USS SNOOK (SS-279) is lost in these attacks. [1]

20 April 1945:
Lt Takei Takeo is posted Chief Engineer. LtCdr Hijioka is reassigned. Departs Shanghai for Maizuru with kaibokan DAITO, UKURU, CD-27 and CD-57 escorting the refloated KOTOBUKI MARU (ex-Italian passenger liner CONTE VERDE). [2]

22 April 1945:
KOTOBUKI MARU and her escorts are attacked by ten Consolidated B-24 "Liberators”, but they score no hits. One bomber is damaged and later forced to ditch. The convoy arrives at Tsingtao, China the same day .

25 April 1945:
Arrives at Chinkai (Chinhae) harbor, Korea.

8 May 1945:
SW of Mokpo, SW coast of Korea. Enroute to Japan, KOTOBUKI MARU hits a mine laid by USAAF 20th Air Force B-29 “Super Fortress” heavy bomber at 34-30N, 126-09E. [3]

May 1945:
KOTOBUKI MARU arrives at Maizuru under tow. The identity and number of her escorts are unclear.

27 May 1945:
Korea Strait, off Geomundo Island. OKINAWA and kaibokan AGUNI are attacked by two Consolidated PB4Y-2B "Privateers" piloted by Lt Leo E. Kennedy and LtCdr (later Rear Admiral, USNR-Ret) George L. Hicks of Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-109 based at Yontan, Okinawa. Kennedy's PB4Y-2B launches a Mark-9, Mod 0, Special Weapon Ordnance Device (SWOD) radar-guided “Bat” glide bomb from a long distance. The bomb's 1,000-lb warhead explodes off AGUNI’s starboard bow demolishing the whole foredeck area ahead of the bridge. Using conventional bombs in the same attack, Kennedy also sinks 882-ton freighter DAITO MARU No. 2 and four smaller freighters and damages two small vessels. 14 crewmen on DAITO MARU No.2 are KIA. Kaibokan CD-12 is dispatched to assist OKINAWA in rescuing AGUNI’s crew, but despite the heavy damage AGUNI remains navigable and proceeds stern first to Pusan, Korea on her own power.

29 May 1945:
At 0800, OKINAWA departs Tsingtao, N China, for Hikin To (Pigum Do), SW Korea, with kaibokan CD-63 and CD-213 escorting convoy SE-07 consisting of KOYO, FUSAN and NIKKI MARUs and NANKI MARU No. 2, BANSHU MARU No. 62 and BANSHU MARU No. 66.

1 June 1945:
Arrives at Hikin To, then proceeds to Japan, probably escorting unidentified ships formerly of convoy SE-07.

June 1945: American Operation “Barney”:
Tsushima Strait, Japan. Cdr (later Captain) George E. Pierce’s (USNA ’32) USS TUNNY (SS-282) with LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Richard B. Lynch’s (USNA ’35) USS SKATE (SS-305) and LtCdr (later Cdr) Lawrence L. Edge’s (USNA ’35) USS BONEFISH (SS-223) are organized as the “Polecats” and equipped with FM Sonar gear to detect mines. Once the minefields are detected and charted, shipping in the Sea of Japan will be open to predation by American subs. The Polecats foray into the Sea of Japan for the next several weeks and sink several ships.

15 June 1945:
Kaibokan of the 31st Escort Division commence defensive anti-submarine sweeps in the Toyama Bay area.

19 June 1945:
Nanao Bay. At 0615, USS BONEFISH torpedoes KONZAN MARU at 37-13N, 137-18E. One crewman is KIA. The 31st Escort Division is alerted immediately and OKINAWA (F), CD-63 and CD-207 arrive at the scene of sinking. OKINAWA makes sonar contact with a submerged submarine and drops a series of depth charges set to a depth of 295 to 390 feet. Next, CD-63 and CD-207 attack. CD-158 is also dispatched to the same location. After another attack, the sonar crew of OKINAWA fails to regain contact. Pieces of cork and oil are sighted at 37-18N, 137-55E. USS BONEFISH is lost with all 85 hands.

30 July 1945:
Six miles NNW of Maizuru. About 50 aircraft of Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 38's USS INDEPENDENCE (CVL-22) attack shipping in Maizuru Bay. OKINAWA is hit on her port side. About 1430, she settles aground at 35-30N, 135-21E and is abandoned by her crew. One sailor is killed and two wounded. [4]

15 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

February to 30 September 1948:
Maizuru. Scrapped at Iino Kaiun K. K's Yard (former Maizuru Navy Yard).


Authors' Note:
[1] The cause of the loss of USS SNOOK, or even its sinking location, have never been officially determined.

[2] On 8 Sep ’43, after the surrender of Italy, CONTE VERDE was scuttled by her Italian crew in the Whangpoo River, Shanghai. From 1943-44, the Japanese carried out several salvage attempts. CONTE VERDE was intended for conversion to an escort aircraft carrier, but on 8 Aug ‘44, a B-24 bomber sank her in the Whangpoo River for a second time. In Dec ‘44, the hulk was refloated. She was later repaired enabling her to steam by own power. After hitting a mine enroute to Japan, she was towed to Maizuru where she was bombed on 25 Jul ’45 and beached in Nakata Bay, N of Higashi, Maizuru. On 13 Jun ‘49, the wreck was refloated and began scrapping.

[3] Sources vary as to the date and place where KOTOBUKI MARU hit a mine.

[4] At an undetermined later date, OKINAWA is refloated.

Thanks for assistance go to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Mr Matthew Jones of USA.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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