IJN Minelayer OKINOSHIMA:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 1998-2016 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
27 September 1934:
Laid down at Harima.
15 November 1935:
Launched and named OKINOSHIMA. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sato Namizo (39) is posted as the Chief Equipping Officer.
30 September 1936:
Completed and commissioned in the IJN. Captain Sato is the Commanding Officer.
1 December 1936:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Miyata Giichi (36)(former CO of ATAGO) assumes command of the
12th Battle Squadron consisting of the OKINOSHIMA, seaplane tender KAMOI and destroyers ASANAGI, YUNAGI , OITE and HAYATE.
18 January 1937:
Captain Anju Giichi (39) assumes command.
28 January 1937:
OKINOSHIMA, KAMOI, ASANAGI and YUNAGI depart Yokosuka for the Carolines and Marianas to survey the islands and atolls as potential military sites. They visit a total of 21 ports and also survey 11 locations from the air to find sites that could be used as future airfields.
29 June-5 July 1937:
OKINOSHIMA, KAMOI, ASANAGI and YUNAGI and Yokohama Air Station participate in aircraft maneuvers.
7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The First "China") Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.
11 July 1937:
The IJA and IJN agree to operational jurisdictions in the event of a full-scale war with China. The IJA takes responsibility for northern China and the IJN assumes assumes responsibility for central and southern China.
22 June 1939:
Yokosuka. OKINOSHIMA is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Horiuchi Shigeru's (39) Yokosuka Base Defense Force. Departs Yokosuka for the Marshall Islands with destroyers IKAZUCHI, INAZUMA and Mine Division 5's KINUGASA MARU for hydrographic reconnaissance of Kusaie, Milli and Maloelap.
24 August 1939:
Returns to Yokosuka.
15 November 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakamura Katsuhei (45) assumes command.
22 March 1940:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takahashi Ichimatsu (40), CO of ITSUKUSHIMA assumes temporary command of OKINOSHIMA as an additional duty.
15 April 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Obata Chozaemon (43) assumes command.
15 October 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Azukizawa Sei (42) assumes command.
15 November 1940:
OKINOSHIMA is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI) Mine Division 19 with old auxiliary minelayer TOKIWA.
12 January 1941:
Departs Kochi Bight for the Southwest Pacific.
14 April 1941:
Returns to home waters.
11 August 1941:
Truk. OKINOSHIMA is assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inouye Shigeyoshi's Fourth Fleet in Rear Admiral Shima's Mine Division 19 with transport MOGAMIGAWA MARU, auxiliary minelayers TENYO MARU and TOKIWA.
17 August 1941:
Departs Japan on a mine transportation mission to southern areas.
19 August 1941:
OKINOSHIMA is designated flagship of Mine Division 19.
29 August 1941:
Returns to home waters.
12 September 1941:
Cdr Nomi Minoru (43) assumes command.
15 October 1941:
Cdr Nomi is promoted Captain.
21 November 1941:
OKINOSHIMA is assigned to Rear Admiral Shima's Howland Island Attack Force.
29 November 1941: Operation "Gi":
Departs Truk at 1300. Flagship of the Gilbert Islands Invasion Force that includes minelayers TSUGARU, TENYO MARU and TOKIWA carrying the 51st Guards Unit escorted by DesDiv 29/Section 1's ASANAGI and YUNAGI. The CHITOSE Naval Air Group is assigned to provide air cover.
2 December 1941:
OKINOSHIMA receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).
3 December 1941:
OKINOSHIMA and auxiliary minelayer TENYO MARU arrive at Jaluit, Marshall Islands.
5 December 1941:
Embarks a Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) company formed from the 51st Guard Unit.
6 December 1941:
Departs Jaluit with TENYO and NAGATA MARUs.
8 December 1941:
At 1330, OKINOSHIMA joins ASANAGI and YUNAGI.
9 December 1941:
Supports the invasion landings on Makin and Tarawa, Gilbert Islands. At 1445, W of Makin, DesDiv 29/Sec 1 is detached from the Invasion Force and makes for Tarawa.
10 December 1941:
At 0045, OKINOSHIMA and TENYO MARU arrive at Makin. Between 0130 and 0200, OKINOSHIMA disembarks a total of 178 SNLF troops. By 0515, the island is secured. At 0841, NAGATA MARU enters the Makin lagoon and unloads seaplane construction materials. Within two days a flying boat facility is completed
11 December 1941:
OKINOSHIMA departs to disembark other land combat units on Little Makin, six miles away.
24 December 1941:
At 0300, departs Makin for for Abaiang Island. After seizing the islands, the invasion forces are taken aboard OKINOSHIMA and returned to Roi anchorage, Kwajalein, Marshalls.
26 December 1941:
Arrives at Jaluit at 1045.
27 December 1941:
Jabor. One POW is transferred to auxiliary gunboat DAIDO MARU.
28 December 1941:
At 1000, departs Jaluit led by minelayer TSUGARU.
1 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
17 January 1942:
Near Lamotrek Island. Rear Admiral Kajioka's light cruiser YUBARI, seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and four destroyers join MineDiv 19’s TSUGARU and OKINOSHIMA and two destroyers escorting transports that left Guam on 14 January.
That same day, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s Carrier Striking Force departs Truk consisting of CarDiv 1’s AKAGI and KAGA, CruDiv 5’s SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA and DesRon 1’s light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUHI and unattached AKIGUMO.
20 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
N of New Ireland. CarDivs 1 and 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain and Kavieng, New Ireland. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.
20 January 1942:
CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA launch air strikes against Rabaul and Kavieng.
21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches another strike on Rabaul and CarDiv 5 launches attacks on Madang, Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. After CarDiv 5 recovers her aircraft, she departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendevous with CarDiv 1.
22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul. After the launch, CarDiv 5 rendevouses with CarDiv 1. When CarDiv 1 completes recovery of her strike aircraft, Nagumo heads north to Truk.
22/23 January 1942:
New Britain. Soon after midnight, OKINOSHIMA lands invasion troops at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. The invasion forces swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy both Rabaul and Kavieng.
1 February 1942:
OKINOSHIMA is reassigned to the Nanyo (South Seas) Main Unit. At 1300, she departs Rabaul.
5 March 1942: Operation “SR” – The Invasions of Lae and Salamuana, New Guinea:
OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU depart Rabaul with Rear Admiral Marumo Kuninori's CruDiv 18's TENRYU, TATSUTA and seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU, Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's DesRon 6's YUBARI and DesDiv 29’s ASANAGI, OITE, YUNAGI and DesDiv 30’s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI.
8 March 1942:
Supports the invasions of Lae and Salamaua.
10 March 1942:
Off Lae and Salamaua. The Invasion force is attacked by Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr. Task Force 11, including ships of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's TF 17. 104 aircraft (SBDs, TBDs and F4Fs) of USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) and YORKTOWN (CV-5) fly over New Guinea' s Owen Stanley mountain range from the Coral Sea to make the attack.
Armed merchant cruiser KONGO MARU, auxiliary minelayer TENYO MARU and transport YOKOHAMA MARU are sunk. OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU, light cruiser YUBARI, destroyers YUNAGI, ASANAGI, OITE,
seaplane carrier KIYOKAWA MARU, transport KOKAI MARU, minesweeper W-2 and TAMA MARU are damaged.
10 April 1942:
Returns to Truk to prepare for Operation "MO".
28 April 1942: Operation “MO” – The Invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
Flagship of Rear Admiral Shima's Tulagi Invasion Force. Departs Truk with transport AZUMASAN MARU, minelayer KOEI MARU, DesDiv 23's KIKUZUKI and YUZUKI, subchasers TOSHI MARU No. 3 and TAMA MARU No. 8, auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2, HAGOROMO MARU, NOSHIRO MARU No. 2 and TAMA MARU.
3 May 1942:
Tulagi. OKINOSHIMA disembarks troops of 3rd Kure SNLF.
4 May 1942:
100 miles S of Guadalcanal. Task Force 17's Rear Admiral Fletcher receives a signal that IJN transports are disembarking troops and equipment at Tulagi. At 0701, YORKTOWN launches her first surprise strike on Shima's Invasion Force. The strike consists of 18 Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" fighters of VF-42, 12 Grumman TBD-1 “Devastator” torpedo-bombers of VT-5 and 28 Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless” dive-bombers from VS-5 and BY-5.
Purvis Bay, Florida Island, Solomons. OKINOSHIMA is moored alongside destroyer KIKUZUKI. TBDs torpedo and sink KIKUZUKI. The auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2 and four barges are also sunk. YORKTOWN's planes also damage destroyer YUZUKI, transport AZUMASAN MARU, cargo ship KOEI MARU and five floatplanes. TAMA MARU is damaged and sinks two days later. YUZUKI is strafed.
OKINOSHIMA is damaged by near misses and later towed by transport KINRYU MARU to Rabaul where she undergoes repairs.
10 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul leading the Ocean-Nauru Occupation Force escorted by UZUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YUZUKI.
12 May 1942:
Off New Ireland. OKINOSHIMA is sighted by LtCdr Oliver G. Kirk's USS S-42 (SS-153) through driving rain from the east. At 0439, in a night submerged attack, Kirk fires four Mark-10 steam torpedoes. At 0452, he gets two or three hits. By 0515, OKINOSHIMA's escorts close S-42's position and begin dropping depth charges. The depth charging continues for over six hours until 1130. At 1430, the last sound contact is made by S-42 with the escorts that are still searching for the submarine. Although damaged by the attacks, the S-42 slips away and makes her base at Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Australia.
SW of Buka Island, Bougainville. Rear Admiral Shima is removed by DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI. At 0640, OKINOSHIMA capsizes while being towed by MOCHIZUKI. OKINOSHIMA sinks in St. George's Channel, Bismarck Sea at 05-06S, 153-48E. Captain Nomi and an unknown number of crewmen survive the sinking.
6 miles NE of Cape St. George. At 0957, LtCdr John R. Moore's USS S-44 (SS-155) attacks repair ship SHOEI MARU returning to Rabaul after being dispatched earlier with a trawler escort to assist OKINOSHIMA. Moore fires four torpedoes and two hit SHOEI MARU portside. She sinks about 1440 at 04-51S, 152-54E. The trawler attacks S-44 and drops 16 or more depth charges, but none close. Moore returns safely to Brisbane.
25 May 1942:
Removed from Navy List.
Special thanks for assistance go to Jean-Francois Masson of Canada and Allan Alsleben of Oregon.
-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
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