IJN Patrol Boat No. 39:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2007-2018 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 8

20 December 1920:
Laid down at Fujinagata Shipbuilding’s Osaka yard as a MOMI-class destroyer.

15 March 1922:
Launched and named TADE.

15 May 1922:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Wada Seizo (34) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

31 July 1922:
TADE is completed. LtCdr Wada is posted Commanding Officer.

1 December 1922:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Ishido Yuzo (36) assumes command.

15 June 1923:
An unknown officer assumes command.

1 December 1923:
LtCdr (later Captain) Ikeda Shichiro (38) is appointed the CO.

10 November 1925:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Takeishi Hideto (38) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1925:
LtCdr Furuse Kurazo (38) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1926:
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Kengo (42) assumes command.

14 May 1927:
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Koichiro (39) assumes command.

1 December 1927:
LtCdr Kumabe Isamu (42) is appointed the CO.

20 February 1929:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Hirai Taiji (43) assumes command.

1 December 1930:
LtCdr (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sugiura Kaju (46) assumes command.

1 December 1931:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Shoji Kiichiro (43) assumes command.

15 November 1932:
LtCdr Oda Misao (46) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1933:
Lt (later Cdr) Arimoto Terumichi (50) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935:
Lt Arimoto is promoted LtCdr.

1 January 1936:
An unknown officer is appointed the CO.

1 July 1937:
Cdr (later Captain) Kawahara Kinnosuke (39) is appointed the CO.

1 August 1937:
LtCdr (later Captain) Ieki Konosuke (52) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1938:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Hamanaka Shuichi (51) is appointed the CO.

24 June 1939:
An unknown officer is appointed the CO.

Sasebo Naval Arsenal. One of three Kampon boilers is removed reducing speed to 18 knots. Additionally, her torpedo tubes, aft 4.7-inch/45 cal main gun and minesweeping gear are removed. 25mm AA guns and depth charge racks and throwers are fitted for 60 DCs. Extra ballast is added to compensate for the loss of topside weight and to increase stability. The changes increase her displacement to 935-tons.

1 April 1940:
Reclassified as a special duty patrol boat, registered in the Sasebo Naval District and renumbered 39.

PB-39 undergoes reconstruction to become a high speed transportation warship. Her aft funnel is removed and the stem is cut down to form a ramp. She is fitted to carry and launch a 46-ft Daihatsu landing craft. Her forward interior spaces are modified to accommodate up to 150 troops. The number of DCs carried is reduced to 18. Her 25mm AA suite is increased.

20 November 1941:
PB-39 is in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s (35)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Irifune Naosaburo’s (39)(former CO of MIKUMA) Special Base Force 32 in Captain Nishikawa Hayami's Patrol Boat Div 1 with PB-1, PB-2, PB-32, PB-33, PB-34, PB-35, PB-36, PB-37, and PB-38.

9 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of Celebes, Netherlands East Indies:
PB-39 arrives at Bangka Roads, Celebes with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro’s (38) (former CO of FUSO) No. 2 Air Force’s 11th Seaplane Division seaplane tenders CHITOSE and MIZUHO that provide air cover for Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kuji's (38) (former CO of KONGO) 1st Base Force’s invasion convoy of eight transports carrying Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo's (40) (former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, PB-34, PB-1 and PB-2, MineSweepDiv 21's W-11, W-7, W-8, W-9 and W-12 and SubChasDiv 1's CH-1, CH-2, CH-3.

At 0300, Kubo’s 1st Base Force lands at Kema and at 0400, lands at Menado, Celebes.

21 January 1942:
Departs Bangka for Kendari.

24 January 1942: The Invasion of Kendari, Celebes:
PB-39 and PB-34 arrive at Sarabanka Bay with CHITOSE and MIZUHO and provide air cover for Rear Admiral Kubo’s Kendari Invasion Force consisting of six troop transports carrying Captain Mori’s Sasebo Combined SNLF escorted by MineSweepDiv 21’s W-8, W-12, W-7, W-9 and W-11, DesRon 10’s light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 16’s TOKITSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE and SubChasDiv 1’s CH-1 and CH-2.

29 January 1942:
Departs Sarabanka Bay for Ceram.

31 January 1942: The Invasion of Ambon Island, Netherlands East Indies:
PB-39 and PB-34 arrive at Ceram with CHITOSE and MIZUHO and provide distant support for ten transports carrying 820 men of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Koichiro's (39)(former CO of KINUGASA) Kure No. 1 SNLF, elements of the Sasebo SNLF and the 228th Infantry Regiment.

The invasion convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo’s (39)(former CO of KONGO) light cruiser JINTSU with DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, OSHIO, ARASHIO and MICHISHIO, DesDiv 15's HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, NATSUSHIO and OYASHIO and DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE, Minesweeper Div 21's W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 and Subchaser Div 1's CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3. CruDiv 5's NACHI and HAGURO, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 7's USHIO and SAZANAMI provide the covering force.

4 February 1942:
The occupation of Ambon is completed.

17 February 1942:
PB-39 departs Kendari with seaplane carrier MIZUHO. Her aircraft fly recce missions over the Flores Sea to cover the Kupang, Dutch Timor invasion convoy of nine transports carrying the IJA's 228th Infantry Regiment and elements of the 3rd Yokosuka SNLF (Parachute) that departs Ambon that same day. MIZUHO's aircraft also fly recce missions to cover Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36) Port Darwin carrier striking force. Later, MIZUHO provides air cover over the Banda Sea and antisubmarine protection for the Kupang invasion convoy.

18 February 1942:
Five troop transports depart Ambon for Dili, Portugese Timor with PB-1, PB-2 and PB-34 escorted by MineSweepDiv 21's W-7 and W-8, DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE and YAMAKAZE and a subchaser. CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, DesDiv 6's INAZUMA and IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO provide distant cover. Air cover is provided by MIZUHO escorted by PB-39.

20 February 1942:
Portugese Timor is invaded.

25 February 1942:
Participates in the occupation of Surabaya, Java.

29 March 1942: The Invasion of Dutch New Guinea:
Rear Admiral Fujita's "N" Expeditionary Force assembles at Ambon Island. Fujita's Force includes CarDiv 11's seaplane carrier CHITOSE, light cruiser KINU, DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE, torpedo boats TOMOZURU, HATSUKARI, PB-39, PB-1, PB-2 and PB-38, SubChasDiv 54's SHONAN MARU Nos. 5 and 17 and FUKUEI MARU No. 15, oiler SEIAN MARU and transport HOKUROKU MARU plus a Special Naval Landing Force. The "N" Expeditionary Force departs Ambon.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Boela, Ceram Island. Moluccas.

1-21 April 1942:
The N Expeditionary Force invades Fak-Fak, Babo, Sorong, Manokwari, Moemi, Nabire, Seroei, Sarmi and Hollandia, New Guinea.

23 April 1942:
The N Expeditionary Force is dissolved. All units return to Ambon Island.

21 August 1942:
PB-39, PB-36 and PB-38 arrive at Rabaul.

3 October 1942:
PB-2 and PB-39 depart Rabaul escorting Army transport YAMAURA MARU.

4 October 1942:
The ships arrive at Basuba (near Buna).

2 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul with auxiliary submarine chaser SEKI MARU No. 3 escorting repair ship YAMABIKO MARU from Singapore.

17 December 1942:
At dawn, PB-39 and destroyer TACHIKAZE disembark 350 IJA troops to occupy Tuluvu, New Guinea. The invasion force consists of the 31st Road Construction Unit, 28th Field AA Battery, and small contingents from the 5th Air Signals and 5th Shipping Engineer Regiments.

25 February 1943:
At 0545 departs Sasebo and at 1600 arrives at Moji.

1 March 1943:
At 1300 PB-39 departs Moji escorting convoy No. 132 consisting of tanker TATSUNO MARU, cargo ship NANKO MARU and two unidentified merchant ships.

6 March 1943:
At 1150 arrives at Takao.

10 March 1943:
At 1400 PB-39 departs Takao escorting convoy No. 239 consisting of SEINAN, TAKETOYO and SHOZUI MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships.

16 March 1943:
At 0300 arrives at Moji.

21 March 1943:
At 1330 departs Moji escorting convoy No. 139 consisting of tankers SHUNTEN and SHOYO MARUs and HOKUTAI, MIE and KAISHO MARUs. Later that day KOSEI MARU joins convoy from Sasebo.

26 March 1943:
At 1200 arrives at Mako. SHUNTEN and SHOYO MARUs are both detached.

27 March 1943:
At 0730 departs Mako with the remainder of convoy. At 1220 arrives at Takao.

3 April 1943:
At 1500 PB-39 departs Mako escorting convoy No. 382 consisting of TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARU, FUKKAI and SHOYU MARUs.

10 April 1943:
At 1730 arrives at St Jacques.

11 April 1943:
At 1800 PB-39 departs St Jacques escorting convoy No. 487 consisting of TAITO and SAIHO MARUs, SHINSEI MARU No. 5 and seven unidentified merchant ships.

19 April 1943:
At 1850 arrives at Mako.

21 April 1943:
At 1300 PB-39 departs Takao, Formosa to assist in the salvage of freighter NISSHIN MARU No. 2 abandoned on 17 April after suffering severe damage due to unknown causes, possibly mines.

23 April 1943:
E China Sea, off Yonaguni Island, Ryukus. LtCdr (later Cdr) Royce L. Gross’ (USNA ’30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) comes across drifting derelict NISSHIN MARU No. 2 with a 30 degree list, stern blown apart and stack missing. The freighter is being assisted by a tug and PB-39 is standing guard. Gross sets up, torpedoes and sinks PB-39 at 23-48N, 122-42E. He fires his last torpedo at the derelict tanker, but it is a dud. USS SEAWOLF surfaces to engage NISSHIN MARU No. 2 with gunfire, but a distant fleet destroyer is sighted approaching. Gross, out of torpedoes, breaks off and departs. [1]

1 July 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors’ Note:
[1] The agent of NISSHIN MARU No. 2’s destruction is unknown. The mid-body eventually drifted ashore on Formosa and was scrapped locally.

Thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Mr. Matthew Jones of Mississippi, USA.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

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