(KS type RO-109 scanned from "Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy" by Polmar and Carpenter)

IJN Submarine RO-105:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 4

19 November 1941:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Jukogyo K.K. as a 525-ton (standard) Kaisho (KS) Type submarine No. 215.

11 July 1942:
Launched as RO-105.

5 November 1942:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Manabe Masateru (60) (former CO of RO-68) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO) of RO-104 and RO-105 as an additional duty.

20 November 1942:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Hamazumi Yoshihisa (61) (former torpedo officer of I-11) is appointed the CEO of RO-104 and RO-105 as an additional duty.

25 January 1943:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Nishiuchi Shoichi (60)(former torpedo officer of I-30) is appointed the CEO.

5 March 1943:
Completed and assigned to the Kure Naval District. Assigned to Kure SubRon. Lt Nishiuchi Shoichi is the CO.

16 March 1943:
Lt (later Captain, JMSDF) Oba Saichi (62)(former torpedo officer of I-32) is appointed the CO.

1 April 1943:
Reassigned to SubRon 11 for working-up.

11 June 1943:
Reassigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Harada Kaku's (former CO of CHIYODA) SubRon 7, but temporarily detailed to Rear Admiral Kouda Takero's (former CO of CHOKAI) SubRon 1 together with RO-104 to support the evacuation of Kiska.

16 June 1943:
Departs Kure for Paramushiro, Kuriles.

21 June 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

28 June 1943:
Departs Paramushiro on her first war patrol with the Northern Submarine Patrol Unit.

3-9 July 1943:
Joins the "A" patrol line to cover the evacuation of Kiska. Patrols NW of Kiska.

12 July 1943:
Returns to Paramushiro.

16 July 1943:
Reassigned to SubRon 7. Departs Paramushiro for Yokosuka.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka for repairs and overhaul.

11 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.

12 August 1943:
NW of Marcus/Minami-Torishima Island. At 1727 (K), USS TARPON (SS-175) on her eighth patrol, under the command of LtCdr Thomas L. Wogan makes a periscope sighting of a surfaced Japanese submarine, similar to the I-153 class, with white letters D-105 and a merchant flag painted on the side her conning tower. It is RO-105, heading SE at 13-14 knots.

LtCdr Wogan starts a submerged approach and at 1801 fires two Mk. 14-3A torpedoes from stern tubes in 33-30N, 144-40E; both miss, probably because the lookouts on RO-105 spot the smoking torpedoes in calm sea. The submarine manages to make a sharp turn and then passes fairly close of her attacker, putting on speed and zigzagging radically.

20 August 1943:
Reassigned to SubDiv 51 under Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kato Ryonosuke.

23 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

2 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her second war patrol to patrol S of San Cristobal Island, Solomons.

24 September 1943:
On her way back to base, RO-105 rescues several IJNAF pilots downed in air battles two days earlier.

25 September 1943: The Evacuation of Kolombangara, Guadalcanal:
The Japanese begin the evacuation of the garrison on Kolombangara by assualt boats and barges. Eleven destroyers under Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously), the Baron, Ijuin Matsui (former CO of KONGO) cover the evacuation of Kolombangara with RO-105 and RO-109. During these operations one of the submarines fires torpedoes at USS COLUMBIA (CL-56), but misses.

That same day, RO-105 returns to Rabaul.

7 October 1943:
Rear Admiral Ijuin completes the evacuation of Kolombangara and successfully evacuates about 9,400 troops.

RO-105 departs Rabaul on a supply run to Sarmi (aka Sulumi), New Guinea.

9 October 1943:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs.

11 October 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

12 October 1943:American Air Raid on Rabaul:
At Rabaul. LtGen (later Gen) George C. Kenney's 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid made up to then in the Pacific war. 349 aircraft, including 87 B-17 and B-24 bombers, 114 B-25 strafers, 12 RAAF "Beaufighters" and 125 P-38 "Lightning" fighters and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul's airfields and its Simpson harbor.

RO-105, RO-108, I-36, I-38, I-176 and I-177 are moored in deep water. USAAF and RAAF aircraft bomb the harbor. When the attack begins, most of the submarines submerge to safety. RO-105 receives slight damage caused by near misses.

14 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her second supply run to Sarmi.

16 October 1943:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs.

18 October 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

22 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul to intercept an enemy task force.

24 October 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

27 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her third war patrol off Mono Island.

2 November 1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay: The Japanese force is intercepted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Aaron S. Merrill's (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58) Task Force 39's radar-equipped CruDiv 12's USS CLEVELAND (CL-55), COLUMBIA (CL-56), MONTPELIER (CL-57) and DENVER (CL-58). Captain (later Admiral/CNO) Arleigh Burke's destroyers USS STANLY (DD-478), CHARLES F. AUSBURNE (DD-570), CLAXTON (DD-571) and DYSON (DD-572) and Cdr B. L Austin's destroyers USS CONVERSE (DD-509), FOOTE (DD-511), SPENCE (DD-512) and THATCHER (DD-514).

At 0050, all four of Merrill's cruisers take SENDAI under 6-inch fire and set her afire. She soon sinks with most of her crew. While avoiding the American fire, SAMIDARE collides with SHIRATSUYU and MYOKO collides with destroyer HATSUKAZE. HAGURO receives minor damage in the action.

Early in the morning, lookouts of RO-105 sight starshells and gun flashes from the battle area. Later that day, the submarine is ordered to rescue the survivors from SENDAI and HATSUKAZE. RO-105 searches the battle area in the evening but fails to locate anyone except several dead.

6 November 1943:
SE of New Britain. In the evening, RO-105 rescues two downed pilots from an inflatable boat.

9 November 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

17 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her third supply run to Sarmi.

18 November 1943:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs to patrol off Arawe-Cape Merkus, New Britain.

23 November 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

6 December 1943:
Departs Rabaul on her fourth supply run to Sarmi.

On that day, the Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne (FRUMEL) provides the following information, originating from the Southeast Submarine Force:

"Date and time for RO-105 to unload at Sulumi are changed to 1730 on 8th."

7 December 1943:
On that day, the FRUMEL provides the following information, originating from the Southeast Submarine Force:

"Stores to be transported by submarine RO-105 are 7 tons of ammunition, provisions, stores and drugs for the Army, and 4 tons on deck in rubber bags for the Navy. Will require 1 landing barge and 1 aft on starboard side."

9 December 1943:
At 0216 FRUMEL decrypts the following message from RO-105:

"Owing to non-receipt of SE Submarine Force's 061920 unloading was not carried out on 8th. I propose to arrive at the unloading point and begin unloading at 1730 on 10th."

10 December 1943:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs to patrol off Arawe-Cape Merkus.

20 December 1943:
Returns to Rabaul.

30 December 1943:
Departs Rabaul to rescue the pilots of IJAAF 6th Hiko Shidan Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar" fighters and Ki-49 "Helen" bombers downed in an air battle on 26 December.

1 January 1944:
Redirected to intercept Task Force 74 spotted by a patrol aircraft N of Choiseul. Later, when no contacts are made, RO-105 resumes lifeguard duty with I-181.

8 January 1944:
Returns to Rabaul.

16 January 1944:
Departs Rabaul on her fifth supply run to Sarmi.

18 January 1944:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs.

20 January 1944:
Returns to Rabaul. Lt (LtCdr, posthumously) Inoue Junichi (64)(former torpedo officer of I-11) is appointed CO.

26 January 1944:
Departs Rabaul on her sixth supply run to Sarmi.

28 January 1944:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs.

30 January 1944:
Returns to Rabaul.

12 February 1944:
Departs Rabaul on her seventh supply run to Sarmi.

14 February 1944:
Arrives at Sarmi, unloads her cargo, then departs.

17 February 1944:
Returns to Rabaul. Reassigned to the 1st Advance Submarine Unit.

20 February 1944:
Departs Rabaul. Patrols in vicinity of Truk Lagoon.

7 March 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

8 March 1944:
RO-105 arrives at Truk.

13 March 1944:
Departs Truk for Sasebo.

25 March 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo for repairs and overhaul.

7 May 1944:
Departs Sasebo for Saipan.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Saipan.

17 May 1944:
RO-105 sorties from Saipan with ComSubDiv 51 Captain Kato Ryonosuke embarked on her fourth war patrol in company of RO-104. Earlier, separate orders are issued to RO-108, RO-112 and RO-116 to depart Truk on 15 May and RO-106 and RO-109 on 16 May. The submarines are to form "Scouting line NA," a picket line N of the Admiralty Islands to warn of American invasion forces approaching the Palaus.

18 May 1944:
Rear Admiral Owada orders the NA formation to extend from 01-30N, 150-30E to 00-30S, 148-30E. All submarines are to be on station by 0000, 21 May. The American Navy intercepts this signal that indicates the Japanese have established a new submarine picket NA line between Truk and the Admiralty Islands to intercept American carriers. LtCdr Walton B. Pendelton's USS ENGLAND (DE-635) departs Purvis Bay, off Florida Island, Solomons with LtCdr James Scott's USS RABY (DE-698) and LtCdr Fred W. Just's GEORGE (DE-697) as a hunter-killer group to attack the NA line.

27 May 1944:
After sinking six submarines in the past week, ENGLAND, RABY and GEORGE put into Seeadler Harbor at Manus Island to refuel and replenish their supply of ahead-thrown Mark 10 "Hedgehog" projector charges from USS SPANGLER (DE-696). Escort carrier USS HOGGATT BAY (CVE-75), Cdr V. P. Douw's HAZELWOOD (DD-531) and Cdr W. T. Kenny's McCORD (DD-534) join the hunter-killer group.

30 May 1944:
N of the Admiralty Islands. At 0144, HAZELWOOD makes a radar contact at 15,000 yds. At 0153, the contact - a submarine - dives, but HAZELWOOD soon makes sonar contact and attacks with depth charges. At 0435, RABY and GEORGE relieve HAZELWOOD and make several "Hedgehog" attacks. GEORGE seems to get three hits, but does not sink the radically maneuvering submarine.

31 May 1944:
At 0500, SPANGLER and ENGLAND arrive. SPANGLER fires a salvo of "Hedgehogs"; all miss. At 0729, ENGLAND makes sonar contact. LtCdr Pendelton fires a salvo of 24 "Hedgehogs". Their explosions are followed by a shattering underwater blast that kills RO-105 at 00-47N, 149-56E. She is the sixth submarine sunk by ENGLAND in 13 days.

About two hours after the explosion oil begins to surface within 500 yds of the attack position. Several pieces of deck planking are recovered, as well as three cork stoppers, a bar of soap and a piece of split reed, containing powder.

25 June 1944:
Presumed lost with all 55 hands N of the Admiralty Islands.

10 August 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Special thanks go to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for research based on wartime FRUMEL intercepts.

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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