IJN Submarine RO-38:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 3

25 May 1943:
Lt (later Cdr, posthumously) Nomura Shunji (60) (former CO of RO-62) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

24 July 1943:
R0-38 is completed at Mitsubishi's Kobe Yard, commissioned in the IJN and based in the Maizuru Naval District. LtCdr Nomura Shunji is the Commanding Officer.

31 July 1943:
Assigned to SubRon 11.

31 October 1943:
Reassigned to Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Shimizu Taro’s (48) SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet. Departs Kure for Truk.

1 November 1943:
Lt Nomura is promoted LtCdr.

8 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

19 November 1943:
Departs Truk en route to the Makin-Tarawa area of the Gilberts as a part of A Group on her first war patrol. There are no further contacts with RO-38 after her departure..

20 November 1943: American Operation "GALVANIC" - The Invasion of the Gilberts:
The Americans invade Tarawa and Makin Islands. The invasion fleet of 200 ships includes 13 battleships and 11 carriers.

Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo (39)(former CO of MUTSU), Commander, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) orders I-19, I-21, I-35, I-39, I-40, I-169, I-174 and I-175 and RO-38 to proceed to Tarawa and attack the invasion ships.

26 November 1943:
Takagi orders RO-38, I-19, I-40 and I-169 to form a picket line N of Makin.

27 November 1943:
Sixth Fleet orders RO-38 to take up a specific position.

29 November 1943:
Sixth Fleet orders RO-38 to take up a new position.

3 December 1944:
RO-38 fails to answer a general order from Sixth Fleet to report.

2 January 1944:
Presumed missing with all 77 hands off the Gilberts. [1]

30 April 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] Author/historian Kimata Jiro suggests that RO-38 was sunk by the USS COTTEN (DD-669) on 24 Nov '44 W of Tarawa while screening the carriers of TG 53.6, but this remains unconfirmed by other sources.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan and to Matt Jones for additional CO info in Rev 2.

– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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