IJN Submarine RO-39:
Tabular Record of
© 2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
8 August 1942:
Laid down at Sasebo Navy Yard as a 960-ton type K6 submarine.
6 March 1943:
Launched as RO-39.
1 August 1943:
LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Tachigami Rikuta (60)(former
CO of RO-68) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).
12 September 1943:
Sasebo Navy Yard. RO-39 is completed and attached
to Maizuru Naval District. LtCdr Tachigami is the Commanding Officer.
25 December 1943:
RO-39 is assigned to Captain (Rear Admiral,
posthumously) Shimizu Taro's (48) SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet.
28 December 1943:
Departs Maizuru for Truk.
6 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.
17 January 1944 Truk. HEIAN MARU transfers stores to RO-39.
20 January 1944:
RO-39, with ComSubDiv 34 Captain Shimizu embarked,
departs Truk to patrol in the Woleai area, Caroline Islands.
22 January 1944:
Ordered to rescue aircraft crews of 531st NAG
(Woleai) and 755th NAG (Maloelap).
30 January 1944:
RO-39 is ordered to proceed to an area 200 miles
NE of Wotje, Marshall Islands and attack an American invasion fleet.
31 January 1944: American Operation "FLINTLOCK" - The Invasion of the
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's (USNA '10) Task
Force 58 lands the 4th Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division that
capture the Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro atolls.
1 February 1944:
Off Wotje. That night, LCdr F. S Townsent's USS
WALKER (DD-517) picks up a surface contact on radar. WALKER closes and fires
star shells that illuminate a submarine. As he crash dives, LtCdr Tachigami gets
off an emergency signal to Sixth Fleet at Truk. WALKER tracks the submarine -
probably RO-39 - on sonar and then destroys her with a single depth charge
attack at 09-24N, 170-32E. 
5 March 1944:
Presumed lost E of Wotje with all 70 hands.
6 February 1944:
Takagi orders RO-39 to abort her mission and return.
10 February 1944:
RO-39 fails to acknowledge to the second order to
30 April 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.
 The distress signal was received on 2 Feb at 1038 (JST)
by Sixth Fleet, but was undecipherable.
Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.
– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.
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