IJN Submarine RO-39:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 3

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 Marshalls:
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. [1]

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 return.

30 April 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] 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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