(Kaichu type submarine scanned from "Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy" by Polmar and Carpenter)

IJN Submarine RO-49:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2011 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 1

16 November 1942:
Tamano. Laid down Mitsui Zosensho as a 960-ton type K6 submarine.

3 August 1943:
Launched and designated RO-49.

1 April 1944:
LtCdr (later Cdr, posthumously) Fumon Shozo (63)(former CO of RO-67) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

19 May 1944:
Completed and registered in theMaizuru Naval District. LtCdr Fumon is the Commanding Officer. That same day, she is reassigned to SubDiv 33 for work-up.

25 May 1944:
LtCdr Fumon is relieved. A new CO is not immediately posted. Lt Yuchi Atsushi, the XO/Torpedo Officer is acting CO.

10 July 1944:
LtCdr Oba Saichi (62)(former XO/Torpedo Officer of I-32) is posted as RO-49's next CO.

5 August 1944:
Lt Sugamasa Tetsuaki (65)(former CO of RO-109) assumes command from LtCdr Oba.

15 August 1944:
RO-49 is reassigned to SubRon 11.

13 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO" - The Defense of the Philippines:
Tokyo. Admiral Toyoda Soemu, (33) CINC, Combined Fleet, orders the SHO-I-GO plan activated.

20 October 1944: American Operation "KING TWO" - The Invasion of Leyte, Philippines:
Admiral (later Fleet Admiral) William F. Halsey's (USNA 04) Third Fleet of 738 ships including 18 aircraft carriers, six battleships, 17 cruisers, 64 destroyers and over 600 support ships land the Army's X Corps (24th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions) and the XXIV Corps (7th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions) that begin the campaign to retake Leyte.

23 October 1944: Operation "TA" - The Reinforcement of Leyte:
Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (38)(former CO of KIRISHIMA), CINC, Southwest Area Fleet, commences Operation TA to provide reinforcements, supplies and munitions to the IJA's forces engaging the American invasion forces on Leyte. Between this day and 11 December 1944, nine major convoys attempt the 600-mile passage from Manila to Ormoc Bay, Leyte.

10 November 1944:
RO-49 is reassigned to SubDiv 34 in Vice Admiral Miwa Shigeyoshi's (39)(former CO of CL KINU) Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

16 November 1944:
Departs Kure on her first war patrol. Her assigned area is E of Luzon.

28 November 1944
RO-49 damages her hydrophone heads in rough seas and the patrol is terminated.

7 December 1944:
Returns to Kure.

1 January 1945:
RO-49 is in SubDiv 34, Sixth Fleet. Departs Kure on her second war patrol to operate E of the Philippines.

4 January 1945:
RO-49 is redirected to the western coast of Luzon, Philippines.

9 January 1945: American Operation "MIKE ONE" - The Invasion of Luzon:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's (USNA 08) Task Force 77 lands almost 175,000 men of LtGen (later Gen) Walter Krueger's Sixth Army at Lingayen Gulf under the cover of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Jesse B. Oldendorf's (USNA 09) TG 77.2 bombardment force and aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Calvin T. Durgin's (USNA 16) TG 77.4. In a five-month campaign, the Sixth Army defeats General Yamashita Tomoyuki's 14th Army Group's defenders.

12 January 1945:
55 miles WNW of Iba, Luzon, Philippines. LtCdr Sugamasa attacks units of Task Force 77. He reports sinking an "IDAHO-class" battleship, but his report is not substantiated postwar. Sugamasa also sends a sighting report about two carriers and three battleships under heavy escort.

1 February 1945:
Returns to Kure.

21 January 1945:
LtCdr Sugamasa receives an order to return to base.

5 February 1945:
LtCdr Sugamasa is relieved by Lt Go Yasuo (66).

16 March 1945:
Transfers to Saeki.

18 March 1945:
Departs Saeki on her third war patrol to operate SE of the Nansei Shoto (Ryukyus). She is accompanied by I-8, RO-41 and RO-56.[1]

25 March 1945:
LtCdr Go sends a situation report. It is the last signal received from RO-49.

26 March 1945: American Operation "ICEBERG" - The Invasion of Okinawa:
The 77th Infantry Division lands on the Kerama Retto, Ryukyus and captures its anchorage.

That same day, a submarine -possibly RO-49 - attacks Task Group 54. 3. At 0932, lookouts aboard USS WICHITA (CA-45) spot a periscope to starboard. WICHITA makes an emergency turn to starboard and evades a torpedo. USS ST LOUIS (CA-49) also reports sighting torpedo tracks. Neither cruiser is damaged. The submarine evades and escapes counter-attack. [2]

1 April 1945:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Raymond A. Spruance's (USNA 06) Fifth Fleet, including more than 40 aircraft carriers, 18 battleships, 200 destroyers and over 1,000 support ships surround Okinawa. LtGen Simon B. Buckner Jr's Tenth Army (7th, 77th, 96th Infantry and 1st, 6th Marine divisions) makes amphibious landings and takes the island from LtGen Ushijima Mitsuru's 32nd Army.

5 April 1945:
Off Kumejima, near Okinawa. LtCdr R. R. Pratt's USS HUDSON (DD-475) is on radar picket duty. She receives a signal of a submarine sighting from LCS-115. At 0345, she detects it with her SG radar. As Pratt approaches to investigate, HUDSON fires a starshell that forces the submarine to dive. The contact is lost.

HUDSON reacquires the contact on sonar and begins the first series of attacks that range over the next six hours. In all, she drops six barrages of depth charges that sink a submarine - possibly RO-49 - at 26-22N, 126-30E. [3]

15 April 1945:
Presumed lost with all 79 hands SE of Okinawa. Lt Go is posthumously promoted LtCdr.

25 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List:

Authors' Notes:
[1] Author/historian Kimata Jiro notes that about that time, USS GURNARD (SS-254) was attacked by an unidentified submarine that could have been RO-49.

[2] Author Jurgen Rohwer speculates that the attack was made by RO-49, but Japanese sources credit the Okinawa-based midget C (No. 60) of the 2nd Squadron, led by Lt Kawashima Gen and further indicate that it took place on 27 March.

[3] Some accounts claim RO-49 was sunk in the Bungo Suido on 24 February 1945 by USS LAGARTO (SS-371), but these accounts are clearly wrong since RO-49 was active and filing reports a month later. The submarine that LAGARTO sank was I-371 as in her TROM. Japanese sources suggest that RO-49 was already MIA on 5 April 1945 and that the submarine HUDSON sank was I-56.

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

Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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