IJN Submarine RO-60:
Tabular Record of Movement

2001-2017 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp
Revision 3

5 December 1921:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Yard as a 990-ton L4 type submarine.

22 December 1922:
Launched as Submarine No. 59.

10 March 1923:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Yokoyama Sugao (36)(former CO of RO-5) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

17 September 1923:
Completed and attached to Sasebo Naval District. LtCdr Yokoyama Sugao is the Commanding Officer.

15 October 1923:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 1 December; later Vice Admiral) Hiraoka Kumeichi (39)(former acting CO of RO-18) is appointed the acting CO of Submarine No. 59.

1 December 1923:
LtCdr Hiraoka Kumeichi is appointed the CO of Submarine No. 59.

9 February 1924:
Reassigned to SubDiv 26.

20 October 1924:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 1 December; Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi (40)(former acting CO of RO-59) is appointed the CO.

1 November 1924:
Submarine No. 59 is renumbered RO-60.

21 July 1925:
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Miwa Shigeyoshi (39)(former CO of RO-26) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1925:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Ohashi Tatsuo (40)(former CO of RO-4) is appointed the CO.

25 August 1926:
LtCdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kanemasu Yoshio (40)(former CO of RO-20) is appointed the CO.

10 February 1928:
Placed in 3rd reserve at Sasebo. Lt (later Rear Admiral) Imaizumi Yoshijiro (44)(current CO of RO-62) is appointed the CO of RO-60 as an additional duty.

16 May 1928:
Lt Imaizumi is appointed the CO of RO-61 as an additional duty.

20 September 1928:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Tsuruoka Nobumichi (43)(former CO of RO-21) is appointed the CO.

5 September 1929:
Lt (promoted LtCdr 30 November; later Captain) Takezaki Kaoru (45)(former CO of RO-17) is appointed the CO.

15 November-1 December 1930:
LtCdr Takezaki is appointed the CO of RO-61 as an additional duty.

1 December 1931:
LtCdr (later Captain) Uemura Teizo (47)(former SubRon 1 staff officer) is appointed the CO.

26 March 1932:
LtCdr (later Captain) Shimazui Takemi (47)(the current CO of RO-61 and RO-62) is appointed the CO of RO-60 as an additional duty.

18 April 1932:
Lt (later Captain) Tsutsumi Shigeharu (49)(former torpedo officer of I-59) is appointed the CO.

1 September 1933:
LtCdr (later Captain) Ono Ryojiro (48)(former CO of KAMIKAZE) is appointed the CO.

1 June 1934:
Placed in 2nd reserve at Sasebo. LtCdr (later Captain) Shichiji Tsuneo (49)(former CO of KIKU) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1934:
LtCdr Shichiji is appointed the CO of RO-61 and RO-62 as an additional duty.

15 December 1934:
Lt (later Captain) Tonozuka Kinzo (50)(former CO of RO-56) is appointed the CO of RO-60, RO-61 and RO-62 as an additional duty.

15 November 1935:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Izu Juichi (51)(former navigating officer of I-60) is appointed the CO of RO-60, RO-61 and RO-62 as an additional duty.

15 February-1 December 1936:
Lt (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Togami Ichiro (51)(former torpedo officer of I-60) is appointed the CO of RO-60, RO-61 and RO-62 as an additional duty.

15 December 1938:
LtCdr (Captain, posthumously) Harada Hakue (52)(former torpedo officer of I-7) is appointed the CO of RO-60 and RO-61 as an additional duty.

27 July-1 September 1939:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Taoka Kiyoshi (55)(former CO of I-66) is appointed the CO of RO-60 and RO-61 as an additional duty.

15 October 1940:
LtCdr (later Captain) Uno Otoji (52)(former CO of RO-57) is appointed the CO. [1]

15 July 1941:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Fujimori Yasuo (56)(former torpedo officer of I-19) is appointed the CO.

2 December 1941:
The coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" is received from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), is then the highest point in the Japanese Empire.

6 December 1941:
Kwajalein. RO-60 is in Cdr Matsuo Yoshiyasu's (47) SubDiv 26 of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Onishi Shinzo's (42)(former CO of NAGATO) SubRon 7, Fourth Fleet with RO-61 and RO-62. LtCdr Fujimori Yasuo is the CO.

8 December 1941: The First Attack on Wake Island:
Kwajalein. SubDiv 26 is on 'standby alert' at the outbreak of hostilities.

Wake Island is assaulted by Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39)(former CO of KISO) Occupation Group: DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, eight destroyers, two transports and the RO-65, RO-66 and RO-67. The United States Marines beat back the first assault with their 5-inch shore batteries. Kajioka loses LtCdr Takatsuka Minoru's (56) destroyer HAYATE to the shore batteries and LtCdr Ogawa Yoichiro's (57) destroyer KISARAGI to Marine Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats".

12 December 1941:
CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU are detached from Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36)(former CO of YAMASHIRO) Striking Force returning from Pearl Harbor to reinforce Kajioka, as is Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39)(former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and two destroyers. Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (38)(former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO, FURUTAKA, seaplane tender CHIYODA and two other destroyers also reinforce Kajioka. Rear Admiral Abe, now senior officer present, has overall command.

SubDiv 26's RO-60, RO-61 and RO-62 are assigned to the reinforced Wake Occupation Group and sortie from Kwajalein.

21 December 1941:
25 miles SW of Wake. About 1600 (local), RO-60 is spotted on the surface by a USMC "Wildcat" fighter piloted by 2Lt David D. Kliewer of VMF-211. Kliewer strafes the sub and drops two 100-lb bombs that damage RO-60's periscopes and puncture several diving tanks. RO-60 crash-dives to escape the attack. That night, following an inspection of the hull, LtCdr Fujimori decides RO-60 can no longer safely dive. [2]

23 December 1941: The Second Attack on Wake Island:
After a magnificent stand, Wake's garrison is overwhelmed and its few defenders surrender. Thereafter, RO-60 and RO-62 are ordered to depart their patrol area for Kwajalein.

29 December 1941:
RO-60 returns to Kwajalein. About 0200, she loses her position in bad weather and runs hard aground on a reef N of the atoll at 09-00N, 167-30E, splitting her starboard diving tanks and damaging her pressure hull.

About 1300, ComSubRon 7, Rear Admiral Onishi arrives with his flagship, submarine tender JINGEI, to personally supervise the rescue operation. In heavy surf, RO-60 receives new damage, her list increases and she has to be abandoned. Secret documents are destroyed and all of her 66 crewmen are taken aboard the JINGEI. [3]

15 January 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Uno Otoji later changed his name to Nakamura Otoji.

[2] Sources vary as to the date of Kliewer's attack on RO-60. Some sources say 12 Dec 1941, but Japanese sources place it at 21 December. The later date makes sense since it is improbable that she could stay surfaced off Wake for 11 days!

[3] RO-60's hulk is strafed at some unknown time during the war. Its torpedoes explode and blow the submarine apart. Later, divers find RO-60's forward section laying 200 yards ahead of the stern. The conning tower lays 150 yards from the forward section and the deck gun 560 yards beyond. The aft section lays against the reef. Wood deck planking is partially intact and wreckage is strewn all over the reef.

(Wreck of RO-60 in 2004 - Courtesy of Greg Howson via Matt Jones)

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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