(RO-63 - Scanned from "Submarines of World War II" by E. Bagnasco)

IJN Submarine RO-60:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2012 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp:
Revision 2

5 December 1921:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Yard as a medium (2nd Class) 990-ton L4 type submarine.

22 December 1922:
Launched as SS-59 (Submarine No. 59).

10 March 1923:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Yokoyama Sugao (36) (former CO of SS-33) is posted Chief Equipping Officer. 17 September 1923:
Completed and attached to Sasebo Naval District. LtCdr Yokoyama Sugao is the Commanding Officer.

15 October 1923:
Lt (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoka Kumeichi (39) is posted Acting CO.

1 December 1923:
Lt Hiraoka is promoted LtCdr and posted CO.

9 February 1924:
Reassigned to SubDiv 26.

20 October 1924:
Lt (later Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi (40) is posted CO. LtCdr Hiraoka is later posted Chief Equipping Officer of RO-63.

1 November 1924:
SS-59 is redesignated RO-60.

1 December 1924:
Lt Yatsushiro is promoted LtCdr. 21 July 1925:
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Miwa Shigeyoshi (39) )(former CO of RO-26) is appointed CO.

1 December 1925:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Ohashi Tatsuo (40) is posted CO.

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

10 February 1928:
Placed in 3rd reserve at Sasebo. LtCdr Kanemasu is later posted CO of MUTSUKI.

5 September 1929: Lt (later Captain) Takezaki Kaoru (45) is posted CO.

1 December 1930:
Lt Takezaki is promoted LtCdr.

1 December 1931:
LtCdr Uemura Niwazo (47) is posted CO. LtCdr Takezaki is posted CO of I-24.

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

1 June 1934:
Placed in 2nd reserve at Sasebo. LtCdr Ono is posted CO of I-61.

15 October 1940:
LtCdr (later Captain) Nakamura Otoji (52) (former CO of I-53) is posted CO.

15 July 1941:
LtCdr (later Cdr) Fujimori Yasuo (56) is posted CO. LtCdr Nakamura is later posted CO of I-68.

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 RO-60's Commanding Officer.

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 (Cdr, posthumously) Takatsuka Minoru’s (56) destroyer HAYATE to the shore batteries and LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) 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 her hull, LtCdr Fujimori decides RO-60 can no longer safely dive. [1]

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.[2]

LtCdr Fujimori returns to Japan and is reassigned as the CO of the old minelayer submarine I-121.

15 January 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Sources vary as to the date of Kliewer's attack on RO-60. Some sources say 12 Dec '41, but Japanese sources place it at 21 Dec '41. The later date makes sense since it is improbable that she could stay surfaced off Wake for 11 days!

[2] 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 and to Matthew Jones for additional CO info.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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