FUSETSUKAN!


(SHIRATAKA prewar)

IJN Minelayer SHIRATAKA:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 12


24 November 1928:
Tokyo. Laid down at the Ishikawajima Shipyard.

15 January 1929:
Cdr (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Sonoda Shigeru (37) (former XO of NACHI) is posted as the Chief Equipping Officer.

25 January 1929:
Launched and named SHIRATAKA.

9 April 1929:
Completed as the world's first anti-submarine netlayer/minelayer. SHIRATAKA (unlike any other IJN warship) carries not one, but two two chrysanthemum crests due to her unusual bow configuration. As built, she carries three 4.7-inch (120-mm)/45 main guns. Registered in the Kure Naval District. Cdr Sonoda is the Commanding Officer.

5 November 1929:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Motoizumi Takeshi (37) (former XO of TOKIWA) assumes command. Cdr Sonoda is reassigned as an instructor at the Torpedo School.

1 December 1931:
Cdr Yamamura Minoru (37) assumes command. Cdr Motoizumi is promoted Captain and is later assigned as CO of transport NACHISAN MARU.

1 December 1932:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Kaneko Toyokichi (38) (former ComDesDiv 25) assumes command.

15 November 1933:
Captain Hozumi Tatsuo (38)(former CEO/CO of YAEYAMA) assumes command. Cdr Kaneko is promoted Captain and assumes command of minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA.

22 October 1934:
Cdr Ikeda Shichiro (38)(former XO of ISE) is appointed the CO.

1935:
Kure Navy Yard. Reconstructed. 250-tons of permanent ballast are added and the bridge is lowered. The mainmast and funnel are also lowered.

15 November 1935:
Cdr Inagaki Yoshiaki (40)(former CO of USHIO) assumes command.

16 November 1936:
Cdr Itagaki Yukikazu assumes command.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The First "China") Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

11 July 1937:
The IJA and IJN agree to operational jurisdictions in the event of a full-scale war with China. The IJA takes responsibility for northern China and the IJN assumes assumes responsibility for central and southern China.

28 July 1937:
Cdr Inada Yoshiaki assumes command.

August 1937:
Shanghai. SHIRATAKA takes up station in Chinese waters.

29 July 1938:
Departs Kure to support the capture of Hankow.

26 December 1938:
Returns to Kure.

15 December 1938:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kanemasu Yoshio (40)(former CO of AMAGIRI) assumes command but does not join vessel immediately. Captain Takama is reassigned as CO of NAKA.

15 November 1939:
Captain Imamura Yukihiko (42) (former CO of the survey ship HAKUSA) assumes command.

1 November 1940:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Morikawa Matao (44) assumes command.

November 1940:
Ominato. Completes reconstruction as an escort vessel. Her 120-mm/45 guns are replaced by two 120-mm/45 single-purpose guns. 36 depth charges are added near her aft main guns. She can carry a total of 100 mines as an alternative. The bridge is lowered by one deck and the funnel is lowered about one meter to compensate for the added top weight. Her displacement is increased by about 250-tons. [1]

10 September 1941:
Cdr (later Captain) Hamano Motokazu (former XO of YURA) assumes command. Cdr Morikawa is reassigned as CO of ITSUKUSHIMA.

1 December 1941:
Takao, Formosa. SHIRATAKA is assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (38) (former CO of KAGA) 1st Base Force with minelayer AOTAKA, Gunboat Division 1 and Minesweeper Division 21.

2 December 1941:
SHIRATAKA receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

6 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Northern Philippines:
Vice Admiral Takahashi's forces land troops at Appari, Lingayen Gulf, and other points. SHIRATAKA remains in Rear Admiral Kubo's 1st Base Force

17 December 1941:
At 0700 SHIRATAKA departs Palau.

20 December 1941:
At 0400 arrives at Davao.

21 December 1941: At 0700 departs Davao. Later that day at 1840 arrives at Malalag Bay.

29 December 1941:
At 0740 departs on patrol.

E 31 December 1941:
Proceeds to Malalag Bay arriving at an unknown date and time.

10 January 1942:
At 0800 departs Malalag Bay.

12 January 1942:
At 0730 arrives at Davao.

13 January 1942:
At 1400 departs Davao. At 1700 meets up with HAKUSAN MARU that has just departed Davao.

16 January 1942:
At 1100 HAKUSAN MARU and SHIRATAKA arrive at Banka anchorage.

21 January 1942:
At 1150 SHIRATAKA and HAKUSAN MARU depart Banka anchorage.

24 January 1942:
At 0325 arrives off Kendari.

9 February 1942:
At 1200 arrives at Camranh Bay.

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
SHIRATAKA is attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) (former CO of AOBA) 2nd Base Force with the 1st Minesweeper Division's W-1, W-2, W-3, W-4 and W-5 in Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force.

At 1400 Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s (37) Western Java Seizure Force of Takahashi's NEI Force departs Camranh Bay, Indochina in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Bantam Bay and Merak, Java escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22. Seven transports go to Eretan Wetan and 15 go on to Merak, Java. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

27 February 1942: The Battle of the Sunda Strait:
SHIRATAKA and 32 of the Seizure Force's transports line the western shore of Bantam Bay. Also nearby are seaplane carrier CHITOSE and seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU. CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA provide distant cover.

At about 2215, Captain (later KIA, MOH posthumously) Albert H. Rooks (USNA ’14) USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and Australian Captain Hector M. L. Waller’s light cruiser HMAS PERTH, attempting to retire to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), accidentally encounter and then attack the troop transports screened only by DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE, HATAKAZE and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports. FUBUKI charges and launches nine torpedoes.

At 2300, the Third Escort Force's light cruiser NATORI and her destroyers arrive with heavy cruisers MOGAMI and MIKUMA and destroyer SHIKINAMI. At 2327, in the Sunda Strait, MOGAMI fires six “Long Lance” torpedoes at HOUSTON, but they all miss and pass into Bantam Bay. At 2335, five explosions erupt. IJA transports SAKURA (MARU one crewman KIA) and HORAI MARU (18 crewmen and 38 troops KIA), landing craft depot ship SHINSHU (a.k.a. RYUJO) MARU (carrying LtGen (later Gen) Imamura Hitoshi, Commander-in-Chief of the IJA 16th Army. Imamura jumps into the sea, but survives) and minesweeper W-2 are hit by the long lances and sink in shallow water. IJA transport TATSUNO MARU is also hit and beached to prevent her sinking.

1 March 1942:
During the engagement, the Japanese launch about 90 torpedoes. At 0025, IJN destroyers sink HMAS PERTH. At 0045, after being hit by torpedoes and gunfire, USS HOUSTON also sinks.

10 March 1942:
SHIRATAKA is reassigned to the 21st Base Force of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) (former CO of KONGO) Second Fleet and based at Surabaya, Java.

3 April 1942:
At 0900 departs Surabaya. Later that day at 1338 arrives at nearby Jamuang (Djamoeng) anchorage.

8 April 1942:
At 0728 departs Jamuang anchorage. At 1100 arrives at Surabaya port.

11 April 1942:
At 1827 departs Surabaya. At 1225 arrives at nearby Jamuang (Djamoeng) anchorage.

13 April 1942:
At 1026 departs Jamuang anchorage. At 1122 arrives Piring South anchorage.

14 April 1942:
At 0825 departs Piring South anchorage but returns soon after.

15 April 1942:
At 0855 departs Piring South anchorage and at 1100 arrives in Surabaya.

19 April 1942:
At 1418 departs Surabaya and at 1518 arrives at Piring South anchorage.

21 April 1942:
At 0849 departs Piring South anchorage and at 1003 arrives at Surabaya.

15 May 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Wada Sumihisa (45) (former XO of Omura NAG) assumes command.

1 August 1942:
Rabaul. SHIRATAKA is reassigned to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (38) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Eighth Fleet.

6 November 1942:
At 1400, departs Rabaul in an unnumbered convoy consisting of ARIZONA, TOYO, NAGARA, YAMAZUKI, TEIYO, YUROI, TOYOKUNI, OIGAWA, and SHORTLAND MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA, torpedo boat HIYODORI and subchaser CH-16.

8 November 1942:
At 1020, the convoy arrives at the Shortland Islands, Bougainville.

29 December 1942:
Rabaul. SHIRATAKA is reassigned to the 2nd Base Force, Eighth Fleet. The 2nd Base Force, like each theater fleet, naval and guard district and some other base forces, is responsible for commerce escort protection in a specified local area.

18 February 1943:
Departs Wewak, New Guinea for Rabaul with DesDiv 8’s ARASHIO and OSHIO.

20 February 1943:
NW of Manus Island, Bismarck Archipelago. LCdr Richard C. Lake’s (USNA ’29) USS ALBACORE (SS-218) attacks the SHIRATAKA group. Lake fires five torpedoes in two spreads at a destroyer and SHIRATAKA. One hits OSHIO aft of her No. 2 stack. She goes dead in the water. ARASHIO attempts to tow, but OSHIO sinks at 00-50S, 146-06E taking down eight of her crew. SHIRATAKA detaches and returns to Wewak. ARASHIO rescues OSHIO's survivors and lands them at Rabaul.

19 March 1943:
At 0600 arrives at Saipan from Rabaul.

21 March 1943:
At 1645 due to depart Saipan for Kure.

13 April 1943:
Captain Miki Takahide (46) (former instructor of ASW school) assumes command.

5 July 1943:
At 1300, troop convoy Wewak No. 6 departs Palau. The convoy consists of BENGAL, MAYA, TOHO MARUs, YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by SHIRATAKA and destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE.

10 July 1943:
Arrives at Wewak. At 2300, the convoy departs except for MAYA and TOHO MARUs and AMATSUKAZE. Later, they catch up with the convoy. At 2250, TOHO MARU experiences engine difficulty and drops behind. URAKAZE takes her under tow.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1620. URAKAZE and TOHO MARU arrive the next day.

20 July 1943:
At 0800, convoy Hansa No. 5 departs Palau consisting of ADEN, YUBAE, HANKOW, DENMARK, NAGANO MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 escorted by SHIRATAKA and subchaser CH-34.

25 July 1943:
Arrives at Hansa Bay, New Guinea at 0125. At 1750, SHIRATAKA departs with three of the ships.

27 July 1943:
The remaining three ships and subchaser CH-34 join up with others.

31 July 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1151.

2 August 1943:
At 1300, convoy Hansa No. 6 departs Palau. The convoy consists of SHINSEI MARU No. 1, BENGAL, TAIFUKU and MAYA MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 escorted by SHIRATAKA and CH-34.

8 August 1943:
Arrives at Hansa Bay at 0800.

9 August 1943:
SHIRATAKA and three marus depart at 1300.

12 August 1943:
At 0625, the other two marus and CH-34 rejoin the convoy.

14 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1400. Remains at Palau through most of September.

24 September 1943:
Departs Palau with convoy Wewak No. 10 consisting of the MAYA, BENGAL and YAMAGATA MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA and CH-34.

27 September 1943:
SHIRATAKA and CH-34 intercept convoy Wewak No. 9 convoy that is returning to Palau. Convoy Wewak No. 9 consists of the ADEN and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by Subchasers CH-26 and CH-32. SHIRATAKA and CH-34 escort convoy Wewak No. 9 back to Palau. Subchasers CH-26 and CH-32 take over the escort of Wewak No. 10 convoy.

29 September 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 October 1943:
SHIRATAKA departs Palau escorting Wewak Hollandia Tandoku Yuso No.1 convoy consisting of JUICHISEI MARU (commonly listed as HOSHI MARU No. 11) and KAYO MARU.

16 October 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia, probably with KAYO MARU and departs immediately on an anti submarine sweep.

19 October 1943:
Arrives back at Palau.

21 October 1943:
Departs Palau with submarine chaser CH-32 escorting Wewak Hollandia Tandoku Yuso No. 2 convoy consisting of two unidentified merchant ships.

E 22 October 1943:
Detaches from trhe convoy.

23 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

1 November 1943:
Departs Palau with convoy Hollandia No. 2 consisting of ASO, RYUWA, FUKOKU and KIZUGAWA MARUs with SHINSEI MARU No. 5 escorted by SHIRATAKA and subchasers CH-26 and CH-35.

E 3 November 1943:
SHIRATAKA detaches from convoy and returns alone to Palau.

15 November 1943:
SHIRATAKA is reassigned to Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Endo Yoshikazu's (38) (former CO of KINU) Ninth Fleet.

24 November 1943:
Departs Palau with Wewak No. 14 convoy consisting of KANKYO, KANTO, FUKKAI, UMEKAWA and HOZAN MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA and CH-35.

27 November 1943:
KANKYO MARU is detached from the convoy for Hollandia.

29 November 1943:
Arrives at Wewak.

30 November 1943:
Departs Wewak.

4 December 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

17 December 1943:
Departs Palau with "Wewak No. 15" convoy consisting of KAYO, SAMARANG, UMEGAWA and YAMAGIKU MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA and subchaser CH-32 and auxiliary subchaser CH-3.

21 December 1943:
Arrives at Wewak.

22 December 1943:
Departs Wewak with convoy Wewak No. 15 and narrowly avoids a large air raid that takes place shortly after the ships sail.

25 December 1943:
SHIRATAKA intercepts convoy Wewak No. 16 consisting of ASO, SHOHO, CHINZEI and KURAMASAN MARUs. KURAMASAN MARU is detached from convoy Wewak No. 16. SHIRATAKA detaches from convoy Wewak No. 15 convoy and escorts KURAMASAN MARU towards Hollandia.

27 December 1943:
Arrives at Hollandia.

29 December 1943:
Departs Hollandia with KURAMASAN MARU.

2 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

13 January 1944:
"On that day, FRUMEL decrypts the following information from the Southeast Force: SHIRATAKA is to take the Takasago unit of 360 men from Palao to Wewak with all despatch."

23 January 1944:
At 0730, departs Palau in convoy Wewak No. 18 consisting of KAYO, KOFUKU and MEXICO MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA, destroyer SHIRANUHI and auxiliary subchaser CHa-3. SHIRATAKA carries the Yoshitoshi Takasago Unit, an Army group.

28 January 1944:
Arrives at Wewak. Immediately prior to arrival, SHIRATAKA detaches and steams to nearby Kairiru Island to unload the troops. At Kairiru Island, she embarks 700 sick and wounded soldiers and 1100 empty drums.

29 January 1944:
The convoy departs Wewak. SHIRATAKA follows shortly thereafter catching up with the convoy and SHIRANUHI and CHa-3 that had diverted to Hollandia.[2]

3 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

5 April 1944:
SHIRATAKA is reassigned to the First Escort Unit of Admiral Oikawa Koshiro's (31) (former CO of TAMA) Grand Escort Fleet.

21 April 1944:
Flagship SHIRATAKA carrying Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi (39)(former CO of KISO), CO of the newly formed 6th Escort Convoy Command, departs Tungchiaoshan (Tangjiqiozshan) near Shanghai. SHIRATAKA is escorting the Take (Bamboo) No. 1 slow-speed troop convoy. The convoy is carrying the IJA's 32nd and 35th divisions (about 30,000 troops) to reinforce Biak and Hollandia, New Guinea.

The convoy consists of 15 Army transports including ADEN, TAJIMA, YOZAN and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 destined for Manokwari, New Guinea carrying the 35th Division's troops. Seven ships are destined for Manila only. They are MANSHU, FUKUYO, TEIKAI (ex German FULDA), KANAN, TEIKA (ex French CAP VARELLA) MARUs, UNKAI MARU No. 12 and an unknown maru. The KAZUURA, MITSUKI, BRAZIL and TENSHINZAN (AMATSUSAN) MARUs are bound only for Mindanao, Philippines carrying the 32nd Division.

The escorts include SHIRATAKA, destroyers ASAKAZE, SHIRATSUYU and FUJINAMI, frigates KURAHASI, kaibokans CD-20 and CD-22, minesweeper W-2, subchasers CH-37 and CH-38 with gunboats UJI, ATAKA and TAMA MARU No. 7.

26 April 1944:
Off NW Luzon, Philippines. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Thomas M. Dykers’ (USNA ’27) USS JACK (SS-259) intercepts the convoy. Dykers makes three separate attacks and fires 18 torpedoes at the convoy. At about 0600, from two to four torpedoes hit YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 portside. She breaks in two and sinks quickly taking down taking down 61 crewmen, two passengers and 2586 of 3400 soldiers of the IJA's 210th Infantry Regiment including its commander.

Tokyo. Prime Minister and Army General Tojo Hideki learns of the losses inflicted upon convoy Take No. 1. Fearing further attacks by American skip-bombers, like those suffered earlier in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, Tojo orders the convoy diverted from Manokwari, New Guinea to Halmahera, Moluccas.

28 April 1944:
Convoy Take No. 1 puts into Manila. FUJINAMI and the Manila bound ships are detached except for TEIKAI MARU (ex German FULDA) that takes the place of the sunken YOSHIDA MARU No. 1.

1 May 1944:
The convoy departs Manila. It now consists of eight transports escorted by SHIRATAKA, destroyers ASAKAZE and SHIRATSUYU, and subchasers CH-37 and CH-38. As ordered, the 32nd and 35th Divisions' ships proceed southward towards Halmahera.

6 May 1944:
N Celebes Sea. About 0800, lookouts aboard LtCdr Charles H. Andrews’ (USNA ’30) USS GURNARD (SS-254) spot SHIRATAKA's coal-burning smoke at 19 miles. By 1300, Andrews completes an "end-around" and gains an attack position on convoy Take No. 1. He sets up carefully and fires two three-torpedo salvos at the transports. TAJIMA and ADEN MARUs are hit and sink quickly. TAJIMA MARU takes down 58 of 2701 troops, three crewmen and nine gunners. ADEN MARU takes down 499 troops, 12 crewmen and four gunners.

The escorts launch a heavy counterattack against USS GURNARD. Andrews evades 98 depth charges, after which the escorts break off their attack. USS GURNARD surfaces and finds one of the transports burning, but still afloat. About midnight, USS GURNARD shells the transport with her four-inch deck gun, but she still does not sink. Andrews then fires another torpedo that finally sinks TENSHINZAN MARU. 95 out of 212 soldiers on board are killed.

9 May 1944:
The remnants of convoy Take No. 1 arrive at Wasile Bay, Halmahera, Moluccas.

13 May 1944:
At 0355, the convoy's survivors, consisting of TEIKAI (ex German FULDA), MITSUKI, KAZUURA, BRAZIL MARUs, newly joined ATLAS MARU (and possibly YOZAN MARU) escorted by SHIRATAKA, auxiliary netlayer KOREI MARU, subchaser CH-38 and patrol boat PB-104, depart Wasile Bay.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Lembeh anchorage, Celebes.

20 May 1944:
The convoy arrives back at Manila at 2105.

28 May 1944:
SHIRATAKA departs Manila for Yulin with kaibokan HIRADO, and auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU escorting convoy MAYU-02 consisting of ATLAS MARU and five merchant ships.

1 June 1944:
Arrives at Yulin.

3 June 1944:
SHIRATAKA departs Yulin with kaibokan HIRADO, auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU and three unidentified warships escorting convoy TE-06A consisting of ATLAS, TATSUURA, TOYOOKA, MANKO, YAMADORI MARUs and five unidentified merchant ships.

13 June 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

20 June 1944:
At 1930, SHIRATAKA departs Moji for Singapore escorting convoy HI-67 consisting of transports MANJU, NANKAI, KINUGASA, ASAKA, ASAHISAN, GOKOKU and HAKOZAKI MARUs and oilers MIRI, OTORISAN, NICHINAN No. 2, SARAWAK and SHINEI MARUs. The convoy is also escorted by subchaser CH-61, destroyers ASAGAO and KURETAKE, kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-2, CD-5 and CD-13.

29 June 1944:
At about 1500, LtCdr (later Captain) Anton W. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) torpedoes and damages SARAWAK and MIRI MARUs. Both tankers are hit in the bow, but each manages to proceed to Manila.

E 2 July 1944:*
The main convoy arrives at Manila.

3 July 1944:
At 0600, HI-67 departs Manila, less SARAWAK and MIRI MARUs.

9 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore at 1640.

14 July 1944:
At 0730, SHIRATAKA departs Singapore for Moji via Manila escorting convoy HI-68. The convoy initially consists of transports KIYOKAWA and MANILA MARUs and oilers TOA, SHIMPO, NICHINAN No. 2, TOHO and OTORISAN MARUs escorted by SHIRATAKA and kaibokan KURAHASHI, HIRADO and CD-13, CD-20 and CD-28.

20 July 1944:
At 1300, HI-68 arrives at Manila. Later that day, KURAHASHI is detached to aid light cruiser OI torpedoed the previous day by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249).

24 July 1944:
At 0600, HI-68 departs Manila for Moji. The convoy has been expanded to 14 ships to include some ships previously in the Manila leg of convoys HI-69 and MOMA-01. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of Army landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and escort carrier TAIYO in column No. 1; Army landing craft depot ship TAKATSU (KOZU) MARU and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column No. 2 and KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers TOA, TOHO, SHIMPO and ITSUKUSHIMA MARU in column No. 3.

The escorts include escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11 and CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI. The ships steam at 11.5 knots, the average speed for HI series convoys.

A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) attacks the convoy.

25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by USS CREVALLE. That same day, SHIRATAKA is detached from convoy HI-68 and departs Takao escorting convoy TAMO-21A consisting of KAGU MARU and an unidentified merchant ship.

28 July 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

1 August 1944:
At 1100, SHIRATAKA departs Moji with destroyer HIBIKI, minesweeper W-20 and auxiliary minesweeper Wa-2 escorting convoy MO-05 consisting of KAZUURA, TATSUJU, YAMAHAGI, TSUSHIMA, GYOKU, ETAJIMA and HIROTA MARUs.

5 August 1944:
The convoy arrives at Okinawa.

19 August 1944:
At 0600, SHIRATAKA departs Moji with destroyers WAKABA, HIBIKI (and probably HATSUHARU) and minesweeper W-21 escorting convoy MI-15 consisting of URATO, RIKKO, CHIYODA, EKKAI, TAISHO, HOKUSEN, TSINGTAO, TOSHIGAWA and NANSEI MARUs and OKINOYAMA MARU No. 5.

25 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao at 1600.

30 August 1944:
At 1500, departs Takao for Manila. The convoy is reorganized. It now consists of RIKKO, TAISHO, OKUNI (TAIKOKU), EIKYU, SHINYO, NANSEI, HOSEN and CHIYODA MARUs with UNKAI MARU No. 5, OKINOYAMA MARU No. 5 and KYOEI MARU No. 10 escorted by SHIRATAKA, minesweeper W-21, and kaibokan CD-10 and CD-20.

31 August 1944:
Luzon Strait, S of Formosa. At about 0220, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's (USNA ‘33) USS QUEENFISH (SS-393) hits CHIYODA MARU with four torpedoes and sets her afire. At 0240, as the moon sets, CHIYODA MARU sinks. She was carrying 430 passengers, coal briquettes and drummed gasoline. 382 passengers and 15 of the crew are KIA. Loughlin also damages oiler RIKKO MARU steaming in ballast.

LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Eli T. Reich's (USNA ‘35) USS SEALION (SS-315), a member of "Ben's Busters" with GROWLER (SS-215) and USS PAMPANITO, enters the Bashi Strait. USS SEALION’s SJ radar picks up the convoy and Reich makes a night surface approach. He sets up and fires six torpedoes, but they all run erratically. About 0500, Reich swings USS SEALION and fires his four stern torpedoes at a large tanker. He claims two hits.

Alerted by code-breaker's "Ultra" signals, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's (USNA ‘35) USS BARB (SS-220) intercepts the convoy. At about 0700, Fluckey torpedoes OKUNI MARU. She sinks stern first. Three men are KIA. Fluckey also sinks the 45th Minesweeper Squadron's HINODE MARU No. 20 that was patrolling in the area. Two crewmen are KIA.

USS SEALION evades the convoy's escorts. Still surfaced, LtCdr Reich makes an “end-around” approach and works his way ahead of the convoy. At 0715 (JST), SHIRATAKA's lookouts spot a submarine on the surface at at 21-05N, 121-26E. Reich misidentifies SHIRATAKA as a destroyer. He then begins a submerged approach. At 0730, Reich hits SHIRATAKA with two of three torpedoes he fires.

At 1115, SHIRATAKA sinks at 20-55N, 121-07E. Captain Miki Takahide is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

Japanese planes begin circling the area and surface escorts search for the submarine. Reich takes USS SEALION deep and later makes port at Saipan to replenish torpedoes and fuel.

10 October 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
*E = estimated date.

[1] Sometime during the war, SHIRATAKA's 120-mm guns were landed and new 3-inch (76-mm)/40 3rd Year Type main guns and 25-mm Type 96 AA were fitted. She also received a radar (probably Type 22), sonar and more depth charges.

[2] The use of warships as cargo carriers was indicative of the shortage of suitable ships and the backlog of cargo beginning to be felt across the Empire.

Thanks for assistance go to Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, Gilbert Casse of France, John Whitman of USA and Allan Alsleben of Oregon. Special thanks go to Hans Mcilveen of the Netherlands for info on FRUMEL intercepts.

--Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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