KYUHEIKAN!

(IJN SOYA in 1940)


IJN SOYA:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2007-2014
Revision 11

Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


18 September 1936:
Koyagi Island, Nagasaki. Matsuo shipyard receives an order for construction of three ice-resistant freighters from the Soviet trade representation as payment for the purchase of the north Southern Manchuria Railway. [1]

31 October 1936:
Koyagi. Laid down at the newly renamed Kawaminami Shipyard.

16 February 1938:
Launched as the Soviet VOLOCHAEVETS, but because of increased tensions between Japan and the Soviet Union, the contract is later canceled midway into construction.

10 June 1938:
Completed as a civilian ice-breaking cargo freighter for the Tatsunan Kisen Co. and renamed CHIRYO MARU.

July 1939:
CHIRYO MARU is chartered by the Kuribayasi Steam Ship Co. and visits Otaru.

November 1939:
The IJN requisitions CHIRYO MARU from her owners.

20 February 1940:
Renamed SOYA and rated an auxiliary ammunition ship/survey vessel. Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Yamada Yuji (46) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

4 June 1940:
Tokyo. Ishikawajima shipyard. Completes remodeling construction as an ammunition ship. SOYA is also equipped to function as a survey ship. Fitted with an 80-mm gun in the bow and a Type 96 25mm AA gun in the stern. Cdr Yamada is the Commanding Officer.

15 September 1940:
Registered in the Yokosuka Naval District.

11 October 1940: Imperial Naval Review:
Yokohama. SOYA and 97 warships are spread across Tokyo Bay. Vice Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32)(former CO of AKAGI), Commander-in-Chief Combined Fleet, accompanies Emperor Hirohito (Showa) aboard battleship HIEI for the Emperor's annual review of the fleet. 527 aircraft also participate. HIEI, escorted by cruisers TAKAO, KAKO and FURUTAKA, then passes among the fleet's ships.

22 October 1940:
An unknown officer assumes command.

Fall 1940:
Engages in survey work along the Hokkaido coast and conducts weather investigations and surveys of Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands.

November 1940:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan, Marianas. Engages in survey work.

1 April 1941:
Southwest Pacific. Arrives at Ponape island, Karorin archipelago. Engages in survey work.

5 November 1941:
Arrives at Kojima, Japan.

11 August 1941:
Cdr (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kubota Toshio (46) assumes command.

8 December 1941:
Yokosuka. SOYA’s crew receives the news about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

29 December 1941:
Fully loaded with fuel and food, departs Yokosuka for Truk.

9 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

E 15 January 1942:
Departs Truk.

21 January 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Enters drydock for repair. Attached to the Fourth Fleet.

14 February 1942:
Undocked. Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

24 February 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

28 February 1942:
Departs Truk for Rabaul via Ponape.

2 March 1942:
Arrives at Ponape.

4 March 1942:
Departs Ponape.

8 March 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Engages in survey work.

18 March 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

19 March 1942:
Arrives at Duke of York Islands (between New Britain and New Ireland).

21 March 1942:
Departs Duke of York Islands. Later, arrives at Rabaul.

22 March 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

23 March 1942:
Stops at Massava Bay (just W of Ataliklikun Bay).

24 March 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.

28 March 1942: Operation “BO” – The occupation of Northern Solomons:
SOYA is in CO, 8th Special Base Force, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kanazawa Masao’s (39)(former CO of KIRISHIMA) Bougainville Invasion Force as flagship of No. 1 Unit with escorting destroyer MOCHIZUKI of 30th Destroyer Division. Departs Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
At dawn arrives at Shortland Anchorage. CruDiv 6's AOBA, FURUTAKA, KINUGASA and KAKO and CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA and four destroyers cover the invasion landings at Shortland. SOYA departs later in the day.

31 March 1942:
At dawn arrives at Kieta Harbor, Bougainville. CruDivs 6 and 18 and four destroyers cover the invasion landings. SOYA departs later in the day.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

7 April 1942:
SOYA is in North Western New Britain Mopping-up Force. Departs Rabaul and arrives at Talasea (E coast of Willaumez Peninsula, N central New Britain).

8 April 1942:
Departs Talasea.

11 April 1942:
Stops at Talasea.

12 April 1942:
Returns at Rabaul.

15 April 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

16 April 1942:
Arrives at Duke of York Islands.

24 April 1942:
Departs Duke of York Islands and arrives at Rabaul.

26 April 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

27 April 1942:
Arrives at Massawa Bay.

1 May 1942:
Departs Massava Bay and arrives at Rabaul.

8 May 1942: Operation “MO” – The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
Departs Rabaul to participates in the Port Moresby operation, but the Battle of the Coral Sea halts the Japanese thrust and they are forced to cancel Operation MO. Returns to Rabaul.

17 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

22 May 1942:
Stops at Truk.

25 May 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

28 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
SOYA is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35)(former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Force attached to Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Miyamoto Sadachika's (39)(former CO of YAEYAMA) 16th Minesweeper Unit consisting of auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 3, SHONAN MARUs No. 7 and No 8, subchasers CH-16, CH-17 and CH-18. Departs Saipan for Wake, enroute to Midway.

1 June 1942:
Arrives at Wake.

4 June 1942:
At 0843, a PBY "Catalina" flying boat discovers Captain Miyamoto's minesweeper group heading towards Midway.

9 June 1942:
Departs Wake.

12 June 1942:
Arrives at Ponape.

19 June 1942:
Departs Ponape.

21 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

24 June 1942:
Departs Truk.

27 June 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng. Engages in survey work.

3 August 1942:
Departs Kavieng.

4 August 1942:
Returns at Kavieng.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (USNA ’04)(former CO of USS ASTORIA, CA-34) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH-'14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (USNA ’06)(former CO of USS VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (USNA ’06) Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.

Rabaul. That same day, agressive Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (38)(former CO of KIRISHIMA), CINC of the newly created Eighth Fleet, dispatches SOYA and transport MEIYO MARU to Guadalcanal carrying 519 men of 5th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), 3rd and 5th Kure SNLFs and the 81st Guard Unit escorted by minelayer TSUGARU and two small escorts to repel the invasion.

8 August 1942:
After the Japanese learn more of the size of the American landing force, Admiral Mikawa recalls SOYA and her group to Rabaul.

9 August 1942:
14 miles W of Cape St. George, New Britain. Just after midnight, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA ‘32) old USS S-38 at 04-50S, 152-40E. Munson torpedoes and sinks MEIYO MARU taking down 342 troops and 31 crewmen, but SOYA and TSUGARU clear the area undamaged.

10 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

11 August 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng.

August 1942:
SOYA is recalled to Yokosuka.

15 August 1942:
Departs Kavieng.

18 August 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

19 August 1942:
Departs Truk.

29 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

14 September 1942:
Undergoes repairs at Uraga.

14 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Rabaul. Survey ship attached to the Eighth Fleet.

28 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

4 October 1942:
:
Departs Rabaul.

5 October 1942:
Arrives at Buin. Engages in surveys in the area.

18 January 1943:
Queen Carola Channel, off New Britain. At about 0500, LtCdr James D. Grant’s (USNA ‘31) USS GREENLING (SS-213) torpedoes SOYA at 02-04S, 150-37E, but some of the torpedoes are duds and the others prematurely explode causing no damage. SOYA’s crew hoists a dud Mark 14-3A torpedo up to her deck as a war trophy. [2]

26 April 1943:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Amaya Yoshishige (47) assumes command of both SOYA and the 4th survey unit.

3 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk in a convoy from Rabaul also consisting of SANTO MARU escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

24 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Enters dock for repairs. Survey and machine parts are replenished.

19 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

5 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

6 August 1943:
SOYA departs Truk in convoy No. 1064 also consisting of YAMAGIRI, ASAKAZE and HOKKAI MARUs.

10 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.Engages in survey in thet area.

27 September 1943:
At 0600, departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2272 consisting of OKITSU, TATSUURA, TAKUNAN MARUs and SOYA escorted by subchaser CH-30 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-12.

28 September 1943:
TAKUNAN MARU drops behind with engine problems, but after repairs later catches up.

29 September 1943:
TATSUURA MARU drops behind with engine problems, but after repairs later catches up. She is guarded by CHa-12.

2 October 1943:
At 1000, arrives at Truk.

1 November 1942:
Cdr Kubota is promoted Captain.

1 February 1944:
SOYA is attached directly to the Combined Fleet at Truk.

17-18 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Force 58’s five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on Japanese ships in the lagoon, airfields and shore installations. They sink 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels), destroy nearly 200 aircraft and damage severely about 100 more. TF 58’s aircraft damage SOYA, destroyers SHIGURE and MATSUKAZE, submarines I-10 and RO-37, target ship HAKACHI, repair ship AKASHI, seaplane tender AKITSUSHIMA and auxiliary submarine chaser CHa-20. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

18 February 1944:
While escaping, SOYA runs aground on a large coral head E of Dublon Island, Truk. Stranded, she is exposed to strafing and bombing attacks, but suffers minor damage. Still, 10 crew members are KIA.

17 March 1944:
SOYA departs Truk

24 March 1944:
At 0700, SOYA departs Saipan in convoy HIGASHI MATSU No. 2 (return) consisting of TAKUNAN, NACHI, AWA (ex-WAWA), DAITEN, MIHO, BINGO, RYUKA, TAKAOKA, HIBI, TAMAHOKO, TATSUHARU and SHINFUKU MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by destroyers NOWAKI and ASAKAZE, kaibokan MANJU subchasers CH-17, CH-31, CH-32 and minelayer KYOSAI.

1 April 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Tokyo. It is probable SOYA has detached for Chichi-Jima en route.

4 April 1944:
Departs Chichi Jima in convoy No. 4324 consisting of AWA and NISSHO MARUs, and auxiliary minesweepers KEINAN MARU and TOSHI MARU No. 8, auxiliary gunboat NACHI MARU, auxiliary netlayer KOGI MARU and auxiliary submarine chaser FUMI MARU.

E 6 April 1944:
At 31N KEINAN MARU is detached and returns to Chichi Jima. The convoy continues on to Yokosuka.

April 1944:
Yokosuka. Enters dock. SOYA is remodeled as a transport warship. Four additional Type 96 25-mm AA guns are fitted.

22 April 1944:
Undocked.

30 May 1944:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Shiwa Kotora (50) assumes command.

20 August 1944:
An unknown officer assumes command.

18 February 1945:
Cdr (later Captain) Yamauchi Masaki (51) assumes command.

27 February 1945:
Departs Yokosuka.

2 March 1945:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido. Loads coal. Departs Muroran.

18 March 1945:
at 0900 departs Muroran for Yokosuka escorted by minesweeper W-3. En route off Onagawa patrol boat KONGO MARU No. 2 also escorts the convoy.

21 March 1945:
Arrives at Kawasaki.

17 April 1945:
At 1000 departs Yokosuka en route to Muroran via Onagawa.

18 April 1945:
The minesweeper W-33 departs Onagawa and escorts SOYA travelling north. Both ships later arrive at Onagawa.

22 April 1945:
SOYA departs Onagawa for Muroran escorted by kaibokan CD-49 and minesweeper W-1.

23 April 1945:
The ships arrive at Hachinohe where CD-49 is detached.

April-May 1945:
Transports coal from Muroran to Yokosuka.

24 June 1945:
Departs Yokosuka for Hakodate, Hokkaido in convoy No. 1624 consisting of EIKAN and KAMITSU MARUs escorted by kaibokan SHISAKA and subchaser CH-51. The ships are loaded with heavy industrial machinery from the Tokyo Yokahama industrial complex. The machinery's final destination is Manchukuo (Manchuria). SOYA also carries aircraft parts.

26 June 1945:
S of Todogasaki, Honshu. At 1030, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Woodrow W. McCrory‘s (USNA ‘38) USS PARCHE (SS-384) torpedoes and sinks KAMITSU MARU at 39-25N, 142-04E taking down 192 men. McCrory also torpedoes EIKAN MARU. She is run aground. Only one crewman is KIA. SHISAKA and CH-51 drop 67 depth-charges. USS PARCHE sustains slight damage, but escapes.

9 August 1945:
Onagawa Bay, NE Honshu. SOYA, kaibokan AMAKUSA and INAGI, minesweeper W-33, target ship OHAMA and subchaser CH-42 are at anchor when they are attacked by F-4U Mark IV "Corsair" fighter-bombers of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Sir Bernard J. Rawlings, RN, Task Force 37’s (British Pacific Fleet) carrier HMS FORMIDABLE. A 500-lb bomb dropped by the lead pilot of HMS FORMIDABLE’s 1841st Squadron flight of Corsairs, Lt Robert H. Gray, RCNVR, hits AMAKUSA below the after gun turret, explodes the ammunition locker, and blows out the starboard side of the ship. AMAKUSA capsizes to starboard and sinks in shallow water at 38-26N, 141-30E. Seventy-one sailors, including all members of her "black gang" are KIA.

INAGI takes a direct bomb hit to her aft deck that wrecks the engine room. She takes on a steep list to starboard and sinks that evening. Twenty-nine crewmen are KIA and 35 seriously wounded.

Kaibokan OHAMA is also sunk with unknown casualties.

During the attack, Lt Robert H. Gray, RCNVR, lead pilot of FORMIDABLE’s 1841st Squadron flight of Corsairs, sinks his target, a "destroyer", but is brought down by heavy AA fire and crashes flames. Gray is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the fourth and last Commonwealth naval airman to be so honored.

Nagasaki. That same day, the CO of the 393rd Bomb Squadron of the 509th Composite Group, Major (later Brig Gen, ANG) Charles W. Sweeney, piloting a B-29 nicknamed "BOCKSCAR", drops "Fat Man", the second atomic bomb.

15 August 1945:
Muroran, Hokkaido. SOYA’s crew is notified that Japan has accepted the Potsdam declaration and agreed to an end of hostilities and “unconditional” surrender.

23 August 1945:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

27 September 1945:
Completes demilitarization. All guns are removed and temporary inside hold accommodation and additional toilet places are installed for evacuees

1 October 1945:
Transferred to the Department of Finance.

6 October 1945:
Departs Uraga on her first repatriation voyage.

14 October 1945:
Arrives at Yap. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

17 October 1945:
Departs Yap.

23 October 1945:
Arrives at Uraga. Disembarks troops and passengers.

24 October 1945-14 November 1945:
Undergoes repairs at Uraga.

20 November 1945:
Departs Uraga.

26 November 1945:
Arrives at Guam. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated and departs later the same day.

30 November 1945:
Arrives at Tinian. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

1 December 1945:
Departs Tinian. That same day, she is officially assigned to the Allied Repatriation Service as a demobilization transport. [3]

10 December 1945:
Arrives at Otaka and departs later that day.

12 December 1945:
Arrives at Kure.

26 December 1945:
Departs Kure.

31 December 1945:
Arrives at Shanghai. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

1 January 1946:
Departs Shanghai.

5 January 1946:
Arrives at Kagoshima. Disembarks troops and passengers. Later that day docked. Undergoes repairs.

10 January 1946:
Repairs are completed. Departs Kagoshima.

13 January 1946:
Arrives at Kirun and departs later that day.

16 January 1946:
Arrives at Kagoshima. Disembarks troops and passengers.

28 January 1946-14 February 1946:
Undergoes repairs at Uraga Dockyard.

15 February 1946:
Departs Uraga.

24 February 1946:
Arrives at Kirun. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

25 February 1946 :
Departs Kirun.

1 March 1946:
Arrives at Kagoshima. Disembarks troops and passengers.

4-13 March 1946:
Undergoes repairs at Sasebo Naval Dockyard.

16 March 1946:
Departs Sasebo.

20 March 1946:
Arrives at Takao. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

21 March 1946:
Departs Takao.

28 March 1946:
Arrives at Otaka. Disembarks troops and passengers.

2 April-15 April 1946:
Undergoes repairs at Kasado Zosen.

22 April 1946 :
Departs Kure.

4 May 1946:
Arrives at Saigon. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

11 May 1946:
Departs Saigon.

22 May 1946:
Arrives at Otaka. Disembarks troops and passengers.

25 May 1946- 9 June 1946:
Undergoes repairs at Urabe.

12 June 1946:
Departs Kure.

17 June 1946:
Arrives at Korojima near Tsientsin. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

20 June 1946:
Departs Korojima.

22 June 1946:
Arrives at Hakata. Disembarks troops and passengers.

1 July 1946:
Departs Hakata.

4 July 1946:
Arrives at Korojima. Embarks troops and passengers to be repatriated.

7 July 1946:
Departs Korojima.

10 July 1946:
Arrives at Hakata. Disembarks troops and passengers.

23 July 1946- 31 July 1946:
Undergoes repairs at Sasebo Naval Dockyard. [4]

1948:
Otaru. Remodeled and repainted.

1949:
Transferred to the Maritime Safety Agency. Assigned as a lighthouse supply ship. While replenishing goods to lighthouses, SOYA becomes known as the “Santa Claus of the Sea”.

1 July 1950:
After major renovation, SOYA becomes the agency’s first Antarctic Research Ship.

(SOYA in 1950's)

1956-1962:
Makes six trips to Antarctica.

1956-1958:
Rebuilt as a trials ship. Equipped with diesel engines and four helicopters. Displacement increases to 4,365-tons.

1958:
SOYA is carrying the second wintering party, but due to severe weather conditions cannot get near Syowa Station, the Japanese base for Antarctic research. The first wintering party stranded there is rescued by helicopter, but has to leave 15 Sakhalin huskies behind at the unmanned station.

1959:
A year later, SOYA returns to Syowa Station and finds two of the abandoned dogs, Taro and Jiro, still alive. [5]

(Museum of Maritime Science sculpture of Taro & Jiro)

3 October 1978:
Tokyo, Odiaba Bay. SOYA is moored at the Museum of Maritime Science as part of the museum's permanent exhibit.


Authors’ Notes:
[1] The other two ice-resistant freighters were MINRYO (ex-Soviet KOMSOMOLETS) and TENRYO (ex-Soviet BOLSHEVIK) MARUs.

[2] USS GREENLING’s patrol report conflicts with Japanese sources. LtCdr Grant misidentified SOYA as a 500-ton patrol craft. His PR says that he fired only one torpedo and that it ran under the target and did not explode. Japanese sources claim four torpedoes were fired and also give the date of the attack as 28 Jan '43 not 18 Jan '43.

[3] Allied occupation forces were responsible for the return of six million Japanese military personnel and civilians from Japan's defunct far-flung Empire. In addition, there were over a million Korean and about 40,000 Chinese prisoners and conscript laborers and approximately 7,000 Formosans and 15,000 Ryukyu Islanders to be repatriated.

Some Allied and many former IJN warships, from aircraft carriers to kaibokan, were used to facilitate the enormous repatriation effort. Japanese vessels and crews were used to the fullest extent possible to conserve Allied manpower and accelerate demobilization. Each ex-IJN ship first had to be demilitarized; guns removed or, in the case of large warships, barrels severed, ammunition landed, and radar and catapults removed, if fitted. Repatriation of the Chinese on Japanese ships began early in October from Hakata, but U.S. guard detachments had to be placed on many ships to prevent disorder because the Japanese crews could not control the returnees.

Japanese-run repatriation centers were established at Kagoshima, Hario near Sasebo, and Hakata near Fukuoka. Other reception centers were established and operated at Maizuru, Shimonoseki, Sasebo, Senzaki, Kure, Uraga, Yokohama, Moji and Hakodate. Allied line and medical personnel supervised the centers. Incoming Japanese were sprayed with DDT, examined and inoculated for typhus and smallpox, provided with food, and transported to his final destination in Japan.

[4] During her career as a repatriation transport, SOYA repatriates nearly 19,000 people, including settlers.

[5] The 2006 motion picture "Eight Below", in part, was loosely based on the story of the stranded huskies. A sculpture commemorating the event was erected in front of Tokyo Tower.

(Tokyo Tower commemorative sculpture)

Thanks for new info from BBKS in Revision 4 go to Luca "Luke" Ruffato G. A. Ruffato of Italy. Thanks for additional CO info in Revision 8 go to Matt Jones. Thanks also go to Gilbert Casse of France.

Photo credits go to Luke Ruffato and Gilbert Casse.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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