Stories and Battle Histories of the IJN's Auxiliary Seaplane Tenders
23 December 2019
By Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall
(NOTORO by Takeshi Yuki)
In the 1920's, NOTORO and KAMOI began their IJN service as fleet oilers.
They were later converted to seaplane carrier/tankers. Both NOTORO's
and KAMOI's Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 “Dave” floatplanes saw combat in
China. NOTORO was rerated an oiler in 1942 and KAMOI was rerated an
oiler in 1944.
In 1937, in response to the Sino-Japanese conflict, three
conversions of merchant ships were ordered. These were KAMIKAWA, KAGU
and KINUGASA MARUs. KAGU and KINUGASA MARUs were in operation in as
seaplane tenders in 1938. They were rerated transports before the start
of the Pacific War. KAMIKAWA MARU was converted to seaplane tender in
1939 and remained a tender until her loss in 1943.
In 1941, five more conversions were ordered. These were KIMIKAWA,
KIYOKAWA, SANYO, SAGARA, SANUKI and KUNIKAWA MARUs. SAGARA and SANUKI
MARUs were rerated transports in 1942 while the KIYOKAWA, SANYO,
KIMIKAWA and KUNIKAWA MARUs were rerated transports in 1943.
The IJN used their floatplane types extensively. They were
employed in the traditional reconnaissance role and performed as
fighters, fighter-bombers and shell spotters, as antisubmarine escorts
and carried out search and rescue duties.
Japanese Auxiliary Seaplane Tenders: Tabular Records of
(Auxiliary Classes link to specifications
About the Authors
Bob Hackett is a military historian and researcher.
Retired from the United States Air Force and later from the aerospace industry,
he resides in the United States.
Sander Kingsepp, a native of Estonia, is also a military historian and
researcher. A talented linguist, Sander's translations of Japanese source
materials have greatly enhanced these TROMs.
Allan Alsleben is a military historian and researcher. He resides in
Peter Cundall is a historian and researcher. He specializes in merchant
ships and resides in Australia and works in the marine industry.
Questions to the authors concerning these TROMs should be posted on the
Discussion and Questions board.