IJN Submarine Depot Ships

(TAIGEI at speed, prewar)

IJN TAIGEI: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

12 April 1933:
Yokosuka. Laid down at Yokosuka Navy Yard as a 10,500-ton submarine tender. To reduce the weight, the Japanese experiment with electric welding in ship construction. It is calculated that this technique will result in a 15 percent reduction in weight. TAIGEI is constructed using electric welding and becomes the IJNís first all-welded warship.

20 October 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Sukigara Tamazo (37)(former CO of JINGEI) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

16 November 1933:
Launched and named TAIGEI ("Large Whale")

31 March 1934:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Captain Sukigara is appointed Commanding Officer.

15 November 1934:
Attached to the Kure Naval Defense Force/Submarine School at Otake as a Training Ship. Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takasu Sanjiro (37)(former CO of IZUMO) is appointed Commanding Officer.

26 September 1935: The "Fourth Fleet Incident:"
58 ships of the Combined Fleet depart Hakodate, Hokkaido and steam into the rough northwest Pacific waters to conduct the concluding rounds of naval exercises begun 20 July. Moving rapidly northeast ,a Typhoon engulfs the fleet at about 1300 hours. Sustained wind speeds of 79 knots are recorded with wave heights from 45-60 feet. TAIGEI is damaged and develops serious cracks in her all-electrically welded hull. Aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and minelayers are also damed. Many men are swept overboard and lost to the sea.

Later, TAIGEI undergoes repairs.

16 November 1936::
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Moizumi Shinichi (37) (current CO of MAYA) is appointed CO of TAIGEI as additional duty.

1 December 1936:
Captain Minowa Chyugo (38) is appointed CO.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge bridge. They fire blank cartridges during their maneuvers. Chinese troops across the river fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Beijing suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but 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. At this time, the IJN's air power in-theater consists of only about 80 planes carried by carriers KAGA, RYUJO and HOSHO on station in the East China Sea.

9 August 1937:
The Japanese bring in two divisions, several cruisers and destroyers, This increases IJN strength in Shanghai waters to 30 warships.

19 August 1937:
TAIGEI is assigned to the 23rd Air Division (Seaplane Tender) and Saseboís 23rd Sea Scout Unit is embarked aboard TAIGEI.

15 September 1937:
Arrives in South China. After establishing a base at Niujianshan, half of the 23rd Sea Scout Unitís Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 two-seat float reconnaissance biplanes (6) are transferred to seaplane tender KAGU MARU.

2 October 1937:
The remaining half of TAIGEIís 23rd Sea Scout Unitís Type 95 Daves is transferred to seaplane tender NOTORO and the Sea Scout Unit is disbanded.

15 November 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mori Tokuji (40)(former CO of UJI) is appointed CO.

25 May 1938
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakazato Ryuji (39) is appointed CO.

15 August 1938:
TAIGEI is assigned to SubRon.1, First Fleet.

15 December 1938:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Harada Kaku (41)(former CO of SubDiv 29) is appointed CO.

15 November 1939:
TAIGEI is assigned to SubRon3, Second Fleet. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakamura Motoji (39)(former CO of ISUZU) is appointed CO.

15 November 1940:
TAIGEI is assigned to SubRon3, Sixth Fleet.

10 April 1941:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Okura Tomesaburo (43)(former CO of SubDiv 9) is appointed CO.

10 November 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kiyama Tatsuo(42)(former CO of KISO) assumes command.

20 December 1941:
TAIGEI is designated No. 3 Reserve Ship of the Kure Naval District and taken out of service for conversion to a light aircraft carrier. Captain Kiyama in charge of the conversion.

18 April 1942::
Yokosuka. While still in drydock, probably dock No. 5, undergoing conversion, TAIGEI is bombed by Lt Edgar E. McElroy's Crew 13 in North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bomber, S/N 40-2247, of Lt. Col James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle's "Tokyo Raiders". Suffers a one direct bomb hit on the bow and 30 incendiary bomb hits, eight being duds. Damage is light, but there are seven casualties.

23 April 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Soma Shinshiro (42)(former CO of ERIMO) is appointed CO of TAIGEI . 20 Oct 1942:
TAIGEI is attached to the Maizuru Naval District as No. 1 Reserve Ship..

1 November 1942:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kamei Yoshio (46)(former CO of SOYA) is appointed CO.

30 November 1942:
TAIGEI completes conversion and is recommissioned into service as light aircraft carrier RYUHO with Captain Kamei in command.

Authors' Notes:
Thanks go to Steve Eckardt of Australia.

- Bob Hackett

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