Denran Fusetsutei!

(HATSUSHIMA-class cable-layer TATEISHI on completion 31 Aug ‘41)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

22 April 1940:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shipbuilding as a 1,564-ton (standard) HATSUSHIMA-class cable-layer.

1 March 1941:
Launched and named TATEISHI.

31 August 1941:
Completed and registered in the Maizuru Naval District. Attached to the Maizuru Guard Force.

At an unknown date and place, TATEISHI is converted to a minelayer. Two Type 2 depth charge throwers are fitted and her mine storage capacity is increased from 12 to 120 Type 93 mines. Her armament is increased by the addition of six Type 96 25-mm AA guns.

1 November 1943:
Off Rokutei Island, Carolines (near Truk). At about midnight, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret.) Roy M. Davenport’s USS HADDOCK (SS-231) attacks TATEISHI and trawler KITAGAMI MARU at 09-02N, 150-43E. Davenport fires six torpedoes by radar bearings and claims four hits and damage to both ships, but neither is actually damaged.

23 November 1941:
Departs Kure. At 1400, TATEISHI and CH-30 depart Truk escorting convoy No. 5233 consisting of CHOKO, NIPPO MARUs and NANKAI MARU No. 2. [1]

1 December 1943:
Departs Sana. At 0830, arrives at Kwajalein less NIPPO MARU that was detached for Ponape.

6 January 1944:
At 1315, TATEISHI and destroyer SHIMAKAZE depart Saipan for Palau, Balikpapan and Surabaya escorting convoy NE-602 consisting of fleet oiler TSURUMI and cargo ship NAGISAN MARU.

11 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

11 July 1944:
TATEISHI departs Makassar for Kendari, Celebes with minelayer WAKATAKA and minesweeper W-11 escorting TAIKO MARU.

14 July 1944:
At 1237, LtCdr Malcomb E. Garrison's USS SAND LANCE (SS-381) torpedoes and sinks TAIKO MARU at 05-56N, 121-34E. The escorts counter-attack unsuccessfully.

5 March 1945:
TATEISHI (fitted as an ASW detection vessel with a special cable to detect submerged subs) departs Singapore for Moji with subchasers CH-9 CH-20, CH-33 and auxiliary subchaser KAINAN MARU escorting convoy HI-88-I consisting of YAMAKUNI and HOSEN MARUs, NANSHIN MARU No. 21, FUSHIMI MARU No. 2, TAKASAGO MARU No. 6 and an unidentified ship.

15 March 1945:
Arrives at Cape St. Jacques, Indochina. The convoy is reorganized.

19 March 1945:
TATEISHI departs Cape St. Jacques with subchasers CH-9, CH-20, CH-33 and auxiliary subchaser KAINAN MARU subchaser escorting reorganized convoy HI-88-I now consisting of HOSEN MARU, FUSHIMI MARU No. 2, MOTOYAMA MARU No. 1, NANSHIN MARU No. 21 and TAKASAGO MARU No. 6.

20 March 1945:
South China Sea. 50 miles S of Camranh Bay, Indochina. At about 0100, convoy HI-88-I is attacked by LtCdr Benjamin C Jarvis' BAYA (SS-318). Jarvis torpedoes and sinks KAINAN MARU at 12-00N, 109-17E. CH-9 counterattacks BAYA and drops 21 depth charges. Although damaged by the depth charges, BAYA remains on patrol.

21 March 1945:
South China Sea. Off Nha Trang, Indochina. At about 1120, convoy HI-88-I is attacked by Fifth Air Force B-25 "Mitchell" medium-bombers of the 345th Bomb Group’s 501st Bomb Squadron. TATEISHI is hit by at least one, and possibly two, of three 500-lb bombs dropped by a B-25 and sinks at 11-50N, 109-18E.

The planes also sink cargo vessels MOTOYAMA MARU No. 1 and FUSHIMI MARU and subchaser CH-33. The B-25's damage small oiler TAKASAGO MARU NO. 6 and subchaser CH-9. CH-20 and damaged CH-9 take refuge at Nha Trang.

At 1120, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from CH-33 that reads: “Engaging 15 B-25s. CH-33 and FUSHIMI sank.” Codebreakers decrypt another message that reads: “At 1100 in position 12-03N, 109-00E convoy HI-88I . . .” CH-33 sunk and “CH-9 is to ---anchor off Natoran at 1200----. Killed in battle: Captain and 7 others. Wounded: 222 men.” A later Japanese report amends the location of this attack to 12-30.7N., 109-14.3E.

During the attack, one B-25 is shot down near TATEISHI. Four men are seen in a life raft about two miles from shore. Three are captured by the Japanese, one of whom dies of wounds shortly thereafter. About a month later, a Kempei-tai (military police) NCO beheads the remaining two B-25 crewmen.

10 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
[1] Some sources say CH-40 rather than CH-30.

Photo credit goes to Fukui’s Japanese Naval Vessels 1860-1945. Fukui Shizuo Collection via J. Ed Low.

-Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

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