(TSUKUSHI prewar - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN Hydrographic Survey Ship TSUKUSHI:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2018 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 9

17 January 1940:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 1,400 ton survey vessel.

29 November 1940:
Launched and named TSUKUSHI.

12 June 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral, posthumously) Yamataka Matsujiro (44) (former CO of MUROTO) is posted Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

20 November 1941:
Captain Yamataka is appointed CO of the 1st Survey Unit.

17 December 1941:
Completed. Captain Yamataka is the CO and remains CO of the 1st Survey Unit. Attached to Yokosuka Naval District. Assigned to Third Fleet.

20 December 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for the Philippines, with the 1st Survey Unit embarked.

25 December 1941:
Arrives at Lamon Bay, Luzon.

Early 1942:
SW coast of Dutch New Guinea. TSUKUSHI makes hydrographic soundings and lands parties at various sites along the coast including landing a party of 30 men at Cape De Jong.

24 January 1942:
At 1500, arrives at Kendari.

30 January 1942:
At 1500, departs Kendari.

1 February 1942:
At 1255, arrives at Banka.

2 February 1942:
At 0747, departs Banka with patrol boat PB-1, minelayer AOTAKA, submarine chasers CH-3 and CH-14, PB-2, IKUSHIMA, MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO, SAN CLEMENTE and YAMASHIMO MARUs. IKUSHIMA MARU carries 5th and 6th construction units.

4 February 1942:
At 0637, arrives at Kendari.

6 February 1942:
At 2130, departs Kendari.

11-12 February 1942:
TSUKUSHI supports the invasion of Macassar, Celebes. Assists minelayer AOTAKA.

13 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

22 February 1942:
Conducts patrols of the Macassar Strait with minelayer AOTAKA.

23 February 1942:
At 1845, departs Macassar.

25 February 1942:
At 1500, arrives at Bali.

10 March 1942:
Reassigned to the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

Late July 1942:
TSUKUSHI makes port at Davao, Philippines.

7 September 1942:
Departs Singapore.

13 September 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

25 September 1942:
Reassigned to the Fourth Fleet, Combined Fleet. Departs Balikpapan the same day.

1 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

4 October 1942:
Departs Truk.

8 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 October 1942:
Departs Truk.

31 October 1942:
Arrives back at Truk.

2 November 1942:
Departs Truk.

3 November 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

4 November 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

6 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk and remains there much of the rest of the month.

2 December 1942:
Departs Makin.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Jaluit.

4 December 1942:
Departs Jaluit.

6 December 1942:
Arrives at Abemama, Gilbert Islands and departs later that day.

7 December 1942:
Arrives at Beru (Francis Island) and departs later that day.

8 December 1942:
Arrives at Makin.

19 December 1942:
Departs Makin.

20 December 1942:
Arrives at Jaluit.

21 December 1942:
Departs Jaluit.

22 December 1942:
Arrives at Makin.

25 December 1942:
Departs Makin.

26 December 1942:
Arrives at Abemama and departs later that day.

27 December 1942:
Arrives at Makin.

6 January 1943:
Departs Makin.

7 January 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

8 January 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

9 January 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit.

10 January 1943:
Departs Jaluit.

11 January 1943:
Arrives at Makin.

19 January 1943:
Captain Ueda Yasuhiko (47) is appointed CO.

21 January 1943:
Departs Makin.

22 January 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

23 January 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

24 January 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit.

25 January 1943:
Departs Jaluit.

26 January 1943:
Arrives at Makin.

15 February 1943:
At Roi, TSUKUSHI receives fresh provisions replenishment from stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

5 March 1943:
Departs Tarawa.

6 March 1943:
Arrives at Makin.

8 March 1943:
Departs Makin.

12 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

21 March 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy with ight cruiser KATORI and auxiliary submarine depot ship HIE MARU escorted by destroyer KAWAKAZE.

27 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka; later transferred to Yokohama for repairs.

20 May 1943:
Reassigned to the Eighth Fleet, Southwest Area Fleet.

24 May 1943:
Repairs completed. Departs Yokohama.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

12 October 1943: American Air Raid on Rabaul, New Britain:
LtGen (later General) George C. Kenney's 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid made up to this time in the Pacific war. 349 aircraft, including 87 Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” and B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers, 114 North American B-25 “Mitchell” strafers, 12 RAAF Bristol "Beaufighters" and 125 Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighters and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul's town, airfieldsand Simpson harbor.

Over 50 Japanese aircraft are destroyed. Transports KEISHO MARU, KOSEI MARU, seatrucks WAKAMATSU MARU No. 1 and KUROGANE MARU and guardboat MISHIMA MARU are sunk.

TSUKUSHI sustains several small holes in her windlass room, light damage. Her No.1 25mm-MG-mount is rendered inoperative. Destroyers MOCHIZUKI, MINAZUKI and TACHIKAZE are also damaged as are smaller vessels.

13 October 1943:
At 2049, USN codebreakers intercept and decode a message regarding events on the 12th that reads: “Southeastern Force Action Summary. (October 12th Rabaul Air Action). ----. Attacked from 1004 to 1022 by: 54 (Heavy bombers in 9 waves of three to ten planes covered by about 16 P-38s attacked vessels and Rabaul airdrome vicinity. ------. Losses. (a) Vessels Tsukushi and Naruto hit: slight damage and holes in hull. Mochizuki, damaged by near misses and holes. Gun #3 inoperative. Miyatzuki, #2 ---- slight damage from near miss. Guns #1 and #2 out of commission. Tachikaze, ----- damage. I-180, as a result of a 60 kilo bomb hit unable to dive. I-177 and RO-105, holes from near misses.”

26 October 1943:
TSUKUSHI completes battle-damage repairs at Rabaul and departs Rabaul for Garove, Papua New Guinea.

2 November 1943:
Rabaul, New Britain. 75 North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers and 80 Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighters of the 5th Air Force's 3rd Bomb Group attack Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. Shortly after arriving at Rabaul this morning from Empress Augusta (Gazelle) Bay, off Bougainville, CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO are attacked, but not damaged. TSUKUSHI is also among the ships in Simpson Harbor, but she too is not damaged in the attack.

4 November 1943:
TSUKUSHI departs Rabaul escorting cargo ship RYUOSAN MARU that was dispatched to recover a part of the cargo of KIYOSUMI MARU, crippled by the B-24s off Kavieng, New Ireland. Both ships arrive off Edmago Island, Kavieng, when at 2110 (JST), TSUKUSHI strikes a mine laid by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) PBY "Catalina" patrol-bomber seaplanes. She sinks at 02.40S, 150.40E. Caualties are unknown. [1]

Five minutes later, at 2115, RYUOSAN MARU also strikes a mine. 16 crew are KIA and 20 wounded. Later 4 of the wounded succumb to their wounds. Although considerably flooded RYUOSAN MARU does not sink at once and is moved toward the beach of Edmago Island.

5 November 1943:
At about 1800, RYUOSAN MARU finally sinks 212 degrees 1,000 meters from Edmago Island in 18 meters of water.

23 November 1943:
Personnel from repair ship HAKKAI MARU undertake further surveys of RYUOSAN MARU and survey ship TSUKUSHI wrecks at Kavieng. TSUKUSHI is deemed unsalvable.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Author's Notes:
[1] On 22 Apr '43, the first sortie by RAAF PBY "Catalinas" to mine Kavieng area was flown and the final one on 22 Nov '43. A total of 104 type Mk I, 680 kg, each with 340 kg explosives, were successfully laid. The Kavieng minelaying operation was a great success. Captain Omae, a staff officer of the South-East Area Fleet , said after the war: "The only place where mines interfered with military operations or plans was at Kavieng, beginning in August 1943. At that time Kavieng was very important because it was used as a supply base, and after mine attacks it was necessary to take supply ships directly from Truk to Rabaul where they were subjected to air attacks." Light cruiser ISUZU, destroyer ISOKAZE, survey ship TSUKUSHI and cargo RYUOSAN MARU were hit by mines laid by the Catalinas.

Somes other souces claim that mine was one of a minefield laid off Kavieng on 4 Jun '43 by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame's (USNA '27) USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236). SILVERSIDES laid her mines in northern approaches to Byron Strait and Steffen Strait. This area is about 17 km west of Edmago Island.

Thanks go to Matthew Jones of Mississippi and to Gilbert Casse of France. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman and Gengoro Toda of Japan for info about stores ship KITAKAMI MARU. Special thanks to Erich Muethlthaler of Germany for a wealth of new info in Rev 7.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

Back to Hydrographic Survey Ships Page