SOKAITEI!

(W-13 scanned from Maru Special, V. 50)

IJN Minesweeper W-16:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2017 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 4


20 June 1933:
Tamano. Laid down at Mitsui’s shipyard.

30 March 1934:
Launched and numbered W-16.

29 September 1934:
Completed and registered in the Kure Naval District.

18 July 1935:
Lt Ikeda Akira assumes command.

19 September 1936:
An unknown officer assumes command.

10 June 1941:
Takao, Formosa. Assigned to MineSweepDiv 11 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (former CO of AOBA) 2nd Base Force of Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Third Fleet.

10 September 1941:
Lt (Cdr, posthumously) Watanabe Yoshiro (61) (former CO of CH-5) is appointed Commanding Officer.

1 December 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

7 December 1941: Operation "M" -The Attack on the Philippines:
Departs Mako escorting a convoy and sweeps mines for the Aparri, Philippines invasion force.

17 December 1941:
Departs Takao. Escorts the invasion convoy to Lingayen Gulf.

31 December 1941:
Departs Takao escorting a convoy.

5 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines.

7 January 1942: The Invasion of Dutch Borneo:
Rear Admiral Hirose’s Tarakan Occupation Force departs Davao. Hirose's force include MineSweepDiv 11’s W-16, W-15, W-13, W-14, MineSweepDiv 30’s W-17 and W-18, SubChasDiv 31’s CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12, patrol boats PB-36, PB-37 and PB-38 and other auxiliary ships.

The Tarakan invasion convoy includes Army transports TSURUGA, LIVERPOOL, HAVANA, KURETAKE, NICHIAI, HITERU, TEIRYU, HANKOW and EHIME MARUs carrying MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and Navy transports KUNIKAWA, KANO, KAGU, KOKUYO and RAKUTO MARUs. The convoy’s escort is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji’s DesRon 4’s light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2’s HARUSAME, SAMIDARE, YUDACHI and MURUSAME, DesDiv 9’s ASAGUMO and MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24’s UMIKAZE, KAWAKAZE, YAMAKAZE and SUZUKAZE. 21st Air Flotilla seaplane tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

21 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
W-16, W-15, W-17 and W-18 depart Tarakan with No. 2 Base Force's subchasers CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12 and patrol boats PB-36, PB-37 and PB-38 escorting the Balikpapan Invasion Convoy consisting of 16 transports carrying the Sakaguchi Brigade and the Kure No. 2 SNLF. DesRon 4 provides additional escort. Cover is provided by lighgt cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, YAMAKAZE and UMIKAZE. The 21st Air Flotilla again provides air cover.

24 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
W-16 escorts a convoy and sweeps mines in support of the Java campaign.

10 March 1942:
MineSweepDiv 11 is disbanded. W-16 is reassigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro's (former CO of ISUZU) 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet’s 22nd Special Base Force based at Balikpapan.

25 March 1942:
Escorts a convoy from Balikpapan.

17 June 1942:
Reserve Lt Takada Chojiro is appointed Commanding Officer. Lt Watanabe is later appointed the torpedo officer of ATAGO.

27 July 1942:
Waigama. Coaled and watered by auxiliary gunboat OKUYO MARU.

28 July 1942:
Ammunition transferred to vessel by OKUYO MARU.

24 July 1942: Operation "T" - The Banda Sea Operation:
The 22nd Special Base Force's W-16 is attached Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Kouichiro’s (former CO of KINUGASA) 24th Special Base Force for the Banda Sea Operation. W-16 is assigned to Hatakeyama's Second Attack Force and carries a platoon of 24th Special Base Force troops. The Second Attack Force departs Ambon Island.

25 July 1942:
Arrives at Misool Island, N of Ceram Island.

26 July 1942:
Departs Misool Island.

28 July 1942:
W-16 and the Second Attack Force arrive at the Kai Islands, SW of New Guinea. W-16's platoon of the 24th Special Base Force and one company of the No. 3 Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) are landed, but repulsed by Dutch forces.

29 July 1942:
The landing force is reinforced, including air support from SANYO MARU, and the island is captured.

31 July 1942:
W-16 and the Second Attack Force return to Ambon Island.

9 August 1942:
At 0545 130 degrees 17 Ri off Tarakan Lighthouse W-16 is escorting tanker TOEN MARU when the tanker is missed by a spread of torpedoes.

20 August 1942:
Escorts a convoy from Balikpapan.

8 December 1942:
An unidentified ship departs Manila en route to Singapore via Surabaya. En route the ship is met by W-16 that escorts the ship from the Karimata Straits.

13-15 January 1943:
Departs Surabaya and conducts an anti submarine hunt outside the port with submarine chaser CH-3.

24 January 1944:
Departs Balikpapan escorting auxiliary gunboat OKUYO MARU.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Surabaya.

1 February 1943:
Surabaya, Java. Undergoes minor repairs.

5 February 1943:
Escorts a convoy from Balikpapan.

17 February 1943:
At 0700, departs Balikpapan escorting oiler AKEBONO MARU as far as 01-00S. 118-00E.

E 18 February 1943:
Joins incoming tanker NICHIEI MARU and escorts her to Balikpapan.

12 March 1943:
At 0600, departs Balikpapan as the sole escort of a convoy consisting of TOYOKAWA, MADRAS and SAMARANG MARUs.

E 13 March 1943:
Off the Aru Bank, SE Borneo. W-16 is detached from the convoy and meets incoming TARUSHIMA MARU.

E 14 March 1943:
TARUSHIMA MARU and W-16 arrive at Balikpapan.

18 April 1943:
Jabor. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU.

2 June 1943:
At 1145 arrives with KIYOKAWA MARU at Balikpapan.

5 June 1943:
At 1055 W-16 departs Balikpapan escorting the oiler SHIRIYA bound for Surabaya. At 2000 W-16 is detached and returns to Balikpapan.

6 June 1943:
At 1200 W-16 departs Balikpapan escorting transports HOKUROKU and KINUGASA MARUs.

7 June 1943:
At 1616 arrives at Macassar.

8 June 1943:
At 0837 W-16 departs Macassar on patrol.

9 June 1943:
At 1727 arrives at Balikpapan.

10 June 1943:
At 0917 departs Balikpapan and at 1050 meets up with inbound tanker GENYO MARU, arriving back at Balikpapan at 1230.

14 June 1943:
At 0800 departs Balikpapan escorting TARUSHIMA MARU bound for Macassar.

15 June 1943:
At 1400 W-16 ceases escort and meets up and briefly escorts tanker ENOSHIMA MARU bound for Balikpapan.

16 June 1943:
At 0956 arrives off Aru Bank and at 1318 meets up with inbound tanker KYOKO MARU. At 1700 arrives at Balikpapan.

17 June 1943:
At 0810 departs Balikpapan. At 1130 arrives off Kutei River delta and undertakes a patrol, arriving back at Balikpapan at 1900. At 2100 departs Balikpapan.

19 June 1943:
At 1256 arrives at Surabaya. Docked for maintenance and repairs for the rest of the month.

1 July 1943:
At 1400 departs Surabaya on patrol.

4 July 1943:
At 0807 arrives at Balikpapan, and departs there at 1630.

5 July 1943:
At 1715 meets up with tanker KOKUYO MARU at 1-15N 120-13E.

6 July 1943:
At 1320 arrives at Tarakan.

7 July 1943:
At 0800 departs Tarakan escorting transport SHOHEI MARU and at 1911 anchors at Berau River estuary.

8 July 1943:
At 0800 departs Berau River estuary.

9 July 1943:
At 1820 arrives at Balikpapan.

10 July 1943:
At 0800 departs Balikpapan and at 1310 meets up with inbound tanker KYOKUTO MARU. At 1820 the ships arrive at Balikpapan.

12 July 1943:
At 0755 departs Balikpapan to meet up with Naval oilers ASHIZURI and SUNOSAKI at Aru Bank. At 2227 the ships all arrive at Balikpapan.

13 July 1943:
At 0755 departs Balikpapan escorting a convoy consisting of transports KORYU, TARUSHIMA and SHOHEI MARUs.

16 July 1943:
At 1600 arrives at Pontianak.

19 July 1943:
At 1200 departs Pontianak.

21 July 1943:
At 1000 arrives at Jakarta.

25 July 1943:
At 0740, W-16 departs Jakarta as the sole escort of a convoy consisting of HIBURI and NICHIREN MARUs.

28 July 1943:
At 1020, the convoy arrives at Padang, Sumatra.

18 August 1943:
At 0700 off Berau rivermouth W-16 meets up with TOBI MARU bound for Samarinda.

19 August 1943:
At 1200 in 01-04N 119-29E W-16 meets up with tanker NISSHO MARU, bound for Surabaya from Palau.

20 August 1943:
Escorts SEIZAN MARU in Macassar Strait. At 1818 in 00-58N 119-01E USS GAR attacks and torpedoes SEIZAN MARU that sinks at 1915.

22 August 1943:
W-16 departs Tarakan escorting the tanker AZUMA MARU to Balikpapan.

11 September 1943:
At 1901 S of Macassar, Celebes. W-16 is sunk by Fifth Air Force B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers at 06-08S, 119-20E. Transport KIYOKAWA MARU which is being escorted at the time is damaged.

1 November 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
According to Australian diver/photojournalist Kevin Denlay, the wreck of W-16 was located at an unknown date and lies on her port side in 130 feet of water. It is relatively intact.

Photo credit goes to Maru Special via J. Ed Low.

Thanks go to Mr. Aki of Japan and Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA for help in identifying COs and as always to Gilbert Casse, for general assistance.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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