SOKAITEI!

( colorized photo of W-33 [(W-19 class] by irootoko jr)

IJN Minesweeper W-33:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 5


E 1942:
Yokohama. Laid down at Yokohama Dock, K. K.

1943:
Launched and numbered W-33.

31 July 1943:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Lt Fukuda Moichiro is the Commanding Officer.

2 August 1943:
Departs Yokohama escorting a convoy.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure where the vessel is fitted out.

14 August 1943:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Saiki.

16 August 1943:
Departs Saiki on patrol.

18 August 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki.

21 August 1943:
Departs Saiki with W-18 escorting convoy O-104 consisting of TAITO, KUMAGAWA, ALASKA and YAMAGATA MARUs to Palau. Auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7 also escort the convoy initially.

E 22 August 1943:
At 30-30N 134-05 TAMA MARU No. 6 and TAMA MARU No. 7 are detached.

E 23 August 1943:
At 29-N W-33 is detached and later that day arrives back at Saiki.

25 August 1943:
Departs Saiki and joins up with kaibokan IKI escorting convoy O-603 consisting of KANSAI, KINUGASA and MAYASAN MARUs.

E 26 August 1943:
At 29N W-33 is detached.

28 August 1943:
Arrives back at Saiki and then departs later that day on an anti submarine sweep.

E 31 August 1943:
Meets up at 30-50N 135-20E with inbound convoy consisting of AIKOKU and GOKOKU MARUs escorted by destroyer USHIO and auxiliary minesweepers YACHIYO and AOI MARUs, TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 and TAKUNAN MARU No.3.

1 September 1943:
The convoy arrives at Sukumo where all escorts except USHIO are detached.

3 September 1943:
W-33, patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary minesweeper YACHIYO MATU depart Saiki escorting convoy O-302 consisting of CHINZEI and TOYOKAWA MARUs.

E 4 September 1943:
At 30N YACHIYO MARU is detached and later that day at 29N W-33 is detached.

1 December 1943:
W-33 is assigned to the 1st Minesweeper Division.

13 December 1943:
W-33 departs Moji with destroyer SHIOKAZE escorting convoy No. 121 consisting of oilers SARAWAK and TENEI MARUs, OGURA MARU No. 2, FUSHIMI MARU No. 3, and cargo ships BATAVIA, NICHIREI and HIROTA MARUs and eight other unidentified merchant ships.

17 December 1943:
S of the Ryukyus. At 2226, LtCdr Henry C. Stevensonís USS ASPRO (SS-309) torpedoes and damages SARAWAK MARU at 24-10, 124-40E. About the same time, USS ASPRO torpedoes and damages TENEI MARU at the same place. SHIOKAZE counterattacks, but USS ASPRO evades and escapes.

18 December 1943:
At 0325 a further submarine attacks takes place at 23-47N 124-20E but the convoy is able to avoid. NICHIREI MARU is detached and arrives at Kirun later this day.

20 December 1943:
At 1300 arrives at Takao.

16 June 1944:
Undocked after lengthy repairs. Later that day arrives at Onagawa.

21 June 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

24 June 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

27 June 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

1 July 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

3 July 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

8 July 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

13 July 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

18 July 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

23 July 1944:
Departs Onagawa. Later meets up and escorts convoy No. 1728.

29 July 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

31 July 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

August 1944:
Lt Kojima Takeo assumes command.

1 August 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

4 August 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

7 August 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

10 August 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

13 August 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

16 August 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

19 August 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

22 August 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

25 August 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

28 August 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

1 September 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

3 September 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

6 September 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

9 September 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

12 September 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

15 September 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

18 September 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

24 September 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

27 September 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

30 September 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

3 October 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

6 October 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

9 October 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

15 October 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

18 October 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

24 October 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

27 October 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

7 November 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

9 November 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

11 November 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

14 November 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

17 November 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

20 November 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

26 November 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

29 November 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

4 December 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

8 December 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

11 December 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

15 December 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

19 December 1944:
Departs Onagawa.

22 December 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

25 December 1944:
Departs Onagawa and later meets up and escorts an unidentified convoy consisting of RYUHO MARU No. 1 and the tanker YOKO MARU.

29 December 1944:
Arrives at Onagawa.

4 January 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

7 January 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

13 January 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

16 January 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

22 January 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

25 January 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

28 January 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

31 January 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

18 March 1945:
Departs Onagawa but later that day returns to port.

19 March 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

21 March 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

23 March 1945:
Undertakes training exercises for rest of the month. Then undergoes repairs.

18 April 1945:
Repairs at Onagawa are completed.

24 April 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

27 April 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

28 April 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

29 April 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

1 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

2 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

3 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

4 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

10 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa. W-33 is reassigned to an unknown unit.

12 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

13 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

15 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

17 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

22 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa.

23 May 1945:
Arrives at Onagawa.

25 May 1945:
Departs Onagawa and later escorts KAIO MARU No. 2 and then separately supply ship SOYA.

9 August 1945:
Onagawa Bay, NE Honshu. W-33, supply ship SOYA, target ship OHAMA. kaibokan AMAKUSA and INAGI and subchaser CH-42 are at anchor when they are attacked by F-4U Mark IV "Corsair" fighter-bombers of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Sir Bernard J. Rawlings, RN, Task Force 37ís (British Pacific Fleet) carrier HMS FORMIDABLE. W-33 is sunk in the attack. AMAKUSA, INAGI and OHAMA are also sunk.

The fate of Lt Kojima and the crew of W-33 is unknown.

During the attack, Lt Robert H. Gray, RCNVR, lead pilot of HMS FORMIDABLEís 1841st Squadron flight of Corsairs, sinks his target, a "destroyer" (kaibokan), but is brought down by heavy AA fire and crashes flames. Gray is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the fourth and last Commonwealth naval airman to be so honored.

Nagasaki. That same day, the CO of the 393rd Bomb Squadron of the 509th Composite Group, Major (later Brig Gen, ANG) Charles W. Sweeney, piloting a B-29 nicknamed "BOCKSCAR", drops "Fat Man", the second atomic bomb. Within a week, otherwise irresolute Japan agrees to an end of hostilities.

15 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authorís Note:
Little data were found detailing W-33's movements, probably because she was used for minesweeping rather than escort duties. Nevertheless, readers with access to any movement data are requested to post the information on the Discussion & Questions board or the IJN Ship Message Board.

Thanks go to Matthew Jones of Tennessee for information on COs and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.

Photo credit goes to Gakken via J. Ed Low.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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