(Sister YAMATO in 1941 - colorized by Irootoko, Jr)

IJN Battleship MUSASHI:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2000-2017 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 21

March 1937:
Constructor Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral/C) Fukuda Keiji's design team completes the final design for a more than 69,000-ton displacement battleship mounting nine 460-mm/45 (18.1-inch) rifles in three triple turrets. Each turret will weigh more than most contemporary destroyers.

29 March 1938:
Nagasaki. At 0955, Japan's second super-battleship with the hull No. 800, provisionally designated "Warship No. 2", is laid down in Mitsubishi's Nagasaki Yard. The first section of the keel structure placed on the slipway No. 2 that day is 71 feet (21.6 m) long.

In an attempt to hide the slipway from the foreign ships visiting Nagasaki a large curtain made of palm fiber rope is draped from the gantry crane over it. Prior to the start of construction the Sasebo Naval District authorities had purchased a total of 400 metric tons of wajuro palm fiber, causing a temporary shortage of that material in the Kyushu fishing industry. [1]

1 November 1940:
Nagasaki. At 0855, a secret launching ceremony is held at Mitsubishi's shipyard led by Minister of the Navy, Admiral Oikawa Koshiro (31)(former CO of TAMA) and a few dozen top naval officals. The Chief of the Navy General Staff, Fleet Admiral Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu (20)(former CO of IBUKI), represents the Imperial family. [2]

"Warship No. 2" is named MUSASHI. For security reasons the former designation is used in most official documents until the commissioning of the ship. As soon as MUSASHI is in the water, the new passenger-cargo liner KASUGA MARU (future escort carrier TAIYO) is towed alongside the battleship to block her silhouette from any foreign eyes. A combined force of 1,800 policemen, IJA Military Police (Kempeitai) and sailors of the Sasebo Sailor Corps patrols near the shipyard to ensure maximum secrecy during the launch. Following the launch the battleship is moored off Mukojima wharf for fitting-out.

29 December 1940:
Preliminary hull weighing conducted to determine the center of gravity.

26 May 1941:
The fitting of deck and side armor is completed.

1 July 1941:
At 0500, departs Nagasaki for Sasebo Navy Yard under tow of seven tugs including SHOHO MARU.

2 July 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo. Until 21 July dry-docked in No. 7 drydock where the main rudder and propellers are attached and the bottom painted.

1 August 1941:
Departs Sasebo for Nagasaki towed by fleet oiler SHIRETOKO.

2 August 1941:
Returns to Nagasaki. After 1000, moored at Mukojima wharf.

15 September 1941:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Arima Kaoru (42)(former CO of HIEI) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

6 October 1941:
Nagasaki. IJN special ammunition ship KASHINO arrives from Kure, carrying the first batch of 46-cm guns and one turret. Once aboard, the turret and gun are covered with canvas to maintain secrecy. By 8 December, all main guns are installed to the respective turrets.

February-March 1942:
The rebuild of staff facilities. The operations room, telephone and code rooms are extended. The layout of staff officers' cabins, offices and wardrooms is changed, relocating several of these from the port side of the ship to the starboard.

18 April 1942: The First Bombing of Japan:
Halsey's Task Force 16.2's USS HORNET (CV-8), VINCENNES (CA-44), NASHVILLE (CL-43), oiler CIMARRON (AO-22) and destroyers GWIN (DD-433), MEREDITH (DD-434), GRAYSON (DD-435) and the MONSSEN (DD-436) accompanied by Task Force 16.1's ENTERPRISE (CV-6), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), NORTHAMPTON (CA-26), oiler SABINE (AO-25) and destroyers BALCH (DD-363), BENHAM (DD-397), ELLET (DD-398) and FANNING (DD-385) approach the Japanese home islands. The carriers and cruisers come to within 668 nautical miles of Japan.

Led by Lt Col (later General/Medal of Honor) James H. Doolittle, 16 Army B-25 "Mitchell" twin-engine bombers of the 17th Bomb Group take off from Captain (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's carrier HORNET and strike targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. At Yokosuka, a B-25 damages light carrier RYUHO in a drydock while undergoing conversion from former submarine depot ship TAIGEI.

Anticipating follow-up raids, Captain Arima orders to form a skeleton crew of selected officers and some hundred sailors to man the AA guns in case of emergency. Starting from 20 April, all of them are permanently stationed aboard the ship.

7 May 1942:
The permanent crew is transferred to the ship.

20 May 1942: Transfer to Kure:
At 1505 departs Nagasaki for Kure, carrying a 1,700-strong crew plus 1,500 engineers and builders from the Mitsubishi yard. Anti-submarine escort is provided by AKATSUKI and HIBIKI of DesDiv 6. After the battleship passes Koshiki Islands in the East China Sea, two floatplanes from Sasebo NAG arrive to provide air escort. The 25-mm triple mounts are test-fired en route.

21 May 1942:
Hyuga Nada, eastern shore of Kyushu. After midnight, minelayer TAKASHIMA and patrol boat PB-36 (ex-FUJI) join the force. Floatplanes from the Saeki NAG take over air cover for the remainder of the route. The Kure Defense Unit dispatches several auxiliary subchasers to patrol the Bungo Suido area during the passage of MUSASHI.

At 1530, the battleship arrives off Urume Jima, Kure. She is moored off Kure Naval Arsenal by 1600.

26 May-9 June 1942:
Dry-docked in Kure No. 4 drydock. The 28-mm coaming armor for the two superfiring secondary battery turrets (Nos. 1 and 4) is fitted. Prior to the start of the speed trials the bottom is cleaned and its red-lead paint coating renewed.

18-26 June 1942:
The first stage of acceptance and speed trials on Sata Misaki mile, Iyo Nada sea. On 22 June, MUSASHI achieves 28.05 kts in overload condition at 70,358 tons displacement (167,310 shp). Returns to Kure after conducting the tests of the counterflooding system.

27 June-23 July 1942: First AA refit
Kure Navy Yard. Twelve unshielded 25-mm AA guns (4x3) are added to the weather deck forward and aft of the 15.5-cm wing turrets, two mounts on each side. MUSASHI's initial AA suite is twelve 127-mm guns (6x2), thirty-six 25-mm guns (12x3) and four 13.2-mm machine guns (2x2).

24 July 1942:
Departs Kure for the second stage of acceptance trials in Iyo Nada. Conducts calibration firing, during which guinea pigs are used to research the impact of the blast of the main guns.

30 July 1942:
Returns to Kure.

5 August 1942:
Completed and attached to Yokosuka Naval District. The commissioning ceremony is held at 0900.

Assigned to the Combined Fleet's BatDiv 1 with YAMATO, NAGATO and MUTSU. Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 1 November 1942) Arima Kaoru is the Commanding Officer.

10 August 1942:
Transferred to Hashirajima anchorage.

16 August 1942:
After 0815 MUSASHI's staff facilities are inspected by the staff of Combined Fleet including Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ugaki Matome (40).

18 August 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Heigun Island in Iyo Nada, conducting additional exercises in Inland Sea.

20 August 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima anchorage.

3 September 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Kure for the final fitting-out. After the arrival a modified Type 21 Mod. 3 air-search radar is installed to the foretop rangefinder arms.

8 September 1942:
On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit at Pearl Harbor provides the following information:

"New battleship MUSASHI believed to have joined fleet."

23 September 1942:
Kure. LtCdr Matsui Muneaki (62), a student of Dr. Yagi Hidetsugu, arrives aboard to research the possibility to use the Type 21 radar for surface fire-control purposes.

28 September 1942:
Departs Kure for Hashirajima, carrying out AA exercises en route.

29 September 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima anchorage.

2 October 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Heigun Island to conduct AA and maneuvering exercises, returning on the 7 October.

20 October 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for AA and maneuvering exercises, returning on the 22 October.

28 October 1942:
Participates in gunnery trials in Suo Nada Sea with NAGATO, ISE, HYUGA, FUSO and YAMASHIRO. During the trials the radar display is wrecked by gun blast.

1 November 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Kure, returning on the 3 November.

14 November 1942:
Hashirajima. Embarks the midshipmen slated for service aboard MUSASHI, composed of the graduates of Naval Academy Class 71, Engineering Academy Class 52 and Paymaster Academy Class 32. Among the Naval Academy graduates is HIH Kuninomiya Norihiko (later Count Tatsuta Norihiko, who eventually became Prince Nashimoto Norihiko).

20 November 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for gunnery exercises in Inland Sea.

28 November 1942:
Conducts the second series of radar-controlled gunnery exercises in Suo Nada. While the bearing accuracy of the set installed on MUSASHI is found to be inferior, further tests are conducted aboard YAMATO.

29 November 1942:
Arrives at Murozumi Bight, Inland Sea.

1 December 1942:
Departs Murozumi Bight for Tokuyama Bay to refuel.

3 December 1942:
Returns to Hashirajima anchorage. Makes several short trips between Hashirajima and Kure, conducting refueling and AA exercises en route.

22 December 1942:
Departs Hashirajima for Kure for naval stores replenishment. Continues preparations for a sortie to Truk.

17 January 1943:
Kure. Embarks a cargo of IJA folding boats intended for the IJA units on Truk.

18 January 1943:
Departs Kure for Truk, rendezvousing with carriers ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, light cruiser JINTSU, and destroyers AKIGUMO, KAZAGUMO, MAKIGUMO and YUGUMO soon after departure. MUSASHI is also carrying over a hundred midshipmen intended as replenishment crews for other IJN warships currently based at Truk.

22 January 1943:
Arrives at the Harushima (Moen) anchorage at Truk. Her two F1M2 floatplanes are temporarily dispatched to the IJN floatplane base at Dublon Island to participate in ASW patrols off Truk.

24 January 1943:
On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit provides the following information:

"New battleship MUSASHI & DesDiv 10 known to have arrived Truk 23rd from Empire."

10 February 1943:
Commences preparations to embark the Combined Fleet staff.

11 February 1943:
Truk. Relieves her sister-ship, YAMATO, as flagship of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku's (former CO of AKAGI) Combined Fleet.

1 April 1943: Operation "I-GO" - The Reinforcement of Rabaul:
Yamamoto orders aircraft from CarDiv 1's ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO to reinforce the 11th Air Fleet's base at Rabaul and aircraft from CarDiv 2's HIYO and JUNYO to reinforce the base at Ballale Island, near Buin.

3 April 1943:
Yamamoto and his staff depart Truk for Rabaul on two Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boats to supervise Operation "I-GO" from 7 to 14 April. They are expected to return to MUSASHI on 19 April.

18 April 1943:
Acting on "Ultra" codebreaker's deciphers and authorized by President Roosevelt, 18 Army Air Force P-38s take off from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, intercept and kill Admiral Yamamoto over Bougainville while his Mitsubishi G4M1 "Betty" bomber is en route from Rabaul to the IJN air base on Ballale. A second G4M1 carrying Yamamoto's Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome is also shot down, but Ugaki survives.

23 April 1943:
In the evening, a flying boat arrives, carrying the ashes of Yamamoto and six of his staff officers. Yamamoto's ashes are secretly transferred to the Admiral's sea cabin under the supervision of senior staff officer Captain Kuroshima Kameto (44).

Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake (35), the CinC, Second Fleet and the acting CinC, Combined Fleet, arrives for a staff conference with Vice Admiral Ugaki and others.

25 April 1943:
Truk. At 1500, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Koga Mineichi (34)(former CO of ISE) arrives on an "Emily" from Yokosuka, ostensibly for an inspection tour. It is not made public until May that Koga, the former CinC of the little China Area Fleet, is the new CinC of the Combined Fleet.

11 May 1943: American Operation "Landcrab"- The Invasion of Attu, Aleutians:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's (former CO of INDIANAPOLIS, CA-35) Task Force 16, covered by Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell's (former CO of THATCHER (DD-162) Task Force 51, lands the Army's 7th Division that captures Attu Island.

17 May 1943:
Admiral Koga sorties from Truk for Yokosuka in response to the Attu invasion with BatDiv 1's MUSASHI, BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA, CarDiv 2's HIYO, CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and DesDiv 24's UMIKAZE and DesDiv 27's ARIAKE and SHIGURE, DesDiv 61's HATSUZUKI and SUZUTSUKI. MUSASHI also carries Admiral Yamamoto's ashes to Tokyo for a state funeral.

20 May 1943:
Alerted by "Ultra", USS SAWFISH (SS-276) picks up MUSASHI task force on radar at 32-45N, 136-35E, but the submarine is unable to attack.

22 May 1943:
USS TRIGGER (SS-237) sights the task force off Tokyo Bay, but the submarine is unable to attack. The task force arrives safely. MUSASHI drops anchor at the Kisarazu Bight. That evening, a Buddhist ceremony is held aboard. Yamamoto's ashes are sent ashore the next day aboard destroyer YUGUMO.

Carriers ZUIKAKU, SHOKAKU and ZUIHO and light cruisers AGANO and OYODO join the task force at Yokosuka, Tokyo Bay. CruDiv 7's KUMANO, MOGAMI and SUZUYA also arrives from Tokuyama. Before this powerful force can depart for a counterattack against the Aleutians, Attu falls to U.S. forces.

9 June 1943:
Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 1 November) Komura Keizo (45)(former CO of FUSO) is appointed the CO.

23 June 1943:
Returns to Yokosuka for overhaul and overpainting (ostensibly preparing for an inspection tour by Yokosuka Navy Yard officials).

24 June 1943: Imperial Visit ("Gyoko"):
Yokosuka. Between 1103 and 1425, MUSASHI is visited by the Emperor and other officials. It is a top-secret event, nevertheless the Imperial flag is hoisted.

Admiral Koga hosts Hirohito and his brother (Navy Captain) Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Marquis Kido Koichi, Navy minister Admiral Shimada Shigetaro, Chief of the Naval General Staff Admiral Nagano Osami, Commander of the Yokosuka Naval Base Admiral Toyoda Soemu, Commander of the Navy Technical Department (Kampon) Vice Admiral Sugiyama Toshisuke, IJN Air Force Chief of Staff Admiral Tsukahara Nishizo, Minister of the Interior Matsudaira Tsuneo, Hirohito's Chief ADC Hasunuma Shigeru and Imperial Chamberlain, Admiral Hyakutake Saburo.

A festive dinner is enjoyed. Later, the Emperor visits the crew's quarters and the AA defense station on the upper bridge. Most probably, the Emperor uses MUSASHI's elevator to reach it.

25 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Kure. Minelayers YURIJIMA and NUWAJIMA, auxiliary patrol boats NISUI, HOKUTO and KOSHUN MARUs and auxiliary netlayer TAISHU MARU conduct an advance sweep of her intended route.

27 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

1-8 July 1943:
Dry-docked at No. 4 drydock in Kure. The hull bottom is cleaned and repainted. All portholes located within 16 ft (5 meters) from the waterline at full displacement are blanked off.

14 July 1943:
Departs Kure for trials, returns to Hashirajima anchorage that evening.

30 July 1943:
Departs Kure for Yokosuka. Stops off Nagahama Bight, Shikoku, overnight to rendezvous with heavy cruisers HAGURO and MYOKO.

31 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk with Admiral Koga aboard, escorted by heavy cruisers HAGURO, MYOKO, and destroyers HATSUKAZE (soon returning to Kure), NOWAKI and SHIRATSUYU.

1 August 1943:
En route Koga's force rendezvouses with escort carrier UNYO (ex-YAWATA MARU) and her escorts including light cruiser NAGARA (the flagship of Rear Admiral Takama Tamotsu) and destroyers.

5 August 1943:
NW of Truk. Alerted by "Ultra", LtCdr (future Rear Admiral) David L. Whelchel's (USNA '30) USS STEELHEAD (SS-280) on her second war patrol makes a SJ radar contact with Koga's force at 08-17N, 149-54E and commences a surfaced approach. At 0244 (L), Whelchel fires a spread of six Mk. 14-3A torpedoes at UNYO and four at MUSASHI at 08-15N, 150-07N. Two explosions are heard and Whelchel claims two hits on a XCV. In reality all torpedoes either miss or explode prematurely.

At 0800 MUSASHI arrives at the Harushima (Moen) anchorage, Truk. During the next months ad hoc detachments from her crew participate in planting a vegetable plantation on Fefan and construction of an airstrip on Param Island.

11 September 1943:
Escort carrier CHUYO (ex-NITTA MARU) arrrives from Yokosuka, carrying a detachment of replenishment AA gunners for MUSASHI.

18 September 1943:
Truk. The fleet sorties to Brown Island, Eniwetok in response to raids on Tarawa, Makin and Abemama Atolls by Rear Admiral Charles A. Pownall's Task Force 15. Flagship MUSASHI remains at Truk with BatDiv 2's FUSO and BatDiv 3's KONGO and HARUNA.

25 September 1943:
The fleet returns to Truk.

5-6 November 1943:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Alfred E. Montgomery's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 14 carriers: USS ESSEX (CV-9), YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16), INDEPENDENCE (CV-22), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) and COWPENS (CVL-25) launch raids on Wake and the Marshall Islands.

17 October 1943:
After intercepting radio traffic that suggests the Americans are planning another raid on Wake Island, Admiral Koga sorties from Truk at 0705 to intercept the enemy carriers with BatDiv 1's MUSASHI (F), YAMATO, NAGATO, BatDiv 2's FUSO, BatDiv 3's KONGO, HARUNA, CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA, CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA, MOGAMI, CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA, TONE and light cruisers AGANO, NOSHIRO, OYODO and destroyers.

19 October 1943:
Arrives at Brown Atoll, Eniwetok at 1240.

23 October 1943:
At 0155 Koga's force departs Brown and sorties to a position 250 miles SW of Wake. Returns after no contact is made with enemy forces.

25 October 1943:
On the afternoon BatDivs 1, 2 and 3 conduct a main battery long range battle practice at sea.

26 October 1943:
At 1500 Koga's force returns to Truk. Her two F1M2 floatplanes are again temporarily dispatched to the IJN floatplane base at Dublon Island.

1 December 1943:
Carrier SHOKAKU arrives at Truk from Japan, carrying a detachment of 12 midshipmen of Naval Academy Class 72, slated for service aboard MUSASHI.

5 December 1943:
The USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercepts and decodes a message from the 902nd NAG, transmitted at 0600, that reads "Owing to heavy rain am unable to return to base. Am waiting at Kinyo Island for weather to improve. No. 1 aircraft FUSO and No. 2 aircaft MUSASHI." (FRUMEL comment: Kinyo Island, or Friday Island, is in the Truk Group which suggests these battleships are at Truk.)

6 December 1943:
Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 1 May 1944) Asakura Bunji (44)(former CO of TAKAO) is appointed the CO.

4 February 1944:
Two Consolidated PB4Y-1 "Privateer" photo-reconnaissance planes from VMD-254 at Bougainville overfly the Truk fleet anchorage. A Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" floatplane from MUSASHI attempts to intercept them at the altitude of 23,000 ft, but fails to overtake the faster-flying opponents. [3]

10 February 1944:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka in company of light cruiser OYODO and destroyers HATSUHARU, MICHISHIO, SHIRATSUYU and TAMANAMI. MUSASHI, with Admiral Koga Mineichi embarked, is the last IJN battleship leaving Truk.

15 February 1944:
At 1225, arrives at Yokosuka. That evening MUSASHI commences embarkation of ammunition, provisions and fuel for the garrison of Palau. Some 40 Isuzu and Nissan trucks are embarked on the afterdeck. Crated 60-kg and 250-kg aerial bombs and torpedoes intended for the Palau-based 751st NAG, as well as boxes of 12.7-mm AA ammunition are loaded to the foredeck. Gasoline drums are accommodated on the middle deck. The transfer of cargo continues until 24 February.

22 February 1944:
Yokosuka. MUSASHI embarks the 300-strong IJN 87th AA Defense Unit, a 100-strong Army unit and other personnel, including some IJN staff officers destined for reassignment to Palau.

At 1000 departs Yokosuka for Palau with MICHISHIO and SHIRATSUYU. Off Hachijo Jima, the group encounters a typhoon. After some sailors from SHIRATSUYU are washed overboard, the speed is reduced from 18 to 6 knots. The destroyer is briefly detached to search for the missing. [4]

25 February 1944:
BatDiv 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI are reassigned from the First Fleet to the Second Fleet.

27 February 1944:
On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit provides the following information:

"MUSASHI arrive Palau 27 Feb 44 carrying 3800 mines."

29 February 1944:
At 1807, arrives at Koror anchorage, Palau, where her cargo is unloaded. Remains there for one month. Her two Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" floatplanes are temporarily detached to conduct daily ASW patrols in vicinity of the anchorage.

11 March 1944:
Palau. MUSASHI receives fresh provisions from supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

28 March 1944:
Palau. Early in the morning the two F1M2 floatplanes from MUSASHI attack a suspected submarine with the 60-kg Type 99 No. 6 Mod. 2 depth bombs. Three Aichi E13A1 "Jake" floatplanes launched from other warships anchored at Palau arrive next and bomb the same target.

At 1430, the Combined Fleet's flag is lowered and "temporarily" moved ashore to avoid an anticipated air raid. Admiral Koga's entire 68-strong entourage is transferred to the 30th Base Unit HQ. Koga intends to return to MUSASHI once the attack is over, but later decides to move his headquarters by plane to Davao in the Philippines.

29 March 1944:
At 1530, MUSASHI departs Palau to avoid an anticipated air raid and moves towards the north of the island. She sails in company of cruisers ATAGO, CHOKAI and TAKAO, escorted by destroyers FUJINAMI, HARUSAME, MICHISHIO and SHIRATSUYU. DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and URAKAZE await the force at the entrance to the channel. At 1744, she clears the western channel when she is hit in the port bow about 20 feet below the waterline by one of six torpedoes fired by LtCdr John A. Scott's USS TUNNY (SS-282). The torpedo punches a hole about 19 feet in diameter; the forward windlass room and the Type 0 hydrophone compartment are flooded. There are 18 casualties including seven hydrophone operators killed in the bow. MUSASHI ships 2,630-tons of water, but is able to clear the area, making 24 knots.

DesDiv 17's URAKAZE, ISOKAZE counterattack TUNNY dropping 38 DCs, but their efforts are unsuccessful. Anticipating another air raid, Koga's staff forbids her to return to Palau after being hit. As soon as the damaged sections are shored up, MUSASHI departs that night for Kure with DesDiv 4's MICHISHIO, DesDiv 27's SHIRATSUYU and DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI.

31 March 1944:
At 2200, Admiral Koga departs Palau by a Kawanishi Type 2 H8K2 "Emily" flying-boat of the 851st Naval Air Group to establish a new headquarters at Davao, the Philippines. His Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Fukudome Shigeru (44)(former CO of NAGATO) departs at the same time on board another "Emily" of the 802nd NAG. Both planes are lost in a typhoon off Cebu, the Philippines. Koga perishes, but Fukudome is later rescued by the IJA.

2 April 1944:
At 0600, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: "Musashi BB was torpedoed on the 29th, hit at frame No. 12 to frames No. 40. Central shafts ----- cannot use ----- not clear, otherwise no damage. Request arrangements be made for immediate inspection and repair upon entering port."

3 April 1944:
At 0934, MUSASHI arrives at Kure. That evening, the bodies of the seven sailors KIA are extracted from the flooded hydrophone compartment.

On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit provides the following information:

"Evidence MUSASHI torpedoed and damaged leaving Palau evening 29 March by BLUE sub."

10-27 April 1944:
Dry-docked in Kure drydock No. 4, where repairs are made to the hull. The 15.5-cm wing turrets Nos. 2 and 3 are replaced by three triple 25-mm unshielded AA mounts on each side. Sixteen 25-mm triple mounts and 25 single mounts are added, increasing the number of their directors to fourteen. Two 150-cm searchlights (Nos. 7 and 8) and their directors are removed to make room for new 25-mm mounts and their directors. The searchlights are later reinstalled for use by Sasebo's AA batteries. MUSASHI's resulting AA suite is one hundred and fifteen 25-mm AA guns (30x3, 25x1). Two Type 22 surface-search and two Type 13 air-search radars are installed.

As a result of increased AA suite, the crew of MUSASHI is increased by two AA gunner divisions Nos. 6 (forward batteries) and 7 (stern area batteries).

14 April 1944:
On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit provides the following information:

"Evidence MUSASHI repairs may be completed by 30 April."

27 April 1944:
Commences working-up and radar tests in western Inland Sea.

1 May 1944:
MUSASHI departs Kure for Saeki, carrying supplies for the garrison of Okinawa. Conducts anti-submarine and AA exercises en route.

11 May 1944:
Departs Saeki for Okinawa. MUSASHI joins CarDiv 2's HIYO, JUNYO and RYUHO and CarDiv 3's ZUIHO, CHIYODA, CHITOSE and destroyers AKISHIMO, MICHISHIO, SHIGURE and TAMANAMI and heads for Okinawa.

12 May 1944:
Arrives at Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa. Unloads her cargo, refuels NOWAKI and SHIGURE. At 1845 departs Nakagusuku Bay for the Mobile Fleet's operating base at Tawitawi.

16 May 1944:
At 1915 MUSASHI arrives at Tawitawi anchorage, Sulu Sea. At 2100, her skipper is piped aboard YAMATO and participates in an ad hoc conference with Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome, ComBatDiv 1.

16 May-10 June 1944:
Tawitawi. In Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Mobile Fleet with BatDiv 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI.

2 June 1944:
Tawitawi. After 0900 MUSASHI and YAMATO target a destroyer at 35,000 m (38,280 yds) as a part of "offset" long range battle practice. Two rounds are fired from each main gun.

3 June 1944:
A staff conference is held aboard YAMATO to analyse the results of the gunnery practice held on the day before. MUSASHI's gunnery officer, Cdr (later Captain) Yunoki Shigenori (50) faces criticism for his ship's large salvo spreads.

6 June 1944:
In the afternoon damage control exercises are held aboard MUSASHI.

10 June 1944: Operation "KON" - The Relief of Biak:
At 1600, departs Tawitawi for Batjan Batjan, Halmahera Island with YAMATO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and destroyers ASAGUMO, OKINAMI and SHIMAKAZE. Cdr (MOH, posthumously) Samuel D. Dealey (USNA '30) in USS HARDER (SS-257), on station nearby, reports the "KON" Force leaving Tawitawi.

OKINAMI, steaming off the port beam of MUSASHI, spots USS HARDER's periscope and attacks her with depth charges, dodging the three torpedoes launched at her. According to one eyewitness account, MUSASHI fires one or two 12.7-cm rounds at HARDER's periscope before she can dive.

11 June 1944:
After 2000, the "KON" Force changes course to the south. As a result of a submarine scare and the subsequent maneuvering, MUSASHI nearly rams YAMATO.

12 June 1944:
The U.S. Invasion of Marianas begins. Operation "KON" is "postponed". At 0800 Ugaki's force arrives at Batjan where they are joined by CruDiv 5's HAGURO and MYOKO and destroyer ASAGUMO. While refueling, MUSASHI is grazed by the fleet oiler GENYO MARU. The portside 25-mm AA mounts Nos. 2 and 4 are wrecked.

13 June 1944:
At 2200, Ugaki's force departs Batjan to rendezvous with the Mobile Fleet.

14 June 1944:
N of Halmahera. While returning from an anti-submarine patrol, MUSASHI's Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" capsizes in rough seas, but the crew is rescued.

15 June 1944:
Ugaki's force is reported east of Mindanao by Cdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA '35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304).

16 June 1944:
Joins the Mobile Fleet. At 2000 hours, USS CAVALLA (SS-244) sights the Mobile Fleet in the Philippine Sea.

19 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's Second Fleet steams about 100 miles ahead of Vice Admiral Ozawa's carriers. At 0820, YAMATO's lookouts spot unidentified aircraft approaching at 13,125 ft. This is the fighter unit of Air Group 601's second strike, but Kurita has not received any information about a friendly overflight. Cruiser TAKAO fires four starshells that mean "identify yourself". No reply is given and the planes keep approaching.

When the planes are nine miles distant, the ships execute a turn to port and open fire. Four "Zeros" are damaged, another ditches. MUSASHI and YAMATO are among the few vessels whose lookouts correctly identify the overflying planes in time.

The Mobile Fleet's aircraft attack U.S. carrier Task Force 58 but suffer overwhelming aircraft losses in the "Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot".

20 June 1944:
Provides AA fire support for the retreating carrier ZUIHO. After 1735 fires several main gun salvoes with Type 3 "Sanshikidan" incendiary AA shells at a formation of twenty attacking Curtiss SB2C "Helldivers" from her aft turret, claiming two dive-bombers. During the same engagement MUSASHI's 25-mm AA gunners mistakenly shoot down one of the Mitsubishi A6M5 "Zero" fighters.

21 June 1944:
At 0550, MUSASHI opens fire at two airplanes identified as enemy shadowers.

22 June 1944:
At 1301, arrives at Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa to refuel the destroyer escorts, then departs for Japan the following day.

24 June 1944:
At 2023, arrives at Hashirajima.

29 June 1944:
At 0700, departs Hashirajima for Kure in company of YAMATO, arriving on that same day.

2 July 1944:
Kure. Embarks armament, ammunition and provision. Starting from 7 July, 2,200 men of the IJA's 49th Division's 106th Infantry Regiment are likewise embarked.

Five additional 25-mm triple AA mounts are installed for a total of one hundred and thirty guns (35x3, 25x1). Type 22 surface-search radars are replaced by Type 22 Mod. 4 with a limited fire-control capability. [5]

8 July 1944:
Kure. MUSASHI and YAMATO embark 3,522 men and materials of the IJA's 49th Division's 106th Infantry Regiment. At 0845, MUSASHI departs Kure for Okinawa with Group "A"'s YAMATO, CruDiv 4's ATAGO, TAKAO, MAYA and CHOKAI, CruDiv 7's KUMANO, SUZUYA, TONE and CHIKUMA, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and destroyers. At 1030, Group "B"'s KONGO, NAGATO, CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, DesRon 10's light cruiser YAHAGI and destroyers depart.

At 1830, Group "A" anchors in Usuki Bay, Kyushu, awaiting the arrival of Group "B".

9 July 1944:
At 0400, both groups depart Usuki Bay, heading SW at 20 kts.

10 July 1944:
Both groups arrive at Nakagusuku Bay. MUSASHI refuels two destroyers. At 2100, Group "A" departs Nakagusuku Bay for Lingga (near Singapore).

16 July 1944:
MUSASHI and YAMATO are detached from Group "A" and proceed directly to Lingga, escorted by SAMIDARE, SHIGURE and SHIMAKAZE.

At 1610, MUSASHI and YAMATO arrive at Lingga.

17 July 1944:
MUSASHI commences the transfer of her passengers and cargo to the 5,289-ton merchant cargo ship ZUISHO MARU, using ten Daihatsu barges. The works continue until 1700 on 18 July.

19 July 1944:
22 miles off Lingga anchorage. Conducts maneuvering practice and gunnery exercises with YAMATO.

21 July 1944:
Off Lingga. Conducts ASW exercises and lookout training with YAMATO, using I-37 as the target.

28 July 1944:
Off Lingga. Conducts AA exercises in company of YAMATO.

1 August 1944:
Off Lingga. Conducts main battery long range battle practice in company of YAMATO, after sundown participates in maneuvers and searchlight practice with CruDiv 4.

2 August 1944:
During a staff conference MUSASHI's new gunnery officer, Cdr (promoted Captain 15 October; Rear Admiral, posthumously) Koshino Kimitake (51) again faces criticism for his ship's large salvo spreads when firing in split salvo mode.

8 August 1944:
Off Lingga. MUSASHI conducts a radar-cotrolled firing exercise with her secondary guns.

12 August 1944:
Captain (promoted Rear Admiral 15 October; Vice Admiral, posthumously) Inoguchi Toshihira (46)(former CO of TAKAO) is appointed the CO. [6]

21 August 1944:
Off Lingga. BatDiv 1 conducts AA exercises.

24 August 1944:
BatDiv 1 sorties from Lingga to conduct night gunnery exercises using starshells.

26 August 1944:
On that day, the 14th Naval District Combat Intelligence Unit provides the following information:

"Personnel ordered to MUSASHI [and other vessels] on twenty-fourth will proceed to Manila and thence via air transportation to unknown estination."

1 September 1944:
YAMATO and MUSASHI depart Lingga anchorage at 0930 to conduct towing exercises, AA and anti-destroyer drills and a joint night gunnery exercise.

2 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. MUSASHI and YAMATO receive fresh provisions from supply ship KITAKAMI MARU.

16 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. MUSASHI receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

24 September 1944:
Lingga anchorage. MUSASHI receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

27 September 1944:
During a staff gunnery conference aboard ATAGO it is decided to resort to reduced propellant charges in case of both YAMATO class battleships to reduce their main battery salvo dispersion.

1 October 1944:
At 0610 BatDiv's MUSASHI, YAMATO and NAGATO sortie from Lingga to Galang (No. 3) anchorage N of Lingga, conducting maneuvering, AA and ASW exercises en route. On arrival at the anchorage, MUSASHI grazes an unmarked sandbar and her pit sword gets clogged, temporarily disabling the pitometer log. During the next few days NAGATO ferries the sailors from the two larger battlewagons to Singapore where they enjoy shore liberty.

7 October 1944:
Galang anchorage. MUSASHI receives fresh provisions from KITAKAMI MARU.

8 October 1944:
After sundown, MUSASHI and YAMATO participate in a joint gunnery exercise off Galang. MUSASHI acts as a target for YAMATO during an "offset" battle practice.

9 October 1944:
By 1026 both battleships return to Galang anchorage.

11 October 1944:
BatDiv 1 conducts joint battle exercises at Galang anchorage.

18 October 1944:
MUSASHI and YAMATO return to Lingga anchorage. Black deck camouflage intended for the night breakthrough in the San Bernardino Strait is hastily applied to both MUSASHI and YAMATO. In case of MUSASHI only a part of the upper deck is painted over.

19 October 1944:
Departs Lingga for Brunei Bay, Borneo.

20 October 1944:
At 1200 arrives at Brunei Bay. Prior to the arrival the ships are briefly escorted by eight Mitsubishi A6M5 fighters from the 381st NAG, led by Lt(jg) Nagakari Yoshiyuki (71). MUSASHI refuels heavy cruisers TONE, CHOKAI, SUZUYA and several destroyers. Rear Admiral Inoguchi orders to apply a gray camouflage with a dark tint to hull and turret sides. The work continues until the next day.

21 October 1944:
Brunei Bay. After 1220 MUSASHI refuels from HAKKO MARU.

22 October 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO" (Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
At 0800 sorties from Brunei towards the Philippines with Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's First Mobile Striking Force, Center Force: BatDiv 1's YAMATO, MUSASHI, NAGATO, CruDivs 4, 5, DesRon 2.

At the time of departure a total of 2,417 people are embarked on MUSASHI including her 2,399-strong crew (112 officers, 2,279 men and 8 Navy-hired civilians), six judicial service officers attached to Combined Fleet HQ, one Second Fleet liaison officer, two First Mobile Fleet liaison officers and nine sailors from NAGATO.

23 October 1944: The Battle of the Palawan Passage:
Two American submarines attack the Center Force. At 0534, LtCdr (later Captain) David H. McClintock's USS DARTER (SS-227) sinks Kurita's flagship, cruiser ATAGO. He abandons ship and is picked from the water by destroyer KISHINAMI. At 1550, ten hours later, Kurita transfers to YAMATO and resumes command of the First Diversion Attack Force. DARTER also damages cruiser TAKAO.

LtCdr (later Captain) Bladen D. Claggett's USS DACE (SS-247) sinks cruiser MAYA. MAYA's surviving crewmen are picked up by destroyer AKISHIMO and transferred to MUSASHI that afternoon. A total of 769 MAYA survivors are taken aboard MUSASHI including her XO, Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nagai Sadazo (51) and chief paymaster, Lt Kazusue Eiichi.

24 October 1944: The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea:

0743: the Center Force assumes the Y-25 AA cruising formation, divided into two concentric rings. MUSASHI, trimmed down by the stern, is stationed on the starboard edge of the leading No. 1 Unit.

0810: Tablas Strait. Lookouts on MUSASHI report the sighting of three Consolidated PB4Y "Privateer" patrol bombers. The air alarm is sounded. A search plane from USS INTREPID (CV-11) is sighted. Admiral Kurita orders MUSASHI to jam the enemy shadowers' sighting reports on the frequency 5,375 kilocycles.

1000: Lookouts sight over 40 enemy carrier planes on bearing 110.

1018: After the shadowing aircraft switch to a new frequency (5,710 kc), MUSASHI commences to jam it, too.

1025: MUSASHI opens fire.

1029: MUSASHI is attacked by eight Curtiss SB2C-3 "Helldivers" from INTREPID's VB-18, led by LtCdr George D. Ghesquiere. Four near-misses around the bow and amidships area damage the hull plating and two forward peak tanks below the waterline are slowly flooded. Several 25-mm AA gunners are injured by bomb fragments. One 1000-lb bomb hits turret No. 1 and bounces off, exploding in the air. The impact exposes a circular patch of armor with a diameter of 12 inches. Inside the turret a light fixture crashes down. Several 25-mm mounts on each side of the receive splinter damage.

Eight VF-18's F6F "Hellcats" conduct a strafing attack to silence the AA guns. Ens Hoshi Shuzo, the CO of the 25-mm battery No. 1, is killed, becoming the first officer from MUSASHI KIA. There are other casualties among the AA gunners and lookouts.

1029: MUSASHI is attacked by a division of six Grumman TBM-1C "Avengers" from INTREPID's VT-18. Inoguchi orders a hard starboard turn. Lt(jg) Raymond J. Skelly's torpedo bomber, attacking from the starboard, receives a direct hit and breaks up in the air, slamming into the sea; the entire crew perishes. Ens Willard M. Fletcher's "Avenger" is likewise hit by a 127-mm shell, but he manages to drop his Mk. 13-2A torpedo which hits MUSASHI at 1030 starboard amidships, slightly abaft the bridge, in way of the boiler room No. 11.

A single TBM-1C from USS CABOT's (CVL-28) attacks from the starboard side, but fails to score because of the heavy flak.

The torpedo hit causes a gradual flooding to boiler room No. 11. Small leaks develop around the popped rivets in the bulkhead separating boiler rooms Nos. 7 and 11. MUSASHI takes on 3,000-tons of water, causing a 5.5-degree list to starboard. The access hatch to the starboard hydraulic machinery space No. 3 and the adjacent hydraulic piping are reinforced. After counterflooding, the list is first reduced to 3 degrees and finally to one degree. The speed of the battleship is not affected.

The concussion from the torpedo jams the rotating structure of the main battery director on its ball race, disabling it.

During this attack, MUSASHI fires forty-eight 155-mm Type 0, one hundred and sixty 127-mm Type 3 rounds and an unknown number of 25-mm rounds. Two "Helldivers" receive flak damage, two "Avengers" (including the TBM-1C flown by Ens Fletcher) are shot down.

1047: Lookouts from MUSASHI, YAMATO, cruisers CHOKAI, NOSHIRO and destroyer KISHINAMI report periscope and torpedo wake sightings from that time on.

1154: Inoguchi transmits a report to Kurita,

1154: MUSASHI's Type 21 radar detects approaching enemy planes on bearing 290, range 81 kilometers.

1157: Another contact is made with aircraft bearing 210, range 80 kilometers.

1204: Enemy planes are sighted; the formation speed is increased to 24 knots. Two minutes later ten carrier planes appear 30 miles to the starboard. At the distance of 25,000 m (27,340 yds), MUSASHI targets them with her main battery guns, firing Type 3 "Sanshikidan" incendiary AA shells.

Eight SBW-3/SB2C-3 "Helldivers" from INTREPID attack simultaneously from the bow and stern directions. They score two bomb hits and five near-misses. Two "Helldivers" are shot down, four receive flak damage.

A dud (identified as "250-kg") strikes the forecastle and penetrates two upper decks, demolishes the forward crew head and exits beneath the bow flare above the waterline. A second bomb strikes portside ahead of 127-mm AA gun No. 4, penetrates two upper decks and explodes on the middle deck in crew space No. 10. A minor fire starts which is quickly put out by the repair party. That hit destroys the power cabling to remote power control of the 25-mm AA battery No. 8. A steam line supplying the crew galley is ruptured by backpressure, caused by the bomb explosion. The port inboard engine room No. 2 and the adjacent boiler room No. 10 are rapidly filled with superheated steam and have to be evacuated. The damage results in the loss of the port inboard shaft. MUSASHI's speed falls off to 22 knots.

1206: Nine VT-18 TBM-1C "Avengers" led by LtCdr Lloyd W. Van Antwerp close in two groups to execute an "hammer and anvil" attack. Three hits to MUSASHI's port side amidships area cause a 5-degree list. The first torpedo hits abreast the forward main gun turret, causing extensive flooding outside the citadel. The second floods hydraulic machinery space No. 2 on the first hold deck and the third causes the outboard bulkhead of the engine room No. 4 to sag inwards. Nearby compartments are shored up and the main guns switch over to reserve hydraulic pumps. After immediate counterflooding, the list is reduced to one degree port, but MUSASHI is down about 6 feet by the bow. Her three remaining propellers are throttled up for a maximum speed of 22 knots to keep pace with the rest of the fleet. [7]

During this attack, MUSASHI switches over to her second main armament director. She fires nine 460-mm Type 3 shells, seventeen 155-mm Type 0, two hundred and seventeen 127-mm Type 3 and an unknown number of 25-mm rounds. After the first main gun salvo the forward turret is disabled and evacuated. Inoguchi orders to flood its magazines to prevent a possible explosion. [8]

1312: Kurita orders fleet speed reduced to 22 knots so that MUSASHI can keep up.

1331-1355: MUSASHI undergoes a third attack, this time by 29 aircraft from USS ESSEX (CV-9) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-16). MUSASHI is first strafed by two VF-15 F6F "Hellcats". Then five SB2C-3 "Helldivers" from VB-15 score two near misses off the starboard quarter in way of the aft main gun turret No. 3 that cause casualties among the nearby 25-mm AA gun crews.

Six TBF/TBM-1C "Avengers" execute a "hammer and anvil" attack, scoring four hits. The first torpedo hits starboard, forward of the main gun turret No. 1. The massive explosion wrecks the log and sounding rooms on the second hold deck. Surgeon Lt Miyazawa Torao's forward emergency dressing room on the port side of the middle deck is filled with carbon monoxide fumes and has to be evacuated. There are many casualties.

The flooding extends rapidly to the platform deck above the hydraulic machinery space No. 3, trapping its 11-strong crew inside.

1350: The third attack is over. Counterflooding reduces the heavy list to starboard to one degree. The ship is now down 13 feet by the bow with almost all trim tanks and voids filled. MUSASHI's speed drops to 20 knots and she starts to lag behind the No. 1 Unit. During this attack, MUSASHI fires thirteen 460-mm Type 3 shells, forty-two 15.5-cm Type 0 shells, two hundred and ninety-four 12.7-cm shells and an unknown number of 25-mm rounds.

1420-1448: The fourth attack by twelve "Helldivers" and eight "Hellcats" from ESSEX is directed against YAMATO, NAGATO and NOSHIRO. MUSASHI continues to trail astern her section at approximately 20 knots.

MUSASHI provides fire support to her squadron, firing fifteen 46-cm Type 3 rounds, thirty-seven 15.5-cm Type 0 rounds, one hundred and sixteen 12.7-cm Type 3 rounds and an unknown number of 25 mm rounds.

1445: Cdr (later Captain) Mayuzumi Haruo (47), skipper of cruiser TONE, suggests that the entire No. 2 Unit provide fire support for MUSASHI to defend her against further torpedo attacks.

1455: Sixty-nine aircraft from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and FRANKLIN (CV-13) begin the fifth attack of the day on Kurita's fleet. Pilots from ENTERPRISE report MUSASHI lagging behind the other ships, trailing oil and making but 8 knots. MUSASHI hoists the signal 'Enemy aircraft sighted'.

1515: Nine of ENTERPRISE's VB-20 SB2C-3 "Helldivers" led by LtCdr Robert E. Riera, score four 1,000-lb SAP bomb hits. The first three strike in the port bow area and cause damage below decks. The entire forward damage control team is annihilated. The fourth bomb wrecks the chief steward's office.

Eight VT-20 TBM-1C "Avengers" under LtCdr Samuel L. Prickett, Jr. execute a "hammer and anvil" attack and score three torpedo hits. The first two hit the bow from both sides. The third hits starboard amidships abreast the funnel, near the very first torpedo hit location. The starboard hydraulic machinery space No. 3 on the first hold deck is instantaneously flooded and has to be evacuated. Three leaks appear in No. 2 Damage Control Central that cab be shored up. The departing American pilots report MUSASHI smoking, heavily down by the bow and dead in the water.

MUSASHI is, in fact, down by the bow, but is making 16 knots on three shafts. After counterflooding, her starboard list is reduced to 1-2 degrees, but her speed falls off to 13 knots.

Seventy-five aircraft from INTREPID, FRANKLIN and CABOT make the day's sixth attack on the fleet replacing the departing ENTERPRISE's planes. Thirty-seven planes attack MUSASHI.

1525: Three of FRANKLIN's VB-13 SB2C-3 "Helldivers" claim two 500-lb SAP bomb hits. All three are damaged by flak, one ditches.

1530: Seven INTREPID's VB-18 SB2C-3 "Helldivers" attack and claim three hits. A 1,000-lb SAP bomb strikes the starboard side of the air defense station, penetrates the No. 1 bridge and detonates in the operations room. Fifty-two crewmen are killed and 20 wounded.

MUSASHI's skipper, Rear Admiral Inoguchi in the air defense station is wounded in his right shoulder. LtCdr (Cdr, posthumously) Hirose Eisuke (63), the air defense officer, and Lt (LtCdr, posthumously) Yamada Takeo (65), the target tracking division officer, are killed. Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kariya Minoru (52), the navigating officer, is killed on No. 1 bridge. Captain Nagai Sadazo, the senior-ranking survivor from MAYA, is killed in the operations room. The operations room is totally devastated by the explosion and a minor fire breaks out.

Three bombs detonate in a row portside on the forecastle deck, abreast the forward main gun turrets. They knock out two single and one triple 25-mm AA gun mounts, the main communications room, telegraph room No. 1 and the telephone room. The blast penetrates the boiler rooms Nos. 4 and 8.

The next two bombs explode on the forecastle deck starboard, abreast the superstructure. They wreck two single and one triple 25-mm AA mounts. The seventh bomb hits the middle AA gun crew shelter, causing extensive damage on the flag deck. The eight bomb hits forward of the second breakwater and explodes in crew space No. 5 on the upper deck, devastating the sickbay examination room. The ninth bomb strikes the forward main gun turret and explodes on impact. Finally, the tenth bomb explodes starboard in the officer's wardroom.

MUSASHI is next attacked by nine VT-13 TBF/TBM-1C "Avengers" led by LtCdr Lawrence C. French and three VT-18 TBM-1Cs led by Lt(jg) Albert J. Long. A total of eleven hits are recorded, two of them duds.

Three torpedoes strike to port and two strike to starboard almost simultaneously, causing extensive damage and flooding in starboard area. The first of these torpedoes hits port (near a previous hit from the second attack) abreast the main gun turret No. 1, flooding its lower powder handling room. The second torpedo slowly floods port boiler room No. 8 and soon thereafter the adjacent No. 12 abaft. Almost simultaneously, a bomb explodes over boiler room No. 8 and its blast penetrates that boiler room.

The next four torpedoes strike port, further flooding boiler room No. 8 and the aft 25-mm gun magazine. Three of those four torpedoes strike port amidships in the vicinity of engine room No. 4. A 30-foot long section of the ship's side is gouged out. The engine room floods causing MUSASHI to lose her other portside shaft. Her speed drops to six knots.

The last two torpedoes strike port aft, flooding the 127-mm AA gun No. 6's magazine, the after gyro room and the port outboard shaft tunnel. One of those two hits under the aft 155-mm turret. MUSASHI develops a 10 degree list to port. Counterflooding reduces the list to six degrees. MUSASHI's steering engine fails temporarily and her main rudder jams 15 degrees left. She starts to swing to port, but the damage is repaired quickly and she resumes course. The Executive Officer, Captain Kato Kenkichi (48)(former XO of CHOKAI), takes over the conn from No. 2 (lower) bridge, assisted by the communications officer Cdr (Captain, posthumously) Miura Tokushiro (51).

In all, the Center Force endures raids by 259 U.S. carrier aircraft during the day. MUSASHI sustains a total of 19 torpedo (10 port, 9 starboard) and 17 bomb hits, as well as 20 near misses. [9]

1530: Vice Admiral Kurita orders the fleet to assume course 290.

1621: Kurita's force again approaches MUSASHI. She is heading north with a 10-degree list to port, down by the bow more than 26 feet, with her forecastle deck awash. Kurita dispatches cruiser TONE and destroyers SHIMAKAZE and KIYOSHIMO to escort her.

All free hands and the wounded are assembled topside starboard to counter the list. The port main anchor is dropped into the sea. Rice and other consumables from the storerooms, as well as timber used in damage control operations, are loaded on the starboard side. In a last attempt to reduce the list, the crew's spaces starboard aft, some boiler rooms and starboard outboard engine room No. 3 are flooded using the Kingston valves. As a result, MUSASHI loses another shaft. Admiral Inoguchi attempts to beach MUSASHI, but her engines stop before he can do so.

1826: Admiral Kurita orders destroyer HAMAKAZE to relieve SHIMAKAZE, escorting the crippled battleship. Prior to departure SHIMAKAZE comes alongside to embark 607 survivors from MAYA and four judicial service officers attached to the Combined Fleet HQ.

1915: When the list reaches 12 degrees, Inoguchi gives the order to "standby to abandon ship". The XO, Captain Kato Kenkichi assembles the crew on the afterdeck. The battle flag is lowered. Admiral Inoguchi retires to his sea cabin and is not seen again.

1930: After her list reaches 30 degrees to port, MUSASHI slowly starts to turn over. Captain Kato gives the order to abandon ship. He orders the Emperor's portrait removed.

At 1936, MUSASHI capsizes to port and sinks by the bow in 4,430 feet of water at 13-07N, 122-32E (as per her DAR; DesDiv 17 DAR lists that location as 12-50N, 122-35E and KIYOSHIMO's log as 12-48N, 122-41.5E). As the ship's stern upends and slides into the water, the aft turret falls off and two explosions are heard.

Destroyers KIYOSHIMO and HAMAKAZE rescue 1,423 survivors including MUSASHI's XO, Captain Kato, but 1,023 of her 2,399-man crew are lost including her skipper, Rear Admiral Inoguchi who is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously. MUSASHI's gunnery officer, Captain Koshino Kimitake refuses to be rescued and is listed as MIA. Cdr Miura Tokushiro is likewise listed as MIA and promoted to Captain. 117 MAYA survivors are likewise lost either during the air attacks or during the sinking.

The Americans lose 18 planes shot down.

25 October 1944:
At 0230, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: "Completed Musashi – BB rescue operations at 0215 on the 25th. Following numbers of personnel rescued: Hamakaze: Executive officer and 800 men (of which 30 were officers). Isokaze: 30 officers and 410 men. Escorts arrive Coron at 1730." [10]

MUSASHI's survivors are taken to Corregidor Island at the entrance to Manila Bay. They are given the designation "Kato Regiment" after the name of their surviving second in command, Captain Kato.

Later, most are then sent home, about 200 on carrier JUNYO and some on YAMATO. When they reach Japan these survivors are sent to the Kurihama Paratroop Regiment barracks at Kure.

On 23 Nov 1944, 420 survivors are embarked on MANJU MARU (ex-SANTOS MARU) at Corregidor along with about another 2,000 soldiers, but on 25 November, she is sunk by USS ATULE (SS-403); about 700 soldiers, including about 50 MUSASHI survivors, are KIA. When they reach Japan, the MUSASHI survivors who were rescued after MANJU MARU's sinking are initially confined to one of the smaller islands in the Inland Sea. Later they are reassigned to other warships including the battleship YAMATO.

The remaining 709 survivors are divided between defending IJN units. 42 at Corregidor (Mizuho) Island, 320 at Clark Field, 35 at Gunkan Island, 39 at Yamato Island and 35 at Fuso Island. An unknown number served at Cavite Naval Base, Fort Drum in Manila Bay, the Caraballo Mountains and the Cabaruan Hills, many of whom probably died of illnesses or wounds.

146 survivors are incorporated into the Special Naval Landing Force of Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Iwabuchi Sanji's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) 31st Naval Base Force. 117 are listed as KIA or MIA defending Manila.

31 August 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

2 March 2015:
Sibuyan Sea. After more than eight years of searching using historical records from four countries, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology, the Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and his team of researchers aboard his yacht M/Y OCTOPUS locate super battleship MUSASHI. In February 2015, the team set out to conduct the final phase of the search using a BlueFin-12 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). Because the search area had been narrowly defined by the survey, the AUV was able to detect the wreckage of MUSASHI on only its third dive. A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) with a high-definition camera confirmed the identity of the wreckage as MUSASHI. Allen and team are mindful that the wreckage of MUSASHI is a war grave and intend to work with the Japanese government to ensure the site is treated respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions. (Pictures by Paul Allen).

MUSASHI lies at a depth of about 910 metres (3,000 ft) in several pieces. Most of the hull amidships is blown apart. The bow section from the number one barbette forward is upright on the sea floor while the stern is upside down. The forward superstructure (and funnel) is detached and lies on its port side.

Sibuyan Sea – Site of sinking   Bow - Remains of gilt gold teak chrysanthemum, Imperial Seal
Lower engineering area - valve wheel   Stern deck - catapult for Mitsubishi F1M2s.
Deck- 5-inch (12.7 centimeters) gun turret.   Starboard 15-ton bower anchor remains in place underwater.
Allen's yacht OCTOPUS.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Several popular accounts suggest that the curtain was manufactured either from hemp or sisal. In reality the contemporary records identify the plant in question as Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei).

[2] Prince Fushimi was a second cousin to Emperor Hirohito (Showa). The actual launch weight of MUSASHI (35,553 tons) turned out to be marginally lighter than the calculated 35,737 tons.

[3] The photographic "take" during this mission is processed by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) at Pearl. The photo-interpreters and ship designers who reviewed the huge battleship in the photos suggested that she must displace at least 60,000-tons and carry 18-inch guns.

[4] According to the Japanese author and historian Yoshimura Akira, most of MUSASHI's deck cargo was lost in the typhoon. Newer research, however, has shown that only a few gasoline cans were washed overboard.

[5] According to the memoirs of one survivor (S1C Tsukada Yoshiaki), two rocket launchers were installed at that time, one to each side. This claim is not supported by contemporary sources including the DAR of MUSASHI or any other survivor accounts.

[6] Popular accounts misidentify Inoguchi Toshihira as Iguchi Toshihira or Inoguchi Toshihei. The IJN Navy List of 1937 (p. 73), however, identifies him as Inoguchi Toshihira.

[7] Garzke and Dulin (1985, p. 68) suggest that the bow trim was caused by near misses during the first attack. The DAR of MUSASHI, however, confirms that the bow trim appeared after the second attack.

[8] Many popular accounts of MUSASHI's loss suggest that her main battery started to use Type 3 "Sanshikidan" shells during the fifth attack, owing to her skipper's supposed reluctance to use that weapon. That legend is based on the memoirs of PO2C Hosoya Shiro, a lookout who by his own admission was not very well informed about the gunnery materiel of his ship. MUSASHI's DAR clearly shows that main battery was used during the second attack. In fact, two other survivors (CPO Suzuki Torazo and S1C Shibata Kuraji) maintained that they had heard the main battery firing during the first attack.

There are two conflicting reports about what transpired in the forward turret during the second attack. In his 1313 radio message to Kurita Admiral Inoguchi referred to a shell explosion. The crew of the forward turret on the other hand maintained that there was a Type 3 shell rebound when the rammer suddenly withdrew without completing the reloading cycle. The shell slid out of the breech and damaged the loading gear. During the subsequent inspection its nose fuse was found to be missing and the turret crew attributed it to damage inflicted by the strafing aircraft. After the gunnery officer had received their report, he ordered to evacuate the turret.

[9] Over 50 years later, the total number and location of all hits during this last attack are still under dispute. The DAR of MUSASHI confirms 11 torpedo hits (including two duds in port amidships area), ten bomb hits and six near-misses.

[10] ISOKAZE, identified in this intercept was, in reality, KIYOSHIMO. According to the War Diary of DesDiv 17, HAMAKAZE and KIYOSHIMO rescued 1,423 officers and men in all, 58 of them being severely wounded/injured. A number of those died either prior to the arrival or at the hospital.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro and Gengoro Toda of Japan, John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages, reader Uchiyama "Mucho" Mutsuo of Denmark, Gilbert Casse of France, Messrs. Richard Wolff, Richard "Tiornu" Worth and Robert Lundgren for assistance with various Japanese source materials and an unidentified reader for information about MUSASHI's survivors. Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.

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