© 1998 Allyn D. Nevitt

IJN Shimotsuki: Tabular Record of Movement

Name Translation: "Frosty Moon"

31 March 1944:
Completed at Nagasaki; assigned same date to Desron 11, Combined Fleet, for training. Ship's captain: Lieutenant Commander Hatano Kenji [57] (prev. C.O. HAGIKAZE).

3 April:

Arrived Kure, then training in Inland Sea.

10-14 June:

Assigned to Desron 10, Third Fleet, then steamed from Sasebo to Guimarras to join fleet.

19-20 June: Battle of the Philippine Sea

Escorted Admiral Ozawa's Force A.

8-20 July:

Escorted fleet from Kure via Okinawa and Manila to Lingga.

15 July:

Assigned to Desdiv 41 (SHIMOTSUKI, FUYUZUKI), Desron 10, Third Fleet. Flagship of Comdesdiv 41, Captain Wakida Kiichiro [48] (prev. Comdesdiv 21).

4-15 August:

Escorted Convoy HI-70 from Singapore to Moji. Primary escort and planeguard to SHINYO.

17-24 August:

Docked at Yokosuka, then training.

15 October:
Lieutenant Commander Hatano promoted to Commander.

25 October: Battle of Leyte Gulf

Escorted Admiral Ozawa's Northern Force in Battle off Cape Engano. Assisted ISUZU rescuing CHITOSE survivors, then escorted ISE-HYUGA surface attack force.

8-16 November:

Escorted ISE and HYUGA on transport mission from Kure to Manila, but diverted to Spratly Islands instead.

19-22 November:

Escorted fleet from Spratlys to Lingga.

24 November:

Became flagship of Escort Squadron 31 (Rear Admiral Edo Heitaro [40]) at Singapore, then departed with MOMO for Brunei.

25 November:

Sunk: torpedoed by USS CAVALLA (SS-244) 220 miles east-northeast of Singapore (2-21 N, 107-20 E) with heavy loss of life, including Commander Hatano, Comdesdiv 41 (Captain Wakida), and Admiral Edo. MOMO returned to rescue survivors.

10 January 1945:
Removed from Navy List.

[1] Editorial Note - Shimotsuki actually suffered notable damage at Engano. She came under air attack at 1726, suffering several near-miss bombs. One of them, off the port quarter opened a gash just abaft the aft engine room, causing her to lose oil and warping frames # 126-143. Sea water began to pour into the port shaft alley, causing 5 degree port list and a 2-knot reduction in speed to 31 knots. The aft radar was knocked out and 1 man killed. Shimotsuki escaped without further harm, but the strength of after hull now depended on her keel and middle shaft brackets holding. This required caution returning home in heavy seas, and speedy drydocking. - (Tully)

[2] Editorial Note - The sinking of Shimotsuki is one of the less known disasters of the IJN destroyer fleet. USS Cavalla's report noted that at the time of attack Shimotsuki and Momo were steaming on course 070 at a cruising pace of 15 knots, with Momo 1,000 yards abeam to port of Shimotsuki. Cavalla observed the first hit at 0448 one minute forty seconds after firing with first "amidships. Eight seconds later the second hit just aft of amidships, the third hit on the bow, and the fourth hit on the stern, all hits about 8 seconds apart." The first two hits causing a tremendous explosion and the target starting to buckle in the middle. It sank in pieces inside two minutes. IJN records note the Desron 31 flagship was hit at 0448 and Momo said "sank instantaneously". According to a modern Japanese source ("High-angle gun and air defense destroyers" by Akira, Endo. Hara Shobo press 1975) only 46 survivors were rescued by Momo; everyone else aboard including the whole Desron 31 staff perished.The wreck of Shimotsuki was discovered 6 July 2002. The information confirms three of the torpedo hits and that Shimotsuki was blasted apart (though her torpedoes did not explode)and plummeted to the bottom so fast she landed on the opposite side.- (Tully)

For more details, see: Shipwrecks of the IJN

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