HOKAN!

(Gunboat IJN HOZU by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Gunboat TATARA:
Tabular Record of Movement

©2007 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


1926:
Shanghai, China. Laid down at the Kiangnan Engineering and Dock Works.

28 May 1927:
Launched and designated USS GUAM (PG-43).

28 December 1927:
Completed. LtCdr S. G. Moore is the Commanding Officer. Assigned to the South China Patrol.

15 June 1928:
Redesignated PR-3.

1930:
River gunboats GUAM, USS TUTUILA (PR-4) and USS PANAY (PR-5) are on constant patrol on the Yangtze River. They range from Shanghai as far up the Yangtze as above the "Three Gorges" (Xiling, Wu and Qutang). In the spring of 1930, GUAM is at Chungking with British, French and Japanese gunboats.

4 July 1930:
Chinese Civil War. GUAM steams for Yochow and Chenglin to insure the safety of American missionaries and other foreigners in those two cities, then in Communist hands. As GUAM approaches Tungting Lake, she comes under small arms fire near Yochow. A seaman is hit and dies. GUAM's three-inch guns open fire with 34 rounds of HE. The shooters soon flee.

1930-1937:
GUAM is based at various ports along the Yangtze including Chungking, Ichang, Hankow, Shanghai, and Kiukiang.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (First "China") Incident:
GUAM is based at Hankow. Meanwhile, at Peking (now Beijing), Japanese troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. The Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. They demand entry to a suburb of Peking to look for him. The Chinese refuse, so the Japanese shell the city and undeclared war on China begins.

9 October 1937: The Conquest of Shanghai:
Shanghai is occupied by Japanese forces.

December 1937:
As the Japanese close on Wuhu on the Yangtze, GUAM takes part in the transfer of Americans to Hankow.

1938:
Based at Ichang, 975 miles above Shanghai.

24 November 1938:
GUAM is at Hankow to protect the lives and property of American nationals endangered by the Sino-Japanese conflict.

28 December 1938-November 1941:
At Shanghai.

23 January 1941:
Renamed USS WAKE (PR-3) to enable the name GUAM to be used for a new battle cruiser (CB-2).

November 1941:
At Hankow.

7 November 1941:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders all river gunboats and the 4th United States Marines to leave China, except those Marines assigned to protect diplomatic posts.

18 November 1941:
In response to deteriorating political conditions in China, Admiral (later Senator) Thomas C. Hart, CINC, U. S. Asiatic Fleet orders Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford, CO of the Yangtze River Patrol (ComYangPat), to return to Manila with five of his larger gunboats.

24 November 1941:
LtCdr Andrew E. Harris' WAKE departs Hankow, ignoring Japanese demands to stay, and begins a 600-mile voyage down the Yangtze to Shanghai.

28 November 1941:
WAKE arrives at Shanghai. LtCdr Harris and his crew, except for 14 men, are transferred to the larger gunboats USS OAHU (PR-6) and LUZON (PR-7) that preceeded WAKE down river. A skeleton crew of 14 reservists, under a Shanghai commercial harbor pilot, LtCdr Columbus D. Smith, USNR, remains on board.

4 December 1941:
Only two USN vessels remain in Chinese waters, both not seaworthy enough undertake a crossing of the Formosa Straits in foul weather. WAKE is at Shanghai to maintain communications until a radio station is established at the Consulate General and USS TUTUILA (PR-4) is at Chungking to furnish essential services to the U. S. Embassy.

8 December 1941:
Shanghai. WAKE is rigged to be to scuttled with demolition charges. About 0400, some two hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, WAKE is boarded and seized by Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops. Surprised and overwhelmed, WAKE's crew is taken as prisoners of war before they can scuttle the ship. WAKE is the only USN warship to surrender in WW II. LtCdr Smith, ashore at the time of WAKE's capture, is also made a POW. [1]

Captain Otani Inaho (51) and a detachment of Special Naval Landing Force troops arrive and board British river gunboat HMS PETEREL moored nearby. Otani informs her CO, Lt Stephen Polkinghorn, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, that their countries are at war and demands the surrender of the ship. Polkinghorn refuses and orders the Japanese off at gunpoint. Illuminated by coast defense ship (ex-armored cruiser) IJN IZUMOís searchlights, IJN gunboats SETA and ATAMI, a destroyer and IJA artillery pieces ashore sink PETEREL by gunfire. Six of PETERELís crew of 21 men are lost, but Polkinghorn, although wounded, and the others survive and are made POWs.

15 December 1941:
WAKE is renamed IJN TATARA and attached to the Sasebo Naval District. TATARA is assigned to the China Area Fleet in the Shanghai Base Force. Lt Yasumura Taiichi is appointed CO. Undergoes refit at the Kiangnan Engineering and Dock Works, later at No. 1 Repair Facility in Shanghai. Two 3-inch AA guns are installed

26 January 1942 :
After completion of repairs, departs for Shanghai.

29 January 1942:
Arrives at Shanghai.

31 January 1942:
Patrols off Nanking thereafter.

14 April 1942:
Departs Nanking.

16 April 1942:
TATARA arrives at Shanghai and undergoes repair.

16 May 1942:
Repairs are completed.

18 May 1942:
Departs Shanghai.

20 May 1942:
Patrols off Nanking thereafter.

11 October 1942:
Runs aground off Nanking.

12 October 1942:
Arrives at Kiangnan shipyard. Undergoes repairs.

5 November 1942:
Repairs are completed.

12 November 1942:
Departs Shanghai. Patrols off Tiansheng.

4 December 1942:
Patrols between Shanghai and Tiansheng.

February 1943:
Lt Akagi Toshiro is appointed CO.

20 August 1943:
TATARA is assigned to the Yangtze River Special Base Force.

1 September 1943:
Reassigned to China Area Fleet, Lower Yangtze Guard Force. Patrols between Hankow and Anking.

1 January 1944:
Reassigned to the Anking Area Guard Unit. Patrols between Nanking and Anking.

3 June 1944:
Anchored off Anking with NARUMI (former ERMANNO CARLOTTO). Between 0105 and 0139, both gunboats come under attack by Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bombers, dropping bombs from high altitude. One small bomb lands 550-yards abaft of TATARA.

18 June 1944:
Anking. At about 1300, anchored gunboats TATARA, NARUMI, SUMA and ATAMI are attacked by three North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bombers escorted by twelve Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighters. TATARA and SUMA receive ten near misses. [2]

1 October 1944:
TATARA and NARUMI are reassigned to the newly-formed 24th Gunboat Division attached to Anking Area Guard Unit.

10 October 1944:
Lt Akagi Toshiro assumes joint duty as CO of the 24th Gunboat Division.

2 December 1944:
Kiukiang. In the evening, TATARA and NARUMI are attacked by six North American P-51 "Mustang" fighters.

7 December 1944:
Off Kiukiang. After 1317, two P-51s attack TATARA and NARUMI, as well as MARUKO and RASAN MARUs anchored nearby.

18 December 1944:
Off Kiukiang. After 1500, three P-51s attack TATARA, NARUMI, SETA and KATADA.

19 December 1944:
Early in the morning, TATARA and KATADA depart Kiukiang for Shanghai.

24 December 1944:
Shanghai. Transferred to Kiangnan Engineering and Dock Works for battle damage repairs and AA upgrade.

1 January to 3 February 1945:
Repaired at Kiangnan. Several 13.2-mm Type 93 AA machine guns are installed.

15 August 1945:
Shanghai. Receives notice of the termination of the war.

9 September 1945:
Japanese troops in China formally surrender. TATARA is surrendered to Allied forces.

30 September 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

1946:
Ceded to the Chinese Nationalist Party. Renamed RCS TAI YUAN.

1949:
Captured by the People's Republic of China. Serves into the 1960s.


Authors' Notes:
[1] In 1944, the resourceful Smith and two fellow POWs escape and walk 700 miles across Japanese-occupied China to freedom.

[2] The bombers were probably 75-mm cannon-equipped B-25Gs, since they left several unusually large craters behind.

Thanks for assistance go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


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