JUNYOKAN!

(TATSUTA in 1931)

IJN Light Cruiser TATSUTA:
Tabular Record of Movement

1997-2018 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 9


24 July 1917:
Laid down at the Sasebo Navy Yard.

1 May 1918:
Cdr (promoted Captain 1 December; later Rear Admiral) Kagara Otohiko (27)(former XO of TSUKUBA) is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer (CEO).

29 May 1918:
Launched and named TATSUTA.

31 May-26 June 1918:
Cdr Kagara is appointed the CO of the survey ship KOSHU as additional duty.

31 March 1919:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Attached to Sasebo Naval District. Captain Kagara Otohiko is the CO.

2 October 1920:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Odera Ryokichi (27)(former ComDesDiv 2) is appointed the CO.

20 November 1921:
Cdr (promoted Captain 1 December 1921; later Rear Admiral) Kawamura Tatsuzo (30)(former XO of FUSO) is appointed the acting CO of TATSUTA.

1 December 1921:
Captain Kawamura is appointed the CO.

10 June 1922:
Captain Takahashi Takejiro (28)(former CO of SHIRETOKO) is appointed the CO.

20 November 1922:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tachi Meijiro (30)(former Naval Academy instructor) is appointed the CO.

10 May 1923:
Captain Takeuchi Tadashi (30)(former ComDesDiv 1) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1923:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ichimura Hisao (31)(former ComDesDiv 1) is appointed the CO.

6 March 1924:
Captain Yoshida Shigeaki (30)(current CO of AZUMA) is appointed the CO of TATSUTA as additional duty.

25 March 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsuzaki Sunao (31)(former Naval Academy instructor) is appointed the CO.

10 November 1924:
Cdr (promoted Captain 1 December) Shibayama Shiba (32)(former CO of YODO) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1925:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Niiyama Yoshiyuki (32)(former CO of NARUTO) is appointed the CO.

20 May 1926:
Captain Takagi Heiji (31)(former CO of KAMOI) is appointed the CO.

1 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Iwamura Kanekoto (31)(former ComDesDiv 1) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1927:
Captain Yamamoto Matsushi (33)(former ComDesDiv 29) is appointed the CO.

1 May 1929:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kawana Torao (34)(former CO of HAYATOMO) is appointed the CO.

30 November 1929:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Tange Kunji (36)(former XO of NAGATO) is appointed the CO.

20 November 1930:
Captain Sakuma Masao (36)(former staff officer at Chinkai port office) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuki Masukichi (37)(former XO of JINGEI) is appointed the CO.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Aihara Aritaka (38)(former CO of NOJIMA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Oshima Shiro (36)(former CO of UJI) is appointed the CO.

1 November 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Hara Chuichi (39)(former CO of ATAKA) is appointed the CO.

15 November 1935:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yatsushiro Sukeyoshi (40)(former ComSubDiv 7) is appointed the CO.

1 June 1936:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Fukuda Teizaburo (40)(former CO of SATA) is appointed the CO.

1 April 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takayanagi Gihachi (41)(former Combined Fleet staff officer) is appointed the CO.

July 1937:
Two 13.2-mm Type 93 machine guns are added to forward funnel area, one on each side.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Yamaguchi Jihei (41)(former Yokosuka naval district staff officer) is appointed the CO.

10 May 1938:
TATSUTA participates in an amphibious assault on Amoy (Xiamen) with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Koichi Shiozawa's (32)(former CO of FURUTAKA) 5th Fleet consisting of CruDiv 9's MYOKO (F) and TAMA, CruDiv 10's TATSUTA and TENRYU, DesRon 5's light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 3's NADAKAZE, SHIMAKAZE, SHIOKAZE, DesDiv 16's KARUKAYA, FUYO and ASAGAO, CarDiv 1's KAGA, DesDiv 29's HAYATE and OITE, SORYU with DesDiv 30's YAYOI and KISARAGI, auxiliary seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU, collier MUROTO, CarDiv 3's seaplane tender KAMOI, auxiliaries SHURI, CHOJU, DELHI, EIKO, IKUTA, KAZAN, KURI, HAYA MARUs and DAIICHI MARU No. 8, NANSHIN MARU No. 8, NANSHIN MARU No. 31, TAIKO, YODACHI and auxiliary minelayers ENOSHIMA and ENTO.

At dawn, the 5th Fleet's warships, including TATSUTA, bombard Ho-tsu, Ni-chin and Wu-tung cover an amphibious assault landing by more than 2,000 troops of the Yokosuka, Kure and Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF). At the same time, NE of Xiamen (Amoy), Japanese aircraft from tenders KAMOI and KAMIKAWA MARU bomb bridges, roads, ferries and ships. The poorly equipped Nationalist Chinese 75th Division defenders suffer heavy casualties and are overrun by the SNLFs and withdraw.

12 May 1938:
That night, Chinese forces abandon Amoy to the Japanese.

20 August 1938:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Ito Yasunoshin (42)(former Combined Fleet staff officer) is appointed the CO.

15-28 January 1939:
Captain Ito is appointed the CO of the seaplane tender KAGU MARU as additional duty.

25 May 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsura Tadayuki (40)(former CO of KATSURIKI) is appointed the CO.

1 July-15 November 1939:
Captain Matsura is appointed the CO of NOTORO as additional duty.

25 September 1940:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Sawa Masao (44)(former CO of TSURUMI) is appointed the CO.

20 August 1941:
Captain Baba Yoshifumi (46)(former XO of HARUNA) is appointed the CO.

TATSUTA is based at Truk in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet in CruDiv 18 with light cruiser TENRYU.

1 December 1941:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Marumo Kunimori (former CO of ASHIGARA) assumes command of CruDiv 18's TATSUTA and TENRYU.

2 December 1941: Operation "Z":
The coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" is received from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).[1]

8 December 1941: The Invasion of Wake Island:
CruDiv 18's TATSUTA and TENRYU depart Roi-Namur, Kwajalein with Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of KISO) Wake Island Attack Force's DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, DesDiv 29's OITE and HAYATE, DesDiv 30's KISARAGI, MUTSUKI, YAYOI and MOCHIZUKI, two converted destroyer transports, submarine depot ship JINGEI and transports KONGO and KINRYU MARUs.

11 December 1941:
DesRon 6's YUBARI and three destroyers close to within 4,500 yards of Wake Island to bombard American positions. At 0615, Marine 1st Lt Clarence A. Barninger's Battery "A" 5-inch guns open fire. YUBARI is straddled but not hit. She opens the range to 5,700 yards, and is straddled twice more, but not hit.

Two miles SW of Wake Island. HAYATE, OITE and ASANAGI close to bombard Wilkes Island, but HAYATE takes three direct hits from salvos of Marine 2nd Lt John A. McAlister's Battery "L" 5-inch guns. At 0652, HAYATE blows up and sinks with her entire crew of 168 at 19-16 N, 166-37 E. Battery "L" also scores a near-miss that damages OITE.

DesDiv 30's YAYOI, MUTSUKI and KISARAGI close to bombard both Wilkes and Peale Islands. 1st Lt Woodrow W. Kessler's Battery "B" 5-inch guns on Peale open fire and score a hit on YAYOI.

9,000 yds SW of Kuku Point, Wake. At 0724, USMC Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" strafe TENRYU and damage three torpedoes in her deck mount. A "Wildcat" strafes TATSUTA, raking her radio shack with machine-gun fire. Both fighters are damaged by AA fire.[2]

Captain Henry T. Elrod, USMC, hits KISARAGI with a 100-lb. bomb that probably detonates her depth charges. At 0731, the destroyer blows up and sinks with her entire crew of 150 at 18-55 N, 166-17 E.

That morning, a dejected Rear Admiral Kajioka orders his Attack Force to return to Kwajalein.

13 December 1941:
Arrives at Roi, Kwajalein.

21 December 1941:The Second Invasion of Wake Island:
The Attack Force is joined by CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, destroyers URAKAZE and TANIKAZE that detach from Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) returning Pearl Harbor Striking Force. The Attack Force is also joined by Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA, seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and destroyers ASANAGI and YUNAGI. The Reinforced Attack Force then sorties from Roi in support of the invasion.

23 December 1941:
After a magnificent, but hopeless stand, Wake's grossly outnumbered garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

27-29 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

3 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

20 January 1942: Operation "R" - The Invasion of Kavieng, New Ireland:
CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA depart Truk with troop transports KINRYU MARU, GOYO MARU and AZUMASAN MARU, escorted by DesDiv 23's KIKUZUKI, UZUKI and the YUZUKI. They are screened by CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA and CarDiv 11's seaplane tender CHITOSE. Distant cover is provided by CarDiv 1's AKAGI, KAGA, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/2's HIEI and KIRISHIMA and CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and destroyers.

23 January 1942:
About midnight, the transports land three companies of the 2nd Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force. By 0335, they capture Kavieng's airfield.

CruDiv 18 remains off Kavieng as guardships.

3 February 1942:
Departs Kavieng to support the invasion of Gasmata Island, New Britain.

9 February 1942:
Gasmata is occupied.

13 February 1942:
Departs Gasmata.

18 February 1942:
CruDiv 18 arrives at Truk.

20 February 1942:
Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr's (later President Roosevelt's Naval Aide) Task Force 11 (USS LEXINGTON, CV-2), is en route to attack Rabaul. The task force is spotted by a Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boat of the Yokohama Kokutai. Since surprise is lost, the American attack is cancelled.

That same day, CruDiv 18 sorties from Truk with CruDiv 6's KINUGASA, FURUTAKA and KAKO in an attempt to respond to Task Force 11's attempted raid on Rabaul.

23 February 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Refit. Two Type 96 twin-mount 25-mm AA guns are installed aft.

2 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 departs Truk.

5 March 1942: Operation "SR" - The Invasions of Lae-Salamaua:
Arrives at Rabaul. That same day, CruDiv 18's TATSUTA and TENRYU and KIYOKAWA MARU depart with CruDiv 6's AOBA, FURUTAKA, KINUGASA and KAKO, minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU, DesRon 6's YUBARI and destroyers MUTSUKI, YAYOI, MOCHIZUKI, OITE, ASANAGI and YUNAGI.

8 March 1942:
Provides cover for the invasions of Lae and Salamaua, then departs the area.

9 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Buka, Bougainville.

11 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Rabaul.

14 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart Rabaul.

15 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Buka.

17 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart Buka.

18 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at the Mwe Passage, near Kavieng, New Ireland.

26 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart the Mwe Passage.

27 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Rabaul.

28 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Shortland.

31 March 1942:
CruDiv 6 and CruDiv 18 cover the invasion landings at Kieta, Bougainville.

1 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Rabaul. Refuel and depart that same day.

2 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at the Mwe Passage.

5 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart the Mwe Passage.

7 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Manus, Admirality Islands.

8 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart Manus.

10 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 arrive at Truk. Refit.

5 April 1942: Operation "MO" - The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
CruDiv 18, seaplane carriers KAMIKAWA and KIYOKAWA MARUs and No. 5 Gunboat Group's KEIJO, SEIKAI and NIKKAI MARUs are assigned to provide cover for Rear Admiral Kajioka's Port Moresby Attack Force's DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI, destroyers OITE, ASANAGI, MUTSUKI and YAYOI with a patrol boat and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force's 12 transports and minesweeper W-20.

28 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 departs Truk for an area S of the Solomons.

29 April 1942: Rear Admiral Kajioka's Force departs Rabaul and stops briefly at Shortland Islands, Bougainville to setup a seaplane base. Oiler IRO remains at Shortlands as a station tanker with KEIJO MARU and elements of the 84th Guard Unit.

3 May 1942:
CruDiv 18 covers the invasion landings on Santa Isabel Island. KAMIKAWA and KIYOKAWA MARUs with the No. 5 Gunboat Group's SEIKAI MARU and NIKKAI MARU establish a seaplane base at Rekata Bay. KIYOKAWA MARU remains at Rekata, but CruDiv 18 and KAMIKAWA MARU depart for Deboyne Island in the Louisiade Archipelago in the Louisades.

5 May 1942:
CruDiv 18 arrives off DeBoyne. KAMIKAWA MARU is detached.

11 May 1942: Operation "RY" - The Invasion of Ocean-Naru Island.
After Operation "MO" is cancelled, TATSUTA and minelayer TSUGARU are ordered to join the Ocean-Naru Invasion Force.

12 May 1942:
Arrives at Buka.

13 May 1942:
Departs Buka with the Ocean-Naru Invasion Force.

15 May 1942:
Operation "RY" is cancelled.

19 May 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Refuels and departs that same day.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru. Refit.

3 June 1942:
Drydocked.

13 June 1942:
Undocked.

16 June 1942:
Departs Maizuru. CruDiv 18's TATSUTA and TENRYU join CruDiv 6's AOBA and KAKO for training in the Bungo Suido.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

14 July 1942:
The IJN undergoes a major reorganization. The Eighth Fleet is created under Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi (former CO of KIRISHIMA) and based at Rabaul. Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsuharu (former CO of KITAKAMI) assumes command of CruDiv 18. Admiral Marumo is reassigned to the Maizuru Naval District.

20 July 1942: Operation "RI" - The Invasion of Buna, New Guinea:
At 2000, CruDiv 18 departs Rabaul for Buna with minelayer TSUGARU, destroyers ASANAGI, YUZUKI and UZUKI and subchaser CH-32 escorting troop transports AYATOSAN, KINRYU and RYOYO MARUs.

That same day, Captain Yoshimura Matake (45)(former ComDesDiv 27) is appointed the CO.

21 July 1942:
CruDiv 18 arrives at Buna. The troops are landed.

22 July 1942:
USAAF B-17s and B-26s attack the convoy. AYATOSAN MARU is sunk and UZUKI is damaged slightly by strafing.

24 July 1942:
CruDiv 18 arrives back at Rabaul.

6 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Buna with destroyers YUZUKI and UZUKI and subchasers CH-23 and CH-30 escorting transports KINAI, KANYO and NANKAI MARUs carrying the 15th Base Force.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's Task Force 63's land-based aircraft, lands MajGen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandegrift's 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to take the island.

12 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Basabua, New Guinea with destroyers YUZUKI and UZUKI and subchasers CH-23 and CH-30, escorting transports KINAI and NANKAI MARUs, carrying elements of the 14th and 15th Base Forces and 70 tons of supplies.

13 August 1942:
Arrives at Basabua.

24 August 1942:
CruDiv 18 departs Rabaul with DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE and TANIKAZE escorting transports KINAI and NANKAI MARUs.

25 August 1942: Operation "RE" - Capture of the Allied Airfield at Milne Bay, New Guinea:
After midnight, the transports land 1,200 troops of the 5th Kure SNLF at Milne Bay. In the morning the invasion force is bombed by Boeing B-17s and NANKAI MARU and URAKAZE are damaged.

28 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Departs the same day with destroyers ARASHI, MURAKUMO and YAYOI.

29 August 1942:
The destroyers land 775 troops of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force at Milne Bay.

30 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

4 September 1942:
Operation "RE" is canceled after the defeat of the landing forces. CruDiv 18 departs Rabaul to evacuate troops.

5 September 1942:
Evacuates troops from Milne Bay.

6 September 1942:
Milne Bay. Evacuates troops. In all, CruDiv 18 evacates 1318 men on 5-6 September. That night, TATSUTA, assisted by destroyer ARASHI, bombards the Gili Gili wharves and shells the 3,188-ton British armed motor vessel ANSHUN. ANSHUN receives at least ten hits and capsizes. Two of her gunners are killed, two wounded.

6 October 1942:
TATSUTA departs Rabaul with five destroyers carrying LtGen Hyakutake Harukichi, Commander, 17th Army and troops to Guadalcanal.

8/9 October 1942:
Lands LtGen Hyakutake and his troops at Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal.

1 November 1942:
Rear Admiral Matsuyama, ComCruDiv 18, tranfers his flag from the damaged TENRYU to TATSUTA.

2 November 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

5 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Begins repairs to her rudder.

10 December 1942:
CruDiv 18 is deactivated. Rear Admiral Matsuyama is reassigned to head the Tateyama Naval Gunnery School. TATSUTA and TENRYU are reassigned to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KONGO) Eighth Fleet/Southeast Fleet based at Rabaul.

7 January 1943:
Truk. Captain Funaki Morie (48)(former XO of TAKAO) is appointed the CO. Captain Yoshimura is reassigned as ComDesDiv 10. Later, he commands the new YAHAGI and thereafter HARUNA.

12 January 1943:
Rudder repairs are completed. Departs Truk.

19 January 1943:
Arrives at Maizuru. Begins refit and repairs.

6 February 1943:
Drydocked.

18 February 1943:
Undocked.

28 March 1943:
Repairs and refit are completed. Departs Maizuru.

1 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure. TATSUTA is assigned as flagship of new DesRon 11 in Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumi's (former CO of ISE) First Fleet.

TATSUTA makes training cruises with newly commissioned destroyers in the western Inland Sea thereafter.

5 April 1943:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Ogawa Nobuki (46)(former ComDesDiv 8) is appointed the CO.

8 June 1943:
S of Hashirajima. TATSUTA is moored near several of DesRon 11's newly commissioned destroyers. Battleship MUTSU is moored at the flagship buoy about two miles SW of Hashirajima. There is heavy fog and visibility is down to 500 yards.

At 1213, MUTSU's No. 3 turret's magazine explodes. TATSUTA's boats rescue 39 wounded sailors that are later transported by destroyer TAMANAMI to a hospital on Mitsugo Shima.

12 August 1943:
At Kure. Begins refit.

19 August 1943:
Drydocked.

25 August 1943:
Undocked.

9 September 1943:
Refit is completed. Departs Kure. Makes training cruises in the western Inland Sea thereafter.

11 October 1943:
Ujina (near Hiroshima). Embarks Imperial Army troops of the Second Transportation Unit consisting of the IJA 107th Infantry Regiment's 3rd Battalion with 7th and 8th Companies, a partial section of 2nd Machine Gun Company, remainder of 2nd Battalion, 7th and 9th Companies, 16th Mountain Artillery, company trains and elements of the 52nd Infantry Division. Departs Ujina for Saga.

15 October 1943:
CruDiv 18's TATSUTA depart Saeki for Truk on the "TEI" No. 3 troop transport mission with a task group consisting od BatDiv 3's YAMASHIRO and newly converted battleship/carrier ISE, escorted by DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI. TATSUTA carries 105 men and 118 cubic meters of material YAMASHIRO carries 804 men and 1,270 cubic meters of material. ISE carries 1,278 men and 1,510 cubic meters of material and DesDiv 32's destroyers carry 243 men and 100 cubic meters of material.

20 October 1943:
The task group arrives at Truk. The anchorage is largely empty, Admiral Koga having sortied with the fleet to Brown Atoll, Eniwetok three days earlier to intercept an enemy task force thought to be closing on Wake Island. YAMASHIRO, ISE and TATSUTA debark troops and remain at Truk as guardships during the fleet's absence.

22 October 1943:
TATSUTA departs Truk with DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI on a troop transport run.

23 October 1943:
Arrives at Ponape. Disembarks troops and departs.

24 October 1943:
TATSUTA arrives at Truk.

26 October 1943:
TATSUTA departs Truk with DesDiv 32's FUJINAMI, SUZUNAMI and HAYANAMI on another troop transport run to Ponape.

27 October 1943:
Arrives at Ponape. Disembarks troops and departs.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

31 October 1943:
At 0800, TATSUTA departs Truk with BatDiv 2's YAMASHIRO and ISE, CarDiv 2's JUNYO, escort carrier UNYO, CruDiv 8's TONE, DesDiv 7's AKEBONO, DesDiv 17's TANIKAZE and DesDiv 24's SUZUKAZE and UMIKAZE.

4 November 1943:
Escort carrier UNYO and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO are detached for Yokosuka.

5 November 1943:
At 0505, near the Bungo Suido, Japan, LtCdr (later Admiral) I. J. "Pete" Galantin's USS HALIBUT (SS-232), alerted by Ultra, picks up the zigzagging task group on radar. At 0539, Galantin fires six bow torpedoes at JUNYO. At 0540, a torpedo hits JUNYO in the stern, but the other five miss astern.

HALIBUT circles hard to port. At 0543, Galantin fires two stern torpedoes at the carrier. During the action, a dud torpedo hits YAMASHIRO. At 0558, Galantin tries to fire another torpedo at JUNYO but it malfunctions and "runs hot" in the tube. JUNYO, rudder disabled, is towed safely through the Bungo Suido. TATSUTA and the other ships in the task group are undamaged.

6 November 1943:
TATSUTA, YAMASHIRO and ISE arrive at Tokuyama Naval Fuel Depot. Begins refueling.

7 November 1943:
Refuelling is completed. TATSUTA, YAMASHIRO and ISE depart Tokuyama and arrive at Hashirajima. Resumes second-line 'standby alert' and training duties.

8 November 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Training in the Inland Sea.

15 December 1943:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Takama Tamotsu (former CO of HARUNA) is appointed ComDesRon 11.

22 December 1943:
Captain Shimazui Takemi (47)(former ComDesDiv 16) is appointed the CO.

10 February 1944:
Drydocked at the Harima Shipyard, Aioi. Refit.

20 February 1944:
Undocked. Moves to Kure. Further refitting.

25 February 1944:
The First Fleet is deactivated. DesRon 11 is reassigned directly to Combined Fleet.

4 March 1944:
Departs Kure for Kure. Off Nagoya Bay the cruiser encounters a heavy gale. Four small boats are lost and some linoleum cover torn off from the upper decks.

6 March 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Refuels. Conducts minor repairs at Yokosuka Navy Yard until 8 March.

9 March 1944:
Moves to Kisarazu, Tokyo Bay. Embarks supplies. Rear Admiral Takama holds a staff conference aboard TATSUTA for the skippers of escort vessels of the new Higashi Matsu ("East Pine") No. 2 troop reinforcement convoy.

11 March 1944:
TATSUTA is assigned to the Grand Escort Force. That same day, LtCdr Malcom E. Garrison's new USS SAND LANCE (SS-381) on her first war patrol, receives an "Ultra" message from ComSubPac about the outbound convoy.

12 March 1944:
At 0400 departs Kisarazu for Saipan, Marianas as the flagship of the Higashi Matsu No. 2 convoy bound for Saipan and Carolines. The convoy includes ATLANTIC, AWA, DAITEN, HIBI, MIHO, RYUKA, KOKUYO, TAJIMA, TAKAOKA, TAMAHOKO and TSUSHIMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1, escorted by destroyers ASAKAZE, NOWAKI, UZUKI and YUNAGI, kaibokan HIRADO, minelayers KYOSAI and SOKUTEN and auxiliary minesweeper TORISHIMA MARU.

13 March 1944:
40 miles S of Hachijo Jima. LtCdr Garrison has six torpedoes left. At 0310, he sets up and fires his four stern torpedoes at the light cruiser. At 0314 TATSUTA's lookouts report an incoming torpedo wake bearing 120 degrees to starboard, distance 150 meters, but it is too late to take evasive action. The torpedo hits starboard side at the forward bulkhead of the aft engine room, approximately 3 meters below the waterline. The aft engines are smashed, several sections of the hull develop cracks, the bulkhead between the engine rooms is breached and water also enters the forward engine room. The aft torpedo mont is blown overboard and the No. 3 gun mount collapses. By 0712 both engine rooms are flooded. The rudder becomes disabled and power is lost, plunging the ship into darkness.

TATSUTA's crew fights the flooding for seven hours. By 1025 the cruiser takes on a 5-degree list to port. By 1040, the rear section of the upper deck is awash. The flooding is temporarily halted, but begins again. At 1415, TATSUTA takes on a starboard list, so her crew is ordered to transfer all weight to port. By 1510, her stern is settling faster and the starboard list is increasing slowly. At 1536, the list is 60 degrees starboard and the order is given to abandon ship. Seconds later, TATSUTA goes down by the stern at 32-52N, 139-12E. Twenty-six men are KIA, 10 wounded. Destroyers NOWAKI and UZUKI rescue the survivors including Captain Shimazui (forcibly removed from the ship by his subordinates) and ComDesRon 11, Rear Admiral Takama.

SAND LANCE's other two torpedoes hit and sink transport KOKUYO MARU carrying 1,029 troops. SAND LANCE, a thick-skinned BALAO-class, dives to 550 ft and escapes 105 depth-charges dropped by the escorts during an 18-hour attack. Garrison claims he also lightly damaged freighter TAMAHOKO MARU with his last two bow torpedoes.

10 May 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), is then the highest point in the Japanese Empire.

[2] The attackers were in all likelihood Captain Henry T. Elrod and Captain Frank C. Tharin, USMC. Captain Elrod was killed during the fighting on 23 December 1941 in the final assault on Wake. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. He is the first Marine to receive the medal in WW 2.

Thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Jean-Franois Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to "Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands.

Thanks go to Anthony P. Tully of Texas for additional details about how TATSUTA was sunk by a single torpedo. Thanks also go to the late John Whitman for info on convoy "Tei No. 3".

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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