JUNYOKAN!

(TENRYU in 1936)

IJN TENRYU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2014 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 9


17 May 1917:
Laid down at the Yokosuka Navy Yard.

11 March 1918:
Launched and named TENRYU. Cdr Kakuta Kanzo is appointed the Chief Equipping Officer.

20 November 1919:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Cdr Murase Teijiro (29) is appointed the acting Commanding Officer. Attached to Kure Naval District.

1 December 1919:
Assigned as the flagship of DesRon 2, Second Fleet.

29 August 1920:
Departs Yokosuka to patrol off Siberian coast with DesRon 2 and TATSUTA, escorting a squadron of eight battleships.

7 September 1920:
Returns to Otaru.

20 April 1921:
Placed in reserve at Kure. An RDF set is installed in front of No. 3 gun mount.

1 December 1921:
Captain Yokoo Noriyoshi (30) is appointed CO. Reassigned to DesRon 1, First Fleet.

26 June 1922:
Departs Inchon, Korea, to patrol off Port Arthur, arriving at Chinhae on 4 July.

29 August 1922:
Departs Kure to patrol off Siberian coast, returning to Otaru on 10 September.

1 December 1922:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsushita Hajime (31) assumes command.

15 October 1923:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Oguri Shinichi (31) is appointed acting CO.

1 December 1923:
Cdr Oguri is promoted Captain and assumes the post of CO.

1 December 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takita Yoshio (31) is appointed CO.

20 October 1925:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kida Shinpei (32) is appointed CO.

1 December 1925:
Placed in reserve at Kure. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Monai Isao (former CO of MUSASHI)(33) is appointed CO.

11 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamaguchi Seishichi (former CO of HAYATOMO)(32) is appointed CO.

15 November 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kikuno Shigeru (34) assumes command.

10 December 1928 :
Captain (later Admiral) Sawamoto Yorio (36)(former XO of ISUZU) assumes command.

20 August 1929:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takahashi Ibo (36) is appointed CO.

1 November 1929:
Captain Hachiya Yoshio (36) is appointed CO.

1 December 1930:
Captain Madareme Kensuke (36) is appointed CO.

15 November 1932:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Tayui Minoru (39)(former CO of ERIMO) assumes command.

1 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kanazawa Masao (39)(former XO of NAKA) assumes command.

25 May 1934:
Captain Izawa Toru (36) is appointed CO.

15 November 1934:
Captain Kasuga Sueaki (former CO of I-1)(37) is appointed CO.

21 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kamata Michiaki (39)(former XO of HIEI) assumes command.

15 February 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kudo Kyuhachi (39) assumes command.

10 November 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ugaki Kanji (39)(former XO of HYUGA) assumes command.

2 August 1937:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso (40) is appointed CO.

8-10 September 1937:
Refit at Sasebo Navy Yard. An unknown number of Type 92 7.7-mm machine guns is installed.

10 May 1938:
At dawn, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Koichi Shiozawa’s (32)(former CO of FURUTAKA) Fifth Fleet’s warships, including Sentai 10's TENRYU, bombard Ho-tsu, Ni-chin, and Wu-tung and 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, are overrun by the SNLFs and withdraw.

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

2 August 1938:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso (40)(former XO of NAKA) assumes command.

15 December 1938:
Captain Yamazaki Sadanao (42) is appointed CO.

15 November 1939:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kanome Zensuke (former navigating officer of IWATE)(44) is appointed CO.

15 October 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Takahashi Yuji (former CO of IRO)(44) is appointed CO.

28 August 1941:
TENRYU is based at Truk in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet in CruDiv 18 with light cruiser TATSUTA. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Goto Mitsutaro (46) assumes command.

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

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).

8 December 1941: The Invasion of Wake Island:
CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA 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:
30 miles SW of Wake. At 0724, TENRYU attempts to shell the barracks on the western coast of Wake, when she is suddenly attacked by a solitary Marine Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat". The fighter strafes her bow area and the vicinity of No. 1 torpedo mount. Five sailors are wounded. Strafing causes minor damage to 8 locations and damages three torpedoes in No. 1 mount. A Wildcat strafes TATSUTA and hits her radio shack with machine-gun fire. That morning, 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 Hiroki's (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, destroyers URAKAZE and TANIKAZE that are detached from Vice Admiral 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 American garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

27 December 1941:
Returns to Roi in company of TATSUTA.

29 December 1941:
Departs Roi for Truk.

3 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Two depth charge-throwers and two depth charge rails are installed to stern sides.

20 January 1942: The Invasion of Kavieng, New Ireland:
CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA depart Truk with troop transports KINRYU, GOYO and AZUMASAN MARUs escorted by DesDiv 23's KIKUZUKI, UZUKI and 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 and KAGA, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/2's HIEI and KIRISHIMA and CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA.

23 January 1942:
About midnight, the transports land three companies of the No. 2 Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force. By 0335, they capture Kavieng's airfield. CruDiv 18 remains at Kavieng as guardships.

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

9 February 1942:
Gasmata is occupied.

13 February 1942:
Departs Gasmata.

19 February 1942:
In the morning TENRYU arrives at Truk and commences an AA refit.

20 February 1942:
Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr's (later President Roosevelt's Naval Aide) Task Force 11 (USS LEXINGTON, CV-2), is enroute 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 and KAKO in response to Task Force 11's attempted raid on Rabaul.

23 February 1942:
Returns to Truk to resume the AA refit. Two 13-mm machine gun mounts in front of the forward funnel are replaced by two Type 96 25-mm twin mounts. Two Yamanouchi type 5-cm saluting guns are landed.

27 February 1942:
The refit is completed.

2 March 1942:
CruDiv 18 departs Truk.

5 March 1942: Operation "SR" - The Invasions of Lae and Salamaua:
Arrives at Rabaul. That same day, CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA 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 invasions of Lae and Salamaua, then departs the area.

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

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

14 March 1942:
CruDivs 18 and 6 depart Rabaul.

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

17 March 1942:
CruDivs 18 and 6 depart Buka.

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

26 March 1942:
CruDivs 18 and 6 depart Möwe Passage.

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

28 March 1942:
CruDivs 18 and 6 depart Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
CruDivs 18 and 6 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 Möwe Passage.

5 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 and CruDiv 6 depart the Möwe 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 carrier KAMIKAWA 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. Seaplane carrier KIYOKAWA MARU is drydocked in Yokohama, but her Air Unit's floatplanes she left behind at Rabaul, when she returned to Japan, participate in the capture of Tulagi.

29 April 1942:
CruDiv 18 departs Rabaul.

30 April 1942:
Rear Admiral Attack 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 MARUs with the No. 5 Gunboat Group’s SEIKAI and NIKKAI MARUs establish a seaplane base at Rekata Bay. KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit remains at Rekata, but CruDiv 18 and KAMIKAWA MARU depart for Deboyne Island in the Louisiade Archipelago in the Louisades.

4 May 1942:
Rear Admiral Koso's Transport Force departs Rabaul.

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

13 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

23 May 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru.

3 June 1942:
Dry-docked in No. 3 drydock. Two Type 96 25-mm twin mounts are added abaft the after stack. External degaussing coil is fitted. Foremast is reduced in height. Sperry type searchlight from atop the forward bridge is relocated to a new position between the two forward funnels. Sperry type searchlight on aft superstructure is replaced by Type 96 90-cm searchlight. Additional armor is fitted to protect the torpedo warheads.

5 June 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Asano Shinpei (45)(former XO of SUZUYA) assumes command. Captain Goto is reassigned to the staff of the Kure Naval District.

13 June 1942:
Undocked.

15 June 1942:
Departs Maizuru for Truk, followed by TATSUTA on 16 June.

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.

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.

7 August 1942: American Operation "Watchtower" - The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands:
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 retake the islands.

That same day, TENRYU and YUBARI with CruDiv 6's AOBA, KAKO, KINUGASA and FURUTAKA depart the Möwe Passage through the "Slot" towards Guadalcanal with CHOKAI and destroyer YUNAGI. LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's submarine USS S-38 sights them in St. George's Channel, but Munson is unable to attack. At Rabaul, CHOKAI embarks Vice Admiral Mikawa and his staff.

9 August 1942: The Battle of Savo Island.
Rear Admiral (VC-'18) later Admiral Sir) Victor A. Crutchley's, RN, (former CO of HMS WARSPITE), Task Group 62.6 of cruisers and destroyers is screening the invasion transports at Savo Island off Guadalcanal. Crutchley is ordered to attend a meeting with ComTaskFor 62 Rear Admiral Turner, USN and is detached to Guadalcanal with his flagship, cruiser AUSTRALIA.

TENRYU and YUBARI, CruDiv 6's AOBA, KAKO, KINUGASA and FURUTAKA with CHOKAI and YUNAGI prepare to engage the Allied Forces. KAKO, CHOKAI and FURUTAKA launch spotter floatplanes. At 0138, CHOKAI and KAKO launch Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the Allied force. The circling float planes then drop flares to illuminate the targets and all the Japanese ships open fire.

A night gun and torpedo action ensues. At 0204, TENRYU hits Captain Samuel N. Moore's QUINCY (CA-39) with two torpedoes. She later sinks, as do Captain William G. Greenman's ASTORIA (CA-34), Captain (later Rear Admiral) Frederick L. Riefkohl's VINCENNES (CA-44) and Captain Frank E. Getting's cruiser HMAS CANBERRA. Captain Howard D. Bode's CHICAGO (CA-29) is damaged as are RALPH TALBOT (DD-390) and PATTERSON (DD-392).

TENRYU is hit, probably by CHICAGO. 23 men are killed. CHOKAI is hit by gunfire ten times, KINUGASA twice and AOBA once.

The heavily-laden American invasion transports off Guadalcanal are now virtually unprotected and in harm's way. Admiral Mikawa, unaware that Admiral Fletcher has withdrawn his carriers covering the invasion, fears an air attack at daybreak. Mikawa orders a retirement and leaves Admiral Turner's transports untouched for which he is later criticized.

10 August 1942:
In the morning, after no air attack is mounted against his ships, Vice Admiral Mikawa detaches CruDiv 6's four heavy cruisers to Kavieng, New Ireland. Mikawa returns to Rabaul.

At 0708, off Kavieng, LtCdr John R. Moore's USS S-44 torpedoes and sinks KAKO.

17 August 1942:
TENRYU departs Rabaul for Basuba with subchasers CH-22, CH-23 and CH-24 and minesweeper W-20 escorting a convoy consisting of KAZUURA, RYOYU and KANYO MARUs transporting the 25th Air Flotilla's base supplies.

18 August 1942:
At 1730, arrives at Basuba.

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" - The Capture of the Allied Airfield at Milne Bay:
After midnight, the transports land 1,200 troops of the Kure No. 5 Special Naval Landing Force at Milne Bay. In the morning the invasion force is bombed by Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses". 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 Kure No. 3 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:
Enters Milne Bay, embarks SNLF troops, departs that same day.

5/6 September 1942:
Milne Bay, New Guinea. Evacuates troops. In all, CruDiv 18 evacates 1,318 men.

11 September 1942:
TENRYU departs Rabaul to rescue survivors of destroyer YAYOI sunk by B-17s and B-25s of the 5th Air Force, but no survivors are found.

12 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

18 September 1942:
TENRYU departs Rabaul.

20 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

21 September 1942:
Embarks fifty-six Type 93 Model 1 mines for a planned mining of Tulagi anchorage by CruDiv 18 scheduled for 20 October.

22 September 1942:
Departs Truk Truk for Rabaul.

24 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

1 October 1942:
Since the mines for TATSUTA have not yet arrived, it is decided to temporarily debark the mines from her sister. All mines are loaded to barges and stored in a warehouse near the harbor.

2 October 1942:
From 0440 to 0510 six B-17s of the 19th Bomb Group, Fifth Air Force, attack Rabaul. TENRYU receives one bomb hit to her stern area port side; several bombs near-miss off starboard bow. The direct hit rips a 16-feet long hole in TENRYU’s upper deck, splinters cause heavy damage to her aft superstructure. Twenty-two crewmen are killed and twenty-six wounded. TENRYU undergoes emergency repairs by auxiliary repair ship HAKKAI MARU.

20 October 1942:
The repairs are finished.

21 October 1942:
Departs Rabaul for one-day trials. On that same day a 8-cm AA gun damaged during the attack is replaced.

25 October 1942:
Departs Rabaul to rescue the survivors of the Sasebo No. 5 SNLF from Welle Island (now Sanaroa), D’Entrecasteaux Group.

26 October 1942:
After sundown, TENRYU approaches the north coast of Welle Island and establishes contact with the survivors. By 2330 the CO of the Sasebo No. 5 SNLF Cdr TsukiokaTorashige and 260 marines on two Daihatsu barges are taken aboard the cruiser. [1]

27 October 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.

31 October 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Shortland.

1 November 1942:
Arrives at Shortland. On that same day TENRYU is assigned to Outer South Seas Force KO ("A") Supply Unit. The flag of CruDiv 18 is transferred to TATSUTA. Embarks food and ammunition for IJA garrison on Guadalcanal, as well as personnel of the 38th Infantry Division.

2 November 1942:
At 0100, TENRYU departs Shortland for Tassafaronga Point, Guadalcanal, in company of 11 destroyers. The convoy is carrying 38th Division soldiers, mainly from the 230th Infantry. Also aboard was 6th Company, 38th Mountain Artillery with two 75mm artillery pieces and their crews. Arrives at Guadalcanal, after sundown, unloads her cargo and departs.

3 November 1942:
Returns to Shortland.

4 November 1942:
Departs Shortland on her second supply run to Guadalcanal.

5 November 1942:
After sundown, TENRYU arrives off Cape Esperance, unloads her cargo and departs again.

6 November 1942:
Returns to Shortland, where she is appointed the ad hoc flagship of ComDesRon 4 Rear Admiral Takama Tamotsu.

7 November 1942:
Departs Shortland on her third supply run to Guadalcanal in company of destroyers.

8 November 1942:
After sundown TENRYU arrives off Tassafaronga Point, unloads her cargo and departs again.

9 November 1942:
Returns to Shortland.

13-14 November 1942: The Naval Battles of Guadalcanal:
TENRYU departs Shortland for Guadalcanal in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's (former CO of HARUNA) Bombardment Unit's CruDiv 7's MAYA and SUZUYA and destroyers KAZAGUMO, MAKIGUMO, MICHISHIO and YUGUMO. Accompanies Vice Admiral Mikawa in CHOKAI in Main Body with CruDiv 6's KINUGASA, light cruiser ISUZU and destroyer ARASHIO. Retires towards Shortland.

14 November 1942:
The task force is attacked by USS FLYING FISH (SS-229). The submarine misses a heavy cruiser with six torpedoes. The task force is attacked by torpedo-bombers from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and Marine Grumman TBF "Avenger" torpedo-bombers from Guadalcanal. KINUGASA is sunk. CHOKAI is slightly damaged. A Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bomber crashes into MAYA. TENRYU is undamaged and returns to Shortland on 15 November.

22 November 1942:
Departs Shortland for Rabaul.

23 November 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Rear Admiral Matsuyama arrives from Truk aboard destroyer SUZUKAZE then transfers to TENRYU. CruDiv 18 flag is returned to TENRYU.

5 December 1942:
Captain Ueda Mitsuharu (45) assumes command.

16 December 1942:
At Rabaul in Vice Admiral Mikawa's Eighth Fleet. TENRYU departs for Madang, New Guinea in an Attack Force with destroyers ISONAMI, INAZUMA, SUZUKAZE and ARASHIO and armed merchant cruisers AIKOKU and GOKOKU MARUs.

LtCdr Richard C. Lake's USS ALBACORE (SS-218) on her second war patrol, receives an "Ultra" message redirecting him to the area off Madang.

18-19 December 1942:
At 0732, the Attack Force is bombed unsuccessfully. At 1744, GOKOKU MARU hit by a bomb from B-17s of the 43rd Bomb Group, Fifth Air Force. TENRYU is not damaged. The Attack Force lands two battalions of men under LtCol Hanawa of the 5th Division and an airfield construction unit.

Eastern New Guinea. LtCdr Richard C. Lake's USS ALBACORE (SS-218) receives an "Ultra" message alerting him of the Attack Force's movements based on U.S. Navy codebreakers' decryption of Japanese radio traffic.

At 2112, TENRYU is patrolling off Madang Roads with ARASHIO, SUZUKAZE, ISONAMI and INAZUMA. LtCdr Lake sets up on what he takes to be a freighter-transport escorted by a "destroyer." He fires three torpedoes from 2,000 yards distance. Lake misses GOKOKU MARU, but TENRYU is hit in the stern by two torpedoes at 2115. [2] Her engine rooms are rapidly flooded and the cruiser goes dead in the water.

Next, ALBACORE attempts to torpedo one of the destroyers, but misses and is counter-attacked with four depth charges. ComCruDiv 18 Rear Admiral Matsuyama shifts his flag to ISONAMI, while SUZUKAZE rescues TENRYU's survivors, including Captain Ueda who becomes CO of NATORI in January.

At 2320 TENRYU sinks at 05-12S, 145-56E. Twenty-three crewmen are lost, twenty-one injured.[3]

19 December 1942:
On the following morning ALBACORE returns to the site of sinking. Her lookouts observe a number of wooden crates, 85 empty oil drums and other debris floating in the water.

20 December 1942:
Following the loss of TENRYU, CruDiv 18 is disbanded.

1 February 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Some sources provide lower numbers for Sasebo No. 5 SNLF survivors. The figure given here is taken from CruDiv 18 War Diary.

[2] The skipper of ALBACORE observed only one explosion, "with debris and flame high over the target." Japanese reports, however, clearly registered two hits in rapid succession.

[3] Some Japanese accounts provide a different location at 05-08S, 145-57E. ALBACORE’s report suggests 04-05S, 145-56E.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks falso goes to Aldert Gritter/"Adm. Gurita" of the Netherlands.

Further thanks to John Whitman of Virgina fot some troop info.

- Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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