FUSETSUKAN!

(TSUBAME by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN Minelayer TSUBAME:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2005-2015 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 9


17 September 1928:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a netlayer.

22 March 1929:
Designated a 2nd Class minelayer.

15 April 1929:
Lt (later Rear Admiral, posthumously) Mutaguchi Kakuro (44) (former CO of minesweeper W-1) is assigned as Chief Equipping Officer.

24 April 1929:
Launched and named TSUBAME.

15 July 1929:
Completed and registered in the Sasebo Naval District. Assigned to the Oshima Guard Unit. Lt Mutaguchi is probably the CO.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Japanese troops at the bridge fire blank cartridges during night maneuvers. Chinese troops fire back. Later, the Japanese discover a soldier missing. They demand entry to the Peking (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for him, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese shell the city and an undeclared war on China begins.

12 November 1937:
Shanghai is captured.

1938:
TSUBAME is in the 12th Minelayer Squadron of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Oikawa Koshiro's (31) China Area Fleet's Third Fleet.

13 June 1938: The Battle of Wuhan:
Yangtze River. The Japanese make a naval landing at Anqing supported by 100 vessels, including more than 40 destroyers, minesweepers, naval and river gunboats and blockade boats. TSUBAME is in the 12th Minelayer Squadron with sister minelayer KAMOME. The landing force totals about 12,000 men and 80 to 90 guns. The Japanese begin the Battle of Wuhan to annihilate the Chinese Army and force them to surrender. The battle rages over four months and ends in a stalemate.

26 June 1938: The Battle of Madang:
Yangtze River. TSUBAME takes part in the battle with gunboat TOBA, minelayers NATSUSHIMA and NASAMI. They sweep mines, lay buoys and bombard Chinese positions. Chinese troops return fire with light arms, but cause many casualties among exposed crewmen. Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops land behind the fort and Madang falls.

8 December 1941: Opening of the Pacific War:
Takao, Formosa. TSUBAME is with Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s Third Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Irifune Naosaburo’s (39)(former CO of MIKUMA) 32nd Special Base Force with sister minelayer KAMOME.

December 1941:
Philippines. Supports the Third Fleet's invasion landings.

3 January 1942:
Philippines. The 32nd Special Base Force is reassigned to Vice Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo's (38) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

14 January 1942:
At 1700, TSUBAME departs Moji, Japan for Takao with minelayer HIRASHIMA escorting a convoy consisting of TAKAOKA, ADEN, HAVRE, MIYADONO, ASAKA and YAE MARUs.

18 January 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

February 1942:
Escorts convoys in the Davao-Surabaya area.

3 March 1942:
Bandjarmasin, Borneo. TSUBAME is in port. About 800 survivors from cruiser HMS EXETER and destroyer HMS ENCOUNTER, sunk a few days earlier in the Battle of the Java Sea, are being held in an old tanker. Captured Dutch hospital ship OP TEN NOORT (later renamed HIKAWA MARU No. 2 ) arrives and comes alongside. TSUBAME's sailors help load and guard 970 Allied prisoners-of-war, including EXETER, ENCOUNTER and USS PERCH's (SS-176) survivors, who are transferred to the hospital ship.

31 March 1942:
At 1404 departs Surabaya escorting MYOKO MARU to Batavia.

3 April 1942:
At 0730 arrives at Batavia. At 1040 TSUBAME enters port.

4 April 1942:
At 0800 departs Batavia for Surabaya.

7 April 1942:
At 1300 departs Surabaya escorting TOKYO MARU to the Karimata Strait.

8 April 1942:
Detaches from TOKYO MARU.

9 April 1942:
At 1650 anchors off Banka.

10 April 1942:
At 1600 arrives back at Surabaya.

16 April 1942:
At 1230 replenished by TOKAI MARU.

17 April 1942:
At 0800 departs Surabaya escorting minesweeper W-8 that sweeps the west and east entrances to the port.

18 April 1942:
Returns to port. At 1340 replenishes from "AISHIMA" or "ITOJIMA" MARU (NB: unidentified unit, possibly a captured ship locally renamed - name translates as Love Island)

20 April 1942:
TSUBAME and minelayer KAMOME depart Surabaya.

24 April 1942:
TSUBAME and KAMOME arrive at Singapore.

25 April 1942:
TSUBAME and minelayer KAMOME depart Singapore escorting a convoy consisting of KINUGAWA, FUSO, KANSAI and OTOWASAN MARUs.

28 April 1942:
KAMOME and TSUBAME arrive at St Jacques escorting the convoy.

30 April 1942:
TSUBAME departs Saigon, Vichy French Indochina for Mako, Pescadores with minelayer KAMOME escorting a convoy consisting of SHINYO, NITTAI, KENZAN, KYUKO and KEIZAN MARUs.

9 May 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

9 May 1942:
At 1200, TSUBAME departs Mako for Sasebo with old destroyer SANAE escorting convoy No. 206 consisting of SHINSEI, TATSUWA, TATSUHARU, SENZAN, NANYO, KEIFUKU, TAISHO, KINUGAWA, AKASHI and WAYO MARUs.

13 May 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

31 May 1942:
NW of Amami-O-Shima. Convoy No. 216 enroute from Mako to Ujina consisting of SAIHO, HANAN, MIYADONO, SUEZ, KENZAN, IIDA, HOKUSHIN and SANFUKU MARUs and FUKUEI MARU No. 2 escorted by old destroyer SANAE and minelayer TAKASHIMA detects an enemy submarine. TSUBAME arrives on the scene, and she and TAKASHIMA drop depth charges. No submarine attacks develop.

3 June 1942:
Arrives at the port of Ujina, Hiroshima.

30 July 1942:
TSUBAME departs Imari for Shanghai with minelayer KAMOME and auxiliary minelayer KAHOKU MARU escorting a convoy consisting of MITO, SURABAYA, ROKKO, KANKYO and PACIFIC MARUs.

1 August 1942:
At 1745, arrives at Woosung. Soon thereafter, enters the Whangpo River to Shanghai.

1943:
TSUBAME undergoes refit for operations as a convoy escort. Her minelaying rails are removed and she is fitted to carry 36 depth charges.

August 1942-March 1943:
Escorts convoys and conducts patrols out of Sasebo.

15 April 1943:
At 0600 TSUBAME departs Imari Wan (Bay), northern Kyushu escorting SA-6 convoy consisting of MISHIMA, YASUKUNI, TAIAN, BOKO (ex British SAGRES), TAKAMISAN, CHINA, SaINEI, TAIJIN, ANNAN MARus, YAMATO MARU No. 3 and BANSHU MARU No. 33 for Woosung.

17 April 1943:
At 0200 arrived at Hua Niao Shan where some merchant ships detached.

20 April 1943:
At 1700 TSUBAME departs Woosung as sole escort of SHI-6 convoy consisting of TAITO, RYUTO, MIKAGE, JUNYO, TOYOSAKA, KOKO, MIYAZAKI, SHINWA, TANGO (ex Dutch TOENDJOEK) and FRANCE MARUs en route to Tomie, Goto-Retto. At 2000 departs Bell Buoy.

22 April 1943:
At 1800 due to arrive at Tomie.

23 April 1943:
At 1300 due to arrive at Mutsure.

27 April 1943:
At 0700 TSUBAME departs Imari Wan (Bay), northern Kyushu escorting SA-11 convoy consisting of KINREI, TOTAI, MALAY, TAIZAN, WAKAMATSU, DAIYA, SHORI, KOSHIN, TAIRYU MARUs and MIKAGE MARU No. 8 for Woosung.

29 April 1943:
At 0600 arrives Hua Niao Shan where some merchant ships are detached.

3 May 1943:
At 1600 TSUBAME departs Ssu Chiao Shan, Chusan (Shushan) Islands for Mutsure, Japan escorting convoy SHI-11 (Hong Kong No. 32) consisting of HAVRE, GYOTEN and NIKKYU MARUs.

6 May 1943:
At 0600 arrives at Mutsure.

9 May 1943:
TSUBAME departs Imari Wan (Bay), northern Kyushu escorting SA-17 convoy consisting of an unknown number of merchant ships for Hua Niao Shan, Shushan (Chusan) Islands.

13 May 1943:
At 1400 TSUBAME departs Woosung as sole escort of convoy SHI-17 consisting of HIDAKA, YASUKUNI, NANKA, UGA, TOYOSAKA and JUNYO MARUs bound for Tomie, Goto-Retto.

15 May 1943:
At 1800 due to arrive off Tomie.

23 May 1943:
TSUBAME departs Nagasaki, northern Kyushu escorting SA-23 convoy consisting of an unknown number of merchant ships for Shanghai.

28 May 1943:
At 1500 departs Shanghai escorting SHI-23 convoy consisting of UNZEN, SHANGHAI, KITSURIN, SANTOS and SAGARA MARUs. At 2230 departs Hua Niao Shan.

30 May 1943:
At 0800 due to arrive at Nagasaki.

31 May 1943:
At 1700 due to arrive at Mutsure.

6 June 1943:
At 0700 TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-609 convoy consisting of JUNPO, TAITO, MIKAGE, SHOTAI (ex Philippine REGULUS), HENGSHAN (KOZAN), CHUKA and SHUNTEN MARUs.

8 June 1943:
At 1200 due to arrive off Bell Buoy.

10 June 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-006 consisting of GYONAN MARU (ex Philippine HIRONDELLE) and five unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

18 June 1943:
Convoy SHI-809 departs Ujina for Shanghai consisting of WAKAMATSU, UGA, GYOKUREI, MIIKESAN, KOSHIN, WAZAN, EIJU, TOKIWA and NICHINAN MARUs escorted by minelayer TSUBAME. [1]

E China Sea, off Shirase, Japan. At 1837 (I), LtCdr (later Admiral/CINCPAC) John S. McCain, Jr’s (USNA '31) USS GUNNEL (SS-253) first sights the convoy approaching, smoking heavily and making maximum speed. About every ten minutes, the convoy changes course through forty to sixty degree zigzags. USS GUNNEL's XO/navigator plots the convoy's base course as 260°(T) towards Shanghai.

19 June 1943:
E China Sea. At about 0825 (I), after making an "end-around", McCain fires six torpedoes and gets one hit on TOKIWA MARU’s No. 7 hold, port side aft. Other torpedoes miss NICHIAN, MIIKESAN and UGA MARUs. TOKIWA MARU sinks at 32-31N, 126-17E. One crewman is KIA. The remainder of the convoy escapes and heads for temporary shelter. At 1410, they anchor off Saishu To (former Quelpart Island, now Cheju-do, Korea).

Later that night, in the same area as her previous attack, USS GUNNEL torpedoes and seriously damages converted gunboat HONG KONG MARU conducting a sweep for American submarines.

A hunter-killer group is formed consisting of TSUBAME, destroyer MINEKAZE and seaplanes from the Sasebo Naval Station and minelayer KYOSAI from the Chinkai Guard Unit. At 2050 (I), USS GUNNEL surfaces in bright moonlight to recharge her batteries. At 2130 (I), USS GUNNEL's SJ radar picks up a contact at 5,800 yards. At about 2140 (I), USS GUNNEL's lookouts spot three warships about 3,000 yards astern. They identify one as an "old WAKATAKE-class destroyer."

KYOSAI discovers USS GUNNEL on the surface. All the warships open fire on USS GUNNEL. McCain makes a radar-assisted surface attack on the destroyer. He fires two stern torpedoes "down the throat" and crash-dives at 32-30N, 126-15E. USS GUNNEL undergoes depth charging, but evades by going to the bottom. Later, KYOSAI claims "sinking" the submarine.

21 June 1943:
At 0912, damaged HONG KONG MARU sinks at 33-13N, 128-45E.

22 June 1943:
At 1400 arrives at Woosung.

24 June 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-404 consisting of four unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

9 July 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-907 convoy consisting of seven unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

13 July 1943:
Departs Shanghai escorting convoy MO-208 consisting of eight unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

31 July 1943:
At 1200 TAKASHIMA and TSUBAME depart Imari Wan escorting convoy SHI-113 consisting of URATO, ENJU, HENGSHAN (KOZAN), WAKAMATSU, TOYO, HOKUJU, NANKA, NIKKYO, DAISHU, SHOTAI (ex Philippine REGULUS), AWA, KOAN and NICHIAN MARUs.

2 August 1943:
At 2200 due to arrive at Hua Niao Shan where some merchant ships are detached.

4 August 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-409 consisting of nine unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

8 August 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-807 convoy consisting of seven unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

13 August 1943:
Departs Shanghai escorting convoy MO-407 consisting of seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by TSUBAME and destroyer MINEKAZE.

23 August 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-304 convoy consisting of four unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

29 August 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-806 consisting of six unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

7 September 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-704 convoy consisting of four unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

11 September 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-103 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

25 September 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-503 convoy consisting of three unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

28 September 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-808 consisting of eight unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

10 October 1943:
TSUBAME departs northern Kyushu escorting SHI-003 convoy consisting of three unidentified merchant ships for Shanghai.

14 October 1943:
Departs Shanghai in convoy MO-403 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

29 November 1943:
Departs Naha for Kagoshima escorting convoy OKI-903 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted by TSUBAME.

10 December 1943:
Departs Naha for Kagoshima escorting convoy OKI-001 consisting of one unidentified merchant ship escorted by TSUBAME.

8 January 1944:
Departs Kagoshima for Naha escorting Toyosaka Maru Convoy consisting only of TOYOSAKA MARU escorted by TSUBAME.

20 January 1944:
Departs Naha in convoy OKI-002 consisting of DAISHIN MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

4 February 1944:
At 0820 departs Kagoshima.

5 February 1944:
At 1500 arrives at Seso.

9 February 1944:
At 1650 departs Seso.

11 February 1944:
At 0710 arrives at Seso.

13 February 1944:
At 0015 departs Seso.

16 February 1944:
At 0850 arrives at Seso.

17 February 1944:
At 0715 departs Seso and at 1140 arrives at Naze. At 1355 departs Naze.

18 February 1944:
At 1840 arrives at Kagoshima.

21 February 1944:
At 0940 departs Kagoshima and at 1255 arrives at Yamakawa.

23 February 1944:
At 0950 departs Yamakawa escorting convoy ROKU-104 consisting of six unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

24 February 1944:
At 1305 arrives at Naze.

25 February 1944:
At 1100 departs Naze and at 1625 arrives at Seso.

26 February 1944:
At 1600 departs Seso.

27 February 1944:
At 1150 arrives at Naha.

1 March 1944:
At 1000 departs Naha in convoy OKI-102 consisting of five unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

2 March 1944:
At 0950 arrives at Seso and departs there at 1120.

4 March 1944:
At 0830 arrives at Sasebo.

10 March 1944:
At 1350 departs Sasebo and at 2050 arrives off "Tameishi" Wan.

12 March 1944:
At 0400 departs and at 2015 arrives at Kagoshima.

13 March 1944:
At 1010 departs Kagoshima escorting convoy ROKU-307 consisting of seven unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME.

17 March 1944:

19 March 1944:
At 1445 departs Naha in convoy OKI-903 consisting of four unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME. At 1930 stops over at Sesoko.

20 March 1944:
At 0255 departs Sesoko and at 1915 arrives at Seso.

22 March 1944:
At 0725 departs Seso.

23 March 1944:
At 1750 arrives at Kagoshima.

25 March 1944:
At 1200 departs Kagoshima in convoy ROKU-506 consisting of DAISHIN MARU and five unidentified merchant ships escorted only by TSUBAME. The convoy arrives at 1620 at nearby Yamakawa.

26 March 1944:
At 0255 departs Yamakawa and at 1655 arrives at Kuchinoraebu Shima.

27 March 1944:
At 1210 departs Kuchinoraebu Shima.

28 March 1944:
At 1540 arrives at Seso.

29 March 1944:
At 1655 departs Seso and transfers to nearby Koniya, arriving there at 1730.

30 March 1944:
At 0155 departs Koniya and at 1920 arrives at Sesoko.

31 March 1944:
At 0350 departs Sesoko and at 0725 arrives at Naha.

3 April 1944:
Departs Naha in convoy OKI-302 consisting of DAISHIN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted only by TSUBAME.

7 April 1944:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

10 April 1944:
At 2330, TSUBAME departs Kagoshima, Kyushu for Naha, Okinawa with auxiliary minesweeper CHOUN MARU No. 8 escorting convoy ROKU-004 consisting of NAZE, TAICHU, SHINYO and AMOY MARUs and NANSHIN MARU No. 12.

11 April 1944:
NASE and AMOY MARUs are detached for Koniya.

12 April 1944:
W of Amami-O-Shima. At 0230, Cdr (later Admiral) Ignatius J. Galantin's USS HALIBUT (SS-232) torpedoes and sinks TAICHU MARU at 08-08N, 128-57E. The escorts drop 18 DCs, but HALIBUT escapes undamaged.

14 April 1944:
Arrives at Naha.

19 April 1944:
TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima with auxiliary patrol boats escorting HOKUYO MARU and HOKOKU MARU No. 3 Go escorting convoy OKI-803 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships.

26 April 1944:
TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Koniya with minelayer NIIZAKI and auxiliary patrol boat TAIAN MARU escorting convoy ROKU-508 consisting of eight unidentified merchant ships.

5 May 1944:
TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima with auxiliary subchaser NAGATO MARU and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 1 escorting convoy OKI-603 consisting of TERUKUNI, UNTEN, KORYU and DAISHIN MARUs.

13 May 1944:
At 1850 TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Naha with minesweeper W-15, auxiliary minesweeper HOEI MARU and auxiliary subchaser NAGATO MARU escorting convoy ROKU-307 consisting of TAIKAI MARU and six unidentified merchant ships.

14 May 1944:
TAIKAI MARU is detached off Koniya. At 1940 arrives at Seso.

15 May 1944:
At 0225 departs Seso and at 1915 arrives at Sesoko.

16 May 1944:
At 0350 departs Sesoko and at 0850 arrives at Naha. At 2345 TSUBAME departs Naha for Keelung with minelayer NIIZAKI, minesweeper W-15, auxiliary minesweeper HAKATA MARU No. 7 and BANSHU MARU No. 51 escorting convoy NATA-613 consisting of tankers BAIEI and KOSHIN MARUs and nine unidentified merchant ships.

18 May 1944:
At 0835 arrives at Ishigaki Jima and at 2050 departs.

19 May 1944:
At 1545 arrives at Kirun.

23 May 1944:
At 1450 TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima via Koniya with minelayer NIIZAKI (part way only), minesweeper W-15, auxiliary minesweeper HAKATA MARU No. 6, and auxiliary YUKO MARU escorting convoy NAKA-305 consisting of five unidentified merchant ships. At 1850 the convoy anchors off Sesoko.

24 May 1944:
At 0150 departs Sesoko and at 2000 the escorts arrive at Seso.

25 May 1944:
At 0025 departs Seso.

26 May 1944:
At 0645 arrives at Yamakawa, departs there at 1200 and arrives at Kagoshima at 1505.

29 May 1944:
At 1300 TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Keelung with minelayer NIIZAKI, minesweeper W-15, auxiliary minesweeper HAKATA MARU No. 6, auxiliary patrol boat RYUSEI MARU escorting convoy KATA-906 consisting of TERUKUNI, SHOTO, TOYAMA, KAIJO, MIYAKO and AMOY MARUs and one unidentified merchant ship.

30 May 1944:
Arrives at Koniya.

1 June 1944:
At 0200 departs Seso and at 1930 arrives at Naha.

2 June 1944:
At 1450 TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima with minesweeper W-15, auxiliary patrol boats HOKOKU MARU No. 3 Go, CHIKUTO and RYUSEI MARUs escorting convoy NAKA-204 consisting of YOSHU, NICHIRIN (ex British MATA HARI), AMAKUSA, NISSHIN (NITTSU) MARUs and NANKAI MARU No.1. At 1815 arrives at Sesoko.

3 June 1944:
At 0250 departs Sesoko. Later that evening arrives at Koniya with the escorts arriving at nearby Seso at 1820.

4 June 1944:
Departs Koniya.

5 June 1944:
At 0840 arrives at Kagoshima.

6 June 1944:
At 1250 TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Keelung with minesweeper W-15, Auxiliary minesweepers HAKATA MARU No. 6, TOSHI MARU No. 7, SHIMPO MARU, auxiliary patrol boat CHOUN MARU No. 13 escorting convoy KATA-614 consisting of TOSHU, SAKISHIMA, TOYOSAKA, SANYO, DAISHIN, IWATO MARUs, NANSHIN MARU No. 18, YAEI MARU No. 5, SHINTAI MARU No. 2 and UNYO MARU No. 7 and five unidentified merchant ships enroute to Kirun, some direct and some via Naha. TOSHU MARU is towing hyoteki HA-58.

7 June 1944:
Arrives at Koniya. SANYO MARU is detached to nearby Naze and TOYOSAKA MARU to nearby Seso.

9 June 1944:
Departs Koniya. Auxiliary minesweeper BANSHU MARU No. 51 joins the convoy from Seso. At 1950 arrives at Naha.

10 June 1944:
SAKISHIMA MARU is detached.

11 June 1944:
At 0054 departs Naha.

12 June 1944:
Off Funauki, Iriomote Shima BANSHU MARU No. 51 is detached.

13 June 1944:
At 1510 arrives at Kirun.

16 June 1944:
TSUBAME departs Keelung via Naha for Kagoshima with minelayer NIIZAKI, auxiliary minesweepers SHONAN MARU No. 16, SHIMPO MARU, TAKUNAN MARU No. 1, TAIHEI MARU No. 3 Go, auxiliary patrol boats CHOUN MARU No. 13 and CHIKUTO MARU escorting convoy TAKA-606 consisting of nine unidentified merchant ships

9 July 1944:
At 1000, TSUBAME departs Kagoshima, Kyushu for Naha, Okinawa with torpedo boat MANAZURU, minelayers NUWAJIMA, SAISHU, and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 1, HOEI, HIMESHIMA and SEKI MARUs escorting convoy KANA-912 consisting of TERUKUNI, SHIRANESAN, DAII, GYOKU, TAIKEN, TOYOSAKA, NANREI and NISSHIN MARUs and TAMON MARU No. 12, ASAHI MARU No, 2, BANEI MARU No. 6 and NANKAI MARU No. 1. The convoy is carrying the IJA's 9th Infantry Division for the defense of Okinawa.

10 July 1944:
Part of the convoy arrives at Koniya and part at nearby Naze, Amami-Oshima. NANKAI MARU No. 1 is detached at Koniya.

11 July 1944:
Departs Amami-Oshima and later that day arrives at Naha.

19 July 1944:
TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima with torpedo boat MANAZURU, auxiliary minesweeper BANSHU MARU No. 51, auxiliary patrol boats HOKOKU MARU No. 3 Go, CHIKUTO, TAIAN and RYUSEI MARUs escorting convoy NAKA-909 consisting of TERUKUNI, TOYOSAKA MARUs and seven unidentified merchant ships.

21 July 1944:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

6 August 1944:
At 0900, TSUBAME departs Kagoshima, Kyushu for Keelung, Formosa with torpedo boats TOMOZURU and MANAZURU, minelayers NUWAJIMA, NIIZAKI, auxiliary minesweepers SHONAN MARU No. 16, HAKATA MARU No. 6, TAIAN, HIMESHIMA and SEKI MARUs and subchasers CH-18 and CH-17 escorting convoy KATA-626 consisting of TOYOSAKA, NISSHO, SHINTON, TAIYO, TAIKEN, SEIZAN, ARISAN, NAKAGAWA, TAKUSAN, FUKUURA, TETSUZAN, KENJO, DAITOKU, EJIRI, DAII and DAIIKU MARUs. Six members of the convoy are Type 2A cargo ships and one 2AT tanker, three of which are on their maiden voyages.

KATA-626 carries lead elements of the Manchurian-based 28th Division. Division headquarters, 3rd Infantry, 28th Mountain Artillery and engineer and signal regiments. DAITOKU MARU, a 6,923-ton Type 2A transport, on her maiden voyage, carries 3,428 soldiers, baggage, and supplies.

Troops, baggage, and supplies are also packed in the other marus.

Non-divisional units include the 334-man 14th Independent Machine Gun Battalion and the 103rd, 104th and 105th Machine Gun Battalions (20mm cannons with 336, 338, and 337 men respectively). The 79th, 80th, and 81st Field Antiaircraft Battalions (eighteen 75mm guns each with 513, 517, and 514 men respectively), 181-man 215th and 182-man 259th Independent Automobile Companies and 711 men of the 72nd Land Duty Company and 496 men of the 103rd Sea Duty Company.

8 August 1944:
Arrives at Naze, Amami-Oshima. TOYOSAKA and SHINTON MARUs are detached.

9 August 1944:
Departs Naze and at 1830, arrives at Naha. NUWAJIMA and the subchasers return to Kagoshima. SEIZAN and DAIIKU MARUs are detached.

11 August 1944:
At 1400, KATA-626 departs Naha for Keelung. TSUBAME is detached and returns to Kagoshima.

17 August 1944:
TSUBAME departs Kagoshima with torpedo boat MANAZURU, minelayer NIIZAKI, subchasers CH-17, CH-18 and CH-49, auxiliary minesweepers SEKI MARU, SHONAN MARU No. 16, TOSHI MARU No. 7, TAKUNAN MARU No. 1, HIMESHIMA MARU, CHOUN MARU No. 8, auxiliary patrol boats CHOUN MARU No. 13, TAISEI MARU No. 5 and TAIAN MARU escorting convoy KATA-717 consisting of SHINKO, ESASHI, UJINA, UNTEN, KOTSU, DAIBOSHI, HIKOSAN, MAKO, MIKAGE, KORYU, SHIROTAE, TAIKYU, DAISHIN, DAITOKU, DAIYA, BRAZIL, HOKUYU, WASHIN MARUs, HOEI MARU No. 2, NAVY TRANSPORT No. 135 and three unidentified merchant ships enroute to Koniya or Kagoshima, some direct and some via Naha.

That day convoy TAKA-708 departs Kirun with sub-chasers CH-17, CH-18 and CH-49, auxiliary minesweepers SEKI MARU, HIMESHIMA MARU, CHOUN MARU No.8, TOSHI MARU No. 7, SHONAN MARU No. 16 and TAKUNAN MARU No.1 and auxiliary patrol boats CHOUN MARU No. 13, TAISEI MARU No. 5 and TAIAN MARU consisting of TAIKAI MARU and 22 unidentified merchant ships.

19 August 1944:
Arrives at Naha. TAIKAI MARU and presumably others are detached. Torpedo boat MANAZURU and minelayers NIIZAKI and TSUBAME join the escort and the convoy leaves at an unknown date for Kagoshima.

6 September 1944:
TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Naha with minelayer NUWAJIMA, minesweeper W-15, kaibokan CD-30, auxiliary minesweepers KAIYO MARU No. 1 Go, TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, CHITOSE MARU, auxiliary patrol boat HOKOKU MARU No. 3 Go escorting convoy KANA-602 consisting of KEIZAN and SHOTO MARUs.

8 September 1944:
Arrives at Naha.

13 September 1944:
TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Naha with minelayer NUWAJIMA, auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No.1 and auxiliary subchaser NAGATO MARU escorting convoy KANA-402 consisting of HAGIKAWA and SOSHU MARUs.

14 September 1944:
Arrives at Koniya. SOSHU MARU is detached as are escorts NUWAJIMA and NAGATO MARU.

19 September 1944:
At 0100 (ETD) the convoy departs Koniya. At 1900 (ETA) arrives at Sesoko.

20 September 1944:
At 0600 (ETD) departs Sesoko and at 0900 (ETA) arrives at Naha.

23 September 1944:
TSUBAME departs Miyako Shima for Koniya via Naha with auxiliary patrol boat CHOUN MARU No. 13 and auxiliary minesweeper HAKATA MARU No. 6 escorting convoy TANA-304 consisting of four unidentified merchant ships. escorted by auxiliary patrol boat CHOUN MARU No. 13 and auxiliary minesweeper HAKATA MARU No. 6.

16 October 1944:
TSUBAME departs Kagoshima for Naha escorting convoy KANA-605 consisting of 4 unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and auxiliary patrol boat TAIAN MARU.

26 October 1944:
TSUBAME departs Naha for Kagoshima with auxiliary minesweepers SEKI MARU, TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary patrol boat TAIAN MARU escorting convoy NAKA-603 consisting of two unidentified merchant ships.

28 October 1944:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

1 February 1945:
Redesignated a minelayer and reassigned to the Sasebo Guard Unit.

26 February 1945:
TSUBAME departs Tomie, Goto Retto with minelayer NUWAJIMA, subchaser CH-49, kaibokan FUKUE and auxiliary submarine chaser SANKYO MARU escorting convoy SAI-1 consisting of TAIKEN, NICHIRIN (ex British MATA HARI), TOYOSAKA and EDOGAWA MARUs.

29 February 1945:
Arrives at Miyako Jima.

1 March 1945:
Off Miyako Jima. Aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 58 sink TAIKEN MARU (20 passengers and 16 crewmen killed), TOYOSAKA MARU (four crewmen killed) and damage EDOGAWA MARU. NICHIRIN MARU escapes south but is sunk the following day with the loss of 17 crewmen. Off Ishigaki Shima. Task Force 58 aircraft sink TSUBAME and damage kaibokan FUKUE and minelayer NUWAJIMA at 24-23N, 124-12E.

3 March 1945:
At 1318, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “Tsubame (depth of water 50 meters) sank from a torpedo hit ….”

10 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Some sources do not list TSUBAME as an escort.

Thanks go to Matthew Jones for assistance with COs. Thanks also go to John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages and the troops carried aboard KATA-626. Thanks also go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for info in Rev 4 concerning loss of HONG KONG MARU. Further thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall


Back to Minelayer Page