FUSETSUKAN!



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

IJN Minelayer TSUGARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

1998-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Revision 4


5 July 1939:
Laid down at the Yokosuka Navy Yard.

5 June 1940:
Launched and named the TSUGARU.

22 October 1941:
Completed and commissioned in the IJN. Captain Inagaki Yoshiaki is the Commanding Officer.

1 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

5 November 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.

6 November 1941:
Departs Saipan.

8 November 1941:
Arrives at Truk.

22 November 1941:
Departs Truk.

24 November 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.

28 November 1941:
Departs Saipan.

1 December 1941:
TSUGARU is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (39) Mine Division 19 in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inoue Shigeyoshi's (37) Fourth Fleet.

2 December 1941:
The TSUGARU receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Hahajima, Bonin Islands. Departs Hahajima that same day in support of the invasion of Guam with Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (38) CruDiv 6s AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO, and FURUTAKA and destroyers KIKUZUKI, YUZUKI, UZUKI and OBORO, then to Truk.

12 December 1941:
Departs Truk.

15 December 1941:
Arrives at Saipan. Departs that same day with the destroyer OBORO.

19 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

5 March 1942: Operation SR The Invasions of Lae and Salamuana, New Guinea:
TSUGARU and minelayer OKINOSHIMA depart Rabaul with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Marumo Kuninori's (40) CruDiv 18's TENRYU and TATSUTA and KIYOKAWA MARU, Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) DesRon 6's YUBARI and DesDiv 29s ASANAGI, OITE, YUNAGI and DesDiv 30s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YOYOI.

8 March 1942:
Provides cover for invasions of Lae and Salamaua.

10 March 1942:
Off Lae and Salamaua,The Invasion force is attacked by Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr. (USNA 02) Task Force 11, including ships of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank Jack Fletcher's (USNA 06) TF 17. Ninety aircraft (SBDs, TBDs and F4Fs) of the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and USS HORNET (CV-8) fly over New Guinea' s Owen Stanley mountain range from the Coral Sea to make the attack.

The armed merchant cruiser KONGO MARU, auxiliary minelayer TENYO MARU and transport YOKOHAMA MARU are sunk. The light cruiser YUBARI, destroyers YUNAGI, ASANAGI, OITE, ASAKAZE and YAKAZE, seaplane carrier KIYOKAWA MARU, transport KOKAI MARU, minesweeper No. 2 TAMA MARU and minelayers OKINOSHIMA and the TSUGARU are damaged.

4 May 1942: Operation MO The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
Rabaul, New Britain. Rear Admiral Kajioka's Port Moresby Attack Force departs with DesRon 6's YUBARI, DesDiv 29s ASANAGI, OITE, DesDiv 30s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI and a patrol boat escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (40) (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force of five Navy and six Army transports, repair ship OSHIMA, oilers GOYO MARU, HOYO MARU, IRO, mine-sweepers W-20, HAGOROMO MARU, NOSHIRO MARU No. 2, FUMI MARU No. 2 and TSUGARU towards the Jomard Pass in the Louisiade Archipelago. The Port Moresby invasion troops are in this group.

9 May 1942:
After the Battle of Coral Sea, the Attack Force returns to Rabaul.

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

12 May 1942:
Arrives at Buka.

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

15 May 1942:
Operation "RY" is cancelled.

19 May 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

14 July 1942:
The TSUGARU is assigned to the Eighth Fleet.

20-24 July 1942: Operation RI The Invasion of Buna, New Guinea:
Departs Rabaul for Buna with CruDiv 18s light cruisers TENRYU and TATSUTA, DesDiv 29s ASANAGI and DesDiv 30s UZUKI and YUZUKI escorting troop transport AYATOSAN MARU and two transports. After the troops are landed the convoy is attacked by USAAF B-17s and B-26s. The AYATOSAN MARU is sunk and the UZUKI is damaged slightly by strafing.

31 July 1942:
Departs Rabaul at 0700 for Buna (Ri Operation - 3rd Transport Convoy) with transport NANKAI MARU and subchaser CH-28. Attacked by aircraft off southwestern coast of New Britain and forced to abandon mission.

3 August 1942:
Returns to Rabaul at 2000.

7 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Guadalcanal on a 519-man troop transport mission with the armed transport MEIYO MARU, supply ship SOYA and two small escorts.

9 August 1942:
14 miles west of Cape St. George, New Britain. Just after midnight, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's (USNA 32) USS S-38 at 04-50S, 152-40E. Munson sinks MEIYO MARU, but TSUGARU clears the area undamaged.

29-30 August 1942:
Departs Shortland with destroyer KAGERO to assist destroyer SHIRAKUMO hit by bombs from U.S. dive-bombers while on a troop transport run to Guadalcanal. (The destroyers HATSUYUKI, SHIRAYUKI, FUBUKI, UMIKAZE and KAWAKAZE deliver 750 troops to Guadalcanal). Takes over towing from destroyer AMAGIRI. Returns to Shortland.

1-2 September 1942:
Departs Shortland on troop (450 men) and field artillery (120-mm AA) transport run to Guadalcanal consisting of destroyers URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI. Covered by DesDiv 11s FUBUKI and SHIRAYUKI, DesDiv 20s AMAGIRI and two patrol boats that also delivered two anti aircraft guns, an artillery regiment and 200 men.

3-4 September 1942:
Solomons area. Attacked by aircraft while returning to Shortland. Fourteen crewmen are killed and 30 wounded.

September 1942:
Probably undergoes repairs at Rabaul.

25 October 1942:
The TSUGARU is in Guadacanal Reinforcement Unit A with the light cruiser TATSUTA and two destroyers. Transports troops to Koli Point, Guadalcanal.

November 1942:
Based at Shortland.

30 November 1942:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Takahashi Ichimatsu (40) (former CO of ITSUKUSHIMA) assumes command.

10 December 1942:
Shortland. Attacked by 11 USAAF B-17 bombers and six fighters. The oilers TOA and FUJISAN MARUs are damaged. The TSUGARU comes alongside the burning FUJISAN MARU to help extinguish the fires.

13 December 1942:
Departs Shortland.

14 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

16-18 December 1942:
Departs Rabaul with DesDiv 17s URAKAZE on a troop transport run to Munda and return.

18-25 December 1942:
Completes five transport runs from Rabaul to New Georgia and return with ten destroyers and several transports including 23 December troop transport run to Munda with DesDiv 20s AMAGIRI.

12 January 1943:
At 1700 departs Rabaul on a troop transport run with DesDiv 30s MOCHIZUKI to the seaplane base at Rekata Bay, Santa Ysabel Island.

13 January 1943:
At 2100 arrives at Rekata.

14 January 1943:
At 0100 departs Rekata. At 1100 arrives at Buin.

16 January 1943:
At 0950 departs Buin again for Rekata, arriving there at 2100.

17 January 1943:
At 2300 departs Rekata. At 1015 arrives at Buin.

21 January 1943:
At 0935 departs Buin. Late that day arrives again at Rekata.

22 January 1943:
Departs Rekata early am with DesDiv 15s KUROSHIO and torpedo boat HIYODORI and at 1400 arrives at Shortland.

24 January 1943:
At 1150 departs Shortland.

25 January 1943:
Arrives at Buin

1 February 1943:
At Shortland.

6 February 1943:
At 2200 departs Shortland.

8 February 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

12 February 1943:
At 2400 departs Rabaul.

14 February 1943:
Arrives at Shortland.

19 February 1943:
At 1430 departs Shortland and meets and escorts ammunition ship HIBARI MARU, also escorted by an unknown submarine chaser. At 1735 at 06-27S 156-05E off the coast of Bougainville Island, HIBARI MARU is hit in the stern by a single torpedo from USS GATO. TSUGARU and the submarine chaser immediately counterattack unsuccessfully.

20 February 1943:
Arrives back at Shortland. At 1800 departs for Rabaul.

22 February 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

10 March 1943:
At 1450 departs Rabaul for Yokosuka.

29 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

29 March-25 May 1943:
Yokosuka. Probably undergoes repairs and refit.

25 May-3 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk, then to Rabaul with DesDiv 30s AKIKAZE.

5 August 1943:
NNE of Rabaul. At 1000, TSUGARU is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) John S. Coye's (USNA 33) USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) at 01-53N, 153-52E. Coye claims a possible hit by one of four torpedoes he fires in a submerged attack.

31 August 1943:
Departs Rabaul with destroyer HAMAKAZE.

2 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

12 September 1943:
Departs Truk with IRAKO and HAMAKAZE.

18 September 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

20 September 1943:
Captain Nakatsu Seiki (44) (former XO of FUSO) assumes command.

1 December 1943:
The TSUGARU is assigned to Vice Admiral Oka Arata's (40) (former CO of IZUMO) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

3 December 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

6 December 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 December 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

14 December 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

20 December 1943:
Departs Manila.

24 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

31 December 1943:
Departs Singapore on an escort mission.

11 January 1944:
Departs Singapore.

13 January 1944:
Arrives at Penang.

23 January 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

3 February 1944:
Arrives at Port Blair.

4 February 1944:
Departs Port Blair.

7 February 1944:
Arrives at Singapore and transfers to Seletar.

17 February 1944:
Departs Singapore.

18 February 1944:
Arrives at Belawan and departs later that day.

20 February 1944:
Arrives at Nicobar Islands and departs later that day.

22 February 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

23 February 1944:
Departs Singapore.

25 February 1944:
Arrives at St Jacques and departs the same day for Manila.

7-8 April 1944:
Maradugao River, Mindanao. TSUGARU is replenished by stores ship KITAKAMI MARU.

27 May 1944: American Operation "Horlicks" - The Invasion of Biak, New Guinea:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral/CNO) William M. Fechteler's (USNA 16) (former CO of INDIANA, BB-58), Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller's 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea.

31 May 1944: Operation KON - The Relief of Biak:
Davao, Philippines. Joins in the effort to embark 3, 500 troops of the Second Mobile Brigade from Zamboanga, Mindanao to reinforce Biak.

2 June 1944:
Departs Davao for Biak. The TSUGARU attempts to transport 800 troops to Biak with minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA and Transport No. 127. After being sighted by two B-24 bombers, the operation is canceled.

7 June 1944:
At 0800 arrives at Kau.

8 June 1944:
At 0800 departs Kau.

11 June 1944:
At 1000 TSUGARU and minesweeper W-30 arrive at Kau.

12 June 1944:
Operates from Kau (Kaoe) area to Sorong, New Guinea with the ITSUKUSHIMA, Transport No. 127 and minesweeper W-30. Makes a third attempt to reinforce Biak with cover from the battleships MUSASHI and YAMATO. At 1200 TSUGARU and W-30 depart Kau.

16 June 1944:
At 1415 departs Sorong.

21 June 1944:
Off Sanana, Soela islands between Sorong and Kau Roads, Moluccas. The TSUGARU is torpedoed by Dutch Ltz. I Jacob F. Drijfhout van Hooff's submarine HNMS K-XIV at 01-10S, 130-30E. The extent of damage inflicted is unknown.

22 June 1944:
At 0800 TSUGARU and destroyer HOKAZE arrive at Kau.

29 June 1944:
At 0630 TSUGARU with submarine chasers CH-38 and CH-45 depart Kau for Manila. Off Morotai Island, near Biak. In the early afternoon, Cdr (later Captain) David H. McClintocks (USNA 35) USS DARTER (SS-227) sights a large minelayer under escort by two 300-ton subchasers and an aircraft. Using an out-dated reference, McClintock misidentifies TSUGARU as the similarly configured, but somewhat older, minelayer OKINOSHIMA. At 1356, the USS DARTER's crew readies all torpedo tubes. As TSUGARU approaches from starboard, Cdr McClintock observes a floatplane on her deck. At 1425, he fires a full bow spread of six torpedoes with a run of about 2,350 yards. Two torpedoes hit and TSUGARU goes dead in the water. At 1432, the subchasers begin dropping a total of 24 depth charges, but USS DARTER goes deep and escapes undamaged.

At 1449, TSUGARU sinks at 02-19N, 127-57E. Captain Nakatsu is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

10 August 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
Special thanks for assistance go to Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, John Whitman of Virginia, USA, Gilbert Casse of France, Luca Ruffato of Italy and Allan Alsleben of Oregon.

- By Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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