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

IJN Minelayer YAEYAMA:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2005 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

2 August 1930:
Laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal.

15 October 1931:
Launched and named YAEYAMA.

31 August 1932:
Kure. Completed as a minelayer/netlayer. Registered (commissioned) in the Sasebo Naval District. YAEYAMA is the first IJN warship constructed with an all-welded hull.

15 November 1933:
Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji (38) assumes command.

15 November 1934:
An unknown Captain assumes command.

7 October 1935:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Miyamoto Sadachika (39) (former XO of ITSUKUSHIMA) assumes command.

1 December 1936:
An unknown Captain assumes command.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The First "China") Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

11 August 1937:
Shanghai, China. YAEYAMA is the flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanimoto Umataro’s (35)(former CO of CHOKAI) 11th Gunboat Division.

14 August 1937: "Bloody Saturday":
Shanghai. Flagship USS AUGUSTA (CA-31), carrying the CINC, U.S. Asiatic Fleet, Admiral Harry E. Yarnell (former CO of SARATOGA, CV-3), arrives from Tsingtao after battling a typhoon and anchors in the Whangpoa River. That same day, the Chinese Air Force (CAF) under their acting operational CO, retired Captain (later MajGen) Claire L. Chennault, launches aircraft to attack IJN flagship IZUMO and the Japanese fleet. The CAF mistakenly bombs British cruiser HMS CUMBERLAND, but their bombs fall wide. Two bombs also fall close alongside AUGUSTA, but no one is killed. The CAF also accidentally bombs Shanghai city, killing more than 1,700 civilians and wounding 1,800 others.

August 1937:
Shanghai. YAEYAMA and the 11th Gunboat Division put ashore Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) reinforcements. In view of the increasing danger, Japanese residents in Shanghai decide to repatriate women and children. About 20,000 of the total 30,000 residents are successively returned home about 19 August.

September 1937:
YAEYAMA returns to Sasebo for modification and improvements. After completion of construction, she returns to duty on the Yangtze River off Shangai.

1 December 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishikawa Shingo (42) (former CO of SHIRETOKO) assumes command.

10 January 1938:
An unknown Captain assumes command. Captain Ishikawa is reassigned to the Naval General Staff (NGS).

25 May 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mori Tokuji (40) (former CO of TAIGEI) assumes command.

21 July 1938:
Tsiangtsin, China. The Japanese begin operations with aerial reconnaissance of the city followed by aerial bombardment of Chinese positions. At dawn the next day, the IJA's 106th Division lands a reinforced infantry brigade south of Tsiangtsin. The Chinese launch many counterattacks, but are repelled by the IJA assisted by air cover.

24 July 1938:
That night, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kondo Eijiro’s (36)(former CO of KAGA) Yosuko Force lands troops of the Kure No. 5 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) on the banks of the Yangtze. Gunnery support is provided by Kondo’s 11th Battle Division. Kondo’s Guard Unit is made up of TorpBoatDiv 11 and TorpBoatDiv 21. YAEYAMA (F) leads the van with TorpBoatDiv 1, MineSweepDiv 1 and MineSweepDiv 2. Air cover is provided by KAMIKAWA MARU and NOTORO. Threatened with envelopment, the Chinese withdraw.

28 July 1938:
Captain Mori is assigned additional duty as CO of Gunboat Division 11.

15 December 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Okada Tametsugu (45) (former XO of RYUJO) assumes command. Captain Mori is reassigned as Chief of Staff of the Ominato Guard District.

26 September 1939:
YAEYAMA is at Amoy (now Xiamen), China across the Straits from Formosa (now Taiwan).

15 October 1939:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Aitoku Ichiro (45) assumes command. Captain Okada is reassigned to the NGS.

15 November 1939:
Cdr Aitoku is promoted to Captain.

20 July 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamamori Kamenosuke (40) assumes command. Captain Aitoku is reassigned to the Sasebo Naval District.

1 November 1940:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Kawai Shigezo (46) (former XO of NAGATO) assumes command. Captain Yamamori is reassigned as CO of YAKUMO.

15 November 1940:
Cdr Kawai is promoted to Captain.

10 May 1941:
An unknown Captain assumes command. Captain Kawai is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District.

1 December 1941:
Palau. YAEYAMA is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kobayashi Tetsuri's (former CO of MOGAMI) MineDivision 17 with minelayer IKUTSUSHIMA in the Third Fleet's Southern Philippines Striking Force.

2 December 1941:
YAEYAMA 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).

6 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Southern Philippines:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji's (former CO of KAGA) Fourth Surprise Attack Force's seven transports depart Palau for planned landings at Davao and Legaspi. The convoy is escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 24 and DesDiv 16's TOKITSUKAZE.

DesRon 2's JINTSU and DesDiv 15, DesDiv 16 and DesDiv 20’s ASAGIRI provide cover. The covering force also includes Rear Admiral (Admiral posthumously) Takagi Takeo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 5's NACHI, MYOKO and HAGURO.

The light carrier RYUJO, escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE and CarDiv 11's seaplane carriers CHITOSE and MIZUHO provide air cover.

10 December 1941:
JINTSU and DesDiv 15's HAYASHIO and NATSUSHIO are detached from Kubo's force to escort YAEYAMA.

10-11 December 1941:
YAEYAMA lays 133 mines in the Surigao Strait.

14 December 1941:
Returns to Palau.

3 January 1942:
Philippines. YAEYAMA is assigned as flagship of Vice Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo's (former CO of HYUGA) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet with light cruiser KUMA.

31 January 1942:
Philippines. The Commander of the 14th Army, General Homma Masaharu, directs the beachhead at Quinauan Point be reinforced and that Major Kimura Mitsuo's 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry drive inland and seize the town of Mariveles.

1 February 1942:
Subic Bay. YAEYAMA is stationed off Quinauan Point to cover the landing of Major Kimura's battalion. While the landing boats are being attacked by air, artillery and infantry weapons, Lt (jg) Vincent E. Schumacher’s USS PT-32 attacks the minelayer. YAEYAMA illuminates PT-32 with her searchlight and opens fire with four or five salvos from her two main 120-mm guns. The PT boat tries unsuccessfully to shoot out the searchlight with machine gun fire, then fires two torpedoes. As he retires, Schumacher’s crew observes explosions on the minelayer, but later YAEYAMA reports only slight damage from a dud round fired by shore batteries.

14 July 1942:
Manila. YAEYAMA is assigned to Vice Admiral Kobayashi Tetsuri's (38) (former CO of MOGAMI) 31st Special Base Force in Vice Admiral Sugiyama's Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Southwest Area Fleet.

E September 1942:*
Manila. The 31st Base Force, including YAEYAMA, is assigned responsibility for commerce escort protection in a specified local area, as is each theater fleet, naval and guard district and some other base forces.

7 May 1943:
Captain Tsutsumi Michinao (48) assumes command.

E December 1943:*
YAEYAMA’s minelaying rails are removed, possibly at Cavite. She is equipped with 36 depth charges to facilitate her use as a convoy escort.

20 December 1943:
YAEYAMA is assigned directly to Vice Admiral Tayui Minoru's (39) (former CO of HYUGA) First Southern Expeditionary Fleet, Southwest Area Fleet.

15 May 1944:
YAEYAMA departs Manila for Halmahera Island escorting convoy H-26 consisting of ETAJIMA, KENWA, TEMPEI, AKAGISAN, TAIJUN, TAIYU, TOUN and SHIRAHAMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1. Other escorts include subchasers CH-45, CH-47 and minesweeper W-48.

22 May 1944:
Off Davao, Philippines. At about 0100, LtCdr Brooks J. Harral's USS RAY (SS-271) makes a radar-assisted night attack on the surface on the convoy. In a series of attacks, Harral torpedoes TEMPEI MARU. She sinks at 05-16S, 127-42E.

23 May 1944:
At about 0500, RAY makes a radar-assisted attack on the surface and torpedoes TAIJUN MARU. She sinks at 02-42N, 128-08E. YAEYAMA and the remainder of H-26 arrive at Kau Bay, Halmahera late that day.

24 September 1944:
At 0550, 96 Grumman F6F “Hellcat” fighters and 24 Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive-bombers of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (former CO of HORNET, CV-8) Task Force 38's TG 38.3 Air Group 18 from INTREPID (CV-11), AG-31 from CABOT (CVL-28) and AG-19 based on Mitscher's flagship, LEXINGTON (CV-16) take off to attack the anchorage at Coron Bay, Busuanga Island, Palawan, 340 miles away.

South of Mindoro, Philippines. Carrier aircraft attack and sink YAEYAMA and subchaser CH-32 at 12-15N, 121-00E. Captain Tsutsumi and an unknown number of crewmen survive the sinking.

10 November 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
*E = Estimated date.

Special thanks for assistance go to Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, Allan Alsleben of Oregon, Takizawa Akira of Japan and George F. Smithson.

-Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall

Back to Minelayer Page