Testimony of Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto at Court Martial of Captain Charles B. McVay, III 

Thursday, 13 December 1945, Washington Navy Yard 

NH 95295 Naval Historical center
Building 57 of the Dudley Knox Center for Naval History, Washington Navy Yard, as seen from Leutze Park, December 1983. Captain McVay's court martial took place on the third deck of Building 57 in the upper left corner. Out the window Captain McVay could view the quarters his father, Admiral Charles McVay, Jr., resided in as Commandant of the Yard in 1920, NH 95295.

 

3 JAN 1946

MEMORANDUM FOR: THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

Subj:      Mochitsura Hoshimato [sic through entire memorandum], General Court Martial Witness- Return to Japan of

  1. On 22 December 1945, following completion of the General Court Martial in the case of Captain Charles B. McVay, Jr., USN, the Chief of Naval Personnel was requested to issue orders to an officer to:

    1. Take custody of the subject alien from the Commander Potomac River Naval Command, and accompany him to San Francisco, California, via NATS, departing Washington, D.C., 29 December 1943, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

    2. On arrival San Francisco, deliver the subject alien into the custody of the Commander, Western Sea Frontier.

  2. By copy of the letter to BuPers, the Commandant, Potomac River Naval Command, was directed to release Hoshimato on presentation of appropriate orders.

  3. Further, by copy of the letter, the Commander, Western Sea Frontier, was requested to deliver Hoshimato to the custody of the commanding officer of a U.S. naval vessel scheduled to depart for Japan, with instructions to deliver him to naval authority at the port of arrival for further delivery to the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.  Instructions were issued that Hoshimato is be kept under restraint suitable to his status as a surrendered person and Japanese alien while awaiting departure from San Francisco and while on board a U.S. naval vessel.

  4. While awaiting departure for San Francisco, Hoshimato was interrogated by personnel from the office of the Chief of Naval Intelligence.

  5. On 29 December 1945, Hoshimato embarked aboard a NATS plane, in custody of an officer, for passage to San Francisco and delivery into the temporary custody of the Commander, Western Sea Frontier.

     

 CC:        0p-09                                                                                                                    
                JAG                                                                                                       

R. S. EDWARDS,

VICE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

 

[END MEMO] 

 

CASE OF

Charles B. McVay, 3rd,                                                                                                                  
Captain, U. S. Navy,                                                                                                                       
December 3, 1945.

Volume 1 of three volumes 

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF A GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL CONVENED AT THE NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D. C. BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY 

RECEIVED 21 DEC 1945 OFFICE OF JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL G.C.M. SECTION 

COPY FURNISHED

142930

[END COVER MATTER] 

 

[Mochitsura Hashimoto Excerpt pp. 266-276]

  1. Q.  State your name, rank, and present duty

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Eastlake)  Hasimoto [sic], Mochitsura, in Japanese they put the family name first, commander, in His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Navy, Reserve; at the present, here at the disposition of this court.

  2. Q.  How long have you been a commander?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Eastlake)  I have been a commander since -- since September ninth of this year -- since September sixth, - correction, please; since September sixth of this year.

  3. Q.  Have you received any threats or promises of any kind which might tend to influence you to give any particular kind of testimony?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Eastlake)  I have received neither threats nor promises to put any – to try to influence me to bear witness one way or the other.

  4. Q.  Do you fully understand the implications of the oaths which you have taken?

    • (As given by interpreter Eastlake)  I fully understand

  5. Q.  What duties were you performing in the Japanese Navy during the night of 29-30 July, 1945?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The duty as ordered.

  6. Q. What duty was this?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Serving as captain of submarine I-58.

  7. Q.  Will you repeat the number of that submarine, please?

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  I-58

  8. Q.  What zone time was your ship keeping during the night of 29-30 July, 1945?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Minus nine.

  9. Q.  In what position was your ship at or about 2305 on that evening?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) In position bearing 355 degrees from Palau, distance 290 miles.

  10. Plot that position on the chart you see there, Exhibit 2.

At this point the accused requested that the witness plot the position last above referred to on a different chart than “Exhibit 2.” The judge advocate stated that he was agreeable to this procedure, and he produced another chart. The witness plotted the position last above referred to on a chart marked “Exhibit 9 for identification.”

  1. Q.  What is that position as charted in latitude and longitude?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) This position is 12 degrees 31 minutes north; 134 degrees 16 minutes east longitude.  The witness qualified this statement; it is approximate.

  2. Q.  If anything happened at or about 2305 zone minus nine time on the evening in question, that was of particular interest to you, tell the court what it was, -to you, Commander Hashimoto, - anything which happened that was of peculiar interest to you, tell the court what it was.

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  On the supposition that at that time the visibility would have improved and the moon would be out, he brought his submarine to the surface.  Thereupon, under the moon, he discerned a dark object and crash-dived immediately, and then swung his ship around to head it its direction.

  3. Q.  At the time he saw this dark object, did he make any estimate of the range of that dark object?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) At that time he estimated the range as being in the vicinity of ten thousand meters.

  4. Q.  And what – from his knowledge now – was the position of his ship relative to the dark object at that time?

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  His position was established still, roughly, at ten thousand meters, bearing ninety degrees from true -- with the target bearing ninety degrees true.

At this point the accused object to the last question on the ground that the judge advocate was putting words into the witness’s mouth.

The question was repeated.

The judge advocate replied, stating that he would rephrase the question.

  1. Q.  Then what did you do after sighting this dark object?

    • (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  He submerged and headed towards the object and prepared to fire torpedoes and launch KAITENS.

  2. Q.  And then what did you do?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  He then proceeded with further observation of the target?

  3. Q. How long after sighting the target did it take you to arrive at the estimate of course and speed of the target?

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  It took about ten minutes to swing around and steady on a course heading for the target, and at the end of that time he was, roughly, --he had roughly made up his mind as to the target’s course and speed.

  4. Q.  And what was that?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  Speed, 12 knots; course, 260.

  5. Q.  Between the time you sighted the target and when you arrived at this estimate; describe, in general terms, whether your ship was approaching the target, going away from the target, or circling?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  Generally speaking, the submarine was approaching the target.

  6. Q. And what speed, average speed, over this period was he making?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  An average speed of about 3 knots.

  7. Q.  You have said that you took about ten minutes to arrive at an estimate of the target’s course and speed; then what did you do?

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  He completed preparation for firing torpedoes; he set up the problem on his director; that is, he put in the estimates, and then awaited the proper time to fire.

  8. Q.  Then what did you do?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  It became apparent that the target was approaching off of his starboard bow, so he swung his ship to starboard, and when the target had approached within a distance of 1500 -- 1500 meters, he fired his torpedoes.

  9. Q.  Proceed.

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) After firing, he put up his periscope and saw his torpedoes make three hits in the forward part of the ship between the bridge and bow.  Thereafter he heard an explosion from what he took to be a fourth torpedo hit, and saw a cloud of water aft of the ship’s bridge. Thereafter he swung his ship further to the right, and -- he had bounced up when he fired his torpedoes, and at the same time lowered his periscope.  At that time he heard -- a total of ten explosions, of which several were louder than the rest.

  10. Q.  How do you know you scored three hits on the target?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  Of the three torpedo hits scored in the forward part of the ship, the center hit produced a flame which revealed three columns of water, a center column and on either side.

  11. Q.  What kind of torpedoes did you fire?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Type 95 torpedoes, propelled by oxygen.

  12. Q.  What kind of war-heads were on these torpedoes?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Five war-heads were magnetic, one, inertia type.

  13. Q.  Did you fire these torpedoes independently, or did you use a spread?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The torpedoes were fired with a spread of three degrees and at intervals of three seconds.

  14. Q.  What do you mean by a “spread of three degrees”?

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  By a “spread of three degrees” is meant that there were -- an angle of three degrees between each of the torpedoes fired, with the exception that -- to be strictly accurate, between the two center torpedoes there was an angle of two degrees.

  15. Q.  How long after sighting this target did you fire this salvo?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) About twenty-seven minutes.

The witness was duly warned.

The court then, at 12:18 p.m., took a recess until 1:45 p.m., at which time it reconvened.

Present:  All the members, the judge advocate and his counsel, the reporter, the accused and his counsel, and the interpreters.

No witnesses not otherwise connected with the trial were present.

Mochitsura Hashimoto, Japanese enemy alien, the witness under examination when the recess was taken, entered.  He was warned (through interpreter Eastlake) that the oaths previously taken by him were still binding, and continued his testimony.

(Examination by the judge advocate continued.)

  1. Q. On which side of the target did your torpedoes hit?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) They struck on the starboard side.

  2. Q. Did those torpedoes which you fired leave a wake which could be seen at night?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  No.

  3.  Q.  In what part of your ship were these torpedoes before you fired them?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) In the bow.

  4. Q. Why did you not use KAITENS?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) KAITENS weren’t used, first, because he was delayed in determining the type of target; secondly, because it was night; and thirdly, because torpedoes were considered to be sufficient.

  5. Q.  Can you draw from your memory a rough sketch showing the relative positions of the target and your ship from the time of sighting until you first the torpedoes?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Yes, roughly.

  6. Q.  Do so, and indicate thereon your position relative to the target at the time of sighting and at the time of firing.

The witness drew a rough sketch as requested to.

The rough sketch, last above referred to, was submitted to the accused and to the court, and by the judge advocate offered in evidence in connection with the charges and specifications for which the accused was on trial.

There being no objection, it was so received, appended, marked “Exhibit 10.”

  1. Q.  Did you recognize the type of ship which was your target?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  At the time when the target had approached to a distance of about three thousand yards, and at which time the foremast and main mast had separated, he recognized it as a ship of ten-thousand ton cruiser class of bigger.

  2. Q.  Did you make any further studies in relation to the type of ship which was your target?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Subsequent to the time that he fired the torpedoes, he looked into a book of silhouettes for the ship that he saw at the time of firing.

  3. Q.  How did you know that this target was not a Japanese ship?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  At the time the submarine left Kure, there were no Japanese vessels navigating in this area.  The arrangements were made to be advised by wireless if subsequent to the time of departure friendly vessels should navigate in this area, and as he had no advice by wireless, he knew in this instance that it wasn’t a Japanese vessel.

  4. Q.  Did you take any prisoners from this ship you testified you torpedoed?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  He took no prisoners.

Cross-examined by the accused:

  1. Q.  Where did you depart from on this patrol?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He got underway from Kure and proceeded to a base called Hirao, loaded KAITENS, and then took departure.\

  2. Q.  When did you depart from that latter point?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He departed from Hirao on the 20th of July.

  3. Q.  Can you trace on this chart your approximate course from then until the place you last testified to?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He can.

  4. Q.  Will you please do that, and will you please identify the locations by dates on there as you are able to?

The witness traced, on the chart marked “Exhibit 9 for identification,” the approximate course last above referred to.

  1. Q. I would like to ask you how you know and how you can remember this abrupt break, this break, in your course at the point marked “7/28.”

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)   This point represents the intersection of a line joining the approach to Leyte Gulf and Guam and another line from Okinawa to Ulithi.  At this point he attacked a tanker with KAITENS.  He withdrew from this point slightly to the north, and then proceeded -- started to proceed to another point, the intersection of the line from Palau -- the intersection of the lines connecting Palau and Okinawa and the line connecting Leyte Gulf and Guam.  En route, because of poor visibility, he submerged, which takes us to the point indicated on the chart.

  2. Q.  What can you testify as to the success of the attack that you reported with KAITENS on the 28th, I think?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He cannot confirm success of that particular attack.

  3. Q.  Did you report this attack?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He did not report it immediately, but reported it later.

  4. Q.  What was your average speed on this track that have shown, surface and submerged?

This question was objected to by the judge advocate on the ground that it was a double question.

The accused replied, stating that he would reframe the question.

  1. Q.  Please testify as to your average surface speed on this track.

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) About twelve knots.

  2. Q.  What was your maximum speed on the surface?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) In the condition of his ship at that time, fifteen knots.

  3. Q.  What was your best submerged speed?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Between two and a half and three knots.

  4.  Q.  His best submerged speed; his highest speed?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) His highest speed, seven knots; highest submerged speed, seven knots.

  5. Q. Did you have any radar on your submarine?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Yes.

  6. Q.  What was its effective range?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The effectiveness of the radar with regard to surface vessels depended upon the visibility of the vessel in question.  However, for a vessel of the size of a destroyer or above, about ten thousand meters.

  7. Q.  Did you have any sound detecting gear?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He had sound gear.

  8. Q.  Was it operative at this time?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) It was being used at the time in question, but its condition was not very good.

  9. Q.  Did you use it at all in the attack about which you have testified?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Yes, it was used.

  10. Q. What use was made of it?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  The sound gear was used to determine any change in the course of the target and any changes in determining -- and in determining speed.

  11. Q.  How many torpedoes did you fire on this attack?

    •  (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  Six torpedoes were fired.

  12. Q.  How many hits did you claim that you got on target?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Three confirmed hits on the target.  The explosion from a fourth hit was -- the explosion from what was believed to be a fourth hit was heard, but couldn’t be confirmed by observation.

  13. Q.  What was the speed of your torpedoes?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Forty-eight knots.

  14. Q.  What depth setting was set on these torpedoes?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Four meters.

  15. Q.  What do you estimate the range to have been at the time of firing?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Fifteen hundred meters.

  16. Q.  What was the range of the torpedoes at that speed, the maximum range of the torpedoes at that speed?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Five thousand five hundred meters.

  17. Q.  Was there a lower speed setting?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Yes.

  18. Q.  What was the lowest speed setting?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  The second setting is believe to be forty-two knots, but the witness is not quite sure of the exact speed.

  19. Q.  Did the lower speed give an increased range to the torpedo?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Yes, it did.

  20. Q.  What was the range for forty-two?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The answer to this question, too, he doesn’t clearly remember, but in the vicinity of nine thousand meters.

  21. Q.  Was the target zigzagging at the time you sighted it?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) At the time of the sighting of the target, there was an indistinct blur, and he is unable to -- was unable to determine whether or not it was zigzagging.

  22. Q.  Was it zigzagging later?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) There is no question of the fact that it made no radical change in course.  It is faintly possible that there was a minor change in course between the time of sighting and the time of attack.

  23. Q.  Would it have made any difference to you if the target had been zigzagging on this attack? [The question was repeated.]

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) It would have involved no change in the method of firing the torpedoes, but some changes in maneuvering.

  24. Q.  How long was she on the surface when you testified that you first sighted a dark object?  You said you crash-dived; how long do you estimate you were on the surface?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He estimates the time that elapsed from the sighting of the target until the time he was completely covered as fifty seconds.

Reexamined by the judge advocate:

  1.  Q.  Did you use radar which was in your ship at any time in relation to the sinking of this ship about which you have testified?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley)  The radar was not used from the time he submerged until the time -- from the time he submerged, that is, until after the attack was completed.

  2. Q. Please repeat that.

    • A. (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The radar in his ship was not used from the time he submerged until had completed the attack.

  3. Q.  Which submerging do you mean?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The reference was intended to mean from the time he submerged after having sighted the target.

  4. Q. Did the radar assist you in any way to pick up this target?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) Prior to surfacing, the visibility was good.  Because the visibility had improved, radar was used to search for planes and for a limited time to search for surface craft with no contacts.

The accused did not desire to recross-examine this witness.

Examined by the court.

  1. Q. You testified earlier that your first estimate of the target speed was twelve knots;  did you make an estimate in order to fire torpedoes?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He used the speed of twelve knots to fire his torpedoes, sir, a target speed of twelve knots. Subsequent to the firing, when a chart was made up, he revised his estimate of target speed down to eleven knots.

  2. Q.  Were any observations made of the target after crash-diving?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) The target was observed after he crash-dived.

  3.  Q.  By what means?

    • A.   (As given by interpreter Commander Bromley) He made continuous observation using a night periscope.

Neither the judge advocate, the accused, nor the court desired further to examine this witness.

The witness said that he had nothing further to state.

The witness was duly warned and withdrew.

At the point the judge advocate stated that he had no more witnesses present to testify for the prosecution at this time.  The judge advocate further stated that none of five men who had been expected to arrive this morning had reporting in, but that at least one or two other witnesses would be present to testify in the morning.

The court then, at 2:35 p.m., adjourned until 10 a.m., tomorrow, Friday, December 14, 1945.

 

[END MOCHITSURA HASHIMOTO TESTIMONY]

Published:Mon Jul 11 08:02:37 EDT 2016