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Interrogations of Japanese Officials - Vols. I & II

United States Strategic Bombing Survey [Pacific]

Interrogations of Japanese Officials - Vol. I cover image.

United States
Strategic Bombing Survey

[Pacific]

Naval Analysis Division

Interrogations of Japanese Officials
Volume 1

Foreword

The interrogations in this volume were conducted in TOKYO during the months of October, November, and December 1945 by officers of the Naval Analysis Division of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. While the original purpose of the interrogations was to gain evidence for an assessment of the role of airpower in the war with JAPAN, in the absence of any other body concerned with the conduct of this naval war, this purpose was broadened to include as wide a survey of wartime events as time and other restrictions would permit. The specific purpose of individual interrogations varied between that of obtaining comment and opinion from those very senior officers who were in a position to view the war as a whole, the discussion of specific operations and engagements with responsible commanders or other eyewitnesses and the elaboration and clarification of documentary material.

Although the Imperial Japanese Navy was abolished shortly after the surrender, and its personnel retired and dispersed, permission was obtained from General MacArthur to retain a nucleus of experienced officers at the Naval War College at HIYOSHI. In addition to being interrogated on their particular specialties and experiences, these officers performed research at the direction of the Naval Analysis Division and, together with the Japanese Naval Liaison Office, gave useful assistance in identifying and procuring other officers for interrogation.

Despite the cooperation of the Japanese, a number of unavoidable difficulties hindered the investigation. It was often a considerable problem to identify the proper individual for interrogation on a given subject, in many instances the most desirable candidates were dead, and in almost every case the selected officers had to be brought especially to TOKYO from all parts of JAPAN and even, in one case, from as far as SINGAPORE. All work was conducted by a small staff under pressure of time, without an adequate library, and in the face of an almost complete lack of original Japanese documents which had been either burned in air raids, or destroyed or hidden on surrender. Towards the end of the stay in JAPAN a quantity of hidden records were discovered; these have been returned to the United States and are now in process of translation, a work which will require a period of years to complete. In many instances, therefore, questions had to be explored entirely by interrogation with only partial or inaccurate war-time information as the starting point, with resultant delay and repetition.

So far as the question of veracity is concerned, it should be stated that almost without exception the Japanese naval officers interrogated were cooperative to the highest degree, and that no important attempt consciously to mislead the interrogator was ever noted. Accuracy on fine points was inevitably affected by the language problem which necessitated in most cases translation of both question and answer, by the specialized nature of the naval vocabulary which in some instances troubled the interpreters, and by the somewhat imprecise nature of the Japanese language itself. Allowance must also be made for the normal fallibility of human memory and in particular the memory of events months or years in the past which were witnessed under the intense strain of combat. Despite all these considerations it is felt that the interrogations provide an accurate picture of the war from the Japanese viewpoint, subject only to the qualifications that on important or disputed points of documentary confirmation should where possible be obtained.

The planned use of this material was, as has been noted above, as evidence for an evaluation of the role of airpower in the Pacific war. These interrogations, together with other material accumulated by the Naval Analysis Division, form the basis of reports to be submitted to the chairman of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. In view, however, of the wide range of subject matter covered, the important and in some cases unique qualifications of the Japanese officers interrogated, and the improbability that such an investigation will ever or could ever be repeated, it is believed that these interrogations form a body of source material indispensable to any future study of the war with Japan.

R A Ofstie

Rear Admiral, USN,
Senior Navy Member,
U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey.

--III--

[Blank]

--IV--

Contents

Volume I: Page
        Foreword III
        List of Interrogations arranged numerically VI
        List of Interrogations arranged according to subject matter IX
        List of Illustrations XIII
        Index of Major Battles and Operations and Japanese Officials XV
        Interrogations 1-70 1
          
Volume II:  
        Interrogations 71-118 287
        Japanese Notes of Battles 541
        Biographies of Interrogated Japanese Officials 548
--V--

List of Interrogations
(Arranged Numerically)

Nav
No.
USSBS
No.
Subject page
1 6 Battle of Midway 1
2 11 HIRYU (CV) at the Battle of Midway 4
3 32 Battle of Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944) 7
4 23 Battle of Midway 13
5 34 Allied Offensive Mining Campaigns 16
6 40 The Attack on Pearl Harbor; The Kamikaze Corps in Philippines and Okinawa 23
7 33 Occupation of Philippines and Dutch East Indies 25
8 46 Coral Sea Battle, 7-8 May 1942; Battle of Eastern Solomons 29
9 47 Battle of the Philippine Sea; Battle of Leyte Gulf 32
10 53 Solomon Islands Occupations and Battle of Coral Sea 53
11 61 Japanese Naval Escort of Shipping and Shipping Losses 56
12 62 Kamikaze Corps 60
13 65 Pearl Harbor - Midway - Solomons 65
14 67 Occupation of the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies 71
15 74 Operations of Japanese Naval Aircraft during Invasion of Philippines and Netherland East Indies 74
16 75 Battle of Eastern Solomons, 23-25 August 1942; Battle of Santa Cruz, 26 October 1942; Solomons Campaign, 1942-43 77
17 90 Invasion of the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies 83
18 93 Gilbert-Marshall Islands Operations 86
19 94 Operation of Main Body of Second Fleet 90
20 97 Aleutian Campaign, Carrier Aircraft Attack on Dutch Harbor 92
21 98 Aleutian Campaign, Seaplane Operations, the Naval Battle of the Komandorski Islands, and the Defense of the Kuriles 97
22 99 Aleutian Campaign, Japanese Occupation of Kiska, the Kiska Garrison, and Operations in the Kuriles 102
23 100 Aleutian Campaign, Japanese Flying Boat Operations in the Aleutians 106
24 101 Aleutian Campaign, Planning and Operations through November 1942 108
25 102 Aleutian Campaign and Defense of the Kuriles - Planning and Operations from November 1942 to August 1945 110
26 103 Mine Warfare 116
27 104 Note:Interrogation Nav. No. 27 (USSBS No. 104) is omitted from this series as it contains limited information which amplifies and clarifies the answers to questionnaire contained in Nav. Memorandum-6 which was submitted to the Japanese Government.  
28 112 Tokyo Air Defense 118
29 113 Pearl Harbor - Battle of Philippine Sea - Battle for Leyte Gulf 122
30 123 Air Defense Gilbert, Marshall and Marianas Islands 132
31 129 Aircraft Ferrying and Pilot Attrition JNAF 135
32 133 The Attack on the Yamato Group, 7 April 1945 136
33 138 Guadalcanal - Midway - Villa 141
34 139 Gilberts - Marshalls Operation Naval Strategic Planning 143
35 149 Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944 147
--VI--
Nav
No.
USSBS
No.
Subject page
36 150 Battle off Cape Engano, 24-25 October 1944 153
37 159 Attacks on Japanese Shipping 161
38 160 Japanese Plans for Defense of Central Pacific 165
39 165 Battle of Midway, Damage to Aircraft Carrier, Soryu 167
40 169 Non-Combat Losses of Aircraft 170
41 170 Battle of Samar, October 1944 171
42 181 Note: Interrogation Nav No. 42 (USSBS No. 181) is omitted from this series as it contains limited information which amplifies and clarifies the answers to questionnaire contained in Nav MEMORANDUM-7 which was submitted to the Japanese Government.  
43 192 Japanese Naval Planning 176
44 193 Defense of the Philippines, 1944 178
45 194 Escort and Protection of Shipping 184
46 195 Guadalcanal - Midway - Munda and Rabaul 191
47 199 Convoy Escort and Protection of Shipping - South China Sea Area 194
48 200 Japanese Airborne Magnetic Detector 197
49 201 Convoy Protection of Shipping Netherlands East Indies - New Guinea Area 201
50 202 Aircraft Availability and Loss Report 204
51 205 Aleutian Campaign, Transports at the Battle of the Komandorskis, 26 March 1943 207
52 224 Rabaul 209
53 225 Escort and Protection of Shipping 212
54 226 Mine Counter-measures 217
55 227 Battle for Leyte Gulf, October 1944 219
56 228 Aircraft escort of convoys and Anti-Submarine Operations 228
57 229 Escort and Defense of Shipping 230
58 233 Battle of Surigao Strait 235
59 251 Mine Counter-measures and Shipping Losses in Osaka and Soerabaja Areas 245
60 252 Transports at Midway; Transports at Battle of Eastern Solomons, 25 August 1942; Battle of Tassafaronga, 30 November 1942 249
61 225 Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942 255
62 256 Mine Warfare - Shimonoseki Straits and Formosa Areas 257
63 257 Anti-Submarine Training and Equipment 259
64 258 Japanese Naval Planning after Midway 262
65 285 Mine Warfare 267
66 295 Midway - Eastern Solomons - Philippines 269
67 311 Aleutian Campaign - Japanese Twelfth Air Fleet in the Kuriles and North Pacific 272
68 331 Japanese Invasion of the Philippines 275
69 345 Battle off Cape Engano 277
70 359 Observations on the Course of the War 284
71 360 Japanese Naval Land-Based Air Operations in Western New Guinea 287
72 366 Submarine Warfare 291
73 367 Aleutian Campaign, Operations of the Japanese First Destroyer Squadron 299
74 371 Anti-Submarine Warfare 309
75 378 Japanese War Plans and Peace Moves 313
76 379 Japanese War Planning 327
77 387 Operations of 22d Air Flotilla in Malaya 333
78 389 Empress Augusta Bay, 2 November 1943 337
79 390 Battle of Surigao Strait 341
80 392 Japanese Naval Plans 352
81 395 Occupation of the Philippines and Dutch East Indies 357
--VII--
Nav
No.
USSBS
No.
Subject page
82 396 Movements of Japanese Second Fleet in Central Pacific 359
83 407 Savo Island - Midway - Solomons - Leyte Gulf 361
84 408 Aleutian Campaign, Japanese Army Garrisons on Attu and Kiska 365
85 413 Japanese Capture of Wake Island 370
86 414 Production Wastage and Strength - Japanese Naval Air Force 374
87 420 First Air Fleet - Spring 1944 376
88 424 21st Air Flotilla 379
89 427 Carrier Aircraft Strikes on Saigon and Formosa 383
90 429 Observations on Japan at War 384
91 434 Shore-based Aircraft in the Marianas Campaign 396
92 435 Ship Operations - Rabaul Area 397
93 438 Aleutian Campaign, the Japanese Historical Account of the Naval Battle fought off the Komandorski Islands, March 1943 399
94 440 Japanese Army Air Force - New Guinea Area 404
95 441 Japanese Naval Operations - New Guinea Area 409
96 445 Marshalls-Gilberts Operations 411
97 446 Air Operations by Japanese Naval Air Forces based at Rabaul 413
98 447 Overall Planning and Policies 422
99 448 Shore-based Air in the Marianas 428
100 454 Palau Strikes - Marianas 432
101 459 Sinking of the USS Houston and HMAS Perth - 1 March 1942, First Transportation Corps in defense of the Philippines - 1944 436
102 460 Organization and Development of Japanese Convoy Escort 440
103 461 Aleutian Campaign, Deployment of Japanese Army Forces in the Kuriles, 1942 to 1945 443
104 462 The KON Operation for the Reinforcement of Biak 450
105 463 Escort of Shipping 455
106 464 Cape Esperance and Coral Sea Battles. Midway and Santa Cruz Battles 456
107 465 Submarine Attacks on Japanese Convoys 465
108 466 Japanese Submarine Operations 467
109 467 Solomon Islands Actions, 1942-43 470
110 468 Escort of Shipping 487
111 469 Escort of Shipping 491
112 473 The Air War, General Observations 497
113 484 Bismark Sea Convoy, 3 March 1943 500
114 485 Japanese Army Air Forces in Solomons Campaign 501
115 503 The Naval War in the Pacific 502
116 601 Japanese Land-Based Air Operations - Celebes and Rabaul Area 533
117 602 Japanese Naval Air Force Training 535
118 606 Aleutian Campaign, Information on Japanese Second Mobile Force and the Kiska Garrison from U.S. Prisoners of War 536
--VIII--

List of Interrogations
(Arranged by Subject Matter)

The Aleutian Campaign: page   Attrition, Training, Kamikaze - Con. Page
   Attu and Kiska, Japanese Army gar-        Kamikaze Corps 60
    sons on 365      Nav No. 12 - USSBS No. 62.  
   Nav No. 84 - USSBS No. 408.        Kamikaze Corps, Philippines and Oki-  
   Dutch Harbor, Carrier Aircraft Attack         nawa. Pearl Harbor, Attack on 23
    on 92      Nav No. 6 - USSBS No. 40.  
   Nav No. 20 - USSBS No. 97.        Non-Combat Losses of Aircraft 170
   First Destroyer Squadron, Japanese,        Nav No. 40 - USSBS No. 169.  
    Operations of 299      Production, Wastage and Strength,  
   Nav No. 73 - USSBS No.367.         IJNAF 374
   Flying Boat Operation, Japanese, in the 106      Nav No. 86 - USSBS No. 414.  
    Aleutians        Training, IJNAF 535
   Nav No. 23 - USSBS No. 100.        Nav No. 117 - USSBS No. 602.  
   Japanese Second Mobile Force and the        
    Kiska Garrison from U.S. Prisoners of 536   Central Pacific, Marshalls, Gilberts,  
    War, Information on       Wake Island:  
   Nav No. 118 - USSBS No. 606.        Central Pacific, Japanese plans for  
   Japanese Twelfth Air Fleet in the Kuriles 272       Defense of 165
    and North Pacific 102      Nav No. 38 - USSBS No. 160.  
   Nav No. 67 - USSBS No. 311        Central Pacific, Movements of Japanese  
   Kiska Garrison, Japanese Occupation of         Second Fleet in 359
   Kuriles Operations.        Nav No. 82 - USSBS No. 396.  
   Nav No. 22 - USSBS No. 99.        Gilbert-Marshall Islands Operations 86
   Komandorskis, Transports at the Battle 207      Nav No. 18 - USSBS No. 93.  
    of, 26 March 1943        Gilberts-Marshalls Operations 411
   Nav No. 51 - USSBS No. 205. 97      Nav No. 96 - USSBS No. 445.  
   Komandorski Islands, Battle of        Gilbert-Marshall-Marianas, Air Defense  
   Seaplane Operations.         of 132
   Kurile Defense.        Nav No. 30 - USSBS No. 123.  
   Nav No. 21 - USSBS No. 98.        Gilbert-Marshalls Operation Naval  
   Komandorski Islands, Japanese Histori- 399       Strategic Planning 143
    cal Account of, March 1943        Nav No. 34 - USSBS No. 139.  
   Nav No. 93 - USSBS No. 438.        Wake Island, Japanese Capture of 370
   Kuriles, Deployment of Japanese Army 443      Nav No. 85 - USSBS No. 413.  
    Forces in the        
   Nav No. 103 - USSBS No. 461.        
   Planning and Operations through No-     Convoy Protection - Escort Shipping:  
    vember 1942 108      Convoys, Aircraft Escort of 228
   Nav No. 24 - USSBS No. 101.        Anti-Submarine Operations  
   Planning and Operations and Defense of        Nav No. 56 - USSBS No. 228.  
    the Kuriles, November 1942 - August        Convoy Escort and Protection of Ship-  
    1945 110       ping - South China Sea Area 194
    Nav No. 25 - USSBS No. 102.        Nav No. 47 - USSBS No. 199.  
         Convoy Protection of Shipping - Nether-  
Attrition, Training, Kamikaze:         lands East Indies - New Guinea Area 201
   Aircraft Availability and Loss Reports 204      Nav No. 49 - USSBS No. 201.  
   Nav No. 50 - USSBS No. 202.        Escort and Protection of Shipping 184
   Aircraft Ferrying & Pilot Attrition        Nav No. 45 - USSBS No. 194.  
    JNAF 135      Escort and Protection of Shipping 212
   Nav No. 31 - USSBS No. 129.        Nav No. 53 - USSBS No. 225.  
--IX--
Convoy Protection - Escort Shipping - page   Midway - Continued Page
 Continued        Midway - Eastern Solomons - Philip-  
   Escort and Defense of Shipping 230       pines 269
   Nav No. 57 - USSBS No. 229.        Nav No. 66 - USSBS No. 295.  
   Escort of Shipping 455      Midway - Savo Island - Solomons -  
   Nav No. 105 - USSBS No. 463.         Leyte Gulf 361
   Escort of Shipping 487      Nav No. 83 - USSBS No. 407.  
   Nav No. 110 - USSBS No. 468.        Midway and Santa Cruz, Battle of;  
   Escort of Shipping 491       Cape Esperance and Coral Sea, Battles  
   Nav No. 111 - USSBS No. 469.         of 456
   Japanese Convoy Escort, Organization        Nav No. 106 - USSBS No. 464.  
    and Development of 440      Midway, Solomons, Pearl Harbor 65
   Nav No. 102 - USSBS No. 460.        Nav No. 13 - USSBS No. 65.  
   Japanese Naval Escort of Shipping 56      
   Shipping Losses.     Mine Warfare and Countermeasures:  
   Nav No. 11 - USSBS No. 61.        Allied Offensive Mining Campaigns 16
   Japanese Shipping Attacks on 161      Nav No. 5 - USSBS No. 34.  
   Nav No. 37 - USSBS No. 159.        Mine Counter-measures 217
         Nav No. 54 - USSBS No. 226.  
Marianas, Palau, Formosa, Okinawa, Iwo        Mine Counter-measures and Shipping  
 Jima:         Losses - Osaka and Soerabaja Areas 245
   Marianas Campaign, Shore-based Air-        Nav No. 59 - USSBS No. 251.  
    craft in 396      Mine Warfare 116
   Nav No. 91 - USSBS No. 434.        Nav No. 26 - USSBS No. 103.  
   Marianas, Shore-based Air in the 428      Mine Warfare in Shimonoseki Straits  
   Nav No. 99 - USSBS No. 448.         and Formosa Areas 257
   Palau Strikes - Marianas 432      Nav No. 62 - USSBS No. 256.  
   Nav No. 100 - USSBS No. 454.        Mine Warfare 267
   Philippine Sea, Battle of, 19-20 June        Nav No. 65 - USSBS No. 285.  
    1944 7      
   Nav No. 3 - USSBS No. 32.     Pearl Harbor, Attack On:  
   Philippine Sea, Battle of; Battle for Leyte        Pearl Harbor - Battle of Philippine  
    Gulf 32      Sea - Battle for Leyte Gulf 122
   Nav No. 9 - USSBS No. 47.        Nav No. 29 - USSBS No. 113.  
   Philippine Sea, Battle of - Pearl Har-        Pearl Harbor - Midway - Solomons 65
    bor - Leyte Gulf, Battle for 122      Nav No. 13 - USSBS No. 65.  
   Saigon and Formosa. Carrier Aircraft        Pearl Harbor, Attack on; Kamikaze  
    Strikes on 383       operations in Philippines, Okinawa 23
   Nav No. 89 - USSBS No. 427.        Nav No. 6 - USSBS No. 40.  
   Yamato Group, The Attack on, 7 April        
    1945 136   Philippine Islands, Japanese Occupation  
   Nav No. 32 - USSBS No. 133.      of  
         Philippines and Dutch East Indies,  
Midway         Operations of Japanese Naval Air-  
   Hiryu (CV) At the Battle of Midway 4       craft during Invasion of 74
   Nav No. 2 - USSBS No. 11.        Nav No. 15 - USSBS No. 74.  
   Midway, Battle of 1      Philippines and Dutch East Indies, Oc-  
   Nav No. 1 - USSBS No. 6.         cupation of 25
   Midway, Battle of 13      Nav No. 7 - USSBS No. 33.  
   Nav No. 4 - USSBS No. 23.        Philippines and Dutch East Indies, Oc-  
   Midway, Battle of - Damage to Aircraft         cupation of 71
    Carrier Soryu 167      Nav No. 14 - USSBS No. 67.  
   Nav No. 39 - USSBS no. 165.        Philippines and Dutch East Indies, Occu-  
   Midway and Eastern Solomons, Trans-         pation of 357
    ports at; Battle of Tassafaronga 249      Nav No. 81 - USSBS No. 395.  
   Nav No. 60 - USSBS No. 252.        Philippines and Dutch East Indies, In-  
          vasion of 83
         Nav No. 17 - USSBS No. 90.  
--X--
Philippine Islands, Japanese Occupation Page   Planning and Policies, Japanese - Con. Page
 of - Continued        Japanese War Planning 327
   Philippines, Invasion of 275      Nav No. 76 - USSBS No. 379.  
   Nav No. 68 - USSBS No. 331.        The Naval War in the Pacific 502
   Second Fleet, Operation of Main Body of 90      Nav No. 115 - USSBS No. 503.  
   Nav No. 19 - USSBS No. 94.        Observations on the Course of the War 284
         Nav No. 70 - USSBS No. 359.  
Philippine Islands, United States Re-        Observations on Japan at War 384
 Occupation of:        Nav No. 90 - USSBS No. 429.  
   Cape Engano, Battle off, 24-25 October        Overall Planning and Policies 422
    1944 153      Nav No. 98 - USSBS No. 447.  
   Nav No. 36 - USSBS No. 150.        Tokyo Air Defense 118
   Cape Engano, Battle off 277      Nav No. 28 - USSBS No. 112.  
   Nav No. 69 - USSBS No. 345.        
   First Air Fleet - Spring 1944 376   Rabaul, New Guinea, Malaya Areas:  
   Nav No. 87 - USSBS No. 420.        Bismark Sea Convoy - 3 March 1943 500
   Leyte Gulf, Battle for, October 1944 219      Nav No. 113 - USSBS No. 484.  
   Nav No. 55 - USSBS No. 227.        Celebes and Rabaul Area, Japanese Land-  
   Leyte Gulf, Battle for; Battle of Philip-         Based Air Operations in 533
    pine Sea 32      Nav No. 116 - USSBS No. 601.  
   Nav No. 9 - USSBS No. 47.        Guadalcanal - Midway - Munda and Ra-  
   Leyte Gulf, Battle for - Battle of Philip-         baul 191
    pine Sea - Pearl Harbor 122      Nav No. 46 - USSBS No. 195.  
   Nav No. 29 - USSBS No. 113.        KON Operation for Reinforcement of  
   Leyte Gulf - Savo Island - Midway -         Biak 450
    Solomons 361      Nav No. 104 - USSBS No. 462.  
   Nav No. 83 - USSBS No. 407.        Malaya, Operation of 22d Air Flotilla  
   Philippines, Defense of, 1944 178       in 333
   Nav No. 44 - USSBS No. 193.        Nav No. 77 - USSBS No. 387.  
   Philippines, First Transportation Corps        New Guinea, Western, Japanese Naval  
    in Defense of - USS Houston and         Land-Based Air Operations in 287
    HMAS Perth, Sinking of, March        Nav No. 71 - USSBS No. 360.  
    1942 436      New Guinea Area, Japanese Naval Opera-  
   Nav No. 101 - USSBS No. 459.         tions in 409
   Philippines, Midway, Eastern Solomons 269      Nav No. 95 - USSBS No. 441.  
   Nav No. 66 - USSBS No. 295.        New Guinea Area, Japanese Army Air  
   Samar, Battle off, 25 October 1944 147       Force in 404
   Nav No. 35 - USSBS No. 149.        Nav No. 94 - USSBS No. 440.  
   Samar, Battle off, 23-26 October 1944 171      Rabaul 209
   Nav No. 41 - USSBS No. 170.        Nav No. 52 - USSBS No. 224.  
   Surigao Strait, Battle of 235      Rabaul Area, Ship Operations in 397
   Nav No. 58 - USSBS No. 233.        Nav No. 92 - USSBS No. 435.  
   Surigao Strait, Battle of 341      Rabaul, Air Operations by Japanese  
   Nav No. 79 - USSBS No. 390.         Naval Air Forces Based at 413
         Nav No. 97 - USSBS No. 446.  
Panning and Policies, Japanese:        21st Air Flotilla 379
   The Air War - General Observations 497      Nav No. 88 - USSBS No. 424.  
   Nav No. 112 - USSBS No. 473.        
   Japanese Naval Planning 176   Solomon Islands:  
   Nav No. 43 - USSBS No. 192.        Coral Sea Battle, 7-8 May 1942; Battle  
   Japanese Naval Planning After Midway 262       of Eastern Solomons 29
   Nav No. 64 - USSBS No. 258.        Nav No. 8 - USSBS No. 46.  
   Japanese Naval Plans 352      Coral Sea, Battle of, and Solomon Islands  
   Nav No. 80 - USSBS No. 392.         Operations 53
   Japanese War Plans and Peace Moves 313      Nav No. 10 - USSBS No. 53.  
   Nav No. 75 - USSBS No. 378.        Coral Sea and Cape Esperance Battles;  
          Midway and Santa Cruz Battles 456
         Nav No. 106 - USSBS No. 464.  
--XI--
Solomon Islands - Continued page   Solomon Islands - Continued page
   Empress Augusta Bay - 2 November        Solomons, Transports at Eastern; Battle  
    1943 337       of Tassafaronga, 30 November 1942;  
   Nav No. 78 - USSBS No. 389.         Transports at Midway 249
   Guadalcanal- Midway - Villa 141      Nav No. 60 - USSBS No. 252.  
   Nav No. 33 - USSBS No. 138.        Solomons Campaign, Japanese Army  
   Guadalcanal - Midway - Munda -         Air Forces in 501
    Rabaul 191      Nav No. 114 - USSBS No. 485.  
   Nav No. 46 - USSBS No. 195.        
   Midway - Eastern Solomons - Philip-     Submarine and Anti-Submarine Operations:  
    pines 269      Anti-Submarine Operations, Aircraft  
   Nav No. 66 - USSBS No. 295.         Escort of Convoys and 228
   Savo Island, Battle of, 9 August 1942 255      Nav No. 56 - USSBS No. 228.  
   Nav No. 61 - USSBS No. 255.        Anti-Submarine Equipment and Train-  
   Savo Island - Midway - Solomons -         ing 259
    Leyte Gulf 361      Nav No. 63 - USSBS No. 257.  
   Nav No. 83 - USSBS 407.        Anti-Submarine Warfare 309
   Solomons Campaign, 1942-43; Battle of        Nav No. 74 - USSBS No. 371.  
    Eastern Solomons, 23-25 August 1942;        Submarine Attacks on Japanese Con-  
    Battle of Santa Cruz, 26 October 1942 77       voys 465
   Nav No. 16 - USSBS No. 75.        Nav No. 107 - USSBS No. 465.  
   Solomons, Midway, Pearl Harbor 65      Japanese Submarine Operations 467
   Nav No. 13 - USSBS No. 65.        Nav No. 108 - USSBS No. 466.  
   Solomon Islands Actions 1942-43 470      Submarine Warfare 291
   Nav No. 109 - USSBS No. 467.        Nav No. 72 - USSBS No. 336.  
         Japanese Airborne Magnetic Detector 197
         Nav No. 48 - USSBS No. 200.  
--XII--

List of Illustrations

Note. - Plates for illustrations are numbered according to the Nav No. of the interrogation in which they appear; i. e. Annexes A, B, and C for Nav No. 9 are numbered Plate 9-1, 9-2, and 9-3.

Plate Title Page
9-1 Command Organization - Battle for Leyte Gulf 35
9-2 Submarine Attack on Second Fleet, 23 October 1944 37
9-3 Disposition of Second Fleet on Contact with U.S. Forces, 25 October 1944 40
10-1 Track Chart, Battle of Coral Sea, 4-8 May 1942 facing p. 54
13-1 Track Chart, Battle of Midway, 4-6 June 1942 facing p. 68
13-2 Action of the Battle of Midway, 5 June 1942 69
16-1 Track Chart Japanese Forces, Battle of Santa Cruz, 25-16 October 1944 78
29-1 Attack on Pearl Harbor 123
29-2 Retirement Plans after Pearl Harbor 125
29-3 Command Organization, Defense of the Philippines, 1 October 1944 129
32-1 Track Chart of Yamato 137
32-2 Bomb and Torpedo Hits on Yamato 138
35-1 First Diversion Attack Force at Time of Submarine Attack, 23 October 1944 148
36-1 Cruising Disposition of Third Fleet Striking Force, Battle of Leyte Gulf 155
45-1 Submarine Attack on Convoy 7 miles off Lingayen Gulf, 10 April 1944 185
45-2 Submarine Attacks on Convoys off Borneo and Indo-China Coast, 4 or 5 and 10 November 1944 187
45-3 Bombing and Strafing Attack on Japanese Convoy 20 miles South of Formosa, 30 January 1945 188
45-4 Standard Disposition for Convoy Escorts 189
48-1 Use of MAD Equipped Planes in Convoy Escort 198
48-2 Track Flown by MAD Equipped Plane after Initial Submarine Contact 199
50-1 Japanese Naval Aircraft Production and Wastage, December 1941 - August 1945 206
50-2 Japanese Naval Aircraft Losses, December 1941 to August 1945 facing p. 206
53-1 Approximate Track of South Bound Convoy to Saipan, June 1944 213
53-2 Carrier Aircraft Attack on Convoy North of Quinhon Bay, 12 January 1944 215
57-1 Submarine Attack on Convoy between Kasho-To and Formosa, June 1944 231
57-2 Submarine Attack on Convoy between Formosa and Manila, September 1944 232
58-1 Fifth Fleet Disposition and Command Relationship, Battle of Surigao Strait 239
58-2 Track of Fifth Fleet - Surigao Strait 241
60-1 B-17 Attack on Midway Transports, 3 June 1942; PBY Torpedo Attack on Midway Transports, 4 June 1942 251
60-2 Track Chart of Japanese Forces, Battle of Eastern Solomons, 23-25 August 1942 253
69-1 Air Defense Formation, Battle of Leyte Gulf 280
73-1 Rough Sketch of Komandorski Action, 27 March 1943 308
78-1 Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, 2 November 1943 339
79-1 "C" Force Dispositions, Battle of Surigao Strait 343
79-2 Track of "C" Force Enroute Leyte 345
79-3 Track of "C" Force, Battle of Surigao Strait 348
85-1 Japanese Invasion of Wake Island, 10-23 December 1941 373
86-1 Strength of Japanese Air Force, 1 December 1941 375
86-2 Japanese Naval Air Strength, Production and Wastage facing p. 374
87-1 Diagrams of Night Torpedo Attacks employed by Japanese Naval Aircraft, February 1944 378
--XIII--
Plate Title Page
93-1 Diagram of Bomb Hits on Nachi and Tama, Aleutian Campaign 403
93-2 Track Chart of Komandorski Engagement, 27 March 1943 facing p. 402
94-1 Japanese Army Air Force - Fourth Air Army 405
97-1 Effective Air Strength - Eleventh Air Fleet - Rabaul 415
97-2 Combat Losses - Japanese Naval Aircraft - Solomon Campaign 421
101-1 Track of Forces, Banten Bay, Java 438
103-1 Deployment of Troops (Kuriles), First Half 1943 444
103-2 Deployment of Troops (Kuriles), about November 1943 445
103-3 Deployment of Troops (Kuriles), Mid 1944 446
103-4 Deployment of Troops (Kuriles), about November 1944 447
103-5 Deployment of Troops (Kuriles), August 1945 448
103-6 Army Shipping Losses in the Kuriles 449
104-1 "KON" Operation Track Chart, 2-11 June 1944 453
106-1 Track of Japanese Force, Battle of Cape Esperance 457
106-2 Track Chart of Shoho (CV), "MO" Operations (Port Moresby) 458
106-3 Torpedo and Bomb Hits on Shoho (CV), Battle of Coral Sea 459
107-1 Submarine Attack on Convoy North and West of Luzon, June-July 1944 466
108-1 Track of Japanese Submarines - Battle of Midway 468
109-1 Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942 477
109-2 Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942 478
109-3 Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942 479
109-4 Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942 480
109-5 Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942 481
109-6 Battle of Guadalcanal, 14 November 1942 482
109-7 Battle of Guadalcanal, 14 November 1942 483
109-8 Battle of Guadalcanal, 14 November 1942 484
109-9 Battle of Guadalcanal, 14 November 1942 485
109-10 Battle of Savo Island, 8-9 August 1942 486
110-1 Submarine Torpedo Attacks on Convoy off Padarang, 18 February 1945 489
111-1 Carrier Aircraft Attacks on Convoys, 4 August 1944 493
111-2 Submarine Torpedo Attacks on Convoy Northeast of Palau, 1-2 May 1944 494
111-3 U.S. Submarine Attack on Convoy, January 1945 495
--XIV--

>Index
(By Nav Interrogation Number)

Aleutians - 20, 24, 25, 73, 118   Marshall Islands - 13, 18, 30, 34, 38, 43, 96, 109, 115
"A" Operation - 9   Midway (MI Operations) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16,
AGO Plan - 3, 43, 71, 75, 95, 99, 104      20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 39, 43, 46, 52,
Attu - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 51, 73, 84      60, 64, 66, 69, 70, 73, 75, 76, 83, 90, 98, 106, 109,
Bombing Dive - 1, 2, 3 , 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 28, 30,      112, 115
   32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 41, 46, 52, 53, 60, 66, 82, 83, 89, 106,   Mines - 5, 11, 16, 26, 45, 46, 52, 54, 59, 62, 65, 92,
   109, 111, 115      95, 100, 105, 110, 115
Bombing Torpedo - 2, 4, 8, 10, 11, 16, 32, 33, 35, 36,   Nagano, Osami, Admiral - 13, 80
   39, 40, 41, 46, 53, 60, 82, 83, 106, 109, 111, 115   Netherlands East Indies - 5, 7, 11, 14, 15, 17
Bombing Horizontal - 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23,   New Guinea - 57, 71, 94, 95, 97, 104, 115
   25, 29, 30, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 49, 52, 53   Nishimura, Shoji, Vice-Admiral - 9, 29, 35, 36, 41,
   56, 57, 60, 66, 83, 84, 94, 96, 104, 105, 106, 109, 110, 111, 112,      44, 55, 58, 64, 69, 75, 79, 115
   115, 118   Nomura, Kichisaburo, Admiral - 90
Cape Engano Battle - 36, 55   Okinawa - 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 115, 116
Cape Esperance - 106   Ozawa, Jisaburo, Vice Admiral - 3, 9, 12, 29, 36, 41,
Coral Sea - 3, 8, 10, 13, 35, 36, 43, 106      44, 55, 58, 64, 69, 75, 79, 99, 115
Dutch Harbor - 1, 2, 7, 13, 20, 23, 24, 73, 118   Palau - 5, 11, 29, 72, 100, 115
Eastern Solomons (Battle of) - 8, 97, 106   Philippine Sea (Battle of) - 9, 29, 55, 58, 69
Emperor - 12, 43, 76, 90   Philippines - 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 29, 34, 36,
Escort Shipping - 5, 11, 37, 45, 47, 49, 53, 56, 57, 74,      37, 44, 55, 64, 72, 75, 90, 99, 101, 102, 112, 115
   102, 110, 111   Port Moresby (MO Operation) - 8, 10, 95, 98, 106
Formosa - 9, 16, 29, 44, 55, 64, 69, 112, 115   Rabaul - 3, 13, 16, 34, 38, 46, 52, 78, 82, 97, 115,
French Indo China (Air Attacks on) - 53      116
Fuel Oil and Gasoline (Tankers) - 3, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13,   Radar - 1, 2, 3-4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22, 25, 30, 32, 33,
   28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 44, 47, 48, 55, 58, 59, 64,      35, 36, 37, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 69, 72, 73, 74, 78,
   66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 80, 90, 97, 110, 112, 115, 117      79, 84, 87, 97, 108, 110
Fukudome, Shigeru, Vice Admiral - 41, 44, 115   Saigon - 89, 102, 115
Germany - 5, 8, 10, 12, 26, 65, 70, 72, 74, 80, 90,115   Samar - 9, 35, 36, 41, 44, 66, 69
Gilberts - 8, 18, 30, 34, 38, 96, 109, 115   San Bernardino Strait - 3, 9, 66, 75
Guadalcanal - 3, 13, 16, 31, 33, 43, 46, 70, 75, 76, 80,   Santa Cruz - 8, 16, 34, 97, 106
   83, 90, 97, 98, 106, 109   Savo Island - 8, 16, 61, 83, 109
Hong Kong - 37   Sho Operation - 3, 9, 12, 29, 36, 55, 64, 69, 72, 75,
Houston - 7, 14, 17, 101      79, 99, 101, 112, 115
Iwo Jima - 28, 29   Solomons - 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40,
Japan, Air Attacks on - 28      52, 60, 66, 69, 78, 82, 83, 89, 92, 97, 98, 114, 115, 116
Java Sea - 7, 14, 17, 68, 81   Submarines (American) - 2, 3-4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 17, 21,
Kamikaze - 6, 9, 12, 16, 36, 44, 55, 56, 75, 112, 115,      22, 25, 34, 37, 39, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 53, 56, 57, 63,
   116      67, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 80, 82, 83, 84, 90, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 115
Ketsu Operations - 6, 12   Surigao Strait (Battle of) - 9, 41, 75, 79
Kiska - 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 51, 73, 84, 118   Ta Operations - 37
Koga, Mineichi, Admiral - 34, 99, 100, 115   Tassafaronga - 60
Komandorskis - 21, 25, 51, 73, 84, 93   Ten Operation - 29
Kon Plan - 71, 94, 95, 104   Toyoda, Soemu, Admiral - 3, 5, 9, 12, 29, 35, 36,
Kula Gulf - 16      41, 55, 58, 64, 69, 75, 79, 99, 115
Kuriles - 21, 22, 25   Truk - 3, 11, 16, 30, 34, 40, 87, 97, 110, 115
Kurita, Takeo, Vice Admiral - 9, 12, 29, 35, 36, 41,   Vella Gulf - 33
   44, 55, 58, 64, 69, 75, 79, 82, 115   Vella La Vella - 16, 46, 109
Leyte Gulf - 9, 29, 35, 36, 41, 44, 55, 58, 64, 66, 70,   wake - 10, 30, 85
   72, 75, 76, 79, 83, 90, 101, 115   Yamamoto, Isoroku, Admiral - 4, 10, 13, 20, 24, 55,
Makassar Straits - 7      75, 90, 100
Manila - 11   Yonai, Mitsumasa, Admiral - 43, 76, 90
   91, 95, 98, 99, 100, 115   "Z" Operations - 43
--XV--

Interrogations
1-70

685287 O - 46 - 2

*****

Interrogation NAV No.1
USSBS No. 6

The Battle of Midway

TOKYO

6 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain AMAGI, Takahisa, IJN, Naval Aviator, Air Commander (observer) on CV HIRYU at PEARL HARBOR, Air Officer on CV KAGA at Battle of MIDWAY, 3, 4, 5 June 42.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Captain S. Teller, USN; Captain J.S. Russel, USN; Lt. Col. Parry, USA; Comdr. J.T. Hayward, USN; Comdr. T.H. Moorer, USN; Lt. Comdr. J.A. Field, Jr., USNR.

SUMMARY

The KAGA (CV) in company with the CV's HIRYU, SORYU and AKAGI, and BB's KIRISHIMA and HARUNA and DD's composed the Air Striking Force approaching MIDWAY ISLAND from the West in support of an occupation force. This force had expected contact and attack by long range United States aircraft when between 500-1000 miles of MIDWAY and attack by short range aircraft from MIDWAY when within 300 miles. No attacks were made on the Carrier Force prior to the dive bombing attack the morning of 4 June. The presence of the United States Carrier was not known to this officer. Dive bombing attacks were most feared.

Several hours after sunrise on 4 June (Plus 12) dive bombers attacked that Japanese Carrier Group. Four direct hits were received by the KAGA from the dive bombers just prior to turning into the wind to launch the KAGA's air group (6 VF had been launched two hours before as CAP). The fires as a result of the attack ignited planes and ammunition which resulted in the sinking of the KAGA during the afternoon with the loss of 800, saving 1000 personnel. No other bomb hits were made on the KAGA. No horizontal bomb hits were received or observed on other ships of the formation, but it was reported the HARUNA (BB) just astern of the KAGA had also been hit by dive bombers. Captain Amagai stated that as a result of the damage to the aircraft carriers with consequent loss of air power, the decision was made to abandon the attempt to seize MIDWAY. The remainder of the Task Force returned to JAPAN.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What aircraft carrier divisions were present at MIDWAY?
A. The Third Fleet or Third Task Force, commanded by Vice Admiral NAGUMO. Rear Admiral KUSAKA was Chief of Staff.

Q. Who were Captains of the Carriers at MIDWAY?
A. Captain Okada of the KAGA, Captain Kaka of the HIIRYU, Captain Yanagimoto of the SORYU and Captain Aoki of AKAGI. The first three were killed at MIDWAY.

Q. Were there any other forces such as Support Force or Occupation Force?
A. Believe there were two other forces for occupation, but am not sure of composition or relative location.

Q. Do you know what Force made simultaneous attack in ALEUTIANS?
A. JUNYO Aircraft Carrier No. 4 Squadron.

Q. What was purpose of ALEUTIAN attack?
A. It was a feint.

Q. Draw a diagram of the cruising disposition of the Aircraft Carriers.

( ) KIRISHIMA (BB)

HIRYU (F)
( )

AKAGI (F)
( )

SORYU
( )

KAGA
( )

( ) HARUNA (BB)

NAV-1

--1--

In daytime a circular formation was used, but at night a column was formed. Believe the Task Force Commander was on the SORYU.

Q. What was the composition of the KAGA's Air Group?
A. It was composed of 21 fighters (0) Type: 27 VB (99 Type); 18 VT (97 Type); same as all other carriers.

Q. What was the mission of the Carrier Task Group?
A. To attack MIDWAY, to help occupation.

Q. During your approach to MIDWAY did you expect to be attacked by American planes?
A. We had expected an attack by scouting planes at 1000 miles, and by bombing planes at 700 miles and by small planes at 300 miles.

Q. Did you see any planes during the approach to MIDWAY prior to the battle of 4 June?
A. No, but it was reported that an American plane was heard over the carrier formation at night, one or two days before the battle.

Q. Was the carrier formation attacked by long range bombers about 600 miles from MIDWAY, or were any air attacks made on the carrier force prior to the day of the battle (4 June, plus 12; 5 June, TOKYO time)?
A. No.

Q. Were any submarine attacks made on the carrier force during the approach?
A. No.

Q. When was the KAGA first hit?
A. It was hit by dive bombers two or three hours after sunrise, 4 June (5 June Tokyo time).

Q. How many bombs hit the KAGA?
A. There were four hits on the KAGA. The first bomb hit the forward elevator. The second bomb went through the deck at the starboard side of the after elevator. The third bomb went through the deck on the port side abreast of the island. The fourth bomb hit the port side aft. When the bombs hit, big fires started. Unable to see much because of smoke.

Q. Did any of the American bombers dive into the deck?
A. No, not on KAGA. Did not hear that any had dived on other carriers.

Q. Were any other ships hit by bombs at same time?
A. It was hard to see because of smoke, but I believe that the Battleship HYEI just astern of the KAGA was hit by dive bombers and a fire started on the stern of the HYEI.

Q. Was the KAGA attacked by horizontal bombers?
A. No.

Q. Was the KAGA attacked by torpedo planes?
A. I saw torpedo planes but do not think KAGA was attacked. No torpedo hits were made. However, while swimming in water several hours after attack saw a torpedo apparently fired from submarine strike side of ship at angle and bounce off. Didn't explode. Torpedo went bad.

Q. Were any other ships attacked by horizontal bombers?
A. Did not see any hit. Saw some pattern of bombs fall in water during day.

Q. Which type of attack most feared - torpedo plane, dive bomber, or horizontal bomber?
A. Dive bomber, cannot dodge.

Q. Were planes on board when ship was hit?
A. Yes, about 30 planes in hangar loaded and fueled, remainder on deck, six VF in air.

Q. Did bombs sink the ship?
A. Yes, gasoline and bombs caught fire. Ship sank itself, Japanese no need sink with torpedo.

Q. Was KAGA strafed by planes?
A. Was done during diving, one or two personnel and planes on deck were injured.

Q. When did it sink?
A. Same afternoon.

Q. What kind of planes made the attack - torpedo planes, dive bombers or horizontal bombers?
A. Dive bombers.

--2--

Q. In what order was attack made?
A. I think first high horizontal bombers, no hits. Then torpedo attack. Was dodged, no hits. Then dive bombers, 4 hits. Then more horizontal bombing about 400 meters away. No hits. Most attack all the same time.

Q. How many personnel lost when ship sunk?
A. About 800 lost. About 1000 saved.

Q. How many pilots saved?
A. About 40 pilots. About 50% pilots saved.

Q. How were the personnel rescued?
A. By cruisers and destroyers.

Q. How many airplanes did you expect to lose in the attack on MIDWAY?
A. It all depends upon Captain of ship. He expects about 1/3 do not come back.

Q. Were any KAGA planes launched to attack MIDWAY?
A. No, all planes on board except six fighters overhead. I heard that they landed on other ships. Other ships had launched planes to attack MIDWAY but KAGA planes were waiting for orders to launch and attack.

Q. How many protective fighters (CAP) were over carrier formation?
A. Normally 28. Two carriers supplied eight each, the other two carriers provided six each. This was normal patrol. If attacked, other planes rose to meet opposition.

Q. How long did fighters stay in air, and how were planes in air relieved?
A. Two hours. When the waiting planes get in air up high, then the former patrolling plane comes down and lands.

Q. When the carrier launched the patrol did it turn into the wind alone, or did all ships turn?
A. All turn in same formation. We use 14 meters wind over deck for landing and launching. If only few planes launched individual carrier turns into wind. If many planes launched or landed entire formation turns. When over 300 miles from target, carriers operate independently. When within 300 miles of target, all ships maneuver together.

Q. About how far apart were the ships in the formation?
A. A square formation about 4000 meters apart. When need much speed and wind, distance large. When wind and sea strong, the distance diminishes.

Q. Did the formation zigzag?
A. Yes.

Q. Were destroyers employed with the carriers when operating the planes?
A. Yes, sometimes, one, sometimes two destroyers would come from outside circular screen. They take station about 700 meters astern.

Q. How are fighter planes controlled in the air?
A. By wireless. A special officer controls the planes. He is a pilot, in his absence the anti-aircraft commander takes his place.

Q. How did the control officer know where to send the fighters?
A. By radar. It was an experiment at MIDWAY. Not too good.

Q. Did the KAGA have it?
A. No, island too small.

Q. What ships in the formation had radar?
A. HIRYU, maybe SORYU. Not sure of AKAGI, it is rather old ship. (JUNYO did not have it because it was a small converted merchant ship.)

Q. What did the radar look like?
A. It was a big wire grid. Kept rotating. Didn't work very well. Destroyers act as pickets and advise by voice radio if planes are coming. More radars put on ships middle of 1942 and used in SOLOMON ISLANDS operations.

--3--

NAV-1

Interrogation NAV No.2
USSBS No. 11

HIRYU (CV) at the Battle of Midway

TOKYO

10 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain KAWAGUCHI, Susumu, IJN, Air Officer on the HIRYU (CV) at MIDWAY.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Brig. Gen. G. Gardner, USA; Lt. Paine Paul, USNR.

SUMMARY

The HIRYU was one of four aircraft carriers in the Japanese Striking Force supporting the planned occupation of MIDWAY Island, June 1942. When about 600 miles from MIDWAY a U.S. plane passed overhead but did not observe ships due to high fog. No aircraft attacks were made on the carrier group until about an hour after sunrise on 4 June when the formation was attacked by torpedo planes (B-26’s and TBF’s). No hits were made since the long dropping range permitted torpedoes to be easily avoided. A little later, the formation was attacked by high (approximately 18000’) horizontal bombers but no hits were made. The HIRYU launched planes against MIDWAY about sunrise then later against the U.S. Carrier Force. Although the KAGA, AKAGI, and SORYU had received damage during the day, the HIRYU was not hit until late afternoon when she received six hits from dive bombers setting her afire. Still later the same afternoon an unsuccessful bombing attack was made on the HIRYU by horizontal bombers at medium altitude. The fires resulting from the dive-bombing attack spread to the engine room during the night, rendering the ship helpless. She was sunk by torpedoes from a Japanese destroyer the next morning.

About sixty pilots were lost in the battle. About 500 out of the 1500 men on the ship were lost. This group of ships was not attacked during retirement, although search planes were seen. Visibility was poor. Surviving pilots of the battle were distributed between the ZUIKAKU, SHOKAKU, and SOLOMON Islands. These pilots later participated in the battle of SANTA CRUZ, 26 October 1945. As the war progressed the quality of pilots deteriorated due to insufficient training facilities, great attrition, and a shortage of fuel for training with the consequent necessity of using inadequately trained replacements.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What was the number of the air fleet at MIDWAY?
A. It was of the Second Air Attack Force of the First Air Fleet.

Q. What ships were present in Carrier Force at MIDWAY?
A.

1st Div (CV) 2nd Div (CV)  
AKAGI (F) HIRYU (F)  
KAGA SORYU  
     
BB CA CL
KIRISHIMA TONE NAGARA
HARUNA CHIKUMA  
About ten DD’s.    
Disposition
      ( ) Kirishima      
  ( )       ( ) Nagara  
  ( ) Hiryu (F)
( )
  Akagi (FF)
( )
( )  
( )           ( )
Tone ( )   Soryu
( )
  Kaga
( )
  ( ) Chikuma
  ( )   ( ) Haruna   ( )  
         

( )

 
    ( )   ( )    

NAV-2

--4--

Q. When you left JAPAN what was the mission of the air fleet at MIDWAY?
A. It was to seize MIDWAY.

Q. What plans were made for the employment of MIDWAY following the seizure? Did they expect to run searches, go to PEARL HARBOR and the ALEUTIANS or to stop at MIDWAY?
A. Just to defend Midway. Heard of no other plans other than to seize and protect MIDWAY.

Q. What carriers were in the ALEUTIANS?
A. RYUHO and JUNYO; there was no 3rd division, the first and second divisions are in the attack body, the 4th at DUTCH HARBOR, the third did not exist.

Q. During the approach to MIDWAY did you expect an attack; if so, about how far out?
A. Think a two-engined scout plane looked us over once about 500-600 miles from MIDWAY the day before the battle; but the weather was so bad, we still didn’t expect an attack.

Q. Was your formation attacked by submarines at any time during the approach?
A. No, the first submarine attack was on the KAGA after the battle opened.

Q. When was the HIRYU first attacked?
A. On the 4th of June, two hours before sunset. (5 June Tokyo time.)

Q. Were you attacked by a B-17 formation (Four engined bombers) the day before the battle?
A. No, we didn’t get anything the day before but we were attacked by Boeings on the day of big battle and didn’t get hit. There was no attack on 3rd of June.

Q. Do you know of any ships that may have been hit by torpedoes from B-26’ or PBY’s?
A. Not a hit in those days of the battle on the carrier formation.

Q. Were you attacked with torpedoes in the morning of the battle of 4 June?
A. About an hour after sunrise, we were attacked by torpedo bombers.

Q. Were they single or twin-engined?
A. Mostly they were twin-engine, none of them hit. They were dropped at very great range and we were able to avoid them.

Q. Do you know if one of the twin-engined planes, after dropping the torpedo, flew into the deck of one of the carriers?
A. No, I was observing and know that did not happen.

Q. In the early morning of the 4th of June (5 June Tokyo time) did you receive an attack from high level horizontal bombers?
A. About two hours after sunrise some very high four engine planes attacked, maybe 5,000-6,000 meters, but did not hit anything.

Q. How and when was the HIRYU hit?
A. The HIRYU was hit six times during the fourth attack by dive bombers. One on forward elevator. Two just forward aft elevator. Lifts damaged. Fire. Many engineering personnel killed. The floor of the lift flopped against the bridge. We were unable to navigate.

Q. When the HIRYU was hit were any planes on board?
A. Very few about 20 planes had come back. They had been launched to attack American carriers after they returned from MIDWAY.

Q. Will you confirm the position of the island in relation to bow of ship?
A. AKAGI – port, SORYU – starboard, KAGA - starboard.

Q. Did any planes deliver an attack on the ENTERPRISE?
A. Yes, they did attack.

Q. How did they locate the ENTERPRISE?
A. From scout planes about 200 miles off to the east.

Q. Were you attacked by horizontal- bombers later that day?
A. It was about sunset the same day after the dive-bombers gave us six hits that we got about ten misses from Boeings. I think it was B-17’s or something else. It was medium altitude horizontal–bombing. I don’t think they were very high and was astonished at the distance away from the ship when they released bombs.

Q. How many bombs dropped?
A. About ten bunches.

Q. Where did they hit?
A. They didn’t hit – bombs landed about 500 meters away.

NAV-2

--5--

Q. Were any of the battleships hit at that time?
A. I think that something touched the KIRISHIMA or HARUNA in the stern, didn’t do much, no difficulty in navigation as a result.

Q. Was that a result of the horizontal-bombers?
A. No, this was the dive-bombing attack. One of them dived and dropped a bomb on the KIRISHIMA but horizontal bombs didn’t hit the KIRISHIMA.

Q. How were the other carriers hit?
A. All got hit from the dive-bombers.

Q. How were our torpedo planes shot down?
A. I think it was fighter planes in the main.

Q. How was your ship finally sunk?
A. The fire got to the engine rooms by the next morning and stopped the ship, whereupon a Japanese destroyer was called to sink it with torpedoes.

Q. How many men and pilots were lost on the HIRYU?
A. About sixty pilots and a total of 500 men of the crew of 1500.

Q. Why didn’t the occupation force and Grand Fleet continue on to MIDWAY?
A. Because we could not occupy the island having lost our air attack force.

Q. During your retreat did you sight any of our reconnaissance planes?
A. We saw five or six of your planes, on the morning of the 5th, but they didn’t attack us.

Q. Did the HIRYU or any of the other carriers or ships have radar?
A. No, not any. As soon as we got back they put them on the carriers. July 1942 both battleships and carriers received them.

Q. How did you control your fighters in the air?
A. At first at MIDWAY we set the courses on the ships and turned them loose on the first attack. No radio.

Q. Which kind of attack did you most fear, dive-bombing, torpedo or horizontal-bombing?
A. The worst is dive-bombing.

Q. Why?
A. You can’t avoid it, but you can avoid torpedoes at long range.

Q. Do you know if they intended to attack MIDWAY again?
A. All hands thought it was no use.

Q. Do you know if the attack on MIDWAY was instigated by the Army or Navy Command?
A. I believe it was a combined general staff decision.

Q. Did the loss of these carriers result in sending their pilots and aircraft into the SOLOMONS as land based planes?
A. Some of the pilots went back to JAPAN, some went to bases in the SOLOMONS, and some were assigned to the SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU in the SOLOMONS Area.

Q. Do you know why they continued to send troops, planes and ships into the SOLOMONS in little groups instead of one big group?
A. There were not enough personnel and equipment at home to throw a big bunch in there, therefore they had to go in small increments.

Q. Do you know what influenced the decision to withdraw from the SOLOMONS?
A. I heard it was because we couldn’t supply them. I got very little on plans. Personally thought that Americans were landing too much around us and we should have to give up what we had and go on the defensive. I thought that because we had insufficient number of planes, we couldn’t hope to take offensive action. I thought it was defensive holding from that time on.

Q. Do you know if the Navy had planned for a short war or a long war?
A. We all thought that if it was a long war, the Navy would be finished, and we thought it would be a long war.

Q. What did you consider a long war?
A. If it was short it would be less than two years, something over five years if it were long.

Q. Was there any improvements in aircraft material or personnel during the war?
A. The pilots got worse but the planes got better.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 3
USSBS NO. 32

THE BATTLE OF THE PHILIPPINE SEA, 19-20 JUNE 1944

TOKYO

16 October 1945

Interrogation of: Vice Admiral OZAWA, Jisaburo, IJN, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Task Force in subject battle.

Interrogated by: Rear Admiral R. A. Ofstie, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Captain T.J. Hedding, USN; Captain D.J. McCallum, USN; Lieut. Comdr. J.A. Field, jr., USNR.

SUMMARY

The Battle of the PHILIPPINE SEA occurred on 19-20 June 1944 in the sea area west of the MARIANAS, and during the U.S. landing operations on SAIPAN. Major units of the opposing fleets were engaged. On the first day, Japanese carrier aircraft, coordinated with shore based Naval aircraft, carried out a large scale attack on U.S. Task Force 58. Approximately 400 enemy aircraft were shot down, with only moderate U.S. air losses and minor damage to our surface vessels. U.S. submarines sank two Japanese aircraft carriers on this day. On 20 June, at about sunset, U.S. carrier aircraft attacked the Japanese Fleet, sinking one carrier, seriously damaging a second, and sinking two and damaging one of the accompanying tankers.

Admiral OZAWA, who commanded the Japanese Fleet in this action, discusses Naval planning for this operation and movement of forces to the battle area, and gives details of the engagement on both days and subsequent retirement to home waters. He touches briefly on later planning, and offers miscellaneous comment and opinion on various features of the war.

TRANSCRIPT

Plans and Early Movements

Q. Admiral Ozawa, today we propose to discuss the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 1944. At the beginning of this operation, say about the 10th of June, where were you based, and when did you start on the ensuing operation?
A. The entire fleet was at TAWI TAWI. Left there on or about 10th June (not sure of exact date), fueled in GUIMARAS STRAIT, and then south of MASBATE on to SAN BERNARDINO STRAIT, the due east refueling at sea at about Long. 130°. After refueling started battle here (referring to chart) at about long. 135°. Details are uncertain and approximate.

Q. Why was TAWI TAWI your base?
A. Because the original plan was to get out south of MINDANAO to approach either the Western CAROLINES or the MARIANAS. If this was impossible or inadvisable we meant to go through SURIGAO STRAIT. TAWI TAWI was the best location to meet these arrangements.

Q. What was the information on which this plan was based; why did the task force leave on the 10th of June?
A. The first possibility was that the American Fleet would come up from NEW GUINEA to attack PALAU; the second possibility was that the fleet would come to the MARIANAS. A radio from SAIPAN stated that your force was coming to the MARIANAS, so the task force left TAWI TAWI on receipt of that information.

Q. At that time were SAN BERNARDINO and SURIGAO STRAITS mined?
A. There were Japanese mines in both passages in certain places.

Q. What was the status of training of the Air Groups when you left TAWI TAWI; do you feel that they were well trained, completely trained, or what was your view?
A. The training was very insufficient because the airfield at TAWI TAWI was still under construction.

Q. Had the air groups done some training at SINGAPORE previous to that?
A. The First Squadron only had trained at SINGAPORE; the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons were trained in JAPAN.

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Q. All pilots, however, could land on board in the daytime?
A. Yes, they were capable, but not at night.

Q. What were the basic plans for defense against American landings in the MARIANAS, and by whom were they prepared?
A. There were land-based planes at PALAU, YAP, and GUAM. They were here under direct command of the Combined Fleet, and not under Admiral OZAWA. These air forces, coordinating and cooperating with the task force, were to conduct operations against the American Task Force. This was the original plan of the Combined Fleet Headquarters.

Q. This was the AGO Plan, issued by Admiral Toyoda?
A. Yes, and Toyoda made the plan.

Q. Did you have a conference with Admiral Toyoda before the operation, regarding the plan?
A. The two Admirals had had no conference; Admiral Toyoda was in JAPAN, Admiral OZAWA was in SINGAPORE when the plan was originally received. It was an order from Admiral Toyoda.

Q. About when did the order come out?
A. Perhaps the end of April or beginning of May.

Q. You mentioned that the shore-based air force was under C-in-C Combined Fleet. Were they all Navy, or Army and Navy?
A. All Navy planes.

Q. There were no Army planes in the Islands?
A. There were no Army planes.

Q. What was Admiral OZAWA'S command status relative to these planes; could he give direct orders to them himself or did he have to go back to Admiral Toyoda?
A. They were under command of Admiral Toyoda.

Q. What was the means of arranging coordinated action once the operation started? Did Admiral OZAWA have to go to Admiral TOYODA to direct them?
A. The command was issued by Admiral TOYODA, and I was trying to work along the line of that command. As to the details of how the cooperation was done, I do not remember.

Q. What I meant was, could you, Admiral OZAWA, make decisions effecting shore-based air without reference to Admiral TOYODA?
A. That was done. The First Air Fleet Headquarters was at TINIAN, and the C-in-C of the First Air Fleet had the direction of the air force of all land-based planes.

Q. What was the approximate strength of the aircraft of the First Air Fleet in all those islands?
A. Altogether the land-based planes totaled about 500.

Q. Was that part of the AGO Plan?
A. Yes.

Q. Admiral, will you outline your initial plan; how you intended to strike at the beginning, and what you intended to accomplish here?
A. The first purpose was to attack the American Task Force in cooperation with land-based planes. The second consideration was to attack the landing force with the Second Fleet.

Q. What information did you have as to the strength of the American Task Force?
A. I received information that one task force was around here, about 200 miles south, and another task force was northwest of SAIPAN. These were reports from land-based scout planes.

Q. To go back; when you sortied from TAWI TAWI what did you think the total American strength was?
A. I did not receive any detailed information of the American Task Force but was inclined to think that the whole American Task Force was coming, complete, with about 12 or 13 carriers.

First Day, 19 June 1944

Q. What losses did you have on the first day and when did they occur relative to the time of initiating your attack?
A. Two carriers were sunk that day, the TAIHO and SHOKAKU.

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Q. Give me details about the sinking of the SHOKAKU.
A. She was sunk by a submarine at one o'clock in the afternoon (not quite sure of details; was far from the scene). The first wave of planes had left the ship, and the submarine attack occurred before the second wave was launched. The first wave had not yet returned. I received a report that the carrier was afloat 2 or 3 hours after the hit.

Q. As for the TAIHO, what happened there?
A. It was a submarine torpedo at 0900 on the 19th. All the gasoline spread around in the hanger deck exploded, and because of this explosion the TAIHO sunk at perhaps 1100.

Q. Before launching the first wave?
A. After the first wave left and before the second wave was launched.

Q. You then transferred to what ship?
A. I transferred to the ZUIKAKU by means of a destroyer.

Q. During this period, when ships were lost and the 1st and 2nd waves of planes were sent out for the attacks, was the whole disposition fairly close together, say within 50 miles?
A. Within a range of 100 miles, the entire formation.

Q. What were the first reports you had of the results of the air attack on the American Task Force; when did you get reports and what were they?
A. I did not know until this operation ended and the planes returned. In other words, during the action I received no report of American damage, and never did receive full information.

Q. About how many planes did you send out; how many waves and how many planes?
A. The 1st wave was 300 planes altogether (not quite sure); the 2nd wave a very few planes on account of the two carriers being sunk, perhaps about 100.

Q. The other planes sank with the carriers?
A. Yes.

Q. About what total of planes did you have in all the ships before you came up there?
A. We brought altogether about 400 or 450 planes.

Q. And of those planes how many returned from the 1st and 2nd waves?
A. I do not recollect; but very few returned.

Q. Did you know whether a considerable number had gone in and landed at GUAM and TINIAN?
A. I received a report to that effect. I think they landed at GUAM and TINIAN.

Q. How were plans changed as a result of first days action?
A. The plan was changed to such an extent that the next day the ships were to go back west to refuel and then try to attack again. There were no changes in basic plan but a necessitated change in Japanese movements.

Q. Did you receive any new directive or intelligence from Admiral TOYODA as a result of the first day?
A. I received no report from Admiral Toyoda directly as a result of the first days action.

Q. When the 1st and 2nd waves were sent out, what were the flight commanders orders; what were they to attack, first priority - what was the plan?
A. The main order was to attack the carriers in conjunction with land-based planes; only to attack the carriers. Also the land-based planes were to attack carriers.

Q. This is the point, if attacks from all the planes were to be coordinated, was an effort made to strike at the same time?
A. The planes made formation (rendezvous) in individual squadrons, and every squadron was to take its individual target.

Second Day, 20 June 1944

Q. The next day you had very few planes; about how many left?
A. Perhaps a little less than 60, perhaps about 40 planes left on the ZUIKAKU of the entire First Air Squadron. About the same number of planes left in the 1st and 3rd squadrons.

Q. What was your plan to employ these planes on the 20th?
A. The day of the 20th was occupied by refueling, and keeping watch against submarines. Next attack was intended to be made on the 21st.

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Q. During the day of the 20th while refueling, etc., and until late in the day, what information did you have on movements of the U.S. Task Force?
A. American scout planes interfered with the fueling operations, and the force had to go still further west. Fueling never was accomplished, and about evening the American bombing attack was received and resulted in the loss of one carrier in the 2nd Air Squadron.

Q. That was the HIYO?
A. Yes, and the JUNYO received serious damage. By result of that attack we had to change the refueling and attacking plan altogether. We abandoned original plans and retired to OKINAWA, and at the same time I received a dispatch from Admiral TOYODA that we should abandon the attack and return.

Q. That night you received the dispatch?
A. In the evening of the 20th I received orders to similar effect from Admiral TOYODA.

Q. With respect to the HIYO, can you tell me the details of the damage; did you sink her or did she sink from torpedo or bombing attack?
A. She sank on account of damage, mostly by bombing.

Q. How soon did she sink?
A. Perhaps 1-1/2 hours; she had very insufficient defense equipment because it was a converted carrier and had insufficient compartmentation and protection.

Q. Now with regard to the JUNYO. How much damage was done to her, and did you tow her or could she get away herself?
A. She received a bomb to right of the bridge aft. She received another bomb in some part, but even though damaged it did not affect the speed of movement or affect maneuvering. On account of the damage on the flight deck she could not use the airplanes.

Q. Were there any other ships damaged in that attack, that you know of?
A. I am certain there was no other damage on other ships.

Q. That applies only to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Squadrons; or does it include the support force?
A. I remember clearly there was no other damage.

Q. Did you have reports on the tankers, which were near you then? Any damage to them?
A. Yes, I received a report on the tankers; 2 or 3 tankers were damaged.

Q. The entire fleet moved then to OKINAWA?
A. Yes, all the fleet retired to OKINAWA.

Miscellaneous Battle Comment

Q. What was the first time you thought you knew that the American Fleet had you located?
A. After 5 or 6 hours after we left SAN BERNARDINO STRAITS, I thought we were found by an American submarine or shore watchers.

Q. You had radar in all your ships then?
A. All ships were equipped with radar, but I was very doubtful whether or not our men had mastered the use of radar.

Q. In other words you had no reports by your own radars of any of our aircraft coming over and picking you up?
A. We got it not from radar but from interceptions of dispatches.

Q. That was the day before?
A. Five hours out of SAN BERNARDINO.

Q. About midnight of the 18th-19th, the night before the engagement, one of our patrol planes picked up your force. Did you know that?
A. No, I did not know that.

Q. Did you observe radio silence from the time you sortied until the time the action was initiated on the 19th?
A. Yes, but I think I did send out some radio message on the night of the 18th.

Q. For what reason did you break radio silence; was there an important message to be sent?
A. We sent a radio to instruct the land-based airplanes where to attack the American Task Force.

NAV-3

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Q. Asking them where, or telling them the location of our task force?
A. Telling them mainly the place. It was already understood that the attack would be made in early morning. These instructions were sent to coordinate the action of land-based planes.

Later Plans, Movements, and General Comments

Q. After retirement to OKINAWA, what steps were taken to make new plans as a result of this action?
A. The force refueled at OKINAWA and received order from Admiral TOYODA to return to the INLAND SEA.

Q. Did you then have a conference with Admiral TOYODA, or what was done to prepare new plans as a result of the Marianas battle?
A. I reported verbally to Admiral TOYODA.

Q. And Admiral TOYODA then issued new plans?
A. Admiral TOYODA issued a new order. I didn't have any conference with him on this plan, and had no voice in framing the new plan.

Q. When you first approached the MARIANAS the night of the 18th-19th with your plan of attacking by air and then bringing the fleet in during the final approach, was the intention to come in straight toward SAIPAN, or to come from the south or from the north in a flanking approach? In other words, were you going to go in straight, or come from the side to get the transports?
A. The plan was to go in direct. It would take too much fuel to take the longer route, which had been considered, but we planned to go in straight and we did not change that plan during the approach. Perhaps a little southerly sag in the line of approach for the sake of air cover, but in the main plans agreed to were straight approach.

Q. What date did you get back to the INLAND SEA from OKINAWA?
A. We reached OKINAWA the 22nd or 23rd, immediately refueled and both the 3rd and 2nd Fleets departed either that night or the next morning for the INLAND SEA.

Q. How long did the fleets stay there in the INLAND SEA?
A. The 2nd Fleet and 3rd Fleet, excepting the carriers, stayed there about ten days and then all the able ships except the carriers of the 3rd Fleet joined the 2nd Fleet and departed for SINGAPORE. The 3rd Fleet carriers stayed in the INLAND SEA.

Q. The 2nd Fleet stayed in SINGAPORE until about time for the sortie for the Philippine landings?
A. They stayed in SINGAPORE and LINGGA and BRUNEI BAY.

Q. How long did the fleet stay at SINGAPORE?
A. The Fleet went to SINGAPORE area where damage was repaired for the ships requiring it, and training was undertaken at LINGGA by the balance of the fleet.

Q. The new plan put out by C-in-C Combined Fleet - Admiral TOYODA; what was the substance of that plan?
A. There was a new plan, dependent on the location of American operations. I think the plan was divided into three possibilities: An attack on the PHILIPPINES at LEYTE or around MINDANAO, FORMOSA or OKINAWA.

Q. That was the "SHO" Plan of operation?
A. It was the "SHO GO" operation.

Q. Will you express briefly what, in your opinion, was the effect of the Battle of the CORAL SEA in May 1942? What was the effect on planning; did it cause JAPAN to go on the defensive?
A. I was in SINGAPORE at the time so I do not know exactly what kind of effect that battle had on the plans. I do not think that the Battle of the CORAL SEA affected future main planning.

Q. Now the same thing with respect to the Battle of MIDWAY in which four carriers were lost; how do you feel about that?
A. I think that on account of the result of the MIDWAY battle the planning for future operations was very difficult on the side of JAPAN.

Q. Do you mean that at that point it had changed to the defensive?
A. Thereafter it became necessary to consider the naval operations as mainly defensive on account of loss of 4 carriers.

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Q. Down in the South Pacific in the SOLOMONS, in the RABAUL-GUADALCANAL Area, there was a long period of fighting night actions in which we lost many ships and JAPAN lost many ships. Did that long period of attrition have some predominant effect on operations?
A. JAPAN lost quite a few ships, also damaged air force which made future planning more difficult.

Q. What is your personal opinion as to the relative importance to the whole war of the loss of Japanese Naval strength in ships, the loss of Naval air strength, loss of merchant shipping, and loss of oil?
A. First is the air force - the damage to air force means damage to all the rest. The other three are all dependent on damage to the air force.

Q. Now again down in the SOLOMONS, in the RABAUL-GUADALCANAL Area; you had heavy air losses there and for that reason that was an important campaign, is that correct?
A. Due to the damage of air forces they could not very well replace air force, therefore they could not replace anything else successfully to keep up the strength of RABAUL.

Q. Aircraft or pilots?
A. Same thing with pilots.

Q. Throughout the PACIFIC side of the operations, excluding CHINA; what was the approximate percentage of Japanese Naval aviation as against Japanese Army aviation that was employed?
A. If you include CHINA, then the forces of Army and Navy are about equal; but if CHINA is excluded I do not know.

Q. Wasn't there a predominance of Naval aircraft in the TRUK-RABAUL Area?
A. After MIDWAY there were very few carrier pilots who were assigned land bases in the SOLOMON Area; nearly all of them were reserved for other carrier duty. Excluding CHINA but including BURMA, JAVA and MALAYA, the Navy and Army were about equal. But if you mean the Pacific Ocean Area without the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO, it was almost exclusively Navy. There was some Army air strength in the NEW GUINEA Area, toward the end of the SOLOMONS operations.

Q. After the occupation of the MARIANAS did you feel there was any reasonable chance of defeating our fleet, or of destroying our airforces?
A. I did not know much about the replacement of airplanes, but I thought if the land-based airplanes were prepared to such an extent that they could counter American attack, then I thought there was a fair chance of defeating the American forces.

Q. To go further then. After the 2nd Philippine Operation in October 1944, when you had lost four carriers, then you had no strength to defeat our fleet except with shore-based aircraft. That was the plan then, to use shore-based aircraft?
A. That was then the only way to attack the American forces, with shore-based planes.

Q. In your personal opinion was there any particular outstanding weakness or strength, one way or the other, in the American Fast Carrier Forces? In other words, what were the weakest and the strongest features of the American fast carriers?
A. The particular strength of your task force is the use of radar, interception of radio messages, and intercepting by radar of Japanese air attacks which they can catch and destroy ("eat up") whenever they want to. That is the strength. The weakness we noticed in the beginning of the campaign was the slowness, the lack of maneuverability in case of torpedo attack. Towards the end maneuvering ability improved and we could not successfully deliver a torpedo attack in strength enough to sink anything.

Q. When was construction work on new Japanese carriers discontinued?
A. I do not know the exact date of the discontinuance of building new carriers but think that up to the very end of the war a very high priority was given to this construction.

Q. When did the Naval Air Force shift from carriers to shore bases; at approximately what time?
A. Right after the second Philippines campaign they shifted to a defensive plan, with carrier planes shore based.

(Note: Interrogation of Admiral OZAWA to be continued on Tuesday, 30 October 1945, at 0930)

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Interrogation NAV No.4
USSBS No. 23

Battle of Midway

TOKYO

9 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain AOKI, Taijiro, IJN. Commanding Officer of AKAGI (CV) at Battle of MIDWAY. He was not a pilot.

Interrogated by: Captain C. SHANDS, USN.

Allied Officers present: Brig. Gen. G. GARDNER, USA; Cmdr. T. H. MOORER, USN; Lt. Cmdr. J. A. FIELD, Jr., USNR.

SUMMARY

The AKAGI was one of four aircraft carriers comprising the Eleventh Air Fleet, in the striking force at the planned occupation of MIDWAY ISLAND, June 1942. The CV’s were first attacked about 200 miles from MIDWAY, 2 hours after sunrise, 4 June by many planes carrying torpedoes, all of which were avoided. The first indication of the presence of the United States carriers was the dive bombing attack which scored two hits on the AKAGI. The AKAGI had launched half of her planes to bomb MIDWAY but forty were still being serviced when hit. No more were launched. 200 were lost and 100 wounded, out of a total complement of 1400. On the morning of the 5th a Japanese DD torpedoed and sank the AKAGI. The KAGA, SORYU, and HIRYU were sunk due to damage inflicted by dive bombers. No other damage was sustained from air attack by ships in the striking force except possible damage to one battleship’s superstructure. No planes seen on the 5th or later during retirement.

The loss of the CV’s caused plans for the occupation to be abandoned.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What ships were present in the carrier force at MIDWAY?
A. AKAGI, KAGA, HIRYU and SORYU (all CV’s) HIYEI or HARUNA and KIRISHIMA (BB), TONE and CHIKUMA (CA), NAGARA (CL), about ten or twelve destroyers. AKAGI was in the Eleventh Air Fleet.

Disposition

        ( )        
    ( ) DD       ( ) DD    
        ( ) Kirishima (BB)        
( ) DD     ( ) Hiryu (CV)   ( ) Akagi (CV)     ( ) DD
( ) (DD)     ( ) Soryu (CV)   ( ) Kaga (CV)     ( ) (DD)
        ( ) Hiyei (BB)        
  ( ) (DD)     (Haruna)     ( ) (DD)  
    ( ) (DD)       ( ) (DD)    

Q. What were the other three units?
A. The Grand Fleet was there to act as support, commanded by Admiral YAMAMOTO.

Q. What was the mission of the Eleventh Air Fleet?
A. Simply to bombard MIDWAY by planes.

Q. What was the mission of the entire fleet?
A. That was to help. Entirely separate from this was the occupation force.

Q. Was the Air Fleet separate from the Grand Fleet?
A. Yes, of course it was under the Grand Fleet, but was a separate force.

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Q. During the approach to MIDWAY when did you expect the first air attack?
A. About 500 miles from MIDWAY, but our carriers were first attacked in the morning about two hours after sunrise, about 200 miles from MIDWAY.

Q. What type planes made the first attack?
A. Torpedo planes, then dive bombers. First a great many torpedoes were dropped from planes, then dive bombers hit.

Q. Were any attacks made on the carrier force during the approach by B-17’s or PBY’s?
A. There were none. Torpedo planes in the morning of attack but no four engine bombers.

Q. Were any planes seen or heard during the approach the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of June?
A. There was a high fog and the day before the action opened they heard one above the clouds in the day time.

Q. Was the AKAGI hit by any four-engined or horizontal bombers?
A. Not once.

Q. Were any ships hit by horizontal bombers?
A. I think all ships were hit by dive bombers.

Q. Did you lose any ships to submarines during approach?
A. No, none at all.

Q. On the day before the main action about 600 miles from MIDWAY, was the formation attacked by long range planes?
A. No.

Q. How was the AKAGI damaged?
A. Fire; two bombs by dive bombing about two hours after sunrise, (one started a fire at after elevator). Planes were loaded up with bombs inside the hanger and caught fire.

Q. Did you see any horizontal bombers over the formation at the time?
A. KIRISHIMA was under attack by horizontal bombing. It was not hit. Near misses.

Q. Were the AKAGI’s planes in the air?
A. About half of them were up attacking MIDWAY. We were servicing others in the hanger, about forty on board. We had high cover of 6 Zero Type fighters in addition.

Q. Was this the first group launched from AKAGI?
A. This was the first group launched from all the ships.

Q. Were any other planes launched from AKAGI to attack our carriers?
A. There was no second flight from the AKAGI.

Q. Which type of attack was most feared – horizontal, dive bombing or torpedo?
A. Diving, you can swing away from torpedoes, but the worst is dive bombing.

Q. Was AKAGI sunk as a result of those two bomb hits or was she sunk later by Japanese destroyers?
A. It did not sink by bombs. She was sunk by a Japanese destroyer’s torpedoes during the next morning. Engines were helpless, fire damage, could not navigate so gave up the ship; many engineers were killed. 200 were lost, 100 were wounded out of 1400 on board.

Q. How many pilots were saved; how many lost?
A. Six pilots were lost. Others landed and were picked up by destroyers.

Q. Why didn’t the task force continue to MIDWAY?
A. Too much damage to aircraft carriers, lost control of air.

Q. What other carriers or ships were lost?
A. KAGA, SORYU, HIRYU. No damage to battleships or serious damage to any other ships in our group.

Q. In what other operations was the AKAGI?
A. PERAL HARBOR was the first, she attacked at CEYLON and TRIMCOMALEE, next MIDWAY. MIDWAY was the only action in which I was aboard.

NAV-4

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Q. Did our aircraft carrier raids on JAPAN affect the training of pilots during the war?
A. When your planes were attacking we had to stop training and so lost time besides training planes. However, we didn’t suffer much from the loss of training planes.

Q. Had the Navy planned on a war of long duration?
A. They were all talking that it would be long, but nobody hazarded a guess as to duration. As soon as it began we thought it would be a long war.

Q. About how many planes or pilots did you expect to lose at MIDWAY, that is from anti-aircraft and attack?
A. Because we had suffered so little at PEARL HARBOR at the beginning of the war, we thought we would get away with the same thing at MIDWAY. I think that other ships in the task force lost a good many pilots, but as far as my ship was concerned, we got off very easily.

Q. Did you have radar on the AKAGI?
A. No.

Q. Did any ships at MIDWAY have radar?
A. YAMATO, MUTSU and NAGATO in the Grand Fleet may have had it. There was no ship at MIDWAY or carrier which had it.

Q. Do you know when they were first installed and first used?
A. I don’t know but when I went to the arsenal at KURE, I saw the grids on the ISE and HYUGA. It was August 1942 after MIDWAY. I supposed that they must have been installed on better ships by then.

Q. While cruising to MIDWAY was radio silence observed?
A. There was radio silence.

Q. Was an interpreter radio guard stood on CW or voice frequency?
A. There was nothing but curiosity, but there was not a real guard.

Q. During passage to MIDWAY, were flight operations conducted or carried out?
A. Training flights for about two days (Weather bad); anti-submarine patrols every day. No combat air patrols.

Q. What number and types of planes were used for anti-submarine patrols?
A. 97 Type attack planes. Four planes were used for anti-submarine patrol, searching out at a distance of about 40,000 meters.

Q. In the operations at night did the carriers form a column?
A. At night it was the same ring formation.

Q. Were the destroyers stationed astern of the carriers in cruising formation?
A. All outside the circle.

Q. When landing and launching planes also?
A. They were 500 or 600 meters astern at time of recovery of planes.

Q. When you launched or recovered planes did all ships turn into the wind or just the carrier that was landing planes?
A. It was all at the same time if it was a long operation. Otherwise in short operation the single carrier maneuvered.

Q. Did it make any difference how far they were from the enemy?
A. It had nothing to do with that distance.

Q. How did the planes find their way back to the ship, did you have radio homing device?
A. Only radio. As soon as the planes made their attack, they were to come back without radio help. Only on request from the pilot would ship send message.

685287 O - 46 - 3

NAV-4

--15--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 5
USSBS NO. 34

Allied Offensive Mining Campaign

TOKYO

10, 12, 16 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain TAMURA, Kyuzo, IJN. War time duties were devoted to Mine construction and mine sweeping.
Commander SUGITA, Binfo, IJN. Mining officer on staff of First Escort Fleet.

Interrogated by: Comdr. T.H. Moorer, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Captain T.J. Hedding, USN; Comdr J.H. Hayward, USN; Lieut. Comdr. J.A. Field, jr., USNR.

SUMMARY

The Japanese first discovered mines in home waters in 1942. These were presumably laid by submarine. A few ships were sunk and normal sweeping operations were conducted.

Additional mines were discovered in the South Pacific but losses sustained, though substantial, did not seriously affect the line of supply. A complete record of such losses is not available at this time.

As the B-29 mining campaign progressed, the mines changed from a nuisance to a major problem. Subsequent to 1 April 1945, the largest shipping losses were caused by mines lain in Japanese waters. The Japanese were not prepared for such air attacks, and although the defense against mining was given top priority over all defense matters, countermeasures, particularly against the pressure type mine, were neither effective nor available in sufficient quantity. Finally the mines were present in such quantity and supplies were so urgently required that the Japanese were forced to sail their vessels through dangerous waters, regardless of loss.

Shipping control, defense measures, and sweeping techniques are also discussed in this interrogation. Certain technical information was furnished under separate cover.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. When did the Japanese actually suspect mine laying from submarines?
A. The first ones were discovered at CHOSHI and shortly after that at the entrance of OSAKA BAY.

Q. Did you detect mines in THAILAND or INDO-CHINA in October and November 1942?
A. Mines were discovered off the coast of JAPAN in January of 1943, at end of February or the beginning of March 1943. From the beginning to the end of the war the only submarine mines we knew about were the ones at CHOSHI and OSAKA.

Q. What countermeasures did you take against these mines?
A. At OSAKA, one of the mines rose to the surface, of course we simply removed it. One countermeasure in any event was ordinary minesweeping operations. The mines recovered in CHOSHI and OSAKA were in quantity of about 10 or 15.

Q. Were any ships sunk or damaged by these mines?
A. At CHOSHI, one 2-3,000 ton cargo ship; at OSAKA, about two 1,000 ton cargo ships were sunk as well as one 3,000 ton cargo ship.

Q. Was merchant ship routing changed as a result of this mine laying?
A. Yes, we simply changed the route by changing the channel; also went further off-shore and avoided points close to land.

Q. Did the Japanese encounter any mines in the SOLOMON's Campaign?
A. As far as we were concerned the definite information about moored mines was only in these two areas mentioned. We agreed that submarines were laying floating mines, but definite place of moored mines laid by submarines was unknown to us.

Q. Were any provisions made for minesweeping gear for the SOLOMON's Campaign?
A. There were no minesweeping operations in the SOLOMONS Area.

Q. Is there a list of the losses which you incurred from mines alone, (merchant ships and naval vessels)?
A. I can get the information. Our statistics are not very good because we were not positively informed as to whether or not the ships were sunk by mines, torpedoes, storms or other reasons. I have the list for seas around JAPAN and I have the total figures. But the big problem is that all the records were burned and I must go around asking for information; the figures will not be complete.

NAV-5

--16--

Q. At what time in the war did the mines change from a nuisance to a problem?
A. About 1 April 1945. The reason this chart was made was that, at the point the chart starts, losses from mines started to increase, (terrifically). The losses from submarines decreased.

Q. Before April 1945, did you anticipate this problem and make any preparations in the way of countermeasures?
A. Yes, but on a small scale. We found a lot of magnetic bars at SINGAPORE, we brought them back and manufactured sweeping gear copied from the English type.

Q. Did the use of these various ships (the disposing ships), the vessels to tow the sweeps and the men to man them, seriously interfere with merchant shipping?
A. The whole program was not conducted as efficiently as we would have liked. First of all we used as disposing vessels those in poor state of repair; we realized we would have to have a certain program with a certain number of vessels and personnel for security of safety for other shipping, so we did the best we could and used as many vessels as possible; but it wasn't nearly as successful as we hoped.

Q. Were you prepared in any way for our speeded up B-29 offensive mining operations in April?
A. We were not prepared. The only way we realized B-29s were dropping mines by parachute, had no advance notice, was by visual detection. We knew you would probably do it, expected to make some preparation, but we were not satisfied.

Q. I would like to know if this intensive mine program affected the morale of the crews of the merchant ships?
A. The crews of Japanese merchant ships and Naval vessels were very worried and frightened by this mining, but they were all under orders and had to work through it.

Q. What effect did this have on the routing of ships, particularly after SHIMONOSEKI STRAIT was mined so heavily?
A. The materials were brought by railroad to points in MANCHURIA and then shipped to INLAND SEA ports.

Q. When did you actually close the SHIMONOSEKI STRAITS?
A. I admit that it was closed.

Q. Was the shipping situation so critical that it was necessary to send ships through the minefields regardless of the fact that the minefields were not properly swept?
A. We forced shipping through regardless of the knowledge that it was dangerous. If we suspected mines were in certain areas, we stopped shipping for one day, pending sweeping operations; but then started in again, realizing full well that ships would be lost.

Q. Will you make an estimate as to what loss the Japanese were willing to accept? For instance, if ten ships passed through the minefields, were you willing to accept the loss of one to get nine through?
A. Around June and July this year conditions were so bad that, regardless of the losses, we pushed the ships through. We never worked out a plan of percentage, I think a certain percentage of losses are expected. We place a certain area under a Commanding Officer with the responsibility of seeing that the area is clear. Then if he says it is clear, we send the ships through; if he says not, we send them somewhere else. We leave it up to the Area Commander or Port Director to route the ships. The Commanders weren't relieved of their commands if too many ships were lost in their area. We realized big losses would result and we blamed no one. In the beginning, we had half regular Navy and half reserves; the losses were terrific so we replaced them (the reserves) with regulars. But even the regulars had difficulty and there were many changes in Commanding Officers. The situation was very bad and we used the most competent personnel available.

Q. After you swept and marked the channel did you have any difficulty keeping ships in the channels? Were there many ships lost who attempted to take short cuts and who didn't follow the channel?
A. The obedience to orders in regards to channels was very good; but even so, mines cropped up in supposedly swept channels and there were losses.

Q. What was the width of the swept channels?
A. The widest channel was 500 meters. Our plans were to sweep channels from 600-800 meters, but due to shortage of sweeps the best average width of a channel we were able to produce was 200 meters.

NAV-5

--17--

Q. What was the procedure used in the passage of a convoy through a channel?
A. We used a lead ship and followed in column.

Q. How was the routing of shipping controlled? In other words, how was the presence of these various minefields made known to ships and on whose authority were they routed to the different ports?
A. Each naval District or Area Commander was in complete charge of convoy and routing, and had control of all shipping.

Q. Do you have a publication similar to this which traces development of your various sweeps and which shows how you made improvements as the types of mines were changed?
A. (Referred to booklets).
The magnetic pressure mine was the most difficult to sweep. This list is put out by the Navy Ministry and is a compilation by the scientists all over Japan who were put to work on developing countermeasures against mines, particularly the magnetic pressure mine.

Q. What system did you use in plotting mines dropped by B-29s and how successful were you in actually determining where these mines were in order to know where to sweep?
A. In the KYUSHU area we had a lot of radar as well as sweeps and survey crews; in the INLAND SEA Coast we had some people watching but these were not very effective methods of plotting.

Q. Was it very often that mines fell on the beach and if so do you have a list of the mines which were recovered from the ground?
A. This is the list of these found (Referred to list). This is a chart for March, April, May and June showing the different types of mines which were recovered, swept up, etc. If we didn't get the mines by the third time, we quit sweeping; only three tries to sweep. During May, June and July period the total number was 636 mines (328-209-99 added), this is the total number of all mines recovered on land in each month. All types were recovered on land.

Q. How many mines did you estimate were laid by B-29s in Japanese Waters?
A. March 450; April 117; May 414; June 1509; July 1200. Total mines estimated by Japanese to have been dropped on Japan home waters - 3690.

Q. What information did you obtain from the Germans?
A. This type mine (refer charts) was brought by submarine from GERMANY in summer of 1942. We thought it was very funny because it was the same type as a captured American mine (Shortland Area). The Navy has a Department of Research on countermeasures against mines at Tokyo Imperial University. In my opinion the main reason for the war's ending unsuccessfully for JAPAN was the lack of cooperation between the scientists and the military. They (the scientists) got no cooperation. I feel that if they had been placed in the same level as a soldier in a civilian uniform they would have been much better; I think they didn't care or didn't try. The Navy made no attempt to put pressure on them. The following professors were engaged in mine countermeasure work:
Professors Shimizu, Kaya, Tsuboi, Hagiwara, Nigata, all at Tokyo Imperial University.
These men cooperated to a limited extent, but no real effort was made on their part.

Q. Did you ever attempt any minesweeping with airplanes?
A. We tried but were unsuccessful and stopped. We attempted to sweep the magnetic mine fields (Moored mines). The other mines were too small to find by plane.

Q. Can anyone tell us what ships were lost as a result of mines in the SOLOMONS?
A. 1942, 2 or 3 DD's, large type. I can give you some approximate figures but we wouldn't know what sunk these ships - carriers, submarines, torpedo, or what. I only know approximate figures, the man who would know is dead.

Q. In your opinion did the mining affect the Naval strategy in any way?
A. In my opinion and according to what I have heard the only affect your mining operations had in the SOLOMONS area was to force our shipping to exercise a greater degrees of caution. It did not necessitate an overall change in strategy.

Q. Does this apply to the BALIKPAPAN, DUTCH EAST INDIES, and SINGAPORE Area?
A. Plans were not changed in the CELEBES, DUTCH EAST INDIES, SOERBAJA Areas, although losses were high, (highest in April 1945).

Q. Were all these operations furnished with very latest minesweeping equipment (Captain shows sketch of sweeping operations). Do you know what ships were sunk at PALAU by mines laid by aircraft?
A. Two or three merchant ships were sunk there by mines.

NAV-5

--18--

Q. Do you know how many mines were recovered or swept at PALAU?
A. I think about 15 or 16 were swept, the mooring type were at PALAU (the Mark 10).

Q. How long was the anchorage actually closed as a result of mining?
A. For four or five days.

Q. Did you continue to use PALAU as a fleet anchorage after it was mined?
A. Sweeping was very effective at PALAU against the moored type. We weren't able to enter the anchorage, but used the narrow channel as an anchorage; but were unable to get into the regular anchorage after the mining operation.

(Captain Hedding then drew plan of PALAU HARBOR and TAMURA indicated the channel which was closed - North Channel).

Statement in regard to list of sinkings: All vessels that were sunk are on this list. (Given to Comdr. Moorer). Captain TAMURA tried to determine what ships were sunk by mines, alone, but information at the Navy Ministry is not complete enough to clearly determine the exact cause of the sinkings of a given vessel. (Refer to list turned over to Comdr. Moorer). All sinkings are listed by areas, but it is impossible to determine exactly whether vessel sunk by mines or submarines.

Q. Are the merchant vessels on this list 500 tons or larger?
A. All are over 500 tons, nothing smaller than 500 tons was navigable over such large areas.

Q. Were the SHIMONOSEKI STRAITS actually closed for any period of time; if so for how long?
A. They were closed from March 1945 up to the end of the war, during each month approximately 15 days represented complete closure due to the necessity for sweeping operations. In spite of supposedly safe periods, the danger of navigation was still existent which explains the high loss.

Q. Explain again the exact manner in which the shipping was controlled?
A. The officers of the MAIZURU Naval Base controlled shipping in the area from NIIGATA to HAGI. In the beginning of the war the Commander of KURE Naval Base controlled all shipping in the INLAND SEA, but due to severe losses in the SHIMONOSEKI STRAITS Area a separate command was set up called the 7th Fleet to oversee routing in this specific area. OSAKA Naval Base Chief controlled the KYUSHU Area and the CHINKAI Naval Base controlled the KOREAN Area. The YOKOSUKA Naval Base controlled the entire TOKYO Area. The OMINATO Naval Base controlled the HOKKAIDO Area, but the mine problem was never important in this particular area. A special command was set up under a full admiral to oversee routing over the whole EMPIRE with headquarters at TOKYO called the "General Headquarters Surface Escort Units."

Q. What is the name of the admiral and when was this command set up?
A. This command was set up in November 1943; the first admiral in charge of that was OYOBIKAWA, former Navy Minister. Approximately June 1944 he was succeeded by Admiral NOMURA, former Naval Attache to Germany.

Q. After 1942, representatives from all departments in the Japanese Navy such as gunnery, electronics, mines, etc., went to GERMANY to obtain all the information they could on what the Germans knew about your mines as well as the English mines. Those reports were brought back but the reports themselves were burned. However, I (Captain TAMURA) remember quite well the details on mines, (refers here to booklet) all of which are in a booklet awaiting translation.

Q. Did you learn anything subsequent to that time? Was there continuous liaison up to the end of the war?
A. There were occasional small bits of information from the German Attache here but nothing after the receipt of this booklet. The German Attache was not a specialist, and merely acted as a go between. For that reason when you used magnetic pressure mines, we were caught flat-footed. We immediately began to experiment with countermeasures. We had no advance notice from GERMANY.

Q. Do you think you would eventually have been able to solve the problem presented by the pressure mine? What success did you have up to the end of the war?
A. When we first discovered the mine in SHIMONOSEKI, after great difficulty, we were even able to determine it was a pressure mine. The success we had with solving the problem was very small and all details are in the chart I gave you. I think there are a great many still sunk and which we were not able to recover.

Q. Did the Japanese have sweeping equipment at all places indicated on this chart?
A. At the beginning of the war we had equipment only in areas around manor Naval bases and some equipment in secondary Naval bases; but as mines were discovered, equipment was transferred from Naval bases to cope with the mines.

NAV-5

--19--

Q. Did you have enough for all bases?
A. It was not sufficient. I think that the lack of equipment was due to the fact that the Japanese in charge were little prepared for mines; we didn't commence preparations until after the mining began. In general this showed that the Japanese People were very quick to make preparations for offensive campaigns but not for defensive campaigns. (Off the record opinion of Captain TAMURA.)

Q. In general, do you think that the mining effort we put forth in areas other than the homeland created a problem or changed any military plans?
A. In general, the prevalent opinion was that your mining measures as such would not appreciably alter our operation plans; but in explanation of that, the main reason for not thinking too well of it was that we didn't know whether or not a ship was sunk by a submarine or any other weapon. We possibly didn't give mines enough credit. To us the big danger was submarines. It was simply because we had sufficient information to chart the effectiveness of your mine warfare. In other words, the submarines were, in my opinion, given too much credit and not enough credit to mine warfare. I would give more importance to your mine warfare than my superiors, who didn't make a particular distinction as to whether or not a ship was sunk by submarine or mine.

Q. Why isn't this information available; is it because the high command in the forward areas didn't furnish the information to TOKYO or because it wasn't furnished by the masters of individual vessels?
A. The captain of a ship simply assumes that his ship was sunk by a submarine, it does not occur to him that it may have been a mine. They knew you had an electrically propelled torpedo which leaves no wake, and even if they didn't see a periscope they still assumed it was sunk by a submarine and didn't specify that it was a mine. Unless for some reason they happened to see the ship hit a mine, they assumed it was a submarine. That is why we don't have accurate figures on mine sinkings.

Q. Tell me a little more about the methods you used to discover where the mines were dropped?
A. The B-29s were picked up by radar and position communicated to coast watchers. Coast watchers picked up the B-29s as soon as they came within vision. At night they used searchlights and simply watched the mines dropped by parachute. They then reported the approximate position to the Naval Base who then dispatched minesweepers.

Q. Were you able to follow the mines down to the water by radar?
A. It's not that good, but we were working on the idea.

Q. Did you consider the B-29 mine attacks sufficiently effective to warrant redeployment of fighters and anti-aircraft even if it decreased the defense of the cities against the fire bomb?
A. We increased the aircraft units and searchlight units attached to certain areas such as NIIGATA and SHIMONOSEKI at the expense of the cities. There was still a shortage of equipment even with the increasing of aircraft units at those stated points, but as the war in the South Pacific went against the Japanese, we were able to send more anti-aircraft units to the protection of the homeland. However, the Japanese felt that the use of aircraft units as protection against dropping of mines by B-29s was more important than the actual protection of the cities, because the life lines from the continent which furnished food and supplies were of first priority. The reason why so many mines exploded by natural or unknown reasons was being investigated by several men. However, it is my opinion that most of the mines so exploded were acoustic mines and that they were sensitive enough to have been set off by natural causes such as fishes, waves and smaller vessels. I think the quantity given on this graph is grossly exaggerated because the same mine may be seen by 4 or 5 different watchers; each one is given credit for seeing a mine.

Q. Verify these numbers on this chart. It is amazing that they were only able to sweep 328.
A. I admit it is a very small quantity and feel the reason for that was inferiority of equipment and lack of ships, personnel, and sweeping equipment.

Q. Here I have some charts. Will you indicate to the best of your knowledge the shipping trend prior to and during the B-29 mining raids? Tell me if this is substantially accurate. Who can verify these charts?
A. In my opinion the charts in regard to effects of B-29 mining operations on convoy routes were substantially correct, but Admiral NOMURA's Chief of Staff will give you accurate information.

Q. Did you feel that the mines would damage the MOJI tunnel?
A. We were very concerned about the possibility of damage to the MOJI tunnel, but it escaped damage.

Q. I would like to give you a list of the areas where we put down mines and I would like to have you use that list and find out for me (1) whether or not you knew the mines were there and (2) what damage the mines did.

NAV-5

--20--

Captain TAMURA brought a list (as per request) of vessels sunk by mines, submarines, and aircraft in the PACIFIC OCEAN Area. He was accompanied by Commander SUGITA, Binzo, formerly a member of the Staff of the Headquarters combined Surface Escort Fleet.
Captain TAMURA delivered the information and documents previously requested as follows:

  1. List of personnel and equipment engaged in mine countermeasures, including those engaged in technical studies. 349 vessels and 20,000 men were engaged in minesweeping.
  2. Names of additional officers who can give information concerning mine countermeasures.
  3. A list of ships sunk in the various mine fields prior to 1945. (This list is an estimate but is a compilation of all available information).

Captain TAMURA corrected a statement made in previous interrogation. "The Combined Surface Escort Command was set up in the fall of 1943 instead of spring as previously stated."

Q. In the list of minefields which I previously gave you, did you find places in which you never discovered mines?
A. That is quite true; however, I was able to get the information on the list from people who are in the EMPIRE at the moment, so information as to other areas is very doubtful because the people who know are not available. Commander SUGITA, who was in the 8th Fleet (RABAUL), states that ships were sunk in the KOLOMBANGARA Area. Three ships were sunk by mines, other ships were assumed to be sunk by submarines.

Q. Was mine countermeasure research accelerated during the war?
A. At the beginning of the war, studies on mine countermeasures were relatively small, but it was accelerated greatly at the inception of B-29 mine laying campaign. Personnel and equipment were increased about 100 percent at that time.

Q. Up until April 1945, approximately how many scientists were engaged in mine research?
A. Up until April 1945 my department contained only 13 technicians and 50 general employees, but this was increased to 40 and 95 respectively in April 1945.

Q. When a new type of mine was discovered at outlying base was special assistance requested from your department in TOKYO?
A. In such cases the Area Commander would attempt to sweep the mines with what facilities he had. However, if any difficulty was encountered, they requested assistance from the Mine Sweeping Department of the Navy Office; and they also had access to manufacturing facilities at SOERABAJA, which maintained a maintenance shop and warehouse for mine sweeping equipment.

Q. During the closing months of the war when so much effort was expended on mine sweeping in Japanese waters, did the use of additional technicians seriously interfere with other research and development?
A. The mine countermeasure research was given first priority. We were commanded to provide results as quickly as possible; therefore, in general, it is my opinion that research on other (electronic) devices was interfered with to a certain extent.

Q. Do you feel that military campaigns outside the EMPIRE were affected by mining campaigns?
A. Planning was outside of my province, but I believe that JAPAN'S operation plans outside EMPIRE waters were not interfered in any way by ordinary mine-laying, but only by aircraft mine-laying. I wish to specify mines by airplanes because that is the only type of mine-laying about which we have definite information.

Q. Can you give me a list of ships sunk in Japanese waters, listed by mine fields?
A. All the records were destroyed by fire. I am still trying to get this information.

Q. Will you make the general statement that ships were sunk in every mine field around JAPAN?
A. Yes, at all places with mine fields (as shown on chart) ships were sunk.

Q. Did the mines interfere with the activities of the Japanese Fleet in the OKINAWA Operation?
A. Yes, there was some interference in the operation.

Q. Did the fleet ever use SHIMONOSEKI after the campaign got underway?
A. They still used it even after mines were there.

Q. Do you know how many minesweepers were sunk?
A. Twenty were damaged and practically none were sunk because setting off of the mines usually occurred after the sweepers passed over the mine. I estimate that about three of four sweepers were sunk.

NAV-5

--21--

INTERROGATION of Commander SUGITA, Binzo,
(Mining Officer, Staff Combined Escort Fleet)

Transcript

Q. When was the Combined Escort Fleet organized?
A. It was organized in November 15, 1943 and Admiral OIKAWA was in command until Admiral NOMURA relieved Admiral OIKAWA in July 1944.

Q. What forces were assigned to the Escort Fleet?
A. About 100 - 600 ton escort vessels, about 15 old destroyers, about 15 sub-chasers, 2 training ships, four 10,000 ton converted aircraft carriers. Each auxiliary carrier had about 12 planes (land base fighters, Type 97).
The Combined Escort Fleet, with headquarters at TOKYO, was subdivided into Naval Bases, and the First Escort Fleet, with headquarters at TAKAO. The Naval Bases included all major bases controlled by the Japanese, each of which was supplied with escort aircraft. The First Escort Fleet was composed of surface vessels and the air group which included 4 CVE's and land-based squadrons. The land-based squadrons operated at various bases along the convoy routes in the Pacific Area.

Q. Who was next in line? Did the Commander of the Combined Escort Fleet report to Admiral TOYODA, or to the Navy Ministry?
A. From November 1943 until April 1945, the Combined Escort Fleet was an independent command operating directly under the Imperial General Headquarters. Subsequent to April 1945, it was under the command of the Commander in Chief (Admiral TOYODA).

Q. How were the four converted aircraft carriers employed in convoy escort work?
A. The four converted carriers of about 10,000 tons each, carried 12 Type planes. The aircraft carriers were used to escort convoys which were larger than 20 ships. These carriers stayed with the convoy during the entire voyage to and from JAPAN. In the cases where the convoy was too small to warrant the use of carriers, air cover was furnished by approximately 175 aircraft stationed at strategic points along the route.

Q. Explain how a convoy was assembled and how it was controlled between JAPAN and outlying bases?
A. At the beginning of war, the command of the Naval District, where the convoy assembled, laid out the course and controlled the convoy until it reached the next Naval District Command on route to the destination, where they were given another set of sailing instructions. After the Grand Escort Fleet was established the Command Headquarters laid out the entire route with all sailing instructions from start to finish. When a convoy passed through the next succeeding Naval District they received all the assistance that they required but no further instructions. Air escort was furnished by the Commander of the Escort Fleet.

Q. How were merchant ships kept informed of the location of mine fields?
A. TOKYO Headquarters despatched a signal to the captain of the ship informing him of mine areas and sweeping operations. In areas outside of the home waters, Naval District Commanders informed TOKYO Headquarters and all ships of all known mines.

Q. Were MANILA and SINGAPORE ever closed by mines?
A. No, MANILA never was closed, but SINGAPORE was closed for a week.

NAV-5

--22--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 6
USSBS NO. 40

THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
THE KAMIKAZE CORPS IN PHILIPPINES AND OKINAWA

TOKYO

18 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain FUCHIDA, Mitsuo, IJN, a naval aviator since 1928. As air group commander of the AKAGI he led the attacks on PEARL HARBOR, DARWIN and CEYLON. In April 1944 he became Air Staff Officer to CinC Combined Fleet and held that post for the duration of the war.

Interrogated by: Lt. Comdr. R.P. Aiken, USNR.

Allied Officers Present: Col. Philip Cole, AUS; Captain W. Pardae, AUS; Lt. Robert Garred, USNR.

SUMMARY

Captain FUCHIDA discussed the attack on PEARL HARBOR, and the organization of the Kamikaze Corps during the PHILIPPINE Campaign. He also furnished information relating to suicide attacks during the OKINAWA Campaign, and Japanese Naval and Army Air Forces plans to resist an invasion of JAPAN proper.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What was your status during the PEARL HARBOR attack?
A. I was an air observer.

Q. How many and what types of aircraft were used in the attack?
A. A total of 350. In the first wave:

50 High level       KATES
40 VTB       KATES
50 Dive-Bombers       VALS
50 VF       ZEKES

In the second wave:

50 High level       KATES
80 Dive-Bombers       VALS
40 VF       ZEKES

Q. How many aircraft were lost; failed to return to their carriers?
A. 29 in all. 9 VF in the first wave and 15 dive-bombers and 5 VTB in the second wave.

Q. Which units of the fleet participated in the PEARL HARBOR attack?
A.

BBs HIEI, KIRISHIMA.
CVs AKAGI, KAGA, SORYU, HIRYU, SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU.
CAs TONE, CHIKUMA.
CL NAGARA.
DDs 20 (large type).

Q. How many aircraft were employed as Combat Air Patrol over the PEARL HARBOR attack force?
A. 50 VF from CVs plus 12 float planes from the BBs, CAs and CL. These were in addition to the 350 planes used in the actual attack at PEARL HARBOR.

Q. How many CAP were on station at a time?
A. about 1/3 of the 50 aircraft were airborne at a time.

Q. Any losses from CAP, either VF or float planes?
A. None.

Q. Any additional planes employed as ASP?
A. None, VF served as ASP as well as CAP.

Q. How many pilots were lost in the attack?
A. A total of 29 - none were recovered from the 29 aircraft that failed to return.

NAV-6

--23--

Philippine Kamikaze Operations

Q. Were the CV Air Groups, that left the EMPIRE in October, 1944 being sent to the PHILIPPINES for Kamikaze action?
A. No. Part of the 601 Air Group was embarked in October 1944. From the remainder of the Air Group pilot personnel, 30 VF pilots were selected in November 1944 for Kamikaze operations and were sent to LUZON, to join the 201 Air Group.

Q. Were any of the 601 Air Group, embarked on carriers in October 1944, being sent to the PHILIPPINES defense as Kamikaze pilots?
A. No.

Q. How were the 30 fighter pilots selected for Kamikaze operations?
A. They were all volunteers.

Q. How did they rank in flying experience with the other pilots in the Air Group?
A. They were the best.

Q. Regarding Japanese plans for the defense of the homeland against Allied landings, how were Kamikaze aircraft to be employed?
A. According to plans, all Kamikaze planes were to be expended when Allied forced attempted landings on KYUSHU.

Q. Were any kamikaze planes to be held back for the defense of the KANTO PLAIN area?
A. On paper, all aircraft (both Army and Navy combat and trainer types) were to be used to resist Allied operations against KYUSHU. Actually, I believe that some Army Air Units would have been held back to repel an invasion of the KANTO PLAIN.

Q. At OKINAWA, what was the ratio of ships hit to aircraft expended in kamikaze attacks?
A. I think about 1/6 of the total aircraft used hit their target.

Q. How many Kamikaze aircraft were expended during the OKINAWA operations?
A. About 900 in all.

500 Navy Aircraft from JAPAN
300 Army Aircraft from JAPAN
50 Navy Aircraft from FORMOSA
50 Army Aircraft from FORMOSA

These figures are approximations.

Q. Of the 900 that were expended in the OKINAWA Area, how many hit their target?
A. Although it was widely publicized that 400 had been successful, I think that 200 would be more accurate figure.

Q. What percentage of hits did the JNAF expect in the KETSU Operation?
A. We expected about the same percentage as during the OKINAWA operation.

Q. How many Kamikaze aircraft were to be used during KETSU Operations by JNAF?
A. 2500, of which 500 were combat aircraft and 2000 were trainers. We had about 2500 remaining combat aircraft which would be used during KETSU Operations for search, night torpedo, and air cover.

Q. What were the plans for the use of Kamikaze aircraft during KETSU Operations?
A. 500 suicide planes were to be expended during the initial Allied landing attempt. This force would be supplemented by other kamikaze units brought in from SHIKOKU, SW HONSHU, Central HONSHU, TOKYO Area, and HOKKAIDO.

Q. How were JNAF Kamikaze aircraft deployed throughout the Empire?
A.

500 in KYUSHU
500 in SW HONSHU
500 in TOKYO Area
300 in HOKKAIDO
200 in SHIKOKU.

Q. What was the size and deployment of the JAAF Kamikaze Force?
A. Approximately the same as the JNAF. 2500 aircraft deployed similarly.

NAV-6

--24--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 7
USSBS NO. 33

OCCUPATION OF PHILIPPINES AND DUTCH EAST INDIES

TOKYO

15 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Vice Admiral SHIRAICHI, Kzutaka, IJN, retired, was Chief of Staff of the Second Fleet from December 1941 to March 1943, operating in the Southwest Pacific.

Interrogated by: Comdr. T.H. MOORER, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Brig. Gen. Grandison Gardner, USA; Lt. Comdr. J.A. Field, Jr., USNR.

SUMMARY

The Second Fleet (Vice Admiral Kondo) was assigned the mission of supporting the invasion of the PHILIPPINES, NETHERLAND EAST INDIES and BRITISH MALAYA. The fleet rendezvoused in the INLAND SEA about the middle of November 1941. About 23 November the fleet sortied from the INLAND SEA and proceeded south towards FORMOSA. There a dispatch was received establishing "D" day and the move on the PHILIPPINES was initiated.

During the approach to the PHILIPPINES, no attack was expected and none received. Probable attack by B-17s was expected within the 600 mile circle. To reduce the weight of these attacks, land-based planes from FORMOSA were assigned the mission of destroying American Air Power on the ground. This they succeeded in doing and consequently no major unit of the fleet was damaged in the PHILIPPINES operation.

The Second Fleet was divided into various task forces as the move southward into the EAST INDIES progressed. Although the Battle of the JAVA SEA was a victory for the Japanese, Admiral SHIRAICHI considered that the Japanese used poor tactics and were unnecessarily delayed by the battle.

The entire campaign went exactly according to plan except for a few small delays caused by submarine attacks and fuel oil shortage. Total losses suffered by the Japanese were less than expected.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Were you actively engaged in the general planning, prior to the out-break of the war, for the campaign of the PHILIPPINES and EAST INDIES?
A. As the Second Fleet was under the Grand Fleet all the plans were made by the Grand Fleet. I merely carried out orders according to the plans provided. I did not take part in the overall planning.

Q. Were you familiar with the general plans for the entire Pacific operations? Were you aware of the PEARL HARBOR strike?
A. I had complete instructions sent from headquarters.

Q. Will you give me a brief summary of the various forces into which the Japanese Fleet was divided?
A. The Grand Fleet was divided into five fleets as follows: 1st Flt. - BB's; 2nd Flt. - BB's, CA's, CL's, DD's; 3rd Flt. - CV's; 4th Flt. - CL's, DD's; 6th Flt. - SS. Forces were reassigned as necessary to various Fleets.

Q. What were the five rendezvous points of the various forces prior to commencement of hostilities?
A. Fleet One and Two assembled in the INLAND SEA. The other two rendezvous were kept secret but I believe that the Third Fleet rendezvoused at HOKKAIDO. The Fourth Fleet consisted of small ships in the GUAM-WAKE Area. I am not sure about the Sixth Fleet.

Q. When did the Second Fleet assemble in the INLAND SEA preparatory to leaving Japan?
A. The approximate date of the rendezvous was about a month before the start of the war, and I think the fleet left the INLAND SEA about two weeks before the start of the war.

Q. Where was the Second Fleet when the orders were received establishing "D" Day?
A. Right after we left BAKO, PESCADORES, we received the orders establishing "D" Day.

Q. Do you know who thought of the attack on PEARL HARBOR and who worked out the plans?
A. I haven't the slightest idea who devised the plan.

NAV-7

--25--

Q. Do you know if any thought was given to the possibility of the Japanese moving into the DUTCH EAST INDIES without attacking PEARL HARBOR at all?
A. I did not know that the war was going to break out at all and did not know the actual plans. I thought that the differences would be settled by negotiations and that there must have been a way out for JAPAN rather than to go into war.

Q. Were you surprised at the outbreak of the war?
A. I thought war should have been avoided, but once the war started I did my utmost to carry out the orders I received. I was not surprised at the start of war. I realized that the situation had deteriorated.

Q. Were Army and Navy planes engaged in the PHILIPPINES and DUTCH EAST INDIES campaign?
A. Yes.

Q. In general was the Japanese Navy pilot considered superior to the Army pilot?
A. Yes, the Navy pilots are better.

Q. Describe the movements of the fleet from BAKO down to the PHILIPPINES. What reaction was expected from the U.S. Fleet?
A. I didn't think the American Fleet would attack the Second Fleet. Strong opposition from American planes based in NICHOLS FIELD was expected.

Q. After receiving news of the success of PEARL HARBOR, was the plan for the occupation of the PHILIPPINES changed?
A. There was no change in the plan.

Q. During the PHILIPPINE operation, did you expect the U.S. Fleet to be reinforced?
A. Yes, I expected reinforcements from the States but I thought it would take about one month for reinforcements to come to the PHILIPPINES.

Q. At what time during the approach to the PHILIPPINES did you expect the attack by aircraft?
A. The fleet was alerted when 600 miles away. Attack by B-17 was expected but I didn't think it would be severe.

Q. During the approach did you have air coverage from FORMOSA?
A. I didn't expect any direct reinforcement from the Japanese land-based air, but expected indirect coverage. That is, destruction of B-17's on the ground before they could take off.

Q. Did the planes which attacked NICHOLS FIELD take off from FORMOSA?
A. They all came from FORMOSA.

Q. Army or Navy planes?
A. Both. I knew nothing of the air operations but knew that the fleet was going to get a certain amount of air force assistance which was used.

Q. On December 10th there were about 200,000 tons of allied shipping at MANILA HARBOR. Why was this 200,000 tons of vital shipping allowed to escape?
A. Reasons were:

  1. The duty of the airplanes was to attack American planes.
  2. Poor intelligence regarding the fact that the shipping was there.
  3. The attack was not in the plans, this is the first news that I have of such shipping. The general plan was to knock out only those offensive weapons which might be used against the Japanese.

Q. In what ship were you?
A. ATAGO (CA).

Q. Did the American seaplanes attack the Japanese Fleet?
A. The main body of the fleet was not attacked by air.

Q. Was the Second Fleet attacked by B-17's?
A. As far as I know there was no attack by B-17's.

Q. Was any damage at all suffered by the Second Fleet?
A. The destroyers were damaged by airplanes as they went so close to the shore to transport troops. Big ships didn't go near the shore. One light cruiser was damaged however.

NAV-7

--26--

Q. And the heavy cruiser and battleships weren't damaged?
A. No.

Q. Why did not the movement from the PHILIPPINES south proceed at faster pace?
A. Mostly due to the fuel supply. The shortage of fuel made the movement very slow. The supply fleet had to go around FORMOSA in order to deliver the fuel.

Q. Do you feel that the occupation of the PHILIPPINES and DUTCH EAST INDIES went exactly according to plan as far as time was concerned?
A. There was a delay about one week but no more, otherwise it went according to plan.

Q. Was the loss of ships and personnel more or less than expected?
A. Less than expected.

Q. Do you know what type of airplanes attacked the REPULSE and PRINCE of WALES?
A. Navy planes, land-based.

Q. Did the destruction of these two battleships change the plans for the occupation of SINGAPORE?
A. Did not change the plans but the effect on Japanese morale was very great.

Q. Did you expect the British to replace those ships?
A. No.

Q. Where were the planes that attacked the PRINCE of WALES based?
A. SAIGON.

Q. At what time during the over-all campaign did the carriers take part? When did they join the fleet?
A. I don't remember the actual date when the CV aircraft participated, but it was not until the fleet was actually in the SULU SEA Area.

Q. What places did the carrier airplanes attack?
A. The planes from the Task Force attacked TRINCOMALEE, DARWIN, and others that I cannot recall.

Q. Did the Dutch react as expected during the invasion of the PHILIPPINES and N.E.I.?
A. I thought the combination of the American and Dutch forces would furnish stronger resistance.

Q. Did the action at MAKASSAR STRAITS delay the Japanese advance?
A. Yes, but do not know how long.

Q. Do you consider that the American and Dutch submarines delayed the campaign in anyway?
A. To a great extent. One time I received a report that the planes saw 12 to 13 submarines but the fact was that they were whales. It took 2 or 3 days to make sure, which caused a certain amount of delay.

Q. Did you expect that additional aircraft would be flown into JAVA from AUSTRALIA?
A. Yes.

Q. Did the Japanese know that the American heavy cruiser HOUSTON was damaged and only had 2/3 of their 8" guns in operation?
A. No.

Q. Did you know that the other American cruiser BOISE ran aground and had to be sent from the area?
A. No.

Q. After the Japanese had occupied BALI there was a night action with the Dutch and American ships. Two Allied destroyers were sunk and two cruisers damaged. Do you know what damage was sustained by the Japanese?
A. Four Japanese destroyers took part and the damage was one destroyer sunk and one damaged. No Japanese cruisers were involved.

Q. Did the Commander of the Second Fleet know that the LANGLEY was coming from AUSTRALIA to JAVA with aircraft reinforcements?
A. No.

Q. How was it discovered?
A. By search planes.

NAV-7

--27--

Q. What is your estimate of the damage suffered by the combined Dutch, American and British Fleet in the battle of JAVA SEA?
A. I was not on the scene. I heard the result of the battle and thought that the battle should not have lasted so long. Japanese strategy was unskillful.

Q. What damage was suffered by the Japanese Fleet?
A. Several ships damaged but no ships sunk.

Q. Do you know how the British ships ENCOUNTER, EXTER and the American destroyer POPE were sunk while en route to SOEMBA STRAITS?
A. I know of it, but don't know whether it was by land-based planes or submarines. I think that they were sunk by submarines before they got to the Straits.

Q. After the occupation of the DUTCH EAST INDIES was completed, many of the merchant vessels retired to FREEMANTLE. There were several thousand tons of shipping without fuel. Why didn't the Japanese send a striking force to attack those ships?
A. It was thought that there might be women and children on the ships so we were afraid of attacking the ships, and also our plans took care of immobilizing your offensive weapons only.

Q. Did you realize that the entire western coast of AUSTRALIA was defenseless?
A. Yes.

Q. Was any consideration given to the possibility of invading the western coast of AUSTRALIA?
A. There weren't enough forces available to make an invasion without over expansion of limited forces.

Q. Were Army troops used at JAVA?
A. Yes.

Q. Were there any lessons learned in this entire campaign which caused the Japanese to change their plans for future operations?
A. Nothing changed the over-all plan.

Q. After the occupation of the EAST INDIES did you move into the SOLOMONS and NEW GUINEA?
A. After the campaign I returned to JAPAN with the Second Fleet. The entire fleet was sent into dry dock in April, just prior to General Doolittle's attack.

NAV-7

--28--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 8
USSBS NO. 46

CORAL SEA BATTLE, 7-8 MAY 1942
BATTLE OF EASTERN SOLOMONS

TOKYO

17 October 1945

Interrogation of: Commander SEKINO, H., IJN, 20 years in Navy. Communication Officer, Staff 6th Cruiser Squadron at CORAL SEA.
Commander OKUMIYA, Masatake, IJN, Staff, Second Flying Squadron. Both officers currently members of General Staff.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

SUMMARY

7 May 1942, a Japanese convoy proceeding through CORAL SEA to attack and occupy PORT MORESBY was turned back by a U.S. Carrier Force. Japanese SHOHO (CV) was sunk by U.S. carrier planes. SHOKAKU was damaged and unable to reinforce CV Task Group at MIDWAY. Due to damage received in this battle, plans for occupation of PORT MORESBY by sea were abandoned, resulting in forcing Jap Army to attempt occupation over OWEN STANLEY Mountains from BUNA. Composition of Jap Task Force at CORAL SEA.

RUYUJO (CV) sunk in the Battle of EASTERN SOLOMONS, 23 August, by U.S. carrier planes, removing air protection for convoy for reinforcement of Japanese Forces on GUADALCANAL. B-17 sank destroyer.

The HYEI and HARUNA exchanged positions at MIDWAY the day before the main battle. HARUNA, with carrier force, received no damage until 1945 at KURE by Navy dive-bombers.

TRANSCRIPT

Coral Sea

Q. What was the mission of the SHOHO's Task Force in the CORAL SEA Area, 7-8 May 1942?
A. To support the force that planned to capture PORT MORESBY. The SHOHO's mission in the Japanese formation was exclusively to guard transports in the Occupation Force against submarines and air raids and not to deliver attack. The SHOHO was in the Fourth Carrier Division.

Q. Why didn't that force continue to PORT MORESBY?
A. Because we couldn't completely destroy the American Task Force. Our carrier-based planes were of little use because of the shortage of fuel on board. Although most of your carriers were all sunk or badly damaged, the remaining surface craft were not damaged. We were not strong enough to try occupation. The main force of our fleet had just completed an operation in the INDIAN OCEAN at CEYLON and returned to JAPAN. Just a small group was left in the CORAL SEA Area.

Q. What ships were present in the CORAL SEA Battle?
A.

MORESBY TASK FORCE   DIRECT SUPPORT FORCE
  SHOKAKU (CV)     SHOHO (CVE)
  ZUIKAKU (CV)   AOBA (CA)
  MYOKO (CV)   KINUGASA
  HAGURO and about seven destroyers   KAKO (CA)
MORESBY OCCUPATION FORCE  
  YUBARI, about 6 destroyers and 5 transports    
SEAPLANE TENDER GROUP  
  KOKOKAWA-MARU    
  TENRYU    
  TATSUTA    

On 7 May, the day when SHOHO came under American attack, Japan's scout planes made wrong identification and directed the attack of the SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU planes to American tankers instead of American carriers, thereby seriously up-setting the entire succeeding battle tactics of the Japanese Task Force. After dropping their bombs on the American tankers, the ZUIKAKU and SHOHO planes were returning to their carriers when they saw the American Carrier Force. Unfortunately they didn't have any bombs to attack. Some planes mistook the American carriers and attempted to land on board. This was at night. It was then reported American Task Force about 30 miles south of Japanese Task Force.

NAV-8

--29--

Q. Why didn't you make a night attack?
A. I am not sure. There was some talk but we received orders to go north.

Q. Do you know how many hits were made on the SHOHO?
A. I think about nine bombs and about four torpedoes. The first bombs broke the steering gear and she couldn't navigate.

Q. Were torpedo hits made with the first attack group?
A. No, only the second group made any hits. When the second wave attacked they made about 9 bomb and 4 torpedo hits.

Q. Did the SHOHO sink as a result of the bombs and torpedoes?
A. About five minutes after the first hit was made she capsized. It was not necessary for destroyer to sink it.

Q. About how many personnel were lost?
A. About 500 lost out of 1200.

Q. Were the planes aboard the SHOHO when it was hit?
A. No, very few. Most landed on other carriers, some landed on a small island in the LOUISIADE Group near a seaplane tender.

Q. Were those pilots recovered?
A. Yes, they were recovered by the seaplane tender.

Q. How many planes were lost?
A. About 21 planes.

Q. Was the SHOKAKU hit?
A. Hit by two bombs only. No torpedoes hit. Dropped too far away, easily dodged.

Q. Was the ZUIKAKU hit?
A. No, no damage received.

Q. How much time was required to repair the SHOKAKU?
A. Somewhere between one and a half to two months.

Q. Were any planes aboard the SHOKAKU when it was hit?
A. About a dozen. No damage. Only bow of flight deck damaged. Some damage to repair room in stern but some planes landed after bombs hit.

Q. What effect did the battle have on the current plan of attacking PORT MORESBY and on future plans?
A. The damage to the SHOKAKU prevented her from being used in the Battle of MIDWAY operation as was planned. The damage to the two carriers SHOHO and SHOKAKU was a serious setback to the operations for the occupation of PORT MORESBY. Due to the delay of operations in that area and American occupation of GUADALCANAL, it was finally necessary to give up the plan for the occupation of PORT MORESBY by sea, forcing the Army to try to occupy by land from BUIN.

Q. Were any light cruisers damaged there, or large destroyers?
A. No.

Battle of the Eastern Solomons

Q. In the Battle of the EASTERN SOLOMONS on the 23 August 1942, what was the position of the RYUJO?
A. It was near BRADLEY REEFS, lat. 7°S, 161°E. The ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU were there too, but separated into different units about 90 or 100 miles to the north and east.

Q. Was the RYUJO sunk, and how?
A. Yes, very quickly on the 24th. She was hit by at least ten bombs and torpedoes. Bombs came from dive-bombers.

Q. Were any hits made by horizontal-bombers?
A. Not a single hit.

NAV-8

--30--

Q. Were other ships hit there?
A. No battleships or cruisers were hit. However, on the 25th in mid-morning a destroyer which was escorting transports to GUADALCANAL from RABAUL in a separate force north of GUADALCANAL was hit and sunk in the forenoon by B-17s. This was an old type destroyer which was standing by the KIKOKAWA-MARU. The transport had been attacked by dive-bombers from GUADALCANAL and was damaged. The escort was standing by. The escort saw the high bombers coming but did not worry and did not get underway. I talked to the Commanding Officer, Commander HATANO, afterward. He was surprised that he was hit, because this was the first ship known to have been hit by horizontal-bombers in the war. Commander HATANO was my classmate at ETAJIMA and said, "Even the B-17s could make a hit once in awhile."

Q. Were any ME-109s employed in the SOLOMON Area?
A. No. Only one Messerschmitt Fighter 109 was brought from GERMANY. It was used for test. It may be confused with carrier borne 2-seater reconnaissance bomber.

Confirmation of Previous Interrogations

Q. Did you have radar at CORAL SEA Battle?
A. Not on cruisers. Maybe carriers had it, but do not think so.

Q. What battleships were present with the First Air Fleet on the day of the Battle of MIDWAY?
A. KIRISHIMA and HARUNA. The HIEI started out with this fleet, but exchanged position with the HARUNA just before the day of the battle. The HIEI joined the Main Body and the HARUNA joined the carrier force.

Q. Has the HARUNA been damaged?
A. It was damaged at KURE by dive-bombers this year. It has never been damaged before.

Q. What was the plan of action for the cruisers the night of June 4 at MIDWAY?
A. On the evening of 4 June, Japanese carrier group had been heavily damaged. The Seventh Cruiser Squadron was ordered at full speed to bombard the airfield at MIDWAY. On the way, appearance of submarines was reported, so they made emergency evasive turn resulting in collision between MIKIMA and MOGAMI. The MOGAMI bow was most seriously damaged and was difficult to steer, but it followed the MIKUMA for protection. Due to loss of speed and ability to steer, the next morning the MOGAMI was attacked and damaged by American dive-bomber planes. The MIKUMA was sunk at the same time.

Q. Was the MOGAMI attacked also?
A. Yes, but received no great damage.

Q. Were any radars used at the Battle of MIDWAY?
A. Not sure. The battleships ISE and HYUGA had them about that time.

Q. In the night battle of SAVO ISLAND, did you have radar that night?
A. No, visual fire control was used on that night - 8 August.

Q. In the Battle of SANTA CRUZ, 26 October 1942, how early did you have information of our carrier force?
A. TONE and TERUTSUKI were scouting from position approximately 167.5°E and 7°S. The patrol planes from the GILBERTS discovered American ships from HEBRIDES and sent word to Japanese cruisers by radio about 4 or 5 days before the battle. When these ships received word, they returned to Main Body north of the SOLOMONS.

685287 O - 48 - 4

NAV-8

--31--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 9
USSBS NO. 47

BATTLE OF THE PHILIPPINE SEA
BATTLE FOR LEYTE GULF

TOKYO

16, 17 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Vice Admiral KURITA, Takeo, who was CinC Second Fleet during the battles of June and October 1944.

Interrogated by: Rear Admiral R.A. Ofstie, USN; Lt. Comdr,. J.A. Field, Jr., USNR.

Allied Officers Present: Brig. Gen. Grandison Gardiner, USA; Capt. T.J. Hedding, USN; Comdr. T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

When U.S. forces landed in the MARIANAS in June 1944, the Japanese Fleet offered battle for the first time since the GUADALCANAL Campaign. In the Battle of the PHILIPPINE SEA, the Japanese suffered the loss of three carriers sunk and one seriously damaged, plus the virtual annihilation of the air groups of three carrier divisions.

In October 1944, the landing of U.S. Forces on LEYTE caused the Japanese to commit their entire remaining Navy to a desperate three-pronged attack on our forces in the hope of repelling the landings and, by holding the PHILIPPINES, of being able to continue the war. Admiral KURITA commanded the Center Force of battleships and cruisers which, under heavy attack, succeeded in penetrating the PHILIPPINES, engaged our escort carriers, and reached almost to the entrance to LEYTE GULF only to withdraw at the moment when success seemed within his grasp.

Admiral KURITA briefly discusses the planning for these operations and his part in the Battle of the PHILIPPINE SEA. The role of the Japanese Center Force in the Battle for LEYTE GULF is analyzed in considerable detail, with the reasons for the failure of the Japanese plan and his own reasons for withdrawing without entering the Gulf. He also offers miscellaneous comments on various features of the Pacific War.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. (Admiral Ofstie) Admiral KURITA, before the Battle of the PHILIPPINE SEA in June 1944, where was your fleet based?
A. The Second Fleet had been basing at LINGGA, but had recently moved to TAWITAWI so as to be closer to expected operations.

Q. When you left TAWITAWI, about the 10th of June, did you have full knowledge of the plan for that operation?
A. I received instructions concerning the plan and orders for action from Admiral OZAWA.

Q. What was the plan of the operation?
A. Through SAN BERNARDINO Strait, to refuel about 130°E and attack the enemy about 136° or 137° E and retire to refuel a little north of the original position. The fleet under Admiral OZAWA proceeded towards GUIMARAS Strait, upon receipt of the intelligence that the American Force had made an attack on the MARIANAS ISLANDS; the operation at that time was to change base in order to be nearer to any succeeding action. On the way to GUIMARAS Strait orders were received to proceed to attack operation on the American Task Force. The fleet fueled in GUIMARAS Strait and proceeded through the SULU SEA. They proceeded out of TAWITAWI on the 12th.

Q. What was the principal difference in the attack plan if American Force had gone to PALAU instead of to the MARIANAS ISLANDS?
A. If the American Task Force had not gone to the MARIANAS but further south, the plan was for the fleet to abandon the SULU route for a southerly one around MINDANAO.

Q. On 19 June what was your flagship?
A. The flagship was the cruiser ATAGO.

Q. Where were you personally relative to TAIHO and SHOKAKU on 19 June?
A. I do not know; communication was not maintained successfully and I learned of the damage the following day.

NAV-9

--32--

Q. When did you first hear the report of the result of the air attack on the American Fleet on the 19th, and what was the substance of that report?
A. I got only unreliable reports from the returning fliers.

Q. When did you get the report, and what was contained in it?
A. We received running reports of all planes damaged from radio reports from own fighters at the scene.

Q. Were the losses reported such that the plans were changed that night, and if so what were the changes?
A. Because the damage report consisted of only planes of the Second Fleet, I did not have knowledge of losses in the Main Body; the main plan, however, was not changed because of the losses of which I had knowledge, which were confined to the Second Fleet. The 3rd Air Squadron, assigned to my force, consisted of the ZUIHO and CHITOSE, which were carriers converted from tankers, and the CHIYODA which was the TAIGEI (AS) before conversion.

Q. Of the three carriers that you had in your command, what were the total number of planes that went on the attack and how many came back - approximately?
A. The most of the wave that we sent out were fighters. Those which went to cover came back, but the attacking fighters did not. Something like 100 were in the total that took off. The attacking fighters came under American attack, apparently some 20 miles before reaching the target, and more than half were destroyed at that time.

Q. On the next day did you continue to have control of these three carriers?
A. Yes.

Q. How did you operate those planes on the 20th?
A. I had only three or four torpedo places, no body of fighters, and used six or seven for scouting.

Q. Did you lose any more planes on the 20th of June?
A. We made no offensive operations on the following day, but when taking aboard the scouting planes we received bombing attacks from the American Task Force which damaged some of them.

Q. On the 20th during that bombing attack, were any of your ships damaged - that is, in the Second Fleet?
A. The ZUIHO and battleship HARUNA were slightly damaged. The HARUNA apparently slight damage at first. The shaft brackets were loosened but it was not known that it was so serious until they did 27 knots.

Q. The ZUIHO, what damage to her?
A. Just a hole in the after end of the flight deck.

Q. Do you know what damage was done to the tankers and their escorts?
A. One tanker was sunk, no damage to the tanker's escort.

Q. Where did the fleet retire after this operation?
A. To OKINAWA to fuel, and then to the INLAND SEA for training of pilots; the Second Fleet returned to SINGAPORE Area.

Q. When the Second Fleet left the INLAND SEA, begin there and please tell us what your movements were.
A. All ships of the Second Fleet and the 10th Squadron of destroyers from the Third Fleet left KURE the 12th of July.

Q. Describe the movements of the Second Fleet from then on.
A. They departed through BUNGO SUIDO to OKINAWA and then to LINGGA. Some ships brought troop reinforcements to OKINAWA and MANILA and all rendezvoused at LINGGA.

Q. What was the purpose of going to LINGGA?
A. For training. The shortage of fuel in the home area required training operations in LINGGA.

Q. How long did you stay at LINGGA?
A. Until October 1944.

Q. During this period between June and October, what new plans did you receive for operations against the American Fleet or against American operations?
A. Planning was done according to whether the next American operation was directed against the PHILLIPINES, or secondarily OKINAWA, or possibly FORMOSA, and finally the home islands.

NAV-9

--33--

Q. How much did you yourself enter into the planning; that is, did you receive a plan from the Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet, or did you do some planning at LINGGA?
A. Orders and directions from Admiral TOYODA only.

Q. (Lt. Comdr. Field) These new plans you speak of, were they known as the SHO plans?
A. SHO-GO, that is correct.

Q. Did you see or have a conference with Admiral OZAWA between the time you left the INLAND SEA and your departure from LINGGA?
A. Staff of OZAWA came to LINGGA for a conference in the middle of August, but I had no meeting.

Q. Was the command organization originally the same as for "A" Operation (Defense of MARIANAS)?
A. The command originally was not the same as in the "A" Operation; Admiral OZAWA had command of the carrier force only and then I had command, independent command, of the remaining force.

Q. Admiral NISHIMURA was responsible to you; and you in turn were directly responsible to Admiral TOYODA, is that correct? Who was responsible for the coordination of the movement of the three forces with each other and with the land-based aircraft?
A. That is correct. (Annex A) The only coordination command rested with TOYODA, otherwise coordination was by communication among the units concerned and that was by radio message.

Q. What was the coordination with Army land-based planes?
A. I do not know under what command such coordination was executed, whether under the Army or the Navy.

Q. What training was emphasized at LINGGA?
A. The first point is that if you seized the PHILIPPINES it would cut off fuel supply to the EMPIRE and that all supply of fuel being severed, the war in all areas south of the EMPIRE must end. The PHILIPPINES were vital to the continuation of the war. The training was therefore so conducted as to prevent landing operations - coast defense landing parties and then in radar and AA defense, and especially night action.

Q. From the 12th to 14th of October, our Task Force was heavily attacked off FORMOSA by your aircraft. Did you receive reports of the damage done to our forces and if so, did the report influence the operation plans?
A. We got the report, but don't think that the intelligence affected future plans too seriously.

Q. When was the Second Fleet alerted for the operation?
A. I am not sure, but I think that the alert was received on the 15th.

Q. Do you remember what information led to this alert?
A. Your mine sweeping activity. Based upon the intelligence report of your mine sweeping activity in the vicinity of LEYTE, I received orders from CinC Combined Fleet to shift base of operation nearer to the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. Although BRUNEI was not specified in the orders, it was the best, and had been so considered in the planning.

Q. When did the Second Fleet leave LINGGA for BRUNEI, and was Admiral NISHIMURA's Force in company?
A. I do not remember the date; we departed LINGGA together and from BRUNEI separately.

Q. Were refueling facilities available anywhere other than at BRUNEI, in the PHILIPPINE Area?
A. There was no shore facilities at BRUNEI, but there were tankers there and at CORON Bay.

Q. Were these tankers awaiting you at BRUNEI and CORON, or did they travel in company?
A. There was one tanker waiting at CORON and two tankers came from SINGAPORE to the SULU SEA.

Q. Who did you believe commanded our Invasion Forces?
A. We had believed that General MACARTHUR would come from the south to here (indicating PHILIPPINES on chart).

Q. Did you know who commanded our Task Forces?
A. No, I did not know.

Q. What was the mission of your force?
A. It was to attack and destroy the landing forces at LEYTE at day-break of the 25th of October

NAV-9

--34--

Chart: Command Organization, Battle for Leyte Gulf, from interrogation of Vice Admiral Kurita, Annex (A).
Chart: Command Organization, Battle for Leyte Gulf, from interrogation of Vice Admiral Kurita, Annex (A).

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--35--

Q. Does that apply to Admiral NISHIMURA's Force also?
A. The same orders applied to Admiral NISHIMURA's Force also.

Q. Were they intended to be simultaneous attacks by both forces - attacks at the same moment?
A. We planned for a two hour interval between, the two hours because of the great movement of ships in confined waters. Admiral NISHIMURA was to proceed first and then my force.

Q. How were both forces to approach?
A. Admiral NISHIMURA was to approach through SURIGAO Strait from the south and my force through the SAN BERNARDINO Strait from the north.

Q. What was the mission of Admiral OZAWA's Force?
A. He was to divert your Task Force and bring it under attack from the north.

Q. When you left BRUNEI to launch your attack, what information did you have of our force inside of LEYTE Gulf?
A. I thought you had about 200 transports, about seven battleships and appropriate accompanying cruisers and destroyers.

Q. Was that estimate modified in any way from further information received on the 24th?
A. Because of the bad weather, we did not receive any further intelligence. I requested them to send seaplanes from SAN JOSE (MINDORO) to scout, but because of the weather they found nothing.

Q. Did you have no information from land-based planes in the PHILIPPINES?
A. Nothing whatsoever.

Q. What losses were expected inside of the Gulf from our battleships?
A. We expected more than half of our ships to be lost.

Q. Was it expected that Admiral NISHIMURA, by his early arrival at LEYTE, would draw our force to the south and facilitate the entrance of the SAN BERNARDINO force?
A. No; in fact it was thought that knowledge of the larger body coming from the north might draw the American ships out from the Gulf and thus leave NISHIMURA free to enter.

Q. On the morning of the 24th, our planes sighted Admiral NISHIMURA's force off NEGROS and your force off MINDORO; at about what speed were you proceeding at this time?
A. About 22 knots.

Q. What was the originally planned time of entry into the Gulf?
A. Admiral NISHIMURA's force about five - the Second Fleet about six in the morning.

Q. Did you plan to steam at 22 knots all day?
A. 22 or 24 knots. The point was that the tankers could not supply the ships enough fuel for long distance voyages at high speed and they had to save their fuel for the trip back to BRUNEI.

Q. Where were you embarked on leaving BRUNEI?
A. In ATAGO.

Q. Was ATAGO attacked by our submarines?
A. Yes.

Q. Had you had any warning of the attack?
A. We knew that submarines were there and there were three possible routes planned. First the most southerly route which would bring our forces under land-based plane attacks from MOROTAI; second, the most northerly route which would take too long; and third, the route adopted which was known to contain patrol submarines; but considering the time and other factors, it was decided to proceed on the middle route.

Q. Did the fact that you were forced to change flagships inconvenience the rest of this operation?
A. It did not interfere with the plan; in fact, it rather improved control. The shift to the YAMATO improved the command possible because she was designed as a flagship and communications were therefore better and the AA defense was also better.

Q. What was the total loss and damage sustained because of our submarines on the 23rd?
A. ATAGO and MAYA were sunk; TAKAO engine damaged and stopped and could not navigate.

Q. Did TAKAO return safely to port?
A. Returned to BRUNEI and then to SINGAPORE.

NAV-9

--36--

Diagram showing the Submarine Attack on Second Fleet, 23 October 1944.
Diagram showing the Submarine Attack on Second Fleet, 23 October 1944, from a sketch by V. ADM. Kurita, Annex B, Plate 9-2.

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--37--

Q. Will you sketch the disposition of your ships at the time of the submarine attack?
A. (See Annex B) At 0643 when the attack was made, the fleet was zigzagging and had just completed a turn to the left when both ATAGO and TAKAO were hit. The second in column was TAKAO; there were two hits in her stern which interfered with navigation. The right-hand column turned to starboard because of the submarine attack on the left-hand column; the right-hand column gave way to starboard but within ten minutes had resumed course when the second attack opened. A second submarine attack on the right-hand column occurred immediately after resuming course, interval between the two attacks about ten minutes. MAYA belonged to the 4th Squadron; she sank almost immediately; I do not know the location and number of hits. ATAGO took half an hour to sink.

Q. On the 24th when you were passing through the Central PHILIPPINES did you expect air attacks?
A. Yes.

Q. Were there plans to have protective fighters overhead?
A. I requested that they send fighters from land base, but they did not send any.

Q. Was fighter cover provided for in the Operation Plan or was it merely requested at that moment?
A. Both. The plan was, first the planes from land bases were to attack the American Task Force and then to shift south to act as cover for our force; but the size of the American Task Force made it necessary for all land-based plane activity to center on that part, namely the American Task Force, leaving the Second Fleet without the expected cover.

Q. And that was in the Operation Plan?
A. Yes, also provision for the Carrier Division 3 to accompany the fleet; but that plan was not carried out because the American Task Force arrived earlier than expected. CarDiv 3 plus ZUIKAKU was included in the plan. The plan was for CarDiv 3 plus the ZUIKAKU to join the Second Fleet at LINGGA and accompany it on the succeeding operation; but the early arrival of the American Task Force prevented the junction.

Q. When had CarDiv 3 been expected to reach LINGGA?
A. It was expected to leave Japan waters on 15 October. That delay was due to the training of the flight personnel. The training of new personnel for CarDiv 3 was because all skilled flight personnel had been lost in the June engagement.

Q. When you requested fighters from LUZON, to whom did you address the request?
A. To Admiral ONISHI, who was in command of the First Air Fleet in the PHILIPPINES.

Q. Were there any Army aircraft in the PHILIPPINES that could be requested?
A. No.

Q. Do you mean that there were none in the PHILIPPINES, or that no arrangements had been made to obtain their help?
A. No request was made of the Army; I do not know whether there were any Army planes there or not. When called upon for planes, the Navy would send planes if they had them; if not, the Navy would request them locally from the Army. That was my opinion.

Q. What warning of our air attack on the morning of the 24th did you have?
A. First received intelligence that your planes had been over MANILA; then from own radar.

Q. At what distance did your radar warn you?
A. About 100 or 120 km.

Q. How many attacks did you receive on the 24th?
A. It differed according to the ship, but I think that my own ship received six large attacks with 40 to 50 planes in each attack.

Q. What damage was incurred by the ships of your force?
A. The MYOKO received damage to two shafts and returned to SINGAPORE, and towards the evening the MUSASHI sank. All other battleships received one or two hits, but were able to continue to fight. No battleships torpedoed, nor cruisers. They were in ring formation and because American attack was directed at major units, the cruisers and destroyers suffered less.

Q. Did any cruiser receive bomb hits but still continue with the operation?
A. With the exception of MYOKO, the cruisers were not damaged.

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--38--

Q. In the course of the afternoon under the attack, did you reverse course and retire for a time?
A. About four I reversed course to the westward and because your bombing attack ceased, I again resumed the advance.

Q. Did you report the damage received to Admiral TOYODA?
A. Yes.

Q. Was your change of course to the westward your own decision or on instruction from Admiral TOYODA?
A. I informed Admiral TOYODA that I was retiring temporarily to the westward to avoid attacks and would return to the action later, and then Admiral TOYODA sent a response with an order to continue the operation.

Q. During the day had you received any report from Admiral NISHIMURA that he was under attack?
A. About ten o'clock in the morning I got, not a detailed report, but a short message from Admiral NISHIMURA that his part of the operation was not going successfully.

Q. Do you know if Admiral NISHIMURA's Force was damaged by that air attack?
A. Yes, I assumed that it was serious damage.

Q. As a result of the air attack on the Second Fleet, did you order Admiral NISHIMURA to delay his advance?
A. No change in the plans.

Q. On the afternoon of the 24th, where did you believe our Task Force was located?
A. Northeast of SAN BERNARDINO Strait about 80-100 miles.

Q. What speed was maintained during the night?
A. 20 knots.

Q. How did you navigate through the narrow channel at 20 knots?
A. We navigated in single column through the narrow places and as it was very clear, I could determine the position visually.

Q. What was the condition of the battleships that had been damaged? What type of damage had been received?
A. The NAGATO had received some damage to her communication system, but all guns were able to shoot, nothing important on other ships.

Q. Any damage to fire control?
A. No.

Q. What time, did you sortie from SAN BERNAARDINO Strait?
A. At midnight. The plan was to come through SAN BERNARDINO Strait at 6 p.m., but the delay was six hours. We were at the exit at midnight.

Q. Did you expect to have to fight your way out of the Straits?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you have any further information in the course of the night on the position of our Task Force?
A. No.

Q. When you came out at midnight were your ships at General Quarters?
A. Yes, all of them were ready to fight.

Q. What conclusion did you draw when you found no force there?
A. Since there was no force there, there was no conclusion and I continued the operation.

Q. What was your first contact with American forces?
A. First contacts were with the planes. They were fighters, I think. I did not see them, but there was one or two fighters; and then I saw the masts and I then was able to see the shape of the aircraft carriers to the southeast.

Q. Was the first contact with aircraft carriers made visually or by radar?
A. The first was by eyes.

(Interrogation adjourned 1646; resumed 17 October, 0930).

NAV-9

--39--

Diagram showing the Disposition of Second Fleet on Contact with US Forces.
Diagram showing the Disposition of Second Fleet on Contact with US Forces - 0650 25 October 1944, from a sketch by V. ADM. Kurita, Annex C, Plate 9-3.

NAV-9

--40--

Q. Admiral KURITA, would you sketch the disposition of your force on the morning of the 25th as you came down the coast of SAMAR?
A. (See Annex C) The engagement off SAMAR opened about 0700, not at 0650 as suggested yesterday. On the right flank was the 5th Squadron plus HAGURO, MYOKO having been disabled the previous day; in the center the 1st Squadron, less MUSASHI which had been sunk, and the 3rd Squadron; on the left flank the 7th Squadron; on the starboard bow Desron 2 and on the port bow Desron 10. About four kilometers interval between columns.

Q. How many destroyers were in this right-hand group, roughly?
A. We had had to assign several destroyers to take back the ships that had been damaged on the 23rd and 24th. Therefore, we were greatly reduced in the number of destroyers we had with us. There were six or eight on the right and four on the other.

Q. You said yesterday that you thought we had six or seven battleships inside the Gulf along with our transports. Did you believe there were any battleships with the Task Force in this region (north-east of SAN BERNARDINO Strait)?
A. I didn't think there were many. I thought there might be one with the carriers.

Q. In the course of the 24th or during the night before the battle opened here, did you have any reports from Admiral OZAWA as to the events in the north?
A. No reports except that Admiral OZAWA's planes had attacked and some had landed in the water and the able ones were landing in LUZON.

Q. Up to the time of beginning the action here, had you had any report from Admiral NISHIMURA subsequent to the first one in the morning which said that operations were not going too well? I remember you said that on the 24th you heard from Admiral NISHIMURA that he had been attacked from the air. Did you have any later information from Admiral NISHIMURA before 7 o'clock?
A. I don't know exactly where he was when he sent the first message but he was somewhere around in there. (Indicating south of NEGROS). I think I had a report in this area, that is due south of LEYTE, that he had been brought under attack by torpedo boats.

Q. And that was the only report before the battle began here?
A. That was followed by one more report to estimate the time of arrival at the target.

Q. In the course of the night, did you receive any messages from Admiral TOYODA giving further information or additional instructions?
A. I don't remember for certain but I think the last message I got from Admiral TOYODA was the order to proceed with the action which I mentioned yesterday. I certainly remember no other messages.

Q. Late on the night of the 24th when your force was passing through this area by MASBATE Island, were you aware that you were being followed by our aircraft?
A. I did not know it.

Q. Had you considered the possibility that our forces might have mined SAN BERNARDINO Strait?
A. There were certain Japanese fields but I did not consider your having mined any of the area.

Q. Just before 7 o'clock in the morning, you sighted the masts of carriers. What happened then?
A. It was just at the time when we were changing formation so that these two cruiser divisions came back. We were preparing to change formation but had not changed formation when the masts of your ships were sighted.

Q. Changing formation for entry into the Gulf?
A. No, going to change formation into the ring formation. On a course of 200 degrees masts were sighted to the southeast. All ships altered course to 110 degrees. The wind was in the northeast. I altered course to 110 degrees in order to come up-wind of your formation. The resultant formation was with squadrons in column. The first sighting was at a range of about 35,000 meters. The intention was to reduce the range, keeping to windward of the American forces. At the time of the sighting, though I do not know the precise course of the American forces, I think it was an opposing and meeting course but it soon changed to right-turnabout. I thought it was a right-turnabout because the flight decks being full of planes, all planes were visible at the time of the turn. I opened fire from the YAMATO. I am uncertain of the range but I think it was between 32,000 and 33,000 meters. At the same time American cruisers and destroyers commenced laying a smoke screen.

NAV-9

--41--

Q. What did you do then as our ships turned, reversed course and proceeded to the southwest? What was your speed?
A. The speed of my ships varied at that time. They were all on full speed. The HARUNA could do no better than 25 at the outside, the NAGATO no better than 24. Also, because your planes were coming over in groups of three, for more adequate defense the ships were separating and scattering.

Q. What speed was the YAMATO making?
A. The YAMATO was doing full speed at 26. On the 24th the YAMATO had three bombs on the deck, forward. She was heavy by the bow, having taken water forward as a result of the bombing.

Q. Then all ships were going at their individual top speeds, not at a uniform speed?
A. That is correct.

Q. Well then, as our ships reversed course and headed southwest -?
A. As your ships altered course, I continued individual full speed on course 110 degrees until I got up-wind and then bore down on your ships.

Q. Did you believe that our carriers immediately changed course like that (indicating) or that they went in a larger circle. Or, in other words, could you draw what the track of our carriers appeared to be?
A. I believed this course: that you were coming into the wind to send off planes and then retiring and coming into the wind again and retiring. Coming into the wind only to send off the planes but in general it was a zig-zagging wide curve. The Japanese course gradually curved as it approached position up-wind.

Q. When did our air attacks begin that morning?
A. The attacks were in small formations. As the battle opened, small formations of your planes attacked my ships and about half past eight, thinking that there would be a concerted attack, I altered my plans, partly because the small formations had ceased to come for awhile. In preparation for a concerted attack by American bombers, I ordered the closing of the formation. I thought that the American formation was retiring rapidly to the southeast and at about 0830 the small formation attacks ceased. I therefore thought that there would be later on - perhaps an hour later - a large formation attack. Therefore, I ordered the formation to close.

Q. Did you at that time, break off the battle with these carriers?
A. The 10th Destroyer Squadron having finished its torpedo attack upon your formation, thinking that this engagement was over and that we would come under attack from your northern carrier force, I ordered the formation closed. It was about ten minutes past nine o'clock. I then intended to enter LEYTE Gulf, and passed through the damaged or sinking ships of your formation, aircraft carriers and cruisers of your formation. I came under, air attack just as I had given the order to the destroyers to pick up survivors the water.

Q. Now in the course of this first battle with the carriers, what damage had you inflicted on our forces and. what damage had your force received from any cause?
A. Because of the smoke, I could see very little but we felt certain on the YAMATO that one of your carriers, which had a bridge, was listing seriously and we therefore concluded that we had hit it, and one cruiser was down by the head. That is all I saw. Perhaps one more of your cruisers and perhaps two or three of your destroyers. I am not certain of my memory on this. The 10th Destroyer Squadron having launched its torpedo attack in the smoke, reported to me that three or four of your carriers were seriously damaged or sinking.

Q. By the torpedo attack?
A. The destroyers and cruisers from gunfire and the aircraft carriers, after the first one that I mentioned, from torpedo attack.

Q. What damage had your force received?
A. One torpedo in the KUMANO, which reduce the speed to about 16 knots.

Q. Aerial torpedo?
A. Destroyer torpedo. After the fast torpedoes had passed and missed a slow-speed one got it near the stern. Now the SUZUYA received a hit or near miss or misses which caused damage near the bridge to such an extent that later, after the battle was over, her own torpedoes exploded.

Q. Fire?
A. Yes. The fire extended to the torpedo-tube chamber and there exploded.

NAV-9

--42--

Q. That was from aircraft bombing?
A. Yes, it was aircraft bombing.

Q. What was the result of that?
A. It sank, after the battle. The CHOKAI and the CHIKUMA couldn't maneuver. I couldn't tell whether it was because the engines had given out or because they had been under attack but they were unmaneuverable. They were sunk by our own destroyers after they had removed their personnel, by torpedoes from destroyers. I do not know whether the engines had simply been overtaxed or from bombing or gunfire. From gunfire or any other cause, there was no further damage to my force.

Q. You know of no damage specifically from gunfire?
A. No damage except that I later received a report that the YAMATO had received one 15-cm shell that had damaged a motor.

Q. What kind of a motor?
A. Above the engine room, starboard side. It was a dud.

Q. What type of aircraft carriers were the American carriers present? Were they the ESSEX or ENTERPRISE class? Did you recognize them?
A. I don't remember. Starboard bridge structure was all I could tell. There wasn't enough visibility nor adequate reports from the scouting planes.

Q. Was the use of smoke by the U.S. forces a serious trouble to you?
A. It was very serious trouble for us. It was exceedingly well used tactically.

Q. Did you fire by visual control or by radar control in aiming the guns?
A. Both. Commenced visually when we could see anything. Thereafter we tried to work it with radar.

Q. Did you assign specific targets to your ships or merely tell them to fire on all ships they could see?
A. Because I concluded that it would not be possible to make a formation attack, I left it to each individual ship to fight on its own.

Q. From the YAMATO or from reports from other ships, did you feel that the gunfire was hitting? Was it effective?
A. In the beginning the gunfire was effective; toward the end it was very bad.

Q. Do you know why?
A. We were making a stern chase on your ships which were zig-zagging and that made it difficult to get the range. That is what I think was the cause. Also, the major units were separating further all the time because of your destroyer torpedo attacks. The second or third salvo of the YAMATO was followed by a very great explosion from the middle of the smoke. I do not know what ship.

Q. Did your ships fire continuously as long as they had a target?
A. I saw only that one high explosion. So long as they had a target they all kept on shooting.

Q. What speed were the American carriers making?
A. I didn't know.

Q. Was it difficult to close the range? Was it fast enough so that you had trouble closing?
A. At first the range closed quickly. At first, even after we had altered course, the range narrowed rapidly. After that your ships were making good time away and my ships were becoming more and more separated and we didn't consider that the range was closing.

Q. Did you expect to have protective air cover that morning from land-based planes?
A. I did not think so. I did not expect it.

Q. Did you expect assistance from land-based planes on the attacks on our ships?
A. No, I did not. I thought that I would have no assistance or cover from land-based planes because most of the Japanese land-based planes were in LUZON, assigned for action that might occur in the north. The southern sector was my own responsibility.

Q. Did you have any information later that day, in the middle of the day, of attacks by Japanese planes on our forces in this area here where the battle was and inside the Gulf?
A. No, no information of such attacks.

NAV-9

--43--

Q. Could you describe the attacks made on your ships by torpedo, by our cruisers and destroyers?
A. The torpedo attacks were launched from inside the smoke screen; the paths of the torpedoes were almost parallel and very obvious. The speed of the torpedoes was so slow that it was possible to avoid them by turning away from them, which however resulted in the separation of the formation.

Q. Did you see any of the ships at the time they were launching torpedoes?
A. I could see that the ships were there occasionally but did not see them launch any torpedoes.

Q. During this action you mentioned being attacked several times by small groups of torpedo planes and bombers. Did you maneuver to avoid all those attacks?
A. Yes. We received no torpedo attack I know about. Each vessel turned course and avoided that bombing. Each ship undertook evasive action in attempting to avoid the bombing action but I know of no torpedo attacks.

Q. How far off course did a ship usually turn?
A. When there were few bombers, as much as 45 degrees.

Q. Were these maneuvers done by the individual ships and not on signal from you?
A. That is right, individual ships maneuvered on their own.

Q. And that led to further scattering of the formation?
A. It led to gradual separation, breaking up the formation.

Q. Did these attacks by scattered groups continue up until 0830 when they stopped entirely?
A. I am not certain of the time the attacks ceased; it was about 0830.

Q. Did they stop suddenly or did they just taper off - less frequent, less strong?
A. It diminished gradually.

Q. When you first sighted our disposition, why did you maneuver around to get to windward rather than closing directly upon it?
A. To prevent launching and retaking of your planes, I intended to intercept to windward as much as possible.

Q. Did you consider sending part of your force to do that and to continue towards the Gulf with the rest?
A. No, I did not consider that. The idea was that I would make a concerted action of the fleet.

Q. After this attack, however, you still intended to enter the Gulf?
A. I held to that intention until I received the second bombing attack.

Q. At what time was that?
A. I can't remember.

Q. How long after you broke off the action with the carriers was this second bombing attack?
A. At about 10 our ships had made a formation, at which time they received the first bombing attack. The first attack came when I had hoisted the signal for ring formation after they had assembled.

Q. Was this a heavy attack?
A. The attack was big but the damage was small.

Q. What type of damage, specifically?
A. The extent of damage was not such as to interfere with ability of the ships. I did not receive details of damage at that time. Now the sort of information I did receive when damage was great was breaking of oil tanks, gasoline, rudder control and that sort of thing; but I did not receive any of that on the first attack.

Q. Were you still on a course west or southwest towards the Gulf when this attack was delivered?
A. I was on a course for LEYTE Bay. The conclusion from our gunfire and anti-aircraft fire during the day had led me to believe in my uselessness, my ineffectual position, if I proceeded into LEYTE Bay where I would come under even heavier aircraft attack. I therefore concluded to go north and join Admiral OZAWA for coordinated action against your northern Task Forces.

Q. About what time did you make this decision and start north?
A. I think about 10 or 11 o'clock. From that time on I steamed north.

Q. You think, then, that it was about two hours after you broke off the attack on our carriers there that you finally turned north? Is that correct?
A. About two hours; anyway less than three hours. I am not sure about the exact hour.

NAV-9

--44--

Q. You said you expected very heavy air attacks inside the Gulf. From what source?
A. From land-based planes, on LEYTE.

Q. You believed at that time that we had planes operating from LEYTE?
A. I was convinced that your aircraft planes had gone to LEYTE after the attacks upon my fleet. I therefore expected that they would bring us under heavy attack if we entered the Bay. I did not know whether there were normally land-based planes situated there but I knew there were fields there and there might be.

Q. Did you have knowledge of any other American aircraft carriers in this neighborhood, that is, except those with whom you had had a battle already?
A. I thought I had seen a mast or masts to the east, which was the only guess I had that there might be other carriers in the vicinity. I knew of nothing to the south. We were listening in on your Communications at that time, at the opening of the original battle. We intercepted a message which said "We are under attack by Japanese ships, hasten with aid," and for two hours, we heard the message that it was useless. From the assistance that had been called, we heard the reply that it would take two hours to render aid.

Q. What type of aid did you think was referred to?
A. I didn't know where any other aid was but understood from the message that it was air aid.

>Q. Was it this aid promised in two hours which you expected to hit you inside the Gulf - was that part of the reason you did not enter the Gulf?
A. Yes, that is one reason. It had gotten very late too; that is, the schedule was very much delayed because of the engagement.

Q. As far as fuel and ammunition went, were you in satisfactory condition to enter the Gulf?
A. There was no consideration for fuel. There was no consideration for how to get home. We had enough ammunition.

Q. You had enough to take on these battleships you expected inside?
A. Yes.

Q. In the course of that morning's engagement, had you received any information from either Admiral NISHIMURA or Admiral OZAWA?
A. No information.

Q. Then at the time you turned north you did not know what had happened in SURIGAO Strait the night before?
A. No. I had no wireless information or intelligence of any sort. I therefore sent up two planes from the YAMATO, one to go over the SURIGAO Strait area, the other to scout to the north. Neither brought any information.

Q. Did the planes return?
A. They landed ashore and never came back to the ship. Not a word. There was a message from the one that went to the north saying that he had seen nothing. There was no message from the one that went through the SURIGAO Strait area.

Q. Did you have any information as to Admiral OZAWA's operations in the north from anyone else?
A. Sometime during the day - I do not remember when - I received word from Admiral OZAWA. The message did not come from OZAWA but I received intelligence by wireless - I do not know the source - that Admiral OZAWA had become engaged and damaged and was intending a night torpedo attack upon your formation; that he was going to change his flagship but he did not name the ship. The extent of damage that OZAWA's fleet had sustained was not known to me.

Q. Do you remember if you received this information decision, I concluded it was best to go north or afterwards?
A. After I changed the course to north.

Q. So that the reason for changing course to the north was the threat of a heavy air attack if you entered the Gulf, is that correct?
A. It wasn't a question of destruction that was neither here nor there. It was a question of what good I could do in the Bay. I concluded that under the heavy attack from ship and shore-based planes, I could not be effective. Therefore, on my own decision, I concluded it was best to go north and join Admiral OZAWA.

NAV-9

--45--

Q. Was this alternative plan provided for in the original plans, or was it a decision of the moment only?
A. The decision was a momentary one. I sent a report to Admiral OZAWA that I had turned north and would be able to coordinate my attack with the night destroyer torpedo attack which I learned Admiral OZAWA was going to make, which I had learned from other sources.

Q. You are sure that Admiral OZAWA did intend to make such an attack?
A. I did not get that from Admiral OZAWA. I got the news of it that such an attack was intended. I had the distinct impression that Admiral OZAWA was going to launch that night attack and I myself, coming north, was determined to help and if I didn't find anything up in here, I would withdraw through SAN BERNARDINO Strait.

Q. Did you not feel on this northern trip that you would be brought under heavy attack there from our task force in that region?
A. I concluded to do it, no matter what come from the north.

Q. Well, I wanted to get the distinction between an air attack here and an air attack there. Why did you prefer this one?
A. It is the same under attack in either case; but I would be no good here while I might by coordination assist up there in the north.

Q. Do you mean that you felt it more profitable to attack our Task Force than to attack our transport invasion shipping in the Gulf?
A. In the narrow confines of LEYTE Gulf I couldn't use the advantage that ships have of maneuvering, whereas I would be a more useful force under the same attack with the advantage of maneuver in the open sea.

Q. Yes, but was there a choice of targets involved?
A. By the time the question arose, your landing had been confirmed and I therefor considered it not so important as it would have been before.

Q. (Admiral Ofstie), Admiral KURITA, when you came through SAN BERNARDINO, why did you attack the carriers and delay your movement rather than going on down the coast of SAMAR directly to LEYTE Gulf?
A. I thought that the course I actually took was the best course for LEYTE and I encountered your force in the way. That is, closer to shore was not the best course for LEYTE.

Q. (Lt. Comdr. Field). What speed did you take when you started north?
A. 20 when we saw no enemy planes - 24 whenever we saw enemy planes.

Q. Did you receive other air attacks while moving north?
A. I think it is about 11 times that I was under attack from the air on the way north.

Q. On what scale were the attacks?
A. 40 or 50 plane attacks, both bombing and torpedo.

Q. Did these attacks inflict serious damage?
A. It was at that time that the bulges got perforated and all the major ships were trailing oil. The ability of the ships wasn't seriously interfered with but they left a long conspicuous trail of oil in the water. There was no vital damage to any ship. They could maintain speed and they were able for battle all the way through it.

Q. What course did you take going north? Did you sweep around here? Could you draw the course on the chart.
A. I do not remember the precise course.

Q. Well, approximately. Were you headed for Admiral OZAWA or were you headed for SAN BERNARDINO?
A. My intention was not primarily to join Admiral OZAWA but to go north and seek out the enemy. If I failed to find the enemy, having reached here (indicating about 13°20'N) my intention was to go north and seek out the enemy but to be able to retire through SAN BERNARDINO Strait at dark.

Q. You did not then plan to coordinate with Admiral OZAWA in a night battle?
A. I considered my mission to go north and seek out your carrier Task Force and bring it under engagement with the assumption that Admiral OZAWA to the north would thereby be assisted by it. But it was not to join forces with Admiral OZAWA. Secondarily or overall, I wanted to be at SAN BERNARDINO at sunset to get through and as far to the west as possible during the night.

NAV-9

--46--

Q. If you planned to be there by dark, surely you could not get very far north?
A. No, I didn't know how far. I thought perhaps Admiral OZAWA's action might lead them to be in my path if we went through quickly that afternoon.

Q. Did you have any information as to their location?
A. I had no information.

Q. Did you expect American forces in this area to come south in answer to the calls for help which you mentioned earlier?
A. Yes, that is right. I also thought that the engagement with Admiral OZAWA might produce them in my path.

Q. When you turned north at eleven or twelve o'clock, was the governing consideration to reach there by dark or to attack our forces? Which was the more important?
A. The point was the immediate objective to hit the enemy. I won't say which was more important; because if I did not get into the Straits by night, the next day was hopeless for me because I could be brought under attack by land planes and by this force. When I got about this area, (indicating about 12°30'N) I found Japanese airplane flying over this area so I thought that the American forces might be located about this area and I tried to seek out the American forces but couldn't find them.

Q. If you found American forces, you then would have stayed to fight and not bothered about being here by dark, is that correct?
A. Yes. If I could attack American forces about this area, I would abandon that decision to get to the Straits by dark.

Q. While traveling north did you receive any instruction from Admiral TOYODA?
A. No instructions.

Q. No intelligence from Admiral NISHIMURA?
A. No instructions. I did receive, during that northward course, information as to what had happened to NISHIMURA; that it was not good; but no instructions from TOYODA.

Q. Is it correct then to say that the decision to proceed north here and the decision to proceed west here (indicating) were both dictated by fear of air attack; in the first case, air attack inside the narrow gulf, in the second case, air attack the next day? Is that correct?
A. Going north with the hope of encountering the enemy and keeping touch, but with the intention of making this by sunset if I did not encounter the enemy, in order to withdraw clear back to my base because I was low on fuel.

Q. Was the decision to pass through SAN BERNARDINO Strait by dark due to shortage of fuel for further operations or due to fear of air attack while in this area (indicating SIBUYAN SEA) the next day? Which was the governing consideration?
A. It was primarily fuel. Furthermore, if and when brought under air attack on the following day in the passage through the islands, I would have to use extra fuel in dodging and maneuvering. Therefore, the fuel was very important consideration; the basic one.

Q. Did you have any knowledge of a plan to use Kamikaze attacks by land-based aircraft in the LEYTE Area on that day?
A. I had no connection with Kamikaze; neither had I heard anything about the Kamikaze method; but I now believe that after I had left my base, the Kamikaze first came under planning. As I understood it, my operation was without regard to land-based planes and that developments separate from my activities governed the beginning of the Kamikaze sort of operation. The Kamikaze method was used because the fleet was attacking here with few planes. So to aid this operation, they planned for Kamikaze. Fundamentally, because the fleet action was not a success.

Q. At the time you were fighting off SAMAR you had no knowledge of Kamikaze?
A. I did not know anything of that. It was developed from the shore-based plane units, the Kamikaze; as assistance to a situation which as far as the fleet was concerned, had not been a success.

Q. Did you receive any communication from Admiral TOYODA during the late afternoon, while passing through here?
A. No communication from TOYODA.

(Interrogation adjourned 1200; upon reconvening at 1330, Admiral KURITA was joined by Captain OHMAE.)

685287 O - 46 - 5

NAV-9

--47--

Q. Captain OHMAE, this morning we discussed the battle down here on the 25th, and when we stopped for lunch, we had just gotten the Admiral back to SAN BERNARDINO Straits. Were you in this action?
A. Yes, I was on the flagship of Admiral OZAWA's forces. There was no coordination intended on the afternoon of the 25th.

Q. Admiral, on the next day, on the 26th, did you receive more air attacks while retiring through the SIBUYAN SEA?
A. From about 8 o'clock on, received three attacks.

Q. Where were you at that time, near TABLAS?
A. Southeast of MINDORO. B-24s were the third attack: the first two attacks were search planes, carrier planes.

Q. What damage was done in each attack?
A. In the first attack, one torpedo hit on the NOSHIRO. The NOSHIRO was stopped dead in the water from the first attack, torpedo, and was therefore bombed and sunk in the second attack.

Q. Was there any other damage in the first attack?
A. Something happened to the stern of one of the destroyers, but I don't know what. That is the entire damage from all three attacks.

Q. In the first attack, the NOSHIRO had a torpedo hit which stopped her, and that is all that happened in the first attack?
A. That is correct.

Q. In the second attack, the NOSHIRO was hit by bombs and sunk, and that is all that happened, in the second attack?
A. Yes.

Q. The third attack was by B-24s; no hits at all?
A. They were using very large bombs and there were no hits.

Q. Was it a heavy attack, many planes, the third one?
A. 24 planes.

Q. Were there any damaging near misses?
A. There were some very near misses but not to do any appreciable damage to the ships.

Q. Where did your force then retire, to what port?
A. The destroyers fueled north at CORON; the ether ships without fueling went on around to BRUNEI where the destroyer joined them later. The tankers and destroyers came under air attack later on and some of the destroyers were sunk in the area of CORON and one tanker, having received one hit, fled away to the northwest. One tanker was sunk. in BALABAC Passage and the other escaped in PAITAN Bay. The first was sunk by submarine torpedo; the other was damaged by one submarine torpedo.

Q. These were the tankers that had followed your force and were in the SULU SEA during the action, is that correct?
A. Yes. When the fleet went up, the order was issued to return to BRUNEI. When passing the BALABAC Passage, each was torpedoed by submarine.

Q. Would you tell us very briefly what were the subsequent movements of your fleet? Where did you go? What did you do?
A. Fueling, loading ammunition, and repairing in BRUNEI. The orders for that came from Headquarters; also that would be hospitalized.

Q. Did the fleet stay at BRUNEI or did it go to SINGAPORE?
A. Most of the ships returned to the INLAND SEA.

Q. Reaching there about what time?
A. About the end of November, arriving in the INLAND SEA.

Q. Now, in general, covering this whole operation, do you feel that your communications were satisfactory?
A. I thought that the communications were not entirely adequate partly because, when I switched my flag from the ATAGO to the YAMATO, communications personnel were divided between two destroyers, one of which had to accompany the TAKAO back to BRUNEI, and for that reason I consider that the communications were not adequate.

NAV-9

--48--

Q. Did you receive as much information about our forces throughout this operation as you expected?
A. From the first, I did not think I was getting enough.

Q. To what do you attribute that failure of information?
A. I thought it was not a matter of communications but of scouting.

Q. Had there been any planned arrangements for you to receive information gathered by land-based planes in the PHILIPPINES?
A. There had been a plan, but no specific orders providing for it at that time.

Q. Now did you receive any?
A. I received information from the land-based planes, but I don't remember in detail which communication received or when.

Q. Was it of importance or value to you?
A. Yes, it was very important. All the information received about the location of your carrier forces came from land-based stations.

Q. Was it precise, or did you at that time think it precise?
A. I thought it was. That was on the 24th.

Q. Do you remember where our carrier forces were reported?
A. The information that I had from land-based planes on the 24th indicated that American carriers were east of LUZON and about 18 degrees north.

Q. You spoke of using your battleship scout planes to provide you with information. Was that your intention from the beginning of the operation, or was it a last resort due to failure of other methods?
A. The commanding officer of this detachment (indicating SAN JOSE, MINDORO) made a plan to search this area but I didn't know the plan precisely; but anyway I received no information about the American fleet, only that force east of LUZON.

Q. So you used the planes from the YAMATO. But did you expect to have to use battleship planes?
A. Because they were observation planes, I did not send them out on scouting until at this point when I turned. I sent out in three directions at that time. I had about 12 planes for search purposes which I might have used out here going north except that they had been damaged in previous action from air bombing and gunfire. I had also sent them off in order to avoid own gun blast.

Q. Did the original plan for this operation contemplate that you would use your own scout planes that way or was information to be gained from land-based planes?
A. The plan was to receive information from the Air Forces and if I wanted to search on my own, I would, send my own airplanes.

Q. Did you send your own to search or just for spotting gunfire?
A. All scouting was sent from land but for a suspicious place I would send my own planes for limited scouting.

Q. From what you said this morning we gathered that you received no early report from Admiral OZAWA or Admiral NISHIMURA about their actions. Did you expect more ample reports? Did you expect full, prompt reports?
A. (Capt. OHMAE) This northern fleet sent three or four reports to TOKYO and to the 2nd Fleet but for some reason they were not received, at TOKYO or by the 2nd Fleet on the 24th. I think that these important reports were the reason for the unsuccessful operation. Four messages were sent on the 24th from the Japanese 3rd Fleet to TOKYO and to the 2nd Fleet. They were not received and I think the lack of success of the entire operation depended upon that failure of communication.

Q. Admiral KURITA, in relation to Admiral NISHIMURA's force, apparently you received no good reporting from them. Do you know why?
A. I don't know. The 2nd Fleet did not receive that.

Q. Did you receive any information from Admiral NISHIMURA?
A. As I said this morning he was under air attack. He sent three messages; one that he was under air attack, that he was under torpedo boat attack, and one saying that he will be delayed getting into LEYTE GULF. Perhaps I received some other messages thereafter but I don't remember.

NAV-9

--49--

Q. Do you remember when you heard the results of the battle in the Strait? When did you receive news of what happened in the battle there?
A. About 11 o'clock. I did not receive any direct report but got word which made me think that it had been a failure, about 11 o'clock of the following day.

Q. And from whom did that message come and what was the substance?
A. I think it was from a destroyer with Admiral NISHIMURA.

Q. Did it give specific details of the action, of damage suffered and damage inflicted?
A. It was very serious; that there were very serious fires, but no details. They were very short messages. It seems that the source had not actually seen the action or the results.

Q. Did this report of the action of Admiral NISHIMURA have any influence on your decision not to enter the Gulf?
A. I did know, when I made that decision at, 11 o'clock on the following day, that the NISHIMURA action was a failure.

Q. Was that a reason contributing to your decision?
A. I did not know where the NISHIMURA fleet had met disaster, whether it was in LEYTE Bay, in the passage, or where. Therefore, it did not influence my decision.

Q. How often in the course of the engagement did you send reports to Admiral TOYODA? That is, did you send a regular series at 'stated' times or only when something important happened? About how many reports did you send?
A. Not at a fixed time. For example, when we were brought under observation, air attack or gunfire I instantly reported to the Combined Fleet. When in sight of enemy forces I used radio but when not located by enemy forces, I did not use radio.

Q. Why did not Admiral NISHIMURA make further reports when he was in this action in the south?
A. Thinking about it afterwards, I cannot say why he didn't. I don't think that Admiral NISHIMURA knew the extent of damage to his fleet because the sea is very narrow. The area was confined so he, didn't send any message, I supposed.

Q. Admiral NISHIMURA was under your direction; should he have reported what was happening?
A. I think that Admiral NISHIMURA could not observe the condition because of the confined waters in which he was maneuvering. I don't know why he did not report more, other than that guess now.

Q. Captain OHMAE, did you have a special communication channel between the three admirals and Admiral TOYODA, a special channel for important messages, a special frequency?
A. Yes, I think there was a high command channel.

Q. Admiral, do you remember about how long it took to send a message to Admiral TOYODA and to receive a reply?
A. About 30 minutes. Sometimes long and sometimes very short, but when I passed here (indicating 250000 sortie from SAN BERNARDINO Strait) he returned the answer in a minimum of about 30 minutes.

Q. That message was in code naturally, wasn't it?
A. Yes.

Q. If 30 minutes was the minimum, what was the longest delay? Was 30 minutes exceptionally good?
A. It was very good.

Q. What did you usually expect?
A. The messages were sometimes long in the number of words but anyway I didn't expect to receive answers so quickly. The exact time I don't remember. In my opinion it takes usually about three hours for an urgent message to get a reply.

Q. Admiral, in your opinion, was the general plan for this operation, the Japanese plan, the best that could have been made at that time with the forces available?
A. I think that was the best plan which we could apply but not the best theoretical plan. According to your question, I think it was the best plan under the conditions.

NAV-9

--50--

Q. You said this morning that in this operation you were prepared to accept 50% losses in ships. What did you expect to gain in exchange for that 50%?
A. About the intention in my mind was, for that price, to succeed in damaging one-half of all your ships in LEYTE Bay.

Q. Did you expect to stop the landings before they could be completed or to destroy the supply of shipping and thus isolate the troops ashore, or to destroy our fighting ships?
A. Only to delay the landing for two or three days. It was to achieve a temporary delay of landing progress.

Q. How were you going to exploit this delay?
A. It was then a limited objective, to delay that particular landing for two or three days. We could do nothing about succeeding landings, not having enough strength.

Q. Your purpose was to attack the landing ships and the transports and cargo ships rather than the fighting ships?
A. Both.

Q. Any choice?
A. Combatant ships; if both were present I would engage the battleships.

Q. What particular thing or event do you believe caused this operation to fail? What was the main cause of the failure of the operation?
A. The lack of planes, either for search or for attack, overall.

Q. Was that lack known in advance when you set out on the operation, or did you then believe you had sufficient planes?
A. It was understood from the beginning, before the plan was put into operation, that we did not have enough.

Q. What chance of success did you believe there was in beginning the operation?
A. I thought that it would be useful only if the land-based troops had a piece of luck.
(Captain OHMAE) When this whole plan was in TOKYO at that time, we thought that there wasn't such a good chance but if we did nothing, the whole PHILIPPINES would be seized. So we had to do something and we did our best. It was the last chance we had, although not a very good one.

Q. Admiral, you said you had knowledge that there were not enough planes in advance. From whom did you receive that information? Was it in the Operation Plan or did you receive a message from Admiral TOYODA, or what was the source of that knowledge?
A. I knew it from my own knowledge that there weren't enough for such an operation. I did not receive any word from headquarters to that effect.

Q. What do you think was the cause of that lack of planes?
A. Considering it after the war, I think perhaps it was failure of production, transportation, and lack of pilots.

Q. Did you have an opinion at that time which was different?
A. Nothing, except to try to do my best with the supplies that we could get.

Q. (Admiral Ofstie) What was the principal agent for the loss of Japanese air power?
A. Sudden attacks from your carrier task forces everywhere prevented or injured our air operations; and second, submarine attacks on our transportation system (of aeroplanes and fuels), including the transportation of supplies to manufacturing plants.

Q. Referring to the Battle of the CORAL SEA in May 1942, do you have an opinion as to what effect that had on subsequent Japanese strategy or strength?
A. I have not given it specific study but I think it had no great effect.

Q. The same thing with respect to the Battle of MIDWAY?
A. The Battle of MIDWAY had effect precisely to the extent of the loss of new carriers. That was the effect on future operations.

Q. The same question referring to the long period down in the SOUTH PACIFIC, the RABAUL-GUADALCANAL Area; the naval losses there for a period of 6 months perhaps.
A. Because of the attrition and loss of planes and destroyers having effect upon escorting supply ships, all operations therefore suffered.

NAV-9

--51--

Q. What was the relative effect, in order of their importance, of the loss of naval vessels, loss of naval air strength, and the loss of merchant shipping?
A. Loss of air strength was the worst. There is a great gap between that and the next. It is by far the most important. It depends upon the circumstances, without saying which is the more important, the loss of merchant shipping or naval vessels.

Q. Admiral KURITA, do you believe that you were kept well informed of the American strength and the losses as the war went along?
A. I received a great deal of official information about American losses but I myself reduced that to about a half.

Q. In your opinion, was the information you received any more accurate from either the Japanese Army or the Japanese Navy?
A. At the beginning of the war I thought that naval intelligence about your losses was the better but as the war continued I thought the two services were about equal in the inaccuracy of information, particularly from air, in that there was repetition on the same item. Therefore, I added up the reports and divided them by two for total damage.

Q. Did you have specific information on the loss in 1942 of the LEXINGTON, WASP, HORNET and the YORKTOWN at that time?
A. I did not have precise information. I saw the burning and sinking of one of them and thought it might be the HORNET, off GUADALCANAL, SANTA CRUZ, at night.

Q. Were you able to put any people on board the HORNET? Did you board the HORNET or did you fire any torpedoes into it?
A. Two American destroyers were shooting at the HORNET. I was on the KONGO at the time. My own ship did nothing. I don't know whether somebody put a torpedo in her or not.

Q. About how long after the destroyers finished shooting did she sink?
A. I don't know how long afterwards. It was still at night that she sank. I heard the noise, the sound of her destroyers firing, as I thought, into the HQRNET, and we approached indirectly and they fled. That was my impression.

Q. What is your personal opinion of the basic planning of the Japanese Naval General Staff?
A. I didn't know very much about it but I thought that there wasn't a sure touch, a sure treatment of plan making. The planning lacked a sureness of touch.

Q. At what stage in the war did you feel that the balance had swung over against you?
A. GUADALCANAL.

Q. What was the actual bore of the YAMATO guns?
A. I never knew, it was very secret, about 45 centimeters I think. Neither did I know the maximum speed of the YAMATO. But in formation she was going 26 knots.

NAV-9

--52--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 10
USSBS NO. 53

SOLOMON ISLAND OPERATIONS AND BATTLE OF CORAL SEA

TOKYO

19 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain YAMAOKA, M., IJN, Operations Officer, Staff 5th Air Flotilla at Battle of CORAL SEA, 7-8 May 1942.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

SUMMARY

  1. Two task units were in CORAL SEA, 7-8 May. SHOHO (sunk) Unit consisted of transports to occupy PORT MORESBY. SHOKAKU (damaged) and ZUIKAKU were to support operations, intercept American ships and to attack TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA, where U.S. planes and Army were being disembarked. Interception by U.S. Carrier Task Force thwarted plans which were later abandoned. The resultant damage to Japanese CV's weakened air strength at MIDWAY, contributing to annihilation of Japanese Carrier Force and failure to capture MIDWAY, 4-6 June 1942.
  2. Tribute to Marines at WAKE, December 1942.
  3. Admiral YAMAMOTO shot down and killed in airplane enroute BUIN.
  4. Japanese started night carrier operations about 1933.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Were you in the SOLOMON Area during the Battle of CORAL SEA, 7-8 May 1942?
A. Yes, I was on the ZUIKAKU, which was the flagship, serving as staff officer of the Fifth Air Flotilla.

Q. What was the mission of the SHOHO?
A. The mission of the SHOHO was: first, to defend the transport ships in its task force going to PORT MORESBY; and secondly, to scout for submarines.

Q. At what distance were the anti-submarine patrols maintained, and what type planes used?
A. About 15 miles. Fighters were used. Torpedo planes were used for scouting at the same time.

Q. How many planes did the SHOHO carry?
A. 12 Zero fighters and about 9 to 12 torpedo planes. The SHOHO isn't a main aircraft carrier.

Q. Were any land-based planes employed in this action?
A. Yes, RABAUL based planes. It was the 25th Land-Based Air Flotilla; 50 to 60 fighters, Zero Type, 30 to 40 bomber planes. They attacked cruisers.

Q. Were any planes operated from TULAGI?
A. Yes, TULAGI was prepared as a seaplane base for operation against PORT MORESBY. DEBOINE and TULAGI are the seaplane bases which were used against PORT MORESBY.

Q. What was the mission of the SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU and their task force?
A. The mission of those two aircraft carriers was first to defend the PORT MORESBY attacking group. The second mission was to attack the American Fleet which was expected to appear on the scene; and the third, to make and air raid on TOWNSVILLE and to destroy American and Australian planes and ships that were being delivered there.

Q. When did you first receive information regarding the location of our American force?
A. On the 4th of May, TULAGI was attacked by your planes. I was to the north of TULAGI at the time with the 6th Squadron, which was composed of SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, NAKA, HAGURO, seven destroyers and one tanker.

Q. Do you know what damage was incurred at TULAGI?
A. I am not certain. I heard that several small torpedo boats were damaged and sunk; one destroyer and one minelayer received mediocre damage. No seaplane tender present. The damaged destroyer was beached and then later swept out by the tide and sank. (Name: KIKUZUKI)

Q. What planes were destroyed?
A. Two or three seaplanes were damaged.

Q. Was the minelayer sunk or damaged?
A. It was damaged by near misses and one hit. It sailed to SHORTLAND where it was repaired.

NAV-10

--53--

Q. How did you first know the location of the American force?
A. Following the attack on TULAGI we knew the force was in the general area. The exact location wasn't known, but it was expected that American carriers, battleships and possibly some British forces were in the CORAL SEA. After our attack on the tanker and destroyer the morning of the 7th of June and your attack on SHOHO about 4 p.m., we sent out a dusk attack of about 27 bombers and torpedo planes to attack the American carrier force. They did not find it although searched for almost 300 miles. Finally they jettisoned their bombs and torpedoes and returned to their own carriers. While returning they passed over the American carrier at night. Some planes mistook the American force for the Japanese carriers, turned on their lights and tried to land before they realized their mistake. Then all planes returned to the Japanese carriers. About ten planes were lost during this flight.

Q. Why did you attack our tanker (NEOSHO) and destroyer (SIMS) instead of our carrier force during the morning of 7 May?
A. Our scouting planes from the SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU erroneously reported the tanker group as the American carrier group; therefore, the Japanese carrier planes attacked them instead of the American carriers.

Q. Did you have radar at that time?
A. No.

Q. Do you know how close the two forces were that night?
A. We thought that they were about 40 miles south of our force and did not want to have a night action; therefore retired to the north, intending to attack your force in the morning. I wanted to attack your force that night' but we did not know how many ships you had, so it was decided not to attack until morning.

Q. Had your pilots been trained to land on the carriers at night?
A. Yes, about 2/3 of all pilots were thoroughly trained at night.

Q. When did you first start night carrier operations?
A. About 1933.

Q. Was one carrier used for night operation or did you have pilots on each carrier?
A. Each carrier had a few night pilots at first, then increased. About 2/3 of all pilots on each carrier were thoroughly trained in night carrier operation. About 1/3 were familiar but not so well trained.

Q. How did you land at night?
A. We used a green and red light which were lined up for a flight path to come aboard. We also used a signalman.

Q. Did he control the speed during the landing?
A. No, after a night battle, only signal used was O.K. and should land, or that he was not O.K. and should be waved off; in which case he made another approach. During the training more signals were used to indicate speed and altitude. These signals were given by blinker guns at night.

Q. What accidents incurred in training?
A. Thorough basic training was given at night on land; therefore, we had very few accidents in night landings aboard ship.

Q. How was the SHOHO sunk?
A. Damaged by dive-bombers but sunk by torpedoes. It capsized. More than five torpedoes hit and many bombs.

Q. Were many personnel lost?
A. About 200 out of 800 were rescued by destroyers. If they had more destroyers more personnel would have been saved.

Q. How was the SHOKAKU damaged?
A. About mid-morning on the 8th two bombs hit - one, well forward on the port bow; second, well aft on the starboard quarter. The first bomb forward set the gasoline afire and destroyed anchor windlass room. The second bomb destroyed the airplane motor repair room. As result of the first hit, the flight deck was badly damaged and we were unable to launch planes; however, we were able to land them aboard; following the bomb hits, four planes landed aboard and later the fire was put out. In the torpedo attack on both the ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU, the torpedoes were launched at too great a range permitting both carriers to avoid them. Slow torpedoes and long range. We could turn and run away from them.

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Plate 10-1: Map of the Battle of Coral Sea.
Plate 10-1: Map of the Battle of Coral Sea.

Q. Where did the remaining planes go?
A. Some of them went to ZUIKAKU. Two landed at seaplane bases and the pilots recovered. Five or six planes made a forced landing in the water near carriers. The pilots were recovered by destroyers.

Q. Was the ZUIKAKU attacked?
A. Yes, but no damage. Bombs missed, torpedoes launched far away, easily avoided.

Q. Following the damage, where did the carriers go for repairs?
A. SHOKAKU went to KURE for repairs. The ZUIKAKU went to TRUK.

Q. About how many planes were lost in the entire operation?
A. 30 planes and 30 pilots and plane crew.

Q. What effect did the losses in this battle have on current and future plans?
A. We gave up the plan to attack PORT MORESBY by sea. The army desired to take PORT MORESBY so attempted to capture by land from BUNA Area. These carriers were to take part in MIDWAY occupation, but due to damage were unable to participate. This weakened our air striking force at MIDWAY.

Q. Were any ME-109's in that battle?
A. No. No Messerschmitt planes in Japanese Navy.

Q. Did you know how much damage was done to our carriers?
A. More than six torpedoes hit on the LEXINGTON, more than eight bombs hit; two torpedoes hit the YORKTOWN.

Q. Which type of attack did you most fear?
A. Dive-bombing; because it is difficult to avoid.

Q. Were you present when the Japanese captured WAKE in December 1941?
A. Not at the island. I was returning from PEARL HARBOR attack. On the way home from HAWAII, 2 carriers were ordered to assist in the attack on WAKE Island. I don't know what specific forces were in the WAKE Island attack group. Our planes did not see them. We just bombed the island while enroute to JAPAN.

Q. What ships were lost at WAKE?
A. Two destroyers hit the reef and were subsequently dive-bombed and shelled from the beach.

Q. What military personnel were lost during the landing at WAKE Island?
A. None of the Navy, but severe losses were suffered in the Navy Special Landing Force. Our Navy admires the ability and courage of the pilots and fighters that defended WAKE in the operation. The airplane pilots were very brave and skillful.

Q. What was the purpose of capturing WAKE?
A. One, to seize it because it was held by the Americans; and the other reason, to use it for a base from which to scout and search that area.

Q. Did the American raids on WAKE Island do any damage?
A. On the 6th and 7th October 1943 between 500 and 600 planes bombed WAKE. At the same time 10 cruisers and destroyers bombarded the island, resulting in losses of more than 300 personnel. The installations above the ground were almost completely destroyed. That I learned from a person who came back from WAKE.

Q. How was Admiral YAMAMOTO killed?
A. Shot down while flying in a two-engine bomber to BUIN. Five or six of his staff officers, including the Chief of Staff and the Chief Medical Officer of the fleet, were killed at the same time.

Q. In the opinion of the Japanese pilots was there any difference in the American Army and Navy pilots or planes?
A. Both good. Generally, carrier pilots are more skillful. Army planes a little faster.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 11
USSBS NO. 61

JAPANESE NAVAL ESCORT OF SHIPPING AND SHIPPING LOSSES

TOKYO

18 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain OI, Atsushi, IJN, a permanent officer of the Japanese Navy who has had staff college training. He served as a Staff Officer of the Combined Escort Fleet from its organization in November 1943 until the war's end.

Interrogated by: Captain Steadman Teller, USN.

SUMMARY

Control of Japanese shipping was divided among the Army, Navy and the Transportation and Munitions Departments. Organized naval control of escort and routing was first undertaken seriously with the creation of the independent Combined Escort Fleet in November 1943, following serious losses to submarines and aircraft in the BISMARK ISLANDS and approaches there to. The Combined Escort Fleet was placed under the command of the Combined Fleet in August 1944 when U.S. submarines and air attacks threatened to completely disrupt Japanese shipping in the SOUTH and EAST CHINA SEAS. This reorganization, however, did little to improve the situation which continued to deteriorate steadily.

During the first years of the war, submarine attacks caused most of the losses. In 1944, carrier aircraft raids on shipping concentrations took heavy toll, particularly in tankers. Air and submarine attacks in the SOUTH and EAST CHINA SEAS during early 1945 forced abandonment of convoys between the EMPIRE and Southwest Area in February and the complete stopping of shipping on this route in March. Mining caused some losses at BALIKPAPEN, SOERABAJA, SINGAPORE and SAIGON. Mining by B-29s closed SHIMONOSEKI Strait for two weeks in May 1945.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Who was responsible for directing the routing of Japanese merchant shipping between the homeland and the Southern PACIFIC?
A. I think no definite person was responsible for shipping. The Navy, the Army, and the Transportation and Communication Department were each responsible, and since the Munitions Department was initiated it also has had a strong voice in the matter. These, together in conference when necessary, decided how to arrange the shipping. Our headquarters, the Combined Escort Fleet, were solely responsible for protection. Under, the supervision of the Transportation Department there is an organization - half civil, half governmental - called the Shipping Control Board.

Q. Did the Shipping Control Board exist throughout the entire war?
A. I don't think so; I think from sometime since 1942 or 1943.

Q. The Shipping Control Board and the various other agencies which you mentioned decided where the ships were to be used, is that correct?
A. Yes, I think so.

Q. After they had decided where the ships were to be employed, who gave the sailing orders from port to port?
A. In the case of Army shipping which was principally transport or transport cargo, the local Army headquarters gave the sailing orders. There was an Army headquarters for shipping at UJINA and several sub-headquarters in various outlying areas.

Q. In the case of shipping controlled by the Navy, who gave the sailing orders to individual ships or groups of ships?
A. We have in the Navy Department a bureau called Naval Transportation Headquarters, which issues shipping orders for all naval supply shipping except ships of the fleet train and naval auxiliaries which are under control of the Combined Fleet.

Q. Did the Combined Fleet have sub-headquarters at various important ports?
A. In the South Sea Area shipping sub-headquarters were located under the various area fleet headquarters. The Combined Fleet ordered shipping through these headquarters only for fleet operational purposes. The Navy Department Transportation Office exercised control over the shipping sub-headquarters for normal shipping. For the most part this was done directly, but it was also done through the area fleet headquarters.

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Q. When did the Combined Escort Fleet cease to be independent and become subordinate to the Combined Fleet, and why was that change made?
A. It was the 3rd of August 1944. Because your attack was getting so severe that the entire area even in SOUTH or EAST CHINA SEAS was dangerous. Without assistance of the Combined Fleet we could not protect sea lanes any more.

Q. Prior to August 3, 1944, what resources in escort vessels did the Combined Escort Fleet have?
A. The Combined Escort Fleet had under its command at naval bases and subnaval bases in JAPAN a certain number of old destroyers, PT boats, and sub-chasers for use as escorts. The First Escort Fleet had a certain number of old destroyers and sea defense vessels. Also under the command of the Combined Escort Fleet there were a number of aircraft which were based at TATEYAMA, OKINAWA, TAKAO, MANILA and for a time at SAIGON. The aircraft were largely medium bombers engaged in anti-submarine patrols.

Q. After 3 August 1944, what additions were made to the force available for escorting ships?
A. The area of responsibility of the First Escort Fleet had been the area from JAPAN to SINGAPORE, including the PHILIPPINES and CHINA Coast. Prior to being placed under the Combined Fleet, the Combined Escort Fleet cooperated with the area and expeditionary fleets in the South Seas for escort work, but this cooperation took place only on the highest echelon between the Combined Escort Fleet headquarters and the Combined Fleet headquarters. Each office was able to issue orders only to fleets specifically under their command. After the third of August 1944, the Combined Escort Fleet issued orders directly to the area and expeditionary fleets in the South Seas as well as to the First Escort Fleet, in matters of convoy escorting.

Q. Were the vessels of the expeditionary fleets and area fleets assigned permanently to escort duty or were different ships used from time to time.
A. After August 1944, escort vessels belonging to the area and expeditionary fleets were practically always used on orders from the First Escort Fleet. However, they remained attached to units to which they had been previously attached and were serviced and supplied by those same units. The reason for their availability to the First Escort Fleet was largely that other than escort there was no real need for them at all.

Q. In Western NEW GUINEA and the CELEBES Area, between March 1944 and October 1944, what was the most effective United States form of attack against shipping?
A. I thing [sic] submarines were the worst. Anyway up to the end of last year (1944) subs were the most terrible attack force; after that time the air force was. However, the Task Force air raids on TRUK in February and PALAU at the end of March 1944 did terrible damage.

Q. What effect did the Carrier Task Force raid on TRUK on February 17, 1944 have on merchant shipping?
A. At that time we lost several big tankers, some of them over 20,000 tons. Merchant ship losses at TRUK and in the SOUTH CHINA SEA during February 1944 were the greatest losses for any month of the war, and the loss in the TRUK raid amounted to approximately half of the total for the month.

Q. What effect on shipping did the carrier raids on PALAU at the end of March 1944 have?
A. This time also, tankers were chief victims. Not so many were lost as at TRUK, but it was most vital damage. So far as movement or operation of the Combined Fleet was concerned, the loss of tankers in these two raids was very serious. It also influenced the transportation of oil from the NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES to the EMPIRE.

Q. When was the Combined Escort Fleet created?
A. The Combined Escort Fleet was originally organized on the 15th of November 1943 because of the very heavy losses which occurred to shipping in the general area of the BISMARKS where escorts had not been adequate or well organized.

Q. What caused those losses? Submarines, air or surface action?
A. These losses were largely due to submarines. Of course I can't remember exactly. I think, also, air force attacks were most terrible.

Q. In the area of the MOLUCCAS and CELEBES in the summer of 1944, were night air attacks against shipping troublesome? If so, what effect did they have on shipping and escort?
A. Of course they were troublesome, but we did not have so much shipping there. We very quickly abandoned that area. We transported many troops from MANILA to HALMAHERA passing south of MINDANAO, and lost many ships in the CELEBES SEA. Submarines were most dangerous.

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Q. After August 1944 did you have enough escort shipping to move your vessels as fast as you wanted to?
A. The supply of the escort vessels available to the Combined Escort Fleet after 3 August 1944 was less than prior to that date. The change in organization at that time was initiated by the Combined Fleet, and the Combined Escort Fleet did not think at that time that from their point of view it was a good change. It meant that their vessels could be used by the Combined Fleet for offensive and defensive operations. We had insufficient force of escort throughout the war and the organizational change of 3 August 1944 did not improve the situation. Furthermore, during the carrier attacks on FORMOSA in October 1944, aircraft suitable for scouting and anti-submarine patrol were practically eliminated. Prior to the organizational change in August 1944, these aircraft for anti-submarine patrol were for the exclusive use of Combined Escort Fleet and could not be used in offensive operations by the Combined Fleet.

Q. When did the aircraft attacks against your shipping in the SOUTH CHINA SEA first become very serious?
A. As I recall, the first time was the carrier attack on January 12, 1945 off CAMRANH Bay.

Q. What form of air attack was considered most dangerous to shipping?
A. I think the carrier air force attack was most dangerous; torpedo attack was most vital, next dive-bombing and strafing was most dangerous. But single plane attacks against our anti-submarine planes had a very serious effect, because we depended very much on those anti-submarine planes and those planes were shot down and gradually diminish in strength.

Q. In the SOUTH CHINA SEA, carrier attacks occurred only in January 1945. Those carrier attacks were made on SAIGON, HONGKONG, and TOURANE. Do you know how many ships were lost to those carrier attacks?
A. I am not certain but I think more than ten tankers were lost at TOURANE and SAIGON on the same day, and about five or six tankers were lost in HONGKONG a few days later. The first day in HONGKONG there wasn't very serious damage but on the second day all shipping (mostly tankers) was annihilated.

Q. When air attacks along the CHINA Coast drove the shipping to the channels inside of the small islands, did that increase losses due to grounding or have other serious effect on shipping?
A. There was not very much increase in losses due to accident, but we were more easily caught by submarines and airplanes. At that time in March 1945, we thought passing through CHINA SEA extremely difficult, and on the 15th of March abandoned all shipping between the EMPIRE and Southwest Areas. About the end of February 1945, attacks by single planes on shipping in the SOUTH CHINA SEA became very effective in addition to submarine attacks, because we had decided to abandon the use of convoys after your force came to LINGAYAN, and ships were sailing singly.

Q. Are you acquainted with the damage done to merchant shipping by carrier raids in the MANILA Area in September 1944?
A. If I remember correctly we had anchorages in CORON Bay and all along the west coast of the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; for instance off SANTA CRUZ and other places on the west coast of LUZON. We thought at first that CORON Bay was safe from your carrier attacks. If we took the convoys far into sea we were attacked by submarines, so we took ships into CORON Bay believing it was safe. But your force reached there and I think we received great damage.

Q. Was there a major portion of your shipping in the PHILIPPINES at that time?
A. Those ships were mostly used for supplying and reinforcements of Army garrisons. Our convoys usually took the coast route. Before the carrier raids on MANILA in September 1944, we considered the route FORMOSA, LUZON, PALAWAN, West BORNEO, SINGAPORE was safest because we could protect shipping with aircraft stationed at points along this route. Therefore we had some tankers and ships loaded with bauxite in MANILA Bay. We lost those precious ships as well as Army transports in those carrier raids.

Q. Of the tankers which were repaired in SINGAPORE and sent north to the EMPIRE in early 1945, how many were lost on the way?
A. We lost about 15 percent in February 1945, and beginning of March we lost 30 percent.

Q. During the war, what changes in the armament of escort vessels and merchant ships were made to improve their defense?
A. The most important change was the fall of 1944 when the best Army transport ships were equipped with radar. At the end of January 1945, 25 mm machine guns were drawn from every possible place on shore and even off merchant ships to increase the armament of tankers running

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from SINGAPORE to the homeland. The plan to increase the armament of merchant ships had been in existence from the beginning of the war, but production was not sufficient to make it possible to carry out the plan. Escort vessels were equipped with radar as much as possible beginning about September 1944. Previous to that only a few escort ships had radar and radar production was mostly for combatant ships.

Q. Did the radar installation include receiving equipment for our radar signals?
A. Radar intercept receivers were on most escort vessels by about April 1944, but this was not very effective because there was no way of locating in bearing and distance. This was principally a warning device. Due to rapid improvement and research, there was sufficient radar for most escort vessels by December 1944.

Q. What did you consider the most effective weapon against the submarine - aircraft or escort vessel?
A. Planes equipped with radar; especially those equipped with MAD.

Q. How many American submarines did you estimate were sunk?
A. It was very difficult to determine, but the Navy's estimate was 16 per month.

Q. Were your communications adequate for conducting the business of escort, routing and protection of ships? If not adequate, in what way?
A. Communications caused a great deal of trouble. There was great delay due to lack of facilities on most merchant ships, inadequate facilities on escort vessels, and no direct communications between escort vessels and aircraft. Communication among headquarters and commands were also frequently delayed. This was considered a weak point.

Q. Before the B-29's dropped the mines in JAPAN waters in the beginning of April 1946, did the mines we laid in BORNEO, PHILIPPINES and along CHINA Coast affect merchant ship planning?
A. I think we hadn't been affected very much in the SOUTH CHINA SEA. We suffered very much at BALIKPAPAN and we abandoned the route from BALIKPAPAN to SINGAPORE.

Q. Because of mines only?
A. It was abandoned chiefly because of mines, but also because of planes attacking from MOROTAI. This was about December 1944.

Q. Do you know how many ships were lost by mines at BALIKPAPAN? Were the losses so great you were forced to abandon the port?
A. We didn't abandon the port just because of mines, because BALIKPAPAN was very important to us. In December 1944, however, due to the combined effect of mines, subs and air attack, BALIKPAPAN was officially abandoned.

Q. What losses were suffered at SOERABAJA?
A. I can't remember the number of vessels lost. Anyway our transportation from SOERABAJA was suspended for a long time. We would sweep the channel and one or two ships could get out or go in and then your forces would mine it again. Finally I think only very few small ships could use this port.

Q. Were the major losses suffered from mines in the South Area at SOERABAJA and BALIPAPAN?
A. Major losses suffered in the Southern Area were at SOERABAJA, SAIGON, and SINGAPORE and along the east coast of MALAYA.

Q. After the mining campaign was under way in JAPAN, did conditions get so bad that it was necessary to pass ships through the minefields knowing full well they would be lost?
A. Yes. We took this chance, especially in SHIMONOSEKI Strait.

Q. Do you know whether or not the mining in the INLAND SEA affected the movement of the YAMATO when it reinforced operations at OKINAWA?
A. It didn't affect it very much.

Q. How long was SHIMONOSEKI Strait closed?
A. SHIMONOSEKI Strait was closed for a period of two weeks in the middle of May and only wooden vessels less than 100 tons were able to pass through.

Q. Did you fear the possibility of damage to the tunnel by mines?
A. Yes, we feared that very much. It was not actually damaged, but we were afraid.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 12
USSBS NO. 62

KAMIKAZE CORPS

TOKYO

15 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain INOGUCHI, Rikibei, IJN, Chief of Staff of First Air Fleet throughout the PHILIPPINE Campaign.

Interrogated by: Lt. Comdr. J.A. Field Jr., USNR, and Lt. Comdr. R.P. Aikin, USNR.

Allied Officers Present: Captain S. Teller, USN, Lt. R. Garred, USNR.

SUMMARY

Captain INOGUCHI discusses the origin, philosophy, and history of the Kamikaze Corps, with particular reference to the PHILIPPINE Campaign. The interrogation contains some specific facts on Japanese air strength in the PHILIPPINE and OKINAWA operations, and on Japanese air order of battle, but in general is of most interest as a picture of the state of mind that gave rise to Kamikaze.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What was your position in the Philippines in 1944-1945?
A. Operations and Plans, Staff of First Air Fleet.

Q. Was the First Air Fleet combined with the Second Air Fleet during the time of our attacks there?
A. At the beginning they were separate. 22 October they combined with the Second Air Fleet. They had a single staff but remained under separate operation. Kamikaze was begun by the First Air Fleet.

Q. Were the plans of the First Air Fleet and surface forces combined in the SHO Operations?
A. They were.

Q. Who made the plans for coordination?
A. The Imperial Headquarters (Daihonei). Admiral TOYODA was the Senior Navy Member of Imperial Headquarters.

Q. Does the plan cover the complete SHO Operation?
A. The entire study of the SHO Operation is not in the plan. It is divided into three phases (3 plans), but the whole plan was directed at the same objective.

Q. I am not so much interested in the Kamikaze, but in the air cover for Admiral KURITA's fleet. Is this covered in the plan?
A. Yes, it is covered in the plan. Due to bad weather they never received cover and the Air Fleet was not able to get into the air. There was a very bad cloud bank between LUZON and BATANGAS. U.S. planes of your Task Force were able to escape through this cloud bank.

Q. Where were your planes on LUZON?
A. NICHOLS Field - and we had an insufficient number of aircraft in the command to complete the mission.

I would like to read you the history of Kamikaze which I have prepared and perhaps you will find the answer to your questions in it.

Admiral ONISHI ordered the organization of the Kamikaze on 19 October 1944. They were ready to go on 20 October, but no opportunity presented itself. On 25 October the first Kamikaze attack was made, having a great morale-raising effect. Although the attacks were ordered by the Commander in Chief (1st Air Fleet), in fact it was originated by the feeling of all combatants in the PHILIPPINE Area. All were beginning to think that there was no way but suicide to save the situation; there were many volunteers.

For example, on 15 October, Admiral ARIMA, Commander of the 26th Air Squadron, himself dove into an aircraft carrier. Admiral ARIMA lit the fuse of the ardent wishes of his men in order to bring their wishes into reality. At this time we in the PHILIPPINES thought about the approach of the crisis, owing to the odds. So we felt as follows: we must give our lives to the Emperor and Country, this is our inborn feeling. I am afraid you cannot understand it well, or you may call it desperate or foolish. We Japanese base our lives on obedience to Emperor and Country. On the other hand, we wish for the best place in death, according to Bushido. Kamikaze originates from these feelings.

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It was the incarnation of these feelings. We believe in absolute obedience to the supreme authority who is unselfish, and whose concern is the welfare and peace of mankind. By this means we can accomplish peace. In view of this - from this standpoint, the Kamikaze deserved the consideration of the whole world.

The center of Kamikaze is morale. To achieve Kamikaze, the ordinary technique of the pilot is sufficient, no special training methods are necessary. Certain points about special attack are given. But to pilots who have had short training and least flight experience we give the essence of Kamikaze attack in the shortest period possible. Later on we gave them training in Kamikaze night attack.

As soon as our reconnaissance flight consisting of several planes ascertained the location of the enemy, then the Kamikaze units would start. Our Kamikaze units tried to make their operations secret so they did not start to attack until preparation was completed and the location of the enemy fleet ascertained. Each unit consisted of five planes; one unit after another would take off in the usual method. The method of attack changed in accordance with the attacks of the Task Force.

Later the method of attack was changed. Small number of planes were deployed to many bases. The other method was to deploy a large number of planes at only a few bases. This method has the advantage of providing many supporting planes. It was useful when defense of your carriers was very effective. This method was also used when we were going to attack the enemy at the landing point.

It is to be regretted that the number of bombers we had were insufficient and cruising radius of planes inadequate.

Q. Were any of the men refused permission to make Kamikaze attacks because they were considered valuable for other missions?
A. Anybody who felt that he wanted to, could do so, and he was pledged to carry out his feelings for the Emperor. The only trouble with the U.S. way of looking at it is if you start out on a mission with the idea of coming back you won't proceed to carry out the mission with 100% efficiency. The main point of failure was the short cruising radius of the planes. When we dispersed a small number of Kamikaze planes to a large number of bases it confused the enemy but lacked cover. When a large number of planes were based at a small number of bases it gave more opportunity for cover but lessened their opportunity to attack objects from many angles.

Q. Were you cognizant of overall air and fleet plans of the PHILIPPINE Campaign.
A. Only with air operations plans of my base.

Q. Were those plans made up by your staff or made up by GHQ?
A. From GHQ. The details and execution of over-all plans were left up to us.

Q. Was the use of Kamikaze envisaged by GHQ?
A. No, they were purely and simply a policy of that base.

Q. First Air Fleet started Kamikaze?
A. Yes.

Q. But the Domei News Agency announced that they were training Kamikaze pilots in August 1944?
A. There is absolutely no basis for such a statement and possibly what they meant was that the Japanese war was going badly and that the nation would use suicide as a policy, not that the Kamikaze was a definite plan.

Q. Were Army and Navy pilots in the first Kamikaze attack?
A. Navy only. Members of the 201st Air Group. This sort of thing has to come up from the bottom and you can't order such a thing. At no time were Kamikaze tactics ordered.

Q. Do you know whether the carrier force under Admiral OZAWA took part in this campaign?
A. A Task Force under his command participated in the attack.

Q. Was it intended that the pilots from the carriers should carry out Kamikaze attacks?
A. There was no plan as to whether carrier-based pilots would take part in the action and it depended on the unit in the area and the responsibility for carrying out the Operations Plan. In the PHILIPPINE Campaign it was the First Air Fleet's responsibility. Because of lack of personnel and planes they felt that it was their responsibility to evolve some tactics that would cope with the situation. Later on when the Second Air Fleet came into the picture in the PHILIPPINE action they, too, had some Kamikaze flyers. But the main point is that initially the Kamikaze concept was a method of coping with local situations and not the result of an overall policy handed down from GHQ.

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Q. Did any of the carrier pilots join your forces on shore or take part in the operations?
A. The carrier-based planes were actively engaged between the period 24th and 26th, after which they joined our land-based forces.

Q. Did any of them carry out Kamikaze attacks from carriers or from your base?
A. Generally it was from a land base that the Kamikaze attacks were started.

Q. When was the Baka (Oka) bomb invented?
A. Approximately August 1944. The name was given to the bomb by a Navy petty officer.

Q. Did it come from GERMANY originally?
A. Maybe; my opinion is absolutely no. It has no connection with the German plan.

Q. Doesn't the fact that construction of Oka was begun in August 1944 indicate a general plan for the use of Kamikaze attacks?
A. The Oka did not precede the Kamikaze plan.

Q. How do you reconcile the two dates, August for Oka and October for Kamikaze?
A. While there may have been overall conceptions of the Kamikaze idea outside the PHILIPPINES, there was no connection. The Kamikaze spirit is uniformly Japanese. They may have very well been thinking about it at Imperial Headquarters but the first were put into practice in the PHILIPPINES. I do not know of any Kamikaze ideas in the Imperial Headquarters.

Q. Did they have Special Attack Units training in Japan?
A. There was no connection; that is, in the plans and policies. The Special Attack is a submarine attack. The common thing with all these attacks is the Kamikaze idea.

Q. In carrying out Kamikaze attacks in the PHILIPPINES was any special method of approach used to avoid radar detection?
A. The main method was to have planes, of course, drop window etc., in order to detract, while the other planes made the main attack.

Q. But as to the altitude of approach, was there any specific instructions?
A. Altitude policy was to fly as high as possible; about 18,000 feet (6000 meters). We tried various altitudes. Came in at 18,000 feet and as soon as they realized that the radar had picked them up they would go down to as low as 80 or 90 meters. After they became accustomed to your defense tactics they found that the easiest altitude was about 3000 meters.

Q. What was the best type for dive attack?
A. Tactics changed with the type of planes. A fighter would come in at 3000 or 4000 meters and then when sighting the enemy would go down to 500 meters and perform a 45° dive.

Q. Did they prefer to attack from astern, ahead, or on the beam?
A. Preferred to aim at the forward elevator from astern. We found that diving from astern and aiming for forward elevators reduced the efficiency of the target's evasive action.

Q. Did they have priority on targets, were they specifically instructed as to what targets to attack, and who issued those instructions?
A. It depended; on certain days, aircraft carriers; on other days, destroyers, etc. It was usually embodied in the Operations Plan handed down by the Commander of the Air Fleet.

Q. Why was it that Kamikaze pilots, when attacked by our fighters, did not attempt evasive tactics?
A. In such cases, if they were quite far off from their main objective, they would take evasive tactics. Sometimes it was too late.

Q. Which service, Army or Navy, conceived the idea first?
A. Navy.

Q. During the PHILIPPINE Campaign what types of aircraft ware used for Special Attack Units?
A. ZEKE, JUDY and FRANCES.

Q. What types of planes were used in the OKINAWA Campaign?
A. Same types of planes were used by the Fifth Air Fleet (KYUSHU) in their suicide attacks at OKINAWA as the First Air Fleet did in the PHILIPPINES, but as the supply of bombers and fighters became insufficient, training planes were used.

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Q. What types of training planes?
A. SHIRAGIKU was used. Also Type 93 (WILLOW) from FORMOSA only. No other type that we could use.

Q. What about float planes?
A. We did use float planes - ALF, PETE and DAVE.

Q. When did you get short of combat type planes?
A. Beginning approximately 10 April 1945.

Q. When was the Tenth Air Fleet formed?
A. 1 March 1945. Fifth, Third, and Tenth Air Fleets cooperated in attacks against OKINAWA.

Q. Was the First Mobile Base (tactical title of Fifth Air Fleet) Air Force Commander in charge of the Fifth, Third, and Tenth Air Fleets?
A. The commander of the First Mobile Base Air Force commanded the Third, and Tenth Air Fleets.

Q. Did the Commander of the Third Air Fleet move from KISARAZU to KYUSHU during the OKINAWA Campaign?
A. The Commander of the Third Air Fleet went from KISARAZU to KANOYA. The Commander of the Tenth Air Fleet went from KASUMIGAURA to KANOYA as soon as the OKINAWA operations began. The Commander of the Tenth Air Fleet stayed in KANOYA a month and went back to KASUMIGAURA. The Fifth Air Fleet Headquarters was at KANOYA. The Commander at KANOYA was Vice Admiral UGAKI, CinC of the Fifth Air Fleet for tactical operation.

Q. Was there any trouble with those three senior commanders being at KANOYA at the same time? Who commanded?
A. There was no trouble at KANOYA. As a matter of fact, the Commanders of the Third and Fifth Air Fleets were classmates at the Naval Academy. The Commander of the Third Air Fleet was a jolly fellow. The Sixth Air Army was under command of the Fifth Air Fleet during the OKINAWA Campaign. The 29th Air Flotilla in FORMOSA was an individual command.

Q. What percentage of hits were obtained in relation to the number of Kamikaze planes employed in the PHILIPPINE Campaign and at OKINAWA?
A. Approximately one-sixth of all Kamikaze planes used in the PHILIPPINES hit their target. My estimate of the OKINAWA figure was approximately one-ninth.

Q. To defend the homeland what percentage of Kamikaze planes were expected to hit targets?
A. I think that it would have depended a lot on the point at which you would have landed. We probably would have used inexperienced pilots and the figure would be probably only one-ninth or one-tenth successful. Another factor in the low score was that we had no defense against fighters.

Q. Were they going to make Kamikaze attacks at night or day, and what type of planes?
A. The plan was to use them primarily at twilight or on bright moonlight nights. SHIRAGIKU, ZERO fighters and WILLOW.

Q. Did you plan to use pathfinder planes equipped with radar during KETSU Operations (Defense of Japan)?
A. There were too few radar equipped planes to plan any considerable use of them in the KETSU Operation. Certain reconnaissance planes were equipped with radar such as FRANCES and MYRT. In my opinion, if it came to KETSU Operations, there would be no need for pathfinder planes for Kamikaze.

Q. Was it planned to use Kamikaze planes after the landings on the beaches?
A. The plan was to wait until the very last moment, until the American forces were dispersed as little as possible and thus inflict a greater amount of damage.

Q. Do the figures or results in the PHILIPPINE and OKINAWA Campaigns include joint Army and Navy Kamikaze units?
A. The figures are for the Navy only. If the Army were involved the figure would probably be less. (i.e. smaller percentage of hits).

Q. Did the Army use Kamikaze attacks in the PHILIPPINES or just the Navy?
A. Both Army and Navy.

Q. Did the Navy plan to use all training planes (Kamikaze) and all combat planes to resist an invasion of KYUSHU or did they plan to hold back some planes for the defense of HONSHU?
A. About 2/3 of the planes would be thrown into an attack on KYUSHU.

685287 O - 46 - 6

NAV-12

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Q. How many flying hours did the Navy Kamikaze pilots have in (a) the PHILIPPINE Campaign (b) the OKINAWA Campaign?
A. Most of the men in the PHILIPPINE Campaign had about 300 hrs., but in the OKINAWA Campaign we had Kamikaze pilots with as little as 100 hours.

Q. Were Kamikaze pilots during the PHILIPPINE Campaign limited to those having 300 hours or less in order to conserve the more experienced flying personnel?
A. Every one of the pilots hoped to get into the Kamikaze Corps but several of them, with the most flight time, were prevented by order of the Commanding Officer from doing so as he wanted them for torpedo bombing.

Q. Why did he limit it to torpedo bombing attack?
A. We felt that torpedo bombing took a greater amount of accuracy.

Q. In the middle of September our carrier force attacked in the PHILIPPINES. Do you know the total loss from those attacks?
A. We lost 200 planes in one attack in one day. About 60 fighters in one day. The total loss in September from the carrier strikes was about 1000.

Q. When the Second Air Fleet came down from FORMOSA. How many did they bring?
A. 300 from FORMOSA on the 22nd of October.

Q. On the 24th of October Admiral KURITA was attacked while passing through the SIBUYAN Sea. Did he have any Navy land-based plane protection?
A. They did not get through because of weather. They planned to but there was no cover.

Q. What did Admiral KURITA have scheduled for the 25th?
A. He depended on indirect support, our planes attacking your ships.

Q. Did Admiral KURITA call for fighters on the 24th when he was attacked?
A. Admiral KURITA did not request air cover. If you haven't got enough planes, there is no sense sending them.

Q. In your opinion, what was the cause of failure of the plan to defend the PHILIPPINES?
A. First, lack of planes; second, lack of experienced pilots; third, the superiority of the U.S. GRUMMAN fighter over the ZERO and the fact that the P-38 could get such good altitude.

Q. Do you feel that the shortages of planes was due to production at home or our attacks?
A. First important reason was production failure. Second was attrition of planes before they reached the scene of combat.

Q. At the start of the war did you expect a long war?
A. I thought it would last more than two years.

Q. At what stage of the war did you realize that victory was not possible for Japan?
A. Battle of MIDWAY.

Q. Were you at MIDWAY?
A. No. After GUADALCANAL, U.S. pressure became irresistible. With a Task Force you still have mobility and you can still operate, but with land-based aircraft you have to have air bases which you must hold or else your air force is neutralized; and when pressure became so strong after GUADALCANAL, we couldn't use our air forces effectively from the bases that we had left. Another factor was that we had no long range planes like U.S. B-29s and B-17s.

NAV-12

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 13
USSBS NO. 96

PEARL HARBOR-MIDWAY-SOLOMONS

TOKYO

15 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain WATANABE, Y., IJN, Gunnery Officer on Admiral YAMAMOTO'S Staff, Commander in Chief 2nd Fleet at MIDWAY Battle June 1942. Member of Military Affairs and Naval Headquarters Staff 1945. Very good command of English language.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

SUMMARY

PEARL HARBOR: Training commenced about August 1941 with special shallow water torpedoes for attack upon PEARL HARBOR. Photo intelligence used at PEARL HARBOR to assess damage.

MIDWAY: Occupation of MIDWAY planned subsequent to the Doolittle raid on TOKYO. Necessary to eliminate that point as a base for air attack upon JAPAN. Four carriers, one heavy cruiser and 4500 personnel lost, resulting in retirement of occupation force. Loss of battle blamed on Jap carrier force which did not maintain sufficient caution and search of area. Same lack of caution resulted in CORAL SEA loss and failure to occupy PORT MORESBY.

GENERAL: Some feeling evident against Japanese Air Force and Army. Think Army too much in politics, not enough in fighting. Loss of war due decline of air force and supporting fuel supply. Opinion JAPAN would have been forced to quit due to lack of fuel and food in 1946 whether cities bombed or not. No territorial aspiration other than CHINA and that part of the world to the west of a line between SINGAPORE, EAST INDIES, SOLOMONS and KISKA. This was to be a protective wall for ASIA.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Do you know the track of the approach to PEARL HARBOR?
A. The start was from SAEKI, the training harbor, about 17 November 1941; then north and across the PACIFIC, just south of the ALEUTIANS, then south to PEARL HARBOR. We had studied the weather on this route for a long time. Upon returning we suffered from heavy seas and strong winds. Several men were killed by the storm on the way back.

Q. How many planes were in the attack and how many lost?
A. About 450 planes. Half of them were defensive and half of them offensive. The loss was not so great. Not over 30 to 40.

Q. What was the objective of the attack upon PEARL HARBOR?
A. In Japanese tactics we are told when we have two enemies, one in front and one in the back, first we must cut in front by sword. Only cut and not kill but make it hard. Then we attack the back enemy and kill him. Then we come back to the front enemy and kill him. This time we took that tactic, having no aim to capture PEARL HARBOR but just to cripple it. We might have returned to capture later.

Q. What were your designated targets?
A. The first aim was at aircraft carriers, but they were out at sea, so attacked other ships.

Q. Did you have any special equipment such as shallow water torpedoes?
A. Yes, we had studied and trained to attack in shallow water with torpedoes. They were special torpedoes to run shallow. We had trained four months, since August 1941, at SAEKI.

Q. Was the purpose of this training to attack PEARL HARBOR or other areas?
A. Only PEARL HARBOR.

Q. Were your midget submarines at PEARL HARBOR considered of any value?
A. It was a morale factor. Young naval officers very much admire bravery of Italian officers in torpedo boats and small submarines. Because of their admiration of Italian officers, they also want to show bravery in submarines.

Q. Did you know the damage that had been done to the American Fleet at PEARL HARBOR?
A. Yes, we knew by photographs. About three weeks after the squadron came back to JAPAN, the fleet received photographs taken during the attack.

NAV-13

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Midway Battle

Q. Were you present in the Battle of MIDWAY, 4 June 1942?
A. Yes, I was Gunnery Officer on Admiral YAMAMOTO's Staff on the battleship YAMATO.

Q. What was the disposition of your fleet relative to MIDWAY?
A. During the approach the transports were to the southwest, carrier forces to the northwest, main body, (battleships, cruisers) to the west. One force, in ALEUTIAN ISLANDS.

Q. What was the command arrangement?
A. Admiral YAMAMOTO, in YAMATO, was in command of entire operation, including the occupation forces. Admiral NAGANO commanded carrier forces.

Q. How did the force retire after the battle?
A. The main body went west, carrier group ordered to join main body to return to JAPAN, some to SINGAPORE. Cruiser Division Seven broke off from the transport group and continued on toward MIDWAY. During the night, the MOGAMI and MIKUMA collided. MOGAMI received great damage from the collision. Due to the damage to this cruiser, the cruiser division also retired. The MIKUMA was sunk by dive-bombers the next day.

Q. What were the plans leading up to the attack?
A. We intended to capture MIDWAY because on 18 April we were attacked in TOKYO for the first time. We thought the planes came from MIDWAY.

Q. Did you believe, that by taking MIDWAY there would be no more raids on TOKYO?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you intend to go beyond MIDWAY?
A. If we could, we wanted to go to PEARL HARBOR; but it was not authorized, because it was too far. We intended to capture small islands between MIDWAY and PEARL HARBOR. If we captured these islands, the land-based planes could attack PEARL HARBOR. We wanted to capture PEARL HARBOR later.

Q. What was your plan of employment of MIDWAY after capture?
A. We planned to use it as a base for long-range search planes and for submarines. The attack on the ALEUTIANS ISLANDS was part of the same plan. We planned only air raids, but we wanted to capture KISKA a little later.

Q. Did you plan to hold KISKA and, DUTCH HARBOR and then move down to the UNITED STATES?
A. Not that far. Only to protect JAPAN from air raids.

Q. How much military force was in the convoy at MIDWAY?
A. Not quite sure, but we had one marine regiment, about 1500; and one military regiment, about 1000. We expected to land 6 June.

Q. What ships were lost at MIDWAY?
A. Five ships sunk: AKAGI, KAGA, SORYU, HIRYU, MIKUMA. I think all sunk by dive-bomber action.

Q. Did this operation have any number or name?
A. MI, which stood for MIDWAY ISLAND action.

Q. Do you know how many personnel were lost in the MIDWAY Battle?
A. I think 700 on each of the carriers went down and about 1000 on the MIKUMA; a few others may have been lost. The total lost was about 4,500. Admiral YAMAGUCHI was killed. If Admiral YAMAGUCHI had been saved, he would have eventually been made Commander of the Grand Fleet.

Q. How was the operation order to attack given to the fleet?
A. In early May we gathered at the Naval Station HASHIRAJIMA, a port near KURE, and were told in a conference. Afterwards the transports went to SAIPAN. They then received sailing orders by letter, carried by plane. Beginning-to-sail orders went by wireless but after sailing they used no wireless.

Q. How long did you expect to be able to hold MIDWAY?
A. We expected to be able to hold MIDWAY about three months without reinforcements.

NAV-13

--66--

Q. Did you lack any special equipment for the landing force?
A. There was sufficient forces to capture and hold MIDWAY with adequate equipment; but due to lack of precaution on the part of the air force, it was lost. The people of JAPAN are not trained to keep secrets and the important information of the cabinet was spread by the members. JAPAN was successful in the early part of the war because its moves were secret. Before the war started, members of the air forces and naval officers aboard ship sometimes quarreled about ships against airplanes. During the early time of the war, the air force attacked the battleships REPULSE and PRINCE OF WALES and sunk them off SINGAPORE. After attacking PEARL HARBOR, the air force believed the aircraft carriers were very strong and could inflict a great deal of damage on enemy surface ships. This attitude continued up to the Battle of MIDWAY. The failure of the air force to maintain an adequate search for the American carrier fleet at MIDWAY, plus the fact that the JAPANESE submarine line running north and south between 165W and 170W, was too far east to locate the American fleet, are the reasons given for the loss of the Battle of MIDWAY.

Q. At what point was the decision made to discontinue the campaign?
A. After carriers were sunk the order to retire was sent out at ten o'clock in the night. At that time only the remaining ships of the air force and transports turned around. Cruisers and main body went ahead.

Q. What was the plan of employment of this main body and cruisers?
A. The cruisers were going to proceed and shell MIDWAY and the main body was to proceed towards carrier forces to give protection and rescue survivors. The main body advanced to within the range of American long-range planes and then joined up with destroyers and cruisers from carrier forces.

Q. What factor determined the cancellation of the plan to bombard MIDWAY?
A. The collision of the two heavy cruisers during the night.

Q. Were any battleships sunk or damaged?
A. May have been damaged slightly by bombs, not sure.

Q. Do you know if HARUNA was damaged at MANILA on 8 December or at MIDWAY?
A. She did not receive damage at either place. No damage to battleships or cruisers at MANILA.

Q. Were any transports damaged at MIDWAY?
A. They turned back before attacked. One may have been damaged by torpedo but not sunk. I am not sure of damage.

Q. When was first contact made with American bombers?
A. About three hours after sunrise on 4 June.

Q. Did you receive any reports of our long-range bombers over your main body?
A. Next day your long-range bombers came, but no damage. That was on 5 June.

Q. During the afternoon of 8 June, was your formation attacked by long-range bombers?
A. Yes, but there was no damage to battleships or cruisers. The same afternoon long-range bombers also attacked transports to southwest, possibly inflicting slight damage to one transport. I heard that about midnight, before the main battle, the force was attacked by seaplanes with torpedoes. One transport hit but not seriously. Damaged the bottom.

Q. Was your formation or transport formation attacked early the next morning on 4 June?
A. No, neither main body nor transports were attacked.

Q. On 5 June, were you attacked by long-range bombers?
A. No, transports perhaps, but we received no report of having been attacked or damaged.

Q. How near did your main body approach MIDWAY before returning?
A. About 500 miles. The remaining ships from the carrier force were scheduled to join the main body of ships after sunrise on 5 June. Upon completion of the rendezvous all ships retired.

Q. Were the MOGAMI and MIKUMA attacked by long-range bombers on the 5th June?
A. Yes, very high but no hits. I think it was morning.

Q. When was the MIKUMA sunk?
A. I think the MIKUMA sank in the afternoon; but was damaged in the morning by dive-bombers, couldn't navigate very well. The MOGAMI damaged at the same time but not too badly.

NAV-13

--67--

Q. Just before sunset on the 5th, were those cruisers attacked by long-range bombers?
A. I don't think so. It was not reported.

Q. Were any other ships attacked by long-range bombers?
A. Some were attacked but no hits. One destroyer damaged by carrier planes in the afternoon. The KUMA was damaged and I think the KINUGASA. I don't know what type of planes.

Q. On the 6th of June during the retreat, did our carrier planes attack battleships of the main body?
A. No bombers seen by the main body during retirement.

Q. When the main body retired, did your submarines also retire?
A. Yes, but couldn't find any American ships. They fired on MIDWAY while passing.

Q. What effect did the loss of the carriers have on your later plans?
A. Many planes and a number of pilots were lost in the action, which, weakened the Navy Air Force, requiring training to replace them. The Army refused to take their pilots from MANCHURIA and CHINA during the SOLOMONS Campaign, therefore the Navy was required to furnish pilots in that area. Some went to ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU.

Q. Did the army provide pilots in the SOLOMONS also?
A. Yes, second class Army pilots were put ashore in SOLOMONS.

Q. Did the Japanese Navy then plan to operate within range of the shore-base planes?
A. Yes, until they got more carriers. In the movement of the squadrons, the pilots flew from island to island. Only Navy pilots took part. The Army pilots remained on a single base due to lack of navigational training.

Q. Did you have radar installed on your ships at the Battle of MIDWAY?
A. No, about August 1942 it was installed.

Solomons

Q. At the Battle of the BISMARK SEA, March 1943, what damage was inflicted on your convoy?
A. Am not quite sure, but think that a few transports and two escorts were sunk.

Q. What was the plan for your task forces in the CORAL SEA in May 1942.
A. In the Battle of the CORAL SEA, the SHOHO had started down with a small task group to attack PORT MORESBY from sea. In passing through the CORAL SEA, the air force on the SHOHO failed to maintain proper precaution and were attacked by the American air force and sunk. The ZUIKAKU and the SHOKAKU were sent down at the same time to support the SHOHO force and intercept the American carrier. Later the SHOKAKU was very badly damaged, the ZUIKAKU received minor damages and many people killed. The SHOKAKU nearly capsized. Admiral YAMAMOTO sent me to investigate damage of SHOKAKU.

Q. How long was it required to repair the SHOKAKU?
A. About three months. About one month for ZUIKAKU.

Q. Did the damage to those carriers effect [sic] your plans in the SOLOMONS?
A. It delayed our plans to capture GUADALCANAL and occupy the SOLOMONS.

Q. Why were the troops and ships that were sent down to the SOLOMON ISLANDS sent down in small numbers instead of large numbers?
A. The original plan didn't call for capturing GUADALCANAL. However, a local commander from TULAGI went over to GUADALCANAL for pleasure and then decided to make an airfield. We had only about 1,000 men, mostly laborers for building airfields. We received information that only about 800 to 1,000 American troops had landed, so we sent down about 1,000 to assist our troops then on shore, to drive out the Americans. They were defeated. This was the first time that the Japanese Army had been defeated, and then we sent 5,000 down but they weren't strong enough to drive out the Americans and recapture the island. Then we tried to send more, but we lost both ships and men. The Army had been used to fighting the Chinese Army.

General

Q. Was the Navy prepared to conduct a long war?
A. Two or three years. It is the opinion of most Navy officers that the tide was turning with the loss of SAIPAN. It was pretty definite that the war was lost following the loss of LEYTE and OKINAWA, but we were not sure.

NAV-13

--68--

Plate 13-1: Map of Battle of Midway.
Plate 13-1: Map of Battle of Midway.
Map of Action Chart of the Battle of Midway.
Map of Action Chart of the Battle of Midway.

NAV-13

--69--

Q. About how long did you think the war would last?
A. About three years. When MARSHALL ISLANDS, RABAUL and KISKA were occupied, I felt that that should be the extent of our operation and it should be made a line of defense in order to preserve that territory for the defense of the EMPIRE.

Q. Why wasn't the Japanese submarine used for more offensive work?
A. Since we did not have air or sea control, owing to the Army's eager request for supplies, we had to supply them by submarines. It then became a habit to supply them in that manner. Poor tactics.

Q. Do you know what caused the decrease in Japanese air power? Was it the loss of planes, loss of pilots, lack of fuel to train pilots, or due to the results in the SOLOMONS?
A. The reason this war was a failure was due to the decrease of our air force. After you captured LEYTE, the fuel became less and less. Then we endeavored to produce fuel from sugar. The sugar was obtained from FORMOSA, but this was not enough.

Q. What caused your greatest loss in shipping?
A. In the case of shipping, the cause was by submarines in the area, and later it was principally mines. Along the CHINA Coast it was airplanes.

Q. Along the southern islands of JAPAN were many ships sunk by our planes?
A. Many fishing boats. Near the end of the war, the number of ships sunk by aircraft was about the same as those sunk by submarines.

Q. Do you feel that the attack on shipping was sufficient to bring about the close of the war?
A. Yes. I think if you didn't bomb the cities your attacks on shipping would have brought the same results by next Spring (1946).

Q. What would have been the cause of the close of war?
A. The great cause for the close of the war would have been lack of fuel and food which is shipped in.

Q. Did you plan to occupy AUSTRALIA?
A. We didn't want to go to AUSTRALIA. The Navy was very rich with ships so we only planned to set up a protective wall extending from SINGAPORE through EAST INDIES, SOLOMONS, and the MARSHALL Group to KISKA. The Japanese Army was supposed to capture CHINA, but CHINA was so big that they were unable to completely do so. We didn't think that the Japanese Army did very well. We think that the Japanese Navy did better.

Q. Was the Navy ready for this war or did the Army force the Navy into it?
A. After the Army captured MANCHURIA, they had great power in politics. The officers instead of studying war began to study politics. In the SOLOMONS they should have studied war instead of politics. That is my experience in this war.

NAV-13

--70--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 14
USSBS NO. 67

OCCUPATION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES

TOKYO

20 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain FUJITA, Masamichi, IJN. Staff Officer of 2nd Fleet from 1941 to 1942; and Staff Member of Bureau of Military Affairs, N.D., Tokyo from 1942 to 1945.

Interrogated by: Commander T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

The Japanese advance into the PHILIPPINES, DUTCH EAST INDIES and BRITISH MALAYA involved the defeat of the principal enemy forces encountered plus the seizure and occupation of strategic points. It was planned to accomplish this by surprise air attacks combined with simultaneous thrusts extending over a wide area. Speed was the keynote of the operation since it was anticipated that the Japanese Fleet would be required to meet a counter-attack by the bulk of the United States Fleet. The critical factor in the timing of the operation was the destruction of American air strength in the PHILIPPINES. This was successfully accomplished.

Captain FUJITA explains the organization of the Southern Force, the general plans, and certain details concerning the operation.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What was the specific objective of the operation in the SOUTH PACIFIC?
A. The objective of the Southern Operations was to overcome the principal forces of the American, British and Dutch Forces in the Southern Area and to seize and occupy the following places in order named: PHILIPPINES, BRITISH MALAYA, BURMA, CELEBES, SUMATRA, TIMOR and other Dutch islands. It was planned to occupy these areas after surprise attacks and to make every effort to complete this operation as soon as possible in order to release the Southern Force for other planned operations.

Q. Did the operation go according to plan?
A. Yes, the operation was to be carried out in the following manner:

  1. Attack and occupation of BRITISH MALAYA.
  2. Surprise air attack on the PHILIPPINES, weather might delay the operation, but in spite of the delay the raids would still be carried out. We planned to utilize air attack to the extreme in order to destroy all American aircraft in the PHILIPPINES. After which the areas would be occupied in the following order:
PHILIPPINES TIMOR
BORNEO BALI
CELEBES SUMATRA
AMBON JAVA

Q. Was the destruction of the American air force in the PHILIPPINES the critical factor in the timing of the operation?
A. Yes, if we could take care of the enemy air force then the invasion could be conducted on schedule.

Q. What was the specific mission of Admiral KONDO's Force (Southern Force)?
A. (1) To destroy the enemy air force and (2) to support the landing force.

Q. Draw a diagram indicating the organization of the Southern Force during occupation of the PHILIPPINES and DUTCH EAST INDIES.

V. Admiral KONDO
(Second Fleet)
SOUTHERN FORCE

MAIN BODY
(2 Battleships, 2 Heavy Cruisers, 4 Destroyers)

PHILIPPINE ISLAND GROUP
1 (3 Heavy Cruisers, 10 Destroyers, Auxiliary craft)
2 (3 Heavy Cruisers, 1 Light Cruiser, 12 Destroyers)
3 (1 Light Cruiser, 12 Destroyers)
4 (1 Light Cruiser, 12 Destroyers)

ELEVENTH AIR FLEET
(21 Flot - 150 planes) (22 Flot - 100 planes)
(23 Flot - 150 planes)

SUBMARINE GROUP
(4th Squad - 5 Subs) (5th Squad - 6 Subs)
(6th Squad - 4 Subs)

MINELAYER GROUP
(2 minelayers)

MALAYA GROUP
(4 Heavy Cruisers, 1 Light Cruiser, 10 Destroyers)

NAV-14

--71--

Q. What was the general plan for the PHILIPPINE Attack?
A. The first objective was to destroy the American air force by an air attack launched from FORMOSA, mostly Navy planes. To assist in this we planned to occupy APARRI and BATAN Islands 120 miles north of LUZON and establish an emergency airfield there. This was necessary because of the comparative short range of the Army planes. A few days later, about 12 December, we were scheduled to attack DAVAO and LEGASPI. These attacks were staged from PALAU. Ten days later, about 22 December, we were to land at LAMON Bay and LINGAYAN Gulf. After the landings were effected, it was the duty of the Army to complete the occupation. If the situation in BRITISH MALAYA and THAILAND permitted, we would make a sudden landing. Plans were also to attack MIRI (BORNEO) by air and simultaneously to make a landing with a small force. MIRA and KUCHING, valuable because of oil, were actually occupied on 16 and 29 December respectively. During the occupation of the PHILIPPINES, it was planned to launch simultaneously an invasion against BORNEO, TARAKAN, BALIKPAPAN and BANDJERMASIN. These landings were staged from PALAU. At the same time MENADO, KENDARI, MAKASSAR in the CELEBES and AMBON and DUTCH TIMOR were to be occupied. Parachute troops were used at MENADO, KOEPANG and PALEMBANG. After the neutralization of SINGAPORE, it was planned to occupy JAVA.

Q. Were the forces used in the JAVA occupation part of the forces used in the PHILIPPINES?
A. Not entirely. This force was staged from CHINA and JAPAN and the PHILIPPINES. It was planned to land at three places, BATAVIA, SOERABAJA and the center north coast of JAVA. The fleet supporting the landing in the PHILIPPINES combined with the forces at MIRI and proceeded to JAVA. The entire operation was a joint operation between the Army and Navy. The total number of Navy land-based aircraft employed in the entire operation was 300 in the PHILIPPINES - 100 at SAIGON. The 300 planes in the PHILIPPINES were moved in to the EAST INDIES as the operation progressed. The entire operation went according to plan and only minor changes were necessary. The Commander in Chief of the Second Fleet was in direct command of the MALAYA operation. In the middle of January, we rendezvoused at PALAU with a carrier force from JAPAN and proceeded to KENDARI and then to the area south of JAVA where we remained until the operation for the occupation of JAVA was completed.

Q. Were you familiar with the general over all plans?
A. Yes, all plans in general.

Q. Did the success of PEARL HARBOR alter these plans in any way?
A. The operation plans were made up with the fact in mind the PEARL HARBOR operation was going to be a success.

Q. What action did you expect the American Fleet to take after the war started?
A. I thought the American submarine forces would cause trouble, but didn't expect strong forces of surface craft.

Q. Did you expect reinforcements to come from the UNITED STATES after the war started?
A. We didn't think that reinforcements would come direct but we had in mind that the American Fleet would be assembled in the PACIFIC for a counterattack and that is the reason why we hurried with the operation.

Q. During the approach of the PHILIPPINE Group to LUZON, were air attacks expected?
A. Yes, they were, and we took the necessary precautions. All A.A. guns were manned and all units were kept out of range as much as possible. (600 miles).

Q. Do you know why CLARK and NICHOLS Fields were not attacked at daylight or shortly thereafter on 8 December?
A. The plan was to attack at dawn, but because of the bad weather, the attack was delayed until 1230.

NAV-14

--72--

Q. Can you tell me the total number of ships the Japanese Force lost, both combat and merchant ships in this operation?
A. Two or three mine sweepers were lost. I believe two destroyers were lost to submarine attack. No other major damage was encountered by our ships. I do not know about merchant ships.

Q. Were there any Japanese ships sunk in the JAVA SEA BATTLE?
A. No, only damaged. There were no battleships present.

Q. After the battle, some of our ships attempted to escape through the Straits. Do you know anything about them?
A. I knew they were sunk, but no detail. I believe that the destroyer FUBUKI sank the HOUSTON.

Q. Did the large Japanese force operating south of JAVA have any action at all?
A. A Dutch destroyer was sunk, but it was thought to be the American cruiser MARBLEHEAD at the time.

Q. In the LINGAYAN operations, were the ships supporting the landing in the Gulf attacked by aircraft?
A. Yes, I think by land-based planes.

Q. Do you know what damage the ships received?
A. I think that one light cruiser was slightly damaged.

NAV-14

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 15
USSBS NO. 74

OPERATIONS OF JAPANESE NAVAL AIRCRAFT DURING INVASION OF PHILIPPINES AND NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES

TOKYO

20 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain TAKAHASHI, Chihaya; on the Staff of the Eleventh Air Fleet in the PHILIPPINES and DUTCH EAST INDIES from May 1941 to December 1942; from January 1943 until June 1945 he was Senior Member of the Navy Aeronautic Bureau, TOKYO; from July '45 to August '45 he was Senior Staff of Fifth Air Fleet and Senior Staff of Third Air Fleet.

Interrogated by: Commander T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

On 8 December 1941, Eleventh Air Fleet was based in FORMOSA and FRENCH INDO-CHINA in preparation for the invasion of the PHILIPPINES, DUTCH INDIES and BRITISH MALAYA. The primary mission of the Japanese force in FORMOSA, composed of about 300 fighters and bombers, was the annihilation of the American air force in the PHILIPPINES. In this it was successful, partly because complete information relative to the American air force was obtained by aerial reconnaissance prior to commencement of hostilities. Captain TAKAHASHI discusses the general plans as well as certain details of the operations during the Japanese development of their Southern Empire.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Make a chart showing the disposition of forces of the Eleventh Air Fleet on 8 December 1941. Show number of aircraft by type as well as location?
A. As of 8 December 1941, the Eleventh Air Fleet under Vice Admiral TSUKAHARA, headquarters at TAKAO, was organized as indicated:

Eleventh Air Fleet
Vice Admiral TSUKAHARA  
Headquarters-TAKAO

21st Air Flotilla
Rear Admiral TADA
Headquarters-TAINAN

FIRST GROUP (TAKAO)
72 VF (Zeke)
24 VF (Reserve)
6-9 VS (Recon.)

KANOYA GROUP (TAIGHU)
54 VB (2) (Betty)
18 VB (2) (Reserve)

TOKO GROUP (PALAU)
12 VP (4) (Mavis)
4 VP (4) (Reserve)

23rd Air Flotilla
Rear Admiral TAKENAKA
Headquarters-TAKAO

TAKAO GROUP (TAKAO)
54VB (2) (Betty)
18 VB (2) (Reserve)

THIRD GROUP (TAKAO)
72 VF (Zeke)
18 VF (Reserve)
6-9 VS (Recon.)

22nd Air Flotilla
Rear Admiral MATSUNAGA
Headquarters-SAIGON

GENZAN GROUP (SAIGON)
27 VB (2) (Nell)
9 VB (2) (Reserve)

MIHORA GROUP (SAIGON)
27 VB (2) (Nell)
9 VB (2) (Reserve)

NOTE: Parts of the First and Third Air Group of the Eleventh Air Fleet were also located in South FRENCH INDO-CHINA and had 18 Zekes and Claudes. A part of the KANOYA Air Group was also located in FRENCH INDO-CHINA composed of 27 Bettys and 9 reserve planes.

Q. What Army air forces were deployed in the same areas in which the Eleventh Air Fleet operated?
A. In FORMOSA, the Army had about 160 planes and the Navy had 300. In FRENCH INDO-CHINA the Army had 200 planes and the Navy 100. The Fifth Air Army was in FORMOSA and the Third Air Army was in FRENCH INDO-CHINA.

NAV-15

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Q. What was the general plan for the use of the air forces in FORMOSA during the invasion of the PHILIPPINES?
A. The first purpose was to annihilate the U.S. air force in the PHILIPPINES and the secondary purpose was to attack U.S. naval forces in the same area. However, because of the insufficient number of Japanese planes, the attack was made solely against U.S. air power. Also the American cruisers, destroyers and submarines withdrew, left the PHILIPPINE Area before the campaign began.

Q. Did you expect your surprise attack on the morning of 8th December to destroy the entire American air force?
A. Japanese intelligence indicated that there were approximately 300 American planes in the LUZON Area and it was believed that within a week's time we could annihilate all American planes in the PHILIPPINES. We did not expect to destroy all of them because it was thought that many of them would seek refuge in southern areas. The Japanese feared mostly that, at the time of the first attack, the American planes would take refuge in the southern area, therefore making the campaign very difficult.

Q. How many planes were employed in the first attack on LUZON? Include Army planes.
A. In the first attack on the 8th of December, Navy planes participating were 72 fighters and 100 bombers. This number was small because in order to make a dawn attack the planes had to leave FORMOSA during the night and experienced pilots were required. Army planes were not long range enough to operate any further down than the northern tip of LUZON and then only a very few attacked there on the eighth. Air forces attacking south of the PHILIPPINES during remainder of the campaign were all Navy.

Q. What time did this first wave attack CLARK and NICHOLS Fields?
A. The planes arrived at NICHOLS and CLARK Fields between 12 and 1. The intention had been for the first wave to arrive at 7:30 in the morning; but because of bad weather, it was impossible.

Q. Were provisions made to replace losses of Japanese aircraft?
A. There was plan to use the reserves.

Q. Were there plans to bring additional squadrons from JAPAN in case they were needed?
A. Within the first month if we had 25% to 40% losses, as we more or less expected, they had made plans to replace such losses from planes in JAPAN.

Q. How many planes did they lose in December 1941?
A. I don't remember the figure for December, but the losses for the first week were 30 planes and pilots. This was considerable less than expected.

Q. Did you expect serious opposition from the American air forces?
A. Yes, we did; but they were destroyed on ground.

Q. List the airfields used in this campaign.
A. BATAN Island, APARRI, LEGASPI, DAVAO, JOLO, MENADO, TARAKAN, BALIKPAPAN, MACASSAR, BANDJERMASIN, BALI, KENDARI, AMBON and KOEPANG.

Q. Indicate the seaplane bases used by the Japanese.
A. PALAU, DAVAO, KEMO and AMBON.

Q. Did you use Zero fighters on floats?
A. No, not until the SOLOMONS Operations.

Q. Did the Army air force move from FORMOSA to the PHILIPPINES ISLANDS after they were occupied?
A. The Army air force moved from FORMOSA to LAOAG and VIGAN. However, these fields were unusable and the Army air units moved to CLARK and NICHOLS Fields.

Q. Did the Army air units operate south of the PHILIPPINES?
A. The Army aircraft didn't operate south of the PHILIPPINES during the invasion.

Q. Do you know of the attack on JOLO by the American flying boats?
A. Yes, ships unloading received considerable damage at the time.

Q. Did the large flying boats operate from bases other than KEMO and AMBON?
A. From PALAU, seaplanes attacked ships in the AMBON Area at night.

NAV-15

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Q. Were these planes supplied from shore bases or from seaplane tenders?
A. Shore bases, no mother ships were used.

Q. Where were the aircraft based which attacked American cruisers on 4 February?
A. KENDARI.

Q. What bases were used by the aircraft which bombed SOERABAJA?
A. KENDARI. That was the field that was best for bombers.

Q. What type of aircraft sank the American carrier LANGLEY on 26 February?
A. LANGLEY was found by search planes, was sunk by five to nine planes, BETTY Type One.

Q. What was the normal range which the land-based bombers operated?
A. About 500 to 600 miles or in case of necessity 700 miles.

Q. Why didn't the Japanese include the use of aircraft carriers in the plans for the occupation of the PHILIPPINES and DUTCH EAST INDIES?
A. They didn't think that they were needed to use them. Partly because of the action in the Central PACIFIC and the need to reserve them for later action which was expected south of the DUTCH EAST INDIES.

Q. Can you list by date the general progress of the Eleventh Air Fleet as it moved south?
A. The main strength of the Eleventh Air Fleet was based at TAKAO at the beginning of the war. On 5 January 1942 it moved to DAVAO and about the beginning of February it was moved to KENDARI. The campaign in that area ended in March.

Q. Did the Commander Eleventh Air Fleet provide air support for the invasion force at LINGAYAN Gulf?
A. Yes, they did.

Q. What gave the Japanese the impression that there were 900 planes in the area and how did you discover that there were 300 instead of 900?
A. The Navy received, on 20 November 1941, a report from the Foreign Affairs Department that there were about 900 planes in the LUZON Area. A photographic reconnaissance plane conducted a search on the 24th or 25th of November over that area and discovered that there were only 300 planes. One reconnaissance plane made flights at that time, basing at TAKAO, FORMOSA.

Q. Did the Japanese consider the American Army and Navy pilots equal?
A. I don't know speaking generally, but the naval aircraft fighters are the best.

Q. Was the Eleventh Air Fleet able at all time to carry out their assigned mission during this campaign?
A. Yes, the entire campaign went according to schedule.

Q. Did you learn any lessons from this campaign of value for future operations?
A. I learned that supplies were the most important factor to operate planes. I thought that the movement into the SOLOMONS Area would make this problem more serious and was of the opinion that Japan shouldn't move into that direction but hold what we had.

Q. At what time was the naval air force in FORMOSA strengthened in preparation for attack on PHILIPPINES?
A. 1 October to 16 November.

Q. When did you receive orders stating that the war was to begin?
A. On 2 December we heard war was to start unless negotiations were successful.

Q. Did you expect JAVA to receive any reinforcements from AUSTRALIA?
A. Yes, that is why we captured KOEPANG as soon as possible.

NAV-15

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 16
USSBS NO. 75

BATTLE OF EASTERN SOLOMONS, 23-25 AUGUST 1945
BATTLE OF SANTA CRUZ, 26 OCTOBER 1942
SOLOMONS CAMPAIGN, 1942-1943

TOKYO

12 October 1945

Interrogation of: Commander OKUMIYA, Masatake, IJN, Class 1927, I.J.N.A. On Air Staff and Commander RABAUL Air Group 1942 - 1943.

Interrogated by: Captain C. Shands, USN.

Allied Officers Present: Commander T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

SANTA CRUZ: Composition of Japanese Second and Third Fleets, which were operating just north of the SOLOMONS to (1) support Japanese landing on GUADALCANAL, 13-23 October 1942, and (2) to intercept U.S. troop convoys to GUADALCANAL and U.S. Carrier Task Force. In carrier duel on 26 October, SHOKAKU, ZUIHO and CHIKUMA were damaged. Heavy Japanese air losses contributed to weakening defense of SOLOMONS.

SOLOMONS: GUADALCANAL an intermediate step in southern movement. Main action in SOLOMONS Campaign considered (1) GUADALCANAL (2) MUNDA (3) VELLA LAVELLA (4) EMPRESS AUGUSTA BAY. Inability to hold SOLOMONS attributed to U.S. Navy sea and air action in SOLOMONS Area and lack of landing barges. Heavy-bomber raid on airfield more effective than carrier raid. Carrier raid most effective on aircraft and shipping. RABAUL and TRUK neutralized due to inability to supply. Employment of submarines to supply isolated garrisons considered poor policy. Mining of RABAUL a deterrent to submarine supply operation. Aircraft pilot reports of damage inflicted on enemy always optimistic and only used for newspaper publicity. Staff planning used pessimistic estimate.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. Do you know how the RYUJO was sunk in the battle of 23-25 August 1942?
A. It was by carrier dive-bomber and torpedo planes about 25 August. The SHOKOKU, ZUIKAKU and RYUJO were in the SOLOMONS at this time. About the 24th, the carrier RYUJO, the heavy cruiser TONE, and 3 DDs were attacked near GUADALCANAL. They didn't know the source of the dive-bombers and torpedo planes but they were carrier type and came from the direction of GUADALCANAL. Perhaps one destroyer was also sunk.

Q. Are you familiar with the Battle off SANTA CRUZ, 25-26 October 1942?
A. I was there and am familiar with it. I was on the Air Staff of the 2nd Flying Squadron.

Q. What ships were involved?
A. Composition of Japanese Fleet at SANTA CRUZ, 25-26 October 1942 -

Second Fleet Vice Admiral KONDO, N., Commander in Chief
1 (CV) JUNYO 2nd Flying Squadron
2 (BB) KONGO, HARUNA 3rd Flying Squadron
4 (CA) ATAGO, TAKAO, CHOKAI, MAYA 4th Flying Squadron
2 (CA) MYOKO, HAGURO  
1 (CL) JINTSU (?)  
12 (DDs)  
   
Third Fleet Vice Admiral NAGUMO, C., Commander in Chief, and commanding whole fleet.
3 (CVs) SHOKAKU (F), ZUIKAKU, ZUIHO 1st Flying Squadron
2 (BBs) HIEI, KIRISHIMA 11th Squadron
2 (CAs) SUZUYA, KUMANO 7th Squadron
2 (CAs) TONE, CHIKUMA 8th Squadron
1 (CL)  
12(DDs)  
Some tankers in addition.  

NAV-16

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Plate 16-1: Track Chart Japanese Forces, Battle of Santa Cruz, 25-26 Oct 1942.
Plate 16-1: Track Chart Japanese Forces, Battle of Santa Cruz, 25-26 Oct 1942, submitted by I. J. Naval Staff College, Annex A.

NAV-16

--78--

Q. Was the HIYO in the action?
A. No. HIYO had engine trouble at TRUK. The JUNYO was alone in Second Fleet, but I don't believe it was near enough to get in any action.

Q. Did any of the pilots and planes that survived the Battle of MIDWAY come down into the SOLOMONS?
A. In the MIDWAY Battle there were a great many survivors. Because our pilots were in the air when carrier sank, they were rescued by destroyers. Most of the MIDWAY flyers were put on the carriers SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and RYUJO. The pilots left from MIDWAY were familiar with carrier operations so put them on these carriers.

Q. What was the mission of the Task Force that was operating in that area?
A. It was a support for the landing operations on GUADALCANAL, scheduled for between 13th and 23rd October.

Q. Did the action of the SANTA CRUZ Battle have any effect upon the landing date?
A. I heard landing was completed on the 25th but that the results were not as successful as expected.

Q. Did that action have any effect on the 14 November night battle?
A. No. The Task Force went back to TRUK on 30 October after SANTA CRUZ Battle, reorganized, then came the 14 November action. Do not know if it affected the plans. Only the 2nd Flying Squadron's planes engaged at SANTA CRUZ, so they had planes during the time of the November action.

Q. What carriers were damaged at SANTA CRUZ?
A. SHOKAKU received four bomb hits on port side amidships and two at the after elevator. The ZUIHO received one bomb hit near the after elevator. The cruiser GHIKUMA got five bomb hits. The destroyer TERUTSUKI got a near miss by a United States flying boat about midnight after the battle. When TERUTSUKI was bombed, the Japanese knew American planes were near the fleet so the Japanese carriers continued to retire northward. Some cruisers and battleships stayed near scene of battle and saw your carrier burning. I saw it from the air. They proceeded to Truk.

Q. Do you know how long after sunrise the first hits were made?
A. The ZUIKAKU was hit about two hours after daylight, about 0830. The SHOKAKU was hit later, about 40 minutes after the raid of Japanese airplanes had departed.

Q. Were any airplanes aboard the carrier when hit?
A. No, all off in attack group except about 16 planes in the fighter cover.

Q. Did those planes come back to the SHOKAKU later?
A. No, they couldn't land on board. They went to the ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO.

Q. How many planes did the aircraft carrier normally carry?
A.

  SHOKAKU ZUIKAKU ZUIHO JUNYO
VF 27 27 21 18
VB 27 18   18
VT 18 18 6 9
  72 63 27 45

About 2/3 were lost. Total lost about 100.

Q. How many planes were involved in the operation from the carriers?
A. About 176. There were three waves. They all went out in the first wave; fewer planes in the second raid, about 60; then in the third wave about 30.

Q. Was the MYOKO or TONE hit by bombs?
A. I think not, but there were near misses. I am not certain. An awful lot of torpedoes came but no hits. In my opinion it was a heavy attack.

Q. Were any horizontal-bombers involved in this attack?
A. About ten B-24s, but the Japanese fighters drove them away so were not attacked. Late at night we received a torpedo attack from possibly, a B-24, but we were able to avoid it by evasive action.

Q. Where did the damaged ships go?
A. All went to TRUK. Then the SHOKAKU, ZUIHO and CHIKUMA returned to JAPAN for repair. It took about 3-4 months to repair the SHOKAKU.

Q. Were any other cruisers or battleships hit?
A. I didn't hear that they were.

NAV-16

--79--

Q. When did you receive first information of our carrier Task Force?
A. When south of the GILBERTS, north of HEBRIDES. The Japanese headquarters at TRUK knew of a convoy of transports and battleships approaching GUADALCANAL from the southeast about the middle of October. They believed United States Navy convoy would be about lat. 14°S, 191°E on chart, south of GUADALCANAL. The Japanese carrier force didn't think so since they knew our search planes from GILBERTS had sighted an American carrier approaching from the east. Japanese carrier force was supposed to attack south convoy but hesitated to do so. Because of radio silence this information was not sent to TRUK. Communication difficulties. TRUK did not know of American carriers. So the Second and Third Fleets waited north of GUADALCANAL while your carriers approached. Our carriers were familiar with position of your carrier force the entire time although TRUK did not have the information regarding position of our carrier force. Our force hesitated about how far south to go. The thing that decided it was your approach. One of our scout planes, scouting on bearing 098°T, saw your carrier force in the morning of the 26th. He was supposed to scout 260 miles southeast and 100 miles north.

Q. Did you have submarines in the vicinity?
A. I think they were farther south.

Q. Did you have any report that your planes had damaged or sunk our carriers?
A. There was a report from the planes that an ENTERPRISE class carrier was hit, maybe two. The reports did not come in clearly. We were sure that one was sunk because we saw it, but we didn't get complete reports on the second carrier. Became less certain while waiting for reports that did not come in.

Q. Were any of your pilots instructed to carry out suicide attacks on our carriers?
A. No orders were given; but two of them, on their own initiative, did so. The commander of one wing was one of those that made a suicide dive-bombing attack.

Q. You say a large formation of bombers attacked in the afternoon of the 26th, but no hits were made; is that correct?
A. The statement is correct.

Q. Did the Second and Third Flying Fleets come down the night of the 26th to pursue our ships?
A. Some of our fast ships approached scene of battle but turned back when your burning carrier was sighted.

Q. What were the plans for establishing bases in the SOLOMONS? Where were your principal bases to be located?
A. RABAUL was principal base. GUADALCANAL was an intermediate step for going south.

Q. What interrupted the completion of that plan?
A. I think that sea and air force of the United States Navy. The fact that Americans landed and were able to hold at GUADALCANAL.

Q. While the Americans held GUADALCANAL, were Japanese naval pilots or Army pilots employed in the raids at GUADALCANAL?
A. Almost entirely naval. Few scout planes of the Army. Attacking was done by Navy planes. Navy personnel came first and were land-based. After the sinking of the RYUJO, they added more Navy to them. They also came to BUKA in September.

Q. Why were the reinforcements of GUADALCANAL sent down in small units instead of one mass attack?
A. Didn't have enough landing barges to make a landing. The main point of difficulty in our landing operations was the lack of landing barges. Boats and destroyers were used for landings. But we didn't have enough barges to begin with. Had plenty of big ships but not enough landing craft. Damage from American planes made it worse.

Q. What battles did you consider the principal action in that SOLOMONS Campaign?
A. We considered it all the same thing, but most important was GUADALCANAL, MUNDA, VELLA LAVELLA, EMPRESS AUGUSTA Bay.

Q. Did the bombing of the SOLOMONS airfield effect operations?
A. They got our field completely at MUNDA. We had about 20 planes there which did a very good job in the first battle; but when they landed one day to refuel, they were done in by American fighters. Because of bombing and strafing we couldn't repair or develop the field afterwards. We had only one site at MUNDA. We could only use KOLOMBANGARA for communication. I was at BUIN the toughest part of the time. At BUIN, at the beginning, the Americans used too small bombs. Even at the worst we were still able in the early days to continue to use the field because the bombs used were too small.

NAV-16

--80--

Q. What type planes dropped the bombs?
A. B-24, B-25, B-17, and dive-bombers. From August 1943 the big bombers came over from RUSSEL Island. Some times we received five attacks in one day. Because of the damage of BUIN at the end of August 1943, we alternated between BALLALE and BUKA; and by September despite building of an auxiliary field, at BUIN, the BOUGANVILLE Area became impractical for air operations. All planes and personnel retired to RABAUL. After the fighter planes had left BUIN, all resupply was practically impossible.

Q. Did the ground troops remain on BOUGAINVILLE?
A. Yes, the troops brought from GUADALCANAL went up to BOUGAINVILLE Island from all the SOLOMON ISLANDS. Remaining infantry troops gathered at BUIN.

Q. How did they travel between the islands?
A. January 1943 by destroyer. They evacuated GUADALCANAL with 20 destroyers. MUNDA, RENDOVA and VELLA LAVELLA troops were also evacuated by destroyer. The closer islands were evacuated by submarine and very small boats.

Q. Do you know about any losses of any ships; for instance, KINUGASA and KIRISHIMA?
A. In November the HIEI (BB) received a PT boat torpedo, damaged rudder and after completing circumnavigation of SAVO Island, was bombarded by an American destroyer or cruiser. A Japanese destroyer contributed to sinking the HIEI. Also she received damage from American destroyer and cruiser bombardment and by bombing from American planes. KIRISHIMA also sunk.

Q. Did the HIEI go on to GUADALCANAL to continue bombardment even though damaged?
A. Before she sank she was still shooting. The KIRISHIMA was sunk due west of SAVO Island. Due to no air support the cruiser YURA was also sunk about 25 October. It was near RABAUL, I think.

Q. Following the loss of the SOLOMONS Chain what were your new plans?
A. After the loss of the SOLOMON ISLANDS, the Americans were able to attack RABAUL with all types of planes. Because we had difficulty in supplying RABAUL, we took all the planes out of RABAUL to TRUK, about 21 February 1944. Following the first carrier Task Force attack upon TRUK, about 17 February 1944 by the Americans, the airplane losses were heavy; so we flew all but six planes to TRUK for reinforcements. Later about June or July, five or six planes at a time were flown from TRUK to KAVIENG and the ADMIRALTY ISLANDS. In August and September 1943 I was engaged in flight training near SINGAPORE, therefore I did not know what happened in the SOLOMONS at that time. I am not sure of any other plans but I think we were looking for some other area in which to make a defense.

Q. What happened to ground personnel at RABAUL and TRUK?
A. A good many had to stay. As many as possible were taken out by planes, flying boats and submarines to PALAU and DAVAO. A lot of them were killed by American bombing operations at RABAUL. Many aircraft maintenance personnel killed from that reason. Later operations were hampered because too many skilled personnel stuck at RABAUL unable to get out.

Q. What type of bombing do you consider the most effective?
A. B-24s were most effective on land bases. Because our fields were few, it was the size of bombs that did the harm. Little ones didn't do much harm. The number of crashes attempting to land on damaged fields was very great after B-24 raids. In a place like RABAUL where there were many fields, big bombs were not such a determining factor because we could land on an auxiliary field. Bombing effectiveness depends upon the target. The main thing that bothered us in operation was having several fields hit at the same time, leaving nothing to be used as auxiliary. Carrier planes on a small island with small targets or against ships were most dangerous. In an isolated place like TRUK with its many fields, carrier planes were most feared due to accuracy and repeated attacks. Whereas the heavy-bombers could only come one flight a day, carrier planes would keep coming all day for several days. Carrier planes always destroyed many of our planes and shipping which could not be easily replaced, whereas heavy-bombers mostly damaged airfields which were repairable. Also some supplies.

NAV-16

--81--

Q. Was the shipping in RABAUL Harbor damaged by bombing?
A. The big bombers did very little damage but the dive-bombers did whatever damage was done to the shipping. There were many ships sunk in the harbor by dive-bombers.

Q. Were we wise in attacking the RABAUL airfields?
A. Most distressing thing for us in a place like RABAUL was to have the shipping bombed. However, that depends on the target. The worst was attacking the shipping approaching RABAUL full of supplies.

Q. Were the American night bombing attacks effective on your shore bases?
A. The men became fatigued. Cut down fighting power. Didn't hit much.

Q. Were you present at any ports where American planes mined the harbors?
A. I was at RABAUL when that was done. At first they were not much of a nuisance and damage was minor. Later they were serious because they interfered with the supply submarines coming in.

Q. Do you know why submarines were used to supply instead of attack?
A. The use of submarines was not well done. Due to the loss of air control and shipping, the great length of supply lines committed our submarines to a policy of supply. The point is that there was no area fully consolidated enough to take care of itself. None of the points were self dependent. The use of submarines came from high authority, but I think the Army insisted upon their use.

Q. Do you know if airplanes were scouting for submarines which sank the WASP in September 1942?
A. I don't know much about that. I was on my way home, but plans were for that. In practice, communication between them was very bad.

Q. In early March 1943, our air forces pressed an attack on a large Japanese convoy in the BISMARK SEA. Do you know what losses the Japanese sustained?
A. It is being made upon FEAF report. If you will excuse me I would rather not talk about it until later.

Q. In the two battles of KULA Gulf, 6 and 13 July 1943, what were the losses?
A. Four destroyers were sunk, but I was at RABAUL. Didn't hear full details. The main thing that showed up for us was our bad radar.

Q. When was the radar first used on the airplanes?
A. First on planes at the beginning of 1943. After MIDWAY first on ships.

Q. When was the first on shore?
A. Little before July 1942. They were experimenting with it before the war.

Q. Did you have any plans to go back to BOUGAINVILLE after withdrawing?
A. No, We couldn't supply it.

Q. What were your duties in September-October 1945?
A. Came back to the Navy General Staff on 20 August last year, on action reports, current operations.

Q. What damage was thought inflicted on the United States Third Fleet off FORMOSA, on 14, 15 October?
A. Not very accurate reports. Most of the reports were from flight personnel who couldn't see very well. They said they thought they had caused damage to or sunk ten carriers. We thought back in the office that they probably had done serious damage to only four. Pilots report optimistically. We put that stuff in the paper. We thought in the office, and made plans accordingly, that the damage inflicted was less and that they had only seriously damaged four or five carriers.

Q. Did you feel that you had seriously affected American strength?
A. We took the pessimistic view when making plans, but made public the optimistic reports.

Q. Did you receive any information about American damage through radio despatches?
A. Yes. During operations, some of the ships we thought had been sunk began sending out radio, signals, so we knew they were not sunk.

Q. Was this done by traffic analysis, breakdown of code signs, or breakdown of the message?
A. We figured that certain very valuable ships have a particular wave length, and therefore we learned what the wave lengths were. When communicating with your own planes, we figured out what carrier it was.

NAV-16

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 17
USSBS NO. 90

INVASION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES

TOKYO

22 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Captain ISHIHARA, Kawakita; on the Staff of the Third Fleet where he was stationed on the ASHIGARA from June 1940 to April 1941. Since April 1941 he has been with the Military Affairs Bureau of Navy Ministry (Gummukyoku).

Interrogated by: Commander T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

The general plan for the invasion of the PHILIPPINES and the NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES was simple in concept, but the execution was very complex. This interrogation covers the movements of the Japanese Third Fleet which actually conducted the innumerable small invasions from LUZON to JAVA. Captain ISHIHARA furnishes general information on Allied air attacks on Japanese invasion forces, and the action at LUZON, MAKASSAR Straits, BALI and the JAVA SEA. Of special interest is the description of the destruction of the United States ships HOUSTON and POPE and the British ships EXETER and ENCOUNTER.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. List the Japanese forces which were assigned the mission of invading LUZON?
A. The forces were as follows:

  1. First Base Force.
  2. Second Base Force.
  3. Sixty Submarine Squadron.
  4. Two Mine Layers.
  5. One Seaplane Carrier (15 planes).

The Base Forces were composed of troop transports and ships loaded with shore defense guns and ammunition. The above forces were supported by three heavy cruisers (ASHIGARA, flagship), one light cruiser and four or five destroyers.

Q. What time during the approach from FORMOSA to LUZON did the force receive the first air attack?
A. We were not attacked at any time during the approach, but were attacked after the landing operation commenced on 22 December. We were attacked during the course of the entire day, 22 December.

Q. Were Japanese fighters available to protect the Japanese landing force?
A. No fighters were available.

Q. Did any of the Japanese ships receive damage from air attacks?
A. One mine layer was sunk by strafing at VIGAN.

Q. Was the cruiser ASHIGARA damaged by air attacks?
A. The ASHIGARA was bombed about 100 miles northwest of LINGAYEN by five American four-engine bombers, but no damage was received. After the attack, the Japanese intercepted a radio message from the Americans, claiming that the battleship HARUNA had been sunk; but the HARUNA was not present and no damage was received by any ship.

Q. Were any large ships with the ASHIGARA at the time?
A. Yes, she was accompanied by two heavy cruisers.

Q. What did the ASHIGARA do after the attack?
A. We intercepted a radio message ordering the American aircraft to attack again. The ASHIGARA moved to the northwest into a rain squall and wasn't attacked again.

Q. What ships were to bombard the beach prior to the landing?
A. One light cruiser and about five destroyers gave fire support to the landing.

Q. Did the ships supporting the landing suffer any damage from air attacks?
A. Yes, the light cruiser received several strafing holes from a close bomb.

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Q. Were the destroyers damaged by air attacks?
A. The destroyers also received some kind of damage, but no way interfered with the operation and did not interfere with the battle efficiency.

Q. After the LUZON landing was completed, describe the movements of the Third Fleet.
A. The Third Fleet returned to FORMOSA for services and then proceeded to DAVAO.

Q. When the Third Fleet arrived at DAVAO, was the invasion by the Japanese landing force underway?
A. Yes, the invasion was completed.

Q. What was the next move made by the Third Fleet?
A. The Third Fleet was split up and proceeded to JOLO - 6 January, TARAKAN - 11 January, MENADO - 11 January.

Q. Were the forces in DAVAO attacked by air?
A. Yes, one of the cruisers was hit in the bow with a bomb and forced to return to JAPAN for repair. I think this attack was made by B-17's.

Q. Are you familiar with the attack on shipping at JOLO by American flying boats?
A. No. However, a tanker proceeding to TARAKAN about the same time was attacked from the air and was seriously damaged.

Q. Was the Third Fleet attacked by surface ships or submarine during the operation in the PHILIPPINES?
A. The seaplane carrier at APARRI was attacked by a submarine ten or eleven times, but all were misses except one torpedo which did not explode. No damage was received. In addition, one destroyer, was sunk by submarine south of MAKASSAR and I think one at MIRI, but not sure.

Q. Do you know of the attack on Japanese transports by the American destroyers at BALIKPAPAN on 24 January?
A. Yes, I will tell you all I know. The American destroyers slipped through the Japanese screen and commenced an attack, maneuvering very fast. The Japanese were unable to identify the ships and couldn't fire at them because they were so close to the Japanese transports. Heavy damage was received by two or three transports, but I don't think any were actually sunk. These transports did not have troops aboard, since they had unloaded them the afternoon before. The attack caused much confusion. The Japanese thought that these American ships were cruisers, and Japanese cruisers north of BALIKPAPAN steamed south to support the force; but did not arrive until after the American cruisers left. The attack by the American destroyers did not delay the Japanese movement to the south in any way.

Q. Describe the movements of the Third Fleet as the Japanese moved further to the south?
A. On 26 January we occupied KENDARI and on 31 January we occupied AMBON. On 4 February the Japanese naval air force conducted a very successful attack on the American and Dutch cruisers.

Q. Do you know of the action south of BALI on 19-20 February, at night?
A. Yes, a Japanese force of two troop transports and six destroyers occupied BALI in order to procure the airfield for use against JAVA. When returning from this operation on the night of 19 February, they encountered a force of American ships, estimated to be four or five destroyers or possibly cruisers. It was very dark and identification was difficult. The Japanese attempted to use search lights, but they were not very effective. We also had difficulty with the torpedoes which exploded prematurely and in some cases were mistaken for hits on the enemy. We received major damage to two destroyers which were forced to return to MAKASSAR. One of the destroyers was towed and the other could only proceed at eight knots. We estimated that one Allied destroyer was sunk and there was probability that another was damaged.

Q. What forces were available in the JAVA SEA for the invasion of JAVA?
A. In the SOEMBA Strait was a part of the force that had supported the invasion of BRITISH MALAYA. Just north of SOERABAJA was located another force of three heavy cruisers and about 2 destroyers. A third force composed of 2 heavy cruisers and 4 destroyers was stationed to the eastward of SOERABAJA force as a support force. This included ASHIGARA, which was the flagship of the Commander of the Third Fleet, Vice Admiral TAKAHASHI. He was in command of the entire operation. The troops for the invasion of JAVA were sailed from JAPAN, FORMOSA, and the PHILIPPINES. The transports carrying the troops which invaded western JAVA assembled in LINGGA with the 7th Squadron of the MALAYA force and proceeded to vicinity of BATAVIA. The transports carrying the

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troops which invaded the SOERABAJA Area assembled at JOLO and proceeded through the MAKASSAR Strait to JAVA. At the same time all combatant ships of the Third Fleet, which had participated in the various invasions I told of before, rendezvoused in the vicinity of MAKASSAR and proceeded into the JAVA SEA on 27 February.

Q. Tell me about the Battle of JAVA SEA.
A. When the Japanese force moved towards JAVA, we didn't expect to fight the Battle of the JAVA SEA, because we thought the air attacks on the Allied ships on 4 February had seriously damaged most of them. Although ships were seen in SOERABAJA, it was considered that they were too badly damaged to fight. We were taken aback when the Allied forces were discovered. The transport force was immediately ordered to retire to the north and the eastern support force, composed of two cruisers and four destroyers, steamed at full speed to support the SOERABAJA force. This was necessary since it was thought that the enemy out numbered us in cruiser strength. First attack was in the late afternoon and the Japanese destroyers made a torpedo attack. We thought that two or three allied cruisers were sunk, but again the Japanese torpedoes exploded prematurely and gave false indication of the damage. No damage was received by Japanese ships in the first part of the battle. Later in the night another battle was fought. Two Japanese destroyers were heavily damaged and temporarily put out of action and retired to MAKASSAR. The actual damage to the Allied force wasn't known, but what was left of the Allied fleet withdrew and the invasion of JAVA was completed according to plans.

Q. Are you familiar with the action in which the EXETER, ENCOUNTER and POPE were sunk when they attempted to escape after the Battle of the JAVA SEA?
A. Yes, I witnessed the entire action. Two Japanese forces were maneuvering north of BAWEAN Islands in support of the invasion. One force composed of two cruisers and four destroyers was 20 miles north of an additional force composed of three cruisers and ten destroyers. It was about noon time on 1 March that a destroyer in the north force was suddenly hit by gun fire from the EXETER which was proceeding on a westerly course accompanied by two destroyers. This was the first knowledge that the Japanese received that enemy ships were present. The EXETER steamed between the two Japanese groups which promptly destroyed the two ships, EXETER and ENCOUNTER, by gun fire and torpedoes. The American destroyer POPE turned away, but was hit on the stern by a bomb from an ASHIGARA seaplane and slowed down to such an extent that it was destroyed by surface ships. I think survivors were recovered from all ships.

Q. Also after the Battle of the JAVA SEA, the cruiser HOUSTON attempted to escape. What happened to it?
A. While attempting to pass through the, SOEMBA Strait, the HOUSTON steamed directly into the invasion force operating on the western tip of JAVA. The HOUSTON steamed between two groups of cruisers and destroyers. The southern group was supporting troop transports. A violent battle was fought at close quarters during which the two transports loaded with troops were sunk. The HOUSTON was sunk at very short range by gun fire and torpedoes. The range was so short that the ships exchanged machine gun fire. It is estimated that the location of the sinking of the HOUSTON was in the immediate vicinity of DUIZEND Islands. Survivors were recovered.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 18
USSBS NO. 93

GILBERT-MARSHALL ISLANDS OPERATIONS

TOKYO

19 October 1945

Interrogation of: Lt. Comdr. TOKUNO, Hiroshi, a regular officer of the Japanese Navy, was executive officer of the island garrison at MILLE between 20 July 1943 and 14 August 1945.

Interrogated by: Captain Steadman Teller, USN.

SUMMARY

Lt. Comdr. TOKUNO had his share of the bitter experiences of defeat, having been in the battleship KIRISHIMA and the destroyer MINEGUMO when they were sunk in the SOLOMON ISLANDS and spending the last two years of the war on the by-passed and very much bombed island of MILLE. However, the officer was in good physical condition and in fair spirits as he described the effects of the U.S. invasion in the GILBERT-MARSHALL Area on the forces and equipment available to his command.

TRANSCRIPT

Q. What was your Station and duty at MILLE from July 1943 to the end of the war?
A. I was executive officer to Captain SHIGA, Masanari, who was commander of the unit based there during the same period. Captain SHIGA was senior officer on MILLE Atoll and commanded the following units: 66th Garrison Unit and also the Number One South Seas Detachment (Army Garrison Unit). Also the 552nd Air Unit and the 252nd Air Unit. Captain SHIGA was in charge of all the land units while he was senior officer present. Operational orders for the two air units was not his province, but came from the commander of the 24th Air Flotilla who was based either on ROI Atoll or MALOELAP Atoll. Neither I nor Captain SHIGA had any connection with the air operations of the units based there.

Q. On 1 November 1943, what was the size of the garrison forces on MILLE?
A. Strength of the 66th Naval Garrison Unit was 1200 men and strength of the Number One South Seas Detachment was about 850 men.

Q. Were they special naval landing troops?
A. They were all what is called Naval Garrison Troops which are quite similar to the SNLP troops but considered a separate body. Both air units had a total strength of about 500 men, maintenance and pilots included. The approximate strength of the two air units was 300 in Unit 552, 200 in Unit 252; but they worked in such close conjunction it was hard to distinguish their respective strengths. In addition there was No. 4 Naval Construction Unit of approximately 1200 strength. Approximate strength therefore as of 1 November 1943 was 3800 men.

Q. What was the date of the last reinforcement to the garrison troops?
A. 22 December 1943. On this day total strength on the Atoll was approximately 5100 men. To reach this figure approximately 1500 reinforcements were added to the Army garrison unit, but approximately 400 members of the air units were transferred to WOTJE. Reinforcements mentioned came from KWAJALEIN.

Q. Do you know if reinforcements were brought into GILBERT or MARSHALL ISLANDS from outside during the period from November to December 1943?
A. I believe that in addition to the reinforcement of MILLE during November and December 1943, reinforcements from TRUK, PHILIPPINES, possibly JAPAN were sent to JALUIT, WOTJE, and MALOELAP. I think that the total number of reinforcements from the PHILIPPINES came to 2600 troops, of which 1600 were sent to MILLE.

Q. When did your last surface ship arrive at MILLE?
A. Last convoy to reach MILLE arrived December 21st or 22nd, consisted of seven ships, the largest one being No. 2 NANKAI MARU. Cargo was supplies.

Q. Was there any damage done to the ships by attacks while they were at MILLE?
A. The No. 2 NANKAI MARU was sunk by air attack on 22 December and sank without having unloaded her cargo. The attack was made by 30 single-engine bombers which I think were SBD types escorted by 12 P-39 or P-40. On that attack, the sinking of the NANKAI MARU was the only damage suffered; no shore installations damaged or any of the other ships.

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Q. Did you observe other damage to shipping from air attack at any other time?
A. On 20 November there was an attack by approximately 300 fighters and bombers from an American Task Force. The naval damage to the base was three small landing craft. Shore damage consisted of damage to the runway, which was shortly afterwards repaired, destruction of ten barracks (none repairable), and the main communication shack destroyed. Casualties - one killed, one or two injured. Except for other minor damage such as a few automobiles and water tanks about the camp, that is the total damage suffered during the entire series of attacks. On November 20, 1943 total strength of airplanes was approximately 10 single-engine bombers - Type 97. On 15 December planes increased to about 20 Type 97. After December 15th the bombers were sent to RABAUL and ten to twenty Zeros were sent to MILLE from MALOELAP. This was the best strength in planes we had until the end of December. This was the first time Zeros were on MILLE. All Zeros had left approximately by the end of December.

Q. Did the bombers from other islands pass through MILLE on their way to attack our forces?
A. During November and December on ten different occasions such stops were made. Altogether during November and December, about 100 planes stopped. The most that stopped at any one time were 41 planes, on which occasion they were all fighters. On other occasions bombers stopped; specifically those which took part in the night action in the GILBERTS staged at MILLE. These were Type One twin-engine bombers (Betty's).

Q. How many and what kind of AA guns did you have on MILLE?
A. 8x12.7 cm AA guns, about 12x25 MM machine guns, about 12x20 mm, about 30x13 mm, and more than 100x7.7 machine guns.

Q. What kind of fire control did the heavy guns have?
A. Type 95 fire control mechanism. We had no radar fire control.

Q. During the period immediately before our landing on TARAWA, did you receive night attacks from our planes between approximately 13 November and 19 November?
A. No, positive of that.

Q. Did you receive any day attacks during that period from land-based planes? That is multi-engined planes?
A. Yes. First attack occurred on 15 November by B-24s, possibly only ten, recollection not very good. Ten dead, ten wounded, two air unit barracks burned, bomb fuse warehouse destroyed. About 16 November, 10 B-24s participated; no damage or casualties in this raid as far as I know. Installations or personnel in area bombed in next raid was 18 November with 19 B-24s participating. Small house was only damage, no casualties and no installations touched. On 19 November approximately 10 B-24s, no damage.

Q. Were these raids intercepted by your fighter planes? Was there any air opposition?
A. The only planes based on MILLE at that time were the Type 97 bombers which became airborne more to avoid destruction on the ground than to intercept your planes, although two or three did attempt interception with no results. No losses on our side. During the entire series of four raids only one B-24 was hit and I don't know whether or not it crashed or was able to return to its base.

Q. Were your planes able to take off every time to avoid damage on the ground before the raid?
A. To the best of my memory on all occasions, except possibly once, were the Japanese planes able to take off safely before the arrival of the B-24s. On one occasion the attack came just as it was growing dark and possibly one Type 97 was unable to escape, but there was no damage.

Q. How did you receive warning of these raids?
A. Warning was received by our one radar installation. Distance from MILLE at which any American planes were recoverable on the radar screen varied with the altitude at which the attackers were flying. However, the best warning we were able to get was at a distance of 110 kilometers. Radar equipment was Type One, not sure of what mark. Our radar equipment was effective until the middle of August 1944 when it was put out of commission by air attack. It was a permanent installation on the northern extremity of the same island as the air strip. It was damaged many times but always repairable until then.

Q. After 19 November, to what extent was the airfield useable?
A. The field was first damaged November 20, 1943 but was not made inoperable until February 4, 1944. In the case of attack during this period, the field was always repairable in a matter of hours

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or overnight except on 20 November raid which took two days. The most effective plane for damaging the airfield was the small type bomber rather than the four-engine types like the B-24s. Accuracy was far better in the case of small bombers whereas the B-24s invariably missed the runway. The thing that was most effective in my opinion was actually damaging the runway rather than hitting other installations. My reason for feeling this way is that other installations such as gas, communications, supplies were placed in many different areas and dispersed so that some of each type of supply was always available, whereas we had only one runway. During the period of 20 November to the 25th the field was inoperable due to successive attacks during the raids on the GILBERTS. As soon as we fixed the runway, successive attacks would render it inoperable immediately.

Q. After about 24 December when our fields at TARAWA were useful for all types of planes, was there any difference in your situation at MILLE?
A. During the period of December 1st to 24th, one effect of your air operations from TARAWA was to force our bombers, formerly based on MILLE, to fly to other island bases in the vicinity. Second effect was the extreme difficulty of supply ships to make harbor. We were able to get our supply ships in but became very difficult. However, provisions and gas supply were held for six month period; so that, in spite of the difficulty of getting supply ships in, we were still able to continue. We were able to operate our fighters until February 24, 1944. We were able to provide gas to planes using MILLE as a staging point for the last time on 24 February 1944.

Q. What was the most effective weapon and form of air attack against anti-aircraft guns?
A. Against anti-aircraft emplacements, the small type single-engine bombers were most effective. Against machine gun emplacements, the bombs carried by fighters were most effective. The largest type demolition bombs as carried by the single-engine bomber was most effective. In general the use of bombs was more effective than strafing.

Q. What type of attack caused most personnel casualties?
A. When the personnel was protected by slit trenches, the large type bombs were most effective. If personnel do not have the advantage of such protection, the anti-personnel type bomb which explodes on the surface is most effective. Most of our casualties were caused by heavy type bomb.

Q. What were the total casualties in combat suffered by your garrison during the entire period you were there?
A. 1200 killed, 100 wounded. Out of 1200 persons actually hit by bombs, 100 recovered. The high percentage of deaths was due mainly to lack of medical supplies and proper food.

Q. How many do you estimate died from other causes than bomb wounds?
A. Another 1200 deaths resulted from other causes such as lack of food, eating poisonous fish, diseases such as beri-beri, dysentery. Nobody escaped.

Q. Can you say approximately how many airplanes were damaged or destroyed on the island so they couldn't leave?
A. 30 planes.

Q. What communications between MILLE and other islands did you have after 1 January 1944, radio or surface craft? How long?
A. The inter island radio communications were maintained until the end of war. We were unable to maintain communications by surface craft.

Q. How did you keep your men busy after the 1st of January 1944?
A. The main occupation was making gardens to provide food.

Q. Did you build up your protection more? Was that important?
A. We were very assiduous in building fortifications until June 1944 then we gave up the idea. We felt it was more worthwhile to grow food than to build fortifications.

Q. Do you know of any Japanese plan for defending these islands by using the fleet as well as the airplanes that were based on these islands?
A. At the time of the actual operations I know nothing. Only plans to assist the defense of the GILBERTS by surface forces after the operations were overheard from a fellow officer that there was a fleet assembled at KWAJALEIN which was supposed to have come to our assistance. But the plan, if it existed, was cancelled. Rumor had it, it was due to a lack of plane strength to cover such a force.

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Q. While you were at MILLE were you able to keep a good account of the way the war was going in other places?
A. Our only means of being aware of how the general battle situation was going was the regular DOMEI broadcast. Due to the fact the codes we held were antiquated and no longer in use, we no longer could receive official Army or Navy traffic. Occasional American and Australian broadcasts were heard so we got an idea of what was going on.

Q. Which of the two broadcasts did you believe?
A. I figured there was a medium point between the two types of broadcasts. When I came back, found out I was right.

Q. Were any American prisoners taken on MILLE?
A. Five American prisoners. Think they were crew of a B-24 which crashed in the sea shortly before the Americans landed on KWAJALEIN. These five were killed at the beginning of February 1944 and the case is being investigated by Americans at MAJURO Atoll.

Q. Did you have any particular experience during your duties on the battleship KIRISHIMA?
A. I was second in command of the secondary batteries and stationed in the top control point. The KIRISHIMA participated in the PEARL HARBOR attack. I was in the following actions: JAVA SEA in March 1942, operations in INDO-CHINA in support of landings in INDO-CHINA on March 1942, also CEYLON, TRINCOMALEE, MIDWAY, SANTA CRUZ, and GUADALCANAL where she was sunk.

Q. What was your experience on the destroyer MINEGUMO?
A. I made one supply trip on this ship to the island KOLUMBANGARA, during which operation the ship was sunk on March 5, 1943. My duties were senior gunnery officer.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 19
USSBS NO. 94

OPERATIONS OF MAIN BODY OF SECOND FLEET

TOKYO

12 October 1945

Interrogation of: Commander ISAWA, Yutaka, a regular officer of the Japanese Navy; was commanding gunnery for 15cm guns on the battleship HARUNA. From November 1942 to April 1943, attached to the 2nd Torpedo Flotilla in the South Pacific; student at the Naval Academy from May 1943 until March 1944; from September 1944 to March 1945 attached to the Navy Department; serving in the Navy Air Fleet at IZUMI and KYUSHU from April to August 1945.

Interrogated by: Commander T.H. Moorer, USN.

SUMMARY

Movement of the Main Body of the Japanese Second Fleet November 1941 to April 1942

The movement of the Main Body of the Japanese Second Fleet with reasons therefore are shown below. The Main Body was initially composed of the following capital ships:

Battleships

Heavy Cruisers

HARUNA
KONGO

TAKAO (Flagship of Vice Admiral KONDO)
ATAGO
CHOKAI
MAYA

Movements of the Japanese Fleet

Date

Location Mission
28 November 1941 INLAND SEA Fleet Rendezvous
28 November-5 December Enroute PESCADORES ISLANDS Preparation for war
5 December-8 December Enroute SAIGON Area  
8 December-18 December Off coast-vicinity SAIGON Support of BRITISH MALAYA Operations
18 December-20 December Enroute point 300 miles west of LUZON  
20 December-23 December Vicinity MACCLESFIELD BANK LUZON Invasion
23 December-25 December Enroute FORMOSA via CAMRANH Bay  
25 December-15 January TAKAO Service and Repairs
15 January-19 January Enroute PALAU Support of BRITISH MALAYA Operations
20 January-25 January PALAU Rendezvous with PEARL HARBOR Force which arrived from JAPAN. This increased the total force to: 4 Battleships, 4 carriers, 8 heavy cruisers, 20 destroyers
25 January-1 February Enroute KENDARI  
1 February-5 February KENDARI  
5 February-20 February BANDA SEA Support of Invasion Forces. 19 February attack on PORT DARWIN
20 February-25 February Enroute CHRISTMAS Island Area via OMBAI Strait  
25 February-1 March CHRISTMAS Island Area Support of JAVA and SUMATRA Invasion
1 March-1 April Operations in CELEBES--TIMOR--JAVA Area Bombardment of CHRISTMAS Island; Destruction of Allied Shipping

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Date Location Mission
1 April-5 April Enroute CEYLON  
5 April-13 April INDIAN OCEAN Area Operations against British, Attack on TRINCOMALEE
13 April-18 April Enroute INLAND SEA  

Note: The above dates are approximate.

No unit of the Main Body of the Second Fleet received damage during the operations. During the period covering the invasion of the PHILIPPINES and NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES, the force was not attacked by air or surface craft.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 20
USSBS NO. 97

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN

CARRIER AIRCRAFT ATTACK ON DUTCH HARBOR

TOKYO

10 October 1945

Interrogation of: Commander OKUMIYA, Masatake, IJN, who served from March 1942 until July 1944 as Staff Officer with the Second Air Fleet.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. RUSSELL, USN.

Allied Officer Present: Lieutenant H.L. McMASTERS, USNR.

SUMMARY

As a flanking operation and diversion for the main Japanese attack on MIDWAY, the carrier airplanes of the Second Mobile (or Task) Force attacked DUTCH HARBOR on 4 June, TOKYO date, one day before the scheduled attack on MIDWAY. Because more than half the planes were turned back by weather, this attack was not considered a success and was therefore repeated on the late afternoon of 5 June, 1942. The schedule of the two ALEUTIAN occupation forces was changed, meanwhile, eliminating ADAK as an objective, but going ahead with the occupation of KISKA and ATTU. The Second Mobile Force stood by from 7 to 17 June and from 2 to 7 July in an area about 600 miles south of KISKA. During the first period a scheduled interception of U.S. air raids on KISKA was cancelled at the last moment due to weather. Details of carrier operations are given.

NARRATIVE

(All times and dates are those of TOKYO, zone minus nine.)

On 30 May 1942 the Japanese Second Task Force sortied from OMINATO, North HONSHU, and set course for a point 20 miles south of ERIMO Point on the south coast of HOKKAIDO. The force was composes as follows:

   
2 CV - JUNYO, RYUJO (Flag of Rear Admiral KAKUDA, Kakuji, IJN., Task Force Commander*).  
2 CA - TAKAO, MAYA  
3 DD - USHIO, OBORO, AKEBONO  
1 AO - TEIYO MARU, and later TOHO MARU  
(*Rear Admiral KAKUDA was killed in action on TINIAN 1944)  

Departing from HOKKAIDO the Task Force took a great circle route to a position approximately 230 degrees 400 miles from DUTCH HARBOR. Enroute, the Task Force fueled twice. Once on 1 June and again on 3 June. Three cruising dispositions were used; one for fair weather, one for poor visibility, and one for very poor visibility.

The fair weather disposition consisted of the CV's in column, distance 1000 meters, RYUJO guide and at head of the column. Disposed around the RYUJO were the three DD's, 1500 meters on either beam and ahead. The two CA's were 5000 meters on either beam of the RYUJO. Zig-zagging was used in fair weather.

In poor visibility the same formation as above was used except the three DD's formed column ahead of the RYUJO, distance 500; interval from rear DD to RYUJO, 2000 meters. In very poor visibility the two CA's formed astern of the JUNYO, interval 2000 meters, distance 1000 meters. In thick weather, station was kept by position buoys, and maneuvering signals were given by very high frequency radio. No radar was installed at this time.

For air operations all heavy ships formed in line abreast with the two CA's outboard. One DD led the disposition at the center, 1500 meters ahead of the line of bearing of the heavy ships. The other two DD's took station astern of the two carriers to act as plane guards. Their distance from the CV's was varied with the speed of the CV's. At high speed the plane guard DD opened to 1000 meters and at slow speed closed to 700 meters.

The mission of the Japanese Second Task Force was to attack ships, planes, and shore installations at DUTCH HARBOR as a diversion to the attack on, and occupation of, MIDWAY, and then to support landing operations in the Western ALEUTIANS. (Commander OKUMIYA actually stated that the occupation of KISKA and ATTU was planned. However, in a later interview, Captain ITO, Taisuke,

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Fifth Fleet Staff Air Officer, who was concerned with the planning of the occupation, said that the occupation of ADAK, KISKA, and ATTU were considered, with the selection to depend on photo reconnaissance. After the Japanese reverse at MIDWAY, Admiral YAMAMOTO was greatly opposed to the occupation of any of the ALEUTIANS, but was persuaded by Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA, ComFifthFleet, to permit the occupation of ATTU and KISKA).

The attack on DUTCH HARBOR was scheduled for 4 June (TOKYO Time), one day earlier than the carrier air attack on MIDWAY. This schedule was met.

The second Task Force's speed of advance was limited to 10 to 11 knots due to the slow speed of the accompanying AO. On 30, 31 May and 1 June, they steamed in dense fog. The existence of a mild front was known and they attempted to stay in the thick weather ahead of it.

On the morning and afternoon of 2 June and on the morning of 3 June, two 2-plane sections scouted ahead to a distance of 120 miles. On the afternoon of 3 June, four 2-plane sections scouted an area 30 degrees on either side of the Task Force track to a distance of 250 miles.

As to intelligence of American Forces, the Japanese Second Task Force had various reports from submarine reconnaissance. From a position off the WASHINGTON State coast, a submarine had launched a reconnaissance seaplane which scouted SEATTLE Harbor and reported no heavy men-of-war, particularly CV's, there. About 30 May a similar plane launched from a submarine about 100 miles north of DUTCH HARBOR scouted that port and reported only a few small merchantmen present. This plane was damaged in landing due to the swells and could not make a scheduled reconnaissance on 3 June. Instead, DUTCH HARBOR was examined by periscope with a negative report made on that date. Two other submarines were patrolling on a line south of COLD BAY; these made no sightings. A periscope reconnaissance of KODIAK was made about the end of May with a negative report. A submarine plane scouted KISKA about 25 May and reported no ships present. The submarine borne planes maintained radio silence during their flights, with orders to break radio silence only if they were chased by American planes. All reports were made by the mother submarine. The submarine off SEATTLE and the one off KODIAK maintained station for some time. The only contact reported by the KODIAK submarine was that of sighting one large merchantman on a date which Commander OKUMIYA did not remember.

During fueling on 3 June, the second Task Force heard the engine of an American plane and thought they saw a flying boat. One of 2 VF, airborne on combat air patrol, gave chase but lost contact in the poor visibility.

The following air operations were planned for the attack against DUTCH HARBOR on 4 June: The first wave was to be launched at earliest light of dawn (2330, 3 June), and the second wave one-half hour thereafter:

         
1st Wave        
VF RYUJO - 6,   JUNYO - 9, Total 15
VB     JUNYO - 12, Total 12
VT RYUJO - 9,     Total  9
2nd wave        
VF RYUJO - 3,   JUNYO - 6, Total 9
VB RYUJO - 6,     Total 6
VT     JUNYO - 6, Total 6
  Attack Seaplanes TAKAO - 2, MAYA - 2, Total 4

The two 3-seat seaplanes, one each from TAKAO and MAYA, were to scout to the eastward.

The Second Task Force had the following operational planes available prior to launching the first attack on DUTCH HARBOR:

RYUJO - 12 Type 0 VF, 18 Type 97 attack bomber VT; JUNYO - 18 Type 0 VF, 18 Type 99 dive-bomber VB; TAKAO - 2 Type 95 two-seat reconnaissance seaplanes, 1 Type 94 three-seat reconnaissance seaplane; MAYA - 2 Type 95 two-seat reconnaissance seaplanes, 1 Type 0 three-seat reconnaissance seaplane.

Weather, that is fog and low clouds, interfered considerably with the execution of the air plan. The first wave was launched on time at a point about 210 degrees, 180 miles from DUTCH HARBOR. The visibility was from 2000 to 5000 meters. One VT from the RYUJO had a forced landing in the sea immediately after take-off. The crew of the plane was rescued. As the planes of the first wave

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flew towards DUTCH HARBOR they ran into increasing difficulties due to weather. All of the JUNYO's planes turned back, and, of the RYUJO's planes, only 6 VF and 6 VT got through to the target. The 6 VF found no U.S. fighters so strafed a Catalina flying boat on the water. The 6 VT attacked the radio station, warehouses, pier and shore installations. 2 of 3 RYUJO VF found a Catalina close to the shore and shot it down. A photo proved that this American plane crashed and burned. One of the 9 JUNYO VF, after being airborne for about one hour found a Catalina and after a chase shot it down in the vicinity of the carriers. Commander OKUMIYA stated that both Catalinas burned. Another of the first wave VF found a Catalina but it got away in the clouds. One VT from RYUJO found 5 to 6 U.S. DD's in MAKUSHIN BAY. Upon receipt of this information the second wave, which had been held on deck due to weather, was launched at about 0900 4 June. All the planes of the second wave turned back except the 4 seaplanes from the cruisers. Two of these were intercepted over the U.S. DD's where one was shot down and the other damaged. One of the RYUJO's VF failed to return after announcing it was making a forced landing on AKUTAN. (It was intended that the submarine lying to the north of DUTCH HARBOR would pick up any Japanese aviators forced down; the latter had been instructed that, in the event of forced landing, they were to endeavor to land on one of the small islands off UNALASKA Island.) The final casualty of the day occurred when a 3-seat seaplane, returning to its cruiser from a scouting mission to the east, cracked up on landing. The personnel were rescued. Of the second wave of carrier planes, all of which turned back due to weather, only three saw any action. Three fighters strafed a U.S. submarine off the south coast of UNALASKA Island. After the first two VF made strafing passes the third said the submarine submerged so that he could not make an attack. During the day the Task Force had moved toward shore, so that, when the second wave planes landed, their parent carriers were only 100 miles from DUTCH HARBOR. A combat air patrol of 2 VF was maintained over the force through the day. Patrols were of 2 hours duration and were launched alternately by RYUJO and JUNYO. All planes were aboard by about 1500, 4 June, at which time the Task Force began a retirement on approximately the reverse of their approach course.

Visibility continued to be poor and the Japanese weather forecast indicated that the weather at DUTCH HARBOR would probably be worse on the following day. After refueling DD's from the carriers in partial darkness beginning at about 0000, 5 June, they laid a course to the westward with the idea of making an air reconnaissance of ADAK and ATKA. At sunrise ADAK bore 300 degrees distance 250 miles; however, the wind velocity was from 25 to 30 knots and the sea high, hence no planes were launched. They continued to the westward hoping the weather would improve, but returned to their sunrise position at about 0300 or 0400. At this time the TOKYO weather report indicated that the weather might be improving at DUTCH HARBOR. They therefore headed towards that place. They sighted one or two PBYs fairly early in the morning and one about two hours later. At 0900 they launched 2 VT from RYUJO for a weather reconnaissance of DUTCH HARBOR. These planes found 1 U.S. DD south of UNALASKA Island. They reported that the weather in the vicinity of DUTCH HARBOR was not good, but a little better than the preceding day. It was therefore decided to launch a second attack against DUTCH HARBOR. Meanwhile, various air attacks were developing against the force. The visibility was poor and the recognition of enemy planes as to type was uncertain. Commander OKUMIYA thought only PBYs and B-17s were involved. Four protective fighters were launched. They chased and shot down one PBY and believed they damaged a second one. Various planes were taken under fire by the ships of the Task Force. The TAKAO, well out on the left flank of the formation, shot down a B-17 and took one prisoner. One DD had two bombs dropped on her, but these missed by about 500 meters. One bomb hit well clear of the JUNYO. Some planes, which Commander OKUMIYA thought were B-17s, but which could have been B-26s, he said, made torpedo runs although no torpedoes ran close to the ships. One plane after making a torpedo run passed diagonally over the deck and dropped an object which he thought to be a torpedo. The object passed over the RYUJO, but struck the water about 200 meters on her port quarter and did not detonate.

Between these various attacks against them, and at about 1100, the second day's attack against DUTCH HARBOR was launched. Because of the poor weather, only the most skilled pilots were allowed to participate. Only one wave was launched. It was comprised as follows:

         
VF RYUJO - 6,   JUNYO - 9, Total 15
VB     JUNYO - 11, Total 11
VT RYUJO - 6,     Total  6

All planes reached the target, but reported that enroute they dodged considerable cloud masses. No U.S. fighters were encountered at the target so the Japanese VF strafed ground targets. The VB and

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VT bombed the aircraft hanger, oil tanks, one transport alongside a pier, and warehouses. Photographs showed a large fire which they believed to be the hanger burning.

The attack group from the JUNYO had a rallying and rendezvous point the west end of UNALASKA Island. When they arrived at this rendezvous point they were attacked by about 10 U.S. fighters. In the ensuing dogfights 2 VF and 2 VB from the JUNYO were shot down. It was estimated that 5 or 6 U.S. fighters were shot down. The JUNYO planes reported a large U.S. flying field on the east end of UNMAK Island, the location of which was hitherto unknown to the Japanese.

The RYUJO recovered all of her planes about one hour before sunset, none were lost. Due to the delay involved in the dogfight over UNMAK Pass, the JUNYO's planes were late returning and did not land aboard until sunset. Her losses were the 2 VF and 2 VB shot down by U.S. fighters over UNMAK Pass, and one VB which, during the fight, had its radio receiver knocked out and became separated from the flight. Its transmitter, however, was working, and it called in several times reporting fuel remaining and requesting navigational assistance which JUNYO could not give because the plane could not receive. It is presumed that this plane went down at sea. Total losses for the day's attack were 2 VF and 3 VB, all from JUNYO. No surface ship of the Second Task Force was damaged either day of attacks against DUTCH HARBOR.

After the second attack against DUTCH HARBOR on 5 June the Second Task Force retired to a point about 600 miles south of KISKA where the ZUIHO, together with two ships (sister ships which Commander OKUMIYA thought may have been the KONGO and HARUNA) and 4 DDs joined. The ZUIHO had been with a detached group of ships at the Battle of MIDWAY and had survived that action. This augmented task force cruised between 7 and 17 June in an area south of KISKA with the object of cutting off any U.S. carrier force which might be sent up from the MIDWAY force to interfere with the Japanese landing operations on KISKA and ATTU.

No vessel from the Second Task Force went into KISKA, nor was air cover provided over KISKA by carrier planes, although an interception of U.S. planes attacking KISKA was planned and the force moved up to a point 250 miles south of KISKA for that purpose. Weather, however, prevented the launching of any fighters for the planned interception. When weather permitted, two training flights were launched daily, four planes in the morning and four in the afternoon. Air searches were also made when practicable. One of the latter extended into the BERING SEA to a distance of 100 miles north of KISKA about the time the interception was being planned.

The Second Task Force exchanged recognition signals with the seaplane carrier KIMIKAWA when she was enroute to KISKA. When the ship arrived in KISKA on 15 June and had discharged her seaplane fighters, seaplane fighter reconnaissance planes, their fuel and other logistic materials, the Second Task Force returned to OMINATO where they arrived on about 23 June.

They sortied again on about 30 June reinforced by the addition of the aircraft carrier ZUIKAKU, a survivor of the CORAL SEA action in which the SHOHO was lost. (Cv's now with Second Task Force were RYUJO, JUNYO, ZUIHO, and ZUIKAKU).
This force patrolled south of KISKA, and a little west of their former patrol area, between the approximate dates of 30 June and 7 July.

Miscellaneous Information from Commander Okumiya

Arming and Fuzing
For the attack against DUTCH HARBOR planes were armed as follows:

   
VF - No bombs
VB - one 250 kg bomb, fused nose and tail, half the bombs with 0.05 sec, and half with 0.1 sec fuzes
VT - one 250 kg and four 60 kg bombs, the former with nose and tail fuses of 0.05 sec delay, the latter with nose fuzes only of 0.05 sec delay
Two-Seat Seaplanes - two 60 kg bombs, with 0.05 sec delay nose fuze only

Weather
Weather forecasting was done in TOKYO and was excellent so far as wind and general weather were concerned, but the forecasting of fog was poor. The carrier force made use of a weather front in their approach on DUTCH HARBOR. This front did not exist at first but a low pressure area developed which was used to their advantage so far as concealment was concerned but it made scouting difficult.

685287 O - 46 - 8

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Weather limitations for carrier operation:

   
Max. true Surface Wind: for RYUJO - 15 meters per second (29 knots)
  for JUNYO - 18 meters per second (35 knots)

Visibility: 5000 meters, but desired better visibility in a quadrant or semi-circle of bearing from the carrier. (At the DUTCH HARBOR action the visibility went down to 1000 meters, but operations were conducted because of the importance attached to them, - i.e. timing with MIDWAY and the occupation force.)

   
Ceiling: 500 meters desired (200 meters was accepted at DUTCH HARBOR).
Sea: Pitching not so important as rolling
  Limiting Roll: 10 degrees.
  Limiting Pitch: 5 degrees.

Intelligence

Second Task Force estimated 30 large landplanes at KODIAK, some large planes at NOME, no landplanes but about 12 patrol-bomber seaplanes at DUTCH HARBOR.

They thought a small landplane field existed at DUTCH HARBOR, but had no knowledge of fields on UNMAK or on the ALASKAN peninsula.
They believed, without specific intelligence, that seaplanes could base at ATKA and ADAK, and that, at both these places, terrain could be found upon which an airfield could be built.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 21
USSBS NO. 98

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN SEAPLANE OPERATIONS, THE NAVAL BATTLE OF THE KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS, AND THE DEFENSE OF THE KURILES

TOKYO 20 and 23 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Commander MIURA, Kintaro, was senior air officer on board the seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU from the outbreak of war until December 1942. He then served in the northern KURILES, first as the Air Officer on the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet until August 1943, then on the staff of the Twelfth Air Fleet until March 1944.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. RUSSELL, USN

Allied Officers Present: Captain S.B. SPANGLER, USN (first interrogation only); Captain PEYTON HARRISON, USNR, Chief of staff of U.S. Naval Force of Battle of KOMANDORSKI, (second interrogation only.).

SUMMARY

The seaplane carrier KAMIKAWA MARU was diverted from the MIDWAY forces after the Battle of MIDWAY, and went to KISKA to aid in the air defense of the occupying garrison and its shipping. Due to U.S. air attacks, KISKA became too hazardous for the seaplane carriers and they moved to AGATTU and finally operated at sea to the southwest of KISKA.

Commander MIURA returned to the North PACIFIC as a member of the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet. He describes the naval battle fought south of the KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS on 27 March 1943, TOKYO date, as he witnessed it from the flagship NACHI. His impression that there were no 8 inch shell hits on the NACHI is not borne out by the fact that blue dye marked certain of the hits he describes; his impression is probably gained by the small explosive charge in the 8 inch armor piercing shells of the SALT LAKE CITY. This battle ended surface ship supply to the beleaguered ATTU and KISKA garrisons.

He describes the evacuation of the KISKA garrison after the fall of ATTU, and gives some details of the succeeding operations in the KURILES.

NARRATIVE

(Note: All dates and times are those of TOKYO, zone minus nine.)

The KAMIKAWA MARU, Captain SHINODA, Tarohachi, carried 14 single float, two-seat spotting biplanes - Type Zero, and four single float, two-seat reconnaissance biplanes - Type 95. She was detached at sea and ordered north from a group of auxiliary vessels which were in the ill-fated MIDWAY expedition. She arrived in KISKA Harbor on 15 June 1942.

The ships present upon the arrival of the KAMIKAWA MARU were, to the best of Commander MIURA's memory, the light cruiser KISO, four to six destroyers, and a few auxiliaries, including the KIMIKAWA MARU which had arrived four or five days earlier with six twin float, three-seat reconnaissance monoplanes - Type Zero. The Commanding Officer of the KISO, Captain ONO, was in command of forces afloat; Lieutenant Commander MUKAI was in command of the landing force ashore. Personnel were highly nervous due to bombings. No great damage had been caused, but the attacks were persistent.

The KAMIKAWA hoisted out her planes and sent them to the beach where a base was set up. Gasoline was put ashore in 200 liter drums. A row of buoys was laid just off-shore for the use of the small planes. The planes moored at the buoys in fine weather, but were dragged ashore, using bamboo mats and hand power to get them through the surf, during bad weather and for servicing. Sometimes the planes were flown over and landed in the calm waters of SALMON Lagoon for engineering work. SALMON Lagoon was also used for operations when the wind was high. The planes flew three hour anti-submarine and reconnaisance [sic] patrols.

About 19 June the KAMIKAWA MARU withdrew from Kiska Harbor because of the U.S. bombing attacks and went to AGATTU. While there she made frequent short visits, or sent a destroyer, to KISKA with supplies and fuel, while the seaplane base was building. She usually went in under cover of darkness.

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At AGATTU there were no air attacks until about 10 July, when about seven B-24s attacked for about 90 minutes from an altitude estimated to be 6000 meters (19,500 feet). Present at the time were the KAMIKAMA and KIMIKAWA MARU's, an oil tanker and six destroyers. The KIMIKAWA MARU received a near miss which killed a few and injured several of her bridge personnel, but no material damage was done to any of the ships present.

After the attack by B-24s, the KAMIKAMA MARU tried to use an anchorage off ATTU, but found the fog conditions too severe. Instead, she lay in an area about 100 miles southwest of KISKA. While operating in this area and about the end of July one destroyer, the TODOROKI, was sent to reconnoiter AGATTU for shelter. While at AGATTU this destroyer was blown in two by a submarine torpedo. About 30 of her personnel survived by swimming ashore.

About the last of July the KAMIKAWA was ordered to return to Japan. She passed through the KURILES just south of PARAMUSHIRO, through LA PEROUSE Strait, and down the west coast of JAPAN to SASEBO. Thereafter she went to the SHORTLAND ISLANDS.

Commander MIURA said that of the 24 float seaplanes from the two tenders, only two or three were operational at the end of two months. The losses in the surf and otherwise due to weather comprised about 60% of the total loss. The other 40% was shot down by B-17s and B-24s, or damaged beyond repair as a result of enemy action. Six of the seaplanes operated from the KIMIKAWA MARU, staying with her during her cruises around the other islands as well as at KISKA. The four Type 95 float planes operated similarly from the KAMIKAWA MARU. The remainder, 14 Type Zero float planes, were shore-based in KISKA Harbor. Flight crews for the latter totalled 40 pilots and 20 men, and the planes were supported by a shore party of almost 70 men.

Commander MIURA returned to the northern area in December 1942, when he relieved (then) Lieutenant Commander ITO, Taisuke, as Air Officer on the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet, embarked on the heavy cruiser NACHI. The flagship based at OMINATO, but made several cruises to PARAMUSHIRO during the winter. The Fifth Fleet engaged primarily in training operations, both ship and air, in the OMINATO Area. When Commander MIURA relieved as Fifth Fleet Staff Air Officer, KISKA had six Type Zero, twin-float, reconnaissance monoplanes supported by the KIMIKAWA MARU. Of these six, he said, about four on the average were kept operational. Of Japanese Army troops in the ALEUTIANS he had been informed that the Army occupying force originally on ATTU had been moved to KISKA, reinforced, and placed under the command of Brigadier General MINEKI. The Army troops which left ATTU were replaced by a troop movement from PARAMUSHIRO. These latter troops were commanded by Colonel YAMAZAKI who remained on ATTU until the end. (Commander MIURA's estimate of troops on ATTU, as of 12 May, was 2600; his estimate for those on KISKA at the same time was 6000).

The Battle of the KOMANDORSKIS

Commander MIURA's first cruise to the ALEUTIANS as a staff officer was on board the flagship NACHI. All the forces then available to the Fifth Fleet were to accompany a three transport convoy to ATTU, in order to get this convoy through the growing interference which U.S. surface forces were causing the Japanese line of communications with the Western ALEUTIANS. The convoy was comprised of two 10,000 ton, 15 knot ships, the AWATA MARU and the ASAKA MARU, and a smaller (3000 to 4000 ton) slower ship, whose name he did not remember. All transports carried supplies and ammunition. The escort force was comprised of 2 CA's, NACHI and MAYA; 2 CL's TAMA and ABUKUMA (Flagship of the First Destroyer Squadron); and six DD's. Commander Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral HOSOGOYA, Moshiro, with his flag in NACHI, was in command.

The one slow transport was sent on ahead with orders to rendezvous with the main convoy at a point about 160 miles west of ATTU, at 0500*, 22 May. The escort force with the two large, fast transports sortied from PARAMUSHIRO, about 25 March, in unpleasant weather - high wind and scud clouds. The weather improved, and on the early morning of 27 March became calm with a broken overcast sky. Commander MIURA had the morning staff watch and was keeping a sharp lookout for the small transport, since the main convoy was approaching the rendezvous point. The ships were in a single column on a northerly heading, order in column: NACHI, MAYA, TAMA, ABUKUMA, the six destroyers, and the two large merchantmen. The masts of a ship were sighted on the

___________

*Note: The error of two hours in Commander MIURA's recollection of time. This is consistent throughout his account and was checked by his statement that sunrise was about 0530 (actually 0330 TOKYO Time).

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horizon to the south, and thinking this to be the small transport, Commander MIURA so reported it to his admiral. A column right through approximately 180 degrees was executed and the masts of additional ships were sighted to the south. The range closed rapidly and a U.S force, consisting of one 10,000 ton heavy cruiser, an OMAHA class light cruiser, and five destroyers, was made out. It was realized that the Japanese force was superior so the range was closed with the intention of destroying the American force. The NACHI was the only ship carrying aircraft, and she was ordered to launch planes. She was very slow in complying and the order to open fire was given before she had her planes off. The Japanese opened fire at about 0540, slightly ahead of the Americans. The first salvo of the NACHI ruined the two single float, two-seat Type Zero spotting planes on the starboard catapult. These were jettisoned. The plane on the port catapult, however, was undamaged and was launched. This was a twin float, three-seat Type Zero reconnaissance seaplane. It was the only Japanese plane airborne in the battle area, served as a spotting plane throughout the engagement, and landed at ATTU.

After opening fire at about 20,000 meters the leading American ship turned left approximately 90 degrees and it appeared that the American force was fleeing.

After the first salvo was fired, the main battery of the NACHI was made inoperative because of loss of electric power due to low steam pressure at the generators. (The generator steam supply was shifted too early to a boiler which was just getting up steam.) For thirty minutes the main battery guns were at maximum elevation and could not be laid. The confusion caused by this casualty was added to by 15 cm (6 inch) shell hits from the first American salvoes. One 15 cm (6 inch) shell severed the leads between the director in the top and the guns of the main battery. When electric power was restored, this casualty had to be discovered and corrected before the main battery guns resumed firing. The other 15 cm (6 inch) shell hits were all "high" and located as follows: One pierced the bridge structure, forward and below the first hit (that which severed the fire control leads to the foretop); two amidship through the base of the catapult structure, a short distance above the main deck; and one which severed one leg of the mainmast tripod.

(Note: Commander MIURA was questioned closely about the caliber of the shells which hit the NACHI. He was very positive that all the hits enumerated above, which pierced the ship's superstructure, were 15 cm (6 inch), and was quite sure that the one which severed the leg of the tripod was of the same caliber. He stated repeatedly that there were no 20 cm (8 inch) hits. These heavy shells made many close misses, but the vast majority landed just forward of the ship's bow, drenching the bridge with water. He complained of smarting eyes, which he attributed to the dye in these shell splashes. He was eloquent on the subject of the American destroyers' gunnery, saying that their 13cm (5 inch) shells landed aboard like rain.)

During the 30 minutes in which the NACHI's main battery was inoperative, she continued to lead, but maneuvered to avoid interference with the MAYA'S shooting. The Japanese cruisers fired torpedoes, soon after opening fire with their main batteries, while the range was still closing. All torpedoes missed. The ABUKUMA and her six destroyers were ordered to close and carry out a torpedo attack. However, the NACHI steamed at speeds up to 33 knots and the destroyers had a difficult time making over 28; hence, although they "cut corners" trying to catch up, they could not execute their mission. The destroyers did fire their torpedoes about an hour after the action started, but the range was extreme and no hits were made.

About an hour and a half after action begun the American destroyers laid smoke. The American ships zig-zagged and fired between smoke columns. About 0700 a 13 cm (6 inch) shell from the U.S. destroyers passed through the gun port of No. 1 turret on the NACHI, exploded inside, and killed the entire turret crew. The American destroyers' fire was very heavy. Many 13 cm shells burst above and showered the main deck with fragments; about 40 of the NACHI's topside personnel were killed this way. Fairly early in the action a 13 cm shell struck the after end of the flag bridge and detonated against the deck house. At this time the Admiral was standing at the forward center of the flag bridge with his two principal staff officers on either side and slightly behind him. The other staff officers were standing in a single rank to the rear. Commander MIURA was second from the right in this rank and in a relatively exposed position. Miraculously, all shell fragments missed the officers, but killed three communication personnel whose stations were further aft, and set fire to the after end of the bridge. This fire burned briskly for a short while, but was rapidly extinguished.

During the maneuvering to westerly and northwesterly courses, the light cruiser TAMA ended up in the van of the cruiser column. When the American destroyers began an attack the anti-aircraft guns put out a barrage as a deterrent to their advance. Commander MIURA expressed admiration

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for the skill and daring of this attack and the volume of 13 cm fire which the destroyers delivered. He said he did not know how a ship could live through the concentration of fire which was brought to bear on the leading destroyer. There were no torpedo hits as a result of this American attack, and he stated that he was not aware that any torpedoes had actually been fired.

For three hours the action see-sawed back and forth across the surface of the ocean. The Japanese registered few hits; the Americans many, although the main battery salvoes from the heavy cruiser were consistently close misses ahead. The Japanese ran short of ammunition. Vice Admiral H0SOGAYA calculated that American planes from ADAK would join action in three hours from the start of the battle. He therefore broke off the action by continuing to the west, while the American ships went south.

The NACHI sustained the heaviest damage of any of the Japanese ships. In addition to the hits mentioned above, Commander MIURA said there were 13 cm (6 inch) hits too numerous to record. The next most damaged ship was the light cruiser TAMA, although her damage was all "topside" with none of the vitals of the ship deranged. The heavy cruiser MAYA got off almost "Scot-free", with only light superficial damage. He knew of no damage to the ABUKUMA and her destroyers.

As for damage done to the enemy, Commander MIURA said it was claimed that one destroyer was very seriously damaged, and one major caliber hit had been made on the American heavy cruiser.

Commander MIURA stated, positively, that there were no troops embarked in any of the Japanese combatant ships, and none to his knowledge in any of the three merchant transports. The latter ships continued to the northwest to an area about thirty miles south of BERING Island where they awaited orders; thence they returned to PARAMUSHIRO. While standing by awaiting orders, the transports sighted two to four PBY's.

After breaking off action the combatant ships went west to the coast of KAMCHATKA, then down the coast to PARAMUSHIRO. One American aircraft was sighted by the combatant ships during the day of the battle. This aircraft was not definitely identified, but it was reported as, and thought to be, a flying boat. No Japanese aircraft support from PARAMUSHIRO was planned or given. Fog was not encountered on the return voyage.

The NACHI was sent from PARAMUSHIRO to OMINATO for repairs. Since the heavy repairs could not be effected there, she went on down to the Navy Yard at SASEBO.

The Assault and Retaking of ATTU

Commander MIURA had little to say of the Japanese own operations to assist the ATTU garrison in the defense of that island. He said many plans were made, but cancelled due to weather and that the operations were generally unsuccessful. When an attack group was sent they were preceded by a weather plane. The Japanese weather forecasting, he said, was rather good. This he attributed to the fact that they had broken the Russian weather code and hence could include a considerable area in their weather analysis. He said that prior to the American bombardment of ATTU there had been a plan to send 48 land-based Type Zero fighters to operate from the strip at HOLTZ Bay.

The Evacuation of KISKA

At the time of the evacuation of KISKA, Commander MIURA was at PARAMUSHIRO. Most of the other members of the staff were with Commander Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral KAWASE, embarked in the TAMA which was at sea southwest of KISKA. Commander First Destroyer Squadron, Rear Admiral KIMURA, embarked in the ABUKUMA, was in direct charge of the evacuation force.

Because the supply routes were cut, KISKA could not be maintained. The evacuation was effected by one light cruiser and thirteen destroyers. (Note: See summary of interrogation of Commander MUKAI, Nifumi, Nav No. 22, who was one of the evacuees. He stated that two light cruisers, ABUKUMA and KISO, and eight destroyers participated.) The approach was made from the south because the fog was thickest in that direction. The evacuation was successful only on the third attempt. On the second attempt, when very near KISKA, the entire force was exposed by a complete lifting of the fog, and had to retire. On the third attempt, the fog persisted until the force was close to the south end of KISKA Island; then it thinned enough to permit navigation along the coastline. With the shoreline close aboard, the force passed up the west coast of the island, around the north end, and down the east coast into the harbor. The fog lifted in the harbor. During the approach arrangements with the shore party were completed by radio. The force anchored just before sunset.

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Within 30 minutes (Commander MUKAI said one hour) upwards of 5000 personnel were embarked. No equipment or supplies were taken aboard, just personnel. After loading, the ships departed, and again followed the shoreline close aboard, north around the island. They took departure from the southern end of the island. Returning to PARAMUSHIRO, the force followed a track not quite so far south as the outbound track. They refueled enroute at a point about half way to PARAMUSHIRO from an oiler which had accompanied them part way out.

Defense of the KURILES

The air defense of the KURILES in the period June to September 1942, was provided by 18 Army fighter planes based at KASHIWABARA on the west side of PARAMUSHIRO Strait, and by 36 Navy fighters and 36 Navy land-based attack planes (BETTYS) based at HOROMUSHIRO at the south end of PARAMUSHIRO Island. The operational radius of the land-based attack planes was considered to be 700 nautical miles. At the SHIMUSHU Navy Seaplane Base were approximately four three-seat, twin float reconnaissance seaplanes, twelve single-seat, single float, seaplane fighters, and four two-seat, single float spotting seaplanes.

There was a Navy strip on a small area of flat land on the southeast end of MATSUWA Island. In this location the weather was very bad. There was an Army strip on the north end of URUPPU Island. There was a Navy airfield at TENNEI in the vicinity of HITOKAPPU WAN on ETOROFU Island, where there was normally based a six-plane unit of carrier attack bombers.

All personnel evacuated from KISKA were taken to SHIMUSHU and PARAMUSHIRO. There were three Army divisions in the KURILES; about half of these troops were on PARAMUSHIRO, the remainder divided between MATSUWA, URUPPU, and ETOROFU. The heaviest anti-aircraft and coast defense was located on both sides of PARAMUSHIRO Strait. From about August 1942 onward, there were approximately 60x13 cm guns and 15x7 cm guns installed there. The American air effort against the KURILES accounted for the sinking of three or four cargo ships off KASHIWABARA; however, little damage was done to the airfields. Ship bombardments caused considerable damage at airfields by the destruction of buildings and the pocketing of runways. After a bombardment at HOROMUSHIRO it took one week to repair the runway. There was lighter damage at SURIBACHI. The hangar and beach installations were heavily damaged at MATSUWA.

During the period between the Summer of 1944 and the Spring of 1945, all Navy personnel and about one Army division were withdrawn from the KURILES, principally because American submarines had rendered supply too difficult. Navy personnel went into training in the OMINATO Area with a view toward defense against landing operations in North JAPAN. Army personnel went to HOKKAIDO to principal Army bases to train for the same purpose. As to the sinking of supply ships, Commander MIURA could no give concrete figures, but he said there were many, in his opinion from ten to twenty. Of these a few were 10,000 ton ships, but most were in the 3000 to 4000 ton category. The heaviest rate of sinkings occurred in the area east of KARAFUTO (SAKHALIN), and off the straits of LA PEROUSE and TSUGARU. At the end of the war the submarines were sinking ships in ISHIKARI Bay on the west coast of HOKKAIDO. The submarines did much more harm than airplanes. He considered airplanes ineffective due to weather.

When the Navy personnel were withdrawn from the KURILES, all Navy airplanes were withdrawn also. The Army withdrew all airplanes except for about eighteen fighters on PARAMUSHIRO. The last Navy air units to be withdrawn were a six plane carrier type attack plane unit at KATAOKA and a similar unit at TENNEI, ETOROFU.

Commander MIURA gave the following random items of information:

During the night bombardment of PARAMUSHIRO in January 1944, there were some small ships in harbor at HOROMUSHIRO, but none were sunk. In the February 1943 bombardment of ATTU, no ships were sunk. In the April 1943 bombardment of ATTU he had heard that one 5000 ton ship was sunk. He had been ashore once at HOLTZ Bay, ATTU, once on the south side of AGATTU Island, and once at KISKA Harbor. The ALEUTS from the village on ATTU were removed to a point near SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO, where they were in the hands of the Army.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 22
USSBS NO. 99

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN

JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF KISKA, THE KISKA GARRISON,
AND OPERATION IN THE KURILES

TOKYO 22 OCTOBER 1945

Interrogation of: Commander MUKAI, Nifumi, a regular officer with twenty years of service in the Japanese Navy. He is not an aviator. From 1 May to 30 June 1942, he was the commanding officer of the Special Naval Landing Force which occupied KISKA. From 1 July 1942 to 30 July 1943 he was Senior Officer of the KISKA Defense Force. He occupied a similar position at KATAOKA on PARAMUSHIRO until the end of February 1944, when he went to MUSASHI on the same island.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. RUSSELL, USN.

 

SUMMARY

 

A Japanese Special Naval Landing Force went ashore at REYNARD COVE on KISKA Island at 1000, 7 June 1942 (TOKYO time and date). The force advanced south along the island to the north west shore of KISKA Harbor, where the main camp was set up. The men of the small U.S. Navy weather station were made prisoners-of-war, although one man held out for a long time until forced by hunger and cold to surrender.

On 1 July 1942, the original landing party of 1260 men was reinforced by an additional 1200 men and became the Fifth Garrison Force. In September the Japanese Army troops on ATTU were moved to KISKA, and developed defensive installations in the GERTRUDE Cove Area. About the end of September, Rear Admiral AKIYAMA took command of the island and the garrison became the 61st Base Force. Late in November, the Army garrison was increased and placed under the command of General MINEKI. An air strip was started during the winter, but never completed. The continuous U.S. air raids stopped all surface ship supply to KISKA in February 1943.

After the fall of ATTU at the end of May 1943, it was decided to evacuate the personnel from KISKA. Submarines were tried first unsuccessfully, then, after several unsuccessful attempts, two light cruisers and several destroyers were run in under cover of fog and the entire garrison embarked in a little less than one hour and safely returned to PARAMUSHIRO. Details are given of the defensive installations on the island, and considerable information on damage caused by air raids, surface bombardment and submarine attack.

NARRATIVE

(Note: All dates and times are those of TOKYO, zone minus 9).

According to Commander MUKAI, the first plan of action in the ALEUTIANS was to take the island of ADAK by joint landing on the part of both the Japanese Army and Navy. Then, after a period of about one week, to land on KISKA and ATTU, using the same forces which had taken part in the occupation of ADAK. The object of taking ADAK was to provide a temporary defense in depth, the Army falling back to ATTU and the Navy to KISKA. Commander MUKAI thought the ADAK venture unwise, since he, with his force, would be required to make two landings, and he did not enjoy the prospect, due to the difficult terrain and weather conditions. He was of the opinion that the whole operation was one of reconnaissance. He expected to evacuate KISKA in September of 1942. He learned that the plan was changed, and that he would be required to land only on KISKA, two weeks before the Battle of MIDWAY; and hence, he emphasized, the change in plan could have been in no way connected with the outcome of that battle.

The force with which Commander MUKAI landed on KISKA at 1000 on 7 June 1942, was comprised of one battalion of Special Naval Landing Force of 660 men and a party of labor troops of 700 men. The Landing Force was embarked on the HAKUSAN MARU and the labor troops on the H.......... MARU, both transports of 10,000 tons. (Commander MUKAI could not remember the name of the second transport other than that he thought it began with an "H"). He went ashore with the Landing Force at REYNARD COVE. The Landing Force was divided into three parts; the main body proceeded directly overland to the head of KISKA Harbor, skirting the inshore end of SALMON Lagoon, a second group moved along the crest of the ridge down the center of the island, and a third group moved along the shore. Four landing barges proceeded along the shore toward KISKA Harbor. These stood by to assist the third group of the shore party to cross the entrance

NAV-22

--102--

to SALMON Lagoon, then moved on down to the entrance to KISKA Harbor, where they awaited a call from the force ashore in the event that the evacuation of casualties might be required.

Three prisoners of war were taken a short distance inshore from the U.S. Weather Station. These were a pharmacist's mate, a cook and a weather observer. No one else was met, but the three P.O.W.'s said that there were four more men from the weather station who had gone into the hills to the south.

The three landing force groups assembled at 0230 the next morning on the northwest shore of KISKA Harbor. The two armed transports then moved in and landed the labor troops, equipment and supplies. Present in KISKA Harbor at various times during the first few days of the occupation, in addition to the two armed transports, were the light cruisers KISO and TAMA, the converted light cruiser ASAKA MARU four destroyers of the 21st Destroyer Division, three auxiliaries carrying gasoline, fuel oil and supplies - the HINO MARU, NISSAN MARU and AMAGI MARU - and the KAMITSU MARU. The latter brought in gasoline, equipment and supplies for six flying boats which had landed on 8 June.

As soon as the labor troops and supplies were landed from the two transports the development of the base was started. Four 13 mm AA guns were emplaced on the high ground just east of the U.S. Weather Station. Four 7 cm AA guns were emplaced to the northwest on the slope of the mountains. Four 12 cm coast defense guns were installed on NORTH HEAD. Radar was located below the crest of the ridge to the west. One 40 KVA power unit and one 80 KVA power unit were set up along the stream just east of the Weather Station, and a 15 KVA power unit near the pond. A communication center was established with a receiver in the Weather Station building and transmitter southeast of the pond. Mechanical equipment was lacking, so all this took up the remainder of the month of June.

U.S. air attacks began on about 10 June with B-24's, B-17's, and PBY's taking part. It was considered that the latter were on reconnaissance missions. These air attacks interfered with the work of developing the base considerably.

Remembering the four Americans who were reported to be in the hills to the south, the KISO sent a boat with an armed party aboard around to the south shore of the island. This was not done immediately, however, and was unsuccessful. After the search was discontinued, and on about 22 June, three (Commander MUKAI said this possibly could have been four) gave themselves up. Those were thought to be civilians - one "weatherman" and two "lookouts." On about 30 June the last man was found behind the main camp. None of the Americans had identifying tags or papers. The disposition of the prisoners of war was as follows: the three taken on the first day were questioned as to weather and sent to YOKOSUKA on the, ASAKA MARU, which left on 15 June. The second three (four?) after being given whiskey, water and bread, and being briefly questioned, were rushed out to the KISO which was on the point of departing for OMINATO. The seventh (eighth?) prisoner was kept for some time since no ships were sailing for JAPAN. This prisoner was quartered in the building which housed the U.S. Diesel generator. (This power unit was not used by the Japanese because of the voltage and frequency). The prisoner was tall, slender, had brown hair and blue eyes. He had a pleasant disposition and was well liked by the Japanese. He was finally placed aboard a destroyer sailing for YOKOSUKA in October 1942.

The flying boat camp and the beach from which these and the float planes operated was located a short distance around the shore to the southwest of the main camp.

On 19 June the NISSAN MARU was sunk in the harbor by a bomb from a B-17. The hit was registered on the third attack.

On 1 July the landing force became a garrison force, the "Fifth Garrison Force." The ARGENTINA MARU and the CHIYODA (built as a Navy seaplane carrier) augmented the force at this time with about 1200 men. The AA defense was augmented and six midget submarines were brought in. The 18th Destroyer Division (three DD's) escorted this force. The next day the three destroyers, after standing out, ran into fog, and anchored off SALMON Lagoon. There they were subjected to a torpedo attack by a U.S. submarine. One was sunk and the other two seriously damaged.

The AA defenses were augmented as follows: four 12 cm high angle guns were installed midway between NORTH HEAD and SALMON Lagoon, four 7 cm high angle guns on a hill on the south shore of KISKA Harbor, three 12 cm coast defense guns on the west end of LITTLE KISKA, four 25 mm AA machine guns on a hill behind the main camp, and batteries of four 13 mm AA machine guns were installed, one on NORTH HEAD, one by the submarine base, one on LITTLE KISKA and one near the radar station west of the main camp. The 13 mm battery in the last location was very difficult to install due to the terrain.

NAV-22

--103--

About 200 moored mines were placed off the west shore of KISKA Island in the bight of the shoreline directly west of KISKA Harbor.

The labor battalion was supposed to build a pier at the Main Camp, but were hampered by the lack of equipment, and each time the construction was started it was destroyed by wind and sea.

Observation float biplanes were moved in within a few days of the arrival of the occupation force for short range reconnaissance and anti-submarine work. The day after the landing, six flying boats were brought in. (These, he said, were moved out about 17 August, due to the difficulties of using them in the prevailing foggy weather and the swell in KISKA Harbor). About 10 July the spotting planes were augmented by float fighters. Near the end of June some of the float planes, which were under repair in SALMON Lagoon, were damaged by bombs. He heard (but cautioned that it was second-hand information) that the destroyer OBORO, on about 20 June, was damaged sufficiently by a near miss to be sent back to the EMPIRE for repairs. There were much interference with work, but no great damage by U.S. air raids until about mid-September when the air attacks became very severe.

The installations were subjected to a U.S. surface ship bombardment on 8 August 1942. The day was foggy. Two spotting planes, probably cruiser-borne, appeared. One was shot down by a float fighter and the other hid in the fog. At about 1300, 15 minutes after the spotting planes appeared, an intense bombardment began. It was impossible to be sure in the fog, but the U.S. force was thought to consist of ten ships, including CA's, CL's and DD's. Shells came like rain for thirty minutes. Only two Japanese were killed, because the personnel had taken to the bomb shelters. The north end of the barracks area was destroyed, although most of the shells directed at the main camp fell beyond it. At the end of about thirty minutes the U.S. force withdrew to the south. The Japanese batteries did not fire one round because they had no fire control radar and the fog was too thick for visual control.

After mid-September U.S. bombing occurred twice daily and the damage was severe. The Japanese radar picked up the attackers imperfectly, owing to the U.S. tactic of low-level approach. The results of these raids, as he saw them, were:

(1) Ships had to leave harbor, although none, he said, were sunk there. (n.b.: see later list of ship losses).
(2) Great damage to all buildings ashore.
(3) Radar damaged, but quickly repaired.
(4) Many wounded, but few killed. (In the first big raid of 15 September, ten were killed and many more wounded).
(5) All planes damaged.
(6) Material damage by fire great.

After the big raid of 15 September, all of Captain MUKAI's personnel devoted themselves to antiaircraft drill, digging in and repairing damage.

On 1 July Captain SATO, Toshimi, assumed command of the garrison which was then designated the Fifth Garrison Force. About the end of September 1942, Rear Admiral AKIYAMA came in with about 200 communication personnel and the name of the garrison was changed to the 51st Base Force.

In September, on orders from Imperial General Headquarters, the infantry battalion and company of engineers which had occupied ATTU came to KISKA - a total of about 1200 men under Major HOZUMI. Those troops landed at and developed the GERTRUDE Cove Area. At the same time, and on similar orders, the YAMAZAKI Regiment landed on ATTU and became the occupying force there. Late in November the Army troops were put under the command of Brigadier General MINEKI, who brought with him to KISKA two companies of anti-aircraft artillery and a very small battalion of infantry. A road had been built through the mountains, the Army working on the GERTRUDE Cove end and the Navy on the KISKA end. The small battalion of infantry which General MINEKI brought with him took up a position on the west side of the island between KISKA Harbor and KISKA Volcano. One anti-aircraft company set up positions at GERTRUDE Cove, and one in the area west of KISKA Harbor.

Winter, spring and early summer were spent in improving defense, anti-aircraft drills, and repairing bomb damage. Food and ammunition ran short. The last surface transport reached KISKA in about February 1943. Supply by submarine was attempted, but was not adequate. The only supplies run in from ATTU were small quantities of anti-aircraft ammunition, this by submarine; no other craft attempted this hazardous run.

NAV-22

--104--

During the winter the garrison started building an air strip, mostly by hand. There was much blasting to be done, and this was occasionally assisted by American bombs. The strip was originally planned to be 1000 meters long, but this had to be reduced to 800 meters. The air strip was intended for the use of land based fighters.

The Evacuation of KISKA

Beginning early in May some personnel were removed from KISKA. About forty men, mostly hospital cases, were taken off in each submarine. Due to U.S. bombing it took about three days to load each submarine. Possibly a total of about 700 men were taken off this way. This operation was finally stopped due to the lengthy process.

Total evacuation was eventually accomplished in one surface ship operation. On 28 July 1943, two cruisers, the KISO and ABUKUMA, and eight destroyers entered the harbor in the fog. The sighting of LITTLE KISKA HEAD, which was mistaken for an American ship in the fog, caused the launching of two torpedoes by one of the destroyers. One torpedo struck the Head while the other missed and ran on into the harbor where it struck the cliff east of the Submarine Base. Both torpedoes detonated, which led the garrison to believe that they were being bombed. One hour elapsed between the entry and the departure of the evacuation force. All personnel of both Army and Navy were waiting on the two beaches in KISKA Harbor. All landing boats which remained with the garrison, plus those which the destroyers brought, were used to bring personnel out to the ships. Approximately 3100 Navy and 3000 Army were evacuated, using eighteen landing boats. Commander MUKAI was the last to leave the beach and boarded the closest destroyer, Commander Yoshida's ship, the name of which he could not remember. When the landing boats had completed their service they were sunk. Timed explosives were left to destroy shore installations, eight to twelve hours after the evacuation. The guns were immobilized by the removal and destruction of important parts.

KURILE Operations

The evacuation force went to SHIMUSHU-PARAMUSHIRU, arriving 1 August 1943. Commander MUKAI landed with the entire Navy party at KATAOKA, while the Army troops landed at the well-developed harbor and airfield at KASHIWABARA. With about 2400 Navy personnel, Commander MUKAI worked on building an airstrip and gun emplacements. SHIMUSHU was attacked on about 14 August 1943 by six B-24s which bombed from very high altitude on a track from northeast to southwest. Their bombs caused no damage. These were followed by B-25s, coming from north to south. These severely damaged one transport and burned 500 drums of heavy oil on SHIMUSHU. One B-25 was shot down by ship's anti-aircraft fire. No more B-25s came for a long time but B-24s continued. Winter came. Some casualties occurred to personnel building the air strip. B-34s (PVs) came sporadically on nuisance raids, but caused very little damage. He left KATAOKA the end of February 1944, and went to MUSASHI on the south end of PARAMUSHIRO. He returned to SASEBO in April of 1945.

Japanese Losses at KISKA

Commander MUKAI could remember the following losses in ships at KISKA:

KANO MARU - torpedoed by submarine outside and beached just east of Submarine Base, 12 July 1942
NOJIMA MARU - damaged by bombs in two different attacks, 25 August and 3 September 1942, and beached near TROUT Lagoon in the harbor.
1 Army Transport - damaged by bombing in December 1942, and beached just east of the main camp.
2 SC's - were torpedoed by submarine and sunk about five miles north of KISKA Harbor end of July 1942.
1 DD - sunk by bombing four miles northeast of KISKA Volcano, 11 February 1943, by persistent attacks by B-25s and B-26s as the DD was attempting to run up the west coast of KISKA and north around into the harbor.
1 Army Transport - crashed by a B-26, November, 1942, burned and beached at GERTRUDE Cove.

He estimated Navy shore personnel losses to be about 200 killed and 600 or more wounded. Army losses were unknown to him, but he estimated that they were as many or more than those of the Navy.

Commander MUKAI stated that there were no more U.S. prisoners-of-war taken after the original round-up of weather personnel. However, he said the body of a man from a B-24 fell on NORTH HEAD during the winter. It was buried near the 12 cm HA guns there. One P-40 was shot down, April 1943, near SALMON Lagoon, and the pilot's body was buried there.

NAV-22

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 23
USSBS NO. 100

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN

JAPANESE FLYING BOAT OPERATION IN THE ALEUTIANS

TOKYO 9 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain ITO, Sukemitsu, I.J.N.; from February 1942 to March 1943, commanding Officer of the TOKO Seaplane Squadron at YOKOHAMA.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. RUSSELL, USN.

SUMMARY

The operations of a six plane Japanese flying boat unit from KISKA Harbor, during the period 8 June to 17 August 1942, are given. Operational and combat losses and damage suffered by the unit are enumerated, and some of the early U.S. air raids against KISKA are described.

NARRATIVE

(Note: All dates and times are those of TOKYO, zone minus nine.)

Captain ITO, as commanding officer of a six-plane detachment of TOKO KOKUTAI Type, 97 Flying Boat (MAVIS) Squadron, flew to KISKA from PARAMUSHIRO, landing at KISKA on 8 June, the day after the initial occupation. His unit remained at KISKA until 17 August 1942. He stated that from the latter part of May to the first part of June 1942, a 300 to 400 miles search was made in the direction of KISKA from PARAMUSHIRO by naval land-based attack planes (BETTYS). The fuel, provisions and supplies for use by his six-plane unit were brought to KISKA on board the KAMITSU MARU. This ship carried 500 two hundred liter drums of gasoline. Captain ITO's group moved ashore in a camp on the northwest shore of KISKA Harbor and were supported by repeated trips of the KAMITSU MARU between KISKA and PARAMUSHIRO. The gasoline drums were dispersed behind the seaplane beach and in the surrounding hills. The six plane unit immediately engaged in reconnaissance flights searching to the east and southeast to a distance of 250 to 300 nautical miles. Captain ITO stated that the reconnaissance was very poor due to the prevalence of fog. Beginning on about 10 June, U.S. navy flying boats attacked KISKA. These attacks continued for two or three days and then stopped, he believed, due to fog. In his opinion, these U.S. flying boats came from DUTCH HARBOR.

When Captain ITO's unit arrived in KISKA, the Japanese cruiser KISO and four or five miscellaneous ships, including a few destroyers, were present.

The first large attack against KISKA occurred, to the best of Captain ITO's memory, on 10 June. This was made by a formation of six Liberators. They came through the pass to the west of KISKA Harbor under an overcast which was at about 1500 feet. The leading plane of this attack was struck by anti-aircraft fire from the ships in the harbor and disintegrated in the air. The wreckage fell in the mountains just to the north of the pass. This attack came as a surprise and worried the Japanese considerably. No particular damage was done.

Captain ITO stated that the cruiser KISO, which was present at KISKA on his arrival, was undamaged.

Captain ITO did not remember when his flying boats first bombed NAZAN Bay, but thought it was about the middle of July. Their mission was to bomb a seaplane tender, but she was absent and the village was bombed instead. Clouds interfered with the observation of the results of this bombing. On one bombing of NAZAN Bay, U.S. fighters, of an unidentified type, attacked the Japanese flying boats. No damage was done to the Jap planes except for 50 caliber bullet holes in the tail surfaces of one plane. The Jap plane under attack escaped into the clouds. Three planes of Captain ITO's unit bombed a U.S. seaplane tender in KULUK Bay, ADAK, about 20 July. One plane, of three outbound on daily search, sighted the tender. When each had finished his sector search, all concentrated on KULUK BAY, joined in section formation and bombed. Each plane carried two 250 kg. bombs. Planes were not sure but thought no damage was done to the tender. One plane had one small shrapnel hole in its tail surfaces as a result of AA fire.

When Captain ITO was based at KISKA the Japanese seaplane tender KAMIKAWA brought in some float seaplanes.

NAV-23

--106--

The total losses to Captain ITO's six-plane MAVIS unit were: (a) two operationally, and (b) three as a result of U.S. surface gunfire on about 8 August. Of the two planes lost operationally, one disappeared in the fog between OMINATO and PARAMUSHIRO; the other was weathered out after a reconnaissance flight to the eastward of KISKA. The latter plane eventually landed in the open sea off ATTU, and, although the plane sank, the crew were rescued by the Japanese Army forces on ATTU. Replacements were received for the two planes lost operationally. Of the three planes lost due to enemy action, i.e., bombardment on 8 August, one plane sank and the other two were damaged beyond repair and were left in KISKA. Captain ITO departed from KISKA on 17 August and returned to Japan with the three remaining planes.

Captain ITO considered seaplane operations from KISKA very difficult due to weather. Their searches were greatly reduced in radius, 250-300 nautical miles, due to the extreme uncertainty of weather at their base. Searches over the sea were flown "contact", those along the island chain were flown "on top". The ocean swell which set into KISKA Harbor from the northeast caused them considerable trouble, but, in spite of many close calls, no damage was caused to his planes due to rough landings on the swells. He stated that the four U.S. seaplane moorings found in the lee of NORTH HEAD were of excellent quality. During reconnaissance missions, Captain ITO's planes navigated by dead-reckoning and celestial navigation. Although they had radio direction finders in their planes, and radio beacons were in operation on KISKA and ATTU, reliance was not placed in radio bearings. Japanese forces were on only four islands: KISKA, ATTU, LITTLE KISKA, and AGATTU. Commander [sic] ITO's flying boat unit operated under orders of Commander Fifth Fleet whose headquarters were at OMINATO or PARAMUSHIRO. The officer in command ashore at KISKA was the Commanding Officer of No. 3 Special Naval Landing Force, Lieutenant Commander MUKAI.

NAV-23

--107--

INTERROGATION NAV NO. 24
USSBS NO. 101

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN

PLANNING AND OPERATIONS THROUGH NOVEMBER 1942

TOKYO 11 October 1945

Interrogation of: Captain ITO, Taisuke, IJN, from August 1941 until November 1942, an air officer on the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet, who based variously at AKKESHI, OMINATO, and PARAMUSHIRO.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. RUSSELL, USN.

Allied Officer Present: Lieutenant H.L. McMASTERS, USNR.

SUMMARY

The Japanese planning for, and operations in, their campaign in the Western ALEUTIANS, during the period May to November 1942, are discussed from the viewpoint of an air officer attached to the staff of the fleet commander assigned to the area.

NARRATIVE

(All dates and times are those of TOKYO, zone minus nine.)

Captain ITO spoke entirely from memory. He stated that all records had been destroyed on 15 August 1945. The following summary is based, therefore, on the best recollections of one officer.

The primary objective of the ALEUTIAN Operation was to occupy ADAK as a northern base for patrol planes, which, in conjunction with MIDWAY, could cover the northern approach across the PACIFIC to JAPAN. When the Battle of MIDWAY went unfavorably, Admiral YAMAMOTO was against occupying any of the ALEUTIAN ISLANDS. However, Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA, Commander Fifth Fleet, argued strongly for the occupation of KISKA as a position from which to neutralize DUTCH HARBOR and prevent an advance toward JAPAN via the ALEUTIAN ISLANDS. He was granted permission to land on KISKA on 7 June. Since it was known that Aleutian weather in the winter was very bad, it was the original plan to hold KISKA only until fall. ADAK was selected as the original westernmost target, since it was considered to afford the best anchorage in the Western ALEUTIANS. ATTU, KISKA, and AMCHITKA were scouted by submarine plane a week to ten days before KISKA was occupied.

About a month after the occupation of KISKA, the landing upon which was effected on 7 June, 1942, airfields were planned for the ALEUTIANS, based on reconnaissance. One airfield was planned for ATTU. The site was originally chosen on SARANA Bay but was shifted to HOLTZ Bay (the latter was considered a better location for weather and supply). Two airfields were planned for KISKA; one just north of KISKA Harbor, and another in the GERTRUDE Cove area. The GERTRUDE Cove site could not be agreed upon and the project was eventually dropped. AMCHITKA was reconnoitered once by the Navy and once, more extensively, by the Army. The party from the latter service stayed on the island three days and made test diggings in the soil.

The initial landings on KISKA, Captain ITO believed, was made by No. 5 Special Naval Landing Force, plus construction troops totaling upward of 1000 persons. The initial landing was made in the vicinity of SALMON Lagoon, and the landing party moved overland to KISKA Harbor, while their ships moved around by sea to meet them. All the personnel of the U.S. Navy Weather Station were rounded up in a few days, except for one who held out for a long time before coming into camp and giving himself up.

The following forces took part in the initial occupation:

     
  2 CL KISO, TAMA
  2 AP HAKUSAN MARU, KUMAGA MARU
  2 DD  
  3 SC  
  Troops: No. 5 SNLF and a Construction Battalion
  1 AV KIMIKAWA MARU
  6 VPB KAWANISHI Type 94 flying boats of TOKO Air Group
  10 (approx.) VO-VS Float reconnaissance seaplanes.

NAV-24

--108--

Both the KISKA and ATTU occupation forces were under the command of Commander Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA, who remained in PARAMUSHIRO. ATTU was occupied on 8 June by one battalion of Army troops under Major HOZUMI. At KISKA there were three forces without a unified local command. The ground troops were commanded by Lieutenant Commander MUKAI; the air force was in two parts - the flying boats under Captain ITO and the float planes under Captain TAKAHASHI. All three of these commands were responsible directly to Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA.

American air attacks commenced within a few days after the initial landing on KISKA. These were more harassing than damaging although he believed that one transport was sunk within the first twenty days. The Japanese seaplane operations were not very satisfactory. Losses were high, principally due to weather, but also to enemy action. He remembered that the flying boats were sent on a mission to bomb American flying boats at ATKA. Photo reconnaissance, which they desired for intelligence and planning, was extremely poor, due to weather. In about September 1942, an RO Type submarine reported making one torpedo hit on an ASTORIA Type cruiser in NAZAN BAY. This submarine failed to return from its patrol.

Captain ITO made one trip to the ALEUTIANS - in a flying boat. The plane landed at CHICAGOF Harbor, ATTU, the location of the headquarters of the Army garrison. Then on the next day, he flew on to KISKA. He was in the main camp at the site of the former U.S. Navy Weather Station in late afternoon of 8 August when an American surface ship shelling took place. The bombardment lasted about 30 to 40 minutes. There were two destroyers, two to three subchasers, four to six midget submarines, one or two transports in the harbor at the time. Some landing barges were destroyed. On the next day he flew directly from KISKA to PARAMUSHIRO. At both of his stops there was a considerable stock of drummed gasoline. His flying boat was refueled at its mooring from drums brought out in a landing boat.

Captain ITO stated that their information on the topography of the ALEUTIAN ISLANDS was poor, and this hampered their planning. They knew the winter weather was bad, and some of their planners thought that KISKA Harbor would freeze over in winter and be unnavigable. There was a general lack of information and considerable misinformation. Aerial photography was extremely difficult to obtain, and none was done east of SEGUAM PASS. He knew of an American flying field on ADAK, which was made by draining a swamp. This information was obtained by aerial photographs, and to the best of his memory, he first learned of it in early OCTOBER 1942.

The Japanese losses in the ALEUTIAN Campaign through November 1942, totaled: two destroyers, three subchasers, one transport, two or three submarines, sunk; and three destroyers heavily damaged.

Captain ITO said that, by and large, the ALEUTIAN Campaign served as a stop to any American advance down the ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, that it was planned in coordination with the taking of MIDWAY, and, had they a base in the ALEUTIANS and one in MIDWAY, a barrier patrol could have been set up between the two. This was considered a prerequisite to operations against HAWAII. They did not intend to go into ALASKA. He thought that the general results of the campaign did not amount to very much, and that when they did not take MIDWAY, it would have been better not to go into the ALEUTIANS.

In the defense of their positions in an area of prevailing poor visibility and long winter nights, he said the fact was considered that the Americans were advanced in the art of night flying and radar bombing. These forms of attack had considerable nuisance value and acted adversely against morale; however, their actual value in destruction was much less than they had anticipated.

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INTERROGATION NAV NO. 25
USSBS NO. 102

ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN AND DEFENSE OF THE KURILES

PLANNING AND OPERATIONS FROM NOVEMBER 1942 TO AUGUST 1945

TOKYO 22 October and 7 November

Interrogation of Commander HASHIMOTO, Shigefuso, IJN. Attached to the Navy headquarters in TOKYO from November 1942. His particular duty during this time was Russian intelligence. He served as navigation and communication officer on the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet from November 1942 until June 1944. He was again in the Navy headquarters in TOKYO from June until November 1944, when he went to the NE Area Air Fleet Staff. From February 1945 until August 1945 he served on the OMINATO Naval Garrison Staff and with the Twelfth Air Fleet Staff.

Interrogated by: Captain J.S. Russell, USN.

SUMMARY

The Japanese operations in the ALEUTIANS from November 1942 until July 1943, and their later defense of the KURILES, is described from the viewpoint of navigation and communication officer attached to the staff of the fleet commander assigned to the area.

The naval battle fought off the KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS is described in detail with an account of the damaged [sic] received by Japanese ships. The evacuation of the KISKA garrison is described, but the date given from memory is two days early. The use of radar intercept for avoiding U.S. ships is described. Considerable information on shipping losses in the North Pacific is given from memory.

NARRATIVE

All dates and times are those of TOKYO, zone minus 9.)

In Commander HASHIMOTO's opinion the Japanese move into the ALEUTIANS was conceived as a flanking operation to the occupation of MIDWAY. Once KISKA and ATTU were occupied it was decided to hold them for the purpose of blocking a U.S. amphibious advance toward the EMPIRE via the ALEUTIAN chain, and also to deny the use of the Western ALEUTIANS as bases from which long-range bombers might operate. He said that the Japanese were aware in the latter part of 1942 that the U.S. had plans for a high altitude, long range bomber, and, in about February 1943, had information concerning the B-29. This information was later confirmed in a radio broadcast by an American general. He went on to say that the B-29 appeared in operation eight months later than the Japanese had estimated it might appear. When ATTU was retaken by U.S., Japanese expected long-range bomber operations from MASSACRE Bay.

Prior to the ALEUTIAN Operations Japanese intelligence was to the effect that the U.S. had extremely light forces in the Aleutians, possibly a few planes as far west as ADAK and KISKA. As of November 1942 their information indicated that in North PACIFIC waters the U.S. had four cruisers, six or seven destroyers, and that one or two aircraft carriers might be in that area from time to time. There was also a rumor that two battleships might be operating there, but this he personally discounted.

Commander HASHIMOTO stated that, to the best of his recollection, the Japanese forces in the North PACIFIC as of November 1942 were:

Fifth Fleet - Commander in Chief: Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA

21st Cruiser Squadron  -  Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA
two CA  -  NACHI (FF), MAYA (on loan from Second Fleet)
two CL  -  TAMA, KISO
1st Destroyer Squadron  -  Rear Admiral MORI
one CL  -  ABUKUMA (F)
21st Destroyer Division    
three DD  -  HATSUSHIMO, WAKABA, HATSUHARU
7th Destroyer Division    
three DD  -  INAZUMA (or DEN), IKAZUCHI (or RAI), HIBIKI (or KYO)

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Air Afloat  -  C.O. of KIMIKAWA MARU
1 AV  -  KIMIKAWA MARU
8 VO  -  three-seat, twin float, seaplanes
Air Ashore at KISKA  -  Captain TAKAHASHI
4 VS  -  two seat, single float, seaplanes
8 VF  -  single-seat, single float, seaplanes
51st Base Forces  -  Rear Admiral AKIYAMA
5th Garrison Force, SNLF    
51st Communication Unit, Navy    
    Total Naval Personnel ashore estimated to be 4000.
Independent Army Force on Kiska  -  Brigadier General MINEKI
    Total Army Personnel ashore estimated to be 5000.
Army garrison forces on Attu    

The primary mission of these forces was to defend against any U.S. westward movement through the ALEUTIANS.

Prior to the time that Commander HASHIMOTO joined the Fifth Fleet Staff, and in about late September, a convoy of three transports and three destroyers brought troops and equipment to ATTU. This was at the time when the original ATTU garrison was moved forward to KISKA. A second convoy of three transports escorted by 1 CL (ABUKUMA) and three DD's carried personnel to ATTU and ammunition and other supplies to KISKA. This was for and consummated during the period October to December 1942. A third convoy was planned for during the period January to March, 1943. The weather was very bad in January. As time passed it became clearly evident that U.S. forces were preparing to intercept the movement of transports, hence in March the entire surface force available to the Fifth Fleet was employed as escorts. The tactical plan was to attract and destroy the U.S. forces. This operation resulted in the sea battle of 27 March 1943.

The Battle of the KOMANDORSKIS

The transports departed from KATAOKA (PARAMUSHIRO-SHIMUSHU) in two groups. On 23 March the 4000 ton SANKO MARU left, escorted by the destroyer USUGUMO. On 24 or 25 March the converted light cruiser ASAKA MARU and the Army transport SAKITO MARU left escorted by the First Destroyer Squadron: 1 CL - ABUKUMA, and 4 DD's - WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO, IKAZUCHI, and INAZUMA. Shortly thereafter the main body of the Fifth Fleet sortied, comprised as follows: 2 CA's - NACHI, Vice Admiral HOSOGAYA, Commander Fifth Fleet embarked; MAYA, "Loaned" from the Second Fleet; 1 CL - TAMA.

The transports were loaded as follows:
   SANKO MARU - supplies and ammunition, possibly some troops.
   SAKITO MARU - troops, equipment, ammunition, and supplies.
   ASAKA MARU - a staff and headquarters outfit, (Commander HASHIMOTO was not sure whether Colonel YAMAZAKI was on SAKITO MARU, but knew he was embarked, also COMMANDER YASUNAMI of the Navy and Lieutenant Colonel ANDO of the Army), some supplies and equipment.

The second group was delayed because of a storm. The weather was bad the first two days of the voyage. They reached the rendezvous position late on 26 March and they spent the night of 26-27 March running approximately 60 miles north and south through the rendezvous point waiting for the SANKO MARU and USUGUMO to join. The rendezvous point was selected at about the latitude of ATTU and just outside the 600 mile radius from ADAK - the latter to avoid detection by U.S. air search.

Commander HASHIMOTO was below decks when the contact with the American force was made. When he arrived on the bridge the NACHI had just turned to the right, he believed, from a northerly heading to a southerly one in order to engage the enemy. He understood that the ASAKA MARU to the rear of the column had first made out and reported the enemy ships to the south. The guns were trained in the direction of the enemy, and the MARUs cleared to the northwest as all other ships closed up and prepared for action.

The NACHI normally carried three planes, but one of these had been left behind for overhaul. The MAYA also could carry three planes, but had with her. upon making contact with the enemy the NACHI's two planes were ordered to be launched; however, it took a long time to warm up the engines and they had not been catapulted when the NACHI opened fire with her main battery. Gun

685287 O - 48 - 9

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blast damaged the two-seater plane on the starboard cata