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  Naruto (Japanese Tanker No. 5301)
Shiretoko Class Fleet Oiler

15,450 Tons
456' x 58' x 26'
2 x 140mm guns
2 x 8cm Type 3 gun

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IJN c1932

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AWM September 30, 1945
AWM October 13, 1945

Ship History
Built by Yokosuka Navy Yard. Laid down April 11, 1922. Launched January 30, 1923 as Naruto. Assigned to Cdr Hirayama Sakae. Completed October 30, 1942 and assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Naruto was assigned to a number of captains, the first was Captain Niiyama Yoshiyuki on April 1, 1925 then Captain Hayashi Sueki on December 1, 1925. Next, Captain Kuragano Akira on May 1, 1927 then Captain Shimomura Keisaburo on December 1, 1927. Captain Masushima Tadao on December 10, 1928. Then to Cdr Sakamoto Masataka November 30, 1929. Captain Yamauchi Taizo on December 1, 1930.

1 December 1931:
Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Goga Keijiro (38) assumes command.
1 November 1932:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Oshima Kenshiro (39) assumes command.
1 December 1932:
Cdr Oshima is promoted Captain.
1 April 1933:
Captain Izawa Toru (36) is appointed Commanding Officer.
15 November 1933:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mizuno Junichi (42) assumes command.
15 November 1934:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi (39) assumes command.
15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Ishikawa Shigeru (40) assumes command.
2 November 1936:
Cdr Hori Yugoro (later Rear Admiral)(41) assumes command.
1 December 1936:
Cdr Hori is promoted Captain.

Wartime History
On August 7, 1937 during the Sino-Japanese War, departs Kure with the 21st Naval Air Group to participate in operations off Tianjin (Tientsin) in China. On September 30, 1937 off Lushun (Port Arthur) the 21st Sea Scout Unit disembarks from Naruto and waits for Kinugasa Maru.

On November 25 1937 Captain Suzuki Chozo assumes command, then Captain Kiyota Takahiko on on July 20, 1938. Next, Captain Kouda Takero on December 15, 1938. Then another unknown captain assumes command on December 20, 1938. Then Cdr Seki Ikuya assumes command on October 20, 1939. Next, Captain Sasaki Seigo on November 28, 1940. Then Captain Nishioka Shigeyasu on July 28, 1941.

17 November 1941:
Departs Kure.
6 December 1941:
Arrives at Roi.
7 December 1941:
Departs Roi.
8 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.
13 December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein.
17 December 1941:
Arrives at Roi.
20 December 1941:
Departs Roi.
28 December 1941:
Arrives at Hashirajima and later transfers to Kure.
8 January 1942:
Departs Kure.
18 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao.
12 March 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.
14 March 1942:
Departs Sasebo.
18 March 1942:
Arrives at Ise Wan.
19 March 1942:
Departs Ise Wan.
22 March 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima. Later that day transfers from Hashirajima to Kure.
24 March 1942:
Departs Kure.
31 March 1942:
Arrives at Subic Bay.
4 April 1942:
Olongapo. Provides fuel oil to auxiliary seaplane tender SANUKI MARU. Later that day departs Subic Bay.
7 April 1942:
Arrives at Mako.
8 April 1942:
Departs Mako.
12 April 1942:
Enters Bungo Suido (Strait) heading north.
13 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.
20 April 1942:
Departs Kure.
23 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.
3 May 1942:
Departs Hiro.
4 May 1942:
Arrives at Kanokawa.
8 May 1942:
Departs Kanokawa.
9 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.
11 May 1942:
Departs Hashirajima.
15 May 1942:
Arrives at Kanokawa.
16 May 1942:
Transfers to Kure.
25 May 1942:
Departs Kanokawa.
26 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

29 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
At 0600, departs Sukumo Bay with the CINC, Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku's (32)(former CO of AKAGI) Main Body and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (41) DesRon 3 light cruiser SENDAI with DesDiv 11's FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI, MURAKUMO and HATSUYUKI, DesDiv 19's URANAMI, SHIKANAMI, Ayanami, ISONAMI and YUKAZE. Screens BatDiv 1's Yamato, NAGATO and Mutsu, escort carrier HOSHO, seaplane tenders CHIYODA and NISSHIN and Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nishioka Shigesayu's (40) Supply Group No. 1's oilers NARUTO and TOEI MARU.
The Main Body remains 600 miles behind Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36)(former CO of KIRISHIMA) First Carrier Striking Force and does not engage American forces.

14 June 1942:
The Main Body returns to Hashirajima.
19 June 1942:
Passes through Bungo Suido escorted by destroyer YUKAZE.
16 August 1942:
Passes through Bungo Suido unescorted.
23 September 1942:
Enters the Bungo Straits heading north in a convoy also composed of tanker KOKUYO MARU and transport NAGISAN MARU.
12 November 1942:
Off Shortland Island, Bougainville. NARUTO is damaged by Allied aircraft.
4 December 1942:
Passes through Bungo Suido escorted by subchaser CH-37 heading north. Off Fukajima, CH-37 is detached.
E 29 December 1942:
NARUTO is met off Fukajima by patrol boat PB-46 and heads south.
30 December 1942:
When 90 degrees off Toi Misaki, PB-46 is detached.
7 May 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Setoyama Yasuhide (45) assumes command.
10 May 1943:
Truk. At 1400, NARUTO and ammunition ship NARUTO MARU depart via the North channel escorted by torpedo boat OTORI.
21 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
15 June 1943:
Rabaul. NARUTO refuels submarine I-38.
E 27 June 1943:
Tanker NICHIEI MARU arrives at Rabaul from Truk escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI to offload fuel to NARUTO.
11 July 1943:
Rabaul. NARUTO refuels DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE and DesDiv 16's HAMAKAZE.
13 July 1943: The Battle of Kolombangara:
NARUTO receives a spare torpedo from TANIKAZE. At 0330, that day, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral posthumously)Isaki Shunji’s (42) ComDesRon 2's light cruiser JINTSU departs Rabaul with DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 27's YUGURE, DesDiv 30's MIKAZUKI and DesDiv 31's Kiyonami and destroyer-transports SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, YUNAGI and MATSUKAZE carrying 1,200 troops to be landed at Vila on Kolombangara Island, New Georgia.
JINTSU and YUKIKAZE detect Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Walden L. Ainsworth's (USNA ’10) (former CO of USS MISSISSIPPI, BB-38) Task Group 36.1 consisting of CruDiv 9's USS HONOLULU (F)(CL-48), USS ST LOUIS (CL-49), HMNZS LEANDER escorted by 10 destroyers.
At 2308, Rear Admiral Isaki’s warships launch 31 Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at TG 36.1. JINTSU snaps on her searchlight to illuminate Ainsworth's force.
At 2310, USS HONOLULU, USS ST LOUIS and HMNZS LEANDER open fire on JINTSU and Ainsworth's other warships launch torpedoes at Isaki's force. JINTSU is hit by at least ten 6-inch shells from the Allied cruisers and set afire. Rear Admiral Isaki, Captain Sato Torajiro (43) and Executive Officer Cdr Kondo Issei (50) are KIA.
Captain Shimai Zenjiro (48), ComDesDiv 16, aboard YUKIKAZE assumes command of the IJN force. Shimai launches torpedo attacks on the Allied force that sink LtCdr J. B. Fellows' destroyer USS GWIN (DD-433) and severely damages New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS LEANDER. USS ST LOUIS is hit by a torpedo that twists her bow. A torpedo strikes flagship USS HONOLULU's starboard side, and blows a hole in her hull.
At 2348, JINTSU breaks in two and sinks at 07-38S, 157-06E. The Transport Group successfully lands 1,200 men on Vila, so the Battle of Kolombangara is a major defeat for the Allies.
13 July 1943:
Rabaul. NARUTO refuels destroyer TANIKAZE that departs that same day for Truk.
15 July 1943:
Destroyers YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 31's Kiyonami and DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE arrive back at Rabaul via the Shortlands after the Battle of Kolombangara and are refueled by NARUTO.
18 July 1943:
NARUTO refuels destroyer MINAZUKI.
20 July 1943:
Refuels destroyer MIKAZUKI.
21 July 1943:
Refuels destroyer MIKAZUKI again.
12 August 1943:
Rabaul. Provides lubricating oil to auxiliary storeship TAKUNAN MARU.
7 October 1943:
Rabaul. Provides provides bunker oil to auxiliary oiler KYOEI MARU

On October 12, 1943 at Rabaul attacked by American bombers escorted by fighters. Naruto is damaged and suffers slight slight damage and holes in hull and Captain Setoyama was killed. The next day, an unknown officer assumes command, likely the ship's executive officer.

On October 27-28, 1943 replenishes W-28 with coal then returns to Rabaul at 2:02.

On November 1, 1943 Captain Okano Keizaburo (former C.O. of Irako) assumes command of Naruto.

On January 12, 1944 Naruto refuels Akebono and Sazanami in the outer anchorage (Karavia Bay) near Rabaul.

On January 14, 1944 during an Allied air raid by SBD Dauntless and TBF Avengers escorted by fighters. A bomb hit causes heavy damage to Naruto.

On January 24, 1944 during an Allied air raid by USN, USMC, USAAF and RNZAF aircraft further damages Naruto.

On March 2, 1944 while anchored in Karavia Bay during an Allied air raid hit by a bomb on the port side of the engine room, killing the crew and causing the damaged vessel to sink stern first near shore. Later, the Japanese pumped out the fuel oil to a fuel dump ashore that is later bombed and strafed.

On March 13, 1944 during an Allied air raid by B-24, B-25s escorted by fighters, Naruto is further damaged.

Sinking History
On March 15, 1944 Naruto was abandoned partially sunk and written off as a total loss. On April 30, 1944 officially removed from the Navy List.

After the Australian occupation of Rabaul, the shipwreck is deemed salvageable by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for use as an oiler. The vessel is referred to by the Australians as "Japanese Tanker No. 5301", possibly her hull number and incorrectly described as a 9,000 ton vessel.

During September 16-30, 1945 raised by the crew Cambrian Salvor assisted by 140 Japanese Prisoners Of War (POW) with assistance from salvage tug Hozu Maru. The vessel is cleaned, bunker coal removed and leaks plugged and seawater pumped out. On October 13, 1945 the hull is raised and towed to nearby Simpson Harbor and anchored. On October 26, 1945 the hull is further inspected and severe buckling is noted. As a result, the Australian Navy rejects the vessel. Instead, towed back to Karavia Bay and beached.

During 1957, salvaged for scrap metal by Japanese companies Okadigumi Salvage Co. and Nayo Boeki Kaisha. By 1958, Naruto sinks into shallow water and is again raised and loaded with scrap metal salvaged from other vessels, then sold to scrap dealers from Hong Kong. On September 8, 1958 towed from Rabaul to Singapore.

After reaching Singapore, Naruto is scrapped sometime afterwards.

Combined Fleet IJN NARUTO: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
April 6, 2020


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