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Shiretoko Class Fleet Oiler
456' x 58' x 26'
2 x 140mm guns
2 x 8cm Type 3 gun
Built by Yokosuka Navy Yard. Laid down April 11, 1922. Launched January 30, 1923 as Naruto. Assigned to Cdr Hirayama Sakae. Completed October 30, 1922 and assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as a tanker.
On April 1, 1925 assigned to Captain Niiyama Yoshiyuki. On December 1, 1925 Captain Hayashi Sueki. On May 1, 1927 assigned to Captain Kuragano Akira. On December 1, 1927 assigned to Captain Shimomura Keisaburo. On December 10, 1928 assigned to Captain Masushima Tadao. On November 30, 1929 assigned to Cdr Sakamoto Masataka.
On December 1, 1930 Captain Yamauchi Taizo. On December 1, 1931 assigned to Cdr Goga Keijiro. On November 1, 1932 assigned to Cdr Oshima Kenshiro. On April 1, 1933 assigned to Captain Izawa Toru. On November 15, 1933 assigned to Captain Mizuno Junichi. On November 15, 1934 assigned to Captain Kajioka Sadamichi. On November 15, 1935 assigned to Captain Ishikawa Shigeru. On November 2, 1936 assigned to Commander Hori Yugoro.
Second Sino-Japanese War
On August 7, 1937 during the Second 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 assigned to Captain Suzuki Chozo assumes command. On July 20, 1938 assigned to Captain Kiyota Takahiko. On December 15, 1938 assigned Captain Kouda Takero. On December 20, 1938 assigned to an unknown captain. On October 20, 1939 assigned to Cdr Seki Ikuya. On November 28, 1940 assigned to Captain Sasaki Seigo. On July 28, 1941 Captain Nishioka Shigeyasu. On November 17, 1941 departs Kure. On December 6, 1941 arrives Roi. On December 7, 1941 departs Roi bound for Kwajalein.
Pacific War History
On December 8, 1941 arrives Kwajalein then departs five days later. On December 17, 1941 arrives Roi and departs three days later. On December 28, 1941 arrives Hashirajima then to Kure.
On January 8, 1942 departs Kure and ten days later arrives at Davao. On March 12, 1942 arrives Sasebo then departs two days later. On March 18, 1942 arrives Ise Wan and departs the next day.
On March 22, 1942 arrives Hashirajima and later that day transfers to Kure. On March 24, 1942 departs Kure. On March 31, 1942 arrives Hashirajima. On April 4, 1942 arrives Olongapo and provides fuel oil to Sanuki Maru.
On April 7, 1942 arrives Mako and departs the next day. On April 12, 1942 transits Bungo Strait and the next day arrives at Kure. On April 20, 1942 departs Kure and returns three days later.
On May 3, 1942 departs Hiro and the next day arrives Kanokawa. On May 8, 1942 departs Kanokawa and the next day arrives Hashirajima. On May 11, 1942 departs Hashirajima and four days later arrives Kanokawa. On May 16, 1942 arrives Kure then to Kanokawa. On May 26, 1942 Hashirajima.
On May 29, 1942 departs Sukumo Bay with the Combined Fleet main body for Operation "MI" for the Battle of Midway. Afterwards, On June 14, 1942 returns to Hashirajima with main body. On June 19, 1942 transits Bungo Strait escorted by Yukaze. On August 16, 1942 again transits Bungo Strait. On September 23, 1942 as part of a convoy with Kokuyo Maru and Nagisan Maru transits Bungo Strait northward.
On November 12, 1942 off Shortland Island attacked by U. S. aircraft and sustains damage. On December 4, 1942 transits Bungo Strait northward escorted by subchaser CH-37 until Fukajima. On December 29, 1942 at Fukajima escorted by patrol boat PB-46 for a day then proceeds southward to Truk.
On May 7, 1943 Captain Setoyama Yasuhide assumes command. Three days later departs Truk via the North Channel with Naruto Maru escorted by torpedo boat Otori. On May 21, 1943 arrives at Yokosuka and afterwards returns to Rabaul.
On June 15, 1943 at Rabaul refuels Japanese submarine I-38. On June 27, 1943 refueled by tanker Nichiei Maru that arrives from Truk.
On July 11 1943 refuels Yukikaze and Hamakaze. On July 13, 1943 at Rabaul refuels destroyer Tanikaze. On July 15, 1943 at Rabaul, refuels destroyers Yukikaze, Kiyonami and Hamakaze after the Battle of Kolombangara (Second Battle of Kula Gulf). On July 18, 1943 refuels Minazuki. On July 20, 1943 refuels Mikazuki twice over two days. On August 12, 1943 provides oil to Takunan Maru. On October 7, 1943 provides bunker oil to Kyoei Maru.
On October 12, 1943 attacked by U. S. bombers escorted by fighters. During the air raid, 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 executive officer.
On October 27, 1943 replenishes W-28 with coal and the next day returns to Rabaul at 2:02am. On November 1, 1943 Captain Okano Keizaburo assumes command.
On January 12, 1944 Naruto refuels Akebono and Sazanami in Karavia Bay south of 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 damaged.
On March 2, 1944 while anchored in Karavia Bay hit by a bomb on the port side of the engine room killing crew members and causing the damaged vessel to sink stern first near shore. Later, the Japanese pumped out the fuel oil into a shore fuel dump but this too was later bombed and strafed. On March 13, 1944 further damaged during another Allied air raid by U. S. B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchells plus escorting fighters.
On March 15, 1944 Naruto was written off as a total loss and abandoned partially sunk into Karavia Bay. Officially removed from the Navy List on April 30, 1944.
During September 1945 when the Allies occupied Rabaul the shipwreck was 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.
Between September 16, 1945 until September 30, 1945 salvaged by Cambrian Salvor assisted by 140 Japanese Prisoners Of War (POW) plus Japanese salvage tug Hozu Maru. Afterwards, the ship was cleaned, bunker coal removed and leaks plugged and all the seawater pumped out.
On October 13, 1945 the hull was fully raised then towed into Simpson Harbor and anchored. On October 26, 1945 the hull was further inspected and severe buckling is noted. As a result, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) rejects the vessel. Afterward, 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 had sunk into shallow water and is again raised and loaded with scrap metal salvaged from other sunken vessels that was then sold to Hong Kong scrap dealers.
On September 8, 1958 towed from Karavia Bay to Singapore and scrapped later in the year.
Note there was also another Japanese ship "Naruto Maru".
Combined Fleet IJN NARUTO: Tabular Record of Movement
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