Built by Uraga Dock Company at Uraga. Laid down on February 2, 1928. Launched on May 22, 1929. Commissioned on December 26, 1929 as Itsukushima.
During December 10-11, 1941 lays 300 Type 93 sea mines in the San Bernardino Strait in the Philippines, escorted by destroyer Kuroshio.
On October 4, 1944 Itsukushima under tow by Wakataka departed the Celebes bound for Surabaya on Java. At 3:50am, U. S. Navy (USN) codebreakers intercept a message from Itsukushima that says “At 22(?51) engaged one enemy catalina aircraft --- --- obtained direct hit. Damage incurred: mines penetrated the upper deck. Deck ---- damaged; breaches of diameter about 5 meters; no---. Killed: 30 men ----. Seriously wounded: about 50 men.” At 4:00am, USN codebreakers intercept a message from Wakataka that says “At 2320/03, 1 PBY attacked and Itsukushima suffered one bomb hit. The damage is given in Itsukushima’s 040350. As a result of this I am towing Itsukushima. Will leave Pagalungian at 040530. Proceeding to Dangulan (00-30N, 120-00E)”
On October 17, 1944 lookouts aboard the Dutch submarine Hr. Ms. Zwaardvisch (P322) spot a convoy plus a tugboat towing Itsukushima in the Java Sea east of Bawean Island. Zwaardvisch sets up an attack to hit the minesweeper and escorts and fires a spread of five torpedoes. One torpedo hits and sinks Itsukushima at roughly at 05-23S, 113-48E. Officially, Itsukushima was not removed from the Navy list until January 10, 1945. Also hit was Wakataka in the bow, likely by a dud torpedo.
Fates of the Crew
Captain Oishi and an unknown number of the crew survive the sinking and are rescued.
December 15, 2002 a group of divers off MV Empress including Kevin Denlay located the shipwreck of Itsukushima.
Kevin Denlay adds:
"The wreck lies in two sections, cleanly severed where Zwaardvisch's torpedo struck aft. The forward section rests 350 to 400 yds/meters from the stern. Disappointingly, the much larger forward section is upside down from the bow stem to the break where the three prop shafts begin to exit the hull. No upper-works or superstructure can be seen. The small stern section sits upright and is relatively intact. The deck is deteriorated with the doors on the two outer mine laying ‘wings’ closed and in place. The doors across the stern are missing. No 5.5-inch guns can be seen on the aft section, but one gun sits upright on the seabed about 49ft/15m from the break. ITSUKUSHIMA's outer port propeller is clearly visible under the stern, still on the shaft and connected to the hull by the ‘V’ support - but now embedded halfway into the seabed."
Combined Fleet: IJN Minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA: Tabular Record of Movement
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information
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February 4, 2018