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W-13 Class Minesweeper

702 Tons
242' x 26.11' x 6.9'
2 x 4.7" guns
2 x 13mm machine guns

Ship History
Built at Fujinagata Zosen shipyard in Osaka. Laid down April 6, 1933. Launched February 14, 1934. Completed August 21, 1934 and registered in the Kure Naval District.


On April 2, 1943 at 8:00 arrives at Shortland Harbor escorting Gisho Maru and soon afterwards departs to patrol the western approaches to Shortland. The next day, begins patrolling the southern approaches to Shortland. On April 4, 1943 returns to Shortland at 6:15am. On April 5, 1943 departs Shortland Harbor and returns the next day. On April 8, 1943 departs Shortland at 8:10am and returns at 1:15pm.

On April 9, 1943 departs Shortland to patrol the northern approaches then on April 11, 1943 begin patrolling the western approaches on Shortland. On April 12, 1943 resumes patrolling north of Shortland.

On April 18, 1943 departs Buin (Kahili) bound for Ballale Island to meet Admiral Yamamoto who is scheduled to land aboard G4M1 Betty 2656 at Ballale Airfield. On April 20, 1943 W-15 proceeded to the mouth of the Wamai River on the southern coast of Bougainville and embarks the remains of Admiral Yamamoto and the other crew and passengers that died aboard G4M1 Betty 2656. Aboard, the bodies were placed under a tent on the bow of the ship. At 4:00pm, departs for Buin (Kangua) and the bodies were transfered ashore.

At Buin, an official autopsy of Yamamoto is conducted by LtCdr Tabuchi Jisaburo, Chief Medical Officer, 1st Base Force. Later that day, the remains are cremated by members of the Sasebo SNLF stationed at Buin. Yamamoto’s and the others' ashes are flown to Rabaul, then by flying boat to Truk where they are placed aboard battleship MUSASHI for return to Tokyo.

On April 21, 1943 at 7:40am escorts a convoy from Buin and returns at 1:45pm.


Sinking History
On March 5, 1945 off Akuseki Jima, Ryukyu Islands. At 10:42, USS Tilefish (SS-307) spotted this minesweeper and fired torpedoes damaging the stern of W-15. Damaged, this vessel beached on a shoal off Suwasi Island with the assistance from Banshu Maru No. 51 to facilitate salvage. Spotting the damaged target on the beach, USS Tilefish (SS-307) fired two more torpedoes but they exploded on the reef. Afterwards, W-15 was abandoned as a total loss. On May 10, 1945 officially removed from the Navy list.

Combined Fleet - IJN Minesweeper W-15: Tabular Record of Movement

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Last Updated
March 2, 2018


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