Southern Expeditionary Fleet (Imperial Japanese Navy)

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The Southern Expeditionary Fleet (南遣艦隊 Nanken Kantai?) was a fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, their roles were invasion and maintenance of the public order in southwestern area the French Indochina, Philippines, British Malaya and Dutch East Indies.

Organization[edit]

Southern Expeditionary Fleet/1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet[edit]

The Southern Expeditionary Fleet was organized for Invasion of French Indochina on 31 July 1941. Describe the 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet (第一南遣艦隊 Dai-Ichi Nanken Kantai?) also. Their jurisdiction area was French Indochina, Singapore and westward.

  • Structure (extract)
Date Highest unit Higher unit Fleet name Lower units, vessels and elements
31 July 1941 (original) Imperial General Headquarters Southern Expeditionary Fleet Cruiser Kashii, Coast defence ship Shimushu
10 December 1941 Combined Fleet Southern Expeditionary Fleet Cruiser Kashii, Coast defence ship Shimushu, 9th Base Force, 11th Special Base Force
3 January 1942 Combined Fleet 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet
(renamed)
Cruiser Kashii, Coast defence ship Shimushu, 9th Base Force, 11th Special Base Force
10 April 1942 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet Cruiser Kashii, Coast defence ship Shimushu, Minelayer Katsuriki, C.M. Seaplane tender Sagara Maru,
5th Destroyer Division, 9th Base Force, 10th Special Base Force, 11th Special Base Force, 12th Special Base Force,
40th Naval Air Group, 3rd Surveying Unit
1 November 1942 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet Cruiser Kashii, Escort ship Shimushu, Survey ship Katsuriki, C.M. Seaplane tender Sagara Maru,
5th Destroyer Division, 9th Special Base Force, 10th Special Base Force, 11th Special Base Force, 12th Special Base Force,
936th Naval Air Group, 3rd Surveying Unit
15 August 1944 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet Minelayer Yaeyama, Destroyer Amatsukaze
9th Special Base Force, 10th Special Base Force, 11th Special Base Force, 12th Special Base Force, 13th Special Base Force,
15th Base Force, 11th Naval Air Group, 12th Naval Air Group, 13th Naval Air Group, 936th Naval Air Group
5 February 1945 Combined Fleet 10th Area Fleet 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet Cruiser Myōkō, Takao, Destroyer Amatsukaze, Auxiliary submarine chaser No. 59,
9th Special Base Force, 10th Special Base Force, 11th Special Base Force, 12th Special Base Force, 13th Special Base Force,
15th Base Force
12 September 1945 Surrendered.
  • Commander in chief
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Vice-Admiral Noboru Hirata 31 July 1941
2 Vice-Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa 18 October 1941
3 Vice-Admiral Denshichi Ōkawachi 14 July 1942
4 Vice-Admiral Minoru Tayui 20 September 1943
8 January 1945

Commander in chief of the 13th Air Fleet
5 Vice-Admiral Shigeru Fukudome 13 January 1945
5 February 1945
Commander in chief of the 13th Air Fleet
Commander of the 10th Area Fleet and 13th Air Fleet
  • Chief of staff
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Captain
Rear-Admiral
Torao Sawada 31 July 1941
15 October 1941
2 Captain
Rear-Admiral
Kiyoshi Hamada 20 June 1942
1 November 1942
3 Rear-Admiral Shin'ichi Torigoe 27 August 1943
4 Rear-Admiral Bunji Asakura 16 August 1944
8 January 1945
5 February 1945

Chief of staff of the 13th Air Fleet
Chief of staff of the 10th Area Fleet and 13th Air Fleet

2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet[edit]

The 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet (第二南遣艦隊 Dai-Ni Nanken Kantai?) was reorganized from 3rd Fleet on 10 March 1942. Describe 3rd Fleet about predecessor of the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet. Their jurisdiction area was Dutch East Indies.

  • Structure (extract)
Date Highest unit Higher unit Fleet name Lower units, vessels and elements
10 April 1941 (original) Combined Fleet 3rd Fleet 16th Division, 17th Division, 5th Torpedo Division, 12th Air Flotilla, 1st Base Force, 2nd Base Force
10 December 1941 Combined Fleet 3rd Fleet 16th Division, 17th Division, 5th Torpedo Division, 6th Submarine Squadron, 12th Air Flotilla,
1st Base Force, 2nd Base Force, 32nd Special Base Force,
C.M. Repair ship Yamabiko Maru, C.M. Water supply ship Kōan Maru, C.M. Freighter Senkō Maru
10 March 1942 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet
(renamed and reorganized)
Cruiser Ashigara, Minelayer Itsukushima, Survey ship Tsukushi, 16th Division, 2nd Gunboat Division,
21st Special Base Force, 22nd Special Base Force, 23rd Special Base Force, 24th Special Base Force,
C.M. Seaplane tender San'yō Maru, 9th Surveying Unit
1 September 1943 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet Minelayer Itsukushima, Patrol boat No. 102, No. 104, 16th Division, 21st Special Base Force, 22nd Special Base Force,
23rd Special Base Force, 24th Special Base Force, 25th Special Base Force,
C.M. Gunboat Ban'yō Maru, Okuyō Maru, Taikō Maru, 934th Naval Air Group
5 February 1945 Combined Fleet 10th Area Fleet 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet Patrol boat No. 102, No. 106, No. 109, 21st Special Base Force, 22nd Special Base Force, 23rd Special Base Force,
C.M. Gunboat Ban'yō Maru, 31st Naval Air Group
3 September 1945 Surrendered.
  • Commander in chief
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Vice-Admiral Ibō Takahashi 10 April 1941
10 March 1942

Commander in chief of the Southwest Area Fleet
2 Vice-Admiral Shirō Takasu 15 September 1942 Commander in chief of the Southwest Area Fleet
3 Vice-Admiral Seiichi Iwamura 15 April 1943
4 Vice-Admiral Gun'ichi Mikawa 3 September 1943
5 Vice-Admiral Shiro Kawase 18 June 1944
6 Vice-Admiral Yaichirō Shibata 29 January 1945
  • Chief of staff
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Rear-Admiral Toshihisa Nakamura 10 April 1941
10 March 1942

Chief of staff of the Southwest Area Fleet
2 Rear-Admiral Takeo Tada 10 April 1942 Chief of staff of the Southwest Area Fleet
3 Captain
Rear-Admiral
Akira Matsuzaki 15 April 1943
1 May 1943
4 Rear-Admiral Shinzaburō Hase 19 January 1945

3rd Southern Expeditionary Fleet[edit]

The 3rd Southern Expeditionary Fleet (第三南遣艦隊 Dai-San Nanken Kantai?) was organized on 3 January 1942 for invasion of the Philippines.

  • Structure (extract)
Date Highest unit Higher unit Lower units, vessels and elements
3 January 1942 (original) Combined Fleet Cruiser Kuma, Minelayer Yaeyama, 1st Escort Division, 31st Special Base Force, 32nd Special Base Force,
C.M. Seaplane tender Sanuki Maru, C.M. Minelayer Nichiyū Maru, C.M. Survey ship Kyōodō Maru No. 36
14 July 1942 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet Cruiser Kuma, 31st Special Base Force, 32nd Special Base Force,
C.M. Seaplane tender Sanuki Maru, C.M. Minelayer Nichiyū Maru, C.M. Survey ship Kyōodō Maru No. 36,
31st Naval Air Group, 2nd Surveying Unit
1 September 1943 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet Minelayer Yaeyama, Gunboat Karatsu, 32nd Special Base Force,
954th Naval Air Group, 31st Guard Unit, 31st Communication Unit
15 August 1944 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet Minelayer Tsugaru, Gunboat Karatsu, Torpedo boat Hayabusa, Patrol boat No. 103, No. 105,
Submarine chaser No. 36, No. 45, No. 46, C.M. Gunboat Kiso Maru,
30th Special Base Force, 32nd Special Base Force, 33rd Special Base Force,
31st Naval Air Group, 32nd Naval Air Group, 31st Guard Unit, 31st Communication Unit
1 June 1945 Supreme Headquarter of the Navy Southwest Area Fleet 30th Special Base Force, 31st Special Base Force, 32nd Special Base Force, 33rd Special Base Force,
21st Submarine chaser Division, 955th Naval Air Group
3 September 1945 Surrendered.
  • Commander in chief
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Vice-Admiral Rokuzō Sugiyama 3 January 1942
2 Vice-Admiral Taiji Ōta 1 December 1942
3 Vice-Admiral Arata Oka 20 September 1943
4 Vice-Admiral Gun'ichi Mikawa 15 August 1944 Commander in chief of the Southweat Area Fleet and 13th Air Fleet
5 Vice-Admiral Denshichi Ōkawachi 1 November 1944
8 January 1945
Commander in chief of the Southweat Area Fleet and 13th Air Fleet
Commander in chief of the Southweat Area Fleet
  • Chief of staff
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Rear-Admiral Yasuichirō Kondō 3 January 1942
2 Captain
Rear-Admiral
Shōzō Hashimoto 11 August 1943
1 May 1943
3 Rear-Admiral Hisagorō Shimamoto 27 July 1944
4 Rear-Admiral Kaoru Arima 1 November 1944
17 November 1944
5 February 1945
Chief of staff of the Southwest Area Fleet, 13th Air Fleet and commander of the 32nd Special Base Force
Chief of staff of the Southwest Area Fleet and 13th Air Fleet
Chief of staff of the Southwest Area Fleet

4th Southern Expeditionary Fleet[edit]

The 4th Southern Expeditionary Fleet (第四南遣艦隊 Dai-Yon Nanken Kantai?) was independent from 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet for maintenance of the public order the westaren New Guinea on 30 November 1943. Dissolved on 10 March 1945, their remaining units were unified to 10th Area Fleet.

  • Structure (extract)
Date Highest unit Higher unit Lower units, vessels and elements
30 November 1943 (original) Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet Minelayer Itsukushima, 24th Special Base Force, 25th Special Base Force, 26th Special Base Force,
934th Naval Air Group
1 March 1945 Combined Fleet Southwest Area Fleet 25th Special Base Force, 26th Special Base Force, 28th Special Base Force
10 March 1945 Dissolved.
  • Commander in chief
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Vice-Admiral Seigō Yamagata 30 November 1943
  • Chief of staff
Rank Name Date Note, additional post
1 Rear-Admiral Tametsugu Okada 30 November 1943

Bibliography[edit]

  • Senshi Sōsho, Asagumo Simbun (Japan)
    • Vol. 91, Combined Fleet #1, "Until outbreak of war", 1975
    • Vol. 80, Combined Fleet #2, "Until June 1942", 1975
    • Vol. 77, Combined Fleet #3, "Until February 1943", 1974
    • Vol. 39, Combined Fleet #4, "First part of the Third step Operations", 1970
    • Vol. 71, Combined Fleet #5, "Middle part of the Third step Operations", 1974
    • Vol. 45, Combined Fleet #6, "Latter part of the Third step Operations", 1971
    • Vol. 93, Combined Fleet #7, "Last part of the War", 1976
  • Rekishi Dokuhon, Special issue No. 33 Overview of admirals of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Shin-Jinbutsuōraisha, 1999
  • The Japanese Modern Historical Manuscripts Association, Organizations, structures and personnel affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army & Navy, University of Tokyo Press, 1971 ISBN 978-4-13-036009-8