Japanese escort ship Okinawa

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IJN escort vessel UKU in 1944.jpg
An Ukuru class kaibōkan, the Uku, seen here in 1944. Okinawa looked very similar.
A flag bearing a stylised red sunburst symbol on a white background.Japan
Builder: Nihon Kokan, Tsurumi (Japan)
Laid down: 10 December 1943
Launched: 19 June 1944
Struck: 15 September 1945
Fate: Sunk by aircraft on 30 July 1945
Notes: Refloated after the war and scrapped in September 1948[1]
General characteristics
Displacement: 940 tons
Length: 78,8 meters
Beam: 9 meters
Draught: 3 meters
Propulsion: diesels, 4200 bhp
Speed: 19,5 knots
Complement: 150

Okinawa was an escort ship ("Kaibōkan") of the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War. She belonged to the Ukuru class.[2] The ship is most notable for its possible participation in the sinkings of two submarines.

Design and building[edit]

The Ukuru class escorts were very similar to the preceding Mikuru class. The main difference was a simplified hull form which enabled a shorter building time.[3] Okinawa was built by the Nihon Kokan shipyard at Tsurumi.[1][2] The building started on 10 December 1943 and some 8 months later the ship was completed. She was named after the island of Okinawa.

In service[edit]

During her career Okinawa spent most of the time escorting various ships in convoys. In November 1944 she participated in the Japanese Operation TA, the reinforcement of Leyte, by escorting troop transports. In December of the same year, Okinawa escorted the carrier Kaiyo.[4]

USS Snook (SS-279) in 1943

On 14 April 1945, Okinawa together with the escorts CD-8 and CD-32 attacked a submerged submarine with depth charges.[1] Some sources mention the possibility that the submarine USS Snook was sunk in that attack,[1] although the official cause for the loss of Snook remains unknown.[5]

On 27 May 1945, Okinawa and the escort ship Aguni were attacked by American aircraft in the Korea Strait. Okinawa was not damaged but Aguni suffered heavy damage from a radar-guided glide bomb.[6] After that Okinawa returned to escort duties.

On 19 June 1945 the cargo ship Konzan Maru was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine USS Bonefish.[7][8] Okinawa, the escorts CD-63 and CD-207 counter-attacked the submarine with numerous depth charges until wood chips and oil were observed. The submarine was sunk with all hands.[1][9][10]

On 30 July 1945 Okinawa was sunk by aircraft from the carrier USS Independence near Maizuru.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Okinawa's Tabular Record of Movement". Nihon Kaigun.
  2. ^ a b c "Ukuru class". Nishida IJN.
  3. ^ Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946
  4. ^ "Operation TA". Nihon Kaigun Long Lancers.
  5. ^ "Snook (SS 279)". DANFS. Naval History and Heritage Command.
  6. ^ "Aguni's Tabular Record of Movement". Nihon Kaigun.
  7. ^ "USS Bonefish". The Cold War Museum - California. The California Cold War Museum & Memorial, Inc.
  8. ^ "Japanese Naval and Merchant Vessels Sunk During World War II by United States Submarines". Hyperwar.
  9. ^ "Bonefish (SS-223)". U-uboat.net.
  10. ^ "Bonefish (SS 223)". DANFS. Naval History and Heritage Command.