(HOKOKU MARU by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN AKAGI MARU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2005 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

2 December 1935:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) (Japan Mailboat Steamship Line).

6 June 1936:
Launched and named AKAGI MARU.

10 September 1936:
Completed as a 7,366 GRT high-speed cargo ship. Captain Kusano Kiyoshi is the ship's Master.

5 November 1936:
Begins service on NYK's European route from Yokohama to Liverpool and then with intermediate ports of call to Hamburg. Later the ship was switched to the easterly around the world service.

15 July 1937:
Departs Yokohama on her maiden voyage to Europe on NYK's route to Liverpool for the Hamburg line.

9 September 1941:
After the outbreak of war in Europe, AKAGI MARU is put in service on the Central and South America route.

23 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

25 November 1941:
Osaka. Begins conversion to an auxiliary cruiser at Hitachi Zosen's Sakurajima yard. Five 41st Year Type 152-mm (6-inch) single mounts guns, one 76-mm (3-inch)/40 cal. AA gun and two 7.7-mm MGs are installed. Later, she is equipped with two observation floatplanes. The ship is provided a full IJN complement including a relief crew.

10 December 1941:
Registered (commissioned) in the IJN as an auxiliary Armed Merchant Cruiser in the Kure Naval District. Captain Sakkan Oyu (36) is the Commanding Officer.

30 December 1941:
Conversion is completed. Departs Osaka for Kure.

1 January 1942:
Departs Kure for Yokosuka.

17 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

19 January 1942:
Arrives at Akkeshi, Hokkaido for training.

29 January 1942:
Assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Horiuchi Shigenori’s 22nd (Auxiliary Cruiser) Squadron in Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya's (former CO of MUTSU), Fifth Fleet with the armed merchant cruisers ASAKA and AWATA MARUs.

1 February 1942:
Departs Akkeshi.

6 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 February 1942:
Attached to the Fifth Fleet's Northern Patrol Unit's main body with the seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU.

10 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka on patrol.

25 February 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.

26 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

28 February 1942:
Arrives at Kushiro, Hokkaido.

1 March 1942:
Attached directly to the Fifth Fleet. Appointed as the flagship of the First Patrol Unit, comprising the converted gunboat SHOEI MARU and others.

6 March 1942:
At 0900, departs Kushiro.

8-9 March 1942:
At Yokosuka.

1 April 1942:
On patrol.

8 April 1942:
Departs off patrol.

11 April 1942:
Arrives at Akkeshi; departs the same day.

12 April 1942:
Arrives at Kushiro.

18 April 1942:
Departs Kushiro.

19 April 1942:
While on patrol, directs an air search for the missing picket boat EIKICHI MARU.

20 April 1942:
EIKICHI MARU is found and escorted back to port.

1 May 1942:
On patrol. Rescues picket boat EBISU MARU No. 5 that was damaged by gunfire from LtCdr Creed Burlingame's USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) 540 miles N of Marcus Island.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Kushiro.

26 April 1942:
Departs Kushiro.

12 May 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

May 1942:
Arrives at Osaka. Undergoes maintenance at Hitachi Zosen's Sakurajima yard.

30 May 1942 - November 1942:
Departs Osaka. In the next six months, AKAGI MARU completes six patrols to northern waters from Yokosuka.

1 November 1942:
ComCruDiv 22 Rear Admiral Horiuchi is promoted Vice Admiral.

8 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka

24 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka on patrol.

6 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

15 January 1943:
Arrives at Kushiro, Hokkaido.

17 January 1943:
Departs Kushiro.

21 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka

4 February 1943:
Departs Yokosuka

17 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka

February 1943:
Yokosuka. A sonar is fitted and an additional Type 96 25-mm machine gun is installed.

2 March 1943:
Recalled Captain (Retired) Kurosaki Rinzo (37) assumes command.

10 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Kashiwabara Bay, Paramushiro, Kuriles carrying the Fifth Independent Mixed Regiment, other troops and 18 Type 95 light tanks.

16 March 1943:
En route to Paramushiro sights a Soviet convoy off Soya Misaki. Arrives at Kashiwabara Bay.

29 March 1943-7 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka. In the next five weeks, AKAGI MARU completes three patrols to northern waters from Yokosuka.

23 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

28 May 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

1 June 1943:
Attached to the Northern Patrol Unit's main party. Loads three Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" observation float planes in support of the Unit's operations.

18 July 1943:
AKAGI MARU provides patrol support in the Northern Patrol Unit main party.

20 July 1943:
Departs Paramushiro.

25 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

27 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama for maintenance.

26 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for patrol duty.

8 September 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

20 September 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Paramushiro.

23 September 1943:
Departs Yokosuka on patrol.

6 October 1943:
Arrives at Hakodate, Hokkaido.

10 October 1943:
Departs Hakodate. Arrives at Ominato, Honshu that same day.

15 October 1943:
Departs Ominato for Paramushiro.

(E) 22 October 1943:
Departs Paramushiro.

27 October 1943:
Arrives at Kushiro.

31 October 1943:
Departs Kushiro.

1 November 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

10 November 1943:
Departs Ominato.

21 November 1943:
Arrives at Kushiro.

25 November 1943:
Departs Kushiro.

28 November 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

18 December 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

21 December 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

24 December 1943:
Departs Ujina for Wake Island carrying 940 soldiers of the Fifth Independent Mixed Regiment, 220 soldiers of the 16th Tank Regiment and 18 Type 95 light tanks. AKAGI MARU is escorted by DesDiv 61’s HATSUZUKI and SUZUTSUKI.

26 December 1943:
At Kagoshima, joins an unnumbered convoy consisting of AKAGI, SHUNTA and SUMIDA MARUs, KYODO MARU No. 13 and cableship TOYO MARU escorted by minesweeper W-27. Departs Kagoshima at midnight.

1 January 1944:
Arrives at Wake Island. Disembarks about 1,000 troops and six Type 38 75-mm guns. AKAGI MARU is the last surface ship to arrive at Wake during the war.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

13 January 1944:
Departs Kure for Ujina.

15 January 1944:
Departs Ujina on her second supply run to Wake, carrying two field artillery companies (a total of six Type 38 75-mm guns ), construction and medical personnel (a total of 456 men), escorted by DesDiv 61's SUZUTSUKI and HATSUZUKI.

16 January 1944:
Bungo Suido. S of Sukumo Bay. The convoy is sighted by LtCdr Charlton L. Murphy's USS STURGEON (SS-187). About 1100, Murphy makes a submerged attack. He fires four torpedoes at the convoy. Two hit SUZUTSUKI and blow both her bow and stern off. 135 crewmen are KIA. HATSUZUKI counterattacks and keeps STURGEON down all afternoon. At 1855, Murphy clears the area. The HATSUZUKI then tows SUZUTSUKI to Sukumo Bay for repairs.

After the attack, AKAGI MARU is directed to return to Yokosuka. Arrives at Saiki.

19 January 1944:
Departs Saiki.

20 January 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

24 January 1944:
Departs Yokosuka. Arrives off Tateyama.

25 January 1944:
Departs Tateyama roadstead for Truk in a troop transport convoy with the submarine tender YASUKUNI MARU and ex-armed merchant cruiser AIKOKU MARU escorted by destroyers MICHISHIO, IKAZUCHI and SHIRATSUYU.

31 January 1944: American Operation “Flintlock” - The Invasion of the Marshall Islands:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 58 lands the 4th Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division that capture the Kwajalein, Roi-Namur and Majuro atolls.

300 miles NW of Truk. At about 0200, LtCdr (later Captain) Robert E. Dornin's USS TRIGGER (SS-237) attacks the convoy. Dornin slightly damages MICHISHIO, probably hit by a dud torpedo. He then makes a high speed "end-around" on the convoy. At about 0500, in a surface radar attack, Dornin fires five torpedoes at the largest ship. YASUKUNI MARU is hit and sinks about 30 minutes later. AKAGI and AIKOKU MARUs escape.

1 February 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

17-18 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on airfields, shore installations and ships in the lagoon,

At 0430, AKAGI MARU departs Truk towards Yokosuka in convoy 4215. She carries 617 evacuees and is escorted by the light training cruiser KATORI, destroyers MAIKAZE and NOWAKI and minesweeping trawler SHONAN MARU No. 15. At 0630, the convoy exits Truk's North Pass.

At 0504, Grumman F-6F-3 "Hellcat" fighters and TBF "Avenger" torpedo-bombers from TF 58's carriers USS YORKTOWN (CV-10), INTREPID (CV- 11) and BUNKER HILL (CV-17) and the COWPENS (CVL-25) strafe and torpedo KATORI and damage MAIKAZE. At least one F-6F is shot down. AKAGI MARU is departing behind the NOWAKI, MAIKAZE and KATORI when she is strafed by an F6-F-3 from INTREPID. She is then attacked by five Avengers from BUNKER HILL.

At 0730, AKAGI MARU is attacked by aircraft from YORKTOWN, ESSEX (CV-9) and CABOT (CVL-28). A 500-lb bomb hits her forward hold No. 2 and causes heavy damage. At 0910, during the third attack, AKAGI MARU takes a direct hit by another 500-lb bomb in her starboard hold No. 5. The bomb ignites fuel in nearby tanks and a large fire breaks out.

At 0955, AKAGI MARU takes a hit by a bomb in her port No. 5 hold. Her engines lose power and the ship is unable to navigate. The fire reaches the ammunition magazine and cause several large explosions. At 1030, Abandon Ship is ordered. Most of the survivors are taken aboard KATORI (and later perish with her).

At 1047, a nearby warship scuttles AKAGI MARU at 07-50N, 151-25E in the vicinity of the North Pass. 512 passengers and 788 sailors are lost. Captain Kurosaki is killed in action. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
Special thanks for assistance go to Mssrs. Peter Cundall of Australia and Jean-Francois Masson of Canada.

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