(Type 2TL Wartime Standard Merchant Tanker by Ueda Kihachiro)


Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

7 September 1944:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Jukogyo K. K. as a 10,045-ton Type 2TL wartime Standard Merchant Tanker for Nishi Kaiyo Gyogyo K. K. (West Ocean Fishery Co., Ltd.)

23 October 1944:
Launched and named AKASHI MARU.

20 November 1944:

Late November or Early December 1944:
AKASHI MARU departs Japan for Singapore in an unknown convoy or series of convoys.

December 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 December 1944:
After loading 15,917 tons of heavy oil, AKASHI MARU departs Singapore for Cap St. Jacques, Indochina in convoy SHISA-32 consisting of merchant tanker KUMAGAWA MARU, merchant cargo ship KENEI MARU and army cargo ships KIYO MARU and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 (escorts unknown).

4 January 1945:
Arrives at Cap St. Jacques. Replenishes other warships and merchant ships with 5,200 tons of heavy (fuel) oil. Thereafter, undergoes repairs at Cap St. Jacques.

12 January 1945: Operation "Gratitude"- Task Force 38's Strikes on Indochina:
Cap St. Jacques Anchorage. At about 0925, AKASHI MARU is attacked by about 50 carrier planes of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain’s Task Force 38. AKASHI MARU fights back with all her weapons. Two Grumman TBM "Avengers" approach from 80 degrees portside and dive through the AA-barrage. They release two Mark 13 aerial torpedoes that hit AKASHI MARU in the stern.

Therafter, three TBMs come in from straight ahead. Simultaneously, five other TBMs close the starboard side of the tanker. All of the planes release their torpedoes. AKASHI MARU has no chance and is hit by several torpedoes in the engine room and starboard amidships. She floods and takes on a list to starboard.

At 0933, five TBMs attack again from straight ahead and release more torpedoes that result in two hits in the No. 3 oil tank. At about 1100, AKASHI MARU, now heavily afire, is beached and later abandoned at 10-22N, 107-05E. 64 passengers, 21 armed guards and 21 crewmen are KIA.

Shipboard gunners claim shooting down three planes during the attacks. Survivors later report that AKASHI MARU was hit by more than 10 aerial torpedoes.

Kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-17 and CD-19 are protecting merchant ships, including AKASHI MARU, anchored at Cap St. Jacques. All three kaibokan were lost in the attacks.

Authors’ Notes:
Special thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for information about convoy SHISA-32 and AKASHI MARU's last days.

-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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