(AKI MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)
IJA AKI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett
15 July 1941:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. as Yard No. 761, a 11,409-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Nippon Yusen, K. K. (NYK) (Japan Mail Steam Ship Co. Ltd) Line, Tokyo.
15 May 1942:
Launched and named AKI MARU
15 October 1942:
E December 1942:
AKI MARU departs Ujina for Singapore.
10 January 1943:
Singapore. Seventy-four Allied prisoners-of-war (POWs) including Jonkheer Dr. A. W. L. Tjarda Van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, the former Governor of Java, Dutch LtGen Hein Ter Poorten, the former C-in-C, Allied Forces, Java, A. I. Spits, the former Governor of Sumatra, Sir Shenton Thomas, the former Governor of Malaya, Sir Mark Young, the former Governor of Hong Kong, British Air Vice Marshal Sir Paul C. Maltby, the former Air Officer Commanding RAF in Java, Maj Gen H.D.W. Sitwell, the former Commanding General, British Army in Java.and Australian Brigadier Arthur S. Blackburn, VC, as well as Japanese
troops are embarked on AKI MARU that departs for Formosa.
30 January 1943:
Arrives at Formosa.
1 February 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a transport. Allotted IJA No.998.
4 July 1943:
AKI MARU departs Singapore for Ujina in convoy No. 615 also consisting of transports KACHIDOKI (ex-American PRESIDENT HARRISON) MIIKE
and TEIKO (ex-Vichy French MARUs and tankers KUROSHIO, KINUGASA, KIRISHIMA, OMUROSAN escorted by an unknown warship.
5 July 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.
6 July 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina (Vung Tau, Vietnam).
8 July 1943:
AKI MARU departs St Jacques in convoy "J" also
consisting of transports KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), KINUGASA, MIIKE, TEIKO and tankers KIRISHIMA, KUROSHIO and OMUROSAN MARUs escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE.
E 10 July 1943:
TEIKO MARU is detached for Manila.
11 July 1943:
AKI MARU arrives at Mako and departs later that day in convoy “M” also consisting of KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), KINUGASA, KIRISHIMA, KUROSHIO, MIIKE, OMUROSAN and TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN)
MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by patrol boat PB-2.
12 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.
13 July 1943:
Departs Mako (Makung), Pescadores.
16 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.
4 September 1943:
AKI MARU departs Mako in the "Rinji A" (Special) convoy also consisting of KYOKUTO and NANKAI MARUs escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.
7 September 1943:
At 2050, arrives at Moji.
3 November 1943:
At 1210, AKI MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-14 also consisting of sisters AWA and MIIKE MARUs and transports (ex-seaplane
tender) KAGU and HOKURIKU MARUs and oilers AMATSU and KYOKUEI MARUs escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA.
8 November 1943: Near Dangerous Ground, Palawan, Philippines. At 0505, LtCdr George E. Porter's (USNA '32) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) attacks the convoy on the surface. Porter fires all ten of his tubes; one torpedo prematures just after leaving the tube. BLUEFISH reloads and Porter makes three more attacks sinking KYOKUEI MARU with two torpedoes. TSUSHIMA detaches to rescue survivors, but is
unable to relocate the convoy. HI-14 is forced to proceed unescorted.
9 November 1943:
At 0540, LtCdr Royce L. Gross' (USNA '30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) makes three separate attacks on convoy HI-14. Gross fires a total of eight torpedoes. In his second and third attacks, he hits oiler AMATSU MARU with five Mark-14 steam torpedoes, but all are duds. Gross' other three torpedoes miss AMATSU, HOKURIKU and AKI MARUs, probably as a result of running deep.
10 November 1943:
Arrives at Takao at 1100. Kaibokan WAKAMIYA replaces TSUSHIMA as escort.
11 November 1943:
At 0740, departs Takao.
13 November 1943:
At 1455, a submarine is sighted and the convoy seeks refuge in coastal waters before resuming the voyage.
14 November 1943:
Departs the China coast.
16 November 1943:
At 1030, arrives at Moji.
1 December 1943:
AKI MARU departs Moji in Part 1 of convoy HI-23 consisting of fleet oiler TAKASAKI, oilers ICHIU, OMUROSAN and RYUEI MARUs and transport NOSHIRO MARU escorted by destroyer NAMIKAZE.
7 December 1943:
AKI MARU departs Takao in convoy HI-23 also consisting of transport NOSHIRO MARU and tankers ASASHIO, BOKUEI, GOYO, ICHIU, ICHIYO, ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, RYUEI and TATEKAWA MARUs and fleet oilers OSE (ex-Dutch GENOTA), SUNOSAKI and TAKASAKI and escorted by destroyer NAMIKAZE and kaibokan KANJU.
10 December 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina (Vung Tau, Vietnam) where the convoy is disbanded.
17 December 1943:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.
26 February 1944:
At 2100, AKI MARU departs Ujina in the "Matsu Maru” Transportation Convoy also consisting of transports SAKITO and TOZAN (TOSAN) MARUs escorted by DesDiv 31’s ASASHIMO, KISHINAMI and OKINAMI.
The convoy is carrying reinforcements for the Marianas taken from the Kwantung Army’s 29th Infantry Division based in Manchuria. AKI MARU carries the division staff and most of the 38th Infantry Regiment bound for Guam while SAKITO MARU carries most of the 18th Infantry Regiment bound for Tinian and TOZAN MARU carries most of the 50th Infantry Regiment bound for Saipan.
28 February 1944:
By the evening, the convoy advances southward to a point off Cape Seta, S Kyushu.
29 February 1944:
At 0246, destroyer ASASHIMO’s Type 22 radar detects a submarine port side aft, range about 6,300 yards. At 0255, the range opens to about 6,400 yards and the submarine is now off the starboard side. ASASHIMO snaps on her searchlight and opens fire with her main guns. She fires 15 rounds, one of which hits and wrecks the periscope shears of LtCdr John J. Flachsenhar's (USNA '35) USS ROCK (SS-274). ASASHIMO drops two DCs and rejoins the convoy. ROCK, blind under water without her periscopes, is forced to terminate her patrol. SE of Okinawa.
Off Daito, Shima. At about 1753, LtCdr Albert H. Clark’s (USNA '33) USS TROUT (SS-202) fires three Mark XVIII electric torpedoes at SAKITO MARU at 22-40N, 131-50E. Two hit her portside in the engine room. A cargo of gasoline explodes and flooding begins. Soldiers on deck throw overboard wooden hatches, boxes, and construction timber as makeshift floats.
AKI MARU is hit in the bow and suffers flooding, but is able to continue at 8 knots. TOZAN MARU is hit by a dud torpedo, but also able to continue.
ASASHIMO detects the submarine and drops 19 depth charges. Oil and debris come to the surface and ASASHIMO drops a final depth charge on that spot. TROUT is presumed lost with all 81 hands.
4 March 1944:
AKI MARU arrives at Guam. Lands troops.
13 July 1944:
At 1600, AKI MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-69 bound for Singapore also consisting of transports ASAMA, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), KIMIKAWA, MANKO and SAIGON MARUs, tankers KOEI, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, HAKKO, HARIMA, SERIA and TENEI MARUs and escort carriers KAIYO and TAIYO, each loaded with aircraft for Luzon escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-7 and CD-17. SHINYO's aircraft conduct anti-submarine patrols.
18 July 1944:
Near Takao, Formosa. HARIMA MARU straggles from the convoy. About 0600, LtCdr John J. Flachsenhar's USS ROCK (SS-274) fires four torpedoes at HARIMA MARU, but misses. At 0850, Cdr Alan Banister's USS SAWFISH (USS 276) fires nine torpedoes at the convoy at 21-58N, 119-50E. HARIMA MARU is hit by a single torpedo, but remains able to steam. At 1055, LtCdr Roger M.
Keithy's USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and heavily damages CD-17 at 20-27N,
119-11E. The convoy continues to Manila without stopping at Takao as originally planned, but damaged CD-17 and HARIMA MARU put into Takao.
20 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila.
24 July 1944:
At 0600, AKI MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy HI-68. The convoy is expanded to 14 ships to include some ships previously from the Manila leg of HI-69 and MOMA-01. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of merchant tanker OTORISAN MARU and tankers NICHINAN MARU No. 2, IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU and escort carrier TAIYO in column no. 1;
IJA landing craft depot ship TAMATSU MARU and transports AKI, TOSAN, KASHII and NISSHO MARUs in column no. 2 and tankers SHIMPO, TOA, TOHO, and ITSUKUSHIMA MARU and transport KIYOKAWA MARU in column no. 3. The escorts include carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11 and CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI.
A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.
25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by USS CREVALLE (SS-291).
26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0314, in a night surface radar attack, FLASHER fires three torpedoes and gets one hit in AKI MARU's bow at 18-04N, 118-00E. 12 gunners are KIA,
but she is able to continue at 12 knots.
At 0530, in a night surface radar attack, LtCdr Francis D. Walker's (USNA '35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) fires four torpedoes and gets three hits in AKI MARU. At 0535, she sinks at 18-24N, 118-02E. 24 troops and passengers, 14 gunners, and 3 crewmen are KIA.
Whitaker’s FLASHER also sinks OTORISAN and TOSAN MARUs. KIYOKAWA MARU is also damaged in the wolfpack's attacks.
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany, the late John Whitman of Virginia and. Fontessa-san of Japan.
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