ZATSUYOSEN!

(AKIBASAN, prewar)

IJN AKIBASAN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


11 March 1924:
Tama. Laid down by Mitsui Bussan K.K. Zosenbu shipyard for Mitsui Bussan K.K. as a 4,670-ton cargo ship.

10 September 1924:
Launched and named AKIBASAN MARU. Her Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) are 4,670-tons and 2,907-tons respectively. [1]

18 November 1924:
Completed and registered in Kobe. Placed on North America and Philippines routes.

September 1930:
Calls at San Marcos, California and Longtan, China.

November 1931:
In Australian waters. Loads wheat.

October 1933:
Placed on Madras route.

1934:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 4,606-tons and 2,864-tons. [1].

1936:
In southern China and South Seas areas. Later, placed on Philippines route.

20 July 1936:
Departs an unidentified location (possibly Odaitori), Karafuto (now Sakhalin) east coast.

22 July 1936:
Departs Otaru, Hokkaido.

23 July 1936:
Arrives off Hakodate, Hokkaido harbor.

24 July 1936:
Departs Hakodate.

29 July 1936:
Arrives at Jinsen, Chosen (now Inchon, South Korea).

9 August 1936:
Departs Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan).

13 August 1936:
Arrives at Yokohama.

1938:
Calls at San Francisco (loads gasoline) and Yokohama.

April 1939:
Placed on Philippines route.

27 March 1940:
Departs Kobe.

E 29 March 1940:
Arrives at Dairen, Manchuria (now Dalian, northern China).

1941:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 4,603-tons and 2,817-tons. [1].

17 April 1941:
Departs Kobe.

E 19 April 1941:
Arrives at Dairen.

July 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general requisitioned transport (Ippan Choyosen). Calls at Osaka and Ujina, Hiroshima Prefecture.

29 August 1941:
Released to her owners.

13 November 1941:
Requisitioned again by the IJN.

20 November 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport (Otsu) category attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport under instruction No. 1495. [2]

23 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Jaluit, Marshalls.

25 December 1941:
Departs Jaluit.

26 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

30 December 1941:
Comes alongside and provides auxiliary gunboat DAIDO MARU with fuel and lubricating oil.

9 January 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Jaluit.

17 January 1942:
Departs Jaluit.

21 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines.

26 January 1942:
Departs Truk.

6 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

7 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Tokyo later in the day.

15 February 1942:
Departs Tokyo and arrives at Yokosuka later that same day.

17 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports AZUMASAN, CHOWA and SHOKA MARUs.

26 February 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

21 March 1942:
Departs Truk for Rabaul, New Britain in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports AZUMASAN, CHOWA and SHOKA MARUs.

26 March 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

22 April 1942:
Assigned to transport elements of a Naval Brigade in the forthcoming MO Operation under Fourth Fleet secret instruction No. 10 R.

4 May 1942: Operation “MO” – The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
At 1600, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (former CO of KISO) Port Moresby Attack Force departs Rabaul towards the Jomard Pass in the Louisiade Archipelago with DesRon 6’s light cruiser YUBARI, DesDiv 29’s OITE, ASANAGI, DesDiv 30’s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (40) (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force of IJN AKIBASAN, MOGAMIGAWA, GOYO, SHOKA and CHOWA MARUs and IJA MATSUE, TAIFUKU, MITO, CHINA and HIBI MARUs, tanker HOYO MARU, fleet oiler IRO (at anchor at Shortland area with destroyer UZUKI), minelayer TSUGARU, minesweeper W-20, auxiliary minesweepers HAGOROMO MARU, NOSHIRO MARU No. 2 and FUMI MARU No. 2 and fleet salvage and repair tug OJIMA (OSHIMA). The convoy’s cruising speed only is 6.5 knots.

IJA transport ASAKASAN MARU is delayed at Rabaul. The Transport Force is carrying the bulk of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), the 10th Naval Construction Unit and the South Seas Detachment consisting of the 144th Infantry Regiment.

4 May 1942:The Battle of the Coral Sea:
Tulagi, Solomons. Rear Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA ’06) (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17 attacks Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide’s (39) (former CO of OI) Tulagi Invasion Force. SBD dive-bombers and TBD torpedo-bombers from USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) sink a destroyer, three minesweepers and damage four other ships.

5 May 1942:
At 1600, ASAKASAN MARU departs Rabaul and chases after the Transport Force.

Fletcher's force turns north to engage Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo’s (39) (former CO of MUTSU) Carrier Strike Force's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU. SBDs and TBDs from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON (CV-2) sink Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo’s (38) (former CO of MUTSU) light carrier SHOHO off Misima Island. In turn, Japanese planes damage oiler NEOSHO (AO-23) and sink destroyer SIMS (DD-409).

6 May 1942:
At 2200, ASAKASAN MARU finally rejoins the Transport Force.

8 May 1942:
Planes from the LEXINGTON sight Takagi's Strike Force. SBDs from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON damage SHOKAKU and force her retirement. ZUIKAKU’s air group suffers heavy losses. Takagi's bombers and attack planes strike Task Force 17 and damage YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON. Gasoline vapors ignite, triggering massive explosions that cause LEXINGTON to be abandoned. Later, she is scuttled by destroyer PHELPS (DD-360).

9 May 1942:
After order was given to the Transport Force to reverse its course, AKIBASAN MARU arrives back at Rabaul.

13 May 1942:
The Battle of the Coral Sea halts the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby and they are forced to cancel Operation MO.

17 May 1942:
From 0630, comes alongside and transfers coal to auxiliary ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU.

18 May 1942:
From 1500, comes alongside and transfers coal to KOTOKU MARU.

19 May 1942:
Separates from KOTOKU MARU.

22 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul in convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports CHOWA and SHOKA MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-20.

24 May 1942:
At 0900, W-20 detaches and returns to Rabaul. At some point soon after the convoy disperses and later the following day SHOKA MARU is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Cdr) Joseph H. Willingham’s (USNA ‘26) USS TAUTOG (SS-199) with two crewmen KIA.

30 May 1942:
Arrives at Pagan, Marianas.

1 June 1942:
Departs Pagan.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport YAMASHIMO MARU and IJN requisitioned (B-AK) KONEI and ATLANTIC MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat KEISHIN MARU.

11 June 1942:
Arrives at Tamano, Okuyama Prefecture.

12 June 1942:
Enters drydock at Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding K.K. shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

9 July 1942:
Undocked.

10 July 1942:
Departs Tamano.

11 July 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

13 July 1942:
Departs Osaka.

14 July 1942:
Arrives at Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture.

15 July 1942:
Departs Ito and arrives at Tokyo later that day.

18 July 1942:
Departs Tokyo and arrives at Yokohama later in the day.

20 July 1942:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later that same day.

25 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

6 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

24 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

31 August 1942:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas.

4 September 1942:
Departs Saipan.

6 September 1942:
Arrives at Fais, Eastern Carolines.

15 September 1942:
Departs Fais.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later that day.

30 September 1942:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later in the day.

8 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

19 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

28 October 1942:
Departs Truk.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Fais.

7 November 1942:
Departs Fais.

16 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later that day.

24 November 1942:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later in the day.

27 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

7 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

20 December 1942:
Departs Truk.

22 December 1942:
Arrives at Ponape, Eastern Carolines.

27 December 1942:
Departs Ponape.

28 December 1942:
Her owners are restyled to Mitsui Senpaku K.K. and registry port to Tokyo.

31 December 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

2 January 1943:
Departs Saipan.

3 January 1943:
Arrives at Rota, Marianas.

6 January 1943:
Departs Rota.

7 January 1943:
Arrives at Saipan. Departs later that day for Japan.

15 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Departs and arrives at Yokohama later that same day.

21 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later in the day.

5 February 1943:
At 259 degrees of Endabi Atoll auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU meets up with AKIBASAN MARU.

27 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

6 February 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

7 February 1943:
Departs Truk for Kavieng, New Ireland in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport KUNISHIMA MARU and possibly others.

10 February 1943:
Arrives at Kavieng. Departs for Rabaul later that same day still with KUNISHIMA MARU escorted by subchaser CH-18.

11 February 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Rabaul.

22 March 1943:
At 1530, departs Rabaul for Truk escorted part way by subchaser CH-16.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

30 March 1943:
Departs Truk with auxiliary transport NANKAI MARU No. 2.

2 April 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

3 April 1943:
Departs Saipan, calls at Tinian, Marianas and arrives back at Saipan later in the day.

4 April 1943:
Departs Saipan, calls at Tinian, Marianas and arrives back at Saipan later that same day.

5 April 1943:
Departs Saipan, calls at Tinian, Marianas and arrives back at Saipan later that day.

8 April 1943:
Departs Saipan for Japan.

15 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 April 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later in the day.

28 April 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later that day.

2 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

6 May 1943:
Arrives at Iwo Jima, Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins).

10 May 1943:
Departs Iwo Jima.

16 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

22 May 1943:
Departs Truk with civilian refrigerated (C-AK) NANYO MARU No. 1 and possibly others.

25 May 1943:
Arrives at Saipan. Departs later.

2 June 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

24 June 1943:
Departs Truk for Nauru Island in the Nauru No. 3 convoy escorted by destroyer SHIGURE and subchaser CH-28.

29 June 1943:
Arrives at Nauru. SHIGURE returns alone to Truk.

30 June 1943:
Departs Nauru escorted by CH-28.

5 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

13 July 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy with auxiliary transport KENSHO MARU and IJA transport YAMASHIRO MARU with auxiliary patrol boat MISAGO MARU as escort part way.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

30 July 1943:
At 0800, departs Saipan in convoy 4(?)27 with auxiliary collier KAMOI MARU, auxiliary transport HIYOSHI MARU and IJA transport YAMASHIRO MARU with unknown escort.

6 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later that day.

9 August 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives back at Yokosuka that same day.

16 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Tokyo later in the day.

17 August 1943:
Undergoes maintenance and repairs at Ishikawajima, Tokyo shipyard K.K.

10 October 1943:
Repairs are completed. Departs Tokyo.

11 October 1943:
Arrives at Shibaura, Tokyo.

15 October 1943:
Departs Shibaura and arrives at Yokosuka later that day.

20 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3020 also consisting of auxiliary transport TATEBU (KEMBU) MARU and IJN requisitioned (B-AK) UYO MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

10 November 1943:
Departs Saipan for Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport OKITSU MARU escorted by destroyers ASANAGI and later INAZUMA.

14 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

5 December 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 4205B also consisting of auxiliary collier/oiler SOYO MARU escorted by kaibokan HIRADO and auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8.

7 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Ralph M. Metcalf's (USNA ’35) USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes and sinks SOYO MARU and damages AKIBASAN MARU. Casualties on SOYO MARU are 35 crewmen KIA and seven passengers (civilian refugees). AKIBASAN MARU is escorted to Saipan by TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. HIRADO searches for the submarine and then joins convoy No. 4205A consisting of submarine tender YASUKUNI MARU and fleet supply ship IRAKO as added escort with kaibokan MIKURA.

10 December 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

12 December 1943:
Departs Saipan.

20 December 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

25 December 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later in the day.

31 December 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in convoy No. 3231 also consisting of auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary gunboat) CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO and IJN requisitioned (B-AK) TATSUURA and KOKUYO MARUs escorted by kaibokan AMAKUSA.

11 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk. Departs later that day for Kwajalein, Marshalls with IJA transport HINODE MARU escorted by two unknown escorts with a full load of materials and general goods, carrying 160 soldiers as reinforcements.

16 January 1944:
Arrives at Kwajalein and begins to unload cargo and disembark troops.

E January 1944:
Tows at Roi-Namur, Marshalls damaged auxiliary transport EIKO MARU No. 2 GO and returns later back to Kwajalein.

30 January 1944:
Kwajalein. At dawn, Marshalls Pre-invasion (“Operation Flintlock”) bombardments of Japanese forces are made. SBDs and F6Fs from TG 52.8, comprising carriers USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) and USS BUNKER HILL (CV- 17) and light carrier USS BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24) bomb the atoll. AKIBASAN MARU sustains direct hits on No. 5 and No. 6 holds. Pulling her anchors chains at bow, the transport raises her stern sky high and sinks in 15 minutes at 09-24N, 157-45E with 53 crewmen KIA. Auxiliary subchasers Cha 18 and Cha 21 are also sunk during the raid. [3]

10 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy list under instruction No. 427.


Authors Notes:
[1] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by reducing non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[3] According to U.S. Naval records, battleships USS WASHINGTON (BB-55), USS INDIANA (BB-58) and USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB-59) and destroyers USS INGERSOLL (DD- 652), USS KNAPP (DD-653), USS CAPERTON (DD-650), USS COGSWELL (DD-651) and USS BURNS (DD-588) bombard that same day Japanese installations at Kwajalein Atoll. Their record indicates BURNS sank AKIBASAN MARU. In any case, the ship was sunk under such a strain either by aircraft or by that destroyer.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


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