KYUHEIKAN!

(ARATAMA MARU prewar)


IJN ARATAMA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2007-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.
Revision 6


18 October 1937:
Yokohama. Laid down at Tsurumi-Nippon Shipbuilding for Tamai Shosen K. K.

23 July 1938:
Launched and named ARATAMA MARU. [1]

4 November 1938:
Completed.

1938-1941:
In service with the Yamashita Kisen Kaisha (steamship) "Y" Line.

26 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN. Assigned to Kure Naval District.

4 September 1941:
Kobe. Conversion to a weapons/ammunition ship begins at Kawasaki Zosen.

16 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

5 December 1941:
Departs Kure.

6 December 1941:
Arrives Yokosuka and departs later that day.

8 December 1941:
ARATAMA MARU attached to Vice Admiral Shimizu Mitsumiís (36) (former CO of ISE), CINC, Sixth Fleet (Submarines) based at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.

16 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

25 December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein.

30 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

12 January 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

6 February 1942:
Departs Kwajalein.

17 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure. Spends all of March-May at Kure.

6 June 1942:
At 0900 departs Kure.

18 June 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Kwajalein.

8 August 1942:
At 0600 departs Kwajalein.

19 August 1942:
At 1830 arrives at Kure. remains there under December.

6 October 1942:
Attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Daigo Tadashige's (40) (former CO of ASHIGARA) Kure Naval District Force with sub tender RIO DE JANEIRO MARU and SubDiv 19.

19 December 1942: Operation C (HEI-GO) - The Reinforcement of New Guinea:
Orders for Operation C (HEI-GO) are issued. The objective of this transport operation is to rush the 20th and 41st Army Division to Wewak. The operation consists of three separate operations, two of them divided into sub echelons sailing at different dates: The first operation HEI-ICHI GO (HEI-GO 1) is to land the main strength of the 20th Army Division consisting of 9,443 men, 82 vehicles, arms and 12,267 bundles of provisions at Wewak. [2]

23 December 1942:
At 1202 departs Kure.

25 December 1942:
At 1402 arrives at Sasebo.

3 January 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

4 January 1943:
Arrives at Fusan (Pusan), Korea. Reconverted to a transport.

8 January 1943:
At 0900, ARATAMA MARU departs Fusan for Wewak, New Guinea with transport group "HINOE-GO No. 1" in the 2nd transport echelon consisting of HAKOZAKI and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by destroyer HATSUYUKI. ARATAMA MARU carries 897 men of the 20th Infantry Division, 6 vehicles and 1200 boxes.

15 January 1943:
At 1000, the 2nd transport echelon arrives at Palau. ARATAMA MARU is detached and transferred to 3rd transport echelon, but remains organized as a unit of the 2nd transport echelon.

19 January 1943:
At 0800, ARATAMA MARU and the 3rd transport echelon depart Palau for Wewak.

23 January 1943:
At 0200, arrives at Wewak. At 1100, the convoy departs Wewak for Palau.

The third operation HEI-SAN GO (HEI-3) is to land to land the main strength of the 41st Army Division consisting of 13,657 men, 123 vehicles and 95, 617 bundles of supplies and provisions at Wewak. ARATAMA MARU is in the 4th transport echelon consisting of JUSAN and SHINKYO MARUs escorted by destroyer YUGURE.

10 February 1943:
YUGURE departs Tsingtao.

12 February 1943:
At 1200, the transports depart Tsingtao.

21 February 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Palau.

22 February 1943:
At 1300, departs Palau.

26 February 1943:
At 1200, after a submarine scare, in which a Kate drops bombs on a shadow in the water, the convoy arrives at Wewak, discharges troops and cargo and at 2330 the same day, departs Wewak back to Palau.

21 March 1943:
ARATAMA MARU arrives back at Kure.

30 March 1943:
Departs Kure.

1 April 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

3 April 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

13 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

25 April 1943:
Departs Ujina.

26 April 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

28 April 1943:
Departs Saiki in convoy K-428 consisting of ARATAMA, MACASSAR, DAINICHI, UME and ENGLAND MARUs and possibly others with an unidentified escort.

6 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

8 May 1943:
At 0700, convoy "Wewak No. 4" departs Palau consisting of TEIRYU, YOSHIDA MARU No. 3, TOHO and MAYA MARUs escorted by destroyers URAKAZE and AMATSUKAZE. The ships are carrying 4,000 soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division, munitions, provisions, aircraft and supplies.

9 May 1943:
At 1620, ARATAMA MARU, escorted by subchaser CH-34, join convoy Wewak No. 4.

13 May 1943:
At 0530, arrives at Wewak. At 1150, ARATAMA MARU and CH-34 depart.

17 May 1943:
At 1430, arrives at Palau.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

12 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

14 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

16 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

28 July 1943:
Arrives at Mutsure.

30 July 1943:
Departs Mutsure in convoy No. 181 consisting of ARATAMA MARU and 17 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SANAE and patrolboat PB-36.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

7 August 1943:
Departs Takao.

20 September 1943:
Departs Singapore.

23 September 1943:
Arrives at Saigon.

5 October 1943:
Departs Saigon.

21 October 1943:
ARATAMA MARU departs Manila in a convoy consisting of NAGOYA and KOGYO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA initially to Cebu, Philippines, then to Palau.

2 November 1943:
At 1600, departs Palau in convoy SO-205 consisting of NAGOYA and KOGYO MARUs escorted by three unidentified subchasers.

10 November 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Rabaul.

13 December 1943:
At 0730, convoy No. 2515 departs Palau consisting of ARATAMA and tanker SHINKOKU MARUs bound for Balikpapan and tankers FUJISAN MARU, OGURA MARU No. 3, HAKUBASAN MARU and small cargo ship SHOYU MARU bound for Tarakan, escorted by patrol boat PB-2 with auxiliary subchasers CHa-26 and CHa-27.

17 December 1943:
At 1700, subchaser CH-6 joins the escort. At midnight, the subchaser and the Tarakan-bound ships split away from the convoy.

19 December 1943:
At 1045, arrives at Balikpapan.

24 December 1943:
Departs Balikpapan

28 December 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

7 January 1944:
Arrives at Lombok Straits.

17 February 1944:
150 miles NE of Palau. At about 2200, LtCdr Philip W. Garnett's (USNA í33) USS SARGO (SS-188) intercepts convoy No. 7125 consisting of fleet oiler SATA and tanker HISHI MARU No. 2, ammunition ship NICHIRO MARU and cargo ships KAMIKAZE and KITAGAMI MARUs escorted by destroyer HAMANAMI, subchaser CH-30 and auxiliary subchasers TAKUNAN MARU No. 2 and SHONAN MARU No. 5. Garnett fires eight torpedoes at SATA and gets one hit, but it disables the oiler. At 2206, he fires two torpedoes that hit ammunition ship NICHIRO MARU. She explodes and sinks immediately with the loss of 53 crewmen.

19 February 1944:
ARATAMA MARU, that was not part of the convoy, takes SATA under tow and clears the area.

20 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau towing SATA.

29 February 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

18 March 1944:
Off Guam, Marianas. At about 1400, LtCdr (later Captain) Albert L. Rabornís (USNA í34) USS PICUDA (SS-382), patrolling the Saipan-Palau shipping lanes, torpedoes and damages ARATAMA MARU at 12-36N, 141-17E, but two escorts hold down USS PICUDA, while ARATAMA MARU escapes. [3]

29 March 1944:
ARATAMA MARU departs Palau in a convoy consisting of MATSUE, KYOEI, KIZUGAWA MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI, YUZUKI, auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 7 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 2 and subchaser CH-30.

5 April 1944:
Off Tanapag, Saipan, Marianas. In the afternoon, the mast tops of the inbound convoy are spotted by lookouts aboard LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutterís (USNA í35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304). Cutter attempts to gain a firing position on the convoy, but fails, so he decides to lay off Saipan and wait for the convoy to depart.

7 April 1944:
ARATAMA MARU departs Saipan for Woleai, Carolines in a convoy consisting of MATSUE and KIZUGAWA MARUs escorted by destroyers MINAZUKI, YUZUKI and ASAKAZE, auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 7 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 2 and subchaser CH-30.

8 April 1944:
Marianas, seven miles E of Guam. Cutterís USS SEAHORSE intercepts the convoy. At 0127, Cutter fires three torpedoes at overlapping targets. One hits ARATAMA MARU in the bow and another amidships ignites a cargo of gasoline. Flames burst high in the air. Four sailors are KIA. The explosion also damages destroyer ASAKAZE. Shortly thereafter, USS SEAHORSEís second spread of torpedoes damages water ship, KIZUGAWA MARU at 13-16N, 145-11E.

YUZUKI and CH-30 counterattack and drop 28 depth charges. They are unsuccessful, but drive USS SEAHORSE from the vicinity. MINAZUKI tows KIZUGAWA MARU to Guam for repairs. Abandoned by her crew as a total loss, burning ARATAMA MARU drifts for three days before settling on a shallow reef shelf in Talafofo Bay, Guam. [4][5]

1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authorís Note:
[1] NIITAMA MARU is an alternative reading of the Kanji for ARATAMA MARU.

[2] The second of the three planned movements, Operation HEI-NI-GO (Hei-2), the transport of the 208th Air Group was cancelled.

[3] KASUGA MARU No. 2 reported torpedo tracks, but no apparent damage done.

[4] KIZUGAWA MARU made Guam, but was so damaged by subsequent aircraft attacks she was given up and scuttled in June.

[5] ARATAMA MARU rested on the reef for over a decade, part of her hull and superstructure above the water. Eventually, she was completely submerged by typhoons to a depth of over 50 feet.

Photo credit and general thanks goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

Special thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for his assistance concerning Operation C (HEI-GO).

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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