Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2014 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 1

10 October 1934:
Tama. Laid down by Mitsui Bussan K.K. Zosembu Kojo shipyard as a 4,550-ton passenger/cargo ship for Mitsui Bussan K.K., Kobe.

23 March 1935:
Launched and named ASAHISAN MARU.

30 April 1935:
Completed. Her registered port is Kobe.

E 1935-1941:
Placed on Mitsui’s Bangkok service.

4 December 1941:
Departs Truk, Central Carolines for Yokohama.

12 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama.

18 December 1941:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka. That same day, ASAHISAN MARU is requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan Choyosen). [1]

Later that day, Navy assigns ASAHISAN MARU to transport elements of a naval brigade in the forthcoming invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo. Departs Yokosuka.

20 December 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport under internal order No. 1699 and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District as an auxiliary transport, (Otsu) category. Her home port is Yokosuka. [2]

21 January 1942:
At 1700, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) Balikpapan Invasion Convoy departs Tarakan, Borneo with IJN transports ASAHISAN, TATSUGAMI, NANA, KANAYAMASAN, SUMANOURA, KUMAGAWA, TOEI and NITTEI MARUs and IJA transports KURETAKE, HAVANA, EHIME, LIVERPOOL, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG), HITERU, TSURAGU, HANKOW and NISSHO MARUs carrying the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Detachment) and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by patrol boats PB-36, PB-37, PB-38, minesweepers W-15, W-16, W-17, W-18 and SubChasDiv 31's CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12.

Cover is provided by light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, MURASAME, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE and UMIKAZE. Seaplane tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

Poor weather hampers air reconnaissance by ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) forces, but ABDA Air finally locates the invasion force. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford's Task Force 5's light cruisers USS MARBLEHEAD (CL-12), USS BOISE (CL-47) and Cdr Paul H. Talbot's DesDiv 59's old destroyers USS PARROTT (DD-218), USS POPE (DD-225), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) are ordered to stop the invasion force, but USS BOISE runs aground and USS MARBLEHEAD develops engine trouble. DesDiv 59 is detached and increases speed to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight on January 23rd.

23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
Storms protect the invasion force until it is almost to Balikpapan. At 1050, the convoy is attacked by three enemy aircraft, which are repulsed. At 1625, nine Dutch Martin Model 166 (B-10) bombers and four light bombers from Samarinda attack and hit transports TATSUGAMI and NANA MARUs. The latter is hit in No. 6 hold by a bomb, splinters from others that land to port alongside the same hold add to the fires raised. Navigation became impossible and over the following hours the flames take a firm grip, finally at 2100 after a huge explosion the ship sinks at 01-18S, 117-43E.

TATSUGAMI MARU, only slightly damaged, continues on to Balikpapan. At 2045, Hirose's invasion convoy arrives and anchors off Balikpapan. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking troops.

24 January 1942:
Cdr Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all their torpedoes miss. Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, USS POPE (DD-225) hits and sinks transport SUMANOURA MARU. Only nine of her crew of navy sailors survive.

At 0332, USS JOHN D. FORD scores gunfire hits on ASAHI MARU whose hospital ship status is obscured by the darkness. At 0335, USS PARROTT (DD-218) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) hit transport TATSUGAMI MARU with torpedoes in a deep fuel tank, the resultant flooding cause her to sink by the stern in Balikpapan Bay at 01-18 S, 117-04E, and four of her crew lose their lives.

USS POPE and USS PARROTT also sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat PB-37 with torpedoes and gunfire. At 0345, USS JOHN D. FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. ASAHISAN MARU suffers damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remains afloat. KUMAGAWA MARU suffers slight damage in the engagement. At 0350, their torpedoes gone, DesDiv 59 departs southward. The Japanese Force seizes Balikpapan.

E January 1942:
Departs Balikpapan.

2 February 1942:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

7 February 1942:
Departs Balikpapan for Davao, Mindanao, Philippines.

9 February 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

11 February 1942:
Departs Davao for Yokosuka.

20 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Probably undergoes repairs.

2 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives that same day at Yokohama.

7 March 1942:
South of Shioyazaki. LtCdr Allen R. Joyce’s (USNA ’26) USS GRENADIER (SS-210) sights the transport. At 1500, Joyce fires four torpedoes and hits ASAHISAN MARU at 36-27N, 141-06E. However, three hits are duds and the fourth one only slightly damages the transport which resumes its course, arriving at Yokohama later that same day.

8 March 1942:
Departs Yokohama and transfers to Yokosuka for extensive repairs.

21 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and transfers to Tokyo.

25 March 1942:
Departs Tokyo for Truk with IJN requisitioned storeship KITAMI MARU and possibly others.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

10 April 1942:
Departs Truk.

20 April 1942:
Arrives at Fais (Fuhaesu), Carolines.

21 April 1942:
Departs Fais for Palau, western Carolines.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

26 April 1942:
Departs Palau for Woleai (Mereyon-To), Carolines.

27 April 1942:
Arrives at Woleai.

30 April 1942:
Departs Woleai for Moji.

11 May 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

14 May 1942:
Departs Moji.

22 May 1942:
S Ichiesaki, Kii Strait. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame’s (USNA ’27) USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) sights the transport. At 1140, Joyce torpedoes and scores two hits, one under the bridge, the second blowing off ASAHISAN MARU’s bow, at 33-30N, 135-27E. At 1420, the transport beaches off Hioki coast, Kagoshima Prefecture, to prevent sinking. At 1445, auxiliary minesweeper YOSHITOMO MARU No. 12 arrives to rescue ASAHISAN MARU.

24 May 1942:
Four coastal vessels arrive and start to unload ASAHISAN MARU as to ease refloating.

27 May 1942:
ASAHISAN MARU is towed to Kobe and tethered to buoy No. 17.

1 June 1942:
Departs Kobe, still in tow, for Tamano.

2 June 1942:
Arrives at Tamano. Enters dock at Mitsui Engineeering and Shipbuilding K.K. Shipyard for extensive repairs.

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

15 July 1943:
Repairs are completed.

16 July 1943:
Departs Tamano for Moji.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

22 July 1943:
Departs Moji.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

29 July 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives later that same day at Shibaura, Tokyo.

2 August 1943:
Departs Shibaura and transfers to Yokosuka.

4 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport SHOEI MARU (3083 GRT) with unknown escort.

7 August 1943:
Arrives at Chichijima.

8 August 1943:
Departs Chichijima.

12 August 1943:
Arrives at Saipan and departs later that day.

16 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

20 August 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

21 August 1943:
Attacked by an unidentified submarine without damage. [3]

24 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul. 20 September 1943:
At 0600, departs Rabaul in No. 2202 also consisting of auxiliary transport HAKOZAKI MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOKO MARU No. 2 GO and CHOUN MARU. The convoy sails at 9 knots.

21 September 1943:
At 1250, HAKOZAKI MARU is attacked by a Consolidated PBY.

22 September 1943:
At 0850, HAKOZAKI MARU is attacked again (as are CHOKO MARU No. 2 GO and CHOUN MARU) by a PBY. In these two attacks HAKOZAKI MARU suffers light damage. The oOther ships are undamaged.

24 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

3 October 1943:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4003 also consisting of auxiliary transports CHIHAYA (ex-Dutch TJISAROEA) and HAKOZAKI MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo/transport SHIGANOURA MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI.

12 October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

18 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

22 October 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

25 October 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives that same day at Moji.

26 October 1943:
Departs Moji for Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan) in convoy No.109 also consisting of IJA transports KOHO (4291 GRT) and PEKING (3011 GRT) MARUs, IJA (A/C) NORFOLK MARU and eight unidentified merchant ships escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU.

31 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

7 November 1943:
At 1225, departs Takao for Manila, Luzon in convoy No. 776 also consisting of IJA transports AKAGISAN, CHINKAI, YOZAN (6487 GRT) and MADRAS MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports SHINKOKU, RIZAN, TOTTORI, TOYO (2704 GRT) and ECHIZEN (2424 GRT) MARUs, IJA LST BANRYU MARU (later SS2) escorted by patrol boat PB-2. The convoy steams at 9.5 knots.

11 November 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

18 November 1943:
At 1225, departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera Island, Moluccas in convoy H-5A also consisting of IJA transports MADRAS and AKAGISAN MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports RIZAN, TOTTORI, ECHIZEN (2424 GRT) and MATSUEI MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

22 November 1943:
Auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 2 joins the convoy.

23 November 1943:
At 0600, PB-2 is detached.

E November 1943:
Arrives at Kau.

26 November 1943:
Departs Kau in convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport NANKAI MARU.

27 November 1943:
Torpedo boat KIJI joins as escort.

28 November 1943:
NANKAI MARU is detached N of Kran waters, Moluccas.

E November 1943:
Arrives at Ambon, Moluccas.

3 December 1943:
Departs Ambon for Kendari, Celebes.

4 December 1943:
Arrives at Kendari.

7 December 1943:
Departs Kendari for Makassar, Celebes.

9 December 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.

10 December 1943:
Departs Makassar for Singapore, Malaya.

15 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

16 December 1943:
Departs Singapore arriving that same day at Bintang Island, S Singapore. Probably loads bauxite.

17 December 1943:
Departs Bintang and arrives back at Singapore.

19 December 1943:
At 1200, departs Singapore for Takao in convoy HI-24 bound for Moji also consisting of auxiliary transports ASAHI MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo/transport TERUKUNI MARU, IJA transport ARABIA MARU and oilers RYUEI, GOYO, ASASHIO and BOKUEI MARUs escorted by kaibokan KANJU.

28 December 1943:
Arrives at Takao. RYUEI, GOYO and ASAHISAN MARUs are detached.

31 December 1943:
Departs Takao.

7 January 1944:
Arrives at Wakamatsu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

14 January 1944:
Departs Wakamatsu for Kure.

15 January 1944:
Arrives at Kure. Probably undergoes maintenance and repairs.

26 January 1944:
Departs Kure for Moji.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

31 January 1944:
At 0920, departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 133 also consisting of tankers TAKETSU (BUTSU), YAMAKO (SANKO), NITTETSU and SHINCHO MARUs, IJA transports MATSUE, YOZAN, CLYDE, YAMAGATA, FUKKO, SHINYU MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports OSAKA, MATSUEI, SORACHI and TOYO (2704 GRT) MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat No. 31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.

6 February 1944:
At 1500, the convoy arrives at Takao.

8 February 1944:
At 1100, departs Takao for Palau in convoy TAPA-01 also consisting of IJA transport CLYDE MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports OSAKA, MATSUEI MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat No. 31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3. The convoy steams at 9 knots.

16 February 1944:
At 0845, the convoy arrives at Palau.

24 February 1944:
Departs Palau and arrives that same day at Garasumao (Babelthuap), Palaus.

1 March 1944:
Departs Garasumao and returns back to Palau.

6 March 1944:
At 0800, departs Palau for Takao in convoy PATA-04 also consisting of IJA transports TASMANIA, KENNICHI, BRAZIL, YOZAN, HINODE, CHINZEI and CLYDE MARUs escorted by destroyers SHIGURE and SHIRANUI, patrol boat PB-31, subchasers CH-37 and CH-38 and auxiliary gunboat KENZAN MARU.

E March 1944:
Torpedo boat SAGI joins the escort at an unknown point en route.

13 March 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Takao.

15 March 1944:
At 1200, departs Takao for Moji in convoy TAMO-11 also consisting of oilers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1, SAN DIEGO, TAKETSU (BUTSU) and YAMAKO (SANKO) MARUs, auxiliary transports TAITO, and MANKO MARUs, IJA transports KOAN (4305 GRT), HINODE, MANILA, BELGIUM, KOHO, BRAZIL and KENNICHI MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports SORACHI, TARUYASU (ex-British TALTHYBIUS), KENWA, SHINNO MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 12 and civilian cargo ships KENZUI and MUTSU (520 GRT) MARUs. Escort is provided by destroyers SHIGURE and NOKAZE, minesweeper W-17 and subchasers CH- 37 and CH-38.

16 March 1944:
At 1600, IJA transport TOYO (2704 GRT) MARU and government requisitioned cargo/transport TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA) MARU join the convoy.

21 March 1944:
At 0430, MANKO and TOYO MARUs are detached from the convoy.

22 March 1944:
ASAHISAN, KOAN MARUs and UNKAI MARU No.12 are detached to Karatsu Wan (Bay), Saga Prefecture, Kyushu arriving at Moji the following day. The rest of the convoy arrives at Moji.

23 March 1944:
Departs Karatsu Wan and transfers to Mutsure.

24 March 1944:
Departs Mutsure and arrives that same day at Moji.

25 March 1944:
Departs Moji arriving later that day at Niihama, Shikoku.

30 March 1944:
Transfers from Niihama to Tamano.

31 March 1944:
Enters dock at Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding K.K. Shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

5 April 1944:

7 April 1944:
Departs Tamano for Kobe.

8 April 1944:
Arrives at Kobe. Departs later that same day for Yokosuka.

11 April 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 April 1944:
Transfers to Yokohama.

25 April 1944:
Departs Yokohama and arrives that day at Kisarasu, Chiba Prefecture.

28 April 1944:
At 0600, departs Kisarazu for Saipan, Marianas in "Higashi Matsu" Convoy No.7 (outbound) consisting of IJA cable ship OKINAWA MARU, auxiliary transports ASAHISAN, TATSUHARU and MITAKESAN MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports BINGO, YAMATAMA, MEIRYU, MOJI and MIHO MARUs bound for Saipan; auxiliary transport (ex-armed merchant cruiser) ASAKA MARU and landing ships T.128 and T.150 for Palau; auxiliary transport KOSHIN MARU and IJN requisitioned cargo/transport BOKUYO MARU for Yap and auxiliary transport TAITO MARU for Chichi-Jima.

Escort is provided by kaibokan NOMI, CD-12, CD-18 and CD-22 and by subchasers CH-16 and CH-18. The convoy arrives safely at these destinations.

6 May 1944:
Arrives at Saipan.

9 May 1944:
Departs Saipan, calls at Tinian, Marianas and returns back at Saipan.

17 May 1944:
Departs Saipan for Tokyo in convoy No. 4517 also consisting of auxiliary transport TATSUHARU MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo/transports YAMATAMA, BINGO, MEIRYU, MIHO and ENOSHIMA MARUs, IJA transports SHOZAN (2838 GRT) and MINO MARUs, escorted by destroyer ASANAGI, kaibokan CD-24, torpedo-boat OTORI, auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 8 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 10. Soon after departing, YAMATAMA MARU runs aground and is detached from the convoy.

22 May 1944:
160 miles NW of Chichi-Jima. At 0327, at 28-12N 138-50E, flagship ASANAGI steaming about a mile ahead of the formation is torpedoed aft by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Bafford E. Lewellen‘s (USNA ’31) USS POLLACK (SS-180). She becomes unnavigable and goes dead in the water. Fires break out aft and she lists to starboard, before rolling over and sinking at 0405.

24 May 1944:
The convoy arrives at Tokyo at about 1730. ASAHISAN MARU transfers later that same day to Yokohama.

29 May 1944:
Departs Yokohama for Hakodate, Hokkaido.

31 May 1944:
Arrives at Hakodate.

1 June 1944:
Departs Hakodate for Muroran, Hokkaido.

2 June 1944:
Arrives at Muroran.

4 June 1944:
Departs Muroran for Yokohama.

7 June 1944:
Arrives at Yokohama.

11 June 1944:
Departs Yokohama.

14 June 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

19 June 1944:
Departs Kure and arrives later at Moji.

20 June 1944:
Departs Moji for Manila in convoy HI-67 bound for Singapore, also consisting of tankers MIRI, OTORISAN, SARAWAK and SHINEI MARUs, auxiliary transports GOKOKU, NANKAI, KINUGASA, ASAKA and HAKOZAKI (10413 GRT) MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo/transport MANJU MARU, escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, minelayer SHIRATAKA, kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI, CD-5 and CD-13 and subchaser CH-61.

E 26 June 1944:
Kaibokan CD-2 and destroyer ASAGAO join the escort of convoy HI-67 at sea.

29 June 1944:
Near dawn, LtCdr (later Captain) Anton W. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) picks up convoy HI-67. Gallaher makes a long "end-around" in daylight. At about 1500, he fires all ten torpedoes in his bow and stern tubes at three ships. He damages MIRI and SARAWAK MARUs. Both oilers are hit in the bow, but each manages to proceed to Manila.

30 June 1944:
The convoy arrives at Manila. ASAHISAN, GOKOKU, HAKOZAKI, SARAWAK and MIRI MARUs are detached.

2 July 1944:
Departs Manila for Isabela, Basilan Island, Philippines in convoy H-31 with auxiliary transport TOSHO MARU towing midget submarine HA-58, and IJA transports SHINKOKU (2743 GRT) and MINO MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-41 and CH-46 and patrol boat PB-104.

7 July 1944:
Arrives at Isabela.

8 July 1944:
Departs Isabela for Bitung, Celebes (now Bitoeng, Sulawesi).

11 July 1944:
Arrives at Bitung.

13 July 1944:
At 0600, departs Bitung for Kau Bay, Halmahera in convoy with IJN requisitioned transport SHINNO MARU and auxiliary transport (ex-gunboat) TOSHO MARU (1289 GRT).

14 July 1944:
Arrives at Kau Bay. Begins unloading cargo.

24 July 1944:
Kau Bay. Still unloading cargo, ASAHISAN MARU is bombed and hit by USAAF 5th Air Force Consolidated “Liberator” B-24s. A bomb smashes into the boiler room. Ammunition detonates and engulfs the ship in flames. She sinks by the stern in shallow water in Kau Bay at 01-00N, 127-54E with the upperworks and most of the hull remaining above the waterline. Only two crewmen are KIA.

(B-24 “Liberator”)

10 September 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order No. 1067.


(ASAHISAN MARU’s hulk in Kau Bay- Peter Cundall’s collection)

Authors Notes:
[1] See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.
[3] No mention of this attack is mentioned in Allied records.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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