(ASAKAZE MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall

Revision 1

24 December 1937:
Innoshima near Osaka. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works K.K. shipyard for Todai Kisen K.K. as a 6,517-tons cargo ship.

10 September 1938:
Launched and named ASAKAZE MARU.

28 November 1938:
Completed and registered at Osaka. Her Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) is 3,879-tons. [1]

15 May 1940:
Chartered to Yamashita Kisen K.K.

1 August 1940:
Her owners and port of registry are respectively changed to Yamashita Kisen K.K. and to Kobe.

16 December 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

22 December 1940:
Innoshima. Begins her conversion to military duty at Osaka Iron Works K.K. shipyard.

25 December 1940:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary collier/oiler attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as homeport under Navy’s instruction No. 1020.

15 January 1941:
Captain Mitsuka Toshio (38) is appointed supervisor.

16 January 1941:
The conversion is completed.

E January 1941:
Directly assigned to Combined Fleet, Supply Unit as an auxiliary collier/oiler (Ko) category. [2]

Her NRT is changed to 3,878-tons. [1]

5 May 1941:
Departs Shibaura near Tokyo.

E 15 May ~ 20 June 1941:
Operates in the South Seas (Japanese mandated islands).

30 June 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 July 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

E 5 August 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

11 August 1941:
Supplies auxiliary gunboat DAIDO MARU with fresh water.

E October 1941:
Departs Kwajalein.

24 October 1941:
Arrives at Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture.

5 November 1941:
Tactically assigned to Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s (37) Southern Fleet.

26 November 1941:
Assigned to transport the following items from Japan to South forward base: 6,000-tons of coal, 100-tons of lubricating oil and 900-tons of drummed oil.

4 December 1941:
Departs Kure.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Amami-Oshima, Ryukyus.

15 December 1941:
At 0800, refuels patrol boat PB-1.

17 December 1941:
Departs Amami-Oshima.

24 December 1941:
Arrives at Lamon Bay.

27 December 1941:
Departs Lamon Bay.

28 December 1941:
Arrives at Davao.

4 January 1942:
Departs Davao.

8 January 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

10 January 1942:
Departs Palau.

16 January 1942:
Arrives at Menado.

21 January 1942:
Departs Menado.

28 January 1942:
Arrives at Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan). Departs later.

18 March 1942:
At Staring Bay, Celebes (now Sulawesi). Coals auxiliary ammunition ship ONOE MARU. Departs later.

6 April 1942:
Transits the Bungo Suido escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

7 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

5 May 1942:
Captain Mitsuka is relieved by Captain Isobe Miokichi (32).

7 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

10 May 1942:
Arrives at Miike, Fukuoka Prefecture.

E 11 ~ 12 May 1942:
Loads coal.

13 May 1942:
Departs Miike.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Macassar, Celebes.

E May 1942:
Unloads coal. Departs later.

10 August 1942:
Enters Chosen Heavy Industries K.K. shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

16 August 1942:
Undocked. Departs later.

25 August 1942:
Assigned directly to the Navy Department, Kure Naval District.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

25 September 1942:
Departs Mako.

1 October 1942:
Captain Isobe is relieved by Captain Osaki Yasu (39).

5 October 1942:
Departs Osaka.

6 October 1942:
Arrives at Innoshima.

E 7 October ~ 11 November 1942:
Probably undergoes maintenance and repairs.

12 November 1942:
Departs Innoshima.

16 November 1942:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido.

19 November 1942:
Departs Muroran.

21 November 1942:
Arrives at Fushiki, Toyama Prefecture.

24 November 1942:
Departs Fushiki.

28 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Assigned to troop transport mission B1 consisting of 6th Kure SLNF, 7th Yokosuka SLNF and a Naval Construction Unit.

10 December 1942:
At 1200, departs Yokosuka in a southbound convoy No. 1 Go also consisting of auxiliary armed merchant cruiser BANGKOK MARU, auxiliary transport KIRIKAWA MARU and auxiliary ammunition ship TATSUTAKE MARU escorted by destroyers OKIKAZE and YAMAGUMO.

16 December 1942:
At 1700, arrives at Saipan. Destroyer OITE takes over escort.

20 December 1942:
At 00-00N 147-00E, OITE is detached.

22 December 1942:
At 1245, arrives at Rabaul.

E 30 December 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

8 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

13 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and joins convoy No. 1113 A also consisting of auxiliary transport SANTO MARU, IJA transports NIKKO and GOZAN MARUs and civilian cargo ship (C-AK) INARI MARU escorted by minesweeper W-18.

17 January 1943:
Arrives at Otaru, Hokkaido.

20 January 1943:
Departs Otaru.

24 January 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

27 January 1943:
Departs Osaka.

30 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo. Fitted with Daihatsu craft No. 5165 and 5188 under Sasebo Naval District secret instruction No. 43.

February 1943:
Embarks the 24th Naval Construction Unit.

12 February 1943:
At 1200, departs Sasebo in an unnumbered convoy with auxiliary transport KOSHIN (6,530 GRT) MARU escorted by minelayer HIRASHIMA.

E 15 February 1943:
At 24 degrees north HIRASHIMA detaches.

21 February 1943:
Arrives at Ambon, Moluccas. Departs later.

10 April 1943:
Arrives at Takao (now Kaohsiung), Formosa.

12 April 1943:
At 1250, departs Takao in convoy No. 251 also consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted (coincidentally) by destroyer ASAKAZE.

17 April 1943:
At 2330, arrives at Moji.

19 April 1943:
Arrives at Niihama, Shikoku.

26 April 1943:
Departs Niihama and arrives at Kure later that day.

3 May 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Moji later that same day.

7 May 1943:
Departs Moji.

E 8 May 1943:
Arrives at Saeki, Kyushu.

11 May 1943:
At 0800, departs Saeki in convoy K-511 also consisting of auxiliary transport YAMAFUKU MARU and IJA transports PACIFIC and SHINRYU MARUs and MIKAGE MARU No. 20 escorted by torpedo boat HATO and minelayer NUWAJIMA.

E 12 May 1943:
HATO is detached at 29N.

19 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

31 May 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy P-531 also consisting of auxiliary transport SANTO MARU and IJA transports SHOHO, TAIRIN, DOVER and TOYU MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO. The convoy sails at 8 knots.

E 7 June 1943:
At 28-30N 134-45E, auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 6 joins the escort.

E 8 June 1943:
At 30-45N 133-05E, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 join the escort.

9 June 1943:
Arrives at Saeki. Departs later that day.

10 June 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

17 June 1943:
Departs Moji.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

28 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

3 July 1943:
Joins coastal convoy No. 8703 also consisting of IJA transport ECHIZEN MARU, IJA shared transport A/C-AK) SANJIN MARU, Government owned cargo cargo ship (C-AK) ROZAN (ex-British ANALOCK) MARU and an unidentified vessel escorted by minelayer NARYU, part way.

5 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

8 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

9 July 1943:
Arrives back at Yokosuka.

19 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka again in convoy No. 3719 also consisting of IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) KENSHIN MARU escorted by destroyer IKAZUCHI. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots.

E 29 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines.

6 August 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 1064 also consisting of Fleet auxiliary ammunition ship/survey vessel SOYA, auxiliary transport YAMAGIRI MARU, auxiliary storeship HOKKAI (407 GRT) MARU escorted by destroyer YUZUKI and subchaser CH-28. The convoy sails at 10 knots.

10 August 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

21 August 1943:
Refuels minesweeper W-28.

26 August 1943:
At 1455, departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy O-605 also consisting of auxiliary transport YAMAGIRI MARU, IJN requisitioned passenger/cargo ship (B-APK) NICHIRYO MARU and IJA transports TAISHO and TACOMA MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-38 and CH-39 and minesweeper W-22.

28 August 1943:
About 70 nms W Mussau Island, Bismarck Archipelago. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Bernard F. McMahon's (USNA ’31) USS DRUM (SS-228) intercepts the convoy. McMahon fires four torpedoes at one ship and two at another. A torpedo hits YAMAGIRI MARU in the starboard side between holds No. 2 and No. 3 at 01-31S, 148-41E, opening a large hole in her hull. However, she does not sink and is able to make it back to Rabaul escorted by CH-39. The escorts drop 27 depth charges on USS DRUM, but the submarine escapes from the area unharmed.

2 September 1943:
At 1230, arrives at Palau.

12 September 1943:
At 1100, departs Palau in convoy FU-206 also consisting of IJA transports SHINYU, FUKKAI, TOYAMA, UME and TAGA MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots. At some point, ASAKAZE MARU is detached from the convoy.

23 September 1943:
At 31-22N 134.00E minelayer YURIJIMA meets the convoy.

24 September 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

29 September 1943:
Departs Osaka.

30 September 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

3 October 1943:
Departs Moji and arrives at Kobe later in the day.

4 October 1943:
At 1200, departs Kobe in convoy No. 8004 also consisting of civilian tanker (C-AO) MITSU MARU, Government owned cargo ship (C-AK) SHINRI (ex-Chinese HSIN LEE) MARU and civilian cargo ships (C-AK) MISHIMA, MICHI and KIYOTADA (SEICHU) MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-27.

5 October 1943:
At 1000, off Nagoya, the convoy disperses temporarily at it sees small freighter SANSEN MARU in distress.

6 October 1943:
At 0900, minesweeper W-27 ends escort. The convoy arrives at Yokosuka later that day.

9 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3009A also consisting of Fleet auxiliary storeship MAMIYA, auxiliary ammunition ship NICHII MARU and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) HOKKO MARU escorted by destroyer OITE. The convoy sails at 11 knots.

12 October 1943:
Off Chichi-Jima. At about 0500, Cdr David C. White's (USNA ’27) USS CERO (SS-225) attacks convoy No. 3009A. White torpedoes and damages MAMIYA at 28-39N, 137-28E. Hit in the stern, her rudder probably damaged, MAMIYA becomes unnavigable. About noon, Cdr White makes a second attack on anchored MAMIYA. He fires six torpedoes and gets four hits, one of which is a dud.

At 0705, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from MAMIYA that reads: “At 0530 received torpedo attack in position 28-39 N, 137-28 E. Torpedo hit bulkhead between starboard engine room and No. 5 hold. Both engines, No. 5 hold and shaft alley were completely flooded. The boiler room and the No. 7 hold were slightly flooded. Unable to navigate ---- under our own power. ”

15 October 1943:
Meanwhile at 0950, patrol boat PB-101 departs Chichi Jima escorting MAMIYA. The following day submarine tender JINGEI departs Kure to assist MAMIYA. JINGEI finds MAMIYA drifting SW of Ogasawara Gunto (Islands) and takes her in tow until the arrival of ASAKAZE MARU and destroyers OITE and ASANAGI that take over towing and assist PB-101 in escort duties. MAMIYA and ASAKAZE MARU eventually make Kure via the Bungo Suido escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, Kaibokan IKI, and auxiliary minesweepers OI and TAMA MARUs and TAMA MARU No. 7. Later torpedo boat CHIDORI arrives to assist.

18 October 1943:
Arrives at Saeki. Departs later.

19 October 1943:
Captain Osaki is relieved by Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ikeda Keinosuke (34).

22 October 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Kobe later that day. Departs there later escorted by destroyer OITE.

31 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk with auxiliary transport KEMBU MARU escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE.

7 November 1943:
At 1500, departs Truk via south channel in convoy No. 5075 also consisting of auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU, auxiliary transport KEMBU MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) KENSHIN MARU and oiler No. 6010 escorted by subchaser CH-28 and initially auxiliary netlayer KATSURA MARU.

13 November 1943:
At 1520, arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

2 December 1943:
Departs Kwajalein and arrives at Roi-Namur, Marshalls later that day.

4 December 1943:
Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Aircraft from Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Charles A. Pownall's (USNA ’10) Task Force 50’s USS YORKTOWN (CV-10), USS LEXINGTON (CV-16) and light carrier USS INDEPENDENCE (CVL-22) attack Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls. They damage auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU, light cruisers NAGARA and ISUZU, Fleet auxiliary storeship KINEZAKI and auxiliary transports EIKO and KEMBU MARUs and MIKAGE MARU No. 18, and sink auxiliary collier/oiler ASAKAZE MARU (19 crewmen KIA), auxiliary water carrier TATEYAMA MARU (five crewmen KIA), auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 7 (five crewmen KIA) and small guardboat MIKUNI MARU No. 5 (unknown casualties).

5 December 1943:
KEMBU MARU sinks at 09-00N, 166-30E with the loss of 19 crewmen.

15 February 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 305.

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 Kyutanyusen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan. Thanks goes also to the late John Whitman for info on USN decrypts.

- Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.

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