(ASO MARU, prewar)

IJA Transport ASO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

4 July 1922:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi as Yard No. 389, a 3,028-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line.

5 April 1923:
Launched and named ASO MARU. [1]

10 May 1923:

1937: Second Sino – Japanese War.
Chartered to the Imperial Army (IJA).

13 September 1937:
Osaka. ASO MARU embarks 268 men and 142 horses of the 1st Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment including 3rd Company, 1st Battalion and part of 1st Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment and 26th Radio Communications Platoon and departs.

18 September 1937:
Arrives at Dagu/Taku (Tanggu)(near Tianjin), China and unloads.

20 December 1937:
ASO MARU departs Ujina.

21 December 1937:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

24 December 1937:
Arrives at Shanghai. Embarks sick and wounded troops for transport back to the homeland.

26 December 1937:
ASO MARU departs Shanghai.

29 December 1937:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

30 December 1937:
Arrives at Ujina.

2 March 1938:
ASO MARU departs Osaka carrying the 14th Division's 27th Infantry Brigade HQ, 59th Infantry Regiment (less 1st and 2nd Battalions, less 1/2 Infantry Gun Unit and less 1/3 Mountain Gun Unit) and part of 20th Field Artillery Regiment and 14th Engineer Battalion.

6 March 1938:
Arrives at Wusung and departs.

8 March 1938:
Arrives at Shanghai.

21 March 1938:
ASO MARU departs Shanghai carrying the Regimental HQ, 1st Battalion and Infantry Gun Unit, 12th Infantry Regiment, 11th Division.

25 March 1938:
Arrives at Takamatsu. Disembarks troops.

E 1938:
Returned to her owners.

12 August 1939:
Sold to Toa Kaiun K.K., Tokyo.

1 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Allotted Army No. 66.

18 December 1942:
ASO MARU departs Saeki escorting Military Movement No. 8’s convoy "J” consisting of SHANGHAI and SYDNEY MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-39.

E 19 December 1942:
At 29N, CH-39 is detached.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

6 March 1943:
At 1430, ASO MARU departs Palau for Hansa Bay in convoy “Hansa No. 1” MARU departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 1" also consisting of ASO, MOMOYAMA, OYO, SYDNEY, TEIRYU and YASUJIMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers AKIGUMO, KAZEGUMO, YUGUMO, SAMIDARE and SATSUKI. The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 20th Division.

12 March 1943:
At 0503, arrives at Hansa Bay (near Madang), Eastern New Guinea.

13 March 1943:
At 1500, departs Hansa Bay. At 1830, the convoy is attacked by five B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers at 03-05S, 143-28E. MOMOYAMA MARU is hit by bombs. Nine crewmen are KIA.

14 March 1943:
At 0045, MOMOYAMA MARU sinks.

18 March 1943:
At 0730, arrives at Palau.

1 May 1943:
ASO MARU departs Palau in convoy No. 3206 also consisting of ADEN, BENGAL, MIYADONO, TOYAMA, KIZAN and MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

6 May 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

8 July 1943:
ASO MARU departs Saeki convoy O-806 also consisting of EHIME, KAZAN and ZUISHO MARUs escorted by fleet supply ship ARASAKI, patrol boat PB-46 and W-18 and auxiliary gunboat HINO MARU No. 5.

E 10 July 1943:
At latitude 29N, minesweeper W-18 and patrol boat PB-46 join convoy O-806.

E 12 July 1943:
W-18 is detached and returns to Saiki. Patrol boat PB-46 remains escorting the convoy.

16 July 1943:
At 1200, the convoy, except straggler KAZAN MARU, arrives at Palau.

3 September 1943:
At 0840, ASO MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Sasebo in convoy No. 299 also consisting of COLUMBIA, GYOKUREI, HASSHU (YASHIMA), HONAN, NAPLES and REIYO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

14 September 1943:
SUGIYAMA and MATSUURA MARUs join the convoy at sea.

17 September 1943:
HASSHU MARU is detached for Pusan.

18 September 1943:
At 1230, arrives at Sasebo.

30 September 1943:
At 0800, ASO MARU departs Saiki in convoy O-006 also consisting of TAGA, FUKKO, SHINKO and TAIRIN MARUs and HOSHI (JUCHISEI) MARU No. 11 escorted by minesweepers W-18 and auxiliary minesweepers OI and TAMA MARUs and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and TAMA MARU No. 7.

E 1 October 1943:
At 30N, TAMA and OI MARUs are detached.

E 2 October 1943:
At 29N, TAMA MARU No. 7 is detached

10 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

17 October 1943:
ASO MARU departs Palau in convoy "Wewak No. 11" also consisting of MAYA, NISSHIN and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-26 and CH-35.

21 October 1943:
NISSHIN MARU is detached for Hollandia.

22 October 1943:
Arrives at Wewak. The convoy unloads its cargo.

23 October 1943:
The convoy departs Wewak for Palau.

28 October 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William B. Sieglaff's (USNA ’31) USS TAUTOG (SS-199) attacks the convoy. Sieglaff fires six unreliable Mark XIV torpedoes and fails to get any hits. CH-26 and CH-35 counterattack and drop eight depth charges, but without damage to USS TAUTOG. That same day, at 1800, convoy "Wewak No. 11"arrives at Palau.

1 November 1943:
ASO MARU departs Palau in convoy "Hollandia No. 2" also consisting of FUKOKU and KIZUGAWA and RYUWA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 5 escorted minelayer SHIRATAKA and subchasers CH-26 and CH-35.

E 3 November 1943:
SHIRATAKA is detached and returns alone to Palau. That same day, FUKOKU MARU develops engine trouble and returns to Palau escorted by CH-35.

23 December 1943:
ASO MARU departs Palau for Wewak in convoy "Wewak No. 16" also consisting of CHINZEI and KURAMASAN SHOHO,MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-35 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-61.

25 December 1943:
Minelayer SHIRATAKA is detaches from convoy “Wewak No. 15” and intercepts convoy “Wewak No. 16”. KURAMASAN MARUs is detached and SHIRATAKA escorts her towards Hollandia.

27 December 1943:
Arrives at Wewak.

15 January 1944:
At 0630, ASO MARU departs Palau for Wewak in convoy Wewak No. 17" also consisting of CHINZEI, KIBI and TAIEI MARUs MARUs escorted subchasers CH-32, CH-34, CH-35 and auxiliary submarine chaser CHa-10.

19 January 1944:
Arrives at Wewak.

20 January 1944:
Departs Wewak.

25 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

13 February 1944:
ASO MARU departs New Guinea carrying the 4th Engineer Headquarters, 36th Division

15 February 1944:
Arrives at Rabaul.

23 February 1944:
At 0600, ASO MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMO-05 also consisting of CEYLON, CHIHAYA, FRANCE, MUTSUYO (BOKUYO), NIPPO, PACIFIC, SAN LUIS and SHUNTEN MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-38, auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU, auxiliary subchaser TAMA MARU No. 7 and an unidentified warship.

27 February 1944:
East China Sea. At 2058, LtCdr (later KIA) John A. Moore's (USNA ’32) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208)(later lost) uses her last two torpedoes on CEYLON MARU. carrying 148 military passengers, 4,000-tons of bauxite and 300-tons of general cargo. Hit aft in the No. 3 hold, she floods and at 2103 sinks by the stern off Ojika Island, NE Kyushu at 31-35N, 127-47E. 95 troops and 46 crewmen are KIA.

29 February 1944:
Arrives at Mutsure.

5 April 1944:
At 0530, ASO MARU departs Moji in ore convoy TE-03 consisting of non ore ships BRAZIL, JINJU, NARUO (ex-Panamanian ESTERO), SORACHI MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 and five unidentified merchants and ore ships DAIBU, DAIYOKU KINREI, SHORYU, TOYOHI and YULIN MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-1, torpedo boat HATSUKARI, auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARU and minesweeper W-18.

14 April 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Takao. Most of the non-ore carrying vessels are detached.

17 May 1944:
At 1700, ASO MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-18 also consisting of MAYASAN, NICHIZUI, SHINNO and TETSUYO MARUs escorted by destroyers ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE, TSUGA, kaibokan CD-11, auxiliary subchaser CHa-75, auxiliary minesweeper MISAGO MARU No. 8, auxiliary minelayer CHOAN MARU and auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU.

20 May 1944:
The convoy shelters from reported submarine contacts at North San Fernando anchorage.

21 May 1944:
Late afternoon. Departs North San Fernando.

23 May 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

24 June 1944:
Off Leyte, Philippines, SW of Surigao Strait. At 0904, LtDCdr Austin’s (USNA ‘35) USS REDFIN (SS-272) fires three torpedoes at ASO MARU. She avoids one and another misses, but the third torpedo hits and blows off her stern. At 0936, she sinks at 09-56N, 126-06E. Five guards and six crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Not to be confused with 703-ton freighter (aux. gunboat) ASO MARU.

Bob Hackett

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