(ATSUTA MARU, pre-war)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Bob Hackett

10 June 1908:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Dockyard & Engineering Works as an 8,523-ton KAMO MARU class passenger liner for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line.

21 October 1908:
Launched and named ATSUTA MARU.

3 May 1909:
Completed. ATSUTA MARU can accommodate 83 first-class passengers, 32 second-class passengers, 12 intermediate-class passengers and 140 third-class (steerage) passengers. ATSUTA MARU is commanded by Captain Thompson. She is placed on NYK’s Japan ~ Europe route with ports of call at Yokohama, Kobe, and Moji, Japan, Shanghai, China, Hong Kong, BCC, Singapore and Penang, Maylaya, Colombo, Ceylon, Port Said, Egypt, Marseilles, France, London, England and Antwerp, Belgium.

14 April 1909:
ATSUTA MARU arrives in Singapore from Yokohama on her maiden voyage en route to Europe. She regularly carries hundreds of bales of raw silk from the Orient to Europe.

9 June 1913:
Arrives in Singapore.

August 1916:
ATSUTA MARU runs aground in the Inland Sea, but is successfully refloated. She proceeds to Nagasaki and is dry docked for inspection and repairs.

28 December 1922:
Departs Singapore.

August 1926-March 1927:
ATSUTA MARU continues on NYK’s Japan ~ Europe route with ports of call at Yokohama, Kobe, Moji, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malacca, Penang, Colombo, Aden, Suez, Port Said, Marseilles, Gibraltar, London and Antwerp. Return voyages from Middlesborough, England calling at Naples, omitting Aden, Penang, Malacca, Malaya and Moji.

17 January 1928:
Arrives in Singapore from London.

19 June 1928:
Arrives in Singapore from Europe.

26 September 1929:
Departs Singapore.

30 Ooctober 1930:
Arrives in Singapore from Melbourne and Sydney.

January 1930-March 1931:
Placed on NYK’s Japan ~ Australia route with ports of call at Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Nagasaki, Hong Kong, Manila and Davao, Philippines, Menado, Thursday Island, and Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Australia. Calls at Osaka, omitting Menado and Nagoya on return voyages.

April-October 1935:
Placed on NYK’s Japan ~ Australia route with ports of call reduced to Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Nagasaki, Hong Kong and Melbourne.

12 July 1935:
Arrives at Brisbane. ATSUTA MARU is battered by a storm off the Queensland, Australia coast. Officers of ATSUTA MARU, which reached Brisbane a day late on the voyage from Japan, state that the cyclonic weather was the worst they had ever experienced. For two days and three nights the vessel ploughed through terrific seas, So violent were the conditions that ATSUTA MARU was forced off her normal course, which is ordinarily 50 miles from the mainland, and at times she was only 15 miles from the coast. Visibility was extremely bad.


26 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA No.980.

21 January 1942:
ATSUTA MARU departs Mutsure with transports BRAZIL, COLUMBIA, DAINICHI, FUSHIMI, GENOA, HOEISAN, KIZZAN, MAEBASHI, MOTOYAMA, PACIFIC, REIYO, SYDNEY, SOMEDOMO, TAKETOYO, TATSUNO,TOFUKU, TOKIWA and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by CruDiv 9's light cruiser OI and DesDiv 32's ASAGAO, FUYO and KARUKAYA. The transports are carrying the IJA 2nd Infantry Division.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Later, the convoy departs for Camranh Bay to mobilize for the Invasion of Java

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
ATSUTA MARU is attached to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hiraoki, Kumeichi’s (39) 9th Base Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force. At 1000, departs Camranh Bay in a convoy also comprised of 55 troop transports.

28 February 1942:
S of Merak, Java. At 2320, ATSUTA MARU and 29 other transports carrying MajGen Nasu Yumio’s and Colonel Fukushima Kyusaku’s detachments of LtGen Maruyama Masao’s 2nd Infantry Division commence landing their troops.

27 May 1942:
At 1700, ATSUTA MARU departs Mutsure as the sole ship in convoy No. 129 escorted by destroyer KURETAKE. ATSUTA MARU carries 709 passengers.

30 May 1942:
East China Sea, E of Okinawa. Lookouts aboard LtCdr (Rear Admiral-Ret) Lewis S. Parks USS POMPANO (SS-181) sight a large transport escorted by one destroyer. Parks commences an “end-around” and waits in position only 750 yards ahead of the convoy. At about 1725, POMPANO launches Mark 10 torpedoes and at 1728 scores two or more in ATSUTA MARU'sNo. 2 hold. POMPANO survives a DC counterattack by KURETAKE.

3 June 1942:
At about midnight, after burning for more than three days, ATSUTA MARU sinks at 26-07N 129-06E. 37 passengers are KIA.

Author's Note:
[1] Sources vary as to ATSUTA MARU's grt, last convoy number snd coordinates of her sinking position. The author chose to use the data in Cdr J. D. Alden's US and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During WWII, 4th ed.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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