Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett and Gilbert Casse
Revision 1

7 May 1937:
Laid down at Tama Zosensho as a 8,663-ton passenger-cargo ship for Mitsui Bussan Senpaku.

18 October 1937:
Launched and named ATSUTASAN MARU.

20 December 1937:
Completed as the third ship of her class. Placed is service on Mitsui Line’s Japan ~ New York route.

25 August 1938:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a cargo ship (A-AK).

17 January 1939:
Released back to Mitsui Bussan Senpaku.

July 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army and converted to a Boku Kikansen (anti-aircraft) vessel. Fitted with six IJA Type 88 75-mm AA and eight IJA Type 98 20-mm AA Machine Cannons.

5 November 1941:
Departs Ujina, Hiroshima Prefecture for Samah, Hainan Island, China.

6 November 1941:
Arrives at Samah.

17 November 1941:
Departs Samah.

E 21 November 1941:
Arrives at Singora, Siam. Departs later for Samah.

30 November 1941:
Hainan Island, China. At 1300, ATSUTASAN MARU arrives at Samah.

4 December 1941:
At 0600, ATSUTASAN MARU departs Samah in a convoy consisting of 18 transports carrying LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki's (the "Tiger of Malaya") 25th Army to the Gulf of Thailand escorted by light cruiser SENDAI, DesDivs 12’s MURAKUMO, DesDiv 19's AYANAMI, ISONAMI, SHIKINAMI and URANAMI, DesDiv 20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO, minelayer HATSUTAKA, MinSwpDiv 1’s W-1, W-2, W-3, W-4, W-5, W-6 and W-8 and subchaser CH-9.

The convoy carries the Kra Isthmus, Singora, Patani and Kota Bharu Invasion Units.

Distant cover is provided by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7’s MOGAMI, MIKUMA, SUZUYA and KUMANO and destroyers FUBUKI, SHIRAYUKI and HATSUYUKI. Air cover is provided from seaplane tenders SANYO, SAGARA and KAMIKAWA MARUs.

Enroute the convoy and its escorts split into the respective Invasion Units and head for their assigned landing and covering points.

7 December 1941:
At 2340, ATSUTASAN MARU arrives at Singora (Songkhla), Siam (Thailand) with the Singora Invasion Unit consisting of transports SADO, KASHII, KYUSHU, AZUMASAN, SHINSHU (RYUJO), KANSAI, NAKAO, ASAKASAN and SASAKO MARUs escorted by DesDivs 12’s MURAKUMO, 19 and DesDiv 20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI and SHIRAKUMO, minelayer HATSUTAKA (F), MinSwpDiv 1’s W-1, W-4, W-5, W-6 and W-8. Air cover is provided from seaplane tenders SANYO, SAGARA and KAMIKAWA MARUs.

The Invasion Unit lands elements of Yamashita’s 25th Army and LtGen Matsui Takuro’s 5th Infantry Divison's 9th and 21st Infantry Brigades. The transports also land 20 Type 97 medium tanks and 37 Type 95 light tanks.

E 8 December 1941:
Departs Singora for Samah.

E 11 December 1941:
Arrives at Samah.

16 December 1941:
S of Samah, Hainan Island, China. ATSUTASAN MARU departs for Kwantung, China to load more troops. At about 1330, at 18-06N, 109-44E, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Chester C. Smith’s (USNA ‘25) USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) fires three torpedoes at ATSUTASAN MARU and gets a hit in her engine room. Three crewmen and 25 gunners are KIA. ATSUTASAN MARU is abandoned and drifts for two days before sinking by the bow.

Authors’ Notes:

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett and Gilbert Casse

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