YUSOSEN!

(Standard 2AT Tanker KENJO MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

AWAKAWA MARU
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett


1944:
Tamano. Laid down at the Mitsui Zosen K. K. shipyard as a 6,925-ton Type 2A Standard Cargo Ship for Kawasaki-Kisen K.K., Kobe.

1944:
Converted to a Standard 2AT Tanker while on the ways.

1944:
Launched and named AWAKAWA MARU. [1]

30 September 1944:
Completed.

15 November 1944:
At 1600, AWAKAWA MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-27 consisting of EDOGAWA, SHOHO, MATSUURA, SEISHO, KYOKUUN, OSAKASAN, KOSHU, ENKEI and CHINKAI MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-61, CD-134, minesweeper W-101 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-156 and CHa-157. The convoy detours along the Korean coast to avoid American submarines. Immediately after departing ENKEI MARU drops out with rudder problems.

16 November 1944:
Tanker KYOKUUN MARU suffers engine problems and drops out.

17 November 1944:
Yellow Sea. Off Cheju Island. The convoy encounters a three-submarine wolf pack. At 2205, LtCdr Edward E. Shelby's USS SUNFISH (SS-281) torpedoes and damages EDOGAWA MARU. About 2207, SUNFISH torpedoes and damages SEISHO MARU. Minesweeper W-101 attempts to assist. At 2340, LtCdr Robert H. Caldwell's USS PETO (SS-265) torpedoes and sinks OSAKASAN MARU at 33-30N, 124-30E.

After about 2200, the convoy is thrown into confusion by the wolf pack attacks. AWAKAWA MARU may have been damaged about this time by an unknown agent. [2]

18 November 1944:
At 0130, a gun battle erupts between a surfaced submarine and SEISHO MARU. At 0317, Selby's SUNFISH torpedoes and sinks damaged SEISHO MARU. At about the same time, Selby torpedoes EDOGAWA MARU again and she sinks. The rest of the convoy heads towards Shanghai for shelter. At about 0430, PETO torpedoes CHINKAI MARU carrying troops and ammunition. She sinks at 33-35N, 124-34E

At 1603, USN codebreakers at Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia (FRUMEL) intercept and decode a message from W-101 that reads "Have the following survivors on board: 14 from OSAKASAN MARU, 36 from CHINKAI MARU, 186 from EDOGAWA MARU, 70 from SEISHO MARU. Expect to arrive at Raffles Island (30-42N, 122-26E) at 1200 on 19th. Allied submarine responsible attacked with unknown results."

23 November 1944:
CD-61 joins the convoy. The convoy splits into two sections, one heads for Singapore via Mako and the other for Luzon via Takao.

26 November 1944:
The remaining ships arrive at Takao. [3]

12 June 1945:
Refitted for dry cargo service.

9 August 1945: Operation "August Storm"- The Soviet Invasion of Manchuria:
Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky, CINC, Soviet Far East Forces, carrying out Stalin's pledge at Yalta, launches the invasion of Japanese-held Manchukuo. The attack is made by three Soviet army groups ("fronts") comprising 80 divisions of 1.5 million men. In less than two weeks, the Soviets defeat the Kwantung Army.

That same day, at 1101, Major (later Brig Gen, ANG) Charles W. Sweeney's B-29 "BOCKSCAR", of the 509th Composite Group's 393rd Bomb Squadron, drops the 21-kiloton yield "Fat Man" plutonium atomic bomb, on Nagasaki. This follows the 6 Aug '45 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

10 August 1945:
Off Seishin (Chongjin), Korea. AWAGAWA MARU is sunk by Soviet aircraft at 41-26N, 129-49E.

15 August 1945: Cessation of Hostilities:
Imperial Palace, Tokyo. At noon, Emperor Hirohito (Showa) announces Japan's surrender that is broadcast by radio all over the Japanese Empire.


Authorís Note:
[1] Also known as AWAGAWA MARU.

[2] Reports of AWAKAWA MARU's movements on 17 Nov '44 are varied and unclear. One Japanese source claims AWAKAWA MARU suffered medium damaged by torpedo attack on 17 Nov '44 at 33-31N, 124-40E (40 nautical miles W of Shokokusan To (So-Huksan-Do), SW coast of Korea. However, ULTRA report for attacks against MI-27 do not have any intercepted radio messages that refer to damage to AWAKAWA MARU. It is known that AWAKAWA MARU split off from MI-27 at this time but did not sail to Takao. Thereafter AWAKAWA MARU is reported operating in the northern part of the East China Sea. Another source says that AWAKAWA may have been damaged in a collision with an unidentified ship.

[3] There is no record of AWAKAWA MARU arriving at Takao.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for comments concerning AWAKAWA MARU's movements on 17 Nov '44.

-Bob Hackett


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