YUSOSEN!

(2TM SOEI MARU postwar )

AYAYUKI MARU
Tabular Record of Movement


2011-2017 Bob Hackett


E 1943:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen K. K., Sakurajima, as a 2,854-ton Type 2TM Standard Merchant Tanker for Ishihara Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

1944:
Launched and named AYAYUKI MARU.

May 1944:
Completed.

12 July 1944:
At 1500, AYAYUKI MARU departs Moji in convoy MI-11 also consisting of tankers KOEI, TAKETOYO, AYAGUMO and HARIMA MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and cargo/transports EIKYU, YOSHINO, MIHO, SHICHIYO, ENOSHIMA, MANKO, HACHIJIN, DAKAR, FUSO, TEIRITSU (ex-French LECONTE DE LISLE) and FUKUJU MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 16 and escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE, kaibokan SHIMUSHU, minesweepers W-38 and W-39, subchaser CH-55 and auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUA SHAN) MARU.

18 July 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Takao. Destroyer SHIOKAZE is detached. This important convoy is carrying reinforcements and ammunition for the defense of the Philippines, so the escort is reorganized and strengthened and now consists of kaibokan SHIMUSHU and CD-28, minesweepers W-28, W-38 and W-39, subchaser CH-55 and auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUA SHAN) MARU.

29 July 1944:
At 0500, the convoy departs Takao for Miri, Borneo. EIKYU MARU suffers engine problems and returns to Nan Bay.

30 July 1944:
At 2200, BANSHU MARU No. 16 incurs rudder problems and collides with MANKO MARU bow-to-bow, both are damaged, but able to proceed.

31 July 1944:
Luzon Strait. A wolfpack patrols the Strait under Captain (later Rear Admiral) Lewis S. Parks consisting of LtCdr (later Vice Admiral/MOH/COMSUBLANT) Lawson P. Ramage's USS PARCHE (SS-384)(F), LtCdr (later Captain) David L. Whelchel's STEELHEAD (SS-280) and LtCdr John C. Martin's HAMMERHEAD (SS-364).

280 miles NNW of Cape Mayraira, Luzon. At 0332, LtCdr Ramage's PARCHE torpedoes and sinks KOEI MARU. Although she is carrying a unit of 1,050 IJA troops, casualties are relatively light, about 150 troops and 9 crewmen are KIA.

About the same time, tanker OGURA MARU No. 1 is hit by a torpedo, but does not sink. At 0340, Ramage torpedoes and sinks YOSHINO MARU. She carries down 2, 442 of the 5.063 IJA troops she was carrying, 18 gunners and 35 crewmen and 400 cubic meters of ammunition.

At 0420, Whelchel's STEELHEAD torpedoes DAKAR MARU, but she does not sink. At 0455, Whelchel torpedoes and sinks FUSO MARU. She takes down 1, 350 of 4,500 troops aboard, 12 other passengers and 22 crewmen, 36 railway carriages and 1,120-tons of other military supplies.

At 0514, Ramage's PARCHE torpedoes MANKO MARU. She is carrying 517 sailors and naval civilians and 5500-tons of ammunition and equipment. At 0631, she sinks. About 250 sailors and civilians, 17 crewmen and 20 gunners are KIA, many by MANKO MARU's own exploding DCs.

3 August 1944:
At 1730, the remainder of MI-11 arrives at Manila where it is reorganized.

7 August 1944:
At 1900, AYAYUKI MARU departs Manila for Miri in reconstituted convoy MI-11 now also consisting of TAKETOYO, MIHO, ENOSHIMA, HACHIJIN, SHICHIYO, AYAKUMO and TEIRITSU MARU(ex-French Liner LECONTE DE LISLE) and MISAKI MARU escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU, CD-26, minesweeper W-28 and subchaser CH-55.

12 August 1944:
Arrives at Miri.

19 November 1944:
At 1000, AYAYUKI MARU departs Singapore for Pangkalan Brandan, N Sumatra in an unidentified convoy consisting of tankers NICHINAN, RITSUEI, SHONAN and SHOEI MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-34 and subchaser CH-35.

Malacca Straits. At 1837 that same day, British Lt Clifford R. Pelly's submarine HMS STRATAGEM torpedoes and sinks NICHINAN MARU at 01-36N, 102-53E. [1]

20 November 1944:
At 1822, aircraft attack the convoy, but inflict no damage.

22 November 1944:
Malacca Straits. An IJN float plane sights submarine HMS STRATAGEM and alerts CH-35 that depth charges and sinks STRATAGEM. CH-35 picks up the submarine's survivors and later lands them at Singapore. [1]

At 1803, W-34 is detached from the convoy.

26 November 1944:
Arrives at Belawan, N Sumatra. SHOEI MARU is detached. At 1900, the convoy arrives at Pangkalan Brandan refinery. Probably loads fuel. [2]

11 January 1945:
Departs Saint Jacques, Indochina for Takao, Formosa carrying refined oil products in convoy SATA-05 also consisting of KENSEI (ex-Chinese HIN SANG) TOYU, EIHO (ex-Dutch PENDOPO) and KOSHIN MARUs and LST T-149 escorted by kaibokan CD-35 and CD-43, patrol boat PB-103, minesweeper W-101 and subchaser CH-31. In the evening, T-149 finds the heavy seas too dangerous. She is detached from the convoy and returns to St Jacques.

12 January 1945: Operation "Gratitude"- Task Force 38's Strikes on Indochina:
15 miles S of Cap Padaran, Indochina. Aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's Task Force 38 attack convoy SATA-05 and sink the entire convoy including AYAYUKI MARU at 11-08N, 108-49E.


Author's Note:
[1] After sinking NICHINAN MARU, Lt Pelly took HMS STRATAGEM to lie in ambush off the port of Malacca, Malaya, but on 22 Nov '44 she was detected by an aircraft, depth-charged by a surface vessel and sunk. Ten of her crew escaped and, suffering from the "bends", were picked by the Japanese. Seven died in captivity.

[2] The IJA operated the former Royal Dutch Shell oil refinery at Pangkalan Brandan in northern Sumatra. The oil was transported from port facilities at nearby Pangkalan Susu.

- Bob Hackett


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