(AZUMA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

2009-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 4

3 May 1937:
Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 6646-ton passenger/cargo ship for Nippon Yusen K. K. (NYK) Line.

23 October 1937:
Launched and named AZUMA MARU.

10 March 1938:

30 August 1938:
Requisitioned by the IJA. Allocated Army vessel number 676.

26 December 1938:
Returned to owners.

23 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general purpose vessel and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District. Departs Kobe.

25 August 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

3 September 1941:
Departs Yokosuka and later that day arrives at Yokohama.

5 September 1941:
Departs Yokohama.

6 September 1941:
Arrives at Kobe.

14 September 1941:
Departs Kobe.

4 October 1941:
Arrives at Manzanillo, Mexico.

7 October 1941:
Departs Manzanillo.

15 October 1941:
Arrives at Callao, Peru.

16 October 1941:
Departs Callao.

18 October 1941:
Arrives at Arica, Chile.

19 October 1941:
Departs Arica.

20 October 1941:
Arrives at Iquique, Chile.

27 October 1941:
Departs Iquique.

29 October 1941:
Arrives at Callao.

30 October 1941:
Departs Callao.

28 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama.

5 December 1941:
Departs Yokohama.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Kobe.

8 December 1941:
Departs Kobe and later that day arrives at Osaka.

9 December 1941:
Departs Osaka and later that day arrives at Kobe.

15 December 1941:
Arrives at Miike.

17 December 1941:
Departs Miike.

18 December 1941:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

20 December 1941:
Departs Tokuyama.

21 December 1941:
Arrives at Osaka.

22 December 1941:
Departs Osaka.

24 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

6 January 1942:
Arrives at Saigon, Indochina.

7 January 1942:
Arrives at Kota Bharu, Malaya.

16 January 1942:
Departs Kota Bharu.

16 January 1942:
Arrives at Singora.

28 January 1942:
Departs Singora.

30 January 1942:
Arrives at Saigon. Later sails on to Yokosuka.

15 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and later that day arrives at Tokyo.

2 March 1942:
Departs Tokyo.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

13 March 1942:
Arrives at Wotje.

27 March 1942:
Departs Wotje and later that day arrives at Taroa.

07 April 1942:
Departs Taroa.

10 April 1942:
Arrives at Jaluit. That same day, AZUMA MARU is registered in the IJN and attached to the Kure Naval District as a specially installed transport ship.

17 April 1942:
Departs Jaluit.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka to participate in troop transport for the Midway Invasion Operation.

19 May 1942:
Embarks elements of the 11th Construction Unit. At 0900 departs Yokosuka in a convoy also consisting of MEIYO, HOKUROKU, and KEIYO MARUS escorted by destroyers KAGERO and ARARE.

24 May 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

28 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
AZUMA MARU departs Saipan in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) (former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Force's Transport Group with transports ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, KIYOSUMI, KEIYO, GOSHU, KANO, HOKUROKU (HOKURIKU), KIRISHIMA and NANKAI MARUs and TOA MARU No. 2 and oiler AKEBONO MARU escorted by patrol boats PB-1, PB-2, and PB-34. The transports carry an airfield construction unit, LtCol Ichiki Kiyonao's IJA detachment and two battalions of Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF).

3 June 1942:
The convoy is bombed by nine Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses". Later, the convoy is also attacked by three torpedo-carrying Consolidated PBY "Catalina" amphibious patrol planes. Oiler AKEBONO MARU is hit in the bow and KIYOSUMI MARU is strafed.

5 June 1942:
At 0255, the Combined Fleet's Commander-in-Chief, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32) (former CO of AKAGI), aboard flagship YAMATO, orders Operation MI cancelled.

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Disembarks a construction unit.

29 June 1942:
AZUMA MARU departs Truk for Guadalcanal with AZUMASAN and HOKUROKU MARUs escorted by light cruiser YUBARI and DesDiv 30's UZUKI.

6 July 1942:
Arrives at Guadalcanal. Lands troops.

11 July 1942:
Departs Guadalcanal.

17 July 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

22 July 1942:
Departs Truk.

24 July 1942:
Arrives at Guam.

27 July 1942:
Departs Guam.

31 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

3 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and later that day arrives at Yokohama. Undergoes periodic inspection and repairs At Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. shipyard.

26 August 1942:
Begins equipment construction.

26 August 1942:
Completes equipment construction. Departs Yokohama.

30 August 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Embarks Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.

2 September 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

6 September 1942:
Arrives at Saipan. Disembarks SNLF troops and departs the same day.

8 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

9 September 1942:
Departs Truk.

11 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

17 September 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

18 September 1942:
Arrives at Buin.

23 September 1942:
Departs Buin.

24 September 1942:
Arrives at Buka.

26 September 1942:
Departs Buka.

29 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

30 September 1942:
Departs Truk.

6 October 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and later arrives at Tokyo.

19 October 1942:
Departs Tokyo.

20 October 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

22 October 1942:
Departs Osaka.

26 October 1942:
Arrives at Tinian, Mariana Islands.

27 October 1942:
Departs Tinian.

31 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

15 November 1942:
Rabaul. AZUMA MARU is bombed by United States Army Air Force B-17s and suffers medium damage.

30 December 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

12 January 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

21 January 1943:
Arrives at Osaka. Enters dock at Osaka Tekkosho (Ironworks) Yard docked for urgent conversion to a tanker.

15 February 1943:
Rerated a specially installed transport ship (oil supply) and attached to the Kure Naval District. Recalled Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Ara Tadashi (33)(former CO of TATSUTAKE MARU) is appointed Supervisor.

11 March 1943:
The conversion to a tanker is completed. Departs Osaka.

12 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

16 March 1943:
Departs Kure.

15 May 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul and departs later that day in convoy No. 2152 also consisting of YAMAGIRI, NOTO, MOGAMIGAWA and HOKKAI MARUs escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

19 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

30 May 1943:
Departs Tarakan, Borneo for Balikpapan, Borneo escorted by subchaser CH-5.

22 August 1943:
W-16 departs Tarakan escorting the tanker AZUMA MARU to Balikpapan.

13 September 1943:
At Truk transfers 143 tons fuel oil to TONE and 123 tons to CHIKUMA.

27 September 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 7272 also consisting of fleet oiler KUMAGAWA MARU escorted by destroyer ASANAGI for Palau. Later tankers SHINKOKU MARU and HAYATOMO apparently join the convoy.

1 October 1943:
At 1425, AZUMA, KUMAGAWA and SHINKOKU MARUs and HAYATOMO arrive at Palau escorted by destroyer ASANAGI. Disembarks a passenger, 6,000 tons of heavy oil, 500 tons of aviation gas and 500 tons of volatile oil.

5 October 1943:
At 0700, KUMAGAWA MARU and fleet oiler AZUMA MARU depart Palau at 11 knots for Balikpapan.

9 October 1943:
Makassar Strait. At about 1100, LtCdr Marvin J. Jensen's (USNA 31) USS PUFFER (SS-268) torpedoes and damages KUMAGAWA MARU off Balikpapan at 01-07N, 119-30E.

11 October 1943:
Subchaser CH-6 escorts KUMAGAWA MARU while she is towed to Balikpapan.

20 October 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Balikpapan. Embarks fuel and provisions. At 1225, AZUMA and oiler GENYO MARU depart for Truk escorted by patrol boat PB-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224). Enroute, a periscope is spotted. PB-102 conducts a depth-charge attack. Later PB-102 detaches from the convoy.

27 October 1943:
At 7-50N 143.00E destroyer YUZUKI meets up with the convoy.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

12 November 1943:
AZUMA MARU departs Truk in a convoy consisting of oiler GENYO MARU escorted by destroyer MATSUKAZE.

30 November 1943:
At 0700, AZUMA MARU departs Balikpapan en route to Truk via Palau with tankers KOKUYO and KENYO MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-6 and one unidentified warship.

3 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Lawrence R. Daspit's (USNA 27) USS TINOSA (SS-283) sights the convoy and makes an approach, but the convoy zigs and ruins the setup. Daspit fires three torpedoes "up the kilt" at AZUMA MARU with a cargo of 500 drums of aviation gasoline, 500 drums of normal gasoline and 6,000-tons of heavy oil. At 1947 (I), one hits and sets her afire. She slows, then settles lower in the water and drops out of the convoy.

USS TINOSA moves in on the surface, but AZUMA MARU opens fire with her deck guns and machine-guns. Daspit crash dives and closes to point blank range. At 2121, he fires three more torpedoes that blow up and sink AZUMA MARU at 06-34N, 131-40E. The remainder of the convoy continues towards Palau.

50 crewmen including her Captain and 18 passengers are KIA. Captain Ara Tadashi (33) is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

5 February 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
Photo credit and general thanks goes to Gilbert Casse of France and Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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