(BRAZIL MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 3

10 April 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. Ltd. as yard no. 452, a 5,860-ton cargo ship.

31 May 1919:
Launched and named BRAZIL MARU. [1]

20 June 1919:

1 August 1919:
Sold to Kokusai Kisen Kaisha of Kobe.

In Kokusai Line's service.

30 March 1933:
Sold to Ono Shoji Gomei Kaisha of Fuchu.

15 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Alloted IJA No.526.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -“M” Operation (M Sakusen):
BRAZIL MARU paricipates in the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines consisting of 72 transports in three echelons carrying the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army. The first echelon is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kensaburo, the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral Nishimura and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto.

21 December 1941:
Lands troops at Lingayen Gulf.

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

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

18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
BRAZIL 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, BRAZIL 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.

14 April 1942: Transport Operation U - transport of troops and material from Singapore to Rangoon:
BRAZIL MARU departs Singapore as part of Transport Unit No. 3 consisting of 32 marus including ANYO, BUYO, ENGLAND, GINYO, HAMBURG, HAVRE, HOKUROKU, KUWAYAMA, KOCHI, KENKOKU, MONTREAL, PENANG, SAMARANG, SUEZ, TAIKAI, TAZAN TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), YAWATA and YONEYAMA MARUs. The 3rd Transport Unit carries the 56th Mixed Brigade and other units.

19 April 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).

22 April 1942:
Departs Rangoon.

28 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

27 September 1942: Oki Transportation Movement:
BRAZIL MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul in convoy Oki Part 2, 1st echelon also consisting of transport ITALY MARU and two unidentified ships escorted by destroyer ASASHIO. The convoy carries troops of the IJA's 17th Army.

E 7 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

5 January 1943:
BRAZIL MARU departs Rabaul for Lae, New Guinea in a troop convoy with transports NICHIRYU, CLYDE, CHIFUKU and MYOKO MARUs escorted by DesDiv 17's destroyers MAIKAZE and URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, ISOKAZE and HAMAKAZE. The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 51st Division.

7 January 1943: Operation 18:
USAAF B-17s, B-24s, B-25s and B-26s, supported by Lockheed P-38 "Lightnings" and Curtiss P-40 "Warhawks", RAAF or RNZAF "Hudsons" and RAF PBY "Catalinas", attack the convoy and sink IJA NICHIRYU MARU off Lae at 06-30S, 149-00E and force IJA cargo ship MYOKO MARU aground S of Arawe at 06-49S, 147-04E. MAIKAZE rescues survivors of NICHIRYU MARU.

8 January 1943:
USAAF B-17s, B-24s, B-25s and A-20s, supported by P-38s, attack the convoy while it is unloading off Lae. IJA MYOKO MARU forced aground south of Arawe the previous day, is destroyed by bombs.

10 January 1943:
RAAF "Hudsons" and "Catalinas" damage BRAZIL MARU off Lae. Later, USN planes also attack the convoy, but do not achieve any damage.

E 12 January 1943:
Arrives back at Rabaul.

16 January 1943:
At 0730, BRAZIL MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of CHIFUKU, CLYDE, DELAGOA, FUKOKU, FUKUYO, INDIA and UCHIDE MARUs escorted by minesweepers W-17 and W-21.

At 0900, LtCdr (later Cdr/MOH, posthumously) Howard W. Gilmore's (USNA ’26) USS GROWLER (SS-215) attacks the convoy and torpedoes and sinks CHIFUKU MARU at 04-03N, 151-55E. One crewman is KIA.

22 January 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

April 1943:
Sold to Taiyo Kogyo, Kobe.

21 September 1943:
BRAZIL MARU departs Saeki with in convoy O-209 also consisting of HOZUGAWA, NITTAI, KANAYAMASAN, KAYO, FUKUYO, ERIE and DAKAR MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan IKI and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, AOI, YACHIYO, KOZAN MARUs and TOKUHO MARU No. 10.

E 22 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers KOZAN MARU and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 are detached at 30N.

E 23 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers AOI and YACHIYO MARUs are detached at 28N.

2 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 October 1943:
At 1000, BRAZIL MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-310 also consisting of CLYDE, DAKAR, FUKUYO, YURI, HAVRE, PACIFIC, KIBI, SHOUN and CHIYO MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-18.

20 October 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers AOI and YACHIYO MARUs and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 join the convoy’s escort.

22 October 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

13 November 1943:
BRAZIL MARU departs Singapore in convoy O-106 also consisting of TEIFU (ex-Italian CARIGNANO), TOYOKAWA, KOYU, FRANCE, YAMAZURU and UCHIDE MARUS and SHINTO MARU No. 1 with an unknown escort.

26 November 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

2 December 1943:
BRAZIL MARU departs Palau in convoy So-105 also consisting of TEIFU, TOYOKAWA, KOYU, FRANCE, and UCHIDE MARUS and SHINTO MARU No. 1 with an unknown escort.

E 9 December 1943:
FRANCE MARU is detached for Kavieng, New Ireland.

10 December 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

December 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Palau.

5 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

6 March 1944:
BRAZIL MARU departs Palau for Takao, Formosa in convoy PATA-04 also consisting of TASMANIA, KENNICHI, HIYAMA, ASAHISAN, KENZAN, YOZAN, CHINZEI and CLYDE MARUs escorted by destroyers SHIGURE and SHIRANUHI and subchasers CH-38 and CH-37.

13 March 1944:
At 1000, arrives at Takao.

15 March 1944:
At 1200, BRAZIL MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMO-11 consisting of TAITO, MUTSU, HINODE, MANKO, ASAHI, KANO, BELGIUM, KOTO, SORACHI, KOHO, TARUYASU, KENWA, KENZUI, KENNICHI and MANILA MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 12 and oilers SAN DIEGO TACHIBANA, NITTETSU and SANKO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers SHIGURE and NOKAZE, minesweeper W-17 and subchasers CH-37 and CH-38.

16 March 1944:
At 1600, TOYO and TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN) MARUs join the convoy.

21 March 1944:
At 0430, MANKO, ASAHI, and TOYO MARUs are detached from the convoy.

22 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

April 1944:
Taiyo Kaiun, K. K. assumes management of BRAZIL MARU.

21 April 1944:
BRAZIL MARU departs Tungchiaoshan (Tangjiqiozshan) near Shanghai in the Take (“Bamboo”) No. 1 slow-speed troop convoy. The convoy is carrying the IJA's 32nd and 35th divisions (about 30,000 troops) to reinforce Biak and Hollandia, New Guinea.

The convoy also consists of Army transports KAZUURA, MITSUKI and TENSHINZAN (AMATSUSAN) MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 carrying the 32nd Division are bound for Mindanao, Philippines only. ADEN, TAJIMA and YOZAN MARU, carrying the 35th Division's troops, are destined for Manokwari, New Guinea. MANSHU, FUKUYO, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), KANAN, TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN), UNKAI MARU (No. unknown) and WALES MARU are destined for Manila only.

The escorts include flagship SHIRATAKA, carrying Rear Admiral Kajioka Sadamichi (39)(former CO of KISO), CO of the newly formed 6th Escort Convoy Command, destroyers ASAKAZE, SHIRATSUYU and FUJINAMI, kaibokan KURAHASI, CD-20 and CD-22, minesweeper W-2, subchasers CH-37 and CH-38 and gunboats UJI and ATAKA and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 7.

E 25 April 1944:
CD-22 is detached from the convoy, probably off Takao.

26 April 1944:
Off NW Luzon, Philippines. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Thomas M. Dykers' (USNA' 27) USS JACK (SS-259) intercepts the convoy. Dykers makes three separate radar-assisted attacks and fires 18 torpedoes at the convoy. At about 0600, between two to four torpedoes hit YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 portside. She breaks in two and quickly sinks at 18-06N, 119-40E taking down about 2,700 of the IJA's 210th Infantry Regiment of 3,189 men including its commander, all their weapons and equipment.

Tokyo. Prime Minister and Army General Tojo Hideki learns of the losses inflicted upon convoy Take No. 1. Fearing further attacks by American skip-bombers, like those suffered earlier in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, Tojo orders the convoy diverted from Manokwari, New Guinea to Halmahera, Moluccas.

28 April 1944:
Convoy Take No. 1 puts into Manila and the Manila bound ships are detached except for TEIKAI MARU (ex-German FULDA) that takes the place of the sunken YOSHIDA MARU No. 1.

1 May 1944:
Arrives at Manila. BRAZIL, KANAN, FUKUYO and MANSHU MARUs and CH-37 are detached. The destination of the 32nd and 35th divisions is changed to Wasile Bay, Halmahera.

The convoy departs Manila consisting of eight transports escorted by destroyers ASAKAZE and SHIRATSUYU, minelayer SHIRATAKA and subchasers CH-37 and CH-38. As Tojo ordered, the 32nd and 35th Divisions' ships proceed southward towards Halmahera.

6 May 1944:
N Celebes Sea. About 0800, lookouts aboard LtCdr Charles H. Andrews’ (USNA ’30) USS GURNARD (SS-254) spot SHIRATAKA's coal-burning smoke at 19 miles. By 1300, Andrews completes an "end-around" and gains an attack position on convoy Take No. 1. He sets up and fires two three-torpedo salvos at the transports. TAJIMA and ADEN MARUs are hit and sink quickly. TAJIMA MARU takes down 58 of 2,701 troops, three crewmen and nine gunners. ADEN MARU takes down 499 troops, 12 crewmen and four gunners.

The escorts launch a heavy counterattack against USS GURNARD. Andrews evades 98 depth charges, after which the escorts break off their attack. USS GURNARD surfaces and finds one of the transports burning, but still afloat. About midnight, USS GURNARD shells the transport with her four-inch deck gun, but she still does not sink. Andrews then fires another torpedo that finally sinks TENSHINZAN MARU. 95 out of 212 soldiers on board are killed. The remainder of convoy Take No. 1 shelters at Banka anchorage, N Celebes.

8 May 1944:
At 0700, the convoy departs Banka anchorage.

9 May 1944:
At 1824, the convoy arrives at Wasile Bay, Halmahera, Moluccas.

13 May 1944:
At 0355, BRAZIL MARU departs Wasile Bay in a convoy also consisting of TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), MITSUKI and KAZUURA MARUs, newly joined ATLAS MARU (and possibly YOZAN MARU) escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA, auxiliary netlayer KOREI MARU, subchaser CH-38 and patrol boat PB-104.

14 May 1944:
Arrives at Lembeh anchorage, Celebes.

20 May 1944:
At 2105, the convoy arrives at Manila.

19 July 1944:
BRAZIL MARU departs Kagoshima for Kirun (Keelung) in convoy KATA-917 also consisting of TOAN, KOSHU, NISSHIN (1179 gt), HOEI (784 gt), NANSEI, KOSHU (2812 gt), HAKUSHIN, DAISHO (1519 gt) and UJINA MARUs and NANSHIN MARU No. 24, ASAHI MARU No. 2 and landing ships SS-4 and SS-8 together with six unidentified merchant ships escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU, minelayer NIIZAKI, auxiliary gunboat TOMITSU MARU, auxiliary minesweepers HAKATA MARU No. 6, HOEI MARU, auxiliary patrol boats RYUSEI MARU, CHOUN MARU No. 13, TAISEI MARU No. 5 and auxiliary YUKO MARU. Some vessels travel direct to Kirun, others via Naha.

17 August 1944:
At 1900, BRAZIL MARU departs Kagoshima in convoy KATA-717 also consisting of SHINKO, ESASHI, UJINA, UNTEN, KOTSU, DAIBOSHI, HIKOSAN, MAKO, MIKAGE, KORYU, SHIROTAE, TAIKYU, DAISHIN, DAITOKU, DAIYA, HOKUYU, WASHIN MARUs, HOEI MARU No. 2 and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan CD-30, torpedo boat TOMOZURU, minelayers NUWAJIMA, TSUBAME, NIIZAKI, subchasers CH-17 and CH-18, auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARUs No. 1 and No. 3, SHONAN MARU No. 16, CHITOSE and HOEI MARUs. Some of the ships are enroute to Koniya, some direct and some via Naha.

Among other units BRAZIL MARU carries are 139 men from six companies belonging to the 2nd Reclamation Unit, a farming, husbandry, food purchasing unit created in Japan and sent to the Philippines.

19 August 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Naha, Okinawa. Most ships in the convoy stop and unload.

30 November 1944:
At 0900, BRAZIL MARU departs Moji in convoy MI-29 also consisting of CLYDE, AKISHIMA, MEIRYU, HAWAII, ENOURA, DAII, SHINYU, AKIKAWA and KAZUURA MARUs and HOSHI MARU No. 11 (JUICHISEI MARU) and KONAN MARU No. 1 and tankers ENGEN, ENCHO and ENKEI MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAGAO, kaibokan KANJU, IKUNA, SHINNAN, CD-41 and CD-66, subchaser CH-28 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-223.

2 December 1944:
LtCdr (later Captain-Ret) Ralph C. Style's (USNA ’33) USS SEA DEVIL (SS-400) torpedoes and sinks HAWAII and AKIKAWA MARUs at 30-24N, 128-17E. HAWAII MARU is carrying 60 small boats, 50 motor vehicles and 1843 troops of 23rd Army Division and all 1843 troops together with 60 others, 83 gunners, and 148 crewmen are killed. There are no survivors documented. KONAN MARU No.1 rescues survivors from AKIKAWA MARU. 249 troops, 7 Armed Escort and 18 crewmen are however MIA.

The convoy formation breaks up. BRAZIL MARU goes to Keelung, DAII MARU and three others go to Koniya, Amami-Oshima and CLYDE MARU, HOSHI MARU No. 11 with IKUNA go to Takao.

27 December 1944:
North San Fernando La Union, Luzon, Philippines. BRAZIL MARU embarks 236 POWs and ENOURA MARU embarks 1,020 POWs.

30 December 1944:
BRAZIL and ENOURA MARU depart North San Fernando for Takao.

Bashi Channel, SE off Formosa. LtCdr Charles D. Brown's USS RAZORBACK (SS-394) torpedoes destroyer KURETAKE and sinks her at 21N, 121-24E. The number of survivors, if any, is unknown. The POWS aboard ENOURA and BRAZIL MARU hear guns and depth charges in the distance, but their ships are not attacked.

January 1945:
Arrives at Takao. En route five POWs on BRAZIL MARU and 16 on ENOURA MARU die of privations.

6 January 1945:
Takao. All the POWs are transfered to ENOURA MARU.

9 January 1945
Takao. ENOURA MARU is bombed by aircraft from USS HORNET (CV-12). Bombs hit the forward hold killing about 350 POWs and probably some crewmen.

13 January 1945:
754 POWs are transfered to BRAZIL MARU. [2]

14 January 1945:
BRAZIL MARU departs Takao for Moji in convoy TAMO-37 consisting of DAIHO, DAII, DAIIKU and MELBOURNE MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO, kaibokan YASHIRO, CD-1, CD-130, CD-134 and CD-36 and minesweeper W-21. BRAZIL MARU is carrying the POWs and a cargo of 12, 100 bags of sugar.

16 January 1945:
At 1800, DAIHO MARU suffers an engine breakdown and the ships temporarily anchor.

17 January 1945:
At 0500, BRAZIL MARU suffers an engine breakdown At 0530, she departs the anchorage and at 1626 anchors temporarily. When the convoy resumes its journey BRAZIL MARU tows DAII MARU that had been damaged in a collision with the tanker DAIHO MARU. This further strains BRAZIL MARU's engines.

19 January 1945:
At 1400, arrives at Ssu Chiao Shan, China. BRAZIL MARU probably remains for engine repairs after the rest of the convoy departs that same day.

30 January 1945:
Arrives at Moji. About 440 POWs aboard BRAZIL MARU die at sea from from various causes including starvation, dehydration, disease and physical abuse by the Japanese. [2]

27 February 1945:
BRAZIL MARU departs Kirun for Moji in convoy TAMO-46 consisting of TAIFU, TENRYU and TAIKO MARUs and JUZAN MARU bound for Shanghai carrying 900 IJA troops with an unknown escort. BRAZIL MARU is carrying 370 IJA troops and a cargo of 3,000 tons of sugar.

25 May 1945:
Inland Sea of Japan. BRAZIL MARU strikes a mine about 1.5 miles off Wada-misaki lighthouse and sinks near Kobe, Shikoku.

Authors' Note:
[1] Not to be confused with the newer and larger BRASIL MARU (12,752/39).

[2] Various authors give varying figures for the number of POWs alive when BRAZIL MARU arrived in Moji, but most agree only 271 men survived the war to be repatriated.

Thanks go to Peter Cundall of Australia for additional info on TAMO-37 and other entries derived from his work. Thanks also go to Erich Muethlthaler of Germany.


Bob Hackett

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