RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(Similar size ship)

BUNZAN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2017-2018 Bob Hackett


E 1941:
Kasadoshima. Laid down by Kasado Dock K.K., as a 1,999-ton cargo ship for Miyachi Kisen K.K., Kobe.

E 1942:
Launched and named BUNZAN MARU.

April 1942:
Completed.

2 December 1942:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted Army No. 969.

9 December 1942:
BUNZAN MARU departs Saeki in Military Movement No. 8's convoy G also consisting of ANNAN, HOEISAN, KOSO, MOMOYAMA, TAIMEI and TOKO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-46 and subchaser CH-37 and CH-39.

E 10 December 1942:
CH-39 is detached at 28N.

26 April 1943:
At 0830, BUNZAN MARU departs Palau in convoy "Wewak No. 3" also consisting of HANKOW, HOFUKU and SAN FRANCISCO MARUs, HAKUTETSU MARU No. 13 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE and subchasers CH-26 and CH-34. The convoy is carrying 6,000 soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division and ammunition, provisions, aircraft and supplies.

30 April 1943:
At 2205, SAN FRANCISCO MARU and CH-34 are detached for Kairiru Island.

9 May 1943:
BUNZAN MARU departs Angaur for Hakodate, Hokkaido for Saek in convoy P-509 also consisting of CHIHAYA, EHIME, KIMISHIMA, MEITEN, SHUNSHO, TAIYU, TOKO and TOUN MARUs escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA.

E 16 May 1943:
Minesweeper W-18 joins the convoy at 26-56N, 133-26E.

18 May 1943:
The convoy arrives at Saeki.

9 June 1943:
At 0900, BUNZAN MARU departs Saeki for Palau, Western Carolines in convoy O-905 also consisting of IJA transports CHINZEI, DAKAR, KINSEN and TOHO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO, kaibokan IKI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

E 11 June 1943:
W-18 is detached at latitude 29N and returns to Japan.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

27 June 1943:
BUNZAN MARU departs Palau in a convoy also consisting of transports CHINZEI, DAKAR, KINSEN and TOHO MARUs with an unknown escort.

3 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

9 June 1943:
At 0900, BUNZAN MARU departs Saeki for Palau, Western Carolines, in convoy O-905 also consisting of transports CHINZEI, DAKAR, KINSEN and TOHO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO, kaibokan IKI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

E 11 June 1943:
W-18 is detached at latitude 29N.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

27 June 1943:
BUNZAN MARU departs Palau in convoy also consisting of transports CHINZEI, DAKAR and TOHO MARUs with unknown escort.

26 June 1943:
BUNZAN MARU departs Palau in convoy So-626 also consisting of DAKAR, KINSEN and TOHO MARUs and three unidentified merchants escorted by subchaser CH-23.

3 July 1943:
At 0535, arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

25 August 1943:
At 1100, BUNZAN MARU departs Rabaul escorted by minesweeper W-26.

26 August 1943:
At 0600, arrives at Buka. At 1030, departs Buka.

27 August 1943:
At 0500, arrives at Shortland.

7 September 1943:
At 1225, BUNZAN MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of transport HINO MARU No. 5 escorted by minesweeper W-28.

9 September 1943:
At 0716, arrives at Buin, Bougainville.

20 October 1943:
At 1445, BUNZAN MARU departs Rabaul via Palau for Moji in convoy O-006 also consisting of cargo ships HOZUKAWA, JOHORE, KAZAN and KOSEI MARUs and fleet oiler TENNAN MARU escorted by subchasers CH-22 and CH-24.

22 October 1943:
At 2253, CH-22 fires on a submarine spotted on the surface.

23 October 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) John S. Coye's (USNA 33) SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks the convoy. At 2245, Coye torpedoes and sinks TENNAN MARU. Five passengers and 42 crewmen are KIA. SILVERSIDES also torpedoes and damages JOHORE and KAZAN MARUs at 02-30N, 144-44E.

24 October 1943:
As the result of her damage, KAZAN MARU sinks. Four guards and three crewmen are KIA. CH-24 attempts to scuttle immobilized JOHORE MARU, but fails. Later, SILVERSIDES finishes off JOHORE MARU by gunfire. 79 passengers and five crewmen are KIA.

5 November 1943:
At 1000, BUNZAN MARU departs Palau for Saeki in convoy FU-503 also consisting of KOSEI and TAGA MARUs escorted by destroyer SATSUKI.

9 November 1943:
About 300 nm WNW of Okino-Tori-Shima. At 1320, LtCdr Philip W. Garnett's (USNA 33) USS SARGO (SS-188) torpedoes TAGA MARU. Hit by one torpedo port side in the engine room. Heavy flooding causes the ship to become unnavigable. SATSUKI takes on the surviving crew members and scuttles TAGA MARU with gunfire at 21-41N, 131-12E. Six crewmen are KIA.

11 November 1943:
About 40 nm SE of Kikai-Shima. At 1135, LtCdr Philip W. Garnett's (USNA 33) USS SARGO (SS-188) torpedoes and sinks KOSEI MARU MARU at 27-40N, 130-24E. At 1500, SATSUKI takes off surviving crewmen. At 1502 and 1615, BUNZAN MARU is subjected to two torpedo attacks, but succeeds in dodging both attacks. At 2030, auxiliary minesweepers SOBUN and RYOSUI MARUs are sent from Seso Anchorage, Amami-O-Shima to the sinking area. Upon arrival, both vessels conduct an anti-submarine sweep and return to Seso Anchorage the next day.

12 November 1943:
At 0725, BUNZAN MARU is ordered to shelter at Koniya, Amami-O-Shima. SATSUKI is instructed to proceed to Sasebo after the arrival of BUNZAN MARU at Koniya. Minelayer NUWAJIMA is ordered to depart Aburatsu Harbor, Kyushu to Koniya to escort BUNZAN MARU. At 1800, a plane from the Okinawa Air Group Detachment searches the vicinity where KOSEI MARU was torpedoed, but finds no trace of the ship.

13 November 1943:
At 0100, BUNZAN MARU arrives at Koniya. At 0500, destroyer SATSUKI is detached and proceeds to Sasebo.

28 December 1943:
At 1500, BUNZAN MARU departs Manila for Halmahera, Moluccas in convoy H-11 also consisting consisting of JUICHISEI (HOSHI MARU No. 11), KAIRYU, MIKASA, NISSHU, RAIZAN, TACOMA, TOYU and TSUKIKAWA MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-36 and CH-45.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Kau Bay.

8 March 1944:
BUNZAN MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-09 also consisting of TEIRITSU MARU (ex-Vichy French LECONTE DE LISLE) and cargo ships BATOPAHAT, CHUYO, DAIZEN, HAMBURG, KYOKUZAN, MATSUE, MURORAN, TAIYU, TAKETOYO, SHOEI MARUs and HINO MARU No. 1 and tankers SAN LUIS MARU and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE and patrol boat PB-38. Later, convoy MOTA-09 arrives at Tomie Bay, Goto Retto.

9 March 1944:
Convoy MOTA-09 departs Tomie Bay for Takao.

E 10 March 1944:
Patrol boat PB-38 joins the escort of MOTA-09.

11 March 1944:
CHUYO MARU No. 2 develops engine trouble. At 0950, PB-38 is detached to find her, but is unsuccessful and rejoins the convoy.

13 March 1944:
At 1844, a submarine is detected at 25-58N, 121-34E. The escorts drop 50 depth charges and drive it off.

14 March 1944:
PB-38 detects another submarine and drives it away by dropping three depth charges. Convoy MOTA-09 arrives at Mako.

15 March 1944:
Departs Mako. At 1845, arrives at Takao.

31 March 1944:
At 0358, PB-105 departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera Island with PB-103 escorting convoy H-23 consisting of BUNZAN, TATSUJU, MIYAURA and TAIYU MARUs.

2 April 1944:
Arrives at Cebu, Philippines.

6 April 1944:
At 0733, departs Cebu. Enroute, the convoy is joined by KURAMASAN and MITO MARUs from Davao.

6 April 1944:
KURAMASAN and MITO MARUs depart Davao and join convoy H-23 that departed Manila on 31 March for Kau. The convoy now consists of BUNZAN, HINODE, MIYAURA, TAIYU and TATSUJU MARUs escorted by patrol boats PB-103 and PB-105.

11 April 1944:
At 1753, arrives at Kau.

3 October 1944:
At 1830, BUNZAN MARU departs Manila in convoy MATA-28 also consisting of fleet oiler KAMOI and HISHIGATA, HOKUREI, HOKUSEN, KOHOKU, SHOEI, TACHIBANA and TERUKUNI MARUs and SHINYO MARU No. 8 escorted by kaibokan CD-8, minesweepers W-20 and W-41 and subchaser CH-41.

4 October 1944:
At 0600, KAMOI and TACHIBANA MARU accompanied by kaibokan CD-8 are detached. At 1908, convoy MATA-28 arrives at Santa Cruz.

5 October 1944:
At 0630, departs Santa Cruz. At 1800, arrives at North San Fernando.

6 October 1944:
Convoy MIMA-11, now consisting of oilers KAMOI, TACHIBANA, YAMAMIZU No. 2 and OMINE MARUs becomes part of convoy MATA-28. At 0618, the convoy departs San Fernando for Takao escorted by kaibokan CD-8, CD-25 and CD-32, subchasers CH-28, CH-30, CH-33 and CH-41 and minesweeper W-20.

At about 0800, LtCdr Henry C. Stevenson's (USNA '30) USS ASPRO (SS-309) attacks the convoy. Stevenson fires three torpedoes by periscope at a tanker and claims one hit, but actually achieves no results. At 1530, LtCdr William C. Thompson's (USNA '35) USS CABRILLA (SS-288) torpedoes HOKUREI MARU and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2. HOKUREI MARU is badly damaged and beached off Vigan. Four crewmen and 5 passengers are KIA. YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 sinks. 56 crewmen are KIA. Only two survivors are rescued. At 1830, the convoy shelters at Lapoc Bay, Philippines.

7 October 1944:
At 0030, after receiving a radio message warning of an American task force off the E coast of Formosa, the convoy splits in two with BUNZAN, HISHIGATA, HOKUSEN, KAMOI, KOHOKU, SHOEI and TACHIBANA MARUs heading for Yulin, China. SHINYO MARU No. 8, TERUKUNI and OMINE MARUs remain behind.

8 October 1944:
At about 0600, KAMOI and TACHIBANA MARU split away accompanied by CD-8 and a subchaser. At 1630, the air raid warning for Takao is cancelled. At 1800, the convoy reverses course for Takao. At 2325, in a night surface radar attack, LtCdr Victor B. McCrae's (USNA '32) USS HOE (SS-258) torpedoes and sinks KOHOKU MARU carrying 518 Japanese being repatriated and 610-m3 of war supplies. 41 crewmen, 15 gunners and 361 civilians are KIA. Earlier that night, McCrae also torpedoes and heavily damages CD-8.

9 October 1944:
At 0142, Cdr Alan B. Banister's (USNA '28) USS SAWFISH (SS-276) makes a night surface radar attack on TACHIBANA MARU carrying 8,616-tons of oil. SAWFISH fires 10 torpedoes and gets three hits that sink TACHIBANA MARU at 19-33N, 116-38E. 20 passengers are KIA. CD-8 rescues survivors. At 1600, the rest of convoy MATA-28 is diverted to Hong Kong.

11 October 1944:
At 1013, convoy MATA-28 arrives at Hong Kong.

16 October 1944:
Kowloon drydock, Hong Kong, USAAF 14th Air Force Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers, North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bomberss, North American P-51 "Mustang" fighter-bombers and Curtis P-40 "Warhawk"fighter-bombers bomb and sink BUNZAN MARU at 22-17N-114-10E.


Author's Notes:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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