(Sister YOSHIDA MARU No. 1, prewar)

IJA Transport BUYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013 Bob Hackett

12 July 1918:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Asano Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 10, a 5,446 -ton cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen Kaisha, Kobe.

5 February 1919:
Launched and named BUYO MARU.

19 March 1919:

In Kokusai Kisen’s service.

12 July 1932:
Sold to Tamai Shosen, K. K., Kobe and regstered in Hashidate.

22 December 1934:
Arrives at Port Adelaide, Australia from the Pacific Northwest and discharges a cargo of timber.

16 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Assigned Army No. 364.

18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Philippines -“M” Operation (M Sakusen):
At 1700, BUYO MARU departs Takao, Formosa for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo's (37)(former CO of TAKAO) 1st Lingayen Invasion Unit with 27 other IJA transports escorted by DesRon 5's light cruiser NATORI, DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE and MATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's FUMIZUKI, MINAZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI, minesweepers W-15 and W-16 and subchasers CH-1, CH-2, CH-3 CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons and carries 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 Hara , the second echelon of 28 transports under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji (39) and the third echelon of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto (39).

24 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf. Between 0110 and 0430, the Lingayen Invasion Convoy lands troops at Lingayen.

9 February 1942: Operation "L" - The Invasion of Palembang:
BUYO MARU departs Camranh Bay for Palembang in the Bangka-Palembang, Sumatra invasion invasion convoy consisting of ARGUN, GINYO, INABASAN, HIROKAWA, KENZUI, LIMA, MACASSAR, MEIGEN, RAKUYO, SHINSEI, SINGAPORE (later renamed SHONAN) and TSUSHIMA MARUS and supply ship NOJIMA escorted by light (training ) cruiser KASHII (F), DesDiv 20's ASAGIRI, and YUGIRI, kaibokan SHIMUSHU, minelayer HATSUTAKA, mineweeper W-6 and subchaser CH-9.

16 February 1942:
The transports land troops near Palembang, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia).

14 February 1942:
Six Bristol "Blenheim" light bombers of Royal Air Force No. 211 Squadron attack the convoy and sink transport INABASAN MARU and damage several others.

14 April 1942: Transport Operation “U”:
BUYO MARU departs Singapore as part of Transport Unit No. 3 consisting of 32 marus including ANYO, BRAZIL, 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 and material.

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

26 October 1942:
BUYO MARU departs Moji for Mako in convoy No. 179 also consisting of IJN transport YAMAFUKU MARU, IJA tanker TAKATORI MARU No. 2 and six unidentified ships escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI.

30 October 1942:
BUYO MARU is detached and arrives at Takao.

14 November 1942:
BUYO MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 726 also consisting of OREGON and TEIKON (ex- German WINNETOU) MARUs escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA.

18 November 1942:
About 36 miles W of Olongapo, Philippines. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. McKinney’s (USNA ’27) USS SALMON (SS-182) torpedoes and sinks OREGON MARU at 14-50N, 119-45E. 74 crewmen and 7 gunners are KIA. Later that day, the remainder of the convoy arrives at Manila.

17 December 1942:
BUYO MARU arrives at Tokyo Bay in Convoy No. 76 also consisting of KOZAN MARU (ex-British LOONG WO) escorted by mineweeper W-17.

6 January 1943:
BUYO MARU departs Singapore carrying men of the 26th Field Ordnance Depot, 26th Motor Freight Depot and 26th Field Motor Depot of the IJA 8th Area Army.

26 January 1943:
Caroline Islands, SE of Palau. BUYO MARU is in an unidentified convoy also consisting of transport PACIFIC MARU and cargo FUKUREI MARU No. 2. BUYO MARU is carrying 1,126 IJA troops and 269 Indian labor POWs.

About 270 miles N of Dutch New Guinea. At 1041 (K), LtCdr (later KIA) Dudley W. Morton’s (USNA ’30) USS WAHOO (SS-238)(later lost) fires two torpedoes at FUKUREI MARU No. 2 and two at PACIFIC MARU. FUKUREI MARU No. 2 is hit, lists to starboard and sinks by the stern at 02-04N, 140-10E.

At 1047 (K), WAHOO fires three torpedoes at BUYO MARU and gets two hits that stop her. At 1133 (K), WAHOO fires another torpedo at BUYO MARU. It hits, but it is a dud. At 1135 (K), Morton fires a torpedo that hits her amidships. The passengers and crew abandon ship. BUYO MARU sinks a few miles off shore at 01-54N, 134-57E. About 1,000 survivors take to the water.

At 1136 (K), submerged WAHOO tracks PACIFIC MARU at 6 knots, but cannot close the target. At 1155 (K), while tracking PACIFIC MARU, WAHOO sights an unidentified tanker, but again but cannot close. WAHOO’s batteries are nearly depleted so Morton surfaces and watches PACIFIC MARU and the unidentified tanker steam over the horizon.

At 1315 (K), LtCdr Morton battle surfaces at the scene of the sinking of BUYO MARU and orders a battery charge. Amidst the debris, he finds approximately 20 boats ranging from scows to motorized launches. Life jacketed survivors are in the boats and the sea within easy range of Japanese held territory. Morton orders his deck gun to shell the largest boat. In response, WAHOO receives a long burst from a Japanese 7.7-mm machine gun. Morton replies with his 4 inch deck gun and .50 caliber machine guns that destroy the boats. By 1400 (K), 86 troops, 1 crewman and 269 Indian POWs are KIA.

27 January 1943:
CHOKO MARU No. 2 rescues the remaining survivors and takes them to Palau. [1].

Authors' Note:
[1] Sources vary on KIA data.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and John Whitman of Virginia.

Bob Hackett

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