© 2007-2012 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
1 November 1943:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ shipyard.
11 January 1944:
Launched and numbered CD-20.
11 March 1944:
Completed and registered in the IJN.
13 April 1944:
At 2355, departs Moji in convoy MOTA-17 consisting of MANSHU, FUKUYO, TEIKAI (ex German FULDA), KANAN and TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA) MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE, minesweeper W-22 and kaibokan CD-20.
14 April 1944:
At 1748, arrives Chinkai (Chinhae), Chosen where the convoy is dissolved. These ships subsequently formed part of the "Take" convoy.
20 April 1944:
At 0600, CD-20 departs Moji-Mutsure for Singapore with kaibokan KURAHASHI, CD-10 and CD-11 escorting convoy HI-59 consisting of tankers OKIKAWA, NIPPPO, EIHO, TENEI, MANEI (BANEI), OTORISAN and NIYO MARUs and transports MANKO, TEIHOKU (ex French PERSEE) and AOBASAN MARUs and tanker NICHINAN MARU No. 2.
21 April 1944:
CD-20 is detached from convoy HI-59 with KURAHASHI and steams to Tungchiaoshan (Tangjiqiozshan) near Shanghai, where they join the "Take" convoy consisting of transports KAZUURA, MITSUKI, BRAZIL, TENSHINZAN (AMATSUSAN), ADEN, TAJIMA, YOZAN, MANSHU, FUKUYO, TEIKAI (ex German FULDA), KANAN, TEIKA (ex French CAP VARELLA) MARUs and UNKAI MARU No.12 and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 and an unidentified merchant ship escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA, destroyers ASAKAZE, SHIRATSUYU, KURI and FUJINAMI, kaibokan CD-22, KURAHASHI, minesweeper W-22, subchasers CH-37, CH-38, gunboats UJI, ATAKA and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 7.
26 April 1944:
Off NW Luzon, Philippines. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Thomas M. Dykers’ (USNA ’27) USS JACK (SS-259) intercepts the convoy. Dykers makes three separate attacks and fires 18 torpedoes at the convoy. At about 0600, from two to four torpedoes hit YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 portside. She breaks in two and sinks quickly at 18-06N, 119-40E taking down 61 crewmen, two passengers and 2586 of 3400 soldiers of the IJA's 210th Infantry Regiment including its commander.
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:
Arrives Manila and detaches from Take. Both KURAHASHI and CD-20 leave Manila to meet up with HI-59 then in the South China Sea.
2 May 1944:
At 1200, HI-59 arrives at Singapore.
4 May 1944:
CD-20 departs Manila with kaibokan KURAHASHI and KURI, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 escorting convoy MATA-19 consisting of TETSUYO, NICHIZUI, TEIRYU, RAKUYO, SHOGEN, DAKAR MARUs, BANSHU MARU No.32 and two unidentified merchant ships.
7 May 1944:
NICHIZUI, TEIRYU (ex German AUGSBURG), RAKUYO, SHOGEN, DAKAR MARUs and BANSHU MARU No. 32 and CD-20 detach for Kirun.
9 May 1944:
Arrives at Kirun. Later that day CD-20 departs port with convoy TE-05 that had departed Kirun that morning consisting of YAMADORI, HIYORI, HIOKI, KOKUSEI, HIKACHI, NICHIWA, SHONAN MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 2 also escorted by kaibokan CD-1 and CD-8 and old destroyer ASAGAO.
13 May 1944:
Off Hong Kong YAMADORI MARU is detached and proceeds to that port.
14 May 1944:
Arrives at Yulin.
19 May 1944:
CD-20, kaibokan CD-1 and CD-8 and auxiliary netlayer KAINAN MARU depart Yulin escorting convoy HO-01 consisting of SHONAN MARU (5401 GRT) and five unidentified merchant ships.
26 May 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.
3 June 1944:
At 1000, CD-20 departs Singapore with kaibokan CD-1, CD-8, CD-15 and minelayer AOTAKA escorting convoy HO-02 consisting of NASUSAN,
TAMAHOKO, TAINAN, KENNICHI, SHONAN, TEIHOKU (ex French PERSEE), HIOKI, NICHIWA MARUs and KONAN MARU No. 1 and ten unidentified ships. TAMAHOKO MARU is carrying 772 Allied POWs from camps at Batavia, Java, including 42 American POWs.
6 June 1944:
160 miles off Cape St. Jacques, Indochina. LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. At 2225, Davis torpedoes CD-15. She breaks in two and sinks S of Nishinotorishima Island at 08-57N, 109-17E. CD-20 and CD-8 rescue 34 survivors. The escorts counter attack. USS RATON is damaged by depth charges, but remains on patrol.
11 June 1944:
At 1600 arrives Manila. CD-8 is detached.
14 June 1944:
At 1330, departs Manila.
19 June 1944:
At 0915, arrives at Takao.
20 June 1944:
At 1000, departs Takao.
21 June 1944:
Arrives and departs Kirun (Keelung). Eight of the convoy's ships are detached and a further 11 join, all unidentified. It is probable CD-20 was detached.
24 June 1944:
Koshiki Straits, 40 miles SW of Nagasaki, Kyushu. At 2350, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O’Kane’s (USNA ’34) USS TANG (SS-306) attacks the convoy. At 2354, Kane torpedoes and sinks NASUSAN, TAMAHOKO, KENNICHI and TAINAN MARUs at 32-24N, 129-38E. Eleven crewmen on NASUSAN MARU, Two Auxiliary Gunners and 34 crewmen on KENNICHI MARU and 39 crewmen on TAINAN MARU are KIA. For TAMAHOKO MARU the whaling ship picks up some survivors, but 560 POWs are lost including 15 American soldiers and sailors. A further two gunners and 33 crewmen are also killed.
26 June 1944:
At 1400, the remainder of convoy HO-02 arrives at Moji.
3 July 1944:
At 2000, CD-20 departs Moji with destroyer HARUKAZE and kaibokan CD-11, CD-26, CD-28 and subchaser CH-28 escorting convoy MOMA-01 consisting of KASHII, TAMATSU, TOSAN, NISSHO, MAYASAN, MIZUHO, NICHIRAN, ARABIA and RAKUYO MARUs. The convoy is transporting the IJA's 5th Field Heavy Artillery and 58th Independent Mixed Brigade.
7 July 1944:
Formosa Straits. Convoy MOMA-01 is ordered to turn back to Keelung, Formosa.
9 July 1944:
Departs Keelung escorting MOMA-01. ARABIA MARU may have joined the convoy at this point.
12 July 1944:
Bashi Strait. At 0330, LtCdr (later Cdr) Walter P. Schoeni's (USNA ’31) USS APOGON (SS-308) fires a full bow spread of torpedoes at MAYASAN MARU. Schoeni fails to damage her, and USS APOGON is rammed during the attack. At 0720, LtCdr Harold E. Rubles' (USNA ’33) USS PIRANHA (SS- 389) torpedoes and sinks NICHIRAN MARU at 18-50N, 122-40E. KASHII MARU rescues survivors, but 1238 troops, one ship’s gunner and 15 crewmen are KIA. The convoy seeks shelter in Aparri Harbor, Philippines.
13 July 1944:
At 0800, departs Aparri.
15 July 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Manila.
24 July 1944:
At 0600, CD-20 departs Manila for Moji with escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokan CD-11, HIRADO (F), MIKURA, ISHIGAKI, KURAHASHI,
KUSAGAKI and torpedo boat HIYODORI escorting convoy HI-68. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and escort carrier TAIYO in column No. 1; landing ship TAKATSU MARU (a.k.a KOZU MARU)[Note 1] and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column No. 2 and ex-seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, TOA, TOHO and
SHIMPO MARUs in column No. 3.
A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.
25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by USS CREVALLE.
26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. The wolfpack attacks and sinks TOSAN, AKI and OTORISAN MARUs and damages KIYOKAWA MARU. Nine crewmen, eight gunners & 18 passengers on TOSAN MARU are KIA. 46 men aboard OTORISAN MARU are KIA. On AKI MARU some 24 passengers are killed as are 14 gunners, and 3 crewmen; a total of 41 dead.
27 July 1944:
At 1100, arrives at Takao.
28 July 1944:
At 1800, departs Takao.
3 August 1944:
Arrives at Moji.
15 August 1944:
At 0600, CD-20 departs Moji for Takao with destroyer HATSUSHIMO, kaibokan CD-10, torpedo boat HIYODORI, minesweeper W-20 and subchaser CH-63 escorting convoy MOTA-23 consisting of FUKUREI, EDOGAWA, DAIJO, EIJI, MANSHU, ATSUTA, CHINA, ROZAN, EIMAN, TOYOOKA, KOGYO, AWAJI MARUs, YOSHIDA
MARU No. 3, TOYO MARU No. 3 and an unidentified ship.
16 August 1944:
S of Kyushu. A floatplane from Saeki NAG directs CD-20 to depth-charge a suspected submarine contact detected in that area on the 15th. CD-20 then rejoins the convoy.
24 August 1944:
At about 0700, LtCdr Henry S. Monroe's (USNA ’33) USS RONQUIL (SS-396) torpedoes and sinks YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 with 96 out of 99 troops, 10 Ship’s Gunners and all 70 of the crew being KIA. At about the same time, Monroe torpedoes and damages FUKUREI MARU with troops, coal and war supplies aboard. She floods and drifts ashore where she is abandoned about three months later. 210 of the 1445 troops on board and four of the crew are killed.
25 August 1944:
At 1400, the convoy arrives at Keelung.
30 August 1944:
At 1500, CD-20 departs Takao for Manila with minelayer SHIRATAKA, minesweeper W-21, and kaibokan CD-10 escorting reorganized convoy MI-15 that now consists of RIKKO, TAISHO, OKUNI (TAIKOKU), EIKYU, SHINYO, NANSEI, HOSEN and CHIYODA MARUs with UNKAI MARU No. 5, OKINOYAMA MARU No. 5 and
KYOEI MARU No. 10.
31 August 1944:
Luzon Strait, S of Formosa. At about 0220, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's (USNA ’33) USS QUEENFISH (SS-393) hits CHIYODA MARU with four torpedoes and sets her afire. At 0240, as the moon sets, CHIYODA MARU sinks. She was carrying 430 passengers, coal briquettes and drummed gasoline. 382 passengers and 15 of the crew are KIA. Loughlin also damages oiler RIKKO MARU steaming in ballast.
LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Eli T. Reich's (USNA ’35) USS SEALION (SS-315), a member of "Ben's Busters" with USS GROWLER (SS-215) and USS PAMPANITO, enters the Bashi Strait. USS SEALION’s SJ radar picks up the convoy and Reich makes a night surface approach. He sets up and fires six torpedoes, but they all run erratically. About 0500, Reich swings USS SEALION and fires his four stern torpedoes at a large tanker. He claims two hits.
Alerted by code-breaker's "Ultra" signals, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's (USNA ’35) USS BARB (SS-220) intercepts the convoy. At about 0700, Fluckey torpedoes OKUNI MARU. She sinks stern first with three of her crewmen dead. Fluckey also sinks the 45th Minesweeper Squadron's HINODE MARU No. 20 that was patrolling in the area. Two crewmen are KIA.
USS SEALION evades the convoy's escorts. Still surfaced, LtCdr Reich makes an “end-around” approach and works his way ahead of the convoy. At 0715 (JST), SHIRATAKA's lookouts spot a submarine on the surface at at 21-05N, 121-26E. Reich misidentifies SHIRATAKA as a destroyer. He begins a submerged approach. At 0730, Reich hits SHIRATAKA with two of three torpedoes. At 1115, SHIRATAKA sinks at 20-55N, 121-07E. Captain Miki Takahide (46) is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.
7 September 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Manila.
10 September 1944:
CD-20 departs Manila for Moji with CD-10 and minesweeper W-21 escorting fleet convoy MAMO-03 consisting of GOKOKU, KAGU and KIBITSU MARUs.
11 September 1944:
S China Sea. 100 miles NE of the Paracel Islands. Convoy MAMO-03 joins fleet convoy HI-72 that departed Singapore on 6 September for Moji. HI-72 includes ASAKA, NANKAI, KIMIKAWA, RAKUYO, ZUIHO, KIBITSU and KACHIDOKI MARUs (ex US-PRESIDENT HARRISON). HI-72 carries oil, drummed aviation gasoline, bauxite, mercury and rubber. RAKUYO MARU also carries 1,317 Allied POWs and KACHIDOKI MARU carries another 950 POWs. Destroyer SHIKINAMI and kaibokan HIRADO, MIKURA and KURAHASHI are in the escort.
12 September 1944:
At 0200, HIRADO is torpedoed by Cdr Thomas B. Oakey’s (USNA ’34) USS GROWLER (SS-215). The kaibokan blows up and sinks. Rear Admiral Kajioka Sadamichi (39) (former CO of KISO), victor of Wake Island, now CO of the 6th Escort Convoy Command is killed. He is promoted Vice Admiral, posthumously.
At 0500, RAKUYO MARU is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Eli T. Reich's (USNA ’35) USS SEALION and hit in the No. 1 hold and engine room. RAKUYO MARU is carrying 1,318 POWs (601 British, 716 Australian and several US POWs) takes down of whom 1,051 POWs and nine crewmen are KIA. About the same time, USS SEALION also torpedoes NANKAI MARU carrying 525 passengers, 6,500-tons of bauxite, 4,000 drums of gasoline, 170-tons of oil, 77 mail packages and ashes of 18 war dead. She is hit in Hold Nos. 3 and 6 and sinks about 0800. 196 passengers on the ship and three crewmen are KIA. [Note 2]
240 miles south of Hong Kong. Just before 0700, SHIKINAMI is torpedoed by GROWLER and sinks at 18-16 N, 114-40 E. Eight officers and 120 men are rescued by MIKURA. At 2300, KACHIDOKI MARU carrying 487 IJA troops, 608 patients, gunners, ashes of 582 dead, 950 POWs and a cargo of 6,000-tons of bauxite is hit by USS PAMPANITO (SS-383) and sinks. 431 POW’s as well as 45 other passengers and 12 crewmen, a total of 488 people perish. USS PAMPANITO also sinks ZUIHO MARU with the loss of all crew. The Japanese rescue a few POWs from the two prison ships. The survivors are transferred to KIBITSU MARU and taken to Japan. [Note 2]
15 September 1944:
The remainder of the convoy arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island.
16 September 1944:
CD-10 departs Yulin for Moji with kaibokan MIKURA, ETOROFU, CD-18 and CD-26 escorting the 1st echelon of reorganized convoy HI-72 consisting of ASAMA, KIBITSU MARU, GOKOKU and KAGU MARUs.
20 September 1944:
Off Formosa. At 0110, USAAF B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers attack the convoy’s first echelon (Moji-bound) at 23-20N, 119-12E. GOKOKU MARU is damaged by a direct hit and ASAMA MARU suffers a near miss aft. Both are towed into nearby Mako for repairs. KAGU MARU suffers hull damage by near-misses. Kaibokan MIKURA is damaged and towed to Mako by CD-18. The bombers also damage cargo vessels ASAKA and SHINCHO MARUs. KAGU MARU heads for Takao for repairs escorted by CD-20, CD-10 and CD-11.
25 September 1944:
At 1300, CD-20 departs Takao for Moji with kaibokan CD-10 and CD-11 escorting modified convoy HI-72 (partial) consisting
of KIBITSU and KAGU MARUs.
27 September 1944:
East China Sea, 100 miles NNW of Amami-O-Shima. LtCdr Clyde B. Stevens Jr's (USNA ’304) USS PLAICE (SS-390) torpedoes and sinks CD-10 at 29-26N, 128-50E. CD-11 rescues rescues survivors.
18 October 1944:
At 0700, CD-20 departs Imari Bay near Sasebo via Cape St. Jacques, Indo-China for Miri with kaibokan CD-14, CD-34, CD-39, CD-46 and patrol boats PB-102 and PB-38 escorting convoy MI-23 consisting of EBARA, MUNEKATA, HIKACHI (NISSHO), MATSUMOTO, KOSHIN, EININ, RITSUEI, YAMASONO, ENREKI (ENRYAKU), SHOEI, HIROTA, UNZEN, YOKAI and SHIROTAE MARUs and YUZAN MARU No. 2. and survey ship HAKUSA.
20 October 1944:
Anchors in Raro Bay off South Korea.
22 October 1944:
At the Shushan anchorage, E of Shanghai.
24 October 1944:
75 miles ENE of Foochow, China. At 1000, HIROTA, UNZEN and YOKAI MARUs are detached for Takao escorted by PB-103 and PB-38.
25 October 1944:
Formosa Strait. At 0208, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O’Kane’s (USNA ’34) USS TANG (SS-306), running on the surface, torpedoes and sinks EBARA MARU at 25-04N, 119-35E. Eleven crewmen are KIA.
MATSUMOTO MARU, following behind EBARA MARU, alters course intent on ramming USS TANG, but one of the torpedoes fired at EBARA MARU strikes onrushing MATSUMOTO MARU’s No. 1 hold. Her bow plunges under and she comes to a halt. Two machine guns on her bridge open fire and drive the submarine under where the water depth is a mere 131 feet.
The convoy speeds onward. CD-34 drops a few depth-charges. Nine American submariners are found drifting on the surface including Captain O’Kane. CD-34 rescues the survivors and later claims to have sunk USS TANG, but, in fact, the submarine was sunk by one of BuOrd's defective Mark-18 torpedoes. CD-34 is detached with the POWs for Takao, Formosa. At 2000, convoy MI-23 arrives at Chuanchow Bay where MATSUMOTO MARU is successfully grounded; however, she lists heavily. CD-20 probably is detached at this time.
26 October 1944:
MATSUMOTO MARU capsizes and becomes a total loss. No casualties have been sustained in the preceding action. At 0600, the convoy anchors outside Amoy Harbor, and departs the same day at 1800.
29 October 1944:
CD-20 together with sub-chaser CH-41 and stores ship KURASAKI departs St Jacques escorting convoy SATA-01 consisting of FUKUJU MARU and two unidentified merchant ships.
3 November 1944:
Arrives at Yulin. KURASAKI is detached but the escort is increased by Kaibokan CD-34, auxiliary netlayer KAINAN MARU and auxiliary sub-chaser KASUGA MARU. A further two unidentified merchant ships also join.
4 November 1944:
12 November 1944:
Arrives at Kirun (Keelung).
16 November 1944:
At 0600, CD-20 departs Kirun (Keelung) for Moji with kaibokan CD-39 and subchaser CH-61 escorting convoy TAMO-29 consisting of SHUYO, FUKUJU, MELBOURNE MARUs and two unidentified ships.
23 November 1944:
At 0348, LtCdr (later Cdr) Evan T. Shepard’s (USNA ’35) USS PICUDA (SS-382) torpedoes and sinks SHUYO MARU at 34-14N, 128-28E. 60 passengers and 25 crewmen are killed.
At 0348, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from CD-20 that reads: “Convoy attacked by enemy submarine. One vessel sunk [SHUYO MARU] in position 34-26 N, 128-20 E.”
At 0845, after tracking the convoy and making an "end-around", Shepard torpedoes and sinks FUKUJU MARU at 34-10N, 128-58E. 28 of the crew are killed.
At 0845, codebreakers decrypt another message from CD-20 that reads: “Positive sub contact and torpedo attack on JQFU [FUKUJU MARU] in position 34-12N, 128-57E.”
The escorts counter-attack and drop 23 depth charges on USS PICUDA, but she escapes undamaged.
24 November 1944:
Arrives at Moji.
14 December 1944:
CD-20 departs Miike with kaibokan CD-138 escorting convoy MOTA-28 consisting of MURORAN, TEIKAI MARUs and tankers DAINAN, SHINGI, OEI, DAIGYO, OESAN and YAMAZAWA MARUs.
22 December 1944:
Arrives at Takao.
30 December 1944:
Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. USAAF Fifth Air Force North American B-25 “Mitchell” medium bombers, Douglas A-20 “Havocs”and Curtiss P-40 “Warhawks” attack shipping in the approaches to the Gulf and sink CD-20 at 06-30N, 120-18E. 52 sailors are lost.
25 May 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.
[Note 1] The specialist Landing craft depot ship TAKATSU MARU's name can also be rendered as KOZU MARU, KOTSU MARU or KOSHIN MARU.
[Note 2] The Japanese rescue some of the POWs from these two ships. All are transferred to KIBITSU MARU and taken to Japan. The American submarines later return to rescue a number of British and Australian POWs.
Thanks go to John Whitman for info on USN decrypts of coded Japanese messages and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.
-Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall