CHERIBON MARU by Ueda Kihichiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

17 May 1929:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Zosen Kaisha K. K. as a 4,016-ton passenger-cargo ship for Nanyo Yusen (South Seas Mail Steam Ship Co.), K. K., Kobe.

30 August 1920:
Launched and named CHERIBON MARU.

7 February 1921:
Completed and placed in service on the Nanyo Yusen's Line's South Pacific route with service between Kobe ~ Surabaya under government assistance. Ports of call include Moji, Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Batavia, Samarang and Surabaya in Java, Macassar, Celebes and Balikpapan, Borneo.

6 July 1935:
Under Government pressure, Nanyo Yusen, Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, K. K. (ISK) and the Japan-Netherland East Indies services of Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) are amalgamated to form a new company, the Nanyo Kaiun K. K. (South Seas Shipping Co., Ltd). The previous owners all take a share of the new company. Fourteen vessels, including CHERIBON MARU, are transferred to the new company.

15 January 1939:
CHERIBON MARU runs aground north of Cayagan, Sulu Island, Philippines. The next day, KAMO MARU rescues 12 passengers and takes them to Manila.

11 November 1941:
Requistioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted Army No.938. Anti-aircraft guns are fitted on bandstands fore and aft.

22 November 1941:
Sakaide, Shikoku. At 1000, a member of the South Seas Detachment conducts an inspection tour of CHERIBON MARU.

10 December 1941: Operation"G" (G Sakusen) - The Seizure of Guam:
Rear Admiral Kasuga Atsushi's (37)(former CO of CHOKAI) 5th Base Force's Invasion Force consisting of transports CHERIBON, CHINA, CLYDE, DAIFUKU, KOGYOKU, MATSUE, MOJI, NICHIMEI, VENICE and YOKOHAMA MARUs land MajGen Horii Tomitaro’s 55th Infantry Corps 55th Division’s Headquarters, 3d Company, 55th Cavalry, 55th Division plus an anti-tank platoon, 144th Infantry Regiment of 2,673 men, 144th Infantry Artillery Unit, 1st Battalion, 55th Mountain Artillery Regiment with twelve 75mm mountain guns, 1st Company, 55th Engineer Regiment’s 3rd Company (less one platoon) and 10th Independent Engineer Regiment.

The Invasion Force is covered by minelayer TSUGARU (F), destroyer OBORO, DesDiv 23, GunbtDiv 7, SubChasDivs 59 and 60 and MineDiv 15 and auxiliary seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU. The Invasion Force also lands naval units of the 5th Defense Unit Detachment 15th Naval Base Headquarters and 15th Communications Unit. Japanese troops quickly overrun Guam's few United States Marine Corps defenders.

22/23 January 1942: - Operation "R" (R Sakusen)- The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
Soon after midnight, minelayer OKINOSHIMA lands invasion troops at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. The invasion forces swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy both Rabaul and Kavieng.

23 January 1942:
CHERIBON MARU departs Truk for Rabaul in an invasion fleet consisting of TAIFUKU, MITO, CLYDE, VENICE, HIBI, MOJI, YOKOHAMA and CHINA MARUs with close escorts auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU and auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 8 and KYO MARU No. 10.

25 January 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

11 November 1942:
At 1500, CHERIBON MARU departs Otaru, Hokkaido for Attu, Aleutians as the sole ship in the "B" convoy.

November 1942:
CHERIBON MARU is joined by kaibokan ISHIGAKI from Kataoka Bay, Sakhalin.

24 November 1942:
ISHIGAKI is detached from CHERIBON MARU and reverses course back at Kataoka Bay.

26 November 1942:
Attu, Aleutians. A Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” heavy bomber reconnoitering Holtz Bay harbor spots and reports shipping targets. Subsequently, CHERIBON MARU is attacked by four USAAF 11th Air Force Martin B-26 “Marauder” medium bombers escorted by four Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighters. The bombers set CHERIBON MARU afire and she begins to settle.

27 November 1942:
Attu Island. USAAF 11th Air Force photo reconnaissance of Holtz Bay shows CHERIBON MARU lower in the water and still burning. Later, CHERIBON MARU succumbs to her damage and sinks near 53N, 173E. Fifteen seamen and six ship's gunners are KIA.

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

Bob Hackett

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