ZATSUYOSEN!

(TJISAROEA later CHIHAYA MARU, prewar)

IJN CHIHAYA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2016 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall


E 1925:
Amsterdam, Netherlands. Laid down by Nederlandsche SB shipyard, as a 7,089-tons passenger/cargo ship for NV Java-China-Japan Lijn, Batavia.

6 June 1925:
Launched and named TJISAROEA.

15 January 1926:
Completed and registered at Batavia, Java, D.E.I. with Official Number (ON): 5606419 and Call Sign: THPM.

1933:
Call Sign is changed to PKIO.

3 May 1938:
Arrives at Amoy (now Xiamen), China.

4 May 1938:
Departs Amoy.

1942:
Departs Cochin, India.

2 March 1942:
Arrives at Tjilatjap, Java, D.E.I.

E 3 March 1942:
Departs Tjilapjap for Fremantle, Australia in a convoy also consisting of British Naval tanker HMS FRANCOL, British depot ship ANKING, Dutch freighter PARIGI and possibly others, escorted by Australian sloop HMAS YARRA, British motor minesweeper HMS No. 51 and possibly others.

4 March 1942:
280 miles SSE of Tjilatjap, Java. At sunrise, heavy cruisers MAYA, ATAGO and TAKAO and DesDiv 4's ARASHI and NOWAKI attack the convoy. The IJN force launches two spotter floatplanes. The cruisers sink 4,900-ton British Naval tanker HMS FRANCOL, British Motor Minesweeper 51 and 3, 470-ton British depot ship ANKING, then destroyer ARASHI captures TJISAROEA at 11-48S, 111-37E. For more than an hour-and-a-half, LtCdr Robert Rankin's 1,060-ton Australian sloop HMAS YARRA puts up an heroic defense against impossible odds, but is smothered by 5-inch and 8-inch shells and finally sinks a blazing wreck. Rankin is killed on the bridge.

The Japanese pick up one lifeboat of survivors from FRANCOL, then depart to the NNE. FRANCOL's survivors are never heard of again. Four days later, the Dutch submarine K-XI picks up a total of 18 survivors of HMAS YARRA, ANKING and the survivors of torpedoed Dutch freighter PARIGI that had been rescued by HMAS YARRA. One survivor dies, before K-XI arrives in Colombo, Ceylon.

6 May 1942:
Departs Macassar, Celebes (now Sulawesi) towing auxiliary transport TAITO MARU. [1]

17 May 1942:
Arrives at Hong Kong. Departs later.

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

14 June 1942:
Captured vessel TJISAROEA maintenance program is issued under telegram No. 45 and instruction No. 231:

No. 1 – Current maintenance mission will end on 16 Jun ’42.

No. 2 – Prize crew will disembark on 16 Jun ’42.

June 1942:
Renamed CHIHAYA MARU. Call sign is changed to JWBY.Assigned to personnel and ammunition transport missions under instruction No. 203. [2

17 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka with auxiliary storeship KOA MARU heading SW.

22 June 1942:
Maintenance directive No. 7722 is issued.

27 June 1942:
Officially claimed as a prize at Yokosuka prize court.

8 August 1942:
Departs Miri, Borneo in a convoy also consisting of IJA transports NAKO and KINUGAWA MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-8.

11 August 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

20 August 1942:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as homeport under Navy’s instruction No. 1551. Assigned directly to the Navy Department as an auxiliary transport (Ko) category. Captain Koyama Yoshiro (34) (former CO of NATORI) is appointed CO. That same day begins conversion to military duty at Uraga Dock K.K. shipyard. [3]

29 August 1942:
Yokosuka capture trial manifest is rated No. 1942.

21 October 1942:
The conversion is completed.

23 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka apparently with auxiliary collier/oiler MIKAGE MARU No. 18 with unknown, if any, escort.

31 October 1942:
The convoy also consisting of auxiliary collier/oiler MIKAGE MARU No. 18 now escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU is joined near Truk by auxiliary collier/oiler SOYO MARU.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines. Assigned to No. 2 transport reinforcement mission for Munda airfield, New Georgia, Solomons.

6 November 1942:
Departs Truk in convoy with auxiliary transport KENYO MARU. En route to Rabaul the convoy is met by minesweeper W-20.

10 November 1942:
At 0720, arrives at Rabaul. Departs later.

22 November 1942:
Departs Shortlands, Solomons but aborts mission and returns there later in the day.

24 November 1942:
Departs Shortlands again and arrives at Munda later that day. Disembarks troops and related equipment.

25 November 1942:
Departs Munda and arrives at Shortlands later that same day. Assigned to No. 3 transport reinforcement mission for Munda airfield.

27 November 1942:
At 0400, departs Shortlands with auxiliary repair ship YAMASHIMO MARU and unknown escort and arrives at Munda later in the day. Disembarks troops and related equipment.

28 November 1942:
Bombed by USAAF Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” aircraft. CHIHAYA MARU is hit on the port rear bridge and becomes unnavigable. Auxiliary repair ship YAMASHIMO MARU takes her under tow and both ships arrive at Shortlands later that day. Departs later.

24 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Undergoes extensive repairs.

27 March 1943:
Departs Tokyo and is escorted by minesweeper W-24 that departed Yokosuka at 1400.

28 March 1943:
At 1030, minesweeper W-24 breaks off escort.

21 April 1943:
Departs Jaluit, Marshalls.

22 April 1943:
At 1010 arrives at Kwajalein, Marshalls.

5 May 1943:
At 0412, departs Kwajalein in unnumbered convoy also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU, auxiliary transport HAKUSAN MARU, minelayer (ex-armored cruiser) TOKIWA escorted by subchaser CH-32.

9 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

14 May 1943:
Departs Truk for Japan in convoy No. 4514 also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU and auxiliary transport HAKUSAN MARU escorted by destroyer INAZUMA and torpedo boat OTORI. The convoy sails at 12 knots. Immediately after leaving port FUJIKAWA MARU is attacked by an unknown submarine, but incurs no damage.

22 May 1943:
At 1100, arrives at Yokosuka.

7 June 1943:
At 1400, departs Yokosuka for Truk in convoy No. 3607 also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU and auxiliary transport AMAGISAN MARU escorted by torpedo boat OTORI and subchaser CH-28. The convoy sails at 10.5 knots.

10 June 1943:
SSE of Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins). In a submerged daylight attack, Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Frank T. Watkins' (USNA ’22) USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) fires three torpedoes at FUJIKAWA MARU at 24-55N, 145-36E, but the attack is unsuccessful.

15 June 1943:
At 1140, arrives at Truk.

28 June 1943:
Departs Truk as only merchant ship in convoy No. 1281 escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

2 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

9 July 1943:
At 1200, departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2092 also consisting of auxiliary transport SHOEI (1,986 GRT) MARU escorted by subchaser CH-33 and kaibokan OKI.

13 July 1943:
At 1000, arrives at Truk.

24 July 1943:
At 1500, departs Truk for Tokyo in convoy No. 4723 also consisting of auxiliary transport OKITSU MARU escorted by destroyer YUGIRI and kaibokan OKI.

27 July 1943:
Auxiliary transport KENSHO MARU joins the convoy from Saipan.

1 August 1943:
Arrives at Tokyo. Departs later.

9 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3809 also consisting of IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) HOKKO MARU and auxiliary transport HAKOZAKI MARU escorted by destroyer INAZUMA and minesweeper W-26.

11 August 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Chichijima.

12 August 1943:
At 1200, departs Chichijima.

14 August 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Saipan.

15 August 1943:
At 0800, departs Saipan.

17 August 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Truk.

27 August 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 5872 also consisting of IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) SHIGANOURA MARU and auxiliary transport MUKO MARU escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI and auxiliary subchaser CHa-25.

1 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

11 September 1943:
At 1200, departs Kwajalein in convoy No. 6113 also consisting of fleet oiler SHIRETOKO, auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU, auxiliary gunboat KATORI MARU and possibly others escorted by subchaser CH-31, auxiliary subchaser CHa-46 and possibly CH-16.

12 September 1943:
Alerted by an Ultra signal, LtCdr (later Cdr) Carter L. Bennett's (USNA ’33) USS PERMIT (SS-178) intercepts the convoy. Bennett sets up and fires six torpedoes at three ships in submerged night attacks. He hits and damages FUJIKAWA MARU at 08-33N, 165-12E. Later, she is towed back to Kwajalein by CHIHAYA MARU. Soon after, in a second attack, USS PERMIT gets two hits on SHIRETOKO. That same day, light cruiser NAKA departs Truk to assist the torpedoed ships.

18 September 1943:
At 0330, departs Kwajalein in convoy No. 6188 also consisting of auxiliary transports MUKO and KENRYU MARUs, IJN requisitioned cargo ships (B-AK) KEMBU (TATEBE), TSUNESHIMA and SHIGANOURA MARUs, IJN storeship MINATO MARU and IJA transport MANJU MARU escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI, subchasers CH-28 and CH-31, auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 6 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 10.

25 September 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Truk.

3 October 1943:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4003 also consisting of auxiliary transports ASAHISAN and HAKOZAKI MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) SHIGANOURA MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI. The convoy sails at 10 knots.

10 October 1943:
Captain Okamoto Aya (37) is appointed CO.

12 October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

24 October 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

26 October 1943:
Arrives at Saeki, Kyushu.

31 October 1943:
At 0600, departs Saeki for Palau, Western Carolines in convoy O-112 also consisting of IJA transports DELAGOA, EHIME, YAWATA, KANJO, UME, TENCHO, UMEKAWA, YAMAGATA, NICHIAI, MOJI and HOZUGAWA MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-18, auxiliary subchasers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8, CHIYO MARU No. 8 and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, TOKUHO MARU No. 10 and AOI MARU. That night, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Robert E. Dornin's (USNA ’35) USS TRIGGER (SS-237). Dornin claims two sinkings, but, in fact, scores no hits. The escorts counterattack, but are also unsuccessful.

1 November 1943:
That evening all escorts except W-18 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 are detached.

2 November 1943:
About 240 nautical miles S of Cape Muroto. At 0048, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks YAWATA MARU at 28-20N, 135-20E. Four gunners and 64 of the crew are killed. At 0220, Dornin's USS TRIGGER attacks the convoy again, this time sinking DELAGOA MARU. The ship was carrying men of the 248th Squadron some of whom together with 12 returned Army civilian employee assistants, seven gunners and 68 crewmen are confirmed killed. At 0321, Dornin torpedoes and sinks UME MARU at 28-40N, 135, 25E. 36 passengers, 25 gunners and 24 crewmen are killed. At 0418, Cutter's USS SEAHORSE attacks again. This time Cutter sinks CHIHAYA MARU at 29-31N, 134, 50E. Six crewmen are KIA. Finally, at 0845, Cdr (later Admiral) I. J. Galantin's (USNA ’33) USS HALIBUT (SS-232) torpedoes and sinks EHIME MARU at 28-20N, 134-48E. Five gunners and all 79 of the crew are killed.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the IJN Navy’s list under instruction No. 54.


Authors notes :
[1] TAITO MARU was torpedoed and moderately damaged by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. McKinney’s (USNA ‘27) USS SALMON (SS-182) on 13 Mar ‘42.

[2] Not to be confused with IJA shared tanker (A/C-AO) No. 5054 (4,701 GRT, ’43) or IJA transport No. 679 (1,161 GRT, ’18).

[3] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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