FUSETSUTEI!

(CHOAN MARU, prewar)

IJN CHOAN MARU :
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2018 Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall


23 October 1934:
Hikoshima. Laid down by Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. shipyard for Chosen Kisen K.K. as a 330-gross tons passenger/cargo ship.

16 January 1935:
Launched and named CHOAN MARU.

2 April 1935:
Completed and registered at Busan, Chosen (now Pusan, South Korea).

25 April 1935:
Completed and registered at Pusan, Chosen (now Busan, South Korea).

1941:
Ownership is changed to Nishinihon Kisen K.K.

31 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

12 September 1941:
Registered as a small auxiliary minelayer attached to the Sasebo Naval District under instruction No. 1049.

15 October 1941:
At Jinsen, Chosen (now Incheon, South Korea) Zosen K.K. shipyard, conversion to an auxiliary minelayer is completed. Attached that same day to Vice Admiral Yamamoto Koki’s (36) Mako Guard District, Mako Base Defense Unit under instruction No. 1253.

20 November 1941:
Attached to Mako Base Defense Unit, Sea Surface Defense Unit.

December 1941:
Operates in Mako waters.

23 December 1941:
At 1000, carries out an anti-submarine sweep between the fleet entrance and the twenty-ninth latitude.

25 December 1941:
At 1000, carries out an anti-submarine sweep until submarine tender CHOGEI passed through the second channel.

E 1 ~ 22 January 1942:
At Mako, Pescadores.

15 January 1942:
Attached to Mako Base Defense Unit, Sea Surface Defense Unit under instruction No. 7.

23 June 1942:
Inspects a sailing ship near the Pescadores. Captures five US soldiers.

E 1 ~ 24 July 1942:
At Mako.

14 July 1942:
Attached to Mako Base Defense Unit, Sea Surface Defense Unit under instruction No. 43.

25 July 1942:
7 ~ 9 September 1942:
First joint combat exercise.

28 September ~ 1 October 1942:
Second joint combat exercise.

21 October 1942:
At 0120, receives message No. 74 from Mako Guard District (amended partly by Mako Secret Guard Office message No. 211620) :

1 - Army transport AFRICA MARU has been torpedoed and sunk at 24-26N, 120-26E. [1]

2 – As leader of Sea Surface Defense Unit, search and destroy the enemy and rescue as much as possible survivors.

Departs Mako on anti-submarine sweep later that day.

23 October 1942:
Receives Mako Guard District message No. 76:

1 – Abort anti-submarine sweep in disaster zone.

2 – Return back to Mako while continuing anti-submarine sweep.

Arrives back at Mako later that day.

11 ~ 13 December 1942:
Implementation of first joint combat exercise.

24 ~ 25 February 1943:
Sixth joint combat exercise.

11 March 1943:
Receives Mako Guard District message No. 16:

1 – At 0735, enemy submarines have been detected in azimuth 155 off Mako.

2 – As leader of Sea Surface Defense Unit, search and destroy the enemy.

15 March 1943:
Receives Mako Guard District message No. 17:

1 – Abort Mako Guard District message No. 16 anti-submarine sweep.

18 March 1943:
Receives Mako Guard District message No. 19:

1 – On 17 Mar ’43, at 2335, IJN general requisitioned transport TENRYUGAWA MARU was torpedoed and heavily damaged at 24-30N, 120-09E. [2]

2 – Leader of Sea Surface Defense Unit shall not conduct any anti-submarine sweep but assist survivors rescue.

19 March 1943:
Receives Mako Guard District message No. 23:

Abort Mako Guard District message No. 19 rescue operation.

1 April 1943:
Attached to Mako Naval District, Mako Naval base under instruction No. 588. Attached to Mako Base Defense Unit under Takao (now Kaohsiung) Guard Office secret order No. 6.

26 ~ 30 April 1943:
10th joint combat exercise.

20 ~ 22 May 1943:
12th joint combat exercise.

1 June 1943:
Attached from 8 Jun ’43 to Mako Base Defense Unit under Takao Guard Office secret order No. 8.

3 ~ 5 June 1943:
13th joint combat exercise.

23 ~ 25 June 1943:
14th joint combat exercise.

E 26 ~ 30 June 1943:
In drydock.

8 ~ 10 July 1943:
15th joint combat exercise.

18 July 1943:
Engages in search and rescue operation of an unidentified ship in the Ryuku Islands. Arrives at Zuoying, Takao later that day.

19 July 1942:
Departs Zuoying. Search is resumed and then operation is ended later that same day.

28 ~ 30 July 1943:
16th joint combat exercise.

9 ~ 11 August 1943: Implementation of 17th joint combat exercise.

19 August 1943: Assigned to anti-submarine sweep under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 222.

21 August 1943: Anti-submarine sweep is aborted under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 226.

25 ~ 27 August 1943:
Implementation of 18th joint combat exercise.

4 September 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 254.

7 September 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1200 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 226.

4 ~ 9 September 1943:
Carries out the assigned anti-submarine sweep.

10 ~ 11 September 1943:
Implementation of 19th joint combat exercise.

22 September 1943:
Attached from 1 Oct ’43 to Mako Base Defense Unit under Takao Guard Office secret order No. 21.

27 September 1943:
Attached from 1 Oct ’43 to Kirun Patrol Defense Unit under Takao Guard Office secret order No. 22.

27 ~ 29 September 1943:
Implementation of 20th joint combat exercise.

2 October 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at 25-15N, 121-46E under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 312.

5 October 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1600 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 317.

7 ~ 9 October 1943:
Implementation of 21st joint combat exercise.

10 October 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 336.

12 October 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1600 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 340.

16 October 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at 25-13N, 121-57E under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 352.

19 October 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1200 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 362.

26 October 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 375.

29 October 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1000 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 383.

3 November 1943:
Departs Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan) escorting a convoy.

6 November 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

9 November 1943:
Departs Kirun on joint combat exercise.

10 November 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at 25-02N, 122-23E under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 412.

13 November 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 1200 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 383. Arrives at Kirun later that day.

24 November 1943:
Departs Kirun on stationary patrol. Thereafter takes part of a joint combat exercise.

27 November 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

2 December 1943:
Assigned from 3 Dec ’43 to escort a convoy currently stationed at Fukushima composed of REIAN and MATSUURA MARUs under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 444. Departs Kirun later that day.

3 December 1943:
Arrives at Fukushima.

4 December 1943:
Departs Fukushima escorting a convoy consisting of REIAN and MATSUURA MARUs.

5 December 1943:
At some point along Formosa W coast, REIAN MARU is detached. Arrives at Kirun.

7 December 1943:
Departs Kirun on joint combat exercise.

8 December 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

15 December 1943:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at 25-25N, 122-23E under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 465. Departs Kirun later that same day.

18 December 1943:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 19 Dec ’43 at dawn under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 474. Arrives at Kirun later that day.

27 December 1943:
Departs Kirun escorting a convoy (likely SHISEN and NISSHIN MARUs to Ssu Chiao Shan).

28 December 1943:
Arrives at Kirun.

4 January 1944:
Departs Kirun escorting a convoy.

5 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

7 January 1944:
Departs Kirun on joint combat exercise.

8 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

11 January 1944:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at azimuth 40° under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 14. Departs Kirun later in the day.

12 January 1944:
Anti-submarine sweep is aborted from 13 Jan ’44 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 19.

13 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

23 January 1944:
Due to enemy submarine detection at 25-47N, 121-25E by convoy HI-37 consisting of tankers OTOWASAN, AMATSU and OMINESAN MARUs, passenger-cargo ships MIIKE and NOTO MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ships KIBITSU and MAYASAN MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan MIYAKE and KANJU, assigned to anti-submarine sweep under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 37. Departs Kirun later that day.

24 January 1944:
Anti-submarine sweep will be continued until dusk under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 39.

25 January 1944:
Assigned to search a missing Aichi E13A Type 0 ‘Jake’ floatplane under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 42. Thereafter takes part of a joint combat exercise.

28 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

1 February 1944:
Departs Kirun on joint combat exercise.

9 February 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

10 February 1944:
Assigned to anti-submarine sweep at 24-28N, 121-30E under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 64. Departs Kirun later that same day.

14 February 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

21 February 1944:
Departs Kirun on patrol.

23 February 1944:
Takes part in a joint combat exercise.

24 February 1944:
Assigned to rescue survivors of auxiliary oiler NAMPO MARU torpedoed and sunk earlier in the day by an enemy submarine under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 83. [3]

26 February 1944:
Carries out an anti-submarine sweep.

27 February 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

28 February 1944:
Departs Kirun on convoy escort likely of MATSUKAZE MARU, bound for Kwaren.

2 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

6 March 1944:
Departs Kirun on joint combat exercise.

8 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

12 March 1944:
Departs Kirun on convoy escort.

14 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

15 March 1944:
Departs Kirun on convoy escort (likely USA MARU to Kwaren).

17 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

17 March 1944:
In drydock.

27 March 1944:
Departs Kirun on joint training.

28 March 1944:
Carries out an anti-submarine sweep.

30 March 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

3 April 1944:
Departs Kirun on convoy escort likely of convoy NA-302 bound for Naha consisting of two unidentified merchant ships.

8 April 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

9 April 1944:
Departs Kirun on patrol.

11 April 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

12 April 1944:
Departs Kirun on convoy escort.

14 April 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

15 April 1944:
Attached to Vice Admiral Takagi Takeo’s (39) Takao Guard District, Mako Defense Unit under Takao Guard Office secret order No. 16.

16 April 1944:
Departs Mako on patrol.

18 April 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

20 April 1944:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

23 April 1944:
Departs Takao and arrives at Mako later this day.

27 April 1944:
Departs Mako on patrol.

28 April 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

1 May 1944:
Departs Mako escorting a convoy.

4 May 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

6 May 1944:
Departs Mako escorting a convoy.

11 May 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

14 May 1944:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao later that day.

16 May 1944:
Assigned to escort convoy TAMA-18 under Takao Guard Office instruction No. 200.

17 May 1944:
At 1730, departs Takao with destroyers ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE and TSUGA, auxiliary subchaser CHa-75, auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARU and auxiliary minesweeper MISAGO MARU No. 8 escorting convoy TAMA-18 consisting of TETSUYO, NICHIZUI, MAYASAN, SHINNO and ASO MARUs.

18 May 1944:
A submarine contact is reported.

19 May 1944:
Carries out an anti-submarine sweep. Drops three depth charges.

20 May 1944:
A further submarine contact is reported. The convoy seeks shelter at N San Fernando anchorage.

21 May 1944:
Late afternoon. Departs San Fernando, Philippines.

22 May 1944:
Kaibokan CD-11 meets up with convoy TAMA-18 and joins escort.

23 May 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Manila, Philippines.

3 June 1944:
At 0830, departs Manila with destroyer KURETAKE, kaibokan CD-11 and an unidentified warship escorting convoy MATA-22 consisting of DAISEI, NORWAY, MIIKESAN and KINREI MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships.

6 June 1944:
CD-11 detaches, meets up with convoy HI-65 and joins escort. Convoy MATA-22 arrives at Takao later that day.

17 August 1944:
At 1500, departs Mako with minelayer MAESHIMA escorting a convoy consisting of KIYOKAWA and ORYOKU MARUs.

18 August 1944:
At 1220, arrives at Kirun.

12 October 1944:
Sustains an air attack. Sinks in Takao harbor after being hit by bombs dropped by USN TF 38 aircraft. Casualties are unknown.

10 February 1945:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 122.


Authors' Notes:
[1] AFRICA MARU was torpedoed and sunk in the Formosa Strait, off Kirun about midnight by LtCdr Jesse L. Hull‘s (USNA ’26) USS FINBACK (SS-230) with the loss of three crewmen.

[2] TENRYUGAWA MARU was torpedoed and heavily damaged in the Formosa Strait, off Taichu (now Taichung) about 2300 by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Vernon L. Lowrance’s (USNA ’30) USS KINGFISH (SS-234) with the loss of two crewmen.

[3] NAMPO MARU was torpedoed and sunk E of Formosa about 0336 by Cdr John A. Moore’s (USNA ’32) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) with the loss of 37 crewmen, 12 gunners and two passengers.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall.


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