KYURYOSEN!

(CHOKO MARU prewar)

IJN CHOKO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


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


15 September 1923
Nagasaki. Laid down by Mitsubishi Zosen K.K. shipyard as a 1,792-tons refrigerated cargo ship for Kuzuhara Inohira.

26 December 1923:
Launched and named CHOKO MARU. [1]

12 April 1924:
Completed with Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) respectively of 1,792-tons and 972-tons. Her owner is restyled to Kuzuhara Reizo K.K. Registered at Tokyo, Shinagawa Prefecture. [2]

17 October 1926:
Her ownership is changed to Toyo Reizo K.K.

19 October 1926:
Her ownership is changed to Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Corporation K.K.

9 December 1926:
Port of registry is changed to Yokohama.

15 December 1926:
Her ownership is changed to Daido Reizo K.K.

5 February 1927:
Port of registry is changed to Tokyo.

20 December 1927: 24 December 1927:
Her ownership is changed to Nichiro Gyogyo K.K.

14 May 1928:
Departs Hakodate, Hokkaido on her first fishing campaign.

20 ~ 28 May 1928:
On crab fishing in Soviet Union waters.

Late May 1928:
Departs Hakodate on her second fishing campaign.

Early July 1928:
Departs Hakodate on her third fishing campaign.

July ~ August 1928:
Transport frozen fish from E coast to W coast.

Late August 1928:
Departs Hakodate on her fourth fishing (salmon) campaign.

October 1930:
Undergoes squid refrigeration at Hakodate.

30 November 1930:
At Hakodate anchorage.

10 June 1931:
At Ominato.

1932:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 1,790-tons and 965-tons. [2]

1936:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 1,805-tons and 966-tons. [2]

20 December 1937 ~ 3 May 1938:
Chartered to Nippon Suisan K.K.

1938:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 1,794-tons and 942-tons. [2]

1939:
Her NRT is changed to 941-tons. [2]

6 January 1939 ~ 19 May 1939:
Chartered to Nippon Suisan K.K.

8 May 1939:
Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K. obtains a ‘Mother ship type salmon’ fishery approval certificate T No. 10. Operation areas include: Bering Sea N of 51N, E of 160E, within the line from Midnoy Island to Cape Nawalin excluding sea level N of Cronokie Cape.

20 May 1939 ~ 29 June 1939:
Chartered to Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K.

16 November 1939 ~ 14 March 1940:
Chartered to Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K.

4 November 1940 ~ 2 March 1941:
Chartered to Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K.

E April 1941 ~ 16 July 1941:
Chartered to Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K.

29 August 1941: Requisitioned by the IJN.

5 September 1941:
Registered as an auxiliary store ship, attached to the Maizuru Naval District under Navy’s instruction No. 1025.

14 October 1941:
Osaka. Conversion for military duty at the Ohara Zosen shipyard is completed.

October ~ November 1941:
Her NRT is changed to 937-tons. Rated as a special transport ship (Otsu category). [3]

December 1941:
Attached to Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro’s (36) Fifth Fleet, Supply Unit.

4 December 1941:
At Futami Harbor, Chichi Jima, Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins), auxiliary gunboats YOSHIDA and MAGANE MARUs come alongside and are provisioned with fresh food.

6 December 1941:
Assigned to invasion supply units under Yokosuka Naval District secret instruction No. 14. Departs Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands for the South Seas Islands.

10 December 1941:
Detached from the Fifth Fleet.

27 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

7 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for the South Seas Islands with SOYA.

20 January 1942:
At Chichi-Jima, auxiliary gunboats YOSHIDA and MAGANE MARUs come alongside and are provisioned with fresh food.

28 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for the South Seas Islands.

6 March 1942:

Recovers radio equipment from Minami Tori Shima (Marcus Island) under confidential Yokosuka instruction No. 928.

10 April 1942:
Attached to South Seas Islands Forces.

21 April 1942:
At 1910, reports sighting an enemy submarine in position 28-21N 145-50E.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

24 April ~ 31 July 1942:
Assigned to supply food products under secret instruction No. 4/56.

1 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Minami Tori Shima (Marcus Island) in convoy with YOSHINOGAWA MARU. The ships are escorted part way south by survey ship escort KOMAHASHI. CHOKO MARU later proceeds to Wake Island.

25 June 1942:
Arrives at Wotje, Marshalls.

17 July 1942:
< Arrives at Yokosuka.

August 1942: Attached to auxiliary troops supply unit outside South Seas Islands.

September 1942:
Loads food products.

8 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

11 September 1942:
Arrives at Chichi Jima.

12 September 1942:
Departs Chichi Jima in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary oiler KINREI MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU. Arrives at Haha Jima, Bonins, later that day.

13 September 1942:
Departs Haha Jima in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary oiler KINREI MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

14 September 1942:
Arrives at Iwo Jima. The convoy is augmented by AZUSA, UJIGAWA and KISARAGI MARUs and TAMA MARU No. 2. Departs later this day in this convoy escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

18 September 1942:
At 2400, near Saipan AZUSA, UJIGAWA and KISARAGI MARUs and TAMA MARU No. 2 are detached for Saipan.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines with KINREI MARU and CHOUN MARU. Departs later that day for Shortland, Bougainville, Solomons.

11 October 1942: Provisions minesweeper No. 22 with fresh food. Departs Buin, Shortland in a convoy also consisting of Fleet oiler TSURUMI escorted by W-22.

12 October 1942:
At 1830, detaches and heads towards Rabaul, New Britain.

E October 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Truk.

E November 1942:
Departs Truk.

9 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 November 1942: BR> Departs Yokosuka.

29 November 1942:
Arrives at Eniwetok, Marshalls. Departs there and arrives at Jaluit, Marshalls, later that same day.

9 December 1942:
Provisions auxiliary submarine chaser KYO MARU No. 7 with fresh food.

December 1942:
Departs Jaluit.

1942:
Her GRT and NRT are changed respectively to 1,799-tons and 939-tons. [2]

24 December 1942:
Her ownership is changed to Teikoku Suisan K.K. Her GRT and NRT are changed respectively to 1,794-tons and 937-tons. [2]

7 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

18 January 1943:
Arrives at Chichi Jima.

20 January 1943:
Departs Chichi Jima.

4 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 March 1943:
Departs Truk.

19 March 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

27 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

14 April 1943:
At 1400, departs Truk in convoy with auxiliary stores ship HOKO MARU escorted by destroyers ONAMI and KIYONAMI. The ships sail via Kavieng, New Ireland.

19 April 1943:
At 0500, arrives at Rabaul. HOKO MARU has detached at Kavieng.

21 June 1943:
Departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2213 also consisting of auxiliary transports HAKOZAKI MARU and SHINSEI MARU No. 18 escorted by destroyer ASANAGI. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

11 July 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 July 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3725 also consisting of transport TETSUYO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat NIKKAI MARU.

27 July 1943:
The convoy arrives at Chichi Jima and later sails on to Truk.

9 August 1943:
Due to depart Truk via south channel.

12 September 1943:
Departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2121 escorted by auxiliary minelayer KINJO MARU and subchaser CH-30.

17 September 1943:
At 0600, arrives at Truk.

19 October 1943:
Arrives at Chichi Jima.

23 October 1943:
Departs Chichi Jima.

25 October 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 December 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

23 December 1943:
Undergoes a torpedo attack at 32-27N, 136-00E. [4]

24 February 1944:
Departs Saipan for Yokohama.

25 February 1944:
At dawn, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O'Kane’s USS TANG (SS-306) fires a spread of four Mark XIV Type 3A torpedoes and scores three hits on CHOKO MARU. The auxiliary stores ship rapidly sinks by the stern at 15-46N, 144-10E, about 97 nautical miles WNW Saipan. Eight crewmen are KIA.

31 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 508.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with other ships bearing the same name like auxiliary transport (3,515 GRT, ‘39), auxiliary netlayer (889 GRT, ’40), auxiliary transport (ex-British HSIN YANGTSE, (921 GRT, ’27), Taiyo Gyogyo’s cargo (842 GRT, ‘40) and Teikoku Kisen’s cargo (6783 GRT, ‘20).

[2] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

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

[4] Not mentioned in Allied records.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

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


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