(CHUKA MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2016 Bob Hackett

E 1919:
Laid down at Uraga Dockyard Co, Tokyo as yard No..157, a 2,189 ton passenger cargo ship for Yamashita Kisen, K. K., Uraga.

E 1920:
Launched and named CHUKA MARU. [1]

Completed and placed on Yamashita Kisen’s Formosa service.

27 August 1924:
American liner PRESIDENT MADISON departs Kobe for Hong Kong with a spare plane for Major Pedro Zanni, Argentine round-the-world flier, who crashed when starting from Haiphong, French Indochina for Canton, China. The plane will be shipped from Hong Kong to Haiphong by CHUKA MARU. 1934:
Sold to the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK) Line.

Renamed TYUKA MARU.[1]

Sold to Toa Kaiun, K. K., Osaka.

11 August 1941:
Requistioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Converted to a troop transport and alloted Army No. 615.

18 June 1942:
Released by the IJA back to her owners.

21 April 1943:
At 0600, CHUKA MARU departs Imari Wan (Bay) in convoy SA-9 also consisting of FUKUEI, KOZAN, MIIKESAN, MURORAN, NARUO, RYOYO and UJINA MARUs escorted by minelayer KAMOME.

23 April 1943:
Arrives at Hua Niao Shan, near Shanghai, China. Some merchants are detached.

6 June 1943:
At 0700, CHUKA MARU departs northern Kyushu in convoy SHI-609 also consisting of HENGSHAN (KOZAN), JUNPO, MIKAGE, SHOTAI (ex-Philippine REGULUS), SHUNTEN and TAITO MARUs escorted by minelayer TSUBAME.

8 June 1943:
At about 1200, arrives off Bell Buoy, near Shanghai, China.

10 October 1943:
Re-requistioned by the Imperial Army once more.

31 December 1943:
CHUKA MARU departs Ambon, Ceram Island, Moluccas for Kendari, Celebes (now Sulawasi) in a convoy also consisting of ASAKASAN, CELEBES, CHOI, YAMABUKI and TAIYU MARUs escorted by auxiliary minesweeper Wa-9 and auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 17.

2 January 1944:
At 0800, the convoy arrives at Kendari. Unloads cargo and personnel.

4 January 1944:
At 1000, the convoy departs Kendari for Ambon.

6 January 1944:
At 0100, the convoy arrives at Ambon.

26 January 1944:
At 1000, CHUKA MARU departs Surabaya, Java in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of ASAKA, CELEBES and YAMABUKI MARUs escorted by minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA.

30 January 1944:
At 1915, minesweepers W-4 and W-5 depart Ambon and join the escort of the convoy.

31 January 1944:
The convoy arrives at Ambon. YAMABUKI MARU is detached.

2 February 1944:
At 2200, CHUKA MARU departs Ambon in a convoy also consisting of ASAKA , and CELEBES MARUs escorted by minelayer WAKATAKA, minesweeper W-5 and auxiliary netlayer HINOKI MARU.

5 February 1944:
At 1600, the convoy arrives at Wasile.

10 February 1944:
At 0600, CHUKA MARU departs Wasile in a convoy also consisting of MOJI and NIKKI MARUs escorted by minelayer WAKATAKA.

At 2340, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from the CO of WAKATAKA that reads: “At 2239 received a torpedo attack in position 01-43N, 129-30E. Dropped 9 depth charges. Results unknown. No damage to us.” (This was an attack by LtCdr John C. Broach's (USNA ’27) USS HAKE (USS-256). LtCdr Broach later claims a hit on a cargo ship forward of the bridge. )

13 February 1944:
At 0300, arrives at Manokwari.

14 May 1944:
CHUKA MARU departs Tanjung Priok, port of Batavia, Java (now Jakarta, Indonesia) via Singapore for Padang, Sumatra. She carries 1,925 prisoners-of-war (POWs) (1,615 Dutch and 310 British). This is the first transport of POWs used in the construction of the Sumatra railway (Pakanbaroe Rail Line).

17 May 1944:
Arrives at Padang, Sumatra and disembarks the POWs.

That same day, British Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet, Sir) James F. Somerville’s (former CO of HMS NORFOLK) launches Allied Operation "TRANSOM". Forty-five Grumman “Avenger” torpedo-bombers and Douglas "Dauntless" dive-bombers escorted by 40 Grumman “Hellcats” and Chance-Vought “Corsair” fighers from carriers HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA (CV-3) attack the Wonokromo refinery and nearby harbor facilities and shipping at Surabaya.

SARATOGA's planes damage CHUKA and cargo ship TENCHO MARUs, IJN tanker YOSEI MARU (ex-Dutch JOSEFINA) and auxiliary subchasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, and ILLUSTRIOUS' planes sank transport SHINREI MARU.

E May-June 1944:
Surabaya. CHUKA MARU undergoes battle damage repairs.

29 August 1944:
At 0830, CHUKA MARU departs Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-14 also consisting of IIDA, JUZAN, KENSEI, and SURAKARUTA MARUs and oilers ATAGAO, OGURA MARU No. 2 and TOKUWA MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and subchaser CH-20.

5 September 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

E 23 September 1944:
CHUKA MARU departs Ormoc Bay, Luzon for Guimaras Island, Philippines in a convoy with army cargo ship KENWA MARU.

24 September 1944:
Visayan Sea. Carrier aircraft from Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA '10) Task Force 38 bomb and sink CHUKA and KENWA MARUs at 11-13N, 123-11E.

Author's Note:
[1] Also known as CHUKWA MARU.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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