Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2014 Bob Hackett

24 November 1926:
Tama. Laid down at Mitsubishi Zosen Kaisha as a 5,168-ton cargo ship for Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha.

30 June 1927:
Launched and named COLUMBIA MARU.

29 July 1927:
Completed. Placed in Mitsubishi Shoji’s service transporting lumber from North America to Japan.

7 September 1930:
Arrives at Seattle, Washington.

2 March 1932:
Arrives at Seattle, Washington.

23 July 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted Army No.890.

18 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 1200, COLUMBIA MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) 2nd Lingayen Invasion Unit’s 5th Transport Group (7 ships), with 27 other IJA transports escorted by DesRon 2's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO, minesweepers W-9, W-10, W-11, W-12, W-17 and W-18 and subchasers CH-4, CH-5, CH-6, CH-10, CH-11, CH-12, CH-16 , CH-17 and CH-18.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons. The first is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo, the second of 28 transports under Rear Admiral Nishimura and the third of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral Hirose Sueto. This force of 76 transports carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army.

24 December 1941:
Lingayen Gulf. Between 0110 and 0430, the Lingayen Invasion Convoy lands troops at Lingayen.

21 January 1942:
COLUMBIA MARU departs Mutsure with transports ATSUTA, BRAZIL, DAINICHI, FUSHIMI, GENOA, HOEISAN, KIZZAN, MAEBASHI, MOTOYAMA, PACIFIC, REIYO, SYDNEY,SOMEDOMO, TAKETOYO, TATSUNO, TOFUKU,TOKIWA and TSUYAMA MARUs escorted by CruDiv 9's light cruiser OI and DesDiv 32's ASAGAO, FUYO and KARUKAYA. The transports are carrying the IJA 2nd Infantry Division.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Later, the convoy departs for Camranh Bay.

February 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina to mobilize for the invasion of Western Java, Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

18 February 1942: "J" Operation (J Sakusen): - The Invasion of Java, NEI:
COLUMBIA MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s Western Java Seizure Force. Departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Merak and Bantam Bay, Java escorted by light cruisers YURA and NATORI, DesDivs 5, 6, 11, 12 and 22.

Fifteen transports head for Merak, Java including COLUMBIA, AKITSU, ATLAS, HOKOKUMEI (later NIKKEI), KIZAN, PACIFIC, KOYO, MOMOYAMA, REIYO, RYUNAN, SHINSHU, SYDNEY and TSUYAMA, MARUs. Seven transports go to Eretan Wetan. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Merak, Java. Lands troops of the IJA’s 2nd Infantry Division.

9 March 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay.

13 March 1942:
Departs Bantam Bay.

16 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

11 June 1942:
At 1820, COLUMBIA MARU departs Mutsure for Mako in convoy No.123 also consisting of CHOWA, TOEI and TOYO MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

17 June 1942:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan). Later that day, arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

25 June 1942:
COLUMBIA MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 316 also consisting of GENKAI MARU and three unidentified merchants. escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

1 July 1942:
Arrives at St Jacques.

18 November 1942:
Off Penang, Malaya. At about 0700, LtCdr (later Cdr) William D. A. King’s, RN’s submarine HMS TRUSTY fires three torpedoes and gets one hit in COLUMBIA MARU’s No. 3 starboard hold. COLUMBIA MARU begins to flood and is beached by her captain at 06-21N, 099-05E. [1]

December 1942 -?:
Pumped out, refloated and repaired at an unknown location.

COLUMBIA MARU arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) at an unknown date.

30 August 1943:
At 1300, COLUMBIA MARU departs Hong Kong for Mako in a convoy also consisting of NAPLES and WALES MARUs escorted by gunboat HASHIDATE. At about 1545, the convoy is attacked by three USAAF Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk" fighters.As a result, the convoy reverses course and arrives back at Hong Kong at 1830.

31 August 1943:
At 0100, the convoy sets out again.

1 September 1943:
At 0600, the convoy anchors off Amoy, China. WALES MARU is detached. Later that day, COLUMBIA and NAPLES MARUs arrive at Mako.

3 September 1943:
At 0840, COLUMBIA MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Sasebo in convoy No. 299 also consisting of ASO, GYOKUREI, HASSHU (YASHIMA), HONAN, NAPLES and REIYO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36. COLUMBIA MARU carries 7,200 tons of sugar and 300 tons of aluminum.

4 September 1943:
SUGIYAMA and MATSUURA MARUs join the convoy at sea from Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan).

7 September 1943:
HASSHU (YASHIMA) MARU is detached for Pusan, Korea.

8 September 1943:
At 1230, arrives at Sasebo.

3 October 1943:
COLUMBIA MARU departs Moji with in convoy No. 103 also consisting of tanker KIYO MARU and HAKKO, HOKUSHIN, HOKKI, MINRYO MARUs and six unidentified merchants escorted by destroyers SHIOKAZE and ASAGAO. The convoy split into two parts shortly after departing port.

7 October 1943:
The first part arrives at Takao.

8 October 1943:
The second part arrives at Takao.

25 November 1943:
COLUMBIA MARU departs Palau in convoy SO-505 consisting of HOKKO, UCHIDE, YURI and CLYDE MARUs escorted by subchasrs CH-24 and CH-39.

28 November 1943:
LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270) attacks the convoy. At 1010, YURI MARU is hit by three torpedoes. She blows up and sinks at 01-45N, 141-52E. 38 troops of the 2nd Landing Unit and 13 crewmen are KIA.

Davis also hits HOKKO MARU aft and she sinks at the same location. Only one of 640 IJA troops and three crewmen are KIA. That evening, Davis attacks the convoy again, but is unsuccessful.

29 November 1943:
LtCdr Robert J. Foley's (USNA ’27) USS GATO (SS-212) attacks the convoy unsuccessfully.

30 November 1943:
N of the Admiralty Islands. GATO launches a second attack. Foley torpedoes and sinks COLUMBIA MARU, carrying 5,800-tons of fuel oil, provisions, motor boats and 180 survivors of YURI MARU at 01-56N, 147-21E. Abandoned and drifting, she sinks at 01-56N, 147-21E. One crewman is KIA.

USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from CH-24 that reads: “At 1624 received torpedo attack in 01-54N, 14-20E. COLUMBIA MARU is receiving attack. We are carrying out attack.”

1 December 1943:
At 0600, codebreakers decrypt another message from CH-24 that reads: "Have picked up survivors of COLUMBIA MARU which sank. My 0600 position 01-26N, 148-20E course 154 degrees.”

Authors' Notes:
[1] The last of the WW2 submarine skippers, Cdr William Donald "Bill" King (DSO & Bar, DSC) died 21 September 2012 at age 102 in Ireland. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/07/commander-bill-king?newsfeed=true and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_King_(Royal_Navy_officer)for much more on Cdr King.

Bob Hackett

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