Japanese Army Auxiliary Transports


(GRACCHUS (later DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2018 Bob Hackett

E 1902:
Jarrow-on Tyne, Newcastle, England. Laid down at Palmers' Shipbuilding and Iron Co., Ltd., as Yard No. 756, a 3,925-ton passenger-cargo ship for Archibald Currie & Co. of Melbourne, Australralia.

Launched and named GRACCHUS.

September 1902:
Completed. She can accomdate 36 first class passengers.

19 June 1903:
Dunedin, New Zealand. A complaint is filed in the Otago Daily Times newspaper by laborers awaiting to be paid for shifting and fumigating cargo on GRACCHUS.

February 1904:
160 miles S of Rangoon, Burma (Myanamar). S. S. LAOMENE strikes a rock and sinks. The next day, GRACCHUS, heading south from Calcutta, picks up LAOMENE's crew. GRACCHUS returns to Calcutta and lands the crew.

January 1913:
Sold to British India Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland. Placed in India ~ Australia service.

24 June 1914:
British India Steam Navigation Company is taken over by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam (P&O) Navigation Company.

Serves as an Indian Expeditionary Force transport.

January 1923:
Departs Newcastle, NSW Australia for Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) carrying a cargo of coal for Colombo. Off Gabo Island she encounters a full gale that causes extensive damage to the foredeck. Returns to Sydney under escort of WANGARATTA for repairs.

July 1923: :
Sold to Hashiya Kisen, K. K. of Takasago, Japan. Renamed DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6. [1]

19 January 1938:
Off Osaka. In thick fog, DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 collides with and sinks 14-ton Japanese motor launch YEI MARU fog, but is able to rescue all the crew of the launch.

Name transliterated as DAIBOSI MARU.

E 1942:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and assigned Army No. 641.

28 May 1942:
DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Tokyo Bay northbound in an unnumbered convoy consisting of cargo/transports ECHIZEN, JINMU, KOWA, KANSEISHI, MOMOKAWA, NITTEI, and TAKAO MARUs and tanker KOSHIN MARU escorted by survey ship KOMAHASHI. Later that day, KOMAHASHI is detached to return to Yokosuka.

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

E 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJA as a Haitosen - shared Army/Civilian cargo ship (A/C-AK) - and assigned Army No. 5568.

28 January 1943:
DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Muroran in convoy No. 2128 also consisting of transports FUKUYAMA (ex-British FEDERLOCK) and IKOMASAN MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 7, cargo SAPPORO MARU No. 11 escorted by auxiliary gunboat HIYOSHI MARU No. 2 GO.

29 January 1943:
Arrives at Ofunato.

5 February 1943:
Departs Ofunato.

7 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

4 August 1944:
DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Moji for Takao, Formosa in convoy MOTA-22 also consisting of GASSAN, GENKAI, HAKUSAN, HIOKI, KENJO, KOSHIN MANSHU, NANREI, TACHIBANA, TEIHOKU MARU (ex-Vichy French PERSEE), TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN), TERUKUNI, RAKUTO, SHIRANESAN and SHONAN MARUs and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and five unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU, FUKUE, HIBURI, CD-8, CD-10, CD-25, CD-32 and CH-49, minelayer TAKASHIMA and gunboat UJI.

The convoy carries the 61st Independent Mixed Brigade, the IJA's 25th Tank Regiment redeploying from Baotau, N China to Formosa, the 5th Independent Field Artillery Battalion and the 406th and 407th Independent Infantry Battalions.

5 August 1944:
At 1600, kaibokan HIBURI departs Sasebo and later joins convoy MOTA-22.

6 August 1944:
Off SW Kyushu. At 0411, LtCdr (later Admiral/CinCPacFlt) Bernard A. Clarey’s (USNA '35) USS PINTADO (SS-387) torpedoes and gets three hits on SHONAN MARU carrying general cargo and four Daihatsu landing craft. She sinks at 30-55N, 129-45E. Three ship's gunners and two crewmen are KIA.

9 August 1944:
At 1310, KOSHIN MARU's cargo suddenly explodes and the ship sinks at 26-10N, 124-15E. 28 crewmen are KIA.

10 August 1944:
At 1600, the convoy arrives at Kirun (Keelung), Formosa (Taiwan). TEIKA and HIOKI MARUs are detached.

11 August 1944:
At 0330, the convoy departs Kirun and at 1430, arrives at at Saei (Tsoying) near Takao.

17 August 1944:
At 1900, DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Kagoshima in convoy KATA-717 also consisting of BRAZIL, DAISHIN, DAITOKU, DAIYA, ESASHI, HIKOSAN, HOKUYU, KORYU, KOTSU, MAKO, MIKAGE, SHINKO, SHIROTAE, TAIKYU, UJINA, UNTEN and WASHIN MARUs, HOEI MARU No. 2, IJN LST No. 135 and three unidentified merchant ships enroute to Koniya or Kagoshima, some direct and some via Naha. Escorts include kaibokan CD-30, torpedo boat TOMOZURU, minelayers NIIZAKI, NUWAJIMA, TSUBAME, subchasers CH-17 and CH-18, auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARUs No. 1 and No. 3, SHONAN MARU No. 16, CHITOSE and HOEI MARUs.

19 August 1944:
At 1200, arrives at Naha, Okinawa. Most ships in the convoy stop and unload.

8 September 1944:
DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Keelung in convoy TAKA-808 also consisting of BUSHU, KENJO, NICHIAN, NICHIMAN, SHINTEN, and SHOKEI MARUs, stores ship KINEZAKI and TOYO MARU No. 1 escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU, auxiliary NITTO MARU, and auxiliary netlayer SHINTO MARU No. 2.

At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Gordon W. Underwood's (USNA '32) USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) attacks the convoy. Underwood torpedoes and sinks NICHIAN MARUs at 24-45N, 123-20E. 51 crewmen are KIA. He also torpedoes and sinks NICHIMAN MARU at 24-45N, 123-20E. 53 crewmen are KIA.

At 2320, SPADEFISH torpedoes and sinks SHINTEN MARU. Eight crewmen and two gunners are KIA. He then torpedoes and sinks SHOKEI MARU. Two crewmen are KIA.

26 November 1944:
DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 departs Tsingtao, China for Shibaura carrying a cargo of salt.

29 November 1944:
Yellow Sea. S of Inchon, W coast of Chosen (Korea). LtCdr Edward E. Shelby's USS SUNFISH (SS-281) fires four torpedoes and gets two hits that sink DAIBOSHI MARU No. 6 at 37-17N, 125-11E. 46 men are KIA.

Author's Note:
[1] Also known as TAISEI MARU No. 6.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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