(Sister ADEN MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 3

9 September 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Shipyard Co., Ltd. as Yard No. 459, a 5,870-ton passenger-cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, (K Line) K. K.

4 December 1919:
Launched and named DENMARK MARU.

28 January 1920:

In service on K Line’s Hamburg ~ New York route.

6 December 1921:
DENMARK MARU arrives at Ellis Island, New York.

17 April 1935:
Sold to Hakuyo Kisen, K. K., Kobe.

17 Octobner 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 180.

14 December 1941:
DENMARK MARU departs Pusan, Korea carrying elements of the 23rd Independent Engineer Regiment.

8 January 1942:
Arrives at Singora, Siam (now Songhkla, Thailand) and lands troops.

19 February 1942:
At 0800, 39 troop transports of Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Eastern Java Invasion Force (Toho Koryaku Butai) depart the anchorage at Jolo Island, Philippines for Java carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division. En route, four more transports carrying the Sakaguchi Detachment (assigned to capture Tjilatjap) join the invasion convoy.

The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji's heavy cruisers NACHI and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruisers NAKA and JINTSU and DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO.

1 March 1942: Operation "J" (J Sakusen) - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force now consisting of 43 transports including DENMARK MARU enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java.

Just before dropping anchor, the ships suffer a fierce air attack. JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many KIA and WIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to be beached at 0200. Despite the air attacks, at 0015, the convoy lands the 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village, East Java. Their main objectives are the Surabaya Naval Base on the eastern coast and Tjilatjap harbor on the southern coast.

3 August 1942:
DENMARK MARU departs Cap St Jacques bound for Takao in convoy 425 also composed of ATAGO MARU boumd for Mako, OHIO MARU Hai Phong, Vichy French Indochina and TOKIWA MARU No, 1 bound for Takao and TOYAMA MARU bound for Whampoa escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

5 August 1942:
OHIO MARU is detached from the convoy at 11-35N, 112-46E to proceed to Hai Phong.

3 March 1943:
DENMARK MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul, New Britain in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy "E2" also consisting of GENMEI, KURAMASAN and YAMABUKI MARUs escorted by minelayers NATSUSHIMA and NUWAJIMA.

E 4 March 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

E 16 March 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

28 March 1943:
At 2000, DENMARK MARU departs Rabaul for Palau, Carolines in a convoy also consisting of KUROHIME, MAYA, NAGANO, TAIKO and YAMATO MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-24.

29 March 1943:
Late in the afternoon, LtCdr (later Captain) Arnold H. Holtz's (USNA ’31) USS TUNA (SS-203) sights the convoy, two escorts and two aircraft overhead. Holtz tracks the convoy into and through the night.

30 March 1943:
NE of Manus Island. At 0750, Holtz fires three torpedoes at the largest ship. Two hit and sink KUROHIME MARU at 00-35N, 147-55E. 27 passengers and nine crewmen are KIA.

5 April 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

23 May 1943:
23 May 1943: DENMARK MARU departs Palau for Hansa Bay, New Guinea in troop convoy “Hansa No. 3” also consisting of HOFUKU, HAKUTETSU, MAYA and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and SHINYU MARU MARU No. 13 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE. The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 20th Division.

3 June 1943:
Arrives back at Palau.

21 June 1943:
DENMARK MARU departs Palau for Hansa Bay, New Guinea in troop convoy “Hansa No. 4” also consisting of, KANKO, MAYA, NAGANO, SHINYU and YUBAE MARUs escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE. The convoy is carrying units of the IJA 20th Division.

2 July 1943:
Arrives back at Palau.

20 July 1943:
At 0800, DENMARK MARU departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 5" also consisting of ADEN, HANKOW, NAGANO and YUBAE MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA and subchaser CH-34.

25 July 1943:
At 0125, arrives at Hansa Bay, New Guinea. At 1750, three of the ships depart escorted by SHIRATAKA.

27 July 1943:
The remaining three ships join the others escorted by CH-34.

31 July 1943:
At 1151, arrives back at Palau.

19 September 1943:
DENMARK MARU departs Mako in convoy No. 205 for Moji consisting of CHINA, FUKUJU, HOKUAN, KYOKKO, NICHIEI, SEIZAN and TEIKO (ex-Vichy French D’ARTAGNAN) MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and auxiliary TOYO MARU No. 3.

20 September 1943:
The convoy is joined by IJA transports KENZUI, BIYO, TATSUHA, TOSEI and JINZAN MARUs and IJN ore carrier GINREI MARU.

24 September 1943:
At 1600, the convoy arrives at Moji less HOKUAN MARU detached earlier.

27 November 1943:
At 0700, DENMARK MARU departs Woosung (near Shanghai) in convoy MO-707 also consisting of ERIE MARU and five unidentified merchants escorted by minelayer KAMOME. DENMARK MARU is carrying troops of the IJA 36th Division's 224th Infantry Regiment ("Hollandia Detachment").

2 December 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

5 December 1943:
DENMARK MARU departs Saeki in convoy O-506 also consisting of ERIE, KOFUKU, SAIHO, SHINYO and TAIAN MARU No. 2 escorted by minelayer NUWAJIMA and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU No. 6 and OI MARUs.

E 7 December 1943:
Minesweeper W-18 joins convoy O-506. At 28N, all escorts are detached, except W-18.

14 December 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Palau.

11 January 1944:
DENMARK MARU departs Saeki via Palau for Rabaul in convoy O-105 consisting of YAMAZURU, ERIE and NARITA MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU. YAMAZURU MARU is towing Type A midget submarine HA-50. DENMARK MARU is carrying 2,899 troops of the IJA 51st Infantry Division including the 66th Infantry and 51st Transportation Regiments.

WSW of Cape Ashizuri. About 1230, ERIE MARU is torpedoed in hold No. 2 by LtCdr Charleton L. Murphy’s (USNA ’32) old USS STURGEON (SS-187) at 32-31N, 132-34E. At 1417, ERIE MARU lists over and sinks. She is carrying about 2,500 Army troops of the 5th Nanyo (South Seas) Group consisting of two large infantry groups, a tank group and an AA group of which about 200 are KIA. The escorts counter-attack and drop 51 depth-charges. STURGEON incurs slight damage, but escapes. The convoy returns to port.

13 January 1944:
Saeki. At 0200, the convoy again sets out for Palau joined by TARUSHIMA MARU towing another unidentified midget submarine.

14 January 1944:
155 miles SE of Tanega-Jima. At 2025, YAMAZURU MARU, loaded with aviation fuel and war supplies, is attacked by LtCdr (later Cdr) Royce L. Gross’ (USNA ’30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) at 28-25N, 133-30E. The ship is hit by a torpedo in her No. 2 hold and set afire. Her cargo of aviation fuel also catches fire. Hit by another torpedo, YAMATSURU MARU sinks also taking down midget submarine HA-50. Four passengers, two soldiers and 30 crewmen are KIA.

16 January 1944:
Philippine Sea. At 0130, a submarine fires two shells that fall in the sea near the stern of DENMARK MARU, but the submarine is driven off. At 1806, LtCdr (later Captain) Albert C. ("Acey) Burrows' (USNA ’28) USS WHALE (SS-239) torpedoes and sinks DENMARK MARU at 23-15N and 135-35E. 1,653 troops, 20 gunners and 31 crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
[1] Thanks go to the late John Whitman and to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for info on troops carried by DENMARK MARU. Thanks also go to Berend van der Wal of the Netherlands.

Bob Hackett

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