1944: Shanghai. Laid down at Kiangnan (Jiangnan Arsenal) Dock & Engineering Works (operated by Mitsubishi as Konan Yard) as a 2,270-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), K.K, Tokyo.
25 February 1944: Launched and named DOKAN MARU.
31 March 1944: Completed.
14 April 1944: Requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). Alloted IJA No. 1228.
9 December 1944: DOKAN MARU departs Kagoshima in convoy KATA-608 also consisting of DAIJO, FUKUYAMA, HIKOSAN, SHOTO and UJINA MARUs and NANRYU MARU No. 3 escorted by subchaser CH-49 auxiliary minesweeper TAIAN MARU and auxiliary patrol boat HOKOKU MARU No. 3 GO.
11 December 1944: The convoy arrives at Naha, Okinawa.
8 March 1945: DOKAN MARU departs Kagoshima for Naha in convoy KANA-803 also consisting of KEIZAN and SANKA MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-44, CD-118, auxiliary minesweeper TAIHEI MARU No. 3 and auxiliary netlayer SHINTO MARU No. 2. DOKAN MARU is carrying 603 cubic meters of petrol, 400 cubic meters of ammunition, 20 automobiles and other war supplies totalling 3, 352 cubic meters, as well as 29 passengers.
10 March 1945: N of Amami O-Shima. At 0445, LtCdr Edward Ackerman’s USS KETE (SS-369) torpedoes and sinks SANKA MARU at 29-25N, 128-15E. 51 crewmen and 605 troops are KIA.
At 0705, Ackerman torpedoes and sinks DOKAN MARU at 29-48N, 128-02E. 27 crewmen, 23 gunners and 4 passengers are KIA.
At 0710, KETE also torpedoes and sinks KEIZAN MARU at 29-25, 127-30E. 43 crewmen and 64 troops are KIA. She was carrying a cargo of 30 “Shinyo” explosive motor boats, 12 aerial torpedoes, 1000-tons of equipment and 500 barrels of gasoline.
USS KETE fails to return from this patrol.
Author’s Notes: Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.