(Standard 2AT Tanker KENJO MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

E 1943:
Tsurumi, Yokohama. Laid down at the Nippon Kokan K. K shipyard as a 6,957-ton Type 2A Standard Cargo Ship for Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYK), Tokyo.

Launched and named EBARA MARU

8 September 1944:
Completed as an emergency Standard 2AT Tanker.

18 October 1944:
At 0700, EBARA MARU departs Imari Bay, near Sasebo, for Cap St. Jacques, Indochina and Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-23 consisting of MUNAKATA, HIKACHI (NISSHO), MATSUMOTO, KOSHIN, EININ, RITSUEI, YAMASONO, ENRYAKU (ENREKI), SHOEI, HIROTA, UNZEN, YOKAI and SHIROTAE MARUs and YUZAN MARU No. 2 and survey ship HAKUSA escorted by kaibokan CD-14, CD-20, CD-34, CD-38, CD-39, CD-46 and patrol boats PB-38 and P-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224).

20 October 1944:
Anchors in Raro Bay, Chosen (Korea).

22 October 1944:
At the Shushan anchorage, E of Shanghai.

24 October 1944:
75 miles ENE of Foochow, China. At 1000, HIROTA, UNZEN and YOKAI MARUs are detached for Takao escorted by PB-38 and PB-102.

25 October 1944:
Formosa Strait. At 0208, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O’Kane’s (USNA ’34) USS TANG (SS-306), running on the surface, torpedoes and sinks EBARA MARU at 25-04N, 119-35E. 11 crewmen are KIA.

MATSUMOTO MARU, following behind EBARA MARU, alters course intent on ramming TANG, but one of the torpedoes fired at EBARA MARU strikes onrushing MATSUMOTO MARU’s No. 1 hold. Her bow plunges under and she comes to a halt. Two machine guns on her bridge open fire and drive the submarine under where the water depth is a mere 131 feet.

Aboard HAKUSA, the convoy commodore orders the convoy dissolved. CD-34 is tasked with the rescue of survivors and conducting anti-submarine operations in the area. One cutter and a 6-meter motor boat are lowered to pick up the survivors of EBARA and MATSUMOTO MARUs. TANG commences another attack, but one of her remaining torpedoes commences a circular run. CD-34’s lookouts first spot the torpedo and then witness an explosion which sinks the submarine.

The convoy speeds onward. Nine American submariners are found drifting on the surface including Captain O’Kane. CD-34 rescues the survivors and later claims to have sunk TANG, but, in fact, the submarine was sunk by a defective Mark-18 torpedo that happened to be TANG's very last torpedo. CD-34 is detached with the POWs for Takao, Formosa.

- Bob Hackett

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