(A Standard 2A Class underway)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2018 Bob Hackett

20 January 1944:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. shipyard as Yard No. 678, a 6, 968-ton cargo ship for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line).

24 March 1944:
Launched and named EJIRI MARU.

25 April 1944:

12 July 1944:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA). Allotted Army No. 1270.

6 August 1944:
At 0900, EJIRI MARU departs Kagoshima in convoy KATA-626 also consisting of transports ARISAN, DAII, DAIIKU, DAITOKU, FUKUURA, KENJO, NAKAGAWA, SHINTON, TAIKEN, TAIYO, SEIZAN, TAKUSAN and TETSUZAN MARUs, civilian cargo ship NISSHO MARU escorted by torpedo boats TOMOZURU and MANAZURU, minelayers NUWAJIMA, NIIZAKI and TSUBAME, auxiliary minesweepers SHONAN MARU No. 16, HAKATA MARU No. 6, TAIAN, HIMESHIMA and SEKI MARUs and subchasers CH-18 and CH-17.

KATA-626 carries lead elements of the Manchurian-based 28th Division. Division headquarters, 3rd Infantry, 28th Mountain Artillery and engineer and signal regiments, baggage, and supplies. Non-divisional units include the 334-man 14th Independent Machine Gun Battalion and the 103rd, 104th and 105th Machine Gun Battalions (20mm cannons with 336, 338, and 337 men respectively). The 79th, 80th, and 81st Field Antiaircraft Battalions (eighteen 75mm guns each with 513, 517, and 514 men respectively), 181-man 215th and 182-man 259th Independent Automobile Companies and 711 men of the 72nd Land Duty Company and 496 men of the 103rd Sea Duty Company. 9 August 1944 At 1830, KATA-626 arrives at Naha, Okinawa and unloads through the night and for the next three days.

8 August 1944:
TOYOSAKA and SHINTON MARUs are detached from the convoy. Arrives at Miura Wan (Bay), Seso.

9 August 1944:
At 1830, arrives at Naha, Okinawa.

23 September 1944:
EJIRI MARU departs Moji in convoy MI-21 also consisting of CHOSAN, FUSHIMI, KENEI, KEISHIN, KEIZAN, TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA), TATSUBATO, TOYOKAWA, TSUYAMA and YOSHU MARUs and tankers EIKYO, SAN LUIS and SHUNTEN MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-104 (ex-Dutch Hr.Ms. VALK), auxiliary gunboat KAZAN (HUSAHAN) MARU, subchaser CH-21, auxiliary subchasers CHa-87, CHa-92 . Later that day, having departed Sasebo at 1700, tanker RYUEI MARU and cargo ship EIKO MARU and DAITO join the convoy.

28 September 1944:
TEIKA MARU is detached and arrives at Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan)

29 September 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Takao, Formosa (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and the convoy is dissolved.

1 October 1944:
At 1300, EJIRI MARU departs Takao for Manila, Philippines in convoy TAMA-29 also consisting of EIKO, KOSHO, JOGU, NANKING, PEKING, RYUEI, TEIFU (ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE), TOKO and TOYOKAWA and URATO MARUs, BANEI MARU No. 6 and five unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan CD-6, CD-16 and CD-20, torpedo boat HIYODORI, minesweepers W-38 and W-39, subchaser CH-61 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-95 and CHa-96. EJIRI MARU carries 1589 troops and tanks of IJA 2nd Tank Division.

3 October 1944:
At 1703, the convoy arrives at Camiguin Island.

5 October 1944:
JOGU MARU and BANEI MARU No. 6 are detached for San Vicente, Philippines.

6 October 1944:
At 1900, the convoy departs Camiguin Island, Philippines.

8 October 1944:
The convoy arrives at North San Fernando, Philippines. NANKING and PEKING MARUs, minesweepers W-38 and W-39, subchaser CH-61, auxiliary subchasers CHa-95 and CHa-96 are all detached.

10 October 1944:
Convoy TAMA-29 departs North San Fernando. Later, near the Cape Rena Sea. At 1335, LtCdr Donald G. Baer’s (USNA '37) USS LAPON (SS-260) torpedoes EJIRI MARU at 16-10N, 119-45E. At 1340, LAPON attacks again. Hit by two of 3 torpedoes fired, fires break out and become uncontrollable. Abandon Ship is ordered. Unmanned, the ship drifts away. At 1700 it runs aground on a reef and a violent explosion occurs. At 1800, EJIRI MARU sinks at 16-10N, 119- 45E. 191 troops and eight crewmen are KIA. The escorts drop 28 depth-charges, but USS LAPON is not damaged.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to the late John Whitman and Akira Takizawa of Japan. Thanks also go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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