KOKUKI-UMPANSEN!

(FUJIKAWA MARU in watime colors)

IJN FUJIKAWA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2007-2014 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.
Revision 4


20 October 1937:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ shipyard as a passenger cargo ship for Toyo Kaiun K. K.

15 April 1938:
Launched and named FUJIKAWA MARU. [1]

1 July 1938:
Completed and placed in service with Toyo Kaiun K.K. FUJIKAWA MARU is used on the Japan/North American run and then chartered to Mitsui Bussan K.K. for use to South America and India. She carries passengers and cargoes of raw silk, cotton, jute and flax.

9 December 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

16 December 1940:
Registered in the Yokosuka Naval District.

18 December 1940:
Kobe. Begins conversion to an armed auxiliary aircraft transport at Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Russo-Japanese war era British 5.9-inch guns are installed at the bow and stern.

20 January 1941:
The conversion is completed. Captain Ito Tokutaka (39)(former CO of KAMOI) is the CO.

21 March 1941:
Departs Genzan for central China Coast.

6 April 1941:
Arrives at Maizuru.

9 May 1941:
Departs Furue, near Hiroshima, for the South Seas (Micronesia).

2 June 1941:
The 12th Seaplane Tender Division's flag is transferred temporarily to FUJIKAWA MARU.

25 June 1941:
Captain Yamagata Shunji (45) (former CO of NOTORO) is appointed CO. Captain Ito is later posted CO of SHINKOKU MARU.

27 June 1941:
Returns to Furue.

July 1941:
Captain Inoue Samata (40) is appointed CO.

5 July 1941:
The flag of the 12th Seaplane Tender Division is transferred to KAMIKAWA MARU.

16 July 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

21 July 1941:
Arrives at Sana (Samah), Hainan Island.

August 1941:
Based in the Amoy area, off the Chinese coast.

7 September 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

11 November 1941:
Departs Takao, Formosa.

8 December 1941: Operation "E" - The Invasion of Malaya:
Saigon, Indochina. FUJIKAWA MARU is assigned to Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Matsunaga Sadaichi’s (41) (former CO of ISUZU) 22nd Naval Air Flotilla of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Tsukahara Nishizo’s (36) 11th Air Fleet.

23 December 1941:
Departs St Jacques, Indochina.

27 December 1941:
Arrives at Kota Bharu, Malaya.

2 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

30 January 1942:
Departs St Jacques.

1 February 1942:
Arrives at Kuching, Borneo with personnel and construction materials of the 22nd Naval Air Flotilla's Genzan Air Group.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

5 March 1942:
Departs Saigon.

7 March 1942:
Arrives at Kuching.

10 March 1942:
Departs Kuching.

13 March 1942:
Arrives at Bangkok, Siam.

11 April 1942:
Departs Bangkok.

13 April 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

17 April 1942:
Departs Saigon.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

25 April 1942:
Departs Palau.

1 May 1942:
Departs Truk.

30 May 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 June 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi. Probably loads aviation gasoline at the refinery.

14 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka .

18 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

20 July 1942:
Arrives at Aomori.

24 July 1942:
Departs Aomori.

25 July 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru.

16 August 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

23 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

20 September 1942:
Recalled Captain (Ret)(later Rear Admiral) Aihara Aritaka (38)(former CO of KAKO) is appointed CO.

28 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka. Arrives the same day at Kisarazu, Tokyo Bay. Probably loads fighter aircraft for transport.

18 November 1942:
Arrives at Tinian, Marianas.

22 November 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

26 November 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

8 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

17 December 1942:
Departs Yokosuka .

24 December 1942:
Reassigned directly to the 11th Air Fleet.

26 December 1942:
Arrives at Roi, Kwajalein. Probably delivers Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighter aircraft to the 201st Naval Air Group.

31 December 1942:
Arrives at Taroa.

5 January 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

7 January 1943:
Departs Ebaye, Kwajalein atoll.

10 January 1943:
Arrives at Jabor.

14 January 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit, Marshalls.

17 January 1943:
Arrives at Roi. Probably delivers A6M fighter aircraft to the 201st Naval Air Group.

25 January 1943:
Arrives at Nauru.

7 February 1943:
Auxiliary netlayer UJI MARU conducts an advance sweep for FUJIKAWA MARU at Jaluit which is expected later that day. The ship eventually anchors at Emidj Island within the Atoll.

9 February 1943:
Roi. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU.

5 March 1943:
Roi. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU.

6 March 1943:
Departs Roi.

15 March 1943:
Arrives at Kisarazu, Tokyo Bay. Probably loads A6M fighter aircraft for transport.

16 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

26 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi. Probably loads aviation gasoline at the refinery.

28 March 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi.

22 April 1943:
At 0946 departs Kwajalein escorted by auxiliary HOKOKU MARU No. 2.

Early May 1943:
Visits Emidj then returns to Kwajalein.

3 May 1943:
Departs Jaluit escorted by auxiliary subchaser SHONAN MARU No. 6.

4 May 1943:
At 1217 arrives at Kwajalein presumably accompanied by auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 3 and SHONAN MARU No. 6 that both arrived at 1245.

5 May 1943:
Departs Kwajalein in a convoy also consisting of CHIHAYA (ex Dutch TJISAROEA) and HAKUSAN MARUs and minelayer (ex Armored cruiser) TOKIWA escorted by subchaser CH-32.

9 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

14 May 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 4514 also consisting of CHIHAYA (ex Dutch TJISAROEA) and HAKUSAN MARUs escorted by destroyer INAZUMA and torpedo boat OTORI. The ship is attacked immediately after leaving port by an unknown submarine, but incurs no damage.

20 May 1943:
Anchors at Tateyama Bay, Japan.

22 May 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Yokohama. At 1100, moves to nearby Yokosuka.

7 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3607 consisting of FUJIKAWA, AMAGISAN and CHIHAYA (ex Dutch TJISAROEA) MARUs escorted by torpedo boat OTORI.

10 June 1943:
SSE of Bonin Islands. In a submerged daylight attack, Cdr (later Vice Admiral) Frank T. Watkins' (USNA ’22) USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) fires three torpedoes at FUJIKAWA MARU at 24-55N, 145-36E, but the attack is unsuccessful.

15 June 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

Late June 1943:
Truk. Lubricating oil is transferred from KEISHO MARU moored alongside. Later sails to Rabaul.

4 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Truk as sole ship in convoy No. 2031 escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

17 July 1943:
Departs Truk for Roi, Emidj, Mili and Tarawa in convoy 5172 also consisting of SANTOS MARU escorted by ships from Subchaser Division No.31.

21 July 1943:
At 1436 arrives at Kwajalein.

22 August 1943:
Reassigned to the Inner South Seas Area Fleet, First Base Force (11th Air Fleet).

11 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein in convoy No. 6113 consisting of cargo ships FUJIKAWA, CHIHAYA and KATORI MARUs, fleet oiler SHIRETOKO and possibly others escorted by subchaser CH-31, auxiliary subchaser CHa-46 and an unknown patrol boat.

12 September 1943:
Alerted by an Ultra signal, LtCdr (later Cdr) Carter L. Bennett's (USNA ’33) USS PERMIT (SS-178) intercepts the convoy. Bennett sets up and fires six torpedoes at three ships in submerged night attacks at 08-23N, 165-12E. He claims several hits including one on FUJIKAWA MARU and two on SHIRETOKO. That same day, light cruiser NAKA departs Truk to assist the torpedoed ships.

15 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

16 September 1943:
Arrives at Roi.

8 October 1943:
Captain Goto Denjiro (38) is appointed CO.

21 October 1943:
Auxiliary gunboat KATORI MARU comes alongside and her No. 2 and No. 3 guns are dismantled and loaded aboard FUJIKAWA MARU.

23 October 1943:
The gun dismantling is completed.

4 December 1943:
Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Aircraft from Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Charles A. Pownall's (USNA ’10) Task Force 50’s USS YORKTOWN (CV-10), LEXINGTON (CV-16) and light carrier USS INDEPENDENCE (CVL-22) attack Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls. They damage FUJIKAWA MARU, light cruisers NAGARA and ISUZU, auxiliary and transports EIKO, KINEZAKI and KENBU MARUs and MIKAGE MARU No. 18 and sink collier/oiler ASAKAZE MARU (19 crewmen KIA), water carrier TATEYAMA MARU (5 crewmen KIA), auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 7 (5 crewmen KIA) and small guardboat MIKUNI MARU No. 5 (unknown casualties).

24 December 1943:
At 0600 departs Roi in convoy No. 6242 consisting of FUJIKAWA MARU and MIKAGE MARU No. 18 with subchaser CH-29 and auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 7, SHONAN MARU No. 3 and SHONAN MARU No. 11 as escorts.

31 December 1943:
At 1130, arrives at Truk under tow by MIKAGE MARU No. 18. Probably scheduled for repairs by repair ship AKASHI.

1 January 1944:
Rerated an auxiliary transport and reassigned to the Ministry of the Navy's Supply Force. Attached to the Maizuru Naval Station.

February 1944:
FUJIKAWA MARU arrives at Truk and off loads 30 B6N "Jill" bombers onto Eten Airfield.

17 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
Beginning at dawn, Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher’s (USNA ’10) Task Force 58's five fleet carriers and four light carriers, supported by six battleships, ten cruisers and 28 destroyers, launch air attacks on airfields, shore installations and ships in the lagoon. Mitscher launches 30 strikes of at least 150 aircraft each. The strikes are launched about every hour.

Reserve Captain Takayama Chuyo’s anchored FUJIKAWA MARU is torpedoed by a TBF “Avenger” of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Frederick C. Sherman’s (USNA ’10) Task Group 58. 3 that includes USS BUNKER HILL (CV-17) and USS MONTEREY (CVL-26). The torpedo hits FUJIKAWA MARU starboard amidships, aft of the bridge superstructure. She fills with water and begins to slowly sink by the stern. FUJIKAWA MARU finally settles at the bottom of the lagoon on an almost even keel at 138 feet (42 m.) with no casualties. [3]

18 February 1944:
In two days of raids, Task Force 58 sinks 31 transports and 10 naval vessels (two cruisers, four destroyers and four auxiliary vessels, destroys nearly 200 aircraft and damages severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] Several Japanese sources name the same vessel FUJIGAWA MARU. Her sister KINUGAWA MARU was lost at Guadalcanal on 14 Nov '42.

[2] One Japanese source suggests FUJIKAWA MARU arrived at Wotje/Kwajalein on her own power that same day.

[3] Postwar, FUJIKAWA MARU's relatively shallow hulk became a favorite of recreational SCUBA divers at Truk. The fuselage sections of four A6M5 "Zeke" fighters are visible in Hold No. 2.

Thanks go to diver Mike Slater of the USA for first hand info on FUJIKAWA MARU's armament and to Matt Jones of the USA for CO info. .

Thanks also to Gilbert Casse of France for his contribution to revisions.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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