YUSOSEN!

(FUJISAN MARU as an Iino Shoji tanker)

IJN FUJISAN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 1998-2013 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall
Revision 3


28 August 1930:
Aioi. Laid down by Harima Sanbashi (Harima Pier Co.) as Hull No. 179, a 9,527-ton merchant tanker for Iino Shoji Kisen Kaisha K. K., Fuchu.

31 May 1931:
Launched and named FUJISAN MARU

27 August 1931:
Completed and begins service with Iino Shoji's tanker fleet.

September 1931:
Completes her maiden voyage transporting heavy oil from the Oha (now Russian Okha) oil field at North Sakhalin to Tokuyama.

1931:
On Iino Shoji's North American-Japan oil transport service. Completes eight voyages: four for the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan, two for Mitsubishi Sekiyu and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

1932:
Completes 11 voyages: eight for the IJN, two for Mitsui Bussan and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

1933:
Completes 13 voyages: five for the IJN, two for Mitsui Bussan, two for Maruzen Sekiyu, two for Ogura Sekiyu and one for Hayayama Sekiyu.

1934:
Completes 11 voyages: eight for the IJN, two for Mitsui Bussan and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

1935:
Completes 11 voyages: nine for the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

1936:
Completes nine voyages: seven for the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan and one for Nomura Jimusho.

1937:
Completes eight voyages; seven for the IJN and one for Nippon Sekiyu.

1938:
Completes 10 voyages; seven for the IJN and three for Chosen Sekiyu.

1939:
Completes seven voyages; five for the IJN, two for Mitsui Bussan and one for Daido Kaiun.

1940:
Completes eight voyages; two for the IJN, one for Mitsui Bussan, three for Toa Sekiyu and two for Chosen Sekiyu.

1941:
Completes four voyages: one for the IJN and three for Toa Sekiyu Kyokai.

13 June 1941:
Owner Iino Shoji restyles its name to Iino Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd.

22 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN and registered (commissioned) in the IJN as a Converted Merchant Transport (Oil Supply) in the Kure Naval District. An unknown merchant marine captain is appointed Supervisor.

2 December 1941:
Begins conversion at the Sanoyasu Dockyard. Two 120-mm HA guns and two 25-mm AA guns are fitted and depth charge rails installed. A hydrophone (or passive sonar) is fitted.

7 December 1941: Operation "Z" - The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
FUJISAN MARU participates in the replenishment of submarines assigned to the attack .

24 December 1941:
The conversion is completed.

5 February 1942:
Departs Kure for Palau.

16 February 1942:
Palau. Submarines I-1, I-2 and I-3 arrive and are refueled by FUJISAN MARU. The next day, the submarines depart for Staring Bay, Celebes.

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

7 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

20 March 1942:
Attached to the Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

1 May 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

26 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
Oilers FUJISAN and NISSAN MARUs and three cargo ships depart Ominato for the Aleutians with Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (36) (former CO of MUTSU) Northern Force's Main Body's CruDiv 5's NACHI (F) and destroyers INAZUMA and IKAZUCHI accompaning Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (39)(former CO of NAGATO) Second Carrier Striking Force's CarDiv 4's JUNYO and RYUJO, CruDiv 4's TAKAO and MAYA, and destroyers AKEBONO, USHIO, SHIOKAZE and SAZANAMI.

29 May 1942: Operation "AL" - The Seizure of Attu and Kiska:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) (former CO of ISE) Adak-Attu Invasion Force departs Mutsu Bay consisting of DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, DesDiv 21's HATSUHARU, HATSUSHIMO, WAKABA and NENOHI, seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU, transport KINUGASA MARU and minelayer MAGANE MARU.

Admiral Omori’s Adak-Attu Invasion Force accompanies Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ono Takeji's (44) Kiska Invasion Force: CruDiv 21’s TAMA and KISO, destroyers HIBIKI, AKATSUKI and HOKAZE, auxiliary cruiser ASAKA MARU and transports HAKUSAN and KUMAKAWA MARUs.

1 June 1942:
The Invasion Force arrives at Paramushiro. Departs the same day.

3 June 1942:
The Second Carrier Striking Force detaches and launches air attacks against American installations in the Aleutians at Dutch Harbor and Unalaska Island.

6 June 1942:
The Second Carrier Striking Force rejoins the Northern Force to cover the invasion of Attu and Kiska Islands.

BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KONGO, CarDiv 3's ZUIHO and seaplane carrier KAMIKAWA MARU detach from Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) (former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Force with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and join the Second Carrier Striking Force SW of Aleutians.

7 June 1942:
Vice Admiral Hosogaya's Fifth Fleet captures Attu and Kiska.

18 June 1942:
Kiska. An LB-30 "Liberator", three B-17 "Flying Fortesses" and four B-24 "Liberators" of the USAAF's 11th Air Force bomb the harbor and sink oiler NISSAN MARU with the loss of only one crewman.

3 July 1942:
Agattu Island. A flight of seven USAAF B-24s bomb MacDonald Bay anchorage harboring FUJISAN MARU, seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU, cargo ship KIMIKAWA MARU and six destroyers; all three large ships suffer light damage.

13 July 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

7 August 1942: American Operation “Watchtower” – The Invasion of Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K. Turner's (USNA ’08) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (USNA ’06) Task Force 63’s land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant) Alexander A. Vandergrift’s 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.

20 August 1942:
Reassigned to the Combined Fleet.

25 August 1942:
Departs Ominato for Rabaul

September 1942: Operation "KA" - The Reinforcement of Guadalcanal:
Shortland. FUJISAN MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Mikawa's Gunichi's (38) Eighth Fleet. She refuels warships involved in the Solomons campaign and is bombed and damaged at an unspecified date.

7 September 1942:
Rabaul. Transfers 800 tons of fuel oil to auxiliary seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU.

6 October 1942:
Arrives at Kure

19 October 1942:
Departs Kure

25 November 1942:
Joined by minelayer NUWAJIMA off Fukajima and escorted south.

E 26 November 1942:
NUWAJIMA is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

10 December 1942:
Shortland. FUJISAN and TOA MARUs are attacked by 11 USAAF B-17 bombers and six fighters and damaged. Minelayer TSUGARU comes alongside burning FUJISAN MARU to help extinguish the fires. 30 sailors are KIA and her diesels are wrecked.

22 December 1942:
Shortland. FUJISAN MARU transfers her cargo of oil to TOA MARU. Later, FUJISAN MARU steams to Rabaul where she probably undergoes temporary repairs by repair ship YAMABIKO MARU.

10 January 1943:
Auxiliary netlayer UJI MARU conducts an advance sweep for FUJISAN MARU at Jaluit which is expected later that day.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 January 1943:
At 1320, departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama at 1500 the same day. Enters dry dock for repairs.

28 March 1943:
Repairs are completed.

29 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

30 April 1943:
At 1200, departs Yokkaichi.

10 May 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

12 May 1943:
Departs Palembang.

19 May 1943:
At 1630, arrives at Singapore.

20 May 1943:
At 1600, departs Singapore for Palembang.

28 May 1943:
At 1800, departs Singapore for Balikpapan.

15 June 1943:
At 0730, convoy No. 853 consisting of oilers FUJISAN and KYOEI MARUs and cargo ship ROKKOSAN MARU escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE departs Manila.

18 June 1943:
At 0730, arrives at Takao.

3 July 1943:
Departs Takao in F convoy also consisting of one unidentified merchant ship escorted by the old destroyer ASAGAO.

4 July 1943:
After No. 172 convoy is attacked nearby the convoy seeks shelter in the Nansei Shoto.

7 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

24 August 1943:
Departs Manila in convoy No. 8283 consisting of fast oilers FUJISAN and TOA MARUs. In addition to an oil cargo it is believed FUJISAN MARU carried 700 small mines as deck cargo.

27 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

2 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

7 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

25 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein in convoy consisting of FUJISAN MARU and passenger ship HIE MARU with an unknown escort to Jaluit.

13 October 1943:
Departs Truk by the N Channel escorted by torpedo boat OTORI.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

29 October 1943:
At 1415, arrives at Palembang.

November 1943:
FUJISAN MARU is assigned to the No. 2 Replenishment Unit of the "Diversion Attack Force", part of the 2nd Fleet's Support Force, comprising the "Surprise Attack Force" in the "Z" Operation. [1]

18 November 1943:
Arrives at Truk's N Channel, escorted by destroyer INAZUMA.

3 December 1943:
Arrives at Ponape escorted by destroyer KAZAGUMO.

7 December 1943:
At 0430, departs Truk in convoy No. 7072 consisting of fast oilers FUJISAN and SHINKOKU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224) and destroyers TAMANAMI and SHIMAKAZE. The destroyers escort the convoy as far as latitude 135E.

11 December 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

13 December 1943:
At 0730, departs Palau in convoy No. 2515 consisting of oilers FUJISAN, SHINKOKU and HAKUBASAN MARUs OGURA MARU No. 3 and small cargo ship SHOYU MARU bound for Tarakan. SHINKOKU MARU and ammunition ship ARATAMA MARU are bound for Balikpapan escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-26 and CHa-27.

17 December 1943:
At 1700, SubChaser CH-6 joins the escort. At midnight, the subchaser and the Tarakan-bound ships split away from the convoy.

19 December 1943:
At 1045, arrives at Balikpapan.

24 December 1943:
Departs Surabaya for Balikpapan to load aviation fuel for Rabaul.

29 December 1943:
At 0800, FUJISAN, AKEBONO and SHINKOKU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-102 depart Balikpapan via Palau for Truk.

2 January 1944:
Patrol boat PB-102 is detached from the convoy which sails on temporarily unescorted. Later, FUJISAN, AKEBONO and SHINKOKU MARUs join a westbound convoy.

3 January 1944:
At 0328, AKEBONO MARU is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Cdr) James W. Davis' (USNA ’30) USS RATON (SS-270). The ship remains afloat, damaged but still underway. At 1130, destroyers HAYANAMI and UZUKI join the convoy from Palau. HAYANAMI escorts AKEBONO MARU to Palau separately while UZUKI and the other two oilers steam ahead to Palau.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

5 January 1944:
Departs Palau. Later, destroyer TACHIKAZE also departs Palau and at 0700 joins the convoy.

10 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk still in convoy.

13 January 1944:
Departs Truk for Tarakan.

January 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan. Loads crude oil.

January 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan. Unloads crude oil and loads heavy oil. Departs for Truk.

16 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk. Begins unloading heavy oil.

19 January 1944:
Departs Truk in a convoy consisting of fast oilers FUJISAN and SHINKOKU MARUs and an unknown escort.

27 January 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan.

29 January 1944:
At 1930, departs Tarakan in a convoy consisting of FUJISAN and SHINKOKU MARUs escorted by DesDiv 27's SHIGURE and HARUSAME.

31 January 1944:
At 1030, arrives at Balikpapan.

3 February 1944:
At 1058, departs Balikpapan in a convoy consisting of FUJISAN and SHINKOKU MARUs and passenger-cargo AMAGISAN MARU transporting avgas escorted by SHIGURE and HARUSAME and the General Escort Command's destroyer OITE.

10 February 1944:
Arrives at Ulithi Atoll and one, or both, oilers unload some fuel.

11 February 1944:
At 1200, the convoy departs.

14 February 1944:
Arrives at Truk. Begins unloading heavy oil.

17 February 1944: American Operation "Hailstone" - The Attack on Truk:
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. Beginning at dawn, the strikes are launched about every hour for two days.

Captain Watanabe Yoshio's (50) FUJISAN MARU is moored to the fuel pier on the south side of Dublon Island. Planes from USS INTREPID (CV-11) report her getting underway at the time of their attacks on Dublon and Eten Island. FUJISAN MARU makes for Truk's North Pass where she is attacked by Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bombers from USS BUNKER HILL(CV-17).

FUJISAN MARU is hit by a single 1,000-lb bomb as she proceeds through the pass to the sea. The hit causes a large fire. All of TF 58's air groups begin attacking ships grouped N to NW of North Pass. In view of these attacks, Captain Watanabe reverses course and returns to the lagoon.

18 February 1944:
At dawn, SBD dive-bombers from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) arrive over the anchorage and spot FUJISAN MARU between Moen and Dublon Islands underway on an east bound course. The SBDs drop three bombs and score a hit on her stern depth charge storeroom and two near misses. Fires rage and FUJISAN MARU's engine room is heavily damaged. She loses headway, stops and begins to founder.

At 1100, Abandon Ship is ordered. FUJISAN MARU sinks by the stern and settles on the bottom listing to port at a 45-degree angle at a depth of 200 feet. Captain Watanabe survives, but two of his crew and two soldiers aboard the ship are killed in the attacks.

During the raids, TF 58 sinks 31 merchant transports and 10 naval vessels, destroys nearly 200 aircraft and damages severely about 100 more. Truk is eliminated as a major fleet anchorage for the IJN.

30 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Author's Notes:
[1] Admiral Koga devised Operation "Z" to concentrate the Combined Fleet's naval strength to confront and annihilate the US Pacific Fleet. The moment for decisive action by this force was to come when US Forces penetrated the Philippine Sea, approached the Marianas or the Palaus, or reached the coast of northern New Guinea.

Thanks go to Sander Kingsepp of Estonia and Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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