YUSOSEN!



(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN HAKKO MARU:

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2007-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 2


10 January 1944:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Shipbuilding as a 10,022-ton Standard Merchant 1TL tanker for Kyodo Kigyo K.K., Tokyo.

9 May 1944:
Launched and named HAKKO MARU.

13 June 1944:
Kyodo Kigyo K.K. is taken over by Nippon Yusosen K.K., Tokyo.

30 June 1944:
Completed.

1944:
HAKKO MARU makes voyages as a civilian vessel under charter to the Imperial Army.

13 July 1944:
At 1600, HAKKO MARU departs Moji for Singapore carrying a cargo of vehicles on deck in convoy HI-69 consisting of escort carriers KAIYO and TAIYO, each loaded with aircraft for Luzon, tankers KOEI, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, HARIMA, SERIA, TENEI MARUs and transports KIMIKAWA, AKI, ASAMA, SAIGON, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), MANKO MARUs and possibly MANJU MARU escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-7 and CD-17. SHINYO's aircraft conduct patrols.

18 July 1944:
Near Takao, Formosa. HARIMA MARU straggles from the convoy. About 0600, LtCdr John J. Flachsenhar's USS ROCK (SS-274) fires four torpedoes at HARIMA MARU, but misses. At 0850, Cdr Alan Banister's USS SAWFISH (USS 276) fires nine torpedoes at the convoy at 21-58N, 119-50E. HARIMA MARU is hit by a single torpedo, but remains able to steam. At 1055, LtCdr Roger M. Keithy's USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and heavily damages CD-17 at 20-27N, 119-11E. The convoy continues to Manila without stopping at Takao as originally planned, but damaged CD-17 and HARIMA MARU put into Takao.

20 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

25 July 1944:
HAKKO MARU departs Manila in convoy HI-69's section bound for Singapore consisting of tankers OMUROSAN, TENEI, OTOWASAN, KUROSHIO, HARIMA and SERIA MARUs and transports KIMIKAWA, and KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) MARUs escorted by escort carrier SHINYO and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-7, CD-13 and CD-19.

31 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 August 1944:
At 2100, HAKKO MARU departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-70 consisting of oilers SERIA, KUROSHIO, OMUROSAN and OTOWASAN MARUs and MANJU, KINUGASA, ARIMASAN MARUs screened by SHINYO, KASHII, destroyer SHIMOTSUKI and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-13 and CD-19.

12 August 1944:
SADO is detached to hunt an enemy submarine. Later, she proceeds to Keelung (Kirun) separately.

15 August 1944:
At 1430, convoy HI-70 arrives at Moji.

25 August 1944:
At 0630, HAKKO MARU departs Moji for Singapore in convoy HI-73 consisting of landing ship carrier KIBITSU MARU, ex-armed merchant cruiser GOKOKU MARU, ex-seaplane tenders KAGU and SANUKI MARUs, tankers TOHO, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, TAIHO, FUJISAN, AMATO, TOA and KUROSHIO MARUs and fleet storeship IRAKO escorted by escort carrier UNYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-1, CD-13, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27.

Later that day, the convoy is joined briefly by transports MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs and tanker MANEI MARU.

26 August 1944:
At 0900, MIZUHO, ARABIA and KOKURYU MARUs are ordered away because of excessive smoke. CD-1 also detaches for Sasebo. MANEI MARU remains at Kyushu because of engine problems.

29 August 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. Departs that same day and arrives at Tsoying (near Takao).

1 September 1944:
Off Saei, , Formosa. The convoy splits. KIBITSU, GOKOKU and KAGU MARUs (and probably IRAKO) head for Manila. The remaining ships head for Singapore.

3 September 1944:
TOA MARU strikes a mine S of Saigon and is lightly damaged, but able to continue.

5 September 1944:
At 0954, arrives at Seletar, Singapore.

11 September 1944:
At 1100, HAKKO MARU departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-74 consisting of tankers AZUSA, OTAWASAN, HARIMA and OMUROSAN MARUs escorted by escort carrier UNYO, light cruiser KASHII and kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-13, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27.

16 September 1944:
At 2231, OMUROYAMA MARU is hit by a torpedo fired by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's USS QUEENFISH (SS-393). KASHII fires a red flare signalling a submarine attack, but at 2334, oiler AZUSA MARU is hit by two of a salvo of six bow torpedoes fired by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's USS BARB (SS-220). AZUSA MARU blows up and sinks with all hands. UNYO is hit starboard side by the other three torpedoes fired in Fluckey's salvo, one in the stern, the other in the engine room. UNYO settles aft.

17 September 1944:
By 0730, UNYO is listing heavily to starboard and the order is given to abandon ship. At 0755, UNYO sinks by the stern at 19-10N, 116-35E.

23 September 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

October 1944:
At Lingga fleet anchorage (S of Singapore).

16 October 1944:
Yokohama. Combined Fleet Headquarters at Keio University. Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) releases a dispatch that assigns oiler ITSUKUSHIMA MARU, minelayer YURIJIMA, kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-19 and CD-27 and minesweeper W-34 to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) First Striking Force's 1st Supply Force with oilers NICHEI, YUHO, OMUROSAN, RYOEI and BANEI MARUs. Later, HAKKO MARU and oiler NIPPO MARU are also assigned to Kurita's force.

17 October 1944: Operation SHO-I-GO ("Victory") - Battle of Leyte Gulf:
At 1125, Vice Admiral Kurita orders HAKKO and YUHO MARUs to proceed from Lingga to Brunei Bay, Borneo to refuel his Striking Force. Kurita detaches destroyers MICHISHIO and NOWAKI to escort the oilers.

18 October 1944:
At 1000, HAKKO MARU departs Singapore with YUHO MARU escorted by MICHISHIO and NOWAKI. YUHO MARU carries 6,300 tons of fuel and HAKKO MARU 13,000-tons. Their ETA at Brunei is 1100, 21 October.

20 October 1944:
Vice Admiral Kurita's Striking Force arrives at Brunei. At 1150, Kurita orders destroyers ASAGUMO and YAMAGUMO to sortie and find HAKKO and YUHO MARUs s. At 1300, Kurita orders KUMANO and YAHAGI to launch radar-equipped E13A1 Jake floatplanes to help the destroyers locate the fueling group and provide anti-submarine cover. At 1630, ASAGUMO and YAMAGUMO return to Brunei after searching in vain for HAKKO and YUHO MARUs.

21 October 1944:
At 1120 (JST), HAKKO and YUHO MARUs arrive at Brunei escorted by MICHISHIO and NOWAKI. At 1220, HAKKO MARU refuels Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's Striking Force, Force A (Center Force), BatDiv 1’s MUSASHI. YUHO MARU refuels BatDiv 1’s YAMATO.

22 October 1944:
At 0500, the refueling is completed. At 0800, Kurita's Striking Force departs Brunei and steams for Leyte Gulf via the Sibuyan Sea and San Bernardino Strait.

25 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO" (Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
In the course of battle, Kurita loses superbattleship MUSASHI, cruisers ATAGO, MAYA, CHOKAI, CHIKUMA and SUZUYA with KUMANO, MYOKO and TAKAO damaged severely. Several destroyers are also lost and damaged.

29 October 1944:
Brunei. HAKKO, YUHO and OMUROSAN MARUs refuel battleships HARUNA, KONGO and NAGATO, cruiser HAGURO, light cruiser YAHAGI and DesDiv 17’s HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE and YUKIKAZE. YUHO MARU refuels YAMATO.

31 October 1944:
At 0630 HAKKO, MANEI and YUHO MARUs and storeship HAYASAKI depart Brunei escorted by kaibokan CHIBURI and CD-19, submarine chaser CH-34 and destroyer SHIGURE. At 1930 the ships arrive at Miri.

6 November 1944:
At 0657, HAKKO MARU receives notice that kaibokan KURAHASHI and CD-32 have been ordered to proceed to Miri, Borneo and escort HAKKO MARU to Brunei where she will unload a cargo of oil in drums for the 2nd Fleet.

That same day, carrier JUNYO and light cruiser KISO, escorted by DesDiv 30's YUZUKI and UZUKI arrive at Brunei from Sasebo with ammunition resupply for Kurita's force.

8 November 1944:
At 0300, to avoid air raids, Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's Striking Force departs Brunei towards Pratas Islands (near Formosa Strait) with BatDiv 1's YAMATO, NAGATO, DesRon 10's light cruiser YAHAGI and DesDiv 17's four destroyers. Carrier JUNYO, cruisers TONE, ASHIGARA, light cruiser KISO and DesDiv 30 follow. JUNYO, TONE, KISO and DesDiv 30 are detached to Manila. The remainder of the task group makes a feint through the Balabac Strait, then turns towards Brunei.

11 November 1944:
Brunei Bay, Borneo. At 1000, Kurita's battleships YAMATO, NAGATO, HARUNA and KONGO, DesRon 10's light cruiser YAHAGI and DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE and YUKIKAZE arrive at the anchorage. HAKKO MARU refuels each warship.

16 November 1944:
Brunei Bay's anchorage is atttacked by 40 USAAF Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bombers and 15 Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighters. HAKKO MARU is not damaged. At 1830, BatDiv 1's YAMATO departs for Kure with BatDiv 3's KONGO, NAGATO, light cruiser YAHAGI and DesDiv 17's HAMAKAZE, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE and YUKIKAZE. HARUNA is detached and remains at Brunei with cruiser ASHIGARA and light cruiser OYODO.

November 1944:
HAKKO MARU departs Brunei for Singapore.

26 November 1944:
HAKKO MARU departs Singapore for Manila escorted by light cruiser OYODO, destroyer KISHINAMI and minelayer YURIJIMA. Kaibokan CD-17 joins en route.

1 December 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

2 December 1944:
HAKKO MARU departs Manila for Singapore escorted by destroyer KISHINAMI, kaibokan CD-17 and minelayer YURIJIMA.

4 December 1944:
NW of Palawan Island. About 1300, LtCdr (later Captain) George W. Grider’s USS FLASHER (SS-249) torpedoes and sinks destroyer KISHINAMI at 12-54N, 116-27 E and damages HAKKO MARU that begins burning.

At about 1900, FLASHER returns and again torpedoes HAKKO MARU that sinks at 13-12N, 116-37E. YURIJIMA rescues 150 of KISHINAMI’s survivors. CD-17 also rescues survivors of the sinkings.

At 1052, USN codebreakers intercept a message from YURIJIMA that says “Torpedo attack, damage incurred. Position 12-54 N, 116-27 E -- and HAKKO MARU ---.”

5 December 1944:
At 1020, USN codebreakers intercept another message from YURIJIMA that says “Have picked up following personnel: --- --- Division Commander and 128 men (6 seriously wounded), Master of HAKKO MARU and --- men. 22 Army and 263 Naval passengers (of whom 9 are seriously and 1 lightly wounded.) YURIJIMA will proceed as follows: ---.”


Authors' Note:

Thanks go to Sander Kingsepp of Estonia for info on HAKKO MARU from author Kimata Jiro's works and from Senshi Shoso. Thanks also go to John Whitman for info on USN intercepts of IJN messages.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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