RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(HAKUSHIKA MARU, prewar)

IJA Transport HAKUSHIKA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2018 Bob Hackett


11 February 1917:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Asano Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 4, a 8,151-ton passenger-cargo ship for Tatsuuma Kisen, K. K., Nishinomiya.

17 July 1917:
Launched and named HAKUSHIKA MARU. [1]

28 October 1917:
Completed.

19 October 1924:
HAKUSHIKA MARU arrives at Seattle, Washington.

24 January 1934:
HAKUSHIKA MARU arrives at Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident ("First China Incident"):
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) troops on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops across the river think they are under attack. They fire live rounds back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Peiping (Beijing) suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

1937:
Chartered to the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport.

10 November 1937: - The invasion of Hangzhou Bay, China:
Hangzhou Bay, an inlet of the East China Sea, lies south of Shanghai and ends at the city of Hangzhou. The bay contains many small islands called the Zhoushan Islands.40 transports escorted by five destroyers land LtGen Suematsu Shigeharuís 114th Division at Hangzhou Bay.

The 3rd Squad of the invasion convoy that departed Osaka on 30 October is led by destroyer MOCHIZUKI and consists of transports HAKUSHIKA, DAIMON, ETO, FUKUSHO KANKO, MALACCA, NAVEL, OIRDONO, SHIN-AI, SHUKI and TASMANIA MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1.

1938:
Renamed HAKUSIKA.

18 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a troop transport. Assigned Army No. 230.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" (M Sakusen) -The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 0900, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan) for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Hirose Sueto (39)(former CO of HARUNA) 3rd Lingayen Invasion Unit with 21 other IJA transports escorted by DesDiv 9's YAMAGUMO, minelayer WAKATAKA and four smaller warships.

The Japanese main invasion at Lingayen Gulf consists of three transport echelons. The first is composed of 27 transports from Takao under Rear Admiral Hara Kensaburo, the second of 28 transports under Rear Admiral Nishimura and the third under Rear Admiral Hirose. This force of 76 transports carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army.

24 December 1941:
Between 0110 and 0430, the transports land their troops at Lingayen.

17 July 1942:
The IJA releases HAKUSHIKA MARU back to her owners. She becomes a "Haitosen", an Army/Civilian (A/C) shared employment vessel.

17 July 1943:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs St Jacques in convoy No. 411 also consisting of tankers BISAN (MIYAMA), CHIYODA, GOYO, SEINAN and SUZAN (SUNGSHAN) MARUs and one unidentified merchant escorted by subchaser CH-19.

20 July 1943:
At 0730, CH-19 is detached.

22 July 1943:
At 1700, BISAN and SUZAN MARU are detached for Amoy at 22-42N, 119-11E.

At 2359, arrives at Takao.

26 December 1943:
At 0920, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Sasebo for Takao in convoy No. 124 also consisting of FUJI, HAVRE, HIDA, MOJI and NICHIYO MARUs escorted by parol boat PB-36.

31 December 1943:
The convoy arrives at Takao less FUJI and HAKUSHIKA MARUs detached earlier.

1 March 1944:
At 1635, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Moji for Takao, Formosa in convoy MOTA-07 also consisting of ATAGO, CHIYODA, KENSEI, KONSAN, NITTATSU, RIKKO, TEIKA (ex-Vichy French ' CAP VARELLA), SARAWAK, SUGIYAMA and YAMAHAGI MARUs escorted by destroyer AMAGIRI and minesweeper W-30.

4 March 1944:
MAESHIMA and destroyer ASAGAO join the escort of convoy MOTA-07 and two unidentified merchant ships from MOTA-05.

7 March 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU falls behind with engine problems, but later catches up at 1620.

8 March 1944:
TEIKA and YAMAHAGI MARUs are detached for Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan).

9 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

13 April 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Kirun (Keelung), Formosa in convoy TAMO-16 also consisting of HAWAII, HIOKI , NORFOLK and YASUKUNI MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 3 and eight unidentified merchants escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

20 April 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

20 May 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-20 also consisting of HIDA and TATEBE (KEMBU) MARUs and 13 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE. Convoy MOTA-20 is also accompanied by convoy TE-07 consisting of seven unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU and FUKUE.

25 May 1944:
Convoy TE-07 is detached for Kirun (Keelung).

26 May 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

20 May 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-20 also consisting of HIBI, HIDA, HOKUSHIN, HOSEN, JUNPO, KAIKO (851 gt), KOSHIN, MACASSAR, TATEBE (KEMBU), TATSUHATO, TEIFU, TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA) and YAMAGIKU MARUs and two unidentified merchants escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

26 May 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

28 May 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMA-20 also consisting of HAKUBASAN, HIBI, HOKUSHIN, HOSEN, JUNPO, KAIKO, KOSHIN (851 gt), MACASSAR, TATEBE (KEMBU), TATSUHATO, TEIFU, TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA) and YAMAGIKU MARUs and five unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE and kaibokan CD-11.

1 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

9 June 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Manila in convoy MASA-06 also consisting of HAKUBASAN MARU and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU and FUKUE and subchasers CH-19 and CH-43.

E 12 June 1944:
SHIMUSHU and FUKUE are detached and return to Manila.

E 15 June 1944:
CH-19 is detached.

4 July 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy SHIMI-05 also consisting of ASAKA, HOFUKU, KUROGANE, MEXICO, OLYMPIA, RASHIN, SEKIHO, SHIRAHATO, SAN DIEGO and TATSUBATO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

HAKUSHIKA MARU carries 609 Allied prisoners-of war (POWs) (300 British and 300 Dutch, mainly coming from the Burma-railway) ASAKA MARU carries 738 British POWs, SEKIHO carries 1,024 Allied POWs, RASHIN MARU carries 1,065 Allied POWs and HOFUKU MARU carries 1,287 British and Dutch POWs.

8 July 1944:
At 1842, arrives at Miri, Borneo. HOFUKU and SHIRAHATO MARUs are detached.

10 July 1944:
At 1550, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-08 also consisting of ASAKA, KUROGANE, MEXICO, OLYMPIA, RASHIN, and TATSUBATO, MARUs and tankers CHIHAYA, NITTETSU, OEI, RYUSHO, SAN DIEGO, SANKO (YAMAKO), SAN LUIS and TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo-boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.

11 July 1944:
At 1830, the convoy anchors in Kimanis Bay, SW of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

12 July 1944:
At 1300, the convoy departs Kimanis Bay. At 1015, TAKETSU MARU is detached for Miri.

16 July 1944:
From 0820 to 1400, the convoy is escorted by kaibokan MIKURA and torpedo boat HIYODORI. At 2035, the convoy arrives at Manila. ASAKA and RASHIN MARUs with their POWs are detached.

23 July 1944:
At 1545, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy MI-08 consisting of ARABIA, CHIHAYA, MANILA, MIZUHO, RYUSHO, SEKIHO and TATSUBATO MARUs and tankers SAN DIEGO, SAN LUIS, MIRI, NITTETSU, RYUSHO, SANKO (YAMAKO) and TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-1, CD-18 and CD-28, minesweeper W-17, minelayer ENOSHIMA and subchaser CH-61.

27 July 1944:
At 0920, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 and auxiliary transport OYO MARU join the escort. At 1605, the convoy arrives at Takao, Formosa .

30 July 1944:
At 1800, HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Takao in convoy MI-08 now consisting of ARABIA, BOKO (ex-British SAGRES), CHIHAYA, MANILA, TATSUBATO, TSUYAMA and ZUIHO MARUs and tankers EIHO, NITTETSU, MIRI, RYUSHO SAN DIEGO, SANKO (YAMAKO) and SAN LUIS MARUs and cargo ships TOUN and YAGI MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-1 and CD-18, torpedo-boat SAGI, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary netlayer KISHIN MARU.

1 August 1944:
At 1400, the convoy arrives at Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan) after it is suspected that enemy submarines had gained contact.

4 August 1944:
At 1600, the convoy departs Keelung for Kyushu.

9 August 1944:
N of Okinoshima. LtCdr Robert A. Keating's (USNA '33) BARBEL (SS-316) torpedoes and sinks YAGI and BOKO MARUs at 27-56N, 128-47E. CD-1 and W-17 carry out an antisubmarine sweep and drop 21 depth-charges that cause some damage to BARBEL. Afterwards, the convoy heads out of the area at full speed making evasive movements. At 1200, the convoy arrives at Koniya, Amami-O-Shima.

11 August 1944:
At 0400, the convoy departs Amami-O-Shima.

13 August 1944:
Arrives at Moji. Disembarks POWs.

3 September 1944:
HAKUSHIKA MARU departs Pusan, Korea for Japan carrying a part of 7th and 10th Tank Regiments of the 2nd Tank Division.

9 September 1944:
At 1200, DAIMEI MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-19 consisting of cargo ships HAKUSHIKA, ARISAN, DAIA, DAIBIN (OTOSHI), ENOURA, MATSUURA, NIKKO, TASMANIA , TEIFU (ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE), SHINSEI, SHUNSHO and YULIN MARUs and tankers CHIHAYA, IWAKUNI, KENZUI, MITSU and SAN DIEGO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, kaikoban ETOROFU, SHONAN, CD-6 and CD-16 and auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU. In the evening, land-based IJA aircraft provide ASW cover.

10 September 1944:
E of Quelpart Island. At 1212, LtCdr (later Cdr) Edward E. Shelby's (USNA '33) USS SUNFISH (SS-281) torpedoes and sinks CHIHAYA MARU at 33-49N, 127-41E. CHIHAYA MARU was steaming with sea water in her oil tanks as ballast and carried a deck cargo of 413 soldiers, mostly from the 2nd Company, 10th Tank Regiment, 2nd Tank Division and six Daihatsu landing craft and two armored cars. 79 soldiers and nine crewmen are KIA. The landing craft and armored cars are also lost. The convoy retires to Chinto (Chin Hajo Island) where it regroups. The escorts launch a concerted, but unsuccessful attempt to find the submarine.

12 September 1944:
Convoy MI-19 departs Chinto.

13 September 1944:
At about 1600, an unknown submarine attacks convoy MI-19. The escorts drop DCs. No damage is recorded.

17 September 1944:
ENOURA, KENZUI, MATSUURA, NIKKO and SHUNSHO MARUs are detached for Keelung escorted by kaikoban SHONAN.

18 September 1944:
At about 1000, arrives outside Takao. DAIBIN and SAN DIEGO MARUs are detached.

30 September 1944:
At 1200, DAIMEI MARU departs Takao in reorganized convoy MI-19 consisting of HAKUSHIKA, ARISAN, DAIA, DAIBIN, KENEI, IWAKUNI, MITSU, TEIFU(ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE), TASMANIA, SHINSEI and YULIN MARUs escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU, CD-18, CD-26 and subchaser CH-19.

2 October 1944:
Arrives at Aparri, N Luzon and at 2300 departs.

3 October 1944:
At 1500, arrives at Lapoc, N Luzon. ETOROFU is probably detached for Takao.

4 October 1944:
At 0600, departs Lapoc and at 1700 arrives at N San Fernando.

5 October 1944:
At 0600, departs North San Fernando.

6 October 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Manila.

17 October 1944:
Manila. Japanese naval authorities, fearing another air attack by Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain's (USNA í06) Task Force 38, order a number of ships out of Manila including HAKUSHIKA MARU.

At 1820, the "Taihi" (Refugee) convoy departs Manila consisting of ARABIA, EIMAN, DAIIKU, DAIKAI (TAIKAI), DAIMEI, KENEI, MANILA, SHINSEI, SHIRANESAN and TEIFU (ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE) MARUs and NICHIYU MARU No. 2 and tanker KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE, torpedo boat HIYODORI, subchaser CH-21 and auxiliary gunboats CHOUN and KAZAN (HUASHAN) MARUs.

HAKUSHIKA MARU joins the convoy at an unknown time and place. She is carrying about 2,000 troops including men of the Southern Air Route Department, Southern Army General HQ, Southern Army Meteorological Department, Southern Army Surveying Unit and 1st Independent Maintenance Unit of the Manila Air Depot.[1]

18 October 1944:
At 2015, LtCdr (later Captain) Eric L. Barr's (USNA '34) USS BLUEGILL (SS-242) torpedoes and sinks HAKUSHIKA MARU at 14-03N, 119-39E. 1,156 troops and 30 crewmen are KIA.

Authorís Notes:
[1] Also known as HAKUROKU MARU.

[2] According to Cdr John W. Alden's excellent "United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East", 4th Edition, HAKUSHIKA MARU was a straggler and not an "offical" member of the Taihi" convoy.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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