HAMBURG MARU, prewar)
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2012-2017 Bob Hackett
Yokohama. Laid down at Uchida Shipyard Co., Ltd. as a 5,271-ton cargo ship for the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK Line), K. K., Tokyo.
25 October 1920:
Lauched and named HAMBURG MARU.
15 December 1920:
Completed. HAMBURG MARU can accommodate two 1st class passengers and ten 3rd class passengers. She carries 52 crewmen.
On OSK’s Japan ~ North America cargo service.
27 October 1925:
Transferred to OSK’s Kobe ~ Bombay ~ Calcutta route.
2 November 1932:
26 March 1933:
Arrives at Singapore from Kobe and Hong Kong.
24 September 1933:
Arrives at Singapore from Kobe and Hong Kong.
27 December 1935:
28 June 1936:
Arrives at Singapore.
4 June 1937:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a troop transport. Alloted IJA No. 548.
18 December 1941: The Invasion of the Northern Philippines:
At 1200, HAMBURG MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in Rear
Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Rear Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) 2nd Lingayen Invasion Unit with 27 other IJA transports escorted by
DesRon 2's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO, minesweepers W-9, W-10, W-11, W-12, W-17 and W-18 and subchasers CH-4, CH-5,
CH-6, CH-10, CH-11, CH-12, CH-16 , CH-17 and CH-18.
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 of 21 transports from Keelung under Rear Admiral Hirose Sueto. This force of 76 transports carries the main part of LtGen Homma Masaharu's 80,000-man 14th Army.
24 December 1941:
HAMBURG MARU and Rear Admiral Nishimura's 2nd Lingayen Invasion Unit arrive at Lingayen Gulf between 0110 and 0430. At 0530,
LtGen Dobashi's 2nd Lingayen Invasion Unit begins landing troops.
19 February 1942:
At 0800, 39 transports of Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet, Eastern Java Invasion Force (Toho Koryaku Butai) depart the anchorage at Jolo Island, Philippines for Java carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division. En route, four more transports carrying the Sakaguchi Detachment (assigned to capture Tjilatjap) join the invasion convoy.
The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral Nishimura's heavy cruisers NACHI and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruisers NAKA and JINTSU and DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO.
27 February 1942: The Battle of the Java Sea:
At 1547, HAGURO and NACHI, DesRon 2's JINTSU with DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE engage Dutch Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman's Strike Force's light cruiser HrMs DE RUYTER (F), heavy cruisers HMS EXETER and USS HOUSTON (CA-30), light cruisers HMAS PERTH and HrMs JAVA, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER, HrMs KORTENAER and WITTE de WITH and old destroyers USS ALDEN (DD-211), JOHN D. EDWARDS (DD-216), JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and PAUL JONES (DD-230).
During this day and the next day’s engagements, Doorman's Strike Force loses HMS EXETER and USS HOUSTON (CA-30), light cruisers HMAS PERTH, HrMs DE RUYTER, HrMs JAVA, destroyers HMS ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER and HrMs KORTENAER to superior Japanese forces. The Allies also lose old four stack USS POPE (DD-225).
1 March 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East Indies:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force now consisting of 43 transports including HAMBURG MARU enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java.
Just before dropping anchor, the ships suffer a fierce air attack. JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many KIA and WIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to be beached at 0200. Despite the air attacks, at 0015, the convoy lands the 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village, East Java. Their main objectives are the Surabaya Naval Base on the eastern coast and Tjilatjap harbor on the southern coast.
29 September 1942: Oki Transportation Movement, Part 4:
At 0640, HAMBURG MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul in convoy Oki, Part 4, also consisting of CHOKO and IKUSHIMA MARUs escorted by destroyers HATAKAZE and MINEKAZE, torpedo boat HATO and patrol boat PB-31. The convoy probably carries units of the IJA 17th Army’s 38th "Sendai" Infantry Division.
5 October 1942:
At 0820, arrives at Saipan, Marianas.
6 October 1942:
At 0430, departs Saipan.
13 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain. Disembarks troops.
13 April 1943:
HAMBURG MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy K-413 also consisting of HIMALAYA, DAIFUKU, IKOMA, SORACHI and YOSHINO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO and patrol boat PB-46.
E 14 April 1943:
PB-46 is detached at 29N.
21 April 1943:
The convoy arrives at Palau. DAIFUKU MARU and torpedo boat HATO are detached. IKOMA MARU departs for Wake Island while HAMBURG MARU and the others depart for Rabaul with an unknown escort.
E 28 April 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.
7 August 1943:
HAMBURG MARU departs Takao for Yulin, Hainan Island in convoy No. 314 also consisting of tankers KONSAN and NITTETSU MARUs, civilian cargo ship FUKUJU MARU, cargo ship KENSEI (ex-British HINSANG) MARU, IJA transport LONDON and RYUYO MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU. KOTO MARU No. 2 GO is detached from the convoy at an unknown date and place.
11 August 1943:
Arrives at Yulin.
12 August 1943:
Arrives at Samah, Hainan Island.
16 August 1943:
Returns to Yulin. Probably loads a full cargo of iron ore.
Departs Yulin for an unknown location in Japan, possibly Yawata.
12 October 1943:
At 1250, HAMBURG MARU departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera in convoy H-2 also consisting of SUEZ and YUBAE MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-103. The convoy carries the 101st, 102nd, 103rd and 104th Field Airfield Construction Unit7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 13th Taiwanese Auxiliary Labor Groups.
14 October 1943:
At 1620, convoy H-2 arrives at Cebu and partially unloads. PB-103 is detached and replaced as escort by minelayer WAKATAKA.
14 October 1943:
WAKATAKA departs Cebu, Philippines escorting convoy H-2 to Kau Bay, Halmahera Island consisting of HAMBURG, SUEZ, and YUBAE MARUs.
27 October 1943:
29 October 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Kau.
5 November 1943:
HAMBURG MARU departs Kau for Manokwari, New Guinea in convoy H-1 also consisting of MYOGI MARU escorted by auxiliary netlayer HINOKI MARU.
The convoy carries the 7th and 8th Taiwanese Auxiliary Labor Groups.
8 November 1943:
At 1700, arrives at Manokwari and begins unloading.
9 November 1943:
At 0807, departs Manokwari.
11 November 1943:
At 1300, convoy H-1 arrives at Kau.
26 November 1943:
Off Davao, Philippines. HAMBURG MARU joins convoy H-6 consisting of CHINKAI, TATSUHARU, NANREI, RYUSEI and FUJIKAWA MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-103
29 November 1943:
At 0815, arrives at Kau, Halmahera.
6 December 1943:
At 0530, HAMBURG MARU departs Kau for Manokwari in convoy No. 1 also consisting of CELEBES and ADEN MARUs escorted by minelayer WAKATAKA. The convoy is carrying elements of the 36th Division and 2nd Army headquarters, 88th Casualty Clearing Unit, 2nd Army Field Motor Depot, 36th and 37th Special Land Duty Construction Companies, 72nd and 73rd Construction Duty Companies and 27th Field Water Supply and Purification Department and the 99th Independent Wire Company.
8 December 1943:
At 2030, arrives at Manokwari. Unloads troops and cargo.
10 December 1943:
At 0520, the convoy departs Manokwari.
12 December 1943:
Arrives at Ambon, Ceram Island, Moluccas. Lands the 201st Construction Unit and materials and departs.
13 December 1943:
At 1715, arrives at Kau.
16 December 1943:
Arrives at Makassar.
20 December 1943:
26 December 1943:
Loads bauxite ore at Bintan.
27 December 1943:
Departs Bintan. Arrives at Singapore.
7 March 1944:
HAMBURG MARU departs Pusan, Korea for Ujina in convoy Nishi-Matsu ("West Pine") No. 2 carrying the IJA 4th Expeditionary Unit, 12nd Infantry Group Hq, 1st Division, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 1st Division, 3rd Battalion, 49th Infantry, 1st Division, 3rd Battalion, 57th Infantry, 1st Division, 3rd Battalion, 1st Artillery, 1st Division, 3rd Company,1st Engineer, 1st Division, 1st Co, 52nd Field Anti-air Artillery Battalion and 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 25th AAA Regiment.
8 March 1944:
DAIZEN MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-09 also consisting of liner TEIRITSU MARU (ex-French LECONTE DE LISLE) and cargo ships BATOPAHAT, TAKETOYO, HAMBURG, KYOKUZAN, MATSUE, MURORAN, CHUYO, BUNZAN, TAIYU, SHOEI MARUs, HINO MARU No. 1 and tankers OGURA MARU No. 2 and SAN LUIS MARU escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE and patrol boat PB-38. Later that day, arrives at Tomie Bay, Goto Retto, Fukue-Jima.
9 March 1944:
Convoy MOTA-09 departs Tomie Bay for Takao.
E 10 March 1944:
Patrol boat PB-38 joins the escort of MOTA-09.
11 March 1944:
CHUYO MARU develops engine trouble. At 0950, PB-38 is detached to find her, but is unsuccessful and later rejoins the convoy.
12 March 1944:
Minelayer MAESHIMA joins the escort of the convoy.
13 March 1944:
At 1844, an enemy submarine is detected at 25-58N,
121-34E. The escorts drop 50 depth charges and drive it off.
PB-38 detects another enemy submarine and drives it
away by dropping three depth charges. Convoy MOTA-09 arrives at Mako.
15 March 1944:
Departs Mako. At 1845, arrives at Takao.
20 March 1944:
HAMBURG MARU departs Takao for Mereyon in combined convoys Nishi-Matsu No. 2/TAPA-06 also consisting of CHUYO and MATSUE MARUs escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE, patrol boat PB-38 and minelayer MAESHIMA. The convoy is carrying two infantry battalions, a pioneer company, an engineer company, and a company of anti-aircraft artillery.
26 March 1944:
N of Palau. During a violent rain squall, LtCdr (KIA) Charles F. Brindupke's (USNA ’32) USS TULLIBEE (SS-284) makes radar contact on a convoy consisting of a large passenger-cargo ship, two medium-sized freighters, a destroyer, and two other escorts. Brindupke makes several surface runs on the transport, but keeps losing her in rain squalls. TULLIBEE finally closes to 3,000 yards and fires two bow torpedoes. About two minutes later, TULLIBEE is rocked by a violent explosion and sinks at 134-45E, 09-30N.
27 March 1944:
At about 1000, a single survivor of TULLIBEE is rescued by WAKATAKE. The convoy arrives at Palau. 
1 April 1944:
HAMBURG MARU departs Takao for Yap in Convoy Nishi-Matsu No. 2 carrying 2,700 men of the 4th Expeditionary Unit (all from the IJA 1st Division including the 12th Infantry Group headquarters; 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry; 3rd battalion, 49th Infantry; 3rd Battalion, 57th Infantry; 3rd Battalion, 1st Artillery; and 3rd Company, 1st Engineers) 1st Company, 1st Company, 52nd Field Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion and one company and one platoon of a shipping engineer regiment, 4 trucks, 3 large and one small landing craft (probably 3 Daihatsus and 1 Shohatsu) and 3,400 cubic meters of materiel.
14 April 1944:
Arrives at Yap.
2 June 1944:
HAMBURG MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-21 (part 1) also consisting of AZUCHISAN, CLYDE, HAVRE (5467 GRT), NARUO, SEKIHO, TAMA, TATSUAKI, SHINSHO, TSUYAMA MARUs, KOTO MARU No. 2 GO, SHINSEI MARU No. 5 and eleven unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-14, subchasers CH-23, CH-56 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-90 and CHa-95.
3 June 1944:
KOTO MARU No. 2 GO joins from Karatsu Bay.
7 June 1944:
At 0900, a submarine is sighted at 28-18N, 123-03E. Later that day, TAMA MARU is detached for Kirun, arriving there the next day.
9 June 1944:
At 0900, a submarine is sighted at 24-50N, 120-30E.
10 June 1944:
Arrives at Takao. Later that day, HAMBURG MARU departs Takao in convoy MOTA-21 (part 2) also consisting of HAVRE (5467 GRT), NARUO, CLYDE, HAMBURG, SEKIHO, TATSUAKI, SHINSHO, TSUYAMA, YAMAHAGI MARUs, SHINSEI MARU No. 5 and three unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-14 and subchaser CH-23.
13 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.
27 June 1944:
HAMBURG MARU departs Manila for Kau, Halmahera Island in convoy H-30 also consisting of CLYDE, HAVRE, SHINSHO, NARUO and TATSUAKI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 5.
11 July 1944:
At 0900, HAMBURG MARU departs Kau, Halmahera Island en route to Manila in convoy M-26 also consisting of NARRUO, CLYDE, CHINKAI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 5 escorted by minesweeper W-5 and subchaser CH-60.
13 July 1944:
At 1830, the convoy arrives Bitung NE Celebes.
29 September 1944:
At 1500, HAMBURG MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-27 also consisting of SHIROTAE, SAGAMIGAWA, MITSUKI, YAMAHAGI, EIMAN, SHINETSU, KINE, KISHUN, SHINWA, EIWA, MEIRYU, YASUKUNI, YAMAKO (SANKO) MARUs and TAMON MARU No. 15 and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-130, torpedo boat HATO and auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-151, CHa-163.
5 October 1944:
At 0630, arrives at Takao.
27 October 1944:
At 1958, HAMBURG MARU departs Hong Kong for Takao in convoy HOMA-1 also consisting of EIWA, YASUKUNI, SHINETSU and KANETSU MARUs and NISSHO MARU No. 18 escorted by minesweeper W-20, subchasers CH-30, CH-33 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-41.
30 October 1944:
At 1358, convoy HOMA-1 arrives at Takao.
1 November 1944:
At 1800, HAMBURG MARU departs Takao for Manila in convoy MOMA-06 also consisting of transport EIWA MARU, tanker SHIMOTSU, TOTTORI, ASOKAWA, ATLAS, DAITOKU, SHINSHO, KAKOGAWA, SEKIHO and SEIWA MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE, kaibokan CD-1, CD-3, CD-7, minesweeper W-27, subchaser CH-41 and fleet supply ship KURASAKI.
2 November 1944:
At 2305, LtCdr John B. Hess’ (USNA ’37) USS POMFRET (SS-391) torpedoes and damages ATLAS MARU.
3 November 1944:
At 0435, Hess attacks ATLAS MARU again, but misses. At 0500, POMFRET also torpedoes and damages HAMBURG MARU. At 1850, one of the escorts scuttles her. Three of 415 troops, a gunner and 18 crewmen are KIA.
 The Japanese claim a sinking, but the survivor noted that Brindupke fired two Mark-18 torpedoes at 3,000 yards, thus USS TULLIBEE probably was sunk by one of her own defective torpedoes that made a circular run.
Thanks go to the late John Whitman for info on IJA troops in convoy Nishi-Matsu No. 2. Thanks also go Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for additional info on convoy and Berend Van Der Wal of the Netherlands for additional info on convoy MOTA-09 and other info.
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