Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

17 June 1920:
Kobe. Laid down Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. as Yard No. 505, a 5,873-ton passenger cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K Line”).

7 January 1921:
Launched and named VICTORIA MARU.

8 February 1921:
Completed and placed in service .

25 April 1924:
In service on Kawasaki Kisen's Kobe~Shanghau route.

September 1930:
Sold to Ishihara Sangyo Kaiun (ISK Line), K. K.

Sold to Ishihara Gomei Kaisha, Fuchu.

9 Janauary 1932:
VICTORIA MARU arrives at Singapore on ISK Lines regular freight service. Departs the same day fo Moji, Tawata, Kobe, Oska, Nagoya and Yokohama.

Sold to Kokusai Kisen Kaisha, Hashidate. Hokkaido.

Sold to Oginuo Setaro, Hashidate and ship transferred to Nissan Kisen, K. K., Tokyo because of a merger. Renamed NICHIBI MARU. [1]

10 May 1940:

13 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 568.

14 January 1942:
At 1330, HIBI MARU departs Apra Harbor, Guam for Rabaul, New Britain carrying 5,300 men in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide's (former CO of OI) Invasion Fleet also consisting of CHERIBON, CHINA, CLYDE, MITO, MOJI, TAIFUKU, VENICE and YOKOHAMA MARUs .

17 January 1942:
Near Lamotrek Island. Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39)(former CO of KISO) light cruiser YUBARI, seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and four destroyers join MineDiv 19’s minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU and two destroyers escorting the Invasion Fleet

That same day, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s (36) (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Carrier Striking Force departs Truk consisting of CarDiv 1’s AKAGI and KAGA, CruDiv 5’s SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA and DesRon 1’s light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUHI and unattached AKIGUMO.

20 January 1942: - Operation "R" (R Sakusen) - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
N of New Ireland. CarDiv 1 and CarDiv 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain and Kavieng, New Ireland. KAGA loses one dive-bomber. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached with cruiser CHIKUMA and destroyers AKIGUMO, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUHI and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.

21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches another strike on Rabaul. CarDiv 5 launches separate raids on at Lae, Salamaua, Bulolo and Madang, New Guinea. After CarDiv 5 recovers her aircraft, she departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendevous with CarDiv 1.

22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul. After the launch, CarDiv 5 rendevouses with CarDiv 1. When CarDiv 1 completes recovery of her strike aircraft, Nagumo departs the New Ireland area and heads north to Truk.

22/23 January 1942:
New Britain. Soon after midnight, OKINOSHIMA lands invasion troops at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. Under the concealment of bad weather, the landings are carried out smoothly. The first group to land is Lt Col Tsukamoto Hatsuo's 144th Infantry Regiment which quickly takes control of Lakunai airdrome. Three companies of Lt Col Kuwada Ishiro's 3rd Battalion, after over running some Australian opposition, secure Vunakanau airdrome. Other invasion forces swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy both Rabaul and Kavieng.

23 January 1942:
HIBI MARU departs Truk for Rabaul in an invasion fleet consisting of CHERIBON, CHINA, CLYDE MITO, MOJI, TAIFUKU, VENICEand YOKOHAMA MARUs with close escorts auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU and auxiliary subchasers KYO MARU No. 8 and KYO MARU No. 10.

25 January 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

4 May 1942: Operation “MO” – The Invasions of Tulagi and Port Moresby:
At 1600, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (former CO of KISO) Port Moresby Attack Force departs Rabaul towards the Jomard Pass in the Louisiade Archipelago with DesRon 6’s light cruiser YUBARI, DesDiv 29’s OITE, ASANAGI, DesDiv 30’s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso's (40) (former CO of HIEI) Transport Force of IJN transports GOYO, MOGAMIGAWA, SHOKA, AKIBASAN and CHOWA MARUs and IJA transports HIBI, MATSUE, TAIFUKU, MITO and CHINA MARUs, tanker HOYO MARU, fleet oiler IRO (at anchor at Shortland area with destroyer UZUKI), minelayer TSUGARU, minesweeper W-20, auxiliary minesweepers HAGOROMO MARU, NOSHIRO MARU No. 2 and FUMI MARU No. 2 and fleet salvage and repair tug OJIMA (OSHIMA). The convoy’s speed only is 6.5 knots.

IJA transport ASAKASAN MARU is delayed at Rabaul. The Transport Force is carrying the bulk of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), the 10th Naval Construction Unit and the South Seas Detachment consisting of the 144th Infantry Regiment.

4 May 1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea:
Tulagi, Solomons. Rear Admiral (MOH '14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA ’06) (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17 attacks Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide’s (39) (former CO of OI) Tulagi Invasion Force. Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive-bombers and Douglas TBD "Devastator" torpedo-bombers from USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) sink a destroyer and three minesweepers and damage four other ships.

5 May 1942:
At 1600, ASAKASAN MARU departs Rabaul and chases after the Transport Force.

Fletcher's force turns north to engage Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo’s (39) (former CO of MUTSU) Carrier Strike Force's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU. SBDs and TBDs from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON (CV-2) sink Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo’s (38) (former CO of MUTSU) light carrier SHOHO off Misima Island. In turn, Japanese planes damage oiler NEOSHO (AO-23) and sink destroyer SIMS (DD-409).

6 May 1942:
At 2200, ASAKASAN MARU finally rejoins the Transport Force.

8 May 1942:
Planes from LEXINGTON sight Takagi's Strike Force. SBDs from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON damage SHOKAKU and force her retirement. ZUIKAKU’s air group suffers heavy losses. Takagi's bombers and attack planes strike Task Force 17 and damage YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON. Gasoline vapors ignite, triggering massive explosions that cause LEXINGTON to be abandoned. Later, she is scuttled by destroyer PHELPS (DD-360).

9 May 1942:
After order is given to the Transport Force to reverse course, HIBI MARU arrives back at Rabaul.

13 May 1942:
The Battle of the Coral Sea halts the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby and they are forced to cancel Operation MO.

4 July 1942:
The IJA releases HIBI MARU back to her owners. [1]

27 February 1943:
Re-requisitioned by the IJA.

15 March 1943:
HIBI MARU departs Moji for Takao, Formosa (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) in convoy No. 137 also consisting of auxiliary transports HIROTA and SHOKO MARUs, IJA transports ROKKO and HOKKO MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship CHIYO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

19 March 1943:
HIROTA MARU is detached to Kirun (Keelung,Taiwan).

20 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

18 June 1943:
HIBI MARU departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of TAGA MARU and SHINTO MARU No.1escorted by subchasers CH-38 and CH-24. HIBI MARU is carrying 3000 Indian POWs.

25 June 1943:
At 1120, arrives at Rabaul.

25 July 1943:
At 1345, HIBI MARU departs Palau in convoy FU-506 also consisting of KOFUKU, KOYO, MATSUE (SHOKO), MUKO and YURI MARUs escorted by escorted by torpedo boat HATO and patrol boat PB-46.

E 26 July 1943:
HATO is detached from the convoy.

E 1 August 1943:
Minelayer YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 join convoy FU-506 at 28-25N, 136-40E to provide additional escort.

2 August 1943:
At 1800, arrives at Saeki.

3 August 1943:
Departs Saeki and later arrives at Kure.

12 August 1943:
At 0730, HIBI MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy O-208 also consisting of FUKKAI, MATSUE (SHOKO), MOJI, UMEKAWA, SHICHISEI, YASUKUNI and YASUSHIMA MARUs. escorted by patrol boat PB-46, subchaser CH-11 and auxiliary minesweepers TAMA MARU and TAKUNAN MARU No. 3. At latitude 29N, TAKUNAN MARU and TAMA MARU No. 3 are detached to return to Saeki.

21 August 1943:
At 1245, arrives at Palau.

27 August 1943:
HIBI MARU departs Palau in convoy So-705 also consisting of MATSUE, MOJI SHICHISEI,and UMEKAWA MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-17.

3 September 1943:
At 0700, the convoy arrives at Rabaul.

7 September 1943:
At 1500, HIBI MARU departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy No. 704 also consisting of KINE, MATSUE, SHICHISEI and UMEKAWA MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-17 and CH-39.

13 September 1943:
The convoy arrives at Palau.

22 September 1943:
HIBI MARU departs Palau in convoy No. 3218 also consisting of MATSUE MARU escorted by destroyer FUYO.

27 September 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

6 October 1943:
Allied codebreakers intercept and decypt a radio message requesting that auxiliary subchasers CHa-2 and CHa-8 take over escorting a convoy from auxiliary gunboat KISO MARU at 07-00N, 115-00E. The convoy consists of HIBI, TEIRYU and MATSUE MARUs. .

22 October 1943:
HIBI MARU departs Singapore in convoy No. 630 also consisting of ROKKO and RYUKO (2962 GRT) MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan WAKIMIYA. The convoy splits into two parts shortly after leaving port.

25 October 1943:
The first part arrives at St Jacques, Vichy French, Indochina.

26 October 1943:
The second part arrives at St Jacques.

13 February 1944:
HIBI MARU departs Truk for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4212 also consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO, fleet stores ship IRAKO and transport TATSUURA MARUs escorted by kaibokan MANJU and OKI and subchaser CH-31.

27 February 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

1 March 1944:
HIBI MARU departs Pusan, Korea carrying troops.

12 March 1944:
At 0400, HIBI MARU departs Yokohama in convoy Higashi Matsu (“East Pine”) No. 2 also consisting of ATLANTIC, AWA, DAITEN, KOKUYO, MIHO, RYUKA, TAJIMA, TAKAOKA, TAMAHOKO and TSUSHIMA MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by light cruiser TATSUTA, destroyers ASAKAZE, NOWAKI, UZUKI and YUNAGI, kaibokan HIRADO and minelayers KYOSAI and SOKUTEN. The convoy is carrying the 1st Expeditionary Unit, 25th Infantry Group Headquarters, 25th Division, 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Division, 3rd Battalion, 40th Infantry, 25th Division, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry, 10th Division, 3rd Battalion, 89th Infantry, 24th Division (618 men), Headquarters, 3rd Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion, 3rd Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 10th Artillery, 10th Division, 3rd Company, 25th Engineers, 25th Division, 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment and 8th Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment (searchlight).

13 March 1944:
40 miles NNE of Hachijo-jima. At 0310, LtCdr Malcom E. Garrison's new USS SAND LANCE (SS-381) sets up and fires four stern torpedoes at the convoy. At 0314, two hit and sink TATSUTA at 32-52N 139-12E. The other two hit and sink transport KOKUYO MARU carrying 1,029 troops to Guam. SAND LANCE undergoes an 18-hour attack by the escorts. SAND LANCE, a thick-skinned BALAO-class, dives to 550-feet and escapes 105 depth charges. Minesweeper W-20 is ordered to the area of the sinking.

19 March 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Saipan.

24 March 1944:
At 0700, HIBI MARU departs Saipan in convoy HIGASHI MATSU No. 2 (return) consisting of storeship SOYA and transports AWA, BINGO, DAITEN TAKUNAN, MIHO, NACHI, RYUKA, TAKAOKA, TAMAHOKO, TATSUHARU and SHINFUKU MARUs and an unidentified maru escorted by destroyers NOWAKI and ASAKAZE, kaibokan MANJU, subchasers CH-17, CH-31, CH-32 and minelayer KYOSAI.

1 April 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Yokohama.

20 May 1944:
HIBI MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-20 also consisting of HAKUSHIKA, HOKUSHIN, HOSEN, JUNPO, KAIKO (851 gt), KOSHIN, MACASSAR, TATEBE (KEMBU), TATSUHATO, TEIFU (ex-Vichy French BOUGAINVILLE) and YAMAGIKU MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE. Convoy MOTA-20 joins convoy TE-07 consisting of HIDA and TEIKA MARUs (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA) and five unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan SHIMUSHU and FUKUE.

25 May 1944:
Convoy TE-07 is detached for Kirun, Formosa (Keelung, Taiwan), arriving later that day.

26 May 1944:
Convoy MOTA-20 arrives at Takao.

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

1 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

12 June 1944:
At 0800, HIBI MARU departs Manila for Wasili harbor, Halmahera Island, Moluccas in convoy H-29 also consisting of FRANCE, JUNPO, KURAMASAN, MAKASSAR, TAIYU and YAMAGIKU MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-10 and patrol boat P-105. HIBI MARU is carrying a cargo of gasoline and about 2,000 men of the 22nd Independent Infantry Battalion and 14th Airfield Battalion.

17 June 1944:
HIBI MARU is detached for Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines.

20 June 1944:
Saragan Strait, off the southern tip of Mindanao. At 0809, LtCdr John C. Broach’s (USNA ’27) USS HAKE (SS-256) attacks convoy H-29 and torpedoes and sinks HIBI MARU at 05-36N, 125-17E. 97 troops, four gunners and 22 crewmen are KIA. From 0830~1100, small supply ship KITAKAMI MARU rescues 644 survivors and later arrives at Mindanao where she transfers 514 survivors to TAKEBE MARU.

Author's Notes:
[1] No records were found detailing HIBI (NICHIBI) MARU movements while she was in Nissan Kisen, K. K's prewar and wartime service.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to John Whitman of Virginia for info on IJA troops.

- Bob Hackett

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