(Hie Maru shown in her pre-war NYK colors)

IJN Auxiliary Submarine Depot Ship
HIE MARU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2011 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

Revision 6

25 May 1929:
Yokohama. Laid down as a 11,621-ton passenger-cargo liner at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd's shipyard for Nippon Yusen Kaisha Kisen (NYK) (Japan Mail Steamship Company), Tokyo.

12 February 1930:
Launched and named HIE MARU. Sister ship of HEIAN MARU and HIKAWA MARU

31 July 1930:

23 August 1930:
Departs Kobe for Seattle, Washington on her maiden voyage.

15 September 1930:
The City of Yokohama presents to the City of Seattle an eight-ton Taiko-Gata stone lantern in gratitude for Seattle's assistance after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The lantern is placed in Seward Park.

As a return gift, the City of Seattle sends 1,000 rose shrubs, comprising about 50 varieties, on HIE MARU to the City of Yokohama.

20 January 1938
Seattle. A plot is discovered to blow up HIE MARU at the Great Northern Dock by a 28-year-old school teacher from British Columbia, Canada. The conspirators, in protest against the war in China and the shipment of scrap metal and other materials to Japan, improvise a bomb made of 369 sticks of dynamite and connect it to a clock timer device. Upon HIE MARUís arrival at Vancouver, it is planned to float the bomb to the ship's side. The plot is later moved to Seattle where the teacher's body is found floating.

In service on the South America-Saigon route.

22 September 1940:
Vichy France cedes airfields and agrees to admission of Japanese troops into northern Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam).

26 September 1940:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in response to Japanese actions in Indochina, bans the export of steel and aviation fuel to Japan and declares an embargo on scrap steel effective 15 October 1940.

11 October 1940:
The Seattle "Post-Intelligencer" newspaper reports that old rails from cityís street car lines are being loaded on HIE MARU. The mayor asks U.S. Customs to stop the ship and the city council asks for federal intervention, but the ship sails before the embargo goes into effect.

June 1941:
Departs Kobe carrying some Polish Jewish refugees fleeing Soviet internment.

7 July 1941:
Arrives at Seattle.

22 September 1941:
Departs Kobe for India.

21 November 1941:
Returns to Kobe.

26 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

30 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

8 December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein.

9 December 1941:
Arrives at Emidj.

12 December 1941:
Departs Emidj.

13 December 1941:
Arrives at Wotje.

16 December 1941:
Departs Wotje.

18 December 1941:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

20 December 1941:
Departs Kwajalein and later that day arrives at Roi.

23 December 1941:
Departs Roi.

27 December 1941:
Arrives at Minami Torishima and departs later the same day.

30 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

7 December 1941:
At Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.

1 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

3 January 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

4 January 1942:
Departs Tokuyama.

22 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

2 February 1942:
Departs Davao.

5 February 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan.

15 February 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Unloads machinery for oil field development.

That same day, HIE MARU is designated for conversion to a submarine depot ship assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District. Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Shinoda Kiyohiko is posted as the Commanding Officer.

28 February 1942:
Departs Tarakan.

8 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

9 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka Navy Yard. Begins conversion. Four 5.9-inch (150-mm) single mount guns, one 3.5 m range finder, two dual 13.2-mm machine guns, one 1100-mm diameter and one 900-mm diameter search light are fitted.

10 April 1942:
HIE MARU is assigned to Vice Admiral, the Marquis, Komatsu Teruhisa's (former CO of CA NACHI) Sixth Fleet (Submarines) in Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishizaki Noboru's (former CO of HYUGA) SubRon 8 as tender for flagship I-10 and SubDiv 1 (I-16, I-18, I-20), SubDiv 3 (I-21, I-22, I-24) and SubDiv 14 (I-27, I-29, I-29, I-30).

25 April 1942:
Completes conversion.

14 July 1942:
Penang, Malaya. HIE MARU is in Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishizaki Noboru's (former CO of HYUGA) SubRon 8 as tender for flagship I-10 and SubDivs 1, 3 and 14.

25 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

26 September 1942:
Departs Hong Kong in No.1 Shitai Convoy consisting of HIE MARU and MANKO MARU escorted by light training cruiser KASHII, light cruiser KUMA and torpedo boat KASASAGI. KASHII has been disguised with a second funnel, perhaps to appear like a U.S. cruiser.

4 October 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

5 October 1942:
Departs Palau.

10 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. KASHII is detached.

13 October 1942:
HIE MARU and MANKO MARU depart Rabaul escorted by minesweeper W-13.

14 October 1942:
W-13 and MANKO MARU separate. HIE MARU proceeds to Truk. At 2400, minesweeper W-15 joins as escort.

17 October 1942:
Arrives at Guam Island.

19 October 1942:
Departs Guam.

23 October 1942:
Escorts a convoy from Shortland Islands, Bougainville.

25 October 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

11 November 1942:
Supports submarine operations to replenish IJA units on Guadalcanal.

28 December 1942:
Captain Arima Naoshi (36) assumes command. Later, Captain Shinoda assumes command of ISUZU.

1 January 1943:
Penang. HIE MARU is SubRon 8's tender for flagship 1-10 and SubDivs 1 (I-16, I-18, I-20, I-21, I-24) and 14 (I-27, I-29).

27 January 1943:
Truk. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship SHINYO MARU.

21 March 1943:
Departs Truk.

27 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

25 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure

1 June 1943:
HIE MARU departs Kure with submarines I-8 and I-10. I-8 is on the first leg of a Yanagi ("Willow") blockade-runner mission bound for Lorient, France.

10 June 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

12 June 1943:
Departs Penang for the Indian Ocean carrying the IJA's 122nd Regiment and 65th Brigade's engineer troops.

16 August 1943:
Captain Harada Bunichi (35) assumes command.

24 August 1943:
Departs Manila for Palau.

31 August 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

3 September 1943:
Departs Truk likely carrying troops of 122nd Infantry Regiment.

7 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

12 September 1943:
Departs, but later that day returns to Kwajalein.

19 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

20 September 1943:
Lands troops and supplies at Mille.

21 September 1943:
Departs Mille.

22 September 1943:
Arrives at Wotje.

23 September 1943:
Departs Wotje.

24 September 1943:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

25 September 1943:
Departs Kwajalein.

26 September 1943:
Arrives at Jaluit.

29 September 1943:
Departs Jaluit.

1 October 1943:
Rerated a transport assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District.

3 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

10 October 1943:
Departs Truk.

17 October 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai.

20 October 1943:
At 0600, HIE and AWATA MARUs depart Shanghai in a fast troop convoy carrying three Corps of troops as part of the 4th Reinforcement Movement to Rabaul. They are escorted by destroyers MAIKAZE and NOWAKI. HIE MARU is carrying about 2,100 troops of the Army's 17th Division. AWATA carries another 1,000 troops.

21 October 1943:
East China Sea. LtCdr David C. White's USS CERO (SS-225), LtCdr Edgar J. MacGregor's USS SHAD (SS-235) and LtCdr John A. Moore's USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) are patrolling W of Okinawa. The three submarines had formed up at Midway under SubRon 2's Captain (later Vice Admiral) Charles B. Momsen as the first of COMSUBPAC's wolfpacks. They receive an "Ultra" signal based on code-breaking intelligence that alerts them that a convoy will pass through their patrol area.

At 1627, Moore's submerged USS GRAYBACK spots the masts of the convoy north of her position. USS GRAYBACK tracks the convoy, but loses it at 1800 in the darkness. Moore surfaces and acquires the convoy on his SJ radar.

22 October 1943:
LtCdr Moore makes a long "end-around" run and sets up ahead of the convoy. At 0347, he fives six torpedoes and sinks AWATA MARU. 1,087 men of the 17th Division and 223 navy crewmen are KIA. MAIKAZE and NOWAKI unsuccessfully counterattack. Later, the destroyers rescue rescue 76 troops and 88 crewmen from AWATA MARU. HIE MARU escapes and makes for Rabaul.

30 October 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

3 November 1943:
Departs Truk.

4 November 1943:
Avoids a torpedo attack at 00-45N, 152-05E.

5 November 1943:
An air attack occurs at 01-05N, 151-15E. The ship is undamaged, but turns back to Truk.

7 November 1943:
Arrives Truk.

9 November 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul.

11 November 1943:
190 miles NNW of Kavieng, New Ireland. LtCdr Delbert F. Williamson's USS DRUM (SS-228) is on patrol between the Carolines and New Ireland to intercept expected Japanese reinforcements during the forthcoming invasion of Tarawa. Alerted by an Ultra message, Williamson sights a convoy, sets up and fires six Mark-14 steam torpedoes at HIE MARU at 01-00N, 149-20E. The first torpedo explodes prematurely. Transport KINAYAMASAN MARU reports three torpedo explosions astern. NOWAKI counterattacks unsuccessfully. The convoy suffers no damage in the attack.

At 1029 that day, a USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 "Liberator" bombs the convoy and damages HIE MARU. 31 crew and passengers are KIA, 28 badly wounded, 110 lightly wounded.

12 November 1943:
The convoy and HIE MARU make port at Rabaul.

15 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul for Truk in fleet convoy 2152 consisting of HIE MARU, auxiliary submarine depot ship NAGOYA MARU and transport TAMASHIMA MARU escorted by subchasers Ch-29 and Ch-30.

17 November 1943:
385 miles SW of Truk. LtCdr Williamson's USS DRUM again sights and identifies HIE MARU steaming in the convoy. At 1245, in a submerged attack, Williamson fires four torpedoes at HIE MARU. Only one hits in hold No. 3. HEI MARU takes on a list to port. The escorts mount a heavy counter-attack that almost sinks USS DRUM. Depth charges knock paint off her bulkheads.

At 1250, USN codebreakers intercept a message from HIE MARU that reads: ďAt 1245, November 17, in position 01-45 N, 148- [blurred print] E. received 1 torpedo hit in No. 3 hold; No. 2 and No. 3 holds flooded. At present no danger of sinking. -----.Ē

At 1730, HIE MARU sinks at 01-45N, 148-45E. Captain Harada is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously. The other ships in the convoy are unscathed.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Note:
Thanks go to Cdr John D. Alden, USN-Ret. Thanks also go to John Whitman for information on intercepted Japanese messages and information on Japanese units.

Thanks go to Toda Gengoro of Japan for information in Revision 4.

Photo credit goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

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