Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

23 April 1943:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Jukogyo K. K. as a 5,321-ton Type 1K Standard Merchant cargo ship (ore carrier) for Nippon Yusen K. K. (NYK), Tokyo.

6 July 1943:
Launched and named HIGANE MARU. [1]

August 1943:

23 March 1944:
HIGANE MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-13 also containing tankers SHINEI, MATSUMOTO, and YOKO MARUs and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and BIZEN, SHOKA, PACIFIC, CHIHAYA, HENG SHAN (KOZAN), YOKO and YULIN MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan KURAHASHI and subchaser CH-26.

30 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

26 July 1944:
At 0600, HIGANE MARU departs Imari Bay in convoy MI-13 also consisting of cargo ships HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KUNIYAMA, URAL, SHIROTAE, KOKUSEI, CHINA, HIGANE, MATSUURA, RISSHUN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and tankers SHINCHO, TEIKON, TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA, CD-14, patrol boat P-38. minesweeper W-18, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs.

31 July 1944:
The convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE, CHINA and MATSUURA MARUs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and CHOHAKUSAN MARU are detached from the escort and replaced by kaibokan KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO and destroyer ASAKAZE. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskin's USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUSAGAKI at 14-50N, 119-57E.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila. DURBAN, KIZAN, RISSHUN, KUNIYAMA, SHINKO and ATLAS MARUs are detached. SHOEI MARU joins the convoy. All of the escorts are detached except CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

11 August 1944:
At 2100, the convoy departs Manila for Miri.

12 August 1944:
At 0730, LtCdr Frank G. Selby’s USS PUFFER (SS-268) torpedoes and damages SHINPO MARU. 20 crewmen are KIA.

SHINPO MARU is taken under tow by SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs, beached, then abandoned. Selby also torpedoes and sinks TEIKON MARU (ex-German WINNETOU) at 13-18N 120-11E, but there are no casualties. CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38 drop 37 depth charges, but PUFFER slips away unscathed.

18 August 1944:
At 1700, the convoy arrives at Miri.

19 August 1944:
HIGANE MARU departs Miri for Kuching, Borneo in convoy MISHI-07 also consisting of SHINCHO, URAL, HIYORI, KOKUSEI, SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38. P>

21 August 1944:
Arrives at Kuching, Borneo to shelter after a torpedo attack on MISHI-07.

22 September 1944:
At 0800, HIGANE MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-18 consisting of KOKUSEI, KIKUSUI, RYOFU, HIYORI, KAISOKU MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 5 and NANSHIN MARU NO. 18 escorted by destroyers SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE.

26 September 1944:
Arrives at Miri. The convoy loads cargo then departs for Manila via Brunei. HIGANE MARU is carrying 122 passengers, crew and gunners, 7,790-tons of bauxite (aluminum) ore and 80-tons of munitions, trucks and drummed gasoline. [2]

1 October 1944:
The convoy departs Brunei Bay hugging the coast escorted by SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE and an unidentified smaller escort.

NW Borneo. SW of Kudat, off Gaya Bay, At 2255, LtCdr John C. Martin's USS HAMMERHEAD (SS-364) picks up a convoy on SJ radar at 12,000 yards that they make out as five large ships with three escorts. Martin commences tracking.

At 2326, HAMMERHEAD fires her six bow torpedoes at the convoy and begins to swing around to bring her stern tubes to bear. At 2330, Martin fires his aft torpedoes.

HAMMERHEAD’s torpedoes hit HIGANE MARU between Holds No. 1 and 2. At 0041, she sinks by the bow at 06-30N, 116-15E. Six troops and nine crewmen are KIA.

HAMMERHEAD also torpedoes and sinks bauxite ore-carriers HIYORI and KOKUSEI MARUs. The destroyers do not counter-attack.

Author’s Note:
[1] Also known as HIKANE MARU.

[2] In mid-September ‘44, KOKUSEI MARU loaded a cargo of bauxite just S of Singapore at Bintan Island, NEI. It is probable that HIGANE and HIYORI MARUs also loaded their bauxite at Bintan.

-Bob Hackett

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