KYUHEIKAN!

(HITACHI MARU prewar)


IJN HITACHI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2010-2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 4


1938:
Innoshima. Laid down at Osaka Iron Works as a 6,540-ton passenger-cargo ship for Nissan Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

6 February 1939:
Launched and named HITACHI MARU.

15 June 1939:
Completed.

26 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

3 December 1941:
Begins conversion by Mitsubishi Jukogyo (Heavy Industries), K. K., Kobe.

8 December 1941:
At anchor off Kure.

10 December 1941:
Registered as a special installed ammunition ship in the Yokosuka Naval District.

28 December 1941:
The conversion is completed.

1 January 1942:
At anchor off Kure.

15 February 1941:
Departs Takao (Kaohsiung), Formosa.

10 December 1941:
Captain Saeki Koji (39) is appointed the CO.

1 February 1942:
An unknown officer assumes command. Captain Saeki is posted CO of NOSHIRO MARU.

2 May 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

15 June 1942:
Registered as a specially installed transport in the Kure Naval District.

21 June 1942:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives at Moji.

22 June 1942:
Departs Moji.

23 June 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

25 June 1942:
Departs Miike.

30 June 1942:
Arrives at Manila.

3 July 1942:
Departs Manila.

7 July 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

10 July 1942:
Departs Saigon.

13 July 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

17 July 1942:
Departs Singapore.

18 July 1942:
Arrives at Zungun, Malaya.

24 July 1942:
Departs Zungun.

6 August 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

12 August 1942:
Departs Osaka.

13 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama.

17 August 1942:
Yokohama. Dry-docked at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ shipyard.

21 August 1942:
Departs Yokohama. Arrives at Yokosuka .

August 1942:
HITACHI MARU is reassigned to the Fourth Fleet at Truk.

24 August 1942:
HITACHI MARU, NISSHUN MARU and transports KASUGA and KAMOI MARUs depart Yokosuka for Kwajalein, Emidj and Jaluit Atolls carrying Cdr (later Captain) Matsuo Keisuke's (51) Yokosuka 6th Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by destroyer ASASHIO. Later NISSHUN MARU is detached at 26N 150E for Saipan.

5 September 1942:
Arrives at Emidj, Jaluit. The SNLF disembarks to await transfer to Tarawa, Gilberts.

13 September 1942:
Departs Emidj.

14 September 1942:
At 0600, convoy No. 6 consisting of HITACHI, KAMOI and SHOTOKU MARUs escorted by destroyer YUZUKI and auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 3 and FUMI MARU No. 3 arrives at Tarawa. Later, auxiliary gunboat DAIDO MARU joins them.

24 September 1942:
Departs Tarawa escorted by auxiliary cruiser UKISHIMA MARU.

29 September 1942:
Arrives at Truk .

1 October 1942:
Departs Truk escorted by Auxiliary cruiser UKISHIMA MARU.

4 October 1942:
Arrives at Ponape.

11 October 1942:
Departs Ponape.

15 October 1942:
At about 1415, HITACHI MARU is at Tarawa when Captain (later Admiral) Laurence T. DuBose’s (USNA ’13)USS PORTLAND (CA-33) makes an unescorted single-ship raid without fighter air cover. PORTLAND’s two Curtiss SOC scout observation "Seagull" floatplanes dive-bomb HITACHI MARU, but score only one near-miss that causes light damage. One SOC is damaged by AA fire. USS PORTLAND bombards the atoll with 237 rounds of 8-inch fire, recovers her SOCs, then departs the area at high speed.

16 October 1942:
Arrives at Tarawa.

21 October 1942:
Departs Tarawa.

22 October 1942:
Arrives at Tarawa.

29 October 1942:
Temporary repairs are completed. HITACHI MARU returns to duty.

9 November 1942:
HITACHI MARU and armed merchant cruiser UKISHIMA MARU depart Truk via the northern channel.

11 November 1942:
At 8-20N 149-10E UKISHIMA MARU is detached.

30 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

2 December 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

4 December 1942:
Arrives at Osaka Iron Works, Innoshima. Undergoes repairs and refitting.

20 December 1942:
Departs Innoshima.

24 December 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama Navy Fuel Depot.

27 December 1942:
Departs Tokuyama.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

5 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

31 January 1943:
Arrives at Buka, Bougainville. That same day, HITACHI MARU is reassigned to the First Air Fleet. Departs Buka later that day.

1 February 1943:
Arrives at Buin, Bougainville.

2 February 1943:
Departs Buin.

12 February 1943:
Arrives at Ballale, Bougainville and departs that same day.

13 February 1943:
Off Buin. Six USN PB4Y “Liberator” heavy bombers of VB-101, escorted by 10 fighter aircraft, strafe and bomb shipping.

14 February 1943:
Off Buin. At 1148 (L), nine PB4Ys of VB-101, escorted by nine fighter aircraft, strafe and damage HITACHI MARU at 06-48S, 155-50E. The PB4Ys are attacked by Mitsubishi Rufe float fighters and Zeke fighters from Buin. The bomber crew gunners claim two Rufes and seven Zekes shot down.

That same day, USAAF B-17 "Flying Fortresses" also bomb Buin. During the Navy and Army Air Force attacks, HITACHI MARU is hit by two bombs. She floods and sinks at 06-45S, 155-50E with the loss of four crewmen.

1 July 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
Photo credit and generals thanks go to Gilbert Casse of France. Thanks also to Matt Jones of USA for identifying COs.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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