(HOFUKU MARU), prewar)
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2014 Bob Hackett
6 August 1918:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. Ltd. as Yard No. 423,
a 5,857-ton Cargo ship for stock. Named TAIFUKU MARU No. 31.
During construction, renamed HOFUKU MARU.
1 November 1918:
22 November 1918:
Sold to Kawasaki Kisen K. K. ("K" Line) and placed on their Pacific routes.
Transferred to Kokusai Kisen K.K.(International Steamship Co.,
HOFUKU MARU arrives at Beira, Portuguese Mozambique.
Transits the Panama Canal.
16 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA as a troop transport. Allotted Army No. 524.
18 February 1942: Operation "J" - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East
HOFUKU MARU is attached to Vice Admiral Takahashi's Third Fleet,
Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo’s
Western Java Seizure Force.
Departs Camranh Bay in a convoy comprised of 56 troop transports. They
carry the 2nd Infantry Division for the invasions of Merak, Bantam Bay and
Eretan, Java escorted by light cruisers NATORI, and YURA and DesDivs 5, 6, 11,
12 and 22. Seaplane tender SANYO MARU provides air cover.
Forty-five transports go to Merak and Bantam Bay Java. HOFUKU MARU and
six transports go to Eretan Wetan including CALCUTTA, GLASGOW, SUWA, UCHIDE, YAE
and YAMAZUKI MARUs.
HOFUKU MARU carries elements of Colonel Shoji Toshishige’s Detachment
(“Shoji Detachment”) consisting of the 38th Infantry Division’s 230th Infantry
Regiment, a Mountain Artillery Battalion, an Airfield Battalion, an Anti-Tank
Battalion, an AA Battery, an Engineer Company, a Light Tank Company, two
Independent Engineer Companies, a Motor Transport Company, the 40th Anchorage
Headquarters and a platoon of the Bridge Material Company.
1 March 1942:
The seven transports arrive at Eretan Wetan, Java and
5 March 1942:
All seven transports depart Eretan Wetan for Singapore
and arrive that day.
19 March 1942: "U" transport operation to Burma (U Sakusen):
Burma Transport Convoy departs Singapore consisting of 32 ships with main body
of the 56th Division: HOFUKU, AOBASAN, GENOA, , GLASGOW, HAVRE, HARUNA, HIBURI,
HOKUMEI, KAZUURA, KIZANKUSUYAMA, KOTOHIRA, MYOKO, MOMOYAMA, NAGARA, NAKO,
NAPLES, NICHIRAN, SAKITO, SANKO, SHINAI, SHINANOGAWA, SHINRYU, SHUNSEI, SYDNEY,
SUMATRA, TATEISHI, TSUYAMA, TOKIWA, YAE MARUs and two others.
25 March 1942:
The First Burma Transport Convoy arrives at Rangoon,
Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).
2 July 1942:
HOFUKU MARU departs Mutsure in convoy No. 132 also
consisting of AMAGI, JOHORE and TOFUKU MARUs and 13 unidentified merchant ships
escorted by destroyer SHIRAYUKI and kaibokan WAKATAKE
7 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako.
3 April 1943:
HOFUKU MARU departs Saeki in the Military Movement No.
8‘s convoy “L2” also consisting of HEIAN, KONAN,MYOGI and YUBAE MARUs and
SHINSEI MARU No. 17 escorted by patrol boat PB 31, subchaser CH-36 and auxiliary
minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3.
E 4 April 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.
E ?? April 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
26 April 1943:
At 0830, HOFUKU MARU departs Palau in convoy "Wewak
No. 3" also consisting of BUNZAN, HANKOW MARUs and SAN FRANCISCO MARU, HAKUTETSU
MARU No. 13 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE
and subchasers CH-26 and CH-34. The ships are carrying 6,000 soldiers of the
41st Infantry Division, elements of the 237th Infantry and 239th Infantry,
ammunition, provisions, aircraft and supplies.
30 April 1943:
At 2205, SAN FRANCISCO MARU and CH-34 are detached.
6 May 1943:
At 0630, arrives at Palau.
23 May 1943:
HOFUKU MARU departs Palau for Hansa Bay, New Guinea in
troop convoy convoy “Hansa No. 3” also consisting of DENMARK and SHINYU MARUs,
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and HAKUTETSU MARU No. 13 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE
and URAKAZE. The convoy carries units of the IJA 20th Division.
3 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
7 June 1943:
At 2020, HOFUKU MARU departs Palau for Moji in
convoy P-607 also consisting of KAHOKU, HIYOSHI and SAIPAN MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO and
patrol boat PB-31.
At about 0240, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) John A. Tyree's USS FINBACK
(SS-230) torpedoes and damages KAHOKU MARU, but she does not sink and continues
FINBACK makes two more attacks over the next two hours and gets another
hit. At 0950, KAHOKU MARU loses her battle with flooding and goes down. During
Tyree's attacks, he also hits SAIPAN MARU, but the Mark-14 torpedo is a dud.
13 June 1943:
The convoy arrives at Moji.
8 June 1943:
About 0240, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) John A. Tyree's
(USNA ’33) USS FINBACK (SS-230) torpedoes and damages KAHOKU MARU, but she does
not sink and continues on. FINBACK makes two more attacks over the next two
hours and gets another hit. At 0950, KAHOKU MARU loses her battle with flooding
and sinks at 09-30N, 134-32E. One crewman is KIA. At 0941, Tyree also torpedoes and
hits SAIPAN MARU, but the Mark-14 torpedo is a dud.
9 June 1943:
Minelayer NUWAJIMA joins the escort of convoy P-607 at
28-55N, 131-48E and heads north to Fukajima.
E 11 June 1943:
Kaibokan IKI and minelayer YURIJIMA join the escort
of convoy P-607. Later that day, off Toi Misak,i cargo ship NANKAI MARU and transport KONAN MARU
also join the convoy
13 June 1943:
Arrives at Moji.
16 June 1943:
??? At 1150, departs Rabaul for Palau in convoy No. 607
also consisting of auxiliary collier SHINYUBARI MARU and transports ADEN,
TAIKO, HOFUKU and KURAMASAN MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by
subchasers CH-16, CH-23 and CH-39. Later, CH-16 is detached en route and returns to
23 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.
17 August 1943:
HOFUKU MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 293 also
consisting of ASAKA, HEIWA, HAKKO, HOFUKU, KOZUI, ROKKOSAN and RYUOSAN MARUs and
two unidentified merchants ships. Destroyer ASAGAO joins as an escort after
19 August 1943:
Convoy No. 293 arrives at Moji.
11 October 1943:
HOFUKU MARU is transferred to Osaka Shoshen Kaisha,
K. K. (OSK) Line of Osaka in accordance with the merger agreement.
12 October 1943:
HOFUKU MARU departs Manila in convoy "D" also
consisting of ASAKA and LIMA MARUs escorted by kaibokan WAKIMIYA.
20 October 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.
4 July 1944:
HOFUKU MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy
SHIMI-05 also consisting of ASAKA, HAKUSHIKA (HAKUROKU), KUROGANE, MEXICO
OLYMPIA, RASHIN, SAN DIEGO, SHIRAHATO, and TATSUBATO MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by
torpedo boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17 and W-18.
HOFUKU MARU is carrying 1,289 prisoners-of-war (POWs) (1,076 British, 213 Dutch) and a cargo of bauxite aluminum ore.
8 July 1944:
At 1842, arrives at Miri, Borneo and is detached with engine problems.
E 18 July 1944:
HOFUKU MARU undergoes temporary repairs then departs Miri for Manila.
19 July 1944:
HOFUKU MARU arrives in Manila and remains while her engines undergo repairs.
20 September 1944:
At 0800, HOFUKU MARU departs Manila for Cebu,
Philippines in convoy MATA-27 also consisting of NANSEI , SHICHIYO, SURAKARUTA
and YUKI MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan SADO, CD-1, CD-3, CD-5,
CD-7, minelayer ENOSHIMA and auxiliary cable layer OSEI MARU. That evening the
convoy arrives and anchors at Subic Bay.
21 September 1944:
Departs Subic Bay. At 1028, N of Masinloc Sea, about 40 carrier-based aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A.
Mitscher’s (USNA’10) Task Force 38 attack the convoy. The planes torpedo HOFUKU MARU. Hit by three torpedoes she sinks. 144 Japanese troops and 11 crewmen are KIA, 1,047 POWs also die, but
242 British and Dutch POWs swim to shore. Forty-two POWs are rescued by the kaibokan and arrive at Takao on 25 September..
 Also known as TOYOFUKU MARU, FAKAI MARU, HABUKA MARU, HAYUKA MARU, HOFUKA MARU, HOKA MARU, HOKAPAKU MARU, HUKAPAKU MARU, KAIYNSHU MARU and OPA MARU.
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and the late John Whitman of
- Bob Hackett
to IJA Transports