KYURYOSEN!

(HOKO MARU, prewar)

IJN HOKO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2018 Gilbert Casse, Berend van der Wal and Peter Cundall


14 November 1922:
Laid down by Yokohama Senkyo K.K. as a 1,505-tons refrigerated cargo ship for Kuzuhara Inohira.

7 March 1923:
Launched and named HOKO MARU. [1]

21 April 1923:
Completed and registered at Shinagawa, Tokyo Prefecture. Her Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) are respectively 1,504-tons and 815-tons. [2]

13 January 1925:
Her ownership is restyled to Kuzuhara Reizo K.K.

19 October 1926:
Her ownership is changed to Yokohama Senkyo K.K.

18 November 1926:
Registered homeport is changed to Yokohama.

24 November 1926:
Her ownership is changed to Nichiro Gyogyo K.K.

Mid-April ~ May 1928:
First fishing campaign. Loads pacific herring products at Sakhalin.

2 June 1928:
Second fishing campaign. Departs Hakodate on crab fishing.

8 ~ 19 June 1928:
In Russian waters.

15 July 1928:
Third fishing campaign. Departs Otaru on crab fishing.

21 ~ 31 July 1928:
In Russian waters.

Mid-August 1928:
Fourth fishing campaign. Buys fish products in Ama harbor.

28 June 1934:
Off Kamchatka coast a wire gets entangled in the propeller. Navigation becomes impossible. Destroyer NUMAKAZE arrives and helps solving the issue.

31 May ~ 17 June 1937:
Chartered by Taiheiho Gyogyo K.K.

27 May ~ 1 July 1938:
Chartered by Taiheiho Gyogyo K.K.

8 May 1939:
Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K. obtains a ‘Mother ship type salmon’ fishery approval certificate T No. 9. Operation areas include: Bering Sea N of 51N, E of 160E, within the line from Midnoy Island to Cape Nawalin excluding sea level N of Cronokie Cape.

19 May ~ 29 June 1939:
Chartered by Taiheiho Gyogyo K.K.

30 June 1939:
The ‘Mother ship type salmon’ fishery approval certificate expires (abolition of use of mother ship).

E 1939 ~ 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

20 March 1940:
Navy Reserve Lt Funayama Sadaharu is appointed supervisor.

1940:
Released to her owners.

3 May 1940:
Taiheiyo Gyogyo K.K. obtains a ‘Mother ship type salmon’ fishery approval certificate T No. 8. Operation areas include: Bering Sea N of 51N, E of 160E, within the line from Midnoy Island to Cape Nawalin excluding sea level N of Cronokie Cape.

11 May ~ 19 July 1940:
Chartered by Taiheiho Gyogyo K.K.

25 June 1940:
The ‘Mother ship type salmon’ fishery approval certificate expires (abolition of use of mother ship).

18 September 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general requisitioned transport (Ippan Choyosen).

E 1940:
Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 1,521-tons and 796-tons. [2]

20 April 1941:
Navy Reserve Lt Funayama Sadaharu is appointed supervisor.

10 June 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for Jabor, Jaluit Atoll, Marshalls.

5 July 1941:
Provisions auxiliary gunboat NAGATA MARU with fresh food.

15 October 1941:
Registered as an auxiliary stores ship attached to the Yokosuka Naval District under instruction No. 1256.

E November 1941:
Departs Jabor.

17 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

E 1941:
Attached directly to the Combined fleet as an auxiliary stores ship, Otsu category. [3]

12 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

December 1941:
Attached to French Indochina (now Vietnam) occupation supply units.

1 January 1942:
Attached to Rabaul Raiding Force's Replenishment Group No. 2.

E January 1942:
Scheduled to deliver food for 1,300 persons lasting 30 days under IJNAF secret instruction No. 909.

16 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for the South Seas.

March 1942: Operation "C" - The Raids in the Indian Ocean:
Attached to the Indian Ocean Raiding Force's Replenishment Group No. 2 with IJN auxiliary ammunition ship NICHIRO MARU and IJN auxiliary oiler KYOEI MARU No. 2.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

4 April 1942:
Yokosuka. Scheduled for non drydock repairs at Kasado Dock to be finished at the end of the month under instruction No. 233.

20 May 1942: Operation "MI" - The Battle of Midway:
Attached to Midway Force's Replenishment Group No. 2 with IJN auxiliary ammunition ship NICHIRO MARU and IJN auxiliary oiler KYOEI MARU No. 2.

22 May 1942:
At 1045, departs Yokosuka in an unnamed convoy also consisting of IJN auxiliary transport HAKUTETSU MARU No. 15 and civilian passenger/cargo ship (C-APK) KINSHU MARU escorted by destroyer SAWAKAZE.

22 June 1942:

At 1500, departs Kure with IJN auxiliary tanker KYOEI MARU and IJN auxiliary stores ship HYUGA MARU.

23 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

14 August 1942:
Attached to Guadalcanal Transport Support Force’s Replenishment Group No. 2. Departs Kure later that day.

19 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

20 ~ 26 September 1942:
Loads food products.

27 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

14 October 1942:
Attached to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake’s (35) Second Fleet, Replenishment Group.

21 October 1942:
Departs St Jacques, French Indochina (now Vung Tau, Vietnam), in the Y convoy consisting also of BOSTON, SANKO, and FUSHIMI MARUs escorted by second class destroyer KURETAKE.

29 October 1942:
Arrives at Manila, Philippines, in the Y convoy.

6 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

16 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Kavieng, New Ireland, Bismarcks.

23 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines and departs later that day.

24 December 1942:
Her ownership is changed to Teikoku Suisan Tosei K.K.

7 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

17 February 1943:
At Truk, provisions seaplane tender SANYO MARU with fresh food.

24 February 1943:
At Truk, provisions auxiliary stores ship KITAKAMI MARU with fresh food.

2 March 1943:
Departs Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports KIMISHIMA, YAMAGIRI and TATSUHARU MARUs, auxiliary repair ship YAMASHIMO MARU and auxiliary stores ship TENYO MARU NO. 2 GO, auxiliary water tanker ASAYAMA MARU and IJA transport MIKAGE MARU No. 20, escorted by destroyer YUNAGI and subchasers CH-11 and CH-12. CH-11 is detached sometime into the voyage north.

5 March 1943:
KIMISHIMA MARU and YUNAGI are detached at 11-18N, 142-38E. KIMISHIMA MARU later arrives at Fais, Eastern Carolines. Detaches with ASAYAMA MARU. Later that day arrives at Saipan, Marianas. Departs Saipan that same day.

13 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

16 March 1943:
Departs Truk.

18 March 1943:
Arrives at Kavieng.

27 March 1943:
At 1200, departs Yokosuka for Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary storeships CHOKO (2,629 GRT) and SHINYO MARUs with unknown escort.

8 April 1943:
At 1720, arrives at Truk.

14 April 1943:
At 1400, departs Truk in convoy with auxiliary stores ship CHOKO MARU escorted by destroyers ONAMI and KIYONAMI. The ships sail via Kavieng.

19 April 1943:
At 0500, they arrive at Rabaul, New Britain. HOKO MARU has detached at Kavieng.

25 April 1943:
Departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU sailing in ballast, and IJA transports ROKKOSAN, MIYAURA, RISSHUN, and TOUN MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-16, CH-18 and CH-37.

26 April 1943:
IJN auxiliary transport RAKUTO MARU, coming from Kavieng, joins the convoy.

4 May 1943:
50 nms SE of Palau. At about 1725, LtCdr Harry B. Dodge’s (USNA ’30) USS SEAL (SS-183) attacks the slow 7-knot convoy. In a submerged attack, Dodge fires three torpedoes and hits SAN CLEMENTE MARU in her No. 4, No. 6 and No. 8 oil tanks. She lists to port and at about 2000, sinks at 06-50N, 134-28E. Only two crewmen are KIA. HOKO MARU rescues survivors.

5 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau, Eastern Carolines.

11 May 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy No. 2501 consisting also of DAIGEN, KENKOKU, KYOEI, HAKUSAN, GENYO and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE. The ships sail at 9 knots.

18 May 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies. The convoy is dispersed. Departs Balikpapan later this day.

25 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka for maintenance and repairs.

12 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3812 first leg consisting of auxiliary transport HOKUSHO MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) CHIYO MARU, escorted by auxiliary subchasers CHa-14 and CHa-19.

22 August 1943:
At Saipan, joins convoy No. 3812 second leg consisting of auxiliary transport HOKUSHO MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) CHIYO MARU, escorted by auxiliary subchasers CHa-14 and CHa-19. Auxiliary subchasers CHa-33, KYO MARU No. 8 and auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU join as additional escorts. At 0815, the convoy departs Saipan. KYO MARU No. 8 and auxiliary netlayer SHUKO MARU detach a few days later.

26 August 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Truk.

8 September 1943:
At 1800, departs Truk in convoy No. 4908 also consisting of IJN requisitioned (B-AK) KENSHIN MARU and IJN transport SHINSEI MARU No. 18 escorted by kaibokan FUKUE. The ships sail at 9.5 knots.

19 September 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

14 October 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3014 B also consisting of one unidentified merchant ship escorted by auxiliary subchaser CHa-40.

17 October 1943:
Arrives at Chichi Jima, Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins).

19 October 1943:
Departs Chichi Jima still in the same convoy.

23 October 1943:
Arrives at Saipan.

25 October 1943:
At 1630, departs Saipan with auxiliary minesweeper SEKI MARU No. 3 and joins convoy No. 3009 C consisting of KYOTOKUSAN, FUCHU and HINOKI MARUs escorted by two auxiliary subchasers CHA-34 and CHa-40. The ships sail at 8.5 knots.

30 October 1943:
At 0500, arrives at north entrance, Truk.

8 November 1943:
At 0620, departs Truk in convoy No. 4108 also consisting of IJN auxiliary transport (ex- auxiliary gunboat) CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO and IJN requisitioned transport SHINYO MARU escorted by destroyer OITE.

11 November 1943:
12 November 1943:
At 0615, arrives at Saipan. Departs at 1538 for Yokosuka still in convoy No. 4108 now also consisting of IJN auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary gunboat) CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO IJN transports HIYOSHI and SHINYO MARUs escorted by destroyer OITE.

20 November 1943:
At 0700, arrives at Yokosuka.

17 December 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

30 December 1943:
At 1530, arrives at Truk south channel in convoy with CHIYO and TAIYO MARUs escorted by auxiliary minesweeper FUMI MARU No. 2 and auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 8.

3 January 1944:
At Truk, provisions auxiliary submarine tender HEIAN MARU with fresh food.

E January 1944:
Departs Truk.

7 February 1944:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 February 1944:
At 1630, IJN transport NISSHO MARU No. 5 departs Yokohama as overall command ship of “C” (Hinoe) fishing boat fleet being repositioned south to Saipan. All fishing boats carry a small amount of ammunition for the garrison. The boats sail in four echelons with echelon one consisting of HOKO MARU, TOKUEI MARU No. 2, DAIHAKU MARU No. 15, KOMPIRA MARU No. 1 and KOKO MARU No. 3.

Echelon two consists of TENYO and KINTOHIRA MARUs and KOFUKU MARU No. 2, KYOSHO MARU No. 1 and YAKUSHI MARU No. 2 escorted by command ship (Naval stores ship) TAKUNAN MARU.

Echelon three consists of SHINSEI MARU, ARIAKE MARU No. 3, SHOCHU MARU No. 3 and KAMESHIMA MARU No. 2.

Echelon 4 consists of EFUKU MARU No. 2, KICHIBEI MARU No. 2 GO, BANEI MARU No. 2 (not the larger merchant ship of same name) and WAKASA MARU No. 3.

After departing the Uraga channel, high wind and waves causes the convoy to break up. HOKO MARU later returns to Yokohama. TAKUNAN MARU takes the slowest vessel KICHIBEI MARU No. 2 GO under tow, though the tow later breaks. Eventually TAKUNAN MARU and ten of the vessels arrive at Chichi Jima (at 1700, on 25th February).

26 February 1944:
At 0900, IJN transport NISSHO MARU No. 5 arrives at Chichi-Jima alone. Over the next few days all of the remaining fishing fleet except HOKO MARU arrive.

1 March 1944:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later this day. Departs Yokohama later that day as part of Higashi Matsu No.1 convoy consisting of parts 1A and parts 1B.

The Higashi Matsu No. 1A section consists of auxiliary transports TATSUHARU and KEIYO MARUs and civilian (A-AK) BINGO MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI and MANJU and auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8. TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 later separates.

HOKO MARU is part of the Higashi-Matsu No. 1B convoy (also called No. 3301 B) also consisting of IJA transports IMIZU and SHINFUKU MARUs auxiliary minesweeper TORISHIMA MARU and auxiliary gunboat NACHI MARU.

4 March 1944:
Arrives at Chichi Jima in convoy Higashi-Matsu No. 1B.

7 March 1944:
Departs Chichi Jima with minelayer YURIJIMA as additional escort.

9 March 1944:
Convoy Higashi-Matsu No. 1B arrives at Saipan. IMIZU MARU detaches from the convoy.

14 March 1944:
Arrives in convoy Higashi-Matsu No. 1B at Truk.

20 March 1944:
About 32 nautical miles N Yap, Carolines. LtCdr (later Captain) Albert L. Raborn's (USNA '34) USS PICUDA (SS-382) running submerged at periscope depth, sights a merchant ship. At 0115, Raborn fires a spread of four Mark XIV Type 3A torpedoes and scores two hits. The stores ship rapidly sinks at 10-09N, 138-10E with the loss of 29 crewmen.

10 May 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 654.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with IJA transport No. 1041 (866 GRT, ’43).

[2] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[3] There were two categories of Kyuryosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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