Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2017 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 4

24 February 1930:
Nagasaki. Laid down by Mitsubishi Zosen K.K. Nagasaki Zosensho shipyard as the third of six diesel-driven high speed cargo ship, for Osaka Shosen K.K., Osaka.

9 September 1930:
Launched and named HOKUROKU MARU. [1]

26 November 1930:
Completed and registered at Osaka. Her gross and net registered tonnages are 8,365-tons and 5,046-tons respectively.

E December 1930:
HOKUROKU MARU is placed on O.S.K.’s Far East ~ New York Line.

05 December 1930:
Departs Kobe on her first voyage for New York.

E February 1932:
On her fifth voyage outbound leg, calls at Iloilo, Panay Island and Guion, Masbate Island. Philippines.

E February 1933:
On her her eighth voyage outbound leg, calls at Cebu, Philippines.

E 1933:
Her gross registered tonnage (G.R.T) and net registered tonnage are changed for respectively 8,359-tons and 5,047-tons.

29 July 1936:
Departs Los Angeles for Yokohama.

13 August 1936:
Arrives at Yokohama.

E March 1939:
On her 25th voyage outbound leg, calls near San Carlos, Negros Island, Philippines.

E 1940:
Her net registered tonnage is changed for 5,040-tons.

E January 1940:
On her 27th voyage outbound leg, calls at Kure.

3 December 1940:
Departs Kobe for New York.

9 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan Choyosen). [2]

20 September 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport under internal order No. 1093 and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category. Her home naval port is Yokosuka. [3]

23 September 1941:
Tokyo. Starts conversion to her military role at Ishikawajima Shipyard, K.K.

10 October 1941:
Conversion is completed. Captain Tsukagoshi Hikotaro (39) (former CO of KINRYU MARU) assumes command.

18 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

2 December 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau.

9 January 1942: Operation "H" - The Invasion of Celebes, Netherlands East Indies:
The invasion convoy consists of IJN transports HOKUROKU, KINAI, NANKAI, KATSURAGI, SHOKA, KOSHIN, CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs, carrying Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo (40)'s (former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 and 2 Combined Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF)(Rikusentai) of about 2,500 men.

The transports are accompanied by SHINKO (545 GRT) and OHA MARU (future IJN KURESAKI) which act as supply ships escorted by MineSweepDiv 21's W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji (38)'s 1st Base Force with light cruiser NAGARA, SubChasDiv 1's CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3 and patrol boats PB-1, PB-2, PB-34.

NE part of Davao Gulf, Mindanao, Philippines The convoy, assembled in Magnaga Bay, is organized into two echelons:

The first echelon consists of SHOKA, KOSHIN and CHOWA MARUs, accompanied by SHINKO and OHA MARUs departs at 0100, cruising at nine knots.

The second echelon consists of HOKUROKU, NANKAI, KINAI, AMAGISAN and KATSURAGI MARUs departs at 1000 that same day, cruising at 12 knots.

11 January 1942:
Menado occupation force with NANKAI, KINAI, SHOKA, KOSHIN, CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs arrives at No.1 landing operation floating anchorage (Menado Roadstead) at 0110 and prepares for landing troops N and S of Menado port. At 0315, the first landing forces depart transports and land at 0400.

The Kema (small port on NE coast of Minahasa Peninsula, SE of Menado) occupation force, with HOKUROKU and KATSURAGI MARUs, arrives at No.1 landing operation floating anchorage (Kema Roadstead) at 0130. First landing troops depart transports at 0345 and land at 0420.
Later, 334 men of Cdr (later Captain) Horiuchi Toyoaki's (later XO of TAKAO) Yokosuka No. 1 SNLF (Air) are dropped successfully from Mitsubishi G3M1-L Nell converted transport aircraft in the Menado-Kema area. The paratroops seize Langoan airfield.

At 1540, AMAGISAN MARU receives slight damage by a near miss during an attack by three Dutch aircraft.

17 January 1942:
At 1120 patrol boat PB-1 arrives back at Menado escorting KATSURAGI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, and KINAI MARUs.

27 January 1942:
At 1330 PB-1 departs Kendari escorting AMAGISAN, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, and KINAI MARUs.

29 January 1942:
At 0445 the convoy arrives at Banka.

2 February 1942:
Departs Bangka anchorage, Celebes (now Pulau Bangka, Sulawesi) for Staring Bay, Celebes.

3 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

6 February 1942: The Invasion of Macassar, Celebes:
The Macassar invasion convoy consists of six IJN transports: KINAI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs. The transports are accompanied by auxiliary oiler SAN CLEMENTE MARU, acting as a replenishing vessel.
The convoy is organized in two echelons:

The first echelon, with KINAI, NANKAI and HOKUROKU MARUs carrying the Macassar Occupation Force under command of Captain Mori’s Sasebo Combined SNLF.

The second echelon, with MATSUE, MONTEVIDEO and YAMASHIMO MARUs carrying the 5th and 6th Naval Construction Units (Setsueihan).

Both echelons depart successively Staring Bay with SAN CLEMENTE MARU escorted by light cruiser NAGARA, DesDiv 8’s ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 21’s WAKABA, HATSUSHIMO and NENOHI and SubChasDiv 2’s CH-13, CH-14 and CH-15. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro (38)'s (former CO of FUSO) CarDiv 11's CHITOSE, MIZUHO and SANUKI MARU provide distant support.

9 February 1942:
Macassar Strait. During the landing of the Sasebo Combined SNLF invasion force, DesDiv 15's NATSUSHIO is torpedoed and sunk by Lt (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey (USNA ’31)'s old submarine USS S-37. NATSUSHIO is only loss suffered by the IJN in the action.

15 March 1942:
HOKUROKU MARU is assigned to the New Guinea Invasion Operation under secret military order No. 132.

27 March 1942: Operation "N" – The Seizure of Dutch New Guinea:
"N" Expeditionary Force under Rear Admiral (later Vice-Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro’s (38) command, assembles at Ambon Island and includes a Transport Force consisting of the 2nd Gunboat Division with auxiliary gunboats MANYO, TAIKO and OKUYO MARUs, auxiliary transport HOKUROKU MARU and auxiliary netlayer SEIAN MARU acting as supply ship.

The Transport Force carries a Naval Landing Force under Captain S. Shibuya consisting of the 4th Guard Unit (Battalion size - elements of Sasebo Combined Naval SNLF) and the 24th Special Base Unit (about 500 men). Escort is provided by CarDiv 11’s seaplane carrier CHITOSE, CruDiv 16/3’s KINU, DesDiv 16/1's YUKIKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE, torpedo boats TOMOZURU, HATSUKARI, patrol boats PB-1, PB-2, PB-38 and PB-39, SubChasDiv 54's SHONAN MARU Nos. 5 and 17 and FUKUEI MARU No. 15 plus assorted smaller craft.

29 March 1942:
Night-time. "N" Expeditionary Force departs Ambon for Ceram Island.

30 March 1942:
At 0450 PB-1 departs Ambon escorting transport HOKUROKU MARU with torpedo boats TOMOZURU and HATSUKARI.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Boela, Ceram Island. The town is found deserted and Fujita orders the Naval Landing Force to be divided into two separate detachments. Departs Boela for Fak-Fak.

1 April 1942:
The first Detachment occupies the town of Fak-Fak. The small KNIL garrison surrenders without a fight. Departs Fak-Fak for Babo escorted by patrol boat PB-1. The transport TAIKO MARU joins en route.

2 April 1942:
At 0600 arrives at Babo. The Second detachment landings are proceeded without opposition and Babo is occupied.

3 April 1942:
At 1700 departs Babo for Gane (Gani) Bay, Halmahera in a convoy also consisting of TAIKO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-1.

5 April 1942:
At 0920 arrives at Gane Bay. Meets auxiliary gunboat MANYO MARU carrying First Detachment’s elements consisting of Combined Sasebo SNLF’s troops.

6 April 1942:
At 0900 departs Gane Bay in a convoy also consisting of TAIKO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-1.

7 April 1942:
At 0730 arrives at Ternate. Second Detachment is landed. The Dutch (KNIL) garrison surrenders and about 150 soldiers are captured. The two detachments join at Ternate harbor.

9 April 1942:
Departs Ternate in a convoy also consisting of TAIKO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-1 for Manokwari.

12 April 1942:
Arrives at Manokwari. The re-united Naval Landing Force lands and occupies the town without any Dutch opposition.

14 April 1942:
Auxiliary gunboat TAIKO MARU transfers First Detachment’s elements of Combined Sasebo SNLF to HOKUROKU MARU. Departs Manokwari for Moemi.

15 April 1942:
Arrives at Moemi. Second Detachment landings proceed without any fight as they are no KNIL garrison and the town is occupied.

16 April 1942:
Departs Moemi for Nabire.

17 April 1942:
Arrives at Nabire. Second Detachment landings encounter a short resistance from the local KNIL military outpost but the town is soon occupied. Departs later that same day for Hollandia (now Jayapura).

19 April 1942:
Arrives at Hollandia. First Detachment lands and overruns after a short fight the KNIL garrison. The invasion force leaves a small garrison on SNLF troops in Hollandia.

20 April 1942:
Departs Hollandia for Manokwari.

21 April 1942:
Arrives at Manokwari.

23 April 1942:
Following the capture of New Guinea, “N” Expeditionary Force is dissolved and all participating units return to Ambon Island. HOKUROKU MARU departs later for Yokosuka.

30 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

E May 1942:
HOKUROKU MARU is assigned to Second Fleet for the upcoming “MI” Operation to transport elements of the 11th and 12th Naval Construction Units.

19 May 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan, Marianas in a convoy also consisting of MEIYO, AZUMA and KEIYO MARUs escorted by destroyers KAGERO and ARARE. The convoy carries the 11th Construction Unit.

25 May 1942:
Arrives at Saipan and joins the other transports involved in “MI” Operation.

28 May 1942: Operation “MI” -The Battle of Midway:
HOKUROKU MARU carrying 11th and 12th Naval Construction Units elements is in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (35) Midway Invasion Force with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) Transport Group’s also consisting of TOA MARU No. 2, KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, GOSHU, KANO, KEIYO, KIRISHIMA and NANKAI MARUs, oiler AKEBONO MARU escorted by DesRon 2’s light cruiser JINTSU with DesDiv 15’s KUROSHIO, OYASHIO, DesDiv 16’s AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE and DesDiv 18’s destroyer-transports ARARE, KASUMI and SHIRANUHI and by Rear Admiral Fujita Ruitaro’s (38) 11th Seaplane Tender Division’s CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU. The Midway Invasion Force departs Saipan and heads to Midway Islands.

3 June 1942:
The convoy is bombed by nine B-17s, but HOKUROKU MARU is undamaged. Then the convoy is attacked by torpedo-carrying PBY amphibious patrol planes. AKEBONO MARU is torpedoed and KIYOSUMI MARU is strafed. HOKUROKU MARU is again undamaged.

4 June 1942:
The convoy is contacted by PBY P-12; one of eleven VP-44 launched from Midway that morning on a search/strike mission. Seaplane carrier CHITOSE launches three Mitsubishi F1-M "Pete" fighter float biplanes to intercept the flying boat. They engage P-12 at 500 feet and shoot it down Lt (j.g.) Robert Whitman and four of his ten-man aircrew are lost. [4]

6 June 1942:
Due to IJN’s defeat at Midway, Operation “MI” is cancelled.

13 June 1942:
HOKUROKU MARU arrives at Truk, Carolines.

E June 1942:
Assigned to 4th Fleet.

29 June 1942: “SN” Operation: Establishment of airbases in the South Pacific
HOKUROKU MARU departs Truk via Bougainville to Guadalcanal carrying airfield construction workers in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary transports AZUMA, AZUMASAN, MEIYO, KANTO and MATSUMOTO MARUs, auxiliary ammunition ship KOTOKU MARU escorted by light cruiser YUBARI (F) DesDiv 29’s YUZUKI and OITE, DesDiv 30's UZUKI and DesDiv 34's AKIKAZE. The convoy carries a Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and 11th and 13th naval construction units.

4 July 1942:
Arrives at Savo Island anchorage.

5 July 1942:
Departs Savo Island anchorage for Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. Construction Unit troops disembark. Begins to unload building materials and supplies.

15 July 1942:
Unloading is completed. Departs Lunga Point for Truk.

19 July 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

22 July 1942:
Departs Truk for Yokosuka.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. HOKUROKU MARU is assigned to the First Naval District at Yokosuka Naval Base. Departs later for Kobe.

2 August 1942:
At 1345 HOKUROKU and NOJIMA MARUs depart Yokosuka escorted by destroyers UMEKAZE and AMATSUKAZE.

3 August 1942:
At 1600 the destroyers are detached.

4 August 1942:
Arrives at Kobe. Undergoes some maintenance, repairs and trials until 6 September. Then transfers to Yokohama.

5 September 1942:
Captain Nozawa Kinji (36) (former Chief Navigator, SATA) assumes command.

7 September 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

E 14 September 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

20 September 1942:
Departs Takao.

17 October 1942:
Arrives at Saigon, Indochina (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

24 October 1942:
Departs Saigon for Moji.

3 November 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

6 November 1942:
Departs Moji and arrives that same day at Kobe.

10 November 1942:
Departs Kobe for Yokosuka.

11 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

18 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Macassar.

27 November 1942:
Arrives at Macassar.

1 December 1942:
Departs Macassar for Ambon.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

6 December 1942:
Departs Ambon for Surabaya, Java.

10 December 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.

14 December 1942:
Departs Surabaya for Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

16 December 1942:
Arrives at Seletar.

25 December 1942:
Departs Seletar and arrives that same day at Bintang Island, S of Singapore.

26 December 1942:
Departs Bintang and arrives later in the day at Singapore.

28 December 1942:
Departs Singapore for Kure.

9 January 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

13 January 1943:
Departs Kure for Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

15 January 1943:
Arrives at Shimizu.

16 January 1943:
Departs Shimizu for Kobe.

17 January 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

18 January 1943:
Departs Kobe for Kure.

19 January 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

28 January 1943:
Departs Kure for Surabaya.

7 February 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

10 February 1943:
Departs Surabaya for Macassar.

13 February 1943:
Arrives at Macassar.

17 February 1943:
Departs Macassar for Balikpapan, Borneo.

18 February 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

2 March 1943:
Departs Balikpapan for Macassar.

3 March 1943:
Arrives at Macassar.

4 March 1943:
Departs Macassar for Jakarta (ex-Batavia), Java.

7 March 1943:
Arrives at Jakarta.

10 March 1943:
Departs Jakarta for Seletar.

12 March 1943:
Arrives at Seletar.

14 March 1943:
Departs Seletar and arrives that same day at Bintang.

16 March 1943:
Departs Bintang and arrives later in the day at Seletar.

20 March 1943:
Departs Seletar for Yokohama.

2 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

9 April 1943:
Departs Yokohama for Kobe.

10 April 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

14 April 1943:
Departs Kobe for Kure.

15 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

22 April 1943:
Departs Kure, calls at Moji. Then departs for Mako.

27 April 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

1 May 1943:
Departs Mako, calls at Saint Jacques, Indochina, then at Singapore and steams to Surabaya.

14 May 1943:
Arrives at Surabaya.

20 May 1943:
Departs Surabaya for Macassar.

22 May 1943:
Arrives at Macassar.

29 May 1943:
Departs Macassar for Balikpapan.

30 May 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan.

6 June 1943:
At 1200 departs Balikpapan with KINUGASA MARU escorted by minesweeper W-16.

7 June 1943:
At 1616 arrives at Macassar.

28 June 1943:
At 1300 departs Manila in Y Convoy also consisting of tanker FUJISAN MARU escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

30 June 1943:
At 1900 arrives at Mako.

3 July 1943:
At 0800 departs Mako for Niihama, Shikoku in H convoy escorted by kaibokan SADO.

At 1600 arrives at Moji.

7 July 1943:
Arrives at Niihama.

14 July 1943:
Departs Niihama for Kure.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

23 July 1943:
Departs Kure for Kobe.

25 July 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

3 August 1943:
Departs Kobe for Moji.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

7 August 1943:
Departs Moji.

E September 1943:
Arrives at Ambon at an unknown date.

25 September 1943:
Departs Ambon escorted by torpedo boat KASASAGI.

27 September 1943:
25 nms S of Flores Sea, LtCdr George J. Porter’s (USNA ’32) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) torpedoes and sink KASASAGI at 05-00S, 121-57E. HOKUROKU MARU is undamaged and arrives later at Pomalaa, Celebes.

3 November 1943:
At 1210, HOKUROKU MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-14 consisting of oilers KYOKUEI and AMATSU MARUs, transports (ex-seaplane tender) KAGU, AWA, and AKI MARUs escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA.

8 November 1943:
Near Dangerous Ground, Palawan, Philippines. At 0505, LtCdr George E. Porter's (USNA ’32) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) attacks and sinks KYOKUEI MARU. TSUSHIMA is detached to rescue survivors and picks up 61 crewmen and gunners in lifeboats, but later is unable to relocate the convoy. HI-14 proceeds unescorted. HOKUROKU MARU is detached and arrives later that day at Takao.

9 November 1943:
At 0540, LtCdr (later Cdr) Royce L. Gross' (USNA ’30) USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) makes three separate unsuccessful attacks on convoy HI-14 due to defective Mark 14-3A torpedoes. Gross fires a total of eight torpedoes. In his second and third attacks, he hits oiler AMATSU MARU with two Mark-14 torpedoes and one Mark-18 torpedo respectively, but all three are duds. Gross' other five torpedoes all miss the AMATSU, HOKUROKU and AKI MARUs, probably as a result of running deep.

10 November 1943:
At 1100, the convoy arrives at Takao. TSUSHIMA arrives the following day, but is detached from the convoy.

11 November 1943:
At 0740, the convoy departs Takao escorted by kaibokan WAKAMIYA.

13 November 1943:
Arrives at Ta Changtu Shan anchorage.

14 November 1943:
At 0930, departs Ta Changtu Shan anchorage, Chusan Islands, China.

16 November 1943:
At 1030, arrives at Moji. HOKUROKU MARU departs later for Niihama.

17 November 1943:
Arrives at Niihama.

22 November 1943:
Departs Niihama for Kobe.

23 November 1943:
Arrives at Kobe. Probably undergoes maintenance and repairs.

10 December 1943:
Navy Captain (later KIA - Rear Admiral-posthumously) Itokawa Suetada (36) (ex-XO of armoured cruiser HIRADO) is assigned CO.

2 January 1944:
Departs Kobe for Kure.

3 January 1944:
Arrives at Kure.

8 January 1944:
Departs Kure for Moji.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

11 January 1944:
At 0830, departs Moji in convoy HI-31 also consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, GENYO, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA and KUROSHIO MARUs escorted by light carrier CHITOSE and destroyers AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE.

16 January 1944:
N of the Spratly Islands. AMATSUKAZE detects a submarine and closes the target, but is hit portside by one of four torpedoes fired by LtCdr (later Cdr) Robert D. King (USNA ’31)'s USS REDFIN (SS-272) at 14-40N, 113-50E. AMATSUKAZE loses her bow and 80 crewmen including ComDesDiv 16 (Captain Furukawa Bunji [49]). The convoy commander presumes AMATSUKAZE is sunk and proceeds onward. The destroyer is left adrift for eight days until discovered by a Japanese patrol plane. She is later towed to Saigon by destroyer ASAGAO.

20 January 1944:
At 1645, the convoy arrives at Singapore.

25 January 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-32 also consisting of tankers KUROSHIO, TATEKAWA, OMUROSAN, ITSUKUSHIMA, and GENYO MARUs and auxiliary transport KINUGASA MARU escorted by light carrier CHITOSE and destroyer YUKIKAZE.

E 28 January 1944:
Kaibokan MIYAKE joins the convoy from Manila.

1 February 1944:
A patrol plane from the CHITOSE spots a small drifting boat ahead of the convoy, about 60 nm east of Okinawa. MIYAKE is detached to investigate. When closing it becomes clear that the small boat is actually a landing barge with more than 100 survivors from the TARUSHIMA MARU 4865gt. MIYAKE takes over 54 survivors, followed by YUKIKAZE which takes over the remaining 57 survivors.

4 February 1944:
CHITOSE is detached for Sasebo. At 1100, convoy HI-32 arrives at Moji.

1 March 1944:
At 1635, departs Moji in convoy MOTA-07 also consisting of tankers SARAWAK, RIKKO, NITTATSU, ATAGO and CHIYODA MARUs and transports/cargo ships TEIKO, YAMAHAGI, LONDON (unconfirmed), SUGIYAMA and KENSEI MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-30 and destroyer AMAGIRI arrives at Singapore at unknown dates.

4 March 1944:
Destroyer ASAGAO and minelayer MAESHIMA join convoy MOTA-07 to provide additional escort.

7 March 1944:
HOKUROKU MARU falls behind with engine problems but later that day rejoins the convoy. She is later detached and arrives at Singapore at an unknown date.

11 March 1944:
At 0730, HOKUROKU MARU departs Singapore, with 6,700-tons of bauxite, 600-tons of crude oil and 256 military passengers, in convoy HI-48 also consisting of oilers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA, SEIYO, NICHIEI and KUROSHIO MARUs, transport/cargo liners AWA, SANUKI, and TEIA (ex-French ARAMIS) MARUs, and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokans MIYAKE, ETOROFU, SHIMUSHU and IKI.

14 March 1944:
Gulf of Thailand. Auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary seaplane tender) SANUKI MARU is damaged by a mine or torpedo. The damage causes her to drop out of the convoy on the French Indochina coast. At 1700, arrives at Ban Phong Bay, Indochina.

15 March 1944:
At 1100, departs Ban Phong Bay.

18 March 1944:
About 160 nms ESE of Hong Kong. LtCdr (later Cdr) Lowell T. Stone's (USNA ’29) USS LAPON (SS-260) intercepts the convoy. At 0114, Stone attacks and hits HOKUROKU MARU with four torpedoes. One hit causes an induced explosion. The auxiliary transport blows up and sinks about a minute later at 19-24N, 116-50E. Eight of 256 military passengers, 25 guards and 55 crewmen, including Captain Itokawa, are KIA. TEIA MARU sends off a report of the attack. [5]

10 May 1944:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 1455.

Authors Notes:
[1] Also known as HOKURIKU MARU
[2] See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
[3] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.
[4] Five surviving members of 44-P-12's aircrew were rescued at 1455 (local) 6 June by PBY-5 of VP 23. But unfortunately one of them died the next day, bringing the total KIA to six. PBY 44-P-12 was the only PBY lost in combat with Japanese forces during the battle of Midway.
[5] Number of passengers lost seems very low.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan, Mr. Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA and to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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