(IKOMA MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2014 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

24 December 1923:
Laid down at Yokohama Dock Co., Ltd as Yard No. 131, a 3,157-ton passenger-cargo ship for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line.

28 September 1925:
Launched and named IKOMA MARU.

10 November 1925:
Completed and placed in NYK’s service. She can accommodate 4 first class and 82 second class passengers.

28 January 1932: The "First Shanghai Incident":
Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) of about 2,500 troops is dispatched to evict two divisions of the Chinese 19th Route Army from Shanghai. The Japanese attack the forts of Wusong and Chapei (Zhabei). That night, seaplane tender NOTORO's seaplanes drop flares to frighten the opposition. The Chinese think they are being attacked and retaliate. There are many Japanese casualties.

29 January 1932:
Huangpu (Whangpoa) River, Shanghai. NOTORO, anchored in the Yangtze River, launches an aerial attack on Chinese military positions in Shanghai in foggy weather. NOTORO’s E1Y3 floatplanes make ten low-level attacks on Chinese positions that result in a heavy loss of civilian lives and property. The Chinese unify against the Japanese who are unable to capture Shanghai. Large-scale fighting breaks out.

10/11 February 1932:
Chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA) as an emergency troop transport.

10/11 February 1932:
IKOMA MARU departs Ujina in a troop convoy also consisting of AMUR, FRANCE, IWATE, MAYA, MIKASA (Div HQ), TSUKUBA, URASIO and YAKUMO MARUs, The convoy carries the IJA 9th division to China.

13 February 1932:
Arrives at Shanghai in the evening.

E February 1932:
Released back to her owners.

12 July 1937:
Requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a transport. Assigned IJA ship No. 12.

12-13 August 1937:
Departs Kobe carrying the 10th Company of the IJA 40th Infantry Regiment.

18 August 1937:
Arrives at Taku (near Tianjin) China and lands troops.

23 March 1938:
IKOMA MARU departs Wusung carrying the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Infantry Regiment, 12th Division.

28 March 1938:
Arrives at Takamatsu. Disembarks troops.

6 May 1938:
IKOMA MARU departs Wusung carrying the 14th Division's main force 14th Division HQ 2nd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment.

9 May 1938:
Lands troops at Dalian, Manchuria.

10 July 1942:
Released back to her owners.

19 July 1942:
At 1900, IKOMA MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Yokohama in convoy No. 236 also consisting of ARABIA, CHICAGO, GENOA, HIBARI, IKUSHIMA, ISUZU, KAISHO, KENZAN, KIYO, MADRAS, MANKO, MANSHU, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN) and UMEKAWA MARUs, DAIGEN MARU No. 3, BANEI MARU No. 7 and tanker TAKASAGO MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat DELHI MARU.

26 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

7 October 1942:
At 0645, IKOMA MARU departs Tokyo for Moji in an unescorted convoy consisting of HAGUE, TEIFU, TETSUYO and ROKUYO MARUs.

8 October 1942:
At 1015, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Robert H. Rice's (USNA ’27) USS DRUM (SS-228) attacks the convoy. Rice fires six torpedoes and gets two hits on HAGUE MARU. She breaks in two and, at 1035, sinks at 34-01N, 135-06E. Five crewmen are KIA. The remainder of the convoy arrives safely at Moji.

24 December 1942:
Requisitioned by the IJA again.

3 January 1943:
IKOMA MARU departs Saeki for Palau in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy "S" also consisting of ASAKA, HOKO, IWATE, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN) MARUs and KOSHU MARU No. 2, escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and cable-minelayer TSURUSHIMA..

E 4 January 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

13 February 1943:
IKOMA MARU departs Saeki for Palau in Military Movement No. 8’s convoy “B2” also consisting of transports TAMATSU MARU (4,646 ton) and IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU escorted by minelayer YURIJIMA and CH-37.

E 14 February 1943:
The escorts are detached at 28-30N.

22 February 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

27 February 1943:
Tanker SAN PEDRO MARU departs the refinery at Marifu, Japan and joins convoy No. 8228 also consisting of IKOMA, KARYO (CHIALING), KOKURYU, MICHI, MISHIMA, MARUs and HAKUTETSU MARU No. 15 escorted by patrol boat PB-101.

28 February 1943:
At 1200, IKOMA MARU departs Kobe, Inland Sea for Tokyo Bay in convoy No. 8228 with the same ships and escort.

2 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

13 April 1943:
IKOMA MARU departs Saeki in convoy K-413 also consisting of DAIFUKU, HAMBURG, HIMALAYA, SORACHI and YOSHINO MARUs escorted by torpedo boat HATO and patrol boat PB-46.

E 14 April 1943:
PB-46 is detached at 29N.

21 April 1943:
The convoy arrives at Palau. DAIFUKU MARU and torpedo boat HATO are detached. IKOMA MARU departs for Wake Island.

30 November 1943:
At 0700, IKOMA MARU departs Palau for Saeki escorting convoy No. FU-008 consisting of HAVRE, HOZUGAWA, MAYA, SHINRYU and TESHIO, MARUs and YASUKUNI MARUs and and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat PB-31.

4 December 1943:
TESHIO MARU is detached for Manila because of high seas.

9 December 1943:
Auxiliary subchaser TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 joins the escort.

11 December 1943:
At 0100, arrives at Saeki.

21 December 1943:
At 0600, IKOMA MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy No. O-106 also consisting of CHIBURI, KOSEI, NICHIAI, UYO and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by light cruiser TAMA, patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary subchaser TAMA MARU No. 6

Bungo Straits. At 1134, LtCdr Robert E. M. Ward‘s (USNA ’35) USS SAILFISH (SS-192) torpedoes and sinks UYO MARU. The escorts counter-attack, dropping 40 depth charges that slightly damage SAILFISH. At about 2200, the convoy returns to Saeki.

23 December 1943:
At 0600, the convoy departs Saeki for Palau again.

31 December 1943:
Auxiliary minesweeper TAMAZONO MARU No. 3 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-32 join the convoy prior to arrival at Palau where it arrives at 1730.

E 9 December 1943:
IKOMA MARU departs Palau for Saeki in convoy FU-008 also consisting of HAVRE, HOZUGAWA, MAYA, SHINRYU, TESHIO and YASUKUNI MARUs and DAIGEN MARU No. 3 escorted by patrol boat PB-31. At latitude 28N, YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 join the escort.

10 December 1943:
At 1000, YURIJIMA is detached from the convoy.

3 January 1944:
IKOMA MARU departs Palau for Hollandia, New Guinea and Wewak, New Guinea in convoy “Wewak No. 7" also consisting of KAYO and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-32 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-10. Enroute, IKOMA and YASUKUNI MARUs are detached and escorted by CHa-10 to Hollandia.

20 January 1944:
At 0800, IKOMA MARU departs Palau for Hollandia in convoy "Wewak No. 8" also consisting of IKOMA and YASUKUNI MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-32 and auxiliary subchaser CHa-47. IKOMA MARU is carrying 611 Indian POWs, ammunition, gasoline, foodstuffs and mail.

21 January 1944:
LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) receives an “Ultra” message based on code-breakers’ decrypts that gives info on convoy "Wewak No. 8". For several hours in bad weather, SEAHORSE makes a long high-speed “end around” run to get ahead of the convoy.

282 nms SE of Palau. At 2137, Cutter makes a night-surface attack and fires three torpedoes and gets one hit on IKOMA MARU in her port side engine room. Cutter attacks again and gets one hit on IKOMA MARU’s No. 3 hold where gasoline is carried. She explodes in flames and quickly sinks at 03-25N, 137-06E. 418 POWs and 43 crewmen are KIA.

At 2142, one of SEAHORSE’s torpedoes that missed IKOMA MARU hits and sinks YASUKUNI MARU at 03-25N, 137-06E. 62 troops and 6 crewmen are KIA.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to John Whitman for info about IKOMA MARU in China in 1937.

Bob Hackett

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