(ITALY MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett
Revision 7

28 June 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Zosensho, K. K. as yard No. 466, a 5,859-ton cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen (K Line), K.K., Kobe.

10 September 1919:
Launched and named ITALY MARU.

11 October 1919:
Completed and placed on K Line's "Around-the-World" service.

8 May 1923:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Algiers, Algeria via Genoa, Italy.

3 August 1923:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Genoa.

Placed on K Line's Kobe ~ Bombay (now Mumbai), India route.

14 November 1935:
Arrives at Singapore.

15 November 1935:
Departs Singapore for Bombay, India and Karachi, India (now Pakistan) via Penang, Malaya (now Malaysia) and Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

15 April 1936:
Sold to Tamai Shosen, K. K. (later part of Mitui OSK Lines), Kobe, and placed in their service with ports of call at Osaka, Yokohama, Vancouver, Canada, Singapore and Bombay, India.

12 January 1937:
Arrives at Singapore and departs that day for Yokohama via Kobe, Osaka, Yokkaichi and Nagoya.

16 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA and converted to a troop transport. Assigned Army No. 650.

17 February 1942:
At night, transports SAGAMI and SASAGO MARUs carrying part of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division depart Makassar, Celebes (now Sulawasei) for Bali, Java (now Indonesia) escorted by DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, OSHIO, ARASHIO and MICHISHIO.

19 February 1942: The Invasion of Eastern Java:
Jolo, Philippines. At 0800, the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy (Toho Koryaku Butai) consisting of 39 troop transports departs the anchorage carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division in seven sections:
1st Section consisting of YAMAGIKU, KENKON, HAGUE, NANKO, ADEN and KONAN MARUs,
3rd Section consisting of KENZAN, HIMALAYA, HAVRE, ARIZONA, ANZAN and CHOKO MARUs (6783/20),
4th Section consisting of ITALY, NISSHU, BIYO, ASAKA, KASHU and YONEYAMA MARUs,
6th Section consisting of MIYADONO, JINZAN (JINSAN), WALES, SUEZ, TAMON and YASUKAWA MARUs, and the
7th Section consisting of SATSUMA, MINRYU and HOZUGAWA MARUs.

The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral Nishimura's heavy cruisers NACHI and HAGURO, DesRon 2's light cruisers NAKA and JINTSU and DesDiv 16's YUKIKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE and DesDiv 7's USHIO, SAZANAMI, YAMAKAZE and KAWAKAZE and DesRon 4's light cruiser NAKA, DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MURASAME, MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO.

E 21 February 1942:
Makassar Strait. SAGAMI and SASAKO MARUs join the main convoy and steam with it.

22 February 1942:
At 1200, EHIME and LIVERPOOL MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy north of Aru Bank. The same day, HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs depart Palau carrying elements of the Sakaguchi Detachment.

23 February 1942:
HITERU and TEIRYU MARUs join the Eastern Java Invasion Convoy.

1 March 1942:
At 0120, 100 miles W of Surabaya, Java. The Eastern Java Invasion Force enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java. Just before dropping anchor, the ships are fiercely attacked from the air. JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many KIA and WIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU is also hit and has to beach herself at 0200. Despite the air attacks, the convoy lands the IJA's 48th Infantry Division at Kragan village.

18 April 1942: The Capture of Panay, Island, Philippines:
ITALY MARU and four other IJA transports land troops of the Kawamura Detachment's 9th Infantry Brigade HQ and 41st Infantry Regiment covered by light cruisers KUMA, DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE, UMIKAZE and YAMAKAZE and torpedo boat KIJI. Air cover is provided by seaplane tender SANUKI MARU.

21 July 1942:
ITALY MARU embarks the 25th Army's 25th Field Operations Meteorological Unit consisting of three companies of about 700 men and departs Mutsure in convoy No. 136. Departs Mutsure in convoy No. 136.

27 July 1942:
Departs Mako, Pescadores in convoy 321 also consisting of TACOMA, TEIYO (ex-German SAARLAND), TOYAMA, WALES MARUs and four unidentified ships escorted by minelayer HOKO MARU and subchaser CH-9.

28 July 1942:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina (now Vung Tao, Vietnam).

4 August 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

27 September 1942: Oki Transportation Movement:
ITALY MARU departs Saeki for Rabaul, New Britain in convoy Oki Part 1, 1st echelon also consisting of transport BRAZIL, KAMO and NAMINOUE MARUs escorted by destroyer TAKANAMI and patrol boat PB-46. The convoy carries troops of the IJA's 17th Army.

E 7 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

26 December 1942:
Fifteen USAAF B-24 and six B-17 heavy bombers begin to take off from Port Moresby, New Guinea to attack the Japanese base at Rabaul, but one of the bombers crashes at the end of the runway, blocking many of the bombers from launching.

27 December 1942:
Near Lakunai airfield. The B-17s that were able to take off reach Rabaul. They bomb and sink ITALY MARU and damage destroyer TACHIKAZE at 04-21S, 142-17E.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett

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