YUSOSEN!



(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN ITSUKUSHIMA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2006 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 2


21 April 1937:
Kobe. Laid down as a 10,006-ton merchant tanker by Kawasaki for Nippon Suisan, Tokyo.

4 September 1937:
Launched and named ITSUKUSHIMA MARU.

20 December 1937:
Completed.

15 January 1938:
Departs Japan as part of the Southern Ocean (Antarctic) whaling fleet, serving as a refueling ship during the whaling season. Probably also participates in the 1939 and 1940 whaling season operations.

14 August 1941:
Arrives at San Francisco.

2 November 1941:
Departs San Franscisco on her last peacetime oil voyage.

19 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokohama.

22 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN and registered in the Kure Naval District.

4 February 1942:
Kendari, Celebes. LtCdr Lucius Chappell's USS SCULPIN (SS-191 sights destroyer SUZUKAZE patrolling the mouth of Staring Bay. About 1700, Chappell fires three torpedoes of which two hit SUZUKAZE aft of her stack and starboard in her No. 1 boiler room. Down by the bow, SUZUKAZE is beached to prevent sinking. Later, she is assisted by ITSUKUSHIMA and SAN CLEMENTE MARUs and destroyer YAMAKAZE back to Staring Bay for emergency repairs.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

3 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

14 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

11 August 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

12 August 1942:
Departs Mako.

18 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

23 September 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

4 October 1942:
Arrives at Dairen, Manchukuo.

11 October 1942:
Departs Dairen.

13 October 1942:
Arrives at Dairen.

16 October 1942:
Departs Dairen.

12 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

15 November 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

16 November 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

21 November 1942:
Departs Kobe for Singapore.

1 December 1942:
At 1600, departs Singapore with 15,440 kiloliters of crude oil.

10 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

15 December 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

16 December 1942:
Arrives at Kobe. Enters Kawasaki's dockyard to change main engine pistons.

18 December 1942:
Departs Kobe.

26 December 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

30 December 1942:
Departs Singapore with a full load of 12,000 tons of crude oil.

11 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

15 January 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

17 January 1943:
Departs Kobe.

9 February 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

14 February 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

15 February 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

17 February 1943:
Departs Kobe.

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

1 March 1943:
Departs Singapore.

9 March 1943:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

12 March 1943:
Departs Shimotsu.

13 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

15 March 1943:
Departs Kure.

24 March 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

26 March 1943:
Departs Palembang.

28 March 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

7 April 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi.

2 May 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

5 May 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

14 May 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

16 May 1943:
Departs Palembang.

18 May 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

21 May 1943:
Departs Singapore.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Dairen, Manchukuo.

4 June 1943:
Departs Dairen.

7 June 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

3 July 1943:
Departs Kobe.

4 July 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

6 July 1943:
Departs Kure.

7 July 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot.

9 July 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

10 July 1943:
At 1200, departs Moji in convoy HI-01, the first of many fast convoys, consisting of ITSUKUSHIMA MARU and two unknown fast ships escorted by kaibokan SADO.

17 July 1943:
At 1130, arrives at Singapore.

5 August 1943:
At 1400, probably departs Singapore in convoy HI-04 consisting of four unknown fast ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU. [1]

10 August 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

11 August 1943:
At 1700, departs Manila. At 2030, ETOROFU discovers a surfaced submarine 5000 yards ahead and opens fire with her forward gun forcing the submarine to submerge. The frigate then drops depth charges for no visible results. For the next two days, ETOROFU continues to hunt in the area without success while the convoy steams ahead unescorted. [2]

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

17 August 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

23 August 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

25 August 1943:
At 0900, departs Moji in convoy HI-07 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, GOYO (ex cargo), NAMPO, OMUROSAN and NANEI MARUs (ex-MANATAWNY) and cargo-passenger ship USSURI MARU escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

29 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

30 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako. ETOROFU is detached and replaced by the kaibokan SADO.

8 September 1943:
Arrives at Saigon, considerably delayed by the slow speed of NANEI MARU.

9 September 1943:
Departs Saigon. [3]

11 September 1943:
At 1100, departs Singapore in convoy HI-08 consisting of five unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan SADO.

12 September 1943:
The rest of convoy HI-07 arrives Singapore.

19 September 1943:
At 1700, arrives at Tomie, Goto Retto, Japan.

21 September 1943:
At 0725, departs Tomie and at 1200 arrives at Moji.

25 September 1943:
At 1200, departs Moji in high speed convoy HI-11 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA and KYUEI MARUs, ex-seaplane tender KAGU MARU and two other ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

29 September 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Takao and departs that same day.

4 October 1943:
At 1835, arrives at Singapore.

10 October 1943:
At 1358, departs Singapore in convoy HI-12 consisting of three unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

16 October 1943:
At 1422, arrives at Takao.

17 October 1943:
At 1306, departs Takao.

21 October 1943:
At midnight, the convoy arrives at Moji.

22 October 1943:
Arrives at Yokoshima near Sasebo. [4]

25 November 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

28 November 1943:
Departs Moji.

28 November 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

3 December 1943:
Departs Tokuyama and later that day arrives Moji.

5 December 1943:
Departs Moji as the second echelon of convoy HI-23 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, TATEKAWA and BOKUEI MARUs, with SUNOSAKI, OSE (ex-Dutch GENOTA) and probably TAKASAKI, all escorted by OSE. [5]

17 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 December 1943:
At 1000, departs Singapore in convoy HI-26 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA and AMATSU MARUs, cargo liner NANKAI MARU and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan TSUSHIMA.

1 January 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

7 January 1944:
At 1830, arrives at Moji.

8 January 1944:
Arrives at Iwakuni and departs later that day for Tokuyama.

9 January 1944:
Arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot. Departs later that day for Moji.

11 January 1944:
At 0830, departs Moji in convoy HI-31 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, GENYO, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA, KUROSHIO MARUS and cargo liner HOKUROKU MARU escorted by 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 Robert D. King's USS REDFIN (SS-272) at 14-40N, 113-50E. AMATSUKAZE loses her bow and 80 crewmen. 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 ASAGAO.

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

25 January 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore in convoy HI-32 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, GENYO, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA, KUROSHIO MARUs and transport/cargo liner HOKUROKU MARU escorted by carrier CHITOSE and destroyer YUKIKAZE.

4 February 1944:
CHITOSE detaches and heads to Sasebo. At 1100, the convoy arrives at Moji.

8 February 1944:
Departs Iwakuni and later that day arrives at Tokuyama.

13 February 1944:
Departs Tokuyama.

14 February 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

16 February 1944:
At 0600, departs Moji in convoy HI-45 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO and TATEKAWA MARUs, cargo liner ARIMASAN and troop transport TAMATSU MARU and another unidentified ship escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.

20 February 1944:
SHIOKAZE is detached from the convoy.

21 February 1944:
KUROSHIO MARU develops engine trouble, drops behind and diverts to Takao.

22 February 1944:
Kaibokan MIYAKE joins as escort.

23 February 1944:
TAMATSU MARU is detached from the convoy and heads for Manila. SHIOKAZE rejoins as an escort.

27 February 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Singapore.

11 March 1944:
At 0730, convoy HI-48 departs Singapore consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA, SEIYO, NICHIEI and KUROSHIO MARUs, transport/cargo liners AWA, SANUKI, TEIA and HOKUROKU MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokans MIYAKE, SHIMUSHU, IKI and ETOROFU.

14 March 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Ban Phong Bay, French Indochina.

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

18 March 1944:
At 0114, HOKUROKU MARU is hit by four torpedoes fired by LtCdr Lowell T. Stone's USS LAPON (SS-260) and sinks at 19-24N, 116-50E. HOKUROKU MARU blows up and sinks in about one minute taking down 80 crewmen and 248 passengers. TEIA MARU sends off a report of the attack. Later that day, KASHII MARU joins the convoy.

19 March 1944:
At 0600, kaibokan SHIMUSHU runs aground, but later that day is refloated. At 1600, the convoy arrives at Takao.

20 March 1944:
At 1300, departs Takao.

25 March 1944:
At 0500, arrives at Moji. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU steams on to Iwakuni arriving later that day.

29 March 1944:
Departs Iwakuni.

30 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

1 April 1944:
Departs Moji in convoy HI-57 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OTOWASAN, RYOEI and OMUROSAN MARUs, troop transports SHINSHU and MAYASAN MARUs and three unidentified ships escorted by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokans ETOROFU, IKI, SHIMUSHU, CD-8, CD-9 and torpedo boat SAGI.

2 April 1944:
The convoy encounters extremely severe weather and returns to Moji.

3 April 1944:
At 0600, the unchanged convoy departs Moji.

7 April 1944:
At 1450, arrives at Takao.

8 April 1944:
At 1000, departs Takao.

12 April 1944:
At 1930 arrives at Camranh Bay.

13 April 1944:
At 1200, departs Camranh Bay.

16 April 1944:
At 1240, arrives at Singapore.

21 April 1944:
At 0700, departs Singapore in convoy HI-58 consisting of ITSUKUSHIMA MARU, troop transport SHINSHU MARU and five unidentified ships escorted by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokans ETOROFU, IKI, SHIMUSHU, CD-8 and CD-9.

3 May 1944:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU and ETOROFU are detached to Sasebo arriving later that day. Later, drydocked at Sasebo Naval Yard.

27 May 1944:
Departs Sasebo for Moji.

29 May 1944:
At 0600, departs Moji in convoy HI-65 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, ZUIHO and TOHO MARUs naval oiler SHIRETOKO, cargo liners ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII and TATSUWA MARUs and troop transport SHINSHU MARU escorted by light cruiser KASHII, escort carriers SHINYO and KAIYO, kaibokan AWAJI, CHIBURI, CD-19, minelayer TSUBAME and subchaser CH-60.

2 June 1944:
Formosa Straits. The AWAJI is torpedoed by LtCdr Albert L. Raborn's USS PICUDA (SS-382) and sinks near Yasho Island at 22-48N, 121-24E. Raborn fires two torpedoes at ARIMASAN MARU that cause her to collide with the SHINSHU MARU's stern. This causes a depth charge explosuion that kills about 70 men and damages her rudder. KASHII takes SHINSHU MARU in tow. ARIMASAN MARU is lightly damaged in the attack and heads for Kirun with KASHII and SHINSHU MARU. [6]

2 June 1944:
E of Formosa. The convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' new USS GUITARRO (SS-363) enroute from Pearl to Fremantle. At 0519 and 0527, Haskins makes a moonlight periscope approach and fires six torpedoes at an oiler. One of the torpedoes makes a circular run and GUITARRO is forced deep. Later, GUITARRO avoids depth charge and aircraft attacks and escapes to Australia. Haskins claims four hits and sinking an oiler, but the claims cannot be substaniated.

4 June 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. KAIYO rejoins the convoy after brief stop at Saei. Oiler JINEI MARU joins the convoy at sea.

12 June 1944:
At 1350, arrives at Singapore.

18 June 1944:
At 1500, departs Singapore for Sasebo escorted by torpedo boat KARI.

22 June 1944:
Sulu Sea. At about 0500, Cdr Jack C. Titus' old USS NARWHAL (SS-167) makes a radar-depth approach on the ITSUKUSHIMA MARU. Titus sets up and fires four torpedoes and gets one hit at 09-00N, 120-55E. That same day, ITSUKUSHIMA MARU arrives at Negros Island for temporary repairs.

23 June 1944:
Bacolod Sea, off Negros Island. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU continues to undergo temporary repairs. The oiler HAYASUI arrives. Over the next few days,1,198-tons of fuel oil are transferred to HAYASUI and destroyers YUNAGI, MICHISHIO and NOWAKI.

1 July 1944:
Fuel transfer operations are completed.

2 July 1944:
About noon, ITSUKUSHIMA MARU, still capable of 13.5 knots, arrives at Manila with HAYASUI. Lightering operations begin and 3,027-tons of oil are transferred to HAYASUI and heavy cruiser MYOKO. Later, the 2,615-tons of oil left in ITSUKUSHIMA MARU's tanks are pumped ashore.

24 July 1944:
At 0600, departs Manila for Moji in convoy HI-68. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of landing ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and escort carrier TAIYO in column no. 1; landing ship KOZU MARU (a.k.a. TAKATSU MARU) and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column no. 2 and KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, TOA, TOHO and SHIMPO MARUs in column no. 3. The escorts include escort carrier KAIYO, kaibokans HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11, CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI. The ships steam at 11.5 knots, the average speed for HI series convoys.

A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitakerís USS FLASHER (SS-249), LtCdr Franklin Hessís ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walkerís CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. The TOSAN MARU, AKI MARU and OTORISAN MARUs are sunk and KIYOKAWA MARU is damaged in the wolfpack's attacks.

27 July 1944:
At 1100, arrives at Takao.

28 July 1944:
At 1800, departs at Takao.

3 August 1944:
Arrives Sasebo and enters drydock for repairs.

25 September 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

27 September 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

1 October 1944:
At 0800, convoy HI-77 departs Moji. The convoy consists of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, ARITA, AKANE, TAIHO and KAIHO MARUs and cargo liners KINUGASA and ORYOKU MARUs and cargo passenger ship MANJU MARU. Fast German U-boat supply ship QUITO is also in the convoy as is another unidentified vessel. These 13 ships are escorted by kaibokans CHIBURI, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27. After departure, the convoy anchors in Arikawa Bay, N Goto Retto that same day.

2 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Arikawa Bay for Singapore.

5 October 1944:
The ORYOKU MARU detaches for Kirun. The rest of HI-77 arrives at Takao. The escort is bolstered by the inclusion of kaibokans ETOROFU and SHONAN before departing later the same day.

6 October 1944:
250 miles W of Manila. After patrolling the Luzon Strait, a wolfpack consisting of LtCdr Arnold H. Holtzís USS BAYA (SS-318), LtCdr Henry D. Sturrís BECUNA (SS-319) and LtCdr Francis W. Scanland, Jrís HAWKBILL (SS-366) heads through the South China Sea towards Fremantle, Australia.

About 1400, LtCdr James B. Grady's USS WHALE (SS-239) torpedoes and sinks oiler AKANE MARU. At 1757, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles W. Wilkins' SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks CD-21.

7 October 1944:
At about 2200, KINUGASA MARU is hit by one or more torpedoes. Abandon Ship is ordered soon thereafter. At 2224, HAWKBILL, running on the surface, attacks the same large freighter. Scanland fires three more torpedoes and gets two hits that cause a huge explosion. Holtzís BAYA also fires torpedoes at KINUGASA MARU. At 2227, KINUGASA MARU sinks.

12 October 1944:
At 1500, the remainder of HI-77 arrives at Singapore.

16 October 1944:
Keio University, Yokohama. From the Combined Fleet's headquarters, Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) releases a dispatch that assigns ITSUKUSHIMA MARU to Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo's (38)(former CO of KONGO) First Striking Force's 1st Supply Force with oilers NICHEI, YUHO, OMUROSAN, RYOEI and BANEI MARUs, kaibokan CHIBURI, minelayer YURISHIMA, frigates CD-19 and CD-27 and minesweeper W-34. Later, IJA oilers HAKKO and NIPPO MARUs are also assigned to Kurita's force. [7]

17 October 1944:
Vice Admiral Kurita orders ITSUKUSHIMA and BANEI MARUs with CHIBURI and CD-19 to proceed to Brunei Bay, Borneo. Later, he also orders NIPPO and OMUROSAN MARUs with minelayer YURISHIMA and CD-27 to proceed to Brunei.

19 October 1944:
Departs Singapore.

22 October 1944:
Arrives at Brunei. At 0800, Kurita's Striking Force steams for Leyte Gulf via the Sibuyan Sea and San Bernardino Strait. Kurita orders Vice Admiral Nishimura Shoji's (39)(former CO of HARUNA) BatDiv 2, cruiser MOGAMI and four destroyers to sortie through Surigao Strait to Leyte Gulf to envelop the U.S. invasion forces. Vice Admiral Shima Kiyohide's (39)(former CO of OI) Fifth Fleet from the Pescadores is also to sortie through Surigao Strait to Leyte Gulf.

24 October 1944:
Brunei. The ITSUKUSHIMA MARU loads 13,000-tons of oil. Departs with oiler NIPPO MARU escorted by kaibokan CHIBURI and CD-17, CD-19 and CD-27 to refuel Shima's force.

25 October 1944: Operation "SHO-I-GO" (Victory) - The Battle of Leyte Gulf:
In the course of battle, Kurita loses superbattleship MUSASHI, cruisers ATAGO, MAYA, CHOKAI, CHIKUMA and SUZUYA with KUMANO and TAKAO damaged severely. Several destroyers are also lost and damaged. Nishimura loses old battleships FUSO and YAMASHIRO and cruiser MOGAMI. Shima arrives behind the carnage wrought on Nishimura's force and wisely reverses his small force's course away from certain destruction.

After the battle, ITSUKUSHIMA and NIPPO MARUs are ordered to return to Brunei.

27 October 1944:
Balabac Strait, W of Palawan Passage. At about 0400, LtCdr John M. Hyde's USS BERGALL (SS-320), on patrol near Dangerous Ground, makes SJ radar contact on two targets at a great range. Hyde begins an approach on the surface. When the contacts became visible they are identified as large oilers accompanied by one large and one small escort.

Hyde sets up and fires six torpedoes at the targets. At 0440, ITSUKUSHIMA MARU is hit by one torpedo. At 0445, the second oiler in line, NIPPO MARU is hit and sinks at about 0510 at 7-17N, 116-45E. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU remains afloat, but goes dead in the water and begins drifting. The escorts counter-attack and drop depth charges, but BERGALL clears the area on surface.

29 October 1944:
Marudu Bay, Kudat, N. Borneo. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU is attacked and bombed by a lone Consolidated PB4Y (B-24)"Privateer" of VPB-115.

1 November 1944:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU sinks at 05-04N, 119-47E. A total of 41 crewmen are killed in the submarine and air attacks. Destroyer SHIGURE rescues survivors.

10 December 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] Available Japanese records are unclear. It is possible ITSUKUSHIMA MARU was part of convoy HI-02.

[2] The attack coincides with that reported by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Veron Lowrence's USS KINGFISH (SS-234) that counted six depth charges, but was undamaged. The episode illustrated how the escorts' emotional attitude towards attack often preempted more sensible defensive measures. In this instance, no ships were sunk in the unescorted convoy, but such unwise tactics sometimes ended in disaster for the Japanese.

[3] After encountering delays with NANEI MARU, it is probable that ITSUKUSHIMA MARU, either at this stage or earlier, steamed ahead and had reached Singapore by this time.

[4] This suggests that ship had been detached from the convoy.

[5] Japanese records are unclear. Convoy HI-23 departed 1 December and consisted of oilers OMUROSAN, ICHIU and ASASHIO MARUs and two other ships escorted by NAMIKAZE. It was at Takao 5 Dec '43. It is possible the ITSUKUSHIMA MARU joined this convoy at Takao. Oiler RYUEI MARU and passenger cargo ships AKI and NOSHIRO MARUs are also in the convoy, though in which part is not clear. The first echelon stopped at St Jacques enroute, but it is unclear if the second echelon did. A three-day difference separated their arrival times at Singapore.

[6] Somes sources credit AWAJI's sinking to Haskins' GUITARRO (SS-363).

[7] USN radio-intelligence intercepts and decodes the signal. They conclude it indicates a possible sortie by Kurita's fleet from the Singapore area.

Thanks for assistance goes to Allan Alsleben of Oregon.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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