(ITSUKUSHIMA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2015 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 12

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

4 September 1937:
Launched and named ITSUKUSHIMA MARU.

20 December 1937:

15 January 1938:
Departs Japan as part of the Antartic Ocean 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 Francisco 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 as an auxiliary oiler.

25 November 1941:
Arrives at Kure from Yokohama.

30 November 1941:
Departs Kure.

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.

23 December 1941:
Departs Saipan.

27 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

6 January 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

13 January 1942:
Departs Mako.

16 January 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

25 January 1942:
Departs Kure.

29 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

1 February 1942:
Departs Mako.

4 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

5 February 1942:
Departs Kure.

8 February 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

11 February 1942:
Departs Mako.

14 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

20 February 1942:
Departs Kure.

22 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

24 February 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

4 March 1942:
Departs Mako.

7 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

12 March 1942:
Due to arrive at Sasebo.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure and departs later that day.

E 8 April 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

E 10 April 1942:
Departs Mako.

E 15 April 1942:
Arrives at IKure.

E 17 April 1942:
Departs Kure.

E 19 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

24 April 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Kobe then proceeds to Kure, Yokkaichi and Yokosuka.

3 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

July 1942:
At Kure Naval Yard 1 x 4.7-inch (120-mm) gun and 2 depth charge throwers are fitted.

14 July 1942:
Departs Kure.

15 July 1942:
Transits the Bungo Straits heading south.

23 July 1942:
Arrives at Palembang.

26 July 1942:
Departs Palembang.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

3 August 1942:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU departs Singapore in convoy No. 621 consisting of two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer FUYO.

5 August 1942:
Arrives at St Jacques.

7 August 1942:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU departs St Jacques in convoy No. 426 consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

11 August 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

12 August 1942:
Departs Mako in convoy No. 248 consisting of two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SANAE.

15 August 1942:
Arrives at Mutsure.

18 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

1 September 1942:
Arrives at Palembang.

3 September 1942:
Departs Palembang.

5 September 1942:
Arrives Singapore.

10 September 1942:
Departs Singapore.

12 September 1942:
Arrives at Palembang.

13 September 1942:
Departs Palembang.

15 September 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

23 September 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

25 September 1942:
Departs Singapore.

4 October 1942:
Arrives at Mutsure.

11 October 1942:
Departs Mutsure.

13 October 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

16 October 1942:
Departs Kure and transits the Bungo Straits.

24 October 1942:
Arrives at Palembang.

27 October 1942:
Departs Palembang.

29 October 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

1 November 1942:
Departs Singapore.

10 November 1942:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

11 November 1942:
Departs Shimotsu.

12 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

15 November 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

16 November 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

21 November 1942:
Departs Kobe for Singapore.

29 November 1942:
Arrives at 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 Palembang.

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

30 December 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 January 1943:
Departs Singapore.

11 January 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

15 January 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Kobe. While at Kobe undergoes brief repairs by Kawasaki Jukogyo.

17 January 1943:
Departs Kobe.

26 January 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

28 January 1943:
Departs Palembang.

29 January 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

1 February 1943:
Departs Singapore.

9 February 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

14 February 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

15 February 1943:
At 1506 arrives at Kobe. At Kawasaki Zosen’s yard urgent engine repairs are undertaken.

17 February 1943:
Departs Kobe.

25 February 1943:
At 1449 arrives Western anchorage, Singapore.

26 February 1943:
Transfers from Singapore Western anchorage to No.2 berth at Pulau Sambu. Loads 3, 508 tons crude oil.

27 February 1943:
Loads a further 8442 tons crude oil.

28 February 1943:
Departs Singapore.

1 March 1943:
Departs Singapore again.

8 March 1943:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU is joined by patrol boat PB-46 and minelayer NASAMI at 29-33N, 132-53E and escorted to 135E.

9 March 1943:
At 1332 arrives at Shimotsu. Discharges 11,850 tons crude oil.

12 March 1943:
Departs Shimotsu.

13 March 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

15 March 1943:
Departs Kure. Joined by minelayer NATSUSHIMA off Fukajima.

E 16 March 1943:
NATSUSHIMA is detached 96 degrees S of Tanega Shima.

23 March 1943:
Arrives at Singapore No. 2 berth Pulau Sambu. Loads North Sumatran crude oil.

24 March 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

26 March 1943:
Departs Singapore.

31 March 1943:
Owner restyled Nippon Kaiyo Gyogyo K.K.

4 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

7 April 1943:
At 1600 departs Yokkaichi.

16 April 1943:
At 1600 arrives at Palembang.

18 April 1943:
At 1530 departs Palembang.

20 April 1943:
At 1530 arrives at Singapore.

23 April 1943:
At 1600 departs Singapore.

30 April 1943:
Joined by minesweeper W-17 and subchaser CH-35 at 30-20N, 132-05E and escorted to Fukajima.

2 May 1943:
At 0710 arrives at Tokuyama. Probably discharges fuel oil cargo.

5 May 1943:
At 1000 departs Tokuyama.

14 May 1943:
At 0840 arrives at Palembang.

16 May 1943:
At 1600 departs Palembang.

17 May 1943:
At 1030 arrives at Pulau Bukum, Singapore.

20 May 1943:
At 1000 departs Singapore.

29 May 1943:
At 1515 arrives at Mutsure.

4 June 1943:
At 1530 departs Mutsure.

7 June 1943:
Arrives at Kobe. Undergoes repairs at Kawasaki Zosen.

9 June 1943:

11 June 1943:

3 July 1943:
Repairs are completed and at 1600 departs Kobe.

4 July 1943:
At 1525 arrives at Kure.

6 July 1943:
At 1545 departs Kure.

7 July 1943:
At 0730 arrives at Tokuyama Fuel Depot.

9 July 1943:
At 0905 departs Tokuyama and at 1335 that day arrives at Moji.

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

17 July 1943:
At 1130, arrives at Singapore.

21 July 1943:
At 1340 arrives at Balikpapan.

26 July 1943:
At 0930 departs Balikpapan.

30 July 1943:
At 1430 arrives at Singapore.

5 August 1943:
At 1320, departs Singapore in convoy HI-04 consisting of ITSUKUSHIMA and OMUROSAN MARUs and two unknown fast ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU. [1]

10 August 1943:
At 1200 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:
At 0640 arrives at Tokuyama.

23 August 1943:
At 0800 departs Tokuyama and at 1500 the same day arrives at Moji.

24 August 1943:
Transfers from Moji to nearby Mutsure, arriving at 0800.

25 August 1943:
At 0900, departs Moji in convoy HI-07 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, GOYO (ex cargo), NAMPO, OMUROSAN and NANEI MARUs and cargo-passenger ship USSURI MARU escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU. At 1900 arrives and shelters overnight in Arikawa Bay, Goto Retto.

26 August 1943:
At 0800 departs Arikawa Bay.

30 August 1943:
At 0820 arrives at Takao. Later convoy HI-07 arrives at Mako. ETOROFU is detached from the escort and replaced by kaibokan SADO. ITSUKUSHIMA and OMUROSAN MARUs are also detached from the convoy and proceed alone at 1400.

6 September 1943:
At 1440 arrives at Singapore

11 September 1943:
At 1100, departs Singapore in convoy HI-08 consisting of ITSUKUSHIMA and OMUROSAN MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan SADO.

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

20 September 1943:
At 1400 arrives at Tokuyama.

25 September 1943:
At 0300 departs Tokuyama and at 0700 arrives at Hesaki before joining convoy at Moji. 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.

6 October 1943:
At 0800 transfers from Seletar to Pulau Bukum at 1145 within Singapore.

10 October 1943:
At 1358, departs Singapore in convoy HI-12 consisting of tanker ITSUKUSHIMA MARU, transport MIIKE MARU and one unidentified merchant ship, probably SHINKO MARU, 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:
At 0930 arrives at Yokoshima near Sasebo. [3]

24 October 1943:
At 1435 departs Yokoshima and later that day arrives at Hesaki.

25 October 1943:
Transfers from Hesaki to nearby Moji, arriving at 0820.

28 October 1943:
At 0645 transfers from Moji to Mutsure. Then at 1607 departs in convoy HI-17 consisting of tankers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA MARUs and passenger ship ASAMA MARU escorted by destroyer FUYO and kaibokan ETOROFU.

1 November 1943:
At 1115 arrives at Takao. ETOROFU detaches. Passenger-cargo KACHIDOKI MARU (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and tankers TARAKAN MARU’s and TAKASAKI join as well as two unidentified merchant ships.

2 November 1943:
At 1500 departs Takao.

4 November 1943:
At 2100 arrives at Manila.

5 November 1943:
At 1500 departs Manila.

10 November 1943:
At 1740, arrives at Singapore. Sails to Seletar and later transfers to the Western Anchorage.

12 November 1943:
Arrives at nearby Pulau Sambu and loads crude oil.

14 November 1943:
Transfers from Pulau Sambu back to Singapore.

15 November 1943:
At 1340, departs Singapore in convoy HI-18 consisting of tankers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, TATEKAWA MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer FUYO.

18 November 1943:
The convoy makes a brief stop at Labuan, arriving at 1324 and departing at 1640.

23 November 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Manila (NB some sources say Takao). FUYO is detached and destroyer KURETAKE joins as escort.

24 November 1943:
At 1518 departs Manila.

28 November 1943:
At 0730 arrives at Mutsure. At 0930 departs Mutsure and at 1420 arrives at Tokuyama.

3 December 1943:
At 0800 departs Tokuyama and at 1330 that day arrives Moji.

5 December 1943:
At 1130 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. [4]

10 December 1943:
At 1210 arrives at Takao.

12 December 1943:
At 1100 departs Takao. It is unclear if ITSUKUSHIMA MARU was still in convoy at this stage.

17 December 1943:
At 1540 arrives at Selatar, Singapore.

19 December 1943:
At 0950 departs Seletar and at 1515 arrives at Pulau Sambu.

20 December 1943:
At 1150 transfers from Pulau Sambu to nearby Pulau Bukum, arriving at 1340.

21 December 1943:
At 1140 departs Pulau Bukum apparently in convoy SA-20 also consisting of tanker OMUROSAN MARU and likely tanker TATEKAWA MARU and transport NANKAI MARU escorted by torpedo boat KARI and kaibokan SHIMUSHU. (A secondary source states convoy was HI-26 that left 1000 on 26th December)

27 December 1944:
At 1515 arrives at Takao. SHIMUSHU and KARI are detached and destroyer SHIOKAZE joins.

28 December 1943:
At 0800 departs Takao.

1 January 1944:
At 1730 arrives at Mutsure.

2 January 1944:
At 0825 departs Mutsure. Later that day arrives at Iwakuni. Probably discharges fuel oil cargo.

6 January 1944:
At 1225 departs Iwakuni and at 1250 arrives at Tokuyama. Arrives at 1540 at Moji.

9 January 1944:
At 0745 departs 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 (USNA ’31) 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.

21 January 1944:
At 1000 transfers from Seletar to Pulau Sambu, arriving at 1420.

22 January 1944:
At 1525 transfers from Pulau Sambu to Singapore’s Western Anchorage, arriving at 1650.

25 January 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore in convoy HI-32 also consisting of oilers 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. At 1210 that day departs Moji and at 2215 arrives at Iwakuni.

8 February 1944:
At 0740 departs Iwakuni and at 1415 that day arrives at Tokuyama.

13 February 1944:
At 1300 departs Tokuyama and at 1755 that same day arrives at Hesaki.

14 February 1944:
At 1115 arrives at Moji.

15-16 February 1944:
Loads six Daihatsu barges.

16 February 1944:
At 0600, departs Moji in convoy HI-45 also consisting of oilers OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO and TATEKAWA MARUs, cargo liner ARIMASAN MARU and landing craft depot ship 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 1645, arrives at Singapore.

29 February 1944:
Offloads the 6 Daihatsu barges and then transfers to Pulau Sambu.

1 March 1944:
Transfers from Pulau Sambu to Pulau Bukum.

2 March 1944:
Transfers from Pulau Bukum to Singapore’s Western Anchorage.

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 (ex-French ARAMIS) and HOKUROKU MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan 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 with 6,700-tons of bauxite, 600-tons of crude oil and 256 military passengers is hit by four torpedoes fired by LtCdr Lowell T. Stone's USS LAPON (SS-260) and sinks at 19-24N, 116-50E. She blows up and sinks in about one minute taking down eight military passengers, 25 guards and 55 crewmen, including Captain Itokawa Suetada (36) (ex-XO of armoured cruiser HIRADO). TEIA MARU (ex-French ARAMIS) 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 at 2110 that day.

29 March 1944:
Loads 6 Daihatsu barges and then at 1510 departs Iwakuni, arriving at Hesaki at 2320 that day.

30 March 1944:
At 0650 departs Hesaki and at 0840 arrives at Moji.

1 April 1944:
At 1734 departs Moji in convoy HI-57 consisting of oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, OTOWASAN, RYOEI, SEIA and OMUROSAN MARUs, IJA landing craft depot ships SHINSHU and MAYASAN MARUs and two unidentified ships (probably tankers ZUIHO and SHINCHO MARUs), escorted by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokan 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.

18 April 1944:
At 0840 transfers from Seletar to Keppel Harbour, arriving at 1600.

21 April 1944:
At 0700, departs Singapore in convoy HI-58 also consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship SHINSHU MARU and tankers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, RYOEI and ZUIHO MARUs escorted by escort carrier KAIYO and kaibokan ETOROFU, IKI, SHIMUSHU, CD-8 and CD-9.

29 April 1944:
At 0730 the convoy stops over briefly at Chechung Wan, departing at 1300 that day.

3 May 1944:
ITSUKUSHIMA MARU and ETOROFU are detached to Sasebo arriving at 0900 that day.

10 May 1944:
Drydocked at Sasebo Naval Yard.

25 May 1944:

26 May 1944:
Leaves Sasebo for trials and then returns to Sasebo.

27 May 1944:
Departs Sasebo for Moji.

28 May 1944:
At 1800 arrives at Mutsure.

29 May 1944:
At 0600, departs Moji in convoy HI-65 also consisting of oilers OMUROSAN, ZUIHO and TOHO MARUs naval oiler SHIRETOKO, cargo liners ARIMASAN, MANILA, KASHII and TATSUWA MARUs and IJA landing craft depot ship 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. AWAJI is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Captain) Albert L. Raborn's (USNA ’34) USS PICUDA (SS-382) and sinks near Yasho Island at 22-48N, 121-24E. Her CO, Cdr (reserve) Niki Kozo, and 75 crewmen are KIA. Raborn fires two torpedoes at ARIMASAN MARU that cause her to collide with the SHINSHU MARU's stern. This causes a depth charge explosion 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. [5]

E of Formosa. The convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA ’33) 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 USS GUITARRO is forced deep. Later, USS 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.

3 June 1944:
At 0045 anchors off Tsoying (Saei), near Takao.

4 June 1944:
At 2000 departs Saei and briefly arrives off 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.

13 June 1944:
At 0800 transfers from Seletar to No. 12 wharf.

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' (USNA ’33) 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. Enters Bacolod Port. At 1400 leaves and an enemy submarine is detected at 13-28N, 121-59E. Six depth charges are dropped and 40 MG rounds expended. The minesweeper W-15 escorts the ship.

2 July 1944:
At 1207, 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 IJA landing craft depot 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, kaibokan 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) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249), LtCdr Franklin Hess’s (USNA ’35) USS ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) tracks the convoy.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. TOSAN (nine crewmen, eight gunners and 18 passengers KIA), AKI (three crewmen, 26 gunners, 24 troops and other passengers KIA) and OTORISAN (46 crewmen and 13 gunners KIA) 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 Takao.

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

10 August 1944:
At 1000 again enters Sasebo Naval Dockyard for additional repairs.

16 September 1944:
At 1015 undocked.

25 September 1944:
At 1400 departs Sasebo. Later that day at 1915, arrives at Hirado Seto.

26 September 1944:
At 0020 departs Hirado Seto and at 0800 that day arrives at Moji. At 1530 departs Moji and at 1645 arrives at Hesaki.

27 September 1944:
At 1335 departs Hesaki and at 1430 returns to Moji.

29 September 1944:
At 0645 departs Moji and lat 0730 arrives at nearby Hesaki.

1 October 1944:
At 0800, convoy HI-77 departs Moji. The convoy also consists of oilers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, ARITA, AKANE, TAIHO and KAIHO MARUs, cargo liners KINUGASA and ORYOKU MARUs and cargo passenger ship MANJU MARU. German U-boat supply ship QUITO is also in the convoy as is another unidentified vessel, (probably HAKOZAKI MARU). These 13 ships are escorted by kaibokan 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:
ORYOKU MARU detaches for Kirun. The rest of HI-77 arrives at Takao. The escort is bolstered by the inclusion of kaibokan 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 (later Captain) Arnold H. Holtz’s (USNA ’31) USS BAYA (SS-318), LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA (SS-319) and LtCdr (later Captain) Francis W. Scanland, Jr’s (USNA ’34) USS HAWKBILL (SS-366) heads through the South China Sea towards Fremantle, Australia.

About 1400, LtCdr (later Captain) James B. Grady's (USNA ’33) USS WHALE (SS-239) torpedoes and sinks oiler AKANE MARU (63 crewmen and 747 IJA Management Branch Cadets and Railway Officials KIA). At 1757, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles W. Wilkins' (USNA ’24) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes and sinks CD-21 with all hands (170 officers and sailors). In addition all survivors of AKANE MARU are also KIA.

7 October 1944:
At about 2200, KINUGASA MARU carrying 1,000 port service workers and ammunition, is hit by one or more torpedoes. Abandon Ship is ordered soon thereafter. At 2224, USS HAWKBILL, running on the surface, attacks the same large freighter. Scanland fires three more torpedoes and gets two hits that cause a huge explosion. Holtz’s USS BAYA also fires torpedoes at KINUGASA MARU. At 2227, KINUGASA MARU sinks taking down 33 crewmen and 10 passengers.

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, CD-19 and CD-27, minelayer YURISHIMA and minesweeper W-34. Later, IJA oilers HAKKO and NIPPO MARUs are also assigned to Kurita's force. [6]

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 with 13,000 tons fuel oil.

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. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU loads 13,000-tons of oil. Departs Brunei for Busuanga, Coron Bay 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 0248, LtCdr John M. Hyde's (USNA ’34) USS BERGALL (SS-320), on patrol near Dangerous Ground, makes SJ radar contact on four targets at 21,000 yards range. Hyde begins tracking on the surface. When the contacts became visible they are identified as large oilers accompanied by one large and one small escort.

At 0336 (H), Hyde sets up and fires six torpedoes at the targets. At 0339, ITSUKUSHIMA MARU is hit by one torpedo. At 0345, the second oiler in line, NIPPO MARU with a cargo of 13,000-ton of oil, is hit and sinks at about 0510 at 07-02N, 116-42E taking down four of her crew. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU remains afloat, but goes dead in the water and begins drifting between Sunken Barrier Shoals and the coast of Borneo in water so shallow USS BERGALL can not dive. The escorts counter-attack and drop 14 depth charges, but USS 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:
2 miles W of Pulau Kalampunian, N Borneo. ITSUKUSHIMA MARU sinks at 07-02N, 116-42E. A total of 41 crewmen are killed in the submarine and air attacks. Destroyer SHIGURE rescues survivors.

At 2021, USN codebreakers intercept a Japanese radio message that says: "Itsukushima Maru" was hit by bomb and sunk. Shigure pick up personnel of said ship (______ to Kudat Base). Subchaser CH-4 reverse course immediately and return to Brunei Bay."

2 November 1944:
At 0854 (JST) the codebreakers intercept a message from SHIGURE that reads "---- Captain and 66 men at Kudat will be picked up by the Shigure. Expect arrive Brunei about _____ on the 2nd."

10 December 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.

September 1945:
A wreck is discovered by occupying Australian forces aground off Kudat. Based on descriptions provided it appears to be of ITSUKUSHIMA MARU.

26 April 1954:
A wreck appearing to be ITSUKUSHIMA MARU is towed into Hong Kong and is presumably scrapped.

Authors' Notes:
[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] This suggests that ship had been detached from the convoy.

[4] 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.

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

[6] 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, Gilbert Casse of France and Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Credit for the photo of ITSUKUSHIMA MARU goes to Erich Muehlthaler via Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

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