(JOHORE MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

21 September 1931:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shipyard Ltd. as Yard No. 184, a 6,187-ton passenger-cargo-ship for Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, K. K. (ISK) of Fuchu.

23 April 1932:
Launched and named JOHORE MARU.

24 August 1932:

In service on ISK’s regular service carrying iron ore from Java to Japan with ports of call at Batavia, Surabaya, Java, Makassar, Samaran, Cheribon, Dutch East Indies and Singapore, Batopahat and Wakamatsu, Moji, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama (42 days round trip).

6 July 1935:
Under Government pressure, ISK, Nanyo Yusen and the Japan-Netherland East Indies services of Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) are amalgamated to form a new company, the Nanyo Kaiun K. K. (South Seas Shipping Co., Ltd). The previous owners all take a share of the new company. Fourteen vessels, including JOHORE MARU, are transferred to the new company.

E November 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a troop transport. Assigned Army No. 966.

December 1941:
Manao Bay, Pracuab, Siam (Thailand). JOHORE MARU lands the Uneo Detachment consisting of the 2nd Battalion, 143d Regiment of the IJA 55th Division. 1,090 men, 50 trucks, 100 horses, and an additional 1,500 men.

19 February 1942:
At 0800, 39 transports including JOHORE MARU of the Eastern Java Invasion Force carrying the IJA’s 48th Infantry Division depart Jolo Anchorage for Java. En route, four more ships carrying the Sakaguchi Detachment (destined to capture Tjilatjap) join the invasion convoy.

1 March 1942: Operation J - The Invasion of Java:
Java Sea. 90 miles W of Surabaya, Java. At 0120, the Eastern Java Invasion Force enters the roadstead off Kragan village, East Java. Just before dropping anchor, the ships are fiercely attacked by ten obsolete Vickers "Wildebeest" bi-plane bombers and 15 fighters of the Australian and New Zealand Air Forces.

JOHORE MARU is hit and suffers many dead and wounded. KINU is slightly damaged by near-misses and three men are killed by shrapnel. 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.

April-May 1942:
Undergoes battle-damage repairs at an unknown location.

May 1942:
Arrives at Canton (Guangdong), China.

2 July 1942:
JOHORE MARU departs Mutsure in convoy No. 132 also consisting of AMAGI, HOFUKU and TOFUKU MARUs and 13 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SHIRAYUKI and kaibokan WAKATAKE

7 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

29 August 1942:
JOHORE MARU departs Mutsure in convoy No. 156 also consisting of SEATTLE MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan KURETAKE.

2 September 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

14 September 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 September 1942:
JOHORE MARU departs Hong Kong for Guadalcanal in convoy Shitai No. 1 also consisting of HIE and MANKO MARUs escorted by light cruisers KUMA and KASHII and torpedo boat KASAGI. JOHORE MARU carries elements of the IJA 2nd Battalion (less 6th Company), 10th Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment, horses and supplies. MANKO MARU carries Headquarters, 10th Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment; 1st Battalion (less 1st Company).

28 September 1942:
Encounters a typhoon in the Bashi Strait. Shelters at Takao.

30 September 1942:
The convoy is redirected to Rabaul. Departs Takao.

7 October 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

8 October 1942:
Departs Palau.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul

20 October 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. .

12 November 1942:
Palau. JOHORE and HOKUSHO MARUs join convoy “Y” that arrives from Guam consisting of HOKKO, SANKO, FUSHIMI and BOSTON MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-20.

16 November 1942:
In the morning, convoy “Y” departs Palau, now escorted by destroyer OITE. At 1115 (JST), a submarine is discovered. At about 1500 (JST), BOSTON MARU carrying 700 men of the 170th Infantry Regiment, 21st (IMB), is hit by two torpedoes at 06-16N, 135-19E. At about 1600 (JST), BOSTON MARU sinks taking down 16 crewmen, two gunners and 228 soldiers. There are 472 survivors, but all, their equipment is lost.

The 170th Infantry Regiment’s colors are also lost to the sea. Distraught over this, the regimental commander attempts suicide on OITE, but the destroyer's “suicide prevention duty surveillance officer” foils his efforts.

Seconds after firing her torpedoes, LtCdr Kenneth C. Hurd‘s (USNA '25) USS SEAL (SS-183) is rammed by FUSHIMI MARU which sustains light damage. SEAL’s periscopes and adjacent conning tower areas are damaged and she is forced to terminate her war patrol.

22 November 1942:
JOHORE MARU and the remainder of the convoy arrives at Rabaul.

11 December 1942:
Off Cape St. George, New Britain. JOHORE MARU is transporting supplies to New Ireland when she is torpedoed and damaged by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William E. Ferrall’s (USNA ’27) USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) at 04-55S, 152-44E. An escort counter attacks and drives off SEADRAGON, then tows JOHORE MARU to Rabaul where she is run aground.

January to April 1943:
Rabaul. JOHORE MARU suffers a large hole in her hull to center starboard and severe engine room damage. Her generator fails and her crew is forced to live in the dark. Finally, repairs to the hull and engine room begin that last three months.

August 1943:
Reairs are completed and JOHORE MARU's engine is started.

18 October 1943:
Vunapope, near Rabaul. Six North American B-25D "Mitchell" medium bombers of the 345th Bomb Group's 500th Squadon attack and damage shipping in the bay including JOHORE MARU and two other unidentified freighters.

20 October 1943:
At 1445, JOHORE MARU departs Rabaul via Palau for Moji in convoy O-006 also consisting of fleet oiler TENNAN MARU, IJA cargo ship KAZAN MARU and HOZUKAWA, BUNZAN and KOSEI MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-24 and CH-22.

22 October 1943:
At 2253, CH-22 opens fire on an enemy submarine spotted on the surface.

23 October 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) John S. Coye's (USNA ’33) SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks the convoy. At 2245, Coye torpedoes and sinks TENNAN MARU. Five passengers and 42 crewmen are KIA. SILVERSIDES also torpedoes and damages JOHORE and KAZAN MARUs at 02-30N, 144-44E.

24 October 1943:
KAZAN MARU sinks as the result of her damage. Four guards and three crewmen are KIA. CH-24 attempts to scuttle immobilized JOHORE MARU, but fails. Later, SILVERSIDES finishes off JOHORE MARU by gunfire. 79 passengers and five crewmen are KIA.

- Bob Hackett

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