(KAMIKAWA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)
IJN Seaplane Tender KAMIKAWA MARU:
Tabular Record of
© 1998-2011 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Allan Alsleben.Revision 10
5 August 1936:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki's dockyard.
13 December 1936:
Launched and named KAMIKAWA MARU.
15 March 1937:
Completed by Kawasaki as a merchant vessel for the
Kawasaki Kisen K. K. Line.
7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (Sino-Japanese) Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They
fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At
morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the
Chinese captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the
soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then bomb the city. An undeclared war
on China begins.
10 August 1937:
The 22nd Sea Scout Unit is embarked aboard oiler
TSURUMI and departs Sasebo. Later, the 22nd establishes a seaplane base in the
Ma-an Islands, off China.
18 September 1937:
In response to the Sino-Japanese Incident, the IJN
requisitions KAMIKAWA MARU for naval service as a flying boat tender. She is
registered (commissioned) in the IJN in the Sasebo Naval District. Captain
(later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro (former CO of YUGIRI) is posted as the
1 October 1937:
Attached to the Third Fleet.
5 October 1937:
Departs Kure to operate off the central Chinese coast.
9 October 1937:
The 22nd Sea Scout Unit’s Type 95 Nakajima E8N2 “Dave”
reconnaissance float biplanes are transferred to KAMIKAWA MARU.
1 December 1937:
Reassigned to the 3rd Air Flotilla. Captain (Vice
Admiral, posthumously) Arima Masafumi (43) (former CO of ASAMA) is posted as the
Commanding Officer. Captain Omori is reassigned as the Chief Instructor of the
IJN’s Torpedo School.
26 December 1937:
Arrives at Takao, Taiwan.
28 December 1937:
Departs Takao to operate off the southern coast of
1 February 1938:
Reassigned to the 3rd Air Flotilla, Fifth Fleet.
13 March 1938:
At Mako, Pescadores.
10 May 1938:
KAMIKAWA MARU participates in an amphibious assault on
Amoy (Xiamen) with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Koichi Shiozawa’s (32)(former CO
of FURUTAKA) 5th Fleet consisting of CruDiv 9's MYOKO (F) and light cruiser
TAMA, CruDiv 10's light cruisers TATSUTA and TENRYU, DesRon 5's light cruiser
NAGARA, DesDiv 3’s NADAKAZE, SHIMAKAZE, SHIOKAZE and DesDiv 16’s FUYO, ASAGAO
and KARUKAYA, CarDiv 1's KAGA, DesDiv 29’s HAYATE and OITE, SORYU with DesDiv
30’s YAYOI and KISARAGI, auxiliary seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU, collier
MUROTO, CarDiv 3's seaplane tender KAMOI, auxiliaries SYURI, CHOJU, DELHI, EIKO,
IKUTA, KAZAN, KURI, HAYA MARUs and DAIICHI MARU No. 8, NANSHIN MARU No. 8,
NANSHIN MARU No. 31, TAIKO, YODATI and auxiliary minelayers ENOSHIMA and ENTO
At dawn, the 5th Fleet’s warships, including DesDiv 16, bombard Ho-tsu,
Ni-chin, and Wu-tung and cover an amphibious assault landing by more than 2,000
troops of the Yokosuka, Kure and Sasebo Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF). At
the same time, NE of Xiamen (Amoy), floatplanes from KAMIKAWA MARU and KAMOI
bomb bridges, roads, ferries and ships. The poorly equipped Nationalist Chinese
75th Division defenders suffer heavy casualties, are overrun by the SNLFs and
12 May 1938:
That night, Chinese forces abandon Amoy to the Japanese.
1 July 1938:
Attached to the 3rd Fleet.
21 July 1938:
Tsiangtsin, China. The Japanese begin operations with
aerial reconnaissance of the city followed by aerial bombardment of Chinese
positions. At dawn the next day, the IJA's 106th Division lands a reinforced
infantry brigade south of Tsiangtsin. The Chinese launch many counterattacks,
but are repelled by the IJA assisted by air cover.
24 July 1938:
That night, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kondo
Eijiro’s (36)(former CO of KAGA) Yosuko Force lands troops of the Kure No. 5
Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) on the banks of the Yangtze. Gunnery support
is provided by Kondo’s 11th Battle Division. Minelayer YAEYAMA leads the van
with TorpBoatDiv 1, MinesweepDiv 1’s and MinesweepDiv 2. Kondo’s Guard Unit is
made up of TorpBoatDiv 11 and TorpBoatDiv 21. Air cover is provided by KAMIKAWA
MARU and NOTORO. Threatened with envelopment, the Chinese withdraw.
1 September 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yokokawa Ichihei 
is posted the Commanding Officer. Captain Arima is reassigned as the CO of the
Sasebo Air Group.
1 October 1938:
Operates out of the Shanghai or Whangapoa Estuary,
patrols the coastline, or is “on call” to support the Army.
5 December 1938:
Commissioned in the IJN. Begins service as an
aircraft transport. Attached to the China Area Fleet.
15 December 1938:
KAMIKAWA MARU is attached to the 5th Fleet's newly
formed 16th Seaplane Tender Division with the 14th Naval Air Group's (NAG)
assets. Operates off Hainan Island in support of operations in the Canton area.
6 May 1939:
Swatow (Shantou), China. Two Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” and six Type 95 Nakajima E8N2 “Dave” reconnaissance float biplanes, operating from KAMIKAWA in the Hainan area, drop 18 bombs on the east end of Swatow. The attacks are witnessed by men of the USS EDSAL (DD-19) anchored near Double Island.
15 November 1939:
Completes conversion to a 17-knot 6,853-ton seaplane
carrier/tender. Six Ten Year type 120-mm (4.7-inch)/45 cal. high angle guns are
installed. She carries four Type 94 “Alf” and eight Type 95 E8N2 "Dave" floatplanes. She is assigned call sign JNJL. KAMIKAWA MARU's aircrafts' tail code is "ZI-xx." She is re-rated a
Seaplane Tender and assigned in the Sasebo Naval District.
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ando Shigeaki  (former XO of HOSHO)
assumes command. Captain Yokogawa is reassigned as CO of HIRYU. The 16th
Seaplane Tender Division is deactivated. That same day, the 3rd, 4th and 5th
fleets are renamed the China Expeditionary Fleet. KAMIKAWA MARU departs for
Hainan Island to begin operations in the Canton area.
1 April 1940:
Attached to the Second China Expeditionary Fleet.
1 July 1940:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Yamada Michiyuki
 (former CO of Suzuka Air Group) assumes command. Continues operations in
the Canton area.
9 November 1940:
15 November 1940:
Reassigned to Captain Imamura Osamu’s  (former
CO of NOTORO) new 6th NAG and directly attached to the Combined Fleet with fleet
seaplane carrier NOTORO. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hattori Katsugi (44)(former CO
of KAMOI) assumes command. Captain Yamada is reassigned as the CO of the Oita
Naval Air Group.
1 December 1940:
Nagasaki. Drydocked at Mitsubishi’s Yard.
20 December 1940:
27-29 January 1941:
KAMIKAWA MARU becomes the temporary flagship of
6th NAG instead of NOTORO.
26 February 1941:
At Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa.
25 March 1941:
10 April 1941:
Reassigned to Captain Imamura’s 12th NAG, Second China
Area Fleet with tender SANYO MARU for operations in the Shanghai area.
17 April 1941:
4 May 1941:
Sasebo Navy Yard. Drydocked.
15 May 1941:
2 June 1941:
Designated as the flagship of the 12th Seaplane Tender
Division. That same day, the flag is transferred temporarily to aircraft
transport FUJIKAWA MARU.
20 September 1941:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Shinoda Tarohachi
 (former CO of AO SHIRYA) assumes command.
22 November 1941:
Departs Sasebo for Samah, Hainan Island. KAMIKAWA
MARU now carries 14 Aichi
Type 0 E13A1 “Jake” reconnaissance floatplanes and Mitsubishi F1M2 “Pete”
scout float biplanes.
27 November 1941:
Arrives at Samah.
KAMIKAWA MARU is assigned to 12th NAG, Third Fleet and
moves to Camranh Bay, Indo-China.
4 December 1941: Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
departs Samah, Hainan Island with SANYO MARU and the No.1 Malaya Invasion Convoy
carrying the IJA 5th Infantry Division and heads south.
6 December 1941:
Kota Bharu, Malaya. At 1030, a flight of three
Lockheed "Hudson" light bomber patrol planes of No. 1 RAAF Squadron takes off on
a reconnaissance flight over the South China Sea.
185 miles E of Kota Bharu. About noon, the crew of one of the "Hudsons"
spots three Japanese ships steaming west. Fifteen minutes later, the same crew
spots and reports sighting the main IJN convoy consisting of a battleship, five
cruisers, seven destroyers and 22 transports.
KAMIKAWA MARU launches a "Pete" floatplane to intercept the "Hudson", but it
is spotted and the Hudson takes cover in the clouds.
A few minutes later, a second Hudson also spots and reports details on
At 1400, Air Chief Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, CINC, Far
East, is advised of the sightings. Brooke-Popham is unsure of the meaning of the
movements of the Japanese ships: perhaps they are just testing British defenses
or perhaps they are heading for Siam. In any event, lacking authority from
London to do anything unless Allied Forces are actually attacked, he places all
his forces in Malaya on full alert. He orders continued surveillance of the
convoy by his recce aircraft.
Off Occupied French Indo-China (Vietnam). A floatplane from KAMIKAWA MARU
sights American Yacht ISABEL (PY-10). ISABEL was dispatched to
reconnoiter the coast of Indo-China by Admiral (later Senator) Thomas S. Hart,
CINC, US Asiatic Fleet, on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Later
that day, the ISABEL is ordered to return to Manila.
7 December 1941:
Off Malaya. At 0300, Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (37) orders
patrols in the area between the convoy and Malaya. The convoy is then 100
nautical miles off Kota Bharu. There is heavy rain and zero visibility. The
Southern Expeditionary Fleet has two seaplane carriers, KAMIKAWA MARU with 14
E13A1 Jakes and F1M2 "Petes" and SAGARA MARU with six F1M2s and two E8N2 Daves.
Both ships catapult off 11 F1M2 and six E13A1, but the planes report nothing.
Gulf of Siam. 20 miles WNW of Panjang Island. At 0820 (local), an E13A1
coded ZI-26 from KAMIKAWA MARU’s Air Unit, piloted by Ensign Ogata Eiichi, spots
Consolidated PBY “Catalina” reconnaissance flying boat W8417, coded "FY-W"of the
RAF's 205 Squadron piloted by Warrant Officer William E. Webb, RAF. Ogata
attacks the PBY from the rear and succeeds in damaging the flying boat. With
their radio destroyed, the 8-man Aussie crew can not report . Ensign Ogata
shadows the Catalina for 25 minutes until five Type 97 Kawasaki Ki-27 "Nate"
fighters from the JAAF's 1st Sentai arrive and quickly shoot down the PBY about
0845. WO Webb and his crew become the first casualties of the Pacific War.
8 December 1941: Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
forces land on the Kra Isthmus of Thailand and NE Malaya.
Off Kota Bharu, Siam (Thailand). KAMIKAWA MARU operates with SAGARA MARU
covering Malaya convoys. That day, Lt Mizuno Teinosuke , a KAMIKAWA MARU
floatplane pilot, is reported as lost in action.
11 December 1941:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.
13 December 1941: Operation “B” - The Invasion of British
Covers the British Borneo Invasion Force with CruDiv 7’s KUMANO,
SUZUYA, light cruisers YURA and KINU, DesDiv 11’s FUBUKI, DesDiv 12’s MURAKUMO,
SHINONOME and SHIRAKUMO and DesDiv 20’s SAGIRI, subchaser CH-7 and minesweepers
W-6 and W-7.
17 December 1941:
Miri, northern Borneo. KAMIKAWA MARU’s floatplanes under her Air
Officer Cdr Miura Kintaro, provide air cover for the invasion landings.
N of Miri, near Seria. In the darkness, SHINONOME completes escorting
minesweeper W-7 and the troop transport HIYOSHI MARU to this landing site. Just
after dawn, steaming alone off shore, destroyer SHINONOME is attacked by Dutch Dornier
Do-24 K-1 flying-boat X-32 of Aircraft Group GVT-7 based at Tarakan, E Borneo.
Of five 200-kg bombs she drops, the X-32 scores two direct hits and a near-miss.
An explosion severs SHINONOME's stern and she sinks quickly with all hands - the
first FUBUKI-class destroyer sunk in WWII.
A Do-24 X-34 flying boat of GVT-7 attacks a vessel, but is intercepted by
a Type O Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" from KAMIKAWA MARU. The Dornier is forced to
make an emergency landing with two of its crew dead. Two hours later, in bad
weather conditions. Six Dutch Glenn Martin bombers of 2-VIG-I, also attack. A
Pete from KAMIKAWA MARU attacks the Dutch bomber formation, but they
The invasion force goes ashore almost unopposed at Miri, Seria and
Lutong. The 2,500 men of MajGen Kawaguchi Kiyotake's "Kawaguchi Detachment" and
the No. 2 Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) quickly capture Miri's
airfield and oil fields.
19 December 1941:
Miri. In the morning, Glenn Martin B-10 medium
bombers from 1-VIG-I and 2-VIG-I based at Samarinda and Singkawang attack the
invasion shipping. Four of KAMIKAWA MARU’s F1M2 “Pete” floatplanes intercept
separate trios of bombers that appear at 15-minute intervals. The "Petes'" pilots
claim downing Glenn Martin M-571 of 2-VIG-I.
20 December 1941:
Miri. About midday, six Glenn Martins of 2-VIG-I
escorted by two obsolete Brewster “Buffalo” fighters attack Japanese shipping
off Miri. The bomber crews miss a cruiser. F1M2s from KAMIKAWA MARU intercept
and claim one bomber. The Buffaloes escape with heavy damage. That same day,
an E13A1 Jake from KAMIKAWA MARU fails to return from a
23 December 1941:
Northern Borneo. F1M2s from KAMIKAWA MARU and Type 0 Mitsubishi A6Ms
“Zekes” of the 22nd Air Flotilla’s based at Miri patrol over a convoy. A
Dutch Do-24 X-35 flying boat of GVT-1 based at Java is spotted shadowing the
convoy. The Dornier is engaged and damaged by a "Pete", but escapes and returns to
27 December 1941:
An F1M from KAMIKAWA MARU fails to return from a
morning patrol. An E13A1 Jake is dispatched on a search and rescue mission, but
finds nothing. While landing near KAMIKAWA MARU, the Jake capsizes and sinks.
Departs for Camranh Bay, Indo-China.
4 January 1942:
At Camrah Bay.
20 January 1942:
Off Singora/Patani, Thailand with tender SAGARA MARU.
Provides air cover for a convoy of 11 transports that left Camranh for Singora
and Patani carrying troops of the IJA's 18th Infantry Division.
1 February 1942:
The 12th Seaplane Tender Div is disbanded. KAMIKAWA
MARU is assigned directly to the Third Fleet.
13 February 1942: The Invasion of Palembang, Sumatra.
Island with SAGARA MARU.
14 February 1942: Operation “J” - The Invasion of Java, Netherlands East
Camranh Bay. KAMIKAWA MARU is in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36) (former
CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet, Southern Force, Netherlands East Indies Force. The
Western Force under Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo (former CO of HARUNA), together
with an airborne assault, captures the oil refineries at Palembang, Sumatra.
KAMIKAWA MARU with light cruisers NATORI and YURA and seaplane tender
SANYO MARU provide distant cover of the Western Java Seizure Force.
16 February 1942:
Java Sea, Muntok, Bangka Island. A detachment of
F1M2 "Petes" from KAMIKAWA MARU and SAGARA MARU are operating out of Bangka. Dutch
Glenn Martin B-10s of the Java-based 3-VIG-III sortie to attack Japanese
shipping in the Moesi River, Sumatra. During the afternoon, F1M2s and Ki-27s of
the 1st Sentai intercept four twin-engined bombers over the shipping. One bomber
is shot down in southern Sumatra. A "Pete" is also shot down and lands in the sea,
40 miles W of Muntok, but destroyer HATSUYUKI picks up the pilot and his
1 March 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU provides air cover for 56 invasion
transports carrying the IJA’s 2nd Infantry Division.Ozawa’s Western Force lands
troops at Bantam Bay, Merak and Ereten Wetan, Java.
In the morning, three of KAMIKAWA MARU F1M2s and three of her E13A Jakes
fly to Bantam Bay, Java. Two of the F1M2s go on to Eretan Wetan. Two "Petes" from
SANYO MARU join them there. In the early afternoon, five Hawker “Hurricanes” of
605 Squadron engage a lone "Pete floatplane. After the combat, the "Pete’s" pilot
claims three "Hurricanes" downed.
Later, that same day, a lone "Hurricane" finds two of KAMIKAWA MARU F1M2s
at anchor in Bantam Bay. The "Hurricane", although under fire from IJN AA
positions, strafes the "Petes" and sets one on fire while badly damaging the
3 March 1942:
Off Eretan Wetan, Java with SANYO MARU.
5 March 1942:
Troops of the IJA’s 2nd Infantry landed by Ozawa’s
Western Force take the capital of Batavia, Java.
10 March 1942:
Reassigned to the Fourth Fleet at Rabaul.
11 March 1942:
Departs for Kure.
16 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.
24 March 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.
27 March 1942:
4 April 1942:
18 April 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Truk.
24 April 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Assigned to the screening force of the
Port Moresby Occupation Force with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Marumo
Kuninori's (40) (former CO of ASHIGARA) CruDiv 18’s light cruisers TENRYU, TATSUTA,
YUBARI and three gunboats.
28 April 1942: Operation “MO”- The Invasion of
Tulagi and Port Moresby (The Battle of Coral Sea):
Departs Truk via
Rabaul for the south Solomons.
30 April 1942:
Arrives at Queen Carola anchorage, Kieta, New Ireland.
2 May 1942:
Solomons. Covers the landings on Santa Isabel Island.
3 May 1942:
At Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel Island. KIYOKAWA MARU’s
(undergoing repairs in Japan) Air Unit is based aboard KAMIKAWA MARU and
provides air cover over Tulagi and Guadalcanal.
4 May 1942:
100 miles S of Guadalcanal. The IJN had previously begun
construction of a seaplane base at Tulagi, Florida Island, British Solomons.
Task Force 17's Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher (USNA ‘06)(MOH '14/former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) receives a signal that IJN transports are disembarking troops and equipment at Tulagi.
At 0701, YORKTOWN (CV-5) launches her first strike of 18 Grumman F4F-3
"Wildcats" fighters of VF-42, 12 Grumman TBD-1“Devastator” torpedo-bombers of
VT-5 and 28 Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless” dive-bombers from VS-5 and BY-5.
YORKTOWN’s Air Group 5 makes three attacks on ships and shore
installations at Tulagi and Gavutu. They sink destroyer KIKUZUKI, minesweeper
TAMA MARU and auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2 and four barges.
YORKTOWN's planes also damage destroyer YUZUKI, minelayer OKINOSHIMA,
transport AZUMASAN MARU and cargo ship KOZUI MARU for the loss of three planes.
Air Group 5 also destroys two of the Yokohama NAG's E8N2 Daves based at
Tulagi and three F1M2 "Pete" floatplanes shot down by VF-42's F4Fs while enroute
from Shortland to reinforce the seaplanes at Tulagi.
YORKTOWN’s losses are two F4F's and one TBD.
5 May 1942:
Rekata Bay. KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit replenishes
KAMIKAWA’s aircraft losses, then KAMIKAWA MARU departs for Deboyne Island in the
6 May 1942:
Port Moresby, New Guinea. RAAF Consoldated PBY “Catalina” flying boat No. A24-20, piloted by Squadron Leader Geoff Hemsworth and his 8-man crew, takes off on a daylight reconnaissance mission.
Off Misima Island, 3 miles S of Cape Ebola. A 0422 Zulu, Hemsworth signals that he has “sighted two Japanese destroyers and is being attacked by Japanese aircraft at 10-40S, 152-29E.” Nothing further is received from the PBY. Most probably, the aircraft were Mitsubishi F1M2 “Pete” biplane float fighters from KAMIKAWA MARU. 
Deboyne Island, Louisade Archipelago. That same day, KAMIKAWA MARU is detached from CruDiv 18.
7 May 1942:
Deboyne Island. At 0630, several floatplanes are
dispatched on an air search. At 0820, a search plane spots an enemy cruiser
fleet 150 miles SSW of DeBoyne.
10 May 1942:
13 May 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU is reassigned to the No. 3 Air Force
Force, Bismarck Area Defense Force attached to the Fourth Fleet.
20 May 1942:
Reassigned to 11th Seaplane Tender Division, Combined
Fleet. Departs Rabaul for Saipan.
24 May 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.
28 May 1942:
Departs Saipan with Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo
Nobutake's (35)(former CO of KONGO) Midway Invasion Force in Rear Admiral (later
Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (former CO of FUSO) 11th Seaplane Tender Group
with the seaplane carrier CHITOSE. KAMIKAWA MARU carries fourteen F1M2 "Petes" and
four E8N2 "Daves" to be based at Eastern Island, Midway.
Accompanies Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41)(former CO of KONGO) Transport Group's KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, KEIYO,
GOSHU, KANO, HOKUROKU, KIRISHIMA, NANKAI MARUs, TOA MARU No. 2 and oiler AKEBONO
The Transport Group is also escorted by Tanaka's DesRon 2’s light cruiser
JINTSU, DesDiv 15’s KUROSHIO, OYASHIO, DesDiv 16’s AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE,
TOKITSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, DesDiv 18’s destroyer-transports ARARE, KASUMI and
3 June 1942: Operation
“MI” - The Battle of Midway:
The convoy is bombed by nine B-17s, but
KAMIKAWA MARU is undamaged. Then the convoy is attacked by torpedo-carrying PBY
"Catalina" amphibious patrol planes. KAMIKAWA MARU is again undamaged, but
AKEBONO MARU is torpedoed and KIYOSUMI MARU is strafed.
5 June 1942: Operation “AL”- The Invasion of the Western
Twenty ships of the Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro's (36) (former CO of
MUTSU) Fifth Fleet, including light cruisers KISO and TAMA, three destroyers,
three corvettes, three minesweepers and four transports land Rear Admiral (later
Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) Occupation Force on Attu, Aleutians without
6 June 1942:
At 2020, KAMIKAWA MARU is detached from Kondo's force
with BatDiv 3’s KONGO and HIEI, CruDiv 8’s TONE, CHIKUMA, carrier ZUIHO, DesDiv
4’s HAGIKAZE, MAIKAZE, NOWAKI to join Vice Admiral Hosogawa's fleet, after
refueling, for the invasion of the Aleutians.
9 June 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU is reassigned to the Northern Force,
Seaplane Force, 11th Seaplane Tender Division, attached to directly the Combined
15 June 1942:
Arrives at Kiska. Joins light cruiser KISO, tender
KIMIKAWA MARU and destroyers and auxiliaries that arrived earlier. Also present
at Kiska is a detachment of the Toko Kokutai with six Type 97 Kawanishi H6K "Mavis"
flying boats under Captain Ito Sukemitsu.
KAMIKAWA MARU off-loads her floatplanes to the beach where a seaplane
base has been set up. KAMIKAWA MARU's floatplanes fly three-hour ASW and
19 June 1942:
Frequent air raids on Kiska by the USAAF 11th Air Force
cause KAMIKAWA MARU to take refuge at MacDonald Bay, Agattu Island, Aleutians
with KIMIKAWA MARU.
27 June 1942:
Arrives at Ominato, Japan, refuels and replenishes, then
patrols with her escort destroyer HOKAZE and the fleet SW of the Aleutians.
3 July 1942:
Agattu Island. A flight of seven USAAF B-24 "Liberators"
bombs the anchorage harboring KAMIKAWA MARU, KIMIKAWA MARU, oiler FUJISAN MARU
and six destroyers. KAMIKAWA MARU is not damaged, but several crewmen aboard
KIMIKAWA MARU are killed by a bomb near-miss.
4 July 1942:
Departs Agattu. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles C.
Kirkpatrick's (USNA ‘31) USS TRITON (SS-201) sinks KAMIKAWA MARU’s escort, DesDiv 21’s
NENOHI. KAMIKAWA MARU then departs the area for Paramushiro, Kuriles.
Arrives at Hashirajima.
14 July 1942:
That same day, KAMIKAWA MARU is assigned to the 11th Seaplane Tender
Division, Second Fleet with seaplane carrier CHITOSE. Her aircrafts' tail code
is changed to "YII-xx."
15 July 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Loads Type 95 "Daves" and Type 0 "Petes".
7 August 1942: American Operation “Watchtower” – The Invasion of
Guadalcanal, British Solomons:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Richmond K.
Turner's (USNA ‘08) Amphibious Task Force 62, covered by Vice Admiral (MOH ‘14/later
Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA ‘06) (MOH/former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 61 and
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (USNA ‘06) former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task
Force 63’s land-based aircraft, lands Maj Gen (later Gen/MOH/Commandant)
Alexander A. Vandergrift’s 1st Marine Division on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu,
Tanambogo and Guadalcanal opening the campaign to retake the island.
9 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka from Sasebo
10 August 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU is assigned to the 11th Seaplane Tender
Division (Base Air Force), Second Fleet.
23 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka to operate from the Shortland
28 August 1942:
Shortland Islands. The Eighth Fleet creates the"R"
Area Air Force (Homen Koku Butai) under Rear Admiral Jojima Takatsugu (40)(former CO
of SHOKAKU). KAMIKAWA MARU is in No. 1 Group of the 11th Seaplane Tender
Division with the CHITOSE.
The seaplane unit is to augment the IJN’s land-based aircraft in the
Guadalcanal area. The unit uses Aichi E13A1 "Jake" monoplanes for long-range
reconnaissance and anti-submarine missions, Type O Nakajima A6M2-N
"Rufe"single-seat float fighters and F1M2s for light bombing, convoy-escort
duty and to complement the A6M2-Ns in the fighter role. The R-Area Air Force is
based in Shortland Harbor, but Rekata Bay on Santa Isabel Island, 135 miles NW
of Lunga Point on Guadalcanal, serves as the unit's forward staging base.
1 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. KAMIKAWA MARU is reassigned to
the Southeastern Area Force, Bismarck Area Air Force (11th Seaplane Tender
Division, Second Fleet), under the tactical command of the CINC, 8th Fleet.
4 September 1942:
Arrives at Shortlands. KAMIKAWA MARU’s A6M2-N
"Rufe" floatplane fighters detachment is skippered by Lt Ono Jiro (former Hikocho of
CHIKUMA at Pearl Harbor). From this day until 7 November, the unit flies 360 sorties in 211 separate missions claiming 14 victories and one probable for the
loss of 9 of its pilots.
12 September 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU’s Air Unit’s strength is 11 A6M2-N
"Rufes" and two F1M2 "Petes".
13 September 1942:
Guadalcanal, Solomons. KAMIKAWA MARU’s Warrant
Officer Kawamura Makio, flying a Rufe with his wingman, shoots down a Douglas
SDB “Dauntless” dive-bomber preparing to land at Henderson Field.
14 September 1942:
Guadalcanal. During an attempt to retake Henderson
Field, the R-Area Air Force provides air support. Tenders KAMIKAWA MARU,
CHITOSE, SANYO MARU and SANUKI MARU launch 19 F1M2s, each armed with 60-kilogram
bombs, escorted by two of KAMIKAWA MARU's A6M2-N "Rufes". At 1730, near Lunga
Point, Guadalcanal, Gruman F4F-4 “Wildcats” intercepts the "Rufes".
That day, three of KAMIKAWA MARU’s A6M2-N pilots, including WO Kawamura
and Lt (jg) Kawashima Masashi are lost. One Rufe escapes and the pilot claims
two F4Fs, although none are lost.
19 September 1942:
Arrives at Shortland. KAMIKAWA MARU off-loads
floatplanes, then departs for Rabaul.
21 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.
23 September 1942:
Departs for Yokosuka.
1 October 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Captain (Rear Admiral,
posthumously) Matsuda Takatomo  (former CO of IRO) assumes command. Captain
Shinoda is reassigned (later CO of TAIYO). During her stay at Yokosuka, she has
4 October 1942:
Solomons. An IJN troop convoy bound for Guadalcanal in
bad weather is being escorted by A6M2-Ns and F1M2s. The convoy is attacked by
USN and Marine aircraft from Henderson Field and the USS HORNET (CV-8). As five
F4F-4 “Wildcat” fighters of HORNET 's VF-72 are attacking the convoy, one of
KAMIKAWA MARU’s F1M2s "Petes" takes off and climbs under the Americans. Several
Wildcats attack the "Pete", but its pilot ditches SE of Ballale Island,
8 October 1942:
KAMIKAWA MARU’s Air Unit strength is down to five
12 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka via Rabaul for Shortland Islands.
18 October 1942:
Arrives at Shortlands, then departs.
19 October 1942:
Arrives at Buin, Bougainville. Bombed by Fifth Air
Force B-17 bombers. No damage.
21 October 1942:
Buin. Bombed again by Fifth Air Force B-17 bombers,
but not damaged.
30 October 1942:
Buin. Bombed by Fifth Air Force B-17 bombers. No
31 October 1942:
Buin. Bombed by Fifth Air Force B-17 bombers. No
1 November 1942:
Bombed by Fifth Air Force B-17 bombers and slighty
Shortland. KAMIKAWA MARU's aircrafts' tail code is
changed to "L1-xx."
3 November 1942:
Shortland. Designated as the flagship of the 11th
Seaplane Tender Division.
7 November 1942:
Solomons. ComDesDiv 15 Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Sato Torajiro (43)(former CO of SHINONOME) leads a "Tokyo Express" troop reinforcement convoy of
11 destroyers bound for Guadalcanal. His air cover is provided by six A6M2-N
Rufes of the 802nd NAG and four of KAMIKAWA MARU's F1M2 "Petes". Sato's convoy is
attacked by seven Marine SDB dive-bombers of VMSB-132, three USN Grumman TBF
"Avenger" torpedo-bombers of HORNET's VT-8 and eight Bell P-39 "Airacobra"
fighter-bombers of the USAAF's 67th Fighter Squadron. The American force is
escorted by 21 Marine F4F Wildcats of VMF-121. The P-39's jettison their bombs
and engage the floatplanes as do the F4Fs.
Marine Captain (later MOH/BrigGen, ANG/Governor, SDak) Joseph J. Foss is
leading eight of the escorting Marine Wildcats. His Wildcats engage the Rufes
and prepare to strafe the destroyers. Foss climbs to protect his flight and
engages a "Pete". He shoots it down, but is shot down by its rear gunner.
Foss’ parachute keeps him afloat until twilight when a native in an outrigger
canoe from nearby Malaita Island rescues him. The next day, he is picked up by a
PBY “Catalina” flying boat.
The Army pilots claim five floatplanes destroyed that day and the Marines
also claim five, including the one by Foss. In fact, rather than 10 floatplanes
shot down that day, as claimed by the Americans, the IJN suffers but one of
KAMIKAWA MARU's F1M2s lost. The American's attack on the destroyer convoy is
unsuccessful, however; and most of the IJA's 1,300 troop reinforcements are
landed at Cape Esperance and Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal.
10 November 1942:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's
(former Co of KONGO) plans to land 14,500 men, heavy weapons and supplies of the
IJA's 38th "Hiroshima" Infantry Division and the 8th Special Naval Landing Force
on Guadalcanal. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (former CO of
KONGO) DesRon 2’s twelve destroyers will escort an 11-ship high-speed
11 November 1942:
20 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
28 November 1942:
4 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
5 December 1942:
7 December 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.
11 December 1942:
Near Buin, Bougainville. KAMIKAWA MARU tows damaged auxiliary seaplane tender SANYO MARU to a new anchorage. KAMIKAWA MARU also waters and provisions SANYO MARU.
13 December 1942:
Shortland. KAMIKAWA MARU, depleted of pilots, is assigned as the tender of the 802nd Air Group.
15 December 1942:
18 December 1942:
Arrives at Truk.
19 December 1942:
25 December 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.
27 December 1942:
15 January 1943:
21 January 1943:
Departs Sasebo for Shortland via Yokosuka-Truk-Rabaul
escorted by DesDiv 22’s FUMIZUKI, NAGATSUKI and SATSUKI.
29 January 1943:
Arrives at Shortland.
1 February 1943:
13th Air Force B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers with escorting P-38 "Lightning"and P-40 "Warhawk" fighters
attack shipping off Shortland Island. Twenty Japanese aircraft intercept the Americans and claim nine aircraft destroyed. Bombs damage KAMIKAWA MARU. That same day, KAMIKAWA MARU’s Air Unit’s strength is seven E13A1 and three F1M2s.
February - March 1943:
Departs Shortland for temporary repairs at
Rabaul, probably by repair ship YAMABIKO MARU. Later, departs Rabaul for Truk
for more repairs by repair ship AKASHI.
5 February 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Undergoes repairs, then departs for
11 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
16 February 1943:
Transferred to Yokohama.
18 February 1943:
1 March 1943:
KAMIKAWA MARU and KUNIKAWA MARU merge into the 938th Air
Group. KAMIKAWA MARU serves as an aircraft transport for the Group.
Solomons. FIM2 “Petes” of the 11th Seaplane Tender
Division’s KAMIKAWA MARU (under repair in Japan) and KUNIKAWA MARU make nocturnal
harassment raids on Guadalcanal. Their engine noise and the explosions of their
60-kg bombs make sleep impossible for American troops around Henderson Field.
15 March 1943:
Undocked. Departs Yokohama for Yokosuka.
22 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.
23 March 1943:
Three floatplanes attack Lunga Point, Guadalcanal and
Tulagi on nearby Florida Island.
25 March 1943:
Two floatplanes attack Tulagi Harbor.
27 March 1943:
A single floatplane attacks Cape Esperance,
Guadalcanal. Meanwhile, photo-reconnaissance missions flown by the USAAF’s 17th
Reconnaissance Squadron’s Lockheed F-5As (P-38s) pinpoint the Faisi-Poporang
area in the Shortland Islands as the principal IJN seaplane base in the
28 March 1943:
A reconnaissance photo shows 27 floatplanes at their
moorings in the Shortlands.
29 March 1943:
Poporang Island, Shortlands. A joint-service fighter
sweep by led by Captain Tom Lanphier with eight Lockheed P-38 “Lightnings” of
the 70th Fighter Squadron, USAAF and eight Marine Chance-Vought F-4U-1
“Corsair" fighters of VMF-124, USMC hits the Faisi-Poporang seaplane base. They set fire
to five to seven "Pete" floatplanes originally attached to KAMIKAWA and KUNIKAWA
MARU and strafe subchaser CH-28 on their way back to base.
KAMIKAWA MARU departs Truk for Rabaul escorted by light cruiser YUBARI.
1 April 1943: Operation “I-Go” - The Reinforcement of Rabaul:
MARU arrives at Rabaul. She is reassigned to the Southeast Area Fleet in the
11th Seaplane Tender Division.
That same day, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32), CINC, Combined Fleet, orders aircraft from CarDiv 1’s ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO to
reinforce the 11th Air Fleet’s base at Rabaul and CarDiv 2’s HIYO and JUNYO to
reinforce the base at Ballale Island, near Buin.
15 April 1943:
Reassigned directly to the Southeast Area Fleet.
18 April 1943:
Departs Rabaul with destroyers AKIGUMO and YUGUMO.
21 April 1943:
Arrives at Truk.
22 April 1943:
26 April 1943:
Recalled Captain-Retired Hara Seitaro  (former CO
of KIYOKAWA MARU) is appointed new CO. Captain Matsuda is reassigned and later
is CO of TAIYO.
29 April 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.
14 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka about 1300 (JST). Joins transports
HAKOZAKI MARU and TONEI MARU to form convoy No. 3415.
22 May 1943:
Joined by the kaibokan OKI.
23 May 1943:
Arrives at Truk about 1400 (JST). Discharges aircraft,
fuel, military equipment and bombs.
26 May 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul about 0900 (JST) with remaining
cargo of provisions, canteen goods, preserved sake, general cargo and some
passengers, escorted by subchasers CH-2 and CH-37.
28 May 1943:
N of Kavieng, New Ireland. KAMIKAWA MARU is en route to
Palau. At about 1000 (JST) she is attacked at 01-42N, 150-18E by a B-24 that is
255 n. miles NNW of Kavieng, New Ireland, near Emirau Island. KAMIKAWA
MARU is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Walter G. Ebert's USS SCAMP
(SS-277). At 1203 (JST) at 01-42S 150-18E, in the midst of a heavy squall, she
is hit by three torpedoes starboard side; the first in No. 1 hold, second
amidships in the engine room and the third in No. 4 hold. She floods, loses
engine power and begins settling by the stern. Attempts to take KAMIKAWA MARU in
tow are unsuccessful. Abandon Ship is ordered and her crew take to the
29 May 1943:
NNW of Kavieng, New Ireland. At midnight, KAMIKAWA MARU
is attacked again by SCAMP. At 0016 she takes another hit at point-blank range
portside in her No. 2 hold. The list increases rapidly and she rolls over to
port. At 0021, KAMIKAWA MARU sinks with 39 sailors and 3 Army civilian employees
at 01-36S, 150-24 E.
Captain Hara is KIA. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.
SCAMP survives attacks by one of the submarine chasers escorting her,
CH-12 or CH-37.
15 July 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.
 The survivors float in their dinghy for three weeks, finally getting ashore 260 miles to the south, where they become POWs. In 1945,
shortly before the Japanese capitulation, the crew is executed.
 A captured diary indicates that on 6 May ‘42 an Allied flying boat crashed ahead of a Japanese convoy, probably Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi’s (39)(former CO of KISO) Port Moresby Invasion Group consisting of light cruiser YUBARI (F), destroyers OITE, ASANAGI, UZUKI, MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYO and unidentified patrol boats escorting Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Koso’s (40)(former CO of HIEI) Transport Unit consisting of minelayer TSUGARU and 11 transports including Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) MARSUE (MATSUE) MARU, repair ship OJIMA, and oilers HOYO MARU and IRO escorted by five minesweepers.
The diary furthers states on 7 May YUBARI took the nine prisoners aboard, who were transferred to transport MATSUE MARU that returned to Rabaul on 9 May. No record exists of the POWs arriving at Rabaul.
Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Mr. Andrew
Obluski of Poland and Mr. Jean-Francois Masson of Canada.
Thanks go to Mr. Toda Gengoro of Japan for info in Revision 9 and to
Don M. Kehn, Jr for info in Revision 10.
- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Allan Alsleben.
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Kamikawa Maru 36 6853 Kawasaki Kisen