(Sister IMIZU MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2014 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 1

10 July 1940:
Aioi. Laid down by Harima Zosensho K.K shipyard for Kaburagi Kisen K.K. as a 2,869-ton Peacetime standard (C) Class cargo ship.

14 April 1941:
Launched and named KANAYAMASAN MARU. [1]

28 June 1941:
Completed and registered in Tokyo. Her Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) is 1,617-tons. [2]

3 December 1941:
Scheduled to be requisitioned by the IJN.

20 December 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

22 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

29 December 1941:
Departs Kure with auxiliary transports TOEI and NITTEI MARUs.

31 December 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport (Otsu) category attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as home port under Navy’s instruction No. 1775. Navy commissioned Captain Kashiki Tsutomu is appointed CO. [3]

6 January 1942:
Arrives at Davao, Mindanao.

14 January 1942:
Departs Davao.

17 January 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Preparation is made for the invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo.

21 January 1942:
At 1700, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto's (39) Balikpapan Invasion Convoy departs Tarakan, Borneo with IJN transports KANAYAMASAN (carrying the 2nd Construction Unit), TATSUGAMI, NANA, ASAHISAN, SUMANOURA, KUMAGAWA, TOEI and NITTEI MARUs and IJA transports KURETAKE, HAVANA, EHIME, LIVERPOOL, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG), HITERU, TSURAGU, HANKOW and NISSHO MARUs carrying the Balikpapan Invasion Force consisting of MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo’s 56th Mixed Infantry Group (Sakaguchi Detachment) and the Kure No. 2 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) escorted by patrol boats PB-36, PB-37, PB-38, minesweepers W-15, W-16, W-17, W-18 and SubChasDiv 31's CH-10, CH-11 and CH-12.

Cover is provided by light cruiser NAKA with DesDiv 2's YUDACHI, SAMIDARE, MURASAME, HARUSAME, DesDiv 9's ASAGUMO, MINEGUMO, NATSUGUMO and DesDiv 24's KAWAKAZE and UMIKAZE. Seaplane tenders SANUKI and SANYO MARUs provide air cover.

Poor weather hampers air reconnaissance by ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) forces, but ABDA Air finally locates the invasion force. Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) William A. Glassford's Task Force 5's light cruisers USS MARBLEHEAD (CL-12), USS BOISE (CL-47) and Cdr Paul H. Talbot's DesDiv 59's old destroyers USS PARROTT (DD-218), USS POPE (DD-225), USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) are ordered to stop the invasion force, but USS BOISE runs aground and MARBLEHEAD develops engine trouble. DesDiv 59 is detached and increases speed to arrive at Balikpapan at midnight on January 23rd.

23 January 1942: The Invasion of Balikpapan, Borneo:
Storms protect the invasion force until it is almost to Balikpapan. At 1050, the convoy is attacked by three enemy aircraft, which are repulsed. At 1625, nine Dutch Martin Model 166 (B-10) bombers and four light bombers from Samarinda attack and hit transports TATSUGAMI and NANA MARUs. The latter is hit in No. 6 hold by a bomb, splinters from others that land to port alongside the same hold add to the fires raised. Navigation became impossible and over the following hours the flames take a firm grip, finally at 2100 after a huge explosion the ship sinks with unknown casualties at 01-18S, 117-43E.

TATSUGAMI MARU, only slightly damaged, continues on to Balikpapan. At 2045, Hirose's invasion convoy arrives and anchors off Balikpapan. At 2130, the transports begin disembarking troops.

24 January 1942:
Cdr Talbot's DesDiv 59 arrives from the south. At 0316, they begin their first attack firing their 4-inch guns and launching ten torpedoes at the anchored transports, but all their torpedoes miss. Talbot orders another attack. At 0330, USS POPE (DD-225) hits and sinks transport SUMANOURA MARU. Only nine of her crew of navy sailors survive.

At 0332, USS JOHN D. FORD scores gunfire hits on ASAHI MARU whose hospital ship status is obscured by the darkness. At 0335, USS PARROTT (DD-218) and USS PAUL JONES (DD-230) hit transport TATSUGAMI MARU with torpedoes in a deep fuel tank, the resultant flooding cause her to sink by the stern in Balikpapan Bay at 01-18 S, 117-04E, and four of her crew lose their lives.

USS POPE and USS PARROTT also sink the 2nd Base Force's patrol boat PB-37 with torpedoes and gunfire. At 0345, FORD sinks transport KURETAKE MARU with gunfire and torpedoes. 188 troops are KIA. ASAHISAN MARU suffers damage from gunfire and torpedoes but remains afloat. KUMAGAWA MARU suffers slight damage in the engagement. KANAYAMASAN MARU suffers no damage. At 0350, their torpedoes gone, DesDiv 59 departs southward. The Japanese Force seizes Balikpapan.

5 February 1942:
Departs Balikpapan.

10 February 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

21 February 1942:
Departs Davao for Japan.

2 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

7 March 1942:
Departs Kure and arrives at Moji later that day.

15 March 1942:
Departs Moji.

21 March 1942:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

27 March 1942:

29 March 1942:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan).

1 April 1942:
Departs Takao.

27 May 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro-To, Kuriles.

6 June 1942:
Departs Paramushiro-To.

21 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka in unnumbered convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport EIKO MARU No. 2 GO, IJN requisitioned passenger/cargo ship (B-APK) KENSHIN MARU, IJA transports ANZAN, NICHIUN and TATEYAMA MARUs and civilian cargo ship (C-AK) FUKI MARU escorted by minesweeper W-18.

24 June 1942:
Arrives at Otaru, Hokkaido.

18 July 1942:
At 1030 departs from off Futtsu in Tokyo Bay in a convoy also consisting of JINZAN MARU escorted by destroyer SAWAKAZE heading north east to Hokkaido.

27 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

21 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

12 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

7 December 1942:
Departs Kure.

E 8 December 1942 ~ 7 February 1943:
Calls at Moji ~ Chinnampo, Chosen (now North Korea) ~ Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture ~ Kure ~ Miike, Fukuoka Prefecture ~ Tsukumi, Oita Prefecture ~ Kobe ~ Nagoya and Miike.

21 December 1942:
Arrives at Tokyo Bay in East convoy No. 51 also consisting of auxiliary transports KOSHIN and DAICHO MARUs, IJN requisitioned (B-AK) TOYU MARU, IJA transport TAIKYU MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU.

11 January 1943:
Arrives at Nagoya in convoy No. 8111 also consisting of civilian cargo ship (C-AK) KOWA MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo ships (B-AK) KYOWA and KENAN MARUs, IJA shared transport (A/C-AK) TERUKUNI MARU and government owned cargo ship KONRI GO escorted by torpedo boat MANAZURU. The others are mostly bound for Tokyo Bay.

15 January 1943:
Due to depart Nagoya.

8 January 1943:
Due to arrive at Miike and load 3600 tons coal.

20 January 1943:
Due to depart Miike.

21 January 1943:
Due to arrive Tsukumi to discharge coal and load 3000 tons cement for Nagoya.

8 February 1943:
Arrives at Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture.

10 February 1943:
Departs Omuta.

11 February 1943:
Arrives at Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

13 February 1943:
Departs Shimonoseki.

14 February 1943:
Arrives at Tsukumi.

17 February 1943:
Departs Tsukumi, calls at Kobe and departs for Nagoya in convoy No. 8218 also consisting of IJA transport DURBAN MARU, IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) KONEI MARU, IJN requisitioned passenger/cargo ship SHOHO MARU, government owned passenger/cargo ship MINAMI (ex-Panamanian CAPELLA) MARU, and civilian cargo ship (C-AK) JIMBU MARU escorted by destroyer SAWAKAZE.

19 February 1943:
Arrives at Nagoya.

22 February 1943:
Departs Nagoya.

E 23-24 February 1943:
Calls at Moji and departs for Jinsen, Chosen (now Incheon, South Korea).

27 February 1943:
Arrives at Jinsen.

5 March 1943:
Departs Jinsen.

7 March 1943:
Arrives at Nagasaki.

15 March 1943:
Departs Nagasaki, calls at Miike and departs for Tsukumi.

16 March 1943:
Arrives at Tsukumi.

21 March 1943:
Departs Tsukumi, calls at Kobe and departs for Nagoya.

23 March 1943:
Arrives at Nagoya.

26 March 1943:
Departs Nagoya.

E 27 March ~ 1 April 1943:
Calls at Yawata, Fukuoka Prefecture ~ Mutsure-Jima and off Chindo (Jindo), Chosen (now South Korea).

2 April 1943:
Arrives at Kenjiho, Chosen (now North Korea).

7 April 1943:
Departs Kenjiho.

11 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

26 April 1943:
Departs Kure.

27 April 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

29 April 1943:
Departs Kobe.

30 April 1943:
Arrives at Hesaki, Kyushu.

1 May 1943:
Departs Hesaki and arrives at Tsukumi later that day.

4 May 1943:
Departs Tsukumi.

6 May 1943:
Arrives at Nagoya.

9 May 1943:
Departs Nagoya.

11 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

May 1943:
Her NRT is changed to 1,618-tons [2].

15 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

16 May 1943:
Arrives at Moji. Departs later that day for Saeki, Kyushu.

17 May 1943:
Arrives at Saeki.

19 May 1943:
At 0530, departs Saeki for Palau, Western Carolines in convoy K-519 also consisting of IJA transports KOYO, NITTAI, CLYDE, MOJI, YAMAGATA and KOCHI MARUs and civilian passenger/cargo (C-APK) SAIPAN MARU escorted by torpedo boat HATO, minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 6.

E 21 May 1943:
W-18 is probably detached at latitude 29N.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

4 June 1943:
At 1300, departs Palau in convoy P-604 also consisting of IJA transports NITTAI, CLYDE and YAMAGATA MARUs, and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by subchaser CH-39.

11 June 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

22 June 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Buka Island, N Bougainville, Solomons.

30 June 1943:
Departs Buka.

1 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

E 2 July 1943:
Comes alongside auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU.

10 July 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

12 July 1943:
Arrives at Buin, Bougainville.

E 13 ~ 15 July 1943:
Comes alongside and provides boiler water to IJN requisitioned cargo ships (B-AK) HEIWA MARU and KYOWA MARU No. 8 and small cargo ship ASAHI MARU No. 9.

16 July 1943:
Departs Buin.

18 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

26 July 1943:
At 1400, departs Rabaul in convoy O-604 also consisting of IJA Landing Craft Depot Ship NIGITSU MARU, IJA transports HOKKO, TOKO and RYOYO MARUs and one unidentified Navy transport escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-17.

2 August 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

5 August 1943:
Departs Palau and arrives at Garasumao, Babeldaob (Babelthuap), Palaus later in the day.

11 August 1943:
Departs Garasumao and arrives at Palau later that same day.

13 August 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy FU-207 also consisting of IJA repair and salvage vessel CHINZEI MARU, auxiliary collier/oiler TONEI MARU, IJA transports SHOKO, TOKO, MYOGI, TAIKO and UCHIDE MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) HAKKO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKASAGO MARU.

E 14 August 1943:
TAKASAGO MARU is detached.

E 19 August 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 meet up with the convoy.

21 August 1943:
Arrives at Hesaki.

22 August 1943:
Departs Hesaki and arrives at Moji later that day.

23 August 1943:
Departs Moji.

24 August 1943:
Arrives at Aioi, Hyogo Prefecture. Docks at Harima Zosensho K.K shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

11 September 1943:
Repairs are completed. Undocked. Departs Aioi.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

20 September 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Agenosho Wan (Bay), Yashiro-jima, Yamaguchi Prefecture later that same day.

21 September 1943:
Departs Agenosho Wan and arrives at Saeki later in the day.

22 September 1943:
Departs Saeki for Palau carrying 189 men of the SNLF Tsuzuki Unit in convoy O-209 also consisting of IJA transports HOZUGAWA, NITTAI, KAYO, FUKUYO, ERIE, DAKAR, BRAZIL MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan IKI and auxiliary minesweepers AOI, YACHIYO and KOZAN MARUs, TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and TOKUHO MARU No. 10.

E 22 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers KOZAN MARU and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 are detached at 30N.

E 23 September 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers AOI and YACHIYO MARUs are detached at 28N.

2 October 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

8 October 1943:
Departs Palau for Rabaul in convoy SO-806 also consisting of IJA transports HOZUGAWA, NITTAI, KAZAN, KIBI and KOSEI MARUs and SHINTO MARU No. 1 escorted by subchasers CH-23 and CH-24.

15 October 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

1 November 1943:
Comes alongside IJA transport SHINKO MARU and loads gasoline drums.

2 November 1943:
KANAYAMASAN MARU is not damaged during the major USAAF 5th AF air raid on Rabaul. Later in the day she tows damaged civilian cargo ship (C-AK) HAKUTETSU MARU No. 3 (ex-NAGAURA MARU).

3 November 1943:
Tows damaged IJA transport HOKUYO MARU.

4 ~ 5 November 1943:
Comes alongside auxiliary transport MITAKESAN MARU and loads building and welding materials.

6 November 1943:
Assists repairs on damaged auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary Harbor Affairs Vessel) HAKUSAN MARU.

9 November 1943:
Recoals IJA transport HOKUYO MARU.

13 November 1943:
Unloads gasoline drums to a motor-schooner.

14 November 1943:
Supplied with boiler water by auxiliary water tanker KOAN MARU.

15 November 1943:
Tows IJA transport HOKUYO MARU.

16 November 1943:
Transfers all building materials to IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) TETSUYO MARU.

17 November 1943:
Unloads gasoline drums to a motor-schooner.

20 November 1943:
Embarks 66 troops and 230 mail bags. At 1400, departs Rabaul for Truk in convoy No. 1210 also consisting of auxiliary ammunition ship NICHII MARU escorted by destroyer ASANAGI and auxiliary subchaser CHa-34.

21 November 1943:
WSW of Mussau Island, St. Matthias Island Group. At about 1235, the convoy is attacked by B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers at 01-55S, 149-39E. NICHII MARU takes two direct hits starboard side of the bridge and two near misses. She goes dead in the water. Fires start on the bridge and at 1430, spread to No. 3 hold. At 1500, the bridge fire is out of control. At 1530, orders are given by ASANAGI to transfer all hands to KANAYAMASAN MARU. By 1622, the whole ship is ablaze. At 1630, Abandon ship is ordered. The CO and four crewmen are KIA.

At 1240, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from Asanagi that reads: “At 1235 position 01-55 S, 149-00 E one B-24 attacked -----. Nichii Maru hit and in flames. Am standing by.”

Then another message from Asanagi is decrypted that reads: “At 1800, the hull of the Nichii Maru was enveloped in flames and finally ----- stopped towing. Due to ----- enemy air attacks abandoned supervision of her, -----.”

22 November 1943:
About 70 nautical miles NNW of Mussau Island, Papua New Guinea, the convoy is again attacked and bombed by USAAF Consolidated B-24s “Liberator”. KANAYAMASAN MARU is hit and sinks at 01-00N, 149-20E with the loss of two of her crew.

25 November 1943:
Abandoned NICHII MARU finally sinks.

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 54.

Authors Notes:
[1] Also known as KINYAMASAN MARU.

[2] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[3] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan. Thanks also go to John Whitman of Virginia for info on USN decrypts of IJN messages.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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