(Sister KINUGASA MARU prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012-2016 Bob Hackett

15 June 1935:
Aioi. Laid down by the Harima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd. as Yard No. 215, a 6,825-ton passenger cargo ship for Kokusai Kisen, K. K. (International Steamship, Co.) [1]

24 January 1936:
Launched and named KASHII MARU.

30 June 1936:
Completed and chartered to the Nippon Yusen Kiaha (NYK) Line. She can accomodate 12 first class passengers and carries a crew of 57. [2]

May 1936:
KASHII MARU departs Kobe on her maiden voyage on NYK’s express cargo service to North Europe with calls at Saigon, Indochina, and Singapore, Malaya. [2]

Withdrawn from commercial service.

7 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport.Assigned Army ship No. 828.

4 December 1941:
At 0600, KASHII MARU departs Samah Bay, Hainan Island, China in the Singora Invasion Unit also consisting of Army transports AOBASAN, ASAKA, ATSUTASAN, KANSAI, KYUSHU, NAMINOUE, NAKO, SADO and SASAGO MARUs and Army landing craft depot ship SHINSHU (RYUJO) MARU escorted by DesDivs 12’s SHIRAKUMO, SHINONOME and MURAKUMO, 19 and DesDiv 20’s AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI, YUGIRI, minelayer HATSUTAKA (F), MinSwpDiv 1’s W-1, W-4, W-6 and W-8. Air cover is provided by seaplane tenders KAMIKAWA, SAGARA and SANYO MARUs.

7 December 1941:
At 2340, KASHII MARU arrives at Singora (Songkhla), Siam (Thailand). The IJA Singora Invasion Unit is under command of LtGen Yamashita Tomoyuki’s 25th Army. Troops involved are elements of 5th Division (5th HQ Company, Kawamura Detachment Brigade, 5th Engineer Battalion, 5th Rec Battalion, 1st Tank Battalion with 37 Med Type 97 and 20 Light Type 95 tanks, 9th Railroad Eng Battalion, 11th Engineer Battalion and various Air units. One Ship AA Regiment and one Ship Signal Regiment are also carried on the transports.

The Singora invasion convoy is followed by 9th Base Force minelayer HATSUTAKA and supply ships EIKO and NOJIMA MARUs. [3]

14 December 1941:
Off Samah, Hainan, China. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Chester C. Smith’s USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) torpedoes and damages KASHII MARU heavily at 18-08N, 109-22E.

January 1942 to unknown:
KASHII MARU undergoes battle-damage repairs, probably at Hong Kong. [4]

E 1942:
Released by the IJA back to her owners at an unknown date.

11 November 1943:
Transferred to the Osaka Kisen Kaisha (OSK) line due to a merger.

11 March 1944:
At 0200, KASHII MARU arrives at Takao from Hong Kong, but suffers a fire in her No. 3 hold. During fire fighting, 50 factory construction machines and other items are damaged by salt water.

18 March 1944:
KASHII MARU joins convoy HI-48 that departed Singapore on 11 March consisting of transports AWA, SANUKI, TEIA (ex-Vichy French ARAMIS) MARUs, oilers ITSUKUSHIMA, KUROSHIO, NICHIEI, OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, SEIYO and TATEKAWA MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU, IKI, MIYAKE and SHIMUSHU.

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

20 March 1944:
At 1300, departs Takao.

25 March 1944:
At 0500, arrives at Moji.

13 May 1944:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) again and re-converted to a troop transport. That same day, KASHII MARU departs Moji for Pusan, Korea.

17 May 1944:
Arrives at Pusan.

22 May 1944:
Departs Pusan. Loads troops including elements of the 30th Division.

24 May 1944:
Arrives at Moji. Loads more troops including the 359th Independent Infantry Battalion.

29 May 1944:
At 0600, KASHII MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-65 also consisting of transports ARIMASAN, MANILA and TATSUWA MARUs, IJA landing craft depot ship SHINSHU MARU and tankers ITSUKUSHIMA, OMUROSAN, SHIRETOKO, TOHO and ZUIHO MARUs escorted by escort carrier SHINYO, light cruiser KASHII, kaibokan AWAJI and CHIBURI and subchasers CH-19 and CH-60.

E 30 May 1944:
Light minelayer TSUBAME joins the convoy's escort from Kagoshima.

2 June 1944:
Formosa Straits. 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 SHINSHU MARU's stern. KASHII MARU takes SHINSHU MARU in tow. ARIMASAN MARU is lightly damaged in the attack and heads for Kirun with KASHII and SHINSHU MARUs.

Near Yasho Island, E of Formosa. About 2300, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' new USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks AWAJI at 22-48N, 121-24E.

4 June 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.

10 June 1944:
At 1500, probably joins convoy HI-64 that departed Singapore on 6 June also consisting of four unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA and CD-9.

15 June 1944:
At 0600, arrives at Moji.

3 July 1944:
KASHII MARU departs Moji for Manila in convoy MOMA-01 also consisting of MAYASAN, MIZUHO, NICHIRAN, NISSHO, RAKUYO, TAMATSU and TOZAN MARUs escorted by destroyer HARUKAZE and kaibokan CD-11, CD-20, CD-26, CD-28 and subchaser CH-28. The convoy is transporting the IJA's 5th Field Heavy Artillery and 58th Independent Mixed Brigade.

7 July 1944:
Formosa Straits. Convoy MOMA-01 is ordered to turn back to Keelung, Formosa.

9 July 1944:
Departs Keelung escorting MOMA-01. ARABIA MARU may have joined the convoy at this point.

12 July 1944:
Bashi Strait. At 0330, LtCdr (later Cdr) Walter P. Schoeni's (USNA ’31) USS APOGON (SS-308) fires a full spread of torpedoes at MAYASAN MARU, but fails to damage her. APOGON is rammed and damaged during the attack.

At 0720, LtCdr Harold E. Rubles' (USNA ’33) USS PIRANHA (SS- 389) torpedoes and sinks NICHIRAN MARU carrying elements of the IJA's 5th Field Heavy Artillery and 58th Independent Mixed Brigade at 18-50N, 122-40E. KASHII MARU rescues survivors, but 1,238 troops, one gunner and 15 crewmen are KIA. The convoy shelters in Aparri Harbor, Philippines.

13 July 1944:
At 0800, departs Aparri.

15 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

24 July 1944:
At 0600, KASHII MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy HI-68. The convoy steams in three columns also consisting of merchant tanker OTORISAN MARU and tankers NICHINAN MARU No. 2, IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU and escort carrier TAIYO in column no. 1; IJA landing craft depot ship TAMATSU MARU and transports KASHII, AKI, NISSHO and TOSAN MARUs in column no. 2 and tankers ITSUKUSHIMA, SHIMPO, TOA, and TOHO MARU and transport KIYOKAWA MARU in column no. 3.

The escorts include carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), ISHIGAKI, KURAHASHI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD-11 and CD-20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI.

A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER, 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.

25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, transports AKI and TOSAN MARUs successfully evade an attack by CREVALLE.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0211, in a night surface radar attack, FLASHER closes first. Cdr Whitaker fires three torpedoes at AKI MARU and his last three torpedoes at OTORISAN MARU. One torpedo hits AKI MARU amidships, another strays and hits TOSAN MARU. OTORISAN MARU blows up. FLASHER also sinks AKI, OTORISAN and TOSAN MARUs. KIYOKAWA MARU is damaged in the attacks.

27 July 1944:
At 1100, convoy HI-68 arrives at Takao. Later that day, arrives at Tsoying.

10 August 1944:
Convoy HI-71 departs Imari Bay (Moji) for Singapore comprised of cargo ships KASHII, NISSHO and ORYOKU MARUs, transports AWA, HOKKAI, MAYASAN, NOSHIRO, NOTO, TAMATSU and TEIA MARUs, food-supply ship IRAKO, oilers AMATSU, AZUSA, EIYO, KYOKUTO, NIYO, TEIYO and ZUIHO MARUs and HAKKO MARU No. 2 and fleet oiler HAYASUI.

The convoy's screen is provided by 6th Escort Convoy under convoy commander Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi (former CO of KISO) with destroyers FUJINAMI and YUNAGI, kaibokan HIRATO, KURAHASHI, MIKURA, SHONAN and CD-11 and escort carrier TAIYO. Her 631st Naval Air Group provides air cover with 12 BN5 “Kates”.

15 August 1944:
HI-71 arrives at Mako, Pescadores. ORYOKU and NIYO MARUs, HAKKO MARU No. 2 and IRAKO are detached.

17 August 1944: Operation "SHO-1-GO" (Victory) - The Defense of the Philippines: At 0800, HI-71 sorties from Mako for Manila transporting troops and supplies. Kajioka's escort forces are further strengthened by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan ETOROFU, HIBURI, MATSUWA and SADO sent from Takao on the orders of 1st Surface Escort Division.

18 August 1944:
Alerted by an "Ultra" signal based on code-breaking, LtCdr Louis D. McGregor's USS REDFISH (SS-395) intercepts and, at 0524, torpedoes and damages EIYO MARU. Destroyers ASAKAZE and YUNAGI are detached to escort her back to Takao.

Off Cape Bolinao, Luzon. At 2222, TAIYO, at the rear of the convoy, is hit by torpedoes fired by LtCdr (later Captain) Henry G. Munson's RASHER (SS-269) and sinks. At 2312, RASHER torpedoes transport TEIA MARU. The big ex-French liner is set afire and sinks.

19 August 1944: The convoy splits into at least two distinct groups. Just past midnight, Munson's RASHER closes on an eastbound group of three large ships with one escort. At 0033, torpedoes blow open armed merchant cruiser NOSHIRO MARU and transport AWA MARU. Both vessels are beached near Port Curimao.

80 miles NW of Cape Bolinaro, Luzon. REDFISH is joined in the attack by LtCdr Charles M. Henderson's BLUEFISH (SS-222). At 0325, HAYASUI is probably hit by two of four torpedoes fired by BLUEFISH in a night surface radar attack. HAYASUI goes dead in the water.

At 0433, in a submerged radar attack, LtCdr Gordon W. Underwood's USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) hits TAMATSU MARU with two torpedoes. The big landing craft tender sinks in 10 minutes taking down 4,775 troops and crewmen.

At 0603, oiler TEIYO MARU, already hit, awash to midships and abandoned, is hit again by two torpedoes and sinks. Five hours later, at 0818, LtCdr Henderson's BLUEFISH fires three more torpedoes at HAYASUI seen drifting and down by the stern. All three torpedoes hit. HAYASUI bursts into flames and goes down stern first at 17-34N, 119-23 E. The convoy scatters and arrives piecemeal in Manila over the next few days.

12 October 1944:
At 0700, KASHII MARU departs Woosung, E of Shanghai, for Manila in convoy MOMA-04 also consisting of transports KINKA, NOTO and TAKATSU MARUs escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama Mitsuharu’s (former CO of KITAKAMI) 7th Convoy Escort Group’s kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13.

The convoy is carrying the IJA’s 1st Division's main body of about 10,000 men plus equipment. The convoy arrives and shelters at Ssu Chiao Shan later that day.

19 October 1944:
Shushan Islands. ASAMA MARU, carrying 5,000 troops, escorted by kaibokan OKINAWA arrive from Shanghai and join convoy MOMA-04.

20 October 1944:
At 0230, convoy MOMA-04 departs the Shushan Islands.

22 October 1944:
Arrives at Sabtang Strait, Philippines.

23 October 1944:
Departs Sabtang Strait and later that day arrives at Cabugao Bay.

24 October 1944:
Departs Cabugao Bay and later that day arrives at Lapoc Bay.

25 October 1944:
Departs Lapoc Bay, and later that day arrives at Lingayen Bay, Philippines.

26 October 1944:
At 2315, the convoy arrives at Manila.

31 October 1944: Operation “TA No. 2”:
KASHII MARU departs Manila with transports KINKA, NOTO and TAKATSU MARUs escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Masatomi's (former CO of SUZUYA) kaibokan SHIMUSHU (F), OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13. A distant Guard Force, under Rear Admiral Masatomi Kimura, consists of destroyers AKEBONO, HATSUHARU, HATSUSHIMI, KASUMI, OKINAMI and USHIO.

1 November 1944:
In the evening, the convoy arrives at Ormoc. Immediately prior to arrival SHIMUSHU is strafed by Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" fighter-bombers. One man is KIA and 16 are wounded.

2 November 1944:
Early in the morning, the convoy is attacked again by P-38s. During the attack, all kaibokan stream kites loaded with explosives as an AA measure, the first time this weapon is used in action. In the afternoon, the convoy is attacked by two dozen B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers. NOTO MARU, carrying 3,100 men of the 57th Infantry Regiment, artillery and engineer regiments, field hospital and signal units 106 horses, 40 trucks and 1,500 tons of weapons, ammunition and provisions, suffers a near miss, floods and sinks.

4 November 1944:
The convoy arrives back in Manila Bay in the morning.

5 November 1944:
Manila Bay. Aircraft of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick T. Sherman's (former CO of LEXINGTON, CV-2) Task Group 38.3 [USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), ESSEX (CV-9) and LANGLEY (CVL-27)] attack warships and auxiliaries in the bay and damage OKINAWA.

8 November 1944: Operation "TA Go No. 4" (1st Echelon):
At 1030, KASHII, KINKA and TAKATSU MARUs and 1st Transport Squadron’s fast transports T.6, T.9 and T.10 depart Manila for Ormoc Bay, Luzon into typhoon seas, carrying 10,000 men of the 26th Infantry Division and 3,500 tons of munitions, escorted by Rear Admiral Matsuyama's kaibokan OKINAWA, CD-11 and CD-13 and Rear Admiral Kimura's destroyers KASUMI (F), AKISHIMO, ASASHIMO, NAGANAMI, USHIO, and WAKATSUKI.

KASHII MARU is carrying elements of infantry, artillery and engineer regiments and staff or a total of 3,400 men, 141 horses, 40 vehicles and 1,500 tons of weapons, ammunition and provisions.

9 November 1944:
13th Air Force North American B-25 “Mitchell” and B-26 Martin "Marauder" medium bombers and P-38 fighter-bombers attack the echelon with KASHII, KINKA and TAKATSU MARUs. Despite the added defenses of the Army’s 68th Specially Established Machine Cannon Unit’s 12 deck-mounted 25mm guns, the aircraft strafe, shoot up, and destroy all of KASHII MARU’s loading tackle and landing boats. TAKATSU and KINKA MARUs take minor hits to their engines and deck cargo. Light bombs breach their hulls, but the seas are so calm that crews are able to control the flooding.

The planes also damage kaibokan SHIMUSHU and OKINAWA. In the evening, the convoy arrives at Ormoc Bay. The crews plan to unload everything that night, but cannot get heavy equipment and supplies ashore because of damaged gear and boats. Smaller sampans had been washed ashore by the typhoon just one day earlier. Only five of 50 Ormoc Daihatsu landing craft remain in service.

10 November 1944:
Before dawn, the Japanese use kaibokan escorts to unload troops and light baggage. The 26th Division is put ashore, but with none of their cargo or ammunition. Of the five infantry battalions that reach shore, only one battalion lands anything as heavy as its machine guns. The division’s transportation regiment can only get its staff ashore.

KASHII and TAKATSU MARUs unload two platoons of 2nd Company, 21st Independent Mortar Battalion.

Naval transports T-6, T-9, and T-10, sortie three hours after sunrise. By 1030, most of their cargo and military passengers is unloaded; the larger ships leave the anchorage to return to Manila. Kaibokan take up stations on the transport column; one ahead, one astern and one on each flank. The destroyers remain to port.

N of Cebu. The convoy is attacked by P-38s and B-25s from from Morotai.

Ormoc Bay, Leyte. At about 1140, Kimura's force is attacked by 30 B-25J’s of the 38th Bomb Group. KASHII MARU is strafed and hit by bombs at least five times. At about 1230, she explodes and sinks at 10-58N, 124-35E. An uknown number of survivors are rescued by destroyers from convoy TA Go No. 3, en route to Ormoc Bay.

Author's Notes:
[1] Sources vary as to KASHII MARU’s date of completion. A well-respected Japanese source gives the date as 30 June 1936; however, this conflicts with contemporary newspaper reports about her maiden voyage in early May 1936.

[2] Sources also vary as to KASHII MARU’s gross registered tonnage. Lloyd’s Register and some Japanese sources claim it was 6,825-tons, while some respected Japanese and American sources say 8,407-tons.

[3] Ships' landing positions: ASAKASAN MARU was the reference ship, positioned 3.700 meters 60 degrees from Singora lighthouse. In a line following 140 degrees from ASAKAN MARU at distances of 700 meters each are SASAKO, KYUSHU, AOBASAN, SADO and NAMINOUE MARUs. 700 meters 50 degrees from ASAKASAN MARU starts the outer line beginning with NAKO MARU. In a line following 140 degrees (parallel from the inner line of ships) from NAKO MARU at distances of each 700 meters are KASHII, ATSUTASAN, SHINSHU and KANSAI MARUs.

[4] This early in the Pacific War (Dec '41), large ship repair facilities available to the Japanese in SE Asia were limited to Indochina, later Hong Kong Kong and even later, Singapore, but no data have been found as to when and where KASHII MARU actually underwent repairs.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and to the late John Whitman for info about the fire at Takao.

Bob Hackett

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