KOKUKI-UMPANSEN!



(Freighter by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")

IJN KATSURAGI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2007-2016 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.

Revision 3


10 July 1930:
Tokyo. Laid down at Uraga Dock. Co for Kokusai Kisen K. K.

15 May 1931:
Launched and named KATSURAGI MARU.

2 October 1931:
Completed and put into service with the Kokusai Line as a freighter with accomodations for 12 passengers.

6 October 1931:
Departs Yokohama for Manila.

12 March 1932:
Chartered by the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) K.K. Line and transferred to New York service. Departs Kobe for New York.

21 September 1935:
Back in Kokusai service. Departs Kobe on the Manila, Penang, Singapore and return route.

18 December 1937:
Chartered by NYK and transferred back to the New York route. Departs Kobe for New York.

January 1937:
Continues service for the Kokusai Line with ports of call at Yokohama, Moji, Kobe, Manila, Singapore, Penang, Los Angeles, Panama Canal, Galveston, New Orleans, Baltimore and New York.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The First "China") Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops on night maneuvers fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing. They assume the Chinese captured him and demand entry to a Peking (Beijing) suburb to look for him, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city and an undeclared war begins.

13 February 1938:
Departs "Fukao", Kwangtung Province.

14 February 1938:
Arrives at Samah (Sana), Hainan Island.

21 April 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

26 April 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

28 April 1938:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

20 May 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

21 May 1938:
Departs Mako.

24 May 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

1 June 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

6 June 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

12 June 1938:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

30 June 1938:
Arrives at Takao and departs later that day.

3 July 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

16 July 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast.

21 July 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

23 July 1938:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

15 August 1938:
Arrives at Takao.

20 August 1938:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general transport.

28 August 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

3 September 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

5 September 1938:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

27 September 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

1 October 1938:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kusakawa Kiyoshi (38) is appointed Supervisor.

9 October 1938:
Departs Mako.

12 October 1938:
Ta-Ya (Bias Bay), 35 miles NE of Hong Kong. At dawn, LtGen Furusho Motoo’s 21st Army, supported by the China Area Fleet’s Fifth Fleet and Formosa-based and carrier-based Navy air units, make a surprise landing. KATSURAGI MARU lands troops at Bias Bay and returns to Mako. Thereafter, Japanese forces continue their advance with little or no resistance and by 21 October capture Canton. The operation isolates Hong Kong and Macao.

14 October 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

17 October 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

21 October 1938:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

6 November 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

7 November 1938:
Departs Mako.

25 November 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

28 November 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

5 December 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the central China coast area.

14 December 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

3 February 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

8 February 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

12 February 1939:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

10 March 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

21 March 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

26 March 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

30 March 1939:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

1 April 1939:
Captain Otsuka Toshio (38) is appointed Supervisor.

26 April 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

5 May 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

11 May 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

14 May 1939:
Departs Takao .

2 June 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

16 June 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the central and south China coastal areas.

24 June 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

29 June 1939:
Departs Mako for the south China coast area.

16 July 1939:
Arrives at Nagoya.

6 August 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

11 August 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

12 August 1939:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

1 September 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

14 September 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

19 September 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

21 September 1939:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

8 October 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

18 October 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the south China coast area.

23 October 1939:
Arrives at Mako.

26 October 1939:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

14 November 1939:
Arrives at Takao.

30 November 1939:
Requisitioned by the IJN. Begins conversion to a specially installed auxiliary aircraft transport at Mitsubishi Zosen, Nagasaki. 4.7-inch (120-mm) guns are installed at the bow and the stern. Registered in the IJN.

10 January 1940:
The conversion is completed.

24 January 1940:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

3 February 1940:
Arrives at Ibusuki Naval Air Base, Kagoshima Bay, Kyushu.

3 May 1940:
Departs Takao for the south seas (now Micronesia).

26 June 1940:
Arrives at Tateyama.

11 July 1940:
Departs Takao for the south China coast area.

11 September 1940:
Arrives at Tateyama.

10 November 1940:
Departs Takao for the south seas.

16 December 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Miura Tomosaburo (38) is appointed Supervisor.

11 August 1941:
Captain Mori Ryozo (39) (former CO of KISO) is appointed Commanding Officer.

8 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Attack on the Philippines:
Takao, Formosa. KATSURAGI MARU is in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tada Takeo's (40)(former CO of KIRISHIMA) 21st Air Flotilla of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Tsukahara Nishizo’s (36)(former CO of AKAGI) 11th Air Fleet.

At 1015, the 21st and 23rd Air Flotillas launch all available Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" and G4M Betty" bomber aircraft to attack air bases in Luzon. Because of bad weather the attack is not made until 1220, nine hours after their attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese are surprised to find MajGen (later LtGen) Lewis H. Brereton's Far East Air Force's Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" bombers, Seversky P-35 "Guardsman" and Curtiss P-40 "Kittyhawk" fighters still on the ground and destroy many. [1]

Early January 1942:
Davao, Philippines. Forces are assembled for the invasions of the Netherlands East Indies.

6 January 1942:
Departs Davao for Magnaga Bay, Mindanao Island.

9 January 1942:
Operation "H" - The Invasion of Celebes, Netherlands East Indies: The invasion convoy unit consists of eight IJN transports: KINAI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, KATSURAGI, SHOKA (4467 GRT), KOSHIN (6530 GRT), CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs, carrying Captain (later Vice Admiral) Mori Kunizo’s (40) (former CO of SATA) Sasebo No. 1 and 2 Combined SNLF of about 2,500 men. The transports are accompanied by SHINKO (545 GRT) and OHA MARU (future IJN KURESAKI).

The convoy is escorted by MineSweepDiv 21's W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kubo Kyuji’s (38) 1st Base Force with light cruiser NAGARA, SubChasDiv 1's CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3 and patrol boats P-1, P-2, P-34.

The convoy is organized into two echelons. The first echelon consisting of SHOKA, KOSHIN and CHOWA MARUs, accompanied by SHINKO and OHA MARUs departs at 0100, cruising at nine knots.

The second echelon consisting of NANKAI, KINAI, HOKUROKU, AMAGISAN and KATSURAGI MARUs departs Magnaga Bay at 1000 that same day, cruising at 12 knots.

11 January 1942:
At 0110, the Menado occupation force with NANKAI, KINAI, SHOKA (4467 GRT), KOSHIN (6530 GRT), CHOWA and AMAGISAN MARUs arrives at No.1 landing operation floating anchorage (Menado Roadstead) and prepares for landing troops N and S of Menado port. At 0315, the first landing forces depart transports and land at 0400.

At 0310, the Kema (small port on NE coast of Minahasa Peninsula, SE of Menado) occupation force, with HOKUROKU and KATSURAGI MARUs, arrives at No.1 landing operation floating anchorage (Kema Roadstead). At 0345, the first landing troops depart transports and land at 0420.

Later, 334 men of Cdr (later Captain) Horiuchi Toyoaki's (later XO of TAKAO) Yokosuka No. 1 SNLF (Air) are dropped successfully from Mitsubishi G3M1-L Nell converted transport aircraft in the Menado-Kema area. The paratroops seize Langoan airfield.

At 1540, AMAGISAN MARU receives slight damage by a near miss during an attack by three Dutch aircraft.

14 January 1942:
At 2300 patrol boat PB-1 departs Kema escorting KATSURAGI MARU.

17 January 1942:
At 1120 PB-1 arrives back at Menado escorting KATSURAGI, NANKAI, HOKUROKU, and KINAI MARUs.

29-31 January 1942: The Invasion of Ambon Island, Moluccas, Netherlands East Indies:
At 0900, KATSURAGI MARU departs Bangka anchorage, near Menado with the Ambon invasion convoy consisting of transports AFRICA, YAMAURA, ZENYO, RYOYO, MIIKE, YAMAGIRI, KIRISHIMA, HINO, LYONS and YAMAFUKU MARUs carrying 820 men of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hatakeyama Koichiro's (39) (former CO of KINUGASA) Kure No. 1 SNLF, elements of the Sasebo SNLF and the 228th Infantry Regiment escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka's (41) DesRon 2’s light cruiser JINTSU, DesDiv 8’s ASASHIO, MICHISHIO, ARASHIO and OSHIO, DesDiv 15’s HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, OYASHIO and NATSUSHIO, DesDiv 16’s TOKITSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, AMATSUKAZE and YUKIKAZE, MineSweepDiv 21’s W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 and SubChasDiv 1’s CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3. CHITOSE and MIZUHO arrive at Ceram and provide air cover for the invasion convoy.

Landings are proceeded during the night of ‘Jan 30-31, by Kure No. 1 SNLF at Hitu-Iama on the North coast, and by IJA’s 228th Infantry Regiment on the southern coast of Laitamor. The defenders are at a disadvantage to contest the landings as only a few Dutch detachments are in the area. At Hitu-Iama on the north coast, the defending infantry and machine-gun crews are quickly overwhelmed and bridges on the road leading to Paso are left intact allowing the Japanese to speedily advance south across the Hitu Peninsula.

Other landings occur around Hutumori, where the Japanese split westward to the town, and northward to Paso. The Japanese compel captured Ambonese to act as guides. The Japanese pass through a gap in the south at Batugong that falls on Jan 31st.

3 February 1942:
Ambon is secured. The 21st and 23rd Air Flotillas advance to Kendari, Celebes from where they open the attack on Surabaya, Java.

1 March 1942:
Arrives at Kupang, Timor and probably delivers Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighter aircraft to elements of the 3rd Naval Air Group. Departs that same day. That same day PB-1 departs Kupang escorting LYONS, TENRYU and NANIWA MARUs. At some point the ships are joined by PB-2 and LYONS MARU is detached and KATSURAGI MARU joins after departing Kupang earlier that day.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Kendari. Probably delivers A6M fighter aircraft to elements of the 3rd Naval Air Group.

8 March 1942:
The Netherlands East Indies are surrendered.

16 March 1942:
Departs Kendari.

19 March 1942:
Arrives at Jolo, Philippines and departs later that day.

24 March 1942:
Arrives at Bangkok, Siam (Thailand).

29 March 1942:
Departs Bangkok.

2 April 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

3 April 1942:
Departs Penang.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Sabang, Sumatra.

1 May 1942:
KATSURAGI MARU is reassigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (36)(former CO of KIRISHIMA) Southwest Area Fleet in Rear Admiral Tada's 21st Air Flotilla.

10 May 1942:
Departs Sabang.

18 May 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

20 May 1942:
Departs Takao.

25 May 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

3 June 1942:
Departs Sabang.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

9 June 1942:
Departs Singapore.

15 June 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

16 June 1942:
Departs Ambon.

22 June 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng.

25 June 1942:
Departs Kavieng.

26 June 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

27 June 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

28 June 1942:
Arrives at Shortland.

3 September 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

9 September 1942:
Departs Singapore.

15 September 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

16 September 1942:
Departs Ambon.

22 September 1942:
Arrives at Kavieng.

25 September 1942:
Departs Kavieng.

26 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

27 September 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

29 September 1942:
Arrives at the Shortland Islands, Bougainville. Probably delivers A6M fighter aircraft and departs the same day for Rabaul.

1 October 1942:
Off Cape St. George, New Ireland. At 0536, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Herman A. Pieczentkowski’s (USNA ’30) USS STURGEON (SS-187) fires four torpedoes at KATSURAGI MARU. Three hit and sink the ship at 05-38S, 153-08E killing two crewmen and 27 shipgunners. An escort depth charges USS STURGEON, but soon breaks off to rescue survivors. Most of KATSURAGI MARU’s crew, including her CO, survive. Pieczentkowski’s USS STURGEON slips away.

1 November 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:

[1] The responsibility for this debacle remains controversial. In 1945, LtGen Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's longtime Chief of Staff, said that days before the attack all B-17s had been ordered to Del Monte, 600 miles from Clark Field, to be safe from Japanese attack. From Del Monte, B-17s could have staged out of Clark Field to bomb Formosa, but Brereton did not obey the order. Only half the B-17s were sent south. According to Sutherland, holding the bombers at Clark Field that first day was entirely due to Brereton who said that because there were 25 air fields on Formosa, he first had to have recon photos to know what to bomb. For his part, Brereton recalled that Sutherland, on behalf of MacArthur, denied him authority to launch any attack. Although the attacks on Clark, Nichols and other fields reduced the strength of the American Far East Air Force by half, no formal investigation was ever conducted to determine responsibility for the disaster.

Thanks to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Mr. Matthew Jones of Missisippi, USA.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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