ZATSUYOSEN!

(KEISHO MARU prewar)

IJN KEISHO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


5 October 1928:
Uraga. Laid down by Uraga Senkyo K.K shipyard for Showa Shosen K.K. as a 5,879-ton cargo ship.

11 March 1929:
Launched and named KOWA MARU.

27 June 1929:
Completed and registered in Fuchu, Kyoto Prefecture.

3 July 1929:
Departs Yokohama.

16 July 1929:
Arrives at Astoria, Oregon.

22 December 1934:
Renamed KEISHO MARU. Her port of registry is changed to Kobe.

1 May 1936:
Part of her bridge is damaged from a fire sustained in Kobe harbor.

22 October 1936:
Sustains a rudder failure that makes her drifting off Inubozaki coast.

2 October 1937:
Chartered to Taiyo Kaiun K.K.

January 1940:
Calls at Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture ~ Cebu, Philippines ~ Mindanao, Philippines and Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture. February 1940:
Arrives at Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. Later that month enters drydock at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries K.K. Kobe shipyard.

1940:
In North America.

December 1940:
At Borneo, D.E.I.

8 July 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a general requisitioned transport (Ippan Choyosen) and attached to the Yokosuka Naval District. [1]

4 October 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

E October-November 1941:
At Kwajalein, Marshalls.

7 December 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

December 1941:
Her owners are changed to Daido Kaiun K.K.

11 December 1941:
Departs Yokosuka.

16 December 1941:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido.

20 December 1941:
Departs Muroran.

21 December 1941:
Arrives at Otaru, Hokkaido.

26 December 1941:
Departs Otaru.

29 December 1941:
Arrives at Tokyo.

1 January 1942:
Departs Tokyo and arrives later that day at Yokohama.

4 January 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

6 January 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

11 January 1942:
Departs Osaka.

13 January 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

16 January 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

17 January 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

18 January 1942:
Departs Moji and arrives at Tsukumi, Oita Prefecture later in the day.

25 January 1942:
Departs Tsukumi.

26 January 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture.

1 February 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

2 February 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

9 February 1942:
Departs Osaka.

27 February 1942:
Arrives at Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan).

3 March 1942:
Departs Kirun.

8 March 1942:
Arrives at Tokyo.

16 March 1942:
Departs Tokyo and arrives at Yokosuka later that same day.

March 1942:
Assigned to a personnel and ammunition transport mission under secret telegram No. 414.

18 March 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

19 March 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

28 March 1942:
Departs Osaka.

4 April 1942:
Sustains an engine breakdown leaving her dead in the water.

5 April 1942:
Auxiliary gunboat NAGATA MARU comes to assists the drifting auxiliary transport.

9 April 1942:
Assistance is completed. NAGATA MARU separates from KEISHO MARU.

10 April 1942:
Towed by auxiliary gunboat SHOTOKU MARU. That same day, KEISHO MARU is 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. 663. [1]

15 April 1942:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas. Efforts to restore the engine prove unsuccessful.

E May 1942:
IJN Captain Shuzo Ishio is appointed supervisor.

June 1942:
Departs Saipan towed by auxiliary gunboat SHOEI MARU.

13 June 1942:
Arrives back at Saipan.

19 July 1942:
Departs again Saipan towed by auxiliary transport MITAKESAN MARU.

24 July 1942:
Arrives at Haha-Jima, Ogasawara Gunto (Bonins). 25 July 1942:
Departs Haha-Jima still under tow.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Osaka and enters drydock at Osaka Ironworks K.K. shipyard.

E August ~ November 1942:
Undergoes extensive repairs.

18 November 1942:
Repairs are completed. Undocked.

19 November 1942:
Departs Osaka.

21 November 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

E 22 ~ 24 November 1942:
Embarks elements of the 17th Construction Unit.

25 November 1942:
Departs Sasebo in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary ammunition ship SEIA MARU escorted by submarine chaser KAII (ex Chinese HAI WEI). That evening shelters at Tomie, Goto Retto (Islands).

6 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

17 December 1942:
Simpson Harbor, Rabaul is bombed and strafed by allied aircraft twice that day. KEISHO MARU is undamaged.

18 December 1942:
Auxiliary transport KAGU MARU transfers to KEISHO MARU some material for the 11th Air Fleet.

21 December 1942:
Sustains another airstrike again with no damage.

22 December 1942:
Sustains another airstrike again with no damage.

24 December 1942:
USAAF B-17 “Flying Fortresses” bomb Simpson harbor again. KEISHO MARU is not hit but KAGU MARU and IJA transport KOZAN MARU are damaged.

25 December 1942:
Sustains another airstrike with no damage.

27 December 1942:
Sustains another airstrike with no damage. That same day, KEISHO MARU comes alongside damaged auxiliary transport NANKAI MARU. Ammunition, supplies and other sundries are transferred to KEISHO MARU as well as 164 21st AA Unit’s troops and six 13mm AA guns from the 31st/2 AA Unit.

28 December 1942: Transfer operations are completed. KEISHO MARU separates from NANKAI MARU. Three other air raids are sustained that same day without damage.

29 December 1942:
Another airstrike is sustained with no damage.

30 December 1942:
Two other bombing are sustained with no damage.

31 December 1942:
Another airstrike is sustained with no damage.

1 January 1943:
Another airstrike is sustained with no damage.

2 January 1943:
Three other bombings are sustained without any damage.

3 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks are sustained without any damage.

4 January 1943:
Another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

5 January 1943:
Five bombings raids hit Rabaul that day but no damage is inflicted to KEISHO MARU. However destroyer UZUKI is damaged by bombs.

6 January 1943:
Another bombing hits the anchorage with no damage sustained.

7 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks are sustained without any damage.

10 January 1943:
Another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

11 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks are sustained without any damage.

14 January 1943:
Rabaul is bombed again. No damage sustained by the ship.

15 January 1943:
Two other aerial attacks are sustained without any further damage.

16 January 1943:
Another bombing is sustained with no damage.

17 January 1943:
Another airstrike is sustained without damage to the ship.

18 January 1943:
Rabaul is bombed twice that day. No damage.

7 February 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

27 February 1943:
Departs Rabaul escorted by destroyer MAKINAMI.

28 February 1943:
At 0600 in the Steffen Straits briefly meets up with auxiliary transport SHINSEI MARU No. 18 before the latter separates north of the equator.

2 March 1943:
Arrives at Truk, Central Carolines.

6 March 1943:
Departs Truk.

14 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka arriving at Tokyo later in the day.

22 March 1943:
Departs Tokyo and arrives at Yokohama later that day.

25 March 1943:
Departs Yokohama for Palau in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport MYOKO MARU and possibly others with unknown escort. 2 April 1943:
Arrives at Palau, Western Carolines.

8 April 1943:
Departs Palau escorted by auxiliary netlayer HINOKI MARU.

10 April 1943:
Arrives at Manokwari, New Guinea.

24 April 1943: Departs Manokwari.

26 April 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

14 May 1943:
Departs Palau and arrives at Angaur, Palaus later in the day.

16 May 1943:
Departs Angaur and arrives at Palau later that day. Departs there later in the day for Japan in convoy P-516 also consisting of auxiliary transports RAKUTO, SANSEI MARUs and HINO MARU No. 5 and IJA transport TAIFUKU MARU escorted by minesweeper W 17. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots.

25 May 1943: At 30-30N, 133-10E two small auxiliaries join the convoy as additional escorts.

26 May 1943:
Detached from the convoy at some point and arrives at Kure.

28 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

2 June 1943:
Departs Osaka.

3 June 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

5 June 1943:
Departs Moji.

6 June 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

9 June 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

10 June 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

13 June 1943:
Departs Osaka.

14 June 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

19 June 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3619 also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport MOGAMIGAWA MARU escorted by destroyer INAZUMA.

25 June 1943:
Off Saipan MOGAMIGAWA MARU is detached.

28 June 1943: Arrives at Truk.

E June-July 1943:
Comes alongside auxiliary aircraft transport FUJIKAWA MARU and transfers lubricating oil.

Comes alongside auxiliary merchant cruiser AIKOKU MARU and transfers fresh water, volatile oil, ammunition and supplies.

17 July 1943:
Departs Truk for Rabaul in convoy No. 1172 also consisting of auxiliary transport (ex-auxiliary Harbor Affairs vessel) HAKUSAN MARU escorted by destroyer HIYODORI. The convoy sails at 11 knots.

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

E 22 ~ 25 July 1943:
Comes alongside auxiliary collier/oiler TAGONOURA MARU and transfers Daihatsu barges.

Comes alongside auxiliary transport SHINSEI MARU No. 18 and load cement and other sundries.

26 July 1943:
At 0500, departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2262 also consisting of auxiliary ammunition ship NARUTO MARU escorted by torpedo boat OTORI and subchaser CH-30.

29 July 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

10 August 1943: Departs Truk for Yokosuka in convoy No. 4810 also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport GOSHU MARU and IJA transport MOMOKAWA MARU escorted by kaibokan FUKUE.

18 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

28 August 1943:
Departs Yokosuka arriving at Yokkaichi later in the day.

15 September 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi for Truk in convoy No. 3914 also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport KUNIKAWA MARU, auxiliary transport KIMISHIMA MARU and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) HEIWA MARU (possibly others), escorted by destroyer ASANAGI. The convoy makes a call at Tateyama and departs later that day. The convoy sails at 10 knots.

25 September 1943:
Arrives at Truk. Destroyer IKAZUCHI has joined the escort at some point.

29 September 1943:
Departs Truk in convoy No. 1291 consisting only of KEISHO MARU escorted by auxiliary subchasers CHa-29 and CHa-30.

3 October 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

12 October 1943:
LtGen (later General) 5th Air Force hits Rabaul with the biggest raid made up to this time in the Pacific war. 349 aircraft, including 87 Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” and Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” heavy bombers, 114 North American B-25 “Mitchell” strafers, 125 Lockeed P-38 “Lightning” fighters, 12 RAAF Bristol “Beaufighters”, and others from New Guinea and Australia hit Rabaul’s town, airfields and Simpson Harbour. KEISHO MARU is hit and sinks at 05-15S, 152-40E with unknown casualties. Other ships sunk are seatrucks WAKAMATSU MARU No. 1 (six crewmen KIA) and MISHIMA MARU (casualties unknown). Damaged ships are destroyers MOCHIZUKI, MINAZUKI and TACHIKAZE, submarines I-177, I-180 and RO 105, hydrographic survey vessel TSUKUSHI, fleet oiler NARUTO and auxiliary sailing vessels TENRYU MARU and KOAN MARU. Over 50 Japanese aircraft are destroyed.

13 October 1943:
At 2049, USN codebreakers intercept and decode a message regarding events on the 12th that reads: “Southeastern Force Action Summary. (October 12th Rabaul Air Action). ----. Attacked from 1004 to 1022 by: 54 (Heavy bombers in 9 waves of three to ten planes covered by about 16 P-38s attacked vessels and Rabaul airdrome vicinity. ------. Losses. (a) Vessels Tsukushi and Naruto hit: slight damage and holes in hull. Mochizuki, damaged by near misses and holes. Gun #3 inoperative. Miyatzuki (sic), #2 ---- slight damage from near miss. Guns #1 and #2 out of commission. Tachikaze, ----- damage. I-180, as a result of a 60 kilo bomb hit unable to dive. I-177 and RO-105, holes from near misses.”

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 2564.


Authors Notes:
[1] 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 the USN codebreakers info.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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