YUSOSEN!

(KENYO MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

IJN KENYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 1998-2013 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 5


E 1938:
Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding as 10,024-ton merchant tanker for Kokuyo Kisen (Steamship) K. K., Tokyo.

October 1939:
Kobe. Launched and named KENYO MARU.

October 1939:
Completed.

Summer 1941:
Enroute to Los Angeles to load a cargo of oil, KENYO MARU stops at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. At the IJN's submarine base, she takes a Type A midget submaine under tow. KENYO MARU tows the midget underwater to the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands. There, the midget is again taken under tow by another oiler and towed underwater back to Kwajalein. The purpose of this exercise is give the midget submariners deep sea towing and navigation experience. [1]

17 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

5 September 1941:
Registered as a converted merchant transport (oil supply) in the Kure Naval District. Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Kanemasu Yoshio (40) (former CO of OI) is appointed Supervisor.

27 September 1941:
Completes conversion to a naval auxiliary at Sanoyasu dockyard.

10 November 1941:
Kure. The Chief of Staff of the Kure Naval District advises the Chief of Staff 1st Air Fleet, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) that arrangements have been made to reequip oilers KENYO, KYOKUTO, SHINKOKU and KOKUYO MARUs for simultaneous port and starboard refueling by 13 November.

13-14 November 1941:
Oilers KENYO, KYOKUTO, SHINKOKU and KOKUYO MARUs conduct fueling at sea exercises with CarDiv 1's AKAGI, DesRon 1, CruDiv 8, CarDiv 2's SORYU and HIRYU and CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU.

18 November 1941: - The Hawaii Operation:
Departs Saiki. Seven oilers are assigned to the Hawaii Operation, but the IJN’s practical experience in refueling at sea is almost nil. Earlier in the month, three refueling exercises were held in Sukumo Bay and the Ariake Sea. Now, while enroute to the Kuriles, all units in the carrier formation are refueled ten times.

26 November 1941:
Etorofu Island, Kuriles. KENYO MARU departs Tenzan Bay (Hittokappu Wan) with Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group No. 1's oilers KOKUYO, KYOKUTO and SHINKOKU MARUs and Captain Kazutaka Niimi's Supply Group No. 2's oilers TOHO, NIPPON and TOEI MARUs. Provides fuel for Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's Carrier Striking Force ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI, KAGA, CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU.

The Support Force consists of Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (38) BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) CruDiv 8's TONE, CHIKUMA and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and destroyer AKIGUMO with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUHI and Captain Konishi Kaname's (44) Midway Bombardment Unit's DesDiv 7's SAZANAMI and USHIO.

Nagumo's orders from Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (32), CINC, Combined Fleet, are that if refueling proves impossible in the stormy winter waters of the Northern Pacific, Nagumo is to detach AGAKI, SORYU and HIRYU and his destroyers and make the attack with only KAGA, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU.

28 November 1941:
Refuels AKAGI at sea.

2 December 1941:
940 miles N of Midway Island. Nagumo’s Force receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

KENYO MARU refuels AKAGI again.

4 December 1941:
N Pacific. Weather conditions worsen. Rough seas cause the Striking Force's destroyers to roll up to 45 degrees. Refueling is cancelled. [1]

5 December 1941:
600 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At about 1130, after fleet refueling is completed, the 2nd Supply Group's oilers TOHO, NIPPON and TOEI MARUs and destroyer ARARE are detached from the Striking Force and turn towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the retrurn trip to Japan. [1]

6 December 1941:
400 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At 0630, the entire Striking Force engages in its final refueling. At 0810, after refueling is complete, the 1st Supply Group's oilers SHINKOKU, KENYO, KOKUYO and KYOKUTO MARUs and destroyer KASUMI are detached and turn N towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the retrurn trip to Japan. [2]

At 1130, the Striking Force increases speed to 24 knots and proceeds due S to Hawaiian waters. Vice Admiral Nagumo dispatches ABUKUMA and DesDiv 17's TANIKAZE to Supply Group No. 1 at the rendezvous point following final refueling before the attack. At about 2100, the two warships reach the oilers, refuel and return with the oilers to the First Air Fleet.

7 December 1941: Operation "Z" - The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At 0618, the Carrier Striking Force launches attacks that later sink battleships USS ARIZONA (BB-39), OKLAHOMA (BB-37) and CALIFORNIA (BB-44) and damage NEVADA (BB-36), PENNSLYVANIA (BB-38), TENNESSEE (BB-43), MARYLAND (BB-46), WEST VIRGINIA (BB-49) and other smaller ships. 2,335 American servicemen die in the attack, most on ARIZONA. After recovering all but 29 of its aircraft lost in the attack, the Striking Force departs Hawaiian waters NNW towards Japan. [1]

23 December 1941:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

28 January 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

15 February 1942:
Arrives at Kanogawa.

March 1942: Operation "J"- The Seizure of the Dutch East Indies:
KENYO MARU provides refueling support during the Java campaign.

17 March 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

24 March 1942:
Departs Mako.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Operation "C" refueling point A (S09-E106).

1 April 1942:
KENYO MARU refuels BatDiv 3's HARUNA with 550 metric tons of fuel oil.

2 April 1942: Operation “C” – The Raids into the Indian Ocean:
KENYO MARU refuels BatDiv 3's KIRISHIMA with 600 metric tons of fuel oil. That same day, KENYO MARU refuels the Striking Force's AKAGI, CarDiv 2, CarDiv 5, BatDiv 3, CruDiv 8, DesRon 1 plus destroyers ARARE, KAGERO, MAIKAZE, HAGIKAZE and AKIGUMO.

9 April 1942:
After the air attacks on the British naval bases at Columbo and Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the Striking Force departs the Indian Ocean Area.

15 April 1942:
KENYO MARU refuels BatDiv 3's HIEI with 1500 metric tons of fuel oil.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

28 May 1942:
Departs Hiro.

29 May-5 June 1942: Operation “MI” – The Battle of Midway:
KENYO MARU departs Hashirajima with Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group No. 1’s oilers NIPPON, KYOKUTO, KOKUYO and SHINKOKU MARUs with Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force's CarDivs 1, 2, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) Support Group's CruDiv 8, BatDiv 3/2's HARUNA, KIRISHIMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (40) DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA with NOWAKI, ARASHIO, HAGIKAZE, MAIKAZE, KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO, MAKIGUMO, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMIKAZE.

15 June 1942:
Arrives at Hiroshima Wan.

21 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

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 (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher’s (USNA ’06) Task Force 61 and Rear Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain's (USNA ’06) 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.

10 August 1942:
Reassigned to the Guadalcanal Transport Replenishment Group to support Naval Forces.

15 August 1942:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

21 August 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

17 October 1942:
Truk. KENYO MARU arrives empty. Battleships MUTSU and YAMATO each off-load 4, 500-tons of fuel to the oiler so that she can refuel fleet units for the Guadalcanal operations.

18 October 1942:
Truk. Tanker NISSHO MARU also refuels KENYO MARU.

7 November 1942:
Transits the Bungo Straits en-route to Kure and Nagasaki in a convoy also consisting of tankers GENYO, NIPPON and TOEI MARUs. Arrives at Hiro.

11 November 1942:
Departs Nagasaki in a convoy also consisting of GENYO MARU escorted by torpedo boat HATO.

21 November 1942:
Captain Sugimoto Michio (41) is appointed Supervisor. Captain Kanemasu is reassigned to the Kure Naval District.

6 January 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

16 January 1943:
At 1200, departs Truk with destroyer HAMAKAZE as escort as far as longitude 138E.

23 January 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo. Loads a cargo of oil.

31 January 1943:
At 0600 arrives at Truk escorted on the last leg of the journey by auxiliary gunboat HEIJO MARU.

18 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

25 May 1943:
Captain Sugimoto is appointed Commanding Officer.

27 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka. Later that day arrives at Kisarazu.

29 May 1943:
Departs Kisarazu and crosses Tokyo Bay back to Yokosuka the same day.

26 June 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

28 June 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

2 July 1943:
At 1700, KENYO MARU departs Sasebo in fleet convoy "G"consisting of ex-seaplane tender KAGU MARU and armed merchant cruiser KIYOSUMI MARU escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

10 July 1943:
Arrives at Singapore at 1500.

18 July 1943:
KENYO MARU departs Singapore in a convoy consisting of oiler NISSHO MARU making 13 knots.

29 July 1943:
Arrrives at Truk.

14 August 1943:
At 1430, KENYO MARU departs Truk in convoy No. 7144 consisting of oilers (converted cargo ships) HOKUAN, SHINSHO and TENNAN MARUs escorted by destroyers TAMANAMI and MAIKAZE.

19 August 1943:
At 0930, arrives at Palau.

14 September 1943:
At Palau.

16 September 1943:
KENYO MARU, fleet oiler NOTORO and submarine chaser CH-29 depart Palau. At an unknown date and time CH-29 detaches and returns to Palau.

18 September 1943:
At 148 degrees east of Saipan destroyer YUZUKI meets up with KENYO MARU.

19 September 1943:
Both ships arrive at Truk.

18 October 1943:
At 1452, KENYO MARU departs Surabaya in a unnumbered convoy consisting of oiler NICHIEI MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224).

20 October 1943:
At 1005, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of oil.

23 October 1943:
At 0750, KENYO MARU departs Balikpapan for Truk in a convoy consisting of NICHIEI MARU escorted by subchaser CH-6.

30 November 1943:
At 0700, KENYO MARU departs Balikpapan with a cargo of oil in a convoy consisting of oilers KOKUYO and AZUMA MARU (ex-cargo) escorted by CH-6 and another unknown escort.

3 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Lawrence R. Daspit's (USNA ’27) USS TINOSA (SS-283) sights the convoy and makes an approach, but the convoy zigs and ruins the setup. Daspit fires three torpedoes "up the kilt" at AZUMA MARU. At 1947 (I), one hits and sets her afire. She slows, then settles lower in the water and drops out of the convoy. TINOSA moves in on the surface, but AZUMA MARU opens fire with her deck guns and machine-guns. Daspit crash dives and closes to point blank range. At 2121, he fires three more torpedoes that blow up AZUMA MARU. She sinks with the loss of 50 crewmen and 18 passengers. The remainder of the convoy continues towards Palau.

4 December 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1200. Departs for Truk shortly thereafter.

7 December 1943:
Departs Palau for Truk escorted by destroyer AKIGUMO.

11 December 1943:
Arrives at Truk.

18 December 1943:
At 1400 departs Truk as the sole ship in convoy No. 7181, escorted by destroyer SHIMAKAZE.

21 December 1943:
At 0700, SHIMAKAZE is detached. At 0900, destroyer HAYANAMI takes over escort.

23 December 1943:
KENYO MARU departs Palau in convoy No. 2516 consisting of fast oiler NIPPON MARU escorted by destroyers HAYANAMI and WAKATAKE.

25 December 1943:
At dawn, HAYANAMI is detached.

28 December 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Loads a cargo of refined oil. Captain Sugimoto dies of unknown causes. He is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

2 January 1944:
At 1600, departs Tarakan with oiler IRO and cargo ship TOSHO MARU escorted by destroyer WAKATAKE.

4 January 1944:
At 1900, arrives at Balikpapan.

8 January 1944:
At 1700, after taking on a cargo of oil and avgas, KENYO MARU departs Balikpapan for Palau in the "KU"convoy consisting of oilers NIPPON and KOKUYO MARUs escorted by destroyers SHIMAKAZE and HAYANAMI and by patrol boat No. 102 at the start of the journey.

10 January 1944:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Arimura Fuji (47)(former CO of SHIRETOKO) is posted the Commanding Officer.

14 January 1944:
Departs Palau for Truk in convoy with NIPPON and KOKUYO MARUs and a destroyer. KENYO MARU is carrying 14,000-tons of fuel oil and 2,000 drums of aviation gasoline. The convoy is joined by destroyers SAZANAMI and AKEBONO from Rabaul.

180 miles S of Sorol Island. At about 1300, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Norvell G. Ward's (USNA ’35) USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) sights the convoy. Ward sets up on a destroyer, but is unable to shoot. SAZANAMI spots LtCdr (Rear Admiral-ret) James W. Blanchard's (USNA ’27) USS ALBACORE (SS-218) and makes for her at high speed. Blanchard sets up and fires four stern torpedoes at the charging destroyer. Two hit and sink SAZANAMI at 05-30N, 141-34E. 153 sailors including her CO, LtCdr (Commander posthumously) Suga Akiji (56) are KIA. Nearby, Ward's USS GUARDFISH (SS-217) takes a periscopic photograph of SAZANAMI sinking.

AKEBONO attacks USS ALBACORE and drops 59 depth charges. While the destroyer is occupied with USS ALBACORE, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Walter G. Ebert's (USNA ’30) USS SCAMP (SS-277) attacks NIPPON MARU carrying 80 IJN Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops and about 50 Army civilians. At 1252, Ebert gets hits with two or three of six torpedoes he fires in a submerged attack. NIPPON MARU burns, then sinks at 05-02N, 140-50E taking down 16 crewmen and 27 troops.

At about 1900, Ward's USS GUARDFISH hits KENYO MARU in the stern and sets her afire. She sinks in about 15 minutes at 05-23N, 141-32E. Three crewmen are killed.

10 March 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] As related by Burl Burlingame in "Advance Force Pearl Harbor." p.112.

[2] Hawaiian Time.

Thanks for assistance goes to Allan Alsleben of Oregon and Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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