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

IJN Seaplane Tender KIMIKAWA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2004 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Allan Alsleben.

2 November 1936:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co.

11 March 1937:
Launched and named the KIMIKAWA MARU.

15 July 1937:
Kobe. Completed by Kawasaki as a cargo/refrigerator ship for the Kawasaki Kisen K. K. line.

July 1937:
Departs Kobe on her first cruise to New York. Later that year, completes four more cruises to New York.

The KIMIKAWA MARU completes three cruises to New York.

Completes three more cruises to New York.

Completes three cruises to New York.

Completes the last cruise from Kobe to New York. Returns to Kure.

6 July 1941:
The KIMIKAWA MARU is requisitioned by the IJN. Begins begins conversion to a seaplane tender at Kure Navy Yard.

25 July 1941:
The Fifth Fleet is reformed for the North Pacific under Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro (former CO of MUTSU). after being disbanded in 1939.

Captain (Retired) Aoki Setsuji (E38) is the posted as the Commanding Officer of the KIMIKAWA MARU. She is assigned to the Third Fleet, 2nd Base Unit.

August 1941:
Kure. Completes conversion and is registered (commissioned) in the IJN at the Sasebo Naval District. Her authorized aircraft allotment is six Type 0 Aichi E13A1 “Jake” three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with two in reserve.

Departs Kure.

1 September 1941:
The KIMIKAWA MARU is assigned to the Fifth Fleet's CruDiv 21 with the light cruisers TAMA and KISO. Her aircrafts' tail code is "X-xx."

5 September 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo, then proceeds to Maizuru and Saeki. Undergoes work-up and training.

1 October 1941:
Cdr Ushuku Shuichi assumes command.

15 October 1941:
Cdr Ushuku is promoted Captain.

November 1941:
Bonin Islands. Patrols off Chichi Jima.

11 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Drydocked.

30 November 1941:
Undocked. Departs Yokosuka for Ominato, Honshu.

2 December 1941:
Arrives at Ominato. Painted with gray/white splotch camouflage for Northern operations.

3 December 1941:
Arrives at Akkeshi, Hokkaido.

4 December 1941:
Departs Akkeshi.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Matsuwa Island, Kuriles.

7 December 1941:
Departs Matsuwa Island for Paramushiro.

8 December 1941: Operation “Z” - The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
Departs Paramushiro for Ominato, en route patrols off Akkeshi and the Kurile Islands.

12 December 1941:
Departs Ominato.

18 December 1941:
Arrives at Ominato.

24 December 1941:
Departs Ominato.

1 January 1942:
The KIMIKAWA MARU is reassigned directly to the Fifth Fleet.

1 February 1942:
Assigned to the Northern Patrol Unit.

2 February 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

15 February 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

17 February 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

22-27 February 1942:
Departs Ominato. The KIMIKAWA MARU’s E13A1 floatplanes conduct several photo-reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union’s Ust-Bolsheretsk harbor, Kamchatka Peninsula.

18 March 1942:
Returns to Ominato.

20 March 1942:
Departs Ominato for Akkeshi Bay.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Akkeshi.

11 April 1942:
Departs Akkeshi for Maizuru.

13 April 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru.

1 May 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

3 May 1942:
Arrives at Akkeshi.

6 May 1942:
Departs Akkeshi Bay with the KISO for the Kiska and Adak areas of the Aleutians.

11 May 1942:
150 n. miles S of Kiska. The KIMIKAWA MARU, accompanied by the KISO, launches floatplanes for a photo-reconnaissance of Adak and Kiska. The Adak mission is carried out between 1225–1330 and is successful, but Kiska is obscured by weather.

18 May 1942:
Returns to Ominato.

26 May 1942: Operation “MI” - The Battle of Midway:
Departs Ominato with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's Second Strike Force, Carrier Strike Force’s carriers RYUJO and JUNYO, cruisers MAYA, TAKAO and the destroyers AKEBONO, USHIO, SAZANAMI and the SHIOKAZE.

28 May 1942: Operation "AL" - The Seizure of Attu and Kiska:
The KIMIKAWA MARU departs Mutsu Bay in Vice Admiral Hosogaya's Northern Force with Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (former CO of ISE) Adak-Attu Invasion Force: DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA, DesDiv 21's HATSUHARU, HATSUSHIMO, WAKABA and NENOHI, transport KINUGASA MARU and minelayer MAGANE MARU.

Admiral Omori’s Adak-Attu Invasion Force accompanies Captain (later Rear Admiral) OnoTakeji's Kiska Invasion Force: CruDiv 21’s TAMA and KISO, destroyers HIBIKI, AKATSUKI and HOKAZE, auxiliary cruiser ASAKA MARU and the transports HAKUSAN MARU and KUMAKAWA MARU.

CruDiv 21 is accompanied by the Main Body's CruDiv 5's NACHI, destroyers INAZUMA and IKAZUCHI, oilers FUJISAN MARU and NISSAN MARU, three cargo ships and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kakuta Kakuji's (former CO of NAGATO) Carrier Striking Force's CarDiv 4's JUNYO and RYUJO, CruDiv 4/2's TAKAO and MAYA, DesDiv 3's SHIOKAZE and DesDiv 7's AKEBONO, SAZANAMI and the USHIO.

1 June 1942:
The Invasion Force arrives at Paramushiro. Departs the same day.

Enroute to the Aleutians, the KIMIKAWA MARU exchanges recognition signals with Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kakuda Kakuji’s Second Task Force’s carriers JUNYO, ZUIHO and RYUJO, BatDiv 3/1’s KONGO and HIEI, cruisers TAKAO and MAYA and the destroyers USHIO, OBORO and AKEBONO.

7 June 1942:
Vice Admiral Hosogaya's Fifth Fleet captures Attu and Kiska.

8 June 1942:
The KIMIKAWA MARU steams into Kiska Harbor. She discharges her eight E13A1 reconnaissance planes, their fuel and other materials.

15 June 1942:
Kiska. The KIMIKAWA MARU, light cruiser KISO, destroyers and auxiliaries are joined by her sister tender KAMIKAWA MARU. Also present at Kiska is a detachment of the Toko Air Group with six Type 97 Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boats under Cdr (later Captain) Ito Sukemitsu.

The KAMIKAWA MARU off loads her fourteen Type 0 Mitsubishi F1M2 “Petes” and her four Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 “Daves” to the beach where a seaplane base has been set up.

19 June 1942:
Frequent air raids on Kiska by the USAAF 11th Air Force cause the KIMIKAWA MARU to take refuge at Agattu Island, Aleutians. She then makes frequent night supply and refueling runs to Kiska and back.

June 1942:
Departs the Aleutians with the destroyer SHIOKAZE for Ominato.

27 June 1942:
Arrives at Ominato. Refuels and replenishes, then departs and patrols with the destroyer HOKAZE and the fleet SW of the Aleutians.

3 July 1942:
Agattu Island, Aleutians. A flight of seven USAAF B-24 "Liberators" bombs the anchorage harboring the KIMIKAWA MARU, KAMIKAWA MARU, oiler FUJISAN MARU and six destroyers. A near-miss by a bomb kills several crewmen aboard the KIMIKAWA MARU and causes minor damage to the ship.

8 July 1942:
Departs Agattu for Ominato, then to Yokosuka.

14 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka; then transfers to Yokohama for repair work.

4 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka carrying 12 floatplane fighters for Kiska with the destroyer HOKAZE.

10 August 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

13 August 1942:
Arrives at Kiska.

14 August 1942:
Departs Kiska.

16 August 1942:
Departs Paramushiro for Yokosuka

20 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Captain-Retired Yashima Gentoku (39) assumes command.

24 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

31 August 1942:
Arrives at Kiska.

3 September 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

9 September 1942:
Departs Ominato for Yokosuka.

10 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

12 September 1942:
Begins loading five Type O Nakajima A6M2-N “Rufe” fighter seaplanes and two E13A1 Jakes and construction materials for winter quarters.

17 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

19 September 1942:
Arrives at Ominato. Loads soldiers and departs the same day escorted by the destroyer HOKAZE.

25 September 1942:
Arrives at Kiska. Offloads her Rufes and Jakes.

26 September 1942:
Departs Kiska for Ominato with the HOKAZE.

2 October 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

14 October 1942:
Departs Ominato for Yokosuka with the destroyer USUGUMO.

15 October 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Begins loading 51st Base Force personnel and materiels for transport.

21 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Kiska carrying five A6M2-N and three E13A1 escorted by the destroyer USUGUMO.

November 1942:
The code for the KIMIKAWA MARU's aircraft is changed to "M-xx."

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Kiska. Offloads her Rufes and Jakes, then moves to Attu the same day.

13 November 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro with the USUGUMO. Conducts anti-submarine patrols along the Kurile Islands chain.

24 November 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

8 December 1942:
Departs Ominato.

9 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Embarks five float fighters and eight reconnaisance seaplanes; probably Rufes and Jakes.

16 December 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

18 December 1942:
From the open sea at 52-50N, 166E, the KIMIKAWA MARU launches four reconnaisance seaplanes bound for Kiska.

20 December 1942:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay, Shimushu Island.

23 December 1942:
Departs Kataoka Bay.

25 December 1942:
Arrives at Kiska with the destroyer HATSUSHIMO. Debarks eight A6M2-Ns and departs same day.

1 January 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

13 January 1943:
Departs Ominato. Arrives at Yokosuka that same day. Loads seven A6M2-Ns and one E13A1 for transport. Her cargo also includes four Daihatsu and two smaller barges.

19 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka with Convoy No. 10.

28 January 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

31 January 1943:
Arrives at Attu.

1 February 1943:
Arrives at Kiska with the USUGUMO. Departs the same day. Offloads her Rufes and Jake.

5 February 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

9 February 1943:
Departs Ominato.

12 February 1943:
N Pacific. At 52-55N, 168E, the KIMIKAWA MARU launches seven float fighters and five reconnaisance seaplanes from the open sea bound for Kiska.

21 February 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

27 February 1943:
Departs Yokosuka in convoy I-21. The KIMIKAWA MARU carries six float fighters and three reconnaisance seaplanes.

10 March 1943:
Arrives at Attu. Offloads six A6M2-N Rufes. Departs same day.

18 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Undergoes repairs. Camouflage painting is deleted.

1 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

4 May 1943:
Sea of Okhotsk. Near Etorofu Island, Kuriles. At 0600, LtCdr Dudley Morton’s USS WAHOO (SS-238) attacks the KIMIKAWA MARU. Morton fires three unreliable Mark-14 steam torpedoes from 1,350 yards. The KIMIKAWA MARU is hit amidships by the first torpedo. The second torpedo is a dud and the third misses. The extent of damage is unknown, but subsequent events indicate the first torpedo also was a dud.

5 May 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay.

11 May 1943: American Operation "LANDCRAB" - The Invasion of Attu, Aleutians:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid's (former CO of INDIANAPOLIS, CA-35) Task Force 16, covered by Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell's (former CO of THATCHER (DD-162) Task Force 51, lands elements of the Army's 4th and 7th Infantry Divisions under MajGen Eugene M. Landrum at Holtz Bay and Massacre Bay who later capture the island.

That same day, the KIMIKAWA MARU departs Paramushiro in Vice Admiral Kawase Shiro's Attu Task Force Escorted by the cruisers MAYA and KISO, DesDiv 21's HATSUSHIMO and the WAKABA. She is transporting eight F1M2 Petes and two A6M2-N Rufes of the No. 452 Kaigun Kokutai.

The plan calls for the KIMIKAWA MARU to launch its floatplanes from a point 250 miles SW of Attu to fly to Kiska, but after the American landings on Attu, she and her escorts are ordered to return to Paramushiro.

15 May 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay, Shimushu Island.

18 May 1943:
Departs Kataoka Bay. Arrives Kashiwabara Bay the same day.

25 May 1943:
Departs Kashiwabara Bay.

26 May 1943:
Arrives at Ominato. Resumes patrols along the Kurile Islands chain.

31 May 1943:
Departs Ominato.

13 June 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay with six Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 Daves.

14 June 1943:
Departs on patrol.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

20 June 1943:
Departs Ominato.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay.

30 June 1943:
Departs Kataoka Bay.

3 July 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

7 July 1943:
Departs Ominato.

10 July 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay.

19 July 1943:
Departs Kataoka Bay.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

28 July 1943:
Departs Ominato ferrying aircraft.

31 July 1943:
Arrives at Kataoka Bay.

10 August 1943:
Departs Kataoka Bay on patrol.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo. Drydocked. Repairs. Her No. 1 search light is removed. A Type 21 air-search radar is fitted and several 13.2-mm AA twin machine guns are added.

20 August 1943:
Captain (Retired) Kohashi Yoshiaki (37) assumes command.

25 September 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

27 September 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

1 October 1943:
The KIMIKAWA MARU is re-rated a converted transport (Miscellaneous). Assigned to the Sasebo Naval District. Captain (Retired) Kohashi is reassigned to an unknown post.

Departs Ominato and arrives at Otaru. Then departs on a fishing boat protection patrol.

4 October 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

10 October 1943:
Departs Paramushiro.

13 October 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

17 October 1943:
Departs Ominato. Arrives at Hakodate that same day.

21 October 1943:
Departs Hakodate.

24 October 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

7 November 1943:
Departs Paramushiro.

13 November 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

15 November 1943:
Departs Ominato.

18 November 1943:
Arrives at the Sasebo Navy Yard. Begins equipment modifications. Her 76-mm AA guns are replaced with 120-mm AA guns and her third mast is restored

20 November 1943:
Reassigned directly to the Combined Fleet.

22 November 1943:
Completes equipment modifications. The KIMIKAWA MARU's third mast is restored. The elevation of her 80-mm and 120-mm guns is increased.

23 December 1943:
Departs Sasebo for Moji, carrying 1,000 tons of cement.

26 December 1943:
Arrives at Yura.

27 December 1943:
Departs Yura. About noon that day, the KIMIKAWA MARU is off Shionomisaki, Honshu. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William B. Sieglaff’s USS TAUTOG (SS-199) makes a submerged attack on her at 33-25N, 135-33E. Sieglaff claims two hits of three torpedoes fired. The KIMIKAWA MARU's No. 6 hold floods, and her rudder steering gear and a propeller shaft are damaged. She is towed to Port Fukuro, off Kushimoto.

3 January 1944:
Towed to Kobe for temporary repairs at Kawasaki Heavy Industies, Ltd.

3 February 1944:
Transfers to Osaka. Undergoes permanent repairs at Hitachi Zosen's shipyard.

24 June 1944:
Osaka. Completes repairs, then returns to service. Begins loading 1,100 military personnel and materiel for transport.

13 July 1944:
At 1600, the KIMIKAWA MARU departs Moji for Singapore via Manila in convoy HI-69 under Rear Admiral Sato Tsutomu (former ComSubRon 1) of the Eighth Escort Convoy. The 16-ship convoy consists of KOEI, AKI, ASAMA, SAIGON, HAKKO MARU, OTOWASAN, OMUROSAN, KUROSHIO, HARIMA, SERIA, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), MANKO and the TENEI MARUs with the escort carriers TAIYO and KAIYO that are loaded with aircraft for Luzon. The escort is provided by the light cruiser KASHII and the frigates CHIBURI, SADO and CDs Nos. 7 and 17. The SHINYO conducts air patrols.

18 July 1944:
Near Takao, Formosa. About 0600, LtCdr John J. Flachsenhar's USS ROCK (SS-274) fires four torpedoes at the HARIMA MARU, but misses. Cdr Alan Banister's USS SAWFISH (USS 276) then fires nine torpedoes at the convoy. The HARIMA MARU is hit by a single torpedo in the bow causing her to settle, but she remains able to steam. At 1055, LtCdr Roger M. Keithy's USS TILEFISH (SS-307) torpedoes and heavily damages the kaibokan CD No. 17.

The convoy continues to Manila without stopping at Takao as originally planned (less the MANKO MARU that detached the daybefore and the damaged HARIMA MARU and CD No. 17 that put into Takao.

20 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila at 2100. The TAIYO and the KAIYO begin unloading aircraft.

25 July 1944:
At 0530, the Singapore-bound section of the HI-69 departs Manila escorted by the same escorts plus kaibokan CD Nos. 9 and 13. The SHINYO continues to escort the convoy section, but the TAIYO and KAIYO remain behind and later depart separately for Formosa.

31 July 1944:
At 1745, arrives at Singapore.

6 August 1944:
Departs Singapore for Surabaya, Java transporting military personnel.

10 August 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo. Loads heavy oil and aircraft fuel.

14 August 1944:
At 1000, steams in convoy from Surabaya with the IKUTAGAWA MARU (ex Italian CALITEA II) and the German supply ship BOGOTA (used to supply German submarines) to Makassar escorted by minesweeper No. 11. Later that day, the KIMIKAWA MARU and BOGOTA detach from the IKUTAGAWA MARU and sail independently.

16 August 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Makassar, Celebes.

28 August 1944:
Arrives at Bintan Island, Java; loads 6,000-tons of bauxite ore.

30 August 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

6 September 1944:
The KIMIKAWA MARU departs Singapore bound for Japan in convoy HI-72. The 12-ship convoy includes the ASAKA, NANKAI, SHINCHO, RAKUYO, KIBITSU, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and the ZUIHO MARUs. The escort is provided by Rear Admiral Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of KISO) No. 6 Escort Convoy in the frigate HIRADO (F) with the destroyer SHIKANAMI, kaibokans MIKURA, KURAHASHI and CD No. 11 and Subchaser No. 19.

The KIMIKAWA MARU suffers a machinery breakdown and returns to Singapore for repairs .

10 September 1944:
The KIMIKAWA MARU departs Singapore bound for Japan in convoy HI-74, but again suffers a machinery breakdown and returns to Singapore for repairs.

2 October 1944:
At 1700, the KIMIKAWA MARU departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-76. The 9-ship convoy includes the cargo ship TEIHOKU MARU, tankers NICHINAN, RYOEI, NICHIEI FUJISAN, KUROSHIO, TARAKAN and TOHO MARUs. The escort is provided by the SHINYO and kaibokans KANJU, MANJU, MIYAKE, KURAHASHI, CD No. 28 and the torpedo boat HIYODORI.

8 October 1944:
South China Sea. At 0100, LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s USS BECUNA (SS-319) attacks the KIMIKAWA MARU at 14-12N, 115-53E. Sturr fires four torpedoes at her and claims two hits. The KIMIKAWA MARU is hit on the port side in hold No. 4 and flooding occurs in this hold and hold No. 5, but the ship remains navigable. The KIMIKAWA MARU detaches from the convoy and heads for Manila escorted by the HIYODORI and CD No. 28.

9 October 1944:
Arrives at Manila. Undergoes temporary repairs.

18-19 October 1944:
Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of RANGER (CV-4) Task Group 38.1 and Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison's TG 38.4's aircraft attack airfields near Manila and shipping in the harbor, sinking many ships.

20 October 1944:
The KIMIKAWA MARU is still not fully repaired, but the carrier strikes on Manila convince the IJN authorities to send the ship to the relative safety of Takao, Formosa. The KIMIKAWA MARU is assigned to slow convoy MA-TA 30 with an officially designated speed of 8 knots.

At 2340, the KIMIKAWA MARU departs Manila for Takao with MA-TA 30. The convoy includes the KOKURYU, KIKUSUI , FUYUKAWA, TENSHIN, SHIGISAN, DAITEN No. 1, SHINSEI No. 1, EIKO, ARISAN and RYOFU MARUs escorted by the destroyers HARUKAZE, TAKE and the KURETAKE, mine layer KURASAKI and sub chaser No. 20.

23 October 1944:
South China Sea, WNW of Cape Bojeador, Luzon, Philippines. About 1730 (JST), Cdr Banister’s SAWFISH attacks the last ship in the convoy - the KIMIKAWA MARU. She is hit portside aft in hold No.7. by four of five torpedoes fired. Loaded with bauxite, fuel oil, aviation gasoline and other cargo, the KIMIKAWA MARU sinks in 2.5 minutes at 18-58N, 118-46E. 24 sailors and 81 passengers go down with her.

24 October 1944:
The convoy is attacked by two American wolf packs. The submarines’ attacks scatter the convoy. Each Maru is attacked repeatedly, from both sides. During the wolfpacks’ attacks on the convoy, LtCdr George H. Brown’s SNOOK (SS-279) sinks the ARISAN MARU. Sadly, she is carrying 1,781 American PoWs who are lost along with 204 members of the ships’ crew and 125 other Japanese passengers. Only nine PoWs survive.

Cdr Edward N. Blakely’s USS SHARK (SS-314) is lost during these attacks; probably by depth charges in one of two attacks made by the HARUKAZE.

10 December 1944:
Removed from Navy List.

Authors’ Note:
Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Mssrs. Peter Cundall of Australia and Andrew Obluski of Poland.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Allan Alsleben.

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