TOKUSETSU SUIJOKI-BOKAN!

(KINUGASA MARU as a prewar Kokusai Kisen liner)

IJN Seaplane Tender KINUGASA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2015 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.

Revision 5


10 August 1935:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki shipbuilding.

26 December 1935:
Launched and named KINUGASA MARU.

28 February 1936:
Kobe. Completed for the Kokusai Kisen K. K. Line.

March 1936:
Assigned to the Kokusai Kisen Line's New York and European route.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (Sino-Japanese) Incident:
Lugouqiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the bridge. They fire blank cartridges. Chinese troops fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese captured him. The Japanese demand entry to Beijing to look for the soldier. The Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins. [1]

14 August 1937:
KINUGASA MARU is requisitioned by the IJN. The next day, she is registered (commissioned) in the IJN and assigned as a transport in the Yokosuka Naval District.

18 August 1937:
KINUGASA MARU is designated to undergo conversion. Captain-Retired (later Rear Admiral) Katahara Tsunejiro (37) is posted as her Chief Inspector.

19 August 1937:
Departs Sasebo for central China.

24 August 1937:
Returns to Sasebo.

1 September 1937:
Departs Lushun (Port Arthur), Manchukuo for central China.

6 September 1937:
Arrives at Dalian (Dairen), Manchukuo. Departs the same day for central China.

10 September 1937:
Returns to Sasebo.

11 September 1937:
Departs Sasebo for central China.

15 September 1937:
Returns to Sasebo.

17 September 1937:
Departs Sasebo for central China.

23 September 1937:
Arrives at Mako.

27 September 1937:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. KINUGASA MARU begins conversion to an 8,407-ton seaplane tender. Six Ten Year type 120-mm (4.7-inch)/45 cal. high angle guns are installed. She is equipped with four Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” and eight Type 95 Nakajima E8N2 “Dave” reconnaissance float biplanes. The tail code for her aircraft is “15-xx”.

Re-rated a converted seaplane tender and reassigned to the Kure Naval District. Captain Katahara is the Commanding Officer.

30 September 1937:
Lushun. The 21st Sea Scout Unit, disembarked from NARUTO, waits for KINUGASA MARU.

15 October 1937:
Attached to Headquarters, Second Fleet.

20 October 1937:
Arrives at Lushun. The 21st Sea Scout Unit is disbanded and her Type 95 Daves are transferred to the KINUGASA MARU.

26 October 1937:
Departs Lushun to operate off the central Chinese coast.

15 November 1937:
Kure. Captain Aoki Taijiro (41) assumes command.

20 November 1937:
Returns to Lushun.

22 November 1937:
Departs Lushun to operate off the northern Chinese coast.

29 November 1937:
Returns to Lushun.

1 December 1937:
Reassigned to the 4th Naval Air Group, Fourth Fleet.

2 December 1937:
Departs Lushun to operate off the northern Chinese coast.

11 December 1937:
Returns to Lushun.

16 December 1937:
Departs Lushun to operate off the northern Chinese coast.

25 December 1937:
Returns to Lushun.

28 December 1937:
Departs Lushun to operate off the northern Chinese coast.

6 January 1938:
Returns to Lushun.

8 January 1938:
Departs Lushun for Tsingtao, China.

10 January 1938:
KINUGASA MARU participates in the invasion of Tsingtao. The Japanese land on unfortified beaches about three miles below the cites defenses and take Tsingtao without a struggle. During their occupation of Tsingtao throughout the war, the IJA and IJN use Tsingtao as a base of operations against the fueding Chinese Nationalists and Communists in the Shantung Penisula.

24 January 1938:
Returns to Lushun.

31 January 1938:
Departs Sasebo to operate off the southern Chinese coast.

24 February 1938:
Off Nan Hsiung, China. KINUGASA MARU launches eight Type 95 floatplanes and the seaplane carrier NOTORO launches five Type 95s to attack the city. Some of the Type 95s carry bombs while the others serve as escorts.

A group of twelve Gloster “Gladiators” from the Chinese Air Force’s 28th and 29th Squadrons takes off from Nan Hsiung’s airfield to intercept the Japanese. One Type 95 from each seaplane carrier fails to return and another Type 95 from NOTORO crash lands. KINUGASA MARU and NOTORO each lose one other flyer killed.

6 March 1938:
Returns to Sasebo.

12 March 1938:
Departs Sasebo to operate off the central Chinese coast.

27 April 1938:
Returns to Kure.

28 April 1938:
Re-rated a converted transport (Misc) in the Kure Naval District, but operates under the Supply Force. That same day, Captain-Retired (Rear Admiral posthumously) Hidai Toraji (37)(former XO, KUMA) is appointed Supervisor for Modification. Captain Aoki is reassigned. Later, he is Chief Equipping Officer for tender MIZUHO and her first CO. Still later, he becomes CO of AKAGI and survives her loss at Midway.

7 May 1938
Departs Sasebo for the central and southern Chinese coasts.

26 May 1938
Arrives at Sasebo.

1 June 1938:
Departs Sasebo that same day for the central and southern Chinese coasts.

6 June 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

13 June 1938:
Departs Takao for the southern Chinese coast.

26 June 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

2 July 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the central Chinese coast.

17 July 1938:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

10 August 1938:
Departs Kure for the central Chinese coast.

16 August 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

20 August 1938:
Departs Kure for the central Chinese coast.

30 August 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

8 September 1938:
Departs for the central Chinese coast.

23 September 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo.

14 October 1938:
Departs Mako for the southern Chinese coast.

19 October 1938:
Returns to Mako.

21 October 1938:
Departs Mako for the southern Chinese coast.

5 November 1938:
Hangzhou Bay, 50 miles SW of Shanghai. KINUGASA MARU participates in a successful landing of the IJA's 10th Army behind Chinese lines at Hangzhou Bay that forces the Chinese forces to withdraw to the west. This ends the battle in Shanghai.

12 November 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

18 November 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the southern Chinese coast.

22 November 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

24 November 1938:
Departs Takao for the southern Chinese coast.

1 December 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ishido Yuzo (36) is posted as the CO.

10 December 1938:
Arrives at Sasebo

18 December 1938:
Departs Sasebo for the southern Chinese coast.

22 December 1938:
Arrives at Mako.

26 December 1938:
Departs Takao for the southern Chinese coast.

10 January 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

2 February 1939:
Departs Kure.

9 February 1939:
At midnight, KINUGASA MARU and a convoy under Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake’s (35) Fifth Fleet’s South China Naval Force, enters and anchors in Tsinghai Bay, northern Hainan Island. Kondo’s forces carry out a successful assault landing. In the next few days, IJN and IJA forces act together to subjugate the entire island.

14 February 1939:
Departs Samah, Hainan Island.

10 March 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 April 1939:
Departs Sasebo for the southern Chinese coast.

2 May 1939:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 May 1939:
Arrives at Yokosuka for modifications.

15 June 1939:
Captain Kioka Arimatsu (40) (former Communications Officer, KONGO) is appointed CO.

22 June 1939:
In Mine Division 5. Departs Yokosuka for the Marshall Islands with destroyers IKAZUCHI and INAZUMA and minelayer OKINOSHIMA for hydrographic reconnaissance of Kusaie, Milli and Maloelap.

24 August 1939:
Returns to Yokosuka.

October 1939:
Released from active Naval service and returned to her owners. Engages in commercial activities including Navy charters.

15 November 1939:
Vice Admiral Katagiri Eikichi’s (34) (former CO of HARUNA) Fourth Fleet is established at Truk.

December 1939:
KINUGASA MARU, seaplane carrier CHITOSE and 24 Type 97 Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boats of the Yokohama Air Group are stationed at Truk.

1939-40:
KINUGASA MARU, tenders KAMOI and CHITOSE voyage to Truk carrying construction crews and technicians to build seaplane/flying boat ramps at Dublon Island, Truk, Malakal at Palau, Roi and Eyebe in Kwajalein and at Saipan. The ships also make several trips to and from Japan to replenish construction supplies.

KINUGASA MARU and KAMOI later travel from Arakabesan in the Palau's to Jaliut to construct seaplane ramps at Emidj.

15 November 1940:
At Yokosuka.

5 November 1941.
Re-requisitioned by the IJN.

10 November 1941.
Tsurumi. Begins equipment installation at Nippon Kokan K. K.'s shipyard..

20 November 1941.
Equipment installation is completed.

17 December 1941:
Departs Palau.

20 December 1941: Operation “M” - The Seizure of Davao and Jolo, Philippines:
Supports Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41)(former CO of KONGO) Davao Attack Force with light carrier RYUJO and CruDiv 5’s NACHI, HAGURO and MYOKO.

22 December 1941:
KINUGASA MARU is with the 1st Echelon in the invasion of Davao.

25 December 1941:
Participates in the invasion of Jolo.

9 January 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

31 January 1942:
At 1400 departs Sasebo.

8 March 1942:
Departs Singapore with troop transports escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hashimoto Shintaro's (41) (former CO of HYUGA) DesRon 3’s SENDAI and DesDivs 11, 12, 19 and 20.

12 March 1942: Operation "T" - The Invasion of Northern Sumatra:
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kurita Takeo's (38) (former CO of KONGO) CruDiv 7’s KUMANO, MIKUMA, MOGAMI and the SUZUYA and CruDiv 4's CHOKAI provides distant cover for the landings at Sabang and Kutaradja. No. 1 Escort Unit’s light cruisers YURA and KASHII and six destroyers of DesDiv 19 and 20 provide close cover for KINUGASA MARU and eight other transports of the invasion force.

17 March 1942:
Departs Singapore. Arrives at Penang, Malaya that same day.

20 March 1942:
Departs Penang with the troop transports and the No. 1 Escort Unit to support the seizure of the Andaman Islands.

23 March 1942: Operation "D" - The Invasion of the Andaman Islands:
Covers the unopposed landing of one battalion of the IJA's 18th Infantry Division at Port Blair.

26 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

13-22 April 1942:
Steams from Singapore via Camranh Bay to Yokosuka.

25 April 1942:
Arrives at Nagoya, then docks for maintenance.

7 May 1942:
Captain Arima Naoshi (36) (former ComDesDiv 26) is appointed CO.

17 May 1942: Operation “AL” – The Invasion of the Aleutian Islands:
KINUGASA MARU is assigned to Vice Admiral Hosogaya Boshiro’s (36) (former CO of MUTSU) Fifth Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro’s (41) (former CO of KAMIKAWA MARU) Attu Invasion Force with light cruiser ABUKUMA, minelayer MAGANE MARU and DesDiv 21’s WAKABA, NENOHI, HATSUHARU and HATSUSHIMO.

Departs Ujina, Kyushu.

21 May 1942:
Cruisers NACHI and TAMA and tender KIMIKAWA MARU are each ordered to supply a floatplane the next day as an antisubmarine escort for KINUGASA MARU.

22 May 1942:
Yokosuka. At 1600, departs No. 1 anchorage. Arrives at Akkeshi Bay, Hokkaido.

23 May 1942:
Arrives at Ominato, Honshu.

25 May 1942:
NACHI, TAMA and KIMIKAWA MARU are again each ordered to supply a floatplane for an antisubmarine patrol of the eastern entrance to the Tsugaru Strait the next day for KINUGASA MARU.

26 May 1942:
NACHI, ABUKUMA and KIMIKAWA MARU are each once more ordered to supply a floatplane for an antisubmarine patrol of the eastern entrance to the Tsugaru Strait the next day for KINUGASA MARU.

29 May 1942:
At Kawauchi Bay. Conducts invasion landing practice.

1 June 1942:
Departs Ominato. KINUGASA MARU carries the Attu Landing Force comprised of the Army’s North Sea Detachment’s 301st Independent Infantry Battalion.

7 June 1942:
The Landing Force invades Attu.

8 June 1942:
Unloads freight at Massacre Bay, Attu.

10 June 1942:
Departs Abashiri, Hokkaido.

21 June 1942:
Departs Ominato.

22 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

20 July 1942:
An unknown officer assumes command. Captain Arima is posted CO of KANTO MARU.

22 July 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

31 August 1942:
Departs Takao.

24 September 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

28 September 1942:
Departs Mako.

2 October 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

11 October 1942:
Departs Osaka. Arrives at Kure that day.

16 October 1942:
Departs Kure.

18 October 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

21 October 1942:
Departs Takao.

3 November 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

18 November 1942:
Departs Mako.

25 December 1942:
Assumes coast defense duties.

6 January 1943:
Relieved of coast defense duties.

7 February 1943:
At Sasebo.

23 February 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

26 March 1943:
At 0500, departs Rabaul.

27 March 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Buka Island.

28 March 1943:
At 0500, departs Buka Island. At 1600 that day, arrives at Kieta.

29 March 1943:
At 0500, departs Kieta. At 1400 that day, arrives at Buin.

2 April 1943:
Loads bauxite ore at Bintan.

22 April 1943:
At Shimizu.

25 April 1943:
Departs Shimizu. Arrives at Yokohama the same day.

29 April 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

30 April 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

10 May 1943:
Departs Kobe.

15 May 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

17 May 1943:
Departs Takao.

6 June 1943:
At 1200 departs Balikpapan with KINUGASA MARU escorted by minesweeper W-16.

7 June 1943:
At 1616 arrives at Macassar.

1 July 1943:
At 1200, KINUGASA MARU rendezouses with KIRISHIMA MARU at 05.00 N 113.25E.

4 July 1943:
KINUGASA MARU departs Singapore in an unnumbered convoy consisting of cargo-passenger liners TEIKO (ex-French D’ARTAGNAN), KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), AKI and MIIKE MARUs, tankers KUROSHIO and OMUROSAN MARUs with an unknown escort. [2]

11 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

13 July 1943:
Departs Takao.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Ujina.

19 July 1943:
Arrives at Shimizu.

23 July 1943:
Departs Shimizu.

24 July 1943:
Arrives at Osaka.

8 August 1943:
Departs Ujina. Arrives at Ujina.

23 August 1943:
KINUGASA MARU departs Ujina in convoy O-603 consisting of transports KANSAI MARU and IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU with an unknown escort.

25 August 1943:
Departs Osaka.

1 September 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

4 September 1943:
Departs Palau in convoy N-404 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship MAYASAN MARU and transports KINUGASA, KANSAI and AMAGISAN MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-38.

9 September 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

25 October 1943:
Departs Rabaul in convoy No. 2252 also consisting of OKITSU MARU escorted by torpedo boat HIYODORI.

29 October 1943:
At 0700, arrives at South Channel, Truk.

8 November 1943:
At Yokosuka.

11 November 1943:
KINUGASA MARU's new owner Kokusai Kisen is merged into Osaka Shosen Kisen (O.S.K.).

17 November 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

19 November 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

23 November 1943:
Departs Kobe.

24 November 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

28 November 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Moji later that day.

30 November 1943:
Departs Moji.

11 December 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

12 December 1943:
Departs Singapore.

31 December 1943:
At 0900, departs Macassar escorted by auxiliary sub chaser CHa-112. At 1900 the same day arrives at Kendari.

4 January 1944:
At 1000, departs Kendari escorted by special minesweeper No.9 and auxiliary patrol boat Shonan Maru No.17.

5 January 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Ambon, Moluccas.

16 January 1944:
In the Moluccas area escorted by minelayer ITSUKUSHIMA.

23 January 1944:
At 1030, departs Bintan Island. At 1530, arrives at Singapore's western anchorage loaded with 7200 tons bauxite.

16 February 1944:
Coast defense duties.

18 March 1944:
Relieved of coast defense duties.

23 May 1944:
At 0700, KINUGASA MARU departs Singapore in fast convoy HI-62 consisting of IJA landing craft depot ship TAMATSU MARU and transports NOSHIRO, NISSHO and TEIRITSU (ex-French LECONTE de LISLE) MARUs, oilers OTORISAN, SARAWAK and NICHINAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan SADO, KURAHASHI, CD-5, CD-7 and CD-13. Escort carrier TAIYO provides antisubmarine air cover.

29 May 1944:
HI-62 arrives at Manila.

1 June 1944:
At 0400, HI-62 departs Manila. TAIYO continues to provide antisubmarine air cover.

8 June 1944:
Arrives at Mutsure anchorage, then proceeds to Moji arriving at 0230.

Mid-June 1944:
Osaka. Undergoes maintenance at Hitachi's Sakurajima shipyard.

20 June 1944:
Departs Moji at 1930 in convoy HI-67 for Singapore. HI-67 consists of transports KINUGASA, GOKOKU, MANJU, NANKAI, ASAKA, ASAHISAN and HAKOZAKI MARUs, oilers MIRI, OTORISAN, NICHINAN No. 2, SARAWAK and SHINEI MARUs escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA, subchaser CH-61, destroyers ASAGAO and KURETAKE and kaibokan HIRADO, KURAHASHI and CD-2, CD-5 and CD-13.

29 June 1944:
Near dawn, LtCdr (later Captain) Anton W. Gallaher's (USNA ’33) USS BANG (SS-385) picks up convoy HI-67 on SJ radar. Gallaher makes a long "end-around" in daylight. At about 1500, he fires all ten of his bow and stern torpedoes at three ships. Gallaher damages MIRI and SARAWAK MARUs. Both oilers are hit in the bow, but each manages to proceed to Manila.

30 June 1944:
The main convoy arrives at Manila. GOKOKU, SARAWAK and MIRI MARUs are detached.

3 July 1944:
Departs Manila.

9 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 August 1944:
At 2100, departs Singapore for Moji in fleet convoy HI-70. The convoy consists of KINUGASA, MANJU, ARIMASAN MARUs, oilers SERIA, KUROSHIO, HAKKO, OMUROSAN and OTOWASAN MARUs, screened by SHINYO, KASHII, destroyer SHIMOTSUKI and kaibokan CHIBURI, SADO, CD-13 and CD-19.

12 August 1944:
SADO is detached to hunt an enemy submarine. Later, she proceeds to Kirun separately.

15 August 1944:
HI-70 arrives at Moji at 1430.

1 October 1944:
At 0800, KINUGASA MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-77 consisting of transports KINUGASA, MANJU and ORYOKU MARUs, oilers OMUROSAN, OTOWASAN, ARITA, ITSUKUSHIMA, AKANE, TAIHO and KAIHO MARUs. German U-boat supply ship QUITO is also in the convoy, as is an unidentified vessel. The 13 ships are escorted by kaibokan CHIBURI, CD-19, CD-21 and CD-27.

Arrives at Arikawa Bay that same day.

2 October 1944:
Departs Arikawa Bay for Singapore.

5 October 1944:
ORYOKU MARU is detached for Kirun. The rest of HI-77 arrives at Takao. The escort is bolstered by the inclusion of kaibokan ETOROFU and SHONAN before departing later the same day.

6 October 1944:
250 miles W of Manila. After patrolling the Luzon Strait, a wolfpack known as the “Holtz Cats” consisting of LtCdr (later Captain) Arnold H. Holtz’s (USNA ’31) USS BAYA (SS-318), LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA and LtCdr Francis W. Scanland, Jr’s (USNA ’34) USS HAWKBILL (SS-366) heads through the South China Sea towards Fremantle, Australia.

BAYA intercepts a contact report from USS WHALE (SS-239) further north that a convoy escorted by two aircraft carriers and destroyers traveling at 14 knots is heading through USS BAYA's patrol area. Cdr Holtz alerts the USS HAWKBILL and USS BECUNA.

About 1400, LtCdr James B. Grady's WHALE torpedoes and sinks oiler AKANE MARU. 63 crewmen and 747 Army Management Branch Cadets and Railway Officials are KIA. Kaibokan CD-21 rescues her survivors and searches for the attacking submarine. At 1757, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles W. Wilkins' USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) torpedoes CD-21. The kaibokan breaks in half and takes down 170 men including all survivors from AKANE MARU.

7 October 1944
At 1900, BECUNA makes radar contact with the northbound convoy. A few minutes later, Scanland’s HAWKBILL sights the convoy. At 2149, USS HAWKBILL fires six torpedoes at a large freighter, but they all miss. Scanland then evades an escort.

Soon after attack begins, MANJU MARU charges a submarine and drops depth charges, an act of bravery the convoy commander later cites.

At about 2200, KINUGASA MARU, carrying 1,000 port service workers, is hit by one or more torpedoes. Abandon Ship is ordered soon thereafter. [3]

At 2224, USS HAWKBILL, running on the surface, attacks the same large freighter. Scanland fires three more torpedoes. This time two hit and cause a huge explosion. KINUGASA MARU was carrying ammunition. The entire area is bathed in light. A mushroom of white and yellow flame rises hundreds of feet in the air. [4]

Holtz’s USS BAYA also fires torpedoes at KINUGASA MARU and claims two hits. [5]

At 2227, KINUGASA MARU sinks at 14-30 N, 115-446E. Ten passengers and 33 crewmen are killed. Among those KIA is her Commanding Officer, Captain Honjo Ken.

10 March 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] The soldier later returned to his unit. He had absented himself to urinate.

[2] After this convoy, all fast Singapore-Empire and return convoys are allocated a HI prefix.

[3] The time of the torpedoing of KINUGASA MARU is based on Japanese records and varies from American records; however, the early abandonment of the ship better explains the low number of lives lost.

[4] Most sources, including Japanese sources, credit USS HAWKBILL and USS BAYA with sinking KINUGASA MARU W of Balintang Channel, NNW of Luzon at 19-40N, 118-05E.

[5] BAYA claimed two hits at 2233 - six minutes after USS HAWKBILL reported KINUGASA MARU sank.

Photo credit and general thanks for assistance goes to Gilbert Casse of France. Also thanks to Mr. Matthew Jones of USA.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.


Back to Seaplane Tender Page