YUSOSEN!

(KIRISHIMA MARU prewar)


IJN KIRISHIMA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2008-2017 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 3


6 August 1930:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. as a 5,840-ton transport for Kokusai Kisen Kaisha.

3 April 1931:
Launched and named KIRISHIMA MARU.

5 July 1931:
Completed.

9 July 1931:
Departs Kobe on her maiden voyage to Manila.

1931-1941:
In service on Kokusai Line’s Yokohama, Los Angeles and Panama Canal route.

30 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as general transport (Ippan Choyosen).

10 November 1941
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category under internal order No. 1391 and attached to Kure Naval district. Her homeport is Kure.

17 November 1941:
Kure Naval Yard. Begins conversion.

24 November 1941:
The conversion is completed.

24 November 1941:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Okubo Hiroshi (33) is appointed Supervisor.

30 November 1941:
Departs Ujina for Palau carrying a unit of Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops escorted by two unidentified warships.

5 December 1941:
Arrives at Palau.

17 December 1941: Operation "M" - The Invasion of the Southern Philippines
KIRISHIMA MARU departs Palau with 11 transports of Rear Admiral later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41) (former CO of KONGO) Southern Philippines Attack Force escorted by light cruiser NAGARA’s DesRon 2, light carrier RYUJO and seaplane tender CHITOSE. Rear Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Takagi Takeo's (39)(former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 5’s MYOKO, HAGURO and NACHI provide cover.

19-20 December 1941:
Rear Admiral Tanaka's Attack Force lands and secures Davao, Philippines.

22 January 1942:
Davao. Provisions hospital ship ASAHI MARU.

23 January 1942:
At 1525 departs Davao anchorage for Bangka.

25 January 1942:
Departs Banka anchorage accompanied by auxiliary gunboat TAIKO MARU.

27 January 1942:
Arrives Jolo. At 1600 departs Davao in the second echelon of the Ito Shitai Ambon invasion force. The echelon consists of KIRISHIMA, YAMAGIRI, YAMAFUKU, KATSURAGI and LYONS MARUs and HINO MARU No. 5 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE and HATSUKAZE and minesweepers W-9 and W-11.

29 January 1942:
At 0000 arrives at Bangka, Celebes. Preparation is made for the invasion of Ambon. Departs the Banka Isand, Celebes anchorage.

30 January 1942:
Arrives at the Victoria anchorage, Ambon Island.

31 January 1942: The Invasion of Ambon Island, Netherlands East Indies:
KIRISHIMA MARU is one of 10 transports (see 27 January 1942 entry) that land 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.

The convoy is escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo’s (39)(former CO of KONGO) light cruiser JINTSU with DesDiv 8's ASASHIO, OSHIO, ARASHIO and MICHISHIO, DesDiv 15's HAYASHIO, KUROSHIO, NATSUSHIO and OYASHIO and DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE and TOKITSUKAZE, Minesweeper Div 21's W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12 and Subchaser Div 1's CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3.

CruDiv 5's NACHI and HAGURO, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 7's USHIO and SAZANAMI provide the covering force.

2 February 1942:
At 0600 KIRISHIMA and YAMAGIRI MARUs anchor in Ambon Bay with destroyer AMATSUKAZE patrolling and on watch nearby.

4 February 1942:
The occupation of Ambon is completed.

6 February 1942:
At 1840 KIRISHIMA MARU departs Ambon for Davao escorted by destroyer AMATSUKAZE.

12 February 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

17 February 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

19 May 1942:
At 1700 departs Kure for Saipan with TOA MARU No. 2 GO, YAMAFUKU and KANO MARUs escorted by destroyers of 18 DesDiv SHIRANUI and KASUMI.

20 May 1942:
Off Bungo Suido meets up with NANKAI and ZENYO MARUs both from Moji, who join the convoy.

25 May 1942:
At 0835 arrives at Saipan.

28 May 1942:Operation “MI” - The Battle of Midway:
KIRISHIMA MARU departs Saipan in the Transport Group with KIYOSUMI, ZENYO, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, AZUMA, KEIYO, GOSHU, KANO, HOKUROKU and NANKAI MARUs and TOA MARU No. 2 and oiler AKEBONO MARU escorted by Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Tanaka Raizo's (41)(former CO of KONGO) DesRon 2's light cruiser JINTSU.

Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Fujita Ruitaro's (38) Seaplane Tender Div 11's CHITOSE and KAMIKAWA MARU depart Saipan. Seaplane Tender Div 11 is to set up a seaplane base at Midway's Kure Island or Eastern Island. CHITOSE and NICHIEI and KAMIKAWA MARUs are stationed about 3.5 miles astern of Tanaka's Transport Group.

30 May 1942:
CruDiv 7's MOGAMI, MIKUMA, KUMANO and SUZUYA and DesDiv 8's ASASHI and ARASHIO rendezvous with the Transport Group.

3 June 1942:
At about 1700, the convoy is attacked by LtCol (later General) Walter C. Sweeney's nine Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresss" heavy bombers from Midway. ARGENTINA MARU and KIYOSUMI MARU are near missed during the attack. Later, the convoy is also attacked by torpedo-carrying Consolidated PBY-5 "Catalina" patrol planes that hit and damage oiler AKEBONO MARU. Later KIRISHIMA MARU proceeds to Truk.

4 June 1942:
The convoy is contacted by PBY P-12; one of eleven VP-44 launched from Midway that morning on a search/strike mission. Seaplane carrier CHITOSE launches three Mitsubishi F1-M "Pete" fighter float biplanes to intercept the flying boat. They engage P-12 at 500 feet and shoot it down into the sea. Lt (j.g.) Robert Whitman and four of his ten-man aircrew are lost. [1]

6 June 1942:
Due to IJN’s defeat at Midway, Operation “MI” is cancelled. Some transports proceed to Truk, others to Guam.

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Guam.

26 July 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

3 August 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

5 August 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

7 August 1942:
Departs Moji.

11 August 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

14 August 1942:
Departs Takao.

18 August 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

25 August 1942:
Departs Saigon.

2 September 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

7 September 1942:
Departs Moji.

10 September 1942:
Departs Kure.

14 September 1942:
Arrives at Shikika.

18 September 1942:
Departs Shikika.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

27 September 1942:
Departs Osaka and later that day arrives at Kobe.

14 October 1942:
Departs Kobe and later that day arrives at Osaka.

17 October 1942:
Departs Osaka.

19 October 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

25 October 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

27 October 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

25 December 1942:
Kobe. KIRISHIMA MARU begins conversion to an 8,267-ton tanker at Mitsubishi's shipyard. Re-registered as an Auxiliary Transport (Oil Supply).

22 February 1943:
The conversion is completed. Departs Kobe.[2]

23 February 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

13 March 1943:
Departs Kure. Later that day arrives at Tokuyama.

16 March 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

18 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 March 1943:
Departs Yokosuka.

13 April 1943:
Departs Singapore.

19 April 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

5 May 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

28 May 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

3 June 1943:
Departs Tokuyama. Later that day arrives at Mutsure.

7 June 1943:
Departs Moji in convoy No.164 consisting of tankers OMUROSAN (that joined from Sasebo) and KIRISHIMA MARUs, transport KACHIDOKI MARU (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by the Kaibokan ETOROFU.

10 June 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

13 June 1943:
Departs Mako.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques.

19 June 1943:
Departs St Jacques.

22 June 1943:
Arrives at Miri.

24 June 1943:
Departs Miri.

26 June 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

29 June 1943:
Departs Singapore.

1 July 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

5 July 1943:
KIRISHIMA MARU departs Miri for Ujina in convoy No. 615 consisting of tankers OMUROSAN and KUROSHIO MARUs and cargo/transports KINUGASA, TEIKO, KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON), AKI and MIIKE MARUs escorted by an unidentified warship.

6 July 1943:
At 1600, arrives at St Jacques, Indochina.

7 July 1943:
Departs St Jacques.

11 July 1943:
Arrives at Mako. Later that day arrives at Takao, Formosa.

17 July 1943:
Arrives at Ujina. Later that day arrives at Tokuyama.

21 July 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

29 July 1943:
Departs Kure.

3 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

7 August 1943:
Departs Takao.

14 August 1943:
Arrives Singapore.

24 August 1943:
Departs Singapore

31 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

3 September 1943:
Departs Mako in convoy No.320 consisting of KIRISHIMA MARU and eight unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat KAZAN MARU.

9 September 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques and later that day departs in convoy No.508 consisting of tankers KIRISHIMA and NANEI MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships without escort.

12 September 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

22 September 1943:
KIRISHIMA MARU departs Singapore in convoy SA-12 consisting of fleet oiler ASHIZURI, transports TEIKO and USSURI MARUs and tanker SEISHIN MARU escorted by subchaser CH-19.

25 September 1943:
South China Sea. In midmorning, lookouts aboard Cdr Frederick C. Lucas' (USNA ’30) USS BILLFISH (SS-286) spot convoy SA-12 to the west. Lucas signals Cdr (later Cdr) Joseph H. Willingham’s (USNA ’26) USS BOWFIN (SS-287) of the sighting. Lucas submerges and tries to close the range, but the convoy zigs away.

Nearby, Willingham's BOWFIN, on her first war patrol, receives sister-ship BILLFISH's signal. At 1130, BOWFIN surfaces and begins tracking the convoy. At 1310, Willingham torpedoes and sinks KIRISHIMA MARU at 09-53N 112-10E. 14 crewmen are KIA.

Captain Okubo is among an unknown number of survivors, but is KIA in Nov ’43 as CO of the 33rd Minesweeper Squadron.

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 2564.


Authors' Notes:

[1] Five surviving members of 44-P-12's aircrew were rescued at 1455 (local) 6 June by PBY-5 of VP 23. But unfortunately one of them died the next day, bringing the total KIA to six. PBY 44-P-12 was the only PBY lost in combat with Japanese forces during the battle of Midway.

[2] She was fitted, probably during her conversion, with a 12-cm/12 (4.7”) Short Gun. Her AA guns suite is unknown.

Thanks go to Toda Gengoro of Japan for information in Revision 2 and to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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