TOKUSETSU SUIJOKI-BOKAN!


(KIYOKAWA MARU in her prewar Kawasaki Kisen livery)

IJN Seaplane Tender KIYOKAWA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2011 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.

Revision 11


21 October 1936:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding.

16 February 1937:
Launched and named KIYOKAWA MARU. [1]

15 May 1937:
Kobe. Completed as a cargo liner with some refrigerated capacity for the Kawasaki Kisen K.K Line.

1937:
Departs Yokohama for a cruise to San Francisco and return.

19 August 1937:
Seto Inland Sea, SW of Nakanose. Receives slight damage as a result of a collision with small train ferry UKO MARU No. 1.

28 September 1941:
Yokosuka Navy Yard. KIYOKAWA MARU is requisitioned by the IJN. Begins conversion to a 6,863-ton seaplane carrier/tender.

5 October 1941:
Completes conversion and is registered (commissioned) in the Yokosuka Naval District. Captain (Retired) Nakamura Shinobu (34) is assigned as the Commanding Officer.

KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft complement is six Type 95 Kawanishi E8N “Dave” two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with two in reserve and three Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” two-seat reconnaissance floatplanes with one in reserve. KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft code is “R-xx” and her call sign is JNZL.

10 November 1941:
Reassigned to Headquarters, Fourth Fleet.

27 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan.

2 December 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.

8 December 1941: Operation “Z” – The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
Truk. KIYOKAWA MARU is attached to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Inouye Shigeyoshi's (former CO of HIEI) Fourth Fleet South Seas Force in Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Kondo Nobutake's (former CO of KONGO), Second Fleet, Southern Force.

9 December 1941: Operation “G” – The Seizure of Guam:
KIYOKAWA MARU's aircraft, with those of the 17th Naval Air Group from Saipan, attack Guam.

10 December 1941: The Invasion of Guam:
The Invasion Force lands 5,500 troops of MajGen Horii Tomitara's South Seas Detachment. The tiny American and Guamanian garrison is overrun. The Governor of Guam, Captain George J. McMillin, USN, surrenders the island to ComCruDiv 6 Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo (former CO of MUTSU).

14 December 1941:
Assigned to the Wake Island Attack Force.

16 December 1941:
Departs Truk for Roi.

21 December 1941: The Second Invasion of Wake Island:
Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (former CO of KISO) Attack Force is joined by CruDiv 18's KIYOKAWA MARU, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA and DesDiv 29's ASANAGI and YUNAGI. The greatly reinforced Attack Force, now consisting of two fleet carriers, a seaplane tender, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and 11 destroyers, sorties from Roi in support of the second invasion's troop transports.

23 December 1941:
After a magnificent, but hopeless stand, Wake's grossly outnumbered American garrison is overwhelmed and forced to surrender.

24 December 1941:
KIYOKAWA MARU departs Wake for Truk.

25 December 1941:
Arrives at Roi.

26 December 1941:
Departs Roi for Truk.

12 January 1942:
Departs Truk.

14 January 1942:
Arrives at Mereyon.

17 January 1942:
Near Lamotrek Island. KIYOKAWA MARU and Rear Admiral Kajioka's light cruiser YUBARI and four destroyers join MineDiv 19’s TSUGARU and OKINOSHIMA and two destroyers escorting transports that left Guam on 14 January.

That same day, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s Carrier Striking Force departs Truk consisting of CarDiv 1’s AKAGI and KAGA, CruDiv 5’s SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU, BatDiv 3/1 HIEI and KIRISHIMA, CruDiv 8’s TONE and CHIKUMA and DesRon 1’s light cruiser ABUKUMA with DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE, HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO, SHIRANUHI and unattached AKIGUMO.

18 January 1942:
Departs Mereyon.

20 January 1942: - Operation "R" - The Invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng:
N of New Ireland. CarDivs 1 and 5 launch 100 bombers and fighters to attack Rabaul, New Britain and Kavieng, New Ireland. That evening, CarDiv 5 is detached and moves to a position in the Bismarck Sea.

20 January 1942:
CarDiv 1's AKAGI and KAGA launch air strikes against Rabaul and Kavieng. That same day, KIYOKAWA MARU begins air operations over Kavieng.

21 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches another strike on Rabaul and CarDiv 5 launches attacks on Madang, Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. After CarDiv 5 recovers her aircraft, she departs the Bismarck Sea area that evening to rendevous with CarDiv 1. Arrives at Mussau and departs later that same day.

22 January 1942:
CarDiv 1 launches a 45-plane strike against Rabaul. After the launch, CarDiv 5 rendevouses with CarDiv 1. When CarDiv 1 completes recovery of her strike aircraft, Nagumo heads north to Truk. Arrives at Djaul Island. Later transfers to Watom Island.

22/23 January 1942:
New Britain. Soon after midnight, OKINOSHIMA lands invasion troops at Blanche Bay, Rabaul. The invasion forces swiftly overcome light Australian opposition and occupy both Rabaul and Kavieng.

24 January 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

1 February 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU participates in actions off Rabaul.

8 February 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

9 February 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU covers the occupation of Gasmata, New Britain.

13 February 1942:
Returns to Rabaul.

12-18 February 1942:
Conducts anti submarine air patrols from Rabaul and New Britain.

18 February 1942:
Rabaul. Receives 300 tons L1 grade oil from tanker HOYO MARU. Also AA ammunition and aviation gasoline in tins from auxiliary transport NANKAI MARU No. 2.

19 February 1942:
Participates in actions off New Guinea.

20 February 1942: Aborted American Raid on Rabaul:
Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr’s (later President Roosevelt’s Naval Aide) Task Force 11 (USS LEXINGTON, CV-2), is en route to attack Rabaul. At 1030, the task force is spotted by a Type 97 Kawanishi H6K “Mavis”flying boat of the Yokohama Naval Air Group. Since surprise is lost, the American attack is cancelled.

At 1430, a Aichi Navy Type 0 reconnaissance seaplane E13A "Jake" from KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit takes off from Rabaul. At 1815, its crew sends a sighting report that places TF 11 470 miles NNE of Rabaul. TF 11 is attacked off Bougainville by the 4th NAG’s land-based bombers, but the Japanese are beaten off with heavy losses.

At 2000, the Jake signals it is returning to Rabaul, but fails to arrive.

21 February 1942:
The Japanese command at Rabaul orders a search for the lost floatplane by minelayer TSUGARU of Tanga and Nuguria Islands and minelayer KOEI MARU of the waters NW of Kapingamarangi

23 February 1942:
TSUGARU picks up three 4th NAG’s survivors and departs at 0800. By 1200, she arrives at Rabaul

5 March 1942: Operation “SR” – The Invasions of Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea:
Departs Rabaul with Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6’s AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA, Rear Admiral Marumo Kuninori's CruDiv 18’s light cruisers TENRYU and TATSUTA and DesRon 6’s light cruiser YUBARI and six destroyers.

8 March 1942:
Provides air cover for the invasion of Lae and Salamaua.

10 March 1942:
Lae. Rear Admiral (MOH-‘14/later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (former CO of VERMONT, BB-20) Task Force 17’s (USS YORKTOWN, CV-5) Douglas SBD “Dauntless” dive-bombers and TBD “Devastators" attack the anchored invasion IJN task group.

Salamaua. F4Fs of VF-3 strafe gun positions and shipping in the harbor. An E8N2 Dave from KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Group attacks a flight of TDBs enroute to Lae. In turn, the Dave is chased by four SBD's of VS-2, but evades them.

Lae. Armed merchant cruiser KONGO MARU is sunk. Light cruiser YUBARI and two minesweepers are damaged. An E8N2 challenges a flight of F4F Wildcats and is promptly shot down.

25 miles E of Lae at sea. TBDs from YORKTOWN find KIYOKAWA MARU and bomb her from 13,000 feet. She appears to be carrying one E8N2 "Dave" reconnaissance floatplane, three Type O Mitsubishi F1M2 “Pete” two-seat reconnaissance float bi-planes, all painted in early wartime overall AN2 light gray. She also carrys three E13A "Jakes" on deck with their wings folded up for storage.

The E8Ns are lost on the same day as the one lost to the F4Fs. VT-5 gunners shoot up a Dave while attacking KIYOKAWA MARU. The E8Ns main float is damaged and it sank upon landing. VT-5 scores one or more hits. KIYOKAWA MARU is heavily damaged.

6 March 1942:
Arrives at Linden and departs later that day.

7 March 1942:
Arrives at Mowe and departs later that day.

11 March 1942:
Off Surumi. Urgent repairs are carried out.

12 March 1942:
Returns to Rabaul. KIYOKAWA MARU offloads her floatplanes and undergoes more urgent repairs.

18 March 1942:
Departs Rabaul leaving her planes ashore.

8 April 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. KIYOKAWA MARU’s aircraft complement is updated to six F1M2 “Pete” with two E8N2 in reserve and three E13A1s with one in reserve.

27 March 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

30 March 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

1 April 1942:
Departs Truk.

13 April 1942:
Transferred to Yokohama and dry-docked.

22 April 1942:
Enters Asano Dockyard for repairs.

26 April 1942 Departs Asano Dockyard and transfers to Mitsubishi Jukogyo’s Yokohama dockyard.

29 April 1942: Operation “MO”- The Invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby (The Battle of Coral Sea):
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide’s (former CO of OI) Invasion Force departs Rabaul for the seizure of Tulagi, Florida Island, British Solomons.

30 April 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit's floatplanes that she left behind at Rabaul, when she returned to Japan, participate in the capture of Tulagi.

3 May 1942:
Rekata Bay, San Isabel Island. KAMIKAWA MARU with SEIKO and NIKKAI MARUs set up a seaplane base. KIYOKAWA MARU’s Air Unit provides cover over Tulagi and Guadalcanal.

4 May 1942:
100 miles S of Guadalcanal. Task Force 17's Rear Admiral Fletcher receives a signal that IJN transports are disembarking troops and equipment at Tulagi.

At 0701, YORKTOWN (CV-5) launches her first surprise strike of 18 Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" fighters of VF-42, 12 Grumman TBD-1“Devastator” torpedo-bombers of VT-5 and 28 Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless” dive-bombers from VS-5 and BY-5 on the Invasion Force.

YORKTOWN's SBD dive bombers and Grumman TBD "Avenger" torpedo-bombers of VB-5, VS-5 and VT-5 supported by Grumm/an F4F "Wildcats" of VF-42 also torpedo and sink destroyer KIKUZUKI, minesweeper TAMA MARU Maru and auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2 and four barges.

YORKTOWN's planes also damage destroyer YUZUKI, minelayer OKINOSHIMA, transport AZUMASAN MARU and cargo ship KOZUI MARU for the loss of three planes.

KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit at Makambo Island in Tulagi harbor, suffers the loss of two of her F1M2 Petes and loss or damage to an E8N2 Dave. KAMIKAWA MARU also suffers the loss of two of her three F1M2s to VF-42 and the third is damaged. YORKTOWN’s losses are two F4F's and one TBD.

5 May 1942:
Rekata Bay. KIYOKAWA MARU's Air Unit replenishes KAMIKAWA’s aircraft losses, then KAMIKAWA MARU departs for Deboyne Island in the Louisades.

19 May 1942:
Returns to Yokosuka.

26 May 42:
KIYOKAWA MARU departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.

1 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

3 June 1942:
Departs Truk.

6 June 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Thereafter, participates in actions in the Rabaul area.

8 June 1942:
Departs Rabaul on trials and returns to Rabaul later that day.

2 July 1942:
At Rabaul with CruDiv 6.

14 July 1942:
Reassigned to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Eighth Fleet at Rabaul. Her aircrafts’ tail code is changed to “RI-xx.”

KIYOKAWA MARU is assigned to escort a convoy in preparation for operation "RI”.

20 July 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

21 July 1942:
Arrives at Giruwa, New Guinea.

24 July 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

5 August 1942:
Embarks the 41st Infantry Regiment, less its 1st Battalion. Departs Davao with MYOKO MARU.

8 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

9 August 1942:
Arrives off Soheno Island in Buka Passage.

11 August 1942:
Departs Soheno Island.

12 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

13 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

14 August 1942:
Arrives at Mowe Harbour Anchorage, near Kavieng, then that day arrives at Kavieng.

16 August 1942:
Departs Kavieng and later that day arrives at Rabaul.

19 August 1942:
Departs Rabaul with MYOKO MARU for Basabua escorted by minelayer TSUGARU and SubChasDiv 32.

21 August 1942:
Arrives at Basabua, disembarks the 41st Infantry Regiment.

22 August 1942:
Departs Basabua with MYOKO MARU.

24 August 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

September 1942:
Participates in actions off Port Moresby with six F1M2s and three E13A1s.

5 September 1942:
Rabaul. Transfers fuel oil to subchaser CH-28, auxiliary subchaser TOSHI MARU No. 3 and destroyer HAMAKAZE.

7 September 1942:
Takes on 800 tons of fuel oil from oiler FUJISAN MARU.

8 September 1942:
Refuels subchaser CH-28.

9 September 1942:
Refuels subchaser CH-24.

10 September 1942:
Refuels subchaser CH-22.

11 September 1942:
Refuels subchaser CH-23.

16 September 1942:
Takes on No. 2 type fuel oil from seaplane tender NISSHIN.

18 September 1942:
Departs Rabaul for Yokosuka.

26 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

30 September 1942:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Higuchi Ko (40) (former CO of Tainan NAG) assumes command.

2 October 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Rabaul.

11 October 1942:
St George's Channel, near Rabaul New Britain. An RAAF No. 6 Squadron Lockheed "Hudson" light bomber, based at Port Moresby, attacks KIYOKAWA MARU being escorted by destroyer at 05-40S, 152-53E. The crew claims two direct hits from 900 feet with 250-lb bombs and a near miss. The ship swings hard through 180 degrees and loses way. Dense smoke rises from her decks. The Hudson's crew reports she was carrying a deck cargo of "at least 12 Zeros".

Mid-October 1942:
Undergoes repairs at Rabaul by repair ship HAKKAI MARU.

2 November 1942:
Arrives at Buna, New Guinea with transport CHORYO MARU. Unloads ammunition and supplies.

29 November 1942:
Departs Truk.

1 December 1942:
KIYOKAWA MARU is re-rated a converted transport (Misc.) of the Navy Ministry’s Supply Force at Yokosuka. Her planes are allocated to the 958th NAG.

7 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

13 December 1942:
Recalled Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Hara Seitaro (35) assumes command.

19 December 1942: Operation C (HEI-GO) - The Reinforcement of New Guinea:
Orders for Operation C (HEI-GO) are issued. The objective of this transport operation is to rush the 20th and 41st Army Division to Wewak. The operation consists of three separate operations, two of them divided into sub echelons sailing at different dates: The first operation HEI-ICHI GO (HEI-GO 1) is to land the main strength of the 20th Army Division consisting of 9,443 men, 82 vehicles, arms and 12,267 bundles of provisions at Wewak. [2]

20 December 1942: Operation "HINOE-GO No.2"
Allocated to the movement from Yokosuka to Wewak of the remaining planes and personnel of the IJAAF's 208th Squadron originally based in Manchuria. Departs Yokosuka for Truk, Rabaul and Shortland before returning to Sasebo.

12 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

21 January 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

23 January 1943:
Arrives at Shanghai, China.

26 January 1943:
Departs Shanghai for Sasebo.

28 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

3 February 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

5 February 1943:
Arrives at Tsingtao, China. KIYOKAWA MARU embarks men and equipment of the IJA's 41st Infantry Division,

7 February 1943: Operation "C-3" (HINOE-GO No. 3) - The Reinforcement of New Guinea:
Departs Tsingtao.

14 February 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

21 February 1943:
At 0700, KIYOKAWA MARU departs Palau for Wewak with YASUKUNI MARU escorted by destroyer ISONAMI.

24 February 1943:
At 1220, arrives at Wewak. Disembarks troops and departs.

25 February 1943:
At 0430, departs Wewak.

26 February 1943:
The convoy separates. KIYOKAWA sails for Japan, YASUKUNI MARU sails for Palau and UKISIMA MARU sails for Truk.

13 March 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

18 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka, later transferred to Yokohama for repairs.

1 April 1943:
Re-rated a transport. Reassigned to Southwest Area Fleet, Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

12 April 1943:
Captain-Retired Fujisawa Takuo (33) is a given a special assignment as the new CO. Captain Hara is reassigned as the CO of KAMIKAWA MARU on which he is later KIA.

19 April 1943:
Undocked.

24 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for the Nansei Shoto area.

15 July 1943:
Departs Makassar.

16 July 1943:
Arrives Singapore.

17 July 1943:
KIYOKAWA MARU departs Singapore escorting the “L” convoy consisting of OTOWASAN MARU escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

23 July 1943:
At 1240, arrives at Takao, Formosa.

26 July 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

3 August 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

4 August 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

8 August 1943:
Departs Kobe.

9 August 1943:
Arrives at Mutsure Island.

12 August 1943:
Departs Mutsure.

1 September 1943:
Reassigned directly to the Southwest Area Fleet Headquarters.

11 September 1943:
Off Makassar, Celebes. Damaged in an air attack.

1 October 1943:
Rerated a special transport.

6 November 1943:
Departs Penang escorted by torpedo boat KARI to Mergui, Burma.

8 November 1943:
Returns to Penang still escorted by KARI.

22 November 1943:
KIYOKAWA MARU and torpedo boat KARI are again en route to Mergui.

26 December 1943:
At Truk. Captain-Retired (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Otsuka Miki (39) (former CO of FURUTAKA) assumes command.

8 January 1944:
At 0900, departs Port Blair.

28 January 1944:
At 1400, departs Singapore escorted by minesweeper W-7.

30 January 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Sabang.

11 April 1944:
30 miles SE of Zamboanga, Mindanao, Phillipines. KIYOKAWA MARU is in a convoy escorted by destroyer AKIGUMO. LtCdr Marshall H. Austin's REDFIN (SS-272) attacks the convoy and sinks AKIGUMO at 06-43N, 122-23E, but KIYOKAWA MARU escapes without damage. Later, arrives at Davao and is provisioned by auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU.

4 June 1944:
Departs Ambon towards Obi Island. Anchors at 326 degrees 1400 metres off island.

5 June 1944:
Departs from off Obi Island.

6 June 1944:
Arrives Masamati Bay, Banggi island Group.

7 June 1944:
Departs Masamati Bay and later that day arrives at Kolono.

8 June 1944:
Departs Kolono and later that day arrives at Pulau Boeloenroe. Transfers 65 tons of No. 1 Grade fuel oil to minesweeper W-8 and 20 tons of No.1 Grade fuel oil and lubes to minesweeper W-11.

9 June 1944:
Departs Pulau Boeloenroe and later that day arrives at Pulau Dewakang Besar (Greater Dewakang)

10 June 1944:
Departs Pulau Dewakang Besar.

11 June 1944:
Arrives at thesouth entrance to Laut Island Strait and departs later that day.

12 June 1944:
Arrives Surabaya.

16 June 1944:
Departs Surabaya.

18 June 1944:
Arrives at southern mouth to Bangka Strait and later that day departs and reaches the southern mouth of Berhala Strait.

19 June 1944:
Departs south mouth Berhala Strait and anchors further north near a lighthouse.

20 June 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

21 June 1944:
Loads 700 tons No. 1 grade oil and two tons each of No. 1 and No. 2 grade mineral oils.

23 June 1944:
Undergoes repairs by the IJN's No. 101 Naval Construction and Repair Unit.

30 June 1944:
Repairs are completed.

3 July 1944:
Departs Singapore and later that day arrives at Bintan. Loads Bauxite.

4 July 1944:
Departs Bintan and later that day arrives at Singapore.

14 July 1944:
At 0730, departs Singapore for Moji via Manila in convoy HI-68. The convoy initially consists of transports KIYOKAWA and MANILA MARUs and tankers TOA, SHIMPO, NICHINAN No. 2, TOHO and OTORISAN MARUs. The ships are escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA and kaibokan KURAHASHI, HIRADO and CD Nos. 13, 20 and 28.

20 July 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Manila. Later that same day, KURAHASHI is detached to go to the aid of light cruiser OI torpedoed the previous day by USS FLASHER (SS-249) at 13-12N, 114-52E. The escort returns to Manila the next day.

24 July 1944
At 0600, departs Manila for Moji still in convoy HI-68. The convoy had been expanded to 14 ships to include some ships previously from the Manila leg of HI-69 and MOMA-01. The convoy sails in three columns consisting of landing ship MAYASAN MARU, oilers OTORISAN MARU and NICHINAN MARU No. 2 and aircraft carrier TAIYO in column no. 1; landing ship TAMATSU MARU and transports TOSAN, KASHII, NISSHO and AKI MARUs in column no. 2 and KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers TOA, TOHO, SHIMPO and ITSUKUSHIMA MARU in column no. 3. The escorts include carrier KAIYO, kaibokan HIRADO (F), KURAHASHI, ISHIGAKI, KUSAGAKI, MIKURA, CD Nos. 11 and 20 and torpedo boat HIYODORI. The ships steam at 11.5 knots, the average speed for HI series convoys.

A three-submarine wolf pack of Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s USS FLASHER (SS-249), LtCdr Franklin Hess’s ANGLER (SS-240) and LtCdr Francis D. Walker’s CREVALLE (SS-291) attacks the convoy.

25 July 1944:
Off NW Luzon. At 1540, CREVALLE launches an attack on AKI and TOSAN MARUs that is succesfully evaded.

26 July 1944:
Off Luzon. At 0211, in a night surface radar attack, FLASHER closes first. Cdr Whitaker fires three torpedoes at AKI MARU and his last three torpedoes at OTORISAN MARU. One torpedo hits AKI MARU amidships, another strays and hits TOSAN MARU. OTORISAN MARU blows up and illuminates the night. TOSAN, AKI and OTORISAN MARUs all sink.

At 0458 (JST), in a visual attack on the surface, Hess’s ANGLER fires six torpedoes. A torpedo hits KIYOKAWA MARU's No. 1 hold and blows her bow off at 18-15 N, 118, 00E. At 0655, the ship leaves the convoy and heads for Takao, Formosa.

27 July 1944:
Arrives at Takao. Undergoes temporary repairs.

31 July 1944:
Takao. Discharges some of bauxite cargo into cargo ship NISSHO MARU No. 18.

2 August 1944:
Departs Takao and later that day arrives at Mako.

3 August 1944:
Temporary urgent repairs are carried out by the Mako Naval Construction Unit. Bauxite is reloaded.

17 August 1944:
Departs Mako.

18 August 1944:
Arrives at Keelung, Formosa.

20 August 1944:
Departs Keelung.

25 August 1944:
Arrives north of Hirado Jima.

26 August 1944:
Departs near Hirado Shima and later that day arrives at Mutsure.

27 August 1944:
Departs Mutsure and anchors off Miyashima.

28 August 1944:
Departs Miyashima and arrives at Kure. Undergoes additional repairs.

7 October 1944:
Departs Kure and later that days arrives at Niihama.

10 October 1944:
Departs Niihama and later that day arrives at Kure.

15 October 1944:
Captain Otsuka is promoted Rear Admiral.

Early November 1944:
Sails from Kure to Sasebo to Moji or direct to Imari Bay.

14 November 1944:
Imari Bay, Kyushu. At 0600, KIYOKAWA MARU departs in Eighth Escort Convoy's Rear Admiral Sato Tsutomu's fleet convoy HI-81 for Manila and Singapore. HI-81 includes oilers MIRII, ARITA, HASHIDATE, TOA, OTOWASAN and landing craft depot ships MAYASAN, AKITSU, KIBITSU and SHINSHU MARUs and escort carrier SHINYO. The screen includes destroyer-escort KASHI and kaibokan ETOROFU (F), TSUSHIMA, DAITO, KUME, SYONAN, CD-9 and CD-61.

KIYOKAWA MARU carries the following troops and equipment for Formosa (Taiwan): 21st Shinyo (Explosive Motor Boat) Squadron bound for Takao consisting of up to 55 boats and 183 men; two 120-mm (4.7-inch) HA gun corps for Tainan; two 120-mm HA gun corps for Shinchiku (Hsin-chu/Xinzhu); one 120-mm HA gun corps for Toko (Donggang), Pingtung and two 25mm AA corps for an unidentified location. She also carries an unknown number of men of the 14th Air Defense Corps.

KIYOKAWA MARU's cargo includes 43 cubic meters of wire and various fuels, 50 cubic meters of building materials, 2,760 tins of mineral oil for aircraft and other uses, 67 cubic meters of arms and ammunition, 140 cubic meters of depth charges and an unidentified quantity of bombs, torpedoes, fuel tanks, engines and other ordnance and an unknown number of Daihatsu landing craft.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That same day, Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, ComSubPacFlt, receives information on the convoy from the USN's codebreakers and dispatches "Ultra" signals to two of his wolfpacks on patrol in the Yellow Sea. Lockwood's signal is received by Cdr Gordon W. Underwood in USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) leading a wolfpack with LtCdr Edward Shelby's SUNFISH (SS-281) and LtCdr Robert H. Caldwell's PETO (SS-265).

The signal is also received by Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Charles E. Loughlin's QUEENFISH (SS-393) with LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Eugene B. Fluckey's BARB (SS-220) and LtCdr Evan T. Shepard's USS PICUDA (SS-382).

Off Goto Island, near Nagasaki. Convoy HI-81 makes an overnight stop.

15 November 1944:
HI-81 departs Ukishima Channel off Goto Island.

At 1156, landing craft depot ship AKITSU MARU is hit port side aft and amidships by a torpedo from Loughlin's QUEENFISH. Her magazine explodes and she sinks in three minutes with some 2,150 men aboard. SHINYO's Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo-bombers attempt unsuccessfully to find QUEENFISH. To avoid further American submarine attacks, HI-81 detours along the Korean and Chinese coasts under cover of SHINYO's planes.

16 November 1944:
Anchors temporarily at Reisui Wan (Yosu Bay). Departs at noon. At 1600, arrives at the anchorage near Chin To (Chin Do).

17 November 1944:
At dusk, SHINYO's planes start landing on the carrier. About 1815, Shepard's PICUDA fires three torpedoes at MAYASAN MARU loaded with 4,500 troops of the IJA's 23rd Division from Manchuria and over 200 horses and material. Two torpedoes hit her in the engine room and an aft hold. MAYASAN MARU capsizes and sinks in a matter of seconds taking down 3,437 men (3,187 soldiers, 194 gunners and 56 sailors).

At 2303, Cdr Underwood's USS SPADEFISH (SS-411) running on the surface, fires a full spread of six bow torpedoes at carrier SHINYO. Four hit her starboardside. The first hits her stern and she quickly loses power and stops. Other hits cause the carrier to burst into flames and she begin to list to starboard and settles by the stern. Planes start rolling off SHINYO's decks into the sea. She sinks at 33-02N, 123-33E. Very few of SHINYO's engine rooms' crew escape. Her casualties are likely over 700 men.

In all, Lockwood's wolkpacks sink eight ships of HI-81.

21 November 1944:
E of Shanghai. The remainder of HI-81 arrives at Raffles Island anchorage.

21 November 1944:
HI-81 departs for Mako.

25 November 1944:
After all survivors arrive off Mako, HI-81 splits into two sections, one bound for Singapore and the other for Manila. KIYOKAWA MARU is in the Manila-bound section.

26 November 1944
Arrives at Takao.

8 December 1944:
Departs Takao in convoy MAMO-05 consisting of KIYOKAWA MARU and other unknown ships escorted by unknown escort. KIYOKAWA MARU carries 6,000 tons of sugar for Japan. That evening, the convoy anchors off Mako.

10 December 1944:
Departs Mako.

12 December 1944:
Arrives at Sanmen Bay and departs later that day.

14 December 1944:
Arrives at Imari Bay.

15 December 1944:
Departs Imari Bay when convoy undergoes a submarine attack. The ship drops depth charges. Later that day the convoy arrives at Mutsure.

16 December 1944:
Departs Mutsure and shortly afterwards arrives at Moji. Then anchors off Hesaki.

17 December 1944:
Departs Hesaki.

18 December 1944:
Arrives Kobe.

22 December 1944:
Departs Kobe and arrives later that day at Imabari.

23 December 1944:
Departs Imabari and later that day arrives at Kure. Undergoes repairs.

7 January 1945:
Returns to Kure.

10 January 1945:
Departs Kure.

18 January 1945:
Departs Kure and arrives later that day off Hesaki.

19 January 1945:
Departs Hesaki and later that day arrives outside Sasebo Port.

20 January 1945:
Enters Sasebo Port and ties up at No. 7 Buoy.

26 January 1945:
Departs Sasebo and later that day arrives Mutsure.

27 January 1945:
Departs Mutsure, arrives and departs from Moji, returning to Mutsure later that day.

29 January 1945:
At 0730, departs Moji in fleet convoy HI-93 consisting of KIYOKAWA MARU and oilers TOA and TOHO MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-61, CD-63 and CD-207. The convoy hugs the continental coast stopping each night at a different anchorage.

1 February 1945:
Arrives at Kuroushi Bay.

2 February 1945:
Arrives at Taiseiyo Santo.

4 February 1945:
Kaibokan CD No. 53 joins HI-93 as an additional escort.

5 February 1945:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island.

11 February 1945:
Off Yulin. Joins convoy HI-88C consisting of ENCHO and OESAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan KANJU and MIYAKE and minesweeper W-20.

12 February 1945:
At 1800, anchors in Howshui Bay, NW Hainan Island.

13 February 1945:
At 0500, departs Howshui Bay.

14 February 1945:
KIYOKAWA MARU detaches from the convoy.

15 February 1945:
Arrives at Bage Liehtao Island Group

16 February 1945:
Departs Bage Liehtao.

17 February 1945:
Arrives at Taichow Liehtao.

18 February 1945:
Departs Taichow Liehtao and later that day arrives Ssu Chiao Shan.

22 February 1945:
Departs Kure.

23 February 1945:
Off Sijiao-shan. At 0800, joins convoy TAMO-44 that departed Kirun (Keelung), Formosa the previous day. TAMO-44, at this point, consists only of transport NISSHO MARU escorted by kaibokan CD-14, CD-16 and CD-46.

25 February 1945:
At 0220, departs Ssu Chiao Shan.

28 February 1945:
At 1430, arrives at Moji.

1 March 1945:
Departs Moji and later that day arrives at Yawata.

3 March 1945:
A new, but now unknown, Captain assumes command of KIYOKAWA MARU. Rear Admiral Otsuka is reassigned to the Yokosuka Naval District. Later, he is the CO of NAGATO on which he is KIA.

6 March 1945:
Departs Yawata and later that day arrives Kure.

7 March 1945:
Undergoes repairs

14 March 1945:
Departs Kure and later that day arrives Moji.

16 March 1945:
At 0900, departs Moji in convoy MOTA-43 for Keelung. The convoy consists of KIYOKAWA MARU and transports HAKOZAKI, TATSUHARA, NIKKO escorted by kaibokan CHIKUBU, CD-40, CD-102 and CD-106. Departs Moji to Mutsure then anchors for the night off Nankai Jima.

17 March 1945:
Departs Nankai Jima and arrives off Hikin To (Pigum Do), Chosen.

18 March 1945:
Departs Hikin To and heads for Ssu Chiao Shan.

19 March 1945:
225 miles NNE of Shanghai. At 0258, at 33-07N, 122-05E, LtCdr Robert K. Worthington's USS BALAO (SS-285) attacks the convoy and torpedoes TATSUHARA MARU in hold No.2 and HAKOZAKI MARU in Nos. 2 and 4 holds. Another torpedo just misses CD-40.

HAKOZAKI MARU is torn apart by internal explosions as her cargo of gasoline, shells and torpedoes ignites and blows off her stern. She quickly sinks, but her forward section stays afloat blazing until finally sinking at 0320. The combination of fire, explosions and 5 degree centigrade water means that almost all aboard perish: 928 passengers, 51 gunners, and 139 of the crew are killed, a total of 1118 lost.

The torpedo strike on TATSUHARA MARU kills 149 military personnel, but the ship remains afloat and later is able to make Shanghai.

CHIKUBU and No. 102 launch an unsuccessful depth charge counter-attack on BALAO and then return to rescue 130 survivors.

20 March 1945:
At Ssu Chiao Shan refuels torpedo boat TOMOZURU with 20 tons fuel oil.

22 March 1945:
Departs Ssu Chiao Shan and later that day arrives at Chikou Yang.

23 March 1945 Departs Chikou Yang and later that day arrives Mazu Tao.

24 March 1945:
Departs Mazu Tao and later that day arrives Fuyan Tao.

25 March 1945:
Departs Fuyan Tao and later that day arrives Mazushan anchorage.

26 March 1945:
Departs Mazushan anchorage and later that day arrives at Keelung.

28 March 1945:
Air-raid.

31 March 1945:
Air-raid.

1 April 1945:
At 0615, departs Keelung in convoy TAMO-53 to Moji. The convoy consists of the two survivors of MOTA-43, NIKKO and IYOKAWA MARUs and kaibokan CD-40, CD-102 and CD-106. Both merchant ships are loaded with sugar needed for conversion to aviation fuel and butane and evacuees from Formosa, mostly women and children. Anchors for the night off Tongta Island.

3 April 1945:
Departs Tongta Tao and later that day arrives off Wenchow Bay.

4 April 1945:
Departs Wenchow Bay and later that day arrives at Ssu Chiao Shan.

6 April 1945:
Departs Ssu Chiao Shan.

7 April 1945:
Arrives Tsingtao.

8 April 1945:
Departs Tsingtao.

9 April 1945:
Yellow Sea. LtCdr (later MOH/Captain) George L. Street III’s USS TIRANTE (SS-420), alerted by an “Ultra” signal based on code-breaker’s intelligence, stalks convoy TAMO-53 enroute from Shanghai to Japan. Street fires three Mark 18-2 electric torpedoes at each of two targets at 36-50N,123-55E. One spread misses, but the other hits transport NIKKO MARU in the bow and the engine room. She sinks taking down 563 passengers, 14 gunners, 16 guard force soldiers, two signallers and 73 crewmen.

The convoy’s escorts counter-attack TIRANTE. Street fires a Mark-27 "Cutie"acoustic homing torpedo at Coast Defense Vessel No.102. TIRANTE’s crew hears "breaking-up noises," but the kaibokan does not sink. CD-102 loses seven men blown off the fantail when the Cutie hits. CHIKUBU tows the damaged CD to safety and rescues some of NIKKO MARU's survivors.

KIYOKAWA MARU evades TIRANTE.

10 April 1945:
Departs Kakureppi Retto and later that day arrives Anma Gunto.

11 April 1945:
Departs Anma Gunto and later that day arrives Reisui Bay (Yosu).

12 April 1945:
Departs Reisui Bay and later that day arrives Pusan.

13 April 1945:
Departs Pusan and later that day arrives at Moji. Shortly before arrival, while off Mutsure, kaibokan CD-106 hits a mine and is immobilised.

14 April 1945:
Shifts from Mutsure to Moji.

15 April 1945:
Departs Moji and later that day arrives Takaikami Shima.

16 April 1945:
Departs Takaikami Shima and later that day arrives Osaka.

21 April 1945:
Departs Osaka and later that day arrives Kobe.

22 April 1945:
At Kawasaki No. 5 Pier repairs begin.

13 May 1945:
Departs Kobe and arrives later that day at Takaishima.

14 May 1945:
Departs Takaishima and arrives later that day at Kure.

20 May 1945:
Arrives at Kure.

23 May 1945:
Departs Kure and arrives later that day at Kurahashijima.

24 May 1945:
Off Motoyamamisaki. Thirty B-29s of the USAAF’s 20th Air Force mine the Shimonoseki Straits. The mines sink a number of ships and damage KIYOKAWA MARU at 33-55N, 131-20E.

25 May 1945:
Arrives Kure. Moored at No. 10 Buoy.

28 May 1945:
Moved to Ko anchorage, Kure.

3 June 1945:
Departs Kure.

18 June 1945:
Moves to No. 4 Dock under control of Kure Naval Yard

20 July 1945: KIYOKAWA MARU is attacked by aircraft from Vice Admiral (later Admiral) John S. McCain's (former CO of RANGER, CV-4) Task Force 38. She is hit by bombs and heavily damaged. KIYOKAWA MARU is beached off Shida beach, N of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture to avoid sinking.

15 August 1945:
At the end of hostilities, KIYOKAWA MARU is in the western part of the Inland Sea.

22 November 1945:
Off Shida beach, N of Kaminoseki. Capsizes in heavy weather and sinks.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the civilian vessels registry.

10 August 1946:
Removed from the Navy List.

9 December 1948:
Refloated and later repaired.

April 1950:
KIYOKAWA MARU departs Kobe for Bangkok.

August 1950:
Makes a voyage from Kobe to New York. After her return, she is assigned to the South America passenger lines.

1969:
Decommisioned and scrapped.


Authors’ Notes:
[1]There were four more vessels sharing the name KIYOKAWA MARU.

[2] The second of the three planned movements, Operation HEI-NI-GO (Hei-2), the transport of the 208th Air Group was cancelled.

Special thanks for assistance in developing this TROM go to Mssrs. Andrew Obluski of Poland and Jean-Francois Masson of Canada. Thanks also go to reader Dave Vincent of Australia and to Erich Muethaler of Germany and Gilbert Casse of France for assistance.

Thanks also go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and Luke G. A. Rufatto of Italy for info in Rev 10 about the rescue of 4th NAG flyers. Thanks further go to Mr. Toda and John Whitman for info in Rev 11 about KIYOKAWA MARU's cargo in convoy HI-81.

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


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