RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(KOCHI MARU, prewar)

IJA KOCHI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2017 Bob Hackett


15 June 1920:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Zosen Aioi Kojo as Yard No. 49, a 2,910 ton cargo ship for Teikoku Kisen K.K.

20 October 1920:
Launched and named KOCHI MARU.

30 November 1920:
Completed.

5 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a cargo ship (A-AK). Assigned Army No. 655.

12 March 1942:
At 0900, KOCHI MARU departs Mutsure for Mako, Pescadores in a convoy consisting of FUKKAI, MAYA, SEIYO, RYUZAN, TAIKAI (ex-German FULDA) and TEIKAI MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 escorted by minelayers HIRASHIMA and UKISHIMA and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU. The ships are carrying about 4,500 personnel of an unidentified aviation group.

<16 March 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

28 March 1942:
At 0800, KOCHI MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Camranh Bay, Vichy French, Indochina in a convoy also consisting of FUKKAI, KOCHI, MONTREAL, PENANG, RYUZAN, SAMARANG, TAIKAI, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA) and TETSUYO MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 1 escorted by minelayer SOKUTEN and auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

1 April 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Vichy French Indochina.

14 April 1942: Transport Operation U - transport of troops and material from Singapore to Rangoon:
KOCHI MARU departs Singapore as part of Transport Unit No. 3 consisting of 32 marus including ANYO, BRAZIL, BUYO, ENGLAND, GINYO, HAMBURG, HAVRE, HOKUROKU, KENKOKU, KOCHI,KUWAYAMA, MONTREAL, PENANG, SAMARANG, SUEZ, TAIKAI, TAZAN, TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA), YAWATA and YONEYAMA MARUs. The 3rd Transport Unit carries the 56th Mixed Brigade and other units.

19 April 1942:
Arrives at Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar).

22 April 1942:
Departs Rangoon.

28 April 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

11 November 1942:
KOCHI MARU departs Moji in Military Movement No. 8's convoy "A" also consisting of GENMEI MARU escorted by minelayers NASAMI and NATSUSHIMA.

23 November 1942:
At 1200, Military Movement No. 8's convoy "A" is met by subchasers CH-16 and CH-18 now escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 GO.

24 November 1942:
At 1500, the convoy arrives at Rabaul.

19 May 1943:
At 0530, KOCHI MARU departs Saeki for Palau in convoy K-519 also consisting of transports CLYDE, KANAYAMASAN, KOYO, MOJI, NITTAI, SAIPAN and YAMAGATA MARU escorted by torpedo boat HATO, minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweeper TAMA MARU No. 6. KOCHI MARU is carrying a cargo of ammunition.

21 May 1943:
W-18 and TAMA MARU No. 6 are detached.

27 May 1943:
75 nms NW of Palau. At 1407, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) John A. Tyree's (USNA '33) USS FINBACK (SS-230) fires three torpedoes by periscope and gets two hits on KOCHI MARU. She sinks in 3 minutes at 08-28N, 134-06E. Two pasengers, 3 gunners and 39 crewmen are KIA.


Author's Note:
Thanks and photo credit go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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