YUSOSEN!

(KOKUYO MARU in May 1941)

IJN KOKUYO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 1998-2016 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
Revision 12


17 June 1938:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding as a 10,027-ton merchant tanker for Kokuyo Kisen (Steamship), K. K., Tokyo.

26 December 1938:
Launched and named KOKUYO MARU.

16 May 1939:
Completed.

1939-1940:
Employed on Kokuyo Kisen's North American-Japan oil transport service.

16 November 1940:
KOKUYO MARU is requisitioned by the IJN.

22 November 1940:
Kobe. Begins conversion to a fleet oiler at Kawasaki Heavy Industies.

16 December 1940:
Registered as a converted merchant transport (oil supply) in the Kure Naval District. Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Itagaki Koichi (38) is appointed Supervisor.

29 December 1940:
Completes conversion.

6 February 1941:
Departs Sasebo for the Dutch East Indies to load a cargo of oil.

22 February 1941:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

14 March 1941:
Departs Mako for the Dutch East Indies to load another cargo of oil.

27 March 1941:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

6 April 1941:
Departs Kure for North American coast (probably San Pedro) to load a cargo of oil.

4 May 1941:
Arrives at Yokkaichi. Probably offloads the oil at Yokkaichi's refinery.

13 May 1941:
Departs Kure for the North American coast for another cargo of oil.

13 June 1941:
Arrives at Tsurumi.

15 June 1941:
Re-rated a Converted Transport (Oil supply) and fully manned by an IJN crew. Captain (Retired) Hidai Toraji (37) is appointed as Commanding Officer.

25 June 1941:
Departs Kure for the North American coast for another cargo of oil.

26 July 1941:
Osaka. Arrives at Amagasaki.

18 September 1941:
Kure Naval Yard. Begins conversion to a Naval Auxiliary.

15 October 1941:
Rerated a Converted Merchant Transport (Oil supply). Captain Hidai reverts from CO to Supervisor. KOKUYO MARU is manned by a civilian merchant marine crew.

21 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

10 November 1941:
Kure. The Chief of Staff of the Kure Naval District advises Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kusaka Ryunosuke (41)(former CO of AKAGI) that arrangements have been made to reequip oilers KOKUYO, SHINKOKU, KENYO and KYOKUTO MARUs for simultaneous port and starboard refueling by 13 November.

13-14 November 1941:
Oilers KOKUYO, KENYO, KYOKUTO and SHINKOKU MARUs conduct fueling at sea exercises with CarDiv 1's AKAGI, DesRon 1, CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, CarDiv 2's SORYU and HIRYU and CarDiv 5's SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU. [1]

18 November 1941: - The Hawaii Operation:
Departs Saeki. Seven oilers are assigned to the Hawaii , but the IJN’s practical experience in refueling at sea is almost nil. Earlier in the month, three refueling exercises were held in Sukumo Bay and the Ariake Sea. Now, while enroute to the Kuriles, all units in the carrier formation are refueled ten times.

26 November 1941:
Etorofu Island, Kuriles. KOKUYO MARU departs Hitokappu Bay with Captain Ota Masanao's (39) Supply Group No. 1's oilers KYOKUTO, KENYO, NIPPON and SHINKOKU MARUs and Captain (Rear Admiral posthumously) Niimi Kazutaka's (40) Supply Group No. 2's oilers TOHO and TOEI MARUs. Provides fuel for Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi's (36) Carrier Striking Force ("Kido Butai") CarDiv 1's AKAGI, KAGA, CarDiv's 2 HIRYU and SORYU and CarDiv’s 5 SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU and the Support Force.

The Support Force consists of Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi's (38) BatDiv 3/1's HIEI and KIRISHIMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Omori Sentaro's (41) DesRon 1's light cruiser ABUKUMA and DesDiv 17's ISOKAZE, URAKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMAKAZE, DesDiv 18's ARARE, KASUMI, KAGERO and SHIRANUHI and CarDiv 5's AKIGUMO and Captain (later Rear Admiral) Konishi Kaname's (44) Midway Bombardment Unit's DesDiv 7's SAZANAMI and USHIO.

Nagumo's orders from Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku, (32) CINC, Combined Fleet, are that if refueling proves impossible in the stormy winter waters of the Northern Pacific, Nagumo is to detach AGAKI, SORYU and HIRYU and his destroyers and make the attack with only KAGA, SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU that need no refueling.

2 December 1941:
940 miles N of Midway Island. Nagumo’s Force receives the coded signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. It signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

4 December 1941: [2]
N Pacific. Weather conditions worsen. Rough seas cause the Striking Force's ships to roll up to 45 degrees. Refueling is cancelled.

5 December 1941: [2]
600 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At about 1130, after fleet refueling is completed, the 2nd Supply Group's oilers TOHO, NIPPON and TOEI MARUs and destroyer ARARE are detached from the Striking Force and turn towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the retrurn trip to Japan.

6 December 1941: [2]
400 miles N of Oahu, Hawaii. At 0630, the entire Striking Force engages in its final refueling. At 0810, after refueling is complete, the 1st Supply Group's oilers KOKUYO, SHINKOKU, KENYO and KYOKUTO MARUs and destroyer KASUMI are detached and turn N towards a designated rendezvous point with the carriers for the retrurn trip to Japan.

At 1130, the Striking Force increases speed to 24 knots and proceeds due S to Hawaiian waters. Vice Admiral Nagumo dispatches ABUKUMA and DesDiv 17's TANIKAZE to Supply Group No. 1 at the rendezvous point following final refueling before the attack. At about 2100, the two warships reach the oilers, refuel and return with the oilers to the First Air Fleet.

7 December 1941: [2] Operation "Z" - The Attack on Pearl Harbor:
At 0618, the Carrier Striking Force launches attacks that later sink battleships USS ARIZONA (BB-39), OKLAHOMA (BB-37) and CALIFORNIA (BB-44) and damage NEVADA (BB-36), PENNSLYVANIA (BB-38), TENNESSEE (BB-43), MARYLAND (BB-46), WEST VIRGINIA (BB-49) and other smaller ships. 2,335 American servicemen die in the attack, most on ARIZONA. After recovering all but 29 of its aircraft lost in the attack, the Striking Force departs Hawaiian waters NNW towards Japan.

16 December 1941:
KOKUYO MARU is finally detached.

26 December 1941:
Arrives at Kure.

7 January 1942:
Departs Davao.

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan.

15 January 1942:
Arrives at Kanogawa.

4 February 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

6 February 1942:
Departs Mako.

10 February 1942:
Arrives at Palau.

17 February 1942:
Departs Palau.

21 February 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay.

23 February 1942:
Departs Staring Bay.

2 March 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

9 March 1942:
Departs Kanogawa near Kure, for Staring Bay, Celebes, NEI likely with tanker SHINKOKU MARU.

15 March 1942:
Arrives at Staring Bay. Between 0800 and 1830 in 06-32N 109-38E Staring Bay, tanker KENYO MARU transfers 1500 tons fuel oil to battleship HIEI; tanker KOKUYO MARU from 0800 and 1614 transfers 1045 tons fuel oil to battleship KONGO; tanker NIPPON MARU, from 1503 to 1100 the following day, transfers 1100 tons fuel oil to battleship KIRISHIMA; and tanker KOKUYO MARU, from 1735 to 0300 the following day, transfers 1520 tons fuel oil to battleship HARUNA.

25 March 1942:
Departs Staring Bay.

31 March 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 April 1942:Operation “C” – The Raids into the Indian Ocean:
Departs Singapore. Supports Vice Admiral Nagumo's Striking Force's carrier AKAGI, CarDiv 2, CarDiv 5, BatDiv 3, CruDiv 8, DesRon 1 plus destroyers ARARE, KAGERO, MAIKAZE, HAGIKAZE and AKIGUMO.

9 April 1942:
After the air attacks on the British naval bases at Columbo and Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the Striking Force departs the Indian Ocean Area for Japan.

15 April 1942:
At Sea KOKUYO MARU refuels BatDiv 3's KONGO with 1,045 metric tons of fuel oil. Departs the area later that day.

22 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

6 May 1942:
Departs Kure.

7 May 1942:
Arrives at Hiro.

13 May 1942:
Arrives off Murozumi.

14 May 1942:
Departs Murozumi.

23 May 1942:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

26 May 1942:
Departs Hashirajima.

26 May-5 June 1942: Operation “MI” – The Battle of Midway:
KOKUYO MARU departs Hashirajima with Captain Ota's Supply Group No. 1’s oilers NIPPON, KYOKUTO, TOHO and SHINKOKU MARUs with the Carrier Striking Force's CarDivs 1, 2, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) Support Group's CruDiv 8, BatDiv 3/2's HARUNA, KIRISHIMA, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Kimura Susumu's (40) DesRon 10's light cruiser NAGARA with NOWAKI, ARASHIO, HAGIKAZE, MAIKAZE, KAZAGUMO, YUGUMO, MAKIGUMO, URAKAZE, ISOKAZE, TANIKAZE and HAMIKAZE.

15 June 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

2 July 1942:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Takahashi Ichimatsu (40)(former CO of ITSUKUSHIMA) is appointed Supervisor and relieves Captain Hidai.

10 July 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

1 August 1942:
Arrives at Genzan, Chosen (now Wonsan, North Korea).

14 August 1942:
Reassigned to the Guadalcanal Transport Replenishment No.1 Group to replenish the Carrier Striking Force (Kido Butai).

1 September 1942:
Departs Sasebo for Truk.

7 September 1942:
At 0830 begins refuelling heavy cruiser SUZUYA at Truk.

15 September 1942:
At 1320 KOKUYO MARU joins BatDiv 11, DesRon 10 and CruDiv 7 north of Solomon Islands.

16 September 1942:
Between 1100 and 1530 transfers at sea 1380 tons of heavy fuel to heavy cruiser KUMANO. Then between 1745 and 1851 transfers 230 toons heavy fuel to heavy cruiser SUZUYA. The transfers takes place in the general area of 02-40N 163-48E (noon position).

23 September 1942:
Enters Bungo Straits in a convoy also composed of fleet oiler NARUTO and transport NAGISAN MARU heading north. Arrives at Hiro.

26 September 1942:
Departs Kure.

2 October 1942:
Due to arrive at Truk.

11 October 1942:
KOKUYO MARU sorties from Truk with the Supply Group’s oilers TOHO, TOEI and KYOKUTO MARUs to provide refueling for the Striking Force’s CarDiv 1's SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU and ZUIHO, CruDiv 7’s KUMANO and destroyers AMATSUKAZE, HATSUKAZE, TOKITSUKAZE, YUKIKAZE, ARASHI, MAIKAZE, TERUZUKI and HAMAKAZE.

17-24 October 1942:
N of the Solomons. Destroyer NOWAKI arrives from Shortlands. The Supply Force refuels the fleet at sea for eight consecutive days.

23 October 1942:
Destroyer YUZUKI meets up with KOKUYO MARU at sea.

26 October 1942: - The Battle of Santa Cruz:
Nagumo's Carrier Strike Force engages Task Force 16's USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and Task Force 17's USS HORNET (CV-8) in an air battle. Nagumo's planes sink USS HORNET and damage USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) and USS SAN JUAN (CL-54).

30 October 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

1 November 1942:
At Truk. Between 0938 and 1215 transfer fuel to heavy cruiser SUZUYA and from 1240 to 1402 transfers fuel to heavy cruiser KUMANO. 11 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

November 1942:
A new, but unknown, Captain is appointed Supervisor. Captain Takahashi is reassigned to the staff of the Eighth Fleet at Rabaul.

14 November 1942:
Departs Kure. Joined by subchaser CH-36 off Fukajima.

E 15 November 1942:
CH-36 is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

29 November-5 December 1942:
At Rabaul.

3 December 1942:
Refuels light cruiser OI with 400 tons heavy fuel.

15 February 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Truk's Northern channel escorted by subchaser CH-11.

12 May 1943:
Departs Truk via the Kimijima Channel with subchaser CH-12.

18 May 1943:
Joined by patrol boat PB-46 at 30-38N, 131-46E and escorted to Saeki.

20 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

23 May 1943:
Departs Kure. Later that day, arrives at Osaka.

16 June 1943:
Departs Osaka.

17 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

19 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

23 June 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

25 June 1943:
At 0800 departs Takao with SHOHEI MARU, apparently without escort.

5 July 1943:
At 1715 minesweeper W-16 meets up with tanker KOKUYO MARU at 1-15N 120-13E.

6 July 1943:
At 1320 the ships arrive at Tarakan.

1 August 1943:
At 0700, departs Tarakan with a cargo of refined oil in a convoy consisting of KOKUYO and NICHIEI MARUs with an unknown escort.

2 August 1943:
At 1800, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of crude oil.

17 September 1943:
Departs Balikpapan for Tarakan with 3,947-tons (about 538 barrels) of crude for further refining.

26 September 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

21 October 1943:
Departs Tarakan with a cargo of refined oil for Balikpapan.

24 October 1943:
At 1730 destroyer SANAE departs Balikpapan escorting NISSHO and KOKUYO MARUs bound for Palau.

26 October 1943:
At 0700 SANAE ceases escort.

31 October 1943:
At 0830, while en route to Rabaul, meets up with minesweeper W-26 that escorts her to Rabaul.

5 November 1943: - The Carrier Raid on Rabaul:
Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. CruDiv 4's ATAGO, MAYA and TAKAO, CruDiv 7's SUZUYA and MOGAMI and CruDiv 8's CHIKUMA arrive at Rabaul. About noon, while KOKUYO MARU is refueling ATAGO, the cruisers are attacked by 97 planes from Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick C. Sherman's (USNA ’10) Task Force 38's USS SARATOGA (CV-3) and USS PRINCETON (CVL-23). ATAGO sustains three near-miss bombs dropped by Douglas SBD “Dauntless” dive-bombers from USS SARATOGA that kill 22 crewmen including her skipper hit by a bomb splinter while on the bridge. TF 38's planes also damage TAKAO, MAYA, CHIKUMA and MOGAMI, light cruisers AGANO and NOSHIRO and destroyers AMAGIRI and FUJINAMI.

KOKUYO MARU transfers 400 tons fuel oil to heavy cruiser CHIKUMA, before the cruiser departs.

9 November 1943:
Departs Rabaul en route to Kavieng in convoy O-802 consisting of KOKUYO MARU and cargo ship TAJIMA MARU making 11 knots.

24 November 1943:
At 0600, departs Tarakan carrying a cargo of refined oil in a convoy consisting of KOKUYO and AZUMA MARUs (ex cargo). Shortly after departing the two ships collide, but little damage results to either.

26 November 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of crude oil.

30 November 1943:
At 0700, departs Balikpapan in convoy with tankers KENYO and AZUMA MARUs (ex cargo) escorted by subchaser CH-6 and another unknown vessel.

3 December 1943:
LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Lawrence R. Daspit's (USNA ’27) USS TINOSA (SS-283) sights the convoy and makes an approach, but the convoy zigs and ruins the setup. Daspit fires three torpedoes "up the kilt" at AZUMA MARU with a cargo of 500 drums of aviation gasoline, 500 drums of normal gasoline and 6,000-tons of heavy oil. At 1947 (I), one hits and sets her afire. She slows, then settles lower in the water and drops out of the convoy.

USS TINOSA moves in on the surface, but AZUMA MARU opens fire with her deck guns and machine-guns. Daspit crash dives and closes to point blank range. At 2121, he fires three more torpedoes that blow up and sink AZUMA MARU at 06-34N, 131-40E. 50 crewmen including her Captain and 18 passengers are KIA. Captain Ara Tadashi (33) is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously. The remainder of the convoy continues towards Palau.

4 December 1943:
Arrives at Palau at 1200. Departs for Truk shortly thereafter.

14 December 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

E 17 December 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

5 January 1944:
At 1245 storeship ARASAKI and KOKUYO MARU in position 04-04N 125-12E meets up with convoy NE-202 consisting of GENYO MARU being escorted by patrol boat PB-2.

7 January 1944:
At 1320 arrives at Balikpapan.

8 January 1944:
At 1700, departs Balikpapan loaded with crude oil in convoy "KU"consisting of oilers NIPPON and KOKUYO MARUs making 14 knots, escorted by destroyers SHIMAKAZE and HAYANAMI and by patrol boat No. 102 (ex-USS STEWART, DD-224) at the start of the journey. [3]

17 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

19 January 1944:
Departs Truk for Rabaul with cargo ship NANREI MARU escorted by destroyers NOWAKI, YAMAGUMO and MAIKAZE.

22 January 1944:
Arrives at Rabaul. Departs that same day for Kavieng with NOWAKI and MAIKAZE and subchaser CH-36.

25 January 1944:
Departs Kavieng for Truk with NOWAKI and MAIKAZE.

28 January 1944:
Arrives at Truk.

5 February 1944:
At 1600, departs Truk in a convoy consiting of KOKUYO, NICHIEI and KYOKUTO MARUs escorted by destroyers OITE, SHIMAKAZE and IKAZUCHI.

11 February 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Davao.

12 February 1944:
At 1240, departs Davao with only SHIMAKAZE as escort.

15 February 1944:
At 0907, arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of crude oil.

21 February 1944:
Departs Balikpapan for Palau in a convoy consisting of KOKUYO, NISSHO and KYOKUTO MARUs escorted by destroyers SHIMAKAZE and IKAZUCHI.

25 February 1944:
Off Mindanao, Phillipines. At 0100, KYOKUTO MARU in convoy with oiler NISSHO MARU is attacked by LtCdr (later Cdr) Victor B. McCrea's (USNA ’32) USS HOE (SS-258), acting on a code-breaker's ULTRA message. McCrea fires four torpedoes in a surface radar attack and gets two hits on KYOKUTO MARU at 05-38N, 126-00E that cause heavy damage. At 0220, McCrea fires all ten bow and stern torpedoes in a surface radar attack. He gets five hits that sink NISSHO MARU at 05-50N, 126-00E. Captain Tonomura Senzaburo (40) (former CO of ERIMO) and 37 crewmen are KIA. Tonomura is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

The remainder of the convoy arrives at Davao later that same day.

29 February 1944:
Departs Davao.

2 March 1944:
Arrives at Palau. The convoy is dissolved.

4 March 1944:
Departs Palau for Saipan.

10 March 1944:
Departs Saipan for Palau with destroyers FUJINAMI and HAYANAMI.

13 March 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

18 March 1944:
Departs Palau for Tarakan, then to Balikpapan with HAMANAMI.

22 March 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan. Loads refined oil.

25 March 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan. Loads a cargo of crude oil.

29 March 1944:
At 1840 departs Balikpapan in convoy bound for Palau via Davao consisting of tankers GENYO and KOKUYO MARUs together with destroyers HAMAKAZE, TANIKAZE, URAKAZE, HAYANAMI and HAMANAMI and initially patrol boat PB-102.

1 April 1944:
Arrives at Davao. It appears the ships did not go to Palau, presumably because of the 30-31 March air raids there

2 April 1944:
Davao. Provisioned by auxiliary storeship KITAKAMI MARU.

8 April 1944:
Departs Davao in convoy with GENYO MARU escorted by destroyers HAMAKAZE, TANIKAZE, URAKAZE, HAYANAMI and HAMANAMI and kaibokan KANJU.

10 April 1944:
Arrives at Tarakan.

12 April 1944:
Departs Tarakan still in convoy.

14 April 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan. Loads crude oil.

18 April 1944:
Departs Balikpapann in a convoy also consisting of tankers GENYO and YUHO MARUs, and gasoline tanker SUNOSAKI escorted by destroyers OKINAMI, TANIKAZE and URAKAZE and kaibokan KANJU.

26 April 1944:
Arrives at Saipan, Marianas. Discharges fuel oil.

29 April 1944:
Departs Saipan in convoy also consisting of tankers GENYO and YUHO MARUs, and gasoline tanker SUNOSAKI escorted by destroyers OKINAMI, TANIKAZE and URAKAZE and kaibokan KANJU.

7 May 1944:
At 1100 arrives at Balikpapan. Loads fuel oil.

13 May 1944:
At 0800 departs Balikpapan in a convoy also consisting of GENYO MARU and gasoline tanker SUNOSAKI escorted by destroyer TANIKAZE and URAKAZE.

15 May 1944:
At 1135 arrives at Tawi Tawi.

23 May 1944:
At 0640, departs Tawi Tawi in a convoy consisting of KOKUYO, NICHIEI, SEIYO and TATEKAWA MARUs escorted by destroyers HIBIKI, AKISHIMO and HAMAKAZE.

24 May 1944:
Off Saranagani Islands, Mindanao. In the early afternoon, lookouts aboard LtCdr Charles H. Andrews' (USNA ’30) USS GURNARD (SS-254) sight a convoy they identify as consisting of two oilers, "two cargo ships" and three destroyers. Slipping past the escorts, Andrews fires four torpedoes at an oiler. At 1517 TATEKAWA MARU is hit by two torpedoes, the first in oil tank No. 6 and the second in the engine room. She is set ablaze. Ten of her armed guard gunners and 17 crewmen are killed. TATEKAWA MARU sinks at 05-45N, 125-43E E.

25 May 1944:
At 0200, arrives at Davao.

27 May 1944: American Operation “Horlicks” – The Invasion of Biak:
Rear Admiral (later Admiral) William M. Fechteler’s (USNA ’16) Task Force 77 lands Maj Gen Horace H. Fuller’s 41st Division on Biak off New Guinea.

13 June 1944: Operation A-GO - The Defense of the Philippines.
Davao. Battleship FUSO transfers fuel oil to the 1st Supply Force’s oilers KOKUYO, NICHIEI and SEIYO MARUs and HAYUSUI.

14-15 June 1944:
Departs Davao for refuelling rendezvous with the Mobile Fleet. Enroute, about 90km SE of Surigao Strait, SEIYO MARU collides with and sinks destroyer SHIRATSUYU at 09-09N, 126-51E with the loss of 104 sailors including her CO, LtCdr Matsuda Kuro (55), promoted Captain posthumously.

16 June 1944:
At about 1000, at 11-00N, 130-00E, the 1st Supply Force's oilers HAYUSUI and NICHIEI, KOKUYO and SEIYO MARUs rendezvous with Vice Admiral Ugaki Matome's (40) (former CO of HYUGA) aborted Operation "Kon" Task Force's Bat Div 1's YAMATO and MUSASHI, Cru Div 5's HAGURO and MYOKO, DesRon 2's light cruiser NOSHIRO and Des Div 4's OKINAMI, SHIMAKAZE, ASAGUMO, MAIKAZE and MICHISHIO and DesRon 10's YAMAGUMO and NOWAKI.

Ugaki's force is refueled promptly, then Ugaki's force and the 1st Supply Force head north to join Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (37) (former CO of HARUNA) First Mobile Fleet's Main Body. At 1650, they rendezvous with Ozawa. The 1st Supply Force begins to refuel the Mobile Fleet.

17 June 1944:
KOKUYO refuels CruDiv 7's TONE and SUZUYA. By 2000, refueling of the First Mobile Fleet's Main Body is completed. At this time, the First Mobile Fleet is at 12-15N, 132-45E. The 1st Supply Force stands by to rendezvous with the 2nd Supply Force's oilers GENYO and AZUSA MARUs enroute from Guimaras. All six oilers then depart the area for a designated standby point at 14-40N, 134-20E.

20 June 1944: Operation A-GO - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
The Supply Forces are attacked by LtCdr J. D. Blitch's seven Grumman "Avenger" TBF torpedo-bombers, 12 Curtiss "Helldiver" SB2C dive-bombers and 16 "Hellcat" F-6F strafers from Task Force 58's USS WASP (CV-18). HAYASUI is hit by a bomb and set afire. SEIYO (three crewmen KIA) and GENYO MARU (apparently no casualties) are damaged by bombs and later scuttled by destroyers.

KOKUYO MARU departs the Philippine Sea for Okinawa.

23 June 1944:
Arrives at Okinawa. Refuels the Mobile Fleet for its return to Japan. Departs Okinawa the same day via Manila to Singapore with destroyers FUJINAMI and TAMANAMI.

29 June 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 July 1944:
Departs Singapore for Manila with FUJINAMI and TAMANAMI.

7 July 1944:
South China Sea. At about 0200, while enroute to Manila, TAMANAMI is hit by three torpedoes fired by LtCdr Joseph J. Staley's (USNA ’34) USS MINGO (SS-261) and sinks bow first at 14-10N, 117-50E with all hands, including Comdesdiv 32 (Commander Aoki Kyuji (50).

July 1944:
Departs Manila in ballast for Macassar, Celebes.

30 July 1944:
125 miles W of Jolo. At about 0100, KOKUYO MARU which is being escorted by kaibokan CD-22 and submarine chasers CH-30 and CH-33 en route from Manila to Balikpapan and Macassar, is attacked by LtCdr (later Cdr) Lawrence L. Edge's (USNA ’35) USS BONEFISH (SS-223). Hit by four of five torpedoes Edge fires in a night surface radar attack. Blows up and sinks by the stern at 06-03N, 120-00E. Nine crewmen are killed. [4]

10 September 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
[1] CarDiv 1's KAGA was in dock at Sasebo at the time.

[2] Hawaiian Time.

[3] Records show KOKUYO MARU was the only survivor of a fast tanker convoy that left Balikpapan on 8 Jan '44. Since the ship was capable of 19 knots empty versus 11 knots for the slowest ship in the convoy (AKIBASAN MARU), it is probable that KOKUYO MARU split from the convoy, probably at Saipan, and made her way to Balikpapan since only a laden tanker would sail to Truk and Rabaul.

Alternatively, it is possible that the KOKUYO MARU concerned was the warbuilt 43 4667 cargo ship, although the kanji for this ship is different from the vessel in convoy 3231.

[4] LtCdr Edge and USS BONEFISH were lost later in the war.

Thanks for assistance goes to Allan Alsleben of Oregon and Mr. Gilbert Casse of France.

Photo credit goes to Ron Wolford via Gilbert Casse.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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