(KONEI MARU (under construction as WAR MARTIN)

Freighter KONEI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2010-2012 Bob Hackett
Revision 2

E 1916:
Wyandotte, Michigan. Laid down by AmShip Detroit (Detroit Ship Building Co) as a 1,922 ton cargo ship under contract to Cunard Steamship Co., Ltd., agent for the Shipping Controller, London, England.

Requisitioned under the Urgent Deficiencies Act of 13 June 1917 for the U.S. Shipping Board. Launched and named WAR MARTIN.

December 1917:
Completed and renamed LAKE DUANE.

Purchased by Lloyd Royal Belge of Antwerp, Belgium. Renamed ROUMANIER.

Sold to O de G. Fontoura of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Renamed GIRASOL.

Sold to D/S A/S Vale (H. N. Hartmark) of Oslo, Norway. Renamed VALE.

Sold to San Peh Steam Navigation Co. of Shanghai, China. Renamed HENG-SHAN and registered in Shanghai.

Sold to Cia Italiana di Navigazione Societa Anonima Italiana of Genoa, Italy. Renamed FURIERE CONSOLINI (after writer Renzo Consolini killed 29 Jul ‘37 by a MG burst in the streets of Tientsin).

10 June 1940:
Rome. Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, declares war on France and Great Britain.

26 December 1941:
Chartered by the Japanese. Operated by Yamashita Kisen Kaisha and renamed KONEI MARU. Assigned call letters JWRQ.

8 September 1943: Fascist Italy Surrenders:
Mussolini is deposed and Italy declares an armistice. The Japanese seize KONEI MARU.

July 1944:
Army cargo ship KONEI MARU, under Captain Nakamura, departs Tangku on the Hai Ho (Yellow River), North China via Wakamatsu for Nagoya in convoy KO-8801 carrying 2,500 tons of coal.

2 August 1944:
2 km S of Kuki-Zaki, Mie-Ken, SW of Nagoya. At 1442 (JST), LtCdr Thomas S. Baskett’s USS TAUTOG (SS-199) sights a tanker and one escort followed about two miles astern by a freighter and another escort. Baskett cannot close to a satisfactory firing range on the tanker, so lets it pass. At 1534, TAUTOG fires three torpedoes at the freighter at 800 yards and gets two hits. At 1538, KONEI MARU sinks at 33-570N, 136-207E. Casualties unknown. The escorts counter-attack and drop 23 DCs over the next hour, but TAUTOG evades and escapes.

Authors Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany for info about KONEI MARU and convoy KO-8801. Thanks also go to Luca “Luke” Ruffato of Italy.

Photo Credit goes to Gilbert Gasse of France and Darius of Germany.

-Bob Hackett

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