TOKUSETSU JUNYOKAN!


(KONGO MARU as a Kokusai Kisen K. K. freighter)

IJN KONGO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2013 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall
Revision 2


22 February 1934:
Aioi. Laid down at Harima Shibuilding and Engineering Co. as a 8,624-ton freighter for Kokusai Kisen K. K., Tokyo.

7 December 1934:
Launched and named KONGO MARU.

4 March 1935:
Completed and put into service with the Kokusai Line as a freighter with accomodations for 12 passengers.

8 March 1935:
Departs Kobe on her maiden voyage to Philippines and Penang before returning to Kobe for the Kokusai Line.

January 1937:
KONGO MARU is on charter to Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line with ports of call at Yokohama, Moji, Kobe, Manila, Singapore, Penang, Los Angeles, Panama Canal, Galveston, New Orleans, Baltimore and New York.

16 February 1939:
Departs Kobe for New York.

6 August 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN. Registered as a specially installed cruiser in the IJN.

3 September 1941:
Aioi. Begins conversion at Harima Zosen. 4.7-inch (120-mm) guns are installed at the bow and the stern.

5 September 1941:
Attached to the Fourth Fleet (South Seas Force) at Truk. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mizusaki Shojiro (38) assumes command.

14 October 1941:
The conversion is completed.

28 October 1941:
Departs Aioi for Truk.

20 November 1941:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

23 November 1941:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

30 November 1941:
Departs Truk.

2 December 1941: Operation "Z":
KONGO MARU receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).

3 December 1941:
Calls at Wotje. Loads cargo and probably troops.

6 December 1941:
Arrives at Roi-Namur, Kwajalein.

8 December 1941: The Invasion of Wake Island:
KONGO MARU departs Roi-Namur with Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's (39) (former CO of KISO) Wake Island Attack Force consisting of DesRon 6’s light cruiser YUBARI (F), CruDiv 18’s light cruisers TATSUTA and TENRYU, DesDiv 29's destroyers ASANAGI, OITE and HAYATE, DesDiv 30's KISARAGI, MUTSUKI, YAYOI, patrol boats (ex-destroyers) PB-32 and PB- 33, submarine depot ship JINGEI and transport KINRYU MARU. KONGO and KINRYU MARUs carry 450 Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) troops.

11 December 1941:
Two miles SW of Wake Island. DesDiv 29's destroyers close to bombard Wilkes Island, but HAYATE takes three direct hits from salvos of Marine 2nd Lt John A. McAlister's Battery "L" 5-inch guns. At 0652, HAYATE blows up and sinks with her entire 168-man crew at 19-16 N, 166-37 E. Battery "L" also scores a near-miss that damages OITE.

Captain Henry T. Elrod, USMC, hits DesDiv 30's KISARAGI with a 100-lb. bomb that probably detonates her depth charges. At 0731, she blows up and sinks with her entire crew of 150 at 18-55 N, 166-17 E.

KONGO MARU is bombed and set afire. That morning, a dejected Rear Admiral Kajioka orders his Attack Force to return to Kwajalein.

13 December 1941:
Arrives back at Roi.

21 December 1941: The Second Invasion of Wake Island:
The Attack Force is reinforced by CarDiv 2's HIRYU and SORYU, Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Abe Hiroaki's (39) (former CO of FUSO) CruDiv 8's TONE and CHIKUMA, DesDiv 17's URAKAZE and TANIKAZE.

The Attack Force is also joined by Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Goto Aritomo's (38)(former CO of MUTSU) CruDiv 6's AOBA, KINUGASA, KAKO and FURUTAKA, CruDiv 18's seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU and DesDiv 29's ASANAGI and YUNAGI. KONGO MARU departs Roi with the rest of Attack Force.

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

26 December 1941:
Departs Wake Island.

30 December 1941:
Arrives at Saipan.

3 January 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

8 January 1942:
Departs Truk.

10 January 1942:
Arrives at Guam.

14 January 1942:
Departs Guam.

22 January 1942: Operation "R" - The Invasion of Rabaul, New Britain:
E of Rabaul. Lands troops in Simpson Harbour as part of the Rabaul invasion force.

23 January 1942:
The invasion force swiftly overcomes light Australian opposition and occupies Rabaul.

5 March 1942: Operation “SR” – The Invasion of Lae and Salamuana, New Guinea:
KONGO MARU departs Rabaul in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Marumo Kuninori's (40)(former CO of ASHIGARA) Invasion Force consisting of CruDiv 18's TENRYU, TATSUTA and seaplane tender KIYOKAWA MARU, Rear Admiral Goto's CruDiv 6, Rear Admiral (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Kajioka Sadamichi's DesRon 6's light cruiser YUBARI and DesDiv 29’s ASANAGI, OITE, YUNAGI and DesDiv 30’s MUTSUKI, MOCHIZUKI and YAYOI, minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU, auxiliary minelayer TENYO MARU and transports YOKOHAMA and KOKAI MARUs, and minesweepers W-2 and TAMA MARU.

8 March 1942:
In the morning, KONGO MARU disembarks SNLF troops in Huon Bay.

10 March 1942:
The Invasion force is attacked by Vice Admiral Wilson Brown's (USNA ’02) Task Force 11, including ships of Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher's (USNA ’06) TF 17. Ninety aircraft (SBDs, TBDs and F4Fs) of USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) and USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) from the Coral Sea fly over New Guinea's Owen Stanley mountain range to make the attack.

KONGO MARU is sunk at 06-49S, 147-02E with unknown casualties. Transport YOKOHAMA MARU (one crewman KIA) and auxiliary minelayer TENYO MARU (nine crewmen KIA) are also sunk. Light cruiser YUBARI, seaplane carrier KIYOKAWA MARU, destroyers YUNAGI, ASANAGI, OITE, minelayers OKINOSHIMA and TSUGARU, minesweepers W-2 and TAMA MARU and transport KOKAI MARU are damaged.

20 March 1942:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Note:
Thanks for the photo of KONGO MARU goes to Ron Wolford via Gilbert Casse of France. Thanks also go to Gilbert Casse for general assistance.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp and Peter Cundall.


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