(Sister KUMAGAWA MARU by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© ©2011 Bob Hackett

7 November 1936:
Yokohama. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 6,702-ton refrigerated cargo ship ship for Takachiho Shosen K. K.

27 February 1937:
Launched and named Launched and named KOZUI MARU.

30 June 1937:
Completed at 7,508 gross register tons.

2 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

10 November 1941:
Attached to the Maizuru Naval District. Begins conversion to an auxiliary transport (charter) under internal order No. 1391.

6 December 1941:
At Maizuru Navy yard.

6 January 1942:
The conversion is completed. Assigned to the Secret Operation "R" capture unit main body.

1 February 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Assigned to the Gasmata (a.k.a. Tsurumi), New Britain, capture unit.

4 February 1942:
Embarks and billets troops of the No. 2 Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF).

5 February 1942:
Scheduled to depart Rabaul for landings at Gasmata, but the operation is delayed for unknown reasons. The troops are disembarked and billeted ashore at Rabaul.

7 February 1942:
Re-embarks and billets SNLF troops.

8 February 1942:
At 0600, KOZUI MARU and auxiliary armed merchant cruiser KINRYU MARU finally depart Rabaul.

9 February 1942: – The Invasion of Gasmata: - "R" Sakusen (Operation):
At 0250, arrives at Gasmata. At 0335, elements of the task force depart KOZUI MARU to Gasmata by Daihatsu landing craft. At 0345, the main units of the SNLF depart KINRYU MARU to Gasmata by Daihatsu. The airfield is secured and a relay base is established.

11 February 1942:
Gasmata. KOZUI and KINRYU MARUs are bombed by three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed “Hudson” light bombers and suffer minor damage.

The CO of DesRon 6 signals the CO of the 8th Base Force that "KOZUI MARU suffered three direct hits near No. 3 hatch. One member of the construction battalion was KIA. Three members of the construction battalion, four members of the ship’s crew were slightly wounded. Examination of damage to the outer gunwale reveals three leaks but emergency repair was effected. There was no severe damage other than damage to a generator. The condition of the ship’s interior is not clear. "

Both ships undergo temporary repairs. Minelayer TSUGARU assists in patching a waterline hole on KOZUI MARU. KINRYU MARU departs that night at 1950.

13 February 1942:
KOZUI MARU's crew completes temporary repairs. She re-embarks elements of the SNLF landing force, but a garrison of 170 troops remains behind.

14 February 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul. Assigned to the Tulagi capture unit to transport an SNLF landing force.

29 April 1942: “MO” Sakusen - The Invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby (The Battle of Coral Sea):
Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Shima Kiyohide’s (39)(former CO of OI) Invasion Force departs Rabaul for the seizure of Tulagi, Florida Island, British Solomons.

4 May 1942:
Tulagi. KOZUI MARU receives secret Secretariat Letter of instruction No. 7246 to prepare for installation of guns and equipment. 100 miles S of Guadalcanal. That same day, Task Force 17's Rear Admiral (later Admiral-Ret/MOH) Frank J. Fletcher (USNA ‘06) receives a signal that IJN transports are disembarking troops and equipment at Tulagi. At 0701, USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) launches her first surprise strike on the Japanese invasion force consisting 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.

YORKTOWN's SBD dive bombers and Grumman TBD "Avenger" torpedo-bombers of VB-5, VS-5 and VT-5 supported by F4F "Wildcats" fighters of VF-42 also torpedo and sink destroyer KIKUZUKI, minesweeper TAMA MARU, auxiliary minesweepers Wa-1 and Wa-2 and four barges. YORKTOWN's planes also damage KOZUI MARU, destroyer YUZUKI, minelayer OKINOSHIMA and transport AZUMASAN MARU for the loss of three planes.

12 June 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

13 June 1942:
Arrives at Kawasaki.

16 June 1942:
Arrives at Otaru.

17 June 1942:
Departs Otaru.

20 June 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

26 June 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

29 June 1942:
Arrives at Otaru.

30 June 1942:
Departs Otaru.

2 July 1942:
Arrives at unidentified location.

6 July 1942:
Departs unidentified location.

7 July 1942:
Enters dock and undergoes repairs.

20 July 1942:
Begins installation of guns and equipment.

22 July 1942:
Completes installation of guns and equipment

6 August 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

13 August 1942:
Arrives at Port Redon (20-59N, 106-46E), Indochina.

15 August 1942:
Departs Port Redon.

16 August 1942:
Arrives at Haiphong, Indochina.

18 August 1942:
Departs Haiphong.

19 August 1942:
Arrives at Port Campha, Indochina.

22 August 1942:
Departs Port Campha.

29 August 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

3 September 1942:
Departs Miike.

5 September 1942:
arrives at Moji.

6 September 1942:
Departs Moji.

7 September 1942:
Arrives at Fushiki.

9 September 1942:
Departs Fushiki.

11 September 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama. Refuels.

16 September 1942:
Departs Tokuyama.

17 September 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

22 September 1942:
Departs Kure.

23 September 1942:
Arrives at at Osaka.

26 September 1942:
Departs Osaka.

6 October 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya, Java.

12 October 1942:
Departs Surabaya.

14 October 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

19 October 1942:
Departs Makassar.

24 October 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

1 November 1942:
Departs Saigon.

10 November 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

16 November 1942:
Departs Osaka.

17 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

19 November 1942:
Departs Kure.

21 November 1942:
Arrives at Dairen (Dalian), Manchuria.

30 November 1942:
Departs Dalian.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

5 December 1942:
Departs Osaka.

9 December 1942:
Arrives at Muroran, Hokkaido.

12 December 1942:
Departs Muroran.

14 December 1942:
Arrives at Kawasaki.

18 December 1942:
Departs Kawasaki.

21 December 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

2 December 1942:
Receives secret Secretariat letter of instruction No. 14885 that requisitions KOZUI MARU as charter ship and orders her to be converted to an emergency oiler.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

21 December 1942:
Sasebo Navy yard. Begins conversion to an emergency oiler.

9 January 1943:
Completes conversion.

19 January 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

27 January 1943:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore, Malaya.

15 February 1943:
Departs Singapore.

17 February 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

20 February 1943:
Departs Miri.

22 February 1943:
Arrives St Jacques, Indochina.

23 February 1943:
Departs St. Jacques.

1 March 1943:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa.

4 March 1943:
Departs Takao.

8 March 1943:
Arrives at Kudamatsu.

16 March 1943:
Departs Kudamatsu.

17 March 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

28 March 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

29 March 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama. Refuels.

1 April 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

3 April 1943:
KOZUI MARU departs Moji in convoy "E" also consisting of TAMON and NICHIRYO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO. The convoy splits into two parts shortly after departing port.

8 April 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

15 April 1943:
At 0900, KOZUI MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 745 also consisting of FUSEI, AWAJI and FUSEI MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAGAO. The convoy speed is 8.5 knots.

18 April 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

22 April 1943:
Departs Manila.

25 April 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Loads fuel.

28 April 1943:
Departs Tarakan.

29 April 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo. Loads fuel.

12 May 1943:
Departs Balikpapan.

14 May 1943:
Arrives at Tarakan.

22 May 1943:
Departs Tarakan.

27 May 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

1 June 1943:
KOZUI MARU departs Manila in convoy No. 851 also consisting of tanker TATSUNO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

4 June 1943:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

8 June 1943:
Departs Hong Kong.

9 June 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

14 June 1943:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao.

15 June 1943:
KOZUI MARU departs Takao in convoy No. 272 also consisting of AMAGI and LIVERPOOL MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan ETOROFU.

20 June 1943:
Arrives at Moji. Later that day, departs and arrives at Sasebo. Discharges fuel.

23 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

24 June 1943:
Arrives at Kure. Discharges fuel.

28 June 1943:
Departs Kure.

29 June 1943:
Arrives at Nagasaki.

11 July 1943:
Departs Nagasaki.

10 July 1943:
At 1500, KOZUI MARU departs Moji with convoy No. 175 also consisting of tankers NITTASU and TATSUNO MARUs and TEIRITSU (ex-Vichy French LECONTE DE LISLE), DAINICHI, RAKUYO, FUSEI, WAKATSU, MACASSAR and KASHU MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAGAO and subchaser CH-9.

18 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

19 July 1943:
Departs Takao for Mako.

20 July 1943:
Departs Mako.

E 24 July 1943:
Arrives at Saigon. DAINICHI MARU is detached. Later, RAKUYO, FUSEI, and WAKATSU MARUs steam on to Singapore.

28 July 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques.

31 July 1943:
Departs St. Jacques.

3 August 1943:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo. Loads fuel oil.

5 August 1943:
Departs Miri.

8 August 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques.

12 August 1943:
Departs St. Jacques.

16 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

17 August 1943:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao. That same day, KOZUI MARU departs in convoy No. 293 also consisting of HEIWA and RYUOSAN MARUs and six unidentified merchants ships. Later, the convoy is joined at sea and escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

23 August 1943:
Convoy No. 293 arrives at Moji.

25 August 1943:
Arrives at Yokkaichi. Discharges fuel oil.

28 August 1943:
Departs Yokkaichi.

29 August 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

31 August 1943:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 1776. Returned to her owners. [1]

October 1943:
Singapore. KOZUI MARU loads oil and leather clothing products.

3 October 1943:
KOZUI MARU departs Singapore for Shimotsu, Japan in a 15 knot convoy consisting of tanker NICHINAN MARU escorted by fleet oiler TAKASAKI.

11 October 1943:
NICHINAN MARU is detached for Takao.

14 October 1943:
LtCdr John A. Moore’s USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) torpedoes and sinks KOZUI MARU at 27-35N, 127-30E, then eludes counterattacks by TAKASAKI. Three crewmen, 4 gunners and 21 passengers are KIA.

At 1645, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from TAKASAKI that reads: "KOZUI MARU received enemy submarine torpedo attack. I am conducting hunter-killer operations.”

At 1659, codebreakers decrypt another message from TAKASAKI that reads: “KOZUI MARU sank.” At 1902, a decrypted message reads: “Of the crew of 107, 77 embarked in NICHINAN MARU, 30 are missing, 6 killed or wounded. At 1830, left.”

Author’s Note:
[1] Thereafter until her loss, she was operated by the IN with a civilian crew (C-AO).

Thanks go to John Whitman and Luke G.A. Ruffato of Italy for info on damage caused by the 11 Feb '42 RAAF bombing of KOZUI MARU.

- Bob Hackett

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